Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Biding my time

There's a certain beauty in bad news. There's always a story, there's always a topic of discussion surrounding it. It doesn't stand on its own laurels; there are extenuating circumstances.

On Friday, I reached an apex of pain that heretofore did not exist in my body. I was in such pain that I was sweating bullets and thought I was going to throw up. The nurse couldn't take my blood pressure because I couldn't sit, but I can tell you that if the machine had read my BP it would have been through the roof. My heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest.

I had already planned to be at my orthopedist's office because I had an MRI that Monday to assess the cause of on-and-off pain I'd been feeling in my butt (as I've been telling my friends, this is all a literal pain in my ass) where the hip and leg meet. It felt like it had been getting worse, so I headed into the tube. Friday was results day. Friday was my bad news day.

My L5-S1 disc, which is the very last disc in the human back, is recurrent. Which means it has herniated again, almost ten years after doing it the first time, when I was thrown off a horse. I don't know what caused the recurrence, but I have seen my fair share of lumbar MRIs (mostly my own) and when my doctor pulled up my MRI on the screen, I immediately started crying. And all I could really say was the word "fuck". Out loud and then in my head, over and over and over again.

The large black thing in the middle of this photo is my L5-S1 disc. The white crescent beneath it is my spinal cord. In a healthy back, the disc would be an oval and the spinal cord would be a circle.

There are no conservative solutions to this problem. No pills, no PT, no acupuncture is going to fix this. The only option my doctor has put forth is surgery.

While I was a strong advocate during my first injury of trying all the options, I ultimately spent a year "trying" and failing to relieve my pain. The only thing that fixed it was surgery, which took place in May 2006. And this time around, part of me is happy because I am not going to wait a year while being jerked around from office to office hoping for a miracle cure. My orthopedist is going IN. And that's all there is to it.

I did not realise how upset I'd be when faced with another surgery. But I am. It's honestly a scary proposition: someone slices open your back and removes something poking deeply into your spinal cord with a knife. One slip and I won't be able to walk ever again. But my doctor is one of the best in the area, and he's done this surgery so many times he can probably do it to himself. I'm still nailing down a date for surgery; I was originally scheduled for the end of November (by my choice), but I've decided to move it up a month because I am worried about the repercussions of waiting.

I will be out of work for a month. That's a little unnerving. I've only had a few days to process all of this, but some of the info has gone down easier that other parts of it. It's one thing to take a month of vacation, but it's another to be forced out of commission. I'm struggling with that. I'm sacrificing a lot, professionally and personally, to take the month of November off completely: multiple big programs at work, doing some very fun things (my first and probably only real Halloween party), and even voting at my poling place are all now off the table so I can be on the table. I've decided, though, to make the absolute best out of my convalescence (thanks Downton Abbey for the introduction to THAT word): I am going to paint and read graphic novels and watch documentaries and learn to poach an egg and make Julia Child's boeuf bourguignon. I'm not going to let this get me down. Work is such a big part of my life that being taken away from it for a month is daunting.

I've been really lucky: my parents, of course, will help me deal with this (it's pretty easy since I still live with them!), and the outpouring of support from my friends has been incredible. I have an amazing support system in so many levels: my boyfriend, my boss, my many coworkers who overlap as friends, and my long distance besties all have my back (insert back joke here). Knowing that these people are here during the good and the bad has made all the difference.

Blogwise, I don't think a whole lot will change--I'll probably be taking pause from outfit blogging for a bit because I won't be dressing for anything but PT, at least for part of the time. I'm going to hope that I can get up and about after a couple of weeks, which was what happened after my last surgery. Back surgery usually doesn't involve a lot of lying in bed like an invalid--the more I move the better, so maybe I'll be able to get back to outfit photos relatively soon. In the meantime, though, expect photos of books and poached eggs and cats and whatever else I do. I might even work on a very slight blog design upgrade. And I will no doubt be aggressively Instagramming every tiny bit of my convalescence as well.

So yeah. Back to our regularly scheduled blogging, starting tomorrow.

Monday, September 29, 2014


Tilted Spheres, Richard Serra
Sheet metal, 2002?

It's time for another sculpture as Style Imitating Art inspiration! This one was picked by Salazar, who is beginning a capsule wardrobe soon. So she wisely (unlike myself) picked a piece of artwork that she could actually interpret! Send your outfit photos to Salazar by Monday, October 6th to be included in the roundup!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Necklace: J. Crew Factory | Cardigan: Target | Top: Target | Skirt: Talbots | Flats: Gap Outlet

Man, I hate when I wear something and halfway through the day I realize that it badly needed ironing. Blehhhhhhhhhh.

Style Imitating Art: The Star

Hey y'all! It's Style Imitating Art time again! As a reminder, this week's inspiration was The Star by the inimitable Edgar Degas. Let's get started!

First is Stephanie, who looks absolutely charming. The scarf is an awesome touch!

Next is Kezzie of KezzieAG, and please oh please look at her post because there's an adorable collage at the end of her frolicking in the yard! IT's too cute.

Sacramento at MIS PAPELICOS is a first timer here at SIA, and she looks great! I love her pink skirt. It matches the artwork so well!

Isabella over at Adventures in HEL has a FLOWER CROWN, y'all. That's all you need to know.

Jen of Librarian for Life and Style sent in a twofer this week: Jen AND her husband Sam! It doesn't get much better than that.

My SIA co-creator, Salazar at 14 Shades of Grey, has a skirt with tiny dancers on it. (Cue Elton John.)

And lastly, here's my outfit. Unfortunately lacking a flower in my hair, but next time I'll remember!

Everyone did an amazing job this week. I love all the outfits and I especially enjoyed seeing some of your attempts to photograph your dance moves! Classy stuff, everyone. Great job!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dressed down

Dress: Boden | Belt: Target | Heels: Urban Outfitters | Lips: NARS Annabella

This DRESS, y'all. I've wanted this dress since it showed up on Boden's website months ago, when it was $168. (Not. Joking.) When it finally went on sale for half off, I thought FINE, I'll get it. You have convinced me, Boden! So I ordered a size down (my usual Boden size) and it was ENORMOUS. I almost never feel small due to clothing, but the entire thing was two inches two big. Weak. So back it went and I decided not to switch out on sizes, since it just wasn't worth it to me to keep sending dresses back and forth looking for the right fit. So out of sight, out of mind it went.

Until last week, when Boden sent me an email that some of their clearance items had been marked down to 80% off. And this dress was one of them! $33.60. Whoaaaaaa. You can safely assume that I broke down and ordered the next two sizes down to find the right dress size, and obviously things worked out, since I am now wearing this dress. BAM.

Also: ew. I need a haircut so badly, y'all. It's time to break out the scissors.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Necklace: made by T. | Dress: Ann Taylor Factory Store | Wedges: Target

HELLO FOOTBALL SEASON! I get derpy around this time every single year and my blinders go on and all I see is footballfootballfootball. I told my boyfriend that if he survives this fall with me, we'll be in good shape. I don't think he understands what I mean when I say 12pm-12am every single Sunday. Let's see how long he lasts before he snaps.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


The Star, by Edgar Degas
Pastel on paper, 1881

If there has ever been a master of the medium of pastel, it is Edgar Degas. Pastel is a really difficult medium to work with--finicky, grimy, and not for the faint of heart, because the colours aren't mixed ahead of time and application can't be pre-tested. There's no way to cover up the mistakes of a pastel error, like you could with acrylic or oil paint (or like you could rinse off, with some watercolour). I remember using soft pastels when I was very, very young; my grandmother had a small tray of them and let me do what I would with them, which was almost Degas quality.

Degas' skill is at its finest in The Star, which beautifully combines highlights and lowlights. If you look closely, you realize that solid colours aren't really solid--they're amalgamations of other, less delicately manifested hues. There's almost a texture to each part of Degas' painting: the cotton candy softness of the ladies' tutus; the scratchy, crisp texture of the prima ballerina's dress; the wooden, yet leathery footing of the stage. It's amazing.

Please send me your photos inspired by this painting by Monday, September 22nd. (God, it's almost October.) I can't wait to see how you all interpret this beauty.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sharks and cake

One of my favourite people from college got married over the weekend at the Virginia State Aquarium in Virginia Beach, and I was happily in attendance, along with A. We left on Friday and didn't come back until today, and it was a nice bit of time off that I really needed.

I left my dress at home (!!!!) and had to drag A. to Target the night before the wedding to rummage for a new dress. Thank god for Target, amirite? They came through in the clutch!

It was an awesome wedding and a great weekend, and I'm so happy for E. and M. and their dear dog who will no longer live out of wedlock. Yay!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Where I've been


It's been a very busy two weeks.

I was pet and house sitting on the opposite corner of the county from my parents/pets/house, which was...a bit of a struggle for me. I missed my dog. And my parents! And my horse, even though he's a jerk. I had my camera, tripod and remote with me the whole time, but driving to the house and taking care of the animals after spending all day at work wore me out! And to be honest, I was packing three work outfits at a time, then going home and getting three more, so my outfits were REAL basic, y'all. I'm talking dress and shoes just about every day.

And then on top of all that, I made my second trip to DragonCon, which meant very, very long days from Friday to yesterday. I slept like a BRICK last night! I was so tired. We got a lot done--I went for work, not for fun, tragically, but I still got to do some fun stuff, like asking THE Amy Acker a question about Person of Interest and taking a photo with the cast of King of the Nerds (see above). I also saw Joel Hodgson (of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 fame) in the flesh AND met the lead illustrator of Archer, which gave me a mini meltdown. He was super nice!

A. and I at the Hyatt (above) and Daft Punk cosplay (below)

DragonCon was a lot of fun, but I'm glad to be back home after so long not at home. It's good to just...watch the news. (One of the things I miss most when I'm not home, even when I visit my boyfriend.) Pet my dog. Laugh at my cats. Sleep in my own bed. Et cetera. Life on the road would not be for me, that's for sure. So it's good to be home, with my full closet at my fingertips, an with plenty of options for what to wear tomorrow!


The Serenade, by Eugene de Blaas
1910, oil on canvas

Hello everyone! What a whirlwind my life has been since the last post I made. I'll explain more in my next post, but for now, Jen has returned from vacation just in time to post her next pick, which is happy and cheery and a lot of fun. Lots of warm and cool, skirts and pants, brick and water--so many complimentary subjects in one painting! It's awesome. Send Jen your photos by Monday, September 8th to be included in the next roundup!