Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Good Sunscreen and a Hat . . .

Well, it looks like two posts today - I forgot to click "publish" last night on Tuesday's post :-D

I am really looking forward to the 4-day weekend here.  I have a lot of things I'd like to do!

The violets need some potting attention, and I need some serious downtime.

Now that my collection of African violets is at 35 varieties, everything is much more manageable than when I had 50, so the thought of spending some time down at my potting bench is not daunting any longer.

I have bags to take to the Second Chance shop to donate so will do that on Saturday,

My office looks no better than it did when I posted about it a couple of weeks ago . . . so there's always something to accomplish in there  :-D

And, I am looking forward to some serious downtime for myself.

I don't have plans for Thanksgiving, although I will probably go over to one of my cousins' homes at some point that day.  But if I don't, I will make a good dinner - probably fish since although I can eat chicken again, I still pretty much avoid turkey.

Yesterday I went to the dermatologist for a body check.  I am very, very careful about my skin because I am so fair.  According to the doc, people as fair as I (and he!) have a 30% higher chance of getting skin cancer.  Good sunscreen and a hat.  My mom drummed it in to me.  She was even more fair than I am.  I did have one very bad blistering sunburn - over most of my body back in high school when we were all trying to get tan (never mind that I was never going to get tan - I did try . . . ).  I had to spend the rest of the summer in long pants and long-sleeved shirts because just walking outside in the sunlight was painful. I stayed inside a lot  :-D   It was a very bad burn and I was very lucky - particularly lucky that my face didn't scar. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop on that, though.  It only takes one really bad sunburn to cause problems later in life.  So far I have escaped them.  I'm crossing my fingers  :-)

I have the most sun damage on my arms - a farmer tan that's not tan  :-D  There is some sun damage on my chest, too, but not too much.  And really, I'm mostly just freckled up a bit, even on my face.

The doc recommends that I use a daily sunscreen with a 30-50 SPF.  I have a 30 that I use in the summer for every day, but the Clinique one I like for winter wear only has 20 SPF, so I got some new stuff from the doc.  It's from a line called Revision.  I hope I like it - the comments are pretty good about it.  It has 50 SPF.  If I like it, it appears that I can get it on Amazon for a little bit less than what I paid, so that's a bonus  :-)

I've always taken good care of my skin, probably because I worked in live theatre throughout my 20s, 30s, and 40s.  I was always the the last out out of the dressing room after a show - I was taking my makeup off and being sure that my face was clean, toned, and moisturized.  I do use some retinoid cream now.  Pretty much everyone should, according to the doc.  He also advised that the stuff you can get over the counter isn't strong enough to make any difference, so if you want to use something like this, you need to get it from a dermatologist, or get a prescription - but it's not covered by insurance, so in my experience it's cheaper to get it from the doc.

He looked at a wonky spot on my face that has looked shiny to me ever since the accident last November.  At the point of impact I had turned my head and the side curtain airbag deployed across the right side of my head and face, burning (like a rug burn) and scraping my right ear and the right side of my face, and giving me a black eye and scratched cornea.  He said that as the abrasions healed on my face that the scar tissue in that area healed white, which is why it appears shiny to me.  There's nothing wrong, which is good, and I cover it easily with some concealer and the light base that I use.

I don't have to go back for two years!

So, take my mom's advice to heart:  Good sunscreen and a hat.  :-)

Ten on Tuesday . . .

This week's Ten on Tuesday topic is:  10 Things I am Thankful for Right Now

The email said that they added the "right now" to help make it a little different from your average Thanksgiving week post because they use this topic every year.

So - at the moment I am thankful for:

  1. Waking up
  2. A whole lot less pain in my knees.
  3. Finishing a November YOSS pattern hat.
  4. Ice melter.
  5. My hiking boots.
  6. SmartWool socks.
  7. Apples and peanut butter
  8. Christmas music  :-)
  9. The upcoming 4-day weekend
  10. A good skin check at the dermatologist
Somehow this didn't get posted yesterday!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Star Light . . .

I hold on to stuff.  This is not a new revelation  :-D  It's just that I find something I like and I hold on to it.  I'm not sure if this is a personal trait, or a trait of my Taurus nature - we're not keen on change, you know ;-D

These are my star lights.  They are strings of Italian lights with stars on them.  I bought them at IKEA at least a decade ago and they've held up quite well over the years.  Now, though, some of them are dying.  You're supposed to be able to change the bulbs, but, thus far, I have not been successful in so doing.

IKEA doesn't have them any longer - I'm thinking that they suffered from the same issues as the lights I used to have in my sunroom, because most of the time you can shake them and they come back on. 

The windows on the north side of my home are oversized.  That's my kitchen window - here's another view so you can see how large it really is. 

And they are the same in the living room - just more of them.

And one more in the dining room, which is where I'm standing in the above photo  :-D

And the star lights are absolutely perfect.  They hang all the way down and they look so awesome! 

And I'm thinking I'm going to have to find some other sort of lights to hang because enough of the strings are out now that I think they look wonky.  Those windows don't face the street, though, so they only look wonky to my neighbors.  They haven't complained.

As previously mentioned, I thought I had two more boxes of them downstairs, but I don't find them at the moment.  Oh well.  I will take another look because, you know, God forbid I should have to change . . .

Sunday, November 22, 2015

All Things Considered . . .

First snowfall of the season here yesterday and it was substantial - the second worst November winter storm in Chicagoland since they started recording this stuff  :-D

I shoveled the driveway - it was my workout for the day since it took me about an hour.  Because the ground was still quite warm, the initial snow was slushy and wet, particularly closer to the house.  There was no point getting out the snowblower even though I got gas for it and was ready to go - the slush would have just clogged it continually.  I got out there before dark, but it fell quickly and I did the majority of it after sunset.

That's the moon through the branches of my neighbor's tree.  It was pretty.  :-)  The mailman came very late yesterday - he asked me if I wanted him to come back later and help do the driveway.  So kind.  I continued on because I wanted to get it done before the temps dropped - it went down to about 11 degrees last night.

And it will warm up this week - by Thanksgiving it will be back up in the 50s!  So it goes.  Winter is definitely here.

Because of the bad weather yesterday, a lunch I had scheduled up on the northwest side was cancelled.  That meant that after my early WW meeting - interesting drive over there - my day was my own.  I did the first shovel of the driveway at about 5:30 a.m.  It was more sluicing than shoveling - pretty much just a layer of slush that I used the shovel to slide over to either side.  When I got home, I decided that it was time to get my Christmas stuff out  :-)  I've been trying to do it for a couple of weekends without success.  So my house is decorated.  That makes me all happy  :-)

The awesome star lights that I have hung in my windows for probably a decade are now on their last legs.  A number of the strings have gone out, and, although they say you can change the bulbs,  I have never been successful doing so.  IKEA doesn't sell them any more.  I thought I had a couple more boxes of them downstairs, but I didn't find them.  That doesn't mean that they're not there - it just means that stuff got moved around earlier this year and they could be on another shelf  :-D  I still need to put my old candelabras in the two front windows, and that's about it as far as anything that shows from the outside.

Inside I have holiday pillows and what I call The Polar Bear Family.  I brought two of the big one upstairs, but left most of the rest put away.  Going through everything gave me the opportunity to, once again, downsize Christmas.  I have plenty to go to the Second Chance shop next weekend on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

This is BunBun.

She has her own little Bun-size Christmas chair that I found somewhere, and she's pretty much a Christmas fixture.  I made her forever ago.  She's really very cute.  Her body is mostly the red fabric of her ears.  Her dress and pinafore are separate pieces, and you can't see them in this photo, but she has bloomers on that match her pinafore  :-D  It was an old Simplicity pattern, I think.  It's likely still around here somewhere.  probably in the basement . . .  She had a sister named Winky.  Linda the Chicken Lady has her, although she may have downsized in her big move to the West Coast.

The laundry is going, and I got two scarves washed and blocked drying in the guestroom.  As is customary, I fell asleep in the chair for at least an hour, and my knees seems to have stopped hurting.  I'm crossing my fingers, but I've take two days off from the Dreaded Foam Roller.  I will do it tomorrow for good measure just to be safe, but I'm feeling very, very hopeful there.

Really quite an excellent weekend, all things considered. :-)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The ABCs of Me . . .

Alrighty then, I swiped this from Crazy Knitting Fool and have been saving it for just such an occasion, i.e. a day where I have a ton of stuff to accomplish at home and need to get cracking rather than sitting in front of the computer  :-D

A - Age: I'm as old as my tongue and a wee bit older than my teeth.  Thank you Gramma. (Seriously, according to my Irish Grandmother, a woman who'll tell her age will tell anything ;-) )
B - Biggest Fear: Being trapped or unable to get out/away (PTSD after last November's car accident).
C - Current time: 10:09 a..m., Central Standard Time.  It's snowing.  First snow of the year.
D - Drink you last had: Water.  It's pretty much always water.  Or tea.  But at the moment, it's water.
E - Easiest  person to talk to: My friend, T, knows where all the bodies are buried  ;-D
F - Favorite Song: Geez - you cannot ask a musician this question  :-D  Seriously!!  Do you mean favorite song to sing?  To sing along with? To dance to? To pipe? To listen to? From a musical? Ancient music? Popular music?  Sacred music?  This week's favorite?  Last month's favorite?  Do you see the problem here?  :-D  Go listen to Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra play Love's Theme or to Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars. Or this. Or this. Or this.  Or - oh please, don't start me up, we could be here all day . . .
G - Grossest Memory: Yeah, no. No one needs to know that  :-D
H - Hometown: Chicagoland  :-)
I - In Love With: No one at the moment . . .
J - Jealous Of: Those closely and easily in touch with the intuitive side of their nature.
K - Killed Someone: ?!
L - Longest Relationship: Hmmmm, probably with my job  :-D  That's kinda sorry, isn't it?
M - Middle Name: Adrienne  (yeah, you're all wondering about that now, aren't you?  ;-D)
N - Number of Siblings: a half-brother and a million cousins who might as well be my siblings.
O - One Wish: A great and abiding love . . .  I'd settle for world peace, though.  Neither appears imminent, I'm afraid.
P - Person you last called: My friend, T.
Q - Question You’re Always Asked: "Can you really play the bagpipes?"   Yes, yes I can.
R - Reason to live: You know, every morning I wake up is a good reason to keep going.  I'm grateful for every day that I am given on this earthly plain.
S - Song you last sang:  LOL - It's either the choral Amen at the end of church on Sunday or I was singing along to Uptown Funk in the car.  Can't remember which one was last  :-D
T - Time you woke up: 5:00 a.m.  Yes, it's stupidly early for a Saturday.  I know.
U - Underwear color: Rose with purple dots :-D  And yeah, I had to look to be sure  :-D (hey, I got up really early)
V - Vacation Destination: So many - too many to choose just one.  I'd go back to Morocco  and/or Scotland in a New York minute.  Places I haven't been - Russia, Japan, Hawaii, and the Pacific Northwest
W - Worst Habit: I have a longstanding and unrequited love of cupcakes.
X - X-Rays you’ve had: Too many to count - from dental X-rays to an MRI of my brain (good news, there - I apparently DO have a brain).  Most recently, three or four views of my knees.
Y - Your favorite food: Steak.  Potatoes.  Pesto.  Shrimp.  Popcorn with butter.
Z - Zodiac Sign:  Taurus.  A pretty typical one, I might add  :-)

How about you?  Care to share?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ice, Ice, Baby . . .

Whoever knew ice could hurt so good . . .

And no, I'm not going to subject you to Vanilla Ice and his ripped off riff.

Ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby - with its strange mashup of natural disasters and monster movies . . .

or concert footage with the luminous and amazing artists.

I couldn't decide - you can watch them both  :-)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Again, Part II . . .

Yesterday I touched on two core issues for me.

Not core as in my body core, but core as in issues/things I have to face, and face, and face again because I have not yet learned to manage them.

They are:  (1) Inflammation; and (2) the size of my ass.

I'm like that crockpot cookbook that I have:   Fix It and Forget It.  (there are a TON of them :-D)

I've spent my life thus far thinking that I can fix something and then forget it and go back to what I was doing before.  Seriously.  How long is it going to take me to get that I must make lifetime changes where these two issues are concerned?!

I have struggled with my weight forever because I never actually learned Maintenance when I reached my goal at Weight Watchers, lo these many years ago.  And, I have inflammation throughout my body because I'm obese and because I like sugar and all the crappy junk food that is so prevalent in our Western society today.  Really - I'm a walking talking ball of inflammation and it sucks.

Alrighty then . . .

Now what?

It's pretty simple, really - eat better, get more exercise, take my anti-inflammatory, use the damn Dreaded Foam Roller, continue to avoid added sugar (and seriously pick and choose when I really want to have something sweet knowing that if I choose to eat it I'm going to be in pain and likely suffer intestinal distress).  Oh, and I'd like to develop a yoga practice to help with flexibility and hopefully also inflammation.

Is that all????

I suppose it's not as difficult as it sounds.  I did live an ovo-pescetarian lifestyle for about a year - it was good, but it was not sustainable for me over the long-haul.  However, living that way is easier than you might suspect and I am moving toward it again.  There are some things in the house that need to get used up and not purchased again, and I am able to eat chicken again, which is going to make my life SO much easier than the last time.  So, I won't be strictly ovo-pescetarian.  I have a new label:  flexitarian. :-D  I suspect that cheese is going to have to be pretty limited again.  I'm really not looking forward to that part, but it's one of the things I have definitely been eating more of this year so it could be part of the problem, particularly since I'm way down on the sugar and still experiencing such pain. 

In the meantime, however, I'm cranky and mad and feeling really quite put upon.  How come everyone else can eat whatever they want?  Seriously - how come???

Maybe the answer to that is that not everyone else can.  Maybe I just think they can . . . In any case, I'm not comparing myself to anyone else any longer.  I have a serious reason to get my act together and strong focus to have the size of my ass be closer to Rhode Island than Kansas by the end of spring next year.  It's a goal I've set for myself.

We'll see how it goes.

There will be field reports.

I did have a good conversation with the doctor today - I never got to ask my usual million questions on Monday.  He thinks that starting a yoga practice will be a really good thing and will likely help.  He would prefer that I not explore acupuncture at this time, not wanting to add another modality until we have a better handle on what's going on.  He's firmly convinced that it's all lifestyle related and I'm sure he's right.  Continuing with WW, eliminating sugar and highly processed foods again, and adding flexibility exercise are going to help probably more than anything else.  One thing he is OK with, however, is my exploring the use of tart cherry extract.  I'm not going to do the juice because it's full of sugar, but I ordered some gelcaps (no sugar!) and am going to hope that they help, too.  Apparently they help a LOT of people.

I've hurt myself with that f-ing foam roller twice so far.  I don't have the strength to accurately use it around my shins so now I'm also rolling a golf ball around on the front of my legs - all around my shin bones - just to get some relief there, too.  Now the doc wants me to do it TWICE a day.  I'm not sure I can . . .  JesusHChrist I cannot even tell you how much I hurt yesterday.  I'm praying that it's going to get better in the next week.  I'm supposed to check back in with the doctor then.

Even though I am cranky about this mess I've gotten myself into, I am extremely grateful that I do not have arthritis. "No evidence of joint damage" are good words to hear. Many of my cousins have had it for years and they are all younger than I am.  I keep telling myself that it comes from the other sides of their families  ;-)   That may not be true, though - my mom had three different kinds of arthritis.  All the more reason why I am so grateful that I have none.

Enough!  This song makes me smile - a good way to start the day, right?  :-)