Hello!

Jan. 5th, 2017 10:01 am
hlmauera: (Default)
Trying out a new space. My LJ will be imported eventually but, I'm not sure I'm ready to move completely. I have friends both places.
hlmauera: (Panther)
I'm not sure I'm ready to jump ship but I've set up a new account.  If you are dreaming, I have the same user name there.
hlmauera: (Panther)
Sunday morning around 3 am I woke up for some reason but when I shut my eyes again it was like there were fireworks going off behind my lids.  I was too tired to try to figure it out, so I went back to sleep.  When I woke up at 7ish, it was still doing that but I figured I didn't need my eyes closed.  I fumbled around the house like i usually do was I'm waking up and sat down to catch up on facebook, only, I couldn't read the phone.  It was like something was in my way.  So I concentrated on what I was seeing and discovered that there was a large C glittering in front of my left eye like a streamer made of holographic paper.  It twisted, waivered, and sparkled but never changed shape.  If I closed my left eye, I could still see it; it had just moved farther to the periphery of my vision on the left side- down and farther left.  Knowing that there was a history of eye problems in my family, I opted to call the emergency ophthalmology number.  By the time I had called and received a number for the on call doctor, it had stopped.  I haven't seen it again but I figured I ought to follow up with the ophthalmologist.

I made an appointment for yesterday and it turns out, my eyes look perfectly healthy, if a bit allergic.  I apparently had an ocular migraine.  My eyes are not happy right now.  They feel achy and full of pressure.  I'd like nothing more than to go to sleep for a good long while (not that my brain will shut down and let me).  I don't know if this is a backlash from the migraine or if I just haven't gotten enough sleep.  Oh well....at least it's something new and different.

Results...

Dec. 19th, 2016 04:57 pm
hlmauera: (Panther)
So....I had my colonoscopy and endoscopy on Tuesday before the ice storm hit.  It was uneventful but the prep drink was vile!  They found and removed three polyps and did various biopsies to test for specific things- H. pylori and colitis for sure.

All test results are negative (as I expected). The polyps are tubular adenomas (non-cancerous but prone to evolution) so they will have to check more frequently to make sure there aren't more. That means every five years which isn't too horrible- although you may have to remind me of that in five years when I have to drink that nasty stuff again. So...all total, my diagnosis is exactly what I was told it was years ago- Irritable Bowel syndrome. It's a diagnosis but there is no specific treatment other than some success in controlling symptoms with the low FOD-MAP diet. However, the cholecystectomy has worsened my symptoms so they are going to put me on a medication to bind the bile so hopefully that will help with the worst of it.

Once things have evened out and the cholesterpol has been working for a while, I will probably go see a nutritionist because really, meat, potatoes, bananas, processed white bread, and goat/sheeps milk cheeses is really not a balanced diet.
hlmauera: (Panther)
Christmas depression is apparently a thing for me.  I struggle with this time of year every year, it seems.  It's worse this year because of the circumstances surrounding it.  The fact that I will be without family is hard- Christmas is supposed to be about family and mine won't be this year.  I know I have friends that I love like family (and who understand me better than family) but somehow it isn't the same.  I know that eventually there will be a gift exchange but for some reason the day matters to me.  We always open presents on Christmas eve.  It's a Norwegian family tradition but also, I believe it's the day my grandfather fell into the coma that he never came out of.  I think Grandma made it into a day of celebration to take away the sad, so the day seems important.  It's my connection to Grandma who has been gone for 8 years now but I still miss her, especially at Christmas. She was an amazing woman and Christmas was her holiday to spoil everyone.

But even when I know I'll be with my family I struggle with Christmas.  I think I always have.  When I was young, I think I got too many hopes up surrounding the holiday.  I try not to do that anymore but I still find it all overwhelming. I end up fighting with my dad and/or my brother and it's always implied that it's my fault.  My dad still tries to send me to my room or demand my participation.  I have no freedom unless we are home and I can leave but we haven't been doing that for years.  So usually, I'm a ride hostage and sometimes a house hostage.  I get angry about life.  It's never more apparent than when I'm with family, how much that I dreamed of having that I don't and probably won't ever have.  it's also apparent how my life has taught me more tolerance and hopefully gentleness with others than my brother and father have.  They aren't bad people, please don't get me wrong.  I love them dearly and value them for the people they are (although sometimes I wish they could be more).  Mom and Dad are so wrapped up in being Grandpa and Grandma and in-laws that all else seems to be subsumed. I get it.  Lilly is adorable and my sister-in-law is pretty awesome.  My brother and his life appear to be everything they wanted their kids to be.  Me, not so much.  I know my parents (or at least my mom) admire my compassion and my stick-it-toitiveness. (My dad loves me very much but he struggles to tell me what he likes about me). But when faced with my brother making twice my salary (with half the education), dealing with multi-million dollar contracts, having the perfect (relatively) little family/house/life, I feel rather inadequate and somewhat jealous. I don't want his life, but I'd like to have something more in mine.  I feel like I've failed to accomplish anything but racking up big debts in my life.

Then there is the pressure of finding/making the perfect gift for my family members.  I never start early enough to make everything before the holiday rush but it seems like I'm only ever making things for other people.  Because I have limited resources for gifts but big expectations of giving, there is always a conundrum.  I'm also running out of ideas for gifts that can be home made that people like and use.  I had started to make a little dress for Lilly but my SIL has twice now told me how she's really hoping for a hat for Lilly for Christmas so I scrapped the dress to make a hat.  It seems a bad exchange but it's what she asked for.  I don't expect to be able to get the dress done now before Christmas (SIL wanted a matching hat but that's not going to happen).   To the best of my knowledge, none of the men ever use what I make for them, with the exception of my dad who will wear only one of the hats I made for him.  So it seems a waste to make things they won't use. But that means spending more money to buy gifts for them, which adds to my budget concerns.  This year, all my Christmas shopping had to go on the credit card, which I hate, but there wasn't any savings left after my surgery and the mess that the hospital made and hasn't fixed yet (They took the entirety of my remaining out of pocket max before surgery but didn't bill first, so now I have several other bills to pay but they are still "reviewing" my account 3 months later and won't give me the several hundred dollar refund I am due until they finish).  And there always seems to be extra expenses this time of year; it's just how life seems to work.

This year I have the added fun of planning for my colonoscopy and endoscopy on the 13th.  Unfortunately, the diet that I have to be on for the next three days leaves me with three things to eat- Potatoes with no skin, lean tender meat, processed pasta/bread.  There are no fruits and vegetables which I am allowed to eat that I can eat and no spices to make it all palatable  (no spices unless they are a non-red powder).  I will probably eat my sheep and goat's milk cheese because they aren't forbidden unless you are lactose intolerant- which I am but they have less lactose than cow's milk. I will also have my non-dairy butter, because I don't see that it is forbidden.  Due to the timing, I end up being on a clear liquid diet for two days (although it's only supposed to be 24 hours).  I have no idea what I can have other than water on that.  I see a whole lot of hungry crankies in my future. Watch out at 11th night on Saturday.

I was supposed to go see the Nutcracker with a friend but it hasn't worked out so I don't have that to look forward to.  I will go to 11th night but I'm not wanting to.  The interesting way my mind works:  I feel like I've let Sverre and Brecca down because I had to be out for family and surgery stuff the last few months. I haven't actually been to an event since August.  Now, they both told me they didn't expect me to be at events, just wrangle largesse.  I don't think I've done a very good job with that either, especially since I haven't even heard from them since August.  I haven't seen any donations but I haven't been at events so...  Anyway, as they are stepping down, most coronets give gifts as thank yous.  I don't feel like I deserve one so I don't want one.  On the other hand, I don't want to not get one because they agree with me that I've done a lousy job.  So it's a bit of a catch 22.  I'd like to just stay away.  However, I have to pass off the Largesse to someone so I need to go.  I will probably leave early because...food issues.  There is a day board and feast but I can't eat it as far as I know so I'll need to leave.  Again, on the other hand, I'd like to see people, because it's been since August since I've seen most everyone.  On yet a third hand (and who doesn't need one), I could really use the time to work on my Christmas projects.  I am also planning to run up to Portland, weather permitting, next Saturday to peruse Geek the halls.  I could probably use the time more profitably but it's too late at that point anyway- Mom and Dad will have left for CA so it's either done or not by then.  The rest will just be late and what's one more day late?

I still don't know when I will be able to take my extra holiday.  Since I don't need extra time off- at least not when we are allowed to take it- I have been waiting for everyone else to make their requests.  I still don't know what they need so I'm just waiting.  I imagine I will take it before or after New Year's since everyone else seems to have Christmas plans.  I don't need it- New Year's Day is a Sunday so the party is usually Saturday night. But the state celebrates it on Monday so we have that day off. I'm allowed to take it either Friday or Tuesday, neither of which is necessary.  It's just another day to spend alone but I guess it doesn't really matter at that point.  I enjoy my house by myself, just not always at the holidays.

Anyway, I've done enough soul searching and kvetching for the day.  I'll see some of you on Saturday.
hlmauera: (Panther)
My parents are leaving for CA on the 17th and can't get together before that for a variety of reasons (part mine, part theirs).  So there will be no gift exchange this year since they won't be back until the new year.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't find this depressing and painful.
It also means I have to have everything finished and wrapped by Sunday night.   I will be other wise occupied prepping for my colonoscopy on Monday and Tuesday is the last day I will see them.  They are taking me to my procedure and picking me up, then they will have company for the rest of the week.   It is probable that I won't leave the house that weekend at all.  If I'm going to be sad and irritable, it's best not to inflict that on anyone.
hlmauera: (Panther)
All my shopping is done, now it's down to the frentic knitting.  All of the towels and scrubbies are done.  So that leaves Mom's socks, Andrea's slippers, Lilly's dress, and Candy's gift.  It's still a lot, but it's progress.  I'm hoping Lilly's dress won't take too long and I'm working on Mom's socks at lunch time.  Candy's gift may have to be a 12th night gift (big surprise there, right?)

Mom, Birthday: knit socks from knitpicks Felici selfstriping yarn in color: Wicked. Cook books, chickadee etched mug



Brother, Birthday: Puzzle lamp (in UO colors)



Mom: two knit skirts made (I'll have to take pictures),black shirt to match both skirts, Home made Body powder
Dad: Box of cranberry sauce, a salmon etched mug, home made shaving cream, at his request, a certificate that I put $50 in by savings account.

Brother and SIL:Crochet top towels-completed, Pot scrubbies
Brother: Books of scroll saw patterns (this one and this one), bottle of Hot pepper garlic oil, home made shaving cream, Elk etched mug
SIL: knit socks- Completed, body powder, handful of Berenstain bears books, "Robot and the Boy" book.

Niece L: 4 or 5 books,collection of Berenstain bears first books, wooden toy helicopter (she loved dad's log truck so I'm hoping she will think this one is fun too), two outfits and a frilly skirt. I have fabric to make her an outfit and I have started to knit her a little dress and maybe a tam.
Sister and BIL: Crochet top towels- completed, pot scrubbies
Sister: Shawl- completed, home made body powder, bath bombs, hair stick (see picture under niece)

BIL: Specialty hot sauce, hot and spicy flavored oils and vinegar, chipotle peppers, home made shaving cream



Niece A: Scarf knit from String Theory Colorworks Entanglement Color: putnicite (this is an impossible color to photograph.  It's really more green). This is doubled for blocking.  It was too long to block in one room.



home made body powder, bath bombs, hair stick (one on the left is for my niece and on the right for my sister- can you believe they were only $5 each? Someone is seriously underpricing their work)



Nephew: 4 books of WWII history, home made shaving cream
Cousin A (Birthday and Christmas): I've knit a pretty cowl in a mohair blend and I plan to knit slippers in a matching color of alpaca (this one I think):

Trudi: Secret since she reads this. All complete
Marian: Secret since she reads this. All complete.
Jay: Fingerless mitts, a couple of crystal geodes.
Candy: Secret because she reads this. I bought something but would like to also knit something but it will depend upon time.
Godson 1: LED lights for his bike wheels
Godson 2: LED lights for his bike wheels
Kym: Necklace (which I need to make) with electroplated leaf, Crochet top towels, pot scrubbies, Home made body powder

Holiday...

Nov. 28th, 2016 08:51 pm
hlmauera: (Default)
Well it turns out that Thanksgiving will be my only celebrated holiday this year. Mom and Dad will be going to CA for Christmas and I can't get any time off after taking six weeks for surgery. Not being able to see my family open their gifts takes all of the joy out of the holiday for me and I'd rather scrap the whole thing. I don't really give two figs about the presents for me, except I know that mom, at least, loves giving them. I enjoy and appreciate them but not as much as I enjoy giving gifts.
I feel like I just want the year to be over and move past the entire Christmas season. Except I am not seeing much to look forward to beyond Christmas either.
hlmauera: (Panther)

I'm going to say this just once (well once on each venue). As a woman who was molested as a child, and who has been assaulted and raped as an adult, it is really hard not to take this election personally. I feel like a majority of Americans, including most of my family just told me, "That's ok with me- you are just something to be used by a man and discarded. You aren't really an autonomous person. It's your fault anyway."

However, I am going to continue to try to love with all my heart and trust that it is the absolute best thing I can do.

hlmauera: (Panther)
In addition to the horrible happenings on Thursday, on Tuesday they found the body of my niece's good friend who had been missing from Boise for a month.  She was 18.  It's labeled suspicious and we all believe she was murdered.  The family is reeling from all sides right now.  I dislike how much anger I have when I'm grieving- so often it's misplaced and targets the wrong person.

So today, I'm hoping for a better week.  It's starting with Halloween which used to be my favorite holiday.  I love playing dress up but I haven't had time or desire to work on a costume for the last few years.  Work isn't a place that has many people dress up (I'm often the only one, if I do) so the elaborate costumes are quite out of place.  I haven't got anywhere to go for halloween so no place to show off a costume.  I don't give out candy because I can't really have it in the house so I don't even get to enjoy the trick or treaters and I don't get home from work until they are almost done anyway. (when did trick or treating start at 3:00 in the afternoon and end before 6:00?)  But this morning I rifled through my garb/costume closet and found something pretty to wear.  Then for the first time ever for work, I think, I put on make up and left my hair down. It's all driving me quite crazy which is why I don't do it more often.  Funnily enough, no one has even noticed. Frankly, I look at this picture and I feel like I look old and very sad.


Still, I made an effort and I'm hoping the week will reflect some of that back to me.
hlmauera: (Default)
My cousin refuses to allow anyone to use the term suicide in relation to Josh's death.
He's dead, pretending that it was some tragic accident isn't going to make it different and by hiding the effects of suicide we simply encourage an epidemic, we encourage a stigma.
It's dumb.
hlmauera: (Panther)
My cousin's son committed suicide this morning. He was ~ 27 with two young son's and a wife. They were having difficulties but I was hoping they could work things out. There isn't opportunity now. My heart is broken.
hlmauera: (Panther)

This was the culprit! The Surgeon handed it to me at my post-op appointment on Monday.

To say I under-estimated the impact of surgery might be an understatement.  I don't know if my surgery was particularly difficult so that I had more pain and fatigue, but I wasn't able to pop up and go back to work.  In fact yesterday was my first day back and I'm only working half days this week and maybe next.  Unfortunately, I am having episodes of sharp pain that hurt more than the original post-op pain.  I told mom that it feels like someone has a fish hook in the flesh next to my belly button that they occasionally yank on.  The Surgeon couldn't explain it (perhaps didn't understand the level of pain).  It takes my breath away when it happens.  Sometimes it's predictable.  Gagging is particularly bad and I tend to gag when I brush my teath.  Coughing and sneezing are no fun.  But I haven't completely identified what movements can cause it, so those catch me by surprise.  The burning I feel is nerve regeneration, not much fun but expected. I've been off the Oxy since the Wednesday after my surgery although right now, it sounds good.

My skin is still recovering from the adhesives, it's dry and flaking now.  Two of my incisions have completely healed on the surface which is great but one popped a stitch and is taking it's time granulating under the large scab.  The belly button incision is healing well.  It scabs and peals and scabs and peals, but I think that's normal.  The surgeon was please with all but the one that popped open.  He would go back and try to re-suture it but I didn't think it was a big deal.  No one sees my tummy and even if they did, those are battle scars, right?

I still have a lifting restriction for four more weeks but he would prefer I try to keep to it for 10 more weeks. I'm allowed to get back into a pool or hot tub after my incisions are completely healed but I'm not allowed to do anything other than gentle walking for three months.  That puts a kink into my water aerobics class.  I'm not sure I want to pay the $70 for the term just to get into the water for three days a week.  It feels great but, it's kinda spendy.

The surgery notes are interesting.  They don't inspire confidence- there is a lot of "I think/ I wasn't sure...."  He did note that I have an enlarged and fatty liver, which is not all that surprising given my weight but it's still yet another thing to be concerned about.  All of my liver enzymes have been normal so there isn't a problem yet.

Yesterday I followed all of this with a visit to a gastroenterologist for the assumed IBS issue.  Basically, we have to do all the testing to rule out everything else since an IBS diagnosis is a diagnosis of elimination.  However, that means more anesthesia and they don't want to do that for 8-12 weeks.  So I'm scheduled for an endoscopy (check on the GERD damage) and colonoscopy in December.  She suggested I consider the low FODMAP diet but I just can't handle any more restrictions.  If I can make other choices to be closer to that diet I will but it's just not possible to adhere to it right now.  I'll wait until after the diagnostics are complete because I couldn't tell right now if it made a difference anyway with the surgery recovery mucking with things.  There are somethings I already know.  Sugar alcohols, lactose, onions, and garlic, all cause problems in my system.  I avoid or minimize my ingestion most of them (except I really love onions and garlic).  I think the goal will be to figure out what really bothers me and what I'm ok with but I can't restrict everything on that list with my current dietary restrictions and have a balanced and liveable diet.

I'm working to try to lose some weight but I'm struggling to find the balance between calorie restriction and becoming a total monster. I do not function well when I'm hungry and getting hangry is a real thing for me. Without exercise, this is even more difficult but I'm trying just to track what I eat again for now.

Anyway, that's all the medical news.  Life is so very fun!  But I'm alive and healing which is good.
hlmauera: (Default)
My cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) was scheduled for 1:00 yesterday with an 11:00 check-in. To make sure we weren't late for check in we left my place about 9:45 and ended up being almost an hour early. That was ok though because, with the renovation construction, we had to park on the opposite side of the hospital and wind our way through the construction detours in the hospital. I was then about 30 minutes early but that was ok. I got checked in and payed my bill in full- it was the remainder of my out of pocket maximum less 20% if I paid up front. Since the discount was significant, dad loaned me the money and I'll pay him back. It was a lot of money but a great deal for surgery- $1015.75.

After checking in, I headed to the second floor to short stay. They got me set up in a bed with a bear paw gown. It was the paper gown with a very plastic liner and within minutes I was rolling in sweat. The combination of nerves and my lower body temperature just lead we to overheat quickly. The bed was too flat for my back to handle so I ended up sitting on the bed for 30 minutes for someone to come. I was 15 minutes early and they were 15 minutes late so it combined to be a long wait. When the nurse came in she was great! She knew of my mom (mom taught nursing for 35 years and her students were usually place there at McKenzie Willamette- several people stopped her to say hi while we were there). She reassured me that my surgeon was very careful and the one she entrusted her daughter to when she needed surgery. Since I'd only met him once and had no information about him, that was very nice to hear. I realized my nerves partially stemmed from the rememberance that my grandmother died after this surgery due to a surgeon's poor sterile technique.

My heart rate and blood pressure were pretty high- 98 bpm, and 147/101. My diastolic has only ever been that high when I'm in the hospital. The nurse called it white coat syndrome and asked for Versed. She adjusted my bed to a comfortable position and got my bear paw hooked up to an airflow system which usually warms patients but in my case they used cool air to cool me down. It's really amusing to see my gown attached to a vacuum hose and blown up like a marshmallow. Between it and the compression wraps on my legs I looked like the Michelin Man.


Once the IV was in she delivered the Versed and I was much more comfortable. I dosed off and on but was grateful for Mom and Dad's reassuring presence (although I think Dad was just as nervous and scared as I was, he insisted on a picture of mom and I before I got checked in). Dr. Stites came by to go over the after care and to let me know they were running an hour behind. He restricted me to 15 lbs weight for four weeks, no immersion in a tub or exercise beyond walking until after he sees me in two weeks, a low fat diet consisting of NO red meat for two months, and no driving until after my follow up. Some of this had to be modified after surgery. But I'll get to that.

It ended up being 3:00 before I was rolled back to the OR through the construction zone hallways piled floor to ceiling with surgical equipment. It was rather terrifying. The OR is cold and intimidating but they got me under rather quickly.

I woke up in recovery in a panic attack they tried to give me Daloted but with no results so they gave me more Versed. Recovery is all a blur and I next remember waking up back in short term stay. The surgeon told me I was going to be sorer than expected because he'd had to enlarge on of the incisions and do quite a bit of tugging to get the gall bladder out due to a golf ball sized stone. He increased my restrictions to six weeks from four. They got me started on the Oxycodone and we waited until I could get up and pee before I was released. Peeing was no problem but getting out of bed was painful and challenging.
So now I'm back st Mon and Dad's and I'm definitely going to be here more than 24 hours since I cannot move with out assistance.
Now the pain meds gave kicked in and I'm going back to sleep.
hlmauera: (Default)
I have food issues and this means I also have weight issues although perhaps not the way I'd expect.

I tend to eat a higher protein diet. I have a dairy restriction but I only seem to react to cow's milk and can process goat and sheep's milk in limited quantities. But I had to cut out many of my favorite treats- ice cream, cheese cake, baked goods.

I have IBS and do not process green leafy vegetables and whole grains cause problems.

I have GERD and they tell me I should not have chocolate, citrus, or spicy food.

Now I'm scheduled for a cholesistectomy and they are telling me I need a really low fat diet for a few months thereafter.

So what, exactly, am I supposed to eat? Meat and cheese are out. Maybe clear broth? Maybe I'll finally lose weight, but I doubt it.

I'm so frustrated I'm crying.

Onward....

Aug. 12th, 2016 10:57 am
hlmauera: (Panther)
It's been a stressful couple of weeks just due to the amount of things I need to cram into my time and the lack of weekend time to do it.
My church convention is next week and I usually like to get some new clothes sewn- it's always been the time to buy the new "school" clothes, as it were, and I like to have fresh new things.  However, with the increase in events that I have been attending and a number of family obligations I haven't had much time to do the sewing and keep up on the other household things that have to happen this time of year (Gardening, harvesting, canning, cleaning, weeding....)  Tuesday, Marian, Trudi, and I canned 75ish pounds of peaches for my pantry.  I still had a box to put in jars (but they were pealed) and a box that had to be completely proccessed when they left but it was very helpful to have them there and I allowed me to finish before midnight.





We had a lot of problems with breakage but I think it's because the peaches were cold and the syrup was only warm so the jars were too cold when they went into the water bath.  When I started soaking the jars in hot water until they went into the bath, there were fewer broken ones.  The nice thing about canning outside, besides keeeping the heat out, is that, the next afternoon, I just took a hose to the jars to rinse off the sticky sugar and wiped them down with a towel before bringing them into the house.  The peaches weren't the sweetest I'd ever eaten but they'll be fine after soaking in the light syrup. Last year's peaches from Hentzes were much better.  I need to try to remember that.  I also forgot that used honey last year and it was delicious.  Oh well.  It's all good food.

I currently have 4 1 gallon ziplocks full of green beans that need to be pickled but we didn't have time for that.  I think they will be ok until next week.

We are also celbrating my cousin Andrea's 40th birthday and my niece's first birthday this week.  We had a big party for Andrea last weekend with 50+ in attendance.  My brother and family ran up for the occasion.


I'm hopping on a plane at 6:45 tonight to fly to SF to spend the weekend with Lillyana and family. I'll fly back Sunday night. It's supposed to be cooler in Vallejo than it is here.

I originally had Wednesday-Friday off work next week but I was stressing out so much about everything that had to be done before I left on Wednesday afternoon that I decided to ask for Monday and Tuesday off too.  That gave me some time to breathe and decreased the heart palpitations and panic attacks!  I still have to make food for four days because I can't eat in the communal kitchen at convention due to my allergies and I want to, at least, finish the dress I'm working on.  I'd like to make another or a skirt or two but we'll see how the time plays out.

Yesterday I sent an email off inquiring about becoming a foster parent.  I don't know if I have the mental fortitude or the circumstances to make this possible but I want to look into it.  Maybe I can do respite and emergency care.  We'll see how that goes, anyway.  There is a whole process for approval to get through.

Now, I need to go back to working.  I've got short timer's disease today.  I just want to start my vacation.  First, though, I have to get through this 97 degree day without AC.
hlmauera: (Panther)
I've shut down emotionally.  I recognize this.  I even know why, but I don't know how to fix it, or honestly, if I want to. I keep people at arms length because it hurts less.

My family means everything to me but several years ago, I realized that it's not reciprocated in the same way.  Mostly, I find myself treated as an irritant that they can't get rid of and have to tolerate.  I'm always the "trouble maker" on family vacations because the voice of one can't be heard over the clamor of many unless I'm pushy and loud.  I've decided not to go on any more family vacations unless I can be totally independent in my lodging, transportation, and time (this doesn't include family visits, which are a different kettle of fish).

I don't fit any mold they can put me in- I'm not married so there is no husband to engage with.  I'm not a parent so there is no child being brought  in to enlarge the family and play with the cousins.  I barely make ends meet so I can't contribute large presents, help with financial needs, or otherwise contribute financially to the family.  My life doesn't resemble theirs in anyway and they just don't know how to relate.

When I realized I wouldn't have a husband and children, I started shutting down.  At first I thought- I'll have nieces and nephews to enjoy who I can play doting aunty to.  But the reality is, my nieces and nephews hardly know me.  I didn't have the funds to drive to Boise frequently to get to know the eldest ones and they weren't flush with funds to come here.  There were no phone calls because they didn't have long distance and I couldn't seem to catch anyone at home.  Now I have a new niece and it starts again. My Brother and SIL were very eager to have me involved with their child before she arrived.  They knew I felt the lack of children in my life. But children come with their own sets of worries and time constraints and the reality is I haven't seen her since she was 3 months old and she turns one next month.  I haven't talked to them in months because they don't answer when I call and can't seem to make time to call me back.  So, I've drawn back, disinvested myself in her.  I put aside all the things I wanted to make for her, because it was too much and while welcome, not loved.   I'll fly down for her birthday, because Mom and Dad are buying a ticket for me.  But it will be a whirlwind visit with little time to connect.  I'll float along the periphery in her life, like I have with her cousins.  I'll be like my second cousin that no one thinks to call unless there is some big family do and then he's an after thought, and he knows it.

I've tried to reach out, in every instance, but every time my overature is ignored or spurned, I'm less inclined to try again.  When I'm with them I draw back, try to hide in the shadows so that I'm not the problem again.  But then they say I'm being pouty or anti-social. I can't seem to find a place to fit in or a role to fill.

This gets extended to my friends because they too, are all in different places in their life and finding a role to fill, a place to fit is just as challenging. I stay apart and alone in most situations for fear of overstepping the bounds of friendship.  I just don't know how to engage any more.

I've resigned myself to being alone in my old age because no one will be around who knows me enough to care. But it makes me weep.
hlmauera: (Panther)
I'm not sure what it is about this last month but I've felt myself getting more and more worn out.  The last week, I've been ready for bed by 8:30 and still exhausted by 2 or 3 pm.  Maybe it's partially the heat.  My office is not the coolest place to be when it's warm.  Consequently, I'm dreading the coming week.  It's supposed to be in the high 90's this week.  Today, it's 84 and my office is 78 degrees.  With the fan, that is bareable but not pleasant.  Later in the week it's likely to be 85 or higher in my office.  That's not pleasant at all.  My Norweigan squaty body would much prefer nothing over 75 degrees.

This last weekend I was scheduled to go to a high school reuinion of sorts- several classes getting together for drinks at the pub.  The pub isn't my scene but I would have gone to see the people I haven't seen in 24 years.  However, I got confused about the location and by the time someone got back to me I'd given up, gone home, and was just too spent to go back out.  I spent a good portion of the afternoon at the County fair, mostly at the SCA demo, although I didn't bring garb to participate.  I hadn't been sure about my availability or what I could contribute so I hadn't volunteered.  I wished I had brought something because that was where I spent most of my time.  The midway is mostly a no-go for me- I can't eat the food, or ride the rides and the games are rigged, so why bother.  I did make a trip to the barns but was feeling sadly nostalgic and missing time spent with the farm animals that I used to be able to interact with.  Fair animals are usually stressed and tired and often ill mannered because of it.  I try to avoid adding to their stress by forcing/initiating interaction.

This weekend, I realized I should schedule all my annual doctor's appointments so I've gotten on the stick today.  I have a day off in August prior to my annual convention and so I'm trying to fit everything I can into that day.  I've gotten my annual exam scheduled.  I scheduled an eye appointment for this Saturday.  I have a call into the dental office to see if I can get an appointment on that day.  I also set up a chiro appointment for Thursday.  The week before last while I was walking to my water aerobics class, a girl lost control of her bike swerving to avoid another pedestrian and smacked into the back of me.  She wasn't going terribly fast and so she didn't even knock me down but she did manage do hit me square in the butt and caused my SI joint to go all wonky, again (it doesn't take much with the injury).  My chiro couldn't get me in Friday or the following week and Thursday was the soonest they could get me in this week at a time I could arrange.    I need to schedule a mamogram too but I think I'll wait until after my annual.  No particular reason, I just usually talk to the doctor first.

Tonight is baronial counsel and I had hoped to go but I really don't think I have what it takes tonight.  I seem to be short in the spoons department right now in a way I wouldn't consider normal.  Maybe it will be another early night.
hlmauera: (Panther)
My final went fine and it seems like ages ago.  My final percentage in the class was 100.24%.  There was a little extra credit but not a huge amount. Just enough to make me feel good about my grade.  I would consider taking another class in the series but I just don't have the energy to do it right now.

I had visitors just before my final.  They were a little unexpected but also rather cute.


I stepped into my retinue role as soon as I finished my final.  It's been interesting and challenging in ways I didn't anticipate.  I have a great appreciation for the generousity and talent of our populace but I really prefer the more period pieces and we get far more slightly less period materials.  For example: Waxed linen is a fantasic idea but I have waxed cotton calico.  It still works but I'd love to see linen used instead. We have awesome artisans that are making period needles, pins, and veil pins as well as hair sticks.  Great for people who like sewing and who have long hair or wear veils, but not so much for others.  I have some lovely beads but not enough that I feel like I can give them as freely as I'd like. I'm not very good at asking for things either so, I'm going to have to work on that.  TP showed me this great kids packet made out of a piece of felt with chanels sewn in it to hold a complete set of Crayons and some 4x6 cards with printed images.  I'd like to see more of those but I haven't had time to make them. I have determined that smelly items are not ideal.  I appreciate what we have is appropriately period but the odors are such that those with sensitivities can't come near them. I'm hunting for ideas for people who like things other than sewing and fiber arts.  I don't want to come off as unappreciative because I greatly value what has been given.

As a birthday present to myself, I bought a fish tank and filled it with fish.  It was unexpectedly more expensive than I had planned and more challenging to execute that I remember from the last time I had a tank.  It finally settled while I was at war.  The ammonia levels were driving me crazy but the bacterial culture finally took hold while I was gone and the tank has both no ammonia and a good pH.  At first the cats were intrigued but now they mostly ignore it.  I've put 6 Neon Tetras, 6 cardinal tetras, 5 glofish tetras, 2 albino cherry barbs, 2 speckled platys, a gourimi, and a clown pleco in the tank.  It may be a little overloaded but it seems to be doing ok right now.  It's lots of fun to watch the fish. (this picture was taken before all the fish were added)


My BFF from high school came up the weekend before my birthday.  I haven't seen her in 20ish years and we didn't talk for a majority of that time due to other circumstances.  We arranged to go to the coast on Monday and the zoo on Tuesday.  I was a little nervous about how it would go, since we hadn't seen each other in so long but the years just fell away and it didn't matter.  We enjoyed each other's company and the time we spent together. There aren't really any pictures though, except of the zoo but we were both behind the cameras and not in front of them.

The following weekend was Blacksheep gathering and I enjoyed wandering around touching yarn and even putting a bit on my credit card (did I mention it was a REALLY expensive month?).  I got some money for my birthday specifically for this event and it definitely got spent. There is some really lovely stuff there though, alpaca, Camel/silk, mink, cashmere, and tencel. I have projects lined out already for some of it.


I went to AnTir/West War and it had it's ups and downs.  War is usually difficult because I don't have the things to do that I might normally at a local event but it's long enough that I actually want to set up camp.  It was the first event for me where I packed my own food since I had to go (bovine) dairy free and it worked quite well.  I made meat pie, taco salad, and pasta salad, and brought fruit, sheep's cheese, lunch meat, and other munchables as well as buckeye brownies.  Everything was meant to be eaten cold so I didn't have to bring a stove and full kitchen set up.  I was pleased with the results and didn't feel deprived at any time. I spent the entire event barefoot since I was having trouble walking on the uneven ground in shoes without turning an ankle.  I found that I didn't have much back pain, in spite of having a deflated air mattress on a rather rigid cot. Physically, I felt really well.  Emotionally, I felt a little alone but I went and took a tablet weaving class and wandered around merchant's row.  I wished I'd brought a book but most of my books are on the kindle now and there is no service at that site to download them or a good way to keep the battery charged.  I did spend some time knitting which I haven't had much time to do lately.

I was able to finish up one project just after I returned home so now I can go on to something else- maybe more enjoyable. However, I'm 12 weeks behind on the crochet along I started with my BFF from high school and, after taking the tablet weaving class, I may have purchased some books and shuttles to give it a try.  I also got a couple more coloring books and have enjoyed taking some time to color on them.


I had intended to do some sewing last weekend but Mom and Dad brought the utility trailer and we spend the day doing yard work.  I got up early and cleaned out the flower beds and took out the small dead tree in the front (the tree wasn't too challenging, I leaned on it and it broke off at ground level). We removed the yard debris that had been accumulating for a year, trimmed the trees, pulled the tall and flowering weeds out of the gravel lot, and cleaned the sidewalks. We had a full cubic yard of waste when we finished, which was delivered to Lane forest products to be composted.  There is still a dump run necessary but we ran out of time to make the trip on Saturday.  it looks much better and I'm pleased to have it done.  I am rather sore, however, because of it.

Last night Marian initiated a little more recycling.  We made soap with the rendered lamb fat from Midwinters.  It set really quickly and we were able to unmold it before we headed home.  I'm curious to see how it works.  We added rather more cinammon oil than we planned so this may be hand soap only.  I'm hoping it will disburse a bit as it ages. The color when it was hot was a very dark red, like ketchup, but it mellowed to more of a red clay color as it cooled.



We made a second batch with Raven's old salve (base of bee's wax and olive oil).  It also set up quicker than expected but wasn't quite ready to be unmolded when we left.  We added a little jasmine fragrance to the fragrance of the salve and it has a light pleasant odor.  The color while still warm resembles nothing more than split pea soup, unfortunately. It's fun to be a little productive again.  We've all been so busy that our time together has been more about necessities and rest than creating things.
hlmauera: (Panther)
I started to say I needed to do something creative but really, I just want to knit on a lace project with silky soft yarn.  I have tunics that need embellishing so that I feel prettier wearing them but that isn't appealing at all right now.  I also have cards that need made for birthday and anniversaries and that also doesn't appeal.  I just want to knit on something beautiful and challenging (mitts and socks are also unappealing).  It's not that I don't like doing those other things but rather that I love the process of knitting lace and it's been quite a few months since I've had a chance to do so.

I have to get through my final first. One more day to study and then the final is Wednesday night.  I've put in about 8 hours of study time for this final and I still feel inadequately prepared. There will be more studying tonight.

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