Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ten days can sure fly by ...

Okay sorry I've been away so long.

Mom update: Still in hospital, some days are great, some are awful. We (my mom, my brother and I) meet with a surgeon on the 7th of January. She's in the hospital until then. No clue if seeing the surgeon means surgery is an option.

That'll have to do for now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And it's Monday ...

Okay I'm calling the hospital before I update because every time I'm tempted to update something changes. So I'm not going to post that she's much better and she was hungry last night and she ate everything they gave her and it was all solid food before I call the hospital.

Okay talked to her nurse. Sore today. Stomach hurts. Stupid stomach. Also she's a bit low in spirits - need to get over there.

She's waiting for some kind of test to find out something else ...what they'll do with the info is anybody's guess.

In other news, there is a lot of snow out there. I think there is more snow now than there was all last winter. It's very fun to drive in. (well some people like it. i was talking to someone last night who willingly took his car out of his UNDERGROUND HEATED garage just to see if he would slide down that hill outside his house like all the other cars trying to make it. Dude needs to get out more.)

Am stopping to buy my son a Christmas present on my way to Mom.

Have a lovely Monday.

WAIT.

The dog's version of the handkerchief dance. We call it the DishCloth Humiliation. (and by "we", I mean "I".)



(the green dishcloth was so ugly I couldn't bear to give it away.

Here she is wearing the one that was made from "dry clean only" cotton. Just want you want in a DISHCLOTH. (Although it might be fun to see how the drycleaners would react)



(note to TechnoBoy's family: all dishcloths laundered after the photo shoot. Also, of COURSE those dishcloths came from the Italian Christmas Donkey. We're very close.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holding Pattern

Last I heard, the medical profession has no interest in performing this operation on a 71 year old woman with heart trouble.

The 71 year old woman? Would like to stop hurting. She was fine when she wasn't eating anything, and fine with a clear fluid diet, but last night, after her first solid food in six days, she was asking for painkillers. Hopefully that's just the stomach going "Whoa! What IS this stuff???" and not the stomach saying "Uhh. No thanks. I've got these lungs in my way ..."

There are a few more tests they want to run so we don't know how long she will be in the hospital and we don't know and we don't know and we don't know.

What I do know is Proverbs 3: 5 & 6 is still true. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding."

And Flicka? I'm invoking the power of the T-shirt ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

But wait! There's more.

"Just happened" to be at the hospital when the surgeon came to see Mom.

Everyone has a hole in their diaphragm that allows the esophagus to pass through. The stomach sits directly beneath that.

A hiatal hernia is when a tiny portion of the stomach slips up through the hiatus. Lots of people have them - my Dad did. He slept with his head elevated, and it rarely bothered him.

What people have not been telling us, presumably because that joy belongs to the surgeon, is that, in my Mom's case, when they said "large hernia" they meant her ENTIRE STOMACH is in her chest cavity, above the diaphragm, as is the first bit of small bowel that is attached to the stomach at the bottom end, and then, just for giggles, a few loops of her large bowel joined the party.

This is operable. However, I believe his exact words were "This is a big operation" and there is some concern that her heart would not make it through. Tomorrow she meets with more doctors, and the endless rounds of decision making discussions begin.

"and so this is Christmas ..."

Mom's in the hospital, has been since Saturday evening. Finally got a bed in a medical ward on Monday night, a mere 48 hours after we arrived.

The diagnosis has changed from "bowel obstruction" to "no bowel obstruction" to no "hiatal hernia with bowel involvement".

There is talk of surgery, but no definite plans. Yet.

There is no talk of "maybe she'll go home tomorrow."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Guts: n. courage

Facebook banter:

Me: I'm knitting. Scarves.

LS: Me too!

Me: I didn't know you knit! What are you knitting with?

LS: Beats me. Some kind of yarn that looks like long skinny intestines.

Me: Lovely. You're knitting guts.

***

I grab my knitting on my way out the door - a ball of cotton, some metal needles. They stay in my bag at the nursing home, in the ambulance.

In the emergency room, there is hockey game on the TV, most chairs are empty. There is yarn that combines the colours in those sunsets that are so impossible to catch on film. There is the slide of needle on needle, the pull of yellow through orange, pink through rose. There is measurable progress, a chanted order. Purl, Knit, knit, knit, purl. This could be my living room, Hockey Night in Canada.

I falter.
"71 years - pretty good for someone with CP."
"On a scale of 1 to 10? The pain is 10."


Her hand shrinking into mine in the ambulance, her eyes wide, like a frightened animal. "Don't hold your breath. Try hard to breathe through the pain." My voice is calm, even. I can't stop stroking her hair.

Is this it? the last time? Is this the answer to my prayer "Please don't let her die alone?"

I shake my head, pick up the sunset lying quiet in my lap. A stranger's husband nods at the work. "Settling in for the night?"

I look down, pull a loop through, sure, steady, familiar ground.

No, I think, I'm knitting. Guts.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Prayer, please

My dear friend and mentor, Angie Hunt, is burying her father today.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hat Redux.

Right then. Need a red one for a nine year old girl to add to the pile. (8 hours from now.)

Hat Pattern Revisited

Yarn: chunky weight acrylic. kinda ...not as nice as the other, but it was HERE.
Needles: 6.5 mm (because the other hat is a bit on the loosely knit side. Six months from now, she can crochet a strap and use it as a purse. For big chunky things.)

Cast on 74 st.

Rib, rib, rib, P2 K2. Rib while cooking supper, while waiting for the kids at piano lessons, while watching A's soccer practice, through devotions. This is a hat for a 9 year old so I'm hoping smaller needles will create a smaller circumference.

Decrease:

Rib 6, K2tog to end. P2. (65 sts on needle.)

Rib one row (K2, *p1, k2, p2, k2 to end.)

*p2tog, k2, p2 tog, k1 to last 2 st, p2tog.

p2, k2tog, p2, k1 to last 2 st, p2. (56 st)

Rib one row, K2, *p1 K2 to end.

P2tog, *K1 P2tog to end (37 st)

K1 *K2tog to end. (19 st)

Break yarn, leaving enough to pull through remaining stitches and sew the seam.

Easy peasey. Now I need a 9 year old head to try it on. Too bad he's asleep.

have to write this down or I'll forget and have to negotiate the learning curve all over again

Hat.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee had the following directions for a hat on her blog:

(Pattern mine. 2x2 rib over 100 stitches for a long time. Decrease. Stop knitting.)

As I was knitting a 2X2 rib scarf at the time, I thought "Hey, I could do that!"

So I did, but I had to make up some specifics. You may want to come back tomorrow, if you're not into knitting.

Hat.
(Beehive Shetland Chunky, 8.0 mm needles.)

Cast on 72 74 stitches. (Now that I'm done sewing up it occurs me to that having an uneven number of repeats might have made that whole process easier.) Rib, rib, rib, (k2 p2) until one whole 50g ball is gone. Hold the rectangle up to your head repeatedly. Tell yourself this is "trying it on."

Lay the rectangle on your dog and take a picture.




Take a whole lot more pictures of the dog lying patiently under knitted stuff, hoping this means you are planning to rub her belly soon. (if you're trying this at home, you could omit this step.)





Get another 50 g ball and rib some more. Too deep is better than not deep enough.

"Rib some more" appears to mean "remember that you read somewhere that a hat should be the depth of your hand from the base of your palm to the end of your index finger. (try it - it worked for me! palm on my ear, index finger touching the top of the center of my head.)

Spend half an hour trying to find the part where you read that. It was on the Internet somewhere, but the Internet is a biggish place.

Give right up and rib two rows and measure it that way anyway and then decide that the bit you've allowed for turning up at the brim is deep enough, and start to decrease.

Decrease as follows, maybe.

Knit 6, K 2tog, *k5 k 2tog till you have 8 stitches left, k6 k2tog.

Okay wait, I'm ribbing. Let's try Rib 6, P 2 tog, Rib 5 ...argh. Okay I did this:

Rib 6, P2tog all across row, ends with Rib 6.(61 sts on needles) Crap. 62 63 sts on needle, I knit 2tog on that last row where I shouldn't have. (also p2 tog where I shouldn't) (Also who knows how many stitches cause I added 2 at the beginning. So there may be 2 more here, or one more. 60-ish stitches on the needle.)
Now I'm ribbing one row 2X2 or 2X1, whatever needs doing at the time, I can stop panicking. (rib 4, k1, *rib 6, knit 1 to end.)

Okay had time to think.

Next row: Knit all the knits, purl all the purls BUT purl 2tog every time you see 2 purl sts instead of one.

so k2, p2tog, k2, p1 ... ARGH. Go get a coffee, I'm tinking. And bring me one, I'm not standing up until this is cast off. okay that row is right, you should end on a p2tog. 54 st on (my) needle.

Rib one row K1 P2, ending with a P2.

Enough pussy footing around. K2tog P1 across row. 36 st on needle (theoretically)

Seriously. I'm so done. K2 tog all across row. (well okay I did K2tog P2tog all across but I don't think it much matters) 18 st on needle.

Smush it together on the needles and "try it on." (seriously? I'm not frogging it at this point. What am I thinking here?) (NB: you must remove the glasses from the top of your head before you try this.)




Right then. Draw the wool through the last 18 stitches, pull super tight (don't break the yarn. I didn't, but wow, do I feel lucky). Cut yarn, leaving a long tail, and sew the seam.

This could totally be done on dpn's but I haven't added that learning curve to my To Do list yet. (Socks. When I get to socks. I may knit a sock for someone very big, to start out with.)

Remember the part where if you're going to turn up the brim, you should reverse the seam for the last few inches so it doesn't show. I'd suggest NOT forgetting that, ripping out the seam and resewing it exactly the way you just ripped out, btw. It's annoying, when all you really want to do is snip that last thread and put that puppy on.



On the puppy, that is.

Bragging

Today I needed to know the html code for drawing a line through something and I ...

I ...

(TechnoBoy, you may want to be seated when you read this)

I ...

called TechnoBoy, whining LOOKED IT UP.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Heroes

So you know how it is. You blog for thirty days straight and bore yourself stupid and then you start to knit like a crazed person and somehow days go by and nothing seems interesting enough to post. "I was in a Bad Place and now it's good." Yawn. "The dog won't pee because the snow is too deep and the sidewalk doesn't smell right?" Probably said that last year. "I knit another thing?" No freaking kidding.

But then maybe you and your husband and your hockey-obsessed son run into Kelly Hrudey in the mall, and the three of you finally decide you're brave enough to say something to him, because he is, after all, human ;) and maybe Kelly smiles like you're his best friends and shakes your 9 year old son's hand and looks him straight in the eye and asks him how long he's been playing hockey and how old he is and how school's going. And maybe your son is just about speechless with delight, and you and your husband can't stop grinning at each other over his head, and when you say "Thank you" as you're walking away, you mean it with all your heart.

And maybe five minutes later, when your husband reaches down to take your son's hand, he pulls back and cradles The Hand Kelly Shook protectively and says "I don't want you to touch this hand right now."

So then you want to blog it, and you want to say, Thank you, Kelly, for taking time to treat my son like a VIP. That glove he was wearing when you shook his hand? He's sleeping with it.

And you have a really great smile.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

why is it ...

that I have no 4.5 mm or 5 mm knitting needles that are not double pointed? I do not remember excessive double-pointed needle knitting in my passionate-for-knitting past, and yet there is a vast array of dpn's in various sizes.

I do, however, remember many many long hours knitting on straight needles, and yet there seem to be fewer of those. Have they retired?

I do not know, and you, the reader, do not care, so I shall change the subject. The Yarn Shop opens in 11 hours - I'll be fine.

In other news, I am FREEZING. (not literally) It's not even very cold here yet - -9 C. Hardly even winter, and yet I have been unable to stop shivering today. Luckily I had a lovely new scarf to shiver into - oh wait, that's talking about knitting again.

Took my Mom to watch A wrestle today - she lost her first match, and was a bit bummed because she hasn't lost a match all season, but came out with her head totally in the game for her second match, and totally dominated a girl who is actually a much better wrestler than the one she lost to. I love watching her wrestle. She just so FOCUSSED.

Also I have decided to stop buying dog food for my dog - she doesn't eat it anyway unless I disguise it with table scraps. Any advice from all the hundreds of dog owners that read this blog?

okay I have to go to hide beneath 29 layers of blankets. I'm not coming out until ....until ...oh wait, until the Yarn Shop opens tomorrow.