We have had two offers on the house and accepted the one that met our price, but it's conditional on the buyers selling their current house. In the meantime, there's a young man who is dying DYING dying to come see the place. He's done a number of drive-bys and saw the video. He was supposed to come to a viewing last night, but he had to cancel because . . . he's getting married on Saturday and the bride-to-be was not amused that he wanted to buy a house right now. So they'll be back when they're home from their honeymoon next week. So who knows? If he gives us a higher offer with no conditions, he could be the new owner.

And nowa cautionary tale. Sort of. My health has been going steadily downhill over the past week. I've had what I call Killer Fatigue for many days now, and it has just been getting progressively worse. Walking has been difficult simply because it requires so much effort. There are other symptoms as well, but the fatigue is the big bad in this story. I couldn't figure it out. Yes, I've been in the sun helping with the alpacas and driving around on errands, but I've been in the sun for longer than that before and never had this kind of snowballing effect. I was trying to figure out what had changed, and the only thing I could come up with is that it's now tomato season. My wonderful, tasty field tomatoes. I had one big tomato a day, and looking back over my symptom journal I saw that it coincided with the worsening fatigue and peripheral neuropathy. I did some searching online and sure enough - there's anecdotal evidence that members of the nightshade family (white potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant) cause flares in some people with lupus. And while the lupus doctors can't come out and say that it's positively cause and effect, they've seen enough to tell their patients to cut out the offending food if they think there's a strong connection. So now there's a bag of big, juicy tomatoes sitting there. Staring at me. There is no way I'm taking the bait. I just want to start feeling better, thanks.

True Blood is blowing me away. I'm loving this season! Dar is the biggest fang-grrrl on the planet, I swear. We've seen last Sunday's ep three times so far :) I can't say that I mind, because that was one hell of an ep. I follow a TB icon community, and it just about exploded after that episode. Heh. I know everyone is all gahgah over ASkars, but you know, I don't think he's all that gahgah worthy just as his regular old self. Now his characters on the other hand :) I loved Brad in Generation Kill and I adore Eric in True Blood. It's the Nathan Fillion syndrome: I thought I had a thing for NF - turned out it was just Malcolm Reynolds who was floating my boat.

And speaking of hot (heh), I think our heat wave is on its way out. At last! Both Dar and I get dragged down by the heat and especially the humidity. I hear that there's cooler weather out west, and I hope that it heads our way soon. I have several friends who enjoy sweating (really!), but I can't wait to stop with the schwitzing.

Speaking of which, I have to go sit in front of my fan. Here Have a blood daisy )
Janie Poo and her snaggle tooth )

She's become my constant companion, which is very sweet most of the time and a tad annoying at others. I love her like all get-out, though.

So I slept for about 80 minutes, and that appears to be all for this evening.
I just got an appointment with the fabled Dr. Hahn! I had given up hope, but Dr. Pope's assistant just called to say that the referral went through. It's not until mid August, but you know - two months is better than never. For those of you who have not followed my every medical moment with rapt attention (and that would be all of you if you have any sense - or life), Dr. Hahn is the expert in the intersection of neurological disease and autoimmune disease. Which pretty much describes what's happening with me. She wasn't taking any new patients because she very much wants to retire, but somehow Dr. Pope talked her into it. I guess it pays to be a medical mystery after all.

Chloe and Jane are asleep at the food of the bed as I write this. Pixel and Mao are having a wild session of mutual grooming right next me. Get a room! I mean other than mine. Oops, I think they heard me type that, because Mao just stopped and gave me a dirty look.

Q's cat Lexy escaped (again), and Dar found her freaking out in the barn because the alpacas had her trapped by blocking all of the doorways. They were just being nosey and checking her out, but she didn't know that. Lesson learned, Lexy.

And speaking of alpacas . . .  )
Tulip close_0654

I apologize for posting the seemingly same photo over and over, but I finally got the shot I wanted. This was taken at dusk with a flash and a lens hood.
It was not a dark and stormy night, but it was a grey and cloudy day. I decided to take some pics anyway.

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille. )

I'm at the tail end of a lupus flare. Or at least I think, I hope, that it's the tail end. Monday I was all over the place being a busy little faux-Canadian beaver, including mowing all of the lawns in one day. I wore a ton of a sunscreen, but since I was out there during the Forbidden Time (10AM-4PM), I believe that I got myself zapped by the UV/UB rays anyway. Tuesday was pretty much lost; Wednesday was a bit better, but I had to sleep a lot. I'm still very tired, but my joints and muscles are OK, so that's a plus. Hopefully I can stay awake now that I'm up.
It's definitely a white Christmas for us this year. Even though the past two days were warm and rainy, it didn't get all of the snow. Then late yesterday the temperature plummeted and the snow squalls came in and it's white, white, white. Pretty lovely, I must say.

We're having unexpected company this evening, but that always seems like the thing to do on Christmas Eve. When I was growing up and our big family Christmas Eve parties were already overflowing the confines of the house, there was sure to be a few extra people added to the mix. Friends of relatives, relatives of friends, sometimes not even that direct a connection as some of my cousins got older and started traveling around the world, building those nebulous networks of "My sister-in-law's boyfriend's cousin said you stayed with them for a couple nights while you were traveling through Nairobi last year. I'm going to be in your area around the end of December. Would I be able to stay with you while I'm passing through?" And the answer was yes, and the invitation to the family party was automatically extended. The more the merrier. Literally :)

So if you're celebrating Christmas, I hope it brings you laughter and a little light at least this evening. To anyone who isn't celebrating, well, be of good cheer - we're all almost back to normal time and space. Heh. And speaking of time, space, and Christmas, a little pictorial gift from the geeks of Dorking.

Star Trek decoration_0700
The Guardian of the City on the Edge of Forever with lights and sound. That's Spock and Kirk jumping through to wish us all a Merry Christmas.
This time Dar was with me. We were hitting all four of the local (to Listowel) grocery stores plus the TLC (farmer's department store, sort of), thinking that if we got everything out of the way early in the morning we'd miss the afternoon storm. Yeah, well, apparently storms don't read the forecast. Or they have crappy watches. Anyway, another white-knuckle drive home. We were in a line of traffic, and none of us ever got above 25 mph which was fine with everyone. (The usual speed is 60-70 mph.) I'm telling you all right now, when I finally get my citizenship and I get voted Premier, this damn county is getting mandatory windblocks along all country roads and highways. Because this is just nuts.

And while I'm ranting . . . OMG, I completely forgot what I was going to rant about next. Bwah! Dementia: 1; Mays:0. I'm back. Tea, I was going to rant about tea. There is not a box of Celestial Seasonings Tangerine Orange Zinger - or Country Peach - to be found in this area. I'll have to drive into St. Jacob's to buy some. This is not exactly worthy of a breakdown or anything, but really . . . it's not like Celestial Seasonings is some podunk brand. Grrrrrr.

So if I can't find the tea, what do you think my odds are of finding some Hannukah candles, eh? OK, everyone who just said "Who the hell cares" is wrong. The correct answer is zip, zero, no chance at all. Can I prevail on someone to please send me some candles? Not giant size or anything, just regular ol' Hannukah candles. I did the grand search all over this part of southern Ontario (I'm not kidding), and not one is to be found. I would be happy to reimburse you, of course.

OK, just to end on a positive note, there are some wonderful things about living in this area, and one of them is just being in farm country. Because farmers is a bit crazy, in the very best way. And for evidence, Exhibit A. Heh.
No wait, that's not right. Oh yeah, I remember: I have dementia. That's it.

I had another appointment today with my neurologist, Dr. Mandonca (man-DAWN-suh). It had its highs and lows, but as we were waiting for the elevator to go back out to the car, I swore to Dar that either my first child or my next cat will be named Mandonca, because I love the guy that much.

It's numbered from here, because I'll probably be all jumping back and forth on things.

1. He's setting me up with a new rheumatologist. Hallelujah! This is incredibly good news because it's the rheumatologist who ultimately manages the disease, and my current one clearly isn't up to the job nor does he wish to be. Which, in all honesty, could end up killing me. So my man here is looking to get a new doc whose specialty is Lupus CNS. That doctor may be in Toronto or Hamilton or London (Ontario), but I'd be willing to travel for hours each way if it will help me get my health stabilized.

2. Mandonca proceeded to scare the living crap out of me for a few minutes. I'm serious. I have at the moment a diagnosis of mild dementia. That's scary enough (at least for me.) But then he went on to talk about how there are certain forms of dementia that are progressive and incurable; certain medicines will help in the short term but the long term prognosis is dire. And as he's continuing in this vein all I can think is he's telling me that I'm going to lose my mind and then die. Oh. Crap. Happily, he finally moved on to describing the type of dementia that comes with autoimmune diseases and how those can usually be stabilized and even reversed depending on the amount of damage done to the brain before treatment starts. Yay! But then he continues, in his honest and earnest way, to tell me that we just don't know right now which I have. As he put it, I could be one of the unlucky ones who has both an autoimmune disease and an incurable, progressive dementia. Further testing will be the key, of course. In the meantime, all of us are betting on it being a part of the lupus. Which I still do not officially have.

3. For the nonce I am diagnosed with Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease. It's kind of the placeholder that's used when it's obvious that a patient has an autoimmune disease, but the specifics haven't been ironed out. For some people, they never are and they're stuck with the UCTD diagnosis forever. I somehow don't think that's going to be the case with me. Mandonca is pretty sure this is Lupus, which is why he's seeking out the Lupus CNS specialist. Bless his heart.

4. He took a look at the MRIs, and he too said that it's a mild atrophy. OK. He wasn't that happy to see the lesion which I know now is on my left frontal lobe. (I thought it was my right.)

[Small aside. I have the Nature music channel on, and right now it's nothing but bird calls. Rocky and Pixel are going nuts trying to find the birds :) They can tell that the sounds are coming from the TV, but since it's just a blank screen it's not making a hell of a lot of sense. Heh. And it just switched to music. The kitties are snoozing out again.]

5. Dar was mentioning that I'm losing my balance more frequently, which is certainly the case. So he had me take a brisk walk down the hallway. He missed me tipping over as I stood up, and when I'm actually underway I do OK, so I briskly walked down the hallway with him trailing behind me, all hunky-dory. But Dar knows the trick, so she called out, "Now stop!" I did and promptly tipped over. Then I turned around and promptly tipped over. Then started to walk back down the hallway and promptly tipped over. Mandonca: "Ahhhh." Heh. I smiled and said, "I avoid going into stores with lots of glassware." He nodded knowingly. Heh again. I believe I'm one of his very first patients, and he's getting his money's worth out of me, so to speak.

6. I had the antiphospholipid test done today at last. It takes three weeks to get the results back, and the lab wouldn't agree to fax it to Mandonca as well as to the referring doctor (my useless rheumatologist), so I'm going to have to try to pry a copy out of him when the results finally come in. Also, Mandonca had sent him an initial report on me dated Oct. 25 in which he requested that I get the apl test along with a few other blood tests. But useless rheumy obviously never read it, because on Nov. 8 he acted as if the apl was a new idea when I brought it up, which means that I'll have to go back over some paperwork to see if I need him to order those other tests that Mandonca requested. (This probably doesn't make any sense to you guys, but I need to have it here to prod my memory to get this looked into.)

7. I've got to try to write up a little email to my brother to set up a time to talk with him on the phone about all of this. Without scaring him. I debated not mentioning anything until I get more information, but that may take many more weeks, maybe months, and I know how pissed I'd be if our situations were reversed and he didn't keep me informed. So, after I post this, I'll work on that.

8. Dar, who you will remember is constantly mistaken for being the nice one in this relationship, has been teasing me non-stop about all of this. "Pooh" and "Pooh-brain" are her newest nicknames for me, because Pooh was a bear with a very little brain, eh. Cute :) It's like Goldilocks and the bears, except with brains: hers is too big and mine is too small. That's why we need [livejournal.com profile] sparky77 here, because hers will be juuuuust right.

9. In completely other news, you guys who've visited remember the striped recliner that's Mark's favorite chair? Yeah, well he has been soooooo evicted from that chair by Mirabelle :) She descends from her throne for a total of about 20 minutes a day to eat and then go outside to go to the bathroom. Other than that - sprawled out completely dead-to-the-world sound asleep on her comfy recliner. For a lifelong outdoor cat, she has adjusted remarkably well to the lifestyle of indoor living. [livejournal.com profile] dumbphilomel, if you're reading this and your friend is still thinking of adopting an older cat, Mirabelle would be the perfect one for her. Just sayin'.

OK, gotta go work on that email. How about a picture of a very adorable kitty to tie this all up?
Chloe with her sloe eyes )
Lee in her cowboy hat

alpaca wranglers. Because then they'll be wearing beat-up cowboy hats that they bought on sale in Las Vegas and stuffed into their suitcase and subsequently rolled, folded, spindled, and nearly mutilated. But hey, it keeps the rain off, the sun out, and it doesn't blow off my head in a stiff wind. I can ask no more from a hat.


Now off to cook up some concoction that'll put me to sleep so I can actually get through that very busy day that starts in, oh, 6 1/2 hours. Wish me luck.
Me and my guys - 1973

I didn't take this photo, and I don't remember the name of the guy who did. He was a wandering photographer who thought we looked like an interesting group. It was late summer/early fall, 1973. I was firmly, madly entwined with an urban communal underground theater group called The Hole-in-the-Wall. Some of the people in this photo were the closest friends I'd ever had. One of them still is. A number have died. But I look at that picture and I feel it all again: pure unbridled joy, optimism, youth, a feeling of indestructibility, a surety that the world was mine for the taking. Happiness. Being loved. Being creative. Everyone should have a day like that. A group like that of which they were a part. And a black&white photo to remember it by.

Mother's love Mother's love
Baby orphaned monkey adopted by dove.

The story is here. Awww, I'm all teary now.

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