One Week at a Time

That's my new approach to life. So this week, I want to show you what I have been knitting on when I have time:

It's a sweater for 'Onie, my priceless niece who is two-and-a-half. That is as momentous an age as any whole number age, as know all of you who have lived with a toddler that age. You might wonder, and rightly so, what sweater this is going to be. Well . . . I am improvising one. Bravely forging ahead where no sensible knitter would go. ;^)
The yarns are Kollage Cornucopia (corn fiber, soooo soft, rivals bamboo and soy) and Crystal Palace Bamboozle in "Carnival."

I got some square knitting needles on a lark and started a wintry scarf from the Seattle Storm I got in the winter. But it's finally turned warm here in Paradise, so I may set that aside till fall comes.I have not noticed one whit of difference from knitting "in the square" but perhaps that is not a long enough knitting session to determine if it keeps me from getting sore shoulders, etc.

I have several WIPs from last summer that I need to sit with and get motivated to finish--the mulberry silk Diotima shell, and the second go-round of my Katrina shell. Both will look lovely when done--that should help motivate me!!

Both of my 200 blogs contest winners have been sent their Official Prize Packages now and hopefully are enjoying them (or will be quite soon). Kathy in FL and I apparently both have overactive spam filters so we were playing hide and seek for a while there ;^) but it's all sorted out now. Ikkinlala and Kathy, I enjoin you to start your own knitting blogs!

Cancer update: For now, DH is in a medical holding pattern. Strange that the diagnosis is followed by weeks of waiting, but his trip ends on May 1, and he will finish up the tests still to be done. Then his case will be reviewed May 9th by the Stanford Tumor Board (bringing to bear the finest minds? I think so!), and then his chemo begins.

I have gone through all sorts of emotions since 4/14, and yet because this is a pause in the whole experience, I find myself coping OK. I'm getting through each day by doing what needs doing and taking comfort in the respite that provides from thinking about NHL. When DH returns, it will become immediate again, so I have plenty to do now to keep from drowning in work when that takes up all my waking thoughts and time. Friends and family stay in touch, and that helps provide me with a sense that we are not alone. Lastly, the DDs are all going to be under one roof starting Mother's Day, as well as my DMIL, whose presence is strongly desired by her son. And we all know that a mom is a kind of comfort unlike any other.

Cheers, and happy knitting

From Celebration to Despair and Partway Back

This is DH wearing his double thick hat on a camping trip in February.

This past week has been the strangest surreal hell. I wanted to finish up my 200 blog entries contest without getting all tangled up in what has happened, so that the pleasure of having reached that milestone wouldn't be lost, as well as so that the prize winners could revel in their moments of glory. 8^) And now I'm past that and able to type words I don't much like.

DH went off to the doctor Monday afternoon after his Friday appointment of last week was postponed "because the pathologist is still looking at your results." Not a good sign. But DH being calm and taking the "why worry when I don't know what to worry over" route, I also didn't worry. We watched movies and hung out last weekend, did the usual weekend chores etc.

So Monday, I get a call from DH at the doctor's asking me to drive over so that I can drive him home, because if I don't they won't be able to give him a painkiller for a little procedure they are about to do.

Aside: While my husband is well trained in first aid and is the manliest of men, when it comes to his own blood, pain, or body violated by needles, he becomes just like I remember the girls when they had to have something done to them at the doctor's . . . at about age 3. Only he's worse. I think it's probably an identified phobia, but he goes into total panic mode, pale, shaking, anxiety attack, yelling as loud as ever he's yelled. Apparently doctors' offices have seen worse because no one has ever acted that surprised when he flipped out this way.

So I drove over there (actually DD#3 dropped me off on her way to work--I knew I'd have his car to drive us home in) and I knew something unpleasant was up. I think I was in shock though because I didn't even explain why she was doing this when DD#3 drove me, and I really didn't register until I was walking in that I had been told to find him not in his GP's office but in . . . oncology.

More surrealism followed, with a kind young woman at the front desk all but busting out crying when I introduced myself, but in the next few minutes I was taken to him, after said procedure (a bone marrow biopsy*), where I met someone who I already think must be a great doctor, his new oncologist. For DH has Stage III lymphoma, non-Hodgkin type. In other words, he's been drafted unwillingly into the "NHL."

I was a bit surprised that he wasn't falling apart yet at this diagnosis, and as the doctor kindly and gently explained the basics to me, I expected any minute for DH to freak out. We made plans for all the nexts that must come his way so soon, CT scans with barium, chemo treatments, etc., and then drove home in a fog. It was only when we got home that DH sat down, held his arms out to me, and pulled me onto his lap so we could both have a big cry. Fear, terror really, bewilderment (he's the picture of health and health conscious, one might almost say, to a fault), disbelief (when I would wake up in the night for the first few nights, my first thought was always, "Damn, it's STILL TRUE"), and quickly emotional exhaustion.

Since that dark first 24 hours, when he was sure he was a dead man and I was listening to him saying things that I didn't want to hear (such as, "You are really all fine. You'll be OK. Without me, things will just go on as they have"), he and I have each separately come much farther along on this path.

First, he had been slated to go to a conference in the UK and follow that with several days of meetings in Germany and Belgium. Though it was a hugely weird decision to have to make, he decided to go ahead and go. And I am glad he did because he has been able to both be with his colleagues and do his professional thing and to confide in a few close contacts with whom I too have become acquainted, and to benefit by their own responses and wisdom.

The first day after his diagnosis, while he was readying himself for a trip while taking uncounted hug breaks and telephone breaks all day, I just put one foot in front of the other. Then he left for London and I took another day off, which no one begrudged me (having heard our news), and got my feet on the ground again. I read a bazillion things about lymphoma and talked with daughters, family members, friends, and colleagues of my own, and by the end of the day I knew I could get back on the horse and ride.

With every email and phone call DH sends, I can see him sizing this opponent up and gathering his energies. NHL of his type is considered extremely responsive to treatment and actually has several different treatments that can be brought to bear. His quality of life after chemo can be perfectly good, though I don't want to minimize what chemo may well be like for him. He's starting to believe all this and not to be overcome by the helpless feeling of not knowing exactly what his future holds. Until Monday, he was under the . . . ahem . . . illusion that he had total control of his life, but I believe that he will not only be able to overcome the fear of the unknown but will have perhaps a clearer picture of the degree of control any of us really has (or must have) of our futures.

The DDs are all starting to cope well too, and have seemed instinctively capable of finding good support from those in their worlds prepared to give it. DD#3, the only one at home, has made me her little project. She checks in with me all the time to see how I'm feeling and calls me at school. She gave me a sweet card to tell me she loves me too. Aww!

I half jokingly asked DH if he would mind if I started a blog so I could track his progress for friends and family . . . but his answer was a good one. There is no reason everyone has to go along on this roller coaster ride with us. So I will of course bring it up at times, but I hope to be able to return to my regularly scheduled knitting blog (not to mention knitting itself!) the majority of the time. Any and all thoughts, good wishes, prayers, burnt offerings, incantations, whatever, that you have to offer, are gratefully accepted and much appreciated.


*The results of the bone marrow biopsy are already back and NEGATIVE for cancer--therefore, as DH says, his bone marrow is not a cancer-making factory. Whew!

200! (streamers cascade down)

Hear that popping noise? Champagne corks! It's officially POST NUMBER 200!

And to celebrate, I have pulled the following names from the proverbial hat. Thanks to all who entered--I hope to see you on your blogs, and to hear from you here from time to time as well.

The Winners:

Prize Package One

goes to . . . [hushed murmur] ikkinlala! I don't have a blog to show you, but ikknlala is from . . . CANADA!

Prize Package Two

is going out tomorrow to . . . Kathy W.! It seems she is a Yank, but I can't tell for sure from her email addy.

I'll be contacting you two winner types, so you can tell me where to mail these packages to. And to the non-winners, thanks for visiting my blog and let's stay in touch!


Wow! Nothing like a contest to stir up the blog scene!

Thanks for coming to check out my ramblings, ya'll. I haven't knitted a stitch this week with so much going on at work (school). But I have been checking in and reading some fun comments.

I love that I'm not the only one who's knitted a Waldorf pixie, and to the commenter that you should start Blog Post #1, Yes! You should! Blogging about knitting is a way to blog about your whole life, with structure. Lastly, your comments are so kind. it is so amazing to hear that people like my hat knitting--to me it still looks pretty darned amateurish.

But I'll admit I'm seeing progress. DS picked up the little hat I made a few months ago, the Beribboned bonnet, and asked, "Did you knit this? Wow, your stitches are getting so uniform." I took that as a compliment. My sister doesn't insult me. 8^) She doesn't dare.

Wish I could add pix here but there is nothing to show you. But now we are done with post #199.*

Woo-hoo! Stay tuned!

*Scroll down to the next entry to see the contest info, if you don't know what this means.

Almost 200 Posts!

Hi all--
I am nearing my 200th post (didn't even see 100 slip past me all those months ago), with two more to go after this one.

So let's have a contest!

Everyone who leaves a comment on THIS post before I put up the 200th entry will be included in a drawing for one of two prize packages.

First prize package: Some of that yummy yarn I just got from Midnightsky Fibers and other yarns from my stash, an untouched copy of One Skein, as well as two women's sweater patterns, the Ribby Pulli from Chic Knits, and the Bulky Neckdown Cardigan from Knitting Pure and Simple. (Not saying the yarn will make either of the sweaters--it won't--but it's in the general spirit of knitting projects.)

Second prize package: A needle-felting kit and some multicolored roving to go along with it. Purchased at Stitches West in February and more than I can cope with for sure! Also a book on felting methods with several cool projects.

To be sure I had your attention, I put the pictures down here:

First prize package above: Midnightsky Fibers of various types and a skein of Pandora in the same spirit.

Below is the second prize package:
Note that while the felting book is fabulous, it does not teach you to needle felt. Several great resources on the web can do that, or at your LYS you will find someone happy to show you. It ain't hard! With cool felted things, you can add needle-felting and make them even cooler, that's my thinking.

1. When you leave a comment, you have to do it with contact info, because I don't know how to reach you if I don't have a name/email/website! I try to be psychic, but it just doesn't work consistently. It's like cellphone coverage I guess.
2. You yourself can only enter once no matter how many comments you leave (but I promise to be flattered!).
3. If you suggest to other people that they visit my blog and leave a comment on this entry, and in doing so they mention you, then I will add their name and yours, which is how you can get multiple entries.
4. In case you wonder, yes, I will probably be doing this the old-fashioned three-dimensional way, with names on slips of paper in a hat. A beautiful, hand-knitted, hand felted one. 8^)
5. The 200th post will be the one that ends the contest and that announces the WINNERS of this contest. I don't know exactly when that will be, but you have two entries to go--and I promise to do all this within the next few weeks. None of this month-long silence stuff anymore.
6. Prize packages subject to uncontrollable enhancement with additional knit-tish things, not to mention baked goods. DD#3 is a serial baker of the most diet-defying kind. Consider yourself warned!



Life has been whizzing by me! I'm back from NYC and the students' convention (we won the gold!!). Here are some happy happy campers near the Low Library at Columbia. That hefty plaque says we are the CSPA middle school Gold Crown winners for our 2007 enlight'ning magazine. We are the only middle school to win the gold in TWO YEARS! Needless to say, my staff was hysterical with glee, and we had been greeted earlier that day by one of the main judges after his presentation on "what makes a crown nominee," a very polite and kind exchange of handshakes but all conducted with an air toward us of "also ran." Or maybe I'm just over sensitive (never been accused of that!). So when we were called up and our award was announced, we were pretty much in disbelief. A great moment, and one I know my students will not forget. In related news:
* Waldorf-Astoria, A+
* subway tripping it, A
* New Yawkahs and their friendliness, A (totally helpful and kind)
* weather, D- first day (rain, rain, rain, and more rain), B+ after that (cold and windy but so clear)
* Spamalot, totally an A+
* star sightings, C (the kids would say "A" because they got to see someone from Gossip Girls when we were at the Met, but I'm an old fuddy-duddy, never heard of Blake Lively)
* Max Brenner's chocolate heaven at Union Square, A- (great, but left me practically in a diabetic coma)
* walking "ten blocks" to get to a destination, C- (ever heard the term "longer than a New York block"?)
* and lastly, the car service drivers wending their way through midtown traffic--A+++++. They are fearless, deft, and good with the horn.

[Karen, thanks for the invite--I missed seeing your note before I left, but as it was, I was totally swamped being the "mother" for six MS students (four of whom were rother moody), but sometime, when I return to the Big Apple . . . I'd love to meet up at your favorite knitting shop, knit a few rows, and make a few purchases. 8^)]

Speaking of knitting, this past week I have been on spring break, but alas, it is nearing its end, which motivates me to catch up on the blog.

The guest blogger I recently alluded to (DD#1) backed out on me, but here is her "fried eggs hat," all finished. MAYBE I'll try two-color knitting so I can keep up with her adventurousness. Maybe.

I have finished the light blue hat for a child also, and though it seems a little strange laid flat, it looks quite nice when worn, actually.

I am working on a top-down poncho for Leonie (no, didn't finish the double knit slippers yet, but I will, I will) in some sumptuous SWTC Inspiration (alpaca and soysilk) that I got for a song last fall at Full Thread Ahead ("I guess that was its price point," said Hollis resignedly, when I bought it up for $3/skein, full price more like $13). The color I chose, this lilac shade, is called "Relaxation." It's knitting up great but sheds a bit. It is soft enough for a child, that's for sure.

And here's a fun delivery I received a week or two back.

I had been following Knitting Alone's blog entries about choosing her knitting gift tags from her DD2 (I think!) who has a great website and does crafty things of the paper variety (although, to Susan's dismay, her daughters are not so much into knitting--their loss!!). 8^)

So I asked her if her daughter might be interested in making them for the rest of the knitting public, and she sent me right on to Courtney at Pretty Little Scraps. And within about a week, we had the design all sorted out, the $$ PayPal'ed (quite reasonable!) and now I am the proud owner of the cutest tags with both a ribbon bow AND a tiny safety pin.

Now, ain't they purty? Here's one on a new FO I made recently, an almost mindless scarf I used Midnightsky Fiber's great chunky yarn for. Midnightsky was having a fire sale before a big move and had a lot of about eight skeins for sale with my favorite colors at a ridiculously wonderful price, so I helped make her move a little easier.

And since some of the yarn matched other yarn I had recently bought (woo-hoo!) I had enough to make the scarf with two strands of the same (essentially) yarn, just one of them with intervals of this great, loopy, twisted, corkscrewy stuff. (I am a writer and English teacher--is this really the best I can do???)

And this, well, this is a pixie I knitted in the 90s when the DDs were little girls, and I got into knitting for the first real time (after learning as a kid and then dropping it). I started making toys from Waldorf pattern books, and this little family of pixies were a huge hit with the girlies. There were parents, children, and a baby in a little backpack that fit on the adults' backs. DD#1, home for spring break (and while knitting her fried eggs hat), found this in a box in her closet and brought it to me to reminisce. How sweet! I see that my stuffing skills were not the best, as this troll is floppy! But when grandchildren enter the picture, I can easily imagine myself heading right back to the Waldorf books and knitting up all sorts of new pixies and horses, sheep and dogs. Very easy knits, and quite gratifying in the "ooh-ahh" quotient from recipients.

Lastly (admit it, you thought it would never end!), I have been sent a few photos of babies in hats I knitted for them, now that they are post-wombing it. (Their mothers are really happy about that!) Here is Asher with his mama.
Really, there is a baby under that blanket! Daddy Scott and Mama Tamara must be knee deep in baby love (not to mention sleep deprivation, etc.). Stay tuned for pictures of Ryder, Solomon, and ?? Williams (due any day now) in my knitted "finery."

Happy knitting, all!