Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Random Update: Vacation!

Hello from vacation!  I'm just a few days into a seven day hiatus from my commission agency and what a relief it's been.  I spent all of Monday scrubbing our Witchy Cottage spotless.  As a Virgo, I take cleaning and organization very seriously but our home had become a chaotic disaster.  I couldn't stand it!  After all of that cleaning, it knocked me out for the better part of the day today.  I went to Zumba, cooled down from that and here I am.  So what have I been up to in June?

Mostly, work.

Fortunately, the new prices and contract agreement with my agency has worked out splendidly. Despite drawing fewer pieces than last month, I actually made the most I've made with this agency yet.  This was particularly helpful after my new tablet purchase.  That doesn't mean that I haven't been crazy busy with work, though.  I'm still putting in more than full-time with the job between commissions and gigs, but at least it's not 80+ hours a week anymore.  It's only more like 50-60.  "Only."

My exhausted husband with our dog Artemis.
The immense number of hours has given me severe burn out.  I've easily been burned out since May, so I scheduled with my agency to take a vacation.  I was actually supposed to start my vacation Monday of last week but rush orders took up until Wednesday.  Then, when my agency officially set me at vacation status, alterations came in and I ended up working through the rest of the week.

Our June 15th rainbow!
My vacation technically started Friday night, which also happened to be fellow Circle of Fountains member Phaedra's birthday.  She wanted to go out drinking and dancing for her birthday, so a group of us went to some retro-themed clubs in the area.

With the anniversary of Michael Jackson's death just the day before, most of the clubs were heavy with the MJ music, which was fantastic.  I wish I'd been able to get my hands on a black fedora and a white glove for the night.  Ah well.  Maybe next year!

I'll be honest: I am not a club person.  Despite dancing it up on New Years, which was in the courtesy of my own home, and loving me the heck out of some Zumba, clubbing makes this introvert highly uncomfortable.  Dancing?  In front of strangers?  It doesn't help that my last experience of "going clubbing for my friend's birthday" left me stranded with a cup of water while a sleazy guy snaked his hand around my waist.  When I told him I was married, he held up his hand and said, "Me too.  But I won't tell if you won't."

On the bright side, great company and great music made Phaedra's birthday much more comfortable and memorable.   Besides, it wasn't about me.  It was about Phaedra. And watching her dance like no one was watching was amazing.  I wish I had a tenth of her charisma and confidence on the dance floor.  She's got the moves!

Happy birthday, Phaedra!

In other news, I've been actively going to Zumba but I haven't taken any workout pictures to add to my gif.  Honestly, just trying to get to my class has been hard enough.  Every highway and inner main road near me is under heavy construction, making what should be a 10 minute drive anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes.  I left at 5:30 one night for a 6:15 and didn't get to my class until 6:45.  Bah.  So taking a picture before class hasn't really been a priority.  Plus, I've been stalled on my weight loss since April.

Turns out, there's a reason for that...

This is a print screen from my lab work.  I've known for a few months that something hasn't been right because I've been excessively tired and my anxiety has been through the roof.  I blamed a lot of it on work and stress, but I've also been overdue for labs since April.  Though, exactly when I've had time to go in is beyond me.  A doctor's appointment was one of the first things I jumped on the minute my schedule went from 80 hours a week down to 50 or so.  It didn't even take a full 24 hours after they drew my blood for them to change up my medication.

For those not in the know, what you're seeing in my labs is my TSH - a hormone produced by the thyroid.  My lab's ranges are .4-4.5.  My doctor's ranges are actually .3-3.  I'm at 24.32, which is crazy over considering that I've been diagnosed as hypothyroid since 2011 and level for about a year.  Who knows what happened to make it spike.  I've been steady on my medication.  I couldn't give you a clear reason.  Welcome to the wonderful world of autoimmune diseases.

Obviously, having my thyroid levels way out of bounds has put a bit of a thorn in my weight loss plans.  I'm either going to have to ramp it up or give myself more time.  It's frustrating.  It feels like most people who want to lose weight can cut some sugar and watch their calories and the pounds just melt off (I'm glaring at my roommate as I type this...).  I restrict my diet to non-inflammatory foods, manage my calories down to + or - 1 calorie over my target, exercise like a mad woman and nothing changes.  Then it turns out that the cause is something I have no control over.  I would rather have control.  I would rather my weight lie entirely on my shoulders.  If it did, I wouldn't be 195 lbs, I'll tell you that.

My husband made me apple mint tea with fresh mint from our garden!
But having a chronic illness gives me one gift I can't overlook: I can't micromanage my life. I'm an ISTJ.  I like control.  I like scheduling every minute of my time.  I like getting things done.  But I have to let go of things like this and move on.  I don't have a choice.  So, using a phrase I positively hate, it is what it is.  I weighed in at the beginning of this week.  I plan on weighing in next week and, if my weight goes down thanks to the medication, I will restructure my diet and exercise plan to match my situation.  If not, I'll weigh in the following week, and the week after that and after that, until I finally see it move.  All I'm waiting on now is my TSH.

That sums up what's new with me, so let's move on to the pets!

Artemis has been doing well!  He's not particularly enjoying all the heat, humidity and rain, but he's managing.  Despite being amazingly human and calm, however, he does his best about once a year to remind me he's a true dog.  This year's fiasco?  Rolling on a mowed-over dead garden snake carcass.

I don't think he liked how that ended.  But he's so fluffy after a bath!

Because of how he tends to roll on things like this, we had to disinfect his already worn out collar and leave it to dry on the bathroom counter.  Collars are a huge deal to Artie.  It's how he knows he belongs, so don't you dare remove it.  He spent most of the night randomly going into the bathroom, standing up on his hind legs and whining at the counter.  Poor guy.

However, his little garden snake roll did point out that he needed a new collar.  The blue on the paisley is not quite so blue anymore and the white is definitely yellow.  My husband and I plan to take him collar shopping tomorrow.  We always try to stick with blue, white and silver since he's definitely a water element.  Hopefully we find something that fits him and his personality.

Zeus is his usually tubby tabby self.  Opposite of Artie, who had a pretty eventful few weeks, Zeus has had a fairly normal month.  That's just the way he likes it.  However, someone should remind him that, should he choose to sleep on my shoes in order to make sure I don't leave the house, he should probably choose the right pair of shoes.  I don't think I'll be wearing high heels to Zumba, Zeusy.

Apollo's got the better idea: Lay on Mom's caricature gig bag.  Then she can't go to work!  It might be more effective if someone weighed more than nine pounds though.  Apollo has a reputation for being perpetually derpy.  While all of the other pets can "speak English" (Yes, we talk for the pets.  It's... normal.  I think.), Apollo doesn't.  However, this month, he said his first word: A very obvious "No."  We've been joking now that he just repeats phrases he hears nonsensically.  Maybe one day, he'll "speak."  Until then, I'll just keep making him say his own name.

Hermes, on the other hand, can "speak English" when we talk for him, but he instead chooses not to.  It's beneath Asscat.  He keeps his English down to one word, usually emphasized with sass.  Despite all this, Hermes is actually a very loving cat - social, sweet, cuddles the other cats and Artie, and has a generally pleasant demeanor.  He's just also a bit of an elitist and has his moments of impertinence. He never hisses or claws, but he will talk back with verbal, sassy meows if I tell him not to do something.  It's like having a teenager.  Seriously.

Why yes, Apollo is sleeping on top of Artie in a pile of toys and blankets.
So, to sum it up, June has been work, work, work, vacation, Zumba, Midsummer, doctor's appointment, thyroid off, dog rolls in dead snake.  Mundane, mundane, more mundane, dead snake.

... I can't get over the dead snake.

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