Friday, June 26, 2009

Yarny Goodness is OPEN!

It's about damned time. I've opened Yarny Goodness for business again!

The vast majority of changes are internal; however, there will be three new fields added at the bottom of the home page: Coming Soon, New Artists/Merchandise, and Updates (for new work added to existing vendors). I'm also having a 15% off sale running through July 1st. Oh... those new fields will appear as I add new artists, which I'll be doing ever day or two and over this weekend.

I'll write a decent post tomorrow, but I just wanted to let you all know that you may now spend all your money with me. (snort)

Welcome back!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It Looks Like I May Survive Another One (and general musings)

Yes, it's that day again. Today, June 23th, is my 51st birthday. (And Happy Bday to you too, Bezzie.) :)

There was a time when 30 seemed old. Then 40. Then 60. Now, 52 seems like a really wonderful age to attain. This birthday is meaningful for many reasons, not the least of which is that I'm still here. Things are on a downhill slide right now, but I'm here. So what's going on?

Well, I lost 15 pounds last week, I spend all night barfing (and not words on the screen), and I'm losing my appetite.

Don't get me wrong - I'd love to lose weight. Just not this way. But this is the way that it's happening, and I can only hope this is a phase I'm going through, not the next step of the disease. Hubster is terribly worried, but he tries not to show it. The same with my mother and grandmother. I see my doctor next week, so I'll talk to him about it then.

Emma has become my personal protector. I can't even fart without her barking, running right to my side, and gluing herself to my leg. If I sit on the couch, she either sits on the couch next to me or on the floor against my leg. It really doesn't matter as long as some part of her is touching me. When I fall and cry, she abandons whatever she's doing and runs to me, checking me out as if I were a puppy. And the ultimate sacrifice for a bulldog?

Hubster took her out to do her business while I was sitting in my chair eating a piece of cake covered with powdered sugar. All of a sudden, a moth the size of a B-52 began attacking my face and head. Logic and reason tells me that the moth was there because of the insanely bright light which shines down on my work. Hysteria and fear tells me that the moth was there to torture me with it's wings and nibble me to death. So I did what any sane woman would do.

I screamed. At the top of my lungs.

As soon as I began to scream, Emma, who was about to take a dump, stopped herself up like a cork, began barking as if an intruder (the human variety) was breaking in the house, and dragged Hubster inside (we have to take her outside at night on a leash because of the coyotes). She literally dragged him up the stairs of the deck and into the house, where she immediately stationed herself next to me. I was still screaming and waving my hands around wildly. Never mind the piece of cake which had fallen over, spilling powdered sugar all over the chair, floor, knitting, etc. Never mind that all the doors and windows were open. Never mind that it sounded like I was being beaten or murdered all the way to Palm Springs. I was terrified, and Emma saw it as her duty to save me. Hubster was NOT amused and began to yell, whereupon I began to cry. It was not a pleasant scene.

The upshot? The fucking moth disappeared and Emma is now constipated. Great.

I can't quite believe that I'm over a half-century in age. It seems like yesterday that there were gas lines, Levi's were $27, an 8-track was the epitome in car stereos, Senior Cut Day to Santa Cruz had just passed, and I graduated from high school. Then came college and work, and my daughter. Then I got married. Six years later, I got divorced and spent a year alone in my house because you couldn't give away a house anywhere in California. Relationships. Fights with the family. Illness and deaths. So many things, so many events, so many memories. And now I'm sitting here at 4:45 a.m. in a big cabin in the mountains of Southern California wondering how in the hell I got here. Life is funny.

I saw a picture of San Francisco yesterday. It was shrouded in fog and made me intensely homesick. I love it here and will die here (and now, that's not just me saying it). But it's been six months since I've been home, and I really miss it - and my family. I know my mother will call later today, and my daughter will probably call, too. But it's not the same. I crave the birthdays of my youth, when everybody fawned all over you, you got lots of presents, and the entire day was magical. Now, it's a day like any other day. I don't get presents from Hubster; we've never exchanged birthday gifts because I buy whatever I want. It's not a special day anymore. And yet... some part of me longs for it to be. Every year, I'm disappointed and wait until the following year to see if it will be different. And every year, it sucks worse than the one before.

Last year at this time, I was heading up to Folsom Prison for my visit. My boys bestowed gifts on me, and we had as much of a party as they could manage. Hubster picked me up, gave me a card with a baby English Bulldog on it, and had written inside that that was part of my gift. Then we headed to Reno and stayed in a tiny closet of a room. He gave me $25 and told me that we were broke, but that he had managed to scrape that amount of money up so I could gamble a little. At the time, I was a beast - depressed, angry, demanding to know why we drove to Reno with that tiny amount of money. I've been known to bet a helluva lot more than that on one hand of blackjack. But I soon calmed down and realized what a huge sacrifice he had made. Sometimes, I'm an ass, and I certainly was that day. As it turned out, I was able to gamble for hours on that money - I just didn't play my usual high-limit slots. And we had a wonderful time. I selected Emma the next day, and the rest is history. What I wouldn't give now to have a trip to Reno again.

And yet, not all is lost. I guess next weekend, I'll be whisked away to one of the local Indian casinos for a spa day. I think there's an overnight trip involved, too, where I'll be alone. That's fine by me - I can sit, knit, watch TV, and sprawl in a bed. A bed. Luxury. I'm so tired of sleeping in the chair, but yet, that happens every night. So far, I've not had to run upstairs to hit the bathroom, so I might have a decent night. We'll see. Anyway, I'm looking forward to next weekend, and we'll see what today brings.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've been reflecting on my life, and it's been a damned good one. Sure, I've had terrible times - we all do. But I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. I've met fascinating people, traveled, eaten well, loved hard, had my dream car, my dream house, and always come out of adversity smelling like a rose. I've been with Hubster for 20 years. I have a snoring bulldog laying next to me, making sure that her Mommy is doing okay. And should I not make it to my next birthday, it's okay. I'd rather stay here with Hubster and my family, of course, but should that not be in the cards, I still wouldn't change a thing.

Well... I would like to finish this damn pair of socks first.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Secret Pal 14 Signups to Close Monday, June 22nd

Yes, I'm finally up and alive. I'll post later tonight or this weekend; I have a lot of people to thank and a lot of things to get done, but for the time being (today), I'm still under rest orders. My back is killing me; it seems that the shots aren't doing anything other than being a pain right above my ass.

This post is really meant for one thing: I have to let everyone know that if they want to join Secret Pal 14, they have just a couple more days to do so. Signups are closing this Monday, June 22nd. We've extended the signup time to see if we could get more participants, but we can't extend it any longer. So please... if you want to join what I truly think is the best swap going, sign up before we shut down and can't accept your application. We have to divide everybody up into groups, get a hostess assigned to them, and open the swap on July 1st.

Thank you, everyone, and I'll blab a lot more in the next day or two. Have a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Letting her rest...

Howdy all -

Mark here again...

Pam is definitely trying to over-do again because she wants to do well by all of you... her artists and her customers. However, I've put my foot down again (and it is a very big foot), and I am having her rest. The shop will be up in the next few days -- in a week no one will even remember if it opened on a Thursday or a Saturday.

Thank you all for all of your kind letters, they've really made her feel better.

Take care, everyone.

The Sick Bitch is Home

I'm finally back home and safely ensconced in my chair with my knitting in hand (I'm working on a very special pair of socks for a very special friend). Well, that's not entirely true - I moved to the couch so I could write this post. First of all, thank you to everyone who sent me letters with such lovely sentiments. I was truly blown away, and my spirits were lifted high. You're all such wonderful friends; I wish I could meet all of you in person, but it really doesn't matter. I carry you all with me in my heart.

Things have gotten a little worse. Even though the discs are leaking, they're also swollen so badly that the doctor could barely fit the needle in. This time, I felt it slide along the vertebrae and heard the pop and crunch as it finally went in - four times. Sigh. At least he didn't do my knee again. I have to repeat this again in two weeks. Happy happy joy joy. Right now, I'm exhausted and in a considerable amount of pain. Emma is curled around my hips as I'm sitting here typing; she's trying her best to make me feel better. I was in bed sleeping, and she curled up against my back (right above the injection site). How in the hell she knows where I hurt the worst is beyond me.

I'll be working on the shop later tonight - I just don't have the energy right now - so we can reopen tomorrow (Thursday). I've probably already told you, but I'm having a 15% off sale. We have a lot of new artists and merchandise, so come and check it out! I even have that most coveted of yarns - Woolly Boully. There isn't much - only about four or six skeins - but if you're a fan, grab it while you can. Jenny dyed it just for me, so of course I had to snatch a skein for myself. :)

Signups are still open for SP14, so if you're at all interested, please go to the blog and sign up! Of all the swaps I've been in, this is my favorite. It's a lot of fun, and you make really good friends through it. A lot of people who signed up for the last round haven't signed up this time around, so I hope you come back and join in the fun. There are only a couple of returning hostesses - the rest of us are new - so look for lots of contests, games, and other fun things with great prizes to win!

My birthday is next Tuesday (June 23rd), so I'm already telling Hubster what day it is just in case he forgot. I love birthdays, and this will be my first one away from my family. He hasn't given me any clues as to what we're doing, but whatever it is, I'm sure it will be lovely.

My back is killing me, so I'm off to knit for a while before I work on the shop. It's good to be home, and I'll get a letter off to everybody who wrote in the next few days. Again, thank you - what a homecoming!

Hm... maybe I'll dose up on Dilaudid before I begin to knit. Then I can see how many stitches I can drop when I nod off and drop my sock on the floor.

Simple things amuse me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pam in Hospital

Hi, this is Mark (Hubster). I sent out an iContact newsletter, but then I realized that not all of you get the shop newsletter.

Pam had to go to the doctor's today for what she thought was just pain management. He gave her four shots in her spine again. She's in the hospital resting and will be home tomorrow, so we've had to postpone the opening of the shop since she's the one who does all the actual listing. It will open Thursday instead of Wednesday.

I'm sorry for the delay, but her health is my primary concern. I want to thank everybody for all the letters she's received. They have really lifted her spirits to know she has so many people who love her.

Mark (Hubster)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Time to Post!

I've really got to get my shit together.

Days pass and nothing gets done. No posts, no knitting progress, nothing. I've decided that I'm tired of being in a funk and have kicked myself in the ass. I don't know how much good it will do, but at least I'm giving it the old college try.

Oh wait... all I did in college was get knocked up. Scratch that.

I'm giving it the old uh... uh... hm. I'm trying.

I've got a bit of news for you all. The shop is finally opening! Come this Wednesday, June 17th, we'll be back in operation. It's been a long time, I know, but what with everything going on, it's been very difficult to get any work done on it. However, I'm going to be putting the finishing touches on it Tuesday, so look for it to be open Wednesday afternoon (in case I don't get all the little things done on Tuesday night). I'm having a 15% off sale on everything through Sunday, so come and see the new artists, the new merchandise, and go shopping! Please... I need the money. :)

I want to thank everyone for the comments they left about my condition. You don't know what those meant to me. I'm always amazed at the number of people who read this blog, and even more amazed at the number of friends I have and all the people who care. That's why I continue to barf out my life here - I'm talking to my friends. I see the doc tomorrow, but it's for pain management. At this stage of the game, there's nothing that can be done other than to manage the pain. I don't know if he'll put me on anything different, up my current meds, or what. As long as he doesn't stick that fucking needle in my back again, we're square. (shudder)

On a more humorous note, it's happened again.



"Hi! This is Adele! How do I pick up a stitch that I dropped six rows down? You know, it's the pattern with all the YO's and K2tog's and SSK's. I think it's on the section where the pattern begins to change and you start doing a lot of increases and decreases and picking up stitches and it looks like basketweave and..."

"Uh... I'm sorry, but this is WHO?"

"Adele! I'm the one with the long blond hair, kind of pudgy, I drive an SUV..."

"Uh... OK... uh... I'm sorry, but I really don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, I'm sure you teach a lot of classes, so maybe you don't remember where I was on that particular project. I'm on Row 37 and ready to change to color 10."

"What class did you say this was?"

"Lace entrelac. So I tried pulling the needle out, and a bunch of the little basketweave parts fell out and the lace unraveled and I can't get them back on the needle and I cut all the yarn on each piece so I only have little pieces of yarn to work with and should I use a smaller needle?"

(my head is spinning and my eyes are beginning to blink rapidly)

"Uh.... how did you get my phone number? It's unlisted."

"Oh, I got it from another lady in the class, you know, the fat one with black hair. She's a lot farther along than me. So when I ..."

"I don't mean to cut you off, but I haven't taught that class for two years, I don't know who you are, I have no idea what pattern I taught, and I'm afraid I can't help you."

"What sort of lousy teacher are you? I paid a lot of money for that class and you said I could call you at any time and you'd help me and I need help and you have to help me because you said you would. So like I said, I think I'm on Row 37... no, maybe it's Row 47..."

"I'm sorry, but I have another call coming in. I can't help you. My advice is to throw it away, start it over, and pay attention to what you're doing."

"You're a rude bitch and I'm never taking another class from you again." CLICK.

Geez. Anybody who can't count shouldn't undertake a project like that. Whatever it was.

Then another call did come in.



"Hey pretty lady, this is Fantastic Frank. How you been, doll face?"

"Uh... who are you trying to reach?"

"The Java Lounge! You're just playing games with old Frank again. Hey, I need to reserve five tables for tonight. We're in a bowling tournament down in Hemet, and we want to come for coffee and fattening shit afterwards. Can you fix me up, hot stuff?"

(we have the number that used to belong to Java Lounge, a coffee place here in town which closed right before we moved here)

"Ohhhhh... Frank! I'm sorry I didn't recognize you. I'm busy with customers right now, but sure! I'd be happy to reserve five tables for you. What time?"

"How about 8:00 p.m.? We finish up at about 6:30, but you know it takes time to get out of the bowling alley and drive up the hill."

"Not a problem, Frank. We'll see you then!"

"Fantastic, honey pie! See you later!" CLICK

Heh. I'm going to hell for sure.

Then I decided to try out one of the knitting applications I bought for my iPhone. I think this one is called "Knitting Buddy". You can keep track of yarn, needles, projects, etc., on it. So I figured I'd put in one of the sock patterns I'm working on for a friend. I touched the screen under "Needles" and was presented with every size needle ever made. After figuring out how to use it, I got the needle size put in. Then it asked me for the type and length. OK... no problem. Yarn? Got it. Color? Uh... this is an indie multi (as are all my yarns). So I selected the most prevalent color (they give you a list). Picture - download or take one? Uh... well.... I do have a camera on the phone, so I touched "Take One" and the camera came on. I put the ball of yarn on my leg, centered it in the screen, held my breath, and touched the button. FLASH! Picture taken. Then I saw it.

A perfectly centered picture of my foot.

I took another one. This one came out better. Then it gave me a "Notes" section, into which I put the fact that the yarn is a multi and listed all the colors. There. One project down, four more to enter. At least I'm not inventorying my stash. That would take the new 32g iPhone with a memory card added. I've decided to keep track of my projects in this thing and take pictures of the finished items.

IF I finish any items.

I think I have about eight knitting applications for the iPhone, only one of which I've used. There's even a row counter, a gauge counter, a shopping list thing, blah blah blah. If it's a knitting gadget, I buy it.

I don't remember if I told you, but my Emma has been sick. She came in the house a week or so ago after going outside to go potty with poop and blood all over her butt. Since she's shaped like a solid fireplug, she can't turn around to clean herself. She stood there with sad eyes looking at Daddy (she knows that Mommy can't deal with doggie doo). Hubster cleaned her up and then took her upstairs to feed her dinner. Right after dinner, she had to go out again. Same thing. Fifteen minutes later, she had to go again. And so it went for two days until we could get in to see the vet whom our groomer recommended.

We finally found the vet's office in the middle of a grapefruit orchard (it smelled really good). He took all her vitals, examined her, looked at the poop sample we brought in, and told us that she either had a viral infection or an allergy to something. In any event, he prescribed sulfa drugs and told us to put her on a rice and cottage cheese diet until her poops were firm again. He also gave us a cream which Hubster had to rub under her tail a couple times a day for about a week (she had a skin infection under her tail that we didn't know about). Sure enough, she cleared up almost immediately. This guy is good - every bit as good as our vet in Livermore. He reminds me of the old-fashioned country vets you see on TV. We're keeping him.

And on another Emma note, she presented us with a totally mauled dead animal this evening. We think it was a squirrel, but we're not sure. Hubster took it away from her and threw it over the fence. Gack. That dog is more like a cat than a dog, from bringing things home to us to how she holds things in her paws to how she stalks potential prey (like the cardboard tubes inside toilet paper rolls).

Figures I'd get an identity-confused animal. There's nothing normal in this house.

Except me, of course.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

PLEASE Sign Up for SP14!

This is a plea, pure and simple. I hope you consider it.

Secret Pal 14 is nearing the end of it's signups, and we're way down in numbers this round. We're also low on United States participants. Please... consider signing up for it. There are three tiers of signup amounts: $30, $60 and $90. It's a three-month swap, so you have plenty of time to get to know your pal. Of all the swaps I've been in, this is by far the best. The hostesses are exceptional (we have a lot of new hostesses this year), there are contests, and it's just a whole lot of fun. I've made some incredible friends in the rounds I've participated in.

There's also a Ravelry group which is dedicated to discussion, and a blog for general and specific information. It's well-organized, and I think you would have a ball participating.

If you would like to sign up, the blog is at:

All the information for joining (as well as the swap rules) are there.

I'll be writing a regular post in the next day or so. I've just been too busy and tired to sit down and write something which you would enjoy reading, but I'll correct that. Until then...


Monday, June 1, 2009

The Curtain Has Begun to Fall

Lest you think that I'm a happy buffoon all the time, I have to throw in a serious post every once in a while. Actually, I gave this post a lot of thought before I sat down to write it. Is it the right sort of thing to blog about? Is it something you want to hear? I don't know the answer to either of those questions, but since I barf my guts out here anyway, I decided that you might as well know this, too.

It all began a few weeks ago when my pain doctor ordered two MRI's - one for my lower back, and one for my left knee. I had been having a lot of problems with both areas - lots of pain, falling down, etc. So I went and had the one on my back done, but had to reschedule the one on my knee. I had it done about a week ago. Then came the follow-up appointment with the doctor. He asked me to come in a little early. Huh? He normally only sees new patients early in the morning. So why was I being called in?

Hubster and I went on Thursday. He wanted to come back into the exam room with me to talk to the doctor, but I didn't want him to. So while he snoozed in the waiting room (this is in Rancho Mirage, right next-door to Palm Springs - think next-door to Death Valley and summer temperatures) enjoying the air conditioning, I went back to see what the scans said.

It was a little worse than I thought.

It seems that the disease has attacked my spine and popped three of the discs - the bottom three. There's fluid leaking out of them and, pretty soon, my spine may not be able to support my body weight without some kind of horrendous back surgery to get bone off bone. The same thing has happened in my knee (the other knee just has a lot of arthritis in it... oh goodie). So after staring at the doctor with a really stupid look on my face, paying attention to his explanation using anatomical models, and reading the radiologist's report for myself, he sent me next door to his surgical suite. I just had time to go out and have a ciggie. Why, may you ask, did I have to go next door? It's a lot more fun than you might imagine.

I had to have three injections of steroids put into my spinal cord/discs and one into the cartilage in my knee.

It looked like it was going to be a long wait, judging by the number of old people waiting in the office (am I REALLY that OLD?), so I asked the nurse if I could go have another ciggie and explain to Hubster what was going on. She squeezed my hand and sent me outside into 101 degree heat. I carefully explained it all to Hubster, who looked like he was about to collapse (and not from the heat). Then it was back inside to experience something which I was scared shitless of.

I had reason to be scared shitless. It hurt like a mofo, and I had to remain absolutely still during the entire thing. Those fucking steroids make you feel heavy and full, and the needle is the size of my thigh. It has to be strong and rigid so it doesn't bend when the doc inserts it, but Jesus... The only fun part of the whole thing was watching it go into my spinal cord on the fluoroscope, but he just felt my back with his fingers and deftly inserted it. You can tell he's been doing this a long time and is at the top of his game - there was no hesitation whatsoever, and he knew exactly how far to push before he backed off and pushed the plunger. Even so... He wound up putting four shots into my spine and somehow managed to hit the same hole every single time.

The one in my knee hurt every bit as much. I had to keep my knee bent (I was flat on my back with the fluoroscope on either side of it) so he could maneuver the needle under the kneecap and into the cartilage. He didn't even have the good grace to put Flintstones Band-Aids on the injection sites.

So I've been completely wiped out all weekend. I wasn't allowed to do anything on Friday, and Hubster made me stay home from work this weekend and rest. It was the best thing I could have done, really. I just wasn't able to do much of anything. So now I wait to see if the injections helped at all. If they do, then I get to have them done again in two weeks. I'm tempted to say they didn't do anything just to avoid that horrible feeling. He's talking about switching my pain meds to morphine (probably the pump they surgically implant) or Roxanol (pure THC), but he's waiting on that until he sees how I'm doing. We'll discuss back surgery later on, but only if it will considerably alleviate my pain level. A few things are certain: it isn't going to heal, it's not going to get better, this is all just to help the pain level, and I'm fucked.

With the biggest dick of all.