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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Great Possum Adventure!

A flying live possum, a hole in the ground, and me with two brand new hips... NOT a good combination!

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried! I went out last night to investigate why my furkids (the seven Miniature Schnauzers) were going nuts over something in the yard. I gimped out on my cane to find a big furry lump with a long thing coming out of it - my first guess was they had killed a wild turkey. We have lots of those around. So I'm thinking ok, get it out of here, and grabbed onto what I thought was a turkey neck. Well, it started to squirm in my hand and it suddenly dawned on me I had hold of a live possum, playing "possum" for the dogs! Too late to do anything else, I gimped over the 15 or so feet to the fence and flung the possum as hard as I could in the air over the fence. As the possum flew, I stepped in a hole in the ground and down I went!  Luckily I landed on my right hip, the "old" new one, not the 7-week old one! I managed to pick myself up and miraculously, not a scratch on me.  I was even more lucky I didn't get bitten! I still can't believe it didn't bite me. Maybe it knew I was trying to help it. I had my son John go out and look for it today, not a sign of it, so it must've made its way somewhere to nurse its wounds.

Here is a picture of what I could have gotten bitten with. (This is not my possum, it's from the internet).

Other than that it's been a quiet weekend, the old man is traveling in KC attending our grandson Nick's birthday party.  I didn't have anyone to watch the dogs so I had to stay. I've spent it writing on my web pages and crocheting on my brown vest. I'm just about done with it, a few more stripes to go on the front sections.  Just put up a new pattern on the web for a free crocheted scarf, it's very easy single crochet.

On Thanksgiving I was very honored to win a prize along with 24 other writers for the best Thanksgiving lens (web page) on  If you want to, you can check it out here. I used the Amazon gift certificate to buy myself some 88%-off diamond earrings! Never had those, always wanted some... so there!

I can't express how satisfying it has been to write again. With a purpose. It just feels good. I'm slowly chipping away at putting all my crochet designs from countless handwritten notebooks into their own little web pages. It will probably take me the better part of a year, but then hopefully I'll have something to show for all the work.

I've actually been making short hops without the cane. Sometimes it goes well, others not so much. I think maybe it's time to start water therapy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Exploring New Territory!

I feel as though I have stepped through the looking glass and I'm looking around at new territory like a new puppy testing how grass feels for the first time.  I... am... getting... BETTER!

Baby Emma, a pup we fostered long ago, exploring,
 tail up, girl on a mission...  Yup, that's me!

I posted on Facebook awhile ago that I just don't know how to act! I went through two years of sheer pain hell with two hips destroyed totally by degenerative arthritis. It caused undescribable pain. I could no longer bear to walk unsupported, and therefore learned to survive on a walker.  I crawled around in my house, unable to do much of anything except crochet, make a few pieces of jewelry, and write.  Oh, and wait for the next dose of pain meds that wouldn't do anything except take the edge off the pain.

I went to numerous surgeons seeking help, only to be denied time after time because I was too "high risk." The last surgeon who turned me down said, "Don't you get it, you could DIE?" And I replied to him, "It doesn't matter.. because as it stands I'm dead right now."

Dr, Morrison
My Hero
Miraculously Dr. Michael Morrison of Omaha Orthopedic took on my case. When I first met him, the first thing I said was, "I need you to be my hero.  Can you do that?"

Careful? Oh yeah. Many hoops to jump through, medical clearances from various specialists to be obtained... it took forever. But in March 2011 he replaced my first (right) hip. I sailed through the procedure with zero complications. It took six long months before I was medically cleared to have the second hip (left) replaced, which was done in October 2011, the day after my birthday!  Again, I sailed through it.

And yesterday, November 20, 2011, I was released. Cleared. Given the go-ahead to pursue life with a few restrictions.  Free. Come back in a year. So surprised I nearly burst into tears, and I wanted to jump up and down as I left! My girlfriend Heidi had come along with me since she stopped over to visit just as I was leaving for the appointment. She was all happy with me! People who have seen me go through this get it. They know what this means.

Now, I have to decide what to do with myself! Yes, I still have back problems and I still have Myasthenia Gravis and both are disabling.  But the blinding pain, that was with me every single step, is gone.

I have weeks of rehabbing this new hip ahead of me, going to be starting water therapy soon, and I only just graduated to a cane. My huge goal is to someday ditch the cane too. That would be a miracle!

I haven't ventured out into the world very much this time around.  I managed to pick up the local sore throat/respiratory virus going around, and still fighting with that. So I am contenting myself right now with staying in, trying to get better, and crocheting up a storm. I'm making gemstone earrings at the same time. The first pair is pearl and moonstone, the second pair is blue goldstone and sterling. They're up for sale in my Etsy store now. I have everything I need right here in my little "corner of the world." The only thing I'm missing is a coffee pot... I do have to get up for that!


This afternoon brought a surprise... I let all the dogs in from the back yard awhile ago and Susie had something suspicious looking in her mouth. She went by so quickly I wasn't sure... but when I followed her to the couch, she had esconsced herself there with her trophy, one of the brown squirrels from our yard! Ewwww... I gingerly took hold of its tail and removed him to the front porch, where he awaits a proper burial when my DH gets home!  Sue-Sue 1, Squirrel 0.  I really hate that. Two of the girls, Susie and Winnie, are fast enough to compete with them but this is the first time to my knowledge Sue has caught one. We are in near-woods here, and we have a zillion squirrels. A couple of them like to tease the dogs on the back fence. Sigh... gotta love nature. I took a pic of the squirrel on the porch but I just don't have the heart to put it in here and have to look at him. Delete.

The chores are almost done and I'm planning to spend the afternoon crocheting. I started an afghan awhile back and as sometimes happens, it occurred to me it would make a great vest! I need a brown vest, so I went for it. I can always do another afghan later, right? It's a bit crazy and colorful, but you know I love both so it's all good. I am almost done with the back half, going to start the front half this afternoon. I'm planning to make it seamless like the last one I made, but it's totally a different design. It's "groovy." 

No dinner plans, not cooking, not feelin' it. SO there you have it... my squirrelly day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Someday, When I Grow Up... " Why I Crochet

Someday I want to be a "REAL" crochet designer. One who can spout yardages and gauges like times tables.  Like the ones I admired as a young woman, whose intricate patterns I struggled to follow, stitch by stitch, until the magic materialized and their work was replicated once more in the world.

A Josie Rabier design – one of the last patterns
 I was able to crochet  before I developed eyesight
problems. I'm still proud of this one! 
Alice Brooks, Laura Wheeler, Elizabeth Hiddleson... those girls made every end table in America a special display gallery for their work.  Every pillowcase from San Francisco to Boston lovingly edged by someone who needed to keep her hands busy while Dear Husband was off to poker night with the boys.

As a young crocheter I'd spend hours just gazing at their booklets, the black and white pictures of Hiddleson especially. They were, and still are, like eye candy for my soul.  I'm convinced it's the reason so many of us collect patterns we know we will never have time to complete in several lifetimes! It's why we snipped magazine patterns and lovingly glued them into notebooks before the Internet existed. And magazines with crochet in them - what a concept! My stack of ancient Workbaskets is among my most highly treasured possessions. I made the rose doily on the cover of this Workbasket, which belonged to my late mom Izzy, for at least two other people, plus a couple for myself. Mama made this exact same doily for many of her friends and family, which is probably one reason I fell in love with it too! I would give almost anything to have one of her rose doilies! But she never kept one for herself.

There is just something about crochet that is so beautiful... so hard to explain, as I'm trying to do here and not finding adequate words.  It... fixes me.  Yup, that's it. Crochet fixes me. And now it is even more precious to me as my stupid body tries slowly, inexorably to take it away with eyesight and arthritis.


It can be any upset, real or imagined... I could be crying my heart out one minute, pick up a crochet hook, and 15 minutes later my tears have dried and the world is on its way back to level.  Pain? With four back, two hip and one knee surgeries, you be the judge... but yes, I know pain... and crochet is how I have survived it since 1994 when my back decided to betray me. It takes me to some place, some zone, where I don't think about the pain somehow.  For years I've heard the old saying that if you have a headache and go to see a movie, the headache disappears... I'm sure it's the same concept.  Somehow the part of the brain that makes you feel pain gets blocked by the part that does creative things. Whatever, I'm grateful!

So next time you are upset, or bored, or in pain, or anything else is rocking your world, grab your stash of crochet magazines or pattern books and spend some quality time. You'll feel better, and you may just end up replicating another masterpiece yourself!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

On the Way to Week 5...

Well, here it is Saturday already! In two more days I'll have achieved post-op week 5. Good, because I did NOT like week 4! I just overdid it, a lot, and I spent the week paying for it. Do I ever learn? Nah...

I'm getting excited about resuming water therapy, as soon as the surgeon clears me to do it. I started it a few weeks before the hip surgery to build up strength in my other new right hip, so it could support me better. I absolutely fell in love with it. To make things even better, the therapy pool is part of the hospital complex 2 minutes up the street from my house! Yup, definitely excited. It kind of amuses me too, the idea of watching it snow outside the big glass walls while I'm in the nice heated pool indoors!

I've been trying to figure out what the he** is going on with my weight lately. Some of you may know I've lost 70 pounds over a two-year period. Actually, I've only been maintaining for at least the last six months. But somehow I think everything's rearranging, because my measurements keep going down. Now, what's up with THAT!  If only I could get the scale to move down 3 little pounds, I'd stop yapping... it's just a "magic number" i want to reach.  Here is me in my attempt at Old Navy Rockstar Jeggings. Hmmm.

They were too big, but I still like 'em!

Very excited that on my Squidoo site I was awarded "Giant Squid-25" status! I worked hard for it. You have to have 25 very good, well put together lenses (what they call web pages). They do a review of all your writing. It was kind of a neat feeling of validation for me. Right before that, I was named as a "Squid Angel." Angels go around blessing lenses (which gives them a bump in rating).  Here is a photo for one of my new recipe lenses, Chicken Wraps.

Sheila's Grilled Chicken & Veggie Wraps

So was being invited to write an article for Squidoo's "Winter Holiday" issue of their online magazine! I'm working furiously toward a Tuesday deadline on that. Years ago, I wrote a lot for "" and really enjoyed it. What can I say, I love to yap!

On the crocheting side, I'm working on a scarf for a friend, a new afghan design, and finishing up a doily design. Busy, busy. No being bored here!

"A Different Rose" Doily - almost complete

The first square of a new afghan design.
More in the "Decadent Indulgence" series. 

I thought this photo was so cute! Ladybug is jumping up for her "Daddy time" that she has to have every time he comes home. Winnie and SueSu have already had their quality time, and off to nap. 

Well, I'm off to do something - hugs to you all!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just A Darn Happy Day!

Do you ever just "wake up good?" I have had one of those mornings so far. The coffee was great, the dogs are behaving, my daughter was cleaning when I woke up... what a treat! (If you can imagine seven Miniature Schnauzers trotting in and out to the back yard full of leaves and twigs about 10 times a day, it's a full time job cleaning up after what they track in!)

I have a project on my crochet hook that's really going well so far, I'm waiting for several packages in the mail from doing my shopping online the other day and a few things from ebay... so the rest of the day should be fun too! Online shopping has really made life a lot easier, hasn't it? When you're recovering from a big surgery and going out is a production, it's a lifesaver.

There are some times it works really well, but some things - like shopping for new yarns  for a project - you can't do except in person. There's nothing like going back and forth down the yarn aisles, picking out this yarn and that and putting them together in groups in the basket, seeing how they interact. Can you tell I love yarn shopping? It's one of my 10 favorite things in life, for sure. SO, I need to do a yarn trip. Just not sure that I'm quite strong enough yet. Maybe I could compromise and cut my time down to say, 15 minutes or so. Hmmm. Now to find a willing patsy to go along with me! I'll have to work on that.

My White Yarn Basket's A Bit Low!

I did get my husband to take me to the shoe store Friday night, and that was just FUN. He is a really great shoe shopper! He has a way of finding things that work. So I scored some winter boots for less than $20 and another pair of blue shoes (I don't own any blue shoes!) I did not find what I was actually looking for, but yesterday I found a 50% off deal on the perfect pair I was looking for online, with free shipping no less! So those are on the way.

Then I managed to go into Sephora for a few minutes and play in the makeup eye candy! I kept myself down to just two items, I was proud of myself:)  I hadn't been "real world" shopping for ages, and it was just fun.

Had a big treat last week, with an unexpected visitor! My son John had a friend Justin growing up in Papillion and he was one of "my kids," over all the time.  A while back, my daughter Cari handed me her phone and said, "talk!" Turned out there was Justin, all grown up and a soldier in Iraq jumping out of planes! What a neat surprise. Well, Justin came home from Iraq recently and though stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, he is spending some leave time back home in Omaha.  So he was my surprise visitor! Here is a picture of him (on the right) with John, reunited for the first time in many years.  So, it's neat that Cari is hanging out with him.  I've always loved Justin.

I was planning to write my blog today about the new afghan I just finished, the "Decadent Indulgence Afghan." So named because I chose each yarn for its feel.  I think I'll just refer you to its web page, where I wrote all about it.  Now I've started on a new project, the "Half Square Afghan," and I can't wait to get that finished and the pattern out on the web! I really like sharing free patterns. It's wonderful how crocheters and knitters share their work on the web. You can get lost for hours just gazing at all the eye candy. 

Sue-Sue Schnauzer test naps my afghan while still in progress. She looks as though she's 
about to fall off of the footstool!  She supervises all my work.

Well, I'd better get this finished, my Koby Moo-Moo Schnauzer is woo-wooing in his kennel, which means "Mom, I'm done with breakfast and my nap, get me outta here!"  Enjoy your day, everyone!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Oh, we're at that annoying point in surgery recovery... when it feels like it will never  be over with, you'll never be back to normal... it's kind of a big waahhhh week, you know? You have more pain than you have been having, I think it's something to do with nerves rejoining or something. I had this same thing the last time.

OK done complaining now! No, just a little more.. VERY frustrated with my weight loss, or lack thereof. I was so hoping this surgery would take another 10 pounds with it! But no... I'm precisely where I was when I went in! I always remind myself I should be grateful I haven't regained anything.  And yet, my rings are all floppy, my clothes are fitting a bit different... I dunno.  Maybe I need to do something completely different for awhile... like eat?

SueSue woke me up at 1:30 a.m. needing to go outside.  I need to take her to the vet, she has been drinking a lot, eating a lot and peeing a lot... plus the extreme irritability - I don't want to think the "D" word, but I have to.  At least, it is something going on for sure. And she's only five.

When one goes, six go.  Once I'm up, I'm up... and I stayed up and worked until about 6 am, then took an hour nap.   So that tells you how I'm feeling now. Hate nights like that. I got another stripe done on the afghan, watched The Social Network, made a pair of earrings (moonstone, clear quartz, blue goldstone)... and thought about what I'm going to do with this top I'm making.  I bought several tops from the same designer that had very long sleeves. I altered them, and ended up with several rather large pieces of fabric that all go together well.  So I'm going to do a colorblock thing out of them. Have to be hand-sewn, because I don't have my sewing machine unpacked!

Continue to be gratified by the response to Harry's memorial page. We are approaching 1,000 hits and for just word of mouth, that really amazes me. He has gone from a rank of 1.5 million to 6,000 in a week. That's pretty cool! If you get a chance, check his page out at

I'm almost finished with the Decadent Luxury Afghan, and already thinking about the next one! I'd like to make my husband one as his Christmas gift.  When we were practically newlyweds in the early 80's, I used up all my scrap yarn making him a very large ripple afghan.  It is very heavy and I find it a bit scratchy, although it has survived countless washings and comforted many family members having chills over 25+ years!! I think it's about time to give it a rest and give him a new one.

Toying with the idea of sending some of my designs in to a few publishers and see if anyone likes my stuff well enough to publish it.  I've always loved the idea of work once/reward many and that definitely fits in with that mindset.  I always get the biggest kick out of it when someone buys something from my CafePress store, where I put my art on various items they sell.

Well I'm wandering into minutiae.... time to get something done! (Like the dishes:( )

Be amazed... at something today. -Sheila

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