Monday, May 8, 2017

What's Up with Kara's Guts?

I know this is the question that's on everyone's minds. That's keeping everyone up at night.

No?

I guess it's just me then.

Still, I'll fill you in anyway because I have already said so much here, and it's going to affect the blog and my making of the things. I'm going to need more surgery. My innards have not been behaving themselves. I've herniated through both my colectomy incision site and my iliostomy site. The hernia at the iliostomy site is rather large. Because there are two hernias and one is a biggie, they can't just repair them like a normal hernia repair. I need an abdominal wall reconstruction.

I'm not going to get into what that all entails in this post, but I may later on. Right now I'm working hard to emotionally come to grips with this new reality. My previous experience with surgery was pretty terrible, and frankly, this sounds like it will be worse.

Right now, I'm in major weight loss mode - much more so than the casual weight loss I was working at before this. Apparently excess weight makes abdominal wall reconstruction much less successful. Over a certain BMI, they won't do surgery at all. I've just crossed down into the acceptable range, but to try to make things go as well as possible, and for this to be as strong a long term success as we can make it, my surgical team (yes, there is a team this time, not just one surgeon) wants me to drop another 20 to 30 pounds in the next 3 months. So that's my focus right now.

Strangely, the drastic weight loss expectations are not what's upsetting me. If the weight loss will make things go better, then I will lose the weight. I want things to go better. I want things to go great. I want things to go as well as any abdominal wall reconstruction has ever gone before in the history of abdominal wall reconstructions. Then I want to never need surgery again for anything.

Is that too much to ask?


Monday, May 1, 2017

Ashoka Headpiece Progress

Ashoka headpiece photo by Kara Hartz


Mistakes were made.

I was nervous about the complexity of this project, but I guess things are going. . . okay? I usually let the kiddos help out with their costumes, but now that they're bigger, I'm really trying to get them much more involved. So she didn't want to do any sewing, but she cut out the pattern and fabric for the headpiece, made the clay decorations that will go on the front. (I don't know what those are called), painted them, and painted the headpiece. So tidying up of the painting will have to happen, but she will do that on her own as well.

All I did was sew and put in the wire in the top. We had a problem of it being much too small when we first did a trial fitting and I was frustrated that we might have to start completely over. Luckily, my fix of just tearing out and making bigger the top section worked well enough that the kiddo declared it good. I might have been inclined to tear out and enlarge other pieces (ok, that would be starting over basically) but I'm trying to keep this her project that I'm helping with and not the other way round. She says it's good. So it's good.

I didn't supervise her directly while she worked so I don't know if the problem was the pattern, or the cutting out. We also had some printer difficulty so the odds are, the problem was on our end. Still, we made it work. We picked this tutorial to follow because it seemed a lot more manageable than many of the others we watched. At least it was made from fabric, and not latex or other materials I haven't heard of and wouldn't know how to get. Although if she keeps getting more into cosplay, I just might learn.

Monday, April 24, 2017

I Spy Baby Quilts in Progress


I have several coworkers and friends expecting babies. I like to make I spy baby quilts for occasions like this. I think I spy quilts are fun. As is my way, I take things one step further. I make sure to use each fabric exactly twice in each quilt so in addition to playing I spy, the quilts can be used for a matching game as well. Extra fun! Although it does involve having an awful lot of different fabrics, but it's worth it in my opinion.

I only have the rows for one quilt assembled so far. Still lots to do.

So the Mystery Quilt of Valor will be on hold awhile as I work on all the happy baby quilts. I'm also in process of making an Ahsoka costume for my daughter that is somewhat time sensitive. Yea for fun sewing projects! Boo for everything always happening at once.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Betrayal of Trust - Flash Fiction Friday



Dana took a deep breath, closing her eyes as she clutched the garbage can to her chest. Why did she feel guilty? Why did it feel like she was doing something wrong when he was the one. . .

She opened her eyes and set the can down. It was because snooping always felt wrong, even for a good reason. Because there was no positive spin for going through some else's trash. It was his fault, making her feel like this. So insecure. He'd promised to support her, to be here for her and help get through all this. "We're in it together," he'd said, and she'd foolishly believed him. 

The first few clues were easy to overlook. To dismiss. Really though, she already knew what was going on. It was time to admit it to herself. Then she could move forward, and stop searching the garbage. She felt tears welling up, and she took another deep breath to hold them back. She was just so tired and hungry, but she needed to retain her composure if she was going to confront him. 

With one last deep slow breath, Dana stood up, pushed the garbage can back under his desk with her food and left his den. She was planning what to say to him that evening when he came home as she turned the corner into the kitchen and stopped short. He was right there in front of her. In the act. 

A look of horror came over his face when he saw her. "I thought you were at your mother's today," he said as he attempted to casually wipe the frosting from his mustache and lay the cinnamon roll on the counter behind him. Hiding it too late. She'd been right. He was cheating on their diet.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Space Monkeys - Flash Fiction Friday



The monkeys running the spaceship were getting cranky. In their defense, they had been at this for hours now; well past their usual end of shift. Allie told herself she'd make it up to them. Soon. The major damage had been repaired, and it was clear now they would successfully make it to the next system. 

She made herself focus on the problem at hand. Her mind kept wandering back - thinking of ways to get revenge on the pirates who had attacked them so far out here between stars. Thankfully none of the monkeys had been hurt, and the ship could be repaired enough to limp to safety. She watched them with pride as they scampered and swung around the engine room. It looked like were a thousand of them when they were all working like this, although in reality there were only thirty. Much smarter than anyone gave them credit for, they seemingly could learn anything. The best part was that Allie had all the help she needed to run the ship, and she didn't have to deal with other actual people. At least, not often. 

The swirl of motion was slowing. Some monkeys came to the ground and moved off in a line toward the kitchen for food. A few more headed straight to the bunks. Allie closed the panel she had finished rewiring. They had done it. They had finished the repairs. Those that passed close enough, Allie reached out to pat. Some reached a friendly hand back to her in reply. Meeko, one of the more cuddly monkeys, climbed Allie's leg and held onto her in a hug as she walked. They had adapted well to living out here, and Allie couldn't imagine a better life.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mystery Quilt of Valor Progress

In progress quilt photo by Kara Hartz
I got a few rows put together so far. It shows how the setting blocks will look once the whole thing comes together. I'm really liking it so far. The red and blue look great. I still have a ton of setting blocks to sew before I can do much more. However, this will get set on the back burner for a little while because I have other time-sensitive projects I need to focus on right now. (Friends having babies - yea! And babies need quilts! More on this in a future post)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Stopping C25K, Starting Camp NaNoWriMo

Just because it's become sort a running (pun intended) gag to post about C25K and NaNoWriMo in the same post - here we go:

I've recovered enough from my cold to breathe well enough to start C25K (Couch to 5K) back up again - but - I'm having other symptoms that make jogging very uncomfortable. I have another doctor appointment to find out more specifically what's going on, but in the meanwhile I will report that I'm apparently having further complications to my earlier colectomy and illeostomy reversal surgeries. There is very likely another surgery in my future. While I am not technically restricted by my doctors from running, it doesn't feel good, so I'm going to stick with walking and biking for now. There will more to report on this front soon I'm sure.

Camp NaNoWriMo started at the beginning of April. The difference between the camps and the official November event is that for the camps (in April, and I think July?) you set your own word count goal, or you can set a different type of goal, like for editing or some-such.  I've been preoccupied with taxes and lots of doctor appointments so I've written almost nothing toward the goal of 12,000 words I've set for myself. This week is technically spring break for our charter so I hope I can get in extra writing time since the girls will not need me for teaching as much. However, we still have a lot of group events and outside classes that will take up time, so I'm not going to get too excited about how much free time I'll end up with.

There we are.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I Learned Something About Audiobook Downloads From the Library


The Obelisk Gate by N K Jemisin was the first audiobook I got from my library as a digital download. Before that I just checked out the CDs. My library uses Overdrive for this purpose, so I had to (chose to) download the Overdrive app on my phone so I could listen on my walks.

Last night while walking, I learned something about this process. No, that's not quite true. Last night I just thought my headphones had stopped working, and since I was almost home again, I didn't try to fiddle with them right then. It was getting ready for tonight's walk when I did my learning. My headphones were fine. They worked in games and in various music apps. So I head out for my walk and try to start the story back up. (Things are getting very interesting, and that's saying a lot in a book full of interesting things) I was super excited to get going again in other words. When I clicked the play button however, it told me the download had expired and it was removing the book. The book icon then disappeared.

That the borrow had expired and the book needed to be returned is fine. I get that. My bad for not paying attention to the time. The thing I find strange was why I didn't get that message last night when the story stopped mid-sentence and I clicked all over to try to get it going again? Why wait until I leave the app, then return to it a different day to tell my it expired? Just, weird.

So if you try out Overdrive for an audiobook and it suddenly stops working out of the blue with no clear explanation, perhaps it expired and it's just waiting to tell you until later on.

And yes, as soon as I got the message I got back in the que to get it back again (I'm only 5th in line!) Must learn what's up with Hoa!