the knitting ref

Friday, April 28, 2006

Home--You’d Better Believe It’s Sweet

Yes, I’m home, home, home! Thank you to one and all who sent me all the well wishes. They do a body good.

I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going make here. The doc told me Wednesday night that I was going home the next day, so of course I was up early (as if you aren’t disturbed anyway what with all the blood letting, er, taking, and the like) and I waited. And waited, and waited some more.

The doc finally came in about 1:00 and finally started the wheels rolling. I’ll spare you the gory details; all I’ll say is I’m not what the nurses call an “easy stick.” Right now I’m feeling more affinity with pincushions than I am the human race. I finally took my first breath of freedom around 7:00 P.M. After an hour drive home before my lil’ head got to hit my own pillow.

I’m feeling very, very much better. I still have a few more days of IV antibiotics, but the worst part of the whole thing is that, because of the catether’s location, I can’t knit. I was doing a bit of knitting between naps, however, part of yesterday’s horror show was that the IV came out and they couldn’t find any other vein to use but one right on my wrist. After several pokes to get this one, I’ll let my arm completely atrophy before I bend my wrist and risk a repeat of Thursday’s fun and games.

But I tell ya, I’m going through withdrawals. Nobody at work can understand why I want to work half days. I’m going through all my books, and I’m can only stand just so many movies.

I bit the bullet and emailed my pal and sock sister that I’ll be delayed. I really hated to do it, but it just wasn’t happening. (Yea, I’m the type who’s always early to appointments.) I’m working up a few ideas to make her waiting worthwhile.

Well, time for another nap.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Off Axis

{Sorry if this post has an inordinate number of spelling errors. The system I'm on is incredibly slow, while my fingers are not. But, I'm not complaining; I'm just thrilled to have this limited acess}

Just when you think things are going pretty well, life has a funny way of slapping you upside the head. This is coming to you from my hospital bed. Yes, hospital. I am currently being treated for a nasty blood infection. But let me start at the beginning.

Friday evening I had a low grade fever, and woke up Saturday morning not feeling 100%. But it was the Relay weekend, and so I soldiered on. I started feeling better, but stil wasn't all "there" through the weekend. I'll save the Relay recap for another post.

Monday morning was my onc. appointment, so I figured I'd talk to them about my concerns. And they jumped right on it. I was going to go into a big explanation, but long story short, the subcutaneous catheter that had been used for IV chemo was haboring a bug which got dislodged when the nurse went to draw a blood sample from it. It then became a blood infection and I was pretty sick.

Fortunatly, my docs immediately admitted me and started IV antibiotics. We're still waiting for the cultures to fully incubate to find out exactly which bug Im duelng with, but whatever they've got me on is doing a really good job thus far. Once we get the final results, I can go home with a nice bag of meds (pills, I hope).

All this has really thrown me off my game. Monday and Tuesday I was too sick to care, but today I'm really stressed because there is no way I'm going to finish my SockapalOOOza socks for a timely mailout. I haven't answered my Spring Feet questionaire, but will soon.

And, while I have some limited Internet access here in the room (which is actually pretty cool, all things considered. I'm typing this on a wireless keyboard and viewing it on the t.v. screen), I can't access my AOL email. So if anybody's emailed me and I haven't answered, give a couple days. I feel so cut off.

Well, that's about all for now. I think (no, I know) I'm ready for a nap.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I Resisted Temptation. Really.

After work, I went to my LYS’s project night (cause we can’t use that “other” name), and I’m glad I did. I spent most of the afternoon dragging, but once I got there, started gabbing, and knitting of course, I perked up a lot. Nancy’s getting ready for her trunk shows in mid-May, and she’s got a lot of new really great yarns in. But I resisted.
What’s this then? This is this month’s sock club selection from TheKnitter.com, and I have to say I think I like this one best of all. The yarn is Trekking XXL with the exciting color name of 78. The pattern is called Haleakala, and it’s a neat looking lace sock with a picot cuff. It’s hard to resist casting on immediately. But resist I must.

I think I’m over my SockapalOOOza angst. This new pattern is going along swimmingly. The pattern is easily contained in my pea brain. I was able to work on it at the LYS and I’ve got about 3 inches of the leg done. These will not, however, photograph well until they're all done and blocked. I should be mostly, if not all, done with these by the end of the weekend.

Then the Hubster’s (2) and Mama’s (1 more) socks by April 30th. I won’t jinx myself by saying no problem, but . . . you know.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Catch Up

I've been wanting to do a decent post the last few days, but too much to do, plus not sleeping well equals no post. We're counting down to the Relay for Life, and that means lots of shopping and gathering and decoration-making. I'll leave that for another day.
Our anniversary weekend up in Big Bear overall was quite lovely. As predicted, the weather on Friday was rather dicey. On the trip up we hit rain, fog, snow, sleet, and hail. This view is out of our window at Golden Bear Cottages. It's a nice family owned place. The place has been around forever, but it's well maintained overall and cozy. If you look closely, you can see the sleet bouncing off the car.
Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny if a bit chilly. The Hubster made a delicious breakfast after which we lazed around the room all day. We only ventured out for dinner at the Evergreen Restaurant. Delicious dinner with a great view of the lake.

Back to the room. More vegging out until midday Sunday when it was time to make our way back down the hill for Easter lunner (lunch/dinner) with my folks.
Big Bear Lake is in a bit of a valley. The surrounding hillsides prevent a lot of clouds from settling in, so very often when it's cloudy down in the valley, it's gorgeous, bright sunshine up at the lake. Such was the case this weekend: This view is as you come up over the ridge and overlook the valley. My house is somewhere down below the pea soup.
I was not totally sloth-like this weekend. See, I finished Topi in plenty of time for the Relay. Can't get a good picture of it on my head yet, so this will have to do for now. Since I couldn't get my hands on some good teal colored cotton quickly, I took some white Lily's Sugar N' Cream cotton and dyed it with Rit dye (only dye I could get my hands on quicly and easily). It seems to be pretty colorfast--no transfer while I was knitting it up--so we'll see how we manage with it on my head all day Saturday.
I also knit up some squares for Warming Grace. Got them all blocked yesterday. They're not quite dry enough to be put in the mail tomorrow, but come Friday, they'll be winging their way North.

And the SockapalOOOza sock? I was hoping you wouldn't notice that there's no picture. I'm starting to get a little nervous. I was having a terrible time with the Vine Lace pattern. I'm sure it's me, but I don't have the time to spend trying to figure it out. So it's been frogged and I've started a different pattern with the same yarn. I'll not name it for now for fear I'll jinx it.

I've got plenty more to add, but I'll try to do another post tomorrow. For now, it's time to get busy.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I'm a Sucker for a Contest

Kat is having a contest to list the most unusual unusual places we knit. My top 5 unusual (or in my case usual) places are:

1. At my children's soccer games and track meets.

2. In line (at the grocery store, bank, fast food drive-through, etc.)

3. At medical appointments (dr.'s, labs, medical procedures, etc.)

4. At resturants waiting to be seated and for our food to come.

5. And--next week during the Relay for Life--I will be knitting while walking around the track during the 24-hour relay.

Unusual enough? You be the judge.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

You Want Socks?

We got your socks right here. At least pieces of socks. In order to provide updates for both SYAC and SockapalOOOza, I submit the following:
Mama’s sock. For now, only one. I had started (only about 5 rows) the second sock when I got so sick last week. The finished sock went AWOL temporarily. Turns out I left it behind at work. But since I didn’t have sock #1 to compare to the growing sock #2, this pair stalled.

As I was recovering over the weekend, I wanted something mindless to knit, so I cast on, what else, but another sock:
And have got as far as turning the heel. I’ve been carrying this around in my purse, what I call my “waiting“ project, so I get a row done here, a row done there as I wait (usually in line).

And finally I’m not even sure I can call this a sock yet, but:
I finally settled on yarn and pattern for my sock pal. Yes, I know I previously asked for opinions on 4 variegated yarns. But after looking at them--a lot--I decided they were too heavy handed for what essentially will be a late spring/early summer sock. Plus, I yearned for a lacy pattern. Thankfully, my SP7 pal provided me the perfect inspiration: The Vine Lace Socks from Socks, Socks, Socks. Also, in true SYAC spirit, I dove into the stash and pulled out this lovely Lorna Lace’s Shepherd Sock yarn in Lilac. Houston, we have lift off. (About time, don’t ya think?)

So that’s the beginnings of 3 pairs of socks.

In my own oblivious way, I’ve been very successfully ignoring the fact that the first week of May is only a couple plus weeks away. So what’s the big deal? Well, in addition to my sock pal’s socks, I have got it in my head that I MUST have Topi in teal for the Relay for Life. The Hubster’s birthday is the 30th, and I have it in my head that he needs a pair of socks. And Mama’s socks need to be done by the 5th.

For those having difficulty with the math (me), that makes 1 cap and 3 pairs of socks in 2 1/2 weeks. Better get cracking.

We're off to the wilds of Big Bear tomorrow. Have a blessed Easter weekend.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Happy Anniversary Baby!

If you’re here for knitting tonight, I’m afraid you’re out of luck.

If, however, you’re here for a love story, then grab the drink of your choice, sit back, and dig in.

Once upon a time, there lived a lady of the realm who had a rather hum-drum life. She lived in a little house with her children and her 4-legged friends. She woke up, she went to work, she ran hither and yon taking said kidlets to their assorted activities, she went to bed. “Romance. Isn’t that a kind of lettuce?” she thought. Obviously, our heroine did not spend a lot of time getting to know the opposite sex.

Now, this lady had a rather unusual hobby--she was a soccer referee. She had spent many years honing her craft with the help of a kind and generous mentor. Said mentor could be annoyingly persistent when he wanted to see his protégé get better. Such was the case one summer when the kindly mentor harassed the living crud out her to go to a weekend-long class. Grudgingly, she went.

As was usual at these events, the class ratio was 30 men to 1 woman (hint to all you single women out there). And there were a number of interesting men present. But our heroine was tired and only wanted to get through the stupid classes so she could sleep. Nonetheless, there was one knight who was smart and funny and kind, and our heroine felt a small chink in her armor. But our knight lived in a far off land. At the end of the weekend, phone numbers were exchanged with promises of keeping in touch, without much hope by our lady fair of ever hearing from the knight again.

But lo and behold! The knight did call our lady fair. And he continued to call. He traveled the many miles from his land to visit. He had the lady travel to his land to see him in his natural habitat. Much money was spent on telephone bills and airplane tickets. The kids liked him. The parents like him. The friends liked him. She rrrreeeeaaaallllly liked him.

Very, very quickly, romance blossomed (and no it isn’t a kind of lettuce). Six months after they first met, the knight left his land to live in the lady’s realm. Nine months after they first met, they wed.

This isn’t a fairy tale, this is real life. That was 8 years ago. I wish I could say we lived happily ever after. But events intrude to make life bittersweet. I can tell you that I love this man more today than I did the day we married. And I didn’t think that was possible. I was married once previously. I have said many, many times that as badly as I married the first time, I married twice as good this time.

When you’re saying your vows, you hear the words, “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.” And many times, they wind up being just that: words. Well, my husband has gone above and beyond in keeping his vows. Little did we know that 4 years into our marriage, I’d be diagnosed with cancer and be in treatment ever since. And he has not only stood by my every single second--going to doctor’s appointments, tests procedures, holding my head while I’m throwing up, you name it--he has spent a lot of the time carrying me.

He is my friend, my lover, my life, and I am proud to be his wife.

Happy Anniversary M.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Southern California, I'm Sorry

As Southern Californians already know, and for those of you elsewhere who don’t, the weather this week is scheduled to be less than spring-like. And y’all, it’s my fault. I humbly apologize.

You see, 8 years ago tomorrow, I married my soul mate. The wedding was absolutely lovely. The reception, a lot of laughs. And through it all, it absolutely poured. Because I had broken my wrist just prior to the wedding, we decided to postpone a “real” honeymoon and drive up to Big Bear to spend the weekend. Torrential rains in the lowlands=snow in the mountains. After we made the rather treacherous trip up to the cabin, the Hubster turns to me and asks, “Is this normal weather for April?” To which I confidently replied, “Of course not.”

The next year, still on our newlywed high, we made a weekend trip back up to our honeymoon hideaway. And what kind of weather did we have? Snow. And again the following year, when it was time to again make the pilgrimage? Snow.

In fact, it has rained (“down the hill” as the locals say) every year around our anniversary--plus or minus 1 week. Some years, we’ve almost made it completely “dry,” but there has always been that small shower in that 2-week period. People, I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life, and I swear I don’t remember this kind of weather smack dab in the middle of April. Until the Hubster moved out here from New Mexico. Mother Nature is just loving to mess with us. In fact, the weather seems to be in direct proportion to the grandiosity of the anniversary plans. A couple of years, what with soccer tournaments and chemo regimes, we haven’t done much of anything. Those years=reasonably good weather.

This weekend, we’re planning on heading back up to our cozy hideway for the weekend. On the Goldwing. And the weather forecast? C'mon, do I really have to say it?

Really people, I am sorry.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Lost Days

I went to bed Wednesday feeling just fine. When I got up on Thursday morning, it was a different story. I wasn’t feeling the best, but it wasn’t bad enough to keep me home. Or so I thought. I made it into work and proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes at my desk shuffling papers and trying very hard not to throw up.

I gave up, came back home, and took my temp. When you’re on chemo your immune system is takes a beating. Any sign of a temp over 100.5F and into urgent care you go. Still hoping to avoid that, I called into the triage nurse. Long story short, I wound up in urgent care on an IV being given lovely anti-nausea medications (much needed by this time), and was sent home with a diagnosis of a nasty stomach virus.

The next 3 days are something of a blur. One thing that is not a blur (at least not completely) is that my final package from SP7 arrived Friday. It wasn’t until today, though, that I’m finally able to truly appreciate it’s fabulousness. Talk about a grand finale!

I start with the book--Socks, Socks, Socks. I start with that because I was carrying it around in my hands the other day when I was at my LYS. Turns out it was the store copy and I’d have to wait for Nancy to get a new shipment in. Not any more. So many really great patterns. Where to start?


Second, she made sure to include treats for my 4-legged roommates. Let it be told all the treats have been taste tested by the appropriate parties and it’s paws up all around.

Third, the human treats. My rumbly tumbly is not quite ready to appreciate the Boston Baked Beans, chocolate rocks, dark chocolate bars and mints, but I will attest to the yumminess of the honey. (Which I managed to forget to get in the picture. Very cute bear dispenser.)

Next, the knitting notions. Stitch markers, both commercial and handmade (by my pal? Very cute, btw), needles holders, and a yarn cutter. Always useful. Always appreciated.

And finally, the yarn. Oh, the yarn. Thank you so very much my special pal! Artyarns Merino in delicious greens and eggplant, Sunshine yarns in sunny colors with 2 more stitch markers (I have SO be wanting to get my hands on some of this yarn), and some handsome fingering weight yarn from Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill. None of these special yarns has graced my stash before and now I’m blessed with such sweet, sweet fibery goodness!

I’d love to introduce you to my pal, but she remains a secret pal yet. In my addled state, I may have missed a card or note (believe me, these past few days, that’s sooooo probable), but other than a return address near Boston, Mass. I’m no closer to knowing who she is. No fear, I’ve sent her an e-mail, and I’m sure all will be known in good time.

So for now, I will publicly say thank you, thank you, thank you Secret Pal. I have been truly and richly spoiled.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Minutiae

I finished this a few days ago, but only just now got around to posting the picture. The pattern is Heart by knitty.com, knit up on size 8US needles. The yarn is Nature Spun 100% wool yarn, Deep Sea colorway. The original pattern calls for chunky yarn, but since I wanted to have this for Relay for Life in mid-April, I went for a lighter weight yarn. Because of the smaller yarn I had to do twice as many pattern repeats. It’s a little longer than I planned (about 70”), but exactly the right width (4 ½”). This is the 10th project I’ve finished in 2006. Granted, none of them have been overly large, but I’d like to keep the pace going at 2 projects a month (or better) if I can.

Day before yesterday I alluded to some yarny goodness coming in the mail, and the subsequent casting on of a new project. 5 repeats later, and this is what I’ve got:

The Orso Wrap from the Noro Revisited book. The yarn is Silver Thaw by Noro, #5 colorway. Oooooohhhhhhh! It feels so good to be knitting this stuff. It’s not quite as wide as I’d like, but I only got 2 skeins of the yarn, and I’m afraid to play too fast and loose with the pattern. I really do like the traveling vine pattern. I’m already thinking up other projects that I can use it in.

I would have made this post yesterday, but the weather has been really crappy. It took out our phone service last night. Today, we have had this (along with lots of rain and wind):

No, the street and yard isn’t shiny, that’s hail. I’d say this is unusual weather, but April is not the most stable month for weather around here. Since this post is getting really long, I’ll save further comment on that in a few days on my wedding anniversary.

I finished 1 of mama’s socks, and cast on at lunch for the second. No SSS here, no way Jose.

Finally, I made a stop into my LYS. But I was a good girl. I really, really was. Despite some mega fiber temptation, I walked out with only a pattern book. Which one do you ask? Why it’s Not Just More Socks by Sandi Rosner. The way I figure it, as a member of SYAC, I need to be doing something with all that sock yarn in the next 90 days, not just avoid buying more. And the idea of knitting 40 pairs of socks just doesn’t do it for me, know what I mean? This book does have 3 sock patterns, all 3 of which I think I’ll wind up trying, but more importantly, there’s a really cute serpentine scarf and a couple different glove/mitten patterns worth trying.

Hi, ho, hi, ho, it’s off to knit I go!

Monday, April 03, 2006

I Love the Mail

First off, I got my Silver Thaw from Little Knits in the mail today. Such yarny goodness. I still had my ball winder at work, so I wound up the first skein and immediately cast on for Orso during lunch. Be still my heart. There's not enough to make taking a picture worthwhile, but if things work out, I'll be posting tomorrow.

The second goody I got in the office mail just made me smile. Let me start by saying that for the last 5 years, I have participated in Read Across America at an elementary school in town. I love it. They give me the kindergarteners and first graders. They're the best; you get to be so goofy and they just eat it up.

So last month, I was doing this:


And today I got this in the mail:
Perfect likeness, don't 'cha think?