First Dr P Appointment In A While

Song: “Swing The Mood” by Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

I got to bed last night just before midnight, which is too late for a weeknight and not good for me. Fortunately, I slept quite well last night. I don’t remember having any nightmares or bad dreams, and I think I only woke up worrying two, maybe three times. The biggest difference last night was that I didn’t wake up early. Usually I am already awake when J’s alarm goes off, and some days I’m awake at 5-5:30. For whatever reason (either I was more zonked out than normal or J was super stealthy), I slept right through everything and woke up at around 8:20 or so. That’s the best sleep I’ve had in a LONG time. I’ve been dragging quite a bit lately and maybe my body just decided it wasn’t going to get tricked into getting up by my brain this morning.

After I did my preparations, my exercises went pretty well today, too. The extra sound of the waves and the thunderstorm are doing a great job of blotting out car, people, and house sounds, so I don’t get distracted as much. Another thing I’ve noticed about having the waves and thunderstorm playing is that it’s another thing I can focus on when I’m doing my mindfulness. I tend to listen to music in a kind of weird way – I usually pick it apart and listen to the instruments one at a time. Only later will I listen to everything playing together. In particular, I like following the bass and rhythm lines, but how all of the sounds interleave and stack and work together to make harmonies is pretty amazing. I think I picked that up from listening to a lot of march music by Sousa – his melody/countermelody style is instantly recognized and really gives a lot to think about as the melody is passed around from one section in the band to another. If you’ve never listened to march music, I highly recommend giving it a try. “King Cotton” by Sousa, “H.M. Jollies” by Kenneth Alford, “Voice of the Guns” by Alford, “Colonel Bogey” by Alford, “Military Escort” by Harold Bennett, and “Heart of Oak” by Dr William Boyce, are all good songs to try out.

Whoo… went a little long on that topic. Sorry. Music has always been a big part of my life and as I get older I just keep being introduced to (or discovering) more amazing stuff.

I texted everybody again today. When I do that, I hope for two main things: one, that they get a little smile, and two, that they know they don’t need to reply. I’m not trying to keep everybody busy all day. I just want to say hi and send a dumb animal picture or two. Since I’ve started making texting part of my day, I have been keeping in touch with relatives that I haven’t spoken to in years. I think it’s good.

My appointment with Dr P this afternoon was not easy. He and I both think that things seem to be a little better, though. It was our first appointment in about a month. We talked a lot about what I’d been doing in the meantime, and I told him about getting to the strip mall parking lot and walking around there, with my next step being going into the grocery store. He was happy about that, and was pleased that I had found something that helps make it easier to do my mindfulness and worry exercises. I don’t think he was quite as pleased with me having trouble with the toaster or my worries about the hot water tank, but overall I think things went better today than they did the last time I saw him. He gave me some more homework to do. I spend a lot of time each day going back through the text histories of all the messages I’ve sent and received, making sure that I sent everything to the right person and didn’t offend or otherwise upset anyone. This used to take 15-20 minutes but now that I’m texting so many other people, it can take over an hour. If I can somehow trust that I haven’t sworn like a sailor’s grandma and that it’s not a big deal if I accidentally send a message to the wrong person AND that if I do send a message to the wrong person or choose the wrong words, chances are the recipient will ask what I mean instead of never talking to me again. That’s all I have to do. Yeah…

I sent J’s aunt a text today, saying that the fact that her dog’s vet is busty probably means she is very good at her job. I felt kind of dumb and sent a correction but I think she was more amused by it than anything, so that’s good.

Oh, I almost forgot – we planted two little spruce trees last year. One in the front and one in the back. The front one is a cute, full tree, and the one in the back looks a little scrawny. But… I took this picture as soon as J and I got home from our appointments this afternoon:

Spruce Tree BudsThat’s the front tree. Look at all the buds! The one in the back yard is growing buds like crazy, too! I was worried they weren’t going to make it through their first winter but they look like they’re having a great time.

Tomorrow’s Friday, and I have no appointments or anything scheduled. I believe I will get some microscope work in, do my walk (if it’s not raining again), and maybe play around with OpenShot again. Who knows, though – my days don’t ever seem to go how I’d planned them.

Stay safe.

A Very Slow Day Today

Song: “My Old Yellow Car” by Dan Seals (good luck Larry & Sandy)

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

I got to sleep late last night, woke up a bunch of times (no nightmares, thankfully), and then woke up too early this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. I tried convincing myself to stop just laying there and staring at the wall and do ANYTHING else but I couldn’t. I tried turning music on my phone but that didn’t help, either. I tried motivationally coaching myself but couldn’t be bothered. Finally, I just gave up and stared at the wall.

Eventually, bladder discomfort won out over apathy and I slowly hauled myself into a sitting position on the edge of the bed, mumbled some useless words, and then stood up.

That was how my day started, and things didn’t change all that much as time went on. It was raining most of the day again, so I didn’t get out for my walk. I was really hoping that this week I would be walking into a store but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

My exercises didn’t go very well, even with the routine I’ve been having success with lately. I couldn’t focus and ended up wandering around the house, heading toward whatever target was bothering me the most at the moment.

I texted with a lot of people again. It feels good to keep in touch with people but sometimes when everybody replies at the same time and my phone whistles for 15 seconds straight it freaks me out a bit. Who do I answer first? Does somebody need something and asked but I missed it? Am I annoying people with all of my texts? Did I send a text to the wrong person? Did I miss sending a text to someone?

With great texting power comes great texting responsibility, I guess.

I spoke to my mom and sister this afternoon. It was a short chat (they were on their way out to go shopping) but it was good to talk to them. Mom has settled in very well and is getting along with the cats. She chases them around a bit but they seem to like the attention.

It is my brother-in-law’s birthday today, and he and I talked this evening. He’s a good guy and when we get a chance to hang out we have a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I don’t see (or even talk to) him very often at all. It was great talking to him, though, and we both committed to making the effort to talk more often. Fingers crossed.

Other than that, I had all kinds of plans for what I was going to do today but I couldn’t get any momentum going. No microscope, no Fortnite (well, two rounds actually but I didn’t do any reading and got immediately mangled again), no chesterfield repair attempts, no walk, no bass… just a lot of music and YouTube videos. For me, music is good all the time, but YouTube is something I shouldn’t be spending more than, say, an hour on a day. I wasted far too much time today, and I’m vacillating between not caring and feeling guilty about it.

I think not getting nearly enough sleep last night had a big impact on my day. Even on “good” nights, I’m still not getting as much sleep as I should. Hopefully I’ll sleep better tonight.

Stay safe.

Some Rumbling Today

Song: “Get Over You” by The Undertones

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

J had the day off today so we stayed up a little later than usual last night and watched some more Boston Legal. I think the show peaked between the end of the first and middle of the second seasons. The third season isn’t too bad, but I seem to recall the fourth being kind of painful and obviously suffering from budget cuts. I’m a big Star Trek fan (and I enjoyed T.J. Hooker) but I think William Shatner did a great job in BL.

Unfortunately, after going to bed a little later, I woke up at almost the regular time and had my usual sleep interruptions during the night so I’ve been tired today.

I did my little preparations before I started my exercises again today and they still seem to be helping. Things aren’t perfect but it’s good that I’m not getting frustrated and giving up after half an hour anymore. While I was doing my exercises, J went out to do some paperwork stuff, and she got home just as I was climbing the stairs after finishing.

We hung out and got in some relaxing – perfect for a day off. Later in the afternoon, J went out again to pick up some groceries and birthday cards (nephews’ birthdays are coming up), and while she was gone I potted a chili pepper plant that she picked up yesterday.

I did a lot of texting today. I know it’s not as good as going out to see people or talking to them on the phone, but I’m actually communicating with quite a few more people than I have for the last couple of years, so I suppose there’s something to be said about that.

After J got home in the afternoon, we sat around and talked. After a while, we could hear some booming off in the distance. I checked the weather map and it appeared to be a storm coming, so we grabbed our little bottles of bubble soap and went outside to sit on the deck steps and blow bubbles while the thunder rumbled around us. It’s kind of a weird habit, but J picked up two bottles of bubble stuff from the dollar store about ten years ago and whenever we hear a storm coming, we go outside and blow bubbles until the rain starts or the wind gets crazy. It’s nice to sit outside with J – I should probably do that more often.

Three storms burped and rumbled their way through the area and brought some heavy rain with them. I mentioned the other day that I enjoy the low booming of a distant storm, and that’s still true. When I was younger, however, I also really used to enjoy big nasty storms. I used to freak my Catholic mom out during storms by standing at the patio door, shaking my fist up at the sky and yelling, “IS THAT ALL YOU GOT???”

Unfortunately, now that I’m grown up and need to worry about my own shingles, siding, windows, plants, garage, and vehicles, huge nasty storms aren’t as fun as they used to be. Making it even worse is that I can’t keep myself from freaking out about anything else I can think of. Sewer backup, water ingress from a crack in the foundation, the power spiking and damaging equipment, lightning starting a fire, wind blowing over one of the huge trees that bracket the house, lots of heavy rain contributing to a sinkhole, erosion of the soil under the concrete pad the garage sits on, the wood at the bottom of the shed and the deck being too wet for too long and rotting even though it’s treated lumber… all kinds of things. The last time I sat through a REALLY good storm was when I was last at DA’s cabin out in the woods. It was incredible but instead of appreciating it, I was terrified.

I used to play a lot of Call of Duty and I was decent at it (I have good reflexes) but that was quite a while ago. Years, even. I even played some multiplayer and won quite often on some of the maps that worked well with my twitchiness. But it’s been a while. I’ve heard a lot about a game called Fortnite recently and decided to give it a try this evening. It took a while to install (pretty big download) and after it was ready I figured I would just give it a quick try. Every game nowadays does the WASD and mouse thing so I thought I’d be able to run around for a couple of minutes and maybe kill one or two people. I started the game, joined a server, and was promptly killed by someone with a machine gun while I fled with my… axe. No respawning, either. I think I need to do some reading before I try it again.

Another storm is rolling through as I write this. Lots more thunder and rain…

This evening, J and I watched Black Panther. Both of us had heard a lot of good things about the movie, and it was quite good. I think it might have been a little slow to start but they needed to build a whole country and backstory and introduce the characters. After they got that established, however, the pace and stakes picked up and there were some laughs to be had. The car crash scene with Okoye and Nakia was particularly chuckle-worthy. Oh, and Bucky? BUCKY?

So we’re all up to date on our Marvel movies and ready to watch Infinity War. I must admit, I’m really looking forward to that one. Can’t wait until it comes out on disc!

J has been working like mad on the new paperwork that needs to be submitted for my insurance. She has put in a crazy amount of work on it and has basically brought it to me a couple of times, saying, “sign here… sign here… sign here…”. She sent the papers off this morning. I still can’t handle dealing with the insurance stuff, so I really, REALLY appreciate all of the work J does. She keeps me going and helps me fight off the demons. She’s amazing!

I’m not sure what the weather is supposed to be like tomorrow but if it’s not too bad I may go see if anything catches my eye as being interesting to look at under the microscope. There’s just something incredible about looking at something that’s invisible to the naked eye and realizing that it’s not just sitting there – it’s doing work. It has a job. It’s trying to feed, grow, reproduce, and not get eaten. And it happens 24/7 in almost every environment this planet has to offer. I’m not great at it, but I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of biology (and microbiology in particular).

Stay safe.

More Microscope Fun

Song: “Mit Lille Sorte Æg” by Gorilla Angreb

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

I was tired from not sleeping all that well again, but otherwise today went pretty well. It took me quite a while to get moving in the morning – I tried for a while to go back to sleep but even though I was tired, I couldn’t keep my eyes closed.

I did the same preparations again today to prepare myself for doing my exercises. A bit of light, leisurely stretching, and doing breathing exercises seems to be really helping. Listening to nature sounds to help block out the world around me is helping a lot, too. My exercises went pretty well today – I’m glad I tried some things to see if I could get them working again.

It was quite pleasant out this morning so I did my walk before it started to heat up. I got out to the parking lot at the mini-mall and walked the perimeter of the parking lot four times before I turned around and hustled home. I’m still very uncomfortable with not being able to see the house, but I REALLY want to get to the point where I can pick up a couple of groceries every so often. My plan is to actually enter a store (probably the grocery store) and walk around in it for a minute or two before heading home. Wish me luck…

I sent out a whole bunch of texts today and had quite a few good conversations. I try to send out an amusing picture or little video each day during the work week and say hello. I like to think that some of the recipients of might see my texts and smile a bit during their day. Plus, I enjoy sending them. One of the people I text with the most is a good friend who used to be my supervisor at work ten or so years ago. She’s since retired and moved far away but we’ve been keeping in touch. She is the best supervisor I’ve ever had. I told J a couple of times that if the phone rang in the middle of the night and that particular supervisor was yelling to offer me a job over the sounds of gunshots, explosions, and screaming, I would wake J up and ask her if I could go.

My mom called today and we had a good talk. My sister’s new cats have been fascinated with her and haven’t left her alone since she arrived, but everything seems to be going well. My nephews are growing like crazy. Mom also sent me a text with the email address for that cousin I met for the first time on Saturday. I think it would be interesting to keep in touch.

I spent a while looking at the DVD stuff again. The novelty has worn off.

Most of the dandelions out on the lawn have gone from the yellow flowers to the floaty-blowy seeds. I plucked one and decided to see what it looked like under the microscope. I also took some time and set up my microscope camera so I could get better pictures than just holding up my phone to the eyepiece.

So here’s the dandelion with most of its fluff still attached. The brown parts in the middle are the actual seeds – the fuzzy white parts catch the breeze and float to another location:

DandelionHere’s a photo of the part where all of the fuzziness emanates from, and some of the filaments that make up the fuzziness.

Dandelion Fuzzy Part ZoomHere’s a 100x view of the ends of some of the filaments. They almost look like they have serrated edges.

Dandelion filamentsHere’s part of the seed pod (the brown part). It amazes me that these organisms evolved the ridges, hooks, and little spikes over hundreds of thousands to millions of years.

Dandelion Seed PodAnd here’s the same shot, illuminated from the top. The colour and texture of the pod is pretty interesting. It almost looks like some kind of insect.

Dandelion Seed PodAnd the part of the seed pod that’s farthest from the fuzzy end. Again, the texture and colour are easy to make out, and I wasn’t expecting that the seed pod ended in two protuberances like that.

Dandelion Seed PodPlaying around with the microscope is both interesting and enjoyable. There’s no shortage of things outside (or inside, for that matter) to look at, and nature never ceases to amaze me at how incredible (and, occasionally, disgusting) it can be. There’s a creek nearby – once summer is here and the water is moving pretty slowly, I think I’m going to see if J wants to walk there with me to collect some plant and water samples. Seeing the cells stacked together like bricks in a plant is amazing, but there’s something special about watching little protists bumbling around inside a drop of water and going about their business.

J has tomorrow off but she has some paperwork stuff she wants to get done so I’m not sure yet what we’re going to be doing. Black Panther showed up in the mail today so maybe we’ll have time to give that a watch.

Stay safe.

Videos I Find Relaxing

It seems like everything today is competing for attention. Commercials, TV shows, healthy living trends, real estate agents, political candidates/parties, monster trucks… I’m not saying any of it is bad, but some days it can seem pretty relentless.

Every once in a while, I run across something that – instead of demanding my attention and trying to stretch my mind – I find to be quiet and calming. Some of the videos are designed to be relaxing, while there are others that probably aren’t intended to be that way but end up relaxing me anyway. Maybe you will find some of them useful to help unpack your brain at the end of a stressful day or perhaps they will help take your mind off of something that’s bothering you.

Some of the following videos are very long and I haven’t watched or listened to the whole thing so I can’t be sure there isn’t an interruption or something surprising in them somewhere. Watcher beware, I guess.

Riding Light

This amazing video by Alphonse Swinehart is a 45 minute journey at the speed of light through the solar system. It starts at the sun and ends just past the orbit of Jupiter. The music is good, the graphics are impressive, and it even shows the orbits of the planets as you get far enough from the sun for them to be put into perspective. You can download the video, too, and put it on your tablet or phone and watch/listen to it whenever or wherever you want.

Dan Gibson – Thunderstorm In The Wilderness

We have several of the Solitudes series of CDs by Dan Gibson. There are a couple of tracks that I really like but I think this one is my favourite out of all of them. It’s a thunderstorm, but it’s relaxing – slow rolling thunder and some rain falling at a pond or perhaps a creek. It’s not a wild ride with hail and crashing booms and coyotes blowing through the air. This is one of the two tracks I have been experimenting with listening to (along with a track of waves at a beach) to help blot out the real world when I’m doing my mindfulness and worry exercises. Seems to be working so far.

Guinea Pig Muffin Sleeping

I like guinea pigs. They’re cute, they each have their own personality, and (for the most part) they love snuggling up to their humans. This video here shows a very relaxed pig, ears twitching and mouth moving while it dreams. It’s not a very long video, but it makes me wish I was zonked out on a comfy bed, having pleasant dreams.

Beautiful Coral Reef Fish – Relaxing Aquarium and White Sounds 1080p HD

I have always found it relaxing to watch fish as they slowly wander around in the water. Sometimes I’ll pull up a chair to Lloyd’s aquarium and watch him and Buddy leisurely go about their days. There are a lot of relaxing fish videos out there but most of them are set to music and I prefer the water sounds. You may want to turn the volume down a bit for this one – I like the sound but find it a little loud.

11 hrs. Healing Sea #1 – No Music – Gentle Ocean Waves – Soothing Sound Of Ocean

A camera perched on an empty beach, watching the waves roll in. The sound of the waves rushing up the sand and breaking. No beach umbrellas, no dune buggies, no water skiers. Just the sand and the water and the air.

I hope you find some of these videos useful and/or enjoyable!

Stay safe.

Turns Out I Didn’t Need To Be Nervous

Song: “Johnny B Rotten” by The Monks

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

I felt quite a bit better on Friday morning. No headache and I got a relatively good sleep. As the day went on, though, I got more and more worried about my relatives coming by on Saturday morning. The construction that had been going on all week was in full swing, too, so that was causing me some difficulties.

I didn’t get much sleep on Friday night and fell back asleep after the alarm went off Saturday morning. When I finally heaved myself out of bed, I realized that a bunch of the time that J and I had planned to spend tidying up and getting ready for everyone to arrive had already gone by. A flop sweat ran into my eyes and down my back as J and I scrambled to get everything in order.

Eventually, we got things where we wanted them and then waited for everyone to arrive. I took a PRN and did some breathing exercises to try to calm down. I hadn’t had a chance to do my exercises that morning, and I acutely felt it. Finally, my parents’ car arrived and people started to get out.

J greeted them at the door and everyone made their way into the living room, where plenty of hugs and hellos were exchanged, and my anxiety dissolved. I hadn’t seen my aunt or uncle in around 15 years, and I had never before met the cousin who was travelling with them, but we were all family and everything was wonderful. My parents, my uncle and aunt and cousin, and J and I swapped a lot of stories and spent a lot of time laughing before heading to the dining room table for a quick lunch.

After we were done lunch, we talked for a little longer and then they all had to squeeze back into the car to head to the airport to catch their respective flights. I felt relief and was a little sad that everybody had to leave so quickly. J and I have been invited out to visit, and it would be really neat if we could manage that sometime soon!

It was so great to see everybody, and I felt (and still feel) silly for being so nervous about the whole thing. They’re wonderful, gregarious people and always have been. We could’ve met them in the parking lot of a condemned Burger King in the pouring rain and we still would’ve had a great time and lots of laughs. I am very lucky to have such good people in my family.

I didn’t sleep well last night again. I kept waking up, worried about one thing or another. For the most part, I was able to get back to sleep pretty easily, bu I had to get out of bed twice – once to check the hot water tank and once to make sure the thermostat was set to the right temperature.

Today went by very quickly. J worked on the course she’s taking, and I puttered around for a while before I found it hard to focus my eyes, so I decided to take a nap.

After the nap, I felt a little better. J and I had supper later than usual and then went downstairs to watch some more Boston Legal. We watched two episodes that closed a large arc that had been running for the last three or four episodes.

One of the things I like doing when watching shows with J is pointing out characters that have also appeared in some capacity in Star Trek. I’m sure that J really appreciates it whenever I do that. William Shatner is one of the main characters in the show, as is Rene Auberjonois, but this particular Boston Legal arc also had Armin Shimerman and Ethan Phillips. A LOT of people have been in a Star Trek show or movie over the years!

So another week begins tomorrow. Or today, depending on how you look at the calendar. I am going to be looking at some more things under the microscope and I also plan to get my microscope camera out to get better pictures than I can with my phone. If it’s not raining, I’ll walk out to the little mall again and do a couple of laps of the parking lot. I also want to spend some more time with the DVDs and maybe listen to some records if there’s enough time.

I hope that you had a good weekend and that this week is a good one for you!

Stay safe.

Tired And A Headache

Song: “A Little Respect” by Erasure

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

I didn’t sleep well last night. I woke up quite a few times and getting back to sleep was more difficult than usual. I’m nervous about my relatives coming over on Saturday. They’re family, have always been nice, and they’re only going to be here for a couple of hours. I don’t know why I’m worried about it, but I am.

Unfortunately, between the worrying and clenching my jaw, I got a nasty headache. I could feel it coming for hours, and despite taking some Tylenol, I couldn’t keep it from arriving and stepping on my skull with heavy bronze boots. Seeing as how I felt nasty and hadn’t had much sleep, I left Dr P a voicemail saying I didn’t think I was going to be able to make my appointment today. I got an email back in the afternoon from him saying that it was okay and we’re scheduled for next week.

Because of how I was feeling, I took it pretty easy today. My exercises didn’t go well because I was too tired to keep my mind from wandering away and having really odd thoughts and sending me away on strange, colourful adventures. It also didn’t help that the heavy machinery was running two houses down the street again for the whole day.

My mom called today and we had a good little chat. My relatives are there right now and everyone’s having a good time, which I’m really glad about. Like I said earlier, I’m still a little nervous about them coming over, but it’s not because of them – I think it’s more because J and I rarely entertain guests.

I texted with a couple of people, too. Not a lot, but hopefully enough that rumours that I’m dead don’t get started.

I didn’t go for my walk today but I did spend some time in the back yard. I went out a couple of times to make sure the air conditioner was working properly. Everything looked good – it’s not dirty, it wasn’t vibrating badly, it sounded good, and it didn’t seem to be abnormally hot. I really, really hope that I don’t need to go outside and check the air conditioner every day…

The little spruce tree we planted there last summer may be starting to get sick but I’m not sure. It was quite hot and humid out again today, but we got some thundershowers this evening that dropped some very needed water, so if the tree is thirsty it should help.

J has been working on the insurance sheets for the next stage in my claim. I am really, really grateful that she is taking time out of her own schedule to do that stuff. Any dealings with the insurance company make me pretty ill so I don’t think I could do the paperwork myself. Greatest wife ever!

I’m heading to bed right away but that reminded me that I took a picture of Lloyd last night while he was sleeping. He always tucks into the same place at night – under the protective canopy of the plastic glow-in-the-dark plant. He just sits there, looking dead, until his gills open and close.

Lloyd The FishBuddy never seems to sleep – he’s always busy. Finding him in dim light can be difficult unless you bring a flashlight along and look for the glow of his eyes. Here he is, hiding behind Ralph the marimo moss ball.

Buddy And RalphTomorrow I need to do some cleaning around the house to get ready for company. I may also try to find something else to look at under my microscope. I just need to keep busy – no sitting around like I did today.

Stay safe.

Appointment With Dr W Today

Song: “More Songs About Chocolate And Girls” by The Undertones

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

I’m still waking up worrying about something or other several times a night. I do, however, much prefer those nights to ones with nightmares. I’m still not able to get back to sleep once J leaves but that’s okay.

I did my exercise prep again today and it helped again. I started with light stretches (easy and light range of motion stuff), then sat down and followed along with the breathing exercise recording. The one that works the best for me is offered for free by a site called the Anxiety Disorder Association of Manitoba (ADAM), in Canada. The link to the page with the breathing exercise, as well as a muscle relaxation exercise (which I also find useful) and instructions is here.

After I’m done those two preparation steps, I get comfortable, make sure my headphones are in securely, the volume is at the right level, and then I turn on the beach sounds. Once they’ve been going for a minute or two and I’ve made any needed adjustments (the volume has to be high enough to block out some of the ambient noise but low enough that it doesn’t make concentrating difficult), I start working on my mindfulness and worry exercises.

It seems kind of like washing the dishes before loading them into the dishwasher, but preparing to relax before trying to relax seems to be doing the trick. Maybe things will change and I’ll be able to do my exercises without prep again sometime. I’m just happy I’m making some progress – I don’t feel right if my exercises go poorly or I miss them entirely.

I walked out to the mall again and paced back and forth through the parking lot twice before returning home. It’s not pleasant – the high temperatures aren’t helping, either – but I can do it. The next thing is to get into one of the stores and stay there for a bit without freaking out. After that, it’s being able to buy some groceries so I can take some of the load off of J. There’s also a gaming/comics/toy store in the mall that I would like to go to with FA one day. Might be able to find a game neither of us have heard of. But – one step at a time.

There was more construction going on down the street. I left the blinds closed to keep the sun out (it’s quite hot our) so I only had the occasional peek out the window to see what was going on but it was the same stuff as yesterday.

Speaking of the heat, I turned on the breakers and fired up the air conditioner today. At J’s suggestion, we got a new one last year. The old one “worked” in that it spun up and kind of took the heat off but when we got the new one, we couldn’t believe how well it worked. So, I fired it up and did my best to make sure that it was okay. I think it’s okay. It’s certainly blowing cold air. The bad news is that it immediately felt like it’s yet another thing that I can’t trust. I will try very hard to not end up sitting outside in the grass, staring at the air conditioner while it runs and expecting a catastrophic failure. It worked fine last year and it’ll work fine this year. I DON’T NEED TO CHECK IT.

I didn’t do any work with the microscope today but I plan to do some tomorrow.

My sister called today for our weekly Wednesday chat. She’s doing quite well – her car died when she was at work but it turns out that one of the kids left a light on while he was reading in the back seat, so it was nothing serious. Usually J and I send gifts to the kids for their birthdays but apparently they are both trying to save for something. One of them wants a tablet or something like that, so cash presents are enthusiastically accepted. I guess that’s just how things go but it’s kind of sad that they’re growing up so quickly and want big kid stuff now.

I lost my phone for a couple of hours today. Somehow it got stuffed under a pillow on the couch in the basement, and the ring tone was set too low for me to hear it when I called it and listened for it. Eventually, I sat down on the couch and saw a bit of red… and there it was. I felt kind of silly but that’s okay.

My Dr W appointment was hard today. Fortunately, I remembered to wear my fidget ring so I didn’t end up wringing a raw wound into my hand again. No medication changes today, and with me being able to walk to the mall and wander the parking lot for a bit without freaking out too badly, Dr W thinks there’s some improvement going on. I’m getting tired of feeling the way I’m feeling but it could always be so much worse. I keep coming across stories of people who are in such incredibly dire straits that it makes me want to count my blessings.

I’m not sure if this is the right thing to do but I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of the things I’m checking during the day. What I’m hoping is that seeing the pictures will help convince me that things are okay. I’m not sure how well it’s going to work, and now I’ve got a lot of dumb pictures on my phone like this:

Hot Water TankI have an appointment with Dr P tomorrow afternoon. I am not looking forward to it but this will be the first appointment in almost a month and I have some questions for him. I’ll say it here again – therapy is not fun.

Aside from the appointment, I’m not sure what else I’m going to do tomorrow. I might go outside and hunt around for a different weed to chop up and put under the microscope. We’ll see.

Stay safe.

Hello From The Dark Ages

Song: “Combine Harvester” by The Wurzels

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

The power went out this afternoon and stayed off for a couple of hours. The power is on here now but a bunch of other areas still don’t have power, including the local offices that hold our ISP’s DSL kit.

So I’m reduced to using my phone to do a (very) short post. Our house has what’s basically a Faraday cage around it too, so getting a good enough signal to do this data stuff is a little dicey.

I only woke up a couple of times last night and had no nightmares so it was a pretty good night.

I tried doing the same prep I used yesterday before I did my exercises and it helped again. Im glad I tried that.

My walk went okay today. I still really dislike it but I got to the mall parking lot again and walked around it a bit before heading home.

There was a lot of construction going on a couple of houses down and they had heavy equipment and made all kinds of sound. I went outside and walked around a bit (outside twice today!) but while I could hear the equipment working, I couldn’t see where it was.

A large envelope came from the insurance company today. I figured it was probably related to the previous letter so I put it on J’s desk and tried to not think about it.

I went outside and plucked a dandelion from the front lawn. They have almost completely finished overrunning the lawn so there were plenty to pick from. I broke out the microscope and tools and went to work:

Dandelion

The are quite interesting. I plucked one of the yellow petals and looked at it at 100x. The curls and spikes are interesting:

Dandelion 100x

I never noticed it before but dandelions have purple stems. I cut a very small and thin piece to see what the cells looked like:

Dandelion stem

Its pretty easy to see the cells and their purpleness.

The last thing I did was look at some “hair” hanging off one of the pieces I cut:

Dandelion hair

I was surprised to see that it was all discreet strands and that they have hooks too. I wonder if all the spikes/hooks are to help the seeds get caught in fur to help spread them. Maybe they anchor the seeds in the grass so they don’t blow away.

Ok… I have lots more to talk about but I have already gone on for WAAY too long.

Tomorrow is my Dr W appointment and I’m not looking forward to it at all. Not at all. I have an appointment with Dr P on Thursday, which I expect will be difficult again.

On Saturday, my parents, uncle, aunt, and cousin are stopping by on their way to the airport. They are good people and family but I’m nervous about seeing them.

Stay safe.

Long Weekends Sure Go By Fast

Song: “Combine Harvester” by The Wurzels

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 2

I had a couple of nightmares last night but fortunately when they woke me up I was easily able to figure out where I was and that things were okay. I think I woke J up because I was talking in my sleep while I was having the nightmares. Fortunately, other than that, I only woke up worrying a couple of other times, so I think I may have had a better sleep last night than I have for a while.

I still feel pretty tired, though.

To my surprise and delight, my exercises went pretty well today. Not perfectly, mind you, but well enough that I got through them without giving up and I could feel the familiar difference that doing the exercises makes. Before I started doing my exercises, I did a couple of things to stack the deck in my favour. Before I sat down, I did some stretches. Then, I sat down and worked along with a breathing exercise recording. Next was turning on a recording of waves at a beach. Normally, I try to have as little sound as possible around when I’m doing my exercises, but I figured that the wave and water sounds are mostly white noise so they should be pretty easy to ignore, while helping to drown out the other sounds that would normally break my concentration and cause problems. I will be trying that whole setup again tomorrow. Maybe there are other things I can do to improve it further.

After I was done my exercises, I stayed sitting and listened to some music for a while. FA introduced me to The Wurzels and their song “Combine Harvester” and I’ve either been listening to it or singing it inside my head or very, very quietly. Normally I don’t like having a song stuck in my head but it’s a happy song that makes me smile. Thanks, FA!

Oh, I almost forgot – I got my stitches out yesterday. Things went well and I had a very friendly and competent nurse who was very chatty throughout the procedure. I took two PRNs before J and I left the house so I wasn’t quite as anxious as usual, and I brought along that fidget ring and used it heavily again. Things look pretty good:

Stitches RemovedThe one on my face looks really good, too. Dr H did the incision and stitching along a normal skin crease so it is already fitting in perfectly. I am pleased.

J and I watched a couple of movies this weekend – Beetlejuice on Saturday night and Spider-Man: Homecoming last night. Even though the effects don’t hold up very well, Beetlejuice is a classic. Great movie. Spider-Man: Homecoming was fantastic. I always considered Tobey Maguire to be “the” Spider-Man, but now that I’ve seen this new movie, I now consider Tom Holland to be the one who fits the role perfectly. Great acting, good villain (hey – two Michael Keaton movies this weekend!), good effects, wonderful supporting characters, and a good story. If I had to nitpick at anything, it would be that Spider-Man spent an AWFUL lot of time screaming or hollering throughout the movie.

J had today off so we hung out and had a pretty lazy day. I listened to a lot of music and sat in places where I couldn’t see out the window so I couldn’t hear nor see when things went by outside. I think it helped.

My mom called today with an update on my uncle. Unfortunately, his leg (the one they’ve already done the surgeries on) is infected so they’re draining it and pumping him full of antibiotics. Apparently the problem keeps coming back because the blood vessels in his legs are damaged from having diabetes for quite some time. He is in good spirits, so that’s a definite positive. I hope he’s fixed up quickly so he can go back home and enjoy fresh air!

I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring. I have a couple of ideas for other posts so I might see if I can get something figured out. I’m also going to see if I can stand in the parking lot at the nearby mini mall without freaking out too badly. It’s supposed to get hot this week so I’d better do that in the morning.

Stay safe.