Saturday, July 28, 2007


You might assume that because this is a blog about how we moved in the the forest and are trying to remodel a house while learning to deal with nature, that when I say "Shingles" I'm referring to the kind that attach to the outside of the house.

You're right.

And you're wrong.

Yes, I'll mention that we are in the long process of putting cedar shingles on the outside of our house. They look great and should protect us from the elements and provide some defence against critters. The process is taking a while because we had to remove the old vinyl siding, which seems to have been put over the even-older wood siding. Then we've had to displace some angry wasps and wood-daubers who called the side of our house "home." We're half-way there. What's been done looks great.

But I'm also talking about the disease called "Shingles." Shingles (otherwise known as Herpes Zoster) is a painful, blistering rash caused by the chickenpox (varicella) virus. That is why my eye has been swollen almost to the point of being swollen shut--I have a rash on my eyelid.

I guess it pays to be an informed consumer of medical services. Since last Saturday (right after getting my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book) I started to experience itching on my eye. My initial thought was Pink Eye. Then on Monday I spoke to a friend that suggested it was a Stye. I did whatever I could to get rid of the pain and itching. On Tuesday, my eye was nearly swollen shut, so I call an eye doctor.

The doctor checked my vision and my eye and concluded that I had a blocked duct, (which he unblocked) and allergies. He recommended over-the-counter eye drops and sent me on my way.

They did not work. On Thursday my eye was worse, so I called him again.

Once more, he examined my eye and, like many doctors, dismissed my concerns and just went ahead and prescribed an antibiotic.

I insisted he look again. "Didn't you see the leas on or scab on my eyelid almost hidden by the lashes? That wasn't there the other day!"

He looked again, reluctantly. But then he changed his mind. Shingles on my eyelid!

Shingles is the chickenpox virus affecting you a second time. But this time it affects a particular nerve, causing a localised area of pain and tenderness, and blisters on only one side of your body.

Okay, that explains a lot! Like how my hair was hurting (pain on my scalp) on my right side, how my right eye was painful, and a lot of other little symptoms.

So now I'm on the right track to getting though this bout of illness, but it may last a couple of weeks. Most likely, I'll get rid of these singles before the house gains all of its singles!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #59

13 Random Things

  1. The Goodwill store in town has a sign outside that says "New Dickie Scrubs." Glad I'm not a guy--Ouch!

  2. Some jerk must have dumped their unwanted puppies near our property, because on Friday, our dog cornered one. On Saturday, our neighbor found one on their porch, and a third got cornered by my dog on Sunday night. I took the first, a beautiful and friendly lab/rotreiller/husky mix with two piercing blue eyes, to our pathetic pound. Our neighbors, so far, are keeping the second. It's a beautiful girl similar to the first with one blue and one brown eye. The third was another beautiful girl with mismatched eyes but was almost entirely black. I took her on Monday to the pound. I wish we could have kept one.

  3. I went to a Deathly Hallows party at Borders on Friday with my kids and a friend's family. We had to drive 3 hours to get there.

  4. My son dressed as Harry Potter. My daughter (only 2 1/2) dressed like a nice young witch/princess.

  5. I dyed my hair red for the occasion. It really was red--like red wine. It should go away in a week or so. I wore a great floor-length black duster. I was supposed to be a witch/auror, but a lot of people thought I was Tonks.

  6. My friends' kids dressed as 1) Sirius Black's mother--complete with picture frame, dark curtains, and screaming "Filthy blood traiters"; 2) a blue Cornish Pixie--it takes a real man to dress in blue tights and wings; and 3) Draco Malfoy--with rubber snake and constantly dueling with my son, Harry.

  7. My husband finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on Sunday night. I was out of town and couldn't give him the book until Saturday night.

  8. I finished reading it Wednesday morning at 2:12 AM. Now we can discuss it, as long as the kids are out of the room. Don't want to spoil it for them!

  9. I now have satellite broadband. We got the best installer on the planet, who found the only place that we could get a good view of the Southern sky. Now we're about to get youtube and update our software. I feel like we're finally in the 21st century.

  10. Somehow my right eye has a blocked duct and has nearly swollen shut. So I did most my reading with one eye. I saw an eye doctor to get it fixed and took the book with me. Seems everyone is reading it and the only question they ask is "how far along are you?" No one wants to give anything away.

  11. I only cried three times while reading it, but I can't tell you what touched me without spoiling anything.
  12. My son saved enough money to buy a Nintendo Wii, and when we saw that Wal*Mart actually had one, we snatched it up. My husband actually likes it, especially the golf.

  13. My husband has gone more than one week without smoking! Now if we could get him to give up yelling and being irritable, we'll be really happy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #58

My 13 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Predictions

Hopefully by this time next week, we'll know if I'm right. But then again, I am a slow reader. My husband would know, but I've made him promise not to spoil anything for me.

  1. The Weasly wedding will take place, but will be interrupted by an uninvited guest, possibly Greyback, the werewolf.

  2. Harry will find the place where his parents were killed. But I don't think he'll find anything important there.

  3. I believe that Harry's father died after his mother, not the other way around. There is something important to the fact that James remained alive longer than Lilly.

  4. The infamous RAB will be Sirus' brother.

  5. One of the horcruxes will be hidden in the Black home, and Kreature will be guarding it. I don't think he'll be cooperative, and his head may end up on the wall next to his mother's.

  6. Even though both Harry and I don't like Snape, he'll be a good guy in the end. At least he'll prove to be mostly honorable, quite possibly he'll die trying to save Harry.

  7. Neville will become stronger and more confident and will avenge his parents.

  8. Harry and Ginny will get back together.

  9. Dumbledore's painting will be hung in several important places in the wizarding world, and Harry can visit him and ask him questions.

  10. I think that one of the Dursley's will perform magic, possibly Dudley. But I don't think he'll like it.

  11. Filch's cat, Mrs. Norris, will be an unregistered animagas and a deatheater. But Crookshanks will kill her. Cat fight anyone?

  12. Faulks will help Harry in a very important way.

  13. Everyone who reads the book will be very sad, either because someone important and loved dies, or just because there will be no more Harry Potter books to look forward to. I know the latter is true for me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Countdown to Harry Potter #7

I've been marking time this week, waiting until midnight Friday for the book release. I feel like a kid at Christmas. We're going to a bookstore party on Friday and will be dressed in our best wizarding robes. My husband will have the book read in a day, and it will take me a week or two to finish. It will take even longer for my children to finish it because we'll have to read it out-loud or find the book on CD. I do have a librarian friend who might be able to hook me up.

At least we had some excitement today: a quick and nasty thunderstorm passed over us, knocking down a big branch from a tree right onto my windshield. That's okay, it had a crack in it already. I'm just glad I didn't replace it sooner! It'll be replaced tomorrow afternoon and be in good shape for our trip to the bookstore on Friday.
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I was forced to drive the Beatle to the store--my first time driving a stick shift alone. At first I wasn't able to find first gear, but since I live on a hill, I was able to coast for a while.

I stopped at our neighbor's house to chat for a while. That's when I found out that my dog followed me down the hill. I don't think he expected me to be there, for when he saw me, he looked "in trouble." No problem--my neighbors are used to his visits and have a chain ready. On my way back up the hill, I made a quick stop, untied him, and he followed me up the road.

Two more nights to go.

Creekistan County Fair - Hogs Heaven

Its county fair time for Creekistan and it's surrounding areas. I don't know how much of a big deal it is for everyone in this county, but I can imagine the kids in 4H are excited. This is the time where they get to see how their project animals compare and possibly sell. One of my goals was to enter something into the fair, and I did manage to enter 4 things: a Halloween decoration, a Christmas apron, a submission for next years fairbook, and a photograph of my neighbor's 1949 tractor.

I visited the fair today with my children and my neighbor, Jody. She's been to the fair many times, and has even participated in 4H with her children when they were young. We saw the hog weigh-in, which was actually pretty exciting. Young people would poke their fat hogs down the row to the scale, hoping that they "make weight" (whatever that means). The hogs were not too thrilled to be away from their comfy pens--some pens even had fans. We'd ask the kids what they named their hog, and most said that they didn't name them. I guess it's because at the end of the fair they hope to sell their hog, and then the hog will become someone's dinner, breakfast, or sandwich meat.

We watched the Pig Scramble. That is the event where small pigs would get soaped up people would try to catch them and coax them into a pen. It was a lot of fun. My 2 1/2 year old daughter loved the pigs and enjoyed watching the pigs getting washed. I guess I may have to get a pig when she is older.

By the way, I did get two blue ribbons for my Christmas apron and Halloween decoration! My photograph didn't get anything, but I was glad to see that many people participated in the photography contest. My son also got a red ribbon for his decoration. I don't know about the fairbook cover. I guess I'll find out on Saturday when I pick everything up.

We spent most of the day at the fair, looking at animals, riding rides, and talking to people. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to next year. I'm going to enter more things, and I'm going to look into entering into the Powderpuff Demolition Derby. My driving skills may prove to be a benefit. Anyone want to sponsor me? Donate a car?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #57

13 Things That I've Found Interesting Lately

  1. Moths attacked my sparkler on the 4th of July.

  2. When I have the track lights on near my kitchen window, hundreds of moths and other light-seeking insects gather there. Some are so big that they make a "thump" when they hit, making it unnerving when I'm alone.

  3. Hundreds of millipedes are crawling around my front porch. It reminds me of the scene in "Raiders of the Lost Arc" when all the snakes are crawling on the floor of an ancient tomb, only in miniature.

  4. I have a toad that lives on my front porch. I suppose he likes to eat the moths and hopefully the millipedes that accumulate there.

  5. Spiders are really bad right now. I have one in my bathroom that actually made a web across the sink. When I went to wash my hands, I broke through the web. Then she made a web across my hair products, making it look like I haven't touched them in years.

  6. A gigantic spider visited us and scared us. He must have come down from the ceiling through the space that will eventually get covered with crown molding. It was a wolf spider about the size of my hand. I tried to vacuum it up, but it wasn't going to go easily. So I left it alone and we left the room for a while. Hopefully it went back to it's dark space and is hunting bugs. With it's size, I'm sure it has to eat lots of bugs and perhaps a small mammal.

  7. A Super Wal*Mart opened up nearby, replacing the regular Wal*Mart. Now people around here can shop for fishing bait and spaghetti all at the same place.

  8. Thankfully, the Kroger around here, in competition with the new Super Wal*Mart, is undergoing an upgrade. They now have the areas first Starbucks, a sushi counter, and a pizza parlor. While all the "riff-raff" are shopping elsewhere, those of us who appreciate good things will shop at the Kroger.

  9. For the 4th, I gave glow sticks to the kids to play with. We used many of them to attach to the dog and to play glow fetch with him in the dark. It is funny to see glowing bars running around the forest.

  10. My husband has been running a fever and experiencing night sweats for the past week. During that time, I'm forced to sleep in my son's bed. I've been having strange dreams and actually sleeping better then if my husband had been using me as the human pillow.

  11. I'm getting ready to submit a few pieces of art/photography to the county fair. I'm entering a Christmas apron, a Halloween centerpiece, and a photo of my friend's 1949 Ford tractor. Wish me luck!

  12. I'm potty-training my 2 1/2 year old daughter. I found a potty that lets me record a message after the flush sound. Just think of the possibilities!

  13. Grape Cool-Aid makes poop green. I don't understand this phenonamon, but it makes for dirty diapers/training pants.