Friday, September 30, 2016

I know what I did last summer

Dear Mom,
My summer is easily divided into chapters. Chapters I and II were the post op recovery and building Sweet Haven - a room of my own- chapters which I have documented on this blog.

Chapter III: A relaxing long weekend in Northern Michigan celebrating our Young Lady's 19th birthday.

Chapter IV: Early August had us prepping and organizing a Milestone Event. Moving our Young Lady our baby! off to The University of Southern Indiana, where she is studying Art and Illustration.
She is doing really well.

Our nest is empty-ish.
Olive tells me she misses her sister in the only way she can. I keep finding Olive on the Young Lady's bed. This squeezes my heart a little.

Chapter V:  About five years ago some friends and I hatched a plan. No empty nest issues for us. When the last 2 of us took our youngest off to college we were going to Scotland. And we did.

We departed on September 8. 
And arrived to the land of Kilts and Castles, Mist and Moors on Sept 9. 

It was a grand adventure. Everything I'd imagined and more. I'll share more in the days to come.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Room of My Own

Dear Mom,
I still have pictures to hang, but otherwise I am all moved in to my new studio space. "Studio" sounds so much more grownup than "craft room".  Although it might be more accurate to call it my Play Room. Or Time Out. My heart wants to call this room Sweet Haven. With invaluable help from our Young Lady, I chose a very pale lavender for the walls.

Elle and Penelope Swift stand side by side in this corner. My warping board hangs from the closet door, and behind that door is a well organized (for now) assortment of sewing and weaving supplies, back issues of Vogue Knitting magazine and lots and lots of yarn.
Judy Jetson, my sturdy Singer Slantomatic sewing machine is happy in her new home and ready for action.
My knitting nest is now surrounded by baskets of yarn and the music stand I use to hold knitting charts and my iPad when I want to watch something as I knit. My desk and computer are on the wall to the right of the chair.
This sturdy, old bookshelf once held my college text books. Daddy built it.  When the kids were little I painted over the bright yellow and added some child-friendly paint pen drawings. I could paint it again, but I like the memories in addition to the knitting books it holds. The long shelf above the bookcase is perfect for the cones of weaving threads and skeins of hand spun yarn.

I have a lovely, bird's eye view of my flower garden; a table for watercolor painting sits under the window. There is just enough room for Donna Reed (my loom) in the center of the room, and Olive has cozy spots to curl up and nap. Sweet Haven.


Monday, July 4, 2016

God Bless America!

My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth. 
~Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Dear Mom,

When the neighbors started lighting fireworks the other night, I looked up from my knitting and realized that Independence Day was upon us. I made a note to call the vet for some drugs for Olive and then sat back in wonder at how it could be almost July already. I'd lost a month to recovery.
Happily, I am feeling quite myself again and realized on Tuesday, June 21, that I was back.

I do some of my best thinking while pulling weeds.
~ Martha Smith      

 I'd spent the day outside, tending to my sadly neglected herb garden. I had dirt under my fingernails. Time flew by and I felt no twinges or fatigue. My secret fears that I'd lost myself for good were put to rest. On the heels of that came the crashing realization and acceptance of all that I'd been through since learning of the aneurysm. I'd been in Deal With It mode and it wasn't until yesterday that it all hit me. All along I knew I was lucky and thankful, but I didn't let myself be truly scared. But now that it is over I indulged myself in a very few tears of Thanksgiving....

A single grateful thought toward heaven is the most perfect prayer.
~Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Recovery wasn't the only thing that happened here in June. The Young Man, who graduated from IU in May, moved into his own apartment and started his Job with a local CPA firm.

Our Young Lady graduated from high school and is ready for her next chapter studying Art and Illustration, armed with several Art Scholarships. She is headed for University of Southern Indiana. (I've already scoped out the fabric and yarn shops near Evansville.)

Change brings opportunity.
                                                                                                            ~Nido Qubein

And now that the Young Man has Moved Out, I am on my way to claiming that room as my own! Soon it will be home to my loom, spinning wheel, and sewing machine, a table for watercolors and my rocking chair. I imagine the dining and family rooms will feel much bigger (and less cluttered) when I have everything organized in what I am thinking of as My Studio.  I had the Young Lady help me choose paint colors and there are sample patches on the walls.  I've chosen a very light lavender.

I couldn't resist this wee pig I spotted at a local garden shop. Rather than hide him in the garden, he will be a door stop in my room. Isn't he cute?

I'll be back with more "studio" pictures as the room progresses. LOTS of good stuff happening here!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Post Op Observations

Dear Mom,

A few high (or low) points after surgery....

~I never ever ever ever want to sit or sleep in a recliner again. Ever.
However, I am very thankful for My Hero's recliners, otherwise I have no idea what I would have done. I came home from the hospital, having spent one night there, unable to move myself from upright to supine without serious pain and a lot of help.
~Yoga pants. Thank you yoga pants for stretching over my surgically inflated belly and not digging in to any one of the seven incisions.
~Muumuu. This was probably a low point. I thought I should probably just give in and wear muumuus. You said NO.
~Jello. Note to self: include Jello with every home meal delivery in the future.
~Now that I am feeling better, I wish I had a hidden camera in the kitchen that first evening when I feared I might be sick and asked the Young Man and My Hero for a bucket. Much Scooby Doo-ing and cabinets crashing open, heated discussion over what was an appropriate receptacle, etc. In my weariness and frustration I decided that vomiting was too much work. FYI- they ended up presenting me with my Pie Carrier in case of eruption.
~This was not the knitting vacation I thought it would be. Most days I've been napping or just sitting. I am extremely thankful for the beautiful weather we've had. My screened porch is my favorite place to be and that is where most of my waking (and some napping) recuperation has occurred. I've watched the daisies and peonies bloom, the cedar waxwings visit the serviceberry trees, listened to the stomach growl noise the green herons make (but have not seen them yet) and watched mother birds feed their babies. I've finished a couple of books. As the days march on, and I feel more and more like myself with each, I've been able to knit. Some days just carrying my knitting to the porch wore me out, others all I can manage is a row before napping. I was silly to think I would be spinning and weaving, too.
~Olive. My comfort and companion. Never far from my side.
~You, for taking care of me when My Hero was overwhelmed. For bringing me jello, and lemonade and ibuprofen when we ran low. For weeding my garden and vacuuming and helping me change the sheets. All of those things which speak of love and care. All Shall Be Well.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It Ain't Over Til the Fat Lady Sings.

Dear Mom,

It's a good thing I can't sing.

Without going into too much detail and making this long post too long, and since not all the I'm Gonna Tell Mom  blog readers are on my HIPPA form, I'll condense the adventures of the last month as much as I can.
At the end of March I had a CT scan to check on something (this is the part I will gloss over) which thankfully turned out to be nothing, but which luckily accidentally revealed a rather large aneurysm on my splenic artery.
After hearing the word aneurysm I pretty much got tunnel vision and expected to be told to go straight to the ER, Do Not Pass Go or Collect $200, but apparently I was wrong because I am sitting here, with my aneurysm still lurking in there. I have an appointment on Friday with a surgeon and I hope to leave that office with a surgery date. It has been a long month of waiting, waiting rooms, consultations and scans. I have been assured and reassured that the aneurysm "isn't gonna blow". I have also been told not to exert myself, strain or lift anything heavier than 20 lbs.

A friend (hi Lisa!) then asked "what if you sneeze?"
So far, so good.

~Suppress neither sneezes nor laughter.~

With the understanding that surgery Is Something That Is Going To Happen, I came home from that appointment on April 5th and started winding yarn and baking muffins. I was going to need comfort knitting and recovery knitting. And muffins.

Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.
~ Elizabeth Zimmermann

Unlike the Gall Bladder Event of 1999, I have time to prepare for this surgery.
I also don't have a two year old, a puppy, and a Kindergarten Carpool schedule to manage, Praise Be To God!

And unlike Carpal Tunnel 2007, I can knit during my recuperation. If it weren't surgery, this could almost be a vacation!

 I started planning projects and organizing yarn, needles and patterns. Soothing, somewhat mindless, comfort knitting projects. Wool.

“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either.”

~Elizabeth Zimmermann

As it turns out, I had more time for planning than I anticipated, and many hours spent in waiting rooms. I finished all those comfort knitting projects. I've had to start winding yarn and organizing the next batch of projects. 

I finished this shawl, which had been AbandonedForNoGoodReason.

This is Dream Shawl. I used Cottage Craft yarn, in Charcoal. I really like Cottage Craft yarn- the wool is wonderful and the prices are fantastic, but sadly I am finding the company unreliable.

I finished the Truly Tasha's Shawl, which is inspired by the shawl Tasha Tudor wears in so many of the photos we see of her. 

Olive on squirrel patrol

I used Bartlett yarns for this one.  I might go out on a limb and say that if I could only knit with one yarn the rest of my life, it just might be Bartlett yarn. Some may say it is scratchy. Not me. It gets softer with washing. And I like finding those occasional bits of straw in the wool which remind me that this really did come from sheep and hasn't been processed beyond recognition. The things I knit with Bartlett yarn will probably last forever.

Okay, and then I finished this felted purse.

I really really like this purse. The pattern is MrsKnit'sAllDay Felted Bag. This is the second time I've made this pattern. It is exactly the right size for me. I found the handles here.

Sooo, now, for the next round of waiting room and recovery projects, I have cast on two projects from this book.
On Saturday, I cast on for the New Zealand Sweater in a soft turquoise wool-cotton blend yarn. I am modifying this to be more of a A-line, tunic length sweater I can wear over leggings. I am all about comfort right now. Shawls, and hot tea. Loose fitting clothes. Muffins.

And I have the Long Collared Jacket (in Bartlett yarn) on my  needles as well.  Stay tuned for photos of that.

Yesterday, I wound the warp and dressed Donna Reed for a rag rug- simple weaving- in case I am allowed to treadle my loom after abdominal surgery.  I may have to exercise restraint and save that weaving for post-op. I feel the call of the loom and know that once I start weaving, I will be finished with that rug quickly and need to start another. I know I won't be up to dressing the loom after surgery. I need to think too much and move too much.

I wonder, will I be allowed to spin? That would be good. It would have to be a terribly long recovery if I were to run out of roving!

It's not what you have to meet, it's how you meet what you have.
~Helen Workman

I'll keep you posted. Say a prayer for the doctors and nurses!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Dear Mom,
I've been giving myself a daily dose of creative encouragement by reading books that are meant to awaken, keep awake, defend, nurture, support, inspire the creativity that is in us all.
Today it occurred to me that what I need is a book that will make me feel creative about vacuuming.