Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ow, my aching...

Fire. Cracker.
My job requires a lot of sitting.  And staring at a computer screen.  And typing, data mining, researching, blah blah blah.

Oh, I KNOW how lucky I am, so don't make a habit of complaining.

But Lord have mercy I just took a lap or two around the house, then grabbed on to the rim of the kitchen sink and LEEEEEANED forward, stretching backward, and someone shot off a string of those little cracking fireworks right outside my kitchen window.

Oh wait, that was my BACK.

There was much movement of synovial fluid, friends, and I feel taller now.


Speaking of synovial fluid...

It's been while since the initial injury that resulted in my slicing off a little bit of my left middle finger right at the base of the fingernail.  It's probably been about a year since I sacrificed a little of myself to the kitchen gods, so the boo-boo healed with just a little defect in the skin because old people heal slowly.

Then, a few months ago, something popped up right in that spot - a swelling, a bleb, and a 'something' that concerned me, so I brought it up with my doc, who said 'it's nothing to be concerned about it just a mucoid cyst.' Better than a sarcoma, thought I, and so went home to research what the HECK a mucoid cyst is.

Turns out, when I went all Master Chef on my finger I cut deeply enough to nick the bursa around the top finger joint, allowing synovial fluid to LEAK OUT, causing the blebbiness.

Then, because I messed with it a a little, it started to hurt, so I did what any reasonable person would do, I pricked it with a pin and POPPED IT.

What came out was a little bit gross, like jelly that's really slick and sticky.  The stuff that lubricates our joints - the precious synovial fluid!!  So gross, so fascinating!  So...yellow?  Ew.

I put a pressure dressing on it and was good for about a month until I banged it on something, and it swelled again, I popped it again, and same deal - oozy synovial goo, only  this time...clear.

Apparently I missed the memo about getting your fluids changed every 40 years or so. Did anybody else know this needs to be done?

The doc said it might go away on its own, it might not.  It might always be with me, a little portal into, well, me.

And that's what happens when you get under my skin.  Goo happens.

Tiff out.

PS - mucoid cysts are apparently really common in folks with osteoarthritis.  Apparently the bones develop spurs that grind away at the bursal lining, and leaky leaky things happen.  How truly dreadful.

PPS - 'The Mucoid Cyst' is my new superhero name.  Guess what my superpower is??

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Watching the storm roll in

The tide is turning.

Rolling inward this time.


In to the swirl and business, the tumult, the crowd, the chatter.

It needs to be borne, there's no force to conquer the wave.

The edge of the rip tide that's most comfortable to paddle in is swept away.

Instead, a boisterous party surrounds, where friends abound,

Who dazzle and frazzle and exhaust with their love.

It's a weird place to be at for a few hours.

But then the crouch of all the ocean behind the haunch of waves calls

It's time to go, RIGHT NOW, to go hunker on your sand bar

Safe and alone until the next tide hits.

Like breathing, but the out fits better, a sigh not a suck.

Tumble in, breathe out.

Putting words down...Tiff out.

Monday, March 27, 2017

I'm watching you

I don't subscribe to his channel
But I do know who he is...
I'm old enough to remember home movies.  On FILM.  I remember home movie night, when at the end of the film after the free end 'flapped' it's way on to the receiving reel, the screen would show up bright white from the  projector bulb and all the kids would get up and dance in the light like we were on stage.

Every. Time.

Then, home movies became all about capturing those special moments on videotape, and Lord how we were freed from the tedium of having to get the Kodak moments not only filmed, but developed and processed!  Instant gratification was to be had, and it was fantastic.  But, sadly, no light to dance in.  No imagination to spend, all we had was the reality of what had just been shot.

But still - that gratification was sweet, at least for the one time we ever watched the tapes before setting them on a shelf to collect dust.

Nowadays, everyone has smart phones and GoPros and social media AND, if you're really ambitious, a YouTube channel, where lots and lots of other people can watch your home movies!

I'm proud to say that I have only subscribed to 22 YT channels so far.  Is that a lot, or not that many?  I don't Pin or Snap or Insta or Etsy or Lularoe or anything like that as a huge time suck, so have turned to YT to fill my inner void.

There are a few food bloggers in my list.  OK, more than a few food bloggers.  This should surprise nobody.  There are some comedy channels, Buzzfeed in a couple of different flavors, a history one, a couple of gardening ones, a couple that never post but I keep around because memories of good times past, and a re-enacting one that I love because it's so dang calming and educational.  Almost every single one is offering up a teachable moment, it just now has occurred to me.  22 channels and not ONE that's pure drivel, though I was tempted by the 'Russian dash cam' feed a while back.  I figured I could dole those out like after-dinner mints once done with a binge watch, just to clear the head.

If  I have an evening at home with no family around and not much to do, I'll likely be on YT scrolling through the video feeds.  And, if the progress bars on the 'watched' videos are any indication, I get bored about 6 minutes into almost any of them and click away to explore something else.  I like my videos snappy!!  (Tip: video tours of Tiny Houses are almost always really quick if you only have a few minutes to waste.)  No shame - even in those brief spans of time I've learned enough that I can tell you the best time to plant courgettes (Allotment Diary) or how to make isomalt stained glass windows (Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cardio), or the best way to install a closure that lays flat (too many channels to count - look it up).  I know the best place to get all sorts of exotic Asian foods either on the street or in your kitchen (Foodranger, Mark Wiens, Soukyoung Longest) and why Beauty Blenders are the best (Grav3yard Girl).  I'm aware of how to make an earthen oven (James Townsend and Son), that sometimes you deserve a drink (Mamrie Hart), and political musical comedy is still worth it (Randy Rainbow).  I could go on, but you get the idea.

All of it utterly useless, admittedly (except for the earthen oven thing, obviously).  Completely harmless.

Just like me. ;)

Tiff out.

PS - tell me I'm not the only one with a subscription list 20+ long, please?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How to blow a bonus

Let's just see how many page hits THAT title gets, shall we?  Then dive right in...

This year is the first year in a few years that I was fortunate enough to receive a work bonus.  Listen,  I know how lucky I am to have the job I do, and never EVER forget to be grateful for it, even when occasionally complaining about it, but the bonus is a really nice garnish on an already full plate and sometimes garnish is tasty and useful.


What a weird word.

When the bonus (all that parsley!) showed up in my bank account, I felt rich, as one might expect.  The account had bulked up to something I consider impressive and to an amount that most financial advisors say you should have in your account as liquidity in case of emergency.  Yep, for a moment I flirted with the '6 months of pay' cash level when the accounts were all totaled up.  Giddyup, hiyo, we're on our way to fancy-town!

Naturally, this state of affairs couldn't last.  I live in America, after all, and HAD TO SPEND IT!

Now, before you start to sweat and fret about how nuts  I went with all those monies, it should be noted that I had made plans for that money before even getting it, so I didn't go all willy-nilly and Amazonian cray in this heady new Scrooge McDuck-like fiduciary space.  Nope, I'm not THAT out-of-kilter, though I have every right to be because AMERICA.  :)

See, Thing 1 drives (or, rather, drove) a very old car that was leaking fluids with abandon and wasn't all that reliable anymore.  Overheating, sensors going, you know how it is.  Repairs are costly.

So  I bought a (reasonably priced) car.  With cash.  Because, bonuses are meant to be shared.

Now he drives a much newer, safer, more reliable (I hope) vehicle and Thing 1 is immensely grateful for this development.  He will pay me for the insurance coverage, and potentially start making payments to purchase the car from me in time.  Winning!

Then, because bonuses are meant to be shared, I shared some with Biff so he can finally go ahead with his flight instructor career and get out of the remodeling biz (for the most part).  Customer service can be exhausting, and he wasn't living his dream by renovating bathrooms, so BOOM, bonus further shared.  And bonus...gone.

I have no complaints.  Next year, though, I'm booking travel with any bonus I might get.  That's also a good way to share a bonus, by taking the fam someplace far away (like  Canada!) to experience life outside our little corner of the world.

Dreaming big here.  Canada.  I might just be crazy.

Tiff out.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A new season slides into town

Not the property we looked at,
but this IS on the same lake.
So, Spring.  Appropriately enough, it was warm and sunny today.  This is an improvement over what nature  was TRYING to shove down our throats recently.  Good grief, I almost had to wear an actual COAT, instead of a fleece or vest.

Another sure sign the Spring has arrived, and in merciful time - the Bradford pear quit blooming and we can now all breathe much more easily.   It's anyone's guess, and probably well-known in botanical circles, why the tree smells so BAD when in bloom, so I'm glad it's for a short period of time that this year was accompanied by frosty nights so the blooms fell off right sharpish.

Also, lawnmowers are starting up all over the neighborhood.  Shoot, Biff mowed the backyard the other day, which I thought was early, but according to Facebook is right on time for this neck of the woods.

It's going to be 80F here tomorrow.  Straight into summer.


A couple of weeks ago my younger brother, Biff, and I went up to Smith Mountain Lake to look at a piece of property that was 1) on a decent part of the lake, 2) very flat (rare!), and 3) reasonably priced.

We didn't buy it.

Why?  Well, because the a) land is full of fill dirt so a perk test would require a BACKHOE to get to proper soil, or that b) the seller was going to ask the buyer to do the test (!!!), or that c) the concrete boat ramp  that takes up a fair portion of the right third of the property would be taken out if I had my druthers but in fact isn't private but instead has deeded rights for the neighbor to use when they want to, or that d) the neighbor's shed can only be accessed (currently) by using said boat ramp.

No, really, doesn't that sound like a GREAT DEAL??

Yeah, me neither.

Nor my brother.

Nor Biff.

Best of luck to the sucker that buys it.  We'll be sure to take a look this summer to see if it's sold.

Sixty-eight thousand dollars for that mess?  No thanks.


There IS a piece of property on the water going for less than $40K.  2.5 acres.  Gently sloping.  On a decent part of the lake (read: not waaaay down- or up-stream).

Gets me thinking: Wonder what's wrong with it?

Giant nest of zombies?  Sinkhole city?  Ghosts of former illicit whiskey distillers hidin' out from the revenooers?  Copperhead breeding grounds?  CLOWNS?

Gotta be something.

We missed the chance to dress up our holiday ravens like Cupids and Leprechauns, so I took a few moments today to deck them out in bunny ears and noses for Easter.

I hope you decorated your holiday ravens similarly.

Tiff out.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Time to hypersalivate!

What to do with condensed milk.
Not too long ago Biff and I went to the Sam's club to pick up 4 (FOUR!) items.

We left with a cart full of stuff, and still needing to get 2 (TWO!) items that the Sam's didn't have in stock.  That's just how things go, right?

For some reason I have yet to figure out, Biff plopped a 6-pack of sweetened condensed milk in the cart.  I think he said 'it's a good thing to have on hand' or some other shady thing, but I'm not sure there's ever a really good defense for picking up that much sweetened condensed milk.  Y'all let me know if I'm wrong.

Of course, now that the stuff was in the house I needed to find something to DO with it, to associate some value with it.  Thus,  I went recipe shopping, and the internet did not disappoint.  Behold, I bring you a pound cake recipe ripped directly off from the Eagle Brand website, only with a process order that makes sense instead of what you'll find here.  It's my opinion that recipes should start with mixing up ingredients before jumping directly into the baking stage, but maybe that's just me.

Tiny House Pound Cake

  • 2 cups softened butter
  • 6 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (15 oz)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cooking spray

Preheat oven to 325F

Coat tube pan/Bundt pan/Fluted fancy tube pan with cooking spray and dust with flour

  1. Beat butter until fluffy
  2. Blend in sugar and eggs, beating after each egg and scraping down bowl
  3. Blend on high for 3 minutes and incorporating/scraping
  4. Mix in milk, vanilla, and almond extract
  5. Mix in flour and salt, blend on medium for a minute.
  6. Spread in pan (batter is really thick) and bake for 90 to 95 minutes.

Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then for an hour after taking it out of the pan.  It's OK to pick off some of the crispy crust if you have too, but don't go overboard because other people might want some.

And there you go - a dense ring of calories that carry all the shame and regret you can muster in a delicious coating of decadence.


It's March, so that means the lawn guys are back out, blowin' and mowin'.  Rather akin to spotting the first robin of Spring, that.  It IS sunny and in the high 60's, and I am in the South, so this is not an entirely unexpected turn of seasonal events.

What's it like in YOUR neighborhood today?

With that, I take my leave.  Someone at work is expecting something from me, and I must deliver or perish!

Tiff out.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Count on it

Happy Monday, folks!

I slept kind of poorly last night, as is becoming a more regular occurrence (Why God, WHY??), and so spent the last 3 or so hours of darkness on the recliner in the living room, practicing deep breathing while wrapped in Biff's flannel robe with a fluffy towel covering my legs.  I was the picture of comfort, and absorbent materials.

Spent some time being grateful to be alive, which I find a useful thing to dwell on when one is awakened at 4:30 a.m. by terrible dreams and one is tempted to 'poor me' one's self on a loop.  Sure, terrible dreams and missing out on precious sleep is rotten, but at least I woke up, and that is in fact something for which I feel grateful.  That bit won't always happen, the waking up.

Does that seem a bit morbid?  Probably.  No excuses though; it cheers me up and adds some perspective as I lie in a nice recliner wrapped in a cozy robe and prepared for spills of all types.  Some people don't even have a towel (bless!), much less a roof over their heads or other such niceties.

And, having dwelled on that thought for a little while, I got some sleep.  I enjoyed that part very much.


I use Blogger to blog.  Seems like the right thing to do.  All along in the 11+ years I've kept this blog, Blogger provides a count of the number of views and comments each post gets.

Proud to say that at one time, NAY was read by sometimes over a hundred people per post.  ;)  Wooo!!

Now though?  I won't have those impressive numbers to review in my golden years, because as of today it looks like all those posts were read by exactly 0 people.  Some of those 0 people provided comments though, which is confusing to me.  Is it ghosts that do that now?

To be fair, some comments lately are more along the lines of 'I make $9000 per week reserching old shoos and butterfly harvesting for an international conglomerate of navel-gazers who want to give you a million monies if you would pleasae just buy our yoga clothes.  Love Abbagabbadingdong Al-boingocha'  I don't think those commenters read my posts at all, so maybe ghosts ARE reading and leaving no trace but for their pitifully confused lamentations/invitations to make shady money from the great beyond.

Still, ZERO.  It's disheartening.  I got all excited a little while ago seeing that one post got 163 views, but now I can't go back and bask in that glorious number anymore.  It's gone, all gone.

I'm just a big zero now.


Tiff out.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Make a new me!

The trials and tribulations of the imiquimod saga are still with me, and I'd have to say this one thing about it: healing HURTS.

And itches.

And burns.

Sure hope it's worth it, and I won't still have to have surgery after the lesions have healed.

No, I'm not going to start treating the other shoulder quite yet.  I'm not nearly that masochistic.


You know this person I'm about to describe: the friend who sells shakes or skin care or cleanses through social media and obsesses about those things, making thinly-veiled attempts to get you to sign up to be a special customer or whatnot to help them grow their business.

We all have them.  You know you do, and you might even be one of those people.  No shame there, and good on ya for becoming an entrepreneur.

I have a few friends like that, and by and large have resisted their entreaties for a greater involvement in whatever product line they are spokesmodels for.  I can erect a pretty strong wall around my money when necessary.


I've recently started using this eye cream and this lip serum sold to me by a friend, who promised great things and showed me 'before and after' photos of real people experiencing real results with the use of the products, and I bit.  Just a teeny-tiny bite, but bite I did.

I know.  Me and self-care?  Nearly imponderable, but dang those B&E's were gooood and I wanted a piece of it for my scaly old self.  You can talk all day but pictures (generally) don't lie, even if you DO have Photoshop Pro.

And you know what?  After about 3 weeks of using this stuff on a daily basis, my eye crinkles are lessening and my lips are plumping up and are way less chapped than they have been for, oh, the last three years or so.

Well worth the money spent, IMHO, as there's TONS more product left in the pots and capsules, even though it's said that each pot lasts only a month or so.

Tish tosh to that.  TISH TOSH!!!  I'mma squeeze 3 months out of each container.  I'm SAVING MONEY!!

(refer back to the money wall)

Then recently, a new offer was made to pick up a 'bundle' of products at a reduced price (even more if you sign up for the 'special customer' deal), which includes a lash-growing product the B&E likes of which I was captivated by.  Who doesn't want long fluttery lashes in only a few weeks' time?  Nobody, that's who.  Even boys want that Justin Trudeau ish, believe me.

For sure by now you know what I did.

I bundled up, baby.

Bottom line is this: by summer my skin should be soothed (that damned rosacea isn't going away by itself), my eye-skin should be almost line-free, my lips should be bulbous and lush, and my lashes should be sweeping nearly up to my eyebrows like they did what I was 16 (no lie - they did).  I have high hopes.

And if all that doesn't come to pass, I'm stopping all the Rodan and Fields products and start living life as a lonely goat-herder and former Miss America contestant up in the mountains of Mebane.  Because that's all that will be left of my life to achieve.

Goals, we all should have them.

Tiff out.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Imiquimodding it up

Looked about like this to start.
If you don't know by now, I am a middle-aged white lady who is, through a series of unfortunate decisions regarding the sun and teenage job choices (lifeguard should never have been on my list of things to be), prone to skin ailments.

I have had multiple things frozen off my skin, two things cut OUT of my skin that required plastic surgery, a couple of other things just straight-up cut out, a few 'shave' biopsies, a round of Efudex (preventative), a couple of rounds of light therapy (another preventative) and now, the latest in the series, I'm undergoing imiquimod therapy for a basal cell carcinoma on my left shoulder.

It works like this: you get the news that you have a BCC, then the doctor either says 'let's go for surgery' or they say 'you can use this goo once a day for a month and see if that gets rid of it.'  I opted for the goo this time, and since the middle of January have been applying it once a day to the spot and surrounding area, as it says on the label to do.

For a couple of weeks, nothing happened.  That indicated to me that the shave biopsy got all the bad stuff.

How naive I was.

Starting around week 3, the spot began to inflame.  And itch, and swell up in a dermatologic snit.  Not long thereafter, an adjacent spot began similarly snitting.  Another BCC or anomaly?  Possibly, so I widened the treatment area a little, and am now suffering the comeuppance of that action, as there are now 4 added small spots that have loud-mouthed their way into my awareness.

FIVE spots that itch and hurt.  In the bra-strap area.  Understandably then, I have not worn a bra in the last week unless absolutely necessary.  I hope sweatshirt season sticks around a while longer, but it's supposed to be 80F today and I'm not sure I convince ANYONE that a sweatshirt is needed under those conditions.  I pray for a strong wind to make a cover-up a plausibility.

Yesterday, after I took a shower and thereby softened up the scabs on those 5 spots, I had a burst of enthusiasm and got dressed to head out to do some errands.  That included an unfortunate decision to wear a bra (it was in the 70s!) and not tie up my hair, which goes to the middle of my back when loose.  I also wore a loose-necked shirt, because comfort.  Things were going great, except for the intense itch of once of the spots that hides out under a bra strap, until I turned around to grab the seatbelt and a strand of hair that hds gotten STUCK in a scab tore loose and just about made me say a bad word.

That's right, I ripped off a scab using only my HAIR.

Y'all, I don't know how women get their nethers waxed, if it's anything like ripping off a scab by the hair-removal method.  That chit burns, folks.

Nearly 24 hours later, as I sit here typing this, I can feel each and every one of the irritated spots on that shoulder.

As a result, I have stopped treating the area.  Enough damage has been done.  Six weeks is two weeks longer that I was told I needed to treat, and so I applaud myself as an overachiever, satisfied that I've done what's needed.  Treated one spot, came up with 4 more.  Enough.

Tomorrow though I might start on the OTHER shoulder, just to see what's there.  And maybe buy a strapless bra, so I can be publicly supported while my shoulders go all meth-addict.

Time will tell.

Tiff out.