I’ve been making a lot of jewelry

Fotor061912335As with any hobby, I tend to go all out. I am currently making jewelry. I started with my rosaries and then tried my hand at some earrings. I discovered YouTube and watched some videos and learned some new techniques. That led to making  bracelets and then necklaces. That led to buying more beads. And wire. I am having so much fun! With each new piece I make, I learn more and I improve my skills and the look of my jewelry gets more polished.  Looking back at a couple of my first bracelets, it’s almost embarrassing.

I posted on Facebook. But since I was always a wallflower and not very outgoing, my list of friends is not that large. It doesn’t take very long before your friends and family start rolling their eyes when they see another listing of something you are wanting to sell. Now I don’t want to get rich! I just want to buy more beads! I love the beads! All of the colors! All of the sizes and sparkles and shimmers! I do love the beads!

en_isell_1I opened an Etsy store.  At first, I had about 12 rosaries in my store. I made new things. I added bracelets. I made more things. Then I added earrings. Then I made necklace and earring sets. Then I did something different…I made bracelet and earring sets. My store got bigger.  I was on a roll! I sold a couple of things. I got excited! I bought more beads. I bought more wire. I made new pieces. My store got bigger.

008I have a drawer near my work area I put the finished pieces in. The drawer started getting full. Packages of earrings, packages of charm bracelets, packages of rosaries, and packages of necklaces. Package upon package. All pretty and shiny and colorful. All creative babies sitting there staring at me wanting to find a new home.

I discovered twitter. I tend to be an armchair activist anyway, so it wasn’t difficult for me to start gaining followers and finding more followers. I found a group that supports and encourages hand-made, hand crafted and one of a kind or unique pieces. They tweet pictures of their creations once a week for an hour. Just what I was looking for! Now I had permission to spam all of my followers.

I gained some followers for my etsy store. I have a lots of likes, many favorites and a lot of people who say they like my things. But my drawer is still gaining more than it is losing. I make more pieces. I find I get ideas at odd moments and get excited. I spend a lot of time figuring out how to create something my mind comes up with. I have a lot of fun. I buy more beads. I buy more wire. And my drawer of packaged creations continues to grow.

So today, I decided to write a blog and post some of my pictures. It’s a way to spend time doing something other than making a new piece. I realize it doesn’t take that long to write and post a blog, even with a lot of pictures, but it will take my mind in another direction for a short time. I hope you enjoy the pictures. If you just happen to notice something you like you can always stop by my store for a visit. Or tell someone else about my store. Take care of yourself. I’m doing well and just keeping busy. Until next time…later


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Recovering from an almost binge day

snacksI used to live my life binge eating. I grew up around relatives who liked to have piles of food for each meal and encourage us to ‘eat up’, ‘gotta stay strong’. I came from old German stock. There was the German Scottish old school idea to eat up and clean your plate. In my immediate family, we were six and sometimes I felt like I had to eat quickly before the food was all gone. We never went hungry, so I’m not sure where that idea came from, but I remember eating quickly so I could get seconds before the food was all gone.

At school it was the same. Lunch time was short and I learned to eat quickly so I’d have time to finish. There was also the problem of being bullied and made fun of because I wasn’t thin and I also wore glasses. In the 60’s that was the kiss of death. I was insecure, and afraid of everything and wanted to sink into the background. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself and was very withdrawn. I have a very strong memory of junior high (middle school) orchestra. I played the violin. I remember the girl sitting behind me bouncing her violin bow on my butt and laughing when my butt would shake. It’s amazing what you remember from childhood.

Food became my best friend. It was a comforter for me, made me feel better, didn’t judge me, and was always there for me no questions asked. I learned to eat in private and hide the evidence. I ate at night, and in the car when I was alone. We were best friends. My favorite binge foods were chips and chocolate. There were many times when I would eat a 1 lb. bad of m & m’s with a large bag of potato chips or Doritos.

Over the years, I have gained and lost a lot of weight. I have gradually learned to not be afraid of food and not to crave food. It is better to get to eat something once in a while than to never eat it and let it prey on your mind. But it took a long time to get to that place.

I have never been a normal weight. There have been periods of time when I have been thinner, but I have never been thin. Because of my mobility issues and the desire to get more healthy and stronger physically, I started a program of keeping a food log and charting what I eat.

loseitIt is working for me. Since August of 2014 I have lost 42 lbs. It has been slow going. I have discovered how much my lymphedema really does affect my body and my weight. But the weight is coming off even if I would like for it to go faster. I have a certain amount of calories allotted to me each day and the number adjusts depending on my weight. I keep track of what I eat with the Lose It online program. When I stay within my allotted amount of calories each day, my chart stays ‘in the green’. If I go over my allotted amount, my chart turns red. I never let my chart go into the red. Our family has become proficient at reading labels, tracking fats, carbs, calories, sodium and measuring with cups and tablespoons.DSC_0860

When my weight seemed to slow down to a crawl, daughter wondered why it was happening. She began researching on the internet. The only problem with that is, there are many opinions on what is and isn’t good for you, and what does and does not help in weight loss. Some things she would try out on herself before recommending it to me.

One thing she read about seemed to make some sense. Your body can become accustomed to the amount of calories it gets over time. If you greatly reduce the amount, your body will think it is being starved and will start hanging onto nutrition and fats to keep functioning, and will slow down the metabolism to help in the process. So, one side of this thinking believes you need to keep tricking your body. That once a week you should have a day of overeating, to reset the levels again of what you take in and need to live.

images (19)To me, that sounds like how I used to diet. I would starve all week, have my weigh in and then pig out and eat anything I wanted for the rest of the day. I would then have to work all week long to make up for the pig out and the losses wouldn’t be consistent or steady. I would fear getting on the scales again the next week to see if I actually did lose anything. It taught me to fear food and fear the scales and fear being out of control.

So for a long time I didn’t want to try daughter’s idea. Daughter tried it a few times and her weight loss seemed to be quicker and progress faster than mine did. Now she can overdo it more often, not worry about it, add some extra gym time to combat the excess and has been steadily losing. Sounds like what ‘normal’ people do without worrying about it doesn’t it?

When she first suggested the ‘day of excess’ I was too afraid to try it. I had been successfully losing despite how slow it sometimes felt. I was eating what I wanted for the most part without craving something I felt I couldn’t have. It became  normal to turn down certain things as being ‘too costly’ too eat. The calories I would have to account for, or the fact that a double cheeseburger and a large tator tots would use up almost an entire days worth of calories taught me to choose smaller amounts or less caloric alternatives. This is working for me, so the idea of having that day of excess made me afraid I would lose control and would go back to eating the way I did in the past.

While I have had my occupational therapist trained in lymphedema wrap therapy come out and wrap my legs, I have discovered that the weather affects certain people and certain diseases. In my case, when the barometric pressure changes, (easier to say when the weather changes), my body swells and hangs on to every bit of fluid it can. Since I wear a catheter I began to notice my daily output sometimes slowed down despite the fact that what I was drinking was usually the same. And when we began paying attention to my legs and the swelling, sometimes during the week my legs would get hugely ‘puffy’ and the therapist would tell me all of her lymphedema patients were the same way on that particular day.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a 5 lb. gain on my weekly weigh in and looking back, remembered that most days my catheter had been less full and my legs had been puffy. So I can recognize when the scale is going to fight against me despite my efforts at ‘staying in the green’. This past week I weighed in and stayed the same, despite having a week of every day leaving a few allotted calories uneaten each day. I hadn’t been paying attention to my legs or output, so was a little bummed out. A day of ‘whatever I wanted’ sounded good to me.

Now, that meant that for breakfast I added two eggs to my oatmeal and bacon and fruit meal. I began looking online at the nutrition counts of various pizza joints and the emotional and physical satisfaction I might receive from eating that compared to what I would have to log etc. My other possible choice was Kentucky Fried Chicken. We ended up getting Popeyes fried chicken, biscuits, some mashed potatoes and green beans. We also had some fresh ears of corn in the fridge we decided to cook to go with it all. Sounds fairly innocuous, right?

Now keep in mind, my daily allowance of calories at this time is 1686 calories. My ear of corn was 77, a half tablespoon of margarine, my half cup of their sauced green beans was 40, half cup of their gravy mashed potatoes was 110, two mild chicken thighs was 560 and one biscuit was 260. Yumm! And then decided I wanted another biscuit, (gasp!) and a wing which added another 260 calories for the biscuit and 210 for the wing. This brought my meal up to a grand total of 1682 calories! You see where this is going right? I had already eaten breakfast that day and a small lunch. So, since I was already over my calories, and had intended to go over and not worry about it, I put this out of my mind somewhat.

I stay up late all the time. I have never been a morning person and am more of a night owl. I usually allow for a midnight snack in my daily allotment, so despite the fact I had already put my chart ‘in the red’ by quite a large amount, I still had my late night snacking to add to my day. This time, emotionally, I seemed on the verge of ‘binge mentality’…of being out of control and wanting to eat north america, so to speak.

So by the time I went to bed Sunday night, I had added 444 calories of snack foods to my day. Subtract the 84 calories I had ‘earned back’ from my exercises during the day, and my daily total was 1024 calories ‘in the red’. I have not had a day like that since I began this Lose It program last August. It was a little disconcerting to realize that I could so easily be on the verge of reverting to former eating habits.

But today is a new day. I woke up, eager to get back on track. I like the way things have progressed. I like my daily log. I like keeping my chart ‘in the green’. I can pick and choose, and rarely want something I can’t have or am not willing to fit into my daily log. I don’t crave or want to eat cookies and sweets and usually don’t keep them in the house to tempt me. And I like spreading my calories out over the day fitting them into meals and snacks.

And so, it is half way through my day, my mind is ‘back to normal’ and I have only eaten 792 of my daily calories, leaving 894 for my supper and midnight snacking. Piece of cake! LOL Back to normal feels much better. I don’t like the feeling of excess, emotionally or physically. I haven’t been that full in a long time and it is not something I want to do very often.

So…the journal in the life of a home bound, handicapped, elderly foodie continues…

See you next time.



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It’s just a hobby

images (16)I’m never the first to try something. It’s probably been around quite awhile before I even hear about it. I love technology and am fascinated by new things, but I’m just usually the last to know.

I told you last time I was making jewelry again. It started with my rosaries which I learned to make years ago on a private retreat. I guess I am an artsy fartsy person at heart because I am usually attracted to those types of things.

download (4)So I dug out the beads again. I was instantly enamored again with my beads. I love picking through the colors and sizes and then find a way to make something new and different. I love browsing catalogues and finding new beads. I could spend a lot of money if I had it to spend, but I’m always limited by my budget.

I make something and get so excited at how it turned out. I admire it and marvel at the finished product and then immediately want to make something else. It’s an endless cycle. I’ve been on that cycle many times. It usually doesn’t turn out well for me, though.

025I remember when I discovered Donna Dewberry and One stroke painting. OMG. I was smitten! I love art and love to paint. I wanted to paint as a minor in college but couldn’t afford it. Everything requires supplies and some aren’t cheap. It must be the curse of the artistic personality…to always want to be creative and find out it requires a little money to be able to pursue that. Anyway, I painted mailboxes, and glass vases my family would find at garage sales, and lamps and tables and soap until I had painted almost everything I could get my hands on. Then, to continue I tried to sell my stuff, but alas, I was behind the trend and the market was already saturated. Shabby chic was running out of steam just when I discovered it.

This time, being behind the trend paid off for me. I found YouTube. I know. I know. It’s always been there, I just never really paid attention. Well, now you can learn to do almost anything by finding and watching a video on you tube. How wonderful! So now I spend a lot of time browsing wire wrapping techniques and trying out what I learn and coming up with new jewelry pieces.

013My rosaries turned into rosary bracelets, and then rosary bracelets became dangle and charm bracelets. And then I rediscovered earrings. I remember a lot of what I’m seeing from years before. Back then I spent money buying how to books to learn. Now all I have to do is watch a free video to learn a new or forgotten technique.

Of course all of that learning has a huge draw back. I had to branch out and buy 24 gauge wire to go with my 22 gauge wire, and then had to buy 20 gauge wire to make the earring wires to dangle my creations from. And then I needed more beads so I would have a variety to choose from. And then I had to get some lobster clasps so I could make the charm bracelets. And then I needed more chain and another pair of pliers. Oh my. I’m having fun now.

So I am knee-deep and mired in another hobby. I do love my beads. I love the variety. I love picking through them and putting them together and creating something fun. But I am accumulating an astonishing number of creations. I heard about Etsy and opened an Etsy store. How exciting. And then I had to buy a domain name so I could have my store be found easier. But who am I kidding? Once again, I am behind the trend. There are tons of people selling things on Etsy and who knows how many storefronts on the internet.

First I posted on Facebook and realized I don’t have that many friends who want to buy jewelry. And then I found my Etsy store. And then I found twitter. If you are not my friend on twitter, you haven’t been spammed by my pics of earrings.

That’s when I begin the process of self-doubt and start wondering. Is my stuff too expensive? 003Does anyone even like this type of thing anymore? Or am I just really just one of a million and not different enough to make someone want what I make? Or is it just because you can buy cheap earrings at the dollar store or Walmart? People still need rosaries. And mine are affordable and pretty. Are they not pretty enough? I see other rosaries out there for quite a bit more money but they are made from more expensive materials I can’t even look at without cringing.

My earrings are cute. I have good taste and put nice colors together. It is always aesthetically pleasing. So what gives? Why isn’t my stuff selling like hot cakes? Sigh…if I am not careful, pretty soon my interest in this will wither and wane because I can’t seem to find a home for it all.

I guess the lesson to be learned from all of my different hobbies is this. The hobby is not to find a way to get rich, or even to make a living from. It is a hobby. It is a way to pass time. It is a time of fun and learning and creativity. And when your house gets full and closets are bulging then it’s time to move on. When the supplies out run the money, it’s time to move on.

For now…I am having a lot of fun. There is that underlying need to want to share the excitement with others and to get a bit of affirmation, but that just might end up unfulfilled again. After all, it is just a hobby.

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Follow the Minerals | Opinion | teleSUR English

Follow the Minerals | Opinion | teleSUR English.

This is something I was not aware of. Interesting to find out there is something out there more valuable on the worldwide market than oil and even gold. What a prize for their country. And what a bargaining chip! Scary.

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Hormone attack

emotions-e1288602244802Nothing much new going on here. I’ve been getting my lymphedema wrap therapy for a couple of weeks now. It’s not bad, but having a mummy leg is sometimes uncomfortable and it feels a little tight sometimes, but it is beneficial.

Had a hormonal day yesterday and it has run into today a little. You know the kind I’m talking about. You wake up and everything seems normal and something sets you off and before you know it you are on a crying jag for no reason. I have no idea what happened or where that came from, but just dealing with the overflow of unwanted extra emotions is almost debilitating! You waste a lot of time trying to figure out what the heck is going on, and worrying, and thinking odd thoughts, and fighting paranoia, that it is exhausting. Thought today was going to be better, and had an accident in bed before I got up and had to call the home health care nurse out to change my catheter that just got changed yesterday. Oh well…all good now…on to better things.

008 (4)I started making rosaries again. I had given it up for a while. Arthritis in my hands stops me from doing things sometimes or makes me take a break. Anyway, always loved playing with the beads, shopping for beads, making rosaries, earrings, and just having fun. So, I tried to sell a few rosaries on Facebook and actually sold a few, so kept buying stuff and making more. As I tend to do, I accumulated a drawer full so decided to open an etsy store. And I’ve gone nuts. I opened the store with about 10-15 rosaries and then thought I needed more things in my store and kept making more. And then I discovered you can get great beads from China with free shipping and I have to shop the bargains! So I’ve been browsing eBay. Hubby now says I’m going to 99 cents him to death! But I am having fun!

15929414Do you remember browsing the Christmas toy catalogues that came out every year when you were a kid? That’s how I feel. I just need to be able to buy and shop and spend but the pocketbook is not cooperating. Oh well…mom always did like to window shop. I’ll have to be content with looking for now.

Now I’ve discovered YouTube and learning new things! OMG how did I never know how cool YouTube can be when you need to find out how to do something? So I’m just making rosary bracelets now and earring/bracelet dangles and hunting for bargain beads. My pocket-book just doesn’t have enough coins in the bottom. And I discovered how to make cool purse charms so that might be my next project! I need to sell something.

images (10)And then I discovered twitter. I spend a little time on there each day and realized it is almost impossible to get some friends there, because unlike facebook, there is not a general news feed that everyone sees. You just see stuff from the people/places/things you have friended.  Oh well, there are worse ways to read the news.

My diet is going well also. Always slow, the lympedema hinders the weight loss, but I’ve now lost 42.6 lbs. Not too shabby since last August! I really love the LoseIt program.

Just a quick shout out and short blurb to keep you caught up with what’s going on with me. Staying healthy and well. Hope you all are hanging in there also! And so, the journey continues…see you next time.


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One more day, one day at a time

lymphedema-2I started the lymphedema wrap therapy at home a little over two weeks ago. Each step brought back some memories of when I did this for the first time about 8 years ago. By the time you finish with all the wraps, you have a leg that looks like a mummy and you have used about 15 different sizes and widths and kinds of bandages/wraps. Within all of that are various sizes and shapes of a special foam rubber to help the entire process. The goal is to stimulate the lymphatic system into doing its job a little better by the pressure of the wraps. It is in turn uncomfortable and feels very tight and your movement is slightly limited from the bulk, but the therapy works.

We have moved from one leg to the other. Meanwhile, I have ordered a velcro thigh wrap images (4)to wear everyday on my leg to take over where my knee-high boot or compression knee-hi hose ends. That might be interesting. Just a new step in the journey forward.

What I didn’t remember is the effect the weather and barometric pressure has on lymphedema patients. There is something about the change in the barometric pressure that causes us to swell up like balloons with the change. It is a little shocking and disconcerting. Just a new wrinkle in the day-to-day journey. Add to that the extra difficulty in walking or moving whatever limb you have wrapped and how it hinders everyday functions.

il_570xN.761746535_d8ihSo when I’m not focusing on all the above, I am making new rosaries. I mentioned before how I go in spurts with my interests. Right now, it is in making the rosaries. I will make them until I run out of supplies and start accumulating more than I can sell and then I will move on to the next project. It keeps life interesting, but hubby sometimes rolls his eyes at the accumulating mounds of hobby materials in the closet.

I sold a couple of rosaries on a ‘for sale’ group on Facebook, got teased by another person when that fell through and opened a store on Etsy. That happened just when attention for my rosaries seemed to wane. I’m beginning to think I am always one step behind the current trend or interest and seem to find the market saturated when I jump on board. Visions of selling Avon flash to mind.

Anyway, that’s what new with me. Just hanging in there, doing my exercises, mostly, and having the wrap therapy 3 times a week. And filling my time with various things. One day at a time. And so the journey continues.


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Just keeping busy

keeping busy

I’ve posted before about what keeps me occupied. And I always go in spurts. I might watch tv marathons for an entire weekend and then I’ll be sick of tv. I’ll read for a while and then not be interested in reading for months. I like to crochet and have just finished a pillow for my sister. Now, I’m tired of crocheting.

008 (4)One of my favorite things to do was to make rosaries. I was on a private religious retreat one time and watched while one of the Sisters was making one. I like artsy fartsy things, so was immediately I was intrigued and wanted to learn. I’ve made them off and on ever since. Sometimes my arthritis will stop me for a time, and sometimes it is just that I have no more people I can give one to.

Someone recommended I go to etsy and check out 010their plan. I now have an etsy store. This is a shameless self promotion. I only have a small amount of rosaries in my store, but am waiting on more supplies. I can’t wait. And I want you to go take a look!

Single decade rosaries, full rosaries, are what I have available now. Rosary bracelets will be one thing I’ll be adding soon. Tell your Catholic friends and family. Collectors are welcome. Most of my rosaries are geared toward the everyday use but some will be made from more expensive components like Sterling or Silver plate. Come check it out…


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Starting something new

winding-road-71367_1280Over the past ten months I have talked about ‘the journey’ I have been on.

I never thought about life as ‘a journey’, at least not consciously. It is a concept we always know is a part of life, but we tend to define ourselves by what we do, what we get good at doing, or talents we use to walk our various paths, work or play, not just that we are on a journey to somewhere. To where, is a topic for another day.

I have mentioned before that I have lymphedema.  If you look in dictionary.com you will find


Spell Syllables

  • Examples
  • Word Origin

noun, Pathology

1. the accumulation of lymph in soft tissue with accompanying swelling,often of the 

extremities: sometimes caused by inflammation, obstruction, or removal of lymph channels.

For me, it began many years ago with a bout of cellulitis in my right leg. Simply, cellulitis is an infection or inflammation of any of the tissues of the body, characterized by fever, pain, swelling, and redness of the affected area. That means, on the calf of my leg, I noticed a swelling area that became hot to the touch and when I went to the doctor to check it out, I found out it was an infection of ‘stagnant’ fluid stuck in the tissues of my leg that hadn’t been removed properly by the lymphatic system. You take antibiotics to get rid of the infection and forget about it.

Only, a couple of years later, I got cellulitis again, and then again, and over time it returned once more. The last time, my right leg was almost twice the size of my left leg. The antibiotics couldn’t get rid of the infection and I was put into the hospital for intravenous drugs to combat the infection. That was when I was diagnosed with lymphedema. The only thing you do for it, is treat it by wearing compression garments for the rest of your life to help remove the fluid and to prevent cellulitis. (I found out later, that some women, who have had their lymph nodes removed under their arms for breast cancer treatment, will develop lymphedema in their arms.)

So I spent some time in the hospital to get rid of the infection which was persistent, and ended up doing intravenous antibiotics at home for a time just to make sure. After that, I went to an outpatient therapy clinic for lymphedema therapy.

lymphedema-massage-treatmentThat meant, I laid on a low table while a therapist massaged the path of the lymph nodes in my legs and then put an elaborate and bulky combination of wraps and foam rubber on my leg until it looked like a mummy’s leg. It is huge, bulky and hard to move around. The object is to mimic the job of the lymphatic system and remove the excess build up of fluids within the tissues of my leg. The treatments lasted for several months wrapping first one leg and then the other. In my right leg, I lost 25 lbs. of fluid. In my left, I think it was about 12. After that, I learned about the fun of wearing compression hose daily. I like to think of them as support hose on steroids.

lymphedema-2That was 7 or 8 years ago. During my last year of work, I began to notice that my thighs were getting larger. Because of my age, arthritis in hands etc. and knees that don’t cooperate when asked to, I went from panty hose, to knee hi hose and thigh highs once in a while when at home. I began noticing my thighs were in my way more, when taking care of business in the bathroom at work. At first I thought it was just my difficulty in my mobility.p348346b

After I left work and began my time of home health care and being home bound, I noticed once again that the thighs were getting larger. When I started developing ‘rolls’ on the insides of my thighs, I realized they really were getting bigger and that my lymphedema was probably to blame.

I called the two women who had given me my lymphedema therapy at the outpatient clinic and made an appointment for an assessment. When I discovered that insurance and medicare wouldn’t cover home health care and outpatient treatments at the same time, I had to cancel the appointment and arrange for occupational therapy trained in lymphedema therapy to come to my home.

And so, last Friday I got my left leg wrapped once again like a mummy. My worry was I wouldn’t be able to get up, or get to the bathroom dragging the huge bulky leg once it was wrapped. I remember having a hard time before just getting it on the bed at night and now I am much less mobile than I used to be. That turned out to be a non issue. What I didn’t remember was the pressure. But I also developed areas on my leg that were uncomfortable to the point of being painful. My foot felt like it was swelling to the point of the toes feeling like they needed to pop and it felt like there was a tourniquet around my ankle. A patch behind my knee on my thigh felt like it was being cut by wraps that had slipped a little and were now acting like a band digging into that area.

I tolerated it for two days until I didn’t feel like I could flex my ankle any longer and took off the wraps. I had not done that before and was reluctant to do it this time knowing I need this therapy to help my legs. Once I removed all the many bandages and wraps, my skin felt a little like shriveled up sandpaper and was so tender to the touch, I cried out when I put my calf up onto the bed. I remembered a few times of having this sensitivity after removing my compression hose at the end of the day, but this was much much worse.

So when the therapist comes again this afternoon, to remove and redo my wraps, which I have already done, we will have to talk about all of this and see what options we have. I don’t think we will have to quit the therapy wraps, but maybe be more careful the wraps aren’t too tight around those tender areas or something. You never know how your body is going to tolerate a certain treatment. We are all different and you never know until you try it.

And so, my journey has taken a new turn. The road is always twisting and turning and ambling one way and another, checking out side paths and veering off the main road. But it always moves forward. And so, the journey continues…



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Keeping busy

keeping busy

Since I am house bound, I spend a lot of time watching t.v., reading, blogging, ‘window shopping’ on eBay and playing Harvest Moon on my Wii.

017I like to crochet and recently have made a few pillows for my mother and sister. The only problem with that is my wrists tend to complain after crocheting for a while. And my attention span fades when it has to fight against the nagging pain.

I recently returned to an old love. I like to make rosaries. I love to touch and feel the beads and pick out the colors and sometimes have more fun playing with the beads than actually making the rosaries. I learned how to make my own rosary years ago on a private retreat. I made mission rosaries and sent them to various places around the world. It was fun and satisfying. But arthritis made me stop for a while.

Since I started some physical therapy exercises, including wrist exercises, I decided to dig out my beads and try see if I could still remember how to make a rosary. And once again, I’ve become addicted to picking and choosing the beads and making the rosaries. The only problem is, you can only own and use so many rosaries. So, I decided to put some on eBay and maybe get enough money to be able to buy some more beads. LOL A girl can’t have too many beads! The problem is, browsing beads on eBay can be addictive.

3 23 2015 003_copyWhat I am finding out, is that there are so many factory made rosaries on the market that prices are really cheap. I use base metal components instead of sterling, for everyday use and fashion my rosaries one bead at a time. A lot of love and effort goes into even the simplest of my single decade or full-sized rosaries.

001I just thought I would share what is keeping me busy lately. And if you know of anyone who might be interested in a hand-made rosary, you can always drop by and check out my eBay listing. See ya next time…

Still kicking…

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Having an “OFF” day…

pooh-having-a-bad-dayToday was one of those days. The kind of day where you are blindsided by emotions that come from outer space, or Timbuktu or out in left field. The kind of day where you feel odd, ‘off’, just not normal but don’t know what’s going on. Why is today different? I have arthritis pain every day. My body parts take turn rearing their ugly heads to be obnoxious. One day it is my knees. The next it will be my shoulder and arm or my wrists. It is just a part of life. I take some Tylenol and don’t worry about it.

hormonesToday, everything was bothering me. Everything was hurting. And my coping mechanism was totally absent. It was as if I was hormonal. I thought my hormones took an extended leave of absence when I went through menopause. But every once in a while they show up unexpected like unwanted house guests. They always blind side me and since I wasn’t expecting them, I get overwhelmed.

So, after a few hours of continuous nagging pain, my emotions spewed out. I made hubby come out to talk to me and unloaded on him. You know, going down the list of ailments or pains and a few tears and nose blowing in between. Hubby asks what he can do to help, and of course there is nothing he can do. I just needed a sympathetic ear. When it was all over, I felt better. I guess I just had to let out some of the frustration and junk that sometimes builds up without noticing it until I was “full” and had to dump some of it.

I don’t know that it was this easy when I was younger, but if I have learned how to dump quicker and get it out sooner in my old age, than Halleluia! I didn’t want to post anything about how depressing depression can be and how utterly embarrassing my lack of coping skills during such an episode can be. But after the crazy emotions were gone, my natural tendency to recover showed up. I’m thankful that has become more of the norm than it was when I was young.

Anyway, the terrible, depressing day turned around and ended up fine. (Thank you Lord.)

I’ll see you next time with something more relevant.

And the journey plods along…

one step

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Baby steps



ImpatientI’m discovering I don’t have much patience. I am a baby boomer, but I am living in the ‘we want it now’ world. I get impatient waiting on the toaster, the microwave and the tea kettle. None of those things take very long, but if I am standing there tapping my foot watching for results, it seems that nothing is happening. I hate making phone calls and getting stuck on those endless loops of intricate voice mail. I am certain some sadist designed those.

I have ‘bad’ genes. My genes gave me the body type that has to fight aggressively to get rid of excess weight. I come from a long line of people who think diet coke cancels out calories. We were taught you had to eat to ‘keep up your strength’ and ‘finish everything on your plate. There are starving children somewhere’. I have sturdy German ancestors.

appletreelgIf you look at my family, we are all similar. I remember someone, when meeting my daughter for the first time when she visited, said under his breath, “The fruit doesn’t fall very far from the tree”. I hadn’t ever heard anyone say that in conversation before that, but I knew it was not exactly a compliment for either of us. We tend to have big butts and large hips and thighs, and I knew he was comparing us. We have to live with the blessings we were born with! Right? I can gain weight quite easily, almost without thinking about it, but losing it back is another story. I think that should be switched around, don’t you?

I’m finding since I had to quit work and have home health care and physical therapy, that I have to both expect and be eager for baby steps. Any progress at all is something to celebrate and I have to make myself realize that. I am one of those people who wants to lose 50 lbs. by next week, or go to bed one night and wake up thin.

I still don’t know exactly what happened to me or why. There was no warning. I was working. I could drive myself to work. Someone would help me into my wheelchair and take me into the shop, and I would stand up to my walker and transfer to my office chair. I have bone spurs in my knees which have grown and now prevent me from straightening my legs. And because I need two knee replacements, when I stand, it is at a low bent-knee crouch. It had gotten progressively worse over the years. I had progressed from using a cane to the walker to the wheelchair for anything other than very short distances.  I was beginning to have problems pulling myself up from my chair to transfer to the toilet in the bathroom at work, but it was still doable. I was still getting around and still working.

ch04_chairstand1One morning I got up from bed, got in my office chair, (it’s easier to push around and sit in all day than a wheelchair) and got my breakfast and went into the living room to start my day off on the love seat watching tv. When I tried to stand up from my chair, whatever muscles you use to lean forward and then lift yourself to a standing position…they all of a sudden wouldn’t lift me up. In general, we must depend on the strength in our legs also, which I don’t have, but this was a huge shock. Yesterday, I could get up. Today, I tried 3 times to get out of the chair and couldn’t do it.

IMG_6914That’s when I called 911 and decided a trip to the hospital for assessment was what I needed to do. The ER doctor was most encouraging. He hadn’t seen anyone like me before. He felt that my age and weight, and all the physical problems, together had decided to give out at once and now the only thing left for me was to move into a nursing home. I just looked at him amazed at his words. I was only 64 and I was still working. Move into a nursing home?

That was the end of May 2014. I immediately had to leave work, since I couldn’t get up without help. I took home a catheter and began physical and occupational therapy at home. (My lymphedema contributes to my problems. My lymphatic system doesn’t work too well during the day, but once I lay down at night, gravity helps it to remove excess water from my body and cells. This means I was used to making 6-8 trips to the bathroom during my eight hours of “sleep” each night.) Wearing a catheter has been a godsend.

h9991889_001When I had finished a few weeks of therapy, I realized I was no longer walking. To go to work, I had to get out of my office chair to walk out into the garage and get into my car. After work, I had to step from my office chair at work, to walk a few steps to my car. I had to use my walker, but I was walking some every day. Also, I was walking a few steps each night from my bed to the bathroom and back, and now that had stopped. I worried that the benefits of getting to rest at night might not outweigh the loss of my walking. The therapists assured me that getting the time to allow my body to refresh and heal itself during the night while sleeping was crucial and not to worry.

But it was still at the back of my mind. When I walk, I have to kind of scoot and shuffle my feet. Having all my body weight leaning unnaturally on my bent-knee crouched forward position makes it difficult to pick up my feet normally. The only place in my house without carpet, is the kitchen. So I decided it might be a good idea to begin trying to walk a few steps once again with my walker across my kitchen floor.

The first time I tried, I managed about 12 steps. It was exciting to know I could still walk. The less mobility and independence I had, the more handicapped I felt. I needed to know I wouldn’t end up where the ER doctor had prophesied.

It is now 10 months later. Progress has been slow sometimes, but progress has been made. I am stronger than I used to be, which is a good thing since the legs won’t get any better. My 12 steps in the kitchen has grown to 50 steps and then to walking across the floor, turning around and starting back before needing to sit down again. I can usually get about 70 steps now.

The last hurdle was being able to stand up and get up without help from my bed. Five days ago, I was able to stand up to my walker without help and transfer to my chair.  That was exciting.  Some day there are steps forward and sometimes steps backward, but always moving forward.

I have been consciously dieting since August and have lost 30 lbs. I still do my exercises each day. I am doing what I can to change what I can to better my situation.  The progress may have been slow and hard to see at times, but looking back, I have improved.  Now, more weight needs to come off so I can look into having knee replacement surgery in the future. I can’t even remember what it would be like to be able to walk like a normal person.


And so, the journey continues…

See you next time.

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Freezing Child… Wow… Unbelievable… | Little Karl’s Blog

I knew this was one of those hidden video social experiments, but it was amazing to watch. I thought I’d share it with you.

Freezing Child… Wow… Unbelievable… | Little Karl’s Blog.

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Don’t let the negatives bring you down

images (2)I read a blog today. The writer was ranting about negative people and how they can drag you down. My mind immediately flashed back about 20 years.

I had been searching spiritually for a while. I joined a church and began singing in the choir. I began a time of growth and inner healing. Sometime during that time, the wife of one of the choir members called me. I vaguely remember meeting her. She said she had been led by God to call me. She felt we were meant to be friends. I was a little taken aback, but who was I to question or argue with God?

We began a friendship. We connected on many levels. We enjoyed each others company. I had never really had a woman friend before and it was nice. It lasted for a couple of years. And then things changed.

I have always been an insecure and shy person. I never felt like I was normal. I never felt like I was the same as the rest of the world. I always had one foot barely touching life and the other one lagging behind, unsure if I belonged and not wanting to intrude.

positive-455582_1280I lost three people in the span of six months one year. One was my pastor who moved away. One was a close friend who changed the parameters of our friendship. The third was the death of my father. These three happenings rocked my world. I put on a brave face but inside fell apart. I did 9 months of grief counseling and therapy and learned a lot about myself and grew stronger. I learned how to cope with day-to-day things and with my perception of myself and my place in the world.

This friend changed. She was also insecure in many ways and when her husband left her, she became needy. There is nothing wrong with that. We all are needy sometimes and depend on others to help us make it out to the other side.

The problem was, I had so many of my own problems and was just learning how to survive as a somewhat sane person that I couldn’t take on the burden of coping with her problems also. I had to withdraw emotionally from her to protect myself. I could give of myself in many ways and be supportive to someone else, but when the giving became a drain on my emotional well-being, I had to look out for myself first. It was a difficult choice and I felt selfish. I learned an important lesson that day.

360_lpositive_0727We all live in the world. There are people around us constantly. Co-workers, family, passers-by, all touching us, and in the touching, take energy from us in one way or another.  Some are intentional and others are totally innocent. It is the way life works. Life is touching and being touched by others. We choose how much or how little we share of ourselves when we interact with others.

turn-the-pageI learned early in life to keep a wall of distance up at all times to protect myself. But when you open up to others and let them into your life, you open the door to yourself and allow them to see you. When they want too much, or more than you want to share, it can be hurtful or damaging. I reached that place and had to put up a wall of distance, this time physically.

The people we share life with give us completeness and strength that we depend on, sometimes without realizing it. But there are always limits. Be sure to look out for your own emotional well-being. Don’t be afraid to say no. In your giving, don’t forget to give to yourself.

how to stop  negative thoughtsWhen I choose to write, I am sometimes surprised at what falls out. This is one of those times. That’s what makes the journey so interesting. It is always changing, and there is always something to learn. See ya next time…

And the journey continues…

One Foot In FrontCMYK

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Is it Lent already?

imagesThe one thing about living home bound is that the days tend to run together and I lose track of time. The only thing keeping me up to date is the news, or just checking to see what day/date it is on my phone.

I have a lot of time and have found it is so easy to waste most of it. I spend my days watching tv, taking a nap, playing Harvest Moon on my Wii or watching  movies on Netflix. I’ll fit in my daily physical therapy exercises and that’s about the sum of my day. My world has gotten very small and self-absorbed.

ash_wednesday_09I looked at the paper and realized Ash Wednesday was yesterday. It came fast this year and I was totally unprepared.

Despite the extra time on my hands, the easiest thing to forget to schedule into my day is time spent with God. He is the most important and the easiest to put on the back burner or totally brush off. As I type this I’m rolling my eyes at the irony. Whispered or thought prayer is easy. Taking the time away from other things to just sit and read the Bible or spend time with God is harder. We depend on Him in dark times or difficult times and tend to sluff off when things are just plugging away as usual.

Most people spend the season of Lent giving up something or using the time to improve themselves. It is a time for service and spending quality time renewing your relationship with God. I was reminded at how easy it is to keep prayer in my life and also how easy it is to ignore or forget fellowship with God and reading the Bible or other books to learn and improve my spiritual life.

I have a favorite little book I’ve used in the past. Every time I open it I am touched deeply and remember why I love God. I thought Lent would be a good time to dust off this book and get in the habit of reading it daily once again.

jesus callingIt is called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, Enjoying Peace in His Presence. This is what’s written on the back cover:

After many years of writing her own words in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to be more attentive to the Savior’s voice and begin listening for what He was saying. So with pen in hand, she embarked on a journey that forever changed her—and many others around the world.

In these powerful pages are the words and Scriptures Jesus lovingly laid on her heart. Words of reassurance, comfort, and hope. Words that have made her increasingly aware of His presence and allowed her to enjoy His peace.

Jesus is calling out to you in the same way. Maybe you share the author’s need for a great sense of “God with you”. Or perhaps Jesus seems distant without you knowing why. Or maybe you have wandered farther from Him that you ever imagined you would. Here is a year’s worth of daily readings from Young’s journals to bring you closer to Christ and move your time with Him from monologue to a dialogue.

Each day is written as if Jesus Himself were speaking to you. Because He is. Do you hear Him calling?

It is an amazing book with a daily reading that seems to come directly from the mouth of God to your ears. It feels personal. I’m going to make a pledge to read in this little book every day during Lent. Perhaps it will lead to more. Have you decided how you are going to spend this Lent?

And the journey continues…

images (1)

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I’ve always had an addictive personality

addictionI have always done things in an all-or-nothing manner. It was just how I did things. Now I guess it is defined as having an addictive personality. I gave up sucking my thumb in childhood for food. Food became my coping mechanism. I turned to food for comfort, solace, when I was happy, sad, depressed or just because. It set the pattern for a life time of insecurity, overindulgence and weight problems.

th (1)I would binge eat. My favorite afternoon binge was a big bag of chips and a 1# bag of M & M’s. I remember stopping on the way to places to get fast food and scarfing it down while I drove.  I remember sneaking food late at night.

Thank goodness those days are long gone. A time of craziness, grief therapy, and lots of prayer have changed me to a more manageable style of living.

Now, the addiction bleeds over into what I watch on tv, what I do in my spare time and the games I play. I’m the kind to indulge in marathons on tv. When I find tv shows on Netflix, I tend to wait until the season is over and then marathon watch a show uninterrupted and without commercials. It might take a few days, but I watch it until I’m done.


When I do hobbies, I’m the same way. I might be interested in painting and it will last about 6 months and my attention moves to something else. I’d read books for a time, and then I’m done. I’d make rosaries for a season, and switch to something else. I would crochet or knit but had to make something quickly before I got bored.

I think it is because I have many interests and they all have to take turns. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I have the attention span of a turnip.

HarvestmoonwiiRight now, I am glued for hours at a time playing Harvest Moon Tree of Tranquility on my Wii. I recently pulled it out again and immediately got addicted again. I have about 3 different Harvest Moon games, all similar with slight differences.

150868-harvest-moon-tree-of-tranquility-1325The main part of the game is spent in starting a farm. Weeding, hoeing, planting and watering crops, and then harvesting and selling them for an income takes up most of your time. When you earn enough money, you can buy a chicken coop and raise chickens and ducks and silk worms. You can sell the eggs, hatch them to get more chickens, or turn the eggs into mayonnaise. You can cook them into different recipes.

Everything you do costs time and energy with the end goal of making money to survive. You can forage in the grass for herbs, along the beaches for shells, pearls, or clams, or you can go fishing. You can eat what you catch, or sell everything. You have to gradually buy cooking utensils and appliances for your kitchen, and better tools to help you water, hoe, chop down trees and churn butter.

Harvest-Moon-Tree-of-Tranquility-EMYou can get a barn and raise milk cows, sheep and ostriches. You can sell the milk, turn it into butter and cheese and impregnate your cow for more cows. You have to cut grass for fodder or buy it to keep the animals fed and milk them daily.

Trying to juggle all of your chores keeps you extremely busy. You have to milk the cows, gather eggs, feed silk worms so you can get silk cocoons to spin into yarn, feed the animals or put them into the pasture, and pick crops and water every day unless it happens to rain.

Once you play the game long enough to build up stamina and buy better, easier-to-use tools, you have more time to get things done. You can go chop down trees in the forest and beat rocks to get stone for building supplies. You can enter the mines and beat rocks for iron, copper, silver, gold or precious gems.

It is amazing how addictive it is trying to finish all of your daily tasks and make sure you remember to put something into the shipping bin to sell so you have money to live on for the next day.

hqdefaultBesides all of the daily chores, there is the goal to find and restore the lost rainbows to revive the island to previous health and to  find the Harvest Goddess.

You can befriend everyone in the village and get married and have children.

I’ve never managed to find the end to the game, if there is one. There are so many varied things to do you really can’t get bored easily. It is repetitious but you are always striving for a goal.

This is a game rated E for everyone and is still strangely compelling and sucks up a lot of time. I’m enjoying it immensely. I’ll probably play this every day for a month or so and then I’ll switch to something else.

Do you do things in spurts like this? To me it is normal. Is there anything you do that seems to be compulsive and addictive? It’s just a way to spend my extra alone time.

And the journey continues…


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