Friday, January 31, 2014

Frickety FRACK

I forgot to put my Fitbit on today.



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Home Again, Home Again . . .

I've got yarn and fiber all over this joint  :-D  I've started listing things on my destash page on Ravelry, but I'm having to go in stages, so if you're shopping, check back there often  :-D  I've also started a bag to donate at Fiber Retreat for door prizes.  :-)

I was back on Saturday from a wonderful week on Cape Cod.  It sounds funny to go to the Cape in the middle of winter, but in the off-season the Cape is really wonderful, and I really needed to just "be" rather than "do" this trip. 

That's the beach at the Chatham lighthouse . . .   :-)

It's part of the balance I'm seeking, I guess.  Too often my trips require a lot of wherewithal to get there and then constant motion while I'm there.  Not this time.  I spent a great deal of time just sitting around in my blue fleecy penguin pants.  I got a couple of great walks on the beach in before the weather turned, and was able to take a few photos of the Cape in winter.

Admittedly it is sometimes challenging to travel with my bagpipes - I think I'm going to invent the perfect pipe backpack - but I got some great uninterrupted time to play and practice, which was sorely needed.  I was even coaxed to play outside in the FREEZING cold  :-D

And I managed to FINALLY finish one of my WIPs (work in progress).  These are the Guitar Man Socks - they were a gift for my friend's husband.  They are even, despite appearances to the contrary  :-D  That's just how they landed in the snow and it was a really cold day after the blizzard (yes, there was a blizzard while I was there  :-D) so I didn't fuss much with them.

The yarn is Lorna's Laces Solemate.  This yarn contains a rayon fiber that's supposed to react to your body's temp - keeping cool/warm as necessary.  Interesting stuff, but I was reminded - once again - that I just do not like knitting with wood fibers - they just tear up my hands.  And OMG boy socks take forfrickingEVER to knit  :-D  Geez!  I thought I would never finish these.  I'm really glad they are done :-D

I returned home on Saturday to a dead main furnace.  Unfortunately here in Chicagoland, we are in the grip of a second polar vortex.  The temps are supposed to ease up again today, but it's been bitterly cold with brutal wind chills again.  The secondary furnace was going full blast trying to keep its section of the house warm.  It was a losing battle . . . the furnace guys came right out (they are awesome that way).  It was a short in the control board, which they were able to adjust so I would have heat again until it can be replaced.

And now I have to make a decision on whether to replace the board or get a new furnace.  Replacing the board is close to 50% of the cost of new, likely more efficient furnace . . . I'm taking with the furnace guy today to look at the options.

It was good to be away, but it's good to be back home  :-)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Managing It . . .

In the past week or so, I had an epiphany.

It's about the size of my ass.

Over the holidays I went up on the scale, and every time I thought I had a handle on it, something would come along and derail me again.  Still, I was able to catch things relatively quickly - but I also made some choices that were not best for me.  Mostly where sugar is concerned.

It's like crack.  I mean really.  You get a taste and your body says,  "Um . . . . yeah, let's have some more of that, shall we?"  Oh, Hell No. . .

And about a week ago it struck me that, much like asthma, my struggles with food and body shape/size are part of a chronic condition.  Really?  What does that mean?

I fought hard against my diagnosed-as-an-adult, allergy-induced asthma.  I didn't want to have it, and yet, there is was.  I would pretend I didn't have it and not take my meds - which always eventually led to a very bad crash involving feeling like crap, not breathing well, and having to take the short course Prednisone Bomb.  Oh, it's never ever fun, that.

It actually didn't take me very long to figure out why I was behaving like a moron where my lungs were concerned - but it took me a very long time to come to terms with it.

In another life I was a professional singer - I defined myself as a singer long before I defined myself as an actor (something else I used to do professionally) - from the time I was about six or seven years old.  I was always a singer/musician first and foremost.  The meds I have to take to manage my asthma robbed me of my vocal control.  I realized this at a Karaoke night that was part of a work conference . . . Imagine if you will, that you are a singer.  You know what you sound like - you know what songs are going to be good for you to sing.  You have perfect relative pitch.  You've pretty much always known these things.  You know when you open your mouth for that first number that people are going you want you to sing another.  And probably another . . .  it's pretty much always been that way for you - your voice is your instrument.  It's a nightclub voice - a musical theater voice - even a bluesy voice once in awhile.  You know it intimately and you know what it can do.

And then, imagine that on a stage in front of a lot of people - many of whom you know - you open your mouth to sing a number that you've sung a hundred times or more, and what comes out is nothing like what you KNOW you sound like.  Imagine that you are missing notes left and right - and even worse, that you are, in the current vernacular, pitchy.  Nothing works like it should.  You can't place your notes.   You can't focus your tone.  And forget nuance.  There is no story-telling, no spell-weaving with what's coming out of your mouth.  You start to sweat because you're only a few bars in and nothing is OK and you have to get through this number but you can't control anything that's coming out of your mouth . . .

Angry.  So effing angry to be robbed of something I truly considered my birthright.  The long and the short of it all is that the asthma meds I have to take to ensure that I breathe well, affect my vocal control, i.e., I don't have any any longer.  So angry . . . and so I wouldn't take my meds if I wanted to sing, which of course would eventually lead to a crisis and even higher doses of medication until I could get it settled back down.

Who was I if I wasn't a singer?  Heavy stuff . . .  I went on in this ridiculous pattern for a number of years before my asthma doctor here sat me down one day, looked me in the eye and said, "A, I can't make you take your meds.  I can only tell you that if you would take your meds and learn to manage this, you would be a lot happier.  Let me ask you this:  If you had high blood pressure, would you take medication to control it?"

I said, "Yes - that's a no-brainer - of course I would.  They call it the silent killer and my mom had high blood pressure.  Ignoring something doesn't mean that it's not doing damage or serious harm."

And he said, "Asthma is like high blood pressure.  It's a chronic condition."  And he looked at me as the light bulb went on over my head. . . .

Chronic:  (1) constant; habitual (2) continuing a long time or recurring frequently; (3) having long had a disease, habit, or weakness.

So, I learned to manage my asthma.

I still sing. Sometimes I sound like old times.  Sometimes like the Aflac duck.  And, unfortunately, there has never been any way for me to tell which it's going to be.  You opens your mouth and you takes your chances.  I still sing - in the car, around the house, in the shower, occasionally in a choir -  not solo and certainly not for money anymore (I mean, you can't take people's money to sing at their wedding or event when you have no earthly idea what might come out of your mouth).

So, what has this got to do with the size of my ass?

Well, Yay Me!!!  I'm managing it.  I did go up over the holidays and my indiscretions with sugar ( a little makes you want a lot) came home to roost in my joints.  One full week of actually paying attention, tracking, and avoiding sugar, and I'm right back on the wagon and moving forward.  To know that I can do that is huge.  In the past, what I gained would have sent me on a downward - or should I say upward - spiral.  I would have felt like I failed and just chucked it all.  But, I've come too far this time to let my anger at "not being like other people who can eat whatever they want whenever they want it" lead me down the garden path.  I mean, really, that's pretty much magical thinking, isn't it?  Some of us struggle more with food, some of us less - it's never the black and white that I would like it to be.  No matter.

If I can manage asthma, I can manage the size of my ass.  What a revelation.  Really.  It's not always easy, but yeah, it's a no-brainer.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Well Crud :-S

GAH!!!!!   Disaster!!!!!

OK, a broken thermos isn't a disaster, but I'm just so bummed - and so dramatic  ;-D

I dropped my lunchbag this morning on the train.  It's no great shakes - just a little square lightly insulated lunch bag that I got for free (a promotion from a vendor), but it's been a good lunch bag for me.  I was on the train and I could feel that the strap was slipping down my shoulder - and I thought I caught it, but I didn't.  It hit the floor with quite a bang.  Someone picked it up and handed it back to me - I thought I heard the spoon clank against it but didn't give it a second thought - just slung the bag back over my shoulder and kept going.

Fast forward to lunch and I'm all ready for my soup - which I managed to fix for myself this morning (fix - read: I opened a can and heated it up :-D) so that I would actually HAVE my lunch with me today, thus maintaining some control over the food that goes in my mouth, as well as over the money that comes out of my wallet on a daily basis.

When I opened the bag and picked my thermos up, it rattled like it was full of diamonds.  Diamonds suspended in Amy's Lentil Vegetable Soup (if only  :-D).  Hmmmm, that must have been the clanking spoon sound . . . I couldn't even get the inner top off, but could see that it had leaked a little, so I rattled it a couple times more for good measure, and pretended it was full of diamonds . . . and then trotted it over to the kitchen here and gave it the old heave ho.

Well crud.

I know I had another thermos - a stainless food jar from my flirtation with the Laptop Lunches bento boxes.  That phase didn't actually last very long - they weren't functional for me - but I think I did keep the thermos.   If Tupperware would make a box like that, I'd be on it in a second - their stuff seals really well, and the Laptop stuff did not.

Anyway - I just checked and they say that their thermos only keeps stuff warm for 6 hours.  That's not going to cut it for me.  I'll get a new metal one on Amazon - probably this one - because it says it keeps things hot for 7 hours.

I actually thought my old thermos was plastic inside.  It didn't look like glass, but apparently it was.  Still, it lasted for close to 10 years - and maybe quite a bit longer, since I can't remember when I actually got it  :-D  I never used it much until this last year for the Amy's Soups that have been my lifesavers during cold weather - I don't seem to have the time or inclination to make my own soups, and Amy's is the only brand I've found that does not add sugar (except for one - the Butternut Squash one), and doesn't have cans lined with BPA.

So, I bundled up - it's been snowing here for two days now - and toddled over to Caffe Baci for the Baked Salmon, some pasta and some roasted vegetables - sometimes they say there's butter in the pasta, sometimes they say there's not.  I didn't ask today because I was really hungry and my soup was dead in the thermos.  It didn't taste like butter to me - and I'm pretty good at telling - so at least I got a very filling hot lunch today that included veggies.  And, I'll get a new thermos - for all I know the old one had BPAs in it!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year - Part II

Well, my desk now looks like this:


And . . . there's going to be a destash . . .

Nothing will be listed until the end of the month - I'm sure I will come up with more by then  ;-D  I feel a little better about it all now that I've found so much to let go of.  This is a hard lesson - I really need to pay attention.

Happy New Year 2014!

Happy New Year!! 

I've been working all morning here in my office . . .  Here's wby:

I'm experimenting again with doing direct uploads from my computer to the blog - so far, so good with no bizarre lines running through.   I'll update my progress later in the day

I'm making progress, though, while I wait for the snow to descend.  It's not snowing yet where I am, south of the city, and I know I should run out and snow blow the driveway once before it starts because you know it will be a ton harder after it snows a ton more . . .

Oh, and another sweater quantity of yarn to the hutch - the Shilasdair Luxury DK  I bought in Scotland on the Isle of Skye back in October.  It just got here a couple of weeks ago and I didn't have the opportunity to photo it and get it into my Ravelry stash.

It's pretty, isn't it?  :-)  It has angora and camel and cashmere in it.  I think it's going to make a really nice sweater.  And, it was purchased in 2013, so, so far, so good for A Year With My Yarn  :-D

 I also had to add this that arrived on Monday to my stash:

It's Morning Moon Alpaca worsted weight. A Christmas gift from Tammy, the Proverbial Knitter.  Can you believe she bought me YARN?!  :-D  It's beautiful - she said it reminded her of African violets  :-)   It does!! 

I think 2014 is going to be an amazing year :-) 

Off I go - out to pound the driveway  :-D