Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I used to love summer days and nights

The hotter and longer, the better.

Crazy Aunt Purl's post about fried okra reminded me of this.

I spent 16 years living in the fog belt where a sweater was common wear almost every day. 22 years ago we bought a house 15 miles inland where spring and fall are warm and clear, fog is seen on winter mornings, and summers are long and hot. Evenings spent outside on the lawn chair, sipping iced tea or beer, planning a BBQ for dinner with locally-grown corn on the cob all by itself as the first course, tomato salad to die for, potato salad, watermelon for dessert.

Fried okra as a special treat.

A special treat for ME ONLY. Husband and kids think okra is just too, too gross for words. Fine with me, I'll eat it any way I can get it. Fried is best. With chopped onions and lots of black pepper.

This is how life is supposed to be.

That was before menopause, which changed EVERYTHING.

Now it's indoors with the air conditioning running, outside only with mosquito repellent, sunscreen, and hat. Corn on the cob still appears, but tomato and potato salads are verboten because of DH's renal and cardiac diet and these delights have far too much potassium. Watermelon has to be measured... hell, everything has to be measured!

But my love for fried okra is eternal, deathless, unchanged.

The miseries of menopause and turning 50 are, IMHO, vastly overrated. Maybe I was just lucky, but I was really happy to leave the 40's behind. Hot flashes became a convenient way to cut the winter heating bill. Don't like my greying hair -- tough! I earned every single strand (and I hold YOU responsible). Mood swings? I DON'T HAVE NO STINKIN' MOOD SWINGS!!!!

Some thoughts on air conditioning. This has to be the greatest gift God has given to modern man. AC makes life possible (especially during the heat wave of the past week). AC makes sure I can sleep at night. AC lets me cook real meals. AND MOST IMPORTANT -- AC lets me knit any time I want!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More Knitting

Just a gallery of what I have finished in the past year.

1. Done really a long, long time ago -- like around 30 years -- but my DH still loves and wears it. My first fair isle. Complete with DD2 and Brando.
2. A more recent fair isle for DH, from Philosophers Wool. Really a fabulous design. Great pattern. Gets really tedious about half-way through. Does it get worn? Get real -- we live in California. But it make a great cushion for the back of the rocking chair.

3. Alpaca Beret4. Alpaca Scarf5. More Scarves in various novelty yarns (fun, fun, mindlessness)
6. The every-present sock. I can knit these in my sleep. I always do socks top down. I tried the toe up method but could never get the foot the right length or the heel in the right place, so I stick to old tried-and-true. I even still use the size one aluminum needles I bought to make my first ever pair of socks, still use the original pattern that I learned on.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Meanwhile, back at actual knitting

For some reason known only to the server, the pictures of my scarves never appeared on yesterday's post.

Here is the Woolease clapoti:

Big enough to be used as a comfy shawl and, really, too cool for words. This pattern is really, really fantastic, easy to memorize

I liked doing it so much that I pulled some lace-weight merino out of my stash, got a size 2 circular needle, and started another one:

Finished this one in the hospital, and it is an actual scarf size! Lovely, lovely, lovely. However I doubt I will make this again. The center (i.e. straight) section is a real drag the second time around.

Current project is a fair isle vest for my DH. The pattern and yarn come from Knitpicks, an excellent value, BUT be warned that there are a couple of really significant mistakes in the published pattern, so a trip to the website errata is really important. Naturally it takes me 2 rip-out sessions to make this discovery, but things are now on track and progressing nicely.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Actual Knitting content

Leaving behind the exciting soap-opera of my current so-called life, I hereby present you with real, live, actual, honest-to-God knitting. Like most of my needle-oriented friends, without knitting my fashion statement would probably consist of a complete set of lovely which jackets -- you know the ones with the extra-long sleeves. And, since I have spent uncounted hours sitting in hospital ICUs, ERs, surgery- and cardiac-recovery rooms, not to mention 3 afternoons per week in the dialysis clinic, there has been a whole lot of kntting going on.

My inaugural first post mentioned three projects, socks (there are always socks on the needles), a ponchette, and scarf (always have a scarf, too).

Here is the ponchette. It looks wierd stretched out on the blanket, but when I out it on, it is really cool. Pattern came from the Berocco website (where it is called the Asar Ponchette). In a lot of ways it was boooring -- garter stitch throughout. And the pattern was not user-friendly, so I had to re-write it to make any sense of it. In addition, the pattern has no schematic, so it was really easy to miss a mistake in the original, and I had to rip out most of the finished garment and start again. Those who have known me for a long time will be surprised at my fortitude -- in the past I have tossed things into the trash rather than repeat the tedium of ripping and reknitting, especially garter stitch, which is definitely not my favorite type of knitting.

Scarf project: I really tried to avoid the clapotis. I did not like to look of it at knitty.com, the drop-stitch thing totally did not imprint on my imagination, I refused to even consider it.

However, I read the post about it (and saw the pictures) by Left Coast Knitter, checked my stash, and thought, Weeeeellll, maybe I have a use for all that Woolease I bought years ago. Let's give it a try.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Three Eventful Months

Hmmm. When I published the latest message, I made changes to reflect today's date. However, I noticed, after it was published, that it still was dated June 18, which might cause some confusion since I also wanted to strike the month of July from the calendar.

Here is the short version of what has happened in the past 3 months:

May 01: Death of MIL
May 09: Flight to Hamburg for funeral.
May 17: Return to California
May 22: Death of very close friend from cancer
June 03: Dear husband has a heart attack.
June 08: Death of young man who is close friend of oldest daughter -- he was right down the hall from my husband, so we were rushing back and forth for several days
June 09: Dear husband has triple bypass surgery
June 15: Dear husband comes home from the hospital
June 18: Dear husband returns to hospital with congestive heart failure, pneumonia, and diarrhea.
June 21: We are informed that he has been definitively diagnosed (we had already had a partial diagnosis of this) with polycystic kidney disease and renal failure. Dialysis is the only treatment until he qualifies for transplant.
June 22: DH has surgery to install a fistula in his right arm and catheter in his chest
June 23: First dialysis performed in hospital and then discharged to come home again. Dialysis to be done 3 times/week.
July 10: Re-admitted to hospital after falling and banging head on cement outside of dialysis center. There is a problem with the blood pressure, which falls into his shoes whenever he stands up.
July 11: Back home again to continue recuperation and dealing with the depression, meds issues, weight-loss (i.e. he has lost 30 pounds in less than 1 month, so extremely weak), and to start the process of looking for a kidney to transplant.

It has NOT been fun, dear friends, not fun at all.

Throughout all this, ther HAS been some knitting going on, which will be described in future posts.