Friday, December 31, 2010

a new year's eve quote from someone much wiser than i

I RECONNOITERED IN MY WOOL-ROOM YESTERDAY; it is full of possibilities for the New Year. Another Aran perhaps, to start off with? Should it blow tradition and be hooded? Six pairs of socks for the Old Man? His "Woodsman's Sock" shelf is groaning, but the ranks of the lighter socks are thinning. Cushion-covers? What a chance for experiment with color-patterns and Aran curlicues. A shawl with a ten-inch lace border, and perhaps design the border myself? I never did design a lace-pattern. A huge afghan to keep one's knees warm while being knitted? A lace edging for a valance, why not? A revolutionary pot-handler? Hey! a Knitted Icebox for camping and picnics?

By this time next year some of these will have been achieved, and some scorned and abandoned. Some as yet undreamed-of whims will have taken shape. I'm ready for them; my mind is open, my wool-room full of wool, my needles poised, my brain spinning like a Catherine-wheel. There are plenty of pencils -- I think -- and where did I see that old block of squared paper?

My word, such good fortune. I can only hope the same for you.

~~Elizabeth Zimmermann
(she was kinda like the Julia Child
of the knitting world,
for those who aren't familiar),
from the "Knitter's Almanac". myspace graphic comments


Thank you all so much for joining me here during 2010.
Blessing and best wishes to you for a joyous and prosperous New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

11th hour

It's almost the new year.

And I have, for a second time now (providing I post something tomorrow), blogged for 365 days in a row.

A full pass around the sun.

I did it in 2008, and now here again for 2010, and lemme tell ya'....2009 was a weird year without it. There aren't very many disciplines I perform daily. Posting something every day is something that has now become a part of me in many ways. My blog is a friend to me, and you all are friends to me, and in some ways it's hard to imagine life without it.

Sometimes what I write surprises even myself. A deep great peering into myself, if you will. Sometimes what I don't write is equally as telling to me, and lets me know where I need to gain more comfort with myself, or where I need to grow.

I have spent a portion of November and December thinking about whether or not I would continue with this routine in 2011. It seems like I want to, but it also seems like if I do it needs to be different. I want to improve my writing. I want to take a crack writing about the things I think I am not a good enough writer to write about. I want to try to express things that I feel like I don't have words for. I want to share quirky things I feel and see and think and do. I want more structure for the blog on the days I feel like I can't pull it out of myself...a method, a tool, a little nudge on those days to get the creative juices flowing.

And when I get to thinking like that, about structures and tools and regiments, it gets exciting....but then all of a sudden the task of daily blogging seems to get overwhelming...and feeling like something I might fail at...

...and when I fear failure, my modus operandi is to just do nothing at all.
Deer + Headlights:

That's me.

And so now, here I am. At the end of the year. Trying to figure out what to do about next year. Right. Down. To. The. Wire.

I guess maybe I just start January 1st and see how it goes? And "drop out" early if it aint workin'??

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Well, if the obsession to cover everything is knitting is going to grow, then now is the time to step up fabric production.

Weaving is faster than knitting...

...and my holiday present to myself this year was a rigid heddle loom.

I know.
I don't really need another hobby, right?
But hey, at least this one will help me use up the yarn stash on hand ;-)

I took a class awhile back, and I'm now in the process of reading, refreshing my memory, and learning to do the math to determine how much yarn I need to warp the loom for my first project.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

cover me nerdy

I think a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I felt like I just wanted to knit and knit until I could cover myself in knitting. I was craving knitting Elizabeth Zimmerman's Nethergarments, which are adult leggings/footless tights. I still want to knit them. I am obsessed with the notion, actually. I have a few skeins of matching sock weight yarn just perfect for the task, and I am just stuck mulling over if I should round it out by using up my odd bits of sock yarn leftovers to make some funky stripes.

Meanwhile, as I mull, what I have done instead was to pick up a sock that I had started ages ago and never finished. It was a toe-up sock, and I was only just beyond the toe when I shoved it into the bottom of the knitting bag. I didn't realize until I picked it up again that the reason I had abandoned it was because I couldn't stand the needles I was using.

I was knitting the socks using two circular needles. I've knit with two circs before, but they were more standard length circulars. These little buggers are only 9" long (short??), and while the short cable length was kind of a cool thing, the tips of the needles were so wee, that I couldn't manipulate them easily. I actually use my ring finger and pinky to move my needles around when I work, so it was not fun for me at all to knit with these. Holding the needles made me feel like I was at a kids tea party and trying to hold the teacup or something.

I switched to double-points (which will always be my favorite), and when the sock got longer and wider, I switched to magic loop to make things go faster. Ended up with a knee-sock.

Ravelry Project Page

This was fun knitting for me. It's my first complete toe-up sock (I did a toe-up "over the knee sock" once, but it was a yoga sock, so it didn't have a toe or a heel...and that's a huge bit of technique to leave out). This sock is pretty Plainjane in terms of the knitting, but it has a heel that is new to me (a gusset heel that I picked up out of a book), and I did a folded hem for the bind-off so I could thread some elastic through the casing. I don't think I've ever done a folded hem as part of a bind-off. Anyhow, point is, I had to do a few new things, which was great fun, and the sock fits great.

The sock did not, however, stop the craving to cover all things with knitting. The compulsion I am suffering from now is an urge to knit covers, or little bags, or storage boxes, for the plethora of little electronic devices and charging cables that I own. Niggling away at me and not letting me sleep is this odd urge to cover a rather large external drive storage-device-thingy that I have.

This craziness has also resulted in my starting to knit all of these little ties to wrangle my cords.

See? Neat. Tidy. And not a rubberband.
Felted boxes to put them all into is not far behind, I assure you.

Although if I keep making them at this rate, I will be using up all of the sock yarn scraps that I was thinking of using for the funky stripes for the leggings, so the mulling will begin again, and then who the frick knows what else that craziness will cause me to knit cozies for!

Monday, December 27, 2010

sorry exuse, but...

...we are having a ton o' fun over here playing Scrabble together on TheMostImportantGuy's new Kindle. It's been a long time since we've played a game like this together, and I want to enjoy the fun. Plus, and I'm saving the "words and letters part of my brain" so I can kick some butt in this next round!

How about I show you a photo I took yesterday morning just after sunrise...? ;-)

a december morning
from my livingroom window

Sent with love from my iPad

Sunday, December 26, 2010

social experiment (cat v. dog)

TheMostImportantGuy was at my place this weekend longer than usual, due to the holiday weekend. Instead of TheMIG worrying about leaving his old-man-cat "Tad" home alone in a cold house for so long (TheMIG lives in a chilly converted warehouse/loft), or instead of making an extra trip back home to feed him, TheMIG brought Tad to my house for the weekend.

Most of the time Tad was sequestered in his own little hideaway in the den. He was set up with his own cat box from home, and had lots of cozy perches, plus his own (electrically warmed!) cat bed. Whenever my own cats and dog were outside for a bit, we'd bring Tad out and let him explore around. None of the animals seemed overly alarmed. They didn't really see each other, but they could smell each other's presence, but they didn't seem alarmed. I'm sure that when TheMIG comes over he brings enough of the Tad-smell with him that my cats and dogs have become more than familiar with Tad's scent over the years, and also I am sure that TheMIG brings home a little bit of my dog and cats to Tad.

Well, today being the final day, we let Tad have a little nose-to-nose with Riley ("let"---hahahaha).
Sort of a social experiment, if you will...

Results of the social experiment??
Very anti-social.

The dog was surprisingly behaved, and Tad only hissed twice. Okay, and he growled once, too....but mostly he buried his face into his cat bed several times in a sort of "make it stoppppppp!!" sort of way.

It was almost like he was pretending that if he couldn't see the dog, then the dog couldn't see him. Or that if he couldn't see the dog, then the dog wasn't really there.

Poor dear.

He's back home safe and sound tonight.
Which of course means TheMIG is also gone, and MyFavoriteKid is off with his dad still for the holidays.
And it's been so long since I have had time alone, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself!

Of course being that it's 10:30, I'll probably start with sleep.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

then 'n now

Compliments of my mom who turned me onto a box full of memories last night after Christmas Eve dinner:

me 'n Santa 1968 (1-1/2 yrs old)

And from my own stash:

me 'n Santa 2009, Las Vegas ;-)

Friday, December 24, 2010

and to all a goodnight....

new ornament added to the tree this year:
wooden sheep ornament kit by Girl On The Rocks, wound with my own handspun

And a candy cane heart,
from me
to you

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Ohhh, I just appreciate y'all so much :-) I really wish I could have you all over so we could hang out and drink hot chocolate and chat.

I can't say that I know everything there is to know about grief, but I really do understand the part about it being a process, and the layers, and the waves, and things taking time and all that. I have no problem at all being present for strong feelings, or digging around emotional muck. What I meant when I wrote yesterday's post was that I was quite surprised to find that I still haven't outgrown hiding behind a pile of (not even tasty) cookies and really bad television, when it comes to grief.
It was really nice of you guys to remind me that even that is okay :-)

Somewhere in the middle of crazies of the last couple of weeks, something very very lovely came to me in the mail.

It is a beauuuuutiful handmade quilt/wallhanging sent to me by the talented Fuzzarelly. I was blown away when I opened it. I am so honored whenever someone gives me something they have made with their own hands (funny coming from someone who pretty much only knits for herself...maybe I should tweak that).

I don't know if it was just a crap shoot, or if Fuzzarelly has been keeping track of the color scheme around here, but will you get a load at how perfect it fits with the rest of my decor??

It hangs in the hallway that I pass through every time I enter and exit the house, so I get to see it lots, and it is a super happy piece that makes me smile every time I see it.
Thank you Fuzz :-)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

pass the emotional barometer please

I guess I don't know myself as well as I thought I did. Or maybe I'm just better that I thought I was at being in a state of denial.

The mass, the burial, and now the memorial are over, as of yesterday. I was certain that I was processing feelings as they were coming up, and honestly, I still think I did. But today I find myself eating all sorts of things that aren't what I'd call nourishing (even on an emotional level), boobing out on some realllllly stoopid teevee, I am being the tweaky perfectionist with my knitting, and (I think) I am somewhat avoiding the blog (I am doing that...aren't I?).

Maybe I'm more fucked up than I thought.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

happy new year

I realize it's not the new year's day that appears on your calendar, but for me this is really feeling like the turning of a corner. At some point last night I stepped outside to look at the moon and it felt like New Year's Eve to me, and today oddly felt a bit like New Year's Day in some ways.

I am far more connected to the shifts of the seasons than I am to the conventional holidays. Winter Solstice has always been a big deal for me, but to have this one happen this year with a full moon, and with a full lunar eclipse??

And it being the first time since 1638 that a lunar eclipse has happened on the Winter Solstice??
It just feels....important.

Happy Winter, happy turning of the wheel, happy return of the sun, happy longest night.

Monday, December 20, 2010

thoughts about sequence.

TheMostImportantGuy spent a good portion of his day Sunday on my couch with his laptop, working on some stuff for his father's memorial service tomorrow.

The day after MrW's passing, TheMIG and I brought both of our photo scanners up to his mom's, and with his sister and niece, we went through a ton of family photos (and the stories that went with them). Yesterday, TheMIG put the finishing touches on MrW's "Celebration of Life" slideshow, which is accompanied by his favorite BigBand/Dixieland tunes. It will be played at the memorial.

I think the presentation is going to be just awesome. I haven't seen it in its entirety, but I did hear the music, and was there for the photo scanning, so I think I can safely say it's going to be moving but upbeat and wonderful, just like MrW was.

But it really struck me, while TheMIG was working away, and while I was finally getting out the holiday decorations, that the person who really would enjoy this the most... was MR.W!!!!

It makes me wonder about the sequence of things. And at what point we find things to be important. And why we find them important. And who finds them important.

Why do we always wait to look at all this stuff when it's over??!

It makes me want to make a slideshow of my own.
I think I'd like it.
I think I'd like making it, and I think I'd like seeing it.
At the very least, it will give my friends and family a leg up on things once they deem it is needed, right?

I'm not trying to be morbid, I'm just sayin'.....

Hmm. I guess on some level the blog is about the biggest fattest slideshow ever.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

ho. ho. ho.

Chanukkah is really the big deal around here, but I did grow up with Christmas also, and there so much of it I adore. I tried real hard today to get on the holiday bandwagon. With all the family stuffs we've been plowing through this past week, I hadn't done a single thing yet, and today was the day to do as much as I could muster. I threw on my Mickey/Santa hat, and went to town.

not too shabby for no make-up,
but the season really does call for some candy-cane lip gloss ;-)

I do have a penchant for Christmas music, so I played some of that today, but most of my holiday decorations are not so much about Christmas, but about Winter. Snow men, snow globes, holly. Today I bought a little wreath for the front door that looks like branches covered in ice crystals.

We all went out and braved TheLastShoppingSundayBeforeChristmas holiday madness and got the last of the gifts for TheMostImportantGuy's family, and also MyFavoriteKid shopped for gifts to take when he goes off to seem his dad's family for Christmas weekend. I was also short some wrapping paper, bows, and tape, so we filled that, too.

The tradition here is that TheMIG will show up at some point (I think it will be Christmas Eve Day this year) with a bottle of champagne, and I will plop on the floor with all of the wrapping supplies scattered around me, and he will not complain a bit as I watch old Christmas movies, and he will hand me gifts for wrapping and keep my glass full of bubbly. It's a pretty great tradition, I'd say :-)

I am going to spend a little bit more time "elfing it" tonight, but really, I feel so exhausted and I'm ready for sleep. MyFK has had a buddy over last night, and again tonight, which is a bit of extra energy out. I think tomorrow shouldn't be too nuts so maybe I can do some writing, but Tuesday is MrW's memorial, and I'm trying to keep an even keel here.

It's been somewhat surprising to me to discover how much this has taxed me, because it's not like I've been in deep emotional turmoil. It's more like I've been just upset enough to have it drain the batteries, if you will. I find myself with little time to myself, but then when I do have it, I'm often really tired, or craving cozy and/or slothful activities. I'm feeling at least like I am taking care of myself, and it's making it lots easier to take care of and support those around me.

It's like learning a new skill.

G'night y'all. *mwah*

Saturday, December 18, 2010

snaps on saturday

not taken by me this time...but had to share

Friday, December 17, 2010

slacker central.

I spent today sitting at home and watching the rain fall, and knitting what would be those tights/leggings I was craving (except that I am going to run out of yarn, so it might be more like a thigh high).

There are other things I could have, and probably should have, done today...but I didn't do them....and I found myself wondering if with all that has gone on this past week if this isn't my way of tuning out or something.

I think not.

I think I have been entirely present for all of this, and that I haven't avoided processing any of it. I just think that being this present is causing me to really need some deep-arsed do nothing time in between all the stuff. I think I have really been doing okay.

Except maybe for that moment on Wednesday when I was in the shower crying because nobody has asked me how I'm doing with all of this stuff....which is a friggin' riot, 'cuz lots of people have asked me how I'm doing with all this stuff, it's just that I aint been really answering that question or something. *sigh*

I dunno.

I'm going back to knitting.

I know I have stories to finish here. But tonight I knit. And sleep early. And tomorrow I do a full one-day sitting thang at the zen center. And Sunday I try to pull Christmas out of my butt, because I the only thing I have done to move me in that direction is to buy one poinsettia plant. MyFavoriteKid is now officially on vacation for three whole weeks, so that ought to be interesting, because this is the first time in years I haven't planned a little trip for us to go on during one of the weeks.

2011 has just got to be easier.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

very. long. day.

A Catholic Mass, a Presbyterian burial, a gathering and meal with friends and family, a sit and chant at the zen center, and a beer and nachos at a dive bar (covered all my bases, wouldn't you agree?) LOTS of driving in between. Woke at 5:30am for all of this, and it's 10pm and we just got home.

Just a quick post to share with you one of the many funny things that happened today that made it all easy to bear. This is a photo of the tombstone that neighbors MrW's plot.

We got a laugh out of it :-)

Sent (with love) from my iPad

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

in the eye

So much has happened, but so much is about to happen...and I kid you not, it's been raining for days, but today the sky is quite blue. It's like the eye of the storm.

The Catholic Service and the internment for MrW is tomorrow. You'd gave found me today doing (what felt like) twenty-seven loads of laundry, a clean up of the kitchen, a grocery run, waiting for UPS make a last attempt at delivery on some packages, and catching up on the blog. In other words, battening the hatches.

I did a lot of typing up of stories today, the ones I have promised to share, but they are horribly unedited, and cant get it done today as I had hoped. I did the typing, but when it came time to re-read it and re-organize it, because it was all over the map, MyFavoriteKid was home from school and we had a bunch of stuff to do together. He also had a school concert to perform in tonight.

Let me apologize for last night's post, just in case you caught it while it had more errors than there were complete sentences. It's been edited, but holy crap! LOL.

Also, I must say it again: you guys are just awesome. Thank you so much for all the comments, you guys are amazing. I'm sorry that what I wrote brought so many teary-eyed moments. I'm really just documenting this all for myself and inviting you along for the ride, but thank you so much coming. I'm still kind of in shock by all the de-lurkers. There are even a couple of you that made me feel like I was having a "brush with fame" or something because I'd been following your blogs or your knitting designs. What a crack up, and what a small world :-)

The burial is tomorrow, and so is dance class, so I bet tomorrow is scant as well. Editing of stories will happen soon. This storm shall pass. It has to.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

in which i try to distract you with pretty photos

I am happy to report that tomorrow I am off, so you will find me sitting with a cup of coffee, blogging, and rotating laundry tomorrow. I WILL finish what I started with that epic post, it's just that Tuesdays are....well....crazypants. Always.

Here's some photos that I took on Sunday at the dog park. It's the last of the foliage from the trees that was being ripped off by wind and rain.

Sent from my iPad

Monday, December 13, 2010


There is a Part Two of the epic tale, and possibly even a Part Three, as I would like to document for myself what took place in the hours after MrW's passing, plus I would like to recount my own family's reaction to this event.

Unfortunately, tonight has taken a bit of a detour. TheMostImportantGuy called asking if he could come over to stay tonight because he left his keys for his home at the office. He drove up here for my spare keys, but is staying over tonight, and I prefer to spend time with him over typing.

Also, I am finding myself in a bit of a conundrum because I was just given the details around the mass, the burial, and the memorial, and I'm not entirely sure that I can make it to any of them, at this point (I'm sure I will work it out, but I'm not seeing how to do that right now, and it has me behaving buggy).

I also need to spend some time tonight calling back the friends if the family that I called over the weekend (we divvied up a list) to give them the details about when and where memorial things are happening. Plus add to that, I have the dancer's conference call tonight.

I'd like to commit to writing more tomorrow, but Tuesdays are my hell-day, where I'm out of the house and on the road for almost all of it, in and out of convalescent hospitals, and I just do not believe I will have enough time at a computer to write. You might be waiting for Wednesday.

Meanwhile, I leave you with TheMIG's comment to yesterday's blogpost:

Thank you thank you thank you everyone :-)

PS - My dad's last words to me, spoken with calmness & sincerity about 24 hours before he died, were "Thanks for everything."

I cannot thank you all enough for the notes of love and support (and here's a little *wave!* to the folks who de-lurked to do it). Much hugs back at you.
I just typed, "Mugs at you."
Hahaha. I am so tired.
I even just called James at the convalescent hospital to confirm our visit tomorrow, and I dialed his number, but then forgot who I had called, and hung up on him as he was answering. Sweet, eh?! Hangin' up on ol' guys in the hospital.
Hand me a pillow and blankie please.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Believe it or not, I have time to myself! And I reallllly want to capture the last few days here so I never forget, but you are totally welcome to come along for the trip inside my head if you are interested. Because I am covering big stuffs happening over a several days, this post is going to be epic in proportion. I might even need to split it up over two days if I don't get done tonight before MyFavoriteKid gets home from his weekend with his dad.

Alrighty. Ready?! Set?! Go!

Mr.W at TheMIG's 40th birthday dinner, 2009

Quick recap for anyone new here: This is TheMostImportantGuy's Dad, Mr.W. About a year ago he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He underwent surgery to remove the bladder, and was kinda never the same after that. He only returned home for maybe a day after that surgery. He's been a diabetic for most of his life, and he didn't heal well post-surgery. He'd either been in a rehab/convalescent facility, or he had been in and out of the "hospital hospital" ever since. He'd had blood sugar issues, and an infection he couldn't shake that I believe ended up being mersa, and it caused him to need to amputate his lower leg a few months back. He didn't heal well from that surgery, either. And this brings us to where we were a couple of days ago.

Mr.W and TheMIG (age 3) Christmas 1971
(OMG I love this picture. TheMIG still makes that face.)

Sometime this past week the convalescent place sent Mr.W back to the "hospital-hospital" because he was becoming less responsive, his belly was looking distending, and he was jaundiced. After many tests it was determined that Mr.W had something blocking the artery that delivers blood to his liver and kidneys. They don't know if it was a new tumor or a blood clot, but it didn't really matter, because anything they would do to remove the block would be a procedure that his body would not tolerate. By Wednesday night or Thursday morning (sorry, it's a blur) it was determined that he Mr.W would be switched to palliative care. Anything that looked like a treatment for anything stopped, and anything done for him at that point was going to be for done for his comfort only, as he transitioned.

Now, at that point (Thursday, for sure), the hospital had gotten him back to a place where he was responsive. He was communicating and it was kinda like, "he might have an hour, he might have..." well, I heard days, weeks, months even, from TheMIG as the various doctors came and went. But he wasn't in a critical state at that point, so the hospital (yay U.S. health insurance...*insert sarcasm*) determined he couldn't really stay there. They also determined he needed more care than hospice could provide him if they sent him home (which still pisses me off a bit), so Thursday evening he was sent back to the convalescent hospital. Thankfully, they moved him into a private room near the nurses station, though.

Ok. So. TheMIG decided to head home Thursday night, and he and I plan to return and spend most the weekend up there, starting early Saturday. Thursday night on his way home, TheMIG stops for an hour or two at my place before I go to dance class. I need to share some of what we talked about.

For starters, I asked TheMIG how he was doing, and his reply was, "Mmmmmmmmmmmmeh." So I said, "You know, people keep asking me how you are holding up. Should I say, 'mmmmmmmeh'?" And he said, "Tell them I'm poopy," and his eyes welled up. This might not make sense to you dear reader, but it is these two responses that let me know he was as fine as he could be, because these responses were totally normal for TheMIG (in fact, when TheMIG's sister told me she was worried about TheMIG, I related this story to her, and she blurted out, "Ohhhh goooood. He's fiiiine." LOL)

Anyways. I asked TheMIG if Mr.W was aware that his level of care had shifted. He told me his dad said something to Mrs.W like, "It's a good thing we have that special little pill." I might have that wrong, but I know I'm close....but the point is, TheMIG and his mom were questioning him if he was asking about medicine or insulin stuffs, and all I could see flash before my eyes when I heard this was some scene from a movie I saw where a captured Nazi pulled an arsenic pill or something out of the hem of his pants so he could kill himself before being captured or questioned or tortured or something. I was positive Mr.W was alluding to some sort of Hemlock Society kinda of thing.

The other interesting/possibly misunderstood thing Mr.W said was, "How many days?", to which Mrs.W and TheMIG were like, "How many days, what?? IN the hospital? You've been here two days." And Mr.W would just repeat the question.

Now, I am hearing this story and practically jumping out of my skin because I know he asking to know how many days he has left, and nobody is telling him. TheMIG says he was pretty sure that is what he was asking, too....and he would have gave him a straight answer had his mom not been standing there. He said the next time MrsW was out of the room talking to doctors and he was alone with his dad he tried to bring it back up again, but he couldn't steer the conversation back there.

I was not feeling so great about that. So me, in all of my blunt matter-of-factness decided I was going to go up there to see him myself, and that maybe he'd ask me because he knows me well enough to know I am a straight shooter. I aint gonna bring it up, but if he does, I'm answering him, dammit. And I am excited about going up to see him on Friday, actually. TheMIG knows I am going, but we don't tell the rest of the family, and I decide I am going to just fly in under the radar and try to show up in between other visitors (Mrs.W usually went to see him in the mornings and TheMIG's sister went in the afternoons). I decide to download his favorite big band music to my iPad, and I bring some photos, and I'm going to read him the newspaper. I bring a tiny potted Christmas tree and tiny lights and ornaments, and we're going to get festive.


Ok. Friday.

Mr.W with Rosey camping in 1991

I walk into Mr.W's room, and Mrs.W is leaning over him holding his face and talking to him and trying to get him to drink water. I call her name and say hi, and I surprise her a bit because she doesn't even know I am coming up that day. She flies over to me, grabs me, and starts sobbing. She says he has never seen him this bad. At 8:30 that morning the nurse asked him if he wanted a shave, and he said he did. They asked him to help pull himself up so they could reposition him, and he did. At 9:30 Mrs.W find him completely different, and by the time I get there at 10:30, here's where we are at.

MrW's mouth is open, and he his breathing is really shallow and kinda gurgly-ish. His eyes are wide open, but they are sort of gray looking. He can't blink. I tell him I am there, and he sort of grunts "ok" and I ask him if I can give him a smooch and he sort of pushes out an "uh-huh" and he does the same when I ask if I can give him one from MyFavoriteKid. The next two hours are spent with MrsW and I giving him water by way of the damp-sponge-lollipop-thing, and we're taking turns being close to him. We're waiting for a doctor to come in, and meanwhile I'm decorating the stupid little tree which Mr.W grunts that he can see, and we are playing his favorite cd's for him. A nurse comes in once or twice to give Mr.W something to help with the breathing, and I look over the list of what they are still administering him, and it's basically morphine and anti-anxiety meds and a couple of other things that are all about keeping you out of pain, and out of panic.

At some point this really awesome super duper cool physical therapist comes in. She'd worked with Mr.W right after amputation, I believer. I'm still not quite sure how she worked it out to spend so much time with us during that day, because I know it's not her job description, but she was amazing. She saw what was going on, took his pulse, checked his body, and in the most calm fashion I have ever seen, explained to Mrs.W how to massage his face to relax his muscles and help his eyes close. She arranged to get some sort of eye-goo authorized to help with that. Then she left and came back with the social worker. Thank god, again.

The social worker took one look at what was happening and asked if we wanted some written information about what to expect near end of life (see Friday's photo here). MrsW's mouth fell open, and I said, "Yes, please," because I knew that MrsW wouldn't be able to cope with a verbal explanation and needed to read it in bits and pieces as she could handle it. By the time the social worker came back with the packet, Mrs.W had been on the phone to TheMIG's sister and could do nothing but cry into the phone. Literally. It was literally, "Hi. Dad is...*sobbing* *click*." And then I shit you not, she came back in the room like that hadn't even happened and started giving Mr.W more water by sponge and looking for more eye-drops to give him and told him he'd be just fine.

The social worker, leaned over and said to me, "Does she understand how close he is?" and I'm like, "Ya' know, I don't even know that I KNOW. What are we talking here...hours?"
"Give me the packet."

Now, I'm not sure where these moments of clarity come from, but hooray for me, because I had one. I just flat out told Mrs.W to sit down and that I really needed her to listen to me. I told her that I knew that this was really hard, but that honest to god, this was going really good. He had been alert, and then he wasn't. And it was going fast. And he was calm and relaxed and not showing a single sign of pain or discomfort. I told her that I'd been at a death before, and one that was long and full of moaning and pain, and that what was happening in this room was a true blessing. She sat down with the papers and a bottled smoothie, and meanwhile, I sat with Mr.W and said every nice thing I could say to him about how much everyone loved him, and I swear to you he was trying to mouth La-La-Looove, but he was getting weaker by the hour.

heading off to Germany to serve in the Army, 1958

The next couple of hours, family arrived. TheMIG's brother-in-law first, the TheMIG's sister. Their eldest kid picked up the younger one from school and they came. I told the social worker call in a priest as Mr.W was very clear on all of his forms that his wishes were to have his last rights read. Mr.W was barely able to get a sound out by this point, but I am positive he was aware it was happening. There were a couple rotations of people going in and out to bring food in. TheMIG's sis's family had their family parish guy come in to support their family and say a prayer with Mr.W.

In my humble opinion, what was really happening was that Mr.W was hanging on for TheMIG to get there. He was well over two hours away. I was getting updated the whole drive, and when I finally leaned over Mr.W and told him that TheMIG had just gotten off the freeway, that was the last time I heard him try to make a sound.

The next couple of hours were magical. To me, at least. Everybody in that room was....I don't even know how to describe this....they were totally in their element and totally doing this thing true to their own forms. If that makes any sense.
Mrs.W, the caretaker type, was giving Mr.W water and massaging his face and telling him how much she loved him.
The sister was telling MrW stories. "Hey, dad. Do you remember the time we.....".
The brother-in-law looked like he was checking out and playing with my iPad, but he wasn't. He used to be an EMT, and he was watching every single thing that was going on with Mr.W and he would ask for my watch (which had a second hand) and check MrW's respiration to see if it was changing.
TheMIG, when he arrived, walked in, went straight to his dad's bedside (do not pass go, do not collect $200), and then held conversations with whomever needed to have them with him while never once taking his hand of his dad's shoulder, which he was very gently and rhythmically squeezing.

In the end, MrW totally stayed true to himself. Not one of us every saw his last breath. They just kinda got weaker and weaker and he didn't make a final sound or a rattle or anything. It was like he just tip-toed quietly backwards out of the room. Just like he was in life, he was totally chill, totally relaxed, totally easy going...and he never ever wanted to be a hassle to anyone or to make a fuss. That's how he was, and that's how he left. (it just dawned on me that this might mean I'm going out making a fuss)

I'm not quite sure if I was true to myself or I even know what my role was, but I was there, and it was something else, let me tell you. It was an honor to be allowed to hold space there while this transitioned happen, and it was an honor to be allowed to be present with the family while they were so vulnerable and open. It was an honor to get to see how the staff at the hospital handled everything.
It could not have gone better.
Fast. Calm. Quiet. Not in pain. Surrounded by love and loved ones.

So this has been long. And I'm not even done. Because I have a few more stories from after the passing. But it's past 7pm, and the kid is here (and hovering), so this is the end for now.

If you made it this far, thanks for listening....and sorry for all the typos because I don't even have the time to go back and re-read this.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

hi kids.....

I cannot thank you all enough for the love and support. I have sooooo much to tell you, and I am not at all at a loss for words (it's probably more about editing down, actually).

Unfortunately, "my time is not my own," as Jane Austen would say.

As I type this, I am sitting on the floor at TheMIG's folks house. TheMIG are completely encircled in laptops and scanners and boxes of family photos, and many family peeps who are tripping hard down memory lane. He and I are scanning and organizing photos for the memorial. We have travelled up here and back a couple of times and are both quite tired. I dont know how I managed it, but I even made it to the zen center this morning in between trips.

We are all well. It was actually a really peaceful and loving and beautiful thing yesterday and I really really want to document it and share it. I just need to be alone with my laptop.
Badly, actually.
I need to collect my thoughts.

I love you all so very much.

Friday, December 10, 2010

posting fom hospital bedside

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, December 09, 2010

more like plagiarism

I really do have things of my own to say, but I couldn't put the thoughts into words earlier in the day, and now that I am home from dance class and it's after 11pm, I'm too tired to type what I am able to communicate.

I bring to you instead, and excerpt from an email I just read from my mother. I do not have her permission to reprint this, and I sure hope she doesn't mind, but if she does, it's too late now. The story is so hilarious to me (given all of the characters I have met visiting in convalescent hospitals).

The backstory: My grandma (my mom's mom), who is in her mid 90's, had lived alone in her own house up until this year. It's the same house my mom grew up in, so we're talking decades in same place, for grandma. This year, grandma was moved into a convalescent hospital. Big deal, of course....and a hard adjustment, to be sure. Here's proof of that.

The email from my mom, completely unedited:

Wanta' hear a funny story.......I spoke with my brother Ralph yesterday. Mom wanted to know where her Christmas trees were because she wanted one in her room. Well, he told her one had to be thrown away and the other was sold at a yard sale. She went BALLISTIC! Soooo, Ralph goes out and gets a 3ft. artificial tree that has little white lights. She went BALLISTIC again, saying "you know I only like muticolored lightes'! Ralph was so upset he went outside and had a cry. Two days later he went back with new lights and as he came in to the nurses station the nurses cried out to him......"did you bring the new lights"????? Evidently, Mom never calmed down about the lights. Wow......There's actually more to this story....I'm giving you the short version. My understanding is that Mom had a two-day tantrum about it......time to up the medication?? Ralph and I had a good cry about it but also had to keeps the spirits up.

I think the story is funny (and sad in some ways, of course), but what I REALLY find funny is that my mother just emailed me using MY blog voice. Elipses and caps and everything! (you forgot use wantonly use parenthesis, though Mom!)

Either I am turning into my mother, or she has been reading my posts for so long that I am rubbing off on her. I can't tell which.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

if i wore a mood ring it might be black

I don't have it in me to gussy this post up. You just get when you get when you come around here, because I am a daily blogger.

Everything is poo.

(how's that for gussy, eh?)

MyFavoriteKid stayed home sick from school, and when I emailed all of his teachers separately asking to keep me informed of what he was missing, they each announced that today was a big day. Tests, quizzes, projects in teams, new assignments being explained, and could I please swing by the office and pick up a packet?

I know I haven't even begun to talk here about the property TheMIG and I are in escrow on, but the inspection process has been a nightmare, and from the looks of the rounds of emails between the two agents today, the deal will probably fall through. Whatever. I'm so fed up with it all at this point that it might just be a relief.

TheMostImportantGuy got a call this morning to please leave work and head north to help his family sort through the DadInTheHospital stuff. It's bad. His Dad's got so many things malfunctioning at this point. There is something blocking an artery that brings blood into the digestive track. His kidneys are failing, the liver is doing the same, he's distended, jaundiced, there is ammonia or something backing up into his system (sorry, but I am getting this all via short calls and texts). They don't know if the blockage is a clot or tumor, but any surgery or blood thinners or whatever they would normally do to get it out, would take him out. He's too weak to undergo anything that intense. I'm sure I've gotten some of this wrong, or I am missing stuff entirely, but the general gist is that the family has been advised this is it, and the idea now is to keep him as comfortable as possible. I'm unclear on the timeframe, but whatever it is, it's too short.

I have become obsessed with the idea of knitting tights. It's like, fuck socks, screw hats and why bother with shawls or mitts or holiday decorations. I want tights. I want to cover myself in knitting. Cover.

I know the knitters out there see the connection between the last two paragraphs.

It rained all day, and the pets were either mopey or staring out the windows, or meowing and howling to go out. I made a huge pot of chicken soup, more than MyFK and I will ever be able to eat (and TheMIG is vegetarian). Just seemed like a big pot of comfort was good, and a bigger pot was even better.

I'm a mood.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

a report from the health dept.

I am feeling better. Not top speed, but better. Today at the convalescent hospital I told TheLadies that I was, "not running on all 6-cylinders," and one of them said, "You've been missing at least one cylinder for as long as I've known you." I'm pretty sure she was referring to my missing a leg, but still....jeez! LOL I love my ladies ;-)

I picked up MyFavoriteKid from youth orchestra rehearsal at 6pm, and rather than greeting me with a hello, he announced that he wanted some Airborne and Vitamin C. He's been on a downward spiral the last couple of hours. I'm not convinced he caught the crud from me, though. His whole school has had it. I do believe another round of chicken soup is in my future.

TheMostImportantGuy's dad is not doing so hot, either. Honestly, he has not been doing so hot for about a year now. It's been bladder cancer, infections, blood sugar issues, an amputation, more infections...on and on and on, really....and all of it has been seasoned lately with a bit of depression, I would venture to guess. Now today he is showing signs of who-knows-what (more tests tomorrow), but the guess is that he might be developing some sort of kidney or liver issue. He's super weak and turning yellow. Stay tuned.

The gecko, however, is awesome. He has regained his appetite. Big time. He almost bit my fingers when I was trying to drop a few waxworms in his tank, he was so enthusiastic about it being dinner time. He's been very alert and eating for a few days now (woohoo!), and he has had a normal looking shed take place....but his tail still looks realllllly funky, and I have a feeling he might drop it. Losing their tail is not uncommon when they are ill, under attack, or stressed. Lucky for him, when he loses a part he just grow a new one.

Oh, and the cat is worm free ;-)

Monday, December 06, 2010

git er done

So, I didn't start up a new knitting project.

I ended up instead pulling out the box of wayward knitting projects. It's not a big box, and it's not a full box, but there were several projects doing a "time out" in there for one reason or another.

A couple of things I frogged and re-wound the yarn. They were projects where really the problem was that I like the yarn, and I liked the project, but I didn't like the pairing of the yarn with the project. The big ticket item in there is a sweater that I was working on that I really need to decide what to do with. It was turning out great, but it was also quite the fitted garment, and given my curvy status I need to figure out some shaping magic before I can proceed.

What I did pull out and work on finishing today was a sock, and that is what I am going to get back to knitting on y'all have a lovely night!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

couple things i learned this weekend

I learned that the cat probably wasn't peeing in the warm dryer just to be in ass, but perhaps because he had worms. Yay. Saturday morning was spent taking a trip to the vet, and all animals in the house have been tended to accordingly.

I learned that I am bored to death with everything I have on the knitting needles right now and that I need to start something new to get myself inspired. And then I learned that my knitting supplies were too disorganized to spontaneously start something new, so I sat down and fixed that, which made for a really nice rainy day activity, actually. All of my needles are back to being sorted and organized and in the same box, stitch markers that are not in use are all in one tin, blocking pins and wires are back to being stored together. Stuff like that.

I learned that if you have anyone in your life that could be a candidate for the show Hoarders, you should never ever allow them to watch American Pickers. I just discovered this show this weekend and I watched a mini-marathon of past episodes while I folded laundry, did a little cooking, and sorted through the knitting supplies. American Pickers is kind of like the illegitimate child of Hoarders and Antiques Roadshow. The same exact "guest" could appear on either program, I swear it---the only difference is that if Hoarders knocked on their door, the film crew would include a donation truck, a professional organizer, and a therapist; if it's the crew of Pickers knocking they're gonna climb through your out-buildings full of shit, then haggle with you, and then actually give you money for all that stuff you've been saving forever, thereby reinforcing your stockpiling behavior. That being said, I really like watching American Pickers. It's kinda like going antique hunting or hitting up the garage sales without buying anything. I can dig that. And I kinda wonder if the Picker guys watch Hoarders and cry over the stuff being tossed. Hahahaha.

I learned that the reading of high blood pressure I had at the doc's on Friday may very well have been caused by tea. Yes, by tea. I went to brew up a pot of Aveda's Comforting Tea, and while the water was boiling, I looked over the label as it was my first time drinking it, and it said, "CONTAINS LICORICE: People suffering from hypertension should avoid excessive consumption". Hmmmm! Not so comforting!! And, isn't that funny, because all week long, I have been drinking cup after cup of Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat which, upon closer inspection, has a label that reads, " Contraindications: Do not use if you have impaired kidney or liver functions, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, or heart disease." So! I looked up licorice in my big mighty herbal bible, and it says, "Cautions: Avoid licorice in high blood pressure; it is believed to cause fluid retention. Licorice should not be taken with rapid heartbeats." I promise to check my blood pressure a few more times this week as the doctor suggested, but I swear, I have never had a problem before, and I also swear that I have been drinking the throat coat like nobody's business, and I'd betcha ten bucks that's what did it.

So that's what I learned this weekend. Not much. But something.

All in all, a good weekend. Kinda slacker-ish, and even though I still feel sick, I am definitely on the upswing. And I am now armed and ready to start a new knitting project.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

snaps on saturday

Chanukkah dinner tonight at mom & dad's. Yummmm.

Sent from my iPad

Friday, December 03, 2010


Woke up this morning, wanted to throw on some yoga pants, and realized they were in the clothes dryer. I went and turned on the machine for a couple minutes because hey, what's better than putting on warm clothes from the dryer on a cold, dark morning?

So I get dressed and start breakfast for MyFavoriteKid, and see MrDarcy jumping into the open door of the clothes dryer.

Awwww! How cute! He's gonna cuddle up in the warm.....hey....hey! Thats isn't curling up....he is peeing INSIDE the dryer...ON my clothes!!! AS$#@%& !!!!!!!!!

I chased him around with a squirt bottle until I cornered him, shoved his face in the clothes he had started to marinate, and locked him in the bathroom that conatins his litter box for a good half an hour.



I went to the doctor right after redoing the laundry. I dont have bronchitis or pneumonia. Yay. But was offered the extra-strength cough syrup and was advised for the first time in my life that my blood pressure was a little high. I'll keep an eye on it. But I blame the cat.

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, December 02, 2010

hap-py with the blanket

Still sick as a dog. It has moved into my chest and it's looking like it's time to see a doctor. I'm going in tomorrow. As for today, let me do some catching up.

Dani asked me if I ever found the bird. Nope, I never did see the bird. Just the feathers.
Pickyknitter commented: I spy handspun! Nope, again! I can't take credit for spinning that. What you saw was Cascade Eco-Wool, and it's my new favorite thing. It's super yummy 100% wool, and it's a lot of bang for your buck. I paid just over $15 for almost 9 ounces/475 yards. Woot! What you saw me knitting on in that post was the blanket I've been curled up underneath this past week.

No, I did not get a second guitar, by the way. That is my BabyTaylor is on the left, and what is on the right is an acoustic bass that TheMostImportant guy has moved in here to keep her company.

And so here's your guitar update: I kinda stalled a bit with the practicing when my class got canceled, but I'm back on it again and having learning. I can strum out a few folk songs now, and this week with the raspy throat I sound like I could maybe open at a dive bar (as long as everyone was really sauced).

Hap Blanket, by Ysolda Teague (from the book Whimsical Little Knits)

Started: November 3rd
Finished: November 25th, but I wasn't working on it continuously. If you were to count the actual hours knitting, this thing went super fast.
Needles: US 13's
Yarn: Cascade Eco-Wool. About 1-2/3 skeins of the main color, and about 1/2 a skein of the contrasting.
I upsized the blanket from 40" to approx 52".
I did a provisional cast-on and didn't bind off the center panel so that I wouldn't need to pick up those two sides later.
The color changes happen in a lacy corner right next to a yarn-over. To avoid weaving in ends, I learned how to do my first Russian Joins. I really thought I was going to hate doing these. They look like a royal pain in the arse, and they also look like they will come out sloppy. It is actually such a handy technique with such great results, I am super glad to have it in my toolbox. I personally think the final product looks way better than weaving in ends, and I can see myself using often.

This was a totally relaxing knit...easy television knitting, for sure. I would absolutely make this again.

oh, and here's a link to the ravelry project page

So warm. So snuggly. Man, I love this thing. Unfortunately, so does the dog. If I keep it folded up and draped over the back of the couch when not it's not in use, he stays away from it. And if I'm curled up underneath it, he also leaves it alone. But if I jump up to get some more tea or go to the little girl's room, and I just toss the blanket aside? I come back and he's all rolled up in it.
And he's a little stinky sometimes.
And this blanket is real wool, not super-wash (mean, I will launder it, but it aint like it's as easy as tossing in the machine).

So I'm using the left-over yarn to make him a little doggie blanket ;-)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


If you flipped your calendar to December this morning and though, "holy crap, Christmas is coming," lemme have you try this one on for size:

I had to be done TODAY with all of my elf-ing, because tonight is the first night of Channukah.

It's always a little tough when it comes so early (it's a holiday that has a date that moves around). I didn't even have the Thanksgiving stuff packed up and put away yet, for crying out loud! All through October and November I had to be keeping my eye out for gifts, which just seems...wrong.

So today I packed up the glass pumpkins and silly turkey toys, and I pulled out the Channukah decorations. I had to find the stash of MyFavoriteKid's eight gifts (not so easy, because I had been hiding them for so long I almost hid them from myself), and then I wrapped them all. At his age, I am still doing one gift for each night. Seven of them are small and/or utilitarian....a couple of books, a wall calendar for next year, some clothes.... and then there's one "biggey" gift.

My mom is going to cook up a traditional dinner with the latkes and all on fixings on Saturday night, and then, next week, on the 9th of December??

It's over!

And most of y'all will have barely started.

I'll be in the corner with the eggnog giggling and watching Christmas specials.

It's not that I mean to be sniggering at those of you who will still be in the holiday rush, it's just that I have already had mine!

For those of you who visit here that also celebrate the Festival of Lights, have a really great holiday season. xoxo