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.


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


    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.)

Three Things Thursday (11/10/16)

I spent a good amount of time looking at various other blogs last night and came across Ms. Emily’s Home for Full Grown Nerd who does a feature each week called Three Things Thursday.

The concept is really easy: Write about three things that are currently making your life awesome. She doesn’t even have a requirement that they be big things. I think I’m going to do a Three Things post at least once a month. If you also join in, make sure you post a comment with a link to your post from the one Ms. Emily posts each week. You even get to use this awesome badge.


Okay, enough about all that. Onto my three things for this week…

  • Blogging Again: I’m really enjoying blogging on a regular basis. Although I know I don’t have thousands of readers, it’s nice to know at least  few other knitters are out there, interested in what I’m working on. And that others are interesting in seeing what’s up with Lizzie. And others want to see about my travels. I’m also enjoying connecting with other people through their own blogs. Even though daily blogging probably isn’t for me other than my feeble attempt each November, I really want to have it become part of my regular routine.
  • Good Girls Revolt: This is an Amazon original series about women working to gain a more important role in a late 1960s news magazine. It’s a great blend of cultural and historical study combined with just enough drama (but not too much) to keep your attention. Real life people (fictionalized, of course) even make appearances (Eleanor Holmes Norton from her ACLU days, Nora Ephron, etc).
  • Fall Being Here: I know I’m repeating myself from an earlier post, but I’m happy that fall is finally here. The air is crisp and cool. The leaves have mostly changed. It’s dark not long after I get home from work. I love it because it means the holidays are soon , though I’m certainly enjoying the lack of super cold.

NaBloPoMo 2016

Each year, I make my best attempt to blog every day of November. Usually I only make it until about day ten then attempt to stretch it by responding to writing prompts or pulling random photos from the Internet.

…and I’m not necessarily planning to do better this year, though I do have a plan. I came up with a quick list as I was eating my breakfast this morning:

  1. Intro post
  2. Lizzie update (lots o’photos)
  3. WIP update
  4. Fall in VA (photo heavy post)
  5. Dishcloth FOs
  6. Harper’s Ferry
  7. Mail stats
  8. Wreath FOs (yes, I added wreath making to my craftiness)
  9. WIP update
  10. Uhhhh…
  11. Return to sock knitting
  12. Shenandoah trips of 2016
  13. Uhhh…
  14. New hair color – 2 weeks later (just dyed it last night, all by myself)
  15. Uhhh…
  16. WIP update
  17. Lizzie update (’cause she’ll have done something cute by then)
  18. Coworker knits
  19. Knife skills class / return to cooking
  20. Recipe sharing
  21. What I’m thankful for
  22. Germany Pt 1
  23. Germany Pt 2
  24. Germany Pt 3
  25. Germany Pt 4
  26. Germany Pt 5
  27. Germany Pt 6
  28. Germany Pt 7 (what? we were there for nearly 3 weeks)
  29. Uhhh….
  30. Wrap-up post

See? Much more of a plan. Only “what the heck do I write about?” days in there, versus my usual handful of ideas and lots of blanks.

Anyone else out there participating? Anyone else out there, period?

Professional Something

The prompt for today from the folks at NaBloPoMo got me thinking, yet again, about why I do this whole blogging thing.

Do you consider yourself a “professional” blogger? Why or why not? What does that mean to you?

My first response: Uh, no. I do not make a single cent off this blog, and never ever intend to do so.

Professionals get paid to, well, perform the duties of their profession. They provide a valuable service and get compensation in return. But what about folks for whom you could think of as having made a profession out of philanthropy or volunteering? Those folks have amazing skills, for which they could be paid, but are giving them away for the benefit of the organization. People plan fancy parties to get donations for organizations like St. Baldrick’s. There are certainly paid party planners out there. People who volunteer with FIRST Robotics could use their skills in engineering or teaching or organization or project planning to make money (though it is rarely as fun as doing so with FIRST).

So, really, the better question is, am I someone who blogs for whatever my reasons are for blogging, but use this skills for paid work?

Sort of. Let me explain.

I do actually know how to write. I can follow the proper rules for grammar and not use parenthesis and dashes. I can be clear and precise. I can explain how something works or why a decision could be made. Much of my job requires communication skills, about both highly technical and completely nontechnical topics. The common saying is that engineers can’t write. That’s just poor engineers. You can have an excellent idea, but it’ll never get implemented if you can’t explain its benefits.

Like I said, sort of. I could use my writing and my humor and whatever else you want to say I use to blog, but, in the end, I like just doing it for fun. I like not having to answer to someone paying me to do it. I don’t have to worry that I absolutely must post about something. My features, en, they haven’t happened in awhile. I’ll probably pick them up again, but it’s no big deal if I never do. As long as I keep writing, keeping recording, everything is gravy.

(Yeah, I’m posting this a day later than the prompt tells me to do, but I couldn’t get my act together in time to post this yesterday. Another perk of not being a professional blogger.)

September Goal Wrap-Up

I did decently well at accomplishing my goals. They were a bit of a stretch, as I’d like them to continue to be, so I won’t beat myself up for what I didn’t complete.

1. Blog at least four times a week.

I’ve blogged every day this month except for three days which is really quite amazing now that work has really ramped up again and I’m having to pay much more attention to Squirms now that she’s crawling.

2. Go on two photo walks.

I only really went on one and it wasn’t that planned. We went into DC to go to the Turkish Festival and, like always, brought a camera with us, just in case. We wound up taking a 3 or so mile walk to see the monuments. I’ve got a bunch of photos between the ones I took on my phone and the ones Matt took using his camera that I still need to go through. It’s still September so maybe I’ll take  Squirms for a little photo walk around the neighborhood while Matt’s making dinner.

3. Spend an hour a week commenting on others’ blogs.

I was great the first two or so weeks of the month then my commenting (and blog reading) fell to the wayside as life got busier. I chose to use my free time to read or knit rather than comment on blogs. Hoping next month to get back to it by setting aside some time on weekends.

4. Decide on whether to start a Facebook page for this blog. If so, start one and tell friends and family about it.

I already talked about the page I set up and asked you all and some friends/family to go like it. I’m at 17 likes at last count – no mega following or anything but, hey, everyone starts somewhere.

Questioning the Blog

Why am I here? Not in a philosophical “what’s the meaning of life” sort of way, but why am I blogging? I’ve got a million other hobbies (and, honestly, worries) to keep occupied, places to record my thoughts, ways to keep friends and family informed. Why here? Why public? Why now?

I answered a bit of this in my first post here but thought, perhaps, I’d expand a little. Plus, my mind is basically mush this morning (Squirms was up from 1:30 to 2:30 with teething pain) so I have nothing more entertaining or enlightening to talk about this morning. The questions are swiped directly from one of the blogging courses here on WordPress that I couldn’t find when I tried.

Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?

I actually blog publicly and keep a personal journal, though the later hasn’t had much that “here’s what happened today” type entries in quite awhile. My blog is to share things that are happening that I want other people to know about or otherwise feel I can write publicly about (think book reviews). My personal journal is for those things too crazy or not thought out enough or need to be held close for whatever reason.

What topics do you think you’ll write about?

Anything that comes to mind, really. I used to only talk about school and vacations and knitting, maybe venturing into other things. Well, I’m no longer a student so the topic of school will only come up when I reminisce. And vacations and knitting are very likely to appear. But also posts about Squirms (duh), living a DC suburb, food, books, memories from when I was little.

Who would you love to connect with via your blog?

I want to reconnect with friends and family who I don’t see as often but also connect with folks who are not yet friends but are at the same point in their life as me or also love to write or craft. I think we could also use new friends and a connection to old ones.

If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

Mostly a record of what happened over the last year, but also having a dedicated set of folks who I know are out there, reading my posts. The blog is equally for my benefit and for the benefit of others. If I don’t think people are out there reading, I’m likely to quit blogging entirely, losing the benefits I get.

So, fellow bloggers – why do you blog? Fame?  Trying to sell something? Recording your life? To practice writing?

September Goals

It’s late but I have not forgotten about my monthly goals for September (despite what WordPress may say, it is a full hour before the official end of the day in my time zone).

I’m not going to be super ambitious this month. As I’m just getting started with the whole monthly goals thing.

1. Blog at least four times a week.

I was good the last week or so but I’m just getting started blogging again and it’s always easy at the beginning. Once I run out of Writing 101 prompts, I may hit a total mental roadblock. Or maybe I’ll have 100s of more ideas. Or I may just post way more photos so Squirms.

2. Go on two photo walks.

I want to get back into photography again and the best way is to, you know, actually take some photos. It’s not like we don’t live extremely close to a major city that’s quite photogenic. And our neighborhood has some cool little places that I’d love to capture.

3. Spend an hour a week commenting on others’ blogs.

One of the best ways to get to know folks in the blogging community is to actually be app part of the blogging community. Easiest way to participate is to read and comment on others’ blogs. I’ll use the WordPress daily post responses as a launching point rather than just responding to the blogs I already comment against.

4. Decide on whether to start a Facebook page for this blog. If so, start one and tell friends and family about it.

Part of figuring out what I want this blog to be is figuring out if I want it to be more than just a place to record my life. Part of me wants it to be bigger than that, part of me thinks I’m delusional for thinking that possible. What I decide will show as a new Facebook page for this blog (or a lack of one).