Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas if you celebrate it, and a great day if you don't.

Here's the last 2 months of my life, in summary:


Finished my parents blanket.

Pattern: Afghan Squared by Lion Brand
K hook
Red Heart Super Saver
Pattern Repeat of 7 rounds each of the two pinks, and then one green and one white round.

I personally don't care for the colors or the pattern but my parents will love it (I hope).

Also made mom four dishcloths. The kitchen and living room are both decorated entirely in pink, white and green.

I've crocheted non-stop since the wedding (since about September) and now that I have no more gifts to make, I have no idea what to do with myself. I'm tired!

Okay okay...

The CT scan was fine, really. I guess I get really psyched up for things and worry myself sick about them, only to come to find that they're no big deal afterall. I wasn't worried about the scan itself, but that damn barium I had to drink.

But I managed to drank those first 2 bottles in 7 minutes flat. I felt like I should have had a beer bong and been listening to Dave Matthews Band with all my frat-guy friends. I chugged the hell out of it! Seriously, my college friends would have been so proud of me. It was only bothersome at the very end of the second bottle when it wanted to come back up a bit, probably due to the sheer volume of what I had just put into my stomach. But all in all the taste wasn't miserable, and more than anything it was just a lot of liquid to ingest so quickly. Texture was a little unnerving, but really, no big deal at all.

So I got there and chugged some more and had the dye injection. The scan was fine. They didn't tell me anything. I should find out Friday or Monday. I wasn't a fan of the dye, it had a bit of a reaction on me where I just felt flushed and woozy for about 10 minutes. By the time I had gotten dressed it was gone though, and ultimately no big deal. Honestly the only unpleasant part of the whole thing was the fact that it took her like 5 needle sticks to find a vein, and once again my arms look like I'm an IV drug user. I'm very bruised. I don't mind needles, but lately no one is able to find a vein and I end up all bruised and sore from their repeated attempts. I assume it's because all of these tests have meant at least a 12 hour fast prior, and I end up being dehydrated with veins that want to keep collapsing. Ordinarily they never have problems with me.

I also cancelled the colonoscopy. Though I kind of chickened out and said I'd reschedule which is a lie. I plan to have a second opinion. If the second opinion thinks it's warranted or if the CT Scan shows anything, I'll do it immediately. Otherwise, I'm going to have to wait until February or March when I can afford to shell out more dough for the insurance deductible. I just don't have it right now, considering the CT Scan cost me $480. And who knows, maybe when I see a new GI they'll agree with the first doctor (who I liked) and they'll think the colonoscopy will not be necessary. If it is, I'll do it, but otherwise I have better things to spend $500 on.

Anyhow, I went to work after the CT scan thinking I'd be fine, but the barium ended up having a bad effect on me, so I left after about 90 minutes. I felt full and and uncomfortable, which I expected since I drank so much thick liquid. Unfortunately, it upset my stomach quite a bit, and I just needed to go home and take some Pepto and relax. The barium did not stay in me, put it that way. After some over the counter meds I was fine, just felt a bit full and not all that hungry. Imagine having a stomach full of a liquid heavy metal. That's pretty much how it felt. Like a big ball in my stomach. Not painful or crampy, just oddly stuffed beyond capacity.

So we're in the midst of another storm today. This is, I believe, the 5th or 6th storm we've had that has dumped over 6 inches of snow since the beginning of December. It's non-stop. We got 6 overnight and are due for 6 more during the day. It's insane. It's so pretty outside (until you're cleaning off your car and driving in it). My boss is great, lets me stay home when the roads are crap, which they are today. However, I've missed so much work for appointments and tests and procedures that I have been coming in regardless during storms, even though I know he'd be fine to let me have a snow day. The 4 wheel drive is great and my confidence driving in bad weather is increasing. I used to drive a Hyundai and that didn't go anywhere in the snow. It was awful. I couldn't make it up hills because the car was far too light, and it would just slide all over the road. The Jeep is fantastic though so I have no problems getting to and from places. But, since I'm still not a huge fan of driving around in the bad weather, I always make a point to only be here during daylight. I usually work 10 to 8 today, but I'm doing 7 to 2:30 or so. It will take a solid hour to drive home with all the traffic and bad road conditions. Took me 45 minutes to get here which is fantastic all things considered. I can't even describe how nice it is to have 4 wheel drive in a snow storm. I'm not one of those cocky SUV or truck drivers that thinks you can do 50 in a storm just because you have 4 wheel drive. It does help you to go and not slip on the nasty roads, but it won't help you to stop. I don't understand why it's so terrible to drive 30 miles per hour on a windy, curvy, hilly road that has 3 inches of snow on it, but it must be terrible because all the other SUVs pass me. I just take it slow with all the 2 wheel drive cars out there, and I do just fine.

On the crochet front I'm still not done with the granny square blanket. It looks great though. And I'm close to being completed. I did find a mistake in it that I had made, about 20 rows back, and I almost died. I don't think anyone will ever notice, but it's irking the shit out of me. I want to frog it, but if I do it won't be done in time for Christmas. Instead of 3 dc in a chain one space I somehow only did 1 in this one spot, and I can't believe it. I must have been distracted. It's really making me crazy, but I don't have the time to fix it. Argh. I hate that. I'm going to try to get creative with some yarn and a needle in that spot and see if I can give the illusion of 2 extra stitches there, because I just can't handle it. It's so unnoticeable though that once I knew it was there it took me about 5 minutes to find it again, so it's not obvious to anyone but me. But fellow knitters and crocheters will understand how irritating it is.

I have 5 more rows of the light pink, one row each of white and green, and then a sc border around it in the dark pink. After that, just weave in the ends. I manage 2 rows a day after work, so I'm getting there. Now that it's so huge, it takes forever to crochet around all 4 sides. I'm using a K hook which is pretty large (but what the pattern called for), but it's just not going all that quickly. Oh well, it will be done with by Sunday no matter what. I can't wait to show pictures. I'm rather proud of it. Not my style and I don't really like the colors, but Mom will love it and that's all that matters.

I've been using a lot of Red Heart Super Saver for the blankets. I washed the one for my niece and it was very soft afterward, and I was suprised at how nice it felt. However, I used RH Soft for Mark's parents blanket, and it was much more pleasant feeling. I think once I'm done with all of these I will not buy RH SS anymore. The RH Soft is much nicer and makes a great ghan. I have a bunch leftover from years ago that I'm going to make into a scrap ghan, and then after that I think I'll wash my hands of it. I'll still use acrylic or an acrylic blend yarn for any blankets, because seriously, it's just not right to have a blanket you can't throw in the washer and dryer. In my opinion at any rate. But I plan to use a softer acrylic in the future.

T-Minus 90 Minutes

Well, 90 minutes to go before I have to chug 2 bottles of Barium for a CT Scan. Between 8:30 and 9 I have to chug 2 bottles of Barium (hooray!) and then drive 30 minutes to the imaging center. Once there I chug another bottle (wow, it's my lucky day!) and then I'll have the scan. I'm hoping and praying something shows up. I'm so tired of negative test results. I know my body, and I know something is amiss. I'm starting to feel discouraged that I have some sort of "non-ulcer dyspepsia," which is a generic diagnosis of upper abdominal pain with no real treatment other than avoiding the foods and situations that bother you. It's not that I want to be sick, but I'd like to have a concrete diagnosis and concrete treatment plan.

I have to say though, once I started to really be diligent about my diet, I've found that low fat foods really make a world of difference. I do have an indigestion-y sort of feeling sometimes, but it seems to be related to eating. I haven't had any sharp pains since I've cut out fatty foods. In fact, I notice that when I cheat, like last night when I had a bite of a candy bar because of a chocolate craving, I have some upper abdominal pains. When I don't eat fats, I don't have those pains. So, I'm still inclined to believe the first doctor that my gallbladder is starting to show signs of gallbladder disease absent any stones. But, if there are no stones or sludge, the only test that will show that is a HIDA scan, which I have already had and which was inconclusive. If that's what this is, then nope, the CT Scan won't show anything most likely. Bah.

Oh, I'm cancelling the colonoscopy I think. Er, not cancelling but rather postponing it. I have a $500 insurance deductible for tests and procedures and such, which I will be paying today for the CT Scan. I simply cannot afford to pay an additional $500 in January when the new year and new deductible starts again. So, after the CT Scan I'm going to have to call the doctor's office and explain to them that until I get my tax return, I likely won't be able to afford it. I've ben told 2 things that lead me to believe this is okay: First doctor said since my symptoms are up very high in my stomach, a colonscopy wasn't necessary because I don't have any lower stomach symptoms. And then the 2nd doctor said he didn't think the test would reveal any problems either. So, I feel okay about waiting for 2 months or so. He may be annoyed, but oh well. What can you do? I don't have that kind of money laying around. As it is, my Christmas Bonus will be paying for today's festivities.

Have a great day everyone.

Resisting the urge...

...to feel paranoid.

I'm really trying hard to keep a level head today, and not start having these conspiracy theories about the asshole doctor I saw yesterday. I'm trying to just calm down, but I've got to tell you, it's difficult.

I know the colonoscopy will be a piece of cake. I know it will be, because I'll be asleep just like I was for the endoscopy. What will suck is the prep the day before. I don't need to go into details--y'all know it's gonna suck. You just have to suck it up and deal, and that's the best you can do.


I can't help but feel a bit paranoid about having it to begin with. I was seeing a great woman in this very doctor's office, and she told me that they would be doing upper GI tests, because I have no indication of any lower abdominal issues. This was reiterated to me in the ER. And even yesterday, when the asshole doctor told me he thought what I needed were some antidepressants and some good self-reflection, immediately followed by his ever so professional statement that he was certain no more tests were needed because they wouldn't show any problems...he orders a colonoscopy. I have to keep telling myself that getting this test is a good idea anyway--better safe than sorry--blah, blah, blah. But that paranoid part of me wonders if he's just trying to punish me. This belief is somewhat compounded by the prep he's given me. I'm very research oriented. So naturally I looked up colonoscopy online. I didn't really learn anything new, basically that the prep sucks but the test is no biggie because you're under anesthesia. What I found interesting though was that I can't find anything (from bloggers and personal experience type sites) on the prep I have to do. Most preps involve drinking quite a bit of liquid. It's just unpleasant. But I have to drink 64 ounces of Gatorade mixed with 225 mg of some medicine I can't recall the name of (Glycolax? Something like that) THREE times. Once at 10 am the day before, then at 6 pm, then I have to get up at 3 am and do it again. Doesn't that seem a bit much? All the stories I've read involve a lot less liquid than that. And to put it into perspective for you, that's nine 20-ounce soda bottles. I know I'm being paranoid, but I kind of feel like he's punishing me. There are so many easier preps out there, that it seems suspicious I'd have this one. Especially since my father used this same GI to have his colonoscopy when he turned 60, and he didn't have nearly that amount of crap to drink. I'm a little 105 pound girl. I don't get why I need extra cleaning out.

So, I need to stop this nonsense. Suck it up and just say yep, I have a doctor I don't like, and move on. I'll get the tests while looking for someone else. I didn't need an antidepressant before I saw him, but if I keep dwelling I might. Well, not an antidepressant actually. More like an anti-rage pill.

I was never dying to get a surgical referral and gallbladder surgery if there was a chance that my gallbladder wasn't to blame for the discomfort I'm having. I don't want to have an unnecessary procedure by any means, and I don't have my heart set on having a particular issue. But the doctor led me to believe that my problem was probably gallbladder, and if the HIDA scan were repeated in a few months I'd fail for sure. Of course I was naturally pleased that a doctor thought she found the cause of my problem, and found a solution. Of course that would make anyone happy! But to be told one week that I'm going to need surgery, and then be told the following week that it's in my head? I feel pretty let down. By both of them. Because now, I'm not so sure I believe the first doctor. Was she too hasty? She was certainly sweet and caring, but I can't help but second guess her. And the second doctor--well, let's just not go there. I know my head and I know my body. When I'm stressed, overwhelmed, etc. I catch every cold within a 10 mile radius. I sleep all the time. I get worn out. I don't get stomach issues. I know my body, and I know this is not mental. I don't know how I know--I just do.

The doctor thinks this is all in my head...

I'm furious.

I went in today and despite the fact that his partner, who is now on maternity leave, believes my gallbladder is failing because I have fairly consistent gallbladder issues, the doctor told me:

"April, I think what you need are antidepressants."

Doesn't matter that the pain comes on after I eat fat and fat only. Doesn't matter that I can tolerate non-fatty foods pretty well. Doesn't matter that my life is going well and I have no anxiety or depression. He told me I need to "seriously evaluate my life, and surely you'll agree with me that the problem is mental."

His own associate told me last week that I would likely get a surgical referral today despite my HIDA results being borderline normal.

Instead, I was told it's in my head. I'm livid. So incredibly livid.

Yet, even though it's just in my head, he's going to do a CT scan this week and a colonoscopy on January 2nd. Sounds to me like a cover-your-ass tactic, given that this is, afterall, just in my head.

I don't even know what to say. It will take me probably 6 to 8 weeks to get a new GI appt. by the time I get the insurance referral and appointment set up. I'm going to go through with the 2 tests while starting the process of finding someone else. At the very least I'll have a complete medical work-up by the time I see a new doctor.

So, my PCP thought gallbladder and sent me to the GI. The GI I first saw (who is now on maternity leave) ordered the usual u/s, endoscopy, HIDA and bloodwork. Everything was normal, HIDA was borderline. She still believed gallbladder. The ER doctor who saw me, who also had her gallbladder removed, believed it was my gallbladder even though I don't have stones. She said it sounded just like what she had. Every person I know who has had gallbladder troubles tells me, "Hmmmm...it sounds like gallbladder to me."

Yet the jackhole GI who took over my case thinks I need to take an antidepressant.

I don't have any history of stomach issues and everyone, and I mean everyone, has said that I have no indication of IBS or any other lower abdominal issue. I have no symptoms of anything down there. Yet here we go with a colonoscopy, even though it's all in my head. I could scream right now. I am so, so angry.

I understand the CT scan, but the colonoscopy? I have pain in one spot. Right behind my lower right rib cage. Ain't gonna see that part of my abdomen during a colonoscopy.

Ho Ho Ho

I did a little wrapping tonight. I've never used plain paper before, usually it's all cutesie.

I made simple handmade tags for the packages.

I'm going to wrap each package with a thick black ribbon. I think they'll look elegant.

Christmas Gifts

Marley's not good at math, so she wasn't much help when it came to balancing my check book.

Anyhow, here's a wool scarf for Mark's younger brother.

Here's Sara's project bag, finally felted and with the little moon and star embellishments. If you read yesterday's post, she's the friend who is in love with stars.

These are for her husband. He loves little bags. The red-orange one is for a tobacco pipe he whittled this fall. The gray drawstring pouch has a fish on it since we always go fishing together. The teeny black one is for his antique glass eye. No joke. The hat is black, same yarn as the small pouch, but I didn't realize how terrible the exposure was until I uploaded it. He doesn't leave the house without a beanie.

Lastly, another Moda Dea scarf for Mark's aunt. She wears a lot of pink.

Jacob's Blanket

He's 7. He's all boy. I think he'll like it.

Oh, and...

Finished another ghan last night. I'm now down to my very last one and that should be it for Christmas. I still have many FO pics to post, but by the time I get home from work these days I'm pretty exhausted. Between feeling tired all the time (from low calories and fat I assume) and the antispasmodic gut medicine that makes me so loopy and sleepy, I have managed to neglect taking pics of my stuff.

The ghan I finished was for my 7 year old nephew who likes GI Joe. It's camoflauge. Hideously ugly, but hey, I'm not into camo so who cares what I think. He is 150% boy so I suspect he'll get a huge kick out of it. Well, as much as a 7 year old boy can appreciate a hand made blanket instead of toys at Christmas time. I suppose his enthusiasm for it will be relative, since it's not exciting and fun to play with, but again, that's ok by me.

So, as of now that's 4 ghans I've made since April of this year (Sara's, Erik and Teresa's, Mark's parents and Jacob's, which is shown only partially completed in that older picture), with one more in the works for my parents. After Christmas I have 2 more in mind to make. One will be the Babette Blanket from the Spring 2006 edition of Interweave Crochet, which I just backordered yesterday. The other will be for my 2 best friends. Their 5 year wedding anniversary is this March. Both of their birthdays are about 1 week before their anniversary. They're both obsessed with stars (as home decor, on her purse, on jewelry and buttons, and they both even have star tattoos). I think Beth's Little Star Afghan would make a perfect gift for them, don't you? I'm really not sure of the colors. I'd like it to be something funky without being obnoxious. Conversely, I do like the idea of it being a fantastic shade of yellow. I also like the idea of using wool and felting it so it's a nice rug. I can't decide, but that will be the pattern at any rate. Sara is in the midst of making her first ghan for Justin for Christmas and the colors are a taupe and red. I can't quite decide if I should be sure the 2 match each other or not. I don't think they necessarily need to if I make a blanket instead of a rug, because they wouldn't have both blankets in the same room. If I do a smaller version and felt it into a rug, they will definitely put it in the living room so it should match their other decor. Hm. It's a difficult choice for me because I'm really leaning toward making a huge yellow star blanket and I think it would be cute, but man that wouldn't really match anything of theirs. It will come to me eventually I guess.

2 pm on a Friday and I'm very much ready to go home. 2 more hours. The Bentyl makes me so tired and I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open. *yawn*

Sad Beyond Words

My sweet, sweet baby Lulu passed away on December 1, 2007. I cannot even believe how much my heart aches.

On Thursday 11/29 around 11 pm I noticed she was a bit lethargic. I wrapped her in a warm towel and held her most of the night against my chest. That morning she had been fine, as far as I could tell. She deteriorated so rapidly. Which I suppose is a good thing, given that it happened quickly and seemingly painlessly. I basically held her for another 25 hours on and off or so until she passed away just after midnight on Friday night (technically Sat. morning). The entire time she was unresponsive and did not react to any stiumli, etc. When I pet her she did not move. I believe she was in a coma. The cats stayed by her side the whole time. They wouldn't leave, they were very protective. I've never seen them like that. It was only after she passed away that they stopped hovering around Lulu and started hovering around me. It seemed as though they were at first comforting Lulu and then afterward comforting me. Maybe I'm reading too much into animal behavior, but they were acting so very different than they normally do.

We grappled with the decision to let her die at home vs. going to the vet. What ultimately allowed me to keep her at home without feeling guilt, was two specific things. First off, she was unresponsive in a coma and I do honestly believe she was not suffering. Secondly, Mark worked for the Humane Society for 10 years and he was the technician who did all the euthanasias. Small animals like that are given the injection in one of two ways. Typically it is through the stomach. Lulu had a mass in her stomach that appeared to just show up the day she died. I hadn't felt anything prior to that day on her, and I handled her daily. If they cannot put the injection in the stomach due to a mass, they inject it in the heart. Mark says this is not a comfortable procedure and he believes it is a cruel way to euthanize a small animal given that it is somewhat difficult. So, I let him use his judgment since he has done literally thousand of euthanasias over the years, and together we decided the best thing for her would be to keep her warm and love her until her time was up.

I never wanted a ferret. I won't ever get one again. But she was a birthday gift from an ex when I turned 22, and she became as much a part of the family as my two cats. She was born in December of 2000, which made her about 7 years old. Most ferrets live 3 to 5 years, so she was a very, very old girl.

The cats thought of her as one of them. Until this past year, she was free to roam the house as she pleased, because she was litter box trained, and she wasn't a naughty ferret who would eat things, chew wires, etc. Her only "naughty" quirk was an obsession with large, empty boxes. She'd grab a box 20 times her size with her teeth and drag it across a room in an attempt to find a place to hide it. It was the most hilarious thing to watch. She would always drag them and put them under the bed, or the kitchen table, or try to get them into a closet if the door was left open. To this day I'm not sure why she did it, but it was so cute and amusing to watch.

About a year ago her sight and hearing started to go. I kept her confined to the second bedroom that we use as an office/computer room/craft room/spare bedroom. She could only come out of her cage when someone was with her. She was still happy and seemed healthy and vibrant, and she learned to adapt to her failing eyesight by walking the perimeter of things--she'd find her way around the room by following the perimeter of the room, or the bed, or what have you. She was happy and excited despite her eyesight.

Anyway, I'm sad. I didn't post prior to today because everytime I thought about it I start to cry. I'm still very teary now as I write this. I'm not a fan of ferrets, but I can't tell you how much this little weasel meant to me. She was a pure love. If you picked her up, she would smother you with kisses. She was just unique and special, and I miss her so much.

Pay it Forward Gift

AntiChristy made me quite a lovely Pay it Forward gift. It's a Scarflet and I adore it. It's using Paton's new bamboo blend yarn. It's one of the softest yarns I've ever felt. Thanks, hon!

She does also have an Etsy store, and she has some cute stuff in there.


Apparently I'm missing a handful of photos. I have a lovely felted tote bag and some more scarves ready to show off, but can't find the pics on Flickr. Must be on the camera still. So much has been going on lately and I'm a bit scatter-brained.

Here's a shawl for my niece. No pattern as usual.

HIDA Scan Results

Got the results back from the HIDA (gallbladder) scan. You're not going to believe this. The results are fricken normal.


So, the GI at least believes this is my gallbladder. I apparently have pretty classic gallbladder symptoms. Problem is, she said a surgeon likely wouldn't touch me with good test results. They're number oriented and if I pass the test they'll likely be dismissive of my case. How lovely.

Plan for now, continue with antispasmodics (I'm now trying Librax (Librex?) instead of Bentyl, though I think the Bentyl works better) to prevent digestive contractions and spams. I am supposed to take 2 pills 30 minutes prior to eating (3 x per day). If I take 2, I'm drooling. They knock me out, so I have to take 1, which the dr. does not like, she wants me on two. Sigh. Also, continue on 40 mg Protonix twice daily, even though I don't see why, it has made zero difference (same with Nexium). And most importantly, and I emphasize, eat no fat. Zero fat at all. I have another appointment on the 11th to see how things are going.

I'm able to tolerate maybe a gram of fat in a meal. Provided I take my antispasmodic first and give it adequate time to kick in. Otherwise, forget it. It hurts too much. I had a bite of Mark's quesadilla last night out of desperation. One bite, one tiny little bite, and it was very uncomfortable 25 minutes later.

Her thinking is that if we rule out everything, treat me with medicines, and she stil suspects gallbladder, she will be able to convince a surgeon that the liklihood is that it's my gb and let's just take the damn thing out.

I do want her to order a CT scan or something, because lately I'm also having upper left quadrant pain in addition to the normal upper middle pain and upper right pain. I have no other signs of pancreatitis though and all of my bloodwork has been fine. This could very well be referred pain, but my thinking is that one more stupid test to see how things look over there won't be a big deal.

My fear is that it isn't gallbladder, that they'll do surgery, and they won't find anything wrong. But my pain is pretty classic gb, and when I avoid all fats I feel a lot better. But still, the fear of having surgery and still having problems looms over me. So on one hand I'm glad she is not jumping to conclusions. She says he gut tells her its gb, but let's try meds and let's rule out everything else first. If it is my gb, I don't have stones, I probably am in the beginning stages of gb disease, and if they repeated the tests 6 months from now I would fail them miserably. If anyone wants to do surgery if I am still passing the tests I'll get a second opinion. But truth be told, I want a rapid resolution to this because it really sucks ass. I'm losing weight like crazy. Granted I feel better on a fat free diet than I felt before, but still. It's not healthy to have zero fats in your diet for any extended period of time. I still have bad days, and I still leave work early sometimes, and overall I just feel somewhat sickly. And I'm frustrated. I'm tired of fat free foods. Really, really tired of them. I want some meat. Like a nice juicy steak. Holy hell. That would be the best thing in the world.

Pathology, etc.

Sunday night was another bad, bad night. Don't know what it is about Sundays that cause me so much pain. We ended up back in the ER. This time around they didn't wait around and ignore me like they did the first time. The nurse took one look at me, palpated my stomach while I cursed (it hurt like a bitch), and they took me right back into an exam room. The doctor has had her gallbladder out and she first thought it was my gallbladder. So she did an ultrasound. No stones. She doped me up and sent urgent faxes to my doctor's office to urge them to do a HIDA scan. She sent me home with some pain meds, and we were out of there by about midnight.

I went back to work Monday morning and worked a 10 hour day. Ugh. Pretty tired and out of it. Called the doctor at 9 and she got on the phone with me personally. Said she would call for the pathology results and would rush them for me, and would also call the Nuclear Medicine dept. of the hospital and get me in for the HIDA scan. She called back shortly thereafter and told me the results were normal. So I do have the redness--some gastritis--in my stomach. She doesn't think it's bad enough to be causing me this much grief. It's likely related to too much NSAIDs over the years (I've had 3 knee surgeries and take a lot of ibuprophen for swelling and pain). The HIDA scan will be Wednesday morning, so tomorrow.

I am not particularly religious, but please please pray that when they inject the CCK after the radioactive tracer that I have bad pain, and that my gallbladder ejection rate is very low. If that's the case, I'll be getting it taken out. I've been having a terrible time since Veteran's Day, and I'd really like this to be over and done with. If the gallbladder is fine, I'm going to scream. They've tested me for cancers, malabsorption diseases, H. Pylori infections. I don't have acid reflux. They're running out of ideas, and if they turn around and try to tell me I have IBS I will scream.

At first they thought ulcer or gastritis from the NSAIDs. They put me on a typical GERD and gastritis diet. It did not work. The only thing that works is a virtually fat free diet. I do notice that even on fat free foods, if I eat until I am full, I end up having pain. I don't have the stereotypical gallbladder upper right quadrant pain, but I have upper mid abdominal pain that gets to be very intense, and then it radiates outward so my whole abdomen is just terrible feeling. Applying pressure to my stomach produces pain only in the upper middle and upper right areas, though. So I'm hoping it's gallbladder. I just want an answer, and I want a solution. I've surpassed the 10 pound mark for weight loss. I'm so frustrated with not feeling well. I really hope it's my gallbladder.

I'm Sorry, I'm here...

Hey everyone. Thanks for all the emails. I'm doing ok. The endoscopy went well. Deneen was right, I didn't remember a thing. They put the mouthguard in and the next thing I knew, I was in recovery.

The only thing that the GI said was that I had "mucosal abnormalities" -- lots of irritation and redness that they cannot yet explain. He took biopsies. I don't have esophogeal reflux, nor do I have ulcers. I told him I still cannot eat. He upped my dosage of Nexium to twice per day but it's not making any difference. I need to call next week to have the HIDA scan scheduled. I'm still kind of betting on gall bladder. My follow up is 12/10 so I will have pathology results by that day at the latest.

Thanksgiving was a terrible disaster. I got greedy and decided I would try to eat. Now, keep in mind I had about 1 teaspoon of each dish--a teaspoon of mashed potatoes, a teaspoon of squash, etc. Seriously, 1/4 cup max, but I'd be willing to bet it was more like 1/6 or 1/8 of a cup. It was really just a tiny amount. And I was doubled over a ridiculous amount and we had to leave. The only thing keeping me from the ER was the Bentyl, which I probably took too much off because it knocked me out. I ended up going to bed at 7:30 last night and slept until 8:30 am this morning.

So, as long as I don't eat I'm ok. When I eat I get into trouble.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!


Endoscopy is tomorrow. I was ok until today. Now I'm just a nervous wreck. I don't want a tube shoved down my throat into my stomach. It's making me so nervous.

I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for all the kind emails.

Keeping Busy

I have a handful of WIPS and FOs that I've been busy working on for the past week and a half or so. But before I get to those, here's my weasel. She's adorable. Everyone seems to love the Homespun bed I made for the cats.

On my 21st birthday my boyfriend at the time (otherwise referred to as "What was I thinking?") bought me a ferret. She was cute and teeny. I've had her now for 7 1/2 years. She is very, very far past her expiration date. She grew up with my 2 cats, and she thinks she is a cat. I had her litter box trained. She used to not stay in a cage. She never ate anything or did those horrible ferret things that they are known for. She just curls up with you and gives you kisses, and she romps with the cats. She even loves to get a bath. She's a good girl. But older than dirt. She's going blind and therefore is only out of her cage under strict supervision. But she's a cutie regardless. I'll never get another ferret again so long as I live, but for a pet that I didn't want in the first place she is definitely part of the family now and I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Alright, onto the FOs: First up is the 5 1/2 hour Throw from the Lion Website. They have quite a few variations of this. I used the version that calls for a huge 19 mm hook and 3 strands of Jiffy held together. I did not use Jiffy. I substituted RH Soft. I have to say, I'm irritated with RH Soft. Is it just my store or is there never a good selection of colors? I couldn't find a nice blue or green to match Mark's parents living room, so I had to settle with a cream color. It's nice though. Took me 2 afternoons a week apart.

Here is another Moda Dea scarf. These work up so quickly and I really have a fondness for this yarn. This will be the last girl scarf I make. I have 2 more for Christmas to do: 1 Red Sox inspired scarf and one manly wool scarf.

Here's one of the Red Sox scarves. It's for Mark's grandfather. I'm going to crochet 2 teeny little red socks and sew them onto one of the blue corner edges. I may take the fringe off and use some blue. It doesn't look right with all red, but I was out of blue and hoped this would work. Not so much. I think I need one more skein. This is Vanna's choice for the blue and Wool-Ease for the red. I couldn't find any one single brand of yarn that had a good red and a good blue to use together so I just bought to worsted weights that looked good together.

And here's just a little shot of the progress on the Granny Ghan. I beleive when I last photographed it I was just starting the second section of dark pink. I haven't touched this really, I've been more trying to get the small stuff done. This will be the last thing I finish. And ultimately if I don't finish something, it should be this one that is still a WIP come Christmas. My parents of all people would understand unwrapping half of a blanket that I take home and finish. I hope I don't have to go that route though!

I spent Sunday night in the hospital. Stupid. They didn't do any tests except bloodwork and a urinalysis. As soon as I told them I was having the upper endoscopy and biopsy next week, they pretty much just gave me morphine (it may have been dilaudid, I'm not sure) to make me feel better, and then sent me home. Waste of 10 hours, I'll tell you that much. I wanted them to do an ultrasound or CT scan but nope. The reason I wanted those things is because in theory, if I do have a gall bladder issue, it's not gallstones, it's sludgy bile getting trapped in my gallbladder, and causing pain. When I am in pain, I would have sludge in there that was stuck, and they would be able to see it on the ultrasound or CT. When I'm not in pain, there's obviously no sludge and obviously they won't see anything. But they didn't seem to want to run tests, they just said to follow up with the GI. It was a bit disappointing. Anyhow, the GI put me on Bentyl which is helping me be able to eat rice and oatmeal without crying. She's also going to schedule a HIDA scan after the endoscopy. Unless it shows severe gastritis or ulcers, the HIDA scan will be the next step.


It's the only word that can describe me right now. I feel emotionally fragile.

I did not think that a stupid stomach problem would make me feel this way, but it does. Food is my biggest enemy and I'm starving.

The GI is taking it very seriously. They've scheduled me for an upper endoscopy and biopsies to rule out stomach and intestinal cancers, and various malabsorption diseases. I have that on Tues 11/20. Thanksgiving will likely be a bust. She has 3 ideas kicking around in her head right now. Ulcers, Celiac Disease or a gallbladder that's not functioning properly. They'll schedule the radioactive dye test after the biopsies come back to test my gallbladder function. I have most of the symptoms of all three, so now they get to weed out what I do and don't have. I'm pretty freaked.

Crochet Me

Holy crap. So it finally got here. Finally! I ordered this book back in June or July on Amazon and have waited and wiated while so many other bloggers have received their copies.

I haven't done anything except flip through it briefly, since I am at work. I can tell you that I saw 2 patterns I didn't really like. 2 out of the whole book. A handful I would never make but I like. And most of them I want, and I want them now.

Tons of sport weight and DK weight yarns. Crocheted sweaters that have drape?! Very nice.


Spoke with the doctor's office. The "Best GI" in Derry is booked solid for the next 5 weeks. They have deemed me a sort of emergency since I can't eat. I see them tomorrow at 2. I have never been to a GI before. This should be fun.

Thank You

Thanks everyone for your replies yesterday.

You've all reaffirmed what I believed before I saw the doctor, and what I was told at the doctor's office: it's my gallbladder or it's an ulcer.

The reason it's taking a few days to get all the results back is because my doctor no longer does anything it seems. I went into the office and they checked me out and said that first and foremost they wanted to run bloodwork and do an ultrasound. They no longer do those things, so I got a RxN for both. I went to the lab (in the same building) for my bloodwork, and then to the imaging center (also in same building) for the u/s. Typically bloodwork takes a few days. Then they have to send it to my doctor's office. The u/s will be read by a radiologist within 72 hours. Then they send it to my doctor's office.

The Nexium is making no difference after 3 days. Maybe I'm not giving it enough time, but my understanding was that it would help after 1 to 3 days (if it's an ulcer aggravated by acid).

I cannot eat anything. I'm frustrated. I feel hungry, but when I eat I get this horrid burning feeling above my navel within a few minutes, and yesterday it lasted about 2 hours. I had 1/2 cup of bland soup and it caused that much discomfort. Other than water I don't know what to drink. I know caffeine is a no-no, so I stay away from it. Milk supposedly is bad so I stay away from that as well. I thought about herbal tea but the kinds I like are citrus, and the thought of citrus in my stomach right now is a huge turn-off. This morning I bought some instant oatmeal and a loaf of bread. I figured those were the blandest things I could possibly find. I will try some plain oatmeal at lunch. If all goes well, I'll try some bread. I'm hungry, but scared to eat anything.

Andy, in response to your question: I'm not a terrible eater. The meal I had right before my attack Sunday night was not that bad. I baked some chicken (it was not boneless or skinless though) and had some rice pilaf and some veggies. I had no dessert or sweets. I typically eat chicken with the skin on it, so I'm accustomed to that sort of diet. The pain came on within 30 minutes of eating and just continued to escalate. That day for lunch I had had some homemade vegetable soup which was very healthy. I did have a few homemade cookies in the afternoon, but again that is not out of the ordinary for me to have occassional sweets. It wasn't a day that was filled with sweets or lots of fat. If it was, it would have made some semblance of sense to me. It doesn't though. It seemed to come on for no good reason.

Anyhow, I'm waiting for the doctor to call me. Since I saw her Monday morning I haven't eaten much because I've been in pain that whole time.

Something is Very Wrong

I have been having some heartburn for about 2 weeks now. At least, that is what I assumed it was. It's a burning just above my bellybutton, that radiates outward. Sometimes it radiates to the upper right part of my belly under my ribcage, and into my back. I've never had GI issues. I have sort of a nervous stomach, so when I'm super upset I'll be off for a few days. But I've never had any serious issues otherwise. I wasn't even sure what I was feeling was heartburn. So anyhow, I started taking Tums and felt little relief. So I bought some Prilosec OTC and started taking that once per day. This past Sunday night around 7 pm I started to feel heart burn. It kept getting worse and worse. By 10 I was in so much pain I could not stand up to walk. I could not speak. My body visibly shook. Mark was a sleep or I would have made him take me to the ER. I was sweating profusely. I am not being dramatic when I say that the pain was so bad I could not stand up off the couch and get into the bedroom to make him take me to the ER. The pain was so bad that had I had a gun I would have shot myself. No lie. I thought I was dying. I thought it must be cancer. I must be bleeding internally. It had to be something very severe. It wasn't like gas pain that came and went, it was constant, and it was terrible. It lasted from about 7 pm Sunday night until 5:30 am Monday morning. I did not sleep 1 second during that time. I sweat so much that when the pain suddenly, and I mean very suddenly, stopped at 5:30 am and I stood up from the couch, there was an April-shaped sweat print where I was sitting. I sweat so much from pain that there was a huge wet spot. I couldn't believe my eyes. I have had 3 knee and 1 tonsilectomy/adnoidectomy surgeries. None of them went "well," in that I was in terrible pain afterward. I would do those things over 100 times before I would ever experience that kind of stomach pain again. I truly thought I was going to die.

So I went to the doctor Monday morning. They said it sounded like one of two things. Either a bad ulcer, or gallstones. They scheduled an ultrasound for this morning. The ultrasound technician said she thought everything looked good. Which would mean no gallstones. The blood work is still waiting in the wings. I should get a call from the doc by Friday or early next week letting me know what's going on with me. If everything is inconclusive, I need to have an endoscopy. The thought of something in my throat, that is probably the worst thing imaginable to me. I am so wimpy when it comes to that kind of stuff.

I'm pretty freaked out. Since it happened on Sunday, I cannot eat without feeling really ill. My stomach is uncomfortable at all times. I'm really worried. I've never had GI problems before and it's pretty freaky.


Scarves. Scarves. Scarves. Ad Nauseum. Merry Christmas.

Moda Dea Cache. Love scarves with this yarn.

Scarf from last week but with fringe added:

Halloween-inspired scarf. This one is for Mark for Christmas. He loves browns, oranges and blacks, preferably together. The color is actually a lovely brick red, but it looks crazy orange here. This is Lion Wool-Ease Chunky.

I have one more Moda Dea Cache scarf to make. I think that will wrap up my scarves made out of bulky weight yarn. Bah. Then we have all worsted weight yarns and H or I hooks, and one out of a sport weight and a G hook. I think super fast crochet projects are about to come to an end. It's at this point, when the progress slows, that I will begin to worry about not finishing in time.

Let's see.

For scarves I'm down to 1 Cache Scarf, 2 Red Sox scarves (probably wool blends of some sort), 1 green Lion Jiffy scarf and 1 Paton's Wool scarf.

For blankets I have 2 full blankets and 2 half blankets. (One of the blankets not yet started is actually the 5 1/2 hour throw on Lion's website, but using RH Soft and a slightly smaller hook and probably hdc instead of sc (so I guess it's not really the same blanket at all now is it??)--but that will be maybe a 10 hour max project I'd say). The other not yet started blanket is for me and Mark and that will be last and if it's not done that won't be too bad. One of the half blankets is the granny below, and the other one is Jacob's camo blanket, and he's only 7 so it can be a bit small.

For shawls I've got one half way done using baby yarn, and then the Half-Moon Shawl by Lion. The Half-Moon shawl will be super quick from what I hear.

For purses I have one to add a closure to and then felt. Super quick and easy.

For pot holders, I have one set of chicken pot holders and then 2 sets of wool (felted) pot holders.

For dishcloths, I've got 1 or 2 to finish.

I have 2 grocery bag dispensers to complete. These are maybe 3 hour projects.

And 1 pair of size 11 mens felted slippers.

And I think that's it. *sob* What is it now, 56 days?

Granny's Granny

My Mom is a grandma in every sense of the word. You walk into her home and you just have this warm, happy, comfortable feeling like when you walk into your grandmother's house. I don't know if its something that happens naturally to women as they age, or if its a state of mind that only some women come to possess, but she has it, and she has it bad. It's really comforting on so many levels, now that my own grandmother has passed away.

Anyhow, for Christmas I'm making her and my father a throw blanket for their couch. They never use afghans or blankets other than their bedspread on their bed, but they do have them throughout the house as decorations and for guests (i.e. me or the grandkids) to use for those times when we're chilly. Over the years her home has become so pink and green. I don't know how it happened, but everything turns pinker and greener as time goes on. Her living room, kitchen and dining room are all decorated primarily in pink, with green and white accents. This blanket, literally, will seem like camoflauge in her home.

I started off making a basic granny and then kept on going. I'm using a K hook. I like how it's coming out. The plan is to do 7 rounds of the dark pin, 7 rounds of light pink, 1 round each of green and white, and then repeating the whole pattern. In this photo the green and white really pop out. In real life, the dark pink border around those colors really tone it down a ton. It looks better in person than it does here, but that's always the case with photos. I know they'll love it. I'm not sure how large I'm going to make it, probably 4 to 6 feet square. I think they will treasure it.
It's plain old Red Heart. Nice and washable.

An Absolute Must For My Queue

Been thinking a lot about stash buster projects. I have so much worsted weight yarn that I would rather just part with, but I have no idea what to do with it all. I went on serious yarn overload and have way too much inexpensive, cheaper yarn. Yarn that, when I bought it, was fine for scarves and hats, but yarn that I wouldn't want to turn into sweaters and more advanced projects. I've thought about just busting out tons and tons of scarves and selling them or giving them as gifts, but do you know how many scarves you can make with one skein of Red Heart Super Saver Economy? Oy.

I have decided that I'm going to make Babette Blanket inspired projects. A blanket for me and Mark most definitely. Probably some kitty blankets for around the house (I like to put a [sytylish] blanket where ever they lay -- keeps the cat hair in check and it's cozy for them). I envision bags and purses out of this style. I envision a scarf for one particuarly crazy friend I have who would wear it until it's threadbare.

I hate the idea of motif crochet. But now that I'm making my first ever granny, maybe I can handle this kind of prject. A blanket using my leftovers could take me a year, but what a great way to use up old yarn.

I successfully...

made my very first granny square yesterday.

Isn't that funny? I had never made one before. I just don't like the look of them and never found any reason or desire to make one. But...I'm making a blanket for my old fashioned parents who will like that classic style. Of course, I can't just be classic about it. I'm adding my own little flair and making one giant granny square that will be probably 5x5 feet. It's probably about 16 inches square so far, and it's so Mom-ish, I know she'll love it.

Oh, and it's 2 shades of pink! Shudder.

Gift WIPs and FOs

Been kind of a busy bee working on Christmas gifts. I pretty much aticipate that it will be all that I do between now and December, and probably most of what I will blog about. Because I am doing a 100% handmade Christmas and did not start until October, everything will be basic and simple. Nothing at all advanced.

First up is a wool bag that has yet to be felted. The strap looks wonky in the photo but it's just fine. This is supposed to be a project bag for my best friend Sara. She carries her yarn and projects in a plastic bag. The yarn is a handspun wool I got off of ebay from a fantastically sweet girl. It's more purple in person than it appears here. I'm also making her the half-moon shawl from Lion's website using Jiffy in a very dark purple. She'll love them both I think.

This is a boy scarf, not sure exactly for whom yet. Lion Wool Ease chunky. Worked up quickly. I have a ton to make so that's a huge plus.

This is a stash-buster for Mark's aunt who loves these colors. RH Super Saver. I thought it came out nice. Marley loves it too.

This black and white scarf, in need of blocking, is for Theresa, the new sister in law of Mark's. She likes colors like this (hence the browns in her blanket for the wedding, which they keep saying the love, thank God!). I'm not sure, do you think it needs some fringe?

And finally my own gift that will never be finished it seems. This is my Noro tote that I'm going to use also for a project bag. It will be felted of course. I am only working on this on Wednesday nights. So far this is about 2 skeins. It's pretty huge in person, and seems smaller in the pic.

Why only on Wednesdays? Well, Off the Hook meets on Wednesday nights. It's the crochet group that a girl on the ville wanted to start. Between the two of us working it and posting flyers and such, we managed to get 5 attendants for our last Wed get together. We meet at a coffee shop on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month. We meet tomorrow.

Still sick. I've been very unwell for 2 weeks. 2 separate colds I can't seem to shake. Pretty crappy if you ask me.

Christmas Gifts To Make

Blankets: 3 plus 1/2

Dishcloths: 18

Grocery Bag Holders: 2

Wool Felted Pot Holders: 4

Scarves: 7

Shawl: 1

Wool Felted Slippers: 1

Chicken Hot Pads: 2

Hat/Scarf Set: 1

Bookmarks: 5

This list kind of makes me want to die a little. 67 days to go. Crap.

Back from Vacation, WIPs and Some Photo-less FOs

It's been so long since I've posted.

So. Thurs, Oct 4th we headed from southern NH to northern Maine (about 6 hours north, or 300 miles). The weather was gorgeous, nice and crisp and autumn-like. I could not have asked for better weather the entire weekend.

The purpose of our trip was to see these two crazy kids get married (Mark's older brother Erik and his bride, Teresa) on Saturday, October 6, 2007. The ceremony was absolutely lovely.

At the reception I met all the young cousins, by virtue of being seated with them. Mark was at the head table with the bridal party, and I was left to fend for myself with the young ladies. I know I don't look much older than these girls (I'm the one in red, by the way), but believe me 5 years makes a difference when you're in your mid to late twenties. They were sweet though. I wish I had a photo of the dress and the black shawl together, but alas I do not. The red wine was plentiful that night, and important photo taking of important hand crocheted items fell by the wayside.

Look at how nicely Mark cleans up. He looks old to me here. Older than usual I guess.

This is what we had the pleasure of looking at for 6 days. This is the view practically from the motel. I'd say this is about 50 to 75 yards from our motel door. It was breathtaking.

Funny story. We arrived on the island around 2 pm on Thursday. We were maybe 10 minutes from the motel and we were both ready to be out of the car, and ready to visit with Mark's relatives. A sign caught my eye, literally about 10 feet in front of me. I slammed on my brakes and made a hard right turn (thankfully no one was behind me). It was instinct. I saw "yarn" out of the corner of my eye and had to stop. Afterall, I don't have a LYS, unless you consider "local" about 45 minutes away. And I had saved up a chunk of money specifically for this occassion. Mark was so irritated that I found a yarn shop, while simultaneously shocked that I saw the sign, processed what it was, and turned into the parkinglot in the matter of about an eigth of a second. What can I say? My fiber radar was going crazy.

Anyhow, I got myself a small (expensive) bag of goodies) that included 6 skeins of Noro in color 150, and 5 skeins of Silky Wool by Elsebeth Lavold. I gave one skein away to our cat babysitter as a thank you gift, and kept 4 for myself (2 brick, 2 green--they look great together, which unfortunately you cannot discern in the photos).

Here's the silky wool. I think each skein is 175 meters. It feels like a sport weight, maybe a light DK. I wish I could tell you for certain but it just doesn't say on the label. I also wish you could feel it. It's soft as hell. I have 2 scarves in mind for these.

And the Noro. Yarn orgasm. I'm making a tote bag that I will eventually felt. The colors are just gorgeous, very muted. They're not bright like some of the Noro colors are, they're very subtle. I love the colors. I think I've gone through 2 skeins so far. I think I'll probably only use 5, and reserve the last skein for a hat. The tote bag will likely become my project bag once it's finished. I'm not working on this steadily, it will take me forever to complete it, as I'm in full Christmas gift mode right now.

The remaining 200 photos from the wedding weekend are available here. Do take a peek. If you've never been to the Bar Harbor area in Maine, you'll be amazed at the beauty.

We've actually been home now for a week. I came back to work on Wednesday and was swamped all week, and too busy to update here. Then Friday morning I woke up, sicker than I've been in years. Probably the worst cold I've had in maybe 3 or 4 years. It was pretty miserable. I made it through 7 hours at work before I gave up and left. And though I had many, many plans this weekend, I managed to only get as far as my living room, where I parked my ass under blankets and basically gave up my will to live. Okay, maybe not that dramatically but I was definitely sick.

One good thing about being housebound and bed/couch bound is that it left me with a lot of time to crochet. I managed to make a scarf for Mark's Aunt Judy, and my best friend Sara's christmas gift. A while back I purchased some hand spun wool on ebay for really cheap. I used 2 strands held together and a J hook (it was sport weight wool) and crocheted a tote bag. She uses a plastic bag to transport her projects, so I figured I'd make her a nice project tote. The bag is huge and simple. I sewed the strap on without doing much testing--I was sick and didn't feel like standing up to see how long it was. I kind of just eyeballed it. Well, the damn strap is so long, and I just don't like it. It's not her style to have a long, huge bag like that. So I'm going to remove the strap and shorten it, and then I'll reattach it and felt the bag. I managed to have two 200 yard yarn cakes leftover, so I'll stick those in the bag. It's purple, her favorite color, so hopefully she'll really like it. I also started on a third project--a scarf for the bride shown above-- in black and white. It's just about done. I'll post photos once I get around to taking them, and also take another pic of the Noro bag. Who makes a $53.70 tote bag anyway? Sigh. I can't help it. I love the yarn.

Oh and PS--Mark's family all decided that he should propose to me. I guess they liked me. :)

Oh, PPS--There were 8 yarn shops within a 10 mile radius of the motel. Can you beleive? Eight fricken yarn stores? Holy crap. I was smart and only went into one. I dropped $85, and that was in one store. Can you imagine eight? All competing and probably all carrying different yarny goodness?

It's About Fricken Time!

Aside from weaving in a few ends, I'm finally done with the blanket and it can get boxed and wrapped tonight. We leave Thursday morning around 8 am and if I never see this ghan again it will be too soon!

As much as I griped over and over and over again about this project, I have to say that the photo does not do it justice at all. I really disliked the idea of this yarn, but once it turned from skeins of fuzzy hell into this blanket, I really started to fall in love with it. I'm not sure I would ever make another afghan out of it given that it's hand wash and lay flat to dry (Woops, sorry Erik and Theresa), but it's luxurious to wrap yourself up in. I'm almost upset that I have to give this away.

We're off to Southwest Harbor, Maine. We're staying at the Seawall Motel in Acadia National Park, which is just an interesting little place. It's not much to look at in terms of lodging, it seems like your basic motel, but the area is certainly lovely. To wake up in the mornings with the possibility of seeing harbor seals and eagles? Or to fall asleep at night and possibly see Aurora Borealis? It will be pretty spectacular in terms of that stuff I think.

We'll be back Tuesday. I'm sure I'll have a million photos to bore you all with. Until then, have a great weekend!

Everyday Crochet

I know every book is personal. I loved the books I bought prior (and by request I'll post more thorough reviews when the books are right in front of me), but many may not. The same is true for this one. I love it. Many may not but I freaking love it. It arrived a few hours ago.

I can't go pattern by pattern and discuss them because I'm at work and I just can't flip through a book that slowly today. My boss may not appreciate that very much.

What I can tell you is this. You're not going to find a lot of full-on sweaters in here. There are a few, but this style is not the majority. Most of what is offered seems to be cardigan type sweaters and car coats and vests. Open fronts with long, 3/4 length or short sleeves. Also they tend to close with a single button or closure, or a tie. They're cute though. Really, really cute and shaped, not just boxy cardigans that hang on you. There are a few fitted longer sleeved tops like I said, but not as many as there are cardigan type tops. There are also a few tanks in there that are just really lovely and feminine.

She has a chapter at the end with a few belts. Why??? I don't know. I don't like them. There are only a few though. It seems odd to me. One for certain goes with a long sweater, but the others just seem hideous. But that's preference, as I don't like the crocheted belts at all.

In terms of variety, it seems lacking. I say this for one main reason. A lot of the patterns seem to be a shell stitch of some sort. Actually, most of the book seems to be in some sort of shell stitch. I didn't read the patterns, I just looked at the photos, but upon glancing through the book it all seems to be shells and more shells. Now, I love that look so it's great for me. If you don't like that look, maybe pass on the book.

Am I glad I bought it? Yep, sure am. I love the style of the clothing. I love shells and scalloped edges. I would say that the majority of the patterns in the book are of items I myself would love to wear. Whether I'll make them is a different story. But I sure do think they're something purdy.

PS--is blogger being annoying for anyone or is it just me?

Yep, I'm Bi.

I feel like I need to defend myself a little bit.

Some of my crochet friends are a little worried that I've decided to learn to knit.

Am I really betraying the crochet?

I don't feel like I am. Crochet will always be my first love. It will always be my craft of choice. And it will never make me pretty socks that I so desperately want to learn to make. Or cabled sweaters. Or any number of things.

As of last night I have become bi-crafty.

I cast on 15 stitches, thanks to the help of my DVD. And this is maybe 5 or 6 rows of straight knitting. I'm going to stick with knitting for now. I'll taclke purling on a different swatch. And then when I've got those down, I'll figure out increases and decreases. And then...who knows. A simple pattern. Probably a hat on 2 needles.

Miss Marley was not at all pleased that I have gone to the dark side. You can see the contempt in her eyes.

And she later decided she would do her best to destroy all things knit.

I'll persevere though. You'll see. Some day I'll be knitting gorgeous socks on 4 dpns.
I'll tell you though--knitting is slow compared to crochet and it makes my right shoulder sore for some reason. Maybe I just don't have the right technique down yet.

Crochet Books

Got a few things from Amazon over the last few weeks. I had pre-ordered quite a few books, and they're finally being released. Aside from the new Crochet Me book, I think everything has arrived.

I really, really love this book. I didn't think I would because I hate the shawl on the cover. However, there are probably 10 or 12 different patterns in here that I'd be willing to make and actually wear. I'm a fan of any type of lace or openwork pattern, so this is right up my alley. I'm a bit concerend that the patterns are beyond my skill level, however I think my skill has plateauded because I've stopped challenging myself. It's time that I push myself more. This is definitely a keeper.

This book is kind of a let down, though not because I dislike the patterns. I actually found quite a few items in here that I really like and would be willing to make. I think what bothers me is that the title is misleading. I don't find much in this book that I could complete in a weekend. I was really looking forward to cute projects that were quick. Not really what I found though. I'm not unhappy with what I did find, so there's enough for me to work with that I'm pleased with the book otherwise.

Actually Everyday Crochet hasn't arrived yet. I'll let you know what I think of this one when it gets here. Probably this afternoon or tomorrow.

I forget which blogger said this would be a beginner's dream book, but she was certainly correct. Someone who is just starting out in crochet (and someone who is young or enjoys young looking designs) would really enjoy this book a great deal. I found it to be a mixed bag. I liked half of what the book had to offer, but the other half made me gag. Some of the items were just plain ridiculous looking. But again, there seemed to be enough projects in there that I liked to make the book worthwhile.

What I'm very pleased with overall is that all of the books I purchased contain patterns I want to make for myself as well as patterns I want to make for other people. I think after the Christmas rush is over I'm going to spend time working on stuff for me, since I so rarely crochet for myself. Most of what I make is to pass the time, use up stash, or for gifts. I'd like to actually find a pattern, buy the yarn, make it for myself, and then wear it. Here's to hoping I can change how I do things enough for it to work out that way.

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