Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mid-January Catch-up

I've been in a bit of a slump lately, just can't seem to get myself motivated to do much of anything.  I did finally get the Christmas decorations down, but as I'm writing this, I spied three glittery stars hanging in the window, mocking me.  And, come to think of it, the only outdoor decoration I put up this season was the red bow on the light pole, and yep, it's still there, too.   Every year without fail at least one holiday decoration escapes detection and ends up on display for another 365 days.  I guess it's my odd way of keeping Christmas alive in my heart all year long. 

Like most of the rest of the country we made it through the Polar Vortex (?) or Polar Ice Cap or whatever that bit of extreme cold was called.  We were lucky, no frozen pipes, dogs, people or chickens.  

The Girls have a heat lamp which keeps them reasonably warm when the temps go below zero, but completely confused.  One extremely frigid  night when the windchills were down to -35,  I was having a hard time sleeping because of worry over the hens, so I went out to the coop to check on them at 2AM.  

I needn't have worried, they were all off the perch and scratching around on the floor.    All six of them were happy to see me and thought about going outside when I opened the coop door, but stopped in their tracks when they realized it was pitch black outside.  For those of you not familiar with poultry, most chickens go to bed about an hour before sunset as a rule but with the heat light on 24 hours a day, I wonder if they ever got any sleep. 

I just came across these two pictures for a comparison from winter to summer......ah, seems like summer was a long, long time ago.

Just before Christmas, Carl and I both caught a cold which though it wasn't the worst one we've ever had, was certainly instrumental in keeping the paper mill industry booming with sales.  We both gave up on tissues and used rolls of toilet paper to stem the flow from the faucets our noses had become.  

Having a head cold and wearing a sleep apnea mask can be a challenge when you first put the mask on.  I can usually inhale somewhat, but exhalation against the air pressure is a challenge which makes me have to break the seal on the mask so I can breathe out.  It sounds something like, "Gasp..gasp.....gasp......WHOOSH.....BRRRRTTTTT......Whoosh........followed by temporary silence, and then Gasp, Gasp, GASP....WHOOSH......Ah, ah, ah, CHOO.....Whoosh," ok, you've got the idea. 

Poor Carl, I don't know how he gets any sleep at all when I'm trying to get settled.   And added to the nighttime routine is my latest contraption for sleep, a snood.  My friend Nancy kindly cuts my hair for me and we were trying to figure out why the hair on the back of my head was breaking off nearly even with my ears until we realized it was due to my sleep apnea mask head gear.  The straps cause my hair to break and along with the thyroid disease and the changes in my health, my hair was showing signs of stress.  

I did some searching and found a solution of sorts, the aforementioned snood.  A snood, if you aren't familiar with them, is a garment similar to a hair net but in this case, with no holes, like a hat that covers your hair.  My hair is protected from the straps and hopefully won't be as damaged from the wear and tear. 

 So, there I am the picture of Beauty, with my hair stuffed into a snood and my face crammed into a CPAP mask.  It's a good thing we sleep in the dark.  If a burglar ever breaks in and shines a flashlight in my face, I pity the fool; Some things cannot be Unseen.  

Though I do kabitz about the CPAP machine quite a bit, I really do appreciate what it does for me.  Hard to believe it's been three years already; not having to get up four or five times a night to traipse to the bathroom is such a blessing.  So what if at night I look like something out of a horror movie or the victim of a terrible accident on life support and in the morning my face bears all the traces of the mask and the straps for a few hours?  At least I am much better rested.   Heck, my vanity went out the window a long, long time ago.

I'm still keeping up with the daily exercise, the anniversary of my first walk with Leslie Sansone was two years ago on New Year's Eve.  I subbed for our group exercise leader this morning and realized that it is also two years this month that I joined the senior exercise class on Nancy's invitation.  Another friend, Patti, joined the class today and though I didn't do the greatest job leading the class, she said she'd be back on Thursday.  It is always a lot of fun to exercise with a group of friends.  

And so far this winter (though I'm not tempting Fate here, truly I'm not) I haven't fallen on the ice.  (Yet.)  I don't count the spills I take when I'm cross-country skiing, though, because those are inevitable, especially the last few days since we've had an ice storm coat the trails making skiing a challenge.  I kind of have falling on skis down to a science, it's more of a slow-motion flop into hopefully soft snow. 

 Falling on icy steps or the driveway is what I dread the most, especially since I lack the grace to go down gradually and usually end up looking like a cartoon character slipping on a bunch of greased banana peels.  I have taken some spectacular tumbles over the years which involve much arm flailing, tricky feet maneuvers and usually end with a world of hurt.  Over the past 55 winters, I've only broken a wrist, and I've been very lucky.  Oh, and last year's fatality was my faithful pedometer, smashed to bits when I fell by our back door.

And speaking of falls, it's also been just over two years since I took a tumble down my friend Sharon's basement stairs.  I'll never forget that trip.  And neither will she or her husband, I'm sure.  We were invited to Sharon and Duke's house last Saturday night and they made sure to point out to me that the basement door was locked for my protection.  I appreciated the lock on the door; you just can't trust me around steps or ice.  We had a great time visiting, eating wonderful food and playing Sheepshead.  The night just flew by and all too soon it was time to go home.  

Carl, Joel and I had to attend a meeting for our hosta club tonight, our garden is one of six on the Midwest Regional Hosta Tour in June.  I was supposed to be writing a garden description tonight but for some reason found myself writing this long overdue blog post.  I suppose it is procrastination on my part, but I'm not ready to even start thinking about the garden pandemonium awaiting us this spring.  I do like to take the winter off.

My thyroid woes are doing better, but my last increase in dosage was just before Christmas, so there's still some fine-tuning needed.  I see the doctor in February and we'll see where that leads.  I imagine my lack of motivation at times is due to the thyroid.  Hey, my thyroid has to be good for something, so it can take the fall for my laziness.

The big Wisteria lamp is 99.9% finished but not on the form for soldering yet:

 These pictures were taken right after Christmas; there's only a few pieces left to finish now.  

So, that's what's happening around here.  I'm looking forward to my blog reading list, we're supposed to have a blizzard tomorrow which makes for a perfect day to catch up with my blog friends.  Stay warm! 



Andrea said...

Hello, am glad all of you and the chickens didn't go with the Polar Vortex! You made everything so light and funny despite the intensity of the cases, and I am so amazed at the patience you have in doing those glass art. I can't imagine what will happen if i am the one doing that. Lastly, the snowy trees in that first photo looks like the artificial trees sold here for Christmas, but i found it funny to have temperate trees in a very tropical setting.

Junebug said...

I'm so proud of you for keeping up your exercise. I've become a slug this winter! I'm calling it the winter blues. That lack of sunshine get's to me. We didn't suffer that horrible cold, every one east of us did, but gray skies go away! I always love reading your posts for you have a gift to write. Pure entertainment this morning with my coffee. Stay warm!! Hugs!

Alison said...

Thanks for the update, I'm always so happy to see a post from you! I greatly fear falling too. I've been terribly lazy this fall and winter, since I hurt my back in October. Yesterday was my first day back in the garden tidying up, for 3 hours. This morning, my arms and legs hurt, but not my back, so I think I'm good. You've lost weight since that fall down the basement steps, which I'm sure means you are more graceful and balanced now than you were then. I've found that I move around more easily now without bumping into furniture than when I was heavier.

Pamela Gordon said...

Well, Karen, I got a few chuckles out of your post today as I can relate to the part about the CPAP mask. I have started walking on the treadmill this past few days, finally. It's been too icy and cold to walk outdoors and my hip and leg pain as subsided enough that I can walk again. Hopefully it will get me feeling a bit better and lose a few pounds. Take care. Pamela

Dandelion and Daisy said...

Happpy to hear you're feeling better and have survived the weather. Our neighbor tried to fly out of Portland, last Monday, to go to Duluth to visit her Grandkids....she didn't make it until Tuesday. She's a better woman than I, I would not have flown into that voluntarily! I'm use to being wet, not cold! Love the lamp you are working on. Mercy, I don't know how you do that! So, many small pieces to cut and keep track of, mistakes must really be "hell"! So, beautiful when finished though. I have been a very lazy blogger, of late. I plan to get back to it soon. Take care.

Larry said...

Hi Karen... The comparison shots of a quarry are absolutely gorgeous! Is this your second large Wisteria... You are brave! Larry

Stephen Andrew said...

I'm so happy that you posted! I love your blog. HOW you keep a fitness routine in that cold--I have no idea. Glad to hear there's a plan for your hair. I'm a hairstylist and so often see the havoc thyroid issues wreak on hair. But the good news, I'm sure as you know, is that as your medication begins to take hold and the dosage is correct-your hair will fix itself. Hair is a reflection of what was going on 6 months-1 year ago. It can be frustrating as it's delayed gratification! Next year this time I'm sure your hair will be in great shape.

Karen said...

Hi Andrea, in our area the stores sell fake trees with a 'snow-like' texture applied to them. I always thought they looked funny, too. The stained glass is like a big jigsaw puzzle at this point with a few missing pieces, but we'll get it done soon. I hope...!

Thanks Junebug! I know how cloudy weather can be very mood-dampening, it's always good to see the sun. Glad you missed the Arctic Blast, lol. At this point, I keep up the frenzied exercise just to stay warm.

Hi Alison, great to hear from you, too! I'm glad your back is feeling better, that is great news. Wow, three hours in the garden.....I spent an hour shoveling snow tonight, ha, the garden is under there, somewhere. We got another 10 inches of snow today and with the 40 mph winds, the drifts are impressive.

Hello Pamela, a treadmill....I am always thinking about getting one of those, but alas, this abode is much too small. I'm glad you can relate to the ol' CPAP, it's such a hoot sometimes, isn't it? And yes, walking on icy surfaces is just downright treacherous, much better to stay safe.

Dandelion and Daisy, wow, your friend flew INTO the cold weather?? She is a brave lady!
The lamp is coming along and oh, yes, the mistakes are definitely hell, but the Moment of Truth will be when we get it soldered and off the form, then I'll see how good (or bad) my color choices were. I'm hoping before the end of the month for the unveiling.

Hi Larry, no, this is still the first large wisteria we started late last winter. We did the mini wisteria early last winter. We're really, really Slow. LOL

Hi Stephen, glad to meet you! Thank you for the encouragement about my hair, gosh, it would be nice to get it back again someday. So much fell out over the last six months, but the loss does seem to be slowing down. Hopefully my 'fashionable' snood will help, lol!

sharon malueg said...

Hi Karen, we too had a great time the other night and yes it did go by so fast. Again tell Joel a big thank you for fixing my computer so now I can leave comments on your blog!!
Hugs Sharon