Sunday, March 30, 2008

Best Date Ever

Five years ago I'd been diagnosed with Cancer (Lymphoma) and had started what would be 9 months of chemotherapy, followed by a month of radiation. Prior to my diagnosis I'd been trading emails with this guy I'd met on line, but I kind of dropped the ball during the whole 'let's see if this is really Cancer and if so what kind' stage. When things settled down and I was no longer spending days at a time in the doctor's office, I emailed him again, explained I hadn't been ignoring him, I just found out I had Cancer and had been just a bit distracted. And we continued emailing.

He eventually suggested that we meet in person and offered to make me dinner, mentioning something like grilled steak and mango salsa. How could I refuse? So we figured out what the best day would be based on my chemo schedule, and one Sunday afternoon, five years ago today, I drove down to Woodstock from Essex to see him. Ninety miles. In a snowstorm. It took me over 2 hours to get there.

In Vermont you do this sort of thing and that's why you have all-wheel drive.

So that's how we met. I liked him, he liked me. His dog liked my dog, my dog liked his dog's chewy treats. All good. We went for a walk in the snow, and he made me dinner. Steak on the grill, mango salsa. Black beans and rice, and platanos. And he sent me home with homemade orange/hazelnut biscotti which he said had healing properties (they must - I'm here, aren't I?).
And then I drove another 2+ hours back home in the snow.

It was so worth it. Best. date. ever. Two weeks later he'd changed his work schedule so he could come to my chemo appointments with me, and four months to the day after we met face-to-face, we got married. That picture of the 2 bald people on the right of this page is our wedding picture.

Happy First-Date-Anniversary Sweetie. I can't think of anyone who could have made the past 5 years any happier for me than you have. I love you.

Though I am wondering why I'm the one who has been making the biscotti lately...

My Husband Will Die Laughing

The 'You don't get worked up easily' is going to slay him. He has more than once referred to me as a 'frantic little woman'. In his best Jamaican accent.

What Rachel Means

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are very open. You communicate well, and you connect with other people easily.

You are a naturally creative person. Ideas just flow from your mind.

A true chameleon, you are many things at different points in your life. You are very adaptable.

You are truly an original person. You have amazing ideas, and the power to carry them out.

Success comes rather easily for you... especially in business and academia.

Some people find you to be selfish and a bit overbearing. You're a strong person.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Friday!

Just a quick update; life has been busy both at work and play. I'll only discuss the play. Gisela is coming along nicely.
That's the back, ready to go onto the stitch markers. I may actually finish this before Hawaii!

Here's my newest stash addition. Remember this post? The second blog I mentioned is Jessie's. She's not only a fun read, she sells beautiful stuff - and I finally have some! This is Addison "Real Vermonter" Roving in the Petunias colorway. I got the last one of Petunias but check it out - there's other wonderful fibery things in there. This is 60% Romney/Corriedale, 30% Mohair and 10% Alpaca - and all the animals are from Vermont! It's wonderful soft stuff with a pretty halo.

This is a closer look. Purty, huh? I can't wait to get spinning. I think this will be socks but I'm not sure - there's 6 ounces here, which on me would probably be enough for a pair of thigh-highs. Wouldn't that be sexy...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Talk About Loose Ends...

I couldn't think of a single way to link all of this together, so this is one random post.

I'm still not used to the CA growing season. We've had roses blooming since February! This is a view from my living room window:

And another bloom getting ready to show off:
These are hybrids of some sort, which is something else I'm not used to. They do really well here; in Vermont, not so much. There you almost have to treat them as annuals - they can't take the cold winters. On the other hand, my favorite roses, Rugosas (the really tough ones with lots of hips that you often find growing near the ocean) don't do at all well here because they need a nice long freeze for dormancy. Win some, lose some.

Trouble Has A Boyfriend
Meet Dante:
He's an Italian Greyhound. I've known about them but hadn't met one in person until I met Dante. I didn't realize how teeny they are! Dante has come over a few times with his owner who set up our irrigation system. He is handsome and he knows it. Dante, that is; I don't know if his owner has an inflated ego or not.

Trouble loves Dante! When our other dog Riso tries to play with her she looks at him as if he's crazy and doesn't join in. We thought she'd never learned how to play. Turns out she's just selective with regard to her playmates. These two went crazy in the backyard.

When she was too tired to play, she just followed him around every where he went. Apparently she's one of those up-front girls and has no interest in playing hard-to-get.

Kristi In The House
Kristi was in town this weekend so a bunch of us got together to knit and hang out with her. Abigail, who had coordinate the knitting of a log cabin quilt for Anabel's new baby (yet to be born, don't get all squeally yet), decided last minute that it would be a fine time to give Anabel the quilt. Problem was, she decided this on Thursday, when she received the last square. But she managed a miracle and with some help, got it done in time. Go Abigail!

It's made from Elann's Pakucho Cotton. It's pretty splitty while knitting but it makes a really nice fabric. And it's colored naturally!

Anabel seems pretty happy with it, don't you think?

You can see Abigail there, and Karen, and the side of Cookie's head. Cookie's hair perfectly matched the dress she was wearing; I was impressed. Of course I missed taking pictures of a bunch of others who were there: Teenuh, Jeni, Bex, Brianna and Margit. Apologies if I left someone out!

The quilt square isn't the only cotton square I've been knitting:
This is for an event raising money to help fight breast cancer. Ryan had sent out a plea for these on behalf of a friend, and so many responded she needed us to knit only one each. This was a super-quick project made from some Rowan All Seasons Cotton I had in stash. I like the slight color variegation.

Tiny (Knitted) Bubbles
I've also started something new!
Meet Gisela from Cocoknits. I picked up the pattern at Stitches West, but you can download it from the website. I'm making it with the recommended yarn, A-174 Cotton Gima from Habu. I started it this week and I'm a rush to finish it by mid-April. I want to wear it while we're in Hawaii. Yep that's right, Hawaii! We're going for 9 days; a friend is getting married near Kona and we decided to extend the long weekend into a proper vacation. I've never been, and I can't wait to go!

Remember this?
This is the wedding gift I'm making for the friend who's thoughtful enough to get married in Hawaii and give me an excuse to go. It's the least I can do. It's the Lizard Ridge afghan, and it's progressing well. This should be done by mid-May, which is when this friend will be back from her honeymoon.

And Other Miscellany...
I've also been spinning.
While hubby was back east I was alone a lot and found time to spin all these singles. This is the Crown Mountain Superwash Merino in the Born To Be Wild colorway.

And here's the finished yarn. 358 yards, 3-ply and as close to sock weight as I've ever come. And socks it will be. For me. Some day.

Parting Shot:
Miguel, caught tolerating one of the dogs he professes to loathe. Busted!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

Do you read Norma's blog? You should. Every day (and you can, as she's blogging every day this year). This is one fab, funny woman. I love, love, love her blog and her too - though we've never met. It just kills me that I used to live just a few towns away from her but it was before I started knitting and blogging, so I had no idea.

Anyway, according to Norma, F is for Friends. Check out the video on her blog - I'm in it! Yay! I'm Norma's friend! And I'm pretty sure it's for two reasons - not just as her friend, but also as some of the token eye candy. Cher, Patrick and Ahhnold and me. We are hot, hot, hot (Freudian slip there - I just typed 'hot, hot, not').

Oh - and you should read Jessie's blog too. Another fab and funny Vermonter (with some gorgeous fiber to sell, by the way). Whom I've also never met, but I really hope I do some day.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Speaking Of Paranormal Erotica...

Actually I've never spoken of paranormal erotica. I don't think I've ever even paired the two words together until this evening. And frankly, I doubt I'll ever have anything to say about it. Someone used the phrase today while knitting at my favorite LYS and I found it very comical. And I felt the need to see what what kind of searches it'll bring to my blog. If that's how you got here and you were hoping for something a little more frisky...well sorry. I have a total potty mouth at times but I'm not too inclined to blog it (though that isn't a promise).

You All Are The Best

Thanks everyone for the wonderful, kind comments in response to my last post. I didn't want to say it for safety's sake, but I was alone in the house that week and you all made me feel a lot less alone during a rough time. I was so glad to have my husband back home, even though he arrived with a nasty case of the flu and a temp of 103.4. He's on the mend now though and we are doing alright.


I found some things to help me feel better, both emotionally and physically (remember the sprained ankle)? Spinning is helping me get some strength back:
This is from Crown Mountain Farms - I think it's the Wild Thing colorway - though I'm not positive. Jasmin and I did a trade - she'd spun the first 4 ounces and gave me the remainder. I did the same with mine in Albatross. I just can't get over how different it looks spun up - there's so much white in the roving but it nearly disappears in the singles. And it'll have a totally different effect when it's plied (I'm planning on 3-ply this time around).

I'm also enjoying another form of therapy - my herb garden! I'm so excited - it has been several years since I had one and it feels so nice to be getting back into it. I'm doing mostly culinary herbs (basil, thymes, sages, oregano, tarragon, etc.) but I'm also growing a host of moth-repellant herbs: Southernwood, Wormwood, Costmary, Rue, Patchouli, Lavender, Santolina and Rosemary. So really it's a knitter's garden, right?

I've got one small bed (out of four) planted. Here's some of the Thyme:
I've got 5 different varieties.

Here are some of the remaining herbs waiting to be planted. Most of the moth-repellent ones were still on order at the time so I don't have a picture of them. These are mostly sages, some purple basil and some Santolina.


We've also got vegetable beds and fruit trees; I'll show those off when we've finished the back yard. There have been a lot of changes to our landscape this year!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Though the bamboo scarf I spun and knit for my mother-in-law was received, she never wore it. She died today. I'm teetering between being so sad, and also being extremely grateful that my husband got back east in time to see her while she was still lucid and she knew he was there. When my brother died a few years ago, I too saw him on his last clear day. I'm not religious, but I do consider that a blessing.

Cancer sucks.

Rest in peace, Jeb. We love you.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Let's Add Injury to Insult

So. I wasn't just beat last weekend after Stitches. What I thought was a 24-hour bug turned out to be the plague (I got a flu shot this year - it had to be the plague). I woke up last Sunday feeling sick again, and stayed home from work all week. Luckily I could connect to the job on line so I didn't go completely insane thinking about work that was piling up. Anyway, I spent the week hacking, coughing, feverish and generally the picture of someone who shouldn't be out in public. Thursday my fever returned, so I decided it was time to see the doctor. I made an appointment for Friday.

As I stepped out the door Friday en route to my appointment - well the problem is, I didn't really step out the door at all. I fell out the door. My foot landed half-on the welcome mat (which, by the way, says 'Go Away') and I completely rolled my ankle. It hurt. A lot. You know the kind of hurt when you can't talk, you can't move, you just have to wait for that wave of pain to go away. My neighbor came running over to help. She speaks no English at all (though I do believe she understood 'ow') but I managed to tell her in Spanish that I was ok, and then, very cleverly I managed to palm off two bags of oranges foisted upon me by Jasmin ("Quieres naranjas?" - she was thrilled). Once the wave of pain was over, I managed to wobble to my car and make it to the doctor. She checked my ankle out, we both agreed it wasn't broken.

By the time I made it home though, it was throbbing like crazy. I iced it, took some ibuprofen and hoped to hell it wasn't broken after all. It's my right foot - I need to drive, damnit! The next day, same story. So I went to see my sister-in-law who's a physical therapist. She worked on me for about an hour, gave me a walking stick and sent me on my way.

It is SO much better today. It's still weak and occasionally I land on it wrong and really tweak it, but I'm not the limping, coughing, pathetic-looking plague victim I was yesterday.

A New FO

So having the plague has advantages. Such as being able to knit in between coughing and sleeping. I was anxious to use my newly spun Fiberfiend Bamboo, so I made this:
This is the Montego Bay Scarf from the Summer 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. It's a super easy, 4-row repeat pattern, 2 rows of which are purl. I made it a little more narrow than called for, and just a few inches shorter. This is only the 2nd time I've ever knit from my own handspun. I think I may have to do it more often!

Miguel thinks it's flattering against his nearly 19-year-old gray self.

Riso wanted to show you what it looks like on a more varied background. In case you too are whitish with black spots and have a big ol' black nose that looks like a Jujubee.

And here it is a little closer (the scarf, not the nose). I'm sending this to my mother-in-law who's very sick. I'm hoping it'll cheer her up as well as warm her.

It's spring! I'm starting an herb garden.