Saturday, July 30, 2005

update on my medical tests

Friday, I went through some more testing. First was the evoked potential testing, which tests how fast my nerves carry signals to my brain. The nurses performing the tests weren't able to do the visual part, the computer that controls the visual stimulus crapped out. The test wasn't that bad. The worst part is that the nurse was having a hard time finding the proper nerve in my ankle which causes the toes to move. The probe administering the electric shock was a small plastic rectangle with 2 metal discs about 2 inches apart, and on my left ankle she really had to press hard to find the correct nerve bundle. Aside from that, the only bad part was the conductive gel that was used to hold the electrodes in place on my head. Think about the nastiest, stickiest, glop hair-gel you can, double that, and that's what held the electrodes in place on my head. Fortunately, it's water soluble, so it washed out when I got home.

After removing electrodes from all over my head, and God only know where on the rest of my body, it was off for an MRI of my head and neck, looking for lesions. I was tired, from having been awake most of the night before, due to plain insomnia, and the tech remarked on how relaxed I was in the MRI tunnel, even with all the loud noises and crap it makes. Since I had ear plugs, then foam wedges holding my head still, it really muffled the sound, and I actually fell asleep during the MRI. The tech toward the end needed to give me an IV injection of contrast dye, and the tech was concerned that I was having a bad reaction, passing out at the thought of a needle, or whatever. Nope, was just taking a nap. That was a new first for the MRI tech. I am officially the first person to fall asleep during an MRI.

No news on the results. I should have the results of both by August 9, at the latest, which is when my spinal tap is scheduled for. So, just a little more waiting, and hopefully I will know something.

Thanks to everybody for the encouragement, well-wishes, and prayers to the Divine Being(s) of your choice.

Friday, July 29, 2005

friday catblogging, part 2

Three cats, one couch, zero bloodshed. A miracle caught in pixels.

Left to right: Kitty MacBoing Boing (aka Mac), Maleficent, and Noah

friday catblogging

McCullough continues to demonstrate her excellent napping techniques.

Such form and grace. Superb tuck technique. Always a top-notch napper.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Well, the gawd-awful upper respiratory infection is clearing up. Which is the good part. Dr. F gave me Biaxin to take, and a 10 day run instead of the normal 7 day run, since my immune system needs all the help it can get at this point. Yep, the great trade-off. Artificially suppress my immune system so it doesn't attack my own organs, and deal with a higher rate of infections (sinus, bronchitis, etc). Or, let my screwed up immune system do what it wants, including attack my organs, but by damn I won't get a sinus infection.

So, I take the Biaxin. I swear though, this is the worst antibiotic for side effects I have ever taken, and I still have 2 days to go. May cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea... Sometimes the cure is damn near as bad as the original problem. "Only 1% of patients discontinued use because of these side effects..." I will stick it out. I will stick it out. Only 2 more days....

Sunday, July 24, 2005

carnival of the cats #70

Welcome all to my oubliette, and the 70th edition of the Carnival of the Cats. For those of you who are return visitors, you are familiar with the somewhat cramped conditions. For those of you who are visiting for the first time, an oubliette takes some getting used to, but I think with a little shuffling we can find enough space for everyone. I've lit some extra candles so you don't have to worry about stepping on any of the resident kitties. There should be plenty of refreshments for all, human and feline alike. So, get comfortable, make yourselves at home, and enjoy the show.


Laurence Simon of This Blog Is Full Of Crap starts off the Carnival by reminding people that the Signup for the Blogathon continues.

Earlier this week, I was sent a list of Theories of Cat Behavior. While this research may be incomplete, I will be indicating which theories are illustrated in each post. To make things simpler, I present you with the current list for your reference:

A cat at rest will tend to remain at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force, such as the opening of cat food, or a nearby scurrying mouse.

A cat will move in a straight line, unless there is a really good reason to change direction.

Cats know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and will, therefore, use as little energy as possible.

All bags and boxes in a given room must contain a cat within the earliest possible nanosecond.

A cat's desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.

A cat is composed of matter plus Anti-matter plus it doesn't matter.

As yet undiscovered.
Lisa at the tao of me shows us how much Siofra Loves her new toy. Mmmm, crinkly. Crinkly is good. Here we see the Law of Bag/Box Occupancy.

From Blog d'Elisson, Elisson ponders the question "Do they miss us when we're gone?" Hakuna and Matata provide the answers. They also seem to be demonstrating the Law of Cat Inertia.

Barry at enrevanche receives a new shipment of software from Microsoft Partner Gato. Cats count as software, right? Also note the Law of Bag/Box Occupancy.

srp at Melange shows Mr. Rhett and Miss Clover calling Here Lizard, Lizard. This is a classic example of the Law of Cat Inertia.

Brian at Brian Moon shows Smacky Posing and biting. This behavior illustrates the First Law of Cat Energy Conservation.

Julie at blog presents Bandit, Down and Dirty Here we see two Theories of Cat Behavior being illustrated in the series of photos: The Law of Cat Inertia (the outside force being the sidewalk), and the First Law of Cat Energy Conservation.

Rahel at Elms in the Yard shows Taking a Drink like the lady she is. Her Ladyship seems to be demonstrating the First Law of Cat Energy, and possibly providing the field of cat science a glimpse of a new law of Cat Thermodynamics that has not yet been fully investigated.

Storyteller at Scribblings presents Feline Friday: Lazy Days. Here we see a textbook example of the First Law of Cat Energy.

Aunty Holly decides there is nothing better than a day in the sun. She also demonstrates the First Law of Cat Energy, with the interesting possible corollary of Cat Thermodynamics.

The Robot Vegetable at Middle-Fork snaps a shot of Sabaki, She Sleeps This Week who is demonstrating the First Law of Cat Energy.

Matt at The Tattered Coat show us Friday Luna Contacts Her Legislators. Here we see an exception to the Law of Cat Composition.

Russ at TacJammer has finally caught Lou on film, er, pixels, or whatever. We see another demonstration of the First Law of Cat Energy. Hmm, I think I'm seeing a pattern emerge.

SB at Watermark presents Friday Cat Blogging. Here we see a seriously sweet example of the First Law of Cat Energy.

Christine at BTW presents . An adorable example of the Law of Cat Inertia.

Chuq at 7610 presents Pip and Blur. Blur is demonstrating the First Law of Cat Energy, while Pip was demonstrating for us the Law of Cat Motion, and may begin to demonstrate the Law of Furniture Replacement.

Jeff at Athenamama documents the final inspection by Thalia of the bathroom remodeling project. Thalia does not seem to be demonstrating any known Laws of Cat Behavior. This case may warrant further study.

Catherine Collingwood at presents Friday Cat Blogging. Emily is demonstrating the First Law of Cat Energy Conservation to such a degree, that it is sometimes mistaken for the cat in question being deceased.

Tommy at Striving for Average presents In the dryer. This appears to be a more unusual, and potentially hazardous, variation on the Law of Bag/Box Occupancy.

Jan of CascadeExposures provides some wonderful photos of Spectra in the sun, and relates the adventures of Spectra. Jan describes a classic example of the Law of Cat Inertia.

DeputyHeadmistress at The Common Room shows us a feline in a rather undignified position, which is Why You Should Put the Lid on the Trashcan. An example of the Law of Bag/Box Occupancy, taken to the extreme.

Sissy Willis at sisu has a triple entry this week with the cats checking out the new computer, Babe in the garden, Baby indulges in some asparagus. An almost textbook example of the Law of Cat Composition for the first, and the First Law of Cat Energy Conservation for the latter. I don't know of any theories concerning cat nutrition preferences, so I sense there may be an opportunity for more discovery in that area.

Peaches at The Peach Pit begins catblogging with Recalcitrant Cat. Peaches's cat is demonstrating the Law of Cat Inertia, since both are new to catblogging, the camera will soon no longer be significant enough to change a cat's inertia.

maggie katzen at maggies meanderings and shameless plugs shows Carlos getting a drink. This seems to be another variation of the Law of Bag/Box Occupancy.

From Mind of Mog, Mog presents 3 entries for this week also. First she shows off her new laptop, next she reminds us about the upcoming Blogathon, and catches a photo of her own tiny terrorists. Each of these photos seem to indicate the First law of Cat Energy Conservation and the Law of Cat Composition.

Romeocat at CatHouse Chat presents I know, it's NOT Friday, but..., showing Law of Cat Motion in action

Susan at pages turned presents , which may in fact be an example of the Law of Cat Composition

Jack Cluth at The People's Republic of Seabrook presents Why, yes, you ARE disturbing my repose..... This seems to be a cat who is very upset that something has disturbed the First Law of Cat Energy Conservation.

Jay at Wizbang relates the story of a cat's fury. It seems the theories of cat behavior are incomplete, since there is not yet one that explains the interaction between cats and water.

Martin Lindeskog at EGO informs everyone that MORRIS WANTS TO COME IN. Indeed he does, and is a great example of the Law of Cat Motion.

Michelle at When Cats Attack presents The New Cat Toy. The series of photos is a great contribution to the study of cat behavior. We can witness The Law of Cat Inertia and the Law of Bag/Box occupancy.

Kimberly at Music and Cats presents Feline Friday: Mirror, mirror.... Hmm, some felines are more interested in their own appearance than others. This is also another area that warrants more research.

Brendan Loy of The Irish Trojan's Blog shows us what greeted him one day. Another prime example of the Law of Cat Energy Conservation and the Law of Cat Inertia.

Cathy, who appears to not have a blog, submitted a catcam page, for those who require constant observation of other cats. At time of posting, there were two cats demonstrating the Law of Cat Energy Conservation

Tonight, I end this Carnival with sad news. NF at Meanderings of a Post-Modern Present-Day Wit bring sad news that The Great Blue Hunter Is No More. Goodbye, Tsarina Mitzi. May there be good hunting for you on the Other Side.

This concludes the 70th edition of the Carnival of the Cats. I hope you all enjoyed your visit, and considering the number of participants in this Carnival, I may need to work on an addition, so it is not so cramped here whenever it will be that I host the Carnival again.

Next week's Carnival of the Cats will be hosted by Gir at Your Moosey Fate.

As a final note, if you find anything that needs correcting, please let me know, I won't be offended. I was working on this Carnival while trying to kick an upper respiratory infection, and wasn't always at the top of my game. I think I have found and made all necessary corrections at this point, but no guarantees.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

i finished it

It being Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I rate it 5 tissues out of 5. Normally, I would have read it in much less time, but since I spent a lot of time resting asleep due to the sinus infection and the neurological crap. Further review of the story will come later, once I've had a chance to digest things.

And seriously, get some tissues for the end.

Friday, July 22, 2005

the true nature of antibiotics and bacteria

While having a lot of time to think, mostly of random crap, I've decided that my sinus infection is a lot like enemy troops, holed up and dug in, and will fight to the last man, er, microbe, much like the Japaneese soldiers of WWII. The bacteria have dug in and will fight to the death. So, seeing the need to eliminate the enemy, Dr. F gave me a 10 day run of Biaxin XL. Biaxin knows the enemy well, know it's tricks, and will attack with minimal of civilian casualties (the normal bacteria all humas are supposed to have in our intestines, etc). Seven days is usually all Biaxin needs to clear out all enemy bacteria, but they have ten to get the job done, to be sure all pockest of resistance have been eliminated.

Sometimes, however, despite the valliant effort of Biaxin, or any of the other platoons sent to root out the enemy bacteria, they are unable to complete the mission. The microbes have become sneaky, are hiding among the friendlies, and impossible to eliminate. That's when the doctor sends in the Special Forces, Flagyl being one of the units at ready. Flagyl receives it's orders "Men, we know the enemy is sneaky, has started hiding among the civilian population. Your orders are to go in and destroy every organism that is not the human's body. Do you understand!? It does not matter how many cells the organism has, or if it claims to be a friendly. This is a serious situation we are being sent into. There will be no prisioners taken. If you see a microbe, you will kill it. It is that simple. Any questions!? Good! Now go and do your duty and protect the human body at all costs."

Oh, yeah, it's that kind of afternoon. I'm sure the war for my sinuses between the microbes and the Biaxin isn't helping at all.

variations of the english language

We all know that the English language has many variations, the most obvious is American vs British English. I think last night I was composing my posts in another, more localized variation of the English language - medicine head. I re-read what I wrote last night, about the trip to the neurologist mainly, and while it was English, it wasn't a form I was familiar with. I've edited the post, so if you didn't already read it, you missed it.

Actually, being an amateur linguist, I think Medicne Head English is what I was writing in, and is closely related a more familiar dialect - Ethanol English, a.k.a. Beer English or Drunk English. I believe those of you who are familiar with Ethanol English were able to read my post with minimal difficulty. If you have never visited a tribe that speaks Ethanol English almost constantly (such as the ΔΧ or ΣΝ tribes), then you may have had problems reading Medicine Head English. Those of you who were once part of the above listed, or similar tribes, should not have had any problem at all at translation.

friday catblogging

The Ninja Attack Cat in action...

The Ninja Attack Cat has chosen her victim. At this point there is little hope for the target of her attack.

Crouching Cat Sniffing Catnip prepares to launch her swift and lethal assault.

The target, Maleficent, who is preoccupied with trying to burrow into the blanket to realize what grave danger she is in.

I have no pictures of the aftermath. Words can barely describe it. The Ninja Attack Cat went back to sniffing catnip, and Maleficent decided to wander off somewhere else.
Remember to head over to Modulator for the Friday Ark, with it's medley of creatures, to add yours to the list, or to simply enjoy the pics.

Also, the Carnival of the Cats will make a stop here Sunday and go live at 6pm CDT, so be sure to get your posts to me sometime between now and then. You can use either of the 2 usual methods to send your post: the Carnival Submission Form which Ferdy's pet human, Bruce, was so gracious to build, or email your submission to submissions (at) You may also email your submission to me directly at oubliette.mira (at)

technical notes

Since my background images, spacers, and icons are on my own server, and not on Flickr (which violates the terms of service), there won't be any pretty background images on here for the next few days until we can get our graphics server up and running again. Yes, graphics server = old desktop machine. That's why I only have the stuff that polishes the site on that machine. So, everyone will just have to deal with it. If you are still seeing the backgrounds, good for you, you have the image cached.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

finally, the neurologist

Today was the day I finally saw a neurologist. He did a few quick evaluations - reflexes, how sensitive is each half of my body to vibration (using a tuning fork) or being stuck with a toothpick, how well my eyes track his fingers, how good is my peripheral vision, does one eye see color more intensely than the other, un-even strength right vs left. The results, my left side is less sensitive to vibration and being stuck with a toothpick. My left eye sees color less intensely than my right eye, which is something I could have easily been born with (to go with my barely noticeable heart murmur). The loss of muscle strength seems to be generalized.

The doctor was refreshingly straightforward. "I don't know what you have. We're going to do a full MS work up, because your symptoms lean toward MS at this time." I will be getting a spinal tap in 2 weeks, and hopefully between now and then will have another MRI of my brain and cervical spine, and a series of 3 tests that measure how fast my brain reacts to a stimulus. I'll have electrodes on my head, measuring brain activity. I will look at a screen, and the computer will record the time it takes my brain to react to the visual stimulus. Then an audio stimulus, then a tactile stimulus. The reaction times of MS patients are about 80% of what would be expected of the normal reaction times.

So, when I know something, I'll post the results.

we're back in business

Some nice little storms came through here last night, and one lightning strike was very close to the house. Very close as in seeing the flash in the late afternoon, in the bedroom, with the curtains closed, and MY EYES SHUT. I haven't found where it struck yet, but it has to be within about 100 yards of the house. It was the kind of lightning strike where you hear it coming, crackling, and then BOOM!

Well, wherever the lightning struck, the cable modem was fried through the cable line, since everything on the same surge protector is still working fine. So, nearly 24 hours later, after borrowing Luke's cable modem, we're back in business. Otherwise we would have to wait until Saturday for the cable company to come out and swap units. A plus for renting hardware"This one is fried, gimme a new one." There was no way we could go until Saturday without internet access. Well, if it had come to that, everyone would have been subjected to a rather hectic, slapped together, Carnival of the Cats on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

theories of cat behavior

A cat at rest will tend to remain at rest, unless acted upon by some outside force, such as the opening of cat food, or a nearby scurrying mouse.

A cat will move in a straight line, unless there is a really good reason to change direction.

Cats know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and will, therefore, use as little energy as possible.

All bags and boxes in a given room must contain a cat within the earliest possible nanosecond.

A cat's desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.

A cat is composed of matter plus Anti-matter plus it doesn't matter.

As yet undiscovered.

Monday, July 18, 2005

carnival of the cats #69

The 69th edition of the Carnival of the Cats is up over at Boxing Alcibiades. As always, there is a great turnout of kitties, so take your time and stroll through the posts.

Be sure to check out Wampi's Story, who was thrown off of the top of an apartment building in New York City, and fell 6 stories. Wampi survived, but the fall broke one of his rear legs in 7 places, which required extensive surgery. If you can spare a buck or two, help Wampi's family with his vet expenses. Unfortunately, I can't right now, so I will help spread the word about Wampi's Story.

Next week's edition of the Carnival will be back at the Oubliette, and the cats here are all excited about the prospect of visitors. There are 3 ways you can send your submissions for this week's Carnival. The first two are the standard Carnival Submission Form or email submissions(at) You can also email your submission directly to me, oubliette.mira(at) If you email me directly please put either "CotC" or "Carnival of the Cats" in the subject line, to make it easier for me. If you have any questions about the Carnival, submission guidelines and such, head over to the Carnival of the Cats page.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

story time

The cats do a little light reading this afternoon.

Noah reads up on how to become a familiar. He's decided he can do better than Crookshanks; he would have been able to take out Wormtail, and found a Felismouth to tell what was going on. He also wants a potion to make his belly hair grow back which has actually become worse since the previous picture posted.

Time for a nap after reading so much. Reading human is such hard work.

Maleficent tries to decide if she want's to become a familiar herself. She's startled when she realizes she has to read 5 other books before she can read the one Noah's been reading.

something to ponder

When hungry, why do we go to the refrigerator 5 minutes after having looked in it the first time, thinking something different and better will be there that wasn't 5 minutes ago?

Back to reading Harry Potter.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


I now have it, my precious...the new Harry Potter book. So, no posting, until I can't read anymore and have to take a break. Of course, this blog has been a little light on content lately, mainly because I've been feeling like crap. And you need not fear, I won't post any spoilers for the book for at least a month, to give people to get caught up. Or if I really feel the need to post a spoiler for the book, I'll create an expandable post, so you, the reader, can choose to read it or not.

Enough blogging, more reading.

Oh, by the way, Mom and Eirene, do you have my Harry Potter books years 1-5? Tom and I can't find any of our Harry Potter books. Well, Harry Potter a l'Ecole des Sorciers, Harry Potter et la Chambre des Secrets, and Harry Potter et le Prisioner d'Azkaban, and Harry Potter et la Coupe de Feu don't count. There are worse ways to try to keep my French decent. But I sure can't remember what the word for "owl" is right now - I'm only 1/3 through the first book.

Friday, July 15, 2005

friday catblogging

Today, Mac gets a little screen time.

Mac does his best roadkill impression in the hallway.

Mac poses for a formal portrait.

Mac started to get annoyed with the flashing thing.

Mac has been spending the past couple of months spending more and more time in the rest of the house, and has even been getting along with the other cats. Amazingly enough, I've even witnessed Mac and Noah playing and giving each other friendly head-butts.
Check out everybody else's creatures of many sorts over at Modulator, with the Friday Ark. (Although, happily, cat posts are still way ahead of dog posts.)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

dennis storm damage

Here are the pics I said I would eventually get around to posting of the storm damage as then Tropical Storm Dennis moved over Northern Alabama.

The corn I mentioned in the previous post.

The tomatoes that weren't caged also somewhat more flat than they were previously. Fortunately, all I have to do is re-set the stakes and tie the vines back up. And yes, the tomatoes are ripe and very tasty. Mmmm...fresh, home-grown tomatoes.

The front of the house. The tree on the right is a pear tree, which admittedly is laden with fruit, it is sagging more than before the storm. Also there is scattered miscellaneous debris in the yard - leaves, twigs, some trash, etc. Also, the white triangle in the front door is Mac watching me. Maleficent is to the left of Mac, enjoying the view.

Monday, July 11, 2005

damage assessment

Once I woke up this afternoon, I went outside to assess the storm damage. The wost I could see around here was our vegetable garden suffered wind damage. The winds had blown all of the corn over, but fortunately it was mostly ripe, so we will have to harvest it all in the next day or so. Beyond that, some leaves and small limbs had blown out of trees, and I think there was some street flooding (which I slept through). Overall, not too big of a deal in this area.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Some more hurricane blogging.

Sunset, couretsey of Hurricane Dennis, on Saturday, July 9, 2005. The first wave of clouds move over the Huntsville area, while the hurricane was still 250 miles off the coast.

Sattelite image of Hurricane Dennis earlier this morning, at 10:15 CDT

Color enhanced IR sattelite image of the CONUS

Based on the weather reports, it's going to be an interesting evening in North Alabama, so I'm hoisting the Tropical Storm Warning flag now.

nappy time

McCullough can pick some of the most unusual position to take a nap

McCullough has decided she doesn't give a crap about the rain that's coming.

have you ever...

...looked up into the in-door water/ice dispenser in a refrigerator? I'm talking really looked up there, or do you just go along because you know the horrors that live there, but want to try to ignore it? It's NASTY up there. I think I found out why I've been causing my husband and I to keep getting GI infections. We are the only ones who drink water from the refrigerator, but others in the house will fill up cups of whatever sweetened beverage with ice from the dispenser, splashing some of the sugary whatever up into the dispenser, where one won't see it unless you go looking for it.

My theory is that when my hubby or I would get ice and water, sometimes we splashed some of a colony of who-knows-what into our drink, and would get sick. My immune system, being artifically supressed, doesn't handle it so well. My husband on the other hand, has a healthy immune system, so all he experiences is a little discomfort for a day, while I am laid out for a week or so.

Mystery solved, but it still doesn't mean I will be feeling better any time soon.

Friday, July 08, 2005

so, how about going to the beach?

Dennis is continuing on it's determined course to destroy Alabama.

Infrared sattelite imagery

Stay updated yourself if you like at the National Hurricane Center's website.

head count

All fish are present and accounted for, it seems that nobody is experiencing any stress from the transition from the pet store to my aquarium. Yay me. All seem to be engaging in normal behavior, and enjoying their well planted tank.

friday aquarium blogging

I said I would have pictures of fish, so fish I bring you.

The overall view of my aquarium setup. It is a 20 gallon long, with a biological undergravel filter. The only fake plants are the very short ones, one clump in the rear left side, and one at the front right corner.

My lonely pygmy cory cat, Corydoras pygmaeus, resting on a leaf of the Amazon Sword Plant. The pet store only had this little guy, so I'll be getting him some new friends when the next shipment of fish arrives.

The White Cloud Mountain Minnows are a very active fish, so my shots of them are all blurs as they zip by, until I get some better lighting. In the front right corner is my lone oto algae eater, Otocinclus affinis, resting on a rock while some Mountain Minnows zip around.

A photo of a White Cloud Mountain Minnow, Tanichthys albonubes, from Wikipedia. The name is because a young Chineese found some of these fish at White Cloud Mountain. One of the Chineese the names for this fish is 唐魚 (táng wén). Couldn't pass up a chance to use Chineese characters. Check out the Wikipedia article, I'm not going to copy the entire article here.

A shoal of pygmy corys, photo from Johnny Jensen

Thursday, July 07, 2005

thursday catblogging

Catnip...heh, heh, heh...

Noah enjoys a little quality time in the catnip box.

yeah, this has turned into a photoblog

Mainly due to lack of real content. Hey, I can always post a couple of pics of something, and at least give you, my readers, something to look at. Photoblogging is easier than coming up with coherent thoughts right now. (sigh)

Things haven't changed with me neurologically since I last whined, bitched, and moaned posted about what's going on. I was supposed to see the neurologist today, but he's on call, so my appointment has been pushed back 2 weeks because the doctor I'm supposed to see is on call tomorrow. So two more weeks of this bullshit. I now realize it's been over a month since I posted any details of what's going on, so to start off, here are the last main posts.

Weekly Status Update - June 8
Hypoglycemia Episode - June 8
Auditory Hallucinations - June 17

There are a few others around June 8, if you go through the archives, get caught up on the backstory.

Anyway, here goes for my not-so-weekly update. I've learned to cope with the jarring vertigo episodes, what is guaranteed to trigger one (looking up while walking, and looking into my aquarium from an odd angle which causes distortions). Heat is my enemy, for those of you who know what a typical Southern summer is like, I simply can't handle it. For those who are not so familiar, a typical day is about 85°-90° F, and about somewhere between 80% and 110% humidity. On a hot and humid day, I can't be outside more than 10 minutes until I'm about to pass out, or DFO in the local dialect. So, I've turned into a creature of the night, leaving the blissful airconditioning of the house during the day only when I need to - go to a doctor's appointment, have someone drive me to run an errand, or work in my garden. Then I take my cane with me, to have an added support when I start to loose my balance. I've fallen 3 or 4 times, none major, either loosing my balance while looking for something on a low shelf, or walking on an uneven surface.

I'm still not driving any distance without another driver in the car with me. Still having short-term memory loss, which means I can remember events from years ago with perfect clarity, but would loose my ass if it wasn't attached. I have real trouble remembering what I was going into another room to do, what someone's name is, that sort of thing. In one ear and right out the other. My family and friends seem to have adjusted to my constant flakiness. And I make lists, lots of lists. I have my notepad, my paper brain, where I write down the things I need to do, and how critical the task is.

I've developed a couple of new symptoms since my last update: a near constant ringing in the ears, parestheias (abnormal sensations) in my hands and feet, profound fatigue, trembling of my hands, and some other stuff that I've probably forgotten. I've made a whole list to take to the neurologist whenever I get to see him finally, so I don't have to rely on my faulty memory to give the doc the entire list of symptoms.

I finally got the results back from the tests I had at the ENT doc, and my ears are just fine. Slight hearing loss in the very high and very low frequencies (I couldn't hear them until the audiologist increased the volume), but nothing unusual for someone who is 28. The inner ear test was negative, which is good. The bloodwork was normal, with the exception of one test. I tested positive for having an autoimmune disorder. Well, whoptie-shit, like I didn't already know that. Crohn's Disease and Ankylosing Spondylitis are both autoimmune disorders. So normal bloodwork for me. So, right now I have "an undetermined neurological disorder". In case you didn't know, that means "we don't know what's going on, you need a different specialist."

I'm trying to lead a relatively normal life, aside from becoming nocturnal. I haven't been able to go back to work, since I'm still having the same symptoms which made me leave work in the first place almost 3 months ago. I've done my part in applying for short-term disability, but of coursebureaucracycy takes time. So now I wait. While I wait, I've started painting again, I have one in progress and have worked out several designs for others. Yep, photos when they are complete.

I haven't been posting updates because I don't want to turn every third post into a whiny, crappy, poor me type post. Of course, that's part of the higher standard I set for myself than I have for other people. What I would tell someone is getting it off of your chest, I worry about sounding like I'm saying poor me all the time. Yeah, double standards are a bitch, especially the self-imposed variety.

If you like what you read on this site, or like the photos I've posted, please consider leaving a little something in the tipjar. This is the only ad that will show up on this site, my Amazon tipjar. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. And I promise, there will be some good shots of cats on catnip posted later today once I get some rest. Maybe even some photos of my newest additions to the aquarium. You never know, anything can happen. They're on my hard drive, all I have to do is upload them.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

this year, it's alabama's turn

For what? Tropical cyclones. First we had Arlene to start things off...

Now Tropical Depression Cindy is paying a visit to the great State of Alabama...

Now Hurricane Dennis wants to come and stay a while some time next week. Yes, I know the graphic says Tropical Storm, but it was upgraded about half an hour after the NHC released this graphic.

So, anybody wanna go down to Gulf Shores, AL?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

we all still have all our fingers

Last night's festivities

A Roman Candle

Fun with giant Morning Glory sparklers

More fun with the Morning Glory sparklers

An aerial shell, fired from a mortar. Heh, our mortar. Heh, cool, things that go boom.

Monday, July 04, 2005

happy 4th of july!

Enjoy the day, everyone, and later, enjoy the fireworks.

Short PSA -
And please, be safe with your at-home fireworks show. DO NOT, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY say "Hey, y'all, watch this" where explosives are concerned. Let's all have the same number of fingers tomorrow that we do today.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

nap time

Noah and my hubby take a nap together.

Does this cat make my ass look fat?

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Earlier tonight, around 9:15pm, a severe thunderstorm rolled into Madison County from neighboring Limestone County, heading straight toward my house and Huntsville. So, of course, I grabbed my camera and tried to not become the human lightning rod.

Patterns in the clouds revealed by the lightning flashes

Near the upper right corner there is a faint streak of lightning

Two very bright flashes during a single exposure. At this point I decided to go inside.

Radar image of the storm I was photographing, the one heading directly towards Huntsville

Friday, July 01, 2005

yay, it's friday

And that means the Friday Ark is up at Modulator. This week's boarding includes a new section, In Memoriam: Edloe so you can go see how other people are remembering Edloe this week.

As always, there is the Carnival of the Cats. The current edition is being hosted at Lab Kat. Sunday's edition will be hosted at Watermark. If you don't know how to submit a post by now, head over to the Carnival's main page, where you find how to submit a post, and where future Carnivals will be hosted.

baby thrashers, week 3

Then there were none...

I checked the nest on Sunday, and the chicks were still there and growing rapidly, but by Tuesday they were gone.

I saw an adult Brown Thrasher, Toxostoma rufum, near the bottom of this brush pile, which is where the nest is located. I thought maybe the chicks, which had become rather large for the nest, had maybe descended into the pile, to a place less exposed than at the top of the brush pile.

Then, earlier today, my brother-in-law took this photo, of an Eastern or Common Garter Snake, Thamnophis sirtalis, sitting in the nest. As I said, the nest has been empty for several days now, so the snake did not dine on baby Brown Thrasher today, but may have earlier in the week.

The cycle of life, a great wheel that never ceases to turn. Some must die so that others may live, that is the nature of life and death. One is simply the complement of the other. Without death, there can be no new life. Nature created this balance. While I would have been tempted to interfere with this balance, to try to save the chicks, I try to not disturb the balance Nature has created. Who am I to presume that I know better than Nature what is best? Is the Garter Snake less worthy to live than the Brown Thrasher chicks?

Previous Baby Brown Thrasher posts:
baby thrashers, week 2
we have babies
the cycle of life continues

friday cat blogging

Noah gets a little melodramatic...

I'm starving...I don't know if I will to make it...across the vast expanse of carpet...Remember me when the vultures...have picked my bones clean...

I...must...try...McCullough save yourself...go ahead without me....I won't...make it...

Look, Momma, you gonna feed me or what? It's dinner time, in case you hadn't noticed.