- I have been quite absent from my blog as of late. It all started because I decided to crochet some presents for holiday season. I have made an intricate crochet piece and 13 very long scarves! I have also tried my hand at 2 afghans neither of which worked out yet. What I have discovered is that I find crocheting very relaxing. I have been crocheting while watching TV and I find it is almost meditative for me. I am feeling so much less stressed. The other thing I really like is that I can be productive while relaxing. I am now spending about 2-3 hours less per day on the computer.
- We have been entertaining Maya the Maltese for the last month. She is going to my mother at Christmas. She decided she really wanted another dog. We have found her the perfect dog – she is a young adult, female who likes to play. She came already house broken. We had her spayed, microchipped and vaccinated. She will be great for my mother. She is also a great watchdog! She is making all of us mental though. She barks indiscrimantely, particularly in the middle of the night. She is hyper and omnipresent. She seems to try to walk on the backs of my calves. She does have her cute moments though!
- We have been having some struggles with Bella. She has a hyper thyroid which, in spite being on a high dose of tapezol. We did blood work, which showed that she has cancer as well. She is 16 years old so we decided not to do any further investigation. The biggest problem was that she was not using her litterbox. With a little thought, we moved it into the living room. I took the lid off and I put her in there. She then used it and there was much rejoicing. She has continued to use it now for almost 2 weeks. At this point we are focusing on her quality of life. She is doing quite well right now.
- Everyone else is doing well. There was some concern about Sienna as she developed a lump. We were all pretty sure it was a fatty lipoma and after 2 fine-needle aspirations it was confirmed that it was a fatty lump.
- In political observations, I have to say that I hate the sound of Christy Clark’s voice as much as I hated Gordo’s. The face may have changed but the message is still the same and it is all lies if you ask me. Clark is every bit as mean-spirited as Gordon. Her call for cameras to be in the courtrooms when alleged rioters are prosecuted is cruel. It is not only going to humiliate the alleged suspects but also witnesses who may not want their names and faces broadcasted to the larger community. Her comments about CLBC are lame and there is no way she is going to fix anything. I really had dared to hope for more.
I have been spending my TV time in the evenings crocheting instead of being on the intertubes or playing some mindless iPad game. I have to say that it has reduced my stress levels quite a bit. Crocheting can be quite repetitive but also requires a modicum of attention. The other bonus is that I produce at the same time. It kind of means my TV time is not completely wasted!
I can’t help but reflect of how much better I am doing since I have been off work:
- When I first went off, I was sleeping 14 hours a day. I felt guilty and literally felt like I had no life. I would wake up, take a shower and be exhausted. Now, I sleep just 9 hours. I wake up and I feel good. This is such a positive change.
- In July my pain levels were through the roof. I was having many ulcerative colitis symptoms like (TMI warning) diarrhea, blood and mucous. I also had very irregular movements. Now, I am taking a smaller amount of pain medication and I am having virtually no breakthrough pain. This is very good!
- My appetite is somewhat better. I am usually eating 2 meals a day, which is up from one. I am still not sure what the appetite thing is about. I suspect it is a ulcerative colitis side effect. I am not eating a big variety of foods, which may make transitioning back to work difficult. I don’t want to eat junk or processed foods so I will need to find some healthy things. Deb is going to make me some mini muffins with lots of good things in them.
- I also have enough energy to start crocheting again. I have ordered an afghan kit from Mary Maxim and in the meantime I am working on this masterpiece!
Here are some shots of something I crocheted recently. This kind of crochet is called filet. It is generally done in blocks of 4 stitches and either open or closed. The pattern is usually made up of the closed squares. Although I did one recently where the pattern was in the open squares. I really liked the look of the that piece. The curtains I am working on are also in filet but the have a little bit of a twist. It will be a while before the curtain panels are done.
I am lucky to have time off between Christmas and New Years. I am not actually back to work until January 5. I have really enjoyed my time off and here is a rundown of what I have been doing and things I am grateful for:
1. Carrots – I have re-discovered carrots. For years we have been buying those little pre-formed carrots thinking they were baby carrots. I have now been disabused of this notion. We were at a friend’s place for dinner for a couple of months ago and there were carrots in the meal. They were the best carrots I have ever tasted. They were not mealy and watery. Instead they were soft and had an incredible flavour. I thought it was a one-off. Then we had carrots with a roast here about 6 weeks ago. I did not make it. And there were carrots…glorious, soft, rich carrots. I had seconds but only carrots. I made a roast last night and bought carrots and they were fantastic. I thought I did not like carrots – I was wrong. There will be many more carrots in 2009!
2. Nuts – I ate about 6 Ferrero Rochers with the hazelnuts in the middle. I loved them. Sadly, my colon did not. I am generally feeling very good these days. Many of the colitis symptoms are gone. However, colitis is still there and my colon has not healed. Six hazel nuts are enough to send me into a flare, which is not as bad as it has been, is still damned painful. The other thing that happens is that my anxiety about being sick gets triggered. My doctor says this is normal. I was really very, very sick just a year ago and I should not be surprised that I would react this way.
3. Comfort movies – with nothing to watch on the PVR I have resorted to watching comfort movies. Thus far I have watched The Hours, Meet the Fockers and Miss Congeniality. I love Sandra Bullock! I have also watched the entire second season of Big Love and half of season 1 of Millennium. I used to love that show!
4. I find crocheting very relaxing. I have not crocheted for years. My mother cajoled me into picking up my hook again and I am so glad she did! It gives me something to do and I can make some pretty awesome pieces! Now, if I can just convince Piper that she does not need to cover me and all my crochet cotton in pug hair life would be great!
5. I am appreciating my partner very much these days. We have had a major incident but we seem to be working through it and I think we will get past it and come out stronger the other side. This one will take a lot of work and a willingness to assume good intentions and forgiveness will also figure prominently. It seems to me that many people throw relationships away when there are difficulties – that is not our style. We work and work hard. We have been together 10 years and we are in it for the long haul.
6. New appliances – We decided to buy new appliances this year instead of Christmas gifts. I will never forgo exchanging gifts with my partner again. All of the fun was gone from Christmas. However, the new appliances ROCK! I never thought appliances could enhance your life but oh my! The new fridge has the freezer on the bottom. I thought I would hate this but it is great. Most of the stuff you use every day is now at eye level and you can find things without being bent over for a long time – this is very important when dealing with chronic pain. The freezer on the bottom has lovely roll out shelves for stuff and a big, deep basket. It is amazing. The new stove has a glass top which I love! It heats up quickly. It is a bit of a pain to keep clean (and seems to be bringing out Deb’s OCD) but it is very nice to cook on. It has the little area called the ‘warming zone’ where you can just keep stuff warm. The oven is self-cleaning. We opted not to get convection as we were not convinced we would use it and we have convection on our toaster oven. The new dishwasher is much larger inside and it has fold down racks and special baskets for knives and large utensils.
7. Old Friends – 2008 has been a year of seeing people I have known for more than 20 years. My friend Lydia and her daughter from Toronto came out to visit when I was really sick. My friend Lynn has moved in while she is looking for work and finding a place to buy here after moving from Ontario. I am also in touch with my best friend, Joe, from Calgary on a regular basis. Old friends are great; they know where you have been and see where you are now. I also don’t have a really good memory for things that happened in the past so my old friends remind me of things I have forgotten.
8. Cauliflower and cheese sauce – I think I make the best cheese sauce ever! We got a new steamer basket with our new pots and we had steamed cauliflower with cheese sauce for Christmas dinner. I have since had an entire meal of just cauliflower and cheese sauce!
9. The dogs – Our dogs are great. There is nothing quite like getting a snuggle with the pug for a long time while watching TV. I kiss her head and rub her ears and she moans and groans and snuggles in a little closer. It is very healing. The human race does not deserve the devotion dogs give to us. Then of course there is the funny stuff. We are often treated to the daily oral sex show where Piper will lay, in the middle of the floor, on her back and wait for some other dog to ‘service’ her. She does not wait long! It is hysterical. We lost our beloved Mabel in 2008 which really sucked but seeing as she came here to die in Feb of 2007 we were lucky to have her as long as we did. Our other seniors are doing well and Molly will be 20 tomorrow – which is very old for any dog and she is showing no signs of slowing down.
10. I am so grateful for my new job! It is exactly where I want to be – an Executive Director of a small not for profit. I am learning so much about leadership and creating a positive and respectful work environment. It is challenging, I am learning new skills and building on existing ones. It is meaningful work which is so important for me. Best of all it is flexible – it allows me the flexibility I need to look after my health.
All things considered 2008 has not been as bad a year as I had initially thought. It started off horrifically for me with a 2-week hospitalization for colitis and several months to recover. I was laid off from my former employer after my job description was re-jigged to such a point that I could not possibly do it. In hindsight, it was a very good thing as it gave me another couple of months to recover and I did land on my feet with a job I wanted and more money.
I don’t believe in making resolutions at the beginning of the new year. Instead I try to make small adjustments throughout the year when I see that something needs changing. So far, I am planning to reduce my dependence on Starbucks lattes. I have purchased a small coffee pot for work and good coffee. I like my coffee very strong so it is not fair for me to commandeer the work coffee pot. I am sure I will get the odd latte as well.
I hope 2009 is a great year!