I’m Still Standing

Yes, I’m still here. Or at least a part of me is.

I still do not know what is wrong with me. The doctors have given up. They’re calling it fibromyalgia for lack of any other diagnosis.

The good news is that I have nothing “serious” like ALS, RA, MS or cancer.

The bad news is that I still have limited use of my hands and arms, need help dressing and am in constant pain — although it varies from extremely light to near crippling depending on how much I am using my hands.

Fortunately I have found a wonderful pain management and rehabilitation doctor who is turning to some alternative forms of medicine for treatment. He assures me that once the pain is gone and toxins are removed, function will return. I don’t believe him. I think something is wrong and the doctors are looking in the wrong places, but I am told any further testing would be futile — by two different specialists.

In fact, I’ve been told to ride it out and see if the pain management doctor can help me and then we’ll look into it again in another six months …

So, my disbelieving self is going along with the plan, because there are no other options. My intellect has given up hope, but I believe my deep inner emotions still have some sort of faith because without some hope, what is the point of continuing?

We begin acupuncture and cupping today and aqua therapy tomorrow. We shall see how it goes.

For now, I am enjoying summer without my two favorite outdoor hobbies — biking and kayaking.

Matt put a few tomato plants in pots for me to watch grow. He also planted a couple of cucumber plants, some swiss chard, two mini sweet pepper plants and a couple of green onions, along with a few herbs. Everything is in either a pot or a small raised garden right outside the back door, so there is no weeding. Obviously it will only generate enough food for a dinner here or there, but it is something.

On a good day, I am able to water the pots and fill my bird feeders. On a bad day, my husband does it for me.

Speaking of birds, I spend a lot of time outside just sitting and watching them.

Last week, I happened to have my camera with me and was privileged to witness this red-wing blackbird putting on a marvelous display. All of the photos were taken from my back porch, where I was sitting. He was prancing and showing about 20 feet in front of me on my swing and around one of the bird feeders. He went on for about 10 minutes, with lots of breaks in between to call, dine and rest.

It was so incredible to see. I so thankful I had my camera so I could record the moment!

Take care.

Pointing the Way

mosaic arrows

This past June, my husband and I spent a week in the Upper Peninsula. We were supposed to spend the time camping, hiking and photographing nature. Our campsite was right on the beach of Lake Superior and I imagined several evenings sitting in front of the fire, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing on shore, while watching the sun set.

We knew it would be a little cool … we took hoodies and fleece-lined sweats to keep ourselves warm overnight. And, we packed plenty of blankets, as well.

We knew if might rain, so we bought waterproof coats and shoes.

What we didn’t count on was three days of wind and rain, on and off, all day and all night. By the third night, everything in the tent was damp feeling — even though it was dry. The wind picked up to about 40 mph, the rain was coming down in buckets, and the temperature dropped to 48 degrees. We went to bed early (there was nothing else to do) even though we weren’t really tired. Every few minutes, a gust of wind would lift open the rain flaps on the tent and suck out all of the warm air. Every time the wind blew, I got a little colder. I had my hoodie up and layers of clothing on, but I was still cold. And, I must admit, I was a little scared that the tent was going to collapse in the wind. I asked if we could get a hotel room. Matt told me just to snuggle a little closer and he would keep me warm. So, I snapped a few pictures of the raindrops on the tent, snuggled a little closer and prayed morning would come soon.

I had just about fallen asleep when I heard Matt asking if they had a room available for the night.

Ten minutes later, we were comfortably settled down the street at a motel. We cranked up the heat, put our shoes in front of it to dry (we had been playing in Lake Superior earlier in the day and the exteriors of our shoes were still wet) and took long, hot showers before going to bed. It was wonderful to be completely dry and warm that night.

We called it an early Christmas present, since we stayed at the Christmas Motel in Christmas, Michigan.

Amazingly, our tent survived the night … Everything was just as we left it, although it was still so windy the next morning, it nearly blew away as we were trying to get it down. A neighboring camper had to help us! We weren’t able to pack it up, but we did manage to get everything into the car.

Of course, I had to scrapbook this crazy night.

While waiting for Matt to register us at the motel, I had taken pictures of the temperature and the rain on the windshield. The next morning, I took photos of the sign and outside of the motel. I used those, along with the pictures I had taken of the rain on the tent, to help tell the story on my page.

I also used the Mosaic Moments Arrow Die … it’s a versatile die because you can use either the inside or the outside or both together! I made a video to show you how it’s done … click here to watch.

Have you ever scrapbooked the weather?

NOTE: I was compensated for creating this video.

 

Classes, classes and more classes

Learning is fun — if you know where to look. And crafting classes are always great fun.

Personally, I like real classes — not ones that are more like project kits — but ones where the instructor provides tips and tidbits while helping you make a project or learn a new technique. It doesn’t really matter what I make, it’s the process that is rewarding.

I could listen to Wendy Vecchi, Colleen Schaan, Tim Holtz or other experts teach all day long. I could take the same class again and again and always learn something new.

Sure, I can follow the directions and place a brad at a certain spot, I don’t need an instructor for that. But when the instructor adds tips for lining it up just right or telling you what not to do (because they’ve done it and it was a minor disaster), well, that’s what I expect to pay for when I take a class.

I remember taking a class from an EK Success rep years and years ago. We were working with products that aren’t even made anymore and the layouts I created never did receive photos or make it to my album. But, that rep taught me how to tear paper — a simple technique that you wouldn’t think you would need help with, but I’ve taught it over and over again and everyone seems thankful for the tips.

It’s moments like that that make the class worthwhile. And, since that is what I expect, that is how I model my classes.

And, I have quite a few classes on the horizon … I’m going to add a space to my blog for them to reside permanently, but for now, here are the classes I have coming up:

Art Glitter Lace Notebook

Sunday, Jan. 22 1-2:30 p.m.

Copic Airbrushing

Tuesday, Feb. 7 5:30-7 p.m.

Heritage: Holding Documents

Sunday, Feb. 19 1-2:30 p.m.

Adding Texture with Copic Colorless Blender

Sunday, March 18 1-3 p.m.

Cricut: Layers & Masking

Tuesday, Feb. 21 5:30-7 p.m.

To register or for more information, contact Capture A Memory at 810-733-0716 or click here …

I look forward to seeing you there!