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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November sunset

November has been coming to a close with some beautiful sunsets this past week. A couple of days ago at work I stepped outside to snap a picture of one. We have a good view of the western sky above our parking lot.

 It's nice to take a moment to stop and appreciate something pretty for a few minutes.

Can you believe that tomorrow is the first of December already?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Puppies, Parrots, and Peacocks

I have the sweetest puppies in the world. And yes, they will always be
referred to as "puppies" no matter how old they get! Just look at these two....


My parrot, Marco, is a real character. Yesterday morning he took a shower with me. When I put him back in his cage, I covered it with a drape so he could dry off without a draft from the ceiling fan above him giving him a chill. One corner in the upper left was open. A little while later, when I was about to leave for the day, Marco was hanging out there watching me gather my things. I said to him, "Jennifer's gotta go to work."
He looked me dead in the eye from the top corner of his cage and replied, 
"Alright. You be a good boy, ok?"

The pirate himself eating breakfast this morning.

A few weeks ago Gregg brought home a beautiful little baby African cichlid for me!
He's a Red Shouldered Peacock, and although he's still a baby, check out the awesome color he's already got!(And please excuse the quality of these photos. Aquarium fish are notoriously difficult to photograph, even for someone trying harder than I was).

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Oh, the pain!

It's been a rough week.

Thanksgiving morning began with me waking up to a stomachache that lasted all day. It felt exactly like a gallbladder attack (pain under my ribs radiating to my back) except I no longer have a gallbladder. I couldn't eat anything I had prepared for our holiday meal--which this year was a big crockpot full of homemade chili, and two pies. I drank water and ginger ale all day and had a can of chicken noodle soup for supper, but I was still in a lot of pain.

The next afternoon (Black Friday) I had to go to work at 2:30pm. I was still hurting, and when it got so bad that I was crying a little bit, I asked to take a long lunch break and go get checked out at Urgent Care. The doctor there was very nice. She checked me out thoroughly (even doing bloodwork to check for elevated white blood cell counts) and couldn't find any reason for the pain. She gave me some minty, awful tasting liquid to drink which numbed my stomach lining and made it feel better temporarily, and a prescription for a stomach acid reducer. I went back to work after that and toughed out the rest of my shift.

Yesterday was the same. I haven't been able to sleep at night and so I've been tired on top of the constant, dull ache in my upper abdomen. Last night at work I started getting a sharp pain in my left side whenever I breathe in deep. It got so bad I had to leave early. I slept on a heating pad to try to soothe my belly but it didn't help (nothing has helped).

This morning I called out of work and went back to a different Urgent Care center. Once again, they couldn't find anything wrong. Since I'd already had a CBC on Friday night, they didn't draw any blood (thank veins are a nurse's worst nightmare and I always end up getting stuck a bunch of times) but they did do a urinalysis to make sure I didn't have blood in my urine, which would indicate a kidney stone. The urinalysis was all clear. No blood, no signs of infection, etc. The doctor felt around where my abdomen is tender and asked me a bunch of questions, and ended up without any clear answer for why I'm hurting like this. How frustrating! His only advice was to relax, rest, drink lots of clear liquids and eat only bland foods, to take Motrin if the pain is too bad, and if it doesn't resolve on its own in a couple of days to go to the ER and let them do some scans. I hope it doesn't come to that! Both the doctors who have examined me this weekend think everything is okay. I hope they're right.

It wasn't a very good Thanksgiving, that's for sure! I never tasted a single bite of the food I had cooked. The day after Thanksgiving my coworkers all brought dishes for a potluck lunch, and some of the food looked so good....and I didn't get any of that, either. It just doesn't seem fair!! Haha. But all joking aside, I'll just be grateful if my stomach will just stop hurting soon. It's funny how a few days of constant pain can shrink the whole world down to the small space the body inhabits.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I need to get this off my chest.

I would just like to remind everyone that behind every blog is a person with feelings.

When someone becomes a friend to me through this blog, I consider them true friends, even though we may never get to meet in person. I share tiny little bits of my life, and you do the same, and we get to know each other, and there's a certain level of trust and respect that I try to maintain. And of course, the real story of me, of Jennifer, is a whole lot bigger than what I choose to write about here. And even though to most of you I just exist as some words on a screen, let me assure you that I am a real person with a heart. When there's sudden silence here, or when I'm unfollowed by people without a word of explanation, it hurts.

I obviously disagree with some of my readers about politics and religion, among other things....but I try not to let those kinds of differences get in the way of friendships, online and in "real" life. It seems that a few people here just couldn't do the same. So be it. But don't think I don't notice, or don't care.

So let me just say a few things, loud and proud, and then nobody can say they didn't know what they were getting when visiting Sparrow Tree Journal:

I'm a liberal, a freethinker, a feminist, and an atheist.  I call myself a secular humanist, and to quote the Dalai Lama, my only religion is kindness. I love my gay friends, my brown and black friends, and my immigrant friends. I believe in science and reason and progressive ideals. I consider myself a citizen of planet Earth, and I think my responsibility to be a decent human being should take precedence over my nationality or race or culture. I do the best I can to treat others gently, overlooking their faults whenever I can, because goodness knows I need the same forbearance in return. I fall far short of perfect every day of my life, but I do the best I can. I try to assume most other people do, too.

If any of the above offends you, please feel free to click the "unfollow" button now and I'll know why. And that's fine. But don't be my friend for months or possibly years, and then suddenly disappear without a word of explanation, leaving me fearing I may have inadvertently said something that was taken the wrong way or out of context.

Now that that's off my chest, and to offset the negativity of this post, here's a pretty camellia blooming in my back yard:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Finally, some color

Fall never comes early in this part of South Carolina, but we're finally getting a little bit of color in the trees. Thanksgiving will be over in a few days and then we'll be gearing up for Christmas. We still haven't had our first frost, but it's gotten down into the high 30's a couple of times. It won't be long now.

This is what my back yard looks like today.

Have a good day, everyone!