Friday, July 22, 2011

Rough Day

I have debated on posting this, but given that part of me being me is that I feel its important to share not only our joys, but also our struggles. ESPECIALLY if it can benefit someone else who may be going through a similar situation. I've really been focusing on living positively, but, let's face it, we all have bad days.

I am really fortunate to be a member of a really great forum of women who all have different chronic conditions. I've been a member of this group for much of the time I've struggled with my health issues and they've been invaluable in their support, knowledge, commiseration, and listening ear. One side of having an illness is that it can often be hard for those who haven't been in similar shoes to understand how it is (as in most things in life.) It also is very, very good to have a place to go where you can share without feeling as if you further burdening your loved ones and where others understand even when you're at your basest. Another part of being sick is that you often find yourself comforting someone else about your own illness when you do share about it. Now, this I do get, it means people care and love you and what you to know that. But sometimes you get sick of being a sick person. Today is one of those days for me.

I have been down, sad, in a funk, hurting a lot, frustrated, aggravated, in tears, and downright angry today. All at my illness. I can't stand myself when I feel like this and dislike it even further when nothing seems to help me get out of it. I read, I play on the internets, I listen to music, I pray, I seek God's word and His voice, but SOMETIMES you find yourself in a place where nothing seems to reach you. That is me, today.

I posted this:
I really shouldn't be so down about this because I've been doing a lot better and living healthier, but I overdid it this week-I pulled weeds and cleaned bathrooms (really scrubbed them) and tried walking on the treadmill. I'm frustrated because I am in a ton of pain, because I couldn't sleep, and because I've been reminded once again of my limitations and it just really pisses me off.

I'm sure some of this emotional shit is because I have fully weaned from the Cymbalta and still feeling some of the withdrawal, but I am having a hard time being positive and seem to keep thinking of every negative and poisonous thing I can. I don't like it.

I am having a hard time talking to God, not connecting with His word and these are things that usually sustain me.

I want to continue and just be normal and I know that really isn't possible because I have a disease, but right now I just am very unhappy about it. Last night I spent time reading funny stuff while I couldn't sleep, but even that isn't helping.

Blargh. Off to let myself have a good cry, because sometimes you just need to.
And I got a reply pretty quickly, which is one of the reasons I felt a little better. Thanks L, I needed it, and it helped to know I'm not alone, especially given the week you've had!!

Sometimes online friendships/support get a bad rap. But one of the reasons I love them is that even on the days when I feel no one should be subjected to me, the days where its excruciating just moving around the house; I can pop online and talk to people. Sometimes its this message board I post on, sometimes its somebody through Facebook, sometimes its finding a devotion or song that I read or listen tothat helps me get back on track. Sometimes it reading about the Bloggess and the Big Metal Chicken. Sometimes it just posting and letting out all the bad crap, getting it out of your system with people who understand how it is.

And sometimes I find someone who can help me regain my sense of humor, and my faith that God indeed is there loving me and I am reminded once again of Jeremiah 29, that God has plans to prosper and not harm me, plans to give me hope and a future. (This ended up being a bit cheerier than I'd thought it'd be, would you look at that?)

Monday, July 18, 2011


Above is a little bitty hat I made for a cool little person I know. She has this big red Clifford dog and has been asking me if I could make him a hat and then waited VERY patiently until I finally accomplished it. It turned out pretty cute and I added a little string so she could cinch it up and tie it to Clifford's head. (After initially posting I realized that the picture makes the hat look GIANT, but its actually sitting on the arm of a couch and not the same size as the couch and tree in the background.)

And this is a headband I made for my cousin Alex. It's super wide and super simple. I've made another for my cousin Libby that has a little crocheted flower on it and am working on one half the width for my daughter Arenne. Unfortunately I can't take pictures because my poor, sad iPhone died this week. My sister is sending me a phone (she rocks!!!) so hopefully I'll be an iPhone addict again soon because the withdrawal sucks!!


This past weekend was spent with my Dad's family-his siblings-so, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and their significant others including the previously mentioned Aunt Traci, my Dad's youngest sister, and the impetus for our get-togethers. Traci has taught and continues to teach us about the importance of living in the moment, and loving every day. Traci has stage 4 pancreatic cancer and is now approximately 8 mos.-a year + past her expected expiration date. (To those of you that may think that heartless, negative, or extreme: when you have been faced with your own mortality it is often quite normal to grab it by the reigns and talk that sucker into the ground.) I am now 4+ years past my own brush with death, and not even a year since my Dad's. Skirting the edges of our earthly life MOST DEFINITELY puts the important bits front and center in your awareness of your surroundings.

As many of us who could came together this past weekend and we really just had a blast. Went to old haunts, danced like nuts in public, and just genuinely enjoyed each other's company. It was way too much fun and I wish we could do it all the time.

I love being with my family, especially those I don't get to see often (but seriously the rest of you are NOT chopped liver), and this time was pretty cool because I got to meet the significant other of one of my cousins. My cousin Alex is genuinely one of the most awesome people I know and I am tremendously happy that she is with someone who truly loves her. Al has been a pretty cool person since she was quite small and one of the better parts of life has been getting to know her as an adult. She's more astute than many more experienced or older people I know, putting into focus the stuff we all should be paying attention to and letting the rest roll on by. At some point I will FINALLY post the pics we took of her last year, which may only be funny to the two of us, except we don't care because it was funny to us.

In case I haven't said it before my parents really rock and we had a great time with them, I want to be Aunt Terri when I grow up, and I love that my husband and my Uncle George are totally on the same wavelength-and we could all gain some I.Q. points just listening to them talk. Wish my cousins Aaron, Jamie, and Andy could've been there BUT life happens.

The picture at the top of this bit of wordiness is of my Dad, also known as Tom, Tommy T, and a few other names (including some I probably don't know) and his dog Pete. Petey is one of the coolest dogs ever and is pretty much people. In the pic above he is forced to stay in the backseat with the womenfolk and demonstrates his need to be in the front with the men by leaning over the backseat and eventually resting his head on my Dad's shoulder. This dog is hilarious and that's one of the few reasons why.

That's a bit of my family, and praise to God that I have so many more people who fit in the category.

Friday, July 15, 2011

4th of July, a bit late

We celebrated the 4th of July in South Dakota with my aunt, cousin, and parents and really just had a fun and relaxing and wondeful time. My aunt has recently moved back here and it has been so so amazing being around her and spending time with her, she's an absolutely beautiful person and a blessing to be around. She had us to her house for dinner (which was healthy and DELICIOUS) and we really just had a blast. The kids did snakes and sparklers-I was lighting the sparklers and if you've ever done it you know there is no time to take pictures because you just can't light those suckers fast enough, especially the short ones.

The kiddos are lighting snakes with my cousin Libby, boring but somehow its still fun. Especially when you stack a whole bunch in a pyramid and they start shooting out at the same time.

We also found a few roly polies, here's one all balled up.

One of the more fascinating moments of the day was when we walked over to a little festival at the nearby park and came upon this bit of ingenuity. An air conditioner in a van window. Really.

My aunt had read about the festival so we were excited to listen to the band. Except by band they really meant big speakers hooked up to this SUV. I think it might be Traci's favorite now.

And then there were fireworks. The city put on a fireworks show and it really was pretty impressive, we oohed and aahed and had a grand old time watching. The only thing we were missing were our own fireworks to shoot off risking fingers and eyes and honestly I'm not really sure I actually missed that part.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Another finished project

After a yarn hiatus due to the stinging nettle, I finally picked up some knitting and finished the cover for my heating pad. It's nothing fancy, but its soft and I made it out of leftover yarn. Two knitted pieces, crocheted together on three sides and sc edging on the open end. It worked up nicely and is MUCH handier than the oversized pillowcase I was using.

Next up are a special purple hat for a small person's Clifford and finishing the plastic bag bowl for my aunt.

I am so happy to no longer have a burning, stinging hand and will wear my gloves for future weeding attempts. I've had a horrible summer cold but seem to be coming out of it and am a little zappy from the Cymbalta weaning, but doing pretty good overall. Missing my girls who are away having a blast at camp. Still need to post about the 4th of July. Coming soon?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Another fairly benign update

Here's the most recent project, a dishcloth. I love dishcloths for their quick gratification and that they're a nice useful thing. I made this for a good friend and found a couple more skeins of the same yarn so she'll even get some matching ones! This is sugar n creme and I like how it stripes up.

I've started another plastic bag bowl for my aunt, using bags from our trip to Walmart while we were with her and some she had already. Unfortunately when I was pulling weeds in the garden I grabbed a stinging nettle and OW that is no good for holding a crochet hook. So I'm on a slight hiatus until it heals. I also realize I have no clue how long it will take to feel better and really should do an internet search on possible remedies. Stupid stinging nettles. (In true me form I thought about going to get some gardening gloves, decided not to, and promptly grabbed the stupid weed.) We're getting some tomatoes growing as well as some strawberries and our cucumber plant that we thought would die is taking over the garden and trying to choke out the rest of the plants. That dude is insidious. I really think our garden is going pretty well as this is only one of a few attempts at growing vegetables and the other was a container garden (which did really well.) It's cool seeing our plants growing and eating food we've grown, next year we'll probably do a few more plants. Our poor yellow and red peppers are not doing so hot though. Between the deer munching on them and the aggressive cucumber they are looking pretty sad.

So on my hit list today are stinging nettles, garden destroying deer, and punk cucumbers. Off to google remedies.

Monday, July 04, 2011

An aside on going off meds

One of the big decisions I've made recently in regards to my health is to eliminate some of my medications and see how things go without them. One of them is a med I take for arthritis pain and the other is the one I find it MOST INTIMIDATING AND SCARY to go off of, Cymbalta. In case you don't know me or haven't read my blog before I have some significant health problems. What you may also not know is that I am of the crazy and have OCD and anxiety. For reals. I have spent lots of time in therapy and learned lots of good coping techniques and behavioral changes and along with meds here I am finally as fairly well-managed crazy person. The Cymbalta has also been immeasurably good for the considerable pain I've had over the years.

But. Cymbalta has some side effects I'm not so excited about. I've figured the benefits have outweighed the risks but I'm really feeling as if I've plateaued with it. Not only have I learned how to handle myself as a person with OCD and anxiety, I've also grown immensely in my faith and responding IN faith to things in my life. I'd like to think I've come far enough to be able to do this without meds, which is what I am attempting to do now.

I'm oddly excited about this. And MOST DEFINITELY YES I am doing all of this with my doctor, who has me on schedule to decrease and is managing my care. And the other caveat is that I know people with these issues often need medication to close the gap and do the job my brain doesn't do correctly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being on medication for mental health issues, in fact there is everything right about it.

I'm just in a place where I am trying a new approach to my health. I am choosing to live a healthier lifestyle, a more natural lifestyle and this feels like the right decision for me now.

In the meantime as I wean off the Cymbalta I am finding myself in these edgy moments, crawl out of my skin kind of moments and the pain is coming through more and more. Thankfully I'm not having a lot of the brain zappiness which comes with weaning from Cymbalta. I'm apologizing more to my family and afraid that all those old horrible things like raginess and anger may come back. That maybe the anxiety will become so horrible again, that the OCD will rear its ugly head and I will become consumed by it. These are my fears. I have plans in place in case of this, but it still isn't a fun thing to contemplate.

On the flip side my hope is that while the road will be bumpy as I do this, I will see improvements in other areas. Maybe I won't sweat so much. Maybe the tremors will be better. Maybe I will actually be able to lose weight which will lead to better health and ease of the arthritis. Maybe I'll be able to do things I've written off because of the current state of my body. And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to handle my craziness without meds.

In the meantime I'm finding ways to contain myself as I go through this. I'm thankful for my family and their patience. I'm hopeful for the future. I'm still crazy, but maybe a little bit saner or more managed kind of crazy.

Happy 4th of July!

We're having a mostly quiet fourth, until tonight when we go for dinner with family. Looking forward to spending time with them. So far this morning I've had coffee, hugged my children, done devotions (Portals of Prayer today), read more of the Apocrypha (I'm in Eccliasticus), fixed the blog links on this blog, knitted (the heating pad cover), and tried to pretend my joints aren't as achey as they really are. Oh and I started a new fun song in our house, to the tune of Whoomp there it is! when I started singing "I feel a poop comin' on! A poop comin' on!" which entertained my youngest immensely. My work was done when my husband just this minute walked by singing it and I hollered out "Yes! It's viral!" This, folks, is the sort of good times we enjoy in the Blue household.

As is usual for me I didn't update to the new blog template/design thing on blogger until yesterday. I was pretty partial to my design from suckmylolly except I should've asked her to give me dark brown hair ages ago when she made my loverly header. I always figured I wasn't skinny either so it worked. Finally yesterday I decided it was time for a change and I can't stop playing with the design button. I also updated the blog links, something I hadn't done since probably 2009. All in good time my friends, all in good time. I'm really digging the new look.

Overall we've had a fun and relaxing weekend and man am I happy for that.

If my hands cooperate I plan to do some more knitting and finish this heating pad cover, then crochet some more dishcloths for my friend. Simple, easy and quick is where I'm at for the moment.

Our 4th will be a little different this year, in the past we've gathered at my Grandma's with whoever is in town to barbecue and do sparklers and snakes and shoot off bottle rockets and maybe some other fun fireworks. This year we'll be going to my aunt's for dinner, as always its great to spend a holiday with family and friends.

And for the most important part of today's blog, which I won't muck up by being too wordy: Thank you to all of the soldiers out there, all of our military members and veterans. We have many in our families and I'm thankful for these people who sacrifice for the rest of us.

Sunday, July 03, 2011


Here are a couple random pictures from June, which whipped by very quickly. I'm afraid July will be even faster as it will be a busier month for us.

This first picture is of something kids in areas where tornadoes are a regular part of life are used to, holing up in the basement when the sirens go off. Here are my kids and my nephew all cozied up in a small space. Thankfully we didn't have a tornado, but we did have some pretty extreme winds. We were fortunate to not to have any damage here, but thunderstorms and tornado warnings are a common occurrence here in June.

We got the first harvest from our garden-Radishes! It's great to see the garden producing, especially with the friendly deer who like to come and eat off the tops of all our plants. Today we got our first cucumber, wow do those suckers grow fast.

And in case you haven't noticed I played around with my blog design today, really liking how it turned out, what do you think?

The Plastic Bag Bowl

As promised, pictures! I apologize in advance for the blurriness, I'm taking pics with my poor, sad, cracked iPhone.

I hadn't worked with plastic bags in a looooong time and have been thinking of trying to make a few things so off I went. Unfortunately my large P size crochet hook is in my storage unit so instead I worked with one strand of plastic and the largest hook I had, I think it was a J. I know there are various tutorials on cutting up the bags but I was too impatient to try to figure them out so I cut off the handles and bottom of the bags and then just cut the bag in a spiral into one long strip. In my impatience I wasn't always straight and ended up with a wonky strip, but it worked anyway. Basically I crocheted the same way I would to make a hat, starting with the circle and increasing until I had the diameter I wanted, then I worked in the round, using sc all the way through. Super easy and surprisingly fast, it took me a few hours to make. I think cutting the bags into strips was the longest part and my girls helped with it. It took about ten bags (given our mistakes in cutting). There were two brown bags which made the stripe around the bottom.

I'm looking forward to doing some more projects with plastic bags, I'd really like to do a rug. I'm also saving bread bags to do something with those, although I'm not sure what yet.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Hey what's this...Oh yeah!...

I have a blog! Hold on to your hats, or get some coffee and settle in as I bet this will get rambly and long. It's me.

Another month has passed, time flies when you're having fun and even when you aren't. We've been busy, although its hard not to be with four kids. Of course the kids would probably say we haven't done enough, but that's because they're kids and always need something to do-unless I ask them to clean.

As I type, from the back patio where I've got my coffee and did my devotion, my youngest has come out to ask me random questions and proceed to pretend he doesn't know how to pronounce words. Don't ask, I really have no idea. He's 8 and he's Colin, enough said. The other day as we watched Tom & Jerry he asked if I'd ever noticed that Tom is big but has a little name and Jerry is small but has the bigger name. I hadn't. He then said, "Tom is big but has little ideas and Jerry is small but has big ones. Did you get that yet?" Man I love that kid, very astute.

I'm continuing on my path towards healthiness and eating right-much more fresh fruit and vegetables, avoiding preservatives (don't faint, I know!), and changing my diet in good but not rigid ways. The book Crazy Sexy Diet is phenomenal, I highly recommended it to anyone looking to change their health through their food. The author is smart and witty and has so been there and explains it all in great ways. I've gone from a preservative meat-loving queen to eating asparagus. I know!!! I'm also changing things up with my meds and exercising (okay for others it wouldn't be a lot, but for me its like the old cross-country days except I can't run anymore lol). I can feel the changes in my body and it feels pretty good.

I've finally figured out that because I am so open people often feel its okay to give advice, tell me what I'm doing wrong, etc. and its lead to me having way too many cooks in the kitchen. I've tried too hard to listen to everyone, I've felt pressured to do so (my own internal pressure), and am constantly feeling as if I don't measure up somewhere. I'm learning to live and be who God created me to be, to follow His prompts in my life and to not worry so much about the rest. I'm being me and there's so much freedom in that. I really cannot emphasize enough how much healing and growth have come my way and I thank God for it. He is good indeed.

On the yarn front I've been working away. My biggest project recently was kitchen towels and dishcloths and my first ever hot pad as part of a wedding gift for some friends. Unfortunately I forgot to get pictures! Other than that I've made a bunch of dishcloths, a bowl from plastic bags-must remember to post pics-and am working on a cover for my heating pad. I lost the cover for it somehow and had been using a pillowcase that was far too big until I realized that Hey! I could make a new one! Oh yeah! I hadn't knitted anything in a bit, and forgot briefly how to-hang on need to look up the correct term-cast off?, Yes!, cast off and that was unsettling. I've cast off so many times but simply couldn't remember. Thank goodness for the internets.

In June my husband and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary-where did the time go? Aren't we still in our 20's? We ended up doing a delicious dinner about a week after with the kids in Okoboji. We cooked together (I know! Only fourteen years to get us working together in the kitchen again), had some delicious wine (thanks mom and dad!), yummy food, and a lot of fun.

As for what it means to be married fourteen years, I give you this little anecdote: At a friends wedding we were dancing to some slow songs at the end, I couldn't remember the last time we'd danced together, and as we danced our boys came out on the dance floor. For two dances those boys just sort of hovered around us waiting anxiously to get to the pool, reminding us that we'd said 3 minutes until pool time. That's what happens when you've been married awhile and have kids. You dance with your kids hovering about and laugh at how funny it has to look and just feel blessed that you have each other and your kids and good senses of humor.