Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Where Am I Now?

Dear Friends and Readers,

DH Bob went into the hospital last Friday.

Respecting his privacy, I don't write about his medical problems but I will say they are serious and chronic.

Right now I'm driving back and forth between the Kalamazoo hospital and home in order to take care of the dogs. If the dogs were young and healthy, I'd kennel them for a few days. Instead they're old and/or ailing and it's a comfort to Bob to know they're being cared for and loved by me at home.

As for knitting, I seem to be incapable right now. I tried knitting a simple little footie in the emergency room Friday and it has so many mistakes I think I'm going to toss it in the trash. I don't ever want to see that project or that yarn again.

I plan to return to blogging again when things are a bit more under control. Surely that day will come? There's a beautiful pair of Sunshine Socks finished in gorgeous sunshine colors to show you and some bluebird eggs ready to hatch.

All your good wishes and prayers are so welcome and appreciated, especially the prayers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Sock Yarn

I'm getting so much knitting enjoyment from knitting Cookie A. socks, I plan to continue it for a while longer. I'm even collecting yarn for future selections of the Sock Innovation KAL, (a Ravelry link).

The KAL plans to eventually knit every sock in Cookie's Sock Innovation book, and since I'd like to do that as well, I may stick it out to the end.

I didn't plan a Cookie A. marathon, but then I haven't planned many things that have happened so far this summer. I'm finding Cookie's patterns to be interesting and soothing. So far the results have been rewarding with the resulting socks even prettier than the pictures indicate.

My latest sock stash enhancement from Slackford Studio has been assigned a pattern in the book and set aside until its appointed KAL month arrives. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind.

Paprikash, the vivid red/orange yarn on top, is being reserved for Vilai.

Wisteria, the pastel lavender yarn in the center, is being reserved for Kristi, the socks on the cover of the book.

The light color is perfect to show off the delicate Japanese inspired stitch patterns in Kristi. There's just a hint of tone variation in the dye job. I love it.

Billie Jean, the yarn of jean colors on the bottom is being reserved for Sam.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunshine Socks

The Sock Innovation KAL, (a Ravelry link) selection for June is the Sunshine pattern.

For her June birthday socks, Mom asked for socks "the color of a bright blue summer sky". With a color description like that, it just made sense to use a pattern called Sunshine.

Sunshine is the formal name of my little dog Sunny who is recovering from a long and painful back injury. Another reason it made sense to knit this pattern in June.

Well, actually it doesn't make sense, but I'm pretending it does.

Pattern: Sunshine from Sock Innovation by Cookie A.

Yarn: Opal UNI- Solid, 75% Superwash wool, 25% Nylon.

Color: 27 Blue

Needles: Options 2.5mm circulars.

Before I decided to use the Sunshine pattern for Mom's birthday socks, I bought this yarn to make Sunshine socks for myself.

This colorway called Embers is the hot summer sunshine setting over Lake Michigan.

Once I had Mom's Sunshine socks done according to the pattern and they fit her normal feet perfectly, I could tell I needed to switch from 2.5mm to 2.25mm needles to fit my narrow feet snugly.

Pattern: Sunshine from Sock Innovation by Cookie A.

Yarn: Stalwart Sock from Slackford Studio. 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon 4 Ply Fingering Weight Sock Yarn.

Color: Embers

Needles: Options 2.25mm circulars.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pomatomus Finished

Pomatomus by Cookie A. was one of the May pattern selections for the Sock Innovation KAL, (a Ravelry link).

When I started it toward the end of May, I knew I wasn't going to get it done in time to count for the KAL, but I wanted to knit it anyway. And, I'm so glad I did.

These socks are for me, modeled on my skinny feet and fitting perfectly. I used 2.5mm needles and didn't make one single change to the pattern, so the snug fit was a pleasant surprise.

Once again, I have to give kudos to the yarn. It's firm with good stitch definition at the same time being soft and cuddly, and the colors are so pretty.

As of right now, Susan has a skein of this green (Origanum - many shades of beautiful green.) in her Etsy shop, Slackford Studio. And some other very lovely colors dyed just perfectly for complex Cookie A. patterns.

Sorry, but I already scarfed up a wonderful blue blend and pretty red blend to use for future Cookie A. socks in the KAL.

Pattern: Pomatomus by Cookie A. (A free pattern)

Yarn: Stalwart Sock from Slackford Studio. 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon 4 Ply Fingering Weight Sock Yarn.

Color: Origanum

Needles: Options 2.5mm circulars.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Why Is the Barn Wearing A Wig?

Thursday night while trying to get some sleep after a tense day in the hospital while Mom had surgery, Mother Nature decided to deliver a whopper storm with much thunder (all the better to freak out the dogs), wind (all the better to blow down branches, trees, and take the power out), and lightening (all the better to light the house after the power went out.)

When we got up the next morning and looked outside, there were (still are) sticks and branches all over the yard and the barn was wearing a wig.

A walk behind the barn disclosed a huge old willow tree blown over complete with root ball.

Since the hospital half promised Mom could come home that morning, I packed my clean clothes in a bag (no power = no water = no shower), picked enough branches out of the driveway so I could drive to the road, picked the large branches out of the road so I could head for Kalamazoo.

Most of the debris in the road I could drive around. This tree I drove under, but not before seeing another car do it successfully.

Mom was in fine spirits and ready to walk the halls to prove she could go home.

She's rolling her eyes because I just told her how lovely she looks in her blue hospital gown with the lovely heart monitor wires poking out of the pocket.

That classy bracelet makes the outfit, don't you think?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mom's Birthday

Wednesday evening, the eve of Mom's birthday, brother Dave and I had a mini party for her. Dave brought all kinds of yummy Indian food and a fantastic carrot cake that we were all too full eat.

Her birthday socks are a perfect fit and just the color she requested, the blue of a summer sky.

This is the Sunshine pattern from Sock Innovation by Cookie A. knit in Opal UNI-Solid 27 with 2.5mm Options circulars.

Early the next morning, the morning of Mom's 87th birthday (June 18th), we were back in the hospital for a seriously needed heart cath and four stents. The most welcome birthday present she ever could receive.

Thank you for all your kind thoughts and prayers this past week. Mom is home this evening and very tired (it appears they don't allow sleeping in the hospital) but looking good and doing well.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Flashback Friday - 2004 Kalamazoo Doo Dah Parade

On the second Friday of each month I go back five years to pick out one of my favorite blog posts for that month and repost it here on Flashback Friday.

This post was originally written in June, 2004.

Briarwood Dogs Do the Doo Dah
The Doo Dah Parade is a parade of silliness that goes through downtown Kalamazoo Michigan the first Saturday in June.

This year Briarwood Dog Training marched as the Briarwood Beach Bums.

Sunny is not fond of loud noises and crowds, so Pappy and I left her home and had fun without her.

Here are the promised pictures. These were all taken in the staging area before we started.

Pappy in the staging area.Pappy was a good sport about wearing the Doggles, shirt, and hat.

We had to practice wearing the glasses.

At first he wanted them off! We worked on it for over a week and he got resigned to wearing them. I told him that after the parade he never had to wear them again. Anyone want to buy a slightly used pair of Doggles?

Benson in the staging area.Benson is a Newfoundland puppy. Pappy just met Benson two weeks ago and they've become friends. Pappy doesn't seem to care that Benson is a giant. Scary.

Newfies are known for their drooling. Benson's bib says "Drool is Cool".

I think Benson is cool.

Gracie in the staging area.Gracie is another of Pappy's friends from doggy school.

Looking at Gracie is always good for a smile, even when she's not dressed for the beach.

Favor in the staging area.Favor is trainer Gail's cattledog puppy. He's about six months old and getting ready for his first parade.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quick Update on Where Am I?

Only my Mother could look this good in a hospital bed dressed in a hospital gown three days after having a heart attack.

Do I need to say more about why I haven't been blogging this week?

Brother Dave from Oregon arrived last night to help. Can't remember when I've been more glad to see someone.

Blogging has been low on my priority list lately, but not forgotten.

Knitting hasn't been getting much attention, either. To have time to relax and knit sounds like a luxury right now.

Pomatomus socks were finished before the heart attack. I'll post about them when I have time and after I catch up on my sleep. It could be a while.

Cookie A. Sunshine socks are easy enough so I can pick them up and knit a few rows here and there even when sleep deprived and/or braindead. They're for Mom's birthday next Thursday.

Sunny gets a little better every day. She's still on steroids and Xanax. She's walking and able to sleep at night. She wants to snuggle, but it's not comfortable for her yet.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A Couple Links

Jean at Knitting Garden is having a blogiversary contest with some lovely sock yarn prizes.

I'm on Twitter as knittingviolet. Mom, Sister Doris, and I are using it as an easy way to keep in touch. I usually only update once or twice a day and, trust me, my life is boring. Still, everyone likes to have friends.

I Have A Good Excuse

Note: No knitting or nice nature pictures in this post. My excuse is caring for an ailing dog. Details follow for those who are interested.

Background for those who don't know:
Sunny is a 15 pound Papillon mix with advanced Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis,a degenerative disorder that causes loss of normal spinal structure and function). The back third of her spine is fused with calcium deposits. The mid third of her spine is in the process of fusing. Somehow it got jarred which has resulted in severe pain and muscle contractions. She is currently on a steroid, a muscle relaxant, and Xanax. It has been over a week since this started. The vet says it will likely be another week before she's back to as normal as she's going to get.

Sunny is doing better. We have wonderful vets. They are keeping in close contact with us to monitor Sunny's meds and change them as needed as she gets more and more painfree and able to move again.

Last night she only yipped loud enough to wake me up twice. Tomorrow we try cutting the steroid (Prednosolone) down from two a day to one a day, and we're giving her short walks outdoors which she loves. She's even able to throw her tail up over her back and prance a bit.

She's a feisty little girl and tries to carry on with all her important duties - like reminding us when it's time to serve dinner.

Bob and I are stressed out. The main reason is watching Sunny be in pain. When she yips and/or cries, every nerve in our bodies stands on end in sympathy.

Another reason is the amount of work and attention it takes to take care of three dogs when one requires special attention, individual walks, and lots of extra loving although she hurts too much for us to hold her. Our days and nights have been devoted to canine care.

On a practical note, what I really need is newspapers. Do you have any idea how much a 15 pound dog on steroids can pee?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook for June 1

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Monday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY June 1, 2009...

Outside my window... The deer have been here grazing.

Where there used to be a beautiful, large blue hosta, there is one small remaining leaf and stalks.

This is only about ten feet from the front of the house. How they must love their hosta salad to come this close.

I am thinking... About how life is going to change now that Sunny's Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis,a degenerative disorder that causes loss of normal spinal structure and function) has reached the chronic stage.

I am thankful for... A good result from my annual physical last Friday.

From the kitchen... Looks like a doggy pharmacy as we try to drug Sunny into some comfort. This morning she went to the vet office, had xrays (it was bad news but not unexpected), and got a steroid IV. She also has oral steroids and a muscle relaxant.

To complete the canine pill bottle collection we have two vials of painkillers that didn't help Sunny and Pappy's antibiotics for his anal gland infection.

I am wearing... Jeans and a black V neck tee.

I am creating... Still working on Pomatomus and have both socks decreased at the gusset.

Stalwart Sock from Slackford Studio is now one of my favorite sock yarns and this pattern is simply amazing, so I'm not sorry the project is going slow.

I miss having Sunny snuggle by my side while I knit. She has been hurting too much to want to settle in next to me.

I am going... To miss going to doggy school with Sunny this evening.

I am reading...Borderline by Nevada Barr, an Anna Pigeon mystery set in Big Bend National Park, Texas.

I've read all the Anna Pigeon books and am always happy to see one on the new book shelf at the library.

I am hoping... That Sunny's steroids kick in soon so she can stop pacing. It's extremely painful to watch her in pain.

I am hearing... Pappy telling me he needs to go out. Be back in a few minutes.

Around the house... Things are never right when one of the dogs is ailing.

One of my favorite things...The bright, sweet smelling day lilies that bloom toward the end of May.

I don't remember their name, but they're an heirloom species, not a hybrid.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Most important, see that Sunny is as comfortable as possible.

Otherwise, it's looking like a routine week. Pappy and Glory are going to the groomer tomorrow. Wednesday is grocery shopping, library, errands, and trumpet lesson. Thursday is Pappy's doggy school.

Both the lawn and the laundry have reached critical mass and need to be mowed/washed.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...