Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Update on the Heels . . .

So. I started PT for my heels on Monday.

  • I have to go three times a week.
  • I apparently have poor mobility in my foot joints . . .
  • I'm getting cortisone, but NOT shots. It's called iontophoresis, or something like that. It's diffused into my feet electronically . . . (it's like Star Trek :-D)
  • I have to stretch multiple times a day.
  • I have to ice multiple times a day.
  • I have to attempt to grab a towel with my toes multiple times a day . . . I suck at this and it gives me foot cramps . . .

I was OK on all this stuff, until the therapist said, "oh yeah, no, you're not supposed to be riding your bike." And "um . . . no, no wall squats, no Bosu lunges."

I'm managing not to curse. I know that this is temporary - the new doctor said that I WILL be able to walk for exercise again, just not very soon and I will most likely have to wear orthotics (those are special inserts for your shoes that support your feet properly), and stretch a really lot - for the rest of my natural life - to be able to do so.

That's OK. I'm fine with that. I'll stretch it if means that I will eventually be able to exercise normally again . . .

But for now, no weight training or cardio that involves some sort of medial something or other of the feet . . . I'm going to ask tomorrow if I can swim. Well, of course I CAN swim, I've been swimming since I learned at the Thornridge High School pool in Dolton when I was a little kid. I was even life guard qualified. Not when I was a little kid, though. Later. I never worked as a life guard, I was just qualified. OMG I'm so tired.

It's really late. Me and my iced heels are going to bed now.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Thanks so much for the happy birthday wishes you guys :-) And Laurie, yes, it was funny not having dinner with you and Kristi this year in St. Louis.

For the past two years I've been at The Loopy Ewe's Spring Fling. But this year, I didn't make the cut - not even the waiting list, so I figured that there must have been a reason that that happened. And as it was, a number of things would have made it difficult for me to attend, even had I gotten the luck of the draw. So, everything happens for a reason.

But here - finally - are some project photos! These are simple socks made for my Nan in the UK. 2x2 rib so they will stretch, and eye of partridge heels. The yarn is Lonesome Stone Mountain Feat yarn in the Glacier's Edge colorway. I picked it up on my trip to Colorado last May. I initially started the Waterloose socks with this and it was useless, so I frogged and went for simple. The variegation cancels out any possible stitch definition. I did knit these on 1 1/2's and the yarn is thicker than usual, so they are very cushy. Truth be told, I could have gone up a needle size.

Next is Knitting Basket. I like it a lot! I used Cascade 220 in two colors. The darker photo is more true than the other one. This is perfect for a project bag. When I make another (it takes only a couple of skeins), I'm going to try going up a needle size, doubling the yarn and skipping the handles. That should give me a more sturdy basket that could be used throughout the house for stuff :-)

And here's the stuff that's in process - an Irish Hiking Scarf and an Amanda Hat (thanks to Christina and Darthknitter for that pattern idea!), and one of the next socks. That's a plain stockinette sock - the yarn is Socks that Rock Lightweight in the KawKaw (or as KniftyRed says, CaCa ;-D) colorway. I love them - but so does my cousin, K.

You might recall, K is my cousin who absolutely loves the socks I have made for her. When she catches me knitting, she's fond of saying, "Oh! Are those for me?!" :-D

I couldn't refuse her this time, so my first STR socks will be keeping her warm this winter. Interestingly enough, I got a hole at the top of the gusset on this (camouflaged when I did the finish work). I can't remember the last time I was so careless - but K said she didn't care, so I've started the second sock and these will not stay with me after all. Guess mine will be the other colorway that was calling me - Carbon Dating.

So, my birthday weekend is done - and it was great fun - I ate far too much cake . . . I'll be riding my bike a LOT this week :-D

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What a Week . . .

It has been quite a week - the company I work for had its annual meeting a weekend ago, which I worked. The rest of the week was spent playing catchup while exhausted, and dealing with all sorts of unexpected stuff.

The good news is that I went to the new foot doctor and we're starting over. I got a new anti-inflammatory for my heels that my regular doctor gave me, and it's miraculous. I like the new doctor and she says we're going to take it slow to see what actually works for me. So, early next week I start PT for my heels. It's likely I will get some orthotics at some point, but they cannot do anything like that until the inflammation goes down.

And get this - no shots! WooHoo!! I would not have agreed to them anyway, but the doc explained that at PT they have some sort of a patch for the cortisone, so I'm having that because it will help take things back to normal - well, normal enough to be able to get well. I'm pretty excited about all this :-)

No photos to share tonight - sorry - but I have a number of projects finished, which is nice :-)

So. Friday was my birthday, and it was very nice to have a lovely day after a very crazy week. There was cake at my office for me, which I enjoyed - and you know, on your birthday you should eat as much cake as humanly possible. So I did. A choice I spent some time regretting last night . . . oh well. I rode this morning - that helped ;-)

I spent a quiet night at home for my birthday - and defrosted the last of last summer's pesto. Yum-O-Rama!!! I received happy wishes from so many people - at work, on the phone, on Ravelry, facebook - it was just wonderful! And then, today, two of my cousins, M.E. and K., took me to the spa and we all got tune up massages, and then went to lunch at Fresh Starts in Flossmoor. It was wonderful! And then, my cousin, M.E. and I headed off to Tinley Park.

There is a LOT of very kewl stuff in Tinley Park. Who knew?! We went to the Irish market, where I got some Cherry Bakewell Tarts (OMG they are the BEST and I haven't any in forever), and some Digestives (they are plain cookies that are really good with tea). Then we went down the street to the Irish store. Then, we stopped at a holistic healing place and went in to look around and it was pretty neat! We foresee appointments there in our futures :-D

Then, we made our way to Lowes in the never-ending search for a bathroom vanity. And thanks to a cute salesman in the vanity department, I have a quote for a piece that I think is going to work very well in my bathroom. Yay!!! Now starts the hunt for the tile . . . ;-)

M.E. picked me up this morning at 9:30, and we left Lowes at 6 p.m. It was QUITE the day!! Just a wonderful way to celebrate - with my cousins, who might as well be my sisters. :-)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Lovely Day . . .

Today I attended what I hope was the first of hopefully many more Beverly Hills Yarn Fests. Put together by Carol, at My Sister's Knits, this is the first event of its kind on the South Side, and it was GREAT!

If you missed it, you'll want to keep an eye out for it next year. Seriously. Yarn and fiber, and vendors from all over, plus some snacks (they were good - I had to take some Advil for my heels and it's always best when you're taking mega-doses to have some food in your stomach along with it).

Toni, from The Fold was there - always a treat to see her - and there were many other vendors - and not just yarn - there were bags, and jewelry and soap and just all sorts of stuff!

So - did I come home with anything? Yes, of course :-D Yarn dispensations were in place, and although Knitterary didn't think she needed one . . . she did succumb to some really lovely Socks That Rock silk thread. It's going to be one amazing shawl!

Miss Amy came home with some more roving for her new spinning wheel, as did Chris for her spindle and she got a lesson in "park and draft," and is itching to get her spindle going! And somehow I totally missed what Linda, Rachael and Jamie got! Also got to see KniftyRed and our friend, B, and well, it was just a great afternoon!

What did I get? Well, I bought one skein of yarn - yes, really. ONE. :-D One of the great things about small fairs like this is that you often find really lovely stuff by the assorted independent dyers who work the smaller show circuits. Today, I found Evermore Studios. The wife dyes yarn and the husband makes stained glass! The yarn is 100% Merino Superwash, and the colorway is Red Headed Stranger. Um . . . yeah, that came home with me :-D

Oh - you noticed that second skein, didn't you? It's called Sophies' Toes (the colorway is Gumball), and there's a story there: the story of my Water Lily Socks. It started here - and took a horrifying turn here. Well, it was horrifying for me, but Knitterary has weeny little feet (unlike my size 9 gunboats) and so the Water Lily Socks went home with her that day - a happy ending for her! Yay!

And then, completely by surprise, this morning, Knitterary walked up to me and handed me that skein of Sophie's Toes - I thought she was going to ask for a yarn dispensation for it (which I would have gladly given because yeah, she, Amy and I are on the stash busting wagon, but geez, it's important to support local events like this!!) , but she handed me the bag and said, "this is for you. I have been looking for a yarn that matched the socks since I knew how much you loved it. This is as close as I have been able to come." What a lovely gift, and it's pretty darn close to Scottish Garden. AND it's superwash (thank heaven!). Thank you, my friend :-)

Also in the photo is a very kewl bird ornament that Linda got me from her trip to the Galapagos Islands! I love birds :-) I can't remember what the name of this one is, but it looks really kewl on my board in my office at home. And you can see a crochet necklace kit there in the back, and some stitch markers down front (those came free with my Evermore Studios stuff), and the way cute sock stained glass that I'm going to put on one of the sunroom windows :-)

And way down in front you can see two little necklaces - well, one domino and one resin/photo. These are the handiwork of one Carrie Notari. Fell in love with them both. Here's a close up. "The Queen" made me laugh, particularly since it's something I've been known to say when solving a particularly difficult software issue or other work thing: "I am the Queen!!" I probably won't be actually wearing this one, but it looks pretty great on the aforementioned board in my office :-D

And how perfect are those blue birds of happiness? I absolutely love them and they will be getting a lot of wear this summer. No question about that.

After the Yarn Fest, we headed over to Panera for lunch. We actually headed for a burger joint, but it was closed, and Panera was right there, and yum! Who doesn't like Panera? :-) A quick trip to Borders for some magazines (and a Mediterranean cookbook for me - Yum again), and then home.

I'm heading into a very busy week, so this was a great way to spend the day :-) The only down side was that I was wearing my new hiking boots to break them in - and even with liners they were not great on the heels. I'm going to try different liners tomorrow and see how they go. I was happy to get home and put my Dansko's back on.

And the dryer has finally buzzed, which means I can get the clothes out and hit the hay!

Good night all, sweet dreams :-)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's Tomorrow . . .

It's not the greatest quality, and for some reason there's time code on it, but she had the best pipes of any of those who have come after her . . .

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

There's Cursing in this One . . .


So. Today I'm blogging about some stuff I don't ordinarily write about, but it's been a rough couple of days, and I just need to let off some steam. The steam has cursing (just so you know).

I have plantar fasciitis. Both feet. I talked about it here. Well, it's been at least a year since I've been working with the pain, and at least six months since I went to a foot doctor and he diagnosed it.

I've done what I'm supposed to do, but it's not going away.

Most days it's manageable, but I take anywhere from 8 to 12 Advil every day, and when I forget, I pay for it. I stretch. I ice (OK - I forget to ice sometimes because it hurts like hell to ice your heels). I'm icing now (really, I am). I wear nothing but my walking shoes and Dansko's (all those cute shoes I have? Well I never get to wear them anymore). I never go barefoot - I mean JesusHChrist I even put my clogs on when I wake up in the middle of the night to pee.

So yesterday, I have a flare up. By the end of the day, I was in really awful pain. I was at the club working out with my trainer, and just standing was hurting. I came home and I took 4 Advil and went to bed. I usually don't take it right before bed because it can be a little bothersome, but I really hurt. And I didn't sleep, because my fucking heels hurt so damn bad that they kept waking me up. . .

Here's another thing I don't do anymore. I don't walk anymore. I am a walking athlete. I'm not kidding. I had a walking program going like you would not believe. I used to get up and hit the treadmill pretty much every day for at least an hour, often an hour and a half, and on weekends it was not uncommon for me to do a couple of hours or more. I really like walking. It's my cardio of choice and it's best for me. Or it used to be . . . It's good for pretty much everything in my body. Except apparently I didn't stretch enough - or so they think, and I got it AFTER I lost a bunch of weight. And really, who the hell stretches after they WALK?!

So, in an effort to heal, since February I've completely given up walking for cardio exercise. I'm riding my recumbent bike instead, but an hour on the bike is somehow just not the same as an hour on my feet. I've given up all cardio walking - and I really miss it. The only walking I do now is to and from the train every day and whatever light errands I might need to do at lunch time. I used to regularly have 10,000+ steps pretty much every day by the time I got to the office in the morning. Now, I'm lucky if I get 7,000 just in general walking around.

I hate this, but I keep focusing myself to the positive and how I'm swapping out riding for walking "while I heal," and how I know I can walk again soon.

Except I'm not getting better and this flare up is just so damn disheartening (and if you know me, you now know how much this hurts for me to be saying this stuff since I'm THE most positive person in practically the world. I'm not kidding. I think maybe only Wayne Dyer is more positive than I am).

So, today I'm on day two of pretty constant pain - enough so that even with 4 Advil and breakfast and another 4 at lunch, I was having a hard time focusing at work. At lunchtime, I walk over to my WW meeting and the week's topic is this great 5K that they are challenging everyone to train for (and which I could do in my SLEEP if my heels didn't hurt) and my body just slowly filled up with sadness. I was sitting there, just listening to the leader and other members talk about how they walk and how they started walking, and how easy it was for them to walk, and it was like the sadness came in through my feet and just filled me up until it got to my heart, and when it got there, I thought my heart would break. I had to leave the meeting because I thought I was going to start sobbing because the sadness had to go somewhere - it was spilling out my heart.

Oh A, you're so dramatic . . . you're over-reacting . . .

Maybe so. But maybe not. I was always the kid with the book. I was always picked last for any team sport my entire life. And if you were naturally athletic, you probably don't get this at all - But I had to work to find something I could do and enjoy and stick with. I tried a lot of stuff over the years, but finally - I finally found something that I was good at. Something I could do on my own, any time I wanted. I got the right shoes and the right socks and I just kept going. Something that was healthy and helped me be healthy. Healthy and strong. Something I rocked so fucking hard that I became an athlete. That's major. That's HUGE. I'm an athlete. Me - the kid with the book.

I finally found something athletic that I was really good at - and it was snatched away from me. Where is the lesson in this? I'm trying to find it . . . What am I supposed to be learning? WHAT?!?!

It could be worse. Well, no shit, I tell myself, Of course it could be worse. There are a million things worse than a whiney woman with sore heels. So many horrible things in the world - and nothing matters to me today except that I can't walk like I want to. Call me self-absorbed, call me selfish - actually, no, please don't. Stuff will matter to me again tomorrow, but for today, I get to be sad. Tomorrow will come (the sun will come out, tomorrow . . . ) and things will be looking better, in fact, I've already taken steps to ensure that things will be better, but for tonight, I'm just howling, just getting it out, and if you read this far, thank you very much.


So, two days of intense pain again, coupled with that rush of sadness today made me realize that I cannot continue on like this. The first foot doctor I went too wasn't much help and he wasn't much interested. So I'm going to see another one. I'm just waiting to hear back from my regular doctor about possible next steps (which I think might include PT and perhaps an MRI to see if they can tell what's going on in there without cutting me open). It's been suggested that I see a Sports Medicine Podiatrist - so I'm hopeful that I will get to do that, and sooner rather than later (and with a bazillion major sports teams in Chicagoland, there has to be some sports guy who deals with heels).

We return you now to your regularly scheduled programming, already in progress . . .

::::walks off to the kitchen to put the gel ice back in the freezer . . . :::::

Monday, April 5, 2010

How Kewl is This?!

visited 31 states (62%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

And for all my travels, there are a LOT of places I have not been. Yet . . . ;-D

visited 18 states (8%)
Create your own visited map of The World

I have not been to Alaska - somehow the world map thinks it is part of Canada . . .

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rain on the Roof . . .

What is it about a thunderstorm that is so soothing? This Easter day with clouds and rains and bits of sunshine early on, was quiet for me. I confess that I did not even go to church today - somehow, I was supposed to be here. At home today.

And it was a lovely day - I watched a movie (Julie & Julia - which was interesting - the best bits were Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci as Julia and Paul Child), and knitted some, read bits of my soap-making books, and of course, did the laundry for the coming week - and actually got it all put away for once.

All the silk/merino has been reskeined, and PatsyZ was right - it looks quite good! I'm thinking about what I'm going to make with it - originally my yardage count (from when the yarn was purchased) was approximately 1,650 yards. My calculations now give me about 1,121 yards. That's a conservative estimate. I might have more, but it's always better to err on the side of less where yardage is concerned.

Yesterday, on my way home from the club, I stopped off to start gathering some more of what I'm going to need to be making soap. I haven't found a good pot yet - the ones today at GFS were aluminum, and I need to get a stainless steel one or an enameled one. So, that search will go on, but I did get a large bottle of olive oil, and also some soybean oil, but it has some preservatives in it so I'm not sure I can use it after all. But I did pick up some at the fresh market that is 100% soybean oil, so I'll be able to use that for sure.

I'm attempting to avoid going to Wal-Mart for the pot. I have been there, but I make a serious effort to patronize my local merchants . . . as my late mom used to say, "if you don't patronize your local merchants, pretty soon you won't have any." As usual, she was right. So, yesterday in addition to GFS, I went to Tuesday Morning and picked up a coffee grinder (used for pulverizing additives) and also a stick blender (used for stirring up the soap). I'm worried that I should have gotten a Sunbeam one, though because it has a stronger motor. I also paid a visit to my local health food store (best peanut better - just peanuts that the machine pulverizes), and my local fresh market, Bizios (it ROCKS - if you're here in the area, GO!)

Here are my latest two Baby Surprise Jackets. This pattern was created by the late Elizabeth Zimmerman, whose mission in life seems to have been to free people from using patterns . . . I'm sure she's rolling over in her grave, because I found a "cheat sheet" that detailed what to do on every row! Much safer for me - I don't appear to have gotten the designer gene, so patterns and I are great pals. :-D

The red/orange/pink one is newborn size, and the blue is more like 9 months I think. Both yarns were from my stash, and both are Lorna's Laces. The red one is Shepherd Sport Multi, in a colorway called Lodge Moore. Neither of these photos is capturing the colors properly. The red one is not quite so electric looking - and there's more pink in it than the photo would have you believe. The blue one is also much nicer looking in person. Probably I should have waited for a sunny day - but they have been in particularly short supply around here this year so far, so I did what I could :-)

I picked up all these skeins at the mill end sale a couple of years ago. The blue is Shepherd Worsted Multi in the Sand Ridge colorway. Both jackets still need buttons. I'll see if I can do that sometime this week.

The stash continues to be busted! These two jackets took four skeins out of the yarn armoire. Good on me :-)

I'm thinking that I'm going to start some socks with some of the Socks That Rock yarn that I have accumulated. Everyone speaks so highly of it - and I have plenty of skeins of it that I have not used yet. Two are calling to me right now: Carbon Dating and KawKaw. Both are light weight. I do have a medium weight skein that Linda gifted to me some time ago, but I think I'm going to start with the lighter weight first. I'm thinking that KawKaw is going to be the winner and I'm thinking just plain stockinette to let the colorway do its own thing.

I can hear the rain on the roof . . . I'm thinking I will sleep well tonight.