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4 kittens

Sheared off and dangling on your shoulder

Posted on 2016.07.17 at 23:01
I must have discussed my neck and back problems here - it's been going on for almost a year, and I'm a champion complainer. Earlier this summer I went to a sports medicine PT pseudo-doctor.  He alleviated much of the symptoms with intense massages and a list of stretches. I asked if we could get to the root of the problem.  I'm doing something weird in my sleep, and start to wake up partway through the night. I asked if it would ever go away.  "Nope!" he said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "you'll have this for the rest of your life! You can just manage it with stretches and strengthening." Depressing! A friend told me that hers had been treated and cured with a weeks' worth of muscle relaxants, but I wasn't sure how to explain that to a doctor.

So finally I went to a med clinic. And the nice lady doctor said, "You should take muscle relaxants for a week. And ibuprofen."  She said that there was some deep irritant and the muscle was clenched up around it, and we needed to break that cycle and get the muscle to fully relax. "Take them for a full week, even if you feel better," she said. "If they make you too groggy, just take them at night."

Hooray! What happened?

Well, I took one at 3 pm that day. I got very drowsy and struggled to keep it together during the dinner and bedtime routine. Then I passed out. I slept like I was entombed in a brick, and woke up feeling weird. I didn't feel normal until 11 in the morning.

Since then I've been taking half and quarter pills. I feel great while I'm on the muscle relaxants, but not when I'm not. I'm not sure what to make of all this.


On Wednesday, Jammies and I took everything out of half of the mezzanine. I forgot to take a before-photo, but here's the spread of stuff, downstairs:

We spent all day sorting all of that crap and finding homes for the stuff we kept. It is a great relief, because the mess up there had weighed heavily on me and going upstairs made me feel panicky and clausterphobic.

Here's the upstairs, empty:

and another angle, after I ditched the rug:

(This is my half of the mezzanine.)

My plan is to make a reading nook for the kids. My other plan is that the mezzanine railing should be less of a shin-height tripping hazard and more of a safety measure. I'd like to replace it with a regular railing.

Decorating for a reading nook will be tricky, because the vibe up there is depressing. It feels like a haunted summer camp. The light blue walls - Aviary Blue* - are soothing and cool downstairs, but up in the mezzanine they feel shadowy and shed-like. It's not a very nice space yet. I've got ideas.

(One time the contractor brought a client by to look at the finished space. The client really liked the wall color. "It's Aviary Blue," I told her. The client and the contractor had a discussion about her project, and they kept saying Avery Blue. I interjected "aviary, not avery," once or twice, and said, "like birds" and then gave up.  It occurred to me that probably everyone says Avery and that the people at Lowe's would easily locate the color.)


I spent the weekend in rural Illinois, visiting a dear friend. Most of Illinois looked like this:

ie vast cornfields. Such corn, very farm. Much idyll.

We decided to find parts that were un-corn-like, which took us here:

Lake Clinton. It's the coolant for a local nuclear reactor, and there's a little tourist beach along the lake. It's the weirdest place. Visually it looks chilly and northern, but then you walk in to hot water, and you soak and feel languid. We bobbed around until we were prune-handed. The water is 90 degrees, I think.

The next day we went to this weird place:

a forest in the middle of cornfields. It's the home of a ritzy estate, the Robert Allerton Park. The ritzy Victorian weirdo put paths to sculptures deep in the woods. There are miles of hiking paths, leading up to things like this:

At the top of that flight of stairs, is this:

The Last Centaur. It looks like he doesn't have a head, but he does:

It's just sheared off and dangling on his shoulder.

And this Sun-singer:

It was a neat place to explore. Then back to the corn for the drive home.

My friends live in a new development. There are a bunch of houses with this same design:

Apparently it is a thing in Illinois to make your garage into an open porch-den. Instead of parking your car in your garage, you have a couch and TV and fridge in it, and you open the garage door and semi-avail yourself to your neighborhood while also munching on chips and watching TV.  I can see the appeal, maybe.

The house in the photo is still being constructed. I didn't manage to snap a photo, but when the garage door is open, you can see that the garage runs the full depth of the house. Which means...there's not much house there, besides garage. I think 2/3 of that house is garage. Maybe there's a basement?

We also went to see hot air balloons, but those are cornfield-compatible, not cornfield-contrasting, like the lake and the estate.

My favorite was a harlequin one, lit up towards the left.


I have shingles!  My friend that I visited is super pregnant, and my sister-in-law who will be in Montana with us is super pregnant, so I'm violating the one thing they tell you: to avoid women who are about to have babies, and newborns.

Apparently with a course of acyclovir and keeping it under gauze, it should be fine for them. For me, it's super itchy. But none of the nerve pain that makes it really painful.


This Thursday, we leave for Montana. Stay tuned!


topum at 2016-07-18 14:38 (UTC) (Link)
That forest estate sounds weird, something I would like to visit.
heebie_geebie at 2016-07-21 03:32 (UTC) (Link)
It was super weird! In an odd way, it felt very normal - mostly the same scrubby forest style that I've seen in Florida, Michigan, Texas, etc. Except plonked down in the middle of corn fields (or preserved since before cornfields). And sprinkled with hidden sculptures, small hedge mazes, sunken gardens, reflective pools, and so on.
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