Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Knitting the New Year in

During this brief time away from my blog, I've been doing a lot of knitting.  Unfortunately I've also bought more yarn so I'm not actually making any progress in knitting up my stash.  I didn't buy yarn randomly, but for specific projects...like socks for my dad and hats for a friend. 

I'm working on the sleeves of my older son's sweater and have one sock done our of two pairs for my dad.  I'm getting ready to shut down here and crawl into bed and knit the new year in.  I really know how to celebrate.

I got a beautiful new camera for Christmas so expect pictures as soon as I learn how to use it.  It's like you need to take a course on cameras these days.

It's pretty darned cold today although warmer than yesterday and it's snowing.  I still love to see it snow even if I don't like the limitations it brings.

Have a Happy New Year everyone and enjoy life as much as you can.  I sure plan to.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Time off

So sorry for not posting lately.  I'm going to take some time off from blogging and decide whether I want to continue or not.  I probably will but I need the freedom to think otherwise.  I'll be back after the first of the year.  Have happy holidays, everyone!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Feeling winter

Still doing a lot of knitting.  Just started a pair of gray socks for my older son.  The yarn is great...subtle shading differences that make it really nice.  He's in a cold climate this year so I'm planning on lots of knitted stuff for him.  A sweater, too, if I can get to it soon enough.

I dug out the winter stuff and can't find a matching pair of gloves or mittens.  I have no idea what happened to them as I kept them in a bag.  Possibly the car-key fairies have stolen them along with Tom's keys again.  He lost them a couple of years ago and we found them a year later in the yard.  This time they have to be in the house somewhere.  I just haven't been able to find them yet.

It's bitterly cold out with temps in the low 20s and a wind chill in the low teens.  Very cold for this time of year.  I've got all the older windows taped up with plastic but I'm thinking the newer windows need it as well.  They've been completely wet with condensation in the mornings.  I'll get to them.  One window at a time, I suppose.

I did finish up the self-striping socks the other night.  I'm keeping those.  I rarely knit pretty socks for myself so I'm keeping this pair.  I might get some Wool ease from JoAnn's to make some more winter socks but we don't need any just yet.  Maybe by February when all my socks are threadbare.  They're a few years' old already so they probably won't last beyond this winter.  I've darned them multiple times.

We had some snow Monday morning but it's melting today in spite of the frigid temps.  The sun is very bright, thankfully and is melting it all off.  I've got to get some ballast for Tom's truck so he can safely drive to work.  The truck is very light in the back and is crap on snow and ice.  I'm going to get some cat litter and bag it up in plastic so it doesn't break open.  This way if he gets stuck, he can use the litter to get out of the snow.

We're doing pretty well with the frugal thing.  I'm only shopping once a week even if we run out of something.  So I'm saving on gas as well as the grocery bill.  I'm thinking of shopping today instead of tomorrow though because I'm not motivated to do much more than knitting today.  I've been doing okay as far as cleaning house.  Since I stopped trying to work on a complete room I'm making more progress.  Just doing a little bit in each room has made more progress. 

Well, I need to go exercise on my stationary bike before we go shopping.  I don't relish getting out in the cold but I'm going to have to get used to it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Busy winterizing and being frugal

I'm not online much at all these days.  Busy being frugal, winterizing the house and knitting.  Always knitting.  My love/hate relationship with facecrack is still there.  I love it but resent the amount of time it takes to actually read it...not because of facebook, but because it slows my computer down to a crawl.  That's what happens when your 10 year old computer tries to deal with the faster speeds. 

I'm rotating my projects, trying to get some things finished up.  I didn't go to the knit thing at the library but did knit all day at home.  I'm not so much working on projects for the community now as working on projects for us.  I do have a baby blanket on the needles, but now I'm working on my sweater coat, Zach's sweater, socks (always socks) and am thinking of starting to knit up some bags for groceries.  I have some store-bought bags but I have no idea where they are.  They disappeared last time I organized things.  Still, they don't handle heavy things well, being made of paper, after all.  I stopped buying library bags since they only last a couple of weeks before the handle breaks off.  My library visits are never without lots of heavy books, after all.  I have tons of stash to knit up, or in this case...crochet up.  I should get busy.  Or busier. 

I'm making progress with cleaning. Catching up on over a year of cleaning isn't going to happen overnight so I've got a system where I don't necessarily tackle one room and clean it; I just clean bits up of several rooms and am making much more progress this way.  Plus we're tackling the basement as well.  I've gotten 6 big garbage bags out of there in the past two weeks.  You can't tell to look at it, but I know it's that much cleaner.  And I'm caught up on laundry as well.

We have a drip in the bathtub faucet when you shower so I've got a bucket under there that I have Zach take downstairs after each shower (I can't carry that much weight anymore) and put in the washer.  It takes a few trips before I have a washer full of water but it does save us some money.  Tom doesn't think it's worth it, but that kind of thinking is what has gotten us into trouble over the years.  I've done it as well, thinking that I can spend now and save later.  Or thinking that it's not worth the trouble to save money in one aspect, when it's all aspects that we can utilize frugality.  I'm getting there.

I've still got some windows to put plastic on but the new screen door is making a huge difference already.  I haven't turned the furnace on yet because we haven't needed to. Before, standing in the foyer, you could feel a steady breeze through the door.  Now, nothing.  No breeze at all.  I won't need to close off the foyer at all this winter.  I do have a curtain up that we can close for an arctic entry of sorts.  It's not completely closed off but it does help keep the initial breeze from flowing into the dining room once the door is open.

I moved my bed back up against that wall with the bookcase headboard in place again.  It just wasn't working as a living room the way I had it and with no place to prop up my pillows ( I have a hiatal hernia and have to sleep propped up a bit, plus with the congestive heart failure, sleeping flat affects my breathing) it's hard to get comfortable.  It was really hard to get in and out of the room as well, with the futon opened up, making a tiny entrance into the living room.  Now it's just a bedroom (which is what it was when the house was first built anyway) and more spacious.  Well, as spacious as a tiny room can be.  I'm getting used to it and sleeping pretty well still.

I have the guys' supper in the oven so I'm waiting until it's done and then off to bed to knit some more.  Today is socks.  I'm almost ready to turn the heel on the second sock.  And maybe I'll dig out some yarn and start a bag for shopping and/or library.  I've got some leftovers in the fridge to eat later.  Butternut squash & mushrooms.  It turned out pretty good for me just throwing things into the pan.  I'm losing weight again, finally.  Didn't lose a pound in the past 2 months.  I have no idea why I can't lose weight on 1000-1200 calories a day...and exercise.  I'm down to around 201 now...or just under that.  I'll be so glad when I can lose all this weight.  As long as I've carry this around, my heart is working that much harder and as it's already damaged, this is not good.  I am trying, not cheating at all.  It's just so frustrating.

Off to get supper out of the oven.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another night without sleep

I'm having trouble with my computer so I'm not posting a lot.  Some days it takes up to an hour for the computer to resolve an unresponsive script.  It's frustrating but Zach can't find the problem...other than it's 10 years old and can't handle the enormous amount of crap out there in the internet.  Can't replace it yet so I'll just have to make do.

I'm going to the knit out at the library on Saturday although my social phobia is causing my stomach to twist in knots and kept me up all night with anxiety.  I've got to start pushing myself to get out more.  I'm planning on bringing my projects that I've done over the past year:  hats, scarves, baby sweaters, baby blankets and a couple of afghans.  They accept anything that will keep the community warm.  I've got until January to donate.  Now that I know where to put my donations I can be more specific about my knitting. 

I'll have to make do with the yarn I've already got because the overtime has dried up completely for Tom and with no pay raise this year, his pay is lot less than he was making as foreman.  I'm not sure we can make ends meet on his regular pay.  I'll have to start canceling things if it looks like the overtime is gone forever.  Zach has put in another round of applications but so far, even though all the places are hiring, he's heard nothing.  Without references he's limited to fast food.

This doesn't help the stress levels I'm supposed to keep at a minimum.  Seriously, I'm not supposed to get stressed out.  How the hell can I avoid that?  Especially with the hospital visit bill still not showing up yet? 

Well, got laundry to do today if I don't get anything else done.  And probably a nap and some knitting.  And working out a way to incorporate even more frugality into our lives.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Apparently I can be...

...arsed to rewind the backward self-striping skein of sock yarn after all.  It just didn't look good at all as a second sock so I frogged it and rewound it.  Only to find a knot fairly soon into the skein.  I just snipped it and kept winding.  I'll add the two together when I get there.  It won't cause too much discrepancy between the socks.  I hope.  I do hate knots though.

Zach is wanting to learn to crochet so tonight we're going to sit down and get started.  I'm thinking of doing some crochet myself.  A blanket of some kind, to use up the single skeins I have all over the house.  It would be nice to keep my stash down to manageable proportions.  It's not that I've bought all of this yarn.  A lot of those single skeins were given to me by well-meaning people who saw that I did a lot of charitable knitting and wanted to donate what they had stored for 30+ years.  And I can't say no apparently.  I'm thinking some blankets for the animal shelter since color wouldn't be so important there.

I got some plastic on my living room/bedroom window last night.  I'll get two more today.  It's hard work for me so I can't just do it all.  I don't plan on using the furnace yet anyway.  It's still not too bad in here if we dress warmly.  Around 58F right now and I'm getting ready to start a load of clothes so when they go in the dryer it will vent into the house (with an old piece of panty hose on the vent.)  Zach is going to tear out the tile in the foyer so we can put a rug down there this year.  I wasn't thinking too clearly when I had Tom put down some ceramic tiles there.  We can't put a rug down because there's no room and the tiles get so slick when you walk in with wet shoes from the snow, we've had near misses with falls and such.  Especially when carrying groceries in.

Had a bit of sunshine this morning but it's looking gloomy out there again today.  I haven't seen the extended forecast yet.  I hope it warms up a bit so we can mow again and get the weather stripping on the front door.  I thought we had more time for that.  Apparently not.

I'm still working on the sweater coat and the sock.  I've got a couple of baby blankets going that I should finish up.  One is in candy corn colors.  Just a garter stitch patchwork thing but it's pretty nice and soft.  Not sure where these baby blankets will go.  Maybe the food pantry or if I see a charity for donations of blankets for winter.  I'll keep looking.

Time to get up off and get something done though.  It's dark enough for lights in the house but I'm in my super tightwad mode right now so unless I need to read or knit, I'm not turning the lights on.  Off to do laundry.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Very unseasonable fall

I started another project.  This time a sweater coat based on an old leaflet I've had for at least 25 years.  Just a plain cardigan only longer.  My store-bought sweater coat is fast deteriorating and I need a new one.  I practically live in them during the winter.  I plan on digging out Zach's sweater to get back to work on and if I can't find the pattern, start over with another one.  I haven't gotten that far on it so it wouldn't be devastating if I had to.  Still working on socks, as always.  I'm discovering I'm not a huge fan of self-striping yarn after all.  One skein was wound completely backwards from the other one so the patterns are reversed.  I wasn't arsed enough to fix it by rewinding the skein though.

Zach wants to learn how to crochet.  I've had my crochet books and magazines out looking through them because of the massive stash I've got to use up so I have room to actually live in this tiny house and he got interested.  He knows the basics of knitting but it bores him so he thought crochet might interest him more.  His first project is a crochet bag for his hooks.  They're $10 at the store and no way am I paying that much for something he can crochet on his own.  I've got one I made years ago but I have twice as many hooks in it.  Way too many for it to hold.  He can have half my hooks easily and I'll still end up with too many.  I'm still looking for a project for me as well.  I was thinking of an afghan since I can use up a lot of single skeins of yarn.

It's cold now. Unseasonably cold.  I should turn the heat on but I don't have the plastic on the windows and I'm adverse to heating up the outside so I'm just wearing more clothes.  I need to dig out my fingerless mitts so I can knit with warm hands.  But it's not too bad in here.  Yet.  I think it will warm up again before we need to turn on the furnace.  I never keep it warm in here anyway.  I don't think we've had the furnace over 62 in a decade.  I prefer 60 actually, unless it's really wet outside, then I'll kick it up to around 62 or so.  And I love to sleep cold so we keep it around 50 or so at night.  Although I might keep it at 55 now that I have congestive heart failure.  I can't afford to get sick anymore.  Not with a tendency to accumulate fluids in my chest.

We got the storm windows on over the weekend so it is a lot warmer inside.  Once I get the plastic on the windows it will be even warmer. This year I'm putting plastic on the newer windows as well.  They showed some signs of air leakage last year.  Can't hurt.  Maybe $5 a year extra for that.

I'm going to finish up supper and then crawl into bed under my warm covers.  I don't have a blanket on the bed yet but I do have a throw on top of the comforter.  I got a new comforter on sale this summer.  It was $60, nice and heavy, for $26.  Always look in the clearance aisles before buying anything.  Back to being as frugal as I can since the overtime has dried up.  His pay without overtime is a lot less than his pay as a foreman so it's going to be a tight winter.  Just when I could focus on being frugal, after my cardiac rehab was over, the overtime went away so I never had a chance to get ahead.  Now it's going to be a struggle just to stay where we are. 

Baked spaghetti is a pretty economical meal for the guys.  Don't know what I'll have but it will be healthy and not enough to eat.  I haven't lost a pound in a month even eating under 1500 calories as a rule.  Sometimes less but never over.  Sigh. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Trying to find a normal routine

I keep hoping I'll get organized better, the house cleaned and spend most of the day knitting happily.  Alas, this doesn't seem to be happening.  I had one day of a burst of energy where I cleaned out a closet that was spilling out into the hallway, sorted stuff to take to the thrift store and then burned out at 5:30 p.m. and for at least 3 days following that.  I need to pace myself better.

I am, also, overdoing the physical things, lifting too much and pushing myself beyond my limits.  I still haven't learned to live within those limitations yet.  I would probably do better if I just did a little bit each day instead of trying to do it all at once.

I started a pair of slippers for Tom last night, frogged the crocheted top I was making for myself, found 2 extra pounds of yarn, giving me a total of 3 pounds of purple yarn to make a sweater coat out of.  Now to find the right pattern.  I also frogged the 70s cape.  Didn't love it the way I thought I would.

I worked on the second sock last night in addition to the slipper.  I'm also nearly done with the baby blanket and I'm already planning the next baby pattern.  Not sure if it will be a blanket or not but probably will since it's something easy to knit and light on the shoulders when knitting.  Doesn't weigh me down.

Today, though, we're loading up the car to take stuff to the thrift store.  I have no room in the dining room to move around because of bags and boxes.  Then I can dig out more stuff to take to the thrift store next month.  I might get caught up by next summer if I work steadily like that.

It was cold this morning when I got up.  We had one window still open but I think I'll close it tonight.  It's time to get the storm windows cleaned and on.  I don't want to wait until it's really cold to do that.  Zach is going to mow one last time this week as well.  We haven't had to mow in over 2 months due to the drought conditions we experienced here again this past summer.  I hope the farmers are doing okay.

I've got all my summer stuff put up.  Have to work on Zach's this week so he has room for his winter stuff.  Well, I don't have to work on his stuff but he's got to.  Tom's on his own, too. 

I stopped taking the lasix except as needed but I have needed it this past week somewhat.  It's hard to tell how much water weight I've gained since I'm eating 1200 calories a day and exercising.  I gained 2 pounds last week but my jeans were getting tight around the waist so I took one a day for a few days until they got looser.  Still, I don't understand how I can keep gaining weight on 1200 calories a day.  Since I write down every calorie I eat at the time I eat it, I'm not underreporting.  This has happened to me every time I've tried to lose weight.  I lose initially and then stop losing and start gaining.  I've even gained weight on 900 calories a day.  It's frustrating how my body resists weight loss.  Still I have no choice but to continue.  Although I switched back to vegetarian because I get more volume that way.  And I'm not as hungry all the time.  Although I will eat meat if I'm craving it. 

Well, I should get busy and get some work done.  I've already cleaned the kitchen and my bedroom.  I guess I'll do a load of clothes before Tom needs the shower.

I really just want to crawl back in bed though.  I'm sleepy all the time lately.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

More car problems and much knitting.

We had planned to go down to Indiana this weekend, tomorrow in fact, but things are in limbo right now as the car started making some strange grinding noises in the right wheel.  Tom is out there right now looking at it but as it's already mid-afternoon and the clouds are threatening rain, I don't think anything can be done about it today.  If it does need something done to it.  I'm nervous about driving all the way down there...a 10 hour trip...not knowing for sure what the noise was so as far as I'm concerned, the trip is off.  I'm not a risk-taker.  Driving a car with a problem doesn't make the problem less...it makes it more of a problem and more always means more money, too.

I'll have to call my dad and let him know. 

I had stayed up late making a gift for my niece's daughter since her birthday is coming up.  We were going to celebrate all of ours since they're all so close together:  my dad's is the day before mine, my niece's is a week or so before his and my baby sister's in on the last day of the month.  I'll just mail the gifts to them since we probably won't go down now until the spring.  Tom will be doing some training at work and since his vacation days start counting down again very shortly we can't take that many days again just now.  Plus deer hunting is coming up next month.  We don't travel much in the dead of winter because of the weather so it will have to be spring. 

To be honest, this will give me time to get a bit healthier before we make the trip.  I've been feeling a bit "off" the past week.  Some heart palpitations, although not much, and some anxiety.  I'm no longer on the lasix except as needed.  I took a couple this past week because of some shortness of breath.  I'm still not sure how to live with congestive heart failure.  All the information I got during rehab was about the stent.  The insurance doesn't cover treatment for congestive heart failure. 

I've been knitting up a storm.  I just wish I could finish up a project before I start another one.  I got a free Crochet magazine and loved some of the projects in that so I started an overshirt.  My gauge is impossible to get right so I just adjusted the pattern to fit the yarn instead.  I have no problem doing that with crochet.  Just can't do it with knitting for some reason.

I'm also still working on the 70s cape and the baby blanket.  I have to kitchener the toes of the sock and start its mate.  Since we're not going down (unless Tom can pronounce the car wonderfully healed) I also need to start cleaning.  The house hasn't had a good cleaning for over a year at least.  And the past couple of weeks have been bad for me with the fatigue so it's gotten very cluttered.  Time to clean.

I do much better with fall cleaning than spring cleaning anyway.

Also time to put up my Halloween decorations.

Well, I'm going outside to see what Tom has discovered so far.

I've closed the contest for the book.  Susie B has gotten hers but the other entry never came back to my blog to notify me or even just to see the results so as far as I'm concerned the second book is mine. :)

Monday, September 23, 2013


I only had two entries on the giveaway so I'm going to give both of them the book.  I can get another copy for myself later so the two winners are:  SusieB and Kymberly Pray.  Please email me your addresses so I can get them in the mail by next week.  I rarely ever check my gmail address so email me at kawaski@charter.net and I'll get your book out to you.

Thanks for entering the contest.  Even though I didn't have many entries, I enjoyed this and will offer something else in the future. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Loving the knitting mojo

I'm frogging the red sweater because it's just too bulky.  I don't like the drape...heck, there isn't any drape at all.  Too stiff.  So I'll do something else with the yarn.  I was on gauge but it didn't look a thing like the picture.  Instead I'm knitting socks.  I had bought some sock yarn at the new JoAnn's we got recently.  Good price so I got several skeins.  Some is self striping.  That's what I'm working on now.  I might give them as gifts to the nurses in cardiac rehab.  They're so nice.

I love that the weather is cooling off.  I'm taking the a/c out of the window this weekend so I can watch the bird feeder while I knit in bed..  Still pondering turning it back into a living room but not yet anyway.  Maybe sometime when Tom is home for the whole weekend.

I still don't have a lot of energy even with the exercise and the weight loss...which isn't a lot but is steady now and while miniscule, is at least a sign I'm moving in the right direction.  I've got one more week left in my 50s.  Next Sunday I turn 60. 

I've got laundry going today. I was going to restring the clothesline but I think I'll do that tomorrow and dry the white clothes in the dryer since socks feel so much better machine-dried.  At least the dryer will feel nice today since it's so cool.

Otherwise I'm spending the rest of the day knitting and a bit of cooking.  I have some shopping to do but that might wait until tomorrow.  I'm not in any hurry.  I have 3 blankets on the needles right now so I think I'll dig out Zach's pullover and get back to work on it.  I'll have to figure out where I am in the pattern and relearn it, I suppose.  I much prefer working on pullovers to cardigans.  And I really hate the buttonhole bands that are folded over.  Too thick and the buttonholes never look right to me.  I got some purple yarn several weeks ago on sale so I think I'll make a wrap out of it.  Something to throw on when it's not freezing out.  Or something to wear while knitting.  I do have lots of things like that so maybe I'll do a pullover instead.

I started getting Knit 1*2*3, a knitting magazine in the mail.  I really like this one because the patterns use yarn I can afford and have access to.  It's frustrating to fall in love with a pattern that only will work in the yarn they have chosen and it's out of reach financially and is completely unavailable.  I have lots of things to watch while knitting this winter so I'm really feeling the knitting mojo today.  Lots of projects, lots of possibilities.  I also have plans to work on other crafts as well, like spinning, some crocheting, drawing, maybe some painting and hopefully I'll get some writing in as well.  Which means much less time online.  I haven't managed to be done with facecrack yet.  It's the only place I have to see some of my friends so it's hard but it lags my computer so much that I am more tempted each day to just give it up.

I've barely gone to Ravelry lately.  I should check it out more often and facecrack less.

Off to put the clothes in the dryer and back to knitting.

Friday, September 6, 2013

At least I'll have the pain meds for a few months

The nurse called back to tell me that the dr has refilled my pain meds but it didn't sound like the dr was happy about it and WILL see me again in a few months to discuss this.  I'm thinking of looking for a new doctor.  One who will treat all of me and not send me to a specialist every time something comes up.  I talked to some nurses today and found out no other doctor does that.

I nearly started a new project last night but I couldn't get it to come out right.  I may still do it.  It's a tunisian crochet cable scarf that I would like to learn how to do.  I know how to do tunisian crochet but this cable thing is a but difficult to understand. I saw it on a knitting show but I deleted the program so I don't have it anymore.  Maybe it's on the site.  It's either Knit and Crochet Now or Knit and Crochet Today.  Can't remember which.

I must get back to work on my dad's sweater though.  Which I will work on tonight as I'm not doing much  more than fixing supper.  It's been a hectic and frustrating week full of stress and little sleep so I'm tired and in a lot of pain right now.  Thankfully I can take some tramadol in just a few minutes and put my feet up for a while.

Still plugging along with the baby blanket, too...the sherbert green one.  I should get pictures of all that I'm doing.  I just keep forgetting to do it.  Maybe next week.

Not sure if I'm going to the family picnic on Sunday.  I'd like to go but if it's hot and I still feel this bad then I just can't sit that long in pain.  I'm going to try to make it.  I'll just have veggies to eat though.  Can't think of anything to take.  I'm too tired to fix much of anything to take.

Off to go lie down for a bit before fixing supper.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Not a happy day

Had my annual physical today and walked out of it frustrated and nearly in tears.  My rheumatologist retired in February and there are no others in my network so my gp told me she would manage my tramadol, my pain meds.  Today, when I asked for a refill, she told me she wasn't going to manage them because she's not trained.  My rheumie herself was frustrated that the dr wouldn't take care of my fibromyalgia as well.  Now I don't know what to do.  The dr told me there is a new rheumie at the hospital but there isn't and I still don't have anyone in my network who treats that.  I'll be out of pain pills by the end of the month and even if I could find a rheumie, it would take months to get in to see one.  The thought of being in pain again makes me want to cry.  I mean, I'm already in pain even with the pills.  Without them...

I guess it's possible my cardiologist might manage them for me but I don't see him again until January.  That's a long time to go without pain pills.

She also got me to agree to various other tests since my deductible has already been met.  Not sure if I'll do all this, because the deductible isn't all of the cost.  We still have to pay the 20%...plus I haven't received the bill for the heart cath, stent and hospital stay yet.

I'll wallow in yarn today in order to console myself.  I'm not nearly close enough to finishing up my dad's sweater so I'd better knuckle under and get it done.

Or cry.  Not sure which I'll end up doing today.

Monday, September 2, 2013


I posted this on my other blog but since I haven't had any response there, I'll post it here as well.  You only need to comment on one post to enter the contest.  Either post will get you a chance to win.

I've never done one of these but I got an extra copy of a book that I ordered and rather than send it back, I thought I would offer it up to someone out there who likes fantasy books.  It's not a new book...several years old, in fact, but it's one of my favorites.  I read it to Zach when he was little...many times.  I had loaned my original out but never got it back so when I ordered a new copy, got the extra one, too.

The book is Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams and it's fantastic.  More like animal mythology/fantasy but reminds me a lot of Watership Down in many ways.

So if anyone wants to enter the contest, just comment on this post and on September 22nd (my birthday!) I'll randomly draw a name and send it off to the lucky winner.

I hope whoever wins it likes it as much as I do. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Just a little post today

Still knitting away but with this heat I put aside the sweater and started a baby blanket in a beautiful sherbert green color.  It's a two row repeat so very easy, just a mild ripple pattern.  I'll pick up the sweater tomorrow when it cools off but for now...

Didn't get much sleep last night.  Don't know why; I just couldn't get my eyes to stay closed.  Got up after 3 hours of sleep thanks to Anne from Cardholder Services.  And the dog.  I'd like to sic the dog on Anne.

Supper tonight is using up stuff that is going bad in the fridge.  Potato/leek/mushroom soup and green beans with onion and some hamburgers.  I'm really craving meat tonight so I'll fix one on the Foreman grill.

Rehab is going well but I'm still not losing any weight at all.  I'm really tired of being hungry all the time and no weight loss.  If I add any calories, though, I gain weight.  Even at 1400 calories a day.  Sheesh.

Well, supper is nearly ready and I'm starved so...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pushing myself too much

I really pushed myself yesterday at rehab and spent last night in a great deal of pain from the fibromyalgia.  Today is just as painful except I'm not trying to sleep in spite of it.  So it's a bit easier to live with today.  I don't think I'll push myself again like that.  Still, I put in 30 minutes on the exercise bike and will do another 25 later today.

I'm still working on my dad's cardigan.  Finished up the back and am working on the right front.  I'm past the pocket and nearly ready to start decreasing for the v-neck.  So far, so good.  I do need to get back to work on other projects as well since I'm doing so well on the cardigan. Although the sleeves have cabling on them so that will slow me down a bit.  But still, I think I can finish up other projects while working on it.  Like the little girl's sweater.  It might be big enough for my great-niece but I doubt it.  And I want to start a pair of socks for my dad.  It's not too complicated a pattern and the yarn is self-striping so I need a very simple pattern for that.  Just a small fake-cable down the sides, I think.

I'm gaining weight again.  I can't figure out how that's possible since I'm not eating more than 1300 calories a day.  I only seem to lose when I go below 1000 calories.  But I'm getting hungry all the time so I'm going back to eating meat again.  It looks like I'm only losing a couple of pounds a month though so it's terribly frustrating.  But I am increasing my stamina and my heart is getting stronger so I suppose I should be happy about that.  Just don't know why I'm not losing weight and gaining on 1300 calories a day.

I have some errands today so I won't be able to knit as much as I want and I'm not getting as much cleaning done as I would like but I am getting there.  Slowly, but I am making progress.  Time to go fix some lunch though so I'm off.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Still working through the fatigue

As if I didn't have enough projects going on right now, I woke up the other morning thinking my dad would look great in a red cardigan.  So you know where this is going.  I had to go to the library to find a nice cardigan pattern and then found red yarn and away I went.  I'm almost done on the back because it's straight stockinette.  The only pattern is in the sleeves.  A lovely cable.  I should be done by the time we go down there in early October.  And I'm thinking a pair of socks for him as well. 

I frogged the Monkey socks I was working on because I just didn't like them anymore.  In fact I really disliked them.  I think I'll put them away for a while and work on other projects.  My older sister, who was to be the recipient of the socks, has the socks I knitted for Mom so she's set for a little while.  I can get hers out later, when I decide on a pattern.

The past couple of days have been very full of fatigue for me.  Not sure if it's the fibromyalgia or the congestive heart failure.  Maybe a combination of both.  It's the consensus with all the nurses at rehab both here and at the other hospital that my chf is from the chemo rather than the heart attack.  The cardiologist won't consider the chemo as a factor but I'm going with the nurses on this one.  My heart attack was apparently pretty mild and the damage from it, they don't believe is significant enough.  Still, there is improvement in my heart function so who knows?

Today will be a lot of knitting because I'm still very tired.  I had rehab this morning and did all that was required of me but I don't have a lot of energy left to do anything else.  So tv and knitting.  And some cooking because we need to eat.

Off to finish up online, which I'm spending less time there because I have so many other things that need to be done.  Just not today.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Time to sort my priorities

Continuing to make progress with my health.  I'm eating totally vegetarian now although I am using milk and the occasional egg in my diet.  Not sure I will ever go fully vegan but we will see.  I'm knitting more now because I've decided to spend a lot less time on facebook.  It's like a vampire that sucks all my time and life so I'm only going to check it once a day for messages.  It's a love/hate relationship.  I love the people I've met there and learn some good stuff, but it takes so fricking long to read anything because my computer lags badly.  Even if it didn't lag it still takes a long, long time to get caught up.

I have a lot of knitting to catch up on in addition to the extra cooking I'm doing and the other crafts I want to work on as well.  Still not reading as much as I would like though.  But I hope that will come with time. 

Zach's sweater if coming along.  I'm almost to the point I was when I had to rip back and start over.  It's a really nice cable pattern, easy to memorize.  I haven't decided on Stephen's patter yet.  I want to finish up the socks first.  And possibly the little girl's sweater.  I've totally lost interest in it but I do think I should finish it up.  Same with the feather and fan blanket, although I know my interest will return on that one soon.  It's a pattern I can work on while online or while reading so when I get to the point where I'm reading again, I'll prop the book up (or use my Kindle) and knit away.

I'm making progress catching up on the cleaning as well.  Not huge leaps and bounds, but I am catching up slowly.  I'm still not allowed to do general housecleaning although I'm not far off from it so I work, but slowly and take frequent breaks.  Today is mostly knitting and cooking though.  I don't have rehab today but I am tired from the week of rehab, cooking and cleaning so I am taking the day off.  Supper will be simple for everyone tonight.  A taco/rice dish for the guys and potatoes/corn/green peppers/ mushroom casserole for me.  I'm just going to make it up as I go along. 

I've got some vegetarian cookbooks from the library but most of the meals call for ingredients that are expensive or impossible to get so I'm just getting ideas from them.  I work better when I'm just winging it anyway.

Off to do more knitting.  I've done half my exercise already and had my lunch of salad and home made cornbread without salt.  I used curry by mistake when making it.  I thought I had the cumin.  But it turned out really good so I plan on putting curry in next time as well.  I don't miss the salt so much and Zach didn't seem to notice it at all.

The store now carries Earth Balance, a vegan "butter" but I plan on using up what I've got now...Smart Balance, an olive oil/margarine combination.  We'll see.  I don't use soy much because my breast cancer was highly hormone receptive and soy has phytoestrogen in it.  No proof one way or another but I prefer to be cautious.  I use rice milk instead.  Tried almond milk but didn't like the taste.  I can drink rice milk on its own.  Not so much soy.  Still, I'm limited on fluids so I don't drink milk at all now.

I miss coffee a bit but I will probably drink tea in the cold months.  Instead of ice drinks.

Off to knit.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lots of cooking, catching up

I've been pretty busy lately, catching up on the cleaning, although slowly since I'm not supposed to do general housework yet, and a lot of cooking, which I am allowed to do.  I'm eating vegetarian now and the guys aren't so I'm cooking two meals.  Because of the low sodium restrictions, nearly everything has to be cooked from scratch, including tomato sauces and such.  I'm trying to get a bunch of stuff made up ahead of time so I don't have to cook as much but it involves a lot of cooking in the meantime.  I've been in the kitchen since around 1 today and I still haven't gotten supper done yet.  In fact, just started.  It's chicken and dumplings for the guys and I'm working on a tomato sauce so I can fix some Italian or chili or something.  It's a pain but necessary.  The guys haven't been eating very well lately and Zach needs to lose weight, too, so I've got to make sure their meals are healthy as well. 

I've lost 10 pounds since the angioplasty but only 2 pounds in the last 2 weeks.  I have no idea why but I'm not eating that much.  Only about 1200 calories a day, plus 40 minutes of exercise a day.  I don't know what else I have to do but it's extremely frustrating.

I've gotten some knitting done but not a lot because I've been so busy and because I go to bed around 10 every night.  I don't know why I go to bed so early but I get sleepy then so I shut the lights off and go to sleep.  I've been getting up around 7 although today I slept until 8:30.  But the dog got me up several times last night so he could go sit on the porch for a while.  So frustrating.

Hopefully I'll catch up with the house soon and be able to spend less time cooking and then I'll spend more time knitting.  I'd like to get Zach's sweater done before Fall so I can start one for Stephen.  He's in Montana now and needs warm clothes to wear.  Plus I like knitting sweaters.  I'll knit him up some mittens, too, and maybe a hat.

Well, supper needs my attention now so I'm off to get some more work done.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

As I continue to get better

Had my 10th session of cardiac rehab today and am doing fabulously.  I'll be done the end of September, which is great.  I hope I lose another pound or two by then.  Sheesh.  What will it take.  I gained another 2 ounces yesterday.  On 1100 calories.

Not knitting as much as I should be because I've got a huge stack of books from the library.  Everything comes in at once apparently.  Still, I'm alternating on Zach's sweater and the feather and fan afghan.  They have done away with the yarn I'm using at StuffMart so I hope JoAnn's still has some.  If not, I'll switch to Super Saver.  There will be some difference but as I'm not selling it or anything, it won't be a huge deal.

I should get back to the purple socks I'm knitting for my older sister.  Just not in the mood for little yarn right now.  I will be again...soon, I'm sure. 

Right now I just want a nap.  I've been getting up around 7 a.m. which is fine when I get to bed early but last night I got woke up around 11 (I went to sleep around 9:20) and couldn't get back to sleep for a couple of hours.  Still woke up an hour and a half before the alarm so I'm dragging.

I have a dr appointment on Friday with the cardiologist.  My rehab has been rescheduled for 1 p.m. so I'll grab a bite to eat from Subway, probably, drive back to Waupan and sit around reading until it's time.  No point driving all the way home.  I would just have to turn around and come back by then.  I'm the only one scheduled for that afternoon so it should be pretty quiet then.

Little by little I'm making progress on the house.  The kitchen is staying clean now that I'm not using the dishwasher anymore.  I'm thinking of storing food in there as the "pantry" is overflowing.  It's just two racks in a cubby that the refrigerator used to be in so there's not order to it.  It would be so much easier to grab the stuff out of the dishwasher.  I'd really rather have the cabinet space rather than the dishwasher.  I have to keep the dishes and glasses/cups in the hutch in the dining room.  It's huge and heavy and takes up a lot of room that I need so we aren't so crowded in here.

Well, time to get ready to take some stuff to Goodwill.  It's nice and cool today.  Not even 70 degrees yet so it's a good day to run errands.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cooler weather on the way

It's still hot although cooler weather is on the way.  I heard some drops of rain out there just a few minutes ago but they stopped already.  More should come later and cool off the air enough to shut off the a/c.  I did try this morning because there was a nice breeze out there but by the time I got home from rehab, it was in the 90s and the wind was hot.  So I turned the a/c back on but shut the curtains to the bedroom to try to contain the cool air.  Professor had been in Zach's room because it was too hot for him out here.

I started another afghan last night.  Why on earth did I start an afghan in a heat wave?  No idea but it's a feather and fan afghan in red, black and white.  I will probably need a bit more so I checked out StuffMart but they are in the process of rearranging their yarn so nothing was out.  I think JoAnn's has some so I'm not sweating it.  I can use another brand if I need to.  Super Saver yarn is very similar to what I'm using now.

I love feather and fan so I think I'm going to use up a bunch of the Super Saver yarn I've got around the house.  I've got some pastel colors that would go well together.

But I do need to get back to the socks and the little girl's sweater before I forget where the patterns are.  I've done that many times.  More than I would like to remember.

Next week Zach and I are going to tackle the dining room and set aside some crafting areas for working on various things, like drawing, painting, sculpting and any other crafts I can think of.  He's also going to set up his desk for a crafting place as well.  I'm welcome to use it so I might since he has a/c in there.

I also want to get busy doing more cooking from scratch.  I'm able to eat more foods if I cook them myself so I'd like to eat more food.  This diet isn't any fun especially as I'm not losing any weight at all.  Which I don't get since I'm not cheating and eating less than 1300 calories each day.  And exercising.

This sucks.

I'm fixing supper for the guys right now.  Just grilled cheese and onion rings and a veg.  It's still a bit too hot to cook although the kitchen isn't as bad as it was earlier in the week. 

Off to finish it up and then into my room where it's cool and knit.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hot, hot, hot!

Another heat wave with near-record temperatures.  I hate having to use the a/c because of the cost but with my congestive heart failure, I'm supposed to avoid the heat as much as possible.  Especially until I get some improvement in my health with weight loss and exercise.  I seem to be stuck at this particular weight.  It's been 3 weeks and the scale has moved only briefly and then back to this weight.  I'm still counting every calorie and milligram of sodium, every ounce of fluid that I drink and I exercise every day.  Nothing is happening.  I don't get it.

I haven't done a lot of knitting the past couple of days.  I did do some ripping back on the sweater as I made a mistake several rows back...I un-knit it stitch by stitch because I didn't want to drop any stitches and have to tink back any further.  That took 2 nights to accomplish but I'm finally back where I was before I discovered the mistake.  I may work on socks today because the sweater is now long enough to rest on my legs while knitting and that is much too warm.

I should get back to the socks anyway.  Or the little girl's sweater. 

I've been getting up early because of rehab but on the days I don't have it I just get up anyway so I'm not off on my sleeping...which is getting better and better.  I haven't slept this well since before Zach was born.  I got some laundry done this morning and cleaned up the kitchen so I could get that done before the heat gets bad.  I've got the kitchen shut off with curtains and that helps a lot.  I can't cool off the kitchen as well as the dining room.  At night I close off the dining room as well so I'm only cooling the bedroom.  No reason to cool it off in there when Tom isn't home.

The yard needs mowing badly.  Couldn't do it last weekend because the neighbor partied all night long outside so Zach didn't get any sleep at all.  And I mean all night.  It was 5 a.m. before they quit and as they're 10 feet away from his bedroom window, it wasn't happening.  I didn't go out to ask them to quiet down because Tom was gone all weekend and I've had some suspicious stuff happen after their parties before.  Like someone opening my car door and turning my lights on.  Someone opening my car door and leaving it open.  Stuff like that.  I didn't want anything funny happening with Tom gone.  Even though the car doors were locked I didn't want to find broken taillights or anything else like that.  Tom suspects the guy has connections with the police because they consistently park beside the fire hydrant outside but the police never ticket them.  So calling the police on their party might not have been the wisest thing.

So I told him not to bother with mowing but with this heat wave, he can't mow in that either.  It's already in the high 80s and it's not even 10 a.m. yet.  It was 85 last night when I went to bed so it's not cooling down enough at night for me to use the window fans.

My computer monitor bit the dust yesterday so I'm using Zach's monitor since his computer bit the dust a month ago.  Everything seems to be falling apart.  Even the dishwasher isn't cleaning the dishes very well so I'm washing by hand, which seems to keep the kitchen cleaner.  And the washer is leaking at the hoses somewhere.  Tom will get to that but not until the weekend and I'm way behind on laundry so I have to use it as is.

I won't even mention the house needs painting and we need to do some landscaping.  I have a dead cherry tree and the weeds around my roses are taller than the roses.  Zach is color blind and can't see the difference between flowers and grass so he can't weed for me.  I just haven't been allowed to work outside yet so...

Well, I think I'll go in the bedroom and read a bit.  Then some knitting and maybe puttering around in the dining room to get it clean.  If I take it slow and rest often I can get the house cleaned up.  At least I can bring the laundry up from the basement  now.  Can't carry the wet clothes out to hang on the line but I can carry the dry ones.

And that's a big thing for me.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Exceeding expectations

I'm doing pretty well in cardiac rehab.  They've bumped me up to 40 minutes of exercise there and 30 minutes at home which will be great with my new exercise bike.  The only thing bugging me is I haven't lost an ounce in over 12 days.  I even ate less yesterday...1000 calories...and still didn't lose an ounce.  I don't know what the deal is but it's incredibly frustrating.  I'm not cheating; I record every bite I take in calories and sodium and I'm still not losing weight.

I'm working on the sweater I started for Zach.  I've run into some problems with this skein of yarn having some issues and have had to cut sections of it out because it wasn't spun right and ended up all fluffy in spots.  I've used this yarn before with no problems at all but this particular skein sucks.  Still, I love the pattern and have been progressing well on it.  I need to finish up the young girl's sweater since I'm almost done with the body of the sweater...just the sleeves, collar and button bands to go.

I'm having afghan withdrawal but the weather is heating up so I'll have to wait until fall for that.  I should get back to working on my older sister's socks.  They're on the nightstand waiting for me.  Plus I got some sock yarn last month that needs my attention as well.  I think I'm going to knit my dad a pair and maybe my older sister's husband, too, since he was very helpful in my mother's last days.

I got the dvd of the funeral but I haven't gotten up the courage to watch it yet.  I do want to see it but I'm not sure I'm ready for the emotions that will build up within me.  Not yet, anyway. 

Tom is up north with his family at their land for a Luau weekend.  They have it every year.  I'm not going because finding something to eat that is low-fat, low sugar and low sodium is difficult enough at home.  Pretty impossible up there where I can't cook for myself and can't read labels.  I'm getting caught up on laundry and cleaning up the kitchen today and tomorrow.  I'm way behind.

But I think I'm going to go sit in bed and read for a bit before I do my exercise.  I'm waiting for lunch to settle first.  Not allowed to do any activity for an hour after a mean...no cleaning working out or any kind of exertion.  So...I'm off to read.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The afghan that never ends

I continue to improve and I love cardiac rehab.  It's nice to work out with other people and the nurses are great.  But at home, it's hard to exercise.  I have some dvds but since I'm limited to 15 minutes and have to keep my heart rate no higher than 100, it's hard to figure out what to do.  And walking in place or back and forth in the bedroom are difficult because of my dodgy hip.  I was only 5 minutes in yesterday when I had to start holding onto it...for the last 10 minutes.  So I bit the bullet and bought an exercise bike.  I researched them and got one that is inexpensive and doesn't take up a lot of room.  This one folds up to store so that helps a lot.  I hated to spend more money though, but knowing that Zach has to get in shape, too, unless he wants to end up in cardiac care before he's 30, I went ahead with it.

I'm still working on the afghan.  I would have been long done if I hadn't had to rip back the last section 4 times over the weekend.  I couldn't believe all the mistakes I kept making, including dropping a stitch back at the beginning of the section.  I'm now on the home stretch, working on the border.  Finally.  It's pretty warm working with it but I'm so close to the finish I want it done.  Then I can move onto socks and the baby sweater...which I will have to get very busy on since the shower is in 3 weeks.

It's really muggy today.  I had the a/c on for a bit yesterday, mostly for the dog.  He coughs and honks and breathes so heavily in the heat.  I need to get weight off of him, too.  It will be a miserable experience for both of us since he will wake me up in the night wanting food, but he's not healthy at all.  I need to start walking him, too, but I can't walk on hills yet so I'll have to find a place to take him.  It's not too hilly on the other side of the highway so I can walk him that far to get across the highway.  It's only a block but it's a mild incline so it takes a lot out of me to get that far.  I'll figure it out.

Zach's new mattress and box spring will be here Friday.  It's a lot later than they told us but it will have to do.  His mattress is so bad to sleep on but just a few more days.  I really wish we could stop spending money but stuff just keep falling apart.  Like m.

Well, time to fix something for lunch.  I'm barely losing any weight anymore, which is frustrating since I have about a 100 pounds to go.  I'm only eating 1200 calories and have to watch my fluids and sodium but I've gained a few pounds last week and only started losing again today.  I'm not cheating at all since I have to write down every single thing I eat.  It's going to be a long journey to weight loss if I'm only losing a pound every other week or so.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Cardiac rehab...great!

Today was my first full day of cardiac rehab and they really put me through my paces!  I was on 4 machines while they monitored my heart and bp.  I'm cleared for light housework and 15 minutes of exercise a day at home as long as my heart rate stays around 100 beats per minute. I've already been doing light housework but it's good to know I can do it legitimately now.

My yarn stash is growing smaller.  Or it was until the other day when I bought more yarn.  But just to add to some already stashed yarn so I can knit Zach a sweater for this winter.  I decided to go ahead and buy it while they still had the yarn there.  He hasn't decided on a pattern yet and I have a baby sweater to knit first anyway since the shower is the beginning of next month.  I should get started on it...soon.

I'm nearly done with the afghan I've been working on and have used up all but 2 skeins of the yarn I set aside for it.  I can knit up a scarf and hat out of the rest of it.  I have a little girl's sweater to finish up and the socks for my older sister.  I've been saving up the socks for miserably hot days when I can't knit anything that will make me hotter but so far the days haven't been miserable.  Until today.  It's pretty warm today so I might nit on the socks today.  Or start the baby boy sweater.  That won't be too warm to work on.

I would like to start some more herbs for my kitchen.  It's just a matter of doing it since I have everything I need to get them started.  I'm using picnic cups because we have them in abundance from last year's family picnic.  I've got some stones to put in the bottom to weigh them down.  I just don't want to buy more pots.

We bought Zach a new mattress and box spring set.  Another one of those expenses that just keep piling up but he really has needed them for a couple of years.  We have a piece of plywood between his set right now because the bottom mattress/box spring combo is sagging terribly and his was sleeping so badly on it.  I hope this makes the difference so he can get some good sleep at night.  It will be here around the beginning of the week so he has the weekend to clean up his room.

The medical bills have been coming in and they take my breath away...even just our portion of them.  I'm guessing we've reached the deductible by now but the 20% is murdering our finances.  And the past week Tom wasn't able to get any overtime so that paycheck is going to really hurt us since we can't meet the bills on his regular paycheck.  But when you work in a place that won't allow unions, what do you expect but pay cuts whenever they feel like it.

Still, at least we have the insurance. 

I have a few errands to run today then home for marathon knitting sessions.  I'm dvr-ing The Walking Dead and it will fill up my inventory unless I keep up with it a bit.  I've seen the first season but lost track of it and missed the second season.  Never caught up.  I'm nearly caught up with Doctor Who.  Mostly I just watch that now and then so I can savor it and not be without it for long periods of time.  I do love the Doctor in all his regenerations.

Plus I got a new series from the library this week.  Judge John Deed.  I love Martin Shaw so I hope I like this one.  Love him in Inspector George Gently.  Love Lee Ingleby, too. 

Well, need to get moving so I can crawl into bed and get some knitting done.  I'm going to need to put my hair in a pony tail next cardiac rehab session because it was wet when I got done.  Plus I think shorts will be the better option.  One of my problems today was my pants were getting too big and the heart monitor kept coming unclipped from my waistband.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Still tired but not worn down

My burst of energy the other day left me.  I'm left with the normal fatigue that is annoying but not debilitating.  I do, however, still have the congestive heart failure.  I've had some moments of shortness of breath when doing next to nothing and still get tired easily.  I'm waiting to hear from the hospital near us about the cardiac rehab.  I have an appointment with my regular doctor on Friday as a follow up to the procedure; I don't see the cardiologist until next month.  I have some questions for her, which I should write down because I won't remember them tomorrow, let alone Friday.

It's hot and muggy this week.  I haven't used the a/c yet although it's in the window.  So far it's tolerable.  I do have to watch out for the heat now and not let myself get too overheated but worse case scenario, I can go into Zach's room.  He has his a/c on.

We looked at new mattresses and box springs for him.  His are in horrendous shape and it's made difficult sleeping for him, which isn't great in light of the fact he already has a sleep disorder.  Found one we really like but will look around some more just to be sure.  Liked the salesperson, too.  She was really nice and helpful.

Still eating vegetarian although it's not easy having to cook two meals.  It's not any easier to have Zach just cook for him and Tom as the kitchen is tiny and no way can we both be in there at the same time.

OMG  the ice cream truck just went by.  I haven't seen one here in years.

Back to eating well...ahem...I fixed a cajun stew to go over rice that Tom ate with his chicken last night so I didn't have to fix two complete meals.  Tonight they're getting hamburgers and baked potatoes (Zach will get his french fries...can't stand potatoes any other way) and I'm fixing myself a sweet potato in the oven.  I'll have a veggie burger and salad to go with it.  The guys can have something else.  Maybe I'll fix corn on the cob to go with it as well. Need to use it up before it goes bad.

I'm doing well losing weight.  My scales are sensitive enough to register ounces so I can see weight loss even in ounces per day so that helps my mood a lot.  Losing steadily although I expect it to slow down very soon and possibly stop for a while.  It's frustrating but I can gain weight on 1200 calories a day when I get to that point.

Time to start the hamburgers and then I'm off to knit the rest of the night with some breaks for laundry.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Had a really good day today.  Tom took me to the store because I can't drive until tomorrow so I got the shopping out of the way so all I have to do tomorrow is errands and the credit union.  I still can't lift much so the guys have done the heavy stuff, like bringing the groceries in and putting the screens in.  And the air conditioners.  It's going to be very warm this week so we'll need them.  It's better if I don't try to work in the heat so I relented and let Tom put the a/c in my room.  Now I just have to put things back together since we had to move stuff to make room for it.  I didn't put it in the window I used last year because it's the window I get the good breezes in.  So I opted to leave that one for the window fan, which I can take out easily if I need the a/c.  Otherwise it's mercilessly warm in there all summer long.

I've been doing some cooking because I can't use prepared foods because of the high sodium.  I'm going to have to bake my own bread because bread is extremely high in sodium.  It's not fair.  Still we'll be eating much better than we have for years.  I was careful not to overdo it today.  Took plenty of breaks and drank water, although I can't have as much as I want because of the congestive heart failure, which will be with me for the rest of my life...which is looking longer than it did a week ago.

I've been working on an afghan because the pattern is nice and interesting without being obnoxiously intricate.  But as it gets warmer, I'm going to have to switch to smaller projects, like socks and baby clothes.  I'm using up some of the stash and now have room in a couple of the bins so I can put the rest of the yarn away.  I hope it's the rest of the yarn.  I might find more in the basement and in my closet.  But for now I can get rid of the stuff that's still just hidden in corners.

I have lots of baby sport yarn so I can make some baby blankets and sweater sets.  That's not too hot to work on in the summer. 

Well, time to put my bedroom back together, load up more yarn into the bins and then finish up supper.  I can't believe how much better I feel already.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Strange pieces of metal living inside me

I'm back from the hospital after staying overnight.  They put a balloon in and then a stent because the main artery was occluded by 75%.  Zach says that congestive heart failure saved my life.  Now I know he's right because that could have caused me a heart attack at any time in the near future.  Not a maybe either.  A definite.

I didn't knit a lot but I got tons of compliments on the Monkey socks I was knitting.  I think I did more un-knitting than knitting because my mind wasn't too clear after all that messing around with my heart.

It's so good to be home!  I have to take it easy for the next few days...no driving or lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk.  So I'm planning on lots of knitting and watching the inventory in my dvr.  Plus the dvds I started:  Babylon 5 and Farscape. 

Next week they'll contact me to set up cardiac rehab but fortunately I'll be able to do that closer to home.  It's 3 days a week so driving up to Fond du Lac that often would really tire me out.  Plus this leaves me more time to do other things, like cooking from scratch and working on my crafts.  I pretty much have to cook from scratch anymore because I can only have 1500mg of sodium a day and nearly everything except fresh fruits and veg have some sodium in them.  Even chicken breasts (separate from the whole chicken) have had chicken broth injected into them.  So I'm going with my plan to eat vegetarian.  I was able to eat vegetarian while there because they had room service where you ordered your own food.  I had the best veggie burger ever there and some low-sodium tomato soup and raw veggies for supper and a low-cholesterol egg omelet with mushrooms, green peppers, onions and tomatoes for breakfast.  No cheese.  I'm hungry all the time but losing the weight is much more important than feeling full.  I'll have to be determined about this because I know the enthusiasm will wane eventually. 

I have to keep records of my daily sodium content, daily fluid content (8 cups of fluid a day), my daily weight in case I start to retain fluids and my blood pressure.  I had to buy a blood pressure cuff so I can keep track.  I'm also considering buying something in the way of exercise equipment.  Not a treadmill because we just don't have room and since this would be for those times when it's not possible to walk outside, which I can't do right now in my neighborhood because it's too steep.  I do have videos and dvds so that is a possibility as well, but a stationary bike still might be the better option since it will fit in my bedroom and I can use it when others are around.    I just need to think it out.

I'm feeling a bit sore today.  I didn't have any pain in the hospital but walking around the store to get to the pharmacy brought out some soreness.  I'm on Plavix as well as a baby aspirin a day.  The dr prescribed the baby aspirin but I already have some and it's cheaper to buy them off the shelf and there's no difference (according to the pharmacist).  It's $5 for a single 30 day prescription and under $4 for a bottle of 100 enteric coated baby aspirin.  Way cheaper if I just cut a regular aspirin into four pieces.

Well, I think I'm going to finish up online and lie down for a bit.  I do still get tired and I'm a bit achy but I am looking forward to getting better.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Finally getting some answers

I saw the cardiologist yesterday and my heart cath is on Thursday.  I'm not sure why I sat around waiting for my appointment for a month and then everything is rushed all of a sudden but I'm glad we're finally doing something about it all.  He expects to find some narrowing or blockage which he will take care of with a stent or a balloon but I also have a scar on my heart, which indicates I've had a heart attack at some point in my life.  As I have never had any symptoms at all, he calls it a "silent heart attack."  Which is frightening on many levels. 

I have to lie on my back for 4-6 hours afterward so I'm taking my kindle, loaded up with library books and other books I've already got on there since holding a heavy book over my head will get very tiresome, very quickly.  I don't think I can knit while flat on my back though.  I will be taking some knitting with me in case I have to stay overnight.

I don't look forward to all the bills coming in as we already have a $800 to pay on just the Emergency Room visits.  It really sucks to get sick in America since only those who can afford it get the care they need.

I'm still working on the bobbles and lace afghan, minus the bobbles.  I found some black yarn in the same Simply Soft Eco brand.  So it's coming out black and brown.  It looks okay together, actually, although I think it would be best as one color.

I might take my sister's socks with me to work on as well.  I'm supposed to only pack a "small" overnight bag but my knitting usually takes up more room than my clothes and toiletries.  I mean...shouldn't it?

Well, I have to make a trip to the store to pick up something for Zach's supper on Thursday and some meds and maybe a new set of summer pjs to wear at the hospital if I have to stay.  They'll probably make me wear the gown but I hate not having pants on.

They're trimming trees across the street today but I think I can still get the car out of the driveway.  Boy, are they loud!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Making progress

I got most of the house cleaned up yesterday.  Nothing like imminent company to force your hand.  Zach did the heavy work, like shifting things and mopping and scrubbing.  Still, it took a lot out of me and I am barely moving today.  Sore and stiff.  I took my maximum amount of pain meds before I went to sleep last night. If I had any pain, it didn't wake me up.  I was zonked clear through until 8:30 a.m. when Professor needed out.  I just stayed up at that point since the alarm was set for 9:30.  At least now I have a head start on the house and can continue to make progress.  We were going to work out in the yard today but it looks like a storm is moving in so we'll wait for it to pass.

I've been knitting constantly and joyfully.  I'm using up my stash although, since I'm not a fast knitter, it's taking a while. I just found out my nephew and his wife are having a baby boy so one of the baby blankets I just finished will do nicely as a gift.  I have enough yarn left to knit up a sweater as well but it would be a warm one so I have to figure out how old he will be this winter.  I don't know when he's due yet.  I like to knit them up larger so they grow into them and have time to wear them.

I also found an afghan pattern that I think I have enough yarn for.  It's bobbles, lace and cables but I really dislike bobbles so I'm leaving them out.  Saves on yarn, too.  Plus it's faster.  Still working on my older sister's socks.  I'm using Cookie's Monkey pattern.  Haven't used it in years but it's fun and easy to remember.  In purple.

I bought some sock yarn I saw at JoAnn's the other day.  Both sets of skeins were self-striping and beautiful so I got them while there was enough yarn for the socks.  I also found a hairpin lace set that I picked up. JoAnn's has improved since I was there after the opening.  More variety in yarn, needles and other crafts as well.  Now I don't have to go to Hobby Lobby for anything.  Thankfully as I hate their policies and politics.

I think I'll catch up on laundry today and maybe paint the Sun Face I got at the thrift store the other day.  Now that the dining table is cleared off.  I also want to get my pencils out and do some drawing again.  I pretty much have to start over again since it's been years since I picked up a pencil.

I also plan on reading as I just picked up some books from the library yesterday.  Not to mention the books I own and just got from the thrift store.  Some Neil Gaiman...American Gods.  A Tad Williams book (I loved Tailchaser's Song so I thought I would try another of his books.)  And some books on Greek mythology and ancient Greece.  I've been passionate about that since my grade school years.

Well, I think I'll go grab some lunch and then settle in to get some more knitting done.  I'm able to move around more so I need to keep at it instead of just knitting all afternoon.  Still, the fatigue gets to me and it's hard to get up and get going most of the time.  I'm trying to push through the fatigue, hoping that eventually I'll gain more energy from the exercise.  I have an appointment with the cardiologist next week so I'll find out what the results were from the stress test.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I'm still here

I have been spending more time offline knitting and trying to utilize the minimal amount of energy I have in cleaning the house.  Not succeeding on the latter function at all though.  Still...getting a lot of knitting done.

I determined that I have too much yarn and it needs to be knitted up rather than discarded.  So I'm looking to either finish up old projects or frog them and re-use the yarn for something else.  I frogged a sweater that I was no longer in love with and turned it into a very nice baby blanket.  I'm finishing up a Greek Key afghan that I did love but got tired of working on and found a scarf that was nearly done and now is completed.  I have some baby sweaters that need buttons sewn on and a young girl's cardigan that I'm working to finish up as well.

Today I organized...well, that's a very loose description of what I really did, which was just stuffed yarn in bins that I stuffed in a corner.  I now have four bins of yarn in my bedroom and still have 5 bags of projects hanging on the crafts rack in the dining room.  Not to mention the 3 bags of projects that are in my bedroom. 

But I'm making progress and that makes me contented. 

I have my appointment with the cardiologist on the 17th of this month but I'm not making progress with my diet at all.  It's the lack of energy to do any cooking that will enable me to eat more healthful foods.  Since nearly everything I eat must be cooked from scratch to avoid the high sodium levels in all processed foods.  Plus I've just been hungry all the time. And since I can't drink anything to fill me up in between meals because of my fluid restrictions, I'm failing in both areas...food and drink.

But I wake up each morning trying my best so as long as I don't just quit, maybe eventually I'll make it.

In the meantime, I'm knitting up a storm and watching a bunch of things on the dvr and Amazon Prime.  Not to mention my dvd collection. 

And since I'm nearly done with the afghan, I'm going back to working on it while watching Ballykissangel on Amazon.  Yep!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I"m still here

It's frustrating waiting for news.  Especially when that news is about your health but apparently they're not going to tell me until my appointment in June.  So I guess I should stop waiting for the phone to ring.

I'm not doing all I should do to take better care of myself.  The diet was so restrictive I couldn't stay on it.  I was hungry and thirsty 24/7.  I need to find something more doable because this, like every other diet I've been on, has made me gain weight instead.

Today I'm not feeling well, a bit short of breath and just so very tired.  I forget that I still have the symptoms of this illness and think that since I have a diagnosis, I am on my way to being fixed.  In reality nothing has changed.  I still have the debilitating fatigue and everything I do is a supreme effort.

Last night we kept hearing sirens which is nothing unusual as we live on a major highway but these sirens kept stopping a short distance away.  Within a half hour I could smell smoke so I looked outside and there was a haze in the air.  The streetlight in front of our house had a gray halo around it and the car driving up the street had wisps of smoke in front of the headlights.  The apartment complex a block and a half west of us was on fire.  No one was killed and 2 people had smoke inhalation but Professor really suffered from the smoke in the air.  He laid down in the grass and just went limp.  I had to carry him inside and set him in front of the fan before he would respond.

I"m nearly done with Steph's socks.  Robyn's are finished but I'm going to send them together since it's cheaper that way.  I also started on a girl's sweater, using the yarn from the shawl I was knitting for my mom and didn't get done before she passed away.  I've got 2 more sweaters to donate to the library's drive for winter clothing next winter.  And a couple of baby blankets.  I'm also considering frogging the fair isle sweater I was knitting for myself.  I found a couple of other sweaters I like better.

I've been doing some reading although the library pile doesn't seem to be getting any smaller.  I keep adding to it.  I have moments when I can't seem to concentrate to read and the internet hasn't been on my mind a lot lately.  I'm sure I'm depressed by the diagnosis and inability to stay on a diet to save my life.  If dieting were that simple, no one would be overweight but it's not and I do wish people would understand that just eating less isn't necessarily the answer.  I had reached a point where I was gaining weight on 1200 calories a day.  That always happens to me...I reach a point where no matter how few calories I eat, my body starts hoarding the weight I already have.  I've tried eating even less and still can't lose.  A lot of exercise isn't an option for me right now.

Plus the overwhelming fatigue is a pain in the ass. 

And now it's hot.  We went from cold to hot with nothing in between.

Well, I'm going back to bed to lie down for a bit.  I'm supposed to rest every afternoon.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pacing myself

I am exhausted.  The pace of early morning appointments seems to have slowed down for now, at least.  I had to be in Waupan at 9 a.m. for an appointment with the cardiologist on Friday and then in Fond du Lac at 6 a.m. on Monday.  Which meant we had to leave here at 5 a.m.  The stress test is done, though, and I just await the results, which I should be getting soon, I hope.  I saw the cardiologist briefly during the stress test, which is why I had it up in FdL, so he could be there.  They had pushed fluids on me for the test so I had used up my daily allotment before 10 a.m.  I was so tired that I overdid it on both food and liquids that day and ended up short of breath on Tuesday so I took a full Lasix instead of half, which the dr had reduced me to.  I dropped 5 of the 7 pounds I picked up that day.  I won't do that again.

I haven't done a lot of cleaning but I have been doing some cooking and a bit of laundry, although I don't carry it up and down the stairs.  Today I'm going to work on the dining room.  I think that will improve my mood more than anything else...having the main room clean.  Then some more laundry and some more cooking.  I'm fixing 2 meals at night...one for them and one for me.  Theirs is generally very simple to fix so it's not a lot of work.  Mine take a bit more thought.

I'm working on the purple sock for my baby sister.  I just got to the heel flap last night when I needed to just shut everything down and go to sleep.  I think I was snoring by 10 p.m.  Woke up at 8:30 a.m. but still didn't feel rested.  I can't recall the last time I did feel refreshed by sleep, though, so that's not surprising.  More knitting today but I also want to get busy on some other crafts as well.  I'd love to pick up my pencils again and get back into drawing.  I had gotten to a good point a couple of years ago and then just quit for some reason so I have to practically start over again now.  That's what has been putting me off of it...the whole starting over thing.

It's sunny and gorgeous here today.  I need to get the new clothesline up.  The winter snow destroyed the old one, breaking and generally grungy looking.  Zach will have to do it because I can walk and stuff but I can't lift and I think tugging on a clothesline is the equivalent of lifting.  I also need to refill the bird feeders and see if the baby birds have left their nests under the front awnings so I can extend them.  The sun is particularly bright in the front rooms.  I haven't heard any noises coming from the awnings in a couple of weeks so I hope they're gone by now.

Well, I think I'll go make my bed and put the clothes in the dryer for now.  And I will be taking my time cleaning.  No mad frenzies for me for a while.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Some answers

Just got back from the cardiologist's office with some answers.  Not a lot but some.  My heart is slightly enlarged but the valves are in good shape.  I have moderate heart failure but he thinks we can reverse it or at least most of it.  He thinks I might have blockage though so I have to have a stress test on Monday morning (at the obscene hour of 6 a.m.) and after that most likely a heart catheterization.  And then I'm guessing surgery after that.  He didn't really comment on that.

So I'm cleared for light exercise, working toward more intense exercise as I get better and light cleaning and cooking.  Maybe not so much today though as I'm really tired from the dr's appointment and the shopping we did afterward.  But it's good that I don't need to use the carts anymore or even the handicap placard.  Unless there isn't any parking within 400 yds, I'm thinking.  I know I can't walk from the back of the parking lot right now but I can't recall the last time I had to do that so I should be okay. 

I finished up Robyn's socks last night and looked at patterns for Steph's.  She liked the pink ones I knitted for our aunt so I might knit those in purple.  I can look around first before I decide though.

I should get back to the sweater as well, especially since it feels like winter again today.  It just requires more concentration which has been in short supply lately.

Well, off to fix myself some lunch and then a nap.  Maybe some light cleaning later. I figure I got the walking done at the store today.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Still waiting for answers

I got the handicap placard with no resistance from the dr.  She was glad to sign the paper for me.  It's for 3 months after which time the dr hopes I'm back to normal...or better.  Fear is a powerful motivator when it comes to health.

I had never seen her pissed before but when she found out I still didn't have an appointment for an echocardiogram she was livid since time is pretty important.  The appt lady smugly claimed no one told her I needed one but the dr showed her the report that went her way.  She claimed she never got it and that she only knew I needed to see the cardiologist.  How could she know one without the other as they were both on the same paper?  I hope she got her ass chewed out after I left.

She made her call up and get me an appointment as soon as possible instead of faxing them so I go in at Wednesday at 7:15 a.m.  Groan!  It's an hour drive so I have to leave here about 6:15 which means I have to get up EARLY!!  Not looking forward to that but at least I just have to lie there under the ultrasound.  No poking at my already bruised arm.  I have three extremely large bruises still.  One went away quickly but the rest are still purple and yellow.

I'm waiting to find out what caused the CHF for sure and if we can do something to minimize the damage and if anything needs to be done to fix it...meaning heart surgery:  either valves or bypass.  If it's from the chemo, there's nothing much they can do except try to keep it from getting worse (which they can do) and possibly rehabilitate the heart a bit.  Though not a lot.

I wondered why they kept checking my ankles for swelling since my fluid was on the lungs which indicates left-sided damage.  Right side causes swelling on the ankles.  But when she showed me the ejection numbers, both of them were red, meaning I failed the tests.  I didn't ask but I wonder if that means both sides have damage. Which seems to me from what I read that that would indicate chemical damage rather than physical.  I don't want to speculate (although I can't seem to stop myself.)  Have to wait and see.

I've been getting some knitting done on the sweater and the second sock for Robyn.  I'm staying in bed a lot because I'm not supposed to exercise at all and movement is supposed to be limited.  I have fixed a few meals for myself but they were simple.  Poor Zach is cooking twice for each meal except breakfast.  And a few times when I could do it myself but we've reached a stage when I need more and better meals so he's going to get a lot of practice cooking until I'm back on my feet.

He's doing all the laundry, all the cleaning and almost all the cooking.  Without complaining at all.  Gotta love the guy!

Now I think I'm going to take a nap.  Even though I was on the cart, I did have to walk from the parking lot and back and I'm pretty tired.  I hope that goes away, too. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Living with mortality

There is a lot to adjust to, both physically and emotionally.  I made the mistake of looking up the longevity of people with congestive heart failure.  Quite different from the positivity the dr showed me at the ER.  Then again, when I looked up the prognosis for cancer survivors or my particular type, all the sources I saw only gave me about 5 years with a near-negative assurance that the cancer would come back.  It's been nearly 12 years. 

I'm going to make an appointment to see my gp Monday.  The nurse said she didn't need to see me but I need to see her.  I need a handicap placard for the car.  I just can't walk across parking lots like I used to.  And in the future I will use the electric carts at the store.  They didn't have any available when we went yesterday and I ended up thoroughly exhausted.  I was nearly in tears by the time we made it back to the car.  And yet I don't want to be a shut in and not be able to go anywhere in the future.

When we got home I rested, as the papers they sent home with me said after any activity.  I ended up sleeping for 3 hours actually.  And then went to sleep at a reasonable hour.  Today I've spent in bed most of the day.  I got up to check my email and went online for an hour but shut down and went back to bed.  Fixed myself breakfast, had help with lunch and will fix my own supper since all I have to do is pop it in the microwave.  I managed to lose the weight I had gained this week.  Don't know if that's because I was being faithful to my sodium allowance or if I just ate less and all that walking helped.  I'm sure it's both.

For the first time, in spite of what I have said in the past, I am giving in to the fatigue.  I am so very tired today, moreso than I remember in...well, ages.  I know now that it's not just a good idea to rest when I am tired, it's vital to the health of my heart.  It's not about being lazy or being perceived as being lazy.  I am tired for a reason.

I didn't knit yesterday because of the fatigue and probably won't today but I hope to get back to it tomorrow.  I'm ready to kitchner the toes of the first sock.  I don't have the concentration skills right now so I'm waiting until I've both rested and learned to put the stress in a place that is too high to reach.  That's another thing that I vital to outlasting the averages. 

It's a serious thing to realize you really do have a shelf life, a sell-by date.  I don't remember feeling this aware of my mortality when going through chemo, probably because I couldn't really see the end in spite of knowing the cancer could kill me.  In my mind, it might do so but it would be far off.  Now, as I edge closer to my 60th birthday, and as I am a week away from losing my mother, it's more real and much nearer than I used to think in my immortal days. I'm hyper-aware, a bit frightened by it all and yet at peace...very conflicting emotions. 

I don't intend to lay down and give up by any means.  I am working harder than I ever have to regain what I can of my health and hope that I can keep it up.  Follow through has never been my strong point.  Now it's a matter of life and death.  Very compelling.

Spirituality plays a part in all of this...the whole mind/body connection being what it is.  But that's for another blog.  I am at peace there, too.

So sorry to be so maudlin today.  I'm not trying to look death in the face and scoff.  I'm just being realistic and honest.  I haven't even processed my mother's death yet and now I face my own.  Whether it be in a couple of years or 10 years or 20.

And yet in the scheme of things, this congestive heart failure may have extended that expiration date as the way I was living was so harmful to my body that, had I gone on the way I was, my sell-by date could have been in months rather than years.  Certainly I didn't eat properly, didn't exercise and was weighted by mountains of stress that alone, were killing me.  Zach told me he likes to think of this as something that extends my life instead of limits it. 

I think I will look at it the way he does.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dealing with the aftermath of all this

I'm trying to find the positive in all this but I admit it's a hard search.  Yesterday there didn't seem to be any improvement.  The diuretics weren't working the way everyone said they would.  I wasn't in the bathroom every few minutes and my mouth felt dry all the time because I'm limited in the amount of fluids I can take in. Although I did have more output than input, I didn't lose an ounce yesterday. 

No more bacon, chips, french fries, canned soups, lunch meat, cheese...the list goes on and on.  I did have a half cup of diet soda yesterday because, damn it!  I miss it.  I miss coffee in the morning even if it is decaf.  I just don't have the amount of fluids to spare on coffee when I need it to keep my mouth wet.  I did go a bit over what the internet recommended but as I haven't had any specific instructions from any doctor yet, I don't know exactly how much I'm allowed.  Just to reduce my fluid intake and cut way back on sodium.

So far no side effects from the new meds, which is good but I'm bored and have cabin fever. I miss getting out...which isn't because of the congestive heart failure but because the truck still hasn't been fixed.  We were a little busy with emergency room visits. 

So I'm feeling a little pouty today, a lot lonely and extremely dependent on Tom.  I never liked that feeling at all. 

I did find something to do yesterday. I found two sweaters I never finished so I frogged them, well, one of them completely...the other down to just above the ribbing.  It looked like Hannibal had gotten in there to sleep and had kneaded the sweaters, breaking down the yarn a bit so I'm starting over. 

I also found Ballykissangel on Amazon prime to watch for free.  I love that show but as I can't walk from the parking lot to the library without gasping for breath, I can't get them from there so getting them from the internet is great!  I watched 3 episodes while ripping back on the sweaters.  I'll watch a few more today.  But  I keep falling asleep during the day.  I did sleep well last night but it was 4 a.m. before I got sleepy.  Up until then I just did some cat-napping.  Dozing and waking up 20 minutes later.

It's at times like this that I really miss my Mom.  I would have called her up and talked to her about this diagnosis and she would have told me of others she knows that have it and how well they're doing and some tips to get me through.  There's no one to talk to about this now.  No one.  Tom doesn't need it on top of all he's got going on...back to working 14 hour days and his very good friend lost his wife to cancer over the weekend and he couldn't get to the visitation or the funeral because of, well...me. 

I haven't properly grieved for my mother yet.  I'm sure I will someday but for now my present health crisis is overwhelming anything else going on in the world.  At least for me.