Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Harlot . . . .

Oh my goodness. Words can not describe how wonderful Sunday was. I think that's why I'm so late in getting this post up. Every time I start to think about how to convey just how awesome the whole day was, I get completely overwhelmed. It's not like long-winded me to be at a loss for words, but I am. Luckily, I have plenty of photos!!

I've never been to WEBS before, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I knew there would be a lot of knitters there, and I guess I was a bit nervous about yarn selection because on Saturday night I dreamed that all the yarn was gone by the time I got there. As soon as I walked in the door, I could see I had nothing to fear!

I immediately veered off to my left, after spotting some Shibui Sock on the shelves. As I fawned and petted, I overheard some people introducing themselves to each other. It was none other than AGuyKnitsInCT, who is arranging a Stitch 'N Pitch for us here in Connecticut. When I stood up and turned around to meet him, I was thrilled to find that he was with Kimberly!!! We couldn't believe we finally got to meet each other after all this time.

I regret that I've already forgotten the name of the girl on the far left, but next to her is me, Kimberly and GuyKnits.
ETA: Hurray, Meliabella let me know that was her on the left!!

Along with the socializing, a bit of yarn shopping may have been done. (Once more ETA: While perusing yarn I also bumped into Valerie, who was braving the line for yarn that wasn't even for her!! How sweet is she? Sorry I forgot to mention it before - still a bit cloudy from the yarn high & the whole day was a bit of a burr!!)

Yes, that skein did come home with me. All sock yarn was 25% off in honor of The Harlot!!

The line to check-out was LONG, and there was only 45 minutes left until Stephanie was going to hit the stage. Luckily, the WEBS staff had thought of everything. They bagged up our yarn and marked it with our names, and held it for purchase after the speech. So Pea and I made our way to The Calvin and settled in while Stephanie entertained us.

What can I say. She is brilliant and hysterical and never lost her cool - even though there were about 1000 of us staring back at her. Seriously, at one point she asked for some water - and never let on that she actually felt like she was going to faint! (I only found out later on her blog - although I have to admit, chances are good we all would have blogged it and posed our socks on her. She knows us so well!!)

As we made our way back to WEBS, I met Anisa when she complimented my Sunrise Circle Sweater - which was almost as pretty as the one she was wearing. Get this, she lives only a block or two away from WEBS!!! I don't know if I should be jealous, or grateful that I don't have to live with that kind of temptation. Once back at the store, we speedily checked out my yarn. See, the brilliant WEBS staff had rung up our bags of yarn while we were listening to Stephanie, so all we needed to do was fork over the $$. The line for the book signing, however, was still very very very long. It started in the warehouse.

But that's okay. There are worse things than being surrounded by more yarn than you've ever seen in your life! And I even bumped into Kelly while making my way back to the end. I also spotted a pretty blonde who I thought looked really familiar, but I couldn't place her. I was very upset the next day when it dawned on me that it was Tamara. We've "met" through Ravelry, and in a weird twist of fate it turns out she is married to someone I was friends with in high school.

Before I knew it, I was at the front of the line, having my book signed. As usual, I was nervous and dorky. But I like to think (and I don't mean to boast) that I got a very unusual picture with The Harlot.

Yes, I held her sock. *eeeeeee*

Yes, she held my sock.

But how many times has she also held a knitter's sock's matching insulin pump cozy???

If you click to enbiggen, you can see the tubing running from me to the cozy in Stephanie's hand. It was like I was being tethered to her brilliant-ness!!

With my book signed and my money gone, it was time to get on the road back to CT, and get poor Pea some food. He really did enjoy the whole day, but I do think his favorite part was his Mexican dinner.

Soon after, we were safely home, happy and tired. Oh, and my sock wanted to pose with it's new stashy friends.

Yes, I did need that all. Each and every skein was a great bargain - not a single full price yarn in the bunch.

Well, what do you know. I guess I found a few words to describe the day after all!! As for the yarn details, I guess we'd better save that for another post.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Book meme

While I'm in the midst of my fun, fibery weekend, I thought I'd leave you with my answer to the meme Ragan tagged me with.

1. Pick up the nearest book of 125 pages or more (no cheating!)

  • Fortunately, I have a book right here on my coffee table.

2. State the title and author of the Book.
  • Unfortunately, it's my insulin pump manual. "The Minimed Paradigm Real-Time Insulin Pump User Guide". Not the most exciting reading, as you'll soon see.
3. Find Page 25
  • Check.
4. Type in the first five sentences.
  • Choose a meal you might eat and fill in the blanks. Food: _______ grams of carbohydrate _______. Total grams of carbohydrate __________. Your insulin to carbohydrate ratio: 1 unit of insulin for ____ grams of carbohydrate. Divide your total carbohydrates by your insulin to carbohydrate ratio and take _____ units of insulin for your meal.
5. Find page 100 and type in the first, second and fifth word on the page.
  • Page 100 was blank, so I'll use page 101. We, hope, are.
6. Post the meme to your blog.
  • Done!
7. Tag 5 people.
  • I can never figure out who to tag . . . . . so go ahead and do the meme if you wish!! Leave me a comment so I can come see your book!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Weekend plans?

So, what are you doing this weekend?

Me? Oh, not much.

I'm just going here on Saturday.

Yeah, and then on Sunday? Well, I'll be here, for this, with her.

So yeah, that's all. *grin*

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

WIP Wednesday

Here's what I should be working on:


I don't think I've blogged about this sweater yet, but I've been working on it since late January. The stockinette stitch was perfect to calm me down and zone me out through all the tough times of the last few months. I vividly remember knitting it through tears and prayers that Charlie would be okay. And through more tears when he was gone.

But now things seem a little better, and the weather is getting to warm for a wool sweater, and I find myself dreaming of other projects. So I started this:


I found that if I knit on my blunt Clover Bamboo US3 needles, my fingers can handle it. So I started a pair of plain socks with my Socks That Rock Seal Rock. It's the same yarn I used for my pump cozy, so I'll be quite co-ordinated when I get them finished!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sucess and Failure

While making the rounds through my favorite blogs this weekend, I came across this post by Cpurl, the dillydallyknitter. She's signed up for a 3-day, 60-mile walk against Breast Cancer. Her kitty, while adorable, seems to be under the impression our Cpurl won't be able to accomplish this task, but we all know better, right? Head on over to her blog and leave her heaps of encouragement . . . and while you are there, why not make a donation to her walk too! You might even win one of her wonderful prizes - the first of which is *gasp* Wollmeise.

In contrast to the raging success I know Cpurl will have with her walk, it's time now to turn to my own failure. Of the 2-At-A -Time variety.

I treated myself to this book last month, when I was on my mini-vacation to New Hampshire for girl time with my best friend. Since my fingers are still a bit too sore for pointy Knit Picks DPNs, I decided to pull out an Addi 2.75mm 40" circ. It seemed to be the perfect solution - allowing me to cast on without guilt because I knew the Addi's wouldn't hurt my fingers.

Unfortunately, perfect solutions are hard to come by. I wound my yarn, put each ball in a Ziploc, opened the book to the instructions, and cast on. Joined sock A in the round, knit the first row . . . good. Joined sock B in the round, knit the first row . . . jumbled, tangled mess of yarn, with the stitches not where they should be. I ripped it before I even remembered to take a picture - but just imagine a pile of sloppy stitches and yarn everywhere and you'll get the idea.

Maybe it's a sign to go finish the sweater I've been working on!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Yarn P*rn

I tried to come up with something knitterly to share. But I can't quite show you what I've been working on yet. And since I have to test my blood sugars a ton more often than usual while we tweak my pumps settings, my fingers have been sore and the knitting I have been doing is slow.

So, I decided to take a cue from one of my favorite bloggers and share some Friday Yarn P*rn.

Mmm, Koigu! This is some pretty old stash, because I got it for my birthday, almost two years ago. Pea did a great job picking it out, didn't he?
If I cast this on soon, do you think I can convince him that I need more sock yarn for my birthday next month?? No, I don't think he'd fall for it!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Raising my voice!

Today is Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Day . . .

Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Day
and my insulin pump has joined in the celebration! Hook up went really well, and so far everything is going fine. I decided to put the pictures from my appointment this morning in a Flickr set so you can click on over for the inside scoop!

Now, lets get to the questions you guys left for me. I'm thrilled with how interested you are, and this will turn out to be a lengthy post. I do hope you will grab some coffee and take the time to read it over. The point of today is to spread the word about Type 1 Diabetes, and that's what this post is meant to do. I've tried to keep my answers somewhat entertaining, so you don't all feel like you're reading a medical text-book. I'm sure it's very clear that I'm not a medical professional, and I'm just sharing my personal experiences.

From Bmom: "My (step) grandson, age 16, has diabetes and has had for years now. To be honest, I don't know the difference between type 1/2 (I believe his is 1). He's on insulin. We don't see him often -- but I don't know if there's anything we should/shouldn't be doing to help him."

This is a great place to start off the discussion. The main difference between Type 1 and Type 2 is that in Type 1, the pancreas does not produce any insulin at all. Kaput, shut down for good, nothing going on in there. All Type 1 diabetics need to take insulin to stay alive. In Type 2, the pancreas is making insulin but the body isn't using it properly. Type 2 diabetes has more treatment options, like diet and exercise, pills, insulin, or a combination of these.

What can you do to help him? Well, this may seem obvious, but remember him when planning a party or gathering (trust me, it doesn't always happen). Diet soda, lots of vegetables and maybe a low-sugar or sugar-free dessert option are always great to see. On the other hand, don't second guess him. Diabetics can learn to factor in occasional treats with a bit of "magic" involving our insulin, exercise and/or the food choices for the rest of our meal. Nothing sours a hard earned sweet treat than someone asking "should you really be eating that?". We know you care, but trust that we know what we're doing and please don't make us feel guilty.

From jessica: "I guess I don't know much about type 1 because no one close to me has it... my grandma has type 2, and I know that was partly because of her lifestyle and eating habits of the past. So how early can you be diagnosed?"

Type 1's causes are still a bit of a mystery, but for some reason the body's immune system gets confused and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, as if they were a virus. It most commonly happens in children and young adults (which is why Type 1 used to be referred to as Juvenile Diabetes and Type 2 was Adult Onset Diabetes). Once these cells are destroyed, symptoms crop up such as So Thirsty I Could Drink Lake Erie, Gotta Pee All The Time, Think I'm Gonna Hurl, I'm SO Tired and Wow, How'd I Get So Skinny (that last one sounds like a good thing, but isn't). All these icky aliments usually conclude with an ER trip, in which the diagnosis is made.

From Kristin: "I know a family and they have a child who has diabetes (type II, I think? but she might have a pump? so maybe type I?) and when her sugar is off she is constantly eating candy or drinking a soda. Makes me cringe every time! Shouldn't she eat healthier alternatives with natural sugar? Or is that ignorant on my part?"

After reading my response to jessica above, I'm sure we all now suspect this girl is Type 1. (You guys are so smart!!) When you say her sugar is "off", it could be too high and it could be too low - but if she's downing sugar then it's low and needs to be brought back up before scary stuff like loss of consciousness and seizures happen. Now for people with diabetes, and for everyone, healthy alternatives are always best. Orange juice works great to raise blood sugar and is healthy, but hard to toss in your purse and carry around. Candy, such as Smarties and Sweet Tarts, are less healthy, but work great and travel well. Overall, it's most important to quickly get the blood sugar back where it needs to be, and worry about healthy eating when you're not in an emergency situation.

(As a side note, if a low blood sugar hits while strolling Central Park, buying orange juice from a street vendor and downing it without checking the expiration date IS NOT the best option. It could result in a sour stomach and the humiliating embarrassment of vomiting in a garbage can outside of Grand Central Station. Ask me how I know!!)

From Kristie: "I am wondering if the pump size has changed since I saw one about 20 years ago. Maybe a photo of it with something (skein of yarn?) for scale would be helpful."

I have a Minimed 722, which is 2 inches by 3.6 inches and 0.8 inches thick. For scale, here it is with a skein of Socks That Rock (for you knitters) and my iPod Nano (for the non-knitters), and also clipped at my hip.
pump sizepump on wasit
click to enlarge

From Kathy, a bunch of great questions:
"Can you enjoy normal foods more with a pump?" You mean low-carb, low-fat, low sugar isn't normal?? Ha ha ha. But seriously, yes, I think so. With an insulin injection, the medicine all goes in at one time, regardless of how your body processes the foods you are eating. With the pump, you can use fancy settings to deliver insulin at a rate that better mirrors how your body will process the foods.

"Will you have trouble sleeping wearing it?" I'll let you know tomorrow, but my guess is yes, for a long while. I'm a very light sleeper. Of course, I normally wake up numerous times during the night from Pea snoring (love you, honey), so I guess the pump won't change things much.

"Does it go under your skin? Will it hurt for awhile?" The infusion has a tiny thin tube called a cannula (pronounced like "Can You La" and not how I said it "Can Ooooo La"). Anyway, that goes under the skin and stays there. Once it's in, it shouldn't hurt (I hope!!).

"Will you preset it or something or do you have to keep loading it with insulin all day?" There is a reservoir on the pump where the medicine goes. I load it up and attach it to the insertion set. The pump has been pre-set with how much to pump into me throughout the day and night. And when I eat, I program the pump with my current blood sugar level and how many grams of carbs I'm eating, and it will give me the extra insulin I need. (Cool, huh?) The reservoir should hold enough insulin for three days. Then, I unhook everything, fill up a new reservoir, put on a new insertion set, and I'm set for another three days.

Heide asks: "Now that you'll be bionic will you knit even faster? ;)" I certainly hope so. A slow knitter like me needs all the help I can get!!!

And from Jessica: "Did you knit it a cozy yet?" You bet I did - the day the pump got delivered. What's the best way to make an object that seemed foreign and scary more familiar? Knit a cozy for it!!
click to enlarge

And that's it! Thank you for all your questions, and I hope I did a good job answering them. For an idea of how it feels to live with diabetes day in and day out, I urge you to take a look at Kerri's post. She said everything I feel so much better than I ever could, and the realness of her words brought tears to my eyes.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Time to Say Goodbye

Oh how I love this song . . .

Of course, there was no need to include the YouTube video in this post, but I love it so much that I couldn't resist.

On to the goodbyes. Spring cleaning mojo and the feeling of fresh starts around here (what with the big pump hookup tomorrow) combined with my ongoing goal to clear up WIPs and general feeling of Knitting Ennui. The result? A pile of WIPs ready to be frogged.

Here's what went:
  • Charade socks in Cherry Tree Hill - loved the pattern, loved the yarn, but need to go up a needle size. I'll start these over at some point on Size 2.
  • Marie Antoinette in Knit Picks Essential Tweed - loved the pattern, liked the yarn, but not together.
  • Casino Shawl - I'm pretending that was a practice swatch. After buying some gray Briar Rose Fibers Angelface at Rhinebeck, I decided I'd like the shawl much better in that.
  • Tahoe - Okay, I won't lie, this one hurt. I had the back and one front done. But it wasn't coming out as good as it could. The gauge swatch lied, and I need to go down a needle size. Also, it just seemed like sloppy knitting. I'll do this again, but much better!!

Ah, a nice pile of stash and a bunch of free needles. Actually, I felt so good after my major frogging session that I went back and frogged my Mystery Stole also. (No pictures on that though - I was too caught up frogging to snap any.) I liked the start of the Mystery Stole and I loved the beads in it, but I didn't love the idea of the wing. I decided I'd probably never finish it, and even if I did I might never wear it. I can knit some other lace with pretty beads instead!!

And that's it!! Sorry for the lack of links - we've been going through some rough family stuff here and Pea and I have had a pretty crappy weekend, so I didn't have the energy for the fancy links. I won't dwell on it any longer though - since I need to get in a positive frame of mind for my Insulin Pump Adventure. Be sure to come back tomorrow to read all about it, and about Type 1 Awareness Day!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Update on my pump . . .

When I wrote my post about my insulin pump last week, I thought I'd be hooked up and using it by now. Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned. I did go for my training session on Monday and it was great. I hit it off with the trainer right away, I learned a lot and I had a great time doing it. The only glitch was that my doctor's office had a conflict for our next appointment, so we had to reschedule that. On the up side, it gives me more time to practice with the pump tutorials and pour over the manuals. On the down side, it will be a few more days before I'm hooked up. (Thanks to the trainer, much of my fear has turned into anticipation, so I'm hopeful the time will go by quickly!)

The big day is Monday, April 14th. And in a fitting coincidence, that same day is Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Day!

Click the button for more details.

In honor of the day, I'll share my thoughts with you as I embark on this new chapter in my Diabetes life. Pea is coming to my appointment too, for support and also so he can learn about the pump along with me. So maybe I can designate him as "Event Photographer" and have him snap some pictures as I get "hooked up".

More importantly, what do you want to know about Type 1 Diabetes? Do you have questions I might be able to answer? What can I share with you? And what can you share with me? Leave me your questions and thoughts in the comments, and I'll include them in my post on Monday. Remember, the more you ask, the more we can all learn!

(P.S. I've pre-written this post in Blogger in Draft. It's still in beta, but I was anxious to see how it works. If you are reading this, then it has worked fine!)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Lots of mail - part III, the sock yarn edition

That's right, I've got one more package to share with you. Yup, last week was an unusually good mail week. :)

My last package is from my pal, Karyn. Unfortunately, not only has her life gotten too busy for blogging, she's also hasn't had much knitting time. And she certainly doesn't see herself knitting socks again. So she kindly offered to send me her sock yarn stash.

Let me tell you, Karyn has some great taste in sock yarn! It's so bright and cheery.

I think my favorite is the Opal in the upper right corner. Mmmmm, so pretty!! Thank you so much, Karyn.

And with that, my mail has all been shared. Oh my, what will I ever find to blog about now? Guess I'd better get knitting!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Lots of mail - part II, the prize portion

Remember the prize yarn I mentioned on Monday? Dyed in honor of another little kitty named Charlie who has gone over the Rainbow Bridge? It's already been delivered to me, and it's even more beautiful and so much softer than I could have imagined.

It came on a day when I was missing my own Charlie so much. Pea had gone away over-night on a business trip, and it felt so lonely here. As much as I missed Pea, I knew I'd see him again the next day. But I couldn't help but think how nice it would have been to have Charlie with me for companionship, and knowing I'd never see him again was so hard. When this beautiful yarn showed up with the cute picture of the other Charlie, I couldn't help but think they both sent it to me to cheer me up. Silly, huh?

But I don't mind having silly thoughts, if they make me feel a bit better. I will knit every stitch of this gorgeous yarn with love for both kitties, and I will proudly wear the socks in their honor.

I miss you, sweet kitty.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Lots of mail - part I, the non-fiber portion

Yesterday I got a call from UPS telling me that a package was being delivered that needed to be signed for. They could narrow down the delivery time to anywhere from 8 am to 7 pm. My reaction was "Surely this must be an April Fool's joke!" It was no April Fool's joke (and don't call them Shirley).

*Sigh* I hung around all day and waited and waited and waited, and then waited some more. At 5 pm, Mr. UPS Man delivered my package.

(Why yes, that is my thumb in the corner of the picture. What I pro I am, huh??)

So, what was important enough to wait around all day for?

That would be an insulin pump and a box full of medical supplies. That's right, after years of daily injections, I'm going to give an insulin pump a try. I've always been really freaked out by the idea of this tiny piece of medical equipment that will be attached to me 24/7. But it's time to get over that and give it a try. It's supposed to make life easier. It's supposed to help me be more in control, which should in turn help to lower the chances of complications.

The internet has been a huge help in getting me to over-come my fears of this next step. I read some diabetes blogs and participate in the Diabetic Knit and Crochet group in Ravelry. These resources have helped me to feel less isolated, making me realize that I'm not the only one who was freaked out by the thought of a pump. The ladies in the DK&C Ravelry forum have been so supportive as I struggled with the decision, offering up much needed advice and encouragement and cheering me on when I finally decided to give it a try.

I'm still scared. I'm still freaked out. I'm still wondering if I'm going to be happy with this decision. But I'm also starting to look forward to getting trained on Monday and hooked up on Tuesday. By this time next week, I'll be part Bionic Women!!