Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hive Me

Yesterday was a frustratingly busy, frightingly busy day. Busy. Just call me "Bea" Get it - busy bee, Bea...? Sheesh I'm lame on a Thursday. But I got done what needed to be done, for the most part.

Things I Accomplished
  1. Got Kids up and house running, laundry, dishes, the whole goya beanery
  2. Got to listen to Stephanie Miller. Yes, this is an accomplishment.
  3. Put together our new Gas Grill that we'd purchased months ago at Target (while listening to Stephanie Miller)
  4. Got Gerry to the gastro doc for his - ahem - procedure
  5. Bought a pretty plate at TJ Maxx for $5 (during the aforementioned procedure)
  6. Finally was able to redeem a credit I've had at Orbitz for a flight to Detroit (after almost TWO HOURS on the phone to some off-shore phone bank location)
  7. Got dining room chairs to go with the previously purchased table
  8. Bought an outdoor rug for our less-than-stellar back porch
  9. Bought a table for the deck (I'm going with a coffee-table, living room-esque theme)
  10. Got about 10 rows knitted

Things I did NOT Accomplish
  1. I didn't design anything
  2. I didn't get the disability application finished
  3. I didn't get the license plates on Gerry's car
  4. I didn't get to the bank to deposit stuff.
  5. I didn't get Hannah a pair of new shoes (she's worn through the old ones - a growing girl!)
  6. I didn't get a walk in (Atticus is mad at me)
  7. The - ahem - procedure didn't work. Damn. And let me tell you, Gerry suffered through not one, but TWO preps. The nurse and I decided that until Gerry's stronger, until the chemo gets going and he gets some strength back, it's senseless to put him through this misery.

To Accomplish Today (or Tomorrow, or Next Week...)
  1. All the stuff I didn't get done yesterday, plus...
  2. FIND my "shipping box" with my packing list enclosed labels (I need these!)
  3. Get the flip books delivered (they're coming to day, all 1,300 pounds of them - yikes!)
  4. Get the flip books packaged and shipped.
  5. Get wire (the wire I ordered was sent to NJ - my fault entirely! - so I need to get some stopgap wire for the classes I'm teaching this weekend)
  6. Get my handouts printed (much easier now that Gerry's connected our printer to the network so I can print from the living room - ehaw!)
  7. Get dining room table top sanded (& painted? Naaaah)
  8. Put together aforementioned dining room chairs & rocking chair
I'll get done what I can. The rest will wait. Life is about prioritizing and dealing with the crappy days gracefully.

In a roundabout way we got the diagnosis - Gerry's oncologist faxed a letter to us for his union (disability stuff) with the diagnosis written out. Yes, it is Multiple Myeloma, and the letter said he'd be out of commission for a year. Which sounds like amazing good news to me... We'll wait until we see the doctor tomorrow to get the full scoop, but it was a very hopeful fax.

A year is a fathomable amount of time.

Confidence Crisis

I'm sure it's the tiredness and the stress, but I'm feeling like a crappy designer. Much of the stuff I've seen of mine lately just looks - eh. Eh. It's like when you're feeling fat, and every time you see yourself in a mirror all you see is fat, fat, fat. You may look wonderful, but you can't see it.

That's how I'm feeling about my work these days. I'm anxious for this to pass, which I'm sure it will. Waiting out the stupid stuff.

I've had a frustrating few days of fighting on the phone for my rights (refunds that are due to me, fees that venues withheld) and it's very tired-making. This is why I rely on email so much - I can go back and see EXACTLY what I've said, what's been said to me, and what the collective expectations are. On the phone, folks tend to hear what they want to hear, and it's rare that folks totally agree on what was said.

One of my big frustrations these days revolves around this, and it's just bad timing. Right now I'm lacking the mental resources to deal with fighting for a sizeable chunk of change that's due to me. This aspect of my job - the management - is the hardest for me. Convincing venues that it's worth it to hire me to teach, chasing down fees (not usually a problem as it's specified in my letter of agreement that the check will be waiting for me after the last class) But there it is - and it sucks. But it must be done.

I think this constant song-and-dance that yes, I am WORTH what you promised to pay me, is also eating away a bit at my confidence.

Big Thanks, Big Love
So it's probably a good time to say that your comments, your kind emails, keep me sailing over the rough stuff. This is my main egomaniacal reason for blogging - connecting with folks who are positively disposed toward me. Thank you.

Along the same lines, for those of you who are curious:
  • We've gone through not one, but TWO of those 'chew proof' dog leashes. Atticus has them for breakfast. We moved onto a stiff leather one, gone in a few bites. I'm afraid to see what he'll do to the chain. He never chews ANYTHING else, just the leashes.

  • Gerry has been taking ensure, but he's not loving it. We keep it in the fridge and I try to get him to take some every day.


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posted by Annie at


Blogger Sarah said...

YOU have a lack of confidence? Lady, in my book Annie Modesitt is a freaking CELEBRITY. Before I started reading your blog, you weren't even a person- just a famous knit designer. Wow. Its kind of centering.

That said, you need a light chain leash for Atticus.

April 19, 2007 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darlin', you know so many of us are behind you. Fingers crossed, prayer beads clacking, chickens sacrificed.

Hang in there -- it sounds like you're doing pretty well, but do hang in there.

When my mom was really ill and nothing tasted good and it was hard to get anything into her, we found a couple of sports-type meal shakes (chocolate was a favourite) that she really liked. They tend to be high in nutrients and calories, both of which she needed. You may check with your local GNC or Whole Foods type place and see if you can find something better than Ensure.

April 19, 2007 9:49 AM  
Blogger Marin said...

I didn't mean to be anonymous on that last comment. It just came out that way.

April 19, 2007 9:49 AM  
Anonymous susan said...

take a realize you have had several life changing events in the past few months. any one of which, by itself, would be overwhelming but in combination is enough to make the saints cry. you are experiencing serious overload. try to slow down and deal only w/ what absolutely needs to be done and every single day, without fail, take some time for you.

instead of ensure, try carnation instant breakfast, mix it w/ ice cream and fruit if you want. when i was a home care nurse and needed to encourage people to get enough calories they liked this better than ensure. and it's cheaper.

blessings to you all.

April 19, 2007 9:55 AM  
Blogger stitch-dom said...

When I was a kid and things were looking tough my dad would always say "stout heart, great pickle" - to this day I don't know why...but when I think I'm not going to make it through I always go back to this. It must be tough to get in touch with creative energy when you are dealing with that amount of stress. Take care and well...stout heart!

April 19, 2007 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try Tobasco sauce on the leash, preferebly one that's disposable eventually.

You can also reinforce this by dabbing the tiniest bit of Tobasco on his mouth.

This isn't as mean as it sounds. Just smarts a bit and gets the message across. (Unless he acquires a taste for Tobasco!).

April 19, 2007 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This too shall pass. I know when you are right in the middle of it the "light at the end of the tunnel" seems to be nowhere in sight, but it is. You are a PHENOMENAL designer and one talented lady. You have been an inspiration to me, just know that. I know it's not much, but there it is!

I hope that Gerry will be feeling better soon. I know that chemo sucks; my aunt is now on the second round for cancer that has spread from her lung to her stomach :o( I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

April 19, 2007 10:27 AM  
Blogger belvedere beads said...

try rubbing some hot sauce into the leather leash in the 'chew spot.' i have 2 naughty, stubborn and devious black poodles - it worked with them. As to switching to a metal chain -if atticus bites it he might chip a tooth - and who needs that vet bill?

April 19, 2007 10:40 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

I'm so sorry about Gerry. I hope that the Dr. is right - that it will be for a year, and then you have many much calmer years.

I was looking for a knitting tote on CafePress, and I paged through all 1200 or so of them, but I found one I liked and it turns out it's yours! It's the knitting brain one.

April 19, 2007 11:09 AM  
Blogger rho said...

try making a shake out of the ensure - mixing in some ice cream and blending it. It worked for my Aunt. Maybe he can alternate the carnation breakfast with ice cream with the ensure with ice cream for a bit of variety.

Still sending out good thoughts and prayers

April 19, 2007 11:15 AM  
Blogger knitting chaos said...

The first part of your blog reminds me of one of my cousins... when he was a little boy his mom starting calling him Beezy (because he was beezy as a bee), this nickname stuck with him. Although now, he uses BZ, which is a little cooler.

Hang in there. There are always bright sides in problem times, sometimes you just don't see them until the storm passes.

I will be taking your wire class this weekend and have been looking forward to it for a long time.

April 19, 2007 11:36 AM  
Anonymous Tana said...

Annie, dear, so sorry to hear about the diagnosis! At least you don't have to wait anymore to find out - sometimes that can be worse than simply knowing.

I'm all for a chain leash. You'll like your dog a lot more if you aren't frustrated by the leash-chewing - so do it for you dog...

And yes, all this shall pass and you'll get the wind back in your sails. Going through life-changing events like this can knock the wind out of you pretty easily. You're smart, you have great designs, your classes are very attractive (I have yet to have the privilege of taking one), and I think you have every reason to be successful. Hang tight, stick with what you know, and you'll be just fine.


April 19, 2007 11:47 AM  
Blogger Sheepish Annie said...

I think the people I admire most in the world are the ones who face Life's Challenges by taking charge and "doing." And I have an added boost of admiration for those who understand that this is a coping mechanism and use it to make things better.

Thanks for being so forthright about what you're going through and how you are coping. I know that there are many out there who are experiencing similar circumstances and will benefit from your honest and heartfelt reflections.

Design is art and the best art comes from life experiences. Your work may change with the circumstances, but that isn't always a bad thing, really. You are talented and will find a way to make it flow, I've no doubt.

Take care of yourself!

April 19, 2007 12:26 PM  
Blogger Erica said...

I definitely didn't learn cables from a crappy designer! As for the other stuff, you're simply wonder woman! Hang in there. Best wishes getting through the tough stuff.

April 19, 2007 12:54 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Let me just chime in here. The thing about your designs is that when I see a new one I can generally say, "that's an Annie design" before I even see who the designer is. I'm almost always right too. Your stuff is different than the same old stuff that seems to be going around and around and around.
You ARE worth it!

April 19, 2007 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

WHen my husband was undergoing chemo for a mastectomy his appetite stayed pretty good, but I made sure he drank a bottle of Gatoraid a day (he especially likes Rain variety in watermelon flavor!). He won't drink Ensure or SLim Fast or any of those, either. But, as above, Carnation Instant Breakfast is good and if you mix in Oreo cookies or another of his favorites plus a banana maybe or something like that, then all is Much Better in the world! Hugs.

April 19, 2007 2:23 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

Hi, Annie,
I've been reading your blog and holding you and yours in the light. Your comment about getting people to believe you're worth your fee (YES, folks, she definately is. I took a workshop last year at YarnOver in Minnesota, and was totally reinspired. PLUS, Annie's combination technique solved a 40+ year problem for me!!) About getting paid, - make them pay in advance. That's what musicians have done for decades - they usually require payment in CASH before the performance. (Someday I'll tell you about carring $2,400 in cash across Cambridge, MA, to pay a famous jazz pianist....) Otherwise, they'd get stiffed, to put it politely. Even my kids piano teacher required a contract and payment in advance (well, with MY kids....) Blessings and peace to you and your family.
Joan Wells

April 19, 2007 2:32 PM  
Anonymous ruth said...

I think you've crossed over the exhaustion line. The good news is that the next stage is punchy. When you start to laugh over nothing, you've made punchy. It's a pretty good stress reliever.
Sending up a misheberach for you.

April 19, 2007 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Kathleen C. said...

I have a good friend who tours doing one man theatre performances and workshops. He (now) stipulates that the fee is there and waiting for him at the end of his show. And I'd say he spends the majority of his management time doing the same thing... chasing down money and convincing people that he's worth it. It's tough to do that for yourself. But when it's true, it's true... and I believe it's true for you! So tell 'em to pay up!
And as for designs... I have this amazing scarf I just fnished and I've gotten *tons* of compliments on it. It's one of yours, of course (the roses one). And I can't wait until I get to my first cable type sweater... Bi-color Cables (IK W'05)!
As stich-dom said... "Stout heart, great pickle". I don't know what it means either, but I love it.

April 19, 2007 2:59 PM  
Blogger Mary the Digital Knitter said...

Annie, I've been a big fan of yours since I bought your book on years ago. It's been my fall-back bedtime reading and I've probably read it four or five times now. It's inspirational.

Anyway, Atticus isn't the only leash chewer in the world, so they sell anti-chew leashes that have about a foot of chain at the end and webbing or leather for the rest. Or you might get him a harness, which has the leash attach on the back of his neck where he can't reach it with his teeth.

April 19, 2007 3:19 PM  
Blogger Becka the Spoiled Knitter said...

As I've told you in emails, in comments, on my blog, when I reference you in one of my designs, etc, etc...YOU are my (and many others') knitting guru! You and your familiy are going thru a tough time yet your prevail and get the job done, whatever it may be! I admire you, even more so these days!
I can relate to the disability process, it can take a long time, hopefully all things will speed up and this will no longer be an issue.
I continue to pray for you and your family.

April 19, 2007 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Annie,
I had the pleasure of taking a class from you. I remember thinking that you were "bigger than life" and exceptionally gifted not only in your own creativity but also in your ability to teach and touch people.

Of course you feel depleted now and there is no need to apologize for it. Just try to accept that you are doing what you can during this time without judgment. You must do what
will replenish you each day. Don't
hesitate to ask for help from others. People want to help. Often they just don't know how (even running to the motor vehicles office or picking up wire,etc).
Surround yourself with those you love including all of us in "blog world".

April 19, 2007 5:38 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Annie, I'll third the suggestion on Carnation Instant Breakfast. It's amazing all the things you can mix with it and ice cream. All sorts of fruits if you choose. And I also went to the health food store and got some protein powder which I added. It was totally taste free and just added more nutrition. I often would make a blender full before I left for work and there was rarely any left when I returned home. Only bad thing was that I felt it my duty to taste them (quality assurance you know *G*) and I gained some pounds too. Ooops!

I think you're just amazing. You get more done in a day than I can even imagine.

Best to you and Gerry and the kids.

Stout heart, great pickle! That cracks me up and I think I shall adopt it too.

April 19, 2007 5:48 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

You're a fantastic designer! I'm back to knitting Sideways Spencer now, and loving it... such a great pattern, and so far, it's the prettiest thing I've knit, too. I think this is going to be my fave sweater ever!

April 19, 2007 6:22 PM  
Blogger KellyD said...

First you are a GREAT designer. Second, on the Ensure, If you can get Boost apparently it has a bit better flavor. I will share my fav recipe for my patients that dont feel like eating: A can of whichever drink product, buy some of the individual ice cream cups and place one in the microwave for 10 minutes. Take the semi melted ice cream and mix it up really well in the drink. My patients love it. Maybe Gerry will too. Its worth a shot.

April 19, 2007 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Debbie said...

Have you considered getting a part-time person to help you with some of these business related errands and calls. Perhaps someone would do it in exchange for free knitting lessons or a design student would be willing to intern with you in exchange for design experience.

April 19, 2007 8:03 PM  
Anonymous B. said...

Just don't put the Tabasco sauce into the Instant Breakfast.

Sending best wishes.

April 19, 2007 9:11 PM  
Blogger maxine said...

Try putting the Ensure in the freezer about an hour before drinking. It does not freeze fully but gets slushy crystally and is a little more palatable.

April 19, 2007 9:42 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

Dear Annie

1) Bitter Apple spray from a pet store might help on the leash. It worked on the heels of my loafers - I lost two pairs to a puppy with a chewing problem.

2) My first job out of college was as a reporter. There is a small tape recorder (now digital, I'm sure) that hooked up to your telephone for recording conversations. You are required to ask if the other person minds if you record the conversation for your records and must desist if they don't want it taped. Many people didn't mind if you explained it as a way for "You the writer" to not make any mistakes. Most people kept a drawer full of tapes - each scrawled with name and date - and just kept adding to each persons tape, ie. "John Doe, 4/14/02, 4/17/05" and so on. I still kept paper notes but I did have to completely transcribe a few tapes for "correctness" sake!

Hope your Friday is a profitable day - in all ways!

April 19, 2007 11:02 PM  
Blogger Tina in AZ said...


My whole "process" for my cancer was six months. I'm very glad for you that the doc is saying a year. I needed that second six months to get back to speed. Thus it's taken about a year and a half (the 28th it'll be two years since my hysterectomy and becoming a cancer survivor)

Yes a year is a very managable time. I'm just short of a year of making some dietary changes that have VASTLY imporved my health and allowed me to lose over 100 pounds.

So keep your chin up sweetie, a year is so doeable.

with affection

April 20, 2007 1:50 AM  
Blogger Khalila said...

Hi Anne,

I saw your book at my Barnes & Noble last night and it was up on the "special" shelf where the book faces out instead of just the spine. It made me happy to see your book in the spotlight and reminded me of how much fun I had in your class.

Hang in there!

Kelie in San Diego

April 20, 2007 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Debi B said...

As a new reader, I have enjoyed your day to day activities, even if you are having such a hard time right now. Life is hard, but we must keep on going and growing. I think you are a wonderful teacher even though I've only been to one lecture of yours, recently in Cleveland, OH. This slump you feel will pass and then you will be on to great things and ideas. Try to find time to knit just for you if you can!

April 20, 2007 10:58 AM  

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