All That Blood

“All that blood looks really good on you. It brings out your eyes,” said Attie.

“Mom, you are weird. This is not exactly the look trending right now at my high school, “ retorted Ellie as she wiped away the massive amounts of blood.

“Oh, honey. You need to embrace the cup half full mentality. Always look for the positive in a situation,” her mother encouraged.

Stating the obvious, Ellie looked into her mother’s eyes. “Mom… I’m covered in blood.”

Attie swiftly began tidying up, with the elegance of Mary Poppins. “Sweetie, sometimes we have to make choices in life. They are not always easy. This is the life I chose for us. It may not be popular or trendy….”

“…. or ethical….” Ellie interjected.

“Hey now…” Attie paused for reflection. “ I have high moral standards and am very particular about the jobs I take.”

“We take…” Ellie reminded her.

Attie picked the leg that Ellie had carelessly discarded. “ I take. You just happen to be a fabulous apprentice! You have a little glitter on your right cheek, honey.”

Ellie looked in the mirror. “I’m pretty sure that’s brain matter, “ she corrected.

“Hhmmm. So it is,” Attie conceded. She continued shoving tools in her Gucci handbag. “It’s quite shiny. Could you please help clean up a little faster? We are a bit short on time here.”

Ellie looked around the room at the mess. .“Well, if that lady hadn’t gotten a chance to use her cell phone…”

“Now. Now. Positive, sparkling, shiny thoughts, please!” Attie exclaimed. “ No one wants to be around a Debbie Downer, you know. Your eyes really are quite lovely in this light – almost emerald, I’d say.”

“MOM!” Ellie was exhausted after all she had done. She wasn’t in the mood for her mother’s Mary Poppins attitude, but she glanced in the mirror. Mom was right. Her eyes did look quite magnificent – if you liked all that blood and gore splashed across her cheeks.

Attie circled, as she often did after a job. “Right! Right! Focus on the task at hand. Speaking of which, can you give me that hand (pun intended)?” Attie began giggling like a school girl.

“You really aren’t normal, mom,” Ellie said as she passed her mom the meaty chunk.

“… and you take after me quite brilliantly if I do say so myself.” Ellie gave Attie a look only a 14-year-old could produce. “WHAT?” her mother exclaimed. “ You do! Do you know how much skill it takes to use a knife like that? It is a true art form… and it affords us a life of comfort, and you deserve that, my sweet, precious girl!” Ellie knew her mom was right on that account. Although this life wasn’t always easy, it did pay for lots of Disney Cruises – Ellie’s favorite way to travel.

Ellie checked the room. “Can we just get out of here? I think I cleaned up the last of the blood. This is such a messy job.”

Attie shook her head in agreement. “Ah, but someone has to do it, my love. Life is full of necessary evils, and we are just the girls for the job!”

Ellie grabbed her bag of tools. “Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction.”

Attie shut the door behind them as they walked out into the brightness of the midday sun. “And… sometimes truth is confused with the delivery of justice, my sweet angel. Let’s get out of here.”

“Thanks for taking me to the audition, Mom,” Ellie said as she opened her car door.

Attie started the engine. “Of course, honey! All of your work in Special Effects and Acting are paying off! Shall we take the next cruise to Hawaii, you think?”

Ellie smiled. She could smell the surf and sea already. It was going to be a great summer.

What’s Inside My Head?

I have always laughed that all the worrying I do would cause some sort of damage to my brain. You know, anxiety induced tumors or something. Because, then I need to
worry about that as well.

It was all fun and games until I found a bump on the back of my neck. I went to my doctor, and he ordered a full battery of tests. I’ll stop you from worrying right now. There was no tumor.

Instead, the doctors found something much more incredible and unexplainable. There is a pill-sized piece of something lodged between by brain and skull.

The doctors aren’t exactly sure what it is or how it got there (other than it probably has metallic properties since it showed up on X-rays). There is nothing in my medical history to suggest any sort of past injury that would have lodged an unknown object into my skull.

And… they can’t remove it since it seems to be fusing to my skull.

Diagnosis: (and this is no joke) it is a UFO – unidentified fused object.

The doctors have prescribed more testing partnered with constant monitoring.

So, I’m less than thrilled to become their new test subject, and now, I am beyond stressed out over what is in my head and how it got there.

I’ll keep you updated on their findings.

Weight Loss Study

I participated in a study last week on weight loss.  I figured, why not? Get paid to lose weight? I’m in.  (The results varied among all the participants.  I think some got placebos.  I definitely did not.)

So, drum roll, please…. I lost 15 pounds in one week doing nothing but eating, watching TV, playing on my phone, and sleeping!  Sounds too good to be true, right? I was shocked when the week was done.

Again, this was an experimental study.  I had to sign lots of forms with all of the risks, etc.  But, the way I lost the weight was so cool! I had to go into the clinic several weeks before the study began to get all of my body measurements.  Then, on the first day, they had these suits that were tailor-made for each of us. It looked like a wetsuit, really.  But, it had all of these wires and electrodes attached to it.  When everyone was suited up, we all looked like we were on the set of the movie, Tron. I wish I could have taken a picture of us!

The doctor explained that we would often feel like we were working out but were instructed to stay seated – you know, fast heart rate, a lot of sweating – but all while I was sitting still!  It was amazing! I burned 9,000 calories per day according to my data (over what my intake calories were).  I will admit, it was harder the day I ate pizza for the entire day.  My heart was working hard to stay ahead of the calories I was taking in.  But, the other days were a piece of cake (pun intended!).

I won’t bore you with the science of it all (not sure I understand it anyway)- but, they were in control of my heart rate, my breathing, my fluid intake, and other details while I was in control of eating and sleeping (which got much easier after the first night).

The only side effect I have seen so far is that my skin is a bit loose.  But, they promise it will tighten up on its own after a few months.  The suit was supposed to help with that part, but they still have some work to do.  (I guess that’s why they called it “experimental”!) I hope the doctors get this suit approved by the powers that be soon, so I can lose a lot more weight with no effort!

Ladies and gentlemen, start thinking about how to accessorize a wetsuit.  They will be all the rage!

Lost

I went down to Austin the other day to find some inspiration for my jog.  I ended up at Mayson Park, a quaint, quiet area that is known for its beautiful ponds with koi fish, foliage, and an old, white house which I believe is used for weddings.  Wandering freely in the park (and on the roof of the white house) are magnificent peacocks. It is always fun to feed the koi and the peacocks, but today, I was interested in the miles of trails behind the park.

I have explored those trails on numerous occasions.  There are plenty of trees to keep the area fairly cool in this 100 degree heat. I put my airpods in, cranked up my tunes, and took off.  I ran for 20 minutes before I even realized it – enjoying the beauty of nature, the sparkle of the water off of the nearby river.  It was truly motivational.

After 2 miles, I knew I was lost on the trails. I had not been paying attention to the trail signs since I was in “the zone” – my favorite way to run.  But, I also knew that I was surrounded by a park, a river, residential housing, and a street.  If I kept going, I would eventually make it back to civilization – just hopefully near my car and not on the far other end of the trail area!

Another 10 minutes passed, and I started to feel uncomfortable.  Something was off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  I turned off my music but left my airpods in my ears and started to walk.  I almost felt like someone was following me.  But, I couldn’t hear any footsteps, human or animal, or see anything out of the ordinary. I decided all of the “Safety Talks” my father had given me about running alone were just messing with my mind.

I continued to walk until I found a trail sign and started heading the 2+ mile trek back to my car.  I was probably just overheated, because I started hearing a rustling in the underbrush; and, it was getting closer to me.  At that moment, I decided it didn’t matter if I was over thinking it or not.  I had chills up my spine, and I needed to get out of there fast.  I began to run – not a casual jog – but, full on run.  I was scared – really scared.  I didn’t stop to look back until I heard a rumbling sound right behind me.. I remember falling… and that’s all.

I woke up on a bench next to the parking lot of Mayson Park, my ankle the size of a grapefruit and a knot on the side of my head to match. My throat was burning with thirst. I had scratches all over my body, my clothes were covered in dirt and leaves, and I was missing one running shoe.  My airpods were still in my ears – void of any sound.  My car was alone in the parking lot.  I was in pain and knew I needed help.  As I sat up, a soft object fell from my chest to the gravel below – one brilliant, peacock quill.

The police looked for any clues as to what happened.  I was no help.  I didn’t know who or what was after me – if anything, I’m still not even sure.  I couldn’t point them in the right direction and could barely explain the sounds I heard. All of my injuries seem to point to a fall and tumble down a rocky trail.  I certainly couldn’t explain how I managed to end up in that barren parking lot – alone with nothing but a magnificent feather.  My bumps and bruises will heal with time, but I’m not sure my mind will.