Thursday, May 31, 2007

NWA Ate My Luggage

I have lost my luggage. Damn.

It was a rough day - delayed flight; the mad dash through the Detroit airport to make my flight (with - literally - 1 minute to spare...) and then my luggage is lost. LOST! Dang. But worse things can happen.

I imagine it's on some desert island somewhere whacking at papayas and coconuts with a machete, engaging in steamy love scenes and finding odd numeric messages. A girl can dream, huh?

Hair Where?
So here's the much requested photo of the head. Yes, I photoshopped it - I didn't really make myself look any better, just a little less - tired.

Ain't I a cutie? I'm anxious for Beth at Lorna's Laces to give me some tips on how to live with the dyke-cut. Please don't be offended, I say it with love.

It's a great cut - for Gomer Pyle. Ask your mom. I look so old and sad in this picture.

I called the salon to see about some kind of fix. They were really nice, the woman I spoke with (the owner of the salon) is going to have me come by on Tuesday and we may try dyeing it blonde. Eh. What do I have to lose? It could be fun. It could be a wretched mistake. At this point, it's all kind of an adventure, and it amuses the children.

This is testing my much-touted refain of, "Life isn't about not making mistakes, it's about dealing with them gracefully..." So let's see how graceful I really CAN be about this.

So far I've run into a few friends, checked into my room (yes, it's another expensive hotel so I have to PAY for internet.) I still can't figure that out, unless they know that most folks who stay here are on expense accounts so they'll pony up to keep in touch with the office. What a scam.

In my luggage - which, according to the Northwest Airline site is in transit (it's actually kind of cool that you can track your luggage like a UPS package) are all of my Romantic Hand Knit samples, my class handouts, my clothes, my medicine, my makeup (because the terrorists hate our flawless skin I have to pack my concealer) and I'm worried I won't get it in time for my 8:00 am class tomorrow.

Luggage Update
It's 10:00pm now and still no luggage. I have to hit the hay or I won't be able to teach at 8:00

I just spent $19 in the hotel gift shop for toothpaste, a toothbrush, deoderant and Qtips. I'm hand washing my clothes so I look at least remotely okay tomorrow - I'm very glad now I chose NOT to travel in baggy pants and an old T shirt.

According to the NWA website I can request a
complimentary kit with a comb, deodorant, razor, shaving cream, toothbrush, and toothpaste from the Luggage Service office. Unfortunately, the Luggage Service Office is at the airport, I'm here in downtown Columbus, and I doubt that they'd rush to get me some toothpaste. Heaven knows what I'm going to do about my meds - breathing? That's for the birds!

Fighteningly, though, they have ONE suitcase listed as being FOUND, the other is still lost. The one that's FOUND is the one with the Romantic Hand Knits stuff - thank heaven. If I have to choose a suitcase to lose, it would be the one with my clothes. Clothes I can replace, the Romantic Hand Knit stuff I don't think I'd have the heart to re-do! Sophie's Choice with luggage.

Cell Angst
Power is a problem this weekend as I forgot my cell phone charger. Dang. Anyone here at TNNA have a motorola phone charger I could borrow? They have a buttload of chargers down at the front desk, left behind by travelers. Alas, none of them fit my little pink razor.

Room with a View
Ah, the lovely roof of the Convention Center. It's going to be hard to sleep, I just want to stay up all night gazing at the flatness.

Breaking Luggage News
10:21 - a phone call alerting me to the fact that my LUGGAGE HAS ARRIVED just came through. Oh, the anticipation! What will it be?? One suitcase? Both? Do I have $5 for a tip? Is that enough? Can I get that $19 back for the most expensive toothpaste in Columbus?

Luggage Update
10:40 - Both bags arrived, the bell-guy (are they called that anymore?) seemed happy with $5 and told me they would have GIVEN me toothpaste at the front desk. I was afraid to ask - I figured it would be $25. To celebrate I ordered room service for breakfast - oatmeal and a fruit smoothie. Life will be good. I may even get my act together to take a swim tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

THANK YOU

Thanks so much for all of your very kind notes, comments and bits of advice. Sometimes advice is overwhelming (you know when you've sent too much) but often it's on target.

I'm happy to get advice - it's easier for me to read it in a post on the blog than in an email - if an email gets too wordy I sort of blank out on it. That's simply exhaustion, and perhaps a bit of lack of focus.

I'll try to answer all of your very kind emails, but I may not be able to. Please know that they're read and appreciated! One note: It's probably best to steer clear of overt religious messages when you write to me, you may not like the response. I'm respectful of religion, and just as respectful of secular, humanist, atheist compassion - they both have a place in my world, but personally I lean toward the latter.

And, as in knitting, I refuse to believe that there is only one way to peace and inner harmony. Heaven is within us.


Lack of Judgement
The picture says it all. I look like a - well - lets just say that folks are going to be checking the size of my hands. Fabulous. Let's just say it was a breakdown of communication, and I liked the stylist a lot - I just didn't make myself clear. Another translator is needed.

The sides and back are even - well - more drastic. That's what Gerry called it, drastic.

"It's a - drastic - haircut, hon. But it IS May."

The implication being that by the time September rolls around my summer haircut may be just long enough for customs to allow me into France.

And that's why I love him - honest, yet tactful. Max even told me I looked good (but revised that to "not bad" when I told him to be honest.)

I've heard that BOTH weeks of the France trip is sold out. However, Gerry's tentatively scheduled for his transplant in Sept, so that will be happening later in the month.


Do you like how Gerry's health is planned around my teaching schedule? Just this once.


Now I'm going to go try to make peace with my hair. I'm knitting a headband and have prepared some Alchemy silk to wear around my head at TNNA.

I'll keep a tally tomorrow as I fly to Columbus how many folks address me as, "Sir..."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Man Proposes

Today was rough. We met with a doctor and social worker at the U of M's Bone Marrow Treatment Clinic, they discussed treatment options (really, only one option) and their words reinforced what we'd read - but not really digested - before.
The average survival is more than 3 years after the disorder is diagnosed, but survival time varies widely depending on the features at the time of diagnosis and the response to treatment. ...

Because multiple myeloma is ultimately fatal, people with multiple myeloma are likely to benefit from discussions of end-of-life care that involve their doctors and appropriate family and friends. Points for discussion may include advance directives (see Legal and Ethical Issues: Advance Directives), the use of feeding tubes, and pain relief (see Death and Dying: Choosing Treatment Options).
I took notes today - I know I did - but when I look at them I find them completely confusing. I need a translator to read my notes.

It's like in college when I took my zoology notes in French - which I was failing - in the vain hope that I'd improve in both classes. I didn't.

The doctor we spoke with was very nice, if soft spoken. I wish I could have heard what she was saying better.

It seems so inelegant to keep saying, "Huh?!" when someone is telling you that the love of your life has incurable cancer.
She did her best, we definitely had some kind of a delayed reaction to her words.

Huh? Wha? Excuse me?


The whole thing was very surreal.
I noticed a sign in the elevator explaining that translators would be available for patients and family members. I wonder if I can get a medical-to-English translator?

So - on to the good news. Hmmm, what IS the good news...? [sound of crickets]


Well, Gerry's young, and he's pretty healthy (except for this Multiple Myeloma garbage) so he should respond well to treatment.

It seems that sometime in September they'll remove stem cells - they need to get at least 2 million, 5 million is what they're looking for. (A million cells here, a million cells there, and pretty soon we're talking about a mess o'cells.)


This is where I get foggy.

I seem to recall something about removing the cells, giving Gerry some high dose chemo and then putting the cells back IN the bone to rebuild the marrow that they've destroyed with the chemo. Of course, they're aiming to destroy the plasma cells, destroying the marrow is just a little extra touch.

And this is how they'll rid Gerry of the cells causing the myeloma - the bad guys. (If we don't fight them over there... well, you know how that ends. At least we can say with full honesty that THEY attacked Gerry.)


When all of this is done, the "life extension" (which sounds like something that bald men order from late-night TV) would be from 3-5 years. We're both still wrapping our minds around this.

T h r e e - t o - F i v e.

How much extra can we get for good behavior?


In our current medical climate, 3-5 years is a long time. Of course, not as long as it would be if we had a prez who actually believed in stem cell research, but a lot can happen in 3-5 years.

Right? Tell me I'm right.


Apparently there are two markers which portend a person's chance of getting this illness, and our Gerry has both. Always the overachiever. According to the doctor, this would put him in the shorter end of the 3-5 year scale. A lot can happen in 3 years, right? Right?

We both gulped hard - we were very adult - we didn't cry (at that moment) and Gerry was amazing with his stack of test results and envelope of paperwork. Later at home he asked me if he seemed obsessed with his manilla envelope - not really.

Manilla envelope = vague sense of control over this thing.

I have a database, he has a manilla envelope - each of us clings to our own coping mechanism.


Of course, just before we left we discovered that our insurance doesn't want Gerry to go to U of M for treatment. They prefer the Mayo Clinic. I don't know WHAT we prefer - but I am looking forward to meeting with the Mayo folks and getting a second - perhaps clearer? - opinion. How clear they can be when so much is in question is not - clear.

I have to say that this whole thing sucks. Sucks for Gerry, sucks for all of us. We're ready for that metaphysical infusion of wisdom and clarity, Mr. DeMille...

S.S.
We're dragging the manilla envelope plus every family document we've acquired in our 15 years of marriage down to Social Security tomorrow when we go to convince them that yes, he is sick and cannot work.

There's a 6 month waiting period from application date until disability payments begin - ch and ching - so the drunken sailor spending will have to stop. Actually, we're spending like a very sober sailor, I'm being facetious. The small extravagances aside, we're a frugal lot.


I think I scooted into "dealing with it mode" with alarming speed. Hmm, maybe THIS is my coping mechanism? Or perhaps I'm kind of in denial, but in my heart of hearts I feel that Gerry's going to be in the 10% that makes a good, full, longer-than-five-years recovery.

And you know I'm never wrong about these things.


Immediately I began making plans for turning our upstairs office into a faux guest room, making space in the basement for another sofa bed in case we need it, and seriously doubting the sanity of adding a bathroom when we may need the money for - well - getting through this.


I wish we had unlimited money - don't we all? - so I could just take time off and be with Gerry. I'm doing quite a bit of that this summer, but bills are bills. Ours aren't going to stop any time soon. The last thing I want to do is cancel teaching dates, but looking at my Fall teaching schedule I'm getting a little scared about being able to be with Gerry when he needs me. We were told by the Social Worker that now is the time rely on friends and family in the area.

This is the point I broke down sobbing in the office. (No, not when they told me that the worst case scenario is that Gerry is looking at 3-5, no, I cried because we'll have to get help. Lovely.)

And what a helpful thing bursting into tears is - if only I had been alone in the car.


Coming on the tail end of our solo Memorial Day Weekend, we're feeling rather isolated. How Little House on the Prairie of us.

KNITTING et al
Part of me is happy to be going to TNNA on Thurs. I'll see a lot of friends, teach some classes - work is good for occupying the obsessive part of the brain, and do some schmoozing. I'd put aside the idea of trying to pitch a book to anyone there - I'd been playing with the idea of self publishing a color book.

But now all I can think is that I need - really need - to find some large scale project I can do here at home without a lot of travel, yet still make enough for mortgage. Something good will fall in front of me (which is why it's a good idea to stop the insane crying before I hit it with my PT cruiser.)

Another part of me is afraid I won't be able to face ANYONE without bursting into tears. Or vice versa. This has been known to significantly reduce the enjoyment of a class, so I promise not to do that. They have wonderful drugs for that now.

But I can't promise that I won't have a lot of "bathroom time" during the weekend. My own little porcelain, tile & chrome oasis. I should probably think about renting a car just to have something to sit in & bawl.

I think I may be avoiding some of the parties. On the other hand,
can you say, "Open Bar?"

Wish us luck tomorrow with the bureaucrats - another language I never mastered.

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Holidaze

This Memorial Day kind of snuck up on us - it seemed to me that I would be expecting just a regular weekend, and it turned into a 'holiday.' But because we're not a traditional 9-5 family, holidays don't have the same oomph that they used to.

I may be feeling so lackluster because my breathing is really bad.

My body is LOVING the weather here (cool) but my COPD challenged lungs are hating the changes between warm, sunny days and cool, wet days. Looking back at blog entries from past years, I definitely can chart a pattern whereby my breathing is worse in Spring and Fall than in Summer & Winter.

There's so much to do, but the lack of air makes me feel so slow and tired. So I'm sitting and knitting and trying to get myself together so I can teach with aplomb on Friday (at EIGHT O-FRIGGIN' CLOCK IN THE MORNING!)

Holidays are like birthdays - they're filled with expectations, and we can't help but think about friends & past celebrations. This holiday felt very - solo - to us. We didn't talk about it, but it just felt odd to not have a barbeque to go to, or have a cookout at our home with a passel of friends.

But we're pretty self contained these days - not always a good thing - but it's just how things are falling into place here. It's what we need - Gerry and I - because making new friends takes the kind of energy that we don't have to spare.

What we DID do was hang out around the house on Saturday. I took the kids for a walk where we ended up at a FIRE Yard Sale (it looked - interesting - but the smoky air made my asthma nuts so we had to go) and I walked the kids almost home.

Then I struck out on my own and took a nice stroll down Grand Ave, visiting some places that I'd meant to (I finally visited Bead Monkey - which I LOVED! - and was thrilled to see a wonderful bead resource so closeby!)

I also finally visited the Yarnery again. It's been a long time since I'd been there - I've been so otherly-directed - but I'm so amazed and gratified that I live within walking distance of such a great yarn shop. I hope I get a chance to get over there more often. I have not had a chance to visit ANY yarn shops since we've moved here - what a pity. Almost a crime.

On Sun we looked at appliances (the American way to honor the fallen) and purchased a microwave / oven vent combo. We thought we'd go to Como Park and stroll around, but inching along Midway looking for a parking space was a little ridiculous. We gave up and scooted over to Minnehaha Falls, where we had a bit of dinner, and Gerry got out and walked quite a bit (with the help of our borrowed walker - thanks M!)

The kids ran down to the bottom of the falls and back up again, we found some caterpillars (cool blue ones) and then came home. A full, if not quite so rich, day.

Yesterday I took the kids back over to the little amusement park at Como Park and we had a most enjoyable day.

Perhaps it's the guilt because I've dragged them 1,400 miles away from their friends, or maybe it's to make up for the slow movement on the friend front here. It could be that this will be the last summer that Hannah is able to be a GIRL as opposed to a TWEEN. But whatever the reason, I caved and got the season pass to the Como Town (Coma town?) which is quite a bit like Bowcraft Park back in NJ.

My rationalization is that the kids had a HECK of a time, and if we go back 3 more times this summer we've done better than break even. We live exactly 3.2 miles from the park, so I can see us going over quite a bit. And there are decent places to sit and knit or take a picnic lunch.

Even better, it will COMPEL us to get out to the park / conservatory / zoo a few times, which can't be a bad thing.

And all in all, a season pass with unlimited rides for both kids was less than 4 days of the bead camp I'd looked at this weekend.

I got fed up with the direction I was taking with the VK shawl - just too fiddly, to difficult to knit. I knit most of my samples (even if I hire a knitter, the chances are good that I've knit a smaller sized sample to test out the pattern.) The shawl is an intarsia design, and my charted pattern was just too difficult to follow with any sense of fun.

Let 'er rip!

The yarn is delicious - it's a silk/wool blend from Alchemy and it's a wonder to knit with. Thankfully, it also stands up well to being ripped out and reknit!

So I revamped my approach to the shawl, reworked the chart so it's actually FUN to knit and added a lot more duplicate stitching (embroidery masquerading as knit stitches - here's a link to Kristin Nicholas' tutorial) to the back end of the project.

The big test? I'm taking it with me to day so I can work on it while Gerry goes to the dentist (I'll be waiting outside - maybe even at a coffee place) and then we'll rush over to the U of M Bone Marrow Clinic to have that long anticipated chat about What We Can Expect To Do On Our Summer Vacation.

This will also give us a sense of when would be the best time to send M&H off to NJ to spend some time with their old friends - and they really need it!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Heart-to-Heart at 6 am

We're doing okay - but we had to have an honest talk with ourselves about the $$ we've socked away for the kitchen, and what this coming year may bring.

We were lucky enough that when we sold our house we ended up with a small pocket of cash we'd earmarked for the kitchen redo.

Of course, given the past 3 months, we've begun to eat into it, which is frighteningly easy to do. When I was sick 5 years ago we rang up a bunch of credit card debt which I wasn't aware of until a year later (Gerry was protecting me, but when I found out I felt like the floor had just caved in! It wasn't like he had much of a choice - I was earning NOTHING and his work was curtailed to take care of me.) That took some time to climb out of, but we did!

Right now I'm piling on the teaching engagements - but because of Gerry's health, we will most likely need some kind of nanny / housekeeper type of person to pop in when I'm out of town.


Add to this the fact that half of our wacky kitchen is now foundation-less, we've decided to scrap the Addition portion of the redo. E
verything to the right of the double dashed line is on posts, not over a foundation. This portion was originally a porch, which was finished and insulated to be part of the kitchen.

We still need a bathroom, and if you've seen our kitchen you'll understand that it's a lot of room, but not well designed - and ugly - so we do need to address that.


So here's our latest, most realistic of layouts. Gerry woke up this morning wondering if we even NEED a contractor, but I'm thinking with all of the other stuff that we're carrying on our backs, the last thing we need is to act as our own contractor. Oy.
I think - having been there - that a long-term or chronic illness makes one see how things are today, and think that's how they'll be forever. But things change.

I remember having really good, high energy days when I was recovering from my hysto a few years back. I'd make BIG plans, assuming that the energy boost was here to stay.
But then a few days later I'd crash. Tired, hard to move, barely able to get downstairs - let alone reseed the back yard, put in a stone patio, whatever I'd decided three days earlier I just HAD to do.

It may be that Gerry's feeling that now - we've had a good week - a few REALLY good days - but still the pain is very much here and I can tell he's absolutely exhausted. Perhaps part of the 'no contractor' thinking was due to the pain pill I got him at 4:30 when he woke up very sore? Who knows.

Those pain pills can make you feel like you can do anything.


We'll have a better idea of how debilitating this episode will be after Tuesday, but between the stem cell stuff and the shunt, it sounds pretty intense. I think we're living in a calm period before the storm of chemo hits us. It's like we're waiting for Hurricane Chemotrina.

I'm thinking it wouldn't be the time to take on a major do-it-yourself project without the guidance of a contractor. But so far the quotes we've received are higher than we were expecting (and I thought we were being realistic - actually extravagant - in our expectations!)

I guess it's kind of clear which side of this I come down on. Now let's hear what the other quotes are, and how upset the contractors we've met with are that we've changed our original plan...

Friday, May 25, 2007

At Last!

You know how sometimes when you're leaving for a trip, and it seems that just as you're about to get in the car you remember something you forgot, which leads to remembering something else, and so on and so on. You finally get the car completely packed, and as you're pulling out you realize you don't have gas. When you stop to get gas you see that your tire is low.

As you fill up your tire you see something else...
Finally, 3 hours later, you get on the road. That's how I feel right now. I feel like the past few weeks have been me spinning my wheels (in a design sense, not in a life sense!) and getting ready to hit the road with some designing.

Finally some of the fog is lifting and ideas are actually making their way from my brain to my pencil to my computer and on to my fingers, needles and yarn. At last!


Generally these phases happen to me when I'm trying to do too much, when I won't let myself rest (the all-nighter syndrome) and, luckily, I've been sensible enough to avoid many episodes like that since I turned 35.

But they still creep up on me, and it takes a few days of just letting things shake out for me to find that still center where I can make sense of the odd design ideas that fly through my head.
Which is how life's been for the past while.

Add to that a lot of pressure I'm feeling on the money side - the regular stuff - nothing too terrible or fear-making, just the nagging fear we all have about mortgage and other things. Having been in a 9-5, with all the worries inherent in hating-yet-needing-to-keep my job, I'll take the freelance can't-turn-any-work-down insanity any day. It suits my personality better (and I can work on my own schedule!)


Yesterday yarn arrived for a shawl for VK, and after fighting through some wacky charts for a number of hours, I think I have a clever way to make this baby work. Whether VK will think so is up in the air - but the yarn and "inspiration photo" came with the cryptic message,
"Make it Annie"

(Whether this was meant as,
"Make it, Annie." as in, "Get off your but and get this finished and back to us, Sweetie..." or "Make it Annie" as in "Make it a unique Annie-esque garment, s'il vous plait..." is anyone's guess. I'm choosing to believe the latter.)

And being at the start of a project where I actually have some inkling of where I want to end up is a good place to be. I have a lot I want to get done before I leave for TNNA, though.
  1. First and foremost, I need to get my class materials prepped and ready to go and work through all of the projects for the classes (I do this before I teach to familiarize myself with the techniques)
  2. Then I'd like to get a bathing suit pattern I'm working on finished so I can leave it at the Cascade Booth (if they're interested...) or maybe I'll work it up in Classic Elite Star. Hmmmm.
  3. I want to get several book proposals together so I can chat intelligently about them - I have most of the work done on the proposal ideas, but I need to print out something that looks halfway decent.
  4. I need to contact a few folks to see if they'd like to get together for coffee. I've been remiss about this - time to get on the stick!
That's about all I can think of. I have a week. Time to head to Costco for some folders & paper!

Kids Night
In addition to being the 87th anniversary of my mother's birth, yesterday was also the day that BOTH kids had concerts at their respective schools.

Luckily, Max's school had a preview at 2:30 so I could make Hannah's concert at 6:30 (Gerry took Max to his concert - something we definitely thought would not be possible two weeks ago!)

Today Hannah's school has a re-do of their concert at 1:15, so Gerry can go to that one.

Both concerts were SO good! Max was singing and singing for the past few weeks, so I knew every song his group would be doing. He was especially proud to be one of the Shaker Dancers during Simple Gifts, and I was very proud.

My favorite moment in Max's concert was when the kids sang, "Follow the Drinking Gourd" and two of the kids held up a placard with the big dipper on it. Very cute.

Hannah's concert was on a different level - it was SO professional!

Well, she does go to an arts magnet school, but I was unprepared for how good the student world music ensemble would be (I thought it was recorded music at first) and I was blown away by a piece that was written for the choir by a Minnesota composer about the experience of the Hmong and the journey to their new lives here. Really quite moving.

There is a very large Hmong community in Minnesota - in St. Paul in particular - and the open way different ethnic groups have contributed to the culture a fascinating aspect of this big-hearted community. There are a lot of Hmong kids at Hannah's school - it's a very diverse student population.

Another interesting aspect of this community is the knitting.

There were knitters at both concerts - here's what the woman in front of me was working on. I was making a swatch, I felt like a piker.

Walking home Hannah said that she liked her school a lot. My heart was so light. In her opinion, the teachers seem to be "tougher", but they aren't as "mean."

I translate this to mean the work is harder, but the kids are better behaved so the teachers don't have to spend as much time being the fuzz.

We have no plans for this weekend, but we WILL try to make it to at least ONE park. It's going to be a beautiful weekend - in the 60's and 70's (our kind of weather!) and we're very happy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Needles & Pins

So today I went off to my doctor, who is also an acupuncturist, and had myself pinned. I figure if it has to do with needles, it can't be all bad! I wanted to try this for my asthma - I'd heard it could improve things, and with the stress lately my COPD's been getting the better of me.

Guess what, I felt a difference right away! The difference subsided a bit after 30 minutes, but it's about 4 hours since the treatment and I definitely feel that I'm breathing easier.

This is even more notable because it's rainy and humid - which is usually the kiss of death for my breathing - but it's not so bad today, not after getting stuck!


I Have a Fan Because of the humidity - and just for comfort - we decided to put in a ceiling fan.

Off to Menards, we bypassed the sale fan and sprung for a nicer one (well, it's going into our prize ceiling, where it would really show if we tried to cheap out...)


It wasn't easy getting it up, but it was relatively simple, and I learned a few things about octagonal electrical boxes & spackle along the way. (I also learned that it's bad for an exposed wire to touch the aforementioned electrical box.) But now everything is fine, no more sparks, and the fan is spinning like a dervish.


Redo of Redo Plans
I had a brainstorm the other day.

One of the problems in our kitchen redo has to do with the foundation (or lack thereof) under part of our kitchen (the part that used to be a porch, but has been incorporated into the kitchen.) Unless we engage in some very pricey building calesthetics to create a foundation, the renovation as planned probably wouldn't be to code for any plumbing.


So - when faced with this - I figured, "Why not just turn the plan around so that the addition doesn't hold any plumbing?"

By moving the bathroom over to what is now the NW corner of the kitchen, walling that off and widening the doorway into the kitchen, I think we have a very functional space. I also think we can save some $$ by not altering or adding windows to existing walls, and keeping the new windows limited to the new walls.
So here's our new projected layout. Time marches on. We've seen 4 general contractors so far, and we'll see another on Friday, then we'll get bids and begin the decision making process!

Bte Noir

My own personal bugaboo, responsible for a FOUL mood over the past 3 days, has been this *&@()#! bra pattern that I'm trying to work out. Oy.

But I think I may have it licked.


It's not making it up that's so hard - it's finding the natural and elegant connections between dart placement and cup sizes that will make a universal pattern possible. Because I can't just DO anything easily.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Metamorphosis

A couple of weeks ago Max went to a birthday party where each child was given a caterpillar in a cup with food to last it until it created a cocoon. Max was pretty excited about his, and named it "Max Jr." on the assumption that it was a boy.

Before we read the instructions that said it shouldn't be held, Max let it crawl around on his hand, and we built it a new home in the bottom of a seltzer bottle with leaves and branches.

And there Max Jr. lived. Every now and then he'd climb to the top of his home, which we'd covered with a piece of aluminum foil, then crawl back down again.

The most exciting thing he did was poop - but we all know how exciting that can be to a 9 year old.

Then Max Jr. formed his chrysalis, and went to sleep. Who knew that the dream resting place of a Viceroy butterfly would be a section of hole-punched aluminum foil.

Any kind of change is exciting - this was especially cool to see.

When I was a girl I found a couple of caterpillars and put them in a box with leaves, which I promptly put under my bed and forgot. Next Fall, when I opened the box, I found a couple of beautiful purple (dead) butterflies.


But Max Jr. was luckier by far!


Last night I actually dreamed that Max Jr. emerged from his sleeping bag - and as soon as Max Sr. was up he announced the news -


MAX JUNIOR IS A BUTTERFLY!


Too exciting!

So we took Max Jr. outside on the back porch so he could dry his wings and spread them out. He hung out with us for a while, then he flew up on the windowsill, then he flew away.


We're hoping he's already found a date.
And now I don't have the heart to tell Max where silk comes from.

Here's a photo that Max took of Max Jr. on my hand - I think it's the best in the lot!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

It's that good.

The History Channel is running a series on the States in the US. Tonight one of the states profiled was Minnesota - fun for us - prominently featuring Garrison Keillor (rumor has it he lives near us - I'm probably wrong about that - but we don't live far from the Governor.)

At the end of the segment he said,
"The thing about Minnesota is that if you come you'd better be prepared to stay. It's that good."

Yes, it certainly seems to be. Tickets for the PHC show at the Minnesota State Fair go on sale on Monday. Gerry's mom will be visiting from NY, we're going to take a chance and get tickets for all of us, hoping that Gerry will feel well enough to go. Next week we're supposed to have a consultation with someone at the U of M Hospital, where Gerry will get his chemo, to explain the whole process to us (stem cells stuff) and what we can expect.

Appliance Heaven
Last night we went to our local Best Buy to pick out a new washing machine - the one we bought in Feb hasn't worked well since we got it, and it's not even spinning anymore. Lovely. Soggy, wet, nasty, not-clean clothes. We had the third repair person out on Friday - she gave us the magic code that allowed us to stroll into Best Buy and pick out a new (different manufacturer) washer. It's a much nicer one - an LG (to match our LG dryer that Gerry got on sale and would NOT leave in NJ.)

Because of the months of bad laundry we got it for just a few bucks more than we'd already paid for the Frigidaire. If you're looking at a Frigidaire front loader, research the control panel. The one for our washer is backordered for MONTHS because just about everyone who has it is having the same problems.

The annoyance was that the first repair person we had out told me that I was using too much soap, or had too many clothes in it, or too few clothes - but he insisted it wasn't the machine. But it was.

The beauty part, though, is that BB will be able to deliver the new washer on Sunday and take the old one away - so tomorrow morning I'll worship at the alter of the new LG and do about 5 loads of laundry.

We also bought a dishwasher - we don't have one right now - and we got a nice deal. It's a brand we hadn't heard of (Ariston), but in the research we've done we found it was pretty well loved by many who own it.

This was a floor model, and had been reduced twice ($1200 to $699 to $329) but we won't be actually picking it up for a month or so because we have no place for it in our kitchen. Besides, the warranty doesn't kick in until we take possession of it - so why rush?

And finally we bought a ceiling fan today. We looked at attic fans (demonstrating great hopefulness on our part that we'll be able to FIND our attic... How to get up into it is a mystery.) Afterward I took the kids to the library and the park.

We had lunch at
Snuffy's and I introduced the waiter to the concept of the egg cream. To our delight he and one of the soda guys made one up and thoroughly enjoyed it (could we be seeing the Brooklyn treat on a Minneapolis menu in the near future?)

Knitting Work Out
Then I came home and figured out some bra shaping. I have a project that I've been working on for almost a year now, tweaking and reworking, and I'm ready to unveil it on Memorial Day. It's not really so great - it's just a pattern (or, rather, a series of patterns) but I'll alert everyone on my email list at the end of May (and may even send out a free sneak preview pattern!) Oh - now I'm committed!

I've found Joan McGowan Michael's book, Knitting Lingerie Style, to be incredibly helpful as I work through some details. I just love her designs, and this is a very well laid out book. Good, clear instructions, easy to follow, lovely designs - it's an excellent addition to a knitting library.

I had a moment of lip biting when I thought this beautiful book might be direct competition for Romantic Hand Knits, but I think - as similar as they could seem (same photographer - oops...) - they really cover very different types of garments.

It's odd that two designers I admire so much - Joan MM, Iris Schreier (Lacy Little Knits) & I all have books coming out this year that share themes. Great minds think alike!

It ought to be an interesting TNNA!

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

1,000

This is post 1,000. Who knew?

I've made a decision - and it was a rough one, but one that must be made for my sanity. I've been fretting the past two days over submissions, and this time I'm just going to forgo them. I need a bit of a break - I need to work on the stuff I have to do for ME (work related and family related) and I need to recharge my batteries.

If only I didn't feel the amazing guilt.

And here I am wasting my 1000th post on guilt. How silly.

Gerry Update
The improvement since he's been home from the colonoscopy is amazing. I'm sure a large part of it is the medication he's on, it's also clear how good he feels to be home. But most of all, I think he had this fear that there was something going on down there (both his mother AND father had colon cancer - as did my mom - not that that has any impact on Gerry's health, but it puts the whole CC thing into our minds.)

So the positive news from the scope was a real relief - and I think it shows in Gerry's general health. He's more mobile than he's been in MONTHS, he's still walking with difficulty, but he INSISTS on going shopping (with a kid or me), running errands (he's going to the library today - we LOVE the St. Paul library!) and he may even go with me to watch the kids taking their tennis lesson today.

I signed Maxie up for baseball - he starts on Monday - and I don't know who's more excited, Max or Gerry!

Another thing that's greatly increased Gerry's mobility is the handicapped tag we have now. Not walking those extra 200 feet make him much more willing to get out. And, once I brought home that borrowed walker, he seemed to want to prove that he does NOT need it, so I guess it worked (thanks, Martha!)

Things we've planted are starting to grow. Hydrangeas are taking root (those of you who've read my blog for a while know how much I love my hydrangeas) and I planted several rose bushes. I have some viney-things I want to put in by the fence - the ugly, ugly fence - with the hope they'll help mask some of the ugliness.

Bathroom
We met with a contractor yesterday, he's working up plans and with any luck we'll be able to see them by the end of the week. I also signed up for Angie's List (just a month, to try it out) and contacted three other contractors listed there so we can get some other bids. The rough, rough estimate was a lot more than we were expecting, but not out of line.

I'm interested to hear what others say. It's an adventure - what can I say?

Odd Mental Stuff
I've been feeling at loose ends lately - kind of in a pissy mood - which is one of the reasons I'm backing off of submissions right now. Just feeling at odd ends - fighting off a cold for about a week - irascible.

We went to Ikea a few days ago to look at kitchens, we saw some stuff we liked, and then we had dinner. As we were getting our trays and silverware both kids demanding answers to questions, Gerry had questions, all of this while I'm trying to herd them into line and make sure they take 2 vegetables and 1 dessert.

When it came time for me to order, I was a total blank. What did I want? Who knows. I just took the next thing they slid up on the shelf (meatballs and a salad.)

It was a very minor thing, but it seemed indicative of how I'm feeling these days. I feel like the answer woman - and I have to make sure that I give myself the space that's required to find the answers. I cannot, however, figure out the answer to how to get my blog back onto bloglines! Arrgh!

Summer Schedule
Tomorrow we go to the oncologist again for another monthly round of Zometa. I'm hoping we'll be able to get some kind of a time frame for this summer on when the chemo will start and what the stem cell forecast is. I'd love to be able to send the kids back to NJ for a week (or two?) to stay with friends. Several parents have asked - our kids are missed! - and it wou
ld also be good to have them away when Gerry starts the high dose chemo.

I know chemo's not as bad as it used to be, but calming kids' fears while Gerry's trying to figure out how he'll deal with this new phase may be difficult juggling act. I've scheduled myself for a few classes over the summer - much less teaching than my winter gigs - and I think I have most of my classes up-to-date on my appearances calendar. Check it out and see if I'll be near you!

The Bucks
Our grand plan was for Gerry to dive headlong into providing home support for the knit business while I traveled, taught and designed the Spring and Summer away. Well, obviously there was a little hitch in that plan and most of my time's been spent playing catch up with not a lot of time for long-term planning.

When you lose your job, you feel the paycheck ending immediately. When you're a freelancer and you slow your output, it sometimes takes a few months for the bank account to catch up.

It's one of the oddnesses of freelancing - often when you're working your butt off the bank account is empty, and when you have a dry spell the checks start coming in. We knew that moving out here would be a gamble - losing Gerry's income when he quit his job - but we also figured that my increased productivity would make up for it.

So much for the increased productivity! (I'm productive enough - we're okay - but I haven't been able to restock the mental design pantry as full I'd like it to be.) Let's just say that I've never been happier that we're a naturally frugal family!

Doing this bathroom addition is a hard thing to swallow, but we budgeted for it when we bought the house, we really need it now, and I know in my heart of hearts that it will dramatically increase our home's value. It's still hard.

So I'm feeling relieved that Gerry's finally agreed to go check into SS disability benefits. He has an appointment to see them the day I leave for Columbus for TNNA (I wish I could be there - but it was the only date available, probably because it's right before a holiday weekend) He's spending a lot of his time getting everything together and surfing the web for information on what exactly will be required of him at the interview. For some reason we're not able to do this online, as they suggest, so it will be the interview!

He was happy to see that Multiple Myeloma was specifically mentioned as a bona fide reason for disability - yay. Who knew a year ago - 4 months ago - that this would be a source of happiness?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mommy

Max brought me breakfast in bed - done perfectly - toast with butter and a bowl of yogurt with walnuts, cranberries and granola. This boy WATCHES me fix my breakfast every morning (although I rarely have toast - but it was delicious!)

Could there be a better Mother's Day?

Gerry splurged on chocolates from Chocolat Celeste, which are almost too pretty to eat. But I'll force myself. Evidently that was why the trip to Menards on Friday took so long...

For lunch we found an excellent Chinese Restaurant, later we visited the library and I finished a small project. I got some ideas for newer projects, too - woo!

At the library after lunch we ran into friends who ended up taking Maxie to the Mississippi River for a little outing (my own personal Huck Finn.) A rich and full day!

Gerry and I sat down for a few hours and hashed out details to discuss with our contractor (that is, if we ever get one...) and the kids gave me wonderful, hand-made and lovingly picked out gifts. Hannah and I sat on the newly stained deck for a while reading and knitting - what a nice afternoon!

Chinese Just Like Mother Used To Make

Not my mom, but someone's mom...


I looked up a few restaurants online, and found a blog review of Little Szechuan at chowhound.com - and what a great lead it was!

Gerry got lo mein (so it would warm up well) and I splurged with crispy shrimp in special sauce. I have no idea what was in the sauce, but it was orange and sweet. Yum!
Max was bummed that his chicken was spicier than he though it would be (I never eat spicy food, and this was mild enough for me...) so he ate a lot of his sisters chicken & broccoli.

We will definitely be back!

Have A Seat!

I did a pattern for Vogue Knitting's Knit 1 - a lace chairseat (on the frame of a Shaker rocker I got at an auction last year) and was very happy to see it in this issue.

The pattern is online as a free downloadable pdf file, so here's your chance to reseat that ladder back chair you've had stored in the garage for a few years!

I have a Ginko sweater in the same issue - I'm happy with it, which is nice because it's almost been a knee jerk reaction that I'm not happy with some of my stuff in magazines lately. There are so many variables in every design & presentation.


Cooks Tour
Here's the latest incarnation of our kitchen redesign - we've added an island (the round circle represents personal space to make sure there's room for someone to maneuver)

The island may be big - we're still working that out. We may just tape this layout off in the kitchen to see if we find it workable.

We'll hire the contractor to create the new space (bathroom & laundry) and do the plumbing stuff that needs to be done in kitchen.

The cabinets et al? I'm feeling secure enough to do a lot of the kitchen stuff myself - with Gerry's advice and guidance, that is! We'll see - I'm always open to admitting something's beyond me - but I'm feeling that at least I should be able to do a bit of it myself!

At any rate, the kitchen is down the road. The important thing is to get the new bathroom & laundry created to make life easier this coming year. Have at it!

Friday, May 11, 2007

What a Difference A Day Makes

... we last left our Gerry at the hospital, waiting for his colonoscopy. Well, apparently a tube in the nose and keeping him overnight STILL wasn't enough to - ahem - clean him out sufficiently.

So they kept him the rest of the day and gave him ANOTHER 4 liters of the tasty, refreshing golitely. Use it as a mixer, or just enjoy it on the rocks!


Gerry last summer at Mackinac Island, with a tube up his nose, and mowing the lawn today - tube-free!

Well, apparently the 48th time's a charm!

He had the procedure, and everything looks good. Specifically, no polyps - ne tumors - (woo!) and in an odd twist of fate, it seems the drugs he's being given for the Multiple Myeloma are working wonders on his ulcerative colitis (aren't you glad you're reading this? )

If
you're suffering from this serious condition, rush right down to your local oncologist and ask for some Thalidimide and Dexi! Not.

And - thanks to the amazing friend Catherine - the kids were able to finally MAKE a tennis lesson (and C's son got to sit in on the lesson, too!) while I went back to Minneapolis and picked up Gerry. THANK YOU CATHERINE (I still owe you for dinner...)


It felt SO good to have Gerry home - and he was glad to be here. This morning when we got up Gerry hit the ground running! I started staining the deck (something we'd planned last week while strolling through our favorite haunt, Menards) and when I ran out of stain he went and got me more. I didn't want to stop him, because he really NEEDED to get out. It was a good outing for him, he stopped and got Chinese Food on the way home. He's desperate for some good Chinese - any hints?

The deck seems to have come out nicely, staining the banisters took longer than the deck, though. Then Hannah and Gerry put together our new push lawn mower from ebay and mowed the lawn.
We all did a little gardening (pulling weeds, raking, fighting over who got to push the new mower - Gerry lost) and then a little relaxing on our FRESHLY STAINED DECK!
Our Beautiful Deck at 9:30 am, at noon and at 5:30 pm
notice how the stain matches the door?


I know it seems absurd sometimes, the amount of stuff I'm trying to accomplish - but I feel it's somehow necessary to make a very visual and physical investment in the future right now.

Knitting? Que? Didn't get much of that done today. I was sort of recovering (in my own way - by working my butt off) from the tension and fear of the last two days. I am SO happy that Gerry's as pretty inside as he is on the outside. But we have to fatten this guy up!

Tomorrow? We go to Shepherds Harvest (our first!), and we are SO psyched! Gerry will stay at home, I'll take the kids. The bit of walking he did today just about did him in, but I think he really had to prove to himself that he's in control after two days of feeling so incredibly frustrated!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Home Alone

Gerry's not home tonight and I miss him.

This is unusual, I'm the traveler - he's the stay at homer (at least he has been the past few years) so it's really odd for the kids and me to be here without him.


He's at the hospital. He went to get a colonoscopy - it's been a rough ride with that, this is try #3 (the first attempt was unsuccessful because he couldn't get the prep stuff down - second attempt failed because he got it down, but it came right back up.)


This time the idea was to pipe it into him. He hadn't realized they meant through a hose in his nose, and it was rough. I dropped him off at 8:00 and then ran Maxie to school.

I was supposed to wait for Gerry to call to have me pick him up, but a little after 11:00 he called to say they hadn't even started the procedure. Later another call - still waiting - the first attempt at the nose was unsuccessful.


At 5:00 I called the hospital because I hadn't heard anything and I was worried. All kinds of things go through the mind - but what I found was that after FOUR attempts they decided to do a special procedure where they scan his throat while they put the tube down (I may have misunderstood that) so they have a little guidance.

This attempt WAS successful, but it was too late to actually do the procedure - and they were loathe to let him go home (worried we'd have a wild fiber-eating orgy with lots of red jello, probably...)


So they admitted him - he's staying there overnight.

The kids and I drove over to visit - he was in bad spirits. He's pissed that they even had to do this - when his mom had a colonoscopy last month they used a pill prep - no awful liquid - and he's a little angry they just couldn't do that. They said the pills can cause complications, but he feels that the tube up his nose could case complications, too.

Poor Gerry - I could tell he felt out of control, angry, just very frustrated. And I was frustrated too.
And I felt helpless (the kids were with me, hungry, I had to take them to get dinner)

I feel like I should have been more pro-active this evening at the hospital. I spoke to the nurse about the meds he's on now, what he has to take, and what he has been taking for pain (he has tremendous pain in his bones, especially his hips) And although she took notes, she seemed - vacant - when she was writing down the information. I don't have a lot of faith that it was processed. That's a terrible thing to say, but you KNOW when you've made a connection with someone, and I don't feel as though I made one with this nurse.


So tomorrow as soon as the kids are off to school I'm off to the hospital to be with Gerry and be more pro-active. In a perfect world, if I'd stayed with him today, maybe I could have facilitated the procedure - helped make the whole thing smoother.


While I was home alone today (how odd was THAT!) I did get his closet reorganized (summer clothes in, winter clothes stored) and got 60 press packages for Flip Knits ready to ship out the door. I want to get them mailed before the postage goes up on the 14th.

Thanks so much for all of your marketing suggestions - I've actually implemented many of them (I have a long-term ad at Crazy Aunt Purl's blog - it's been up for a week now)

Tomorrow I also have to ship a big box of the flipbooks to my classroom at TNNA in Columbus so I can hand them out to my students.


I've been at loose ends about the designing lately - which has been a little obvious from some of my earlier posts. I'm expecting too much from myself, and it feels like squeezing that last bit of toothpaste from the tube.

Or maybe like using up all the starter for sourdough bread - I just need to let it rise for a bit so I have a good wad to play around with. There's a deadline I'd like to make in a week, but I am not going to sweat it.


One thing I did today that was NECESSARY was to get passport photos taken. I took them myself, me and the kids (actually, Hannah took mine!) and uploaded them to epassport.
Tomorrow I'll print them out at CVS (I don't have a photo quality printer) and then off to a DIFFERENT post office to turn in our applications - and buy a buttload of priority mail stamps for the shipment I have to send out. Gerry got his passport a few years ago, so he doesn't need new photos - just me and the kids!

I love the fact that I can have the mailman just come by and pick up the shipment at our house - that saves me SO much effort and time!

So tomorrow will be another rich and full day. Much, much better than the alternative.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Last Picture Show

We're finding in this voyage through cancer that one of the tricks seems to be retaining our sense of family - of doing the stuff that we like to do together.

We like to go out to a cheap dive-esque type of establishment every now and then, it's fun for the kids and a chance to feel that we're going OUT. We're trying to raise them to be cheap dates.

We still go out - but we don't sit in booths (too hard for Gerry to scoot in easily) and we time it so that we go when there's no wait, we keep it very short, but it's fun for us.

And - now we live right down the street from a Famous Dave's (back in NJ one opened up near us, and I used to do mystery shopping there, which, come to think of it, was our family's first introduction to the whole Minnesota Wild esthetic - how odd is that?)


When Gerry and the kids picked me up from Michigan last week we went out to the local FD's and that's when we used the C word to describe Gerry's condition to the kids. Up until now it's been, "Dad has a blood disease..." but now we spoke about it more seriously and honestly (now that we know a little more about the type of cancer he has) and the kids took it very well.

It's good that they have Aunt Jan (breast cancer) and me (pre-cancerous ovarian tumor) as examples of folks who have come through different treatments and are here to tell about it. The special on Discovery last night was very informative - hard to watch at times, but informative. I loved seeing Elizabeth Edwards - I really admire her, and love her husband's position on so many issues.

So far Gerry and I haven't really reached out to the cancer community that's here for us. Just getting through the days is hard enough, it seems there's no time for extra stuff. When we work into a better schedule, we'll be able to reach out to support groups more effectively. To be honest, Gerry hasn't even really had a chance to get out and make connections with non-cancer folks in the Twin Cities yet. I sort of feel like a kind of a conduit to the 'real world' for Gerry - but a clogged & convoluted conduit at times.


What a shock this has all been - sometimes we just sit and catch our breath. Lots of emotions, lots of change, all at the same time. We're pulling through, though - every day really is a gift.

Another thing that we love to do as a family is go to movies. It's so much fun for us - and gives all of us fodder for our favorite game (we call it - cleverly - "The Game," and we play it whenever we're waiting in line or on a long car trip) It's like 20 questions based around a book or movie we all know well.

But movie theaters won't be happening for a while. Too much walking, too many people to wade through, and the seats tend to be very padded - which isn't the most comfortable for Gerry right now. But this weekend we found a solution just a half hour away!

We went to see Spiderman 3 at a Drive In Theater!

It was Gerry & the kids' first time at a Drive In (I can't believe that - I feel like I practically lived in the one on Jackman Rd. in Toledo when I was a kid.) and we had a very good time!

We were a little late to get a good place - we were all the way in the back - but that was okay. It was very cool for the kids, they LOVED seeing the movie in the car (except Hannah forgot her glasses - oops!) and listening to the soundtrack on the radio was an extra kick.

A wonderful time was had by all.

Since we were all the way in the back, the big floodlights that they keep on for safety were shining in our back window. It actually wasn't distracting at all - and it provided me with just enough light to work through some crochet stuff while sitting in the back seat (I let Hannah sit in front - just that much closer to the screen...)

I can see that we'll be doing this again this summer - it's so weird, though, to go to a Drive In and have to contend with all those SUV's!

I finished a pretty major project this weekend - YAY! - and it will be seen at TNNA in a month. Now I have to write up the pattern so it's available at my website when TNNA is over. I used Lorna's Laces - really fun yarn - and had a BLAST! (I have to be more serious about my ban on Mohair, though, working with this is just hard on my lungs!)

I'm crocheting a little purse using Tilli Tomas's new felting beaded yarn - and starting a swatching project using my favorite Artyarns in the nice, superwash stripe. My goal is to get it all finished for TNNA so I can drop the items off at the various yarn booths - I'm so grateful to these yarn companies for the continued support they lend me!

In my grand scheme, March was going to be the month when I marketed the Flip Books. Well, we all know what happened to March - and now I'm behind. Any marketing gurus out there with some great tips?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Like the Wind

I just had the best 15 minutes I've had in a long time.

Max and I rode our bikes over to a birthday party (after picking up a really cool gift around the corner at Creative Kidstuff) and the ride back, especially, was like a flashback to 1991. I love my bike. I'll love it even more when we fix the cable to half of the gears (right now I'm locked in gears 5-10)

And by shopping around the corner, I was able to give Max a nice education in why - even though the Barraki warrior that he wants to buy is $1.50 more at CK - it's cheaper than driving to Target. We spend less on gas, we get home with the gift a lot sooner and we support local merchants and keep our neighborhood vital and interesting. So it's $1.50 well spent.

Even better than the bike ride was the joy on Max's face as we were riding over. This is the first time we've ridden together - high time indeed!

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Atom Ate My RSS Site Feed

So I've changed over to Atom. Caving, that's what it is. If you've been having a hard time getting the site feeds for my blog, especially if you're on bloglines, let me know if it's any better now.

If not, I'll return to the old setup (I'll probably screw everyone up, now - why did they have to change my blog?)


Today turned into an unexpected marathon doctor session - the 9:00 oncologist visit for Gerry turned into a sudden, "Let's get a scan of those swollen legs - today!" so Gerry and I waited around until our appointment at the hospital across the street and he had his 10 minute scan.

While we waited - it made no sense to come home, we would have turned right around to get back in time for the scan - we went to Menards and then to lunch. Gerry wore a tan zip front windbreaker, I had a bandana on my head, we may as well just RETIRE and move to Boca, already. Oh, yeah, the kids...

We bought a barbeque brush at Menards, three rose-bushes (climbers for the fence) and some green deck stain. Life in Minnesota. I made Gerry ride in the shopping wheelchair, and he felt bad about it. I pulled rank - or pushed rank - whatever... After our full and rich day Gerry is in pain, so I'm glad I didn't let him walk (Menards was his idea - I probably should have said "No" - it's hard to know when to say when.)

Gerry's feeling better - I can tell he is, but I'm not sure he thinks he is. Which sounds weird (wouldn't HE know he's feeling better?) He's been moving move, getting out a little more, seems much happier -but when the doctor asked if he felt a difference from the Zometa he said "No, not really..."

Maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see?


My travels in Wisconsin and Michigan were wonderful, but it feels so good to be home. It's even better knowing that I'll be here until JUNE when I go to TNNA! That's a nice, long time and allows me to get some decent work done.

I also poly-urethaned the dining room table that I painted and it looks VERY nice. In another day or so we can eat on it (it's dry and hard now, but it has to 'cure' for a bit.) Even better - I'll have another surface to work on.

I have a couple of book projects that I want to get to the discussion stage. I'm about 70% leaning toward just publishing them myself, but I'll be happy to talk to editors and publishers at TNNA.

The last I heard from another author, now Potter is insisting that knit authors not only hire their own tech editors, provide their own high res line art and do their own marketing, they also have to find and hire their own photographers. What, I wonder, do the publishing houses do? They fund the project, I guess...


To me the most troubling part is that my last two editors, nice as they were, didn't even knit - so it was hard for me to 100% trust them and their decisions about what 'the average knitter wants.' And, as many of us know, if someone doesn't knit there's a good chance that they have, somewhere deep down, that sort of anti-knit stereotyping thing going on.

I've met folks who ARE knitters who feel slightly ashamed of what they do (as if by picking up needles they're inserting one foot into the grave!) And when I try to explain what knitters I know from my classes or groups I attend are looking for in a book, I'm told - in correct business speak - that I don't really understand what I'm talking about when it comes to publishing (dear.)
Oh, you knit, don't you? How cute! I wish I had half your talent, but I can't do anything like that (But I will make the decisions about what pieces knitters want to see in your book...)
I'd rather just put two images up on my blog and have folks vote, "Which design would you like to see in a book?"

Argh. Obviously I need a good sleep-in day - and that day will be TOMORROW! I'll sleep in and I don't know when I'll get up, and I don't care who knows it!!


But in the mean time, I have a scarf to knit this evening. And some buttons to sew on a jacket I just finished (the jacket I was working on in Wisconsin.)

FINISHED is a beautiful word!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Home and Healing

It's so odd to be back here in the Toledo area. I actually didn't drive in to Toledo - I drove to Temperance / Lambertville, to Vintage Yarns (a WONDERFUL yarn shop with a great selection and SO many beads! I love beads...)

I almost stopped a few doors down to get a pedicure, but decided against it because I was so darned tired.
Eucher was out, too.

Boy, has this place changed. 20+ years ago when we lived here briefly, in Temperance, there was really nothing more than some fields, a few housing developments, farms, a few orchards, the high school & the library.

Well, that's what I remember. I'm sure there was more...


Now it's booming - in the shopping center where Vintage Yarns resides is a Krogers, a McDonalds AND a Wendys, as well as Qimby's (the place for Euker - which my parents used to play when I was a little kid.)

I remember when the only McDonalds around was on Laskey Road - we used to bike there, it was an old fashioned tile one. I also remember the Kewpee Hamburger place - I wonder if anyone else does..?


This event in Lambertville was a lecture - a chat - at the sister business of Vintage Yarns, Vintage Coffee.

Folks had java, sandwiches & dessert as I talked. Shirleen and her staff made me feel like a part of the crew right off the bat - I'm sorry, though, that I was just too nervous to eat before the talk.

The sandwiches looked very good - my coffee was excellent! But I'm always petrified that I'll start burping - or worse - in front of an audience, so I never eat before I teach or give a talk.


The audience was very receptive, so great, and I felt welcomed and loved.
It was a pretty amazing experience because I think, in my heart of hearts, I was afraid of some wretched emotional meltdown taking me by surprise.

But no - I was contained, collected and able to speak coherently (for the most part.) It really was a great experience.

Hippie Jetsetter
But man, this made for a loooooong day!


I was up at 5:30 - couldn't sleep - so I got dressed and ready for Detroit Public TV.

I decided to check out of the Baymont Inn where I stayed last night to leave more freedom to stay wherever I wanted tonight (ironically, at ANOTHER Baymont Inn in Monroe, Michigan!)


I knew the traffic from Ann Arbor into Detroit would be intense, so I was glad I left early.


Why was I in Ann Arbor? Why, to have dinner with Lisa! She's a friend who lives here, who has a really wonderful knitting group that I met last year, and since I was going to be so close I thought it would be nice to get together. We had dinner at Zingerman's Roadhouse, it was amazing (I really AM sorry now I didn't get the grits, Lisa) and commiserated about the ups and downs of our respective lives.

A nice release, a nice chance to chat with a friend whose known me for more than a few months (although, not MUCH more...) and a chance for some excellent barbeque!


Needle Arts
I got lost in Detroit this morning - driving around and around Hamtramck - circling the auto plant. Geeze, Michigan roads are CR*P. Seriously. We always used to say that, in a very superior way, in Ohio - but I really found it to be true this time!

I finally found the studio, parked and strolled in right at 8:30 (when I was supposed to be there - not late!) and immediately saw Drew's smiling face. It was SO great to see him - and an unexpected joy to see Iris Schreier, too, who was taping her segment before ours & Joanne Cole, a yarn rep who was accompanying Iris.

I rushed to the bathroom for some - ahem - undergarment adjustment and saw this beautiful potpourri hanging on the wall - obviously public TV is throwing yet MORE money at silly, useless frills!

Also taping a segment was Marsha Polk, who was there to show off some crocheted pieces from her book Crocheted Squared. It looks like a really fun book - and how great to see some sistahs represented in the modeling pool (did I spell that right, Marsha?)

She and her husband - a police officer from Cincinnati - were a STITCH, and we had the BEST time waiting for our respective segments to be taped. I haven't laughed so hard since I was in Wisconsin 2 days ago...

Then we had lunch together with the other guests and Shay, then she and Drew and I went shopping at City Knits in the Fisher Building next to the studio. I used to go see shows at the Fisher Theater when I was in high school.

I also met Becka of Bag Smith - it was lovely to meet her, her husband & mom - I could tell that her segment really went well (we watched it on close circuit TV in the green room.) She gave me a kit which I cannot WAIT to try out and blog about (more later when I get a chance to play with it, it looks like amazing fun!)

But meeting Shay was the most fun! She has a delicious sense of humor, she's just such a joy and such a professional that she made us feel totally at ease! Drew and I had a very good time running through our little, short segment three times (the third time was a charm...)

The whole crew was great - nice, quick, unobtrusive - perfect TV production folk. I bonded with the makeup woman (and how rude of me to forget my BFT - best friend today's - name...) and really enjoyed meeting Carlota & Sharon & everyone else!

Upgrade
On the trip out I upgraded myself. For $40 - how could I NOT?? The extra leg room was phenomenal, and I may just do this again if I get the chance. I wonder if I can do that on the way back to MN?

Now it's 11:00, my flight isn't until after noon tomorrow, so I can sleep in if I want. Since it feels like I'm 50 feet from the interstate, I doubt if I'll be able to. Or maybe, given how tired I am, I WILL be able to!
Red Carpet Convertible
Gerry's Multiple Myeloma Expenses Fund


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Snail Mail:
Annie Modesitt / Landy
1043 Grand Ave
PO Box 117
St. Paul, MN 55105




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