If you are a cat lover, (and let’s face it you are if you’re a friend of mine), then you really should have already read the four brilliant books from Tom Cox. If you haven’t, get thee to a book store and purchase for immediate reading pleasure.

It was reading the latest book, Close Encounters of the Furred Kind, that I started to think about the various methods my cats employ for waking me up in the morning.

Our old girl, Tia, has more patience than most, experience telling her that I won’t forget about her no matter how late it is according to her Swiss precision internal watch. However, this doesn’t stop her being the one who will escort me to the fridge and her food bowl just to make sure that if I have suffered an episode of temporary amnesia overnight then she will still end up with some form of fish mush in her face.

Grace likes a very passive aggressive approach and will sit and watch while I emerge from the embrace of sleep. Depending which side I’m sleeping on at the time, she will pick her spot carefully so that when I do peel back my eyelids, the first thing I see is Grace – just sitting and staring at me.  This morning she tried a variation on the theme and rather than using the bedside table as her base, she felt that being sat right beside me on the bed was going to work better. It certainly woke me up quickly when I opened my eyes to see two wide green ones looking back at me from 3cm away.

Tim is less passive, more aggressive in making his feelings known about just how late it is and don’t I realise that he’s starving and almost too weak to call the RSPCA – almost. His tactic is to present his bottom to my face. Whilst probably not the fluffiest cat in the world, he has cultivated some of the best baggy trousers I’ve ever seen – a delight to behold as they are walking away from you, a nightmare when he has one of his bouts of diarrhoea. And not that great when they’re stuffed into your face on a repeated basis whilst trying to work out who you are, where you are and how is it only Tuesday it should be at least half past January by now. If bum-in-face hasn’t worked, he’ll get vocal and start telling me about how starving he is and how he’s almost too weak to call the RSPCA, oh you’re getting up now excellent I can run ahead of you and get under your feet.

Loki’s main form of attack seems to be to try and make as much noise as possible, usually accomplished by taking a run up from down the other end of the house, running full speed into the bedroom door, over the floor, up the chair, down the chair, into the wardrobe, back up the chair, down the chair, back out of the room with claws out for extra irritation score, whilst yelling as loud as he can. Most of this can usually be prevented by fully closing the door but that doesn’t stop him doing steps one and two which result in the unmistakable sound of a tiny cat skull hitting something unyielding.

Of course once they’ve got me out of bed, there’s the seeming unnecessarily, yet absolutely necessarily, complicated feeding routine involving at least three different types of tinned food.

So, to the point of this post; I’m going out of town for a few days. Can anyone cat sit? 😉

There are many ways to describe pain. There are they ways that your doctor would recognise: stabbing, burning, throbbing, sharp, dull, prickly, dragging, on a scale of 1 to 10.

Here’s the translations:

“It’s a prickly pain”

Someone is randomly but persistently poking a sharp needle into various bits of my body.

“It’s a dull ache”

My arms and legs have been replaced with hot lead and I can’t move at all because they’re too heavy.

“Its’ a pressure pain”

My joints are two sizes larger than they were yesterday and no longer feel like they fit in my skeleton or skin.

“It’s a pounding”

There is a small person inside my skull using a hammer to hit the back of my skull from the inside.

“It’s about a 5 out of 10”

Holy crap, there’s an alien in my belly and it’s trying to fight its way out through my abdomen and why aren’t you doing anything to help me?

“It’s a grating sensation”

That feather feels like you’re using an electric sander to remove my skin – I’ll tell you whatever information you want to know, just please stop torturing me with a feather.

“It came on suddenly”

Holy crap, someone just hit me with a wrecking ball.

“It’s quite bad in the morning”

I can wake up from 10 hours sleep on a really nice mattress and be unable to move properly because everything hurts.

“It’s an intense pain”

I wonder if the drill that’s going through my right eye will ever stop? And could you please turn down the dimmer switch on the sun? And turn down the volume of the world?

“Overall pain rating 7 out of 10”

Good lord, I just want to curl into a ball and hope that when I emerge it’ll have gone away

“It’s a burning feeling”

Someone has injected acid into the veins in my leg and it’s slowly making its way up to my body – make it stop please.

“It’s a dragging feeling”

Someone has attached weights to my organs and they are trying to pull them out through my vagina.

“It’s making me a little nauseous”

If I move my head slowly enough, maybe I can avoid vomiting all over everything.

“It’s like a crushing feeling”

I have an elephant sat on my chest and it’s stabbing me every time I try and breathe. Could you kindly remove him to a local zoo maybe?

“Errrrrgheeeeewheeeeaaaaarrrrrgh”

Kill me, just kill me.

This is a rambling health post. You may leave now if you so desire.

You’re still here. OK.

I’ve worked really hard this year to do something about my health, to maintain the status quo and improve where I can.

I’ve been doing physio, I went back to a fairly strict interpretation of the FODMAP diet, I took up yoga, I even saw a naturopath.

But I’m done.

I’m done with analysing everything, of people prodding and poking at me (often in intimate areas thank you very much endometriosis). I’m done with lists of pills, powders, and god knows what else I’m “supposed” to be taking. I’m done with charts of meds giving me times of when I have to take certain things.

“This one 15 minutes before food, along with this one. This one just before you start eating. This one after you’ve finished eating. Oh and this one too.”

Done.

I’m cancelling most of the appointments I have booked for the rest of the year (with the exception of physio for my feet because if I stop now then I’m going to have to go through the pain again when I start back up because everything will backslide)

I’m not going to do the tests the naturopath has asked me to do. Because if they’re negative then it was a waste of time and money. If it’s positive then I’ll end up taking more pills.

And that’s a no.

I’ve been tracking my pain and fatigue the last three months and I’ve had barely a handful of days when the pain has hit even a 5, most of the time it’s a 1 maybe a 2. And that’s without taking painkillers. The fatigue sometimes hits a 4, but that’s mostly at 1 or 2.

And you know what? That’s bloody brilliant and nothing short of miraculous given that 5 years ago I couldn’t walk to the end of the driveway for pain, and even if I did make it I needed a two hour nap because of the fatigue.

I did a 12km hike on Monday for crying out loud! And still came home and did household chores and cooked dinner.

From where I was, my improvement to this point is about 95% I’d say. I’m actually ok with that 5% outstanding. After all, I have three conditions that cause chronic pain and fatigue.

My headaches have subsided and whilst I thought I was getting a lot of migraines, I think I’m actually ok with the 2 a month I seem to be getting.

Could I get that other 5%? Probably. But it seems to be taking an increasing amount of appointments, time and significant money in order to do it.

I’m done. I’m happy with my 95% improvement from this time 5 years ago.

And anyone with my conditions would be happy with that.

Maybe I’ll revisit some of the extra things in time. But for now, I’m happy to accept the status quo. It gives me a lot of reserves to survive any flares that come my way, and it’s a hell of a lot better than I could’ve hoped for in the past.

I’m done I tells ya.

I’ve been particularly crap at this blogging thing the past few weeks. Every Monday I add “Write blog post” to my to do list. Every day it gets migrated to the following day until Friday when I just give up and cross it off the list completely, forever not accomplished.

Why have I been so rubbish?

Lack of inspiration. Busy. Lack of inspiration. Fear of repeating myself.

I don’t know. I had a few ideas floating round my head but whenever I sat down to try and write, all the ideas took off like startled birds.

I’ve been keeping up with my bullet journal – it’s changed a fair bit from when I first wrote about it, and there will be further changes in October. I might do some more pictures and another post once I have October up and running.

I’ve been keeping up with the MOOCs that I’m signed up for. A situation that may change in coming weeks as I have overstretched myself a little and there’s one week that I would need to complete 15 lessons. Yeah. I need to drop some – they’ll be around again next year I’m sure. (I’ve started a MOOC specific post with completed , studying and to start to give you an idea. And maybe to record my insanity so I don’t do it again.)

I’ve been doing some health stuff; physio to try and stop the pain in my feet, physio to reduce the pain and impact from endometriosis, yoga to help with general well being and flexibility, naturopath to try and get my supplements as optimized as possible, specialist appointment to discuss possible future surgery. Boring, boring.

I’ve been doing some social stuff; games days, art days, kitten play date, nights out, hike club with a ton more in the calendar for the next month or so.

I’ve added a few books onto my read list so I’m up to 17 from a yearly target of 20. See my GoodReads page if you want more info on my reading habits.

The cats are all still psycho.

The bills keep coming in.

As do the work emails.

Yep. You’re all up to date with my life. Congrats.

Resume your own, probably far more interesting, life.

MOOCs 2015

Posted: September 22, 2015 in Ramblings of a Random Nature
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Updated 22 Sep 2015

Currently Studying:

Introduction to Human Physiology

The Psychology of Criminal Justice

The Brain and Space

Identifying the Dead

Epidemics

Terrorism and Counter Terrorism

Coming Up:

Antimicrobial Stewardship

The Science of Relationships

Fundamentals of Neuroscience Part 3

Sleep: Neurobiology, Medicine and Society

Solving the Energy Puzzle

Good Brain, Bad Brain: Drug Origins

Good Brain, Bad Brain: Parkinson’s

Holocaust Part 1

Holocaust Part 2

Synapses, Neurons and Brains

Completed:

Project Management

Preventing Chronic Pain

Vital Signs

Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation

Science of Medicines

Forensic Science and Criminal Justice

Microbiology and Forensic Science

Oil and Gas

Social Psychology

Rise of Superheroes

Introduction to Steel

Good Brain, Bad Brain

Introduction to Forensic Science

Our Earth: Its; History, Processes and Climate

Essential Human Biology

Elements of Renewable Energy

Effects of Radiation

The Science of Nuclear Energy

Our Energy Future

Fundamentals of Neuroscience Part 1 & 2

Can Renewable Energy Power the World?

Astrobiology and The Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Ebola in Context

Epidemics

The title has nothing to do with the blog post, but it is topical (first day of Spring and it’s freaking freezing) and I always struggle to think of titles.

Last Friday I did something I don’t often do and went out to a social gathering without husband. A friend was having a birthday party and invited us but husband was already booked. Usually I would wimp out, especially as it was a Friday evening and typically I’m fairly dead by the end of the week.

But for some reason, I thought, “Why the hell not?” and went.

And I’m glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Turns out, I can be quite extrovert when I’m not with husband. It’s like there’s only so much extrovert to spread between us when we’re in the same place and he usually gets it all, leaving me a wall flower. (Not his fault – entirely mine).

Whatever the reason, I had a great time and rediscovered how much I enjoy socialising with new people. Don’t get me wrong, I love my group of friends but the realisation that I saw two of them every single weekend in August is a bit eye opening. Like I say, love my friends. But it’s been a while since I met some new people.

So I’ve accepted an invite to a coffee date with some folks from one of the Face Book groups I’m signed up to. I think I’m going to be starting a different yoga class next term which will put me in with a group I have no previous connection with. All in the spirit of saying “yes”.

Although I have to fit new social things around existing ones, which means that my September is now fully booked, (even with three day weekends courtesy of having every friday booked off work, and a five day weekend at the end of the month), and most of October is booked already.

Aren’t I a regular socialite?

Spoiler: I’m not, but for some reason these people keep wanting to do things with me and I keep saying yes.

I’m actually using the prompt word this week.

I discovered Pinterest this year – or rather I was introduced to the time drain that is Pinterest.

To be fair, I’ve found some really good recipes on there and I’ve added a few to the regular rotation so it’s not all bad. But I have discovered some fairly strong pet peeves as well.

For a start, if you’re going to be funny, get your grammar right; I’m not going to re-pin or like something that has poor English, even if it is hilarious.

But back to pudding…

And the definition of recipe:

A set of instructions for preparing a dish, including a list of the ingredients required.

That’s a fairly loose definition actually and means that even the most basic of things can be called a recipe.

I recently came across this one for chocolate chip cookie pie. To save you clicking the link it’s basically shop bought choc chip cookies, stuck into a shop bought pie crust with shop bought Cool Whip.

Now, this is just a personal opinion, but to me, that’s not baking. That’s just assembling things that someone else (a machine, probably) has made.

I want to make this genius sounding pie, but I’ll be making the pasty from scratch (I’m thinking a sweet, rich, chocolate pastry), the cookies will be homemade (maybe an assortment of choc chip and peanut butter) and I’ll probably use a thick (chocolate) custard as the filler. Would a peanut butter custard work?

So, it’s given me an idea (when’s the next pie-jama party folks?), but I don’t consider it a recipe. I guess I like to work for things.

This all leads me to wanting pudding. Or maybe it was seeing the prompt word of pudding that lead me to wanting pudding. I don’t know. But pudding.

I failed at blogging last week – I just had so little inspiration.

I failed at blogging this week on my usual Monday – I just didn’t get round to it.

And now I sit here, I still have no inspiration. So here’s some pictures from the kitty play date we had on Saturday.

20150815_135723 20150815_133126 20150815_141803 20150815_151408

Last week I played a variant of the “what would you say to your 16 year old self” called “if you could go back and change things, what would you do?”

This came about because the industry I find myself working in currently is on its knees, and there’s some dire predictions that we won’t see a recovery for nearly 2 years. Alarming to say the least. So I’ve been updating my CV and mentally preparing myself for what may be around the corner.

Which inevitably leads to thoughts about what subjects I should’ve done in high school, what I should’ve gone to university to study, and what career path I should’ve taken.

I still don’t really know. I have vague thoughts about re-training but that requires equal amounts of time, money and dedication. The time thing I can probably manage at the minute – work isn’t that busy. But the money thing is an issue – nothing comes cheaply especially education, and I seem to have been lulled into financial security by being in a booming industry for a while.

Dedication probably comes with studying something that is interesting and passion driven. But, my track record with studying is not great.

So, if I won the lottery and won enough to a) pay for re-training, b) cover the household bills whilst I’m re-training, and c) top up the salary from my new career in order to cover the bills so we can live the life to which we’ve become accustomed, what would I do?

Probably something health related I think.

Physiotherapist?

Massage therapist?

The problem with both of those is my hands probably aren’t strong enough and knowing me I’d end up hurting myself whilst trying to manipulate someone’s back. Not to mention the potential damage you can cause someone if you screw up a manipulation.

Pharmacist?

Too much chemistry to learn. I was never good with chemistry.

Naturopath?

Possible – but I’m probably not the greatest advertisement for healthy living.

Psychology?

Hmmm. Maybe forensic psychology – combine two things that I have an interest in.

I just need to win Lotto then. Difficult when you don’t even play Lotto.

So I’ll just get up, go to work and try to pretend I care about this paperwork and email inbox.

So, here’s the story of how I wanted to do a nice thing but didn’t because I couldn’t work out how to say something without coming across as a patronising, condescending twat.

The other day in the supermarket, I was behind a woman who was taking her time getting things out of the trolley one by one as the checkout attendant was scanning things through. Being a late Friday afternoon, I was starting to get a bit frustrated and annoyed.

Then I heard the customer remark that she could only let the total go up to $120. It couldn’t go any higher than that because she only had $128 in her account.

And I felt like a complete arsehole.

I’ve been in that position where you have to somehow prioritise what items have to go through and which ones can be left out because you’ll make do with something else, because there’s more shopping in the trolley than there is money in the bank.

It’s an awful feeling and I found it embarrassing when I had to ask checkout to deduct things because I’d gone over what I could spend.

The lady picked out about half a dozen items to get her total to the magic $120 mark.

I really wanted to offer to pay for her other items – it was maybe $12 of food, not a figure that was going to significantly increase my shopping total but given that it was pasta and sauce, it could have meant a meal for her.

But I couldn’t quickly enough think of how to phrase my offer in such a way as to come across as caring rather than insulting.

Here’s the audience participation bit:

Have you found yourself in a similar situation? Did you offer to help? What did you say? How was it received?  If you’ve been in a situation like the lady in front of me, would you be insulted if a stranger in the checkout line offered to pay for some of your items? Can you suggest any ways of making the offer whilst being respectful and considerate, and not a condescending twat?

Look forward to seeing some of your thoughts!