Published    |    6 Comments »

05 Oct 2014

 

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I’ve had my first pattern published in the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of knit.purl magazine! (Formerly knit.wear.) Super exciting! I found out in March and kept the secret all year, with the idea of dropping a copy of the magazine on the table at my knit night and prancing around the room. The surprise was ruined, however. First when the patterns started showing up in people’s pattern highlights at the beginning of September, and then for good when the Yarnery put the magazine out for sale before the official publication date. I’m trying to pretend I’m not as upset about that as I was, so let’s move along.

The Equation Cowl (60 faves) (13 queues) (not that I’m counting) was first designed with at scrumptious skein of Anzula Cricket I bought on a visit to Michelle in Florida. I wrote up the pattern and then sat on it for two years, too anxious to actually do anything with it. After a few friends test knit it for me, I finally bullied myself into submitting it in January, and they sent me contracts in March! Two hundred fifty bucks and eternal bragging rights. (I bet you know which excites me more.)

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Judie    |    No Comments »

29 Sep 2014

I’m doing that thing where I have a good thing to write about but feel like I need to write about another thing first but the other thing is sad so I just reload Texts From Last Night or knit a few more rounds on my sock instead. Gotta go through if I can’t go around, and I’m just going to have to be okay with a pile of run on sentences in the process.

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I went to a funeral on Sunday, my first in sixteen years and only the fifth one ever. (We didn’t have an actual funeral for my dad; we buried his ashes under a tree and cried a lot and then binged on cinnamon pie crust in his honor.) My friend Judie was the coolest old person I ever met and I’m pissed off I didn’t get to know her better. She was a priest in the Liberal Catholic Church, a second degree Reiki practitioner, an advocate for Feline Rescue, a frequent contributor to the Bulletin Board column in the Pioneer Press…I met her a couple of years ago at our Wednesday afternoon knitting group. She said she didn’t feel like “one of the little old ladies” at a different local group, laughing because she was in her seventies and knew how that sounded. I always enjoyed when she was at knitting, getting to know her better, and I thought I’d have more time. She seemed so much younger than her years, I literally called her a liar the first time she mentioned her age.

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Kala and Gwen and I sat in the pew together on Sunday. I can’t speak for them, but I know I cried far more than I expected to. The prayer shawls we each knit for her were mentioned in the eulogy and I just dissolved. My face continued to leak for the next hour, increasing when the priest, Judie’s ex-husband, had to pause in the liturgy to fight back sobs. Increasing when Judie’s son-in-law became unable to speak in his grief and had to hand off his pages to Judie’s granddaughter. Increasing when I realized that her lovely husband David is now a widower.

It’s a terrible word.

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David is really great, and a knitter himself, of a sort. I’m going to pester him and make sure he keeps hanging out with us. He let me come over and help spruce up the houseplants last week. He gave a few dozen away at the memorial, and I brought one home with me. Now I just need to figure out what it is so I can take care of it. So it will never die.

Like people do.

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Self Date    |    3 Comments »

06 Sep 2014

I get off work around 2:30 most Saturdays, which leaves me enough time in the afternoon to almost feel like another day off. Today was beautiful outside, and Michael was off in Minneapolis with the Ingress Anomaly, so I decided to take myself out on a date.

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This was made easier by the fact that I wore two shoes today, for the first time in a month and a half. My surgeon follow-up went well on Thursday and I’m now allowed to be mobile in whatever way works for me. (More on this in a bit.)

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I went to French Meadow on Grand, and they have a lovely patio. Gorgeous day in the low seventies.

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I wore my rich lady sweater and a skirt that Gwen made for herself, but just happens to fit me.

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Blueberry iced tea, turkey burger and mixed greens. So many vitamins!

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After lunch, I headed down the block to Grand Central to knit for a while. Sitting outside again, of course. I’m not in total denial about how few days we have left to do that up here in the frozen North, after all.

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Had myself a Gray Duck chai and a decent lemon bar, listened to some podcasts and worked on my Jaywalker.

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A little girl, maybe four years old, stopped to tell me “Your that is beautiful.” We discussed colors and socks and the importance of keeping one’s feet warm in the winter, before her mom collected her and they went on their way.

It was just a lovely afternoon. As I finally took to my rolly cart and headed home, I was proud of myself. I’d been bummed when I realized Michael was going to be gone most of the day, but instead of hunkering alone in the apartment, I gave myself something really great. Lots of interesting conversations to eavesdrop on. New local Freshmen to observe. Amazing weather. Tasty foodstuffs.

Then Michael came home and we watched the episode of Game of Thrones with the Red Wedding and thoroughly bummed ourselves out.

But!

- – - – - – - – - -

- – - – - – - – - -

- – - – - WARNING – - – - -

- – - – - – - – - -

- – - – - SCAR PICTURE IMMANENT – - – - -

- – - – - – - – - -

- – - – - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED – - – - -

- – - – - – - – - -

- – - – - – - – - -

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I’m getting better.  Dr. Bofelli said I’m released from his care unless something goes wrong. I have permission to ditch the walking boot and the rolly scooter as soon as I feel ready. Everything is weak and weird from atrophy, but I have a referral for physical therapy which will start next week, schedules permitting.

I’m already a lot better tonight than I was on Thursday. I can walk barefoot with the aid of a walker or crutches to get to the bathroom at night. Walking unaided in my shoes is okay for up to twenty steps in a row as long as I can go really slowly. There’s a painful click with every step in the middle of my foot, but I’m putting that down to atrophy of the little muscles in my foot that have temporarily forgotten how to hold everything together. The numbness of the top of my foot is fading, slowly but surely. The whole outside of the foot and especially behind the ankle bone is quite painful while walking, but fine when I’m not on it. If I keep it elevated at least half the time at work there’s no marked swelling. It turns out working in my sneaker is less painful than in the walking boot, since there’s less torque to the ankle itself.

I’m feeling pretty positive about the whole thing. Grateful that the worst is over, grateful the timing was so perfect for insurance/season/PTO, grateful it was only six weeks in the boot, grateful to be making real progress a full year after injuring my poor foot in the first place.

September is growing on me.

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Healing    |    1 Comment »

05 Aug 2014
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The view from my knee scooter. Wearing a dress. Because I am a laydee.

So I had my first follow up with the surgeon today.

(As an aside, it felt really strange to get cut open and then just have no one look at the wound for two weeks.)

It went really well! I get an A+ in Patient. Incision looks great (well, “great for a surgical incision,” I suppose). Flexibility is good, no swelling or fever. I’m still NWB for four weeks, but I don’t have to wear the boot when I’m just hanging out on the couch (actual words: “Just don’t fall down while you’re not in the boot.”). I don’t have to sleep in the monster, either, which may have been when I told the surgeon he was my best friend. Elevation only when it feels sore, feel free to massage and put on lotion and do things to make the foot feel loved again.

AND I CAN TAKE A SHOWER TOMORROW.

I refuse to apologize for the capslock, you should just be grateful it’s not in eighty-point purple blinky MySpace text. For two weeks I’ve been washing my hair in the sink, taking washcloths to the smelly bits, gazing longingly at the shower chair that’s been waiting quietly.

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Filet o’ Leg

I can go back to work “as tolerated,” so I’m going to call and talk to my lovely boss tomorrow. I had enough sick hours to cover the time away, but I’d like to be useful again. Michael is being very bossy about not letting me do house things (not that I can do much one-legged on a knee scooter) and is generally amazing, but I’ve taken to getting weepy over feeling useless; the least I can do is help some people get their birth control.

I’ve had several people bring or send me goodies over the last couple of weeks, lots of lovely messages and a few cards, and generally have felt well-loved and missed. Thanks to all of YOU for checking in. As a gift, I shall give you an escape hatch from the following: 

~~~WARNING WARNING WARNING~~~

I’M GOING TO POST A COUPLE OF ICKY PICTURES.

DO NOT SCROLL DOWN IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE THEM.

I LOVE YOU AND WILL SEE YOU NEXT TIME, FEEL FREE TO FLEE.

This is what I saw when they took the bandage off this afternoon:

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I MISSED YOU SO MUCH, FOOT

There’s some weird mottling but it doesn’t hurt or itch or anything. Dr Boffeli thinks it’s just a reaction to the bandage.

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Okay, so it kind of hurts if I think about it too much.

I had eleven stitches – disappointingly one less than my favorite number, but we can’t have everything. I told Michelle if I have an impressive scar, I’m going to get a tattoo to go with it. Perhaps of the nasty demon who tore his way into this dimension via my peroneus brevis tendon.

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Updates    |    6 Comments »

26 Jul 2014

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1. We decided not to get the apartment at Mococo. It just wasn’t financially responsible. Future babies are still an option, but that decision will be revisited next summer when we’re closer to being out of debt.

2. Work has been tough lately, since my best work friend landed herself a promotion over to the head office. I can’t tell if I’m more bitter because I miss her, or because the work load has increased so much, or a combination of both. I keep toying with the idea of looking around for something else, but that won’t be anytime in the next couple of months. One, because I think losing another CA would make my boss cry, and I like my boss, and two, because I’m not going to be at all presentable for interviews any time soon. Because:

3. I had foot surgery on Wednesday. That plantar fasciitis flare that started last September just wasn’t getting any better, so I mentioned it to my GP when I was in for my annual check-up. She gave me a cortisone shot and sent me to see a podiatrist. It took a month to get an appointment with him, and in the meantime the shot did nothing to help (and cost over $500). Something popped in my arch the week before I saw him, but he just said “oh, I’m sure that’s just the fascia” and gave me another cortisone shot, after saying that my GP put it in the wrong place. No relief from the second shot, and the $800 orthotics were only mildly helpful, so I got a second opinion from a different podiatrist. She said she thought I was a good candidate for physical therapy, so from March through June I had 11 visits with a physical therapist, 12 acupuncture appointments, and somewhere around eight chiropractor appointments, trying to fix my poor malfunctioning foot.

First week of July I had a follow up with the second podiatrist and she said she’d go ahead and order an MRI for me. She didn’t think it would show anything, but that she suspected confirmation of an intact foot would be what I needed to finally make progress with PT. Placebo MRI, fine, whatever. I went in for that on Monday the 14th and was told on the way out that I shouldn’t expect to hear from the podiatrist until that Friday or the following Monday…and then my phone rang three hours later with instructions to set up a consult with the foot surgeon.

“Significant tear to the peroneus brevis tendon,” I was told two days later. I could probably limp along as I have been from now on, but we’d done everything there was to do, so if I actually wanted to get better, it was going to have to be surgery. With all of the money we’ve thrown at this problem since last autumn, we’ve hit our “out of pocket maximum” with our health insurance. Normally in addition to whatever copays, I’d have to pay 20% of the costs of the surgery, but (as I told the surgeon) if we could get it all done before August 1, it would all be covered. I’m super grateful for the timing and that they were able to squeeze me in. And six days was just enough time to assimilate the information that I was having real surgery without giving me too much time to panic about it.

(I haven’t seen the second podiatrist since she ordered the “placebo” MRI. I wonder if she has any feelings about this.)

I have so many things to be grateful for. This is happening in the summertime so I don’t need to worry about figuring out how to walk again on icy sidewalks. My sister is coming to visit next Tuesday so I should be a little more fun to be around. Timing with insurance was perfect. I have an amazing spouse who is taking brilliant care of me. Lots of friends are offering to bring hot dishes and jello salads (because Minnesota).  I had almost exactly enough sick time to cover the two weeks (minimum) I’ll be out of work. My boss was super supportive and kind, despite the fact that the next couple of weeks are huge “no PTO allowed” weeks with both regional and national audits to get through. If I have to be cut open, well, there really couldn’t be a better set up for it.

I was terrified on Wednesday and there were lots of things that did not go as planned. There was a bottleneck at the hospital – I was supposed to go back at 3:25 but it was after 6:30 before they fetched me from the prep room. I’d been comforted by nurse friends that the anesthesiologist would offer me  V3rsed and Z0fran when I told him about my tendencies toward panic and nausea, neither of which were forthcoming. I was supposed to have a nerve block as well as the general but somewhere in the fifteen minutes before I hit the O.R. that plan was changed (or they just forgot that part of the plan). Nurse was remarkably snarky when I vomited coming out of the anesthesia (though she had been warned and I didn’t get anywhere near her!).

I have no recollection of speaking to the surgeon after the procedure, but Michael spoke to him and he was very encouraged. He even asked if I’ll be able to try running at some point, and was told that as long as I keep up with PT, there should be no road blocks there. So that’s exciting.

I’ve been home nearly three full days now. I was awake for five hours on Thursday and ten hours yesterday. Hoping for fourteen today. I’m in quite a lot of pain and the N0rc0 isn’t much help, but the doctor on call isn’t calling back the nurse on the nurse line. I’m kind of fretting that I’m not allowed to take the boot off to look at the dressing – what if it’s bleeding or oozing? – but I can at least see my toes, and am telling myself that as long as they are pink and warm, and I don’t get a fever, I should be okay. Two weeks seems like a long time to go between having one’s foot sliced open and having a medical professional check on the wound, but what do I know?

Ugh. I’m a big baby about a relatively minor procedure, but right now I don’t care. Whine.

 

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Monterey    |    12 Comments »

09 Jun 2014

Not in California, but here:

Monterey cohousing

Monterey Cohousing Community. It’s in Saint Louis Park (half a mile west of the Minneapolis border, but there’s no visible delineation, it’s still full-on city). The old mansion used to be a retirement home for Christian Scientists, but now it houses eight apartments, and there are a further seven townhouses on the property. It’s set up to be an “intentional neighborhood;” not a commune, but a community. All residents are autonomous (apartments are owned separately), but you really get to know your neighbors. People are friends, everyone helps with the running of the house and grounds, there are (optional) community dinners a couple of times a week and everyone serves on committees. There’s more to read on the website, if you’re curious, and an old article here as well.

There are several units open right now, and we’re falling in love with a gorgeous three bedroom apartment on the third floor. Like I said yesterday, lots of Big Conversations are going on, but we have plenty of time to hash it all out, because the process of joining the community is a long one. We’ve been to a dinner and a meet-and-greet, Michael’s been to one Board meeting, and we spent a night in one of the guest rooms on Saturday. We got to talk to several other residents, and everyone is friendly. (And extra-enthusiastic when we mention the possibility of having kids. All of their kids have grown up, so they’re really interested in getting some younger people back in residence.)

We’re going to another dinner tomorrow night, where we’re going to discuss taking the next steps. We’d join as Associate members, sign up for a work team (I’d love to get my hands on their internet presence, so hopefully there’s room on their PR team), and get on the email list. I love that they’re so deliberate; living in close quarters, you really want to make sure you can get along with everyone. This also gives us the time to finish making the decision for real, get our finances in order for the down payment and line up a mortgage, and gives our landlords now time to find a new renter so we don’t have a big lease-breaking fee.

(Reading back over this, it kind of sounds like I’ve already made up my mind. Hmm.)

Anyway, here are a bunch of pictures. The grounds are gorgeous, but I apologize in advance for the quality of the indoor shots. It was dark in there. We’ll do better next time we get in to see the actual apartment.

Monterey cohousingThis is  the view of the house through the trees from the guest parking area.

Monterey cohousing

Monterey cohousing

Monterey cohousing

Monterey cohousingThey call this the “Oak Knoll,” out by the driveway.

Monterey cohousingThe sweetest little bench.

Monterey cohousingThe west side of the main building. The apartment we want has the three rectangular windows (though everyone has access to the little balcony on the 2nd floor).

Monterey cohousingMore gorgeous landscaping as you round the corner to the south side of the building.

Monterey cohousingThis isn’t used as the main entrance, but it’s fancy and I like it.

Monterey cohousingThe big lawn out front (dirt rectangle is where they’re experimenting with different vegetation).

Monterey cohousingA local beekeeper has settled some hives here; Mococo will get 10% of their yield in return for the real estate.

Monterey cohousingThe vegetable gardens, including both community and individual plots.

Monterey cohousingThe giant maple at the southeast corner is quite friendly, but it misses kids playing on the lawn.

Monterey cohousingThe east side of the building. Kitchen below, dancing porch above.

Monterey cohousingDown into the lovely woods behind the big house.

Monterey cohousingUp from below. It’s a steep hillside, five switchbacks to the bottom, down a woodchip lined path.

Monterey cohousingKen told us that the kids built this twig igloo. There are large rocks inside for seats.

Monterey cohousingInvasive…something. (Garlic mustard?) Pretty, but kind of disconcertingly omnipresent. They worked hard to rid the hillside of poison ivy, and now that’s done, this is the next target.

Monterey cohousingFrom behind the garage, back up to the townhouses.

Monterey cohousingThe courtyard.

Monterey cohousingPoor lonely playground.

Monterey cohousingThe north side of the building. If I’m not mistaken, the very top two windows on the right would be our bedroom.

Monterey cohousingHaving circumnavigated the property, we see the townhouses on the left.

Monterey cohousingAnd back at the west side.

Monterey cohousingThe common living room reminds me of the parlor at Columbia College.

Monterey cohousingYou can see that Michael made himself right at home.

Monterey cohousingThe big community kitchen is downstairs.

Monterey cohousingAnd the community dining room.

Monterey cohousingThe fancy dance floor on the porch.

Monterey cohousingI think the big bay window would be my favorite reading spot.

So do you guys have any thoughts? Any questions? Do you have a psychic insight you’d like to share?

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Sweden or Spawn?    |    4 Comments »

08 Jun 2014

Monterey cohousing

Our household has been full of Deep Conversations for the last couple of months. Since we’re settled and working toward getting out of debt, we’ve been trying to figure out some capital-g Goals. Michael, who has researched other places to live as a hobby since he moved to Oklahoma in 1998, told me that he’d decided that he wanted to live in Europe and that he wanted us to have babies.

I balked at this double bombshell, and freaked out quietly for a week or so. Eventually I came up for air and shared with him the conclusion that I would be willing to try for babies or move to Europe, but not both. My ability to cope with stress and change is somewhere below average, so either one will be a challenge, but the combo pack would certainly come with a ticket to madness.

I just don’t want to have kids without a solid community around us. Three years in, I feel like I have enough of a support system in Minnesota that it wouldn’t be out of the question. Michael’s Europe vision includes places like Denmark and Sweden; countries that are full of notoriously reticent citizens. I’m 36. I don’t have another six years to build up a network of friends before getting on the spawn train.

Michael was disappointed and I felt guilty, but we are, among other things, best friends, so we were eventually able to talk about things without my bursting into tears. (Eventually.) It’s a Big Deal, obviously, so there have been LOTS of conversations. Long ones, short ones, gchats and emails. Pro and con lists. Suggestions from friends. No conclusions have been reached, though I’m leaning toward staying in Minnesota and attempting to put my uterus to work. 60/40, though if Michael woke up tomorrow certain that he was meant to be an expat, I’d be able to get my head right with that, too.

Another factor has inserted itself into the equation, in the form of a very interesting apartment coming on to the market. Last night, we stayed over at the Monterey Cohousing Community to get a better feel for it – but more on that tomorrow.

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