Saturday, October 13, 2018

As Fast as I Can . . .

As in:  I'm going . . .

A predictable pattern, I'm afraid, but time just keeps getting away from me.  Once again it's been nearly a month since I've posted.  No real excuse . . . I did spend a week out of town during this time, visiting J., and that was great  :-)

But, other than that, I've just been working and trying to get myself caught back up.  My suitcase is still on the guest room floor.  I managed to get laundry done when I got back, but there is other stuff still to be put away . . .

This was a good Saturday in many ways.  I spent a lot of it in my chair catching up on shows I've DVR'd and working on some socks.  When I and the other Friendly Mods disbanded the YOSS group on Ravelry, I really needed a break from socks.  That was two years ago now.  These are the first socks I've cast on in all that time!  I was reminded by one of my friends that I had promised to knit her some socks.   Ahem.  Time to get cracking.  And since she reads this blog, that's all I'm going to say about that  :-D

But I have been working on a number of other projects.

Here is my Reyna Shawl (Rav link). 

The yarn is a double skein of sock yarn that I got at Stitches Midwest in 2009.  Eek!  It's a no-brand, double skein of New Zealand superwash sock yarn.  The colors reminded me of fall.  I'm actually adding an additional lace section on because I believe I have enough yarn and because it seems awfully short where it was.

And speaking of 2009 . . . one of the things I'm doing in 2019 is what is called "Cold Sheep."  It means that I'm going to knit only from my stash in 2019.  Seriously this time.  My yarn acquisition has definitely slowed in recent years, but I still have an awful lot of it.  I'm not rejoining the Socks That Rock sock club for 2019.  I have enough of pretty much everything - and so I'm going to see if I can do this in 2019. 

Here is the Architexture scar (Rav link) I'm working on. 

Three skeins of STR from my stash. The color's a little off - it's black, a greyish blue and the lighter blue.  It's hard to see how cool it is until it's blocked,  I think.

This is a recent purchase, from Stitches Midwest this year.  It's a gradient set.  I also purchased some similar skeins recently from Show Me Yarns.  I'm usually not one for paler colors, but these really called to me.  They will become a shawl - I just don't know yet which one.

There's more stuff to share, but, for now, I'll leave you with some old Bowie.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

So - What About Summer?

See, I'm not kidding around this time.  I'm here, and I gotta tell you - I spent 2/3rds of my summer in the boot!

I went to the national African violet convention at the end of May.  A friend and I drove to Buffalo, New York for it.  We got there Tuesday afternoon and got settled.  I woke up on Wednesday morning early - around 5:30 - and proceeded to trip and lose my balance in the bathroom.  I reached out to the wall to stabilize myself, only to realize that, while there would have been a wall there at home. There was no wall there in the hotel bathroom . . . I grabbed on to the edge of the tub on the way down so I didn't fall all the way over, but I smacked the outside of my right knee on the tile, and twisted my left foot.  And on the way down I took out a large piece of my arm because the bathroom door didn't close properly.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had broken the fourth metatarsal in my left foot.

I hope you are not squeamish . . .  but just in case, the injury photo is closer to the end of this post.  I drove myself to the ER because Urgent Care was not open at that time of the morning, and my arm was bleeding and a substantial flap of skin was hanging off.  My foot didn't start to hurt until later that evening and I initially thought it was "just inflammation," like pretty much any pain I have usually is.  Not this time.  I did end up walking on it for two weeks before I saw the doc, and then another week until the doc put me in a boot - the break was there but the doc initially read it as the modeling of my bone and the X-ray didn't definitely show the break for another week.  I didn't need surgery, thankfully,  but I did end up being in the boot for eight weeks.

I don't have a bedazzler, so a couple of Eloise stickers had to do!  :-D

The first few days in it were tough.  But I even did Tai Chi in it, which, unfortunately set me back a bit in my healing.  The doc forgot to tell me not to do it . . . until I came back at six weeks and was still having a lot of pain.  The verdict was two more weeks in the boot and I had to stop Tai Chi completely during that time.

Being in a boot slows you down - and not just in walking.   Every area of my life slowed down - and I have to wonder if this was the Universe's way of making me slow down.  There was a lot of work stress this summer and I was in the boot for a lot of it.  Having to slow down also gave me more time to spend with J, which was nice.  I could not move as much or as well, though, during those two months, and the scale - unfortunately - reflects that.

And finally, I was tired.  A lot.  Most days I didn't have much energy.  It was all I could do to get back and forth to work because my office moved at the end of April and it's a couple more blocks added to my commute twice a day.  I was wiped out pretty much every evening by the time I got home - my body was using what energy I had to heal the break in my bone and the wound on my arm.

And speaking of my arm.  This is how the ER sent me on my way. 

They said I needed to wash it with soap and water and re-bandage it daily until it scabbed over.  I thought, "no problem - a few days." . . . like it was a skinned knee . . .

Oh HELL no . . .

It was a month or so until my body was able to scab over a wound this size.

They called it a bad abrasion.  It was more like a burn, really, and that is how it has healed - kind of shiny and the new skin is pretty pinkish/red.

Thankfully, three of my friends who were also at convention are medical professionals:  Two nurses and one nurse practitioner.

They fixed me right up because the bandage that the ER put on me would not stay in place and the tape they gave me to use on it - well, I taped it on my skin and let's just say that that was not a great thing.  Here is how my friends got me set up:

And so, every evening, I would take all the CoBan tape off and the telfa pad - sometimes I had to use sterile saline to get it off.  I would wash the wound with soap and water, and then rebandage it - I had quite an array of fashion colors of Coban tape.   I figured I might as well rock it since I had to use it  :-D

It wasn't much fun, but, all in all, I was very lucky.  Seriously.  I had my clogs on when I fell or the doc says the break in my foot would have been far worse; and I didn't hit my head; and I was able to participate in the rest of convention week.  But it really was The No-Fun Plan.

Here is a more recent shot.  My doctor and my nurse friends were all quite surprised by how well it has healed.  It's a little crater-like, and occasionally a little tender, but, all in all, everything could have been so much worse.

It's Sunday and I've been doing a medical test this morning - one where I have to send the results in to a lab.  It's finished now and as soon as FedEx opens I'm going to run over there and drop it off.  Nothing major, and I won't get any results back for at least six weeks, but I hope everything is fine in what I am submitting because I had to drink a horrible - and I do mean horrible - shake-like drink that did not agree with me at all at either end, if you get my drift.  Blech!!!

This catches us up in the health area.  I'll be posting some plant photos from National soon!

An oldie for your Sunday . . .


Saturday, September 15, 2018

I Am In Love with a Man Who Loves Me Back . . .

So . . . um . . . yeah, this is one of the amazing and wonderful things that has kept me away from my blog since spring.


He chooses to not have a web presence and I am honoring that.  He is well aware of my rather high-profile web presence. He's also aware that I am pretty roundy and he doesn't care.  We'll just call him J, shall we?  The most important thing to know, I guess, is that I'm happy.  So. Very. Happy.  I had forgotten what it felt like to be this happy.  And I had forgotten what it felt like to be truly loved and cherished. My heart is so full . . .  :-)  It's pretty wonderful.  So is he.  :-)  I smile a lot more than I used to . . .  :-)  Oh - there is one other thing - he and I were each other's first loves.  Yes, really.  And now, after 30+ years apart we are together again and it is heavenly - for both of us. Seriously, it's like a movie or a book. I won't be talking all that much about him here, but I'm sure he will come up from time to time, and I thought that anyone who has stuck with me all this time deserved to know one of the major reasons I've been gone from what is often my lifeline - this blog.  Learning to mesh two busy schedules has been nothing if not interesting  :-)

It wasn't just love that kept me away, however; there were plenty of other distractions from spring, on - not all of them happy.  I'll share them with you as we go along and we'll get caught back up together.  For now, though, I think it's most important to say that I have found that I very much miss writing here.  It really is a lifeline for me in many ways, and sharing parts of my life here has always been important to me. 

Most recently, I've realized that I really must journal for my own sanity.  And I really must take more time for myself.  And I really must give myself the time I need to take good care of myself.  Writing here is part of that deal.  And so I continue on the path of self-discovery and re-discovery.  It's a good path and one I've walked before.  This time I have a lantern to light my way as I consider how best to live in the present.

So, if there's anyone still out there, I apologize for the delay.  And if there's no one left, that's OK, too.  As most bloggers do, I mostly write here for myself - it's a gift when others find me and enjoy visiting my corner of the sky - or blogosphere, as it were. 

And so, here we are.  It's mid-September.  We are headed into the second half of Lughnasa in the Celtic Calendar - harvest time - and are barreling on toward Samhain.  It's been an odd summer weather-wise here in Chicagoland - often brutally hot.  But more recently the days have cooled and the nights are even cooler.  I'm loving it! 

And on that note, I will stop - for now - and leave you with an old memory . . .

p.s.  I know I've been gone way too long because I didn't rate a mention as a blogpal from my friend, Michelle at Boulderneigh, recently  ;-)  (just joking, Michelle!!).

Thursday, July 26, 2018

My Morning . . .

This is a long post, you guys, because I apparently need to process my morning in writing.

Alrighty then . . .

This morning, there was an accident involving the train I was on.  We hit a pedestrian. 

Before I go further, here is the statement of occurrence from our local ABC News affiliate:  "Officials said a female was sitting on the platform with her legs dangling and sustained injuries to one foot. She is expected to be OK."

I'm grateful that she wasn't killed, but - quite frankly - I'm surprised her legs weren't sheared off by the train.

She didn't step in front of the train, thank God.

She's not dead, thank God again.

She's just a fricking IDIOT. 

You guys, what kind of a moron SITS on a train platform and DANGLES HER LEGS OFF THE SIDE???  JesusMaryandJoseph - seriously - WHO DOES THAT??? 

I grew up here in Chicagoland, and I can tell you that you learn train safety at an early age here - at least you used to.  There are a LOT of trains here (Chicago is the railroad center of the country), and particularly in the southern suburbs there are a lot of grade crossings at street level.  You learn about train safety here. I can still hear my mom admonishing me about trains.  Could train safety have gone the way of cursive writing???  Do people not know any longer how to practice good train safety?? 

Anyway, I wondered why the engineer was laying on the horn for such a long time - he must have seen the danger and must have known he couldn't stop in time.  I realized it was far too long for the usual beeps they do when there is track construction or work.  And then, although I did not feel an impact (I was in the second car), I heard and felt the air brakes engage and the train juddered to a halt.  I knew that something bad must have happened. 

Imagine a fully loaded, six-car, express commuter train - going at a fair clip (that station was not a scheduled stop for my train) - and then imagine how long it takes for a train that long and that heavy to come to a stop.  I'm telling you that engineer blared the horn continually for a very long time before the train hit her.

We sat for quite some time because the engineer and conductors had to get out of the train and meet with the first responders.  Tracks had to be examined, evidence collected, etc.  Eventually the local first responders allowed the train to back up partially in to the Hazelcrest station, where we were able to leave the train to reboard another inbound train. The Metra conductors and Metra police were excellent and kept everyone informed far more often than the "every 15 minutes" that are required.

I can only imagine the trauma to the engineer who was driving the train, but I can tell you first-hand that a number of passengers were emotionally upset by this incident, including the young woman I sat beside on the second inbound train who was having flashbacks to a prior accident train accident. I sat with her and listened to her, and talked her through some simple breathing exercises, and I taught her the simple use of the mudras in her index fingers and thumbs to ratchet down her anxiety, which works, BTW (if you need to know about it, leave a comment and let me know because I'm happy to share it).  Thankfully these things were very helpful for her - and for me, too, truth be told. 

I also checked on one other young woman who had been behind me as we switched trains and who was also visibly shaken - she was sitting near me, too, and had been watching me with the first young woman.  Both these women were calmer by the time we got downtown and both thanked me for helping for them.

As we were exiting the train, the second young woman turned to me and said, "There should be more people like you in the world."  I was humbled by them both.  I don't think I did anything out of the ordinary, and I was glad I was able to help them ease some of their anxiety.

I was reminded of this quote from Mr. Rogers. 

I was too old to have watched his show as a child, but he always had important things to say and brought comfort to a lot of kids over his years on television.  It doesn't surprise me that he was an ordained Presbyterian minister

I guess I was a helper today.  

Friday, July 6, 2018

Um . . .

How on earth was my previous post made in March?!

This is a drive-by, but I wanted you to know that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.  Here are some highlights of the past few months:
  • Rebooting the podcast took more time and focus than anticipated, but it's going very well and I hope you'll check out the website - it's so much more than it was in its previous incarnation.
  • I had a good time at the national African violet convention in Buffalo, New York at the end of May.
  • Unfortunately, I also got to visit the ER of Buffalo General Hospital while I was at convention.
    • I'm OK now.
  • I have plenty of plant photos to share with you from National!
  • I even have some design photos to share with you from National!
  • My ass is not any smaller than it was in March.  Dammit.   :-S
 I'll be back soon.  Seriously  :-)

Anyone else as anxious to see this as I am?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Some News . . .

I'm excited to share that, after a hiatus of a little more than two years, my video podcast, All About African Violets is returning to production!

I started the podcast back in 2012.  This time - for Season 3 - the site has had a facelift, and the social media presence of the podcast has been increased.

Even as I have been down for the count with a relatively serious lung and sinus infection this past week, I've been happy to be working on the show again.  I have some great help with all things digital this time, as well as a professional video editing program.  Both of those things are making everything a LOT easier.

I also have some new equipment to work with and I'm shooting now in HD - which, so far as I can tell, just makes me look older and fatter  :-D  But the picture is great and I think it's going to be wonderful overall.

I posted a short trailer on the All About African Violets website (it's too large to post here).  I hope you'll take a look!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

It's February . . .

I'm here. 

I've been having a flare of inflammatory pain across the top in my left foot since January 16th. 

It's The No-Fun Plan and it's directly caused by having too much sugar.  Again.  At the moment, even dried fruit is too much.  So it's back to the full dose of my anti-inflammatory and no added sugar.  It's clearing, but it will take awhile for it to clear fully.

My Snow-Day earlier this month was exceptionally productive - I got a lot of batch cooking done and I did get that kitchen bar cleared and all the Christmas stuff put away  :-)

February always seems like the longest month even though it's the shortest.  I don't like to wish my time away, but it's been a tough month all around.  Another school shooting, and closer to home on February 13th, the murder of Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer.  Shot by a career felon wearing body armor and carrying a modified automatic weapon.  At a stairwell at the Thompson Center. Less than two blocks from my office.  In the Loop (downtown Chicago).  The entire city was heartbroken. 

I was affected by Cmdr. Bauer's death more than I can say, even though I did not know him.  I'm not so naive to think that all cops are good cops, but I was raised to respect the police who work so hard to keep us safe in this city that I call home; and by all accounts (including from a personal friend who knew him), this man was one of the best.  He was 53 years old, a 31-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department.  He left behind a wife and 13-year-old daughter.  So yes, in case you were wondering, it's quite possible to support our police and armed forces and not be conservative in one's politics.  I spoke with a police sergeant in front of the Thompson Center a few days after the event to thank him for his service and express my condolences on Commander Bauer’s death. I was having a hard time putting in to words why I’ve been so affected by his death when I didn’t even know him personally.  The sergeant thanked me, and said, “We’re all in this city every day. One City. One Family.” It just seemed so right somehow for him to say that. I’ve lived a lot of places and I always come home. Chicago and those of us who live and work here are different than any other place I have ever lived. We truly are one city and one family. 

I was walking back across the Loop (Chicago's downtown business district) to my office (and car) after seeing the Dentist two Fridays ago. The Loop was relatively empty for a Friday night.  Heading Northwest . . .

The famous Picasso in Daley Plaza at the Daley Center - the flags were at half-mast in memory of Cmdr. Bauer.

Kitty corner from the back of the Daley Center, is the Thompson Center.

 The stairwell at the right front of the Thompson Center where people have left flowers and lit candles for Cmdr. Bauer.

And so - February - not the greatest month this year.  But for me, the days continue to pass and I am grateful for every one I am given.  My office is preparing to move to a new building at the end of April, I watched quite a bit of the Olympics, I'm crocheting a scarf, and I'm knitting a sweater.  I'm practicing Tai Chi and learning Tai Chi Sword.  My Lenten challenges have been not so successful (I only made it four days without potatoes). But I am grateful for the routine of my simple life.  Every day we wake up, is a gift.