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helwen: (Default)
Trying to do some copy/paste/mod from FB posts, don't always remember. Still doing better than I was on LJ I think...

This past Monday Ray's guy Al came and finished the greenhouse foundation. Next day Al, Jimmie, Lyle and I moved the two frames onto the foundation. I think it rained Wednesday. Thursday or Friday, Al and Brendon showed up with some beautiful compost -- really, looks more like top soil, only not having all the bio stuff that real top soil has (time will help with that).

Frames are bolted well and truly down to the foundation, yay! Lyle removed the last porch railing, as it was in the way of caulking and we don't need it anymore. Caulking where the frame meets the foundation, inside and outside of the structure, was started. More this coming week, I'm sure.

Lyle started bringing glass panels over, getting ready for the next phase. Al and Lyle moved the new sink/cabinet up from the barn to the upstairs bathroom. I helped some with unpacking the thing and moving small stuff into the house -- unpacking shed 25 lbs. of stuff and the other bits shaved off some weight as well -- otherwise it would have been a 185 lb. box with no handholds...

My major contribution was vacuuming, and clearing the path through the house (two possible paths), moving furniture, etc. to make it possible to get the thing inside. They ended up coming into the weaving room, turning left, then a right into the kitchen, then a right into the hallway and up the stairs (which has some winders instead of a full landing), and then second door on the right.

It's probably going to sit in the bathroom for a few weeks but it's in the room so that's an improvement.

***

We've been moving stuff from the family farm to our place, taking stuff to recycle or trash, etc. I've also been getting more into learning about and using essential oils and it's been helpful. More energy and brain power than I've had in ages.

Trying something completely different like stilting hasn't been bad either :) That's through a local theatre company, Double Edge Theatre (DE), which is putting on an event celebrating our little town. They travel all over the place but their home base is here; just another oddity of our little place in the hills.

***

The kung fu school is moving down the road, and as a way to help them with that we took all the school crafting stuff home. It took a while, but it's _mostly_ organized. Had to get a few more containers so I can play with what will work best -- and then label everything. I re-cut some of the damaged paper to smaller, more useful sizes, threw out some things, re-packaged some things, etc. I have a better idea of what we have now, which is useful for planning crafts for the summer adventure camp.

Hm....I need to schedule in some time for experimenting, so I know if/how things work and come up with time estimates...

***

I'll be doing some work with the DE artists on making big puppet(?) heads - papier mache, plus some independent work for some other bits. Also some costuming. Volunteer, but I could use the practice as it's been ages since I've done this kind of work.

***

Definitely spending more time on my feet, getting in better shape. I have a very long road ahead, but I finally weigh less than when my mother died, and with essential oils I was able to stop using Sudafed, so there's some progress.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Went to two kung fu classes this past week. We'd planned on a third, but L's work exploded, and really, it was probably a good thing not to go Friday, as my right knee was jamming. We want to be able to go again this coming week, after all.

Yesterday it rained pretty much all day, and also we went to a funeral, so aside from doing a bit of trimming around things in the grove first thing (before the rain came) and bringing the turmeric inside, that was it for useful from me...

Today is sunny again, so laundry, dig in front of the barn, and sewing. And maybe cleaning and testing the printer. Have to cover the ginger tonight, as temps will be dipping below 40F.

[EDIT: And finally get some veg out of their pots and into the ground. Kale will be much happier there.]

L will be taking out the A/Cs today. Haven't used them for a bit, and shouldn't be needing them again this year, so they're basically cold temp weak spots now that could kick on the heating system.

Climate March in NYC next weekend. Tempting. Also a local SCA event...but we're behind on work here at home -- and really, D*C didn't make that much difference, at least as far as work on the barn is concerned, because it's mostly L's bailiwick at the moment. *sigh* Maybe we should hire someone to come dig the greenhouse foundation...there's just a lot to do here. Well, we'll see what the week brings. I'm thinking of finding out if some of my poorer friends want to go to the march but can't afford the bus ticket, and helping out that way.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Last week was Kung Fu Adventure Week at our kung fu school. L and I ran crafts for the week, with assistance from one of the teen students from the school. Before this was prep of various things -- some of the materials, and demo pieces to show them what we were making that day. Age range was 7-13 enrollment, although we think the oldest was 12 this year. Class size was usually 8-9, three groups every morning, except on Friday, when it was 4 groups at 5-6 per class.

What a lot of energy kids have! Still, in some ways it was easier than teaching adults, interestingly enough. We had to have backup activities every day, since some kids would finish sooner than others -- this year, origami was the top pick for backup, as none of them had seen a flapping bird before.

We made:

- Wax paper "stained glass" with leaves, ground-up crayons (all the school's broken ones), and some colored tissue paper from some other previous project. Attached sticks at top and bottom like a scroll, by punching holes in the wax paper and wrapping a yarn around the sticks and through the holes.

- Paper cut-out trees (like making snowflakes or dolls), cut out then paint. We saved some money by buying large sheets of paper and cutting to size. These became a little forest during the week, on one of the windows in the waiting area. The remainders from cutting out the trees could be used to make cards, by gluing them onto construction paper. What actually happened is some kids glued the trees onto the paper instead, but it's all good -- we had a great forest!

- Mobiles of wood and string, which the kids stamped with rubber stamps (school's and some of mine). Sticks gathered by assistant and head of school, wood discs from a log off the family farm sawn by L w/me assisting, twine from L's bookbinding supplies.

- Painter's tape trees. Use low-tack tape to create a tree on paper. Paint rest of page; let dry. L and I handled attaching rods to the top and bottom like a scroll -- we used hot glue this time, and old bamboo garden stakes that we got with the greenhouse stuff. These were significantly larger and heavier than the "stained glass" pieces, so the previous method wouldn't work well. Remove tape carefully, and you get a negative space within the color. (paper, tape, and paint were all new)

- Tibetan prayer flags. We cut, sewed and ironed them, strung them onto yarn with a crochet hook (L's idea), and the kids stamped them. Fabric was mostly from my stash, including a green I got at the local craft swap, and also from an old Christmas tablecloth that had stains I couldn't get out of it.

Yarn for all projects was from either my or the school's stash. Paint brushes were from school's supplies. We did need to get a few more pairs of scissors.

As the theme this year was trees, leaf stamps were popular. They also liked their traditional stamps -- elements, dragon, fish, ancient Chinese coin, and Friend (in Chinese).

***
We'll need new ink stamps for the next camp. The current ones mostly held up, but they're getting hard to use. Not too much leftover materials from newly bought things: some sheets of white paper, and painters tape.

***
The tree theme was covered in the rest of the day with stories about trees, information on each group's tree, how trees are important to us and the environment, and emulating aspects of trees in kung fu, like rooting.

The weapon practice for this year was staff. Everybody worked hard! On Friday afternoon the parents and some friends came to see all the things the kids had made, and to watch them perform. We used all the crafts to decorate the outdoor area, creating a "magical" woods next to the actual woods. They did a good job showing what they'd learned and the story was funny.

They had discovered these wonderful forest and were practicing some of their hand skills and movement, when an evil developer (in a Skeletor mask) showed up. He and his chainsaw-wielding ninja lumberjacks (also masked) say they're going to cut down forests and build meaningless structures (evil Skeletor laugh). Then the kids find magical staffs and learn to use them, and when the developer and ninja lumberjacks show up again, the kids stood firm and stamped their staffs at the bad guys and scared them off.

Thursday!

Jun. 26th, 2014 04:44 pm
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Looks like one of the lines of storms may have missed us here. Still, keeping an eye on the weather -- have some clothes on the line and some corks drying.

Most of my work has been indoors today, with the continuing high humidity. Fortunately we have been getting some breezes.

Very glad I got the dining room table cleared from sorting things -- it is now a part-time office for the summer. Definitely cooler on the first floor!

Figured out a way to hang up the corsets and free up shelf space in the blue/green room. Went through two boxes, put the book arts books on the shelves. Took the boxes down to the front porch, where I'll pack up some of the books that are currently out there. Can't do it in this weather; it's worse on the porch than it is outdoors. Anyway, we aren't ready to break down the porch walls yet, so not much point in that. Plus, I'd rather not pack books that have picked up humidity, for any great length of time.

Sorted most of a third box, with the remainder waiting to go out to the barn with the tools. Started sorting a box of office stuff...well, it's stuff that was in the office at the old place :P Found a few pieces of jewelry, including one of my favorite bracelets! Put some things back in their designated places. Going to need to take more stuff out of that room, in order to bring in more bookbinding stuff.

Made more space in the first stall on the left in the barn. When we get more steady weather and can leave the trailer open for a bit, I'll move a bunch of stuff out of there -- enough to fit the work table that's currently on the front porch.

***

Leaf stamps arrived today -- for kung fu adventure week. Every year they have a different theme; this year is trees. They'll learn a bit about some different trees, how they're important to us and the earth, respect and caring for them, etc. They get to do martial arts, crafts, meditation, with water fight at the end of the day most of the days, with a performance for their parents of what they've done at the end of the week.

We have some work to do on crafts this weekend -- slicing a tree branch to make thin rounds for making coasters and/or discs to hang on a mobile. We were given a branch to try, but it might be too fresh, so we'll have to poke around the wood pile at the farm. Need some small branches for making the holder part for the mobiles too. And L's going to see if there's a trunk piece that we can cut a slice from, to do a calendar-type thing with the kids.

***

Hm, think I better check on that laundry...
helwen: (Due Consideration)
L's MRI went well this morning. Should hear more in a day or two.

Plans for outdoors scrapped. Rain came a day early.

Paint test for camp project was a fail. Need to look at using different paper. We need a paper from which painter's tape can be removed cleanly. A nice, smooth hot press perhaps. Hm, for very little money. Well, maybe we'll have to do something else.

Hanging on the line outside worked to air out most of the clothing swap items, but a few have to get washed -- some of those "fresh" and "clean" scents are terribly persistent.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Getting a little work done on the lavender Lolita-inspired dress over the past week. Really have to get more stuff done in general, but eh, making some more life changes and that's always a time suck. All good, all good.

Anyway!

The dress's original bodice is lined but the skirt wasn't and I finally realized that the material isn't thick enough for a single layer to not be influenced by a darker color beneath it -- the skirt is a split skirt and I'll have a darker lavender beneath it as a ruffle skirt. So I cut out a "slip" piece from an old curtain last week and yesterday I finally sewed some lace onto the edge as the hem.

DSC00411

I also found some trim to go down the middle of the double-edged pleated ruffle I made, which arrived mid/late last week. [livejournal.com profile] fitzw, [livejournal.com profile] danabren and I all agreed it was a little creepy-looking, but I figured the palm/fan-shape could look like it went with my demon pony's fins or tentacles, plus it was a good color match, as far as I could tell from the computer screen. Started applying it last night, and I think it looks pretty good!

DSC00410

*****

I've also done some work on re-sizing the bodice, but am putting that aside for now. I'm still tweaking my diet and exercise plans and hopefully that will lead to some significant changes health-wise and will affect my figure. I've added a few supplements, at least for now -- fish oil, Vitamin C during the day and Vitamin D before bed. Soaking in the tub, rolling out various muscles, and trying to keep up with certain exercises at home, as well as going to see Phil at The Body Tailor. Trying to do even 10 minutes of kung fu daily helps immensely; even on a bad day, doing kung fu or tai chi forms slowly, is a Good Thing (tm).

I'm working on reducing endocrine disruption and increasing exercise/activity levels. The most recent change was to cut out conventional dairy, and I am feeling better. I was pretty creaky this morning, but so far I've been active (for me) for at least four days in a row, and today's looking pretty good for that too. My usual thing has been that if I work out or go to kung fu one day, I crash the next day -- or if I manage two days together, then I _really_ crash on the third day. Nice to see some light in that there tunnel...

Going to up my core work a little, too. Still can't sit on my heels when kneeling, but getting a little closer; my jumps are improving. Still have a long way to go, but I actually achieve hang-time a couple of times in class last night, so yay.

Feeling pretty good about how I look these days. Yes, I have a ways to go to achieve my goals, but I think it's important to be able to feel good about yourself, no matter how you "look" in the mainstream's way of thinking. My goals are more mobility, more kung fu, and more creativity. I'm on my way in all areas, and that is beautiful.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Well! Hadn't realized it'd been so long since I last posted here (Dec. 1).

Ashfield Winter Solstice happened, Friday evening this year because of lots of peoples personal schedule conflicts -- L and I were more active in the organizing this year. Am considering becoming even more active next year, in order to impose a little more order on it -- it went quite well on the day, but the lead-up to it was not particularly....good. And the weather made things interesting too, but happily, when evening came the sky was clear enough to see stars, the snow on the ground around the fire increased the available light for the attendees, and it was a friendly and good-spirited gathering.

****

L and I hosted the Gray family Christmas gathering the next day at our house. Part of November and most of December was dedicated to getting the house to where we could fit that many people. Not everyone could make it, so only 24, including us. No tv available ;) -- the kids actually played card and board games and only one electronic device came out at all, and that near the time when people were starting to depart. The kids also liked the stairs, and running from room to room to hallway to room....in a big circle around the staircase, which is in the center of the house. They even went outside for a bit.

We borrowed one card table and a bunch of folding chairs, dinner was potluck as usual, and the family coffee urn and sugarhouse flatware, and one SIL's coffee maker helped to round out the necessities of the day. Only disposable items were paper plates and a few bowls! I'm quite sure that just be eliminating paper napkins and disposable cups that we also eliminated one bag of trash.

A very good time was had, and next time we host it should be easier to get the house ready.

****

Went to friends' wedding in NY near the end of the month. They're now back in Scotland.

****

NYE was quiet. We were supposed to go to Springfield but the weather was horrid and we were both tired, so we visited with folks in town at Elmer's for a short while and then went home.

****

Starting to go back to kung fu, but having to do it carefully. The extreme cold periods we've been experiencing here off and on really take their toll on muscles and joints.

****

My mom will be going in for hip surgery in another week. Newer, anterior procedure -- less invasive, faster recovery. Her walk-in tub should be installed this coming week.
helwen: (Xena)
I was thinking just now that it was really nice that my right knee didn't get any stabby pain while we were at Diva's, despite it giving me problems off and on for the past week...hm, guess it's mostly recovered from fall festival and the martial arts workshops. Meantime, I'll keep soaking in the tub, using the thera-roll and doing my exercises.

November 2011 I got an injury that I nursed along until finally in March 2012, after get things checked out with a few doctors, I decided to take time off from kung fu and work on rehabbing things at the basic foundation level (posture, proper way to move, stabilizing structure). I still haven't met my goal of being able to kneel upright on the ground, sitting on my heels; you would think it was an easy goal, but no. Turns out it's kind of complicated. But I will keep working on it. I am closer than I was a year ago, and when I finally get there, watch me fly!
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Thursday evening was learning about and trying out some light sparring. First was an explanation of how there are some useful things you can learn from sparring, while also being aware that there were some unrealistic moves in tournament-style sparring.

Friday we did some personal training. This morning we met on top of Mt. Skinner and did some chi gong, 8 pieces of brocade (one of many versions of this), and silk reeling, finishing off with meditation.

Tomorrow morning will be Chen Tai Chi and Push Hands. Definitely looking forward to that!

Practice has been sporadic, with Fall Festival, family stuff, etc., but still going to class when we're able. I've stepped up my work on getting the hips and knees to work better -- progress is slow, but happening.

I definitely need to up my energy work, especially as I'm getting to a point where things could go really well or really badly. The old sciatic pain is coming back -- in this case, I think it's a matter of having undone enough misalignments and damage for it to be _able_ to complain.

Trying out a medicinal tea with mushrooms in it (reishi, among others), and that seems to be beneficial. Subtle, but when I don't make it for a few days, the difference in how well we handle unexpected stresses is noticeable.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
I haven't been posting much here since we moved, in part because LJ is always signing me out -- even when doing something as simple as clicking on someone's post to comment or read comments. Turns out LJ uses some sort of dynamic loading process for their pages, which is not compatible with satellite. Satellite uses caching.

So posts will have to happen when I'm in town -- not a horrible problem, except for trying to remember to put any pics I want to upload onto my laptop first...so, still no pics of anything today.

***

We harvested some sweet dumpling squash (winter squash), and continue to harvest swiss chard and kale for fresh use. One blueberry bush still has berries on it, so I continue to harvest a handful every so often. The dark blue/purple of the berries is quite striking against the red of the turning leaves...

Finally got 10' x 12' area cleared around and in front of the 3 extant blueberry bushes (yay field grass and nettle roots - not), and finished planting 3 new blueberry bushes yesterday...only took a week and a half Just needs bark mulch and I can call it done for this year. Well, unless we get one more bush so it's a complete horseshoe shape for the planting pattern...

Also yesterday, L took a neighbor's tree most of the way down (just a bit of trunk left, and some more clearing of debris from cutting it down). It was smack up against the house, so it really needed to come down; we're trading labor for that for the bags of bark mulch she'd bought for use on the piece of our land that directly abuts her yard. She's been taking care of it with the previous owners' permission -- we're going to take back care of it, and the mulch will come in handy, so it's a good trade.

I did some work on moving stones to the side of where we're going to put in a grove. Found an interesting rock buried at the center of the area...L thinks maybe a type of feldspar, but we really don't know. I took pics yesterday but the lighting wasn't good; going to try again today.

***

Work on the barn has been at a virtual standstill all summer, with L too busy with work and helping out at the farm. He did fix one door, and has figured out the measurements for the barn stairs. We could use someone working on the barn, but the carpenters we have been checking with are all too busy. Given the "wonderful" job the seller's carpenter did on the basement stairs, we're reluctant to use anyone we don't know.

Speaking of those, one of the carpenters we know will finally have time to build the new basement stairs next month!

***

Chicken population continues to decline (age), and we're slowly working on clearing out one of the rooms so we can bring in more chickens. Hard to find the time, with another haying, and fall festival, and harvesting, but hopefully very soon we'll have more hens...

***

Not having a booth this year -- will be helping L out with the maple cotton candy again. I'm also helping out with festival prep at the farm -- candy wrapping, and the like. A little extra income is a welcome thing.

***

Still doing kung fu, of course. Not every class and not every day, but keeping on and getting a little stronger as time goes one.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Day 12: Out the door at 5:45 a.m. - possibly too early. 55F. Sprinklers were on earlier and the brisk breeze combined with that made things extra chilly. Hip was being a little cranky this morning even after 15 min. of warmups... practiced some defense, went through Basic Stance form and Yiluchuan, decided the hip was going to be a problem and went for a walk instead. 45", so still not bad for exercise. Learning to recognize when you can push your limits and when you shouldn't can be tricky; think I did okay today.

I share the space with quite a few critters, btw. There's a couple of turkeys wandering around here in the early hours, and sometimes deer. There's a mama and fawn in the neighborhood, as well as a young buck. Mama charged the buck yesterday to keep him away from her baby. Crows, hummingbirds, salamanders, and many others beside.

Finished hemming another dress this morning. Reviewed some reading materials, read a little on identifying valuable books, did a little chi gong, had breakfast, remembered to pack a book for a friend.

Still haven't gone over computer things with mom (how to forward, how to attach) - must do that today. Oy. I'll be glad to back on my own PC again -- keep hitting various wrong keys, which can be either minorly annoying or wtf...

Post office trip in the afternoon sometime.

Have a good day all!
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Day 10: Pretty uneventful afternoon/evening. Started vacuuming (after cleaning out the vacuum parts) and got through two rooms so far. Halfway done with hemming one of the jumpers - it's about an inch longer than one of my Eat More Kale t-shirt... went to bed about 10:00 p.m.

Day 11: And woke up around 3:00 a.m. :P After about an hour I finally managed some light dozing between times working on my left shoulder, until the alarm went off at 5:50 a.m. Out the door by 6:00 a.m., 53F. Warmups were a little slow; I was actually feeling not too bad, just tired. Decided to do some Chin Na first so I wouldn't forget to do them. Six of the alternating maubu/gungbu type, then the first five of defense from front punch. Number 5 was little sketchy today, so didn't want to go past that. Ran through hand forms from Basic Stance to San Soo, then walked for a mile. 60 minutes all told.

Made breakfast for both of us - scrambled eggs w/almond milk, onions, garlic, and stinging nettles. Only dried nettles here, of course, so I put some in a little bowl and added a little water to rehydrate them.

Mom suggested watering the pot we're getting new plant(s) for - the pot still has the old plants in it that she doesn't want anymore, including a mini-rose with deep roots. Life got somewhat annoying when she came out to "help". Pot is watered, majority of plants are still in the pot.

I should probably vacuum another room this morning.

Oh, and looks like I've lost a few pounds. Hopefully this translates into happier joints, although frankly I think the work I've been doing on posture, stabilizing and strengthening have had just as much, if not more, impact.

Kent and Annie will be here at about 11:30 to pick us up and go to Kirk's house to celebrate mom's birthday. I expect I'll get a tour, since it's my first time seeing his place in-person.

****

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there!
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Day 9: More leftovers for meals, with some fresh veg added. Too much fast carbs, energy levels meh. Add in discussing stuff from ancient family history :P Sooner or later, eventually she just has to bring up the past and analyze and explain and... feh. Finally told her to stop it. While the past informs the present, sometimes the best way to move forward is to let go of the past.

Did a little going over of books that may be valuable, and sales options. Did some packing tests; think I may switch up to a larger box for the second check-in box. More cleaning. Mom tried on 3 jumpers and a long-sleeved dress so I could pin them. Italian mystery was decent.

Forgot to mention that sleep had been totally crappy and bad dreams...just one more motivation to get out of bed that morning...

L was my link to sanity last night...

Day 10: Overslept. No time for exercise. Unlikely that the previous night's sleep contributed that much, since it isn't the only night of bad sleep I've had here. Don't know if it was all the fast carbs or if I'm adjusting further to the time zone. At home I get up very early, but the room I'm staying in is darker than the bedroom at home. Considering opening the drapes tonight... also found a wind-up travel alarm here and will set it tonight.

Just a few more days...
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Day 8: Birthday lunch went well, nice time with relatives, and a few pictures taken. My cousin Cary will be emailing pics to me later. You know, I forget what we did after that, but we did finish off the night with a foreign language mystery. One of the channels here has international mystery nights - subtitles, thankfully. Last night was in French, and it was funny at one point when there was both English and French subs and my Mom wondered what was going on with that -- they were speaking in Italian at the time.

Day 9: Stiff this morning - had a little wheat at lunch - it was just easier to accept the little custard pie from Auntie D than try to explain my change in diet. Happily I could sort through the rest of the dim sum pretty safely. Still more carbs than I'm used to, so made a nice bit of scrambled eggs this morning to help offset some of that. Eggs, a smidge of almond milk (adds loft), some cheddar, kale, and garlic. Nom!

But before breakfast, worked on my shoulders a bit, then out the door at 6:43 a.m. (56F in the shade), for some warm ups. Ran through all the hand forms except 8 Step Link, got a little further in Spear (yes, need to review that over the phone yet again, and maybe write down a few notes this time), finished up with 1/2 mile or so walk. I was going to do some Chin Na too but ran out of steam, so only 47 minutes outside. Showered and made breakfast, hard boiled a few eggs, took out the trash, did a little dusting.

Off to look at some vintage beads and jewelry and contemplate how and what to pack of some things. Probably have mom try on a couple of jumpers for pinning to new length, and hem them later. Work on flyer, help her re-learn how to attach and send files, and some other computer stuff.

Be well!

California

Jun. 13th, 2013 10:42 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Huh. Missed a day here...

Day 7: Out the door at 6:35 a.m., 56F. Sunnier this morning. Found a poor cold bee on the sidewalk; didn't want to damage it by trying to move it, but I gave it some wet blades of grass so it could get a drink at least. Hand forms, a little self-defense practice (just some of the maubu/gungbu stuff, not the defense from front punch stuff), tai chi.

Kinda mixed the slow in with the fast, as a way to work out some stiffer muscles without actually having to stop and stretch. Also, one of the neighbors was in the parking lot for a few minutes, so I figured moving slower would be less alarming. Only 40 min. today, busy day today.

Cleaned bathroom yesterday (Tuesday), lot of work there. Started cleaning kitchen Wednesday.

Lunch with another friend of Mom's, Barbara. Shopping via golf cart. A seatbelt would be nice.

Day 8: Took 15 minutes to get out the door this morning (7:15 a.m.). 50F in the shade but a clear sunny day so I moved over to a patch of sun after a few minutes. This morning's body, after two days of scrubbing surfaces, dictated slower movement. Stretching, wave hands like clouds, grasp the bird's tail. Only went through basic stance form once then opted for walking down/up/down hill on the nearby road. 50 minutes all told. Asthma kicked in lightly this morning on the uphill but has chilled out some. Probably back to kung fu forms tomorrow, but sometimes you have to slow down and heal a bit -- this too builds strength.

Mom's actual b-day is today. Aunt D, Uncle C and cousin C coming over for lunch. Celebrating her birthday with my brothers and niece A on Sunday at eldest brother Kirk's house.

Gotta go; want to do a little more cleaning before lunch.

Have a great day folks!

California

Jun. 11th, 2013 11:35 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Day 5, cont: Yup, painted a stool -- one that stays out in the patio area. Trimmed the Asian orange tree a little (oranges are somewhat elongated instead of spherical), more cleaning of the garden area. Mom removed some of the dead groundcover (baby's tears) and transplanted live bits into those spots. Snails removed and put under a tree/bush a little ways away.

Packed framed embroidery, along with some fabric and buttons - that'll get mailed next week before I leave. Re-packed another box but didn't finish it because I suspect we aren't done going through things. Looked at art books with mom. A little dusting.

Day 6: Out the door at 6:45 a.m., 55F! Warm-ups, Basic Stance Form, Yiluchuan, both Cannons, San Soo, and did part of Spear until I got stuck. I was going to practice some Chin Na (just some of the basics like yesterday) but forgot; hopefully I'll have time later in the day for that. Short walk and more Qi Gong. About 50 minutes, so not bad. Generally I've been going for around 45-60 min. for morning exercise. Showered, breakfast, then got into dusting. Mom slept in for some reason this morning; restless night I think. She doesn't want to sleep in past 9, so tomorrow I'll wake her at 9 if she sleeps in again.

I believe today's plans include cleaning the bathroom (floor and counter), and helping her wash her hair. Tomorrow is the kitchen, although I've gotten a slight jump on that already and plan do to more of the same today.

California

Jun. 10th, 2013 12:42 pm
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Day 4, cont.: Worked on getting some things out of the storage unit in the afternoon. Some giveaway, some recycling or trash, and a framed embroidery that I'll be boxing for shipping to MA. Not a family heirloom - gift from Auntie Fawn to mom at some point in time, lovely crewel work from an estate sale. I think the flowers are poppies - not inappropriate for us given all the poppies in one of the flower beds.

Hm, think I did a little cleaning yesterday, but mostly little stuff like washing the kitchen counter. Went through some stuff in the living room too.

Day 5: Another "chilly" day 58F this morning, plus damp and breezy. Did some warming up indoors first, then went out. Practiced Basic Stance form, Yiluchuan, 1st Cannon, and San Soo first, to work more on correct posture and movement, working on having lower stance when I could, as it really changes movement and how the hips and knees work. Worked a little on 8 Step Link, to try to retain at least a little of it. Worked on some Chin Na. Finished with a little gentle walking and Chi Gong. Oh, and chatted briefly with one of mom's neighbors, Bea.

Did a little tidying and had breakfast and went online briefly (FB and email). A couple of drawer pulls on mom's bedroom furniture were damaged some time ago and need replacing -- she used other knobs she had for the past several years, but consignment shops prefer matching, so when either she goes through another downsizing of stuff or she passes, she wanted to have that taken care of already. Fortunately Hitchcock Chair Co. still carries eagle knobs. They're waiting for a new supply of them to come in; I'm on the list to be contacted.

Anyway, this morning I pulled stuff out of one of her closets and she pulled out more stuff for giveaway and/or throwaway. A few paint cans and the fruit picker will be going into the storage unit, now that there's more room in there. We aren't quite done with that closet, but it's progress. She needs to do a little research, but should be able to find a home for the extra archival materials in there as well.

Typing this during lunch time (she's watching the news - they're talking about the NSA stuff, among other things). Had egg salad with a little sea salt (next time think I'll go for diced cucumber, but it's okay), along with a couple of leaves of lettuce. The lettuce helped offset the salt, so overall not bad.

Probably going to paint a stool this afternoon, maybe some other stuff too. Not sure what else. Sorting takes forever... oh, and I went through at least 6 of the Sunset magazines my mom has been saving for 2 years for me to look through. Found a couple interesting tidbits, but the magazine is geared toward the West coast, so plenty to pass over in them :D

Okay, going to see if I can start boxing up that embroidery or not...

Be well, all!

California

Jun. 9th, 2013 11:18 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Day 3, cont: Hemmed a couple pair of pants and got another pair set up for hemming today. Put done pants on hangers. Dusted in hallway, wall that kitchen opens onto (including AC vent), and mom's bedroom. Finished sorting through vintage buttons. Cooked dinner (veggie/tofu stir fry w/curry and garlic). Long, wide-ranging chat with fitzw once he got back from Somer Draw. Long chat with mom while sitting on the floor (S&P shaker collection currently resting on floor, so we got down to look at it and stayed there), talking about lots of stuff, including the fact that we both tend to get invited and/or otherwise involved in groups who'd like to use our skills. Not a bad thing, but learning to say "No" is an important skill to acquire and continue to cultivate, to preserve ourselves. Can't help anyone if you're a wreck. Looking carefully at one's life and at the "big picture", choosing the best direction, all challenging stuff.

Day 4: Better sleep than previous nights, turns out it was cooler last night. Out the door by 7:45 a.m. to practice. Only 60F out but damp so I wore one of my mom's long-sleeved shirts instead of my usual sleeveless tops. Pretty much same forms as yesterday. Started to work on spear but the damp was getting to me, and I really want at least a stick to use... zenning weapons forms is cool, but wasn't to be this morning. Muscles were just a little too stiff, even after working on forms for a while, so went back inside and did some work on stretching and limbering, then squats, then finished up with gentle walking.

After that was packing up a few things, catching up on dishes, making breakfast (tried for omelet, ended up with scrambled), then shower. My mom is into reading a paper, so I read a few articles before getting online.

11:00 a.m. here now -- expect that since it's cooler than yesterday (got up to 100F), we'll do some work outside, dealing with storage or something.

***
My mom's place has these cool "lights" -- tubes with a clear cover at the bottom, that go up through the ceiling to the roof. Above, there's a curved cover with a mirror or something reflective, that helps guide more light into the space. Unfortunately some installers didn't install well enough and complaints (probably in wetter parts of the country) eventually shut the company down. Hers work perfectly though -- only thing is I sometimes forget and look for a switch to turn one off as I'm leaving the room :D

I also like the slider bar for the shower head, so you can adjust the height it's at, and the head is on a peg so you can lift it entirely off the bar if you like.

Well, time to go.

California

Jun. 8th, 2013 09:41 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Day 2, cont.: kung fu around 7:30 a.m., breakfast (eggs, cheddar, baby kale, onion, garlic - (I made it), shower, going over stuff in the den (room I'm staying in). Mom tried on some of her pants that need hemming and I pinned them. Picked out some fabric and stuff (buttons, sock darner, trim from China, etc.) to take home. Trimmed excess from one pair of pants. Hm, actually trying on the pants might have been the evening before? Still a little scrambled from time change I guess. Anyway, also worked on cleaning up the patio, taking trash and recycling out, and discussing what sorts of plants might be good to put in one of her planters. Had a visit from a neighbor in the afternoon.

Day 3: short walk then kung fu around 6:30 a.m., shower, then cereal for breakfast. Mom tired, so she's back in bed this morning. I'll probably go do some sewing after I finish posting this.

***

*sigh* Wish I could connect to the internet here with my laptop...tedious having to type in all my usernames and passwords each time... and of course, not going to download a game onto my mother's pc - don't think her computer can handle it anyway. Oh well. 9-10 more days to go. And a birthday celebration in there, plus a visit from aunt, uncle, and cousin too, so there's that.

***

Forms were a bit better today than yesterday. I use Basic Stance form and Iluchuen (sp?) for warm up...Not sure if I'm doing part of Cannon 1 correctly, but at least I'm faking a continuation on the part I'm uncertain of...Cannon 2 isn't too horrible either. Added Mei Hwa (sp?) today, which has its own issues, but I want to work on as much of it as I can. San Soo (sp?) is going pretty well, aside from that funky bit in the closing. Working on getting into slightly lower stances. (Yeah, I pretty much can't spell anything in the Chinese -- going to have to work on that)

Ah, did figure out today that if I can move into pubu using the forward foot as a more aggressive "strike", that I can attain a wider, lower stance.

Tomorrow I'll consider zenning a weapons form. L and I didn't have time for practice at home before I flew out to CA, so I'm stressing out a little on how much of spear I can remember, since I'm still working on putting it all together in my head. The body remembers most of it, but not necessarily all in the correct order. Eventually I'll get it, and get body, mind and spirit working as one to do the form.

Saturday

May. 4th, 2013 08:27 pm
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Got all the potted plants loaded up from the lower garden this morning, ready to go to the house as soon as L finished bringing water to the chickens. Nettles will have to wait for another day, but we'll do that soon! Btw, if anyone wants some for their garden, let me know, as I have plenty and they are looking beautiful!

Next after dropping the plants off at the house we went to Shelburne Falls but missed getting to the bank on time -- just a few too many little delays. So, back home to change and go to the kung fu Snake Seminar at Shaolin Kung Fu Center of Hadley!

Snake Seminar was terrific! My hips may never be the same, but the actual hardest part to do? To NOT do Eagle Claw techniques :D Seriously, was able to do a lot more than I thought I'd be able to do, and it's a very cool form.

After that we went Greenfield for feed and scratch for the chickens and wasp and hornet spray for the barn and house. Stopped at our place to unload all the pots of herbs from the truck, then to the family farm, where I worked on sorting and boxing eggs and L unloaded the grain and then loaded up the truck with hay and delivered it down the road.

Lunch was a bag of roasted almonds and water. We're having a real meal now, finally!

Good day.

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