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Thursday, April 30, 2009

my other life

I've been told, many times, that I should write, that I am a writer. But, like anything that is done well, it is done by those who are compelled to do it, passionate about what they are doing.

I am passionate about designing. I am passionate about flowers. I am passionate about animals.

I do not feel compelled to write, not fiction, not non-fiction, not the poetry I wrote as a young girl, as I was deciding who I wanted to be, what it was that I loved.

I used to have so many deja-vus, each easily the germ of, at least, a short story.

It's been a long time between deja-vus.

Can one write about the past, live in the past long enough to flesh it out, or embellish it, without ending up feeling that the magic of the past, the magic of partly-imagined places is never more, will never again be felt, be experienced as real. It seems like magic has passed me by.

Or has it just mellowed, melding with day to day life so much that one doesn't notice it, unless one really looks hard, like seeing a gnome in a gnarled old tree. The layers of surviving life seem to dull the magic.

Or maybe it needed to stand out then, as a more potent reminder of getting to the correct path. Once on the path, like once married to your soul-mate, you don't need these reminders.

I have always been a romantic. I believe in love. I believe in things working out. Without this belief, I could not see a purpose to each day.

Maybe I'm living some of my stories, the ones I might have written. It's a nice thought. Though this chapter is wearying. The next one better be lighter.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

biopsy prep, more springtime pics

biopsy prep
Gave blood this morn in prep for the upcoming CAT-aided biopsy coming Friday (May Day) to a theatre near me - I mean a hospital near me!

It just goes on and on!

I've been in limbo for 2 days. Try and get a doctor to get back to you, especially one who's perpetually double-booked.

And the vest I'm working on runs out of yarn near the end. Only need an ounce or so to do the edgings. But I'm lost without something to do, and as it was too hot yesterday to do lots of housework or work in the garden or bake anything, knitting was it, but I had nothing else in progress to knit on!

So, I pulled out some Cascade 220 and some Cascade Cloud 9 and began a sock design, which started to settle that feeling of being at 6's and 7's with myself. Now where did that phrase come from?!

Today is cooler, thank goodness, so I can get into the garden later and continue weeding. Hubby mentioned that we're gonna have a frost warning tonight. I told him the other day, I don't dare plant things til May 1st. We always get frost at the end of April. I need those bamboo poles for the peas asap - hopefully this weekend.

More laundry and floors to scrub today - the house is approaching clean! Except for the million or so windows to wash. Which is good, as the eldest of my 3 younger brothers will be visiting soon and I hate having anyone see a dusty or disheveled house. He wouldn't care, I'm sure, but *I* care.

So many times I feel like a clean and orderly house is all I have to be proud of, all that I can seem to accomplish. I know it's not true, but it's easy to feel useless, when illness turns your life upside down and impinges on your loved ones for far too long. These are fleeting thoughts, I fight them!, but they return. Frequently.

more springtime pics
The latest heat wave has made things burst into bloom before their time. The Bleeding Hearts and the cherry trees are on time,

but the lilacs are early,

and this white bush usually takes longer to bust out, but did so almost overnight!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

some pics


and more Pickles

spring flowers

and more spring flowers

Linens organized. What a relief!
Waiting on DD to relinquish 2 down quilts, which will be machine washed and dried (yes, dried with clean tennis balls to fluff them up)
and stored in the remaining 2 plastic buckets.

Monday, April 27, 2009

ISO Beaverslide Winter Rosehip yarn

Am needing to purchase a small quantity of Beaverslide’s new 3-ply 100% merino fisherman wt. wool yarn, color Winter Rosehip - Dyelot 2 would be ideal, but am interested in any dyelot.

It comes in 160 yds/4 oz hank. Even a partial hank will be helpful.

Thanks for checking your stashes!


life and designing

Gotta run to the doc soon for a finger prick to check on anemia status. Ate 3 of Pookie's meatballs yesterday - maybe that'll help, tho I try and stay await from a lot of meat - too hard to digest. I'm really a nut and berry girl! Well, with plentiful side doses of pasta!

Like Sophia says, "Everything you see I owe to spaghetti." I just wish I had something else besides my hips to point to that owes its existence to pasta!

Then more scrubbing on today's agenda., and possibly a brief stint in the great outdoors to begin raking up the willow fronds.

And I do mean brief - not supposed to get overheated while on the water pill.

But the kid (kid! young man) who's agreed to come do some lawn work won't be available for another week+, and while the ragginess around here is acceptable in early April, by the time May hits, one expects the lawns to be cleaned up and ready to be mowed. I don't want the place looking like it's gone to the dogs.

Making my way through that 2nd vest sample, bit by bit. And am debating on whether I want to return to the long-suffering Peace Fleece cardigan design or begin some sock designs..

CBC came back over 10, so didn't need Procrit shot. Meatballs musta worked! Raked for 5 minutes - too hot. Will scrub floors instead.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

organizing, pics of this and that

I've been in organizing mode lately. Maybe because it's spring, maybe because I'm not sure if the radiation will poop me out too much, and knowing things are disorganized, but unable to tend to them, would irk me to no end! So, I'm getting my house in order.

New linen room is de-bedroomed, except for the dresser. 4' wide, 6' tall white metal shelving unit is waiting to be put together.

Gotta bring down the 5' table from the attic. (All with hubby's help - too heavy and unwieldy to do alone.)

Then, once all the linens are there, I can put all the gift wrapping supplies and all my design samples into the freestanding closet in the small bedroom upstairs. Right now, wrapping stuff is here and there, samples are here and there. I do hate that. I like everything to have its place. Otherwise, when the other household members ask where is such and such, I gotta remember the 3 or 4 places it *might* be in. Heck, if I could, I'd label everything like Martha does!

And with the spring organizing comes spring cleaning. Made possible by the 93 degree temp we had yesterday, which warmed up the house enough so my fingers wouldn't go white on me.

Polished all the brass yesterday - 7 candlesticks, 2 sconces, 3 floor lamps, the pull-chain door bell and the barometer trim, dusted ceilings, washed some woodwork and did hand washing.

More of such fun doings are on today's agenda.

Honestly, more often than not, I feel like a washlady, not a designer. All's I need is Lucy's costume.

Just as hubby feels like Mr. Fixit. Unfortunately, tho he can clean better than I can (he can see better), I can't fix anywhere as good as he can. Or else we'd change places for awhile.

pics of this and that

my birthday balloons are still going strong

not the good, the bad and the ugly, but the done, the almost done and the undone

OK, we have some dumb animals around here. Something dug this hole to go under this bit of lattice.

but not 2 feet away is this

wide opening!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Damn and Blast!

Well, I spoke too soon yesterday!

The water issue is better, not fixed, but better, and the hips are better, but the Tylenol doesn't quite cut it when it comes to pain relief, like the Ibuprofen, which I can't go near for the next 3 months because of the blood thinner. Aack - no Ibuprofen! How does anyone get through the day without Ibuprofen? So, I'm back to waking up feeling stiff and sore and not really getting to feel optimal during the day.

Drugs and illness conspiring to keep me down. As the Brits say, Damn and Blast! But I'm not easily kept down.

It's warming up today through the weekend, which is good as more weeding awaits - am on the 5th bed, so only 1.7 beds remains and 2 paths, but these are the worse, weed-wise.

I also have my new linen room to set up, but haven't yet, as it's been too cold in most of the house and my fingers are still doing the Reynaud's thing.

Of course, you know what happens - as soon as it warms up, it's too warm to sleep well, but too soon to put in the aircraft-engine-sounding AC, which wakes you up every time you roll over! There is no perfect season. Or maybe I'm just too fussy!

And now I have to watch and not get overheated - thank you blood thinner. Of course, I get over heated VERY easily, so this adds another layer of fun to my life!

Am eagerly awaiting news from the printer that my orders have been shipped - shops are waiting on orders. I don't do waiting well!

Also waiting on the printer repair guys to get back to me, STILL!

ALSO waiting on a resolution of a Miva cart problem I've been having.

But, it's Friday. Wanna place any bets on *anything* getting resolved today!? LOL.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

new shops, gratitude, trade shows

new shops
I have a new rep and 2 new shops!:

Two Sisters Knitting Nook
Ashley Murray
15 Greenville St., Newnan, GA 30283
fax 770-683-3810

Mountain Yarn
Pat Thorstad
29-C Hwy. 515, Blairsville, GA 31512
fax 706-835-1079

I've been feeling embarrassed by my bitching and moaning yesterday, and thought I should list the good that has occurred.

My hips hurt far less, for which I am so pleased, as now I can actually walk to the garden and back, or go up and down the stairs, and not need to go lie down from it!

And no more Dex means I'm sleeping.

The rest isn't so bad, it's just a pain not to be free yet.

trade showsLink
I am going to try and get to the New England Needlework Association (NENA) show in Sturbridge, MA (I love Old Sturbridge Village!) on May 3rd or 4th (if radiation hasn't begun by then). If anyone's going, let me know and we can try and meet up.

I was even thinking of trying to get to Columbus for the TNNA show and FINALLY get to meet other designers, yarn manufacturers and distributors, and other signatories in the yarn world. But this was before the radiation news, and I don't know what I'm gonna be feeling like, besides the difficulty in traveling there and back in between the Friday and Monday rad treatments.

But that's off in June. If I'm lucky (do I feel lucky yet?!), I won't still be getting it by then, as they'll discover it's just scar tissue and leave me the heck alone!

I think that in this market, it's even more important to show your face, so the people you've been doing business with can see who you are! I think it can make all the difference. It's just the hardest thing for me to do - to travel, as I can't do it alone.

And, dontchaknow, Amtak doesn't go to Columbus. I'd have hubby drop me at the train station across the Hudson, if the train actually went to Columbus.

But he couldn't drop me at an airport and hope that I'd be able to see all the signs and get to where I need to go! I'd be like that Tom Hanks movie where he's stuck living in the airport!

So, I'll try and figure out a way to go and see what happens between now and then. Unlike other years, I'm feeling that this needs to be done this year.

2 more things to be grateful for! - looks like the water pill is actually working (didn't work last time w/ the lungs filling up), as I've lost 1-2 lbs already, so the water buffalo is slowly fading!

And the potassium pill isn't sending me, head first, to the porcelain throne.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

medical grump, part deux, then that's it, if I can help it!

Thank you all for your kind words about my latest, crappy news!

I don't break down when these things happen, I get angry, really angry. First, stunned, numb, then pissed. Between my Irish, my Aries sun sign and my Leo rising sign (both fire signs), I know how to do anger!

I'm not angry at my body - it can't help itself.

I'm angry at what the medical profession puts one through.

Like, why on earth do I have to inject myself with blood thinner - there should be a pill or a liquid one can take. It doesn't hurt to do the shot, but it stings for a while afterwards.

And it leaves a nice red blotch on your belly. After 90 of these injections, do you know what my belly and thighs will look like!?

No bikinis this year! Heck, no bathing suits of any kind, not unless circa 1900's Victorian, black, to the knee, wool bathing suits come back in style.

And how did the clot in my neck get by everyone in that December scan.

And why, NOW, AFTER I'm done with chemo, do I have edema. Not the whole darn time I was getting chemo, but now, when I'm done with it.

And why can't they come up with better way to biopsy or scan internal tissues, so one doesn't have to get radiation, as a method of diagnosis, for cryin' out loud.

This is gonna be weeks (how many we don't know yet) of hubby driving me back and forth to Kingston, 5 days a week. If there's anything I can't stand, it's having to spend my life at some doctor, lab, testing, or treatment facility.

I hate the inconvenience of all this stuff the most. I hate not being in control of what happens to me. There are no options. I like options. I hate what all this stuff is doing to my body.

It's hard enough becoming middle aged in appearance, hard enough going through the Pause. So, on top of having one's femininity decreased to, what feels like, bare minimum levels, you also have to put up with becoming scarred, charred, fat, and a water buffalo!, I mean water-blimped. Even if it IS temporary, it's way too long for me.

And no, I don't mince words with myself. I don't feel *pudgy*, *fluffy* or any of the other politically-correct / denial-inclined terms for overweight. I feel fat. I look fat, and as my BMI just crossed over into the overweight zone, I AM fat (for ME, for my body). My body looks and FEELS best at 135 lbs. That's over 10 lbs ago. This is totally unacceptable. But, again, I have no freakin' choice in the matter.

My motto has always been that I don't have time to be sick, and WON'T be sick, and therefore, was hardly ever sick. Being sick is a waste of time. I have far more important things to do with my life.

So what is it, are we all supposed to have a certain amount of down-time, and because I refused to get colds and the flu every year, I gotta make up for not appeasing the sickness gods with getting Cancer? (Stupid, rhetorical question!)

I wanted to have a free Spring and Summer. Now I gotta stay out of the sun (water pill and radiation) for long periods, which will make my veggie gardening a challenge.

Does everything HAVE TO BE a challenge? Geez, I won't get spoiled if at least a couple/few things in my life were to go easily. I'm a hard worker, I don't know from spoiled.

OK, grump over.

Eventually, I'll accept it all, and bide my time til this phase of this trial is over with.

I ordered those prints I need, as I wait, and WAIT! on the printer repair people to get back to me.

I'm gonna go polish the nails on my puffy little hands!, then get back to knitting on that poor vest, which has gotten only a row or 2 done here and there on it for months now, as I tended to other work.

Or maybe I'll go into the garden and take out my frustration on those poor weeds. They're not gonna know what hit them!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My middle name should be disgruntled!

My middle brother gave me a lovely gift for my, aack, 50th birthday - a set of New Agey (right up my alley!) candles, with different colors and scents, named hope, love, comfort, health, etc. inside each is a charm, that reveals itslef as the wax melts.

Well, of course, with what I'm going through I started with the Health candle.

It's NOT working!

Had my stupid checkup today, and there's a laundry f'g list of things wrong with me still.

PET scan stil shows lumps in my chest Now, these *could be* scar tissue, or they could be the C not gone yet. Biopsies are iffy ways to tell what these things are, as you could get a bit of tissue that's OK, and the rest may not be.

So, the doc is gonna go over my scans etc with a radiologist. He says that havign radiology will be the sure way to tell what's going on, as if they shrink, it's the C, and if they don't, they're more than likely just scar tissue.

Oh, but wait! There's more! (as she seethes.)

Apparently, someone didn't catch the blood clot sitting in my neck, from a December PET scan. So, for the next 3 months, every damn day, I have to shoot myself in the stomach or thigh with a blood thinner. And get all bruised up. On top of the radiology which will surely give me burns.

Nope, not done yet.

I've been packing on the Dex pounds, or what I thought was /is fat, but last night, my hands and feet swelled, so that, as I sat on my feet, yoga style, as I've done *my entire life*, my foot hurt, as if there was a lump there, but there wasn't. I'm retaining water. They don't like when that happens, naturally. Cut out salt, he says. Who the heck eats salt these days? Not me.

So, tomorrow I'm starting on water and potassium pills (as CVS didn't have them ready to pick up before hubby had to run to work, late, as usual after these medical appt's), as water pills drain your bod of too much potassium. But the last time I was on these, I went through 3+ days of vomiting, so we'll see. It's a different water pill and a pill version of the potassium, not the liquid potassium.

AND, water retention is somehow connected with the heart, which is an ongoing issue with me, hence the Bisoprolol I take to slow my heart rate. So tomorrow I'm getting an echocardiogram (hubby will need to take the day off, as all they have is an afternoon opening), and Thurs, I have to see the heart doc.

And if all this crap wasn't enough, and, believe me, it IS enough, my (expensive) printer is still misbehaving, after many, many attempts to get it to stop striping.

So I've been working to create pdf files that I can upload to a color printing service. I've never outsourced my printing before, and it irks me to have the spend $ unnecessarily to do this. But of course, my files didn't have the 1/4" white space surrounding the files, so I need to redo everything.

This is just a stopgap measure. If I can't get it to stop striping, I'll need a new printer. But first I'm gonna try a Phaser repair service I heard about. This puppy needs to keep earning its initial cost.

I am so not happy.

short row /wrap and turn video

My new favorite coffee/tea/cocoa mug:

part of a pretty tea set - gift from MomB and Roxie.

Garden beds coming along - 3 composted, 4th weeded.
Also weeded more of the gravel paths.

And have been doing some of what we call (every year) pick-up-sticks.
The winter storm mess of branches, large and small,
that come-a-blowin' down out of all these trees.

We *really* need to hire some young bodies to do the real lawn cleanup, tho - especially the lawn in front of the pond with all, ALL the downed willow branches,
as they're a real pain (VERY tiring) to rake up.

My latest video - how to do a wrap and turn when working short rows:


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Monday, April 20, 2009

2 new designs

I've just released 2 new patterns:
2 Shaped Belts

2 Shaped Headbands


These designs are from my Curvaceous Cables Collection.

The headbands have expanded sizes and models. You don't need the book in order to make these quick-to-knit accessories!

PDF and hard copies are available.

All my designs are also on my design page on Ravelry, if you're on it as well. There's 3 pages of designs! so it'll take a while to scroll through them all.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

free yarn shipping and free sock pattern

I've decided to offer free shipping (within the US) on the Briggs & Little Softspun and Peace Fleece yarns.

Whether you buy 1 hank or multiple hanks, there's no shipping charges from now on!

DO consider either yarn for any of my designs which knit to about 4.5-5 sts/1". The Softspun can knit to 4.5-5 sts/1". The Peace Fleece (in general - colors can vary in gauge) prefers 4.25-4.5 sts/1".

Am finally back to working on patterns, including the following FREE! women's sock pattern.
If you choose to use a self-striping or variegated yarn, instead of the jacquard yarn I used, DO email a jpeg to me, and I'll post it here!

I had 33 gr rem of the Hazel Knits yarn and 13 gr rem of the Patons Kroy Socks Jacquard yarn, so longer legs are do-able.

These socks comfortably fit my 9" circ feet and 9.25" circ ankles. The ribbed instep still allows for a bit wider foot. For a larger circ ankle, the cable is a rep of 4 sts (approx. .75" per rep)

These socks use an unusual 3-st centered cable. (Video below.) I haven't found it it any of my stitch dictionaries, though I'm sure it exists *somewhere*. If you've seen it somewhere, DO let me know!

You may certainly run the cable down the instep, instead of changing to k3, p1 rib. I personally prefer a smoother instep.

Women's Worsted Wt. Cable and Rib Socks
* Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, 90% superwash merino / 10% nylon, approx 400 yds, color 214 Pacific (A)
* Patons Kroy Socks Jacquards, 75% washable wool / 25% nylon, approx 166 yds / 50 gr, color #55611 Fern Rose Jacquard (B)
* US size 4 (3.5 mm) dpns
* tapestry ndl

6 sts and 8.5 rnds = 1" (2.5 cm) in Stockinette with 1 strand of each yarn held together using size 4 ndls or size to give gauge.

Long Tail CO in Purl
Thanks to Meg Swansen, who shows it, and Elizabeth Zimmermann, who describes it, in Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Around (both book and video). This technique originates with Knitter’s magazine.

See my video here.

You should be familiar with regular Long Tail CO, in order to do the purled version. Work 1 st in regular Long Tail CO, then take your ndl and:
1 - swoop behind the loop that's over your index finger,
2 - swoop under the loop that's in front of your thumb, coming from behind (not coming from in front),
3 - and swoop back under the yarn coming from index finger.
4 - Look at your thumb, there's 2 strands making a hole, swoop up under the center of the hole,
5 - and then go behind the yarn coming from index finger,
6 - let the loop off your thumb, pull it snug = 1 purl st made. Look at the reverse side of the st - it is knit. Rep steps 1-6 for purl sts.

3 Stitch Centered Cable - worked without a cable ndl:
Slip next 3 sts to RH ndl.
Pinch last 2 sts off ndl and hold in front while moving rem st onto LH ndl.
Replace 2 held sts onto RH ndl and move to back.
Pinch off last st and hold in back while moving rem st to LH ndl.
Replace held st to LH ndl.
Knit the 3 sts in their new, crossed positions.

To work the cable using a cable ndl:
Slip next st to RH ndl.
Slip next 2 sts to cable ndl and hold in front.
Slip st from RH ndl to LH ndl.
Move cable ndl to back.
With RH ndl, slip left-hand st from cable ndl to LH ndl.
Slip rem cable st to LH ndl.
Knit the 3 sts in their new, crossed positions.

The center of the 3 sts remains in
the center, while the first and third sts change place behind the center st.

Video showing the cable worked without a cable ndl:


With 2 strands A, Long Tail CO in k1, p1 rib 48 / sts. Work 14 rnds k1b, p1 rib = approx 1.75" from CO edge.

* On next rnd, work 3-Stitch Centered Cable. Work 7 rnds k3, p1 rib; rep from * once more, then rep cable rnd = approx 4" from CO edge. Break 2 strands A.

Heel Flap
With 1 strand each A and B, knit 23 sts, turn. Purl 23 sts, turn. Continue in Stockinette for 22 more rows, end after finishing a WS row.

V- Heel
K12, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl 1, p2, p2tog, p1, turn.
Sl 1, k3, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl 1, p4, p2tog, p1, turn.
Sl 1, k5, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl 1, p6, p2tog, p1, turn.
Sl 1, k7, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl 1, p8, p2tog, p1, turn.
Sl 1, k9, ssk, k1, turn.
Sl 1, p10, p2tog, p1, turn = 13 sts rem.

Gusset Shaping
Knit across rem heel sts and with same ndl, pick up and knit 13 sts long right gusset. With sep ndl, patt across 25 instep sts ((p1, k3) across, end p1). With sep ndl, pick up and knit 13 sts along left instep and with same ndl, knit half the heel sts = 64 sts.

Patt 1 rnd even.

Dec Rnd: knit to last 3 sts on right gusset, ssk, k1, patt across instep sts, begin left gusset with k1, k2tog.
Rep plain and dec rnds until original 48 sts rem.

Patt around for 34 rnds = approx 6.25 " from gusset pick up rnd or desired length of sock minus 1.75" for toe shaping. Break 1 strand each A and B.

Dawn's 6-Point Star Toe Shaping
With 2 strands A, (k6, k2tog) 6x = 42 sts. Knit 3 rnds even.
(K5, k2tog) 6x = 36 sts. Knit 3 rnds even.
(K4, k2tog) 6x = 30 sts. Knit 3 rnds even.
(K3, k2tog) 6x = 24 sts.
(K2, k2tog) 6x = 18 sts.
(K1, k2tog) 6x = 12 sts.
(K2tog) 6x = 6 sts. Break yarn, leaving a tail. With tapestry ndl, pull tail through rem 6 sts and weave in tail on WS.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

a day that should be skipped every year, work, but not WORK

a day that should be skipped every year

April 15th. Tax day.

Everyone's general disgruntlement with the day must have put the horns on it, as everything went wrong yesterday! Well, except for my PET scan, which went fine. But then it was one snafu after the other, all day and night.

I think that next year, we're just gonna skip over the day - maybe we'll just sleep it away, instead!

work, but not WORK
It's been 3 days so far with no knitting or design work getting done, and I'm nearing withdrawal.

Housework, laundry, reorganizing linens, remaking beds and deconstructing rooms so they can have a new function, has taken over my life. I didn't even get into the garden today.

Though we have closets in all but the smallest bedroom, which has a freestanding closet, we don't have a linen closet. Antique houses don't come with linen or bedroom closets - they all have to be put in. So, as we have several small rooms downstairs that are multi-functional - could be bedroom, office, exercise room, library, craft room, you name it - I'm changing 2 of the rooms' purposes.

The back bedroom off the dining room will be my linen closet/ironing room. Need to get 1 or 2 of those large metal shelving units and I already have a 5' table for folding things on. So, today I took apart the twin bed that was in there. It is the most logical place for it, as there's an attached bathroom in the near final stages of deconstruction, which will (eventually) be a laundry room - if not by us, then by the next owners, as nearly everyone wants a first-floor laundry room.

And the small room off the parlor which I had staged as a game room with 2 armchairs and coffee table w/backgammon board, will be the exercise room. All we have now is a recumbent bike, but hubby needs something to work on his upper body strength, which has been decreasing as each year goes by.

There's still the oil soap mopping of ALL the wood floors to do, as well as dusting ceilings and woodwork and washing windows. And that's just the inside. Gotta wash the 65' long front porch and repaint it, and repaint the small kitchen deck and railings. Every year - paint, paint!

I think I'm gonna call it quits for tonight, shower, then plop on the loveseat with my knitting and watch Young Frankenstein (for the umpteenth time!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

busy, busy

My birthday was wonderful - everyone that could be there was there. Lots of good food, good cake and a cheesecake baked by DMI, and of course, lots of lovely pressies, for which I am presently writing thank you's.

Yesterday, I made my way through TONS of chores and errands. And, in addition to the gardening (broke in youngest brother's gift of nice suede gardening gloves!), have pulled the recumbent bike out of the attic and put a whopping! mile on the thing both yesterday and today. Not a lot, but these muscles don't know from exercise.

I think I have maybe 5 good muscles left in my bod - my heart and 1 muscle in each limb! My bod is SO out of shape from the cancer and chemo. But, I'm working on it. Before summer, I hope to have it functioning better and aching less. Actually, I'd like the *aching less* to occur *really soon*. I hobble around in the morning like an 80-year old, until the Ibuprofen kicks in.

I got a supplement from the health food store to detox my overstressed liver. Between chemo and the environment, it can't be in good shape. Gotta look after the inside, as well as the outside.

And have picked up a beginner pilates dvd from the library, which I have yet to even have time to look at, as today had tons of biz administrative things to tend to.

Tomorrow's my PET scan and hubby's 2nd epidural. They only have 1 dvd, apparently, at the radiology place - Nat King Cole.

Now, I have no beef with Nat, but his songs will be in my head for a week to come, just as they do every time I have a PET scan, as one has to sit quiet for an hour after being injected with fluorine-18 deoxyglucose, or FDG. Can't even knit. Just listen to Nat, and try not to think about wanting breakfast!

Hope to get back to knitting and pattern work tomorrow.

Friday, April 10, 2009

the untended garden

This is why it's not wise to leave your garden untended, if you can help it!

Of course, I couldn't help it.

Ooh. the metaphor hits me, as I finished writing what's below. My garden was left untended. My connection with Her put on hold for too long.

You know, we need to be who we are.

First we need to acknowledge who we are, as this is our connection with the Divine.

I am a creative person. If I can't/don't create, I am nothing, lost. It is my driving energy itself.

I am also a lover of Nature. My need to be involved with her is just as important, just as large a driving force. These 2 forces are connected, as Nature is all about creating.

Seems the idea of victory gardens is in the air. An article was in our local paper this past Sunday. Though this time, it's not from war's rationing, but from recession-causing-necessity.

It occurred to me that the phrase, victory garden, could have a different meaning for me, as I wind up the the bits and bobs of having chemo and cancer, though I don't think of this experience in that way. I don't think of it as *victory*, or myself as *survivor*.

Maybe it's just that I don't like certain labels. Maybe it's just that I shouldn't have gotten sick in the first place.

Though, I must have signed up for it, or it wouldn't have happened.

Maybe I knew that making a difference in the world involves sacrifice. and sometimes one can make the biggest difference by allowing the shit to hit the fan, so to speak, and be the victim - a testament to a truth about this world from before my generation - it's toxic. It's been toxic a long time.

But just temporarily, though, as being the victim is anathema to me. I don't believe in victim-hood. I believe in personal power. We are all far more powerful than we think we are. Just as I knew I'd be alright. I had no intentions, whatsoever, of NOT being alright, of giving into self-pity, which is the spiral staircase downwards.

But I don't want to *just* survive having lived on the Earth. I won't ever have a bumper sticker saying I'm a cancer survivor. I'd rather have one that says that every day is filled with love, joy and union with all that is good.

Surviving the shit is not the point. We all have to make it through whatever shit comes our way. The point is creating and living a full life, despite the shit.

I want to live on the Earth. Is it too late for any of us to truly LIVE here and be nurtured by Her? Or is She so beleaguered by our domination to have anything left to give us?

And how can we ask this of Her after what we've done, what we're still doing? If I'm not safe, having lived a cleaner life than many, than who is?

Don't wait for it to come knocking on your door. Take steps to clean out your home, your food, your air, your life, your bit of the planet. Don't make excuses, make the effort.

Put in your garden. Grow it organically. No-one needs pesticides to grow vegetables or flowers. The mega-monoculture farms is why we eat pesticides. Our pristine, weed-free lawns is why we drink pesticides.

My garden is pesticide-free, and our lawns are natural - full of weeds.

Our lawns are also full of Nature. Deer, all manner of birds, turkeys, rabbits, groundhogs, fox. They can at least dine on our 6 acres without being poisoned.

2 beds composted, 1 other bed has been weeded - getting there!

It was not chance that there are 6 beds.

In numerology, 6 is the (female) number of love, as 9 is the (male) number of action - it's no wonder things are always priced $xx.99. It sparks us to act and buy. I try to incorporate as many 6's into my life as possible.

Have you been using my infamous 6-point star toe shaping? Love needs to be spread everywhere, at all times, in all manner of ways.

And new pond pump arrived today - just 30 bucks from Harbor Freight. No-one locally had anything like it.

Now I can water the asparagus bed and the lettuce, which needs to be sown as soon as the pump is hooked up.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

party, party, party!, baking

party, party, party!
Hubby has the meatballs made for the lasagna, which he'll cook tomorrow morning before work.

30 songs are paid for and downloaded. An eclectic mix of 70's and 80's pop, rock, jazz, blues, big band, and alternative - a little something for everyone.

Hubby's shopping this morning for a new shirt - today's Sears flyer had a nice Hawaiian-style abstract leaf print shirt in blues, beige and white. We'll see what he ends up with.

Gotta get him out of plaid.

Men's clothes are so boring, and if they're not boring, then they're too young.

Asked DD to go to Adam's farmstand to get several lbs. of green beans and diced tomatoes, so I can prepare them - w/onion, garlic, olive oil, butter, and salt. Too bad Vidalias aren't in season yet - they're the primo onion.

All's left is to pick up bottles of Asti.

This will be a fun reunion. Tho my brothers better not pet my fuzzy head!

Throughout chemo, my taste buds have vacillated between normal and everything tastes funny. Unfortunately, the big waste has been fruit and fruit juice. Just didn't taste right.

I'd open a bottle of nectar, take one sip and it would sit in the fridge forever. Or applesauce, or cranberry juice, or. So, I wanted to do something with the jar of applesauce (still good!) in the fridge. And found this recipe.

I changed the oats to cooked oatmeal. The egg white to 1 whole egg, and the BS/BP combo to 1 TBL BP. And filled a 9" square pan and 3 lg. muffins. And I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top before baking.

The cooked oatmeal made them more dense and chewy, but they hold together well. Sometimes cakes or muffins are too light and fluffy and crumb all over the place. I'd enclose a pic, but the muffins are gone and they looked nicer than the cake does.

Heading into the garden - more weeding and composting to do. Made easier by the wheelbarrow, which hubby moved up front, in the garage, for me - whatta guy!

Just looked at my post count - 927 in 5 years. Didn't know I could yammer on that much!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

this 'n that

Clean, not-so-fluffy dog, doing what he does best

Remember these beautiful wax begonias I repotted and brought indoors last October?

Here's what's left of them. Am surprised any of them got through the dark, cold winter. They'll go outside as soon as it's warm enough, and I'll get more for the front porch urns.

The doubled Cascade 220 shaped cable headband (unblocked). The alpaca one I mentioned is also done and I'm swatching for another one.

But first on today's list is buying and downloading music for my b'day party. That's gonna take awhile!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

groadie dog, gardening, socks, more patterns

groadie dog
SO glad Pickles just went for a bath and haircut - could not stand him a second longer. Not his fault he smells like a dirty dog. Well, it IS his fault, actually. He insists on licking himself, like a cat. Weird dog.

We have about a week before his nails will grow long enough to be heard on the wood floors, again. One week of peace and quiet. Then, ticky tacky, ticky, tacky.

By the time he's ready for his next haircut, listening to his nails is like Chinese Water Torture. I cringe and cover my ears, filling my head with whatever's the last TV commercial ditty I've heard, just to drown out his feet.

Of course, it is also chemo checkup today, and hubby didn't realize it when he made the dog appointment, so the morning's going to be hectic.

I'd prefer any hectic-ity to occur at other times of the day, NOT the morning. I'm so not a morning person. Maybe it was being born at 11:30 am or so, and so I'm not really ready for the day til after then. Our only save will be if the doc can *actually* get me in on time, instead of 50 minutes late, like last time.

Glad I got into the garden Sunday and at least got the asparagus bed composted, hauled off some of the weeds, and weeded most of another garden bed. It rained yesterday, as is likely, and desirable!, in April, which is probably a good thing, or else I might have overdone it, by digging and hauling 2 days in a row.

Wasn't easy to haul compost and weeds via a big round basket, especially with my ribs still aching from bashing them the other day, and the sore muscles from the chemo. But the wheelbarrow is still buried in the garage behind the tractor - need that to be up front where I can get to it. Will have to wait on hubby to move the tractor.

Also gotta find a scrap piece of carpeting for kneeling on. Gravel and knees do not mix!

If I squat, instead of kneel, I may not ever get up. I'd end up a petrified garden sculpture, ala Rodin, with birds scratching about in my still-too-short hair.

That pile of compost has been sitting there for, 3?, 4? years, waiting on me to use it. It is now a nice, dark, rich soil - it will make happy veggies!

I wore my new Patons Stretch Socks (doubled) in my gardening clogs (with new inner soles), and they were comfortable! At least until it gets to be too hot to wear DK wt socks in the hot sun. So, we wait for another Joann's sale to get 2 more skeins and make another pair. This pair is the Plum colorway. I think either the Sugar or Mineral colorway is next.

The cotton makes them less warm than all wool. The wool makes them breathe and the lycra makes them not bag, stretch out or bunch up.

As I LOVE Heirloom's Breeze yarn, I had been wondering if any yarn manufacturers would come up with a stretchy cotton/wool blend sock yarn. So, I'm definitely pleased with the Patons yarn. DO consider it, as an option to the regular cotton/wool blends. No adjustment needs to be made while knitting with it. I use the same tension I would normally use with any yarn.

more patterns
I will have 2 more patterns to release in a day or so - am working on more samples and sizes. One pattern is 2 shaped belt designs. The other is 2 shaped cable headbands. I'm working the headbands up in different weights of yarns, so to expand the sizing. I also wanted to sample the designs in more commercially-available yarn options.

So, a Cascade 220 (doubled) sample is done and a Kraemer Yarns Limited Edition Bulky Alpaca sample is otn.

These designs were originally in my Curvaceous Cables Collection, but they are not difficult to do and don't require the book, in order to execute them. As they are small projects, they make great summer knitting.

I whipped out one headband in an evening - so an easy way to stockpile some holiday gifts. Because you know what happens. October rolls around and you try to squeeze the holiday gift knitting in with the need-winter-sweaters-knitting, kids-need-mittens-and-hats-knitting, and 2-co-workers-are-having-babies-knitting!

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

tree bark, nappy-time, more socks

tree bark
That's what hubby calls this kind of earthy food! But then, he can live well enough on bagels and meat, I can't.

What chia seeds look like.

They're way too small to go into the trail mix, but they work being mixed in with yogurt or in oatmeal. They plump up in the oatmeal.

And the red berries are the goji beans in my homemade trail mix.

A little tart, but also sweet, not bad at all. Why do we expect natural, healthy things to taste bad?! I still prefer pizza though! Or ravioli, or lasagna, or pot roast and mashed potatoes.

As I expected to, I crashed on the couch last night right after dinner, til bedtime. Can't help it. The first weekend after Tuesday chemo is about when the Dex begins to ungrip itself, so the lack of sleep catches up and the muscles begin to ache. I don't really begin to feel better til about next Wednesday.

I'll try not to crash today. Want to get into the garden and continue bed-prepping. It's been too rainy or cool, since I dug up the first bed dayyyys ago.
MUST get to Adam's Fairacre Farms and get my bamboo poles and something to hold up the tomatoes. Those metal tomato cages are woefully deficient. And I've tried tying the tomatoes to bamboo poles. They just slide and slump down the poles. They really need homemade wood enclosures, for strength.

more socks
In between pizza making yesterday, I finished this sock I began Friday night.

Doubled Hazel Knits yarn for the leg and toe. 1 strand each Hazel Knits and Patons Kroy Jacquard for the heel and foot.Link
Will post free pattern, as soon as I make the 2nd sock and make a short video showing how to do the little, centered 3-st cable.

Otherwise, a basic sock - twisted ribbing, cable leg, v-heel turning, ribbed instep, tho you can run the cables down the instep, as well. I prefer a smoother instep, for comfort inside boots and clogs.

I have a similar cable to video for the upcoming, cable vest design. But it's a 5-st ribbed, centered cable - will post its video as well, when the time comes.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

PDF Garden Babies, mail wait, socks done, much knitting awaits

PDF Garden Babies
PDF version of Garden Babies is now also available. Same $16.95 as the hard copy (see my PDF FAQ's if you're curious about my pricing), BUT you save $4.85 on postage! And you save 2-3+ days waiting on the hard copy to arrive.

Waiting on more clear binder covers. Have enough for now, but need more. Will have hard copy off to Unicorn Books and hope they'll want to carry it. They've taken every other title I've published, so should be OK. Fingers crossed!

mail wait
I'm also awaiting arrival of my chia seeds and goji beans - gonna make a trail mix with some slivered almonds and maybe the raisins I have here and toast up some oats to mix in.

Thank goodness for oats, or horse food, as hubby puts it, but it's one grain that has no gluten, so is not likely to bloat one out.

I have also been eating my oatmeal with no milk on top - so to eliminate another GI-distressing food item. I eat everything with acidophilus pills, and digestive enzymes, as needed, but the Dex is a REALLY hard drug to combat, in so many ways.

I am SO happy I'll never see it ever again, for as long as I live - hopefully, won't have to see it again, don't know for sure yet. If I could do a wild happy dance (can't quite, yet), I would - that is one miserable, misery-causing drug to have to take.

socks done
I finished those Patons Stretch Socks began a week or so ago.

Next up - putting Jen's kind gift of the hank of Hazel Knits yarn with the Patons Kroy Socks.

I think I'll CO provisionally at the ankle, do the feet with 1 strand of both yarns, then pick up the sts and work the legs with just doubled Hazel Knits. This way, the feet will surely last longer - remember how hard I am on socks!

much knitting awaits
Also gotta CO a pair of socks or 2 in that Faroe Sirri yarn - oh, so much to knit!

Gotta finish that cabled vest as well, and the 2nd Norwegian snowflake cardie I'm doing in Peace Fleece.

And more Toasty Toes samples, as the Briggs & Little Country Roving worked out perfectly as a substitute for the Bartlettyarns Fisherman Bulky! I'm so pleased!

And, gotta CO the felted baby blanket in the B&L Softspun, doubled. Swatched and felted with size 11's. Will try 13's this time, as I want a more felted fabric.

And, as if that wasn't enough!, I may release some of the designs from the Curvaceous Cables book, as indie patterns.

I'm thinking both belts in one pattern, both headbands in another, the Peace pin and the cabled carryall as separate patts. I may do another carryall sample - in another yarn. Same for the headbands, will see.

So, my work is laid out for me! At least I'm not staring at an empty design queue - I do hate that!

Happy Spring Weekend to all!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

new book!, marathon, We're all falling apart here, plants

new book!
Got the printer to work better, so the Garden Babies book is being printed now! 37 pages in length, full color, clear plastic front and back covers, for protection, spiral bound. $16.95 plus postage.

Unfortunately, printing costs are 1/3 more than they were 6 years ago, when my Curvaceous Cables book came out (and I shop around for the best supplies at the best price), but I don't dare ask more for this book, not in today's tight economy.

A pdf version will go up, as soon as I can - later today, probably.

Well, my shopping marathon went really well! This is not the norm for me. At best, I can get half of the stuff on the list. So, I'm shocked.

I got:

1 pair of jeans, size 10 - sigh, but they look good and fit well. It's the Dex muffin top I can't stand and need to hide, but mom jeans would just make it much worse. I haven't had an ACTUAL pair of blue jeans in so many years, I couldn't tell ya.

1 pair of chino-like jeans (both pants on sale) - same size and muffin issue as above.

1 half price dress - not what I would have preferred, but, apparently what I like isn't in style - so what else is new. I like pretty, flouncy-sleeved, floral girlie dresses, in a GOOD fabric. Try and find a GOOD fabric these days, if you can't spend a small fortune. Heck, Macy's dresses were over $100 each and none were in a good fabric - everything is stretch polyester stuff - sigh.

2 pairs shoes (one pair at half price, which is a good thing, as I've never owned shoes costing 50 bucks, but 25 bucks I'll do.)

1 clearance sweater, was $60 - gag, choke. Got it for $15. LOVE those clearance racks!

1 Spanx-like suck-it-all-in undies - unfortunately, NOT on sale. And they don't quite suck it all in far enough, but they'll do.

2 pairs thigh high stockings, because, lordie, I can't stand control top pantyhose any more. You break a sweat just trying to get those puppies on. And, according to the charts on all pantyhose packages, I'm a size B, but unless I buy queen size or larger, for cryin' out loud, they DO NOT FIT. Ask me how I know.

It's like buying anything in Old Navy. The sizing is SO teenie bopper. I gotta get a L or XL, to fit my medium sized upper half. I tried on a cotton dress there today, well actually 3 dresses - ended up fitting into an XL - I'm not an XL in any other shop, but decided the style just wasn't me.

1 necklace and earrings to go with dress I got - BOGO half off - just inexpensive costume stuff, but it looks good with the dress, so I actually have an ensemble!

in 3 hours, I tried on 12 dresses, more than 12 pairs of shoes, more like 15+ pairs of shoes, THAT"S how hard it is to find shoes that fit, the sweater, about 4 pairs of pants, the suck-em-ins, and walked the entire mall to find it all.

We're all falling apart here
DD's going through a rough emotional time. I so hate to see my baby go through this. I know what she's feeling - been there.

Hubby's in pain from his first epidural, given to him for his back pain! They say the next 2 shots won't be as bad. Gee I hope so. He's on painkillers for the pain shot - now how ridiculous is that!?

And I slipped down the first 5 steps this morning, bumping my left ribs into the bannister as I grabbed on to keep me from going down all the stairs, as I'm up too damn early these Dex mornings, and apparently can't negotiate stairs well that early.

Yup, all doing really great!

Home Depot has some 10" palms on sale. Perfect Victorian potted house plant - we'll see if they have any left by the time I can get there to get some. The house is seriously lacking in greenery.

Flowering plants are harder to keep going, as we have a lot of shaded windows.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

my printer can read my mind, not a chia pet, but superfoods, Da plane, da plane, I mean, the pants, the pants

If it wasn't for hubby, I'd have so much less to laugh about!

The latest is telling the car ahead of him to let another hamster into the cage, when he's stuck behind the ever proliferating # of slow-mo Prius drivers on the road these days.

Of course, he says this as we're coming back from chemo, and, unfortunately, one of the immediate side effects of chemo is a weakened bladder. Only for the rest of that day and the first night - thank goodness. So, if there's ONE day he shouldn't be making me laugh, it's chemo day!

Just when you thought you knew ALL my chemo side effects - Ha! there's always more, I just don't talk about some of them, others are even more personal and distressing on a major level.

my printer can read my mind
Somehow it knows when I have a big print job coming up and that's when it decides it's gonna stripe one of the colors. This time, it's pink. If it's just on one side of the page, I just move jpegs around in my pattern/book files to get them out of the way of the striping section.

But this time it's happening on both sides of the page, o there's nowhere to move things to.

So, I ran 5 or 6 cleaning cycles, ran the jetfix file, now it's turned off for the night, so the wax can cool and hopefully, dislodge whatever is gumming up the works. If that doesn't work, I gotta call Media Sciences and see about a new printhead.

not a chia pet, but superfoods
I just ordered some chia seeds and goji berries (aka wolfberries, aka Lycium barbarum) to help amend my woefully deficient American diet. These guys are a great anti-oxidant source. As per the LuckyVitamin.com website:

"Rich in Omega-3 and Fiber. Chia seeds are one of the best known sources of essential fatty acids, with nearly two-thirds being comprised of Omega-3 as ALA. They are also an excellent source of Omega-6, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fiber, and protein."

and from the forgojiberries.com site:

"* Goji Berries are antioxidant superfoods.
* Goji Berries strengthen the immune system.
* Goji Berries promote cardiovascular health by normalizing blood pressure.
* Goji Berries nourish the blood.
* Goji Berries increase the production of white blood cells.
* Goji Berries reduce inflammation.
* Goji Berries strengthen the liver.
* Goji Berries increase your endurance.
* Goji berries may delay the onset of diabetes.
* Goji Berries contain 18 amino acids, including 8 essential amino acids.
* Goji Berries are 15% protein, which is more protein than whole wheat.
* Goji Berries contain 21 essential minerals, among them iron for the blood, zinc for cell repair and reproductive health, and selenium, which works with vitamin E as an antioxidant.
* Goji Berries improve your mood.
* Goji Berries not only let you enjoy your day more, they let you sleep better at night as well.
Last, and by no means least, each Goji berry helps your eyes so you can continue to enjoy the miracle of sight."

Da plane, da plane, I mean, the pants, the pants
Hubby stopped at Sears while I was at chemo, to find me a pair of anything to wear. Of course, all the stores are stocked with spring goods, so the clearance rack was the only place long pants were to be found.

So, 1 pair of cotton casual, stretch waist pants at a cheapo $6.99 are mine, BUT, of course, they're size 14-16, short. Many sizes too large.

It was that or even larger sizes. They're cotton, so I've been trying to shrink them, and I think I got them down to a wearable enough size - still SO baggy, but it's either these, which are too big, or my too tight,-too short ones.

Gee, I'm overwhelmed by my fashion choices.

But today, the first stop at the mall is the one store I usually find nice, well made pants, cords and chinos that fit mid-rise the way I like them, the way I NEED them to fit, on their clearance racks, for a similar lowly expenditure of funds. My petite torso just can't do at the waist pants or skirts.

Heck, for the longest time, I wore just one pair of stretch chinos I got there for $4. Yup, you read it - clearanced at $4 - the most comfortable, nice looking, fit me perfectly pair of chinos. But darnit if they're size 8 like the rest of my pants.

The to find a dress and shoes and a new shirt for hubby. He's gonna have to go to Target and get the mega (750 pill) bottle of Ibuprofen - I just won't have time.

I may have to have meals shipped in - this could take a coupla days!

But all I have is one short afternoon - maybe 2.5-3 hours, while he's off having the first of 3 epidurals for his chronic back pain. If I RUN from store to store, without bumping into anyone walking on my right side (as I can't see anything on that side so well these days), I might just be able to do it.

I'll let you know!

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