A Step Forward

I think I’ve hit that sweet spot today where I don’t have enough energy to engage in hard core work, but I have just enough energy to blog. This is good, because I’ve wanted to do this for some time now.

Let’s lead with the good news – Dr M has managed to help me affect one of the biggest problems that has been plaguing me for at least twenty years! Normally my sleep schedule goes around the clock in a cycle so rare that it almost exclusively occurs in blind people. Over the Christmas holidays when my brother and his family came to visit, I was able to wake up naturally between 6-8am every day. This is huge!! It’s something I’ve wanted to be true for many, many years.

I am not entirely sure what started this effect, but I know that I have to take melatonin (a sublingual form – this matters a lot) every night to keep it happening. If I skip, I can’t fall asleep. The melatonin wasn’t working much at first – it helped the sleep I did get to be more restful, but it didn’t help me fall asleep. Now, it also helps me get to sleep. All I can tell you is that I was taking a supplement regimen not unlike the ones that Dr B had me on a few years ago, but it kept making my head burn like soy does and it sapped all of my energy. I stopped taking the supplements one by one, and when I stopped entirely, my sleep schedule snapped into a normal cycle for weeks on end! I couldn’t believe it! The only catch (and there always is one) is that I traded poor quality and poorly timed sleep for constant pain that ranges from moderate to blinding.

Given that I had this fortuitous turn of events, I was able to have a really great Christmas with my brother and his family. We went to the candy factory, the tea factory, yarn shops, Julie’s house… I mean, we really got out and around. I missed out on a couple of events, but in part it had to do with other scheduling issues. I was glad for the breaks when I got them, but I was ok. And I didn’t even have to resort to pseudoephedrine except on the first day they were here (and I hadn’t quite quit all the supplements).

I had two bad days since they left, and I think those were about low potassium. I woke up on both of those days unable to move (kind of a hard feeling to describe, but my blood felt like molasses and I couldn’t quite wake up, like I was drugged), so I slept till noon. Today was rough, too, but I expected it. I decided over the weekend that it was really not working for me to have parts of my business on three levels of the house. I do the actual work on the main level, but my supplies and stock lived in the basement. My computer (where I edit photos and put up listings) lived upstairs. Discounting the efficiency issue, I realized I just couldn’t take that many stairs in a day. I had to leave things out overnight or longer, and it really bothered me. So, Michael and I switched offices.

Part of switching offices meant that I had to get new furniture to store my stock and raw materials. The cats LOVE my wool. I’ve even caught Duck sleeping in the basket I keep current spinning projects in. I can’t blame him – I’d want to sleep in a box of wool if I could as well. I can’t have cats appropriating my products for their own use, so the wool has to be behind closed doors. This meant a trip to Ikea (by myself – a huge mistake, given that two of the boxes were 56 pounds each) and furniture assembly. I only got one wool cabinet assembled before I was absolutely too fatigued to do one more thing. Overdoing it yesterday meant that today would be pretty unproductive. I did a little dying (just one load of wool and sock yarn for a project I’m making for a friend) and I spent the day on the computer, but mostly not working. I also watched tv and knit on a pair of socks I’m making for Michael. Also, I slept in till 9:00 this morning. 😦

I managed to get a few good shots from my visit with the family. This is me teaching Alexis to dye:

Alexis Dye1Alexis Dye2Alexis Dye3

And these are the rovings she made. I’m planning to give her some of the profits from the sales. Alexis did the work after all, and I think this would be a great learning experience for her!

These are some shots of the kids decorating the tree:

Christmas 2012 a Christmas 2012 b Christmas 2012 c Christmas 2012 d Christmas 2012 e Christmas 2012 f Christmas 2012 g Christmas 2012 h Christmas 2012

And a few of Christmas itself!

presents 2012 presents 2012a presents 2012b presents 2012c presents 2012d presents 2012e

In everyone’s defense, it was 5:00 in the morning when these pictures were taken. If we look a little ragged, well, that’s why. We all had naps and looked like movie stars later. Or at least, I’m pretending that’s what’s true (I look how I look – if you don’t like it, you don’t have to look at it).

Finally, I have a few shots of the kids helping me make a custom order for Kitty Mine Crafts (I think you’ll find this familiar, Sara!) They loved working with the drum carder (but we made it clear this was a supervision only activity – the teeth on the licker are sharp!!!).

drumcarder kids drumcarder kids2

One last thing – while they were here, my sister-in-law wanted to learn more about how to shop and prepare food when you live gluten-free. They are trying to make the transition, and since I have to live that way, they got to see what I do to get by. I also introduced them to some recipes (most of which were well received by the adults) that they are planning to use at home. I promised Alicia that I would publish a recipe for a pot roast I made earlier this week, so here it is:

Ingredients –

  • approximately 4lbs chuck roast
  • 1 box Imagine Organic vegetable stock
  • 1/4 bottle of red wine (I used the leftover Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel)
  • 1 tsp garlic salt and parsley mixed
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Two fistfulls of baby carrots

Instructions –

  1. In a large pot, pour in some olive oil (lightly cover the bottom of the pot) and brown the roast on all sides.
  2. Put the stock, wine, and garlic salt in the slow cooker. Set the heat to low.
  3. Add the meat.
  4. Let cook 4 hours, then add the celery.
  5. Let cook 2 more hours, then add carrots.
  6. Let cook at least another hour, then serve (you can leave it in for another two hours if you want).

The meat was fall-apart soft when we ate it. Also, I made this from whatever I could find in my pantry and kitchen. I recommend that you use some sort of aromatic (onions and the like) if you don’t have celery, and most root veggies can be substituted for the carrots to different effect. I don’t recommend potatoes if you’re trying to keep your glycemic index low, but to each his own. What I will say to everyone is that my sister-in-law announced that she lost 5 pounds over the holidays eating like I do. Yes – lost, not gained. Over the holidays. And she’s keeping it off. I’m proud of her!

That’s all for now. I hope to write again soon!


Shameless Plug for Kitty Mine Crafts







Just in case you were interested. I haven’t forgotten about the blog, and in fact, I have news. Unfortunately, the news will have to wait while I work on my shop and go to my appointments. Click on the picture. I hope you like what you see.


This may be the longest I have gone between posts since I began this blog. I feel guilty. It’s a good thing I took over 100 pictures this week, because it reminded me of everything I did (it was a lot!).

Over the weekend, Michael, Linnea and I went to the Dickens Faire. I haven’t photographed it yet, but I got a cloak. It is a gorgeous shade of green, and made of a very warm wool. I’ve worn it while running my errands, and so many people have stopped to compliment me on the cloak. I’ve wanted one for years, so I am quite happy! The Faire was lovely, too, but a subject for a later post.

In the beginning of the week, I was knitting and crocheting furiously. I got almost all of the dishcloths completed. I gave 2 of Michael’s sisters pre-Christmas gifts, so I felt less guilty about giving them a 2 dishcloth set instead of a set of 3. It was actually a spilled glass of soda on my white yarn that halted the last 2 cloths, not lack of time.

I finished spinning a skein of soysilk yarn for Carisa. I failed to get a photo of the finished product, however. The kittens supervised my work, and interjected their help when they thought I might need it.


As a side note, there is a very good reason to wash yarn that was hand dyed before knitting with it or before mixing it with other laundry. Get a load of how much loose dye came off when I was setting the twisted yarn.


wrapped-presentsMichael wrapped a ton of Christmas presents. And no, they did not get sent on time. It was going to cost me $80 to send a box of handmade dishcloths in time for Christmas. The recipients can wait. There will be plenty of dishes to do when the cloths arrive.

I hosted Christmas with Carisa and Ryan at my house on Christmas Eve. I made a turkey, made-from-scratch stuffing, 2 pumpkin pies, 1 cherry pie with homemade crust and filling, deviled eggs, and gravy. The only thing I didn’t make was the canned cranberry sauce.

special-presentI got a very nice present from Carisa this year. She gave me a kitty wall hanging that she stitched when she was a small child. I feel special to have gotten something from her childhood. All I got them was a Wii – no sentiment whatsoever. I am hoping that the Wii will be something Carisa and I can use to communicate when I am in Colorado. You see, there is this game called Animal Crossing that we both love to play. When it came to the Nintendo DS, we visited each other’s towns via a Wi-Fi connection. The new Animal Crossing has Wii speak, or in other words, a free phone line!

This week I also took on a pet-sitting job. When the holidays roll around, Carisa gets more business than she can handle. When her schedule fills up, she refers her clients (both established and new clients) to me. I am not a professional sitter, but I don’t mind taking odd jobs like that. Besides, the cat that I took care of was a sweetheart!

kissing-ernestIn addition to all the aforementioned events, I started weaning the bottle-feeders this week. Ernest and Emo went right for the wet food. Every day they eat more food and less milk. Widget prefers the bottle, but he will eat wet food if I mix it with enough milk. Otherwise, he spits the food back out after I spoon it in. Esme got sick and threw up yesterday and the day before, so I am giving her a break on the weaning. She hasn’t lost much weight and her hydration is good, so I am not as worried as I might otherwise be.

At some point during the week I realized we may have to start roaming around naked if I didn’t do some laundry. Carrot was happy to help.

carrot-laundryAs usual, I got a little sick this week. On the bright side, for the first time in many years, whatever I’ve been sick with has not been respiratory and nothing has settled in my lungs! This is a HUGE deal. I’ve been to the ER with a severe respiratory illness every winter since I moved to San Francisco. I am so grateful that it has only been fever and lethargy. I am also thankful for my bed-mates – they know how to make a mommy feel better!sick-mates

The bottle-babies have been great, by the way. I switched to a new formula, Pro-Biolac, and they have not gotten diarrhea. Well, Esme had a little, but it was when I had to switch them back to KMR for a few days while waiting for the new formula to arrive in the mail. I am totally sticking with this new stuff – it keeps the diarrhea away.

All the activity has really made me insane. I was heating up the bottles for the babies one night, but I was also in a hurry to accomplish the million other tasks on my plate. I forgot that I washed the pan in which I heat the bottles earlier that day. More importantly, I forgot that I did not refill it with water before placing it back on the stove. When I put the bottles in the dry pan, they melted to the bottom just a little bit. Ugh. I ruined the bottle and the pan. You would think this could be solved by putting the bottles in the microwave, but doing so breaks down the milk proteins and leads to the dreaded diarrhea. The extra effort is worth the benefit.


Finally, I took Sprout, Lady and Carrot in to get vaccinated and to look for adopters on Sunday (I plan to go in all week and keep trying). It was a long day – really, a long week – best summed up in a picture: