Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Random Tuesday

I'm over the mange! And I've been working on a few random things. No pictures, though. Slap me on the wrist - I'm a terrible blogger.

Saturday I hung around with a few PDX Knitbloggers for a wee bit over at Abundant Yarn, rounding up a skein of the prettiest sock yarn. Mmmm.....those are going to be Cat Bordhi socks of some sort very, very soon. The plan was to do a yarn crawl of four (five?) yarn stores, with a nip over to Pix for some dessert along the way in honor of the lovely Judy's birthday. I only had time for the first leg of the trip, but got to hang out and talk and generally have a good time before getting more errands done.

Having one car is a bit inconvenient, but mostly just involves more planning. I did grocery shopping on Saturday and grabbed some things at the fabric store as well. I was working on a muslin for a dress to wear to a wedding we're going to in October. So very glad I decided to make a muslin first. There were some big problems with the pattern pieces. Nothing that can't be fixed, but I'm glad to have worked them out in practice with lots of time on my hands.

Sunday we went to a picnic at Dabney State Park with a group from PortlandFood. The park is gorgeous and the weather was perfect: sunny but not too hot at all. The food was delicious, as it's bound to be with a bunch of foodies, and wonder of wonders - all the children got along! That was a thing to behold. Couldn't have asked for a nicer afternoon.

We got home in time to drop off the boys at "Grandma Camp" and then promptly looked at each other and said, "Hey, we have no children! What should we do about this?" The plan had been to get back later, drop off the boys, then drive the half mile back home with Dan's car and my MIL's as well. I had an MRI scheduled for early yesterday morning* and we all figured it'd be easier that way. We decided to go see a movie since we rarely get a chance and quickly drove off to catch a showing of Stardust.

LOVED that movie! It's a perfect fairy tale: action, adventure, some dark moments, hope, love, incredibly funny bits, and the most gorgeous scenery. By the end most of the audience cried just a little, but they were good tears. If you like The Princess Bride, you have to see this movie. We'll definitely own it once it comes out on DVD.

This week is count down until school starts next Tuesday. The boys are nervous, and Ryan has an especially hard time each year because of all the changes: new classroom, new grade, new teacher, new classmates. When you're autistic, new is not your friend at all. So I'm trying to help both of them with a lot of talking and hugs and reassurance. I go back to school on the 25th, so I'm a bit nervous as well but at least have more time to get ready.

There - all the news that's fit to print. I promise pictures of the baby sweater (almost done) and the muslin from #$%@ next time.

*I still have the tremor and other odd things going on, so I got an MRI of my neck and a bunch of blood tests - 13 vials of blood. Bleh. I can now say I hat MIRs of all sorts, and especially hate the contrast dye they use. It all feels really strange and uncomfortable and icky and I don't want one again, please.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I have the Plague

Well, not the actual Plague, but it sure feels that bad. The whole house has been sick since last weekend, with high fevers, lots of vomiting, and piercing headaches and fatigue all around. We've been living on congee and soups, soft scrambled eggs, dry toast and lot of tea and watered down orange juice. The boys and I are going stir crazy since neither of them has been well enough to play outside and have been too contagious to hang out with Grandma. I've been morosely trying to knit here and there on the couch (a February Sweater from Elizabeth Zimmerman for my soon to be born niece), but have mostly been resting and waiting for this to blow over.

Even my car is sick. Scratch that. It's essentially in it's death throes. We took it to the mechanic yesterday for a tune up and a check of a few things that haven't seemed right for a long time, and the list of things that are wrong is over two pages long. Official diagnosis from the mechanic? Get a new car. This is an unhappy surprise, since the plan was to limp this car (which isn't even that old - it's a 99 Saturn) until I'm out of school and bringing in another paycheck. So much for that plan. At this point, fixing it just so it's safe to drive NOW would cost $1,700, which is crazy since we know we need to replace it as soon as we can. So in the meantime we're running on one car, with me driving Dan to Vancouver in the morning and picking him up again with boys in tow on days I need to drive, and staying home on days I don't. We're racing to figure out what kind of car to buy: something inexpensive, good gas mileage, safe, reliable, one that *actually* seats 5 (instead of that pie in the sky dealership "seats five!" that really means three supermodels might fit in the back seat comfortably), ideally with a hatchback or good cargo space in back. Nothing fancy, just something I can drive for the next 5 years or so until I'm working again and we can afford to be picky. Edmunds is now my friend.

I was supposed to be posting about meeting Cat Bordhi, which was amazing. She looks at the world in such a different, beautiful way. It's not just intelligence, which she has plenty of, but an almost childlike wonder at the world around us and how it all works, something she shares with scientists and people who create things most of us can hardly fathom. On top of all of that, she's a genuinely nice and approachable person and gives a really interesting talk. And can she ever knit! It was an inspirational night in the truest sense of the word, and I'm happy I went. And thankful to my friend Vicki Jean, who guided us to a fun sushi place for dinner before and showed me the ropes of the MAX system.

Also never thought that bringing a plastic fork would win me a prize! I was making an amulet pouch for a friend of mine and wanted a nice, smooth cord instead of a crocheted strand. I've always wanted to learn how to use a lucet, but didn't happen to actually have one around. Hmmm. What could I use? Immediately rummaged through the "party supplies" box until I found a strong plastic fork, broke the two inner tines off, and voila, a home made lucet! Now, to learn how to use it. I roamed all over the web, finally coming across these instructions. Studied them, swore a lot, then finally got the idea and I was cording like a mad fool. Well, slooooooowly cording like a mad fool. It takes a lot longer than making I-cord, but the end result is so much nicer. Smooth, firm, a bit stretchy, and perfect for this project.

I took the fork along with me to Cat's book signing since I figured it was a pretty nifty trick and wanted to show my PDX knit buddies. I had just finished showing them what I was using it for when Tina from Blue Moon announced games....with yarn prizes! Oh, joy! I've never, ever had a skein of Socks that Rock in my life and desperately wanted to get my hands on some, but sadly they weren't selling any that night. I perked right up at the mention of yarn prizes, and what do you know, the very first one was "most unusual thing in your knitting bag". I waved that fork high in the air, and next thing you know I was up front, explaining what the heck I was using it for and selecting my very first ever skein of Socks that Rock. It's medium weight "Hollyday", and I'm beyond thrilled. I keep petting it. And I gave my fork and a good long strand of the cording to Cat, since she was so tickled at the whole idea :-)

Bobbie gave me two pairs of Groucho glasses to try to cheer me up. It worked - it's incredibly hard to be down when you're wearing goofy glasses and a fake nose. Here's the picture of the boys wearing them once I got home:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sockapalooza socks - mine!

My wonderful and talented sock pal, Mandy, sent these well within the deadline (unlike me!). I got them last week on a day that was feeling really lousy,and they literally made my day. I promised myself I wouldn't post until I was finally done with the socks I needed to send out (motivation), but now I can share.

And last, but certainly not least: on my very thankful feet. This is where I like to sit best, in a glider rocker and ottoman that are sooo incredibly comfortable. As are the socks! They fit perfectly, are soft and stretchy, and the colors are a rich blend of deep reds, purples, with a wee flash of deep green from time to time. The yarn is WildFoote in "Ragtime", and I'll have to search some out and play with it on my own sometime.
Many, many thanks, Mandy! I love the socks and the whole package made me smile.

Sockapalooza socks, finished

Thank you all so much for all of your support and comments. They all warmed my heart and made me smile, which helps more than I can say. I still miss Tabby in all kinds of odd moments, but I'm feeling a lot better.

As proof, I finally finished my Sockapalooza 4 socks! I know, there hasn't even been a mention that I was working on them, but I was. Rather late. Way back when this fourth sock exchange started I did a little mental math: hmmm, due in August, which is after my sister's wedding....no problem. Several weeks before the wedding, I stared in shock and horror at the finish date for this SP round: August 2nd. My sister's wedding? August 3rd. Sure, I could finish up the shawl and get the socks done on time, aside from another teensy fact: I had a major test to take a few days before we left for the wedding. Studying and knitting may well go together for those talented few who can read and knit at the same time, but not for me. Then Alison amended the finish time to August 7th. I could do this! No problem! I started the socks right before we left for the wedding, figuring I'd work on them while in CA and finish once we got back. No time at all while we were there, though I did do quite a bit of knitting during plane trips. Then we got back and finally mourned properly. Which also doesn't seem to go well with knitting. I emailed my sock pal, apologizing profusely, and she was incredibly sweet and understanding.

Pattern: Rock And Weave
Designed by A. Karen Alfke
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock
Color: Spanish Moss
Buttons: purchased at The Yarn Garden (don't they look just like the cosmos I have growing in the garden?)
Needles: size 5 for the linen stitch cuffs, size 1 1/2 for the rest of the socks
Modifications: None, really. The pattern was really easy to follow and the socks were fun to make up. I've been itching to try this pattern for a very long time and was thrilled that they seem to fit what my pal wants really well. I'll have to make another pair of these for myself very soon!

Monday, August 06, 2007

I'm back

The wedding was beautiful, the trip crazily full of lists, things to do, places to go, and little sleep. My sister is safely on her honeymoon and Dan and I are catching up on sleep. Pictures of all to come soon.

In the meantime, I'm laying quiet for a bit. The night before we left for California was a blur with all the packing, running around, and cleaning. Around midnight I noticed my cat Tabby seemed upset somehow. I reached down and stroked her fur, reassuring her that it was just a trip, that we'd be back soon, that everything was just fine. She purred and leaned her body into my hand as I calmed her, and I went off to bed. Dan and I both hit the ground running at 5:00 the next morning since we needed to leave by 5:30. I went to get my suitcase by the top of the stairs, looked down, and saw Tabby on the floor. She was gone. From what I can tell, she must have waited until we went to bed to die. I knew this was coming - she'd been losing weight and hurting from time to time the last few months and we guessed her tumor had come back - but it still hit me really hard.

I remember when Tabby was a tiny kitten, so small she fit in both hands. She was smart, beautiful, and so graceful. She loved to play and was full of life. She also had an attitude many times her size and preferred life on her terms. She didn't like most people, though she tolerated Dan and the boys well enough. She was cranky and vocal and a pain, but I loved her all the more for her less than lap cat ways. She saw me through some really hard times, always curling right up against me and purring like a motor whenever I was nearby. She was a fighter, always top cat even when the other cats in question were twice her size. And she managed to fight that cancer for ten months. Feisty all the way to the end.

Tabby had two loves in life: getting outside (which we didn't allow) and food. I got her ashes back today, and we're going to sprinkle them over in the corner garden. I think that's where she'd want to be - out in the sunlight, surrounded by places to hide and chase bugs and birds, able to see nap in the cool grass and nibble flowers from time to time.

The house feels too empty right now. I keep waiting to see her come down the stairs at night, waiting until we come up to bed. I cry when I see her cat bed, knowing she won't ever get to sleep there again. And our bed is all wrong without her there. I was her person for seventeen and a half years, and I miss her sorely.