Saturday, March 31, 2007

Saturday random thoughts

Look what came in the mail today! I participated in the Mystery Skein Swap, where we were paired up. Each sent a skein of yarn to their partner, who made something with it and sent it back. I sent some handspun white Cormo, my partner dyed it my colors and knit up this gorgeous shawl. Wow! If you look carefully, you can see the matching beaded ring holding the ends together.

On my personal knitting front, I finally seem to have gotten past my knitting block. This is a "Scrawl." The original was designed by Shelley Mackie and can be found here. I, of course, couldn't leave well enough alone, and changed the lace pattern. Instead of using sock yarn, I'm using some cinnamon colored alpaca that my knit buddy Dianne gave me for my birthday. It is knitting up fairly quickly -- it will go even faster once I get the pattern memorized! There is something about the 10 row pattern that hasn't "clicked" with my mind yet. I charted it in Stich and Motif Maker, but was too lazy to print it off. Just about the time I decided it was TIME to print it off, thunderstorms rolled through. sigh

I forgot to mention that Titania, our other grand-cat, was perfectly healthy when the vet saw her. Much to everyone's relief! Tora-chan is improving with the thyroid medication.

And last but not least, from the time I started until today, I put in 136.61 miles! I'm...astounded!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tuesday Progress Report!

I was going to present my celebration using the ticker to show that instead of the 100 miles I was going for, I've achieved 122.7 miles! Oddly enough, the ticker had a hard time dealing with the fact that I went BEYOND my goal. Poor thing. So I will change it to reflect my new goal. Between March 21st and July 4th I'm going to move this body 350 miles! That is the distance from here to Duluth. I can do this!

Weight hasn't been so good, but I can deal with it. I've shed a total of 10.25 inches!

The briefcase was fulled in the washing machine, but the inner pockets didn't get enough agitation. So, I've been wetting them down, and throwing it in the dryer. I think it is finally to an acceptable size. The little extra room there will be handy for stowage. It is no longer floppy.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Laptop Briefcase

It is done! There should be loud cheers of celebration! LOL As you can see, the inside divider and the pockets for that are not cooperating by fulling as well as the rest. I've wet just that part down twice and thrown it in the dryer, it has improved a lot, but still not enough. Suggestions? On the right of the bag you can kind of see the 4 rings that have been felted in place to hold keys. The laptop fits nicely, and this is going to be so handy when I want to go someplace.
I'm in the throes of trying to decide what to knit next. I do NOT want to do another felted project. But I don't feel up to knitting anything complicated. Decisions...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My Favorite Knitting Accessory

They aren't pretty -- but they are do preserve my sanity. Barrel Counters! I have so many of them -- because I use them in most of my projects. Lace, cables, stitch patterns -- I use these things!

When I am knitting an Aran pattern, I use one counter per stitch pattern. That way I can put it down, and I know I will be on the correct row when I pick it up. I don't buy the ones that have the plastic loop -- I do what I've done for years -- I put a piece of yarn through the center, make it into a loop then hang it from a marker.

Sunday Joys

  1. For having lost inches. They are gone for good.
  2. For sleep. The gift of a good night's sleep is priceless!
  3. For sourdough starter. I just started some last night, and it smells so good.
  4. For the act of making bread. Something so simple -- yet it carries a lot of meaning.
  5. Sunshine. The wind is blowing -- it is a good day to fly a kite! Storms may come later today, but right now the sunshine is filling the house.

Briefcase Giggle

I am being silly. The laptop is IN the briefcase. Looks ridiculous, doesn't it, as if there is no way it will felt/full down enough to be reasonable.

I'm making the second inner pocket, the first was the divider between the front and back -- laptop on one side, knitting/whatever on the other. I've picked up stitches on that divider, and am knitting up a long strip, that, when tacked down, will make pockets for my wallet, nebulizer, peak flow meter -- whatever.

I'm also going to put in 4 rings, so I can hang up each set of keys individually. The house keys, the car keys -- each will have its own home. I hate rummaging through keys to find the correct one. I am almost done with this -- I want to be about the business of finishing it!

Florence's Yarn

So, I decided to show the process this gorgeous yarn went through to get to where it is as the shawlette. Here is the yarn when it first arrived from Belgium (Florence makes paper too -- the skein wrapper was hand made from recycled paper. Beautiful!

Now I've dyed it, I love the way the light catches the wool and silk separately.

Knitting progress -- the purls catch the light differently than the knits, adding a different dimension.

It snugs against the shoulders so nicely. I can see myself throwing this on in winter for added warmth, in summer for breezes from the air conditioning. I had less than a yard/meter left of this wonderful yarn when I was done!

I grabbed a moment just before working out, hence the outfit. Though the brown top goes well with it, I think.

It is a little longer than expected (I told you I didn't do a gauge swatch!) but I can also toss the ends over my shoulders, pin it up higher -- all sorts of things.

Friday, March 23, 2007

We Spell Relief Tora-chan!

Tora-chan is Serena's cat. Serena rescued her when she was a kitten smaller than the palm of my hand. She is now 11. That cat holds a special place in our hearts. Recently, she started acting off. Very sluggish, very needy -- losing weight. She went to the vet today, it isn't the cat food problem as feared. She may have an underactive thyroid. Serena is to give her medication for 3 weeks and take her back for more testing. To tell you the truth, I glad that I'm not giving her medicine! LOL

The vet asked, "is she always this noisy?"
"I mean, does she talk like this ALL the time?"
"Is she EVER quiet?"
"Oh my."

That's Tora-chan, a tortoise-shell cat with a major attitude. All 6 and a half pounds of her. I believe 6 of those pounds are attitude. This is the only cat we ever had who refuses to give in to pressure about food. If she doesn't like it, she won't eat it. She'd rather starve. At one point, we tried giving her to someone else. She was down to 4 pounds when she came back to us, and she still wouldn't eat for the woman! We provided her with her preferred food, and she gained the weight back. We didn't try again. We waited for Serena to have a place where she could have her, and passed over the duty -- the cat makes it quite clear that she owns Serena, the rest of us are good as servants, but we are not her person.

Titania will go in tomorrow to be checked for the cat food problem, as she was exposed as well.

5 things for which I'm grateful

I've decided that I need to focus on positives right now, I signed up to write down 5 things for which I'm grateful each day. I think it is a step in the right direction. One must think positively to FIND positive things! LOL

Today's 5 things:
1. Today is my husband’s day off
2. The wonderful people who just gave us exercise equipment so I can work out!
3. Lungs that function well enough to be able to work out!
4. Forgiveness—I over-ate because of prednisone, but I have forgiven myself and am moving on again to better health.
5. Finished knitting the shawlette with enough determination to ride over on the briefcase.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I'm struggling

I am on prednisone, I only have 3 more days to go before I'm off of it. I saw the doctor today, I have almost normally behaving lungs again. Which is really a gift, when you think about it.

Yet I'm about ready to go ballistic! This is a normal side effect of pred, but it is NOT pleasant. I feel as if I need an anger management class -- so I don't attack the next innocent (or not so innocent) person near by.

Sounds are attacking me. What is a normal, every day sound is actually an attack. The washing machine? I feel it in every fiber of my being, it affects my heartbeat, my lungs, and I feel the need to run away. The hum of the freezer is impinging on every atom of my being. Voices echo deep inside of me, I feel a need to run away or to attack.

Yesterday was the anniversary of J. S. Bach's birthday, XM Classics did an all day concert of his works. I normally LOVE his works. I had to turn it off, as the sounds were burrowing under my skin, ramping up the anxiety level.

Today I readily admit the fact that there were times I would have easily and GLADLY attacked someone, probably Howard. I was that mentally out of control. I even thought that anger management classes were a good idea, because I knew that I wasn't dealing well.

As the pred dissipates from my system, this will pass. But SHIT!

I woke up this morning sure that I had a migraine. I took the neat little migraine med, hoping for relief from the sensory overload. Didn't happen. I stayed wide awake, with every neuron on attack mode. This meant that I was too out of order to be able to work out, to try to get further under control. I redid my Excel exercise sheet, saying that I'd been unable to work out today because of my asthma.

Our denomination's watch phrase is from Gracie Allen, "Never place a period where God has placed a comma." Close enough for my purposes, when I'm having a hard time making sense. Tonight I put on my workout clothes. Who cares that I could feel every dratted loop of the cotton in the socks. That I could FEEL the talk between Howard and Serena in every fiber of my muscles. And I started on the Gazelle. At least I was able to get the anger in almost control. I took a break half way through, because I needed to check on clothes in the dryer. But, I finished the workout. And I'm doing better. I'm not where I normally am, but the pred isn't winning. Tonight. I nearly fell off the Gazelle several times, which is why I hadn't worked out earlier in the day. But I kept going. I think it made a difference.

And I'm almost off the pred.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Secret Pal 10!

Wow, do I have a great Secret Pal for SP10! The postman rang the doorbell today, and handed me a package with this!

There is an Evelyn Clark FiberTrends pattern -- The Estonian Garden Wrap that I've been thinking about buying (I have to figure out just the right yarn for it!) ; a cute pen (how did she know that every single pen in the kitchen had gone dry?!) ; 4 darling stitch markers; and these springtime socks. Aren't they fun! What a delightful package. What a wonderful partner!


Vogue Knitting

Wow! What a GREAT issue! This is the first magazine issue I've seen in a while that I have found multiple project ideas -- things I want to pick up and do NOW! Sheesh! I'll do this one, and this one, and this one, and...

My internal image seems to be changing -- some of the pieces that before would have been rejected as "for a skinny person" now look as if they would be quite reasonable on me. I'll make them smaller than I currently am, because I'm shrinking. No point in making something that won't fit soon! Instead, I'll make it to complement the new me!

I'm so close to finishing the shawlette from Florence's handspun. Really I am. 3 more rows on the body then the ties. I can do this today. Really. Maybe if I keep telling myself. I keep getting interrupted by pred brain. In other words, I *knit a few stitches, check progress* and repeat between the *s*.

I don't know if it is because of pred brain or something else, but I have a VERY difficult time with 2 by 3 ribbing. K2 P3. I do all sorts or variations, as soon as I try to go on autopilot (which is frequently) I have to tink back and start over. Is it that I NEED a balanced pattern in my mind? I don't know. But it is very frustrating. If I had known I'd have this problem when I first started this I'd have changed it to k2 p4. Too late now, but it is something to note for the future.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Samson's Fleece

Remember that the kids gave me an alpaca fleece? I decided that I'd rinse it before I sent it in to be processed. I think, looking at the washing machine afterwards, it was a good idea. What do you think? For some reason, after looking at this, I ran the washing machine with hot water, laundry detergent and plenty of bleach! LOL
I think I'm going to have this blended with a Shetland fleece, but I've not decided. Part of me wonders about a Rambouillet, but the idea of not having to buy anything else to go with this...

Tuesday Check-in

The total mileage for this week isn't nearly as impressive -- I had to cut way back because of asthma. I had to skip a couple of days, and now I'm having to build back up. Instead of going an hour, I made it to 40 minutes today and consider that a victory of sorts. I don't think I'm going to be blowing by my mileage goal as I originally hoped, but I do plan to achieve it!

No, I don't like asthma, or prednisone, or the other things associated with it. But I WILL NOT allow them to leach my joy of life out any longer. I will cope with them, I will do what I need to do so that I can live as healthy of a life as I can (and yes, if that means using the nebulizer every 2 hours when out of control -- and calling the doctor -- I shall.) BUT, I will maintain as healthy of a lifestyle as I possibly can within the parameters imposed upon me from the outside.

Weight loss just scraped by this week, with a 1/2 pound down. I consider that a victory, as I have been on 120 mg of pred -- which has a side effect of causing one to eat whatever is in sight. The clothes are fitting better.

Monday, March 19, 2007

It isn't funny

You know, it isn't fun when you develop an allergy to another antibiotic. I wish the nurses would give up trying to be cute and to remind me that I'm making things more difficult to prescribe. Don't you think I know? I'm probably less happy about it than THEY are!

Gorgeous yarn!

I fell off the single knitting project with a bang! I really tried to be resolute and stick with the briefcase until I was finished. But the boredom factor hit so hard...I was unable to resist the lure of a new project.

Florence in Belgium had spun up some lovely laceweight Gotland for Spin Me a Treasure. It isn't a smooth yarn, it has slubs throughout. The original lamb fleece was very silver, with black bits, which was too cold looking for me. So earlier last week I dyed it and some lovely angora/wool, handspun by Helle in Denmark, a bronze gold color. Perfect! And I kept trying to be true to the briefcase. The first picture is of Florence's yarn, the second is Helle's. Really, the second picture is closer to the true color of both, although the first shows the differences in tone. They are both GORGEOUS!

Finally, I'd had enough of the briefcase. The body is finished, I'm working on the divider between the front and the back. This is just acres of stockinette. Unfortunately, as I was working along, I started mentally detailing what I had left to knit. THAT was a mistake. Rest of divider, at least 2 pockets, key holders (I want several, as I keep different keys on different rings, why take them all off if I can just take off one!) strap (which I haven't decided quite how to do yet)... And the listing was too much.

I pulled out the Gotland and wound it into a ball. It broke 3 times, so I know there are places where the spinning is a bit fine. I'll have to watch and not block too aggressively.
I was too lazy to design something myself, so started looking for patterns. was down, so I had to look elsewhere. I looked at archives. Hm, the "Tie One On" had possibilities. Since the yarn is lighter than the options given, I'd still have to play with the pattern. For this yarn, I don't want to do dropped stitches (piquant style) because the slubs will hang up. It also needs a fairly simple pattern, to compliment the yarn, instead of trying to work against it. Okay, I'm doing the pink version (tangy) only with the number of stitches in the piquant. No, I didn't do a gauge swatch, although I really know better. I just wanted to GET STARTED! Sigh It is looking good so far, I'm doing it on largish needles for the yarn size. Here you get a sense of the color playing in the piece. I like it, don't you?! Once the camera and computer play nicely, I promise to take a better picture!

The camera and the new laptop are still not speaking. So, in desperation I downloaded them to the old computer, and then e-mailed them via gmail to myself. sigh What a nuisance!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Still struggling

I'm still wheezing away, the doctor doubled my prednisone yesterday to 120 mg a day for 3 days, then start tapering again. I still slowly sink into the yellow (trouble) zone about every 4-5 hours. This is NOT fun. I will slog on through, but it has stopped my exercising. I tried, it seems to make the situation worse.

We were due for new cell phones on our plan, and they arrived yesterday. Serena's was popped aboard UPS, Mom's is all ready to go (phone book on it and all settings done except activation), I'll wait until Monday and send hers off. That way she can still talk on the phone all weekend. Last night I spent over an hour on the phone with tech support, it sounds as if we have a bad batch of phones -- they work for calling, but can't do web updates. I am going to wait until Serena has a chance to receive her phone, activate it, and find out if hers has the same problem. If so, they are going to replace 3 phones, but not Mom's. Mom isn't going to do web updates anyway. I am going to make them send Serena's to HER, instead of sending it here, and making me pay shipping to her place. I am not amused. That was a LONG time on the phone with them, to not the best results.

Speaking of customer service, at least in a roundabout way, remember the sock yarn that didn't match? The company sent 2 replacement skeins (even though I bought 4 originally -- they said that this way I'd have enough for a pair of socks that matched.) When the package came, much to my chagrin I found the same problem with THOSE two skeins, one was muted and one was bright. Sigh. So I have 3 skeins that are muted and 3 skeins that are bright. Neither set is enough for a pair of knee socks. I called to express my opinion, and was told that is normal variation in a variegated yarn. I don't think so. For heaven's sake, muted to bright is NOT normal variegation. If one entire skein is muted, the others in the dye lot should be as well. If the entire skein is bright, they ALL should be. I have pretty much sworn off buying sock yarn from that company. Too bad, that used to be quite a reputable place.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ack Spit!

My laptop is having issues. Right now it won't talk nicely to the camera. Among other things. Even though I have it instructed to save the pictures on the camera to my hard drive, it insists on trying to save them back to the camera, which doesn't appreciate the "gift."

Which means that the lovely pictues I wanted to show you of the dye job I did yesterday won't show up here until after the computer guy figures it out -- at the earliest tomorrow. There are enough problems that he wants to research all of them before taking the computer away from me.

I want to do the "Heere Be Dragone Shawl" "Heere Be Dragone Shawl" and thought I had the perfect yarn on hand, it matched yards per pound, but it was white. Helle had spun up a beautiful wool/angora yarn for me, and I truly thought that would be perfect, if I could get the dye job to work out "just right." Unfortunately, I forgot to take the nature of angora into account (my fault, I'm still really new at dyeing.) The yarn wound up with subtle variegations of tone within the skein. Enough that I'm afraid it will obscure that pattern, which would be a disaster with this shawl!

I also dyed the lovely skein of Gotland Florence my "Spin Me A Treasure" spoiler sent to me from Belgium. The grey tones were a bit too cold for me, so I also dyed it the bronze/gold in the same dyebath. It is gorgeous! I'm really looking forward to knit with it. ,

Freudian Slip?

The doc told me yesterday that I also had “acute exacerbated bronchitis” which I thought was a funny name. Of course, when I wrote the kids about it via text message, I wrote it “acute exasperated bronchitis.” How is THAT for a Freudian slip! LOL

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

This Week's Update

Just to keep myself honest...



I gave up and called the pulmo's office (as we had agreed I would) to let his office know I am in the midst of asthma problems and I would start pred. Once again his office insisted that I should drive the 90 minute round trip to go to the office, pay the fee, and see thePA. I was upset. Howard suggested that I call my GP's office to see if I could get in. I did, and had the appointment this afternoon. I'm back on pred and also an antibiotic, just in case, because I've been fighting this for 4 days.

No exercise today, I didn't feel up to it. So far, the prednisone has not caused an energy burst either. I'd thought that perhaps it would, in which case I'd work out. Oh well.

Maybe I'll be able to knit again soon!

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Right now I've not been knitting much -- which I just realized (as I typed that!) means I've probably needed to check my peak flow for several days. sigh I told you that I have a hard time realizing it!

The briefcase is pretty much a shapeless blob at this point, I have the body finished and am working away at the flap. Then I "just" have the strap, the pockets, the separator left to go. Still thinking about whether I need to line it with anti-static fabric or not.

Yesterday I sewed 2 aprons for my mom. She had asked for them (actually one not 2) in October while we were there, I just got around to it. The main problem was fabric. The closest fabric store is 1/2 hour away, and I hate to go that far just for fabric. Add in the problem that for part of the time we only had one car, and I didn't get over there. But just before the last snowstorm, I drove over, planning to go to the mega discount store, then to the fabric. But, while there I noticed that they had discontinued colors of bath sheets for $5. Much cheaper than fabric, probably. So I bought 2 and took them home. They were blue, Mom would be happy with any color so long as it is blue! LOL They sat there, waiting for me. Yesterday was THE day! I sewed them up, then found a box for them. All taped, addressed and waiting for me to take it to the post office tomorrow! Yay!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Week Already?

I am working hard at this, as you can see by my totals! I don't expect this rate of decrease in weight to continue, but it is certainly nice while it lasts! Let's see what my doctor says tomorrow when I see him! I wonder if he will notice! I'm going to ask him about the newest recommendations for women's heart health. They now say that instead of the half hour a day several days a week that women should work out 60-90 (!) minutes a day EVERY day of the week. I'm at 60, do I have to go up to 90? Do you hear that whine? LOL

The briefcase is still going. And going. And going. That is the disadvantage of felting/fulling a project, you have to make it so much bigger than the final product!


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Drat, drat, drat, drat, drat!

Just before I changed over computers, I copied almost all of my pictures from the computer to a CD. I was leary about deleting them from my computer, because I didn't want to lose them. I checked the CD several times, and they seemed to be on the CD. I finally deleted them, because I thought it would be too much to move over to the new computer.

Fast forward to now. I popped the CD in my new machine and tried to pull up some pictures. They are gone. There is nothing in many of the folders. Pictures of family, knitting, scenery all gone. The only ones I can retrieve are the ones I've posted here. Blech!

On top of that, I bought a new pair of yoga pants the other day. I know they came home, I've found the tag. But I can't find them! I've checked in usual and unusual places. Howard has looked. I've even gone through the trash from that time until now. Nada. I don't understand!

The laptop thingie is proceeding slowly. Or maybe it just feels slowly. I'm fighting the stitches over the left needle of the circular several times a row, it just isn't feeding. This would be a great time to have ordered the Knitpicks Options kit with the larger needle sizes -- which I hadn't thought I'd need! Then I would put a smaller needle on the left, the correct size on the right and just go around and around without the resistance.

I work out in the same room that has so much of my fleece and the Louet spinning wheel. As I sit there recovering after (I'm usually too shaky to shower at that point, and I really need a shower by the time I'm done) I want to spin. But I'm too shaky. Perhaps soon I'll just start anyway!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Rain, freezing rain, sleet, hail and snow -- oh my!

This was Thursday evening, the car was sheltering the front of the garage, so we didn't have as much snow there.
I knocked off the icicles before the snow hit, just out of curiosity. This is after I did that.
The snow blew against the front door.
And it blew against the BACK door.

This is a small drift near the house, I liked the way the wind sculpted it.
Bless Mike for coming and plowing us out! You will notice he isn't using the small snowblower this time, but had to pull out the big machine!

See our car? See the drift behind it that is TALLER than our car? Aren't you glad that you aren't shoveling this out? I am! Blizzard warnings through tomorrow evening for our area. There were times yesterday that I could barely see the houses across the street.

Noon news announced that 15,100 customers are without power in Iowa. Most highways are still closed.

Nathan wrote that they had spent over an hour shoveling out their driveway, and the snowplow came through and put up a 3 foot snowdrift at the end of it. So he decided to go back inside and have a cup of coffee before preparing himself to go out and clear the end of the drive so he could go to work. Kim's work was cancelled, his wasn't. Thank God he made it to work safely.

Kim wrote later that Tucker, our "grand-dog" is having a hard time with that much snow, it is over his head and he doesn't like it! LOL I don't blame him!