My 1st SCA scroll

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Painting Chaco Canyon?

I recently took up paints and brush again, this time trying my hand at acrylic paints.  Tried once when I was a young adult but hated the results so I put it away.  Since the opening of The Art Establishment in Fountain Hill, PA ( just over the Bethlehem border), I’ve learned that my mistake was in not thinning the paints, using them straight out of the tube.  Acrylic paints work *much* better for me when thinned to the consistency of heavy cream!

After two wine and paint parties, I decided to try my hand at painting something original.  I laid down the background and foreground, then got a little stuck. I posted a pic on FB of the started picture and asked what I should do next, figuring someone would say something to trigger the right thinking that would led to the correct path on which to proceed.

I was not disappointed; a friend told me that the foreground looked like the cliffs of New Mexico, which just happens to be where Chaco Canyon is located.  Of course I immediately googled pictures of Chaco Canyon.

I need to visit Chaco Canyon on of these years.  When  I was driving for Charlie several years ago, I passed a sign indicating I was near Chaco Canyon and I became strangely emotional.  This happened every time I saw the signs for Chaco Canyon, and I knew it was a Place of Importance for me.  Sad truth about driving for a living is you seldom have time to stop and see the sights, so I never did.

It was surreal.  When I first laid the lines on the canvas, I made a fairly sharp dip in the center, but then I made it less pronounced because I thought it would look better less steep.  The first Chaco Canyon picture I saw was of cliffs that had the same steep dip as I originally drew.  To tell you the truth, it kinda freaked me out a little that I was drawing something from an area where I had never been.  The idea grew on me quickly, though, and since I do believe in reincarnation, it started to feel normal by day’s end.

I’m still stuck, but now my problem is deciding which path to take with the picture.  Do I paint from memory/imagination, or do I find a picture to guide me?

Update on a very busy life

I haven’t been posting lately.  I’ve been meaning to, but never seem to find the time when I actually can think straight *and* have something to say.  But today I have good news.

Last month, when our plant closed for a week, I took all my savings and flew out to visit a friend who lives in Arizona.  We drove down to Los Algodones, and I spent my savings, about $1600, on dental care (that would have cost me $5000 here in the states).  I came home feeling good about my looks for the first time in ages.  I can actually smile now without worrying if my nasty teeth will offend.

Also, my time at my daughter’s is coming to an end.  I’ve found a place to move and signed a lease.  It’s a little basement apartment, a Hobbit Hole, if you will, in a quaint town called Emmaus, PA.  I can actually afford this place and still have money for food and gas to get to work!

2 days after signing the lease, my 17 year old car had a catastrophic failure.  Two valves broke and pieces went into the engine causing irreparable damage.  This past few weeks I’ve been so stressed, finally finding a place to live but suddenly not being able to move… I couldn’t get to work without my daughter driving me from 5 miles away, how could I expect her to drive out 10 miles and then take me to work??  So, even though I have this cute little apartment, I’m still at my daughter’s.

I refuse to give up, though.  I’m not meant not be here at my daughter’s for the rest of my life, so I am stepping out on faith that something will make it work for me.  I did find a car, and the fellow who owns it now is in the process of buying a car that’s a lot newer.  He is selling me this older car and allowing me to make payments to him (yes, a friend).

Well, with my savings “blown” on my new smile, I’m in a bit of a pickle.  I decided to go to one of those “give me money” sites and beg.  I didn’t really expect to have anyone give me any money, but I am pleasantly surprised.  I’ve gotten $135 in two weeks.  I’ve always hated not being able to do things on my own and I guess my lesson to allow others to help me isn’t over yet.  Soon, though, I hope.  I get the car this weekend, and the gofundme site has gotten me enough to give him a small “down-payment, almost.

I’m not asking anyone reading this to donate although I certainly wouldn’t refuse a donation.  I am including the link so you can read more about what’s going on and see the site for yourself.  If you do go over to gofundme and take a look, please feel free to give me writing feedback.  I’d prefer the feedback here on my WP page though, if that’s ok.

Here’s the link:  http://www.gofundme.com/9s8g9st3u74

Life is good and it is getting better all the time!  I think what makes me happiest is that once I move, there are places within walking distance that I can go, and there are sidewalks to walk on… I’ll also be able to get back into shape though daily walks.  Yay!  Thanks for taking the time to read this.  It’s nice to have people with whom I can share my good news.

The Mysteries of the Human Body

In my quest to regain my health, I’ve stumbled on a lot of material that I had known once upon a time but forgot after my car accident in ’94.  Each nugget of wisdom gleaned from research triggers another memory and takes me another step closer to my goal of Perfect Health.  It also makes me extremely happy.  Yes I *am* a nerd.  I revel in knowledge.  And I love the journey as much as I will love the destination.

Last year, my doctor wanted to put me on cholesterol medicine, but agreed to wait 6 months to see if my theory that I could bring it down on my own was valid.  I knew that your body makes Vitamin D out of cholesterol, so I had a theory that if I spent time in the sun during the spring and summer, my body would use the stored up cholesterol to produce Vitamin D.

Much to my delight, my summer blood test did show a significant drop in cholesterol, and Dr Fly was properly impressed.  I’m not sure if it was out of curiosity or if it was something else, but she included in my autumn blood workup a test for serum Vitamin D levels.  Surprising to both of us, my D levels were very low.  Apparently my body needs a lot more than I can manufacture, so she suggested I start taking D₃ supplements.

Of course rather than just follow blindly I did my research on the internet.   I found foods that are high in Vitamin D as well as signs and symptoms of both low and high Vitamin D before picking up some supplements.  The following are tidbits I’ve gleaned from various websites which are listed at the end of my post in case anyone wants to do their own research or has a question about something I’ve touched upon but not covered sufficiently.

VItamin D goes through a couple of changes in the body in order to be useful, one in the liver and then another in the kidneys.  It doesn’t seem to matter whether you get the vitamin from food, sun exposure or pills… they all are inert until your body converts them to useable form.  General consensus among the websites was that the pills are more bio-available than the oil-based gelcaps, which require extra processing.

D does a lot more than give you strong bones.  It promotes calcium absorption in the intestine and plays a role in modulating cell growth in several ways and helps your muscles to work.  I learned some time ago that the way a muscle fiber works is by either holding onto a calcium ion or spitting it out, which makes the muscle short and wide to accommodate the Calcium ion or long and thin without it.  If you don’t have enough calcium in your system, your muscle fibers don’t have the tools they need to work, and if there isn’t enough Vitamin D you won’t be absorbing the calcium.  I hope you all find this as fascinating as I do!

Foods that are naturally high in Vitamin D are fatty fish such as tuna*, mackerel, cod*, salmon*, sardines and swordfish, beef liver* and egg (yolks)* as well as vitamin D fortified milk* products.  The foods with asterisks are among my favorites, so I guess my body was trying to tell me something.

The article goes on to say that while the general population should have approximately 600IU daily, the average intake for the various classes of Americans (divided by age, gender and reproduction status) ranges between one half to one third of that.   

We also don’t get enough magnesium, found in many nuts and seeds.  Magnesium and calcium have to be present in (I believe) close to equal quantities in order for us to use the calcium, so having less than optimal amounts of magnesium in our diets makes the calcium useless.  Top that off with our propensity for caffeinated and carbonated beverages, both of which have ingredients which bind to magnesium, and I see a recipe for disaster.

So, if we’re taking in enough Calcium, but don’t have the necessary Vitamin D and magnesium for our bodies to use it, where does it go?  I can’t help but wonder if that’s the reason so many people are getting kidney and gall stones in recent years.  What if lowering your cholesterol artificially (drug therapy) sets in motion a chain of events that leads to needing to have your gall bladder out?  This is all theory, and I have no proof, but it wouldn’t be the first time that I hit on something that was proven later by research.

Vitamin D info: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/

http://www.ancient-minerals.com

I’m baaaaaack…. I think…

It’s been a while since I spent any appreciable amount of time here at my blog on WordPress due to a rather brutal job change.  The transition is now complete and I feel so much better.  The job at the Giant Food store deli did me good, but I am really glad it is over.

If you follow my blog, you may (or may not) remember that I got a job sewing back in early November.  I’ve always been a crafty type of gal, love sewing and creating things, so this is sorta my dream job.  Giant was good for me in that I learned that almost all lunch meat is full of sugar.  Since I am extremely allergic to cane sugar, it was a big link in me getting my diet under control so I could regain my health.  However, I was doing a lot of hard, heavy work while watching other people goof off.  What they didn’t get done I had to do since I was the one who closed the deli.  I complained to management several times about it and was told that there was nothing that could be done.  So, is it any wonder I got cranky?

According to the store manager last night, people don’t like working with me.  After a few minutes of being told I was the one who decided to work the two jobs at the same time (so no excuse of being overtired), they expect me to deny everything (I’m a liar??), and how they’re afraid of losing other people who might quit rather than work with me, and not being allowed any time to tell my side, I calmly took off my hat, apron and shirt and placed it on her desk, added the box cutter that we open the meat packages with, and told her that since I am such a liability to the company they are better off without me, and left.  She tried to get me to stay by telling me how unprofessional I was being but I didn’t break stride.

I stopped for a beer and talked with a friend who was at the pub, which helped me calm down.  I decided this was actually the best thing that could have happened to me.  I have a history of working for people who are never satisfied, and usually I just keep trying in an impossible situation until I am no longer doing a good job and then either get fired or end up getting sick.  This time I left before it got that bad.  And it isn’t like I don’t have a good job to go to every day.

Quaker Safety, the company that hired me, has been very good to me so far.  We make the coats and pants for firemen, and I think some of the folks on oil rigs and other extreme areas also use our product.  Most of the people who work there have been there for many years.  I think about half have been there for close to 20 years, some more.  The ones that are new are people who replaced folks who retired after 20-30 years with the company.  I’ve never worked for a company that took good care of its employees.  This is a novel experience.  It’s also why I quit Giant before my normal burnout time… I had something to compare their treatment of me to.  I am hoping to stay with Quaker Safety for many years, not that I have *that* many years left in me to work, but as I regain my health even my eyesight is improving.

It was harder than I expected it to be.    The fabric is very heavy and stiff, nothing like what I was used to working with.  It wore my fingernails down to the quick the first couple of weeks.  There are challenging parts of the job, but I am treated with respect and am allowed to do my job without harassment.  As I do the work assigned to me, my skills are slowly but surely improving.  When Pete hired me, he was concerned about me making less @ QS than at Giant.  He said he would try to get me a comparable rate, but the QS starting rate was the same as when I started at Giant, so I told him it was ok.  After all, it’s been several years since I did *any* sewing.  I figured I’d be pretty rusty and need some time to adjust.

I feel really good about that decision.  I really sucked the first couple of weeks, LOL, but my immediate supervisor, MaryJane, was very patient with me, and only once told me I needed to work faster… that was about a week and a half in, and I was trying to pick up speed.  In the process of trying to hurry, I was making a lot of mistakes, which I of course had to rip out and redo.  The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.  I had to slow down a little to make less horrid mistakes.  I was also really intimidated by the power of the commercial sewing machines.  Step on it lightly and it goes, give it an extra nudge and it is running away with the work.  I now have the muscle memory needed to control the machines, so I am less afraid of sewing a finger which means I hold onto the work better and have fewer seams going crooked.

I’m loving it so much, and I’ve made a new friend.  She also is a member at WorkOut+ so we’ve started going to the gym together and encouraging each other.  She found a belly-dancing exercise class; we went to the first one this past Thursday, and I am hoping the class will continue for many many weeks.  It’s an extra $5 ($9 if you don’t belong to the gym) but it is well worth it.  Suffia, the teacher, is awesome… patient, kind, and willing to adapt the class to our needs (very gentle since we’re just starting out).

Well, that’s it for now.  Thanks for listening to my adventures.  Next post will be about some of the stuff that came up for me emotionally during this last couple of highly stressful months… so if you aren’t interested in my therapy posts, feel free to skip it.  My feelings won’t be hurt.  Muah!  Love you all!

The Mysteries of the Human Body

Wow, how appropriate that my first day back after my new-job-adjustment period, I come to post something that actually fits the Daily Prompt.  I swear it was unintentional.  Maybe there are forces at work here we do not understand.  Nonetheless, today’s post is really unrelated to the DP.  (but I’ll link it anyway)

In my quest to regain my health, I’ve stumbled on a lot of material that I had known once upon a time but forgot after my car accident in ’94.  Each nugget of wisdom gleaned from research triggers another memory and takes me another step closer to my goal of Perfect Health.  It also makes me extremely happy.  Yes I *am* a nerd.  I revel in knowledge.  And I love the journey as much as I will love the destination.

Last year, my doctor wanted to put me on cholesterol medicine, but agreed to wait 6 months to see if my theory that I could bring it down on my own was valid.  I knew that your body makes Vitamin D out of cholesterol, so I had a theory that if I spent time in the sun during the spring and summer, my body would use the stored up cholesterol to produce Vitamin D.

Much to my delight, my summer blood test did show a significant drop in cholesterol, and Dr Fly was properly impressed.  I’m not sure if it was out of curiosity or if it was something else, but my autumn blood test included a test for serum Vitamin D levels. Surprising to both of us, my D levels were very low.  Apparently my body needs a lot more than I can manufacture, so she suggested I start taking D₃ supplements.

Of course rather than just follow blindly I did my research on the internet.   I found foods that are high in Vitamin D as well as signs and symptoms of both low and high Vitamin D before picking up some supplements.  THe following are tidbits I’ve gleaned from various websites which are listed at the end of my post in case anyone wants to do their own research or has a question about something I’ve touched upon but not covered sufficiently.

VItamin D goes through a couple of changes in the body in order to be useful, one in the liver and then anther in the kidneys.  It doesn’t seem to matter whether you get the vitamin from food, sun exposure or pills, they all are inert until your body converts them to useable form.

D does a lot more than give you strong bones.  It promotes calcium absorption in the intestine and plays a role in modulating cell growth in several ways and helps your muscles to work.  I learned some time ago that the way a muscle fiber works is by either holding onto a calcium ion or spitting it out, which makes the muscle short and wide to accommodate the Calcium ion or long and thin without it.  If you don’t have enough calcium in your system, your muscle fibers don’t have the tools they need to work, and if there isn’t enough Vitamin D you won’t be absorbing the calcium.  I hope you all find this as fascinating as I do!

Foods that are naturally high in Vitamin D are fatty fish such as tuna*, mackerel, cod*, salmon*, sardines and swordfish, beef liver* and egg (yolks)*  The foods with asterisks are among my favorites, so I guess my body was trying to tell me something.

The article goes on to say that while the general population should have approximately 600IU daily, the average intake for the various classes of Americans (divided by age, gender and reproduction status) ranges between one half to one third of that.   

We also don’t get enough magnesium, found in many nuts and seeds.  Magnesium and calcium have to be present in (I believe) close to equal quantities in order for us to use the calcium, so having less than optimal amounts of magnesium in our diets makes the calcium useless.  Top that off with our propensity for caffeinated and carbonated beverages, both of which have ingredients which bind to magnesium in the gut, rendering it useless to us, and I see a recipe for disaster.

So, if we’re taking in enough Calcium, but don’t have the necessary Vitamin D and magnesium for our bodies to use it, where does it go?  I can’t help but wonder if that’s the reason so many people are getting kidney and gall stones in recent years.  What if lowering your cholesterol artificially (drug therapy) sets in motion a chain of events that leads to needing to have your gall bladder out?  This is all theory, and I have no proof, but it wouldn’t be the first time that I hit on something that was proven later by research.  Here are a few of the websites I used to gather the information presented herein.

Vitamin D info: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/

http://www.ancient-minerals.com

The Daily Prompt

second job

I haven’t been around much this past week or two; been busy with life away from the computer.

I now have a day job to complement my evening job as a deli clerk.  I will be sewing the jackets and pants that firemen wear to protect themselves from the heat and flames.  I am very excited about this full-time, permanent job that pays as well as the deli job and offers great benefits.

I used to be a volunteer E.M.T. (ambulance worker/first responder) and miss giving back to the community in which I live.  Sadly, I feel as though I am too old to do the front-line stuff any more, but this job is a way I can help.  Getting paid for it is an added bonus.  This, however, is going to cut into my computer time dramatically.  I will be back, I’m just now sure when or for how long each time.  I’ll see you all when I see you, have fun posting and I’ll catch up as I can.