Sunday, July 30, 2006

Dad Really Does Want a Knitted Tie...

and so it begins.

A while ago he said to me "you know what I would like and wear? A tie. A knitted tie."

And I thought he was joking. And let it go. But then we were tie shopping a few months ago, at Filene's basement, and they had these hand knit ties, marked down from $300. And the colors were heinous, and I was like "THREE HUNDRED DOLLAS??"

And Dad said... "you know... I'd really like a knit tie... maybe a red one..."

The man really wants a knit tie.

  • This
  • is the pattern I'll use- I'm thinking the Ann Budd one. He wants one with a squared off bottom.

    But I have no experiece with really nice sock yarn. Solid, if possible, and probably deep red in color.

    Was looking at the suggested yarn, richesse et soie, in garnet, but it seems to have been discontinued, so the hunt begins.

    Also, I've just realized I don't own a single nice stitch marker! How in the name of all that is holy did this happen?? I love sparkly, pretty things. Husband used to call me "The Magpie." How do I not have any pretty stitch markers?? HOW???

    I have to get on that, and fast.

    Saturday, July 29, 2006

    More things about me

    1. My parents are still together
    2. My sister's nickname is Moose, but she's a peanut
    3. I love red wine, not really a fan of white
    4. It takes a lot to embarrass me.
    5. I swear way too fucking much
    6. The above is from living with a Brit with a charming penchant for swearing
    7. I have loved someone more than I love myself
    8. I'm a country mouse at heart
    9. I want to learn more foreign languages
    10. I hate most of my body
    11. I really love my in-laws. They'll always be my family
    12. I can be uber lazy
    13. I have broken some hearts
    14. I have had my heart broken
    15. I like to rap... and seriously, it's pretty fucking funny
    16. I have a good singing voice, but get nervous singing in public
    17. I've had a brazillian wax
    18. I can smoke with my feet
    19. I will always be in love with someone who is dead
    20. If I ever do remarry, I don't know if I'll change my name again. Partly because I like it, and partly because of # 12.

    Blogstalking and Hair Decisions

    Been reading a lot of blogs lately. Loads. Lovin' it. Above photo is taken from my computer, looking at some new photos on a friends website.

    Which reminds me. I need to change my hair color. What is my haircolor, anyhow? I don't even know anymore. I had red hair as a kid, red hair and grey eyes, apparently. And my mother would tell people they were "slate" not grey, since she thought the idea of grey eyes was creepy. They're now sort of a swamp green/hazel.

    And left to its own devices, my hair gets really, really, red. In the past, when depressed, I'd change my haircolor. It's as though it's one thing I can control... everything else has gone to shit, and I can't change any of that, but I CAN get some highlights!!

    The problem now is that the red color, though fun, is tough to maintain, and expensive. So I think I'm going dark. Not black (like my soul), I did that for a while, as evidenced here-

    But even though I liked it, my dad called me Elvira the entire time it was black. And it was a pain in the ass to grow out.

    Here it is dark, probably close to natural- with my nephew last Christmas...

    Yeah, that's yarn on the sofa with me. My nephew loves to hold the yarn for me. He has recently progressed to occasionally throwing the yarn around the needle for me, when I'm doing garter stitch. Can't wait to teach him to knit- he seems really into it. Football (UK Style), Rugby, Thomas, Bob and Knitting. That's my boy!!

    Anyhow, I need to decide, and soon. I got some roots coming in. Back to dark, I think.
    Like my soul ;)

    Friday, July 28, 2006

    Squirrel Venom

    The following is an actual conversation between myself and my aunt Re.

    Me: ...I've got so many squirrels and birds, and I've nearly got this one squirrel tamed!

    Re: Oh God!! Promise me you won't touch that squirrel!! Don't feed them!

    Me: Why?

    Re: They're vicious! They attack people all the time... and KILL them!

    Me: Squirrels? Squirrels kill people? Are you serious?

    Re: Yes!! They hunt. In packs!

    Me: In packs?

    Re: Yes, in packs. They hide. In the trees. In packs.

    Me: I see (desperately trying to make my laugh sound like a cough)

    Re: And they prey on the weak. Woman and children mostly.

    Me: Uh huh...

    Re: And you see it- not very often mind- but you do see it, in the paper, that some pour soul has been killed by a pack of rabid squirrels!

    Me: Squirrels don't have rabies. They can have tetnus, but I've had a tetnus shot. I looked into it.

    Re: Not rabies! It's the VENOM!

    Me: The squirrel venom?

    Re: YES!

    Me: Like Rattlesnakes, but with squirrels? Are you serious??!

    Re: YES! They're very territorial. They'll leap on you when you least expect it. And devour you. Sometimes whole.

    Me: WHOLE? Like, they'd eat a whole person?!

    Re: In very small bites.

    Me: It would be very small bites...

    Re: But the venom makes it so you can't move...

    Me: Squirrel venom causes paralysis?

    Re: Yes. And then they eat you alive, in small bites.

    Me: That'd take a while!

    Re: Well, there'd be a lot of them. I told you they hunt in the trees...

    And so it goes. Love this woman, and she's very intelligent, but she has a squirrel issue, clearly. Am thinking of going in just before she opens her summer cottage next Spring, and filling it with stuffed squirrels, but I don't want to give her a heart attack.

    Q Day is Looming

    I'm quitting smoking. Did you know I was a dirty, filthy smoker? I am. But not for long.

    I'm quitting on August 2. My dad's birthday. I made him get a colonoscopy when Adam died. I shamelessly played the widow card and begged him to have one for the umteenth time at a time when I knew he couldn't refuse me anything. And so he had one. And they found he had cancer. But it was early and he's coming home from the hospital today, having had a lot of his colon and a bunch of lymph nodes removed. We're still waiting on the pathology, and that'll determine whether he needs chemo. I'm knitting the "Fuck Cancer" intarsia chart from the anticraft into a pot holder for him. Rock.

    And so Dad played the Cancer card on me, and asked me to quit. And so I fucking have to. Fair is fair, right? I love to smoke, though. And cigarettes have been my friend for 11 years now. And I've tried to quit 5 or 6 times in the past and failed, and I may fail this time, too. But I'm going to give it a go.

    When I was on Prednisone I got huge. And I mean HUGE. Went from a size 4 to a size 2o in less than 3 months. I had an enormous stomach and people were always asking me when I was due. I finally just started telling them a date about 2 weeks from the given date, because it was easier than explaining. And I'd get really nasty looks when smoking in public. And I would stare back and rub my belly like there was a baby in there, just to see them look more horrified. I was just taking joy where I could find it.

    When Adam was killed I probably smoked 5 packs a day. I didn't actually smoke them, but needed a lit cigarette in my hand at all times. I was a bit on the catatonic side. And it makes me feel better, having a cigarette.

    And then the nightmares came. Everyone said that it'd get worse, in the beginning. And I thought "How can it possibly get worse?" but then I came out of shock. Around February, and I would literally wake up screaming, or sobbing, with nightmares of the hospital in my mind. Is it a nightmare if you're just remembering something that really happened?

    And so I'd sit in the dark and cry and have a cigarette and feel a bit better. It was a small, simple thing that just... made me feel better.

    And I know the health issues, blah blah blah. But I didn't really give a fuck. I'd have welcomed cancer at the time. I wanted to die. I woudn't have killed myself, never that, but I didn't mind if I died. The fear of death, an intense fear I'd had for so long, was gone. Because when I die I figure there will be nothing, or I'll see my Adam again. I still don't mind if I die, I just don't want the people who love me to go through what we've all gone through losing Ad.

    And to be perfectly honest, I don't want to quit. And so I worry that I won't, because I do love to smoke so much. But I'm giving it a go.

    I initially got back into knitting when I quit smoking for about a month last year. Figured it was something to do with my hands. Hands that would no longer be holding a cigarette.

    I'm crossing my fingers. And it's hard to hold a cigarette with fingers crossed. Right?

    Thursday, July 27, 2006

    Needed a Laugh Today

    These do it for me. Thought I'd pass it on.

    Knitting on Pain Killers...

    Hmmm... this can be problematic. It's also one of the reasons I tend not to use painkillers, even when I need them, and unfortunately, I often do.

    So the arthritis in my spine has been killing me lately, and I finally broke last night and took a damn pain pill. I was knitting the candle wrap from knitpicks, and had the 18 rows of garter stitch done. Time to get to the good stuff- the lace! This is where pain killers and knitting really don't mix.

    I start the row of lace knitting, and occasionally I see 4 needles instead of 2, but if I close one eye it's better and so I forge ahead. And then I get to the end of the row and realize I have 9 stitches less than I should. Hmmm... I try and count back along the row, looking at the k2togs and yo's and whatnot, and they're sort of blurring together, and so then I think I'll unknit that row and start over, but that, as you might imagine went totally pear shaped, and so I ended up frogging the whole damn thing.

    So, ladies and gentlemen. If you're going to knit on painkillers, avoid lace. In fact, stick to garter stitch, or St. stitch, unless you're looking for an interesting and totally unexpected pattern!

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    A favorite photo

    This photo of Adam and I was taken by friends who were visiting Boston. It was only a few weeks after we'd been dating, and they were sitting behind us on the T and caught this moment. I was probably thinking I'd marry him. I was right.

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Annie thinks that people who speak of themselves in the third person...

    are insane. The whole lot of them. It makes me CRAZY. I broke up with someone once because of it. (I broke up with 2 different people because they told me they only voted republican for financial reasons, but that is another story for another day...)

    And for some reason it's been popping up a lot lately, this business of people referring to themselves by their first names. What the fuck? Seriously? Who the hell does that?? Crazy people, and I don't mean "Oh, she's so crazy!" I mean, "Bitch is crazy." You know the difference.

    So if you've got Dissociative Itentity Disorder, fair enough. Talk about your other self all you like, I can completely understand that.

    If you are not suffering from a potential iatrogenic pathology disorder, then please, for the love of GOD, stick with me, myself, and I.

    The collective "we" is, however, totally fine. I often use the collective "we"
    for dramatic effect. Here is an example:

    I was knitting with colinette ribbon yarn and that stuff, whilst lovely, is so slippery, that when I dropped a couple of stitches they immediately unravelled to the cast on edge, and I was nearly done with the shawl!! We are not amused.

    That is a true story. Control your horror, we know how you feel.

    If, however, you are actually a member of the royal family, then I do not think you should use the collective, aka "royal" we. It's just rubbing our faces in it.

    Thank you.

    I miss my buns

    Adam and I had a pair of Angora Rabbits, Carats and Jumper. We got them from Iron Horse Farm (see link to right), and it was love at first sight. About a year and a half into owning them, I developed a really bad allergy to them, but we loved them like mad, and so Ad totally took over the grooming of them. When Adam died, I lost my bunnies, too. I couldn't care for them. I couldn't groom them, hold them. Jumper, especially, loved to be held. He'd hop in front of Adam and stomp his little feet and Ad would scoop him up and hold him like a baby, with all four legs in the air. Adam would often nap on the sofa with both bunnies sleeping on his chest. He loved them so much. We both did, but when I became allergic, he formed an especially tight bond with them.

    When Adam died, Skip and Debbie over at Iron Horse were amazing. They came in and picked them up for me and looked after them until they found a new, loving home as house rabbits.

    I miss them so much. And I miss him. I have Cecil, but he isn't the snuggliest of creatures.

    So here are some photos of my babies, who are still alive and well, just not with me.

    Jumper as a baby- look how tiny his ears were!

    Carats as a baby

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Tenacity, thy name is squirrel

    Here he is again. He's given up on the only squirrel proof feeder I have, and has foisted himself on a thistle sock, terrorizing the poor little finches who had previously been enjoying this food source.

    Mind you, I FEED the damn squirrels. They have their own feeder, plus two other bird feeders that they dangle from with staggaring regularity. Greedy little bastards.

    I do have the fattest squirrels on the block, and I'm very proud of it. Maybe I need to get out more?

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    50 Things About Me...

    Because I'm not interesting enough for 100

    1. I don't think I'm really a very good knitter.
    2. I'm adopted.
    3. I'm very liberal.
    4. I spent a summer in Spain and used to be nearly fluent in Spanish.
    5. I used to sing opera.
    6. I modeled a couple of times. Here's some proof:

    7. I am deathly afraid of spiders.
    8. I only have one hole in each ear, no other piercings.
    9. I have no tattoos, but haven't totally ruled one out.
    10. I'm personally pro-life, but will always, always vote pro-choice.
    11. I think prostitution and pot should be legal, but I've never been a hooker (in either sense) and I don't smoke pot.
    12. I am a widow.
    13. My 3 year old nephew is the new love of my life.
    14. I used to be very religious, but I don't know if I believe in God anymore.
    15. I don't like lillies, except lily of the valley. I think they're very funereal.
    16. I watch too much TV.
    17. I have Crohn's disease and Ankylosing spondylitis.
    18. I'm clean, but not neat.
    19. I want to live in England some day.
    20. Before I went on disability I was an event planner.
    21. I love my families (in-laws included) more than anything. More than myself.
    22. I sometimes think I wouldn't be a very good mom.
    23. I want to swim with dolphins before I die.
    24. I cry with any strong emotion. This has pros and cons.
    25. I sometimes think I'd be a good interior designer. But everyone probably thinks that about their own taste.
    26. I have freakishly wide feet.
    27. I have something of a coat fetish. Probably because I hate buying shoes (see #26).
    28. The name I was given by my biological mother was Jasmine.
    29. I'm crap at math. Seriously.
    30. I sometimes have dreams that come true.
    31. I'm afraid to fall in love again, and equally afraid I won't.
    32. I like granny scents- lavender, rose, lily of the valley. Love 'em.
    33. I'm currently coveting a Tsavorite.
    34. My sister is my hero. She is the kindest, funniest, most loving and generous soul I've ever known.
    35. I hate poster art. I only buy original, even if it's $10 off a street vendor.
    36. I buy yarn when I'm depressed. I've amassed quite a stash this year!
    37. I read voraciously. 5 books a week sometimes.
    38. I'm incredibly direct. The only woman I know who speaks her mind more than me is my rockin' sister in law.
    39. I feel very strongly about charity work and giving back to the community
    40. I love to cook, but don't cook for myself.
    41. I sing in the shower, and in the car, often holding passengers hostage.
    42. I'm really close to both of my parents, but in really different ways.
    43. I never knew my grandmothers.
    44. I'm an aspiring hooker and spinner, but feel I want to get really good at knitting first.
    45. I can be very impulsive. This is both good and bad, depending.
    46. I don't think you should respect a person just because he is the President.
    47. I secretly think I got stretch marks all over my legs when I was on steroids because they were the one part of my body that I was secretly proud of.
    48. I encourage everyone to become an organ donor. It was the only good thing to come from losing my husband.
    49. I eat way too much candy and junk food. But then, I'm not allowed to eat salad...
    50. It was hard to come up with 50. I AM boring!

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Dreamswatch Headwrap Progress and a Crappy Tutorial

    This is the dream swatch head wrap from knit and tonic the free pattern is available at the site, and there's a link on the sidebar to the right.

    Slip 6 stitches, purlwise

    Insert left needle into the bottom three stitches

    Slip these bottom 3 stitches over the top three and onto the left needle

    Now transfer the top three stitches over to the left needle, as well. You'll now purl them in the order they appear. This seems a little odd at first, because you're picking up yarn three stitches down to knit the first stitch with, but you get used to it. Purl them in the order they appear, as crossed, on your needle. Occasionally you'll purl two of them in the wrong order, but this doesn't really matter, the effect is essentially the same. Again, sorry for the slightly blurry pics, hard to take photos of myself knitting, but hopefully you can see enough.

    On the needle in crossed order.

    First three stitches purled.

    First six stitches, purled in reverse order. Now you just repeat. Slip the next six stitches, cross, purl-- the weird thing with the yarn not being where it normally would be isn't an issue after the first set of crosses.

    crosses, some look sloppier than others.

    Alchemy bamboo in Early Fall. The colors weren't quite what I thought they'd be from the WEBS site, but they're still lovely.

    Dreamswatch Detail progress

    Hope this helps a bit! It's a really easy and fun pattern once you wrap (pun intended) your head around it. Wendy rocks!

    Sunday, July 16, 2006

    My SP Kicks Ass

    Got the package from my One Skein SP, and it's incredible! It's Karaoke, by South West Trading Company, a soy silk/wool blend, that apparently felts fantastically. I am LOVING this yarn, and it's a yarn I've not heard of before, so I cannot WAIT to figure out what to make with it!! She also included a great yarn bag, a Debbie Macomber book I've been dying to read (almost done with it now), loads of yummy candy, a fantastic little notepad and it was all wrapped so beautifully!


    Check out the gorgeous yarn, and my box of goodies!!!

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Infusion Day

    I had my infusion today. The double dose, 600mg of Remicade. I was less sad this time, as I didn't go alone. For some reason whenever I have to go in for treatment I feel very, very alone. Even when someone is with me. Even when I have family and loved ones calling or texting to see how I'm feeling, how it went. I feel very alone, and very sad. And then I lie on the sofa, with an achy arm, exhausted and praying that this will be the dose that makes me feel better. And maybe it will.

    It's a funny thing, this melancholy. I really am not the sort of person who gets into a funk. But there is something about the day when I have my infusion that makes me feel so very sad and alone. And since Adam died it's a feeling I've gotten more used to. Like grief, you sort of learn to live with it. Like that crazy roommate I had in college. I'd rather she wasn't there, but she was, whether I wanted her to be or not, and so I accepted it. I did my best to avoid her and put up with her when avoidance was not possible.

    I'm sure it is a combination of the helplessness I feel about being so sick lately. And now with this new diagnosis, it feels more difficult. I feel like my body has completely betrayed me. And I don't want anyone's pity, and I don't want anyone to worry about me, because hey, as my dad would say "It's just another fucking growth experience." And I'll come through this, as well. And there are days, entire days sometimes, when I feel really good, and I think to myself that maybe this new combination of medications has finally kicked in and I'm getting well, but then the next day I can't walk properly. I can't drive more than 10 minutes without my knees or hips giving out. I can't stand up straight because my back hurts so badly. I try not to feel discouraged. I can live with this. The way I am now, I can live with this. It isn't the ideal way to live, but there are worse things, as I've said before. No one ever thinks they're going to be widowed before 30 with two fairly uncommon, very painful and often debilitating diseases, but it could be worse. I don't have anything fatal or contagious. I have lost my love but I have not lost the capacity and desire to love and be loved. We only have one shot here. At least I think we do, though I do think reincarnation is possible, let's just say for the moment that this is it, this is the only shot we get on this earth. I will move forward, even if it's at a hobble. Because that's where I'll be spending my life, however long I may have.

    So to quote Edna St. Vincent Millay,

    My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - it gives a lovely light!

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Dreamswatch Headwrap on the Needles, and Mothra

    So I'm making the dream swatch head wrap, and I'm feeling like my crosses are looking a bit messier than I'd have liked. I'm using Alchemy Bamboo in a color called "Early Fall" and the yarn is, indeed, a real pleasure to work with. The photo above is very poor quality, sorry for that, but can you see what I mean? But then I look at Wendy's photos and her crosses aren't totally perfect, so I feel a bit better, because if hers aren't then they are clearly not meant to be, right? I'm going to carry on, but if it looks too sloppy then I'll scrap it and try something else- any other back up plans anyone?


    Make that moths. Several. And it would seem I am not just in a kerfuffle with the moths, I'm most likely kerfucked. I put my expensive wool in bags, but then I read that the little fuckers can chew through plastic, so that isn't really a deterrent. Someone else said they don't like to chew through paper, but that doesn't make sense... does it? I mean, I'd rather eat paper than plastic, and paper is more like plastic than wool... I can't abide the smell of mothballs, and I can't tell if the moths in my house are actually wool moths or not. I've looked it up, but I can't tell the freakin difference between the moths that eat your stash and the ones that don't. I feel like an idiot, but what can you do?

    It isn't like there's a flock of them or anything, just seems there's another one somewhere in the house about every day. I catch them when I can and feed them to my frog. He likes moths. Me, not so much.

    I have no idea if my stash is affected, and I guess I won't know until I go to use said yarn and it's been mothified.

    The other craptastic thing about this is I used to like moths. Well, I didn't really like them, but they didn't freak me out like most of the other members of the insect world.

    So it's moth watch '06. Bring it.

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Ok, that last post was a little heavy...

    so let me post something non-heavy. My breasts, to be exact. I have come to terms with the fact that I'll never be chesty. My sister, who was a C cup by the time she was 4 or some such shit, got all the tit in the family. I tell her the boob fairy got lost and hit her room up twice. Perhaps the bad luck started early.

    In a very non-pervy way, it's been sort of a family joke that I am so flat chested, I'm somewhat aerodynamic. For example, the part of the chicken always saved for me? The breasts. Awesome. Actually, that was sort of awesome, because of all of my very strange food rules and quirks. But that is perhaps a topic for another day.

    The thing that really kills me about the no-boob situation is when it comes to dealing with professionals. Now I'll grant you, I'm small chested even for my small size. I'm almost an A cup. But not really. That'd be pretty fucking sweet. But I digress.

    Irritation 1: Clothing designers. Because of the aforementioned lack of brestage I wear an even smaller dress size. Around a 2. It makes me so fucking crazy that dress designers at many, many stores, seem to think the average cup size for a size 2 woman is a C or a D cup. God bless the size 2 woman born with a rack like that, but I can assure you, Marc Jacobs, that it is the exception, not the rule.

    Irritation 2: Medical Professionals. At a recent breast exam I actually found myself counting the number of times the gyn said the phrase "really small breasts"

    GYN: It's important that you do self exams regularly, even though you have really small breasts.

    Me: Yeah, I know, I'd probably SEE a lump if one should appear

    GYN: No, this is serious. You have really small breasts, but even with very very small breasts like yours it is crucial to do self exams.

    Me: Got it. I do. Regularly. I grope myself whenever possible. Just, you know, to make sure they're still there.

    GYN: It's especially important because they're so very small that you wouldn't be able to have a mammogram. There isn't enough breast tissue there. Normally you don't see breasts that are this small unless they're on a body builder.

    Me: Or a ballerina?

    GYN: Are you a ballerina?

    Me: No. But sometimes strangers ask me if I am, and I say yes.

    GYN: Well, at least they're soft.

    Me: I'm sorry?

    GYN: Usually, when you see very very small breasts like these they're very hard, so it's harder to feel the lumps. Yours are quite soft, so that's good.

    Me: Well, erm... thanks.

    GYN: Ok, you can get dressed.

    Seriously! Good thing I have a sense of humor, no?

    Incident #2- Before I went on the remicade I had to have a chest x ray to make sure I didn't have TB. No problem. So, I was feeling sort of emotionally fragile at the moment, it wasn't that long after Adam died, and I'd been sick as a dog and exhausted and all that. I went to this x ray lab near the dr's office, and waited for ages, listening to "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion in the waiting room, which it must be said, is not the best song at the best of times, but is really really not the best song when you're husband has just fucked off for heaven.

    SO I fill out scads of paperwork, medical history, etc and I have the films taken and the tech looks at me and says that they just need to check and make sure the films came out ok before I go. So this other tech comes in and looks at the images. And looks. And looks at my chart. And then back at films. And now I'm thinking maybe something is really wrong. The tech looks at me and says:

    "I'm sorry, I didn't see on your chart that you'd had a double mastectomy. When was that?"

    "I didn't have a mastectomy"

    "Oh. Because it isn't in your history that you did"

    "That's because I didn't. I'd have remembered a double mastectomy."

    "Oh right. It's just... there isn't really any breast tissue on your scan, and we generally only see that with women who've lost their breasts"

    "Or women who never had any to begin with? I just have very small breasts."

    "Oh. That would explain why I couldn't see any scar tissue. Wow. They're really small huh?"

    "Yes. But they're very soft."

    "Ok. You're all set"

    So I suppose I'm lucky. And at least when I'm 60 they won't be around my ankles. Bitch. (Ok, I didn't say that last bit)

    Seriously. She then suggested a really good plastic surgeon that her cousin used. Um, thanks, but no thanks. What followed was about a half hour of absolutely hysterical laughter. Couldn't stop laughing. Laughed my way out of the office, back to my car and home. I mean, seriously. These are women! What the hell?! They're small, but not disfiguring or anything!

    Jeez. Ok, off to give myself a daily groping, you know... just to make sure they're still there.

    If I Didn't have Bad Luck, I'd Have No Luck At All...

    This is what my newest Dr, a Rheumatologist said to me, before giving me my diagnosis. Ankylosing Spondylitis. Basically arthritis of the lower spine. Let me just run y'all through a time line here, because I'm really not a moaner, but I'm hoping this might help to put whatever is happening in your life into better perspective.

    7.5.04- Marry the man of my dreams

    7.12.04 Get sick on honeymoon. Think it's a stomach bug or the exotic food

    9.04 Diagnosed with Crohn's disease after CAT scan and colonoscopy biopsy

    11.26.04 Start Prednisone. Get Moon face, gain insane weight, going from a size 4 to a size 20 in less than three months. A third of my hair falls out, but I get facial hair to compensate. I get stomach ulcers, and take medication to sleep and stop shaking. I take 16 anti-inflammatories, plus the steroids and related meds, adding up to over 40 pills a day.

    03.07.05 Fall and crush my right ankle. Have to keep it elevated for 4 months. Trying to hobble around on crutches with 80 pounds of extra weight is no one's idea of a good time.

    5.05 Start to taper off the prednisone

    7.05 totally off prednisone, and dropping weight very quickly. My first anniversary!

    8.6.05 My husband is hit by an elderly driver, has many broken bones but is expected to make a full recovery

    8.8.05 My husband dies due to complications from his injuries. I am in a state of total shock and grief and my amazing family and friends gather round me and pull me through it.

    1.06 I begin to feel sick again. Doesn't seem like Crohn's, no tummy problems, but after months of exhaustive testing it turns out it is a flare. Only this time it's joints and exhaustion. Begin remicade treatments.

    6.06 Have extensive latent food allergy and other testing done, ruling out the main foods I can comfortably eat. Also find out I have the Epstein Barr Virus.

    6.06 Learn that one of the people in my life I am closest to has cancer.

    7.06 Finally see the rheumatologist specialist and learn I also have a disease called
    Ankylosing Spondylitis.

    So there we are. Can it get worse? Of course it can. I have a lot of people who I love, so very much, and they're tremendously supportive, and unbelievably wonderful. I am so lucky to be surrounded by so much love. I can't work, and I'm stir crazy. The worst is when I have a really good day. On a really good day I have 5 or 6 really productive hours in a day. But I never know when one of these days might be, and they're not very common. And it's hard. I'm in pain. All the time. I try very hard to hide the amount of pain I'm in to my loved ones, because I know it makes them worry for me even more. I miss my husband in ways I cannot even begin to describe, and I know I always will. But I'm trying my best to move forward with my life, because I have to.

    But it could be worse. I could have no one who loves me. I could have no one in my life to love. I could be much more sick than I am. The prognosis for my loved one with cancer could be worse. It could always be worse. And I laugh about these things as much as I can.

    So if you're having a bad day, a bad week, or like me, a bad year- remember... it could always be worse.

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    Fetching Progress

    Ok, I have one glove done. I have tiny, really tiny hands, and they're a bit big on me, but would be fine as is, so I'm thinking they'll fit my SP just fine. They're not perfect, but I think on the whole they are coming along ok. Especially considering it's the first time I've done a thumb.

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    Cheeky Squirrel

    Here are some recent photos of Adam's garden, including one of a squirrel I almost have tamed. Also almost have a chipmunk tamed, but no photos of him. Odds of taming the groundhog are slim, I realize.

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Dog Day Afternoon

    On July 4th my sister, Moose, and friend Rupert took Abbey, the family's lab/retriever mix swimming for the first time. She did really well, I was very proud. Then we went home for some quality time picking rocks out of a paddling pool.

    First off, here is a photo of Abbey as a baby-

    And here is Abbey with Margaret Mary, my parents 11 year old walking ottoman, a lovely lab mix rescue.

    Getting her rocks out of the pool. Maggie had to show her how it's done, but she soon became a pro.

    And here's Large Marge taking a well deserved rest...

    And here is Abbey, swimming!

    Click on any of the photos for a larger image! My friend Rupert took most of these!

    One Skein Swap Project- take 2!

    So I've decided to knit "Fetching" from Knitty

    I'm knitting them using Art Fiber's Kurasawa, in black. So far, I love this yarn. It's incredibly soft, as you'd expect a 50/50 silk/ultrafine merino to be. The woman I'm knitting this for is into martial arts, so the yarn seems apropos, and I'm hoping she'll like the pattern.

    Here's the yarn-

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    It's A Day

    Oi. Today is my anniversary. Or it would have been. Tough day today. Not the first, won't be the last, but it's not easy.

    That aside, I'm having a horrid time trying to figure out what the hell I should knit for my One Skein SP. I have the yarn. I *thought* I knew what I was going to make her- she's such a cool chick. But I then realized the pattern I had in mind, the pattern I actually knitted twice, and frogged twice, is just a really craptastic pattern. Don't you hate it when that happens? The photo of it is this ubercool perfection of form a nd function, and you get so excited, but then soon realize that whatever the fuck they did to achieve the finished product shown in the pattern, it is NOT what is actually written as a pattern. It's probably her math homework from 5th grade, or some such shit. So I'm starting over.

    And I'll be using WAAAAY more than one skein. Have to, I fear. And the thing is, I could make such a cool bag for her, and she loves bags, but this yarn is so beautiful, so expensive and so SOFT that it seems insane not to knit her something that would be on her skin. Right? Right. Must find new pattern. And it'll proabably end up being a scarf. Because I have 250 yards of a worsted and then some coordinating silk/mohair that I could also throw in there for some better texture. But then it's like, oh... yay... another fucking scarf...

    Back to the pattern books...