2010 has not been a good year & I won't be sad to see the end of it. I have learned that I'm stronger (most of the time) than I thought and that I have more friends than I knew. I've learned to ask for help and I'm learning about caring for myself.
2011 has potential but it's got it's challenges before any of it can be realized.
Cryptic but that's all I've got. I'll be drinking & knitting in the New Year - not so much in celebration but in reflection knowing that it will get better.
Today was my last chemo treatment and they have a tradition in the chemo ward that on your last treatment you ring the bell. I rang the bell baby!!! The 3-4 weeks until radiation starts will give me time to pretty much recover from the side effects of this treatment. More good news - the pelvic ultrasound came back with "just" fibroids so I'll get a referral to a gynecologist and see what he/she recommends. My hemoglobin also went up to 105 thanks to all my bovine friends who have died for me.
It looks like a hot mess but I'm onto the body of Elizabeth - it's been perfect waiting room knitting.
Mitten Mania '10 has run into a bit of a sandbar - Amanda declared that she had enough mittens!!! I know - who's child is this?!? She allowed that I could make her a pair of black & white striped ones to match her new zebra hat but then she's kind of mittened out. No worries - I have a few friends & nieces with hands ... I'm Manic for Mittens!!!
On my way back from Julies on Monday I stopped in Mississauga for Krispy Kremes. I totally love those doughnuts and any time I'm close I stop in!! Kyle scarfed down all of the chocolate covered ones & when I called him on it he said, "I'll pick some up at Tim Horton's tomorrow". I told him that Tim Horton's doughnuts are not the same as Kirspy Kremes. He said that they were just as good. Philistine!!!No wonder I don't waste Hagen Daz, Lindt chocolate or real butter on my children - they totally don't appreciate quality in food!!! Seriously ... they think that margarine tastes the same as butter!!!
I've gotten lazy about the mail and tend to only send Amanda across the road for it every 2-3 days. I have got to start checking the mail more often. My lovely Signature Needles arrived probably Thursday or Friday and I didn't get to open them until last night. I know!!! Cathy & Daniella included a purple pin - it's the closest that they have to pink right now - thanks ladies!!! Amanda needs to get off of Facebook and wind the yarn for her next mittens ... I need to cast on!!!
When I opened my email this morning there was a newsletter from The Needle Emporium. Sale?!? OMG!!! I have been wanting to knit a Morrigan (Rav link) for myself since I knit the sample for the book and Rowan Calmer being on sale was totally the impetus that I needed. I had my shade cards out but I still couldn't decide on a colour! There is nothing like having the yarn in hand, seeing whole balls of the colours so there was nothing for it -- off to Julie's!!! There was also the Molly scarf that I had finished that really needed to be delivered ;-).
I decided on the Drift - classic off-white which I can also wear to work at The Mighty Mart of Wal - for Morrigan, picked up a skein of DIC Classy in Spring Tickle for Mitten Mania '10 and scored the Holiday IK (I think that it was the last one that Julie had!!). And I got to see Julie - totally worth the drive to Ancaster!!
I am normally a nice tight knitter, I know how to compensate for that so it's all good. It appears that circulars make me all loosey-goosey. Yes, I swatched but because I have exactly the right amount of yarn that the sweater calls for I decided to rip out the swatch. I must have loosened up and it totally didn't occur to me to check in on it until I was nearly done the sleeve. I checked my tension then because I still had one more increase to do and I was almost at the 18" and even when I match stitch gauge for a yarn/pattern I almost always have a tighter row tension. I usually adjust my increases so that they are spread out nicely. My row tension was 27 sts/4" rather than the called for 28. It's not a big deal but the pattern has just the body increases just 2 rows after the last sleeve increase (by the maths). This doesn't seem quite right to me (usually there is at least the same # of rows after the last increase as between the increases) and I'm debating adjusting the increases to reflect that. ARGH!!! So I swatched on a 4mm and got the gauge but it felt tight so I ripped out the sleeve and just tightened up my tension on the 4.5mm - golden!! 20 x 28.
The tattoo for the radiation is a barely perceptible dot. I've been contemplating a real tattoo for a while and I'm totally going to go for it. I just need to find the right place/artist - any suggestions in the GTA?
Mitten Mania '10 continues - Amanda loves this striped pair the best. I can tell because when we went out she tried not to take them off, to the point of turning magazine pages with them on at Chapters!! That truly makes it all worth it. I think that the Yarn Pirate mittens will be next.
I've been fighting off a cold for the last week, I'm feeling like I'm finally getting the better of it today. Still with the tight cough but the useless exhaustion is pretty much gone. PHEW!!
I finished the Classic Elite Molly scarf and started on the Elizabeth sweater. I know - that is a circular needle!! The sweater is done side to side and I really don't like changing from straights to circulars mid-project, it can really affect your tension so I'm rediscovering my circular needle skills.
The old Beaumark vacuum that I've had for about 20 years has finally given up the ghost. Mucking with it for 10-15 minutes to get it to start is a serious waste of knitting time & when I need it the most I'm afraid that it will not start at all. I've been wanting a Dyson for awhile & I totally got it at the right time - Future Shop had them on sale for $449 (sale runs until the 27th) so I price matched that at The Mighty Mart of Wal so that I could get my discount on top of the sale price. I ended up saving almost $200!!! I did a quick test run with it on the upstairs hallway and OMG - the amount of dust/dirt that it picked up!! Amanda just vacuumed on Tuesday and while she is not the most thorough she's not incompetent!!
I am almost excited to go for treatment on Wednesday - it's my last one!!! Then I've got almost 3 weeks of before I go down to Sunnybrook Hospital for my tattoo - it's a tiny little dot that marks where they need to aim the radiation. Seriously - aim for the scar dude!!It's a specialty tattoo that very few hospitals do. No worries though - I've set up a ride so it will be me knitting all the way there & back!! Then it will be 6.5 weeks of radiation every weekday, but the visits will be very short. I'm feeling pretty good - tired still and there is a new thing; my eyes just won't stop watering!! It's annoying enough just sitting still, walking around inside creates enough breeze to make it worse and if I go outside ... tears streaming down my face!! I walk around stores dabbing at my eyes with Kleenex and I can see people looking at me like they want to ask if I'm okay but mercifully (or maybe it's a bit sad) they don't.
So here is a better shot of the new jacket & hat - nice bright colours on the jacket. And yes, she is looking a bit happier!! Apparently green is her new favourite colour.
Mitten Mania '10 has started strong and Amanda is very pleased!! She loves the matching/opposite colour combination. I use the mitten template in Ann Budd's Handy Book of Patterns - I like the sizing and the template covers an excellent range of gauge and sizes. Totally an investment that will pay off quickly!!
I'm sure that the Mania '11 may be mittens - as much as I (and every other mother) hopes that the coat will span 2 seasons, it is more likely than not that there will need to be another jacket with totally different colours.
I haven't had a DVD player in the living room for awhile and watching movies on the laptop was getting old. I finally bit the bullet and went shopping. I had decided that I really wanted a blu-ray player - they've come down in price enough and blu-ray discs are not nearly as expensive as they used to be. I got it set up (with some initial assistance from Amanda) and while it should have been easier, I sorted out the firmware (it's okay ... I giggle at that word every time!!!) upgrade and have Netflix running through it. I'm feel invincible!!! I bought Inception and The Last Airbender (based on the Avatar anime series which I watched in prep for getting the movie), both of which should be most excellent on blu-ray!!!
I got meds for the additional pain with cautions about taking days off when the pain isn't "so bad" as a precaution against addiction. Okay, I know that it happens but seriously ... the pain is caused by chemo which is going to end. Can we just be more concerned with pain management right now? Fortunately I do have days with less pain and I wouldn't be popping Percs every 4 hours every day anyway ... I have to drive sometimes and, more crucially, it would probably throw off my gauge.
I have one toenail hanging on by a band aid and another one that is going to come off at some point. I stubbed them, they bruised up within 5 minutes and they are going to fall off - this is probably the nail damage that they are hoping to head off by having me soak my hands in ice during the Taxotere treatments. Okay - I'm super happy that my hands are protected but I am a clumsy white woman ... why not pack my feet in ice too?!? I'm definitely going to ask about it for the last treatment. I know, it's a bit like closing the barn door after the horses are out, but I obviously need all the help that I can get!!
We interrupt our regularly scheduled knitting to show you the New Coat & Hat that our young lady is sporting. The colours are washed out in this pic - I'll get a better one tomorrow before school. This, of course, means new mittens which will be knit (mostly & for now) from stash. I know - an extensive stash is something upon which you can draw not just deposit!!
Believe me, I have explained to Amanda that not every girl is so lucky as to have Malabrigo Silky Merino & Yarn Pirate mittens - !!! I told her that these were not snowball-throwing, snow-shoveling mittens but keeping warm & looking good mittens. Not that she is not to shovel ... I told her that there are "work" mittens for that!! Classic Wool is still lovely, but totally more day-to-day.
In the throws of setting up for Mitten Mania '10 I discovered that I didn't have any 3.5mm dpn in 'da house!!! I quickly remedied that with a trip to Signature Needles! A set of 4.5mm also fell into the cart - I have Aeros, but surely an event such as Mitten Mania '10 (which will without fail be followed up with future classics such as Mitten Mania '11 & '12) deserves the elegance, beauty & functionality of Signature DPN? I concur!!!
Just ribbin' along - 2 x 2, 2.75mm needles, 248 sts. Don't feel too sad for me, it's Windy Valley MuskoxMajestic Blend for a re-design and totally feels like way more than 15% musk ox!! This is challenging my mental faculties (especially at the moment) - there is shaping and I'll have to sort out the math for 2 sizes in addition to the sample, and my organizational skills ... no winging the pattern, I am taking notes!!
I started on the Molly scarf - it's fun!! I love the way that the CE Liberty Wool get a bit mottled in between the colour changes, it makes for a nice transition. I'm knitting back backwards on the short rows; I think that I'm getting good enough at it that it's quicker than doing so much turning. Give it a go - it has a learning curve and is a bit awkward at first but it's worth persevering.I'll see if Amanda wants to record me doing it & I'll post it.
My legs are deeply achy today. Not quite at excruciating but definitely wicked. There are occasional stabs in my forearms and elbows but mostly it's leaving my essentials alone. Still, I'll be calling the oncology clinic tomorrow to see if they can bump up the Arthrotec or hit me up with something that, if it won't make the pain go away will make me not care so much if it hurts. It's snowing again but it's the weekend - Kerwyn can be on shoveling duty if he wants to go anywhere and the kids are good. I need to remember to keep up on my management skills - I'd hate to go back to The Mighty Mart of Wal all rusty!! LOL
I'm definitely feeling the effects of the anemia more - another day spent in bed after clearing off the sidewalk. I just feel tired & winded but fortunately, after years of wishing that knitting was more aerobic I am grateful that it is not!! OMG - I can't believe how much snow that we got this week - 3 snow days and one day where they actually closed Amanda's school (it takes a lot to close a walking school!!). I paced myself and Amanda & her friends were an excellent help, but I really am quite over the snow already.
I finished the Multi-directional scarf - I don't know who it's for. It may just be a DKC Knitting for the Cure scarf! I also got around to knitting up these little wristlets that were a gift (don't even ask how long ago!!) but they were a perfect little knit that brought the gifter close to my heart when I needed it. They were such a fast knit - DK weight yarn and 6/0 beads (of which I have quite a stash!! I also finished the socks for Elise - they'll be in the mail tomorrow.
The Mailman brought my KnitPicks prize - Amanda will have another pair of mittens soon! The book will make for some lovely eye candy. I also got my next projects from Julie - she knows how much I love variegated yarn and I get to use the lovely CE Liberty Wool to knit up the Molly scarf & Elizabeth cardigan.
I started a Multi-directional Scarfby Iris Schrieir out of some Lang yarn that I got at Julie's tent sale ... a couple of years ago!! LOL!!!
I was up at my sister's place this past weekend and they had a dreaded Snuggie. A lot of my friends from the Mighty Mart of Wal know about my deep distaste for Snuggies.The Snuggie Ate My Baby!!! Amanda loves it & I may just have to choose between my love for Amanda and my loathing of the Snuggie. ARGH!!!
I went for my pre-chemo blood test today. My hemoglobin dropped from 110 last week to 95 this week. Normal is 120 - 160; Cdn Blood Services won't accept blood donations from donors with a level below 125. After a series of questions it turns out that having a period at this point, let alone my normally heavy one, is quite aberrant. The Dr. put in a requisition for a uterine ultrasound to "make sure that nothing is going on". I'm quite sure that what he meant was to see "wtf is going on" but he has a decent bedside manner. I'm hoping that my body has a will & way and that my Woman Power is stronger than chemo rather than anything else that could be stronger than chemo. I swear that I'm turning into a modern day Scarlett O'Hara - there are a whole whack of things that I'm choosing not to think about until a whole whack of tomorrows. I am daily grateful for my friends (virtual & RL) and knitting to help me not think about what I choose not to think about.
Also helping with the not thinking is the snow. I have been shoveling for the last two days - no worries, if I really wasn't up to it I'd leave it but it's excellent exercise!! It only takes about 10 - 15 minutes for me to shed my hat & winter coat. The sensation of snowflakes falling on my bald head is intriguing. And on a weird note ... I can shovel snow without a hat but sitting inside my head is cold without one. I know ... I'm already feeling where all sorts of unused-by-knitting muscles are!!
Julie is sending some projects & I totally need to sit down tomorrow & sort out the maths for the Windy Valley project.
So I've finished up a couple of large projects ... what's a girl to do? Start new ones!!!
Here are pics of the mittens that I knit for Amanda - the blue is Classic Wool & the green is my KoolAid dyed Philosophers Wool. I know, but Amanda loved the lime green so much (me too!!!) & she swears that it's not itchy. "You just think that it's itchy because you're used to working with alpaca and stuff." Okay, I admit that I've been spoiled but seriously - even compared to the CW it's picky. But I give the people what they want!!
After knitting scarves for some of the deserving people in my life I got a bit selfish and knit a cowl from a Trendsetter scarf skein (Thanks Michelle!!!). I added in some Hanah Silk that Amanda had bought for me at Julie's tent sale & some Malabrigo Silky Merino - they worked in perfectly and made for a generous cowl; I was obviously in some sort of blue mood today. Ignore the lack of makeup - it was an at home day & I have an eye infection and I'm afraid that make up will only make it worse. I'm just glad that I have antibiotic drops and that blinking no longer gives me a headache.
I'm on the 2nd sock for Elise ... Top Secret.
The swatches are for a design modification that I'm working on for Windy Valley Muskox. The yarn is their Majestic Blend and let me tell you - it's totally majestic - I'd swear that there is more qiviut in it than there is!! I did three swatches to make sure which gauge I loved the most and I'm going with the largest one - it's airy without making the fabric lacy. (The green is a light sage in RL)
Thank you all for your support and encouragement through my cancer treatments - it really does make a difference, more than you know. I didn't know nearly as much as I know now about breast cancer, chemo therapy and the side effects and I do hope that even if you never have to draw on the knowledge that it helps someone if they need it.
Mission Accomplished!!! I finished my overdyed Koigu Kersti On The Easy Side sweater that was my #1 goal for the NaKniSweMo. There were way more stitches than it would appear with all of the on-the-needle swatching & re-knitting that I did!! You can definitely see the lighter yarn on the sleeves - again, it just deepens my appreciation for the yarn dyers out there who can predictably replicate their awesome yarns. This has sated my dyeing desires for a bit but I'm sure that I'll feel the urge ... someone better warn Buffy!!!
I also finished China Clouds, knit 3 scarves for my Dr.'s secretary & nurse who have been awesome squeezing me in to see the Dr. & helping me out through some of the chemo drama and for one of my best friends who has been an super supportive, and banged out a pair of mittens for Amanda this past weekend.
Phew!! December is not likely to slow me down ... I'll share what I can but some things are still Top Secret! Yeah, you know the drill ;-).
I got a Rx for Arthrotec - it has totally taken care of the crippling bone/joint pain that I was suffering in my legs and the excruciating stomach pains. The drugs in the chemo therapy affect the faster replicating cells in our body - hair follicles and stomach linings are at the top of the list. My fingers are crossed that the subsequent treatments are controlled by the Arthrotec and don't get worse ... I've got a bit of an eye infection that I have drops for. Irritatingly, the eyelashes on my right eye have mostly come out as a result so I have unbalanced eyelashes. SIGH, it's the little things. I've also noticed that I don't get "sleep sand" in my eyes in the morning anymore. I guess that the chemo is totally cleansing my body ... how bizarre. My eyes also water constantly, which is annoying.
Just over 2 years in the making (way longer than I estimated :: hanging my head in shame::) but China Clouds is now in the books!! I put a real push on last week - I swear, it was a mission!! It's been a journey that I totally loved. Even though I put her aside for other projects she waited patiently for me to return and it was love again. It was a challenge - my first real Kaffe - and I do feel triumphant. I'll put it in the mail to Jackie this week - I wish that I could see her face. I hope that the reality of it lives up to her expectations!!
My last three treatments are Taxotere and it freakin' sucks!! I knew that I had it too good these past few months & now I'm paying for it.
I have to sit with my fingers in ice while the drug is administered (1-1.5 hours) to help prevent damage to my fingernails so knitting is out. Now I have the most wicked bone/joint pain from my waist down; horrible, stabbing/shooting pains that is probably like arthritis to the 'enth degree. Sitting, walking, laying down - no position is any worse or better than another. My stomach is in knots - not nauseous, just gut-wrenching pain. Eating, not eating, water ... nothing seems to make the pain better or worse. My lips are numb-ish and my taste buds are shot - everything tastes kind of grey and soapy. I'm going to get some better drugs tomorrow for the bone/joint pain but it's going to be a long couple of months ahead with nothing but strength of will to haul my ass through each hour.
Not sure about blogging The Amazing Race tonight - concentrating & sitting up are not my strong suits right now.
China Clouds progress = excellent!!! I'm almost at the armhole shaping of the back - I might really get this done this month!!! I am at the halfway point on my On The Easy Side sweater. It weighs 302g which contradicts the 2 part of balls #5 & 6 (which weigh 26g) that I'm on. So I should be good to take out a dark skein & a light skein (I still have 2 light-ish skeins and I only need one for the end of the 2nd sleeve) and still be able to finish the sweater. The extra 28g won't be problematic - as soon as I hit the spot on the 2nd sleeve where the light skein needs to be introduced I'll switch to the light skein.
I totally forgot to show you the Signature Needle Arts sock blockers that I received as a gift!! My love for Signature needles is quite well known so this was totally the perfect gift - I can't wait to finish a pair of socks!
AND I won a contest!! It turns out that 800 is my lucky number! Amanda helped me to pick out Vacation as our colourway. You all also know about my love for handdyed yarn so this was a completely excellent win!! Amanda has requested mittens ... she also wants a slouchy winter hat.
Argh - missed the first 20 mins - Amanda was working on homework.
So ... teams are on their way to Jebel Shams where a driver will take them up the mountain to the next clue. Guess asking for help wasn't such a horrible thing, was it Chad? "Shut up!" Really Nick?? Vicki just confirmed that they were going the right way - a little Karma goes a long way dude. Hating on Nick a lot right now. Chad & Stephanie are the first team to arrive at Jebel Shams. Gary isn't sure that Mallory is navigating properly. Road Block - Who wants to add a little magic to their lives? Someone must repel down the mountain then look among hundreds of lamps for one containing Aladdin's magic ring which they deliver to the shaman for their next clue. Chad is going to look for the magic. Jill is going for it despite a fear of heights.
Argh - missed about 4 minutes ...
Nick & Vicki's cab has a flat - Nick is freaking out of course. Chad & Stephanie are at the Detour - filling a water truck then directing the driver to the delivery address. Gary & Mallory are back on course. Maybe. Brook & Claire, Nick & Vicki are all on their way to the water trucks. Kat is on her way down the mountain. Jill & Thomas actually happen upon the cousin of the person to whom they need to deliver the water & he takes them right there. They now need to make their way to the Muttrah Souq Market in Muscat and look for a specific vendor who will give them frankincense, then find Ali Babba who will give them their next clue in exchange for the frankincense. Chad & Stephanie are done the water delivery. Kat is checking the lamps, then checking them again.
She found a ring! Sunshine Mallory is going for the magic. Jill & Thomas have their frankincense and are on the hunt for Ali Babba. Nick & Vicki are delivering their water as are Brook & Claire. Mallory has found their ring and they're off! Jill & Thomas are off to Al Alam Palace - the Pit Stop for this leg of the race. OMG - they/Thomas paid a cabbie to lead them to a location = 30 minute penalty. They watch while Chad & Stephanie check in first and take the trip to Belize! I missed Chad & Stephanie getting engaged!!! Brook & Claire are going the wrong way on a one-way street, the police don't help the traffic situation much by showing up to tell them so. Gary & Mallory are off to deliver water. Nick & Vicki are off to the Pit Stop followed closely by Brooke & Claire. Nat & Kat are delivering their water & on the way to the market. They have their frankincense. Gary & Mallory have their frankincense. Both teams are on their way to the Pit Stop ... OMG the tension!! Nat & Kat are on the mat!!!
#1 - Chad & Stephanie #2 - Jill & Thomas #3 - Nick & Vicki #4 - Brooke & Claire #5 - Nat & Kat