Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Random Thoughts

I haven't posted in forever because my depression has limited my desire to do anything not absolutely necessary, but I started new meds almost 3 weeks ago and suddenly I have energy again. Strange.

Just a few minutes ago I was looking for a cross stitch pattern I have just learned is out of print (one of those cases when I should have bought it when I saw it 5 years ago) and somehow joined Pinterest in my search for it. As if I needed more social media platforms.

What I'm looking for is the Dragon Virtues Afghan pattern by Dragon Dreams. Here's a photo of the finished product.

Ah, well. It's still beautiful.

There is presently a vacationing brown labrador in my living room and two contractors in my attic who are a part of our energy saving upgrades and neither is happy with the other. I could really go for a boring day where everything went according to plan.

12 Days Later

There are now 6 more contractors all over my house, finishing the work started on the 15th and
Roman likes them even less. Silly puppy.

In the fun of this household upgrade, we have emptied the attic of the dusty boxes of stuff we forgot about and 3 diaper boxes of our cd collection. If someone could tell how long we have to keep the cd's to prove the legality of our digital music collection, that would be very handy.

Something helpful I did find was my Cabbage Patch doll which looks surprisingly good for being 30 years old (at least) and Miranda immediately decided she liked it. Even better, I have clothes made for her by my maternal grandmother who's been gone since 1986. I was so pleased to wash them again and see Miranda's delight. Everything old is new again.

I've been told that Dragon Virtues isn't completely out of print and I might be able to get a copy for myself in a month or so. Happy news. A series cross stitcher will always have on hand the patterns she wants to stitch sometime in the next ten years.

I actually picked up Celestial Dragon on Friday, which was remarkable. I was in the mood for one over one stitching, which is crazy. I went from this

to this

I also remembered why it's much easier to work on this with my upright wooden stitching stand and not the simple hand held q snaps. Hmmm. I'll have to decide if it's worth moving the whole stand out of the closet.

Best to post this now. Always time to blog more later.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Calla Progress

I always know that I'm feeling better, that my depression is retreating, when I can pick up my cross stitch project again. (I always have something going; someday I'm actually going to finish Celestial Dragon.)

For some reason, I can't find any pictures from last year. Ah, well. Some things are just permanently lost to cyberspace.

Beginning on May 30, 2015

End of May 30, 2015

June 14, 2015

June 16, 2015 

July 1, 2015

July 2, 2015

 July 7, 2015

Here's a finished project.

And here is Celestial Dragon which I started 5? years ago. I hope I wrote it down somewhere.

Here's a link with details.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Forever Pile O' Mulch

I had 3 yards of black mulch delivered around April 25th. I quickly got it spread over the first third of the flower bed because it's much easier to mulch hostas when they are tiny. And then, I got busy. Or sick. Or tired. Or lazy. Or despondent. And the pile of mulch lingered and mocked me every time I looked out the window or walked past it to get in the car.

On Saturday, we celebrated with Marshall's sister and her family and she mentioned how my twelve year old nephew had few opportunities to earn cash and I was suddenly inspired. So, Sunday afternoon, he came over and shoveled and wheel-barrowed and spread all kinds of mulch for me. While I weeded. And weeded. And weeded. He also cut the boxwood most handsomely.

Here are some before pictures:

Large pile o' mulch with the wheelbarrow at the ready. It's been catching rain for us for months.

Two small maple trees growing out of the mulch.

Poor Japanese maple overgrown by grass and weeds and mushrooms.

The other Japanese was similarly overgrown.

Last years hanging baskets, long dead, hiding behind the maples. The boxwood overgrown. The roses in desperate need of trimming and feeding.

Better picture of sad roses.

More mushrooms and maple.

Here are some of the after shots.

A much smaller mulch pile.

Mulch, mulch everywhere. And hardly a weed to be seen.

Handsomely trimmed boxwood and well weeded Japanese maple.

More happy, weed-free space.

More mulch, less weeds, and hanging baskets have been relocated ...

... to the driveway for now. Last year's baskets are intact and just need something replanted in them. The Gerberers I bought in the spring have stopped flowering so I'm thinking they are done for the season. I wonder if they are worth saving.

The butterfly bushes haven't been mulched in years and are much happier looking today.

Of course, they'd probably have more flowers if I watered them, ever.

The moral of the story is: when you are stuck on a project, get help. Young relations with strong backs and energetic spirits are ideal.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Still My Favorite

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind us of our, and Adam's curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood-
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

T.S. Eliot
Four Quartets
East Coker, IVFa

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bad Days and Good Days

Since we are ditching Sunday morning services again (for a variety of small reasons that put together overwhelmed me) and the children are playing Mine Craft together peacefully (for the moment), it's the perfect time to blog.

Depression is my constant companion and I had a really bad day this week on Thursday. Thankfully, it was followed on Friday by a better day, which provided a contrast that I thought would be worth blogging about.

                                                                          - 1 -

Bad Day: Getting out of bed first thing in the morning isn't the problem. The alarm goes off at 6 am and I need to get up and get moving on breakfast for the kids so that their morning routine can be followed. If I'm not on time, they miss their buses and I have to drive them to school, and that is plenty motivating to keep me moving. But after Miranda's bus comes at 8:07 am, all I want to do is go back to bed and snuggle into my flannel sheets. So I do.

Better Day: After the children and husband get out the door with all their appropriate accoutrements, I sit and have a cup of hot, black tea with lots of half and half. I plan how I'm going to spend the rest of my day. I take a shower and get dressed.

                                                                        - 2 -

Bad Day: Last Thursday, I had an appointment at the dermatologist's at 12:30 so I couldn't sleep the day away and my alarm went off before 11. I needed to get to the library and Costco before my appointment. I did manage to get dressed and brush my teeth, but I only allowed a Gatorade and a small bag of popcorn to tide my appetite over the lunch hour and didn't pack a hat or scarf to deal with the freezing wind.

Better Day: I plan and eat a real lunch and don't rush around the stores without a list.

                                                                  - 3 -

Bad Day: With a novel from my new stack of library books, I sit at the dermatologist for nearly 90, waiting, until I give up. I needed to leave at 2 to pick up a prescription for Miranda at our GP's office and then get home in time to meet Alex's bus. I know her office runs late, but today I just didn't have the energy to deal with calling my dad to ask him to meet Alex's bus which would irritate Alex because he wouldn't be expecting Grandpa instead of Mommy. And, besides, the doc I liked in this office left on maternity leave last year and never came back. But I feel simultaneously irritated that her office staff can't schedule appointments that fit closer to reality and hurt that she couldn't find 5 minutes to talk to me.

Better Day: I am able to respond to a message left for me by Miranda's case manager that schedules a meeting next week, call our health insurance company with a medication question, and leave a message for the shrink Miranda saw last spring with my request for documentation. I still have an unanswered voice mail from Miranda's dentist, though, about the appointment I had to cancel because of the snow last Tuesday. Better day does not mean perfect day.

                                                                       - 4 -

Bad Day: On bad days, Miranda's homework hour seems interminable. She is supposed to read to me for 15 minutes every weekday and she has run out of short books she likes and refuses to start reading chapter books to me. So we've returned to the Berenstain Bears books which are good and show me how much her reading ability has progressed in the last six months. But neither of are into it. Then we're off to her bar graph worksheets. Thankfully, she understands what she's doing (bless her teacher, truly) and as long as I stand there and watch her work, she gets them done quickly.

Better Day: On a better day, I am interested in what she reads and we talk about the book and why characters make decisions and what that might mean. And heaven help me, spelling homework better be on a better day because neither of us enjoys the process of creating sentences with spelling words. One of Miranda's processing delays manifests itself in the magical transformation of words she speaks aloud to a written assignment. It's just hard for her to write down her thoughts. We've a couple of work arounds and assistants, but it's still the hardest thing we do all week. She saves her free homework passes for spelling sentences, every time.

                                                                         - 5 -

Bad Day: On a bad day, especially in the freezing cold of winter, I return to bed after homework is done. I sit up in my bed with lots of pillows, legs under the covers with my sunshine lamp on, and read for the rest of the evening. Last Thursday I read 3 books and skimmed another one. I don't get up when Marshall comes home from work and feeds himself and Miranda, Alex having dined on chips again. At least I bought a rotisserie chicken at Costco so there was food to eat. I am able to tell my husband I'm having a bad day, that I'm still upset over the not seeing the doctor appointment, the cold and the dark. I have a bowl of instant oatmeal for dinner, reminding me of my days in college when I fought anorexia nervousa. Going gluten-free last spring has solved several problems but created new ones for me, like many of my back-up meals (things to eat when nothing sounds good) being instantly unavailable. Peanut butter on a toasted English muffin, I still miss you.

Better Day: I have a dinner planned, even if I need help preparing it, and I sit and eat it with my husband and sometimes my daughter. It is a rare day for Alex to sit and eat with us and he never eats what we're eating. But on better days, he'll come by and say hello. Last Friday, we went around the corner for haircuts at a friend's house so I got in a good hour of conversation with someone I'm not related to, which is always cheering. And our children played well together without makign a huge mess, which is always encouraging.

                                                                    - 6 -

Bad Day: I can't get to sleep at a reasonable hour and stay up reading until 1:30 in the morning. And then still can't sleep. And wake up feeling awful the next day.

Better Day: I start wrapping up my day around 10 pm so that I'll feel tired around 11 when I want to turn out the light.

                                                                     - 7 -

Bad Day: Depression overwhelms me. Taking a shower seems like too much effort. Eating anything that can't simply be reheated in the microwave seems impossible. I don't nag the children to brush their teeth because they've taken themselves off to bed and fallen asleep before I realized the time. On the worst days, reading is too hard and spend my time surfing celebrity gossip sites. I can't even muster enough mental energy to play Words with Friends.

Better Day: I can have a real conversation with my husband when he comes home. I spend some time talking to my children. Clean laundry gets folded and put away. Meals are planned. Date afternoon with my honey gets scheduled, thanks to my mother. The sink isn't full of dirty dishes. I'm cognizant of what food is in the fridge and what needs to be picked up in the near future. I spend the time to put new Jamberry wraps on my nails. I leave the house for regularly scheduled events. Autism doesn't seem like it's going to kill me. I can see hope, even if the sun isn't shining and it's 7 degrees F outside.

Here's Kelly.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

7 In Recovery Takes

1. Two blogs posts two weeks in a row. Must be a miracle. Or a New Year's Resolution. Or I'm just bored and avoiding all the folding I need to do with clean laundry. Or I won't let myself go hide in a book because all the chores aren't done yet (those overflowing laundry baskets). Or I'm waiting for my Gluten-Free Bisquik biscuits to come out of the oven and this is a good way to pass the time. Or even though the sun is shining, it's 23 degrees outside but feels like 10 (so says the internet) so the farthest I'm going today is the mailbox.

2. I have 17 unwatched episodes of Castle on my DVR and no desire to watch them. None. It just isn't fun anymore. I keep thinking I'll change my mind, which is why they are still there, but I haven't yet. I used to stay up late Monday nights to watch the show live, but I haven't done since season 3, I think. Sigh. 25 gigs on the server. We still have a terrabyte of free space so it's not like I have to make a decision today, but it's starting to bug me.

3. Alex is painting the bathroom with toothpaste, regularly. The toilet, the walls, the sink, and now the trash can. It's wasteful, yes, but really annoying and getting harder to clean up. Somehow, I'm not fulfilling his creative needs sufficiently.

Our kids have rotten impulse control (autism + AD/HD = disastrous impulse control, not to be confused with compulsions, like reciting Green Eggs and Ham for the 3 millionth time and I am not kidding about the 3,000.000!) Both of them, every couple of weeks, dump out all the shampoo or body soap into the tub while bathing to make bubbles or paint the shower walls or something. And I wonder where all the money goes. Miranda is flat broke at the moment because she had to contribute towards the last bottle of replacement shampoo. I want to be able to tell them "Go take a shower" and not have to watch them while they do it. And they smell too strongly to skimp on the soap. Irritating.

4. I'm making my way through Grace Burrowes' extensive backlist, reading them in series order, of course, like the good little compulsive reader that I am. But I am stuck halfway through Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish. A wee bit bored, I think. But since this is my tenth book by Burrowes and all the previous have been excellent, I guess she's allowed to write one that's only average in quality.

My favorite books for rereading, especially when I'm ill or tired or just plain grumpy are Jayne Castle's dusy bunny series or (same author) the Arcane Society series published under the names Jayne Ann Krentz and Amanda Quick.

Interjection: the biscuits are a little dry and flavorless. I'm going to add honey, though clotted cream would be better, but I don't have any of that. Man, I miss refrigerator biscuits.

5. I'm trying to set small goals for myself for getting back on top of household chores and such after being down for more than a week with the flu. I'm writing one thank you card per day and trying to clean up one area. Like this morning after the dishes got done I actually bleached the counters. And my honey helped to get the Christmas tree down and put away. Well, I helped him. Otherwise, it's just too overwhelming and it sends me straight back to my flannel sheets and the next library book on the stack.

6. The Australian Open starts in one week! I'm so excited! Tennis started back up this week so I've been checking the scores at least twice a day. If I had the tennis channel, I would probably never get anything done. Except cross stitch.

7. I need to review my 2014 list and post a final revision of all the movies I wanted to see but didn't. Last year was the best year for us; hopefully, 2015 will be better.

Here's Kelly.

Friday, January 2, 2015

7 Flu Takes

1. New Month. New Year. New logo because we have a new host for Quick Takes. Jen Fulwiler is too busy with her book and her radio show, so she passed it off to Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum. Should be an interesting transition.

2. Alex, Miranda and myself are starting the year with the flu. We started running fevers on Tuesday. Thankfully, this is not the I'm-going-to-die-for-two-whole-weeks-flu from last Feb-Mar. It's just a fever and fatigue. But you make strange decisions when you have the flu, like watching the first two seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in 48 hours (that was Tuesday and Wednesday). I liked the first couple of seasons generally, but I think I'm done for a while.

3. I had made all kinds of play date plans for this week, of course. And then had to cancel all of them. Alex doesn't want to go back to school on Monday but Miranda will probably be thrilled to go just to see someone she isn't related to.

4. Gluten-free living with the flu means no Campbell's Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup and absolutely no Saltines. Very saddening. However, I can still eat rainbow sherbet and drink ginger ale, so all is not lost.

5. We had a lovely Christmas dinner with Marshall's parents, his sister and her family, and the Olson's with lots of food and wonderful company. We missed my parents, who celebrated with my brothers in L.A., but we thought of them often as we were using their house to celebrate in.

6. I haven't sent any thank you cards yet. I am usually the gal who, on Boxing Day, writes them up and mails them off right quick. I haven't even finished opening up Christmas cards from other people. Not to mention the Christmas letter. Marshall has said he's not writing it this year (he usually does 95% of the work) so I may do an abbreviated letter in the coming weeks to give us some kind of yearly reference.

7. I was introduced to the new game Trivia Crack but I need new friends to play with since I'm such a know-it-all and a good guesser so most people don't want to play with me. Finally, a game I can win!

Bonus 8: We took no Christmas pictures. We opened presents with the kids with my parents before they left for CA and then opened a few with Marshall's parents Christmas afternoon, but we didn't wrap much for the kids this year. Too much money just to clothe them, between his shredding all his shirts and socks and her growing out of everything yesterday.

Here's Kelly!