Odds and Ends

I had the fastest, most impromptu set of portraits taken last month. One of those “in the right place at the right time” kind of moments except that I literally was still in the process of taking my shoes off while most of these were shot. You may recognize a few of these from recent posts, but supposedly these are for holiday cards. Though, quite honestly, I’m debating whether I’ll even bother this year.

My personal favorite is this one of me lying on the floor with Uschi on top of me:

Portrait of me and Uschi on a black background; me lying on my back with Uschi rolling partially on her back on top of me

Of course there are also some fun outtakes. Specifically, this one taken right before the above photo that I am referring to as proof of why I was wary of practicing yoga for the better part of this year.

I’m thrilled to say that I’m still keeping up my daily routine of an hour or so of yoga. I’m definitely feeling it. Or more precisely I’m feeling the fact that I wasn’t practicing for so very long. I can’t speak as to whether I’ve lost any of the weight I’ve supposedly gained because my bathroom scale reads about fifteen pounds to the left of zero when it’s sitting idle and so I find it’s results highly suspect. However, I have lost an inch around my waist!

Most notable is that the yoga is really helping with the pain issues. I wish I could say it was completely alleviating the pain and stiffness, but so far it’s quite literally the only thing that’s had any real effect. I’m fine with this as a solution; however, I’d prefer a conclusive answer as to the cause of the pain. My latest battery of tests came back negative, including the allegedly more definitive Lyme test. I missed the call with the results so the office left a message that was pretty devoid of anything more than blandly reading the information so I plan to call Tuesday morning and talk with my doctor.

The whole thing is ludicrously frustrating and I’m very close to the point of just giving up. It’s becoming increasingly evident that the only answer anyone is willing to give me is essentially to take a bunch of meds. I’m not surprised. I had pretty much the same experience trying to get my migraines under control. But my concern here is the myriad of potential things that could be causing the pain and the possibility that I am doing something (e.g., working my guide dog) that is exacerbating the issue. For the record, I’m not arguing that it isn’t fibromyalgia, though, I am not willing to believe that it is the sole cause of the pain until other things have been ruled out.

Anyway, enough of my yammering on about all that. Tomorrow I’m having Thanksgiving #1 with Mom and Paul and my list of things to get done before then is likely impossible to accomplish.

Rose Garden

Took a walk through the rose garden at Schenectady Central Park yesterday afternoon. I’m always amazed at the many varieties of roses there. It’s incredible how vibrant the garden is and some of the blooms are bigger than my hand!

Uschi was pretty good during our walk considering we were right across the street from the dog park where rather than play all the dogs were spending their time barking loudly at her. I don’t know why none of the owners weren’t discouraging this or at least encouraging their dogs to play. What’s the point of taking your dog to the park? Though, that’s hardly my main issue with this particular dog park. Actually, speaking of dog parks, I recently heard of this one that’s indoors and I’m definitely thinking of taking Uschi there sometime.

Beauty is Pain

I thought I broke my finger yesterday. First, I had a bit of a fiasco with Uschi out in the field behind my house involving her long leash, which shaved off a good layer of skin on my index and middle fingers. Then I fell in such a way that I bent my index finger in a position it shouldn’t bend and it swelled up twice its normal size. And after that I discovered that the dog had managed to cover herself in burdox and in the struggle to remove it from her fur I all but flayed off the rest of my index finger. However, I’m happy to report that while it looks really nasty, my finger is very much intact. In fact even though my index finger has far larger and grievous wounds presently I’m having more trouble with the teeny wound on my middle finger. Let’s just say typing with the tip of your finger missing is a bit difficult.

Before I maimed myself, I took a bunch of photos of the shepherd. You’ll have to judge for yourself if it was all worth my pain, but I’m rather pleased with the end result. I think my personal favorite is the profile shot shown first, but I’m quite partial to the lot of these. I’m especially fond of the sunbeam that’s visible in the last two.

Blue Heron

Spent another afternoon with Alice walking through Crossings. Without a doubt it was the most pleasant walk we’ve had thus far. It was plenty hot, but we had a steady breeze and weren’t swarmed by bugs. We spotted a blue heron hanging out at the lake right as we arrived and later we saw an osprey souring around the lake. I tried to get a photo of the osprey, but he was so far off that he’s just a blurry dot, but I did get some nice shots of the heron:

I mentioned to Alice that very few people bother to point these kinds of things out to me and it’s quite a shame. I’m almost always armed with my camera, hoping for something fun to take a photo of. But moreover since I can’t really see outside it’s just nice to know what’s around. Plus there’s always the chance that I’ll get a good enough shot that I’ll see whatever it was when I load the photo on my computer, though, it’s just as likely that I’ll get an image like that of the osprey. Honestly, some of my most favorite photographs have been of things that I was quite literally shooting blindly.

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

You know how kids turn their nose up to some nasty food and some adult, generally their parents, tell them they’ll grow to like it? As a kid I hated strawberries. Absolutely loathed them. Even the smell turned my stomach. No matter how they were presented to me I just found them terrible. This baffled my family who are all incredibly fond of strawberries and I remember once my father attempted to sway me over to the side of love by rolling a fresh strawberry in rolled one in sugar. It didn’t work.  For 18 years of my life I recoiled at the mere suggestion of a strawberry and then one day my father went strawberry picking and came home with literal bushels of fruit. He gave me the job of washing all the berries and prepping them to be frozen. I stood in the kitchen for hours bombarded by the scent of fresh strawberries and then finally I decided if to give one a try . . . and it was love.

Since then it’s as if a switch has been flipped and I just can’t get enough of the lovely fruit. I don’t even mind strawberry-flavored things, though, I greatly prefer the real thing. One of my favorite things is strawberry shortcake, specifically I like it made with buttermilk biscuits but I’m really not picky about it if the strawberries are fresh and ripe. So it was inevitable that these were going to happen:

Honestly, these smell about ten times better than they look — and they taste amazing! I used my usual butter cake recipe and cut about a third of the cupcake top off and generously heaped some fresh strawberries onto the bottom 2/3rds. It’s topped off with homemade whipped cream since the Reddi-wip in my fridge was expired I still had heavy cream from the mint chocolate chip cupcakes. I’ll never be a big fan of sweets, but this just might be a cupcake I could indulge on.

In other news, the broken shepherd is basically all better now. She hurt her foot during the kitty-sighting at Crossings the other day. As I was trying to wrest her attention back on work, I accidentally stepped on her paw and she scraped up her pads quite harshly, which I didn’t notice until much later when she was limping around. I cleaned off her foot, bandaged the paw and stuck her in her boots for the next few days, but she was given the okay from me yesterday when she took off all her boots and left them on her bed. As of this morning she’s no longer limping so yay for that!