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June 6th, 2014

09:14 am
I'm finally going to go ahead and make this journal Friends Only. I'm probably way too lazy to go back through the past 10+ years of entries and make those all Friends Only too, but from here on out entries will be privy to the select few. :) As LJ becomes less and less popular it is increasingly the only online place where I truly have privacy, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Comment to be added, I suppose.
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Talking Heads

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April 22nd, 2014

08:55 pm - Fly-by Update
--I've been feeling better lately. This is gross, but I had a giant clump of snot come out of my nose (via the back of my throat) last week and I've been feeling better ever since! I think my intranasal meds can actually get up in there now. I've still had some sinus inflammation, but it at least feels manageable right now.

--Met with the saddle fitter today -- he comes up to our barn about twice a year. He did not have good news for me! Ringo is quite uneven (probably from being off so long), and his right side is built up more than the left. This means my dressage saddle has also worn unevenly, and it needs adjusted (to the tune of ~$400). He also checked my jump saddle which also now no longer fits. It fits so poorly now that poor Ringo's back was sore today just from me riding in it once (for the first time in a month) yesterday! Ugh. Really, really, really can't buy a new saddle right now, but I don't know that I have a choice. Coming to terms with the idea, but also wondering if maybe this isn't a sign that I really should give up and sell him. Kind of feeling heartbroken about all this right now. I certainly can't knowingly ride in a saddle that's making my horse sore, but I also don't know how the heck I'm going to come up with any extra funds for a saddle.

--Did something to tweak my SI joint over the weekend -- I suspect it was from all the yard work and pond clean-up I did. It felt a little twinge-y on Sunday, then I rode yesterday and somehow that didn't help! I was limping around today, didn't ride even though I had time and it was beautiful out, and have been well acquainted with my heating pad since I got home. Hopefully this goes away quickly!

--I get an actual day off this Sunday to attend my nephew's Jewish Naming Ceremony. My mom is also planning on coming over to our house afterward to help me decorate some. I am terribly indecisive when it comes to home decor, so she helps whip me into shape and get things done.
Current Mood: mellowmellow

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April 14th, 2014

09:19 pm
I keep putting off updating, because there is a lot to cover, but the longer I wait the more it piles up, so I'm just going to give you guys a glossy overview of what's been going on.

Health: It's been... OK. I got allergy tested and I'm allergic to a lot of things. Fortunately, none of these things are dogs or horses (yay!). Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that I'm allergic to that are associated with horses -- namely several types of grasses (including Timothy and Bermuda), a couple of trees, some molds, and both types of dust mites. I've been working on minimizing my exposure to the "indoor" allergens as much as possible (we have an air purifier for the bedroom, a bed encasement, I've been washing the sheets weekly and vacuuming weekly), but it's obviously difficult to do the same with the "outdoor" allergens that I undoubtedly come into contact with on a daily basis at work. I've been keeping up with my usual routine (Neti Pot, Flonase, Azestaline, Zyrtec daily, with Mucinex and Benadryl as needed) and I have good days and bad days. I try to take it easy when I can, which basically means I don't do much of anything other than sleep, eat, shower, laundry and work. I learned my lesson after the Chicago trip about trying to have too much fun. I've started doing allergy injections, in which they inject increasingly higher concentrations of allergens into me on a weekly basis. This should hopefully provide me with some lesser symptoms in the long run, but the injections are typically done for 2-3 years on a weekly basis until they can be done less frequently or even stopped. My doc has also mentioned the possibility of a nasal polyp hidden in my sinuses that could be contributing to all of this misery, but the diagnostic test for that is a CT Scan, and I'm kind of putting that off for now. Mostly due to what a CT Scan would cost me.

Work: I've really been trying to accelerate my job search and have applied to a few jobs recently. Job searching is a full-time job in and of itself, and I have so little free time in which I have the energy to sit down and work on a productive application, but I'm doing what I can. It's become ever more apparent that in order for me to get healthy I'm going to have to start working an inside job. It's heartbreaking to have to give up what is essentially my dream job because my body is betraying me, but I also really have very little energy left at the end of the workday and I basically can only muster the strength to work, go home, sleep and work. Working at the barn on weekends would ideally also go by the wayside ASAP. My symptoms are especially bad on the weekends after I've done barn work, and, again, I do the barn work, come home, fall asleep on the couch, wake up, eat dinner, go to bed. Wash, rinse, repeat on the daily.

Ringo: Sigh. The big bay gelding has certainly taken a backseat to everything recently. I feel like I have the energy to ride after work maybe once or twice a week these days, and only sometimes does that coincide with a schedule that would allow me to ride. So, I'm lucky to get to ride once a week. This wouldn't bother me so much except for the fact that I'm working so damn hard just to be able to own the horse, and keep him in a place where I wholeheartedly trust he's getting top-notch care. Eventing trainer still doesn't have an opening, and I'm getting closer and closer to putting Ringo up for sale at a bargain price. I told myself I'd give it until the end of April, and see how I was feeling and if the warmer weather sparked more desire to ride regularly again. I DO have that desire mentally, and was near tears looking at photos on FB of friends' rides at a clinic this weekend, because I want to be able to do THAT, but no matter how hard I work and try I just can't seem to make it happen. I will say that the rides I have had have been pretty good, all things considered, and I do think that the time away from riding has given me a fresher outlook on my riding. I think in the fall I was really starting to get way into overthinking everything and letting my frustration and perfectionism get the best of me. Now that I've let some of the air out of the balloon I've been able to have much more relaxed rides. Even when Ringo's spooking for the sake of spooking in the indoor.

I think that about covers it, in the most general way possible. I'll try to start updating more regularly, but, again, time and energy are few and far between these days. Here's hoping a new job is in my future soon (only kinda though, because I really do love my current job)!
Current Mood: stressedstressed

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March 24th, 2014

08:48 pm
Had a great time in Chicago. Feeling better mentally, but paying for it physically. I think I might have strep throat, despite being on antibiotics (still/again). Going to the doctor tomorrow for allergy testing, and now a strep test too, I guess.
Current Mood: sicksick

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March 21st, 2014

11:31 am

Thanks to all who commented on my last entry. I'm taking a few much-needed days off and having a long weekend in Chicago. When I get home our furnace will be fixed and I'll hopefully be feeling refreshed.


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February 22nd, 2014

09:30 am
OK, so, I didn't realize it's almost been a month since my last update until I actually looked at my own LJ this morning. Sorry I suck at this.

Remember when I made a New Year's Resolution to try to work less? Well, I followed that up with agreeing to take on doing barn work on Sundays too, since the other girl wanted to quit. Way to stick to your goal, Hannah! However, the barn owner gave me a little bit of a raise, and I'm weaning myself onto doing it full time, so when I finally am doing the work all weekends I'll only be paying $200/month at a $600/month facility. It will be worth it IF I can still get myself to actually ride my horse again, which I have a feeling is only going to be increasingly difficult as work gets into our busy season. I've hardly ridden all winter, which has mostly been due to the severe cold and my never-ending illness I've battled all winter, and while Ringo certainly hasn't minded the time off, I really need to get back at it, otherwise what's all the work for, exactly?

I am considering moving barns if I decide to give up on selling Ringo. I love my current barn, obviously, otherwise I'd have been gone long ago, but a lot of the other eventers have left now, and soon I'll be the only one left among the dressage queens. I really haven't had time to ride with my dressage trainer there now either, because she gave up teaching evenings, so I'm not sure what the point of me staying there is, other than I love the facilities and (most of) the people there. I already spoke to my eventing trainer about moving him to her barn, which is closer to our new house anyway, but unfortunately she's full at the moment. Other than that there's very few barns in the area that I'd consider moving to (and I see a LOT of barns via work), and even fewer that are within a reasonable distance of work/home that would be in my price range. I have had two generous friends offer to keep Ringo at their barns for me at just the cost of feed and my pitching in with chores, and I'm certainly considering it, but it'd be tough for me to sell Ringo at their places, so I mostly need to finally decide if I'm putting him back up for sale this spring or hanging onto him.

OK, this entry was supposed to be more coherent than the above rambling-and-working-out-inner-conflicts. I'll move on.

Going back to my Never-Ending Illness. You all know (or maybe you don't?) that I've been battling sinus issues for about a year now. Well, after my previous 8-week stint on antibiotics I was finally feeling better -- great, even! Then around Christmas I got a cold, which made the ol' sinus infection re-imerge. So, after a month of dealing with that not going away, I went back to the doc in January. He prescribed yet another round of antibiotics. This time he put me on SMZ-TPs, told me to take them for 2 weeks, then if I still wasn't well refill the scrip for another 2 weeks. Well, on week 3 (last week), I came down with a bad cold yet again! So, I'm currently on week 4 of antibiotics and I've somehow managed to feel worse than when I started them. Who does that? So I suppose I've got to figure out how to get back to the doctor this week for yet another course of antibiotics. I hate to contribute to the creation of "superbugs," but I really just want to feel better for chrissakes!

OK, I have errands to run and a baby shower to attend today, so I'd better get my day officially started. I promise to try to update again soon.
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

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January 28th, 2014

04:52 pm
I'm not sure why I haven't been updating recently. It certainly isn't for lack of time, as the continuation of the Polar/Arctic Blast/Clipper/Snowmaggedon/whateveryoucallit has granted me plenty of downtime. Take consistent, sub-zero temperatures and add in some gusting winds, and, whadya know people just aren't out in their barns or riding their horses! Combine that with the fact that we can barely draw up any injectables without them freezing in the syringe while we're huddled shivering at the back of our vet truck and cursing all the times someone told us "Oh, you're so lucky to get to work outside all day!" and my boss has managed to keep the coldest days mercifully short, and mostly relegated to work in heated barns (a luxury I barely knew existed 2 years ago).

All of us here in Ohio are quite finished with winter, thanksverymuch, and the cabin fever is pushing us into strange habits. I myself have taken to holing up in the bedroom after work. I drag the two dogs, and the space heater in here with me and we all (well, not the space heater) snuggle up in bed while I read or do some very important internetting. The weather warmed to the 30s over the weekend, and I felt like a spring filly! I cleaned the house! I shoveled the drive way! I rode the horse! I ran errands! I went out to eat!

But now we're back to, let's see, it's currently 8*F, which is honestly starting to seem warm (it was -12 when I left for work this morning), and I'm forced back into hibernation. OK, admittedly it's mostly a self-induced hibernation, but, really, who goes out in anything below 20*F unless they absolutely have to? I know some people choose to live in Very Cold places, like North Dakota and Canada, but I certainly don't, so you can all have your darn Arctic weather back, and I'll take the winter where 20 seems cold and not warm! Hopefully February is much more forgiving than January has been, even though February is usually the Band-Aid of months -- it really sucks, but at least you can rip it off quickly.

But enough about the weather! My Journalism profs always ridiculed papers that ran weather stories, and here I am letting them down.

Lou had a couple of really bad days over the weekend. At first I attributed it to the weather (wait, we aren't done talking about that?), since no one told Lou he's supposed to be a hearty Scottish farm dog, and he is frightened of any sort of precipitation and high winds. Jane, with her nearly non-existant coat and thin-skin (which is repeatedly lacerated by the ice on the ground) could, of course, care less, and happily trots out into the hock-deep snow for a sniff and a pee, and why don't we chase a few squirrels while we're at it? While Lou half-heartedly goes out, does his business, then quickly comes back in to lick the snow from his paws.

So, anyway, the weather. We had some particularly strong winds on Friday and Saturday, so when I noticed Lou acting overly anxious I attributed it to the howling winds whipping all around. However, Sunday was a beautifully calm day, and he was still acting completely terrified of everything. Over those three days he stuck to me like super-glue, when usually he's more like velcro. He was trying to find places to den and hide in, and he was slinking around the house with a his ears pinned back and eyes wide. He even had episodes of trembling during which I held him close and tried to figure out just what the hell was going on with the poor dog.

On Sunday I sent the behaviorist a long, panicky e-mail about Lou's persistent symptoms and asked for her insight. We had just increased his Prozac dose earlier in the week, and apparently it's been recorded that dosing this over recommended dosages can sometimes cause increased anxiety. While Lou's dose was only at the max Plumb's recommended dose we decided to take him back to 10mg (had been at 20mg) for 48 hours and see if that helped. So far I think it has. He still seems a little overly anxious, especially at night, and is still a little extra clingy (he's been following me into the bathroom, which is a room he usually hates, because, you know, baths, but he'll go in and hide between the toilet and the wall and refuse to come back out), but overall he's much better. There's not been any more trembling or racing hearts, and he started wagging his tail again yesterday!

So, crisis hopefully averted.
Current Music: Over the Rhine

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January 5th, 2014

05:56 pm
So far the New Year has been ... okay.

The 2nd of January was an almost laughably terrible day. I still wasn't feeling well, I left my boots and breeches at home (which I really needed since I had someone trying Ringo that night), Noah's car broke down with my boots and breeches in it, I somehow made it home and back to the barn in time to meet the people trying Ringo... and it was not a good fit.

So! We're moving on from that!

I was starting to feel better, but I really overdid it yesterday with barn work and then our barn "Christmas" Party, which Noah and I stayed at until 1 am. I woke up feeling horrendous this morning, but after some meds and a long afternoon nap I'm feeling better again. So I've had yet another unproductive Sunday, but I really wanted to try to getting feeling better in preparation for tomorrow.

We are getting those freezing cold temps tomorrow, with the high being 3*F and windchills being well into the negative double digits. We don't get weather like that here very often (or ever!), so everyone is worried about their horses, and I'm worried about having to work tomorrow! Hopefully we won't have many calls to make, and really hopefully they will all be to heated barns. Thankfully Dr. M is not on call tomorrow or Tuesday, which is when we'll be getting the worst of it. Ringo will be doubled up in his thick fleece cooler and heavy blanket, and I have a thermos ready to haul some hot water to the barn in the AM for a bran mash for him. I've got a garment plan for myself, too, and it includes a lot of hand warmers! In true Ohio style the temps will be in the 50s by the end of the week, so I really shouldn't complain about two days of real cold.
Current Mood: boredbored

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January 1st, 2014

03:48 pm
Noah and I said farewell to 2013 snuggled up in bed, asleep. We both have colds, and after working yesterday neither of us felt up for going out last night. I think it was a fitting way to end it -- 2013 was the year of sinus infections and a new home, so of course we spent time with both on the 31st.

I haven't come up with any pithy, straightforward New Year Resolutions, but I guess I'd like to leave behind the challenges we faced in 2013 and continue our journey in a more positive direction. I'd like to work less -- you know, just keeping it at a more reasonable 5 days a week, and leaving more time for things like writing, photography, dog training, horseback riding, reading, hiking, and time at home with the family. I'd like to gain a little more financial freedom, whether this is gained by selling Ringo and/or finding a new job (I'm guessing the former is more likely), and to be able to pay off most of my non-house debt, and allow for more saving, more money to travel, and more of a safety net. I'd like to help Lou learn to be a more relaxed, carefree dog, and maybe help myself learn some of the same skills while we're at it. I'd like to nurture my existing friendships a little better, and try to gain some new chums -- no easy feat for an introvert.

Overall I'd like to continue my seemingly endless pursuit of happiness, and keep working towards making positive changes in my life to help me be a happier, warmer, more compassionate individual.

Cheers to 2014!
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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December 30th, 2013

09:13 pm - Christmas, etc.
We had an easygoing Christmas, just like we usually do. Noah had to go Nashville with his family (I had to work) for the 3 days preceding Christmas, but was back home Christmas Eve afternoon. We met at home after I got off work, and then we went to my mom and dad's for cookie decorating with the nephews, and Chinese food dinner with the whole family. Afterward we went to church and had the traditional candlelit Silent Night, then Noah and I came home, split a bottle of wine, and watched some Netflix by the tree.

Christmas morning we were up at back at Mom and Dad's by 9:30 or so. We waited until the nephews arrived, then all opened presents. It was much more fun to watch Josh (who's now 3) open all of his gifts than to open ours, though. I received some shelves for above our bar, place mats, a new robe, and a record player and some records and a record store gift card. My parents are also paying for a place to stay on a family vacation this summer (location TBD).

We spent the rest of the day playing with the nephews and having an early dinner. Noah and I came home at around 8 or so and had a quiet Christmas night together. I feel so fortunate to have a family that actually really gets along, even if we are all pretty introverted, and that we don't have to deal with any drama on Christmas. It is always just a nice, calm, relaxing day.

I took off the Thursday and Friday after Christmas. I used the extra time off to sleep, spend time at the barn and read. My mom and I also painted our little "mud room" and did some yard work during a break in the weather this weekend. (Side note: I really need to post some before/after pictures of the house! Soon. I promise.) We also spent some time with friends who are in from out of town. The time off seemed to fly by despite it being relatively and enjoyably dull, and I was bummed to go back out into the cold to work today. Thankfully we get another day off this week!

I've got someone coming to look and try Ringo on Thursday. It's a trainer and student coming from Minneapolis. I think they were already planning to come to see some other horses in the area and tacked Ringo on since he's nearby. We'll see how it goes. I don't have real high hopes -- I've hardly been riding, and the horses haven't gotten much turn out recently -- but I guess you never know. I did ride last week and today, though, and I will get to ride tomorrow and Wednesday too. The barn manager also assured me she'd get him outside either today or tomorrow. He was super duper fresh today, even after I longed him before hopping on board, but last week (after he got some turn out!) he was really, really good, if not just a little unfit.

Lou has been making great progress already. I think he definitely now associates the clicker with reward, and he is getting very consistent at sitting before being let out, getting fed, etc. Today he started to jump up on me when I got home, then stopped himself mid-jump and sat down. He got a big, big hug and lots of praise for that one! He's also catching onto the mat idea, though he's not yet responding to the cue ("place"), I have caught (and rewarded) him lying on the mat preferentially. He's also starting to learn "watch me." So, not too bad for only a week and a half of work! We do need to get better at clicking when he's calm at random times throughout the day, but we are noticing a small, subtle change in his general demeanor. I also want to start working on barking at the door, as this is also a source of anxiety for him. I don't mind if he barks, but I do want him to stop when given the cue ("enough") and to be able to greet approved guests by sitting and waiting to be greeted by them. We'll start small with that, though. Plan of action for the barking is to get up when he starts to bark,, give the cue Enough, lure him away from the door with a treat, and once he is silent for 2 seconds click and treat! Then gradually we'll build up the amount of time he must be silent for before getting a click/treat.

I've been reading The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs by Patricia McConnell, which is a truly fascinating look at both primate and dog behavior, and how our species' natural behavior compare and contrast, and how to alter your own behavior to better communicate with and train your dog. This is where I got the Stop Barking At The Door game plan. I also picked up Don't Shoot the Dog, and Click to Calm at the book store, but haven't started either just yet.

Lou also started his fluoxetine (Prozac) on the 26th, but I'm waiting two weeks before trying to over-analyze whether or not it's making a difference. We have him started on a very low dose given his history of GI problems, and I'm giving him 5mg of famotidine along with the fluoxetine, and so far we've had no vomiting or diarrhea. Fingers crossed.
Current Mood: gratefulgrateful

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