I thought I’d start logging my experiences trying to get back into some sort of fitness

My muscle strength has gone to zero because of lying on couch all the time, and I need to fix that. So I’ve started going to low intensity classes at the gym and building up. Quickly:

went to mind body balance tuesday night. felt sore and had bad balance and foot strength, but managed. Felt good after and ate a lot, drank even more water.

felt like hell wednesday morning

less sore thursday. Going to do gentle yoga to see how that goes. 

A finish and a part-finish happy dance

I’m sorry to have forgotten, but I finished the Spring Garden angel about a week ago! I also just finished part 7 (of 24) of Around the World in 80 Stiches, so I’ll give you pictures of both.

Here’s my angel:

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Isn’t she pretty? 2×1 on 18ct lambswool linen, kit threads, fabric and beads.

Secondly, here’s part 7 of Around the World:

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There’s Turkish three sided stitch, petite ray stitches, queen stitches, beautiful (and tricky) Maltese crosses, and lefkara lace in the middle from Cyprus. Beautiful and a lot of fun to do, even if I did put it down for several months to work on other things. Now on to part 8 – mostly in Africa :)

More Spring Garden

I’ve been a busy bee with my embroidery the last few days, so here is an updated photo of where I was at with it before I started work today:

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I’m almost done! All the important things that aren’t border are there, with the exception of a butterfly in the middle of space in the top left which I’m waiting to have the borders done/semi-done to add so that I don’t miscount. Since the photo I’ve completed a bit over half the floor, and a lot more backstitching, as well as some more of the left hand border. I’ve also ordered the frame for it (since it has beads I can’t just stick it in a photo frame, even though it’s only 6×8″ and that would be easy otherwise) and I’ll do the framing myself when it’s done/frame gets here. My grandmother is currently in hospital recovering from a hip replacement, so I’ve told her that I’ll lend the angel to her when she’s finished to keep her company there. Hospital rooms are very stark otherwise.

In other news, I got sick the other day but appear to have recovered reasonably well. My response to feeling sick was to take to bed and refuse to do anything strenuous and that seemed to work, hooray! My chickens continue to eat anything thrown at them and produce eggs, so I got five yesterday and seven today. Today brought storms and rain and cold, but I spent it largely indoors so that was alright. We lazed around the house for most of the day, ate bacon and eggs and beans for brunch, and then my mum and I went shopping for baby clothes for my cousin’s shower tomorrow…so much fun and so tiny! We got one wonderful set which had jumpsuit, footed tights, short sleeved top, jacket, hat, gloves and bib all to match, in white with pink roses and the occasional mouse, for a really good price, plus a bunch of jumpsuits in yellows and oranges with bunnies and mice, a plain one with faint goldybrown bunnies, and an adorable going-out dress for summer (in a 3-6mth size) in blue with roses complete with matching knickers. I am dead of cuteness. Mum left to do something with Dad, but I stayed on to buy sneakers for the first time since I was 15 and discovered that I still fit into childrens’ sizes, which meant that my brand name sneakers cost half what they would have, bonus! I needed them because I’ve recently joined the gym where my sister and mum go, which does a lot of classes and has the best pool in the state, and I plan to take some pilates and balance classes plus maybe some aqua and stuff to build up my fitness. I came home from overseas much healthier ME/CFS-wise than when I left, which confirms my suspicions (shared by my doctor) that summer/warm weather/sunlight/something? causes me to get better (and quickly! I was hiking by a week or so into American summer!) and winter makes me go downhill, which has been slowly happening although I am glad that spring is just around the corner. This health that I have I want to try to build on and we’re wondering if me being active (carefully) might help a bit, so I’m going to try it. And that means I need the right shoes for classes, which I have now :)

I treated myself to a lovely big bag from the surf shop to use as a gym bag as well, which is brown leather on the bottom (and up the sides a little, enormous, and has both two side straps to pick it up by and a long strap for over my shoulder. I put my thick knitted jacket in there, plus a scarf, and the box of shoes, and other stuff, and there was still room, so I’d think I could fit what I need for the gym in there :) I just need a small toiletry bag now so I can take shampoo and stuff. Yay! The cloth that the rest of the bag is made of has an aztec print in red, green, blue, yellow and white, and is really cheerful, and hard to lose in the changeroom or mix up with either my sister’s gym bag (all coloured stripes) or my mum’s (black). After that I was hungry, poked around the shops, bought a boost juice and came home to stitch, eat dinner, stitch a bunch more and then curl up in bed with the electric blanket. It’s very cold here at the moment, so being warm is important, especially since my health seems dependent on it :)

I am alive!

Sorry I’ve neglected my blog for so long, but life’s been crazy and then I was overseas. My health has (mostly) been much better this year, especially since I spent six weeks of winter overseas which helped a lot. I’m still stitching, sewing and knitting, and I’ll try to be better at uploading photos as I go. At the moment I’m working on the “Textured Throw” that Spotlight put out as a block of the week (actually two blocks per week) on their facebook page, although it’s now on their actual website as well I think. I’m 19 squares of 25 in, but I need to block a lot of those and do the crochet edging on them still. There’s everything from garter stitch to complex cables and I’m really enjoying it, although I’m slowing down a little as I come to the end of the project. Stitching-wise I’m still working on “Around the world in 80 Stitches” although I’ve stalled on the bottom flower section (part 7?) because that’s where I was working before I went overseas and I picked up another project while overseas to be something easy to work on on busses/planes/cars. That’s Debbie Mumm’s “Spring Garden” Angel Girl (a kit from Mill Hill) which I’m mostly done with, apart from the neverending borders. I’ve not finished all the ‘not border’ bits yet because I’m using them to break up the monotony of several shades of green in the borders. Here’s a photo of where I was up to before I started work this morning:

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The green thing in the bottom right is actually a frog, not an octopus…it’ll get there! The bottom section is all checkerboard squares in green and cream and isn’t anywhere near finished yet, but it will be.

And I got three eggs from the chickens today :)

Laurel!

Colette Patterns released their latest pattern the other day, the gorgeous shift dress Laurel. The minute I saw it I knew I had the perfect fabric to make it with, so my wearable muslin is done in a very unseasonable (we’re now firmly in Autumn!) white with roses. At least I’ll get to wear it overseas this June/July! I took webcam photos the night I finished it, and then Belinda took some yesterday but she didn’t notice that it had caught and wrinkled above the bust before she took the shots, so I need to get new ones. Oh well. In the meantime, here’s a mixture of the two. It came together REALLY quickly. This is variation 3, with the keyhole neckline from the extras book, which I’ll shrink a little bit next time – it’s lovely, but a little bit big on my tiny frame I think.

Kyrie’s (my) dress:Image

Fabric – it’s a cotton voile from spotlight that I got on sale, it has a very pretty sheen to it in the light:

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From the front (complete with chickens in the background):

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side:

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Imageand finally, from the back.

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aren’t the sleeves precious? I love them, and I think the next Laurel I make (in a more appropriate for the weather fabric) will have the same sleeves, they’re lined in the same fabric as the rest of the dress. I can see myself wearing a darker + warmer fabric version of this with tights for a lot of Autumn :)

The hem is just a doubled 1/2 inch hem, which I’ve basted in place. I’m going to do it as a proper catch stitched hem at some point, but I knew that at the moment (since it’s the wrong season yada yada) if I didn’t hem it the quick way it wouldn’t get hemmed at all for months (see: the hollyburn skirt where I have left it for months to do the hand stitching on, and really  just need to shove it in my bag with a needle and thread and work on it at odd moments, it’s a fox print and adorable). I’m looking forward to wearing it in the UK in July, it seems like an England sort of a dress with the roses, what do you think?

Routines for January 2013 (and beyond?)

I need to create some flexible routines which I can work within, keeping structure in my life while being flexible. With that in mind I thought I’d try and invent a couple and post them here, and see if I can work with them.

Cleaning

Monday: Hang up and put away the clothes washed this weekend and that have accumulated in my room, change pyjamas

Tuesday: Dust all surfaces including my bookcase and bed. Let dust settle, then sweep or vacuum.

Wednesday: Clear accumulated clutter off dresser and drawers (my drawers end up open with stuff in them a lot) plus my bookshelves. 

Thursday: 15 minutes minimum clearing, sorting, trashing accumulated clutter from floor. Change pyjamas if necessary.

Friday: Change sheets, clear end of bed (accumulates clothes and clutter)

Saturday: help with washing, put away any clean clothes that come in that day

 

average day

8-9am: wake up, take laptop out to kitchen to make a cup of tea and check fb

after that: prayers, get dressed

1/2-1hr intervals: active activity then restful

as soon as I start to feel fatigued, lie down IMMEDIATELY and read a book or play farmville or something

Start making dinner about 4pm, pace this as well, dinner ready for 6-6:30pm. 

Prayers around 9:30, light out by 10:30, do it all again tomorrow.

am Church day

7:30-8am: get up, get dressed, put hair up

8:15: leave for Church

9am (ish): Church, then stay after for coffee, but don’t push it

12ish: drive home, lunch with family, lie down to rest

afternoon: long rest periods with short activity periods in between, then as normal for the evening 

pm Church day

as normal until noon, then long rest periods with short activity periods, and one of those being preparatory prayers

6pm: dress for church, do hair

6:15pm: drive to church

7pm: church, then stay after for dinner

8-9pm: drive home

when home: compline (while still awake!), dress for bed, lie down and prepare to sleep.

(this is not exact, because sometimes I stay later etc, but it would be good to get home in time to get to sleep early-ish)

 

There will be other days, too, but these can create a structure for most days that don’t involve uni (we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it) and that will help :)

written to the sound of ocean waves

It’s been days since I’ve slept properly. I went to sleep last night as the sun was rising. I don’t know what stops me from sleeping. At first it’s adrenaline, and the inability to make my body relax after having to try so hard to function during the day. The fatigue attacks me sometimes and the hit is sudden and it’s so hard to try and work through the exhaustion that makes me want to lie down on the floor or at least the table if I’m sitting down and just exist for a while, since I have no energy to do otherwise. 

I am not at home, and that usually helps, but I have the internet here for the first time ever and that’s not helping – my internet addiction is as bad as it ever has been. I need to find a way to limit that. I won’t be home for a few more weeks, so we will see how things go.

My bed isn’t as comfortable as home, but instead of that, I do have the sound of the waves only a few hundred metres away that seem to crash just outside my window even though it faces the opposite direction. I lie here propped on pillows to type, my laptop on the coverlet over my bent legs which raise it to a working height. I’m in the least energy-using position I can think of while still being able to type.

And somehow tonight I’m melancholy, and I don’t know why. It’s one of those nights where I find myself missing something, longing for something more, and knowing what that is. I just have to…somehow, get a grip on myself, and find a pattern for my life again, as difficult as that is, and as different to a normal person’s pattern of life it might be.

I know, but constantly seem to forget, that my life isn’t normal and probably won’t ever be, and that I should stop judging myself based on a standard that I can’t keep. There are things asked of me by my body that most people do not have to answer, there are things that make my life so different, and I have my own special joys, crosses and sorrows. There are opportunities in this hidden life that are not present to most people, and we invalids are in a position to be something other than the two usual ‘types’ in spiritual literature, those who are Christians in the world, with its cares, and those who are monastics and living their lives apart from the world. I am not a monastic and make no pretensions to being one, but yet I am not part of the world around me as I once was. I have so much time where it is just me, perhaps my computer, and the stillness of my bedroom or, at most, my house. I do leave home…I do go places, but mostly that is with family or friends, I am not independent like i was once.

The hard thing is trying to figure out what this life looks like. We can’t be held to the expectations of those who are not sick – to study and work and be busy, when our daily energy ‘allotted amounts’ are somewhere around 30-40% of a normal person’s, with dire consequences for overstepping those. I’m still paying for Christmas, and I didn’t even do that much that day. At the same time it’s too easy to just give up and not be involved in anything at all. I think I’ve found a happy medium with activities, achieving things, studying, making things, as I am able, living day to day. But that’s one facet of my life… but there is the spiritual life, where I have been trying to find my feet as an invalid who cannot possibly achieve the disciplines I wish for myself, and fall into despair when I predictably fail. I find solace and peace and strength in prayer, but at the same time prayer is more of a struggle for me in some ways than it was when I was less sick – disciplining yourself to a prayer rule is difficult enough normally, but when you have had several episodes where you’ve literally had to sit down or you would faint in an evening…it’s hard to ask yourself to concentrate enough to say your prayers, especially when they’re as long as ours are. This blog piece is being written in fragments and snatches that my brain somehow is managing to produce, at a crazy hour of the morning, through eyes that struggle to focus and only manage to do so by limiting my attempts to see the screen to simply the word I am typing at any minute, and hoping that the words i have typed will make sense.

God will help me and I will find my feet. I have faith in this. But it’s a strange path to walk, without my usual favoured friends along the journey of books and examples of those who have done these things before. There are many invalids and people for whom illness or injury is a cross in the hagiography, and these stories give me hope, but very little practical advice for what day to day spirituality looks like when your body simply wants you to stay in bed all day and it isn’t laziness but actual bodily need…and it’s sheer force of will that allows you to rise and dress and do things with your day at all.

I will get there. God is with me, and I have friends who help as they can, and although the road is unfamiliar I trust that I will be guarded along the way and, if I remain on the path shown to me, that I will reach the destination I have always desired. 

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