Thank you

No matter what politics do, and believe me, I have many feelings on that, I always try to separate my support of the government and support of the military.

It doesn’t matter what those in charge do, the men and women that serve do so at a great personal sacrifice, and I am grateful for that.

So, the last few weeks, I decided I wanted to put up something on my door to mark the day. Door decorations have become a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, and I’m really enjoying coming up with new and fun door decoration ideas. This was inspired by several wreath patterns on Pinterest, and the pattern came from the 5000 poppies project.

The rest- well, I wanted to have some white ribbon or lace for the bow. However, some sisal rope was what this tipsy crafter had on hand!

I’m pleased with the result, and I hope that it conveys even the smallest bit of the depth of my gratitude.


The Best Laid Plans

Well, despite my best efforts, the bulk of my resolutions have not been going well. About the only one that has is giving up processed sugar – which let’s face it, isn’t too shabby.

Work has been 12 hour shifts for the last nine days – and these are intense “save the world” type shifts, because of the work I do. I’m also the most experienced, which means that I haven’t disconnected since the emergency started. And still, I have done well with my sugar plan! A few slip ups, but we’ve gotten right back on the wagon, and I haven’t been craving it.

Cheese, on the other hand, has been more difficult. The cafeteria at work is littered with it – and the non-cheese options actually give my stomach a worse reaction than eating cheese in the first place (go figure). So I’ve been grabbing what I can, and being glad for it. Couple that with a partner who just lost his best friend suddenly to a serious illness she’d kept quiet… and well, he gets whatever comfort food he wants right now. Usually in the form of pizza.

I intend to get back on (well, off, really) the cheese wagon. And keep going on the sugar free zone.

And in the meantime, I will celebrate the fact that for the first time ever, I own my car outright. And that I have handknit one half of a lovely pair of kilt hose (and I’ve just taken a break from casting on the other half- no sock curse for me!)

I hope whatever changes you all have been making have been going well, and that you have plenty to celebrate.

Skipping the Magical Holiday

It’s almost that time! The most magical day of  the year! The best day, which falls in dreary February, brightening the life of all women….

Half Price Chocolate Day! (no, not Valentine’s Day, silly reader.)

However, this year I am going to be abstaining from my favorite of the minor holidays. Because this year, I am going to do a health challenge.

I’ve needed to get my health back on track, this we have discussed. I’m not Catholic, but growing up, my family observed the “Giving up something for Lent” process. And this year, I’ve decided that I’m going to do it again. It’s an accepted time period to do these kinds of challenges, which makes the explaining of things easier, and it’s tied to something ingrained in my life, which I feel will help fool my brain into actually getting this done.

So, from February 14 until April 1, I’m challening myself to give up processed sugar, all dairy, and to eat as much “whole, real food” as possible. To get my lifestyle change jumpstarted, and to get all of the lingering cravings out of my system.

Dairy is especially important to cut, as I’ve found that I’m actually allergic to dairy, which means that it is actively impedeing the process of healing from my ulcers. I read an article over the weekend that the University of Michigan has completed research that said cheese sets off the same receptors in the brain as opioids, which to me means that I need to be very diligent about getting that aspect of my health on track. 

I’m looking forward to taking this step, and checking back in on how I’m doing over the next 40-some days.

Are you doing any health challenges in the near future?

Belated New Year, Belated New Me

My mother has threatened, on many occassions, to cross stitch me a sampler that says “Someday, when I have my sh*t together!” Apparently, this is something that I say more than I even realize. While my entire work life is designed around working a week into the future, in my personal life I am almost always behind. It’s a work in progress.

So, I did not get my life together in time for the traditional new year. I’m still working on figuring out how I want to manage things in this coming year, to be honest. Work changes have added a lot of stress, as well as illness and lots of extra work. (which has been good for my debt repayment, truth be told)

I’m thinking about doing a mini challenge for myself over the 40 days prior to Easter – I feel like it might be a good time to refocus. To really work on being a better version of myself. (and the fact that I still have two whole weeks to plan my life is somewhat appealing!)

What have you been doing to build a better you this year?

October is my favorite season. 

I love October. The weather (when it cooperates), the Halloween decorations… it makes me unreasonably happy. It’s also when I purchase most of my house decorations. 

White ceramic skull with gold filigree next to a flower arrangement.
Like this little number right here.

This side table is right across from my favorite seat in the house, so it’s always visible. I’ve already decided that this skull is going to stay up year round. I may reconsider if having it all the time makes it feel less special, but I don’t think that will be the case. 

The new budget has severely curtailed my October decoration spending, which is a little sad this year. But there will always be more Halloweens, and plenty more skulls and witchy things to add to my collection. At the rate my first line of credit is being paid down, I can hardly complain. It’s been extremely gratifying to watch that number continue to drop. 

So now you know my guilty pleasure is cute-ish skull related things. What tempts you to break the budget?

Wine isn’t self care, apparently.

Over the summer, work was hard. Really hard. My boss was promoted, meaning they weren’t available most of the time (but still wanted to be heavily involved in decision making for the office). Two of my staffers quit. I was trying to keep the entire area afloat during our busy season, and all of us were super stressed out.

This is probably when my ulcers started. It’s also definitely when my adrenal fatigue reared its ugly head.

Previously, my go-to self care technique was a glass of wine. Or whiskey. Or a gin and tonic. Or beer. You get the idea.

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She obviously is judging my drinking. (used with permission)

It got to the point where I was drinking way, way too much.

I am horrible at self care. I had no idea what I should do to help lower my stress and my drinking. Finally, after a crazy amount of Googling and Facebook crowd-sourcing, I decided on two tactics: meditation, and scheduling some self care tasks for myself.

The meditation I went crazy with- I’m pretty sure I downloaded eight different phone apps trying to find the one I liked best. For me, I preferred an American accent on my speakers, so Calm and 10% Happier were the two I settled on. And let me say, Calm’s sleep stories are a godsend when the mind just won’t shut up! Later, when I couldn’t access them at work due to some weird firewall thing, I added Meditation Studio to the mix.

I also used an app called Routines (iPhone only, sadly) to set up reoccurring items that I needed to do each day, so that I could build better habits.

This ended up helping, but was no replacement for the slight improvement to the work situation that occurred this fall. Between the two, I’m starting to feel like my life is marginally under control again. It’s a nice feeling, and one I hope to continue to build on.

And in the meantime, if you have any self-care tips and tricks, please share in the comments!

It Begins

It’s been quite a long time. I fell away from trying to blog. However, based on new information, I obviously need to work on blogging more.
The whole story started, really, with an emergency room trip. The only time I’d ever been to one before had been for one of several falls – sprained ankles that might have had a broken bone.

This one was for a great deal of abdominal pain. Several months (and quite a hefty medical bill later), the diagnosis comes back as ulcers. Work has been stressful. Life has been stressful. The stress had manifested in a very real, painful way.

So I’m having to, essentially, start over with how my life works, exactly. First of all, no more dairy, which is a pretty terrible fate. I’m overweight, so I need to work on that. And somehow, I need to lower stress. This involves developing better coping mechanisms for work and personal stress, and getting my budget back in order.

About the only thing that I’m getting to keep unscathed is my Netflix account, and my knitting!

So, please feel free to join me as I try to figure all of this out!

Blessed Spring!

The first day of spring is finally here! While it’s chilly today, I’m one of the lucky ones that did not receive snow, so there’s that to be thankful for. This winter has been the type that required so much energy to function through, and I’m looking forward to coming out of this weather coma and enjoying my city again.

The baby blanket marathon continues. One complete (but for weaving ends and blocking), and the second has begun. At the rate I’m going, I’m optimistic that the blankets will greet each of their recipients. This pleases me, because I hate being late, although I will often resign myself to that fact.

Divorce, on the other hand, moves slowly. The actual legal business is done, and now I have reached the endless process of a name change. It’s strange, how much of a difference a different name makes. I feel more removed from that portion of my life, because after all, that was a completely different person!

My current frustration lies, however, in the movement of the bills. Many things in the old house were in my name, and he has taken his dear time in switching them – painting me as a nag and an evil ex when I ask for updates. It is his life after all – even if these things are using my name in the meantime.

Soon, however, it will be done. And then I will have no further ties to that place. Small blessings, indeed.

So many babies!

Four babies are entering my friend group, and so the last few weeks my time has been swamped with baby blankets!

I favor a nice, simple pattern for baby blankets, so that’s left a lot of time for navel gazing and introspection. January has always been a difficult time of the year  for me, and this year has been no different. So, for the meantime, I will knit away, and count the rows, that turn to days, that turn to spring.

I’m looking forward to it.

Knitting hibernation

There is something incredibly decadent and satisfying about canceling everything on your to-do list, sitting at home and knitting with fabulous yarn.

I knit as active meditation, and as exercise for my hands (blasted early-onset arthritis), so I have never bothered to try and develop speed. This has been really problematic only during the three month Christmas present sprint I tend to do each year. Otherwise, the slow rhythm of knitting is exceptionally comforting to me.

After such a tumultuous week, it was heaven to sit down with a skein of decadent yarn and whip out a cowl. I am ball-winding challenged, and ended up with my hank in quite the gordian knot, but once I got all untangled, I was good to go.

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This is out of the Lorna’s delightful hand-dyed yarns in Vera, working into the crazy quick Garland Cowl. I edited out some rows, due to concerns about the amount of yarn I actually had. Since I’m a tight knitter, I also upgraded to size 13 needles. I wanted it to be a bit airy.

It traveled with me a bit, as you can see from game night in the background. It also was able to field trip to my favorite craft brewery, where I was able to catch up with a friend as I sewed in the ends.

This week, it’s been terribly cold. Not polar vortex cold (only due to lack of wind, though), and such extremes takes a toll on my mood. Although it desperately needs to be blocked, I decided to wear my new accessory anyway. The pink brightens the day, and it made me happy to wear such a lovely, happy piece of my own work.