Posted in Emotions, Fiber, Sexual Assault Is Wrong

Swimming Upstream

I got the messenger bag sort of done. I measured, then made the strap a bit too short. I allowed 1.5 inches to sew into a seam so I’ve got room to fix this. It’s usable with the strap as is, but not what I really want. I wanted to sew the straps into the seam that connects the bag to the lining, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. There’s a recessed zipper, and …. oh, shit. I just figured out how to sew the strap into the seam. Guess I need to make a few more of these bags.

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Front with zippered pocket on the flap.

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Back with zippered pocket.

As I guide, I followed this tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8YHMqJi3a8 This woman has a number of videos on sewing, and I find them wonderfully helpful. I’ve been sewing for 53 years, but I didn’t know how to install a zipper properly until I watched her videos.

I wanted a bag that would accommodate my full-size iPad Pro and have room for my wallet, phone, keys, and other things I need to have. I put zippered pockets in the back of the bag, the flap, in both sides inside and put a welt pocket in the inside.

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The welt pocket continues down behind the zippered pocket.

What I couldn’t figure out is how to attach a water bottle holder. I’ll have to do some thinking about that one.

I started my writing class and neurobiology class last week. After one of the students in my writing class said she was going to law school in the fall, the teacher said she’d be doing a lot of fiction writing. Even if she writes contracts, she would be doing fiction writing. So when it came my turn to introduce myself, I told him I’m an attorney, I find his comments about legal writing offensive, and how would he like it if I told stupid English teacher jokes. I’ll get what I can from this class. Only one fiction writing workshop is offered each semester and the teachers take turns teaching it. I do like the idea of having a number of teachers so I can see an assortment of approaches.

My neurobiology teacher is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Although I find myself at a disadvantage because I haven’t taken a biology class since 1981, I’m still having my brain zip around ideas while the teacher is talking. I’m going to love this class. I’m wondering if this is going to rekindle my love of biology. One of my undergrad degrees is in biology and I considered going to grad school to become a biologist. One day, after seeing an image from an electron microscope and learning about thylocoids, I decided a thylocoid was way too big and clunky to understand. Then I realized I was calling something that could only be seen with an electron microscope big and clunky. One day, I walked out of my organic chemistry class trying hard to understand the bond between two atoms and decided that was too big and clunky to understand. When I realized what I had just termed big and clunky, I decided being a biologist would end with me in a locked ward. So I stuck with journalism until I went to law school.

On Thursday, Jim and I went up to Albuquerque to the neurology clinic at the University of New Mexico med school. I had been going to the clinic at the med school in El Paso. At the clinic in El Paso, I kept wondering if I were the only one in the room who had taken cell biology. Then I discovered I really was the only one in the room who took cell biology. At the clinic in Albuquerque, I got to talk to a neurologist who is a microbiologist. Yes! My work in college was mostly with plants, but my real passion is microbiology.

Today was the Women’s March in Las Cruces. I didn’t go. The women who organize it are too cheap to pay for security. They would have to agree to pay the overtime rate for off-duty police officers. I suspect only 3 or 4 officers would be needed. Instead, they have two women who are “trained in verbal de-escalation.” Right. Try talking sense to a skinhead or a bullet. Yes, 911 can be called and the police would arrive within five minutes. Sounds like a short time, right? Imagine a skinhead with an AR-15 or a baseball bat. Now give the skinhead five minutes to do damage. How many people can be hurt or killed in five minutes?

There’s another reason I didn’t go. I’m still raw inside. I’m still pissed we have a sociopath sex offender for president. I’m still pissed that we have to fight against sexual harassment. I’m still pissed that standing up against sexual assault in my writing class last semester resulted in me being told to shut up by both my teacher and the head of the English department. I’m still pissed that my teacher retaliated by giving me a lower than deserved grade. I didn’t think I could get through the rally and march without crying. And it would be too emotionally difficult to explain why I was crying.

I’m still going to speak out and I don’t give a crap what the cost will be. I’m still going to stand up for what I believe to be right. I’m still going to stand up for a woman’s right to go through life free from sexual assault and sexual harassment.

I’m just not about to risk death or injury to do it.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.  Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

Thinking about a Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetie – or yourself? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in Beads, Fiber, Pain, Photography

Making Some Changes and a Messenger Bag

We took a little vacation this past week. The original plan was to go up to Albuquerque, spend a day at Bosque del Apache wildlife preserve, a day in Albuquerque and a day in Santa Fe.

We drove up on Monday, and stopped at Bosque del Apache so I could do some bird and critter photography. Mostly bird. I learned a few things. It’s tough to get a decent bird in flight photo. A telephoto lens doesn’t do what I thought. I still had little birds in a big pond. I had to crop like crazy to get a half-decent shot. My telephoto doesn’t have image stabilization which makes it just about impossible to use without a tripod. And it’s just about impossible to use a tripod to photograph birds. Even on the ground, birds move fast.

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Sandhill cranes.

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I couldn’t resist an artsy shot. The water was dead still and the sun was in the perfect position to catch this reflection.

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No idea what kind of ducks these are.

I did see a bald eagle – the first I’ve ever seen in the wild. I took a shot that I knew would be crappy. I wasn’t about to leave with out a shot – even if I would be the only one who knew it was of an eagle.

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Note the details on the eagle’s feathers. That’s okay – I can’t see it either.

Canada geese look different in the southwest. I’m used to the northeast version with much darker coloring.

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My only decent cranes in flight shot – and it’s not that great.

I’m now researching zoom telephoto lenses. I want something with decent glass and image stabilization. At the moment, I’m looking at Tamron lenses. I’ve heard good things about those lenses.

We skipped Santa Fe. Driving in the old part of the city is a challenge. The streets are narrow and lots of one-way streets. Parking is expensive. The newer part of Santa Fe looks pretty much like Albuquerque.

I did get to go to a gem store and replenish my semi-precious gem supply. I saw a magnificent string of yellow opals full of fire and sparkle. Unfortunately, the string cost $1800 which is well outside my budget.

I had forgotten to pack the gabapentin, which sometimes helps with the neuropathy pain. All I had with me was the TENS unit and CBD oil – something that also sometimes helps. By Wednesday morning, I was in enough pain that we decided to head for home. A winter storm was blowing in and I can’t see spending money to sit in a hotel room and watch it snow. Few people in New Mexico know how to drive in snow. Being on the road with inexperienced winter drivers is to be avoided whenever possible. We got home ahead of the storm.

My A1C test shows I’m in the pre-diabetes range. I need to make some serious changes in my eating and exercising habits. I bought a glucose monitor kit and I’m now keeping a log of glucose results and food. I want to see which foods will cause glucose spikes and which won’t.

I made vegetarian chicken soup today. As I cut up the carrots, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. As I cut up the celery, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. As I added peas, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. As I added the corn, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. As I added the can of chopped tomatoes, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. At that point, there was no room left in the 4-quart slow cooker for the chicken, which went back into the freezer. Jim and I will be eating this soup all week.

I’m working on a messenger bag. I thought I had designed it to hold my iPad Pro. I’ve got the 12.9″ version. Now that I’m putting the bag together, I think I might have made a miscalculation and it will be a touch too small. Nothing to do but keep on going and finish it. I’m putting a zippered pocket on the flap, a zippered pocket on the back, an welt pocket on the inside, and two zippered pockets on the inside.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

If you’re looking for a gift, or want to give yourself something nice, please stop by my web store, Deb Thuman Art here. Thanks.

Posted in bipolar disorder, Pain, PTSD

Crud

I have the crud.

The Friday before Christmas, we tried to get together with a friend to celebrate her birthday. Jim had the crud, so he stayed home. The Friday before New Years, we tried to get together to celebrate Jim’s birthday and my friend got the crud and couldn’t make it. This week, we tried to get together for lunch, but I have the crud. We’ll try again next Friday.

Crud sucks. The federal regulations for pseudo-ephedrine are absurd, ineffective, and a flaming nuisance. Claritin-D used to come in 750 mg strength. It was great. Now with the current regulations, I can only get Claritin-D in 270 mg dose. These are 24 hour pills and there are 15 in the box. They cost $20 if I buy the Walgreens version (which I did). I have to take at least two of them to get any relief. I can only buy 3.6 grams per day and only 9 grams in a 30-day period. Jim bought a box shortly before Christmas. I bought a box today. If I need any more, I may have to have the cat go buy them. And what does all this do to stop the production and use of methamphetamine? Not a darned thing. Why? As a client explained, it’s too difficult to extract the pseudo-ephedrine from Claritin-D. As for the number of meth addicts? I don’t see any progress there. I’m basing that on drug cases I’ve handled.

I’ve been dealing with slamming into both depressed and manic states. After the last trip to the neurology clinic at the medical school in El Paso, I had blood drawn. Lots and lots of blood. The good news: the ANA test is negative and I don’t have an auto-immune disease. The expected news: My A1C is in the pre-diabetes range. The glucose monitor will arrive this week. I’ll be monitoring my glucose, keeping a food diary, and hoping to have a better A1C result in a few months. The unexpected news: I got a call asking if I wanted financial aid to pay for a blood text that got sent out of network. How much is the blood test? $4,000. Nope – no financial aid and don’t run the test. Next, I got a letter telling me the out-of-network lab can’t use the blood that was sent because it was drawn at a hospital rather than in my doctor’s office.

I recovered from that, and called my HMO to see if the prior authorization request that was submitted early December for my appointment at the neurology clinic at the medical school in Albuquerque had been authorized. No, because the paperwork from my doctor’s office was wrong. I called the doctor’s office and asked for a call back or I would camp out in the office until I got a satisfactory answer. Turned out I had to camp out in the office. The doctor’s office sent in corrected paperwork late December. My appointment is for January 18. I get to call later this week to see what progress has been made. If I have to cancel this appointment, I won’t get another appointment for about 4 months – if I’m lucky.

I’ve decided I don’t want to go back to the medical school in El Paso. I had been wondering most visits if I were the only one in the room who had ever taken cell biology. I had a nerve conduction series that left me furious. First, I had to deal with a resident who is clearly hearing impaired and clearly too arrogant to do anything about it. He’s going to kill someone eventually. The neurologist supervising the test, after I asked in frustration how she would feel if someone told her she would be in pain for the rest of her life, said, “You’re not managing your pain well enough.” THIS ISN’T MY FAULT YOU TWIT. I didn’t say that. I asked her who was doing research on peripheral neuropathy. “No one here.” When I got home, I did a google search and found 496 clinical tests. There’s a pretty nice one in France, but I doubt the cheapskates at the HMO will authorize trips to France. There is a clinical test in Salt Lake City and in Albuquerque. That they might be willing to authorize.

The next appointment, I was in severe pain. When the pain hit a 5, I took a double dose of gabapentin and sat hooked up to a TENS unit for an hour or so. That’s when the pain hit a 7. I took another double dose of gabapentin. That meant I had taken a full day’s dosage in a span of 2 hours.The pain dropped back to a 5. I was walking into walls, stoned out of my mind, in pain, and pissed off. The neurologist said he could raise the dose. “No you can’t, because I won’t take it.” The gabapentin works sometimes, but not always. There’s no pattern that I’ve been able to spot.

After being told the nerve conduction series showed damage to the axion, I started asking microbiology type questions. Turns out, I really was the only one in the room who had taken cell biology. It was clear that the neurologist had no idea what I was asking about. I told him that I thought I figured out the problem. He’s used to dealing with big things and I’m used to microbiology. He told me neurology wasn’t rocket science. I strongly suspect the $4,000 blood test was retaliation. The test if for a genetic abnormality. No one asked me if anyone else in the family has neuropathy. And if this were genetic, it would have shown up 40 years earlier.

All of this excitement caused an outbreak of hives. It took me a couple days to figure out the redness and swelling was hives. Usually, stress hives start on the insides of my arms. This time, it was on the outsides of both arms. One antihistamine cleared up the hives.

I’ve been working, now and again, on designing the perfect purse. I know what I want…zippered pockets on the outside, the top with a recessed zipper, and a flap with a zippered pocket. I also need a pocket on the end that will hold a water bottle. I need a purse large enough to hold my 12.9” iPad Pro. I was trying to work out a pattern yesterday when Tinker decided to help by insisting on sitting on the drawing paper. He wants to be by his humans and he likes the sunbeams in the sewing room.

One odd thing has been happening. I’ve been having flashbacks of crap that happened to me when I was growing up. My psychologist, when I asked him if flashbacks ever end said it was finite. Got news for you. PTSD is for life. It’s been more than 45 years since I lived in an insane asylum run by a violent drunk and a violent narcissist. I’m still having flashbacks. Years ago, I stumbled upon a way to deal with the flashbacks – look at the memory, acknowledge that what happened was horrible. Since then, the flashbacks haven’t been debilitating. They seem to have less power. They also seem to show no signs of ever stopping.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. See what some other artists have been doing.

Please stop by my web store, Deb Thuman Art here.