Empathy for Those in Chronic Pain

It’s been a rather painful couple of weeks for me. Since my ungraceful exit off Apache, I’ve been healing in some ways and getting worse in others. What does an “older” person expect, anyway?

Yesterday’s sunset, to remind me that I am in my sunset years.

The funniest injury I found turned up when I was getting my hair cut. Dan put me under the sink and started scrubbing away at my dirty hair, when I said, “Hey, that hurts!” Apparently, I had hurt the top of my head during the fall. I would assume that the helmet squished down on me. It’s odd that I hadn’t noticed it, but then, I don’t brush my hair often.

But, it sure is a cute haircut.

My back is also not as happy as it was at first. I feel all right in my recliner and in bed but sitting up and standing aren’t great. Sitting up in a desk chair is no fun at all, so I made myself some lumbar support. I think it is just going to have to heal, or I am going to have to go to the local chiropractor. At least I have insurance that covers it!

The worst has been my pelvic area. That bruise was bad news, and it went deep. I got swollen so much that some of my pants felt tight, and I could feel hard lumps under my protective layer of belly fat. It just hurt, that’s all, and going up stairs was always a reminder that I’d fallen. I still feel it a bit, which makes me glad I was too busy working to go to the Christmas Parade with Lee yesterday (he was helping the Chamber of Commerce). The lifting and toting would not have been a great idea.

Autumn is such a nice time for tree photos. Plus, this is much nicer than a photo of my bruises.

I think the bruising, congestion, and pain are improving. The lumps are smaller. We will see if I am able to get on a horse tomorrow. At least the mounting block at the trainer’s place is taller than mine. I probably shouldn’t have gotten the bare bones model.

Whenever I get a temporary pain it makes me think about people who don’t have the option of healing and have to live with chronic pain. I am so grumpy when I hurt, which doesn’t make me fun to live or work with! I hope I get better at dealing with chronic pain, since my guess is I’ll end up with some sooner or later as I continue my march toward deepest crone-hood.

Fiona’s with me on my march. This is on our walk yesterday.

But, as for today, I’ll take a nice, gentle walk with my horse and donkey, like I’ve been doing all week, and get back to the knitting. The latest striped blanket is coming out different, but just as interesting as the last one.

Perhaps that background blanket is not the best choice.

I’m wishing you all a good weekend. It may cool off, but I’m all prepared after getting some key items in Colorado. Ooh, and I booked another trip there in late summer of next year. Hiking here I come!

Square Simplicity

It was suggested that I make a giant Grandma’s Favorite dishcloth pattern as a baby blanket. It’s also been suggested that babies no longer use blankets. So, it is also a “tummy time mat” or whatever modern babies use.

It’s not plain and boring.

I had two balls of this nice, soft baby yarn, Sridar Snuggly Pattercake, in two different pastel color ways. I used the same stripe sequence as with my hexagonal blanket I just finished.

The colors lined up similarly, but it ended up looking nice, I think. It’s certainly soft and snuggly. And it can be washed by machine if soiled by normal baby activities.

This will go to one of three upcoming little ones in my friend and family circle. I like making baby things, because I can give them away! That makes less yarn in my soon-to-be-bursting yarn room.

Speaking of not bursting, my closet is less stuffed today, since I packed up 6 large bags of clothing (size small and medium mostly) and a bag of shoes this morning. Maybe I’ll have room for the remaining clothes and shoes that got moved here. The purge has begun!

It’s Penney’s turn.

Rainy days off are good for something after all. And since it’s chilly, there are more dog snuggles.

Hexagonal Rainbow Stripy Glory

Hooray! My mistaken “invention” is finished! It’s perky, trippy, stripy, and glorious. If I were a baby, I’d want it for my floor mat, and I’d want to gum those wormy fringes.

It’s different, all right.

I had so much fun watching the stripes develop. And the fringe cracked me up. It makes the blanket a little feminine but won’t hurt babies.

It’s easy, too.

How to Make It

Intermediate and above knitters will want to know how to make one of these, so here we go, informally. Beginners, make the actual pattern! It’s easy.

Lion Brand Mandala in Gnome and Sprite with a little Honeycake.
from the Lion Brand site.

The basic pattern is NOT by me. It is an adaptation of Meadowland Baby Blanket by  Irina Poludnenko. (It’ a free download.) The pattern is supposed to create a square blanket, and if you follow the instructions correctly and pay attention to the diagram of how to make the triangles link up, you will, indeed, get a square blanket, just like the one on the pattern front page. Lots of people have made it, and it comes out quite cute.

However, I made a mistake after finishing the first triangle and picked up the stitches for the second triangle along the edge with the decreases, not the straight edge. If you look at the close-up above, you can see that I picked up the 96 stitches along the edge with a little jog in it (where the decreases that create the triangles are). So, you do this, too.

Other than that, follow the Meadowland pattern, but don’t stop after four triangular wedges (because it will NOT be a square). Keep going and make one more.

It really adds that pop of color to one’s bland timeshare condo.

For the sixth section of the blanket, you’ll attach the new triangular wedge to the first one as you go. To do this, end each right-side row with K2tog, knit next stitch together with the next cast-on bump from the first triangle. There will be 96 of them, and since there are 96 garter ridges in the triangle, you’ll end up having invisibly seamed the blanket. (In the close-up photo, the blue stripe was where I cast on, and the pink stripes are the last triangle.

You could also just knit the last wedge the same as the others and use mattress stitch to sew the edges together.

When you’re done, work the same edge as the Meadowland pattern calls for, or any other edging you’d like, such as single crochet.

Note that the two extra wedges meant I needed to start a third ball of yarn. If Sprite had been available, I’d have used it, but I used another color instead.

There you go, how to make a hexagonal blanket from a square pattern. If you read this and know a better way to describe the way I finished the last wedge of the blanket, let me know.

Under the Weather in Chilly Weather

I have no idea why, but I felt awful today. I was sleepy, fuzzy headed, and stuffy. It made being all brilliant and with-it difficult. Of course, times being as they are, I was sure I had a coronavirus. I took a nap and all that, and got through the day, which was long, long, long.

At least I had a winter wonderland to watch all day. Many flurries.

You know how some days all kinds of issues come up all at the same time? So I was trying to figure out a new part of the software I document, right when someone else really wanted me to edit something right that minute, and I was scheduled to try to figure out how to get Lee verified as my spouse so he can be on my insurance. With my fuzzy head, none of that was working, when the phone rang, and it was my old professor. I got scared he was sick, so I answered it, and he was like, “Hey, are you OK?” I said I’d call back when I was less unhinged.

Cute little flakes

Nonetheless, I actually managed to solve all the problems once I stopped going around and around in my head. Go Suna. I learned the software thing, found my marriage license online, had a great talk with my former coworker about our work stuff, and had a lovely talk with my former professor. It’s all okay. I even have energy to send to friends and family dealing with their own stuff.

The best news is that the yarn came to finish Ellie’s baby blanket, and I think it’s going to work out. I’m even finishing it as I go, since the darning needle I thought I ordered did not show up.

Pool equipment came!

In the meantime, I’m just striping it up like crazy and making a square baby blanket. At least I am sure it will be blanket sized and will go with the other one. It’s in softer yarn, too, Sridar Snuggly. Too bad I’m so wiped out from a very long (but good) Master Naturalist meeting, so not much knitting will occur.

But hey, snow, yarn, online conversations, phone calls. I may have been stuck in the condo all day typing or interacting, but it is a fine life, with ups, downs, and cute little animals to cheer me up.

Knitting Report: Regrouping and Planning

I spent a lot of time knitting for the past couple of days, as well as talking about knitting while my friend Kathy was here. It’s really a rare treat to have someone around who is an expert knitter to bounce ideas off and get input from. For much of my life I was surrounded by knitters and up on all the latest cool patterns, etc., but for the past decade or more I’ve been more of a lone knitter, just watching what friends do but not interacting much.

I like my replenished fresh flowers, so I will make you look at them. The prices here for fresh flowers are not bad at all!

Having Kathy around to look at the “square” blanket I was knitting for baby Ruby was helpful. I felt a bit better about not understanding why it did not in any way, shape, or form make a square. I MUST have misread the diagram, picked up on the wrong sides of the triangles, or something, but I’m still not sure what I did.

Well, it looks kind of cool. it is not a square.

Kathy was a fan of ripping it out and starting again. I think if the baby wasn’t coming sooner and if I hadn’t really disliked knitting with that particular yarn, I might have done so. Her next suggestion was to just add another wedge to it, and see what that does. I think she had a good idea. I’m pretty sure I have enough yarn for another wedge, and if it curves around a little more, it could be a little baby wrapper, or maybe when she’s older a “hug” she can wrap around herself. That makes me feel better.

We also talked about what pattern to make with the new yarn I ordered to make another blanket. I think I’ll make it a diagonal stripe, alternating colors, as with the failed blanket.

While the “square” blanket was in time-out, I worked on this other project, which is Saroyan, in a corn and cotton yarn. This is odd. Both pictures look upside down here, though they look the other way in the files list. Anyway, I got a bit more than halfway through it (knit all the straight parts) before running out of yarn. Oops. I should have brought along another skein. The cotton/corn blend is a little weird to knit with, but it’s sorta pretty, I think, and at least it’s coming out right.

While I was out shopping with Kathy, I also got a cute embroidery pattern that’s easy, but I like what it says, which is “Notice the small things.” I may work on it tomorrow while I watch football.

I do have other yarn waiting to be worked with, and we talked about a really pretty wrap that Kathy had made before. If I get the embroidery done before my other yarn arrives, I’ll give it a start. So, that’s my exciting knitting update, which took way longer than expected, thanks to realizing I needed to update my Ravelry page.

Patiently waiting yarn for the next project, along with the book queue.

Good thing the time changes tonight!

Happy Reunion

Today’s highlight was a visit from a high school friend, Kathy Herzog Evans. I’m so glad these interesting people keep reappearing in my life! It was so kind of her to drive over to see me from where she lives.

We are laughing because the sun was blinding us.

We had a great time catching up on the past 45 years and finding out all we have in common. We knew we were both knitters, but many other things popped up, like being too fond of jewelry and cowboy boots.

And we love mountains.

We wandered through parts of Breckenridge that I hadn’t seen before and neither had Kathy. We found an artist area, the county courthouse and many more old houses.

Some shopping also occurred.

We looked at art, too.

We had a good meal at, of all things, a barbecue place. It was up to Texas standards, though! And the old fashioned made from local bourbon was heavenly.

Our waiter was a spitting image of Mandi’s son, Matthew. He even talked like him. I enjoyed making him talk. Plus, he took our picture and was patient with our knitting and chatting.

We came back and talked and knitted for four hours. It was a real pleasure sharing experiences and thoughts with Kathy. What a good day!

Restaurant ceiling.

Resting? Not According to My App

Honest, I was going to rest all day today. But I felt good and at peace, so I kept coming up with things to do (other than knit, because I’m trying to finish this baby blanket.

This does not look like it’s making a square.

I’m just having faith that the blanket will work out.

For some reason I have been energized by all my vaccinations, so I decided to clean all the windows in the doors. They have, um, “some” dog nose prints on them. I say have, because I didn’t get it perfect, but now I can see what’s outside. We will see if I’m up to downstairs window washing when the pool is done.

That door is clean.

I knitted and watched football a while, then BOOM I got an urge to sweep the back porch. It’s gotten pretty messy with all the pool construction. I swept and swept a LOT of dirt and the inevitable bugs.

I swept here with their help.

Then I rearranged our sad old furniture to look as nice as it can. I didn’t clean anything, knowing that if the pool dudes come back (and I assume they will since they left stuff here), more sand, particles, and such will be deposited.

The construction viewing station.

I’ll clean everything up once it’s all done. And I think perhaps we will get some slightly less ancient and more comfortable furniture.

The benches will go sit outside by the ponds. This is where my iron dining table and chairs will go, if I can find them. I’ll paint them red.

Yep. That’s boring. But it sure gives one exercise and steps. Then I went out and rode my sweaty horse for a while. When he got twitchy, I got even more steps in. I guess I’m getting ready to go hiking with my friend in Colorado (I assure you I am hydrating and will get used to the altitude first).

I didn’t even TRY to exercise today!

Good thing I cooked a good dinner. Leftover steak with onions and mushrooms. Well, that’s all the news of today that’s safe to blog. Still. It’s so weird to feel okay.

Complaints? Nope.

Well, it’s been a nice couple of days, that’s for sure. The worse thing that happened to me was driving through the confusing world of Dallas, Texas traffic. But, I lived! So, what’s up?

Here’s the progress on the little baby blanket I’m working on. So far it’s very blue and purple, but you can see that will change soon.

House News

The first good thing is that the Bobcat Lair house finally sold! We were surprised it was on the market for so long, but we guessed it’s because the house has zero curb appeal. You literally can’t see anything but its miniature driveway! But the best part is it sold for what we asked for, minus an allowance to replace the deck, though apparently the new buyers are normal people and not afraid of a house with imperfections. Anita says the folks are nice and will fit in well, which makes me happy for our wonderful neighbors.

Pool News

We have good pool news, too. Yet another surface is going in (probably done by now, since I’ve been gone for a couple of days), this is some lovely flagstone that is covering the “beach area” where we can sit in little chairs and the dogs can safely enter. It was another one of the works of art that the tile guys do. Laying the flagstones was like filling in a jigsaw puzzle where you’re allowed to tear up the pieces to make it fit! In the end, it turned out really pretty. I can’t wait to get home to see it all grouted in and smoothed out.

They also did a pretty cover for the fire pit. By the time I get home, it will have a circular opening.

Horse News

Before I left yesterday, I checked on Apache’s eye. It looked way better. However, it sure was hard to keep his head down to put the drops in. I ended up with a sore arm! Glad I had help, for sure.

I look better. I don’t like drops.

Fun Times

I’m in Plano this morning, because I drove up to attend my bonus daughter, Ellie’s baby shower. I’m so happy she and her cute husband are going to have a baby! They announced the name by showing us a cute sign they’d had made on Etsy. I was thrilled to see her name will be Ruby. And they were all dressed in ruby clothing. So cute.

The baby’s middle name came from her grandmother.

I was so happy to see Ellie. There were multiple extremely long hugs exchanged. She is just a dear person and has done so well with her life. I met her when she was in college with my older son, and our families became good friends after we let her stay with us while she was doing summer internships and stuff.

This young woman is a therapist in her own practice now. Go, Ellie.

I am so happy to have also gotten to see her mom, Pouri, who has been a great friend to me for the past decade and more. She is one of the kindest and most generous people I ever met. And the best cook. If you’ve never had a home-cooked Persian meal, well, I’m sorry for you, because they combine some of the most interesting and delicious ingredients. I still dream about a beef dish with some kind of fruit in it that Pouri made once, no exaggeration.

My dear friend, Pouri.

Anyway, it was a sweet party, and then I got to spend an evening all alone. There were no dogs, no noises, and no distractions. I enjoyed knitting, reading, and watching mindless HGTV. Pouri and I agreed that that’s the best part of any trip or vacation!

I hope, so dearly, that all of you get a chance to enjoy your friends, rest, or recharge this weekend or soon in the future. All of this good stuff has really helped me, and I wish it for all of you.

Still Here!

I know some of you worry if I miss a day posting, so I’m sorry I missed yesterday. I was busy with work and a Master Naturalist meeting. And I must admit some pretty yarn showed up and I wanted to knit.

Lion Brand Mandala

I’ll tell you what I’m making after I show the recipient the work in progress tomorrow.

Today was also a really busy day but let me just say I got good news and a lot done. Highlight? I saw Drew!

More tomorrow. For sure.

The Other Horse Gets a Turn

I’ve been concentrating a lot on Apache lately, but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten Drew! He won’t let me forget him, anyway, since every time he sees me, he comes up to see what’s going on. That’s really a good sign! He’s doing a good job learning not to crowd me, yet be close enough for affection. That’s got to be hard to learn (they call it staying out of my bubble).

We are in each other’s bubbles on purpose, here.

He continues to learn in the round pen, and I want to try some of the things I’m learning with Apache, but I am not going to step right in front of a cantering colt to get him to pay attention. I’ll figure something out, since I do have the long coach whip. He tends to ignore it, I guess because he hasn’t felt it. The other round pen issue is that he stumbles on his back feet occasionally. I am going to have him checked to see if it is just young horse awkwardness or something else. He does not appear to be ill.

He has put on some weight and is all muscled. It’s fun to watch him run.

But otherwise, we have great fun going for walks and not eating grass, so maybe he won’t form that habit. The idea is if his halter is on, he doesn’t eat, which is a thing I’d been inconsistent with on Apache. I know Kathleen will keep me honest with that. We can all learn new tricks!

I settle down sometimes.

I really enjoy his spirit and ease being around me, the dogs, the chickens, and Fiona. He is just a fun little guy.

Wheee!

His eye is still goopy, but better. Other animals here also have it, and we humans, too, so we are chalking it up to allergies from the very wet year we’ve had. Speaking of the other animals, the other four horses here have had a nice week or so of pasture rest. They spent a lot of it licking a cow mineral block with molasses in it, and had very brown faces. But, they finished it and look more normal now.

Granny’s muzzle is back to normal. She is the friendliest of the bunch, and always comes to see me to get her daily does of scritches and pets. She remains thin, but she’s old.

All the others are looking quite healthy. Mabel especially seems much better since her injuries were addressed. She is filling out and looks like a race horse or something. Her legs are amazing!

Suna just says nice things, because she wants to ride me someday.

The two buckskins stay together all the time. It’s very sweet to watch them out grazing. All in all, they seem to be a happy herd that will be ready to do more work soon. I enjoy watching them!

We are holding a memorial service for the empty cow mineral bucket.

Fiona is a very happy donkey. She gets to wander around the property during the day, eating whatever she wants, wherever she wants to. She actually doesn’t go very far, but it’s nice to just walk up and love on her while I’m dealing with the chickens and such. Things are settling in nicely!

Feeding time for my guys. Everyone gets their own spot. I clean poop while they eat, just as I learned from Kathleen!

Oh, and one more thing! Now that I finished my Friends of La Leche League newsletter I have time to do things I should have done a long time ago, and I finally blocked the shawl I made for Kathleen. It should be dry and looking much more like a shawl by tomorrow! See, I don’t spend all day every day with horses.

This clash of colors is a bit nauseating, but I think the shawl will look cool with its little scallops on the edges.
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