Category Archives: Random

Top Posts? How does WP decide are yours?

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Do you ever wonder what WordPress decides are your top posts? I do. I’ve been posting a lot lately, and that means lots of new people come along and like my most recent blogging mess. I get an email that gives little information but a name, a gravatar (seriously, what is the point of those?) and their three top posts. Usually I’ll click one of them to see what is so special, then go to the home page, scroll down a few posts looking to see if we actually DO have anything in common, then to the about (if there is one) page.

As an experiment, I tried liking my last post myself. No, I’m not a raging narcissist! I was hoping I’d get one of those emails about my own blog. No such luck!

Unless you know another method to figure out how WP decides this stuff, I propose the following: like this post, and I’ll collect the emails by a cropped screen-shot (email not included) and post all of the results in another post. Should be interesting, no?

And if anyone wants to do me the same favour, I’d be grateful – I’m so curious!

Reblog: Gory Story Time!

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I don’t think I’ve ever reblogged one of my own posts before. But some unknow person was perusing my blog today, and found this. After a re-read, I’m pretty happy with it and want to share it again.

Hardly anyone reads the old crap, right? And yeah, I’m tagging this as humour for the wayI wrote it, and that fact I survived to laugh about it. 

Content warning – lots of blood, and possibly sexual misconduct by a doctor.

This story is about the first time (that I know of) that I almost died.

“When I was 16, I kept getting colds and bronchitis all the time. It got annoying. So my parents and I talked it over and decided that I should finally have my tonsils out. I was sort of old for the surgery, but I have been a lot less prone to that sort of illness since having them out.

I don’t remember much about the surgery itself. I know they made me take my shirt off, and I clearly recall my surgeon saying to the others in the room as he moved the sheet down (why!?!?) to expose my chest, that I was “very mature.” That bothered me for years. I was ashamed to even speak about it. It felt like visual group rape. I’ve often wondered: did he/they give me a suggestion to not talk about it when I was all the way under the anaesthetic? Because after I told someone the first time, it got easier until it didn’t bother me any more.

What will bother me until the day I die is that not that he was a bit scuzzy and inappropriate, but that he cut too far down on the right side. Really, really far down. I have a pocket between my tongue and what should be throat-meat, but isn’t. Quite often, food that is small and hard gets stuck in there (peanuts and popcorn shells are the worst) and the only way to get it out is to fish it out with my index finger or suck it out while making vile-sounding slurping snotty noises. Thanks, doc.

I haven’t even gotten into the disgusting part yet. Honestly, it gets worse!

We were given a slip of paper with post-operation instructions. It said: ‘about a week after your surgery, the incision may open up and bleed. This is nothing to worry about if the amount of blood is a teacup or less.’

What the leaflet failed to mention is what to do if it was more than a teacup.

I have a mental picture of when it started: a combination of my actual view and a sort of distanced movie of where I was and what I was doing. I was outside, at the end of our driveway, right by one of the odd, light grey, cinderblock-and-concrete-stucco pillars that lined the road in front of our house. There was a small popcorn tree behind me, and I was facing toward our red-clay driveway. I was talking to one of the two beautiful, white long-haired cats that ‘belonged’ to a neighbour (my grandmother adopted one later, the other was a tom and went feral). I leaned over to pet the kitty, who had trotted across the street to see me, and suddenly I had a strange tickle in my throat.

I opened my mouth to talk to the kitty and blood sprayed on to the driveway.

I can no longer recall if I ran right inside, or gave myself a moment or two to figure out what was going on. I’m not prone to panic, and blood has never bothered me, so I’m guessing I didn’t scream for mom and run inside immediately. When I did go in, we found the leaflet and read it. One of us grabbed a smallish coffee cup (no tiny teacups in our house) and when I had filled that up, mom brought out a massive, three-quart, square Tupperware container from the cupboard. The very same one my sister and I had puked into for years when we were small and very sick. It was so deep there was little chance of splash-back, you see. Mom was practical like that.

Even better, this thing had measurements on the inside of the bowl so we could see just how much blood I was losing. The measurements were in quarts. We dumped in the coffee cup-full of blood, in the interest of accuracy. It had jelled already – perhaps due to the properties of saliva, perhaps that’s what blood does anyway – and it slopped into the bowl, keeping the shape of the cup. That was when I first realised that what was going on wasn’t “normal.”

The spray was at the very back of my throat (probably coming from the right where Dr. Inappropriate had cut too deep; it directed to the left). My mouth was constantly full, and I swallowed quite a lot without meaning to. That didn’t bother me, either. What did bother me is when it finally stopped, and I discovered that I had clots of blood everywhere inside my mouth – the worst were stuck in the top surfaces of my teeth the way potato chips do sometimes. I had to pick them out with my tongue, and swallow or spit.

The bleeding had stopped, so I grabbed the relevant Encyclopaedia Brittanica off the shelf to see how much blood someone of my age and size should have inside them. I’d lost almost a quart, according to the awesome Tupperware bowl. Brittanica said I should have about 4 quarts (a quart being about 950ml). Current Googling gives me a lower number.

In any case I was fine, it had stopped, no panic, and we’d all learned something interesting.

Then a short while later it opened up again. We rang the doctor, and he said to go to the hospital. I kept spitting into the container – good data for the hospital, right? Before we left, it had stopped again. I had closer to two quarts in the bowl, and I now knew that wasn’t a safe amount.

It was a small Florida town, and we had a (new at the time) hospital in town so the drive was short. I was fine, cheerful and chipper as I could be, and the bleeding had stopped again for the longest time yet. They decided I should to to another hospital in the next town over, and have Dr Inappropriate cauterise the area to stop the bleeding. They put me into an ambulance.

They strapped me down, as they do in ambulances apparently (this was my first and only experience inside of one). I started bleeding again on the way. I was tied down on my back, spraying blood at the back of my throat, not even able to talk because I would choke, and unable to sit up and spit it out. I always thought from movies that when a kid was in an ambulance a parent was allowed inside, too? Stupid movies. I remember feeling a bit of panic at that point, waving my arms as much as I could under the straps and gurgling for help. I swallowed a lot more blood before they let me up and I could spit. Into my mother’s bowl, still keeping track. I know I had lost over 2 quarts by then – over half my blood supply in a jellied square mass on my lap. That’s not counting the amount that I had swallowed.

By the way: ‘human’ vampires are bullshit. I know, for a fact, from this experience, that the human body can not digest fresh human blood. I will never forget what it looked and smelled like coming out the other end.

I might have gone a bit light-headed by the time I’d arrived at the other hospital for the cauterisation. I don’t remember anything else.

I know that my mom was irritated that she never got her awesome Tupperware bowl back, though.”

Fucit Anyway. 

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I supposedly have conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. Being as my eyes have been itchy as hell since November, and no one else around me has it, I’m kinda doubtful about the diagnosis. It’s meant to be crazy contagious, my eyes never turned pink or red, and I didn’t have eye-boogies. Just a lot of itching!

In any case, I finally got sick of it (pun intended) and went to my GP. 

With a list of other issues, of course. My bodily warranty ran out when I was 25. That’s when I started to need glasses, and discovered loads of other new and fun ways that a human body finds to break down. I’m a right wreck now that I’m about to be officially middle-aged. 

After the checkup: I had blood taken, skin issues checked out and okayed, a 24-HR blood pressure monitor (results normal, and I’m dead surprised at that). I’m on my second course of antibiotics for a wheezy cough, an allergy pill (I don’t HAVE allergies!), big doses of anti-inflammatories for my back (deffo helping), and now steroids (!) for everything, basically. 

I feel as though I’ve been to a vet instead of a human doctor, because a vet always seems to prescribe antibiotics and a steroid.

Did you know I really don’t care to take pills? Bwah-ha-haw! I’m good at it, but I prefer not to if I can. I’m now on…11 a day.

Back to the eye drops, which burn. They burn like I rubbed sand and cat-hair into my eyes and then dunked my face into lemon juice and bleach to rinse them out. It’s also thick and white and goopy and is so damn unnatural a thing to be deliberately putting into my eyes, I kind of didn’t do the twice a day every day for a week as I was supposed to do. It does help – but the cure is nearly as bad as the problem. 

With all of this going on, I never looked at the package for the eye drops properly. When I did, I laughed out loud – in my loudest, unladylike squawk.

  
Yes. Fucit. Fucit altogether! Fucit sideways with a barge-pole! 

Fuc it, I’m falling apart but at least I still have the sense of humour of a nine year old and can laugh at these things. And fuc it, I better put these drops in now and try not to cry all over the iPad:)

This Is Draining.

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Hubby had the day off work for Good Friday; I did not. So I left him with drain-duty. He walked into town (we have one car), to learn that our town’s hardware store also had the day off. So, no caustic soda to be had locally at all. He did get some ‘kitchen blockage’ Mr Muscle stuff. It did nothing.

At 3:30 I rang the closest hardware shop to where I work, thinking for sure they were closed, too. Not for another 30 minutes! Luckily my work is awesome and let me have 10 minutes or so to drive up there and get some lovely, grease-eating poison. They had two bottles and I bought them both.

‘Course, I don’t get off until half six, so by the time I got home it was nearly dark and pouring rain. I put the soda in, waited the prescribed 20 minutes, and poured in boiling water. Managed to fit in nearly a kettle’s worth as himself had bailed the muck down to make room (yay).

Did it drain?

It did not. And it was, and is, way too miserable out there to try the snake again. Even the dog doesn’t want to go out to wee.

  
So…washing the cutlery in the bathroom sink was my only option! No forks left, as you can see. That’s my dish soap in the cut-glass cruet. I use that for dish soap as it looks nicer than a big plastic bottle.

Not that it matters when your dish soap is now in your bathroom.
Breaking update, even before I hit publish! I remembered that I have a bucket that will fit in the sink. So now I just have to carry that upstairs to dump out, instead. Hoarding tendencies for the win!

I Have A Snake In Ireland

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It seems I tried to use it a bit too close to Paddy’s Day, however, as the kitchen drainage pipe is still jammed up. My snake is weak! Or the grease is strong. For some reason I’m in charge of the drain-clearing at the house, despite the fact that the drains here are nothing like what I grew up with. I never owned a drain snake before (I had lots of real ones as pets, of course). We had a blockage like this in Florida once, and it required professionals digging up the front yard.  

Actually, that is probably why I’m in charge. I will always do it myself if possible!

Oh, and if you’ve seen the proof of evolution found on your body video, my Palmaris longis is showing! I can also wiggle the hell out of my ears. I am well aware when I lay them back like a cat does when annoyed, or perk them up to hear better. Go, Neanderthal me! 

It’s a Circus Around Here

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When I got home from work last night, iDJ was waiting at the door. “You’ll never guess what’s over our wall!” he said. 

From the odd look on his face I guessed, “Some kind of funky animal?”

“No…well, there might be…come look out the upstairs window!”

So I duly trudged upstairs and looked out to see a circus setting up behind our house. Seriously.

  
His pic from last night.

Of course when I got up this morning, I wanted to see how far they had gotten. Progress looked about the same at 8 am, but around 9, I was thrilled to hear the clanking of sledgehammers in sync as they drove the spikes for the tent. Out with the phone for a video!

I still don’t know how to embed. But watch it – it’s less than a minute – and funny, too. 

Never expected to get that on ‘film!’

Tonight, the tent is mostly up:

  
Irish, Irish, Irish – American? Okay. Well they do have that big ol’ American Freightliner truck hauling some of their gear. It is rare to see one here: it is hyooge. They parked it up by the main road as advertising – it works.

  
The view from upstairs tonight. Not much room to spare!

  
The view from standing in my back garden! I really think the dog is going to be less than amused to see this looming over her as she has her morning wee. I also really need to power-wash that ugly wall…

Our neighbors are not amused. But, the circus generator is very quiet (I’m sitting outside now), there do not appear to be any animals (good!), and the actual show is over by 9:30 at night so it shouldn’t bother us much. 

Musing on Cats vs Dogs

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I just watched iDJ succumb to the cats begging for treats, again. They know where we keep the treats, and pester him until he caves. This is not something I would ever do, but they have him sussed and play him like a piano.

Because he is a big softie and thinks that animals have human emotions like jealousy, he also gives the dog a treat after he gets suckered into the cats’ pleadings. 

This is something I strongly disagree with. The dog could kill any cat without trying very hard at all, and relating their food to her food is a terrible idea. She is food-motivated, unlike our previous dog, and hubby just doesn’t get the difference in how she thinks. The only good thing he does is to make sure that the cats get theirs first, which is vital to keeping the cats above the dog in pack order. 

   
All of that isn’t actually why I’m writing this. It’s because the dog eats her treat as fast as possible and then goes running back to iDJ, looking for more. Which never happens. Ever. It doesn’t seem to matter, however. She scarfs up the treat with barely a chance to taste it, and hopes for more she can’t even savour.

The cats? They have had theirs, and are happy with what they have gotten, and proceed to leave him alone for a few hours.

I’m pretty sure this is why I’m more of a cat-person. I understand their thinking, and have more respect for it. I can’t really ever understand why you would rush through a pleasurable experience. Especially when there is zero chance of another one happening right away.

I wonder how many humans act this way? 

Spiders Makes Firelighters! 

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I first talked about making firelighters wayyyyy back in my second month of blogging. I hadn’t tried to make them at that time, but in the four years since I have made them often. They work a treat, and cost me absolutely nothing but the time (and electricity) it takes to make them. These firelighters are made entirely out of things most people would throw away without a second thought.

What things?

Dryer lint!

  
This is a small shoebox full of lint. I save it everytime I clean the dryer filter. There is a lot of hair and fur in our lint, of course. No matter, we all know hair burns nicely. Unless the trap is full of fur from washing the dog bed, in which case it is 100% hair and not worth keeping.

Next? Paper egg cartons!

  
I cut the pointy bits off, to make separation of the individual cells easier once the lighters are finished. The great thing is that all those little points – other than being great fun to put on your fingertips and make creepy noises and theatrically scary movements at the other (human or not) occupants of the house – is that they are compostable.  Being the plant fanatic that I am, of course I have a big compost bin for making my own good soil. In they go!

Lastly, used wax! 

You can use the stubs of candles, if you aren’t nutso like me and save those for making new candles. In our case, we eat a lot of cheese. Cheese that is coated in wax! So hubby and I save the wax coatings and after a few months, you have a lot of wax! Baby Bell is so yummy. It’s my breakfast five days a week. 

  
After cutting the pointy bits from the cartons, I stuffed the cells with lint. I do try to keep each one separate, for ease of tearing apart when finished.

  
You kind of get a feel for how much lint to use after a few goes at it. I did try to use less, but then it took two to get a fire lit. More lint=more heat. I use about this much per cell: but my hands aren’t small and this is a quite dense lump of lint. So kind of a pointless picture, actually. Meh. 

  
I will say that this process is messy. Dusty. I’ve had to clean lint dust out of my nose afterward. Purple or grey nose goo! Says a lot about the colour of fabric we wear, or own. 

I had way more egg-cartons than lint, so when I was done lint-stuffing, I moved to wax-melting. I have a small, €1 pot that is just used for wax. It really isn’t worth doing this if you have to wash out the wax after – wax smells strongly, sticks to everything, and requires a lot of hot water and towels to remove. I also have a crappy little teaspoon just for this job. It could be bigger, but it is what I have.

  
Melting wax! Once it is liquid, spoon a bit over each lump of lint. For my tiny spoon, it takes three spoonfuls. I use the spoon to poke the lint down, too. Sometimes if the wax is really hot, and the lint sizzles a bit as it settles. But it won’t catch on fire.

  
Half-waxed. Wax-on, wax-off?

Wow, look at all the hair. Eww. Two cats, one thick-furred dog, and two humans with super long hair. This is why I love a dryer, despite the electricity used. It does take a lot of the fur off our clothing. Not all. Never all

I figured out today that the unused extra cartons make a good platform for cooling off the finished product. One dozen-sized carton can cool three dozen lighters, with no worry about getting wax on your countertop or table.  
A few common-sense tips. Put paper or cardboard down before dishing out the hot wax. It gets everywhere, no matter how careful you are. I use an expired credit card to scrape up any messes that hit the stovetop or counter. Make sure to clean any drips off your pot before putting it back on to the heat. Don’t use plastic or styrene egg cartons, just paper ones. And if your hob is gas, make these well away from the flame, or turn it off while working with such inflammable materials. Am I covered? I hope so – but I am going to have to state that I am not responsible for any accidents or injuries incurred by following my advice.

That is it – once cool, one cell of the carton should be enough to light your house fireplace, or even your charcoal BBQ grill (but it’s wise to let the firelighters burn up completely before you get food near it – you will have no idea what chemicals are in fabric lint, after all! And who wants to eat food that smells of burnt hair, yuk).

Question Time! Opinions Wanted.

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Our beloved Mini is dying the death of a hundred papercuts. We have spent enough on it in the last three months to decide a monthly payment for a non-death-trap car is no longer an option, but a necessity.

The big question is – what colour? I’ve asked a few of my family and friends, but why not ask my blog friends, too? 

So:  Deep Blue?

  
Or Moonwalk Grey?
  I have a negative reason for each colour, but I’m on the fence as to which I like more. Neither photo is exactly what we will be buying, but these are as close as we could come via Ms Google. We’d not have the orange bits on the headlights and side lights, and it would have a sunroof. Stuck with those ugly wheels for now, though. Likely the side, or wing, mirrors on the blue one will be the same flat black as on the grey one, too. (Pics stolen randomly off the internet, sorry if I’ve violated any copyright. Will remove on request!)

What do you think? Blue or grey?

Sometimes You Just Have To

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Have to buy something that is so terrible, it is good.

  
This is an Official Leprechaun (the Movie) Halloween decoration. It’s one of those hanging thingies, and I don’t have a place to hang it, but it was just SO bad I had to buy it.

I just tossed the elastic over the top of the kitchen door, and it’s still there. Managed to startle iDJ once! Hehehe.

  
What every Irish household needs! Especially for €2.99. Who of you could resist?