"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman


Even Robots Jobs Are In Danger In This Economy

The last  couple days have not been drama free. I went out to lunch with some friends yesterday and when I returned home there was a message from the surgeon. My insurance company wasn't going to cover the robot surgery, so he was going to have to do regular laparoscopy instead. I was just a bit upset because they'd okayed it earlier. I had a letter saying so.

Today my surgeon called me again and told me the robot surgery is back on again. I guess Blue Cross suddenly decided they weren't covering any of the robot assisted surgeries ever again. The hospital powers that be got angry and they had a big meeting this morning with Blue Cross. They worked something out and all the robots are back on the job. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Nothing is ever simple, is it?

Whatever happens, I better not have a uterus when I wake up tomorrow afternoon.

This is my last post for a few days. I will return when I've recovered enough from my surgery to do so. Thank you for all the well wishes and prayers. Until then...


Simple Womans Daybook for October 19, 2011

October 19, 2011

Outside my window...
The sun is getting low in the sky. Another half hour and it will be down behind the nearby mountains. The trees are changing into their fall wardrobes, and the grass is nicely mown. Sweet Hubby did the last mowing of the year on Sunday.

I am thinking...
our medical insurance company, Blue Cross of Idaho, sucks big time. My hysterectomy surgery, called the Da Vinci Surgery, was to be done with robots. It's supposed to be much safer with a very quick recovery. My doctor is one of the few in the country who is an expert at it. However, our insurance company decided today that they will not cover it. Period. My doctor has to do Laparoscopy surgery the old fashioned way. I am a bit pissed about that.

I am thankful for...
my husband and daughter. They are going to have to take care of me for at least 2 weeks.

From the kitchen...
delicious smells. I have Dilled Pot Roast in the crockpot. There will be mashed potatoes, gravy, and some kind of veggie to go with that later this evening.

I am wearing...
a red tunic with layers of small ruffles down the front and my black slacks. It goes well with the incredibly ugly red plastic bracelet the hospital slapped on my wrist yesterday when I went in for some pre-op bloodwork and an EKG. I am not allowed to take it off until I go home after the surgery. I went out to lunch with friends today, so I dressed up a bit.

I am creating...
not a whole lot. I'm doing more UNcreating. For every 2 rows I knit on the Wheat Rib sock I find myself undoing 1. I spent a couple hours on Monday working on putting the crystals on Luis, triumphantly declared that step done, then discovered I'd switched directions the crystals were leaning as I put them on. They are all supposed to point the same way! I've set it aside for another day when I can concentrate a little better. The brain is just not working all that well right now. It does that when there's a lot of stress in my life.

I am going...
well, from here on out, pretty much to the hospital. I have to go in tomorrow for another blood test, and Friday is surgery day.

I am reading...
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.
It's about an English nurse in 1945 who, while on a second honeymoon with her husband, accidentally gets sent back in time 200 years to the Scottish Highlands, where she falls in love with a Scotsman and marries him. There's lots of emotional conflict because she loves both husbands, and the story is full of lots of adventure. The book is over 600 pages, but it's moving along very quickly cuz I have a hard time putting it down when I read it.

I am hearing...
the tv. My daughter is watching Mythbusters.

Around the house...
it's looking pretty good, actually, I've been cleaning it here and there all week in preparation for being out of commission for awhile.

One of my favorite things...
is a real good Corned Beef Hash and I got some today at the restaurant we had lunch at. It's called the Garnet Cafe. They serve brunch food and it is very very good.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
to do everything the doctor tells me to do and take care of myself so I recover quickly.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...

If you want to join the Simple Womans Daybook, click here.


Sunday Ramblings

Last night we went over to Dan and Sue's for dinner and Hawaii trip planning. We figured out what major activities we're going to do in Maui and made reservations for those that needed it-specifically a Luau and a day long sailing trip over to another one of the islands. After we got that done we sat in the hot tub for awhile. Ahhhhh, it turned out to be exactly what I needed. I came home feeling so relaxed I slept the whole night and didn't wake up until Sweet Hubby slammed the bathroom door at 10am this morning. I feel so much better now. It's amazing what a little sleep can do for a person.

I got a new knitting book: Omas Strickgeheimnisse by Erika Eichenseer, Erika, Grill, Betta Kron, and Gunter Standl. The title translates to Grandmas Knitting Secrets.

It's a book of 200 knitting lace stitch patterns in chart form.

It's totally in German, but it came with an English translation for the chart symbols. I am extremely pleased with it. There are quite a few patterns in it that are new to me. I got very excited about some of them. I see new sock pattern designs in my future.

This is what I had for lunch today.

One of the two large tomatoes I picked before the frost a week ago was finally ripe. It only took 2 slices for a whole sandwich. Oh. My. God. It was soooooooooooooooooo good! Heaven on toast with mayo. Worth the wait. I'm so glad I got at least one sandwich worth (Sweet Hubby ate the other half in his sandwich). I just wish I had a few more so I could eat a few more tomato sandwiches. Maybe next year?

After lunch I worked a bit on Luis.

The base of RAW cubes is put together and I have started embellishing the surface with the 3mm crystals.

Live long and prosper. (Indeed.)


Stash Enhancement eXperience

Yesterday I had a fun day. A very fun day. After the past few weeks, I needed a fun day, and boy did it deliver. First of all, it was a gorgeous day. Blue sky, fluffy white clouds, warm spicy autumn air, and cash in my purse. It doesn't get much better than that.

First I took my daughter out to lunch. We wanted to try the brand new Burger King that just opened in Post Falls. Gourmet eaters, that's us. It was typical Burger King fare. Full of fat, flavor, and calories. I enjoyed it. All hail the Whopper!

I get paid a small sum for working at the North Idaho Fair as the Knitting Superintendent. When the check arrived in the mail, I cashed it and put the cash in my purse where it's been ever since while I thought about what I was going to spend it on. I wanted it to be on something special because I so very seldom get to 'earn' money these days. After careful consideration and a bit of research, I decided to spend it on beads. So, yesterday, Sweet Daughter and I took a trip into Spokane Valley and visited Beyond Beads Gallery. I had a specific project in mind plus specific colors and types of beads I wanted to add to the stash rather than just a willynilly impulse buying spree. In other words, I had a very carefully thought out list. Oh boy, did I have a good time filling that list.

First of all, the project I had in mind. The necklace on the cover of Laura McCabe's book, Embellished Beadweaving.

I'm doing a different color scheme. Here are the beads I bought for it:

The pattern is an embellished spiral rope. The upper parts are embellished with Keisha pearls that are shown in the picture as being flat and drilled front to back. I could not find any pearls drilled that way. They were all drilled through the side, so I settled for these sort of slightly flattened fresh water pearls. They're about 5-6mm wide. It will look very different, but that will make it uniquely mine. I also got a strand of Swarovski 3mm glass pearls just cuz I wanted it.

I got an assortment of drops, flowers, lentils, and whatnot for the center part which is covered in fringes.

I've also got beads in the stash that are slated for this project. I'm aiming for gold, purple, pine green, and burgundy as my color scheme. We'll see how it goes.

I acquired some seed beads I've been wanting in my stash. Mostly size 15's.

Some of these are for the project, some are just for the stash.

I also purchased a book. I've been looking for a really good book on bead embroidery. I found one, Dimensional Bead Embroidery by Jamie Cloud Eakin.

I've had her first book, Beading With Cabochons, since it first came out. I consider it THE book on that subject. Her new book is just as good. In fact, it's absolutely FANTASTIC!!! It's chock full of wonderful techniques and tips with detailed graphics, and the pictures! Oh my, they are stunning and get the creative juices flowing like crazy. I would consider this almost a sequel to the Cabochon book, but not quite because she goes into much more detail of bead embroidery itself, not just decorating cabs. It belongs in every serious beaders library. I am so so very happy with this book.

When we got home from our shopping trip, there was a package waiting for me from Firemountain Gems. Hurray! The 3mm crystals I ordered!

The crystals I bought specifically for Luis are in this pic, rather than the one above, even though they came in the same order.

 Needless to say, as soon as I could I got busy on starting Luis.

First thing, I make a Right Angle Weave cube. Then I need to add 22 more cubes to it in a row.  I was having trouble keeping the tension tight, but I found a very helpful article in the current issue of Bead & Button Magazine. The tension improved immediately.

I knit about an inch on the second Wheat Rib sock.


WIP Wednesday October 12, 2011

I've got a WIP to share today.

I got the first of the mens mittens done that I mentioned last week. I just love the seed stitch stripe pattern I put in there. So much more fun than just plain stockinette. I'm using size 5 needles with a worsted weight yarn. It's nice and firm, but not too firm. I think they will be warmer than the average mitten would be if I'd knit them on a size 7 or 8 needle as would be expected for this weight of yarn. If there is any interest, I might write up this pattern and post it on the pattern blog, for free of course. Let me know if you think that's a good idea.

I am also well on the way to finishing the second Wheat Rib sock. I got the toe done, and I'm just over an inch into the foot. I was much further, but last night I realized I'd put the rib pattern on the sole of the foot, so I had to frog back to the toe and start over. My brain just isn't working so well right now. It's so distracted, or maybe easily distracted. I am having a hard time concentrating on anything and sleep is but a memory. I'd love to be able to have some sleep. I'm having small panic attacks too. I think Tommy's death has put me over the edge in the stress-handling-ability dept.

I have started a new beading project. It's actually a sidetrack kind of project. I'd planned to do some other things, but after seeing this pattern, I HAVE to do it, now!!! The name of the pattern is Luis. It's a Seahorse pendant!

I did not make this one. It's what mine is supposed to look like when I get it done.

It's so cute! It's also in German. I started it today by translating the pattern into English (Yay Google Translator.). It's done in Right Angle Weave with some herringbone stitch. I ordered the crystals for it over the weekend. They should be here in a day or two. If you feel brave (or speak German), you can find Luis on Fantasiabeads. He's a PDF pattern (and he's about $18 US).

I finally heard from my Gynecologist/Surgeon on the results of my pelvic ultrasound. Urg. I heard from him about 6 hours after Tommy died. Not a good time to hear that the Endometrial Ablation is a no go. You know that 'small uterus' he thought I had? It's actually a 4 inch diameter tumor attached to the inside wall of my large ute. With that, and the whole outside covered in tumors, he said there is no way I can have anything less than a complete Hysterectomy. I'm not surprised, but it's still scary to think about. Thankfully, nothing is cancerous. It's all fibroids. He said I'll be in the hospital for a at least one night, maybe more depending on how things go.

My surgery is scheduled for October 21. In some ways I'm looking forward to it--"hooray, no more periods, no more birth control, no more bleeding like crazy, no more cramps, no more money spent on pads and tampons!" (Think of the money I'll save!) The other side of me thinks "Yeeks! Surgery, pain, agony, helplessness, trusting doctors to keep me alive, ick!"

I'm most afraid of the Coumadin 'bridge' I have to do. I take Coumadin, which is a blood thinner, because of a genetic blood disorder I have that causes blood clots in bad places. I can't be on the Coumadin and have surgery, so I have to go on Lovenox for 3 days before the surgery, and then 3 days after. It is also a blood thinner, so I don't really know why they are switching me to it. Either way, they are worried about bleeding me to death in the surgery. I don't like Lovenox. I've had it before. I have to inject needles into my tummy twice a day. Yuk!

I'm so glad we've got that Hawaii trip scheduled for the first part of December. I'm gonna need a vacation after all this. Assuming there are no complications, I should be completely recovered by then.

If you're interested in participating in WIP Wednesday, please join us.

Live long and prosper. \\//


Tommy Martini Park

Something awful happened late last night. About half an hour before we were going to bed Tommy went outside to do his business. He came back in a couple minutes later and sat on the floor licking himself. He was sitting kind of weirdly, but I didn't think much of it. Then he got into his little bed and I covered him up with his blankie. A little later I told him it was bed time (he sleeps in my bed at night), but he couldn't get out of his bed. I picked him up and set him on the floor and he was clearly having some kind of weird seizure and in severe distress. He couldn't stand up at all. His whole body was almost paralyzed and he was in a lot of pain. We rushed him to the Emergency Animal Hospital.

The doctor thinks he had some kind of stroke or blood clot. (The only way to know for sure required an MRI, but the nearest vet who had one was a 2 hour drive away.) There was nothing they could do for him. He was suffering so much. I found myself making the horrible decision to have him euthanized.

Just like that. My happy bouncy little boy is gone! I can't believe it. I keep hoping I'll wake up and the nightmare will be over.

I love you so much Tommy. I will miss you forever.

Live long and prosper. \\//


Honeycomb Bangle

I finished my Honeycomb Bangle.

My tension seems to be rather uneven. Sigh. It's a lot harder to keep it even than one would think.

But it fits me perfectly and, of course, it's my favorite color. I admit it was a challenging project to make.

If you want to make your own Honeycomb Bangle by Cynthia Rutledge get the April 2011 issue of Bead & Button Magazine  because it's in there.

I also finished the first Wheat Rib sock.

I do like, very much, how it's turned out. Now the fun part-writing it all down in an understandable format and knitting the second one to test it. I've been told these look like Frank socks. That's good, because that's who I'm making them for.

We got a real frost last night. I can't believe we made it all the way to October 6th without losing everything to frost. Still didn't lose everything, but the tomato plants are pretty much green slime. The dahlia's fared fairly well so I get to enjoy them just a few days longer.

Speaking of tomatoes, last week we picked a couple ripe ones.

Yes, that is a dime in the picture with them. You won't believe what variety they are Mega Bite! We haven't got anything larger than a cherry tomato from it yet. I ate them after taking this picture. They were tiny, but chock full of great tomato flavor.

Actually, as tomatoes go, it was a lousy year. My plants didn't get any more taller than they were when I brought them home from the store (Home Depot), which is weird cuz they got plenty of good food, sunshine, and water. We didn't get anything from the Early Girl plant at all. The third plant, Bush Champion, didn't grow very big but it had 2 very large tomatoes on it. They aren't quite ripe yet, but they have a definite orange hue. I picked them and brought them in the house yesterday to finish ripening since I knew frost was expected. They are gonna be nice sandwich slicers.

All in all, I still wonder why I bother though. I just don't have any luck with tomatoes. It's always such a struggle just to get 4 or 5 fruits.

My surgery has been scheduled for October 21. I've got several appointments for medical tests between now and then. That should be fun. Not. I'm feeling much better this week. I'm starting to get my energy back.

Live long and prosper. \\//


Wildlife Visits

Thought I'd share some pics I have taken in the last couple days.

First, I got Tilly in the front yard. I was at the front window, hiding behind the blinds with my camera lens poking through just waiting for her to stroll by. I was successful, though I did get a bit of glare from the window.

Click on the pics to embiggen.
  She was looking for bird seed that might have fallen on the ground under the Parkarosa Bird Buffet.

There isn't any. I haven't been stocking the feeders because there is so much wild seed on all the plant life around here right now. I did dump a small cup of bird seed on the ground in the back yard today, though, just for her. She seemed to enjoy it.

It was a beautiful day today. I decided to sit out on the deck and do a little beading. While I was working on a bracelet (to be shown after it's finished) I heard a racket of thumping and branches breaking in the trees. It sounded like kids playing, or maybe even a hunter thrashing around in there (we occasionally get trespassing hunters at this time of year-a scary thing to be sure) so I yelled "Hey, is anyone out there?!" It got quiet, and then this fellow stepped out.

He stood there and stared at me for the longest time. Then he turned and walked back into the trees.

My goodness but he's a big fellow. I could hear him stomping around in there for quite awhile. I have locked Tommy's gate so he can't run around the yard unsupervised just to be safe. I wouldn't want him trying to nip this guys heels. I suspect this fellow will hang around for a couple days.

I heard back on the uterine tissue sample tests. Everything seems to be normal, and no cancer. Hearing that one does not have cancer is always good news.

Tomorrow is Rathdrum Knitalong. I'm looking forward to it.

Live long and prosper. \\//


What a Week

My week has been filled with medical tests and full on just-short-of-panic-attack anxiety. By last night I was so exhausted  I went to bed at 8:30.

On Wednesday I saw the Gynecologist. A very nice young man (when did doctors become the same age as my kids?). He took some samples of tissue from the uterine lining.( Geez, that hurt more than I thought it would.) We will find out the results some time next week. He told me my uterus was small, which he seemed to be happy about, and that I would be getting an Endometrial Ablation. Due to my blood disorder, it is best to avoid hysterectomy, and I looked like the perfect candidate for EA. There will have to be some kind of medication bridge because I have to be taken off Coumadine before the procedure, but still be on blood thinners. Sigh. That means returning to injecting myself with needles several times a day for a few days before, and a few days after the procedure. Oh well, I was then scheduled for a pelvic sonogram to see what's really there.

Thursday I rested, unbeading and unknitting. Yes, the plan was to bead and knit. The weather was so beautiful I spent a few hours just enjoying it, some of that time on the deck crafting. I started a mens size mitten, as planned,

 but ended up frogging half of it back because I decided to put a silly striped pattern in it. Was worth the effort cuz I am loving the results.

The beading was a continuation of the Honeycomb bangle. I was at the part where I was putting on the Rondelles. I got about half way around and realized the whole Rondelle round was way too tight. The bangle couldn't even curve into a circle. I took some measurements and discovered the real gold beads I was using were not 3mm. They were in fact 2mm. Oh yes, they were 3mm wide, but only 2mm long along the bead hole. That was a problem. This bracelet really needs that hole length to be 3mm. So I had to frog it back to the round where I put those in. I dug around in the stash and found two strands of 3mm gold metallic Czech firepolish crystals. Not real gold, like the 3mm beads I was using (rats!), but just as shiny. I am now back to the Rondelle round, but probably won't get to it until tomorrow.

So, though I didn't actually make any forward progress in my projects, I think it was a productive time on the deck. And I so enjoyed the sunshine, blue sky, puffy white clouds, the buzzing bees on the brightly colored dahlias, the warm sweet spicy breeze caressing my back, and Tilly and Tommy playing with each other on the lawn as I worked.

I  can't believe my dog has made friends with a wild turkey. Will wonders never cease?

Enter the pelvic sonogram. It was done on Friday. I've had one before and I hated it. So I wasn't looking forward to this. Fortunately, I got a wonderful technician (unlike the last time when I got an old battle ax with a chip on her shoulder-sigh. Whole 'nuther story) who was very helpful and informative. I relaxed quite a bit after meeting her.

That small uterus? So wrong. Yes, the inside is small, but the outside is a whole 'nuther nightmare. It is so covered in fibroid tumors and fibroid tissue that it is the size of a 20 week pregnancy. The technician couldn't even find my right ovary. It's been imprisoned in fibroids. Now I'm wondering what the Gynecologist felt that he thought was a small uterus? Oh yes, and I have a teeny tiny bladder. Poor thing. It's being squished.

 No wonder my uterus won't stop bleeding. Suddenly a whole lotta stuff I've been dealing with the past few years came into focus and made sense. I've come to a conclusion. I don't want it anymore. When I see Dr. Gynecologist next week, I will say "I WANT THIS THING OUT OF ME." I'm willing to go through whatever drug therapy I must to get rid of the ute. I don't need it any more. It's just causing a lot of trouble. I don't want it. Period. Yank that baby out and lets be done with it. While your at it-take that poor abused ovary with it. And lets get this done asap. I've got a trip to Mauai in December. I wanna be in good shape for it.

Oh yes, and please be generous with the pain killers. ;-)

Today is Parktoberfest. I am going to really enjoy it this year. I need the fun and fellowship of friends and family right now. I'm going to be making White Chili and Plum Crisp for the occasion, as soon as I get done here. Sweet Hubby wants the White Chili. It has been awhile since I've made it.

The Plum Crisp is of necessity. I've never had it before. We have a wild Plum tree in our back yard. Usually, we don't get much of the harvest because the birds and wild animals beat us to it. However, this week we had a brief but powerful wind storm that knocked most of the ripe plums out of the tree where they landed on the thick soft lawn. Sweet Hubby gathered them all up, and now I have to figure out what to do with 2 shopping bags worth of ripe Plums before they start to rot.

I'm not really a Plum lover. I'll eat them once in awhile fresh, or tossed in a fruit salad, but I've never cooked with them. I googled and came up with a Plum Crisp recipe that actually sounds good.

So, that having been said, I need to get busy  cooking.

Live long and prosper. \\//