It’s Been a Long Time 09/07/2017

Hi!

I know, it’s been a long time since my last post. I wasn’t as far out of my anxiety/depression/fibromyalgia flare episode as I thought. I backslid. It feels like I’ve been in a fibro flare since September. I usually have a flare when the seasons change and when there are weather disturbances. Winter was so weird this year I didn’t stop flaring.

I’ve decided to concentrate on the blog and a few farmer’s markets/craft markets for the rest of the year. I’m also going to practice extreme self-care in an attempt to not have a repeat eight-month episode. As I feel better I can write up my designs and go through that process. My hope is to blog five or more times per week and participate in at least two markets. I’ll add anything I make to the shop and just close it on market days so the same thing doesn’t sell twice.

I have a pile of different things I’ve made during the past six months that just need the ends woven in, to be washed, photographed and added to the shop. I’m going to work on those this week. Weather permitting I will even be able to use sunlight rather than artificial lights!

Blog-wise I plan to continue Simply Sunday and Tuesday Quotation posts. The rest will be updates on what I’m doing and book or product reviews.

One big life change is that my pension plan (from my last employer) sent me an exit package with four options:

1-leave my locked-in pension money with then until I can begin accessing it as a retiree at 55.
2-transfer it into another HOOPP (Hospitals Of Ontario Pension Plan) employer if I was working at another hospital.
3-transfer it to another employer pension.
4-transfer it to a financial institution in a LIRA (Locked-In Retirement Account) or transfer the above locked-in portion to a LIRA and take a cash amount to keep or put into an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan)

I chose option 4 and to keep the cash. I received it a few weeks ago. I plan to live off that cash as long as possible. It was $89 355.00 locked-in and $92 238.12 cash (in a cheque) and allows me to get off social assistance. It feels like a weight of stress is off my back! It’s so nice to not have to worry too much about money! I kept a few thousand in my regular savings account and put the rest in a higher interest savings account. I want to see just how much or little I need before I start removing money out of the higher interest savings account monthly.

When I checked on health insurance to cover what I’m losing by going off assistance I found the monthly fees would be more than my monthly prescriptions cost due to all my health issues. It’s going to be cheaper to just pay for what OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) doesn’t cover. I will basically have to pay for prescription drugs, glasses, dental care, massages, chiropractic visits, physiotherapy visits and a semi-private or private hospital room should I be admitted to a hospital.

I admit I have made a few large purchases since receiving that cheque. I went from depositing it at the Credit Union directly across the street to the electronics store. I purchased a MacBook Air and an iPad Pro, both in the smaller size. I’ve since had to purchase a few Mac programs I use on my iPhone 6SE and iPad; I wish third party apps could be used across all Apple products, not just the Apple apps! I’m still learning the intricacies of the differences between Mac and PC computers. This is my first Mac.

I’ve bought some e-books-ok, lots of e-books.

I plan on replacing my FitBit One; its button is taped on and half of the neoprene cover has fallen off or is close to falling off. It’s lasted at least five years though-probably more-I’d have to look up when I first joined the FitBit website community.

I joined DoTerra an essential oil provider, as a wellness consultant. As a consultant I can sell to others, sign up other consultants and receive discounts on the oils and other products I purchase. I’m still learning about all that this can entail. My first shipment has been shipped but hasn’t yet arrived.

I rejoined the Yarn Love Yarn Club for six months. I love Katie’s yarns and her colour sense! I’m so glad I am now financially able to rejoin. I missed receiving those wonderful monthly yarns! Katie also sells jewellery now, I bought a few bracelets from her too. The bracelets are on their way too.

Q1 2017 Review

These first three months of 2017 did not go anything like I had planned. I signed up for many online courses and had tonnes of ebooks to read and review.

I’ve been in a major depressive episode with anxiety and overwhelm since mid-January. I realized what was going on mid-February and started trying to climb out. Things were improving. I had an eye appointment and learned I needed new glasses and should get bifocals. My optometrist was willing to hold off on the bifocals for another year since I couldn’t afford bifocals but I still had enough of a prescription change to require new glasses anyway. (I picked up my new glasses last week.) 

I learned about a craft/small business market to be held quarterly in town and obtained the registration forms planning to register for all four. I planned to register after returning from my oncology appointment the next week. 

While in the city the morning of my appt my sister called. Her eldest, my 23 yo nephew had died. That was Feb.21. CancerCare was great and expidited my appointment getting me in right away. My mother and I hit the highway immediately for the five hour drive home.

The autopsy on my nephew was inconclusive and we haven’t heard back on the lab test results. We still don’t know what happened to Mike. He just didn’t wake up that morning.

Needless to say I slid back into my depression with grief added to the mix. I’ve done little business-wise since mid-January until recently. I can’t concentrate but I can still crochet my old standby washcloth! I posted to my blog twice. All my pre-scheduled posts have been used. I didn’t register for the markets yet. I knew I wasn’t emotionally ready for the March 11th one but I still plan to register for the remaining ones.

I’m slowly trying to get to a new normal and get back on track with my business but I gave myself this month to recovery and self-care and what business I can do easily.

I can concentrate better now but any attempts to read nonfiction fail. I have the attention span of my five year old nephew! I have been able to read fiction so watch for reviews in the next few weeks. I’m slowly starting to knit more than just washcloths. I can still access some of those courses and still plan of starting and completing them. But, I’m still recovering and plan on a slow start to Q2.

The Bridgwater Crafts Shop Is Now Open!

The Bridgwater Crafts Shop is now open!!! It’s on Shopify but there’s a link button in the sidebar.


Yesterday was a busy day. But it was worth it in the end. We’re babysitting my five year old nephew for the weekend. We went shopping. We did laundry and housekeeping. We sorted through some things; we’re purging and decluttering in anticipation of my sister and said nephew moving in at the end of the month.

I sorted through my teas and reorganized them. I was able to downsize and eliminate one box. Today I’m working my way slowly through my open loose leaf teas to see if any have gone stale. This may be a week long process. And will probably result in tossing of stale teas and passing on of some that I’m not crazy about. Thankfully my niece, Mackenzie loves teas almost as much as I do and will probably take any I no longer want.

I tested pens to see if they still worked. I sorted a bag of crayons, coloured pencils and regular pencils. Any itty bitty crayon was purged. The biggest coloured pencils were stored in an empty tea canister. The littler ones went into a smaller bag for the boys to use first.

We got rid of about five old games kept from childhood. I didn’t know Mum had held on to them! I’m getting rid of some I did know were kept and are currently living on a shelf in my closet today. We’re keeping ones like Scrabble™ and Monopoly™ but getting rid of ones that are missing pieces or are based on long ago television shows.

I crocheted and knitted for the shop. Today it officially opens! Anything I’m working on now will be added later. I really hope it goes well! I’m afraid no one will buy anything. But that’s just my anxiety talking, I hope! I know the shop still needs minor tweaking and I need to improve my product photography. But my products are well made and priced.

Today I need to sort through more yarn, deciding if I want to keep it for my or Mum’s use or add it to a bin of “shop yarn”. It’s not bad yarn just yarn I’m no longer in love with or think will make somethings that will sell well. My sister is moving into the room that currently holds my yarn shelving so it all needs to be sorted and moved.

I also need to plant some crocus and tulip bulbs. They’ve started sprouting on the kitchen counter! They need to get in the ground ASAP. And it’s something JJ can help me with. When Mackenzie was his age we went onto the grass at my old house and tossed some crocus bulbs then planted them where they landed. It was so cheerful seeing them pop up and flower in the spring. I want to do the same thing here with him. The tulips will go into the front beds.

Tomorrow I’m going to start writing a bunch of review posts. I think I have six in the works. It’s much easier if I start the posts then add to them as I read/use the items than if I wait until the end. There’s always something I forget to write about if I wait.

FO Friday…umm… FO Monday?

It has been a busy few days. That’s why Friday’s post is going up today with a few adjustments. I have quite a few finished objects to show off today. All are fairly small projects, I didn’t work as actively on the afghans this past week.
I spent last weekend whipping up these headbands. I needed fingering weight FOs for the Smitten Yarns February Stashdown on Ravelry . January was worsted, February was fingering, and March is sport weight. I didn’t use a pattern; I made one up but I may publish it in the future.
I also worked on baby hats for a friend’s baby shower this weekend. Again there was no pattern, just the standard crochet hat I devised over the years. They chose not to know the sex of the baby so I tried to use colours both parents like and could be considered unisex. I am making one or two girly hats too. Just in case, I can bring those over to her after the baby is born.
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But, my biggest FO of last week is the design I published on Saturday! This design began last year but I finally finished getting the pattern ready this past week. So please help me in welcoming Elspeth!
Elspeth Envelope holds your business or debit/credit cards for you safely even if they fall to the bottom of your bag, purse or tote bag. She can hold thirty business cards comfortably and even better, no more bent corners!

A Healthier Life Update 03/03/2016

On February 18th in my A Healthier Life post I spoke about the changes I’ve made health-wise and future plans. This morning I had an appointment with my primary health care provider. She had received the lab results from a few weeks ago. Things are worse than I thought, my friends.
My Diabetes is officially uncontrolled. I’ve never been in the uncontrolled range. My a1c (a blood test of your blood glucose levels and a few other things) came back at 8.0. It’s never been out of the 6-6.8 range since my diagnosis in 2011. 6s are considered perfectly controlled for diabetics; 5 is not diabetic or extremely perfect for a diabetic. Once you have diabetes you have it for life; there is no cure, only treatments. So we increased my dosage of Metformin and sent a consult to the local Diabetes Education Program. I don’t know how long their wait list is especially since I was referred to a multiple of their services. I may hear back this week or it could be weeks from now.
In the meantime, I’m going to make some changes. I’m going to check my blood glucose levels more frequently instead of the once a week or so I was before. I’m going to continue tracking my food but instead of waiting until the thirty days of solidarity are over I’m going to start making dietary changes now. In the past few weeks of tracking I have found I frequently eat far more than my recommended calories and way more carbohydrates than I realized. So starting tomorrow, I am going to start decreasing my caloric intake and my net carbohydrate grams. I also need to increase my physical activity level so I’m burning more calories. I want to start walking outdoors more but the ups and downs of our temperature make the sidewalks slippery so I’m going to take that slow until Spring. I’m going to start with a daily walk to the mailbox and exercising at home.
This doesn’t mean I will stop trying to drink 2L/day or sleep better or do my neck stretches. Those will be continued. It just means my plan for becoming healthier has been accelerated.
Hopefully my next health update will bring better news!

A Healthier Life

For the past few months I’ve been slowly working on improving my health. Living with ten chronic conditions plus a few non-chronic can make for a very unhealthy lifestyle. I’m looking to improve that as much as possible.

First, I worked on my water intake. Second, my sleep habits. Third, doing my neck stretching more frequently. Tuesday I started a new step. A friend started Whole30. I’m not ready for such a drastic change and my health is too fragile to attempt it without speaking to my primary physician who is currently on vacation. But, in solidarity, I started tracking all my food again on My Fitness Pal.

I started with water first because I know it is such an important aspect of our health and I was not drinking as much as I used to. I am now up to at least 1800 ml and most days over 2L [64 oz]. I no longer feel thirsty near as often as before I started working on this.

Sleep is another component of good health. Both Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome impact sleep causing fatique, disturbed or restless sleeping and insomnia. I was and still am having all those symptoms. I was also needing to nap daily regardless of the previous night’s sleep amount. My Fitbit tracks my sleep, not well-anytime you lie still with sleep mode on is considered sleep-so I tried figuring out my optimal amount of sleep. I thought it was eight hours but soon realized I was still napping daily with eight hours. It turns out that right now I need ten hours of sleep to not NEED a nap later but dependent on how restless I was in getting that sleep I may still be fatigued enough to nap. Anything over nine hours causes increased pain upon waking unless I was restless enough to have changed sleep positions frequently. This is a very tough component to control.

A few weeks ago I added in restarting to consistently do my neck stretches. Because a few of my health issues affect my neck it is very easy for me to lose neck mobility. But when I’m in a lot of pain this is something I often drop. My aim is to do the stretches daily but at least three times a week. I have to consciously remind myself to do this; it is no longer the habit it once was. But, most weeks I am doing them at least every other day.

And now, I’ve added tracking all food and drinks. I used to do this faithfully just a few years ago but when my life became so complicated and my health decreased tracking was dropped. I have committed to tracking for 30 days. I do not plan on making any food changes the first week but hope to  be back to eating properly for my Diabetes by the end of the 30 days. When I was first diagnosed I saw dietitians who were also Certified Diabetes Educators. Their recommendation was 30 g net carbohydrates for meals and 15 g net carbohydrates for snacks. Skipping meals was not allowed and snacking was only to occur if there was more than four hours between meals. I was also taught the Plate Method. This has you virtually divide your plate into quarters; one for carbohydrates, one for protein and the other two for vegetables [preferably different vegetables]. I slowly stopped following this advice as things became more complicated and because my Diabetes was under great control. I want to see just how much I’ve deviated from the plan and a great bonus would be losing the weight I’ve gained since moving back in with Mum.

WIP Wednesday 17/02/2016

I have many Works In Progress (WIPs) but only a few are active so those are the ones I’ll talk about today. All three are design samples, two for the same design.

This is a Jayven Blanket in the double bed size. The finished product, once photographed, will be donated to a refugee family coming here soon. The squares are complete. I just need to join them and add the border.

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This is a Jayven Blanket in a king bed size. I’m working on the last rounds on the squares.

And this is the JJ Afghan. It’s about a third complete. It depends if JJ, my nephew slows on the growth spurts. The finished sample will be his fifth birthday gift.

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