Since hurting my neck and arm, I've been in a lot of pain most of the time.  It is getting better, but so slowly.  Sleeping has been kind of tough since I normally toss and turn all night long.  Can't sleep on either side like I normally do, because I can't lie on my left side and compress the nerve running down my shoulder and through the arm.  I can't lie on the right because even with the injured side on top and not having any weight pressing down on it for the top, the weight of the arm itself compresses that nerve.  But I seemed to have learned a new trick. I've been wearing my (too-long) hair in low pigtails because it's easy and keeps my hair out of my face better than a single pony would.  And I've left them in at night several nights running, because too tired to deal with more than getting the paint off my face at bedtime.  That stuff smears on the linens, so no.  Anyway, the ponytails snugged down at the base of my skull frame my head keeping it upright through the night, so no tossing and turning, therefore less pain.  And I seemed to have learned the lesson incredibly well, because I've been falling asleep while reading, putting down my iThing on my chest, and waking up with it in the exact same position.  No fishing for it in the bedclothes, just right there where I'd let go of it the night before.  Ta-da! New trick, old dog.

I'm still getting more sore as the day goes on.  No Break Wednesday today means I'm also pretty brain fried.  My me hurts and I'm reduced to watching Animaniacs on Netflix.  Again, it's so different when I'm choosing to skip a break when I need to take a little time off (like for Physical Therapy appointments).  It's that terrible conundrum: I need to make sure I take a break, but I also have to be responsible for making sure someone is here to answer the phones during business hours.  

Day 13

So tonight's adventures in decluttering were strictly of the get-it-over-with variety.   I knew if I sat down I would not be able to do the thing, so I'd mentally started before I'd left work today.  I'd taken a light stretchy hoodie with me this morning.  It's cold and foggy here when I leave for work even if it's going to be warm later, so I need a little protection from the weather.  The hoodie had been acquired in a clothing exchange, another of those I'm so surprised that my fat ass fits in this I must bring it home with me things. The former owner is one of the most slender people I know, and when I went to her baby shower, her mother mentioned that she'd worn a pair of child's trousers from the time she was ridiculously young all the way through high school.  And this hoodie was a 3X and I was able to squeeze myself in it. Ok, baggy clothes are a thing, but WTF? Today I wore it and felt everything that was wrong with it except for it being mostly black.  It'd been shrunk. It has small holes.  It's got these tiny sliver studs all over big chunks of it. It's got "FREEDOM" screened in big pink letters down one arm and "One World" on the back with color. It's really everything I shouldn't like in a hoodie except that it fit me.  It'll find someone else who digs it.

D tackled one of the boxes of bathroom stuff that I declined to the other day, and he'd winnowed the contents down to a few bottles he wasn't sure what to do with and some -- stuff.  Two sponges from the shower in the old house, one melamine foam and nylon sponge, half worn down, and one nylon  fancy-schmancy body sponge that had been in a spa gift basket.  Trash and Go-Away Box, respectively.

And now all I want to do is eat No Sugar Added ice cream. 
I seem to be having a bit (a lot) of food fail, yesterday and today.  I have food, plenty of it, but I don't have much around that I want to eat.  And if I get distracted I'll rapidly shift from "slightly hungry" in to "I'm not hungry and I don't know what I want to eat (and I don't deserve food)." Today I managed to blow past both of those and raced into "I may be hungry because I feel like I'm going to fall over because I can't get off the floor now" before I asked D to help me.  Needed food, something fast (hummus and brie and unsalted cashews, please), and something I could easily eat.  D handed me a tray with the whole wheel of brie on it and a knife and I had to beg him to slice it up for me. I was that far gone. I haven't been that bad in a long time, which is a good thing, I guess.  I'm trying to back off being so rigid about what I can and won't eat, because I have concerns that my original compulsive overeating ("Feel empty inside? Eat everything!") turned into orthorexia ("Only these few things or nothing!") with this latest bout of weight loss.  So now some days I eat the pizza.  Some days I eat the biscuit. The rest of the time I have my low-carb tortillas (Mission brand whole wheat, that tastes and feels like a real goddamned [flour] tortilla instead of grainy flat sadness). 

Yesterday's physical therapy is today's muscle soreness. ("Hello DOMS!")  My left arm is the weak injured one, but they have me doing exercises with both arms because it helps my brain re-learn how to do things better with the weak side if I'm doing the same thing with my uninjured side. So my right arm is complaining the loudest about the lateral extensions I did yesterday and the rest of my body feels achy and sore.  Brain is foggy too, probably because I also didn't eat enough last night for dinner after falling partway into that weird fractal "can't stop, won't stop" mindset yesterday and I had fuck-all for lunch today.  I got to take my full break at 1:20 but I had to eat my meal-in-a-bar about an hour before that when I was starting to spin from really hungry back into not-hungry while there were still patients in the office.

Day  12:

Today I came home and D suggested I might be able to find something to get rid of in the kitchen plastics box he'd already half-emptied.  I managed to pull out three items before I needed to sit down.  If I'd tried to keep going I think I probably would have spun up into full Everything's Filthy And I Am Too mode but luckily I was actually too damn tired to go there.   So I only pulled four things today.

First was a basic green plastic ice cream scoop.  I have quite a few scoops because I'm still searching for the platonic ideal of ice cream scoops. (They make low-carb ice cream, so I do need one occasionally.)  The closest one I've come across is from Ikea, and I have one that's a pretty close second.  This plastic one has been randomly in our stuff for a long ass time and something is telling me a drug rep brought it with ice cream to our office years ago.  It came home with me when we moved the office in 2014, I think because I was hoping D's gaming club could use it when they do their ice cream social night at the main con. Of course it never made it there. Go-Away Box.

Second was a plastic jar lid, clean. If I looked at it harder I could probably tell what food item it had capped a jar of, but right now thinking is hard. Recycling bin.

Third was a Mrs. Claus dish brush that was a stocking stuffer four(?) years ago.  It has a face on it and the white bristles are supposed to be the hair.  Its packaging made it seem like it was wearing a dress, and I didn't want to deprive Mrs. Claus of her dress.  Therefore it stayed on the brush until last August.  And I still didn't use it because I knew the face would get scraped up and it would be like I was beating someone up.  No more dishware with screened on faces. Go-Away Box.

Fourth was a clear plastic serving bowl that came from a catered lunch at work, cracked halfway through.  I like keeping stuff like that around because "what if I got invited to a party and was told to bring some food item and I didn't want to use a nice serving thing because what if it got broken?  I'd be sad." First, invites are few. Second, I bring hummus and brie, which mostly have their own containers.  Third, what good is a thing if it never gets used for its intended purpose?  My house should not be a museum of unused items like my grandmother's house was.  I shouldn't save things for a special occasion that never happens because I don't deserve to use nice things myself.  I shouldn't worry that they might get broken. Recycling bin.

I was more successful in the traction machine today.  I still can't relax entirely but I was better at it today.  Good news from the physical therapist, though. When I mentioned that my arm and hand were starting to itch he said that that was one of the modalities they expect as treatment progresses. (In English, it's a sign that there's less pressure on the nerve, the therapy is working, and I'm getting better.)  Now that I'm in the strength-building part of the therapy I'm feeling wimpy as fuck.  I used to carry twenty bridal gowns on each arm up and down the length of a retail store, and now a two pound weight is kicking my ass.  After doing ten reps of raising my arms to vertical from each of four different starting points with a weight in each hand, my left arm was complaining that two pounds was so hard.  The pulling down and rowing motion sets were pretty easy (I should probably be doing more weight for those), but lateral extensions kicked my ass.  I was supposed to do four sets of seven for each arm.  The weight was a little more than I'd done the previous week, but after doing the first three extensions with my left arm, it started shaking.  After that I had to strain to finish the rest of them, slowly, resting between each one.  I made it midway through the second set when the PT assistant  took pity on me and set the weight to the lowest one on the machine.  Of course I thought "weaksauce".  Because feeling so weak is alarming.

As a fat girl and a fat woman, one of the only good things about being fat was feeling like I'm strong, like I have substance, like I can do stuff.  I wasn't a petite little thing that was going to blow away in a stiff breeze (something my grandmother often told me, verbatim, that she was teased about a lot when she was a girl).  I could do brute force physical activity until someone told me it was ok to stop.  Of course I'd pay for it a few days later when delayed onset muscle soreness would leave me unable to move without severe pain, but I was not weak.  And the DOMS would make me hate (and I do still kind of hate) doing physical activity.  Nobody ever told me I should start slowly (and being fat and out of shape I should start even more slowly than most).  It was just "do all these sets of exercises" and I'd power through (because, remember, not weak), only to be knocked on my ass a few days later by the muscle soreness.  Nowadays I think the starting slowly and appropriately for one's fitness level is called conditioning.    But what I was doing, every time I tried to get not-fat with exercise like i was supposed to, I was conditioning myself to hate every minute and failed over and over again.  Now this stupid injury has made me weak again and I hate it.

Day 11

Yesterday I decided that my hoarder brain is called Charlotte.  It popped into my head and just feels right.   Charlotte looks (and sounds) like Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars.  I read some tumblr meme that said the poster started calling the voice in their head that says terrible things "Donald Drumpf" and it made it easier to ignore.  Maybe if I name the hoarder in my head I can stop listening to it so much.

I really, truly only wanted to find my one thing and then slack on the couch, but I do this thing when I'm hungry that I get focused on doing some task and will keep doing it, unable to stop.  I blame low blood sugar hangriness.  It does come in handy when I need to clean.  It's like a fractal mental state where I keep looking at what I'm doing and I keep seeing more and more things around me that need to be cleaned, often to the point at which I'm shaking from hunger and crying because I think I'm surrounded by filth. (Hi there, Shame!) Again, these episodes conditioned me to really hate housework.  So one thing turned into another which led to me digging through my jewelry armoire (it's not my nightstand anymore so I have little enough on the top that I can even open the lid without major fuss), and within a half hour I was going from room to room to room with my hands full of stuff.  I'm getting better at breaking out of those mental fractals.  Sometimes by myself, having to say "I need to stop" out loud.  Sometimes I have to ask D to help me stop, and sometimes he'll see where I'm heading and physically stop me (and make me eat something).

So into the office, where there was a leopard print camisole top with a busted strap.  Said strap is held onto the garment with a safety pin, as it has been since I got it several years ago in a clothing exchange.  Every time I'd see it I'd say "I'm going to fix that", and just before we got evicted I even went so far as to put it on my sewing table for the next time I had the wee beastie out for a spin.  But today I'm admitting it.  I am never going to actually do it.  

I realized that if I kept digging into a clothing bag I'd need to try stuff on, something I don't want to do fresh from therapy. (Yeah, I am sweaty and stinky, ew.) Then I reached into a box of bathroom stuff. shudder It's random AND grotty. Most of the important stuff has already been pulled out, but there were things that I knew needed to go (and some I'm not ready to get rid of):

A hollow plastic heart that used to hold M&M's (a Valentine's gift from several years before I stopped eating sugar).

THREE tubes of some protective goop you're supposed to put on your hair's delicate ends when you dye it so the ends won't get damaged further (it really just keeps the dye from fully penetrating my hair, and my ends aren't damaged anyway). I should buy the dye that doesn't have these but I can never remember which one it is.

A slap bracelet that was shedding its fabric cover.

A safety pin in the box made me go into the bedroom where I keep a carefully hand-labelled bottle of safety pins, when I spied one of my infamous Bags of Random Crap (usually crap pulled out of a tote bag or pockets) that had been floating around the bedroom for a few years. Perfect!

I got the trash and the recyclables out of it (Disposable wooden chopsticks? Really? ["Yes", says my hoarder brain, "Chopsticks are always useful in so many crafts. What if you need them?"] 

Empty tiny Nivea lotion tin (that emptied itself out inside my purse, ew). But crafts or holding tiny things?  Shut up, Charlotte.

Our old bathroom cup (crackled acrylic, a lost cause).

A champagne cork (or more likely from sweet sparkling wine, because I think it tastes better) that was probably from a bottle I took to a party and had a great time at with other people (which I don't even remember now).

There was a pair of clip-on earrings that needed to go back to the jewelry armoire, which provided more fodder.  The drawers were too full so of course I had to start sorting them out.  Hair stuff went to the box of hair things, bra accessories went into the FUNderwear drawer (which emptied out a drawer and a half in the armoire).  A bunch of inelastic hair elastics went straight into the trash. (Do not pass go; do not take a picture.)

There were these ponytail/bun things I'd bought (from Claire's) to do something vaguely more interesting with my hair (when I kept it much longer).  My hair is too thick for these things to work, so I never used them after getting them untangled from my hair.

A very grotty silver -toned metal costume jewelry necklace that has so far resisted being cleaned (which I'm not going to waste any more time on doing, since my taste is so consistent that I've bought multiple similar items that I still have).  Round circles hanging from a chain.  Not quite dazzling enough to be a statement necklace, kind of lost on "my huge tracts of land".  When one has "huge tracts of land" like I do, anything that isn't super flashy really isn't worth wearing (unless it's a TARDIS key, which is always worth wearing and qualifies as me being subtle [aka "not shouting]).

A necklace that I've always hated owning: a braided leather-ish cord with a small dull silver-tone medallion on it that I found while walking along the railroad tracks many years ago.  The medallion has some Hebrew letters on one side, which made me pick it up, but the other side shows that it's clearly a "souvenir" from the brutal movie" The Passion" that Mel Gibson directed.  On the one hand, I didn't want to keep it, because I survived Catholic school, but on the other hand I didn't want anyone else to have to own merchandise from such a horrible movie.  I have decided to make it someone else's problem and put it in the go-away box.  I am no longer taking responsibility for something I think is terrible.

And then there were the earrings.  I don't have pierced ears, so I buy clip-ons.  Let me say it again for the folks in the back. I DO NOT HAVE PIERCED EARS.  But people I love give me earrings.  And they're beautiful.  I (Charlotte) keep(s) telling myself I'm going to put them in the earring converters I bought from (again) Claire's (several) years ago, but I haven't (because they're French hooks and not posts and I'm afraid they'll break).  And I won't try to rework them.  But I kept them, because someone I love gave them to me.  (They'll eventually leave you all alone and this is all you'll have to remember them by.)  [Shut UP, Charlotte.]   So two lovely pairs of handmade earrings (the intricately beaded ones hurt to give away, because look at how well they're made.)

The armoire also yielded up a red sequined wristband (Future crafts? Hush Charlotte.) and a plastic toy spinny top that at one point had been in a piñata that appeals to my magpie nature because laser stickers. OOH IT"S A SHINY! 

This took way longer than it should because I accidentally backspaced out of this page without saving the text ("Autosave" doesn't like I think it should on DW.)  Hitting the preview button activates the autosave feature.  Lesson learned (again).

It was No-Break Thursday today, but it's a whole different ballgame when I get to choose to work through lunch instead of being forced to.  Today I had more physical therapy, and got to leave work early. More neck stretching today, and this time I was really trying hard to relax. It worked a little better this time, but along the way I got caught up in a hell of a thought. (This is what happens when I get stuck lying on my back staring at an acoustic tile ceiling for ten minutes or so, ruminating.)  I was wondering what my husband gets out of our relationship with all the taking care of me and my neuroses, and all I could come up with is "not much".  I almost started crying on the table.  Oh hey there, feelings of worthlessness, it's only been a few hours.

Day 7

Just a couple of things today.  The first items are four ribbon roses on wire stems that were favors from a wedding.  I helped make some of these rose favors, too, which was pretty fun.  Maybe if there were three or just one, I could keep it, but four is a weird number to have a group of things of.  

I'm pretty sentimental about weddings so I tend to keep crap like that. The bride went through all the trouble to give me a memento of their wedding and so I feel obligated to keep that shit.  But it's worthless. And sometimes tacky.  And then when the couple divorces you have this thing reminding you about that failed marriage and it becomes even more burdensome.  During my last round of decluttering I was soundly (and rightly) mocked for having a pair of painted wooden candlesticks from a wedding whose participants had been divorced for over a decade. The couple whose wedding the roses came from are still married (and look to stay that way, thank goodness).  I guess it's that change-hating part of me that's always getting stuck in the past.

Next up is a pair of  plaid cotton Joe Boxer pajama trousers that came from a clothing exchange.  I was so excited that I could fit my fat ass into them I didn't care so much that they had a big tear along the fly in front.  "I could repair them!"  But I won't.   Ever. 

Tonight I drank my dinner. Butternut squash soup from a box (thank Target for an easy meal) and terrible sweet wine with diet ginger ale.  It works better and faster than ibuprofen for my post PT muscle soreness.


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Cyrano de Univac


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