20 April 2016

Amy's Afghan {take two}

I know that I thought the last afghan I did was going to be Amy's Afghan, and it turned out to be, in a way.  The project veered off course, and became an experiment in various colorways using Lighthouse Mist, a fuzzy mohair, and assorted worsted weight yarns, simultaneously.  I did give it to her, but it was not THE Amy's Afghan that I was striving for.

However, I'm on the right path now, baby!

This is Pagoda in Caron Simply Soft, with LightHouse Mist, the variegated mohair that contributes the pleasing shifts in colorway.  The Pagoda is what gives it the overall teal foundation.  This is about two thirds as long as it's going to be, because I have yet another skein of Caron to go.

The overall length will be a bit over five feet.  Altho, when it's done, Amy may decide to consider it the width.

The original plan was to add two more panels, one on either side.  That would make the blanket much wider than the over length.  However, Amy might decide to turn it so that the panels become layers that make the blanket seven to nine feet long {I've not yet decided} and five foot wide.

When the other yarn comes in, which might be as early as tomorrow or as late as next week sometime, I'll post pix of that and make a decision on the final intended dimensions.

But for now, this panel, at this stage, is about 3x4.

08 April 2016

getting back to it

back of afghan
So for a week, I propped myself in the recliner and drank honeyed lemoned teas, eating the occasional bowl of oatmeal.  I hacked and coughed and engaged in other whining activities.  I did NOT knit.  Mostly because I didn't have the brain power to stay on target.
front of afghan

The next week, I ran higher fevers, which induced delirium that make total sense to my addled self at the time.  One of those episodes included me lecturing myself on refraining from knitting because I didn't want to pass on some contagious infectious disease to the recipient of said item.  This still makes sense to me, even in my recovered, non~feverish state.

However, I'm slowly beginning to feel more human and less like a sluggish slumped candidate for the next Mucinex commercial {I'd make an excellent Aunt Bertha, doncha think?}.  These past few evenings, I've been knitting some more rows onto this afghan.  I'm not crazy about it myself, but I think that the recipient will like it and that's the important thing.

02 April 2016

Happy Birthday

Dear Jerry,

I love you, you know.  There are times when you probably don't know how much I appreciate you as well.  Like now, for instance.  Even though you were sick yourself for about a week and are still feeling the lingering effects, you still take care of me, in my own whining, gross, pathetic moments of "honey, would you...?"
      *in this case, ... could mean but is not limited to:  bring me a cup of tea; make me a pot of tea; put honey in my tea; cover me with the blanket I just threw on the floor; bring me my inhaler; pick up my inhaler I just knocked on the floor; heat my neck roll; bring me my hot neck roll; bring me a towel to wrap the too hot neck roll in; buy me a bag of lemons; get me another box of tissues; bring me a bag to put my used tissues in; pull off my socks; take my temperature; put on my socks; tuck me in; help me out of bed; take the dog out of bed and close the bedroom door; bring me the lil'st dog so I can cuddle her; hold my hand; bring me the pillow;  no, not that pillow, the other pillow; make me jello; bring me a popsicle; heat me some soup; put the soup away; call the doctor's office; drive me to the clinic; give me a hug; hug me again; wait, i need to cough; ok, now another hug; tell me a story...

Even when I am at my worst, you love me and I appreciate that oh so much.  Because I know how hard it can be to put up with me when I am irritable, sniveling, snotting, whining, impatient, and confusing.  And I appreciate you because I know that you don't have to put up with me, but do it anyway.

I love you so.  I know that we had special plans for tomorrow, your birthday.  I know that you understand that it is not an optimal time for either of us, and I know that sucks for both of us.  Even though you have a whiny wife full of flu right now, it won't always be this way.  And we'll celebrate your birthday when things are looking much better.

In the meantime, do something for you, and not for me, and not for our three lil dogs.  Have a happy birthday in some meaningful way that is special for YOU.  I love you,  Debra

Oh, and would you please shut the drapes?

31 March 2016

Fever, in the morning, an' fever all thru the night...

The past two weeks have been exhausting.  And wild.  Fever and me is an odd combination at best, because my mind becomes very manic, and I free associate at a speed that can frighten me and then I get really mad that others don't understand my ramblings, especially if they are questions that really bother me, and no one can answer them because they are sane and not privy to the inner working of my brain which when exposed to fever engages in hallucinations and delirium.  It's seldom pretty, tho it can be greatly amusing, much later, not at the time.

Well, sometimes, it's amusing to others even at the time, just not to me.  I didn't even have a high fever when my family woke me after I fell asleep in front of my parents' friends' TV which had a baseball game playing.  They got a HUGE kick out of eight year old me demanding to know, "where's my thing, to catch the stuff?" while opening and closing my upraised hand.  It was a non~existent catcher's mitt.  A feverish teenage me insisted that my mom bring me my shoes, because I had to go to the bathroom.  Oh the family stories go on and on and on, and are filed under "Duhm Ass Things Debbie Says {when feverish}".

Thing is, generally speaking, I know when I'm running a fever, I know that this train of thought has left the realm of reality and is running rampant, having jumped the tracks of predictability.  And I'm still not able to control it.  Even if I had the energy to, I couldn't. The train isn't quite as friendly and welcoming as the Soul Train, nor does the soundtrack include some groovy hits ya can dance to.  It's more of a nightmarish snarling, hellish brutal train that keeps going, gnashing and spewing half formed ideas and tangents.  You'd think that this would have served as some creatively artistic juxtapositions fodder for me.  But no.  Not really.  Or maybe the truth is that there is plenty of material, but I lack the commitment and bravery to submerse myself into that world when I am NOT feverish and could actually write coherently enough to produce such mind benders.  The debris from that devilish dude is grimy, gritty, and greasy.  There is nothing attractive about even the tiniest shreds, nothing.

In the past two weeks, I've consumed enough water, tea, lemons, limes, oranges, honey, and oatmeal that I am truly at a loss for why I am still fighting this infection, virus, bacteria, whatever the hell it is.  We've both seen docs and have been told different things, but the treatments remain the same, mucus relief, acetaminophen, rest, and all the aforementioned  items.  Yesterday, Jerry felt pretty decent for the first time in a week.  I've not seen him get hit this hard in the seven years that I've known him.  He even went out and ran some errands for a few hours this morning.

I, on the other hand, am sinking deeper into a morass of fever, fatigue, wheezing, chest congestion, and mucus.  The main reason I've not returned to the doc is because I highly doubt there's going to be anything different about the treatment and I really Really REALLY don't feel like sitting with others who are also sick but who are much more generous with sharing their spewing germs.  However, I do realize that my own judgement might be seriously clouded and since I am feverish, I might be slightly manic, and therefore not making the best decisions...so in the interest of health, I am open to specific suggestions.

Jerry brought me home some wonderfully cool sweet frozen treats that make my throat feel so nice, my mouth smiles, and my tummy goes, "what's this?  what's this?  this new fangled thing?  this loveliness that makes me sing?  what? Is? THIS?"

I hope everyone has welcomed spring in their special ways and has been enjoying the beautiful weather.  Stay healthy!

17 March 2016

Esther, Easter, Eostre, Ostara, Austro

When I first moved here to Starkville, fifteen years ago, there was a Coffee Bakery across from WalMart in a strip mall.  Leona Jean {or Jane, sometimes I couldn't tell Jenny from Ginny, so Jane and Jean were interchangeable for me until my ear picked up some of the more subtle differences of the southern speaker, even tho Leona was not from here, I think she'd been here sufficiently long enough to let the syrup settle around her vocals} was the owner and main worker, I grew to know her and her regular clientele over the first several years.  Mr Charlie was one of the oldest gentlemen I've ever met and he told me a few things that have held true over the years; including that the last frost of the year would be Easter Weekend.  Which makes sense, really, considering that Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon on or after the spring equinox.

This year, Sunday March 20th will be the coolest night on our calendar, if the current weather forecast is accurate.  It'll get down to 33 degrees fahrenheit, which will leave some nice frost rime, that will disappear as the day warms up.  Easter is the following Sunday this year {a movable feast, which is why Easter can be midMarch thru midApril}; current weather predictions are saying that it's to be about fifty degrees that night.

When I was a child, in Pennsylvania, we had Good Friday and Easter Monday off.  Folks down here in the south don't really know much about Easter Monday, I've learned over the years.  Good Friday was a somber event, tied in with Easter Sunday; most folks who were semi~religious would attend sunrise church services on Easter {and Christmas midnight mass}.  Our Easter Mondays were when most organizations had their Easter Egg Hunts, chocolate egg sales, and clearance on Easter candy and dresses in the retail stores.  It was a solid four day weekend which allowed for some family travel.

Here, I've noticed that many schools will offer week long Spring Breaks coinciding with Easter.  Spring Breaks tend to nicely divide the semester in half, if the break occurs in March.  If break isn't til April, then the first part of the spring term seems to be unbearably long with students whining and teachers grinding their teeth in response to the petulance.  This is because most schools here in the south end in the beginning or midMay at the latest.

When I lived in Pennsylvania, our school years ended in June, with college letting out near the end of May.  I remember one year when we did let out til the end of June and some seniors had to be excused from school early because their colleges were holding sports camps and freshman orientation.  I do believe that was the year we had snow under the holly tree in June.

To me, Easter was always a time of new growth on its way.  You might not yet see the spring grass poking thru the snow, or the buds on the trees; but you knew that winter was winding down and spring was soon to make its appearance...eventually.  It meant that several churches were making their cherry, crispy, peanut butter, or coconut eggs, coated with chocolate and sold on the counters at most convenience stores and gas stations.  My friend and her father always made lots and stuffed the freezer full.  They wouldn't last long, because we all had our favorites.  Mine were the peanut butter.

We'd see lots of new dresses, worn under winter coats, and there'd be lots of spring balls, dances, and concerts.  We were just happy and eager to be thru with the harsh long winter and stuffed noses, hacking coughs, dry skin, and phlegmy chests that some of us broke from cabin fever into spring fever with a rumpus that usually set us back healthwise.  Easter bunnies, chicks, and eggs, sometimes the occasional white chocolate lamb with blue candy eyes were found in baskets.  Easter hams, with cloves and pineapple rings, made their appearances at family gatherings.

Few people really cared that bunnies hiding hardboiled colored eggs made little sense from a religious point of view, but made tons of sense from a historical and traditional perspective.  Most families spread newspaper out on tables and set out cups of dyed water, along with wax crayons, and dozens of hard boiled eggs for the kids and some adults would decorate the eggs too.  As I got older, different fads came into being, stickers instead of paintbrushes and little metal egg holders instead of spoons.  It's been so long since I decorated eggs, I don't even know what is available now.  We'd have little contests like which egg was the most beautifully decorated, from the different age groups.  Then for weeks afterward, we'd be eating hard boiled eggs in our lunches, egg salad, egg salad sandwiches.  My mom would pickle eggs with red beets so they would last longer and because that's when we had the most hardboiled eggs available, eggs being on sale at the grocers for a good price.

Whatever your way of observing this occasion,
 do have a good one!

27 February 2016

Good Mornings

My husband tends to get up hours before I do; so he has usually had plenty of time to store up the ideas that he wants to share with me, by the time I come out of the bedroom.  I've learned over time that I ought to spend a few minutes stretching in bed after I awaken, then go brush my teeth and wash my face, take my meds, and in other ways get ready to face my day before I leave the master suite.  Otherwise I am bombarded with news and my enthusiastic husband before I even get my first cup of tea.  This way, I'm at least awake enough to focus on most of what is tumbling from him in one massively compressed jumble of words and thoughts.

I know how my parents felt when faced with teenaged me.  So sorry to have sprung that on you guys.  So sorry.

But, I'm also humongously grateful for my husband's unfettered joy.  He makes me smile and there is a certain contagion that excitement brings about.  His joyous "I've been up for hours and look how productive I've been" happiness makes me feel more lively and more likely to also be productive with my own day.

It's an adventure, stepping out of the bedroom most days.  Now that my husband's been retired from full time employment for almost a year, he's enjoying his own time in ways that cannot always be fathomed, nor predicted the night before.  For instance, one morning last month, I came to the breakfast table to find that surrounding my plate of pancakes {pancakes, guys, PANCAKES waiting for me at my place; amazeballs, right?} were all sorts of things my husband found that morning when he was in town, getting eggs for my pancakes.  There were flowers, carnations, one of my favorites.  A huge bag of chocolate peanut butter cups, several bags of pistachios, a bunch of bananas, an I Love You card, a jar of honey, a few boxes of tea, a box of colored pencils, and a few puzzle books.  Awesome!  I am so loved and spoiled, I know.  I appreciate his appreciation.

There's been mornings I have walked into a freshly mopped house; mornings when the aroma of cooking food curled around my nostrils and hummed me awake; mornings when incense filled my head with tropical relaxation; mornings when the common bathroom's contents {except the bathtub} were in my living room because "things needed a good cleaning"; and mornings when the front door was propped open to admit some fresh air and I'd poke my head out to find my husband resting on the front swing, with all three dogs clustered around him in their small harem style, adoring him.

I am learning to really love my mornings, with my husband.

25 February 2016

Unfinished Projects: Turquoise & Chocolate Brown Striped Concentric Squares

On The Needles:  turquoise and chocolate brown striped throw,
done in stockinette and garter stitches,
as one piece with concentric square pattern.
{{it rests on a yellow and white "scrambled egg" blanket from
my childhood; pretty sure we have a few pix of my brother
wrapped up in it when he was about ten and not feeling too well}}
Last fall, I dug out all my crochet, knit, and loom projects in progress that had been piling up over the previous few years.  Some of them, I decided to rip out {sometimes called "frogging" because you rip~it, rip~it, rip~it} and reuse the yarn.  Some squares, hexes, arcs, and eyes are actually pieces of other larger works that have been shelved and so may be salvaged to continue these quiltghans {crocheted afghans made to resemble traditional quilts such as double~ring pattern {sometimes referred to a the wedding ring or double wedding ring} or grandmother's country garden}.

So that was my intention, to finish all the projects in progress or to rip them out, so the yarn could be reused.  I realized that life would continue and that people would be making requests, babies would be born, and other gift giving occasions would occur.  So I knew that I would end up starting and finishing other new works that would be done while finishing some of these older projects.

close up of center square
Sometimes, I would probably be able to find a suitable older unfinished project that I could finish and give as the gift that would fulfill the occasion's intent.  But usually not, since most of the items that I knit or crochet are done specifically with that person in mind, so baby blankets are made with their parents' request for color scheme or design taken into consideration.  Most couples have certain tastes and a brown and turquoise striped throw might not suit her 80's retro floral Laura Ashley print overstuffed couch.  I've got coral and cream for that.

So, how then did I end up with so many unfinished projects from years back?  In part, because I was learning new techniques and wanted to do something constructive while learning; so I was making a wide scarf using that stitch or combination.  In part, because I was going to be traveling and needed something light and small, like a cotton shawl.  In part because I was making lapghans for charity for this or that group and I was able to donate thirteen, but these two were not completed in enough time to make that deadline.  Their loss is someone else's gain.  Maybe.  Probably.  Ok, definitely, IF I finish that throw in time for this birthday or that event.

more detail
Currently, while I am knitting two other baby blankets that were requested for April; I'm finishing this chocolate and turquoise striped afghan.  I unearthed it last night, because I wanted to have it completed for an impromptu gift possibility.  Because who doesn't like to receive something that says, "I appreciate you" when it's not normally a gift giving time?

I was pleasantly surprised myself, when I realized that not only was I able to pick up where I left off and follow the item's pattern {I very rarely do written patterns, counting on the item itself to point me in the right direction~~if I can't remember what I had envisioned the completed item to be}, but I was also able to add twenty rows last night while watching "The Deerhunter" with Jerry.  True, it is a three hour movie, the 1978 multi~Oscar winning film stars Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, and others.  But I think the main thing was that I remembered how long it took me to do the first part of this afghan and sometimes, knowing how much I've grown in various ways allows me to not feel like I've become stunted in growth.