I figured out what 2011 was missing.

26 09 2011

A dramatic day at the ER. Well, technically, urgent care. I didn’t, like, arrive by ambulance, but I did get rushed in pretty quick.

Over the last few weeks I’ve had three instances where my hands and/or lips and the tip of my tongue went numb. Very vaguely. I wasn’t even sure it was happening. Sometimes it felt merely dull, sometimes it felt like soda. We talked about it at acupuncture last week but it was baffling since the areas that were numb didn’t follow the usual pathways of the nerves or some other body part I’m forgetting.

So today I dropped the kids off at school, came home and got to work on SOAM. And suddenly my whole face went numb and tingly. Even my eyeballs. It was positively frightening. After some calls to various people in my life who are smart and calm and loving, I headed off to urgent care and my aunt met me there. They put me in a room right away, took my vitals, and I was seen by a nurse practitioner who thoroughly checked me for signs of a stroke and called for blood work and a pee test (which is extremely difficult to do in jeans and a hospital gown with a tube in my arm ready for the IV, just FYI). And, ultimately, diagnosed me with “stress”. Which is likely accurate. And his explanation made sense at the time but two things have happened since then that bring back the worry. Firstly that he was referring to the facial area often relating to stress, but now the numbness has spread to my arms. Secondly that I forgot everything else he said and, therefore, how and why it made sense.

But I’m clearly not having a stroke and he was certain it wasn’t a brain thing. And my vitals showed my heart to be fine as well, so I have to assume that I will live through the night.


Almost two weeks ago we discovered we have parasites. The kind that are at least as contagious as lice and just as difficult to get rid of. The following morning I could barely function for being so depressed. I’m back in the darkness again. Again-again. I don’t understand why this year has to hit me so hard. I feel like I’m being punished. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to put up with this if more and more and more things happen.

I just got tomorrow’s entry ready for SOAM and she said something that make me wonder if this is like spiritual labor. The year has been hard from the start, but it’s gotten worse more and more recently (alternately: I can’t handle what I normally can so it just feels worse? But even when I look at me from outside, it still looks like too much), and maybe, at the end of this, the ninth month, I’ll be born, fresh and strong.

I wish I could believe that. Right now I’m so beaten down I can’t do anything but cry.

I’m scared. Being numb is scary. Really fucking scary. Being alone during it is really fucking scary. I have never felt so alone as this last month. I don’t mind the concept of being alone, but The Universe sure has been working the negative aspects of it recently. So I’ve been cherishing those moments when I can rely on people, and just trying to float along. I can’t even swim anymore, as Dory advises. I can just try not to drown.

7 Days: Day 7 (Happy 7th Day to You)

24 09 2011

Pretty much the last app I have that I haven’t used this week was 8mm which is, IMO, the only way to shoot video on the iPhone. I mean, with technology this futuristic, why on Earth wouldn’t I want it to look vintagey? We considered doing a silent movie, but lack of a railroad to tie one of us to lead us to scrap the idea. Instead we serenade you with the new 7 Days Theme Song.

See you next run! Have a fantastic autumn!

7 Days: Day 6 (Last One)

22 09 2011

7 Days: Day 6 (Last One)

So, as has been alluded to, 2011 sucks. It can bite me. I’m looking forward to 2013 (I’m skipping 2012 the way buildings skip the 13th floor). As a “coping” mechanism, I have been drowning my sorrows in froufrou drinks at Starbucks. But it’s just too much and I really have to lay off it. So, with you as my witnesses, this shall be my last froufrou drink until the next 7 Days run.


I will allow myself plain coffee or tea from Starbucks (or other coffee places), and I may play around with making some homemade pumpkin spice coffees (but I am lazy so I don’t expect to do it too often).

So I’m off. To enjoy my salted caramel mocha and play a little Portal before hitting the hay.

Wish me luck.

Apps used here are Snapseed for the b&w and adjustments to exposure (Thanks, Joe, for the heads-up!) and Labelbox for the, well, labels. Which I think I originally learned about here on 7days, but I can’t remember from who.

7 Days: Day 5 (“Outside”)

21 09 2011

7 Days: day 5 ("Outside")

I had Grand Plans to go to Ikea to purchase some things to do some organizing inspired by pins on Pinterest. Since my life right now consists of cycling between To Do Lists and Avoiding To Do Lists By Watching TV, there’s not much outside happening and since today’s only plan was to go outside only to get to a store, I figured I’d give up on the theme and just post pictures of me in the mirror section of the store. But! Then! I found this wall! And it makes me LOOK outside, see? So it’s win-win for all involved. I don’t have to break the rules. I just have to lie about it. Wait.

Anyway. I didn’t use any fancy app for the photo itself – just the front camera. I did use the “viewfinder” frame in the Camera+ app b/c, hey! fancy frame! But this picture would be really difficult to accomplish in actual TTV. Heh.

And, for the record, I was BOLD today in my public self-portraiture. I channeled my inner honey badger whenever someone walked by.

7 Days: Day 4 (A Day at the Park)

20 09 2011

7 days: Day 4 (At the Park)

Day four is always the day I start to get panicky about 7 Days being almost over. It’s all downhill from here.

Took this (these) with an app I’ve had for forever that I really never use called ClassicSAMP. Kids had PE today at the park (last day of soccer, next week starts football) and since my friend who usually keeps me company stayed home with her sick kid, I played with making self portraits (and REFUSED to feel weird when people walked by or sat near me) and then, naturally, watched Doctor Who on my phone. Because that’s how 2011 rolls. TV at the park. TV anywhere you want.

I’m not sure how much outside tomorrow is gonna entail so this may very well be my theme photo.

7 Days: Day 3 (Cleaning Day)

19 09 2011

7 Days: Day 3 (Cleaning Day)

How many apps are involved here? Let’s see, first I used Camera+ for the timer feature. Then I used Diptic to put all three together (thanks to Brenda for that idea). Finally I imported it to Instagram to give it a fancy filter.

So the kids are at school Mondays now. And the house was in desperate need of a deep clean. Perfect combination. Steam mopping, vacuuming, disinfecting surfaces, and then, after a shower, crashing on the couch all melodramatic like.

I love a clean house. LOVE.

7 Days: Day 2 (Inside. Also a Floaty Hand.)

18 09 2011

7 days: Day 2 (Inside. Also a Floaty Hand.)

So I updated the Flickr app today like a good little apper (that’s a word, right?) and now I can’t upload photos with the app. Which partly defeats the purpose of phoning it in in order to make things easy. Luckily my aunt brought me some sweet potato fries to try to counter balance the Universe’s habit of punching me in the face (although, really, this app snafu isn’t a big deal, it’s just mildly insulting). (I like the way “app snafu” sounds. I’m going to say that all day now.)

ANYHOW. This is inside my living room. Using the 360 Panorama app with a border and exposure adjustment using Photoshop Express. Originally I thought my reflection in the TV or something would do, but then I accidentally caught part of my hand in my first attempt and decided that would be awesomer. And, as it turns out, I doubt you can see my reflection anyway, so it’s also necessaryer. You can see the flat version here.

And now please excuse me while I make some sweet potato fries. And you know what? Cookies, too.

You can read the notes and see the full sized photo here.

7 Days: Day 1 (Upside Down)

17 09 2011

7 Days: Day 1 (Upside Down)

I didn’t intend to be upside down and was going to fix it, but then thought this accurately represents my life this year anyway. Especially this week. The other day The Universe kicked my ass again and knocked me totally out and then just kept throwing punches all day long. Clearly, The Universe hates me for some reason. I keep falling back into that dark place I’d just crawled out of. I’m quite tired of life right now.

I nearly didn’t participate this round because I’m just tapped out but if I can just phone it in I think I can still join. It will also be an excuse to more fully explore the photography apps I have.

These are the anxieties I’m focusing on this week.

15 09 2011

Happy Thing: A Happy Tattoo from Bethany

I woke up feeling bitchy and depressed and I knew it wasn’t PMS, because I’d already had my Sad Day this week, and then I figured it out – many anxieties piled together make me overwhelmed which is just damn depressing. So I’m listing them here in the hopes that it will work to free my heart of them and bring back some of The Happy.

~Elliott’s gut. He’s having some, er, slowing of his system and while I’ve been working with it for awhile now, things just aren’t getting better. I’m nervous about that and afraid that it’s going to cause bigger issues if we can’t get it resolved yet. Actually, I’m nervous it may have already caused bigger issues. I don’t know if those fears are grounded or just pure fear, but there it is. Solution: I already have a call in to his doctor. We’ll see what she says when we hear back from her today.

~The Smell. My mom’s house smelled of smoke and, um… I don’t know, old people? She was a smoker, but she wasn’t your average smoker. She lived with the curtains and windows always closed and she did not clean her home often (and by “often” I mean “more than every few years”) or well. That means the smells permeated deeply into things. Some of the things I’ve cleaned have a thick layer of yellow tar all over them. Some of the things don’t seem to release the smell at all, plastics in particular. So we are bringing some of her things here and while the items themselves I find to be quite useful (I need a new dresser and have wanted a trunk for years now) I’m afraid to actually bring them in my home. I can’t tell if I’m bringing the smell into my home and just not smelling it because I’m becoming used to it. And then sometimes I catch a whiff of something and I can’t tell if it’s just my imagination, wind blowing smells in from the things still outside, or some of the things I’ve brought in. Solution: I don’t know. Asking people to come sniff my house? I’m extremely uptight about this, and absolutely terrified that I might bring the smell into my life. I suppose there is a deeper psychological connection there, but I’m also just afraid of smelling bad. I don’t know what, if anything, will really solve this problem and anxieties without solutions are the most difficult to handle.

~Finances. Just the average financial worries of a single, WAH, homeschooling mom. I’m feeling guilty for spending too much at Starbucks this summer (not to mention the sugar). Plus some decisions may or may not have to be made about the future in the coming months. Solution: Focusing on peace and how The Universe and my Oak Tree are always looking out for me. “All things are perfect exactly as they are.” Repeating that helps to let go the worries.

~Overwhelm. I’m so busy with my mom’s stuff, both the legal end and the physical end, and with trying to get back on top of work, and with trying to re-re-build my life, I haven’t even begun to look at what sorts of school stuff the kids need to be doing. Luckily they are taking classes on Mondays now which I think will cover their samples needed to turn in to the charter school we use (as well as allow me time to run errands and get work done). Solution: Focusing on the fact that this year has quite royally sucked for me, and how it’s OKAY to take a break from formal education and focus on unschooling and family togetherness for awhile while I get shit back under control.

I’ve been really bad about keeping up with The Happy lately. I’m just so tired (either physically or emotionally or both) that I’m too exhausted to even think about it. First step is to get my house reorganized again so I can have space to plan and think. Second step is to set myself some routines to follow, making time for healing activities (I had another dream about an un-cared-for cat last night). Then I have to follow those routines. Then, I think I’ll be able to keep up with at least my usual amount of duties and all I’ll need is a personal assistant to do the rest. Also winning the lottery wouldn’t hurt anything.

Here’s some recent Happy.

Happy Thing: Thunderheads

Happy Thing: Lavender Lemonade Popsicle

Happy Thing: A Rainy Afternoon

Happy Thing: The Way He Wrapped His Arm Around Me and Fell Asleep

Cold Brewed Coffee, a Tutorial

10 09 2011

For well over a year now, I’ve been trying with making cold brewed coffee. I’d heard it’s lower in acid, has a smoother flavor, and is an ancient method of making coffee. While those things appeal to me, it’s also just that I’m kind of slutty for any and all coffee. There’s a special coffee maker you can buy just for this process (since Seattle’s Best serves cold-brewed coffee, they sell the Toddy), but I didn’t like that it cost over $30 and that the coffee sat in plastic while it brewed. So I tried to think of a way I could do that at home with stuff I already had or could buy cheap, when a friend told me she just used a French press. Brilliant! And then I procrastinated it another several months. Because that’s how I roll.

you will need

It’s beyond easy to cold brew coffee. You need one part coffee grounds, and two parts water. Mix together very well, making sure all the grounds get wet.

coffee, unmixed

After a couple of minutes mix again. This is my favorite bit because the coffee grounds have made an almost crispy little cap over the water and tapping a spoon through it gives a satisfying sensation almost of of shattering sugar glass. Well, what I imagine that would be like, anyway.

thank god my spoons are ginormous enough for this coffee press

And this is still my favorite bit: once you’ve broken through the top and begin mixing it, all the gorgeous coffee-foam rises up above the grounds, as they sink to the bottom. It is glorious. It smells like absolute heaven.

Happy Thing: Foamy Coffeeness

Put the coffee press lid on, but don’t press it down! Let this sit overnight or for 8-15 hours, however you like it. Press down, pour into a glass container, and put it in the fridge. It will stay there happily for up to two weeks, but it’ll never last that long if you are anything like me.

Cold brewed coffee is not really ready to go as is, it’s a concentrate. Add hot or cold water to make it as strong as you like it (I think twice the water is a good place to start), and drink it like you’d drink any other coffee. Like with coconut creamer in a Muppet glass with a bendy straw? Yep.

Happy Thing: Cold Pressed Iced Coffee on a Stupid-Hot Morning


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