The End Of A Good Weekend

Song: “Little Arrows” by Leapy Lee

Mood: 7.5

The weekend is almost over but it was good. I had trouble sleeping on Friday night (and a particularly nasty nightmare) but last night I slept very well and don’t remember having any bad dreams at all.

It was too hot for me to be comfortable outside – around 32C today – so I spent most of my time inside. I think I only went out to water the plants, and it was far too hot to put on jeans and my welding jacket to try out those new welding rods.

Today, J and I spent a lot of time listening to records. It was nice to have her there listening to them too.

Tomorrow morning I may be getting together with WG to go to the record store. I hope it works out – the record shopping is fun and I really enjoy hanging out and chatting with him.

Well, this is going to be a short post – my medication has kicked in and I’m having trouble putting a couple of words together in the right order. I hope you all had a good weekend and that this week goes well!

Stay safe!

Hobby Focus: Record Collecting

Hobby: Record Collecting

Cost: Low to very expensive

Time required: Completely up to you but you may find that time flies by if you’re enjoying it

WG got me started on records. I’d been accompanying him to the record store for quite some time but I would check out the CDs while he was looking at records. They play music in the record store, and one day there was an album playing that really caught my attention. It was Bad Habits by the Monks.

I tried to get it on CD but had no luck through the regular channels. The record store even tried to order it for me but they weren’t able to get it, either.

One day, WG asked if I wanted a turntable. He had an old Sony turntable in the shop to get fixed and said if I wanted it, all I had to do was pay for the repairs. I agreed on the spot and was excited to get my hands on a couple of records. I didn’t know what kind, I didn’t know how many, but I wanted to listen to stuff that isn’t played on the radio every day.

So, with a newly fixed and adjusted turntable and an amp from WG (thanks again!) I started my record collection.

I like many kinds of music, and found that the dollar bin holds all kinds of neat records and is a great window back into the past – to a time where there were record labels everywhere and they would press ANYTHING to make a dollar or two. You just can’t get a lot of this stuff anymore. Another good thing about the dollar bin is that I don’t need to listen to a $1 record a hundred times to get my money’s worth.

Record collecting can be an adventure. Since vinyl is making a comeback, lots of cities have record shows that you can sometimes find decent deals or something really different. Thrift stores often have a pile of beat-up records that may contain a gem or two. Even people who used to listen to records but don’t anymore may be willing to part with their collections – once my folks found out that I had a turntable and was actually using it, they gave me their collection (thanks!).

Another nice thing about vinyl is that some songs just sound better with the hiss and pops of an analog recording. A good example of this is “King of the Road” by Roger Miller. Lots of the old stuff just sounds… right.

Many currently popular artists (and lots of unpopular ones) are putting out vinyl records when they release a new album. These are typically pretty expensive – I’ve seen them around $30 to $70 for a brand new unopened copy. Like I mentioned earlier, I prefer the dollar bin.

There are also a lot of records out there that are significant in some way. A lot of the really old electronic music (played on a Moog) opened the doors for the synthesizer sounds of the 1970s and 80s. Albums featuring the Hammond organ are often cheesy (especially anything that ends with “a gogo”) but are full of the kind of music that can make you tap your toe and smile.

If you’re going to buy a record, check the following things:

  • Is it mouldy or very dirty? If so, skip it.
  • Is it scratched very badly? If so, skip it.
  • Is it scuffed or scratched lightly? If so, see if you can try it out in the store before buying it. Lots of records that look like they’re in bad shape are actually still listenable.
  • Look at it edge-on. Is it warped? If so, try it first, but if it’s warped to the point where you can see it, it’s probably no good.

Some people collect records for the covers, and I can’t blame them – some of them are really cool. I’ve got two covers framed and hanging on the wall because they’re pretty neat.

I enjoy collecting records a lot and am up to about 250 of them. I’ve got music from many genres – folk, country, pop, rock, metal, punk… WG has been very helpful in expanding my repertoire, and J has been very patient with me as I slowly fill up shelves with records.

One last thing – I find that going to look for records is a good way to get out of the house for a little bit. Dr C and Dr W have both suggested that the more I keep moving and get used to going out more, the faster my recovery will be.

Stay safe!

A Hot Summer Day

Song: “Those Were The Days” by Mary Hopkin

Mood: 8

I slept pretty well last night and feel pretty well today. No nightmares that I can remember, which is really good. Today was very warm – up around 30C – and muggy. I spent most of it indoors, thankful for air conditioning.

I called Dr P today to schedule my first appointment with him, and immediately made a bit of a fool out of myself. As we were talking, I was writing the details on a little whiteboard we have on the fridge. When I went to recite the info back to him, I accidentally read from another appointment listed on the whiteboard. Even after he corrected me, I think I wrote down the wrong time. I left him a voicemail apologizing and asking if he could call me back with the correct time. I’m sure I made a great first impression…

I listened to quite a few James Last records. I’ve got a couple of his Non-Stop Dancing albums and I’m discovering that he either has a couple of favourite songs that he reused or his band is very good at playing the same songs over several albums. I’m not complaining (they’re good songs), it’s just something I noticed. The music is cheesy at best but I find it’s really good to relax to.

I puttered around with one of my Raspberry Pi boards today. I set up an Internet radio player, which went really well, but then I ran into trouble when I tried to find Internet radio stations to play on it. Most of the stations around here have what seem to be music streams that don’t work with the software I’m using. A couple of years ago I did the same thing and had no trouble finding streams from all over the world… I guess stations want to have more control over who listens to their stuff and things like commercials.

J and I finished watching the new version of True Grit this evening. It’s a great movie – everything is done wonderfully and the acting is great, particularly Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges. We haven’t seen the John Wayne version but if we come across it I think we’ll probably watch it, too.

After supper, we headed out to do a little bit of shopping. We stopped by the hardware store so I could pick up a pack of 7018AC rods – and these ones are DEFINITELY 7018AC. Says on the box and on the rods, too. I’m looking forward to giving them a try once it’s a little cooler out.

After the hardware store, we wandered over to Walmart and while J was picking up some stuff I rummaged through the $5 DVD bin and found a couple more westerns (or western-ish) movies for us to watch. One of them is Westworld, which I’ve wanted to see since I was a kid but am a little worried that there’s going to be too much 1970s schlock in it. At least it’s got Yul Brynner in it – he was great in the first two Magnificent Seven movies.

I think there are two things that I haven’t mentioned in a while – my triops experiment (which failed horribly) and the garden (which is going great). There are already tomatoes hanging from the plants and the potato plants are knee-high. The thyme, basil, and dill seem to be mostly doing well, and the onions are coming in nicely, too. And all of this is inside a 4×8′ box. The garden was my idea but I ended up in the hospital so J and my mother-in-law did the planting (thanks you guys!) and things are going great.

It’s supposed to be 31C tomorrow and 32C on Sunday. I do not think I will be doing much outside this weekend.

Stay safe!

Last Appointment With Dr C

Today was my last appointment with Dr C. We went over a lot of the things we’ve worked on over the last year and a half, and she’s putting together a file for my new therapist, Dr P.

I’m a little sad and a little nervous about what the future will bring. Dr C introduced Dr P and I about a month ago and he seems like a pretty good fellow. Hopefully we make a good team like Dr C and I did.

Thanks again, Dr C – I appreciate everything you’ve done for me more than I can express. I wish you the best of luck!

Stay safe!

Halfway Done The Week

Song: “Flowers On The Wall” by the Statler Brothers

Mood: 7

Today went pretty well. I had a decent sleep last night and woke up feeling pretty good. I had breakfast with J and then went back to bed and set an alarm for an hour and a half. It didn’t take long for me to fall back asleep.

This morning I had my Dr H appointment. It had been two months since I’d seen her and it was good to hear that the tests that I’d done had come back with no bad results. She’s happy I’m back on the rosuvastatin and my backaches were a result of a mattress and posture problem, and not from my skeletal muscle breaking down from the medication. My next appointment with her is in five months. Five months! That’s the longest wait for a GP appointment I’ve had since I started seeing one back in 2005 or so. I’m very happy that she feels that I’m physically on good enough ground that she doesn’t need to check in on me every month. I’m calling that a win.

I was supposed to pick up welding rods, a welding respirator, and juice mix on the way home but forgot it all. I really need to start taking notes and keeping them with me.

While I was backing out of the driveway, the truck made a growling sound from the front passenger side. I’m not sure what it was but if it does it again I think I’m going to take it in to get checked. Don’t want a tie rod breaking in the middle of traffic or something like that.

I’ve been debating with myself whether I should take a class sometime soon. My concentration is much better than it used to be and I think taking a class would be a good test. Of course, my memory isn’t all that great, so maybe I should hold off until that gets a little better.

I found a very interesting website written by someone who suffers from Bipolar Disorder. It’s called Purple Persuasion and the author is an excellent writer who I feel does a really good job of discussing her difficulties and successes. I enjoy reading her posts and feel like I can understand some of the things she’s experiencing.

Tomorrow is my last appointment with Dr C for a year. I hope everything goes well for her. I’m going to miss her a lot, I think as a therapist and patient we worked together quite well. I’m not really sure what else to say – what do you say to someone who has saved your life?

Stay safe!

My Forgetfulness

I used to be able to juggle several tasks at once and remember tiny details about things. Since I got sick, however, I have been having a lot of trouble remembering things. I lose my phone all over the house, I have to stare at the calendar to make sure that I make it to my appointments, and I have to set a rigid schedule to take my pills or I will forget. If I’m out at an appointment, I only remember the appointment and none of the things I had also planned to do, like pick something up on the way home. Sometimes I’ll set an alarm on my phone but if I don’t label it, I can forget what the alarm was for.

Thoughts that strike me as important disappear quickly, leaving nothing but a sense of urgency behind. That’s bad enough, but my anxiety and OCD really don’t play well with the thought that I’ve forgotten something. I end up stuck in a panic attack if that feeling of urgency is too strong and I can’t remember what it was or put it out of my head.

I’m not sure why this is happening. The medication I’m taking may be part of it but I was having memory and concentration problems before I met Dr C or Dr W. It shouldn’t be a sleep thing – nightmares aside, I’m sleeping better now than I have in years. It could be related to my depression.

My concentration has improved to the point where I can often read an entire article or make a good dent in a book but my memory doesn’t seem to be getting better at anywhere near the same rate. I worry that I am repeating myself when talking to people or that I’ve been told something important but can’t remember.

I think in a few months I’ll write another post about this stuff, just to see if things have changed. Hopefully I won’t be forgetting much by then!

Stay safe!

Much Better!

Song: “I’m On My Way” by the Proclaimers

Mood: 7.5

I slept pretty well last night. I woke up once from a nightmare but that was about it. Other parts of town got a good thunderstorm but I think it missed us by a bit. I’m still waiting for a good storm to see how well the thunder and lightning go. I think I’ll be okay but it would be nice to know.

It was tough getting out of bed this morning because I felt a little creaky and the bed was extra comfortable for some reason. I got up with J and had breakfast, then went back to bed for a bit.

At 10:30, WG showed up and we headed off to two of the thrift stores in the area to look for some records. The first place was a bust – I found three records that I wanted but they were all in really bad shape. The second place had some good stuff.

By “good stuff”, I mean stuff I enjoy, like a couple of James Last albums that I didn’t have. I haven’t listened to them yet but will over the next few days.

It was good to hang out with WG again. I think it’s been around two months since we last got together and it was fun to catch up and shoot the breeze while we were flipping through the record stacks and looking at second-hand toasters.

I got home around noon and went and sat in the basement for a while to clear my mind and do my exercises. It was very pleasant to just sit still and let my brain wander to wherever it wanted.

After J got home we talked for a while about how both of us had better days today than yesterday and then made supper.

I’ve been reading a lot of XKCD comics lately. I like the simplicity of the drawings and the extensive explanations in his “what if” series. It’s a really good read.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr H in the morning and the rest of my day is clear. I think I’m going to stop by the hardware store on the way home and pick up some 7018AC rods. This time I’ll be very careful to make sure they’re AC and not the regular rods. Depending on the weather, I may do some welding. We’ll see.

Stay safe!

Not A Great Day

Song: “Making It Work” by Doug and the Slugs

Mood: 5.5

I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. I’m not even sure why, I just didn’t fall asleep. I took my medication on time but it didn’t do a thing. I remember flipping over a lot and the last time I remember seeing on the clock was 2:06AM. I should’ve gotten up and done something boring to try and help but I didn’t. I’m not sure why.

I got up with J this morning and was really looking forward to getting together with WG to go to the record store. I was supposed to meet him at his house and he’d drive the rest of the way (the record store is downtown and well beyond my current driving abilities). Unfortunately, just as I was about to go out I realized my wallet wasn’t where it was supposed to be. I’d misplaced it and had no idea where it was.

After about 20 minutes of frantic searching, I called WG and apologized, saying I wouldn’t be able to make it. I felt terrible about it – I haven’t seen him in a long time and was really looking forward to getting together and catching up, and it was my fault that it didn’t work out. WG was okay with it and said we’ll just do it next week but I felt awful. I was also really worried about where my wallet was.

I got back to searching the house and couldn’t find it. After about an hour of searching I had a pretty big panic attack that I wasn’t able to do anything about. Had I dropped my wallet outside somewhere? Did someone have my cards and personal information? What was I going to tell the bank and the credit card company? Was J going to be mad? Was WG actually okay with things?

It took me about 45 minutes before I had my wits about me enough to continue the search. After about another two hours of looking, I found it – underneath and behind one of the couch cushions. I had checked the couches several times, but I hadn’t pulled the cushions all the way out until then. I was relieved and frustrated with myself at the same time.

I sat down for a bit and did some breathing exercises to calm myself down. Then I tried to take a nap but didn’t have any luck.

Just after J got home, the phone rang – it was WG calling to see if I’d found my wallet and to ask if I’d like to go to a couple of thrift stores in the area to check out their record selection tomorrow. That cheered me up quite a bit – I was relieved that he wasn’t mad at me for screwing up the day. I’m looking forward to getting together with him, and I know EXACTLY where my wallet is.

J made supper this evening and it was really good – farmer sausage and gnocchi. I’d never had gnocchi before but it was really good. J is a very good cook – much better than I am.

I’m not entirely sure what we’re going to do this evening but I’m going to try to get to bed a little early to hopefully catch up a bit. Things do not go well for me if I’m missing out on too much sleep.

Stay safe!

A Good Weekend

Song: “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

Mood: 8.5

This weekend went by in a flash, mainly because I think it was a really good one. J and I watched movies Friday and Saturday evening (Big Hero 6, Zootopia, and The Secret Life of Pets) and I got a bunch of things done around the house and took some extra time for my mindfulness and worry exercises.

Today was a very good day that started out a little rough. When we were outside getting ready to head out, J got stung by a wasp. She’s not allergic or anything but it sure hurt. I think there’s a wasp nest under our driveway – when we got home I could see wasps moving into and out of a crack between the house and driveway so we were probably too close to their nest. I’ll deal with them tomorrow.

Anyway, J and I went over to FA and DM’s place and helped take down their back fence. I first thought it was going to be really easy, then I thought it was going to take a very long time, then it turned out to be simple but hard work. It was pretty muggy out so I was sweating like there was no tomorrow but things went very well. My only problem was that there were quite a few sirens during the day, but J got me a PRN and that helped a lot.

It felt good to be outside working, and it was great to chat with FA and DM again. It’s been a very long time since J and I have been over to their house – years, in fact. Thankfully, J drove (there was no way I’d be able to drive there) and I was able to relax.

After we were done, FA and I went to the dump to get rid of the junk lumber but unfortunately it was already closed. When we got back to the house, J and DM were out getting supper, so FA and I went to try some fancy cheeses and I broke their cheese knife on a piece of Parmesan. Yes, the one that she bought just last week. I knew I shouldn’t have told her to get the one with the red handle…

J and DM arrived at about that time and we had supper (some really good pizza and ice cream dessert) and had a great time chatting and catching up a bit. I had been a little nervous about things (namely how was the house, did I actually help or get in the way, and would I say something stupid while we were talking) but things went so well that I shouldn’t have worried at all. FA and DM are good friends and good people and everything just went great. I think J had a really good time too.

So that’s another check on my list of stuff I wanted to do but was afraid to.

I also heard from WG today and tomorrow he and I are going to head to the record store! I’m looking forward to that – it’s been a while since I last saw him. It’ll be nice to catch up.

But now I’m going to head toward bed and (with luck) have a good sleep.

Stay safe!

And On To The Weekend…

Song: “Love Shack” by the B-52s

Mood: 7

I didn’t get the greatest sleep last night – I was having trouble getting comfortable and I remember waking up from a nightmare at least once. Today was still a pretty good day, though.

I listened to some records, did some more writing, went to the bank with J, and spent a good amount of time doing mindfulness exercises. In hindsight, I should’ve probably done a load of laundry but it can wait until tomorrow.

The sky went dark and a thundershower rumbled through here this morning. I’ve been hoping for a good thunderstorm (not a damaging one, but a loud one) since my experience at DA’s cabin. Something that’ll help me see if they still bother me or if I’m back to being able to enjoy them. The thunder today was pretty sparse and it was light out so it wasn’t a good test.

J went out to do some shopping this evening. While she was out, I gave my folks a call and had a good conversation with them. They’ve seen my little corner of the Internet now and they don’t appear to be too freaked out so that’s good. I’ve said it before – I’m very lucky to have so much support from so many people. It’s made things much easier and really helped me along and I’m very, very grateful.

The plan for Sunday is still on – J and I are going to head over to FA’s place and help tear down the fence. I think I’ll bring my lucky crowbar along. You never know when you’ll need a crowbar.

I’m not sure what J and I are up to tomorrow. I think I may head over to the hardware store and pick up some 7018AC rods and a welding respirator. Unless it’s really windy out, the garage fills up with smoke pretty quickly and I don’t want to be breathing that stuff. I may head out for another motorcycle ride, too. We’ll see.

Stay safe!