November 24, 2015

Cold Weather Coping for Chronic Illness

Winter is here and these are some ways I stay warm and comfy despite the chill:

Heated mattress pad: I bought one of these last fall and it changed my life.  No more crawling into bed to huddle in a ball for 10-15 minutes while I warm the sheets.  The bed is already warm when I get in!  Bonus, the queen size has two zones so one can be warmer and one cooler for maximum nighttime comfort.

Wool socks: These are a must have in my opinion.  If your feet are still cold, or you can't wear wool, try some silk sock liners.  Also wear sturdy shoes, they help keep the warmth in.

Mittens: Mittens are the only way I can even attempt to keep my hands warm in winter.  Gloves don't let my fingers warm each other so the chill of doom sets in.  Fingerless mitts are nice for cool indoor days as well.

Lap blanket: I spend a good amount of time at home and a blanket keeps me comfortable without having the heat yo-yoing all day.  If you made your lap blanket, so much the better.  A cat in your lap is also an excellent way to stay warm :)

Hot drinks: I recommend a hot mug of tea.  A very large mug is perfect, it stays warm longer and needs refilled less frequently.

Long underwear: I swear by silk long johns.  They make jeans comfy and practical even when the temp dips to freezing.  Leggings or runner's tights would work also but I like how thin and slippery silk is.  I bought mine deeply discounted at Nordstrom Rack.

It's harder to take care of sick bodies but maybe the ideas will help you this winter.

November 20, 2015

Best Thursday Night

I was chilling last night, drinking tea while eating chocolate-covered shortbread, knitting and watching the Sam & Dean sexy hour (aka Supernatural).  A friend called and asked what I was doing, and I told him.  He replied that that sounded amazing and I had to agree.

Sometimes your best life is relaxing and ignoring the negatives, even just for an hour or two.  I've had some pretty fierce jaw pain the last month, and skin issues, but in spite of that life can be pretty good.  Instead of noticing the ways I accommodate chronic health problems, which would be a very long list, I'm choosing to focus on the positives.  I have a safe and warm home.  My power didn't go out even during our recent wind storm.  I have friends.  I have internet to connect with many of those friends.  And I love and am loved.

I'm also making good progress on the wedding blanket: almost halfway done with the edging.  I think it's going to be beautiful.  And warm :)

November 13, 2015


Last week a friend wrote that she'd had 3,000 days of constant pain.  I did some calculations and I've had 8,072 days.  It was the week before my 17th birthday, so needless to say that birthday sucked.

But during those thousands of days there have been bright spots.  Today I mended my leaf quilt, adding embroidery over an insufficient seam allowance.  I really like how it turned out.

Music has definitely been a positive.  I've been listening to Tom Waits today, he is just right for a stormy afternoon.

But love is the main thing.  Love is what life is all about.  May you all have a happy and love filled weekend.

November 3, 2015

No Place on Earth

I recently read a quote:

"I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change.  I'm changing the things I cannot accept."
- Angela Davis, PhD

It made me pause and think, maybe I can change at least one thing.  My apartment's drains have been slow (again) and it took (again) three weeks for maintenance to show up to snake the drain.  The benefits of where I am now: walkability, transit, social options, are not things I can take advantage of any more.  So I've started looking at where else I might live.  The list is...not long.

I am poor.  When I say that I don't mean that I have to choose a home with a roommate in a less ideal neighborhood.  I mean that I fall under the "extremely low" income category of below 30% the median area income.  Ever tried finding subsidized housing?  Not easy.  Ever tried finding it when you're this broke?  Practically impossible.

The real problem is that I don't belong anywhere.  There is no place for me.  I'm single, I don't have kids.  I'm not obliged or able to help a relative with childcare.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I'm not a burden being shuttled between relations.  But not fitting into the fabric of society is painful.

I don't know how I'd find the energy to pack up and move.  But if I could find a place with some real community, I'd just love that.  When you have subsidized housing and talk about moving it's usually in terms of years, not weeks or months.  And I haven't started anything yet.  But this is a place for my thoughts, so here's another one of them.

October 26, 2015

DC in Sept

Back in mid-September I went to Washington, DC for a long weekend.  I was having high fatigue and pretty severe joint pain, so I didn't get to see as much as I'd hoped.  It was still a good trip!
Cooling my feet in the park's stream

The first couple days were spent near Dulles, where I relaxed while my traveling partner worked.  I didn't bring any business clothes so couldn't sneak into happy hour networking even if I'd wanted to.  Instead I hung out in a nearby park :)

Then on to DC proper, where the hotel was next to the convention center.  This was during the Congressional Black Caucus--good vicarious fun.  So many people happy to see each other, talk about issues important to them, and most importantly to party!  At the end of the CBC convention, President Obama spoke at a dinner.  I was able to see him leave the venue!

I very much enjoyed the National Gallery of Art.  My Flickr album has some terrible photos of my favorite paintings.

I highly recommend taking a Capitol tour through your Senator's office.  It started by riding the special Congressional train linking the Congressional office buildings to the Capitol building.  Then a tour around the public areas of the Capitol, along with some history.

Afterward I sat in on a House debate--lo and behold, they were discussing defunding Planned Parenthood.  Let me tell you, being silent was a real challenge!  Debbie Wasserman Schultz earned my respect that day.

On the last day I saw a couple more Smithsonian museums, then walked back to the hotel.  I got lunch takeout in Chinatown and picked up a few kitschy souvenirs.  After that it was time to catch the airport shuttle and head home.
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