Sunday, November 23, 2014

Little suburb near the prairie

Improved studio area in portion of family room.

We were busy around the house this weekend and re-arranged some furniture--hard work for the middle aged.  We have a long family room so I managed to squeeze two looms--the 27" Fanny and the 30" 8 shaft Loomcraft into new spaces that will take advantage of the natural, southern-exposure light of the family room.  I really like the way this has turned out.  Now I just have to weave there.

But today we took a seven mile walk on an 1800 acre restored prairie not far from my home.  The vistas were gorgeous--there were long periods of no sign of civilization. Rolling hills and trees blocked development that has spread into the cornfields of Illinois.  We have restored prairie just a a few blocks from our home.

It's a good time to be grateful to the Universe for plopping us here in this particular suburb so close to so many really nice natural areas. In just a few blocks in the other direction, we reach a long swath of riparian habitat that has been saved and restored.  Riparian refers to along the river and these habitats are vital for the survival of lots of species and I've seen beaver and other critters down in the "woods" and an amazing number of migrating birds. And, of course, the Great Horned Owl. I love hearing it hoot at night near my house, thanks to lots of green space provided in planning neighborhoods.

I am thankful for green space. And I'm trying my best to create a non-toxic environment on my own small plot of suburb.  We've successfully grown some nice prairie flowers but next year I want to go one step further. I have a large area in the back yard to devote to milkweed, bee balm and other plants to help bees and butterflies survive the harsh conditions civilization has created.

I have a special love for the Monarch Butterfly who has suffered from our predation on their habitat.  It is only a small backyard, but I figure, every back yard helps. And the front yard too! That is where we've had the most success with prairie plants like blue false indigo, goldenrod, yellow and purple coneflower, aster and more.  I want to expand that too. It is super pretty in summer and a few more feet would be nice.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Carpal tunnel surgery

This is what my hand looked like about a month ago. It was two weeks after carpal tunnel release surgery and just before I had my stitches out. It looked worse before this.  Getting the stitches out was a giant relief because the tightness kept me from using my hand freely. Yes it hurt--not horribly but more annoyingly. In the long run, it was worth is though as my hand no longer goes numb. I've had trouble with carpal tunnel for years--decades in fact--perhaps dating back to my journalism days when I'd be up till all hours typing like a madwoman. Now my life, in contrast, is leisurely.

I have what one person told me was the "old-fashioned" kind of surgery, which means the type perfected in the last decade or so. Now they are using lasers and such, but I figured I should get what is tried and true. Now that the swelling is down and my palm is starting to look almost normal the difference is amazing.  No hand going numb at inconvenient times. I have lots of exercises to do (and I do them with both hands) and all kinds of stuff I need to do to get rid of the scar--vitamin E oil palm massages and this special kind of strip I wear over it at night that is supposed to get rid of the scar. You can get these at the drugstore.
Cormo dyed deep green was untouched for weeks.
The worst part of this was not being able to do anything fibery for several weeks. I did try to spin a bit toward the end, but it was awful. I had to wait for the stitches to be out. And then it took a bit to get my strength back up so the spinning went nicely.

 I did catch up on my reading and my friend Beth brought me her copy of the classic Keep Me Warm One Night Burnam & Burnam's out of print book about traditional weaving in Canada prior to the Industrial Revolution. It is a beautiful book and absolutely fascinating.  And then I'm working on my Master's so I did some reading for that too. Unfortunately it isn't a Masters in Fine Art because the university where I work doesn't have that, But I think Management and Organization Behavior can come in handy, especially when I have time to volunteer for weaving groups.

So this is why I've been missing from my blog for so long. Once I got use of my hand back, I've managed to do some spinning, but generally I had to play catch up--for one I had to write a paper for school. There hasn't been much going on with the looms either. I do have plans to move things around studio wise, but I'll save more of that for later.

The surgery really wasn't that bad. It was the stir crazy of not being able to use my hand that was the worst. It was the pain of unthinkingly picking something up with the bad hand that was unpleasant. The palm is still a bit sore, making yoga not so great, but all of that is going away, slowly but surely.  My major exercise has been walking, and in the past month I've managed to walk 140+ miles, which isn't bad.