*squish*

Thanks to some crazy accident on 205, I pretty much missed my chiropractor’s appointment today. But we had 10 minutes, and she looked at my MRI with me, and showed me some things I wouldn’t have seen myself.

all that craziness about the C1 slipping out and rotating and cutting off nerve supply? The swelling in the back of my neck due to extreme muscle tension? severely pitched ear canals? It was all right there. Once she showed me, it was plain as day, and kind of shocking. There was also a spot, right in my first or second thoracic, that appears to be a slight tension deformation of the vertebra, enough to pinch off yet more nerves. I have straight-neck syndrome so severely that my vertebra are almost touching in the front – two of them appear nearly fused (but they’re not).

And no sign whatsoever of an inner ear problem 🙂

I can deal with structural issues. I can re-shape my spine (it’ll take a while, granted), reduce the swelling and get those muscles to just relax their darn selves. But inner ear issues… that wouldn’t be so easy. I’m relieved. And it was amazing for me to see, now with better trained eyes, just what I’ve done to my poor neck.

My treatment, until my rescheduled appointment, is to try to hang my head upside-down off the edge of the bed to open up the front of my neck. We’ll see if I can; it’ll likely get me spinning but I finally see an end in sight for that as well. There just wasn’t any syndrome whose symptoms aligned with mine – this appears to be all purely mechanical. I’m pretty stoked. I hope that’s the case.

I’ve got the follow-up with the ENT in two weeks, and we’ll see what she says, too. I think if I can recognize the twist in my spine, the squished nerves, the overall mess that is the right side of my neck, then she will too. I wish I could show you too, but my docs have my MRI disks! 😉

Oh – and it appears that the scar tissue in my brain is in the mid-brain, not the frontal lobe – so if it is actually scar tissue, it would have been caused by mental/emotional trauma, not physical. That I’ll ask my other doctor as well. It’s really hard for me to understand just exactly where it is in the grand scheme of the brain.

Who knew seeing inside yourself was so fun?

I keep getting phone messages from the first doc I went to (in September) wanting me to get blood work – how do I tell her I never want to go to her office again because she just wants to shove drugs in me? She wanted to treat this problem with painkillers. Can you imagine? Ugh. That’s why I’ve been to so many docs at this point… her approach is contrary to everything I want out of this treatment.

Well, off to tend my plants, and maybe hang upside down a little 🙂

First, a confession

I have a slight social phobia. By slight I mean I have an enormously hard time being around people. Especially people I know. That doesn’t make any sense, does it? I know. Strangers I can deal with because mostly I don’t have to make eye contact or talk to them. People I know.. well, that’s anyone reading this, I guess, I have a harder time with because I always feel that I’m somehow letting y’all down when I’m around, like I’m a big drag.

Not that my upbringing conditioned me at all! Geez.

Tonight, I’m too fat to leave the house. I saw myself in the mirror as I changed to leave for knit night, and got too depressed, so now I’m sitting on the floor typing. That’ll solve it. I think I got spoiled in my apartment having mirrors that only showed from the waist up, at least I couldn’t dwell on what I couldn’t see, right?

so that’s my general predicament. If I’m not actually feeling physically drained (which has been the case quite often recently), usually I still can’t bring myself to leave the house. It’s just so much fun, let me tell you. Tried a shrink, that didn’t help much. But I did stop having the gory accident visions.

So, I guess what I’m saying is I’m sorry I’m not at knit night tonight. Part of me really wants to be there, but a much larger part of me won’t let me go. It’s something I live with every damn day. I’ve got to tell you I would love to know what it’s like to be able to talk to people and relate in a normal healthy way. It was easier when I was closer to average size and working out all the time. Now… not so much. So here I sit. Thanks mom.

In other news, in case you were wondering, there is in fact a brain in my head, and eyeballs too. What there isn’t, though, is any abnormal swelling or deposits that would indicate that my vertigo symptoms are actually related to my inner ear (this is very good news). I haven’t gotten the ‘official’ report, because my ENT’s office scheduled me with the wrong doctor (seriously!) so I haven’t seen mine for the follow up. But I have looked at the MRI results, read the technician’s notes, and asked my chiropractor to ‘decode’ some of the things I didn’t understand. The worst of it looks to be (possibly, won’t know till I talk to the ENT) some scar tissue in my frontal lobe and some sinus buildup. All-in-all, not bad. MRIs are really odd. The machine sounds like mid-ship on a cruise vessel.

So far, of the three docs I’ve now seen about this, the idea that this is a mechanically triggered vertigo seems to be the closest to my symptoms. (the ENT suggested that I had Meniere’s, but there’s no way I could dance on one leg with my eyes closed if that were the case. The GP just wanted to give me drugs, no diagnosis needed.) The vertigo hasn’t totally gone away, naturally, but after my last few neck adjustments I can sleep flat for the first time in years. I look forward to the day when I can once again look up at the stars 🙂 I know I can dance now, because I went dancing a couple of weekends ago. It was great!

I do miss my muscles. Since being on the weight restriction, my body has turned to a pile of goo. It’s terrible. I tried to pick up a 50lb sack of compost and I couldn’t lift it 🙁 I had to have V-man pick it up. That does not help the ego. It does help my shoulder muscle, though, which is slowly knitting itself back together. See? i can talk about knitting on my blog! Ha! I also haven’t dislocated either of my shoulders now in several weeks – I really am making progress. You have to lose to gain sometimes, I guess. Maybe when I get back in the gym and stop eating so much I’ll lose the newly-converted-to-fat-muscle before I gain new muscle, and get to be a normal size. Yeah right.

I have been doing some fibery things, though I’ve been largely feeling uninspired by everything. I got a bag of scrap roving that a co-worker had bought from Sheep Shed: it’s a Brown Sheep roving, so it’s mohair and wool, but it’s unblended.

Bag o' wool

It spun up ok, but the yarn is not plied too well (thanks mostly to distraction) and the singles aren’t even. Because the fiber wasn’t blended, there were several areas where the mohair content was higher than the wool and vice versa; that changed the ease of spinning and other fun things. The brown fibers are all wool and the white is mohair. Weird. The mohair actually came off in clumps at some points, even after drafting!

four ounces looks like a lot.

So I’m going to go over to my co-worker’s house and try out her drum carder on the rest of it to see if I have better luck. It’s very soft, and I love the color, so I’m not entirely displeased with it 🙂 I might just make a hat out of it.

Well, it’s shower time, and V-man just got home with a headache, so I guess I need to go play nurse!

Ok, a few tidbits.

So here’s just a smattering of what I’ve been up to recently.

Vic's fleece hat of doom Rachel's Christmas blankie - all sewn up Christmas Party dress B&W - done V-man's big ol' socks - too big for blocker Fabulous magic hats make your problems go away Socktopus! Big and Boring - About a third done... Assorted coasters Best gingersnaps I ever made. Happy birfday to me - carrot cake

All spun up Handspun for Vic On the plying bobbin

And boy, is there ever more than that… woo. I didn’t document a lot of what I’ve been up to these past few months! But there will be more. Oh, yes, there will be more.

i can explain!!

Summer turns to fall, Fall into winter, and I’m finally (kind of?) above water again. This has been a trying few months, to say the least.

For a while I was pretty sick from a reaction to some shots I got… and then I got hit with a pretty serious case of the blues (likely from one of the shots). I couldn’t shake it for a while, and I was just about at wits’ end there for a bit. I didn’t really want to talk to anybody or do anything. Luckily along came a gym membership – a fabulous birthday present – and that helped. Then came ‘the first adjustment’.

The regular workouts helped to highlight that those pesky pains in my left arm weren’t gone. Having received the wrong sort of treatment from the first doc, I decided to go to a chiropractor instead. Well, let’s just say things were much, much worse than the first doc had diagnosed. My first vertebra had slipped out from under my head and was working in tandem with a seriously injured shoulder muscle to cut off blood supply and all nerves to my left arm and ribs. Awesome! Needless to say, the last month has been frought with pain, overall discomfort and a complete lack of concentration as my body was being put back together. Throw two weeks of being snowed in in there, and I was one big ol’ mess by New Year’s.

I am getting better, slowly. Despite the pain, I’m glad I went for a second opinion. I was able to finally go back to the gym for the first time in over a month today, and it felt wonderful. I’ve got a long way to go (I’m still on a 5-lb weight restriction, but seriously – I have to do laundry here!), but I’m on the way.

I have kept busy – though not with knitting, mostly. I’ve been sewing up a storm, and making a lot of other little crafty things. I’ve knit maybe three things since my last entry. A lot changes when your doc says you can’t carry a knitting bag! I can’t carry anything actually. But I still do, because I’m a bad kid.

I will try to update with photos on the morrow… I have a couple hundred to upload!

🙂

It’s never too early

For your first knitting lesson.

Rachael, meet Malabrigo.

Niece V1

(the photo is dark because I didn’t want to bother her with the flash)

Somehow she’s a little less troll-like than a lot of newborns I’ve seen. Probably the eyes shut and being skin-colored instead of weird red is part of it. I dunno. She doesn’t look like either of her parents yet… but then, this is as close as I got. Apparently she already has her dad’s appetite, though!

I can has niece now!

My neice, Rachel, was just born! so new we don’t know weight or length yet. I’ll be visiting today I’m sure, and will update… I don’t know if I’ll post pics, because to me newborns are kinda creepy looking. She’ll get cute in a few months though, and then I get to play dress-up with her! muah hah hah….

rejoining reality

A little, at least!

We are all moved. Things aren’t totally perfect yet; we have a few boxes yet to unpack, and we haven’t painted any of the bathrooms yet. But overall, we’re in! A little sneak peak..

Sitting area Bedroom The backyard Yarn wall Beading and metalsmithing areas

Woo!

My office is pretty awesome. I managed to fit all of my yarn, beading stuff, metalsmithing stuff, sewing and fabric and com puter and office-y and all of my other craft stuff into this one little room. And there’s still more room in there! Wicked. The only thing that isn’t in there is my spinning wheel and fiber – that’s all in the living room, right when you walk in the front door.

I’m so flipping exhausted from the move. Sleeping will be pretty nice this weekend, if I manage to get some!

And I have been knitting! My as-of-this-moment-sleeveless sweater has just been dubbed Grape Squishy.Grape Squishy - front done

And a back detail, with the little extra lace at the back neck:

Grape Squishy - back done

It’s done in Malabrigo worsted (squishy) in the Velvet Grapes color (grape). Hence the name, yadda yadda. Dollar-twenty-five please, thankyoucomeagain.

Obviously the body is done. I was going to do the button bands next, but I decided to hold off and just go for the sleeves next. So far they’re four inches of ribbing – not exactly thrilling blog fodder, so I haven’t photographed them yet. They’ll have the same simple lace pattern up the center. I found fabulous buttons for it while I was in Seattle – I can’t wait to wear it! Not to mention it’s taking so little yarn – the body there took about 2-2/3 balls of yarn, and I bought seven total. So I should have enough left over for a matching hat and gloves! It’s so exciting to be knitting again.

I went to the Knit and Crochet Show for work today. It was a lot smaller than I’d expected – but then the only knitting show I’ve been to has been stitches! It was fun, though, to see so much fiber. More fiber than yarn I think. I wasn’t going to buy anything (what with OFFF in two weeks), but I did plunk down a little dough for some lovely Crown Mountain rovings. But that’s all for now. I especially don’t need any more yarn. Seriously. But I actually have to get my spin on if I’m going to let myself buy more spinning fiber!

I think I figured out my spinning issue, possibly – my wheel and its bits are really too lightweight for what I’m trying to do with it. I’m going to try weighting my bobbins and possibly the wheel itself; I’m also planning on getting some plying bobbins to see if that fixes some of my stupid. But we’ll see. If all goes well, i’m going to truck my wheel a whole five houses down to visit Alison and see if she can get me going.

Well, now I must be off to bed. V-man and I bought a bunch of gardening tools tonight, and tomorrow we will wage war on the overgrown yard from hell!

All of this, of course, barring an arrival – my not really sis in law is in labor, and she’s expected to pop tomorrow! We’ll see how Rachel feels about her inevitable entrance into the world. But our cell phones are on, and no definite plans were made, so whenever she’s here we’ll be there! Total craziness.

I’m not dead yet!

Ugh. I’ve just been in internet limbo for a few weeks 🙂

This is bittersweet for me. This will be the last post I make from my apartment. There is no furniture left. Most of the pictures are off the wall. All that’s left is to clean and pick up the last little bits of my life that aren’t categorized.

I have my stereo here still. That’s about it. My yarn has been in boxes in the garage for three weeks. I haven’t knit since I came back from the desert. Well.. except for four rows of a cardigan I started last week. I’m trying, you know?

Somehow this little apartment still feels like home. There’s nothing here, but it’s still mine. For the next few days.

This is really surreal.

I won’t be at knit night this week, as I’m leaving Thursday for a long weekend in Seattle. But I’ll be back, oh yes, I’ll be back… I miss it too much!

ok, back to cleaning…

Woe woe whoa

Goodness gracious. I got back from vacation and hit the ground running.

But let’s back up a bit.

Before we left for the desert, as in, the day before, V-man noshed on a fork and broke four teeth. He ended up having to get some emergency dental work done. Two root canals and five caps later, he had a big, painful, totally re-set lower jaw. Mmm, painkillers before a long drive! Woot.

When we got back, I quit the Saturday market and I put all of my stuff in storage. There’s a lot of it actually…. and naturally, no fanfare or ‘sorry to see you go’ when I handed them my resignation slip. Who cares, right? But that’s over. My weekends are mine. (sorta) I applied for the Lake Oswego market that happens in early fall, but I got turned down. My business has enough to cover one more monthly payment on my credit card – that’s it. I don’t know what I’m going to do there. (anybody need some jewelry?)

Since the trip, I haven’t had time to knit. At all. I literally haven’t picked up needles besides for one swatch at work in the past two weeks.

So after we got back from the storage place, going to see a loan guy, and going to see a house, we settled in for the night. We apparently slept right through V-man’s car getting broken into in my parking lot. They got his iPod, luckily they didn’t notice the folders containing our credit reports and all our financial information. But they used a crowbar on the windowframe and bent it all crazy. His leather and the inside of the door were damaged. It’s been two weeks and he still doesn’t have his car back. He’s been in a gaz guzzling Focus, so I’ve been driving us around – over 600 miles since last Wednesday. See why nobody sees me anymore?

Work was a total bizznatch for a few weeks. Luckily, the panic has now subsided, but not before I put in 18 hours of unpaid overtime. I was so busy that during the speed knitter’s visit, I was only able to spare about three minutes to say hello and have a quick chat with her. I didn’t go to her event at the library or partake in any of the other things she did at KP because I was so busy I couldn’t spare even five more minutes. I didn’t even eat for most of the last week – I didn’t have time.

So that house we had looked at the day before V-man’s car got smashed? It was awesome. Huge, five bedrooms, big garage, amazing porch and backyard, even a workshop. We loved it. We were the first ones to inquire – I called them hours after they listed the house. We quickly scrambled to get our applications done and the application fee set aside – we were the first ones! We knew we had it!

So I called last Monday to make sure they’d received our apps.

“The owner has decided to let the previous tenants stay. Sorry, you’ll have to keep looking…”

So we lost the house. V-man’s teeth were busted. V-man’s car was busted. I lost my business. All in the span of a week.

But what can you do? We knew we had a limited time to get things in action. So within a half an hour of getting the rug pulled out from under us, we had an appointment to see another house. We saw it. There was nothing wrong with it, but it just wasn’t right. Out of desparation, we set up an application appointment. But the next morning, we both had reservations… so I asked if I could just give it one more try.

I pulled up Craigslist, and called a few places. Some totally turned out to be scams, some never got back to me. The one who did was in California. It totally sounded fake – but I decided to go look anyway. I liked what I saw in the photos and was intrigued. I went to see it last Wednesday night, alone. There was a for sale sign in the front yard and no one in the state to show me around inside. Totally sounds fake.

V-man was dubious too. It was out of our price range, and our scammy-senses were tingling. But we followed up anyway – it was such a pretty looking place. Since she was apparently trying to sell it, I decided on a good tactic to get us bumped in line – I told her we’d be interested in buying it. Not now, but once he’s done with school and we have the down payment. That piqued her interest.

A long, hectic and anxious weekend followed. I put in my 30 days’ notice at my apartment complex, because no matter what, we needed to move. Strange threads of communication with the owner of the house, nervousness about strange business practices and uncomfortable payment arrangements…. we were sick with nervousness. Not to mention Vic had a meeting scheduled with the head honcho of his company yesterday to talk about things, and immediately thereafter had to get the permanent caps put on his teeth. Monday came and the house owner was getting restless. did we want it or not? there’s a whole waiting list here… Our bank was not cooperating. More nervousness. More anxiety. Just sick with worry.

Tuesday I went down to LO after work to sign some papers and get some things settled.

V-man’s meeting with the boss-man? He got a promotion. Like a big promotion. Like an “I’m the boss now” promotion. His new teeth look perfect (they used to be crooked!) And the house?

We got our keys. We have our own house now!

Our first step into our house!

we took our first step into our life together.

😀

(awesome p.s….. V-man’s dad, as a housewarming gift, just bought us a big grill! Housewarming bbq party forthcoming :))

(pps – it’ll have to be soon, because only a couple weeks after we’re settled in, V-man is gone for two weeks in california to meet his new employees. Woo! House to myself! I will be having spinning/knitting parties – we have tons of room here! And my co-worker lives right across the street! Hah, sucker!)

more than meets the eye

Well, got back this afternoon from four (well, really two and two halves) days in the desert. And I must say, anyone who thinks that going to the desert in July is crazy, is crazy!

We had one of the best little vacations ever. It was relaxing, allowed us to focus on the here and now and just forget everything else. Because let me tell you, when you’re hiking along a cliff with nothing but aluminum poles to keep you steady, you had better not have another damn thing on your mind.

The drive out there was great. We rocked out to 80’s power pop and The Eagles (BEST music when you’re in the high desert, it just suddenly makes sense). We saw the lush green of the Cascades give way to the yellow and green-gray that was to be our scenery for the weekend.

Contrast

I was amazed at how people lived in this area. There was hardly a parcel of land off highway 26 that didn’t have some signs of ownership, yet the houses were so spread out they could easily have been as far apart as Beaverton and downtown PDX. I wonder how they make a living, and how they stay fed out here where there is just nothing.

The road winds east

We passed through a few small towns that hardly seemed alive. Besides cars on the road, Madras and Warm Springs could have been ghost towns. Prineville really wasn’t much different. It seemed so depressed… nearly every other property appeared to be shut down, abandoned or for sale.

A town! Holy carp!

We were happy to at least give a little back to the local economy.

When we got to the campsite, we had about an hour and a half of light left. And immediately upon unpacking the tent, we noticed a problem. One of those this-will-end-our-vacation problems. But little did V-man know that me and McGyver are like BFFs. And stuff. Because thanks to my pocket knife and Duct tape, I was able to turn a completely destroyed tent pole into a functional piece! Voila!

The campsite

Our tent is only a few inches larger than our bed. This is ok with us.. we don’t need much room. As you can see, ‘all our gear’ doesn’t amount to much. We have a double-thickness air mattress, and it was WONDERFUL. We slept amazingly well the whole time. And that’s really what it’s all about, no? We got wonderful sleeping bags which were comfortable in all temperatures.

We got plenty of activity in. I was amazed at how effortlessly we fell into routine; we awoke, started breakfast (he cooked and I prepared), washed all of the dishes (he washed, I dried), cleaned up the campsite, changed and packed our packs and headed out. There was a very natural synergy in the simplicity of our actions there. We had little, and so had little to worry about. Very basic and simple. We ate when we were hungry, drank whether we were thirsty or not. We rested in the shade and played in the sun. We got dirty, we got clean, we ate dinner and we slept. Our world was reduced to just a few simple options and it felt right. There was no stress there.

We went on a great hike on Saturday – five miles in 90-95 degree heat with little shade on a steep, narrow and winding trail. But we had packs, sunscreen, and hiking poles. Life was good.
Off to conquer the canyons
The terrain was amazing.
Scrub and red earth
And the view was spectacular.
The Reservior from the trail
We also enjoyed a (mostly) relaxing few hours out on our little raft.
Always knitting.
I was able to find a few rocks, though I was pretty tired and I didn’t want to venture out on my own in those conditions. But all in all, it was a great time. I really want to go back.
***

What truly amazed me, though, was the sharp contrast between us and the other campers there (not all of them, I’m sure, but certainly the ones within earshot). I came to think of them as Suburban Barbarians. They fought, stressed, preened and complained, used up everything, and threw out the rest. Life was like some giant disposable playset to them. It was honestly disgusting to see how much of their stress they packed with them, and then just let it all out under the guise of ‘family fun’. Each day I would see them hauling kitchen trash bags full of disposable life, lighting fires that they didn’t tend, and going inside their deluxe RVs to nuke their ‘roughin’ it’ food. I mean, really, are microwave meals and fruit loops really ‘relaxing’ foods? Vic and I couldn’t even fill one plastic grocery bag with trash before we left. Half the reason there was anything in it at all was because we had eggshells and coffee grounds to deal with. Seeing the actions of all of these Burbarians made us realize just how green our lifestyle is. Truly amazing. And even we know we could be greener.

What I did see played out before me is the careful dance of consumerism. All of our comforts are conveniently distributed in disposable containers. Buy more disposable things, waste less of your precious time! Never mind the impact – if it doesn’t impact you, there is no impact, right?

And no, it’s not like we’re not consumers either. But we as consumers have a great choice. Vic and I choose to buy re-usable items – things that may need replacing after years of use, but with care will last us through many seasons. Plastic plates and washcloths instead of paper plates and paper towels. We choose foods and products that have less packaging, less waste. Bulk bags of trail mix and eggs in recyclable paper cartons; a five-gallon water jug instead of two cases of bottles. It doesn’t cost us any less, and in some cases it may cost a little more. But that five-gallon jug, at $8, may last us ten years. The trail mix will last a week, with only one bag to show for it. It’s all the little things, and they add up. It just makes sense to be green, to be good stewards of our earth. And considering that we were in the desert in July to be closer to nature, we made the rash assumption that others might share that viewpoint. As it turns out, no one seems to be able to step outside their stressful, angsty little comfort zone and get a litte more mileage out of their effort. No, ‘vacation’ must mean a chance to bring it all with you but let someone else clean up your mess. It’s just sad. But Vic and I will continue to be as green as we can be, in hopes that we might make up a little for the actions of others.

This little foray into the desert showed me many things. One may look at the desert and think it to be devoid of life. Dead. But no – it is alive. So fully alive that it’s almost unbelievable. All of these things survive with less. Less water, less shelter, fewer food sources. But they thrive. Why? Because they have adapted to living with less. Why can’t we do the same?