Wednesday May 30th 2007, 8:38 pm
Filed under: Non-Knitting

The pancreas was indeed torn, and they put a stent in to help it heal. They gave her 6-8 weeks to expect for full recovery, but they expect a full recovery. That is one lucky kid.

Blogus Interrupticus
Wednesday May 30th 2007, 1:55 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

imgp2651.JPGI had plans for what I was going to write about today, about the two shawls I’ve been working on, but it got thrown out the window last night when the phone rang. First, my sister, so my brother would have to make one less phone call. Then my brother anyway.

He had played tag-team with his wife with the other kids, so he hadn’t been there at the bedside when the doctor had been. He was not yet familiar with the medical jargon I know well.

“So they put her on TPN?”

That got him. “Uh, what’s that?”

“Total parenteral nutrition. It’s what they fed me through a tube with, through a PCC line” (pronounced ‘pick’).  “Does she have a PCC line?”

More silence. “I…don’t know… She’s got an IV, and they’re feeding her through it…”

I described my PCC line, and the fact that it had left me with plastic valves hanging out of my upper arm under a bandage for three months in case I should need it again; inserting that catheter is considered surgery and a risk and you don’t want to do it twice, and they’d wanted to be very sure I wasn’t going to relapse. What I was trying to do, as I mentioned it to him, was to be someone who knew the ropes a bit–and who loved his daughter–whom he could come talk to about the medical stuff.

Cherie is not my niece’s name, but she is well loved, so it will do for here. She was riding her bike Monday and thankfully had her helmet on so her brain is fine. But she’d taken the handlebars hard in the abdomen.

That night she didn’t feel exactly chipper, and her folks gave her an ibuprofen for her pain. Yesterday morning, her mom thought, you really don’t look good, kid, and started off for the ER. They took one look at her and called an ambulance for Children’s.

I’m waiting for the next call or email about how damaged they found her pancreas to be.

Five years ago, Cherie was in the hospital for an illness that is usually fatal. I mentioned my worries to an online friend, and it happened to be at the time that Ronni was anticipating the anniversaries of the deaths of both her husband and her only child from cancer. One of the greatest human needs is to be needed, and the gift that Ronni gave my whole family then was very much needed: she decided to knit Cherie a soft doll to comfort her, and, wanting it to arrive as soon as possible, stayed up most of the night to make it, even though she had to go to work in the morning.

And Cherie absolutely treasured that doll.

Last night, with the first shawl blocking, I was knitting away on soft baby-alpaca-and-silk yarn for the next one, feeling it run through my hands, anticipating the reaction of the person I’m making it for. I glanced over at my advance copy of my book sitting next to me, and the thought hit me, not for the first time but more intensely than before, that Martingale’s title for it, “Wrapped in Comfort,” was so exquisitely perfect. I realized that, although I have never met Ronni in person, and although I’ve never seen the doll she knit, I know how much she put herself out to make it, and for a little girl she had never met. I knew what a great comfort it had been at the time, and now, it was again–to me. It was as if I were a small child, clutching at the thought of it. Ronni’s warmth comforted me as I knitted away for my editor.  (Ronni already got her thank-you shawl, long since.  But I want to say it again: thank you, Ronni!)


I actually went bud-hunting among my amaryllises today, just in case, I mean, you never know, and no, there wasn’t another bud popping up anywhere, but on the other hand, this one had one flower arch over to the side overnight, and by tomorrow that blossom will open wide to welcome the new day.

I do feel Cherie will keep on being our miracle child.  She’ll be okay.

Goldilocksing the photos
Tuesday May 29th 2007, 11:58 am
Filed under: My Garden,Non-Knitting

imgp2623.JPGI promised Lene a shot of our tree to go with her tree photo. This is the flowering pear that nearly died after the woodpecker ringed it, but recovered; there are no brown leaves this year. Hale and hearty and tall, it lifts my spirits every day to see it.

Meantime, I seem to be able to get large or quite small photos on WordPress, but I haven’t quite found out how to get that perfect size yet (but at least you can click on them).


Flowers for Memorial Day
Monday May 28th 2007, 11:56 am
Filed under: My Garden,Non-Knitting

I planted a small patch of baby gladioluses, years ago, and the plant that I will forever now think of as the Orchid Tree (I like that, Karin!) grew its leaves around their spot.  imgp2618.JPG

FOs vs. new projects
Sunday May 27th 2007, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

imgp2584.JPGI agreed recently with another knitter that often, on a large project, there’s this sense of loss, almost grieving, as you finish the cast off, run the ends in, and put the thing aside. That that loss gets in the way, all too often, of starting in on the next project, no matter how much you feel you should get going and get a move on with it.

That got me to wondering why it should be so. Today, looking at the stitches on my rosewoods, I saw it: I have done so much work on this shawl that every minute I spend on it now tells me how much I’ve accomplished. Tells me how much the recipient is going to love it. Tells me how lovely this pattern is with this yarn and how much I love looking at it and seeing it all coming to be. How much I love anticipating the moment–even if I’m not going to be physically present–where its new owner exclaims over something dyed and envisioned and knitted up just for her.

The moment I put it aside I’ll be working on another one that is just as important to me to get done. But it’ll be a bare ball of yarn and sticks, possibilities rather than accomplishments, at the start.

I think I’ll go do the yoke on the next before I finish this one last repeat on the periwinkle.

Chatting under the fence
Saturday May 26th 2007, 3:05 pm
Filed under: My Garden,Non-Knitting

This popped up and grew from under the neighbor’s side of the fence to come and chat with the flowers on mine.   Seemed appropriate for the holiday weekend.imgp2590.JPG

Come again?
Friday May 25th 2007, 9:04 pm
Filed under: Amaryllis,Life,Non-Knitting

I did the most mundane of tasks the other day: I called in a prescription refill on my meds.

One of them had expired, needed an okay from the doctor, and wasn’t ready when we picked up the rest. Nuts. It would need its own trip. It seemed kind of a waste.

And then, for no reason I could have told anyone, I didn’t get around to going all week. I just didn’t feel like it. Today I looked at the fact that it was Friday, that the clinic’s pharmacy closes for the weekend at 12:30 Saturday afternoons, that it was going to be closed Monday for the holiday, and, hey, I’d better get a move on already. I headed out the door.

And wondered, as I went along, if I would run into anybody I knew. It’s a big enough clinic that I fairly often do.

I go to the local lupus support group to try to show those struggling with a new diagnosis that life does go on, that you can be cheerful still, that you adjust and find you’re still yourself and still just as capable of being happy: I try to be who I needed someone to be for me 17 years ago.

There was one time, probably two years ago, that a woman showed up who just couldn’t hear a message like that, absolutely not, not yet and maybe not ever. She was sure she was too close to death to make any plans for any kind of a future, she despaired of having any chance of seeing her children grow up, and she was as depressed a person as I’ve met in a long time. This was no time for being chipper, this was a crying need for someone who understood–and every one of us there tried to be that for her. Every one of us had, on some level at some point, gone through that same uncertainty and struggle, if not as deep, still, enough to know. And several of us had gone through episodes where life was in the balance, and knew the power of knowing someone was there for us through the worst.

I have to say that for all the best intentions on my part, I think I was the person she least related to. Much though I would have wanted to do better than that. I was too successful at what I wanted out of my life.

As they were ringing up my prescription at the counter today, I happened to glance behind me and see who was waiting next for theirs. It took me a moment–it was her! I smiled; she seemed to have no idea who I was, and ignored me.

The next clerk motioned her over. She was waiting for them to get her meds when I finished; I walked behind her and softly called her name, not entirely sure I remembered it correctly. There was a moment’s hesitation on her part, and then she turned to see who on earth? I re-introduced myself as being from the lupus group, and now she remembered me: ah, yes. Okay. I asked her how she was doing; she sighed, gave a small smile, and said, well, she was here every Wednesday and Friday.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” I said sympathetically.

She looked me steadily in the eyes, and answered calmly, “Beats the alternative.” And then was clearly glad to see me laugh ruefully, gently–whereas once she might well have taken offense at that, might have thought it meant I didn’t really understand the depths of her pain.

Oh, I do.

I had hoped against hope back then that at that meeting she had simply let the worst of her fears vent, that it wasn’t really that bad, day-to-day, for her. But I didn’t know. I hoped we’d done some good in hearing her out. But I didn’t know. And then we didn’t see her again.

And I didn’t know.

And now I know. Whether we played any part or not, now I know that she did indeed begin to cope.

Today she got a chance to show a member of that group that had seen her at her lowest point that she, too, was continuing on now. That she, too, could smile now.

I don’t know if she’ll come back and give us another chance to befriend her.

I do know, today, she helped me. So few words were spoken, but so much was conveyed. She would be all right after all, come what may.

When I got home, I walked into the bathroom under the skylight and noticed that my amaryllis’s bud, which is still growing upwards, had started leaning to one side, so I turned the pot to even it out in its trajectory towards the light. And found, on the other side–I told you God is a poet!–what I never, ever would have guessed. Surprise!

A second bud.

There you are!
Thursday May 24th 2007, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Non-Knitting

When we first moved to California from New Hampshire, having three preschoolers, I decided one of the first things I had to learn was the most direct route to the nearest emergency room. You just never know. After all, I was the kid who ran through the glass storm door, got hit by a car on my bike, and took the bottom of my foot off in the spokes of my new bike… The receptionist in the ER in Washington, DC cheerfully greeted my mother by name when she showed up with my brother one time.

So here I am, the new kid on the WordPress block, and I’m trying to find my way around the various routes. Haven’t figured out the photo thing yet, but I’ll get there quickly, I imagine.

Do not reach for the black and red background
Wednesday May 23rd 2007, 11:25 am
Filed under: Amaryllis

The amaryllis bud is still going up despite having start to split open; this is unusual. I’m quite curious to see how far it goes.

Biology lesson of the day: yes, that was (thank you Google) a black widow spider, and it can run faster than I can swing my tennis-racket bug zapper at it, even if that’s as close as I wanted to get to it. I am reminded of the time when I was a kid that I stepped on some leaves and startled a snake next to Cabin John Creek, and it threw itself away from me just as fast as it could go while I did the same in the opposite direction.

No, wait–having typed that, I went back in the bathroom, zapper in hand, and it had reappeared in the middle of the wall. Got it.

Congratulations, Kit and Pete!
Tuesday May 22nd 2007, 8:21 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

Wow. It really WAS a wedding ring shawl! From my Nov 30, Dec 2 and Dec 6 posts to here: http://kits-knit-spot.blogspot.com/2007/05/married.html

Congratulations Kit and Pete, and much happiness forever!

Pass the pop
Tuesday May 22nd 2007, 3:44 pm
Filed under: Knit

So life had other things going on, and I finally sat down and picked up my needles. At last.

Ever have one of those moments when you suddenly listen to the elevator music going on in your head, ie, what’s been humming along in the background noise of your brain that you haven’t really been paying attention to? It’s kind of like waking up in the dream process, where you try to figure out how you came up with that one.

But honestly. Pop Goes the Weasel? What on earth?

Maybe for colors that pop out at you? (We’ve been working in the background on overhauling the site and blog, getting ready to move off Blogger.) But still. My overblown sense of dignity is affronted, I tell you, just affronted. Bag the weasels. Turn on the music! Let the needles dance!

Exsqueeze me
Monday May 21st 2007, 1:20 pm
Filed under: Knit,Non-Knitting

The measure of a true klutz: being able to fall backwards into an impossibly tight spot in such a graceful, semi-slow motion as to look choreographed. Your kid reaches down and gives his mom a hug, lets go, and then she does this dance.

John ran for the icepacks. Richard, from across the house, ran for the noise. And then stood there speechless, not daring to laugh till I gave him the huge silly fake grin that the situation so much needed.

That was last night, and icepacks notwithstanding, I’m typing gingerly. The knitting probably won’t go on strike, but it might stage a slowdown for a day or two to show management who’s boss.

And yes, it was very funny. And no, there are no photos. Thank goodness!

None too swift
Monday May 21st 2007, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Knit

(Gee, how did we do visual puns before the ‘Net? And how many non-knitters are going, Huh?)

Sprouting upwards
Sunday May 20th 2007, 4:05 pm
Filed under: Amaryllis,Non-Knitting

Sometimes, when an amaryllis bulb has been deprived of water too long, it’ll bloom, but instead of having the stalk towering two to three feet high, it will barely grow, the plant concentrating on opening up its flower rather than how high in the air it can put it on display. The leaves, however, will grow to a normal length to gather strength in the bulb, so that maybe it can really put on a full show the year after.

The bulb I found last week shot the tip of its bud up immediately, as I said–and then held its breath and held still while the leaves played catchup. Now the five leaves and the bud are coming up in tandem; but if you look closely, the bud is already beginning to break open.

I can really relate to this one. I have a lot of limitations it would be nice not to have, because of health issues: even a few minutes in full sun right now makes my lupus start attacking my eyes. (I’m okay, don’t worry, I have more sense than to risk that one.) So, thank you very much, I’ll stay indoors–but for the things I really want to do, reaching out to others, writing, knitting, making people feel cared about the best I know how–there’s no limitation there at all. The things that are most important to me, I can do just fine (the church Memorial Day picnic at Foothill Park that I have to miss notwithstanding… If anyone sees a coyote or herd of deer this year, I hope they snap a picture for me. Keep an eye out for the mountain lions. And don’t let the preschoolers pick up a baby rattler near the creek this year, okay?) It even serves as a reminder that those are the things I want to do, and not to let the time just slip by.

The “bloom where you are planted” cliche works just fine for me.

Proof that knitters are taking over the world
Saturday May 19th 2007, 1:49 pm
Filed under: Knit