Friday, November 30, 2007

A Blogtacular Blogiversary Giveaway!

(ETA: links added)
Thursday was the anniversary of my first blog post and this post was, accordingly, supposed to be up yesterday. However, in an unusual display of self-discipline, instead of posting to the blog yesterday evening after work, I was outside in the cold with Mr. CPA following through on my previous commitment to the scheduled evening exercise ritual.

So here it is one day late but just as good (I hope) as if I’d posted it in a timely fashion.

Here are the dead simple rules:
Leave a comment between now and next Friday (12/9/2007) and you’ll be entered in the contest.

See? Simple. No tricky trivia questions or guessing how many projects I have going or how much yarn I have stashed down in the Basement of Wool ™ (like I want that kind of information out there published on the blog for Mr. CPA to see!).

Also? You do not need to be a resident of the US or Canada to win, I am willing to ship internationally should the winner be located somewhere outside the US or Canada.

Two lucky winners will each get to choose one of the following prizes:

Prize #1 - Yarn
Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino 2/6
Colorway: “Sea Storm”
Amount: 250 gm/8.8 oz - appx. 755m/820 yards

The colors are a bit more vibrant in person.
This is a
large skein of yarn!

(Prize listing is from top to bottom in the next photo)

Prize #2 – More Yarn
Yarn: Lisa Souza Sock! Merino
Colorway: Petroglyph
Amount: 4 ounces/560 yards

Prize #3 – and Again with the Yarn (handspun this time)
Yarn: Handspun Blue Faced Leicester
Colorway: your guess is as good as mine
Handspun by me from Winderwood Farms fiber

Prize #4 – Spinning Fiber
Fiber: Dicentra Designs 50% Merino/ 30% Silk/ 20% Angora top
Colorway: Luthien

What’s that? You don’t knit, crochet or spin? Well then, maybe this next prize might meet with your approval:

Peach Marmalade

Strawberry Jam

Jam, not just for bread any more! Good on plain yoghurt, ice cream or straight from a spoon
(or so I've been told...)

Prize #5
Jam! One 8 ounce jar of delicious homemade-by-me jam.
The winner may choose their favorite from the following:

  • Raspberry,
  • Strawberry,
  • Marionberry, or
  • Peach Marmalade

Yes, you read all the boring ‘look, I’m making more jam’ blog posts. Now you too can enjoy the fruits of those sweaty summer labors!

There’s only one of each prize so the first winner chosen will have their pick of all 5. The second winner chosen will choose from the remaining 4 prizes. Unless both of the winners want jam, in which case they may each have the jam of their choice.

Winners will be assigned a random number which will be selected from a suitably opaque container by a completely disinterested third party (i.e., the oldest man-child – trust me, he couldn’t care less which one of you wins).

All drawings will take place under the stern auditing eye of Mr. CPA (technically speaking he’s Mr. CPA, CIA thank you very much), who is a real stickler for proper procedures, internal controls and ethical practices*.

*Really. A lot. Don’t even try to burn him a copy of that CD of yours that he likes. He wouldn’t dream of listening to music he didn’t pay for.

Monday, November 19, 2007

YMCA Fitness Classes I'd Really Like to See

Just like the fitness room I use at the 'Y'
except without the super hi-tech equipment and the fancy view
(the frugal must find their fitness inspiration in unadorned drywall it seems...)

Knit to be Fit

Knit 2, Purl 2, Lose 10 (or more!)

By Hook or by Crook – Fast Fitness the Crochet Way!

Crochet those pounds away!

Sit! Spin! Thin!*

So, what classes would you like to see?

*handspinning that is - not that crazy exercise bike action

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Never a dull moment

Warning: long post with absolutely no redeeming knitting or spinning content and only marginal photos.

ETA: This event did not happen last week, it actually happened back in September on the Saturday before I had my surgery. I wrote the entire blog post up a few days later and was going to post it the following Saturday and then something came up and I didn’t get around to. And the same the following Saturday and blah, blah, blah – insert same old story about my constant disorganization and not getting things done on time.

At any rate, for some reason I never got around to posting it in a reasonable time. Since I didn’t have the post that I wanted for today done I’m posting this now. It’s long and probably interesting only to myself so feel free to skip it and wait for something fiberish if you want.

Did you ever have one of those days that just didn’t quite go according to plan?

Last Saturday was one of those days here at Casa del Chaos.

It started out pretty much like any other Saturday morning with Mr. CPA and I chatting over a leisurely cup of coffee and then off to the gym for a workout. After our return I hurried through some quick chores so I could be ready when Holly arrived to drive down to Scappoose with me to visit one of our favorite purveyors of yarny goodness.

And it was right about here that my morning derailed and careened off in a totally different direction than planned

As I was cleaning the kitchen I suddenly felt funny and noticed the oddest feeling of pressure in and around my right eye. My eye started watering a bit and seemed decidedly ‘not right’ for lack of a better description. Then my vision went wonky and I felt really disoriented.

I sat down at the dining room table just as Mr. CPA came back in the room. By now the right half of my face was numb and I was getting quite dizzy. Mr. CPA wanted to call 911 but I persuaded him to wait because I didn’t think it was anything serious – I just wanted to lie down for a few moments, I guess because I was convinced this would make everything better.

On my way to the sofa, however, I got a really sudden and painful headache. Much like someone had impaled my head with a wooden stake. Since I was now having trouble talking and was too dizzy to stand up, I was decisively over-ruled on the whole 911 phone call decision issue.

I remember noticing that the right half of my throat was numb when I tried to swallow and that my right arm had started to shake uncontrollably.

This is when I started getting pretty scared.

Because even though my brain is not exactly exceptional or genius-like in any way, I’ve grown rather fond of it over the years and enjoy having it around such as it is. So the possibility of losing it or having to get used to a new and perhaps significantly less useful brain was not exactly appealing to me.

The fire department and paramedics arrived very quickly, probably less than 3 minutes after my husband called though it seemed like much longer at the time. They put the oxygen on me and did the whole assessment and vitals process while asking both me and Mr. CPA lots of questions.

I lost track of time with all of this activity going on around me but at some point during all of this commotion the feeling started coming back into my face and I began to feel a little better. I still had a really bad headache and I had a funny black ‘hole’ in the vision in my right eye but other than that I felt pretty much like myself again.

The paramedics offered to transport me to the ER but I declined. I felt much better and I was more than a little embarrassed at all the fuss I’d caused, so I asked if Mr. CPA could drive me to Group Health’s urgent care office instead. After the paramedics got approval via phone from the supervising ER doctor we were cleared to transport ourselves.

I kept apologizing to the various firefighters and paramedics milling about my living room for having brought them out for nothing. They insisted that calling was the exact right thing to do and this is the precisely sort of outcome they are happy to see (even though Mr. CPA thought they looked just the teensiest bit crestfallen that there wasn’t just a little bit more important emergency medical stuff for them to do at the scene).

So on to the urgent care at Group Health to do the required follow-up. Thankfully, due in no small part to the gorgeous weather outside that day, I’m sure, there were only two other people waiting to be seen and we got in quickly.

By now, except for the residual dull, thumping headache on the right side of my skull I felt fine and really just wanted to go home but Mr. CPA would have none of that.

Instead of the usual exam room, I was put in the big ER-like room complete with heart and oxygen monitors and I was all hooked up to lots of equipment while I waited to be seen by the doctor. Oy.

(note to self: the next time you're planning a minor medical emergency,
maybe put a little makeup on and fix your hair up first!)

So, what was the cause of all this fuss? A migraine for heaven’s sake. A really sudden, intense and scary migraine, but just a migraine. (I think the doctor referred to it as an ‘atypical’ migraine)

(I used to get frequent ‘classic’ and occasional ‘ocular’ migraines, however one of the benefits of becoming a ‘woman of a certain age’ is that the hormonal changes responsible for a host of petty irritations and complaints also seem to significantly reduce the incidents of migraine headaches - for me anyway, YMMV of course)

So the doctor recommended that I take some Excedrin but since I wasn’t able to have any aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs pre-surgery he recommended Tylenol and some coffee instead.

Later, as we were leaving to return home I turned to Mr. CPA and said,

“So you realize what this means don’t you??

I have a prescription.

For coffee.

From a doctor!”

My new pharmacy*

Prescription strength Starbucks!

What I learned from this experience:

  1. You should definitely call 911 if you experience any sudden stroke-like symptoms even if you suspect that your husband is over-reacting.

  2. According to the ER doctor, I have none of the risk factors for stroke. (hooray!)

  3. My cholesterol is excellent and actually better than the extraordinarily fit ER doctor with the runner’s physique (who looked slightly dismayed that the plumpish, unfit middle-aged woman before him had beaten his previously undefeated record).

  4. You will not actually die of embarrassment when a small army of emergency personnel unexpectedly invaded your very messy house (in spite of what your neurotically tidy Norwegian grandmother would have you think).

PS – Holly and I still managed to make the trip down to Scappoose even though we got there slightly later than planned.

* This is not actually my local Starbucks. This photo was shamelessly stolen from the internets. I wanted to take a photo of my actual regular Starbucks staff but felt this was a bit much even for me. They already think I'm weird enough.

Friday, November 2, 2007

We Mourn the Loss of Rebecca

You are not suffering from some sort of blog déjà vu, this post is a re-run, or what is referred to in TV-speak as an 'encore' edition. Not that anyone was actually requesting an encore, mind you. (Thanks to Mrs. G for the idea!)

I felt the need to move yesterday's post down a bit and even though I'd love to engage in a bit of procrastiblogging today, there are a number of demands on today's schedule that aren't optional. Not to mention that we are still catering to the needs of a very sick small dog here at Casa del Chaos (and trust me, that's as much as you really want to know on that topic! If you thought yesterday's post was disgusting - but I digress).

Thank you for stopping by today, please, sign the guest book on the table, and tissues are to the side just there.

Frogged but not forgotten

Today we gather to recognize the short yet meaningful existence of Rebecca, whose lovely olive-toned Silk Road Aran countenance will be sorely missed.

Despite a promising cast-on, Rebecca struggled to overcome multiple knitting challenges in her short life.

Rebecca’s designer and friend, Jo Sharp, remembered her as,
"A women’s fitted sweater with a cable panel at the centre front. Suitable for a knitter with some cable experience."
Her voice caught a bit at the memory.

Rebecca returns to the skein before her time, an innocent victim of sizing errors, inadequate swatching and knitter dissatisfaction. She was a model of sweater forbearance, never growing discouraged by the multiple froggings she received, though her plies grew thin in several places from the experience. She resisted drowning her troubles in Eucalan, instead choosing to spend her last months with quiet dignity, hiding in disgrace in a paper sack in the basement corner.

Rebecca strongly believed that the fibers of our beings continue on beyond one’s own limited existence and she expressed a desire to be reincarknitted* as a well-loved pullover or perhaps a cardigan (though preferably not as socks).

Rebecca leaves behind a grieving knitter, Denise, who despite vehemently expressing an inability to even think about knitting another sweater anytime soon, was later observed reaching out in her grief to her long ignored stash yarn.

Skein to skein, hank to hank
As yarn we are born and to yarn we return.

RIP…RIP…RIP, dear Rebecca

*Reincarknitting is a is a central tenet for the followers of yarnma. I think it conflicts with a belief in the concept of original spin, but I am not as familiar with that yarnology.