About Me

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Four years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Objets trouvees.

(Sorry. Can't insert the proper accents from my phone.) Yesterday I retrieved a few of my marbles, by attacking the paper glacier that has been stealthily growing in the doorway to my closet.

I found two umbrellas, now hanging in the hall closet. An earring that had escaped my grasp while being dropped into its pocket on the accessories organizer which hangs from one of the bifold doors to my closet. My Relief Society manual, missing for the past three weeks.

Half a dozen plastic shopping bags that had slithered down into the mix and will be joining their cousins in the pantry on my next foray into the kitchen. The paperwork supporting my 2013 tax return. The programs from Carmen and last week's hockey game.

Several books I had begun reading but lost interest in. A sheaf of old church manuals belonging to Beloved or his late wife. The sheet music for "The Green Days of Summer," a beautiful song from my childhood that was featured in The Alamo and was one of Beloved's favorite songs.

I told him, "Honey, I found that sheet music you had wondered about." I am taking it with me to my banjo lesson, to see if my teacher has it transcribed. And if not I will ask him to do so. I would like to learn to play it for Beloved.

My room looks a lot better now. Not perfect, but far more navigable. And my head feels clearer. I am going to reward myself by creating two or three scrapbook pages. Beloved gave me a beautiful red scrapbook for Christmas, right before we married. I've done nothing with it, except to keep it safe for two years, and to step around the bag which holds it when I go into my studio. So much of the past few years does not lend itself to being captured in 12" square segments and put into a book.

In knitting news, I began binding off the enormously long infinity scarf while at the General Women's Conference last night. I will make more progress while at church later today.

I finished reading the third Harry Potter about half an hour ago. The fourth is out on an ottoman in the living room, waiting patiently for its turn.

I'm really glad that church and obedience and the like are still important to me. The video that was part of last night's broadcast quietly undid me. One of the young(ish) moms was sitting next to me and put her arm around my shoulder. I whispered, "Sometimes it just comes up out of nowhere." She nodded. I whispered again, "And the music never helps." She nodded again. I don't know what griefs she has borne, but her face is too wise for there not to have been any. I'm just grateful that she was so kind. She's not one of my close friends, but last night she was God's hands to me.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Significantly less crabby today.

Two good nights' sleep. Two good workouts. I made myself walk the full mile today, on a 2% slope, after doing my weight training. I have hit the grocery store for one glorious Roma tomato. Sarah repeated the rebalancing on Wednesday night, since I couldn't have a massage because of the antibiotics.

And this time I was successful in avoiding all tomatoes and tomato products until I'd completed the 26 hour cycle. I am about to put away the rest of the groceries and make a ham and cheese omelette with a slice or two of tomato on the side. If (as I expect) there are no hives, I will gleefully resume eating tomatoes. I have missed them dreadfully.

I picked up some single-serving microwave popcorn to eat in the car on the drive home, for those days when my blood sugar and energy are flagging. If i yawn six times in ten minutes it means I need to send down reinforcements.

Bought a small bunch of daffodils to add to the alstromeria in the vase in the living room. I love fresh flowers. Alstromeria last for a week or longer, so it's an inexpensive way to get my beauty fix. I love tulips, but they poop out so quickly. (Maybe they are diabetic but uncontrolled?)

I hereby declare this a day of pampering, rest, and spiritual growth. Later, gators!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cupcake + ice cream = cankles

We had the quarterly birthday party at work today. I have not eaten ice cream in over a month. So I had one of those single serve cups of Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate. And a small cupcake. By the end of the day my legs were swollen and stiff halfway up my calves. And as red as if I were wearing 5" high legwarmers just above my ankles.

Three months from now I will try just the ice cream and see what, if any, reaction I get. I don't like cake enough to choose it over the ice cream.

Lesson learned: the healthy stuff I have been eating for the past month is what I need to continue to eat. I had a far more successful experiment at dinnertime. Stirred a scoop of vanilla protein powder into a cup of fat free Fage yogurt, sweetening it just enough and nearly tripling the protein grams. Then I sliced up several strawberries and stirred them in. Protein, a modicum of good carbs, vitamins, fiber, pleasant mouthfeel, and the satisfaction of having been right about a hunch. I think this is going to become one of my go-to breakfasts.

This has been a good week at work and an increasingly frustrating week at home. I had a painful symptom last week and have nearly finished a course of antibiotics. I have been going to the gym out of sheer bulldog stubbornness. On more than one day I have run out of safe snacks before I ran out of workday or commute home. The piles are getting out of hand again. I am too tired at night to make music. I haven't picked up a pencil in two weeks or more. I am a musician who doesn't music, an artist who doesn't art, a knitter who doesn't knit, and a reader who until last week hadn't read for pleasure in months.

I picked up the Harlot's new book before Knit Night. I am nearly done. I may read the last four (?) essays before bedtime. Or not. It is not quite 9:00. I have two meds to take, and my body is screaming for sleep. I blew off the gym this morning for another hour of sleep. I rescheduled tonight's banjo lesson because it would be a waste of his time and my money. I have had to postpone my massage twice. I burst into tears listening to the march of the day yesterday: Scotland the Brave. And I had some spotting today. As I did last month. The Red Fairy left the building five or six years ago. I don't know what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is going on, but somebody needs to tell my hormones to straighten up and fly right.

Don't be surprised if I keep the ringer off all weekend and only show up for the Women's Broadcast on Saturday night and church on Sunday.

Mumble mumble rassen frassen.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Update.

I had a far more clever title, but I've slept since then. Intermittently well.  I'm learning how to eat. Yesterday I came out just about right in terms of calories, sodium, carbs, and protein. My ankles were happy. My feet were only the teensiest bit swollen at bedtime. I tried on the red boots. Both feet went in! There was still significant pressure on the tops of my feet, and the boots came right back off, but it was the first time I was able to get my left foot all the way in. So maybe this fall I will be wearing those boots to church. And maybe a year from now I will be wearing them to work.

Today has been less successful in terms of food. I know I haven't eaten anywhere near enough calories. Or protein. On the other hand, I haven't tried to fill up on junk food. So I'm still moving in the right direction. My doctor is very pleased with me. I'm doing more actual cooking. But it takes time away from my music and art.

I have so many things I want to say. And I have got to go to bed. Probably the most important thing that happened today was a good long talk with Middlest after work.

Remind me to share the most important thing I learned at the hockey game on Saturday. Hint: it had nothing to do with hockey.

Monday, March 17, 2014

12.5

Almost 13. I was really surprised when I got on the scale. I noticed today that my shoes are getting loose. I may be back in my old size in a few months. I might even be able to wear the red ankle boots I bought, then couldn't zip up behind my heels.

I slept poorly last night. Went to bed at 11, woke about half past 2. Up for a couple of hours. At least I got my laundry caught up. And about an hour and a half nap after that. Which meant no gym this morning. I just got back from there after dinner. Did some weights, walked on the treadmill for five minutes, said "I'm done".

FHE tonight = two out of three. Family of one, definitely not home, but most definitely evening.

I got two birthday cards mailed off today. And my letters to the sisters on my VT route. And my music practice. I worked really hard today. SemperFi is on vacation the rest of this week. I still love being his secretary. And I'm ready to miss him for a few days.

On balance, a good day and a good start to the rest of the week. I'm going to read a little Harry Potter and call it a day.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

That's the second time.

I forgot to take my medicine last night. I was so tired after a long week at work, and my music practice, that I forgot to take it. I didn't realize until I woke up this morning, and it was a little too late.

So I have made a sticky note and put it on my sheet music to remind me to put the bottle on my bed before I start to play. When the sticky wears off, I'll make a new reminder. I have also updated my spreadsheet with numbers on each little square to know how many doses I've taken, without having to count each square. That will be truly helpful when I've been taking it for several months.

I have a writing route for visiting teaching. I spent some time this morning creating mailing labels for the envelopes. One of my sisters has a birthday next week. I've already made her card. Another had a birthday earlier this week, but I didn't have my list then. I've got them added to my Christmas card list and the one for Valentines Day. Heading out in a few minutes to buy green envelopes.

This afternoon I meet with my inquisitor at the health club. Time to work out a weight training plan.

Banjo practice went well last night. Today, as much as possible, is going to be about art and music.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Banjo lesson tonight.

This week has been a blur. Am finally getting a little caught up at work. The house is a zoo. I've done one load of laundry this week and run the dishwater.

Gradually increasing my time at the gym. Have added fish oil, a gummi multivitamin, and protein powder to my day. Trainer says I haven't been getting enough protein, but this should all help with the free floating inflammation. We did the body fat analysis on Monday night. I'm about 40% water, 50% fat, and 10% bone and lean muscle.

This will change. About half of that water is hanging around outside my cells. I would like to persuade it to go hang out *in* my cells, or just to make like Elvis and leave the building. And maybe take some of the fat with it.

Saturday afternoon I meet with another trainer to work out a weight program.

Baby steps. With a side order of dumbells. Good thing thing I have a banjo lesson tonight.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Max enjoyment.

Yesterday was quite a day. My fridge and pantry are restocked. I've written checks for all the bills. I caught a wee scrap of a nap before my friend's birthday party. And found a new home for one of our three ice cream scoops. (She was ma'amfully digging the ice cream out with a serving spoon.)

I made no music yesterday. No art, either. Didn't pick up my knitting except to move it. But my spirit feasted, regardless. I had a wonderful time at the art exhibition last night. I have tried, really tried, to love impressionism. But my mind and heart are pulled toward realism. The Dutch masters. The Hudson River school. Eakins' portraits. Greg Olsen. Simon Dewey. Liz Lemon Swindle. Paul Mann. C.C.A. Christensen. As opposed to Monet, most of Van Gogh, and Minerva Teichert.

And surrealism. Dali. "Starry Night". M.C. Escher. Mickey Mouse. Melted clocks. Singing crickets. Peter Max.

The impressionists are gifted. I appreciate what they were trying to do, and I am grateful for the beauty they shared. But it's not mathy enough to satisfy me. And not vivid enough. I spent so many years trying to be a pastel person, and I'm just not. If I could afford designer clothing, I would want Oscar De La Renta ballgowns in Betsey Johnson colors.

So last night was blissful. Peter Max is not afraid of color. Or of repeating himself. Many variations on several themes. His new Marilyn portraits are just lovely, as is his portrait of Taylor Swift. The one which moved me to tears was his portrait for the ten year anniversary of 9/11. We see the Statue of Liberty from the back. She is looking across the water at the towers. And golden light is pouring over the city from her torch.

I gathered up my courage and went over to speak with him. I thanked him for brightening my life during a difficult time. He said I was sweet. (Proving that you really can fool some of the people, some of the time.) We talked for maybe five minutes. He asked if I had any of his art. I told him no, that I've been a single mom for much of my life. He reached for a post-it pad and made me a sketch and signed it for me.

I'm framing it.

I never know what's going to come out of my mouth. I told him I would see him in Heaven. He corrected me, gently and firmly.

"No, I will see you again, here."

"Yes, but when I see you again in Heaven, I will be an artist, too."

I think I know a little how Moses felt on Sinai, or Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration.

And then I came home and called my sister, who was really excited to hear that I've started to draw. And my friend in Oklahoma, who is an artist. Both of them got it.

I am just flat overwhelmed with the love and grace and mercy that is pouring down on me from Heaven. I will probably be a wreck in sacrament meeting this afternoon, and people will think I am grieving (or nuts, but I'm used to that).

Just, wow.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Dinner with Brother Sushi.

Boy, did I need that! He is such a good and constant friend. And the perfect antidote to a frustrating and exhausting day at work. Plus, I have leftovers. Maggiano's is having a special: order a stuffed pasta entrée, and they send you home with another to heat and enjoy later. I ate about a third of my entrée last night and will portion out the remainder for future lunches.

The bonus entrée will go into the freezer until I can get desensitized to tomatoes. There's a narrow ribbon of sauce down the middle as a garnish. I was so tired last night that I thought I would just have to find a new home for it.

Heading to the gym in a few minutes. Then to the grocery store to get things I need, but not in Costco quantities. Costco after that. A surprise party this afternoon. And a meet and greet at a gallery in BigD tonight for Peter Max. (Unless they have postcards for sale, I won't be able to buy any of his work. Who'd have thought a girl from Idaho would ever get to meet a cultural icon from the 70's.) In between, knitting and study and art practice and music practice and maybe even a nap.

Brother Sushi apologized for starting his dinner with a salad, when I didn't want one. I told him it was OK, because I drank my salad at breakfast.

Friday, March 07, 2014

So bored that I weighed myself.

Yes. I know I'm the one who has said repeatedly that she hasn't been bored in decades. Ordinarily, that would be true. However, our system has been down for the past day and a half. I am blessedly caught up on my knitting, which is in itself a lovely thing. But I would like to be able to do more than just knit. My phone comes and goes. My email comes and goes. I cannot upload my mail or calendar anything or file with the courts. I was, briefly, able to read the Harlot's blog.

So I went to the scale in the copy room and took off my shoes. I have lost 3.5 pounds in the past week. Plus the ones I lost between diagnosis and last week. Not sure what the differential might be between this scale and the one in my doctor's office.

I am hungry. All the time. (Side effect of the Metformin.) And parched. I've drunk over a pint of water already and am about to refill my bottle. Yesterday I put hash marks on the label. Four times. Half a gallon, people. Down the hatch and out through my toes in a Noo Yawk minute. I eat two hard boiled eggs and two cheese sticks and an ounce of nuts. Every day. Plus a smoothie and everything else.

Smoothies are proving to be an effective way to get enough fruits and vegetables. No way could I eat a salad with four cups of spinach in less than fifteen minutes. If at all. Grr it up with some almond milk, and it's working its magic in a couple of minutes.

I am blogging between bites of lunch. Half a can of Costco roast beef, the other half of last night's potato, and the leftover mushrooms. Not sure I can finish it. My meals are small but frequent. OK, constant. I am eating two to three times the protein that I ate when I was pregnant, which was way more than the "experts" thought was necessary. Drinking very little milk, mostly in the form of buttermilk. And yogurt. I miss Ben and Jerry, but not as much as I had feared. I miss bread. I am sleeping better, if not as long as I would like most nights. I am no longer needing Cherry Coke to get through the afternoon.

So life is good. I just hope I can get something work related done this afternoon.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Baby steps.

I have temporarily given up on the idea of standing and stretching every 20 to 30 minutes or so while I'm at work. But I am taking the stairs more often than not. And the past two days I have parked farther out than I typically would in the past.

Yesterday I made my second green smoothie.  It stayed with me longer than Tuesday's. Tuesday I had the headache from hades. It showed up around 11:00 and played hide and seek until dinner and Knit Night and some quality time with Fourthborn. So I'm thinking blood sugar plus sinus.

Last night I had a massage that was almost 100% biomechanical. Pretty cool. We confirmed that my sinuses are not happy.

I'm still trying to figure out how much to eat, and what, and when. But I feel a little stronger each day. Yay for exercise! And I am loving my music practice. I am a little bit stuck with my art practice, but there will be some time for that this weekend.

The artist Peter Max will be in the area this weekend. I'm going to try to catch one of the open house activities. I loved his stuff when I was younger. I have no idea what he's done since then.