Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday . . .

I used to love to go downtown on Black Friday.  This was back in the day when Marshall Field's and Carson's were still fixtures on State Street.  I loved the hustle and bustle, and seeing the windows . . .

Those days are gone, much the same way Field's is.  And there's a Target where Carson's used to be.  And I find that the crowds now are far less civilized.  Times change.  Hard for some of us . . . 

I spent a quiet Thanksgiving by myself yesterday - and it was really great.  I ate food that I normally avoid, drank some root beer and a ginger ale (again - not normal), and I watched all three of my Netflix (which have been languishing since early September for lack of time . . . ).  On that score - Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a lovely little film; Les Mis was just not so great . . . ; and Life of Pi is well worth seeing.  I got some knitting done. Did I mention that I ate food that I normally avoid?

Yeah - well, it's been kind of a crazy couple of weeks on that score.  I really haven't felt well for a couple of weeks - probably some low-grade intestinal bug,, but it's made me really tired.  Long story short, after the bottle of Gatorade I had to have last week, my body has been seeking sugar again.  And I indulged it because it did give me more energy, which I really, really needed - and I really didn't feel the effects too much which was really surprising . . .

Really???  Well, yeah - I mean, I didn't feel the effects.  Not right away . . .

No, not right away, but the cumulative effect of a little sugar here and a little more there in these past few weeks smacked me upside the head this morning - or should I say grabbed my joints in a vice grip.  I totally blew past the envelope - forget about pushing, I turbo'd right through.  I mean, really?  If I needed any more proof about how sugar and highly processed foods affect my body, I have it now, because the chickens came home to roost today.  Everything hurts, and after months (and I was SO excited to be not taking it anymore . . . ) of being off my anti-inflammatory, I had to take one this morning. 

I just made a very healthy dinner and had it for breakfast  ;-)   I do that a lot - I'd rather eat a flat omelette for dinner and food thought of traditionally as dinner food early in the day.  Seems to work well for me, and since I live alone, I don't have to cater to anyone else's tastes  ;-D

What did I learn from this?  Well, I've learned in the past few weeks that I need to get more fish in and more veg in.  Those things help my energy levels.  I've been skirting the edge of being a carbetarian, and it's not good.  Not best for me.  It hasn't helped that I'm still without a treadmill.   Man - I really miss it. 

So, to paraphrase Dr. Wayne DyerSugar, Be Gone!  Right back to avoiding sugar and highly processed foods, getting more fish protein, going a little easier on the peanut butter and nuts, carbs more from fruits and veg again, and a renewed focus on moving forward.

I am thankful to have figured this out.  Yay Me!

I must have Ally McBeal on the brain - here is one of my favorite Vonda Shepard tunes from the soundtrack. 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Letting Go . . .

This has been a really good catch up weekend.

Yay Me!!!!

The divesting here continues apace . . .  it's kind of an obsession now, to see what else I can let go.  I have to say that it feels really, really good.  It's lighter, and less energy is needed to navigate my days now that there is less and less stuff here.  I like it.  A lot.

Friday night was spent in the basement sorting all the Christmas stuff.  I have three empty Christmas boxes now, and one less ornament box.  This is a pretty big deal.

Saturday morning, the AT&T guy came and fixed my phone and Internet (someone disconnected me at the box . . . who knows why), and while that was going on, I did a few winterizing things here, and got the car loaded to head to the Second Chance Shop.

2nd Chance

I would say that I divested about half of all the stuff I had.  I have a full-size station wagon, and the back was completely full, with a couple of things in the back seat for good measure.  This was the second time I have downsized Christmas.  The first was about 6 or 7 years ago, I think.   This one was a pretty substantial downsizing, and I figured that the shop could put this stuff out right away and make some quick money for the shelter, so I wanted to accomplish it this weekend.  Yay!

Then, I sorted half a file drawer last night and half this morning.  There are six file cabinets to sort through - this one was probably one of the worst.  All this stuff came out of one drawer.  Looks like I'll be shredding stuff later today.
Drawer 1

I did find a lot of stuff - a lot of comics that I saved for whatever reason.  Some I tossed, but some I'm going to scan so I can save them.  They still make me smile  :-)

I'm really glad to at least have one drawer sorted, and I think this was the one that probably had the most stuff that I could toss.  Yay me!!!

I just keep going, looking for things that no longer serve me - things I can do without.  I mean, if I got run over by a bus tomorrow, I would really hate for someone else to have to go through all the crap in this house.  Not that I'm planning on making contact with a bus any time soon  :-D  Seriously, I just want less stuff around me.  Someone else can have all this stuff, and if the shelter makes money in the bargain, then it's all good.

So, time to head to the store, and then get started with the shredding.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Liminal Space . . .

I've been thinking alot lately - always dangerous, that  ;-)  - and it's becoming clear to me that I'm in a transitional place in my life.  Again.  I'm not quite sure what this transition is yet, but it's something.  I've spent the last couple of months divesting both physically and spiritually and making room in my life for whatever is coming.  For something is coming - make no mistake.  I just have no earthly idea yet what it could possibly be.  And as I continue to strip away the trappings of my life that no longer serve me, I find myself in liminal space. I'm right there - at the threshold, and it's irritating as hell that I can't get through the door - hell, I can't get a fix on anything . . .

But I keep thinking and trying to figure it out, rather than just letting it unfold, which would, of course, be the better plan.  Somehow, though, I was behind the door when they were passing out patience . . .   At any rate, it will unfold if I would just let it.  Seriously, it's like picking a scab - you can't do that and expect something to heal.  Well, it's the same way here - you can't push the river, it's going to go along at its own pace and in its own time.  I really can't imagine that I am as impatient as I am, and yet, there it is.  But I keep thinking.  And lately, these are the things I have been thinking about . . .

I am Not 25 any Longer . . .

I am not old.  And I continue to look pretty much at least a decade younger than I am, but as I inch toward what, to me, is a crazy number in age, I have come to the crossroads of realizing that I have to conserve my energy better.  For someone who has always had more energy than the average bear (  ;-) ), discovering that I don't any longer, is a pretty tough lesson.  As mentioned, I look substantially younger than I am - and I'm in pretty good shape, and for the most part, I really do still have a really lot of energy - far more than pretty much anyone else I know no matter what age they are, truth be told.  But my last two weekends were crammed with stuff and I've been paying the price ever since, and I know, I swore up and down that I wasn't going to do that now that summer is gone, but stuff just came up and it seemed smart to do it all. (Really, A???)

Except for now when I've spent the last two weeks trying in vain to catch back up and feeling tired and having no energy and not sleeping enough.  I mean when I don't have the energy to play my pipes for a week and half, you know something's not right.

The kicker came on Tuesday.  I was working out with my trainer as I do nearly every Tuesday morning at 5:30 a.m. at the club.  I hadn't felt all that great for a few days - just generally tired and not sleeping well - a little stress, I guess - nothing serious, but my sleep patterns get disrupted with stress.  And since I didn't feel all that great, I hadn't been eating all that much - which is great on the scale, but apparently not so great otherwise . . . A half an hour in to my workout, I got the wobblies.  Wobbly = I have to sit down before I fall over.  My trainer's normally calm demeanor ratcheted up about five notches as he grabbed my arm, led me to a seat, and instructed one of the club employees to go downstairs and get me a Gatorade.  He took my blood pressure and checked my pulse.  I figured the BP was probably a little low - and he had been kicking my ass, but it was still only 110/62.  I don't know - doesn't your BP go up when you work out?  If so, then it was low.  Whatever.  I had to drink an entire bottle of red Gatorade.  I tried to get up and walk about halfway through.  That wasn't a good plan.  Back to the seat and the rest of the Gatorade.

That stuff is gross.  And it's full of sugar - which was apparently what I needed.  My trainer had to leave by then and he didn't want to leave me - but I assured him I'd be fine, and one of the other guys at the club kept an eye on me until I finished the Gatorade.  I was still a little wobbly, so I took the elevator back downstairs, but I wasn't wobbly bad enough to warrant anything further.  I got my coat on and got to the car and by the time I was halfway home, I was feeling much more like my usual self.

So, um, apparently I have to make sure I have protein the night before I go to the club.  And I need to sleep better.  And I need to not keep doing so much stuff all the time.  Stop laughing.  I'm doing the best I can, but stuff keeps creeping up on me, and it always seems like a good idea at the time . . . and it's not like I don't want to do all the stuff I do - I do.  But geez . . . well, you see my dilemma:  How do you begin to say no to things you've always said yes to in the past?  Always been happy to say yes to . . .  How do I get through the doorway to a more even keel?

When you Weigh Less, You get Cold more Easily . . .

At least I think that's what's going on.  I generally keep my house between 62-65 degrees F in the winter.  This year, I'm physically much smaller than I have been in well over a decade.  Being an ovo-pescetarian has really made a difference for me in the size department.  Yay!  But this means that I don't have as much padding as I used to . . .  I suppose it could also be that now that I'm officially menopausal, I'm not as warm as I used to be (because my own "personal summers" are few and far between now).  I don't know - that's just a guess - but in any case, I find myself having to use both bed quilts when I first fall asleep, or sitting in my sunroom wrapped up in a shawl and wearing my blue penguin fleecy pants a whole lot more often than I think I should be having to.  Linda the Chicken Lady thinks I should have my thyroid checked, but having dropped my dosage once before (many years ago) when I got smaller, it was a complete disaster - so I'm thinking that's not what's going on here.

One of my friends said, "old people get cold more easily."  Other than wanting to give him a swift crack, it's possible that he might have a point, but really, I think it's just another foible of a middle-aged body and my inability thus far to get myself on a more even physical keel.  Kinda like when I drink wine now, my face gets much redder than it ever used to.  I read recently that that's a sign of alcohol sensitivity, which makes sense because I never had all these weird food sensitivities when I was a kid.  That alcohol might be added to that list seems quite plausible.

Anyway - I rinsed the main furnace filter and will change the filter on the other furnace tonight, and I'm seriously considering taking the hit in my pocketbook to have the heat up a little higher in the house this winter.  The plants will like it, that's for sure.

You Never Stop Missing Your Mom . . .

My mom has been gone now for nearly a decade, and just this week I miss her so much that it makes my heart hurt.  So many things I should have asked her.  So many things I WANT to ask her.  So many times I still want to be comforted by her (those have always been pretty much along the lines of "Mom, I did a really stupid thing and now my life is over . . . " I was always the more dramatic one.)  She knew everything - she knew where to find anything you could possibly want - and she always knew what to say or do in any given situation.  She really did.  And when I'm in a place of not knowing or of transition, like I am now, is when I miss her and her counsel the most.  She would know what to do about being tired, she would know what to do about whatever my latest stupid move happened to be (and OMG I have made a ton of them over my lifetime thus far - oftentimes one more stupid than the next  :-D), she would know all the stuff that I somehow managed to not learn before she left me.

Why didn't I pay better attention?  Why didn't I ask more questions?  Funny, that one, because, if you could ask her, she would tell you that I asked WAY more than my share - one of those "you're just like your father" moments - apparently he always needed the details, too.  She never asked as many questions as I always have - and she never sweated the small stuff.  And as much as I have striven to live my live with joy and purpose after her example, I feel lately like I never seem to quite get to the place where she comfortably lived her life.  Or I get there - for about a half an hour - and then it all goes pear-shaped.

Anyway . . .

Like I said, I've been thinking lately - and I think the holidays affect me more than I ever realized - or perhaps they just affect me more now than they used to.  I'm hiding out for Thanksgiving this year.  I have one thing planned with one of my good friends, but that's it.  My extended family is scattered for the holiday and I am very much looking forward to just regrouping/recouping on my own.  I'm going to downsize Christmas again this year (starting this weekend while I'm waiting for the phone guy to show up and figure out how come I all of a sudden don't have any dial tone or Internet) - and I don't think I'm going to put up the big tree.  Somehow it just seems overwhelming . . . I think I'll just get Mom's little tree out - the one she switched to after she gave up all her Christmas stuff - it's already lit and decorated.  You just have to take it out, fluff it up a little, and plug it in.  That sounds pretty perfect to me this year.

And so it goes - I am at the corner of walk and don't walk.  I'm not sure which way to turn, so I guess I'm going to have to be patient for awhile longer.

Please wish me luck.

Here's The River . . .

Thursday, November 14, 2013


It all started with black pants, a black tank, and little Liz Claiborne black feather cardi (patterned with feathers in muted colors, not actual feathers :-D)  . . .

Perfect little work outfit, don't you think?  Yeah, I thought so, too.

We were both wrong - here's how quickly it all went pear-shaped . . .

I check my look in the mirror and I look down.  The tank is WAY too low cut for the office (possibly too low cut for anywhere now that I have these great new Panache SuperBras from Bravissimo in Edinburgh) - let me just say that my girls have not looked this good in a VERY long time - but I digress . . .

Anyway, I decide to go with a sweater instead. . . that apparently biased when it went to the dry cleaners :-S  That was bothersome because it was my mom's and I really like it.  Off with that, at which point I notice that the hem of my black pants is out on the right leg.  


I start pawing through the closet looking for another pair of black pants.  No black pants.  Oh hell - REALLY??  I have only ONE pair of black pants????  Crap.  How can that BE???  I see another pair toward the back - tags still on and I grab them, praying they fit because they are from four years ago when I got smaller before I had plantar fasciitis.  They fit.  I managed to get the tags off and put them on.  Eureka!!  Yay me - they didn't fit a month ago.  

OK - at least I have pants.

But they are navy blue.

See above for why the original top that went with the black pants didn't go with the blue pants (or any pants at all for that matter).  I give the biased sweater one more try with the blue pants.  No.  The blue pants do nothing to alleviate the wonky curving line of dark buttons on the oatmeal-colored sweater that starts properly right between my girls, and ends up wrapped around my right hip.  :-P  

Alrighty then.  

Next, a cute blue/green/white leaf patterned top (I love leaves) with 3/4 length sleeves (I also love 3/4 sleeves).  Too summery, too baggy in the body, and not long enough in the length.  No.

Then a long-sleeved blue top with false cuffs and collar.  Color OK with the blue pants but it looked dorky on me.

Second Chance Shop: 3    A: 0

FINALLY, a nice teal-colored v-neck tee with 3/4 sleeves that I just got at Chico's. Fine with the blue pants. Cute, fits, long enough in the body and whothehell cares about the arms because they are 3/4.  Did I mention that I love 3/4 sleeves?  I do.  I really do.

I missed my train.  I missed the second train.  I missed the late train.

I suppose it's a good problem to have that all of a sudden I have a lot of choice in what I want to wear every day, but really????  I'm going to have to plan better - and I need a new pair of black pants that fit.

It's a good thing I have a good sense of humor.


p.s.  You can get Panache SuperBras on Amazon - you don't have to order overseas - I like the Andorra  :-)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Geez . . .

This coughing up a lung phase of the stupid cold I had is really getting old now.

I'm serious.  I cannot stand this.

There's no reason for me to still be coughing - and yesterday I had one of those episodes where I thought I was going to expire - you know, the kind where you're coughing so hard you're choking because you can barely get air into your lungs, succeeding only to violently cough some more, tears running down your (by now) red/practically purple face.  At work.  Great.  :-S

Geez.  Some days having asthma is the worst.  I would say all days, except that normally my asthma is so well managed and controlled that I barely remember that I have it.  It took me a long time to get to that place - for years I tried to pretend I didn't really have asthma.  I was so angry . . . it robbed me of my professional singing voice, and since I very much defined myself as a singer, it was way hard to lose something so precious to me.  I spent so long fighting - not taking my meds (they affect my vocal control), which would inevitably lead to a bad, bad crash.  Finally, one day, my asthma doc here said something that made sense to me and the lightbulb went on - it went pretty much like this:

"A, if you had a chronic condition like high blood pressure, would you take medication to control it?"

"Yes, certainly I would - my mom had high blood pressure - you have to take your medication for it because they call it the silent killer and it's doing damage if you don't take your meds." (Out of the mouths of goofballs . . . how is it that sometimes it's so hard to see the forest for the trees?)

"A, asthma is like high blood pressure - it's a chronic condition. I can't make you take your medication, but pretending you don't have it - how's that working out for you?"


"Oh . . ."

That was probably seven or eight years ago now, and since learning to manage it, I've gone down to the lowest dose of one med, and then down further to the lowest dose of the one below the first one.  I RARELY have to use my rescue inhaler.  Seriously, like maybe once a year.  But whenever there is an upper respiratory thing going on, that's when things go pear-shaped.

Four puffs off my rescue inhaler (that's two doses - which is actually a lot) managed to quell the cough yesterday, allowing me to breathe again, but it was hours before my face turned back to its normal color, and I was zippy all afternoon from the inhaler - and then, I was wiped from all that coughing and my lungs were hurting.

So steps are being taken  :-)  I have some cough stuff from the doc that I pickdc up tonight - enough is enough.  I'm not sick anymore and there's no reason for me to be coughing like a fiend.  And I got to get some butter rum Lifesavers - what a treat!!  :-D

In other news of the day, I had a good lesson last night - making my brain work learning new tunes when I haven't even memorized the old ones yet.  I didn't have the wherewithal to really get a lot of practice in this last week - when your lungs are cranky, playing a wind instrument isn't always that appealing.  There is a part of me that occasionally peeps out and says, "You really think you're going to COMPETE???   Really????"  with a snide little snicker.  And my response continues to be, "Why yes, yes I AM going to compete next summer.  What about it?"  I need a goal to work for - competing seems to be the best way for me to focus.

And I received notice today that FINALLY my kilt fabric has been woven and is now on its way to me after multiple delays.  I'm looking forward to seeing it.  Next I need to get some ghillies.  Ian has a source for those.

I got my pipes back on Sunday with their new sheepskin bag - what a difference!  For years I had a Canmore bag (which is made out of Gortex), and then about a year and a half ago I got a hide bag which was much different than the Canmore - and quite heavy.  Ian, my teacher, was right (he pretty much always is) about sheepskin.  I think it's going to be worth the care it requires.  And speaking of Ian - even though I had a tough time last night - I got a "you're right" about a grace note, which made us both laugh out loud, because I'm hardly ever right about a grace note 

That's probably only funny if you're a piper.  :-D

I'm doing pretty well with Project Zero and have completed a lot of stuff from the reserve list as well as stuff that wasn't actually on the list (clearing the wetbar over the weekend wasn't on the list - but it was necessary).  There is another carload for the Second Chance Shop on Saturday, and I'm donating all my weaving books to the local library - they are great references for someone who does textile weaving.  I continue to make space for whatever is coming into my life.  I still don't know what it is, but I am still led to make space in all areas of my life.  I'm thinking that the basement is going to have to be tackled at some point. . .

Still trying to decide about what treadmill to get - the old one is out in the garage now, waiting for trash day.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fall Back . . .

I totally forgot to turn the clocks back this morning  :-D  I just did it now, and I'm all happy that I have an extra hour today!

Been sorting through and washing the crystal that's been resting on the shelves of my wetbar.  Most of it was my mom's from the time we lived in Germany.  Most of it is Nachtmann, which was readily available at the post shopping center.  My mom just loved it . . . you can see where this is going, can't you?  What you find on the Nachtmann website now is far more modern than anything I have from those years when we lived there.  I have two little covered trinket boxes that I treasure - that's pretty much all I need, I think. 

I also just wrote to Kosta Boda in Sweden about the two "Artist Collection" vases that I have - a gift from an old boyfriend.  I can't find any mention of them online so am trying to get a valuation on them.

And then, I have to decide if all this stuff goes to the Second Chance Shop or if I sell it on consignment.  For now, it's going into the empty china hutch.  I'm checking with a few family members before making any final decisions, but no matter how that shakes out, they need to go now.

I keep divesting - keep letting things go.  It's good - it really is.  Too. Much. Stuff.

I'm on the tail end of this cold I came back with from Scotland.  Still coughing a bit - would be quite happy to have that be done, so I'm taking steps today to get more moisture into the house, and will sleep with the vaporizer tonight.  This will entail a trip to my favorite store, Walgreens, to get some more Vicks - both for my chest/lungs and for the vaporizer.

It's November.  I'm finding that hard to believe . . . I think I post a version of this every year . . .   (he put the music to Johnny Mercer's lyrics) . . . one of my all-time favorites.