Friday, August 31, 2007

Too Much Fun

I got myself a Nintendo DS Lite at Target yesterday. I also got the game "Big Brain Academy." It's too much fun!!!!! It was a bit of a spree in fact: I got as many "build your brainpower" games as they had. Using my newly sharpened math skills, that adds up to three: Big Brain Academy, Brain Age and Brain Age 2 . And I had to get the "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" game too. So far I can't stop playing B.B.A. long enough to try anything else.

To be honest I'm intimidated to try the Harry Potter one. It's too much like a real game that actual kids play who are good at that kind of thing. I'm afraid I won't get it and I'll just die all the time. My DS Lite is recharging at the moment but once it's back in black I'll screw up my courage and try H.P. According to "Dr. Lobe" I have the brain of an architect so I should be able to handle a game for kids. I hope.

My brother got the system for my dad for his birthday this year. He gave dad "Brain Age." I tried dad's Brain Age and so far I like Big Brain Academy better. The illustrations are hilarious. Sometimes they grin at you or do a dance and it wrecks your concentration. Sometime's they're just so genius that all I want to do is look at them - but that would wreck my score!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Wiped Out

Pete, Fay and I went to Newport, RI to visit Pete's parents on Sunday. Yesterday morning Pete and I went out in search of Carey Mansion, the house that was used to represent "Collinwood" in the daytime soap, "Dark Shadows." I tripped crossing Thames Street. I don't think I've skinned my knees since elementary school. It made me really furious. I'd only brought white shorts and white jeans and now I had two bloody gashes on my knees. Infuriating! Inconvenient! Hurty!

Fortunately I only spilled about three drops of the cappuccino I'd just bought. This was miraculous because I'd decided to roll after I hit the ground so I didn't have to climb up off my gory knees. I felt very Buffy. Probably my best fall ever, style-wise.

I'm not someone who falls down a lot so when I do fall it can have a big psychological impact. For some reason hitting the ground hard forces me to notice the things in my life that I've been trying to avoid. In this case what I'm avoiding is that Fay's treatments are not going well.

Her back legs are dragging and she's having some incontinence issues. It's the solids. They sneak up on her, usually right around meal times. In the day I can take her out before she eats and head off the problem. In the mornings she gets me up at five to take her out but we don't always make it. Sometimes there are bonus incidents too. I've stopped feeding her after three PM and I always take her out before bed. It seems to help but there are no guarantees.

The morning of my fall she got me up at 4:30 (I really needed that cappuccino!) Pete's parents live on the fourth floor of a building with a really slow elevator. We made it outside for all but the very beginning of the production. Every other similar event was managed entirely outdoors though. Phew.

This kind of thing has been going on for about a month. It's been really stressful getting up that early and trying to get out in time without disturbing anyone else. It was particularly stressful this weekend because we were in someone else's house and the outside was so far away.

The prednisone she's on has worked well to reduce the symptoms of her disease - she has been able to walk better and even do stairs sometimes - but whenever the dosage is reduced and we try a new drug she loses ground. She can't be on prednisone long term though because it has too many negative effects.

I'd been trying not to notice that the new drugs aren't working and trying to hide that I was worried about poop in Pete's parents' condo and the overall stress of poop management. The fall smacked me back down into reality.

Boy, did that piss me off. Naturally I cried my head off out of sheer fury and out of sadness at Fay's plight.

Back at the condo Pete's Dad bandaged me up with great care and sympathy. It was a side of him I'd never seen. So fatherly. Usually I see the Dinner-Buying or Authority-Figure Dad side of him. It was nice to see him using his strength and experience in such a compassionate way. I could tell Pete thought so too because he took pictures.

Later Pete and I bundled my gooey knees into the car and we drove to Carey Mansion.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

One More Thing

Check out Les Shoppenboys. Be sure to watch the video. Why can't U.S. stores have a sense of humor? The tyranny of Sexy. Or Cool or Status.

More Lady Golf

I can't believe I forgot to post these photos of Lady Golf merchandise. My next order will include the flip flops along with a set of Cleavage Coolers. I may get a pair of flip flops for my Mom too.

I'm thinking Amy Sedaris might like a peek at the golf sandals with interchangeable kilties. I'm trying to figure out what kind of woman would wear something like that and all I can come up with is some character that she could do. I'm also imagining matching one's pedicure to one's selected kiltie. You know, polish to match the pastel color background and a little matching decal to go with the chosen motif. I bet they make golf club decals.

Now I'm on a roll - golf sandals, matching pedicure, marabou cleavage coolers, blond wig and fruity cocktail! What kind of woman would wear those? Me! I'm gonna get some!

Dammit! They're out of my size! But if you're a 6-6.5 or an 8-8.5 those babies could be yours for $29.95. They'd look awesome with a denim skirt or capri pants.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Again, Two Posts In One Day

Two posts in one day - vulgar, I know but what can I do? I just got a promotional e-mail from* and I had to spread the wealth. I could really use some of these right now:

They work like this. "A Great Gift Idea For Party Favors, Tee Prizes, Weddings, Showers And More."

*I don't actually play golf myself. I've hit buckets of balls at the driving range which is really fun. My Mother-in-law plays and I got her some Lilly Pulitzer golf gloves on this site. I'm now on their mailing list and it's one of my favorites of all the promotional e-mails I get. They have some really weird stuff. For example, the description of these DIMR'S Nipple Covers for Women. Why even mention breast enhancemnt surgery? I understand not wanting your nipples to show. I also love the WIGI idea: an organization for women who work in the golf industry. It seems to me that that is a group of people who need to organize. Men in golf seem to be a particulary backwards bunch. If you look on this site you'll see that golf isn't just a sport, it's a lifestyle. Even if you don't play but your significant other does.

Okay, lightening. Big storm. Posting.


That blood-curdling shriek you just heard along with everyone else in the world was me. Sorry. I couldn't help it. It's disgustingly hot and humid in VT today so I'm wearing extra wide-leg shorts. Not so flattering but comfortable. A certain enormous grasshopper thought they looked pretty comfortable too. It tried them on for size while I was going down the walkway to the house just now. Yes, a big, huge grasshopper up my shorts. Shriek. Couldn't help it. Sorry.

At last I'm having good, fruitful, painless days in my studio. Whew. It's been a long long time since that happened. I hope I can keep that ball rolling.

On the knitting front there are too many patterns and yarns that I want to try. Rowan Mag 42 has some nice things - and some ridiculous things. I like the looks of their new yarn, Cocoon, but I wish it came in a lovely plum or wine color. It only comes in shades of green and oatmeal. The Highlander section has some nice colorwork in it but the shapes of the sweaters don't appeal to me or else they look really tedious and/or expensive to make.

Then there are the Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting issues that I have stacked up and the ball of Koigu Kersti I bought, the last of its dye lot, that is the most beautiful color I'll probably never see anything like again.

I guess this all boils down to me having elements of things I want to make without anything coming together into one pattern that I can actually execute. I may have to take all my elements and think up something good to do with them on my own.

In the mean time I'm almost finished with my second Clapotis from and I'm working on a silk scarf made with Tilli Thomas Disco Lights (mine's a pale seafoam green) which I'm working in a fish-scale lace pattern.

I will now end this post with a photo of my favorite thing that I made yesterday:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why I don't like "Grease"

Sure, the movie "Grease" is good looking and has some fun musical numbers and a rollicking feel to it but I always hated the end. The bottom line is that Sandy had to conform, to cave in to peer pressure, to get her man.

I suppose some people would say that Sandy's goody-two-shoes character was conformist and that the movie is about subverting The Man's culture of control. But Sandy didn't seem repressed to me. She seemed happy with who she was. I didn't get the feeling she was longing to "break free" and misbehave. Maybe Olivia Newton John didn't have the acting chops to show us perkiness and regret at the same time. But it would have been a whole different movie if there had been even the tiniest hint that Sandy wanted to be like the others but she was afraid to be.

Conquering your fears to come more fully into yourself is a good lesson from a work of fiction. It's worth a triumphal musical number in a skin-tight leather jumpsuit. But changing your persona so that people will like you and to give an out to a guy who actually does like you but is ashamed to admit it to his friends is LAME. Ultimately "Grease" reinforces a herd mentality in the guise of a lighthearted teenage romp.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Today's Salad

Oh wait - that's a hot dog. And a bag of popcorn and a gallon of soda. I took the photo with my handy dandy cell phone camera. Awesome quality.

I went to the 12:35 showing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix today. Of course I needed to have lunch. I was planning on popcorn but luckily they had hot dogs too. My soda was root beer. I think I drank less than half of it. My kidneys thank me.

I love Snape. I just want to give him a great, big hug.

Eight "I"s in eleven sentences. How self-absorbed I am! (9 in 14 sentences)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My New Skill

Today I learned how to give my dog an injection. I practiced with a syringe full of water. Tonight (and every twelve hours for the next two days, four times total) I'll be injecting her with Cytarabine, which you can see ready and waiting in the alarming looking plastic bag on the left. Well, at least you can see the plastic bag if not make out the pre-loaded syringes.

She's also come down with some lovely looking hot spots which will be treated twice a day with the spray on the left side of the photo and with the antibiotics shown in the upper right corner of the photo. Below the antibiotics is her trusty bottle of Prednisone which we are weaning her from. I know she won't miss it though she does enjoy the gob of peanut butter her daily doses come in. I think her new antibiotics are meat flavored. Maybe that will make up for the loss. Who am I kidding? She'll be on Pred for a few more months at least.

I know that things could be a lot worse with her and that other dogs, people, pets are on more and more serious medications. But that bag was so eye-catching I just had to photograph it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lilies by the Physocarpus

I would like to point out that it is August 11 and it's forty-five degrees out. Sure, it's not quite 8 AM yet but still. This would never happen in Bethesda, MD where I grew up. I LOVE this! I live in New England for a reason.

Fay's feeling perkier in this coolness. However we're reducing her pred dosage so her legs are a bit floppier. Still she doesn't care. She doesn't want me to help her up the deck stairs.

I put these lilies in last Fall. I've never grown lilies before. I love them. They smell amazing. I think I'll put more in this Fall. Every Spring I say to myself, "more bulbs!" Now I have to add "more lilies!" and "more shrubs!" Where I'll get the money for it is another story.

Last week when it was really hot the herb garden smelled like lilies and baked roses. It made me think maybe I should tip the balance away from herbs and add more roses and lilies. However if I play my cards right everything could smell fantastic: herby, rosy and lily-y.

I have to leave Vermont for a couple of weeks. I'm not happy about it. I should be because next week we're going to my parents' beach house. The only time I really like Summer is when I'm at the beach.

But my life runs mostly the way I want it to only in Vermont. I get regular exercise, I work in my studio, I knit, I even eat right most of the time. I don't know why it's so difficult to make things go the way I want them to anywhere else. Maybe there are more people putting demands on my time everywhere else? It's easier to shut everything out here and concentrate on the things that are important to me. I still don't get as much done as I'd like but at least here I'm in a position to try.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Not my best written post but I'm going on very little sleep

Fay has Immune Mediated Myelitis. Her immune system is attacking her spinal cord causing it to swell which interrupts nerve signals to her brain. In other words she's becoming paralyzed from the mid-spine down. To treat this she's on a high dose of Prednisone, a corticosteroid, to reduce the swelling and suppress her immune system. It's working pretty well but there have been some unpleasant side effects. At this point the worst side effects are that she's constantly famished and that she can't regulate her body temperature well. Summer is hard on Pugs to begin with but I think the heat is hindering the medication's ability to reduce her swelling and increasing the energy-sapping effect the drug has.

She's been getting me up at five AM lately because she's hungry for her breakfast and she has to go out (that's got an energy-sapping effect on me for sure) She's uncomfortably hot from the medication so she's often panting loudly and looking for a cool spot on the floor. This is easier to deal with when we're in Vermont since it's much cooler there. When we're in Brookline it's more uncomfortable for her. We have a window air conditioner in the bedroom but she doesn't understand it. This morning at five after I'd taken her out and fed her she tried to camp out beneath the toilet. I'd put the a.c. on to cool the bedroom down but she doesn't understand that when she hears that humming sound the room's about to get cooler. Or maybe she just doesn't want to wait.

The situation is hard to navigate for a non-morning person. Pete and I have the typical couple temperature dynamic going (I'm hot, he's cold or he's hot and I'm cold depending on the season) and the noisy dog's panting loudly enough to wake the dead. She's happy under the toilet for now but if I let her stay there I know that in about ten minutes when I've gone back to sleep she'll get lonely and bust into the bedroom and I'll have to get up again and close the door after her.

My options seem to be either to risk waking Pete up now by turning on the a.c. (which he doesn't want - but I'd do it anyway because I'm hot!) and bringing the pant-y dog in to make noise until she cools down or to leave Pete in peace and her in the bathroom and have to wake up and get out of bed again myself in ten minutes when she's decided to come and join us.

Now that it's eleven AM and I'm fully awake it's obvious what I should do. But at the time I was seriously considering taking Fay downstairs to the kitchen and sleeping there on the rug so as not to bother Pete.

As her treatment progresses Fay's prednisone dosage will be reduced and hopefully the side effects will tail off too. I also hope that she'll have more energy and be able to walk better when the cooler weather sets in. I hope we'll all be able to sleep better then.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Tidying, Yarn and Fay's Dents

I'm tidying.

I'm not a tidy person. Anyone who's been to my house knows that this is an understatement. I have an untidy mind. I just don't know how to be neat.

When I was a kid my Mom would say "go clean your room" and I just wouldn't know where to begin. If I figured out where to start I wouldn't know what to do next. It's exactly the same now. I go to put something away and I notice a big dust pile in another room so I go get the whisk broom and sweep it up. When I'm in the kitchen emptying the dustpan I see a smudge on the floor and wipe it up. Then I notice that the handwashing I've done is dry and ready to be folded so then I go do that. I take the clothes upstairs to put them away and see that the toilet needs cleaning. By the time I've done that I've forgotten which room I was supposed to be straightening. It doesn't seem to make much difference in any case because all the rooms are equally trashed. It doesn't occur to me to dust or vacuum until I'm just about to have guests.

Plus there are some things I don't want to put away. Projects I haven't gotten to yet that I'll forget if they're out of sight.

My studio looks like an explosion at the glitter/google-eye factory. Every surface is covered with unfinished paintings, paint jars, palettes, beads, magic markers, crochet doilies that I'm trying to work into a painting somehow, the aforementioned glitter and google eyes, pompoms - all kinds of random stuff. It's actually helpful in the studio though because just seeing all that stuff juxtaposed gives me ideas for how to use it that I never would have had if everything had been stowed away properly in labeled bins.

Of course visitors see this kind of thing and think I'm mentally ill. Heck, maybe I am. But I'm not dangerous. I'm just profoundly untidy.

Speaking of bins, here's a picture of the bin of yarn next to my chair. Obviously the bin of a complete nutball.

Fay's "trapdoor" from when she had her MRI and spinal tap. She looks brown but that's probably something to do with the flash.

The tooth she just broke chewing on a bully stick.

That's the second tooth she's broken in two weeks! I'm going to have to stop giving her bully sticks. Then what will she do? I've been trying to get her to leave off her hobby of sprouting tumors. I hope she doesn't go back to that!

So have I put off tidying long enough? Shall I get back to it? Ugh. I don't think I'll even get to making a salad today.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Today's Salad

My new blog! I'm gonna post every twenty minutes!

Today's salad contains red leaf lettuce, red bell pepper, cucumber, avocado, blue cheese, walnuts and apple chunks and is dressed with Ken's Italian dressing and a sprinkle of Lawrey's Seasoned Salt.


I am obsessed with knitting.

It's all I want to think about. Every other thought in my head is accompanied by some aspect of knitting. As I write I'm thinking about mulberry colored dk weight wool. I can see the stitches lined up, just regular stockinette, in the background of any other thought I have.

I can't stop thinking about the physical properties of yarn. The springiness and gentle fluff of wool, the tensility of yarn, the way each strand spirals together to make a flexible cable (the kind that holds up suspension bridges, not the knitted kind) that loops together to make an equally springy and flexible fabric.

I can't stop thinking about colors, cables, bobbles, openwork, the different weights of wool. Leaf green super-chunky. Turquoise-spattered pale blue light worsted (the above is Koigu from Charcoal grey worsted knit into over-the-elbow cabled gauntlets. The same gauntlets but with bobbles in a muted raspberry cashmere, or maybe a camel color. Great big mushy tam o' shanters.

I've had an idea for a tam o' shanter sculpture since last summer. I haven't got far into producing it yet though. There are so many things I want to knit and otherwise make that I get clogged up. It's a big bottleneck and I end up not getting much made in the end. it's just easier to go do something I don't feel as strongly about.

Plus knitting looks like too much fun to other people*. I mean it doesn't look like work if I'm sitting in front of the T.V. watching a movie and knitting. People* think I'm just slacking off.

Thinking about knitting is an example of how I prefer what's going on in my head to reality. Reality is tedious and irritating. Life's much easier to take with a beautiful color and interesting texture riding along in the sidecar.

And that is the constant state of my life. Right now I'm entertaining myself with thoughts of knitting. Back in January it was candy - the pretty kind I don't like to eat. Maybe it will be something else when the weather turns cold. Probably just more knitting though.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007