Friday, April 21, 2017

Unexpected Day Off

Registration is done at work which means the stress level has reduced.  My house is still a mess and the next two weekends are full of activities.  We'll do the activities - paint nite this weekend and an author's event next weekend.  We need the down time to reduce our stress.

Ken leaves for Georgia in May.  This leaves Vicki and I hanging out on our own.  I've got a few days off during the time he's gone.  My goal is to get some publishing, writing, and crocheting done during my time off.  However, I also have some household things I want to get done.

This week has been crazy for me.  I had an allergy test done on Monday.  They washed my arms with alcohol which immediately started them itching.  Their solution was to wash them with soap and water.  I let them, though most soaps bother me.  Fortunately, this one didn't.  I didn't really find out anything new.  I already knew I was allergic to the things they told me but these were more specific results.

Tuesday I left work early to see my regular doctor.  He gave me my results for my MRI.  There wasn't anything to stress about - thankfully.

Today I am off to the dietician.  I've been seeing her for few months.  I like her and she has good suggestions for helping me balance out life and food.  I doubt I've lost weight.  It's been a crazy few months with lots of eating fast food while we moved Vicki and a lot of stress eating.  However, I've managed to stop eating out as much which is good for my checkbook and good for my body.

The elevator at work isn't working.  I spent yesterday at work but not in my office.  It made it difficult for me to be involved but the floor was quiet according to my student workers.  Today I'm hoping it will be even more quiet.  However, the elevator is going to be down for the first part of next week.  That will make it difficult on me and a number of my faculty.  These are the joys of working in an old building.

I'm working on two graduation gifts.  I'm creating new patterns for most of the gifts so this means new patterns to publish.  The first scarf I made turned out really well.  I like the design, color, length, and feel of it.  Now I need to take pictures so I can publish the pattern.  I started a second one last night and I'm hoping to finish it today.

This morning I'm spending a little time on the computer but hope to go back to crocheting shortly.  It seems like there's always so much for me to do with a day off and so little time to get it all done.  I have to remember to keep the to do list to a reasonable length and focus on one task at a time.  Part of me wants to get a bunch of stuff done but I'm waiting on things from other people to be able to do those things.  This means I need to pick something completely in my control and work on it.  Today, it will be crocheting and watching movies.  For a couple of reasons, one - it will lower my stress level, and two - it will get things done I need to get done which has a definite deadline.

Considering I have the day off, I was up very early.  I did go back to sleep but was still up by 7.  Ava does not know what to do with me.  She came and cuddled - yup the cat who hates me - with me for a bit.  Sasha always is looking for attention from me but Ava rarely asked for attention.

It's time to hit the recliner, find a movie and go back to crocheting.  Maybe with luck, I'll finish another scarf and start a third.. fingers crossed.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Crochet Savior!

My middle daughter moved home.  March was chaotic with her moving.  April is turning into chaos with getting our house organized - or reorganized and integrating her stuff into our house.

I'm finally tackling my office.  Currently it's in that state of extreme messy because I've been going through papers, shelves, drawers in order to sort out what we need to keep.  There's an ultimate goal in mind but for now, I want to get rid of one piece of furniture and move two others.  These means I'm taking decorations down from the wall as the furniture is going to cover up the wall space.

I'm not certain the way I want to rearrange the furniture is actually going to work so I need to try it before I decide whether it is how I actually want it.  Also all the stuff I want to put on the furniture is sitting around my office making it seem more cluttered.  I swear there is an organized method to the chaos at this point.

I started yesterday and made good progress but today I've spent running errands and prepping for the week.  There are some things I don't want to get rid of.  I look at them and the organizer in me is saying just let it go.  But the writer / mom / creator in me is saying NO!!!  I'm working on it.  I'm also looking at a row of books - reference type - which sit by computer.  Do I want to weed through them?  No but should I?  Probably.  I know some of them will stay.  I can look at at least six of them and know they stay but there's at least three times that many.  So reluctantly I'll look through these books to weed out any.

Then there's the recycle / garbage, sale piles to contend with.  I've got a box of stuff for a sale we're hoping to participate in later this summer.  Also while I remove and rearrange what do I do with all the stuff.

It's definitely been a weekend of chaos.  I'm not sure we're making it any better.  However, at the intermediate phase, it is so chaotic I'm not sure it's getting better.

We're doing all of this while I'm at my most busy at work.  Registration and scheduling for spring 18 are going on.  Lots of changes, problem solving, and stress at work means I need peace at home.  Right now, no peace just chaos.

This is where my crocheting comes in.  I've been working on a number of projects.  I finished an afghan, several headbands, and started a bandana.  This keeps me sane (ish) as it takes me away from the stress of both work and home.  It allows me to escape into my creative mind and work on patterns.  Right now I have several which I want to publish.

I keep telling myself it will get better.  I keep reminding myself it is the first weeks and I need to be patient.  However, the clutter is starting to wear on my nerves.  After I'm done in the office, I plan to hit the recliner and work on another pattern or three in order to calm and ease the stress of life right now.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Creating Patterns

The way my brain works often surprises me.  With my daughter moving, I took a friend to her (who doesn't drive) and waited while this friend helped my daughter pack.  Since my daughter lives in an upstairs apartment, this meant I was stuck in my car for several hours.

I'm rarely bored because I always have stuff to do.  So I took some crocheting - two projects - and worked on them.  While working on one project, I came up with all these color options and ideas for working with this pattern.  In reality I wanted the yarn there right then to work on it.  Instead I'll make note of it and try them out.

While working on these two projects, another came into my head.  When I create my patterns, I normally crochet and then write.  This way I'm not re-writing but writing it as I create it.  However, this time I didn't have anything with me to be able to crochet this idea with.  I wrote a pattern - full on all rows.  I loved getting it down so I could try it later.

My middle daughter has a million skeins of yarn in my craft room she wants me to make up for her.  My intention was to find a skein or two and try out this pattern.  Instead my niece was out.  We were chatting and she said she had a need for specific headbands for summer.  I immediately thought of this new pattern I'd written.  I made her pick some yarn and bring it to me.

While we chatted, I worked on a headband for her.  By the time I was done, my pattern had been tested and revised.  She liked the headband I made her but wanted lighter weight for summer.  I had her go back to my craft room and pick out thread.

I'm not a huge fan of working with thread - it's harder for me to see and harder on my hands.  However, this is a small pattern so I thought okay I'll give it a try.  My niece thought I'd have to reduce the width of the pattern but in reality thread is much smaller than worsted weight yarn, so all I've had to do is reduce the size of my crochet hook and thread to use the same pattern to create a lighter weight headband for her.  I'm hoping she'll like it.

While I came by this pattern in almost the opposite way I normally do things, I think the pattern turned out really nicely.  It isn't difficult or too time consuming.  It works up nicely both in worsted weight and in thread.  I'll be publishing it when I get the second project done.

This means I got a lot done while sitting in the car.  I worked on two projects, came up with ideas for other projects, and wrote a pattern.  Next, I want to get those ideas for the projects down and work on them.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Medical Bills

It's been a rough year for us with urgent care and emergency room visits, doctor's appointments, tests, and procedures.  Last year our co-pays were lower and a few years ago, we rarely saw a bill with our insurance.  We paid our premiums and co-pays and the insurance paid the rest.

Unfortunately that isn't the case.  Ken had a kidney stone this year.  The emergency room visit cost us nearly $7K.  The procedure they did to blast it was about $23K.  We paid our co-pays but we're still going to be left with $715 to pay.

One of the benefits for my job - a flex plan.  I set aside money every year for medical expenses.  This year we were going to do eyes and teeth.  That was the plan.  It won't be happening.  My flex plan funds have been eaten up with co-pays, prescriptions, and tests.  I don't have enough left to pay the hospital bill for Ken's procedure.  I'll be budgeting that in - somehow.

We aren't done either.  I'm supposed to have an allergy test and sinus surgery this year.  I'm waiting on approvals from the insurance to be able to do these things in the hopes I won't spend six months on antibiotic.

I guess paying off bills and loans is going to be slower than I hoped.  I look at my budget and wonder how I'm going to fit in yet another bill and the continuing costs.  I start to wonder if I should put off some of the procedures, cut back on prescriptions, and so on.  All in an effort to save funds.  But aren't I supposed to put my health first?

Next year the state is going to self-insure.  If I'm paying this much now, how much more will I be paying?  I already have a lot of money taken out of my check for benefits and insurance.  How will we manage if I need to set aside more?  These are some of the questions weighing on my mind.  It makes me wonder if I should cope with my health issues and not have tests done.  The allergy test is $1000 if the insurance doesn't cover it.  I won't be having it done if the insurance denies it.  The question becomes how much will the insurance cover?  Same with the surgery.  They'll be knocking me out which means a full day in the hospital if there are no complications.  How much of it will the insurance pay?  How much will go on our ever growing bill?  Makes me wonder if it would be better to wait.  Antibiotics are less expensive but the stress on my body is unbearable.

We're lucky in that we have good insurance.  I cannot imagine how bad it is for those who don't have - or won't have - good insurance if ACA (Obamacare) goes away.  I'm also very concerned with what happens next year with my own insurance.  With self-insurance, I'm betting we will end up paying more - probably a lot more.  This is one of the reasons I am going ahead with the tests and surgery this year.  It is an added stress for me, especially since working for the state means raises are rare and small if you do get one.  I'll hope we don't go too far into debt in order to get these things done.

The one good thing - I believe I've finally made the last payment for last year's medical bills.  Now I have to figure out how I'm paying this years.  Anyone want to buy a book?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Riding the Waves

It's been an interesting start to the new year.  We've had a lot of going to urgent care and the emergency room.  Nothing tragic or life threatening but lots of trips with sinus infections, bronchitis, and kidney stones.  I'm ready for this to change.  It's expensive and stressful.

Monday I went to an ear nose and throat specialist.  He got me on a different antibiotic and scoped my sinuses.  I have more information now which is good.

Tuesday Ken got the all clear on his kidney stone.  It is gone.  Plus he has no stones in either of his kidneys.  All good news.

Now for the downside - after his appointment, we got supper and were settling in to our happy news.  Then my sister text to say my uncle was in the hospital.  Shortly after that text, she sent another one which said my aunt (not married to the uncle who was in the hospital but a different brother of my mom's who passed) was also in the hospital.

It's been a week.  No - really it's been a couple of months of this teeter totter affect and health issues.  I'm hoping things are evening out but I'm not holding my breath.

One of the brighter spots in my week / month is my daughter Virginia got notified she made the President's list for her excellent grades for her fall 16 schedule.  She also just finished her math class and got a 100% on her final as well as an A in the class - though this isn't official yet.  She's stressed with school but she's actually doing really well.

There's no choice but to ride the waves of my life right now.  At this point we're moving from the gully of the wave to the crest.  I'm just hoping there are no tsunamis in my future.  I'd be happy with nice gentle waves for a time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Family Celebrations and Finished Projects

It's done!  I finally finished the big blanket for my youngest daughter.  It took a lot of work and time but her Packer emblem corner to corner graph afghan is done.  In the picture on the left it is laying on top of my king size bed and a few inches hang over on the left and right side.  At the bottom you can see the G better.  With it across my bed, it hung down about a foot on each side.  It was a big blanket.

It feels odd not having a BIG project to do.  I've started an afghan for one of my nieces.  I have a couple of other projects but I'm starting to wind down on the crocheting.

It might be time to work on writing again.  I've started the next Wayfarer novel and am looking forward to where it will take me.

It's been an extremely busy few weeks.  The two daughters in Atlanta came home for a weekend.  We celebrated the youngest getting her master's degree.  We are really proud of her.  We had a family gathering at our house over the weekend.

It was good to have them home to get after Ken for doing too much.  He still hasn't passed his kidney stone.  He has good days and bad days.  I'm hoping it passes soon so he is out of pain.

I did the middle daughter's taxes while she was home.  This weekend I have more taxes to do.  I'll have to tackle ours as well as doing two other people's taxes.

This month is zooming by with one thing after another.  One of the things I'd like to stop is the ER and Urgent care visits.  It would be nice if everyone could be healthy for maybe two or three weeks in a row so we don't have to go to either ER or Urgent care... I'm not holding my breath.  

Monday, January 30, 2017


"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

We have seen a lot of unrest and disturbing things in the last ten days.  It is difficult to watch our president take the same path as someone most people consider the epitome of evil - Hitler.  I really dislike comparisons between Hitler and other people - it is generally an over dramatic comparison.  Unfortunately, that is not the case with Trump.  As soon as he came into office, he started to create unrest with the Muslims (this would be the group comparable to Hitler's Jewish population).

Now there are hate crimes against Mosques.  I'm sure if you looked at the unrest in Germany prior to World War II, you'd find similar actions.  Here is a link to what Hitler did to the Jews once he came into power German History

So many things are headed in the wrong direction.  Too many things - it is overwhelming.  It is mind numbing.  All my daughter has to do is sigh at this point and I ask "Now what has Trump done?"  It isn't surprising to me but it is sad.  It feels like he is making us into pre-WWII Germany.  I do not want that.  We should know better and should behave better.

There is a feeling of exasperation, desperation, and powerlessness.  What can I do?  I don't have the ear of anyone powerful.  I don't have a huge following.  However, I believe the worst thing we can do is to be silent.  Some of our senators stayed silent on the Muslim ban.  If they stayed silent, they are endorsing what has been done.  We cannot stay silent when we hear and see wrong occurring.  If we do, we are part of the problem.

It's difficult to see large scale problems and not know how you can have any effect.  I write but I don't have a huge following.  Yet I'm speaking out.  I can't march but I can support.  I can tell people when I think they are wrong.  I can be vocal in my dislike of our president and his actions.  I can let my representatives know they are not representing me.

It's time for all the people to speak out, speak up, and stop being silent.  Silence endorses and encourages the wrong.  Take a stand to push back the hate and intolerance.  Speak up and stand up for those who are being persecuted.

Unexpected Day Off

Registration is done at work which means the stress level has reduced.  My house is still a mess and the next two weekends are full of activ...