Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pinterest - Tool or Obsession

I'll admit it.  I Pinterest.

When I saw all those other people raving about Pinterest and excitedly talking about all the great things that were no where else to be found I felt like a kid who hadn't been invited to the neighborhood birthday party. Add to that illusion by the fact that you had to be invited to join! I asked to be invited and gingerly held my breath, hoping I would make the grade and become one with that elite group, known as Pinteresters.
It was about 60 grueling minutes later that I got an e-mail congratulating me on the fact that I had passed the bar.  I could now Pinterest at my leisure.

At first it was a few quick peaks.  I didn't understand the format.  Why were there repin buttons and like buttons?  What is that deal about "boards"?  So I chalked it up to another one of those fads that I didn't see myself getting caught up in. And I quit trying.

But I kept seeing all these people I knew, intelligent creative people, who kept posting links to fabulous finds they discovered using Pinterest.  Finally I caved, and went knocking back on the Pinterest door.

And that's when I started to figure things out.

I am in charge of organizing my own pins. 
I create Boards (like bulletin boards) to pin my ideas onto.

My Hints and Helps for Pinterest Happiness and Success:
  • If I don't want to just keep recycling all the stuff that all my relatives and close personal friends have been repinning from each other over and over until all of us have the same exact pins on all of our same exact boards, THEN I go to the top where it says "Categories" and choose a new subject that I want to explore.  THEN I see a whole lot of unrelated random people's pins that I can then clam for my own and pin onto my own wall and I can feel unique for about a half a day which is about how long it will take for all my relatives and close personal friends to see my new item and repin it onto their own walls.
  • There are always those items that I REALLY want to try, but I'd rather there not be that exact same item in every house on my block, so instead of repinning, I save that website to Favorites.  That's right.  Sometimes I don't share.  I'm selfish like that.
  • Sometimes I actually DO the stuff I find on Pinterest!!!! 
  • Just because someone takes a beautiful wood cabinet and sands it down and paints it with pastel swirlies and polka dots and calls for comments on how much better it looks, I do not usually agree. It's okay to not think everything on there is "to die for".
  • Don't judge what's going on in people's lives but what they're pinning.  I am currently pinning baby ideas, but I assure you, I am not pregnant.
  • Before I repin, I will click on the link that shows where the pin came from.  Sometimes I see a repin from a repin from a repin before I actually get to the place that originated the whole idea.  Then I will use my OWN Pin It link to mark the page. I know later people will thank me.
  • Dont try to scroll back up to the top.  Your computer will freeze.  Hit that "Scroll to top" button instead.
  • Don't freak out when you click on something to have a closer look and then go back to the main page and everything looks different.  Pinterest seems to randomly change the order of things you see so that everyone gets an equal chance to be on the top of the list, I guess.
  • Don't judge the quality of the pin by the repinner's apparent lack of grammar. No one uses the pronoun "I" in Pinterest.  You are immediately branded a newby if you say "I love this" instead of "Love this". Check out the pin anyway.  You can enjoy something cute without having to talk about it.

And that, my friends, is how I use Pinterest.

Friday, July 27, 2012

MRI's - Not For The Faint of Heart (actually fainting might be a good thing!)

I'd been having some health issues that the doctor thought should be checked out. He ordered a head and neck MRI. I thought, "not a big deal". The procedure was scheduled for the next morning at 9:00.

I really wasn't that nervous about having it.  I had done my homework and googled and YouTubed MRI's until I felt fairly confident I knew what was going to take place.

YouTube videos, can I just say, are either brutally honest or propoganda.  I think the MRI videos were all propoganda.

.....fade in...... you see a smiling child wearing scrubs.  She is sitting on a bed next to a large circular tube.  The tube looks like a giant life preserver.  I swear I could see the attached rope through the rings on the side. A technician hands the child a pair of headphones and she laughingly puts them on.

(voiceover) "You will be asked to remove all metal, including jewelry, clothes with rivets, and glasses. Your technician will give you a pair of headphones and ask you what kind of music you would like to listen to."

The child then giddily lays back on the table and blissfully closes her eyes as if to take a nap.

That's where the video usually ends.

and that's not exactly what my experience was.

I arrived at a couple of minutes before 9 and was asked to fill out a questionaire that was at least 3 type-written pages long.  They wanted to make DARN sure I didn't have any metal in my body.
     "do you have any body piercings (hidden or visible)?
     "do you have a knee or hip replacement?"
     "do you listen to heavy metal music?"
Just kidding on that last one, but I'll bet they would have refused me the MRI if I'd asked for heavy metal to be piped through the headphones.
The last question caused me pause for a minute.
     "Are you claustrophobic?"
I am.  I felt a bit panicky the last time I went to the dentist and he put the little gas tent thing over my nose.  I had to have it removed and for-go the gas.  I answered yes and wondered what accomodations they would make for this.

Next a very pleasant nurse took me back and gave me some scrubs to put on.

Okay!  This is going just like the YouTube video.  I can do this.

After donning the scrubs, (and may I say they were so comfortable that I may get several pair and wear them daily), I was escorted into a large open room.  In the center was a narrow table that was next to the oversized life-preserver tube machine-thing!  I was so relieved. Why did they ask me if I was claustrophobic?  Phewy, this was nothing. 

The nurse had me lay on the table which was VERY narrow. If I relaxed my arms they hung downward and my hands rested on the floor and I felt like a monkey. Now I know why they used a child in the video!  It made the table look normal sized, comparatively.  Miss Nurse took my blood sample which she said had to be tested for kidney function before they injected the contrasting dye into my arm.  She said they would run the first part of the MRI while the blood was being tested because they didn't inject the dye until close to the end.

Next a male technician came into the room and said, "okay, are you ready?" I replied that I was.  He then said, "well, let's go."  I said "okay, let's go".  He just stood there above me as my monkey hands rested on the floor, and looked at me like I was a bit mentally deficient or something.  Again he said, "let's go" and I started to cotton-on to the fact that he wanted me to sit up, which I did.  He turned and started to walk out of the room.  Then I deduced that he wanted me to follow him, which I did.  We left that nice cheery big open room with the life preserver and entered a darkened noisy one. This thing had a humongous, noisy, long, large, intimidating-looking contraption in it, which took up most of the room. Right in front of it was another narrow bed, which he indicated that I should lay upon.  He handed me a pair of headphones and asked me what kind of music I wanted to listed to. I was tempted to say "heavy metal" just to see his reaction, but ended up saying "classical". I put the "phones" on my ears and heard, what I swear was, "Brahams Lullaby".  It was so soft and sweet.  Maybe I would drift off to sleep like that cherubic child in the YouTube video. The tech had me stretch my head up  as I lay down so that the headphones would fit into a slot in the head brace.  Then he lowered a football mask-like grid thing over my face. I started to think that now would be a good time to go to the happy place in my head and closed my eyes. He placed a blanket over me, told me not to move or cough and then I felt the table move into the machine.

I thought to myself, "this is stupid.  I'm paying big bucks for this experience.  I should really EXPERIENCE it."  So I opened my eyes to see what was going on. 

My eyes were only open for about .005 of a second.  Just long enough for me to KNOW that if I kept them open any longer than that I would have a major freakout.

About an inch from the face mask was "the machine".  It wasn't like being in a box, either.  I think coffins are roomier. at least they are rectangles and you have those corners for a bit of "breathing space".  This was more like a mummy coffin. or maybe a giant piece of non flexible or breakable rigatoni, or maybe a roach motel ("they check in, but they can't check out").  All I knew was that I had no room.  If I relaxed my arms they touched both sides of "the machine". 

Thankfully there was a steady stream of air being pumped in.  I think that's the only thing that saved me.  I lay there with my eyes closed, feeling the breeze on my face and imagined laying in an open field with daisies swaying gently around me.

I tried really really hard to hold onto that image, but it was quite hard with "the machine" doing it's thing.  MRI's are not timid things.  They let you know they are in charge and can do with you what they will.  Their instruments of torture include jack-hammers, wood-peckers, sirens, and earthquakes.  It's kind of hard to imagine the gentle meadow when you are being shaken up and hammered. That lovely classical music is a memory that surfaces ever so briefly in between the barrages that "the machine" will inflict upon you.

And it will inflict those things on you over and over and over.

A lot of things went through my mind. 
     How badly do I need to freak out before they will let me out of here.
     If I freak out they will make me do this whole thing over again.
     My FILLINGS!  I didn't tell them I had metal fillings!!!
     My nose itches but if I try to scratch it I will realize how confined I am and have a major freakout.
     I HAVE TO COUGH!!!  Why did he tell me I can't cough!  (I actually snuck a few coughs in hoping it wouldn't screw up the whole test.)
     My mouth feels like cotton.  I really need to swallow.  Will swallowing mess up the whole test?
     Get me out of here!  No, I can do this.  Breath, big breaths, not so fast, don't hyperventilate.
And in between every series of bangings and thumpings I would hear soft little wafts of Brahams.  The contrast almost made me laugh, but if I laughed I would have jiggled and that would have messed up the test and I would have had to do it all over again.
     so I just thought about smiling instead.

After forever I felt myself being moved out of the tube.  It was time to inject the dye.  I really didn't think I could stand going back into the tube again.  I asked him how much longer.  He said 2 series of 7 minutes each, so I would be done in 15 minutes. And then he once again fed me into the mouth of "the machine".  It was at this point when I realized I really had to go to the bathroom.
I started counting slowly to 60.
I held up my thumb to mark one minute.
I started again.  1...2...3...4  (whew, I really gotta go) 5....6....
and again,
1.....2.....3.....(what's the matter girl, can't you hold your liquid?) 4....5.....  Three fingers/minutes up.
and again.

Well, you get the picture.  I counted every second of every one of those 15 minutes, interjecting anti-wetting-myself pep-talks at regular intervals.

The test ended at my 14 minute and 45 second count.  I was so eternally grateful it ended prior to, not post the 15 minute mark.

I think I know why they asked if I was claustrophobic.  They have a pool going that predicts when the big freakout will happen.  The closest time takes the pot.  I showed them.  No freakout.  They should have given the kitty to me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cemetery AND Chicken Tales

Yesterday the weather was perfect for a bit of cemetery work.  Cloudy and rainy.  Not rain, really, just misty.  Ideal.

I went to work on the Lewisville Cemetery, thinking I might be able to finish it up.  No such luck.  I don't know if it was because of the cloudy overcast sky or my well-used camera, but the GPS wasn't working very well and the app kept freezing up.  I probably force-stopped it and restarted about 20 times.  Normally I get between 300-500 headstones photographed on a Sunday afternoon.  Yesterday I barely topped 100.

But I did find quite a gem among the headstones there in that quiet, out of the way, cemetery.
Here's a hint:

The headstone right next to this one was the gem.  It was the  marking for Caroline Harris, wife of Martin Harris who was one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon.  This was Martin's second wife, not the notorious Lucy, who demanded that Martin borrow the manuscript from Joseph Smith. 
Anyway, I guess Caroline really appreciates her privacy because my camera froze up numerous times and then I finally thought I got the photo, only to come home and discover that it was not saved.  I will have to sneak up on the old gal next time and take that photo before she knows what's happening.

Last night Mike was going to shut the door on the chicken run.  He called to me and asked me if I knew where the 2 white leghorns were.  In a moment of sassy annoyance I said, "yes, they're right here in my pocket."  He was outside with the hens and I was lying down on the bed inside the house, after all.  Of COURSE I didn't know where they were.  I wasn't worried though.  I knew they were probably just roosting somewhere.

After a few minutes I got up and went outside to hunt for them.  I walked through the back yard, around the house and was in the garage when I heard Mike call from the deck.  He had found them.

They were so high up that we used a rake and could barely pull down the branch under them to knock them out of the tree.

Silly chickens.