My Native Yard

My front yard isn't to everyone's taste, but I'm pretty tickled with how the “go natural and native” experiment is moving along. Thanks to us actually getting rain this year, the horseherb and popping petunias have covered about half the space and begun making inroads into the other half. The last remaining carpet grass under the pecan tree is looking good (though I do wish it would go away), and then there's the nice patch of sunflowers and that feathery unidentified plant up front. The buffalo grass is trying, but it's slow to spread and never seems happy.

And I transplanted the unhappy cramped tomatoes who are now not cramped but even more unhappy about being moved. Hopefully, they'll perk up overnight. The two lemon cucumbers are reaching out to climb, so I gave them something to grab, the basil has been thinned because it's become a weed, and the two squash plants look puny but have buds on them. Maybe I get some veggies, maybe I don't. Either way, it's been something fun and relaxing to do.

And there in the middle of the yard in between my planters where the dead redbud is … you see that taller-than-everything-else batch of bright green leaves? A new redbud. Or the old redbud having another try at living. I'm pretty happy about that, but whatever killed the old one will probably kill this one too, so I'm not getting too attached to the idea. It'd be really awesome to continue to have a redbud in that specific location.

Hello World

I've been quiet again haven't I? Well, there's been stuff going on. The kinds of things I either won't talk about on a public blog or am so tired of talking about in general that writing about it just seems like a horrible chore and makes watching a movie, reading a book, or playing a game for a little escapism seem like the best course of action. But things have settled down a bit now, so. Here's a briefish update on life at Casa de Orb.

You may recall I'd gone to the doctor (and had a negative experiece with said doctor) early last month. Well, I completed a course of treatment for a problem that wasn't yet terribly awful, and I'm now feeling much better physically. Amazingly better, actually. I think that thing was asymptomatically lurking within me and grinding my immune system down for quite a while. Like that proverbial frog in a pot of water coming slowly to a boil, I just didn't notice how generally crappy I felt ever day. Luckily, I noticed when the water got a little too warm and jumped out to seek medical attention. And by “too warm” I mean symptoms began appearing and they were having an effect on my quality of life (beyond just feeling completely rundown and tired all the time). It feels good to feel good!

Shortly after I took the last pill for that problem, I started doing hormone replacement therapy, because being post-menopausal sucks. I'd always said I'd never do HRT because of the increased risks of cancer, heart problems, and other health risks, but I sat down and did some research and thought long and hard about how I felt about the decision I made twenty years ago to not do it. On the con side was the increased risk of health problems. On the pro side was possibly feeling better mentally and physically. Older me came to the conclusion that living the rest of my life feeling like I have been feeling the last two years was unacceptable and that life is full of risks (and I might end up with cancer or heart problems or blood clots or dementia anyway) so what's one more at this stage of my life.

Deciding between regular HRT and the bioidentical version was an easier decision to weigh. I didn't choose bioidentical because it's more “natural” or safer (it's not). I choose to go the BHRT route for two reasons: I refuse to take part in an industry that mistreats horses so I can feel a little more youthful, and I don't have to deal with a doctor to get them. I'll eventually write a full post about my experience after I've been on them a while, because it deserves a full post, but for right now let me just say that like switching from cigarettes to an ecig, this is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.

In the midst of all my health situations, about six weeks ago my cousin was taken to the emergency room late one night. It was discovered that she needed some fairly extensive heart surgery if she wanted any hope of living much longer than a year. Since she's a polio survivor, we all knew her path through this would be a difficult and rocky one, and for six weeks the doctors did all they could for her. She had progress and setbacks, and just when it looked like she'd made it through the worst of it, she lost the battle. I don't know the details, and I don't actually want to know the details. We buried her last week. She'll be missed by so many people, myself included.

With all this stuff going on, my whole daily routine has been thrown completely out of whack, and if I don't keep to a routine, nothing much gets done. And by that I mean, I get the normal household/life requirement type of stuff done, but I don't get to the writing or artmaking. I'm just going to have to make a conscious effort to get myself back on track. Like going to bed at a more reasonable hour and getting up earlier and making lists of the things I need to do while having my morning coffee. Once my routine has fallen into chaos though, it's really hard to get back into the swing of things. One day at a time, I guess. Baby steps. It'll all sort out eventually.

So … that's what's been going on with me the last few weeks. Mostly. There's been other stuff going on too, but none of it worth mentioning (or would just get me ranting, and I don't have time to rant right now). Now I need to go have some coffee, because I need to get more housework done. I have fallen so far behind on all of it, burning the house down almost sounds like a reasonable solution to the clutter and dust. LOL!

Daily Bread

I finally baked some bread again. I'd stopped doing it regularly a while back, because I had some issues sourcing my favorite flour and yeast. What can I say, I'm picky! Those finally got sorted out, but baking bread every few days is a habit. If you stop doing it long enough, it feels like it will be a chore to do it instead of just being a routine thing. So I kept putting off the baking of bread. It's so much easier to buy some from a bakery, but I really like the breads I make. Better than any other bread.

I've been a bit under the weather this week, and thanks to some medication, I've been mostly sitting or lounging around being pretty brain dead and having no appetite. Yesterday, I seriously started craving a ham sandwich and french fries. Sure, I could have asked the husband to bring those things home from somewhere, but it's not like I had so much on my list of things to do that I couldn't just bake some bread to go with the potatoes and ham I already had. Bread seems labor intensive, but a basic loaf of bread really doesn't require all that much attention or work. It was easier for me in my current state than making anything else for dinner. So I baked some bread.

Alas, the first thing I discovered was that the recipe I had always used for my basic bread was no longer in my brain. No trace of it, and I don't think it's been written on a recipe card in years. Thanks to having finally taken down my blog archives recently, it also wasn't available on my blog (I knew taking down the archives would bite me in the ass eventually). So I started from scratch and made some really grainy wheaty bread by just sort of making it up as I went along. Turned out great!

Here it is dramatically lit…

And here it is serving it's prime function as a device to transport ham, cheese and veggies into my mouth…

And finally, here it is being a tasty afternoon snack…

Now let's see I I can manage to bake more when this runs out in a day or two. Also, after I have used my new basic bread recipe another time or two, I'll post it here so I NEVER LOSE IT AGAIN! Also … so you can use it too. LOL!

Respect Required

I’m trying to figure out how to bitch about my visit to the health clinic … because oh how I do want to bitch … without getting into any details about my actual heath or other super personal stuff. I want to warn people that anyone with any intelligence and sense of self worth to avoid ever seeking medical attention there, because I walked out of there pissed right the fuck off. Not because of the actual doctoring, which they were adequate enough doing, but at the way I was personally treated. By the end of my visit, I felt they had either not bothered to read the very detailed and lengthy list of questions I had answered on paper or listened to the words coming out of my mouth when they asked me questions or … they thought I was lying. About everything. It doesn’t really matter which of those possibilities is true, because the end result was the same. I was treated with less respect and dignity than I deserved. Than anyone deserves. ANYONE.

People who know and trust me will take me saying “Don’t ever go there for any reason, even if you are dying” to heart without further explanation, but I’d like to warn other people who don’t know me to never go there even if they are dying. As open book as I am about myself and my life, I do have a privacy line I tend to only cross with close friends and family members, and that line starts a nanometer beneath my skin. I tend to keep the inner workings and failings of my body to myself. Everyone has to draw the privacy line somewhere, and that’s mine.

But … if I could keep other people from having a shitty heathcare experience, it might be worth it to cross that line. The huddled masses of average Austinites would be less likely to get angry as I did and would instead defer to the medical professional as an authority figure and take whatever shit they say to them to heart as the truth, because they don’t know better. They don’t have enough college credits in pre-med courses to apply at and get into a medical school, and they don’t read medical and psychiatric journals for fun. I do, and I also know full well that doctors are not gods. They are human beings, and many of them walk into examination rooms with their own set of prejudices and biases and belief systems. Furthermore, doctors are not necessarily smarter than anyone else. Having a title before your name doesn’t make you a genius.

What do you call a doctor who graduated last in his/her class?

Doctor.

So for now, while I work out how to carefully cross my personal privacy line to complain properly about why I was pissed off by the end of my medical adventure yesterday, I’ll just say do not go to Blackstone Family Health Center in Austin, Texas. Not even if you are dying. If you are dying, go to an emergency room. If you aren’t dying and need to see a doctor, go anywhere else. Those of you who know me, seriously just take me at my word on this. Those of you who don’t know me, just trust me if you can … because you are a human being you are worthy of respect and dignity, and you deserve better treatment than you will get there.