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Aug. 28th, 2016

So yesterday I woke, for the third day in a row, with a migraine. But this wasn't just any migraine; it was one of the one's that's bad enough I couldn't think about driving. Just going outside to feed the chickens made me want to die from the bright sun in my eyes. I was nauseated all day, bad "don't dare go too far from the bathroom" nausea.

Needless to say, I didn't get costumed up and make it to the local mini-con. I spent a little while curled up, feeling sorry for myself, and crying a little. I'm not proud of that. I did manage to get some writing done later in the day.

Today I still have a headache, but it's not as bad. Instead I have bonus 'feel like I've been beaten with sticks' that frequently comes after a bad migraine. I hope to actually get some things done today besides sitting at the computer. What, I'm not sure.
Autumn Princess, Dragon Child: The Tale of Shikanoko, Book 2, by Lian Hearn. Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2016

This is the second book in a four volume fantasy epic, and I think I made a big mistake by not reading the first one. I found this on the ‘new books’ shelf and went “Hmmm.. fantasy set in feudal Japan.. I’ll take that!” But the author jumps right into the story with no bringing us up to speed, which left me utterly baffled, even with the cast of characters in the front of the book. Who were these people and why were they doing these things to each other? Because of this, I never managed to care about the characters and the story bored me- even though there were magical. There is some cool stuff going on- half demon children born of one woman and five fathers, some very intelligent horses, magical swords, a lot of magic, and a child emperor hiding with a troop of performing monkeys (and probably having the best time of his life). I liked the writing and the style; I just couldn’t connect. So, I think this series is probably brilliant, but don’t even try to read this book without reading the first one beforehand!

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Drat. The local con is tomorrow, and I cannot find the steampunk patches I put in a safe place.

*grumble grumble*

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Today's doctor visit was not a good one. Turns out the osteoporosis is not in the beginning stages; it's quite advanced. Now, how in the hell I could have this when my Vit D and calcium levels are good and I've been a manual laborer all my life is beyond me. His theory is that I just had a genetic set up for very slow bone remodeling- even though the only person in my family with osteoporosis got it from being on prednisone for at least a decade- and she was in her 90s when it showed up. It's true I'm an old, white/Asian female with long thin bones, diabetes and depression, but still. I've done every damn thing you're supposed to do to prevent this shit. Once again, screwed over by the genetic lottery. Given how advanced it is, I agreed to take the goddamn bisphosphonate meds and pray that my jaw doesn't rot. Because bone remodels so slowly, I wont' have another DEXA test for two years.

He did say that it might be worthwhile taking boron and more vit K, because there is some anecdotal evidence they have helped some people, so I am doing that, too. But I'll never know if they helped, because we have multiple variables in this two year experiment. And I have to lift weights. And be doing more weight bearing exercise. The exhausting labor of gardening doesn't count. The dancing barely counts, because while I'm on my feet, my feet don't move all that much; it's all in the knees. How I'm supposed to find more energy, and keep from going into a fibro flare, I don't know. I'm already surprised that the dancing hasn't sent me into one.

Today's doctor visit was not a good one. Turns out the osteoporosis is not in the beginning stages; it's quite advanced. Now, how in the hell I could have this when my Vit D and calcium levels are good and I've been a manual laborer all my life is beyond me. His theory is that I just had a genetic set up for very slow bone remodeling- even though the only person in my family with osteoporosis got it from being on prednisone for at least a decade- and she was in her 90s when it showed up. It's true I'm an old, white/Asian female with long thin bones, diabetes and depression, but still. I've done every damn thing you're supposed to do to prevent this shit. Once again, screwed over by the genetic lottery. Given how advanced it is, I agreed to take the goddamn bisphosphonate meds and pray that my jaw doesn't rot. Because bone remodels so slowly, I wont' have another DEXA test for two years.

He did say that it might be worthwhile taking boron and more vit K, because there is some anecdotal evidence they have helped some people, so I am doing that, too. But I'll never know if they helped, because we have multiple variables in this two year experiment. And I have to lift weights. And be doing more weight bearing exercise. The exhausting labor of gardening doesn't count. The dancing barely counts, because while I'm on my feet, my feet don't move all that much; it's all in the knees. How I'm supposed to find more energy, and keep from going into a fibro flare, I don't know. I'm already surprised that the dancing hasn't sent me into one.

Oh, and he said that although I certainly have hypermobility, he doesn't think I have Ehlers-Danlos. Not sure what made him decide that.

On the good side, today Norris and New Cat started playing together, running from one end of the house to the other, with Norris jumping up on the back on the rocking chair and doing a body slam into the big front window that is made of very thin glass. Then they got on opposite sides of the LCD TV and batted at each other under it. Visions of the flat screen diving to the floor danced through my head...
A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life from the Stone Age to the Phone Age, by Greg Jenner. Thomas Dunne Books, 2015

What were toilets like during the time of Imperial Rome? What kind of underwear was worn during the Tudor era? How did people keep in touch before the telephone was invented- before the post office, even? When did the fork develop, or the mattress? What about dentistry? This book can tell you all these things and more, in a witty, casual, conversational way. The author is both historical consultant and comedy writer, and he’s combined both skills well in this book.

This book does not tell us about kings or generals. It’s not about invasions or wars. It’s about daily life, the things that affected every single person, no matter how rich or poor. Like the toddler’s book says, everybody poops. Everybody also wears some kind of clothing and eats. This is the history of both royalty and the common person. And it’s a really fun book. They should give this book to pre-teens to get them sucked into how interesting history is.

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Week three of dance class. Totally exhausted; lots of fast moves tonight. I am still completely unable to coordinate arms with legs. Sometimes I cannot even coordinate legs with legs. This is going to take a lot longer than six sessions...

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Well, I'm officially an animal shelter volunteer. Went to the orientation this morning. Bought the t-shirt (I wasn't entirely clear if it was mandatory or not, but I liked the color and she said the women's came with a v-neck, so I sprang for one) and told her what I wanted to do- socialize kitties. They do have a dog handling/training course coming up that sounds really interesting- dealing with not so friendly dogs, collaring/harnessing them up, clicker training, teaching them to lead- but while I'd enjoy doing that with the bigger dogs (they don't yap) I just don't see myself taking them outside in bad weather when my toes & fingers would start shutting down. So, I will abstain from that.

Came home and changed into work clothes, went to my job, and there is a big ass moose with a nice set of antlers, still in velvet, standing in the middle of the yard, eating a shrub. I tried to get a picture but his butt was to me, and I really didn't want to encourage him to turn around. Subarus really aren't built for taking on a moose! As I started on up the drive, he started walking off, so after I parked I tiptoed to the corner of the house and peered around. He had stopped at the apple tree and was eating that. I decided it was a very good day to dead head the rhodies on the far side of the house! He left shortly after, thankfully. And, hey, I get to use my 'big fucking moose' tag again!

The home owner wants to completely redo the front garden bed, that stretches the full width of the (very long) house. That'll keep me busy for awhile! Took a bunch of photos for me to stare at and get ideas. Told him it would probably be a week because this coming week is full of things I'm committed to (yes, a couple are things I'm committed to because they are fun. That counts.).

Now I am tired and just want to shower and go right to bed.
Second dance class this evening. Could not practice what we learned last week because my knees never stopped hurting too bad. Also, by the time the class was over I'd been so overwhelmed with new information that I promptly forgot every single thing. Turns out I wasn't alone on that last bit- another student said the same thing. So tonight the instructor kept things to a slow beat for my knees, and broke things down step by step for all of us. I still feel like a giant stork with a broken leg flapping around, but at least I remember what we did this time. And got complemented on my chest lifts. Not sure I got anything else, though! She gave me a web site where there are videos I can watch, and next week she'll bring books that break stuff down piece by piece.

In the continuing saga of New Cat, this morning was fairly peaceful, and in the middle of the day he came and wanted loving. I scritched him and then picked him up and put him in my lap. He actually stayed for awhile, then a little later when I was at the computer he came and got in my lap and nose booped me. Of course, just now he was trying to pick a fight with Silver, so progress is not being a straight line upwards.

We have figured out by his build, face, and mouthiness that he is most likely part Siamese or some other Oriental breed. Which would also help explain his being a butt hole to the other cats. Also he's still got testosterone poisoning and I don't know how long that lasts after neutering

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100 Vegetables and Where They Came From, by William Woys Weaver. Algonquin Books, 2000

The title pretty much says it all; the book tells us about 100 vegetables, what they taste like, where they are from, and how they are prepared. What the title doesn’t tell us is that these vegetables are special; they are some of the tastiest plants on the planet. Consider golden corn salad from Italy, whose large leaves make a salad beautiful; or the Petaluma Gold Rush bean, which when used dried keeps a marvelous meaty taste and texture. The Re Umberto tomato is a paste tomato that is incredibly productive and has an unmatched flavor. Some plants are included mainly because they are different and pretty, but most are included because of flavor. Being both gardener and foodie, I found myself looking up seed sources and bookmarking them numerous times while reading.

The prose is chatty and an easy, fast read. Nice line drawings illustrate the veggies. My only problem with the book is that an awful lot of these wonderful plants won’t grow in my short season area!

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A Green and Ancient Light, by Frederic S. Durbin. Saga Press, 2016

In an alternate Italy in World War 2, a nine year old boy has been sent to spend the summer with his grandmother in her rural home, safely away from the fighting and bombings. His father is in the army, and his mother is recovering from giving birth. He misses his family and friends, and is somewhat bored by country life. Then one day an enemy plane comes screaming over the village and crashes into the bay. This event turns everything upside down.

That night, a quiet knock comes on the grandmother’s back door. It’s an old friend of hers, needing help. The boy gets multiple shocks that night; the enemy pilot is alive, his grandmother is capable of sewing up people, the old friend is a faun, and there is an overgrown garden of stone monsters in the woods where the other villagers never go.

As the days go by with the pilot healing, the boy explores both the stone monsters and his grandmother’s past. It’s a magical time for him, but reality intrudes constantly; a major arrives with a unit of men, bent of locating the missing enemy pilot. They make the boy’s explorations difficult to say the least. Between keeping the pilot hidden and trying to figure out what the inscriptions of the stone monsters mean, he and his grandmother have their hands full. And it will turn out that both those endeavors have a common answer.

The prose is so stunningly beautiful that it took my breath away. I’d be willing to say that this book will be a new classic; it’s up there with Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, J.M. Barrie, and Charles de Lint. The story unfolds slowly but steadily. It’s as much an adventure of the mind as of the body. Told by the narrator in adulthood but with the eyes of a nine year old, it’s an enchanted tale, suitable for kids to adults.

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