Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sometimes you just know something is not right.

While watching Chase in his epic snowball fight, I received a text message from my stepmom. It was brief: my dad was on a respirator. I had a bad feeling that something was going on since I hadn’t heard from my dad at all on Friday. I tried calling, texting, emailing, facebooking, and looking for him on Skype. When my stepmom texted me, I knew it was probably not good news. 

Dad has been fighting what we thought was a cold since the middle of December. He and Fara (my stepmom) both had colds prior to Christmas, and Dad just seemed to have a cough that wanted to linger. Apparently he saw his doctor on Tuesday who said it really did seem to be a stubborn cold and thought nothing of it. 

Last night Dad had a coughing episode that scared Fara enough that she finally put her foot down and insisted they get him to the hospital. 


Sedation and respirator.

ICU for monitoring.

Septic Shock.

They’re having a hard time getting his blood pressure to come up and stay within normal range. The doctors have told my stepmom that if the antibiotics don’t kick in within ten hours, the outlook isn’t good. Right now it’s an hour by hour waiting game.

I asked my stepmom to ask the doctors about ARDS.

She’s not requesting the family to come yet. Her sister is on her way from Virginia Beach so she isn’t alone. My brother and I are on alert.

Please, I humbly am asking for prayers for my Dad.

On a winter's day.. at Scout Camp

We bundled up in our winter's best and headed outside for the day.

Snow angels were made.

A flag ceremony was held.

A new hobby was tried (and thoroughly enjoyed!).

Marshmallows in front of a fire were enjoyed.

And in the middle of an epic snowball fight, we were called home due to a family emergency...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good morning and happy Wednesday, everyone! Linking up with Ginny for another wonderful day of yarn and books..

The replacement scarf for my friend is coming along smashingly! I stopped working on it for a couple of days so I could focus on getting the mitts (details on the changes I made on my Ravelry page) for my Mom done and in the mail on time. I'm about halfway done with the scarf, and hope to have it finished by the weekend. I had started another pair of wristers, and Chase's socks, but I hit a block Thursday and frogged both of those projects to focus on the scarf.

I finished reading Knitting Under the Influence by Claire Lazebnik over the weekend. I was pleased with the ending and enjoyed the book as a nice light-hearted read. I haven't started a new book yet. I've been spending my reading time flipping through knitting magazines, but I do have a few books waiting in the wings for my attention. 

Happy knitting everyone!

Monday, January 23, 2012


This weekend we finally had a decent amount of snow (if we can't see the grass, it qualifies).

(snapped from inside my nice, cozy home)

Sadly, all of that wonderful snow has disappeared thanks to a warm front and a bit of a thunderstorm overnight. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it repeats Friday (even early Saturday morning) because, well, what does one do at a winter camp when all of the activities planned involve snow?

Chase happily shoveled for us Saturday morning (under the close supervision of Koda the resident sled dog) before we went out as a family to run errands. He enjoyed his reward of an apple cider latte at the coffee house that afternoon for a job well done.

Most of the weekend was spent being slothy by the fire. It was another long weekend for Chase (a teacher workday today), so I was in no real rush to do anything major. So instead I knitted.

Jess lives in front of the fireplace during the winter.
I've been working on putting a package together to send to my Mom this week of recipes (thank you everyone for the quinoa recipes!), patterns, yarn, and other little goodies I've been collecting. I decided that since I already had a package in the making to send off that I would work on a pair of mitts for her.

Diagonal Knot Mitts

I used a thicker skein of yarn than what the pattern called for (and a size smaller needle) because Mom needs warm mitts. The yarn I used was the Tipperary Tweed that Jody had sent me. I think they turned out really well! I've been having issues adding a project page to Ravelry, but I will get that info updated asap.

So that was my weekend in a nutshell. Quiet and rather peaceful. I'm hoping that this week is great for everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Counting down the days..

Every evening when Mom calls, she tells me how many more days left of radiation treatment she has. We're down to only 18 more days!

Overall her treatment is going extremely well. Two weeks ago they tattooed her breast (nine spots in all) to help with targeting the radiation. Mom had said before the tattooing she would consider maybe having them covered with dragonflies this summer, but afterward she said that it was nothing like her actual tattoos and that was pain/discomfort she'd not like to experience again. And the worst part of it? Half the technicians can't see these blue freckles she has now, so they draw them on with a bright pink beforehand!

One other little hiccup so far in her treatment is that a week ago she experienced a small radiation burn. She discovered a blistered area one evening and had them look at it the next day. This spot popped up near the incision area where the drainage tube had been (the last spot to heal). It's better now, and she is religiously putting the cream they gave her on three times a day.

But, she no longer feels like there is running water trickling down her arm or chest. She's tired, but not overly exhausted, and her hands are still freezing cold (I've got to make her another pair of fingerless gloves). She's also excited that, even though this is not the goal, she has lost ten pounds since starting treatment. That reminds me.. does anyone have any good recipes that involve quinoa? Mom started eating quinoa in December and loves it, but would like more recipes. Oncologist doc #1 is really big on eating healthy and told her to continue with the quinoa.

Mom has met some very nice people thus far in her treatment. She has been getting rides mostly from the American Cancer Society to her treatments (Mom doesn't have a vehicle of her own right now). Everyone has been extremely nice. She also has met some wonderful people who are either going through treatment or are bringing their loved ones in for treatment.

So for now, we are counting down the days...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good afternoon and happy Wednesday, everyone! Today is another wonderful day full of knitting and reading. Joining up with Ginny...

I finished the socks for my Dad yesterday morning and blocked them in front of the fireplace last night. I haven't blocked socks before, but I thought these needed it. Of course since I didn't have sock blockers on hand, I did make a couple out of two wire coat hangers (Chase was  impressed). I have decided that if I am knitting on small needles (like for socks) I need to have a second project going on larger needles. My hands have been a little achy from the knitting of socks (and cat toys!).

Yes, cat toys. Mom has met a lovely lady when she goes for her daily radiation treatment that brings her mother to her daily treatment. This lady adopted two kittens over the holidays and Mom has been chatting to her about her babies. So Mom asked me over the weekend if I would whip up a few toys for these new kittens. Not a problem! I have four total completed, but I think my own deprived jealous babies have made off with them. Jessie and Sage both like to watch me when I'm finishing up one, pupils dilated, ever so hopeful that maybe, just maybe, I'll drop it for them. Silly felines, maybe this weekend (because, you know, they don't have enough rolling around the house..and lets not even talk about the gnomes, the mice toys, the zombies..ahem). Cat toys are a great way to use up scrap yarn.

The red ball of yarn is a skein of Quince & Co. in Peaks Ferry that will be used for Chase socks. I'm hoping to cast those on today at some point. The purple is a Bernat yarn that Chase and I picked out over the weekend for Gena's replacement scarf. This is a thicker yarn and therefore I have decided not to do the Purl Ridge like I did last time but go with a regular, cabled scarf. I'm trying out a couple of different patterns right now to see which one I prefer. Once I decide, I'll post the pattern of choice!

Finally, yarn-wise (and I am sorry it doesn't appear as gorgeous in this picture as it does on the website), my name was drawn on Springtree Road's Facebook page for a free skein of yarn. I love the Delicate Peach shade and had a project picked out for it long before the free skein giveaway. It truly is more beautiful in person. I might cast that project on in a few weeks -- there is no particular person it is for, just a Someday project.

In the evenings before bed I have been casually making my way through Knitting Under the Influence. It's a pretty laid back book and I am enjoying it. Not a whole lot of knitting in it (which is kind of surprising), but it's been a nice read so far. Do any of you ereader owners follow Cheap E-reads on Facebook (and their other pages Nook Jr. Nookguy, etc.)? I found this book when it was listed for 1.99 and decided to download it for kicks. Sometimes they have some really good books listed for cheap either for Nook or Kindle.

This morning Steve and I did some major running around and stopped at the bookstore. I figure it was time for a new order of knitting magazines to be in and I have gift cards dying to be used. All but one of the knitting magazines they had were old (still pushing Christmas knitting), but the Creative Knitting magazine (pictured) has a March 2012 date on it, so I had to pick it up. Yep, I have three projects in there I'd like to make! It never hurts to dream right?

I'm off now to see what everyone is up to this week and to get back to work on my own knitting.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Weekending, my favorite part of the week. a time to relax, live, love, just to be. if you'd like to share your weekend either with words, photographs, or both, leave a link to a weekend post in the comments. Linking with Amanda .

Chase and I made marshmallows Friday night!

Things didn't start off too well for me this weekend. The purple Purl Ridge scarf I had knitted never arrived at its new home. The package arrived, torn open and damaged, but the scarf and card did not arrive. After spending a good twenty minutes yelling angrily at nobody in particular, I filed a claim with the post office and set to planning a new scarf for the recipient. I may need to re-think my shipping methods in the future. 

Saturday morning I set bread to raise and ran off to yarn shop with Chase in tow. He's always so good at helping me decide on what yarn to pick up. We also attended a lecture put on by Solar Ypsi at our local library. Steve and I have often thought about wanting solar panels on our home (his parents had solar panels on their first home). It's part of our long term plans for our little homestead. Unfortunately, to have solar panels requires money and removing part if not all of the tree in the back yard and I am just not ready to do that. It was quite interesting listening to the debate at the lecture. The man who presented to the group actually was the person who installed the panels on the co-op/bakery in town. I had overheard him talking with a friend in the coffee house back in October and he is just so passionate about solar energy. It was a great lecture. 

Steve came home Saturday evening after two days out of town on business. Today he and Chase went off the North American International Auto Show to look at shiny cars.

I've spent the rest of my time this weekend knitting (one sock is done!), reading, and catching up on missed programs. It's been nice and laid back and for that I am appreciative.

And now I think I will have a cup of hot cocoa with a homemade marshmallow, a piece of shortbread, and I'll look over my recently acquired stash of yarn and a few patterns and see what I can plan out for this year (after the replacement scarf, the socks for Chase, socks for others..)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good morning and happy Wednesday, everyone! Today is another wonderful day full of sharing of knitting and reading. Joining up with Ginny...

I asked Dad on the way to the train station last week what I could possibly knit him that he would like. I don't want to knit for others if they feel obligated to accept an item. Dad said while a sweater would be nice (and he really liked the idea of the other sweater buttoning down the left side), he really wanted socks. Dad does home dialysis six nights a week and the room where his machine is set up is freakishly cold. Dad spends his time on his machine (3 hours if it doesn't act up) in the evening with a heated throw on plus a little heater at his feet. He said his feet just never feel warm. Okay! Socks it is! I had already decided that 2012 is going to be the Year of the Sock, so he gets the first pair as a late Christmas gift (Chase is okay on his socks being bumped down the list because he got a sweater out of the deal).

In an effort to use up some of my stash yarn, I decided that the other skein of the Cascade 220 Heather in that mossy green I love I would use for his socks. I really love this yarn and am seriously considering ordering more from the semi-lys.

I finished reading The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, and I have to say that overall I enjoyed it. Once I got used to the fact that none of the dialogue was in quotations, I relaxed and settled into read. Yes, in a few parts it seemed rushed while in others it dragged, but it really was a good read. It's quite a sad story, honestly, that only got sadder within the last 30-50 pages. It's your typical family, with typical family issues, mixed with extraordinary personal quirks.

I am excited to talk about knitting group. After the experience at the local library that Mom and I felt back in October, Karen (my WONDERFUL mother-in-law) decided another knitting group was needed at the other branch of the library out in the township (where she lives). She started working out the details with the event planner there and religiously spent every Thursday evening in November (save for Thanksgiving) through December sitting in the lobby with a sign, letting people know there was going to be a knitting class offered Thursday nights.

Karen says that the group that meets at the downtown library (my branch) has been there for over ten years and they are kind of stuck in their ways (yep, I certainly got that). They weren't too friendly, and if you had questions about a certain stitch, they did act like you were a bother. Karen has no problem teaching knitting, and that is what the first hour of the time slot is -- beginning knitting. When I walked in last Thursday, she had eight new knitters (two lefties!!!) sitting at the table waiting on instruction. I was so excited for her. I knitted and listened to her instruction (gosh she is a wonderful teacher) and she had everyone cast on and knit a few rows. The rest of the time is drop-in knitting. Two other experienced knitters join me as Karen continued to teach. All of the new knitters stayed a little later, and one stayed the entire time and knitted a square! It was so exciting.

I'm definitely looking forward to going tomorrow night and see who returns and if we have any new knitters in the group. It is such a relaxed, patient atmosphere. This is the type of in person knitting group I was looking for.

Happy knitting!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The swing of things

When in Delaware, I debated heavily with myself about the upcoming (now current semester) and if I should really attend. I admit, it first started when my financial aid paperwork had been misfiled (an issue that was resolved and many various people involved apologized for it), but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to take a semester off to focus on my job hunt. I ran this idea by my parents and Steve and everyone was in support of me and my decision. My main thought was that if I were to apply, and interview, for a full time position it wouldn't be fair to tell them "Oh, yeah, I'm in class full time. I really can't work these hours." I'd rather work and put my time in then see if they would be willing to adjust my schedule so I could attend school (this never seems to be an issue). I've been actively applying to both full and part time positions, but the only interviews I have been going on have been for full time. So for me taking a break from school for a semester will help me better support my family in the long run.

I feel good about this decision and I officially withdrew for the semester this morning. I've been in touch with my entrance counselor, and also with a wonderful girl in the registar/financial aid department (who even sent me a link to a position they're going to have opening in a week!) and I feel confident that all will work out in the end.

It took me a few days to actually fall into the New Year groove. On January 2nd, one of my close friends repeatedly texted me about how excited he was for the New Year, how this year was going to be the best, and we were going to rule 2012. As much as his messages made me smile, my heart was not in it for a new beginning just yet. I finally got that kick in the rear I needed after I went on an interview Friday morning. I was nervous about this interview, mostly because I was still in a groggy post-train travel fog. I was afraid I wouldn't be on my A-game. I didn't need to worry so much. The interview was extremely relaxed and if I were to be offered one of the two open positions, I honestly feel I would be happy and would finally feel like I was making a positive difference in my community. I shall remain cautiously, and hopelessly, optimistic.

I am completely motivated now and am ready to take on the world! anything.

This past weekend, we all packed up the Christmas things and cleaned up the living room. Chase and I tackled our laundry from our vacation and got everything put away. In between the cleaning and re-claiming my living room, I did get a bit of knitting in and completed two projects.

I like the fact the pine cones on the shower curtain look like I have funky hair or earrings. ;) 

Rather pleased, isn't he?

So I finished up the Purl Ridge scarf for Gena and will be mailing it to her tomorrow. She has been so patient. I hope she likes it! Chase didn't want the fancy collar that this sweater pattern has called for, so I finished up the button bands yesterday morning and added the wooden buttons to it. I know the pattern is off, but Chase really likes the finished design (he says it reminds him of the emblem used for hurricanes on maps). This sweater should definitely fit him for a few years. And I am pleased to say I am already working on my next project!

All in all, the first week of January was slow to start for me, but I think I am finally on track again.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

{this moment} - Like father like son

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good morning and happy Wednesday, everyone! Today is another wonderful day full of sharing of knitting and reading. Joining up with Ginny...

This will be a quick post from me.  Chase and I are getting ready to head to the train station to make our journey home.

The sweater for my Dad? I knew all along it didn't look like it would be big enough (even though I was making the largest size), and last night I put it on Chase. Sadly, I was right. Chase, on the other hand, is tickled to have a new sweater. He loves the way it feels and is anxious for me to finish it so he can start wearing it.

Chase modeling his new sweater.

When I wasn't working on the sweater for my Dad in private, I started on the purl ridge scarf for my friend, Gena. She's been patiently waiting, and there apparently is a cold snap in Charlotte, NC, so I am going to work more on it while on the train today. Again, more details to come when I can link everything properly.
Gena's scarf.
 I started reading The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake a couple of days ago. So far, I am enjoying it, though the writing style is taking some getting used to. I'll provide a better review next week!

Okay.. going to quickly link up and get out the door. Looking forward to seeing everyone's projects tomorrow when we're home.

Happy knitting!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Looking back, looking forward

I know everyone has taken the past few days to reflect on a year winding down and look toward a fresh, new year on the verge of beginning.

Personally, I feel that 2011 was extremely challenging. I started my reflection somewhere in the middle of the night as Chase and I traveled via train toward Delaware. I think I spent a good portion of 2011 sad. Is that weird? There were pockets of joy, laughter, love, but overall I think I was mostly sad. Mostly going through the everyday motions of survival. Leading up to Christmas, bad news still trickled in. We were being kicked while already being down.

As I sat in the dark Christmas morning before the rest of my family woke up, I listened to the coffee maker brew in the kitchen and stared at the Christmas lights on the tree. There was so much I wanted to do for the holidays. I wanted to decorate (the outdoor decorations came down when the weather got bad and they never went back up) more. I wanted to send out holiday cards (sorry..). I wanted to bake a gingerbread home. So many "I wanted.." moments that never happened. By Christmas morning I was thinking how relieved I was that this year was almost over. The year 2011 was just too exhausting. And sad. I think that sadness is what kept me from accomplishing more that I had set out to do. By the time everyone woke up, however, I was thankful that Mom was with us. Thankful that I have a wonderful husband and son. Thankful for another day. It was a quiet Christmas this year. I think it was for the best.

And so as Chase and I left Ohio late in the night on the 28th for Delaware, I sat in the darkness and watched out the window and reviewed the year. I lost my job. I lost two grandparents within six weeks. Mom's cancer diagnosis. Steve and his barbershop group taking second place in the state. Steve performing in the Music Man. Chase turning ten. Chase continuing to grow and amaze me everyday. It has been a bittersweet year.

I'm not the type of person to make resolutions. Everything I would resolve to do, are more than likely things I need to be doing on a regular basis. Yes, I need to lose weight. Yes, I need to explore my spiritual life further. The list could go on forever. And if I didn't accomplish anything on the list, where would I be at the end of this brand new year?

I am, however, shaking the funk that has wrapped itself around my world for the past year.

This new year will be better. I'm sure of it.