Monday, May 29, 2006

Status on Grandma and General Musings

I went to see my grandmother again this weekend. I also brought my daughter to Granbury - mainly to help out my folks. They've been sitting vigil on Grandma all last week and I think they really needed a break. I sat with Grandma all Saturday and briefly on Sunday.

I am truly amazed. She's stated to eat again - if you can call it that. Remember, she can't swallow and the doctor has pulled her off of food. Since my mom is now back, she signed the papers to put Grandma on Hospice. Basically, Hospice will let her die if she becomes distressed instead of taking her to the ER and doing heroic measures.

Observations: Her verbal skills have declined dramatically. Last week when I sat vigil with my uncle, Grandma was able to tell stories at length. She can barely speak now. It's very breathy. But she's completely aware of what day it is, who's supposed to come, etc. . . It's as if her mind is completely intact, but her body is totally failing her.

Since Grandma is now eating, she's also defecating and had to be changed the last time I saw her. The nurses that take care of her do a wonderful job and Grandma tells me that she's very happy there.

I was also able to feed her lunch and dinner. I'm still impressed at how much better she's looking since she's now eating again. I know it's not something she's enjoying. She's really trying hard to keep it up.

I enjoyed the time I was able to spend with her.

I finally told M about how Grandma was doing - i.e., she's very sick and will pr0bably die. M is asking me about why we die and when we will die. I tell her that we (her parents and her) won't die for a very long time. She's been asking about when will Grandma get out of the hospital. I tell her that Grandma is sick and won't be getting out of the hospital. I also told her the reason why I've been going to see her is because we think that she's not going to last much longer and that I wanted to spend as much time as I could with Grandma as she's going to die some day soon and that I won't be able to spend any more time with her again.

M was really gracious and came into see Grandma - which is not her favorite thing to do. Part of the main problem is getting to see Grandma. Many of the residents get so excited about seeing a young one and they tend to pounce on her - which is really scary for a four year old. Once we're in Grandma's room, M is just fine. My cousin found an alternate entrance - but it's not always open and is often locked.

I think I'll try to make it to Granbury next weekend to see Grandma again. If anything, it's to help spell my folks as they've had to take care of Grandma during the week. Having M at their home definitely lifts them up.

This has been difficult on everyone in the family. I think my biggest guilt is over how I want the whole ordeal over - i.e. When is she going to finally die?

I feel horrible about these feelings. For me, dead is dead. I will no longer know my Grandmother as I know her now. She will cease to exist. Thus, the real reason why I wish to spend my weekends with her. Once she's gone, she's gone. I miss my kind Grandpa Homer as he passed away about eight years ago. I know all to well what it feels to miss someone so dear.

On another note, I'm very proud of her. She's really rallied and is forcing herself to eat and drink - which is really a chore for her. I was really amazed at how well she looked this weekend - you see, the last time I saw her, she had not had any food for about 12 days - she was so lifeless and pasty. Eating food has given her some color to her face and I've notice that her strength has returned. The only thing I see as being different is her ability to speak.

I love my Grandma. The older I've become, the more I've come to respect her.

Friday, May 26, 2006

End of the year teacher gifts

Well, I almost have two purses out of four knitted up - and one more week to finish them! Eeek!

Here's a photo of the green bag that will go to Ms. Whitener:

Here's a photo of the un-felted bag for Mrs. Todd:

I love the ruffle, but feel that the large flowers may be a bit much for this purse. I'm downsizing the flowers to see if they won't be so overwhelming.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Back Home

I'm so glad to be back home - sleeping in my own bed, sitting in my own comfy chair, using my own computer. I'm finally comfortable for the first time in about two weeks.

First of all, I had a strange rash break out on the lower part of my jaw. Then another itchy patch showed up on my hip, then on my arms. I went to the doctor and found that I have some type of dermatitis. I had difficulty sleeping because I was so uncomfortable with the itch. It was not fun. Thank goodness for steroids. I'm now sleeping through the night and am pretty happy with how the medication is keeping the rash in check.

Then I get a call from my uncle last Wednesday. Grandma will not be getting her feeding tube and will slowly starve to death. The family decided to sit vigil on Grandma while she's alert and talking, so we packed up the dog, the child, and the husband and headed down to my parents house. My folks and my sister, at this time, are located on a rented sailboat somewhere in the Caribbean. After the first night, we decided that J and M should just go back home - there wasn't anything for them to do. So I stayed with my uncle at my parents house. Our schedule was to wake up, make breakfast, go to the home and sit with Grandma, go home for lunch, go back to see Grandma, go home for dinner, go back to see Grandma until about 9 pm. We talked and talked and talked. Sometimes Grandma would just sit and listen. As of today, she has not eaten anything for 12 days. I said goodbye to her yesterday after my folks got back from vacation.

All I can say is thank goodness for my new love of knitting. Granbury has a great yarn shop and I was able to run there to buy some yarn. I made a Garden Party bag for an end of year gift for one of M's teachers. As soon as I line it, I'll post a photo of the finished object.
I did the green one purse without the loopy mohair. I'll make the pink one, too, for another teacher (these are the two that help out in Extended Day), and then I'll make the Really Huge Carpet Bag (it's the one in black below) in pinks and turquoise for her main teacher.

I also bought the pattern for the Spider Chrysanthemum's. If I knit them in a cream, I think it'll look like the FSM.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


My grandmother is dying. She's had a stroke that effects her swallowing and she's too weak to have a feeding tube installed - the surgeon thinks she won't survive the surgery.

She's in Hospice care now and can have as long as 10 days to two months to live.

I'm just glad I was able to forge a good relationship with her in my adult years. We traveled around too much as kids to really know my grandparents. I had a job a couple of years ago which allowed me to go visit her quite often. It gave me a greater appreciation of all she's done for me to live the life I lead today. It all has to do with giving my mother a college education.

I love her and will really miss her. I hate the fact that she's essentially going to starve to death, but this isn't the life she wanted. She is always self-reliant and it's terribly difficult on her to be wheelchair bound in a home.

Life is too short. I'm going to go and hug my kiddo.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Modeling my handiwork

Here it is!

Cyclic Universe

I just thought it was cool to hear a new theory that could support the Big Bang theory with the help of string theory - and it's actually testable.

The gist of what I understand is that the universe blows up, the energy dissipates and mass goes to nothing. Then two branes (which apparently is supported with String Theory - which is a little over my head right now) crunch together and "blam" - the universe is reborn.

So, the universe could be older than what we originally thought!

The cool thing that is that this idea sort of helps to explain a problem the Big Bang theory has -the rate in which the universe is expanding is far slower than what the models are showing. This new cyclic universe idea posits that after each Big Bang, the energy degrades - and they've been able to model it.

Now all they need to do is to test it.

Yes, I'm a nerd.

Bombshell Finished!

Whew! I finished my first sweater! whoo, hoo! Big needles: 10, small needles 6 (the 5's were just not sliding well and the 6's looked good). I also used Berroco Softwist Fern.


I don't think I have the hang of where short rows go. :( I think I knitted one large boob on the left side.

But the sweater fits great! I had to lengthen the bottom of it SIGNIFICANTLY because I have a long torso. I think I added a total of four inches to the bottom of the sweater. I'm not really happy at how the increases look - I swear I followed the pattern. My problem with it: they're going in the same direction. For symmetry sake, I would have preferred this to go in the opposite direction - but I think for a first time attempt at knitting something that I'll actually wear, I'm very pleased with the outcome of this thing.

As soon as it's dried, I'll post a photo of it on.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Secret Pal Questionnaire

I joined a group where you can spoil someone for the next three months in exchange for getting spoiled yourself. I did something like this with the candy swap about a month ago. This one is knitting centered. (Secret Pal 8)

I have to fill out a questionnaire and post it here on my blog.

1a. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

I'm still a very new knitter and haven't been exposed to a lot of different yarns. When I first started out, I tried knitting with cotton but found it to be really very tough to work with because beginners knit so tightly. Wool has definitely become what I lean towards when buying yarn. I think this is because I did several felted projects and the wool felts very well.

I did, however, finally knit with cotton after I had some projects behind me and found it really not difficult to knit with. My knitting has definitely become a little looser the more I knit.

1b. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I will tolerate fun fur for small batches or lining. Otherwise, I really don't like working with them.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have a Barnes and Noble book bag where I throw all my needles. I also have a set of Dennis system needles that I adore. They come in a case.

3a. How long have you been knitting?

Since October 2005

3b. Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I consider myself at an intermediate level. I can fix a problem in my knitting without frogging the darn thing (crochet hooks are wonderful things) - can finally determine the difference between a purl and knitted stitch just by looking at it. I love knitting in the round and have done a couple of intarsia projects as well as one fair isle type project.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?


5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

Berry style stuff.

6a. Do you have a sweet tooth?


6b. Favorite candy?

Dark chocolate.

7a. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

High powered rocketry, crochet, sew.

7b. Do you spin?

I have a homemade drop spindle and my neighbor has given me a couple of bundles of roving to experiment with.

8a. What kind of music do you like?

Basically anything but Country and Western. Right now the music we're listening to is Radio Disney oriented because of my 4 year old daughter.

8b. Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)


9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

I love color. My favorite is blue, but I like the jewel colors and find that I tend to buy stuff with those types of colors. While I love orange, it's not a color that looks good on me.

10a. What is your family situation?

I've been married for 15 years and have a 4 year old daughter.

10b. Do you have any pets?

Unlike most knitters, I do not have a cat, but a great pound puppy named Mel. We also have a couple of feeder gold fish that we rescued from our local pet store and they've lived very long lives (I think they're going on 8 years) indeed.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I live in Texas. It rarely gets cold here - so not really. Ponchos are definitely a NO.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Toys. Especially Jess Hutch's.

13. What are you knitting right now?

The Bombshell sweater from Big Girl Knits. I'm currently half way through the waist doing the k2, p2 rib. My next projects will be to make some mittens for some teachers in my daughters school.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yes but I've never received one! :) The Bombshell sweater is the first homemade item I've made for myself!

15a. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Circular, baby! I will even go out of my way to use the Magic Loop to avoid DPN's.

15b. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Since I got the Dennis needles, I have to say plastic. When I was first learning to knit, bamboo was my choice.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

If you call my thumb the swift and my left hand the winder, then yes. Otherwise, I can only dream of a winder with a swift . . . :)

17. How did you learn to knit?

I picked up a book and taught myself the basics - and went to Joann's for a quick demonstration to make sure I was doing it right. After struggling through and knitting several squares, I wanted to try to knit SOMETHING and my neighbor, whose been knitting for years and spins her own yarn, encouraged me to knit the Stitch n Bitch Devil Hat. It took me forever, but it certainly boosted my confidence and I haven't looked back.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?

I have a set of socks that I stopped knitting because I need to frog them. I'd say it's been about two months since I picked that project up. I also have a banner I've been knitting on that has taken me a couple of months. I'm pretty close at finishing it, but I just needed a break.

19. What is your favorite holiday?


20. Is there anything that you collect?


21a. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?

I'm pretty bad when it comes to knitting as I really indulge myself when I can.

21b. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Interweave Knitting and Creative Knitting.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?


23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I'm trying to knit a pair of socks from the toe up. I wear a size 10.5 women's shoe.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)


Monday, May 01, 2006

Dick Tracey neat

I remember thinking that some of the comic book stuff from my childhood would be pretty neat to have IN THE FUTURE . . .

Well, J just sent me a link to Make magazine's website that shows off the new Logitech Quickcam interface. It's really cool, in a video telephone sort of way.

I'm just not sure what type of effect I'd do - I do like the goat-tee and the bunny rabbit. :)