Pushing Boundaries

It’s not that John dislikes the poultry so much as that he doesn’t love the poultry like I do.

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Being a wonderful tolerant and handsome husband, as well as my number one blog post editor, he doesn’t do more than put up a manly bit of bluster when bird numbers expand and varieties increase.

Mostly he sits back and watches the madness and kindly takes care of them when I am unable. There are a few hard lines I won’t cross when it comes to adding birds (I didn’t even really consider bringing home a peacock and I’d never bring home a four legged creatures without a serious consult). He has alluded to other lines I’m confident are just… guidelines… wishes… attempts to not let the females in his life run rampant with animal husbandry.

And the females in his life know that boundaries are made to be pushed.

Which is how we ended up with three silkie chickens.

Because John is a fantastically tolerant man he rolled his eyes when he saw that they brought us joy and when the rooster grew a crazy comb he announced that his name should be changed from “Fluffy” as Jane called him or “Spike” as I called him to “Magma”.

And because we know you can only push boundaries so far…

Meet our Silkie rooster, Magma.

Top o’ the Morning to Ya!

It’s Sunday morning, we have, of course, no where to go. I’m pretending to sleep in when Jane shows up to “snuggle” (i.e. asks three thousand questions and demands one million items). After a long three minutes of such talk I caved and threw my phone at her in self defense so that she could check out every filter on all the platforms my phone can offer.

The end result was this picture.

I quite like it and I’m saving it because I think it will come in handy for handling the current most common questions I get.

“How’re things going?” – see above picture.

“How’s that homeschooling thing?” – note how I can no longer smile a real smile.

“How are the kids handling it?” – check out that kids face and then you tell me.

“What’s it like with the kids home all the time?” – please note how I no longer even have enough personal space for my entire face.

Top o’ the morning to ya! I hope you and yours are safe and healthy and that in the process of staying that way you still have enough elbow room of your own to see out of both eyes!

I’m participating in the April Squares challenge over at The Life of B come check it out!

Officially Done

Many notable things happened today ranging from new poultry arrivals to capoeira demos but they all pale in comparison to this little piece of floor.

If I may direct your attention back in time approximately six years and six months ago you will find a blog post titled Please Hold. In that post you will read amongst other things that we were living in “cardboard box hell” after moving to our new house.

A number of those boxes landed in the corner by the bookshelf and spent the last 6 years alternating between functioning as a perch for cats and the most inconvenient end table ever to throw a book/hat/flashlight/blanket on as you went by. The problem being that not only did this always annoy the cats but it ensured that it would take twice as long as normal to find the object. This is because a stack of cardboard boxes that should really be unpacked actually becomes invisible after a certain amount of time. So that once an item is set on top of it, it also disappears and your only hope is to rely on a grumpy cat to alert you to the item’s presence.

But no more! Thanks to the Herculean efforts of John (it’s super hard to move invisible objects) they have been unpacked and put appropriately away.

That’s right. It’s official. We are all moved in!

Teenager

Last week Ivy sat at the dinner table with an attitude of, shall we say… discontent. John ever the problem solver asked, “Ivy, what brings you joy? What do you like?”

Ivy replied…

(Now mind you, Ivy has recently discover that she can read my blog. This is a new fact of life that I have seriously mixed feelings about but I can assure you, knowing that my lovely eldest daughter will read this sooner rather than later, I speak the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.)

… “eating…. And sleeping.”

John and I burst into laughter at this totally stereotypical teenage reply, which was of course totally unwarranted because she was only twelve at the time.

But today she is thirteen.

We now have a teenager in our midst. She likes eating, sleeping and even, when to pressed to answer by the laughter of her parents, reading and drawing.

She’s pretty alright, we think we’ll keep her.

Happy Birthday Ivy!

 

 

The Jello Brain

The Jello Brain

or

Part 5 of Where I’ve Been the Last Four Months

Part 1: The Cow

Part 2: The Omelettes 

Part 3: The Concussion

Part 4: The Therapy

When asked how I’m doing now I can look back and see how very far I’ve come in the last months and I want to say I’m better.

I have gotten better.

But better is not 100%. In some areas I’m not even close and the answer of better needs to be tempered in a way that has me fumbling for words to explain.

I can do almost everything I would like to now. And almost everything exhausts me. An afternoon nap is a necessity. Sometimes a morning and evening nap are too. I am no longer a night owl. I can’t stay up that long.

Some days I have good brain days and I can do the things and take a nap and do more things and feel as though one day I might even be able to do all thing things I’d like to in a day.

Some days I can do the things!

Then there are times, sometimes hours, sometimes days that I’m unable to do more than the bare minimum. Times that I feel that instead of living life I am crawling through it using every inch of fingernails (that are quite strong thanks to all the healthy foods I’ve been eating to give my brain as much fuel as I can to help it along) to pull my way through an activity, a conversation or a day. Those days are frustrating.

Some days I fall asleep on the floor using a child’s boot as a pillow.

But when I get the most frustrated I think of something my therapist said that went something like this:

Think of your brain like a nice bowl of jello that’s all set up in the fridge. When you have a concussion it’s like someone takes that bowl and shakes it up into a lumpy bumpy mess. After a few hours if you leave it alone the jello goes back to the shape it was but all through the inside of it are cracks and fissures. That is what happened to your brain when you got your concussion.

So, considering my brain is a pile of cracked jello working to mend itself together, I think I’m doing remarkably well.

When I’m not doing well, when I’m too tired, have done too much or am just having a bad day, the best way I have found to describe what it feels like is that it’s like all the bad parts of being drunk.

I start to feel disconnected from everything around me. I have trouble focusing, both visually and mentally. I try my best to talk normally but sometimes I can hear myself fumbling words or a conversation and I can’t seem to catch back hold of it. And, like all truly inebriated people, at some point I just need to lay down and pass out for awhile.

I’m not actually drunk right now but if I seem like it please excuse me. It’s just my broken jello brain.

The Therapy

The Therapy

or

Part 4 of Where I’ve Been The Last Four Months

Part 1: The Cow

Part 2: The Omelettes 

Part 3: The Concussion

I needed help but I was unable to read and research anything on my own. We had already learned that most doctors don’t know what to do with concussions and had no idea where to turn for advice. Fortunately, a friend let us know that physical therapists can have concussion training and, even better, my current physical therapist was one of them.

Within the first two weeks I was working with him doing things that should have been painfully easy but were next to impossible for me.

Can you hold your arm out in front of you, look at your thumb, close your eyes, turn your head, open your eyes and still be looking at your thumb? I couldn’t. It’s depressing not to be able to find one of your own body parts and also vindicating. Something really was wrong with me.

From my therapist I learned that my sprained neck muscles were messing with my positional awareness and my inner ear or vestibular system was also out of whack… and my eyes… well they didn’t track quite like they were supposed to either.

I diligently did my therapy. I tracked post it notes with my eyes and worked on word searches that had no words. Everything spiked nausea, dizziness or headaches. I’d wait for symptoms to subside and do it again.

If you’ve been to physical therapy you know how they give you small, evil exercises that are hard and exhaust your muscles. Working my brain was just like that. Instead of burning muscles I had nausea and instead of wobbly fatigue I had headaches. But I kept on. Working until the symptoms would spike. Letting them come back down and doing it again and again until I could find my thumb and track the post it notes. Then of course in true PT fashion no gold stars were awarded. (If you are a physical therapist you really need to consider giving out stickers. I’m telling you a sticker chart would make even adults feel accomplishment.) Instead I was congratulated with another small but deceptively evil task. Eventually I graduated to word searches with words and tracking medicine balls as I moved them around my body.

And slowly.

So slowly.

My brain started getting better.

nanopoblano2019

It’s November and National Blog Writing Month! My team, the Tiny Peppers, is doing things a little differently this year.  Instead of posting every single day we are all aiming for: 10 days of posts, 10 days of reading/commenting, and 10 days of sharing posts through any other platform.  Happy Blogging! 

The Concussion

The Concussion

or

Part 3 of Where I’ve Been The Last Four Months

Part 1: The Cow

Part 2: The Omelettes 

It’s hard to explain what happens when your own brain is injured.

To begin with it’s hard to do a lot of things when your brain is injured, like think straight, much less do all that goes into writing down thoughts in a way others can read. In addition, our brains seem to hide their worst symptoms from us. “I’m fine” has never been so unintentionally and obviously false!

At the same time there is a very real sense that everything wrong with you is just in your head. With the added twist that everything wrong with you is, quite literally, “all in your head”. Even now thinking about that makes my head spin and brings out a reluctance to talk about any of it. But, despite all that, I’d like to try to explain what my concussion has been like.

I’m going to indulge in all the gory and pathetic details in these next few posts in a way I usually never would on this blog.  I’m going to lay it all out there because I (and those around me) had so little idea of what a concussion can actually be like and we were unprepared for what was in store for me. Hopefully these will help someone, sometime, be a bit more prepared than we were.


In those first days and weeks after the accident when things were at their worst they looked like this:

I couldn’t stay awake for more than an hour or two at a time for the first days. After a few days I had about four hours in me before I fell asleep. And not like normal “I think I’m kind of tired,” but stumbling, unable to function, I’m just going to pass out on the floor if I don’t make it to a bed, tired that comes from a brain that is truly out of energy.

When I tried to read, the letters and words swam around instead of holding still like good little words should. This was particularly bad in the middle of a sentence or paragraph where they swam into different lines and became all jumbled up.

I couldn’t visually focus on anything. I could see everything but bringing anything into sharp focus was hard to impossible depending on how tired I was.

Essentially everything made me motion sick. Riding in the car gave me a headache and made me dizzy, driving was out of the question for many reasons, and even walking made me nauseous.

I was light sensitive. Hiding like a vampire on bad days and venturing out in hat and sunglasses on good days.

Anything that provoked symptoms started out by giving me cotton mouth and I was the most hydrated human ever trying to combat it.

Headaches were constant and I started classifying and categorizing them. That’s the one from trying to use a screen. That’s where it hurts if I try to read. That one is from staying awake too long…

My balance was terribly bad, at times I needed to hold on to John’s arm to navigate. And standing on one foot (something I am normally quite good at) was next to impossible.

What I didn’t know at the time is that I spoke slowly and lost the thread of conversation. I knew that sometimes I couldn’t find the right words. I knew I was tired. But it wasn’t until a few weeks later when people told me things like “you sound so much better now that you aren’t all drugged up” (I never took anything but ibuprofen) and “you finally sound like yourself again” that I realized that I hadn’t been sounding like myself.

A week after the accident my main activity, other than sleeping, was coloring while listening to audio books.

I, clearly, needed more medical help.

nanopoblano2019

It’s November and National Blog Writing Month! My team, the Tiny Peppers, is doing things a little differently this year.  Instead of posting every single day we are all aiming for: 10 days of posts, 10 days of reading/commenting, and 10 days of sharing posts through any other platform.  Happy Blogging! 

The Omelettes

The Omelettes

Or

Part 2 of Why I’ve Been Missing for Four Months

Read part 1 here: The Cow

After the cow we called the authorities and we called friends. Kind strangers stopped at the side of the road to help. Kinder friends drove us to the ER and took care of our children. We were bruised and scraped up, shaken and exhausted but most definitely alive and grateful.

In the morning we told the girls what happened and Clara responded by making us the best omelette I’ve ever eaten.  It was stuffed with chorizo and cheese and delivered it to us in bed. As we went through the day it became clear that in addition to the bruises and scrapes, our brains had been addled in the run in with the cow.

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John couldn’t come up with the right words and I couldn’t stay awake for more than an hour. In short, we had concussions. Clara laughed at John’s language slip ups and made us another omelette with fresh garden herbs.

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My mom drove Ivy to her summer camp, Clara fed us omelettes with cherry tomatoes that she picked when she went to collect the eggs with Jane. Friends picked up the girls and took them for the day (but not until Clara made us omelettes with edible flowers as garnish) and dropped off more food. We were extremely well cared for while we rested and recovered.

By the end the of the week, John was more or less back to himself. He could read, he could drive, he tired easily but he was clearly on the mend.

I was not.

And Clara, she expanded her omelette making to include vegetable faces…img_2042.jpg

…and we were all grateful.

nanopoblano2019

It’s November and National Blog Writing Month! My team, the Tiny Peppers, is doing things a little differently this year.  Instead of posting every single day we are all aiming for: 10 days of posts, 10 days of reading/commenting, and 10 days of sharing posts through any other platform.  Happy Blogging!