Tula Tuesday: 84 and 85

Two more down…

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Apparently this week I was feeling pink and grey…

Block 84: soft grey and the neon pink dots that I love.

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Block 85: pinks and my AMH focus fabric. Not as successful as i hoped- the original Tula print in the sample block is so perfect, with the circles, but I don’t own any of it… I should have fussy cut the medallions that you see in the upper left corner. But I didn’t think to.

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Probably would have been a good block to sneak in some more little animals, but that didn’t occur to me until later. Meanwhile, with these two blocks, I finished the next to last section of the book! 15 blocks to go (plus all those baby quilts I need to make…) The last section is the “random” one- and I think I’ll find some great ways to work in more novelty pieces. Hooray!

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 blocks 51-75 blocks 76-85

Did you have any Tula progress this week? If so link up below…

I’ll be linking up at Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social.

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It takes a long time to get Around the World…

3 weeks ago, I was tagged by the fabulous Lucy over at Lucymade to take place in the Around the World Blog Hop. I assured her I was up for it, even with all the health and house woes of late- and then I fell and sprained my ankle! A lame excuse, ha ha, but true. It took me til today to sit down and write this post, in part because of the ankle and general busyness, and in part because I was worried about what I would say to you all about myself… Meanwhile, here I am earlier this week, up in Vail, wearing the shawl I knit while in bed after the gallbladder removal.

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What am I working on?

Of course, as anyone who’s been by this blog knows, I’m plugging away at my Tula Pink City Sampler. I’m past block #80 now, and hoping to finish all 100 before December. I also recently committed to make 4 baby quilts for teachers at my daughter’s school. 1 top done, 1 in progress, fabric pulled for one, and the last one not started at all.

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And oh yeah, 2 more baby quilts for friends. So it appears I might be finishing out 2014 with nothing but baby quilts! (In between projects, I am plugging away on my scrappy trip along blocks, too.)

And I’m always knitting something. Since my surgery, I’ve been on a shawl kick. I’ve finished 3 since August and am on my 4th. I also recently finished a pair of fingerless mitts for my husband. And I assume I’ll move back to socks soon.

How does my work differ from other of its genre?

I thought long and hard about this one. I have trouble even deciding what genre I fit into. I don’t know that I fit “modern”, but I’m sure I’m not traditional. Contemporary? Why not… What makes me me is my use of color, and the fact that I’m not tied down by modern rules. I still use batiks, dammit. I love them. And it’s very, very rare that you’ll catch me making a quilt from all one line of fabric. I went through a brief phase of that a few years ago, but it really wasn’t for me. Picking out my own combos, like in my Catvent quilt, is what makes me happy. Colorful, unfussy quilts full of fun patterns- that’s me.

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Why do I write what I do?

Partly, to chronicle my work for myself. Partly, to get feedback from other quilters. Partly, to make new friends. I have realized I am not a deep thinker who’s going to write posts that change the quilting world. And I’m okay with that :-) Sharing my work, and my not so deep thoughts, and making friends long the way is more than enough for me.

In fact- last week, Audrey from Hot Pink Quilts was in town, and I got to meet hit in real life, and we had a fabulous night of tiki cocktails, fabric shopping, and artisan donuts… What more could I ask for?

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How does my writing/creative process work?

Not very well.

I have found that if I set myself a schedule with goals and deadlines, I am more likely to keep my butt in gear. That’s why I try to do a Tula Tuesday post every week- knowing I’ve committed to that motivates me to sew even if I’m tired or too busy. Likewise, taking part in linkups like WIP Wednesday, etc., gives me a reason to sew AND take pics, and post… But if I get derailed, I find it hard to get back up on the horse. I’ve taken several longish breaks over the years.

When it comes to my design process, it’s kind of a mess. I don’t generally have the kind of brain that comes up with totally original ideas. Instead, I see something I like, be it a full pattern, a block, or a tutorial, and I try to put my own spin on it. I often get stuck in the initial phase of a project- I have a tendency to overthink things. I have worked in several places that use the Strengths method from “Now Discover Your Strengths.” It’s a cool management tool that focuses on using what you do well naturally to accomplish your goals, as opposed to trying to force yourself to work in ways that don’t come naturally. Unfortunately, all my strengths are the “stuck in your head” types- input, intellection, etc. The kind that make you want to do loads of research but put off a decision forever. The same can happen to me when sewing. Pinterest and Ravelry are especially dangerous for someone like me!

 

PS I’m supposed to tag someone, but I feel like everyone may have done this already?? Please feel free to tag yourself- and let me know if you do!!

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Tula Tuesday: blocks 81-83

Thank goodness I finished these…

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…before I did THIS:

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Ooops. Sunday morning I slipped in our kitchen and (mildly) sprained my ankle. For real. I know. It’s ridiculous. I’m ridiculous. It’s not too bad, and should heal fairly quickly.

As opposed to our poor house. All of your good thoughts, prayers, and happy vibes worked. The insurance inspector came out on Friday as planned, and DID declare our roof a total loss. So rather than dealing with spot repairs at our own expense, we will be getting an entire new roof for barely more $$, one that will be under a nice fresh warranty. We also need at least 6 windows completely replaced, a few more screens, all the gutters, a lot of the house repainted, and all new patio furniture. Oh, and my 2 garden gnomes also have hail holes! The inspector even put them on the claim. We’re now waiting to hear back from the insurance company about how much they’ll authorize for all that work. The hardest part is going to be finding a roofer to do the work- they are ALL backed up. We know at least our 4 closest neighbors need new roofs as well. Maybe we can get a group rate…

Meanwhile, the blocks.

Block 81: raccoons in tiny pieces.

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I love it.

Block 82: deep blue with some fox field horses.

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I love how I accidentally made that one horse look like it has the longest body ever…

Block 83: parisville and polkadots.

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Looks like I was on a serious purple kick this week. (Shocker.)

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 blocks 51-75 blocks 75-83

Ta-da! Are you working on any Tula? Share it here:

 

I’ll be linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, Let’s Bee Social, and WIP Wednesday. And stay tuned- I was tagged by Lucymade to take part in the Around the World Blog Hop. I’m running behind- the post was part of my Sunday plan- but I’ll get to it ASAP, I promise!

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Tula Tuesday: Blocks 76-80

And… September’s goal, done!

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Had to wait until after the epic hail storm to get photos. Wow oh wow, did our neighborhood take a beating. Neighbors have so much damage- next door even had paint stripped right off their house! On top of the damage we noticed yesterday, today we found paint damage, screen damage, and holes punched straight through the vinyl frames of some windows! Yikes. Waiting to hear when the storm crew from the insurance company will be able to come assess the damage. Please, please, send trashed roof vibes. It would solve so many of our other house problems…

Okay, back to the blocks!

Block 76- deep blue-greens and a yummy Amy Butler.

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Block 77: purples and a Heather Ross fave

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Block 78: my AMH focus fabric and a pretty green blender.

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Block 79: (easiest one in the whole book?) I busted out some Tula Nightshade, and purple solids…

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Block 80: Tula, polka dots, and a cotton & steel. Yum.

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So, yup, I’m caught up! 80 down, 20 to go. I had to make the final mosaic!

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 blocks 51-75 blocks 76-80

 

Feels good to be back on track. Now I just have to balance October’s 10 blocks with the 4 baby quilts I committed to make before November. Yikes!

Meanwhile, I’m linking up to WIP Wednesday, Let’s Bee Social, and Sew Cute Tuesday. And if you happen to have any Tula progress you’d like to share, link up below!

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Coming tomorrow: Tula Tuesday

I couldn’t get photos of my newest Tula blocks yesterday because THIS happened:

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Had to open a NEW homeowners insurance claim to see if our roof is even worse now. Honestly our best case scenario is that yesterday’s storm destroyed our roof and insurance will cover a new one. But it may take up to 5 days to get officially inspected as this storm caused “catastrophic” damage to our area…

It never ends here.

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Tula Tuesday: Blocks 71-75

This weekend I played catch-up!

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5 more blocks down, and I’m 3/4 of the way done with the entire book! Hopefully by this weekend I can finish through 80, and get myself back on my 10/month schedule.

Meanwhile, here’s a brief view of my progress.

Block 71: raccoons!

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Block 72: polk dots and neons…

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Block 73: turquoise and squirrel!

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Block 74: grey and the floral green that photographs way more yellow than it really is.

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Block 75: pinks and my fave focus fabric yet again.

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I am supremely pleased to be able to report that I am feeling better. For real! I had the energy to do fun things with my family- like the Botanic Gardens Corn Maze and a pre season NHL game. In fact, on Sunday afternoon I started feeling achy, and realized I had gone the entire day with NO ibuprofen until 3pm! And I hadn’t missed it. This is very very exciting. I feel like I am slowly reclaiming my life. If only I felt that way about my house.

As always, here’s my progress to date. Next week I’ll have to start a new collage!

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 blocks 51-75

Meanwhile, I’d love to see any Tula progress you’ve made. Link up below.

And I’ll be linking up at Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social. Hope to see you there!

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These are the kind of stitches I like…

The only upside to my recent downtime has been…lots of knitting! I finished a pair of socks, knit an entire shawl in under a week, and knit the next shawl in 2 weeks… And I’m halfway through a pair of fingerless mitts for my husband, too.

Today I’m just sharing the second shawl- still no good pix of the first.

I bought the yarn years and years and years ago. (Also known as Jan, 2009.) I had it in my Rav destash section, but then, I saw this blog post from Fancy Tiger, and I had to cast on one of my own ASAP. The original yarn I tried fought with me- first by tangling horribly while I was trying to wind it (took 2 days to untangle) and then by not at all looking like it did in my imagination :-( So I had to go back to the drawing board/stash- and this 5 year old skein was just the ticket.

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Not too overpowering, but still fun. Rabbit Ridge Designs sock yarn in Petal, in case you were wondering.

The pattern, Antarkis, was a bit of a splurge, but after I saw it I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I bought it, and got started. Had I not dropped a stitch, and not noticed, at the very end, I would have been done a week ago. But I ended up ripping back and redoing the end of the shawl- and it was worth it. The error would have made me furious had I left it in, and I never would have worn the thing…

So without further ado, ta-da! The new shawl- and ME! Because I felt well enough to be in a photo and let you see me…

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If I ever make it again, I’ll go up a needle size (from 5 to 6.)  I’ve been known to knit very tightly… especially when stressed! I had enough yarn left at the end that I repeated the final section one extra time.

I wore it to work today, and got loads of compliments- a nice ego boost AND bonus distraction from the house/healing stress! Now to finish the second mitt for my husband, and then decide what to cast on next.

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Tula Tuesday: Blocks 67-70 (finally!)

I sewed.

For real!

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I finished my August Tula blocks, halfway through September. SO glad I finished the triangle section before I got sick! Would have sucked to come back to those!

Brief sam-post-gallbladder-update for those who are interested. If you just want the quilt blocks, skip down 2 paragraphs, no hard feelings. I am finally, a month post-surgery, starting to feel like myself again. My pain level around one incision stayed pretty high for longer than expected, and the verdict was eventually that the sutures were pressing directly on a nerve. No wonder I hurt so much! One of the sutures was forcing its way out of my body- a shockingly common and, to me, truly disgusting, post surgery occurrence- and after the surgical nurse fixed it, my pain level dropped instantly. Meanwhile, I had yet another blood pressure scare, which was, after more tests, determined to be stress based.

Stress, you say? About that. Aside from the lingering pain, there’s the slight matter of the house. There was some major miscommunication with the contractors. They were all set to start repairing the insides of our home that have sustained water damage from the leaking roof. So all set that they sent movers to take apart our home. After promising that the kitchen wouldn’t be touched, they accidentally packed up the entire thing, and moved the fridge, microwave, toaster oven, table, and chairs to the living room. Awesome. The next day they informed us that they weren’t able to test our roof for leaks due to liability reasons, and if they proceeded with the repairs without the test, the repairs wouldn’t be under warranty.  WTF? We had asked them to do that test 8 times, but they didn’t say nope, never, until after they ripped apart our house. Awesomer. There was so much hail in Colorado this summer that roofers are backed up for weeks, and it took hours of calls to find one who could do the test sooner than 2 weeks out. And then? We failed the test. So our house is ripped up, our roof could still leak in heavy rain, and insurance doesn’t cover the roof repair. I can’t imagine why my blood pressure is through the roof, can you??

I did finally squeeze in some sewing during all of this. First, I had to cut hundreds of white 4.5″ squares. Because at Annie’s school, 2 teachers, and one teacher’s wife, are pregnant. Because I need a deadline like I need a hole in my head my roof, I contacted the art teacher and offered to work with her to help the kids make a quilt for each of the 3 babies. 2 are due the first week of November, one in mid-December. The kids are going to dye the squares, and I’ll piece them together. The school is tiny- 60ish kids from 6th-12th grade- and I’m looking forward to helping them with this project.

After the cutting, came the sewing. 2 episodes of OITNB later, I had four blocks, and had finally finished my August goal.

Block 67: I busted out one of my fave ever Heather Ross prints. I found an extra yard of it stashed in the guest room (when we had to move Henry in during the dry-out of his room), so that’s a positive.

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Purple, grey, and pretty.

Block 68: my fave feature print and some happy green solids.

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Block 69: teeny tiny pieces, and squirrels. I love the squirrels. (Top photo’s color is a better representation.)

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And finally, Block 70: purple! My fave Tula Acacia print. Happiness! (Bottom photo is a better color representation.)

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Next up, the squares section of the book. Squares I can handle :-)

As always, here’s my work to date:

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 blocks 51 thru 70

 

Just in case anyone is still out there, and also made it all the way to the end, and also wants to share their own Tula progress, here’s the linkup:

 

Meanwhile, here’s hoping I’m back to blogging and commenting and reading more regularly. Hope you are all doing better than me and my house!

PS Now that I have some actual work to share, I’m linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday and WIP Wednesday

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She’s aliiiiive- no, really (aka blergh part 3)

Last time I dropped by here to chat, it was just a few days after my fun and exciting emergency gallbladder removal.

August was a hell of a month.

The leaking roof, the gallbladder- those you know about. But we had a few family issues that I’m not going to share here- you’ll have to trust me when I say that they were/are super sucky. While I was still working on physically recovering, our microwave decided to die (or rather, to only work on the popcorn setting, and also, to come on all by itself. Freaky!) And then, after I went back to work, my car battery died. Thank goodness the awesome facilities staff were able to give me a jumpstart so I could get to the shop and get a new one installed… That day, when I finally made it back home and to my bed, our satellite TV was out.

Speaking of going back to work, I didn’t pull that off very well. At one week post-op, I went in for 4 hours. And woke up in agony the next day. I stupidly went back anyway, and made myself worse.  Cue a 3 day stint in bed, the only pro being that I watched the final 2 seasons of True Blood in an epic binge. At least by this point I was able to knit again.

Speaking of knitting… this illness and knitting didn’t mix at first. Post 1st ER, pre 2nd ER/surgery, I tried to work on my Drogon socks. (Pattern from April Cookie A Sock Club, using my own yarn purchased many years ago.)

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I had one sock done, and was ready for the heel flap on the second. I diligently plowed thru the heel flap, perhaps while on Percocet. And the next day I realized I had counted my stitches incorrectly and had to rip the whole thing back. I was so frustrated, and worried about screwing up again, that I put it down. Apparently knitting on narcotics is way worse than knitting drunk, at least for me.

Then came the surgery, and the pain. Aside from the fact that for the first week, I was on some potent pain pills and was afraid to risk another heel debacle, it also hurt to hold my arms where I normally would when knitting. D’oh. I plowed through my entire Kindle backlog, averaging a book a day. Finally I felt like I could handle knitting again, but I was afraid to go back to the sock until I was significantly better. So I dug through my Ravelry cue and stash pages until I found a super simple project that I could make with yarn that I had on hand- and even better, yarn that didn’t need to be wound. I cast on the Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West on 8/18, and finished it on 8/24. (The pattern repeat is literally 2 rows until you get to the final border…) You don’t get any pics yet as I’m not feeling up to being in them, or letting you see me…

After I finished the shawl, I felt brave enough to go back to my socks. And now they’re done. 2nd time was a charm on that heel…

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The left and right socks are mirrored. The pattern is meant to evoke the scales of Drogon, the most fearsome of the dragons from Game of Thrones. I’d had this Socks That Rock Lightweight in the Korpii color way sitting around for literally years- and it worked perfectly in this pattern. Because the yarn is a bit thicker, and the yardage a bit shorter, I went down a size from normal for me. I also eliminated one pattern repeat… They fit perfectly and I finished with just a bit of yarn to spare.

So it’s a new month. I’m really hopeful that September will be kinder to me and my family. My recovery is back on track. I’m not sure if for some reason I’m having a rougher time than is normal, or if I underestimated the impacts of surgery, even if it was laparoscopic. Regardless, I am now taking it verrrrry easy. I am back at work. On try #2, I went back 3 hours on monday, 4 on tuesday, etc. Today I basically made it an entire work day! My pain is overall way more manageable, and in a week I’m allowed back in hot tubs. If only we owned a hot tub… My car is fine now that it has a shiny new battery, and we got a new microwave on sale over the weekend (bless the internet- we shopped and bought it online, with store pickup, done by my husband, and I didn’t even have to get out of bed.) The contractors should be starting the repair work next week- they would have started this week but I couldn’t handle it while still feeling lousy. They say it’s a one week job, so I’m thinking 2?

I’ve missed you all terribly. While I was feeling lousy, I didn’t even look at my bloglines feed. I’m hoping to start making the rounds and visiting you all again very soon.

Thank you again for all the kind comments and well wishes. They were a comfort when it felt like everything that could go wrong, was…

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Blergh: The Update

My week has not gone as planned.

Monday, my primary care doctor authorized a surgery consult to remove my gallbladder, and scheduled me for a follow up ultrasound. I was not considered an emergency, so US was to be Tuesday and consult over a week later. I still felt like hell and was bummed to learn I might be stuck in the painful limbo for the foreseeable future. (Esp since she put me on clear liquid diet in the mean time.)

So Tuesday my mom drove me to the US appointment- I was feeling way too crappy to handle it, and also had been told to fast, so was on abt 13 hours w no food or water by that time.

US tech got quieter and quieter, and called my doctor immediately. Suddenly, I was on the way to the ER.

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Turns out a gallstone had become stuck since my original ER trip and that was the reason I still felt so terrible. Also, it meant I was at high risk for infection and all sorts of other fun stuff. Signs of problems were developing.

Awesome.

It also meant I didn’t need to wait a week for a consult- my gallbladder was coming out that day.

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Rich laughed when I wanted to instagram the process. But I was in too much pain to knit, and hand’t grabbed my iPad since I was planning on coming straight home and back to bed after the US. I did eventually manage to read- I’m about to finish book #4 since being admitted. So in the interim I did need a distraction.

We were finally taken  up to pre-op.

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Because I was in between elective and true emergency, we waited quite a while. This gave me time to panic. I did a good job holding it together. The only other time I’ve ever had surgery was a crash c-section for my first child, and it was horrifying. We almost lost the baby, my recovery was from hell, and I actually developed PTSD afterwards. It took several years of therapy to help me past that- and here I was again, about to be cut open.

I explained, briefly, my fears to the various docs involved. They were all very caring. I held it all together until I ended up on the actual operating table, and then so many bad memories came back. I started to cry, and the amazing OR nurse dabbed the tears off my cheeks and held my hand tightly, and then… I woke up hours later.

Surgery went perfectly. Hooray! There was a brief scare when they had trouble getting my BP under control, but, honestly, the eventual decision was that it was fear and stress driving it up so high. Because of this it did take them longer than normal to release me to a room.

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Normally a gallbladder removal can be outpatient, but as we started so late at night, and probably also due to my BP, they kept me overnight. Probably a good choice. I got the all clear at noon or so on Wednesday and just like that, came back home.

But not until after I got jello!

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The pain is better today, and I’m able to go longer than the minimum between pain pills, so that’s a good sign. It took a ridiculous amount of energy to type this blog post.

During all this drama, we’ve still been dealing with the home repairs. The contractor managed to call right when the surgeon finally arrived in my ER cubby… oi. I can’t deal with telling you about that today, but let’s leave it at, the fun is not done over here, not by far.

The Vicodin are calling me. Time to go. But first, thank you all for your well wishes. It’s appreciated.

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