Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

10 Favorite Housekeeping Shortcuts

Oh housekeeping....I must admit of late there has been little of this. Until this past weekend. The day after Thanksgiving I kicked into overdrive and went after some areas of the house that had been plaguing me. Under the guise of wanting to put the tree in the living room this year I made some drastic changes....and I'm not done yet. Six weeks of no medication left me barely able to function on a basic level. I've a lot to catch up on. I never considered hiring someone else to clean my house, but that was before MS and two kids. Lugging the vacuum around is enough to knock me out for a while. Some days I can barely stand, let alone stand at the sink and do dishes. Besides I spend much of my day washing buckets and brushes. The last thing I want to do is go home and do dishes.

But I have to admit, another part of me loves to throw on an apron, tie my hair up in a bandanna, toss on some up-beat singable music, and go crazy with a deep clean.  I do feel that on some level we've lost the 'art' of housekeeping. I'll save the how and why for another day. Just know that some of my favorite reading are volumes dedicated to housekeeping; both vintage and modern.

So what are my tricks, (other than the obvious 'ignore it)???

1. Have a place for everything. This is a biggie, I am discovering. Especially if you have kids. They don't grasp commands like "Clean up this room", but they do get "Put the Legos back where they belong." I spent a lot of time this weekend arranging organized homes for toys and crafting supplies. I even involved the kids. "Should we put the people and animals together in one drawer?" "Do we keep the toy sushi set separate or mix it in with the other food?" They are more likely to comply when they feel they have been a part of the process. And label it all. Everything. Then no one can say, "I don't know where this goes." (insert whiny tone here)

2. Now that it has a place, put it where it goes. Simple right? I'm very guilty of this. Don't put it next to where it goes. Put it where it goes. Now. Not later. Not when 40 other things are piled on it. Now. Simple but effective.

3. No food in the bedrooms. Never. Ever.

4. If you spill it, wipe it up. Right away. Doubly so for the bathroom. My 5 year old knows that if he pees on or around the toilet, he is to clean it up. I keep a tub of disinfectant wipes on top of the toilet just for that reason.

5. Simplify. This is an on going process for me. I come from a family of borderline hoarders. And working in Theatre hasn't helped the cause. With ever dwindling budgets, we feel the urge to save everything, because you never know when you might need it and not have the budget left for it. Really examine your life. Do you really need fancy towels for every holiday?  Do you wear every pair of shoes you own? Or all the clothes in your closet? Are you going to read those books again? or watch those old VHS's? Get rid of it. Don't like some knick-knack that Great-Aunt Matilda gave you as a wedding present? Give it away. The hardest thing for me has been keeping items out of guilt, but that's a topic for a whole post unto itself.

6. Change things around. I'm forever moving furniture around. It might drive my husband a little nuts, but I don't care. Change is good, even if it freaks out the cats. It keeps you from getting bored with what you have and buying more stuff you don't need. As the kids grow and out grow things, I find myself taking advantage of rearranging opportunities more and more. My mum and I would rearrange the living room at least once a year. We'd make a day of it and have a blast. She was just bemoaning my being so far away because she wanted to rearrange her bedroom and missed my input.

7. Open the windows...weather permitting of course. A little fresh air goes a long way. Even if just for a little while before you go back to heating or air conditioning. It makes a difference.

8. Throw some potpourri in your vacuum cleaner bag. (if you have the bag kind) You get a little aroma therapy while vacuuming and the house smells great.

9. Make the beds. It completely changes the look of the room.

10. Music. Make it singable/danceable. Something that makes you want to move and you'll see how much faster you get through it all.

I have to laugh. When I first saw this topic I thought ugh. But now I just want to write boat-loads about housekeeping, and my thoughts and theories
and crazy stories.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ten on Tuesday...or Wednesday...

or whatever damn day this is.  I currently have a sinus infection that is making my sense of space and time rather wibbly wobbly. (jelly baby for you if you get the reference.... and that one too).

10 Things You Miss About Your Own House When You Go Away

1. our water- I drink a lot of water and typically from the tap. But apparently I'm somewhat of a water snob because I find the water a lot of places we go tastes...odd. Yeah, I'll go with odd.
2. my bed- especially now that we have the new memory foam bed.
3. the kids beds- you know ones that they will comfortablly sleep in so they don't end up in ours.
4. my leg pillow- I have to sleep with a pillow between my knees to prevent some rather annoying lower back pain. I really need to remember to bring one when we travel. There never seem to be enough pillows.
5. my tea supply- I try to bring some but will often run out. I like a rather distinct variety of teas and can't abide plain old Lipton.
6. our water pressure- I have a lot of hair and without some decent water pressure washing it can be a challenge.
7. the diaper sprayer- for the inevitable accident.
8. our cats- Though they are getting old and somewhat demanding and vocal in the dotage, I still love the little furballs.
9. wifi- (quasi) consistent and ready for me. 
10. whatever we've forgotten....because there is always something.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

What day is it?

Holidays always screw me up. I'm lucky I know what day of the week it is during a "normal" week, let alone one connected to a long weekend. I took a bit of a break of late for a few reasons. I'm up to my armpits in scenery at work. The oppressive heat has come back and kicked my MS into overdrive, making anything outside of the basic duties of living a luxury.

And Little Dude started Kindergarten. (!!!!)

I feel like I just yesterday I was posting about his birth and now he's a little man. Five years ago I introduced you to this:

And here he is now.

First day of Kindergarten and no tears. From either of us. And notice he's sporting some knitted duds. Here's a better look at his 'First Day' attire. The back pack is Lego Star Wars with Darth Vader and Stormtroopers. Lunch bag is Scooby Doo. (we like the classics)

Yes, I actually knitted something and got it done on time. The pattern is Boys Can Wear Pink by Kate Oates. The yarn is some recycled Tahki Cotton Classic from my frogged Kyoto sweater. And I've never knit for someone who appreciates it more. He picked out the pattern (Dude loves wearing ties) and the colors from what I had in my stash. I still need to duplicate stitch a skull and crossbones on the tie. I finished the sweater at 2am before school and it was still damp when we got up. I tossed it in the dryer while he had breakfast. I had pulled out a back up shirt in case I didn't finish on time. I stopped him and asked if he wanted to wear that one or the sweater and he yelled "MY TIE SWEATER"  all while dancing for joy. He got no less than 6 compliments on it during the walk inside. And what did I get for it??? Random attacks of kisses  and "Thank you Mom, I love my sweater." even days later. I think I'm going to have to knit a winter version too.

Forget trying to knit for my husband anymore. Little Dude knows how to thank a knitter. :)

As for the first (half) week of school. He did wonderful. No tears. He already has all the ladies charmed. I even ran into his teacher one morning after dropping him off and she said that he was doing fantastic. Little did she know she had a surprise waiting for her that morning. The evening before he drew pictures of all the new rules and brought them in to give to her. (Yeah, he's a sweetie) His first day included Art class, which thrilled him beyond measure. The brush doesn't fall too far from the bucket with this one. I think we will see some great things out of this kid this year.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

10 Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

1. Kitchen Shears- I love my Henckels. I use these things for everything....snipping herbs, cutting up food for the kids, and opening packages. I would love a few more around the house because they have a habit of wandering off.

2. Egg slicer- Still the fastest way to make egg salad.

 3. Orange peeler- so very simple but so very effective.

4. Ceramic slicer- This is fabulous for giving you nice thin garlic. Just watch your fingers. This is responsible for about 90% of my kitchen injuries.

5. Silicon spatula- heat resistant and beyond useful.

 6. Cuisineart Ice Cream Maker- mix the ingredients, pour them in and in 30 minutes you have fabulous ice cream. Or frozen yogurt. Or lemon ice...even vodka lemon ice.

7.  Stick blender- This was essential when making I was making my own baby food. I use it for making smoothies, pasta sauce, soup, and applesauce. The whisk attachment is great for pancake batter, boxed cakes and homemade ice cream. The food processor attachment comes in handy for a lot of things, though the one on my older one was much better.

8. Ulu knife and bowl- we bought one of these on our honeymoon to Alaska. I love this thing. Nothing beats it for cutting hot grilled cheese or pb&j. It's great on herbs and nuts too.And it is perfect for chopping up candy bars for ice cream mix ins.

 9. Zyliss corkscrew- my favorite corkscrew. Just put it on and turn. You just keep twisting and it both enters the cork and pulls it out. It also has a nifty little foil cutter to get the wrapper off the top of the bottle without cutting your hand open.

10. Kitchen Aid mixer- a must have. It handles tough mixing jobs as well as ones that require stamina. I love the food grinder attachment as well. The only thing I wish it had was a feature my stepmother's old stand mixer had: a lever that would shift the bowl over a few inches off center. The beaters would get close to the edge and it gave you enough room to add ingedients. The bowl chute just doesn't quite do it. That and I wish I had this limited edition model.

So, what can't you live without in the kitchen?

Friday, August 09, 2013

It's Friday!!!

And the end of my first official week back at work. It hardly seems like it's been a full week. Of course the fact that my co-workers have been in and out and I've been working all over the place may have something to do with it.

 My husband's employees who just had a baby came and got Little Miss's crib and changing table/dresser. Which means tomorrow will be the Big Furniture Switcharoo. Well phase two of it. Phase one involved getting the crib out of her room, moving Little Dude's toddler bed into her room, putting the toddler rail back onto it, and putting the twin mattress in his room. Now that the dresser/changer is gone, I can move the dresser my husband has been using into her room. It was my dresser growing up and part of the bedroom set she will eventually be using. My husband will be using the one I currently have storing art supplies, until we find one we really like on Craigslist. When he and I figure out our bedroom furniture situation, then I can hang the art back up in there.

Meanwhile Little Dude has his mattress on the floor until we (meaning my husband) builds the loft bed or we break down and buy one.

I'm starting to work out some deocration for Little Miss's room as well. I saw this online the other day and knew I had to make her one. It is currently in production. I have the frame (though ours isn't as elaborate) and the panel is drying as I write this. I'll work on the text layout this weekend and paint the letters next week. The line is from William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and very fitting. For both of us. 

She is my little pink princess but has a healthy geek streak in her. She knows Darth Vader on sight and walks around singing "Nananananananana....BATMAN!" at the top of her lungs. After reading the first Fancy Nancy book, she wants to make her room all fancy. Who am I to deny her. I secretly have a fancy girly side. Mine is just less pink and more black/purple/red. But it still has all of the sparkle. Hey, who can resist the power of the shiny?

 And the decoration in Little Dude's room will shortly begin production. I'm just waiting on material to arrive.

Oh and there's a Friday Flashback over on Footprints in the Sky.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Back from the Black Hole

I fell off the face of the earth for a while there. Actually I was sucked into the black hole of theatre. I started back to work a bit sooner than planned with a side job at a small local theatre. It was suppose to be a simple 'come-in-and-paint-what-you-are-told' type of gig. That was until the charge quit. So I was offered the upgrade in position on the show (and possibly for future shows) and all the stress and responsibility that comes with it. Therefore, instead of easing back into working full time I jumped right into the frenzy of it, feet first. And it has been a wild ride.

Despite being brought in at the last minute and dealing with some complicated situations with little preparation, I had a blast. And the set looks beautiful, (more about that to come on Footprints). The people (most of them) were wonderful. Some of these people were ones I had worked with years ago at the same theatre. Some were people I knew somewhat but hadn't really done a lot with. And some were completely new. I brought in the wonderful woman that covered my maternity leave (both times) as my second, and we took the place by storm. And I think I can say honestly without bragging (well, maybe a little bragging) that I impressed the pants off them.

Nevertheless, it took a huge toll on my body. The last two weeks involved a lot of stairs. Just a few steps, but a few steps up and down all day long is still a lot of stairs. And ladders. Lots of ladder time. Going from my reduced physical load to stairs and ladders all day hit me hard. And I think the hardest part is that I am still coming to terms with my limitations. I'm getting better at realizing and accepting that I will never be the way that I was before. I will never be 100% again. And that's hard. And it sucks. And it sucks even more as a woman because we have to fight so much harder, and do so much more to get any respect in this business. But I'm doing it. One way or another, I'm making it work.

And now I'm back to my regular full time gig. It was nice to be back. The staff is coming back in dribs and drabs and we're easing our way into the season. It looks like it will be an interesting season, both artistically and logistically.

Getting back into my routine is nice and I'm tweaking things here and there to leave a little more room for knitting and blogging.

So here's to a happy start to the season (and the new year in my world).

Ten on Tuesday

10 Words to Describe Yourself in an Interview
  The task on this one is no descriptors....just the words.
  1. Inventive
  2. Resourceful
  3. Adaptable
  4. Creative
  5. Humorous
  6. Diligent
  7. Dedicated
  8. Skilled
  9. Initiative
  10. BAKES 
Never underestimate the power of baked goods on moral. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

10 Favorite Things To Do When You're Alone

Ah....alone time. As a mother of two minions under the age of 5, I don't get much of that. But when I do, I've a list a mile long to squeeze in. Here's a few of my favorites.

  1. Sew- Much easier when one is alone. I can spread out and just concentrate. 
  2. Knit- Again. Much easier to follow charts and count stitches without hearing B-I-N-G-O being sung at the top of little lungs. 
  3. Browse at the Library- I come across so many books I want to indulge in when I can just wander around and not wrangle minions.
  4. Cook- while blasting music. 
  5. Painting- I love my co-workers (some of them), but leave the f*ck alone when I'm working. Especially if it something really involved. Surprisingly enough, it does take some concentration. 
  6. Reading- I love me some books. All kinds:sci-fi, mysteries, histories, fantasy, classic literature, biographies, how-to, true crime, and every now and then I'll indulge in a trashy romance novel (chosen by the picture on the cover). That last one is almost exclusively when I'm alone. 
  7. Soak in the tub- by the gods...I've not done that in about 6 years. Oh that's sad. That's really sad. (But then again, so is our tub).
  8. Fabric/craft shopping- I was doing this earlier this evening. Then I don't feel rushed and I can just browse and imagine and squee over anything and everything. 
  9. Watching movies- often while knitting or sewing. Then I can watch what I want to whether it's catching up on TV shows, a beloved chick flick, an old black and white favorite, a cherished sci-fi, or a cheesy Mel Brooks comedy
  10. Getting up early to write- I use to do this years ago. Just me and a cup of tea, in the quiet of morning, writing away. It might be time to revive that tradition.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

10 Favorite Burger Toppings

Fourth of July, the time we celebrate the colonists defiance of a mad king by eating burgers and setting off explosives. I'm a burger girl, but I am particular. No raw onions. Actually I don't like any cold vegetables on my burgers at all. Save the lettuce and tomato for the salad.

  1. Cheese- any kind. I like to experiment. I'm big on stronger flavored cheeses on burgers...blue, Gorgonzola. But cheese really is a must.
  2. Bacon- duh
  3. Mushrooms- not canned.
  4. Guacamole/avocado
  5. Caramelized onions
  6. Garlic aioli- or some other creamy sauce. 
  7. Onion strings- crispier and better than onion rings
  8. BBQ sauce
  9. Ketchup- no mustard on burgers for me. That's for hot dogs.
  10. Lobster- It sounds odd but one of my favorite burgers contains the following: Lobster, Smoked Gouda, Caramelized Onion, Lettuce, Tomato, Corn Spread. It is divine.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

10 Things You Want To Do This Summer

Can it be 100? Because I can think of so much I want to accomplish. One of the best descriptions of living with MS I've ever heard was how you might have a list of 6 things to get done, but you can only do two. That is how the summer is starting to feel. Especially since the rotavirus stole a good week of time away from us. 

But here is the list on out....I'll attempt to be realistic.

  1. Paint Little Dude's room- He's turning 5 in the fall and outgrowing the toddler bed. It's time for a big boy make over. He's picked the color (Dynamic Blue) and I have the paint, though it's not tinted yet. After our road trip this is happening. 
  2. Accomplish the Great Bed Switcheroo- Part of the room make over Little Dude is getting a new bed. His convertible crib (which goes from crib to toddler bed with rail, toddler day bed without rail and full size bed) will become Little Miss's bed. Her bed only goes from crib to toddler bed with rail to daybed without rail. She's on the verge of climbing out of her crib and ready for the bed with the rail. Also we will be switching to our new mattress. I didn't want to put it into our room until I painted.
  3. Paint our bedroom- In progress at the moment. 
  4. Finish quilts. 
  5. Day trips on kids' vacation week- Daycare closes down for a week every summer. I really want to make the most of it this year. We have a few ideas and it seems like their favorite Uncle (my younger brother) is going to visit. 
  6. Make jam. My son eats PB&J everyday. I prefer to give the kids jelly that is sweetened with juice which is crazy expensive. He loved the blueberry jam I made last summer. I'm hoping to put up a year's worth this year. Which means I should be picking strawberries at this moment. 
  7. Continue the household clean out- We've had the first garage sale. I've a bunch of items for Craigslist and then plan on another sale in the fall. The house is in a complete state of chaos but we are really making progress. It feels so good. So very good. 
  8. Get a jump on stocking the freezer- I'd like to get a stock of homemade meals in the freezer for when I go back to work. I know the first few weeks will be rough as I get back into the swing of working all day and I'd rather not have meals suffer. 
  9. Start making bread- I've been led to the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day series and I'm hooked. I've not started yet but it is on the list for after the road trip. I borrowed these from the Library. I have a Kindle gift card and think they will be my purchase. Just the thought of fresh bread daily is making me drool.
  10. Knit 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Not much knitting here at chez Gothknits. I've manged to put several rounds on Little Dude's sweater and it's up to about 6 inches now.

Mostly my days have been filled with changing diapers, emptying buckets, spraying everything with Lysol, doing laundry, second guessing whether or not to give water, or Pedialyte or food, changing sheets and towels and pajamas and movies and generally trying to calm them without getting the plague myself. I think I was successful in that last goal. I'm still wary and not eating anything I wouldn't want coming back up. This was Little Miss's first true stomach bug and it hit her hard. She was having issues with letting things just come up and go into the bucket and I think her stubborness helped prolong it. Not my Little Dude...he's old pro at this game. At one point he quietly got off my lap, walk over to an available bucket, stuck his head in and let go. My poor babies....and Little Miss had a round of teething on top of it. Last night was a scream fest from her. But I think minus the teething, my minions are back to themselves. I saw the true Little Dude for the first time in days last night before bed. My husband is still recovering but I think he's over the worst of it now.

I'm just waiting to see if it gets me. In the meantime my body has said: 'Since I'm fighting off this big bad dragon, I'm just gonna let this little guy through'. The little guy being another UTI. Man I hate these things...but I hate puking more.

Through this whole thing I've decided that Lysol needs to make house bombs, just like the flea bombs. Get everyone out and set those puppies off. When you come back it's sanitized and you can go back to normal.

In the midst of all this my parents came to visit and we made sausage and had a garage sale. Needless to say I'm on the verge of insanity. But we made 10 lbs of sweet Italian sausage, 10 lbs of breakfast sausage, and $80. My garage looks fairly neat at the moment. We've two piles out there: one for donation and one for Craigslist/fall garage sale.

So much of the work in progress has been in the house. Furniture has been rearranged and the kitchen functions much better now. Though we're still going the wrong direction to throw out trash and get silverware. I'm continuing to empty out cupboards and drawers and everything. I think I may have found new dishes. Playing nurse for the sick ward has set me back a few days in my painting schedule. I'd had hope to have our room done by now. Not so much. That is what I am trying to prep for at the moment, between bathroom breaks and spraying things people have touched.

Hopefully more progress (and pictures) tomorrow. Back to it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

 Hello. Welcome to the plague house. Everyone here has been sick....except for me. Though I'm on the fence right now if I am coming down with it, or just normal medication side effects. Time will tell. But on to happier things, (I'll save the plague notes for another post).

Ten Favorite Backyard Games-
  We really don't get outside enough. And now that we're adults it's mostly to do yard work and make sure the kids don't wander off or get killed while we are doing yard work. It's time to put the fun back in to the back yard so here's a few. 

  1. Croquet
  2. Bocce
  3. Badminton
  4. Frisbee - Ultimate or otherwise
  5. Lawn Darts- illegal they may be but fun they were. Scope out garage sales to find a set.
  6. Wiffle ball.
  7. Water war- less of a game and more of an all out epic showdown. Most weapons are fair game. Water guns, water balloons, spray bottles, pump sprayers. Just not the hose, disqualified due to unlimited ammo. Have a kiddie pool for refills
  8. Horseshoes
  9. Ladder ball
  10. Cornhole/washers

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Really there are only two things in progress at the moment:

  1. tag sale prep
  2. sausage making prep (which is all but done now)

 Oh yeah, and one more thing.
     3. Going crazy.

See you in a few more days once the whirl wind is done, and hopefully where my freezer will be fuller, my house and garage emptier and my bank account wealthier.

I leave you with this moment of cute to distract you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ten on Tuesday

10 Times You Felt Grateful Last Week

  1. Despite all of the crazy trouble trying to get my new disease modifying drug, it seems to be working and my side effects are rather minor. It's not to the level of my last treatment but it has only been two months at this point. But I am hopeful. Now if I can just get the insurance company, specialty pharmacy and the drug company to get their $h*t together. Do you think a chainsaw will help? Too subtle? I know...flamethrower. I have to get too close with a chainsaw. 
  2. With all the rain we've managed to keep the water in the basement to a minimum. Our sump pump is so old that we need to go and pull the float up to get it to work. We have a line tied to it that runs to the top of the stairs so in the middle of the night we don't even need to go down stairs. But there's another issue. Since it is so old it is still piped into our plumbing system. So if we don't pull out the washing machine drain hose and plug that line, the water backs up into the machine. Whatever. The big problem is remembering to put the washing machine hose back. Common sense, right? *sigh* Well, at least there are parts of the basement floor that are very clean. 
  3. That my boss made it through his total knee replacement. He should have had the operation last year. It's been hard watching him struggling this year; some days he could barely walk. I hope this fixes everything for him. 
  4.  Finding the pork for the sausage still on sale. Granted I had to go to a store in another town rather than the one right down the road, but the second store was much larger and much cleaner.
  5. When both my minions snuggled with me on the couch (without fighting). It was a lovely cozy moment. 
  6. When both Father's Day gifts were available and will arrive on time. 
  7. That I was able to get a garden plot in the town garden this year. Granted we've started late, I've gained a horrible burn working in it, and I've been stressed about the fact that I don't know what the heck I'm doing, but I'm loving it. And completely excited by the prospect of a (hopefully) successful harvest.
  8. For my parents who are coming to visit. 
  9. For our portable DVD player and it's ability to allow us to eat out every so often with some semblance of order...or at least a subdue chaos.
  10. For my knitting girls. They are fabulous and keep me sane. 

Busy bee

Now is the first true week of my summer employment. Last week I used up the last of my vacation time before I lost it. And I think it was one of the busiest that I've had in ages. Between the garden, prepping for the tag sale, rearranging furniture, cleaning, wasting hours on the phone with insurance and pharmacy, and wrangling the minions, the week flew by.

This tag sale is a long time coming. We've been in this house for a touch over 10 years. It is time to shed the miscellany that accumulates in one's abode in that time. The MS has me examining what is important to me. I'm longing to simplify things, as life can be complicated enough without the added entanglement of chronic illness. We have so. much. stuff. Sometimes it is just overwhelming. People often take advantage of the fact that neither my husband or myself like to see things go into the dumpster. We acquired much of our furniture when prop storage did the pre-move clean out. The props master and his assistant knew that if I were told "If you don't take it, it will end up in the dumpster," I would yield. We also have a habit of keeping things out of guilt; mainly gifts given by people who really don't understand our taste. I'm attempting to break that habit. Now if I can just stop some of those gift givers from shopping for us.

The other big task is to prep for my Dad's visit. My Stepmother is coming with him to coordinate the garage sale for me. But Dad and I have a mission for ourselves. Sausage making. Dad is a superb amateur gourmet. He watches the Food Network nearly nonstop and before retirement had the firehouse as his test kitchen. A few years ago he decided to start making sausage. Then I caught the bug. Last year I made some breakfast sausage patties and they turned out rather well, but we both admitted we preferred the links. In comes Dad and his handy dandy sausage stuffer to the rescue. We'll have both Kitchen Aids going for the grinding and we'll be making Italian sausage and breakfast sausage. And luckily PriceRite has pork shoulder on sale for 79cents a pound. The fates want me to make sausage.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

WIP Wednesday

And it is another Wednesday. The storms last week were rather harsh and brought some very oppressive heat with them. Heat + MS = bad things. The heat wiped out pretty hard. Saturday I ended up with heat rash of all things. I've not had that since my summer of living in West Virginia where our AC was killed by a rather intense year of cicadas. That was in 1999 (Brood V if you follow those things) and it was pretty insane. This is another story and shall be told another time...(which is the most repeated and annoying line in the novel The Neverending Story.)

Anywho Works In Progress

Dude and Little Dude's Shirts- I measured both of them and figured out what sizes to cut out. I never cut down my multi-size patterns. I just mark the size I need on the fabric. I was actually shamed by Little Dude into working on this. The fabric was sitting in a basket waiting to be ironed and cut, when he saw it and asked why I wasn't working on it. I replied that it was something that I needed some alone time to do. So he asked if he could go play in his room by himself. Point taken I cut out both shirts and LD's hat. Isn't that fabric fun.

    Little Dude's sweater- I worked out the needle issue and got cast on and knitted away. I ended up turning the hem on Saturday, whilst the husband and I watched The Hobbit. I even managed to impress him with how cool that whole process is. It took the whole damn movie to do it, but I was busy watching dwarves, elves and hobbits. Now there is 11 inches of stockinette stitch to do. These are the moments when I wish I could knit in my sleep.

    Painted the columns- This is a project that I will elaborate on in my painting blog shortly but I needed to show here. I have a pet peeve about bad painted marble, and I was lacking in projects in my final few weeks of work. So this:    
       Became this:

    Garden- Despite having a lovely and large yard, I have not been able to create my much longed for vegetable garden. I just don't have the sun. Our neighborhood is named Timber Village for a reason. With all the lovely trees that shade our house and keep it cool in the summer, (and keep us knee deep in leaves every fall) I have not one spot in my yard that gets full sun. Not a single one. Community Garden to the rescue. For a mere $30 I was able to secure a spot in the community garden this year. For that price I get a 20' x 32' area to cultivate from the time they till it until early November. Unfortunately between surprising late cold weather and the fact that our lives were very hectic this spring, we got a late start on it. Last month we went and checked it out, put up fencing, and started some weeding. We picked up some plants this weekend but I didn't make it to the actual garden until yesterday....where I found the weeds to be thick and about 8" tall. It being my first day out of work I went to it. I managed to weed half the plot by hand. The husband came over on his lunch break, shoveled the paths and planting areas, and we got what we had into the ground. I went back again today to keep weeding. I have been diligent, knowing my issues with the sun. I had a snack and plenty of water. I wore a hat and applied sunscreen before I left the house to drop off the kids. (Daycare is right around the corner from the gardens). And this is what I ended up with today...      
                           Yep. I've got a trampstamp sunburn. And it burns like hellfire. The really annoying thing is that I applied sunscreen to that area. We are expecting rain on Friday and Saturday, so I'll be back there again tomorrow hopefully getting the majority of our remaining planting done. And maybe this time I'll remember the camera.

    My Double Heelix socks are sitting in corner at the moment whilst I figure what bind-off I want to do. I made a few attempts at the interlocking bind off suggested but wasn't having much luck. This woman has great ideas but I don't know if it's my brain or what....her descriptions and illustrations don't help me at all. I can elaborate more on that when I finish my project and review the pattern. I found some YouTube videos but they either illustrate doing it in stockinette or in 1x1 rib. The sock is in 2x2. And I'm sure I'd get it if I could just see someone do it in 2x2. I'd do Jeny's Surprising Stretchy Bind Off, but frankly I don't like the ruffly look it creates. Especially on socks whose colors are inspired by the Incredible Hulk. I'm considering the Tubular Bind Off; I just need to spend a little more time with YouTube. Alone. Just me, the socks and the laptop.

    That's about it...the other few projects haven't been touched since last week. But I did have to show this bit of fabulousness. Whilst weeding today I received a rather cryptic text from my best friend.
    Name the source of this line: I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.
    Geek that I am, I immediately recognize and and reply that it is from Harry Potter and makes the Marauder's Map work. I think nothing more of it until I get to our knit knite and she hands me this:

    And it matches hers perfectly.

     There is a reason we are best friends.

    Well, that is all for now, and I am off. And yes, I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. Cheers.

    Tuesday, June 04, 2013

    Ten on Tuesday

    Very apt topic for today. My summer unemployment starts today (well the rest of this week is actually me using up my vacation days). It now time for ice cream. More importantly, I have the time and wherewithal to make ice cream. 10 Favorite Ice Cream Toppings (and mix in items). Hrm....better put cream and whole milk on the shopping list.

    1. Chocolate sauce- the deeper, darker the better. Heated if possible.
    2. Peanut butter- troublesome to melt and keep melted but worth it. If I could only discover the secret to Friendly's peanut butter sauce.
    3. Peanut butter cups- especially with the two above toppings. Even more especially with peanut butter ice cream.
    4. Heath bars- bonus on top of coffee ice cream
    5. Butterfingers- mmmmmm...Butterfingers
    6. Whipped cream- the real stuff. None of the Cool Whip fakery. The real stuff. The good stuff. And lots of it.
    7. Peppermint patties- again. Lots of them.
    8. Liqueurs- one of our favorites was a peach wine/liqueur that we would pour over vanilla ice cream and fresh peaches.
    9. Fresh fruit- in season fruit at it's peak, sliced and with it's own juices.
    10.  Caramel- I have some goat's milk caramel that is divine. I think it might need some butter pecan to make it just that much more fantastic.  

    Friday, May 31, 2013

    It's Friday!

    And it is stupid hot. Stupid, stupid hot.

    Therefore I'm giving you my latest favorite video from YouTube that just makes me smile.  Happy Friday!

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    WIP Wednesday

    I need to type fast because we are having a humdinger of a thunder/lighting storm outside. Normally, I'd be out watching it but this is my only time today to post.

    I've got several projects on the go and summer unemployment on the horizon, so I though a weekly check-in would shame me into getting things done. So here we go
    1. Double Heelix Socks- I finally got to try this baby on and I think the cuff is long enough. Now I just need to bind off and seam the toe. I suck at Kitchner stitch so I need to spend some time and find a good video. Oh and do the second sock.
    2. At knitting tonight I cast on Boys Can Wear Pink sweater, and then realized I needed a shorter cable, which I didn't have with me. 
    3.  Because it is in Little Miss's Batgirl tunic. I should probably finish this soon.
    4. Dude and Little Dude shirts- I've got the pattern pieces ironed and cut out. The fabric has been washed and is waiting to be ironed and cut.  
    5. Boy Scout quilt- I'm a good chunk of the way through the quilting. We see my FIL at the end of June and I'm hoping to get this done before we go. I need to cut the binding, which means I need to find time when the minions are not around. It's probably best to keep them away from the rotary cutter. 
    There it is. I better go before this storm does bad things. 

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    Ten on Tuesday

    I had forgotten it was Tuesday until I saw the topic in my inbox. Three day weekends always screw me up. The weather this weekend was horrible. Rain, wind, chilly + long weekend + 2 kids under the age of 5 = cabin fever. At one point I sent Little Dude to run around the trees in the back yard to burn off a little steam. 

    10 Things You Did This Weekend.

    1. Weeded the kids' books. Outside of their daycare is a Little Free Library, a little house structure filled with kids books with the idea of "take a book, leave a book." I filled half the box this morning with books they have outgrown (and a few Mommy and Daddy couldn't stand to read anymore)
    2. Swatched for Little Dude's latest sweater request, well one of his many sweater requests. I've agreed to make him Boys Can Wear Pink by Kate Oates. I'm making this out of the yarn from my frogged Kyoto sweater. The main body will be gray and I'll let him pick the tie color out of the yarn I have. 
    3. Bought fabric for Dude and Little Dude matching shirts. I'll be sewing them with this: Simplicity Pattern 5581. We found a great pirate map fabric that both the boys agreed upon. I even have enough to make Little Dude the hat. (He's very excited)
    4. Bought a new mattress. This should make a big difference in the amount of sleep I get. My mum is paying for it so even better. Our current mattress is at least 12 years old and wasn't fabulous to begin with. But it was what we could afford at the time. It has acquired over the years a horrendous sag in the middle, fondly referred to as "the pit". Now we'll be drifting off to dreamland on a gel memory foam cloud of heaven. But this means I must paint the room before it is brought in. It will be a while before we get to gutting our room so I'm throwing up a coat of paint in the meantime to class it up a little. Plus I need to paint over the spot in the ceiling that the former owners missed for the sake of my OCD.
    5. Further cleaning of the garage. I did a bunch of this a few weeks ago but reached the point where I needed a hand. The husband and I (finally) moved all the weights down to the basement (where they can get used), sorted what was trash and what was to keep, rearranged and organized some. This gives me space to start staging for our tag sale in a few weeks.
    6. Ate a s'more. Or a modified version of one; we had no chocolate. Last night it was finally warm enough and nice enough to light the fire pit and introduce the kids to the art and science of toasting marshmallows. Little Dude liked making them, would eat a few bites, then hand it to me and make another. Ah, 4 year olds. I'm determined to get more use of the fire pit this year. 
    7. Accomplished several steps in the great furniture rearranging. Normally this is a task I'd tackle in one day, but with minions underfoot I've been having to break it up. I've got two of the big units cleaned out, moved and refilled. I managed to cull at least a box of stuff to sell, inventory my everyday dishes and pack up the set we're not currently using to sell. 
    8. Researched and found our glassware. In the paring down of our belongings, one of the things to go are the extrainious glasses. We're going to get rid of our everyday glasses and use the barware we registered for when we got married. It's just missing a few basics and I managed to find the pattern. At Bed, Bath, and Beyond. You know, the people who send you coupons every other day. This is a sign from the universe that I am doing the right thing. 
    9. Rescued a friend from a knitting disaster. My lovely friend Suzanne reached out to me with an issue with a wedding shawl she is knitting. The pattern is Bleeding Hearts Stole by Anne Hanson and the yarn is Zephyr Wool-Silk. She's doing a beautiful job on some tricky lace but had been thwarted by some dropped stitches. Dropped stitches in a very open part of the lace. How she even found them is beyond me. How could I not help? For one, we've all been there and two, I can always depend on her to watch the kids for me, whether it's so I can work late or spend some time with another BFF on my birthday.  Plus she's just awesome and one of my dearest friends. So I squared off with a familiar yarn and got to work. Sad to say, I was not able to pick up the dropped stitches but I did tink it back to a workable row for her. Good news, it's back on track.
    10. Taught Little Dude what a diorama is and then we built one. He did a crafting project with these little animal things that you color and assemble while I was doing shawl diagnosis. He assembled the first one by himself without any help before I even knew what he was doing and then he charmed Suzanne into helping him color. So what is one to do with a bunch of jungle/safari animals with no place to go? Make them a home. With some paper, markers, an inspirational viewing of The Lion King and a box we made a lovely little home for them. Look at that face. He's so proud.

    I had to add the picture of the silly face because it's just too cute not to. Little Dude is a ham.

    Well that was my weekend. What did you do?

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.

    I think I'm starting to understand how Dorothy felt. I feel like normal has been ripped away from me and I've been trying to get my new footing. But it seems like every time I do the landscape shifts.

    But now the work season is done and I have a little time to regroup. I can't tell you how many posts I've started and then not posted because by the time I could finish them their relevance was a bit dated. One of the hardest things I am struggling with is the fatigue. I get so frustrated that by 5pm I am wiped out and many of those days the hubby is working late and I still have 3 hours to go before the kids are in bed. I'm often in bed right after them. It's hard enough to accomplish things with how distractible I am, without losing hours of productive time. It's even more frustrating when a task wears you out so that even if you have the time, you are too exhausted to accomplish anything. I remember sitting there one night with my crochet in my hands and the hook was too damn heavy for me. A stupid crochet hook (size G for those wondering).

    I was discussing this with a friend's husband. She's in a similar field (theatrical carpenter) and pregnant. I was explaining how that as women we have to work so much harder to be regarded as competent, let alone respected. It's very, very difficult for us to admit to any limitations. It feels as if we admit we need to step back a little, whether it is from illness or pregnancy or injury, we will lose all that we have struggled to earn and be immediately labelled as weak and helpless...and useless. It's frustrating and has been one of my biggest struggles of late. With pregnancy it is one thing...after you start to show it becomes a little more acceptable (sometimes). The problem is that MS is an 'invsible' disease. Yeah I look fine, but I'm not. Sometimes when people comment on how good I look it feels as if they are accusing me of not really being sick. It's a weird place to be in.

    I'm trying to find the new normal. And I'm frustrated that I get so little done each day. I've got big plans (I always do) and they seem so much farther now.

    So anywho....I guess I needed to get that off my chest. I'm planning a redesign of the blog but is seems you need to be awake for that to happen. I'll be off contract soon and it looks like the summer gig fell through. But that's what happens when the company wants the project done for less than half of the bid. They are falling into the category of "Bat-shit Crazy" if they think it can be done for that little. It's not a project I really wanted to work on but I really wanted the paycheck. I'm currently picking up odd jobs here and there.
    I'm hoping to make some headway in the home projects. We promised Little Dude a room re-do for his 5th birthday.  He want's a superhero room and how could I deny him that? We've found him a new bed, and he's picked a wall color. Before I can start painting, the husband needs to add a smoke detector to his room and we're pondering a ceiling light. We did that in his sister's room and I'm leaning towards it. Once that is done, I can paint and then go to town. I'll be doing a new bed quilt and I think instead of painting directly on his walls I'll paint a bunch of small canvases to look like comic book panels and then we can shift them around as desired.
    On of the most important and desired projects is a tag sale. My step mother has offered to come out and organized it for me, which is totally her bag. So, over the next few weeks I will be going through everything in the house, and I mean EVERYTHING. I'm really looking to pare down to mostly essentials (crafting stuff excluded, of course). I'm not going to let sentiment make me hold onto things I really don't want. My esthetic has changed (and people who have no concept of me or my esthetic have bought me lots of crap) and it's time to let go. We just purged a ton of baby stuff and it feels so good. I'm looking to continue the trend.
    I've a ton of pictures to upload and sort through. And a bunch of fun smaller projects in various stages.
    So that's what's coming down the pipeline...a redesign, some fun projects and with luck more and more blogging.

    Ten on Tuesday

    10 Things You Would Bring on a Picnic

    A picnic can mean many things, but in my mind I see a lovely outing for my husband and myself, sans minions, on a beautiful day, out in nature where we can remind ourselves why we fell in love all those years ago. (Can you tell we've not had much alone time? or that our 11th anniversary approaches?)
    1. Our picnic basket. I just showed this thing to Little Dude and he was very excited about it. This basket is truly awesome. It comes fully stocked with all that you need, even the often forgotten corkscrew (You can open a bottle of wine with a screwdriver...it's just not pretty). Sad to say, we don't use this as often as we should. I'm vowing here and now to change that.
    2. Wine. White. Probably a Pinot Grigio or one of my old favorites: Arctic Fox or Goose Watch Bartlett Pear wine. 
    3. Cheese. A must. Soft cheeses, hard cheeses, and at least one really good stinky one. 
    4. Bread. Fresh...probably a nice crusty baguette. 
    5. Sopressatta. Or something of the like.
    6. Fresh fruit. Peaches, strawberries, grapes are the top three that come to mind.
    7. Tomato/Basil/Fresh Mozzarella. Add a little extra virgin olive oil and what more is there to say?
    8. Something spreadable. Along the lines of a sun-dried tomato & olive tapenade, or a white bean/spiniach/artichoke sort of thing.
    9. Something sweet. Mini tarts or chocolates.
    10. A book to read to each other.

    Friday, March 29, 2013

    Fabulous news!

    The FDA approved the drug I've been waiting for!!!!! Biogen says they will have Tecfidera available in a matter of days. I already have my appointment for next week.

    I was so happy I actually started crying. I had been hopping to my laptop all day constantly refreshing the news pages (it was almost like the last moments of a ebay item you really really want and constantly refresh to make sure you aren't out bid the last moment).

    This means good things. With luck I will soon have my life back. I'm in the frenzy rush of trying to finish my show. After the 15th of April my life will be mine again. And perhaps by then I'll be seeing some results from the meds and stay up past 7:30pm.

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013

    Ten on Tuesday

    10 Things You'd Do If You Won the Big Powerball Jackpot.

    $338 Million dollars. What wouldn't I do? But I suppose I could narrow it down to the top ten.

    1. Pay off our debt- mainly the credit card debt that three summers of unemployment has put us into. There's probably enough there to knock out the mortgage as well. 
    2. New car for the husband- he has my old car and the thing is falling apart. It's on the verge of being a death trap. I'd really like to get him a pickup that has a full back seat (for car seats). I really like the one that has in floor storage too...I don't remember the truck. My car I love and I'd just do all the work to it that we've been putting off and a new set of tires.
    3. Daycare/Kindergarten tuition- This is our biggest money suck right now. We pay more to our daycare each month than we do to our mortgage. And frankly the kindergarten program there would probably better for Little Dude, but the costs are killing us. I'd set aside the funds for these in a separate account and just pay them from there and not have to worry about it. 
    4. The house- I would get This Old House to come on board and help us redo the house. Make the basement not leak. Give me enough hot water to fill the tub all the way. Finished walls, finished stair cases, finished floors. No plywood to be seen anywhere, except in the workshop. I'd have my studio/office. The kids would have their playroom. And we'd make it all adaptable and ADA compliant, so should my MS take me along the path of greater disability, the house would still be able to be home.
    5. Set aside money for schooling- for the kids, for myself and my husband. Learning should never end. I'd probably start a scholarship or two.
    6. Invest in the CNC machine- It's a project my husband has been dreaming of and planning for years. I'd like to make it happen. Maybe then he'd quit and do that for a living. Personally I think I'd push him to quit and then start a local MakerSpace. He's the kind of guy that has to be doing something.
    7. Donate to MS research and assistance programs- no brainer on that one.
    8. Make a large donation to the Hartt school- specifically in regards to the scene shop. Helping us along to a new space that is proper and safe (and has heat and a/c!) I'm terrified that we're going to get stuck building sets in a closet somewhere when they are tired of paying for this place. 
    9.  Payback my parents for all the money they spent on my college, braces, etc...- it's the least I could do.
    10. Buy yarn/fabric/craft supplies- with my studio done, and the bills paid, I think I could finally indulge in some artistic lovelies. I'd get my Kromski and buy all the sock yarn that I want. Get a good serger and proper dress form. Have a sewing cabinet made. Get some new brushes and paints. Buy a stock of some acid dyes and see where that leads. Oh if only.
    I noticed after reading what others wrote...I never thought about quitting my job. I love my job. It keeps me sane (which is a very scary though). I'd just make it easier for me to do my job. I guess it's hard to shake off the practical Capricorn in me. 

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Ten on Tuesday

    10 Random Things On Your Mind

    1.  How am I going to glue the new feathers on the parrots for my show. Hot glue dries fast but has too much dimension. White glue will take a while to dry. Hrm....must ponder.
    2. Where am I going to scrounge up two more dollars for lunch?
    3. My legs hurt. 
    4. Pondering the best way to color glaze these flats. (can you tell that I'm at work?).
    5. How to drill the slots in the balls for the ball joints without mangling my fingers as well.
    6. We should be teaching boys not to rape instead of blaming the girls 'for getting themselves into those situations'. Yes taking pictures and videos was wrong, insensitive and stupid, BUT YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN RAPING ANYONE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!
    7. I'm craving Starburst.
    8. If I mailed in my prescription over a week ago, they really should have it by now. Shouldn't they? I'm going to have to call and yell, aren't I? Ugh....I hate this.
    9. Is it really only Tuesday?
    10. That was the sorriest excuse for a bacon cheeseburger that I've ever had.

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    Ten on Tuesday

    10 Favorite Things That Are Green

    This was a tougher task than I thought it would be. I had pondered money as an answer but it truly doesn't qualify as one of my favorite things. I love having money but I hate the necessity of it. Money can do horrible things to people and make people do horrible things. I just couldn't rightly call it one of my favorite things. But here are the things that are my favorites amongst the greener hues.

    Granny Smith Apples- my preferred apple. Not just for baking, and the smaller and more 'monster blood' the green the better the eating.

    Green Grapes- My favorite snack when I was kid (perhaps explains my preference for white wines). I've expanded my grape repertoire since then but if I remember correctly, these are the only type of grapes I would eat as a kid.

    Mint- I love mint. I still balk at mint tea but only because I now associate it with morning sickness. I love the smell and the taste and the tingle of it. And it pairs perfectly with dark chocolate, so what's not to love.

     Lime- And not just in gin and tonic. When out to eat I often request lime in my water rather than lemon.

    Forest ferns- there is just something so beautiful about a deep lush forest blanketed with green ferns. *sigh* Now I want to go camping.

    Emeralds- The deeper, the darker the better. I have no occasion to wear it, but I love my sparkle.

    Leafy Greens- as in the kind you eat. I love salads full of exotic and rich dark greens. No iceberg lettuce for me. My favorite soup is seasoned perfectly with turnip greens. They are so good and so versatile.

    Peacocks- varying shades of iridescent greens. Simply beautiful.

     Green Hornet- I love this movie. Stupid fun but it's one I turn to when I'm having a bad day.

     Green Day- Love the music and oh, Billie Joe...you may be an idiot but I love looking at you.

    Saturday, March 09, 2013

    Happy Birthday to my Little Miss

    (oops posting this a day late...her birthday was Friday the 8th)

    My little girl two today, which I guess in some respects makes her a Big Girl.

     I'm still amazed at how big she has gotten. What a difference two years makes.

     Little Miss has a strong personality. She's a girl who when she knows what she wants, she's determined to get it. She's also a girl who understands the power of cute and isn't afraid to use it. (Unfortunately for her, Mommy is immune. I often tell her, "That look doesn't work on me. Mommy invented that look.") Little Miss loves books and being read to.

    Likes: Kitties, Hello Kitty, Elmo, Muppets (knows Miss Piggy by name. Calls Beaker 'MeMe' and Animal "LALALA" because of this video), Mommy, Daddy, her brother, climbing, doing whatever her brother is doing, books and reading, her monkeys, her binky, Batman (her third word), babies.

    Dislikes: Being told 'No', waiting, having her face wiped, loud noises (vacuum, screw gun, compressor), eating vegetables (unless they are pureed and come in a pouch), and missing out on what is going on.

    I gave her a choice between cookies and cupcakes to take to school (daycare) and share with her friends. Little Miss requested cookies. And because I am insane I decided to take it to the next level. Hello Kitty cookies with flooded icing. It's a project I've been wanting to try for a while and this was a perfect opportunity (well it would have been more perfect if her birthday had been earlier in the week and I had the weekend to try this). 

    No one had the Hello Kitty cookie cutter in stock, and not having time to order one online I improvised. I drew the face on an index card and cut it out. I cut around that pattern to cut the dough. Slightly more time consuming but effective nonetheless.

    I will confess to using a sugar cookie mix. In a pinch it will do, and they really weren't too bad.
    Once baked I piped the black out line with the stiff frosting.

    Cute, no?

    Then with the thinner frosting I 'flooded' the area of the face and the bow. After that I repiped the eyes and added the whiskers. I didn't get pictures of myself doing it because it is hard to do that and take a picture at the same time. I'll do more in depth instructions/pictures the next batch. I really like these and will be doing them again.

    The room full of two year olds and their teachers thought they were fabulous. I'm rather proud of myself. Up close they're not fantastic looking but considering it was around midnight and it was my first attempt, I think I did a pretty damn good job.

    The only problem is that I didn't get them packaged up before she saw them and the whole morning it was "Cookie. Cookie." I love ya kid, but no cookies for breakfast. Not even on your birthday.

    Tuesday, March 05, 2013

    Orange Update

    As we come upon the one year anniversary of my MS diagnosis, I thought I'd do a little update on how things stand.

    After being diagnosed we (my doctor, my husband, and myself) decided that the course of treatment I would take is a drug called Tysabri. Tysabri is given as an once every 28 days infusion. I loved the treatment. I had little to no side effects, noticeable improvement and I got to sit down for 3 hours at least once a month. Like most things, there are risks with the drug, but my team of heath care professionals have a system in place to monitor for them. The main risk with Tysabri is the potential to develop PML, The people who develop PML while on Tysabri have been exposed to a virus called the JC virus. Half the population have been exposed to the virus and don't even know it. It's not a problem unless you have issues with your immune system or are on immunosuppressents. While on Tysabri you are routinely checked for the JC antibody to see if you have been exposed to the virus.

    Well, in the fall my test came back positive. The positive test combined with the number of infusions I had (risks of PML grow with the number of infusions to a certain point and then drop off) and the results of my MRI, led to the decision to take me off the Tysabri. Mid January was my last infusion. While I continue to take medications and supplements to treat my symptoms (I take 8 pills in a normal day), I am not currently on a disease modifying treatment. This is in part because I must wait for the Tysabri to leave my system, and partly because we are waiting for the release of a new drug.

    That drug is BG-12...currently named Techfidera . (I think this is the 8th name for it). This drug is a pill. That right there makes it big news. Pills over self injectables and infusions. Studies showed that it reduces the relapse rate 53% and the risk of disability progression by 38% when taken twice a day. (For those who are counting, that would put my pill count up to 10 a day) The biggest problem right now is that another drug company, the maker of the widely used injection Copaxone, is trying to block it. Read about it here and here.  'Citizen's petition' my arse. They're scared because they know people will leave the needle for a pill. Who cares that when the two were compared BG-12 reduced annual relapse rate by 44% for the twice-daily dose in contrast to Copaxone's 29%. Nope. They're worried about their bottom line, while I'm worried about trying to live a 'normal' life.

    So I'm waiting and hoping. And how am I feeling through all of this? What does all this mean for me on a day to day basis. Well, it depends on the day. It also depends on if I've remembered to take my pills that day. (I know, I know, but with two kids under 5 things happen) I'd say the toughest thing is the fatigue. There are many days I wake up tired. Not I-stayed-up-too-late-I-need-more-coffee-tired, but taking-a-shower-and-getting-dressed-are-olympic-feats-tired. And caffeine doesn't help the fatigue. Nor does the fact that my 20 lb two year old insist I carry her every where. (And once you pick her up she points and says "dat way!") On good days the spasticity in my arms and legs are a minor annoyance. On the bad days it's so painful I want to cry. When in a relaxed state (just walking around or sitting down) I find that I revert to holding myself in a tensed position...my hands are clenched and my legs/feet held in a position that stresses the muscle. I have to consciously relax my hands and feet all the time. On good days I barely limp...on bad days it's more noticeable. I'm not Quasimodo quite yet, thankfully. My balance is poor. It doesn't take much to send me reeling. The best way to describe it is that it feels like my inner gyroscope is broken. I have a cane that I use occasionally. Typically when I am out and don't want to look like I'm drunk. It also comes in handy at fiber festivals with the uneven ground and crowds, (nothing like a stick to beat them back from the last two skeins of sock yarn in your favorite color way.)

    Since stopping the infusions my immune system has been haywire. Since the new year I've had two UTI's, chronic sinus problems, a day or two of vomiting, two bouts of pink eye, a severe sore throat and a 'cold' that had me bedridden for a full day. I'm often asleep shortly after the kids go to bed (hence the complete lack of blogging and crafting). There have been nights I've been out before they have. I know one night I fell asleep during the dinner hour. Another night when the Husband was working late I was so exhausted I was letting the kids watch a movie in my bed. I put Little Miss down and then laid down with Little Dude to watch the rest of the movie. Next thing I know he's asking me how to turn off the TV, which he does, then he goes potty, turns off the light and crawls in next to me. (Is this kid awesome or what?)

    Brain wise, I've been having trouble focusing and finding the right words. I could always tell I was due for my next infusion when I started struggling for nouns. My husband tends to get impatient while I am mentally searching for words and tries to fill in, which just screws me up. I know I'm bad about interrupting people when talking but I know if I don't get the thought out in that moment, it will just be gone. (so please be patient with me. I'm not trying to be annoying. I just have holes in my brain). And there are other things I have to deal with because of the MS...insurance stuff, trying to wrangle my medications (8 pills a day....that reminds me. I gotta call that refill in), finding shoes that won't trip me, catheters, doctor's appointments, needles, insomnia, trying not to trip while carrying a child, trying not to trip while carrying a bucket of paint (did that on the drop the other day....thankfully it was on a part I had not painted yet.)

    Wow this is a long post. It's not meant to be whiny, or please-pity-me. I just wanted to give a small slice of what it is like and what is going on. And why I've not been here.And now that you're up to date with all of that, we can get on with the crafty stuff (and the cuteness. Oh wait till you see the cuteness)

    ok. off to bed.

    Ten on Tuesday

    10 Reasons You're Happy it's March

    I have many, many reasons I'm happy that it is March.

    1. What is that big, bright, shiny thing?!?!? OMG!! IT'S THE SUN!!!! I am far more productive when it is sunny out. One wonders if I would have been half as depressed as I was in my formative years if I didn't grow up in a place where the sun is lacking for weeks at a time. Along the same vein, would I have MS as well?
    2. The new MS therapy I am waiting for is *suppose* to be released this month. (more on that later)
    3. My Little Miss turns TWO!!  o_O
    4. We are finally working on my set design and the stress and angst are coming to head and becoming something. I'm not sure if it will completely fail or be a success but the waiting is over.
    5. I will finally be getting paid for the above.
    6. I am only wearing about 5 layers of clothing to work, instead of 17. 
    7. The potential to open the windows. Oh how I'm aching to open the windows and clean out the house.
    8. We can start taking walks around the block again. The kids need to get out and burn off some energy and the exercise wouldn't hurt us either.
    9. Flowers. (perhaps not but there is always the hope of). I try to remember where the crocus are in my yard and keep an eye out for them.
    10. Girl Scout cookies. (come to me my Thin Mints)

    Sunday, March 03, 2013

    This means war...

    March is named after Mars (Ares) the Greek god of War and it seems very fitting to me. I'm feeling beat down, worn out and dammit I'm ready to fight back. 2013 was suppose to be better. I gave the year January to shake off 2012. February just ended up being a horrible month...we had a blizzard, I was sick (in bed all day sick), my husband worked crazy long hours, deadlines came up harder and faster after the shut down from the snow, both my kids got sick while my husband was 3000 miles away for work, and I didn't make it to knit-nite once the whole month. And to top all of this off, I am between treatments for the MS and feel like complete shit rather ailing.

    All that being what it was, my plans for Finishuary were a failure. I was either too tired, too sick or in too much pain to get much crafting done. I did finish one of my father's potholders and almost finished another...until I discovered that the second one was too small. Frogged that and I have now nearly completed the second 'corrected' potholder. There is a rush on these since Dad so graciously pointed out that he burned himself the other day because he only had one of the good potholders (and it was all my fault). I told him that it was his fault for being a dumbass who touches hot things. Can you feel the love? I have enough yarn to make him one more, which will give him four in total. Though I ran into a minor snag yesterday with one of them. I've been trying to work on these everywhere and brought the project to the library on our family excursion. It gives me something to do while I keep eyes on two kids on opposite sides of the room. When I returned, it seems that some of the yarn was hanging out of the diaper bag when it was unceremoniously dumped on a chair in the living room. When I went to gather said project back up during nap time I thought it was odd that there seemed to be an end hanging out of the bag. I was working directly from the too small potholder to the correct one....there should have been no yarn end.
    Then I looked closer....
    and noticed the frayed nature of the end....
    and the dampness of it...
    and the compete absence of my fat black cat. The one that is the Brain in my Pinky and the Brain duo of pets. Yeah. That one.
    It was fixable but rest ye sure that I am plotting my revenge.

    I did manage to get some quilting done over the last month as well. The T-shirt quilt from hell has all it's machine quilting done. I just need to do the hand quilting in the squares and then the binding. Why, oh why am I hand quilting the squares? do you ask. Because I don't have a long arm sewing machine and it will be much, much easier to do the quilting pattern in there by hand then on my machine.

    With spring on it's way, things are starting to look up. My husband's schedule is looking better for a while. Next month I (hopefully) will be starting a new treatment, and my design will be going up and not consuming all of my life. I have lots to write about and lots of ideas for changes. I hope you will all forgive the lack of writing and the many unfulfilled promises of regular blogging. I want to keep blogging, I just need to figure out how to fit it into the new 'normal', especially when that 'normal' keeps changing. 

    So get your battle dress on...we're gonna kick some arse!

    Tuesday, February 05, 2013

    Ten on Tuesday

    Today's ten is an interesting one...10 Things You Miss From Your Childhood. Having a 4 year old and a (nearly) 2 year old, I get to indulge in many of the pleasures of my childhood once again. My husband and I seek out and introduce many of the things we enjoyed as kids to share with our minions. Some they aren't ready for yet but are on the to do list. Though I urge everyone to indulge as well, even if you don't have children.

    1. A fresh box of crayons- is there anything more beautiful then a brand new box of crayons. The neat rows of perfect tips in a rainbow of colors waiting to become anything and everything. I confess that I have a box of 96 that I have tucked away for all my own. 
    2. Singing. Out loud. Everywhere- and not caring a damn if I was any good or not. Singing just for the joy of singing without an ounce of self-consciousness. I miss how good that use to feel. My son will spend days at a time narrating everything in song. I hope he never loses that.
    3. Sunday dinners at my Grandmother's house- Every Sunday after church (when we did church) that is where we would be. On 'Special Occasions' we would eat upstairs but mostly we were in the basement. Of course if you listened to my mother we always ate upstairs if my uncle came because "Ma loves (him) best". Pasta was always on the menu. Only homemade sauce. Sometimes roast beef or chicken or even ribs. Plenty of bread and butter. And Soda...ah that was a treat. And either my mother or myself would knock over a glass....clumsiness is genetic.
    4. Walking to the bakery across the street from Grandma's- Hand in hand with Sunday dinner was the bread and dessert of donuts and cookies from the Italian bakery across the street from my Grandparent's house. I always loved walking over with my Grandfather to pick up the fresh goodies and getting to pick what donuts and cookies I specifically wanted. (Peanut donut being my favorite). It's a restaurant now that is probably just as often frequented by the family. They actually keep an eye out on my Grandfather for us and keep my Mom informed on him. I have to say we were very spoiled by having a fabulous bakery so close and I often bemoan the lack of one my neighborhood.
    5. Dancing around the living room like an maniac- I'm happy to say my son takes after me in this and my daughter is showing signs of following suit. My lack of balance and the death trap of toys that the minions leave all over prevent this from happening now. *sigh* I really need to go dancing. 
    6. Good cartoons- The cartoons today suck. Especially if you don't have cable. I grew up watching Scooby Doo, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, He-man, She-ra-Princess of Power, GI Joe, Transformers and such. The only cartoon I'll let my kids watch that isn't on PBS is Busy Town Mysteries. Actually my son LOVES Scooby Doo. He's ripe for He-man and She-ra. heheheheh May the influencing begin.
    7. Staying up late to watch a special show- When I was really little it was The Muppet Show. I remember being allowed to stay up and watch The Carol Burnett Show. There was something about not having all your shows on demand and having to wait for them and schedule your time around them. Especially the holiday specials. 
    8. Camping- I loved camping. And we would do real camping. You know...with tents and sleeping on the ground and cooking on the fire and stuff. But there's something so wonderful about sitting around the fire and looking up and seeing so many stars. (now I'm getting itchy to go out into the woods....when it warms up)
    9. Playing dress up- personally I never really outgrew this. We just call it cosplay now. You have to consider I work in a business where people are actually paid to get dressed up and play pretend.
    10. Reading all day long- oh how I miss that. And on that note it's back to work (and listening to audiobooks)  ;)