Sunday, May 31, 2009

So far...

Well, this weekend has been a lot of learning about food exchanges and reading labels to figure out how to count food and to plan meals. We did get the Amercian Diabetes Association's food exchange guide and the one for restaurant foods.

We also took the child (Kiwi, our parrot) in to get a trim and get some new toys and treats. She is spoiled rotten. She has three new bags of treats, and a new cooked food mix. Yes, for those of you who are wonder, I am fully aware that I have gone completely insane when I cook food for a parrot, and freeze mini-tupperware containers of it so that she has "meals" for later.

We did six miles at Lake Massabesic, which was only .4 more miles than we did last weekend but seemed to kill us. The air wasn't as good yesterday I think, and my front tire looked like it might be low, so that might explain it. After the ride, we went to Goodale's to get a bike pump. Yesterday was the furthest we've gone on that trail. We got to see some new areas of the lake (I'm assuming) and we found a huge patch of lady slippers, for which Shawn was again spectacularly unimpressed. There were also a lot of water liles. We also got to go through a tunnel underneath the road, which was cool. We were supposed to go riding again with Gina and Ian at the Windham Rail Trail , but due to weather issues, we rescheduled it to tomorrow night. Donna D. is going to come along and walk as well.

I've been working on upsizing Mya's Jacket, in fact that's what I did at guild today, both to make me do it, and because I don't have another project on needles yet, which is weird. (I must be ill or something....) I need to think of a good design project. I'm thinking that some fingerless gloves might be good, as the "freezing a/c until my fingernails turn blue" period of the year at the office has started, and it would be a quick no commitment design project, until I decide on something larger. Anyway, I have one more size to do tonight on Mya's Jacket , which I'll work on while Shawn's sleeping (he has to get up at 2:00 am, so he'll be in bed soon). I'll have a draft PDF out to those of you who have expressed an interest tonight, I think.

Tonight we made Balsamic Braised Chicken on a bed of couscous from The Best Diabetes Slow Cooker Recipes which was pretty good. We had enough left over to freeze 4 more portions of it for lunches, measured out by exchange, and using freezer masking tape and a sharpie to mark the exchanges on it. Shawn picked out a couple more recipes that he'd like to try so we can stock up on lunches to bring to work.

That's where we are so far...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Palpable Sense of Relief and Begininng the New Life Style

It's been a rough couple of weeks here. Shawn has been losing some of his hair and a lot of weight for no reason for about a month and a half or so. After a non-diagnosis and being told to wait three months (which should have been a diagnosis--it couldn't have been clearer if someone had taken a cast iron frypan, written the diagnosis on it, and smacked the person who missed it on the head with it--rest assured, I will be taking steps), and a new doctor with new tests and a CAT scan, we know two things--Shawn does not have cancer, but he does have Type II Diabetes. At least now we know what it is, and I can stop imagining all kinds of horrible things that are cancer related.

Diabetes is bad enough, and there are all kinds of horrible possible results of the disease if out of control and left untreated, but at least we have a shot of controlling it through diet and exercise. Good thing we had already started biking! We can't see the diabetes counselor/education person until June 16, but I bought a bunch of books, and we've started working with a food plan in the meantime as recommended by the American Diabetes Association, nothing extreme and very conservative. I just can't sit here and wait and not know what he should eat until June 16, being the type A kind of girl I am. The word "wait" is a dirty word. The other thing, is that I'm going to be following the food plan and exercise with him. Diabetes also runs rampant in my family as well, and we had a 50%/50% shot honestly of which one of us would get it first. If I get my act together along with Shawn, maybe I won't get it this early. (I'm still resigned to the fact that it is probably going to show up and whack me upside the head at some point). So we figured out what our exchange limits should be just until we see the counselor, and bought a new exchange list book, and went grocery shopping last night to outfit with new food.

It's a little scary and I am worried for Shawn. I have a hugely non-compliant father with diabetes, and although I am no longer in contact with him, I hear through the grapevine the things that happen when you don't take care of yourself (like having your leg amputated up to the knee). I've told Shawn he has to behave or it won't be the diabetes that is his problem :) However, it is not as scary as cancer would have been.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Riding the Windham Rail Trail with Gina and Ian

We had a really great time riding the Windham Rail Trail with Gina and Ian today. It's gorgeous and most of it is paved, so it was a lot easier to ride than at Lake Massabesic. We rode 8.1 miles. There was a lot of pollen blowing around today, but I never even thought about putting a rescue inhaler in my backpack until we were 4 miles along or so. But I turned out not to need it, so that was cool. However, I'll think I'll throw the nebulizer in that backpack just in case. My asthma has been so much better, I forget to think about it, which kind of blows my mind a bit.
I hadn't seen Gina in months and months, and she looks unbelievably great. I'm so proud of her!
Today I had yet more nature girl encounters. I saw a huge great blue heron landing in one of the ponds, very close to us, but I was unable to get any good pictures. We did meet a turtle and I took his picture, and Gina took a picture of me taking his picture (in which I look god awful, it's in Gina's album on facebook). And I saw another lady slipper, which makes three for this weekend.
After that, Shawn and I grabbed breakfast at Poor Boy's Diner in Londonderry, NH. Tonight I plan on doing the calculations to upsize Mya's Jacket, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.


Mya’s Jacket is done!! Now I just need to wash and block it, and down and upsize the pattern, and round up my test knitter volunteers.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Random stuff and riding at Lake Massabesic

Today I took my car in for its first oil change. Now when I bought it I got invited to this new owner's reception, which promised a free oil change if you showed up. At the same said reception, I also won a $20 gift card to the dealership. Now when do you suppose that I remembered either of those facts this morning? Of course, after I had paid and had been tootling back towards Manchester for 10 minutes. However, good news is that while I was waiting in the waiting room, I had brought my knitting and finished the second sleeve for Mya's jacket and cast on the first pocket.

I called Shawn on my way home and woke him up (he wasn't estactic about this) and asked him to be ready to go for our bike ride when I got home. He was fairly cooperative, especially for him since it was before noon. He even wore the helmet, although he flatly stated that he wasn't going to wear it when he went biking by himself. Since that hasn't happened yet, the actually going biking by himself, I don't think I'll worry about it at all. There isn't a statical probability of getting hurt if you ride without a helmet, if you never actually go for the bike ride.

This is a picture in the same part of the trail that I went biking by myself a month ago or so. It's amazing how green and different it is. There were waterlily buds but they weren't really blooming yet. We ended up riding this side of the trail much further than I had gone last time, and went through a neat little tunnel thing, and then to the street. We turned around and went back to the park and then rode on the trail on the other side of the street.

I was doing my nature girl routine again today. The Jackson in me requires that I take pictures of interesting trees, birds, plants and random fauna. I'm not sure what is up with that, but we all do it. Seriously if you saw the entire set of pictures I took in Vegas during our honeymoon, you would see all these pictures where I am trying to get a good shot of a western chipmunk at the Hoover Dam because they look different than our chipmunks out east. In that spirit of things, here's a picture of a weird flower that I'd never seen before. Anyone know what it is? It was very small about 3/4 of an inch, and just growing by the side of the trail.

I also threw on the brakes (almost going over the handlebars) and yelled for Shawn to stop so I could take pictures of the lady slippers that were by the side of the road. He thought something was wrong, and was not impressed that I was again, taking pictures of flowers. He didn't know what a lady slipper was. (These city boys, I mean really.) When we were growing up, it was always a big deal to see a lady slipper. They are endangered and you don't see them very often. But again this may be a weird Jackson thing again. I can't tell you how many pictures of birds at the bird feeder my grandmother has, which are all fuzzy because she insists on trying to take them through the picture window.

This picture is Shawn pretending to try to be action guy with his mountain bike. It was pretty funny. He had some better poses, but they were fuzzy because I still had the camera set on the flower setting (see there's a flower setting on the camera for objects closer than 28 inches, it can't just be me right??) We turned around just at this point, because it had been 4 miles, and we had about a mile and a half to get back. We had already gone about a mile longer than we'd ever had, but it wasn't bad because I kept stopping to take pictures of stuff.

On the way back we stopped at the boat landing and stood in the breeze a bit. Ignore my hair, I'd just taken the helmet off. It was a really good ride, we ending up having done 5.6 miles. We both got these fancy little trip things that tell you our trip miles, average speed, current speed, time, and time of this trip. At one point I managed to get the bike up to 14 miles per hour, which I think is pretty good for a gravel trail, and despite the fact that my leg kinda hurt from where I stratched it pretty deeply with one of the wires holding the fenders on (little protective dohickey came off and I am just not gracefully getting off the bike.) I may have ruined the capris I was wearing with the little blood spots coming through. We'll have to see what it looks like after I do the laundry. Calamity Jane strikes again!

We went to lunch when we got back, and I was supposed to accomplish a lot of other stuff, but I ended up taking a 4 hour nap. Shawn's asleep so he can get up for his early morning shift at 4:30 am, and since I had the power nap, I'm going to try to push through and finish as much of Mya's jacket as I can tonight. Cross your fingers for me!

Relay for Life- American Cancer Society

I'm doing the Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. Normally I fork over a lot of dough to those who are walking, but this year, I am less endowed with dough, and it's probably my turn. So I'll be walking and tenting out to do the relay with the Bianco crew.

I'm doing this primarily for the memory of my aunt Liz, and for the friends and family that I have that are surviors and are currently fighting. I started thinking about it, and I have a lot of people that are currently fighting or are survivors. I won't name names, because everyone is entitled to their privacy, just Liz because she's not here to smack me for it. (And if you knew her, she'd think that comment was hysterically funny and not in bad taste at all.) That's the thing I probably miss most about her, is her sense of humor and her very distinct laugh. Every now and again, something hits, me and I think, oh Liz would have thought that was hilarious. Or I say something wicked/evil and I think, oh Liz would have been screaming laughing about that one. I like to think that she's having a grand old time somewhere, watching our exploits and cackling, and possibly harassing those who need it, from the great beyond. It's been five years, since she passed, and the grief still hits at odd points, and even as I write this, I'm struggling and trying not to cry, loudly anyway (Shawn's still asleep), and because I know that's not what she would want. She was only 55 and she should have been allowed to laugh, torment and tease a lot more people. She was a sharp and smart person who gave so much to the people around her, and cancer should not have been allowed to win. Hope you're having fun Liz, and there are certain people who need to be haunted, who shall remain nameless, if you're feeling up to it!

This is the only picture I could find with both me and Liz in it, most of the time, she was the picture taker in the family.

Please sponsor me if you can at my relay donation page. Go here. If you can't as I know times are tough, feel free to do some fundraising, every bit helps. We lose too many important people from our lives from this disease.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Last week, Cortland, NY, and the Webs Trip

It was another crazed week. I really didn't get much done. Monday, I worked on Mya's sweater, I've finished a sleeve and I am halfway through the second. Tuesday I went to Paula and Fred's. They had a very nice Petit Syrah that they shared along with some fabulous strawberries, cheese and sushi. I love going to Paula and Fred's. There was much, much screaming laughter, to the point that my throat was actually sore the next day. I wonder what their neighbors think... I truly thought Alison was going to have a stroke at one point. Donna had been cleaning her yarn room (you should see her stash) and had some stuff she was willing to give away. I acquired 3 balls of Cascade Fixation, which is cool because I always wanted to try it.

Wednesday was pretty much a wash (literally). I did five loads of laundry getting ready for the trip to Cortland, NY for Shawn's brother's graduation from SUNY Cortland. I packed Thursday night. We left Friday morning. Shawn had told me it was a five hour drive. Try six and half. I realize that we stopped several times (I wasn't feeling well and the Sante Fe guzzles gas) and I got bagged for doing 81 in a 65 by a NY State Trooper, but still. We arrived in Cortland somewhere around 3:30pm and checked into the hotel, and met up with Shawn's parents and his uncle Scott. We went and got a tour of the campus and then had dinner. The graduation was at 9:30 am on Saturday morning. There were 600 kids in the morning ceremony and apparently 600 or so in the afternoon ceremony. The speaker was General Dunwoody, the first woman to become a 3 and 4 star general, which was cool. However, Senator Schumer showed up as a "surprise" in the middle of them awarding individual diplomas because he got the Jets to use the facilities to practice over the summer (I will not get on my soapbox about this country's moronic obsession and misplaced priorites concerning sports, but you all probably know how I felt about this b.s.) and delayed the ceremony further. I like Senator Schumer, but you'd think he'd have other things to do besides congratulating himself over having an overpaid pro sports team practice at a campus in his I don't know...fixing the economic crisis, making everyone has access to health care, making sure everyone has access to education, you know things that matter in the grand scheme of things. Oops...apparently that soapbox jumped right under my feet without me noticing.... Anyway, my camera really wasn't up to the distances involved, so I have one picture of the crowd, and one picture that was almost black that I manipulated to death in Adobe Photoshop to get anything. Unfortuately, I didn't get any pictures with Corey in them, but Brian and Joanne took a lot, so I know she'll share when she gets a chance. After the ceremony, I drove six and half hours home. Granted a half an hour of it was being delayed by a train crossing when leaving Cortland, but I had to sit in the car for it. We got home about 7:30pm Saturday night. I drove all of it because we know how I feel about Shawn's driving. I've told him that he owes me two poems for this weekend.

This weekend was the Webs tent sale. For knitters this is like a holy pilgrimage. I had to miss the best day (Saturday they also have a fleece sale) because of the graduation, but I did get to go today. I went with Donna, Tracy and Nancy. I picked up Donna (she lives down the street from me) and we met Tracy and Nancy at the 89 Exit 2 Park and Ride. I didn't take as many pictures as I wanted to. I really wanted to convey how huge Webs is, but I was seduced away from blogging activities by shopping. I did manage to take a picture of the tent outside. They had some good deals outside, but nothing that really grabbed me. They had some Noro on sale, but the colors were so-so, and nothing my speed. As you will see, apparently my speed was all purple, all the time today. I know some of you are snickering to yourselves, saying what else is new, but I do actually buy other colors of yarn. Just not today apparently. I also took some pictures of the back room. There's a normalish looking yarn shop in the front area, and then there's the back room which is the warehouse, that you are allowed to shop in as well. The row in the warehouse I have pictured is just one of about 8-10. They have grocery carts you can use, which tells you the scale of purchasing.

Here's some assorted pics of the yarn I bought. I did buy whole bags of some of them, but the knitter readers can check the stats out on Ravelry.

I got some really spectacular yarn and some really good deals. But it was another 2 hours there and 2 hours back today. So I drove 17 hours over the course of the last 3 days and put a thousand miles on my car. I'm a tad fried.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Long time, no write....and NH Sheep and Wool

I've been lax with the blog, no question. The week before last, I was doing a lot of work in my old life for the one thing I still do some non legal consulting for my old firm, and I didn't get much accomplished other than that and attending the all day board meeting last weekend. Shawn and I did get a bike ride in though, and the paycheck paid for my bike! Woo hoo!

I also did get a fair bit done on Mya's jacket. I'm knitting it in one piece up to the armholes, then knitting the individual fronts and back from there. I finished both the cardigan fronts and now I'm working on the back. I did find a small math error that I made in writing the pattern up in the neck decreases, because I apparently can't count. The upsizing on this pattern as I get it ready to post for sale on is what's going to be the real challenge. People complain mightly about pattern errors (myself included) but it's real challenge to design a sweater in your head, write it down, and then expect it to be right. I think if I'm going to get really serious about designing I'm going to need to find some test knitters. Any takers? I can't pay what I should be able to, but there's a free pattern in it for you, and perhaps some yarny goodness....

This week continued to be a bit busy. I didn't get any biking in, but we had the evening guild at the Elegant Ewe on Wednesday evening which is always fun, and I did make progress on Mya's jacket there. There was some great purple Tahki cotton classic on sale, but I persevered in face of the NH Sheep and Wool Festival that was this weekend.

I met my friend Katie at the festival at 10:00 am, and we wandered the festival. I was fairly restrained for me, but there is the Webs tent sale coming next weekend, and there must be funds available for that. Why do two of the major annual stash enhancement expeditions have to fall on back to back weekends?? (Shaking fist at the cosmos, and my checkbook constraints....)
We ran into Lora and Jackie fairly early. I'm not going to mention that they were fairly giddy already...and I don't think it was just yarn euphoria. :) Notice the drinks they are holding and let your imagination run wild...

In one of the first barns they had a group of spinners giving a demo, and they also had a group of knitters working on a collective shawl pattern. Both Lora and Jackie decided to help out for a bit. Look how "happy" they both are :) I mean, yarn really does cause lots of giggling right??

I made sure that I hit a couple of my favorite booths. Of course the Elegant Ewe was there. They had a lot of stuff there, which is why the store's looked a little sparse on Wednesday. They were slammed with people. Hal looks so thrilled right? I love Hal. Hal once told a customer that the class I was conducting at the Ewe was from the women's prison. So the class was a bit rowdy, they were having fun right??
I made sure I cruised by the Grafton Fibers booth. One year I bought something and accidently left it behind at another booth. I emailed them when I got home and stated what had happened and that I'd like to purchase a replacement. Someone at the festival found it turned it in to them, and she mailed it back to me at no charge. They are great and the fiber colors are unbelievable. I got two 4 oz purple blue corriedale batt.

I also make sure I hit the Foxfire Fiber and Designs booth. I love, love cormo wool (cormo is a breed of sheep for the non fibery among you), I mean it's so soft and luscious that I could roll in it. The sisters of the owner I've had in a sock class and they both displayed their socks to me out of their sister's yarn. (I did take a more dignified picture of them though. I had to buy 4 oz of some Cormo and Silk roving. It's so gorgeous. Their yarn is beautiful too, but I just love their roving. Lisa Lloyd uses this yarn a lot in her designs. She's the author of A Fine Fleece, which has great sweater designs for hand spun yarn.

I bought some great baskets from The Children's Initiative, 100% of the profits go back to the village in Vietnam which made the baskets to fund schools and nutrition. The biggest basket is about 12 inches in diameter and the set was only $20. Check them out if you go to the show, they had huge ones too.

I also got three bars of Citrus Sage Goat's Milk and Lanolin Soap from West Elm Farm with little sheep on it. I got one bar of this last year and loved it so much I had to get more. The smell is just smells so good, I want to eat it. The soap thing prevents me though.

Katie and I also wandered through the barns and checked out the llamas and alpacas that were there. Some of the alpacas had already been shorn, and they are so funny! They look otherworldly, or a q-tip with four legs.

Katie and I always have fun at these things. We had lunch down at the cafe down the street, but I can never remember what the name of it is. I had a cup of seafood chowder and a salad with seared scallops, roasted broccoli and garlic with a balsamic vingrette. It was wonderful. And Katie gave me some basil vinegar that she made this year.
After Katie and I parted ways, I dropped by Mary's house to drop off her and Liz's Pampered Chef stuff from the party I had a while back. Mary lives just down the street from the Hopkinton Fairground. Mary is a knitter too, and she and her daughter Liz have both taken classes with me. After some chatting, we decided go back to the festival and look around. There had been a fleece, a covered cormo fleece, that I had restrained myself about the first time around, and thought I might need to look at again. Luckily for me, it was gone when I got there. We ran into the Briccis, and Sally and Trixie. I had not seen Trixie since she's was a baby. It's crazy how fast time goes.
Well, that's the report. I was pretty good, minimal stash enhancement. I'm not thinking the same is going to be the case next weekend.