Sunday, April 29, 2007

HSKS Questionnare

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into?

2. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length.
I really like the Susan Bates aluminum in 7"

3. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length?
I've always wanted a set of Rosewood or Ebony and I like 7" in size 1s.

4. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference?
I really really prefer the BOOK version, blue and bronze.

5. If your pal decides to send candies or chocolates are there any that you don't like?
I love Junior Mints, Ferrero Rocher, dark chocolate kisses (sooo good), wintergreen Lifesaver mints.

6. What are your favorite scents?
I love things like rain, linen, that sort of thing. Fresh smells, nothing that smells like food, that's just mean. ;)

7. Do you have any allergies?
Cats though it's not bad, rubber products.

To my spoiler, feel free to ask me anything, I'm happy to fill you in.

And for my 5 points, here's my answer to this week's Trivia Question:
"You will have your reward, Wormtail. I will allow you to perform an essential task for me, one that many of my followers would give their right hands to perform..." Who is speaking?
Ha, I was listening to this during my WalkAmerica. That would be Voldemort as he sits in the chair in his own home (the Riddles' home, for some reason I didn't catch this when I first read it).

Saturday, April 28, 2007

March Of Dimes' WalkAmerica

I had a great walk and I really love all of you who donated. I raised $180 that will go to funding research to the cause of premature babies and it's with thanks to you all that I made it! And while I walked with my dad, I took pictures. And here they are!

Yes, click the picture.

No, I did not get pictures of myself, sorry. It didn't happen.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

HSKS Trivia Question #1

I somehow missed this. Shame on me, and I'm a Prefect!:

"There is nothing worse than death, Dumbledore!" "You are quite wrong. Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness." Who are the two people in this conversations?

Toughie! Har har, it's Voldemort and Dumbledore from the Order of the Phoenix. Which I need to either reread or listen to but I'm currently reading a vampire story* so that'll just have to come later.

*Yes, I finished the Fox Woman. And this is my very first vampire story, whatever that may mean. Wait, were there vampires in Harry Potter? Okay, well, this is my very first vampire-as-majority story.


Come autumn, I may try again. For now, the Nantucket Jacket is going into the frog pond. And this is why:

Ugh, I do hate how huge I am, though. If only I could lose weight without having to sacrifice a valuable organ.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Smugs and Blogs

The Smug
I signed up for the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap as you might have noticed from the new little button on the top left corner of the blog. I'm a little smug because I'm a Prefect for Ravenclaw, not that it means much. It means that I volunteered to help, poking a few people here and there, reminding them to make Ravenclaw proud by winning them House points and in the end, getting a neat-o package so that when the movie and the book come out, I've got properly coifed feet. And there is no way you can talk me into wearing anything else woolen in the middle of July. Madness.

The Blogs
So, on to the meat&potatoes of this post. I have two blogs that I feel deserve a bit more attention and hope you'll take a look. The first is The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale who is a terribly clever writer. Many of her posts have had me snorting in a most unladylike fashion. She's currently dealing with a few crises but I hope she returns to share her brilliant sense of humor with the rest of us again.

The other is Big Girl Feet. She's a fantastic artist and such an outgoing person. She's been working very hard to lose weight and I am cheering her on all the way!

Today is Chemo Day in my little world, which means Jeeves & Wooster, seaming my Nantucket Jacket, and not getting a whole lot done at home. Hmm. Best get started on my chores early.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Labor of Love

It's sure been a day. I was sure I'd get some posting done this morning but one thing led to another and, well, I have something to show for it. Quite a thing really.

It started off humbly enough somewhere in December when I started Mim's Mountain Peaks Shawl. And last night, with total disregard of my wrist and thumb (not carpal tunnel, I think it's repetitive stress), I finished it. This is what it pretty much looked like:

But then I invoked a little faerie magic (it's the Midsummer birthday), retrieved my 'magic' blocking wires, gave the thing a much desired and needed bath and after a massage where I rolled it up in a towel and did an Irish jig upon said towel, I began spreading it out.

It was dry before I was even done:

But I dampened it with damp towel, wet washcloth and finally wetting my hands and patting the thing down once it was completely blocked. And it worked quite well.

The whole transition from ragged ramen to blocked lace is amazing, I really do love the whole look and the blocking wires were WELL worth their price from KnitPicks. And the best part of the deal is that my mom absolutely loves it.

The Other FO This Week:
Tangled yarn is nasty, especially when it looooves to cling to itself. It's almost as if it gains a personality, a deviant personality with a wicked sense of humor. And sometimes it gets to be so bad that you just want to throw it in the trash. Which is precisely what a girl about did on the Lime & Violet messageboards. But I told her that I'd take it off her hands in exchange for cookies (except that I'm a very bad person and she hasn't gotten cookies yet, I'm sorry!!!). I got it on Thursday in this state:

Upon closer look, I could see that it had previously been neatly balled (skeined? I think the drugs are getting to me) up:

So with a growing sense of "Oh dear, what HAVE I gotten myself into?", I sat down and began to untangle. I worked and worked and worked on that thing. I believe the grand total is 15 hours. Oh yes, that is very close to accurate because I got into kind of a trance-like state, the same sort of state I get into when drawing something engaging. It's that focus and concentration that I believe surgeons share.

And before I knew it, I was halfway through.

Yesterday I washed the skeins, dried them, spit-spliced (but used water instead of spit, that's just gross) and balled the whole thing up into one neat little cake.

The colors are all the sort you'd find in any studious student's pencil pouch. Highlighter purple, highlighter pink, and highlighter yellow. No, the blue is just my inadequate photography skills, I'm afraid. The halfway photo is the most accurate in color.

Magic Yarn Ball
Finally, I had been participating in the Magic Yarn Ball Swap and mine came in today. The Breast Cancer Awareness stamps were not lost on me, it was so very sweet of my pal to use them to send the package! The little sticker, too. Teriffic! Thank you!

Well, once I was done blocking, I opened the box and along with a bottle of Vaseline Intensive Care Healthy Hand & Nail lotion that must not have fit in the ball, I found a well wrapped mound of yarn and...other things.

I could not leave well enough alone, I grabbed my ball winder and began 'unwrapping' my package!

It was an adventure, that's for sure but it yielded quite a treasure!

I recommend clicking on the link and rolling your mouse over to see all that I'd received. My pal was incredibly generous!

Well, dinner's been announced, I have to dash! I hope you all have a good evening!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A deadline that has already passed.

Uh, oops, I seem to have missed my Blogiversary. Oh well, Hi, I've been on the internet yet another year.

By the way, to the person who looked at my blog to find out how to summon fairies, I personally recommend finding them in your favorite books at the local library. I'm currently getting acquainted with an engaging kitsune via a book called Fox Woman.

Also, the guy looking for a 'hunchback Honda Civic', you'll have better luck looking for a hatchback.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Why I am not fond of Ack-rylic.

I love the outdoors. I love the trees, the grass, the smell that fills the house when I leave the windows open, it's heavenly. I'm not an Al Gore-ite, I think the man is full of crap but I think there is something we can and should do to give thanks for this world we live in. And I am all for being economical when it comes to petroleum products.

Do you know that acrylic is plastic? Yes, my fellow crafters, it's ancient dinosaur remains, right there on your bed, on your bodies, in your closets. Not that I mind the use of plastics for things like bullet-proof vests and hard helmets and milk containers but when it comes to yarn, there is a warmer, breathable fiber that I would like to term as wool.

Acrylic does not breathe. Which is why they have warning labels like "Do not put a plastic bag over your head and inhale (but if you do, we thank you for removing your genetic material from our pool)". So you sweat like a dog in it but that sweat is pressed against your body and what does that cause? Yes, absolutely right. B.O. It also has no insulating properties so in the winter, if you're not sweating and stinking, you're freezing. It also makes lousy potholders. Instant burn, yikes!

Wool is made from sheep. Good wool comes from happy cows sheep. So if you're pointing towards the animal cruelty that sheeps and alpacas and llamas and goats may be subject to, let me tell you, their wool is garbage. Like using poor grade dirt to grow vegetables, they're just not the same. Wool is used to being around things that may sweat or stink so it breathes and it insulates. It will keep cold things cold and warm things warm, it should be installed in cup holders but that would just be silly. If you wear woolly socks, you will have less incidence of the Stinky Feet syndrome. It will also lower the chances of Athlete's Foot because it will wick away sweat and the fungus won't have the lovely moist environment it is so very fond of.

Acrylic does not hold a shape. You cannot block an acrylic sweater and expect it to do anything but perhaps even out the stitches.. You sure can't felt acrylic unless you would like to just take a blowtorch to your hard work and make a drippy mess everywhere.

So what is acrylic good for? No, "nothing" is not the correct answer. I am a big fan of blankets made of acrylic. Baby blankets, large afghans, they're all marvelous. I also like to use acrylic yarn for holding stitches. I have a big ball of blue yarn just for that purpose.

But hey, aren't gas prices high enough? And it's not like acrylic is cheaper. It's easier to find, perhaps, but there are some marvelous places to find wool, both on the internet and with the help of Google, right in your neighborhood.

Please, consider the sheep. Leave the dinosaurs for more noble causes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Works In Progress Wednesday

I have about three. I know, scandalous, most knitters are required to have ten or even twenty at a time. What can I say? I fail as a knitter, woe. All I can say in my defense is that I've completed several projects in the interim so that these ones have taken second, even third place on my list of priorities. But now that I'm pausing between socks, I've decided to go forth and finish some of these projects.

Firstly, there is the Mountain Peaks Shawl in progress. The photo is a little behind, I finished the tip of the edging last night and got another repeat in before crawling into bed.

Lace is never really pretty until it's good and blocked. I look forward to blocking it and showing off the real beauty of this pattern. It's intended for my mother, once it is finished and she'd better like it! Or else I'm keeping it and using it to summon fairies on Midsummer.

Secondly there is the Nantucket Jacket from the Winter 06-07 issue of Interweave Knits. Yes, still that old bone, I just barely finished blocking out the pieces and I'll need to seam and finish it. But here it is, unchanged and waiting patiently (it may have to wait until summer is over, who wants to work with wool when it's hot and humid out?).

Lastly, I was clearing out my drawer that I usually dump all my fiber things into, my spinning and so on, when I found this languishing where I had just dropped it off without any regard to its imaginary and completely unimportant feelings:

I think it was intended for the Yarn Forward Challenge but I never got around to finishing it. Well, I have been working on it as I watch streaming television like the anime The Melancholy Of Haruhi SomeJapaneseGirl (okay, the last name I totally made up because it's long and hard to spell which causes my brain to label it irrelevant. This is inconvenient when it comes to German or Chemistry words and has gotten me in trouble before) or DeathNote The Movie which is utterly awesome and not for people who dislike creepy CG angels of death who do nothing but stand there looking creepy and making smart remarks about the ways of human nature.

And there you have it, my lovely collection of of unfinished objects d'knitting.

Also my thought on Virginia Tech: it's a tragedy but can we find out what's going on outside of this college? I'm curious as to things such as, oh, I don't know, the war! Or am I just being insensitive? I'm just curious as to what our friends over in the Middle-East are doing. How much higher gas prices are going to rise. If I should invest in a gas mask. Things like that which don't relate to a crime of blind hate where the shooter is already dead. He won't do anymore harm and now it's up to those affected to piece their lives back together and that would be so much easier if they weren't under the scrutiny of all of America.

So I turn on BBC World News and at least they're not talking about VT. I get to learn about what's going on in the rest of the world. Something to do with soccer.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Blogs worth peeking at.

I subscribe to 95 feeds on Bloglines alone. This does not include LiveJournal or GreatestJournal (which is my Harry Potter Roleplay arena) and I have gotten to know some fascinating people.

You can see that I have linked most of them on my sidebar but I suppose you ought to know why I have subscribed to them.

The first is pretty obvious. The Pearson Family is my sister's blog. She frequently posts beautiful pictures of her children and it's my way of keeping up with her in this busy world where there is always something going on. I love my sis and I'm so very glad she keeps up this blog.

The second is a former neighbor and current friend of mine who I've mentioned before on this blog but who is worth mentioning again: unending field trip. Her pictures are exceptional, she has a real feel for lighting and she does sell prints of her work I believe.

And the third for this week is one of my very own: Losing It In Kansas. It's my weight-loss blog. One of the greatest motivators is to be blaringly public about your goals so here I am, being meekly public (who wants to be blaringly public about something embarrassing and private?...em-bare-ass...nevermind) and hoping that I can have a cheer or two as I try hard to lose weight that I've been carrying for far too long.

Mom's just reminded me to take Daisy for a walk. As I'm about the only dog-walker, she may as well be reminding me to brush my teeth. Ah well, I'd best do it now.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It's Monday!

First off, I have a Finished Object:

Yarn: ScoutJ's Orchid Sock Merino
Needles: size #1
Pattern: From Sensational Knitted Socks, the Chevron pattern
Shoe size: 7.
It took a while, not because the pattern was tricky or anything but because it was intensive. It just took time and attention. But they're really wacky fun socks! I love them, I love the colors and the zig-zag to keep it from being just stripes.

Tomorrow is UFO Tuesday. I'll take pictures of the things that need finishing and give you the update!

And for anyone who is curious,

Mom is doing great. She's a lot more perky with this shift in chemo, though in a bit more pain, but that's what pain killers are for, right? She found her script for oxycodone and realized that her doc prescribed her 60 pills. She is now considering a small side deal on the black market. But you didn't hear that from me, darlings. Nope, I have no knowledge of any illicit drug dealings in MY home, not at all. But Daisy might. She knows where the good stuff is.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Walking for babies

I've joined the March of Dimes WalkAmerica. It'll be April 28 at 9am and it'll be a 4 mile walk. I'll bring my camera and in exchange for pictures, I hope you guys don't mind tossing in a fiver or so. Like I told Briana last night, I love babies, I don't mind helping them out where I can. So if you'd like to sponsor me, my page is here:

Thank you in advance!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bring me your tired, your poor...

...your tangled masses.

Yup, I said as much on the Lime & Violet Message Board, I will take that yarn that you were going to just toss out anyways because it's somehow turned into the nastiest wreck of a tangle you have ever met. After de-tangling laceweight of many many yards (tell me that isn't experience right there), I feel confident that I can take most yarn and detangle it.

Of course, I keep the yarn too but at least it's not staring at you with big sad eyes anymore, right?

So yeah, gimme. ;)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Six years ago today I got my second kidney and third chance at life.

I'm a lazy donkey so I'll just paste this from my personal journal. Sorry to those few of you who have already read this.

I was born with Medullary Cystic Disease. I began manifesting kidney failure at about 1 or so and at age 2 I was biopsied and diagnosed with the above disease. And when I was nearly 6, I received a transplanted kidney from my mom. I was put on cyclosporine and prednisone and for the next 16 years I was fine. The 17th year was not so fine as the drugs poisoned my mom's kidney to the point that it no longer could function.

It was a long, exhausting, nauseating, cold, fuzzy year. I couldn't think well, I couldn't move fast, I couldn't eat and I flunked out of Med Tech school (who wants to work in a blood lab anyways?) and lost a lot of weight. I could have gone onto dialysis at any time but I was terrified of it, still am, and I kept putting it off and putting it off.

Then 6 years ago, I received the call that started it all. The nephrology (kidney) team got together, talked about me specifically (I felt so special) and said I was just too sick to live another two weeks without dialysis. Devastated but still a good student, I went into my non-Western-Civ class and worked on an exam about the Ainu and was frequently interrupted by many many calls from my nurse who was coordinating everything for my ultimate dialysis.

I don't remember much after driving home other than crying and getting a bouquet of miniature roses from my best friend at the time, Karina. I was also out late with Karina and another friend, Holly, trying to cope and I didn't get in till about midnight or 1am.

4:30am mom wakes me up and tells me that she got a call for another kidney from the doctor and I had the option of going in or sleeping. Now, when they call in potential transplant candidates, it's usually 3-5 people. I didn't know that the doctor who called had the distinct impression that this kidney was mine and only mine and I almost opted to just sleep. But I rolled out of bed, made up a list of professors for my mom to notify along with any TAs who should know, filled a backpack with books I'd never touch and headed out.

I got a priesthood blessing from my father and Br. Baker who is now ravaged by Multiple Sclerosis but I will never forget the impression of sitting on the piano bench with those powerful hands gently placed on my head, praying for my health. I remember the drive to KUMed, staring at the sky full of stars and seeing the trees all still tightly budded against the cold. I remember going through the ER department at KUMed with the police station right within those doors and having to go through a metal detector. There was the room with the beautiful view where I had about a gallon of blood taken and then I was wheeled into the operating room.

I'm not sure how many people are ever thrilled to go through surgery but the man who wheeled me in, a young black man as I recall, said he had never seen a happier person go in to face the knife. And in that room I received my kidney, a kidney that had previously belonged to an 8 year old girl who was involved in a motorcycle accident (don't ask me how she was involved in a motorcycle accident at 4:30 in the morning, I only praise the parents for being willing to allow her organs to be donated).

I woke up in the ICU and my parents were there (my dad was petting my forehead and it bugged me to no end but I was still too weak from anesthesia to grab his hand and fling it away like I wanted to do). Mom said that the first thing I said was "Oh no, I missed the open house for the Winter Quarters Temple!" but I was reassured that it was alright.

The recovery was tedious. The highlight of my day was 6:30am. At 5:30am, the nurse would come in and take my vitals and I would struggle to remain awake for another hour so I could watch...Sailor Moon. *blush* My parents would visit me during the day and so would my friends like Holly, Trevor, and Karina, who would make me laugh, which was excruciatingly painful (I have a belly laugh and that does not mix with abdominal surgery). I had a professor call and tell me to walk right now and hand in my assignments (ha, right!) but he was only in jest. And I even got a visit from the Relief Society's husband with a gift. If it weren't for the fact that he was in a HORRIBLE mood after taking an exam, his visit would have been pleasant. But he was very angry and though he felt obligated to stay and chat with me when my deepest desire was only for him to leave and take his miasma of irritation with him. Sometimes the sick don't want to be visited that badly.

When it was finally time to go home, my dad came and picked me up. It was overcast outside as it's wont to do in the spring out in the midwest but to my amazement (since my window in the room I woke up in did not have a beautiful view and it looked over a landscape of rooftops), everything was in full bloom. It felt as if I was being welcomed back into the world of the living and I had the strangest impression that everything had shifted about two inches to the left while I was out. Don't ask me why I felt like that, it was very odd. Perhaps it was the new feeling of being clear-headed and it was an adjustment I had to make.

I recovered pretty well, despite being impatient to chase after my friends and Holly had to constantly remind me that I had just had something equivalent to a rough gut wound and that I would not recover immediately.

It's been six years since those days. I still feel like I was given a third chance and I am grateful for every day I have to live here. I'm glad I wasn't sent Home early. I'm grateful for the experiences and the friends I have made since then that I would have missed out on otherwise. I'm grateful that I have lived long enough to become a nurse and to receive further schooling. I'm glad I lived long enough to see my brother out on a mission in Brazil. I'm so very very glad for my friends out in Utah and my friends here on the internet. And I'm so very grateful for the opportunity I have to look forward to more and more. I'm on gentler medications and I'm very healthy.

So happy Sixth, kid-ney.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Kitle (for lack of anything more clever to toss up here).

First off, thank you to those who un-lurked or de-lurked or uncloaked their main war vessel or what have you and told me how you got here. I added a few extra people onto my Blogline subscriptions page. :D

I know I'm not the only one who has started turning her electric blanket back on at night, her space heater during the day, and gotten reacquainted with her knitted socks drawer. Phew, it is COLD out here. And it got cold JUST when my air conditioning in my car decided it wasn't going to work anymore. Thank heavens for Mother Nature's strange sense of humor, that's for sure.

Daisy loves it too:

(Though, these were taken before I started having to wear my wool coat and scarf outdoors again.)

Do you notice how everything is eye-searingly GREEN? The trees have that lovely green mist on them (the white blossoms have all been blown and frozen off, sadly) and everything's just joyfully full of life. And in response I cheerfully add to my stash.

I bought some Lisa Souza Wild Things:

and Mars Quake:

Then my Lime & Violet Secret Pal sent me some serious goodies:

My shrinking waistline suffered a slight blow but those are homemade cookies there and Junior Mints! If my dear secret pal were there when I opened the present, he/she would have gotten such a hug! There is a special place in my heart for people and their homemade cookies. Brownies, too. Especially the Betty Crocker boxed ones that have Fudge somewhere in the description. Mmm, sorry, I just haven't had such goodness for a while but I have lost almost 7 pounds!

Then WEBS has their ongoing anniversary sale and I bought some Cascade 220 for under $5 because who can pass up Cascade 220 on sale (pictures forthcoming when I have the package in my grubby little hands)!

Generally I have spoiled myself quite to death and should be considering my budget. Hopefully the stuff on my account sells soon.