Adjusting. Change.

This will be the first month that I’ve missed knitting a pair of socks (or two) in almost two years. It’s been an extraordinarily busy month and it’s been really stressful.

Our refrigerator wasn’t keeping the ice cream frozen so we put a call into the technician we’ve used and he said it’s more than likely the condenser is shot. He advised us to buy a new refrigerator. Despite the LG people saying it takes a couple of hours (if you can find a technician who will come to service it – we’ve tried five, none of which can do anything for at least 3-4 weeks) the technicians all say it’s almost a full day’s work. LG will pay for the part under warranty but we have to pay for the service … guess what? It’s probably not worth it. Never mind that by the time someone can come to fix it our food will be gone. Ugh. So, we bought a new fridge and installed it ourselves because they couldn’t deliver for a week either. Ugh.

I’ve been driving a 2007 Camry since it was a new car. It was wonderful in suburbia but it’s not as wonderful on rural Maine camp roads. We’ve been talking about buying me a new one and we went out for our initial hunt last week. There isn’t much to see … not too many new or used cars are available and there’s not a lot of hope for a different situation into 2022 because of computer chips that aren’t readily available. Anywhoo … we found a RAV 4 that we thought was a good match for us and gave the dealership a deposit and it was supposed to come in at the end of the month. I was on my way to work last Thursday and saw it on the back of a car carrier truck and then got a call from the dealership that it was in if we wanted to test drive it. Suffice it to say, we pulled together all of our pennies and bought me a new car.

Meanwhile, my brother and sister-in-love in MA called me to talk about my remaining Little, Lola. I knew that she was close to the end of her life and that she wasn’t thriving but I was blind to the truth that she had no real quality of life and certainly no joy. My wonderful family offered to come to Maine to have a look and see how she was doing and, if I wanted to, to euthanize her. As I thought about it all last week, I knew she was ready. I wasn’t and would never be if I am totally honest. She was disoriented, her back legs weren’t’ working and she often fell down, she wasn’t able to get outside to do her business and she kept getting “stuck” around the house. She wasn’t comfortable.

Lola died peacefully at home on Sunday morning with all of us loving her. I will always remember her like this. She was such a wonderful girl. She was my heart animal and I absolutely adored her. She was almost literally attached to my right hip for the past 15 years. Life is horribly out of balance without her. To have lost both of my beloved Littles in six months is crushing. I am so grateful to have had them both in my life for so long and selfishly I wish it could have been longer. But even another year or five years wouldn’t have been enough. I still wouldn’t have been ready to say goodbye. I already miss her more than I could have imagined.

I’m knitting and it’s my time-filler now as well as being something to focus on in this difficult time. I’ve been working to finish the Gallbladder Shawl for my daughter’s birthday (that is this weekend) and I may get it finished but I doubt that I can get it blocked and delivered in time. But that will have to be ok this year. I think she’ll understand. I have a Christmas stocking up next for a sweet friend/customer and a list of future knits to follow that. I have to finish a sweater that has been languishing … I need to pick up the stitches around the neck and down the second side and knit four rows for the button bands and then knit the sleeves. It’s SO close.

For now, I’m giving myself grace around everything as I learn to live without my four-legged companion. My husband and I were talking over coffee this morning and saying that we are each missing the habits or patterns that our little family has been living with all these years. We look for her in her spot, I walk downstairs at bedtime with empty arms, there’s nobody to take outside first thing in the morning or last thing at night. So we will continue to be grateful that she’s at rest and we will create new habits/patterns to fill in those holes where the Littles are missing. We loved them so.

Gone knitting.

Deep Freeze, Raw Emotions

Deep Freeze on Messalonskee 3/2/2021

My emotions have been very close to the surface recently. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m mourning the last year that we’ve “lost” because of Covid-19 or because there is finally a sense of calm in our Nation’s capital with the new administration. I’m not sure what it is that I am feeling so deeply or that’s bubbling up but it’s there and with this post I am acknowledging it. I am looking forward to the day when it feels safe to leave the house and when I can see my family again. I miss them all so much but I am also so grateful that they’ve all remained healthy.

We woke to sub-zero temperatures today and lots of wind gusts! It was blowing all night but we have been fortunate to retain our power today while lots of other communities in Maine have not. The sun is out and the sky is bluebird blue and that always helps my “attitude”. I would love to see a really good snowstorm before spring but they posted our road yesterday and our camp road has been a muddy mess for a week or more so I may not get my wish.

Today I finally seamed the underarms of my test knit sweater, Crofter’s Smock by Gudrun Johnston. I like it more than I thought I would before it was blocked. The fabric relaxed a lot in its bath. I also learned a few new techniques: folded cuffs and neck and saddle shoulders. This sweater was fun to knit, partly because it’s somewhat cropped and knit in an Aran weight yarn. I used Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool (a washable acrylic and wool blend) and it was heavy on the US8 needles … my hands got tired knitting! After seaming the underarms, I put the sweater on – this is the coldest day of our winter so far – and it’s nice and warm, the sleeve length is perfect and I like the pockets placed on the side of the sweater. I can’t show you any photographs yet but when I have permission, I’ll add them here.

Meanwhile, I have cast on a pair of socks for my March 2021 Sock Challenge. This month I’m knitting worsted weight boot socks in Raggi yarn. Gray and white marled leg and foot, red cuff and toe. I’ve nearly got one sock finished and will have to attach sock #2 as soon as #1 is finished. These will be super warm socks and they’re so cute!

I’ve also chosen to participate in the Confident Knitting year-long program hosted by Jen Arnall-Culliford. I also chose to splurge and purchase their yarns – typically not yarns we carry at the yarn shop where I work here in Maine. It’s a great chance to taste yarns that I may otherwise not get a chance to work with. AND they had a cool pink project bag!

I’ve started the March project, Flux Handwarmers by Martina Behm. The techniques learned this month are crochet provisional cast on and a folded edge. I chose to do a picot edge which is so cute! This month’s yarn is the springtime colorway of a Crazy Zauberball. These mitts will be a nice weight and they’ll be so cheerful. I’ve participated in A Year of Techniques and Boost Your Knitting for the two previous years and I learned a lot. I’m sure I’ll learn some new tricks this year, too! What I love about these programs is that there are detailed tutorials on all of the techniques and even when I already know one, I can find something to learn (or it just hammers it into my head.)

I’ve been spending a lot of time “worrying” about my sweet Lola. She’s not eating well and her hind legs are unstable. She sleeps most of the day but she still finds a tail wag or two to gift me with every day. For months I’ve been looking at the little kit that I bought when I was out shopping pre-pandemic. The little felt mitten has a bee on it and I couldn’t resist. This will eventually live on our Christmas tree but until Christmas, it’ll likely live on my desk lamp!

I finished two black tams for a customer and they’ve been delivered to the store for her to pick up. She wants two more navy blue ones. It’s sweet of her to ask me. I made a tarte tatin over the weekend. It was delicious! A few apples, some sugar, butter and a home made crust and it was dessert for two for several days. Yummy!

We’ve been spending lots of time doing puzzles. My hubby gave me a really difficult puzzle for Christmas and we stuck to it and finished it … and he ordered another one for Valentine’s day which we’re working on at the dining room table. Luckily, there are only the two of us so we only need one end of the table for eating (although we generally eat up in my studio and watch the news.)

Gone knitting!

Whatever Lola Wants

Lola’s New Sweater

This little dog is not a cooperative model but here is Lola’s new sweater!

I found this big box craft store yarn in my stash and decided that I needed to knit it up and get it used up and out of my “collection”. It was in the same bin as the camo yarn that I found for Boq’s sweater … and I’ve been carrying it around for years. (The camo yarn has been around much longer but still!)

I used the pattern, Pug Dog Sweater, the same pattern that I used for Boq’s sweater (see my previous post) and I did change this one up a bit, too. Female dogs don’t have a problem with sweaters coming low on the belly so I added more rounds to Lola’s sweater to make it longer under her belly and then I only did a few rounds of decreases to cover her back. I have written the details in my Ravelry project pages for both sweaters. (Or I will after I finish writing this post. Ha!)

I still have a bunch of this yarn so I think that when life calms down a little bit that I’ll knit up some fingerless mitts and mittens and bring them across the lake to the Maine Arts Academy. I’m sure there are students with cold fingers over there!

Gone Knitting!

Judge Not Lest Ye be Judged

Yesterday we left campus.

We packed up the three dogs and our lunch and breakfast and snacks and water and coffee and drove my little Lola to the doctor. We filled up in Maine, stretched in the rest stop in Maine. We drove to my brother’s veterinary hospital so that he could tell me what was going on with my little girl.

Lola is typically around 9 pounds. Today she was just over 7. That’s a lot of weight loss for a little dog. She’s not been eating well, despite my urging, for months. Now that I have been home in isolation, I have been able to focus on her food and water intake and have been very worried. I’ve cried more than once with her in my arms believing that she was going to die. I was concerned enough to call my brother, a veterinarian in Massachusetts, to ask what I should do. His advice was to bring her in. Yesterday we did.

She was poked and prodded, x-rayed, sonogrammed, given a shot of antibiotics and an anti-inflamatory steroid shot. She was sent home with a couple of medicines. Nothing is visibly wrong, per se, but the x-rays will be read by a specialist. She has a dark spot on her spleen but my brother doesn’t think it’s a problem. I feel better but not yet settled. We will see what happens over the next couple of days. Lasts night, she ate her dinner. This morning she ate breakfast AND drank out of the water dish … she hasn’t done that for sure for at least ten days!

I was very afraid to go out. I have been in isolation for two weeks. I know I don’t have Corona virus. I was concerned about filling up my gas tank, where I would go to use a rest room, crossing paths with people. I needn’t have been worried because we didn’t cross any paths! I didn’t even hug my brother. We ate our picnic lunch in the car in the vet hospital parking lot and when Lola was done, we got in the car and drove home. We were all happy to get home and have a drink: The two-leggers among us in particular.

There’s no place like home!

Gone knitting!

A No Good Very Bad Day

It’s not often that I am immobilized by life. I’m typically a very happy, upbeat person. Today started off that way. Coffee with my sweet husband, the love of my life. We woke up to six or more inches of snow and when he was out snowblowing the driveway, I got a call from Atlanta; the office of the president of UPS (What can Brown do for you?).

I emailed him last night when I was furious because my package … the one that I had been waiting for, patiently, for over two weeks … was “confirmed” to be delivered at my front door and it wasn’t there. Nor was it a mile away at my mailbox. Last night I spent 47 minutes on hold with UPS 800 Customer Service. When rep answered, she sounded as if she had been woken up by my phone call. She wasn’t very customer-service-oriented and the experience put me over the top. I emailed the president of UPS to share my five-year-long challenge with the local arm of his business and the apparent mess that is the Waterville, Maine UPS shipping center.

Anyway, supposedly they’re working on getting to the bottom of the problem. The corporate office could see where the truck went yesterday but they couldn’t figure out where the driver left my package. I was told that a claim had been sent to Amazon to pay for them to reship the order to me … turns out miss-asleep-at-the-wheel emailed that to me. Another managerial problem, in my humble opinion. I also think that the drivers working in Maine should have vehicles that can drive in the snow on camp roads (here in Maine we have dirt roads otherwise known as camp roads).

After the phone call, I was feeling pleased with myself and (finally) heard. So, I went to the kitchen to make blueberry muffins for my husband as his “reward” for snowplowing. We had a second cup of coffee and a muffin together but they didn’t taste quite right … into the trash after I realized that I had added baking SODA not powder.

Sweet, toothless Lola.

My Lola, my 14-year-old Shitzu, isn’t eating well. Often won’t eat at all. Sometimes will eat if I hand feed her. But she’s not drinking water either which is maybe even more troublesome. Today is one of those days. She won’t eat and I’m very, very worried! I adore this dog and even thinking about a world without her in it makes me cry. (Those of you who know me know that I tend to have a problem with ocular incontinence even on good days and as you know, today wasn’t a good day.) I hope my brother the veterinarian will call me and have some suggestions.

We did leave campus briefly today and that did help. Husband ran errands while wife sat in the truck. At least I got some fresh air and a change of scenery. But I find that it’s now 5pm and I haven’t done diddly. Squat. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zillch. I was going to sew face masks.

For today I’m giving up and giving in. I’m going to turn on the television, stream my Arne and Carlos podcast for today (i’m already two days behind and it’s only Tuesday!) When it’s cocktail time, I’ll have a strong one and hope that UPS finds my package and it’s a better day tomorrow.

Thanks for listening.

Gone knitting.

Koigu Skeinlettes Are in the Building!

Yesterday my wonderful, handsome (pretty?), super special mail delivery person had this envelope of yarn-y love for me! Woo-Hoo! I am so excited to get knitting!

These are the skeinlettes from Koigu yarns that I won – actually the contest was on the Koigu Facebook page but the yarn was send by Jimmy Beans Wool.

Gotta get my needles out and warm them up … I have exactly 18 days to design and knit a darling roll-neck sweater for my little Lola (who hates wearing clothes)!

I’m thinking that since she was named after “Senorita Lolita” from Damn Yankees, something a little sassy and saucy, a little glitzy, maybe a ruffle but certainly lots of color … because we all know that “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets”!

Give me a few days and I’ll have a plan! Knitting to win! Go!

 

Watch Gwen Verdon sing Whatever Lola Wants in Damn Yankees  by clicking here!