Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Are You Here?

Planning trips with a map helps me get my head on straight. I've spent a good part of the last few days at Rand McNally's website, which has a nice trip planning option that helps me figure out routes for a road trip. And I love a road trip.

Here are a few of my proposed Road Trips for this Spring:

Southeast US Trip - Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina (early March)

Here's my drive up to Buffalo / Rochester / Toronto Trip (early April)

Here's my proposed trip out to Ohio and Michigan, culminating at TNNA. The weekend before this trip I'm going to fly out to Cincinnati to teach at Lambikins Hideaway in Hamilton, OH, I was planning on driving there, too, but I just couldn't justify making my trip 3 weeks long!

The kids will be traveling with me on this trip - Gerry will drive out after Memorial Day and will meet us at Cedar Point, then we'll continue up to Mackinaw City where I'll teach and Gerry and the kids will explore and goof off (I'm taking a day, myself, to goof off, too!)

Then Gerry and the kids drive home, and I continue on to TNNA. Then I drive home.

As hard as it is to be away from the kids, it's much better to get all of this traveling done while they're still in school so I can stay home over the summer.

If you're along this route - especially the Mackinaw City to Indianapolis section - and would like me to teach at your local shop, please let me know (and let THEM know, too!) We may be able to work out a nice class!
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Monday, January 30, 2006

Brief

Life is so damned short.

I'm totally cold - my hands, arms, right down my back to my feet. I just heard that Wendy Wasserstein has passed away at Sloan Kettering Cancer center. Her plays figured very significantly in my life - Uncommon Women & Others was the first play I ever directed when I was in college. I'm just stunned. I met her once, it was a wonderful moment for me. Apparently she'd been ill for a long time - she was only 55.

Her daughter, Lucy Jane, was born in 1999 - she's younger than Maxie - god bless that little girl.
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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Surface

I've spent most of my time this weekend editing three different projects - all requiring different skill sets, and each one tedious in it's own way.

MEN WHO KNIT
I've been (finally!) getting around to going over the fine profiles that Drew sent me. He's done such a great job on them, most of what I'm doing is just cleaning up things so that when they read there is a feeling of cohesion, that they're all part of the same whole. The stories about the men are wonderful - I loved reading them when they first came in, but I really enjoy seeing how Drew's distilled them down to the essence of the essay.

CROCHET CALENDAR
This editing is really done in three parts
The images - Upgrading and changing the resolution so they all match, silhouetteing the images and creating drop shadows - the most time consuming part
The Patterns - Editing them so they match in style, double checking sums and breaking out the materials, tools, stitches used and any other important information pertinent to the specific pattern. No, wait, THIS is the most time consuming part.
Style - Inputting the patterns into a predetermined Quark style sheet. If everything up to this point has been done well, this part can go relatively quickly.

This weekend was dedicated to The Images - lots of photo editing, lots of photoshop.

VARIOUS BOOK PROJECTS
I'm working on some stuff for a few other books, and I tried to get organized with those projects this weekend, too. Notifying yarn companies for yarn to use on the projects, writing patterns, working up samples (I finished a crocheted doggie sweater!) and just generally trying to get my head wrapped around my WORK again instead of around traveling!

I'm feeling pushed, and stressed, but I think that's more a function of not yet getting re-organized and back in the game that seriously being overwhelmed with work. I feel as though I'm just below the surface and about to break through, then I'll be able to see the hoizon and determine exactly HOW far from shore I am, and how much swimming I really have to do!
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Friday, January 27, 2006

What I'm Doing Instead of Working

I have a pretty good work ethic, but today I'm jet lagged and work is for the birds. Here's what I've done so far (it's 1:20 my time. I'll be back to work soon, I promise...)

- Got the kids off to bed and went back to bed
- Answered and hung up the phone 18 times in the past 12 minutes (fax machine with no number to block)
- Danced around the kitchen to the Black Eyed Peas
- Played with this online game (it's like PONG on steroids)

Supposedly if you last 18 seconds you're a genius. Check it out, folksies...
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Thursday, January 26, 2006

HOME!!

Perhaps I'm just getting the hang of the air travel thing, or maybe I had a good flight, but it seemed to go by quickly. The flight was actually 1-1/2 hours shorter than the flight out (tailwinds) and I was as comfortable as a long-legged person can be in a short-legged space.

Absolutely the BEST feeling a mom can have is seeing her kids running to her in an airport after a long trip. I missed them SO much, they missed me - hugs and kisses all around. Hannah greeted me with the news that for the second year in a row she's won the poetry writing contest at school (yahoo!) and Maxie was just so glad to see me that I almost cried. Okay, I did cry.

Gerry looked wonderful, too, and we chatted and laughed all the way home. An evening of snuggling, hugging and a little milk of magnesia for the boy who evidently hadn't been eating enough fiber or drinking enough water while mom was away...

I'm answering some email tonight, but I'm holding off for the lion share of catching up work until tomorrow when I can settle into a calm, empty house and just concentrate on catching up. It is so good to be home.

So, uh, since when is a Chevy Impala 78 wagon a vintage car? Apparently when it's hit in a parking lot. The guy who was involved in the accident tried to tell me that THIS is a vintage car, that the parts are hard to get (what parts? It's a DENTED fender! Pound it out!) I told him my brother had one and he got sheepish, so I didn't have to go all My Cousin Vinny on his butt. Yeah, I always cover the back of MY vintage cars with bumper stickers (they must have been vintage, too...)

This is what my car looked like. Tomorrow I face the music and call the rental car place and my insurance company to start the wheels rolling on the great parking lot fiasco.
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Classes: good; Day: not so good

I love my husband.

I lost my cellphone on this trip (my own irresponsibility) and today I had a fender bender (a car swiped the back of my rental as I was pulling out of a parking space and he was pulling into a driveway - probably more my fault than his) and here is what Gerry emailed me today:
First of all Hannah, Max and I are all very proud of you and can't wait to see you. We'll be at the EWR - Liberty waiting for your 6:30 arrival). Phones get lost and cars get hit. The important thing is you are well and have fans who love you (if nothing else you have some good blog material).

I was at Unwind, preparing for my class this evening when I read that email. I wept. Heaven knows this sort of thing is the last thing you want to have happen on a business trip, but of course it could be worse (no one was hurt) and even though I didn't take the insurance through the rental place I am covered by my own car insurance back home in NJ. We certainly pay enough for it. Gerry emailed me with a claim number, our policy number and contact info. I love him.

The class at Unwind - Votive Sleeves - went very well! I had neglected to specify what size votives the folks should bring in, so we had quite an array! Only two of the knitters were able to complete their sleeves, but everyone else certainly got the hang of it and will definitely be able to finish at home. This strikes me as a really wonderful intro to knitting with wire, and I think I'll be changing my wire knitting class to something more along these lines. I think it will be important to specify a size for the votives themselves, though, for future classes.

The students were so eager and open to new techniques - what a happy group! Because the class started pretty early (6:00) some of the folks were late, but that really made no difference. Two folks didn't show up - my feeling is perhaps they were running late and just gave up. Two others had to cancel due to other situations - they were missed!

Last night I taught at Knitters Studio and it was a spectacular class! The participants were game for anything, and I really pushed them hard! We worked through combination knitting, ribbing, increasing and then we ended with (what else?) cabling without a cable needle. The participants were very gracious - it was so enjoyable to teach such a positive and upbeat group of women! I would expect no less from Liz's shop. In her window right now she has some AMAZING pieces by Joan McGowan-Michael of White Lies Designs which are SO sexy and beautiful! I could have stared at them all day.

Tomorrow I drop off the car with a big swatch of back bumper peeled off like a tangerine. I have to deal with rental car folks, then drag my heavy, heavy bags to the airport, take the plane home and get hugs from Gerry, Hannah and Max. I wish it were tomorrow night right now!
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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Waking Up To Kids

or, rather, a kid. I'm staying with a friend in LA who has a little girl, and this morning I peeked out of my room as she was standing at the top of the stairs, ready to go down to the kitchen in her ruffled nightgown, yawning and stretching. I didn't mean to be spying, but I became afraid that if I made a noise I'd startle her and she could have fallen. So I watched her do all the waking up kid things that my own kids do, and felt a huge empty hole inside which will only be filled when I get home and give Hannah and Maxie a huge squeeze. Staying with a family is so much nicer than staying in a hotel.

Last night I taught at Yarn Garden near Studio City. I don't know the names of all of the LA areas What a cool shop! I had stopped by on my last trip, but that was more of a social visit with some wine and knitting - this was a real class.

I arrived late, which makes me nuts (I hate being late) but I hadn't allocated enough time for traffic - who knew? (everyone knew, actually, everyone but me...) So I was about 15 minutes late and the women in the class were in RARE form! What a lively and fun class! Sometimes I feel so mean when I have to say, "I'm talking now..." or "You have to listen to me now!" - as if I'm such an attention hog that I can't stand it when all eyes aren't on me. And maybe that's part of it, but also it's just so hard for me to concentrate and remember the next part of the class (or think of where to take this particular class next) with the buzz of conversation in the room.

I don't think I was always like this, I think I used to be able to concentrate and talk when there was noise and chatter, but I find in my teaching trips as I get near the end and become, perhaps, more tired, I need less white noise when I'm droning on. I'm also a little afraid of losing my voice if I try to talk over folks and teach in a stentorian chant. Evidently I still have some guilt over this...

At any rate, the class was great! There were folks in the class who are expert knitters, and folks who have just been knitting for a short while, but EVERYONE did beautifully! When I teach the class I stress that the point of the class isn't to make everyone knit like me, but to open their minds to different ways of knitting and perhaps to allow them to comprehend exactly what is going on when they wrap their yarn - that the way you wrap in one row has everything to do with how the stitch wants to be knit in the following row. I'm afraid I got a little philisophical (moi?) because one of the students called me Buddah. It was a compliment. Which reminds me I really need to get a haircut.

It was a short class, but I pushed them on a bit quicker than I usually do and by the end of the class everyone at the table had turned a cable without a cable needle. Sometimes students get to a point where they have absorbed as much as they really want to in an evening, and to push them farther would be to screw up what I've already taught them, because we all learn in different ways and at different speeds. At first this used to make me feel that I'd done something wrong in my teaching, but as I thought hard about my own learning process, I realized that I do the same thing sometimes and it's not a reflection on the teacher. So I try to put as much stuff out there as easily as I can, and allow everyone to absorb it at their own pace.

It was certainly one of the huggiest classes I'd taught! I think I'd hugged everyone once, and some two or three times, before the class was over. One of the most interesting things in the class was a student who was exceptional - she was just a terrific knitter - yet had the same compulsion we all have to doubt herself in a clinch. After I'd shown the cable, and everyone was chanting the story of the prince, the girls at the party and the sailor (you'll just have to take a class to find out...) her first comment was, "I'll never remember that!" Yet she just had. She had just been saying it along with everyone else, and she was an excellent knitter!

So of course I singled her out, embarrassed her (but she was tough, she could take it) and told her that yes, she would not only remember it, she'd be teaching it soon. I also brought up my own personal bugaboo that when someone who is really accomplished doubts herself out loud, sometimes she can create doubt in others who aren't as far along in their knitting. They think, "If she's so good and thinks she's bad, then I must really suck!" She was so gracious in the face of my mini tirade, sat down and turned 5 beautiful cables. Just lovely. And soon she was showing others how to do it. She should be a knitting teacher, she has a gift for that.

We all should teach something to someone every day, it's a beautiful thing. By teaching we're able to really insinuate the lesson into our OWN souls, and we gain more than our students!

But when I got home (back to my friend's home...) I was TIRED! They'd all gone to bed so I crept upstairs and had my banana and rice pudding and Green Monster juice, read a bit and fell right asleep. I was so tired on the way back, but I'm learning the LA roads pretty well and was almost on auto pilot as I drove along the freeways and streets. It was a long day - breakfast with a good friend in San Diego (Gwen Bortner of Knitability), then hung out at the Artyarns booth some more, saw Pam Allen - so good to see her again in person! - and Sally Melville for the first time in about 5 years! She's such an exceptional designer and teacher. Her class on creativity was one of the best I've taken, it was very inspiring for me, and I urge everyone I meet who's serious about knitting to try to take it at least once!

After that I called my LA friend to let her know when I'd be arriving, and immediately set my cell phone down and lost it. I feel like a fool - and I'm hoping that it will come home to me! I also feel like I've lost one of my appendages - it's so vital when I'm traveling! Thank heavens I have my computer with me so at least I'm able to look up numbers and check in with folks! The drive up from San Diego to LA was easy, nice, sunny and beautiful. A VERY short visit with my friend here and then out to Yarn Garden for the class.

Today will be a relaxing day. The only think I must do is go to Knitters Studio this evening for a class. The day is mine - I'm free like a bird - and plan to have lunch with a friend (or is that tomorrow..?) and maybe get my hair cut. Maybe I'll shave my head - Buddah indeed!
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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Rama-Lama Dim Sum

Tonight Potter Craft had a nice get together at Rama, a Thai restaurant near the convention center. It was great to meet a lot of folks I'd just emailed or talked to on the phone before, and even more exciting to meet designers and writers like Fiona Ellis, Cat Bordhi and Jill Moreno & Amy Singer who I'd just emailed or blogged with before (except for Amy, who I'd met at another TNNA)! What a great time, and I laughed so hard my sides hurt!

I felt like I was running all day - I checked out of Chez Luxe this morning, worked at the Artyarns booth until 10:30 or so, drove out to Lori's Frames & Fiber in Alpine, taught an AMAZING class to a group of very accomplished and enthusiastic knitters (who loved to laugh!!), drove back to SD and worked the AY booth until the Potter party. A very full and rich day.

There's a Motel 6 in San Diego, sandwiched between the airport and the train tracks. Here I am! The room is CHEAP but very clean and nice, there's HBO and wireless internet, so I'm very happy. Maybe I'm just ruefully a burgers and fries gal?

I have to admit that it is quite a rush to have folks recogize me - and something I'm not really prepared for. They don't recognize me as much as my name - and let's be honest, this is about the only place on earth where anyone would know my name (a knitting convention) but it's pretty cool. Someone called me "Fiona" yesterday, so when I met her and realized that we're pretty much the same height and shape with similar hair color, it all made sense. She is a hoot!

Now off to dreamland on my $49 mattress. I'll let you know if there's a marked difference...
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Saturday, January 21, 2006

2 Pooped 2 Participate

I'm SO tired. Tired, tired, tired. My legs and ankles ache, my joints are sore, but I really have a lovely day.

I was going to go out to dinner with Mereceds of Knit Nouveau and her husband, but when I got back to my hotel room and saw them turning the bed down, I knew that there would be no leaving the room for me tonight! Oy.

The Artyarns booth is really lovely - the yarns are gorgeous and the new yarn, Silk Rhapsody, is just stunning. A blend of silk and mohair, it's so much fun to work up, and looks amazing when it's knit. It was, hands down, the hit of the booth and I hope that a lot of shop owners take advantage of Iris's offer to sell this wholesale to shops one skein at a time, separately so they can take a few colors without too huge of an investment to see how the yarn goes over at their shop.

The best part of the day was seeing old friends, shop owners I'd worked with before and brand new friends I hadn't yet met in person. I briefly say Edie Eckman (we have to get together and chat!) and finally met Beth Casey at Lorna's Laces. She said when she saw me she'd kiss me on the mouth, but I'm afraid I ducked. Chicken me. I finally met Trish Malcom from Vogue in person (yahoo!) and the folks from Namaste Needles.

I ran into old friends Gwen Bortner (we're going to have breakfast on Monday) and Stefanie from Knitty Gritty. It was good to see Nicky Epstein and we discovered that we both share the West Virginia connection AND are married to nice Jewish boys. I just love her work! I got to meet the editor of Yarn Market News and some of the folks at Potter who I hadn't yet met.

Tomorrow I'll pack up and check out of Chez Precious, drive to the convention center and spend an hour strolling around and at the Artyarns booth. I'll head out for Alpine around 11:00 and teach for 3 hours, then return to the convention center for more schmoozing until the Potter party for their new and soon-to-be (me!) authors. Then I check into Motel 6...
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Friday, January 20, 2006

Sore Feet

Today was a Dr. Scholls day - I wish.

I walked a LOT - got to see a LOT of San Diego (between my hotel and the convention center), helped Artyarns set up their booth, taught my Butter & Jam cardigan class (it went GREAT - what a wonderful experience!) and then took the shuttle bus home (who knew?) to the hotel. I'm resting for a few hours before I go have dinner with some friends, then back home to bed. Bed, bed, bed.

They're having several conventions at the center - one of them is a sports (surfers) convention with Duuudes in abundance. I ran into Merecedes from Knit Nouveau with her husband, she's such a great person! Anyway, when the registration desk at TNNA got a load of the piercings on both Mercedes and her man, they insisted that they really wanted the convention down the hall. Very funny.

This was my first time teaching a class entirely of shop owners and folks who work/teach at yarn shops. It was an exceptionally skilled and dilligent class - the atmosphere was wonderful and the questions were right on target. It was a delight to teach (even with the mistakes in the written text to the chart - sorry guys - that was a little unintended lesson on how easy it is to screw up written text...)

It was delightful to have several shop owners in the class today who own shops where I've taught - that really is one of the best parts of what I do! Craig from Loop was there, and Renee from Yarn Paradise.

These convention centers are BRUTAL, though, on the legs and feet! The cement floors and miles of aisles are designed to make the ankles, calves and knees ache and scream in agony. It really is true, if your feet hurt, then nothing seems 100% on target!

But the Artyarns book looks GREAT! The items up for display are lovely, the yarns are gorgeous and well lit, and Iris wants me to put my books out to see if there's interest in them. Mostly I think I'll be helping folks with color choices, etc. - it will be a good education for me and a chance to put names with faces of yarn shop owners I've emailed but not met.

I'm near the Potter Craft booth and got so excited as I passed yarn booths I can't wait to visit tomorrow!

ADDENDUM
I totally forgot to mention my teaching at the Grove!

I LOVE THAT SHOP!

It had a lovely variety of very nice yarns, a good cross section in terms of price and fiber content. I LOVED the book selection and the gifts were just great. This is much more than a yarn shop (in a really cool, funky area!) Susan, the owner, was a doll to work with, and the students were quick and inspired and excited by the new techniques. We all had a good time, and it was such a lovely introduction to San Diego for me!

I arrived early, just in time for Susan to invite me out to dinner with her and Alison and Kristen and - visiting from Circles Knit Salon in Boston, Allison. We had a WONDERFUL dinner (an amazing oriental salad for me) and I had a beer - which I seldom do before teaching!

This evening I just got home from a terrific dinner with Iris from Artyarns and her husband, Craig from Loop and his partner, Mark - I was the odd girl out. But we had a really electrifying discussion about politics and healing the world (hi Elliot!). I'm a trifle smashed, but very happy. My nose ran like a faucet for the first part of the meal, Mark was so kind to run out and get me DRUGS, which I took, and which seemed to make me a little feisty. Oh, my!

Tomorrow, more TNNA - then on Sunday even MORE TNNA and teaching at Loris' Frames and Fibers - it's supposed to be in the 50's in Alpine, how will I deal after a few days of San Diego "winter"?
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Thursday, January 19, 2006

I'm HERE!

...and boy are my arms tired. Seriously. Carrying these bags around is hard work.

Little did I know that we'd be flying over the moon to get to San Diego, but apparently we took a detour...

The plane was delayed because of - stupid people. Um, this is your captain, we're being delayed because there are some very stupid people in the aisle who don't understand that they need to move their bodies over so that other folks can get past them... we should be taking off as soon as the lady in 15C gets her 2 carryon bags stuffed in the full overhead bin..."

I've been flying a lot lately - well, a lot for me - and this was like a herd of cows getting on the plane. It was like no one understood that you scooch into the seat to let the other folks past, THEN you cram your bag up in the overhead. Sheesh.

I thought I was just making this up, but as the crowd was leaving the plane guess what - another bottleneck! This one right behind my row, so I was the last to make it off before some person (who shall remain nameless) insisted on standing in the aisle and taking down their bags, AND PACKING UP THEIR PURSE, while everyone behind them waited.

I was sitting next to a guy who spent the trip studying to be a pilot. He looked very smart, and was very studious - it made me feel good. He was amused when I started taking pictures out of the window. His girlfriend was a few rows back, and it crossed my mind to offer to switch seats so the nice couple could be together, but then I would have ended up being behind the worlds slowest disembarking passenger (and I would have lost my window seat) so I stayed put.

I was sad to leave this morning - Maxie was sad, Hannah was sad, Elaine was philosophical. When I called from the plane (before we took off) I was told that Maxie wouldn't eat -sore throat - and when I suggested "How about some ice cream..." I got the "Well, alright, if you think it would be a good idea." response one would expect from a loving grandma who can't believe her goyisher daughter in law is feeding her grandson ICE CREAM for breakfast. Yeah - it's what we had every morning before church.

Aside from being cramped, the flight wasn't bad - I'm trying a new tact; traveling by the window. It's actually much easier for me, less bumping and I can sleep. So off we go, hello window (and wonderful photos!)

The rental car place was fine - but I still like Enterprise - and the hotel is (prepare yourself) just eh. It's nice. I had to play mind games with the really nice security guy (Dave) to get an internet hookup. They don't have wireless, and if you want a cable it's $7.50 (you can find the cord in the drawer above the mini bar - that should tell me something...) The bottle of Evian is $5.50 (WHY are hotels charging for water? That really DINKS me off!) and as I was guided into the elevator by the valet parking guy the doors THREW themselves at me. Seriously, it was high drama for the folks in the barber shop ("Lookey at that!") That was actually how I met Dave, the security guy, when he came to make a report on the psycho elevator and took pity on my internet-less state.

The woman at the desk said, "No, we dunt have wireless in ze rooms, but you can come to ze lobby or the restaurant, where zere ees wireless..." (I'll bet she's really from Cleveland) I explained to Dave that they really DIDN'T want me coming down to the lobby in my PJ's tonight, which I might do, if I didn't have a cord. And then there was a cord. Tada.

Tonight I teach at The Grove and I'm thinking I'll go by early to get a bite to eat. It's actually 7:30 my time right now, and all I've really had today is the meal they call breakfast on the plane and some nuts. I kept meaning to run out and eat, but there was a shower, then the internet stuff, and now it's so close to the time I have to leave for the Grove that I'll just go early and find some nice cafe with good sandwiches. That mini bar's looking mighty good.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mr. Incredible

Oil is expensive, we know that. The price is going up and we're all turning our thermastats down (yet I don't see the prez in a cardigan - yet) Our family is no exception. We were lucky enough (read, Gerry had the foresight) to lock in a relatively low rate for the year, which seemed like highway robbery when we agreed to it, and now seems to be one of the more intelligent things we've done this year.

But we live in an older house - 1927 - and although we have central heat, it's uneven around the house. The upstairs freezes, the dowstairs heats up and the basement waffles between very cold and rather warm (when the furnace kicks on).

The kids REALLY wanted to sleep in the basement together - and I agreed - after all, Monday was MLK day, no school, so why not let them sleep in. What Annie didn't know was that when Gerry left for work on Monday morning at 3:30am, he would not only turn down the heat, he'd turn it OFF... When I got up yesterday it was 58F in the house - and much colder in the basement. So it wasn't really a surprise when a croaky little voice called up, "Mom, I'm sick."

Max has a croupy cough - he gets them, and they sound TERRIBLE. When he was a baby and got them I'd be worried to death, but now we've come to terms with the fact that this is just the way he sounds when he coughs. It doesn't help that he spent most of the weekend doing a killer Smeagle imitation, "My precious, precious pop-tart!", "I want my precious chocolate milk..." And he had a fever.

He's on the mend. His fever broke this morning and now he's just recovering from sore throat, still with the cough, and a little dizzy. I'm plying him with water, juice and herbal tea for his throat - and with my groovy laptop I'm able to work right alongside him all over the house!

Update
Max saw the doctor, he has an infection, he (hopefully) will be better soon. So I made him some socks. Sick kids get socks.


We were supposed to go into the city yesterday - the Martha Stewart show called because someone (mystery) had written them that both my kids knit very well. I know I didn't send the letter, but the wanted to meet them and I asked if I could bring along Hannah's good friend, Jaiden, who's also an amazing knitter. Max stayed home with Gerry (he gets home from work very early in the afternoon) and Hannah, Jaiden and I went into the city for a romp. The girls had a fun time, they met some of the TV folks and had their pictures taken with a polaroid (which Hannah called, "You know, the old-fashioned kind of camera where you have to wave around the picture...")

While in the city I took the girls to McDonalds - a highlight - and Jaiden got a Mr. Incredible in her happy meal. She very kindly gave it to Maxie yesterday and it was the first time in a day I saw him sit up and take notice of anything. Now he cuddles Mr. I, with blankie, enjoying the new sofa.
Hannah asked if she could tell her class that she might be on Martha's show. I told her no, not really - who knows if they'll ever want to use her (apparently they were 'casting' for a kid's crafts segment for Valentines Day) but if she does get on the air she can tell them then.

I may be calling the babysitter we're using when I go away on Thursday to start a day early in case she has to be here to sit with Maxie until Gerry comes home. She's a lovely person, and Max loves her, so he'll be thrilled to get her all to himself for a bit!

TNNA
If anyone at TNNA wants to stop by the Artyarns booth, I'll be there for most of the show. I'd LOVE to see you, meet you in person - it's such a thrill for me to meet knitters from all over the place!

Frappr
Taking a page from Crazy Aunt Purl's book, I started a frappr map. It looks lonely right now, so please feel free to add your own peg to the mix. Who knows, when we reach critical mass I may just be able to set up some teaching gigs in your area!
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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Let the Wild Rumpus begin!

Here's the wild rumpus room for the kids. And tonight will the the THIRD night they've slept down here on the sofa. They love it - it's like camping (but there's a TV)

So now the kids have furniture to destroy - life is grand!

[sidebar: I cannot believe that Prez Palemer (aka Dennis Hasbert) is dead on 24! Damn!]

Well, the many emails have assuaged my guilt - I am preparing myself for the tasty pillow chocolates even as I speak. Gerry read my posts and said, "You know, you really SHOULD have some event in your room to make it more worthwhile!" So I'm thinking a Pajama Party?

Thanks also for the excellent Mac tips. I've already been on my laptop so much in the past few days - with the airport and the excellent battery life I'm living life in the fast lane. I am really looking forward to having the ability to edit the calendar while I'm in California - what a weight THAT will be off of my mind! That's one of the hardest things when I travel - to get the sitting-down-at-my-computer work done that I usually do in the few hours before bed. I hate the wasted time while I watch C-span (I'm a span-head with no cable, so my hotel stays are VERY exciting) when I COULD be working on some stitch stuff on the computer.

Tomorrow we have to go into the city (me, the kids and one of Hannah's friends) and then on Tuesday I make a return trip for the Directions show. A friend here in NJ puts it together, and I LOVE going and seeing the fabrics and trends for the coming year. Or all the different ideas of what folks think the trends will be...

This year another friend who sells her trend swatches at the show asked me if I'd like to put some hand knit swatches together, so she'll have them at her booth. I'm very interested to see if any of them actually move, if the kinds of stitch patterns and colors I put together would interest 'real' designers looking for hot trends. Hey, wouldn't it be a kick in the pants if I got a trend forecast from a magazine with one of my swatches in it...?
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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Birds Love New Furniture


Yesterday was a red-letter day for our house. We had a lot of arrivals, and some odd visitors.

I finished the big rug for the basement, and basking in my glory I moved our rocking chair and sofa to the basement to live with the rub.

I was very proud of myself. The chair was rough, but with enough shoving, pushing and geometry I got it down in about 15 minutes. I took the doors off the basement stairs and took the feet off of the sofa, stood it on it's end and slid it down to the landing halfway to the basement (where it wedged).

I left it for Gerry when he got home.

Together we got it down with little problem. He was happy that it was done, but not happy with me that I'd moved it on my own. What if you had thrown your back out before leaving for San Diego? What if you'd become trapped under the sofa? What if you'd had a bad asthma attack? I sounded more like Hannah than I like to admit when I said, triumphantly, "But I didn't!" Yeah, living life with an 9-year old's rules.

So what to do with the empty holes in the living room? Vacuum!! In the midsts of the cleaning a bird came flying by, followed by Gerry, who'd chased it down from our bedroom. "You must have left the door open!" he wasn't happy with me - but I don't leave doors open (we have a cat who's an escape artist...)

The truck with our new sofa and chaise pulled up, the guys unloaded them in record time and were visibly relieved to see that A) the furniture all fit through our door easily; B) there was already a cleared space for the furniture and C) we weren't going to ask them to take other furniture anywhere. The kids were in heaven - they LOVE the new stuff. I think Gerry liked it, too. I'm very happy with it - although it's bigger than I remembered it being (and MUCH bigger than the sofa and chair I/we wrangled downstairs...)

Just about that time my new comptuer arrived (!!) and we unpacked that with great ceremony. It's amazing. Beautiful, sleek, fast, wonderful, started up perfectly and is already 'talking' to my minimac. It's going to be a breeze to transfer my important files to it. I'm going to attempt to set up my email on both computers and then just import saved emails to my mini when I return from a trip (I use my emails all the time to remind myself of agreements I've entered into, names, places I need to be, etc.)

WHAT a day! Hannah had a sleepover, and Max was staying with the same friend's little brother, so the girls christened the basement by sleeping on the pull out bed and watching TV until late into the night.

This morning we heard a lot of bird sounds coming from the chimney. It turns out that birds are coming down and into our living room (HA! Mr. Landy 0, Annie 1) so at some point we've got to put one of those cage-like things on our chimmney to keep our feathered friends out.

My mother used to say that A bird in a house means death. - I hope that's not the case. This is my third bird incident. Once, while walking down 42nd street a bird hit a window and bounced in front of me, motionless. It was an amazing green and yellow color - so lovely. I picked it up and took it back to my office, gave it some water and it perked up and flew away.

Then when I was temping in NJ after Max was born as I was leaving one of those huge glass type mono-buildings another bird hit the window and fell in front of me. This one was a hummingbird - amazingly beautiful - and I picked it up and gave it some water and it, too, flew away.

This time I think both birds were grackles - the one yesterday flew out of the window I'd opened for it. The one this morning flew into Hannah's closet, so I shut the door to the closet and opened the closet window (it's an odd house) and I think it's probably flown away, too. I'll have to go check in a little bit.
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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Trip Guilt

I'm preparing for TNNA by shipping boxes of books out to San Diego, getting my kits together for the Votive class at Unwind and picking out suitable clothing for a warmer climate.

But I'm racked with guilt.

I generally don't spend a lot of time on guilt - I think it's pointless. I figure that if you feel guilty about something, fix it, or apologize, or do what you can to make the situation better. Feeling guilty is a waste of time if it doesn't spur you to action.

Yet here I am, feeling terribly guilty about the room that I booked for my trip. It looks amazing. I am not worthy. THIS is the room I should have. Actually, this is the room I WILL have on Sunday, when the carriage becomes a pumpkin and I need a place to crash before I drive up to LA on Monday.

I find myself at odd times thinking, Just WHO the hell do I think I am? (or as my mother would say, "Who do I think. I am?") My finger was hovering over the Holiday Inn button, but then the siren song of those luxurious marble bathroom counters, the three phones, the down comforter and balcony swept me away. And the room was pretty cheap, relatively. Okay, not cheap at all, but a mere $99 more than the Holiday Inn.

True, it's actually, $99 more than the H.I. per night. I cannot BELIEVE that I did that. Did I DO that? I can't believe I did that!

How about a little more rationalization with my guilt?

The room is only $30 a night more than the other folks I know who are going to TNNA are paying. $30 a night would buy a lot of yarn. I cannot believe that I did that.

I did go to Ikea and buy 10 small area rugs for $2.93 each. I'm sewing them together to make one BIG rug for the basment for $30. There, that takes some of the guilt off...

My New Computer
This might be a good time to mention the powerbook I just bought. WHY am I acting like I won the lottery? It's a refurbish from the same company where my husband bought his laptop last year, expercom.com, it's a very good deal and with the amount of traveling I'm doing this Spring it's really very necessary. I went to the Apple store to check out the powerbooks and ibooks in person - and honestly I had my credit card out and was ready to buy the 12" powerbook, but I couldn't get anyone to wait on me. So I walked. To my car. Then drove home and went online.

But - even as I write this - I just received an order for books from knitpicks that pretty much covers the cost of the room (and part of the room is being covered by my class sponsors, I can't make them pay the whole room fee, that would just be WRONG! I can't believe I booked THAT ROOM!)

Okay, I'm not good at guilt, but I'm a champ at rationalization... My 4th grade teacher was right. I am a excuse maker.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cardiff Calling

Yesterday I joined the ranks of those who have been interviewed by Marie Irshad for Knitcast and it was quite enjoyable! She has a lovely voice (mine, not so much...) and it was my first time using Skype. I was very high tech with a headset and microphone, and we ended up chatting for over an hour and a half (she will edit, so hopefully my stuttering, wheezing and errant coughing will not appear in the final version!) She's going to try to get the interview up in a couple of weeks- I'm crossing my fingers because it would be cool to have it online while I'm at TNNA!

However, I woke up in a cold sweat last night when I realized that in my entire interview I did NOT mention Drew even once. I feel like slime. In my defense, there was a real echo on my end (everything I said was repeated back 3 seconds later) and that threw me off, but there is no excuse for forgetting such an integral part of the book. I'm sorry, Drew.

Likewise, we spent an inordinate amount of time talking about Vogue, and not much time at all talking about Interweave Knits - which I feel is such a wonderful and strong magazine for the knitting world! I'm sorry, Pam!

Computer Decisions
So I'm sold on the ibook G4. The powerbook is really tempting - especially the sturdiness of the case - but I honestly feel for my meager needs the ibook is probably overkill. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who gave their excellent and well reasoned opinions, I appreciate it greatly! I would LOVE to go to tekserve, but it's such a song-and-dance to get into the city when the Apple store is at the Short Hills Mall. Love the mall. If it were summer and I didn't have a lot of work on my plate I'd take the time to go into Manhattan, but I really need to get this purchased so I can get comfortable with it before I leave next week for TNNA!

Photoshop
I take most of my own photos (it's very apparent, n'est ce pas?) and I also photoshop them to give them a drop shadow when I'm displaying a finished item or technique.
¥ The way I do it is to photograph the image in front of a plain white background (actually, my peeling dining room door, it's quite lovely...)

¥ I open the image in photoshop and copy the background layer so I can work with it.

¥ I cut out all of the white (background) parts. If the contrast between the item and the background is great, this is quite easy with the magic wand tool, if not I have to outline it and clear the background.

¥ I copy the layer with the image and increase the contrast and reduce the brightness so that it's a totally grey image - I make sure this layer is behind the actual image.

¥ I use the gaussian blur filter on the shadow layer to blur it a bit.

¥ I nudge the shadow so that it's a little to the left or right, above or below the original image.

¥ I reduce the opacity of the shadow layer until it looks the way I'd like it to look

Then all I have to do is flatten the image and crop it. I'd written this up as a script, but I found that each individual image had so many variables that it was a better to just do it myself individually. Hope you enjoyed the Photoshop tutorial!

Men are GONE!
Last night I packed up the last 4 sweaters for Men Who Knit - 2 men's sweaters and 2 doggie sweaters! They're out the door, I'm FINISHED for all intents and purposes with the actual knit item portion of the book. Now Drew and I just have to finish up the profiles and I need to write the stuff between the patterns (intro, notes, glossary, tips, etc.)
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Quick Thanks

You guys are the best! I feel like I've just participated in an amazingly enlightening online conference about buying a mac - and I will definitely wait until after today to hear what Mr. Jobs has to say. It should be innerstin.
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Monday, January 09, 2006

Tech Help - Laptop Suggestions?

I'll be doing a LOT of traveling this coming Spring, and it's time to get myself a laptop. I'm looking for the following things:

1. Mac
2. Sturdy yet not too heavy
3. OSX 10.4 or higher compatible
4. Wireless Internet
5. Able to run my email (macmail)
6. Able to run Filemaker Pro

It's not vital that it do the following, but it would be nice...
1. Run my photoshop, quark or other big apps

Any suggestions? Any macheads out there totally in love with your laptop, which was a reasonable amount of $$ yet does all you need it to do? This will not be my primary computer, but something I can load my traveling files into and take with me so I'm not at the mercy of kind computer users and kinko's to check my email.

You guys have been an incredible resource so far on just about anything I ask, so I figure you'll have the thumbs up and thumbs down comments on various models that I probably won't get from the typical geek-search.

Antibiotics - yea or nay?
More than anyone else I understand the dilemma about antibiotics. We use them (overuse them) to the point that we grow super-infections in our systems as if we're walking petrie dishes. But I like to breathe. I am feeling much, much better today than I have in weeks - hey, we've been here before, n'est ce pas? - but I'm troubled by the 2 weeks of AB's I have to take to kill - yes, KILL - the growing beast within my lungs. Phlegm is a bitch.

Passport?
Last night I began the process to fulfill one of my NY resolutions. I filled out applications for everyone in the family to get passports, and if I can get my butt in gear I'd like to get the applications in by the end of the week. NOTE: This process will end up costing over $350 - for passports??? Geez, louise. And the kid's passports will only be good for 5 years. But I very much want to have the ability to just pack up and GO with them to someplace cool if the chance presents itself. Besides, we do travel to Canada (at least I do) every now and then, and soon we'll need to have passports to visit our friends to the north. Next - photos of the family! And you'll see it all here, folks, every step of the process. In painful detail. I promise to at least knit a bit in the waiting line...

And speaking of painful detail, here's my to do list for today. If I get half this stuff done I'll be in heaven!

Check PO Box
Take boxes to dump
buy bookcases - Ikea
buy rug - Ikea
pick up glasses - Costco
Drop off donated clothing - Costco Lot
Buy card stock & printer cartridge - Costco?
Straighten up HannahÕs room
Clean up basement (with kids...)
Send sketches to Interweave for Lace Book
Make votive kits & send to Stephanie
send out LOAÕs through May
Send out birthday invitations - Max's party
renew prescriptions
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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Plaid, Plaid, Plaid


Thanks to Melissa, who did most of the plaid knitting on this piece, I was able to finish it up this weekend with some stockinette st and ribbing (thanks Melissa!!). I also added some pockets right where the plaid meets the side fronts - and Gerry loves it! I'm going to have a hard time getting it away from him to send to the publisher!

This marks the last MAN'S sweater. Two more doggie sweaters have been added, I'll knit those up today (in a medium doggie size) and send them off, along with the sweaters, tomorrow!

It feels good to start putting this baby to bed. I have to write the introduction tonight/tomorrow for the catalog copy - there is so much to learn and know in the whole book publishing world!

Grump & Heretic
The Knit Blogging Planets were in alignment this weekend because Grumperina came to down and stopped by for a nice visit! We sat and knit - I showed her some of the new stuff I'm working on and some of the yarns I'm playing with - we gossiped (only good things about YOU, though!) and had a generally very nice time. We'd met in person in Boston last Fall, and it was so good to see her again! She is my technical knit blog heroine! I like her so much, and she fell in love with our kitten (I checked the house when she left, I was afraid Gigi had followed her home!) Who knows, there may be a little cat in Grump's future (and then she will have no reason to be grumpy anymore, huh?)

TNNA
Anyone who is going to TNNA - I would love to meet you! I'll be teaching there, and during most of the show I'll probably be seen hanging around the Artyarns booth (heaven only knows what number it is...) but it would be great to meet folks in person if you'll be there!

Oh, Canada...
A shop waaaay up in Michigan wants me to come and teach - and I've wanted to go waaaay up in Michigan for a while now - so I'm trying to add some Canada (Toronto and vicinity) teaching engagements to the tail end of my Buffalo Guild trip to make the trip over to Michigan and back make more sense financially. If anyone knows of a shop that's somewhere on the road across Ontario and up into Michigan who might like me to teach,I'd love to hear about it!
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Friday, January 06, 2006

Rest is Good for Weary Feet

That's a line from a poem I like - To a Young Poet who Killed Himself by Joyce Kilmer. Yes, I'm pedestrian in my poetry tastes - I also like Robert Frost.

I had my test yesterday - it went just fine! Chris,the technician was very kind and gentle with the IV, I had dye shooting through my veins along with a bit of a sedative to relax me so I wouldn't have an asthma attack (this on top of the steroids I'd taken the night before and a few hours before the test - I'm telling you, I haven't breathed better in years!)

The scan itself was surprisingly fast - and the big round donut they shot me through was much nicer than the coffin like setup I went into for my last scan. Actually, that incident's been on my mind and that's why I was so nervous. My only previous experience with this sort of thing was when my gyn felt something odd during an exam, had me get at sonogram THAT DAY, then the same day they called and had me go back for a second sonogram and a cat scan the next day. The results were scary, it led to a radical hysterectomy - which probably saved my life but also made me foggy and incoherent for, well, going on 3 years... (Foggy and incoherent I'll take, believe me!)

So even though this was such a routine type of test, I did find myself filled with more worry than I thought I'd have. My doctor, sensing this, was kind enough to call last night to tell me that the preliminary results of the scan were that everything is fine. Amen! So it probably IS just some infection that will not leave (although I'll definitely mention the fungus thing to her, that's WEIRD and probably something that doesn't pop up a lot!)

When I got the call last night I was so relieved that I fell asleep a little before 7:00 and slept until 7:15 this morning. My breathing still kind of sucks - the reprieve of the steroids wore off last night and once again I'm stuffed, can't smell anything and feel like I have a rock in my chest, but it's a smaller rock!

In the middle of this mishigas (madness) I found myself feeling very insecure about my designing. That happens - when I'm feeling scared it seeps into so many other parts of my life. I hadn't heard from an editor I like to work with for a few weeks, and then when we did have an exchange it was the "please shorten the sweater" episode

So in one of our (very nice) email exchanges I mentioned that I was far behind schedule and wanted very much to submit something for an upcoming book that she's doing, but only had ideas so far - no swatches worked up. I sent her one of my ideas and got this reply: I wouldn't do a book of any kind, much less a LACE book, without a project, or more, from you.

I cannot tell you what this comment meant to me. As I strike out on my own - my own books, hiring my own knitters, etc., I still feel the need for positive reinforcement from folks who have been my role models. When I get it, it means the world ( you all know what I mean) and it's further proof that taking the time to write a kind word, a positive response, is so much more worth it than the easy route of taking a jibe, digging at a wound or tossing off a "light joke" that is really devastating in it's cruelty. But wait - I digress...

So this morning, well rested and happy, I return to editing the wire book (illustrations need to be discussed with the art director) and finishing the knitting on the LAST TWO projects for the men who knit book. I also have to put together some wire kits for a class I'm teaching at Unwind (the wire votives from Handknit Holidays) and write up my notes for the Butter & Jam Cardigan class I'll be teaching at TNNA.

A busy life is a good life - or as I saw on some women's tote bag in the city last year, "I'm blessed to be stressed!"
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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Tricks

I've recently started using test and sample knitters (yeah!) and it's been a very good experience. I just got a lovely sweater back from Laura (hi Laura!) that was magnificently knit. It was, however, too long - entirely my fault - and just didn't have the look I wanted.

The editor agreed when I sent her a photo, so I did a clever trick that some of you may have done, but it's still fun to mention:

1) I selected a row about 3" up from the bottom of the sweater (it was a camisole worked in the round, like a tube, in one piece.)
2) I pulled the yarn from that row - really hard - exactly what your mom always said not to do.
3) I cut the strand and gently eased the sts off of the cut yarn. Then I repeated that around the piece, slipping the new loops onto a smaller needle as I worked. The yarn was a fingering weight merino, so it stood up nicely to the process.
4) Then I used the loops I'd picked up and worked down a few rows in ribbing (the way the garment was originally finished)
5) I worked an elastic-ish bindoff as follows:
. . . Prep row, [work 1 st, slip 1 st] rep to end of round.
. . . BO Round: BO as normal, but loosely.

One thing to mention is that due to the structure of knitting, the loops I used weren't actually stitches, but the spaces between the stitches. That meant that I just had to suck it up that my ribbing wasn't going to be an exact match (each stitch was 1/2 stitch off when moving from the 2x2 ribbing in the body into the 2x2 ribbing in the hem) but that's hardly discernable, and not an issue when working from the St st portions of the piece.

Apprehension = Not Very Nice
It was suggested that I bring a friend to drive because of some drug I'll be given (mmmm, drugs...) so my good knittin' friend Amie is kindly taking me to the hospital today. I didn't feel that I was terribly apprehensive, until the Bus Incident yesterday.

My kids catch a school bus 1-1/2 blocks from our home. Recently it's been hard for me to walk more than a block or so (especially outside in the cold, when I can't seem to catch my breath) so for the past 3 mornings we haven't made it all the way to the actual bus stop. We've only made it to the corner near my house, then I have to stop and breathe, and while I'm catching my breath the bus comes by.

The driver - who is not the most concilliatory of folks - was pretty unhappy with me yesterday. I do understand. He is required to stop AT THE STOP and can get in trouble legally for not doing so. But I also just haven't been able to get to the stop. I felt like such a feeb, wheezing and trying to explain while he's saying, "You just HAVE TO GET YOURSELF to the BUS STOP!" I was trying to explain yesterday, he couldn't hear me, I didn't want to talk too loudly because I didn't want every kid on the bus to know my kids' moms' business. So Joe got off the bus and I explained that I'm sick - and I may have implied that my trip to the hospital today was going to be a longer term visit than it actually will be. I am evil. (He still yelled at me, though...)

So later that afternoon I got a call from Tony Soprano. I swear, this guy WAS James Gandolfini, only not as suave. Apparently it was Jimmy, of Jimmy's Transportation, and he was calling to read me the riot act for not having my kids at the bus stop. We all know what a mess I am on the phone, "What? Excuse me? I didn't understand what you just said..." and it was NOT a pleasant phone conversation "Lady, you're being UNREASONABLE!" Well, yes, I guess I was.

Long story short, I had to call the board of education to get permission for the bus to stop 1/2 block earlier than it already does. Which they gave me, grudgingly. "Lady, if we do this for you, EVERYONE will want us to do this for them!" Oh, f'heavenssake - the bus goes RIGHT PAST MY FRONT DOOR. And I'm not even asking for door to door service! I just want to not have to walk the extra block when I can't!

So this morning I sent the kids off unescorted. TO be honest, it shouldn't be such a big deal. In 2 years Hannah will be walking a mile to school (middle school) on her own, and quite often there IS another parent at the bus stop. But the district rule is that a parent has to escort the kids to the stop - which I understand. I told the kids if they got to the near corner (where I can see them from the house) and could see a parent at the far corner, to go on ahead, which they did. They walked on out of sight - alone - and Atticus and I watched them. He was more upset than I was. Well, he showed it more.
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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Hemo the Magnificent

Apparently I misunderstood. The X-ray wasn't negative as much as inconclusive, so I'll be going for a CAT scan. Why this scares me, I have no clue. Generally I enjoy being the center of medical attention (take this self-serving blog post, for instance...) but I think I'd rather skip this.

My doc called with my authorization number (remember life before those?) so I called the Medical center and, after 10 minutes of alternatively holding or chatting with bored, rude receptionists, finally I reached a scheduler.

- Yes? What do you need.
- Hi, my doctor said I should schedule a chest CAT scan
- Do you have a prescription?
- No - my doctor called me on the phone...
[pause]
- [hopefully] she gave me a referral number...
- You NEED a prescription.
- So I should call back?
- You should call back.
- Should I talk to you again, should I ask for you?
- No.


- Hello, doctor, they said I need a prescription
- Just tell them that you need a chest CAT scan WITH contrast.
- With contrast?
- With contrast.
- High contrast?
- What?

My doctor is Russian. I should not joke.

Back to eternal hold and the forest of the phone trees. I SWEAR I got the same woman

- Hey - you sound familiar! I'll bet I spoke with you -
- [rude & bored] Ma'am, it doesn't make any difference, you have to start all over again.
- (Yep, it was you.)

So we made the appointment. The only available time, 5:30 on Friday afternoon - now THAT'S a good time for a procedure, huh? Just as I was hanging up she said,

- Oh, you can't have Asthma
- I do have asthma
- Then you can't get the scan here
- You don't treat people with asthma?
- You can't get the scan here.
- Should I go someplace else...?
- Yes.
- Someplace else like...?
- The ___________ hospital

[NOTE: The Medical center and hospital are AFFILIATED - she could have volunteered that information when I told her I had asthma. How hard is it for someone to just be nice and volunteer information?]

But by the time I called Radiology at the ______________ hospital, they had closed for the day. Hmmm, I wondered, why is it that you can't get the CAT scan with Asthma? Let's look it up...
CAT Scan with Contrast Agent

A contrast agent (e.g., iodine-based dye, barium solution) may be administered prior to CT scan to allow organs and structures to be seen more easily. Contrast agents can be administered through a vein (IV)[ewwww], by injection, or taken orally. Patients usually are instructed not to eat or drink for a few hours prior to contrast injection or IV because the dye may cause stomach upset. Patients may be required to drink an oral contrast solution 1–2 hours before CT scan of the abdomen or pelvis.

Contrast dye may cause a rash, itching, or a feeling of warmth throughout the body. Usually, these side effects are brief and resolve without treatment. Antihistamines may be administered to help relieve symptoms.

A severe anaphylactic reaction (e.g., hives, difficulty breathing) to the contrast dye may occur. This reaction, which is rare, is life threatening and requires immediate treatment. Patients with a prior allergic reaction to contrast dye or medication and patients who have asthma, emphysema, or heart disease are at increased risk for anaphylactic reaction. Epinephrine, corticosteroids, and antihistamines are used to treat this condition.


Apparently the reaction can be worse in folks with asthma. Now I know!

As I said, this shouldn't freak me, but it does. I'm a wimp. That and the Hemoptysis. Eeewwww, again. I didn't have to share that. Sorry.

Update: I have an appt for tomorrow. Apparently I have to acquire and take a drug called Mederol 12 hours before the scan, and again 2 hours before. And I can't eat for 4 hours before the scan. Moider, I tells ya.
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Monday, January 02, 2006

Permanent Residence

The whole lung thing is getting ridiculous. It affects so much of my life - amazing how exhausted one gets when the air passages aren't clear! I've been down with this off and on for a few weeks now, and feel so whiney to talk about it all the time. This weekend it got totally ridiculous, though, with lots of hacking and coughing - I'm such a joy to be around, let me tell you...

My doctor thought I might have pneumonia, so she sent me to get a chest Xray. I don't have it - amen.

But she also gave me a referral to a pulmonary specialist, so maybe we'll get to the bottom of this never-ending infection which stays and stays and stays. It's like a bad boyfriend who goes away for a week but comes back, slipping his key in the lock and raiding the refrigerator while you're still asleep. You wake up and he's on the sofa, surrounded by dirty dishes, wadded up tissues and watching COPS on TV. (oh, wait, that's me...)

It's rainy and grey - tonight more rain, tomorrow rain and snow - I hate it when it's mixed like that!

So, for the time being, I'm spending a lot of time resting and enjoying the fact that I don't need to be anywhere for several weeks. Rest is good. And listening to Team of Rivals, plugging my Palm Zire into the new stereo system Gerry bought, so I can roam between books on CD, audible books on MP3 and talk radio. I'm just a joy to be around...
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Sunday, January 01, 2006

TWTYTW* in NO order!

- I'm here!

- I saw the cutest models EVER in IK

- No major losses this year in the immediate family, and a recovery from the ravages of breast cancer by my cousin, Jan.

- I signed my first contract with two different publishers for two books (MWK & WWJ.

- I published my first collection of essays by other folks (and paid them, and a copy editor, and the printer, and broke even!)

- I discovered a new toy at Ikea - foldable boxes with a zip bottom I can use to transport teaching materials easily!

- We bought Hannah a violin. Now, lessons.

- I entered into my first writing partnership (joyfully!)

- I wrote my first letters of agreement (and had to use one to recover teaching fees...)

- Our family acquired health coverage this year (but over 45 million in the US are not...)

- I renewed my drivers license

- I finally joined a frequent flyer program (and finally have a reason to!)

- I met CAP!

- We discovered that Max really DOES love and have an affinity for piano. Now, lessons.

- I met my goal of teaching workshops and classes at LYS's and other venues for an average of twice a month.

- I hired my first knitters and have been rewarded magnificently for my trust.

- I had my first VK Cover

- I put designing things I love ahead of designing for magazine submission deadlines (but I still submit!)

- I started my first knitalong

- I still have this chest congestion. Crap.

- But I did find a new woman doctor, nearby, who is wonderful. (And who I will be seeing very soon.)

- I acquired a palm and have become an Audible MP3 Recorded Book afficianado (and the NY Times, and the New Yorker, too...)

- PT Cruiser. Vroom.

- 2 Speeding tickets caught on camera in DC. Shame.

- I dyed my hair for the first time (thanks Audrey!)

- I finally started a 529 plan for Hannah (Max will have to wait a bit...)

- We lost a cat, but acquired a new kitten in Ohio.

- I saw fewer movies, but more DVDs, than ever before (thanks Netflix!)

- I broke down and acquired a business credit card to keep my expenses straight. Yeah, right.


In 2006 I will:

- Meet Drew in person!!

- Obtain passports for the entire family and get us out of the country at least once! (for a good reason)

- Have part of the basement redone as my office/workspace

- Paint the inside of the house (watch for color chips...)

- Make new draperies by the time the new Sofa and Chaise I bought arrive on 1/13 (yep, impulse by at a store going out of business - here's a bad photo taken by my cell phone camera...)

- Be better organized when I travel (ship more, carry less...)

- Survive!

*That was the year that was
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posted by Annie at 0 Comments Links to this post

Alison's Scarf
Link to pdf file of cable/trellis lace scarf


Hannah's Poncho
Link to pdf file of multi-sized poncho



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