Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rise again, little fighter

Come on. It's a good song.

I missed out on just slightly less than 100% of the Olympics this year,which just about killed me. I fucking love the Olympics. Especially the winter Olympics. I got to watch some skiing and some skating, but no hockey. I take that back, I caught the last five minutes of Canada's game against ... someone. I forget who. I didn't get to see Sweden or Russia or even Team USA, though I did get The Game recorded on DVR. Have yet to watch it.

So I made sure to get up early (for a night shifter) and watch the gold medal game. Sadly, the US went home with silver, but that's nothing to fucking sniff at. I know virtually nothing about hockey (the puck goes in the goal, right?), but I know our boys played their little hearts out, and I'm proud of them.

Speaking of proud, the Winterhawks did well tonight with a 3 - 2 win over the Prince George Cougars. Series sweep, anyone? I'm excited about Friday's game, for no particular reason. I haven't been to a Hawks game since early December. I'm hoping to drag my friend J along. She's not a nut like me, but she's from Florida and has been to her fair share of Lightning games. It'll be interesting to see what she thinks of the WHL.

It's no secret that I hate digital photography and its whore mistress, PhotoShop. I realize it's hypocritcal for me to say this because I use a digital camera. However. I use digital for the shit I don't really care about (or for the shit I'm now allowed to use real cameras for, such as hockey games). I've taken some really cool digital shots that I don't give two shits about because they're easy. But I digress. I was browsing an anti-digital group on Flickr tonight. Someone was complaining about the museum mode on digital cameras and here's what someone had to say about it:

I guess what bothers me is that cameras are becoming as submental asmicrowave ovens. Press "beverage" to heat up your coffee; press "museum mode" if you want to shoot a snap inside MOMA. In my mind, photography is supposed to be a craft. You don't dumb down a craft.


That's all I'm gonna say about that.

I had a nightmare about Tank the other night. It was doubly horrible in that my father was there, too. Not that that's a bad thing. It's just that when I wake up, I miss him that much more.

Anyway, I forgot most of the dream, but I'd come home (to our house in Chicago) and my sister told me Tank had gotten out of the yard, and when they tracked him down, they found him dead in the field. They'd put his body downstairs, so I ran down to see him. He was mostly covered in blankets and when I knelt down beside him, I saw that he was shaking. He kept shaking and shaking and eventually woke up and came over to put his head on my shoulder. When I woke up, I was completely freaked out that there was something horribly wrong with my dog.

Ech. I hate dreams. Been having a lot of night terrors lately, too. That hasn't happened in a long time.

This afternoon I decided to start the Couch-to-5k running program again. I've only gotten as far as Week 3, but I was really dedicated and ran three days a week without fail. Then shit happened and I stopped working out six days a week and turned into a schlub. Ahem. So I was running around the block, listening to the Cto5k application on my iPhone (you can use your own music) when I got a text from a friend:

"thny gotta quit givin me weed man'
i have a golf ball size nuggie that keeps trying to engage me in conversation."

It's actually pretty hard to run and laugh at the same time.

And now for something completely different: a swinging chicken.

Most of the time when I'm walking the line, I'm looking at the ground

I haven't shot black and white in a while, so I brought my camera along a few weeks ago when my car died and I had to start taking the train to work. They came out a lot better than I expected, and I'm actually sort of proud of them.

This one's my favorite.

Portland airport.

Self portrait (eating oatmeal at work).

101 Things in 1,001 Days

Children shouldn't play with dead things. (Creepy doll at an antique store in Silverton.)
Children shouldn't play with dead things.

I'm excited about finishing up the roll in my Nikkormat; I took pictures when we went to Slappy Cakes last month. The Stormtroopers came along.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had.

I took the Max to work every day but one this past week. Wednesday morning, I hurried to the train; not because I was running late but because I wanted the exercise. It was dark and I didn't see that the sidewalk buckled. I was going pretty fast when my shoe caught on the cement and I flew forward. I landed on my knees and hands. As I fell forward (slamming my chin into the ground), my glasses flew off my face and my water bottle sailed overhead, landing about ten feet away. Then my backpack hit me in the back of the head. My first concern was that I'd broken my glasses. Fortunately, they were fine. I made it to the station in time to catch my train, but on the ride home, my knees started to ache and I realized I'd scraped up my palms pretty good. When I got home, I was in a lot of pain. When I took off my clothes to get ready for bed, I saw this:

Obviously, yoga has done nothing for my gracefulness.

I hit the ground hard enough that that happened, despite the fact that I was wearing long johns underneath my jeans.

I woke up the next morning in excrutiating pain. My chest felt like I'd been doing push-ups all night, something in my right knee kept shifting as I walked, and I couldn't (and still can't) lift my left arm without horrible, icky pain. My sister thinks I may have torn something and insisted that I call my doctor. Unfortunately, she can't see me until Tuesday. So I'm mainlining Alieve, even though it doesn't really help.

Thursday morning my sister and I had some Legal Things to take care of. I'm not going to go into specifics because it's not my story to tell, but the outcome was not in our favor and it has devestated my family. By the time I limped into work Thursday night, I had been awake for almost 30 hours. We were short staffed because one of my co-workers was on vacation, so there was no way I could go home. My supervisor let me leave early, at 4:30, just in time to catch the first train out of Portland. Unfortunately, Tri-Met got their online schedule wrong, and I waited in the freezing rain and wind for over 20 minutes. When I got home, I got on my phone and downloaded a free application called PDX Bus. Very helpful.

Lunesta is doing better. The other morning she jumped out of the chicken hospital cubby we made for her and demanded to be let outside to join her feathered family. She's been running around with them ever since. We're still keeping a close eye on her, though.

The geese and ducks have decided to start laying their eggs on the front porch. Thanks?

Thursday night when I got into work and drank my third cup of coffee (total, in 35 years) in order to stay awake, the lab manager walked in and told me she was teaching her baby to breakdance. Then she told me that her husband had invited me to play D&D with him and his buddies. I was surprised -- because that is my usual reaction when someone expresses an interest in spending time with me -- and excited. I haven't gamed in .... shit .... 15 years? Longer? My mom used to fly out to Florida for a week or two to visit my grandma, and my (then) boyfriend and his friends would come over. We would spend the entire time gaming, playing cards and eating pizza. If it was winter, we would get the sleds out of my garage, jump into our cars and drive to Kasey Meadow to go sledding (or to this suicidally steep hill behind a church). We would have sled wars in which we would pair up on sleds and then race down the hill while trying to knock each other off our sleds. Totally sober, too. Good, clean fun. I used to sleep on the floor with my sister and my boyfriend's buddies while my boyfriend slept in my room because he was a big girl's blouse.

Anyway, gaming was fun. Probably still is. I had some of the best times of my life during those campaigns. I miss that. So I'm happy to have been invited, though the thought of walking into a house full of strange men makes me want to shit my pants and die. I'm shy, is what I'm saying. I do know one of the guys, though. He worked as a tech the first week I started at the lab. He was filling in for the lab supervisor, who was on maternity leave at the time. Cool guy. They mostly game at his house, though sometimes they meet at K's house. I'm hoping to end up at one of those games because then I can play LEGO Guitar Hero with K afterwards.

Did I mention? I GOT MY JERSEY.

Yes, my face really does look like that. I was cursed by a gypsy.

I should have asked for a medium, but I apparently have body image issues and still think I'm tremendously fat. I reckon I could return it for a smaller size but I won't. I don't care if it's huge. I can pretend it'll fit over actual hockey gear someday.

I haven't watched any Olympic hockey, but I've got the big USA game recorded on DVR. I'll be watching the game on Sunday, though.

Aw, KGW just played a brief interview with Ryan Malone!

The Winterhawks are playing the Spokane Chiefs this Friday. My (and my sister's) birthday is on the 7th, so I'm planning on going to Friday's game. As a present to myself. Cam Neely is going to be at tomorrow's game. He was a Hawk for the 1982-83 season and got the hat trick that won them the Memorial Cup for the first time in the team's history. I can't afford to go to both games, though, so Friday it is. Hopefully.

One of my co-workers keeps saying she's going to bring me a piece of vegan chocolate cake for my birthday, but I hope she doesn't. I don't "like" it when people to nice things for me. I find it hard to accept, mostly because I'm not used to it.

Well, I'm going to cut this short (haha) and go to bed and try to get away from this pain.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Vitamin D. What's the "D" stand for? "DAMN, I got a lot of sun yesterday!"

My mom is returning from Florida next week. Right now, I'm up at her house, hanging out with her cats and doing laundry. She has three cats. Mr. Willoughby is high strung, but he enjoys my company and lets me pet him now and again. Flea hates me with the white hot fire of a thousand suns. Mary, too. I have no idea why Flea hates me, but he really, really cannot stand me. I don't mean that he's standoffish. I mean that, when I walk into the room, he openly loathes me. I can see it in his eyes. He'll just give me this look of utter disdain. I can't figure it out.

But I digress.

I got four hours of sleep yesterday so that I could get up early and enjoy the fucking sunshine for a change. It was sunny and in the upper 50s. I got up before or at 10:00 (I forget) and took the dogs out to play in the yard.


Trilogy of Terror
Trilogy of Terror

My baby boy!

I feel like you're eyeballin' me, dawg! I don't like punk bitches eyeballin' me! You got beef? You got beef? You want some of this?

Then my sister and I went out and ran a few errands, which mostly involved returning a shitload of pop cans so we could buy food. I get paid Friday, but I'm going to take the train to work this week to save on gas. I can't afford to put $10 in right now.

If you'll check to the right, you'll see that I've entered a picture of Tank as part of a photography contest to benefit the Human Society's Spay Day 2010. Vote for him, won't you? I also put up photos of Jackson, Curly Joe, Freddie and my boy Luke, who died of cancer several years ago. Vote for them as well and I'll love you forever. Or at least as much as my cold, dead heart is able to.

I've hit the 40 lb mark in weight loss, so I bought a belt yesterday. Unfortunately, I misjudged my gut and selected the wrong size. I'll have to return it today for a smaller one.

I could swear I had something interesting to say, but I guess I must've dreamed it.

The Firefighters are playing the Battle Ground Boys this Wednesday, and I'm planning on going. It's free and sort of on the way to work, so why not?

The Winterhawks are playing the Prince George Cougars on Sunday. I would very much like to go to there. A friend of mine plays on two mens league teams, and she's got a couple of games coming up as well. I have yet to see her play, and I've hesitated asking about it because I only know her from the internet hockey world, though she lives about 10 minutes away (and was nice enough to record some Wings games onto DVD for me last year); I didn't want to be all stalkery. I finally asked and she let me know which teams she was on and linked me to their schedules. Woo!

Ok. Shutting it down.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Chicken nurse

One of our chickens, Lunesta, hasn't been feeling well. We're pretty sure she is (or was) egg bound, so we brought her inside, made a little nest for her in the cubby where we set up our cats' drinking fountain and fed her lots of yummy food and privacy. She has started to perk up and is looking better, but tomorrow we're going to find a bird vet to take her to, just in case. If an egg broke inside of her, she could get an infection. I can't really afford to treat a sick chicken, but my sis and I will be damned if we'll let anything happen to her while we just sit by and watch.

This morning, at my sister's urging, I soaked Lunesta in a pot of warm water, to get all the crap off of her bloomers. She really fowled up that water, har har. Afterwards, I dried her off (as much as one can dry off a feathered being), wrapped her in a towel and sat in front of the fire to watch Golden Girls. I'm 98% sure I heard her laugh when Dorothy called Stan a barf bag.

'I have work tonight and tomorrow night, and I'm up three hours past my bedtime. Why am I so mean to myself? At least I did yoga, though.

I got e-mail from Andrew, one of the folks from the Forgotten Miracle site. He put my jersey in the mail today! It's unnumbered because he didn't want me to have to wait six weeks for it. Squeeee!

In related news: February 16th was my two year hockeyversary. That's right, two years ago that I saw my first NHL game at the Ice Palace in Tampa. The Bolts vs the Caps. The Bolts lost the game but hockey won my heart.

Tampa Bay Lightning!

After the game, we wandered around town and were accosted by some pirates. Tampa's fake pirate festival was going on, you see. I wanted to take a picture of this snockered pirate and when Indi went over to ask him if I could, he made her and Acie post for a picture with him. While this was going on, a sea wench (what do you call a female pirate?) came over and put some beads around my neck. And I didn't even have to flash my boobs! Wrong town? Oh, well.

Sometimes he sits and thinks and sometimes he just sits.

Eleven days later, I saw my second game - Bolts vs Wild. Again, the Bolts lost, but I had the pleasure of being there for Mike Smith's first night as netminder for the Tampa Bay Lightning. I felt bad for him, standing out there in his Dallas pads. I hate Dallas, btw. Stars, Cowboys, fuck 'em all.

I had a lot more to say, but I really need to get my fat ass up to bed. Wake me up at 5:30, okay?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I will spend half the day in twilight sleep and then I will go home to watch the Lifetime movie 'My Stepson Is My Cyber-Husband.'

Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day.

On February 4, 1990, my mom drove me to the Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children in Chicago, Illinois and checked me in for surgery. On February 6th, I underwent surgery on my right leg. Doctors jammed six pins -Kirschner wires, a bit thicker than bike spokes- through my tibia and fibula; three on top about an inch below my knee, and three on the bottom just above my ankle. They attached the pins to two circles of metal and then attached four rods to these rings. Around the rods were four ... turny things. Dials, I guess you would call them. They put four different colored stickers on these dials: red, yellow, green and blue. Four times a day, these dials were turned -at the same time- to a different color. Each turn equaled a quarter of a millimeter, so at the end of the day, my right leg was one millimeter longer. My goal was three inches. The procedure is called the Ilizarov.

A little history for the newbies: I was born with a disorder called Hemihypertrophy. Or, as it is apparently now called, Hemihyperplasia.

Hemihypertrophy is characterized by unequal (asymmetric) growth of the cranium, face, trunk, limbs, and/or digits. Hemihypertrophy can be an isolated finding, or it can be associated with certain malformation syndromes. Isolated hemihypertrophy refers to hemihypertrophy for which no cause can be found. The degree of asymmetry is variable and very mild cases can go undiagnosed. There are three categories of hemihyper-trophy, depending on the body parts involved. The size difference can involve only a specific part of the body

such as a finger (called simple hemihypertrophy) or an entire half of the body (called total or complex hemihypertrophy). It usually involves only one side of the body, but can involve both sides (called crossed). There is also hemifacialhyperplasia , which involves one side of the face. Usually multiple organ systems are involved, i.e. the skin, vascular system, internal organs, or bones. In complex hemihypertrophy, the right side is more often involved than the left.

Hemihypertrophy may involve not only the part of the body that is visible, but also the underlying internal organs. Enlargement of one kidney, adrenal gland, testis, and ovary has been reported. The enlarged area usually also has thickened skin, more sebaceous (sweat) glands, more hair, may have pigmentary abnormalities, and the bones may be larger or may be deformed. In persons with facial involvement, the asymmetry can include cheek, lip, nose, ear, eye, tongue, jaw, roof of the mouth, or teeth.

The nervous system may also be affected, causing unilateral nerve enlargement or sciatic nerve inflammation. Occasionally a part of the brain is affected causing mental retardation (15% to 20% of cases). Many cases of hemihypertrophy have hamartomatous lesions (birth marks which involve blood vessels) or abnormalities of the genito-urinary system.

As with other overgrowth syndromes, there is an increased risk for childhood cancers in people with isolated hemihypertrophy (about 6%), particularly cancers of the kidney (Wilms tumor, 3% of individuals), adrenals, and liver.

The entire left side of my body is involved. Lucky me. I have 14 scars on my leg and no feeling along the top of it. And also arthritis. And a bad back. Three cheers for deformed freaks destined to die alone!

But I digress. I had a pretty normal childhood, except I had to go to the hospital every six months to have spinal taps and ultrasounds and other weird tests to make sure I wasn't carrying around any nasty tumors or whatever. I also suffered excruciating leg pains. The only thing that helped dull the pain was to lie on the couch and have someone sit on my legs.

My right foot is almost two sizes smaller than my left, so shoe shopping has always been the bane of my existence. So much so that I have never walked out of a shoe store without crying. A few years ago, I found out that Nordstrom has a policy where you can buy a mixed pair of shoes, as long as your feet are more than a size in difference. So I went there and bought my first pair of running shoes. I walked out of there with tears in my eyes, but they were happy tears.

Anyway, when I was a kid, I wore a lift in my right shoe. I don't remember this at all, but my mom insists it's true. When I hit my teens, I apparently stopped wearing the lift. This I do remember -- I used to walk around with only one shoe on. I'd take of the left one so that my legs would be even. It didn't really help, and I started getting really bad back pains, so my mom took me to a cobbler and had them build up the sole of my right shoe. When we got them back, I cried because my right shoe looked like it belonged to Frankenstein. I refused to wear the shoes.

Not long after that, my mom read an article in Parade about the Gavriil Ilizarov and his limb lengthening procedure. She asked me if I was interested; I said yes, and she took me to see a doctor. This was the day we got lost and ended up in Cabrini-Green. I never forgot that day, not because of Cabrini-Green, but because I was so humiliated. I was evaluated by a doctor to see if I was a good candidate for the procedure. That was pretty standard, but then I was led out into a bigger room with low windows looking out over the 'L tracks. There was a long platform down the middle of the room, and I had to walk up and down it for an eternity while a team of doctors watched, made comments, poked and prodded me. I was so ashamed; I never felt more like a freak in my entire life.

At the end of the ordeal, the doctor said that while my "condition" was substantial, the Ilizarov procedure would be considered cosmetic surgery. I guess my crippling leg and back pains weren't significant enough. He said that I had two options. Three, I guess.
  1. Do nothing.
  2. Have the Ilizarov surgery and stretch my right leg three inches.
  3. Have three inches of bone removed from my left leg.
I was 15 years old and 4' 11" at this time. My mom said the decision was all mine; she wasn't going to push me one way or the other. My height and the fact that the doctor said that removing bone from my leg was a more involved procedure, bloodier and more painful, made me opt for the Ilizarov.

There was no way we could afford the surgery, and that is where the Shriners came in. Long story short, I went in for a consult at the Shriners and was scheduled for surgery on February 6th.

The night before the surgery, a doctor came in and wrote "NO!" in Sharpie on my left knee. "So we know which leg to work on tomorrow," he told me. Jesus christ. The morning of my surgery, my mom and sister showed up to hang out. They'd brought me a goofy balloon with streamers for arms and legs. In the pre-op room, they put me on a gurney and gave me some fun drugs. I don't remember it, but apparently I had a long conversation with the balloon. The last thing I remember is the anesthesiologist putting a mask over my mouth and nose and telling me to count backward from ten.

When I woke up, I had another mask over my face. I opened my eyes but couldn't see clearly. There was condensation on the inside of the mask, and it bugged me. When I tried to rip it off my face, a nurse came over and put it back, telling me I was in post-op and had to rest. So I fell back asleep. I woke up again in the elevator, then again in my room. It was dark. The curtain was pulled around my bed and one overhead light was on. I was dying of thirst and in incredible pain. My mom and sister were there and they fed me ice chips. They told me I was on a morphine drip and could hit the button every two hours. My leg felt weird, but I was too afraid to look down at it.

The morphine got me through the first couple of days, but then they wheeled it out and I was left with whatever pain was leftover. Besides the pain, I'd also developed a bad case of woe-is-me. The first thing I said to my mom when I woke up from the surgery was, "I made a mistake. Tell them to take it back." Hahahaha! So young. So, so stupid.

After a week, the nurses got sick of me moping so they dumped me in a wheel chair, pushed me out into the hall and told me to go join the other kids in the mall (the common area). "Oh, that's nice. You're just going to leave me here?" No answer. I'd never wheeled myself around before, so it took some getting used to. I had to keep my right leg elevated, so when I ran into things, my sensitive and aching limb took all the impact. I was only 15 but my dad was a truck dispatcher and I had (have) quite a mouth on me. I made my way out to the mall and mingled with the other kids. We played wheelchair basketball and bingo and one day had a pizza party in the conference room. There was a paraplegic named Nick who roomed a few doors down from me and my two roommates. The other girls and I all had a crush on him and would fight over who got to feed him pizza. There was a girl named Tina there who had Down Syndrome, and she really had a crush on Nick. For some reason, the nurses would wheel her bed out into the hall at night and there she would lie. Five feet from my door. Yelling. All night. "Niiiiiiiick! Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick! NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK!" I would lie in bed, defeated, waiting for the snack cart to roll it at midnight so I could drown my sorrow in chocolate pudding and Stephen King novels. The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed...

The week after my surgery, I started physical therapy. Normally, stretching isn't painful, but when you've got a broken leg and bike spokes jammed through your muscles and bones, it's a shrieking agony. They let us bring our own music to listen to during our sessions. Megadeth's So Far, So Good...So What! was on heavy rotation those days. My PT hated it, as did Tina, but this bitch didn't give a rat's ass. I was in pain, I was tired and I was angry.

From the wheelchair, I was upgraded to a walker. When my family visited, my sister took a lot of pleasure in helping me limp around the mall, mostly because she got to walk behind me, holding onto a strap tied around my waist. It was like walking a lame dog. From the walker, I upgraded to crutches, all the while enduring my rage-fueled physical therapy.

In addition to the physical therapy, I also started extractions a week after my surgery. This was the term for turning the dials and stretching my leg four times a day. Something about the procedure affected blood pressure, and I had to check mine four times a day. I was also encouraged to walk as much as possible, since it stimulates bone growth. I also had to do pin care twice a day. This involved removing the gauze squares from around the pins and the foam pieces wrapped around the pins (their purpose was to keep my skin pushed down so that it wouldn't "adhere" to the metal) and cleaning the sites with Qtips and a saline solution. This was to (again) keep the skin from sticking to the pins, keep the sites clean and stave off infection.


Once I got the ok to go home, I continued my physical therapy (and extractions) on my own. My doctor told me to drink a lot of apple juice, and to this day I'm still addicted to it. It was important for me to do my exercises because if I didn't, my joints would fuse. I wasn't diligent enough, I guess, because I lost some range of motion in my right ankle.

In July, five months after my surgery and two months after my dad died, I went back to Shriners to have the Ilizarov removed. I was a little alarmed at first because the doctor said they were only going to give me a local anesthetic and I would be awake for the procedure. Thankfully, they changed their minds and I was once again given the good drugs. This time, when I woke up in my room (same room, same bed), I had a navy blue, hip-length cast on my leg. And there it remained for the hottest month of the fucking year. Oh, I was in agony.

After the cast was removed, I was fitted for a walking brace. I had to keep that sucker on for six months, but I didn't really mind. I was glad to be rid of it all and walking normally again. Toward the end of my Ilizarov days, I was walking without the aid of crutches, but it was an awkward walk, since I had to stick my right leg out a big; the lizard (as we all came to call it) was bulky.

And so that was my experience with the Ilizarov. I had no idea what I was in for, but if given the choice, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Sure, I got arthritis when I was 27, but the doctors told me I would have gotten it anyway, given how uneven my body has been my entire life.

Anyway, that was 20 years ago. TWENTY YEARS. How am I this old?

No, really. How am I this old? The other day, my co-worker said, "How old will you be next month? 38, right?" BIIIIIIIIIIIITCH.

In other news, I won a replica 1960 Team USA jersey. I SHIT YOU NOT. I woke up, read the e-mail, went back to bed, woke up and wondered if I'd dreamed the whole thing. Excited isn't a good enough word to describe how I felt and still feel. I never win anything. The way things have been going lately, this really helped cheer me up. You can win one, too!

In other other news, my friend J and I are planning on taking hockey lessons. I learned to skate when I was a kid. Growing up in the midwest, you get really cold winters. There was a pond not far from our house, and every winter it would freeze over and somebody would shovel a bunch of snow out of the way so folks could skate and play hockey. The last time I touched a pair of skates was 12 years ago, when I was living in upstate New York. My roommate had to tow me around the rink because I couldn't stay on my feet. After about an hour of that nonsense, I limped off the ice and sat on the bench. A guy in hockey gear skated over and told me to rent hockey skates next time. "They're sturdier and have more support in the ankles. You'll be able to stand up in them." I was really glad he'd watched me make a fool out of myself for sixty minutes before deciding to give me that little tidbit of information.

Anyway. First we have to take skating lessons, then we can take hockey lessons. And then I will be free to bash the hell out of people. Ok, maybe not. But I can try.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day Zero

Today I start my list: 101 Things in 1001 Days (aka Day Zero). I'm still working on getting my list up, officially, on the site, but my first goal (tentatively) is to start my 100 Strangers project by (wait for it) taking a photograph of a stranger. I had planned on taking the train in to work tonight and selecting a victim from one of my fellow passengers, but I found out at the last minute that the Portland Firefighters Hockey Club is having a game tonight. It's the first one of the season and it ends about an hour before I have to clock in at work, so I'm absolutely going to that. Can't miss it!

Today is Curly Joe's 2nd birthday, so I did up a post for him. Hadn't updated since summer, hello ADD!

What else? I've officially lost 37 pounds in less than a year. I never thought I'd say it, but thank gad for ADD. My sister comments daily on how much thinner I am, but I still don't really see it. Then I realize I can't walk around with my iPhone in my pocket because it makes my pants fall down. I've gone down about five or six pant sizes, I think. I hate fashion and shopping for clothes, so I'm not really sure how the sizing goes. I do know that I refuse to buy new jeans, so I'm just going to have to get myself a belt. I haven't worn one since I was 11.

I've still just been doing pilates, though not very often. I do maybe 15 minutes of it twice a week? I did 20 minutes on the elliptical last week, as a warm up for the pilates. My sis got this CheLean? workout that our friend LaShea suggested. She's been doing it for a month and has some wicked guns in the works. Very motivating.

I try and go about this weight loss in a healthy way, but most of this is due to the Dexedrine. I have no appetite and rarely have time to eat anything significant. If my doctor knew, she'd be pissed. Mostly I'll have an Odwalla bar on the way out the door to work, then my typical work lunch (rice, some sort of fake meat, big salad with sunflower seeds, tomatoes, cukes, etc). Later on in the night, Rene and I will trot into the break room and have some Skittles. Then I go home and have a piece of bread or nothing, feed the animals and hit the hay. This week I've been trying to eat more, so I have oatmeal when I get home. Both my and my sister's cars are dead, so I haven't had the means or money to go out and buy provisions. I don't have any salad fixings, so I've just been eating brown rice with Braggs amino acids for lunch. Last night I caved and got an 80 cent bag of Fritos from the vending machine at work.

When Rene couldn't drive me to work last week, I took the train. AND I LOVE IT. One night I got off at the stop before mine and stopped in a Starbucks for a soy chai latte. I felt like a hipster asshole, but I got in an hour and a half early and my badge doesn't work until 9 p.m. So I sat there and read for a while, drinking my tea and thinking about how strange it was to feel like a normal human being. Things you guys take for granted (like figuring out train schedules and riding public transportation by yourself) are like little miracles to me. I still can't believe I did it.

At around 9:00, the Starbucks people said they were closing, so I packed up my stuff, put my water and my tea in the drink thingies on each side of my backpack and hoofed it to work. It was a bit cold and rainy, but I had my boonie hat and my Midwestern hide. At a brisk walk, it took me 20 minutes to work. I felt good, though. I sit most of the night at work, so any chance I can get to stretch and move my legs, I relish.

Anyway, my point is, now that my sister's van is more or less fixed, I'm going to just drive 15 minutes to the transit center and then take the train to and from work. It takes an hour, but I don't care. I've fallen in love with just sitting and not having to worry about traffic or filling up the gas tank.

Ok, shutting up now. I've had to pee for the last half hour.

Oh! Before I forget, I'm going to roller derby this weekend! The High Rollers vs the Guns n Rollers. Nevermind. The bout is sold out.

I've thought a little bit about what I might call myself if I got into a league. Bitch Cassidy has a nice ring to it. That's another thing on my 101 Things list: try out/join a roller derby (and/or dodgeball) team.

P.S. Last night I processed a histo for a hermaphrodite dog. I called it a hermaphrodog. The genitals were in histo jar, but the formalin was too murky for me to get a good look at things. Could have been testes. Could have been something uterine. It all added up to ten kinds of awesome. And then there was the cat leg I had to pack up. But first I had to drain all the bloody fluid out of the bag. I haven't eaten meat in 20 years, and what I was working with looked like raw chicken with a paw attached. I came very close to yacking several times. Oh, and did I mention I also had to process a spleen roughly THE SIZE OF MY HEAD? I swear to fucking god, the only time we ever get random limbs and little jars of horror are the days I have the histo rotation. WTFBBQ?