Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The harder they fall, one and all

I have a reading recommendation for today. I enjoy a lot of posts on the blog Shakespeare's Sister, but this one is truly outstanding, by the blog founder Melissa McEwan.

Rank (and file) Bigotry

A quote:
the fantasy of this nonexistent perfect America is the very thing that created the beloved "traditions" of racism, sexism, and homophobia in the first place. It has been the dangling enticement of a happy family, supported by a single secure and well-paid job, in which no one is wracked with disillusionment, dispossession, or a lack of opportunity—an invitation to join for which most Americans are never given the chance to RSVP—which created the resentment and scapegoating that are the foundations of social conservative traditionalism.

Go read it, seriously. She nails so much of the current xenophobic rabid right-wing viewpoint, it's really amazing.

A little Jimmy Cliff to listen to while reading now.

On the health front, I'm feeling a little better. Moving in the right direction, in any case. My stomach still hurts, the incisions itch, and I'm still completely exhausted but at least the pain is getting better instead of worse. And, as promised, here is a link to my gall bladder picture. Please be warned, though, it's gross. The red thing it's laying completely across is my liver. The instrument across the bottom of it is a good three, four inches.

On to more pleasant things, I'm almost finished with the first of the latest pair of entrelac socks. These photos are from last week, before I went to the hospital, so they're slightly out of date. I'm working my way down the foot on this sock.


I'm pretty happy with how it's coming out though. It seems every pair of these gets better. I'm itching to make another pair for myself soon. And in socks for myself, I'm making excellent progress on Thelonious.


These may be my new favorites. Since I'm knitting them on a larger size needle but not a thicker yarn, they're airier than most in this pattern, which is what I wanted. They'll be excellent for spring and fall wear.

Isn't that pretty? I think the wool/silk blend will be pretty durable, too.

I haven't picked up the Decimal sweater in the last week or so. I'll get back to it, I will. I've been a little distracted this week, plus I need to finish Thelonious before the end of the week. I'm about to turn the second heel, so that should not be a problem.

The weather has been quite unseasonably hot. Upper 80s on Friday, Saturday, yesterday, and today. This is the new way of things here in Pittsburgh, apparently. Winter directly to summer. Friday, the low was 37, and the high was 85. Freaky.

Please enjoy these pictures from last week's trip to the Carnegie Museums, pre-surgery, where we went to see their art in bloom and horse exhibits. And on that note, I'm going to go take a nice shower to cool off and ease the itching in my stitches. The surgery was laparoscopic but I have a cute little series of three stitches in my belly button that is making me crazed.

"Dinosaurs in Their Time"


"Hillman Hall of Gems and Minerals"




"Art in Bloom" and other items from the Scaife Gallery











Friday, April 24, 2009

About that missing blog entry...

I didn't blog on Monday because I really didn't feel very good.

I had some abdominal pain that I thought was related to the meds my doctor gave me, so I ignored it. After several days, it became impossible to ignore, so I called the doctor again. Her nurse inquired if I still had my gall bladder, which I did. (note the tense there.) I was told to get an ultrasound. Since I was pretty much writhing in pain and unable to function, I made the appointment for the following morning, Wednesday.

So the ultrasound technician was a very nice young lady. We were having a good talk, lots of laughs and interesting observations about the nature of rubbing goo on people all day and taking photos of their internal organs. She finished the requested scan, then left, rather abruptly and strangely, saying she needed to "see if the pictures came out". Strangely because the pictures were right there on her computer screen.

That's one young lady who really needs to come up with a better excuse when she has to go off in a panic to get someone to look at her scans.

She came back after about 15 minutes and told me the radiologist was calling my doctor because my gall bladder was pretty abnormal. After another 15 minutes or so, the radiologist came in, introduced himself, and told me in no uncertain terms that my gall bladder had irreconcilable differences with the rest of my body and an immediate divorce was the only possible course of action. Sludge, many stones, and a large stone completely blocking the main duct, which was the cause of my pain and misery, not the metformin after all.

So I took myself to the ER, conveniently upstairs from the ultrasound facility, and got admitted. By 8 that night, my gall bladder had been shuffled off this mortal coil and I was on the road to recovery. My surgeon, a very nice man who bears a striking resemblance to Greg Kinnear, said that a normal gall bladder is the size of a thumb. Mine was the size of a brick. He actually gave me a photo to take home with me, it's pretty gruesome. I photographed the photo and will put it on Flickr at some point and link to it. Anyway, I came home today.

There's still more pain than I like but it's definitely getting better instead of worse, which is a relief.

So I'll blog with the usual glee and photos and newsy stuff soon, but not today. I have photos from last week's trip to the museum and a couple of good sock pictures.

Oh, and "anonymous"? Your comment was deleted because you were talking out of your nether regions about a subject that apparently leaves you clueless and this is a fat-friendly blog. But thanks for stopping by. When you figure out how obesity can be "prevented" or "cured", be sure to let the rest of the world know, ok? But do us all a favor and do some research first, starting here and moving on to oh, maybe here after that. In fact, do yourself the great favor of spending a nice chunk of time on Junkfood Science and get acquainted with the concept that fat does not equal death before you come commenting here again, ok? Thanks.

(I may be slightly touchy about this because apparently one of the leading causes of gall bladder disease is weight-loss dieting and following a very low-fat diet for an extended period of time. Which I did, of course, repeatedly, in the pursuit of "health".)

Monday, April 13, 2009

It never gets any easier

Being a parent is tough, especially when you're powerless to help your child. My younger daughter is now on her way back to Tennessee, driving the Worst Car Ever that has a broken spark plug and it's almost 9 at night, and she's in West Virginia.

We had a nice Easter. Other than being horrified by her car, that is. We all got together at my mom's house yesterday and had ham and stuff. There were no fights. I had to leave the room once due to my mother being very definitely WTF inducing at one point in the conversation but rather than making a scene I just went and sat on the porch.

I'm pretty miserable this week. The medication my doctor has me on is making me out of sorts and my glucose meter still hasn't arrived so I have no idea if it's helping or not.

In crafting, not much. The entrelac socks move on, as do the Thelonious socks. I have one of those done and will probably cast on the second one tomorrow. I got a few more rows done on the Decimal sweater. It's really starting to look like a fall project. No spinning this week, it was too busy.

Hooray for the Pens, made the playoffs AND got home ice in the first round.

Elder daughter got her hair cut short for the first time since she was a small child.


Cute, isn't it?


I still have a hard time getting them to pose together for photos.

Younger daughter brought her classroom rat along on the trip-that's another thing to worry about with the broken car-the rat freezing.


It's quite a cute rat.


I'm just going to post these without comment and let y'all draw your own conclusions. After all, that's what the comment section is for.


k.d. lang was incredible. We had such a nice time at the concert. The seats were really uncomfortable because there was nowhere for my bad leg to go, but once she started singing, that faded quite a bit and I finally turned around and got my leg in the aisle.
I think this was her tour bus, but Bob refused to let me hide under it and wait for her.

We were seated under this chandelier. It was mildly creepy, but beautiful.
Of course no photos during the show because I'm far too much a weenie to break the rules, even though there were camera phones going off all around us the whole damn time. She was in amazing voice though, really perfect, such control and power. Sigh. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

Finally, here is Falco, my birdie sister, and an artsy-fartsy sort of photo of elder daugter.
Falco is a Nanday Conure and a real sweetheart. She really likes me.


I don't know if I could have done that on purpose if I'd tried.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Aw, honey honey

So I went to the doctor's today to find out why I've been feeling not so good. She ran some blood tests a couple of weeks ago and I came back with some pretty high blood sugar numbers. So I'm now on metformin, and am supposed to check my blood sugar on a regular basis. If only I could navigate through the incredibly confusing morass that is my health coverage. I went through hours of frustration today and still didn't end up with a glucose meter. My doctor is awesome and didn't come right out and say the D word but we did discuss insulin resistance and how I can come back down from the point where I am into a more normal range before anything really bad happens. She understands my feelings, frustrations, and experiences with weight loss and dieting and knows I cannot go there again for my own sanity. I'm working my mental process through it but seriously, it's all I can to do not burst into tears at the slightest provocation. Especially since that's part of the symptoms, apparently.

The Penguins lost two games over the weekend. One in OT so they still got a point, but you know.

I'm dead broke and bill collectors are calling. This too shall pass.

All in all, I'm not having the best week. Hopefully this will change soon as we are going to see k.d. lang tomorrow night. She hasn't been in Pittsburgh for a while and it'll be wonderful to hear her live again. She puts on a remarkable show.

On to this week in crafting. The sweater moves along, slowly, inexorably. Maybe I'll have it done by fall. This is why I don't make large objects-I get side tracked, disgusted at my lack of progress, and disinterested. Then, the next thing you know, I'm ripping it out in disgust. I'm not going to rip this out, as the yarn does not rip well, but it's frustrating. I just need to plow through it.

Finished the endless green socks of doom finally.
I got really tired of knitting these towards the end, but I think they'll be awesome when I wear them.

Started Cookie A's Thelonious sock. I've had the pattern for a few weeks and have been trying to decide what yarn to use. Decided the Kraemer Sterling Silk and Silver was the perfect choice and wished I had not given away the remaining black SS&S that I had left from the Moderne socks because that would have been an amazing cuff and heel.


The pattern's pure genius too.

Speaking of geniuses, I rejoined mensa and promptly got myself elected to the local exec committee. Hopefully they won't be as completely insane as last time I was involved with it.

The only other thing I started was a pair of traveling socks, my entrelac socks for a friend.


Obviously they don't look like much yet.

We did some yard work over the weekend. Two years of entropy is a lot to undo but we're getting there. I'll close with some photos of our labors, some animals, and orchids.

Until next time.