Thursday, March 21, 2019

spring stuff and heart stuff

I spent all of last week working out in the yard, six days in a row. Would have worked the seventh, Wednesday, but I had my follow-up with the cardiac RNP and then yoga class at 5:15. It was such a beautiful first day of spring that we had class outside. Wednesday evenings class is held at the local elementary school so we spread out on the lawn.

I got most of the wild mexican petunias dug up. 



This is going to be a constant battle because they spread to the other side of the chainlink fence and filled the space between it and the turtle pond which is crammed into the corner with an althea and a rose bush and I can't get back there unless I empty and move the turtle pond, something that ain't gonna happen.

Some of the denizens of the flower beds.

I also got the front flower bed weeded and half the long day lily bed which took two days. The other half should only take a day as it is more filled with stuff I want. Probably won't get to that til Friday as we went to the movie today to see Captain Marvel which, I imagine, if you are a Marvel fan you've already seen it so no preview.

The field behind us continues to fill out with the flowers creeping almost to us

and the wisteria over at the shop is coming into bloom.

The iris are not the tri-color I thought but white,

and the white fragrant climbing jasmine at the shop.

More poppies

and I finally made it over to the Hungerford Co-op for tomatoes, the only thing I'm planting this spring.

So, as mentioned above I had my next appointment with the cardiac RNP. Halfway through the last month I took it upon myself to double my dose of the beta blocker, keeping a close eye on my blood pressure and pulse, since I was seeing no improvement the previous two weeks even though I had three days in a row of no episodes but then I was having two a day and a couple of days off and on all day. I also quit having my evening cocktail and reduced my meager two cups of coffee to one cup a day in an effort to identify any triggers midway through the month but alas, still having an episode a day at varied times of day with an occasional day free. So I went to my appointment with my calendar of episodes and my list of dates with blood pressure and pulse notations and my list of questions and she didn't blink when I told her I had doubled my dose and that while it hadn't stopped the episodes of rapid and irregular heartbeat the last two weeks seemed less frequent and less severe. We talked about triggers and her opinion was, considering all the evidence, that I didn't have any triggers (yay! I can go back to my evil ways!), just a rogue spot in my heart that sends out these signals whenever it jolly well feels like it. So the next month, keep on the higher dose and I can take half a pill when I'm having an episode as long as I keep an eye on my blood pressure and pulse and I go in next week for the 24 hour monitor. If there is still no improvement by the next appointment, we will talk about other medications, possibly adding another. Not sure I want to pile up the meds so maybe the catheter ablation is in my future. Turns out I don't need to be having an episode for them to do it as they can stimulate me into one oh goody and she has a doctor in mind to refer me to since I was not interested in having some unknown through the emergency room do it. I want to know who the doctor is, want to meet with said doctor, want to know how experienced said doctor is in the technique, how many times said doctor has had unsatisfactory results, etc. She also said I may need to see an electrocardiologist which is a cardiologist that specializes in heart rhythms.

So with all this weighing on my mind I had the weirdest dream last night where I finally agreed to have the procedure but she wanted to admit me the next day but I told her I couldn't have it the next day because we were going to the movie and we had already bought our tickets but she could go ahead and admit me though I would leave for the movie but come back and then some other weird shit happened and I woke up.

Well, since alcohol does not seem to be a trigger, I'm going to go fix my evening cocktail.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Ms Nature is showing off her new clothes

I have yet to clear off my desk or work tables. While the weather is still overcast and cooler, it has been dry and so I've been working out in the yard Thursday and Friday tidying up the side yard on the west side digging up the walking onions and pulling other weeds (plan to make this a huge shade fern garden since grass doesn't grow there well anyway), planting fern nodules my neighbor gave me and the rest of the phlox Ms Moon sent me but mostly trying to tidy up around the bluebonnets out front. Got the weed eater out and trimmed around them and then when my retired farmer neighbor walked by and identified the grass crowding them out as rye grass which was starting to go to'll have ten times as much next year he says, just trim off the tops...I got out there with scissors and filled a huge trash bag with the debris, and picked the first of the peas.

Yesterday I trimmed the little backyard as the lawnmower won't fit through the gate and around the flower beds just outside the gate (the evening primrose which hasn't started to bloom yet and I are parting ways, much as I love it, because it has invaded my flower beds and just takes over), pulled up armloads of sticky weed (or cleaver as my sister calls it) and another weed that makes sticky little seeds that get caught in the cat's fur out of the big backyard (did I get it all? oh hell no). Then my daughter showed up for a surprise visit and after she left I took the dog for the long walk where we saw this ornamental plum tree in full bloom

and then filled the tea cup after a cardinal perched on it giving me the stink eye. Unfortunately, it slipped out of my fingers and crashed to the ground breaking the saucer, the third saucer I might add. Squirrels broke the other two by leaping off it with such vigor that it swung right off the hook. So now it's hanging slightly askew til I can get a new saucer to drill.

More yard work on the agenda for today, the main chore being a return to digging up the wild mexican petunias, which I also love but are highly invasive and crowding out stuff I want. You'd never know I spent a good week digging them up last spring as every bit of root left will regrow though they aren't nearly as thick.

these are coming out

The maroon japanese iris are sending up scapes as is the yellow which is the first time this one has bloomed but the white iris and purple iris behind the buddha which were always first have failed to bloom for the third year in a row. I also have a tricolor iris in the front that has four buds on that I noticed Friday and then Saturday two had been munched on so I put aluminum foil strips around the bottom last evening because I read somewhere that snails and slugs won't travel across it and this morning no more munching (no pictures because the stupid camera in the iPhone would not focus on the iris scapes, maybe when they bloom).

More spring porn...

The first poppies are open

and I guess I was just impatient about the bluebonnets which have really filled out 

and the indian paintbrush as the field has also filled out with many color variations.

click to bigify
The spirea is halfway to full bloom. It usually blooms with the azaleas but they bloomed early and are done now.

And the baby-blue-eyes scattered around the yard are also starting to bloom.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

headlong into bureaucracy

Was that me that said I was done with my application and all I needed to do was turn it in? hahahahahahahaha I'm such a card.

Drove the 38 minutes to the Sugar Land office Tuesday, walked up to the reception desk, and informed the woman I was just here to turn in my application. You'll still need to see someone, she says, so sign in and have a seat. Any idea how long the wait will be I ask. You're the next one up she says. And really it wasn't even 5 minutes. Cool.

About two hours later I finally left.

Turns out, I had to register online and the first 10 pages of the application (and then some as the online application had a few questions that weren't on the printable version) still had to be filled out online so the paper application was just a tease. Well, at least I already had all the answers. The other 79 pages containing the expenses, invoices, and proof of payments could be scanned in which took about 5 minutes with their super speed scanner. I told the woman helping me that if I could get my printer/scanner to actually scan to my desktop, each page would have taken about 5 minutes. And of course there were two categories of documents I didn't know I needed not having looked at the cheat sheet when I downloaded the print version because, hey, I can read and follow instructions more hysterical laughter. It took so long to fill out the questionnaire because with so many people using the system it was running veeeerrrrryyyyy slow. And to top it all off, halfway back through the gauntlet of narrow lanes with no shoulders construction through Fort Bend County, traffic came to a complete stop for about half an hour due to not one, but two accidents because people are fucking idiots.

Anyway, I had to go back yesterday with the last documents and everything is uploaded and submitted. Now I wait 4 to 6 weeks for a response.

After I got back I cleared the floor and sent the robovac on it's rounds, collected all the accumulated paper for recycling and took it to the container here in town for that purpose and all the accumulated newspaper to the vet for their use where they keep the animals awaiting procedures.

The next chore is to once again clean off my desk and work tables and get back to making art. Also a trip to the Hungerford Co-op for tomato plants today after the garden club meeting except it's supposed to rain today fancy that so we'll see.

Coming back from yoga last night listening to NPR talk about Manafort's sentencing and his less than convincing apology and mea culpa and plea for clemency because he has lost everything, his property, his money, his stuff, his health, and please to not separate him from his wife for a long period because she needs him and he needs her. Well boo fucking hoo. Welcome to the justice that regular people face. Fortunately the judge was not impressed, basically told him too bad since he didn't do what he did for any good reason but greed, buying more houses than one man could live in and more suits than one man could wear.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

a tree died for this

note – wrote this yesterday/Monday

I finally got my application with all the documentation completed today. I had 99% done by 11 PM last night, went to the Wharton Recovery Office this morning after breakfast to ask my final questions and there were 9 people on the list ahead of me with #2 and #3 in the little office being helped. The guy I was sitting next to had a stack of papers twice as thick as mine at least and he informed me that it would take two hours at least per person. A quick calculation of 6 X 2 was 12 hours minimum so no fucking way was I getting in today just to ask a few questions. These people were all there to get help filling out the application. I went to my car, made a phone call, got my answers and headed home after I scratched my name off the list where I got the last things filled in and organized and all my account numbers blacked out. Tomorrow I head into Sugar Land to the nearest office to hand in my application because the office in Wharton is only available Mondays and Fridays.

this baby is 89 pages and 1/2” thick and I only had four rooms that were worked on

Yesterday morning I hauled all the plants outside that were wintering over in the back bedroom 

and the garage and gave them all a good watering and today they all look much happier. I'd like to say they are happier because they're getting some direct sun but no, sunny days are scarce. All we get is overcast and fog and rain. This morning I caught two four anoles in the bedroom that came in with the plants but didn't leave with them. I'm sure they're much happier too as it was far too easy to catch them.

Last week the Monday low was 29˚. It got up to 80˚ today but the rest of the week will be in the 70s and 60s for daytime highs. Now that I'm not up to my eyeballs in paperwork I'm noticing all the springy stuff going on. Everything is putting its spring green finery on. The indian paintbrush is starting to fill out in the fields, my other absent neighbor's redbuds have finally started to bloom, even the bluebonnets are looking better with the white spots turning red but now I'm not so sure it's because they were fertilized or because the pollen got old as Shoreacres explained but I have seen a few bees.

hard to get a picture of anything that isn't wet

Today's addition...

Ugh. Overcast, foggy and drippy. Again. But now that the days are warmer the frogs are definitely digging it.

Friday, March 8, 2019

wildflowers and aggravation

We had a whole day and a half of sun. Yippee! Yesterday was overcast and even rained a bit, not here but where my sister and I were, estate sale day and all. This morning is overcast and the concrete is wet and slippery but that's probably from condensation. Remember last Monday when we had a freeze that night and Tuesday when it didn't get out of the 30s and another freeze that night? Yesterday we hit the low 70s and today it's supposed to get up to 76˚ with can you guess some rain predicted.

My sister's grandkids who live in San Antonio came to visit her last weekend and they reported that the wildflowers were really beautiful on the drive down through the Hill Country. Not so much here. While rain is good for wildflowers, apparently a lot of rain isn't. The bluebonnets in my yard did not like the over 7” we got last week but they have started to bloom...sparsely...and I haven't seen any bluebonnets or indian paintbrush or evening primrose in any of the fields around here and they should be full of wildflowers. I've seen one field full of yellow but nothing along the highways I travel. Last year they were gorgeous.

Not only are the bluebonnets in my yard not doing well, they aren't getting fertilized. Where are the bees? All these little white dots should be red. No bees, no fertilization, no seeds for next year.

The field behind me has finally started to show some indian paintbrush, also sparsely. It should be shimmering red and blue.

I'm still working on this reimbursement application. What a headache having to rummage through all my receipts and bank statements and charge card statements and lists of payments to Rocky and what they were for trying to make sense of it.

papers to the left of me, papers to the right of me, here I am stuck in the middle

Rocky is my neighbor and friend and we mostly worked on a handshake, no invoices, no receipts so now we have to generate those. So Thursday morning, a guy from the electric company came to the house to 'service' the meter and we should shut off our computers. I hadn't been doing that since I started filling out the application, a writable PDF file online, because I was afraid I would lose all my entries so that was the last thing I wanted to do so I saved it to my desktop and shut down. Whatever that guy did took about five seconds, the TV didn't even go off, and when I started back up and opened the PDF file surprise! all my data was gone. Needless to say I was a little aggravated so last night when I had re-entered most of what I lost, I printed those pages out. I can be smart sometimes, just not always right off the bat.

I should be out there working on the garden beds or at the very least going to the Hungerford C0-op and getting my tomatoes (I've got the one bed I can plant and if I plant nothing else, I'll put in tomatoes) but it's windy as shit out there, the wind chimes noisily carrying on and the prayer flags fluttering horizontally, and I really want to get this application finished so I can get it reviewed on Monday by the agent here that is only available Mondays and Fridays and get it sent in. First come first served and all.

Last weekend I finally got all the pictures but one back up (and some moved around) that were taken down for the demolition after Harvey including my whistle and ocarina collection. Yay!

OK, back to all the paperwork.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

blinded by the light

OMG! The sun is shining and it's been 3 days without rain! Of course we're having a late season freeze, down to 29˚ last night and supposed to do the same tonight. It's barely above freezing out there now. I covered a few things...the ground orchids which are in full bloom 

and the pink angel trumpet which has yet to ever bloom and the climbing jasmine that's over here coming into full bloom but not the one in the shop yard or the yellow angel trumpets as they are just too tall to make it worth the effort and even if they freeze to the ground, they'll come back. Nor did I cover the ponytail palm across the street which takes two tarps and two people if it's windy which it always seems to be when it needs to be covered. But, yay the sun!

I have two posts written, one about the further adventures of having a crazy person owning the lot next to me (it's a great title and would be a shame to waste it) and one which is just headlines on FB from last Sunday that show how fucked up Republicans are. Can't decide if I want to post either one.

I haven't been on social media much lately as it's either boring, seeing the same stuff even when I select 'most recent' or just flat out depressing. Not even people's art or sweet videos are engaging me and nothing of my own to post about as I'm not doing any art work at all. Instead I'm delving back into Hurricane Harvey. The Texas General Land Office has money they are going to dole out to people who spent some of their own money to repair the damage and so I'm trying to fill out the 22 page application and I'm to the part (page 12) where I have to list all the materials I paid for (as opposed to the ones Rocky paid for) and provide copies of the receipts and charge card statements and bank statements so now I have to rummage through two years of financial records and then I have to list all the payments to Rocky and submit copies of invoices (which we never bothered with so I have to organize it all and then get him to make out invoices and back date them for me). I've had this application for a month and couldn't decide if I wanted to bother with it as dealing with FEMA was a huge and continuing headache money, right? Then I got a notice that they were going to start processing applications Feb. 28 and first come first served to the limited amount of money so I thought, oh what the hell, I'm not doing any art work anyway.

So, I guess the goldfinches have finally migrated through as I haven't seen them the last several days except maybe a few (at least two since I've seen two at the same time). She has the wing markings of a goldfinch but no hint of yellow, just a sweet little grayish bird or maybe it's a warbler but which kind I have no idea but it sits on the teacup tossing sunflower seeds out left and right. 

We do get warblers that winter over though they are usually gone by now too. The last several mornings I've also seen a pair of house finches, male and female along with the horde of sparrows, white wing doves and a mourning dove, male and female cardinals, chickadees, a pair of blue jays, a titmouse.

titmouse waiting it's turn on the teacup

I'm halfway through my month before I go see the cardiologist again. I was keeping a list of days and times and length of times for the afib episodes but it was too hard to visualize so I printed out some calendar sheets and transcribed the info to them. The meds are helping but they haven't stopped yet. I want her to increase my dose of the beta blocker first which she is hesitant to do fearful it will drop my pulse rate below 60 (60 – 100 is normal) though I'm willing to take the chance. If it does all I have to do is go back to the lower dose. She wants me to have an ablation which means a hospital visit and anesthesia while they send a catheter through one of my veins into my heart and zap the part that is giving off the errant signal that is causing the rapid and or irregular heartbeat. From what I've read so far, that only lasts for a year or so so it's not even a permanent solution. But neither are the drugs as I gather eventually they won't control it either for some people. Gonna read up on it again and this time take notes and write down questions. I'm beginning to consider the option, especially as what I've read so far indicates that ablation is more effective for people my age but I'm not ready to give up on the drugs yet for an expensive invasive procedure which will have to be done repeatedly over the years. There are triggers... alcohol, caffeine, stress, sugar, some medications, high blood pressure, dehydration, lack of certain starting last night I'm giving up my evening cocktail or glass of wine and reducing my coffee from two cups to one starting tomorrow and see if that makes an impact.

Fucking afib.

Friday, March 1, 2019

I'm sick of it, I tells ya, sick of it

No, not politics though I am sick of that too.

It did not rain Wednesday as predicted and it even partially cleared up around 5 PM but of course it didn't stay that way and we got another 3/4” of rain yesterday and today I woke up to the usual overcast, fog, and drizzle. The forecast for the next 6 days is for fog and rain, rain, overcast and maybe more rain, and then two days of partly sunny if we're lucky before, you guessed it, overcast. Sigh. If I didn't know better I'd think I'd moved to the PNW*.

Yesterday I was halfway to my sister's house for our regular Thursday outing, in the rain (what a concept!), when she called...

You sure you want to go today? (it had started raining harder)

Not really and I'm wondering if it's raining in Bay City.

I'm OK with not going, driver gets to decide.

(since I'm the driver this day) OK, we'll go tomorrow. And I turned around and went back home.

But today we did go and we both found some things. I got another shepherd's crook ($2),

taller than my other one I thought and will raise the bird feeder up enough for me to see it out the window (above the patterned glass lower panes) where I sit. Well, it is taller but not quite enough. Another couple of inches would have been better though I suppose I could raise the seat of my chair some. Also 6 mother of pearl buttons ($1)...

and this quilt/bedspread (not handmade) with 2 pillow shams ($10) though I won't use the pillow shams, not my style, and I'm not really sure why I bought it at all since I certainly don't need it.

The husband comes home tomorrow late afternoon. I had all kinds of plans to get things done while he was gone either outside, weather permitting hahahahahaha, or inside like have a kiln shelf full of modeling glass ready to be fired and/or the drowned feather mold filled and ready to be fired. hahahahahahaha I just kill me

I did get the wind chimes repaired and put back out and since two of them hang over at the shop I discovered that the storm with the wind and torrential rain totally cratered the small raised metal bed so I guess I am setting up the other white one and transferring all the dirt,

and I did get the mold trimmed and cleaned up and ready

but that's about it. Don't ask me what I did do all week beyond Sunday because I'd be at a loss to tell you. Oh! I swept the floor in my studio room and used a wet towel to 'mop' the floor between the door to the garage and the door to the kitchen, not the whole floor mind you, just the traffic pattern part, I hung two pictures one of which was a needlepoint of poppies that my aunt did, 

and then there was the whole day it took me to rewrite 392 words. So, yeah, a whole week flew by.

* Pacific NorthWest