Wednesday, June 28, 2017

10 Years . . .

Today is the 10-year anniversary of this blog.  Linda the Chicken Lady was the one who suggested I start one.  Blogs were the hot thing in the knitting world a decade ago, and I've always been a writer, so I decided to give it try . . .

A decade.  A lot of the blogs that were around then, aren't anymore.  A lot of people have moved completely to Facebook, Twitter, and more recently, Instagram.  I've curated my Facebook feed to show me positive and helpful things; hardly anyone follows me there anymore because I will not stop Resisting the current political administration here in the U.S.  I've tried Pinterest, but I haven't truly found the allure of it.  I have a few boards, but they are rarely added to.  Rather, I am inspired by this board . . .


 I do post photos on Instagram from time to time.  This is my current favorite:


And I do have a Twitter account . . . but somehow I don't seem well able to limit my thoughts to 140 characters . . .  and so, Knit and Run - the Everyday Life of a Wild and Wacky Woman goes on and gives me a place to get things down on the page and to share what's going on in my world, and what books I've read (usually from my book club), and what music I'm listening to (usually old  :-D ). 

My blog is not world-famous.  That doesn't matter.  Over the years it's been a life-line for me more times than I can count.  I've always written it for myself - to help move me through passages in my life and chronicle stuff that's going on.  That anyone else has come along on the journey or been helped by anything I've shared is amazing to me, and very humbling.

Some readers comment, some don't.  Some left when the political waters got hot last year.  Here's what I have to say about that:


But, after all this time, you are still here.

And so am I.

:-)

I've chronicled a decade of my life and experiences here.  Knitting.  Spinning.  African Violets.  Ravelry.  Bagpiping.  Women's Issues.  Construction.  Chicago.  My own health and wellness.  The Path to Myself.  365 Project.  Politics.  Life in General.  Endings and Beginnings.  I seem to have a LOT of tags over on the sidebar  :-D

I thought a few times that I would let it go - but I find that I cannot.  So, to those of you still out there - still reading - thank you for bearing witness and holding space for me.

Who knows what the next 10 years will hold?  I certainly don't, but I'm reasonably sure I'll be chronicling it here, and - whatever comes - my hands are open . . .

Onward  :-)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Food for the Soul . . .

Something else I've been doing the past month, is beginning to making music again.  I really cannot go too very long without it.  In fact, if you know me in real life, you likely know that I've been a musician since before anything else.  I've stepped away from it for a few years again because I just haven't had the wherewithal to do it.  But I was inspired to open my eyes . . . I tuned my guitar and have been playing a bit.  And I re-seasoned my pipe bag and at least blew some air through them a few times.  Not pretty, but something.

I am absolutely stunned by the muscle memory retained in my hands.  I am very, very lucky, and that's all that I can say about that.

Quick update on my 24-hour urine collection.  I am happy to say that I have been successful on my "output."  They wanted me at the very least to be peeing out 2.5 liters daily.  To do that, you have to drink a LOT of water.  I was instructed to drink 3 - 4 liters of water every day.  This is actually getting easier, believe it or not.  When you don't drink things like pop, coffee, or tea, it's way easier.   So, I was shooting for at least 2.5, and I was at 3.6.  So, I've been successful with my first directive of drink more water.  I'll have to wait for my test results in mid-July to see if I've been fully successful with my second, which was eat less salt.

With the health issues I've had for the past few years, I am continually looking for ways to inspire myself and keep myself going.

A few weeks ago, with with my friend, D., to a Body, Soul, Spirit festival.  We had a great time!  I spent some money to talk with a Shaman named Matthew.  He was pretty amazing and knew a lot of stuff that he really shouldn't have . . . I do believe some people have gifts that they've been able to tap into better than the rest of us.  It was money and time well spent - he  was very clear that he didn't understand why I wasn't making music since it runs through the very core of who I am and how I define myself.  He could never know this.  Other stuff, too, but this was compelling and helped me see what I might be missing.

While at the fair I found these two Raku-fired medallions, the Hand of Fatima, and the Celtic Trinity Knot. 


I love what the little card that came with these says:

"Not everyone survives their trial by fire.  The ones that do cultivate strength & beauty."

Yup . . .

I don't think the Trinity Knot requires much explanation - you can interpret it as any trinity you need it to be . . .  But The Hand of Fatima might not be as familiar to you.  It is an ancient symbol of feminine protection.  Mostly found in Middle Eastern and North African cultures, I first encountered it in Morocco and learned about it from our Berber guide.  It's called Hamsa in Jewish culture.  When I say ancient - it pre-dates all modern religions.  I think it's very, very beautiful.  On the back of the medallion it says, "I am Protected."  On the back of the Trinity Knot medallion, it says: "I am Connected."

:-)

And on my wrist, more reminders and inspirations:


The silver bracelets are all from Alex and Ani.  An Om, Liberty Copper, the Hand of Fatima, the Number 3 (Creativity, Wholeness, Intuition),  and somewhere, my initial, A.  I have more - I wear them a lot.

The red leather wrist wrap is from Brian Andreas, of Story People fame.  I first encountered his work years ago in a little shop on North Clybourn in Chicagoland.  Linda the Chicken Lady and I both got multiple matted prints of his work.  I know I had mine framed and they've hung on various walls of my life over the years. 

Anyway. he was having a moving sale and this wrap was on sale.  The site said that the clasps of the wraps were tarnished (no big deal) and they were selling them quite inexpensively.  I think that the only reason I was able to get this one is that it was a size Small.  That's right.  My wrists are less than 6" around.  Smallest part of my body.  :-D  I worried a bit that it might not fit, but it fits beautifully.  I know you can't see the whole story on it. Here's what it says:

"Trust Love.  That's pretty much it.  Except, maybe, drink more water."

So, yeah - you know I had to get that.  Funny, isn't is, that I keep the wrist wrap so I can read it, and wear the bracelets the opposite?  That's just the way that they seem to go best  :-)

I was finally to get out this past weekend and walk.  It finally cooled off enough to get an early walk in both days.  In the spirit of gorgeous photos my friend, Michelle from Boulderneigh, posts, here are a few reminders of my steps . . .

Busy muskrat in the Retention Pond . . .


Robin in the Pine (click to biggify) . . .


Wild Roses in the Wetland . . .


Until the next time  . . .



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Catching Up . . .

Again - large chunks of time between posts. Time continues to slip through my fingers.

Feeling pretty good and am very hopeful about the follow up tests regarding The Kidney Stone Incident.  I haven't been perfect - which I know I've said already - but most days I have a good handle on my salt intake and my water.  I'm doing another 24-hour urine collection test today, and then I have to have another CT scan on Thursday.  Then, I'll see my urologist again on the 10th of July.

The 24-hour urine collection test will tell the tale.  It is my hope that my "output" number will be way up, and my sodium number way down.  I'm reasonably sure that if I'm successful with these two items, that all my other wonky numbers will fall into place.  Crossing my fingers  :-)

The CT Scan is to make sure that there are no other stone hanging around in my kidneys.  I don't think there are, and - based on the ultrasound I had in March - my urologist did not see any shadows.  However, apparently someone took another look at my March ultrasound and decided that I might or might not have some cysts hanging around inside of me.  For this, the CT scan will tell the tale.  I don't think it's anything serious.

I'm also down 15 pounds since the end of February, so that's a big plus, as well.

Then, a couple of weeks ago I saw my OB/GYN for my annual.  He's been my doctor for more than two decades (hard to believe!) and I can't even tell you the number of people I've referred to him.  I mention him and this visit because of what the urologist who performed my surgery said to me - in passing:  Oh, BTW, your bladder has fallen, I can fix it if you want."

Seriously, that's what he said.

I spoke to my current urologist about this back in March and he said that yes, he could fix it, but to check with my OB/GYN when next I saw him because my OB/GYN has never said that I needed any kind of surgery.  And sure enough, when I spoke to him, he said that unless it was really really bothering me that he didn't want to perform surgery on me, saying, "A, you've already had enough surgery this year."  He also said that there were many other options to be explored before surgical repair, including pelvic floor physical therapy, and, possibly a pessary.  I feel better about the whole thing.  I've had the same OB/GYN for a really long time.  Whatever he tells me, is what I'm going to go with.  :-)

I have a follow up with my Retina Guy in early July, as well.  All seems to be well except for the flashing that doesn't go away.  I also had another ocular migraine - yesterday.  It's so odd when it happens, and always in my left eye over to the outside.  It's gone now - only lasted about 30 minutes or so.  It's very hard to describe, but this photo is from Medical Treasure and it's a very good approximation of what I usually see:


It's jagged, and usually multicolored.  Mine is usually all the way to outside of my field of vision, and it's only ever been in my left eye, but unlike this photo, they do not affect the clarity of the rest of my vision.  They never last long, and usually my eye feels warm/hot after it's over.  So, I guess I'll be telling the Retina Guy about it when I see him.

Enough about weird health stuff  :-D

In the time that has passed since last I blogged, I have started to work with my plants again.  I actually bought a few more.  Some have arrived, some are still on their way.  When all is said and done, I will have gone from 16 to 33 varieties again.  Most of the new plants are semis and minis.  Only time will tell how I do with them  :-)  My state organization is having a show in mid-November, and I wanted to be ready to hopefully have a few things to show.  I also am already planning for national in 2018, which will be in Buffalo, New York.

Nearly all the plants were very neglected for the past year, but everything has been potted up now and I have a LOT of leaves down, this latter also in prep for the fall show.  Hopefully some will be sold, and some will likely be used for table favors at the fall event.

Here's my Jersey Snowflakes before:


Here is it after grooming and repotting:


And here are all the leaves I took from it . . .  I actually took more - but they weren't good to propagate.  And yes, that's my hand.  Really big leaves  :-)


Here is a look at the stands.  Stand 1:


Stand 2:
and Stand 3:

Here's a closer look at the current new babies:


I have to say, it was really nice to have my hands in the dirt again  :-)

These days I can't stop listening to Dougie MacLean . . .


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sock Hygge . . .

My local library has a book club that I joined early this year.  I really like it and I look forward to it every month now.  It's usually all women (there was one guy one time, but he never came back).  We read books that are uplifting and that have application in our lives.  For May, the book was  this:


It's pronounced hoo-ga (in case you wondered).  I so enjoyed this one, and discovered that I'm pretty much in the hygge groove already.  In fact, the entire group really enjoyed it - we were all in the spirit of it!  One lady brought her crocheting to work on, and she brought cookies, and made a Danish folded lace heart for the table!

Candles, lighting, friends, scarves, sweaters, woolen socks, coffee, wine can all be hygge, but it's more a feeling than a thing.

An important thing for your Hygge Emergency Kit (it's in the book  :-) ), is a pair of woolen socks.

I have a 29-year supply of woolen socks.  They never seem to wear out - probably because I don't wear them enough.  So, earlier this week, I had a bright idea . . .


Yes.  I took 20 pairs of socks with me to book club.  Some never worn, some gently worn (all clean, of course :-D).  I brought home eight.  It was SO FUN to give everyone a pair of woolen socks  :-D  I have so many that never get worn - and I'm a big believer in stuff being used rather than sitting around.  Everyone was really happy  :-)

Other things have been accomplished around here.  I had to file an extension for my taxes this year.  I had been scheduled for the Saturday after my retina tore, and I couldn't get anyone to drive me up to Sheffield & Diversey for my appointment, so my accountant filed an extension for me.  I met with him last night and that's now out of the way!  Yay!

I finally sprang for some blocking mats and T-Pins.  O. M. G.  WHY did I wait so long???  I've been blocking on beach towels and using regular sewing pins with little roundy bead tops forever.  The mats and T-Pins are amazing!!

Here is my Hale-Bopp MKAL shawl from back in February - finally blocked.  I'm not quite sure how to wear it, but it's done.


And my Copenhagen Calling cowl is done, too, and I'm all ready for next winter!

 

Sorry for the pretty much no makeup face.  I managed to get my eyebrows on this morning and that was about it  :-D

 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day . . .

I follow the artist, Brian Andreas, on Facebook.  He posted this drawing yesterday:

I don't know if he meant it as a love story, or for Mother's Day.  I took it as the latter.

My mom used to hum all the time.

I always figured it was the sound that all moms make. Soft, quiet, sometimes tuneless, sometimes a snatch of a random melody. It was comforting in a way that only a mom can be.

I remember that it really bothered one of my ex-husbands, and at first I couldn't figure out what he was talking about - humming was just the sound that I thought all moms made.  It was important to him that I never do it . . .

My young life was filled with music - she was always singing to me, and teaching me songs, and encouraging me to sing along.  Humming seemed a natural extension of that, to me, I guess.

It was so much a part of who she was that it was often unconscious on her part. When I was little, we drove to California with a friend of hers.  We stopped at a restaurant and she left the table to go to the ladies'.  Shortly thereafter, I excused myself to go, too, and I found her in the public rest room because she was (unconsciously) humming.

Lord, I miss her . . .

I can't share her humming with you - but I can share a huge piece of my childhood.


Traumerei was one of her favorite pieces of music.  Not one that we sang - it's on one of the steel records for the antique music box that was my father's - she would wind it up every night and play it so I could fall sleep to it, and it was nearly always this tune.  I still wind it up from time to time . . .

It's very fast on this recording.  It shouldn't be this fast, but the Regina was all I could find on YouTube, and I have a Lyon and Healy Empress.  Traumerei starts at :48. 



Here is about how fast it should actually be, and there is interesting history behind it if you're so inclined.  But to me it has always been my falling asleep music.  My "Mom, please wind the music box" music . . .




Saturday, May 13, 2017

Hold the Phone . . .

I'm still trying to figure out how even when I am working to slow things down around me, they pay absolutely no fricking attention at all.

:-D

It's nearly mid-May and it's been quite awhile since I've really blogged. It took me two days to get this far.  I had an entire post crafted this morning, and then Blogger barfed and I lost it.  ALL of it.

:-S

Onward . . .

The update on my eye is really good news!  As of two Fridays ago, I'm back to 20/20 vision in both eyes.  It appears that I didn't lose any vision in my right eye.  Can't even tell you how grateful I am.  I still have a few floaters, but, for the most part, they are doing what they are supposed to, and being reabsorbed by my body.  I continue to experience flashing in my right eye, which is odd, but it's been checked twice, and all is well.  This just might be my new normal.  I did have an odd occurrence - my left pupil dilated.  Just the left one.  It gave me a distinct Little Orphan Annie appearance for as long as it lasted.  This has happened a few more times, but not to the extent of the first time.  My Retina Guy knows about it, and I'm to get a photo if it happens again.  In the meantime, no one thinks it's serious.  Just interesting  :-)

No real news on The Kidney Stone Incident front.  I'm still working daily with my new way of eating.  Most days I'm on target with my reduced sodium.  It's challenging, though.  Getting enough calcium has been the biggest challenge, however (potassium, too), because getting enough without causing intestinal distress is tough.  Cheese doesn't affect me as much as milk (Lactaid) or fortified orange juice do, but most cheeses are very high in sodium, so that's the rub.  It's definitely a balancing act.  I'm not perfect by any means, but I'm making daily progress.

At the moment am dealing with being on the Prednisone Bomb for allergy-related issues, including a cough that was just brutal.  Nothing stopped it - no even my rescue inhaler - but the P-Bomb has definitely made a difference.  The trees are still trying to leaf out here - it got so cold again that they pretty much stopped, lengthening my misery for a few extra weeks this year.  I took the last bomb dose this morning, and for that I'm extremely grateful.  Prednisone makes me crabby, causes me to retain fluid, disrupts my sleep, and makes me hungry for stuff that is way not best for me - in particular sugar and a massive craving for the salt I'm so focused on limiting.  With the last dose this morning it will be out of my systems in another few days.  In the meantime I just need to hang in.  It's finally warm and sunny again to day - I'm hopeful that the trees will get cracking and finish leafing out!


This is my new water bottle - I got it at the Hallmark Store (of all places!).  The rubber bands are for me to be able to make sure I'm getting my 3-4 liters of water in daily.  I take one off every time I get up to refill the bottle.  I've found this size (500 ml/17 oz) is way easier to deal with than my old 1 liter SIGG bottle.  On Amazon I found MIRA bottles, which look to be pretty much the same thing, and got this one.  I decided it would be easier to have one at the office and one at home, lightening my commute load.  Plus, I love the Moroccan feel of the MIRA one  :-)

I'm stalled on the Ben Lomond mitts I've been making for my cousin - I just have the thumbs and finish work left, but I needed a break, so I cast on for Copenhagen Calling last weekend.  I've wanted to knit this since I first saw the pattern.


The colors in the photo are a little bright - in real life they are much deeper/richer.  I'm in the process of the bind-off now.  Two skeins of Socks That Rock Heavyweight, in the True Blood Red and Copperline colorways.  I wasn't sure at first if they would go together, but they really, really do.  You use more of the second colorway (for me, that was Copperline).  I had thought to maybe get a hat out of the leftovers, but I'm thinking now that that's not going to happen.  I'm going to have very little left once this bind-off is complete.

And, like hundreds of others, I'm contemplating the Joji Locatelli mystery knit-along, called Starting Point.  These are my skein choices:


I like them a lot.  I discovered with the Hale-Bopp mystery KAL that I didn't care for light/dark color changes.  I know a lot of people think that they makes things pop, but I find it distracting.  I like how all my colors are similar but different, with nothing majorly bright.  I've been hesitating because I'm a little concerned on yardage for one of the skeins, but also because the initial spoiler photos I saw did not thrill me.  However, some this morning were much more to my liking, so I think it was that I just didn't care for some of the color combo choices I saw.  So, I'm close to caking these skeins and casting on.

Spent some time this morning getting patterns and assorted magazines gone through and either tossed (in the case of some magazines) or catalogued into my Ravelry library and put away.  That felt pretty good!

That's the update here - been listening to the Bee Gees this morning . . .

Monday, May 1, 2017

Beltane . . .

In the Celtic calendar we walk out of the dark, into the light today.  Imbolc passes into Bealtaine and the world becomes all about the return of life and fertility - even though it's in the low 40s today, it's raining, and I have to wear a coat (probably my winter coat again) to work  :-)

Vacation is over and I'm headed back to the real world today.