Tuesday, September 13, 2016

48 Hours

It has been a long two days. I've been a bit overdue for my annual cancer checkup, which involves some invasive and altogether unpleasant medical procedures, so today was the day. The actual day is not that bad; once I'm at the hospital and hooked up to an IV, the worst is pretty much over. When I awaken, I know I'll be able to eat again, to breathe easier that another year has passed and with luck, put more distance between the time I wasn't so lucky.

Except that today, the worst wasn't over. When I awoke after the procedure, I was in terrible pain. Awful. And I'm not a wimp about pain so when I say it hurt, it hurt. It took hours for the pain to subside to a point where I wasn't wincing every time I changed position, and even now, over twelve hours later, I get an occasional stab just under my breastbone. My doctor also found a new polyp, this one much higher in my colon, which was removed and will be biopsied. He didn't seem too worried about it; he told me and my husband that it was "tiny," unlike the huge mass he found five years ago. I'll know the results in a couple weeks. I have a lot of work to keep me busy so I plan to distract myself. Another clue that he's not too concerned it'll come back positive is that he's pushing my next checkup to three years instead of one. That's great news!

The one thing that sucks about cancer is that even with a good outcome, it may be out of your body but it's always there in the back of your mind. My risks for another diagnosis are higher than someone who hasn't had that diagnosis. I do remind myself that my grandmother had colon cancer in her 70s and lived to be 100 and it wasn't cancer that got her, but old age. Every time something goes wrong with my digestive system, I wonder if I've got another tumor growing in there. It's hard to know when to relax or when I should be on it.

I was feeling too bad afterwards, so my husband brought me home to sleep it off best I could, then we went out later for food. I hadn't eaten in two days, and all I wanted was miso soup and California rolls. We have a fantastic Japanese restaurant in town, so we enjoyed an early dinner then brought take-out home for our son. The food hit the spot, the perfect meeting between what my tastebuds craved and my stomach wanted.

On the ride home, we were talking about the weather and I mentioned to him how I was looking forward to fall because it was "knitting season." He said, "Sweetie, with you every day is knitting season." Hahahaha! Not quite true -- I prefer sewing more in the summer, but I do always keep something going on my needles year 'round, mostly socks. But for the past week or two, I've found myself trolling Ravelry more. I think I need more shawls. I used to enjoy knitting shawls but felt they didn't mesh well with my style so I stopped. When we were in Germany this summer, though, I got a lot of use out of my Pebble Beach shawl -- I used it to block the sun on my shoulders during a day-long boat trip, as well as a garment to keep me warm at night. So I think I'll focus on making a few new shawls this winter -- they certainly are quite handy!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cranking it out

Yesterday (Friday) was mostly spent working like a dog on Money Shots: doing some last-minute research at the grocery store (oops, forgot to talk about all those new refrigerated coffees and how you can save $ with them), editing recipes, adding to the text portion of the book, assigning ISBNs through Bowker. I love this stage of book-writing--the end is nigh and the incoherence has been beaten and massaged into words manageable.

I even do my own author photographs, although most people today would call this a "selfie." Pardon the warpaint.

What is really enjoyable is having all my fingers in the pie, not just the writing one. I suspect I'm more of a manager than an artist at heart; maybe a manager with artistic sensibilities. Whenever I take those left brain/right brain quizzes, I fall in the middle somewhere, maybe a little bit more to the left on one day, more to the right on the next. I'm not one of those writers who throws up her hands at the prospect of doing some math, figuring out a bit of geometry, or working on some website coding that's gone wonky.

Anyway, yesterday was a productive, satisfying day that left me feeling like, "Ok, I've accomplished something here." Writing isn't particularly hard for me as much as it's tedious and slow business. So I'm going to enjoy the weekend and finish my new denim skirt, which only needs to be hemmed. "Only" is misleading here; it's a button-up skirt with a facing and I can't quite figure out from the directions what I'm supposed to do with that flap of fabric, but I'll figure it out after a few more cups of coffee. Then, since it's a bit overcast today, it feels like a good day for a leisurely bike ride, maybe as far as Cambridge with some knitting packed into my bike kit. (It's surprisingly pleasurable to pull over in a scenic spot to work a few rows of garter stitch!) I don't want to save it till tomorrow because we're supposed to get some stormy weather. Maybe dinner out tonight with the husband ... yes, sounds like a good day.

Speaking of which, here's what a good man I have. Recently, packages have been arriving in the mail addressed to him, which I don't open. That was a cardinal rule in our home growing up, you never open someone else's mail, so I don't do it even if I know what's inside is for the house or something he's ordered for me. So when he comes home, he opens these packages and leaves the contents on my work table. To wit:

Some girls like flowers and jewelry ... I like marking pens and rulers.

This was everything from the last week. He had overheard me mumble something about not having good marking tools for the dark fabric I was using as a mockup, so he took it and ran with it. {{{}}} Of course, we have an unwritten agreement that whenever he needs something sewn, whether it's bathing trunks, a wallet prototype, or a pair of pants that need rehemming, that I'll do the work. But really, I think it's time for me to get going on the tailored dress shirt I promised him for a birthday present something like five years ago. :-/

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fall is (almost) here!

For once, I'm happy that September has been ushered in the door. Summer here in eastern Massachusetts has been hot and dry; our county is under a severe drought, my vegetable garden didn't survive past the end of the July (the deer also helped), and because I'm a woman of a certain age going through some hormonal changes, the heat makes it hard for me to get comfortable. So autumn, let's get it on!

I can always tell fall is in the air because the knitting projects I mostly ignore during the summer start calling to me from their dusty project bags ... like the wine-colored mohair cardigan I intended to wear for a Christmas 2015 party:

I've knitted the back, which you see above, as well as the two sleeves. When I knit sweaters, I always knit the sleeves first just to avoid the whole "Second Sleeve Syndrome" thing that often happens ... you get done with one sleeve and think, "Oh God, another?" then never finish the darn thing. Here, what happened is that I didn't take great notes when I was knitting the back, so when I started to knit the two fronts, instructions like, "decrease on the same row as you did on the back." Had I kept notes, I'd know what that row is. But I didn't, so in a fit of pique I threw the sweater aside and went on to knit something else, probably a hat ... or ten. ;-) And I would rip the back out and start over again -- I'm the kind of knitter who doesn't mind taking something completely apart to get it right, even if it means I "wasted" days knitting it the first time 'round -- but this is silk mohair, and you knitters know it's sheer hell to tink back a row, never mind rip back a whole sweater knit in mohair! 

So ... the plan now is to use a measuring tape and measure the best I can where I should start decreasing for the armholes and neck holes. And take good notes so I have them for the other front side of the cardigan. I was being a big baby about it, but it's time to move forward and get this lovely sweater finished. BTW, it's an Erika Knight design -- I knit one in gray a few years ago and it's one of my favorite pieces. I'm going to knit another in an icy blue, maybe with some silver thread shot through the ribbing.

I've always got a pair of socks going, of course, to get me through appointments, waiting rooms, and sitting in the car waiting for my son to appear. Speaking of my son ... it was his first day of high school this week. Late Monday night when my husband and I were talking in bed, I started to cry because it hit me that in four years he'll be off to college. "He'll be an adult!" I sniffed, and my husband said, "No, he'll be an adult in three years, two months." Geez, honey, thanks! ;-) Anyway, Oliver wasn't too excited starting school again, but he did say he liked his math, history, Latin, and digital art classes.

The publishing company we started at the beginning of the year ("we" being my long-time co-author and business partner Linda) is going well, and in October we're releasing another title called Money Shots: How to Save Cash on Your Coffee Habit—While Still Feeling Full & Satisfied. Linda did the lion's share of the writing, while I've been handling the recipe development. By tomorrow I should be finished with the last of the recipes. I've been on a perpetual caffeine high for the last six weeks. In some ways it has been good because it has me buzzing around here making lists and plans and actually executing some of those plans! On the other hand, my adrenal system feels shot so I've been taking long walks to calm the jitters.

Research for the next book we're writing.
Let's see, what else? I'm planning a short trip to North Carolina next month to meet with Linda. I was hoping to make a stop in NYC to do a little shopping in the Garment District, but the truth is, my fabric stash is overtaking my studio and I have too many sewing projects already in the queue. When I'm faced with too many possibilities, I stall and get nothing done so the smart choice is save NYC for when I really need something. My brother is coming up this weekend to go hiking with my son; it's always nice to spend time with my brothers. :)

Hope you're enjoying the cooler weather wherever you are. :)