Easter Weekend – Got Your Bunny Hop On?

April 4, 2015 – Blogging from Peachwave Frozen Yogurt

Spring is here…sort of.  It was snowing in Wayland this morning about 11 a.m.; I felt sorry for the folks participating as it was blowing and chilly.  It has since cleared up but is still rather chilly.  Ah well.  I have some trees that I hope to re-pot yet this afternoon as they need it.  I just had Tessa trimmed for the start of warmer weather (as she has been finding it too warm on occasion).  She looks very slim and clean and much different than she was over the Winter.

Life is busy (as always) and I am working on final preparations for the upcoming Michigan AllState Bonsai Show (May 9 & 10, 2015 @ Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park).  That, as always, will be a busy weekend.

Well, I’m going to cut this short; I have friends here and I’m ignoring them…

Happy Easter everyone!

Anita

 

 

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February 2015 – Spring Is Less Than A Month Away…

February 26, 2015

Hello!  I’m adding a quick post from Wayland, MI.  It is amazing how quickly the end of last year passed and how quickly the start of 2015 is passing too!

When I last posted (October 2014), I mentioned that Dr B’sen is still “tweaking” the medications to combat my Psoriatic Arthritis.  He DID eventually move me up to the injection version of Methotrexate.  Which, at the time, I was looking forward to as most weeks I was pretty “pained up” by Thursday evening/Friday prior to being able to take the next dose of the med’.  I took the first injection of Methotrexate the Friday before Thanksgiving and the 2nd dose the Friday AFTER Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately, at that time, we discovered that I have some kind of allergy to that concentration of Methotrexate and/or some kind of allergy to a component of the injectable version.  So, after a mild anaphylactic episode, Dr B’Sen took that medicine away from me.  Ah well… we are now using a combination of daily pain meds and most days they seem to be doing the trick.  I still have about one “pain day” a week and he just recently prescribed Prednisone for those days.  I have only used two Prednisone’s so far since he wrote the prescription on February 16.  I hope I stay at about that level of usage.

I have FINALLY got my “butt in gear” and I’m exercising more.  I am seeing progress in getting my legs, arms, stomach, back, and hips stronger.  It is hard to go work out after working all day but I am trying to go at least twice a week (I only managed four visits this month).

I have been creating artwork and I just had my 2nd “posting” in PolymerCAFE magazine (I just received my copy on the 20th so I suspect that is the March 2015 issue).  I’m enjoying learning more and refining my skills.

Well, I DID say this was going to be a short update.  More soon, I promise!

~ Anita

 

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Fall Colors Are Beautiful in West Michigan – 10/18/14

West Michigan has been experiencing a ridiculous amount of rain the last few weeks (and most of the Summer actually).  So, I wasn’t surprised to see the rainbow on Tuesday of this week.  I WAS pleasantly surprised late this week to note how nice the Fall Colors have come out in West Michigan.  They just are not as noticeable as some years because we have  had very little sunshine to make them MORE noticeable.  But if you look around, you’ll notice that the colors are just gorgeous this year.  It almost seems as if the Rainbow on Tuesday melted all of its colors into the trees.  Very nice.

Last evening (per instructions of Dr. B’sen), I took the increased amount of the once-per-week medicine (Methotrexate).  This medicine sometimes causes some muscle weakness the day after I take it (which is why I take it on Friday evenings).  I was expecting some “issues” today but overall, it wasn’t as bad as I expected.  Some “shakes” early in the day and my left knee is sore this evening probably because of the “shakes”.  Hopefully this dosage won’t cause me any problems in the future (as Dr. B’sen feels that it IS helping and hopes we won’t have to look for an alternative).  Dr. B’sen MAY change me to an injection of this medicine if the pills are not as effective as he would like.  I’ll know what he is thinking on that mid-November at my next appointment.

Okay, enough of that.  Happy Saturday evening!

~ Anita

 

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Back from Missouri – Rainbows! 10/14/14

Hello everyone!  Happy Tuesday to you!

Local folks (including myself) just had the opportunity to see a gorgeous double rainbow in the Eastern sky.  I’ll try to insert a picture if we can get that feature working again.

Amy & I returned from our visit to Rolla, Missouri to visit Kira.  We had a wonderful trip all the way around (visited the Arch in St Louis and some tourist-trap places along the old Route 66 highway).  Kira and her friends were very patient with the “old folks” and we had the opportunity to spoil a bunch of them (from buying food to buying fun things for them to share…).  My legs were temperamental but I survived (and only had to take a muscle relaxer on Saturday evening).  The flight was great both directions and we had no real problems at all.  Sure was hard to return to work today though.

I visited Dr. B’sen yesterday; he is the Rheumatologist that is helping me control my psoriatic arthritis.  You may have read earlier posts wherein I mentioned that my legs remain weak and my hands & feet hurt most days.  Four fingers have “expressed” arthritis pretty aggressively.  I was told by multiple medical professionals that I probably just have to live with arthritis and chemo just allowed it to get a strong foothold earlier than is normal for my age (“but it was probably in your future all along”).  I finally decided that I wasn’t going to ACCEPT “living with it” and demanded a referral to a specialist.  So, mid-June I started seeing Dr. B’sen and we ARE making progress.  Yesterday he changed my medications a bit as I still have hand pain and other joint pain most every day.  I see him again in November (along with the next Quarterly check-up with Dr. Z and company).

Psoriatic arthritis has been another interesting learning experience and I AM glad I decided that I shouldn’t ACCEPT the daily pain.  Knee replacement surgery (surgeries) is probably in my future too (and my right ankle is just trashed; daily pain that will never be completely eliminated, just managed).

But, overall, I’m still grateful for the care I continue to receive.  And I continue to try to find something to SMILE about every day (as being a “grumpy gus” just wastes energy).

Hopefully YOU TOO have rainbows in your day!

~ Anita

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Lunar Eclipse, Work Politics, & More – 10/08/14

There was a real cool LUNAR eclipse this morning.  I recommend doing some internet searching as I understand that there are a BUNCH of pictures online already.  I am rather fond of the Moon and I truly enjoy the energy that I get from the Full Moon each month (sometimes twice a month!).  Having a reason to get up to look at the moon early this morning (to see the total Lunar Eclipse) helped start my long day off just right!

I’m currently blogging from PEACHWAVE Frozen Yogurt in Wyoming, MI (a “newer” personal favorite place for me – I didn’t even know they existed when I “stopped” blogging last December).  I highly recommend a visit to PEACHWAVE (they have this location and a location in Holland, MI also).  They provide a relatively healthy alternative for a sweet frozen concoction and their topping selection is incredible!  Plus, they support local charity causes (we had an arts & crafts sale and a fundraiser/donation event here in July to raise funds for our 2014 Wayland Relay for Life).  Lots of fun, some $$ raised, and great FroYo!  Thanks again Peachwave!

I spent today in Grand Rapids for a business-training event.  These are ALWAYS interesting; some politics, some good information.  David & I brought home some items to research to possibly incorporate into our business.  It is good to attend this type of event but they sure can be exhausting.

I’m flying to St. Louis on Friday to visit Kira (at college in Rolla, MO).  Amy is going too!  We should have a lot of fun and it will be nice to spend some time with Kira.  Mark (and Amy’s husband Rich) are both staying home to take care of animals & such.

Okay, I am wrapping this up for the day.

Thanks for reading,

~ Anita

 

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Speaking of Art – 10/07/14

Well, OBVIOUSLY, I have a bit of “spare” time this evening (not really, just enjoying the access to fast internet).

So, speaking of ART – I have been selling items on Etsy occasionally (www.etsy.com/shop/WaterbornProductions) PLUS I sold a bunch of stuff to raise funds for our 2014 Wayland Relay for Life.  I’m “ramping up” for the annual Holiday Art Hop in Wayland (more on that in the future) and I’ll be a featured artist at Daily Brews in Wayland in December (more on that in the future too!).

I am currently participating in a small art event in Moline, MI.  The library in Moline (Leighton Township Library) decided to run an ArtPrize-like event (LTL’s Art Prize).  The exhibition went “live” on Saturday, October 4 and the voting goes through November 1.  The library is at 4451 12th St, Moline, MI  49335 and their hours are Monday 10-8, Tuesday closed, Wednesday & Thursday 10-8, Friday 10-4, and Saturday 9-1.

I entered two items for display – my Cancer-inspired painting from 2011 (entitled MY DARK REALITY 2011) and a diorama that includes one of my characters from Cheswick (Densmore, the Smith of Cheswick, now has a forge and an anvil!).

If for some reason you happen to be in that area, I encourage you to stop in & view the art & maybe vote for one or both of my pieces too!

Thanks; more later, eh?

~ Anita

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October in Michigan (in 2014) – Wet, Sunny, Cold, Warm…Fall?

Michigan is usually a pretty glorious place to be in the Fall.  This year though has been wet, cold (unseasonably cold), more wet, and sometimes sunny.

The leaves are turning pretty fast North of my area.  We have some colors “popping” but nothing like north of Grand Rapids.  If one wants to see COLORS, one would do well to visit Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (www.meijergardens.org).  I just spent most of two days there and the colors are beautiful.  They always put out lots of chrysanthemums for Fall and other harvest decorations too.  Just wonderful and with their current ArtPrize exhibit, really worth the trip.

My legs & feet are still recovering from spending so much time there over the weekend.  I’ll share more about that in my next blog,

I hope everything is well in your world.

~ Anita

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Long Time, No Blog?

Quick HELLO to the world! I’m hoping to be more active in my blogging.
Please let me know that you are reading my wandering thoughts.
~ Anita 10/07/14

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Winter Arrives in West Michigan…..12/21 & 12/22/2013

Blogging from home way too early in the morning on Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter officially arrived yesterday – Happy Winter Solstice to everyone.  We celebrated by going to see THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug.  I think we all enjoyed it although those in our group that are dedicated “Tolkien Fans” started picking it apart during the end credits!  Ah well…that was sort of expected so I just tried not to listen to it.

Later in the evening, shortly after we arrived home, the freezing rain/ice really started to pile up in West Michigan.  WE were lucky in Wayland, it hasn’t been too bad so far.  I was just outside with Tessa & everything is glazed over with 1/8”-1/2” of ice and everything is very, very pretty.  Many of the trees in our yard are very, very damaged and continue to be dangerous to be around.  We have multiple large branches down in the yard this morning; one barely missed Mark’s truck.  As I was outside with Tessa, it rather sounded like a shooting gallery as various trees in the surrounding area are losing branches to the ice-weight.  It was rather fascinating to hear but I was a little concerned by one of our trees so we didn’t stay outside very long.  I just watched some morning news & it definitely is a morning to STAY IN.  I should go out-and-about later today but I won’t do so if the roads are still treacherous.

Life, as always, continues to be an adventure & we all enjoy the opportunity to change, grow, try new things…

Kira is home for a few weeks from college.  She seems to really be enjoying college life & really seems to like Missouri Science & Tech (MS&T).  She has made some new friends & enjoys the responsibility & opportunity to be a somewhat self-sufficient adult.  She is glad that the first semester is finished & seems eager to start her second semester in January.

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Kira & Friends at Graduation 2013….and Kira’s dorm building @ MS&T (Residential College 1 is the official name)

Earlier this year, Cory started a part-time job @ Menard’s (while still working part-time @ The YMCA).  He quickly discovered that he rather enjoys the “Retail Environment” and he told me during our trip in August (to transport Kira to MS&T) that he had definitely decided NOT to return to college in the Fall and instead was going to accept the offer to join the Management Team at Menard’s.  He started that program around the middle of October and he quickly applied for open positions with other stores as soon as he was eligible to do so.  He did a phone interview for a store out of state & the next day a face-to-face interview with the South Haven, MI store.  The South Haven store indicated that the out of state store has “first hiring priority” currently in the country so he couldn’t be eligible for their store until such time as the store in Dickinson, North Dakota accepted or declined him.  Well, early in November he got another call from Dickinson and he accepted the position that they offered to him!  He officially finished his Management Training just this past Monday (Monday, December 16) and his last day at the local store was Friday.  He is planning to leave for North Dakota on/around the 27th.  This should be an interesting opportunity for him and he will definitely be dealing with a lot of changes.  We’re going to miss him but hopefully he’ll stay in touch and he will hopefully make time to visit us when he visits Michigan.  He will be in North Dakota AT LEAST for 1-2 years.

Mark has been at Sherwin Williams for more than a year.  That doesn’t seem possible.  He likes the work but he has said it IS the hardest job he has ever had.  It is an interesting company & I hope that he can continue there as long as he chooses to do so.

MY work has been busy, stressful, and sometimes very, very frustrating.  I try not to let the stress affect me too much but I know that it does.  Luckily, some of the “stressors” are year-end driven so there should be a bit of relief in January.

I just had my 8th Quarterly check up with The Cancer Center since being put on that schedule early in 2012.  The check up went well.  I still am working with SD (a Nurse Practitioner) rather than Dr Z (he still is dealing with personal issues PLUS I don’t need to see him as often as those that are in the “active phase” of their treatments).  I like SD and she definitely encourages me to ask them any questions, report any aches or pains, discuss any concerns.  She palpitated the scar-tissue mass and she feels that part of the pain on my side (and into the actual visible scar) is due to the scar-tissue mass adhering to the rib wall.  THAT made a lot of sense to me & I now am doing some self-massage, Mark will be doing some massage also, and I’m also doing some more exercises to stretch that area (exercises that I should have been doing all along…).

SD said my progress is better than “on track” and we both are pleased with that progress.  We agreed to reduce my visits to every four months rather than every three months in 2014.  My first appointment therefore is in April (conveniently AFTER the end of tax season).

My remaining known “health issues” are side-effects from chemotherapy (and possibly from radiation therapy too).  My legs are still weaker than I would like.  I KNOW that exercising will help strengthen them.  I just have to force myself to get back in the routine of visiting the fitness center at least twice a week.  I’ll re-start in January as I know I HAVE to strengthen my legs for the Michigan AllState Bonsai Show in May.  My feet will also benefit from the increase in exercise as will my hands, arms, scar-tissue, etc.  The painful area in my thigh has gotten a bit better but again, exercise will help reduce & control that too.

My hands are still sometimes “temperamental”.  They were sore much of the day yesterday and the knuckles of multiple fingers were swollen.  This happens on occasion & I luckily can usually control it with ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen.  Working with polymer clay helps strengthen my hands, keeps the blood moving, and helps bring back some flexibility.  I have created a LOT of projects over the last few years.  Check out a good sampling of them on my Etsy page – www.etsy.com/shop/waterbornproductions .  I recently created a dragon sculpture.  IF my computer and/or WordPress cooperate, I’ll add a picture here of me & Poppy The Dragon.  I’m in the process of creating three more dragons (just took them out of the oven from the 3rd “bake”).  One or two of those MAY make it to Etsy if I don’t sell them first.  I’m already thinking about starting another dragon after I finish those three.

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Me & Poppy (yes, my hair is long-ish again!)….and Ms. Poppy L. Skyruler herself!

I mentioned Tessa earlier in this post.  As you may recall, we brought Tessa home in August 2011.  She was just a little thing.  She now weighs about 57 pounds and is often still really puppy-like (although right now she is calm & rather sleepily laying on the couch next to me; listening to the ice fall off the trees in the front).  Again, computer/Wordpress permitting, there will be a picture here.

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Tessa today 12/22/13 and Tessa shortly after bath/grooming (and in the sunshine) 05/25/13

Tessa provides a lot of things for us – companionship, love, forced exercise.  I’m very glad she is in our lives (although there were times in late 2011 & early 2012 that I wondered WHAT we were thinking…and this morning when my alarm for some reason went off @ 6:35 and she immediately started throwing a fuss so that I would know she was ready to go out…well, I wasn’t happy about that but she DID succeed in getting me out of bed and I wouldn’t be working on this post if I wasn’t “up” a couple hours earlier than I planned!).

We all survived another Relay for Life in July.  It is always an emotional event and our Team always has a lot of fun.  Cory chose to again shave his head during the event.

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Cory @ Relay For Life 2013

My extended family continues to be spread around the world.  I’m not going to provide updates on them here as I know some of them wouldn’t appreciate my sharing (Mom – you’re welcome!).  I don’t stay in touch with some of them as well as I should; we are all busy and I hope that they are all doing well.  We don’t really talk to Mark’s family too much at all.  I’m sure that we’ll be attending some family function in the future & will get caught up on “current events” at that time.

My brother Martin continues to find success as a writer.  Search for Martin L. Shoemaker on Amazon.  Check out some of his writing; I guarantee you’ll be glad that you did.  Friend/Sister Amy is still one of my strongest “support pillars” and we talk most every day.  SHE is happily enjoying her new car (“Sheldon” Cooper – a nice blue Mini-Cooper).  She & Rich keep us laughing.

I’m going to wrap this up for now; hopefully I’ll get a chance to POST it later today (as that will indicate that I was able to get out-and-about).  I obviously don’t blog as much as I did a couple of years ago, so I say THANK YOU to those who continue to read this blog and also THANK YOU to everyone that provides me with such ongoing love & support!

~Love to you all….Happy & Safe Holidays to everyone.

~ Anita  12/22/2013

12/30/13—-Hopefully temporarily removing the pictures to post to WordPress.  Happy New Years!

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April 19, 2013–I’m Still Dancing (2013 Version)

Blogging from Daily Brews, Wayland, 2:22 p.m. (yes, Daily Brews is one of my favorite spots in Wayland)

Hello all!

It is April.  It was 70 degrees yesterday.  Our area has had rain for 14 days in a row.  It was snowing @ home this morning.  Notice that I have explored this theme before – Michigan weather – interesting at the best of times; just wait, it will change…..

So, I used my PERSONAL DAY to be “off” today (April 19).  I plan to never WORK on this date again.  I use this day to reflect, create, appreciate being alive; acknowledge the mastectomy (I sometimes refer to this date as my “Lop & Chop” day…).  I use this day to appreciate the medical knowledge that has allowed me to deal with cancer.  I use this day to remember friends & acquaintances that haven’t had as easy of a journey with cancer as I have.  This is MY day to embrace the future.

So far today I have:

Slept in until 8:10 (then Tessa demanded some attention); shared a bowl of Corn Chex with Tessa; sat on the couch & petted Tessa’s belly; worked on e-mails & phone calls about the upcoming Michigan AllState Bonsai Show (May 11 & 12 @ Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park); worked on taxes (ours and Cory’s); created a clay project; worked on a tree; and the day is still young….

 

I am here, I am mostly healthy, I am a survivor…

~ Anita

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