Friday, July 31, 2009

What am I up to?

(trying to avoid a What Is For Dinner? entry)

So, how have I been spending my time?

On the computer- Facebook (FarmTown, Farkle), listening to talk radio streams, watching TV (mostly things I have seen before) including Burn Notice, Warehouse 13, Eureka, and eagerly awaiting the new seasons of Monk and Psyche (and later Chuck, Heroes, Lost, and Smallville)

the Bible, the "in a year" schedule I am on has me in the middle of Psalms right now and I just started Romans.
Fantasy Pulp- I had gone for a long time without endulging in frivolous reading, but I recently started a 6 book series, well, a month ago. I am about to start Book 6.

Crosstitch- Well, I am not sure yo ucan call it that. I have been doing Blackwork, which is basically outlining, rather than X-ing. (Traditioanlly done in black thread, I am actually using other colors.) I also stitched the names of our family members to go along with the next item...

Quilting- I had a idea to make a wall quilt with a tree and then have seperate apple motifs with the names of out family members stitched on them. I have the names stitched, but have not made either the apples or pieced the tree quilt. It is still kind of in the planning phase. (I have a lot of things in the planning phase.)

Nothing has been done in- Knitting, Crochet, Jewelry making, sewing, doll customization, web design, gardening, photogrpahy

Home School-
We have been taking some time off, but will be getting back into the thick of things starting next week. Also, I decided to take a more active role in PEAK, a good idea for the group's facilitator. If everything I have planned comes about we will have an activitiy once a week (almost.)

In the works for PEAK-
American Girl Book Club
Monthly Birthday parties/planning meetings
Ancient Civilization Days (a new civilization every month)
Science Fair
Art Fair
US State Geogrpahy/Culture Fair
World Geogrpahy/Culture/Food Fair
History Fair
Photography Fair
Physics/Inertia Demonstration
Bowling Field Trip
Swimming field trip
Automobile Museum Field Trip
Memphis Zoo field Trip
Poetry Fair
Thanksgiving Play

And, as a therapy for my hermetic tendencies, I am going to try to make it to all of these (and whatever there is that I forgot to mention) I already know that i am going to start tothink to myself, "Why did you commit to that?! I want to just stay at home!" But by then it will be too late! I will have boxed myself in! Hahahaha!

Oh, I almost forgot...
Role Playing-
Just in case you had mistaken me for a grown-up...
Mostly Forgotten Realms. Not using 4e, can't stand it enough to buy the books. I have been picking up 3e and 3.5 for pretty good bargains on eBay.
DH is running a game for me alone set in Sigil (planar hub) in which the Prime Material plane is Forgotten Realms, should I decide to go there. My character is a psion.
I am planning a game for the whole family (Yes, we are teaching our girls to play, so sue me.) based in FR (3e, or maybe starting in 2e and working forward) The characters will be signing on to a merchant caravan. I want to start in Waterdeep (Northwestern coastal metropolis) and work my way along trade routes across the whole continent. So much of FR has printed source material that there is something for everywhere, even if I do not use modules. (I hate modules.)

There you go.
I am off to watch this week's Burn Notice.

This is Cumberland Falls in April 1998. We went there to celelbrate our 1st wedding anniversary. It had been a very raainy Spring and the river was UP. In some places the walkways to see the falls were flooded.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Recent Knee Pain

Since February I have had increasing pain in my knees. It started light, only when I went up or down the stairs. Then it was not light, when I went up or down the stairs. Then it was light all the time. Then it was not light, all the time. Walking across a room became something to be avoided.

I did some research and thought it might be arthritis. I had always thought arthritis would come on more slowly. I went from "OK" to "Can Barely Walk" in a month. Also, everything I read, and the people I talked to, saaid that arthritis gets better and worse according to barometric pressure. I saw no real difference in the pain based on weather changes.

I haven't been to see a doctor. I hate going to doctors. My husband is trying to get me to go, but I keep putting it off. Nothing I have read has said anything about a treatment option that I need a doctor for, unless I want my knees replaced, which I don't think is quite necessary yet. The websites I saw said to loose weight, take ibuprofen or naproxin (Advil or Aleve), try to stay off the knees, and maybe menthol cream (Ben Gay). I have been doing all of that and it helps a little. (Except the weight loss, which is too slow to see improvement yet.)

And something told me that it didn't quite fit the arthritis self-diagnosis. So, I continued my research.

Another possibility presented itself. Tendonitis

I think I had avoided anything that focused on sports medicine when I did my first research, which is why I missed it. Tendonitis fits my situation better.

The pain started when I moved my desk from upstairs (where my bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom is) to downstairs and started having to go up and down the stairs 5 or 6 times a day. A sudden change of physical activity can cause a tear in the tendon.

Now, if a person is in good shape going up a few flights of steps every day is no trouble. I fully acknowledge I am not in good shape. I am working on that. (Of course, having trouble walking does not make exercising easy.)

Anyway, tendonitis is not subject to atmospheric pressure changes. Check.

Tendonitis is caused by an injury, such as from sports or a sudden change in physical activity. Check.

Pain can be caused in NEARBY areas due to prolonged favoring of the injured area. Check. (This is what caused me to revisit the arthritis self-diagnosis. For the last couple of weeks my knees had not been hurting much at all, but my calves felt like daggers were going through with each step.)

Last week after we got back from our vacation I bought a cane. I decided to make that concession to my vanity in favor of being able to walk a little more comfortably. Within two days the pain in my calves was GONE and the knee pain is easing up considerably.

I think I am going to be ok.

My husband has said he will give me a few more days before he insists I see a doctor.

I think I can put him off. I do actually feel like I am getting better.

DD10 wearing some silly glasses.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back from Vacation

We went on vacation this weekend. My husband's grandfather was visiting my in-laws, as he does for a few days about this time every year. The visit was short, but nice. The weather was fabulous and not too hot.

My husband and I pledged to each other that this was our "Stress-Free Vacation." Anytime blood pressures started to rise or voices got a little higher pitched, we stopped, thought things through, adn decided either on whatever decision we actually wanted, or to forestall the decision until such a time as it could be made with no stress. It was marvelous.

I hate driving through Memphis, Tennessee. Driving through Nahville on our way to Kentucky never bothered me the way Memphis does. I would drive 50 miles out of our way if I could to avoid Memphis. However, I generally just grit my teeth and pow ahead, paying as close attention as I can to highway direction signs and trying not to let crazy dirvers get to me. It is usually only 30-45 minutes of the 7 hour trip.

Traffic on the I-55 Mississippi River bridge was horrible. There was construction being done lane by lane as best they could, to do repairs without having to close the bridge. We had slow going headed north but never had to actually stop. We could tell the south-bound lanes were not so lucky.

"Good thing we are going this way."

"They are not likely to have it all done by Tuesday."

"We could take a different route on our way home."

That started a spark of thinking on our parts. I know of two other ways to cross Tennessee on our way from Kentucky and proceed further southward. Of course there are others, but they don't really count.

"We could go through Jackson (TN) and down through Corinth, like we did when we lived in Tupelo. Or we could go through Huntsville. It adds and hour and a half to the drive time, not counting whatever time we spend IN Huntsville, seeing friends or doing whatever."

"Sounds good. Let's do that!"

I know very well that there is almost 0% chance we would have sat in stopped traffic for 10 minutes, let alone an hour and a half, if we had just driven through Memphis on our regular route. But the spirit of the week was fun and fancy free. And we had not visited our old home city in years.

We thought about going to see tourist sights, and Yes, Huntsville, Alabama has quite a few, but that wasn't really in our budget, so we passed. We drove around the city pointing out to the girls our old stomping grounds, apartment complexes, and the hospital where two of them were born.

I am amazed at how much one state university can change in 6 years. They must be doing well, funding-wise.

As we drove past the old dorms I noticed a fraternity-sorority row and pointed it out to DH. I pulled in and parked at his fraternity's house (built 3 years ago, it turns out) to let him go in to see if there were brothers there to show him around. he acted at first like he wasn't that interested, but then I ended up having to go fetch him after 20 minutes.

We got to have lunch with a friend, even bumped into a friend we hadn't been able to contact, randomly. The girls had fun even on what could not have a been a great day for them, and we got home with a day to spare for Dh to recuperate from vacation before heading back to work.

All in all it did indeed turn out to be a stress-free vacation.

Can you believe that I was in 6 different states over the past week? Pretty impressive for someone who doesn't normally travel so much. The girls only went to 5, since they never crossed the Ohio river into Indiana, which Dh and I did while we had a date night, leaving the girls to their grandparents (and great-grandfather.)
Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, and Alabama.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How is your kung fu?

My husband and I went to see Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen last night. That being the case, you might expect this to be a review of that movie. Sorry. There are hundreds of other blogs you could read that in. My movie review series involves DVDs in my family's collection. Today...

Forbidden Kingdom

This is, I hear, the only movie with Jackie Chan and Jet Li together. Both men are very talented at the martial arts and the transition of such to the silver screen. They aren't bad actors either. My husband said he did not recognize Jet Li in the Monkey King costume until nearer the end of the movie. We ahve thought it over and we believe this was because he was smiling and laughing so much. Jet Li does not smile and laugh much in his movies. Jackie Chan often smiles and laughs in his movies. I did not recognize him in his make-up as the old shop keeper until nearer the end of the movie.

It is a fun fantasy movie, set in mythical ancient China rather than the more usual (for westerners) mythical ancient Europe. There are some incredibly funny parts, wonderful action/fight sequences. The plot is great, a little predictable, but still with some twists that caught both of us jaded movie-goers by surprise.

I loved the character of Sparrow. When I get the time I plan to design a custom Barbie for her and for the Wolf Witch, but lets not have this review devolve (evolve?) into a discussion of custom dolls.

There was one part of the movie that really struck a chord with me, moreso than the rest. It was a discussion between Jason (played by Michael Angarano, who is not Shia LeBouef) and The Drunken Master, whose name I forget (played by Jackie Chan.) They are discussing Kung Fu, what it is, what it means, what it needs, etc. The Master tells the student that the essence of kung fu is not the fighting, it is being the best at what you do, no matter what you do. It is an artist capturing beauty in a way that touches the soul. It is a butcher cutting meat to a perfect cut. To have kung fu, whatever is your trade or passion, you must study, learn, practice, and do your best.

So, as Sparrow asked Jason, I ask you...How is your kung fu?

Here is a picture of a timber wolf I took a few years ago at Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Indiana.

Friday, July 3, 2009