Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bad Pictures . . .

I've been trying to take photos of some of the jewelry we've been working on, but obviously, I need to practice a bit more. I seem to have forgotten everything I ever knew about photography! With that said, I do apologize for the poor quality, but I wanted to start an album so we can remember our work, so here goes . . .

This is a beading design that Terry "invented" and I used for this bracelet. While I'm sure someone has done it before, he discovered it without a pattern and I love the look of it. The stone is a piece of dichroic glass that I purchased. This photo really doesn't do this piece justice, it is really bright and flashy in real life.

I made this bracelet and made up the pattern as I went along. Wonder of wonders, it actually came out. I've been looking at the different clasps available and couldn't find one I liked. Then one day I was in a fabric store and found this clasp in the button section. I like the way it looks much more than most "jewelry" clasps.

Terry made this next bracelet. The design is called a spiral and usually you would use three to five different beads to create a pattern, He's made several of these, but decided to use just tourmaline chips for this look. It's one of my favorite pieces

This final one is a piece I made just yesterday. There's a wonderful bead store here in Santa Fe called the Beading Heart. It's owned by a super lady named Barbara Butcher who makes the most astounding jewelry. She also gives classes on different beading techniques.

Yesterday, the class called for the use of petal pearls. Barbara designed an original necklace and earrings using these flat pearls and she shared the technique with those of us in the class.

Here's what I like about beading and making jewelry . . .

Barbara's original design called for using a single color pearl. Two ladies in the class used pink pearls, one lady used a gray green color and I used white pearls. About two thirds of the way through my project I was displeased with the look and started adding green petal pearls. I liked the look so much I added a few more, the decided it needed just a hint of pink.

And when it was all done, I had a completely unique piece

This has been such a fun adventure for both of us, I'll most likely continue to post pictures of our new projects.

What good time we're having!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Food . . .

First off, I'd like to thank all of you for your concern for Terry. I'm happy to report that he is fine and dandy once again, Huzzah!!

Several of you have written with dietary suggestions, and not a few of you have pointed out that low carb eating is often listed as non advisable for those with gout, so I wanted to address that.

I think there are lots of misconceptions about low carb eating. Many people think that all low carbers eat is meat and fat, but that just isn't the case.

Our dietary changes have centered more around what we've eliminated from our diets rather than what we have added or increased. Here's a few examples of what we have cut out as completely as possible.

An easy way to describe a lot of it is we try to avoid white food (except for dairy). This means most wheat (including bread, but we've found an excellent substitute, recipe upon request), sugar (very difficult if you eat any prepared food, good thing I cook), potatoes, rice, and most starches.

We have greatly increased the amount of vegetables we eat, staying within the list of low carb, high fiber veggies. We also eat fruit, but again, try to stay within certain limits (berry season is a real blessing). We also avoid all low fat dairy, as the processes involved in making dairy low fat seem to increase the lactose sugars. So while we eat yogurt (plain, natural and whole milk), butter and cream in our coffee, we do avoid all non fat foods.

This has certainly changed our food shopping habits, as we usually only visit the produce, meat and dairy cases. Our food bill has also gone down, an added bonus. This pre-made foods are expensive!

In reading up on this, I have to say I believe the low fat foods are a "product" that have been marketed to the American public. If you start reading labels, the sugars in these products are often higher than the whole fat products. Fats are essential to providing out bodies with many needed nutrients and promote a variety of essential brain functions. They are also beneficial to your eyesight, hair, skin and nails.

Recent research has indicated that saturated fat is not the heart disease culprit the media would have you believe. More info is available here, here and here . Or you can just Google saturated fat, heart disease and low carb to read more.

In the mid 1970s, low fat, calorie counting became the norm for those who wished to lose weight and eat healthy. That said, since that time, the number of overweight Americans has more than tripled. Is there a correlation?

Often, when we go to look for yogurt, we can't even find the full milk variety, but find two or more dairy cases filled with tiny, expensive flavored yogurts, all low or non fat. If you read the labels, the sugar content in these "health foods" is ridiculously high when you look at the amount of food you are ingesting.

None of this is to say that we are eating a ton of fat.

We completely stay away from hydrogenated fats (and partially hydrogenated fats, and also high fructose corn syrup). We eat eggs, cottage cheese, chicken (with the skin when called for) fish, lean pork, roasts of beef and the occasional steak. This is along with a nice healthy salad (full blue cheese dressing, thank you, I have a GREAT recipe) and usually a nice helping of a fiber rich vegetable (we love broccoli and roasted Brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc.).

Desert is fruit or yogurt with fruit, or one of the many low carb desserts I've discovered thanks to the internet.

Both our blood numbers are down into the low healthy range and we are both losing at the rate of 1-2 pounds a week, never starving ourselves.

We did discuss diet with the Doctor when Terry's gout appeared and looking at his blood numbers, our food choices and Terry's medical history, he felt this really wasn't a dietary problem and would most likely not re-occur. Taking into account his excellent blood work and the minor spike in Uric acid, we're hoping this will be the case. If it does re-occur, we'll consult further.

If this topic interests you at all, I can fully recommend the book Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. It's a fascinating read.

I didn't mean to get on my soapbox here, but I just wanted to reply to the many of you who have emailed us.

We are still in Santa Fe, and may stay longer because we find the town is agreeing with us (and we do love the bead stores).

I promise to get some pictures of the jewelry we're creating and hope to share them with you in a future post.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

An Update from Santa Fe

Today we went to the Doctor for the fourth time and I'm happy to say that I think Terry is well on his way to recovery.

While I'm talking about this, I'd like to mention hospitals, specifically here in Santa Fe. When we first took him in, we took him to a large medical facility where I had previously visited a sick friend. It was your typical hurry up and wait emergency room, crowded and slow, but that was to be expected. When we saw the Doctor the first time, they x-rayed his ankle (where the pain was at that time, deciding nothing was broken) and said it might be gout. They gave him an air splint, some gout medicine and sent him on his way.

A week later, he was noticeably worse, the pain had moved to his knee where he had a lump the size of a small egg, extremely tender, very red and hot to the touch. So we went back to the same emergency room. They performed no tests, basically told us they didn't know for sure, but thought it might be an infection of some sort. Then they put him in a full leg brace and sent us on our way. When we got out to the car, we couldn't even get him in the car with the brace on, so we removed it for the drive home.

At this point I was getting both frightened and disgusted.

He took the meds for a few days with no visible improvement and he still could not walk the ten feet from his chair to the bathroom without using crutches. At this point he hadn't left the rig for close to two weeks except for the two trips to the ER.

I got to talking to some folks here at the park where we're staying and one of them told us they had also had a less than desirable experience at this facility and suggested we try Physicians Medical Center (which we had never heard of).

Wow, what a difference.

The first thing they did was take blood and urine for tests and x-rayed his knee. They informed us that it didn't look like he had any infection, but that he should finish the series of antibiotics anyway, since he was now six days into the series. They also told us that his uric acid levels were indeed elevated, which is a pretty solid indicator of gout.

They gave him pain medication and a five day series of prednisone and within three days he was feeling better. Today we went in for a checkup and he actually was walking without his crutches, with just the teeniest bit of a limp.

The Doctor today said he seems to be well on his way to full recovery, he's feeling very much better and I am one Happy Camper.

I can truthfully once again say that

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

a Small Rant

I really hate hospitals.

Yesterday, we had to go the emergency room again, Terry's pain (or whatever) has moved from his ankle up his leg and is now right below his knee. There is a large bump, red and excessively tender and the poor boy cannot walk without crutches. After waiting over three hours (it was a holiday . . .) they had to admit that they have no idea.

That said, the bump is quite large, red and angry looking and extremely hot to the touch.

So they think he might have an infection (but that is just a guess). They prescribed antibiotics, pain meds and some unwieldy knee brace, which covers most of his leg and keeps the leg immobilized.

Of course, he can't get his leg in the car with the brace on, so we have to undo the gazillion pieces of industrial strength velcro holding this monster on before he can get in the car. I'll interject here that this velcro is miles beyond what they sell in the stores (I think when this is over, I'm cutting up his prosthetic for the velcro).

And he is grumpy, because he hates being immobilized.

And I just want him to get better.

Rant over.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Plans Change

After I wrote the last blog about how busy we were beading, once again, things took a change.

Last weekend, my Terry started limping a bit, his foot bothering him. Of course, he said it was no big deal. This went on for a couple of days and finally got so bad I insisted he let me take him to the doctor. They x-rayed and looked him over and couldn't find a thing wrong. Still the pain persisted, so they gave him an air cast and some pain meds and told him to stay off of it for a few days.

That was Monday and as of today (Friday) he is better but still not 100%.

We talked it over and decided we really didn't want to go on the road until he was back to his old self. We've been staying with friends here in Santa Fe, but not wanting to wear out our welcome, we decided it would be best for us to move to an RV park (also having a dump on site would be a LOT more convenient).

So as of tomorrow, we will be staying at the Trailer Ranch RV resort in Santa Fe. We have signed on for a month, but if he gets better, we may not stay the entire time, we'll just have to see.

So that's the plan for now, we'll let you know as our life progresses.

Good thing we like Santa Fe so much!