Thursday, May 6, 2010

the mysterious foot boo-boo

Early this morning, I remember shift in bed and sliding my foot down a little, and then -- terrible pain and a bleeding foot. Very scary. I have a small gash right on the edge of my heel. We got the bleeding to stop and Barry cleaned it with witch hazel and foot on neosporin and a bandage. But it hurts like hell to put any pressure on the heel, and I have a feeling I'll be more or less off my feet for a few days. My best theory now is that when I stretched my leg down the bed, I inadvertently kicked a cat (all three of them, at times, sleep at our feet), and she swatted out and a claw accidentally caught my foot. None of our cats would scratch us hard enough to cause this injury; our cats, at their angriest (with each other or us), might hiss and air-swat in our direction, and they rarely get angry unless, for instance, we rub a belly that doesn't want to be rubbed.

Anyway, this is freaking me out a bit, and I'm watching very closely to see if the pain lessens or if there's any sign of infection. For me, the absolute scariest thing about diabetes is the possibility of losing my personal mobility, my ability to get around on my own, which is why, ironically, I'm always ultra-careful about my feet. Even when I've been lax with blood testing or diet, I've always been extremely good with my foot care, though not 100%. What I'm supposed to do on a daily basis is wash, dry, examine, and moisturize my feet. I do examine and moisturize daily most of the time, and probably do the extra washing (besides showers) three or four times a week.

I've had some kind of skin problem on the ball of my right foot for over three years. I had thought it might be a recurrence of the psoriasis I'd had some years earlier on the side of my heel, because it looked and acted like psoriasis (hard dry skin that cracked). But when I was diagnosed with Type II, my doctor said that it was an opportunistic fungal infection that develops when blood sugar is high, but I have lowered my sugar, seen two podiatrists and one dermatologist, and three years later, it was still there. Recently, I started treating it more intensively with an over-the-counter diabetic foot cream, and it finally seems to be going away. This was part of the reason that I went all summer without wearing sandals last summer, which was murder for me even though I didn't go out much. I look forward to wearing sandals all year, though I know that these days it requires being extra-attentive about my foot care. So, after walking all over the place in sandals for two days this week with no problem at all, I cut the hell out of my foot in my own bed. Shows you how much I'm in control of my own life.

A new friend of mine, whom I met through my blog and then hers, has been making me think a little more about the lack of spirituality in my life over the past number of years. It's not so much anything my friend has said about me but the example she's shown me. And it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to be involved in any organized religion. Actually, another friend, Jannah, belongs to a Reconstructionist Jewish shul in New Hope, PA, and that's the only organized religion that's appealed to me in years. It's kind of like Reform Reform Judiaism: very gender-neutral, and very inclusive (for instance, they don't really embrace the "chosen people" concept). It's also very, very community-oriented; when there was terrible flooding in the area, the congregation was really, really there for anyone who needed help.

Unfortunately, although you'd think we have every possible kind of Jew in Brooklyn -- no Reconstructionists. There are only two Reconstructionist congregations in New York City, and they're both on the upper west side of Manhattan. I've been in e-mail contact with someone who's trying to start something in Brooklyn, which might initially be a group that floats to different shuls with Recon. rabbis guest-conducting services. But it looks like this activity will probably center around the Park Slope neighborhood, which is not that far away, but is in no way my neighborhood. Unless something is a little closer by, it's not my community; Brooklyn is not solidly car-culture, like some other places. A lot of people have cars, but a lot can and do do without (like us). It does shrink the "neighborhood" a bit, to the size of what's accessible by walking, or a short bus or subway ride. If I have to ride the bus 45 minutes to have coffee with someone from my shul, that's nice but it's also not a nearby network for me. And quite frankly, Park Slope is a little on the yuppified side for my taste. (I did live there for about nine years, in an area that was then a little iffy but is now cleaned up, but the more "desirable" part of the Slope was always too rich for me.)

Barry and I had a great day yesterday -- went to see a matinee of A Behanding in Spokane with Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, and Anthony Mackie (I had scored some ultra-cheap and really excellent seats). It was my second time seeing Walken on the stage, which was a real treat. It was a beautiful day, so I decided to wear one of my new Mission Canyon getups, my new sandals and more of my jewelry than I generally do (meaning earrings, a necklace *and* an anklet). After the show, we went down the the Village and had a bite at our favorite Italian cafe, then smoked a j*int and strolled around. Poked our head into a favorite jewelry store, C'est Magnifique on MacDougal Street (also home to one of our favorite store cats, a tiny three-legged tortoiseshell named Fazool who is well over 20 -- the store guy thinks 23-plus).

Somehow, we ended up putting deposits on two pieces of jewelry, for no particular occasion. (Given that I have made some 95% of the jewelry I wear over the past 8 years or so, I'm trying desperately to feel entitled to my new ring.) I spotted a 14K ring with a really lovely sapphire cab set in a high pronged setting, with three one-point diamonds on either side of the shank, very simply. It's a much higher setting than I usually wear, meaning that I like rings which are closer to my finger, but what's so beautiful about this ring is that the high setting allows the light to really get around the stone and show it off, and it's a lovely Ceylon blue color, not one of those navy-blue sapphires that's so dark it's practically opaque. Barry is actually more of a jewelry-wearer than most men (for which I am truly grateful, since he understood when I began spending so much time and money on making jewelry), and he favors silver, turquoise, and Native American. He spotted a bear-claw and turquoise cuff that was too small for him, but then chose a stamped sterling cuff made by a well-known Native American jeweler (last name is Bill, I can't remember the first, but he's the son of a slightly more famous Native American jeweler).

So he's going to have lunch with his friend Felix tomorrow at the Italian cafe (we go there together, and also separately with other friends), and is going to go pay off the balance on our jewelry and I'll get my ring tomorrow (his cuff actually needs to be made slightly smaller). I actually think this is the first gold ring I've gotten since my wedding band, which was from The Clay Pot (which is in Park Slope, and is very famous for artisan-made jewelry and wedding bands in particular. (I took a quick look, and they no longer sell either of the rings we wear -- his is white gold in a Celtic design, and mine is simple connected leaves in 14K). I'm not a metalsmith so I don't really make rings, though I know a lot of people are making wire-wrapped rings now and I'll probably learn that at some point. So I have a beautiful new ring which was not horrendously expensive ($275). We're going to call the new jewelry "a gift from Poppy," meaning that we'll pay for it with some of the money Barry's dad left him. His folks were always generous with us, and did things like bought us a new bed when we moved out of our original apartment, and paid for the catering at our wedding, and it's kind of nice to feel that they're still doing it. I think they're also buying us a new air conditioner for the bedroom this summer.

OK, here's some truly good and amazing news: I've lost 10 pounds, in a little over a month. (The first ten always goes fast, and after that, I can lose around 7-9 pounds a month if I behave myself with food.) This puts me down to 170, after a few years of being around 180-185. I know numbers are just numbers, but it's one of a number of ways that I can measure how well I'm taking care of myself. I'm trying to test my blood three days a week (I was getting sore fingers from testing every day, and the doctor said I didn't have to test that often). This morning's fasting number was 97, and unfortunately, I fell asleep after breakfast (I woke up with my foot injury only 3 hours after I'd gone to bed), and so I slept through the two-hour post-prandial test time. But I tested anyway, four hours after breakfast, and it was 117, which looked good to me for a double-post-prandial. (Had to order breakfast in, since I couldn't stand up to cook, and had a white-Western-with-cheese omelet wrap -- I asked for cheddar, but ended up with American somehow. And then a navel orange.) I don't mind eating a certain amount of fat in the morning because I know it keeps me feeling full. And there's healthy stuff we can order in for dinner around here -- there are a couple of good kosher vegetarian places (we're neither kosher or vegetarian, but their meals are clean and fresh and wholesome).

My sister-in-law Elise forwarded me some info about a crafts sale in Chelsea next weekend that's looking for vendors. I'm checking to see if they provide tables; if they do, I think I'll cough up the $50 fee and see what I can sell. I was looking through some of my work last night, because I'm sending some earrings with Barry for our favorite waitress at the cafe, and also was going to bring some to my GYN today, before I had to cancel the appointment due to the malady known as Boo-Boo Foot.

My last couple of sales were not successful. I did one last year at the Hudson Guild; after taking a quick peek at my jewelry, the supervisor there was glad to take my table fee, and so I tried to sell hand-crafted jewelry in a room full of people selling old crap from their closets. I had some friends come down, and *still* didn't make back my $25 table price (I would have made a profit if I had sold even three pair of my cheapest earrings). Last summer, I did some outdoor selling In Pennsylvania, at a benefit for the Israeli Red Cross (I had met the folks who do the local fundraising for Magan David Odom at one of their fundraisers at my friend Jannah's shul). This was a cool event because it was a Jewish motorcycle rally. Jews on hogs! rabbis in leathers! "Hillel's Angels"! But the only vendors who really got much traffic were the food vendors; none of the rest of us did much of anything. Also, Barry and I had been staying with Jannah, and in the rush to get to the shul on time, had neglected to put on sunscreen, and this was an outdoor event, and there were no canopies on the tables, no shade. As a result, I got roasted to a fare-thee-well. (Recently, I was shopping at our local Rite-Aid drug store, and grabbed up an impulse item at the checkout counter: a key chain with a little bottle of SPF 30 attached to it. Don't leave home without it. It might prove to be the best $2.25 I've spent in quite a while.)

I got my hair cut on Tuesday, my first venture away from long grey old-hippie hair in about a dozen years (though once in all that time, I went to a very pricey salon and got it nicely layered, though mostly I just trimmed my own ends). There are a bunch of hair cutters and salons around here that all charge about the same, $35 for a wash and cut, so I picked the one that looked the most modern. And oy vey, what a nasty stylist I got! If there's such a thing as good "chairside manner," she don't got it. Instead of saying something like, "I know you wanted to have a very short top, but I'd like to try something a little longer on top first and see if you like it. I think it might be more flattering", what she said was (and imagine the brusque and heavy Russian accent), "Your hair too thin on top, I cut short, you see scalp." I let her cut the sides and back short and leave the top longer, but I felt like she hated my guts for wanting something wash-and-wear, low maintenance, and not dyed. She let me know that she believed women should not wear their hair grey until age 60, and gave the distinct impression that there was something wrong with *me* for not wanted a hairstyle that required a blowdryer or straightening iron or curling iron. I mostly got the short, messy style I wanted, but the beyotch insisted on plastering it down with gel before I left, which was way ugly. When I got home, I immediately got into the shower, washed out the gel, then toweled it and put in a dab of a much gentler styling product, and worked it with my fingers. Nicer.

It got me to thinking about the *good* experiences I've had with hairdressers and haircutting, having worn short hair for most of my life. I really love to hair a hairdresser who will cut for my face and my lifestyle (LOW MAINTENANCE HAIR), and really listen to what I want, and really talk to me, and make suggestions based on his or her eye and experience. It made me think that I might want to learn to cut hair, and I actually made inquiries at a few cosmetology schools. I have an appointment to tour one on Monday, which I now think I'll cancel. Unfortunately, the mysterious foot boo-boo made me think hard about any job that would require me to be on my feet a lot; even if I lose more weight, I'm not sure I can stand for hours and hours the way I used to. (I've learned this the hard way at some standing-room concerts over the past bunch of years.) If I were a haircutter now, I could easily lose four or five days of work over something like the foot boo-boo.

I'm thinking more now about making a new effort to show and sell my jewelry. If I do the consignment route, at least it would be full-time and I could keep up with the shops a little better (it is often hard to collect money from stores in a consignment arrangement). Or else I'll find a couple of good an appropriate indoor flea/crafts markets (not having a car, I can't really provide my own table), so I can only work events where there is access via public transportation and I don't need to carry more than my wares, a hand mirror, a calculator, etc. I think I do good work and haven't yet found the right outlet. I'm also feeling very motivated to start working again. I packed away my jewelry stuff a few months back after our landlord bitched about the clutter in our living room; I had been working at a bridge table with materials spread all over the top, and plastic shoeboxes of beads stacked all around and under. I always have insane amounts of materials, I guess the same way any artist would want as many color and medium options as possible. I just hate the idea of wanting to make something and not having what I need. So we packed it up to show a fairly empty table top, and still need some storage solutions so I can work without cluttering things up. For instance, I could use some shelving behind the table to store materials, and maybe some drawers for finished work. And a file cabinet for the cartons of bottlecaps that are also in this area. Basically, I don't want to unpack anything until the clutter is a little more under control and I actually have places to put things away, rather than just leaving them on the tabletop. But I really do miss making jewelry.

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