31 July, 2010

Scenes from the Pond

I was out back last night during the end of sunset chatting with the next door neighbors when Pond Log appeared in the middle of the pond and made his way toward us. He's getting less skittish than he used to be, but we went inside long before he was close enough to be a worry. I had the camera, (because I originally went outside to take a different picture that totally didn't turn out) and snapped a few pictures.

I left this one as a wide-shot because I thought the pretty sunset colors made the alligator a little less menacing.

This picture was a total accident. I didn't realize the flash was on, and as a result the photo was way too dark. Of course, the glowing eye impressive enough that I decided to keep it!

The last photo is one of those that didn't come off the camera in a timely manner. I took it a few weeks ago, and the storm front was so defined it looked fairly armageddon-ish. The storm turned out to be pretty minor... at least here. I imagine someone got walloped!

18 July, 2010

Pills, Pills, and More Pills

Last week was long and winding. My follow-up at the doctor landed me with another pack of prescriptions. This time I got a nasal spray (which I used for all of three days before I gave up on it - ick!), a pack of pills to clear out my sinuses, of which I took the last one this morning, and a low dose of blood pressure medicine. I'm particularly furious about the last. The doctor and I agreed to it for now until I can make enough lifestyle changes to come off of it. After all, who wants to stay on a drug with a warning like this? As much as I wanted to fight her on it, the fact is my BP is dangerously high. In my defense, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that it hasn't been this high for very long. Scott and I used to take our pressure every time we went to Publix before we moved. In the new store, the pharmacy is after the frozen foods, so we don't stop. But both numbers have gone up at least 20 points since I last checked.

So we're eating healthier. We're talking about walking. (yes, talking, baby steps man!) And we're using the existing junk food in the house to step-down to responsible choices. There's no reason to let perfectly good bacon go to waste, right? I'm in culture shock right now. Sure, I know that a bag of noodles & sauce is bad for me, but have you seen how much sodium is in a bag of flavored whole grain rice? (apparently eating one bag of rice as a meal was a bad the tune of 60% of my RDA) Jeez!

And in the next month, I'm getting actual labs done - anyone want to bet what my cholesterol is going to be? - having my first full physical since high school, and I have an appointment with the "wellness nurse." I don't know what that means, but I'll let you know when I find out. I also let myself get suckered into a 7-week heart health seminar that starts this week. There are going to be guest speakers each week including a nutritionist and some other people. It's a night that Scott works late, and I couldn't think of an excuse to say no, so I signed up.

It's time to make a change. I think I'm also speaking for Scott when I say we're glad to have someone tell us to stop eating and acting like immortal fools. And I'm hoping that eventually my desire to drown myself in a pot of cheese sauce will subside. (note: when I say 'drown myself,' I really mean jump in and eat my way out with a spoon and a baguette. please don't call some hotline on me!)

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to have a chicken/cucumber/sprout sandwich on whole grain bread.

10 July, 2010

The Birds and the WHAT?

Did you know that little blue herons have red necks? It's true...check it out! And if you don't believe my identification, here's my proof.

And here's another bird picture. The snake birds love when the fountain gets out of sync with local time!

Oh, and don't you just love it when you find photos on your camera that you don't remember taking? drunk photos here! Apparently Scott is documenting the way I'm most likely to die...and reminding me to wear shoes in the garage!

Unpleasant, party of two, your table full of poison is waiting.

I just asked Scott if he killed the spiders after he took the pictures and he said no, "I was waiting for you to see them." And he claims they aren't scary. I think he's full of crap!

03 July, 2010

Irony, Thy Name is Harley

Scott and I both saw the sick heron catch fish today. Separately. As in we collectively saw him catch and eat two fish. I guess that means he's "not dead yet."

Here's how the heron catches fish:
1. Walks sideways near the water in what could best be described as "bird's last steps"
2. Takes an ungraceful tumble face-first into the water
3. Emerges with a fish in its beak
4. Walks up the bank about 5 feet, prolonging the life of the fish and leading its human audience to believe she has time to grab the camera and take another "OMG BIRD WITH FISH" photo
5. Waits until she turns the camera on and gets to the glass door
6. Swallows fish whole and turns to walk away
7. Waits for human to put down the camera and then spits out a bone. Literally. That damn bird hocked something out about 2 feet. Scott saw it too.

He really does look a little better. Something still seems a little off, but he's not spending 16 hours a day out back anymore either. And now that I know the steps to a successful fishing excursion, eventually I'll get the damn picture!

02 July, 2010

Bird of the Day

What do we have here? This little guy really befuddled me this afternoon. Something about his behavior made me think he was a juvenile, but not so young as to need parents watching over him. And I knew I'd never seen a bird that looked so much like wet newsprint before.

After reading descriptions of every dark-feathered heron at, I finally decided he's a little blue heron, probably about a year old. And how did I come to that conclusion? Well...

It is the only heron species in which first-year birds and adults show dramatically different coloration: first-year birds are pure white, while adults are blue... Enters adult plumage in the first spring after hatching and may be pied white and blue.
So I guess you could say he's in his ugly duckling phase right now. It's a good find for me, since I've only seen a little blue heron out there once or twice before.

In related news, it's been raining a lot this week. The pond is way swollen. Compare these two photos, taken back in April (with the ducks) and the yesterday:

OK, so maybe they don't look so vastly different in the pictures, but trust me. There's a lot more water out there now!

01 July, 2010

Air Freshener to Inhaler in Six Short Days

After dinner Thursday, Scott and I stopped in to Bath & Body Works because I needed some pretty-smelling hand sanitizer for my work desk. Sadly, they no longer make the size or the scent that I wanted, so I bought five 1-ounce bottles in different scents. And because it's physically impossible to walk into that store and not spend a mere $5, we also got these cute little portable air fresheners for each car.

I immediately opened Scott's and set it up in his car on our way home. Halfway through our 15 minute trip, I was ready to stick my head out the window. I figured this wouldn't be a problem for me. I had a plan. Rather than open the whole foil lid, I'd just poke a few air holes in the lid so that not as much scent would escape at once.

(This is basically how I always handle any sort of air fresheners. I just don't like a whole lot of scent.)

The next morning, I grabbed a safety pin and headed out the door. I opened the package and poked an air hole in the foil liner. I poked the air hole a little too far. Immediately, scented oil started to ooze out. Very scented oil started to ooze out.

I made it to work on Friday without incident, but the drive home was particularly bad. My eyes were watering, and I had to roll down the window despite the 90-degree weather. When I got home, I left the windows rolled down so that the car could air out over the weekend.

Almost right away, my throat got scratchy. At 8:15 Friday night, I tweeted, "I feel like my lungs are half filled with goop. Strange, I was fine this morning. Wheeeeze." I spent the weekend on the couch, not really coughing a lot, but definitely not breathing well.

I made it through two days of work, but by Tuesday afternoon I could barely keep mental focus on my job. I called in yesterday and had a diet of won ton soup, tea, and orange juice. And it just kept getting worse. Mucinex wasn't helping. Robitussin wasn't touching the cough. And only the ibuprofen seemed to be doing its job on my throat. (no, not combining cough medicines - I know better)

By bedtime, I knew I was going to need to call in again today, a fact that was abundantly clear at 2 am when I awoke to the feeling of a golf ball being shoved up into my sinuses. Up until that point, it had just been the lung goop, the cough, and the cough-related sore throat. And as I drifted off to sleep after the next coughing fit, I noticed that I had a "nose whistle" coming from my throat.

To recap: when I finally woke up for the day, I really thought I had pneumonia. I couldn't breathe at all through my nose, could barely breathe through my mouth, my sinuses were exploding, and every cough felt like it was coming from my spine. And don't get me started on the pain of sneezing!

I managed to get an appointment at the doctor, and I told her about the air freshener incident. After some looking and listening and some other questions, she said that most likely I had an allergic reaction to it, and that the irritation then got infected. The diagnosis: acute bacterial bronchitis (which I believe is just doctor speak for cough with green phlegm) and sinusitis. She gave me prescriptions for antibiotics, cough medicine (the "good" kind with narcotics), and a freaking inhaler!

It's been 4 hours and though I wouldn't say I feel good, I do feel alive. Trust me, it's an improvement. I'm still coughing and sneezing, but it's not as painful as before. Whether it's the inhaler or the cough medicine, I'm able to breathe more deeply (granted, still through my mouth!) than I have in days. And right now, breathing = peace and happiness.

As of right now, I'm planning to go to work tomorrow - for one day - and then I have a three day weekend. By the time I go back to work on Tuesday, I'll be finished my antibiotics and hopefully as good as new. And if not, at least I have my cough medicine with hydrocodone to help me care a little less...