Week in Review: August 5-11, 2018

Before we get into the normal topics, I want to share a few special things that happened this week.

New Blog Name, New Site Location

After lots of thought the last few months, I decided to change the name of the blog and it’s address. The WordPress link remains the same, but the domain has moved to thatangelaleese.com. I wanted to stop pretending I’m a brand. I’m just me. I’m Angela Leese. That Angela Leese. That one who sat next to you in engineering classes or who you saw spill an entire iced coffee down her top or who gets bit by spiders anytime it’s possible. I may not be the only one with my name, but I am a pretty awesome Angela Leese.

Health Update

It’s been a horrible week, I’m not going to lie. I was basically useless most of the week when I was at home and maybe got two-thirds of my hours in at work. Everyone has had to cover for me and did so before I could even ask. Matt. Bob and AJ at work. I also got some amazing support my countless medical office staff members who squeezed me in and let me move things when needed. Answered my many stupid questions. Don’t know what I would have done without all of them.

I may have mentioned last week that I hadn’t been feeling well, maybe about a weird cramp in my abdomen. It got worse, so I went and saw my primary care doctor as soon as I could get in on Monday. His thought was gallbladder issues, as I nearly punched him when we pressed where my gallbladder is. Ultrasound and blood tests came back normal. Saw a GI specialist who guessed stomach ulcers but wanted me to get the CT scan my doctor had already ordered. And, after what seemed like an eternity of intense pain, a diagnosis: Crohn’s Disease. I’m on steroids and start working on figuring out long-term treatment tomorrow.

Okay…back to our normally scheduled programming…

Life of Lizzie

Lizzie was, of course, impacted by my health issues. I was too sore for hugs or snuggles and often couldn’t help her do things. Matt also had to do work at home each evening, unfortunately about the time my pain was at its height for the day. She got ignored a lot. But, she was a trooper.

She very excitedly helped Matt make cupcakes on Thursday night. I got zero photos, but they were yellow cake with chocolate ganache covered in as many large sprinkles as she could fit on each one.

Our neighbors got a new trampoline so she had a blast jumping on it a couple evenings.

We went out to Shenandoah National Park for the weekend with some old friends. She had a blast blowing bubbles, getting her face painted, hiking, and having a dance party with one of our friends.

On the Needles

I finished the hats for Lizzie and her BFF, at least the knitting part. She insisted that they have pom poms which I need to make and attach. Hats are using the Barley Light in the child’s size, knit in a yarn I cannot recall right now. Ha!

I also started and completed a hat for her BFF’s sister. Pattern is the Sockhead Hat and yarn is Miss Babs 2-Ply Toes in a colorway I can’t remember at all. I made the adult size, despite her only being 8, per her mom’s recommendation. No FO photo, so here’s one of me with the hat 80% of the way done.

I also started, just yesterday, on a shawl in Kelborne Wollens Mojave, a lovely cotton and linen blend. I was going to make a hat with it but it’s got too much drape to it, even at a fairly tight gauge. I’ll offer the FO to the person I was going to make the hat for, with the option to decline in exchange for a hat in the same color but a different yarn. Pattern is Dotted Rays.

I made zero progress on the two shawls I started last week, as I got on this hat kick. Really should have grabbed one of those for the Shenandoah trip but it didn’t cross my mind. I’ll probably work on the purple one next, for a break from this pattern.

Adventures

Our big adventure was to Shenandoah. I’m all out of words to describe one of my favorite places on the planet.

Discoveries

    My diagnosis, obviously
    Iced slightly-sweet tea
    Cotton and linen yarn doesn’t make a good hat but is heavenly as a shawl

Oye. Ugh. Sigh.

Enough of my whining for one week.

A Better Me

Zero progress on this, as I’m just trying to get back to normal. May have lost weight, but I don’t really care. I stopped keeping away from gluten, dairy, and soy after my doctor told me forget about it. I may start it again but, again, I need to get back to normal.

On Tap

  • Treatment plan development
  • Finishing the three-color shawl and picking up the purple shawl
  • Mailing off a few things that have been sitting for weeks
  • Weekend with no plans! (I think.)

Week in Review: 22-28 July 2018

Yes, I’m back. I’ve taken an assessment of all that I have going on in my life and decided that blogging can fit in. A few things got taken off my plate to accommodate it (regular letter-writing, most notably) and I’m pretty confident I’ll be sticking with this for awhile. So, let’s get going, shall we?

Life of Lizzie

This week, she picked up a habit of saying, “Get it?” Except she’s not using the typical application of saying it after a joke that didn’t land well, but for just about any declarative statement. “I had a Popsicle today. Get it?” “I want to wear this dress today. Get it?” Once I figured out it didn’t mean she had tried to make a joke, it made everything make much more sense.

The non-allowance allowance experiment continues. This last week, we owed her two week’s worth, $8, and she decided to spend it on the fish-catching came that I remember from when I was a kid. Turns out, it’s pretty hard for her so she quickly forbid Matt and I from playing and chose to play it by herself for quite awhile the day she got it. I need to encourage her to try again so she doesn’t forget about it entirely. Maybe we’ll even be allowed to play with her again.

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On Thursday night, I took her out for a special “date” so she could have extra time with me before I was gone for the weekend. (More on that later.) The original plan was to wander around the toy section at Target then go to Chick-fil-a. We did wander Target very, very slowly. After she got her game, she insisted we get 1) Cheerios – “they’re for the weekend” and 2) crazy-shaped Annie’s boxed mac and cheese. I will admit I pushed her to the mac and cheese rather than going out as I’d had Chick-fil-a for lunch and it was going to start pouring soon.

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(Yeah, that’s her feet under a toilet stall door. She does this anytime I need to do my thing, to make sure she stays close. Very literal interpretation of “I need to be able to see your feet.” I try not to think about the fact she’s got her face pressed up against the door.)

On the Needles

Most of my week was spent knitting – then pulling out and re-knitting the Campside shawl from Alicia Plummer in Berroco Ultra Wool DK in the Heather colorway. More about what happened with the first attempt in a bit. The second attempt is going really well and I’ve only got the final pattern of eyelets then the ribbed border to go. This will be given to a coworker who enjoys a muted color palette – and is opening her house to our team to watch Spaceballs next Friday.

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I’ve also made a tiny bit of progress on the Vestigial socks in Neighborhood Fiber Company Studio Sock in the Parkland colorway. I like the pattern plenty but haven’t been in much of a sock mood. These will be my on-the-go project next week so I can make some real progress towards completion. The recipient lives here so obvious doesn’t need them for quite awhile but I hate having something hanging over me like this. (I’ll post a pic next week.)

Adventures and Discoveries

Yesterday, we went to DC for the first time in months to see a special exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. Lizzie was very impatient on the walk from Archives to the museum but happily walked through the exhibit with Matt on Dutch paintings of watercraft. (I stayed in the courtyard and knit on the socks in peace.) We were all very hungry at that point, so we went to b DC, a burger place. Lizzie didn’t eat almost any of her mac and cheese, but Matt and I really enjoyed our burgers and sides (tater tots for me, truffle fries for him). She really wanted to see the butterfly exhibit at the National History Museum but the line to get in was, no kidding, two blocks long. Guess everyone else was happy to finally be out of the house, too. Amd, you know, tourists. We promised her we’d get back to see them in the fall. I, of course, was too busy sweating and avoiding people to take any photos.

 

Oye. Ugh. Sigh.

Several things didn’t go so great this week.

My trip to Cleveland for a friend’s baby shower got cancelled due to a traffic control issue and no available flights that would get me there in time. I got a refund and immediately spent the money on a new watch and sock yarn from Miss Babs. Thankfully, I found out hours before I went to the airport and the United folks were great in trying to help me fix things.

It rained almost all week. Lots and lots and lots of rain. The immediate issues of cabin fever, getting soaked, and needing to carry an umbrella everywhere were easily dealt with. Harder was the water that came into our basement and wet our carpet when the outside drain was clogged with dirt. Thankfully, our cleaning lady discovered it after a few hours so we were able to unclog the drain, get the water up with a shop vac, and finish drying it out with a fan pretty quickly.

And I pulled a very Angela move at one point and left my badge inside my work area when I went out of it to use the restroom. Thankfully, someone was coming out very soon after who went and got my badge from my desk for me. I almost never take the thing off, too.

 

A Better Me

This was week two of my combination Weight Watchers restart and gluten, dairy, and soy elimination diet. Almost no headaches, at last! No real signs of improvement, health-wise but it’s only two weeks in. Lost 3.6 pounds since last Sunday. Had some issues actually eating enough points; turns out most of my points before were eating all the cheese and bread. This whole thing resulted in a few great culinary discoveries: almond-milk lattes, spicy eggplant dip, rediscovery of yumminess of Mojo chicken on the grill, Wegmans chicken tortilla soup.

 

On Tap

  • Kid’s birthday party at the community pool
  • DC Pen Show,
  • Likely shawl FO and Vestigial socks FO

 

Have a great week!

Fifteen Days

I’ve basically been radio silent for the last 15 days. I didn’t start out the month thinking I wouldn’t keep up the blogging habit – hey, I even made blogging a few times a week one of my goals! But, as usual, life got busy and stressful and I simple had no time, no energy, no desire to write. I did manage to squeak out a book review post becuase, you know, that’s easy. And I wrote a long post for friends and family about something that happened to me (more about that, later). But, yeah, I’ve been away. And now I’m back.

You probably want to know what I’ve been up to besides the usual stuff in my life like work and cleaning and attempting to remember to wear moisterizer. From the top of my head, here’s what’s happened since I last really, truly blogged:

  • We got a second opinion about Squirm’s strabismus that confirmed the original diagnosis so she’ll have surgery in a few weeks. (Right – must write an intro post to all of that. Another time, perhaps.)
  • Matt and I went on a weekend trip to Charlottsville without Squirms. We ate at some great restaurants, had some amazing wine and enjoyed it just being the two of us on a vacation. (This was also, I guess, our official 8th anniversary celebration.)
  • I finished knitting the February sweater (but still haven’t seemed it).
  • I made part of Squirms’ Halloween costume and started on the second part of it.
  • It got cold in DC. Then got warm again. Now, it’s in the 60s. I’m still waiting for Magic Day – you know, when, like magic, it’s cold and stays cold.
  • I spent the night in the hospital, getting lots of tests that showed nothing abnormal following a day of dizziness and a painful headache. (Turns out it was just a weird sort of migraine. Neurologist visit is in my near future).
  • Squirms wore shoes for the first time. Weird milestone, but she usually just wears socks or nothing on her feet. But it’s going to be getting cold – like, actually cold – soon and I wanted to get her used to the idea.
  • I kept really good notes in a notebook about what happened each day inspired by, of all things, the description in the second Outlander book of a small-village cleric who did the same thing. (Though mine is just bulleted notes vice real journaling like he did. Though I do plan to use December as my big journaling on paper month.)
  • My group at work has moved past the Forming and Storming phases and is creeping into Norming. (It’s a group forming model – Wiki page is here.) Two new members will be added in the next few months so the whole thing is likely to restart then.
  • Squirms has learned to pull herself up to a standing position using us and some furniture as a base. She also once made it onto the landing of the stairs (up one single stair).
  • Matt revitalized his sourdough starter and made an amazing partial whole wheat sourdough French-style bread.
  • We found out two sets of friends are expecting.
  • I lost 6 pounds, though much of that probably came from not eating much of anything that day I was getting the tests in the hospital. (Matt made me take this week off completely this week because “You were in the hospital. You probably shouldn’t go right back into a diet after being in the hospital.)
  • We made two different kinds of sausage for a party we’re having on Saturday. Another kind is going to be made tonight.
  • I cooked dinner twice. One meal was excellent – a frittata with lots of cheese and cauliflower. The other was only ok – a butternut squash pasta.
  • I went through the camera photos from September but haven’t done anything more to make her September scrapbook pages. Really hope my notes are enough for the journaling cards, whenever I finally get around to it.

So – what have you all been up to the last 15 days?

Watching the Wrong Things

Sometimes, I don’t know how to start a blog post. Every starting sentence feels contrived to make things seem more exciting than the topic really is. And this isn’t a story so I can’t just pick some random point to start from and get back to the beginning at some point. The topic feels like it needs an introduction. Something formal, to prepare you for what’s to come. But nothing seems right.

I could have started with: I have been watchful, but have found myself watching the results rather than the cause. You’d think I was talking about politics. Maybe global warming. Maybe the possibility of a new war due to ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State. Some big, universal issue that I should be participating in, not something extremely personal.

But, it couldn’t be more personal: My weight.

I’ve been watching it for awhile now. Watching it get higher, that is. Watching (and feeling) my clothes get tighter. Watching my double-chin get double-r. Watching my doctor make a sour face when she sees the numbers get larger between visits.

I was one of the lucky ones. I only gained 15 pounds when I was pregnant and was back to my birth weight within a week of when my daughter was born. I fit into all of my old clothes – well, almost all, some tops were too small due to, well, due to my then-expansive chest. I was pumping so I even got to eat 500 extra calories, like when I was pregnant.

Except I stopped pumping in early June and have still been eating those 500 extra calories on many days. And I haven’t been exercising in any way other than a little bit of carrying and running after Squirms which, really, doesn’t amount to a whole lot. I’m still only up 5 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight but I know I am larger than I was then, and not just because of how my body has shifted post-pregnancy.

My focus must change, then. To watching not my weight – insert lecture on fat versus muscle density – but to watching what it is I do that impacts my weight, my size, my energy level, and how I feel about how I look. There’s also the health size but my stats tell me I’m pretty decent, only marginally into territory where a huge change in my habits is necessary.

Today is the day. Today is the day I start paying attention to what I eat and make healthy choices. I’ve made those choices in the past and know how to make myself choose them. Matt knows how to support me such that I don’t feel guilty for making bad choices but empowered to make good ones. Squirms needs a good example of how to eat healthy foods and quantities. My work even has a great discount on the program I have used before to great success.

I will watch what I eat.

I will watch how much activity I’m getting.

I will watch as my self-esteem improves because of the side-effects of those choices.

I will watch the right things.