Movin' Along.....

Okay..... so I have moved.....here. I do hope you come over and visit. And maybe even stay!


Bloomin' Martini Feet

A parcel arrived Friday, May 4th. Actually, I didn't get the parcel until Monday, May 7th, because the FedEx man left it, kindly enough, in the BBQ by our back door on the 4th (Nick's 14th birthday BTW)....but he forgot to let us know. When Ed went to light the barbi on Monday he found the package. Good thing it's gas and he had to open the lid first!

Inside the FedEx package was a whole whack of stuff. From Carrie. Just as an aside, it was perfect serendipity that my Bloomin' Feet buddy is the Martini Knitter - before I got sick and stopped drinking alcohol, my absolutely favourite drink in the whole wide world was a vodka martini with a splash of scotch and a twist of lemon (I am making myself drool...teehee). It had to be this vodka and I really love single malt whiskey but alas I digress......

All my goodies were wrapped in tissue which was great....just like Christmas. I admit I didn't wrap my BF pal Margene's in such a sweet way. The unwrapping was great though. The contents...amazing.

Carrie, you have been so generous and so thoughtful! I got all my favourites - Chai Tea, Dark Chocolate (Fairtrade - yea!) with Raspberries, Ginger Snaps - I can't tell you how much I love Ginger, some lovely Koigu yarn and raw,unfiltered honey from Colorado (yummmy!!!).

And my socks. Wow. Lorna's Laces (one of my absolute true loves) in the Georgetown colourway and knit with the Pembrokshire Pathways Pattern. Carrie wrote a lovely note to let me know that my socks have not only been in Boulder, CO but also Cincinnati, OH, Westford, MA, Rockford, IL, Beloit, WI and Orlando, FL! I think I am living variously through the socks Carrie!

A close up of the pattern. It looks great in the photo but even better in person. Carrie was worried about the fit but hey....

They fit perfectly! Thank you so much Carrie! This was Carrie's first swap and she definitely did a fantabulous job - so thoughtful and generous. And the socks are so excellent! I feel truly honoured and spoiled. Thanks also to Amanda for the sock swap. Amanda truly runs excellent swaps and they are definitely a pleasure to be part of.

An Important Request

If I was blogging more regularly I would have put this in a separate post but unfortunately I just haven't been able to post or get out there and comment - the good news is that even though my symptoms are continuing to be nasty, I am moving in the right direction. Sadly, I feel like it is moving at about 15 kms/hour when I would like to be going about 240 km/hour! Patience has never been my strong suit.

Anyway the request...... Dorothy is trying to raise money for Cancer Research through the Relay for Life which is happening for her in Sioux Lookout, Ontario on June 8th, 2007. Her goal is $2000.00 and I would love to see her reach it. Dorothy has been incredibly generous and thoughtful to me while I continue on my Warming Grace quest (which badly needs to be updated) and I would like to return the favour (after all the goal benefits us all....and sadly most of us have known or lost loved ones to cancer).

Borders are of no consequence for this brutal disease nor for the generosity I have seen in the knitting community, to myself, to the Warming Grace cause or for other causes which I and others have generously donated to (I have also donated to Wannietta for the Relay for Life which happens in Toronto on June 22, 2007).

I have donated money for Dorothy's relay and I am going to donate a couple of draw prizes but I am asking that you go over and donate money for the relay. $5.00, $10.00....whatever you can afford. The cause is so important and the support is always heartwarming. So, if you can, please go over and show Dorothy the spirit. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


Bloomin' Feets and a Tiny Sock....

Remember the Wee Tiny Sock swap way back when? During the course of the swap, while knitting on my tiny sock, Rhonda and I discussed a book swap (I was reading the Friday Night Knitting Club which I really didn't enjoy that much - writing style issues not content - and Rhonda was reading Knitting, A Novel). I sent out my Wee Tiny Sock on the same day as the book and that was that.

Several days later I got the book in the mail. When I opened up the envelope I saw a little package and my immediate thought was "Crap! I didn't send Rhonda anything extra...." When I read the note and saw the sock I burst out into a laughter that brought Ed and Nick running (clearly when you live with someone chronically ill there is some level of constant monitoring that goes on and any sound I make brings someone to check me out).

Oh my god, you made my day woman! The best part was that the socks were made from Fleece Artist that I had sent to Rhonda in a Random Act of Kindness. Thank you so much Rhonda (I had emailed her immediately when I received the sock and book but hadn't posted yet)!

And I would like to give a huge shout out to Emily for such a fantastic and fun idea....thanks so much!

Now.....about the Bloomin' Feet Swap. Incredibly, they have been started (which with the events of the last month in my body is kind of a miracle but clearly I am able to focus more...woohoo!).

I wanted to do something different, original and unique. However, I need to make sure my Bloomin' Feet Pal likes them (I am quite happy keep them for me so be bluntly honest in your opinions) before I turn the heel, as my pal's feet are not the same size as mine.

My concept was to create a sock that is almost like a collage, interjecting two patterns in one sock with two complementary yarns.

I am using Farmhouse and Jasper (no link - they don't make this colourway anymore!) in STR lightweight. The Farmhouse pattern is done in Basketweave from Sensational Knitted Socks and the Jasper pattern is done in the Wave and Shield pattern from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitted Patterns. It may be hard to see the final concept as I have only been able to do one repeat of the Jasper to date. No question it is a funky idea and no question it may not be for everyone. The photo doesn't do it justice.

I am contemplating ripping it back to create only 1 and a half repeats of the Basketweave (there are currently two) although I have some plans after I have turned the heel to showcase the Jasper pattern.

Feel free to be honest. I don't want to send it to someone who really doesn't like it and I'd love your feedback anyway. I am quite pleased with it but can also appreciate the fact that we all don't have the same tastes or opinions.....so have at 'er!
Front view on the blocker - a little un-natural for the sock but gives you a better idea of the patterns. You may have to click on the photo for a better closeup.
Sideview of the sock on the blocker. More like it would be on your foot. **I have to add that the photos are NOT the best representations of the colours - the Farmhouse is more muted and the burgundy that is Jasper is actually in the Farmhouse. I can only blame it on the fancy schmancy digital camera Ed bought me for Christmas (to replace the cheap one I was using - took more accurate pictures though) which I haven't had energy to read up on (and I do have a degree in Photography - like you'd know!).

A Little Aside - I continue to apologize for my sporatic appearance wirh regards to posting and commenting; people have been so kind and understanding - thank you. Without going into huge detail (I am sure it is getting boring for you) I have been in the hospital 3 times in the last 3 weeks and I am in a period of 'adjustment' (for lack of a better term) with respect to my kidneys, bladder, my hormones and my CNS. My doctor, who has experience and distance, is pleased with my progress (it is that whole thing of my body needing to adjust to changes in the dysfunction while dealing with the trouble the lead continues to cause) but acknowledges that for me it is painful, discomforting and tiring. I have wavered a few times, had a couple of good cries (carefully though so I don't send my system totally out of whack) and I am trying to see the positives. So, thanks for continuing to be patient....I really appreciate it!


An Anniversary........

My sister Robin died ten years ago today. I am amazed on the one hand that so much time has gone by and on the other, it seems like it happened yesterday.

Robin was 39 years old when she died. She had had a 10 year reprieve from Melanoma, which had then been found in one lymph node (all the ones surrounding it had been removed which were fine so the doctors thought they had gotten it all) and then ultimately it settled in the Myelin sheath surrounding her brain. In there, the cancer cells replicated the good cells. One of the residents working on her case indelicately told her she had 3 months to live (his bed side manner and empathy were sorely lacking)....and indeed she died 3 months to the day.

That Robin died on April Fool's Day was not totally lost on me. Throughout the course of our lives together Robin was quite the prankster and always up for a great gag. When I went to the hospital (she had had a seizure early in the morning and never woke up - a nurse stayed with her and held her hand until she was gone) to say good-bye I kept thinking she would just open her eyes and say "Ha! April Fool's!," which of course didn't happen.

As a kid, Rob was a bundle of energy and rather mischevious. She was always getting into trouble for her high spirits. Being the first child, my parents had three billion slides and photos of her (the picture taking decreased dramatically and exponentially with each successive kid) and in every picture she would have this ear to ear 'photo' smile (the photo to the right is tame in comparison) which always cracked us up.

Robin was truly the pioneer in our little group of siblings. She had an adventurer's spirit and was so full of vitality and enthusiasm AND a lot of impulsivity (as kids I was told that I was 'just like Robin' except that I would think about things first - it drove me nuts as a kid because I hated being compared to her).

She was a social butterfly and always had tons of friends. When we were younger and lived in a brand new housing development, Robin developed the 'detective's club,' where we would spend all day on our bikes looking for 'clues.'

She was also the gang leader the day we decided to take our baby brother, Jamie, to Port Credit river for a 'swim." Our parents were away and the babysitter told us we had to get out of the house and take Jamie with us (he was about a year and a half old at the time) so she could knit! (I laugh at the irony of this now.....). So we took him to the river and used him as a human raft, floating him downstream, with teams to catch him and then take him back up the river. How he was not drown that day, and none of us got hurt, boggled my mind as an adult.

As adolescents we did not get along at all. She and her longtime boyfriend Gerry would time it to see how long it took me to cry. We had vicious, horrible fights (usually when my parents weren't there) and I relished it when she got into trouble from my dad, which was most of the time. We lived on the West Island in Montreal and Robin was a wild child.

Most nights she would go 'flickering.' This entailed her shimmying down the drainpipe at 1am in the morning, meeting up with her friends at the Lakeshore and rowing boats across the St. Lawrence river to this deserted island to party. One night my dad, dressed in his summer pajamas and riding my neon green banana bike, was stopped by the police when he was out searching for her.

When I gave the eulogy at her service I likened Rob's behaviour to Moses parting the Red Sea - she paved the way for us; all we had to do was admire the view (particularly when it came to the way she could get the vein in my dad's head to bulge when he was yelling at her - she was, perpetually grounded!). Looking back I know I was scared sh*tless by my sister's audacity and her joie de vivre.

As adults, we enjoyed a tremendous relationship. I don't remember the exact moment that it changed but I do believe that after her initial diagnosis with cancer (she was 29, I was 26) we became much closer. I realized that it was okay to be like her and that we had so much in common. We would talk on the phone every or every other day (she was in Winnipeg, Manitoba and I was in Toronto/Burlington/Oakville/Warkworth, Ontario) and we talked about everything; I felt such a sense of satisfaction that our relationship had really developed into this much deeper kind of friendship.

Robin was a phenomenal knitter, cross stitcher, quilter, weaver and she made most of her own clothes on the sewing machine. She was incredidly productive too - at Christmases and birthdays the things she would give weren't only beautifully crafted but the volume was incredible. She was the consummate multi-tasker. There was no technique daunting to her; if she wanted to do it, she would. I cannot adequately describe the things she made although she has left quite a legacy for us to cherish, and I absolutely admire her abilities.

I have Rob's floor loom which I still haven't set up (no space) although I know I will one day - I had taken several courses in Weaving when I was at SAIT in Calgary although Rob was the one to buy a loom after she had taken courses at the University of Manitoba several years later. I also inherited about 7 large boxes (the biggest moving size) of yarn which I donated to a local guild who sold it for me and gave the proceeds to a local women's shelter in Robin's memory.

Death is tragic. It is so hard for those left behind. I feel so much worse for my parents than for myself. I remember the devastation on my parents faces on the day she died (my father was in Montreal for a meeting and had to fly back) and that vulnerability changed for me how I would view them forever.

My mother has never really recovered from the loss of her first born. She gave up her knitting. There are so many times when I think that that is the hardest thing of all - parents should never lose their children, no matter their age.

When they found out that Rob was terminal my dad remarked on how lucky he had been to have a redhead, a brunette and a blonde (for those of you who need to know I am the blonde in the photo - I am so not blonde now).

I took comfort in knowing that my sister didn't suffer as much as she could have (with the various indignities that go with the deterioration of the brain) and that who I knew her to be left long before her body ever did.

I vividly remember the last thing Rob ever said to me (and I still laugh at her comment; she kind of said whatever came into her head) and the moments we shared. After she died, Ed and I planted two Maple trees in her honour on the farm - it was her favourite and it symbolized her to me, particularly when the leaves turn that gorgeous red in the fall.

I have so many memories of her, it is hard to encapsulate it all in one post. Rob was a Renaissance woman. She could sew, knit, thread a worm, fish, dress up or down, quaff a beer or sip champagne. She loved Canadian football with a fervour. Robin was as loyal a Canadian as you could ever meet. She was just loyal period.

I feel her beside me sometimes and what I still miss most about her is our conversations; the sound of her voice and her laughter. I don't focus on the loss; I really celebrate who she was, what she accomplished and how much she has left behind. I know that today there are hundreds of people remembering her too. I love you Robin bobbin, thanks for the ride!


Crewsin' along with a Wee Tiny Sock.....

I joined Emily's Wee Tiny Sock Swap, I couldn't help myself. I figured this was a deadline that even I could achieve. So I did. And I knit a Wee Tiny Sock! These little things are too cute...useless in any functional sense but way too cute.

So I decided I should test drive the wee tiny sock...on our wee tiny Italian Greyhound Khemet.
Needless to say she wasn't thrilled. I didn't put the sock completely on her foot (it was a wee too tiny for my wee tiny doggie) as I didn't want to hurt her. I am actually happy that it matches her spring coat. Okay clearly too much time on my hands....

I did wash it before sending it along to my pal, just in case you might be worried......

The yarn is Emily (isn't that funny?) from Posh Yarn. The colour is Sweetshop. This yarn is delicious; 80% Lambswool, 10% Angora and 10% Cashmere. I made a pair of socks with it that are divine (coming soon I promise....). These Wee Tiny Socks are toe up with a short row yarn over heel (it was tough...all two turns of it!).

I can honestly say this was a FUN swap! No pressure, minimal expectation (the sock and a note) and a quick knit. Thanks so much Emily!
While I have still been feeling pretty lousy (chelation is on hold for a bit; too much detoxing - apparently I am quite efficient and my body has to catch up) I have been able to knit more in the last month than I did for about 6 months last year! Woohoo!
The sacrifice has been a conscious choice to limit my time online, either posting or commenting - I have been able to read some and comment on a few but it really does require some cognitive staying power and well, I am trying to find the balance.
I have been knitting. Nothing too difficult. It feels so wonderful though. Soothing. Calming. Back in my place of oneness with the universe. Almost. Every. Day. A wonderful development.
My favourite heel. Short row yarn over heel. Love it. Quick and relatively painless. And a great fit. And, it looks great. There is a wonderful tutorial on the technique here from Melinda at Purlwise.

The finished socks. Vespers' Crew on 2.5mm needles. 2 socks on 2 circulars. No pattern, just the lovely stripiness that is Vespers (this link is the shop - and yes, it is always sold out). And I have just realized perfect for St. Patricks Day....wait that was yesterday wasn't it. Okay, so I am a bit behind....!
Have a wonderful day where ever you be! Here in Eastern Ontario, the sun is shining and the sky is blue and there is lovely snow blowing across the farm. Ah, the last few cold days of winter.....it is a beautiful thing indeed.


Two Lovely Things and Six Wierd Ones...

The mail was really good to me this week. I received squares for Warming Grace from Kelli Ann and from Rhonda. Thank you so very much!

When I opened the squares from Rhonda I found something else that made me feel so very very warm inside (and believe me I needed it - things have been pretty rough - I have no clue why I ever thought Chelation was going to be the easiest part of this thing...). Rhonda sent me one of her felted hearts!

Ed and Nick both came running (one of the cursed by products of living with someone who is chronically ill) because they thought something was wrong - I was just so excited....and oh so touched. Thank you soooo much Rhonda. You are so gracious and generous. Really.

I was seriously coveting those hearts. And I can honestly say having one in my hot little hands is so much better than looking at them through a computer screen. If you haven't seen them, you must go and check them out (there are a couple of posts with different ones) - Rhonda is a talented woman; really. The hearts are so lyrical and pastoral; they are really exquisite. I feel very blessed to be on the receiving end.....ah Rhonda, thanks again!

And, on the very same day Ed went to the post office to pick up a parcel. He didn't actually know it was for me; Nick saw who it was from and was keeping it close to his chest (the person in question has been a major sugar enabler of his....just sayin').

So surprise, surprise. A parcel from Amanda. For no reason. Crap. I was so overwhelmed (and okay I am so much better at giving than receiving).

The parcel had goodies for Nick (he was pretty pleased) and Ed (who is not swapping with Nick at all!) and two amazing things for me.

A container of Aromatherapy Bath Oils and a skein of yarn that Amanda spun. Herself. Just. For. Me. Like specifically with me in mind.

Crown Mountain Farms' "Do You Wanna Dance" colourway. It is fucking brilliant.

I can't wait to knit it up. I already have a pattern in mind. I was totally gobsmacked!

And touched. And speechless. What a wonderful thing to do Amanda. Thank you so much. I can't tell you how much it means to me.

Two so wonderful gifts on the same day. Unbelievable. My heart feels so full.

I must say that as a sick and woefully neglectful blogger these days I am so thankful for the opportunity that I, as a relatively isolated and 'stuck in my house' person, have had in meeting so many incredible people. Blogging has been such a gift to me - and certainly keeps me going during the bad times, as I think about being able to get back to it more actively when I am well.

And I will. Who knows when but I will.

Okay so I got tagged by Julie with the Six Wierd Things Meme. And, given that Julie got me into blogging (and because I don't want to be beaten by knitting needles) I am listing six wierd things about me.

Which I actually found quite hard - I don't think I am that wierd (and being sick curtails so many wierd behaviours I guess - I am so sheltered...ha!). I realize that there are several of you on the floor cramped up with laughter but seriously, I am not that wierd. Anyway, here goes:

Six Wierd Things about me

1. I can knit the magic loop from the toe up (figure 8 cast on) but not from the top down. I am not sure why and I have attempted it but I hate the little gap I continue to get so...toe up it will always be.

2. I cannot drink tap water. No way, no how. I hate the smell, particularly the chlorine (I am seriously smell sensitive....gasoline, cigarette smoke, the lotions, shampoo, conditioner, not to mention the colognes and/or perfumes people put on everyday). I don't drink pop or juice so if I can't get distilled or RO water I will go without...but that doesn't happen too much because I am always packin'.

3. I prefer pizza without the tomato sauce. I don't really like the tomato sauce; I love pizza with some garlic and herbs on the bottom, veggie toppings (mushrooms, onions and black olives or hot peppers, pineapple and onion - in case you are ever dropping by - hint hint blogless Carole) and cheese on top. It is really really good without the tomato sauce. LOVE. IT.

4. I can't stand - no pun intended - walking on crunchy snow. You know when it is really cold and the snow is hard. It is my nails on a chalkboard moment (which doesn't bother me at all BTW).

5. I don't really care for jewellry - I don't wear any. I have a wedding ring - don't wear it. Ed totally lucked out because I could care less if I ever had a diamond ring or any other kind of gem for that matter. Yarn - BRING IT ON! Jewellry - pass.

6. I seriously think this falls in the TMI catagory but I couldn't think of something else so....both my baby toes are deformed. One looks flat like it has been crushed and the other one looks like a little finger and is jammed into the one beside it. Oh, and sorry, there will be no photos (thank god!). Nick keeps telling me that when he is a Doctor he is going to break them and fix them for me, and if that doesn't work, cut them off. He is such a lovely child.

So there it is - my wierd list. I am so out of the loop these days I have no idea who has and hasn't done it but I am tagging the following knitters:

Amanda, Amanda Cathleen, J, Suzie, Rhonda and Jackie .

If you have already done it then just ignore me. If not, get crackin' will ya'?


Fabulous February

Hello, hello, hello.
It's been such a long time and an update is due. Way back in December, way before Christmas, I left a post about how crappy things were. I had a test dose of chelation prior to Christmas which went well (in that I tolerated it without too many side effects). The only bonus to all the bedrest I had was that for the first time in a few years I got Christmas cards sent out - a little late, but out none the less - woohoo!

So now it's February and where am I at? Well I had 3 half doses of Chelation and then I had one full dose and then I caught the plague (well actually the nasty cold/virus thing that appears to be everywhere right now) which I am almost over. The chelation is going....well it's going.

After a treatment I am okay and then really, really tired. My body and cells have to do some readjusting with the lead ripping off of them but some of the worse CNS symptoms are sort of abating...it's a day to day thing. No need to list all the various side effects and symptoms I experience; I am definitely focusing on working towards a state of wellness. Most importantly, I am heading in the right direction which is the best thing, I am happy to be 'eliminating,' and I am working hard at exercising patience as this whole process takes shape. I thank you for your ongoing support, thoughts and prayers; it means so much to me.

I am knitting. Hallelujuah! I even have knitting plans (subject of course to my daily ups and downs) or should I say goals. I do promise to post on my knitting.....soon. And I am going to slowly, very slowly get back into blogland....but I must really pace myself because I know my primary focus must be to get well.

I am also thinking about my stash. I am surrounded by my stash. I loooooove my stash - it represents my hope for my future of being well, my love of colour and texture and it just freaking feels great to have it all around. I also realize that in my stash (which while hugemongous, I will never apologize for, or feel bad about) I have three catagories of yarn.

1. Those yarns I absolutely adore and may never knit but just like to look at:

All of the above skeins are from Studioloo. These skeins are works of art and I really honestly just love to look at them (and fondle them a lot).

2. Yarns I love and can't wait to knit - this forms the majority of my stash. I never buy sock yarn with a purpose but I usually buy my other yarns with a particular project in mind.

Posh Sock Yarn - this is Cashmere (can't remember the colourway off the top of my head). Dee's yarns are gorgeous and the feel is divine.

Cashmere for a vest for Ed. The yarn is from Trendsetter and it is unbelievable (read that as f*cking f*cking soft).

Sock hop yarn from Crown Mountain Farms. To knit it is to love it. Teyani and Klaus got some serious yarn mojo.

Joy from Needful Yarns. I love the colourways and have a secret plan for these beauties. I have lots of great yarns in my stash and I seriously love most of it (you will have to wait until April 1 to see the rest!).

3. Yarns I have to honestly admit I will never knit and it is time to get rid of.

So I have decided to have a Fabulous February Giveaway. I am not selling these yarns, I am giving them away....with two conditions. I will give you any of the yarns listed at no cost other than the price of shipping (regular, expedited/air or express post) and the labour of knitting me a couple (or as many as you want) of kid colour friendly wool or cotton squares for Warming Grace. That's it. Otherwise free.

Please just email me (cindy@4spheres.ca) and let me know what you want, how you want it sent and your mailing address. Once I have sent it I will email you the cost of shipping and you can send me a paypal payment (very easy, believe me). If the yarn you want is gone, I will let you know.

I am hopeful I can find new, good homes for the following unloved, unused and neglected yarns (and two books - duplicates). The yarns can be seen here (I realize that to try and load the pictures here would require 4oo billion hours I don't have).

Edited - everything is gone. Thank you so much for to all those who have willing given a place to my yarn.

It was nice to post. I would say it's great to be back but I am not sure how back I am....I will try to go for a regular post though.


Unfinished Business

I haven't posted in a while. I haven't been well. So, I wanted to give a run down of a bunch of unfinished business which will give me some badly needed peace of mind (hopefully!). 1. My ongoing health issues - it's been bad (in a whole different way I think than in the summer); my Central Nervous System is working overtime. Normally, when a healthy person intercepts stimulus (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell) your body responds with the proper amount of serotonin or whatever other chemicals your brain and body needs and you never give it a second thought. The lead poisoning (which my doctor told me is the highest in anybody she has ever treated - woohoo!) blocks the neuro receptors and so the brain just keeps on sending the right stuff until there is no more left - then the adrenals and all the flight/fight responders go into overdrive and I experience a pile of crappy symptoms (racing heartbeat, anxiety like symptoms that aren't anxiety, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, bowel cramping, pain that makes me want to weep - and I know I am one tough woman - in my neck, my collarbone, my shoulders, my elbows, my wrists, my intercostals and my back, my pelvis and hips, my knees, my ankles and all the muscles in between, insomnia, swollen glands, blood sugar swings - usually too low and, the best two symptoms of all, the continual body vibrating and this humming that sounds like an airport in my head. It is tiring, it is exhausting, it is all consumming. My cognitive faculties are not so bad these days ; there is no question that they are connected to my level of fatigue but I am not having the brain fog from the summer - so my brain is whirring like a computer and my body is in stall. Sadly, I have finally succumbed to the one thing that I have fought for so long - bed rest. I am in bed right now most of the time and I know it is where I need to be but it is so freaking hard. However, I feel hope - so much hope. I have my first test chelation on Tuesday December 12(please send positive thoughts my way) and if all goes well I will start my first series of 12 chelations in the New Year (frequency dependent on how I respond and my creatinine levels - a sign that my kidneys are dealing with it well too). All my bloodwork is fantastic; my hemoglobin is normal (when I started at the clinic it was 6 - low end normal is 120 - it is only at 120 but at least it is there!), my cholesteral which has always been good is super low, my blood sugar is excellent and my creatinine levels are super. My blood pressure is wonderful and while my pulse is still too high sometimes it is strong and steady. My green eyes are becoming bluer and clearer as they clear out the toxins and the asthma I have had since I was a year and a half old is almost non - existant. So there are lots of postives. And I always count my blessings - no matter how bad it is for me it is always worse for someone else. I think about Bliss who hasn't been able to leave her bedroom for months (I wish I had the fucking money, I would renovate the woman's house myself), the homeless adults and children who are cold, hungry and dependent on the kindness of others (Lynne, I have one purple mitten knit and I am hoping to get it's partner finished to send to you this week), Grace, Kaitlyn and all the other children like her who have to deal with serious, life threatening illness when they should be playing. There is so much more tragedy and hardship than I have - so I count my blessings and I am very thankful for all that I have and what I can do. 2. My Birthday - came and went. It was pretty quiet although I must give a shout out and a huge thank you to my best bud Carole (the blogless one), Sheree, as well as Amanda, Jasmine and J (who continually cracks me up whenever we chat on the phone) for their birthday wishes - it definitely gave my heart a lift. My guys sang a great rendition of the birthday song and Ed bought this great Carrot Cake (my absolute, all time favourite cake in the world) from this great bakery in Peterborough. And I rested. 3. My Parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary - came and went. I am in amazment and respect of this achievement; more so because in spite of all their flaws and issues, my parents still love and like each other after having been together more than 50 years. I missed the dinner (bed rest) but I did make them this kick ass scrapbook about their marriage - which took more out of me than was good for me but they were seriously blown away. Woohoo! Congrats Mom and Dad! 4. Toasty Toes - Amanda has been so sweet. She is my recipient (I am not really busting any big secret since all the socks have been sent and received except mine to her - she being the only one without socks to keep her warm) and she has been so incredibly understanding and patient. The socks are almost done - one is finished and the other three quarters done. Easy pattern but not when you are me right now. I will be making it up to her let me tell you - and she is still letting me participate in Bloomin' Feet (I do promise they won't be late - I hate being late)! I do have some awesome goodies for her and I am hoping to send out her socks by the end of the week or next week (LOL, just in time for Christmas - I will just say it is the new Hallowe'en!). As an aside, I have to say that Amanda has really been a rock for me the last 6 months or so - I have met the most incredible people through blogging - I feel so bloody fortunate to know some women of the hightest quality with whom I have clicked and connected and who have been so supportive of me while I deal with my shit (Carole, Suzie, Cathy , Amanda C and so many more - please don't be pissed if your name isn't here, this post is beginning to catch up with me). Kindness is such an amazing thing and so often overlooked, under rated or just not given the due of its incredible power - thoughtful kindness, kindness with intention - so thank you for all the kindness you have and continue to share with me. 5. Warming Grace - I desperately need to update (I have photos, names, squares and, oh yeah, prizes to award from the end of June - sorry!) but I haven't had the energy. There are 6 blankets done - my goal is still twenty and while I will update as soon as I can when I am better I will be getting back on track with this project; it is so incredibly important to me. A little update for you about Grace - she is featured in the Calgary Sun today and the article is here. GO Gracie! Okay I think that is everything. If you read through this whole post you deserve a freaking medal - thanks for persevering. Sorry there are no photos, I did try to upload a couple and Blogger will not let me and I do not have the fortitude to fight with it. Amanda did offer to set me up on Typepad and I am seriously considering it (it just feels way too big for my brain these days). I have turned off the commments, not because I don't want to hear from you, it's just that when all these wonderful, thoughtful, caring and kinds words come in I get all emotional (and I need to stay as calm as possible) and then I really want to respond to each and every one of them because they are so meaningful for me but I know that I really need to focus my energies right now. Please do send me positive vibes on Tuesday, and if I am not able to get another post up before, I hope you have a lovely, healthy and safe holiday. I believe that miracles happen everyday but I am particularly heartened by everyone's generosity of spirit during this time of the year so it makes everything more ripe for great miracles. Okay, now I am going back to bed.


A request for help.....

Cathy would like our help. Her friend Jenn is going through what seems to be an unfathomable amount of tragedy. Last month her husband, 7 year old adopted son and 4 month old baby were killed in a car accident. How she is coping I do not know. She then found out she was pregnant; perhaps some solace in such a difficult time. This weekend, she lost that baby. All this would be horrible enough but this woman had already gone through the loss of her parents and brother in separate accidents and only last year dealt with cancer. All of this is just inconceivable to me. Cathy would like to make Jenn a blanket. It will not make the sorrow or grief go away but perhaps it could give her some small measure of comfort (and the ability to wrap all those positive energies and prayers around herself has to make some difference) in these terrible times. Knitters such as myself, Christine, Jamie, Samantha and Vicki know the healing energy and power these squares, turned into blankets, can have. She only needs some of us to make 1 square each (a total of 64 squares). I am confident that enough of us can spare a few hours and some healing energy to make this happen. Please go and volunteer. Thanks!


Happy Birthday to my man.....

On Saturday, November 10, 1962 Ed was born at 6 am to the sound of beating drums in the village of Seaton, Jamaica (in the Parish of St. Mary). He was delivered by his great-grandmother, Nora Kitson. Nora, a midwife, who lived to be 113 years old (1891 - 2004) ,smoked a corncob pipe until she was 76 and was the daughter of plantation slaves. Ed's maternal grandfather, James Francis, was a shaman, a farmer, a butcher and a great storyteller who passed on the oral tradition to Ed. Ed was given his first machete at the age of 6 by his grandfather. He was Ed's first hero and mentor. Ed learned to read from the Bible. Ed's first pet was a cow named Betty. He was raised in a tin roofed shanty with a dirt floor and no running water. Ed moved to Canada in 1973, where at the age of 11 he experienced his first junk food and his first of many exposures to racial prejudice. As a teenager, Ed was a member of the Scarborough Optimist's Club (he ran with Ben Johnson, Angela Issajenko and Mark McCoy). He also danced with the Harriet Tubman Group and performed at the O'Keefe Centre (now known as the Hummingbird Centre). He played football briefly in the CFL with the Hamilton Tiger Cats (and he would be too embarassed for me to put up the links so I won't - for all his accomplishments he is a very humble person). His waist, as seen in that groovy 70's photo above, was an unbelievable 27"(he was 16 in the picture). I love the bell bottom pants (a little flashback there!) and the fact he has a full head of hair! Ed is a man of incredible integrity and honesty. He is kind and gentle and understands the concept of unconditional love and acceptance in a way I have experienced with few people. He accepts people as they are but he doesn't tolerate bad manners or bad behaviour in anyone. I am continuously impressed by his low level of anxiety and his ability to deal with difficult situations and people. He is a dedicated and caring father who loves his children with passion, compassion and clarity. Ed is boisterously proud of his children and isn't shy about displaying his love and pride publicly. He is playful and affectionate with Nick and Sheree and fiercely protective of them.

He is a great friend. He is a keen intellect and a passionate learner. He walks the walk and talks the talk. He will not promise you anything he cannot follow through on. He treats people with a sincere level of respect and graciousness.

As a partner and a husband Ed has taught me so much about courage, patience and love. He has been a rock for me during the last 12 years (and particularly the last 5 months) of my chronic illness ups and downs, and I truly feel at times that if it weren't for Ed I wouldn't be here. He has held me with optimism, humour and true caring.

He massages me when I am in pain (he has a healer's hands) and comforts me when I am crying and feeling that this thing will never end (more so of late). He makes sure I laugh at least once a day.

Ed does the laundry (and is quite finicky about his whites), cooks for me(he makes the lightest dumplings, the best jerk, a mean chicken soup that cures just about anything and some awesome stewed chicken, among his repetoire of various specialities, all passed down and without a recipe), cleans the bathrooms, weeds my vegetable garden and cares for the farm with a methodical thoroughness that puts me to shame. He irons. He lets my dog Gryphon (who celebrated her 12th birthday on Wednesday) sleep on the bed.

Ed knits. I love that I can have a discussion about a knitting project or problem with him and he gets it. Ed has this huge laugh, an awesome smile and a larger than life personality. He is this kind of old school, old fashioned guy with a heart of gold. He is a tremendous individual whom I have been very priviledged to be loved by and to know. Happy birthday my love!


A Cabled Sweater for my lovely hubby.....

I will not claim to have just finished this (of course those who were at the Gone Stitchin' Retreat would know anyway) but has taken me a while to get a picture of Ed wearing it. The Sweater: Patrick by Black Purl The Yarn: Donegal Tweed Homespun by Tahki Yarns, Colour 0897 I love this sweater. I love the cables. I love the colour. God, I love the man wearing this sweater (every time he puts it on, it makes me all tingly inside - who knew the power of handknits!!!). This sweater was an easy and lovely knit. I should qualify that easy because I modified the armhole shaping (the pattern calls for decreases into the cables which just wasn't working for me and I did try it three times). I love the cables; they are big and expansive definitely befitting the owner. These are the cables prior to blocking. I had a bit of a dilemma regarding the sizing. Ed is a 44" chest and the pattern ran 44" and 48". While I like a bit of room in his sweaters, the extra 4" in the next size was just too much for me. I did a swatch to see what the give would be and decided I would do the 44" as there was quite a bit of stretch in the yarn and the cables wouldn't get too flattened out (although I hemmed and hawed because I also love the tightness of those cables above but I knew it was gonna grow and then it would be way too big). It is a nicely slightly fitted sweater which is great (must be that part that gives me the tinglies...seriously, just writing this I wish Ed was here right now - think I might kiss him!) but different from other sweaters I have knit for Ed in terms of how more form fitting it is and at a length that is just below the middle of his butt (he generally likes them longer). It was a departure for us both as I am so happy with the result. I just had such a good time knitting it. He looks damn good in it too (I think I've kind of said that already, haven't I!!!)!



I have to admit that Socktober sucked for me. I still have yarns I want to post about and oh, a few bazillion socks to knit, but Socktober ended up being the month of my Central Nervous System (which seems to be making a prolonged appearance into November...). I was actually quite impressed with myself, whenever it was there way back in early October, that I could actually get three posts out and visit and comment on a few blogs. Of course that wasn't to last (the vibrating/oscillating of my cells and the CNS related sensitivities make even simple concentration almost impossible, as well as totally shutting me down). My frustration at my ongoing health concerns is for another day, but suffice it to say, that I am working at accepting where I am at, and trying to rest, without my A type personality screaming at me all the time (I think that is the harder part). In sock news, I am sadly behind on my Toasty Toes socks. I apologize most sincerely to my pal, and appreciate your understanding (it seems given the small size of this group, that like in the game Clue, my intended sock recipient will become clear in no time). Have no fear you will get them soon, my lovely and gracious (and totally adorable) pal!

They are progressing well. This photo is actually a little old. Both socks are at the heel turn. My goal is to do a yarn over short row heel because I fucking love it so much (seriously fucking love it) and while it is a serious time saver, the few brain cells I appear to have left need to be in the right place to do it (it is amazing what you take forgranted when you are well - I never had any idea how taxing simple things could be).

A detail shot. I admit that while I am using a vintage pattern, I have made a few (okay, maybe more than a few) modifications and I am very pleased with the outcome to date. It gives me an idea for some more variations which I am hoping to try very soon on another sock. I have to say that I LOVE knitting with the Lorna's Laces. They just have such a lovely 'springyness' and such a forgiving nature. Wonderful stuff.

Another yarn I am totally in love with is the Sock Hop Socks yarn from Crown Mountain Farms. And Teyani is seriously the sweetest of enablers!!! I have to say I love my little p*rn shot above. Gorgeous!!!!!

And I did finish my American Pie socks. Yeah!!! They are totally scrumptious; the colours are so vibrant, the tweeding effect is truly unique and the feel of the socks are cool yet very comforting. I knit these in a knit2, purl2 rib (I admit that I don't like the distraction of a lot of pattern on a variegating yarn) on a 2.5mm needle and I am proud to say that they are my first pair of two socks at the same time on two circs - woohoo!

I completely loved the technique although I was worried, because I was so relaxed while knitting them I wasn't sure I would ever get them done (given that they are exactly the same, I could put them done for like a year and not worry about any differences in anything between sock one and sock two - very good and at the same time very, very baaaaaaaaddd!!!).

I also want to show off my yarn over short row heel a la Priscilla Gibson-Roberts from her book Simply Socks. I loved the technique completely although to be honest I had trouble following her written instructions. I think at the best of times I am a very visual learner. So, after attempting to follow her directions 3 times and pulling it out (but not to be deterred), I used this fabulous tutorial from Purlwise. I think I did okay.

I still see minute holes but I think I am (k)nitpicking..LOL. I know I will use the technique again because it really is great and well each yarn is different and it will be great trying with a variety of sock yarns...I have some other techniques I want to try as well. Socks really are great aren't they????????

Pakka Pu Carola

I received a parcel on Wednesday (actually I got the notice on Monday but Ed couldn't get the Post Office until Wednesday to pick it up for me) and this is exactly how it arrived and was wrapped - I must admit I was pretty excited even though I didn't understand a word of the writing! I assumed correctly, that it was my Toasty Toes package - yeah!!!!! My TT pal is Carola, who hails all the way from Iceland! I must admit that I am bloody amazed that the various postal agencies who handled this creatively wrapped parcel did it so well there wasn't even a tear in the paper - gives me hope for the postal system. Carola really made my day. She included some really lovely, thoughtful and wonderful things in my package.

There is a knitting murder mystery Knit One, Kill Two, a supercool magnet of an icelandic sheep, a coin worth 10KR (of course Nick had his eye on this little baby - not!) and an absolutely wonderfully warm, friendly and informative letter from Carola (with a great post card of Reykjavik). She seriously kicks butt!

And yet, there is more! The candy part! Lots of very cool chocolate and licorice (Carola wanted to include more 'traditional' icelandic treats for me although I think I share her opinion that the 'combination' of licorce and chocolate are not for me - especially given that I am not a big licorice fan; Nick is particularly pleased about what that means for him 'cause he loves licorice).

I really appreciate the effort Carola went to in finding some organic chocolate and letting me know about the candy production in Reykjavik where she lives. Pakka pu (which means thank you in Icelandic - minus the accents not available on my keyboard) Carola! Of course the best part were the socks included in my package. Oh my god, I love love the socks. It gets cold up here in the great white North - fall is definitely taking on the crispness and chilliness of winter and these socks are just sooooooo comfy warm. I love the colours, the softness of the yarn and the pattern. These are absolutely the perfect toasty socks for me! I have them on as I write this and they feel totally awesome.

Here is the requisite foot picture - my toasty toes in some seriously toasty socks! They fit divinely and I cannot thank you enough Carola. You really made my day! Thank you so much Amanda for hosting the sock swap - I cannot wait for the next round of Bloomin' Feet in the Spring!


A Shawl for my Mom

The Specs: Pewter Lace Shawl from Interweave Knits Spring 2003 The Yarn: Naturally Kid et Soie (10 ply - Mohair/Silk/NZ Merino), Shade 306 The Story: After living together for 8 and 1/2 years, in late 2003 Ed (and my mother who gave the mother attitude) was finally able to convince me that we should get married (I love the man with my entire being but I tend to get sweaty palms around major commitment issues) and the wheels were set in motion. We originally planned to get married in October 2004 and I decided that I would knit a shawl for the Minister (female) who was going to marry us and started on it right then and there. In the later Spring of 2004 my niece Grace was diagnosed with leukemia and my best friend Julie, who had been in a short remission from Multiple Myeloma, had three surgeries on her brain and was informed that the cancer had spread to her spine (Julie died on December 28, 2004). We decided to call off the wedding in late August. We had the wedding license, good for 3 months, and on a cold day in November, two days before the license was to expire (and with some good natured ribbing from Ed that I had escaped the noose one more time) I called around and found a minister willing to marry us the next day (I shall always remember his slightly sarcastic tone - he didn't know the whole story - about "leaving it to the last minute aren't you?"). So the next day Ed and I basically eloped! With Nick of course. Nick was the ring bearer, the best man, maid of honour and photographer (his worst offense was not handing me back my bouquet because he liked it too much!). And despite the hyperventilating prior to the big moment I have been quite happy with my now legal status. Fast forward to this summer. I am earnestly trying to clear up all my unfinished objects (I promised Carole). So I saw the shawl, two thirds done and thought why not, I will give it to my mother (she had admired it when she saw me knitting it for the minister). So, picking it up and putting it back on the needles, I looked at the pattern and what was in front of me, and wondered what the f*$%# had I been knitting (or what pattern I thought I had been following); there was no similarity between the two (and this was the summer of my total physical breakdown so of course I wasn't necessarily trusting my eyes). I have no clue what the hell I was knitting. What else could I do? I ripped the sucker out and rewound 9 balls (Mohair is no walk in the park let me tell you). To make a long, long story that may be boring the crap out of you by now short, I knit it up in a week (the pattern was sooooooo easy and basic enough for my sorry summer brain) and then dealt with the trauma of casting on the edging. I had to do it twice (the first time 6 hours and a major headache later I decided I didn't like the bump on the back and pulled it out) but god it looks good. I can say that this is one of the most pleasurable finished knits I have made in a long while. I just love this so much. I think it turned out fabulously and, if I can ever arrange to see my mom she will be receiving it (and a nice little surprise it will be for her!).


My Tea Swap Pal ROCKS!!!!!

I received this in the mail today. It was a parcel from my tea swap pal Allison. The funny thing is that when I saw the box the return address was from Simply Socks Yarn Company and I was trying to remember if I had purchased something from them (not that this would be surprising for me - I could claim it is my cognitive fatigue but I think it has more to do with my shopping habits...LOL). The parcel was amazing. Lots of tea....lots and lots of tea and in varieties that I am going to enjoy; decaf darjeeling, decaf apricot, honeybush caramel, white tangerine, tropical green and earl grey lavender and a tea called sow mee white which totally intrigues me and I will be trying tomorrow. There was also a tea infuser, gourmet hot chocolate and a bar of Ghirardelli Expresso Escape (not sure if I will be able to indulge in this as the caffeine in the espresso beans might put me over the edge). Oh...and there were cookies; Walkers Shortbread - yummy! However, the best parts were the following: 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces (I looooooove Lorna's Laces) in Apricot, a colour which was dyed just for Allison's company (at the time of her mailing this no one else had it yet - I was the first!) and this ceramic mug. Talk about making a girl feel special! The ceramic mug. Allison's husband Joseph, created this ceramic mug for me and fired it in a wood kiln he made for the University for Saint Francis (he teaches there and is a ceramic artist). Oh my god - that is all I kept thinking; first when I opened the wrapping and saw the mug and then when I read Allison's lovely note. The thoughfulness and personal touch that was put into this package is really quite touching. The mug was made just for me. I am gobsmacked. I have already had tea in it twice; it is so perfect. NO ONE in my house will be touching this mug but me (Ed is quite taken with the mug - quite taken). Allison, the mere words of thank you seem totally inadequate. I am really touched. This was such a wonderful package and I feel quite blessed to have been the recipient. Thank you. P.S. I did put in a little order for some Lorna's Laces tonight...LOL.