Tuesday, April 10, 2012



I think I'm going to award myself an honorary degree:  HAP (Hypochondriacal Amateur Physician).  Spring break was marred by the fact that I was in terrible pain from my jaw, which radiated out into my ear and then gave me a headache for my free gift.  In addition, I've been having these weird pains when I brush against things or apply pressure in such activities as picking things up.  When I say weird pains, it's because the contact involved is minimal, but the pain is excruciating, like someone grazed me with a sledgehammer.  My care provider was away for the week, so I waited till yesterday to go to the doctor.  The facial pain may be residual from Bell's palsy, although it's on  opposite side of my face from the last bout.  The headaches are not a symptom of the jaw pain, but a result of it, from scrunching my facial muscles when my jaw hurts. I'm on a course of steroids and painkillers, so I have to monitor my blood sugar closely, but after 24 hours, I'm delighted to be having my first pain-free day in over a week.  I'll be having blood work done in a couple of weeks because my PCP thinks I might have neuralgia.  The fun just never ends, where my health is concerned.

Spring break was too short this year.  I knew I was off work when I took my watch off on Friday afternoon, even though I had to do my Little Debbie job on Saturday.  Conversely, I knew it was time to go back to work when I strapped my watch on to go back to work on my Little Debbie route this past Saturday.  I was kind of amused at my self-imposed rituals, which including returning my school lanyard to the rear-view mirror so I can find it every day when I get to work.

Easter Sunday flew by so quickly.  We didn't color our Easter eggs because we got preoccupied painting birdhouses for the hummingbirds and finches that proliferate the trees and feeders in our front yard.  My birdhouse was about as badly painted as it could be, but the activity made me happy, so it was a check in the win column.

We went for a family walk on Sunday afternoon.  My intent was to net some minnows from the creek to put in the turtle tank.  I recently read a book called Wesley the Owl (a book reference, to keep my blog on topic!) and the author wrote about how animals in captivity get bored if you don't change things up for them by hiding their food and giving them new things to play with.  I thought the fish might be company for Viktor, or at least give him something new to look at.  So, off we traipsed, me with a pink bucket and net for fishing, and Harold and the kids with walking sticks.  Evan immediately went into ninja mode, attacking palmetto bushes with abandon.  Kirby, our dog, was thrilled to be out with us and rolled in the grass in ecstasy.  Hillary and Evan went into Hunger Games: The Blind Man's Bluff edition, hacking and slashing at each other as well as nearby trees and bushes while wearing huge dark sunglasses and shouting "Huzzah!" Harold and I just collapsed with laughter.  Our greatest joy is the bond between our children, and it was as lovely as ever on Easter.

When we got to the creek, Harold was immediately captivated by the abundant crop of blackberries on the banks.  Butterflies and dragonflies dotted the sunny sky, and squirrels made a huge racket in the trees.  Evan had recently heard me use the word "milquetoast," and amused us all by repeating it and the many synonyms I'd given him for the word, much to Hillary's amusement.  I scooped minnows into my bucket with my trusty net, evoking the Brave Little Tailor and his "seven with one blow."  The kids were somehow not familiar with this tale (Mom failure there--apparently I never shared that story with them), so Harold and I filled them in on the basic details. 

To my dismay, the minnows kept jumping out of the bucket, beaching themselves on the creek banks or sticking to the sides of the pink plastic.  I kept tossing the escapees back into the creek, but viewed their determination to escape in a different light after my recent re-read of The Hunger Games trilogy.  Wearing an ankle-length dress and thong sandals was not the best choice of sportswear, so I slipped out of my shoes and tried to hold my skirt up, but ended up pretty well soaked from the knees down.  When I decided I had enough fish, we headed back home.  Hillary took several very nice pictures (which I will try to post later), and Harold got some nice ones of the kids, so we walked back with quality family time warming our hearts.

The mood quickly changed when we dumped the fish into Viktor's tank.  The water had not finished swirling before our mighty hunter cornered several minnows and chomped them right down.  There he hovered, the tail of a shiny minnow dangling from his jaws as we looked on in stunned acknowledgment of the fate of the last batch of minnows.  Harold had kept saying he thought they were dying from the trauma of the transfer to our tank, but now we had proof that their demise was no accident, but rather a tribute to our turtle's determination to supplement his diet with fresh fish.  We were all a bit horrified, but we couldn't help laughing in admiration, too.  Really, when you come right down to it, it's no different from putting mice or crickets into reptile tanks, and Viktor's disposition seems more sunny and animated than it's been in a while.

We were also (finally!) able to catch up with our DVRed episodes of Justified, which we've been watching together as a family since Season One.  Now we're all pumped for the season finale tonight, although this will be the first episode we haven't watched together.  The jury's still out on whether we'll watch it now or save it till we're all together again.

I bought myself one of those LED daisies that bob from side to side when placed in direct sunlight. It's the silliest thing on the planet, but it makes me laugh every time I look at it.

I've had to (temporarily) abandon reading A Storm of Swords, book three in the series that began with A Game of Thrones.  Evan finished the first two Hunger Games books, and my only copy of Mockingjay, the third book, iw on my nook, so I've loaned him that for now.  Harold had indicated interest in read the first book before the movie arrives at the on-post cinema, but we'll see if that actually happens, as he has several other books in a stack of titles he's promised to read.  Meanwhile, I'm flipping through magazines and working my way through the (ambarrasingly) large stack of books I've started reading and tossed aside for various reasons.

Really, for a quiet week when I was debilitated by pain, could spring break have been any better?

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