Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Sleepless in LA

I made a grave mistake tonight.  I dug into the untouched ice cream after 10pm.  That statement alone sounds bad enough.  But when I add that it was coffee [heath bar crunch] ice cream, that tells even more of the story.  I've been tossing and turning in bed all night.  My insides are burning.  My head is splitting.  My throat is aching.  And I have to meet a potential new client at 8am.  [Um, that's four hours from now]

My body is tired but my brain won't quit.  I wish I could say it's filled with happy thoughts - but it's just not so.

Having mono and taking care of myself is a lonely existence.  But having mono and not taking care of myself is a lonely, miserable existence.  God, I miss just being lonely.

I learned a valuable lesson tonight.  I haven't eaten junk food like this in about three months.  I can surely feel the effects in my body and my spirit.  It weighs me down, physically and mentally.  It's depressing.

I can't find one nice thing to say about myself - all because I chose not to take care of myself during those few moments.  The ice cream wasn't even as delectable as I remembered.  I kept eating it, thinking - hoping - it would get better.  Before I knew it, it was gone.  And I was over-stuffed.  Five hours later, I'm still over-stuffed, sick and tired, but too wired to sleep.

It's strange to know the bones in my spine are still sore from the hard backs of the theatre seats the other night.  I can practically count my ribs just by looking in the mirror.  Yet right now, I'm so bloated, I could pass for pregnant.

Aside from all that, I've really been taking great care of myself.  I'm eating very well [other than the ice cream].  I'm taking good vitamins and supplements consistently.  I'm getting light exercise and fresh air.  I'm completely frustrated with my lack of energy though.  Still, I make sure to keep my schedule as light as possible so I can rest more often than not.

But I miss playing my guitar.  I miss singing.  I miss recording.  I miss having energy to be social.  I miss journaling.  I miss reading journals.  I miss my full breath capacity.  I miss being well enough to make plans.  I miss hugs.


I guess this whole experience has the potential to give me greater appreciation of those things.  Something to look forward to, I suppose.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Saturday Night Recap

Friday wiped me out!  I spent the entire day resting in bed yesterday (Saturday) just so I could go see Haize's show last night.  And still I felt like I hadn't slept in days.  But I really didn't want to miss her show.

I don't know why I tend to forget this about the Pirates but news spreads like wildfire in our community.  Every single person - friends, friends of friends, loved ones, partners - all knew I have mono.  And most had the same reaction when they saw me.  First it was the shock of how tiny I look.  Then it was a lean toward me [a natural pre-hug gesture].  Then psych!  I got a firm hello accompanied by a wave.  No one wanted to step more than five feet near me.  Jeff was cool enough to give me a WonderTwinPowers handshake.

I should've been wearing crossbones on my face!  It became painfully clear to all that this is the ultimate anti-social illness.  No hugs. No kisses. No food/drink-sharing.  My pals bought a Cold Stone ice cream and came out with four spoons ... there were five of us.  That's okay. The strange thing about mono is I don't even want ice cream.

The only person daring enough to hug me was Corine I even reminded her to be careful.  She asked, "Why, will you break?"  I said, "No, I have mono."  To which she replied, "Yeah but wouldn't you have to spit in my mouth for me to get it?"  Oh yeah, that's right!  Everyone's got me so freaked out about it.  But I just know if someone else comes down with mono, it'll come down on me!

Haize was amazing.  She wrote the entire script.  She sang, danced and told stories of her heritage.  She had us laughing and crying over and over.  It was quite an emotional ride.  I'm so proud of her.  In awe.  And she was more beautiful than I've ever known her to be.

After the show I was wiped out again.  I said my goodbyes and headed out.

There I was, at 10:30 on a Saturday night, jaywalking across Ventura Blvd.  Not very bright.  This is what happens to my brain on mono.  It wasn't till I got to the middle of the street, standing on the double yellow lines, watching traffic zoom by me, that I realized I was dressed completely in black.  There was not one speck of color on my body.  I casually waved the playbill around, since that was printed on white paper.  When I decided it wasn't the best idea to jaywalk, I was about to backtrack to the curb when I noticed the traffic on that side of the street too.  So, they were zooming by from both sides of me now.

I started to talk to myself [true freeepeace fashion].  "Oh, this is good. I'm in all black. At least I'm dressed for my own funeral. I need food. I'm tired. I'm weak. Oh there's the crosswalk."  Finally I saw an opening between headlights and made an executive decision to sprint - mono-style - across the rest of the street.  Obviously I survived because I'm here today to write about it.

I sat in my car for a few minutes to catch my breath and slap my face awake.  At this point, I was shaking from hunger.  I was craving a burger - now that I'm a flesh-eating carnivore ::shudder::  But I was in The Valley.  I haven't lived there in ten years [almost to this date].  So I was in unfamiliar-ish territory.  Being the resourceful cat I am, I called upon my AOL-J phonebook.  And Robbie talked me all the way to the nearest In-N-Out Burger.  Actually, she talked me all the way through it - and onto the freeway. 

She suggested I order my burger "Animal Style".  For a moment I thought she was talking dirty to me.  She explained it meant "with sauteed onions".  Still, when I got to the window, I was afraid to repeat it...and didn't want to mess it up.  Nowhere on their menu do the words animal or style appear.

It was like a secret code to the underground world.  I ordered my cheeseburger then paused and checked back with Robbie to make sure I had the right code word.  I looked into the microphone and spoke in a monotone [get it? mono-tone] "An-i-mal Sty-ell" - I even paused, giving him time to question me... but he didn't.  He repeated my order, "That's a cheeseburger animal style with french fries. Three-oh-three at the second window."  I'm in!  [Hey Robbie, did you know 'protein style' replaces hamburger buns with leaves of lettuce?]

Got home safely, with a full stomach.  I'm tired.  What's new, right?

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Two in One

I'm extra tired today ... but it was well-worth it!

photos taken by Fishboy : June 25, 2004

Fishboy joined me for a full day
of hiking, dogparking and errands yesterday.  I haven't spent quality time with him in a few months. When I see him I wonder how I survive the days I don't see him.

He was not willing to have his picture taken [without a scowl on his face] so he took over behind the camera.  Now I know what to get him for his birthday!

It's hard to believe he's almost eleven years old.  I met him when he was a wee seven year-old.  His wit and humor can keep me rolling so much, I lost track of time.  At around 2PM I said this is the first day I wasn't feeling as tired as I have been lately.  His response was,"How lucky am I?"  It meant we could spend more time together and go shopping for his 5th grade graduation gift.  They grow fast, people!  Don't let time slip away.

He was a great help - in so many ways.  He hiked Hunny while I hiked the other two [my sometimes-morning-hike-clients].  Without Fishboy, Hunny has to stay home during the hikes.  I was out of bottled water.  I told him I wanted two cases but didn't think there would be enough room in the car when it's filled with dogs.  He insisted we could make it work.  So he lifted the two cases for me.  And he strategically loaded them in the car - under the picnic table.

He was an absolute joy to be with.  I kept us well fed and active all day.  He's so good with the dogs.  He threw the ball for some of them.  He let them kiss his little face.  He stuck by the water fountain to make sure every last dog got their full share of fluids.  He even helped me keep Marley in line.

Marley was in rare form yesterday.  The moment we arrived at the dogpark, he took off.  He spent the first ten minutes running from me, jumping and trying to mount and dominate every dog in the park.  We had our first fight for dominance.  The one where I HAVE to win or he'd think he's top dog forever.

I swear, we had a full-on wrestling match.  In my mind, it was a ten-minute fight from hell.  But it might have been three or five.  He resisted so much that his head knocked my jaw and my front teeth slammed each other.  That just made me madder and gave me more strength to grab his front paws and flip him over.  I might not weigh much more than him - but I'm the boss!  Don't mess with the dogwalker!

The fight finally ended with him on his back and me sitting on top of him.  Every dog needs that at least once... otherwise, they run the pack.  Once I got him to submit, I made him stay for a minute [unrestrained] while I stood over him.  I was firm with my language and while handling him.  But I was sure to let him know he's loved and how good he was being in that submissive moment. 

Then I gave him a release command.  After that, he was like a completely different dog.  As if we'd just performed an exorcism.  Every time I called him, he came to me.  He stuck by us for the rest of the day.  And the mounting?  I just had to use my growly voice and he responded.  He's young.  And I knew it was a matter of time before we'd have that dance.  You know, every dog has his day.  But boy, what an energy-suck!

I was quickly reminded
of how resistant Hunny was to submitting to me oh-so-many years ago.  She was a terror when she first started to settle into our home.  She's little - but do not underestimate her strength. [she destroyed two couches, a couple of stuffed chairs, every pillow corner, baby pictures, keepsakes, cds, books, blankets, - do I really need to go on?]  It took me months to get her to submit.  She's so precious now and such a well-behaved dog, that I'd forgotten all those times when she taught me more about my anger than I ever wanted to know.

This is where her dominant/stubborn personality shows. [so much like her mama]  As you can see from these pictures - and Robbie could tell you - Hunny's a tough one to photograph sometimes.  If she's in the mood, she can be a big ham!  We've all seen it.  If she's not ready for her close-up, she stops smiling and literally looks away from the lens.  It's as if she knows the camera is focused on her.

Fishboy was determined to get a 'good' Hunny shot.  I like them all.





Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Preventive Maintenance


Freeepeace & Hunny - Original comic by txsguinan.
Will someone tell me why she's not a published writer and illustrator yet?  I love this woman!  If you haven't been to her journal yet, drop everything and go now!
Thank you sweetie - Hunny and I are honored to be amongst your incredible comics.


PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE

I received an email this morning from a fellow journaler
who gave me some great advice about my new car, regarding preventive maintenance.  I'm grateful for the tips.  [thank you]

The first paragraph expressed his sympathy for all the negative stuff happening in my life lately.  A bit confused, I had to read it a few times to really understand that's what he was saying.  Because honestly, it never would've occurred to me to think that anything going on in my life has been negative.  I've been more than blessed in the last few months  - with work, friends, new car and this determination to take care of myself.  I feel like the fog is lifting in so many ways.  But I realize I've only been writing about the fatigue I've been experiencing.  Perhaps that comes across as negative.

The point is, it all can coexist.  Yes, I'm exhausted and frustrated with being sick.  But yes, I see it as a blessing.  There's a reason for everything.  I obviously wasn't listening to my body's need to slow down.  So my body [being as stubborn as I am] spoke louder.  I hear now.  I'm listening.  I'm paying attention.  If I don't listen now, my body will speak even louder - and I'm sure I won't like what it would have to say then! 

Preventive maintenance is what holistic healing and wellness is about.  I don't need to wait for the signs of illness before I take care of myself.  I need to fill my body with healthy thoughts, food, vitamins, water, exercise and the proper rest, every day so that I can last over 150,000 miles without needing to rebuildmy engine.

So friends, I appreciate your love and support - truly!  But please don't feel sorry for me.  Many of you have shared your experiences with mono from your past - and perhaps that's where the sympathy comes from.  [and I agree, it's a drag!]  But I couldn't feel more blessed in this moment, for the opportunity to love life and appreciate the beauty of spirit.

Having mono has given me a 'reason' to take care of myself.  When I'm through this, I hope I'll have gained the skills to take the same care of myself - replacing the word mono with self-love.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Say Cheese!

Today was a rough day as far as fatigue goes.  It's obvious to those around me that I'm not running on 100% fuel. I'm tired of being 'sick' so when asked how I am, my answer is GREAT!  Of course, it takes a lot of physical strength to even sound excited in my answer.  But it's worth the smiles. By the time I got to the dogpark everyone was feeling my pain.  Some of my dogwalker-buddies offered to pick up poo and help discipline my dogs.  I just love how we all support each other.

I crashed as soon as I got home.

The good thing about moving slowly is I had plenty of time to take some pictures.  I figured, while I'm resting, I might as well put myself to good use.  I just didn't have the energy or the wherewithal to get the 'perfect shot'.  So, these will have to do.

As you can see by the pictures of the Pet Divider, I was really out of it this morning.  How crooked does that look to you?  It's driving me crazy to even post the pictures.  But it did keep the dogs away from my chicken in the front seat!  The one dog who always finds a way to the front, never even attempted to get through.  And she was in the car the longest.  I was less stressed because of that little peace of mind, all day.

Now for the bejeweled rear view mirror. 


The dragonfly was a birthday gift from Cheryl and Jennifer.  It's gorgeous.  The colors are subtle - and depending on the light and the sun, it glitters and sparkles all over the dash.  It's beautiful on its own.  But when I saw this peace sign the other day, I couldn't pass it up.  During the day, it compliments the dragonfly.  It too is subtle.

But...

[bring on the cheese]



When lit, it's a whole different story!  I haven't driven at night yet [thanks to my mono-life] so I can only imagine how distracting it might be.  But I love it!  Perfect for the PeaceMobile.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Long Overdue Update


I figured I should take a picture of the bed while it was made.  Lately, it rarely looks like this.  I meant to post this yesterday but instead I crawled back in bed.

It's been a strenuous week.  We hired some people to clean our apartment and do our laundry yesterday morning.  I took Hunny out so she wouldn't get under their feet.  Within four hours everything was done - and it was amazing.  It felt so nice to return to a clean home.  There is no way I have the energy to lift laundry or push a vacuum.  To think something so simple was all I needed to feel less stressed.  It was as if I had gotten a really good massage.

Finally, all the car-buying stuff seems to be coming to an end.  Well, except for the cargo cover and heavy duty blankets.  But I've got privacy glass, keyless entry and a shine that's supposedly guaranteed for six years.  I also bought a pet divider so no doggies will jump in the front seat.  For a while I thought I'd spent too much on this particular product.  But after researching, it seems I found the best price - even better than most online deals.  And I found the cheesiest peace sign to hang from the rear view mirror with my dragonfly.  It lights up even!  I'll have to try to get pics sometime.

It's been two-plus months of a healthy lifestyle.  [Ironic that I'm sick, huh?]  I recently started incorporating essential vitamins and herbs into my diet, mainly to boost my immune system during this mono-phase.  But really, I should be taking these supplements daily anyway.  I'm not much of a druggie.  I have a very difficult time swallowing pills.  So it usually takes a full liter bottle of water to get them all in, sometime after an oatmeal-banana breakfast.

The CR-V is chock-full of protein bars, trail mix and fresh water.  I'm realizing I may need to buy a small cooler and pack a real lunch every day.  There's nothing like white meat or fish when I'm in need of protein.  And that's not easy for me to admit.  I'm a vegetarian at heart.  But my body craves the meat.  Lately chicken, fish, vegetables, bananas, summer fruits, eggs and yogurt all sustain me.  Meanwhile, my favorite ice cream sits untouched, getting freezer burn.  And my favorite chocolate chip cookies are still sealed in the fridge.  Every time I think about them, I want to get up and break into them.  But I do know how important my diet is - especially while my immune system is compromised.

Don't get me wrong!  I still have tea or coffee every day.  I know I'm not supposed to have either...but I'm allowing it as my one vice.  Not bad.  I'm not eating things like pasta, bread, potatoes, candy, chips or pretzels. And in two months I've lost ten pounds and I-don't-know-how-many inches.

My sleep patterns are somewhat scattered.  There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for the fatigue.  So, I do my best to stay in bed when I'm not working.  I'm noticing I really only have [some] energy from 7am till about noon.  Once the afternoon hits, there's no telling what might happen.  I'm ready to crash.  This is why I think I need real protein on the road... instead of at 3pm when I get home.

The fatigue is really a drag.  It keeps me immobile.  It's difficult to sit and hold my head up sometimes.  I can hardly function like a normal human being. [who am I kidding - normal?]  I've sat at the computer so many times, trying to squeeze out an entry for my journal when I usually end up feeling overwhelmed, plopping my head on my arms and snoozing at the desk. 

I'd better stop writing, or this entry won't make it in either!  I'm sorry for being so absent in AOL-J.  I miss updating daily.  I miss being connected with the community.  But I'm sure you understand I'm taking care of myself.  I'm determined to get well and stay well.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Life and Car



Yesterday went fairly okay - I had more energy throughout the day than I had over the weekend.  I came home and rested, like I promised myself.  But today I feel like hell again.  I woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat, aches and fever.  But I guess that's the nature of this beast.

[laughing] I just realized I'm parked in the red zone in the pic.
  I have a perfect driving record [knock wood].  And here I am, already breaking the law just to take a picture of the new addition to my family.  Whoops!  Sowwy Ossifer, but look how beautiful my new baby is!

Already filled with doghair - it's time for me to get protectors and fold those back seats down.  I also need a divider so the dogs can't hop in the front seat, especially while driving.  I don't mind if Hunny joins me but some of these dogs are big babies and want to be right on top of me.  I can't have an extra 60 lbs on my lap even while not driving!

Today they're coming to install the keyless entry w/alarm.  And I also ordered some protective coating for the paint and upholstery.  It's supposed to be stain resistant for at least 6 years.  Seemed worth it at the time.  But that means I have to get a full carwash today and vacuum every follicle of hair out from the inside so they can treat it with some "new car smelling chemical".  Great, just what I need.  But, at least they're coming to me.

Unlike tomorrow, when I have to drive to Alhambra to get the windows tinted.  But that's a very important piece.  Once that's done, then my car-buying process is over.  Well, except for the monthly payments for the next few years.

Eventually, I'd like to get running boards, to make loading and unloading easier for the dogs.  Sparky and Winnie have trouble getting in.  I have to help them.  Even Marley has trouble at first try.  And Otis, forget it!  Hunny doesn't have trouble getting in.  But she does a swan dive out of the car from the seat.  That's a big drop.  Makes mama nervous.

Off to start my dogwalking day...

Haize Hawke



Haize Hawke - Country Colored Girl

Forgive me.  I've been so out of it, I've neglected to tell you about an amazing show opening this Friday.  If you're in the Los Angeles area this coming weekend and next, don't miss the opportunity to see my Pirate Sister, Haize Hawke starring in an original one-woman show at the Laurel Grove Theatre on Ventura Blvd in Studio City.

For more detailed information, including reservations, visit her incredible website here.  Read all about her, the show, the crew and all the many hats Haize wears [stunningly beautiful, I might add].

Truly, this is one Goddess you do not want to miss.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Short Attention Span Journal Entry

This sucks!  I've spent the last 24 hours in bed.  I get a sudden burst of energy and that's enough to get me to the bathroom and back.  I'm having no trouble sleeping this weekend.  I'm completely disoriented.  I woke up just after midnight last night, thinking it was 5 or 6 in the morning.

I haven't even attempted to turn the TV on.  I can't hold focus on anything longer than a few minutes.  Writing this entry is a big challenge.  My brain is mush.  Short-term memory is... I can't even remember what I was going to say.

I'm eating - because I know how important it is.  Bananas, salads, chicken, fish; all sustain me.  I loaded up on my supply of energy bars and trail mix.  And bought two cases of bottled water.  [Thank you, Jennifer, for your help. I never would've been able to lift those. I love you!]

I also bought my favorite ice cream and haven't even touched it.  I bought chocolate chip cookies, still sitting in the fridge.  You know, comfort food for the sick and damned.  The only thing I don't have is mashed potatoes.  But that's because I'm afraid I'll fall asleep while peeling the potatoes.  I'm craving Cheryl's mom's matzo ball soup.  And I can't find my vitamin C.

Lucky me - they're doing more construction on the building next door.  Even on a Sunday.  Ah bliss! [grrr]

I'm thinking it's a beautiful day outside - perfect for a drive up the coast in my new wheels.  But alas, all the driving I'm doing is in my wacky dreams.  And pretty much every person I know has been in these dreams.  Thanks for keeping me entertained everyone!

I'm really committed to my work but I have no idea how I would've gotten through the day if I had to work today!  This has definitely been the worst day, as far as fatigue and dizziness goes.  So, I'm bedridden until I go to work tomorrow.

Whoa, wobbly head, weak arms, heavy eyelids... guess I should post this entry before I fall asleep right here.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Slow Down



As you can [sort of] see,
the car-buying process is [basically] over.  I bought the exact car I wanted.  And [laughing at myself] I didn't even test drive it first.  I did tons of research, as you know.  And the CR-V came out on top every single time I questioned myself.  It's just that much bigger than the RAV4.  It got slightly better consumers reports.  Without realizing it, a couple of yoga instructors recently bought a 2004 model and rave about them.  A fellow dogwalker has a 2002 CR-V and still raves about it.
 
The difference in price between a used 2002 and a brand new 2004 was minimal.  So, I got what I wanted - A brand new 2004 black Honda CR-V.  It had 33 miles on it when I picked it up from the credit union [it has over 100 miles on it now].  I appreciate everyone's input during this process.  It really helped in my extensive search.
 
I'm sorry I haven't posted sooner but [thanks to my brilliant doctor] we found at least one reason for my fatigue: mono.  Yes, that's right, the 'kissing disease'.  I didn't know much about it until I researched it the other night.  It's highly contagious but [presumably] not airborne.  It's passed through the saliva.  So this could mean I've shared more than martinis with friends over the past few months. 
 
Looks like it's going to be a quiet summer for some of us.
 
At least now I know I have to be resting.  I kept trying to push through - thinking my work had gotten so busy and my body hadn't adjusted yet.  But apparently I've been trying to push through with a weakened immune system. 
 
There's no treatment for mono.  I have to ride it out.  Aches, pains, sweats and all.  Eat well. Drink lots of water. But mostly I have to rest.  It's suggested that I do not partake in strenuous activity, not lift heavy things and not play contact sports because a blow to the abdomen could rupture my spleen. -- What the heck is that anyway?  One website said the spleen is useless and often removed.  But if it becomes inflamed and/or ruptures, it could be dangerous.
 
But hello? Strenuous activity, lifting and contact are all part of my work!  I need to be in top physical condition.  So this is a rude awakening for me.  I'm resolving to put all of my energy into my work - nothing else.  That means, no more working at Goda Yoga.  Recording and performing have to be put off till I can sing and hold my guitar for longer than a minute - without feeling faint.  And bear with me on the lag time between journal entries and comments.  I can't risk jeopardizing my work.  Especially now that I have a car payment.
 
Luckily, easy walks and some yoga are essential to getting well - even with mono.  I actually feel much better when I'm walking and stretching.  But I just have to remember not to push myself when I feel tired.  Even if it's after just a few minutes.
 
Timing sure is everything.  Now that I have a DVD player and Netflix subscription, I can sack out on my new bed and zone to the TV.  Only thing is, I have no desire to even turn the thing on.  I want to be out and about, riding in my new car with the wind blowing in my hair singing loud with Jason Mraz on the CD player.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Life



Life is happening so fast lately.
  I can barely keep up.  I'm still mid-car-search.  And I was having fun for about a minute.  But this has become the most tedious, time-consuming, energy-sucking process of the year.

Currently I'm driving a rental car because I am too afraid to get stranded in the Mighty-Mighty Escort with 5 or 6 dogs in tow!  And now, thanks to this rental car, I know for sure I do not want a tan interior!  Every speck of dirt and dog hair shows like Venus on the sun this afternoon!

I've been to a few auto dealers, through many online listings, a bank, an advisor.  I've called on friends and I've researched every possible car I could imagine.  Ask me anything about the Honda CR-V.  I can tell you the available colors, options, styles. Great on gas. Decent price tag.  I'm tempted to get a brand new model.  But I'm hoping to get an '02 or '03 pre-owned.

Of course, I've become really particular about the options.  Makes for difficult pre-owned buying.  I want black exterior and gray interior, keyless entry, tinted windows [very important for doggie comfort in summer], and I'd like running boards but they're not a deal-breaker.  It seems everyone who buys a CR-V keeps it.  Pre-owned is hard to come by.  That's a good sign.  But not good news for me at this very moment.

Since all this research, I've been hellbent on the CR-V.  I dropped the Toyota 4Runner from the list when I was reminded of its very low gas mileage.  But today, my advisor-person told me about a 4-cylinder 4Runner.  It would be better on gas than the 6-cylinder.  And now I'm torn.

But I'm only torn because the exact pre-owned CR-V I want isn't available.  And I can't drive a rental car for much longer.  Meanwhile, the Mighty-Mighty Escort sits untouched in the parking garage - while the rental and I search the city streets for parallel parking.  WHAT am I going to do with my current car?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I watched half a DVD last night before I conked out.  I hope to get the rest in tonight so I can return it and have another one delivered to collect dust with the rest!

I'm not sure what's happening but when I was at the dogpark today I squatted to the ground for a moment.  When I stood up, I thought the sun was going in - or clouds were forming.  But then I realized, I was getting dizzy.  I had to brace myself sturdy on the ground - like a surfer - just to keep from falling over.

All of my protein fixes are in my car ... not the rental car!  Luckily, a fellow dogwalker had a spare Zone bar for me.  Shaking to the core, I ate it as consciously as I could.  Usually that gives my blood sugar levels the boost they need, until I get home to have a meal.  It helped temporarily.  But less than an hour later I found myself wobbling as I was walking.  It was all I could do to stay upright at Trader Joe's.  The outer edges of my vision were darkened.  My equilibrium is just...off.

I came home and ate half a salad before I choked on the salad dressing.  Literally, my eyes were tearing and I was gasping for breath.  Amazing how a tiny drop of liquid can rub my throat the wrong way.  I coughed and gagged long enough for my throat to still hurt from the experience.  I figured that was a sign that I'd had enough salad.

I was determined to keep this car search going [time is money] so mid-choke I called the advisor's number, thinking I'd leave a message.  But she answered.  And when she asked how I was I could barely speak.  I cleared my throat and coughed some more and said, "I'm choking, but other than that, I'm great."  Then I laughed ... at my own insanity.

Later I tried napping because I could hardly keep my head up anymore.  But I couldn't sleep.  I tossed and turned - just like I've been doing every night for the past six weeks.

I'm really hoping it's just stress.  But to be sure, I made an appointment with my doctor. [okay DiAnne?]

Monday, June 7, 2004

Prince

I guess I am obsessed with this car-process.  This is how I get.  My mind can hardly focus on anything else.  I have three DVDs from Netflix that I haven't watched yet.  I'm out of just about everything healthy to eat.  I'm craving salad and leafy greens but I haven't done my grocery shopping.  I did get my laundry done.  But I did not get my legs waxed.  So it's jeans again today.

I know many of you are curious about the Prince show I saw Saturday night.  I hate to be so anti-climactic but I'm not really a concert kind of gal.  I'm more drawn to an intimate showcase.  But I was lured out by my best friend - enticed by eighth row [eighth row my ass].  That didn't matter.  We had a great time together. 

I realized just how old I'm getting.  I didn't drink.  I took Advil as the show was about to start.  I kept earplugs in the entire time.  And I didn't stand or scream once.  My age really hit me when I looked around and saw people older than us and I said, "Oh good, we're in the cool section."  I am now one of those people who sits crossed legged and taps her foot in the air to the beat.  When did that happen?

The Staples Center is massive.  I mean, every single possible seat was filled.  It was quite a sight.  And even though Prince is a musical genius and a fireball on stage - and his accompanying musicians were the best I'd ever seen - I wasn't so impressed with the show/venue.  I had no trouble hearing him.  I just couldn't understand a word he said.  I'm not sure if all concerts are like that there or if it was a sound issue.  But if I'd paid face value for our tickets, I'd have been really upset.  And these weren't even the top-dollar tickets.  It's just not worth it to me.  I'd rather go to a coffee house and see a talented musician there.

The one thing I loved about Prince's show was his acoustic set.  He did a good 40 minutes of old favorites - just him, a gorgeous acoustic guitar and the entire crowd singing along.  It was sweet, vulnerable, intimate, funny - and still, I couldn't understand anything when he spoke.  Cheryl and I were like a Miracle Ear commercial, "What'd he say?"

By 11:30 we were ready to leave.  We got antsy waiting for the encore.  Prince sure knows how to work the crowd.  And he really made them work for the encore.  We almost left when he finally came back out.  We sat through most of it but beat the crowd by leaving during Purple Rain - which I assumed was his final encore [I mean, what tops Purple Rain?]

I felt completely hung over the next morning.  A friend who goes to a lot of concerts said she always thought her hangovers were because of all the drinking she would do.  But when she stopped drinking at concerts and the hangovers continued, she realized it was because of the volume.  The sound, the crowd, the screams... all contribute to a hangover.  Makes sense to me.  So my instincts were right to take Advil before the show.  See that?  Always taking care of myself.

I considered wearing this:


But opted to wear this:


Another sign of my age - choosing comfort over cute.  Eh, who am I kidding?  I've always chosen comfort!

Sunday, June 6, 2004

Car Update

We went to the used car lot today.  I let Reza (my roommate) do most of the talking while I did a lot of observing.  I test drove a Nissan Pathfinder.  Funny because before the Xterra was invented, Pathfinder was top on my "someday" list.  It's not anymore.  It handled the road well.  It's got a powerful engine. But it's way too big for me - not much body support in the driver's seat. It gets terrible gas mileage for city driving.  But it is a beautiful vehicle.

Later, I took Gordy's and Reza's advice and signed up for consumer reports.  I spent all afternoon reading about small and midsized SUVs.  [Sorry Gordy and DiAnne, I just can't see myself in a minivan. Not yet anyway.]

The beautiful, coveted Xterra has been bumped from the first position.  Right now the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CRV are competing for the top spot on my list.  Great on the road.  Better on gas.  Big enough for dogs but small enough for me.

The Toyota 4Runner is also in the competition.  But it's about as big as the Pathfinder.  I'd have to sit in one and see how it feels.  I've driven my friend's 4-door Ford Explorer and as big as it is, I feel completely comfortable and safe driving it.  I think it has a lot to do with the seating options.  If I could be that comfortable in a 4Runner, that could work.

The Ford Escape is near the top of my list too - but I know, it's a Ford.

[note: my preferred car color is black but red must photographwell, since many of the links provided are some shade of red].

It's interesting how much I notice all the different cars on the road when I'm in the process of buying.  It amazes me how many times I've been willing to take the first available car, or settle on something less than desirable, just to have something to drive.  Yet, it's one of the most important decisions I'll make.  And since I don't own a home, this is a purchase that should last longer than any other item I buy.

Tomorrow Reza and I will continue the car search.  Timing is crucial.  I have a jam-packed schedule this week.  And my current car either needs to be fixed or nixed.

Saturday, June 5, 2004

Car, ice cream and Prince

I bought ice cream but ate a banana instead.

Car troubles again.  I knew there was something my mechanic was missing.  Perhaps it wasn't noticeable then, but it's pretty bad now.  The other night it nearly overheated as I coasted to a stop in front of Cheryl's house.  The coolant was completely dry.  We loaded it up with water.  I was able to get home safely and start my dogwalking day on Friday.

By mid-day, the coolant light came on again.  I dropped off most of my troops and Hunny, Marley and I made a pitstop to my mechanic.  It's possible there's a small leak in the radiator.  But without further investigation, there was nothing blatantly obvious.  My mechanic topped off my fluids.  He expects to see me Monday morning.

I was on my way.  No problems again.  Until today.  Not even 24 hours later - low coolant.  The engine is running hot.

I spent a couple of hours visiting car dealerships.  My thought is, if I'm going to put money into a car, I should probably put it toward a reliable longer lasting car.  The one I'm driving now has over 118,000 miles on it [4 cylinder].  I'm the third owner.  It's been a great little car.  I've been blessed.  It probably has a good few years left.  But summer is coming fast and furious.  My business is going strong and getting stronger.  I need a reliable, comfortable and bigger vehicle.

The dumbasses at the first dealership kept me standing in the blazing sun while the partial-English-speaking boy went to fetch the keys to a used Xterra.  He returned 20 minutes later [as I was walking off the lot] and said he had the wrong information on the car.  I was about to leave then when he said he'd quickly run my credit and let me know what I qualify for - which was the whole reason I was there in the first place.  After waiting another 20 minutes he came back with "good news, you qualify but I can't tell you how much your monthly payments will be until you have a car picked out."

I rolled my eyes and stood up, thankyou-goodbye!  And [this is why I call him boy] he said, "What's wrong? Are you mad at me?"  Oh please, you man-child, cut the umbilical cord already!   I reminded him ofthe first wasted 20 minutes and followed up with the most recent wasted 20 minutes.  I shook his hand and with a blank smile, thanked him for being no help to me whatsoever.  I turned to leave and he still had the nerve to ask for my cell phone number just in case the perfect car arrived for me. With my back to him I waved, Nope. I've been here way too long.  I'm going to the dealership next door.  Buh-bye!  I thought he was going to cry.

I went to another dealership.  I purposely pulled into the used lot across the street to take a look for myself.  After seeing a few possibilities, I headed to the main building.  Off in the distance stood seven vultures just waiting to reel me in.  By the time I got to the front door, there were only two left.  [I have that affect on sales people.]  I gave both of them the skeptical eye and only one put his hand out to me.

I said exactly what I expected from them - "and if you can't tell me what my estimated monthly payments will be, then I don't need to be here."  I got exactly what I wanted.   I've been in sales.  It makes a huge impact when you treat a customer like a person.

When I got home my roommate made a phone call to a good friend of his.  Apparently they know a thing or two about cars.  So tomorrow we're going to a place they trust.  They can be my advisors.  Then again, my roommate is trying to convince me to buy from eBay Motors.  I dunno.  How many times have I received an eBay item only to find it's not exactly what I thought it was?  A fifteen-dollar mistake is very different from a fifteen-thousand dollar mistake.

Besides, I've never even driven an Xterra.  Actually, I don't think I've ever been inside an Xterra.  There's a pretty good chance I'll be in one tomorrow.

Newsflash:  Just got a call from Cheryl.  We've acquired two 8th row tickets to see Prince at the Staples Center tonight.  Now I'm eating ice cream!  Gotta hop in the shower.  Have a great night everyone!

Friday, June 4, 2004

Dog Day Afternoon

I don't mean to be such a spaz about the dogs I care for.  I know I appear to be the crazy dog lady.  Perhaps I am.  But that's my life lately.  [and I still say, bring it on!]



Today I asked Marley if he'd be my boyfriend.  I'm head-over-heals in love with him.  They only pay me to take him twice a week - for one hour.  But I keep him out all day with me.  His folks are going out of town for a couple of weeks.  And Marley gets really upset when they're away.  They asked me to take him three times instead of two.  I'm tempted to take him every day - just because I love him so much!  Now I'm thinking he's not so much boyfriend material.  He's too young.  But if he came in human form, I'd want him to be my son...Hunny's brother.

This [pictured] is how excited Marley was to meet Otis.  I couldn't get a picture of both of them together [I was driving].  But Marley's head is bigger than Otis' body.  And they really liked each other.

You can see in the background just how [not] thrilled Hunny was to have Otis tag along today.  After 8 years of this [off and on], she's gotten pretty used to puppies joining us.  And I have to give her a lot of credit.  She's very tolerant.  She had zero interest in giving Otis the domination-initiation.  I think Otis was a nice distraction for Marley.  Oh good, you deal with the puppy.  I'm going to sunbathe.

This was Otis' first day at the dogpark.  He was a big boy sitting in the car, on the seat [rather than on my lap].  I'm a stickler about things like that.  He was a little put off at first, what do you mean I can't sit on your lap. But I'm so cute.



On our individual walks Otis is defiant.  He shows very little interest in me and turns inside out for neighbors and other pets who pass us by.  He would be content in taking off with some stranger, without even a look back or a goodbye.  When I try to exercise him [just a walk folks], he stops dead in his tracks and refuses to move until he decides it's time.  This leads to me eventually picking him up out of frustration, and carrying him home.  Well, not anymore big guy!  Check him out.  All four on the floor.



I wasn't sure how he'd react to such a spacious place with so many other fun dogs and people.  [I had visions of him waving, thanks for the lift - see ya!]  So I left a leash on him.  That way I could get hold of him a lot easier if he were to try to run from me.  Well, this little toughie from his street corner, found a safe haven at my feet all day.  He would wander away to check out other dogs and scurry back between my legs.  Like a kid playing tag, safe at home.



We spent an hour and a half at the dogpark today.  There are many days where we count the minutes until that hour is up.  But I know my job is fun when I lose track of time.