Sunday, February 11, 2007

Why I don't make New Year's resolutions

I don't make New Year's resolutions because I never keep them, and knowing I didn't keep a resolution makes me feel guilty, like a failure. This blog is a prime example. If I had made a resolution to blog more often, I'd be wallowing in guilt every time I got on the computer. I do want to get better about posting more often, but I'm going to look at it as something to work on, not something I have to do in order to not be a terrible person.

Anyway, I got a phone call from my dad at work last Friday. He called to tell me bad news and worse news. The merely bad news was that they tore down my childhood home last Wednesday. After my grandmother died in 2002, my dad and my aunt sold the property to a developer, so I knew it would happen at some point, but it still made me sad. More on that in a future post.

The worse news was that my uncle was in the hospital with an inoperable cancerous brain tumor. He'd been having headaches and vision problems since November, and kept putting off having an MRI. Last Friday, he became incoherent and was taken to the hospital. The doctor said he might not live until the end of this week to go to Philadelphia for an oncology consultation. My parents and I went to Dover to see him Saturday, and were (pleasantly) surprised to see him sitting in his bed, thanking us for coming to see him! It turns out that he had missed two dialysis treatments and hadn't been taking his insulin, so once all that was straightened out, he felt better. This Friday, my cousin emailed us with an update. It turns out that they now think he doesn't have cancer, but a fungal infection called zygomycosis, which often affects the eye/sinus area. He will go to Phila. sometime this week for a second opinion, but it doesn't look good. His health isn't that good to begin with, with the diabetes and kidney failure, and the information we found online said the prognosis for this thing is grave, so it's more a matter of finding out how long he has, rather than curing it. We went to see him again yesterday, and he looked OK, but we get the impression that they haven't told him how serious this condition is. He said something about dodging a bullet by not having cancer, but didn't seem too worried about the zygomycosis, so we think he doesn't know the full story yet. Maybe it's better that they wait until the other doctors examine him and they find out for sure what is going on. All the rest of us can do is wait and hope.

On top of all that, after the call from my dad, I was talking to my friend Ed at work. His partner, Wayne, is going through a depression and isn't taking care of himself. Last year, he got sick and it turned to pneumonia and he almost died. Now he's sick again, and again isn't doing anything about it, so Ed is worried that they'll have a repeat of last year. Between that and the depression, Wayne won't even get up off the couch, and Ed is at his wits' end.

Yeah, last Friday pretty much sucked.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

No witty title today

Lots to talk about today...

I finally found the Monday knitting group (would it kill the people in Columbia to put up some signs so you can actually find Panera bread?!?) and have been to a couple of the knit nights. They're a fun group, and this Monday, Amie helped me figure out how to graft the straps for this:

Melinda at Tess Yarns hired me to knit samples for her, and this is the first one. It's the Honeymoon Cami from, and I knitted it in microfiber ribbon. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, but grafting the straps was a bitch. I must have done each strap 6 or 7 times before I got them presentable. The ribbon is so slippery that the stitches in the previous row slide around and get misshapen, so I just did the best I could. I hope Melinda likes it well enough to have me do more for her, because she pays me in yarn...

...which will come in handy, since I went to Parkville last weekend to see my friend Lisa's new baby, and she wants me to knit her another blanket like the one I did for the shower. Baby Georgia (although her parents call her Beach House, since now they won't be getting one) is one month old already, and what a little cutie she is!

Lisa and Mark told me that Georgia likes to be swaddled, but Teeny Houdini keeps wiggling out of all the blankets except mine. Lisa called it (ahem) the Miracle Blanket. That's it in the picture of Georgia, and here are some pictures with really bad color that I can't seem to fix:

The colors in the closeup of Georgia are more accurate--they're bright primary colors with navy blue stripes. I got the instructions from one of Mary Walker's books, and was really pleased, because for once, something turned out just like I had imagined it would. I've ordered the yarn for the new blanket, and it will be Peach Melba (bright peach, fuschia, raspberry, and purple) with dark purple stripes. I think that will be pretty for a little girl.

Yesterday, I knitted a Mason-Dixon Dishcloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting.

I'm going to knit two for Xmas for my grandmother, who lives in an assisted-living place and has trouble holding things. I am going to put a bar of soap inside and knit an i-cord cord to gather it like they showed in the book. That way, she should be able to hold it better than a bar of soap when she takes her showers. I might knit a couple for my mom and Amy, too. I also saw the Garterlac dishcloths on this blog, so I will probably throw a couple of them in the mix, too. I took an entrelac class at Cloverhill last year, so it won't take me long to do them. I'm one of those weirdos who likes to knit entrelac, so any excuse will do.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Finally, a progress shot

As promised, here are some shots of my finished FLAK back.

My original plan was to use moss stitch/double seed stitch as the filler, but then I saw a cable pattern in one of Elsebeth Lavold's books that I liked. The repeat fits in with the other cables, and the gauge is about the same as the filler stitch, so I went with it. (It's the cable on the left) I'm happy with how the back turned out, and I've been trying very hard to remember to check the cables at the end of every row. The stitch markers really help me keep track of the cables, so I haven't made too many mistakes.

I've started the front, but I can't go too far before I have to figure out how to fit the short rows into the cables. Kelly at Cloverhill told me she'd help me, so I'll have to go up there soon. It seems like every class I take is taught by her, and I'm glad. She explains the mechanics of things very clearly, and tells you why you are doing something, so you really understand the process. I took a class on short rows from her recently, and took my FLAK with me. She seemed really pleased at how well I was doing with cables. I told her I couldn't have done it without her, and it's true. She demystified cables and gave me the courage to do something as advanced as the FLAK.

I went to Ollie's for the first time yesterday. I'd heard about it from Mom, so stopped in to check it out. $150 later, I left with a whole cart full of stuff! That place has all kinds of stuff, from sheets to hair dye to carpeting to drills to slot machines! I got a new set of glasses for $14, to replace my 20-year old set that is missing about half. I got some things for Xmas gifts, and a bunch of little things like extension cords and shower cleaner. My big score was a large Scunci steamer for $30, and it included a Swiffer-like mop set. Apparently, people use the steamers to clean things--who've thought? Hey, maybe I'll try steam-cleaning my shower! Nah.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Looking up

Been feeling better the last few weeks. I still haven't found a doctor to see about my meds, but taking them twice a day has helped, so it doesn't feel as urgent as it did. My therapist is on vacation until next week, but she gave me homework. I'd forgotten that they do that. I know it's stuff that's good for me, but it's hard. I guess that's what I pay her for.

I went to Rehoboth Beach last weekend with my parents, Auth Ruth, Uncle Paul, Julia, and her two kids. It was nice to get away for a few days, but I don't know how relaxing it was with 8 of us in that little cottage. That's the bad thing about having everyone there--you do everything as a group. The Delaware Symphony Orchestra gave a concert by the water in Lewes, followed by fireworks. I think Julia and her kids were bored, but I enjoyed it, except that I forgot to bring my knitting! It was the perfect knitting situation, and I blew it. Sigh.

On Saturday, there was a sandcastle contest on the beach, so Mom, AR, J, Ridgely, Daniel and I went to see the entries. (See what I mean about doing everything as a group?) There were some amazing castles and sculptures, but they were mixed in with the people on the beach, so it was crowded and hard to take pictures. Here are a few that I really liked:

A melting snowman and igloo

I'm a sucker for dripped-sand trees

Front view...
...and the back yard

What's that you say? How did I get those pics on my blog? Funny you should ask. I used my birthday money toward a digital camera, and got a Canon PowerShot A540. I'm used to using an SLR, so I was glad to find one that lets you choose the aperture, shutter speed, or both. Not that I know how to make it do that yet, of course. I think I'm going to have to learn one new thing a week, because just looking at the menu screen turns me into a blithering idiot. This thing sure does a lot of stuff! The last two pictures were done by "stitching" two pictures together. I decided to play around with that setting, and it seemed to work pretty well. I also took some shots of my completed FLAK back, so stay tuned for that post, coming soon.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


People always think I'm such a cheerful person, but most of them don't know that I suffer from depression. For years, I walked around feeling not quite right, like some of the color had been washed out of everything. While my marriage was heading downhill, I was diagnosed with double depression--disthymia, or chronic low-grade depression, punctuated by periods of major depression. I started taking antidepressants and seeing a therapist, and I pulled myself up into the land of the living. Leaving my husband helped a lot, since our mutual misery kept feeding on itself. I felt like I had a new lease on life: I went to the gym, started dating, and generally started living, instead of just existing. I stopped seeing my therapist after about 2 years, because I felt like I was to the point where we were just doing some fine-tuning.

Things were great. Then I met John.

We only dated for a few months, but it was so intense, it felt like we were together for a lot longer. One day, out of the blue, he said he couldn't see me any more. I had known all along that I wouldn't want to marry him or anything, but I still didn't take it well. I lost my momentum, and thus began my long slide back into depression. Over the last couple years, I could feel myself slipping back into the old feeling, but a few weeks ago, it hit hard. I knew I was in trouble when I didn't want to look at a pair of knitting needles. I usually pick up my knitting almost as soon as I get home, but for the last few weeks, I haven't touched it. Then I woke up one day and could barely get myself out of bed. I called out sick, and called my insurance company to find a therapist. I've seen her twice so far, and I think she'll be a good fit--she focuses on the body as well as the mind. I'll get through this eventually, but right now, it all feels overwhelming. I know I shouldn't have waited this long to start back up, but inertia is a powerful thing. I've got to find something to get me going again, to get my momentum back. I don't know what it will be, but I hope it shows up soon.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Happy birthday to me! (you too, Julia)

Today is my birthday! To distract your attention away from exactly which birthday this one is, I will share a trivia tidbit with you: my cousin Julia and I were born on the same day. As I used to remind her, and she now reminds me, I'm 11 hours older. So my one grandmother became a grandmother for the first time twice in one day. Growing up, we called ourselves "twin cousins", and since I have just one brother, she was the closest thing I had to a sister. (I've got to write about some of her escapades sometime. I told her that I don't need to watch soap operas, I've got her!) When my sister-in-law was pregnant with The Cutest Kids in the Whole Wide World, people would ask if twins run in my family. Now, to be polite, I wouldn't mention that the female makes fraternal twins, so it wouldn't matter if they did run in my family. However, I missed months of chances to say, "Why, yes, they do. In fact, I have a twin cousin", and watch them try to figure it out. Sigh. When will I get another chance like that?

Enough toying with peoples' brains. Years ago, I came up with my two rules for life:
Rule #1--Never work on your birthday. It doesn't matter what I do, it just matters that I'm not at work. I haven't worked on my birthday in about 20 years. Some people think I'm a litle odd for that one, but hey, a person's got to have priorities.
Rule #2--When you go out to dinner, always get dessert. See what I mean about priorities? I've eased up on this one now that I eat out more, but failing to even ask if I want dessert is an automatic deduction on the tipping scorecard. I mean, at least give me the option!

After I split up with my husband and started dating, I had to add a few more rules, but we won't talk about them right now...

So, happy birthday to me, and happy birthday to my twin cousin, Julia. Sorry I forgot to send you a card again this year. Out of all the birthdays, you'd think hers would be the one I wouldn't forget!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ay! Oh! Where did you go? Ohio*

Last week, my mom, aunt, cousin and I drove to Ohio to see the exhibit of Princess Diana's dresses. Luckily for our budget, my aunt and uncle have friends who live near Dayton, and they invited us to stay at their house. My first thought when we finalized our plans was, "Oh boy, all that time in the car to knit!" I wasn't really in the middle of anything, and I don't like to start a project on a trip, because you never know what will crop up once you've started, but I picked up the stitches for the back of my FLAK and took along the yarn and pattern to start the Fairy Net Blouse from the latest issue of Knits. Things did not go well. Problem #1: I found out that I get carsick when I knit in the car, so I could only knit for short periods of time. Problem #2: I only had time to pick up the stitches on the FLAK before I left, not start the pattern, and I really didn't want to do it in the car, where I wouldn't be able to concentrate on getting it right. Problem #3: I brought what looked like plenty of yarn for the Fairy Net Blouse, but I ran out before we even got to Ohio. Smart move, eh?

I did find some quiet time Sunday to do the first couple of rows of the FLAK back, and did a few more rows on the way home, but I had added a cable at the last minute, and didn't look too closely at the pattern before I left, so I wasn't sure if I was doing it right. I stopped at row 5, figuring there was no point going any further until I was sure I had gotten the pattern right. Naturally, I hadn't, so I frogged the whole section and started over last night. I'm almost through one pattern repeat, and I'm being careful to check my cable crossings after every row so I can catch any mistakes in time to fix them easily.

As for the Fairy Net Blouse, I did some tinkering with the pattern, but it was while we were in the car, so I don't know if it'll work or not. I did it my usual way--add a few stitches here, leave out a couple rows there--without sitting down and figuring out if it will actually make the pattern fit better. Before I go any further, I really need to sit down and do some calculations to see if I can salvage what I've done so far. Also, I didn't read the pattern ahead of time to see that there is a turned hem. I have instructions for doing a no-sew version, which I would prefer, but since I hadn't read the pattern, I didn't know to take them.

So despite all my dreams of uninterupted knitting time, the most I will have accomplished is 5" of one sweater, and the least is nothing. Great.

By the way, the Princess Diana exhibit? Awesome!

*With apologies to Chrissie Hynde