Monday, September 5, 2016

I've been through the wringer this summer. Health issues, pet loss, more health issues.

Early this Summer, my older cat, Gizmo, had a life threatening medical emergency. Had it not been for the generosity of one of my oldest friends, he would have had to be put down because it was not a condition he could survive. He ended up having major surgery, and recovered well by the middle of July, and was playing and being his normal little self.

In mid August I had a medical emergency of my own and during the course of being evaluated at the ER, found out that I had a stroke at some point in the past. Nobody can say when or why. I don't have any obvious serious risk factors, not to the degree that would cause a stroke by my 40's or whenever it actually happened. I don't seem to have lost much in the way of physical and cognitive ability from the stroke, but there are some changes. I have issues with my balance and with putting together sentences when I talk. Mostly when I'm fatigued or stressed.

I had been in the hospital having a bunch of tests ran, and they released me after a few days with pretty much just instructions to live healthier, avoid stress, and followup regularly with my doctors.

I was getting over that entire ordeal, and my cat, Gizmo, that had recovered so well from surgery, had another medical emergency, but this time there was nothing that could be done to save him, the condition was 100% fatal without any chance of treatment, so we had to have him put to sleep to stop the suffering and prevent an agonizing prolonged death. This was a kick in the gut, because after he survived and recovered from major surgery and was living a happy and healthy little life again, this happened. It's just not fair.

I was absolutely crushed, and that night I felt like I was having another stroke or a heart attack or something, and went to the ER. They said I was having a massive panic attack and my heart rate was so high that had they not treated me, I could have had a heart attack or something.

The past couple of weeks, I've been back and forth from doctors trying to manage things. For the better part of a week, I was experiencing one extended rolling panic attack that only stopped when I was so drugged up as to pass out. It's getting better now, and life is slowly returning to normal, but things are still really rough.

I just took my medication to be able to sleep and hopefully I can actually sleep tonight, but we'll see. Sleep has been rough. I can't sleep when I want to, and I can't stay awake when I want to.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Just a general crafting, gardening, health and whatnot catch up blog

No photos this time, I couldn't find something to add today.

But I have been getting by, moving forward, and living life. It's a month since I came down with shingles and I'm still sick. The blisters are gone but I still feel run down and my arm is still a bit tender and red where the blisters were. I've been making it to my various doctor appointments so hopefully by this time next month I'll know exactly where I stand health-wise and I can start making a solid plan on what I need to do to feel better and be as well as I can be.

I signed up for the classes I really wanted to take at the Creating Keepsakes convention. A day crop, a holiday/December themed album class, an altered art journal cover with some mixed media pages inside, a beach scrapbook layout class, a class on image insert jewelry, and then the evening crop. I may sign up for a class to make a small pocket page album too, but I may not have it in the budget this time. I want to still have a bit of spending money for the vendor hall. I'll be there Thursday and Friday at the end of August.

I also am going to sign up for a couple of elaborate mixed media altered art project classes for my birthday in the middle of July at a local scrapbook store, the classes are all day the day before my birthday, so that'll be my present this year. I've been wanting to take more classes, so I'm looking forward to it.

I'm working on finishing a shades of blue with some violet, gray, and green circle jacket (crochet). It's more or less a bolero. The front is higher than the back and the front is kind of full and flouncy. I have the back/sides/front about 7/8 done and the sleeves about halfway done. So I hope to finish it up by the time I go to the crochet meetup on Tuesday night so I can start my next project, a funky BoHo patchwork cardigan. Because I have more yarn coming for a third cardigan/jacket.

I have to do a set of pocket letters this week, with a butterfly theme, I will show a photo of them for sure when I finish.

The garden is doing so so. The tomato plants pretty much got wiped out from all the rain followed by the heat and humidity. I still have some fruit ripening so that's good. Peppers are happy as they can be. Cucumbers are starting to take off finally. Potatoes actually made potatoes, and the green beans were a bit of a flop from the weather conditions. I never planted melons but still can. The surviving eggplants are scraggling along, hoping the rain will hold off and they can dry out and grow some. Herbs are so so. Cilantro is cooked in the heat. But Italian parsley is thriving (I'll be making some tabouli this weekend with it and some of the tomatoes). Mint is so so. Something ate my sweet mint and the flowers near it. Basil is thriving, bay tree is thriving, oregano and thyme are thriving but I need to move the thyme into a semi sheltered area or it will cook in the sun. I still have some kohlrabi out front that I've been eating raw because I love to peel them and eat them that way.

That's pretty much it to be honest. I want to get out and put down the deposit/first payment for my altered art classes tomorrow, run by Michael's to get the last of the stuff for my pocket letters and the yarn to finish my blue bolero jacket. Then to the supermarket and probably straight on home. I don't have any energy to get out and do much more right now. Which is fine, the class fees pretty much blew my spending money until next month. I had a gift card for Michael's already, otherwise I'd be having to shop my stash and make the best of it and wait to finish the jacket.

I have a bunch of stuff to put on Ebay. Costume jewelry I don't want, clothes I don't want, craft supply destash (mostly yarn), and a few other odds and ends. Not having a car, I need to make sure my husband can make it to and from a post office on his lunch break at work before I list the items. I hope to get my car back or a new one by the end of the year. But for now it is what it is. Even if I cut out all crafting I couldn't pay for a car so I don't feel bad about it.

That's it for now, I know I'm rambling so time to go.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It's May already? Here's what's going on in my life. Health, crafts, fun stuff, garden, etc...

Check these little guys out. I have a big Aloe Vera plant on my front porch and these cute little lizards really love hanging out on it to bask in the morning sun. There are two in the photo, one is being sneaky and peeking out from behind a leaf. These lizards are everywhere around my house, and I enjoy having them in the garden.

So recently we've had some heavy rain storms in the Houston area that caused devastating floods, several people even died and many many people had their homes flooded. We live south of the area that flooded so we just got an awful lot of rain. Some of my garden plants were stressed and a row of tomatoes developed some kind of wilt disease. But things do seem to be growing. I need to do serious garden maintainence soon, but I don't really feel up to it right now.

Why? Well, I came down with shingles about ten days ago. It's affecting my right arm from shoulder to fingertips. The rash is only from my armpit to wrist, but the pain and weakness is affecting my entire arm. So it's kind of hard to do much. I'm a rightie, and not having full use of my right arm and hand has really limited me. Thankfully I got on the antiviral medication early enough and I'm getting well fairly fast. But the pain is still pretty bad and there's only so much I can do with my hands before I have to rest.

Also, it looks like I possibly have lupus. Which scares me but answers a lot of questions I had about my health. When I was coming down with shingles my primary care doctor did a very thorough set of labwork including an autoimmune panel. I have multiple positive autoimmune results, specifically the one for lupus. I also have enough of the diagnostic symptoms to give a positive diagnosis. But my primary care doctor doesn't want to officially diagnose me and has referred me to a rheumatologist, who I go see towards the end of the month. There's definitely something going on with me in an autoimmune disease context though.

I've still been working on crafts and living my life as normally as I can. I've been working on crocheting a circle jacket and making pocket letters for a pocket letter swap.

Sorry about the crap quality of the photo, but I have a video up on YouTube about this project, my April pocket letters for the swap group I participate in. I really like making pocket letters and swapping them. It's kind of fun.

Speaking of crafts, in a couple of weeks registration opens for this years Creating Keepsakes Convention in Houston. I'm not staying at the hotel and doing the entire weekend this time. Too many copays and bills towards my insurance deductible because of the health issues blew my fun budget for the summer. But I do get to make a day of it and take a few classes and go to a crop and browse the vendor hall. Last year I crossed one of the things off of my bucket list by attending the entire weekend and staying at the event hotel. Maybe next year I can do it again, maybe even in another city?

That's about it for now, I've typed about as much as I can type right now, I need to rest my hand so I can crochet later on. I'll be SO happy when this has ran it's course. Shingles is absolutely no damn fun and especially on the arm of the hand you use most of the time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ha. It's been an entire year since I updated!

I didn't have the best year. I didn't have the worst, but it was a challenge in many ways. Right now I feel stuck in a rut with my life and I'm trying to find my way forward. Is this a mid life crisis? Maybe...I'm at that age now. All I know is that I need to find a sense of purpose again, I feel like I'm at a stop light and don't know which way to turn, so I just sit and let the light cycle back through yellow, red, and green, over and over and over again.

I've been doing the things I do though. Gardening, crocheting and knitting, cooking, taking daytrips, making other crafts.

My 2016 garden is almost completely planted and growing. I've been doing a lot of pocket letter swaps. And currently crocheting a circular jacket and a pair of African flower motif slippers.

That's it for now. I also have a Youtube channel and upload videos there somewhat regularly.

Check out my Youtube channel!

That's it for now. I'll be back though, I promise.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Garden is a go. I repeat, garden is a go!

So yesterday we actually had some sunshine and it was warm enough to want to be outdoors. So I went to a budget friendly "no frills" garden center by my house because they had been advertising 99 cent vegetable and herb plants.

I filled up the entire back seat of the car with vegetable and herb plants.

The little transplant size plants were all larger and healthier than the $3 ones from the big box store nurseries and home improvement centers. So I got all I wanted to plant.

I got peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, basil, oregano, thyme, mint, cilantro, parsley, watercress, dill, lemon balm, thyme, and some mixed variety marigold flowers. More herbs than veggies. Because I can put herbs in smaller pots. Veggies need very big pots usually and they are at a premium in my garden.

I also got a nice big aloe vera plant because I haven't had one of those in years. I had a huge one from my mom when we lived in an apartment and somebody swiped it off of my porch. They had to climb into my back patio to get it which really pissed me off.

But that's it for plants.

Now, to get them all planted.

Today it's gonna rain. Monday it's gonna rain. The rest of the week it may or may not rain. Early next week looks clear. I'll do as much as I can as I can do it. I just need to keep the baby plants alive until I can transplant them.

Now that I have the bulk of the garden planned, all I have to do is pick up little colorful flowers a few at a time to add here and there for eye candy, and some varieties that attract bees and other pollinators.

I'm glad I went to the garden center when I did. We stopped back in on the way home from our afternoon out so I could get the basil plants I forgot and they were incredibly picked over. Easily 60% of the herb/veggie stock was sold in the 8 hours I was off doing other stuff. I guess everybody came out in the sunshine to start their gardens. The employee said that's pretty much it for most of the veggies and herbs. They get what they get and then they don't get any more of most of it. I may go back when it's not raining to get chive plants if they still have any. I forgot to get chives yesterday and my established plants look pretty raggedy from the light freezes we had.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

And I still haven't started my Spring garden. Along with other random stuff.

Because the weather has completely sucked. It's either raining or cold, or both. On the rare days it's not, the dirt is still too wet to work with.

I've decided to just do a small garden this year. Probably focusing on herbs and flowers. I still have plenty of time to plant a lot of vegetables though. Who knows. I haven't even been to a plant nursery yet. I keep meaning to go to the big box budget nursery near my house because they have 99 cent herb and veggie starter plants. I'll get a bunch of herbs there for sure. Probably cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, and mint. Thyme if they have it. And some peppers I guess. Fairy Tale eggplant if they have them as well. Maybe I can convince my friend to go with me tomorrow, or just go by myself and get it done.

I don't know why I can't get into gardening this year. Usually it's something I really look forward to. I guess the sucky weather has a lot to do with it. I'll do something. Even if it's just a few peppers, a bunch of herbs and colorful annual flowers. But I'm just not feeling it this year for some reason.

So, the perfume sampler thing has been fun. I've tried all of the fragrances at least once, and narrowed down to two final contenders: Alien and Black Orchid. I think that if Dear Husband and I go anywhere near a mall with a Sephora this coming weekend, I will actually flip a coin to decide which to trade my voucher in for and go ahead and get it. I really want both, but neither more than the other. I am not good with decisions, especially ones that don't have serious consequences, so flipping a coin is probably going to happen in the parking lot of whatever mall we happen to pass by.

I got my artist trading cards in the mail on the due date, I forgot to take photos of the other 3 categories. But I will be getting one of each of my own back when the swapmistress sends everything out. So here is how the swaps work. We pick a category or theme, and make as many identical or near identical projects as there are people in the swap. They do the same. So for example, there were 9 ATC swappers. I made 9 identical cards, the other swappers made 9 identical cards, I get 9 different cards back in the mail, including one of my own. I signed up for 4 categories. Spring, Beach, Halloween, and Vintage. The projects were a bit of a challenge because my normal paper crafting style is extremely minimalist and simple. Most ATCs have a lot of mixed media and collage work. This swap was with a scrapbook and card making oriented group so I just used up supplies in my paper craft hoard.

I still have 3 charm swaps to complete (Spring, Easter, and Hobbit/LOTR). An altered tin, and I just signed up for a Summer/Beach themed shadowbox swap. I plan on getting the charms all out Monday, so that will leave me a few weeks to do the tin and then a couple months at least to do the shadow box. I procrastinated the Hobbit/LOTR charms because I know what I want to do (a book quote) but not how I want to do it. I can do soldered edge glass pendants with paper sandwiched between the glass. I can do the same kind of thing but a piece of glass adhered over paper in a metal frame. Soldering will take forever because I have to make 12. I don't like the bails on the pendants that are trays that hold a glass piece. I may go back to the craft store to look for something else. But then again, if I just sit my ass down and start working on it, I can pull off the soldered version with no problems. In the end, that is probably what I will end up doing. All I have to do is foil the edges of 1X1 squares, solder over the foil, and then spot solder a ring at the top to attach the clasp. It's more tedious than picky work. I have everything I need. Plenty of foil tape, a new pack of solder, and a new bottle of flux. And I did order a bunch of little glass squares at one point for a small project so there are more than enough left over to complete this one.