Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Way down at the bottom of the hole

I'm having trouble getting motivated these past few days. Between the Rheumatoid Arthritis (pain in the shoulders, fingers, wrists, etc, etc ), the ileo-sacral joint pain, the abdominal pain (from all the surgeries and scar tissue), the depression is steadily getting worse. I know I'm in a bad place when I can't even get up the energy to check out my Ravelry groups! I did manage to leave the house long enough to vote yesterday, (and buy some chocolate!). I think the meds for the depression and the RA need increased, if I could only manage to make the phone calls it might even happen. I couldn't even bring myself to answer the phone most of yesterday. I'm hoping today is better. At least I know my cat Opie loves me. He's sitting here beside me head butting my arm. Of course he could just be trying to let me know the food dish needs attention. I'm trying not to be whiney. There are many, many others who are much worse off than I. But sometimes it's just so hard to see any light here at the bottom of the hole.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Working On Presents

I've been working on presents non-stop, for what seems forever. I love making presents for others, especially my family, and with my budget being what it is, I try to make everything I can. I managed to get a sweater made for my niece in time for her birthday. Kind of amazing for me to manage to get something done on time! So yeah! (See the pictures) I'm also working on Christmas presents. My plan is to get all the presents done before December 15th. Not even sure that's possible, but I figure it's worth a try! Last year I was frantically trying to finish presents on Christmas Eve. I really don't want to do that again. Awful. We exchanged names this year, so we have four presents to give from my family. I've finished the scarf my son is giving my brother, so that's one down. (See picture.) I don't think I can come up with something knitted to give my 14 year old nephew, teenagers, at least boys, don't really enjoy hand knitted things as presents. So for him we'll need to come up with something else. Then there's my Dad, who owns everything! He's always a hard one to get a present for. I'm thinking a pair of comfy, wear around the house, and maybe to bed on a cold night socks. I've also got a present for my sister-in-law to make, she's another one who's tough to give a present to. I'm thinking a pair of the comfy socks might just be a winner for her, also. I'm pretty sure it's something she doesn't have and it's something she might actually wear. So now all I've got to do is get all these things made (ha-ha). I'm getting faster, but I'm still not what anyone would consider fast. Oh well, I'll just have to work as fast as I can! I've got to get all this stuff finished so I can start some of the projects I've been wanting to do for myself. So, knit faster, knit faster!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A pretty good weekend

I actually got out of the house two weekends in a row! That's got to a record for me, (at least in the past few years). I went to a retirement party for a couple I've known for 30 years and saw people I haven't seen in what seems like forever! Some of them looked just the same and some had changed do much, I didn't even recognize them at all. I thought to myself, it's probably the same when they are looking at me. I've changed myself in the years since I saw most of them, I just hope it was for the better, at least physically. I surprised my self by actually having fun and since I'm going out next weekend to a family reunion, maybe I'll have fun again there. I'm going to try my best to get out at least 2-3 times a week, I think I'll be better for it. I've been working hard on the blanket I'm making for my nephew's birthday, but I have a feeling I won't get it done in time. If not, I'll finish it for Christmas and send something else for his birthday. But if I'm close to done, I'll go ahead and send it late and blame the post office. He lives in Maine, it takes forever to get mail there anyhow. I must admit that a blanket can get a little tiresome at times, it seems like so little progress because of the length of the rows. I'm using different stitch patterns as I go along, both to make it look nice and to keep it interesting so my attention doesn't wander to the other projects I've put aside to finish this blanket. I've go so many things in the works, right now I just want to be able to say that I've finished something!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Didn't realize how long it had been

Life has been going along on it's usual path and I just didn't realize how long it had been since I had last posted here. The high- (or perhaps I should say low) lights of June were finding out that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and my favorite cat Chuck Norris dying. His death is still something I can't talk or even write about without falling apart and crying. So we will go on to something more cheerful, my new diagnosis. I was so hoping that the pain and difficulty in using my hands was not Rheumatoid Arthritis, but my doctor sent me to a specialist and yup! that's what it is. On a positive note, the med the specialist put me on is used for malaria (in much larger doses), so my PCP says I'm now protected against getting malaria. Great isn't it? I've been trying really hard these past few days to find some kind of positive in life, and I have to say it has been hard. But as least I'm trying. We did go to the Ohio Hills Folk Festival yesterday, at the urging of my Mom and Dad, and it was fun. I'm trying to get an afghan made in time for my nephew's birthday at the end of the month and so I'm working on it at every opportunity. May sound strange, but I took it with me to the fest and got quite a bit done. I figured there would be times I would need to sit for a bit and rest, and I also worked on it while we were watching the square dancing. I had to fix a few mistakes then, it was sometimes hard to concentrate while watching, those people really get into their dancing! It was fun to watch. It was good to get out of the house, and even though today I feel like I've been hit by a truck, I'm glad we went. I took some pictures, some of which are posted here, the rest can be seen on my flickr page at this address:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Knitting as therapy

Have you ever just sat and knit something, usually a swatch for nothing in particular. I found myself doing that the other night. I literally knit for hours, and yet made nothing. I'd get to a certain place in the swatch and rip it out, then start over again. All the while I was doing this, my mind was focused on some problems I was trying to come to terms with. Even when I'm actually knitting on a project, I usually find myself in this "knitter's zone", and sometimes don't even notice what's going on around me. I find I'm calmer if I have needles in my hands. If I'm in a situation that makes me anxious or uncomfortable, I either grab my knitting or I wish desperately that I could. So I've decided, as no doubt many other knitters have in the past, the knitting is my therapy, my Xanax, my method of coping with pressure. I just hope I never have to do without it, would be to horrible to imagine. Of course, with the size of my stash and the number of needles that I've accumulated, it will be along time before I'm without the equipment I need to cope with life.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Making Progress!

I'm making progress on the Lion Brand KAL. The blog posts from the designer really help. I've substituted seed stitch for the textured rows. I think it is a more subtle effect that will work better with my chubby arms.

Great Lakes Fiber Show

Yesterday I went to my very first fiber fest. Now I want to go to all of them, and I want to take tons of money with me! I was taking a class at pm, so I spent the time before that wandering from vender to vender wishing desperately for more money and trying to remember where the things I really liked and considered actually buying were. There were tons of beautiful things, roving, hand spun and hand dyed yarns, baskets, and woven items. If I had had more money, I probably wouldn't have been able to get everything in my car. I only had a small amount, but I hit the jackpot when I found some Lamb's Pride which is a mohair/wool blend from Brown Sheep Yarns in this really great shade of purple for only $4 a skein! I bought as much as I could and only had change in my wallet, but I didn't mind a bit. Here are some pictures of my big find! I really did have a great time. Took a lace class, also from Annie Modesitt. I learned a lot about reading charts and figuring out the pattern in a lace design.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Another KAL?!

I signed up for another KAL! This one is on Knit Picks and is based on the book Knitting Goes Large. What was funny was that I had ordered the book just a few days before finding out about the KAL. There are many beautiful patterns in the book, but the one I was drawn to was the Cabled Bag. I've been wanting to try cables for a long time now, but I found them quite intimidating on a garment. To me, this looks like a more doable option. Still, can't believe I've signed up for this. I already have more projects going that I need. Aside from the other KAL, I'm finishing a sundress for my niece, a purse for another niece, a baby layette, a beaded wristlet, and was toying with some patterns for a skinny scarf. My knitting bag runneth over! Maybe, if I knit non-stop, with only bathroom breaks and with my boys occasionally throwing food my way, I might finish by the time I'm 80!
I've decided on the yarn and found a fabric that I'll use as the lining. Really love the colors!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A beautiful spring day!

Even I, who really doesn't see sunlight all that much, had to really enjoy the weather today. It was absolutely beautiful! The sun was shining, birds singing and doing whatever it is that birds do. I was even inspired to leave the house and run a few errands.

I'm in the middle of several projects, but couldn't resist when Lion Brand said they were starting another KAL. I've chosen the yarn, made my swatches and am almost ready to cast on the first stitches. I'm trying to add pictures of my KAL yarn/swatches. Hope they show up!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Okay, enough whining!

This is something I have to tell myself from time to time. But there are times when it seems everything is just piling up so that there is no way to come out on top. When I start feeling this way, I usually turn to one of my projects. This past week I finally finished the sweater for my Mom, even got it mailed out yesterday. It's not the sweater I started out to make for her, I may make that one for Christmas. This was actually a sweater that I started for my sister-in-law for this past Christmas, but didn't get finished in time. My Mom admired it then, so when the other sweater I had started for her just wasn't working out, my middle son reminded me of this one and how much Mom liked it. It was already mostly done, and so I was able to get it finished in time, all I had to do was finish the trim on the sleeves, increase the length, and add a border along the front edges. The yarn was a rayon that was hand painted in shades of deep pink/mauve and blues on a cream colored background. I forgot to take a picture before I mailed it out, but I'll try to get a picture of Mom wearing it to post here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Another day, more frogging done...

Okay, started a sweater for my Mom's birthday. She's great, and I love her, but she's not the easiest person when it comes to gifts. We have very different taste when it comes to clothing and while I might enjoy a sweater in an interesting color or style, she prefers something that can be worn with everything in her closet, something very neutral, and something that is wash and wear. So instead of using something from my stash, I bought some Vanna's choice in a color called Pearl Mist and started knitting. I'd been working on it for several days and then found that I had made an error several rows before. It wasn't a catastrophic error, but it was bugging me, so I decided to un-knit a few rows and fix it. But the more I un-knitted, the more errors I found. (I would often fall asleep while working on the sweater, as I said a very neutral color.) Finally I said the heck with, or words to that effect and just ripped the whole thing out! I'll save the yarn and maybe try the sweater again in the fall. So now I'm in the process of finishing a spring/summer cardi that I had, in fact, started last fall for my sister-in-law. I ended up giving her something else for Christmas as I hadn't finished this cardigan, but my son reminded me that my Mom had really liked it when she saw me working on it. Sooo, with a few alterations for sizing, I will hopefully get this gift finished in time for her birthday later this month. Actually, I have a much better chance of finishing this cardigan than I would have had finishing the other sweater, so maybe the errors were really for the best!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

How to Survive With Your Mind (Mostly) Intact

I think the thing that is most important is to keep your mind busy, even if you can't do much physically. I was unable to move about much, so I turned to crocheting, something I've been doing since I was a child. I made blankets, lots of BIG blankets, for my sons, my Mom, my brother, etc. I'm talking blankets so big they covered my 6'2" sons from head to toe with room left over to tuck the blanket in on both ends. I let them choose their own colors and I think that the colors they chose where really interesting. It was really fun to see their interest grow as their blanket got closer and closer to completion. And it is very gratifying to know that their blankets are always on their beds, except when they want a blanket downstairs to cuddle under while they watch a movie. After I had made blankets for most of my family, I started to think about knitting. I'd wanted to try it for some time, but of course with work, I'd never found the time. But now, with all this time on my hands, I thought why not? I found a web site that has very extensive and easy to understand instructions with clear illustrations, bought a kit that was titled, "I can't believe I'm knitting!" from my local Walmart, and some yarn, and then I was on my way. Just a matter of keeping mind and hands busy together.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Okay, here it is, my first blog! (Not sure if I should laugh or cry)

I've got to admit, I never thought I'd be a "blogger". I've never had anything against the idea, just didn't think it was for me. But as the title of my blog says, I needed something to help me keep my sanity. My life had gone along pretty well for the first 30 years. Good childhood, met and married what seemed like a good steady guy, had 3 great boys and even went back to school and got an education (I'm an RN). But somewhere along the way, my life became a soap opera. My husband started cheating on me with my brother's wife (honest!), and as he obviously liked variety, he checked out a few other married women. So fast forward a few months, and he finally moves out of the house, on Father's Day! But life did go on, and after some adjustment, I found out that my boys and I were actually happier without him living with us. We settled back down, I kept working (thank goodness for that education!), and of course taking care of my boys. Fast forward a few years, and I find out that my oldest son is not just depressed, but is bipolar. While this did explain so much about the problems the poor kid was having, it was still a pretty traumatic event for us. But again, we hung in there, adjusted some more, my son took his meds and life evened back out. Now along the way, and I can't imagine a woman out there who would not understand this, my weight kept climbing. I had gestational diabetes with two of my pregnancies, and was told then that I would probably become diabetic within 10 years. The prediction was unfortunately accurate, and so I added diabetes to the growing list of health problems associated with obesity that I already had such as high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. Fast forward again to 2005. I start having this lovely happening after meals: if I stood up or was too active after meals, I would throw up, repeatedly, until it was only dry heaves. Needless to say, not something I wanted to keep doing. After a false diagnosis at my small local hospital, I finally found out I had a large ventral hernia. For the hernia repair surgery to be successful, I needed to loose weight. I weighed 425 pounds at the time. My insurance, of course, wouldn't pay for gastric bypass surgery. I finally meet a surgeon who agreed to do the hernia repair, and to basically "throw" the gastric bypass in for free. But, as we all know, things could not possibly go smoothly. A week after surgery, although I was having no problems as far at the gastric bypass surgery is concerned, I started to notice an odor, sort of like rotted broccoli, around my wound. Yup, major wound infection that leads to the wound, which stretches from sternum to pelvis, being reopened and debrided. Then the wound was left open to heal from the inside out. The wound required dressing changes (long, complex, tiring, painful) twice a day. Before I had the surgery I had been working for a home health agency, so of course they are the ones I had called in to take care of me. Only problem--my home health agency was not covered by the insurance I had through that home health agency as an employee! Believe me, was confusing to me, also. By the time I learned this, the nurses had been coming out a week, and I found out that I was going to have to pay for all that time out of my pocket. Eventually, once I knew I wouldn't be able to go back to work anytime in the near future, I had to resign my position at the home health agency and apply for Medicaid and my nurses and supplies were again covered. Okay, fast forward again, to a year later, fall of 2006. I get to have another hernia repair, this one more permanent as I had lost 125 pounds. But guess what? The first surgery wasn't just a fluke--I again end up with wound infections and a huge abscess that led to 3 other surgeries. It again took a year for the huge, gaping wound to heal, then in the fall of 2007, a plastic surgeon takes off 18 pounds of excess skin from my abdomen, the loose skin from where I had lost weight. Unfortunately, I still had trouble healing, but at least that time, it's a more closed wound and not nearly as large, so I could at least handle the dressing changes alone. But I was also left to deal with chronic pain that the surgeons think is due to scar tissue from the many surgeries. And to make life even better, I learned that perhaps I'm not just depressed, I'm also bipolar, and all these stressful events over the past few years have brought it out. So I got to add some more medicine to my already overcrowded medicine box, and just wait to see what the next even will be in my soap opera life. To make it through all this, and to keep my hands and mind busy, I had to find something that I could do while recovering. (Next blog: what I've done with my time over the past few years, since I'm still unable to work, and no, I haven't turned to a life of crime)