Friday, September 23, 2016

Wake Up Call

This is what I've been working on this week, although progress has been real slow.  Yes, it's little squares again, but the 64 pieces stitched together will produce a 12 x 12 inch foundation cloth on which I'll do further work.  The few bits placed on the left panel are merely being played with at the moment.

This has been quite a week.  I finally, in the end, decided I would get a cellphone, which I did earlier this week, and here's why:  On Sunday early evening, I started having heart palpitations.  Lots of them.  Nonstop for an hour and a half.  It scared me enough that I went to the E.R. and spent 3-1/2 hours there while they pumped me with saline solution, ran two EKGs, took blood, and observed me.  I'd had my neighbor drop me off at the E.R. and pick me up later when I was ready to go home.

While I was there, however, not having a cellphone, I couldn't contact anybody.  Nobody else knew I was there.  I felt terrifically isolated.  Thank god there was and is nothing wrong with me, and I've since learned not only that heart palpitations are pretty common (especially in this traumatic day and age we live in) but how to manage them on my own.  But...what if I'd had to be admitted to the hospital, or worse?  I was completely out of communication.

The heart thing had nothing to do with the recent sinus surgery.  More, they were and are about anxiety.  Having anxiety show up as heart palpitations is new for me...but we do change as we age.  I'm grateful that I had that initial experience and that I've learned what I need to do to deal with a racing heart, because I'm newly aware of how stress and anxiety are affecting me.  It was never obvious to me previously when I was under stress.  I'd just keep piling it on, or letting it happen with no way to gauge the impact.

Anyway, about that cellphone ~ part of my prior resistance had to do with redundancy or superfluity.  I really didn't want to have an excessively large amount or number of something. At the start of this year, I had a laptop/wifi in the house, an old digital camera, and a landline.  Now I still have those, plus a Kindle, a tablet, and a cellphone.  Oh well.  Whatever.  This is modern living, something else I've been avoiding like the plague for as long as I could.

Enjoy this first weekend of fall.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Clearing the Decks

I completed this piece yesterday, and it's as finished as it's going to be.  Meaning it has no backing and I'm not finishing the edges.  Perhaps it'll get added onto in future, or maybe not.  But it's done, as far as I'm concerned, and I'm ready to move on.

The unnamed piece is 15 x 22 inches, all commercial fabrics.

I'm feeling completely recovered from my surgery on Thursday.  The residual stuffiness is slowly tapering off, I'm glad to say.  I was pretty bummed on Friday when, after the nasal bleeding stopped, my right sinuses were really congested.  But I learned yesterday, when the surgical nurse called to check up on me, that temporary sinus issues are common following sinus surgery.  I have a post op appointment this coming Wednesday.

Anyhow, I'm back in the saddle again, and I have a number of ideas for new stitching projects which will likely not be quite so small-square focused.  Jude will be giving her Sun, Moon & Stars class for free, right on her blog as regular blog posts, beginning this Wednesday or Thursday, whichever day the equinox is.  I'm thinking I'll play or work along with the videos, in addition to other ideas I have in mind.

But largely, I want to move in a new direction with handstitching.  The ideas I'm currently considering are not new for me, it's just that I haven't executed them yet.  It's been easier for a while now to default to small squares than to stretch myself.  But now I'm feeling in the mood to push the edges design-wise.

Hope you have a great first week of autumn, my go-to season.

Friday, September 16, 2016

In Recovery Mode

I'm sitting in this very spot at the moment, in recuperation mode from yesterday's sinus surgery.  The procedure went well.  It was an interesting adventure being in the hospital for the morning.  I was treated exceptionally well. The staff who took care of me even gave me a Thank You note, thanking me for letting them serve me.  How 'bout that!

I was abed the rest of yesterday, but I'm sitting up today.  My head still hurts some, probably from the anesthesia, but I'm feeling better overall.  There is and was no pain at all from the procedure, for which I'm very thankful.

I managed to get a lot done on my latest stitching project, earlier in the week.  With any luck, my next post will show the finished piece.  It's nothing special, really.  But I like it.  And it got me thinking about future stitched pieces.

Mostly, for the next few days though, I'll be reading and resting.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, September 9, 2016

The End of the Line

Art Journal collage, 2016
I recently began working on my family history/genealogy.  It's a project that I'll spend time on over the next months, at least.  I have to pace myself because I can't sit at the computer for long periods of time; it's simply too hard on my back.

My grandparents were all Eastern European ~ Russian, Romanian, Austrian, Hungarian.  The former two countries, my paternals; the latter, my maternals.  Thus far I've been able to find more info about my dad's family than my mom's.

I'm working with FamilySearch.org, which is a free service of the LDS, where Ancestry.com is their paid service.  I'll go as far as I'm able before I have to subscribe.  Thus far I've been able to find the answer to many of my initial queries.

Like that my maiden name, Berk, was shortened from Berkovitz by my Grandpa Ben.  And at about the same time, Grandpa's brother Joe changed Berkovitz to Burkhart.  I'd been wondering how my dad wound up with Burkhart cousins, which I remember from when I was a little girl in the 1950s.  Now I know.

Grandpa Benny and my Grandma Sara both came from large families, huge in Grandpa's case, with something like 10 siblings.  It's interesting to me that Ben and Sara only had one child, my dad.  I've been wondering why that might have been, but of course I'll never know for sure.  My ultimate quest here is to find out whether I have any 3rd or 4th cousins and if I can find them. 

Although I've spent more time so far on my dad's side, my initial search into my mom's side of the family turned up a couple siblings in my Grandpa George's family.  I actually only have, or had, one first cousin, my mom's brother Sidney's son, Michael.  He would be my age.  Haven't found him yet, dead or alive.

I can say this about these two families ~ on my dad's side, the families were large and appear to be, from what I've been able to tell thus far, cohesive.  I haven't yet turned up any evidence of divorce.  Whereas on my mom's side, the families were smaller and divorce featured from generation to generation, at least going back three generations.  Sometimes lately I've wondered to what degree many of the life issues I've dealt with were due to my parents' divorce when I was a preteen, alone or in concert with my NPD mother.  Divorce is a shattering experience for kids, at least it was when my parents were divorced in the early 1960s before "everybody" got divorced.  They say divorce runs in families; they're right.  I was divorced twice as was my brother.

At any rate, I am the end of the line for the Berk clan, at least my dad's spur.  No kids for me, and my brother had a daughter who never identified as Jewish anyhow.  So this is it.

In other news, my sinus surgery is scheduled for next Thursday, September 15.  I'm sure everything will be fine, the procedure I mean, but I'm still a tad nervous.  So glad it's just an outpatient thing, although it will be done at the hospital.  I don't like hospitals.

I'm slowly working on my new stitching piece but I only last night got a handle on where it might be going.  In general this isn't being a hugely creative period for me.

Have a wonderful weekend.  Thanks for reading. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Way It Is

I saw the ENT today.  He threaded a tiny camera up my right sinuses and confirmed that there's no infection therein, but the sinus that is blocked is so blocked with mucus, that he could not see whether it was only mucus in there or perhaps a polyp or other obstruction. 

So I'll be having an outpatient procedure in the near future where he'll go in and clean out that sinus cavity.  I'll be asleep during the procedure.  The only other options are steroids, oral or spray, which I simply will not do, or doing nothing at all.  I've opted for cleaning out the cavity.

I thought long and hard about whether I really wanted or needed a cellphone, and decided against one, in the end.  I simply can't justify it; but mostly, I don't want one.  I take a certain amount of pride in being a luddite ~ getting an android tablet is as far as I want to go with electronic devices. 

Meanwhile, I already have a rechargeable long-distance account on my landline, and when the time comes that I feel I need to, I'll simply keep the handset by my bed at night.  If and when the time comes that I really need a phone for emergency purposes, I'll buy a cheap Tracfone and buy time for it.  Simple is always better for me.

With regard to taking photos and manipulating the images, I'll continue to use my trusty Canon PowerShot A570 IS.  It turns out there's a desktop app for Google Photos, and I can upload images from the camera directly into Google Photo on my computer, and then have access to them for manipulation on my tablet.  Easy peasy.  I spent a few hours late last week working with a bunch of different android photo apps, and selected five or six that I really love.

I started cutting squares this morning from that stack of fabrics.  Hoping/planning to spend time this week beginning a new project, and possibly two projects with the same group of fabrics.

Hope you have a great week.  xo

Friday, August 26, 2016

'55 T-Bird Turquoise

I went through my fabric stash the other day and pulled these out.  Not sure yet where I'll go with these but I really like the colors together.

That last piece I finished, Winter Woods, was a lot bigger than I really want to go in general.  Although it is hard to stop once I start stitching little squares together.  So who knows what the new piece will become.

This weekend is the last few days of my 20% Off Sale on paintings in my Etsy Shop.   Just below is one of the pieces on sale.  Sale ends Sunday evening.

I saw my doctor last week to get results of the CT scan of my sinuses, and sure enough, there's a blockage in one of my right sinuses.  I have a consult with the ENT this coming Monday.  At least I haven't had any sinus "storms" in the past couple weeks.  I'm anxious to hear what the ENT has to say and whether there's a fix to my problem. 

My latest toenail color ~~ '55 T-Bird Turquoise.  I love it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Full Circle

An interesting thing happened recently ~~ I was contacted via email a couple weeks ago by one of my best friends from high school.  After our 25th reunion in 1992, I decided to disappear, so I ended up on the "missing" list of classmates.  Our 50th is next year and my friend sleuthed me out online, albeit with trepidation because she sensed I still might not want to be found.

What happened next could only have happened at this particular point in my life, now that I'm newly open to it ~~ I responded right away and we rekindled our friendship.  We're in regular touch via Facebook and email, and we talked on the phone for two hours the other day.

In the same vein, I've rekindled my friendship with another best friend from high school.  And have gotten myself back on the list of a group of gals who touch base by email a few times a year.  And Facebook friended a couple old friends. 

Although at first I was dead certain I'd never go to another reunion (and the 25th is the only one I attended)...I changed my mind this week, and I will definitely go to our 50th, next May in Los Angeles.

Thanks to a comment from dear online pal Leslie,  I decided that I will go the smartphone route for image taking and uploading.  She brought up the issue of the safety factor in having a smartphone.  And that pushed a button that's been on in the back of my mind for a couple years ~~ what if I trip and fall at home and can't get to my landline-phone?  It's conceivable that I could die here and nobody would know, because I'm such a recluse and I don't talk regularly to anybody on the phone, and sometimes don't even see my neighbors for a few days.  Or what if I have car trouble in some out of the way spot?  Which is unlikely given how little I drive, but still possible. 

So okay, I got it.  It's time for me to have a smartphone.  Plus now that I'm in contact with out-of-the-area friends, I can call them instead of them having to call me.

Fortunately, the cost of these things, which you all probably already know, has really come down in the last few years.  So this will be manageable for me.  The last time I had a cellphone was before smartphones, and that little phone cost $75 a month for voice only with no texting.  It'll cost me less than half that now and I'll have everything I need.  Including a great camera.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Technology

I'm posting these images of Winter Woods yet again, because I'm still experimenting with both posting and images...posting via my tablet vs. my computer (today's missive is from my computer), and images taken with the tablet and uploaded directly, vs. images taken with my Canon camera, cleaned up in PhotoShop Elements, and then uploaded.

The colors are more true to life here than yesterday's images.  That's just a function of my not yet being competent manipulating images on the tablet.  But I just tinkered with yesterday's images on my tablet and got them to match the colors of today's images.

I'm still confused about images in the Gallery on the tablet and Google Photos, images that have been uploaded, images that have been downloaded, albums and folders.  And then there's the Album Archive, which now houses all the old blog images formerly housed at Picasa, which Google did away with recently.  The more recent blog images are in Google Photos, along with stuff I posted in class communities housed at Google, and some stuff from eons ago that I'm not sure where they came from, to be honest.  I'll work it out eventually.   

I've been having a conversation with myself for a few days, because it's really difficult taking photos with my 9.7" tablet ~~ too difficult to hold that large screen steady enough in both hands and push the photo button at the same time.  Then there's the protective case, which folds back so you can see the screen to operate the camera, but then the flaps flop around and get in the way.  The conversation is: should I buy a smaller tablet just to take photos with?  There's nothing wrong with my now-old Canon PowerShot camera, but the ability to shoot a photo, manipulate it on the device, and upload to Instagram, Facebook or wherever without having to go from one device to another is a real advantage. 

About this time, y'all are probably saying, Why don't you just use your smartphone?  Well, I don't have or need a smartphone.  I've been thinking about that too these last few days.  Thing is, I hardly make any phone calls with my landline, let alone get a cellphone.

But a smaller tablet...well, I'm thinking about it.  The reality is, I don't shoot nearly as many photos as I used to when I had several blogs and posted to most of them every single day.  So I'm not yet convinced to buy another device.  Also because, I can upload photos from my Canon camera to my computer to my Google Drive, and download them to my tablet so I can upload them to Instagram from there.  Sounds horrifically complicated, but it's not, really. 

I think I just need to go out and start shooting photos again with my camera first.  If I'm not up for doing even that, then I clearly don't need another device.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Winter Woods redo


Reposting this from Blogger on my tablet, not the Blogger app.  I think this is the way to post in the future if I'm going to do it from my tablet.

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