February 10th, 2006

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Well, it's always something. The other night there was an incident with YinYang suddenly shedding a lot of hair and then exhibiting some distinctive bald spots on her belly. I posted about this in the guinea_pigs community and it turns out that the pattern of hair loss matches the one female guinea pigs get if they have ovarian cysts or ovarian cancer. Not good! It could also be other things, but seeing as the skin isn't irritated and I don't see any critters crawling around in her fur, I seems I need to have it checked out.

As such, I called in to my vet about making an appointment they said actually on Saturdays, they have walk-in hours, so I can just go tomorrow. Yay. This actually works out better for me, as I use mass transit and every time I go over to the clinic, I'm either massively early or a few minutes late, and worn out from rushing down the street carrying an animal carrier. Anyway, my vet will check her out and hopefully I'll see about the hair loss. I think I will bring a print-out of the description on ovarian cysts I found, as it specifically mentions hair loss in a pattern that matches YinYang's symptoms. I really hope it's not that, as poor YY would have to undergo some sort of operation. And it would be expensive, I'm sure. (Sounds crass, but I really do not need to be paying a few hundred in vet bills at this time, though there is always the credit card.)
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Doctor's appointment, army/navy goods

So: Doctor appointment.

Quick and easy. I have wonderfully low blood pressure and a perfect pulse, plus I have lost I think 5 lbs. since my last appointment. Told the doctor how stopping the Lexapro stopped the fatigue and nap issues almost immediatley, and also that the Prozac seems to be working just as well, with no side effects I'm aware of. I also told him I'd carried out his three-pronged advice for me, with big changes in diet and exercise, plus launching the job hunt, which he advised way back last May, as apparently there is a strong correlation between the isolation and stress of self-imployment and the development of chronic depression. So! Good!

Topping it all, I was able to get dear doctor to write me the BC prescription that has been SO difficult to get renewed with my OB/GYN, since their office phone system is always either busy or has full voicemail boxes. I haven't been able to get it renewed since December, which is fine since I don't use the BC as actual birth control, but as a hormonal regulator, but I'd still like to get back on. Notably, I haven't had my period in something like 7 weeks, since I stopped taking the pills. I swear, my body misses "cues."

I have a follow-up appointment for May, at which I hope to present myself at around 195 lbs. I'm also having my annual physical at that time, so I can find out if there have been any other changes since then. Got to have my thyroid stuff tested again, as I'm taking no chances, when my sister has Graves.


On the walk home from the doctor, I stopped in at my favorite army/navy store, located downtown but not normally something I pass by often, and found what I'm going to get myself as a present when I get a job: a pea coat.

I have a pea coat I got when I was around 20 but not only doesn't it fit, but even if I did lose all the weight to fit in it, the buttons are all messed up from years of me cramming myself into it :)I resewed those buttons a dozen times each and I always busted them. I don't think it ever fit. But the jackets in the shop here fit like a dream. I found a grey wool one that is perfect for me and there are tons of black and blue ones as well. The issue is that the one I like is $130, a price I'm not in a position to meet right now. But when I get a job, hell yeah!

I will probably also get some Dickies and the reproduction Vietnam-era jungle boots, which are only $32.00. There are all kinds of wonderful boots in that store, actually, including combat boots that are a lot more compact and attractive than the ones I got in Albany, NY, in college. Since one of the side benefits of losing weight is going to be wearing pants and "manly" clothes again, as I always used to, I will want some boots for sure!
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From thefridayfive - Religion

Hmmm. I was actually just contemplating whether I might benefit from going to church (don't worry, I'm talking about the most liberal, gay-accepting Methodist church in town), since while I am pretty much unconvinced of Christianity as "the answer," I find that church attendance has some very positive benefits, like social networking, time for reflection, participation in regular singing, etc. But anyway, I digress...

1.) Do you believe in God or a higher power?

In the traditional sense, no. However, I will say that my study of Reiki, energy manipulation and magic leads me to believe that there is some sort of animating force, which perhaps altogether does make up some sort of higher power. Where it comes from or if it did come from anywhere, I can't say. I'm agnotistic to that degree. I also don't find it impossible to mix the concept of evolution, science, etc., with the belief in God or a higher power, as even to a skeptic like me, the wonders and coincidences of the universe (like the fact mussels look like female genitalia) are really too much to be mere coincidence. Or at least I think so.

As for God and gods in general, my explorations into magic, especially chaos magic, plus practices like Reiki, lead me to think that belief in God or gods, as well as in prayer, faith-healing, etc., can have power. When you believe in God or gods or something like faith-healing, you are using that belief as a focal point for your energies, which thereby allows you to manipulate energy and make things happen. By temporarily taking up a belief, image, etc., you allow your mind, spirit, energy pattern, whatever, to follow along paths it might not otherwise and thus change reality. I have done a lot of different things that I might not necessarily dwell on and believe 24 hours a day, but taking up a temporary belief or focusing on an image in order to achieve a goal -- say, cast a spell, or heal somebody's muscle aches -- I can achieve practical ends via spirituality.

I think I could blabber on about this for quite some time, but I think possibly that's enough for now.

2.) Are good and evil just concepts, or real powers in the universe?

Concepts. They are also clearly relative.

3.) What is your view on forgiveness?

No doubt owing to my strong Christian upbringing (note: I'm being serious), I believe that forgiveness is very important, as important as generosity -- and in fact it is an act of generosity, as you are pushing yourself to give when you might really want is to hate and hate and hate. People often cling to negative emotions, like jealousy, rage, depression, etc., as some sort of weird "comfort" mechananism, but in the end its really not healthy, and thus forgiveness can help achieve healthy emotional state. I do think obviously forgiveness has its limits, but I also think people would be better off being more forgiving and understanding and emphathic.

4.) Do organized religions do more harm than good?

I have a lot of friends who are magic practitioners, pagans, and atheists, and often they make direct or indirect statements about organized religion (or simply Christianity or monotheism) being crap. I would have to disagree with this, as it's far too much of a blanket statement, especially when I can say that organized religion has had value in my own life. I grew up as an avid church-goer and many of my family's social contacts and socializing in general came via the church. To this day I think my parents only friends are those they met in church. This certainly is valuable, as a demonstration of church as social glue.

As per the church's specific teachings, I was blessed to grow up in a liberal, Humanist type Methodist/Congregationalist congreation, where the emphasis was away from sin, Hell, and strict interpretation of scripture, and more on living a good life, as defined by one's committment to helping one's neighbors, being forgiving, and walking the path of Christ. I don't attend church any more, but the values I learned in church have stuck with me and I find them valuable. There are indeed a lot of churches or forms of religion which are harmlful, to participants or the world at large, but that doesn't mean religion doesn't have meaning and value to a majority of people or that it's harmful.

5.) If you had a day to spend playing God, what would you do?

Wipe out about 4/5 of the Earth's population. Very Old Testament God, I.