Did you know?

I used to LiveJournal every day. Every single day. I know, right? Me, the bad blogger?

Yes. I was very big into updating every day. Back then, I did a lot of fan fiction writing and costuming (namely Star Wars prequels and Regency and Civil War). If you look, you can find me there still I think, an abandoned journal since Russia or someone overseas bought them out. How did I do it? Wow. Every day. For like, 5 years, too.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately. What has changed? Back then, in order to create a post with pictures, you had to use an actual camera because cell phone cameras were for crap (what? No way! Yes, way!), then upload said pictures to your computer, edit, and find somewhere to host unless you ponied up for a paying LJ account with some storage. I didn’t pony up for a long time and just used photobucket, you know, before they decided to charge for photo hosting on websites and such. (I miss those days. I loved photobucket then!) None of this smartphone, tablet camera stuff.

It was intentional journaling. It was a thoughtful, intentional crafting of my journey in sewing and writing (and sometimes life outside those), where I sat at my computer and thought hard about what to share and why. Some of it was emulating others I admired, but mostly it was the joy of sharing my enjoyment of costuming and fan fiction. (I’ll be surprised if anyone can actually figure out my fan fiction handles!) It was worth the effort to craft each entry every day. I made friends there. One of those friends helped me find my cover artist.

So what has changed? Obviously something has, since I can’t seem to post more than once or twice a month and they’re usually just fast drive-by posts. I’m not a bad blogger, I’ve decided. I’m a lazy blogger. There’s a difference. Seriously. Using an app for this has made me lazy. It’s so easy. I just click and type, maybe snap a pic or two, then hit post on the old iPad and forget about it. Like now. This has been on my mind enough that I’m up writing this while in the middle of a bad streak of insomnia (4 days now of waking at 2:30-3 unable to get back to sleep).

Hey, at least I’m writing, right?

More thinking. Is this worth it for me anymore? Trying to post daily or even weekly in a world where everyone is talking but no one seems to be listening to anyone?

I don’t think it is. As our culture has dived down more and more into this invasive ‘look at me’ Instagram, etc. focused culture, I’m finding myself pulling away hard and fast from social media swimming up trying to find some fresh air. (I know weird since I just posted about surgery…but it’s where I’m heading.) I’m not taking pictures like I did. I’m not interesting Tweeting or Facebook…or even blogging.

What?

Sacrilege!

Burn the heretic!

Yes, I’m joking, but our culture has become so focusing everyone doing the ‘gram or whatever that every day pleasures are being lost in the gallop to upload every moment to the cloud and for likes and attention.

A short story: My daughter graduated college 3 years ago. I was supposed to be in charge of taking pictures with the iPhone and while I did because I was asked to, I feel like I never got to experience her graduate. It was seen through the lens of the phone, trying to keep it lined up and such, over in seconds. I did experience it, yet the camera, that need for even more pictures than what we were already getting, removed joy from me. It isolated me from a moment I’d been waiting for. Yes, I did feel resentful. But since I’m a grown ass woman, I forgave my family and dealt with it.

I guess that was the beginning of the end. I don’t use instagram or hardly even any other social media. I have Twitter and do occasionally tweet a bit. Blech. I don’t take thousands of pictures while on vacation. This was a long time ago, but does anyone remember the commercial of a young woman in front of her computer on Facebook I think it was? She’s going on about the posts of what everyone is doing and pitying her parents who aren’t even on there. Meanwhile, while she’s looking at cat pictures and pictures of people doing stuff, her parents are out mountain biking. They’re doing stuff. They’re living, not her. I love that commercial. Wish I could remember it better, like what it was even for. Maybe something for tourism somewhere? I feel it has captured our culture perfectly.

I guess what I’m getting at is that I’d rather be doing stuff than taking pictures of doing stuff. I’d rather live than wish I was living someone else’s life because social media told me I wasn’t good enough. I got enough of that crap reading teen magazines growing up. You know what? I am good enough how I am. My family is good enough and my career, while not anywhere near bestseller status, is good enough. I don’t need approval of the masses to live my life in the way I see fit.

I’m not abandoning this blog or anything. I’m just sharing recent thoughts that have been circling my mind.

So, for all you young things focused on the likes: stop. Get out there and live and quit giving a crap what people think. You don’t need the mass approval of strangers. Take a walk without taking pictures and just breathe the air and feel the sun on your face. Smell the snow or flowers. Live, don’t merely watch others living.

/insomnia musings.

Illness and recovery

Some years I’m healthier than what seems humanly possible, never getting usual seasonal allergies or catching whatever plague is going around. Then there’s this year.

I’m going to be rather open about this.

I started having issues with my stomach a couple months ago. I started off thinking I’d eaten something that didn’t agree with me: heartburn and indigestion like I hadn’t had in 50 pounds. I thought maybe my sudden weight gain and inability to stop it had contributed. Then it progressed to actual pain in my stomach itself and the surrounding areas. Picture me doubled over crying because it hurt so bad. I couldn’t sleep on my stomach or sides.

I managed to do the things I love, namely going to movies in costume and demonstrating lace in costume, but it hurt. I seem to be decently good at powering through the pain and discomfort. What propelled me to my GP was when I started having the same symptoms my dad had had before he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

Dr thought maybe hiatal hernia and sent me off to a gastroenterologist. Gastro didn’t say what he thought was going on, just ordered an upper endoscopy and ultrasound of the entire abdomen. No one reached out with results of the ultrasound before the scope. Good news from the scope: my esophagus looks normal and I just have a case of gastritis. Gastro said to follow up with my lady dr about 2 ovarian cysts and a fibroid.

Turns out one mention of the words ovarian cysts on the phone with reception is enough to get sent to the nurse to schedule a ‘problem appointment’. They got me in the next day. I was in quite a bit of discomfort by my 3:30 appointment. Dr came in said she was concerned about the large cyst on my left ovary. It needed removed fast due to the possibility of it twisting and strangling the ovary.

Which led to surgery the next day. Yup. I went home, had dinner, went to bed, and got up for surgery. Cyst removed, biopsy sent to lab. No suspicion of cancer, just being safe.

Recovery has been good. A few nights in the electric recliner, my family taking care of me. Me trying to do too much too soon. You know, the usual way of things. I did have my week and a half follow up to have stitches removed. Cyst wasn’t cancerous, so yay! Dr says I’m healing really well.

I don’t feel like I am. Honestly, I still feel like an invalid who can’t stay dressed more than three hours a day. Friday is two weeks out from surgery. While the surgical gas bloating disappeared after about a week, I’m rather bloated and tender in the belly otherwise. I feel gross. I’ve been dreaming of being able to wear pants again. I’m already sick of dresses and the weather went from a beautiful 78 degrees to a rather breezy, chilly 52. Of course, outside temperature only really matters if you actually get dressed and leave the house.

I have gone out four times this week:

1) The first was to buy patterns at JoAnn Fabrics (They were necessary, okay? I really needed those for my stash because…nope. I just had to get out of the house.). Driving was interesting. Central Illinois roads are hell after abdominal surgery. I’m not a fan of dodge the pothole. I came home, put pjs back on and slept for three hours.

2) Follow up appointment. Dodge the pothole on a different main road. No nap. Went to bed early.

3) Grocery trip. Two stores and a rather ambitious outing that had me praying fervently I’d make it home and put everything away before collapsing. I managed. Barely. In my history of bad ideas, this was one of my worst, but we did need groceries, namely because our big freezer went out and took with it all meat choices. If we wanted dinner, I had to shop. Slept two hours, made dinner, went to bed early again.

4) Not having learned my lesson, I went out to get the things I couldn’t get at the other stores. I must be a slow learner. Either that or too stubborn. One of the two…. Paying for it now. Bloated up nicely by dinner, which I did cook, though it was basically throwing things in pans and shoving one in the oven to heat! So it wasn’t hands-on cooking.

On top of that, I keep forgetting to take the gastritis pills half an hour before eating. While I know it’ll take a few weeks to recover fully (it was 6 for me after gallbladder removal), it’s hard for me to not be active in daily life. I’m the one who takes care of the house, errands, and chores In addition to writing. Like this, I’m unable to get things done to my satisfaction. I can’t even concentrate long enough to get much writing done. (Up to 43,000 words. Getting there.)

And I just have to suck it up and be a big girl about this. I can’t worry about weight loss because my body needs maintenance calories with a focus on protein. My family can take up slack with chores, errands, and such. I will need naps and rest and have to just take that when needed. I can work on a scene at a time, one sentence at a time.

Sometimes, life throws you a curve that forces you to slow down. This is my curve.

Downton Abbey

Anything can be a costume event, right? My daughter has never seen the series, but was willing to go see the movie with me. We made dresses, because of course we did!

Here’s a view of my dress sleeve since I don’t have a picture of me just in the dress:

I used one of the 2 hour 1920’s dress booklets for instructions on the dress. It sewed up fairly fast once I wound my mind around the directions. The fabric is quilt cotton and broadcloth. I was originally making the dress for Cogs and Corsets this summer and ended up not being able to go, so waited to make it. The kimono jacket is from one of the Simplicity patterns that’s out. I used gold and gray burnout velvet with black satin lined sleeves and broadcloth lined body (I was using up fabric). The burnout velvet was from JoAnn Fabrics and is of the devil. Just sayin’. Next time, spring for the good solo burnout velvet online and don’t be seduced by the availability of the other stuff.

My kid used the same booklet for her dress. My necklaces are period from my grandma’s jewelry stash and my belt is made from vintage supplies from my other grandma’s sewing stash. They’d both be tickled that I used their things in my dress.

As for the movie…I loved it! I’d avoided spoilers and won’t give any here, but I’d love another movie. I’m invested in these characters.

Apple and Pork festival

Hey all! I attended the Clinton Apple and Pork festival again this year, only this time, I was demonstrating bobbin lace. In costume. Yes! I finally got new Civil War era undies made up: chemise, drawers, corset, petticoat. Then took in the “bird dress”, which was the last historical dress I made 50 pounds ago.

The festival is two days. We set up our tent Friday night just in time for a big wind storm to come through and completely demolish my new tent. It was a garage sale purchase, but still. First use and it died before starting. Two of the posts were bent, one screw was bent in on itself. Totaled. Some nice gentlemen took it to a dumpster for us.

So, they moved us up to the porch of the mansion.

It was stinking hot. People were having heat stroke. It was ridiculously humid.

My friend Robin, who got me started lacing 21 years ago:

My daughter, who wasn’t lacing, but rather working on her first cross stitch piece:

I ended up with a heat rash on my torso from the heat and press of my corset, which is a first for me. In all my years of wearing corsets for events, I’ve never had that happen before. Guess it was just that miserable.

Day two was supposed to be even worse, so I cheated. I wore Regency without proper underthings or correct shoes. Scandalous! I did, however, have my period correct sunscreen of bonnet and fichu!

The weather was muggy, occasionally rainy, and icky. We managed to get our cars packed up just seconds before another downpour started. My daughter and I had to pull off the road it was raining so hard. Flash flooding everywhere. It was nasty. When we got home, there was a lake our backyard including a current!

Despite the weather, I had a great time! There were more people in costume than I’ve seen there in a long time. I’m really looking forward to next year. I’d love it to be a bit cooler, so crossing my fingers!

Book stuff

1) So, I was made aware that my two most recent books Verse Productions Presents: The Space Files and Soul Fate aren’t available in paperback with places like Barnes and Noble. I contacted Amazon and did get a rather fast response that they’d investigate. I expected a wait, but only a week or so later, received a response. Basically, ‘it’s not us, our distribution is working. It must be all these other places. We’ll send it out again.’. I’m going to watch and see if they show up in the next week. If not, I guess I contact Barnes and Noble, etc. individually and inquire?

If it ends up bring Amazon not actually sending it, I’ll be more than a little pissed, as they’re denying me income. I have people wanting physical copies that don’t order through Amazon. They don’t use Amazon. Yes, older people who don’t have internet and wouldn’t use it if they had it. I know that seems weird to younger generations, but there are people out there who aren’t online. Mind blown, right?

2) I’m chugging right along on my book 5 rewrite. It’s flowing quite a bit better and I’ll be able to cannibalize the first attempt for a few scenes. Yay!

An update on this and that

1) Physical therapy has begun! Twice a week for six weeks and possibly longer if I need it. You know it’s bad when the therapist wonders how you’re even mobile with muscles in such a condition.

Nice to excel at something!

I’m already feeling relief and am positive I’ll recover from this.

2) Diet has been abysmal. Schedule has had us eating out four meals in the past five days. I did well for one of those. That’s something, right? And I’ve got another meal out with friends this week. Apparently this introvert is a social butterfly.

One of the days was birthday dinner so I’m letting that one go.

3) More fighting with Amazon. This time, they’re not sending Verse Productions Presents: The Space Files to expanded distribution (in other words to Barnes and Noble) for print. It’s been out since February or thereabouts, plenty of time for it to be distributing. Anyway, this means I’m losing out on possible sales there. I’ve double checked that I had ticked that box and will check back. If it’s not moving over soon, I’ll be contacting them about it. Soul Fate isn’t showing either, but I don’t expect it to for at least another month.

4) I’m contemplating something painful for an author: scrapping 30,000+ words of a book that just isn’t going anywhere. B5 of the knife-bearers and clans series isn’t working. I hate to say it’s time to stop beating my head against my desk over it and start over without the current outline, but I think it’s time. The characters and plot are fighting me on it. I love what would be the end of the book. Seriously, I adore the scenes for that that are all still on paper. It’s the beginning and middle scenes on the computer that aren’t moving. At all. I feel like I’m writing, deleting, and rewriting the same paragraph over and over.

5) I’m making a corset! Yup, I finally got off my butt and am making that Civil War era corset. Chemise and drawers already finished. I’m getting ready to insert the busk. After this will be the petticoat, then cutting down one of my old dresses.

On a side note, I’ve recently realized my blue Guinevere dress from the Keira Knightly King Arthur movie will work on the slimmer me. Picnic Padme might as well with a small tweak to the skirt and corset. Halloween is looking like I have choices now!

Trying to stop the gain

 So, let’s talk ‘life happens’ weight gain. Specifically, my gain.

I was down to 153 a little over a year ago, with a long-term goal of 135 dream weight and 140 realistic for my life and eating habits. I’m about 5’3.5″, so it’s a decent goal and dr approved. I’d been losing for around three years. 153 was 51 pounds lost. Yes, I was a larger lady. Having my gallbladder out was my deciding factor, the one that pushed me into it. I got a Fitbit, dusted off my My Fitness Pal account and set to work, reading the forums and educating myself. Go me!

But then life happened. We had a particularly stressful period of moving to a different state and some health issues on my end. I’m a stress eater. I think ’nuff said about that. Had a slight creep, but was still getting fluctuations down to 153. Thought I had it under control, but was really kidding myself.

Man, did I lie to myself!

Anyway, I just willfully ignored the upward trend, had two excellent food vacations and an unavoidable decrease in exercise (reason given later) that shot my weight up to an uncomfortable 161. Clothes getting tight, feeling flabby, and so on. Still not buckling down, but at least seeing that I’m trending up now.

I did a little digging as to how I was eating and exercising the last time I was 161 lbs. (ugh!) it was back in January of 2017. It’s nice to have all that data to look back at. I ate about the same as now, except I was getting my fiber and averaging 11,000 steps. Food goal with exercise averaged from 1700-2100, but I was also leaving 300-400 calories uneaten so intake was somewhere between 1500-1900. The exercise made the difference. I really did walk it off!

So, the unavoidable decrease. I’ve been diagnosed, just today actually, with snapping hip and minor bursitis that combined into a bad type of bursitis. The two issues had a big, bad baby and I’ve had massive amounts of hip pain off and on for, you guessed it, a little over a year. Turns out the 20,000+ a day step count I had during the health issue I briefly mentioned above is the culprit. It got everything nice and irritated and, like an idiot, I ignored the pain until I ended up spending one whole day on my couch crying because no position was free of pain. And my foot has a soft tissue sprain with my knee starting to ache too.

The pain, oh my gosh, the pain! It hurts to do anything.

I start PT Monday with the goal of getting me back to my 11,000 steps (which I’ll have to work up to of course). I’ve had a steroid shot to the hip that they say should help within two days.

As for the gain, life does happen. Weight is not a static thing, it fluctuates and there are going to be periods of IDGAF. Like the past year. I really didn’t GAF. My calorie targets were all over the place. I had weeks of insatiable hunger I just went with. I was so tired of logging and weighing food. I’d love to not have to, but I don’t think I’m ready to stop. My hunger cues are still massively broken.

But the fog of not caring has cleared and I see the gain now. I know what I need to do. It’s simple, that reduction of calories and not adding any because of the whole little exercise thing. (*) So simple, but definitely not easy. I’ll chip away at it and hopefully, I’ll get back up to my normal levels of exercise and get to my final goal.

*Yes, I’ll follow the MFP guidelines for sedentary and will be eating any exercise calorie I do get. The Fitbit is connected and the calorie burns have proven correct for me.