Sunday, August 31, 2008

a mix of things

Welcome back to the blog! I'm sorry to hear about your blood pressure and your tests and the not fun that is trying to stay healthy. I wish you the best. I'd mix my blood pressure in with yours if I could and if it would help. I don't understand what all of your tests are or how serious it is, but I'm thinking of you and sending you my prayers.

I'm having my own mini health crisis here with Hazel. She may have had a stroke, although the vet isn't sure. Her head is all wonky and tilted and she isn't behaving as normal. We got some drugs to put in her, but she's too smart for the old pill in the craisin trick. And if we try to put the pill in her mouth she bites. Through leather gloves. And makes us bleed.

I'd like to take some nice pictures, but it's storming outside and there's no good natural lighting. So these following shots will have to do.

I finished the first Azure sock. The first one.

It looks cozy, it fits well. I'll end up giving these away when I'm done.

And then this happens.

Oh no! An impromptu James hug while I am knitting results in broken bamboo. So now I have only three double pointeds left (I had already lost one needle in the process of knitting this sock). And I'll have to wait until Tuesday to get back into town to get another set. This is the perfect time to set a project down and never pick it up again. Why is it so easy to drop a mitten or a sleeve or a sock after one is finished and not start the other one? Whatever happened to symmetry. I am trying very hard to keep myself pumped up for starting the second.

In the meantime I have started a scarf to knit while I read the many many papers that I need to read for class. It's working well so far.

I'm taking all research in education classes this semester, and they're very heavy on the reading load (heavy for me, not for you--I'm sure you're used to reading three times as much). That's where the mindless knitting will come in. However, I do miss chemistry courses. I miss the efficiency of it all. I sat through a 2.5 hour class on Thursday that was completely pointless. It was the professor's own hubris that made the class take so long, and I learned nothing. Not a thing. So in the elevator on the way out I commented to Haozhi that I missed the chemistry. To which a classmate responded, "Yeah, I know. It's easier, right? The chemistry. There are no surprises." Umm, yeah. Right. I happen to respect chemistry courses for making the most of the hour and for not wasting my time. Not because it's easy.

I think the thing that irritates me most more than anything is when classes waste my time. I don't recall ever being more irritated or outright angry than when I was in a class that was obviously pointless. And I do recall walking out of class before, but I'm not sure I can do the same in graduate school. The only pointless class that is the exception to this would be biodiversity. The knitting, the having you to sit next to and laugh with; it made it all better. I wish I had saved my journal. It was priceless, with all of the horrified and emotionally charged comments that both professors left on it. Maybe it's back at my parents' house somewhere.

Good luck with your medical tests let me know how they go.

Love you, miss you,

Thursday, August 28, 2008



Ummmm, hi!

Awkward, a bit, isn't it, coming back from such a long, long break. Anyway, I've really got to snatch off to bed, since apparently, I'm a wreak. However, I feel as if I need to give a bit of an update? Because you're my friend.

So today I got reamed out for my blood pressure.

Reamed. Like, reamed. I've never been reamed out this badly for anything in my life before. I've been trying to schedule a meeting with the headache clinic for over 6 months now, and today was my appointment. Because I had been trying a different headache preventative medication, I went off my hypertension (high blood pressure) medication.

Apparently that didn't go well.

Blood pressure is ideally 120/70 or lower in healthy individuals, and shouldn't be higher than 140/90. Today mine registered at 148/96.

So I had a lovely meeting with a medical student and the nurse practitioner, and we sat down, and it was soft and warm, and we talked, and I felt that they really cared, and we had some moments. It was a nice meeting. It was very heartwarming. I think if the medical school would have taped it, and my fellow colleagues and I would have critiqued the nurse's technique, we would have found perfection.

I sat twiddling my thumbs for about 5 minutes, reading the informative screensavers that told me that MCV means "Mean corpuscular volume" of the red blood cells, but I still didn't remember what elevated or lowered MCV suggested what diseases (which I should know.)

And then the doctor blew in with sphygmomanometer blazing. He practically ran into the room, dragging the mobile blood pressure cuff on creaking wheels and had the nurse strap the cuff on me again to take my blood pressure once more. Then it began.

I won't mince the words. Let's just say that apparently at the age of 23 I am not allowed to have high blood pressure anymore. Apparenly everyone in the neurology department and possibly the hospital has migraines, and that is not a problem. If I don't get my blood pressure down, the doctor is going to hunt me down in the hospital or medical school and shoot me.

(He told me this.)


Um. Ran to the other Doc. Told him that if I didn't get my blood pressure down I was going to die because the neuro doc was going to shoot me. Thus, my schedule.

Tomorrow: EKG, Echocardiogram, Chest X-ray
Tuesday: Renal Ultrasound (for renal artery stenosis.)
Wednesday: MRI (That's for my head. Because the neuro doc did care about that, too, I suppose.)

Gosh I hope I'm not too screwed up. At least my lab results were all fine. (Though my thyroid function tests were none too high, let me tell you!)

Love you, wish me luck. Looks like I'll be a bit busy this next week. I'll let you know what I find out.


Monday, August 25, 2008

masterpiece knitting

It's the first day of classes, I'm here at the office and have hardly anything to work on at the moment, so I thought I'd blog a post.

Remember that yarn that got lost in the mail? It came! So exciting! But, then again, I'm starting to think that it was my own mail box stupidity that kept me from getting the package in the first place. We've got one of these community mailboxes, and I guess when you get a package they give you a key to open up the package compartment. Not that I knew any of this. Nor should I have expected this either, seeing as a package was previously delivered to our house, but in a different manner. A different annoying manner which involved me having to drive to the post office. I like this mailbox compartment idea much better, only I wish I had known about it earlier.

So I am making socks with this new yarn. Socks take two. No variegated colors any more. Just nice socks. Azure socks. I'd show you a picture, but I'm at the office. No camera on me at the moment.

And the socks got me to thinking. Did you ever read the American Girl series? How about the Molly books? As I recall, Molly was in some group that was knitting socks for the soldiers in WWII. Only Molly didn't want to make socks. They were too hard. She rallied everyone together, and they each knit a simple square, stitched them all together, and sent a blanket overseas instead. Isn't this interesting? What does this suggest to our knitting community? To give up on the hard projects and take the easy way out? Or does it suggest that we should work at something that we love, irregardless of how simple it may seem?

I am conflicted. For one, knitting seems at the core to be a simple sport. It is repetitious. It is soothing. It is rhythmic. It's a step back in technology to a craft that has been around for, what? Hundreds? Thousands of years? So why is it that every project that I seem to want to knit is complicated, impressive, and showy? (not that I'm claiming anything impressive, just the yearning to be impressive) Is this counter to the idea of a simplistic knitting craft? What do you think?

I have a new goal; to simplify my knitting, at least for the coming semester. Take on some stockinette or simple ribbing, or easy stitch pattern. Something that is truly mindless that I can take to class and never have to bother to look at. Yet somehow this seems more difficult to me than the proposal of tackling some complicated masterpiece. I don't know why this is.

We will see how this works out. I suppose the solution is to have multiple projects at once, but it is so difficult for me to put projects on hold.


Friday, August 1, 2008

making up for lost yarns


My yarn got lost in the mail.

So I died some more lambswool.

And made a Tasha hat to replace the failure gloves that I attempted earlier.

And added a pom pon for good measure.

And created more schnibbles than pom pon.

By the way, it's rather difficult to take a self-portrait shot.

And what are these? Could they be alpacas? Why yes! To get a fiber fix James and I headed to an alpaca farm near us, square top ranch. This is a photo taken on their farm. We got a tour of the place, got to see all 31 alpacas and pet their softest alpaca yet.

Arizona even looks decent this time of year, with rolling green hills instead of the bare brown it usually is.

They had these giant dogs around the place, meant to guard the alpacas from prey animals. You can't really tell from this picture, but this dog is enormous. The owners of the ranch weighed one of the dogs while we were there--a total of 140 pounds. James made the mistake of trying to rough-house with him. Wonderful, gentle dogs, but rather powerful.

And if going once wasn't enough, we ended up visiting a second time on Sunday. James has a coworker with a wife who loves to knit, so we jumped in the car and headed out again to see the animals and buy more yarn.

And the best part? Yummy yarn. Soft. I was so enamored that I took some of the yarn to dinner. James thought it looked like poo.

And here is the product of two days' worth of knitting this delicious yarn:

Eunny's Anemoi mittens.

I am in love with the yarn, I am in love with the pattern. This makes up for my yarn being lost in the mail.

And there's something for you as well. It's not exactly the same fiber that I gave you earlier, but there will be alpaca roving sent to you in the mail shortly.