Saturday, June 30, 2012


We're settling into our summertime rhythm. The air conditioning is on and we've received two shares from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). We're eating more salads and stir fry. Even now D is pulling roasted beets from the oven. Who knew fresh beets could taste so good. 

He then proceeded to make them even better by tossing in dill, butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. I think he is developing quite the culinary flair.

So this is what our dinner looked like tonight. It is not as hard to eat vegetarian when you have nice fresh food to play with.

Anyways while my knitting has slowed down, it still continues. My new purse socks are in full swing. Although it looks like plain stockinette in this picture it is really a nice pattern that shows of the subtle yarn variegation, Mockery Socks by Katie Grady. It is an easy pattern to memorize which is good for me since I still can not find my shawl pattern and I need something to work on.

The yarn is Liberty Fibers Superwash sock yarn in the Kimono colorway. I am in love with the way this green shades change. Check out this timing, I checked my Yarnkettle email the other night, and had a message from the dyer saying she had seen my fiber festival post from a couple of years back. She asked if I had made anything with my yarn yet? I chuckled to myself as I replied that I had her yarn on my needles that very moment. Do you think we have a subliminal yarn connection?

Summer time it is all good. Which reminds me I need to pick up some beer for my neighbor, I need to make a pool fun payment so I can cool down without a membership fee.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


As you know we started Gus on insulin last week. He has been doing fine so far... Initially Dr B wanted me to monitor his blood sugars and we would adjust the insulin accordingly. Well with him crashing that first night way back in December, none of us have been too eager to poke at the situation. 

But I must admit curiosity got the better of me and I think eventually we will need to monitor his bs (blood sugar, anyone else find it funny we're monitoring the cranky cat's bs, just me? OK then.) I bought a monitor and all the stuff that you need. Wow that was an education! Monitors range from under $20 to $100. The test strips are the real kicker though, most if not all are over a dollar a strip. A one time use magic strip that takes your blood and converts it into a needed number. Oh and the lancets which are the finger or ear prick devices, they were reusable and more affordable.

So after I pack all this stuff home I try it on myself first. I can tell you the thought of intentionally wounding yourself is much worse than the action. Don't get me wrong I am very glad it is not a normal part of my life but I certainly survived it. My understanding of how to work my blood with the machine did not pan out so I wounded myself nothing. 

D pointed out that I have ready access to an expert at work so I bundled up my monitor, lancet, test strips and faulty knowledge and took it all into work. I was quickly straightened out and found my bs to be 98. Yay I'm normal in one area. I don't think they have developed a test for wool obsession yet, whew. My boss was curious too so we tested her and she was in the normal range too. 

D was tested when I got home (at his request, I'm not running around testing everyone I know) and he was under 200 so that is good. Gus on the other hand, wow. Once we figured out how to prick his ear and get blood out, rang in at 333. Yowsa! D pointed out he just ate, was due for his insulin shot and he had been running in the 400s. Still it makes me feel a bit better, since I have not been bugging him as much at night, to make sure he does not drop too low. It makes me question if he really had a small reaction that first night or if it was just paranoid Mom poking her evil head out. He did not eat much that night so I think it was possibly a reaction.

We have learned from a website (always a trustworthy source) that we should try to keep his bs above 100 and below 200 as much as possible. Lofty goals according to todays reading. I think it is better to get there slowly, rather than a big crash that requires hospitalization. My wallet agrees with me, my money would rather end up in a yarn store, assuming everyone is healthy. 

Hey, that means I am the lowest one in the family, oh wait Jack. Jackie come here Mommy has a surprise for you. 

(Don't worry I would not do it.) I will try for a non Gus post next time but he seems to fit predominantly into my life right now.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What I'm knitting

It is summer and a hot one so far. My knitting has slowed down considerably. This means I have a few things on the needles but they're not going anywhere fast.

First up we have a lovely sock that I talked about before but now have a better picture. It is Stepping Stones from the Knitter's Book of Socks. The yarn is from a local dyer, The Periwinkle Sheep. I was grooving on this one till I hit the heel. Since I added a few repeats my count is off if I do my standard heel. I love my standard heel it fits me so well that I am now unwilling to experiment with other heels. So I need to sit down with the pattern and figure out how to fix my problem, I'm leaning towards just adding a couple of stitches, seems like the easiest route, but is it the best one? So this sock is sitting in time out. 

Now my first sport weight socks are not in time out. They got to go to the movies and see The Avengers with their knitter and their future wearer. The were so pumped that they behaved and finished up lickity split. Since these were made with my non standard weight yarn I changed things up a bit. I bought three balls of yarn and knit one sock till I ran out of yarn. They were put on hold and I knit to the same point on the second sock. I finished up a couple of toes and before I knew what happened he had a pair of socks that he can not wear till it cools down. OK so my timing is a bit off, but they are lovely thick socks that I'm sure he will appreciate in the winter.

Also sitting in time out because I misplaced the pattern is my Holden Eggplant shawl. I can not tell you how many times I've had to rip back and redo portions because I kept screwing up the center line of stitches. If I could just find that pattern...

Once I finished D's socks, my purse went without knitting for a week, can you believe it? Good thing I had my Kindle or I would have been a very impatient person. Don't worry I have a new sock started that should be a good purse project. I was questioning my sanity for a time.

Gus update: We started him on insulin injections this weekend and except for a tiny bobble he has been responding very well. I think he may be getting sick of getting checked on frequently. String was fun the first 20 times now he just looks at me as if to say I'm fine go back to your knitting/sleeping/whatever you were doing! It is tough having a Mommy some days.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Strong enough

I look at life as a great learning opportunity. I love reading books and expanding my understanding. I love trying new things, whether it is a new knitting thing or a new cooking thing. But when it comes to medical stuff I've never been that happy about learning. Learning in the medical arena means that something is wrong. Well it does now that I've stopped working for doctors and can no longer ask random questions.

A bit over six months ago G started having problems. Issues that he had in the past. This time the meds were not working as well as they always had. In December I took both of them for a yearly checkup with blood work. (Oddly enough I also took myself in for my yearly checkup the next week.) Gus's blood work showed elevated blood sugar. I can remember asking what happens if we don't treat it. I think it is good to have all the data before you make any decisions, including the worst case scenario, do nothing.

I was so afraid of having to give a shot. I really, really did not want to go down that road and was not sure I even could. Turns out it was one of the easiest things I would have to undergo in the up coming months.

Since then we're endured many things that I simply reacted to without a much questioning, can I or can't I. A midnight run to the emergency vet that included horrible seizures in the car, thank goodness we had that blanket or I would have the scars to show for it. I've given subcutaneous fluids that involve a much larger needle than the insulin shots, much larger. We've taken many car rides to the vet with me carrying enough guilt to sink an aircraft carrier. I've second guessed myself while I watched his health deteriorate. I've had him come to me in the middle of the night asking for help and not been able to do anything more than attempt to comfort him. I've lost hope that my beautiful, awesome kitty would be with me in a year's time.

But then Dr B called with the ultrasound results, and I am cautiously optimistic again. They don't think that the mass is defined enough to be a mass. This does not rule out cancer but it does point to inflammation. Things may just be cascading one off of another, treating IBD with steroids lead to pancreatitis, which lead to a high blood sugar. If we can try to bring everything under control, I now think we may have a chance. We're treating the bowel inflammation with steroids, new food and probiotics. I gave my second ever insulin shot tonight. Maybe if we get his blood sugar down, his body will have a chance to use his food instead of fighting it.

Right now I'm watching him closely for any signs that he sugar is dropping to the danger zone. It has been four hours from the injection time. He just passed another string disorientation test, meaning if he can chase a string his eyesight is OK and he is not disoriented. I have warned him that tonight may not be one of his most restful nights.

So right now I know I am stronger than I was six months ago. I now know I can do things that I could not conceive a short time ago. Just in case the universe is listening, G and I are strong enough for the time being we would now like to heal for a time. Thanks

Yes Gus you have a question? I see your back paw is raised. 
Did you just post a picture of my shaved pink belly on the internet? 
Way to go woman, I wonder what kinds of hits you will get for shaved pink belly?
Do you want to do another string disorientation test?
No wait I think you should thank your blog friends for their nice comments.

Thank you to my commenters for their kind words on my last post. They were greatly appreciated!

Good now get the string...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I took Gus in to the vet this morning to have and ultrasound done. I don't know what Dr B hopes to find out from the test. I think he is wracking his brain for a solution to our problems. I am hopeful but doubtful of finding the solution.

Gus has been a better on the new food and has perked up but I am extremely cautious at this time. I was hopeful of a cure a couple of times, but now I am resolved to enjoy the time we have left, whether that be a month or five years.

In preparation for the test the order was given for no food after midnight. Well G has me trained now to feed him at 5 am. He comes in and meows at me and I am just thrilled that he is eating so I get up and give him a can of food with his probiotic mixed in. Then I go back to bed for another hour and life is good. Well this morning he was quite confused with me, no food and no amount of begging or demanding could move me. He was still sure that I loved him as I kept petting his fur and telling him I was sorry. But as his Daddy says you can not poop snuggles, so my efforts were unsatisfying.

I made sure I tucked his favorite ball of yarn in the carrier with him. That thing is half as big as he is, I adore seeing him carry it around the house calling for his Daddy. D informs me that I do not get such an honor when I am gone. He usually just plops himself down next to Dad and all is good. (I get no respect as the food giver.)

I did have to change my listening selection to Silent in the Grave again. I am telling you he is half in love with the narrator, or the story I can not tell which. Then again he may just be trying to finish the book, it is a mystery maybe he is longing to find out who-dun-it?

I had switched a day off for me since I wanted to be easily accessible for the vet. You know just in case I was needed urgently. I don't know what about an ultrasound would make me think that but maybe it was more of a case of being too distracted at work that I was avoiding.

So I spent the day at home with a confused Jack. Mom, where did you take Gus? We took a wee nap together. I'll let you figure out whose nap was more wee, his or mine. He was delighted to share my tuna for lunch. I did a total crack down on the food when we switched Gus, I knew the smell of tuna would drive him crazy if he could not have any. So we stopped our bed time treat. Poor Jack, he can not rough house with Gus and no more tuna. It is tough to be the healthy kitty too.

When Dr B called and moved our pickup time back by 2 1/2 hours I really started to worry. Now I am just killing time till I can go get my buddy. Some days it sucks to be the Momma but I would not have it any other way!

Oh, I sealed the deal on being crazy cat lady, I asked them to save Gus's fur for me if they have to shave him. I am crazy cat lady and proud of it!

Edited to add a story.

While I was waiting to talk to the vet I overheard the receptionist talking to a lady about how long the ashes would take and that she was very sorry. As we all know this hit a nerve in me. I sat and watched the very calm lady walk out the door... I had a quick discussion with myself and decided to do something. I grabbed my purse and went for the door. I stepped out and said Ma'am, Ma'am. She turned to look at me in a very quizzical way. I just heard about your pet, I'm very sorry, would you like a hug? She thought for a split second and said yes. Now of course I've got tears in my eyes when she asks me if I have one in there too. Yes I do. She smiled at me and took her leave. I hope for a moment I lightened her load. As I said before I am embracing my crazy cat lady, I just did not know it also meant embracing other people too.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

New sock Friday on a Saturday and mittens too!

I wore my newest lovelies to take lunch to the Hubby at work, yesterday. I think I've used up all my random day off chips so he will not have lunch to look forward to for a bit. We had a nice time and I even got to come home with half of a Fritos bag. Those chips are a little slice of heaven on earth, an unhealthy slice but tasty nonetheless.

Back to the socks, this is another one of my plain stockinette socks that really shows off the coloring of the yarn. I do believe that this yarn was from my first ever trip to Rhinebeck, ahh the memories. I was just a new knitter then and had only two or three hand knit socks to my name back then. (I have quite a few more than that now, you've seen many of them here.)

This is Socks that Rock medium weight yarn in the colorway Rare Gems. So now these little gems are mine! I don't think they will see much action this summer though, it is a fairly substantial yarn more suited to keeping out the cold rather than enjoying the summer heat.

Speaking of inappropriate things to wear in the summer. I finally managed to wrangle a picture of my mittens from this last winter. These fit fine until you pair them with a winter coat, then they are a tad too long due to the cuff of the coat wanting to sit where the cuff of the mitten wants to sit. It is a bit of wintertime sibling rivalry, I can almost hear them shoving each other and saying You move over, No you move over! 

I have not yet had to threaten to pull the car over if they can not figure out how to get along, yet. My mittens were hard to photograph because they stayed in the car once winter turned to spring and summer. I think they liked riding around with the windows down and the music playing. Alas now they're sitting on the desk next to the computer with nothing to do. Bummer mittens this is your life in the summertime.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dang it

So the Big G Man is inflamed again. Gus has IBD, Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Well at least we think he does based on his symptoms; vomiting, diarrhea, lost appetite, and weight loss. I don't know that I need a biopsy done to prove a diagnosis.

We had a recheck appointment with Dr B last week, and I had to call to see if we should restart the steroid before the appointment. The answer was yes. I knew something was going on when he no longer wanted his Fancy Feast. His appetite seemed to pick up a touch an hour or so after I gave him the pill. But I know this does not seem to be a solution.

I've done a bit of research over the internet about the disease in cats. Dr B has many patients, I have one sick cat and one healthy one. I feel it is my job to educate myself so that I can make the decisions that need to be made now and in the future.

Oddly enough many of the websites I found told the same story and did not have much conflicting data.
Treatment normally consists of steroids to control inflammation when it occurs. This is a road we've been down many times before. The problem is that the steroid is a know cause of pancreatitis, since it lowers the body's immune resistance. You're less likely to be able to fight off infections while on steroids.

I think the pancreatitis flared with this last round of steroids and with it came an elevated blood sugar. We tried giving insulin and Gus crashed that night and required an emergency middle of the night hospitalization. So you can see the vicious cycle we're in right now. Treat one thing and it allows another thing to flare up. Right now he needs to eat and to feel comfortable enough to do that he needs to be on steroids.

I can tell he is not feeling good to in addition to the vomiting. The last couple of nights he has been in my face. No really he crawls up very close to me, looks me in the eyes and meows at me. My belly hurts Mom! I need to see Dr B!

So now that I have told you all this I will also tell you my plan. Diet change, change him to a food source that he has not had yet and thus has not had a reaction to either. Dr B chose venison, I've been telling Gus that Daddy grew up eating venison so that is yet another thing they have in common. I'm not sure if it helped. Probiotics, lets see if we can get some good bacteria working for us.

An ultrasound is planned for next week, which may give us more data. Possibly how bad this is and what sort of time frame we're looking at. Or it may not it is too hard to say with this thing.

The good news is that he has started eating again and really he is demanding food like a trooper. He has me up at 5 am to feed him. I figure it is important to eat while the urge is there.

I can tell you that while he seemed to like the Guernsey book that is playing in the car, I think he really preferred Silent in the Grave. My boy he has particular tastes. I may have to replay that one while we're on our way to and from the ultrasound next week.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I don't wanna

I am in a quandary. Well not a quandary now that I have looked that word up. But more of a state of not wanting to do something but I keep getting nudged in that direction.

I am not a leader, or social either.  This is one of the most profound things I've learned about myself. I really truly do not want to be a leader. However I am being pushed to start a ministry at my church for knitters/crocheters/fiber people. And by pushed I mean gently, at least for the time being is is gently. People keep telling me I should start one, four people at least, including the Hubby. I would think that the Hubby knew me better, but he is also the one I have to thank for pushing me into my first knitting group. I guess he does know me pretty well.

Right now I am pushing back on one of the people doing most of the pushing. She is a fiber person too so I keep telling her to start the group and I will attend. That backs her down somewhat but not enough. I'm not saying this to be mean but I just don't get why she is pressing me to do something she has no wish to do herself.

Sunday I was swooped in upon by someone I've not yet met. After a quick introduction she pulled out a bag of yarn and started asking questions. Many questions, even after my disclaimer that I don't know how to crochet. She's having what I think are tension problems, a bowl shaped granny square rather than a flat granny square. I helped her as much as I could which mostly consisted of going up a couple hook sizes and just play with your work. Don't be afraid to play for a while, if it is not working change something and do that for a while, have fun and relax, you're still learning it is all OK. Which is the best advice I'd given myself.

I have no idea who sent her my way. I do know people are talking about how much I knit, even though I've never knit during the church service. When did I become the expert? I keep telling myself this is why I don't want to start a church club/ministry. I don't want to be the person people continually come to for yarny advice. I like my quiet knitting time while Hubby is practicing with the choir.

So I'm just trying to figure out if I'm being to selfish or if I should just go ahead and fire it up. I could always do it once to see what happens...

Monday, June 11, 2012

It is Monday

I was felled by a migraine this weekend so I don't have as much to report as I would like. I did manage to go to the library used book sale and pick up some books. And by some I mean eleven so that is a great thing. I did look for my very own copy of the Guernsey book I've been listening to but alas they were all gone, maybe next time. 

I did see one little girl with a copy of By the Shores of Silver Lake. Oh how I loved these books when I was little. Oh how I still love them. It made me smile to think that another generation is falling in love again. I'm trying to convince Kisknit that her daughter needs to read them too. I am starting young in my suggestion since she is not yet three. I'm hoping when the time comes they will be able to discover the books together. 

Anyways I do have a sad little picture of my knitting to show you. The yarn is actually a mossy, pond scummy green color. I am loving how they look. The pattern is from Knitter's Book of Socks, it's called Stepping Stones. 

It was designed for a thicker yarn but I did my standard I need 80 stitches adjustment and now I have a sock in progress at the right gauge. Isn't it nice when your knitting cooperates with you?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Good reading

While camping I rediscovered my first love, you know before I became a knitter and got all yarn obsessed? Reading, I have always been a reader. You could usually find me outside with a book when we lived on the farm.

Sorta looked like this.
I may not have knit much while camping but I got through a book and a half. I found the realization that I read like I knit humorous. I have a few books in progress scattered around the house. I'm usually reading 4-6 books at any given time, some more actively than others. Some have been kicked under the couch and forgotten. Similar to my next to knit list, I have a stack of books in my mental next to read pile, my ever changing next to read pile.

So now I've joined I am Yarnkettle there also, if you want to look me up. Initially I joined to see how other people reviewed books. It had quite a few user reviews and they do not really follow any certain format. I don't think I have the site figured out or that I am using it to its fullest potential. I tend to flounder around on social sites. The social element leaves me mystified. I am hoping to find some people who share my taste in books, so that I may mine them for book recommendations.

Recommendations because I am always looking for new books that I will enjoy. I can tell what is popular on Amazon, but it does not mean I will enjoy reading it. I am not a fan of many popular books or authors. I'll give you my most recent example, 50 Shades of Grey. The three books in this series have held the top spots for weeks now. People who I've never heard talking about books are reading them and talking about them. Does that mean I am going to? Nope. I have a low tolerance for tortured souls in books, especially if it meets my definition of an abusive relationship. Also if I wanted to read erotica I would read erotica, not a thinly veiled version of it. A lady I know described it as a great trashy romance. But the thing is, as D said, "You like romance not trashy romance." This does not mean that you can not read the books and enjoy them. Just don't ask me to wax poetic with you about them. Life is too short to read something you don't enjoy.

I also wondered over to one of my favorite places (my library) and picked up a couple of copies of the magazine Bookmarks. Who knew a magazine listing and reviewing book after book could be so interesting. They give a nice basic evaluation of several books in all different genres. No pretension or high handed judgement here, just talk by people who love books for other people who love books. Plus it keeps reminding me of books that I've been meaning to read, how cool is that?

I'm still listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and am so excited to talk about it. On one hand I want to be done so that I know how it all turns out but on the other it will feel like I am losing a group of friends. Great books alway do that to me. Guess that is why I read so many series, I get to stay with the characters longer.