Shuffling Back to Blogger

The title says it all. Well, not all.

For the full explanation, come on over to the original blog, www.thebigfinish-spingirl.blogspot.com See you there, I hope!

Windstorm 2008!! And other sundry items…

If you live in the Midwest United States, you know what this is going to be about. It’s only taken me 10 days to post about it because I hate trying to put pictures in my blog!

Here’s a view of the mess in the back yard. It ended up worse than this, because this was taken while the windstorm was still going on. We moved fast, though. A couple of those 75-MPH gusts were all it took to make us all head back inside!

This is a view of the tops of the trees. They’re even smaller now. We have three of these trees in a clump in the backyard, and they all need to be taken down now. Some of the branches that came down were 25 feet long, so who knows what kind of damage they did to the trees on the way down. That will be seen during the next storm, but I’d rather not have a 25-foot spear through the roof of the garage, so we’re checking into having them cut down. We’ll have no shade, but we’ll have no branches impaling us, roots tripping us, and rootlets choking everything in the flower beds. I really hate these soft maples. They grow super-fast, so they get planted everywhere, but they are terrible trees when they get big.

This used to be a Bradford Pear in the front yard. Oh, well. I always wanted a sugar maple there anyway.

And at least we didn’t have to deal with anything like this. This is my neighbor’s (former) tree. You can see by the branches in the background that the wind was still blowing pretty hard here.

All in all we got off pretty easily. Our power was out just a little over 24 hours, but there are still parts of the Dayton area waiting for power even now. We have a generator, so we were able to keep the refrigerator cold, though we didn’t run it nonstop. I did throw away some things from the freezer that had gotten soft, but we saved the refrigerator contents. I plugged in the microwave long enough to heat water to take a spit-bath. I used the warm water to soap up in, then got in the cold shower to rinse. Then I washed my hair in the sink with the rest of the bowl of warm water, and rinsed with cold. That was bearable, but I now understand why people didn’t take baths often before electricity. What a pain. It took forever!

On to happier things. Here’s a shot of the sleeve of the new “Pirate” coat that I mentioned in my last post. Cables=ropes=pirates. Well, it made sense last Friday! (Maybe I’d had too much grog or something.) The pattern is by Jo Sharp, and I’m using Brown Sheep yarn, the name of which slips my mind at the moment. It has some mohair in it. As soon as I publish this post, I’ll remember. Anyway, I like it much better than the tweed yarn this pattern called for. The stockinette on the wrong side of this is really  gorgeous, and though it looks complicated, I haven’t had too much trouble following the pattern. The safety pins are for the increases, a tip I got from Maggie Righetti’s book. Can’t remember the name of that either. Sheesh. I hate getting old.

Our company found out today that we lost our biggest client, so it’s a good thing I’ve been buying so much yarn and fiber lately, huh? If my hours get cut, as they almost certainly will, I have the equivalent of a yarn store stacked behind me right now. (And don’t tell anyone, but I just ordered two skeins of Malabrigo sock yarn from a shop in Canada. One for me, and one to trade on Ravelry. Maybe I can score some more Sundara. Or Wollmeise.)

Speaking of stash. We went to the Woolgathering on Saturday (“we” being my daughter, Melissa, and her 20-month-old.) Note to selves: DO NOT TAKE A TODDLER TO THE WOOLGATHERING! Gee, I wish I’d read that note a couple of days ago. I’ll save the details for another post, but in the meantime, here’s a peek at something. Something wonderful…

I leave you to ponder the beauty and mystery.

Yarrr!

Ahoy, mateys! It be National Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Now, it be fun an’ all, but it be makin’ f’r a shorter bloggy post. ‘Tain’t easy t’speak this way if ya dinna ken how by nature. Yarrrr.

I be workin’ on a new piece o’ clothin’, seein’ how as I ain’t got any. Yarrr. ‘Specially seein’ as winter be comin’ an’ all. Shiver me timbers (and th’ rest o’ me too!) This be a purty coat, wiv cables n’ all–just what Mad Bess Bonney (that be me, y’ken) needs t’ kiver her an’ keep them cold winds fr’m cuttin’ through. An’ the cables be kinda like ropes, so I be thinkin’ they be perfect. Yarrrr! Now I just be needin’ Cap’n Jack Sparrow f’r some company. ‘Tis more like I’ll be havin’ Cap’n Crunch, I be thinkin’.

Time for some grub ‘n’ grog. Be seein’ ye round, mateys!  Yarrr!

Catch-up Saturday

I feel like I’ve been running in place for days, but I think I’ve finally whipped the laundry into submission, and I’ve rounded up yarn to be wound. The floor hasn’t been swept yet, but hey–I can’t do EVERYTHING!

Caturday pic:

This is our usual mode when I’m trying to work at my desk, but I made a critical error today. I had scooted too far forward on the chair, so right now, Emmy is behind me instead of on my lap, and I’m perched on the edge trying not to squoosh her. I could push her off, but I don’t feel like hearing the back-talk I’d get. She really is the mouthiest cat! This also gives a slight view of the rubble of my desk and sewing/weaving/stash/computer room. A merest fraction of the rubble, let me say. And if I’d realized I’d be posting this picture, I might have taken the time and trouble to put some makeup on and done something with my hair. Meh.

We spent four hours at the ER last evening because the baby hurt her arm. She stood up on a chair and it tipped, so we assumed that it was related, but apparently not. Turned out to be something called “Nursemaid’s Elbow.” It happens sometimes when you’re holding a child’s hand and she falls. The elbow joint gets stretched, and the ligament gets pinched between the bones or something like that (I can’t follow these technical medical explanations!) Anyway, they did the usual x-rays to make sure nothing was broken. The doctor was wise enough to wait until Mommy and I went down to the vending machines to come in and pop the elbow while Papaw was holding the baby, so the worst was over by the time we got back with our chemical brew that passed for coffee. He wanted us to stick around for a little while to see how she reacted. She ate some vending machine mac ‘n’ cheese, and a little later took a walk down the hall holding our hands, so she was clearly all better! I think it’s a little sore still today, but she can move it at least. And it could just be that thing where she remembers that it hurt, so she thinks it still will if she moves it a certain way. She came home with two cool toys, so she should be happy now. We have no idea how it happened in the first place. She got up crabby from her nap, and when I put her on the changing table, she winced and cried out when I moved her arm, so maybe I did it picking her up–who knows?

I’ve been sorting through projects, and I’m about ready to post another Project List. I think there will always be a pair of socks going now. They really are so much fun to make, and they’re kind of addicting. Especially now that I can cast on and turn a heel without thinking twice about it, they’re really mindless knitting, so my sock-knitting bag will always be with me now. It certainly made the hours at the ER go much faster!

Sock Disaster Movie

SOS is over, and I said I was done with socks, right?  Well, yeah…but then I saw the Socknitter’s Anonymous group on Ravelry, and they’re just starting a Mystery Sock in orange, and I have more of that perfect Trekking orange that I love so much, so I said what the heck and joined the group. I printed the first clue to the Mystery Sock and cast on and got the toe done quick as a wink (by this time, I could do it in my sleep.)

Then I hit the pattern section. Now, I’ve read charts before–many times, in fact. But I only managed to get three pattern rows done in one entire evening. I swear I had to rip that thing back eleventy times. I picked it up again today, figuring that I’d sorted out what all the little symbols meant, and where they were all supposed to go. I knitted part of one row, saw it wasn’t working, ripped back, knitted it again–correctly, this time, and zipped through the plain knitting on the sole. Next row: three quarters of the way through, things are looking good, then…hey, what’s this big strand doing here? There’s not supposed to be a yarn-over th…gaaaaassssspppp. I dropped a stitch right in the middle of the twisty part, and I mean DROPPED. It had already laddered down to the beginning of the pattern rows.

This cannot be fixed. At least not by me. I’ve had it. I like complicated stuff to a degree, but complicated stuff plus a dropped stitch is way out of my league. Forget it. (Let me note here that it is clearly not the fault of the pattern designer, because I’ve already seen photos of socks with the whole Clue 1 pattern chart knitted. They’re very pretty, and I’m an idiot, because I haven’t read of anyone else having trouble with the pattern. Some things can’t be explained, but I know when to quit. It was five rows back.)

Luckily, you don’t have to do the Mystery Sock. You can do any pattern you want, as long as it’s with orange yarn.  I’m playing it safe and doing “Spring Forward” again. I can handle that.

Summer’s End (sort of)

My Summer of Socks is officially over. I just posted pics of pair #20, and that’s it. It’s not humanly possible for me to knit another pair in three hours. As far as the total tally, I know someone has 29 pairs posted, and another knitter has 20. Other than that, I don’t know the standings, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the next three hours.

So life goes back to whatever normal passes for around here. Tonight I have to make amends for doing nothing but knitting all weekend. So I have to clean up some of the rubble, make sure we have clean clothes, and pray there’s some forgotten food in the downstairs freezer that I can nuke for supper.

I’m hoping the blog posts will improve once I catch my breath. It’s time to regroup and decide what to work on next!

Last SOS Push and Going Gluten-Free

I’m working on pairs 17 & 18 for SOS, and hoping to get to 20 by Monday at 10PM, when the Most Socks contest closes. It will be tight. After that, well….hmmm…knitting shawls, reading, watching TV–normal life in other words! Or as normal as my life can be.

I was Plurking this morning about going gluten-free, and got too many questions to answer on Plurk, so here’s the quick run-down on that for Plurkbuds and anyone else who might find the info helpful.

First, let me say that I’ve been feeling bad. And I mean reeeaaaallly baaaaadddd for months. (And not the Isaac Hayes version of badness. I mean bad as in lousy, awful, wretched.) I’m not going for sympathy here, but I’m just saying that I’ve been pretty much non-functioning for a long time. I drag myself from bed and manage to make it to work and struggle through my three or four hours there, and that’s about it. Some days I don’t even have the energy to shower (I do spit-baths, as my mother calls them. Don’t freak–I’m clean, just not squeaky-clean!) I can’t even begin to describe the mind-numbing, bone-breaking fatigue I stagger around in all the time, and I’m fed up with it.

I’ve been blaming it on the fibromyalgia and lack of exercise, but I’ve had in the back of my mind that I’ve not been eating well, so yesterday I got a couple of books on FM and gluten-intolerence, and I am seriously convinced that I must go gluten-free.

Now, I’ve known for some years that I can’t tolerate wheat well. No, let me re-phrase that. When I eat wheat, my abdomen distends until I look five months pregnant, my eyes feel like they sink two inches into my head, and I start feeling too weak to breathe. The natural response to this would be to stop eating wheat, right? Alas, when you have a sensitivity, you tend to crave the very thing you’re sensitive to because as soon as you eat it, you feel better briefly–very briefly. It’s a vicious cycle. Add to that the fact that wheat and/or gluten is in almost every single processed food we eat, and it’s tough. (Last night I discovered that my herb tea contains barley, which contains gluten. Who knew?) Top it off with the problem of not feeling like shopping or cooking, and you end up eating processed junk food all the time, and the cycle continues.

So to answer a couple of questions from this morning: one way to figure out if you’re sensitive to a certain food is to think about how your gut feels. If you have any symptoms of irritable bowel, a food sensitivity is a possibility. Here’s how I would go about figuring it out (with the caveat that I’m not a medical professional in any way, but I have been through this.) If you find that you crave a certain food–say bread–eliminate it from your diet for a week (some pros say two weeks, but I suspect a week will do it.) That means eliminate completely. No bread, crackers, pasta, croutons, breaded foods, rye, barley, cookies, and so on. Avoid oatmeal as well, as it can be cross-contaminated because of growing or processing conditions. After going the week, fix up a nice dish of couscous or pasta or a couple of pieces of toast and chow down. (Same for any other suspected food; eliminate for a week, then have some and see how you feel.)

Here’s what happened the day the light bulb went on for me–I fixed a dish of couscous for lunch and wolfed it. Within twenty minutes I felt like I was dying. I could barely sit up on the sofa for the fatigue, and my heart was thumping–not racing, but thumping harder than usual, if that makes sense. Suddenly it clicked. All those years of bloating, pain, and fatigue could almost certainly be pegged to the fact that I lived on bagels and Raisin Bran. (Seriously, I used to eat Raisin Bran at least twice a day. I thought my body didn’t tolerate raisins well. Huh.) I did go to a food allergist and had some other tests to confirm it, but that day, I KNEW.

I’ve avoided wheat since then. Sort of. But it’s really, really hard. Especially when you’re a lazy cook, as I am. But I do know that when I buckled down and stocked the pantry with “safe” foods, I felt better. So I have to do that again, only more thoroughly this time, because I discovered from my books that there are more things that contain gluten than I thought. And I’ll have to go through a sort of withdrawal from the cravings for bread, and weirdly enough, beer. I don’t crave beer for the alcohol, it’s the taste, the mouth-feel, the stout yeasty flavor. But it’s essentially liquid bread.

According to the specialists, here are the most likely culprits for food sensitivity: dairy, soy, yeast, wheat, corn, and eggs. Most people who are lactose-intolerant know it, but the others are sneaky because they are in so much of our processed food. And, as much as I love my doctor, I have to say that this is one of those subjects that the mainstream medical community doesn’t deal with very much. In all the years I’ve been treated for FM, none of my doctors has suggested dietary changes or nutritional guidance.

I could go on and on about it, but if any of this raises a red flag in your mind for yourself or anyone in your family, there is a lot of information out there. You have to go looking for it, though, because you probably won’t hear it from your doctor. I say “probably” but I’m sure there are exceptions. BTW, although my sensitivity causes me to feel fatigued, in children it often comes out as hyperactivity and irritability.

Sensitivity is different from a true allergy. An allergy causes your body to release different hormones, or whatever it is that it releases (told you I’m not a medical expert!) When you’re talking about allergies, it’s usually stuff like shellfish or peanuts, where people have their tongues swell up and their throats close and can even go into anaphalactic shock. That’s one of the reasons food sensitivities are overlooked or underrated, IMO. If you don’t swell up and choke, you must not have a problem, right? Tell that to someone who’s lactose-intolerant.

I can’t be positive how much, or if I will feel better if I go gluten-free, but I strongly suspect that there will be an improvement. I know there was before, so I’m hanging on to that hope, because feeling this way is just impossible. For the record, let me say that I’ve had tests for everything from lupus to thyroid problems to heart disease. According to the tests, I’m in perfect health. That’s why I sit and cry at my desk at work from the effort of holding my head up. (My, wasn’t THAT a pathetic picture!)

On a brighter note: I’ve scored some Wollmeise! Ravelry was all abuzz the past week because of the Wollmeise releases at The Loopy Ewe. Some of the lovely people who managed to get more than one or two skeins generously offered to sell or trade, so I’ve got at least one coming, thanks to msknitsox. The nice thing about Ravelry is that for the most part, everyone gets along so well. Yes, there are disagreements, but apologies are freely offered and accepted, and the generosity and sharing spirit are wonderful.

I’m going to go have my last piece of Toll House Pie. If anyone knows of a nice gluten-free recipe for that, let me know, will ya?

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