Year of the UFOs…maybe

I think this year is going to be another year of focusing on UFOs or PhDs or WIPs — whatever your preferred terminology is. It has been my off and on goal to finish so many before starting new projects and I’m fairly good at doing that now.  So!

I wrote down 13 projects that I want to finish in the upcoming year.

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Some of them I’m excited to be working on, others I’ve put off for years for various reasons (looking at you evil #6!!!).  I’m not going to restrict myself on new projects, so long as I keep working on the old ones.  I would, however, like to see how much I can work out of my stash this year.   …which may prove impossible since I’m the MOH in an April wedding and things are getting a bit nuts and I just got the stuff to learn to play with vinyl so I can save myself a bunch of money through sweat equity.  We’ll see how that goes!

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I had to ask for a photo of the Tunisian crochet blanket I finished last month.  In my delight to have it done, I shipped it out without taking a single photo of it past the panel strips stage.  I put a super soft, plush fleece on the back to make it extra snuggly and warm.

…and to start the new year off with a question/survey thing!

***ASK your Husband these questions and write EXACTLY what they!***

•What is something I say a lot?

“Rub feets?” or “You should be doing your chores.”  Is it sad that I’ve driven you to say that so much?

•What makes me sad?

When I don’t follow through with what I say I’m going to do.

•What’s my favorite thing to do?

Play with kittens.

•How tall am I?

You used to be 5’10” but now I’m wonder if you’re not 6′ because often times it feels like you’re the same height or taller than me…unless I’m varying like crazy.

•What’s my best feature?

Probably your incredible wisdom for someone  your age.

•What do I do when you’re not around?

Only when I’m not around?  I think you’re mostly doing crafting when I’m not around but you also do that when I’m around.  Talking to people on the interwebs?

•What’s my favorite TV show?

Man, that’s hard.  Peaky Blinders?  I don’t know if that’s your favorite though.  Maybe it’s Fraggle Rock.  I can’t imagine you liking Fraggle Rock as much as Peaky Blinders these days.  Is it’s Sherlock?  I think it’s Sherlock.

•If I became famous what would it be for?

I think right now it’d be for crafting I would say.  That’s the number one thing you do that has public outreach.

•Where can I most likely be found?

At home.

• What is my favorite restaurant?

It’s definitely a Brazilian steakhouse.  It used to be Fogo de Chão.

•Where is one place I don’t like to be?

In the presence of my dad.  Maybe I should change that.  Is this publicly accessible?

•If I could go anywhere where would it be?

You’d probably like to go see Antarctica.

•How do you annoy me?

-laughs- By having difficulty listening.  I think that works for a lot of them.

•Who’s my favorite person?

Probably Grandmother.

•What’s my favorite kind of pop?

Coca-Cola.

•What is my favorite kind of food?

Churrasco.

•You get a call that I am in trouble, who am I with?

I’ve only ever gotten a call one time that you were in trouble and you were with the animals. (I was moving the last of our stuff to a new house and the wheel literally fell off of my car en route.  I wrecked into the guardrail with all of the critters in tow and had to call him at his brand new job to come pick us up.  He clarified after a few minutes of thought that most of our friends were goody two-shoes and if I went to jail it’d be for a murder-spree that likely included him so I couldn’t call him for help.)

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When it rains, it pours

General update since my last post:

I started the MKAL but I’m so far behind I’ll never catch up.  I’m a bit discouraged by that so I’ve been working on other projects when I feel up to it.

I’m usually done with Christmas stuff by September…but I haven’t done any of it this year, so I started a gift yesterday:

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It should be a rosebud throw when I’m done.  Mom loves the quilt I made for keeping in the car and asked if I’d make her something for hers since she gets cold easily.  I’ll back this in fleece and crochet a border around the edge when I’m done.  I really love cross stitch and Tunisian crochet, so it’s going together a lot faster than I expected.  Though I’ll probably have to take a day or two off — I overused my right arm yesterday and aggravated my ulnar nerve…again.  I’ve got to learn to quit doing that.  I slapped a lidocaine patch on it since they’ve helped in the past.

We had guests and I was so stressed I didn’t sleep for a week.  It was bad.

I have a sign by my door that says “All guests bring happiness: some coming, some leaving”.  Ain’t that the damn truth!

I found my matron of honor dress at a local boutique.  The bride approved it.  It’s been a bit hard coordinating everything since I live 12 hours from the festivities.

Went to two concerts:  Metallica and GoreCore Metal Tour featuring GWAR

I’ve wanted to see GWAR since before I was a metal fan.  I remember being sick at my Granny Boo’s house when I was little and seeing them on Joan Rivers.  We didn’t have any kind of television service at home so could only watch recorded VHSes that other people gave us…mostly Sesame Street.  You can imagine, coming from that, that GWAR made  quite an impression.  Video here.  The singer in the video passed away a number of years ago but the new(ish) guy is good and entertaining.

…and yah, the show was pretty bloody and gory.  The  most pit was the worst I’ve seen it at that venue and they were spraying stuff into the audience the whole time.  The blood was fake, of course, but it’s the only metal concert I’ve been to where the audience wears white instead of black.

I knew the show was going to be rough so I parked myself next to a wall on a platformed viewing area so I couldn’t get sucked into the mosh.  It had one MASSIVE drawback though.  Where I was standing was a clear view straight into the dressing rooms.  It was already warm so they just left the door to the venue open — everywhere else was blocked because of screens on the stage but not where I was standing.  Before the show, they went from street clothes to just walking around naked before donning their thongs and costumes.  I saw more old man butt and balls than I ever wanted to…and the same for every costume change that happened.  Some of their costumes are amazing, though, especially up close.

I also went to my first rave.  I’m hoping it’ll be my last.  The music was fine — it was the Seven Lions tour — but I’ve never felt more out of place in my life.  My husband is a big EDM fan so he was happily dancing away with glow sticks.  People there were huggy and talkative and I’ve seen lingerie models wearing more clothes than some…it just wasn’t my type of scene.

It also didn’t help that during the first DJ, a dude that was dancing on the platform I’d been hiding on the night before, tripped off of it and down the stairs.  He landed right on top of me, taking a bar table and trash can with him.  It tweaked my already doofy ankle pretty badly and it started swelling.  I was lucky and was able to sit somewhere out of the way for the rest of the night.

…and then when hubs was finally ready to leave and we were walking out, my ankle totally gave out and I hit a ledge.  I couldn’t put any weight on it and I’m pretty bruised up.  It was so bad that security, (which was especially tight since it was the night after the shooting in Cali at a similar venue) known to be complete hardasses (I’ve seen them make little kids cry and physically carry somebody out by palming their head like a basketball), yelled at my husband when he tried to make me walk to the car.  They told him to go get the car and they’d let him right by the doors and make sure nobody stole me. One guy even found some ice for my ankle while another physically helped me into the car — they’re all pretty nice guys I’ve discovered over the years.  It’s gotten a bit better since then but I still have to brace it when I walk or it gets wobbly.

To add to the fun, I caught the flu somewhere along the concert circuit.

I have a really poor immune system so I tend to mutate things and always get additional complications.

Three days of flu are over now thank goodness, I’m on day three of a sinus infection, and woke up this morning to bronchitis.  I’ve been through this song and dance so many times by now that I know antibiotics won’t be prescribed because everything has viral roots…unless I’ve had symptoms for over a week, then I can teledoc some in through my insurance.  The sinus infection is starting to break up and move out, so I think I just have another two days of it.  I’ve set an alarm to take guaifenesin every four hours to try to keep the bronchitis moving and from mutating into pneumonia.  I’ve pulled that hat trick a few times…not a fun combo.

All over the place update

Well, it’s been about a month since I posted anything.  I’ll take that as a good thing — it means I’ve been insanely busy and blogging has been an afterthought entirely.

So what exactly have I been doing?

I went to my new neurologist and she took me off of the horrible Topamax.  It took a few weeks to phase out but it has been awesome having me back.  I spent over a year wandering around in a fog and not sure why or how to do anything.  All of the side effects faded about 2-3 days after I took my last dose, including the eye twitch that my former neurologist swore up and down couldn’t be a side effect because “this medicine is used to treat Tourette’s.”  The twitching was so bad it would actually wake me up…and it’s gone!!!

Also along medical lines, I had my first real exam with my dermatologist.  She said my morphea is really softening and looks lighter thanks to the medicines she has had me one and the eczema on my hands is almost fully controlled now.  Yay!  The full body exam revealed nothing other than a skin tag I asked to have removed…in my armpit…and she froze it off.  It felt like I was carrying a very pissed off bee under my arm for a while.  Otherwise, I was told I have remarkably clean and clear skin.   Who would’ve ever thought that?!

We did our spring migration south to visit with my husband’s friends.  It was the best gathering we’ve had in years there and it seems most everybody agreed.  It’s crazy how one person not being there caused all of the tension and drama to evaporate.

Our little dog has been having unusual episodes.  We took her to a doggy neurologist and had the follow up appointment.  She had a MRI (yah, wrap your mind around that for a minute) and it was determined that whatever is going on with her is a functional disorder — either partial seizures or a muscular disorder – so she’s on medicine now for it.  To completely determine what it is that’s wrong with her, we’d have to take her to Cornell University for an EEG.  The MRI was insane enough, but there’s no way.  They also did an x-ray of her chest while she was there because she has a slight murmur.  It checked out well and the vet said if we didn’t have videos of her odd symptoms, he’d never believe it because she’s perfectly healthy otherwise.

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Spring finally arrived and we have a robin nesting in the little vestibule outside of our laundry room door.  It was a blast watching the entire process, including the mama coming back to lay an egg every day.

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The chicks hatched yesterday!

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We’re all doing our best not to disturb them, so I only grab photos when the parents are off the nest and searching for food.  Hopefully in the next few days I can get a photo through the door’s window of the chicks being fed — it’s adorable.

Entertainment wise, we saw Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood (from Who’s Line is it Anyway?)  last week at an improv show.  Logan wasn’t familiar with either of them, but I’d spent many sick days as a teenager watching them on TV.  They certainly didn’t fail to impress and the show was hilarious.  I laughed so hard my sides ached.

I’ve been doing an insane amount of food preservation.  Our freezer is almost overflowing.  The good news is, that means we have fun meals!  I don’t take too many photos of food buuut:

Since we went south we came home with more country ham than anybody should legally be able to have and a really great batch of green tomatoes.  You know what that means!

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Fried green tomatoes.  Logan likes to top his with my pimiento cheese and bacon jam.  He’s not wrong in that combination.

Last night Logan asked for smørrebrød.  I haven’t made them since I lived in Denmark over a decade ago, so it was a bit of an adventure trying to find some of the harder ingredients around, especially the bread since I didn’t quite feel up to baking my own.  But I did manage to pull it off last night.  He wants to visit the Nordic countries even more now.

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I can’t say how happy I am to have a real fish monger in the area — I can get sole!  😀

Finally crafting things!  My favorite!

I set aside the sock because I was getting frustrated with the endless cycle of impossibly small cables.  I love cabling normally but this was getting ridiculous.  Instead, I decided to make a pair of mittens.  What’s with me and small needles right now?!

I chose Butterfly Mittens by Emily Bujold from Ravelry.

They’re Fair Isle, which I’ve never done.  I’ve also never made mittens.

Me, being me, I decided to change everything and make it harder.

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I’m mixing in intarsia in the round so I can make my butterfly a monarch.  AND I just finished altering the pattern so that the thumbs are by the butterfly’s wings, so the butterfly looks like it’s being held in the palm of your hands.

Nothing like having to completely rewrite and chart a pattern, eh?  Her instructions and stuff are fine but just didn’t give the result I wanted in the end.  I didn’t realize this until I got to the butterfly and had to tink back a bajillion microscopic rows.  The designer promises to change the instructions for a palm-held butterfly in an update — it’s a bit deceptive on the Ravelry page because people have changed it before and are featured in the photos, so it looks like it’s an option when it’s not.

So far I’m loving the color work, even though I was worried about it at first.  I’ve never had to float yarn before because all of my pieces with two colors have been double knit.  Lots of fun stuff in this one!

I’m using Cascade 220 yarn because it was cheap, 100% wool, and had the colors I wanted available.  It’s not the best or softest yarn, but it’s working well with these mittens so far.

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Hopefully I’ll remember to update in a more timely manner (and catch up reading blogs!) next time.

We’re going to three shows this weekend, (Mastadon, Hammerfall/Flotsam & Jetsam, and Apocalyptica) so I’m in for another busy one!

Oh, deer

Our yard is finally starting to wake up from its winter slumber!  I’m so happy that I don’t see any casualties (yet) from the very harsh conditions this year.  I think it was the 3rd snowiest year on record, ever, for our area thanks to the back-to-back-to-back nor’easters that hit in March.  Up until today, we also had fresh snow every day in April.  Spring as been fun for those of us who enjoy snow!  🙂

The one issue I did notice when I was trampling around in my yard yesterday was deer damage.

Do any of my fellow gardeners and plant lovers have any good suggestions for ways to discourage the pesky deer?

They really chewed on just about everything this year, even plants they normally don’t bother that much.  I don’t know if it was because winter seemed so much longer this year or what, but they’ve nipped almost every bush I have down and stripped bark off of trees.

I was proactive this year and put a wrap on my pink magnolia — they always nibble and strip it, so at least the base of it was saved and I still have some blossoms higher up.  They chewed anything else they could reach though.  My rhododendrons look like they’ve been a buffet, as do my mountain laurel and azaleas; all of them have been stripped of leaves.  They’re still supple and green, though, so I’m hoping they can recover.  I have quite a few rhododendrons and they’re all really large and would be hard to cover, so the deer have been really at it recently.  The ground around them is churned up badly and covered in scat.

Thankfully, my new-ish berry bushes have been completely unscathed.  I think the deepness of the snow spared them from unwanted attention (usually the rabbits are what get after them anyway).  They look healthy and happy and I’m looking forward to adding some blueberries, black currants, and lingonberries this year to our normal blackberry and raspberry crops!  I hope!  🙂

Aside from deer damage, Logan and I have had a busy week.

Three doctor appointments, one vet specialist, our anniversary, and two shows at our local theater!

We were supposed to have contractors at the house this morning but they had to reschedule for next week.  They’re installing air conditioning!!!   Other people lost heat and that seemed more important to all of us; it’s still way too cold for air co and the need for heat is very real since it’s still dipping into the 20s at night here.

The doctor appointments all went well.  The end results are I have new glasses — I’m getting less and less far-sighted as my optometrist of yore predicted when I was little.  Logan has to have a skin biopsy next month but we’re not too worried about it.

Our little doggo Mitzi has been having a really odd leg thing since December where she’ll randomly draw one leg up for no longer than a minute and whimpering slightly like it’s hurting her.  As soon as it’s over, it’s over.  It repeats every couple weeks.  Earlier this month, she has three episodes in a day and we took her to the vet.  He couldn’t figure out what on earth may be causing it, so referred us to a neurologist.  Who would’ve thought those existed?  The neuro said her evaluation was great but he thinks she may either be having partial seizures or have a muscle contracting disorder, which usually presents when they’re younger.  He’s leaning towards seizures right now but we’re watching and waiting and trying to gather more data before diving into a very expensive MRI or a risky drug trial.

I found a video of another Mini Schnauzer that was having the exact problems that Mitzi was and the dog is the same age, so I left a comment but I don’t have any hopes of hearing back from them.  For the sake of interest or if anybody else has had a similar experience, the video is here.

The shows we saw were lots of fun.

We saw Wrath of Khan, followed by a Q&A with William Shatner.  He was, as always, full of personality.  The last time Logan and I saw him was years and years ago at Dragon*Con when he did a panel with Leonard Nimoy.

We also saw a really odd amalgamation of things — poetry, music, interpretive dance, dramatic readings — performed by Bill Murray.  I think my favorite parts were when he chose to sing, sometimes off key.  …or maybe when he decided to run out in the audience and fling the bouquet of roses somebody gave him at audience members.  That was super entertaining.  So was his playing the piano with his butt, but that’s neither here nor there.  😛  It was an all around entertaining show and not entirely a comedy as one would expect from the likes of Bill Murray.

Hands

Panic.  It’s this weird overwhelming anxiety thing and it feels like there’s something squeezing me to death from the inside.  I can’t breathe right and I want to run away, even out of my own skin.

I don’t like panicking.  It’s really not fun, but it does happen unfortunately often.  The anxiety also causes migraines, which I know I’ve mentioned before, so it makes for an altogether not-so-fun day or days…depending on how long that impending doom feeling and the aftermath lasts.

Why does that matter at all?

Over time, I’ve sort of figured out that if I can do something with my hands, I’m usually distracted enough that I can remain calm.  Logan even bought me a spinning ring so I can fiddle with it when I get stressed in public.

Even better, I’ve found that the best way to help manage that suffocating, choking, crushing feeling is to do something productive.  Sure, taking naproxen like my neurologist suggested does knock off the edge a bit, but it doesn’t actually help me manage it.

But!  Making something does.  Putting something net positive and beautiful (or pretending it’s beautiful) out in the world helps to soothe those horrible nasty feelings.  If I can keep my hands wrapped up in yarn and make a pretty scarf, I’m usually pretty content.  If I’m using my hands to sew up a quilt, I at least have something to concentrate on.

I don’t know why but if my hands are occupied, my mind is too.

…so today, when I got a little overwhelmed out of nowhere, I made pretzels!

I don’t know why.  I’ve never made them before.  It just seemed like the thing to do.  I’ve been wanting to get more into baking, so maybe that’s what prompted it.

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Bonus:  baking is much more tasty than yarn or fabric.

 

Grumpy rant

Maybe it’s just having an early morning appointment, but the office manager at my dermatologist really ticked me off this morning…

She’s normally pretty insufferable and rude but normally I’m pretty good at weathering a storm.  I like both of the dermatologists I see and for some horrible reason, I’ve grown used to really horrible people working at the offices I visit.

My vet’s tech/receptionist was such a bitch to everyone that he hired a new receptionist and now the tech doesn’t work with the public at all but just takes care of the animals in the back…so at least he figured out she was a problem.  One of the gynecologist’s office ladies was super rude and would huff and puff under her breath, even if you were just giving her your name to check in.  The gynecologist has joined another practice, I just received a letter about it last month, so hopefully she wasn’t able to follow him there.

…but the office manager at the dermatologist.  Ugh.

She screams at the old people who can’t see the sign about where to stand in line.  You can’t see the sign from either of the doors that you enter the building from, it’s facing the reception desk instead of the doors.  She can see it and points it out while screaming, but you can’t read it until you’re in the line that nobody is ever actually standing in.  She screams at the other people working the desk for being too loud.  She listens in on everybody’s business and butts in…which is where the issue came up today.

I was checking in and I was told I owed $75.

Uhhh, what?

It wasn’t even 8 a.m. at that point, so way too early to throw anything like this at my brain.  I stood there looking like a complete idiot and asked the lady if she could repeat what she said.

You owe $75.

For what?  I paid my last bill and my insurance doesn’t require a copay.  I was super confused.

In steps the office manager, by screaming it from across the room, after having just screamed at the receptionist I was talking to for talking too loudly to me.  Irony?

New policy.  If you don’t have a copay, you have to pay $75 to cover part of your insurance deductible before seeing the doctor.

…but my deductible isn’t $75?

They’d just bill me for the rest I owed them after they ran it by insurance.

My deductible isn’t $75 as in it’s less than $75.  I’d be overpaying.

Oh no, she handles all of the billing.  Everybody pays at least $75 by the time insurance is done.

I don’t.

Cue the eye rolling and the exasperated sighing from the office manager….and the extended argument that I pay at least $75 out of pocket every time I see them.

Brief side note:  Until I reach my deductible, I pay what my insurance deems acceptable as their “discounted rate”, which is currently $71 and some change.  After I reach the deductible, the insurance seems to get sick of doctors over-billing and lowers the discounted rate because then the insurance has to cover 90% of the cost while I have cover the remaining 10% until I reach my maximum out of pocket.  Our deductibles are considered “high” at a little over $2,000 but between the low cost of our insurance each month and having a low out of pocket maximum, it’s by far the better value.  We also have worked out our HSA so that between our contributions and those of Logan’s employer, we have zero taxed out of pocket expenses to reach our annual deductible.

I’m normally not argumentative (which I’m sure certain people that piss me off would disagree) but once she got me rolling and started her eye rolling, I couldn’t stop.

She eventually spat out that they’d refund me the difference if and only if I did, in fact, overpay…which she doubted.

I, of course, didn’t like that answer because I pay my medical from the HSA and a refund would mean I would have to file that refunded difference as an unqualified distribution, and therefore taxable, on my 8889 tax form.

The fact that she chose to argue with me, when she could have easily looked up my payments and payment history (since she claimed she handled it all), made me furious.  They’ve never had to send me a bill because I pay straight from my HSA the second my insurance processes everything.  What gave her the right to be so combative and hateful anyway?  All I asked was why I owed $75 because it surprised me that they were wanting payment when I didn’t think I owed anything.  How was I supposed to know a new policy had been instituted when they failed to alert patients about it?

I pay my bills, honey.  I’ve been accused of micro-managing our money at times — not by Logan, of course, he swears up and down he loves that I take care of the monetary side of things so he doesn’t have to worry about any of it.   One of our friends routinely says I should rent out my services for finding deals and budgeting.  I check our banking and credit accounts every day; I’ve caught errors and fraud before the bank has.  I check our insurance claims daily after either of have an appointment and read the full billing, responsibilities, payments, and what we owe and why.  I file our own taxes; my mom is an accountant and has told me on several occasions that our taxes are so complicated (we receive 15 forms plus documentation, have to fill out and file 11 forms, and file in multiple states) that the firm she formerly worked for would have charged quite a lot to process them.  I’ve even caught mistakes on my mom’s taxes when checking them.  I know what I pay.

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^  From my HSA’s claims, from my last visit to the dermatologist.

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^ From my insurance’s website, from my last visit of 2016, after my deductible was met.

Are either of those $75?  Nope.

I refused to pay the $75 today — and I got by with it because they hadn’t given me advanced notice on the policy change and charges.  Suck it, hag.

 

Living in a bubble

I really do need to lock myself into a protective bubble for a few days.

After skinning my finger on Friday, I walked into a corner hard enough on Saturday to bruise myself to a pretty shade of purple up my right thigh.

Sunday, while I was staining lumber for the bookshelf (and staining myself to the point it looks like I’ve gotten tribal tattoos) — no, I haven’t finished building the shelf yet; oh, the problems of not having enough space inside where the shelf is going — Logan started waving a gross looking leaf in my face.  He said it fell off of a tree.

No joke.  It’s autumn.  Lots of leaves are doing that.  He insisted I go back and look at the tree anyway, though, as it was my precious peach tree and he hasn’t shut up about it for a week or more.  He says it has looked sick and wouldn’t let it go.

Sure enough, the peach sapling isn’t just sick, it’s dead…and on the way back around the house, as I was wading through the taller than normal, tick-infested grass, I stepped in a hole and twisted THE ankle.  It’s super swollen and angry again and I’m super angry at the whole thing.  Logan knew about the hole but didn’t decide to fill it until after I re-injured my left ankle that I sprained so badly six months ago and that never healed right.

In brighter, less bitchy, news:

I received a package yesterday!  I signed back up for Amazon Prime for the season, and it’s already worth it. 😛

I decided to treat myself to some blocking mats that are actually gridded — I normally block on our fold-out couch.  Whatever works, right?  But since I’m making something that is actually going to need to be sized to fit somebody else, I thought a little splurge to treat myself.  I look forward to using them!  I’m also excited that I can steam projects on these and tote it around the house, instead of being stuck in one room with it and having to wet-block it.

The real purpose of the Amazon order was to get finger bandages.  I ended up ordering some IV3000 bandages since they have a better moisture transfer ratio than Tegaderm but also have a low reactivity for people with allergies and similar general purpose — I saw them recommended on an IV board.  I’ve always been bad about maceration when I wear any sort of bandage or even gloves for a long time — you know when you wear a bandaid and sweat under it or if it gets wet and your skin turns that weird pruny, white?  That’s hyperhydration of your skin and can lead to breakdown of the skin (one example is bedsores).   …so if I’m wearing a complete coverage bandage, I’m especially leary of one that doesn’t breathe well.

I put on an IV3000 last night and so far, so good!  It usually takes about a week for me to start to develop an itchy rash to a new type of adhesive anyway, so maybe by then I’ll be healed enough that I won’t need a bandage anymore.  😀  These bandages are actually pretty cool.  If you have a strong stomach for finger injuries, look at McClellan on YouTube, the recoveries are pretty mind-blowing.

Personally, I’m enjoying being able to bend my finger again.  I also like that the bandages are super thin, to the point I can feel through them and even use my phone.  I’m going to kick back in a bit, ice my ankle some more, and try knitting…and hopefully the yarn won’t hurt through it; by the time I wrapped it around my finger, I have five layers of bandage over the actual wound because of the way it folded (only one is stuck, the other four are just dog-eared over it), so it’s providing a bit more padding there.

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The bandage is wrapped completely around my finger and folded on itself.  You can kinda see where my skin is gone and healing — it looks brownish and darker pink through the film.  It’s healing up quite nicely, actually.  I still had the tiniest bit of serous drainage yesterday from the deepest, widest cuts and where three of the deep cuts joined together (a drop of serous fluid is nothing to worry about, just means it’s healing!).  My finger was still pretty sore yesterday but as of this morning, there’s no pain except if I press relatively hard on it.  I’ll take that as something is going right.  🙂

 

Well, shit.

I’m not even going to sugar-coat it, last night I screwed up.

Screwed up, how?

I peeled the inside of my finger like a banana with some spring steel.

Potential energy hurts when it’s released!

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The steel uncoiled unexpectedly and got me good; it skinned a few knuckles on both of my hands and whipped my arms, but my right index finger really took most of the damage.  It sliced off a chunk of skin about 1/4″ wide from my fingernail down to my second knuckle.

Luckily, I once had a doctor tell me my body’s “fight or flight” response was awesome (it’s awesome until you have to have your finger pricked five times for a drop of blood and the nurse is crying over it).  I had already stopped bleeding by the time I had scrubbed off all the graphite and oil from my hands.

Fun fact for people who are new to my medical mishaps: in the past few years, I’ve developed an allergy to every adhesive that has been tried (break out with scarring rashes), hence the hilarious gauze hiding the open wound.  I really do need to get some tegaderm tape — it’s the last recommendation of sticky, protective hope from my dermatologist.

The real pisser is that I use my right index finger to tension and throw my knitting yarn, so I have to figure out a work around for the bandage sooooon!!!  I use my left middle and index when crocheting so maybe I can play with some scrap yarn and learn to adapt?

I did get to knit yesterday before hurting my hand and made some good progress.  I also seem to be birthing a mini schnauzer.

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It looks symmetrical, so let’s just hope it continues to grow as that way and will fit Grandmother when I finish it!  I’m just nine or ten more increases away from dividing off the arms and I’m actually pretty excited about that.

Aside from the weird cable in the center to change the direction of the ropes, I’ve had very few complaints — just two — about the pattern and I hope it stays that way.   I’ll note both gripes if I need to on my Ravelry project because one is an easy change (add some markers because the pattern just says to moss stitch to the cable pattern) and I think it would help other people that make this sweater.  The other has to do with the gauging so only time will tell if that is a real concern.  I will be pissed if I make the whole thing and it winds up like I fear it will.  The gauge is done in moss stitch but so far the whole project seems constrained by the cables.  I cable way, way tighter than I normally knit and they aren’t going to expand much in blocking, even if I do so aggressively.  I also had to go down two needle sizes to get the moss stitch gauge right.  …so this better not end up a child-sized sweater!  *fret*

Thank goodness Grandmother is lovely and petite!  So there is some wiggle room in sizing.

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My giant genes came from somewhere else, for sure.

I also managed to get the grape juice as close as I think I’m going to get it.

Logan hates juice.  Hates it.  To the point he once told his mom he’d leave a woman that drank it.  Now he’s helping me make it.  XD

I think it helped seeing what was going into it and getting to play with adjusting the flavor.  Plus, homemade grape juice actually tastes like grapes (not the abomination in stores) and he was in love with the Concords because he said they tasted like the green grapes his parents grew when he was little.  Nostalgia wins us all over.

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These grapes were so sweet and otherwise not as flavorful as we liked by the time they were juiced, so we ended up doubling the grapes and halving the sugar in the end to get the right concentration of flavor and tartness that a proper grape has.

We had a few leftover grapes but not enough for another pint, so we made the jar on the left extra grapey.  We’re looking forward to it.  Or, rather, I am….but Mr. Cries When He Has To Drink Juice said he wants to try it.  Progress?  I swear,  Logan really is 31, not three.

Misc catch-up

I sort of fell off the map for a few weeks.  Oopsie.  I’ve been trying to keep up with reading everybody’s blogs but have failed at that too for the most part.  Sorry.  ❤

Logan has been working a swing shift and in an effort to see him, I’ve gone completely wonky.  Turns out trying to stay awake when on those migraine meds put me right back into dopey land.  I don’t recommend it.  I had one of my famous 5 day migraines due to a storm system -before- he went on swing shift, so that accounts for the first missing week.

So to update for the missing time while I was being slightly crazy again and not curled up into bed with a never-ending migraine.  You’ll have to dig to find the tag you’re interested in.  Most have photos for easy scrolling and skipping around!  🙂

I went back to my dermatologist; there was a scheduling issue at the office and they had to change my appointment and I had to see a different doctor, which I wasn’t too happy about.  I panic enough with doctors as it is and the reason I go is a progressive thing that the new doctor had no clue what the situation was now versus where it had started.  She was nice enough, though.  She prescribed a new medication for me to try and if it doesn’t work, she wants to try to fight my insurance to try to get some sort of twice a week light therapy.  Thankfully, we have pretty good insurance but we still haven’t met our high deductible yet…somehow.  Even after the insurance knocked down the pharmacy’s price, this still makes me cringe….and note it’s for a 15 day supply.  *cries*

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It could be worse, I know, but I’m used to my medications being free or much, much cheaper.  I guess morphea isn’t life threatening (though mine is painful due to its location and how thick it is, which is why the doctors are aggressively treating it), so they don’t much care to cover the costs more than telling the pharmacy to knock the price down from 400.99 to 289.70.  Lucky me, guess that savings will cover my dermatology office visit.

As a bit of a fun twist, some of our friends actually came up to visit us.

One flew up from North Carolina, while two others drove up from Maryland and Connecticut.  It was a miserably cold, rainy weekend that we had planned several months ago.  We had hoped to go camping in the Adirondacks (before I sprained my ankle), so I guess I’m glad the weather was awful so I didn’t have to get left behind.

Instead, we went to an aquarium and then saw Beauty and the Beast (finally!!!).  We also drove down to Howe’s Caverns and did a lantern tour.

The Caverns themselves weren’t the most impressive or interesting that I’ve been to (though the winding way in and out was a ton of fun and unique) but the lantern portion of it made it well worth the trip.  I’m not sure if every group gets to walk back on their own, without the guide and armed only with their own little candles or if we were lucky because we were a small group and there were no other tours, but it was AWESOME to get to wander around alone in a dark cave.  I’d highly recommend doing a lantern tour there if it’s always like that.

The caverns before the guide turned off all the lights and left us alone:

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Since our friends have left, I’ve spent most of my time outside working in the gardens.

I feel a bit like a Disney princess out there lately.

The birds are completely unafraid and after the initial shock of having a human out there with them, they’ll happily come to within just a few feet of me.  One little chickadee in particular will even hop up to me if I’m sitting and chirp at me when I say hello.

So far this spring in our yard (that I’ve noticed at our feeders), we’ve had black-capped chickadees, blue jays, tufted titmouse, red-bellied woodpeckers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, american robins, american goldfinch, white-breasted nuthatches, dark-eyed junco, chipping sparrows, northern cardinals, common grackles, mourning doves, downy woodpeckers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and even a pileated woodpecker that scared my husband half to death because he didn’t realize just how large they were.  If we go to the common fields we own with our hippy-dippy neighborhood, there are some nesting canada goose, a flock of turkeys, eastern bluebirds, red-winged blackbirds, and tree swallows from just a quick glance.  I saw the guy that does the egg count there at the nest boxes over the weekend, so look forward to seeing the official counts.  🙂  I’ve never been much of a birder but it’s hard not to take an interest when there is so much variety in your own backyard.

We’ve been cleaning several of our garden beds this spring — a few of which we haven’t touched since we moved here.  They were infested with saplings and (unfortunately for Logan) poison ivy.

I rebuilt a collapsed retaining wall over the weekend while Logan worked on weeding a bed of daffodils we planted last fall; it’s still hard for me to crawl around on the ground with my ankle stabilized.  We planted the daffodils pretty far apart so we could execute our plan of planting strawberries between the bulbs this spring so we could have a useful bed all through the year.  The strawberry plants, 75 of them, arrived over the weekend, so we’ve been planting like crazy.  We’re not quite done yet since the weather keeps dumping rain on us, but we’re getting close!

One of the beds, we’re completely redoing.  I started prying out the years of junk that the previous owners had left in it — broken bricks, tiles, assorted rocks — in preparation for tilling.  Poor Logan.  He started helping and moved a brick and freaked out.  He thought he found a nest of baby snakes.  Nope.

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I thought he was going to have a heart-attack when I rushed in and scooped the little guys up (there were three of them) to move them.  He’ll eat a berry I pick out in the forest but doesn’t trust me to know what I can and can’t pick up critter-wise…  I know the salamanders (northern redbacks as far as I know) would have burrowed back into the soil, but since we were getting ready to till the area, I didn’t want them to get hurt and I know of an area in the side yard where a few hang out, so I hope they’ll be okay there.  Better than chopped up by tiller blades?

Once the bed is fully prepped, I’m putting a pink lemonade blueberry bush in that garden and calling it a done deal….and then building a sloped wall behind it and grading out that part of the yard to help with some of the drainage.  We’ve also planted a dwarf plum for Logan.  He loves plums and has decided since I proved I can grow white peaches in a zone 5 that I can grow plums for him as well.  I need to learn a way to preserve them that he’ll eat — he doesn’t eat jams or jellies…so lots of Chinese plum sauce? 😛

I think after the flower bed rehab, I might move our raised garden and break it down to more of a square foot gardening type of thing for ease.  It’s pretty large and unwieldy right now and Logan is getting more into gardening, so I think he may become more invested and active if he has his own little gardens to grow his favorite vegetables versus having to put up with whatever it is I plant.  Logan REALLY wants to build a CNC type of robot to manage the one we have now.  I think gardening is relaxing and rewarding, so square-foot gardening may seem more manageable to him.  He’s the type of person that hates to stop in the middle of a task, so it would be smaller tasks….and less yard to mow in the part of the yard that I dislike mowing the most. 😀

…and crafting.  My favorite thing of all!

I’ve been knitting a little on my RPG scarf — there aren’t many things to keep me tied to my computer and that’s really the only place I knit, so it has been slow going.

 

I’ve started rewatching one of my favorite old animes, Bleach, while cross-stitching.  It’s weird watching it in English but I wouldn’t be able to stitch if I had to read subtitles so I’m having to adjust to the dubbed voiced actors.  I miss Renji’s Japanese voice. 😦  Bonus is that I can skip the filler arcs!  They do a decent job integrating them and I enjoyed them enough when I was back in college waiting for each one to come out weekly, but it’s nice just getting to watch main arc this time through.  I never actually finished the show because the fillers NEVER seemed to end.  It’s finally time to do so.

…which means cross-stitch progress!  I’m past 1,000 stitches now and even more since this last photo.  I’m still enjoying stitching, which is good.  Probably bad though because I don’t want to do anything else except garden…and I have sooo much I need to do!

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…and last of all, since it was Mother’s Day:

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Mom and I when I was probably about 3 or 4.  I’m still just as sour and grumpy.

…and because you can’t have a mom without a grandparents somewhere, here are my Granny Boo (Mom’s mother) and Grandmother (Dad’s mom) at my high school graduation forever ago.

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Last year, Mom asked for photographs of flowers and animals from our yard since we have so much diversity and I inherited (yay) both of the above’s green thumbs (Mom did not), so I spent all of last year taking pictures and then had a book made and sent it to her.   🙂  Thankfully, Mom loved it and immediately understood all of little references that I slipped in there that Logan didn’t recognize.

Old people <3

I picked up my new glasses at the optometrist yesterday – SO much better having my vision balanced again!  I didn’t feel drunky-pants for the first time in ages!

Then I had an appointment with my neuro-ophthalmologist and he tested my vision out at 20/15 again!  YAY!  I only have to see him every 6 months now to track the drusen and my visual field.  The drusen are still there, though tiny, so he had a hard time finding them again…but they’re there.  He downgraded me to pseudopapilledema and said I shouldn’t really have anything much to worry about.  After last year’s scare and the worry that there was a 33% chance of permanent vision loss, I’m a happy camper! 🙂

…he also said my new migraine meds are referred to as “dope-a-max”.  I think I’m a prime example of why. 😛

I also had a good laugh yesterday in regards to our water bill and the community we live.

My husband and I live in a very unique little development.  It was founded in the late 1940s by a group of scientists (me!  I went to school for biology, lots of good that’s done me) and engineers (Logan!  He’s an EE!) during a big boom in the city; they wanted their own private little community and they almost all designed their own houses, so it’s different and still very community oriented.  It’s more of a little unheard of subdivision with a pond (ice skating in winter!) and tennis court…and 85 homes hidden away in a ring of 200 acres of woodlands (with something like 6 miles of maintained trails for walking or cross-country skiing in winter) and conservation dedicated fields; we even have our own bird counts and fun things like that!  We’re less than 2 miles from one of three malls here and less than 5 minutes from downtown but whenever we have contractors that have lived and worked here for decades, they always seem surprised it exists.

We’re Narnia.  I’m sticking to that.

So the water bill.  The whole community exists on a shared well instead of using city water.  It works for us because it’s really great water and way cheaper to split the cost of testing, maintaining the pumps and storage tanks than actually paying for the nasty stuff the city uses.   We pay our bill once a year and it’s usually due at the end of March.  We’ve had issues with our mail carrier and hadn’t received our bill yet, so Logan called the sweet lady that had been the treasurer of the water company to check how much it was this year…just to be sure.

At this point, I just want to say I love old people.  Adore them. They’re a wealth of knowledge, experience, and just all around fun.  Logan and I were lucky enough to move in when we did — we got to know a good number of the original owners.  Some of them are still around, some have passed.  We’re good friends with a few and visit or speak with them whenever we can.  Who wouldn’t love having neighbors that retired the year they were born?!  😀

The treasurer had resigned this year but she said she’d call the new one and get right back to him.  In about five minutes she did just that.

…and after all of the grief I’ve had from certain people about my “not doing anything” and all of the self-doubt I’ve had afterwards, because even though I know better it always sends me on that downward spiral…

“Oh, I’m so sorry Logan.  I had trouble placing you when you first called.  You’re the one that lives with Amber!”