Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Um. Wow.

This has been such a surreal weekend. I feel like any second I'm going to wake up... but all those lovely comments would vanish (you guys made my mom cry! She didn't even cry at my wedding! She's the tough one in the family!) It's almost like everything I look at now as this haze over it. I don't intend to turn this into a cancer blog, because I intend to keep living my life as normally as I can do so in good health. But the best way I can describe it is to say that every single fiber of my being has changed, and yet nothing has. That doesn't make sense, I know, but it's true.

I'm still making lots of cancer jokes. They seem to be a combination of denial and trying to keep saying the word until it has meaning. Right now it seems so obscure and weird and something completely unrelated to me, although it certainly is. It's like I'm talking about someone else who doesn't really exist.

And then every once in a while something will strike me as "oh my god, I'm talking about me" and it makes me catch my breath.

But look, your prayers are very appreciated. Your support means the world. But this isn't gonna get me. I'm not giving up. I've got waaaay too much to live for.

I spun some sock yarn (still unplied) and finished my little angel scarf, but you'll get pictures of those tomorrow. In the meantime, gotta tell the bosses today. Keep me in your prayers that I don't have a sudden moment of breaking down like a baby in front of them.

And thanks, really.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I'm starting to feel a little like a broken record. So many phone calls to make, so many e-mails to write! I'm doing as many as I can in bulk, and this counts as one.

There are four kinds of thyroid cancer, and I have the most common, which is also the most treatable. Treatment is relatively easy as far as cancers go. I'll have to have a complete thyroidectomy, and they may take some of my lymph nodes as well. This surgery will happen sometime mid-June, probably. I won't have to do chemo, which is torturous, but will instead have another kind of radiation therapy that means I'm a security risk for a few days but is otherwise pretty easy. For about 70% of the patients, this is enough, for the remaining 30% they repeat the radiation, and most often have great success. Survival rate is very high.

It would seem some of the shock is wearing off cuz that last sentence is looking wildly freaky to me right now. All day yesterday after the diagnosis I kept saying things to GB like "you have to be nice to me, I have cancer" and "aside from the cancer this has been a really good day." I realized this morning I was trying to get him to say "you don't have cancer"... but he didn't. Weird.

Thyroid Cancer
My Specific Kind
Thyroid Cancer Support Network

So now, please, go here to support this. You know someone now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Angels Watching Over Me

Most days I'm dealing with waiting for the biopsy results very well (despite what the heterosexual men in my life seem to think, but that's another rant) . I am usually able to acknowledge the things that frighten me most (that all of this is going on right around my voice, which is my life, and, most neurotically, if I have to go to the hospital, they'll put tape on me.) and realize that they are perhaps not the most rational fears. I recognize them, but I do not succumb to them.

Last night was not one of those good days. Last night the waiting really kicked my ass, and after several hysterical crying fits, one of which included pulling over to the side of 97 on the way home from work, I decided I needed to get a little closer to some of the many angels in my life. I have friends surrounding me with white light, I have friends sending their spiritual helpers to help mine, and still last night I felt alone and dark, and there was no way I was going to make it through the final 48 hours of waiting (and however long dealing with the results takes) feeling like that.

I decided to get started on that yarn spun from the fiber my Benevolant Benefactor sent me, figuring it would help sooth me, and bring some of her strength into my life. First I did a little test swatch to make sure my idea would work.

See it? After seeing the swatch, I decided to make a slight modification to give them thicker wings, but it's an angel scarf!

Or rather, it's part of an angel scarf. But I figure I should be able to get it finished by the appointment tomorrow afternoon, since it's taking me about 20 minutes to do 2 angels. I don't think I'm halfway through the ball yet, so it should end up being about 24 inches long when it's done.

The gorgeous needles I'm using were part of a junk set I got (also off e-bay) to help make that lazy kate thing. Most of them were big clunky plastic or metal, and I've separated out the ones I want for my kate, and then will send the rest onto Jen to donate to her kids' school. But these are really pretty and tortoiseshell, which I hold dear anyway, and I'm loving them for this yarn - just the right grab.

After working on that for a while (and watching Hook on tv - great movie) I felt much more at ease... the white light, the helpers, the angels... they were all having a little yarn party at my house last night.

So I don't know if I'll post tomorrow, but I'll let you know what's going on shortly!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Can they send stuff like this through the mail???

When I got home yesterday, a package was sitting on my doorstep. So illicit and seductive was this package, it was actually wrapped in plain brown paper. (gosh this is gonna be really disappointing for anyone looking for actual porn here)

My bountifully beloved benevolant benefactor sent me this!!!

She's quite the little vixen, too, since last week I was talking to her about how I wanted this book but wasn't sure it was worth the money. "Oh, don't get it," she says, with this tone that clearly implies "it's pretty but not worth it"... foolishly trusting her, I didn't. See if I ever trust her again (or at least if I ever trust her without running down my mail man to see what he's got for me.)

I immediately fell in love with this sweater

and this one

as just the first(s) of many projects I have to make from this gorgeous book.

And as I was flipping through the pages, this picture just made me burst out laughing.

This is so darn-tootin cute, I actually kept opening to this page when I got angry about something else in the evening (cat gak, stupid commercials, whatever your petty evening worries, they can all be soothed by looking at this picture that makes you laugh out loud.)

I also finished spinning

and plying this - wool/angora/silk, 2 oz of it.

It was another gift a few months ago from the aforementioned benevolant benefactor. She's really waaayyy too good to me, but don't tell her that, okay? I have a pattern tinkling around in my mind for a scarf, but since I am in training for the "worlds most indecisive" Olympics (or maybe I'm not, I can't decide) we'll see if it actually ends up that way.

I did have good company last night. When I was on the couch (knitting) I had this little guy next to me, when I was at the wheel, he hopped up to the back of the couch (on top of my favorite sweater, which got put on the back of the couch when I noticed it has a hole) doing this:

Monday, May 23, 2005

I sort of spoiled myself this weekend, and then this morning, I got up, took a shower, had breakfast, and was ready for my first nap of the day. Of course, I had to come into work, so it was really quite a let down, both for me, and Aslan, who was already settling into his spot on the couch where we spooned all weekend.

I did finally finish this hat (incarnation #3)

Here is what it looks like from the top if your head is shaped like an overturned (empty) fishbowl, and here is a side view.

I could see all the lovely cables on my computer at home, but then I come to work and the pictures are all very dark and it looks like I've taken pictures of a bowling ball. I assure you that at the very least the bowling ball is knit with pretty cables.

I finished it Saturday, and then had an idea that may be a little (or a lot) weird. My brother is a minister, and I asked him if he could have the hat blessed. Neither one of us really believes that an item blessed has more power than one not (although, as I said to him, the golf-club scene in Dogma was pretty cool, but I don't think Sarah will be killing demons with a cotton hat, though I'd like to hear back if she does) but I do believe that items carry energy... is that maybe the same thing? I've thought about how brave and strong and wonderful and loving and funny I think Sarah is, and put all of my love and respect for her into my knitting. But I want her to also know that she is pretty much the opposite of alone in her fight, that people who've never met her and never heard her wonderful laugh but relate to many of her other battles, are loving and prayer for her as well. It may have been hokey, but I hope she takes it in the spirit with which it was intended. So my parents were going to visit David anyway, and they swung by the house, picked up the hat, and took it on its fieldtrip. It was "blessed" by a small prayer committee, and came home, where I planned on washing it before packing it up, at which point my general exaustion kicked in and I thought "oh, no! I hope I don't wash the God out of it!" But it turns out that I have it on good authority that God is machine washable, so we're okay. Blasphemy completely unintended, it's a side effect of the exaustion and weird mind games this thyroid thing is playing. I already spoke to God about it, and I've been forgiven.

When he wasn't keeping me company on the couch, Aslan was playing with his fish. We decided the goldfish would be happier out of the bowl (which has since been emptied and used as a hat model) and got them their own little aquarium. Because GB was out of town, I got to make my own decorating decisions, and gave them this colorful little hovel which sits in the bathroom, so Aslan can talk to them while he's playing in the sink.

The little sign says "No Fishing" and I made sure that Trevor, Aslan and Oscar all really understood what that meant. And the goldfish themselves both had fun yelling at the mirror behind their tank. I imagined this conversation a lot:

George: Hey - hey - hey- hey - there's a FISH over there!
Martha: WOWEE! She's cute! All pretty and calico'y and sweet looking!
George: Yup, that's a good looking fish, but can't you see he's a strong masculine gold all over?
Martha: Hi, pretty calico! What's your name? Hey - what's your name, pretty calico???

and then, because fish only have a memory of something like 45 seconds,

George: Hey - hey - hey- hey - there's a FISH over there!
Martha: WOWEE! She's cute! All pretty and calico'y and sweet looking!
George: Yup, that's a good looking fish, but can't you see he's a strong masculine gold all over?
Martha: Hi, pretty calico! What's your name? Hey - what's your name, pretty calico???

And if you don't follow horse racing (I myself don't exactly follow it, but one of our shows is Maryland Horse Radio, and I do have enough horse knowledge that I can hold my own with the host and guests way better than AC can anyday) you should look up info on the Preakness. It was really a historical race - a horse stumbled, nearly fell (which is how people and horses die in this sport) and then actually came back and won. Afleet Alex has some kinda heart, I tell you. Gives me chills. We talked to the jockey this morning and he said he thinks that while a lot of horses would have given up the fight after a stumble that bad, Afleet Alex got pissed off that it happened and just refused to be beat. It gives me chills to think of the character and heart of those animals... I miss spending time with horses...

Test results come in Thursday afternoon, so I may or may not post that day, but I'll let you know.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

In case you thought a fiber fanatic lived here, let me remind you with a few e-bay wins.

First is just a trinket, but a very cool one.

It's a spinning wheel oil lamp! I only bid because it was really cheap... and I won! It's about 12 inches high, and very cute.

But really what I was looking for (that brought me to e-bay to begin with) was for this:

You remember that, right? Judith's Lazy Kate, using a plastic basket, straight knitting needles and plastic bobbins.

Well, I went searching for those plastic bobbins, which I was told ran about a buck each. I searched for plastic bobbins and got a lot of sewing machine size, but found that adding "weaving" was just what I needed. That's what brought me to these:

25 antique weaver's bobbins that I got for about $15, including shipping.

Here's one of Fiona's bobbins getting to know her new friends! As you can see, they're just the right size!

And in other over-worked-postal-employee news, my qiviut for the QAL came. The top, slightly lighter colored fiber is a qiviut/alpaca/silk blend, and the rich brown beneath is 100% qiviut.

Okay, so it's not the most photogenic fiber. It doesn't have to be. It feels HEAVENLY. And incredibly lightweight - a 2 oz bag is as big as, if not bigger than, the average 4 oz bag of sheep's wool. So I feel better about the (insane) amount of money I spent on it, because it feels like it will go a lot farther than your average 4 oz. Right?

Well, even if that's not the case, one of the vendors (the one from whom I got the 100% stuff) Mountain Shadow Ranch obviously knew I might be feeling a little foolish for spending that kind of money, and so she gave me a little treat. A little treat that required customs papers.

That, my friends, is a free gram of vicuna. You thought qiviut was expensive? This fiber is nearly eight times as much. And I have fondled this ever so slightly, and I gotta tell you something: It's worth it. I'm never going to spin this. Years from now, when I'm feeling blue, I'm going to take this little baggy out and just gently stick my fingers in, and I'll know things can't be all that bad. It's that kind of soft, and the color of those rich, milk caramels you used to beg mom for in the grocery ....

Now, I think - I don't want to get my own hopes up, but I do think - I don't have anything planned all weekend. I will be human-male free, and will spend some quality time with my own little furry boys, and my wheel, and my knitting, and I might not even answer the phone.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Once upon a time...

... a beautiful, wise, talented and funny princess was born.
She charmed all she encountered. Birds would sing her to sleep each evening. Wild animals would nuzzle her awake each morning. She could tame the savage beast with a mere twinkle in her eye, and princes and knights from lands far away traveled o'er hill and dale to catch but a glimpse of her alabaster skin and emerald eyes.
But none of these suitors were quite what the princess wanted for her prince.
Frog Kiss
No, she longed for someone special. Someone different. Someone who would see past her blinding good-looks and outward charm, and love her for her inner beauty.

And let's face it, looks like that are hard to get past.
We Are Not Worthy

Well, just as our princess was about to give up hope that she would ever find a prince,
I Give Up
she met someone.

Because she had so recently decided that no man was worth this time, she held off on believing that this man could be the prince she had dreamed of for so long. And the prince was healing from some battles of his own.
So they decided to be "just friends."
I Like You

And they grew as friends, closer and closer. They talked about everything. Their hopes, their dreams, and what their future would hold. The prince was charming, handsome, funny, kind, strong, brave, and honorable. And for some reason (see above descriptions) he liked the princess pretty good too. As they grew closer, they grew to love each other, in a way that was new and different to both of them. But they insisted on staying "just friends" despite the feelings that both were hiding inside.
Dream Kiss 2
After all, they had both been hurt so many times before.
It's Over 1It's Over 2

But finally, after years of denying it, they both realized the truth was hiding in plain sight.
Peek A Boo

They were in love, and it was time to admit it.
Couple 2

After years of denying, the prince finally confessed his true feelings
Kiss On The Hand
and the princess admitted her feelings were the same

Soon (well, six years after it all began) they were married
Bride And GroomWedding Cake
and their love grows to this very day.
I Love You MugI Love You Mug 2

In fact, it is on this very day, that our beautiful Princess hereby makes an official decree
"I henceforth proclaim that May 18th shall forever be known as "Googly Bear Day!"
Happy Birthday

And they lived happily ever after.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My Hands Can Do Amazing Things...

My hands can evoke various happy noises and wiggles from these three fellas

(yes, Oscar is curled up in a pile of knitting bags)

My hands can get this far on the toe of a pair of socks while my mouth is answering a doctor's questions about my health. (no test results yet)

My hands can discern, while my eyes cannot, that I am knitting these socks with two different sized needles (a 0 and a 1) and can do so in disagreeance with a (warped) plastic needle gauge.

My hands can NOT, however, make these:

Knitting needles with handmade clay (sculpy) sheep tips.

A friend on Knitters Review makes these as a hobby, and is thinking she's going to start selling them... $15 a pair, and you can even request specific color sheep! How cool is that???
Here's a better shot of another of her sheep:

If you need a pair of these like I needed a pair (or three) of these, put "Sheepy Needles" in the subject line of an e-mail to blwinteler AT cox DOT net

Marriage is love.