Friday, October 31, 2008

Has someone speeded up time?

I can't believe the week is gone already. I don't know what's going on while I'm trying to just hang on but it seems to be going on without me.

I will stop the rollercoaster long enough to vote though.

I've been working on a cowl for a gift using the Cascade 220 that Zach was knitting with last year. Not sure who for, but then Tom's family still hasn't drawn names yet. I'm kind of hoping they don't.

I ended up giving away a shell and wave shawl that I knitted for my daughter's miscarriage to the sister-in-law from hell who emailed me to say she didn't need the "scarf" but it was a nice thought anyway.

I'm breathing. I'm breathing. I'm calming down and breathing.

We're not exchanging gifts on my side of the family but I'm giving some socks and small knitted items to my sisters and my parents. My older sister is single and while she gets gifts from her two kids and her grandkids, she doesn't get much each year. It was hard for me to keep my mouth shut when she was lamenting to me last year considering all I got the entire year was a Pirates of the Caribbean calendar. But I understand where she's coming from. Exchanging names means she gets a gift card from someone who doesn't know what to buy her when she just wants someone to care enough to know what to get her. I totally get that.

I'm saving the last Heroes dvd for the weekend. Tonight is Ghost Hunters live (which I will tape instead of Ghost Whisperers which I can watch online unless I can talk Zach into taping on his vcr.)

Tom will be leaving pretty soon to go up north to his brother's cabin. So my weekend is going to be spent doing all the things I didn't have time to do all week.

Plus, I've got to finish winterizing the house, start emptying out closets and work on finding the basement floor.

And figuring out how we can be more frugal. I spent a bit more on meat this time because I've been monitoring my blood sugar and protein at every meal is pretty much mandatory for me. Plant protein just doesn't seem to keep it level the way animal protein does. Believe me, I wish it did. But I'm through with hamburger casseroles. I've been cooking those nearly every night for years and there is only so many ways you can do those. If I have to eat another one, I think I'll choke.

So I'm trying to figure out other ways to have meat as a part of the meal but not the main event. It should be a challenge.

I was surprised, though, at the grocery bill. In spite of including my $30 prescription for Aromasin, it was under what the normal bill was. And I bought a lot of meat. Enough for two weeks. And I got everything on the list as well.

Zach and I have decided to stop eating out though. You can only eat so much on the value menus and even with his discount at McSnacky's it still adds up. Plus we're sick of the food as well. So I guess for Thursdays, I'll have to cook extra on Wednesdays. I'm thinking a pot of soup in the crock pot would work.

I need to get back to spinning again. One of the reasons I haven't is the mess it makes. It sheds worse than both pets put together. But I still love it.

Well, the work isn't doing itself so I must away and get it done so I can enjoy Ghost Hunters and my mini-bonfire tonight.

Have a happy Samhain, Halloween or whatever.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Weekend blur

The weekend went by in a blur with me wondering why nothing seemed to get done in spite of feeling busy the whole time. Saturday night, as usual, was mostly sleepless. I had to go to church because I had altar guild and didn't want to claim lack of sleep once again. Besides, I really need church.

I tried to take a nap while Zach was at work but Professor was going nuts because the man across the street was out in his driveway with his little girl. Doing absolutely nothing. How he could hear them over the high winds stirring up the leaves the city leaf-guy didn't pick up when he picked up everyone else's leaves, I can't imagine, but he did.

So I gave up and decided to just try to catch up on email instead. Apparently I lost track of time because Zach had to call me to pick him up.

Is there anything I can do right anymore?

No, he wasn't upset with me but I was upset with myself.

I ended up struggling to stay awake to fix supper for Tom and when I put it in the oven told him to take it out when it was done and went to bed at 6:30 p.m. I really thought I would get an hour or so of sleep and then be up until 1 or 2 a.m. but I managed to sleep straight through to 6:38 a.m.

I got my cholesterol medicine yesterday and the co-pay is $50. So all that money I "saved" by switching my prescriptions to StuffMart is gone because of this. I'm going to call the doctor before my next prescription is due and ask her to prescribe something less expensive. My old cholesterol med was proven ineffective so there is no point in going back on that one.

I feel so skeptical about the pharmaceutical industry these days.

And insurance companies.

I need to schedule my mammogram pretty soon. It was due this month so I'm not really late on it. I have to make sure I've got a year and a day in between them but it's not like they really pay for them anyway. They take it out of my deductible, which means I pay for it. And it's not like hospitals really take payments anymore.

I had to buy a new glucometer yesterday as well. While the insurance still won't pay for the test strips, these are half the cost of the other ones but the initial outlay was a bite out of this paycheck.

I just can't catch a break.

On a positive note, I am loving Heroes. One of the benefits of not catching this stuff in real time is I don't have to wait a week in between episodes. This is really great and will definitely go on my favorites list.

I know I've been doing a lot of knitting but I've also been doing a lot of frogging as well. I didn't like the way the Irish Hiking Scarf was looking. It was too stiff in spite of using larger needles so I think I want to go with a lace pattern. When I get the time I'll look through my bin of magazines and patterns and see what I've got. Then there is always the internet world of free patterns.

Zach has a Halloween party at school today in Beaver Dam and then school tonight at Fond du Lac so I won't have a lot of time to get things done here. I got two windows winterized but have two more to go down here and three upstairs. Tom will be out of town this weekend so I can get up there to get some things done in addition to finding more winter clothes in the attic. I need to invade the foyer closet and find all the hats and gloves. I have my fingerless mitts but I haven't dug a hat out yet and it's been a bit nippy the past two days. It will warm up later in the week but for now I need a bit of warmth.

And still no furnace on. I might make it to November 1st. I know I won't make it to Thanksgiving though. A day or two of cold weather is tolerable. Weeks of it, not so much. Plus we do need to stay healthy.

We went to a birthday party yesterday with a family we used to be close to. Zach is like a big brother to the boys so the birthday boy was really wanting him to be there. It was good to see them again. The daughter just got engaged to a Norwegian boy. Well, he's 22, but to me that's still boy. They'll be getting married in Norway and for a wedding present I want to knit her a sweater. I gave her knitted socks for her birthday and she loved them so I want to get her something pretty and feminine but warm. I have until July so I have the time. Unless I procrastinate or something.

Not that I would ever do that.

Well, I need to get ready to go. Haven't had breakfast yet although my blood sugar was under 100 today. Yes!!

I still need to work on losing weight but eating more protein has helped my blood sugar come down. I really tried vegetarian but I just can't get as much protein in and the carbs were raising my levels way too much.

Maybe something like the South Beach diet. Which I'm not prepared for right now but I can do a modified version of it that's not quite so expensive.

Off to get ready for Zach's party.


Friday, October 24, 2008

My pity party

Another day of being on the go all day with little to show for it. I made it to the library where I got some good books and some cool dvds: Hamish Macbeth:series one (again) and the first season of Heroes. Remember when I said I don't jump on the bandwagon until it's got a flat tire?

I have plenty to keep my occupied on the knitting front. I just don't know when I'll get to do it. Once again, Saturday is super busy. I have altar guild in the morning and I got the plastic to put on the windows so that must be done as well. I hope I have enough of the outdoor kind since they didn't have any at Stuff Mart.

And I need to get some organizing done this weekend. I keep telling myself I'll be better organized for these trips up to Fond du Lac but I never do and we end up eating out instead. Not only expensive but unhealthy.

But, gosh darn it, I'm so tired all the time and I can't seem to catch a break. I need to get back to tightwadding with a vengeance but I don't know where the energy will come from.

But enough negativity. That's the fatigue speaking, I know.

And the depression.

I would love to have just one day off. I just don't see one happening until maybe Thanksgiving. And I'm not cooking, I can tell you that. I have done every year for just me and Zach but I'm not doing it anymore. Tom will be gone hunting that week but Zach still has classes and just signed up to work Thanksgiving so there is no need to cook.

Something to look forward to. I'll find something to marathon while I knit deliriously. And grab something from McSnacky's for lunch. Who needs turkey anyway?

I get invited to people's home usually. I know they feel sorry for me that my husband is away and it's just me and Zach but they don't understand that we really enjoy just kicking back doing nothing.

Sorry for not being in a better mood lately. I'm overwhelmed and underloved so I need to go have some cuddle time with my yarn and get that love back. Hope to be cheerier tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Typing with my eyes closed

I started the Irish Hiking Scarf today for a Knitalong that is taking place on a group I belong to on Ravelry.  I had forgotten about it so I was glad I had bought all that yarn this last week.  I cast on a scarf last night but didn't like it and thought this Caron Simply Soft heather would look good in cables.  And it does.

It got mighty cold sitting in the car tonight.  I was ready to get my mitts out of the trunk when Zach got out of class.  But tomorrow I will have them in the back seat before the sun goes down.

I tried to sleep in this morning because I have late nights on Wednesdays and Thursdays and I don't like to drive home sleepy on dark country roads.  I was up until nearly 5 a.m. with pain though and it took two pain pills to just dull it enough to sleep and then Tom came in and played with Professor on the bed while I was trying to sleep.  I asked him to let me sleep late and he did try to.  Then the phone rang and I had to scrape myself off the ceiling.  It was the dr's office with the results of my labs (all normal) and I had to take it because otherwise we'd be playing phone tag all week.

I tried napping in the car but the back seat was too full of stuff and I didn't bother with putting most of it in the trunk.  I will do that tomorrow though.  It didn't help my pain not to be able to stretch out.

I wanted to work more on the scarf but I think I'm going straight to bed.  I haven't gotten more than 5 hours sleep a night this whole week.

So this will be short and boring but I have a puppy nagging me for his bedtime snack.

Keep your feet warm.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How do you mend a broken heart?

Aside from listening to a BeeGees tune, that is?

You fall in love again.

And I did.  With two mice this time.  Zach picked out two from the pet store and surprise...they are spotted.  One is black, gray and white, the other is brown and white.  We haven't managed to get good pictures yet but we will.  Just be patient.

Zach named them: Ayeka, and Ryoko.  From a Japanese anime that he watches.  Both girls and both in love with the food dish.

Sigh.  More food issues in the house.  I didn't need that.  No, seriously we just happen to catch them eating.  

Professor is joined at the hip to me lately.  He can't stand it that I'm gone so much so when I'm home he's in my arms, which makes it very hard to type.  Up until a minute ago I was typing with him on my shoulder but he jumped down and is pouting on the bed now.  He's a bit miffed that I'm not in it because when I turn down the covers, he gets his night time treat.

Soon.  Very soon.

I got no knitting done so far.  I played games instead of knitting today while waiting for Zach.  It was just one of those days that I needed to veg out.  And games are a stress-buster for me. Knitting is just fun.

I'm almost done with the back of my cardigan.  I added to the length because I don't like short sweaters but we'll see how that works out with the rounding of the front pieces.  I'm guessing they'll be more oblong than round but I can live with that.

Unfortunately, nothing going on with the weight loss front.  It just ain't happening here.  I need to take my health more seriously but I can't seem to focus enough on it.  The doctor says that's depression and I should be taking anti-depressants, but the interaction with my pain meds can be fatal and since I'm not going back to being in pain all the time like I was for 12 years....

I need to look into something that is more holistic.  That doesn't require any medication, but deals with maybe food and exercise.  Sort of like the proverbial vicious cycle.  I need to control the depression to be able to focus better but I need the focus to be able to eat better so I can control the depression so I can focus better.

Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

It was mighty cold this morning and it's much the same out there now.  I got the storm windows up but haven't put plastic on the windows yet.  I only have so much time during the day and while I need to get back to being a tightwad, the pace I was working at a couple of weeks ago was killing me.  Literally.  I was so tired I was on the verge of tears all the time.

I'm going to caulk the windows tomorrow and dig out the plastic so it's ready by Friday.  I don't turn the furnace on until it's all done because I'm not going to heat up the outside.  

I sound like my mother.

Anyway, my goal is to wait to turn the furnace on until November 1st.

I've decided to go back to using the dishwasher and dryer because time is at a premium and it can be better spent doing things that have more return on them.  Sure, I save about $20 a month by using both, but when I factor in all the time spent doing it, it's not a lot per hour. Pennies, in fact.

If I use that time to clear out closets, repair things and winterize the house, that's a better return.

Now I just need to do that instead of reading blogs.

But now it's bed time because my eyes are clouding over and I still want to get in some knitting tonight because a day feels really empty without it.

Stay warm.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pictures, finally!

Yes, I got the camera out and while the pictures won't win any contests, they do show a bit of what I've been working on the past few months.

First off is the sweater I started last night. The color is a bit redder than that and it doesn't show the softness or the drape but I love it so far. I figure it will be a bit delicate though. I'm not sure it will hold up well, but I like the design and the yarn and it's all about me anyway.

Zach's sweater so far. I wasn't sure if I liked the contrasting collar but he does and since it's all about him, he gets to decide. It's soft and pretty light: Caron Simply Soft Heather in charcoal and blue denim or something like that. Too lazy to get up and dig into the bag and look. I'll start the sleeves tonight.

My handspun. I'm spinning Welsh Top on my Mother Marion Kick Spindle. This is a single so it's a bit thin. I'm not sure what it will look like plied. I might try Navajo plying but I'm not sure if I can do that very well on a kick spindle. The color is pretty white, not as vanilla as it looks here.

This represents nearly 8 ounces. Not a great picture, I know.

I did these so long ago I don't remember what the yarn was. I won it on a contest Angie had a while back. I just know it was yummy to knit with and I love the striping. This is for my baby sister for Christmas.
This is also part of my winnings from Angie's contest. Cascade Fixations. The color is more maroon than red. And so soft. These go to my Mom for Christmas. (I'm pretty safe writing this since no one from my family reads my blog.)

These were supposed to be my older sister's sabbatical socks but they never got mailed. It would have been too warm anyway and she probably would have lost them so she'll get them for Christmas.
These are some worsted socks I knit from some scraps of Woolease that I've got a ton of. It's just a 2x2 ribbing. Nothing fancy but I like them. They're sitting on my digital piano that I really need to get back to playing.

These Woolease socks don't match but I like them that way. I only had a little bit of the green and the pink but I like the effect. In most other things in my life I need symmetry but not socks for some reason. Again...the piano in the background.

My crayon socks. More Woolease scraps. These match because they looked better that way.

I raked leaves today after I took Zach to work. He's working a full shift today and hasn't had time between school and work to do it.

I'm off to do dishes and maybe start supper. I have Zach's work shirt to iron and I'd love to sit down and knit a bit tonight. I hope to get the yard mowed tomorrow because it's so tall it's starting to fall over. I plan on using the reel mower so I don't use up any gas. Not to mention the gas mower is still broken and I would have to use the vice grips.

My roll top computer desk. When we bought this we had a 386 that fit inside with the monitor sitting on it (it sat on its side). And you could shut the desk up. We even have a neat key for it. The old printer fit in a drawer to the right. It would still fit there if I had a cord long enough. It looks so much better than the monster desk that was almost half again as long and wide. And very ordinary.


Friday, October 17, 2008


Yesterday was pretty emotional for me.  Wee one stopped eating and while I was holding him trying to get him to eat, he just shuddered ever so slightly and crossed over the rainbow bridge.  I couldn't believe he was gone and sat there stunned for a moment.  

One of my curses is that I seem to be empathic.  I don't just feel sorry for people or animals.  I feel what they go through.  I really feel it. So I sat there in the car and sobbed.  And I still tear up a bit when I think of how he died.  It just got to me so much.  And I felt guilty about it, too.  Feeling like if I hadn't tried to get him to eat, he would have lived a few hours longer anyway.

But the truth is, I think  he had a skull fracture.  His wee head was caved in over his right eye and I don't think he would have lasted anyway.  But I still feel like it was my fault.

I'm still grieving over my cat of 17 years and she died two years ago.  I had her put down because she had multiple organ failure and I didn't want her to suffer, but I still feel like a murderer.  I was going to bury little bit by her grave in our back yard, but instead I put him under some mulch around a tree I park near at Moraine Park in Fond du Lac.  

Circle of life and all.

So for therapy I went out today and bought a bunch of yarn on sale at Stuff Mart.  I got enough of the Plush that I had already bought to make myself a sweater because a) I love the color and texture and b) I need some clothes for church.  

So I cast on Fashionista Cardigan from Knit 'n Style, August 2007.  It's a pretty simple cardigan, which I need right now.  Something that doesn't require a lot of concentration.  The back is pretty standard, but the front is somewhat circular with a garter stitch button band and only one button, meeting in the middle.

I'm making it a size smaller than I wear because I have to get this weight off.  I'm going to go on a protein heavy diet, probably South Beach, because I've had to watch my blood sugar these past couple of weeks for the doctor and my sugar was excellent the day I ate that way.  Other days, it was okay but not great.

I also need to live a long time because that will be my revenge for some of the crap I've had to put up with in my life.  I plan on outliving those who are making me miserable.

I'm going to finish up the neck on Zach's sweater tonight and start the sleeves tomorrow.  It's getting cool enough he needs them.  I also have to put plastic on the windows this weekend and get the winter stuff out of the bins in the basement and air them out.  It's finally fall here with winter right around the corner.

One of my purchases today was some Lion Brand Homespun for a prayer shawl since I've stolen the red Plush to make a sweater.  This is a chocolate brown with some color variations that will go well for anyone.  I'm thinking of making a lapghan instead this time for one of the older gentlemen in our parish.  Not sure yet.  It does seem to be screaming shawl though.

Another purchase was a couple of skeins of Caron Simply Soft Tweed in a purple.  That might be for Christmas.  Don't know for sure.  I think there's enough for a hat and mitts.  Or a scarf and mitts.  I'm sure it will let me know soon since Christmas is around the corner (and no one has drawn names in Tom's side of the family yet.)

I'm way behind on email so I apologize ahead of time to those I owe email to.  This schedule is grueling in many ways.  I'm having to pick up the slack on some of Zach's chores because he doesn't have time for all of them anymore and all of my own work as well.  He's doing what he can and has never given me any grief in that department.  He has Monday afternoon off but he has some errands to run and that's the only time he has for that so there is no time for him to rake the yard because he works all weekend.

So I have to do it. And it has to get done so...there you are.

Just think of all the exercise I'll get done.

Monday, we're also getting a couple of mice from the pet store (and this is a pet store that doesn't deal with breeders...what they sell is mostly rescues so I like to shop they called today to see how the bitty one was and commiserated with me when I told them he was gone.)  I find that I really need to have a pair right now to help get over this really stupid heartache.  I got the old aquarium out of the basement from when we had the anoles...complete with wire top...and cleaned it up.  I bought some of the stuff but Zach is going to get the mice and the bedding with his first pay check.  He wouldn't let me buy it all.

And lest anyone think I have forgotten the Professor...he's been super cuddly the past two days. It's so odd how they know.  A few weeks ago he got into the trash and got a chicken bone.  I got it from him (over protest) and scolded him (mostly out of fear for his safety.)  Tonight, Hannibal knocked a chicken bone off the counter to him and when I walked into my bedroom, Professor was standing there with this thigh bone in his mouth looking very guilty.  When I asked him what he had, he dropped it immediately and hung his head.

I laughed.  And I really needed that laugh.  I took it from him and gave him a treat instead so he was happy.

Well, I'm off to bed and knit some more and watch Sanctuary and Ghost Whisperer, which I taped earlier.

And finish up Wire in the Blood, season 3.

And maybe read a bit.

And...oh, yeah...most likely sleep.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another mouse

Apparently Tom just threw the baby mouse out into the yard because Professor found it and brought it to me.  This was a few hours later and it was still wriggling around a bit.  I agonized over what to do and ended up bringing it into the house and warming it up.  I figured this little guy lasted over 3 hours in the grass after a fall of who knows how high and was still kicking.  I wasn't going to let him just slowly die a painful death of starvation and hypothermia.  If he was going to die, he was going to die warm.

Initially I gave him some milk from an eye dropper and he took in one gulp and wouldn't try any more.  Then I opened up a can of sweetened condensed milk that had expired and gave him a bit of that undiluted.  He took a bit more of that and so we stuck with that until after Zach's class.  I bought some powdered baby formula and he's been drinking that with gusto.  Still having difficulty getting it into his mouth instead of his nose though because he keeps moving his head all over the place.

We keep him warm with a hot water bottle and kept him in a box in my armoir so the cat didn't get him last night.  Today I bought him a little carrier (so much for frugality, eh?)

Oh...and guess who got up every few hours last night to feed him?

By this morning his color was much better and he's so much stronger.

When we came home last night with this baby mouse in a bucket, Tom told me to take him back to the wood pile and let him die there.  I said I wasn't going to let him die and Tom responded with, "Well, why not???"  I told him I just wasn't going to let it die and he didn't speak to me the rest of the night.

Sheesh.'s the big guy.  I don't know how old he is but his eyes and ears are still closed over and he has no fur.  But he started squeaking last night and it was so cute.

I think he might make it.

On the knitting front, I bought some Red Heart Plush that was on sale at Stuff Mart to knit another prayer shawl.  It's very soft but I don't know how well it would hold up.  Still, it's bright red and that should cheer up anyone's heart.

I'm turning the heel on the bumble bee socks but I still haven't finished the collar on Zach's sweater.  I don't like to take that with me because knitting black under a street light isn't very good.  I know the socks are black but I could do those in my sleep.

Another bonus is we don't have to go in until 6 tonight for Zach's class so I'm going to take a well-deserved nap.

Tomorrow is Zach's birthday but I can't tell you what I bought him because he's been known to read this blog so he'll just have to wait until tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why are there only 24 hours in a day?

I meant to post yesterday but couldn't come up with a single thing to talk about.

I managed to finish the prayer shawl late last night.  I breath a sigh of relief that I have finished something.  It goes in the wash and then in a bag to keep as much of the animal hair off of it as possible.  I also finished the front of Zach's sweater.  I don't like the neckline because I think it's too big, but I hope the ribbing will take care of that.

I'm going to print out Jared's neckwarmer and knit up my handspun dorset.  That will feel so good this winter.  I would love a cowl and might look at that instead, but I don't have enough of the dorset for that.  I do have enough of the Cascade 220 though.  I definitely want wool.  Acrylic just wouldn't be warm enough.  I also have problems keeping hats on.  They slide off my head for some reason.  I've looked at my head bald and it doesn't look pointed to me so I don't know why it does that.

I'm drooling thinking of starting that kit I got from Joan.  But not today.  I need to wind the yarn into a skein first.  I use medicine bottles and do it by hand.  Slow going but it usually looks pretty good.

Professor brought in a mouse today after his morning run with Tom.  I guess he got lonely for the other one.  This one was a baby so Tom put it back outside.  Last night I took him for a walk and we went past a house that has tons of Halloween decorations out.  One set of decorations had spooky organ music and some life-sized figures moving about.  He stopped, cocked his head and looked so confused and then started barking at it.  I laughed out loud and then chuckled all the way home.  He just couldn't figure it out.

Another very full week coming up.  I started supper for tonight while I was fixing last night's supper.  I don't know what I'm going to do for Wednesday.  Zach has that funeral to acolyte but I should have time to throw something together.  Once I have the meat fixed, it's a bit easier. Coming up with ideas...not so much.  I've not been eating meat lately.  I will when I crave it but as long as I'm not, I'm not going to.  Anything to get my cholesterol down.  The dr wants it down by 50% by two weeks.  I think she's dreaming but I'll give it a go.  If I can get it down, she'll prescribe a cheaper medicine.  Otherwise...I'm back to spending $30 a month.  I've got samples I'm taking now.

Well, off to hang out the first of three loads of clothes today as it is supposed to rain tomorrow and I'm not home much on Thursday.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

More Sunday blatherings.

I didn't get as much done yesterday as I had hoped.  I'm looking right now at the dirty kitchen floor thinking that it will keep until tomorrow, but supper and the dishes, of course, won't.  The yard needs mowing and Zach usually does that but with his schedule, finding the time is harder for him. He has assignments in addition to his school, so it's not like his actual class time is the totality of his school time.  And this week he's been asked to serve as acolyte for a funeral so he has no time this week to mow.

I just can't do it today.  I'm so stinkin' tired I can barely move and if I don't at least take it easy today, I'll be worthless all next week.  But I don't get the day off.  I have some rugs to hang out, supper to cook, dishes to do, and hopefully time for knitting later.  

I've been doing research online trying to find even more frugal ways to live.  I'm not really seeing anything new out there except I can use all kinds of coupons to get name brand discounts which don't cost as much as the store brand that doesn't have a discount.  Wait...that's not new.  I had to go back to the store today because I didn't realize we were almost out of eggs and we were also low on potatoes so I got those.  And a few fresh veg so I could make some vegetable soup for my suppers this week.

It all adds up though.

Church was excellent, as usual.  My Secret Sister gave me a coffee cup and soup bowl in bright colors: green and yellow and pink.  Flowers, which normally I'm not too fond of, but this isn't very girly at all.  I feel so at home there.  

I'm getting closer to finishing the stole.  During the peace today I went over to hug the woman who will be receiving it.  She broke her hip last summer and hasn't been as active as she used to be although I wish I could be as active as she still is.  It's just something I wanted her to have to cuddle up in this winter, especially as she had to have her dog put down last spring.  It will be the first winter without him.

I should learn from her that adversity doesn't mean you have to throw a pity party.  

Off to knit before taking Zach to work.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

I won!

Joan had a contest a few weeks ago and yours truly was one of the winners.  What did I win?  A kit to knit a Heather Undulating Waves Scarf.

The beads are Swallow Hill Creations, color Black Diamond.

The yarn is Schaefer Yarn, Heather.  It is 55% Merino Wool Superwash, 30% Silk, 15% nylon.

Forgive the blurry pictures, but the color is pretty true.

I think I'm going to have to adore it for a few weeks and pet it for another few before I can finally bring myself to cast on.  I've never knit with beads before but this looks like a good project for a beginner.

If you can spare a few prayers or good thoughts for Joan, I'm sure she'd appreciate them. Chemo is dragging her down.  Yet she does so much.  She is truly an inspiration.

I didn't get any knitting done last night because Zach and I moved both desks.  The monster desk was so heavy.  We managed to slide it out the front door and leave it in the yard for the thrift store guys to pick it up this morning.  The roll top divides into two pieces but the upstairs is a converted attic so the stairs are narrow and curvy and it was so hard to get the bottom piece down.  I had to take the door off the hinges and Zach and I were drenched with sweat before we got done.  

I was going to wait until today to put everything back together, but I'm really fussy about things like that and have to have a clean house in order to sleep.  So it was about 2 a.m. before I was done enough to call it quits.  And I had to get up at 9 a.m. for the thrift store guys.  It actually took me until nearly 4 before I could sleep.  I had to unwind.

I found a few crochet patterns for baby blankets from crochet pattern central that Jan recommended.  I've got a lot of baby sport weight that I need to use up and I haven't crocheted a lot lately.

Not that I don't have a lot on my plate right now.  I had to wash out Zach's shirt for work tomorrow because he only gets two and he works on the grill so they need to be washed out every day.  I know that he needs to learn these things for himself and he will.  He's asked me if he can start taking over some of the laundry.

Sigh.  I know it's ridiculous but I like doing laundry and don't like anyone else doing it.  But I also know that he needs to do these things for himself so I just have to bite the bullet for a few years and let him take over.

But timewise he didn't have time to wash his shirt out and I had some other hand washing to do so I did it this time.

I was hoping to take some time off today and relax, but the kitchen is a mess and needs some deep cleaning and the bathroom needs to be scrubbed tomorrow.  Zach generally takes care of the weekly cleaning of the bathroom but once in a while it just has to be scrubbed.  

But Tuesday morning I'm sleeping in.  I swear it.

On the plus side, my blood sugar levels are coming down because I've been more active.  I'm still not dieting and my relationship with food is ever so much better.  It took a lot to get past the panic that if I just ate without measuring or counting calories, I would gain weight.  Well, I've lost 2 pounds this week.  

I no longer think about food 24/7 and I don't eat between meals much at all.  Only when I'm hungry and even then, sometimes I just don't think about it enough to bother.  It feels like I've been freed from bondage.  It really does.  Quitting smoking felt like this, too.  Once I got past the cravings, it felt so great to be able to plan my day without thinking about when and where I could smoke.  Or waking up in the morning hacking my lungs out and then grabbing a cigarette.

I'll try to get more pictures in on a more regular basis.  I do want to show you the rolltop computer desk.  It was designed for a 386, way back in the olden days and the monitor, of course, is too big to sit back into it so you can't roll the cover down.  And the tower is on top instead of on its side under the monitor, but it still looks so much better than that monstrosity we used to have.  And it takes up 1/3 less room.

I'm off to fix something for lunch because I'm hungry.  I'm fixing pizza tonight.  Vegetarian for me.  And cooked from scratch.  The guys swear my pizzas are better than take out.


Friday, October 10, 2008

I have a few minutes here...

I'm taking a short break from being frugal since I wasn't before.  Yes, I'm still a bit bitter about that comment.  I now fix supper in the morning three days a week so I've got supper to take with us.  I do dishes when I come home at night instead of using the dishwasher.  I'm hanging clothes...outside if the weather is nice...inside on racks if it isn't (I was already doing this.)  And of course, sitting in the car waiting for Zach instead of driving home and coming back to get him (again...already doing this.)

Last night when I got in at 11 p.m. (after leaving the house at 11 a.m) there was a package waiting on the table for me.  I'll let you know more about it tomorrow because it won't do to describe it.  It needs pictures!

Also waiting for me was a dirty kitchen but I was too tired to do anything beyond putting things in the dishwasher to hide until today.

So today I swung by the thrift store to ask if they could pick up this monstrous desk and they said, why yes they could...for five dollars.  I considered just loading it up on the truck but I knew that it would stay there for weeks at a time so I was decidedly unfrugal and said that was fine. They'll be here tomorrow so I've been emptying out the drawers (and throwing a ton of stuff away...sneaking it out to the bin before anyone *coughTomcough* sees what I've thrown out.)

We've been invaded by Japanese beetles and stinkbugs.  What joy.  Earlier I felt something on my neck and absent-mindedly picked it off and boy howdy! what a smell.  Japanese beetles are like the skunks of the insect world.  When I came home from shopping today, the south side of the house was speckled with the stink bugs.  I gave them a wide berth and waded through a swarm of the Japanese beetles to get in the house.  And I brought them with me.  All of them. They prefer the view from the front door so I've been sweeping them back outside every now and then.  Both pets cringe from them so I'm guessing they've had a taste already.

I plan on spinning tonight while watching Ghost Whisperer and Sanctuary, then switching to knitting while I watch the rest of my Buffy dvd.  I've got Wire in the Blood, season 3 to watch tomorrow and Saturday, although I have it for two weeks.  And I found a great book by Patrick Taylor called An Irish Country Doctor.  It feels a lot like Ballykissangel and is a great read. There is another book by him at the library that I think is a sequel.

And I broke down and got Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on cd again so I can finish it.  And then Order of the Phoenix.  I have missed knitting while waiting for Zach.  Video games get old after a while.  I'd like to finish the prayer shawl...aka Invisibility Shawl in worsted week.  The nights are getting cooler and it would be nice to give it to the lady to curl up in.

And I must finish Zach's sweater.  I don't know why I'm resisting the neck on this.  It's not the least bit hard.  And after that are the sleeves, which I love doing.  Why aren't I motivated?  I think I'm done with socks for a while.  I'd love to knit my dad a pair before Christmas though. I'll have to wait and see how my frugality is working out.  I brought my grocery bill down by about $50 this week, but we'll see if that is a trend or a fluke.

I noticed at Stuff Mart today they have revamped their yarn section and are getting rid of some Red Heart stuff, stocking up on sport-weight baby yarns and Vanna's Choice.  I petted it for a while and then reluctantly went about my business.  I liked the colors, too.  And they seem to have Caron Simply Soft stocked up again.  For a while it didn't look like they were going to keep it.

So I might not finish the sweater coat because they don't seem to have that color anymore.  I never buy enough of Red Heart at a time because I can always get it and don't have to worry about the dye lot.  Maybe this is a sign that I don't really want to make it.

Well, my time is up and I have to get back to work and finish up the kitchen and then when Tom gets up go upstairs and empty out the rolltop so I can bring it down after he leaves.  I'm going to put the monster desk outside tonight because it's not supposed to rain and because I don't know when the thrift store guys will be here tomorrow.  I don't want to manuever that out the door at 9 a.m.  I'm getting Zach to help me though.  I don't plan on doing this all by myself.

I hope to have those pictures tomorrow.  I'm so excited about what was in that package and can't wait to share it.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Can I keep up this pace?

I went to get my test strips today for my glucometer and nearly fainted.  The insurance won't pay for them and they were $97!!!  How on earth are diabetics supposed to test their blood?  I asked the pharmacy tech at StuffMart if there were any cheaper choices and she showed me a meter whose strips are only $45.  Only.

I'm tired.  Being frugal-er than I have been means a lot more work.  I had to cook supper before I left today, at 3 p.m., (I started it at 9 a.m) and tonight I had to start supper before I go to bed because we leave before noon.  And I'll have to get up early to finish it.  But hey...apparently I haven't been frugal before so now I have to get to it.

I haven't had much time to myself aside from time spent in the car.  And today I just played video games instead of knitting. So now I feel guilty for not spending more time on the knitting.  Although I did spin a lot last night while I was not sleeping.  Yet again.  I hope I sleep tonight because I'll be in the car all day tomorrow.  Although I might just take a long nap.  Especially if it rains.

And I'm at the halfway point now.  But tonight I'm going to knit because I miss it and I need to accomplish something.  I did wear some of my worsted socks today and felt all cozy in them.  (I take my shoes off while I curl up in the back seat.)

I haven't done a lot of talking about knitting much lately.  A lot of whining and some blathering, but not much to do with knitting.  Mostly it's because my projects are endless taking so long and are so... ordinary.  

And since I'm not going to take antidepressants, I need to do whatever it takes to raise those seratonin levels on my own.  I walked around the parking lot a few times today, but not all at once.  And yesterday I found a route in the school that gives me a workout because of the stairs and all.  I'll save that for rainy days.  Tomorrow I'll try two laps around the parking lot at once.

Off to bed to watch Buffy and then the Ghost Hunters episodes that I taped.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I had to go back to the dr today to talk about my labs. My blood pressure was through the roof and she was concerned but it's always high when I walk in the door.

I'm back on cholesterol medicine but she gave me some samples until my next blood work in 2 weeks. And she's putting me on metaformin for my diabetes. It wasn't particularly high, but she says that it will help my metabolism and help me lose weight in addition to improving my blood chemistry so the sugar is metabolized more efficiently.

She also wants me back on antidepressants but with the tramadol it can create a condition that is potentially fatal. So she insisted suggested I see a psychiatrist who will monitor me on both medications. I had to agree to get out of the office, but I'm not going to do it. And it's not just the money. I don't want to take any more chemicals into my system than is absolutely necessary. I know that I have to lose the weight and get my blood work in better shape. I'll do that. And I know that I suffer from depression. I'll work on that, too, but no more chemicals. At least not now.

I did some spinning last night until the spindle was so full the tip wasn't showing enough to spin anymore. I'm almost to the halfway point: 8 oz. I took socks with me to knit on at the dr office but there wasn't even time to get a whole round in. The nurse was very impressed though.

I took the audio books back to the library. I just got burned out on Harry Potter for a while. At least listening to them. I'll be taking music today. I'm just in that kind of mood. I'm losing interest in the sweater coat but I'm not frogging it because the interest may come back. I saw Jared Flood's neckwarmer on Ravelry and it's up on his blog as well. That I'm terribly interested in for my handspun dorset. I think I have enough to knit it.

Off to get tons of housework done we have to leave for FDL.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

God bless the animals

I'm sitting here with my Calorimetry on my head and a scarf around my neck and wearing an old ratty sweatshirt.  I love it!

But it is mighty cold in here so I need to shut storm windows, replace the screens in the doors and possibly start putting plastic on some of the inside windows.  I'll get the outside ones later this week.  It's looking like rain today and I don't want to be on a ladder in the rain.

We celebrated St. Francis of Assisi feast day today.  Took both Professor and Hannibal to church, left them in the car while we had the service (it was nice and cold but they had blankets to snuggle in.)  I wasn't keen on taking them but Zach really wanted to.  Sometimes it's just best to let people see for themselves that their wants aren't really the best thing all around.  Hannibal was so traumatized that behind a solid present in the carrier. I think he also shed half his fur on Zach when he let him out of the carrier.

Professor was funny, though.  He's this bad, agressive dog when he's safely behind the living room window.  When I let him out of the car on his leash, he was pulling on it trying to get to the big dogs on the church lawn.  Rrrrfing all the way.  But when we got there he tried to crawl up my leg to get away from them so I ended up holding him the whole time.  And he was the star of the show, let me tell you.  Initially he backed away from nearly everyone who wanted to pet him. One girl became his new best friend though.  He fell in love with her right off the bat and let her not only pet him but snuggle him as well.

So Zach decided next year we'll just take a toy to be blessed as their surrogate.

Yep...I win.

I also won the argument about the desk as well.  Tom has agreed that if I can get rid of this monster, we'll bring the roll top down.  I just hope the monitor will fit in there.  It will be a very tight squeeze but I think it will do.  If not, I'll figure something else out.  I want this monstrosity out of here.

I got another sock done and find my interest waning.  It must be time to work on something else so I'm looking at lace scarf patterns for worsted weight yarn (my handspun dorset) or I might start on the balaclava in the Cascade 220.  I'll probably have enough for some mitts, too.

In the meantime, still working on the shawl, losing interest in the sweater coat (wishing I could make it out of black instead of maroon,) and wishing Zach's sweater were done.  So I guess I should focus on his sweater tonight because I do hate necklines.  Once I'm past that I'll speed through the rest 'cause I love to knit sleeves.

I ended up giving away a pair of my fingering weight socks yesterday.  We went to a party for a friend of Zach's who is going to Norway in January and forgot it was also a birthday party.  So I grabbed a pair of socks from the drawer and popped them into a bag.  It's so nice to have a stash of FOs to choose from.  They were her color, fortunately.  And I still have enough socks left over for my sisters and mom for Christmas.

Although...I guess it's a good excuse to buy some sock yarn now since I only have just enough.

Today is Zach's first day of work at McSnacky's.  He's a bit nervous as you would expect but he'll do fine.  Soon it will be my turn to get a job.  Like I don't already have two or three. 

I think I have time for a short snooze before time to take him to work.  I've actually been sleeping a lot lately so I must be getting some recuperative sleep going on.  I've been off my arthritis meds for a month now and my knees keep getting better.  I was able to completely genuflect today instead of going down halfway and using a death grip on the pew to bring me back up.  I don't know what is working but I think it's the CoQ10.  I stopped the other herbs I was taking so that's the only think I can think of.

Time to go off for a nap.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Time to dig out the blankets

I didn't get any pictures taken today because after paying bills, reconciling the checkbook, running errands, cooking supper and giving the house a lick-and-a-promise, it was time for Sanctuary and I didn't have the vcr set to record, so I sat down to watch it.  I did manage to catch me some Monty Python on BBCA (eeee...finally have it again!!!) before it started.  (And joy of joys...Life on Mars is the marathon on BBCA Sunday.  I'm happy.  I had really missed that station.  I know there is a US version of LOM but I rarely like remakes of British shows.  The US version of Touching Evil was so bland.  I don't know why we can't just have the British versions in prime time.)

I worked mightily on a black and yellow sock in worsted weight.  It used to be the hat I was knitting the other day, but I decided I didn't like it as much I did the last one and I do have this problem with commitment, so I frogged it.  It's looking great as a bumble bee sock.

I will get some pictures soon.  I promise.

I've been looking around for a balaclava to knit.  I found two that I like.  One on Knitty and one at a vintage pattern site.  Now to decide which one.

I've done no knitting on the sweater.  I don't know why except socks make me happy and I needed that today.  No particular reason.  In fact, I'm feeling more positive today.  Most likely all that sleep I've been getting.  I managed to growl at Tom this morning when he was playing with Professor on my bed and getting him to bark.  He backed down swiftly and was ever so quiet the rest of the morning.  Or at least until I got up at 9:45. 

I do plan on getting back to spinning soon, as well.  I really don't know why I'm not spinning more, but I think knitting relaxes me better and I need that right now.  I can take the kick spindle with me next week and spin in the car while listening to the rest of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  I'm so behind on it.  It will make a mess because the Welsh top sheds, but better the car than my bedroom.

I almost have Tom talked into getting rid of this monstrous desk.  It takes up about a third of the living room and he would like to set up a dining table, turning this room into more of a family room.  I told him it wouldn't be possible as long as the desk was here.  We have a computer roll top upstairs that we got back when we got our first computer but the monitor we have now is much bigger and the tower doesn't lie flat the way the old 8086 did but I think it would still work out.  And it's not only much smaller, but nicer to look at.

I'm almost to the stage of perfoming a magic act on the desk while he's gone hunting, except this thing is (and I kid you not) monstrous.  It's the size of an office the president or manager of a company would have.  He hates to get rid of anything (which is why our house is ready to split apart at the seams) so I know this is killing him.  I told him he could keep it in the garage but he was trying to figure out how to get it upstairs or in Zach's room.  Ha!  This thing would take up half of Zach's room and no way is it going to make it up the stairs.

I was so stiff when I woke up this morning.  I had kitty and puppy in bed with me because they love my blanket and it being a bit frosty, they wanted to be where the warm was.  Professor was under the covers and wouldn't budge when I tried to turn over.  Hannibal was all stretched out and being the big boy he is, wouldn't move either.  I managed to pick him up and move him over a bit.  It's still a bit too warm for the flannel sheets but I should dig them out and let them air out on the line.

Speaking of clotheslines...I got the laundry in finally.  The forecast calls for lots of rain next week so I'll use my racks.  I got lazy twice this summer and used the dryer but I don't want to do that unless I have to.

I'm going to button up the house next weekend.  This weekend we have a party to go to tomorrow, I have meals to prepare and stuff to bake for the week ahead.  And maybe I'll get some yard mowed (using the reel mower instead of the gas-powered one...think of the calories burned!)  I still have some plastic for the windows left over although I will need more.

I also need to go through closets and put the summer stuff up and start airing out the winter things.  I don't wash them since they were clean when I put them away, but they do get musty so an afternoon in the Wisconsin wind (which is so lovely) will put them right.

And I need to make another run to the thrift store.  Mostly I'm getting rid of my stuff.  I would never get rid of Tom's stuff without his permission no matter how I feel about it because I had someone in my life a long time ago who decided that my memory box and all my writings, stories and essays were junk and threw them away.  That included a diary I had kept since I was nine, my high school diploma and my mortar board and tassle from graduation.

I did find some old homeschooling stuff and freecycled it.  Someone emailed me about it and since it's not taking up tons of room, I'm willing to hang onto it until they can come get it.  And soon...very soon...I'll be freecycling Tom's motorcycle.  I just have to clear a path first.  And I have to get to the rest of my Red Heart stash and decide what is going to a new home.

I have so much to do and so little energy to do it.

Well, off to finish Bones: season 2.  I have The Rector's Wife to watch this weekend as well, since it's due back on Monday.

I've rambled enough.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Is it only Thursday?

Zach starts his job on Sunday afternoon and has a pretty decent schedule for his first week.  He's really blossomed this year, breaking out of his introverted nature to be more of a presence in his classes.  He still hibernates in his room at home, but that's okay because so do I.  I think he'll do very well at McSnacky's.  And heaven knows, the money will be nice.

I'm still struggling to figure out what to take food-wise because I'm so deathly sick of casseroles, let alone reheated casseroles.  We've eaten out far too much in the past two weeks.  I got out my other cookbooks and will attempt to make better tasting meals that reheating will actually improve the flavor instead of making it tough and nasty.

I took a 2 hour nap in the car today.  I didn't mean to but it was raining (thanks, weather guy...I listened to you tell me it wasn't going to rain and hung clothes out that I couldn't take down because I was 26 miles away!!!) and the car was cozy and it was so quiet at the back of the parking lot.  And this after 8 hours (yes, 8 hours!!) of sleep last night.  And I feel like I could fall asleep now.  I keep a pillow and throw in the car, so I just lay down on the back seat with my pillow and was out like a light.  I had the sun shade up on two sides of the car and no one could really see me unless they deliberately looked in so I was pretty safe.  Plus, the car was locked.  

Thursdays are my worst days because we leave at about 11 a.m. and get home at about 11 p.m. He's agreed to start driving close to home but we've got to get his permit renewed and I've been too tired to stand in line for an hour or so, but I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and get that done.  I'm not going to make him drive to Fond du Lac because I don't think an inexperienced driver needs to drive country highways in the dark (and on faintly painted's hard enough for me to tell where the lines are) with drivers out there who think the middle of the road is their side and who drive with their brights on because, by golly, they've got to see where they're going.  And with the rain it's nearly impossible to find the lines at all.  He's nervous enough during the day.

So I should crawl into bed now because tomorrow is errand day and possibly get the permit day so it's going to be just more of the same.  And Saturday I'm going to do some cooking ahead of time so I don't have to get up early on Thursdays to cook supper at 9 a.m.  Who the heck knows what they want to eat for supper at 9 a.m.?

And Sundays are usually just as hectic with church and now getting Zach to work (thankfully I can drop him off because it's just about 7 miles away.)

On the knitting front, I worked more on Zach's sweater and am almost ready to divide the front for the neck.  I finished the socks and started on a small hat to wear around the house.  I found a pattern last winter and knitted the hat (I'll look for the link later) and loved it.  It comes to my ears, but not over them  and sits on my head without sliding up and off like most hats do (I must have a weirdly-shaped head because I can never keep a hat on.)  My hair has been thin in the front ever since chemo.  I use a lighter color and that helps it be more unobtrusive, but it still makes me self-conscious so the idea of wearing a hat for decoration appeals to me.   This one is lightweight enough that I don't really notice it.  And I'm thinking of knitting a ball cap and a cloche in cotton for summer.  Why not wear the fashion I like as opposed to something designed by someone sitting in a loft studio in New York who doesn't even know me?

It's time I started letting myself be myself.

I did work a bit on the shawl but I mostly played on the DS and slept today.  Off to watch season 2 of Bones and knit on the hat.  I hope to have pictures tomorrow even if the sun isn't out.  (And here's hoping my clothes will finally dry out tomorrow...on a day when rain is actually predicted.)