Feeling better, sleeping well, so... weird dreams!
goofy
kass_rants
Ì have not remembered a dream in so long that I have started to doubt I dream anymore. Which is of course ridiculous. But a few hours before bedtime last night, my four-day migraine abated and the windstorm also held back and Melody cooperated. So I felt better and slept soundly.

In my dream, I was looking for a job after a long time being out of the workforce. (I know this comes from my efforts to become a novelist and the life transition I've been going through as a result.) Of course in the dream I had to deal with the fact that I hadn't worked in an office in sometime and a lot of things had changed. One of the big things was resumes. Apparently it had become de rigeur to print your resume in colourful flocked letters, a different colour for each copy. Although I thought this was stupid and made it harder to read, I did it anyway. Of course I did. Resumes not done like this weren't getting selected.

(This comes from my intense dislike of the trend in website design. It seems the cutting-edge designers are designing sites where the screens lie vertically, so you scroll down instead of page through. I suspect this looks really great on phones and tablets, which I do not use. It is confusing as hell on a laptop. And I hate it. And if I had to design a new site, I wouldn't do it that way. And that probably would mean people wouldn't come to my site.)

So I was at Wyeth-Ayerst in St. Davids, PA, where I used to work, trying to talk my way past the receptionist who wasn't having it. I talked her into taking my resumes to a few people I used to work with, but I stumbled over their names, so she didn't believe I really knew them. But just when all was lost and she was going to ask me to leave, I managed to chase her down a hallway and push a resume into her hands and told her to give it to a doctor I remembered and he remembered me and she nodded and let me into his office.

(I have gained many things in my life by not giving up and doing something spectacular at the last minute to save the day.)

Woke up this morning with this post on my mind as well as some scenes for "Diva". So I'm going to get to that now. Melody is quiet. Maybe her pain has abated as well. Jeez, I hope so.

More Melody
pillows!
kass_rants
I'm still worrying about Melody. And I'm not really sure why.

Well... I am. She's not acting completely normal. And it frightens me. She's clearly got something wrong with her left back leg. When she squats to pee, she totters on it and repositions it. When she gets off the couch, she favours it. And when she stands, she tries not to put equal weight on it.

The pills are helping. We give her one before dinner so that she'll sleep through the night. They don't knock her out. They're NSAIDs, not narcotics. But she clearly gets relief from them. She eats her dinner and then is quiet all evening and through to the morning.

In the morning, when I come downstairs, she's either laying on her couch, awake or standing on the couch, in the process of jumping down. Then she goes outside and explores. When she's not feeling well, she goes out and comes right back in. But she isn't doing that. She's going around the house and she won't be convinced to do otherwise, not even in the rainstorm this morning.

In the afternoon, around 2pm, however, she gets bitchy. And rammy. Yesterday she started yelling at me and wouldn't stop. Then she'd get up, come over to me, and go to the door. So I'd let her out. Then she'd go out and come right back in. She did this six times in a row at one point. And I'm here with a migraine and just wanted to lay on the couch and die. But she wanted to go out and do nothing. She wouldn't settle.

Greyhounds are like this. I remember when Preston hurt his back and the best thing for him was to lay down and rest and he absolutely wouldn't. You'd have to wait for him to exhaust himself and then he'd stand there and shake and you'd have to guide him to the floor and hope he stayed there. He used to make me nuts! But after a few days, he started to heal and then he didn't do it anymore. I think greyhounds have an innate fear of laying down when they are injured for fear they won't get up again or something. They are just completely stupid about it.

Also this pill does make her drink more and urinate more. I started to worry about kidney disease or diabetes, and then I read the side effects. She isn't having accidents. And sometimes she goes out and does nothing. She just doesn't want to stop moving for some reason. Bob thinks it must ache when she lays around but it feels better to move. Well, I've had injuries like that too I guess. But I know when to rest. And I can medicate myself. I guess we're just guessing here.

But then she settled down around 5:30 pm and got her pill at 6:30 and dinner at 7pm and was quiet all night.

She's really gotten skinny because she's not eating enough for how much she's moving. She's not not eating, but she's not finishing her meals. So we're putting lean ground beef in her food now and she's licking the bowl clean. So that's good. She's reminding us of Sebastian when he got skinny the year before he died. But I've been reminding Bob of a big difference: Sebastian had persistent diarrhea for like a year. He didn't just get skinny. And his leg weakness came on over the course of the entire time we had him (seven years!). He always had weak back legs and they just got worse and worse. Melody had an injury. I saw her hurt herself. She went from fine to owwie. It's not some sneaky disease. She hurt her leg. (Of course it could be cancer anyway, and that's the worry.)

This morning, she is still favouring that back leg, but she's still running outside and then coming in and resting comfortably.

I really really hope she stays quiet this afternoon. I have a terrible headache and I didn't sleep because of really bad windstorms. I want her to be comfortable, but I know if I give her a pill earlier in the afternoon, she'll wake up at 3am and start yipping for me.

So... maybe it's me who needs the pity today. I'm starting to convince myself that Melody is fine.

Melody
pillows!
kass_rants
Melody hurt one of her back legs a few weeks ago when jumping down from the couch. Since she only has one front leg, this makes it impossible for her to avoid using the back leg, and therefore it's giving her some pain. Add that to the typical greyhound insistence on doing exactly the wrong thing for an injury (pacing back and forth over and over again instead of resting), and you can see where this is going. And then it's been (relatively) cold and rainy for the past week or so, so she's probably achey too.

I don't want it to be her cancer coming back. And since I can put my finger on the moment it happened and she was moving fine before that point and then the soreness came on suddenly, I'm pretty sure it is all an injury. But you know my history of dogs who limp.

Bob was driving past the vet's today, so he stopped in to talk to Dr. House. Dr. House thinks Melody just needs to stop aggravating it so she can heal, so he prescribed her Deramaxx which is an NSAID for dogs. So it won't make her dopey. She's resting comfortably now, just like all the hounds usually do at this time of day.

But I worry about her, of course. It's been six months since her surgery and she's been so lively and active. It's hard to see her limping around.

However, she's eating and drinking normally and asking to go out and yelling at me whenever I don't anticipate her every whim. So I'm really hoping she'd just pulled a muscle and a little rest (and drier weather) will fix her right up.

But yeah... I'm so distracted by my worry for her that I'm not doing much else. It's hard to concentrate when she's in the same room, fussing and refusing to lay down or yelling at me.

Good anti-cancer thoughts will be appreciated.

I swam!
goofy
kass_rants
I went swimming in my backyard for the first time since September.

Man, it's cold!

health stuff
goofy
kass_rants
I've been having some serious thoughts on health lately.

When I moved to St. Croix, there was an unexpected effect. I expected that my arthritis and joint pain would get less since it got worse every winter in the cold in PA and there is no cold here. But what I didn't expect is that it would all completely vanish. I mean GONE. I mean even those bits that hurt because I overdid something don't hurt anymore, even when I overdo things. Yeah, I still get muscle soreness if I workout too hard. But I don't get the IT band tightness pulling on my knee, my shoulder doesn't act up when I type for too long without a break, et cetera.

It's really quite wonderful. Makes me almost afraid to visit somewhere where the temp gets below 75F (even though I really prefer a climate about 10 degrees F cooler than here).

Anyway, since I was sick for the Regatta a couple weeks ago, I've been having tummy issues. And unfortunately, when I don't feel good, I crave my comfort foods. And guess what -- my comfort foods make me worse. So I'm eating toast and pasta and my belly has given me various degrees of distress since mid-November.

Well... I think I'm finally sick of it. I think I'm finally going to make a commitment to eating right all the time. I think I'm finally prepared to admit that my comfort foods make me hurt more.

I probably eat less bad food than most people. I haven't drunk soda for years. I avoid processed food like it's poison. I don't buy anything in a box, bag, can, or bottle that has non-food names in the ingredients. I haven't been to any kind of fast food restaurant in over a year. I don't have a sweet tooth. I don't like cake and cookies.

But chocolate ice cream. Oh boy! That's hard. Especially when it's organic, fair trade, and made with agave syrup.

And it's too easy to get a pizza from Castaways a mile away. I don't really like pizza. Never really did. But if you forget to thaw some chicken for dinner, it's easy and relatively cheap. And it never fails to make my guts hurt the next day. But at the time I order one, I don't ever remember that.

And when my tummy hurts, I don't go swimming. I don't go sailing. I just sit on the couch. =(

Castaways does an amazing mahi wrap that it always so tasty I ask myself why I don't get those more often. I just need to avoid the seasoned fries.

I moved to St. Croix for my health. I've become more healthy in a lot of ways in the past year. Now it's time to take on my interior health.
Tags: , ,

What is "Smart"
goofy
kass_rants
It has often been a topic of my thoughts: why do we consider someone smart.

For example, in high school, I was a "smart kid". I got math and science easily. But when I got to university, I found it very difficult. I attribute this to the fact that math and science came to me easily in grade school and high school so I never had to take a book home ans study them. When I ran into math and science that wasn't easy, I stopped. I didn't have the mechanism in place to learn it. I didn't know how to start. I never had to before. I just got it. And then I didn't.

Some people hear that I speak five languages (and comprehend six) and say, "Boy, you must be smart!" But learning a language isn't a good measure of intelligence. People considered to be mentally retarded can learn other languages, and have. And people with high IQs have felt that they were incapable of learning another language (which is nonsense, but they feel that way, so they stop, like me with math and science in college). So knowing more than one language certainly isn't a measure of "smarts".

My Mum (and most Mums I expect) would coo, "You're so smart!" when I answered a question right while watching Jeopardy. But the reality was that I was memorizing all those facts in school everyday. And as you realise the moment you get to college, memorizing facts isn't a measure of intelligence. Anything you can look up somewhere isn't smart to memorize. Memorize where to look stuff up. That's "smarts".

Then there's wit. People who can come up with the right thing to say at the right time (and not two hours late like most of us) are considered clever. And we usually interpret this as "smart". But are comedians smart? If I can pull the best comment out of the air at precisely the moment at which it will get the biggest laugh, it may make me a great comedian. But does it prove I'm smart?

So what is "smart"?

I don't honestly think the word has any quantifiable meaning at all.

(This is what happens to language majors who spend too many sick days listening to Professor Brian Cox on Radio 4).

Confession time
Oh the shame!
kass_rants
Okay.  So at University, I failed Calculus.  I was an engineering student in my first semester and I blew it.  It's not that I didn't study.  I did.  But sometimes I didn't even know how to start the problems.  Most of my class failed calculus because our professor refused to grade on a curve.  Later I found out that he was giving us tests from Calc 3 that we shouldn't have been able to do, and later he was fired.  But I went through a terrible period where I believed I was stupid because I couldn't understand Calculus.

The weird thing is that I took Calculus in high school.  Now, understand that the calc I learned in high school was surpassed in the first month of my college Calc for Engineers class.  But still, I had been able to do it.  And then suddenly I wasn't.  Now it's obvious that it was the prof playing silly buggers with my class.  Nevertheless, since then I've feel particularly un-intelligent because I failed Calculus.

A couple times in my life, I'd had the idea of taking a Calculus class at a local university just to prove that I could do it.  But I am a snob and if it's not calc for engineers, I'm not going to feel it was as difficult as the class I failed.  I had a friend who was a high school math teacher fresh from her degree program and she was going to teach me calc, but then I moved and she got married and had kids and blah blah blah.

Recently, as I may have mentioned, I've been listening to The Infinite Monkey Cage with Professor Brian Cox (Phys, U. Manchester) and in a weird way it's making me long for calculus.

So I went on the UVI website.  Their website is confusing and partially broken.  I can't figure out if a non-matriculated student can even take a single math class.  I also can't tell from their description if Intro to Calculus and Analytical Geometry is really a calculus class or one of those pre-calc things that non-engineering students take.  They don't have any higher Calc classes (like Calc 3 or Differential Equations) which makes me think they don't really teach calculus at all.

And then I did a web search and found this: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/

Calculus at MIT!  Now I cannot possibly argue that that wouldn't be as challenging as my university calc class!

I think this is the course made for me: http://ocw.mit.edu/resources/res-18-006-calculus-revisited-single-variable-calculus-fall-2010/ And I quote:  "Calculus Revisited is a series of videos and related resources that covers the materials normally found in a freshman-level introductory calculus course. The series was first released in 1970 as a way for people to review the essentials of calculus. It is equally valuable for students who are learning calculus for the first time."

Perfect!

You know, I'm really weird.  Who does calculus for the fun of it?

short post because I want to keep writing
goofy
kass_rants
1013 words on "Kit" this morning before 9am my time.  Yay!

A little break to listen to an episode of The Infinite Monkey Cage and then I'm back at it.

Kit has broken the 5000 mark now (5189) and Gia is at 8099.  I'll probably work on Gia this morning and get it over 10,000 today.  I've been thinking about Gia a lot since she's a physicist and I've been watching a lot of Professor Brian Cox's shows on YouTube lately.

Okay.  More later.

Also http://createyourdreamjob.com launched today.  Please go check it out.  And pass it around.  Tell your friends.  Post the articles other places.  Thanks!

(no subject)
goofy
kass_rants
Walked 40 minutes this morning.  Slowly.  But still walked for the first time since Friday.  We took a little detour and met some nice doggies, all of whom were very happy to see us.  I'm feeling a little shaky now, but not bad.

There is a dead mouse in the kitchen and we can't locate it.  I hate that.  Thankfully we live life with the windows and doors wide open.

I haven't watched TG4 or anything in Irish in well over a week.  I'm being very lazy.  Frankly, this month has been rough financially and I almost gave up on my plans to go to Ireland this summer.  But things are looking up.  And when I stop eating grains, I get less depressed and hopeless (surprise, surprise!).

Still taking it easy today.  But working on CYDJ.com in the periphery.

Wasted weekend, back on the wagon
goofy
kass_rants
Well, I never did make it to the Regatta this weekend.  We went out to breakfast with some ham radio friends of Bob's on Friday morning, but by the time I was supposed to go to the Yacht Club, I was having that "seasick on land" feeling and spent the day on the couch watching reruns of QI.  Saturday and Sunday I felt much better, but not well enough to be away from my couch for hours.  So I stayed home and watched the races from here.  A friend of ours -- actually the realtor who showed us houses when we first visited -- won his category.  But there weren't enough boats registered for him to win the big prize:  his weight in rum.  So someone else won it.  Someone heavier!  That's a lot of rum.

So I didn't get to be social.  And I didn't feel good enough to do anything else but plan.  So I have a plan.  I need to start eating better.  I may not eat processed food or drink soda, but the amount of bread I eat isn't good and it makes me feel like crap.  So I'm off the floury stuff as of this morning.

I wanted to go for a walk this morning, but it's blowing a gale out there and I don't feel THAT good yet.  So walking and working out will wait another day.  My head still hurts a little.

But in my lazing around this weekend, I did figure something out.  I figured out why getting emails from these blogging gurus is making me so angry.  I subscribed to these emails but whenever I get one, I feel affronted.  I mean, they're just telling me how to promote my blog and that's what I want, right?

Well... it is and it isn't.  I want my new blogs to get good traffic and have lots of people following them.  But what I don't want is to become obsessed with marketing again.  From 1997 until 2012, it was kind of my raison d'être.  It comprised most of what I did for RH.  And let me tell you that it is as soul-sucking when you do it for yourself as when you do it for a big pharmaceutical company.  Yes, you are just letting people who want your product to know your product is out there and available.  But you also have to do a lot of shit and try to game the system (hello Google Analytics!).  And in the end, you may get a sale or two out of it.  But meanwhile, you will see your friends happily posting on their blogs about Simplicity's new Steampunk patterns and wonder why you fucking bother...

When I moved here, I stepped away from a lot of things I used to do.  Worrying was one of them.  And my biggest worry was search engine placement, Page rank, referring sites, and that kind of stuff.  Strangely, in the last year of me doing nothing, our number of hits per month has risen to its highest average ever.

Lately with these new blogs, I've been looking at these things again.  And I HATE it.  I hate thinking about traffic and SEO and keywords and writing engaging headlines and producing "epic content" (I HATE the misuse of that word!).  It's all really a lesson in writing badly.  And the NOW NOW NOW vibe really just makes my stomach retch.  I don't want to think about positioning something to go viral.  I don't want to use only the keywords people search for on Google.  I don't want to do what everyone else has done.

I just want to talk about stuff.  And if you want to listen to what I have to say, please follow my blogs.  Subscribe or do the RSS thing or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.  And if I have something to sell that you think is valuable, please buy it.  And if I don't, then don't.

I think I'm going to watch some more QI now...

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