Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yarn and Underwear

It's been an adventuresome day for me. I found that when I need to, I can still monkey around getting into places when faced with no other options.

Happy Knits, one of my favorite yarn shops, is having an anniversary sale this weekend. Valerie and I made plans yesterday for her to pick me up and we'd go together. I'd even set aside cash so that I'd stay within budget for my expenditures.

Like many knitters, I usually knit when I'm a passenger. Today was no exception. I hadn't quite been ready when Valerie arrived and was scrambling to find one of my many project that's portable enough to take with me. I finally found it and dashed out the door as she was waiting for me in her minivan in the parking lot. I paused at my car first to get my gimp pass (handicapped parking pass) in case we needed it.

We tootled off to have a cheap lunch at a fast food place. I was even fairly good and ordered a salad even though I really wanted a burger. Then we hopped back in the van and off we went to Happy Knits.

All the yarn in the shop was on sale for 15% off. Yarn shops don't tend to have many sales until spring and summer because frankly, business booms during the fall and winter. People come in to buy to make holiday presents and to make things to warm up themselves and their loved ones. So often there might be a sale yarn, and quite often stores pick the spendier yarns that you don't normally buy a lot of simply because of price. For example, Cascade 220 Yarn  is considered a workhorse yarn. People use it to make everything. Hats, gloves, sweaters, slippers, blankets, bags, toys, you name it, that's what Cascade 220 is used for. It is one of the top selling yarns among thousands. Thus, the chance to get my mitts on something like that for 15% off is definitely worth the 40 minute drive. Especially if someone else is driving!

We were in the store for an hour and a half before I decided on two skeins of yarn to use for Christmas gifts. Yes, I know, two skeins of yarn is showing admirable restraint on my part. But, I'm trying to limit how much I spend on stuff that I am not using for a project that's currently on the needles. After all, I currently have seven projects going right now. I digress.

We paid for our purchases, wound the yarn from hank form to ball form, hopped in the van and headed for home. We arrived, I asked Valerie if she wanted to come in and visit. I am so very glad I did. Without her there, I would have fallen on my ass. Or my head. Or both.

You see, I got out of the van, and started digging in my purse for my keys. Horror dawned on me as I realized in my scramble for a project to work on in the car, I'd forgotten to make sure I had my keys!

Thus, I started knocking on the door and leaning on the doorbell in the hopes of waking JR. Seeing as how it's Saturday afternoon, he's asleep as he worked a 12 hour shift last night for the security company and he'll work another 12 tonight. I knew he had earplugs in and had taken some a generic version of Tylenol PM. For the record, that is some powerful stuff because after 5 minutes of some serious noisemaking, he still wasn't answering the door.

Then it occurred to me that I perhaps could get inside if the back gate was unlocked and if the back door was unlocked. It was unlikely the gate was unlocked and I knew I had a 50/50 chance of the back door being unlocked. No such luck, 6' high fence gate was padlocked closed. Grrr. Wait! Our yard and the neighbor's yard have a shared gate on the side! Maybe I could go through their yard to get into mine! Whoopee!

So I trekked back around the complex to the front. At this point, my asthma and my hips were telling me they really weren't happy with me. I hadn't taken my cane with me when I walked around the back of the complex because canes do not mix well with blackberry runners and mud.

I knock on the neighbor's door. Thankfully they're home and are happy to let me cut through. Oh. Wait. The side gate is padlocked, too. I suspect we padlocked it and not them for fear of their little one coming through and getting bit by Diego. He's not child friendly. Ugh.

At this point I'm wondering if I'm going to head home with Valerie and try to catch JR by phone when he wakes up. Then I realize that the front window shouldn't be latched. We very rarely lock it. I run the idea by Valerie and she asks if I think I could get through the window. I think I can.

Getting the screen off the window wasn't happening easily until I decided to try with a credit card. Actually, I used a store rewards card, but you get the idea. I managed to pop the screen off without damaging it. Hooray! The window didn't want to move with having pressure put on it as I tried to slide it due to the way the frame is set up. Hey, this store card might work for getting it started and presto! Window is now open!

Now how in the hell am I going to get up there?  I'm only 5'2" and a quarter on a good day when I can stand straight up. I'm racking my brains wondering if I have something in the car I can stand on when Valerie suggests asking the neighbors. She knows they have kids therefore she figures they must have something for them to stand on to reach the sink. She's so smart! It's one of the things I love about her. I trot on over and ask, but no, they don't have anything like that. What about a chair? Success!

I get the chair under the window test it for stability. It's good. I get up on the chair and get the blinds above my head after a bit of struggle. I kept having visions of getting my head between the blinds, slipping, pulling the blinds off the window and then falling on my head, but I didn't.

The next step is to move as much stuff off the end table as I can because I don't think JR will want me standing on his schoolwork and I suspect if I do, I'll fall and break my head.

Now for the hard part, to actually get in through the window. I start heaving myself up and then am stuck with the dilemma. Do I get a leg through first or my torso through first? I decide to get a leg through first. Wait, I'm no longer limber enough for that. Damn! Thus I have to heave my torso in. I am so thankful Valerie was there.

You see, to get myself through the window under my own steam, I was going to have to really heave forward, running the risk of instead of climbing through the window, I could fall through and down. On to me head. Oh crap. Then all of a sudden I felt a supporting hand on me. With Valerie's support I was able to climb through and not have to heave myself. That to me is a minor miracle.

The next minor miracle was that I managed to get onto the side table and it didn't break, and then get off the side table and not fall ass over ankles. Wooooo! Success! I am inside and I didn't break anything! Woot! If I weren't so damned exhausted, I'd do the happy dance!

I unlock the door while Valerie takes the chair back and I start setting purses and such inside the door. Valerie comes in, looks at me and tells me "take pain meds now because if you aren't hurting because of all the walking at Happy Knits, you will be from climbing through the window. Again, she's illustrating that she has brains and she uses them. What a good friend to have!

She lets the dogs out and back in for me, closes the window, and tells me to get some rest. After I'd been laying on the couch for a few minutes, I realized that while there was no way anyone could have not seen my rather wide ass up in the air during my monkeyshines, thankfully, nobody saw my bare ass. You see, I don't normally wear much in the way of undergarments. The seams hurt my skin. For some reason though, I wore some today.

Thus, today I am grateful for yarn shops that have sales, and that for some odd reason the universe told me to wear underwear today and I listened!

Oh, and for the record, Tylenol PM and a set of earplugs will probably allow JR to sleep through anything. Then again, he did sleep through the Hillsboro Air Show this year that had the US Patriots Jet Team perform. I do not know why I was shocked he slept through several minutes of me knocking on the bedroom window, the front door, and leaning on the doorbell as well as encouraging the dogs to bark.

I've got my pain meds in me and I'm very glad I do as having to crank my neck so that I could get the blinds behind me didn't do my spine any favors. The way it feels right now tells me it'd be excruciating if I hadn't downed something as soon as I was able. The bad thing? I'm so tired I can't seem to fall asleep. Thus, I wrote this up to share with you so you can laugh about it. I know I am! It's nice when fiascos end with the mission accomplished with no one injured and nothing broken. Though I am leaving the screen for JR to put back in. I figure I'd best not tempt fate.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pain management and Life after disabiilty

First off, I have a bit of info to share on pain management. For years I thought pain meds didn't work well for me because I'd take them, but not experience any pain relief. The drugs would make it so that I was just able to handle it a little bit better.

Several months ago, I started hurting. JR an I had plans to do something later that evening so I went ahead and took some pain meds. I felt bad that I was doing so, because the pain really wasn't bad enough in my mind to warrant the "heavy guns," which is how I refer to anything that's not OTC. That's Over the Counter, by the way.

Imagine my surprise when about 30 minutes later, the pain went away. I'd never had that happen before! So I talked with JR and my doctor about it and got the, "That's what it's supposed to do!" accompanied by the lecture that, really, I was prescribed those meds for a reason, and waiting until I was really hurting to take them was not smart. If I took them when things first start off, instead of waiting in the hopes that it'll go away on its own, which it never does, the pain meds can work like they are supposed to  and make the pain go away. So now I'm taking my pain meds a lot more often. But I'm a lot less grumpy. Thus, if you too are feeling pain, do something immediately. Do not ignore it. Pain doesn't tend to go away with some recovery assistance, whether it's cold medicine, pain meds, or a nap.

Next off, a book called  Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties by Laurie Edwards. The title is a bit of a misnomer, it's a fantastic book for anyone who's disabled, and also for their loved ones. I strongly recommend it to parents that have disabled children entering their early teens.

While the book talks about some things I've tried to share with other people that have ichthyosis for years such as your skin (or other disability) is not a barrier to your romantic life, it's how you view yourself and your skin that's a barrier. However the book also brought up loads of points that I've never considered.

The most significant topic for me was about learning how to pace oneself. The author said she'd always operated on two speeds. One is "must get everything done and be an overacheiver," and the other is "my body isn't letting me do what I want therefore I must prepare so that when I can move around again, I can catch up." There was no pacing whatsoever. She hadn't figured out how to try and live life without always being in a frenzy of getting things done. She had to learn how to pace herself instead of trying to be superwoman whenever she was able.

Now, I don't think I try to be superwoman anymore. My husband disagrees. He says I still expect myself to do everything and while I recognize I'm not able, I still get pissed at myself that I can't. Hm. Score one to the husband, as he's right. I too, need to learn to pace myself so that when I do have energy, I don't drive myself 'til I drop. If I wasn't pushing so hard, then I might not be as exhausted all the time. It's ok to take things slowly.

I think I'm going to have to work on that for a long time, but that's ok. There are many other excellent things in the book and I can't recommend it strongly enough.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Loose Screw

Today's post is a short one. A loose screw on a sewing machine is a bad thing. Especially if it's the screw holding the presser foot is in place because when you're using a free-motion foot. If it slides, your needle may snap due to making contact with machine parts it shouldn't make contact with. If your needle snaps, fragments can fly and hit you right where you broke your nose 33 years ago by tripping on a garden hose and slamming your face onto the edge of the concrete patio step. The moral of the story? Check that the presser foot screw is tight, and don't leave the garden hose out.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Must. Resist. Urge. To. Set. Fire. To. Quilt.

After weeks of no quilt progress, I worked on Beast today. I then of course had to rip out all but maybe 5" of embroidery. F^%ker.

I had to go on a wild goose chase 'cause this doohickey called a Sew Slip that I use that helps slide the fabric around while I do free motion embroidery had gone missing. I'd been searching for it for ages and finally decided it was a lost cause therefore I must replace. Free motion embroidery is quite laborious for me, even more so with my arthritis and that sheet makes the fabric much easier to move.

I had forgotten I bought it originally at a place diagonally across town from me so I went to three other locations before giving up and acting like an intelligent person to call around and see who had it. Beth was kind enough to drive me out to the diagonally opposite end of the Portland metro area to get a replacement. She figured if she drove me, I might not be too wiped out by the energy expenditure to work on it. She would have been right if the next morning I hadn't woken up with cracks on the bottom of my feet. Ahh, I just love my body with all its little joys. Whenever it looks like things are moving along and I get to be at least 50% as active as I would like to be, something acts up, whether it's ichthyosis, arthritis, depression, whatever. Thus I've been sitting on my butt all week long soaking my foot and putting goo on it every few hours in the hopes I could use my toes again soon. Thankfully, it healed quickly mostly 'cause I was good and did what it takes to make it heal, and you all know how much I love sitting on my butt.

It wasn't until today that I had enough spoons to work on Beast again. Of course, after all this buildup, something had to go wrong, right?

Somehow I managed to catch the edge of the slider doohickey with the bottom of the fabric I'm embroidering and this is the result. I drew a red box around it so you can find it more easily.

I had to pick that, along with several more inches out, with my trusty seam ripper. Once again, F^%ker. I ended up with a tension headache that promised to be a whopper so I took some Vicodin and went for a walk to let the temptation of setting fire to Beast pass. I figured my feet would re-open but I guess Fate decided I needed some sort of break today.

I normally have a potty mouth, but I swear, this quilt brings out the worst of it in me. It's draped across the sewing table and I'm trying not to glare daggers at it, not that it would care. My head still hurts but not as bad. My dogs are being adorable, so I think I'll throw in the towel for now and sit and read with doggies in my lap. For all my bitching, life isn't so bad.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Finally! I picked a border design

A few nights ago I woke up after sleeping for two or three hours. As usual, my thoughts turned to the projects I'm working on. That's usually what I think about when I can't sleep though it's not commonly a restful train of thought. I suddenly thought of acute angled triangles for the borders of Beast. I am so thrilled. I have been racking my brains for months to figure out what the borders should be like.

Lynn would like the quilt to have some burgundy in it so I'd gotten some wide burgundy fabric by Moda. I have plenty for the back, for binding, and a 36" x 60" piece to use to make the borders.

This is a sample block made with EQ6. The burgundy fabric is the same but the blue I put in isn't the blue I'm using. The color for the center triangle are going to be alternated with the fabrics I used to make the fish and house blocks to pull them all together.

I know the block isn't that impressive as it is simple, but honestly, I have been wrestling for months, years really, of whether or not I should put in Mariner's Compass blocks or New York Beauty blocks. I realized that those would be to busy and would compete with the rest of the quilt, so I didn't use them.

I am also working on a purse and a shawl for myself. I have about given up on finding the perfect purse. I've yet to find a purse I really like, or at least one that I like at a price I'm willing to pay. The pieces are mostly cut out and the lining and pockets have been sewn together. As usual, I am modifying the pattern. I'm starting to think it's impossible for me to follow patterns, as the only patterns I ever have followed exactly were from the classes I took to sew a blouse and pajama pants. Since then, nope, don't do it.

Miss Lola

Lola joined us at the end of December. She's an absolute doll and has quite the personality. This picture was taken shortly after she and Diego went to the groomer's for the first time.

Taking care of her fur is a lot of work but that's almost entirely due to my ointment getting on her fur. She has to be brushed out a lot and bathed weekly. If it weren't for my ointment I suspect she'd only need a bath once a month and being brushed twice a week would be fine.

She did NOT like being brushed at first but I stuff her with treats and now she seems to enjoy it. I think it's because it's one on one attention for her and she doesn't have to share with Diego. She and Diego play together and sometimes sleep snuggled up with one another but there is a lot of rivalry between them. Every once in a while they bicker but it's just that, bickering and that's really not too uncommon in households with more than one dog.

This is a common pose in our household. They frequently nap in the recliner together regardless of whether or not there's a lap to be had there. Life is good.