All the fancy blogs make me sad

All the fancy blogs and Instagram feeds make me sad if I think about them. They have elaborate holiday displays all over their houses. I’d love to have that sort of thing. I’d love to not have cats that don’t knock everything over and nest in Christmas trees. Also, most of them take hours and hours of work to put out. That’s just not my life.

This is my holiday display. It took fifteen minutes to put out, including getting it out of storage.

Yes, that’s the only tree I do. It’s little and ceramic, but the cats can’t nest in it.

I wanted a vintage ceramic tree, but they were all super expensive on Ebay. Like $200 and more. I got this one for $40 last year on sale from the Vermont Country Store. I’ll keep it until it’s vintage or until the cats decide to test gravity with it. So far they haven’t managed that, so I’m feeling good about it.

The poinsettia wreath I made years ago. It was a skirt around some real candles for years, but it’s just the right size be a tree skirt. The fake candles complete the retro-kitsch look. They turn on and off automatically and aren’t a fire hazard when the cats decide that kitten-psycho-playtime needs to take a lap on my buffet table.

The roommate’s father made the wooden tree and manger scene on the sides of the table. They’ve held a place of honor ever since he gave them to her. They’re simple and beautiful and won’t break if the cats decide to knock them over. That last part is a bonus.

My white porcelain creche is put up until the time we don’t have cats. I think it’s beautiful and want to display it. I also don’t want it broken. It’s the same for a good number of my holiday display items. They’re just not practical at this time in my life.

All the fancy blogs make me sad, but only if I think about them too much. My life is too busy to compare to other people’s Instagram feeds.

It’s not over until the belly says it’s over

It’s so close to healed.

That’s what the wound care nurses and the wound care doctor tell me. So close. Very close.

It’s not actually healed yet.

We were using DuoDerm pads as landing strips for tape until the DuoDerm adhesive started tearing up my skin. I have a thing against randomly bleeding because my skin blistered from the adhesive. Again. I went without a dressing over the remains of my belly wound for a little over five days, just moisturizing with Vaseline to try to give my skin a break and provide some kind of barrier for my skin to heal.

As a last ditch effort to keep the wound covered, they’ve switched me to soft foam dressings with silicone adhesive. I give the wound a layer of Vaseline because if you’re not giving yourself a Vaseline barrier, you’re apparently doing it wrong. Then I stick these 4 inch by 4 inch pads down over the wound. They can stay in place for two to three days before you need to change them.

I change them every other day after I shower. That’s as long as I care to go between actual showers though I’m sure my primary care physician would prefer that I take it a little easier on my sensitive, eczema prone skin and go for cooler showers perhaps every third day.

Bite me, eczema. There is no way that’s happening, especially after nearly three months solid of sponge baths. I just never feel clean without a good actual showering, preferably with nice hot water. (Yes, I know. Bad for eczema prone skin, but it feels so good.)

I miss showering daily.

At least I can stand face forward in the shower. For a while it was all “back to the water flow and minimize direct wetness on the wound.” I’ve had road rash deeper than the belly wound is now. I have the gouge in my shin to prove it.

I just wish it were healed already. This last little bit by bit healing with the skin re-opening in some places and the bandage removal pulling up new skin in others is frustrating.

I want it to be over. It’s time belly. Really.

Hail, Thor, God of Thunder

It’s been a while since I went to a Marvel Movie on opening night. Opening weekend, yes, but not opening night. I hadn’t actually been planning to see Thor: Ragnarok in theatres, but when a friend proposed a group dinner and movie, I decided to join the group more for the company than for the movie.

I was kind of dreading Thor: Ragnarok. I wanted to love all the Thor films the way I love the Iron Man films. I really did. I don’t though.

Thor itself was pretty good. Not as good as I wanted it to be, but a solid film. I added it to my film collection without hesitation.

Thor 2: The Dark World disappointed me. I’ve secretly called it Thor: The Boring World. It will go in the collection eventually for completeness sake, but I haven’t gotten around to picking it up yet. It wasn’t bad, exactly. Just boring. I almost fell asleep in the movie theatre, something that’s only happened once: when I saw Dances With Wolves. I tried watching The Dark World again on streaming and promptly fell asleep when I was home. I didn’t even drowse for Only Lovers Left Alive and that film is beautiful, but one of the slowest paced films out there made in the modern era.

Thankfully, Thor: Ragnarok had everything that I liked in Thor and nothing I disliked from Thor 2. It was dark enough to be dramatic and humorous enough to keep it from turning into a sulking emofest. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I will likely see it again in the theatre if I can manage it and it will come into the Marvel Movie collection once it comes out on disc.

I might pick up Thor 2 at that time, too. I need it for completeness sake. Probably not, though.

What I did on the first day of NaNoNotMo

  1. Worked late at the day job
  2. Took a picture for Day 2 of the 7 Day black and white photo challenge.
  3. Made dinner.
  4. Cleaned out the refrigerator because today is garbage day.
  5. Started organizing my closet for winter.
  6. Read.
  7. Worked on a story I’ve got going.
  8. Worked on a blog post (not this one).
  9. Played RIFT because it’s Autumn Harvest and I need a new necklace.

What I didn’t do on the first day of NaNoNotMo

  1. Feel bad because I didn’t make the word count for my novel.

Nanowrimo 2017: Pass

Normally, I’d be announcing that I’m working on a novel for Nanowrimo today. I’m not. This is my official announcement that I’m passing on Nanowrimo 2017.

I have every other priority on the planet every other day of the year. I’m busier in November than pretty much the rest of the year. Why would trying to write 50K in the 30 busiest days of my year change that?

I don’t want to make excuses for not writing on my Nanowrimo project any more. I don’t want the pressure of trying hit that number in November, prioritizing my actual November priorities and then feeling guilty because I didn’t complete the goal. I don’t want to feel like a failure for not writing a novel in a month when November is the beginning of the holiday season and I have more going on this year than any other.

I start training for a 5K run in February. I’ve done a number of 5K walks. Running is the next natural progression. I’m not really sure about this running thing. I’m trying to be open minded about it, but running has never really been my forte. Be that as it may, I have too many friends who run now and I’m tired of being left behind to watch the stuff.

I have a test knit to finish. For that matter, I have a test knit to start. The swatch with the first yarn I tried was horrible. I just haven’t made it down to toss the stash. For that matter, I really need to sort the stash and donate things I’m not going to actually use. It’s time to be realistic and let some things go.

The day job has deadlines looming that will likely lead to long hours in the office. It’s started gnawing at the back of my brain. How can I make all these things at the day job fit into the timeline presented.

The laundry doesn’t do itself. The dog doesn’t walk herself. The dog doesn’t do the laundry. The dog is a slacker.

The roommate (not a slacker) and the dog (total slacker)

There are holiday gatherings to plan. Thanksgiving dinner looks like it’s happening here. Christmas dinner may also happen here, too.

Mostly though, I’m tired. I have a bone deep weariness lingering from my surgery. Maybe it’s still anemia. I’ve got a full two months of iron pill prescription to consume.

The math is pretty simple here. Something has to give. I only have so much time an energy and I need for some of that time and energy for taking care of myself.

Taking Stock: October 2017

I got this from Pip at Meet me at Mike’s:

Making: I’m still working on my crochet infinity scarf.

Very close to finishing this scarf.

Cooking: Crockpot red beans and rice. I started from this recipe and this recipe, substituted smoked jalapeno kielbasa for the Andouille sausage and added some tomatoes from the garden. Yum.

Drinking: Aldi’s Grapefruit Sparling water.

Reading: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Wanting: Mostly for the belly saga to be over. I’m very close now. I doubt that I’ll be able to get packing material into the wound by Friday of this week. Enough time to get the test knit I volunteered for cast on this week.

Looking: At my empty garden. It’s so melancholy and yet beautiful in its own way.

Playing: Lots of Jazz lately. I’ve been listening to KCCK in the afternoon. It’s very soothing.

Deciding: What yarn to wind for my test knit shawl.

Wishing: For about three extra days worth of time in the week.

Enjoying: Lying under the covers in my warm bed in the morning when my bedroom is still chilly.

Waiting: For Nanowrimo to start. I’ve failed the last 10 years. This year I have a better plan.

Liking: Moth & The Flame. All of their stuff I’ve heard, really, but this one is my favorite.

Wondering: Where this year has gone.

Loving: Sunday night game nights with the gang and alternately Friday night veg night with the roommate.

Pondering: The changes I can make in my spending and saving habits to build more personal financial security for the future.

Considering: Taking a month off of surfing Facebook clickbait. It’s Nanowrimo and I should be writing.

Buying: As little as possible. The holidays are coming up and that means nothing but necessities and additions to the Amazon Wishlist.

Watching: Next in line is Stranger Things. Santa Clarita Diet. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Wonder Woman on home video.

Hoping: Please don’t let Thor: Ragnarok be as boring as the other two Thor movies. There. I said it. I find the god of thunder’s movies deadly dull and I adore Only Lovers Left Alive.

Marvelling: at the number of Thor trailers. I can’t escape it. Also, Thor is Marvel, so there’s that.

Cringing: Kevin Spacey. OMG. Why?

Needing: Mittens to go with my dress coat. I should cast some on after I finish my test knit.

Questioning: Should I Kondo my closet again? I have clothing creep, due in part to living in a region with seasons, but in part because I haven’t been as diligent with the clothing plan as I should be.

Smelling: Dry fallen leaves. It’s one of my favorite autumn smells, second only to campfire smoke.

Wearing: Actual pants! After a summer of nothing but tights, french terry capris, and running shorts because of my surgery, it’s very nice to be able to put on a pair of jeans or trousers.

Following: Politics.  How do we get off this island?

Noticing: The older I get, the earlier I have to pull out my fleecy slippers to combat the cold in my bones.

Knowing: The holidays are coming. They’re not looming. There’s not a lot of pressure during the holiday season when you have no children.

Thinking: I’ve been thinking about disembodied hands and alien hand syndrome recently. They appear in horror movies, mostly as malevolent forces, and yet Thing from the Addams Family also falls into disembodied hand monster category, but he’s helpful.

Admiring: People who can wear glasses and look natural in them. I’m not even sure I like my glasses. They don’t actually feel natural to me.

Sorting: All the advertising emails I get. I’m unsubscribing where I’m able and filtering straight to trash where I cant.

Getting: Massages again. Finally. My fibro has been acting up fiercely and I’ve needed a massage since I came home from the hospital. Since I can finally lay on my belly without it hurting, I got one last week.

Bookmarking: Recipes in  Michael Symon’s 5 in 5 For Every Season. The Roommate brought it home on Saturday and there are some tasty looking things in there. Literal bookmarks! (well, mostly random pieces of paper stuck in the book.

Coveting: Bellies that don’t look like someone’s toddler drew straight down the middle of them with a Sumi brush and earthworm purplish brown ink.

Disliking: My skin on my belly is so torn up and delicate from the tape. I have landing strips I tape to in order to keep my wound covered, and I’m still getting tears in my skin.

Opening: Too many browser windows all the time. It’s no wonder I feel overwhelmed so often.

Giggling: With the roommate over Santa Clarita Diet. It’s so wrong and it’s so funny.

Feeling: Melancholy. It’s the time of year. It’s so dark in the morning. Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday and that’s none too soon for me.

Snacking: Kiwi fruit. I cannot say enough good things about this yummy fruit. More vitamin c than oranges. More potassium than bananas. High in fiber.

Hearing: The heat kick on to bring the house up to morning temperatures before my alarm goes off. There’s something about knowing you’ve still got a few minutes of snuggle under the covers time before you have to face another day.

And I had such a streak going, too

A list of things that have changed since I last posted:

  • The Bellysucker 9000 has been returned to its place of origin.
  • I’m doing small daily bandage changes at home.
  • I don’t have to see the wound care doctor (or any doctor at all) for two whole weeks.

A list of things that are mostly the same since I last posted:

  • I need to write more.
  • I need to knit more.
  • Laundry and housework should happen on a more regular schedule.

I took out the garden on Saturday. I always feel a little melancholy when I take out the garden for the end of the year. No more truly fresh vegetables on my table. The last of summer has faded completely and the barren ground that marks the raised beds of my garden space says more about the reality of the coming winter than any amount of fallen leaves blanketing the grass which has not quite given up it’s green.

The yard compost bin is completely full now. For the moment, yard work is done. The city contractors will take it away to the giant compost pile they run at the waste facility. Once that’s complete, we’ll start the cycle of raking leaves. Some will go to cover my empty garden beds, becoming mulch and helping feed next year’s garden, but most will go into the yardy, to be taken away and composted elsewhere and perhaps help someone else’s garden.

But this year? This year is all but gone and there’s so little time left to make anything of it.

I have not yet awoken to frost on the ground or ice in the street, but those things are not far around the corner. It’s hard to think of them yet. Halloween isn’t until Tuesday and then Thanksgiving will be all but upon us.

We’re hosting the festivities again this year. I enjoy the cooking and the planning. I know I’ll make brussel sprouts with bacon and we’ll probably spatchcock a turkey, because that worked out so nicely when we did it the first time. It’s a little awkward to carve, but it cooks so evenly and everyone agreed it came out moist and tender with almost no work on my part.

I still have a little time to think about the meal. I have less time to think about how I still might make something of this year. It seems like life itself gets in the way of the living of it. Places to go. People to meet. Things to do. Bills to pay. Promises to keep. Miles to go before I sleep.

No wonder I’m so tired.

I have a plan though. It’s a clever plan called: figuring out where the hours go now and putting them to better use. That, however, is a plan for Monday, as this is being written late on Sunday.

To be this feisty when I am old

I’d planned to write my blog post over lunch today at the day job, but I think I’m going to be too busy for that. Here is an article from my breakfast reading which inspired me instead.

I aspire to be this feisty when I am old.

Game Night Highlights for 10152017

GM: Recap for Sam, since he was out last week.

Ellibelli Bannergnome: I got a banner!

GM: Besides that.

Elli: I know! I could make myself look like a big chest full of treasure with Minor Illusion! What do you think, Sam? Carry me!

Sam: No. Harvey can carry you.

Marmolade Ranger-danger: That seems like a lot of work to have a bigger chest.

Elli: Hush, you.

GM: All of this because you won’t say “Tiamat, our mother and strength?”

Elli: Not “won’t.” Can’t. Am physically not able. I can say “For Bahamat! Aieeeeeee!”

Alexeron: No.

Sam: So, I could polymorph you into a rat. Or crow. Then you could go over the walls.

Elli: Oooh! I do have experience with wings.


Elli: Caw. I’m a crow.

GM: Not you. You’re not even a bird yet. Shut up.

Elli: *sticks out her tongue*

GM: It’s a foot thick door.

Adrin Burnlodge: What? That’s insane.

Elli: It’s a Giant’s castle. What did you expect?

GM: You haven’t seen that yet. No meta.

Elli: Oh, when aren’t we meta?

GM: Hmm. I didn’t know that.

Alexeron: What?

GM: It’s evil.

Elli: In this module? No! Say it’s not so.

Sully-cat in his natural habitat – the middle of everything.

Sometime shortly after this picture was taken, the Bellysucker 9000 alarmed for the third time today, claiming it was blocked. I managed to get the alarm to clear, but the wound vac has been extremely pinchy today and uncomfortable today. It was certainly not helping my mood toward the game.

Module spoilers follow. Stop here if you plan to play Hoard of the Dragon Queen.

Continue reading

Ten More Days

On Friday they measured (and then remeasured) my healing progress. I healed 1.5 cm over the course of the last week. The wound care doctor asked me if I’d like to have the Vac off once I run out of supplies.

Yes, please. Very much so.

As of today, that will be 10 days from now. Maybe sooner if I get lucky.

Yesterday started out dreary. Ms. Roommate and I took out Sophie-dog for a walk. I snapped a picture just before the first mist started falling. We turned around shortly after this as the rain kept getting heavier. I tucked the Bellysucker 9000 into my rain coat to keep it dry and we got back to the car damp, but no worse for wear as the clouds opened up and the real rain begain.

We skipped the Tweed Ride. Temperatures didn’t get much above 50 and the rain barely let up all day long. Watching the traffic go by as we at lunch at a favorite local restaurant, Ms. Roommate remarked that the day could be worse: We could be on a Tweed ride.

That became the theme of Saturday: This is great because we’re still not on a tweed ride.

When we decided that maybe trying to ride bikes with a medical device and the accompanying tubing wasn’t a great plan, I understood the wisdom of making the choice. It still disappointed me to have to make the choice. I enjoy biking and this whole summer has been something of a bust for me on that front.

Saturday I felt extremely happy we’d decided not to go on the ride. Riding in wool in the rain sounds like a recipe for misery to me. Imagining the prospect as cold rain came down with more and more force made the prospect even less appealing.

We wandered through Aldi, which was packed. I still wasn’t on a Tweed Ride.

I got a cup of hot tea and watched rain fall through the windows. I wasn’t watching it fall around me on a Tweed Ride.

I logged up my computer and played some Rift. I still wasn’t on a tweed ride.

I put a heating pad on my back because it felt a little twingey. Still not a tweed ride.

Ate a nice dinner with Ms. Roommate with steak and mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and a glass of wine. Warm. Dry. Only a known number of days left lugging the Bellysucker 9000 with me. Also not on a Tweed Ride.