Thursday, March 14, 2019

Borrowed Patronuses & A Critical Hit


My duderuses with uteruses, remember when PMS meant you just got a little crabby and wanted chocolate?  

Ahhh, those were the days. I'm still trying to figure out how hormones can cause everything from nightmares to tooth aches, like my whole body sets itself to Self Destruct.

Harrumph.

So even though I'm pretty good at sleeping sitting up from all the reflux, and have a truckload of doctor-prescribed pills and potions that supposedly help, I've been a useless lump most of the last week.

 
 Suki using her sleeping sister's head as a pillow understands.

Plus, never fails: right around day 3, when I'm lying on the couch bone-tired and aching everywhere, in come the dementers to remind me just HOW useless I am. And ugly. And a bad friend and daughter and wife. You know the spiel.

I like to think I'm better equipped for my monsters these days, though. Or at least, I know where I can gear up.


Props to our favorite Blogess for the hashtag.

If you've ever spiraled before then you know what it's like to be teetering on that edge. And if you've spiraled often enough, you eventually learn to recognize your tipping point: the place where things are about to go DOWN if you don't do something. The one thing I've found that works to catch myself? Sweet and silly distractions, and lots of 'em.

 
 ...with a sprinkling of watching John pet the cats.

I got a bunch of great recommendations from you over on IG, which were roughly 70% cute animal accounts. I had no idea there were this many cute furballs on Instagram, and I'm definitely OK with it.

Most of you didn't get to see these, so here are a few of my favorites:



Links so you can check them out: @Snegga and @toplessbaker





There were dozens more, but that's a good start if you're looking for some happy today. If you want more, go check out all the accounts I follow. It's a constantly changing list of art, crafts, Disney photography, cosplay, and random people who make me happy.

(Just to be clear: some battles need a LOT more than pretty internet things to get through, so if you're spiraling, please, reach out. There's no shame in gearing up for a Boss Fight.)

The next day I woke up to more great links and the most beautiful "orange hug" from my friend Sharyn:

An all-orange bouquet! Since lilies are bad for cats this has been traveling with me from room to room so I can keep an eye on it. Again, not complaining. It's nice to have something beautiful nearby to rest your eyes on.


Like these goofballs.


More things that got me through the week:

Such a good show. And Hamilton fans: Lin guest-starred in the last one!

John mentioned he'd never watched The Guild before, so we binged all 6 episode/seasons.

It's wild watching it all at once, seeing how the show evolved as it hit superstardom - and reflecting on how far geek culture has come (or... not) in the last 10 years.

Oooh, I just realized I haven't shown John the bonus music videos yet! Gotta do that tonight. (You can find them all on the official website here.)

If you're a fellow Critter then you know what else made me happy this week:



Critical Role started a Kickstarter last week to animate a single half-hour show, with a goal of $750,000. As of today they've raised over SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS, and are on their way to animating an entire series. (!!) Watching the cast lose their minds over this outpouring of love and support has been so pure, so good, so affirming for geeks everywhere.  

I mean, on paper this show never should have worked; who watches a bunch of nerds sit around and play D&D for 4 hours a week? BUT IT DID. That's such a vindication for both us fans and all of us out here resisting the mandate of Shorter, Flashier, & More Click Bait. I think we're craving longer formats again, hungry for more than a headline. We want connections, inside jokes. Anyway, seeing these awesome people succeed makes me so hopeful for the future of online media again, I gotta wear shades.

Thanks to the Kickstarter I also skipped ahead in Campaign 1 to start the Briarwoods arc, which runs from episode 24 to 38. (I'm all caught up on Campaign 2. Aw yeah.) I'm only 2 eps in, but really liking it so far!

And since I have to work on puzzles during the show - have to - I stocked up for the next week or three:



Yowza, for a week where I didn't take many photos, I sure have rambled on. (Here's where I hope you guys really are down for longer posts.) I'll end with my best photo of the week: Eva looking badass when the sunlight hit her tag just right:

"In brightest day, in blackest night..."


Wishing you a dementor-free week out there, my friends. And remember, when they do come swooping in, I'm right here, serving up all the sweet and silly and wonderful things I can muster. Love you.

*****

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27 comments:

  1. This is really lovely, and I understand completely what you mean about your monsters. I'm not so good at battling them myself, but your blog helps! And hugging my fur babies. In that case, I suppose my Patronus is a robot pug. Expecto Patronum!

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  2. Forgive me if this is the obvious thing you've already tried, but if you're on hormonal birth control, maybe talk to your doctor about trying a different kind? I used to get into a really predictable funk every month until I switched to something slightly different. Love you and your blog! Again, sorry if you've already tried that or it won't work for you for other reasons.

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    1. No apologies needed, I've gotten a lot of great advice here, so I welcome suggestions. :) I'm not on birth control, but I do have a lot of hormonal imbalances my doc & I are working through with bio-identical HRT. It's helping, but getting the doses right = a real roller coaster some months, ha.

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    2. I was a hormonal mess and could not get preggers. For 10 years and 10 doctors no one could tell us why. Heavy painful period lots of blood - no answers. Then one day I saw an Ozark GP who went in manually and found my womb was not in the right place and was hard like a stone. It was Endometriosis all along and no doctor would take the time to diagnosis it. It caused hormone problems, anemia from constant heavy flow and cramps that could kill an elephant. After a robotic hysterectomy (kept my ovies) life got so much better. No menopause, no monthly crampy flow and I got my energy back. I hope you find an answer and get well soon.

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    3. I was just about to share a similar story about my best friend (anemia, horrible cramps, and awful periods), but hers turned out to be really bad fibroids. She got them removed and has been so much happier, and said her periods are practically a breeze at this point.

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  3. Is it me, or does Eva look like Toothless in that photo? Thank you for sharing the hard bits and the real bits and the things that make you happy, it really does help the rest of us (well, it helps me, and I’ve read enough comments to feel safe in saying “us”). Also, I don’t think I’ve ever met a post too long!

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  4. Do you construct your puzzle on one of those mats that rolls up to keep the cats away from it when you're not working on it? Or do you have any other puzzle storage tricks? I have a tiny apartment and need to figure out how to set a puzzle aside when I'm not working on it.

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    1. I work on puzzles on top of a foam board, then cover it with another foam board when I'm not there! The foam sandwich makes it easy to move around if I need to, and the cats leave the top piece alone when it's covered.

      I should mention another benefit of Dollar Tree puzzles: they're really small!

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    2. Jen,

      I made one of those puzzle roll keeper things. Took a paper tube from wrapping paper and a large piece of felt I got for free from a furniture store. Glued it together. Ta Da! Only problem with it is that puzzle pieces don't slide when trying to put sections together. :( Like your idea of the foam core.


      Maureen

      P.S. It was great to see you in Pittsburgh!

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  5. My PMS turned into this all-consuming nightmare of rage/anger/sadness as well as a bunch of weird physical symptoms and bad dreams, to the point where I was struggling to cope with life for a week out of each month. I read about Pre-Mentrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and it was a huge lightbulb moment - maybe I'm not actually an awful person who just can't cope with something that other people can? I'm now tracking my symptoms using an awesome app called Me V PPMD.

    Obviously I am not diagnosing you, but if your PMS is at the 'absolutely horrendous' end of the spectrum you could read about lady-hormone-related mental health conditions and see what you think. I found these links helpful:

    https://iapmd.org/

    https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder-pmdd/#.XIuq90x2vIU

    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/premenstrual-dysphoria-disorder-its-biology-not-a-behavior-choice-2017053011768

    I'm glad you're finding things to make you feel better. Keep looking after yourself!

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  6. Whoops, app is called Me V PMDD. Sorry!

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  7. Hmmmm… how do I tell Miss Jen what Instagram accounts make me happy when she’s the main one? ;)

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  8. I don't know whether my tastes work for you, but sometimes when I'm feeling down I watch movies and shows that are fun and funny and optimistic and mostly feature girls and women kicking butt! Things in this vein that have worked for me include: Legally Blonde, She's the Man, Bend It Like Beckham, One Day At A Time (Netflix reboot), She-Ra (Netflix reboot), and Kamikaze Girls (a Japanese film about a Lolita and biker girl who become unlikely friends).

    On a cute animal note, I'm a member of a group on Facebook called Dogspotting (which is exactly what it sounds like - people spot or meet new dogs and then post about them to the group, usually with picture or video) and it's improved my feed 100%. I'm more of a dog person than anything else, but I bet there are equivalent groups for cats!

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    1. Cheesy action/scifi 80s works for me: Running Man, Demolition Man, Total Recall. Hmm kinda man-centric (and yes I am a woman, I just find that era comfortingly cheesy), ok how bout The Princess Diaries, Ever After and Matilda :-)

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    2. The original versions, not the remakes where applicable...

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  9. Being a dude, I can only sympathize with your monthly woes and offer you a virtual hug ((squeeze)). But can I give you some advice dealing wtih acid reflux? I had been suffering with it for months and tried antacids, not eating or drinking (even water) for at least 5 hours before bed and was only having marginal success (and I was so thirsty!). I ended up getting a MedCline reflux relief system and it has been great. It's basically a big, soft wedge that you sleep on that has a hole for your arm so that you can sleep on your side. And it has a wrap-around body pillow! Totally worth the investment. Here's the website if you want to look into it: https://www.medcline.com/products.php?product=MedCline-Reflux-Relief-System

    Love both your blogs! I'll be praying for you!

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    1. Heyyy, that pillow thing sounds useful! I have a basic wedge, but usually end up sliding off it (lol), so now I just fashion a ramp with too many pillows. I'll check that out, thanks.

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  10. This month’s PMS sucked big time. I didn’t want to talk to anybody, I felt worthless, I am the worst housekeeper, etc. somebody said, “Why didn’t you call me?” The thought to call someone never crossed my mind.

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    1. I'm like that; I get extra insular when things hurt. It's so hard to break out of, and often when I *have* to be social or leave the house I end up being grateful in the end, even though it was the last thing I ever wanted to do to begin with!

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    2. Could we do a PMS-phone tree or something? The people who have PMS in week 1 of the month get an uplifting call during this week 1 from the people who expect to have PMS in week 3 of the month. The people who have PMS in week 2 of the month get a call during this week from the people who expect to have PMS in week 4 of the month. Then in week 3, the schedule reverses and the people who PMS'ed in week 1 call the PMS'ers of week 3. Ditto for week 2&4.

      Could we make this happen?

      And yes, it sucks so much every now and then...

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  11. Paul Bronks at https://twitter.com/SlenderSherbet will make you laugh out loud with his daily animal videos. It is not completely SFW as he does drop F bombs on descriptions regularly.

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  12. I've been watching a lot of slime review videos on YouTube lately... I don't know what it is about them, because I've never owned or made a slime and I'm not really into the ASMR (I'll even skip ahead if the reviewer spends a lot of time squishing it without talking)? But some of them are soooooo pretty and the reviewers are very upbeat and positive even when describing things they don't like.

    Also Moriah Elizabeth's Squishy Makeover videos, where she takes old/damaged squishable foam toys viewers have sent her and repairs/remakes them into new ones. She's super creative, the squishies are cute, and she has a dry (but not mean) sense of humor that I find reeeeeeally funny.

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  13. Oh, I want to mention one thing that helped me a LOT with my PMS issues was switching to the reusable cloth pads! Turned out I was allergic/sensitive to the weird chemicals in the disposable pads and tampons which led to much longer and more painful periods. On the cloth pads my periods are days shorter (3-4 rather than 7-8) and less intense, and my feminine health is improved overall--I used to be susceptible to yeast infections and things which I haven't had at all since switching. It doesn't really help with the emotional side, except that it doesn't last as long, which is still super helpful!

    This is my favorite one: The One with the Owl Print is backed with minky which is super soft and keeps it from sliding around when it's in place, and it has a charcoal bamboo fiber pad that is naturally antimicrobial and doesn't stain. I have several of these in different sizes.

    Some people are concerned about how hygienic they are, but really, it's no less hygienic than reusing underwear, LOL. Using them is easy, you use them like regular pads, and just rinse them in the sink until the water runs clear, then pop them in a wet bag when you're done with one. At the end of your period, just put them in the wash, wet bag and all (I usually wash them with a few towels). Give them an extra rinse cycle at the beginning, then a regular wash cycle with a little vinegar and regular detergent. Tumble dry low until they're totally dry, and store them in the clean wet bag until you need them again. :-) If you forget and leave soiled ones in the bag too long, just let them soak overnight in a vinegar solution before laundering.

    Cloth pads were a revelation to me (and they save a lot of money!) and I hope talking about it can help someone else!

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  14. Jen,

    So sorry that you are having issues with acid reflux. I went through a stage of this and know how much it sucks. What helped me was cutting out a hot beverage in the evening. I had gotten in the habit of making a cup of tea after my daughter went to bed and had been doing so for years when out of the blue this reflux crap started and I couldn't get it to go away. The biggest aid was a combo of pretzels and Gaviscon tablets. When the reflux started I would eat some pretzels to absorb the stomach acid. Don't drink anything and yes, you may end up thirsty, but that is easier than the choking that accompanies the attack. Once you feel them start to settle everything down, chew two Gaviscon tablets. Liquid didn't work for me nor the Walmart equivalent. Hold them in your mouth until all broken up; they will foam; feels weird; and THEN swallow. The foam then makes a barrier that the acid doesn't come through. I had to do this for awhile but eventually it stopped. I didn't change anything else in my diet and it still happens but maybe only once or twice a year. Hope this helps.

    Maureen

    P.S. It was great to see you in Pittsburgh!

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  15. If you like Felicia Day, and you need a good laugh, try out the new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Netflix.

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  16. My cat has an instagram (@felismaximus) pretty much entirely as a repository for cute animal accounts — that's all he follows — so anytime I want that sort of pick-me-up, I go check out his feed. Occasionally, I even remember to post pictures of him...

    I hope you're feeling better now.

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