Thursday, September 29, 2011

Autumn ache

Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Current temp. 61F.

It's a full-of-promise Thursday here folks, as I go over in my head how I've backslid this week, what areas of my life need improvement, and how else I can spruce up the apartment before Husby gets home Monday.

One very cool thing is that my body definitely tells me now when I'm backsliding. I've been totally dragged out this week because of the taboo items I've let slip back into my diet, and small aches and pains are telling me I HAVE to get my lazy arse back to the Y and in front of the tube doing yoga. A twingy elbow today makes me wonder if my arthritis is spreading to parts north of my knees, and I have at least 2 bone spur areas in my right foot. I'm far too young to sound like this.

As we slip into autumn in points north, the air hasn't changed much here, just a very subtle lightening. It dawned on me the other day that if we let this new lease run its full course, it will mean missing not 1, but 2 more autumns before leaving Florida. As I ache for changing leaves and cooler temps., I'm pretty sure that this realization is unacceptable. Discovered that the John Campbell Folk School holds a fall festival that I'd love to attend. Also, blog writers whom I adore and view as mentors are offering workshops I can't attend, workshops that wouldn't even be prudent yet anyway because we're so far away still from having a house, animals, garden, etc. My time will come, I know, but still, it's unacceptable.

It's been nearly impossible to visualize budgeting and projecting however, when we've been living SO paycheck to paycheck, that it's not even that...we've been borrowing here and there again to cover the bills. However I also think I've been using that as an excuse not to act, and I'm recognizing that not even trying to plan isn't going to get us there either.

Luckily, the gift of OT is presenting itself again, and I pray that with hard work and a little focus, we can get back to where we're maintaining our own lives and saving a pinch at a time toward the life we want.

Image from here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Taking Stock

Outside: warm, partly sunny/partly cloudy depending on your perspective.

Inside: no comment.

Wearing: beige slacks, brown clogs, pink top with stripey overshirt.

Reading: The Great Hunt and ignoring the library books : (

Creating: Cozy this week...i'm in a zone right now where I work its 8-row pattern in the evenings. Would love to wear it this fall/winter.

Going: nowhere...after vet and rent, we'll be borrowing just to eat : (


Husby comes home Monday morning! Bought his train ticket today. I'm betting I'll watch less TV when he comes home, as I've gotten quite used to only having one set on at a time in the apartment. The quiet I'm feeling inside myself this week is quite healing; I'm more centered than I've been in ages. Even though I'm not eating right or exercising these days, my emotions are in a really good place. Now I just need to combine the two concepts.

Image from here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mundane update to a pokey lil week

Made an appointment for Fig on Friday...poor cat's miserable and tearing herself up. Prayers that it doesn't cost too much and we can still make rent. I'm almost worried they'll accuse us of animal neglect. Put a vegetarian body cream on her worst spots last night and it seemed to help, and I'll baby her the rest of the week with TLC, lap time, and light brushing. Hope it's what I think it is (feline miliary dermatitis) and they can prescribe steroids and an antihistamine to improve her condition.

Turns out she's just like a normal cat in terms of water hatred. Figaro loves bathtubs, which is a little odd, since she spent the first 8 weeks of her life trapped in one (initial owner wasn't the greatest). Tried placing her in the kitchen sink with just a bit of water at the bottom to start, and it was an instant, splayed-arms-and-legs scramble as she tried to crawl from my shoulder up across my back. No scratches for my trouble, thankfully (though she did nail me the previous Husby's absence, she has decided to climb on the bedroom TV when I'm dead asleep, and there was a scramble when I kicked her ass off there) I calmed her down, wet down her head and shoulders just a bit, and then took her to the couch where I spoke to her in soothing tones and she submitted to a good 15 minutes of brushing and light man-handling so I could get a clear picture of how bad the scabbing was. Poor thing, she's miserable and not eating much. So I decided then and there that I'd call today and get an appointment with the folks Mom took Chloe to. We lost Jordan before his time; I'll be damned if I'll let our financial difficulties injure Fig further.

When we're scraping from paycheck to paycheck like we currently are, it feels irresponsible to even be trying for small humans; but with my age and health issues, we're just out of options. I've always been one to "make it work", regardless of road blocks and responsible I refuse to feel guilty for wanting to bring a small human into our tenuous situation.

I've fallen off the healthy food wagon, but I'm trying to hold onto the books that helped me so much that first week and reread them until stuff truly sinks in.

The evenings are delicious...I really should hang in the living room more, when there's nothing on TV that interests me. That big chair we have is heavenly. I've been knitting Cozy or reading, and taking my meals there, using the ottoman as a table. Missing my guy, but not sending myself into a hard depression like last time. Tonight's laundry and NCIS/NCIS:LA. Domestic bliss.

Monday, September 26, 2011

When Music Hurts

Josh Groban's February Song. Any decent version of Danny Boy (gods, i love the Internet!). Jud Strunk's Daisy A Day.

The beauty of the iPod is it helps long afternoons go by quicker at work. The curse is the gems I have on my playlists, that sneak up and stab me in the heart.

I literally couldn't listen to music for almost 3 years after Dad passed. It's probably why I can tolerate rap now, because I used it to ease back into music about a year ago...the lack of melodies were easier to handle somehow. Dad enjoyed music, and Lil Bro and I grew up listening to vinyl. The 'rents were pre-baby boomers, so I didn't know who the Beatles or the Doors were until 6th grade; but Dad had an ear for melody.

Daisy A Day was Dad's and my song...pretty sure I acquired the old 45 when we cleaned house. It's on my iPod with some gems by Josh, plenty of alternative and new age, and some great randoms, like songs from Emmet Otter or Bugsy Malone.

I have a friend from elementary school on FB, who just lost her dad to cancer. I want to tell her it gets easier, but I'm not even sure that's the truth. 4½ years later and it still sneaks up on me, and big meaty hands tear my heart in half. Whether it's a TV show or a glimpse of memory or a smell...

Friday, September 23, 2011

While Husby is gone...

...I'm going to get back on my health food kick, make green smoothies, munch on rice and beans, and juice up a storm.

...go to the Y or walk religiously.

...clean the house from top to bottom, vacuuming, scrubbing walls and surfaces, vacuuming again, scrubbing some more.

...give the cat a bath (that's not a euphemism, unfortunately; Girlfriend still has some serious miliary dermatitis issues) without the benefit of a kevlar suit.

...sigh repeatedly as I look around and find no one to pester. him nightly where we'll catch up on each other's days and say "I love you" approximately 14 times.

...make lists.


Had an interview today for a training position with my company. Went well. Hard to read people via video conference, but I'm confident. As I said to my boss, if I don't get the job, it won't be because I pooched the first interview.

Autumnal equinox...I adore this time of year. Just wish my state had the season.

Image shamelessly ripped off from HarpaJ's blog. I'm officially in love with Iceland and have placed it on my bucket list of places to visit after I a) win the lottery, b) have nailed massive royalty checks from the publishing of my various novels, or c) retired in relative comfort with my Husby, chickens, dogs, and sheep...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taking Stock

Sigh.....if only.....

Outside: cloudy, sunny, cloudy, sunny, 80s....

Inside: meh...

Wearing: jeans, big green top, Docs

Reading: The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan and The Vegan Sourcebook by Joanne Stepaniak

Creating: Hope to put some rows on Cozy...and made another apple butter pumpkin pie already! Also trying a new recipe Thursday night for potluck at work...and doing some serious image creating for an interview on Friday...

Going: nowhere...sticking close to home, getting work done...Husby heads out to SC Friday night : (

Hoping: I can keep the crazy at bay while he's gone, and get stuff accomplished. Also, that I stay back on track with my healthy regimen. Went to Y this morning...kicked my ass, but felt good. Damn hormones really knocked me hard this round, still feeling the after-effects.

Image from here.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Where I was this past weekend:

Where I'm at now:

Autumn is sneaking out north of the Mason-Dixon. Here, we're getting a gift of slightly lower temps (60s/80s) with some much-needed rain this week. It makes me hopeful in spite of the muggyness, and I made the first apple butter pumpkin pie of the season this weekend. Between that and the black bean quesadillas I made on Friday and the ensuing leftovers, Husby's been sighing contentedly for days. On Friday (Autumnal Equinox), I'll wear green and brown, and pray that this time next year finds us in Asheville.....

In some rather ironic timing, the monthly visit hit right after last week's OB/GYN visit. About every 3 months or so, this visit kicks the snot out of me, and this month was that month. It got me thinking about social contracts, how this is still ("in this day and age") considered a subject too yucky to engage in, in mixed if anyone asked how my weekend went, I'd just say fine or elude to having a touch of the flu, because no one wants to hear about how in addition to the parting of the Red Sea between my legs, I experienced crushing exhaustion that mandated 3-hour naps both days, nonstop aching from the waist down, and a firm desire to do absolutely nothing. When will it become socially acceptable to have hormones, I wonder...

Pretty sure I'm still in denial about the whole statistical probability thing too...we'll just keep trying, and by trying, I hope to mean more than once a month. Warned Husby that if he's not home for ovulation in 2 weeks, that I'm getting us a hotel room in Aiken or pitching the tent in the inlaw's backyard. I'm only half kidding, since we missed last month.

Reason he wouldn't be home is he's heading up there Friday night to stay for a week and help out. Things are still in holding pattern (Grandma rehabbing, Dad chemoing), but his Lil Sis has been home every weekend since Dad's diagnosis and we could tell it's wearing her a little thin. She only lives an hour away in Columbia, but that house ain't on an even keel under normal circumstances, so it takes it out of ya. If it were me, I'd have come unspooled and told certain family members exactly what I think of them by now. So he'll go up this weekend and either grab the train back or I'll pick him up next weekend.

Time to shift the wardrobe a pinch for fall, even though I won't be able to do much wearing of scarves n' stuff, so long as this heat sticks around. Would love to cast on some new handknits too...maybe a scarf or legwarmers. I'm getting the itch to wear my brown boots, but it's just too damn warm still...

Image credits found here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I listen as the midwife speaks to me. The results show this and this and this; everything's OK for now, we'll look again in 2 months. She speaks about how low my chances are of conceiving naturally, asks again about a fertility endocrinologist. I let her words sink in. I didn't think I was in denial before, but I must have been; because these words I'm hearing and I can feel my heart sink. The fertility doctor is an option I always shoved quickly to the side, because our insurance won't cover any of it, so I fear it's not an option. Her words are saying, make it an option. Because it may be your only chance of knowing life growing inside of you. The words are countered with optimism, the don't-give-ups and you-could-still-conceive-next-month-on-your-owns...but today, for some reason, the message sinks in.

I can't bemoan my fate. I'm a shark, always moving forward...OK, this won't work, what about this? I'm 42 years old and I have things growing inside of me that could significantly impede my ability to make a small human. SFW. What's that fertility doc's number?

There was good news. My BP was delightfully normal, and I've already lost 5 pounds on my new regimen. This morning's yoga felt a little half-hearted, but it's because that workout in particular isn't my favorite, and I've been at this for 6 days straight. The body's adapting. I'm a little tired, but still incredibly strong.

Image from here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Taking Stock

Random kitty stalking shot.

Outside: started smoky, now mild...high winds flared up the swamp fire, which has apparently been smoldering for the last 4 months...makes me angry if it wasn't caused by lightening in the first place, but I'm also in awe of the staying power of the element. It's a witch thing.

Inside: I'm home. It's dark. There are cartoons on in the background. Sigh...

Wearing: awesome big green shirt, pink paisley capris, brown flats

Reading: The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone and Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. Both excellent.

Creating: haven't been doing much...Cozy is at the top of the pile.

Going: Pagan Pride on Saturday.

It's a damn good week so far. Vegetarian choices for the most part, and some kind of exercise everyday. My energy level is still really rockin', and there's this great strength...I'm able to look at food at the grocery store and make the right choices. Last night I was thinking of being lazy and grabbing a Stouffer's Vegetable Lasagna and I couldn't make it past the picture on the box...just knew it was too much cheese and additives/preservatives, and veggies with no nutritional value left. Instead I hit the produce section, bought enough for at least 3 meals, and spent less money. Tonight my wandering gave me Friday night's meal...Chung's makes vegetable dumplings and spring rolls. Frozen food and certainly processed, but a damn sight better than caving to a Zaxby's urge just because there will be money in the account on payday...tonight I'm indulging in white potatoes, which tells me the monthly time is around the corner.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A New, Crunchy Green Leaf

Not for much longer.

Roseanne: "We have to go on a diet."
Darlene: "Great...that means we'll have roast chicken for the next 3 nights and then return to reality."
~ Paraphrased from Roseanne

I was naughty on my birthday (big ole Publix sub for dinner), but I refuse to berate myself over it, because it tasted really damn good and hey, it was my birthday! On the weekend, I fared much better in spite of our diminishing cabinet fodder...stuck to salads and beans/rice on Saturday, flagged slightly on Sunday night (mainly because we are low on green stuff). Today's been good, and between eating right and exercising in the morning, my energy level is over the moon! Lil Sis and I iChat throughout the day, and my chirpy perkiness is starting to grate : )

Went to the Y Saturday and today, and did the beginnings of a Tai Chi workout last night. It was so funny...I was battling monkey mind, couldn't settle down, was done with computer for the night and had accomplished a rather large task, that of clearing away the crap in the dining room so I'd have a workspace (yay!)...but didn't feel like knitting and there was zilch on TV...and it was late enough where my brain had bagged the idea of exercising that day. Which was silly, I realized, so I put in this Tai Chi VHS tape, that I'm pretty sure my Dad bought after some doctor told him to decrease his stress level. I started working the beginner stuff, and HOLY COW, the knee and upper leg work that goes into that ridiculously serene looking martial art! (We'll gloss over the fact that I'm so overweight, of course the initial stuff would be hard.) I only learned the first 5 basic positions, got done, and thought to myself, wow, my knees are gonna hate me in the morning.

The good news is they weren't too bitchy today, just a little achy, so I decreased my cardio by a mile today so that I wouldn't be overdoing it, but kept the speed up on the blankety-blank treadmill, so that I was workin'/sweatin' the ole bod. Was walking out of the Y this morning and the delicious thought that I didn't have to work out after work now, kept a smile on my face all the way home.

Another delicious discovery: making time for yourself. Today was my first day working out in the morning. I shifted my work schedule just a half hour later so I could do the Y in the mornings without rushing. I got home, showered, fixed lunch and breakfast, and had 45 minutes to chill, read a little, eat breakfast at home instead of at my desk (I know! radical concept!) and I kept the blasted TV OFF! Went to work so crazy relaxed, I actually noticed the difference in the was Monday and I didn't feel bleary eyed, tired, and ornery.

I'm reading Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet and Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet (first link is to their websites, 2nd link to their books on Amazon)....and I have a feeling I'm going to be vegan by the end of 'em. Not going cold turkey on anything, there's still some cheese and milk sneaking in (and the aforementioned coffee...yes, coffee's vegetarian, but it causes inflammation in a big way by itself, never mind the white sugar and milk I load into it normally), and I'll need to round things out more so that I don't end up depleting myself of basic vitamins; but that research is forthcoming and the eating so far has been interesting and enjoyable. And some choices, I think, get easier when faced with the alternative...for example, drinking my decaf coffee with almond milk and agave nectar? The flavor difference may not be worth the effort.

Image from here.

Friday, September 09, 2011


I heart Sandra Boynton :)

My birthday saved our asses this week. It produced a small influx of cash that I'm going to dispense with an eye dropper. The urge to blow a pinch of it on a decent meal isn't even there, really. Some fresh veggies maybe, but not Longhorn. I'm off red meat now anyway.

I'm slowly modifying my life choices. I've had too many aborted attempts to go cold turkey on anything. Change will stick if it's gradual and understood. Luckily, I'm in a good frame of mind to do this. I pushed my cardio appointment another month, because I can't afford to go in September, and because I want to be able to show him something. But it's not about him; it's about me finally understanding how my food choices affect my health and life. And that's a powerful's what kept me driving to Chipotle yesterday instead of being lazy and grabbing Zaxby's. Couldn't even stomach the thought of Zaxby's. And realizing afterward that I should have taken it a step further and eaten a full veggie bowl, because I wasn't even happy with the chicken. Damn empowering, these realizations.

And all of a sudden, you have the time to do right by you...made the effort last night to cook rice, which I mixed with red beans and salsa for lunch today. Takes a little planning and effort, but so worth it. When Les called to tell me about the extra dough, he "gave me permission" to grab something "real" for lunch instead. What I've brought is infinitely more real than a sub or fast food. I'm good.

Changed my work schedule a smidge so I can start exercising in the mornings. That'll mean hitting the sack by 10, but there's nothing on TV around then, and I've gotta get off so much tube time anyway. It's so damn automatic to turn the thing on...first thing in the morning to glance the weather report turns into having L&O on in the background while I dress. In the evenings, it goes on when I enter the bedroom. Why? My life's not going to be unfulfilled if I miss an NCIS episode I've seen 3 times already. Priorities.

I'll decrease caffeine in another week, because there's regular in the cabinet now. I'm weaning off dairy and researching gluten. Finding some terrific resources online and at the library. Was thinking of doing sauna once a week to purge more toxins, so naturally my local Y's sauna just broke down. Oh well, extra exercise it is! Decreasing sugar slowly, and I'm back to drinking water in the afternoons. Going to make time for meditation, just not sure if it'll be mornings, evenings, or both. If I need earplugs to drown out Husby's TV, so be it. Or maybe I'll find an ocean waves track for the iPod...

Thanks for all the FB birthday wishes, gang! This is a very different birthday this year; not a lot of fanfare, but I'm feeling good, unafraid, and strong. I'll make Nanie's hot milk cake tonight to celebrate, and think of her and Dad. There's OT this weekend (woohoo! need the dough!), so that should keep me from pissing away the weekend in my usual style. I'll tackle small projects and go to the Y on Saturday, and resist the urge to crash when I get home on Sunday after work. Don't want to screw up my sleep pattern anyway, because I start the new work schedule on Monday. I feel so damn good.

Unsure where image from, probably here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Taking Stock

Outside: I walked outside today to the first hint of autumn, that change in the air where the humidity has dropped just enough to seem almost-cool. I could've wept with relief, but I know it's not around to stay yet, not this close to the damn equator. Still...will get out on the porch this weekend in the evenings, and I'm thinking of shifting my schedule just a pinch so I can work out in the mornings. Sounds unrealistic out loud, but something needs to change, cuz I haven't darkened the doorstep of the Y more than once a week for a while now...

Inside:  boring, sterile, running low on coffee...

Wearing: black pants, flats, circus tent shirt...

Reading: Eye of the World; the latest Vegetarian Times and Yoga Journal...good stuff, motivating...

Creating: working on Cozy this week...would love to knock that out for wear this winter...

Going: hopefully nowhere...Grandma's in a holding pattern, and very little money for gas anyway.


The ole birthday, the 4th annual celebration of turning 39, has my wheels turning. I hate the way my clothes fit right now and how I look in the mirror. There's a distinct lack of mirrors in our house; the bathroom mirror is tiny, just the doors of the medicine cabinet, and I have a full length mirror that's not hung and should be. Having very few mirrors helps cultivate denial, and shoves aside body image issues. But I haven't been feeling healthy lately either; that last 10 pounds has really been kicking my arse, and I'm finally looking at how I live and realizing things need to change.

Thinking the family's hot milk cake recipe is in order for my birthday, and Starbucks and Panera are paying for breakfast tomorrow (gotta love them frequent flyer cards), but Friday...I start making some gradual changes. I'm embarassed to go to my cardiologist right now, which is fine cuz I think I need to reschedule anyway (can't afford it), but then comes the argument, why are you worried about the tongue lashing you'll get from him? Shouldn't you be worried about your health instead? If I don't want this to be my midlife, I need to drop ALL the weight and embrace a healthier lifestyle. There's no way I'm living as long as I want to (at least 90s, ideally 102), with this arse attached to my body.

September is back-to-school time, and even though I've been out of school for (sigh) 18 years now, it still brings forth that "bouquets of sharpened pencils" feeling (name that movie!). Good a time as any for some changes...

Image from here.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Taking Health for Granted

The most ridiculous subject line...and yet, so frequent. How can we ignore the very thing that keeps us on this earth? Why do we wait until something gives.....and then still not get the message?

Sidenote: We may not get a real autumn here in Florida, but I think the web can keep the ache I experience at this loss at bay.

Dad J.: Still in holding pattern.

Grandma H.: Back in hospital, this time with sepsis. Another holding pattern. Gods bless her, she just turned 91...and she's getting tired of being ill so frequently. Hard to know what to pray for.

Husby: Enjoying either a flare-up of his diverticulosis or it's his body's way of telling him that he can't take aspirin products anymore.

Cat: Skin seems better, but she's got a grooming disorder now (and a bald belly, which is worrysome but also damn cute).

Me: I'm having an ultrasound Thursday to confirm everything's OK in the female plumbing department. Still twingy down there, which gets me thinking all kinds of things that I really should just chill about, because there's no use working myself up over what's probably nothing, but hey, at least it's justifying the ultrasound to confirm everything's all right down there...hopefully...but what if....repeat.

Also, I'm ignoring what's either a bone spur or a stress fracture in my right foot, because the pain's infrequent and we simply don't have the dough for me to go get it checked right now. Shitty way to live, I know.

And of course, there's the fact that I'm carrying an entire extra person on my body in the form of flab. And that Paxil doesn't always work on my depression. It still works, don't get me wrong; and that's good in itself when you take into account how long I've been on it (lots of folks develop tolerance)...but there's always days where it's just too hard to fight the little black cloud. Which is why nothing got accomplished on Saturday this past weekend. I'm pretty OK with that though. It happens. There's always tomorrow. Geez, I sound like Scarlett O'Hara. And trust me, I ain't a "fiddle-dee-dee" kind of gal.

So, yet again, the question is, what's it gonna take for me to change? Pondering this and other big, fat, furry questions this week.....

Image from here.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Friday Musings

Three-day weekend. I'm kind of over the moon about that. It's got my wheels turning. That full-of-promise feeling I get before a weekend. We're staying in town and can't spend money, so it gives us plenty of quality time to either tackle projects or lay around feeling sorry for ourselves. I'm determined not to let the latter prevail.

Seeing pictures and stories about the aftermath of Irene has me thinking about what I'd like in a house. Things like a gas or wood-burning stove, a small generator.....and a bathtub clean enough to not mind filling with extra water should the need arise. If we're stuck in that apartment 1 more year, the least I can do is continue to make it not just liveable, but a pleasant place to be. I'm working with a bit of a handicap, because Les keeps so much of it dark; but there's still plenty I can do.

Grandma's out of the hospital and on the mend. Dad's in a holding pattern. My belly pain earlier in the week might have been a product of my PCOS. Nothing to be concerned about probably, but a good reminder that plenty of things regarding my health are within my control. Getting an ultrasound next week to be sure everything's copacetic down there.

Sidenote: there's something wrong with a country's health plan, when you're asking your doctor/ARNP if you have enough symptoms to request a diagnostic test, so that the insurance will cover it without issue. Given my personal and family history, I should be able to get an ultrasound once a year if I damn well want it, but alas...

I'm so glad it's September. Not looking forward to my birthday at all, which is fine, because we can't afford to spend any money on me anyway. Instead I'm looking forward to fall, baking things with apples and pumpkin, doing some canning, making meals in the crockpot...Gods, I love this time of year!