Wednesday, September 30, 2020

To the Dreaded Doctor I Go!

 Well, hello friends! How are you? We are tootling along okay here in our little corner of the planet. But tomorrow ... oh, tomorrow!! Tomorrow will be quite awful. Tomorrow:

Most of you know what that means. And what follows the day after! Adam says a colonoscopy just feels like a very nice nap. I'm hoping!

I wove a scarf using some of my newly handspun yarn! The warp yarn is a store-bought acrylic (for strength under the warp tension), and the weft yarn is homespun.
The little lady below is an treetop Christmas angel. She's very old. A dear friend asked me if I could give her (I'm calling her Angela) a serious make-over, so I started that project today. I'll have a youtube video about that later.
Adam is trying so hard to cook for my health. I'm pre-diabetic. Long-grain brown rice. Lots of fruits, veggies, and lean meats. No more ice cream in the evenings!
For at least one meal each day I eat an assortment of some of these: prunes, crackers/cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, celery with PB, natural applesauce, walnuts, raw carrots. No more sweet drinks or juice. I'm drinking my herbal tea each day.

Here's the blue/pink yarn I spun.

Back before my doctor read me the riot act about my eating habits, back when we were still eating naughty ...

bread pudding and rum sauce for dinner ~

and a pumpkin danish from the bakery in town ~

No more of that!

The other day I was cleaning out an old purse, and I found some items I'd forgotten I'd left in there. One was a very precious thing, a small photo of my brother and me, taken on the seawall steps leading into Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. I was 5 years old.

My mother gave me that short haircut. We lived there for only one year. I think this photo was taken by a couple who babysat Marshall and me for the weekend while my parents traveled somewhere. The steps are still there, just the same.

One more yarn photo. I think it's the prettiest one so far.

If you haven't seen my recent youtube videos, here are a few. Some are longer and chatty, some are shorter. Feel free to fast forward through any boring parts! Spinning is so exciting right now, it's hard for me to do anything else!
This is about making herbal tea:

This is about my brand new spinning wheel that I was able to buy!!

This is a long chatty video about lots of things, but mostly finishing handspun yarn:

Thanks, dear friends. I have lots of various medical things coming up, and will be in and out of blogland 😁 Subscribe to my youtube channel, if you like, and you might see me over there! 
Much love ~

Monday, September 21, 2020

"Thou Knowest, O Lord"

 Among other things, these last six months have forced many of us to focus on self-care. You know ... self-care? That thing that mothers don't do for decades while they're caring for everyone else? And then they turn 50-something and realize, "Oh, duh. I better do something about myself." Yeah ... that!

You will be glad to know that I finally did something my kids have been telling me to do for years: I got a therapist. 'Tis true, I need somebody to unload on.😁 She's great, about my age, steady and helpful, professional and knowledgeable. I seem to be bubbling up out of the depression that has kept me from being able to do many things I used to love doing. After that I will need to grapple with the real nemesis: anxiety.

I say all this only because I wonder if some  of you also need to do this, and are putting it off, or you tend not to talk about it. But at some point, lack of self-care can produce real problems in life, and you stop functioning. One more stress (in my case, Adam's most recent illness), and it's too much.

One of the first things she told me to do was to start taking care of my own health. I think of myself as a selfish person (basically, aren't we all?), so it's odd to hear that I've been neglecting myself in my caring for others. So ... I scheduled a check up with my primary care, Cindy, a P.A. I wanted referrals to get a mammogram and  a colonoscopy. Cindy's office said I had to come in, to "re-establish patient care," because she hadn't seen me in six years. I went in then because of a horrible bee sting that made my face swell up, remember?

I went to Cindy. I got a flu shot, an EKG, and had 2.5 vials of blood drawn. Got my 2 referrals started. She wants me back after they're done, for a good ol' physical exam. Ugh. The old adage is true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I've watched my mother recover from colon cancer surgery. I want prevention.

All that to say: We are aging. We are anxious. My therapist says women my age know they should be looking at the future and making plans for their financial well-being and other kinds as well, but instead we tend to avert our eyes. We don't want to think of the years of illness, lack of funds, dependency, decline. But that's just a lack of self-care.

We all want security, which is a false hope. Just when you think you've secured your safety, Life can jump up and slap you with ... a pandemic, an accident, an unexpected loss. It's good to plan, to be ready, to do your best. It's not good to be anxious.

I was reminded yesterday of the prophet's words when God asked him the impossible: "Can these bones live?" (Ezekiel 37) He replied to God, "Thou knowest, O Lord." That's a safe answer to life's future unknowns. Thou knowest.

When anxiety over my future jumps up and snatches me by the throat, and I ask, "Will everything be alright?" I'm going to start answering, "Thou knowest, O Lord." It's enough that God knows. It may not cure my anxiety, but it is a solid answer, which is a comfort.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

And Now We Are Old People, Going to the Doctors

 I feel like I woke up a couple of months ago and discovered that Adam and I are now people who spend several days each week going to various doctors. How did THAT happen? We have four ... count them, four ... doctor appointments this week. Yikes!

Let me catch you up, since I've been a negligent blogger:

1. Baby chicks are doing well. Growing and now in the orchard with the other birds. And Adam is building a new laying house for them since the other one was literally disintegrating before our eyes. Even the hens were nervous standing on it, and they only weigh a few pounds.

2. I'm spinning! My wheel (as we now know) is a piece of historical rubbish, so I'm borrowing a wheel from a spinning friend ... who are the most lovely friends. And yes, the spinning is going better!

3. We went back to the farmer's market and it was a great day! I'm painting again because I sold cards.

4. Adam is having good and not-so-good days. His immuno-suppressant medication is being increased and his prednisone is being decreased. His body is trying hard to adapt to this.

He's still cooking some yummy food. That's nachos he made a few days ago with some smoky pork roast. He's smoking another one today on the backporch, and that, combined with the cool 70 degree air outside, makes my heart flutter with feelings of fall. Or as the young folk say these days, "I'm feeling all the feels."

Today we're driving to Oriental to meet up with an old college friend I haven't seen in over 35 years. Then ... it's off to the doctors' offices this afternoon. Sigh. 

Here's my latest video of the lovely merino wool roving that came in the mail, and what I did with it!

I'll end with the yarn I just spun this morning. Pom Pom, it makes me think of you and all your pretty yarn for knitting! Have you ever thought of making it yourself?

Much love to you all! ENJOY your fall day, if your day feels like fall.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

We're Under 90!

"Under 90 what?" you ask.

Under 90 degrees! Hooray! Actually, our highs all this week are mid 80s, and next Monday the high temperature will be 81. What a relief! 

The chickens are glad too. It's been hot out there. Henny Penny is still in the coop with the two babies. She is unwilling to leave them, and they are too young to be in the pen. They'll be 2 weeks tomorrow.

See that cute stubby little tail? And  also on the black one by the post? And see how the wing feathers go almost all the way back to the tail? Both those things tell me that both these chicks are likely females -- pullets. That's good news! Two more egg-layers!

Adam   s  l  o  w  c  o  o  k  e  d    a Boston butt pork roast for Labor Day lunch on the grill.

It was SO good. That rub on the outside was delicious. We paired it with cole slaw, corn, and mashed potatoes.

He doesn't have lots of energy these days, but one day this past week he felt good enough to start making some concrete leaves, using elephant ear leaves as the molds. He did this a few years ago, remember? That's over on the Red Robin Farm blog.

We've been taking it easy. Adam has good days and bad days ... more good than bad, I'm happy to say. We're able to get the important things done, and some things have to be left to the wayside, saved for later, and that's okay. It's one of those periods in life when one must attend to what's important, and his health is important.

I've been spending an inordinate amount of time taking and editing videos for my new youtube channel, "M.K. Christiansen" The editing process is full of mistakes and confusion, haha! Slowly, it will improve. Anyway, here's one about making shampoo bars (which are great!):

And here's the most recent, and most fraught-with-difficulty video, about how I try to get back into combing and spinning alpaca fleece. What a comedy of errors that has been!

Some of you, I know, are way too busy to sit through these things. But if you've broken your leg, or are otherwise laid up in bed, and are sick of the shows on Netflix, let me entertain you, haha!

My younger daughter has requested I make her a scarf with the alpaca yarn, so now I have a purpose. That always keeps me going!

Much love, all. Take care out there in the crazy world.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Managing Hens

 Hens! They are crazy. I'm fortunate enough to have hens that want to be mamas -- they want to be broody and set a clutch of eggs for 21 days and the commit to a bunch of air-headed baby chicks for weeks. 

Henny Penny is the head mama hen right now. She's the best mama; other hens will give up on a clutch of eggs after a week or two, but not Henny Penny! We started with eleven eggs, but to be honest I didn't know if Roo-Roo, our young rooster, was doing his job ... were those eggs fertilized? It turns out only two of them were!

Four other hens decided they wanted to be broody too -- four! Then hunkered down with Henny Penny in the box, piled on top of each other, and piled on top of those 11 eggs. It was a circus. Hens stop laying eggs when they are broody, so ... well, if you watch the video below, you'll see. If you advance to 3:45 minutes in, you'll skip straight to the chicken part:

Don't forget to "like" the video, and click on "Subscribe" and on the bell, so you can see all the videos on my channel -- if you like. 

Happy Friday, all!

Would You Like the Most Luscious Balm in the World?

 That's quite a promise! I do believe in my "Bee Balm." I've been making this thick lotion for over ten years now. I use it twice a day as my facial moisturizer; it's also amazing on any dry skin -- elbows, feet, fingers -- anything that suffers in dry, winter weather. 

My latest Youtube video is about this Bee Balm.

Beau makes a lovely appearance, as you can see. We chat about the value of natural ingredients in skin care and you learn a bit about my grandmother.

I hope you enjoy! Please do gather ingredients and make this balm at home. You will not regret it. And if you don't have grapefruit essential oil, another oil will do -- lavender is fine. Tea tree would be good too, although not as nice-smelling.

Love to all! Don't forget to "like" and subscribe, if you feel inclined.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Techy Stuff is HARD!

 Hello, friends! If you are of a certain age close to my certain age, you know how challenging it is to learn new techy stuff. I'm not sure why ... but I decided that my long-neglected "M.K. Christiansen" youtube channel needed an electric jolt to bring it back to life. 😁I've been an amateur youtuber at best -- no bells and whistles on my videos. Well! All that has changed (a bit). Adam downloaded some editing software, and 24 hours (and a headache) later ... TADA! Better, funner videos!

There's pretty intro music, and fades from one clip to the next. 15 minutes of fun in my studio. It almost makes sense! I hope you enjoy it -- a bit of sewing woolen vests, a bit of alpaca fleece (also long-neglected), and a bit of watercolor commentary. There will be more to come.

If you are willing, please go "like" the video. (It's a 'thumb's up' sign under the video.) And if you would, click on the red Subscribe button. It will not pester you at all, but it helps me as I try to revive this little project. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Here's to Happier Days!

 Two days away from Facebook has been a pleasant, healing thing. It takes me about two minutes to check a few groups I like for new posts, and maybe look in on a friend or two's pages for anything new. I still enjoy reading my friends' comments on pictures I post there.

Another friend mentioned privately that she's deactivating her account, and several of you commented on my last post that you've also left Facebook. I'm heading over to Instagram for my daily "social media" scrolling fix, haha. Instagram is a happier place and doesn't allow for threads of conversation. 

I've caught up on my reading of your blogs! Yay! And I've pondered getting back into spinning. Yes! How far have I gotten in that? Well, I took the big black bag of dark brown alpaca fleece and put it into the freezer. It has old mouse poop all through it, and I figured if I froze it, I might easily shake most of the poop out. Can you believe that mouse poop has kept me from spinning for over 2 years? Actually, that's not true. Not knowing what to do with the yarn I make is what's keeping me from spinning.

I want to order some gorgeous, brightly-colored rolags from some lovely sheep farm, and spin with it. It's already clean. However, I do enjoy combing and dizzing the fleece. I need fleece that's clean, dyed, but not otherwise processed.

Adam made bread last night.

He didn't sleep well. His Cellcept has been steeply increased. (People recovering from a kidney transplant take about 700 mg/day. He takes 3000 right now. Might get increased again.) The doctor is trying to taper down his prednisone dosage. Yesterday afternoon he said he felt better than he had in a while -- less exhausted. So we went for a walk. That didn't last long! He wore out again. This morning (after little sleep) he says he feels ill inside himself again. This is an up-and-down disease.

So today I'm labeling soap, examining that fleece, perhaps knitting, making lunch, doing laundry, and taking a nap. Throw some youtube channels in there too. I won't be painting cards; I have too many cards, and nobody's buying them right now, so I'll stop for a bit. Back to the farmer's market (hopefully) in a few weeks, and maybe that'll help with sales.

I've started putting a sort of watermark on my photos of art. 
Have a lovely day, all! May you find peace and joy in the day!