February Update

Friday, February 3, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

February Update

After sporadic posting altogether, and only postcards in months, it is time for a February Update. One of my goals is to post two times a week in February, so you should be seeing a few update posts not related to postcards in addition to the regular postcard posts.

Now that we are past Groundhog Day, we have 45 days until the official start of spring. We have not seen much sun lately, and February is supposed to be a bit colder than average. The starlings at the shelter did return to the nest earlier in the week, which is a good sign. We have one robin sticking around, but I saw him in December so I am thinking he just lives here year-round. Still, I have heard the male chickadees singing their spring song a few times. I am still hoping I can be out on the paddle board April 1, but that may be a bit early.

December Updates

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

Misc. December Updates

xmasheads
Here we are, at year-end, and I haven’t done a good job of posting anything other than postcards. Today’s a good day for Misc. December Updates. First, it’s been unseasonably warm this year. Freakishly warm. 60 degrees on Thanksgiving. Bob and I took two walks downtown that day, and had a wonderful dinner with all our family at Mom’s house. That’s the Elizabeth Building above. It was built in 1912 and named for the builder’s wife, according to this. For as long as I remember, The Hair Shed has decorated this window with their wigs. I’ve always found it fascinating.

xmaslights

It’s supposed to be warm this week, too. How warm? According to Accuweather:

weather

 

We’ve had some amazing sunrises:

sunrise

And fantastic sunsets, too:

sunset

Bob installed my cat weathervane on the new shelter pole barn. Don’t you love it? I do!

Last night, the winter solstice came at 11:49pm. We are celebrating the first day of the return to the light tonight, with taco soup, cheddar jalapeno bread and a steamed pudding. I’ll be sure to take a photo of the pudding if it turns out. I’m posting regularly on Instagram if you want to see what I’m doing on a regular basis. I’m sitting on a ton of new postcards for the new year. Wishing you and yours much joy in the year ahead.

Misc. Monday

moon

Wooooo dog, this post has it all. It’s been months since I’ve done a general, non-postcard update. So here it is, the fruits of the summer.

tomatillos

Our veggie garden did great this year. I made two batches of salsa verde (tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeno).

tomatos

In addition to tomatoes for eating, I made a batch of sauce and cooked down two batches of tomato paste (boil and peel tomatoes, puree, cook down, put in pan in 350 degree oven and bake until paste).

cabbage

And I made a batch of sauerkraut. We got a fair amount of radishes. Three heads of cabbage. Lots of tomatoes. A few carrots. Good lettuce and arugula. Next year we’re planting more green beans and more peppers. This year we also got a compost barrel (and inside bucket) and we’re composting our kitchen waste. Right now I also have a batch of hard cider cooking. It’s exciting!

crochetblanket

I’ve been crocheting up a storm. I made a mint lap blanket for a friend. Then I made this lap blanket with a ruffled edge. LOVE the ruffled edge. The yarn is Simply Soft Paints Yarn in Rose Garden.

crochetscarf

I loved the yarn so much (and overbought), so I made a scarf and sent it to a friend who needed a scarf. Now I’m working on another scarf for another friend.

I’ve been reading, too. Just finished Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (very good) and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (excellent). Here’s how I turned out with the Summer Reads 2015:

 

What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas

The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell

American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Wishing Thread: A Novel by Lisa Van Allen

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

All but two done, but I made up with two others. Not bad.

I’m getting ready to start sewing again. I have to make my Halloween costume for Howl-O-Ween at the shelter. And I have a new pattern to make a dress. Just need to pick up the fabric and I’m ready to go.

How about you? Can you believe summer is over and we’re well into autumn already?

Je Suis Charlie

Thursday, January 8, 2015 0 No tags Permalink

Je Suis Charlie

Dear friends,
I am struggling. I suspect many of us are, though it’s difficult to tell from the lack of relevant posts cluttering up my twitter and facebook feeds (come on, there are more important things to talk about now than whatever bullshit you did last night or ate for breakfast). My thoughts are with those who lost their lives, with their family members and friends and coworkers, with the people of France and with those world-wide who voice a sometimes unpopular opinion simply because not sharing is the biggest loss of all. For the journalists, satirists, artists and those who make us see life in a different way, thank you for the work you do and for your contribution to free speech. You are making the world a better place through thoughtful examination. May your voices never be silenced.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

trekmas

Found this meme on a tumblr somewhere. Can’t believe it’s already Christmas, can you? How quickly time passes. If you are spending time with your family, hold them a little closer and let them know how much they mean to you. If you are sad and lonely, remember that we are already on the march back to spring. It’s nearly time to start planning your spring planning and thinking about the return of the robins, etc. For each of you, I wish a peaceful holiday, no matter how you are celebrating.

The Best Natural Deodorant Ever

Thursday, December 18, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

How to De-Funk Yourself

Meow Meow Tweet deodorant

After my ACL repair surgery, I instantly found that my old standby natural deodorant, Alvera, wasn’t cutting the stink. Was it the bag of antibiotics added to my IV that made me now so funky? It’s a possibility.*

You may remember that I’ve been on this quest for a natural deodorant that works before. Sadly, my own concoction of deodorant worked for awhile before once again giving me the fire pits of doom. And you know I’ve tried many of the natural deodorants out there:

Tom’s – didn’t work at all

Kiss My Face Liquid Rock – worked, but has alum

Jason – didn’t work at all

Lush Aromaco – works, but not everyone in my life loves the smell of patchouli

Dr. Hauschka – weird medicinal smell, expensive!

Alvera – stopped working after a course of antibiotics

NOW – need to apply 3 times a day

Lavanila – not thrilled with any of their scents, need to apply 3 times a day

Somehow, somewhere, I came across Meow Meow Tweet Baking Soda Free Deodorant Cream with Grapefruit.** As having gone through fire pits the first time with a type of Lush deodorant no longer sold, and a second time with my own concoction, the fact that MMT specifically called out baking soda sensitivity was appealing. I bought a jar.

meowtweetdeoopen

And, as you can see, I’m most of the way through that jar because it works. Now, it doesn’t stop you from sweating, but there simply is no odor when you do. The cream itself smells heavenly. And, though it’s clearly not recommended, I found that when I flossed my teeth after applying with my fingers, it tastes good too (seriously, don’t eat it!).

The consistency does change depending on temperature. This time of year, it’s solid and you can use your fingernail to scrape off a pea-sized amount. It will melt as you apply it. When we were in Chicago, the room was quite warm and the consistency was quite soft and spreadable. Either way, it works just the same.

It really smells so good, it should also be a body butter and perfume and room deodorizer and laundry detergent…basically, I’d be great with having my whole life smell like this deodorant. For me, it works all the way through to the next morning. It doesn’t burn after shaving. It’s 100 percent awesome and worth the cost. If you are a sensitive sort and are looking for a great-smelling, natural deodorant you should give Meow Meow Tweet’s a try.

 

*doing some research on funky body odor after a course of antibiotics, I found that re-introducing good bacteria to your system should be a top priority. Eat the yogurt with the probiotics! Eat healthy!

**I did not receive any monetary contribution or free product for my review. This stuff works for me, and I wanted to share my joy with the world.

Misc. Monday

Friends, it’s been awhile since we’ve had a Misc. Monday post. Can you believe we’re nearing the end of October? I’m trying to pull together my costume for Howl-O-Ween at work with five days left to go. What have I been working on instead of the costume?

scarf3

First, Scarf Three of the #12scarvesofxmas. It’s made with two skeins of Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in the color ‘Polo.’ It’s a very basic double crochet, 31 stitches wide. I started out trying a few different stitch patterns, but my work often requires ripping out and starting over and this is not the yarn for that. Once crocheted, it cannot easily be undone without breaking the yarn. I should be able to finish this one up this weekend. Which means I have eight weeks to finish another nine scarves. Yikes.

ghostsong

Every other autumn, I get the desire to re-read The Mists of Avalon for some unknown reason. Just finished that, and started this book, Ghost Song by Sarah Rayne. Not bad so far.

In other news, I’m working on some small holiday projects that I’m really excited about (including one for everyone’s refrigerator!). I’ve picked out my holiday greeting cards and am mentally writing the update already. If you like vintage-looking cards, you might want to check out Victorian Trading Company.

The chill in the air has me thinking of my favorite cold weather drink of all time, the Salty Maple Buttered Cider featured in Serious Eats. I use Kraken rum because it’s cheap as hell. Sometimes, I don’t have lemon. I don’t put salt on the rim of the glass, but if I’m feeling fancy I do sprinkle salt flakes on the top. Also, sometimes I can’t be bothered with vanilla bean and use extract. But it’s still the same basic concept, right?

Love the song. Thinking about trying out some of his dance moves…

ACL Autograft Surgery

Monday, September 22, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

image

It’s been nearly a week since my surgery to reconstruct my right ACL. Thought I should give an update.

We got to the hospital just after 10am and they took me back for prep pretty fast. Got all hooked up to the IV.  I’m not only afraid of needles, they often have difficulty finding an appropriate vein. Not much fun. In addition to the regular anesthesia, I received a nerve block. The anesthesiologist described it as inserting an electrode into my femoral artery and watching for which parts of my leg jumped. To be honest I was pretty doped up and don’t remember it. The nerve block works for like 17 hours. Before I knew it I was back in the surgery suite. They did tie me down and I remember the mask going on, but that’s it. The surgery was more involved than expected. When Dr. Russell got in there, he discovered that I had not only blown out the ACL but also tore the meniscus. That complication made for a longer surgery, more pain, and a longer projected recovery – a month of no weight and no driving compared to two weeks. Waking up in recovery was excruciating.  When the nurse went to remove the drains I cried and she hit me up twice with morphine.

I don’t much remember getting dressed or the ride home, but I do remember getting into the house. Bob drove up on the lawn and I managed the five feet or so on the crutches before scooting on my backside up the stairs. The combination of Percocet, a super strong anti inflammatory and the remnants of the nerve block got me through the night.

Now here’s something they don’t tell you but I read after the fact. The second night after surgery is your worst pain. The nerve block has worn off. You feel the full effects of what was done. It’s horrible. In fact, all nights are worse than the days. You’ve been up and trying to get around all day. The crutches cause other pain, in your arms, your neck, your back. Five days after surgery, the pain medication they put you on runs out. You’re supposed to be moving around more and the movement causes pain.

Bob has been my hero through all of this. It takes all I have to get from the bed to the bathroom and down five stairs to the living room (repeat as many times as you need the bathroom, all scooting up and down on your backside). Every single other thing, Bob takes care of. Hungry? Thirsty? Help getting in and out of the chair, the toilet, dressed? I need the cell phone charged or socks put on or another pillow? He does the laundry, prepares all the food, and then does every single other household task on top of it. Taking care of me and the cats and the house is a full time job where he doesn’t get a minute to sit down. Oh, and he works his regular job on top of it. He purchased and installed a shower bench and a new shower head. He is constantly thinking about how to make everything easier and better. He is encouraging and sweet and makes me feel better.

Mom has come over nearly every day. She made and brought dinner one night and she keeps me company. I’m tired and frustrated and in pain and it’s hard to keep my spirits up. She texts me all day. She’s the best mom.

There’s not much on tv and I’m tired of reading and crocheting. Sitting at home on the couch all day sounds like fun while you’re at work but reality is not as entertaining. I’m missing the best part of autumn. But right now, no pain medication and my leg pain is maybe a two. My headache is worse than my leg pain. It’s getting better. I’m anxious to have the follow up appointment Friday. Three more weeks until I can at least drive, but I will try to make it to work a week from today.

The fast details? It hurts way way more than I could have dreamed. But thanks to some amazing support each day is a little easier.

Misc. Monday

Monday, September 15, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

miscmonday

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted much of anything except postcards here on the blog. We can consider this a mid-September update, a Misc. Monday, and a hold-over post until after I’ve recovered from tomorrow’s ACL surgery. I’m really not sure how long I’ll be down and on the couch. I’m thinking a week, but the follow-up to remove the stitches is ten days. I expect I’ll be back up and around with crutches, and maybe back to work, before the end of the month.

Crochet…I’ve been working on a series of projects using the peephole chevron stitch. I plan on doing more of the same over the next week(s) as I sit on the couch.

peepholechevron

Want…this was the summer of the foxes, and I love this, available on Etsy.

Wait, what?…if you have iTunes, it’s possible that you now have the new U2 album. I thought someone hacked my account at first, but then found out that all iTunes users had Songs of Innocence loaded into their account.

Cats…Modcloth has a whole line of cat-related fashion items and accessories. Really. Check them out here.

 

It feels like autumn now. Here’s the forecast:

septweather

Land Paddling

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Land Paddling Summer Project – A Hard Lesson Learned

longboard

You know those “what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail” things? At the beginning of the summer, I was reflecting back on a few regrets. Things that that I think…if I was young and physically fit, I would do.

1. learn to parkour
2. learn to skateboard
3. learn to breakdance.

I was feeling sort of sad when I thought of those things and realized every day I get further and further away from being able to do them. It made me sad, the way that looking at the laundry recently as I was folding it and realizing that every single dish and bath towel we own is ratty. Every one. And then I asked my husband why all his underwear elastic is ripped from the fabric part at the back center seam. He said “they are old.” And surely that is some sort of metaphor for my life.

Why didn’t I ask my friends to teach me during that summer of the skateboards? Why was I content to watch, but never to try myself? Lack of coordination and lack of confidence, I think. Could there still be time to learn? It’s summer! And summer in Michigan brings a feeling of renewed life. My dear friend Bevy said “you can totally still learn to skateboard, look at Tony Hawk!!”

My original goal was fairly simple: to be good enough for someone to video me doing it by Labor Day. And also not to knock out all my teeth. After doing a little research, I thought perhaps I would get more enjoyment out of a longboard. I got myself a cheap board, a paddle for land paddling, a helmet and a good set of elbow, knee and wrist pads. After all, falling and breaking something at my age would suck.

So. It’s harder than it looks. Most things in life are, right? I thought I’d cruise around the parking lot at work in the mornings for a day or two, before I was able to hit the path at Riverside Park. Um…not realistic. First, the balance thing. Try standing on one foot for more than sixty seconds. You might not enjoy it. Your foot might hurt. And your knee. And your shin. And your calf. I started working up more and more time in the parking lot. At first, I could only do ten minutes and it was agony. And the balance and paddle thing was too much, so I just concentrated on skating regular style. After a few days, I could add the paddle.

Day 4 – After a few days of trying to get around the parking lot without the paddle, I decided to add it in again. Made it around three or four times.

Day 5 – Goal today is ten loops around the parking lot. I made it eight times with the paddle and two times without. I can feel the paddling from yesterday in my right shoulder. It’s easier to get around with the paddle. But there are a few seconds here and there without that feels like flying and that’s amazing.

Day 6 – Today I took the board to Mom’s in the morning. Her roads are newly paved and the loop around the big and little circle is not bad. Had to stop and give my legs a break a lot. Making progress.

Yoga – This isn’t really a day on the board, but it’s somewhat related. Centering Yoga here in town has a yoga class on a tippy board. Here’s their description: Enjoy the benefits of Stand-Up Paddle Boarding inside with this area’s only board yoga class. Engage the core, slow down poses and connect with the breath all while balancing on an indoor version of a Stand-Up Paddle Board! Learn to find stillness in body and mind while experiencing instability on the board. Great for firming up the body, focusing the mind and feeling the power of the breath. Verdict? My balance is absolutely improving and I did okay in the class. 

Day 11 – It’s been kind of hit or miss with the long boarding. We’ve had a lot of rain and wet roads. I am getting better, though. It’s getting easier. My balance is getting better. I can get going pretty fast with the pole, and I’m having less difficulty pushing with my foot. Even better, I am really loving it. There’s something about the feel of it, once you really get going. I’m spending a ton of time watching longboarding videos. It is AWESOME.

Day 13 – July 1st. The day of the accident. Big storm last night, and the neighborhood was too messy to board in the morning. At lunch I went to Riverside Park. Came off the board with my right leg, heard two pops as it bent the wrong way, and I was on the ground.

July 11 – Knee is still not good. Xray.

July 17 – Doctor’s appointment. MRI scheduled, and a follow-up with the orthopedic doctor scheduled for August. In the meanwhile, no walking distances without a cane and absolutely no boarding.

July 25 – MRI.

July 28 – Got the call from the regular doctor’s office. It is a full thickness ACL tear. Most decidedly not awesome.

August 25 – Second opinion appointment with the surgeon. Surgery is scheduled for September 16. It’s an autograft, using my hamstring. Wikipedia has an article on it here if you’re interested.

In the meanwhile, I’ve been swimming at the Y Center. It’s better that I would have guessed, even enjoyable, and I never would have tried it without the injury. I’m obviously not thrilled with the way this summer project turned out. My portion of the bill is roughly the cost of a luxury vacation in Europe. I’m not sure I’ll ever get on the board again (interested in a slightly used longboard and paddle? let me know…).

Every time I say I’m having an autograft, I think of this song by Autograph. It sounds the same, right?