Sometimes you just have to admit that you’ve lost the interest and motivation with something that used to bring you joy. The thing you once loved is now the monkey on your back.
So it is that blogging has become that for me. This has been coming for ages. I’ve tried to find things to keep me interested in posting, thought that I could maybe monetise the blog a little (this was vaguely successful as I was part of a few awesome campaigns) and win back some readers at the same time. But there’s no real point if I’ve got nothing to say and certainly nothing I want to share with the world at large any more. As it is, there are actually huge changes afoot in my life but to share them here would be damaging and unfair to those involved.
Fact of the matter is that I am far too lazy to pursue it any more. I am not a “mummy blogger”, I do not want to sell my soul to do product reviews, I’m not a travel writer, I’m not a regular crafter. I’ve lost my writing voice. I’m just not inspired. I’m actually infuriated with what mainstream blogging has become.
I blogged before blogging was a profession and something to milk for cash and free stuff. I’m sad that I tried to make that what I wanted too.
Having said that, I love instagram and I’ve developed a new taste for tumblr. I’ve had a tumblr blog for ages but really only used my account to look at other people’s tumblr blogs. So that’s pretty much where you’ll find me. I want to post pictures, photographs I’ve taken, all that good stuff. I think the format is better there. I’ve also got a massive following on my Pinterest account.
Do you have a cat who is starting to look a little thinner, a little greyer, a little unkempt? Is he or she starting to demand food constantly – not in that annoying “I’m a cat” way but in a weird, desperate sort of way? Is he or she drinking a lot? Throwing up for seemingly no reason? Chances are your cat may be suffering from Hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism in cats is not unlike that in humans. It is the increased production of thyroid hormones in the thyroid glands and sadly, it’s becoming increasingly common in our moggies, particularly as they get older. Thyroid hormones, among other things, causes a cat’s metabolic rate to go into overdrive and burn energy way too quickly resulting in often dramatic weight loss, even if you give in to your cat’s complaints and feed it more. As I found out, it can also make your cat extremely ill in other ways.
I knew something was up with Bindi initially when, a few years ago, she started throwing up. Now I am used to both of my cats’ regular upchucking. Dugite and Bindi do it with aplomb but this wasn’t right.
For Bindi not to be hungry, there had to be something wrong. And as she wasn’t hungry, she wasn’t eating much and so she was throwing up nothing but clear bile. This carried on for a couple of days, steadily getting worse until she was refusing to eat and drink at all.
We monitored her for about 24 hours once we realised we actually had a problem that wasn’t just the regular “cat’s a bit crook” thing before I took her to the vets. She was in a bad way. Severely dehydrated and exhausted, her little body was suffering. She was immediately put on a drip and kept overnight for observation. Clearly there was something wrong with her stomach (or so we thought) but we couldn’t tell what it was.
Several appointments and dollars later we ended up having an ultrasound and a small biopsy done. The results were inconclusive. She may be suffering from an infection or she may have have had an obstruction or she may have stomach cancer. Ugh. The only way to check was to do a full depth biopsy. That meant opening my little kitten up. That was simply a no-go. I wasn’t about to put my frail little puss-puss through that.
While the stomach issue was still a mystery at this point, after the multitude of blood tests and examinations we put her through it was determined that Bindi was also extremely hyperthyroid and was given medication to treat it.
There are a few ways of treating the condition. Methimazole in tablet and gel form are the two most common ways of treating hyperthyroidism in cats, but this medication needs to be given multiple times a day for the rest of their lives which is understandably a huge commitment to take on.
Unfortunately neither of these sorts of medications agreed with Bindi because she threw the tablets up due to the sensitive stomach and the gel, while it initially worked, started to lose it’s effectiveness and the dose needed to be increased – and there’s only so much gel you can rub into a cat’s ears!
When my vet initially suggested the radioactive iodine treatment for Bindi, I was horrified – both at the cost and the idea of the procedure. It sounded full-on and a thousand or so dollars is not small change for most people, I totally get that. But given how much money we were spending on regular blood tests and medication and vet appointments, that’s pretty much a year’s worth of medical bills for a single cat right there.
While Bindi was an ideal candidate for the treatment, there is another thing you need to consider when investigating this as an option for your cat.
Hyperthyroidism can often mask other issues in older cats, in particular kidney disease. Their systems are working so fast to keep up with the thyroid production that all the organs are affected. Once the thyroid is treated, the system slows down again to a normal rate and as such, the kidneys also slow down. Sometimes this return to a more normal pace causes problems if the kidneys are no longer working well on their own anyway. Your vet will arrange a full set of bloods to check that your cat is otherwise in good health prior to treatment.
The radioactive iodine treatment itself is very simple. As it involves radioactive material, it needs to be done in a specialist centre (your vet can refer you onto a specialist) that has the proper facilities in which to carry out the procedure.
In most cases, the specialist will sedate the cat and induce it to swallow a capsule. In some cases, the iodine is injected directly under the skin.
As the thyroid is the only organ in the body that needs iodine, nature is allowed to take it’s course and the radioactive iodine targets the thyroid, thus killing the cells producing the thyroid hormone. No other organs or glands are affected.
The only thing now is to wait for the all-clear from the vet that your cat is safe to bring home. Any treatment requiring radiation means that there are significant dangers of radiation poisoning to people as well. That means your cat has to stay in isolation until they are no longer radioactive. In my case, Bindi was in isolation for seven full days until she was safe to bring home again and even then I was only allowed limited contact with her for a further week.
(Bindi put paid to this idea very quickly. My future hypothetical children may very well be mutants.)
Since having this done it’s like we’ve returned to the Bindi of five or six years ago. Fat, happy and slightly (ok, very) neurotic instead of skinny, bloated, stressed, sick and… yes… still neurotic. Would I do it again if my other cat fell ill? In a heartbeat. And as it turned out, the horrendous vomiting turned out to be part of the hyperthyroidism and we haven’t had a chuck in months apart from a hairball or three. I have NEVER been so happy to clean up hairballs in my life.
I seriously cannot thank Animal Accident & Emergency enough for the way that they looked after my Bindi-boo this time around and all the other times over the years that I’ve rushed to them with my sick kitten. I was kept up to date from start to finish. Dr Abraham is a fantastic, knowledgeable and personable specialist and is a real “cat person” too. I was very comfortable leaving Bindi to her care and that of the awesome nurses at the centre.
Radioactive Iodine Pros & Cons
It’s not without the usual risks that come with sedating animals.
It can result in the opposite condition. (Hypothyroidism)
In younger cats, the condition may reappear after about 5-7 years and the procedure may have to be done again.
It may not completely work the first time around.
It may unmask other issues such as kidney disease.
Successful results are mostly permanent for older cats.
One time cost pays for itself over the remaining life of the animal if it is in good health.
Benefits and improvement in quality of life are almost immediate (from my experience).
No daily medications to remember!
No added stress (for you or your cat) of blood tests every few months.
No ongoing specialist bills!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a vet. I am an animal lover and I am very attached to my pets. This post is based on my own experiences and the information I was given and researched. ALWAYS consult your vet if you think something is wrong with your pet.
1. In 2009 I had my gall bladder taken out. Because I was so fat at the time, the surgeon didn’t take much care with how he sewed up the holes he made and as a result, my belly button is inaccessible.
2. I used to self-harm as a youngster. I have scars.
3. My favourite gemstone is Labradorite.
4. I cannot stand watching a television series the old way anymore. I need to binge-watch from the first episode to the last. Unfortunately this often leads to me wanting to kill people who will not shut up about what’s happening in a show as it’s being aired week by week.
5. I have a Reverse Bucket List – it contains the stuff that I have done as opposed to the stuff I want to do, because why pine about stuff you’ll never really get to do in life?
6. I hate exercise.
7. I have embraced “The Selfie” and take many of them for myself and others. They help remind me that I am not an ugly person. Sticks and stones break bones, but words scar for life. I lived for way too long thinking I was ugly because that’s what people told me.
8. I can’t eat bread anymore without feeling sick – but I’m not gluten intolerant.
9. I think the kerfuffle over raw eggs is fucking ridiculous. I eat raw cookie dough that has egg in it and have done so since forever. My mother used to give me raw eggs at my request – and yes, I would eat them. I clearly haven’t died from it.
10. I don’t understand how people like the taste of fizzy drinks.
11. My favourite sort of wine is late harvest white. It’s sweet and flavourful rather than tasting like…. well… fermented grapes.
12. I am a major procrastinator. I am writing this list instead of doing stuff like feeding my cats and doing my laundry…
13. I haven’t ironed anything in YEARS and totally judge people who iron stuff like sheets and underwear.
14. I am addicted to popping candy.
15. I am VERY addicted to The Sims 4. (And I promise Sims Saturday will return.)
16. I am not very good at keeping up with my friends but my friends know who they are and that I would be there with a shovel if any of them needed help in hiding a body.
17. I want children but I am pathologically afraid of and disgusted by pregnancy.
18. I will be a Crazy Cat Lady in my twilight years.
19. I believe that the human race is not inherently monogamous and we are all capable of having many great loves – and not necessarily one at a time.
20. I am addicted to French Bulldog accounts on Instagram. They are the cutest dogs ever.
Disclosure: this is a paid post for RACV sponsored by Nuffnang.
Until we got a little busier with Life and Stuff™, road-tripping was one of our favorite things to do almost every other weekend. We’ve spent many a Saturday and Sunday traipsing around the waterfalls of the Otways and enjoying the wealth of fresh produce of the Jindivick region on the (slightly defunct) Jindivick Food Trail… not to mention a plethora of other places around Victoria.
Unfortunately we also have horrible luck with our cars. Terrible luck. The Worst Ever.
The manbeast is a little worse off than I am – if he so much as looks at anything vaguely mechanical in the wrong way, you can be guaranteed it won’t work the next day. (Really, I’m not even going to mention the way the engine literally fell off his motorbike. That was FUN.)
Me? I just do silly things like leave my lights on or lock my keys in the car.
Or end up with flat tyres that I still don’t know how to fix by myself.
Yes, I am such a helpless nuftie sometimes, though in my defence, I do know how to check my oil and know exactly where the transmission fluid goes! Moving on!
With our horrible bad luck in mind, being members of RACV’s Emergency Roadside Assistance has been a no-brainer. I’ve used RACV for my insurance needs for my entire driving career and in that *cough*twenty*cough* years, I’ve been a member of the RACV’s Emergency Roadside Assistance service.
Frankly, I wouldn’t be without them. They’ve been my heroes more times than I would care to admit. Even as recently as last month I had to call them when my car decided to pack it in on the way to work for reasons known only to itself. They made what could have been a disaster of a day easy to deal with. With no one else I could contact to help me out, they were there as they pretty much have been for nearly two decades. They’re heaps more helpful than relying on a mate who might have better things to do or a reluctant family member to meet you with a set of jumper cables.
It’s that service that I rely on to be there when I’m traveling long distances on my holidays and during my day-to-day commutes. They’ve been invaluable to me and a reassurance that if I need help, they’ve got my back.
So here’s my tips for road-tripping these school holidays – or any time you feel like going for a drive to places unknown…
Check your oil, fluid levels (water, transmission, etc) and tyre pressure before you head out. Also make sure your car kit is in working order and your spare tyre is in good condition. Why tempt fate?
Take snacks! The occasional treat makes a long drive bearable.
If you have kids, pack a play kit with stuff that they can do in a moving vehicle and maybe even something they can play with while you’re making a pit-stop.
Take a camera and leave it somewhere visible in the car – it’ll remind you to get out and explore along the way to your destination.
Consider getting yourself covered with RACV’s Emergency Roadside Assistance, for help when you need if you need it so that you’re not caught out on the roadside with narky bored kids or a partner who will say “I told you so!” if you don’t.
Check out this link about how RACV’s Emergency Roadside Assistance services can be heaps more helpful for any emergency while you’re traveling.
You see me whine on Facebook about being sore and tired. You sit there and smile knowingly or roll your eyes because you’re a gym-goer too. Or a runner. Or a crossfitter. Or an otherwise Tough Mudderfucker, but you’re not me. You know all about muscle soreness and recovery and optimal heart rates and that fabled exercise high.
You think you can say certain things to me that I will react positively to – because we’re friends.
I’ve just started back at the gym and back into regular exercise after watching my weight change eight kilograms in the wrong direction. For someone who was already around 102kg and has fought tooth and nail to get down from 152kg, that’s a scary number to see again. So I’m back at the gym. I’d love to go back to my personal trainer but even at $20 for a session (and I feel I need at least three sessions a week to be worth anything to me health-wise), I can’t afford it. So I do it on my own and try to do a good, honest job of pushing myself.
But you know what? This shit’s hard.
So, yeah, I complain.
Occasionally, like today, I write a mildly amusing-to-me comment on Facebook expressing my current hatred of whoever invented gyms and that I was sore and that I was going to make myself sorer by subjecting my body to yet another session of physical torture known as working out.
What I got in response, among other things, was being told to “harden up, princess” and “suck it up, cupcake”.
Ha ha, right? Really funny. Ren’s just whinging again. Let’s poke fun at her. She won’t mind.
She does mind.
OH BOY, she does.
Yes, she is whinging again but she just needs a little support. Sometimes she needs to be coddled because, heaven forbid, she’s feeling more than a little fucking delicate at that moment. She might actually need for someone to remind her why she am doing this when she hurts from repeated sessions of “sucking it up” and to keep going when tears of actual physical pain are mixing with sweat.
I do “suck it up”.
I am “hard”.
And you will hear/see/read me complain because that’s what I do when I’m feeling bad. Because, fuck you, I want someone to tell me that this IS WORTH IT.
What you don’t see or hear about is the way my hip joints grind so painfully the day after a particularly hard session of squats and treadmill work that I can feel the sensation of it in my back teeth. What you don’t see or hear about is the way my lower back throbs for days because I was stupid and just so happy to be moving that I forgot the “Ren can’t run or jump” rule but did burpees, star jumps and jogged in place on solid concrete for ten minutes.
So DON’T tell me to harden up. I do this shit in SPITE of how much I suffer for it in the days following.
I have to balance what I do in order to be able to walk the next day (if not the next hour) because I’ve got other shit I need to “suck it up” for and get done.
I love my friends but sometimes I really want to smack them up the back of the head.
My father’s been posting some absolute crackers up on Facebook recently. Just thought I would share a few of my favourites because he’s a funny bugger and makes me giggle.
Oh yeah… warning. Profanity and political incorrectness to follow. If you’re a sensitive type, come back on Saturday.
“Went to see my shrink the other day, Bitch told me I had a split personality then charged me $180 fucking dollars. Gave her $90 and told her to get the rest off the other fucken idiot.”
What they should really say on those cooking shows:
“Hello and welcome to ‘Pointless Cooking That Has Nothing To Do With Anyone’s Actual Life’. Today, we are making a very complicated recipe, using ingredients you don’t have, utensils you’ve never heard of, and in a kitchen that is bigger than your whole fucking house”
Women fucking drivers! I was behind one on my way home from work and she indicated to turn left and what does she go and do? She actually turns left!
How am I supposed to prepare myself with these fucking mind games?
“Good afternoon sir, how can I help you?”
“Good afternoon sir, my name is Skhjdfhjnhjgjnmmdjudigih Ghjgiotjiobbkweiobnmflmknvn.”
“Really. Fuck that. Think i’ll call you Fred Smith.”
“So, they have landed a washing machine size hunk of junk on a comet, I am so impressed. Not. Why would you want to study the origins of the universe? Simple. There was this big mother fucking bang, all the shit went everywhere… and here we all are.”
At work, thou shalt not touch, move, sniff or otherwise interfere with [Dad]’s new chocolate flavoured Macona coffee! Because if thou dost, thee will get slapped in the back of the head with a fucking fire hydrant.”
“That’s it, no more fucking Mr nice guy from now on. Sat down near a guy who looked down and out, asked him if he wanted to share a souvalaki… Told me to fuck off and buy my own!”
If you’re driving along any major roads at the moment, you’re bound to come across this billboard:
Yep. Welcome to Stan, the new Australian subscription video-on-demand service which is apparently our answer to the very popular Netflix and similar services that are so popular in the States (and around the world).
Now, it’s well known that Australians are the world dominating force when it comes to pirated films and TV shows. We’ve all done it. We all have our reasons. Whether we are tight-arses and tip rats who don’t want to pay for DVDs, movie tickets or the rip-off that is Foxtel (our only “cable” TV service) or we’re just so damned sick of having our commercials interrupted by a few silvers of popular television every couple of minutes – that shit is just not on.
Ideally, Stan is the answer to this problem. A cheap, easily accessible on-demand system that doesn’t lock you into any contracts and doesn’t cost an absolute bomb. At the moment they’re even giving folks who sign up a 30 day free trial and to be honest, for $10.00 AUD a month, I can’t say that’s it’s not a bargain deal. A tenner a month is (generally) easy for most folks. So by that fact alone, this should be a winner.
So why am I so underwhelmed?
Currently, Stan has the exclusive airing rights to the follow up to Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul. It also has the epic Aussie serial, Gallipoli. It’s using these two shows as it’s main draw card at the moment.
Unfortunately, I am not one of the masses who has enjoyed Breaking Bad… and I haven’t bothered with Gallipoli because well, I’m Australian. I KNOW that story.
What I think is bugging me about Stan is that there’s no real new content and there’s not a lot of what’s there. Most of what I have found is years old already with the exception of a few series and films like the Hobbit movies but as I said, most of it is old and, infuriatingly with some of the television series I am interested in seeing again are incomplete. I really am hoping that things like the original CSI will be made available in it’s entirety as opposed to starting from series 11.
Having said that, they do have a couple of old school favourite TV series like Drop Dead Diva and The Nanny as well as gems like Star Trek (yes, ALL OF THE STAR TREKS) and there are a few cracking movies like Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing and Wolf of Wall Street available.
Anyway… the other thing that irritates me about Stan is the site itself. I hate the layout. I absolutely detest that I cannot access a simple list of all the movies and shows available, firstly because I don’t like relying on what other people believe certain things should be categorised under (um, Basic Instinct is NOT a romance…) and secondly, the current system doesn’t show all the films on the site or it re-tiles things I’ve already scrolled through. Films that are clearly in the collection aren’t showing up when I’m browsing and frankly, I hate being told what other people think I should be watching.
Anyway, that’s my whiny-arsed review of Stan.
To sum up…
Cheap – free for 30 days then $10.00 AUD a month (via credit card subscription).
No contract and pay monthly as you use – you don’t have to buy a block of time.
Fast even on a regular ADSL connection.
Accessible on multiple devices – Yes, you can get Stan on computers, tablets and smartphones. (Apparently, I haven’t tested this because my smartphone is not compatible with the Stan app.) This system also allows up to three different users on the same account on three different devices. While it might be hell on your data usage, it might contribute to domestic harmony.
Unlimited access and streaming – you can stream as much as your ISP data plan allows.
HD streaming is available.
Limited content at the moment – most of what is there is VERY old.
You have to download software (Microsoft Silverlight on Windows machines) to stream media as it doesn’t stream with native software.
Very clunky menu/browsing system.
Stream only, you don’t get to download any content…. well… officially. We Aussies are good about getting around that sort of thing.
So last week I decided to do the brave thing and look into getting some hair help, or rather, “helper hair” as so beautifully put by a couple of hair folks I follow online. My loss has been such a slow, emotionally painful process that I am really the only one who notices on a daily basis unless folks actually take the time to look at me properly. Then they realise, “Holy shit, Ren! You’ve lost your hair!” It’s been a massive blow to my confidence and self esteem to say the least and has been the catalyst for some major depression and significant weight gain.
Well, no, the emotional eating due to the depression has been the catalyst to the weight gain. But the hair thing hasn’t helped at all with that.
Anyway, after spending ages looking and websites that sold wigs and toppers (in Australia), I settled on easiwigs.com.au. I had contacted a couple of other sites in regards to help but never received a response. Seriously, NOTHING turns me off a site that supposedly “helps” people when they don’t respond to a simple query, particularly when they invite people to contact them for help.
While I didn’t bother to pre-contact easiwigs, I did find that they were the only hair folks that offered a colour ring loan scheme where you could purchase and return one and the money you spent on the ring is used as a store credit off a hair piece. Works for me. I have been having such a difficult time trying to choose colours that I realise that I really did need to see things up close and actually compare the shades available to what’s left on my own noggin. See, I am technically blonde, but I am literally the darkest shade of blonde before you could call me light brown. And I’m an ashy blonde at that. And you know what? That ashy-too-dark-to-be-blonde-too-light-to-be-brown colour is hard to find! ARGH!
So I was stoked when I got the colour ring in the post and rushed home to take a squizzy at the samples. I was actually really pleased to see these in person rather than rely on the computer screen. If I had, I would have made TOTALLY the wrong decision in colours. What I thought was a match clearly wasn’t.
Of course I had a Moment™ when I saw the hair. This was happening. This shit’s real. Cue tears. Again.
I don’t have to get hair. I really don’t. I just look like a person with thin hair. But I’ve always had a head full of the stuff (fine textured as it may have been) and to lose a third, possibly more, of it in the last year after having been through various effluviums over the past few years has been hard to come to terms with. Seeing the balding patch at the front of my hairline and my widening parting has been more than a little upsetting to me.
Fortunately I don’t need a full wig yet – I honestly have no idea if I will ever get to that point. I suppose that’s the lucky thing about having androgynous alopecia. I am not losing big patches of hair and ending up with bald spots. It’s diffuse and constant all over. So I really only need what is called a “topper” (a hair piece that clips in on top of ones crown) at this point just to add a little more coverage and volume.
There are a couple of Jon Renau toppers floating around that I quite like – the med-length layered look is my typical style and there are some pretty ones in the synthetic hair so it made sense to go and take a look at the JN colour ring.
My perfect match – absolutely perfect – is #14 on the blonde collection (the darkest blonde). At a stretch I can do #12 on the brown collection (the lightest brown).
But do you reckon the toppers I like come in those shades?
I can see that this little endeavour of mine will take a little more patience and perhaps some compromise, particularly since I have to stick to the synthetic hair for the time being. The human hair toppers, while easy to be customised to my desired colour and style are more than a little out of my price range.
I’m trying to see the fun in it. I can go crazy colours. I can dye my bio hair to match. This can be a fun adventure instead of a trial. The positives can outweigh the negatives.