Saturday, December 20, 2008


I have been having difficulties with posting since sitting at the computer is painful for me. I can never figure out exactly how to deal with this sitting pain. When I get better at dealing with it (and more motivated!) I am sure that I will post more regularly.

Until then, here is my latest knitted thing.

This is my husband wearing the blue sweater that he ORDERED. I never did make him the quilt that I promised him if he quit smoking, so this is some kind of solace, I guess. The pattern was made special (just to fit my husband)for me by my cousin, Judi, a very accomplished knitter.

We are going on vacation from the 23rd to the 30th. I might be able to get my hands on a computer, but doubt I will have time to post. Perhaps I can if I really try and can sit in a chair for more than a minute.

All of you knitters out there, I hope you were able to finish all of your Chanukah and Christmas projects. Another reason to think of knitting as CLOSE.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just Rambling

I'm still trying to knit for Christmas presents for friends and Chanukah presents for family. And I am busier than ever substitute teaching which is the reason I can beg your pardon that I have not written in several days. I have finished making one of the silk eye pillows filled with rice and the lavender I grew in my garden this past summer. Now there is a never say never story for you. It would be way too cliche to write about a plant that I thought had died coming back to life, but the lavender plant is actually that story to a tee. (to a T?) Anyway, I will be making at least one more scented eye pillow and bequeathing them on some lucky person between the 21st and the 25th.

I started a cabled headband for another small project (see picture). It is a knitpicks free pattern
so I don't think anyone will mind me providing a link. And if you already have needles, it will only cost you $2.49 + shipping for the yarn (which is gorgeous) by the way. I chose a bright purple.

The month of December always makes me think about poetry. Here is a favorite poem of mine by A.E. Housman, who lived in Victorian England and suffered from great lonliness his whole life because he was a homosexual. His poems all had a similar rhyme scheme and lovely sentiments.

WHEN I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
‘Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies 5
But keep your fancy free.’
But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.
When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again, 10
‘The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
’Tis paid with sighs a plenty
And sold for endless rue.’
And I am two-and-twenty, 15
And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

For a good time, read more poems by Housman.

Cheers and happy knitting,


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Short Takes

Three short takes tonight... I promise I will mention knitting, but you might not like it...

Number One:

Although I completely expected something terrible to happen, I was, nonetheless, very angry that some poor employee was trampled by shoppers in front of a Wal-Mart on Black Friday last week.
He wasn't just run over, he was run over TO DEATH! Why is it that shopping has become a dangerous sport in America? This is not the first year that someone has been injured or killed as a horde of greedy shoppers push their way into a store for the great early bird bargains the day after Thanksgiving. Who wouldn't risk their life to get the Paula Deen 10-piece non-stick cookware set for the low low price of only $99.97 or a Nikon Coolpix L18 8MP Digital Camera for only $99.84. (that might be the one Ashton Kutcher uses!!!!! OMG!)

I couldn't express this story any better than poet Andrei Codrescu. Click on this link: Deadly Stampede At Wal-Mart Not Surprising : NPR Best to listen to the audio. His voice has so much pathos.
If you read the comments, it is evident that several people really disagreed. Especially, the pro-lifer who uses any tragedy to remind women that they are scum.

Number two:

Why is it that we bailed out AIG for a whole heck of alot of money...("Just take this money, Wall Street Guys, and do whatever with it. No need to tell us what you plan to do or justify what you did."), but the Manufacturer Guys who hold together most of the middle class jobs in this country have to write an essay before Congress will even consider helping them. HMMMM
(You'd better have a plan, M Guys or no money for you). You get the picture...

Number 3:

Shame on me for reading shlock magazines. A very famous musician was interviewed about what he expects from his "women". Well, he expects great grooming including top of the line pedicures, manicures and facials. Oh, and let's not forget Brazilian Waxes. All of his women have to have Brazilians. No hair anywhere but on the head. Click the link, read the description and wonder when women had to be hairless to be women. I was under the impression that when you GOT hair down there you became a woman. This younger generation of men is disgusted by hair. This is extremely creepy. I must say -- Women of the world keep your "down there hair"! If your man wants you hairless, wouldn't he just prefer someone who didn't have to shave or wax it off at all? I TOLD YOU THIS WAS CREEPY!!

And if you are someone who has had SO MANY Brazilian waxes that no hair will grow there any more, maybe you can knit yourself some pubic hair.

I told you you wouldn't like it when I finally mentioned knitting...

Closely yours,


Monday, December 1, 2008

Funny, You Don't Look Sick!

There are just some conditions, like chronic pain, and the incurable and obnoxious bladder condition that I live with called interstitial cystitis, that are just invisible to the public. Looking at me, you would think I was just hunky dory healthy, especially if I were in an extremely cheerful mood that particular day. While this can be a blessing, it can also be a curse. Someone standing in a grocery store line would most definitely think of letting a person check out in front of him if, for example, she were pale, skinny and bald, say, from chemo. He might think that this cancer chick needs to get home fast and lie down. But it would appear absurd for me to expect someone to look at me all apparently healthy and cheery, and let me butt in front because in fact I am in great need of a couch and a toilet, although not necessarily in that order.

I actually own a small laminated card that says something like The person carrrying this card is suffering from a condition that requires IMMEDIATE USE of a RESTROOM. This is supposed to be helpful in ladies lounges with long lines, say at the ballgame, when I need to go fast or else get very wet. Thankfully, I have never used the card, but I may have to someday.

Here are some more pain sites I copied from the ICA website. I just copied them, so I don't know yet if they will actually link. I hope so. Also, I hope this may be of hope to anyone that is needing to reach out to get help with her chronic pain.

Pain Relief: A Wealth of Useful Online Resources
Looking for information about pain management? Check out the following online resources:

  • Partners Against Pain, developed by Purdue Pharma, provides online tools for pain assessment, all located within an easy to navigate website. With the goal of helping to alleviate unnecessary suffering by advancing standards of pain care through education and advocacy, the site provides resources for patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers.
  • Emerging Solutions in Pain (ESP) is an ongoing educational initiative developed to address some of today's most critical issues in pain management. These issues involve balancing fundamental rights of patients and clinicians with the challenge of risk containment for opioid misuse, abuse, and addiction. Site features include patient and physician educational materials. Currently, the ESP Ask the Experts site section features an audio presentation by ICA Medical Advisory Board member, Daniel Brookoff, MD, PhD.

Help from Nonprofit Pain Organizations:

American Chronic Pain Association
Phone: 916-632-0922, 800-533-3231

American Pain Foundation
Phone: 888-615-PAIN (7246)

National Pain Foundation
866-590-PAIN (7246)

So what does any of this have to do with knitting?

Well, don't ask me about how I think I wrecked Mark's scarf by wetting it to block it! It stretched out rather badly. I think I should have read up on blocking before I started... I will definitely not supply you with a picture of the scarf POST-BLOCKING.

It's December. Let's get through the holiday season and still be

Closely Knit,


Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Short Post - No Solace for Teachers

Last night my husband and I went to see the new James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace." In one scene, Bond is sheparded into a scuzzy hotel in Bolivia under the cover of a "teacher on sabbatical"
Say it isn't so! But it is... A teacher can only afford a scuzzy hotel on the off chance that she can even get to Bolivia. He then takes the woman (who is supposedly "escorting" him) to the 5 star hotel (nearby?) and calmly tells the clerk "We're teachers on sabbatical - and we've won the lottery" Ha ha, big laugh. Am I the only grumpy teacher in the movie theater thinking about paltry teacher salaries? I guess this is some insight into the fact that I have trouble having a good time. Sometimes being socially aware ruins a fun night at the movies.

I have finished knitting THE scarf and will post a picture of it very soon. I am doing the drudge work of weaving in ends and blocking. I need to start some more charity knitting. There are soldiers without scarves and socks and pets without blankets in their cages and babies without soft blankets, and cold children without hats.

I need to go see another escapist movie and actually escape this time!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What I Didn't Realize about Knitting

When I decided to pick up knitting again about one and a half years ago, it was just because some of the people at work were knitting scarves. The school nurse had started a knitting club after school for students (both sexes!) I thought, hey, this is something I know how to do. I can make a scarf! I had enjoyed knitting in the past; I had also done cross stitch, embroidery, needlepoint and crochet. Baking is something I also enjoy, but since I turned, the weight fairy has been visiting almost every day. So, baking is something reserved for holidays. The work knitters were also knitting squares to make an afghan for a charity donation. This appealed to my social justice side- more than half of my psychological make up for sure.

I decided to make myself a scarf, all garter stitch out of Moda Dea Dream, a lusciously soft nylon and acrylic yarn, in a light blue. Then, since my mom really enjoyed soft things, I made her one out of the same yarn. This scarf turned out to be a major mitzvah because it was this scarf that comforted her in her last few days of life when she was battling leukemia brought on by the chemo she had had years before for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

I had had no idea up to that point of the power of knitting. One of the other things I didn't realize about knitting is that it is meditative. For a person in pain, knitting can calm and distract. My pain is dulled and sometimes disappears in the gentle rhythm and repetition of the movement. If I concentrate on the needles as they knit and purl, I no longer pay attention to the pain. (Aside: There are MANY male knitters out there)

Consider the "knitting basket" giving program of Heifer International. A $500 donation will provide two llamas and two sheep to an impoverished family. Doesn't sound like much until you realize that these four animals can provide a steady income, raising an impoverished family out of poverty. Take the time to read the website, it is amazing. Perhaps, given the economic difficulties of the whole world, ideas of Christmas giving will evolve this year?

So, knitting gives outwardly and inwardly. Much more about this to come.

I am going to have my roots colored today. And what do you suppose I'll be doing while the color is working its way into my hair for 45 minutes?

Always closely knitting!