Friday, January 25, 2013

Lightning post about slow things

Today was supposed to be a Writing Day, dedicated to coming up with a whole new opening to my "Dances with Kevin" essay. I recently recognized (in horror) that I've been working on it for a couple years now. I need to be DONE with it, send it along once again and hope it finds a home.

But it was a tough week because of a) lingering migraine pain and b) trouble sleeping, not to mention c) teaching all my classes and doing all my homework, so I was d) exhausted, and e) needed a nap. So instead of a Writing Day I had a Recovery Day. (LMNOP? ZZZZZ?)

And then I thought: hey, how about a blog post? I could do like Anne and Kay over at Mason-Dixon knitting again and write a fast one with a time limit! Woohoo! So here we go... And this time, it's a KNITTING post!

I always make something knitted for Dexter and Patrick for Christmas. It's rare that I finish them before the actual day, but I usually finish during the vacation, or shortly thereafter. This year, not so much. (See: flu; lots of work to finish over the break; tired.) I am still working on them. Arg!

So here are the knitted things, photographed with our Christmas tree as it waited to be picked up on the curb. (Isn't that the epitome of the post-Christmas let-down?)

Patrick's socks
This year he requested socks in a thinner fabric, so I used a pattern I've made for him before, the Yarn Harlot's Earl Grey.

 (Sad tree; sock looks kind of sad, too...)
 (... but a nice color, yes? And look at those lovely teensy cables!)

(And here's the second one, on the needles at least; 
as of today, I'm 1/3 down the leg...)

Dexter's mitten-gloves
This year Dexter requested mittens, but the kind where you can fold over the mitten part to reveal half-gloves. And he wanted them in mostly black, with a red design thingy. (Knitters, especially ones with middle-aged eyes, will tell you: ARG! not black yarn!)

I had a rough start on these; I've never made a pair, and I didn't have a pattern proper, just sort of guidelines (make a mitten but with a row that you zip out and open, add fingers there, etc.). And at first I was on the cray-cray train and thought I was going to knit them out of fingering-weight yarn (Translation for Non-Knitters: tiny, with toothpick-like needles) with a fair isle pattern (TfNK: a complicated color pattern that requires you to be a knitting NINJA). It wasn't until a few days before Christmas that I realized I should use thicker yarn and that Dexter would be perfectly happy with a simple stripe. So that's what we have here. Mitten one:

 (They look kind of baggy here--because the model is me, and D's hands are now bigger than mine.)

 (Here it is, inside out... with all the ends hanging out. 
So many ends! So much weaving-in to do!)

(Here's the folded-back look... Imagine it 
without all those strings hanging down... 
and with normal-looking fingers sticking out 
rather than something that looks like glow-sticks (???)... )

So, after I sign off here, the next stage of my Recovery Day is teevee time, with knitting. I hope that D and P will see these late presents not as a sign that I am lame and can't even finish Christmas presents properly, but rather as a sign that my love for them will persevere and continue on through all obstacles. Because it will.

May you make some noticeable progress today!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy new year!

I am feeling inspired by Kay and Anne, and am trying out something new: a 15-minute blog post.

(I don't usually make resolutions at the New Year--I make mine closer to Groundhog Day--but I know for sure I want 2013 to include more writing, including writing on the sadly neglected blog. So here we go!)

The past couple of days I have been a little bit excited that I'm in the news. Okay, maybe not me personally, but I've been sort of in the news. One of the big stories has been the 2012-13 FLU EPIDEMIC. Friends, I'm here to tell you that you DO NOT want this flu.

On Christmas Day, we had breakfast and opened presents, and I wanted to be partaking in the Christmas spirit, but I was not feeling great. With each passing minute, I felt worse. After present-opening, I felt so crappy that I went back to bed and didn't get up for the rest of the day. I had the classic flu symptoms: fever, body aches, coughing (a LOT), and extra mucus. I was gross.

 (My Mom had sent us fancy boxes of tissues 
in our St. Nicholas Day packages--for the colds we had 
in early December. This jolly Santa was my companion for several days...)

The next day, Patrick took me to the doctor--IN A BLIZZARD! I posted on FB that it felt like we were in an episode of Little House on the Prairie. Luckily, the doctor's office is only about a mile away, so we got there and back without incident. I was so pitiful while at the office that they offered to let me lie down while I waited for my flu test results to come back, and I did, and the doctor put one of those little sheets on me. Pitiful!

I wasn't sure whether I had bona-fide flu, or maybe bronchitis (did I mention I was coughing a lot?), or maybe pneumonia (which a friend of ours had recently), or maybe if it was the flu, it might be H1N1 (which another friend of ours had recently). Honestly, I was a little bit concerned that they'd send me to the hospital across the street and tell me to spend some time there. (I'm glad they didn't--what a terrible place to go when your immune system is already compromised!)

Anyhow, as soon as we got back home I went back to bed--and then stayed there for the next three days. When I could keep my eyes open, my iPod kept me entertained (FB, Twitter, NPR news, even the occasional e-mail check), and I read Life of Pi on the Kindle mom gave me for my birthday last year. The kittens came and snuggled with me a lot.

(My little sweatpeas; they made good companions when they weren't wrassling on the bed.)

When I finally was able to get out of bed, I still didn't have a lot of energy; going downstairs to eat a bowl of soup felt like running a 5K.

So that was almost three weeks ago now, and I'm STILL RECOVERING. I am resting a lot, some days staying in pjs and not going anywhere. Sometimes I read, or knit, but sometimes even that feels like expending too much energy. I am able to work about half a day before I feel like absolute crap. I am still coughing. (Our department secretary said she knew I was in the building the other day because she heard me coughing. Still pitiful!)

I'm really scared that classes start on Monday and I'm not able to work a whole day yet... and I'm teaching a new class (my Travel-Learning course, for which I must make many arrangements), plus a class I haven't taught in a LONG time that is out of my specialty areas, plus freshman English. Yikes. I'll just have to take it one day at a time and get done as much as I can without making myself feel worse. Woohoo--Let's hear it for reduced expectations!

Okay, it looks like my 15 minutes are up. I hope you, dear readers, are flu-free and enjoying the new year.