They are helping with some early fall yard cleanup:

Though this is blurry, I still love this picture because one of them is standing on the tree stump eating leftover bird seed. This took place one or two days before the above video.

Despite its blurriness, I love this pic because one of them is standing on the tree stump.

can’t catch a break

September 15, 2018 | View Comments

Oliver half in, half out. How does he fit?!

So Oliver went to the vet yet again. I noticed he was limping, so I wanted to see what was going on. At first I thought it was his paw that was healing that was bothering him. Then I remembered that he growled at me when I tried to pick him up to give him his eyedrops. He hates eyedrop time, so I thought he was just expressing his displeasure over that. But now I’m thinking this is all my fault and that maybe I grabbed him too hard or something. I didn’t see him walk beforehand, so I don’t know exactly when the limping started. But I’m a mama, so I’ll just blame myself. The verdict is that he tweaked his back somehow, and he’s on an anti-inflammatory for six days. He’s acting fine otherwise (eating, playing, chatting, etc…). He has been hanging out in the office a lot, though, and he usually only does that when he’s not feeling 100%. He has been through so much as a little guy! It just breaks my heart!

big softy

September 13, 2018 | View Comments

Mark was leaving this morning when Nabi showed up. He actually got out of his car, came back inside, and gave her food. Awww!

This is the second time this week that this raccoon showed up before we had a chance to put food outside. When Mark came out, he tossed the little guy a donut to tide him over. Also, after complaining almost nightly about how he doesn’t like having something else to do in the evenings (meaning putting their food out), he twice now has made them cream cheese bagels “for something different.” Haha!

This is my last catch-up post, and it feels like I can maybe start to breathe again. From now on, things should all mostly be from the present time as I am pretty caught up on the things I wanted to touch on from my hiatus. I just need to finish up the vocabulary section for my pet pages, and then I will feel a gigantic sense of relief. I made myself crazy over all of this, of course. Anyway, I saved this post for last because it’s both difficult and embarrassing.

Awhile back I had written a post about dermatillomania/excoriation. It’s a skin picking disorder, and I’ve been suffering from it since I was a teenager. I pick the skin around my cuticles and nails. The first time I wrote about this, I thought I had it conquered and that I had successfully stopped doing it; I think I lasted something like three months, and however long it was definitely set a record. I’m not going back to reread that post because I just don’t think that would be healthy for me to do. Anyway, it came back, and it got worse. This disorder makes everything harder because hands are used for everything, right? Holding a pen, brushing my hair, brushing my teeth, brushing the cats, opening boxes or bottles, getting dressed (like using buttons and pulling up jeans) – it all hurts. You name it, and it sucks. This affects everything. Even if I’m having a good enough back day, I don’t want to go out if my hands are covered in bandaids. It’s beyond embarrassing. I saw one therapist while we were in New Jersey. It’s not covered by insurance, and $175 a session is a lot. I had three or four sessions at this center, but I just felt like we made no progress at all. We talked about the same things every time. I can’t explain it. It’s like at every appointment she had to talk about her box of fidget toys for twenty minutes. I just felt like I wanted to do a deep dive into my past to figure out what was causing it, and we were still talking about basic stuff, such as my birthdate and sign. Sort of. So I was disappointed, to say the least. After we moved here and I went even more haywire on myself, I found a therapist that I could use a skype-type program with. Now she was very helpful. She’s the one who told me it was a disorder and that I shouldn’t beat myself up when I have a slip-up. Saying negative things to myself only fuels the cycle. She’s also the one who said I’m doing this because I have anxiety. Anxiety? She said I must get something out of it, and she also said that it releases endorphins. She also gave me two physical exercises to do and gave me a meditation app to download. She constantly recommended other things to try all the time, from lotions to candles to medical marijuana. She also said that skin heals so fast, to be gentle with myself (don’t be hard on myself), to not look at them as much, to occupy my brain otherwise, and to keep my nails super short because they can be sharp little knives otherwise. It was a night and day difference between the two therapists! I’m nowhere near cured, but I think I’m a little bit better. Before, my entire finger, from the top of the nail to where the finger meets the palm, would be covered in bandaids. Now it’s just the top part in bandaids when I go bananas. One of the things I also need to do is to recognize my triggers. I’ve realized that when Mark screams at me, I tear at my fingers. So I’ve made a mental note not to look at them after a fight. Last week they were all in the clear (no bandaids!!) and today I’m back up to four. Ugh. So I had them all looking good, and then I tore them apart. I was so incredibly mad at myself over it that night. When I woke up the next morning, I tried to figure out what the trigger was for it. And there it was: I had spent an annoying two hours texting with my asshole brother who basically called me an elitist because I want to hire a party planner for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party that we are required to throw them. The whole thing is stressful. Since I’m not local anymore and neither of us want to deal with our mother, I thought that would be better for everyone. He basically said he wasn’t doing anything or paying anything because he doesn’t want to do it at all. He then said other things that confused me. By the end of the conversation, I still didn’t know if he’s going to participate or not. If he’s not, I’m not. And, see? I’m getting all annoyed all over again. Haha. I’m hoping I can get a handle on this prior to our trip coming up, so please wish me luck. I’m no longer talking to this therapist (she was $125 a session) right now. Honestly, she annoyed me over something small, but a bridge was not burned. I think I have enough tools right now to go forward. If not, I’ll revisit talking to her again. This disorder is definitely a struggle and a battle, for sure.

uno más sueño

September 9, 2018 | View Comments

And I just remembered another recurring dream I have, but I think it’s pretty easy to decipher its meaning. In these dreams, I could be at this house or one of our past houses, at a nameless person’s house, at my parents’ house, or at a mall (!!!) – but I am always with my pets, passed or current. No matter the location, I am always trying to gather all the pets together when it’s time to leave to put them back into their respective carriers. It’s entirely chaotic and nerve-wracking, and I’m worried, stressed, freaked out, and scared. In my awake hours, I often do obsess over the possibility of them accidentally getting outside. I have issues with the screen doors we have (sticking and lock placement next to handle), and I don’t like that Mark doesn’t look behind him each time he goes out a door, among other related things. I also panic about how we’d get them all out of the house in time if there were an emergency, and I play various scenarios over and over in my mind. So, yeah, I think I understand why I keep having these dreams. It’s just my insanity leaking into my subconscious some more.

dream a little dream

September 8, 2018 | View Comments

I have a few recurring dreams. I only had one for most of my life, and now I have a bunch of them. In them, I’m either in high school, in college, or still teaching. They’re not always the same thing time and again, but they all center around similar stuff. Actually, I’ve been having another one, but I can’t quite recall what’s going on; this one has only been happening for like the past three days. Anyway, here is a little bit about the ones I do recall, and these have been happening for a few years now.

So for the high school ones, I am being forced to redo high school by my mother, even though I was already both a college graduate and teacher. While in these dreams I’m in my 30s, I am able to pass for younger. I’m not getting good grades at all, and I’m frustrated. This prompts me to skip classes, and sometimes I go to the second floor of this high school’s library to hide out. Also, some popular kids, people I actually went to school with, are being horrible to me – and, no, I am not reliving shit; everyone coexisted back then nicely as far as I could tell. For the college dreams, they center around me not being able to find the right classroom. Eventually, they’re about me living in a dorm, but I am not interested in going to classes. I don’t want to tell my mom, who is paying for my education, that I don’t withdrawal from each one after I stop going to them because I want to stay at school with friends and guys. For my teaching dreams, there’s not a twist to those at all – I’m still teaching just like I used to do back in the day.

Speaking of teaching, now that I’ve read fostering blogs and learned about trauma and neglect, I think I’d be a much more compassionate teacher. I think having that information would have helped me help the students I had in alternative school (kids who, for the most part, were kicked out of the regular day school program). Honestly, I found them hard to relate to, and I had a firm line drawn in the sand with regards to my expectations. I like to think that at least I was consistent and that a lot of them needed some consistency in their lives. That being said, my favorite grade and level to teach was ninth grade college prep, and that’s when I felt the most alive as a teacher. Teaching kids who were excited to be entering high school and who wanted to learn was a far cry from the alternative school. I eventually wanted to go back to that, but I got sick (thyroid) and ended up switching careers. Anyway, I’d absolutely hate to be teaching today, though, especially now with social media, video, and so on. Not that I’d do anything wrong, but everyone has a goddamned opinion about every little thing these days. In addition, I watched Undercover High on A&E, and I got to see the way social media affects students. OMG. It could already be horrible with the way kids talk to each other and about each other, but to have those opinions and ideas shared online for everyone to see? Hell no. One girl on that show was accidentally added to a group text where guys from her school and other schools were talking about wanting to rape her. I mean, I can’t even imagine being a kid in high school these days. In general, I am also glad that I didn’t have social media when I was in my 20s. With my obsessive personality and the things I say when I’m mad, well, I would have been in jail. Whew!

In college, before English became my major, I was an engineering major because of my brother. He told me since I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I was smart enough that I should study engineering and make big money. Haha. I did that for one semester. I was also temporarily a Spanish major. I looooved Spanish in high school, and I still love the language to this day. But after I realized the necessity of traveling overseas and being immersed in the culture and language, I knew it wasn’t in the cards for me; my parents were paying for college, and my mother would never allow me to go abroad. Sometimes I also wonder what I would study if I were 18 again and just starting college. I think that, in order of preference, I’d do Spanish, English, public relations, and marketing. My last job was in communications, and I enjoyed the work I did while at the synagogue – website design, editing, flyers, calendars, newsletters, and such. My favorite college classes were all of my Spanish courses (before I switched) and American English grammar (diagramming sentences was my jam). I also sort of liked Art Appreciation a lot too. I despised anything to do with science, especially chemistry. I really struggled with my grade in that class (I think it was a B something). Once in my major, I had a hard time with Victorian literature; I’d literally cry out of frustration when I couldn’t understand a majority of the works. I know that class was my lowest grade ever; I think it was a B- maybe. I remember getting so annoyed that my friend Tom (I called him Tom from Toms River, and he wrote poems about necrophilia) aced every test he took without reading a single thing. My parents paid for my college, and my friends’ parents paid for theirs too. We all lived at home with them. I wonder what it would have been like if I had lived with a roommate and worked to put myself through school. Yes, it would have been harder, but it obviously would have been such a different experience and outcome. I, for sure, would have gone the Spanish route.

Oh yeah! I just remembered another dream that I’ve also had a few times during the past couple of months. Mark and I are living with my parents, and we own two houses. We need to renovate the second one and are thinking of just selling it instead and staying put in the first house, even though we aren’t even in it to begin with.

Any dream analysts out there? I used to be good at figuring out what certain dreams meant, but I haven’t even begun to look at these.

bring it, bitches

September 8, 2018 | View Comments

I was looking through my YouTube videos and came across this cute video of Oliver and Sam watching snow fall last December. I hate summer, heat, mugginess, and sweating, so I can’t wait for the cold weather. I live for snow!


September 5, 2018 | View Comments

Nabi, the neighbor kitty, prefers Mark. Little things were making that clear, but what happened last night sealed the deal. I saw her hanging out under Mark’s car. I got her a plate of wet food and took it out to her. I called her, talked sweetly to her, put her new plate next to the plate of kibble that was already out there, and she didn’t move. Mark came back from his bike ride just as I stepped inside, so I told him to go out there and see what happens. And he did. When he called her, she came right over, talked to him, and ate the wet food. He was even able to pet her while she ate; whenever I pet her while she’s eating, she stomps off in a snit. So, yeah, I see how I rate.

But, on the flip side, I have raccoons that like me more than they like Mark. Last night, for the second time in just this past week alone, I had four raccoons eating on the carport with me that ran off as soon as he came outside. So I guess there’s that.

age ain’t nothing but a number

September 2, 2018 | Comments Off

Sam has been having some mobility issues.

Handsome Sam in the sunroom

This photo was taken last summer. Since then, Sam hasn’t been jumping up places as often. He will be 13.5 years-old in November. I noticed that he hasn’t been jumping on the center island as much anymore. And we have a huge cardboard box, but Lulu (at age 16!) and Oliver are the only kitties who jump in and out of it. I’m sad for Sam. We are starting him on dasaquin and adequan injections. I hope it makes my poor baby feel better. Fingers crossed!

same as it ever was

September 1, 2018 | Comments Off

So it’s time for a Mark update. Let’s see. A few years ago he started having major back issues too. He would do stuff and then have to lay down because he was in so much pain. It got worse and worse. Luckily for him, he was able to have fusion surgery (L4 and L5) and have it be successful. Here’s a photo of his new and improved back:

Fusion surgery

And not that he was ever close to being overweight, but this whole thing prompted him to get in the best shape of his life. Between working out at the gym, riding his bike, playing baseball, umpiring, and eating well, I thought he started to look fucking anorexic. After a cold triggered an asthma event, he was really sick for a bit until that was diagnosed. He wasn’t able to work out as much due to that and stopped being so restrictive with his behaviors. Then he had viral meningitis this summer, so it’s been up and down with him getting back to his full psycho status. But he’s back to doing all his favorite things again. The one thing he needs to let go of and actually may soon is playing baseball. He gets too wound up with it, and then it becomes not enjoyable for him. He will beat himself up over mistakes made, whether he made them or a teammate made them. I think it’s his elbow that is also bothering him, so it just makes sense to phase it out. Hmm. What else? He wants to get another beagle, but there’s no way that’s happening. He’s not around enough to take care of it, and it would be very difficult for me to take him out to potty and such. He still enjoys his job, but he wants a promotion. He still gets raises, but he has been eyeing this new position for awhile now. He also does some freelance coding too. So, yeah, he’s always ridiculously active. And I’m glad for that. It stops him from looking to me to be his entertainment committee.

And speaking of our relationship, well, it’s been better. Sure, we just celebrated 20 years of marriage and are going on an anniversary trip next month, but it certainly isn’t all magic and rainbows around here. A lot of it is the same stuff as before – him talking down to me, second-guessing things I say, and so on. I can tell him I read something online about such-and-such, and he will need to see it with his own eyes to know it’s true. He still says I’m lazy and that I “make excuses” when I rule out doing something either here at home or out and about. He doesn’t care that I am doing the best I can. It is my own body, and I know what it can’t and cannot handle. If I go do something away from the house, I pay for it for two to three days afterwards with increased pain. Gee, wonder why I’m not signing up for activity after activity? If I know I’m going somewhere the next day, I prefer to shower the night before because it’s way too much for me to do that, get ready, go do a few things, and get changed back into jammies once we’ve returned – things most everyone takes for granted. I stiffen up after doing one of those, so it’s not a lot of fun for me to be active. He forgets how much he hurt with his back issues, and my situation is way worse than his since surgery isn’t even an option for me. He also is upset with me even more after this move to Pennsylvania. I guess I told him that I’d spend more time in the living room than I have and that I’d eat dinner in the kitchen instead of in the bedroom. He says I don’t keep my promises, and he calls me a liar. I get that. That’s fair. But I’m doing what is the best and most comfortable for my back. For example, I take an afternoon nap and wake up to back pain; it’s raring to go. All I desperately want is to take a pill and to get the heating pad tight up against my skin. But it’s also time for dinner when I wake up. So, yeah, that’s basically why I don’t have dinner in the kitchen. It seems like every single night he lists off complaints. He never speaks complimentary of me and is always critical. To top it off, his yelling raises my pain level even more! I tell him all the time that he can pack his suitcases if he is so goddamned unhappy and miserable. After all, his favorite phrase is, “I’m tired of it!” He is still young, makes great money, and is attractive, so he can start over. I question if he stays with me out of guilt. You know, it’s not like he’s an absolute gem to live with. I clean up after him like he’s a little boy! He never ever pushes in the bar stool he sits on. He can’t shut drawers, cabinets, or closets. He never puts his clothes away. On that note, he leaves his shoes on the living room area rug when the coat closet is just like two feet away. He leaves the dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher; this is especially maddening because he didn’t do this at our last house. He pours coffee in our white sink without chasing it with water, and that stains it (bleach fixes it, but still). He leaves gobs of green toothpaste in the sink. And so on. But that part is just marriage, whereas my disability is another matter entirely. I do appreciate all that he does for me, and he does sooo much to take care of me and make me happy. He still gets me surprises. We still laugh a lot together. But when he makes comments like I should go to the grocery store, it enrages me. He knows driving is difficult, bending down to pick up things is difficult, lifting things is difficult – all of it. It’s insulting to hear that I’m not doing enough or trying hard enough. It’s never any fun to be belittled. I’m doing the best I can so that I don’t lose what’s left of my mind. I certainly didn’t anticipate my life turning out this way either! I honestly don’t know how to make it better.

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