Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Think I May See a Tattoo in My Future

I've never been one to seriously consider getting a tattoo. I always admire them on other people but would never be so brave myself. The first thing that comes to mind is, "what will that look like when I'm 80 years old?"

Well, considering there's a good chance I'll soon end up with a scar like this:

I may as well make it pretty.

Add to that the fact that this surgery would happen at the start of the third trimester of pregnancy and I will get BIG...and then eventually shrivel back down to skinny ol' me. Ugh...

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Blessing and a Curse

In all the business of our lives, it's easy to look over the little things. We complain about petty stuff, getting stuck in traffic, who said what on TV or in politics... It sometimes takes a life changing event to put things into a different perspective where we can forget the pettiness and really appreciate the little things for what they are: miracles.

A few months ago, I was laying in bed on my side with my shoulders twisted around toward the ceiling and just happened to feel a golf ball sized lump under my right rib cage. I didn't think it belonged but put off asking any questions for another month or so thinking that it was just something normal I'd never noticed before or maybe having a baby recently had shifted some things around. Our health insurance had just changed and I had not yet found new doctors to replace the previous ones. I finally decided to call a local doctor who had openings for new patients. He was a bit baffled by this lump...we could only feel it when I lay in this particular position. If I turned over to my back, it would sink down out of reach. He ordered a CT scan for the following week and I mentioned there might be a chance I'm pregnant. I did a test in the office that day and to my great relief it was negative. I really wasn't ready for another child yet. I was on day 28 of my cycle so I played it safe and did a home test the day before the CT scan on day 32...positive. I couldn't believe it! I had an 11 month old baby I was still breastfeeding, I was scared out of my mind about what this lump could be and...I was now pregnant! I sat at home and sobbed for hours. My last two pregnancies were welcome and joyous...this one was a big wrench in the works. I immediately canceled the CT scan and scheduled an ultrasound for a week later.

The results of the ultrasound were a bit inconclusive but things were narrowed down to: a highly vascular 4cm mass on the mid pole of my right kidney that wasn't a fluid filled cyst. Possibilities were angiomyolipoma, a rare type of benign tumor made up of blood vessels and fatty tissue, or renal cell carcinoma. My doctor referred me to a urologist, who ordered an MRI. The hospital refused to do the MRI (even without contrast) until I had reached my second trimester. I had to wait two months for this. With as little information about my condition that I had to go by, this was a very stressful time to say the least. Not to mention, I didn't really like my urologist, who didn't seem to have good communication skills or an ounce of sensitivity. I was quickly sinking into depression. I finally had my MRI one day after the start of my second trimester. When he first ordered the MRI, the urologist confidently proclaimed that I "couldn't" have cancer because I was too young and healthy. I felt like I was being shrugged off.

The MRI results as relayed from the urologist were scary...he didn't use layman's terms and seemed to want to get me off the phone. It was a week after my MRI and I had finally called to ask what was going on. The doctor had just returned from vacation. The conversation was awkward and when we spoke, I heard the words "bleeding" and "hemorrhage" and he finally said that it was "suspicious" and "worrisome for cancer". I had to drag even that much out of him. He then referred me to the head of the urological oncology department at UCSF. He wasn't feeling qualified for my case because I was pregnant. I had no problems with this. As one last virtual slap in the face, the previous doctor's office took forever getting my records transferred because, I suppose, I needed more time to worry.

I finally had my appointment with Dr. Carroll at UCSF five days ago. Needless to say, he was MUCH better at letting me know what's going on and gave me the whole picture. He hadn't seen the actual MRI scans yet but from the written report, he kindly assured me that this is not going to be a problem for his team to deal with. Even if it were cancer, the location of the tumor and the fact that it's contained within a "meaty" portion of the kidney allows for an easy removal. No other therapy would be needed. No chemo, no radiation. I also wouldn't have to lose the whole kidney. Despite not knowing if it was benign or cancerous, he felt it needed to come out soon. This was such a relief to hear, it took a massive amount of control not to cry right there in his office.

He took the next two days to view the scans with other doctors at UCSF so that they could verify what the report said. I received a call from him Friday afternoon explaining that they could find no signs that the tumor is benign (no fatty tissue). So basically, I most likely have a malignant tumor... the "c" word. The big question at this point is when is it going to be removed. I will either have to have open surgery at around 24 weeks in my pregnancy -or- wait and monitor the tumor through the pregnancy and have it removed laparoscopically a couple weeks after delivery. He is currently trying to contact my OBGYN to see what she's comfortable with. We don't know how long this tumor has been there and we don't know how fast it's growing. If I have the open surgery, recovery will be long, difficult and simultaneous with the third trimester. Reading others' stories of recovery from open kidney surgery is scary...and they aren't even doing this while pregnant. Laparoscopic surgery is a much easier recovery but we have no idea how things will go in the next five months.

This last phone call has really put me on edge again despite my efforts to prepare myself. I'm only 31, do not fall under any of the risk factors, and do not have any family whatsoever who has had ANY type of cancer. I have always been very active and healthy. It's simply a freak occurrence. I just can't help but think about how easily I could have missed that lump and how much worse things could have been. Apparently, a mass that small can almost never be felt from the outside. Given more time to spread, it may have become terminal. You can call it luck but I'd like to believe it was divine intervention.

On the bright side, I get to find out on October 6th if I'm having a boy or a girl. I have two boys already and am really hoping for a girl this time. I'll be happy, though, just to have a healthy baby at all. I'll be even happier to be a mother of three for a very long time. This was all so unexpected and I don't know what the heck I'm going to do with three kids or how I'll fit them all into my car and house! Regardless, this baby will be my little survivor and I'm forever going to be grateful. The road ahead is going to be rough but it really is good to be alive.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bissell Goes Green

I ordered a Steam Shot directly from Bissell a couple weeks ago and have been pretty happy with this little cleaning machine. Three days after receiving it, however, I received a second machine. No extra charge to my card and the paperwork looks identical. Some people might take advantage of this and keep the extra machine, even sell it for a profit. I don't like that idea and figure it's best to stay honest and let them know about the mistake. My mom is interested in this machine for herself so she offers to buy it.

Today, I called Bissell to take care of this business and purchase the machine rather than go through the trouble of shipping it back. To my complete shock, Bissell will not allow for me to purchase the machine but would have me ship it back to them. If I want another machine, I will have to go online, purchase another one, and have it shipped back. I'm still trying to figure out the logic behind this as they won't even take my money. I wonder how many gallons of gas or jet fuel will be wasted getting this thing back to Grand Rapids, MI. Honesty really pays sometimes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

That was nice.

I need to get out more minus kids and car. 40 minutes hiking, 2 minutes jogging. Better than nothing. My knees were saying, "I don't wanna jog!". I feel like getting the bike out now but my free time comes in short increments with nursing and I only have a sitter maybe once a week. I'm looking forward to Summer time when I'm no longer the dairy queen and I can drop the kids off with my mom and get some real exercise...if she'll take them. ;)

Giving it a shot...

I'm going for a walk. Maybe I'll jog, maybe I won't. I just can't believe how much time it took for me to find something to wear without feeling like I'm in a sausage casing or a potato sack! I hate having a postpartum body...it takes sooo long to feel normal again.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Loss, Joy, Freedom and Grace

I can thank my husband for introducing me to Dead Can Dance the second time we ever met. He was playing the Toward the Within album in the apartment and I believe I had to cut a conversation mid-sentence to ask who we were listening to. When I borrowed the CD, I quickly became fond of [not only the entire album, but] one song in particular. Sanvean sounds like it's sung in a foreign language but there are no lyrics. There is no story here but the voice of emotion that I can only describe as life reminisced - loss, joy, freedom and grace. I can hear this song time and again and it never fails to tug at my heart like I'm listening to it for the first time.

I couldn't find a way to link the video directly so you'll have to go here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Indigo BFL

After much searching, I finally found the perfect fiber to spin and knit something special for my husband. This was one of my finds at stitches West 2009 from A Verb for Keeping Warm. 4 oz black (brown, actually) BFL wool dyed with indigo. It spun up nice and quickly into a 2-ply Aran weight but some of the indigo was lost in the first washing. I still like the colors and they're very much what my husband likes...very natural. I started a simple beanie and had gotten half way done with it before discovering that my cast-on row was too tight and it won't fit. So...back to the beginning! The picture is of all 4 oz packed onto my little Victoria bobbin.

Waste Not

Okay, so it's been a couple weeks since I cut my hair but I just haven't gotten around to sending it out yet. I guess I'll shoot a picture before it's gone for good.

This 8" ponytail will be donated to Locks of Love as soon as I can get my hands on a padded envelope. I could have cut off more but I'm trying to keep my husband happy as well. I'm just glad it's not catching on things anymore - zippers, chairs, buttons, baby death-grips... I figured if I was going to get my hair cut, it may as well be enough to donate. I'd hate to waste three years of growth.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Misery Loves Company

Up to the third trimester, I was pleasantly surprised that my second pregnancy seemed much easier than my first, already easy pregnancy. And then came May... and June... and now July. I can't believe what a difference these last few months have been! I'm absolutely exhausted all the time not to mention so uncomfortable! So much so that it's hard for me to even leave the house let alone keep my two year-old occupied during the day and working on potty training. To top it off, this last week my son caught pink eye from a friend and then developed a cough (minor croup) a couple days later. The cherry on top: Now I have pink eye and a cold. Lovely. I won't even mention the other gory details of this late pregnancy. Let's just say it's really not pleasant and I'm walking a little funny. I'd wish that I could be done being pregnant but there's still a lot to do. I need to buy a few more things, pack my labor bag, buy the new car (which should be at the dealership but our sales guy is LAGGING)......it goes on. Oh yeah, and an email from Target today states that the car seat base for my new infant seat has been recalled.

For having a due date of August 9th, which I already felt was a tad late, I feel at this point that I'm going to pop at any moment. There's nothing like a head pushing on your cervix, tap dancing feet in your ribs, and five more weeks to look forward to. The baby has even decided to drop already which seems early for a subsequent pregnancy. I keep reading it usually happens hours before birth when it's not the first time. Joy.

Deep breath...and happy thoughts, happy thoughts, happy thoughts...

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Sorry, dozed off for a bit. It happens.

I haven't felt too chatty lately but I have done a lot of knitting and spinning. Here's what I've been up to:

The Eesti Trail Hiking Socks I started waaaay back for my husband are DONE! He loves them. I need to make more.

The alpaca "yarn that refused to be a sweater" (I'm not going there) turned out wonderful as as a large scarf/shawl called Clapotis. I need to make more.

And then, of course, Vera...what has become of her? She ended up spinning into a worsted weight 3-ply yarn and became a cropped cardigan and a baby hat (using the leftovers). And no, the pink hat is not for my baby boy-to-be...it's for a friend having twins. I need to make more, dangit! The hat only takes 3 weekdays to make if I don't put it down and forget about it.

Did I mention putting a simple project down for hibernation? Shame on me. Here's the second baby hat I started, um - a while ago. This one's still a work in progress. Good for left over scraps of expensive yarn. Waste not.

And then the Gyp--I mean Gothic Rose superwash I bought at Stitches West. Well, this didn't become the Bella Paquita like I intended. I took a look at that pattern and didn't feel like working out the HUGE chart provided in lieu of written instructions. So this will instead be the Sand Dollar Pullover by Norah Gaughan. I'm readjusting the gauge to make it more fitted (my only mod so far). I only have the back piece done so here's just a sneak peak at the colorway:

And then Vera's sister, Tahoe and her friend Garnet. No, I don't talk to my wool rovings. The little bits of wool I spun over Christmas (remember Grandma's mittens?) are, well, one mitten now and Spring is here. So much for finishing these during the cold season. Although, with a visit from Grandma came reassurance that the mittens will indeed fit. It's just no longer a surprise. I can move on now and get these done...any time now.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The "Y" Chromosome Prevails

Ultrasound today says BOY! I guess I can't get rid of Jason's baby clothes in storage yet.

I *heart* Progress

I know I haven't posted much on the progress of my Tilted Duster, but that's in part because it's been going so fast and I've spent all my spare time getting it done. This is a garment I'll actually be able to keep wearing while pregnant so I really can't wait to finish it. All I have left to do at this point is sew in the sleeves, buttons, and weave in the loose ends. Here are some pictures of its progress over the weekend:

Since finishing the collar and all the required knitting on the duster, I put the project down for a while to work on a couple other things. Remember those hiking socks I started for the husband? Well, I guess you could say I got a bad case of "second sock syndrome". I finally picked those back up and am now working on the heel of the second sock. It's all downhill from here. I also got some spinning done this weekend and the little one learned a valuable lesson: Don't touch the flyer when mommy's spinning! (ouch) Though he no longer tries to put his hands on the wheel, he still wants to help me treadle.

All in all, I think I got a lot done over the last few days.

Thumbs up Mom!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wool Heaven

Wow. When there's not too many decent yarn shops in town, an event like Stitches West really brings it together for me. I love it. Contrary Colleen, Gypsy Junk and I ventured out there yesterday for a girls' day out.

My l3wt!

I quickly learned a valuable lesson this weekend...be sure to set aside a lot more spending money before the event! Being that we're one month from paying off an annoying little credit card debt, I only had $100 for my spending budget this weekend. I really had to make the best of it and I think I did just that.This was my first time at the event and I felt completely overwhelmed by all the woolly goodness the vendors had to offer.

My first purchase were two cute buttons (didn't catch the vendor name) for my almost-finished Tilted Duster. Though I didn't have a swatch of yarn with me, I knew the buttons would be perfect. From skating, I remember that the heliotrope (color) Austrian crystal worked with just about any shade of purple. When I got home and put the buttons with the yarn, they were perfect!

My second purchase was some worsted weight yarn to make another top for myself. The pattern I had in mind was Bella Paquita, by Marnie Maclean. A feminine top deserves a feminine color but I've never been big on pinks or pastels. The Gothic Rose colorway from Dream in Color really caught my eye and I couldn't resist. This project will most certainly be on hold for a while since my baby bump has really grown but come late Summer/early Fall, this will definitely be a part of my wardrobe. I couldn't get a decent picture of this yarn so you'll just have to follow the link to see it. I bought this from the folks at Purlescence Yarns, where Gypsy Junk and I took a drop spinning class last year.

Speaking of spinning, I also had my eye out for some nice roving to buy. Since I love to get my roving from Paradise Fibers online, I really felt I had to find something special to justify increasing my fiber stash. Towards the end of our day, we visited the ladies at Tactile Fiber Arts and A Verb For Keeping Warm. There, I found some beautifully hand painted rovings of all sorts of fibers. I already have a few projects to finish, all rather large, so I focused on smaller bits I could use for making socks or other little items. I found a 2 oz roving in Merino called Sassafrass (green/blue/natural), which has turned out to be my favorite color of the rovings I found but there was only one left. Woe is me... I did, however, buy two other 2 oz rovings in colors to compliment Sassifrass: Diebenkorn (blue) and Bark (brown). I really hope Sassafrass is a color I can see available again in the future.

Along with my Merino roving from A Verb For Keeping Warm, I bought 4 oz of lovely Alpaca from Tactile Fiber Arts. The roving didn't have a name, but it's half periwinkle, half fawn, and all good. The new rovings from both vendors are naturally dyed and I've never yet seen colors as nice as these. Since I want to make sock weight yarns out of them and I'm still a bit novice on the wheel, I'll be spinning them up on the drop spindle. I already started Sassafrass on one spindle last night because I couldn't resist. There's not enough on the spindle to photograph yet but soon...very soon.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

3 Months

I woke up Friday morning with an insane amount of energy - or was that just the normal amount I haven't felt in a while? In any case, I do believe I've hit my second trimester and besides having to pee every five minutes I'm feeling great. I even managed to clean house AND shampoo the carpet today. Well, okay, only the dining room carpet.

Along with finally catching up on some much needed cleaning, my progress on the Myrna top has been swift. This weekend I finished the front, blocked it, and sewed it to the back piece. Now I really hate sewing knit pieces together...all the books show some great techniques but my stuff always comes out messy and bulky. With Myrna, I figured the fabric's thin enough...why not use the sewing machine? Is this cheating? Blasphemy??

The pieces went together beautifully and I couldn't have possibly hand sewn it any better. So there!

Tonight, I finished the first sleeve. This pattern will require a huge amount of easing in the sleeve cap and the bust portion of the top. You can probably see the thread holding in all the ribbing under the arm in the second picture. The sleeve cap also looks like nothing I've ever sewn in a conventional (sewing) pattern before. I'm crossing my fingers here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What have I been up to?

I'm afraid that I've been struck down by the "demotivation" bug lately. My birthday passed uneventfully as usual...except for the big box of fiber that arrived in the mail a couple days later from a friend in Seattle. It was half a birthday gift and half a thank you gift for making some costumes. He sent two 10 ounce rovings of Lorna's Laces superwash merino in the "Vera" and "Tahoe" colorways. Beauteous.

Above are the before and after pics of "Tahoe". I started a pair of mittens for my grandma in Elko so I only spun up about 2 oz of the 10. I think this one is my favorite. I'll have to post some pics of the mittens in progress as soon as I have them.

And here's a sample spin of the "Vera" colorway. I'm thinking this will be the background on a argyle vest with a dark eggplant as the main color...maybe.


And what else has been taking up my time and focus you might ask? Well right after Thanksgiving, I learned I was pregnant! That made me pretty happy but it also completely drained my energy for a few months and I've been on what seems like an emotional roller coaster. But hey, at least I never puked. There were a few rough times when I wasn't sure things were going well but I'm happy to say now that I'm twelve weeks along and doing great. My last ultrasound showed a kicking, wailing, jumping bean and you wouldn't believe how relieved that made me feel. The baby will be due in early August when Jason is 2 1/2.

I know this just looks like a peanut-blob...but the blob on the left is the head and the one on the right is the body. It was much more impressive on the live screen seeing the legs and arms jumping and waving. We'll know if it's a boy or girl in early March.


On the knitting front, a trip to SF via BART last week gave me a good kick start back into a work in progress. It's the White Lies Designs top "Myrna". I bought it as a kit which included the yarn but the yarn I got wasn't exactly what I saw in the picture. I guess it's still a good color but I would really have preferred the lighter shade of lavender. Besides the color, the yarn is very nice to work with. The pattern is a bit vague in spots so I've had to improvise but have otherwise not had any trouble. I have the back finished and the front is about 75% done. Then I'll just need to make the sleeves and seam it all together. Too bad I'll be too big for it by the time I'm finished! I"m already in maternity pants...my goodness.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

14 Years ago...

One of the other girls at my rink called me "Bendy Straw". I wonder why...?

It's raining today and my hip really hurts - I have skating to thank for that. Despite the aches and pains, I wish I could still skate. Too bad most rinks around here have gone out of business. Too bad I'm getting too old for that freestyle stuff - turning 30 tomorrow. I'm sure falling at 30 hurts a lot more than it did at 16.


My second project for stash reduction is the "Cabled Rangoli Hat", by Desi Knitter . One of my friends posted this in her blog and I printed a copy and set it aside. I picked it up again after putting the hiking socks down - I wasn't in the mood for frogging. It's a little more than halfway done and moving along nice and quick. This would make a good gift. The only change I made was removing the puffs. I couldn't get a handle on purling five stitches together and puffs aren't really my style anyways...yeah, that's it. This is another project using Lionbrand WoolEase, this time in sportweight. The hat looks a little small on the needles but I have a small head so it may work out. If not, I need to find a kid to give this to or just save it in case I have a daughter next.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Pain in the neck!

After three years of procrastination, I finally bit the bullet and painted our living room. It hadn't been repainted since the house was built in the early 80's and a fresh layer was desperately needed. I swear, the next house we live in will NOT have a vaulted ceiling! Did I mention I painted the ceiling too? Yeah...pain in the neck. I'll never touch that again with a 10 foot pole.

I'm not entirely done as the walls around the upstairs landing still need paint but at least the hardest work is done and it's nice to finally get that over with. Now I need some art to hang on the big empty wall. Tomorrow I get to rearrange furniture and finish painting. *joy*

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Socks for the 1ft Feet

I have some yarn I collected when I was learning to knit that I'm just not that interested in anymore. I have managed to give away some of these acrylic & novelty yarns that I just KNEW I wouldn't use but kept a few of the better ones on hand just in case. And now that I've learned to spin my own yarn, I really need to make room! So now I start my stash reduction:

My first project is a pair of hiking socks for my husband's size 15 feet. I've made one so far but it's a bit short. So now I need to back up a few inches before the toe decreases and make it longer. It does look comfy, though and the man agrees. This is my first sock I've knitted so it's definitely a confidence booster. The project is from Interweave's Favorite Socks, "Eesti Trail Hiking Socks" pattern by Nancy Bush. I'm knitting them with Lionbrand WoolEase.

As for Pixel...he's doing better now and is glad to get that collar off but he's still not allowed outside. Should be getting those sutures out in the next couple days.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Poor little guy!

I was on my way out to work this morning when I noticed some blood drops on the floor where Pixel was eating. Lo and behold, there's a big bleeding hole in his leg! So I had to call into work late and get him to the vet right away. I left him there for the day while they stitched him up and then picked him up on my way home. Now he's stuck indoors with a big plastic collar and a toddler to keep away from. He must have snagged himself on something while he was outside earlier in the morning. Anyone willing to scratch his ears is his new best friend.

Needless to say, our plans for my husband's mountain bike race this weekend are canceled. We can't leave poor Pixel at home in this state and we weren't feeling too ready for another 24 hour race after the last one in September. Not to mention after this $445 vet bill, we can't afford the gas to Whiskeytown anyway. Bummer.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Well, I did it this time...

I've been reading so many blogs lately I finally decided I want one too. Who knows, maybe this will be good motivation to finish projects faster so I can show them off!