Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Clean Sweep & A Crazy Week

Don't ask me what I did in the last week. I don't think I can repeat it all, even if I could remember. From Monday onward the whole week was a mad dash. I spend hours calling about appointments to get a sleep study set up for me and another appointment for Sarah, running around on errands, foraging, and trying to get the garage cleaned out. I did a couple of hours of writing in all that, not nearly what I wanted, but better than none.

The garage was Friday's project. I expected it to take about 4 hours. It took a full 6 hours not counting the hour and a half we took for lunch. But the end result is an extremely clean garage, shelving installed, every item put away and three bags of trash out by the curb. I still have to reorganize stuff in there. I have three boxes of "thingies" that have to be assessed, put in the appropriate container (trash or storage) and a couple of items that have to be disposed of just because they've been sitting there forever and I don't really need or have room for them.

The garage project took its toll. As we neared the end of the job, my feet began to hurt terribly and I could barely walk by 6 p.m. It only got worse. By Saturday morning, my hands, feet, and knees were swollen and my back, legs, and hips hurt. Today is marginally better.

As a result of all that, I didn't get any major things done yesterday. I did finish up the blue crochet blanket, which entailed weaving in the yarn ends back into the fabric. I decided to put a border on it and I expect to finish that in a couple of days if my hands function appropriately. Then, I will try to get that mailed this week. It is a baby gift and will be big enough to use as a crib blanket. The yarn is amazingly soft. I used I Love This Yarn, from Hobby Lobby. It took 5 skeins and about two months to finish, with everything else I have going.

Now I can get back to the other afghan I'm working on. I had to lay it aside to finish the blue because of the baby due date. I also want to start a new sweater for Sarah. She needs one for days when it is too warm for a coat but not warm enough for just a shirt. She's outgrown everything I made previous. I just bought long sleeved tops this past week for her, about 9 of them. She still needs skirts. I am going to try and make her a bunch of the frilly western style she seems to favor. I need to find some old jeans her size to use for the yoke and put fabric on the bottom. She loves those.

I'm working on my short stories for the Anthology and that is not getting enough attention. While doing that, I got a glimmer of an idea for NaNo, which as you all know, begins on November 1. The kickoff is Saturday afternoon. I just hope NaNo is productive. I so want to work on some other writing projects.

The photo at the top left is of a birthday card my friend Jilly, in England, sent me. She makes them and it is simply beautiful work. It is a nice surprise to know she was thinking of me. It will be a lonely day since I don't get to celebrate anymore. My birthday isn't until the 28th, but it will be nice to look up and see the card in my work area.

Mike remembered my birthday was coming, too. He bought me a Chromecast and gave it to me early, helping me set it up. I'd been talking about buying one because the current streamer I have is just very limited. With the Chromecast, I have all the media I could want and then some. I still don't have cable and don't need it. I have to say, when Mike has the money, he puts a lot of thought into gifts for me. I always like what he gets me.

 So, there you have a summary of my crazy week. I'm going to make a pot of chilli and chill with a book I think. I'm still so tired I can hardly sit here. Sue is coming tomorrow to clean my house. I'm just too sore and tired to bother. I'm hoping to get the whole place spick and span. Maybe for my birthday, I'll have a nice clean house and the pain will have gone by then.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Full Bucket

I stole this video from my friend, Jessica Fry on Facebook. As I watched it, I realized how thankful I am that I was so blessed all my life. I was gifted a wonderful husband who took me around the world twice, who gave me two beautiful children and encouraged me to be what I wanted to be (a stay at home mom who got to  spend amazing fun days with my sons), who let me write in solitude and didn't complain, who was proud of who I was and gave me romance, laughter, and joy, and equal amounts of aggravation, frustration, and grief.

I got to see castles glowing in the dark on the mountains along the Rhein. I got to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Sacre Coeur. I rode trains, streetcars, and buses and saw cities I never dreamed of seeing. I've walked mountains in the Bavarian Alps. I have camped on the ground with no cot, camped in a tent that flooded, woke to tell time by the stars. I've ridden thousands of miles with my head on his lap while he drove us to new places. I lived in nice houses, warm, and secure in my husband's arms.

I tried to think what more I could have done or seen, or been and suddenly I realized I couldn't think of a single thing, not one. Yes, I have a bucket list unfinished. But were I to leave this world tomorrow, I have lived a life that I never thought, in my wildest imagination that I would live. I've done things beyond my own belief.

I was amazed by that. And humbled.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Little Look at the Stats

I don't know why I'm fascinated by stats. I just am. I check statistics for all kinds of things, for no reason. I even have a folder of bookmarks on my computer called Statistics.

Yeah, I know, crazy. I don't even like math! I mean, do you want to know the current moon phase? Or how about last months phase on the same date? There's a link. Or how about calendars through the ages? Yeah, there's a link for that, too. Maybe your thing is time and temperature for the... whole world? Yep, I got a link. Unit conversion? Want to know how many of you there are in the country? There are 98 people with my name in the US. But there are 550 people with my oldest son's name and 498 people with my youngest son's name!

But what really shocks me is the blog stats page. For example, it concerns me a bit to know that 230 people in Russia clicked into my page in the last month. Why? Were they lost? Did a search engine redirect them in error? Of course, if I thought they came willingly I'd be flattered, really. But I don't think anyone really reads this blog but maybe 10 people. Now, I'm wondering if I should be concerned that over 800 people got lost here in the last month.

I've had people tell me that those numbers don't mean anything. So... why are they there? And why do they not match up with another page of Google uses for calculating stats: Google Analytics. Because they don't match. E-v-e-r.

Of course, they say it is really all about the bounce rate. They stumble into the room and say, Oh, pardon me," and stumble out. They don't read anything. Google even measures how long they stayed on the page. Which is pretty pointless to me since if they're not reading it, it doesn't matter and I didn't think anyone was reading anyway!

No, it is the numbers that baffle me, such as those for October 15th--69 people got lost on the internet and ended up on my blog. That's serious. That's just one day of the month! Are these the same people driving around the city? I think so.

I check in on the stats now and then just to get a jolt when I see the where people are wandering in from. Czech Republic? Really? +400 of you? Thank you. And +600 from China? I thought China was blocking all things Google? Were you trying to call your mom and stumbled in from your mobile browser?

I'll never know. Lost people remain silent. They don't ask directions and they don't tell people when they're lost. But, on the chance you came here on purpose, thank you.

This is what I do on Saturday nights, folks.

I know.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Waking Up

For the first time in nearly a month... no, three months, I feel almost normal. No chest congestion, no real coughing, voice has returned, although still husky sounding. I also have no pain but still have terrible fatigue, except today. I have no idea why but I'll take it.

I've spent the morning reading posts. I should have been "doing" but I didn't. So there. I am going to get to writing after lunch and I have a ton of other stuff I want to do. Because I know the energy won't last and the pain won't stay at bay.

I got the results of my CAT scan yesterday. Most will already have read it on the book of face. I still have one small nodule on the bottom of my right lung. There are no other nodules on either lung and it is probably not anything to worry about.. unofficially. I see the doctor on November 3rd. He will tell me if that is correct.

Was I ever worried? Actually, for about five minutes in the ER when they told me they found it. Then they told me RA can cause it. RA is my curse and therefore, I knew it probably was a benign nodule. Still one must be sure. Did I worry they've find more? That they'd be serious? I realized that I can't fix it. That if it was, and if there were there wasn't a single thing I could do that would undo, change, or fix it. So, I decided to ignore it. I asked people to pray about it, had prayer for it, and left it there.

I went for labs yesterday and got those back. My white count is still very low, 3.3. The acceptable range starts at 3. When I looked at the drop in the white count over time I noted it dropped from 5 to the very low range in August. That is when I got so sick with a cold, just after Sarah started school. She got very sick as well. She missed a week of school. For a child, that's pretty severe for a cold. I suspect my immune wasn't as good as her's because I was down with that thing two weeks and had to go on a Z-pac.

I'm still struggling with fatigue also. I'm going to have to start running a closer check on my blood sugars. I am wondering if I'm experiencing spikes. I got up this morning and felt pretty good, all things considered. I wasn't overly tired once I walked around and had coffee. By now, after I ate lunch, I got slammed and had to go to the recliner. I went to sleep and slept like a rock for two hours. I had a hard time waking, too. Once I was up, I felt o.k.

Yes, I'm still waiting on the sleep study. I was supposed to call today and forgot. I have a lot of stuff to follow up on tomorrow so I'll do it then.

Writing... very little. This is the first day I didn't really feel like I was half dead. As I said above, the cold has receeded.

I have a doctor's appointment on Thursday with my RA doc, at noon. I have one with my Primary care doctor on Friday at 9:45. That should fix me up for a bit. I have to close one of my savings accounts to pull the money from it for all these copays! $25 a pop and by Nov 3 I will have had 10 visits in 4 months. Got to stop this.

Ok, I think I'm done. Now, I'm going to get ready for bed. I began this early this morning... LOL, g'nite.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Crackers & Mayo

I have this memory from my childhood of standing on the sidewalk near home and thinking I wanted a snack. I went home and pulled out the Premium Saltine Crackers. That is the only kind Mama bought unless money was tight.  I also took out a jar of mayo and made "cracker sandwiches". Oh yes, I did.

This was a true southern snack that I suspect a lot of other southern children in those days enjoyed. I know my brother and I did and several of our friends.

Fifty years later, that memory is as clear as a digital photo. I can still see the sun shining and feel the sidewalk on my bare feet. The crackle of the cracker packet is loud as I open it. The mayo spreads smoothly over each cracker and I resist eating a single one until all my cracker sandwiches are made. Then, I scoop them up and head back outside where I sit on the steps and enjoy crackers with mayo. Yummm.

My sister recently found mini-Premium Saltine Crackers and Sarah just loves them. I was amused by them and the fact that my favorite snack was the normal sized ones. She was eating some one afternoon and I asked her had she ever eaten them with mayo on them. She responded with her typical "yuk". I got the jar of mayo from the cabinet and took one of her mini crackers. Using a spoon, I took a small amount of mayo (they are very mini) and covered the cracker. I was slammed 50 years back in time. It was wonderful.

Sarah watched with interest as I ate. After a moment, she said, "May I try a little of that?"

I made her one and she took a bite. When a person really falls in love it is instant and you can see it on their faces. Those tiny crackers and mayo were a hit. Since then, she's asked for this cracker snack a few times and we usually share the treat.

For her, it is different. She gets a handful of these tiny crackers on a plate, a spoon of mayo, and dips the cracker in the mayo like a chip.

For me, it is something very special to watch her enjoy it. I can't explain it well, but it is as if we've both stepped into the past in some way. I'm eight years old, sitting on the front steps, eating my cracker sandwiches and Sarah is sitting there with me dipping her crackers into the mayo. It is a sunny day and I can feel the wood steps beneath my bare feet. We both take a bite and close our eyes. Yummm.