My Exotic Side Piece… Or, What’s the Turkish word for “Obsession”? #ErkenciKus

Armitage Army Investigator: Jholland, isn’t it? And you are the admin for the “preoccupiedwitharmitage.wordpress.com” fan site, are you not?

Me: Yes, and yes, Ma’am.

AAI: Let’s cut to the chase. Where have you been?

Me: You wouldn’t believe it if I told you. I would never have believed it either.

AAI: Jholland, Castlevania was released a week ago. You were waiting over a year for that. Where have you been?

Me: ….. Oh. Hmmmm? …..

AAI: Castlevania? Armitage?! Where have you been?

Me: Look at this.

 

Can Yaman 2

Ooooof.

AAI: Who is that? Is that where you’ve been?

Me:  Just … those laugh lines, right?

AAI: (*Snorts*) Right… And yet, it seems self-evident this might have… become… (*Clears Throat*) Or I should say, what’s unbelievable?

Me: Well, it’s just a bit quirky. But… who blames me?

AAI: No really, who is that?

Me: He only leads The. Hottest. Thing. Happening…. on Turkish TV!

 

 

AAI: Did you say… Turkish TV? Seriously, who is that?

Me: So please, PLEASE check it out! Erkenci Kus!  By the time you binge it entirely, you might be prepared to wait in agonized suspense for the-

AAI: Jholland! FOCUS! Who is that?

Me: It’s Can Yaman! Can Bey!  Can is pronounced “John/Jean” though! Weird right? I never knew I could go for a man-bun but dayum!  I’m learning a bit of Turkish! I have knowledge of where to find every episode with English subtitles if you need it!

AAI: You’re way ahead of yourself! I just-

Me: And look at this!!

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The production knows what they have in him… shameless ogling opportunities abound…

AAI: …. Can Yaman, you said?

Me: It’s not just about how hot this gorgeous Turkish man is, though! Erkenci Kus is HILARIOUS! I love the lead actress who plays Sanem, Can’s love interest! I do! I love her just as much! It all just makes me happy!

 

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Actress playing Sanem (Demet Ozdemir) has wonderful comedic timing. *coughs*

AAI: But… how did… OK, that is distracting me. I do see what happened.

Me: You DON’T know the half! I have been Giffing EK like crazy. I’m all over the #Canem hashtag! Binged 16 Episodes, and now I’m in the same boat as the other fans… the joy of weekly strong anticipation!!

 

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The feels and the flutters all over again, watching them fall in love!

Me:  Look at these two! Oh! And there is some kind of rumor that the Turkish government will fine productions thousands of dollars for getting too… erotic…

 

 

 

 

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The chemistry is off the charts

Me: Which means it’s all kisses and some flashes of male muscle…. really top-notch flashes, we’re talking! Whew…. but how did I learn of it? It was recommended by a smart, funny  author I enjoy in her fall newsletter…  I’m just glad I was stuck at an appointment, just killing time in a waiting room, clicked that link, and #BOOM #Fandomnumber2 #preoccupiedwithcanem!

 

 

Need some goofy comedy? Erkenci Kus!

Me: Erkenci Kus is refreshingly so silly…but with a healthy dose of self-irony! And I know it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and I’d sure as hell never have thought that what basically amounts to a Turkish “telenovela” with a fantastic comedic core would so capture my heart… Erkenci Kus translates to “Early Bird”… and it’s such a mood enhancer! I kid you not, I have woken Hubby up while laughing like a loon in bed, completely unable to contain myself! And another time I spewed a drink through my nose…. partly to do with the hilarious subtitles! Let’s just say that they (the devoted fans who create the subtitles) probably over-utilize Google-Translate, with side-splittingly funny results!

Me: Anyway… I just love it! The setting is Istanbul, and that Mediterranean culture just totally reminds me of Greece! And I am learning Turkish hand gestures! I want to share it! You should check it out for sure and then we can talk about it!!!!! They are so in love, but it all goes wrong!

 

 

Me: And it’s impossible, once you’re hooked on #Canem, to imagine them breaking it off…. but ohGods it turns into an emotional rollercoaster!

 

Me: AAI?

AAI: …. MmmmmmHmmmmm….OH!  Ah… what?

Me: But even when it breaks my heart, the same episode will have laugh out loud moments!  It just lightens my mood in a world gone mad….

 

 

AAI: I bet it does! Oh, Jeez. Did you see this fanvid?

Me: Yes. Yes I have. Oh, you have so much delight in front of you! Like this one, which is practically NSFW….  not safe anywhere. But… back to Castlevania. I’ll get to it when EK is over.

AAI: Yeah.

Me: So is that all for now? AAI?

AAI: Hmmmm?

Me: If we’re all done here… I have a thing….

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He so deserved it….

JHolland: An Update

So the verdict is in, and my neurologist has diagnosed me with Multiple Sclerosis. This is considered to be an immune-mediated disease, in which my own immune system essentially does irreparable damage to nerves in the central nervous system, causing demyelination of neurons which alters and inhibits neural transmission. The most commonly diagnosed form is called Relapsing/Remitting MS, which is what Dad has, and in most cases eventually, over 10-15 years, progresses to Secondary Progressive MS. In my case, the initial diagnosis was Secondary Progressive MS, meaning I likely cannot expect to ever return to normal for periods of time, only have ups, downs and plateaus that never leave me feeling 100% my former self, but may wax and wane and generally worsen over time. He did say that if I can tolerate the prescribed Copaxone, a 3 times weekly injection that mimics a protein in myelin, thereby allowing the immune system to “attack” the injection rather than the actual myelin in nerve sheaths, it is unlikely that I will progress to severe disability/wheelchair status.

Of course, I am still waiting on approval from the insurance company to actually start the injection, but the great news is that my symptoms, after worsening quite scarily all last week to the point where I could not carry a laundry basket a distance of 50 feet without stopping to sit down, and had to lean against walls, tabletops and countertops when standing more than 5-10 minutes… have now lessened to the point where I have very normal strength and energy and only mild numbness and tingling in my right hand, foot and knee! I really want to start that injection, like, yesterday, with hopes that it will forestall a repeat of last week!

Flowers from Guylty… I already ate the chocolates, and the wine is forthcoming, so those aren’t pictured here. =)

In fact, yesterday I managed to perform an ovariohysterectomy/spay and was able to find the uterus using my right hand- last week the prickling sensation and numbness overwhelmed all other sensory input and I’d never have been able to find the ovarian horn (without making a bigger incision and locating it by visualizing it rather than feeling for it). And that is if I could even manage to stay upright for long enough to do the surgery. So things are, indeed, looking up.

I want to thank all of you for your messages of love and support, and for the flood of prayers and good vibes that you sent my way. I never realized what a boost and a comfort it could be. I’ve also received a number of emails off-blog offering tips and support and love and morale-boosting.

The lovely Guylty, who knows me well, sent a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates and a generous wine voucher! This came when I was at my lowest point, and almost nothing other than this particular combination could have cheered me.

Care package from Linnet Moss… another delicious treat, in more ways than one! =)

Then this week, another package arrived from Linnet, who took the time to create a one-of-a-kind “Dr. Armitage Prescribes” box… complete with humorous kitty cats and swoon-worthy Richard images… and a delicious array of Sugarfina candies! That Dr. Armitage was spot-on, and I have to say that as appealing as Dr. Hottie the neurologist is… he can’t hold a candle to this guy!

 

 

 

The Walking Dad and My Young Love… a smile-inducing duo if I’ve ever seen one!

Little Sister, who is full of pure love and my most constant source of hugs.

Meanwhile, I am actively doing everything I can to really supply my body with healthy food packed with vitamins and antioxidants- tons of fruits, vegetables and weird stuff like Kombucha and seaweed and on and on… I have to make a life change and do everything I can so I can stick around and be actively involved for these three… they are everything to me, and they need me.

I have so many reasons to be thankful, so many blessings in my life. And all of YOU are definitely among them. (((HUGS)))

 

 

 

Preoccupied Elsewhere… In Case I Appear to Disappear

My last post was on Valentine’s Day, and while it was a Happy Day, and felt like maybe a step back into a more regular blogging role, I regret to say that it was the same day that my life may have changed forever. It can really happen overnight, and it is eye-opening. I’ll share a little here, because as distant as we may be, I do know that I have amazing friends amongst the fandom, and I could really use your prayers, positive thoughts, well-wishes. But if I don’t spend a lot of time on responses, please know that my life was busy as of 2 weeks ago, and now it’s complicated in ways I can’t fully comprehend. Or, I may just be emotional, overwhelmed or otherwise unable to formulate words.

So Feb 14. In the morning I did a surgery and felt my right hand numb/tingling almost as if the hand fell asleep afterward. It occasionally happens if my hand gets fatigued or maybe my surgical glove is too tight, but goes away after 20 minutes. That day, it never went away. Later in the day, same pin/needles feeling in my right foot. Still later, an area on my right thigh. Fast forward through the days to Sunday, by which time I’ve seen my primary care family medicine doctor and had baseline bloodwork (all normal) and ordered an MRI of the brain for Monday… the entire right side of my body, torso, limbs, side of head, ear, but fortunately not the face, all numb/tingling and easily fatigued. Still have decent motor function and coordination, not falling, still actually able to type and give injections, and even do simple surgeries, but not able to lift even 10 lb Roxie into the car using the right arm, and by 1 week later, Tues 2/21, the idea of chopping 2 stalks of celery, 1/2 onion and some Polish sausages to fix a simple dinner was a tear-inducing and impossible ordeal after a long day at work.

I’m fortunate that Hubby’s cousin is a well-loved oncologist here in town, and is an amazing advocate, calling in advance to smooth the way and see that I’m squeezed in for whatever testing is required and getting in with a great neurologist who was fully booked and also about to be leaving on vacation. I saw him Thursday with my initial MRI results and while he’s leaning toward a diagnosis of a rapid/fairly aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis, apparently it’s generally a diagnosis of exclusion, so while he’s on vacation, I’m having a lot more tests and we’ll reconvene to go over the results next Monday.

Yesterday I had several tests including a pretty unpleasant lumbar puncture to collect cerebrospinal fluid for analysis, 21 large tubes of blood drawn for more advanced testing of autoimmune and other obscure disorders, an IV catheter placed for a daily infusion of a whopping 1000mg steroid at the hospital once daily for 5 days (thankfully, all this is outpatient), and I’ve had to be on my back for 24 hours following the lumbar puncture. I also had an echocardiogram in there somewhere… all kind of a blur. Monday afternoon I’ll have a bigger and better MRI of the brain plus entire spinal cord which may take several hours of holding still. Then we wait and see what we have.

My dad has MS, diagnosed when he was 55 years old, and apparently, while not directly heritable, it can tend to run in families. There are other possibilities, but the initial MRI showed several areas of demyelination in my brain. Thankfully, doesn’t look like a tumor. The biggest concern so far is that one of the lesions is in the brainstem, and that is one of the worst locations, and the reason for the big gun steroids to try to slow the really rapid progression and salvage my right hand because it is absolutely necessary to my profession. I will not be a successful veterinarian without full use and sensation in my right hand. The leg being numb, I can work with. The hand… whole different story. The steroid injection has improved me dramatically, so I have high hopes that 4 more of those and I’ll be feeling pretty fantastic. Literally already feel about 50% better after the first injection. (also buzzed… up typing energetically at 5am on a Saturday!!) LOL

I have a wonderful Hubby and a lot of local family support. I’d rather this happened to me than to my husband or my children or anyone else, but it is really, really scary. So Mr. Armitage is firmly on the back burner while we wait to see what happens. But please do keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. I’ll try to update when I know more

— J

 

 

DeRAnged Tendencies Alive and Well… in Greece!

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I have my Badge on display, Guylty! Overlooking Athens…

It’s been a crazy-wonderful several days, and my internal clock is certainly out-of-whack, because here I am wide awake at an unholy hour of dawn listening to the rain outside our hotel in Nafplion, Greece! This is almost like a second honeymoon for Hubby and me… our first vacation together without the kids, which means in over 8 years… and we are loving every minute of it! Which is kind of funny when I think that no kind of second honeymoon would have been planned if it weren’t for Richard Armitage… because we’re along for the ride with several other Armitagers and lead by Obscura on this amazing tour of Athens and the Peloponnese in southern Greece. Who says my Armitaging can’t benefit Hubby?

It’s all a bit of a blur now… the preparations for the trip… the detailed schedules I worked out for the grandparents, who are sharing custody of the kids and have accepted the gauntlet of keeping them fed, bathed, dressed, schooled and busy with after-school activities. Packing the kids, packing ourselves. Arranging for a relief veterinarian, duck-sitter, bills to be paid and payroll to be handled from across the globe… vacation is a lot of work! And I didn’t have to do any of the nitty-gritty planning for the tour itself, so hats off to Obscura who has made all the arrangements for our transit, schedule, dining, accommodations… =)

So last Wednesday night, after our last full day of work, we’d had a good-bye dinner with the kids, deposited them with my parents, dropped the pets off at the clinic, and done our last-minute packing. It was 11:30pm, and my alarm was set for 4:00am, giving me 4 1/2 hours of potential sleep… when BOOM, I finally looked at a Twitter notification from Richard Armitage and was astonished to see that the first 2 episodes of Berlin Station were available right then! Of course, I knew that I was going to be traveling across the globe in a few short hours… but could I resist clicking the link? Of course I couldn’t.

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Daniel Miller Screencap… looking as sexy as ever. Of course I got no sleep!

Just a few minutes of watching, I told myself. I’m too excited about Greece to fall asleep immediately anyway… 2 hours later I was not only too excited about Greece to fall asleep, but I had discovered that Berlin Station is entirely binge-watchable! Wow! Talk about a shocking opener! My internal dialogue was something like… “There he is! He’s so pretty… he’s so pretty… oh, man, he looks great in this… he’s so pretty… he’s so…. WHAT!?! Shitfuck! No! No way!”

Suffice it to say that I got exactly zero sleep after watching Berlin Station… something I knew I should regret, but now I’m hearing that people are no longer able to watch it, so I’m patting my deRAnged self on the back for having had no self-control or common sense whatsoever! LOL! I was hoping to revisit those episodes a number of times… because I don’t feel that with all the excitement and exhaustion that I really absorbed all that was available to absorb… but at least I’m not furious that I missed my chance entirely!

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Selfie with Hubby at the Acropolis! A dream come true for both of us. =)

Well, my alarm clock is about to go off and I’m looking forward to another full day with this guy (who is the only man on the tour other than our driver, Leonidas, and our amazing foodie local guide, George!) He’s having a blast, even being fully outnumbered!

Until next time, then… Cheers!

 

It Tasted Like $#!+, And Other Family Woes

Smelling Irises

My Young Love… Looking Quite Innocent. I AM happy to report he finally let me rid him of the dreadful Rat Tail!

Hello! It seems like it’s been a long couple of weeks, and I apologize for being less than a reliable blogger lately. With not much happening on the Armitage front, motivation is lacking, while on the bright side, the veterinary business is really picking up, so free time has also been lacking. I wish I could say all was just fine, but that’s not quite true. On the home front, our Young Love has been giving us fits. Warning: contains very bad language!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that we have an intellectually gifted (though fashion-challenged) first-grade boy. He’s always had an outgoing personality, breezes through school with fantastic grades, and up until recently, he’s had generally good classroom behavior, with occasional trips to the “Take-A-Break” (Time-Out) desk for reasons such as talking when he’s supposed to be working, or not following instructions. A couple of months ago, he did bring home a Take-A-Break form in which the infraction was swearing, and when we asked him what he’d said, he told us it was spelled “F-U-C-K” and he saw it on the bathroom wall, and could we please tell him what that word even means?

Well, we didn’t tell him what F-U-C-K means. We just said it was an ugly word that was definitely inappropriate for school, and asked him to write all the ugly words that he knows, so we could look them over and tell him which words would definitely be inappropriate. He wrote a pretty decent list, including shit, crap, ass, hell, fuck, pussy, damn, and a few more. The only word he wrote that wasn’t really a dirty word was “sex”, but we said it still wasn’t a great word for most school contexts. =)

Anyway, I looked over his list and told him that he had a pretty impressive list of dirty words, and I warned him that we had better NOT start hearing those words come out of his mouth! Being the type to question every statement I make, he asked what would happen to him, so I told him I thought using language like that would mean he had a dirty mouth, so I’d just have to wash his mouth out with soap if any of the words on that list except for “sex” came out of his mouth.

That was that. No major behavior problems for a couple of months, until the last several weeks, when suddenly we started seeing Take-A-Break forms several times per week, and usually involving getting into altercations with other students, shoving, kicking, calling names, etc. When we asked him what was going on, he said some kids were picking on him, and making him really mad. He’d called his classmate Zoe a “Witch” one day, and his classmate Wyatt a “Total Butthead” the day after that!

I wasn’t sure whether he was being picked on, as he claimed, and acting out as a result, or if he was acting the bully. I sent an e-mail to his teacher, and she responded that for the most part, it was typical rough-housing type of behavior… that she didn’t feel like he was necessarily a bully, but that he was prone to getting physical or calling names when he was frustrated. At home, for this type of infraction, he lost all electronics privileges for 1 week, with the 7-day count-down to start over if he had another incident during the “grounded” period. (It’s going on 2 1/2 weeks, because he keeps on having incidents.)

So last Monday, he brought home another Take-A-Break form for swearing. I asked him what word it was, and he admitted it was spelled “S-H-I-T”. I didn’t ask him why he said it, but told him after dinner, we’d have to wash his mouth out with soap, as promised. (I’m a Mom of my word… I may have really regretted making that threat, but once it was made, I felt I needed to follow through!)

So after dinner, my plan was to take him into the bathroom, and I’d take a bar of soap and swish it over his tongue a couple of times to put a bad taste in his mouth. A couple of seconds of parental torture, tops. However, when I tried to do this, he bit down on the soap (to prevent it going in far enough to touch his tongue), and when I told him to open up so I could get his mouth clean, he clamped his teeth down further and stubbornly shook his head. I said “Fine!” and left the soap between his teeth while I got a baby wipe and cleaned around his mouth to remove pizza sauce from dinner. When I finished that, I said I thought his mouth was probably pretty clean, and tried to remove the soap.

Dental Impression

I never meant for it to become stuck on his teeth! Honest!

It was stuck! Whoops! He’d bitten into it so far that his teeth were embedded, so it took a brief struggle to dislodge the soap! On the bright side, we have a nice dental impression from the Young Love to admire, now. He was silent and furious, face red, and I told him it was ok to go ahead and rinse the soap off his teeth and spit. He did so, then crossed his arms and stomp-marched out of the bathroom and down to the other end of the house, into his sister’s room, and shut the door with emphasis! I was running a bath, and after a few minutes, I went and knocked on his sister’s door, and told her it was bath time. When she arrived for her bath, I asked her if her brother had said anything about what happened, and she said, “Yep. He said you washed his mouth out with soap, and it tasted like Sh—– I mean, it tasted like… Bug Poop!”

(She covers for him, bless her heart! She totally could have tattled that he turned right around and used the same dirty word 30 seconds after having his mouth washed out… but she totally lied to protect him instead! LOL.)

But our story isn’t over. Later that night, at bedtime, I warned him that the same thing could happen again if he kept on swearing, and I advised him that if he felt like saying bad words, he was free to do so, but only in his head, or if he was all by himself, he could say them out loud. He was just not to swear in front of people, or at people, or he knew the consequences. He responded that he was going to be swearing inside his head a lot, especially when I made him mad, and I said that was perfectly acceptable to me, and kissed him goodnight.

The following day, a Tuesday, we received another Take-A-Break form. He was swearing again! I expressed my disbelief that he would get caught swearing the very next day, and he said he hadn’t done it in front of any teachers, but he had done it on the playground, and some other kids had told on him to get him in trouble. “What did I tell you about swearing out loud? That’s why if you do it out loud, you need to be all by yourself. Otherwise you get in trouble, right?” He agreed, and tried to get out of the soap procedure, but that wasn’t happening, totally effective parent that I am. (*rolls eyes*) This time, I applied a tiny dab of liquid soap on a toothbrush, and he had to brush his teeth with it. To my surprise, he took it in good stride this time, with none of the storming-off antics. (In fact, he was so nonchalant that I made the mistake of tasting it myself after he left the room, thinking it couldn’t have been all that bad… MISTAKE! Blech!)

Along came Wednesday, and Hubby and I were talking via cell phone on the way home from work, when Hubby had to take another call, from the school. I waited with bated breath, and pretty soon Hubby called back, and he’d heard from the Principal’s office. “You’re never going to believe this.” Apparently, our Young Love and his classmate, Zoe, (a.k.a. the “Witch”) were called to the Principal’s office… after the teacher caught Zoe hitting our boy in the genitals! (I admit that rather than feeling horrified or outraged, I stifled a laugh and immediately asked what he’d done to deserve it!) When the Principal asked the two of them what was going on, our Young Love told her it had been happening several times per week since after Spring Break, and Zoe admitted that this was true, but said she only hit him there after he called her names. He in turn admitted she was right. (Evidently he’s a very slow learner when it comes to insulting the wrong girl!)

That night, we had him compose a letter of apology to Zoe, asking forgiveness for calling her names. He did so, and it was a cute note. “Dear Zoe, I am sorry for calling you names. I don’t want to make you sad. Or mad. I don’t want to be your arch enemy. From, [Young Love]” He gave it to her the next day, and behaved himself up until yesterday, when he had another Take-A-Break for shoving, and Hubby received another call from the Principal’s office. Earlier that day, his classmate Wyatt, (a.k.a. the “Total Butthead”) had evidently dared our child to insert his finger in the pencil sharpener, and when the Young Love took the dare, the kid cranked the handle and (slightly) cut his finger! This time the other kid had to go to the principal’s office, and Young Love was just gently chastised by the teacher for taking a foolish dare. Sigh. And we thought he was so bright…. =)

Later, however, I think Wyatt was resentful about the Principal’s office, because just as school was about to be over and the kids were gathering their backpacks, he blocked Young Love’s access to the backpack area and said something along the lines of “You can’t pass, you fat weirdo!” At which time, our son gave him a hard shove, and had to Take Another Damned Break. To make matters worse, it was Tuesday, the day before he was FINALLY supposed to get his electronics privileges back, and he knew that shoving the kid and going to Take-A-Break would mean his 7-day countdown started all over. He apparently cried, and his other nemesis, Zoe, piled it on by calling him a “cry-baby”…

Rough day, right? I feel bad that he’s having these types of exchanges with name-calling, physical altercations, and so on. Now that we hear about the genital hits and the pencil sharpener, I think he is genuinely being picked on, but obviously at least to some extent, he brings it on himself! I know kids will be kids, but I’m afraid of this escalating.

To that end, we talked to him about better ways to handle such a situation, for instance, if Wyatt is in his face, blocking his path, and calling him names. Rather than shoving, swearing, or name-calling, that is. =) Knowing that he has a fantastic memory, I came up with a list of good “comebacks” he could use that might help him keep up his confidence, and come off as cool and nonchalant, which I hope will eventually help prevent bullying. I think it becomes a vicious cycle at some point, in which the kid who is called names loses confidence, and that self-conscious demeanor only triggers more negative attention directed his way.

We actually had a pretty good time last night, taking turns calling each other rude names, practicing our nonchalant demeanor and our comebacks, then turning and walking away! Here are a few:

 

Young Love: Daddy, you’re a Weird Nerd!

Hubby: You say that like it’s a bad thing….

 

Mommy: You’re Fat and Ugly!

Young Love: Where is your “Off” Button?

 

Little Sister: You’re a Big Poo Poo Head!

Hubby: Talk to the hand!

 

Young Love: You’re a Stupid Baby!

Mommy: You Again?

 

Hubby: You’re a Disgusting Booger-Eater!

Young Love: It takes one to know one!

 

Mommy: You’re a Spoiled Brat!

Little Sister: They say everyone has a talent!

 

And so on… it was actually pretty funny, and cathartic. This morning our Young Love was back at it with his list, begging to be insulted during breakfast! We’ll see how it goes….

 

 

 

 

Girlfriend Update… Cautiously Optimistic =)

Girlfriend eye contact

This one brings a tear to my eye, but it’s a happy tear. You don’t know how much you miss eye contact from your dog, until it’s no longer there. Resting pretty comfortably next to my desk this morning. =)

I have been so touched and moved by all your kind comments, the virtual hugs, and words of support over the past few days. Thank you, too, for your prayers and healing vibes… I’m scared to make a definitive statement that Girlfriend is on the mend, because the veterinarian in me knows that she could have another vascular incident at any time, and the one she did have might never fully resolve… but I can say this: today she’s making eye contact with me for the first time since Sunday afternoon, she’s interested in what the other dogs and cats are up to, she’s eating and drinking, and she’s on the move.

 

Girlfriend on the move

Keeping the wall to her left helps her make forward progress. Priscilla looks on.

Granted, she still compulsively circles left, so if she tries to go counter-clockwise in a room or space, it’s nothing but circles. However, she’s learning that if she goes clockwise, with the wall to her immediate left, she is able to make forward progress, plus lean against the wall as needed for balance when she needs a break. She’s made several circuits of the kennel area in this fashion, and now she is resting in a bed in my office, content. I feel like I can breathe for the first time since I found her Monday morning. =)

Girlfriend. This Is A Sad Post.

hugs

From catonthelap.blogspot.com

Yes, please. I’d love a big hug. It’s been a rough few days, and I really lost it this morning, couldn’t prevent crying in front of the kids. Which scared the kids. I’m a little better now, but still on the edge of tears. No, nevermind. I’m still there with the tears.

I have a little dog named Girlfriend, and she’s just one of those souls. A deeply sweet little animal, and I’m very close to possibly having to say goodbye. I guess I’ll talk about her now.

8 years ago, I was working at a fairly large and busy practice where we rotated 24 hours emergency call between four veterinarians. One night, my colleague Dr. Troy was called in on an emergency by a very good client of ours who had found a stray dog, presumably hit by a car and laying on the side of the highway. They couldn’t have another dog, but couldn’t leave her there. They wrapped her up in a blanket, called Troy, and asked if he would come in to humanely euthanize a little stray dog that was suffering a pretty terrible injury, and they would pay for it.

When Troy assessed Girlfriend, he was able to tell that she did have a serious injury to the right hind limb that would require extensive surgery, perhaps even amputation. From the ankle down, there was a degloving injury (meaning, the skin was completely avulsed in a downward pattern as if peeling off a glove- it was just gone), and her paw was mangled, leaving only two viable toes. However, she was alert and wagging her tail, gazing up at him with soulful, liquid brown eyes, and giving him loving kisses whenever he pet her. He told me the next day that she was such a sweetheart that he just couldn’t bring himself to put her to sleep, and so he cleaned her up, put the limb in a bandage, gave pain meds and antibiotics, and put her in a cage.

Thomas

Here’s Thomas. Can you spot him?

At the time, I had another little dog with a massive wound, who was staying at the hospital. That was Thomas. I think a coyote had attacked him, and I came home one day to find his tail was completely detached at the base, and the surrounding tissue so badly traumatized that over the next few days, much of the tissue had to be debrided away and the tail, which had lost all enervation and blood supply, amputated with it. There was so much tissue removed that there was no hope of closing the wound, so Thomas had about a 6″ area on his rump where his tail used to be that I was managing as an open wound. This had to have daily hydrotherapy, debridement and bandaging, and since Thomas wasn’t one for car rides if he could avoid it, I just kept him at the hospital.

So I had Thomas on the treatment table, working on his wound, when Troy had a free minute the next day, and brought the little stray over for a second opinion. (I love wounds. They’re my favorite type of challenge in all of veterinary medicine, and I was considered the go-to for opinions on wounds at the hospital.) As he took the bandage off on one end of the table, she spotted Thomas and headed straight for him. They sniffed noses, and she began to lick all over his face, which he seemed to enjoy. I’m sure his tail would have been wagging, if he still had a tail! I made a comment that it looked like Thomas found a girlfriend, and from that point on, we all called her “Girlfriend”.

Troy and I agreed that the limb might be saved on Girlfriend, but certainly an amputation would be a lot faster and easier in terms of recovery time. The main challenge was the degloving injury. Neither of us had ever attempted a skin graft before, because it’s a costly and time-consuming process and the outcome is generally iffy- whether the graft will “take” or die off. However, there wasn’t really a client whose money was on the line in this case, and ultimately we decided that we ought to take this opportunity to try a skin graft after we got the infection under control and she developed a healthy bed of granulation tissue. So I took her to surgery and debrided the dead tissue, amputated the two toes that were unsalveagable, and we began doing a similar routine with Girlfriend as we did on Thomas- daily hydrotherapy and bandaging, and it was often easier to have them both in the bathtub and on the treatment table at the same time. They were happily distracted from the discomfort of the procedures, exchanging kisses, and pretty soon they were even sharing the same cage and taking walks together on a double leash.

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Little Girlfriend. This dog. She’s the sweetest, most loving and loyal friend a person could have.

The skin graft procedure, which we were ready to do about a week later, did take, and after about 6 weeks in the hospital, by which time everyone had fallen in love with her, she and Thomas came home. She’s been a wonderful pet ever since, though it was very tough on her when we had to say goodbye to Thomas a couple of years ago. Many times, though, I wished we had not attempted to save that limb, and had just amputated it right off the bat. Not that we didn’t gain valuable learning experience from the skin graft, but that grafted skin was so delicate, and had a tendency to dry out and crack and bother her. Several times over the years she would develop an open wound and have to wear a bandage and e-collar, and most of the time she went three-legged, carrying the right hind leg as if it bothered her to bear a lot of weight on it.

Then a couple of weeks ago, something happened to Girlfriend when she was outside. When we found her, she was trying to walk in a weird way, and the right hind limb, which she always just carried when it was bothering her, was toed-in and continually buckling, causing her to fall over. I determined that her knee cap was dislocated, but every time I would replace it, it would quickly pop back out of its groove, and caused her extreme discomfort. Why she wouldn’t just carry the limb like before is a mystery, as I could never find a problem with her good hind leg, but for whatever reason, she could now barely walk, and she went into a decline that pain medications weren’t helping. She wasn’t eating well, stayed in her bed all day and all night, had to be carried outside, and when she did walk, it was always trying to bear weight on that buckling right hind limb.

I knew she was going to need an orthopedic surgery to repair and stabilize the patellar luxation, but I was hesitant to put her through a major surgery on what had always been a “bum leg” for her anyway. Hubby and I talked about whether we ought to go ahead and do the patellar surgery, or just amputate the leg as I’ve many times wished we’d done in the first place, especially as she was used to the “three-legged life” from years and years of carrying the right hind limb. After a couple of weeks of her quality of life really sucking, I opted to have the problem leg amputated, but since I don’t do orthopedics, I sent her to my former boss, who is a fast surgeon and has 50 years of experience in orthopedics. That was last Friday.

I think it was a mistake. She had a seizure post-operatively and has had several more since then. Despite an initial rough couple of days, I thought we were managing her seizures and her pain fairly well with an anticonvulsant and a potent combination of pain meds, and by Sunday, she was up following me around and doing well on three limbs as I’d hoped she would. But then sometime on Sunday night, I think Girlfriend had a massive stroke. Yesterday, she wouldn’t eat, she couldn’t stand, one side of her face was drooping, she was completely disoriented, didn’t seem to know me, and was compulsively trying to turn in circles. Her balance is off from the central nervous system, and I don’t think she could stand up even if she had all 4 limbs. Although I suspected it was a stroke, I was also worried that possibly she might be having a big bad drug interaction, so I took her off one of the pain meds and the anticonvulsant, knowing that I might be making a mistake and come in to find her in a severe seizure situation, in which case I told Hubby that I might have to put her to sleep.

It all hit me this morning that I might have to say goodbye to my Girlfriend, and I just couldn’t stop crying. I tried to get it together before the kids came into the bathroom for me to fix their hair, but they knew something was off, and when Little Sister asked, “why are you sad, Momma?” I lost it again.

This morning, Girlfriend did seem to know me, and thankfully, she did want to eat, but is having trouble coordinating her mouth movements and has to be hand-fed. She still can’t stand up and tries to turn circles to the point that she gets herself stuck in awkward positions in the cage. However, no seizures, and a good appetite, so I plan to give her some time, in hopes that whatever damage she sustained from the suspected stroke will improve, and she’ll make a recovery. But she’s not out of the woods, and I’m really worried, and feeling horrible because if these are her last days, then I’ve done her a huge disservice by choosing to put her through a painful, major surgical procedure, needlessly. I’m sick about it. And so, so sad.

 

 

Richard Armitage Impresses Even The Most Horrible People

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Richard Armitage at Syrian Refugee Center, Berlin, 2016. I wonder if the little girl in the lower left was the laughing “Cinderella” whose sweeping duties were completed by Richard…

 

That’s right. I’m sure everyone probably saw Richard’s lovely, heartfelt account of his visit to the Syrian Refugee center over the weekend, and if you haven’t made time to read it, you should. Apparently, while I was busy being The Most Horrible person I could be, RA was carrying well-meaning balloons to traumatized children, feeling terrible that he’d never considered that the sound of a balloon popping might be a trigger to them, and making up for it by allowing them to crawl all over his climbable frame, impressing them with his artistically rendered punk-rock hairdos, overcoming his aversion to walls by building them with Legos, and taking up a broom after sharing giggles with a little Cinderella over it.

Sigh. I LOVED this tweet, and it reinforced my admiration of Richard Armitage as a deeply empathetic and generous man, with a heart for people rarely seen in the entertainment industry. It also, however, made me feel lower than whale dung, as I’d screen-capped it early in the day but hadn’t read it until after midnight, after we’d all retired. That’s right- I was too busy being the most horrible person I could be, and celebrating my win, to read the tweet when it first came across my radar.

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You see, this weekend was our second (kinda) annual ladies retreat at work, where our fun-loving but horrible gang of ladies leaves behind our pets, our men, and our children and makes for the “mountains” (which are really hills here in Oklahoma) for some time off to recharge. You might think, from the gallery above, that this was an innocent pastime, set in an idyllic lake cottage… but you’d be wrong.

Our retreat WAS set in an idyllic lake cottage, but… well, there’s the alcohol. And the wiener roast. And the hot tub. And Magic Mike XXL with whoops and catcalls.

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Oh, and technically, I suppose we didn’t leave all the children behind. There’s the knocked-up receptionist who swears she “slipped and fell” on, er, something… and ended up pregnant. She didn’t do any of the drinking, but the baby on board didn’t stop her from trading quips about the menfolk, participating in the traditional campfire wiener roast, and it certainly didn’t stop her from competing for the title of “Most Horrible Person”… though that title went to me, and handily.

That’s right. I won Cards Against Humanity, which is the WORST, most politically incorrect, lewd, crude and shocking game for horrible people. Like us.

I won it by a landslide. So ashamed, Richard. Especially after your compassionate, beautiful tweet.

Has anyone else played it? Because while our lovable humanitarian was  laying bare his soul, we were chortling away, answering questions like “When your boyfriend asks you to go down on him, it might be fun to surprise him with _________ instead.” With six players, each person has a turn to read a black card, and the other five play a white card out of a hand of 10. The person reading the black card is then the judge, and the best answer wins the point. In this particular example, I was the judge. Here were my choices:

a. Uranus

b. Multiple stab wounds.

c. Vigorous “jazz hands”

d. Fiery poops

e. Lance Armstrong’s missing testicle.

I mean, how do you even choose? Great, horrible answers, every one!

And damned if I can remember whether I chose “multiple stab wounds” or “Lance Armstrong’s missing testicle”.

Yep. While Richard was pondering the importance of Empathy, I answered “The best way to quell 1.________ is with plenty of 2._________” by playing  “1. the unstoppable tide of Islam” and “2. Queefing”.  I’m ashamed to say, I won that round.

So there were 90 questions, and we played them all. Final score? Well, I had 26 and the remaining 64 were divided between the other players, but I was up by 12. I was definitely in a celebratory mood right up until I read Richard’s inspirational account of HIS day, then I began to feel like the horrible person that I clearly am.

My penance? I made a donation to Richard’s cause of a dollar for every horrible question that was answered in a horrible way. It’s not much, but it made me feel a TINY bit better about myself. Thank you, Richard, for being an inspiration to all of us. I can’t say that I wouldn’t turn right around and play Cards Against Humanity again at the earliest opportunity… but I WILL promise to make a donation on behalf of horrible people, every time.

 

 

 

 

It’s A Wonderful Monday… WHOOT!

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What could possibly be more festive than Thorin Oakenshield in my office, waving the Broncos flag?

Oh, you didn’t know that Thorin Oakenshield cares about football? Well, obviously, he does! My team won Superbowl 50!!! Still riding such a high!

Thorin and I are definitely celebrating. Yeah, so I may have alluded once or twice to the fact that I am a loyal Denver Broncos fan… both my parents were born and raised in Colorado, and one of my earliest memories of spending time with my Dad involves us sitting on the couch together, watching the Broncos during the Elway era, and me finally asking Dad, after years of vague confusion, what they always meant by first down, second down, third down, and so on. Dad looked baffled that his little football buddy, despite enthusiastic yelling and cheering, had evidently been watching football with him all her life, yet never really grasped the basic rules of the game!

Well, that was a long time ago, and now I’m at least decently familiar with the various rules and strategies involved, and I never miss a Broncos game if I can help it. When they recruited Peyton Manning four years ago, I was overjoyed. I’d always respected Manning as an amazing athlete and strategist, and feared him whenever the Broncos had to face the Colts. I was astonished when the Colts let him go, but never imagined that he’d sign with Denver and suddenly be MY quarterback. It’s pretty likely that he’ll retire now, and take his place in the NFL Hall of Fame, and as much as I’ll miss seeing him every Sunday during football season, I think it’s the right course of action… go out riding a crest of glory! (Or don’t… I’ll be cheering either way!)

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Here’s a nice meme following the Broncos’ first Superbowl outing with Peyton Manning. I actually thought we had a great shot that year, but my Broncos unfortunately went AWOL.

It’s always been a bit of a rollercoaster, being a Denver fan. Denver has been to the Super Bowl 8 times, and they generally love to get there, then go down in flames. Losing scores with margins as high as 55-10 is the general rule, and even with Peyton Manning at the helm, our last Super Bowl outing ended with a score of 43-8. This season, we had an absolutely amazing defense, but our offense struggled all season, only managing to eek out wins because the defense simultaneously held off the other team and made a lot of scores of their own. As we entered the AFC championship game against the Patriots, I told Dad that really, our only hope of winning was that it was probably about time for us to make another devastating Super Bowl appearance…. LOL!

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I admit it… we wore our Broncos jerseys and identical expressions of fear yesterday as the game began…

And of course, it didn’t look like ANYBODY was going to be able to stop the Panthers this season, so as our family gathered yesterday afternoon with our chile con queso and plenty of alcohol on hand to drown our sorrows, we all agreed that if the predictions were true (almost everyone who was anyone heavily favored the Panthers and the official prediction was a Panthers win by a margin of 10), we’d actually count that as a victory! Any scenario where the Broncos at least showed up and stayed within 10 points would be a suitable outcome for us! LOL

OK, so I’ll stop boring everyone with my football rejoicing now. I’ll just say that I was as astonished as everyone else when we led the game the entire time, and won with a final score of 24-10! It’s a wonderful day!

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Clearly a fan!

 

 

 

 

A Voynich Rag Quilt For Linnet Moss

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Naked ladies in womb-like chambers and vessels! Very strange plants with spectacular blooms and unique root systems! Astrological diagrams and indecipherable script! What’s not to love about The Voynich Manuscript!?

I warned you, didn’t I, that I’ve been on a mad quilting spree lately? So here’s another OT post… though I think I’ll try to write up my impressions on RA’s narration of The Chimes later this week. Now… back to quilting! (Story of my life lately!!)

Probably about 8 years ago, I became interested in a relatively obscure and ancient text known as The Voynich Manuscript. I stumbled across it online while on one of those meandering rabbit hole experiences fighting pregnancy-induced insomnia browsing historical mysteries. The long and short of it is this: carbon dating indicates that the vellum parchment upon which the manuscript is written and illustrated is at least 600 years old, and historians, scholars, cryptographers and even an emperor down through the centuries have never yet deciphered the language or made any sense of its bizarre, but entertaining, illustrations. Countless individuals have devoted years upon years to understanding this manuscript, and continue to do so to this day! Some have concluded it is an elaborate hoax, while others believe it is written in some kind of code, and still others believe it is simply written in an ancient language lost to time. A decent summary of the manuscript’s history can be found here, and a library of HD images can be found here.

I think I really started following Linnet Moss, (who I consider to be sort of an honorary Armitage “appreciator” in that she doesn’t blog about him or obsess over him, but does seem to comment here and there on blogs of those of us who DO blog about and obsess over him)… when something caught my eye on her blog… it was a serialized romantic short fiction titled The Voynich Affair. Anything with the word “Voynich” was bound to catch my eye, and I was hooked after the first installment! I began leaving comments on her site, and pretty soon she came over and began leaving comments on this site, and she’s been a top commenter here ever since.

A couple of months ago, an idea popped into my head that I couldn’t ignore. I was admiring the wonderful illustrations of The Voynich Manuscript, puzzling about what in the world they could represent, and because I have been quilting like a maniac, I suddenly had the thought that these illustrations would make for a wonderfully interesting fabric. A Voynich quilt! I ran a few searches, not expecting to find any Voynich-themed fabric, since it’s a pretty obscure subject, and sure enough, I couldn’t find anything but a few t-shirts. I was familiar with a fabric site where you can design (and even sell) your own fabric called Spoonflower.com. I went over there just to be sure someone hadn’t already thought of this idea, but if they had, they hadn’t listed the fabric for others to browse and buy.

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The actual cover of The Voynich Manuscript, (color boosted for eye appeal!) I love the hide-pattern visible!

I downloaded HD images from the library, and as far as I could tell they weren’t copyrighted, so there should be no objection from Spoonflower about using them for a fabric design. I also downloaded a picture of the cover of the manuscript, boosted the color a bit, and used it as a background for actual pages of the manuscript that I wanted to include in the quilt. Hubby as usual helped me get all the pixels adjusted for good definition on a standard 42″ width cotton quilting fabric, and we worked out that we could fit about 6 pages per yard. I chose 36 pages, a selection of some of the most charming illustrations, including the far-fetched botanicals, some almost astrological charts, and some of the adorable naked ladies frolicking together in their strange pools and chambers!

Never having ordered from Spoonflower before, I didn’t know how legible the fabric would be, but it turns out that as long as you follow the pixel guidelines, the quality is spectacular! It’s perfectly legible! Or it would be, if anyone understood the language… LOL!

 

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Here’s one yard of “my” fabric… you can see the background is composed of the cover material, and each panel contains 6 big-ass Voynich pages! I intentionally made the pages large enough to read, just in case Linnet deciphers any of it! =)

The fabric is super-cool, at least for an amateur Voynich nerd like myself! Mom thought I should use it to piece a traditional quilt, but I had a different idea from the moment I conceived of the Voynich Quilt… I wanted to make a rag quilt out of it, which is a fun and super simple endeavor that I thought would make a charming quilt and add interest with all the ruffled/ragged borders between the blocks.

What is a rag quilt? I don’t know much about the history of the rag quilt, but I really love the simplicity of the quilt, and I’ve done one once before using minky/cuddle fabric as a baby shower gift. Rag quilts go together in a matter of hours, and I love the contrast between the front and the back of the quilt. The quilt is put together using a huge (~1″) seam allowance right on the front of the quilt, and all of those seams are later fringed and the quilt is washed to intentionally cause the fabric to fray and ruffle along the seams. The back of the quilt is smooth.

Mea culpa…I did have one mishap during the fringing process. I blame the Denver Broncos. Evidently at one point I snipped right through a seam and all the way through the quilt. Of course, I only discovered the “wound” I’d inflicted when I was at the office, ready to package it and send it off. This almost caused me to decide to keep this quilt and have another go at it with my extra fabric for Linnet, but then I realized I was just as likely to have a fringing misfortune on the next one. All my quilts have their little glitches, I fear. No worries… I sutured it there in my office using my veterinary equipment to prevent the wound from enlarging further, then took it back home and used the sewing machine for a more substantial repair, in case 5-0 silk sutures wouldn’t stand the test of time. And, well, maybe Linnet will get a smile when she sees the scar, knowing that both the craftswoman AND the veterinarian did a bit of work on this one.

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Voynich Rag Quilt, 2016

You can believe I ordered enough fabric to make two of these quilts, because I really think I need a Voynich rag quilt of my own! And one of these afternoons, I’ll be tackling that project! I’ve been eager to do another rag quilt… an adult version, for a couple of years… and I must admit that I love the way it turned out!

In the meantime, I certainly had fun putting this quirky thing together, Linnet, and hope you  will enjoy it as much I do! (((Hugs!)))