Thursday, January 31, 2008

she who has been pricked by many needles

The verdict is in!

I finally met with an allergy specialist today who confirmed what I was fearing the most. First I was pricked on the left arm with 30 little plastic points containing various allergens. After about 5 minutes the column devoted to many different types of grasses was aflame with large welts. Explains the constant dripping of my nose from about April to June every single year.

Exhibit A

The other puffy spots awards were given to Exhibit B - Ragweed, which is why I am not particularly fond of indian summers - when these golden plumes rear their ugly heads and release what my body mistakenly assumes to be toxic....

And finally, the ubiquitous arachnid that snuggles you to sleep every single night: Exhibit C, the dust mite. Take a gander at this guy. Funny that the organism whose feces is trying to suffocate me while I sleep is a cousin to the you-know-whats that send me into phobic seisures should I see a photograph of one.... you know what I'm talking about... I dare not mention the "S" word.


But the spot designated for cat dander! It was no where NEAR swelling! I prematurely squeeled with glee and sent out some text messages. The nurse told me to wait... that they had to do an actual INJECTION of the allergens with no reaction just to be sure.... and sure enough, it turned red :(
I give you: Exhibit C & D, my sweet little fluffy children.... how could these precious creatures be the cause of nightly asthma attacks... they are so innocent, and they only want to be loved :(

Rest assured, my new allergist is wonderful and is willing to help me continue sharing my life and my apartment with these two sweet angels. I didn't even have to bring in a photo of them!!! She did say that the absolute best option would be to remove the pets from my home, but she knew I would not do that. I think my general practioner may have warned her of my crazy-cat-lady-ness. In fact, Exhibit C is sleeping right here on the desk.
And oh yes we are going to do something about those pesky bugs in my bed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside

Over the past week Chicago has been blasted by a severely frigid wind leaving us to fend for ourselves in sub-zero temps. The wind chill is often 15 below... and after riding the CTA on Monday and Wednesday, arriving to my office with numb hands, feet, and legs, mumbling four letter words under my scarves, I decided it is best for all if I drive to work in this weather. As long as I get here at least 30 minutes early it's not too difficult to find a parking spot.

This weekend I managed to muster up the guts to brave the cold and go to yoga, the vet (of all places - poor kitties), the LYS, and out for dinner to celebrate Stephanie's b-day! No, I did not get to wear this hat the whole time (boo hoo). This is that I was trying on and I LOVE IT! I want one! NOW! I think I'm going to buy it. It's from LL Bean.

The ONLY thing that I hate about it is the fur. Except that's the part I love the most.

Any of you who know me know that I LOOOOOOOVVVE fur.... as bad as it sounds. All of the furs I own are vintage. Some of you would even protest against THAT. If I bought this hat I would feel bad for the poor bunny or bunnies... however many it takes to wrap around my noggin. Do you think they use the rest of the animal? If so, then I would be less upset about it.

There is another hat that is very similar at Land's End and it has faux fur. But faux is sometimes scratchy and not as warm as real fur.... What should I do????

Steph (right) and her friend Alyssa, visiting from out of town

By the way, the birthday dinner was at Indie Cafe in Edgewater and it was very good! The decor was fun and the food was great. Plus, you can't beat BYOB.

These temps are really only good for one thing, and one thing alone.... one guess.... KNITTING! of course, you moron! I have so many projects I want to work on right now. After the holidays I vowed to work on something for myself, but somehow I have four projects started and they are all for other people.

Main project is a zip up cardigan for Steve. I'm using Lamb's Pride worsted in a heather gray color. He picked it out a while ago. It's sort of itchy so I hope he's okay with that..... Anyway, it has a cabled band around the bottom. I'm getting ready to start the sleeves. It would be nice to have it done by his birthday. Part of that will depend on if I can get the last two back ordered skeins that I need.

The next most important project is a secret for someone special... but here's a little sneak peek.

In other yarn news I am expecting a large Knit Picks order.... say 3,000-yards-ish. Good deals. I wonder what the average yardage per order is from Knit Picks?????? Maybe that order really isn't so huge. I'll keep telling myself that.

Something else I thought was very knit-worthy: When we stayed at my Mom's house for christmas something from my past emerged. I was a little chilly so I asked for more blankets on the bed. The only extra one she could find was this one that she crocheted when I was in high school. We were the Hudson Tigers, so this blanket was made specifically for football games. How sweet!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Maybe it's a little late in the year to be posting my resolutions. I promise you I have been working diligently on them.... I just want to write them down and make them known.

First on the list is the same as everyone else - lose weight! I'm finally doing something about it. I'm not saying I'm a sumo wrestler or anything, but it would be nice to lose this spare tire and look good in a bathing suit again. So I started watching everything I eat and have made some modifications. I guess I didn't realize that I was pigging out every day and eating sweets every day. For the past 2 weeks I have been eating very sensibly and I'm staying active. I'm doing yoga again... that 90 minute session yesterday kicked my ass. I can hardly lift my arm today!

As soon as it starts getting warmer out (unlike this weekend with a high of 10 degrees) I will be able to do more cardio type of activities.... walking and RIDING MY BIKE!

Second resolution is to take better care of myself and my pets. I went to my new doctor this week and, despite questioning my attachment to Monkey and Elvis (possible allergen), she is great! I think she'll be realistic and be able to work with me and my lifestyle... and by liftstyle I'm referring to a world I share with the animals I've made commitments to. Next step is a visit to the allergy specialist.

Monkey and Elvis also went to see their doctor this week. They are both fine except for the phantom peeing in the chair in the middle of the night. We are working on that. This is the fourth time in one month! Just when I feel I have gotten rid of the smell, which takes days and even weeks of spraying with an expensive solution, someone does it again. I'm not sure if I really like the vet we go to. They seem mediocre. Not good enough for my babies.

Third resolution: Become more obsessed with knitting. This will include embarking on more challenging projects.... several things going on at once.... I think I'm well on my way. I started listening to a knitting podcast that I really like. It's called "Cast On". I had never listened to a podcast before.... and I knew there were many on my favorite topic. It's a whole nother world, the podcasting world. I feel as if I'm diving deeper and deeper into crazy-knit-lady-ness. My friends laugh at me but they NO IDEA that I am just floating on the surface of the knitting-e-sphere. I'm making up words here.... More on knitting later. (Just one more thing: I started teaching my first formal knitting class this month and things are going great!)

Fourth resolution: Play music! I would like to find some ensemble to play with. My saxophone is sitting here collecting dust. I know my embochure is out of whack, but the goal would be to improve whilst having fun. Ideally it would be something community oriented. Some sort of wind ensemble. A swing/jazz/big band would be REALLY FUN.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

christmas bounty!

I have been so busy using all of my christmas presents that I haven't had any time to blog about christmas presents. Some of my faves are this Dirt Devil Kone - sleek, stylish design elements and vaccuuming together at last!

I love the patagonia jacket that my mommy gave me. It's exactly what I wanted.

It has become a tradition for Steve to give me a new purse for christmas, even though I never ask for one. He always surprises me by picking something out himself. And I always love it. This year he bought me a clutch made from gum wrappers... it might sound weird, but it's more like a piece of art than something you would carry around every day. What I love about it is that it doesn't look like most recycled bags that you see at green stores or 10,000 villages. It's much more subtle. But it's beautiful.

We also received funds for a new bed and an external hard drive - woo hoo!

Okay - now for the knitted goods that were given at christmas this year... You know, the ones I had slaved over the entire month of December, down to the last minute, binding off stitches and weaving in ends... sewing on a button or two...

This is a little cable knit cowl that I made for Mary Tholking and it is probably my favorite thing that I knit this holiday season. First, it is made out of the SOFTEST alpaca.... so soft, you wouldn't believe it! (Misti Alpaca Chunky) Secondly, I knit it in one day. And the third reason - it is the best gift ever because it's so luscious and rich, yet only takes one skein so you won't break the bank. I think this would be a great project for learning cables because it is a straight rectangle and not too complicated. I already have several of my friends making them and I want to make about three more. You can get this pattern for free from Arcadia Knitting... and I think Kathy was talking about posting it on ravelry, but I'm not sure if she has yet.

The little duo is a gift I made for Steve's mom. I think it turned out so well, and a lot I owe to the yarn - fancy yarn, and lots of it - Malabrigo Greusa.... funny, it sounds like this yarn has genus and species names. Hhhmmm, what would Linnaeus think of that? Anyway, this is the Urchin hat from Fall Knitty, i think. And a simple drop stitch pattern scarf. Nice combo.

Doesn't she look pretty?

This one was a last minute mad rush, but I finished it in time. A BSJ in cotton, with an Aurora 8 edge, which for whatever reason I decided I wanted to do in stockinette. But it looked good. With a nice little rolled up edge.

I made these guys for my dad to wear outside to keep his hand warm. I actually started them before christmas 06. I should have just made the top open but instead I wanted to try half fingers.... not entirely pleased with how they turned out. I couldn't get the finger lengths right for some reason.......? But they are still warm and cozy and he liked them.

This is another Urchin hat, and was actually the first one that I made. It was for my dad's girlfriend, Cheryl. I used Lion Brand Homespun because it's so soft and easy to take care of. If you've seen the Urchin pattern you'll know that it is knit radially in 8 "wedge" sections. I think only knitted 7 for this hat because of the way the fabric drapes. It would have been way too floppy. I was pleased with the way it turned out. This photo is before grafting the ends together. Also, this is a pretty fast knit.