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This Is Life

Life can happen so fast. In a blink of an eye it can go from being good to not being so good. After I got Dad home from the hospital Mom had what they think was three or four heart attacks over a three-day period before she would agree to go to the doctor and from there the cardiac care unit of the hospital.

Did you know you can call an ambulance but if the person you want transported to the hospital, even if they are in the middle of a heart attack, refuses to go or get medical attention there is nothing the ambulance people or you can do? I was in shock as I explained to them that my mother has this idea in her head that she has to die before dad. Dad had just come home from the hospital, I told them and mom was not thinking properly. They told me that I would need to hire the services of a psychiatrist to prove mom’s thinking was not rational. Exactly what other criteria did they need from a psychiatrist other than seeing a woman who clearly was having a heart attack refuse medical help because she kept saying she “had to die first”?

She went the entire weekend experiencing heart attacks before I could talk her into at least going to her doctor, even if she didn’t want to go to the hospital. From there she went by ambulance to the hospital. Apparently if a doctor calls and says the patient is going to the hospital, no matter what the patient says, the ambulance people are taking said patient to the hospital.

In the mean time, dad has one kidney left which is not working properly. We get the test results from the nephrologist Monday. We will have to see where we go from there, though dad is adamant he is not doing dialysis. Mom is currently home but is not able to do anything. Right now I am playing the role of visiting nurse, making sure all their medications are set up and trying to monitor how they seem to be doing. All of my mother’s real estate businesses have fallen to me to take care of. I am trying to get a handle on where everything is at and what needs to be done. Mom tires easily so I can’t get a lot of information from her all at once.

I refuse to give up my knitting, though actual knitting is going slow. I am still working on the short-row shawl. The concentration that’s needed is good for me. It gets my mind off on a different track and I can forget about the parental situation for a few moments. I am also keeping up with my tech editing of knitting projects. It too helps give my mind something else—something positive—to focus on. Hopefully I’ll have a picture of the shawl in progress soon.

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Dad is out of the hospital but not doing well. He sees a kidney doctor on Friday. It seems the one kidney he has left is not functioning at an acceptable level. I feel we are at the beginning of the end. As I see it we are in the eye of the hurricane and the back side of the storm has yet to hit.

I was going to show you a picture of the short-row shawl. I had knit up a whole ball of yarn and was starting on the second ball. I felt I had enough of the shawl made to give you an idea of how it looks. Well…that shawl ended up being ripped back to the beginning yet again. On Monday evening there was a small health crisis with Dad and I put the shawl down in a hurry, not marking where I was in the short-row work. When I came back to it later that evening not only could I not discern what specific short-row I was on, but a number of the stitches had slid from the needles and were unraveled.

My life line was in and so I ripped back to that only to realize that I could not tell where I was in those short-rows as I had the life line in the whole shawl. What became clear to me was the life line needs to be inserted only on the wave just finished, not run through the whole shawl. That way if I need to rip back I know I am at the beginning of the wave. I almost cried when I had to undo the whole thing. I was so happy having gotten through one whole ball of yarn. But I didn’t cry. I just took away the new knowledge about the life line.

In the meanwhile, Yarn Rascal has been busy. The craft room clean up so new windows can be installed continued on without me while Dad was in the hospital. Every dog we’ve ever had gets a trip to the pet store to personally select the “house” he wants to call his own. We take down various crates and allow the pet to chose the one he/she feels most comfortable in. After all, this is a place in the home where the pet can go to relax, de-stress, or hang out with selected toys. Along with the crate we also buy an orthopedic foam mattress to fit the crate so that things are comfortable. The crate Yarn Rascal chose was a small mansion made for a bigger dog but it was what he wanted. He uses it to store bones and toys he doesn’t want anyone to touch.

While I was busy at the hospital and at Mom’s Yarn Rascal continued with the yarn clean up of the craft room. He moved every ball of left over yarn that was a merino and cashmere blend to his “house”. When I finish making socks or a shawl I keep the remaining yarn in a ball. Usually it ends up in a whicker basket and there it remains until I put it in a Rubbermaid bin. I keep the yarn with the dream that some day I am going to make a blanket out of all the different colors. In fact I had chosen the Bee Keeper’s Quilt as a possible project.

bee keepers quilt

bkq

As you can see it is made up of small hexagons that are two-sided and individually stuffed and then sewn shut. They are then sewn together one at a time. While I love the look of this quilt and think it would work quite well with the yarns I have I also think that it might drive me nuts construction-wise.

Anyway, Yarn Rascal is now the keeper of the merino-cashmere extra balls of yarn, while I am left to pack up the plain merinos.  The dog knows his yarn.

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Playing With Fire

Well, I knew I was playing with fire, tempting the fates, or however you want to put it, by not having an on-the-go knitting project ready for use. I took my father to the emergency room at 1 am and spent the next five hours there as they got a handle on what was wrong. I had no knitting with me to relieve the anxiety. At 4 am I also became a quasi-patient when I had the most awful full-blown panic attack I’ve ever experienced. The medical staff was quick with ruling out all the big things it could be and finally coming around to a bad panic attack. My poor mother whose health is not that good, I dare say fragile, was left on her own for a bit while I was tended to. But this is what I get for not having a traveling knitting project to calm my nerves.

Dad was admitted to the hospital around 5 am. I was released and able to take my mother home. By then she had completely unraveled and it took me a bit to get her comfortable and feeling okay. Since her open heart surgery she does not like to be left alone. I understand that. But I needed to go home and sleep a bit and change clothing and be with Yarn Rascal who becomes untethered when I am not around. Both Yarn Rascal and I have separation anxiety when we are away from each other.

Today we should find out what is up with Dad. And no, I still haven’t been able to get yarn around needle to start a simple sock project to take with me.

This all came on the heels of the one last craft store in the area closing. It was where I got my paints and drawing supplies and came up with decorative little items to create for the house. No yarn stores, now no craft store—I don’t know what that says about the area I live in but somehow I feel it’s not good.

Making things with one’s hands nourishes the soul, exercises the imagination and strengthens the ability to dream. In difficult times it is relaxing and reassuring to have something at hand that you are making. Somewhere else to turn your attention and get it off repetitive worry. I worry about my mom and dad. I also worry about a society that turns its back on crafts and art.

Anyway, it is off to the hospital with mom to see dad and check in on what the doctor has diagnosed. Sans knitting to work on I must remember to just breathe.

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Finished Socks

I’ve had this summer cold for a little over a week now. Just when it seems to be getting better I get hit with it all over again. Nevertheless, I took some shots of the two pairs of socks I’ve finished.

knit socks broken garter rib

These are made from Zen Yarn Garden yarn. Thanks to Yarn Rascal for eating the skein band so I can’t tell you the colorway, but I can say that it is the merino cashmere blend. The pattern is my own and can be knit toe up or cuff down. The pattern is a simple broken garter stitch rib. Round 1: Knit. Round 2: K, p. Alternate the two rounds add your favorite heel and toes and you’ve got the socks.

knit socks roman road

These are also a simple pattern called Roman Road. Round 1- 4: Knit. Round 5: K1, p1. Round 6: P1, k1. Repeat from round 1 and you have the pattern. Along with using your favorite toe and heel this pattern works for both toe-up or cuff down socks.

knit socks roman road cu

Right now I don’t have socks on any needles and it feels like I am tempting fate a bit. I like to keep a travel project or two in the works for those emergency room and/or hospital stays. The large short-row shawl is taking all my knitting time. The shawl is in no way a travel project, but I am reluctant to put it down to start such a project for fear that I might have a moment of sanity in my life and never pick up and finish the shawl. But the anxiety of waiting for the axe to drop, so to speak, is starting to get to me.

Before I forget, the socks above were made with Dream In Color Smooshy in the Lapis Lazuli colorway. Yarn Rascal just happened to leave this yarn band intact.

 

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I Am Counting

When a knitter says “I am counting” the rational person treats the knitter with the same respect one would a rabid animal: slowly back away and vacate the area. I obviously don’t surround myself with rational people or pets.

The current masochistic knitting project is a shawl worked in short-rows in order to create waves of color. There’s a lot to keep track of not the least of which includes counting. I’ve already restarted this shawl six times and I don’t want to restart it a seventh. It is with a sense of dread that I pick the thing up and knit on it each night.

The key to success with this shawl is to complete each wave without interruption of any kind. No exceptions for tornados, severe thunderstorms, updates on family, The Skipper’s latest project, or Yarn Rascal’s need to sit on my lap with his favorite bone in his mouth and drool. I suspect that in order to achieve this I will need to find a convent where vows of silence have been taken and even then the fire alarm will probably go off and I will need to put the knitting down before completing the wave.

I was making progress on the shawl until The Skipper and Yarn Rascal came bounding into the living room last night.

“I’m counting” I said without looking up.

The TV went on and The Skipper started watching a cooking show which is way better, or so I thought, than him choosing the Business News Channel. How many numbers can be repeated in a cooking show to throw me off count? Rascal, on the other hand, was busy watching the two newest fawns play in the yard. All seemed well.

And so I counted. Five, six, seven…

The TV responded: we have 20 square inches of meat to cut into 2 inch by 2 inch…

Eight, ten, twenty…no that’s not right.

200 pieces …2 inches squared…16…at 5 minutes a side…

Sixteen, seventeen…no wait a minute is that right? No wasn’t I on six? This can’t be right. I need to knit seventeen stitches before turning and I have…well there is no way to know what I have because I didn’t put the marker in before I turned.

At 350 degrees…turn 90 degrees…

Yes, the only way to get back on track is to rip it back to the life line yet again. I am beginning to think I might never complete this shawl. I am reluctant to put it into a time out for being bad, because I fear I will never, as long as I am in my right mind, pick it up again. Plus, I really do want it for the autumn. I picked out the colors specifically to represent that season.

So tonight I will try again to make some progress, even if I have to close myself up in the bathroom to accomplish it.

 

 

 

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Movement

I wish I could tell you all the things that have been happening here but there are just so many.

The sock madness has halted. I am 32 rows short of completing the second sock of the second pair of socks. The unfinished sock is in a prominent place so it sits and stares at me and makes me feel guilty.

I have, what I thought would be an easy shawl on the needles. It’s all garter stitch and short-rows. I am here to tell you it is not as easy as I thought and since I am looking at ripping back to the beginning for the fifth time I can say that it is bordering on masochistic knitting. The problem is not the pattern it’s me, the knitter. Despite using stitch markers in large quantity I am still getting lost on where I am at in the pattern.

I am seriously thinking that the reason for all the trouble is that this is some cosmic karma thing and I am meant to be doing something else other than this shawl. Call it masochistic, but I am even more determined to knit this shawl. Usually when a project gives me this much trouble I put it in the time out bin where it can think about what a pain in the neck it is being. But if I did that then I would need to either A) pick up the sock and finish it, or B) work on the Shetland shawl. I will go to all lengths to not work on the Shetland shawl as that needs precise, fine-tuned concentration which is in short supply here at the moment.

I’ve recently been to the doctor and the news was not so good. I now have diabetes. Since I don’t want to take more medication because not everything plays nicely with my cancer medication I have persuaded him to give me three months to turn the diabetic numbers around.

After learning about diabetes, the only thing that I am doing to contribute to it is being kind of sedentary. He decided I should start a regular exercise routine. Easy for him to say. So my new morning ritual incorporates exercise. Today I tried yoga. I can see that while it is interesting it may not work for me. It seems that whenever I am on the floor in a downward dog pose, Yarn Rascal takes it as a signal to position himself between my body and the floor while licking my face. If I fall while in this position I will crush him to death. Doing yoga with Yarn Rascal is not going to work, I can see that. As long as I am on the floor the dog takes it as play time and cuddle time.

That leaves walking, tai chi, and working in the garden. There may be plenty of work to do in the garden this year. We have no bees in our area. The two apiaries near us have no honey bees. Bees pollinate the plants, especially tomato plants. As of now it looks like we will be hand pollinating all the plants this year. This is not a good turn of events climate-wise.

Well, that’s all the down time I have. I am going to try and excavate the exercise bike from my mother’s basement. Just attempting the extrication should qualify as some heavy duty exercise. It’s all about movement, my friends.

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Catch Up

I don’t know where the time is flying to lately, but I am running full out to try and catch up. It is almost 2 weeks now since I met up with fellow blogger and friend, Salpal of What I’m Up To Today blog. It was wonderful to meet her in person and I really enjoyed the time with her. She is exactly the same nice, caring, sincere person she is on her blog. Naturally we hit a yarn store. Such a treat for me, since I don’t have any near me. To be able to see and feel the yarn before purchasing was so nice. Salpal is such a nice person I found myself wishing we lived nearer one another. I really had a wonderful time.

When I came through the door carrying the yarn in a bag, Yarn Rascal raced over to me and I thought I was going to receive a nice big cuddly welcome home. But no. Yarn Rascal ran towards me and actually dove into the bag and came up with the yarn I had bought. With yarn in mouth, he proceeded to dance around the living room like a horse performing dressage. He didn’t let the yarn get out of his sight all night long. In fact, he slept with it in his bed.

Lately, Yarn Rascal has been in an archeological mode. He’s been taking out long forgotten wips and draping them along the floor in the hallway where I can’t help but see them. All my wips are in their own canvas bags which he also leaves in the hallway. Honestly, I didn’t know I had that many canvas bags nor that many wips.

The picture below shows one of the wips Yarn Rascal dug out finally finished.

scarf knit

I started this scarf 6 years ago when my mother and father were in separate ICUs in separate hospitals. The pattern is by Anne Hanson and is called Rivolo. I remember selecting the pattern because it looked like the rain that incessantly ran down the windows of each ICU. The yarn I used was Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the Navy Pier colorway.

It was hard to believe we had moved on to 6 years. The trauma still seems near.

Right now I am knitting socks. It’s very obsessive compulsive knitting. I finished one pair and immediately began on a second pair. I am working from patterns of my own making. Pictures are on their way. Like I said, everything seems to be moving faster than me and I am playing catch up.

 

 

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