Friday, December 23, 2016

Fun investment.

I feel like I am a total loser failure. I know I’m not - not really, but that is how I FEEL. (Also? It’s a cool, grey day with a light drizzle. Oh joy.)

I got so lost in Greater Saint Louis yesterday, trying to find my heart specialist. 5 times lost. It began with going to the wrong location, and went downhill from there. Finally, at the desk of the heart and vascular building, the nice woman looked up my doctor and said, “Oh, he’s not here. You need to go…” and that’s when I started crying. (It was my fault not having asked two weeks ago for precise directions. I am usually so prepared with maps and written directions.)

So the nice woman got a wheelchair and wheeled me through secret passages and along quiet corridors and down on the elevator and finally delivered me to the right place. I was only 1 minute late for my appointment. I hate getting so upset because it seems to take days to recover and today I am still recovering.

Then there was the bank statement kerfluffle. It was figured out and it was my fault, too. Shit. But, no harm, no foul.

Is this what getting older means? Making stupid mistakes all the time? That’s a legitimate fear to have.

Good things are these: the bank thing was solved by phone, meaning I didn’t have to leave the house and also, I ordered Chinese take out for lunch so I didn’t have to cook.

Other good thing: I have sold a bunch of my little knit socks earrings, and 4 more will be picked up tomorrow. I still need to knit 2 of those pair, but that will be a nice chore. I have been knitting and watching Amazon video, in particular Forensic Files. Love that show! 22 minutes per episode and all loose ends get wrapped up. Very satisfying.

Okay, here’s a bad thing, good thing. Something got into the chicken coop after my girls! When? I don’t know! I lifted up the lid to check for eggs in the nest box, and this is what I saw!

Where are they? What happened here?

And then I noticed this!

I feared the worst, because I didn't see any of the hens, so I made my Come and Get It call - Cheeep Cheep Cheeep and Porkchop came running. She's fine, if a little worse for wear. She had a wound on her wing, not too bad. I put anti-robotic on it.) The other two girls were outside the fence, but they were alive still.

This is Dorothy. Looks like she got a hunk of feathers torn out. (She wouldn't let me pick her up to check.) I'm thinking cat. I'm also thinking Porkchop fought whateveritwas off, because she can be quite aggressive.

So, tonight they will be totally cooped up. If they were younger pullets, I am not sure they would have survived this attack.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I'm a Doctor, Jim, not a sheep herder!

So this makes me happy. Love me some Vince.

And this scene makes me happy, too, in a subversive way. As always, clicking embiggens.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Releives joint discomfort

I fucking hate people sometimes. often. Especially stupid people. One of our Arts Council's board member's husband is gravely ill. I asked the other members to maybe make some food for them, and I would deliver it. One would think I asked them an algebra question. What should I make? they ask. Food, godamit. It is not hard. Soup. Fucking chex mix. Sandwiches. I have been angry about this all morning and I thought that if I put it on virtual paper, I might feel better. I mean, I try to do something nice and now it has turned into an organizational nightmare. Fuckers.

So. I am seeing another cardiologist, after my last one, Dr. Tran and his team at the Missouri Heart Center dropped me through a crack in their system. LSS, I had a procedure in JULY, for fuck's sake, and was sent home with a paper saying they would contact and make an appointment for me. I quote: Dr. Tran's office will contact you to set up an appointment with Dr. Botteron. Nobody fucking contacted me and I kept waiting, feeling sicker as summer dragged on. So when I finally did call them, I figured something would happen. When I called again, a week later, I was told that my previous call had been duly posted in my record. And not a damn thing had been done. So, I lost my mind. And burst into tears. You know, tears do work, but the situation should never have happened where tears were needed. So, fuck them. And the horse they came in on.

I asked my primary care provider to set me up with a new cardiologist in her network. I have seen the new guy. He spent time with me and seemed to really listen and I have an appointment with the even-more-specialist next week. What I like about this group is that they use email, as though they actually exist in the 21st century. They are in contact with me. Novel!

The solstice approaches. Another month of darkness by 5 pm. A new year, an imaginary new slate, a fresh calendar. I am doing my best to keep my mood up, although it's hard. I've gained weight. Not a lot, but 5 pounds makes a difference in how some of my clothes fit. I do try to eat right and I do try to walk 8-12 blocks with the dogs daily, but still.

It could be worse. I know. I could be in war torn Syria. So, I'm trying hard to cheer up, to keep upbeat, to try and not melt away into despair. Even though the president-elect makes me sick in the pit of my stomach.

I've been knitting, so there's that. Socks for Sweetie, maybe 3 pair this month. Last night I began the Baa Baa Bobble hat and am up to the sheep, and it's interesting and fun enough. Makes me eager to finish each round. I listen to No Such Thing as a Fish. That makes me happy. They are on Youtube also, with No Such Thing as the News. And we watched the first season of True Detective last week and we were both sucked in deep. And I've been trying to read Version Control, which is about time travel, but don't call it that! It makes me dream about time travel!

But one last thing. Both Sweetie and his younger brother have bad feelings about December 2017. Sweetie's take happens on the 17th, brother's on the 27th. Bad like in the world coming to an end. Well, that has scared me. I hope it is closer to home, some tragedy in the family, and not some huge meteor or something. Still, Sweetie wants us to be in Iceland by the 14th of December.

So, that's a plan.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

You may feel a sting.

Looking at Pinterest just makes me depressed. Oh, look at that! I could do that! Yes, let's try that! Oh yeah, I have a rigid heddle loom! Yes, I could sell my handspun yarn on Etsy! How clever is that!

And in the end, I am overwhelmed and I log out. Maybe I'll just sit here and finish this monster sock for sweetie. I call it that because I am using leftover bits of yarn from socks I have knit. I at least am making them mostly identical twins so they aren't entirely hideous. Not that Sweetie minds.

I have gone back to making a "regular" heel flap because the Strong heel and the Afterthought heel don't fit as well.

So, instead of doing anything else, I sit and knit on these. Procrastination is what it is. Well, that and a  certain lack of focus. My brain seems to be in a fog lately and it makes it hard to think beyond the now.

I have reopened my Etsy shop. I made a light box and took good photos of my felt pieces and I have almost 50 views and 10 favorites, which is better than my last foray. I have other items just waiting to be photographed and listed and it just seems beyond me. It just seems to be so much work and I am tired and I feel like crying half of the time for no particular reason. I am not keen to go back on medication, though.

One that note, I finally have an appointment with a heart specialist. Since the 2 tries at cardioversion in July did not work, this is the next step, I reckon. Since my heart is arrhythmic much of the time, and my blood is not circulating properly, I am tired. I had such hopes that the cardioversion would work for me, because it does for 80% of patients, according to my cardiologist. I was depressed afterward, of course.

So. The next procedure will be more invasive: a needle inserted into my thigh and threaded up to my heart where parts of the heart muscle will be cauterized. The thinking is that this will interrupt the electrical circuit that is causing the arrhythmia. It will be an overnight stay in St. Louis. If that does not work, the next step may be open heart surgery and I don't like the thought of that. Maybe it means that how I am currently is how I will have to be, and there are worse things. I mean, my knees and hips are fine. I know too many people who have had those bits replaced. I don't have arthritis, so my hands and fingers work fine. My other internal parts seem to be working well.

Always Look at the Bright Side of Life
Corky is feeling better, at least.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Unabridged and complete.

Yesterday, the weather was beautiful with a high in the 70s, low humidity, and pretty blue skies. And I felt good for the first time in weeks! Very pleasurable. Today seems to be the same, but a little warmer.

After frogging the never-ending garter stitch shawl, I began making these. Some will become earrings, others will be tree ornaments. The eggs are for scale and to prove that the chickens are laying.

And this is 1 of 5 reasons we have furniture, apparently.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Your subscription is now due.

I am tired of just feeling bad, so I have turned that on its head. Parts of me that don't hurt and that behave normally: shoulders and arms and hands, thighs and knees down to mid-shin. If I think about it that way, it seems not so bad.

But I am unwell. I underwent cardioversion 3 weeks ago in an attempt to regulate my heart rhythm. It didn't work. Having atrial fibrillation is tiring and tiresome. I also have atrial flutter, for what that is worth. I have a slight fever due to a cold virus that is going around, so that means mucus and a stuffy head. My feet are becoming more numb due to neuropathy, which is scary. I fear that one day they will atrophy or become injured and need amputation. And my thinking is muddled and today my eyesight seems kinda blurry.

Then there's the depression. Am I depressed because I don't feel good? Nah. Sweetie says that my depression has a fine balance, a hair trigger. I work hard to keep it from tipping and that is tiring. It's difficult to avoid the people and situations that drag me down but I try. Right now, I am being very hermit-like for self-preservation.

Is this just what happens when we get older? I'll be 60 in a few months. But hey, 60 is the new 50, right? Not that long ago, a person 60 years old would be old indeed. Lucky to be alive! Just a few years left! It weighs heavily on my mind.

I'm knitting tiny socks. The really teensie ones, at 1.25", are for earrings. I've made some about 2" and don't quite know what they will be for. Right now, they are for keeping my hands busy.

I have tried knitting scarves. There was one that I knit on, garter stitch, for 2 weeks. I bound it off, hated it, and then unraveled. I tried knitting lace for 2 days until I forgot a yarn over and in the attempt to fix that, a bunch of stitches came off the needle. So fuck that and unravel. Tiny socks it is.

The chickens are fine and have started laying 4 eggs almost every day. I have clipped their wings and so they stay confined in the backyard, which is about 2000 square feet. Sweetie and I sit out there on the evenings that aren't oppressive and commune with them. I have named them Pork Chop, Bob, Pecker, and Dorothy. Pork Chop is the smartest and the most friendly and if I had the inclination, she could be trained to do tricks. But I don't.
That's Pork Chop there in the center.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Party on, Wayne.

It is 46º at 9 am. Feels kind of nice, actually.

So, I made this.
Washable wool Swish from Knit Picks.
Mindless. Well, it required just the least bit of attention to work on and that is about all I have been able to afford lately.

I've been working hard on creating brochures and class schedules for Summer Art Camp, speaking about Summer Art Camp, distributing said brochures for said camp, oh and don't forget Music in the Park and that we (members of the Arts Council) will be selling food and T-shirts at, besides managing the event, and I staff the Art Center every Thursday and Friday afternoon, and, and, and. 

Today I hope will be a day to - oh right - do dishes and laundry and floors. 

I will live and it will all be okay. Sometimes a friend's daughter comes over to watch cartoons and interact with the chickens. 

Add caption
Can you see the robin's nest made of sheep wool I left out for just such a thing?

Also? I signed up to get the New York Times crossword puzzles online. That makes me happy.

Monday, May 02, 2016

For all your farm needs.

I have to give a little talk about the art council and the art center in about 20 minutes to some girls from Birthright. How in the hell? I have no religion, I am pro-choice, and I have no children so one would think not to ask me. However, I was not asked to talk about me, (although I will a little bit.)

Lunch is ready for Sweetie - roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and a green salad.

Oh, and we put up a run for the chickens yesterday. It's the first time the girls have experienced grass and direct sunshine. They seem very happy.

You lookin' at me?

And my bleeding heart bloomed!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Cleaner than clean

I will call it a learning experience and not be too disappointed. I have finished felting the piece from the previous post and mounted the three panels on a bamboo pole. It is not what I envisioned and it is too dark by half. I should have used a lighter sky and more yellow in general. And more flowers. More yellow flowers maybe. And what the hell is the stuff in the middle, behind the flowers? I don't know. It doesn't add anything and the brown horizon is too dark.

I tried to speed up the felting process. Note to self - Don't do that! Especially in the beginning! But my back was killing me from the previous several hours of laying out the merino roving. Note to self - Do not work at the dining room table! Not standing up! The bad thing that happened was an intractable crease in the middle of the sky of the central panel. It was not fixable. I thought about it for quite awhile, and in the end, I just cut the top part off of all the panels. The size is actually one of the best parts of the piece. I will hang it over the entryway into the dining room.

So a piece that began at 28" by 54" was reduced in the end to 12" by 36." And it's ok, barely, but it is not what I had in my head when I began. Note to self - Take your time and do not rush any part of the process!

After the first gentle felting.

What I ended up with.

I have entered it in the Art Council's Open Call with the theme of "In Bloom."

On a brighter note, I bought new shoes!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

In bloom.

The felting begins tomorrow. Right now, it is as long as the dining room table.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

And now, the larch.

So. There's this thing, a kind of new thing, called a knitting blog or vlog or podcast. Whatever. Knitters that video themselves talking about their finished objects, works in progress, stash enhancement, other people's podcasts, yarn shops, and so on.

I think I saw this one first, which just captivated me. I am charmed by Eleanor's manner, her aplomb, her honesty, and her yarn shop in Nottingham, England. How in the world did I come across Knit Nottingham? I can sit and watch her short videos and knit and she makes me feel good.

And so then I began watching other knitting podcasts. Some are ok, some are dreadful, and a handful are quite nice. My favorite by far is The Lone Larch. Every time I hear the word 'larch' I am reminded of one of the first Monty Python episodes I ever saw, back in '75. Yes, I am that old and older. But I digress. The Lone Larch is named Jennie and she is an arborist and lately, she has been having a little 'tree talk' amongst the knit talk. I like her because she is quirky and smart and is funny.

So there is my plug for two totally different podcasts, but I hope you listen to them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stop calling me Fred

I love fleece. Dirty sheep fleece full of lanolin. I bought 2 fleeces at Greencastle this weekend.

I know that some people think I'm crazy to go to all the effort of soaking and cleaning something with poop and hay embedded in it, but I like doing it. I can afford to buy a nice and clean fleece and I have in the past, but there is a certain joy of taking a sow's ear and making the silk purse. There is also the pleasure of doing something that has been done for thousands of years and is rarely done anymore. I do not know how I will spin this or what I will knit (weave?) with it. It's just loovlee.


Before on the left, and after the second soak on the right.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Birds on a Wire Hat

Two colors of bulky yarn. Main Color - dark and solid, Contrast Color - bright and can be solid, variegated, or striped. The sample is shown using Lamb's Pride Bulky and 3-ply handspun merino. (Cable plied single)

16” circular and a set of double pointed needles size 9 or size for you to get gauge. 

stitch marker
large-eyed needle
tape measure or ruler

Gauge: 13 st = 4”

Size: adult medium 22" - 23" head


MC - main color
CC - contrast color
K - knit
P - purl
S1 - slip stitch from left to right needle, purlwise with yarn in back
K2T - knit 2 stitches together
DPNs - double-pointed needles

With MC, cast on 72 stitches loosely onto circular needle. Place marker to designate the beginning and join into a circle, being careful not to twist yarn. 

  1. MC: K 
  2. CC: (K 1, S1) around
  3. (P 1, S1) around
  4. MC: K
  5. P
  6. K
  7. CC: K
  8. MC: (K 2, S1) around

Repeat Rows 8 and 9 until hat measures 6” from the bottom.  

 10) CC: (K2T, K1) around  48 St
 11) MC: (K1, S1) around
 12) CC: K
 13) MC: (K1, S1) around, cut MC yarn

Repeat Rows 12 and 13 twice and begin using DPNs

 14) CC: K2T around  24 St
 15) K
 16) K
 17) K2T around  12 st

Cut yarn, leaving an 8” tail. Thread tail through needle and run through 12 stitches, removing them from needles, then run through again. Tighten and weave ends in on the inside of hat. 

Notes: If you use a long tail cast-on, the tail should be about 3 times the finished edge plus 12". For example, if the finished hat edge measures 22", then 22" X 3 = 66" + 12" = 72." Therefore, you should allow 72" for the tail. If you do this and end up with two feet of yarn left, you are casting on too tightly.

A handy tip for casting on is to divide the tail in half and mark with a slip knot. You should have cast on half your stitches just before the knot. If not, rip out and adjust your tightness or looseness. 

You do not need to twist yarn at the color changes on each row. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Active Ingredients

I meant to post this last week, but, you know, life.

Weird dreams!

Last night, I was Richard Feynmann’s lover! I ran away from my (first) husband on a train to be with him. He was very odd yet exciting, and I was sorry to wake up.

Night before last, though, I was back with the neglected rabbits. Their teeth had overgrown and some were cross-eyed. My therapist said that these sorts of dreams were about me neglecting my own self, and I can see that, but they must also represent anxiety.

Also that night, I dreamt I was in the big house in the country that I lived in as a kid. Lots of rebuilding and renovation going on. I often have this sort of dream, but it is usually about the house and/or barn in southern Indiana so I am not sure why this latest dream moved back in time. 

In dreams, houses generally represent one's body, so make of that what you will.  

So. Life. Went to a state conference of Missouri Art Councils on Monday. It was all fine, and lunch was ok. Finally had a fish taco. Ick. Not as bad as I feared but why do these things exist? The mid-afternoon speaker was a woman who spoke about fund-raising. At least that is what was in the program notes. What she actually talked about was how to get old rich people to give you money. Get to know them, she said. Walk their dog, she said. Buy them lunch, she said. Then, after a year or so, ask them for that half a million dollars and make them sign a pledge, she said. Get it in writing, she said. 

I said fuck this and left. It was horrible. 

I designed and knit this.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Place in oven for 12 hours.

I forgot Millie. She is 11 this year. I think it was '05 when she was pulled out of a corn chute at a feed mill. (Hence, her name.) How she got in there, I'll never know, but I was there buying rabbit chow and it was her
lucky day. There is a birdfeeder just outside of this window, and so it is her favorite spot.

Tonight I was making yoghurt, don't-ya-know, and there was this fascinating pattern of burnt milk on the bottom of the pan.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Now streaming.

I was looking for a particular photo the other day and so ended up looking through my blog. Wow! I used to post a lot, didn't I, back in those days before Facebook? Not that I post much on Facebook but I do waste time there scrolling past the rants and cartoons and advertisements. I took a lot of pictures of my animals, too.

So, to partly make up for that lack, may I present:

Corky, next to the filthy couch that he often rubs up against.
I am so glad that he came into our lives.

This is Corky the day we got him 4 years ago.

Princess, who had 32 teeth removed last week and whose breath now is
sweet as flowers. She is still recovering.

Reeses', who is at least 12 now, I reckon, and going strong. Must be all the naps.

Snoopy, also getting older. He is 9 this year.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Number 9

Reading Jean's Knitting today and saw this link to a Franklin Habit post. It's funny and true.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Nerd culture brings everyone together.

I am a member of the St. Louis Weavers' Guild, mainly to partake of their felting group. So I went to my second meeting with said felters on Sunday afternoon.

I do not know why, but about 10 minutes in, a deep gloom descended upon me. I could have just sat there and cried and I was ready to pack up and come home, but I stayed. We were studying Moy MacKay, a Scottish felter, who creates landscapes, etc.

I am not a realist or a realistic artist. Ha ha! Get it? I prefer a more abstract approach. This is what I made.
8" X 17"

And I like it, but then I flipped it vertically and liked it even more. Looking at it this way, the horizontal looks better actually. So be it. I plan to stitch upon it to add a bit of detail and that will be interesting to do. 

And I have been knitting. This is a little shawl I made up with handspun. It's just a simple washcloth pattern, (slip one, yarn over) at the beginning of every row. Then I added (knit 2 tog, YO twice) which gave the edges a nice look. Wary of running out of yarn, I used short rows at each side to add more width. The bind off is (knit 2 tog, place stitch back on left needle, knit one and place stitch back on left needle, then do that one time.) Delightfully stretchy and I love how it conforms to the neck.

So that didn't take too long to knit, and I cast on immediately with Bamboo Bloom to make this cowl. 

I have cast on another cowl in bamboo, cotton, and linen but I put that aside in favor of socks.

I finished 3 Twiddle Muffs and took them to the dementia ward at the Wellsville nursing home. I had a warm reception - literally. The thermostat must have been set to 80º. The TMs were well received as well.

Oh, one good thing! My sandals from Zappo's came yesterday and they are a beautiful dark pink/fuchsia clog! Next, I need a pedicure to tame these wound-giving stabby-bits at the end of my toes and to get color to match. 

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Let's Change the Future

I have been dreaming of opera costumes. I have had dreams of elevators, hotels, and airports. Last night, I dreamt I had to rescue bunnies, the last few of my Indiana bunnies, but I couldn’t help all six. 

My anxiety is back, even though I am outwardly coping well and doing fine. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Contains humectants.


It’s snowing today. Not a lot - maybe an inch is what we will get. Five years ago, there was over a foot on the ground, and that was the day we closed on our house. 

I can’t get my head around the fact that it has been 5 years. (Of course, I was in a drunken stupor for two of those years, so maybe that’s where the time disappeared to.) 

Who knew that I would today be a president of an arts council and a member of the chamber of commerce? I am dumbfounded but reasonably happy with where I am these days. Who knew I would be speaking in front of civic groups and the annual dinner for our extension office? What I say to myself is that they are in desperate need of warm bodies. Actually, I feel confident and competent doing these things. I do not have uncontrollable anxiety anymore. Well, most of the time I don't.

I haven’t been too terribly creative this year; spinning and knitting hats has been about it. However, I feel ready to do something else. I dyed roving yesterday. I am imagining things I want to make.

I had a woman ask me a couple of weeks ago if I enjoyed cooking. I had to think about it for a minute before I answered that I don’t particularly enjoy cooking, but I do like to experiment. Cooking is not a thing I consider fun, but it is something I do because I have to. Even so, I turn out tasty and edible meals on a regular basis. I don’t mind making bread or biscuits now and then.

I like making kimchi. I don’t mind making bread or biscuits now and then. Yesterday, I made yoghurt, and that was interesting. Today, I may find a recipe for bread, or something, that uses yoghurt. (I made more that I can easily eat anytime soon.) I’m thinking of making fermented rice. You see, Sweetie has bought a book called ‘The Good Gut,’ and has become interested, nay, obsessed with fermented food, and I am humoring him.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ask your doctor if condition persists.

I am finally well! It took actually going to see my care provider and getting some kick ass meds. Even with that, it took 2 more weeks to get shet of the acute bronchitis. So now, I have some energy and oomph. Sweetie was much sicker that I was, and he has still not quite recovered, but at least I am not so worried about him.

The solstice-flavored holidays have passed, and the daylight is increasing a minute or so every day. We got a little snow and the temperature has dipped into the single digits. (Die, bugs! Die!)

I haven't been too awfully creative, but I have been spinning and knitting hats. These are all mostly handspun, but the black and grey is store bought wool. These will be for the Guild sale in November. And I have made even more on the knitting loom in acrylic, for the No Cold Ears Project. The goal for us it to make 100, and we have 40 so far.

Today I got out the Dremel and an antler and tried to make buttons. I heard that it would smell, and it did. It reeked of burning hair. So I got one disc cut and sanded, but then couldn't find a small enough drill bit. There is a garage full of tools, and I couldn't find a 3/16". Such is life.

Now that I feel better, my darkness seems to have eased.

I am seeking speaking engagements to tout the Arts Council, and also trying to rustle up some new board members. Next week is the Kiwanis lunch, and next month, it's the Extension Office's Annual Meeting. Who knew? Who fuckin' knew that I would 1) be able to and B, feel confident enough to do this? But I can and I am because it is something I feel strongly about. But the other thing about speaking in public is that so many people are so bad at it! I mean, not just bad but gawd awful bad. I have heard them and I have felt their agony and I have wished to be anywhere else than in the same room with them. I can do better than that, I know for a fact. (Although when I was in school, it terrified me to stand and read to the class. Literally, my knees would shake and my throat would seize up and I couldn't wait to be done and sit down.) My anxiety level about public speaking now is just barely above nil.

I was also asked to be a board member of the Chamber of Commerce. (If you want to know what the devil is doing, you have to go to where the devil plays. That's my motto.)

Who knew? Ya know, who knew this would be me and my life right now? Certainly not me.