countessmouse: (Red Lady)
2013-01-13 08:56 am

Quiet weekends are good ones

For the first time in a while, I actually had a pretty normal Saturday. [ profile] count_gunthar went to Crown Tournament with his fellow knight (and former squire), leaving me with the day to myself, so I decided to just run some "me" errands. I headed over to The French Knot in west Fort Worth, a needlepoint shop that I'd been hearing about for some time. I don't do needlepoint (at least not anymore), but their thread selection was absolutely amazing. I really have to go into that place with a plan in hand - otherwise, it would be BUY ALL THE THREADS! I spent a good deal of time perusing their silk thread and the Weeks Dyeworks Floss, which are items that I have had to previously get online because no shop in the area carried them. Fell in love with a Weeks Dyeworks color called "Turkish Red", only to find a cross-stitch pattern later in the day that utilized it! It's fate!

Explorations in the area of the needlework shop led me to a Steinmart, where I found a beautiful sweater coat that I just had to have. And with wedding pictures that still need framing, I hit Aaron Brothers for their January sale and purchased six frames for $40. Yay me! The rest of the day was pretty quiet - needlework, got a pedicure, bought lottery tickets, had some dinner. Michael didn't get home until after 11pm, but he had a really good time.

Speaking of Michael, we've developed a kind of cute bedtime habit. I joined Pinterest about six months ago, and was kind of indifferent about using it until the fall last year. A couple of nights a week, we sit in bed with my iPad and just explore posts. Those evenings are my most prolific pinning excursions and result in a lot of quality time and conversations! ;)

Today will mostly be a stay at home day, except that I need to attend a local group's monthly meeting to observe any fall-out from a recent decision that had to be made (Michael will be driving me down because I'm just not up to an hour and a half in the driver's seat yet). But that's later this evening and we'll get to have dinner with some friends.

All in all, a good weekend following a craptastic week. We still miss Maddie dreadfully.
countessmouse: (Handball)
2013-01-10 09:31 am

I'm glad that's over...

So, I got through the surgery okay, despite having a mild infection that was discovered the morning of the surgery - which resulted in three days of IV antibiotics and a postponement of the surgery until then. I was supposed to have it on December 4th, but it didn't happen until the 7th, and I was in the hospital until the 10th. Interestingly, my neurosurgeon had planned to fuse both L4 and L5 (because both are usually involved when a vertebral congenital defect is involved - yay me), but discovered that the disc at L4 had calcified and fused itself sometime during the last year. Three incisions (1 front, 2 back) and a bone graft later, I'm fused.

Recovery was...interesting. First off, I HATE the back brace, which I had to wear constantly unless I was in the bed. I needed to be moving fairly consistently, not laying around, and that really wasn't difficult since I got bored just laying in the bed and the drugs made my attention span that of a toddler. The weird thing was the leg cramps. I think we finally decided that those were from the fact that my leg muscles had become accustomed to my maladjusted spine, and when the spine was straight as it should be, the muscles said "oh no" and threw a fit. The only real pain I had from the surgery was the incisions, but the leg cramps threw everything off and I had to stay on the narcotics and muscle relaxers for longer than I intended. All is well now, however, and I haven't taken any of those in 2 weeks. There are restrictions until my 3 month follow-up at the end of March: no pulling, no pushing, no twisting, no bending at the waist, and no lifting anything more than 20 lbs. So there goes GW this year, although we had pretty much decided we weren't going to give our bank account a break. With the blown transmission, last year's war was pretty expensive for us.

Went back to work last week and promptly came down with the stomach flu. I lost 8 lbs. in 3 days and I am still having issues with my appetite. I needed to jumpstart the weight loss, but I was really hoping to use WW and not such a drastic measure. Poor Michael has been at his wits end trying to make things that I will eat.

And just when we thought things had settled down, and despite our fervent prayers that 2013 would be a better year for us than 2012, my precious, grumpy, bitey, loving calico Maddie had to be put to sleep Monday morning. She had an undiagnosed heart condition and threw a clot spray around 6am that affected her spine and lungs. The emergency vet very kindly explained that treatment was lmiited and there was no guarantee that this wouldn't happen again. I couldn't stand to see my baby in pain, so we made the choice to put her to sleep. It was peaceful, and she was purring in my arms until the very end.

I'd like to get off this roller coaster now.
countessmouse: (Stitch in the Morning)
2012-12-03 10:17 am

Resolution, I Hope

Since early last fall, I've been having major issues with my back and pain. Specifically, after working with a chiropractor without results, he recommended I see an orthopedist and get an MRI, which at that time revealed that my disc at L5 S1 (bottom of your spine) was compressed and shrinking. We experimented with exercise, hot/cold therapy, a TENS unit and epidural injections without much success. In the meantime, I've been dealing with muscle spasms, sciatic nerve involvement, loss of flexibility and migration of the pain from almost exclusively the right side to include both sides of my back and hips. I now walk with a limp and some days, I feel like I'm 90 years old with the way I walk. I can't ride in the car for more than an hour at a time (which makes my morning commute just lovely), and I feel like I'm isolating both me and my husband with my inability to go anywhere or do anything.

After a huge fight with my insurance company over WHERE I was going to have the surgery (which I'm not going to even attempt to go into because it just makes me mad) and having to switch from my beloved orthopedist to a neurosurgeon I have the barest of a patient/doctor relationship with at this point, I'm having spinal fusion surgery (ALIF) tomorrow morning. It's my only option at this point because the pain isn't getting any better and the epidural injections are a complete failure. Even more fun? Because of where the dissolving disk is located (it's now 2/3 gone per the June MRI) and the fact that I have a congenital defect of the upper vertebra involved, I am not eligible for either the microsurgery or surgery from the back. MY surgery will be from the front, so I will be in the hospital for at least 3 days. And home recovering for a month. Over Christmas. Yay me.

The case studies I've read and the information I've found makes it very certain that my back issues will be immediately better following the surgery. In fact, the worst complaints following surgery involve the frontal incision site. THAT I can deal with.

This past weekend, we scrubbed the house from top to bottom and took care of any outstanding errands that will be difficult to deal with for the first 2-3 weeks post-op. The bills are paid. Christmas presents have been purchased. A law student friend will be coming to stay with us starting tonight to keep an eye on the cats while [ profile] count_gunthar is at the hospital with me (and take advantage of a quiet place to study).

In a little more than 24 hours, I hope to have my cute little walk back.
countessmouse: (Fall Tree)
2012-10-18 09:27 am

Taking the Plunge...Again

After being in a relationship for 6 years and living together for 5 of them, [ profile] count_gunthar and I made it official on September 15th.

countessmouse: (Kitty)
2012-02-15 01:53 pm

Long Time...No Post

So, I obviously suck at regular updates on LJ. I do read updates by friends on an almost daily basis, but for some reason I just can't get myself motivated to post updates of my own. Go fig.

The last few months in bullet point form:

* The trip to France was fabulous! Walked my butt off, ate a lot of wonderful food, met Carol Kane in a tiny bistro in Paris, bought a lot of chocolate, and was glad to come home when the trip was over. Next trip, however, will be sans tour group. They were interesting, but most had difficulty keeping up with us.

* [ profile] count_gunthar's surgery to repair his torn rotator cuff went much better than we expected. The tear was actually too small to repair, but another issue with his bicep tendon was handled, and he just finished his PT. He returned to fighting last month and is quite happy about that.

* My 74 year old Dad fell out of a treestand while hunting and broke his back last month. Despite a rather horrific spinal injury, he retained his mobility and is currently in inpatient rehab getting his walking skills back up to snuff. The unit is located in the hospital where his NICU is, and he has started wheeling himself down to the nursery to check on the babies when the staff will let him. It keeps him motivated with his PT and is helping him learn what his limitations might be.

* I started having some severe back spasms prior to the France trip that never resolved with subsequent visits to the chiropractor. An orthopedist was consulted and I learned yesterday that my disc at L5-S1 looks like a broken cookie and will need to be replaced. She doesn't want to do the replacement surgery yet (it's pretty invasive), so I've been told to take yoga and a core strengthening class and we will medicate the pain when it's necessary. I warned her that I'm probably the worst patient about taking pain meds because I HATE how they make me feel. We'll see how it goes.

* After putting it off indefinitely and then having a frank discussion with my parents about the future (thanks to Dad's little accident), [ profile] count_gunthar and I have decided to get married this year. We're looking at something in September. Current venues being considered are: a bay cruise in San Francisco, a treehouse in Eureka Springs, AR, and Vegas.

That's the major stuff. Lots of little things going on, but nothing to post about here.
countessmouse: (Handball)
2011-08-18 02:39 pm


Mercury is in retrograde. How do I know this? Because every electronic thing I touch seems to be spazzing out on me. The BIOS issues with my desktop at home were apparently not resolved, because the thing decided it really liked blue screens. And, of course, the Swiss Army Knife Squire of Awesomeness was on vacation and then at Pennsic. Said Squire is coming over tonight to take a look, but I'm betting that some hardware upgrading will be required to fix this mess.

Then my work laptop decided it needed to have issues and the Yahoo IM upgrade I performed earlier this week has been nothing but major fail. I'm not even going to mention the issues I'm having with the keyboard on my little notebook. We were planning on picking up an iPad2 this weekend, but now I'm waiting until after August 29th. I just might blow it up if I don't.

The ear issue is still a problem, but I can't do anything about it until Monday, which is when I get to see the ENT. Earaches as an adult are not fun, let me tell you - especially ones that go on for days.

This week can go DIAF.
countessmouse: (Fall Tree)
2011-08-08 12:06 pm

April in October

[ profile] count_gunthar and I are taking a once in a lifetime trip to France for two weeks at the end of October. A friend I've known since high school has a started a second career as a specialty travel arranger ( if anyone is interested) and put together a trip from Lyon to Paris for ten people on a lark. When she asked if we were interested, we hesitated all of five seconds.

The trip originally started out as a food and wine extravaganza, but has morphed into something a lot more eclectic. I think we're going to have a blast! The itinerary is as follows:

Day 1: Fly from DFW to Madrid and then from Madrid to Lyon (we arrive about 1:30pm). Meet at the Hotel des Artistes and settle in.

Day 2: Morning in Lyon; afternoon gastronomic visit to Lyon's famous food halls, Les Halles de Paul Bocuse, followed by a cooking class and dinner with Chef Jean Marc Villard, former instructor at the prestigious culinary Institut Paul Bocuse.

Day 3: Independent day in Lyon (we're skipping at Rhone Valley wine tour so we can see the city).

Day 4: Day trip via train to Chambery in the French Alps.

Day 5: Train to Dijon; check into Hotel du Nord. Afternoon in Dijon (going to check out the Palais de Ducs which has a medieval kitchen).

Day 6: Full day trip to Chablis, lunch and visit to the medieval castle-building project Le Chantier de Guedelon ( This excursion was originally intended for a side trip for me and Gunthar, but everyone decided they wanted to go, too!

Day 7: Group day in the wine capital Beaune and perhaps more sights in Dijon.

Day 8: Travel to Paris by train and check into Hotel Jardin de l'Odeon. Scope out the neighborhood, get to Mariage Freres while it's open, and then Nicole and I will probably head over to Rue du Bac to see the Chapel of our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, which neither of us has seen yet.

Day 9: Le Viaduc des Arts (a rail viaduct transformed into an artisan and craftsperson haven), Musee de l'Orangerie (huge Monet exhibit), Arc de Triomphe, and whatever else we decide

Day 10: Still up in the air for me (going to find a Chanel outlet, dammit), but Gunthar is taking a day course at Le Cordon Bleu (ask if he's excited about it!). Gunthar and I will split from the group late afternoon and head up to Montmartre.

Day 11: Sunday in the Marais and the Islands - a day immersed in historic Paris neighborhoods. Finish with 6:30pm mass at Notre Dame, which is usually said by the Archbishop.

Day 12: Fly home from Paris. Collapse in exhaustion.

I may not have a liver when we finish this trip...
countessmouse: (Red Lady)
2011-08-08 11:38 am

Eh? What was that?

I've been having ear problems on and off since a bout of bronchitis last September. The first bout cleared up on its own, the second (which had me nearly deaf and with earaches) required draining in the doctors office, and the third bout cleared up on its own. Now I'm dealing with bout number four and I'm heading for the deafness and earache portion of the show. Over the counter ear rinse packages aren't working at all. My primary care physician has thrown his hands up and referred me to an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat). Hopefully, she can fix this. I'm getting desperate.

[ profile] count_gunthar and I celebrated five years together last Friday. It just doesn't seem that long. ;) Anyway, he made reservations at what was touted as a nice steakhouse but in reality was mediocre at best. While I loved the company, the dinner was less than stellar and I doubt we'll be returning for a second visit. The most amusing part? The table they originally sat us at was directly under a vent with the air blowing hard enough to move my hair. We were moved after a brief "argument" with the waiter, and then watched with amusement the rest of the evening as they unsuccessfully tried to seat anyone at that table.

On Sunday, we met the members of our France tour group for an informal cocktail hour held at a very nice high-rise apartment overlooking the Turtle Creek area. Gunthar learned he is one of only two men going with our small group (picture me laughing here) and that our tour guide, Nicole, and I are probably the youngest members. It's an eclectic sort of group and I think we'll end up traveling well together. We'd better - it's two weeks.

Posting on the actual trip details to follow...
countessmouse: (Happy Bunnies)
2011-07-12 11:36 am


Thanks to [ profile] count_gunthar's Swiss Army Knife Squire of Awesomeness, my computer is fixed. Peace reigns at home again.
countessmouse: (Red Lady)
2011-07-11 12:09 pm

Computer Woes

The BIOS update on my home computer failed spectacularly last Friday, leaving me without a gaming-capable computer for the weekend. Can you say "blue screen"? We have a teeny notebook that we use for travel, but it is incredibly slow and good only for e-mail and limited web surfing. [ profile] count_gunthar, in a move to avoid any unseemly pouting on my part and aggravation on his, let me use his newly ramped up computer all weekend to play WoW whenever I wanted. This is why I love him (or at least one of the many reasons). ;)

We have plants and a working fountain in the backyard. The sound of the fountain running is very nice, but I wish it weren't so bloody hot outside so we could enjoy it. We are watering the hell out of everything to make sure nothing dies, and I'm sure my water bill for this month is going to be ridiculous. I'll post pictures soon (not the bill, my plants).

The weekend was quiet in general. On Saturday, we went to the gym, kept the briefest of tabs on Crown Tournament, went shopping, ate a really good dinner out at Pappadeaux's. I didn't leave the house at all on Sunday. Gunthar was good and went to the gym again and did a little grocery shopping just before dinner time.

The diet is going well for both of us. We've thrown out the bad stuff in the pantry and in the fridge. It has also forced us to start meal planning again - the lack of it is how we ended up with the extra pounds. Sunday is our weigh in day: I lost 5 pounds last week and Gunthar lost 6. I head to the gym tonight for another walk/jog 5k. Go me.
countessmouse: (Red Lady)
2011-07-06 11:37 am

Weekly Updateyness

Taking a tack from [ profile] fieryredhead and because I've been feeling guilty about neglecting LJ, I'm going to attempt weekly updates. Here we go:

Crown Tournament is this weekend and we're not going because [ profile] count_gunthar can't fight yet (he blew his right bicep tendon winning Elfsea Defender back in April) and I don't want to stand around in the heat. And I have a big fat case of the "I don't give a damns" right now as far as the SCA goes. I'm stepping down next week after more than two years as Kingdom Hospitaler and the political drama is just sucking all the fun out of attending events. As a result, my plan is to try to go back to not caring who the Crown is and just play my game. Maybe, in the fall, if I can find my motivation.

After a year and a half of failing miserably at updating the landscaping in our yard, we finally had a company come out and evaluate the soil. Needless to say, it sucks - sand, clay, stuff left over when the house was built, nothing truly organic. My tax refund for this year is being spent on having it done professionally. The landscapers arrived this morning and are in the process of ripping everything in the plant beds out, except for the few things I want to keep - the baby ash tree, the fig tree, and my althea shrubs. The soil is going to be replaced/remixed, new stuff planted, and then it will have the hell mulched out of it. They're even going to repair my broken water fountain. I can't wait to see it finished!

On a similar home improvement note, we're also getting the carpets cleaned and the garage door is getting a tune up. Woo hoo home ownership.

We had a ton of people over at the house on Sunday for a 4th of July BBQ. As can be expected with [ profile] count_gunthar, nobody starved. Everyone seemed to have a good time and the last visitor left at 10:30. I spent Monday in a coma, playing WoW.

Work has been kicking my butt as of late. Huge projects, short deadlines, and transaction closings I have no control over except document signatures. Kind of like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Only not as fun.

My weight has been going up over the last year and I'm finally doing something about it - I started Weight Watchers yesterday. It's been a very long time since I did WW and the new point system is a challenge, but I love the fact that fruits and veggies are point-free. Down three pounds the first day and I'm not starving to death.

The big upcoming event on the horizon is our two week trip to France in October. I'll post more about those trip details later.
countessmouse: (Honestly)
2011-06-23 12:51 pm


Dear Executive that I sometimes am forced to work with:

Yeah, it's well known in the company that I have pretty good document-locating skills and, if it's out there, there is a good chance I'll find it. Note that I said "pretty good", not "perfect". Every once in a while, I come up with a big fat zero or I just flat out don't have access to it. If that lack of access relates to subscription fees to an outside vendor we don't have services with, you're just going to have to pony up the dough, pal because I'm not. And if I can't find it, or any information even remotely relating to it, I can't just make it magically appear. Harry Potter I'm not.

Seriously, dude, get a grip. I honestly thought you were about to pitch a temper tantrum when I told you I didn't have the document. You're like in your thirties, for God's sake!

Get away from my cube,
countessmouse: (WoW)
2010-08-01 08:23 pm


Today was spent ignoring reality. Go me.

ETA: It apparently was spent ignoring spelling, too.
countessmouse: (BPAL)
2010-05-24 11:20 am


Other than the few things I already have in process (decant circles and an ebay auction), I have put a moratorium on any more BPAL purchases until I get more caught up in my testing. Of the 246 individual scents I have either in imp or bottle form (excessive, I know), I have only gotten to 70 of them. Plus, I think my wallet would appreciate the break.

On the positive side, my wish list has gotten significantly shorter.

ETA: Oops, should have looked at my list before I gave numbers. I have 273 individual scents plus another 11 in the order process. Even more ridiculous.
countessmouse: (Kitty)
2010-04-28 02:08 pm


I am so totally unmotivated at work today. The weather outside is gorgeous and I want nothing more than to be sitting on the patio at home on my new patio furniture, enjoying Spring. Here's hoping that the rain forecasted for this weekend doesn't materalize.

[ profile] count_gunthar and I have been making changes in the yard as often as we're able over the last month. He's been working on a garden, and I've been adding plants, shrubs and trees to the bare beds in the backyard. If the weather holds this weekend, we're going to be ripping a section of dead and dying shrubbery in the front and replacing it with some evergreens and azaleas. The phlox and snapdragons I tested in the front beds will also be removed and replaced with dianthus, or something similar that can tolerate full sun most of the day. There are two nandina bushes that need to go, but those are another project.

After several weeks of discussion, Gunthar and I have finally made our vacation plans for the fall. We had discussed Northern California, Paris, and New York, then finally settled on....Disney World. Disney had a couple of really good package deals that include park tickets, accommodations and a meal plan, so we'll be staying at the Polynesian Resort on the park property. Now we're busy trying to figure out which nice restaurants we want to eat at so we get our reservations in place ASAP. Kids will be back in school and we're going in the middle of the week, so crowds shouldn't be bad at all. We can't wait.
countessmouse: (Honestly)
2010-04-01 10:36 am


Just to be perfectly clear, I HATE April Fool's Day.
countessmouse: (BPAL)
2010-03-30 02:27 pm
Entry tags:

BPAL Wish List & Inventory

Mostly for my own personal use, just a listing of what I have and what I want:

Cut for the sake of my friends' lists )
countessmouse: (Village)
2010-01-28 01:06 pm


Thunder and lightning, as seen, heard and felt while 15 stories up in a glass building, is rather disturbing. Especially when you are close to the windows.
countessmouse: (Trees)
2009-11-25 08:39 pm

Happy Thanksgiving (a little early)!

Two chocolate meringue pies cooling. About to start the cornbread dressing.

We're having orphan Thanksgiving at M&C's tomorrow with a bunch of friends. Chocolate pie (the second one is for Gunthar), dressing, homemade cranberry sauce and mushroom quiche are our contributions.
countessmouse: (Red Lady)
2009-11-24 02:02 pm

Call me Responsible

I did it. I'm a homeowner. OMG, what have I done?

Seriously, the closing was this morning and my realtor, loan officer and title officer made this whole process ridiculously easy. I'd heard the horror stories about finding a house, the loan process, the inspection, etc. I didn't have any of that and, frankly, for that I feel very blessed. The three issues, minor really, that came up in the inspection were handled quickly by the sellers and the repairs were complete as of yesterday afternoon.

I have a flooring company coming out tomorrow to give me an estimate in putting in hardwood floors in the great room, replacing the carpet in the master bedroom and maybe the carpet in the front hall and remaining bedrooms. A finishing contractor, who is also a SCAdian, is coming out on Saturday to give us an estimate on the painting. If all goes well, we'll be moving on December 11th.

The house is mine, mine, mine.