Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Bug Is Back

My knitting life has been pretty dismal this year.  We could spend hours talking about why...and even then I'm not sure we could come up with a good explanation.  It's just been strange.
However, as of two days ago, my passion has returned - to my immense relief!
So let's just take a little look-see into the workbasket....
 Yes, I'm still working on the Spider Queen edging.  This has been such a troubled project for so long that I've honestly not got a huge interest in finishing it.  I work on it a bit here and a bit there.  It is what it is!
 I also started my husband's sweater last week.  This is the ribbing, which is always the slowest part of a fair isle project for me.  I did have to order a longer 2.5mm needle for the body, and it arrived yesterday.  It will be getting most of my attention in the coming few months.
But while I was waiting for that new needle to arrive, something funny happened.  What was that?  Well, I came down with a major case of 'startitis' on Monday.....
 I started a two color, fingering-weight shawl.  I had originally intended these two colors to be used together in a pair of socks, but there isn't quite enough contrast between them to make the pattern really pop.  (I tried twice.)  Soooo....striped shawl it is!  This will be my fifth small shawl from Rosemary Hill's original 7 Small Shawls subscription/book, and I'm sure I will love it as much as I love all of the rest.
 I cast on my next pair of Opal socks.  I always need more.  Don't laugh.
 Then I cast on a second pair of socks, which will be gifted to my Fairy Godmother.  As luck would have it, I had the perfect skein of yarn in my stash for this gift!
 Then, just for kicks, I cast on a second fingering weight shawl.  This is a bamboo blend, purchased because it was in an 1,100 yard skein specifically for a shawl at some point.  (I had long since decided that bamboo was a horrible fiber for socks.)  This is also a Rosemary Hill design, and is one I had tried with another yarn a few years ago.  That pairing didn't work, but I think this one might.  Besides, I really wanted a new fingering-weight, 'everyday' shawl for this winter.
Before I can continue, I need to figure out if I want to add beads...opinions? (Thought I also had some peachy-pink beads, but I guess not.)
So yes, the knitting bug is back, and it is back with a vengeance.  Casting on four new projects in a single day - while waiting for the needle to continue with a major project that needs a lot of attention - is actually a bit strange for me, but we're just going to go with it!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

In the Nick of Time!

I finished up a new pair of socks for myself just as two older pair decided to die.  Can't be short on wool socks this winter...that would be a disaster!
Basic Socks:
 a la Ann Budd in the Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns
Opal Sparkles
Knit Picks Harmony DPN's in 2.0 mm
May 26 - Aug. 5, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I Ate Some Chocolate...and the World Didn't End.

This is directly from a journal entry that I wrote yesterday morning.  I really wanted to share it with you all, and I decided that I would just go ahead and post it mostly as is with little to no editing.  

I ate some chocolate yesterday, and the world didn't end.

I had bought a bar of Patrick 75% dark the day before in a fit of pique over the fact that I had been feeling so horrible.  It was kind of one of those 'if I'm still feeling like crap over a month into this, than what's the point?!' moments.  I'm not proud of it, but that's honest.  Oddly enough, I didn't eat it immediately when I got home.  It sat in my purse for more than a day.

And the weird thing is, I'm not all that sure I wanted to eat it yesterday.  Actually, I know I was ambivalent about it.  I had thought about it on and off all day, and could really take it or leave it.  When it came right down to it, I ate it because it was there...not because I actually wanted the chocolate.

But eat it, I did.


I didn't enjoy it all that much...Surprise!

True, the first smell was almost overwhelmingly intoxicating.  A girl could get drunk off that smell.  The first taste was good...but no where near the amazing experience I remembered.  It was a bit of a letdown, actually.  I ate it slowly over the course of 30-45 minutes.  By half way through, it had lost it's magic.  By 2/3 the way, I wondered if I really wanted to finish it.  All the way, and huh?  Why had I eaten it?  What was so special about that?  It had done practically nothing for me on a nutritional level and wasn't that much fun anyway.  A little while later, the taste still lingering in my mouth, I was actually rather turned off.  Yuck.

Absolutely, I paid for it.  Chocolate has always been a 'lower consequence' cheat, and so it's not near as bad as many other foods are.  I had trouble sleeping last night, which seems to be the main consequence.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if my face broke out and/or if I had a headache later on.  I'm a bit gassy this AM, which could be the chocolate or it could be the leftover from being sick.  (In fact, I had trouble sleeping two nights in a row, had a sour belly most of yesterday, and I do have a headache.)

The bigger result, though, seems to be that I'm glad I did it because I learned that I'd really rather not do it.  I'd rather eat real food, as boring as it is, that nourishes my body and makes me feel better.  At the end of the day, the taste and experience of chocolate just wasn't worth it...and it wasn't even remotely all that it was cracked up to be.

Now, I'm not stupid.  One of the biggest dangers about chocolate has always been that it's a bit of a gateway drug for me.  Usually one bar triggers an avalanche, and so I know I'm going to have to be on gaurd for cravings for the next couple of days.  In fact, just yesterday in my allergist's office I told Alyssa, the nurse-practitioner, that I just didn't think even 100% dark chocolate was a good idea for me for that very reason.  You don't tempt an addict.  Period, end of story.  For that reason alone, yesterday was pretty damn stupid of me.  I shouldn't have bought the bar in the first place, and given that I did I should have turned it over to Sean immediately.

The more I think about it, the happier I am that I did eat that chocolate bar.  I'm not going to count it against myself at all because I think it was a valuable lesson.  The trick is to make sure that I remember what I learned, and that I use that information to keep myself moving forward in a positive, health-affirming direction.

(The great news is that the whole experience was so overwhelmingly negative that I've had no further temptaions or cravings.  I feel like I am just done.  Talk to me again about that in the future when I've holidays or celbrations to attend with no 'fun' foods...but for now, I'm quite happy to say that I am perfectly content to remain in compliance and it no longer bothers me that I had to give up chocolate.  As that lesson was VERY valuable to me, I am still considering myself to be in full compliance...38 days and gowing strong!)  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Something new...

Two weeks ago my daughter's dance studio held their early registration day for returning students.  I freely admit, I was rather harried that day.  I was late getting on the road for a trip, and just about everything that could go wrong already had.  By the time we got to the studio, I was in a pretty foul mood, and was NOT happy about the fact that I had to go in to that blasted place to sign my daughter up.  If you'd seen me coming towards you on the street, you probably would have turned around and run away.  Nevertheless, it had to be done.  The kid loves dancing, and while she has no intention of taking it to the competition or professional level we are happy to support her.  

While I was there, something curious happened.  My ugly mood faded away as the studio manager and I looked up the notes from last year's teachers so that we could place Gillian this fall.  While we were doing that, I found myself picking up the schedule and looking at it again and again.  It didn't take too long to pay the enrollment fee, but even with Gillian taken care of, we didn't just walk out the door and head on our merry way.

I lingered.  I asked a few questions.  My heart called.  A wistful need filled up my chest.  I found I couldn't go just yet.  Hesitation and desire started a small whirlwind.  I was caught.  

So I did it.

Friends, I signed myself up for the adult tap class....and not just the beginner class.  I signed up for the full-on, grown-up performance class.  After speaking to the manager for a bit, we agreed that even though it'd been 20 years my body would remember.

I'm tearing up right now just thinking about it.

In September, I'll start taking tap lessons again...something that's been in the back of my mind for at least the last five years.  I've thought and thought and thought about it, going so far as to look up the schedules for two different studios in town...but never quite making the step to actually call because I was simply too afraid.

Or I felt I didn't deserve it.

Or I felt I was too fat.

Or I thought I was too old.

Or I was too worried about finances.

Or I didn't want to put myself out there.

Or I was doing the mom thing and was putting myself last.

Pick the excuse.  There were many.

I don't know what pushed me beyond the fear.  Perhaps it was the shear delight and joy I felt watching those women perform at the recitals in the spring...tears running down my face for how beautiful they were, in all of their diversity of age and size...tears for the fact that they all looked like they were having the time of their life....tears for the fact that they brought down the house, that they were so fully supported by everyone there.  Perhaps I'd just hit the point where the contemplation had to become action before the desire withered and died.  Perhaps I just didn't let myself think.  Who knows.  The point is, I stepped beyond the fear for just a wee moment and took the leap.

And signed up for those classes.

One of the greatest regrets I have in life is that I stopped dancing when I went to college.  Truly, that was an instance where my introverted nature ruined things for me.  I was just too shy to seek out a dance studio on my own.  I've spent 20 years tapping rhythms with my feet under the table and going over my last solo step by step in private.

The might have beens are gone, though, and now I'm looking forward to the what still could be's.

On another level - and certainly the thought that's been the most prevalent when I consider what I've done - is the fact that damn it, I've been forced to give up so much pleasure because of my stupid food allergies, and I'm someone who had precious little pleasure to begin with.  Life needs balance.  If you're going to take something away, you darn well better add something back in if you have any hope of succeeding.  (The risk being if you don't balance it out, you will eventually go back to the old pleasures, no matter how harmful they are.)  For me, this is going to be a pleasure.  This is a big, fat replacement - one that is healthful to body and soul, let's me live out some creativity, and won't leave me feeling sick, guilty and depressed.  I say that's a big, fat win.

I'm mindful of the fact that this wouldn't be possible if I hadn't been working so hard for the last six weeks to improve my health.  I've been completely compliant with my allergy/autoimmune for 37 days, and have been hitting my exercise goals perfectly this entire time.   I was in such horrible shape before that I never would have been able to make it through a tap class.  I know it will physically still be a challenge, but by the point I start I'll be capable of running a 5K, and will have 2+ months of greatly improved daily activity and dietary compliance under my belt.  All good.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go pull out my old tap shoes and see if they still fit.  Probably not, but that's ok....I know where to get new ones!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Reading - Part 2, July

Fabulous month for books!  Yay!

1.  Siege and Storm, Leigh Bardugo - I read Shadow and Bone, Bardugo's debut novel, about a year ago, and I loved it soooo much that I took the rather unusual step of waiting until the trilogy was complete before I continued on.  Trust me, the self-control of that action was Herculean.  Fortunately, the third book was released at the end of June, and I was able to sit down and read them both!

2.  Ruin and Rising, Leigh Bardugo - Which I did in about 3 days.  They are amazing books.  I believe they fall into the YA category, but that shouldn't be a deterrent for anyone.  The tension and emotional depth match that of many of the 'adult' fantasy novels that I've read....maybe even beat them.  I was truly surprised by just how quickly Bardugo jumped into the action...but then YA novelists don't tend to waste any time.  I was also more than a bit surprised at exactly how emotionally invested I was.  Bravo! 

3. Human Croquet, Kate Atkinson - I still use the word "Exciting" to describe Atkinson's books.  Her writing just thrills me - for the beauty of the language as well as for the cleverness with which she manipulates it.  There are descriptions in here that are so lovely that I had to go back and reread them a few times, savouring each word.  This particular book had something of a fairy tale feel, which of course was a lot of fun.  I love the tangled family webs Atkinson weaves, and I love the way she gives us a glimpse of the future in the end. 

4.  Lexicon, Max Barry - The ideas behind this book are really incredible, and can be summed up with the simple notion that words are power.  In all honesty, this was much more of an action thriller than I really enjoy.  (Definitely more than I had expected.)  At times, it was a bit much, and I'm horribly confused by the ending.  Granted, I'm not someone who actually enjoys an ambiguous ending.  Better a definitive ending that I don't like than one that leaves me scratching my head.  SO, I'm going to chose to think what I want to think about it. 

5. Hyperbole and A Half, Allie Brosh - This book kind of defies categorization.  Allie Brosh used her very simple artwork to start a personal blog with entries that were part essay, part comic strip.  That blog eventually became this book.  I adored it.  There are a few tales that are laugh out loud funny, but there are also some pieces that give really good insight into human nature.  Of particular importance are the chapters on depression.  If you've ever dealt with depression, or if you've got loved ones who are fighting it, you simply must read this book.

Then I went on a bit of a library binge...finding a bunch of books that were on my wish list.  I'm having a love affair with my library's digital services!  Having said that, my results were rather mixed. 

6.  The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert (audio) - First of all, I have never - nor do I have any intentions of - read Eat, Pray, Love.  I was actually prepared to ignore this book BECAUSE of the popularity of Gilbert's breakthrough memoir.  Glad I didn't.  I happen to really adore historical fiction on a grand scale....even better if it contains interesting female characters...and this book fits that bill beautifully.  Love, love, loved it!  Was totally emotionally invested, and had trouble setting it aside at times!

7.  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin - A charmer of a book!  It was good to read a more lighthearted book after the last, to be perfectly honest.  I'd learned about this book on Books on the Nightstand, and one of the things they had admired was the rich collection of literary references that are contained in this story of a bookseller's life.  I happen to like pop culture references in books (not always) but usually have trouble catching them because my nose is generally in a book, making me blind and deaf to what others are enjoying.  So for me, a book of literary references is genius!  I have to say, that even though this was a lighter book it still made me pretty emotional.  So much fun, but meaningful too.

8.  Boy, Snow, Bird, Helen Oyeyemi - I desperately wanted to read this book.  It had come highly recommended, and as a modern retelling of the Snow White tale was right up my alley.  (If you want to get me to read a book, promise me a fairy tale.)  Sad to say, I'm glad I found it available through the library.  Had I paid for it, I would have felt obligated to read until the end.  Honestly, I only made it about a quarter of the way in.  It left me cold.   I just couldn't connect with the characters, and the writing style felt like it valued style over substance.  A huge disappointment.

9.  The Sandcastle Girls, Chris Bohjalian (audio) - Super glad I found this in the library's digital catalog and didn't waste my money on it.  It was another BOTNS recommendation, and had been on my wish list for a while.  I just never took to it.  Made it about half way before I gave up.  The crazy thing is that I adored the voices of both of the female narrators.  It was also a subject I knew nothing about - the Armenian genocide - and the historical information was very well done.  Despite that, I never really enjoyed listening to it and ultimately decided that I felt a tad like I was being lectured at. The whole experience just felt odd.

10.  Geek Love, Katherine Dunn - I get that this is considered by many to be a modern classic.  I'm not one of them.  Ugh.  The writing style was hard to follow and confusing in some areas.  Dunn's tendency to drop hints about the history of this family to hook your interest ultimately became annoying.  I'll give her that it was an extraordinarily unique book when first published 25ish years ago, and I can only imagine what a splash it made.  I didn't care enough to finish it, though.

11.  The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak - Sometimes a format is not good for a book.  This is the big lesson I learned when I tried to listen to The Book Thief in audio.  I listened to roughly a third of it, and hated it.  Not wanting to give up, though, I tried again in print (also digital download) and I absolutely loved it.  (I considered trying Sandcastle Girls in print as well, but didn't feel as if that particular book would benefit as much.)  The language is gorgeous in this book, and the style that it's written in totally speaks to me because it's how I tend to write.  Yeah, I'm a sucker for a good WWII book, and that's part of it, too.  Super glad I gave it a second chance.  (Why yes, my family is somewhat used to walking in on my sobbing uncontrollably over a book....)

12. Love and Treasure, Ayelette Waldman - Speaking of WWII books....  I'd never read Waldman before, although she became a personal hero of mine years ago because of an essay that she wrote about her relationships with her husband and children and how they balance out.  (For the record, that essay caused a firestorm, and I totally agreed with Waldman's position.)  Honestly, this wasn't even on my wish list.  I just saw that it was available and downloaded it.  Wow.  I could not put it down.  One of the things I appreciated is that Waldman chose to tell the story through different points of view and different time periods.  I love the fact that some threads of the story had tragic ends, some were happy, and some were merely there.  That is, after all, life.

13.  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou (audio, read by the author) - Honestly, I don't know how I managed an English degree and then another 20 some odd years without reading Angelou, but I didn't.  I'm a little bit ashamed that it took Angelou's death and Janet Mock's memoir to finally draw me in.  There are not enough words to describe how marvelous this book is.  If you haven't read it yet, I strongly encourage you to do so...and I even more strongly encourage you to listen to Dr. Angelou's reading of it.  There is great magic in listening to her voice as she tells her own story.

14.  The Children of Men, PD James (audio) - I absolutely love the movie adaptation of this novel, and have been intrigued with the idea of the book for quite some time knowing that the movie was quite a bit different but that James approved and liked it.  I'm going to have to start reading more PD's just that simple.  I'll admit that dystopian novels are generally not my thing.  (Post-apocalyptical, well that's another matter - wink, wink...nudge, nudge.)  However, I'm very glad I read this one.  The focus on mass-infertility really takes it to an interesting place, and gave me quite a bit to ponder.    

Monday, July 14, 2014

What Is Different This Time?

Friends, today is a day to celebrate! 
I feel like dancing a jig, screaming out loud, and possibly going on a celebratory tour of the state. 
So what am I celebrating?
 When I go to bed this evening, I will have completed two successful weeks on my allergy diet/auto-immune protocol.  That's right, 100% compliance in 14 days.
2 weeks?  Huh?  I can hear you thinking that.  2 weeks, after all, is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Why am I celebrating so early in the game, when the last few years have been so fraught?
Fair enough.
What you have to understand is that I've not managed this since before my surgery a year and a half ago. Prior to that, I'd done fairly well...managing long stretches of clean eating which were enough to give me glimpses of just how great I could feel.  Since then, I've struggled.  Believe me when I say that the last 19 months have been far more difficult than most of you know.
However, I started working this spring to pull the various pieces together.  When it began to look manageable, I gave myself a deadline, to get into full compliance by July 1.  To my great delight, this time it's actually working!
It begs the question...what, exactly is different this time around?

 To that, I have some answers.

1.  That letter I posted two weeks ago to my family and friends was extremely cathartic.  A very large part of why this has all been so difficult is because I haven't had the full support of many, many people who are a daily part of my life.  To be honest, some of the people who most need that letter will never read it.  BUT, regardless, I feel better for having written it.  The kind support of those of you who DID read it, and have reached out to me since has meant the world to me.  Thank you.  I meant every word, and the power and strength I've gained from standing up for myself, and for giving myself permission to walk away from unhealthy situations is incredible.

2.  My body has finally fully healed up from my last surgery.  I can't emphasize this point enough.  My body does NOT handle surgery well, and it's taken me at least a year to recover each time I've had to go under the knife.  Add to that the fact that this particular surgery (gallbladder) mucked with my digestive system, and you have a big, fat mess.  I lost a ton of weight last spring that had nothing to do with healthy living and everything to do with the fact that I was sick all of the time.  Not so surprisingly, that weight bounced back with a lot of extra over the winter as my body tried to find balance and readjust to it's new reality.  Then too, the surgery also kicked off another round of depression that was - quite frankly - the worst depression I've ever been through.  The surgery was necessary, and I don't regret it.  I do acknowledge, though, that the recovery process was a million times more difficult than I expected it to be. 

3.  I realized that my anti-depressants were actually doing more harm than good, so I stopped taking them.  I have an old, and very comfortable relationship with Zoloft.  This time, though, it didn't do it's job right.  Yes, it helped to pull me out of the worst of the quagmire, but in the process it totally flattened out my personality.  I had an epiphany to that effect during acupuncture a couple of months ago, and the very next day I stopped taking it.  By July it had cleared my system and I was starting to feel myself again.  I should also add that there are a couple of side-effects (weight gain being one) that were seriously contributing to what was wrong with me.  Thank you zoloft, but we are done. 

4.  My favorite cheat food is no more.  I've relied on a locally made artisan dark chocolate since this all began as my go-to reward/comfort/cheat/celebration/cope/you name it.  It's incredible.  Best chocolate I've ever tasted, in fact.  BUT.  This spring the guy that makes the stuff made some questionable business decisions.  (He wants to be a chocolate artist, not a business owner.)  The resulting price increase to an already expensive product as well as the resulting scarcity were last straws for me.  I was happy to support him before for better ingredients, etc.  I'm not going to support his life as a snob and/or his return to school.  (If I sound bitter, I kind of am.  He's kind of an ass.)  As nothing else tastes near as good...well, there's no more temptation!  (OK, there's still temptation, but it's not near as tough to fight given the circumstances.)

5.  I started exercising. I don't have to explain this.  Exercise produces endorphins, which make you feel better.  It also adds to the motivation to stick with it.  Not going to go running in the am and then ruin it by cheating all day!  I know, I know.  I should have started a long time ago.  All I can say to that is that the particular type of depression I was in really made that nearly impossible.  Don't judge.  (Also, my friend Matt C. was right.  Thank you, Matt.)

6.  But I started on a program that was slow and gradual and fun for me.  I have a tendency to all or nothing it, and any other time I've done an exercise program it's been of the sort that has you jump in and push to the max from day one.  Not smart when you are dealing with the type of health issues that I am.  Not smart at all.  Not only do you run the risk of burning out and giving up, but you also run the risk of making the health problems worse.  This time, I committed to two simple things - taking my 10,000 steps daily and doing the couch to 5K program.  Slow, gentle, steady.  With the 10,000 steps I'm teaching myself that it's ok to take slow and/or short walks - a revelation for me.  As to the other...To be honest, I had completely forgotten how much I enjoy running...and I mean truly enjoy.  Less than two weeks into the (unfortunately named) training program, I had rediscovered that joy and was looking forward to my morning runs.  Now, I also happen to love strength training, yoga, and tap dance.  As my health continues to improve, I hope to incorporate all of those!

7.  And I found a couple of exercise buddies.  So. Very. Important.  And it has to be just the right match.  Back in the day, I know the reason why I learned to love strength training so much was because of my friend and personal trainer, Meghan.  (And if she ever gets back to it, I'll hire her again in a heartbeat.)  Other trainers, and attempts to do it by myself failed.  Apparently, I need the support/accountability..but I also need it to be with someone who I work well with.  My BKB, Jenn, who's been by my side since the diagnosis had already committed to the 10,000 daily steps plan, so I latched on to her and check in with her periodically.  Just knowing someone else is also doing it helps me to keep myself on track.  I got really lucky when a friend of mine asked me if I'd like to do the couch to 5K with her.  Having never exercised together, it could have been a disaster.  Instead, Danielle and I are having a blast and have discovered that we work well together. Bonus..our pace and fitness level are pretty darn close.  By the end of last week, we were both looking forward to our runs together.  We also have planned to run in a couple of 5K's together this fall for fun!

8.  I'm rereading/skimming a lot of the health books/information I've gathered over the last few years. Yes, I've done a LOT of research over the last few years...but it's also been a while since I've touched on any of that.  A good reminder of the science is very helpful. 

9.  I'm building my meals in a way that keeps me full and satiated.  I learned through trial and error that I'm best on 3 squares/day with maybe a small snack in the afternoon.  Mostly, I follow the guidelines set out in the book It Starts With Food as to how to build and balance a plate.  I will not bore you with the details, but I will say that I have to be very careful to plan so that I always have what I need with each meal. 

10.  I'm measuring my water intake daily, to make sure I get enough. The formula that works best for me is the one I learned from my friend Meghan when she was my personal trainer.  I drink 1/2 oz water/lb of body weight each day plus 8 oz for each 30 minutes of exercise.  You bet, it's a lot right now...but it's what this particular body needs.  Incidentally, this is the ONLY thing I measure.

11.  The brand new scales I just bought?  I stopped using them and put them away.  Silly me. This isn't about the number on the scale, and I know that.  It's a deeply flawed tool to use to track health, and in truth it really doesn't say much about how healthy you really are.  Plus, for me it's totally about anxiety.  I only want to know when I'm worried, and I tend to use the information to beat myself up.  That's not good.  Also not good, in the few weeks I had the darn things I was starting to go back to my old, very-bad weighing habits. 

12.  I let myself have one good temper tantrum.  Ahem.  I went to the grocery store on the fourth of July, and came home and let loose all of the horrible feelings that had built up inside.  It didn't resolve anything, but it did release it so that I wasn't sitting on so much ugliness.  My therapist in college would be so proud.  She rightly identified that one of my biggest issues has always been that I stuff my feelings and allow them to eat at me.  (Heh.  I just realized I used food terms.  That might need some unpacking.)  It's been much easier since then.  Now, when I start to feel anything negative, I acknowledge it.  I have a lot of work to do still to make it ok, but this is a start.

13.  I accepted that my yeast allergy causes a serious food addiction.  So yes, it totally sucks when you've never been a drinker at all but your doctor flat out tells you that you are an alcoholic because your yeast allergy is biochemically identical in many ways to alcoholism.  It sucks, but it was true.  I went to my parents' farm in June, and decided to eat a piece of the rhubarb pie that my dad made with the girls.  It was fantastic.  It was also a major problem.  I found myself explaining to my mom, my aunt and the girls that although their bodies could enjoy one piece and be done, I didn't have an off switch.  I enjoyed one piece, and then wanted to bury my face in the rest and would probably be circling and obsessed until it was gone.  It is what it is.  Sugar, grains and dairy are my devils.  Just as an alcoholic can't safely have a tiny drink, I can't safely eat a tiny bit of any of my allergens.  I get that now.  As a side note, during some recent research I came across a diagnostic test that counselors use to determine food addiction.  Yeah, I score super high.  Damn lucky I never started drinking. 

14.  I'm making peace with the idea that I may never be thin again....but that's ok if I feel better.  I've spent the last 28 years worrying about my size and hating my body.  I've spent the last 12 years struggling with a lot of extra weight.  My allergist has told me repeatedly that if I can become compliant the weight will naturally go away, but I stopped believing her a while back.  My body has suffered the harm done by all of these foods for so very long that I'm just not sure it's possible to completely reverse the damage.  But.  But, I can feel better.  Two weeks is just enough time to get a glimpse of that.  Already many of my symptoms are gone and/or are fading.  (no required daily nap!  no pain!  better GI function! more motivation to get things done!  anxiety and depression fading!)That's enough.  I'm ok with never being thin again IF I can get to a place where I actually feel good.  It is what it is, and I'm not doing myself any favors by continuing to focus on the quest to be thin.  I'm much better served by a quest to find health. 

So Happy Two Weeks to me!
Here's to the next two weeks and beyond.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Summer has always been the season of spinning for me....especially when the weather is nice and I can indulge in some spinning on my deck.
I've been working on a project I started long ago.  The fiber is 100% merino from Greenwood Fiberworks, one of my favorite Etsy stores.  I have two braids (8 oz. total) of the lovely stuff, which was a special edition colorway created by exhausting the dyebath after other colors were done.  (I'd tell you if I could what she called it, but I've lost the tags...and anyway, it's not repeatable!)
The thing is, this project has been going at a snail's pace.  Even given the fact that I'm spinning a laceweight single it's taken much longer than usual.  As I'm generally monogomous when it comes to spinning projects, and as I have a ton of other fiber to work with, this is a problem.
 As I was sitting at my wheel yesterday morning, listening to a beautiful audiobook and dreaming fibery dreams while the wool slipped through my fingers, I had a minor epiphany.
Which is really more of a face-palm/d'oh moment.
Silly would be so much easier if I would predraft the fiber!  Duh!
I had split the first roving into small, manageable sections, but I had not predrafted each piece.  It only took about 30 minutes to go through the wool, gently tugging the roving into gossamer strands and coiling them into their nests.
Now, the wool is FLYING through my fingers.
I suppose I'd best start thinking about a knitting project for it....I'm thinking lace...with reminds me of a quiet pond on a summer's day....
In other spinning news, I finally wound this yarn off of the bobbins, where it's been languishing for months and months and months.  (maybe years?)  Another etsy find, it's composed of Shetland wool and silk, which is a truly bizarre combination.  Spinning it was perplexing.  Shetland is nowhere near as soft and gentle as most of the wool used in silk blends, and it behaved rather oddly.  Can't say I really enjoyed the process much - which is why it's sat for so long.  The crazy thing is that the finished yarn (anther laceweight, BIG SURPRISE!) is actually quite fun.  A nice Euclan bath and a good thumping in the shower, and it's proving to be a pretty awesome yarn.
Now...if I can only figure out a project...
She says with a wink.
I have no doubt the Green Woman will have this one figured out pretty soon!