Saturday, August 23, 2014

Baby, it'll be cold out there

Most of my knitting lately seems to be socks. They're familiar, safe, small, portable, necessary when you have cold feet all the time & easy to work on anywhere. My little project bag fits into the book bag I use as a purse these days, right next to the porta-cup with the straw, my Kobo full of Murder Mysteries & the wad of paper napkins I seem to collect.

I started that Magenta top-down Panel Sweater from Cabin Fever but I'm still following the pattern in the book so it's not portable. So, it always seems to be a sock that goes into my bag.

While having a late lunch on my patio yesterday, I noticed I could sit out there almost all afternoon. Since my patio faces west, for most of the summer it's unbearably hot out there between 3 & 7 in the afternoon. Yesterday, was the first day since June that I could do that. And that means that Fall & Winter aren't too far away. I've never been a hat, glove or scarf wearer, even in the dead of winter. Most of my outside time in winter is spent dashing to & from a building & the car except for coffee time sitting outside at Starbucks during menopause. The last couple of years though, sitting outside after October has been uncomfortable. And cold.

This year I've been thinking more & more about gloves & hats. My fingers burn anytime but tend to burn more in the damp. They don't seem to care whether it's hot or cold as long as it's DRY. If I can't be dry, then I have to be warm. A couple of years ago, I knit Spirogyra, a lace pair of mitts  from Knitty. I used grey hand spun to make the mitts warm & stretchy. But, it might be time to tackle gloves. I've had a real thing for Ringwood ever since I first saw the pattern in Knitty in 2010. I did a swatch once & just loved it's stretchy, nubbly texture. But Ringwood terrified me because it's GLOVES. Actual fingers attached to the mitt. EEEK

So what is a knitter to do???  So how hard can gloves actually be? 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I've been taking a course, 'The Emergence of Life' with Coursera to keep my brain active & alert. Coursera courses cost nothing, take 4 - 6 hours a week & can be very challenging. The course I'm taking at the moment - week four in progress - is new. 15,000 people in the world thought it was interesting enough to enroll up with me.  
The course itself will not get added to my CV as such - there's no actual Acedemic reward for the course unless you're interested in competing for "Badges" or enrolled in the university that is sponsoring it, but it certainly has

 1) Given me a lot to think about,
 2) Given me updates on things I learned in school that have changed,
 3) Given me knowledge & ideas without costing me a fortune.

I recommend Coursera to anyone who wants some acedemic challenge. I'm already registered for Genetics 1 & 2.

Alas Wheatsheves will not be my next sweater. My magenta yarn - LadySlipper by name - will not knit up into the proper gauge so I've chosen to knit the Panel Sweater from Cabin Fever's "Need an Ample Cardigan" book published in 2012, instead. All the sweaters in the book are knit from the top down, in a V-neck & in multiple yarns & gauges. Some have collars,  some don't. Some have lace & some don't. I think my magenta yarn will look lovely with a bit of lace in a narrow panel down the front & a seed stitch collar & cuffs. The yarn is the acrylic sport weight from Knitpicks that feels wonderful when knit on a 4mm needle.  And a 4mm needle is pretty darned small when you consider I'm making the 60" bust size .  .  .  .  sigh

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Time to Pull the Rag Out

I got tired of waking up sick & tired, pulled the rag out of my behind & did some work in the past few days. No, I didn't rob a bank. Probably should've, wouldn't have to worry about how to pay the rent if I did but I hear the accomodations are pretty damned sparse in there. And I hear you can't bring your knitting needles in with you. What would I do with the stash???

So, I got off my ass & applied for my Canada Pension. It was so easy on line. Unbelievably so. I've had a worse time shopping for yarn!!  So, that's done. I really, really planned on waiting till I was 70 to apply since it's going to be small but life got in the way. I'm finding it impossible to get a job when no one can understand me on the phone, so my choices are 1) get shacked up with someone who'll pay, 2) find someone older  who wants a sloppy knitter for a Companion & will pay, 3) shoe-horn myself back into my ex-house with my ex & his 9 cats & let him pay, 4) fall on my knees at Welfare & wait 3 months for an appointment, 5) apply for my Pension, find some more taxes to do, apply for SAFER to help with the rent & sell what I can of my stash or 6) Sell my body. 

Option 5 seemed the most likely in the end. 

 I also made a run to the doctor & changed two of the three medications I was on - they both had unlikely but possible side effects - dry cough. I could tell the difference in one day!!! Now I just have the 'sticky' cough.
And I gave in & asked for a long term Parking Pass. I'm okay on the flat surfaces but hills without my cane or stairs without rails are giving me hell.  When that knee gets tired, it goes sideways. 

I feel so much better somehow. One of my buddies took me out for coffee on Sunday & asked what I'd done to myself. He said I looked happy, looked like I'd lost a few pounds & wasn't coughing as much. Okay. I was happy. I'd left my wallet with my Starbucks card on my desk at home & had 37 cents, an Esso token, a plastic memory card blank & $15 in Canadian Tire money in my change purse. And he had money for a change. Yippeeeee

Thursday, August 07, 2014

I Meant to do so Much

The summer is half over & I haven't accomplished much. My new-to-me computer still hasn't been set up in my office, the office is still only partially cleaned up, the old fridge is still in the kitchen & I'm still unemployed. 

I finally saw Specialist #2 for my vocal chord problem & was refered on to the Surgeon. I will see him in 3 to 6 months. The final remark made by Specialist #2 was - 'it's too bad you waited so long to come to me.' I was a little stunned to say the least. It's been just under a year since I got the appointment for Specialist #1 - for August 2014. Lucky for me, I was able to get sqeezed in, in only 6 months because he was convinced I had cancer. Lucky for me that he made the appointment with Specialist #2 in only 4 months because my family Doctor couldn't even get a response from Specialist #2 when he tried to get me an appointment before I went to Specialist #1. With our Medical system??? Come in Sooner?? How?? Not that I'm complaining since I still get treated even though I'm broke. But by the time a patient  makes it through the wait list to see who can diagnose the problem & how to treat it, it's become permanent, got better on it's own or you're terminal. It's a good thing I didn't have cancer.

In the meantime, living with a sloppy vocal chord is hell on earth. So you can't talk??? Snicker, big deal .  .  .   well, you can't swallow properly either. This means drink less, drink thick liquids or drink through a straw. It means that you can't have that coarse ground pepper anymore. It means you can't have shaved meat in your beef dip sandwich or bacon bits on your baked potato. Anything with bits or seeds or whole grains or multiple ends could start a coughing/choking attack. What happens?? You can't go out for dinner any more because you might have a coughing/choking attack & leave part of your dinner on everyone at the table.

You're short of breath all the time. You have to take three breaths to finish a sentence. You hyperventillate every time you have a conversation. Most people can't understand you on the phone. A lot of people can't understand you face to face. Safeway checkers call you "Dear". You can't walk fast or far - no more shopping at the Mall. You have to think about where everything is because you may not be able to park, walk all the way there & then make it back without exhausting yourself. You spend a lot of time coughing, which takes a lot of energy. No more walks in the Park with your buddy's dawg.  And don't get a cold or allergy attack. Gawd, forbid, the shortness of breath makes your cough whimpy already, just wait till you have to clear a clogged lung .  .  .  .  

You can't knit with 100% wool yarns that are minimally processed. I have the makings for four different sweaters in my livingroom. I even started one in a lovely Purple Heather from the Briggs & Little mill back east. It's lovely wool but sheds bits as you knit & there's the Vegetable Matter that you have to pick out occasionally - it just lets you know it hasn't been overprocessed in chemicals. All those little fibres make me wheeze something terrible when I knit indoors .  .  .  .   

And so what is a wounded knitter to do??? Well, I DO have that lovely Wheatsheaves pattern & that magenta acrylic from KnitPicks in the bag  .   .   .   .   it's a hellofa thing to do to Wheatsheaves but I guess its definitely gonna be acrylic yarn to the rescue this time. That is unless I start getting up really early in the morning & knitting outside at my patio table with a big mug of tea before the skunks come to visit.