chill relaxed

Still Alive

Just a brief message -- I'm still alive, and been busy with school and my health, as usual.  Currently visiting friends I haven't seen in months and got a chance to explore an area of southern California I never got much chance to see.  I will be doing live streams on Sundays (today excepted) at 4pm PDT.  You can find me at  and chat with me while I draw.  I am open for commissions and "stream sketches", and I have a Patreon account to help me (L.A. Lynx) and I'm planning custom buttons and other things for Patreon sponsors.  So, busy busy busy....
  • Current Music
    Private Life -- Oingo Boingo
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Not Dead Yet.....

Just up for a little air... Finished my second quarter of school and the toughest accounting class of the cycle of three I need for my Business major.  It is now Spring Break, a week to 'relax' before Spring Quarter starts.  I say 'relax' in quotes because all the stuff I've put off this winter due to schoolwork needs to be addressed now.  Projects unfinished, house work that was on hold, a garden all but forgotten for a year is reminding me it needs tending... heck the backyard hasn't had water running back there in well over a year and the landlord is just now fixing it, so perhaps I can start beating back the wilderness that has grown on the hillside for the past 2 years of my incapacitation.

... Speaking of incapacitation, my medical saga continues with issues old and new.  While my right foot's metatarsal surgerical adventures have ended, that hasn't stopped my feet having issues:  my left achilles' tendon has developed a painful nob of inflammation which (if I can't get it to calm down by analgesics) may require that annoying S word -- surgery.  In this case, I would be in a cast over a period of a month, with my foot fully extended at first to keep the tendon relaxed while healing, slowly increasing the tension in successive casts.  Gahh. :P

Along with that potential nuissance, I've been tagged as "pre-diabetic"  with systemic inflammation (pretty much everywhere) so I'm on a battery of suppliments and new drugs to beat down the inflammation and prevent full blown diabetes.  So far, the modified diet and handful of meds seems to be helping, I'll know for sure when I get my next blood tests (the first time they took 15 vials!) I'm losing weight (slowly but steadily) and during the Spring and Summer months I will be using the pool to exercise, as I was feeling better after the winter quarter's adapted P.E. class but want to utilize what I've got at home (and save money).

Now to get back to plotting how to have a birthday cake with my current dietary restrictions and make it so everyone can enjoy it -- I'm going for a lemonny cake to fit into my 3D Peep Cake Mold (real Peeps will be used for decoration around it). Oh, and I'll be making braised rabbit for Easter Dinner as it happens to be my birthday and I can do what I want.  :D
chill relaxed

Another long pause between posts.

After much research and wrangling, I have actually started classes at De Anza College, one of the 112 community colleges here in California.  I am taking both traditional and online classes to make my load easier as I knew I would need to take a few remedial courses (Math, specifically -- I can't place well in a placement test with stuff I didn't learn the first time, thanks to a couple bad apples in my high school education) but I didn't want to get overwhelmed with the time management issues involved with a high-unit class load.  As someone with ADHD, I qualify for some assistance, and I will be getting paperwork filled out this week for that, and if I stay frugal I should be able to cover expenses (I will be applying for scholarships all the same) so I can just focus on doing well in school.  Focus is both a bane and blessing for ADD folks... we can hyperfocus to exclusion of all else for hours, and the rest of the time have difficulting in maintaining focus for more than 5 minutes.  I need to develop time management skills to keep me on track -- I wonder if there's a class for that.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative
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chill relaxed

And now for something completely different....

... I am looking at the prospect of going back to school.  Online learning has advanced greatly and I decided to jump into learning again, this time for a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, focused on Computer Sciences.  I've been regretting not getting my bachelor's degree the first time, but Life interfered.  With nothing better to do at the moment, this is as good a time as any, and I'm going with an accredited brick-and-mortar university, not an online degree-mill.  This will still cost money, of course, and I'm hoping to get enough in grant money to cover most of it (which will still be cheaper than returning to my culinary alma mater) so wish me luck!
  • Current Mood
    nervous nervous
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Another leg update....

Okay, time for an update:

  Surgery took place on May 15th.  Unlike the previous round, this time I woke up with a "ping!" as they were finishing up. went back into a nap and woke up in the recovery room without feeling woozy.  Also unlike the previous episode, I didn't spend the first week of recovery passed out on the couch.  I'm sure having Wolf Kidd and Elrabin visiting helped in that respect, but  I know it felt different this time.  Also, my foot wasn't back in a splint but in a full cast.

  I had a great time with my big brother and the even bigger cougar helping J.M. and me plant my micro-farm in the front yard, with me sitting on a bucket directing traffic.  We all saw Godzilla together (which was awesome!) and in general had a wonderful (if mostly relaxed) vacation for them.  My weekly visits to the podiatrist resulted in a collection of colorful casts, and at Week 2 the sutures came out (again, much easier than last time!) and it was noted that the scar was particularly clean looking.

This is now week 7, my cast is PINK, and next week I get x-rays to see if I'm up for a walking cast.  I've been fighting on-and-off depression which makes for a lack of creativity that only ascerbates the frustration and cabin fever of being down for a large part of a year.  It's still better than the last time, when I was out of school for 18 months because of two surgeries, but that doesn't stop it from being annoying.

On the bright side, this second-time surgery seems to be healing correctly, so with luck next week they will swap out this cast for a walking cast.  Still no ETA when I will be completely healed, though.  *sigh*
thinking pensive

The other shoe dropped...

... I have to get another surgery.

The bone scan indicated there was some bloodflow across the gap, but x-rays showed that what is happening is my body is filling in the gap with cells to produce cartilage... to create a false joint instead of bone.  Since there is a spot that has correctly fused together, he doesn't want to split the bone completely apart and start over, but what the remedy is will be determined once he actually opens up my foot again.  The best option if everything looks good is to clear the wrong stuff out then use a circlage (a wire wrapped around the bone).  The worst option, if the bone is too porous, is a plate with a lag bolt (yay, more metal)  and the third option between the two extremes is a plate with a circlage holding it in place.  In any case, the existing screw will be removed, expected heal time is 8-14 weeks, and I'll be stuck on the couch again for at least part of that.  On the bright side, I have all the mobility equipment already so there's no wait time to get them.

Meanwhile, a few days after the surgery, I'll be having guests visiting, which on one side is a bummer, on the other a blessing... Wolf can keep me pinned down so I don't get up before I really should. :)
thinking pensive

Potentially bad news...

Well, the CAT scan came back... and it's pretty bad.  So now, I'm waiting for the insurance authorization to get a Bone Scan which will definitively determine what's going on.  Turns out, the bone stimulator really only works if there's blood flow across the break and right now we don't know if sufficient blood is moving over that area for the cells to knit together.  While the x-ray today showed faint improvement, the CAT done on Monday indicates the break is still not joined together -- a non-union.  Most likely cause is scar tissue blocking the bone cells from connecting, but there's also the possibility that the body started to fill in the break with cartilage instead, forming a "false-joint".

So, the bone scan is necessary to determine if I get to wait it out longer or if I go back under the knife.  If the scan shows blood flow across the gap, it's good.  Otherwise, I get to do this all over again -- this time removing the screw, cleaning off the edges of the break, adding a bio-spackle to glue the area and give it a matrix to build from, then wrapping the bone in micro-fine chicken wire to hold the whole thing in place.  And then it's another 12-14 week recovering time as the surgery resets the healing clock. Feh.

Needless to say I'm not happy with today's results.... spent the day getting some cat therapy.

One silver lining in this cloud:  I have been officially cleared to use the walking boot to actually walk on, as long as I only put weight on my heel.  Seeing that I really don't want any more atrophy and itch to get up and *do* stuff, this is a good thing.
  • Current Mood
    crushed crushed
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frust frustrated

Sorry for not posting, still recovering

Long time, no update... so here's catch-up information:

November 20th, I had surgery on my right primary metatarsal bone, which the doc sliced diagonally and repositioned with a screw and a pin.  I was out for the count for a good 3 weeks, living on the couch with foot elevated and taking anti-inflammatories and antibiotics.

For the winter holidays, I was stuck in the position of being a chef that couldn't stand up to cook.... so friends banded together and I had a lovely Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner with minimal stress.  I still wanted to make *something*, so I brought out a favorite medieval recipe for Chestnut Soup, which is very rich and was in the slow cooker so long it became more like spackle than soup but was still incredibly rich and tasty, just needed to get thinned out before service, oh well.  While Christmas presents were thin this year because of everyone's tight finances, I received an actual all-metal serger machine for which boggled me.  Now to learn to use it!

I did manage to attend Further Confusion, although I was pretty much parked in the Marriott lobby's "business center" under the escalators for the majority of the con.  I managed to sell something in the Art Show... "Gentoyato"  or moon bunny (faintly jade green fur on a rabbit 24" tall!) to someone from Australia (which makes me very happy) so I think I'll try to get more bunnies made for future cons,  possibly a wolpertinger or jackalope... we'll see how that goes.  I also have been building a pattern to make a moonkin that didn't get made in time for the con, perhaps he'll also show up later.

February saw me having to get an Exogen ultrasonic bone stimulator to use twice a day on my foot, which pretty much put me back on the couch for part of the day.  In order to prevent me going completely stir crazy, I took up crochet.  And, in typical fashion, I found a project that inspired me to learn crochet that is itself a massive undertaking:  I'm currently working on a 9-skein circular shawl that will have a star map of the northern constellations sewn onto it, using colored (and sized) beads for the brightest stars, seed beads for the rest of the constellations' notable stars, and purple glitter-woven yarn to drawn the connecting lines.  As the body of the shawl is  deep blue with strands of metallic blue woven into the yarn, the whole thing will faintly sparkle. I haven't figured out yet how I want to portray the Milky Way, considering it is difficult to see in suburban skies.

I'll put pictures up as I hit milestones -- 1) crochet main body and block, 2) crochet border edging (still looking for a pattern I like), 3) create and transfer star map to body, 4) sew stars onto shawl, 5) sew constellation lines onto shawl.  Currently I'm on the 5th shein of step 1 and working out how many beads of size and color to get for the bright stars.  I'm going to be weird -- usually on star maps, size of dot indicates brightness in the sky, but I'm going for size to indicate Spectral Class (I,II,III,IV,V), color to denote Spectral Type (O,B,A,F,G,K,M) and (if I can find them) replace the usual color of F types from "white-yellow" to "white-greenish-yellow" to better differentiate them.

March has seen me get a disappointing update from the foot doc: while the Exogen therapy is doing something, there's a spot where the two edges of bone are just not fusing at an acceptable rate.  So now I get to wait for the authorization to get a CAT scan and Bone Scan of my foot to better see what is going on.  On the best end of prognosis I'll just keep doing the Exogen therapy and slowly start putting weight on the foot if there's nothing wrong other than sluggish progress.  On the worst end of prognosis, there's scar tissue or something else preventing the bone from knitting (as the docs say it, a non-union) and I'll have to get another surgery for them to clean the area out and apply a cloture completely around the bone and I get to start the healing clock all over again (12-14 weeks).  I sincerely hope for the former and not the later, but I am aware that with my history there's a chance I'll go under the knife again.

On the "bright" side, asthma is known to slow down the body's healing process, so probability is high I just need to wait it out -- not that I've ever been good about patience.
thinking pensive

It was bound to happen...

I got good news/bad news from the podiatrist this week: The good news, my right foot is not developing a bunion like my left foot had.  The bad news is that the pain I've been experiencing is due to a misaligned bone, the metatarsal bone of my big toe.  The only way to correct this misalignment is to slice through the bone diagonally, reposition it to a better alignment, then pin and screw it into place.  This obviously is a surgical procedure and I will have to stay off my foot for 12 weeks to recover.  The surgery is scheduled for the week before Thanksgiving, as it was the only date the doctor had available.

Now, I always figured I would need surgery on my right foot eventually, based on all the problems I had with my left foot and the comment of my previous podiatrist that I had pronation (a misalignment of the foot structure leading to heel pain and foot pain).  The X-ray of my right foot and subsequent physical exam demonstrated I actually had a 'neutral' heel alignment and not pronation.... but my right toe's metatarsal bone is rather higher than the rest of the foot, leading to the ball of my foot not resting on the ground like it should, thus pain.  This also explains why the foot inserts I have been given over the years haven't done much to relieve the pain -- inserts adjust the heel position, which in my case wasn't the place of misalignment so nothing changed.

I'm being pragmatic about this.  Having the surgery done now is better than waiting until I can't walk on my foot because of the pain, likely interfering with my business, which is still in its infancy now but I am confident will pick up soon.  But this does mean I'll be stuck on the couch again for weeks without any hope of working in the kitchen for a time.  I've yet to hear how much of a deductible the insurance is going to stick me with, so I'm worried about finances.

What this means in the short term is this: I will still make pies, up until the surgery and then wait until just before Further Confusion to do pie orders for pickup.  I have just under one month to prepare for this, and I plan to make the most of it.  Once I'm stuck on the couch, I'll be taking commissions (I'll be posting this to FA, too) as art doesn't require me to stand.  I do have an art panel and table reserved in FC's art show, so maybe I'll make a little money there as well.  So I'll be down, but not out! 
  • Current Mood
    anxious anxious
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I can haz web-storefront?

It's now official, I have a storefront with Zaarly to promote my personal chef services! Whoot!

Which reminds me, it's Pie Season again, and I'll be taking orders now for Spicy Pumpkin Pies, and Deep Dish or Dutch style Apple Pies. Place your orders NOW! :)

Just got a pile of local-grown heirloom apples (Macintosh, Newtown Pippin and Gravensteins) which work great in baking.  I also got in my first run of pumpkins for the season and I'm bouncing with excitement as my beloved Long Island Cheese pumpkins are back this year!  They are still my favorite go-to for baking, even if this year I bought some Rouge Vif d'Etampes (no, they are NOT the same as Cinderellas), Sweet Dumpling squash, Delicata squash, Red Kabocha, and a couple of Jarrahdales this year to start playing with.  My local store has a sign up indicating that they'll have Fairytales (proper name: Musque de Provence) and even the new  Porcelain Doll variety (a rather squarish pumpkin that's honest-to goodness PINK skinned)

Pumpkins2013I think I'll have enough pumpkins to bake with this year, with enough to spare for canning so I could make pumpkin goodies all year round!