Wednesday, October 31, 2007

First of all, my brother's doing a lot better. He should make a full recovery and I UPS'd his care package yesterday.

I got a response to my RH Lindsay fan mail. In part, it reads: "well thanks for the kudos - not sure we've ever received a letter quite like this!" -grin- I'm glad I wrote it.

Today was a pretty good day for me. The snack machines look great, deliveries were all timely Since the sandwich guy had been getting a little wierd even for me, I had Ron get it Monday. The delivery guy was fairly distraught. Good/bad? I don't know. Anyway, let's hope he goes back on his meds or whatever. Our milk delivery went great.

A couple weeks ago, I started bagging up Halloween candy. Then it hit me, why just give it to trick-or-treaters? I started bagging some up for other people, Metrolift drivers, delivery people, etc. It's been extremely popular with UPS delivery people, for instance. I'm going to keep doing it. Everyone loves it and it really brightens a lot of days.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

So far, so good!

Here's an article about my brother: http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071027/NEWS01/710270339/1010

He may lose the leg, we're not sure, but he has a lot of freinds keeping him company. I'm working up a care package.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Phone call

I assigned my sister a sprightly ringtone when I set up my phone book. When I hear the tune, I know it's her.

The first time she called me in the middle of a week, instead of "our" time on a Sunday afternoon, she'd been in an awful car wreck that totalled her minivan. Sue and her son were OK, thank God.

When the phone rang today I thought "Uh, oh." I was right. She was OK, her husband, kids, and pets are OK, but our brother accidentally shot himself this morning.

Cole's the kind of guy who always happens to carry around a loaded gun. Sue yelled at him once for trying to take a gun into Grandma's nursing home. Today, he had the safety off and the gun in his pocket. He was trying to unlock a door and - oops.

My first, selfish, thought was "It could only happen in my life." I want a boring life with minimal drama and stable emotions. I never get it, it seems.

Good news, it was an accident. He made it into surgery. His on-again-off-again girlfriend is with him. He has friends who can care for his pets.

I hope he makes it. He may be a swamp-residing gun-collecting survivalist but he's my brother. Take care of him, Lord.

I sent a fan mail

I sent a fan mail to RH Lindsay. I thought you might get a kick out of it.

"
Dear RH Lindsay,
I just had to send you a note to tell me how much I love your company. I started with a very small order a few months ago. I think I got the Domestic 56 blend and some brown/black Romney-Perendale sliver. It was far better than I expected, the shipping was fast, and your prices are so reasonable!

When I was ready to branch out and try something exotic, there you were with the camel top, which I love too. It's so much fun to try something new at a very reasonable price. I read an article recently about spinning with camel top and a lot of it was devoted to pulling out the guard hairs and making sure it didn't have "scurf" (nasty skin flakes). I never had that problem with YOUR camel!

I kept ordering. Everything kept being wonderful. I told people about you on the Knitty message board, in the spinning forum, and on my blog. You guys are too good to keep secret.

Last week I ordered your scoured light gray merino wool (and some more domestic top). I hoped it would be good, but I just got some hand cards and I figured it I didn't like it I could dye it.

When I opened the box Wednesday, I felt like I won the fiber lottery! It is PERFECT. It is absolutely 1000% what I wanted and then some. The photo doesn't do it justice but that's fine by me. I'll be ordering more when I get paid.

I love your descriptions and "specs" most of all. It is virtually impossible to find a website that will tell you the micron counts of the fibers you're viewing! You constantly exceed my expectations.

Thank you! You'll be getting my next order soon!

Happily,
Heather B.
Houston, TX"

Spinning and fiber book reviews

Well, I promised book reviews and now you're going to get them. If you're interested, that is.

First book, best book: Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. The first book I got on spinning and by far the best. It really covers everything a beginner spinner needs to know. I don't want a spinning wheel, so why get a book devoted to operating one? "Spinning" covers spinning with a high-whorl top spindle. Only. Perfect. It's my go-to book when I have a question about S or Z twist. It has lots of pictures. She covers all the basics from carding to finishing, and has comprehensive coverage of commercial tops (already washed, carded products). An excellent book.

Books I didn't like as much tended very heavily towards selecting an entire fleece, checking for flaws, cleaning and carding. That's great if I can get an entire fleece, but I tend to get my fiber by the pound, off the internet.

My second favorite book actually doesn't have much to do with spinning. "In Sheep's Clothing: A Handspinner's Guide to Wool" kept popping up on my search engine every time I typed in wool spinning. Finally, I decided to give the book a try. It is awesome. It tells me exactly what I want to know, is a Romney-Perendale blend going to be lustrous? Bouncy? How durable is it? Micron count? It covers all that and more. I've got it by my bedside and I read it often. It is an awesome handbook to have if you're doing anything related to wool.

However, it only covered wool. "Beyond Wool" is a good book for covering finshed yarns. Silk and cotton yarns don't stretch, I learned. Still, I could use a little more.

Now we get to Teach Yourself Visually, Handspinning. I'm an optimist, so I'll cover the positives first: It has a spectacular coverage of "other" fibers in addition to wool. If I want to know about linen, angora, camel, mohair, anything, it's in there. Each fiber or fiber type has a couple of pages covering preparation, spinning, and finishing. Something I desperately needed. I needed it badly! It also covers some of the fiber properties as well.

Negatives, a lot of the book is very "gadget" oriented. I don't have a wheel, and I don't want one. It covered drum carders, automatic ball winders, and lots and lots on wheels. I'm low tech. I'm happy being low-tech. The hand card, niddy noddy, and nostepinne coverage was good.

Now we get to my gripe. The author mentions in the book that "The top whorl spindle is the most popular in America". So why IF ITS THE MOST POPULAR ALL THE PHOTOS AND DIRECTIONS ARE FOR BOTTOM-WHORL? They show a couple of top whorl spindles in a photo, "Types of spindles" and that's it. GRRRR. If I were trying to learn on a top-whorl spindle the book would be useless. Oh, that cooks my bacon. If you need a book with comprehensive fiber coverage, get Teach Yourself Visually Handspinning.

If you want to learn to spin, stay away from the book and get Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Spinning in the Old Way.

I hope you found this helpful.

Fibery goodness or "Don't tease the mohair!"

I had a really fun week. Monday, my Knitpicks needle points arrived. They're very nice and easy to use, but I have to admit, I've gotten very partial to my nickel-plated needle tips. I love my 60 inch cable - I use it for knitting "Happy", but it does pop out if I haul it up by the cable and flip it over. I'm careful picking it up. I figure it's the user. The cable goes right back in and doesn't act up unless I "pick and flip". I'm sure it wasn't designed for that. My bad, not theirs. Great system they've got (0ptions and Harmony). I love it love it love it.

I also got my goodies from the Woolery. Ooooh. I got 8 ounces of cotton-wool top. 8 ounces of Tussah silk noils - awesome for blending. Um. Cotton Hand cards. More on them later. And a learn to spin cotton kit. I've had some fun with that. I used the tahkli spindle to spin the tussah silk and the cotton, it works fantastic for both. It's my first bottom-whorl spindle and a great starter.

I also got my instant indigo, 4 ounces blending merino, and I think 3 ounces of unpicked raw mohair locks. The raw locks were only $1.14 an ounce, the fancy washed and picked locks cost $7 something an ounce. I decided for a $6 an ounce difference I could do it.

I kept thinking "Don't tease the mohair!" while I was teasing the locks apart and carefully placing them in a mesh bag. I washed them carefully in a 5-gallon designated "Laundry" bucket (it's great for hand-wash items) with a little Eucalan. I let them soak a good long while (I just ripped off the directions for cleaning raw wool and applied them to the mohair), pulled them out (all kinds of crud left behind in the bucket), and let them air dry. They look beautiful. I didn't hurt them, and since the zipper tab broke off that lingerie bag anyway, I'm going to use it for mohair storage. The great thing about using Eucalan is that it's no-rinse and it smells nice.

I've had a lot of fun the last couple days. I've been combining all kinds of exotic fibers. I started with the cotton hand combs (they are good for fine wools and exotic fibers like camel). I had a pound of camel, a half-pound of the newly-arrived tussah silk, and my blending merino from Paradise. Fun on a plate. It took me a few tries to get the hang of the hand cards but now they're doing what I want them to do. I spread a little silk, a little camel, and a little merino on the teeth of the cards. I do my carding motion. I pull them apart. I have a nice, well-mixed rolag (a roll of carded fiber). The rolags spin beautifully and the yarn looks great. I'm happy.

I did break the hook on my .6 Nordic spindle while I was playing with wool-cotton-silk rolags. I'm kind of bummed about that, but I can get a new one. I'm thinking I'd like to have a 1.5 ounce spindle with an attatched whorl. Kind of like my big Ashford student spindle. It's great. But it would need to have a notch, I love my notch.

But wait, there's more! I also ordered 2 pounds of mixed gray merino wool and some domestic blend top. I got 1.5 pounds of the top - and I love it. It's a cream with a little black, it looks very intriguing. I love the handle on it, it's soft and bouncy and fun and incredibly cheap at $6 a pound. I plan to use the indigo dye on it when I'm ready. OK. I like you this much, I got it from here: http://www.rhlindsaywool.com/products/index.htm I was delighted. It's like winning the fiber lotto. The gray wool is so much fun (but you'd hate it so don't buy any). I had a blast carding up a couple grams and it looks fantastic. But you'd hate it. You're allergic, remember.

I've been in fiber heaven. That's why I haven't been posting. I'm glad I'm the kind of woman who can have fun with $6 a pound wool, a hand spindle, and the Sci-Fi channel.

It's awesome to marry a blind man

When it comes to home decor, marry a blind man. It's awesome.

Wednesday we had Rick, the electrician, come out to install our ceiling fan. It took a little while but it looks awesome, the high setting is like a wind tunnel, and it does a great job of blowing the warm air down from the ceiling like Ron had hoped.

We even came up with a barter arrangement for Rick. We're going to loan him (if he gets his partner to agree) Henry the stuffed bear. The large, dead, brown bear we have displayed in our "foyer"? That bear. He's going to a party.

Then, he'll help us install another ceiling fan in the master bedroom (or mistress bedroom, in my case :-P ), for a discount. Sounds good to me. I think he'll take good care of Henry.

Ron just came home from work. "I had a Heather-free day". He's laughing. Hmmm.

The ceiling fan is a "Transitional" design. Hunter-Douglas Redington 4. We went with Rosewood (you get a choice) and Stainless. NICE.

Money well spent.

Junk food business

I had posted since my last one, but Blogger "Acked" on it. I'm going to try to dig it out of my archives in a bit.

Anyway, BUSY BUSY BUSY at work for me. Monday, up at 3 AM. Receive the VSA order (technically they're Vistar but when you've called them VSA for years it's tough to break the habit), check. All my snacks had good codes and were exactly what I'd ordered (that's where I earn my $700 a month). Ron even got his runts. Long story, the frozen lemon pound cake "singles" were delicious, he felt (I saw yellow #5 on the label and said Hell no, I won't eat it). It had a couple of "runts" in the package, dramatically smaller servings. So we started calling the whole thing "Runts". So, it isn't a candy, it's an iced lemon pound cake. Delicious, he claims.

Got them, then I got the sandwiches. They delivery guy is getting weird. A couple weeks ago he made a crack about how Ron could have had me arrested last year. I'm like, for what? He said, you know, when you were planning on killing us all. (?????!!!!!) No, I told him, the only life in danger was my own. WIE-RD!

I told Ron, if anyone's going to go nuts and shoot up the place, it's him. Not me. He agreed and he was also offended. That made me feel a lot better. I've never been homicidal, except during that last month, and even then I didn't do any damage.

Odd. So, sandwiches went to Ron. I stocked. And stocked. We were there for 7 hours and I did everything I could possibly accomplish. Yay!

Yesterday, we had run out of candy, again. Thank God for trainees! God bless them all. We went to "The Warehouse" (Sam's Club) with a recycled Reese's box and bought $180 worth of candy. Straight to work, where I stocked it all. The machines look really good now, I'm delighted with them.

Today I told Ron I need more time to work on snacks. Sometimes I'm so busy helping Ron with his job, and receiving deliveries, that I don't get enough time to fill my babies. They're all behaving beautifully, especially Snack 4. Ron fixed the door last month, so it won't jam and block the customer from getting their product. God knows that would make me furious. Our goal is a satisfied, happy, customer walking out of the cafeteria. Not an irate one swearing they'll never use our machines again. It's getting good business too.

I'm happy. The machines look good, we have a good stash of merchandise in the stock room, business is good, the customers are happy, work is great.

I really love my job. Even at 3 AM on a Monday when I've got 3 deliveries coming in and Metrolift is late.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Talking gadgets

We've only had one problem with the new (to us) exercise bike. "Heather, what's my heart rate?" "What is it now?" I love the man, but not that much!



Lo and behold my Speak to Me Catalog arrived. Here's a link: http://www.speaktomecatalog.com/ They have a talking heart rate monitor for about $50. Money well spent. Ron really enjoys working out a few times a day (moderate workouts). For a guy with balance issues, blind, and hemiparetic (weakness on one side due to the stroke), it's perfect. He's already lost 2 pounds.



We've got a cold front coming in, and I was dreading the day. I had to buy jeans. However, the experience was pretty painless. The smaller size fit great, they had petite length (not easy in the Women's department), they're cute, and only $10 each at Walmart! Yay! I am so happy I don't have to hassle with jeans for months now.



I found an envelope with money in it on the floor and I gave it to Ron. He rewarded my honesty by giving me the $30. Yay!



Ron also wants to buy a light probe. Basically, a light probe turns a light wave into a sound wave. He used to have one he used to answer his phone at work. He could pass the probe over the telephone, and pick up the line that was "blinking" (beeping). He can use it now for all sorts of things, so I'm really happy to see they only cost about $25. They shouldn't charge any shipping - that would go free matter for the blind.



Tomorrow my hand cards and wool should arrive. Hopefully, I'll also get my Knitpicks goodies. Later this week/next week I'll get my wool from RH Lindsay. They have a great selection and fast shipping for incredibly reasonable prices. Knitpicks shipped my order on the 15th. I hope I get it soon.



That's it for now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A great day, except for the nightmare

I had an odd and very disturbing dream today during my nap. I was so happy to wake up! I've always had wierd, very detailed dreams. I think it's just a feature of my brain damage-disability.

We had a wonderful day. We woke up and went to Sam's club to buy some product for the machines. The pickup got messed up and we wouldn't have had enough time at work, so we cancelled it, brought the product home, and kept our date with Chuck.

Chuck's the guy we'd call in the middle of the night with a crisis. He's the guy who'd show up if we did. I can't think of a higher compliment. He's a truly good guy.

First stop was Play it Again Sports. Ron's been wanting a used recumbent bike. We walked in and the first one we saw was the one we ended up buying. It's perfect for us. It has 11 various programs (for me) and truly painless and easy programming (for Ron). We both had a good "ride" tonight after the nice deliverymen brought it. The $20 delivery charge was money well spent, in my opinion. We have tile floors - they can break. We have people with bad backs (Ron and Chuck) and a woman with blood pressure and dizziness issues. To reiterate, money well spent. The bike also cost $100 less than Ron had budgeted.

Which meant we had enough money to buy a nice ceiling fan! I selected a nice contemporary model, black and stainless (although the blades can be reversed to rosewood). It's very nice, classy, and fresh. Not wierd or cheap. Not cookie cutter fakewood. I like it. Rick the electrician (he fixed our microwave circuit with the loose neutral wire) will be installing it Monday.

I told Ron I'm a little nervous it might not "go" with the rest of the decor, but he said forget it. It's our house.

Lastly, we went and ate delicious barbeque at Pappas. I had a smoked turkey and beef po-boy. Tasty. Thankfully, all the desserts are migraine-triggers, they had nuts or Red #40 topping. Easy to resist!

Then I came home, took a nap, and had the nightmare. After I woke up I had some fun.

I bought 2 pounds of loose merino and some indigo dye crystals. Fun fun fun.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I made my Walmart run this morning, and got some air freshener plug in type products. I like the Airwick better because I love the "Harvest Spice". Ron prefers the Renuzit Vanilla plug in. I like the one with the little fan built in, even though it only comes on when you push the button. It's still cute.

The Waste company came and took not only the trash, but the old can (with the dead rodents in it for days, who wants to keep it?). I keep telling Ron he's not nuts. He finds himself a little disturbing because he doesn't want to "ruin" the "nice" garbage can. I tell him, I don't want to mess it up either! It's so fresh and pretty.

We went to Burger King later. We rode there with a really nice cab driver. He used to live in Vietnam. He was one of the "Good guys", held captive as a POW for years, got out, came here. Worked his butt off, and won the American Dream. A nice house in a quiet area, wife, prosperous business, and safety and security. You go!

On the way home we rode with an incredibly nice driver, and we got a straight trip! Yay!

We each got an extra hamburger to eat for breakfast tomorrow. A Burger King Stacker tastes delicious reheated in the microwave. I hate the sauce, and ask them to take it off. However I eat it, it's awesome.

Now I'm waiting for my Hot Pocket to cool off so I can eat it. Tasty.

Touch of gray

What did I do today? Last night, I made the big purchase from The Woolery. I got an email with a tracking number today. I love emails with tracking numbers. I don't know when Ron's Baconwave arrives (it can cook 14 slices at a time, he loved the one he had in CA), but it'll probably come mid-next-week.

I offered a swap on a knitting board, a book I don't like (Barbara Walker #4) for someone's leftover acrylic yarn. Acrylics tend to be the unloved stepchildren of the knitting world. They're around, but no one loves them, anticipates new arrivals, or mourns the loss of a colorway. The attitude I've picked up tends to lean towards disdain.

I did get a couple of replies - people wanting to swap, or just send the yarn off to a good home. Yay! I plan to have a lot of fun knitting them into a "Scrapghan". I love acrylics. It's just who I am. Sure, they can be scratchy and rough when you're working them up, but a quick wash with some fabric softener and you've got a beautiful finished product. You don't have to fuss over them, either, and an entire project's worth of yarn only costs me a couple of hours' pay.

My "Touch of Gray" afghan (I tried naming it "Blackie" or "Zebra" but the names don't stick), is really progressing. I've already knit one of 5 strips (50 inches by 10 inches), and started the second. They're edged in black but the main body is the Red Heart "Zebra" yarn (a varigated black/gray/white). It forms very interesting, contemporary patterns as I garter stitch my way from one end to the other. I look forward to seaming it together, washing it, and keeping it. I'll probably single crochet the edging in more black. It travels really well. I use my Knitpicks Options circulars, 24 inches, with size 8 tips. That's some fast, fun, knitting.

I've decided another thing. I like simple projects. I've decided, if I want to make garter stitch afghans and ribbed watch caps, then that's what I'll make! The knitting police are not going to drag me off because I don't want to do anything more challenging. I could, but I don't want to.

I like simple knitting. I like easy projects. So that's what I'll do. If I get bored, I'll "Upgrade" but for now, I'm happy garter-stitching my way through all the afghans in my head. I have lots of project ideas in my head, enough to last for years. I'll just have fun making them come to life in a simple manner.

It's not a crime to make garter stitch projects in acrylic. They make me happy.

That's enough.

I can't believe I ate the whole thing!

Well, I didn't "eat" it. I spent it.

I had a chat with Ron. I want to buy this thing, help me figure out what I really want to do. Will I use it? Can I afford it? How long have I wanted it? Months, huh? Why do I think I shouldn't buy it? Because it's not cheap.

Do I have the money? Here, here's some money to help out (I didn't ask, he offered me about 2 hours' pay), and when it was all said and done I ordered a set of cotton hand cards, a learn to spin cotton kit, a half pound of tussah silk noils (they will be carded with wool or another fiber to make yummy blended yarns), and a half pound of wool/cotton blend that was on sale.

I still had enough left to buy Ron's Baconwave from another online store (he paid me cash, I used my debit card). I'm still blinking in shock. The package arrives Monday. I can finally card and spin my yak and camel!

I need to get some merino for blending but that's not a hardship (I went to Walmart today and deposited a little more into my account). I just don't spend that kind of money on myself these days. It's nice that I had it and I could indulge a desire I've had for months.

I hang out on a knitting message board and I read about people buying expensive spinning wheels (2 weeks' pay for me), exotic fibers, and expensive yarns. These days, I just don't do it unless I really think it over. I don't feel guilty.

I wasn't "sick" when I made the purchase. I'm taking my medication and my symptoms are well controlled. But I still can't believe I ate the whole thing!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cat nightmares

Last night, Bubba slept in my bed. He's so big and regal. My first baby, I still can't believe someone left him to starve after they moved. How stupid! He's precious to me. Anyway, he slept in my bed last night.

When Frosty sleeps with me, he likes to sleep by my feet, preferably to my right. When Bubba sleeps with me, he likes to sleep by my left hip. He climbed in, we did the usual fussing and petting and purring (you can figure out who did what). Lights out, went to sleep.

In the middle of the night, Bubba woke me up. He was having a nightmare. His legs were twitching and he was howling miserably, I reached over, found a furry body, and began petting it while speaking soothingly. It's OK. I won't let them get you. It's OK. He settled down and we went back to sleep.

When I woke up, Bubba had moved on but Frosty was in his usual spot. I wonder if they have shifts? I haven't had any nightmares for the last couple nights. Yay.

Now I feel awful. Maybe Bubba caught my nightmare, or the vengeful spirit of the dead rat came back to haunt him. Ugh. Thank God the smell is gone.

When we came home from work, though, we did have a definite litterbox aroma. The cats used the litterbox as a urinal during the wet weather. I changed it out and stuck in a plug-in. Ron and I've agreed that we don't want to "mess up" the new garbage cans just yet, so we didn't put anything into them yet. We're putting out the old can this week, with a "Please discard" note.

I was a little manic today, nothing too bad. Just a little goofy and chatty, very manageable. Once my first dose of lithium kicked in I was pretty much normal again.

Our milkman was late and having an absolutely terrible day. I was glad it was me, cold soda and M&M's in hand. When he opened the back door, a tidal wave of milk flowed out the back of the truck. Apparently, he had a rupture. Eeek. He's really good and sweet and a nice guy. I ran off and fixed the milk codes for Ron - I make them all face forward in the milk crate so he can display the codes in the vending machine. People want to know the sell-by date. We even had enough time for me to mix up the "juice drinks - contain 0% juice" for him. They love the drinks.

Metrolift was even late enough for Ron to finish most of his tasks. The weather was mild enough that I didn't mind waiting outside, either.

We came home, did some chores, and took a nap. Then I woke up and posted.

I hope you're having a good day.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I cycled again.

The last couple weeks I was depresed. Today I noticed I'm getting a little manic.

Just for fun, some of the things I've been "into" and the rationale:
1. Wool blanket from a Military surplus store. I have at least a dozen blankets. But I don't have a full sized wool one, do I? I have a nice wool throw, and plenty of other blankets. Besides, I'm almost done with Happy the afghan.

2. Wool cards. For carding loose fiber. I have about 10 pounds of all-ready-to-go wool top that just needs spinning. But it isn't loose fiber. I could make blends. My own, custom blends. The cards cost at least $50, and I have pounds of ready-to-go fiber.

3. Loose clean scoured wool to card on the hand cards. The yak and camel fiber will only go so far. Just think, I could blend merino and yak, or camel and merino... Oh, the options... The options of all the ready to go fiber sitting in my living room. The wool cards aren't going anywhere and neither is the clean-scoured-loose-wool. If I'm still itching for it, I can buy an ounce or two from Paradise. If I'm dying for all of this in a couple months, I can save and get it then.

4. Another spinning or Knitting book. Well, I found one at Barnes and Noble. I don't feel ripped off, but it's not precisely what I wanted. Anyway, it's a decent book that answers a lot of questions. I'll do a review soon. I'd been wanting it for ages, so I felt fine paying $20 for it.

5. Tonight, it was another spindle. I have 3. One is 3 ounces, I use it for plying the yarn I spin (I make two strings and then I use this to twist them together). One is 1.6 ounces. It's my "everyday" spindle. Then I have my .5 ounce laceweight spindle. I need a 1-ouncer! How can I allow such a terrible deficit in my spindles! This is an outrage... I need it to balance out my collection and.... and I haven't picked up any spindle in the last couple weeks. I didn't die. I have 3 good spindles I enjoy using. They aren't going anywhere, and if I wait a couple months, someone may introduce a new, awesome spindle that isn't available now. I can wait.

I managed to talk myself out of the other manic obsessions. This, on a 1-10, is only at a 2 or 2.5. Not bad. Not bad at all. I'm going to have a few symptoms now and then, the trick is keeping them mild and liveable. Which they are.

It's so nice. I have no interest in all in building that fallout shelter anymore. You may laugh, but I was dead serious. My big concern was how to deal with the looters. They would come to me, how would I answer them? I used to obsess on it and other morbid subjects, I couldn't get them out of my brain.

Bipolar is a lot like a brain-jacking. The symptoms "jack" your brain and take it for this awful ride through terrible neighborhoods. They wreck your life, your relationships, and your finances, leaving you scared and bleeding to death by the side of the road.

I'll take my pills, and thank God all I have is a vague desire to buy wool cards.

Be glad Blogger ate my first post...

Well, I had a whole post typed out about our hideous drama this weekend. Not one, but TWO dead rodents in Ron's room, reeking up the house. Hideous treasure hunts for the decaying bodies... UGH. Thank God it's over. The dead mouse (found Sunday) and dead RAT (found today, Monday) are gone. Even the stench is gone.

You would not believe how many sticks of incense I burned to get it that way. I'm glad I went manic for incense a couple years ago - I still have a couple hundred sticks. I burned at least a dozen. You didn't really want to read all the gory details, did you? UGH. Ew. Ew. Ew. Except the first post was longer and had more ews in it.

Cat door. Not always a good idea.

[Heather takes a purely selfish moment to thank God the dead things weren't in HER room.] Big sigh. I'm so happy that's been the worst thing!

Ron's been good. He seems to be intent on keeping the promises he made. So far, so good. Even the drama this weekend didn't shake us.

I mailed Mom and Dad's presents today. I didn't mail them, hypocrite that I am. No, I used money the Postal Workers gave us to send it UPS. I'm awful. Terrible, really.

Yay. I found 2 cases of "My" soda at Walmart. I still need to get some jeans. I am not looking forward to trying on jeans. I think I'll get some way bigger than my size, try them on first. Or maybe save them for last. Anyway, that's later on this week.

I love that cotton cable-knit zippered hoodie I got a month ago. I wear it a lot now and it's very comfy. I'm glad I got it.

We had major rain today, I mean MAJOR. I'll take a moment to feel sorry for all the poor commuters trying to get home on a Monday night. That was awful, I'm sure.

I have a secret pleasure in life. One I indulge at almost every opportunity. Walking barefoot in the rain, through the runoffs and puddles, is one of the great joys in my life. Today found me in the gutter, literally, up to my ankles in crispy clear runoff. Delicious! When my feet got so cold they started to ache, I went in the house. It's definitely a fall rain, it's in the upper 60's. Cold for us. In the summer, the rain's as warm as bathwater and just as refreshing.

Between my barefoot rain walk today, and having the windows open all day yesterday (for the obvious reason, as well as the yummy fresh air), I feel as if a part of my soul has been satiated. Maybe the poets would call it my elemental soul or something. All I know is, walking barefoot in the rain, and taking a nap in the fall with the window open (and screen firmly in place) charges me on a level I hardly ever acknowledge.

I needed that.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

If you're ever bitten by fire ants...

Campho-phenique works pretty well. I haven't had any trouble with my ant bites today.

A couple years ago, when I stepped on a wasp while walking barefoot, I googled home remedies for wasp stings. Lavender oil worked a lot better than the baking soda paste. Well, lavender oil and an ice cube.

Lavender oil is also good if you have trouble falling asleep. Put a drop on your wrists and rub them together. It helps me a lot.

Hope springs eternal

Last night I had a couple of odd dreams about the upcoming high school reunion I won't attend. No thanks. If I've got that kind of money to spend on airfare I'd rather spend it somewhere else.

Speaking of spending, good news. I went to Walmart, bought a lot of candy for Halloween, stuff I needed, two cases of "my" soda, and I only spent $40. Then I went and made a deposit. I have a lot more ready cash now on the medication than I've ever had in my life.

Overall, I'm pretty good. As it gets later in the day, I tend to get a little to a lot depressed. That's why, just now, I got up and threw a frozen lasagna (No Preservatives) in the microwave. I also remembered while typing that I used my last deposit slip at my bank today so I threw a couple more in my purse. What does lasagna have to do with depression?

Once I eat it, I can take my lithium and Risperdal, which are the perfect 1-2 punch to stomp my depression. I don't ever beat myself up when I "cycle", especially when I've been good to myself (eating and sleeping properly, not overdoing caffeine, avoiding stimulant herbs or depressing movies). I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I don't want to. It's not like I went out clubbing and drinking, now I'm depressed. It's not my fault I'm bipolar. It's my responsibility to manage it. I believe I do a pretty good job.

I was a victim of some bad choices (including my own), underwent a lot of stress as a result, totally changed my routine, and had to grapple with issues that would devastate a "normal" person. All things considered, I did GREAT. In fact, I was surprised at how easy things (choices, feelings, thoughts, moods) were on my medication as compared to other (lesser) crises I've dealt with in the past.

So, my lasagna cooks in the microwave. I had a happy experience just now- I went to Knitpicks in the vain hope that maybe they might have the Harmony wood interchangable tips in a size 8 and 9. I'd LOVE them. So much fun knitting, looking at pretty wood needles. Interchangable wood needles, even better.

They had them. I should get them sometime next week. I had ordered a size 8 circular needle (Harmony) right before that happened. I didn't check the mail for a week, obviously. By the time it arrived, the mailbox was full, so it went to the Post Office. By the time I got back and got the notice, it had gone back to the shipper. Darn it. Hopefully they will credit me a refund. It's OK, either way.

At the time, I would have given up a lot in order to ensure my safety. Losing one circular needle wasn't a big price to pay. I still find it funny, that as bad as things were, I still managed to bring 3 knitting projects and all my medication with me when I fled.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Goldenrod

I've always loved Goldenrod. It's so pretty. It was one of the plants I really missed when I lived in California. Every fall, when I'd be manic, the Goldenrod would bloom. I have some happy memories of walking through the woods, or playing in the yard at school and seeing the goldenrod.

I love the color, too. Back in 2003 I picked a lot and tried to use it to dye some wool. I didn't understand the concept of mordanting (pre-treating the wool so it will absorb the dye), so it didn't work.

This year it bloomed late, just about a week ago. I've been seeing it everywhere we go. I told Ron, if he could see one of the best presents he could give me is a trunk full of goldenrod he'd picked. That would be so awesome.

But he's blind. Sometimes he has a hard time just staying upright after the stroke. I'll give him a pass.

This year I've wavered. The covetous part wants to go pick pillowcases full of the stuff and use it to dye ....

That's when the logical part of my brain kicks in and says "Dye what? I don't have enough light-colored yarn spun to dye. I don't want to hassle with dyeing roving, and I don't want to keep the dried goldenrod in the house to cause clutter. Let the goldenrod do it's thing and set seeds for next year."

Fustic looks to be a pretty good one, too. I can get that anytime I'm ready for it. But next year, the Goldenrod had better look out for me!

Go Vikings!

Today was a busy and productive day. I got to sleep late, yay! Went to my psychiatrist's office, had my "tune up". I reported a good side effect, the pills make my allergies a lot better than they were before. Ron was able to convince his boss NOT to take one of my snack machines away and give it to another vendor. Yay!

My doctor filled out the Metrolift paperwork, all I need now is the prescription for the service. He'll do it Monday, and it'll get mailed to me. I had a good lunch and didn't have to wait very long on our ride home. When we got home, I had a nap. I had a handsome black cat come and cuddle with me, even. Bubba. I sure love that beast. I really missed him.

By the time Ron got back from Starbucks, I had already changed into my yardwork clothes. We headed out to weed-whack. I got most of it done when I stepped into a fire ant mound. Pain. Burning, aching pain. Firey pain. Stabbing, jabbing pain. I look down and my right foot is literally encrusted in fireants. I had to hop over to the faucet and wash off. Even then, some of them hung on, little pincers firmly embedded in my tender foot flesh (I was wearing "slide" type sneakers).

Ron felt terrible. I was glad it was me, and not him. I also remembered I had some Campho-Phenique in the first aid kit. Once R0n got the fire ant poison (I'm sorry little lizards, snakes, and toads), I applied it. I found a couple more nests. At one point I had to tell him to back up because they were boiling out of the nest, furious I was applying poison. No sense in both of us getting mauled.

I came back in and took my shower, washing off the ant poison. Ate some dinner and logged online.

My high school is having a 15 year reunion. That brings up a lot of memories, most of them terrible. I was really sick even back then, and I didn't even know it. It was an incredibly unhappy time and only my faith in God kept me from killing myself.

And how'm I doing now? I'm married to an "old" guy who isn't rich. We make a living but that's about it. It was an affluent high school. I doubt many of my classmates are riding public transit and wearing clothing by Walmart. I have to take 5 psychiatric medications a day to be functional. I'm also at least 50 pounds fatter than I used to be.

By what I perceive to be "their" standards, I'm doing terribly. Who would voluntarily sign up to marry a blind, head-injured, somewhat deaf stroke victim? A poor one? And vending? Ew. I'm in "Trade". I'm also "crazy" and "fat". I don't even have any human children to brag about.

I do own a house. Yay. Albeit, an orange house. Personally, I'm going to skip the reunion. I think they won't miss me.

Go Vikings!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I got paid

Ron has been decent the last couple days. I even got paid early "Because we'll be at your Doctor's office tomorrow, when I'd normally pay you." I like getting paid a day or two before the "usual" pay days - shopping's a lot easier. I got my normal pay amount.

AND. I had $60 of my own money in my pocket from my last pay period. Battling depression has it's advantages. I feel pretty upbeat now. As soon as I finish this post, I'm going to eat, take my lithium, and ensure I continue to feel good.

I'm just tired (see nightmare post), wary, and weary of fighting mood disorders amplified by personal crisis. Ron was listening to "Piano Man" by Billy Joel a while ago and I asked himto plug in his headphones. The LAST thing I want to hear is a song about guys drinking at a bar.

Last year at Halloween, we ran out of candy. We'd only bought $40 worth, a fair amount in cheap, bulk wrapped candy. Still, I ran out. Ron had to hand over some sugar free candy as we ran out in the middle of the trick or treaters. I almost had to hand out cough drops!

This year I've already purchased about 5 pounds of the cheap bulk stuff. Saturday I'm going to load up on large amounts of the "Good stuff" and more cheap stuff too. I like to give a large handful of candy, a "good" chocolate bar or two and about 7 pieces of assorted hard candy/lollipops.

I hope it doesn't rain.

Take a cat and call me in the morning.

The last couple nights, I've been plagued with nightmares. Nightmares about stalkers, nightmares that I'm working at Target again, nightmares about medical crises, and others I thankfully managed to block out.

It was getting to the point that I was dreading nap/nighttime. I function far better if I get a nap in the afternoon, but I was feeling very persecuted, plagued, and not a little paranoid. Bubba moved out of my bed about the time the nightmares started. I can't say that I blame him - I've been told I do everything from sleepwalk, scream, moan, and cry.

Who'd want to sleep with that? Due to unfortunate events yesterday, I didn't even get my nap. Certified mail package, phone calls, and noisy neighbors all conspired to keep me awake. Last night I had a total of 3 recalled nightmares. That's a record.

Today I came home exhausted. I had hoped I could get my nap, but my power-equipment neighbor had other ideas. Weed whacking, mowing, any rest I got was incredibly fitful and I was starting down the nighmare path.

I felt a pressure at the foot of the bed. Then, something soft curled up by my feet. Frosty. I remember a good, drooling nap (the kind where I wake up with a very dry mouth and a full bladder). I had a marathon dream, I have them occasionally. Sometimes I participate, sometimes I'm a spectator. This time I was at a store that was IKEA but it wasn't. I had a pink contemporary loveseat I'd dragged out to the front of the store so I could watch the race and read my manual. I was chatting with people. Then I woke up.

I wish my doctor could write me a prescription for the cats to sleep with me every night as needed.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I almost forgot - Funny

I almost forgot to tell you what happened this last weekend. I came home Saturday afternoon. The cats acted like they normally do.

Frosty was begging a lot, and he wanted one of my special ear massages (I rub them with the ball of my hand). He came out when everyone left.

Bubba was his usual, social yet distant self. Hey, good to see you Mom.

He's been sleeping in my bed a lot, which I thought was sweet. I went to sleep Saturday night. I woke up in the middle of the night with Bubba rolling on my hand and purring. I had a great time, petting and cuddles with my first baby. He NEVER, EVER does this. The only times he comes close are when I'm very ill.

I was very touched and loved the special gift of cuddles and purring. Then Bubba left and got Ron a present.

I woke up a few hours later to an awful shrieking noise. Ron asked me to come get rid of the victim in his room. I looked.

The cat had brought Ron a huge toad the size of my fist.

I rounded up the toad and removed him to the safety of the yard. I'm still laughing. I get cuddles, and Ron gets a giant frog.

No wonder I'm depressed again

Tonight Ron's very defensive and angry. "I suffered too!" Now he wants me to tell him that he's hurt too????

I told him "I'm sorry you got drunk and attacked your wife and degraded yourself. I'm sorry you ran me off!" Then he goes off in a huff.

"You helped me buy it!" Yeah, and I'll never make that mistake again. What inspired this? He wants me to buy him another wine box tomorrow. I said, fine. I'll be happy to do it, per the terms of our contract. You'll get your next one Nov 10.

He said, every month. I said, yes, every 30 days. I am not going down the road of buying wine boxes close together, especially when I'm still looking at bruises! That's when he went to he suffered too... etc.

On the one hand, I'm boiling with anger. On the other, I'm just filled with this endless pit of pain and despair.

Oh, speaking of hopeless and despair, I had this conversation at work yesterday:
Heather: Taking out the dumpster at the far dock.
S - a postal worker who knows us
S: Hey, Heather, it's good to see you! [He walks up to me] Hey, what's that on your arm?
I told him, and showed him the bruises on my arm and leg.
H: I got these last Sunday.
S: So he was drinking?
H: Yes.
S: Were you nagging him? What were you doing when he got you?
H: I was sitting in the other room, talking to my sister.
S: Oh, 'cause if you were nagging him, guys hate that.

WHAT?

I was speechless. I still am.

Another postal worker was very kind. She is a nice lady and I like her a lot. "It's good to have you back, Heather." She asked me how I was doing.

"Ron told me about what happened."

"Oh, you mean this?" I could tell she was looking at the right bicep bruise so I pulled up my sleeve. Then I let her get a look at the whopper on my right thigh. I still sport a variety of finger marks and falling over things bruises as well.

She drew in a sharp breath, shook her head, and moved on. I'm glad people see them as sick and disgusting. They SHOULD be.

Then Ron was playing "confessional" with the sandwich delivery guy, we'll call him G (for gossip). When we came in Monday, Ron specifically called the company to let them know we'd be late (Houston's a big city). G. played dumb and showed up at the regular time.

Maybe he did it to see if I was with him, and our body language. I don't know. I did know that with the juicy tantalizing info Ron had given him, he'd be all over us like a pit bull on hamburger. So I had told Ron on the way over you deal with him.

As soon as we get out of the cab, he asks us do we pay for a cab every day to work. No, Metrolift uses cabs. Then I went inside.

When I came out with the boxes, cart, check, and pen (you'd think for over $100 a week in orders, they could loan me a pen?), G. seemed happy and full of gossip. Satiated, that's the word.

When I overheard Ron playing true confessions, he made a big point of mentioned that "I helped him buy it." So, naturally, the guy asks me "So how much did you have to drink, Heather?"

I told him I never drink.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

And then what?

Sorry to leave you hanging for a whole week there. I wanted to think things out as clearly as possible and NOT make impulsive, reactive, emotional decisions.

The next morning I told Ron what he had done, calling from a house 50 miles away. He was horrified, of course. The first few days were a horrible treasure hunt of bruises popping up, one after the other.

I don't regret my decision to leave the police out of this. If I had to, I have plenty of witnesses to Ron's behavior and my injuries. Nothing really hurt that much, unless pressed, and the worst damage was to the side of my hand when I was whacking him (before the shoe).

The first couple days, it was "When are you coming home, you have to come home!"

I told him, I was taking his calls. That was the best I could do at present. My aunt was very impressed that I wasn't hateful, just firm.

Not easy to do when you're staring at deep bruising on both your thighs and your right arm. Not easy at all. What I wanted to do? Call my brother and have him beat the shit out of Ron. It wouldn't have been a difficult job to persuade him.

I didn't. Yay for my Christian witness.

I took a couple days just to unwind. Something like that is horrible. I was as angry about him scaring and possibly injuring the cat as I was about what was done to me.

Ron said the cats were fine, but the black one didn't speak to him for a few days. Good boy.

Time passes. What do you want to do, Heather? I don't know. I need to think.

I thought. This is not the first time. Doing things the old way doesn't work. Before, either he didn't feel like he had to apologize, or he would say "I'm sorry I did __ but it was your fault." This time he pretty much accepted responsiblity. "It wasn't me who did that to you but I'm very sorry. It was an alcohol monster."

I told my aunt I wanted to see a professional and discuss a contract to keep me safe. She thought it was a good idea.

I had seen a few encouraging signs. He accepted my decision to leave. He told me to take my time.

I saw the counselor. It was pretty helpful and I came up with a decent contract. Some points:
A credit card in my name so I can leave and stay in a hotel if I don't feel safe.
He is not to drink hard alcohol, ever.
I'll buy him one wine box a month, but that's it. No more than 1-2 glasses a day.
I mentioned that I sincerely believe he is drinking to mask depression symptoms (The reply - "Anyone who was in my shoes would be depressed, it's all my circumstances."). I mentioned I would like him to try getting evaluated for depression and perhaps medication. He said no.

I also came up with a contract for if he touches me again:
File charges.
Leave.
Most likely divorce, but he would need to enter a 12 step program, take anabuse, and undergo anger management to have even a chance.

I'll also apply for my own metrolift, but I am 98% sure they'll say no.

Ugh. This is all so depressing that I went up on my antidepressant. That's sad. I had just gone into remission.

Ron heard me typing and kept "bothering" me. Asking me what I was doing, talking, etc. Then he told me, as he's standing in the doorway, see, I had some wine and I'm fine.

I didn't react well.

"But I'm trying to make you feel safe and secure!"

You aren't, you did just the oppposite. Don't EVER tell me you are drinking. Especially, between us, reader, especially say "See how well I can hold my liquor." Because then that's led to demands and blackmail to buy more alcohol ("I'll just call a cab! You said I can hold my liquor!")

I don't know much but I'm not validating his drinking. If I had my way, he'd be on anabuse, antidepressants, in therapy, and anger management. Instead, I have a promise to avoid hard liquor (heard that before) so he won't hit me again.

Kind of thin blankets.

Spanish Bible Handout

Today was my all Spanish Handout.  I thought it would be interesting, but never could I have dreamed how odd it would get.  I had trouble ...