Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Food and knitting...been a while

There hasn't been much discussion of either on here recently.

I just finished prepping things for dinner tonight. We're having shrimp, which is currently & quickly marinating in lime juice, olive oil, garlic, mint, cilantro and chili garlic paste:

I'll probably serve it over some Thai sticky rice (prepared in the microwave, amazingly enough).

This evening's veggie is one of my favorites, roasted Brussels sprouts. I am so thankful that R likes these, although I suppose I would be happy enough eating them all myself.

In knitting news, I've been listening to way too many knitting podcasts, so now a very large portion of my day is somehow related to knitting. I've been going back to the beginning of them and listening to them as I cook for my clients. I've only had my iPod since November, but I never listen to music on it any more.

Sticks & String
Belle of the Ball
Cast On (I'm about a year behind on this one)

and there are others.

I am knitting. In fact I am almost finished with my "Very Fuchsia Frill" (that link will only work for members). It is from

I am halfway through the second frilled edge:

which I will finish by attaching to the rest of it:

Other activities:

R's birthday was last Saturday. Looking at this picture, it appears that I was trying to set his head on fire and not his candles. I really wasn't.

That cake,

if you're curious, was 100% store bought.

This is what happens when I bake cakes:

These are just two of my attempts. Please don't bother with the tips. Believe me, I've tried them all. That chocolate one was even a mix.

I don't do cakes, and I finally proved it to R this year.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Seeing auras

No, not those cool ones that supposedly surround people and that are only seen by people with "the gift." I believe I experienced my first ever migraine aura. Oddly enough (although not unusual) it was not followed by a headache.

I was cooking away at my client's house when I realized that there were squiggly zigzaggy lines on the left side of my field of vision. It was like tons of prisms, or reflections on a lake. At first it was just my left eye, but then I could see it with my right, and it didn't matter if I closed my eyes--they were still there.

Looking at my hand, it was as if it were cut in half by the squigglies. It was extremely disconcerting, and gradually got worse so I decided to call my insurance company and find out if there was an urgent care clinic nearby that I could go to. When I eventually got a live person, he was completely useless, and by then it seemed to be getting better so I just said "never mind" and hung up before he could finish asking if there was anything else he could help me with today.

If you want to know what it was like, this image is a pretty good simulation.

They did finally go away after about 20 minutes. I also had some weakness in my left arm and was pretty nauseated, but it all went away and I was able to go to my second client of the day's house. For a while I was afraid I wouldn't be able to drive home!

My mom had migraines before she went through menopause, so I called her up. She didn't always have auras, but she described exactly what I saw, and apparently her mom got them too but didn't realize what they were.

I'm glad that I didn't get the headache (although apparently the auras can precede them by up to 24 hours). We had dinner tonight with friends I haven't seen in a while, and I would have hated to miss it. I had butternut squash soup and some fresh gnocchi with spinach. It was tasty.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

And this isn't even the last of it.

Look what I found on the doorstep this afternoon:

There is still another box to come that is just full of skeins. This was mainly a box of UFOs. My mother-in-law definitely was a fan of novelty and ribbon yarns. Most of these I'd seen while I was up there, but my there are a few bags that my father-in-law must have found later. These pictures are all uploaded in full-res, so you can click on them and examine them more closely.

An orangey-pink garter stitch scarf (gum included):

The start of a sweater knit with three different types of novelty yarn (pattern included, but I can't see finishing it):

A green tennis-y looking top:

Knitted mice cat toys (not seamed and unstuffed) from a November 1992 Woman's Day Magazine. I briefly flipped through and caught the fashion pages. Did I dress like that when I was in college??

I figured out what the Unger Angelspun in the last box was for. It's a V-neck pullover.

A cute baby pattern book (no publication date) and a random skein or two. She must have finished this project:

Another lovely novelty yarn piece with nice Brittany needles attached. I suppose I will put this on a stitch holder so I don't feel guilty for taking out the needles.

This one was bought in 2006, so there are actually some patterns I might use, but I'm not crazy about this sweater. She might not have been either, as all she knitted was a swatch. It's a Katia book.

There were also two more pairs of Addi Turbos and some cookie cutters. And at the bottom of the box, I found this:

I had no idea what it was, but a quick google search filled me in--and then let me knows that I could have figured it out myself if I'd just slid the metal part up a bit. It's an adjustable skirt length marker.

Now I must re-pack the box and find a place for it so R does not freak out when he gets home. There were a lot of nooks and crannies in his parents' house for yarn storage. We don't quite have that here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Over the river and through the woods

Our trip home to see Granna was good, but very emotional. She is doing well in the nursing home, and it really felt like we had moved her into a dorm (the walls and closets very much reminded me of mine!) We visited her every day while we were there, but she was sad to hear that we weren't staying for the entire week. I told her that we'd be back in April (a previously scheduled trip for a wedding that was canceled; we'd already bought the tickets) and wrote it on her calendar.

She is still quite feisty. She's happy with her move into the nursing home, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that she is now just up the road from my parents instead of an hour away across the lake. She keeps her tv on low with the captioning on so as to not disturb her roommate on the other side of the curtains, and spends her day reading the paper and her romance novels.

We spent Saturday afternoon at her apartment going through things and getting out personal items and things we want to keep. The woman who has cleaned her apartment for the 27 years since she moved in said she will take anything we don't want. This includes furniture, clothes, kitchen stuff, food, whatever. Granna doesn't have a lot of things of value, but we did want to get her papers and photo albums and any little knick knacks we might be interested in.

My dad also wanted to make sure that I got the two pieces of jewelry she has: her mother's engagement ring and Granna's wedding band. Granna got divorced shortly after I was born because my Grandpa left her for a younger woman. I need to read up on the etiquette of wearing a divorced person's wedding ring. Granted, she was married for 30 years, so it's not like it was never something special to her.

Her wedding band:

My Great-Grandmother's Ring (A tiny little European cut diamond in a beautiful setting, circa 1911):

I took the pictures home and am slowly scanning them and putting them into a better quality album. I want to reprint copies of favorites and then return the originals and a few CDs to my dad.

I found this picture of Granna, from around 1934, that I have never seen and absolutely love. It will definitely be one to frame soon.

Some other pictures:
My Great-Grandparents on the day of my dad's Christening:

Granna & Grandpa, 1944

Then of course there are the ones like this...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Like any other day

It's 10:50 p.m. on Valentine's Day and we're both sitting downstairs on our computers. We did have a nice four-course dinner at home, made even more nice by the fact that I didn't have to cook it. My favorite local grocery store was offering dinner for two to go, and I thought that sounded perfect. Even more perfect was the fact that it was completely free thanks to my accumulated rewards points. The only thing I paid for was the $40 bottle of wine bought two years ago in Sonoma. It was about time we opened it, and it was quite nice.

The dinner package even included the candles. Would you believe I don't own any taper candlesticks? This led to a trip to the thrift store down the street. After much wandering around I decided on a fairly interesting pair of turned wood candlesticks. These were much more interesting than most of the ones they had.

Dinner: some bite sized appetizers, a salad, and then a main course of Lobster

The candlesticks were not the only things I came home with from the thrift store. I also picked up a small 100% cashmere sweater ($4.99) in a color that can only be described as "bubble gum pink." It's a sport weight (12wpi with the kinks, although I'll re-measure), and appears to be knit on something equivalent to a US5 needle. I have 306 grams. This picture does not do the color justice.

The reconditioning will have to wait however, as tomorrow we're driving to visit to my Granna while she still knows who we are. She is apparently her normal self at the moment--only with a slight speech impediment, but the doctor told us it could be weeks. That's just so hard for me to believe. My father and the doctors have decided that it is best not to tell her that she has cancer, and has instead told her that she has had a stroke and cannot live by herself. Radiation or chemo could give her an extra month at most, and she does not need to be put through that. She's now in a nursing home close to my parents, where she has a roommate for the first time since divorcing my now-deceased grandfather in 1971.

At 96, she is being a very good sport.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Why do things have to suck?

My dad called last night to tell me that my 96 year old Granna had been rushed to the hospital from her apartment because she could not speak and lost some of her ability to move.

"Did she have a stroke?"

"No, it's worse. It's cancer."

It turns out she has three brain tumors that are most likely metastasized lung cancer. She will spend five days in the hospital while they give her medicine to reduce the swelling (she's starting to be able to speak now) and then they will move her into a nursing home.

The kicker: the doctor thinks it's best not to tell her what is going on. He thinks that by the time they really do know the full extent, the tumors may have grown such that she doesn't really know what's going on anymore. I'm not sure how I feel about this.

They have no idea how long the cancer has been there. She has had no symptoms. She's 96, and up to this point she has slightly high blood pressure, a little arthritis in her knee, and her hearing was starting to go a bit. She never learned to drive, so she walked everywhere. Her father was in his 90's when he died, so it obviously runs in the family, but I know her walking had a lot to do with it. She could get around much better than my other grandma who is much younger than she is.

Now we just have to see how fast they are growing. And wait.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mardi Gras 2008 Recap

We flew in Thursday night and met our friends and my parents for dinner at Herbsaint (excellent).

Friday was Diva Day

Friday Night was the 9th Annual Friday Night Before Mardi Gras Party to raise money for the Belle Reve AIDS Hospice and a few other charities. The invitation for this "Gay Ball" specifies "Black Tie, Costume or Drag." I wore my costume and people wanted to have their picture taken with me:

Saturday night was the Endymion Extravaganza at the Superdome. This was R's 3rd year to ride...

and my 3rd year wearing this dress to a MG Ball (twice to Endymion and once to Orpheus). I had on ugly brown skechers under this previously drink-stained dress.

Kevin Costner was Grand Marshall:

I was up near the stage for the Go-Go's (Great show...can't believe Belinda Carlisle is FIFTY!) and Cowboy Mouth (great as usual, but I wish Fred would just talk less and play more songs), but I stayed at our table for the Doobie Brothers.

This is why smart people don't wear cute strappy shoes to this party:

The time on my camera is off, but that picture was probably taken some time around 4:30 a.m.

The time on these is 4:59 a.m., back at the condo:

We got up around 1:30 on Sunday, lounged around and then watched Bacchus on St. Charles waiting for our friend Jill's husband's float to get to us. When he passed, R and I went back up to the roof of the condo to see the tail end pass us on Tchoupitoulas. Check out the stream of cop cars following behind (that's Jim...his friend owns the condo)

and Monday afternoon we flew home.

I did get quite a bit of knitting done. Our flight to New Orleans was delayed, and there was plenty of down time during the days. I finished knitting my market bag on the parking shuttle

and seamed it up and felted it in the washing machine when we got home. You may notice that the handles look different. That's because I seamed the base up incorrectly and had to cut them and re-join them after I felted.