Monday, December 27, 2010

Welcome Back

About three years ago, I decided I needed to lose some weight. I'd been married a few months and when I looked at the wedding pictures, I realized that I was much rounder than I liked. I joined a calorie counting web site, hopped on my Sinister Stationary Bike of Doom, and lost almost 40 pounds. I looked good, I felt great, and thought that the hard work was worth it - despite it turning me into a calorie counting nightmare to be around. I can remember nights where it'd be 8pm and I'd be starving, but I couldn't eat anything because I only had 25 calories left to eat that day, and even a banana had 90. I cried a lot those 5 or so months. I rode that SSBOD every single day for four and a half months, at least three of those months for sessions that burned 500 calories each. I avoided chocolate, pepsi, and sugar - my three favorite foods in the world.

But I looked good. Real good.

The last three years I've been giving myself a lot of leeway to eat/do what I liked, since I'd worked so hard to lose all that weight - all the while ignoring that the scale had started to creep back up. Yesterday I couldn't ignore it any more - I weigh again what I did on my wedding day.

Fuck.

So as of yesterday I'm back on the calorie counting website, and I'm back on the SSBOD. I'm going to try to be more realistic about it this time so I don't burn out so quickly. I'm hoping this spring brings us a treadmill so I can run again (running on the road is super tough with my knee issues now). I'd like to make sure I stretch every day, since it makes such a difference in my pain levels when I work out. I'd also like to take the dog for more walks, since Jax keeps me walking at a pretty fast pace. I hope you'll be patient with me as I begin this journey *again*, because I know I'll lose patience with myself.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gack.

You know that cartoon, Opus? The one with the penguin who's butt falls off? He has a friend, a spastic cat. I forget his name (if I can find a pic via Google images, I'll post one here), but he is totally where I'm at mentally and emotionally right now.


Almost two weeks ago, I got a phone call from my husband. He was at work, and I knew immediately something was wrong. "I just slipped and fell on the ice at work and messed up my bad knee." I could tell by his voice he was in terrible pain. A co-worker brought the tuck around to him, Bear somehow managed to get in and get home. I was home and helped him out of the truck and into the house. Once I got his workboots, wet jeans and sweatshirt off him (he'd laid in the snow on his back for several minutes after he fell), we looked at his knee. It looked like someone had hit him with a bat. The thing was softball sized, so swollen his kneecap had disappeared. Already some bruising had started. I can only imagine how badly that hurt. I got him situated in his chair with an ice pack, water, vicodin and a whoopie pie and dealt with the idea that he may have re-injured his surgically repaired knee.

Now that it's been a couple of weeks, we know a bit more. Bear met with his surgeon who ordered an x-ray. There were bone fragments showing in the x-ray that he'd never seen before, but that didn't look "new," whatever that means. He immediately ordered an MRI, and got Bear's knee re-imaged within an hour. Far cry from the first time when it took MONTHS to get the d#mn scan. I'm hoping that we'll hear the results of that scan today. I don't know if this means more surgery, more physical therapy, or what. Bear is out of work until a course of action has been determined.

The fall happened at work, which means that this is a workman's comp issue. Bear and I are unfamiliar with the workman's comp issue, as are the people in his mill's office. We've been told they will "take care of it," and "that shouldn't be a problem," and "not to worry," but haven't been told how Bear is going to get paid - whether he gets a paycheck, how much that is, whether there's a procedure we need to follow ... anything. I'm *beyond* frustrated that we are less than two weeks away from Christmas and have no idea how we'll get all our bills paid and the remainder of our gifts purchased. I'm pissed that Bear has to go through the pain and isolation he went through this spring AGAIN, with no idea how long it will be before he can resume daily life. I hate that I can't fix anything for him, and that I can't help make his days better. He hates being home, he hates being injured, he hates not working. I can't fix that. I'm not someone who has a whole lot of nursemaid in her (because really, life is supposed to be all about me), and I know that I am taking my frustrations out on him. I feel terrible about it, but I can't seem to change my attitude or behavior. Stress has caused my eyelid to resume its incessant twitching, which is how my body shows that I'm stressed. Two weeks of twitchtwitchtwitch. Sigh.

I'm trying so hard each day to get through, to keep the mantra "this too, shall pass" on repeat in my brain. To see the positive side of this situation - at least Bear is getting help this time, and much faster than last time. But oh, how I wish this hadn't happened right now, when the holidays are putting more strain on us than usual. If you're a praying person or someone who's in good with your God, will you send some healing thought toward my husband? He sure could use a little divine intervention right now.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New to Me, Anyway

Last Friday I was driving home, minding my own business, when my car started acting funny. When I pressed on the gas pedal, I got no response. The idle sunk really low, and just as I pulled off the road, it stalled.

Uh oh. This is not good.

I managed to get the car re-started and running long enough to get it into a parking spot at the local grocery store. I called my husband and he got in touch with our wonderful mechanic. Mikey (the mechanic) drove his tow truck the 35 miles to get the car. He started the car, got it on the tow truck, got out and announced, "Well - you pooched it." Which is Mikey speak for I killed it. Apparently I dropped a valve in the motor, which is unfixable.

Le Sigh.

So my husband and I discussed it and realized that we needed a new vehicle. Something that would be a solid commuter car for me and comfortable to ride in for both of us. We wanted something the dog would fit in comfortably, too. Oh yeah - and we had to be able to afford it.

We spent the entire day Wednesday looking at used cars. We went to six or eight dealerships, test dove four or five cars, and ended up with this:
A 2002 Buick Century Custom. It's awfully pretty! It rides so comfortably. I love it. I admit we were both hoping for something a little more "age appropriate" - another Pontiac would have been awesome, but this was simply the best fit and the best deal. The guy who sold it to us has been selling cars for 43 years, and was super nice. He puts brand new tires on every single one of the cars he sells, because he believes in doing right by people. Awww! I'm so pleased with this car! Of course, Bear's been driving it all over so I haven't had much of a chance yet, but I will. Here are a few more pics:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grammie's Shawl

Last year for Christmas I wanted to knit my Grammie a shawl. At 95, she needs a shawl's warmth, and as she basically raised me, she totally deserves it. But I'm a slow knitter, and I tend to overcommit myself during the holidays. So the shawl didn't get finished, and after the New Year it sat largely forgotten in my pile of unfinished knits.

But now that the holidays are approaching, I figured the time had come to get the shawl done. I dug it out, realized I only had about 20 rows to go and got going. I tried to knit one row a day - at 576 stitches, it took about half and hour, but it was at least progress.

Last week I finished the shawl.

Below are the pictures. The colors are off (shawls have to be pinned out when wet to keep their intended shape when dry, so this is the wet color. The actual shawl is a cinnamony-red called "Russet Heather"), but you can hopefully see what it's supposed to look like. The shawl is called Icarus and is supposed to look like a frame with feathers at the bottom.

What do you think?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The downside of time

It's been two weeks now since I've left Rite Aid. I love it. Like really LOVE it. It's so nice to know that once I get home from work, I don't have to leave again if I don't want to. I have time to get groceries, walk the dog, do laundry; I don't have to squeeze everything into the 33 minutes I had between jobs. I really look forward to having time to knit, spin, and design again - as well as update here more regularly, too.

I am finding, however, that having all this time has its drawbacks. I trained myself over the last three years to use any and all time off effectively, since those were my only opportunities to get chores and errands done. Now that I have every evening free I find myself cramming each evening full with as many things as I possibly can. I can't just sit still. I have to be "doing" something, or I feel as though I'm wasting my time. If nothing immediately presents itself as needing doing, I wander from room to room, picking things up and putting them back. I've done more loads of dishes in the past two weeks than I have in the past three months. Because I can, so I feel like I should. I've begun making a long to-do list every single day, and getting everything on it crossed off. Because I can't rest until I've "worked."

Relaxing? Totally not happening.

My fervent hope is that this calms down as my body re-learns how to have just one job. That I can begin to enjoy quiet relaxation and rest again. Because I'm getting really sick of dishes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Because Good Matters

Many of you may read my friend Alice's blog (I won't link it here because I'm talking about her work, but if you look for an Alice-related blog in my sidebar, you'll see her). If you read her blog, you know she's epically awesome and a genuinely good person. She has graciously allowed me to use her employer as my first "sponsored charity" with my Intention Yarns company. Please go to my Intention Yarns blog and read this post - Alice wrote a letter for me to share with knitters. If you knit or know someone who does, please consider helping (or encouraging someone else to). As Alice explains, these are some really deserving kids.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Making my Move

This is the last week I'll be working at Rite Aid. I have to work Wednesday night and Saturday day and I'm done. It's been a long five weeks since giving my noticed, but I'm psyched to be nearly done. I can't wait to have more time available to me, both physical time to do things and mental time that I was thinking about work that I can spend on other thoughts. I'm really trying to plan a routine for this time so that I don't just waste it on the internet (which is how I spend too much of my free time). Here's a list of plans so far:

WEEK DAYS
  • Every day when I get home from school, Jax and I will take a 30 minute walk. No taking off my sneakers or coat - just grab the dog, the leash, and go. We both need this time. Possible caveat - if I have groceries to bring in, they must be dealt with first.
  • As soon as we're back, I will spend the next 30 minutes writing (no social networks allowed!). I have three blogs now to maintain (one personal, two knit business related), and they will only be good with regular maintenance. I plan on blogging here on Monday, Intention Yarns on Tuesday and Friday, and Highland Handmades on Thursday. Wednesday is reserved for grocery shopping or blog research.
  • After writing is chore time until Bear gets home. That's only about 15 minutes, but 15 solid minutes a day should make a noticeable difference in my home. I'm a big fan of put it off, put it off, put it off ... but now I have no excuse.
  • After Bear gets home and I've said hello, I can spend some time catching up on the social networks, email, and any cool links that have been sent my way. I can do that until it's time for dinner (or, if it's my night, until it's time to cook dinner).
  • After dinner - no idea yet. I know some nights will be spent on HH stuff, others on IY stuff, and others will be spent knitting. I'm in the middle of holiday knitting, and it really needs some attention paid.
WEEK ENDS
  • Saturday is spent with coffee and get-my-own breakfast, consumed while social networking and the like. It's a great way to catch up. This is when I'll write my to-do list for the weekend. Chores always factor high here - laundry, dishes, vacuuming, bathroom, etc. but also it's a great way to spend a lock of time on HH or IY stuff.
  • Sunday is all about ME. I plan on doing my nails on Sunday after breakfast and other pampering things. I'll knit, because I enjoy it, or spin. I'll do things that I love because I deserve some time for myself. The *PLAN* is to make Sundays internet-free days. I don't know if I can do it, but that's the plan. We'll see how that goes. Sunday is Pancakes Day at my house, too, so Bear and I will have pancakes at some point that day for sure.
What do you do with your free time?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Resolved

Every year, when people ask me what my new year's resolution is, I respond the same way: to recognize good advice when I hear it. In my last blog post I was whining about Rite Aid and how much I want to be done and how awful it's going to be to work through Christmas. The ever wise Fox said, "Don't worry about working until Christmas... if you hate it that much, don't do it for another second. It's not worth it...it never is."

I'm listening to that advice.

My last day of work at Rite Aid is October 30th. I have given my notice and am just working out these last few weeks. I feel fan-freaking-tastic about this choice. Bear and I will have several important bills paid off by the end of the month so it's more financially feasible than I thought it was going to be and hopefully IY (the yarn company) will fill in any holes that appear. I'm looking forward to the free time, and I'm stoked that I may be able to actually ENJOY the holiday season this year. I do feel a little guilty that I won't be able to help out at Rite Aid during the busiest time of year, but the guilt isn't enough to keep me there. When I got the job it was only supposed to be for a year. I've been there more than three years now. It's time.

I hope to be able to begin new routines with my afternoons - blogging more regularly is at the top of my routine wish list. I miss blogging and conversing with you all. I'll be blogging in other places - Highland Handmades (my fiber blog), The Fiberista Files (my video podcast about my fiber business) and Reveal (the Intention Yarns blog) - but I'll try not to repeat myself.

I'm off to blog in those places right now, actually, so I'd better end this post for now.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Recovering and other Randomness

  • I'm mostly better from surgery. I get my stitches out tomorrow and then all that's left is a follow up in early October. I am definitely in less pain than I was before and right after surgery. Maybe this worked. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.
  • I am officially ready to be done working for Rite Aid. I can't frigging WAIT to give my notice. I'm so sick of working so much, and of dealing with the gross townspeople. I want to be done. I need to be done. I told my manager I'd make it through Christmas, but I don't want to.
  • The yarn company I'm taking over for a friend should launch this week. If you'd like to go visit the website, it's: www.intentionyarns.com. The shop link is disabled right now, but the rest of it is up. Tell me what you think, won't you?
  • I'm looking forward to spending some time at the Common Ground Fair this weekend. It's an organic/local themed fair that has fiber - so much fiber - as well as other organic goodies. My cousins own an organic farm and will be there, so it will be a nice to visit with them as well.
That's all I've got for now. Sorry for such a short post!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Post Surgery

So this past week or so has been hellishly busy. On Thursday I had a potassium test that I needed prior to my surgery. If a doctor tells you you need one of these, fight him or her. It fucking sucked. It involved a catheter and four different injections of solution. None of them was a pain killer, so for the next several hours I felt like I was trying to pee razorblades. Not fun.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I was at a fiber event as a vendor. It was a beautiful weekend and I had a fantastic time. Sales weren't all that great (about half what my last show was) but the other vendors that were near my booth were so incredibly awesome that it truly made the weekend. I can't wait to see them again, actually.

Monday was my laparoscopy. It was scheduled for noon and I had to be there at a quarter to eleven. I had had nothing to eat since eight o'clock the night before and I was huuuuungry. I had a caffeine withdrawal headache, too. They got my IV in and had me change into one of those very fashionable gowns with a non-matching robe and I waited. And waited. It was after 2:30 by the time they wheeled me into the OR. They woke me up around 4pm, and I spent the next two hours in and out of sleep. I had a really hard time waking up from the damn anesthesia. Once I finally woke up, peed, ate some toast and got dressed, they let me go home. That was at about seven o'clock. My incisions didn't and don't really hurt, but the gas they pumped into my body cavity had caused me so much pain. I can't lay on my left side, because it feels like my right lung is going to explode. My shoulders, back, collarbones and shoulder blades all ache something fierce. I am lucky that my drugs seem to be helping that pain. I'm supposed to go back to work tomorrow - we'll see how that goes.

They did find some endometriosis and removed what they found. I'm hoping that this means I won't be in the god awful pain I was in before. We'll see, I guess. I meet with the doc in two weeks and I hope I can see the pics of what they did and have him explain it to me now that I'm coherent.
Thanks to everyone who sent me well wishes. I am resting and healing and will hopefully soon be back to my old self.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The View from Sunday

Last spring I blogged quite a bit about how much my teaching job sucked. My position was cut, no one bothered to say it to my face, I was tired and burned out. I was glad (in a way) that I was being forced to leave, because I knew I didn't want to be there any more. I looked forward to a fall that didn't mean back-to-school shopping and stress about the kind of kids I'd be getting.

But. (and there's always a but, isn't there?)

The Secret Project I've been alluding to (which I can come clean about now, and will soon - with pics!) has been delayed; it'll be a few months still before I make any real income off it, and Rite Aid pays so crappy that if I didn't go back to school, I'd still need a second job, one that paid quite well in order for Bear and I to pay down our debts. Ugh. I applied at the local high school for an English position and the local bank for a teller position. I didn't get called for either one.

What it boiled down to was that I was going to have to go back to school. Working as a Title 1 Ed Tech III I make about $17.50 an hour, which was double what I'd make at a non-teaching job here in town, even with 450 miles a week driving factored in. It means working all day in the elementary school with kids who need help but don't qualify for special ed.

As much as I hate it, Bear and I did our finances and it's the only viable option for us right now.

It sucks. Sucks sucks sucks.

But what choice do I have?

I'm hoping that this will only be temporary; that by the new year I'll be able to drop down to just working at Rite Aid and the new Secret thing. It's a big, big, hope. Bear and I will have to show restraint and focus, something we're not so good at when it comes to paying down our debt. We'll see what happens, I guess.

If you need me, I'll be at school. I go back on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More Jax!

I took Jackson for a walk today. He and I both needed to get out of the house for a bit. Now that Bear is back to work, the poor doggie has been super lonely. So I got his lead on him and off we went. We headed down to the ball field which is on the other side of the bridge. He did so well! He's learning that he needs to sit and wait for my signal before crossing the road (I barely have to tug on the leash and his butt hits the ground) and that just because people are about doesn't mean they are there to play with him (I'm sure the construction workers were pleased he learned that lesson). He was super at the field, running and playing and letting me hook him back up to the leash when it was time for him to go. Next time I'll think ahead and bring the Frisbee for him to chase. On the way back his sniffing uncovered a blackberry bush with ripe blackberries. I picked one and gave it to him. He loved it! He tried to figure out how to get them off the bush himself, but couldn't. He kept looking from me to the bush, like, "Mom! Get me more! More of those! Those are good! Mom! Please?!" I did, because I don't think wild native fruits go against our no-people-food rule. And because he was cute. We made it back home and he's now sprawled out on the floor next to my chair, happy, hot, and tired.

Just the way he should be.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

It's Tuesday

That's all I have for a title, sorry. There isn't much excitement going on around here lately. Just work. I have today off and Bear has returned to work, so I'm taking advantage of the alone time to blog. I thought I'd also include some pics of Jax, since Alice has asked nicely and the dog himself is adorable. I have learned, however, that he HATES having his picture taken. He won't look at the camera or do cute things when it's around. Silly doggie. Below are all the versions of Jackson I've managed to capture on film:

Lap Dog

No really, LAP DOG: Crazy Dog:
In My Dance Space Dog:
And finally, Hot Dog:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Doctors (TMI warning)

I had to go to the doctor's last week. I've been having terrible pain/cramps in my girlie bits (again or still, I'm not really sure which it is). I was a bit worried that something was wrong with my IUD and that was what was causing the pain. It wasn't just cramps, but a solid wall of pain for nearly two weeks each month with spikes that can make me sweat and cry they are so bad. So I went to the doc's.

She thinks I have endometriosis. In fact, she thinks that not only is my uterine lining on the OUTSIDE of my uterus, but that it has ADHERED to my large intestine. As in stuck on. As in that's not supposed to be there and of course I'm in pain. Great. So what is to be done? I have to get scoped, and if that's the case the specialist can get rid of the problem right there in the office. I'm just waiting to hear back with the date of the appointment.

On the one hand, I'm pleased that this tentative diagnosis seems like it can be easily resolved. On the other hand? I'm so so so so sick of having girlie bits. I just want them to take the damn thing out so I don't have to worry about it any more. It can't hurt if it's not there, right? I would very much like to not be dealing with this issue any more. Unfortunately, insurance companies think they know more about me than I do and can dictate what I do with my body. Freedom of choice my ass. I will, of course, tell you how it goes because I can't not overshare in a public forum. I do wonder if anyone else had this procedure done? They haven't told me much about it. I'm about to head to WebMd to learn more. Good grief.

Monday, July 19, 2010

On The Future

Well, summer is now half over. With just over a month left before school begins, I'm still certain that I need a break from teaching. I do miss my students (following their hi jinks on Facebook has been entertaining, to say the least), but I have absolutely zero urge to go back to school. Any school. There is an English position open at the local high school - a few people have encouraged me to apply, but really, I don't feel the need. I know that there are people that want me to apply, though, and that feels pretty good. If my other fiber-related project doesn't pan out soon I may regret not applying for financial reasons (teacher pay is significantly higher than ed tech or substitute pay), but I want to give my all to the fiber-related project first before I decide whether or not I can make a living at it. I can't wait to tell you all about it! Another two weeks should see me through the initial press release/website launch, and I can tell you (and show you) all about it then. I'm trying to be patient.

I just launched my second ever knitted design, a pair of socks called "La Vie de Bois" (that's life in the woods). It's an easy and attractive knitting pattern that I hope will make me some money. Not a lot, because it's for sale for a whopping $3, but a little. Designing is a lot like getting tattoos; once you do one you want more and more. I'm trying to hold off designing anything else until I free up a little time and project space (I have a lot of knitting projects going on right now).

The sock:
Physical therapy continues to go well. I've been running on the treadmill to help strengthen my knee. I had no idea how much easier running on the treadmill would be. I was running three minutes at a time on the road, taking a minute to walk in between. I ran fifteen minutes on the treadmill last Friday without a break. It's amazing. I wish I had the cash to buy a treadmill for the house, because knowing how easy it is makes me want to run all the more.

The heat and humidity in Maine continue to annoy and make it tough to get anything accomplished. Saturday night I looked down at my feet only to realize that my ankles have apparently SWOLLEN because of the climate. I have CANKLES! For the first time ever in my life, I have swollen ankles. I'm not old, diabetic, or pregnant. Swollen ankles are unacceptable. They've been like this since Saturday. I've tried everything to get it to go down but nothing I do works for very long. I see my doctor tomorrow (I'm still having issues with my stupid IUD) and I'll ask her about it then. I'm hoping that it's a sign of some strange and rare illness, and NOT just a sign of me getting older. I'm *barely* 29! MUCH too young to be dealing with cankles.

I'm just sayin'.


What do you think of the new blog theme?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Hi, sorry.

I really didn't mean to be gone for a whole month. I'm sorry! I know that you all know what's been going on in my life/work, and that you are really nice so you don't complain, but still. I should have written before now.

It's hard, though, when you've got a system, but things change and you can't utilize that system anymore. I used to get to school, check my emails, blog, and get going on my day. Now that I'm not going to school, I'm having a hard time fitting things in. I like to blog when I'm alone in the morning, organizing my thoughts for the day. Bear's been home since February with his knee surgery and recovery, so I rarely get the house to myself. Currently he and his friend Snake are watching a movie, so they are at least distracted. I thought I'd blog while I could, and update you on what's been going on. Sorry if this gets fragmented - it's how I think on the fly.

  • Bear is still not back to work. His knee surgery was much more intensive than either of us realized, and physical therapy hasn't been able to strengthen his leg to the point he can return to work. It doesn't help that PT dropped him from their service, saying that they "can't do anything more for him" and so now he has to do it all on his own. I'm not pleased about this, but there's not much I can do about it.
  • I'm going to PT myself for MY left knee, now, too. I have tendinitis in the tendon below my knee cap that has been there (they think) for almost twenty years and because I've never had it treated, it's not healing any more. I have a new brace and treatments that are helping ... kind of. I just got cleared to begin running again, but it hurts. All. The. Time.
  • I'm working full time-ish at Rite Aid right now while trying to get my fiber business off the ground. Business has been picking up lately and I've been having a FABULOUS time sending out packages and participating in the 2010 Maine Fiber Frolic as a vendor. I'm signed up to do two more shows in the fall. This is what makes me happy more than anything; I hope that I'll be able to devote more time to it in the future.
  • Jackson is growing like crazy and is getting neutered on Tuesday, which the couch cushions will thank me for. They are being horribly abused, poor things.
  • Summer in Maine is here, and it's a great one this year. Sunny, warm ... perfect.
  • Bear and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary this week. I love him more and more each day. He really is a remarkable man, and one I'm so lucky to call mine.
  • I had my 29th birthday last month. It's the last one I'm having, I've decided.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

On Beginnings and Endings

Second Chance by Shinedown

My eyes are open wide by the way
I made it through today
I watch the world outside by the way
I'm leaving out today

I just saw Haley's Comet, she waved,
and said, "Why you always running in place?"
Even the Man in the Moon disappeared,
Somewhere in the stratosphere

[Chorus]
Tell my mother, tell my father
I've done the best I can
To make them realize this is my life
I hope they understand

I'm not angry I'm just saying,
Sometimes goodbye is a second chance.

Please don't cry one tear for me,
I'm not afraid of what I have to say
This is my one and only voice
So listen close It's only for today

I just saw Haley's Comet, she waved,
and said, "Why you always running in place?"
Even the Man in the Moon disappeared,
Somewhere in the stratosphere

[chorus]

Here is my chance
This is my chance

[chorus]




I'm in my last week of school, possibly ever. I'm trying to see my goodbye as a second chance. I know that I'm moving on to bigger and better things, but goodbyes are still hard. This song is helping me become okay with it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Because I forgot to this morning (and because Alice asked):



A dorky pic of Jax and I Bear took last night. That "puppy" is only FIVE MONTHS OLD. He's almost 60 pounds. And of course, while sitting here looking cute, he's smooshing my lungs and bladder. I love him, though. Isn't he cute??

Stick a fork in me ...

'cause I'm done.

My official pink slip letter came via certified mail yesterday. I'm not surprised or upset, except that I really thought there would be at least ONE administrator who would have the balls to come tell me to my face that my position was cut. I don't think any of them have made eye contact with me in weeks. Whatever.

In related news, I'm working with my students on the last unit of the year. Two groups are reading "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and one group is reading "Catcher in the Rye." I'm at a place where I can both identify with Alice's befuddlement at a world that doesn't make sense and Holden Caufield's desire to protect the innocence of youth. I'm excited about the next chapter of my life and at the same time I feel anxious about turning my back on what I thought was going to be my life's work.

Bear continues his physical therapy to strengthen and straighten his knee. He has begun aquatic therapy, which is forcing him to work his leg in new ways. He has already noticed a difference in how he feels after therapy. I hope he continues to improve.

We purchased a pop-up camper from Bear's godparents this year and Bear has been spending many hours restoring it. The thing is from the late 80's and needs a lot of work. We are both excited at the thought of having a dry place to stay while camping. We are both tired of sleeping in a wet tent, sitting at wet picnic tables, dealing with damp everything when we camp in the rain. Bear is doing an awesome job repairing and cleaning the camper. I can't wait to use it!

I continue to dye fiber and yarn for the Fiber Frolic, trying to get everything in order for the show. It's June 5-6, so I am rapidly running out of time. I'm almost halfway through the dyeing, and will have to label everything and pack it after that. I keep picking away at it. I enjoy it so it doesn't seem like work.

I don't know if I mentioned it here or not, but I also began a video podcast about my fiber business, called The Fiberista Files. If you're interested in learning more about my fibery life, head over to www.thefiberistafiles.com and watch my videos. I record in my craft room and post the videos to YouTube.

I'm ready for this week to be over. What are your plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good News and Bad News

I really need to blog more, so that I don't have to write such monstrous updates when I finally do post. Here, in bulleted form, is what's been going on. All things are either Good News (GN) or Bad News (BN):

  • BN. Bear's rehab is going too slowly for his surgeon's liking. Instead of being cleared to go back to work, Dr. Wexler has ordered 6 more weeks of physical therapy. If Bear is not significantly better than he is now, there may be another surgery.
  • GN. Things are going swimmingly for my fiber shop, Highland Handmades. So well, in fact, that I've begun a video podcast about it. It's called The Fiberista Files. I hope you'll consider watching! The videos are short (under ten minutes) and you get to see me, living my passion.
  • BN. I'm officially being laid off at the end of the school year.
  • BN. Administration hasn't told me yet. I heard it from a student who was at the meeting, and subsequently from other teachers who were there.
  • GN. I've decided to celebrate instead of cry. This week my students and I will be having a Pink Slip Party, where we watch The Blind Side and eat popcorn and snacks. We're not done learning for the year, but I am determined to show my students that one can make the best of a situation.
  • GN. I may have a job lined up for next year. It's not teaching - it's better. I can't talk about it yet, but it has potential life-altering possibilities. Good ones. Amazing ones.
  • GN. With Bear's enthusiastic encouragement, I'll be doing my first trade show for my fiber business. The Maine Fiber Frolic is June 5-6 and I'll be a vendor at this event. I'll be crazy busy until then, but I'm so so so excited. Bear has been HUGE in this - encouraging, building, guiding, helping ... I'd be lost without him.
  • GN. Jackson continues to grow like a weed and delight me daily. The pup, who's about a week shy of being five months old, is a whopping 52.2 POUNDS! I can't wait to see just how big he's going to get. I'll have to post new pictures soon, with a puppy pic for comparison.
So that's what's going on in my life ... how about in yours?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Care and Feeding of Bear

I don't if it's just not his year, or if maybe Life is clearing the way for him to have a really excellent fall, but poor Bear has lost most of his spring to ailment and injury. First was his knee surgery on February 23rd, which we thought would put him out of work for a month - turns out that his knee was worse than they thought, so one month might be as many as three. He's been keeping himself busy, though, so it wasn't as bad as it could be.
But then last Monday Bear underwent surgery to remove his gallbladder. He'd been having pain for years, but all of his tests kept coming back negative. He had no stones, it functioned within normal parameters, he didn't have full on attacks like some people did, so the doc wasn't certain that removing the gallbladder would end the pain Bear was in.

When I met with the surgeon after the surgery, however, I was informed that the gallbladder was in fact bad (filled with cholesterol deposits and covered with adhesions, where his body had literally wrapped around it to protect itself). We both breathed a sigh of relief, happy that this was the cause of all of his pain.

What we weren't prepared for, especially after the ease of his knee surgery, was Bear's pain post gallbladder removal. The poor thing has been laid out all week with pain, tenderness, and some remarkable bruising. He's beginning the upswing now, but it's obvious to those that know him that he is not himself.

I hope that this is the last of his medical problems for a while, that he is able to heal and get some life back in his days. Warm weather is coming, and with it our favorite time of year. I just hope he'll be able to enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just when I thought I was going to have a good day ...

... I get this in my inbox:

Budget season is in full swing and with tough economic times the school committee is looking at ways to continue academic excellence in our schools. Because of changes in the budget, the superintendent would like to meet with you on Tuesday, March 30 after school in the superintendent's office to discuss budgetary restraints for next year. Please notify me if you are unable to attend.


This week is one of the busiest I've had in a while, so busy that I've actually had to schedule snuggle time with Bear because I don't know how else to fit it in. I'm trying like heck to sell some things in the shop (see the thumbnails to the left) so that I can gain enough capital to open a wholesale account. If I can do that, I will be a vendor in Maine's biggest Fiber show this summer. I'm excited but scared.

And now I have to deal with this. The email was copied to my ed tech and teacher union reps so that means my entire job is gone next year, not just half. I know you're thinking that I don't know for sure what's going on - but after seven years in this business, I do. I know what's coming, and honestly? I'm not even sure that I care. I'm beyond it at this point. Whatever.

How are you?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Awww!


"No, Mom, I'm not eating your blanket. Honest! I was just holding it for you. You don't want it back, though, right?"

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Flowers!




This beautiful bouquet of flowers was given to me by my husband as a thank you for taking care of him after his surgery. In pain and on crutches, the man left physical therapy and bought me flowers and chocolate. Because he's grateful. Because he's sweet. Because he just can't help but spoil me, even when I should be the one spoiling HIM.

Is it any wonder that I'm totally in love with him??

Friday, February 26, 2010

Post-Op Update

Bear had his surgery on Tuesday. Thanks to all of you who are in good with God, Bear sailed through both procedures. The endoscopy showed nothing going on in the gallbladder to account for his pain, which we expected. Since there are no growths or infections in it, Bear can have it out any time he wants. The doctor told Bear to let him know when he's had enough and the gallbladder will come out. That is a comfort to both of us. While Bear doesn't have bad attacks, he does have pain every day. I'm comforted that they will still take it out, even without stones or attacks. It means something when a hospital staff believes their patients.

As for the knee surgery, we know some things and don't know others. We know that it "went well" - there were no complications or accidents during surgery. We know that he is healing very quickly, thanks to the kind words of Bear's physical therapist (whom we met yesterday). We don't know exactly what was repaired, what the sum of all the damage was, or if everything got corrected. Bear has an appointment to discuss the surgery in depth with the surgeon on Monday. I'd like to go too so I can hear what the surgeon has to say. He gave us some pictures from the inside of Bear's knee and although I have no real idea what I'm looking at, I can tell that there was a lot of messed up tissue in there.

Bear is handling this all very well, and is trying to rest as much as he can. He has napped each day (so have I) and has been a good boy about taking his meds. His knee is swollen but the incisions look great and he has very little bruising.

As he lay in the hospital bed in the recovery room he looked at me and said, "I wanna milkshake. Can we get a milkshake?" He hadn't had anything to eat that day and that was all he wanted. The nurses said it would be fine, so on the way home we stopped at McDonald's and got a large chocolate milkshake and a large fry. Not the healthiest of recovery meals, but he'd been so good about the surgery I just couldn't say no. He enjoyed it tremendously and I was happy to be able to help him at least that much.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Take That, Sinister Insurance Company!

Way back on October 19 of last year, I blogged that Bear had fallen in the kitchen and hurt his knee quite seriously. I later blogged that the insurance company refused to pay for an MRI (that his doctor ordered because Bear needed it) until at least "eight weeks of 'conservative treatment' had been applied". I remember how frustrated I was that my husband who has finally begun to take care of himself medically and actually GO to the doctor when he's hurting received such a slap in the face. So Bear went back to work, in pain, and we waited.

And waited.

Finally Bear got in to see the specialist at the end of January. The specialist immediately ordered an MRI. Reluctantly the insurance company paid for it, since it had been three months since his original visit. THREE MONTHS of daily pain, of doing a demanding job on a knee that at times hurts so badly he can barely move.

The MRI results came back - Bear has a torn meniscus (the cushion between the two leg bones). There are actually TWO tears. He also has some severe bone bruising on the side that he didn't hurt, and the specialist doesn't know why it's there.

I'm so sorry he's hurting, but I'm so glad they found something. I feel so vindicated - I don't care how much "conservative treatment" he received - nothing short of surgery will repair those tears. Surgery that bear could have had MONTHS ago if the insurance company wasn't such a bunch of money-grubbing ASSHOLES.

Bear is having surgery to repair the tears on February 23rd. While the surgeon is in there, he will use the camera to investigate the entire knee to see what else may be wrong. If something else is wrong, the surgeon may fix it there or it may mean more surgery in the future. At this point, we aren't really sure.

On the same day as his knee surgery, Bear will also be scoped for his gallbladder. It's causing him pain but they can't take it out until they can see something wrong with it. The poor man will be poked, prodded, scoped and cut on both ends of his body. We're hoping that he gets some really good pain meds to help him deal. I'll be with him for a few days during his initial recovery and will try to blog an update then.

For all of you who are in good with God, please keep Bear in your thoughts on February 23rd. He and I both appreciate the warmth and support we have always received from our blogoshpere friends. If he is up to it, I'll try and convince him to guest blog his thoughts at least once, as he's a great writer and it's past time that you heard from the Bear himself.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Story

Yesterday I posted a picture of Jackson as we were coming home. Today I'd like to tell you all about it.

We arose Saturday morning at 4:45 and blearily got into the truck to begin our journey South. we had to be at the breeder's by 9:30 in the morning and it was almost a four hour drive. I stayed awake the whole time which is something of a feat for me. I was just too excited and keyed up to sleep. I'm horribly sick right now, so much of the journey was spent blowing my nose. As the miles slipped by under the truck tires I thought about all the great adventures Jackson and I and Bear will have. I worried about how the cats would treat him, and I hoped that everything would go smoothly.

We arrived at the breeder's right on time. When she brought Jackson into the room, I wondered where my little ball of fur had gone. In his place was a rugged tank of a dog that had doubled in size in the last three weeks. Jackson had become a bruiser! As soon as he was placed in my arms, he snuggled his nose into the place between my ear and neck, sighed, and settled in. My heart flipped over in my chest and I fell in love with him all over again. This, I thought. This is my baby. Totally black with deep chocolate eyes and the biggest, sweetest paws imaginable ... perfect in every way.

We chatted with the breeder for a while and learned that the vet gave him a clean bill of health and he was all ready to go. She said goodbye to him and as she did I heard her whisper, "you're a good dog, Jackson. A good good dog. You were my favorite." Tearfully, she handed him off and we settled him into the truck for the long journey North.

The original plan was to take him to my parents' house and leave him there while we went to the Shinedown concert we'd had tickets for since before Christmas. As the day wore on, however, I was feeling worse and worse. Soon the combination of worry about leaving the puppy and my cold drove me to ask Bear to find someone who'd want the tickets for the show - I was too sick to go. He was relieved, and even my parents said that was probably best. I looked and felt pretty awful. Jackson, for his part, was sleeping on the livingroom floor behind the coffee table. The stress of leaving home and being in a vehicle for the first time combined to exhaust the poor little guy. Mom said he was boring. Both parents were amazed that he wasn't a crazy ball of energy. I couldn't blame him, really. The most disappointed person was my parents' boxer Ivy May. She took one look at Jackson and wanted to play. He just wanted to find a quiet corner to crash in. She just didn't understand why he wouldn't play with her.

Since it was afternoon and we'd given the tickets away, Bear and I decided to head for home. I did manage to sleep this time since I had no energy left at all. Jackson slept most of the way, too. We got home around 7pm and brought him inside. We gave him food and water, spread his blanket on the floor and just watched him as he slept. We were concerned that we'd stressed him out with this very long journey, glad that we'd gotten him home, and absolutely in love with our new family member. The family felt complete finally. We went to bed that night and fell into an exhausted slumber.

That morning we were greeted with the traditional puppy - wagging tail, jumping energy, and lots of wiggling. He'd messed a bit on the floor, had put all his toys in the box of shavings in the place we'd thought he'd use to leave his messes and generally mussed the kitchen about. It was impossible to be upset. What was a little bit of puppy poop when its maker is just so damn cute? We cleaned everything up and set about housebreaking the little guy. He'd never been outside in his life, but he adjusted quickly. Soon he was doing his business quickly and then cavorting about in the snowbanks. Jackson loves the outdoors. We grinned to each other as he jumped and played. This is a dog made for us. We spent the day with him yesterday and learned that he likes to eat, wants desperately to be friends with the cats (who have been standoffish but not agressive at all), and loves to take naps in warm nests of blankets and people feet.

Every time I look at him, snuggle him, play with him, or hold him, I fall in love again. He's perfect in every way and I'm glad that I waited so long to get a dog. He was worth the wait. I hope that as he grows he'll continue to be the happy loving guy he is right now.



Because I'm totally in love with this pup.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

So close!

Bear got an email yesterday from the dog breeder who has Jackson.

"There's a problem with Jackson," he says after reading it.

My heart stopped. Oh no, I thought. What's wrong with my baby?

"Relax," Bear laughed. "Jackson is fine. But we can't get him on Sunday, since the breeder won't be home that day. What do you want to do?"

"Well," I said. "Can we pick him up on Saturday?" We are going to a concert Saturday night, but the day is free.

Bear looked at me for a long moment. Then he grinned, a dimple appearing in his right cheek. Yes, Babe. I guess we can."

So Jackson is coming home a day early. We will get him Saturday morning, leave him with my parents for the concert, then pick him up afterwards and come home.

And dudes. Saturday?

Two days away.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Fragments

*Only eight more days until Jackson comes home. I can't wait. I still have some puppy proofing to do, but the house has come a long way and we're almost ready. I can't wait to introduce him to the cats! I will have to take some video of their first meeting so I can post it.

*Only eight more days of riding the Sinister Stationary Bike of Doom. I'm not hating it as much as I did last time, mostly because I'm half-assing it most nights. I ride for fifteen minutes (five more than the mandatory ten), but I'm reading a novel while I do it and therefore am not giving it much of an honest effort. On Wednesday I stayed home from work and did a killer run that day - 20 minutes, 421 calories, 5.05 miles. But honestly? That was the only honest effort I put in since I started this almost two weeks ago. Alice over at Wandering Wonderland has been way more committed than I, and I'm hoping to use her success as a springboard towards my own. I might need to set a weight goal as she did. I'm thinking I'd like to be back down to 165.0 by Feb 15. That's three weeks for about two pounds. Totally doable. I'll let you know how I do.

*As I age I'm becoming so much more of a girl. Among my friends I'm usually known as the biggest guy in the group (femeninity has never been my strong suit) but I have to have this bag.


It's called the Monroe (my maiden name, people! I NEED TO HAVE IT), and it's a stylish and ecologically responsible bag that would hold all of my daily things plus a knitting project or two. At $75, owning it solidifies my girl status. I'm just sayin'.

*Due to budget cuts, it looks as though I will be job searching next year. They told me that last year but found a way to keep me on - that money is gone and we're another $400,000 in the hole. I'm pretty sure I'm gone after this year. Wish me luck in a very tight job market. I can't decide if I want to look for a full time teaching job, or just an ed tech job somewhere close to home. Full time teaching means I can quit working at Rite Aid, ed tech job close by means less time on the road and nowhere near the stress. I'm hoping an opportunity will present itself. Maybe I should ask if the local yarn shop is hiring?

*I still hate insurance companies. Bear went to the knee specialist on Wednesday and guess what? The doc ordered an MRI - the same thing Bear's tried TWICE to get and the insurance company won't pay for. They had better this time or I will blow a gasket. I'm so fucking sick of dealing with this idiocy!!!!! It might not help that I'm on hold with said insurance company as I sit here. ARGHRHGH!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Deal

As I mentioned a while ago here on the blog, I'm attempting to re-lose some weight. Weight that re-adhered to my body during the past year or so, especially during the holiday season. I know what it takes to lose weight, but I hate hate hate doing it. Losing weight means I must ride the Sinister Stationary Bike of Doom.

Seriously. Of Doom.

The bike is a recumbent bike, and hurts my but just to sit on. I sweat like a pig, the minutes/miles/calories never move fast enough ... in short, being on it is like being tortured. It's even worse knowing that I'm responsible for the need to get back on the bike. I'm the only one who has put food in my mouth. Too much food. So back on the bike I go.

Under normal circumstances, I'd ride the bike a few times in a week, then slack off. I'd go a week or more without the bike until Bear or my conscience guilts me back on it. This time, however, I have a deal. If I ride the bike every day for at least ten minutes until January 31st, Bear will buy me a Wii Fit Plus.

I have a Wii and enjoy it, and I've heard amazing things about the Fit Plus. I'd much rather play games on the Wii than ride the Sinister Stationary Bike of Doom. Wouldn't you? We made the deal on Sunday and I've ridden it every day so far... twice doing 15 minutes (in the past I've ridden straight to 500 calories burned, which takes about half an hour. It sucks. This is much easier!). Wish me luck on the remaining nineteen days.

I think I'm going to need it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm gonna be one of *those* moms, huh?

You may be tired of Jackson. You may think all puppies are alike, or think that black labs aren't cute, or even think that you're not a dog person. I promise to get back to regular blogging soon. But Bear and I went to meet Jackson yesterday and I just have to share the adorableness:


Less than three weeks until we can bring him home. I can't WAIT!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

What I Got for Christmas

I told you yesterday that I'd blog about my Christmas present. Here's the story:

Christmas morning Bear and I got up and made some coffee. The morning hasn't begun until I've started caffienating. We sat in the livingroom and began the process of opening the gifts under the tree. Bear hemmed and hawed for a bit, not sure which gift he wanted me to open first. Finally he made up his mind and started with a card. It was a nice card, one of those ones that have the card stock outside and the separate piece of paper on the inside. It was sweet and romantic, and he'd signed it, "because I want you to have everything you want. Love, Bear."
"Aww, thanks Honey," I said, and closed the card. I set it beside me on the couch.
"No, you need to turn the page," he chided.
Oops.
I picked the card back up and turned the page and saw this:With the words "January 30, 2010" at the top and a speech bubble next to it that said, "Hi Mom!"

The man bought me a puppy.

A puppy.

The one thing I've wanted for more than three years. The one thing he keeps telling me I can't have. Truly, my dream come true. The gift is amazing. Bear is amazing. The puppy is amazing.

I'm naming him Jackson, and I love him already.

Thanks, Bear, for making my Christmas the best one ever. I love you!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Back at It

I'm back to school and back to blogging. Sorry to take an unannounced break like I did, but I needed it and am returning to the blogosphere fresh and excited. A brief recap of my time away:

  1. I got a ton of awesome stuff for Christmas. Bear spoiled me, again, although he raised the bar this year. I will tell you all about my best gift tomorrow. It's deserving of its own post.
  2. I've been up to my eyeballs in Christmas knitting, not much of which got done. I'm still behind, even two weeks later! I'm working on it.
  3. I had an awesome New Year's Eve with my friend L-Unit. It was terrific spending time with her and her family. I adore them so!
  4. I'm back on the diet wagon again... sort of. I'm having a hard time staying on. Hopefully if Alice does well with her weight loss, she'll inspire me to do so, also. I'm looking at losing ten to fifteen pounds before April vacation. Wish me luck.
  5. I'm not really making any resolutions this year, other than to focus more on growing my fiber business. Marketing especially. I'd like to spread the word about Highland Handmades!
That's about it. I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season and are ready to tackle the new year. Thanks for sticking with me through my radio silence - I'm really glad to be back.