29 November 2018

A Good Mail Day

I go to my Occupational Therapy appointments twice a week - Monday afternoons, and Friday mornings.  Each week I've had to go to my Monday session, it has either been pouring rain, or snowing/icing.  This past week, I left to go home after a particularly painful session, and when I got outside it was pouring even more than it had been when I went inside.  Traffic was seriously not moving, so I decided to walk home, since buses and trolleys were so crowded they were not even stopping.  By the time I got home, my self-pity party was off the charts.

I looked through the mail that The Tim had set on the table, and saw a package with a Customs Declaration sticker on it.  I couldn't remember having ordered anything at all from overseas, at least not in the past few months, so I was intrigued.  I opened up the package and this was inside:

Suddenly, any bad things about the day and the afternoon completely vanished!  I was so surprised and really pleased, but also mystified.  A week or so ago, someone posted a photo of this on Instagram, and I commented how I would love to have one.  But a) I didn't know where to get one, b) I didn't have any money to buy one anyway, and c) I have LOTS of tote bags, so didn't need it. 

It turns out that a long-time blogging friend who lives in Vancouver saw my comment and took it upon herself to send one to me!  She stopped blogging long ago, but I still "see" her regularly on Facebook and Instagram.  Apparently (and according to the logo in the lower right hand corner of the photo) the bags can be ordered from Ysolda.  So Maureen sent an order from Vancouver to Scotland which then got sent to me in Philadelphia - I am just flabbergasted that she thought to do this.

So, even though I didn't need another tote bag, I'm thrilled to death to have this one - I think it's especially appropriate for a knitting librarian, don't you? 

A good mail day, indeed.  Thank you so much, Maureen!

27 November 2018

Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You

I keep reliving this event over and over in my head, and not necessarily for the reasons you might assume.

The day I broke my wrist, Hamlet and I were out for a walk.  I stopped paying attention to where I was walking, and realized I was falling.  I put out my hands to break my fall, and as a result, knocked out some front teeth (that went through my upper lip to the outside, yikes!), and of course, badly broke my right wrist.  As well as some cuts and bruises, as one would expect.

I remember sitting up after I fell, and being in a bit of shock, a lot of pain, and very dismayed that something like this had happened.  Again.  I didn't see any other people around at first, and was wondering how long I would need to sit there on the sidewalk before I could manage to get up and head home (I was about 2 blocks from our house).

I heard a car door close, and someone said, "Are you hurt?"  I looked up, and a man who appeared to be in his late 30s-early 40s was standing there.  He was dressed in clothing that indicated he worked in construction or some related thing.  I told him that I was pretty sure I broke my wrist, and he offered to take me to the emergency room.  I asked if he could take me home, so I could put Hamlet in the house, and then my husband would take me to the hospital.  So he helped me get up, and helped me into his truck, and also put Hamlet in the back seat.  I gave him directions to get to our house, and he helped me out of the truck to the front door.

At this point, besides thanking him for approximately the 400th time, I asked him for his name, and/or address/e-mail so I could properly let him know how much I appreciated his help.  To which he replied, "Oh no, ma'am, I was glad to help.  And I don't want to be reported to ICE."

I can remember thinking, would someone actually DO that to someone who had helped them?  And then I realized that, yes, there are people who would do that at the first opportunity.  And I was truly saddened and ashamed to make that realization.

We tell ourselves, others, and our children that helping others is so important, and that kindness, empathy, and compassion should always inform the way we go about in the world.  Talking heads on our TVs tell us that America has become a divided nation, and children are separated from their parents indefinitely at our border.  Border agents tear gas migrants fleeing poverty and oppression, and our "leaders" say it's necessary and not that bad.

The holidays are here.  We just had Thanksgiving, where we celebrated abundance and brotherhood and were reminded to be thankful.  The season reminds us - regardless of religious beliefs or none - to remember those who are not as fortunate, and to help them if we can.  We draw closer to loved ones, realizing how lucky we are, regardless of what we complain about all of the time.

And here I am, not just thankful for the man who helped me, but frustrated that I was not able to let him know in a more coherent way how grateful I was for his help, because of a truly terrible person in charge, and his terrible, spineless allies who instead want me to turn him in because he is not here legally.

That's the end of the story, as far as my direct interaction with my helper.  But it has made me more committed than ever to do everything in my power to be like him - helping someone who needs it, even if the worst case scenario could come into play.

Say "thank you" to someone today.  Help someone if you can, no matter how big or small that help may be.  Do it because of him, and to help me pay his kindness forward.

And, lest I not take my own advice - thank you for reading and for your continued friendship and encouragement during my recovery.   You are all what the world is truly made of and what will prevail if we can just stay on track.

24 November 2018

A Bit of Catch Up

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving plus 2 days!  I hope your day was enjoyable.  Ours was quiet and very pleasant, though The Tim crashed shortly after dinner, so in some ways it was also short!  But he had been doing every single thing for the day, and I don't blame him for being tired.  We are still enjoying leftovers, so it's all good.

Yesterday was also pretty uneventful, though I managed to get some things accomplished.  The Tim had to work, so I spent the day working on putting some clothes away as best I could, and walked over to a local toy store for a Christmas gift for my youngest great-nephew, since I was afraid if I waited, the ones I wanted would be sold out.  Then I watched a Christmas movie that was so bad and so cheesy, it was good, which was pleasing. 

I finally have a few houseplants that are doing OK.  I used to have so many plants, but the light in our house is not the best.  The remaining violets I had kept getting attacked by the Koodle.  So it finally occurred to me that since the plant stands I had were just too accessible, I needed something else.  I bought one of those bakers' racks, and have some plants on the top shelf.  It's in between two windows, but not near enough to either for leaping cats to be successful.  Plus, it looks nice and I'm pleased with it.

The skinny, tall plant is from an avocado pit.  It seems quite happy, so I'm just going with it and we'll see what happens.  I'm not sure how violets would do here, but might get one or two and test it out.

The plant stand also came in quite handy for this:

A few months ago, I treated myself to a yarny Advent Calendar from Sweet Sparrow Yarns.  Jaclyn from the Brooklyn Knitfolk podcast had opened a package each day last year in her Vlogmas series, and it looked like such fun and such pretty yarns that I decided to try it.  So I saved up and signed up as soon as the slots opened.  Then I promptly forgot about it, so that when the package arrived, it was fun all over again! 

Yesterday I wanted to cheer myself up after having frustrations with my hand/wrist exercises, so I opened the package and took everything out.  The envelopes had a red and white string attached so you could hang them like a garland.  So I attached it to the aforementioned plant stand, and I love how it looks! Now from December 1 through 24, no matter what else does or does not happen in any given day, I have a little envelope to open with a yarny surprise inside!  And it also includes a full-sized surprise skein of yarn to open on Christmas Day, which is just really exciting if you ask me.  I must confess though, that even just the little envelopes, all decorated with snowflakes and a number, on the red and white string, make me smile.

My occupational therapy has been moving along.  It is extremely difficult and very painful, but I am making small progress, so it's worth it.  I have been going twice a week, and then I have exercises to do 3 times a day at home as well.  I see the orthopedic surgeon again on December 3, so I'm curious to see what she'll have to say.  The therapist assigned to me is nice, but she was a little off-putting at first, since she seemed to have the personality of General George Patton.  But I think once she could tell I was really trying, things got better. 

Tomorrow I have a haircut appointment (long story, but isn't it always?), and then I want to make one stop on the way home.  Other than that, my day will be paying bills and watching either some podcasts or if I can find one, another cheesy Christmas movie.  If the weather is as pleasant as they are predicting, Hamlet and I will probably take a nice, longer-than-usual walk as well.  Then when The Tim gets home from work, we'll have dinner and a quiet evening, probably watching some of the shows we've recorded.  A nice way to end the holiday weekend, if you ask me.

I hope all of you have a good rest of the weekend as well.  Enjoy your leftovers, if you have any!

15 November 2018

Thinking Ahead to the Weekend

You wanna hear something funny (unusual funny, not ha-ha funny)?  Thanksgiving and Christmas are of course two of the big holidays (at least in our house) and we get excited and look forward to them ridiculously.  But ... there are certain rules that are in place.

Case in point:  The Tim's birthday is always right before Thanksgiving - either a few days, or some years as long as a week before.  Therefore, we cannot "officially" begin to celebrate Thanksgiving until we have paid adequate attention to his birthday.  So, yeah, we put our the Thanksgiving decorations, and make our grocery list, but nothing gets started for the day until we've celebrated birthday day first. 

Anyway, his birthday is this coming Sunday, and this year I am somewhat limited in what I am able to do, but I have a few things I'm going to try.  This weekend has, fortunately, nothing else on the schedule, which is great since it's been a long and difficult week, but here are three things I plan to do at a minimum this weekend, in honor of Three on Thursday:

1.  Get a package organized with the pairs of birthday socks I made for my sister and brother-in-law in honor of their 70th birthdays.  If I have my act together, it could even get mailed on Saturday (but let's not get crazy here) - but even if it gets mailed on Monday, it will be there by the end of the week.  And this year, all of their daughters and families will be home for Thanksgiving and the weekend and are planning a celebration, so I wanted to send the gifts so we could be there in spirit.

2.  Figure out how to wrap The Tim's BD gifts (hello gift bags, that I can manipulate in spite of my splint!) and get them ready.  We "used" one of his gifts already last night, when we went to a production of one of our favorite musicals, "Sweeney Todd," presented by the students at the Curtis Institute of Music.  I have the pair of Christmas socks I knit for him, and plan to get him a bottle of his favorite scotch.  The cats and Hamlet are giving him Christmas pajamas, but they may not arrive before Sunday, so we'll see.  And I have decided to get a carrot cake from a bakery here that we really like, since I can't bake one myself.  He already said he wants to get Indian food delivered on Sunday, since he has to work and just wants to come home and just relax all evening. 

3.  Make my gift list for Christmas, which I have usually started well before this, but - well, you know, life.  It's not that much or that involved, but I enjoy it all more when I am organized.  Plus, it gets me in the holiday mood even more, which is never a bad thing.

This time of year is really crazy in our family - besides Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmastime, nearly everyone's birthday is between October 1 and December 30!  (Makes me really happy I'm on my own in March, lol).  But I love it, because it makes the whole time that much more fun. 

Now I just need to get through today and tomorrow at work, go to OT this evening after work and get my hair cut after work tomorrow, and I'll be all set.  I think I can, I think I can ... :-)

11 November 2018

On the Hundredth Anniversary

... of the 11th hour of the 11th year of the 11th month, I hope you will remember the young men who went to fight a war that was unlike any other, and that they were not remotely prepared to comprehend.

My mother had an uncle who fought briefly in World War I.  He was sent home with shell shock, and lived the remainder of his life in a VA hospital in Marion, Indiana.  My parents visited him once, but he of course had no idea who they were, or why they were there.  His story is one for another time.

But in the meantime, I hope that today - even if you end up in the rain - you will take a moment to say a prayer or have a thought for his soul, and all of the souls who only tried to do what was asked.

This is one of the few poems or songs that really captures the sadness of the war to me.  Have a listen, and be glad that these soldiers, those who came after them, and those who are in harm's way still, make it possible for us to have the right to rail against war.

08 November 2018

Time to Be Thankful

I just realized that two weeks from today is Thanksgiving Day, one of my most favorite of holidays.  Usually I am conscious of it well ahead of time, but I've let myself be distracted by so much this year, and it's time to make a concerted effort to get back on track.  So even though I can *easily* think of approximately 50 things right off the top of my head to complain or be upset about, I want to concentrate instead of thankfulness.  Since today is Three on Thursday, it's a good time to make note.  So, here are three things that are making me thankful.

1.  I am extremely grateful to live in an area where there are truly amazing teaching hospitals, that allow me to receive top-notch medical care.  My most recent trip to the emergency room at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (aka HUP) gave me an up-close-and-personal look at how hard the doctors, nurses, orderlies, and even the building people work on a regular basis.  Though I didn't want to be there and was upset, my care and the kindness of the staff left nothing to be desired.  My orthopedic surgeon is also stellar and everyone who works with her has been more than kind and helpful.  I know it's all of their jobs to be so, but I also know every day is not a good day, but they always put their best face forward.  God bless them all.

2.  Likewise, I am grateful that on Monday, I will begin Occupational Therapy.  I wanted to state this now, because I'm sure that once I start and they make me do things that I need to do but that are painful, it will be hard to feel grateful first and foremost.  ;-)

3.  I am thankful that I can make myself see the good things in my life.  Some days it feels like the universe and my body are busy working against me, and I get really overwhelmed by it all.  Then I tell myself to think of the good things.  Even if I don't immediately feel better, I know the fact that I can do this exercise means I'll be OK.

I hope all of you are happily looking forward to Thanksgiving as well, and that those of you who have already celebrated (hello northern friends!), or who do not observe that holiday are still finding some good things to make life worthwhile.  Take care.

03 November 2018

A Lovely Fall Saturday

Today is such a lovely fall Saturday - maybe a bit too breezy, but so nice otherwise!  Hamlet and I took a nice walk earlier, made more exciting for him by stopping at the Unleashed! store near our house and getting a toy for $2.00 - he chose a squeaky chili pepper.

A boy and his pepper toy

Then I walked up to the library to return one book (and left with two), then went on to the farmers' market which was fine, but frustrating since I can't really carry anything I wanted to buy.  But it was nice to walk around, see the goodies, pet some dogs, and come home.

A friend of ours is coming over in a few hours for a visit, so it will be nice to catch up with her.  Also, she is a night owl, so it's kinda nice she will be here earlier, so it won't be so late when she leaves.  Usually, she comes for dinner, and by the time she heads home, we're nearly comatose!

I have my next appt with the orthopedic surgeon on Monday.  There will be more x-rays, and then I'll either get a replacement of the same cast I have for a few more weeks, or get a portable cast that will come off so I can shower properly, and start some physical therapy.  It's still painful and annoying, but I know it will be for a long time, so I'm trying to not think about it too much! 

I really miss getting to knit, or stitch, or do much of anything.  I've been watching lots of knitting podcasts, which are at least like getting to hang out with some knitters.  It's a good thing I hadn't counted on knitting a lot of gifts this year, that's all I have to say.

I also missed getting out our Halloween decorations - for the first time ever, we didn't even have a pumpkin!  It never occurs to The Tim to get one, and I didn't want to press my luck with him by asking him to get one ... hopefully, I'll get a good report at the dr's and will be able to do more for Thanksgiving.  I just love having some things around to note the holiday.  The Tim likes them, but except for Christmastime, it never occurs to him to get them out for any other times.

I am able to type a bit more easily, but it's still slow and arduous.  I had hoped to do NaBloPoMo again this year, because I enjoy the challenge, but since it takes so long to type a post, I knew it was not a good idea.  Unfortunately, it means I am also not likely to do much responding to comments any time soon, and I apologize for that.  I am so happy that people are still reading and commenting, and I hope soon to be able to respond again regularly as well as regularly comment on others' blogs.  Slow and steady wins the race, I know.

And that's it for now.  I hope your weekend is lovely as well, with nice weather and good things to do.  Enjoy!