Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Head and Shoulders, KNEES and Toes

Sometimes things creep up on you.  This song is a creeper.  It starts out all normal and then you just go faster and faster until your head is literally spinning.  Kids love it.  I love it.

Knees can be creepers.  In my case, they are for sure.  The right one crept up slowly but surely into the intolerable range and four years ago, we severed our lifelong connection.  I have never regretted it.

The left knee kept a fairly low profile until sometime this past winter.  Being on top of things like this, I decided I better go see my friendly Orthopaedic Surgeon in May (in Iowa, sometimes that is still winter).  That dang knee not only crept up on me, but it grabbed me from behind and kicked my not insubstantial butt.

I am now a knee orphan.  I have 2 step knees.  Don't laugh.  It was a really big deal to realise that I was not going to have that original equipment anymore.  I thought it was kind of sad.
My special gripper socks.

Because I had ankle reconstruction done last summer, I  forgot some of the fun stuff about having a TKR (Total Knee Replacement).

You have to go to Joint Boot Camp.  You get to learn all about what will happen, what rehab will be like and how to breath into a little handheld machine thing with a smiley face on it.

You have to have blood work done and a urinalysis and a heart thingy (can't remember the name of it, sorry) and a physical.

You have a lot of stuff to get accomplished before you have surgery. In my case, I had to clean (a lot), finish a couple of projects, clean the basement from construction, organize and get rid of stuff and freeze a bunch of in season fruit.

You have to make arrangements for the first couple of weeks post op.  I am now ensconced on the first floor in Alaska Girl's old room. I have some makeup, clothes, jewelry and art supplies.  I have TV trays for bedside tables, 2 computers, my phone and all the peripherals that accompany technology.  I have a clear path around the bed.

You have to borrow a walker from your parents.  Enough said.

The socks go so well with the special hose.
There were other things that I forgot about.  Like the fact that they put you in a diaper when you have a spinal.  I also forgot that if your butt is still numb from the spinal and you can't feel the toilet, you are probably not going to be able to pee, no matter how long you hang your hand under running water.

I forgot about how noisy a hospital is.  I couldn't wait to get home and get some sleep.

Pain.  You don't exactly forget about pain, but the severity of it is definitely fuzzy around the edges.  I never felt like I was being stabbed by a sharp knife repeatedly, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they did hit me on the side of the leg several times with a baseball bat.

Swelling.  I forgot about the swelling.  At least, I failed to remember the significance of all of that swelling and how on the second or third day you are up every hour peeing like a racehorse.  But this helps reduce the swelling, so clanging about with the walker at all hours of the night seems worth it.

It's kind of sad to have to borrow this
from your mother.
I am now starting to remember how difficult it is to get truly comfortable for any stretch of time. Unfortunately, I also remember how long that phase lingers.

And last but not least, I forgot about how freaking hard rehab is. It is not fun.  But if you don't do it then you won't be able to hike the Grand Canyon in a year or visit your daughter the brewer in a month.  I think I am recalling that the first couple of weeks are the worst in that area.  I mean, I think that's right,

So for now, those are my memories of TKR.  Of course, each surgery is different and this one is already setting itself apart.

In case you are wondering if there are any GOOD memories, there are.

  • being waited on
  • not having to do dishes
  • watching Netflix at all hours of the day and night
  • not having to clean for a couple of weeks
  • sleeping all of the damn time and nobody cares
  • passing out mid sentence after you take the good drugs
  • the good drugs 
Ahh.  Sweet memories.
The good drugs.

I like this one.  Probably because it is no effort at all.

I'm guessing I will have better pics in another week.  I will hide them so you don't have to look at them.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Adventures in Burlap

I am a fan of all things retro, modern and industrial.  I know, weird.  Over Christmas we happened to stop in at one of the local coffee places while my son and his girlfriend were in town.  I asked the workers what they did with the empty burlap coffee bean bags and the guy in charge said, "We give them away."  I came home with three.  (Was there any doubt?)

They have been in the Bat Cave since then.  I kept looking at them, but they just sat there looking like lumps.  They are very cool, though.

Fast forward to Spring.  I needed a new purse, but I wanted to make one out of the coffee bean sacks. They kept lumping at me, not saying a word.

To make a long story short, after several weeks of fruitless Pinning and hemming (pun intended) and hawing, I decided to buckle down and get at it.

So, I went to the store and bought an 'easy' pattern.  I quickly discovered it wasn't going to work with the burlap.  No way.

So, I did what I should have done from the get go.  I used the saviour of all do it your selfers: YouTube.

I watched a couple of videos and decided I could just do my own thing.  I know.  Kind of scary.

I made a pattern out of the brown packing paper that I hoard.  I even used a measuring device.  I ironed my burlap and my lining fabric.  I traced the pattern onto these pieces with a blue Sharpie (very professional that Sharpie).  I cut everything out and then I went to work.

I broke about 6 needles sewing this damn thing.  I eschewed measuring anything after the initial pattern making.  You can't make me.  I made about 5 million trips to the basement to iron seams and stuff like that.

I also learned a lot.  The main thing being that burlap is a bitch to sew when you are using fusible felt for a bit of structure.  It's also hard to sew a strap made out of burlap, fusible felt and lining onto a purse made out of burlap, fusible felt and lining.  If I wasn't so lazy, I would have run up to the store and purchased some sort of strap-like material.  I might have saved a needle or two.

Anyway, the damn thing is done.  I would make another, but I doubt if I would use that felt stuff.  It is hard to sew with the burlap.  Maybe just the burlap and some canvas cloth for the lining.  Also, I would definitely purchase some strap material.  Or maybe a heavy duty machine that handles such things.

This thing isn't perfect by any means and the lining doesn't really fit.  But I'm using it.  All. Summer.
Dammit!  Besides, it's really cute!  And that, folks, is all that really matters.

PS:  I did put all my pursey things in it and they stay; as in - the thing doesn't turn inside out because of the weight.  I may need to sew on a pocket of some sort so that I don't continually have to dig for my keys and phone.  Then again, maybe not.  Glue is looking mighty tempting and I do have some E6000...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Brown Bagging It

I needed to send thank you notes out about three weeks ago.  I wanted to make them and kept getting bogged down with other little chores.

Today, I finally had a chance to make them up.  Now, I just need to write and send!

I stole the splatter idea off of Pinterest.  Then the rest is my own.  I decided to use what I had at home.  My guess would be that all of you have these items:

  • paintbrush
  • water
  • watercolors (kids pan type will do)
  • water color paper
  • cardstock
  • brown paper bag
  • some sort of left over twine, ribbon, trim
  • stapler
  • ink
  • paper trimmer
That's all it took to make these.  I promise.

First, just cut your piece of watercolor paper to the size you prefer for your card.  I chose 5 1/2 " wide by 8 1/2 " tall.  Then get your favorite water colors really wet and gently tap the brush against your finger over the watercolor paper.  Let it dry.  I think I used about five colors.

Copy the original onto cardstock.  I was able to get two cards out of an 8 1/2 x 11 " piece.  Cut each piece to the size you picked.  Fold in half (I have a folder thingy and used it).

Tear pieces of a paper bag and stamp Thank You on the pieces.  Edge these with ink of your choice.

Splatter paint onto the Thank You bits and let dry.

Fit the Thank You bits onto pieces of twine, trim or ribbon.  I actually just untied this piece from a gift today.  I save all that stuff.  You just never know.  Attach the trim to the Thank You bits using a stapler.  I used a Tiny Attacher.

Staple these onto each card.  Finish off the front of the card by edging it with ink.

That's it.  Now it's up to you to write the note on the inside.  Or up to me, I guess. Now repeat after me: Splatter is Good!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Chinese Lanterns Redux

The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis is once again playing host to the Chinese Lantern Festival for most of the summer.  If you love color and light, this is for you.  If you were lucky enough to visit in 2012, go again.  The displays are all totally new.

This is the link to the Garden.  I was lucky enough to go with part of my family this past weekend.  It is not free, but well worth the price of admission.  Make sure that you check it all out online as they have limited days until August.

For those of you who love to shoot, sorry, but you are not allowed to bring in a tripod or monopod. This is actually a good thing because there are tons of people walking about.  Brush up on your settings before you go so that you  know what you need to do to get the best shots.  I was unaware that the Festival was in town, so I got caught with just my kit lens.

We ate at the little cafe in the main building and it was yummy.  I had mushroom and pesto flat bread pizza.  OK.  Now I'm hungry.

A couple of tips:
  • Make sure you bring a stroller if you have young children. You are there for a bit.
  • Make sure that you bring bug spray.  They have great mosquitoes in St. Louis.
  • It is heat and humidity that define St. Louis in the summer. Hydrate while you are there.  There are concessions around the Garden, including alcohol.
  • Plan on spending a few minutes in the adorable gift shop and the Chinese marketplace.  You really need the entire 4 hours.
If you decide to go down, don't forget to visit the St. Louis Zoo. They just opened a new polar bear exhibit.  This is one of the greatest zoos around, people.  Don't miss it.

 This is part of the fabulous multi-media center display!  Lots of horses, music and fire.

 Kids and adults took advantage of this fountain!

 A pagoda made entirely of china!  So cool.

 The center display at night.

Dandelions!  I believe they were made from cut up water bottles.

See.  Fire!

This was so cool.  An elephant display made entirely of china.

Peacock made of glass medicine bottles.