Remember the contest I told you about? Now that I've said nice things about my knitting pals, I need your help! Fifty percent of the score is the readers vote, so I have to bang my own drum. Here's the link; I am number 14! Thank you!!!
I was on Ravelry this morning, and happened to see a contest notice in the Asian Knitters group. It was for the Bergere de France's celebration on Mélusine tricote's blog, and I MUST play! They want to know what it's like to be a newgeneration knitter. What? Me? I am an old
school knitter! Or maybe not?
It is odd to write about a new generation of knitter. I learned to knit in the pre-Internet days, the days when I scoured the magazine rack, longing for French yarns, Italian yarns, British yarns; yarns that were difficult to obtain in Texas. I was isolated. I could knit, yes, but my skills grew very slowly. To learn new things, I relied on sketches in "How to Knit" books, and laborious instructions. I became lost on projects that were, in retrospect, simple.
In 2003, something happened. I joined a bulletin board, and got a chance to talk with other knitters. My knitting world EXPLODED. I found people who thought like me, knit like me, were LIKE me. I discovered that not all patterns are correct, and my friends could help me navigate the errors! My new knitting friends wore yarn under their blouses to check for roughness BEFORE they knit it. Learning knitting became FUN!
The influx of new ideas, new ways, and new know-how was GREAT. I learned how to knit two colors two-handed on YouTube, and posted a how to crochet clip for someone I knew. I could easily email a friend to talk about a pattern, a yarn, an IDEA, and work thru the execution. I discussed the color plan for this top with a woman who lives 1000 miles (1400 km) away! I could not show a badly-made project, so my skills grew quickly.
At some point, I became friends with these online knitters. As a group, we've done blankets for new babies, shawls for grieving widows, and slippers for sick friends. We've knit our way thru crimes and blessings, lost parents and siblings. We've made breasts for cancer patients. I've wagered sock yarn on television show contestants in a Ravelry group. We even had a 'bridal shower' for a friend-and we all gave her yarn e-gift vouchers!
At first, my husband laughed at my "imaginary friends", but as time passed, he came to see how solid we knitters are. I had a surgery recently, and my post box was stuffed with letters and parcels
from women I have never seen. I found a knitter in Malta who is a distant relative (very distant-the marriage between the two families took place in 1854)! I was even able to find local knitting friends!!!
My knitting world is SO big now. My knitting has no boundaries. I learned how to read a Japanese pattern on-line, and found sites with knitting translations, so French, Spanish, and German patterns are not confusing anymore! The patterns all start the same-needle size, tension swatch, and cast on! If I run short of yarn or need something for a project, I can buy yarn and patterns in ANY country, either through a store front or on-line auction.
It is a big, big world, but the community IS, dare I say it.....tightly knit! We share our lives as well as our projects. In a world that can be very impersonal, we have an oasis. That, to me, is the best part about being a "new generation knitter".
I haven't knitted in a week. I am not sure what happened. Dog puddles? Dog piles? Hysterectomy? Work?
Work?? Yes, I went out and found a job. With the US Postal Service. God knows I use them enough, might as well work there.
I went to my orientation the week of Thanksgiving, and have been been going in for a few hours a day to work behind the counter and behind the front, sorting mail.
I understand now why people go off.
There are specific deadlines-if the post box says "last pick-up at 5", you had better be out there at 1700L with your scan gun. Or 1701L, but certainly NOT 1659L. All the mail needs to be in the rental boxes at a certain time, and sorted by a certain time. There are deadline stresses every day.
There are also personnel stressors. In my orientation class of 15, no one was eligible for benefits. The woman who's training me? Nada. Which is all well and good in a down economy, but I wonder how well that's going to go for people who get bitten by a dog. And you know why mail carriers have a satchel? To defend them (along with pepper spray) against bad dogs.
So it's interesting. And it's hard work. I'm learning a lot!
OMG. It's been over 10 years since we had a new puppy. Boy, they are a lot of work! I've learned a lot about my dog, and discovered a few pitfalls of getting a Craigslist dog. The first thing is that he was almost certainly undernourished. It was a little creepy, because this guy was SO good at standing out on the back porch picking up dead moths (a protein source). He clocked in at the vet's last week, 11 weeks old and weighing 22 lbs. We figure he's put on at least a pound since then, and is looking like a much bigger dog! Just compare the photo from 10 days ago!! (I know the angles are different, but look at how much more tile he covers!)
Although puppies need a lot of rest, I certainly haven't had any. The first day or two we had Sonny, this devil dog look really creeped me out. It's just his ducts. We've been working extra hard to learn "potty outside". His former owner kept the boxers on cement and flagstone, so El Sunny knows he's supposed to pee there. Getting him to stop crapping on the porch is gonna be a chore, but we've kinda figured out that Mom doesn't like it when he poops inside. He's a really good puddlemaker. I just keep praising him when he gets it right.
Our neighbors were kidding around, and said Sonny hit the jackpot. That's only a partial joke. I don't have any good things to say about his former owner. When we visited, he told me the pups had their first Parvo shot and needed a booster, blah, blah. The next day, when I emailed him for the records "I had a busy day at work." Like I care. The NEXT day, he emailed me that he was confused. He had only paid for shots for the mother. This made me so mad, because it put every puppy in danger. I could deal with "I went to Tractor Supply and bought the vaccines, here's the lot number I gave him." I could deal with "I didn't start their series," even tho that screams cheapskate. But to tell us a puppy had shots when he had none was a bad, bad thing. Dewclaws? The guy said they hadn't been done. According to the vet, it was a bad home job, as was his tail. Sonny NEEDED to come home with us.
Fortunately, Sonny is an adaptable dog. This week, I have seen him leap 2.5 feet in the air (it is AMAZING what a well nourished pup can do!) and he's chewing on EVERYTHING-but oddly, not little Ian. He simply licked Ian's fingers-the kid must have tasted like turkey and string beans.
He was a very good pup, and slept most of our 6 hour trip to DMILS, and most of the way back. I have to give him lots of car practice.
Well, Ok, then. It's been a long week for me. Lots and lots of pain meds, and sleeping pills (Me! on a sleeping pill) and taping kotex to my wound. The outpouring of antibiotics resulted in some discomfort for me, having killed off all the natural flora and fauna in my body (but I still have a zit.....how does THAT happen?) I had to go to Walgreens and buy a bunch of home rememedies. So be it, it was my 20.00 and I feel better now.
It's time for me to put away the pain meds and other stuff-I just want OUT of the house, and that is the trade off. I'm motivated.
I got less knitting done than I hoped-hydrocodone is rough on chart knitting, but did manage to work on a few things, one that I've already popped in the mail. Itwas my first sweater for the DGS. I'm claiming 400 yards for it.
I managed to pick up a few bags of the cotton wool blend on sale at Elann this morning, and I look forward to those.....the possibilities are endless.
I had my first post-op appointment on the 29th. I was so relieved to get away from the damned foley! I asked my doc if he meant to send me away with no antibiotics, and he said yes. I had no idea that my troubles were just starting.
Two days later, it dawned on me that the reason my tummy felt so corrugated was because I had new stretch marks....hmmm. Wednesday saw me in the ER, with an infection so large it had to find a way out. I'd sprung a leak.
After two days in the hospital, I came home to a lot of really kind messages, and great mail. Thanks to all of you for your thoughtfulness. I'm not sure where this puts me for the rest of the month, but hopefully, it will all be on the uptick.
Office gifting is tricky. I've made bags of peanut brittle for FIFTY for DH to take to work. I've made platters of cookies, I've bought SACKS of RitterSport so DH could stuff Christmas stockings with something nice.
Nice. But inconsequential. That's really a tall order. DH is mid-level management. He wants to say "Thank you for digging me out of my messes" to support staff. So what's bigger than a card, yet does not require reciprocation? It has to be a 'one size fits all' gift-EVERYONE has to get the same thing. He's a naturally exhuberant gifter. If left on his own, DH will buy the same thing for staff that he would buy for me. I love his colleagues, but COME ON! ;-)
Last year, everyone got Circle E candles. We happened to drive by the factory, and I made DH pull over. I'm a bit of a quirky weirdo, do you REALLY want me to pick out the fragrances two years running?
I got up early this morning and ordered an armload of these:
I really LIKE Penzeys. A lot. I am glad to spread the gospel of pepper. I think this is the kind of present that even non-cooks can like-or easily re-gift. If you have never shopped a Penzey's, call them up and ask for a catalog. I learn something with every new catalog.
I'm excited about these. A little quirky, a little handy, a little cute. I'm stoked. I might order some for my nieces-with gift cards to go with!
Oh, yeah, and if you include code 43537C with your order, they will throw in a free jar of cinnamon. Offer good thru the end of the month.
I found a half bottle of amoxycillin on Saturday, and started taking them. What a difference it makes!
It's been an odd hour. When DH came home, we dashed off to the grocery-he's not going to be around for a few days, so whooosh! My ragged rundown self-I LOOK like I just went thru surgery.
While we were there, Glenda stopped us to ask for prayers-her ex-husband has been diagnosed with a gut-punch assortment of tumors and cancers. Their divorce was so ugly. I told DH that is it weird how things work out. If this had happened when they were together-just a few years ago, she was so dependent on him this would have crushed her. As difficult as it is STILL, she is better prepared to stand with her kids as they pass thru this difficult time. We used to stand outside and smoke with them. Glad I quit!
We got home, and DH was reading the golf club newsletter. Someone else we knew passed away-a little dark spot on his belly turned into many visits to MD Anderson and chemo. Younger than me. Now two girls don't have their daddy.
On the plus side, DGD sent me a get well card with photos. So fun, so fun!
I also got a gift package from someone. Oh yay. Lotsa fun stuff in the package! Tea, yarn, a movie....Yay! Perfect, because DH will be gone. And yummiest of all, there was a milk chocolate, honey and green tea bar. I didn't think I would like it, because I am not a big milk choco fan, but I think the tea mellows out the sugars. It's quite tasty! Thank you so much, G!
After that swirl of an hour-I just don't know what to think-but we should be kind to each other.
I'm having a lot of fun with this-but trying to decide if I need to add another layer of furry poof to the cuff of this stocking. I learned from the last stocking I made DGD-large bells get REALLY heavy really quick, so I used fewer than I ordinarily would have.
I love this project. I'd like to see it done with patterned thrift shop sweaters!!! I've one left to do!!
I'm up early today. The toaster oven is on, and I have a date with the Gorton's Fisherman in about 20 minutes.
I have to go to the doc's today, and I am anxious. I have a few things to ask him, one being "Did you mean to send me home with no antibiotics?" Let's just say I DON'T feel the greatest. My staples still catch fire.
This catheter business has got to go. Last Friday, before DH busted me out of the hospital, one of the nurses sat down with me, and showed me how to remove the cable structure from mine, to replace it with a new one. She bundled up a new Foley kit, and away I went.
A few nights ago, I broke out the new kit. 'Professionals should empty bag,' proclaim the nice people from Bard. There are many patient advisories all throughout the package. One thing I DON'T find is a pictogram on how to switch out assemblies. (I KNOW it isn't shop class, allright?)
It occurs to me to wonder who gives drugged out women instructions on how to empty and swap out their own catheters before sending them home for a week. And I realize that I break the sterile seal by switching assembly A to the business that's hanging out of my underpants. According to the advice given to me by my medical professional.
I know it's not optimum. I know it's not even close. I'm not leaving the doc's until I can leave the foley assembly in his trash. THAT I know.
On the plus side, I haven't had to cook or clean house all week. My DH has done a decent job, and I can't complain, but will anyhow. He made fishsticks last night (I know, I wanted more when I got up) and was looking for tongs to flip them. Unless they are totally DONE, that's a sure way to have them fall apart.
He watches far too much TV. Just get a spatula and flip them already, mmkay? He did a little foot stomp, and found a spatula. I think I messed with his inner Betty Crocker.
I started this top in June, used 4 balls of Paton's Katrina, and finally finished it this weekend. There was a long long lag because I mislaid a ball of yarn. I'd try it on, but I am so puffy from surgery still, there would be no point. Yardage 652.
I decided to write out the basic commandments of hysterectomy; because this is yet another topic that NO ONE TALKS about. My cousins will have this in a few-Karen in a few months, Judy in a year or two, Kathleen too ...and possibly my nieces. So here goes-
1) Buy a body pillow. And keep an extra pillow around, because it hurts when you laugh or cough (and of course it is high allergen season for me). Hug the small pillow when you have to laugh or cough-it helps.
2) Gas hurts too. Badly. Plan your diet accordingly. The crazy people gave me broccoli and milk in the hospital! ;-)
3) Plan your aftercare for the worst possible scenario. I thought mine would not go well, and I was right, but I didn't have enough info to plan for THAT. The worst scenario is that you won't drive for three weeks, and the you should count on reclusive rest for a week. Why a week? Because one of the worst scenarios is that they'll nick your bladder while doing your surgery-this has me on a foley for a week so the nick can heal!
a) Shop to fully stock your pantry-and try to have seven frozen easy meals when you leave for the hospital. That "easy meals for a week" will save you from cooking while dragging a catheter. After hospital food so bad my DH laughed looking at it, it was nice that I could tell him how to thaw and bake dinner. And it was sooooo much tastier. If food and groceries aren't your area of expertise, make sure you thank your friend or S/O for the lovely dinner!
b) Find the long barbecue tongs and have them at the ready-bending is tricky for the first few days; the subscription cards from magazines, vitamins you spill, and all kinds of stuff will be easier to retrieve. Put a trash basket by your cocoon spot.
c) What do you wear? You want a knee length gown with IV friendly sleeves for the hospital-and knee length gowns for the recluse week. Yoga pants are good, except if you are a lucky catheter winner. Stuff with elastic waists are good-I'm wearing elastic waist shorts right now. Roomy grannie panties are spot on, too.
4) Use the scented soap you love, and buy a pack of hypoallergenic baby wipes. Be kind to yourself.
5) Get a pedi and a haircut. That helps a lot.
6) Make an activity box before you go in. I rounded up my projects and equipment I need to work while I am at home. I didn't choose challenging projects-I don't think my concentration will be much for the week. I also saved catalogs and the like as hospital reading material.
7) Make people help you. I can fold and sort clothes, but I made DH wash and dry, and pull all the clean laundry to a central pile, because my reach is stunted, and I am not supposed to lift.
8) Take your iron beforehand, and corral your meds. I was anemic in September, and had just rounded the corner with a hemoglobin of 10 when I went into surgery-taking 650 mgs each day. My levels plummeted to the sixes and I ended up having a transfusion. Now that I am home again, the sinus meds, the vitamins, the iron, the pain killers (2!) the horomones, and all the other crap live in one spot-and I just build a candy dish of drugs each morning. When the dish is empty, I have taken everything I was supposed to.
It is a God given fact that if you load the dishwasher on Wednesday, and go in for surgery, no one will hit 'start' til you come home. Dishes will be in the sink too.
People talk about "good drugs" after surgery. Psssh. I'm supposed to take mine every 4-6 hours for pain. What that really means is, take the motrin first, then the good stuff. Sleep for 6 hours. Staples 'catch fire'. Repeat.
If the doc wants you on bedrest, he'll leave the catheter in. Jerk.
Husbands will confuse your "I don't feel well" face with a "You are an idiot" face. Can't help that. Pick the one you like, and go with that one, mmm kay?
My girlybits were a mess, apparently, I had fibroids on fibroids, so he started out doing a laproscopic surgery, looked around, and just got his butt kicked. Go me.
I lost exactly zero ounces, and my tummy is so puffy, it looks the same as when I went in.
You know I've been restlessly touching, then frogging projects for the better part of a week. Today, the lightbulb came on. I bought a Japanese book in January, Sweater & Vest For Mrs. (ミセスのセーター&ベスト)Vol.8, by Nihon Vogue. Today, I was rumbling thru the craft room/hotflash dungeon, and happened to run across some Noro Aurora I bought in July. You probably heard the bells and whistles going off.
I'll have to do a little tweaking, because this is for a 32" bust, finished ..... but I think I can manage. At least the scale is right. Short.
I don't normally crochet, and I never EVER make little motifs I have to screw with, but today, I started the crochet yoke for the cardigan. I'm alternating sides, so the color distribution is kind of equal, and each side mirrors the other.
I've been making more felt-and dang it if I didn't accidentally knit some acrylic into that mix! In the long photo, there's a dark stripe 4up from the bottom edge. If you look in the second photo, it's 4th from the top, and no thinner. @#$@!
I think I have knit up enough felt for my crafty requirements. Except for the disasterous bit, it was mostly Cascade 220 that I had leftover from doing book swatches for someone this year. I'd guess about 600 yards, and that's what I am claiming. Wish me luck, I hope my intended projects work out!!!
I am worried about Mark and the kitchen next week. It IS self-serving-I want GOOD food, thanks, but I might not be able to manage the dutch oven.
Every month or so, I go "big grocery shopping" on Lackland (the Air Force Base). Every month, I come away from the store as confused as can be.
How could I possibly be confused? I cook.
That is the problem, I think. I shop pretty much the same way as I did when grocery shopping as a teenager-a car would pull up at the grocery, and the folks would kick me out-and then come get me an hour and a half later. I had a certain budget, I had certain meals to shop for, a check from my mom, and a list.
That was 35 years ago. So I still live in a world where packet gravy mix is a convenience food. And I don't nuke much.
Let's take yesterday as an example-during my pre-surgery grocery run, (aka Bets does not want her DH in charge of the kitchen, but has no choice) I bought 139 items. Thirteen were from the produce department. I bought a ton of nuts (trying not to eat so much starch). So what else did I buy? Cleaning supplies, meat (I learned a GREAT and easy way to make pork chops-yum yum!) Kleenex, TP and the like. Some canned goods. A ton of cheese. Plain frozen veggies.
Here's my list of convenience foods-1 bag fish sticks. 1 pack frozen ravioli. 3 Stouffer's Spinach souffles (I love this stuff-and have since I was 8. Don't judge). 3 ramens (remember, DH is cooking next week.) A tiny package of pork gyoza (for the surgery girl). 2 jars of pasta sauce. And about 8 cans of soup.
That's it. I buy real food, ingredients. It amazes me to go to the grocery and see mountains of things I have never tried. I blow past entire sections. It doesn't even occur to me to look, because I never buy it.
Frozen dinners? Generally, the picture is better than the actual contents. Bags of pasta meals? Again, the food stylist did a great job. Overpriced, oversalted, overprocessed, overrated. And truthfully, a lot of it makes me sick. My stomach doesn't take kindly to some fillers and stretchers and additives and mysterious THINGS in a lot of frozen foods.
Surely, I can't be the only one. And dammit, I forgot carrots.
I've been working on Christmas knitting. Yeah, I know. DD asked for a new Christmas stocking for DGS. I didn't love DGD's, so I figured I'd do two. My basic plan was to Bond/ISM up a bunch of scrap wools I have, felt, and then make up stockings.
I knit up a lot of yarn. A lot. Of course, it all pulled back in when I pulled it off the machine. I had heard that it was difficult to felt in front loaders, so I threw in soap, long cycle, hot water, and you know what?
There's a liar in feltland. It felted. HARD. !@%#&! So hard it's going to be tough to make these stockings. I will have to do another length of fabric, just for the second stocking.
I scrapped the Rowan this week. The chart was just to finicky to suit me....I don't want to watch EVERY STINKiNG row of a garment right now. So I cast on the peasant blouse from Reynolds 82455. If I was a tighter knitter, this would be a happy happy marriage, but I am not. I cast on the size small, knowing I knit big. Small is 18", and I am in the neighborhood of 24". I went down a needle size to a 4 already. So.... never mind. I am surprised by this yarn-I thought the Lurex would sneak out and be snaggy, and so far it hasn't. I like this yarn.
I have to go off in search of project #3. Wish me luck.
I got my surgery date. On the plus side of everything, I've lost five pounds since my last visit.
I'm not really scared, or worried, or in conflict. I've had my period since the end of August. Enough, all ready. So I went to the doc's today, and we've decided next Wednesday at noon. Like a showdown (key the music to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly....wah-wah-wahhhhh). The knitter in me wonders about the difference between a centimeter and a "sonometer", spoken in a snotty doctor voice. I have to go look that up. The average uterus has a capacity of 80 grams. Mine has one of 600. Damn, THAT's a lot of yarn. That's a freaking sweater.
As I leave the office, my husband calls, and admits he is absolutely ignorant of everything. I try to explain that it will take longer to heal if they splay me open like that frog in biology. So he gets it, but isn't too scared.
On my way to Wallyworld, I start making that mental list of things that have to happen before I go to the hospital Wednesday. Mailing a package to Japan is on that list. Later, as I careen down the aisle with some FABULOUS pears, some pork chops (yum!!) and a squash, I hear my mom's voice. She tells me the story of how her mother got up one morning, got cleaned up and fixed her hair, and went to the hospital to have a baby. And she didn't come home.
The first time I heard this, I was to young or immature to know what to say. Now, I think "oh, no, that sucked" in the truest, realest, original sense of the phrase. And I am not worried at all about myself, but am sad because of a woman whose picture I have never seen. And I won't tell DH, because he won't know what to say.
You just can't comment. Hopefully, you will laugh.
I'll probably go work for the post office. They've got a freeze on career employees (aka people who get benefits) and they are just hiring part-timers. Either I like it or I don't, but I will find out!
I can't wait for a surgery date. I should know Tuesday. Yes, it's still going, despite all the drugs.
I went to the outlet mall yesterday, and spend an absurd amount of money. I think it was because I was grounded last month, and expect to be grounded again soon, post-surgery. At any rate, I have most of the Christmas shopping done. For myself, I bought a pair of stretchy knit jeans and some makey-uppy stuff-and some yoga type pants to wear for 3 weeks. DH got 3 pairs of shoes, a jacket, and two polos, plus undie Claus showed up. Stuff to send to Japan. Stuff to send to Colorado. Stuff to take to north TX. We are having a low key Christmas this year, due to a few events beyond our scope, but for a good reason.
I bought DH shoes yesterday, that's right. I went to the Ecco outlet-he'd picked up a pair in town about 3 weeks ago, and has been raving about them ever since. I waltzed into the shop yesterday, and started taking pictures, so he could tell me which ones he liked. The clerks joked around with me about taking pictures and sending them to him. DH called me back, and we talked about what he needed, and which he liked best. "I can't believe I paid mumble-mumble for those shoes" he said. Honey, bow to the master. Two of the pairs were 65% off! So he is very glamourously shod.
Today, I tried to recreate a family culinary classic. I tried to make mushroom barley risotto with frico (little melted cheese crisps that are frizzled and brown). We've gone back to Sugar Busters, and he's lost 5 pounds in a week, and I've lost 3; I was looking for something that didn't have pasta, rice or potatoes. It tasted ok, but looked like mushroom barley barf. Unexpectedly, DH hated the frico!
I went to the post office personnel office today. What paragons of...well, I don't even know what to call it. I waited in the lobby for 30 minutes before someone could walk out to get me-and she was right there!
I had to entertain myself, so I looked in an old San Antonio phone book....
A few months ago, I found a pompon 'loom' on sale at Wallyworld. I picked it up, thinking I might need one sometime. Lo and behold, when I was working on smallboy's hat, I thought it needed one. I dug out the loom, and made the perfect pom. A little sparse, but respectable.
Unfortunately, my second pom didn't come out at ALL. I had a HUGE pile of 2" strands, not a pom.
I attached the previous pom to the top of the hat, and today, I popped this in the mail for DGS. It's Schachenmayr Nomotta Gemini, 3 skeins, 279 yards. I got it last year when Herrschner's blew it out.
Kid clothing is so much fun! I used the Ann Norling top down cardi, and tweaked it a little for a shawl collar.