the knitting ref

Monday, October 31, 2005

Oh My Aching Body!
I mentioned before that we're in the process of doing lots of home improvement projects. Well, this weekend the Hubster scored major, major, MAJOR Brownie points. He scarped the ceiling of its horrid, icky, dirty, popcorn texture. And then we spent the rest of the weekend painting, and painting some more. As long as I sit very, very still I don't hurt too much. Unfortunately, these people are work expect me to move around and actually get work done. Can you believe?!?

But looky, looky (at this one small corner--It's all that we managed to get fully cleaned up by last night)! Imagine, if you will, the brick on this fireplace going all the way up to the ceiling, with a few bricks sticking out at odd spots. As if that weren't ugly enough, the bricks had been painted not once, but twice, with the top coat a tired reddish brick color. I have always wanted a house with a fireplace AND a mantle. So the hubster knocked down the brick to its present height, added the mantle, drywalled, and added the sconces.

I might mention that the Hubster is originally from New Mexico, I have always loved all things Southwest, so it was only natural that the room have a definite Southwest flavor. The God's eye that you see next to the mantle provided the color scheme for the room. The paint is from Sherwin Williams, and the colors that you are are called Blood Orange (dark wall), and Sweet Apricot (light wall). The ceiling and the trim are in Ivory.

You can catch a peek in the upper right hand corner at the wood valences, and the drapes are dark blue moleskin to fit in with the rest of the colors from the God's eye.

There's still two walls and the hallway that need a second coat, then the remainder of the fixture plates need to put back. After that, the pictures back up on the walls (that have been laying around for a year), and the place is going to look pretty darn spunky.

While this has me in a state of near-euphoria, you won't believe what else he did. While I was working at getting the house at least semi-restored to order, he went to the grocey store. I asked him if he would check to see if the store had orange nail polish. Well, he went above and beyond! When the grocery didn't have any, he went next door to the drug store and picked me up some. What a guy!

At work here, we're all pigging out and a lot of people are dressed up. Since the weekend was spent painting (and yes, I thought about coming in my painting togs) I am not dressed up, per se. But I do have a silly headband on, which for some reason people think is quite silly, and my orange nail polish. Which, every time I look at it, I get a warm fuzzy feeling for my guy. Again!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Mail Call!

When I got home, I found this in the mail. I had ordered it a while ago and then promptly forgot about it. It's very cool. It has pages and pages of fair isle patterns that can be incorporated into sweaters, scarves, mittens, etc.

Not that I'm all that great a knitter, but I rarely follow a pattern as written. And I very often want to add a little somethin' somethin' to whatever it is I'm working on. But since I'm basically very lazy, I don't like to make it from scratch. That's where this book comes in.

In fact, as soon as I finish the girl child's socks, I'm on to the SIL's and MIL's socks. And this book is going to get put to good use. Since neither of them are computer savvy, I'll be able to post pictures once they get going. Woo-Hoo!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

OMG! Now, I've lived in Southern California my whole life, so I've seen plenty of police chances on t.v., but today, I was actually in the middle of one--at least for a few seconds. Which was more time than I cared to be.

Coming home from work, I was stopping off to pick up paint for this weekend's paintfest. All of the sudden, here comes this black sedan flying up the right shoulder. Scared the living you-know-what out of me. Just as I caught my breath, here came 6 CHP cars and motor cops flying by. I don't need that kind of adrenaline rush!

Turns out it even made the t.v.

Guess I Don't Know Myself Very Well

O.k., so I couldn’t resist. I had to try the “_____ needs” game. The results? Pretty funny, I say:
Diane needs to apply herself more conscientiously and ...

Diane needs our prayers.....
Diane needs to be more sexy and more out there
Diane needs to hear from you no later than Tuesday
Diane needs to see these paintings.

Diane needs to GO! ...
Diane needs to be in the kitchen.
Diane needs to reconcile both sides of herself -- to love herself ...

And my 2 personal favorites:

Diane needs to be out of there, she is definitely the spawn of satan ...
Diane needs a pigfoot and a bottle of beer, some reefer and some gin, and a crawlin' kingsnake.. (News to me! Guess I’d better start lookin’.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

How Could I Forget?
My mom called a little bit ago to remind me that at exactly, precisely 2 years ago at this moment of the day the Hubster and I were frantically packing our cars with animals, pictures and other precious belongings in anticipation of possibly evacuating from the Old Fire. If you scroll down to the 4th picture on the page, we watched the flames from these precise homes (and many others) from our rooftop.

I have lived my entire life in this valley and watched the hillsides burn many a time. But that day, the flames moved faster than I've ever seen. When the fire first started, we were clear across the valley at the girl child's soccer game. The wind was blowing west, so we weren't worried for ourselves--then. After the game, the girl child went to a friend's house to help them evacuate (that house burned), and then got a call from another friend to help move cars from her house (that house was also lost). The boy child had spent the night at a friend's and by the time the evacuation order came, we just told him to stay put. My 77-year-old mother, on the other hand, parked as close as she could to the police line and WALKED almost a mile to our house to see if we needed help!!! (Force of nature, that woman.) At that point we had no power, no regular phone service, but the cell phones and most importantly, the water, worked. We sent her on her way with a few token things, and she walked back to her car.

The Hubster got up on the roof to hose it down while I paced back and forth from house to cars, filling them with the most nonsensical things (my birthday cards????), all the while forgetting other things (my flutes, guitar, bassoon, sax???). That came to a halt when he yelled at me just as I had entered the front door for the 100th time. I ran back out and looked up. He wasn't there! I figured he had fallen off the roof into the backyard. So I can to the back door. As soon as I opened it, I realized why he yelled. The back yard was on fire! It had started in the compost pile and had quickly spread to the neighbor's oleanders. I tried to turn on the hose, but there was almost no pressure. The Hubster got down and turned off the front hose, which helped a lot. With God's grace, we were able to knock down the fire with the hose, a pick ax, and a gardening hoe. I don't know how long we worked--in some ways it seemed like hours, and others, only a few minutes--but we stopped the fire literally 15 feet from our house. I know that we also most probably also saved 2 of our neighbors, if not more, since those oleanders burn something awful.

I remember all the sounds (cause we couldn't see much)--the wind, the helicopters, the explosions from car tires, gas lines and who knows what else. It's what I imagine a war zone sounds like. Goodness knows that's what it felt like.

We spent the next several hours keeping watch from the roof. No pictures. It wasn't something we thought about until well after it was over. After dark, the only light came from the embers of burned houses and what was still burning on the hillside, but we had a big flashlight. It was amazing the number of people who sped up when the beam of light hit them. (Looters, maybe?)

We went for a walk about 11:00--there was no one to stop us--and we couldn't believe the devastation. Exhaustion was the only thing that had us falling into bed somewhere around 2:00 a.m. We didn't sleep much.

I think the final total was over 500 homes in San Bernardino and the mountain communities burned. All because some (@*$& wanted to get his jollys by starting a fire. Many of the houses in S.B. have been rebuilt, although there are still an awful lot of empty lots. So many of the houses that were burned were ones that I had been in, visiting friends from the time I was a child, through high school and beyond. All together, 6 of our friends completely lost their homes, and another 3 had substantial damage. It was heartbreaking. To this day, I still get a little hitch in my heart whenever I smell smoke in the neighborhood. It's going to take a lot longer than 2 years to really get over it. And we were the lucky ones.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sunday Night

So let's see what I accomplished this weekend. Here we have the list from Friday:
Knit (Duh!)
Sunday dinner with family friend (She makes the best gumbo)
Referee (Yup, and I wasn't dragging my sorry butt as much as I thought I would)
Watch all the football and soccer I want (Not quite all I wanted, but enough)
Wash the dogs (Nope. Too cold.)
Some laundry (Just enough to last through the week)
Bag clothes for charity (Nope. See above.)
Harass the hubster to finish the walls so I can paint NEXT weekend (Best of all! I didn't have to harass him, he worked very hard this weekend on the walls. No real painting, but it's o.k.)
Decorate for Halloween (Got the stuff out, some, but not all, up--gotta wait for potentially ugly weather.)

All in all, a pretty good weekend. The knitting consisted of working on Xmas gift for the girl child. No pictures yet as she may very well check the blog out from time to time, and I don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Bargain Yarn!!!
So I stopped off at Joanns last night on the way home (Midnight Madness Sale!) to pick up a few things that were on mega-sale. Some silk flowers, some beading stuff, and these 9 skeins of yarn cost a grand total of, drumroll please, $9!!! They are Moda Dea Ricochet, colors Salsa, Jazz and Mambo, 95% Acrylic, 5% Nylon, 76 yds @ skein. They have been in the clearance bin for a while at $2 a skein. I had been looking at them, but they hadn't found their way into my basket yet. (I was trying to exercise some restraint.) But with the 2-day sale, they were 50% off and just too good to pass up. And I do have a plan for most of it. A couple of people at work want to learn how to knit, but are waiting till payday to buy some yarn. I think I'll offer them these to use as a first-knit project. They'd make good first scarves, I think.

Friday, October 21, 2005

What I Would Like to Accomplish this Weekend

Knit (Duh!)
Paint the living room
Sunday dinner with family friend
Watch all the football and soccer I want
Wash the dogs
Finish the laundry (or at least as much as it’s ever “finished”)
Sort through old clothes and bag them for charity
Decorate for Halloween
Go to Oak Glen and get more apples
Snap my fingers and make my house sparkling clean (O.k., so now I’m heading out into la-la land)

What I Will Most Likely Accomplish this Weekend
Referee (cause I don’t back out of an assignment)
Sunday dinner with family friend (cause I like dinner with Storma)
Some laundry
Harass the hubster to finish the walls so I can paint NEXT weekend
Knit (Duh!)

One of the biggest concessions I have had to make to living with cancer is accepting how much I have slowed down. In days of yore, the first list was entirely possible (o.k. except for the snapping my fingers thing). I would make up a list (I love lists, can ya tell?), and starting as soon as I got home from work Friday night, I was a whirling dervish, slashing item after item from the list. Sunday night would come and I’d be exhausted but (generally) satisfied because I had done so much.

No more. And I’m o.k. with that. Mostly.

We have been doing some major renovations (moving of walls, lighting, new fireplace, t.v. and electronics storage, painting) for a year now. It’s getting old. I can see the finish line, but it’s taking too long to get there. I really hope we (truthfully, the hubster) can get FINISHED so we (truthfully, I) can enjoy the holidays.

As for the cleaning the house with a snap of my fingers, technically, I’ll get that too, sort of. The girl child has agreed to clean the house every week to pay off a bill we covered for her. If I can look in a clean bathroom mirror, walk on floors without crunching, and see the top of the dining room table, I figure it’s money well spent.

I’ll update later in the weekend and we’ll see how far I actually get.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I want to see if I can recreate the same post as I did in my AOL journal. This is the picture I put in and here's my post:

There it is. An FO for the Weasley Knitalong. A co-worker is big into all things HP. I discovered he is dressing up as someone from the Slytherin House for Halloween, but was bemoaning the fact that he couldn't find a scarf. Me, who of course cnanot seem to keep my mouth shut, offered to make him one. In truth, it was the perfect project for last weekend, so I'm not complaining too much. One thing I did discover with this project is that, with a summer of lace and fingering weight yarns, working with the heavier yarn was a lot more tiring than I expected.
The pattern is from here. The yarn is boring old Red Heart Sport (3 ply) Acrylic in Hunter Green. Since Red Heart does not make a gray in sport weight, I took the Red Heart Worsted Weight (4 ply) and stripped one of the plys. For the little bit I needed for the scarf, it was pretty easy. (Wouldn't want to do it for very much more though.) I used about 3 1/2 skeins of the green and less than 1 of the gray (sorry I lost the band so I can't provide the exact color). It measures 7 X 75 inches without fringe.
Steve has already had a preview while I worked on it during my lunch hour, and he was very enthusiastic about it. Sorry for the indoor, night-time with a flash picture, but I just finished it and I plan to hand it off tomorrow as the giftee has a party he wants to wear it to this weekend.
This will be the end of my participation in the Weasley Knitalong, at least until after the holidays. There are way too many Xmas projects that I haven't even started, and of course, I'm sloooowwwllyy plugging along on Spirit. I am so loving this shawl. I wish I could work on it exclusively, but then what would I give my friends and family for Xmas? What do you think of a picture of me in Spirit? Hmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Coming up for air once again. I had chemo last Friday, so of course that was a totally lost day. Once I came home, I stayed on the Tylenol, so I wasn't quite as fevery, achy as last time. I still threw up once, but because I hadn't eaten much it was no big deal. It really pisses me off that I only throw up because it's in my head and not because of the drugs. I always thought I was mentally tougher than that. Guess not.
Slept almost 14 hours straight, but woke up about 9:00 a.m. Saturday, feeling like I'd been run over, but only by a panel, rather than a semi, truck. Things got progressively better through the weekend. I even felt so good Sunday I had to keep putting myself back down on the couch so I didn't overdo things.
What a great football/soccer weekend. We have a t.v. with picture-in-picture in the living room, and a second t.v. in the family room. By sitting on the correct corner of the couch, both t.v.'s can be viewed. I have to admit I totally junked out on football and soccer. Saturday I watched the USC and UCLA games which were both victories the "right" way. Saturday night we watched the L.A. Galaxy play like they were 12 year olds. Not one shot on goal in the entire first half! The second half wasn't much better. I don't hold off much hope for the playoffs--I'm pretty sure they'll be out early.
Sunday was all NFL, all day--except for watching the U.S. women play Australia. A 0-0 tie, but it was good to see some new faces. I've been worried for a while that they were relying on the old workhorses and not promoting the newbies enough. A little more experience (and time in training camp) and they should do better.
As for football, it was a pretty good day. Denver won (yeah!!) and Oakland lost (double yeah!!), and unfortunately, only one of the Florida teams could come out on top. Too bad Griese got hurt in their win.
Monday, Tuesday and today have been spent getting back up to speed. But, I have not been a total couch potato. No, no, no. I started the perfect no-brainer project just before I started chemo. A PoA Slytherin scarf for a co-worker who is dressing as a Slytherin House student for Halloween. All that circular stockinette that could be set aside at any time to allow for naps was perfect. CW has had a preview of the scarf and is totally psyched so, of course, so am I. I am literally on the last row, so FO pictures tomorrow. (I know, you've heard the picture thing before, but really, I mean it!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Well, I can't believe it's been almost a week since I last posted, but it seems that getting energy, time, desire and equipment all together at one time is more difficult than it would appear.
Nonetheless, it's been a loverly week.

When last I posted, I was leaving to the doctor's to hear what I expected to be so-so to totally crappy news. Just goes to show. The Doxil appears to be working, apparently overtime. My tumor marker dropped more than it ever has before! Woo-hoo. Great news to get on your birthday.

The happy times continued when my family took me out to dinner. We had a really good time (my niece is always good for a laugh or two), and I got the bookbookbook from my parents. When the food took a little while to get here, I entertained la familia with excerpts from the book.

We then went home and I had a little quality knitting time. (The Hubster did say I could do whatever I wanted on my birthday ;).) The Leaves/Waves shawl was coming along nicely (5 pattern repeats), but it got unceremoniously dumped when this arrived on my doorstep. I am soooooooo lovin' it.

When I was first reading through it I got a little intimidated because there are 200 some lines of instructions, not counting the edging. And there only some very small parts where there are anything close to what you would call a pattern repeat. But, I gotta say, I'm up to row 69, and while I wouldn't say it's been easy peasy, I'm not cursing much (except at my stupidity) either. The pattern and the charts (I'm not very good at charts) are incredibly easy to read, and I am still having a mad love affair with this shawl. If it turns out to be a 10th as good as what I'm hoping for I will be thrilled.

Saturday=soccer, so we went to the boy child's soccer game. He had stayed up too late the night before, so he wasn't on his "A" game, but he did alright nonetheless. The team won so they are still undefeated. That's always good. Then we got to watch USC and UCLA win in gridiron football, and, unfortunately, the U.S. men lose in soccer. Good thing the Angels were rained out or we really would have had dueling T.V.'s at our house.

Sunday, the Hubster and I drove to San Diego to stay at Humphreys Half Moon Inn and see Celtic Woman. If anyone ever needs a special place to stay in San Diego (Shelter Island), this is the place to go. It's a nice resort, with a great restaurant on the premises. The concert was pretty good too. The only downside I had was that, when I go to see live music, I go because I want to see something other than what I get on a CD; you know, improvisation, artist personality and the like. Celtic Woman is more like a Broadway show where the curtain goes up, you watch the play, the artists take their bows and you go home. Like I said, I just like something a little more.

We lazily got up Sunday morning and headed home, with a detour to Oak Glen for some apples and apple pie. Yummers. I extracted a promise from the Hubster to go at least once more during apple season.

We finished up watching the Angels win (Yah!!!!). This evening will be spent knitting more on Spirit and watching the Halos win again (I hope.)

No pictures because, well, refer back to the first paragraph.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Today I am 45. Looking at that sentence is a bit surreal. If you had told me 3 years ago that I would be celebrating my 45th birthday, I would have thought you were on crack. 3 years ago today, I was sitting at home waiting to have surgery on the 8th, knowing that I was full of cancer. I was sitting there having just had almost 9 liters of fluid tapped from my abdomen. Losing 12 pounds was great for more reasons than the obvious, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a weight loss tool.

And so am I going out tonight and partying like it’s 1999? Nope. This day is pretty much going to be just a regular day. Several weeks ago when it became obvious that scheduling any big festivities was going to be pretty much impossible, I was feeling pretty bummed. But then, I realized that having a big celebration was irrelevant. And since then, I have been taking quiet satisfaction in just “being here.”

My schedule for today looks like this: I got up, fed the animals, got dressed and headed out the door for work. Before getting to work, I had to stop in at the lab to have my blood drawn. I came into work where I found lovely gifties from some of my co-workers (I’ll post pictures later), and plowed through the never-ending mass of paperwork that makes its way to my desk on a continual basis. I’m leaving early to go to my oncologist’s appointment where the news is likely to be so-so at best (I’m not willing to think that negatively today). After the appointment, I’m going home to sit quietly and knit until it’s going to go out to dinner with the Hubster and my parents. (Both kids have to work today.) After that, we’ll probably head home and fall asleep in front of the T.V. (a nightly ritual at Casa Valdez).

And that is all more than o.k. It’s actually sounding pretty close to perfect.

Thank you God, for giving me another day to spend with those who are most important to me and who make life worth living. Thank You for providing the opportunity to have a job that I find fulfilling, and directing me to the wonderful doctors who have kept me on this earth. And, of course, Thank You for having the foresight to have created knitting (I don’t know where I’d be without it). I am truly blessed.