Frogs and U/FOs and Addiction (oh my…)

June 8, 2011.

That’s the date I’ve been given.  The insurance company has approved the surgery and the surgeon’s office has called to schedule.  It was the first date I could get.  I don’t want to think about it too much and chicken out. I have given this about eight years of thought and I’m ready.  Well, as much as anyone can be about being ready for what probably will be a life-changing event.

I have asked friends, neighbors, family members and people I know to be in the medical profession what they thought.  I have searched my very soul. It came down to this: the people who have gone through this and the medical professionals from whom I’ve heard all endorse it.  Dear friends have encouraged me to think about it and other dear friends have warned against it.  To all of them I say, “Thank you – I know what you’ve said to me has been out of love and caring and I love you for it, but I’m going to do this. I’ve tried it on my own and it hasn’t worked.  There may be medical reasons for that; there certainly are emotional reasons for it, but it hasn’t worked. I want to live a little bit longer than I would have without this assistance.  I want to be able to move a little more quickly, be around for my current and hopefully future grandchildren, and to torment my poor long-suffering husband that much longer (sorry John:)). I am not looking to be gorgeous – that ship sailed about thirty years ago – I’m looking for a healthier life.”

Every one of my dear friends has been supportive when I have told them.  My church family is praying for me already.  Right now, I can’t help but feel enormous gratitude.  And of course trepidation. This may sound silly and overly dramatic, but there will be so many changes.  Of course no one wants to feel physical pain, but that can be managed – I’ve had surgery before. My chances – especially with this particular medical practice and the status of my health otherwise – are excellent.  But there will be changes and how will I deal with them?

I have spoken with a number of friends and colleagues and one family member who have had this procedure, or a similar one, done. That has helped terrifically, but a lot hasn’t really sunken in. The details – the devil is always in the details, isn’t it? Spoke with a colleague yesterday who had it done about three years ago.  He told me to puree my food and freeze it into ice cubes. The thought is making me nauseous.  Perhaps it won’t a month out. And I am grateful for the advice and for his kind offer to call him if I need to just talk – and he himself is going in for some serious (unrelated) surgery and will be out for three months!

There are those close to me who think I shouldn’t really talk or write about it:  “Keep it private,” they say, “you don’t need to record your every thought.  We love ya, but ferchrissakes, get a grip.  It’s not all about you,” they say.  And boy do they have a point there!:) But I keep thinking there might be someone who could possibly benefit by my discussing this (somewhat) publicly. And journaling thoughts and emotions, so long as it doesn’t violate the privacy of others or hurt others, has been a good safety valve for others – why not me? I have an addiction and this is one very serious way of forcing a change in behavior and that’s putting it mildly. That doesn’t even begin to address the insanity of a world where human beings  – usually children – die of starvation every day in one part of the world where in another, people and insurance company pay the equivalent of a half year’s pay for weight loss surgery and other remedies.

The “it” I am talking about here is gastric bypass – or more accurately described (by the insurance company) as “Laparoscopy, surgical, gastric restrictive procedure with gastric bypass and Roux-en-Y.”

Right now, I’m in the midst of a rather long to-do list.  Get a doctors appointment for pre-op testing (had to laugh at the pregnancy test – REALLY people?); Go to the surgeon’s nurse for a pre-op appointment; pay money up front (ouch); go see surgeon on Friday; arrange for coverage for those few court dates I have in the three weeks following; schedule additional visits with clients to catch up; missing the last choir/bell services; tell family and others; look for a therapist.

Frog my knitting. (See below)

I promise not to be too gross – or at least to warn you if I’m about to be. And no pictures – unless knitting or somebody really cute or funny is involved:) The drawing at right doesn’t count.

The Knitting Front

You KNEW I’d get around to the knitting eventually, didn’t you?

I have indeed been frogging pretty much all of my unfinished sweater projects – surprisingly few for me. I do have one that is practically finished (Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Green Sweater as re-created by Sunday Holm), so I’m going to go ahead and finish it and if need be, give it away or use it as a transitional sweater in the fall. Even the Cassidy, which has been flying off the needles, is going to the frog pond.  No point in doing all that knitting if I’m not going to fit in the thing in four months when sweater weather starts again. My daughter, S, says I should simply go back to knitting just for her:) Not a bad idea – her AND others:). The good news is, if and when I do have a smaller presence in the world, I will be able to knit a sweater for myself in FAR less time – and for less yarn.  So… cheaper and quicker and with fewer pattern modifications – how bad can that be?

I did, however, finish the Sandrine I started almost two years ago. It fits and it’s a bit adjustable, so I’m not complaining.  Plus I love the color. It goes with a number of items in my closet and it’s in KnitPicks CotLin – a great combo for summer.  I plan on getting a lot of use out of this sweater before I adjust the buttons:)

Also finally FINALLY finished the Lenten Mystery Scarf! The recipient loved it, although I think I gave it to her on one of the hottest days of spring so far.  Hopefully she’ll get good use out of it in the Fall.  I explained what each square meant.  The colors really do suit her well and the scarf is nice and long and warm. If nothing else, it will keep her warm this coming winter. Many thanks again to Rebecca Osborn for such a beautiful and thoughtful pattern! It was a great accompaniment to my own Lenten journey this year.

I’ve also made some decent headway on the Guernsey Wrap.  Am now officially past the midway point and ready to begin the second half.  Interestingly enough, I’ve started the second skein of Cascade Ecology Wool – a very proptitious sign!:) This picture is of the scarf, but a bit scrunched up.  I tried doing a little knitting out on the deck yesterday evening after work, but with the wind it was too cold – unusual for this point in May.  Somehow I think that will change really soon.  But this wrap is moving along. Hope to be blocking it within the next couple of weeks.  We shall see!

Lastly, I have had about 800-900 yards of beautiful dark green, blue, and purple sock yarn that has been wanting to be a shawl or scarf of some kind and I decided to do the Percy Shawl designed by Sanne Kalkman. It’s a pretty pattern  – and free on ravelry! Free is good.  Free is very good. And the yarn isn’t so variegated that we lose the beautiful lace pattern in it. It’s nice having a diversion now and then.  I felt it was OK, since I had finished two UFOs. OK, so I have another 25 to go… so what, LOL:)

Miscellaneous fun and frolic

Well, let’s see, what’s been happening since last I posted, dear 2.5 readers? Pretty much the same old same old.  Been doing more visits to catch up on my backlog and going to court. But then, that’s what a lawyer does now and then.

Spring has come out in so many ways.  We have had a LOT of rain here in Merlin and the result has been magical. This was taken as I was leaving a visit with a client – this is NOT the place where the client was – just at some point on the drive. Merlin is truly beautiful at this time of year.

Our son, D, is coming home for a two-week visit between his play’s move from Kansas City, MO to LaJolla CA. We can’t wait to have him home and hear about his adventures in the (wild?) Midwest before he sets out to the actors’ Mecca of California.

As I sit here typing this, the jockey for Shackleford is sending out a loving message to his mother in Spanish.  The Preakness, one jewel in the Triple Crown of horseracing, has just finished and Shackleford is in first place, Animal Kingdom in second and Astrology in third. John and I were rooting for Animal Kingdom, hoping for at least 2/3s of a Triple Crown for him. Oh well.  That’s the extent of my interest in horseraces.

Theology…And elsewhere in the news….It’s after 6 p.m., do you know where your Rapture is?

Why oh why do people get caught up in this utter crap? Do they really really think that God gives secret hidden knowledge to people?  And let’s assume for argument’s sake that She does: who are any of us to take joy in the devastation of condemnation and suffering and torment of anyone? There was a very ugly undertone to all of this hoopla –  this legalistic view of God and judgment to which even those who follow the Old Testament alone do not always adhere. We who follow the “pocket parts” (NT) in addition to the old have to figure that part in as well.  Where was the mercy and love of God in any of this “Judgment Day” malarky? Of course, there is also the argument that “no one knows the time,” except God the Father.  It is crap like this that makes Xianity look stupid.  And stupid it is not.

Well, that’s all I have for today.  God be with you ’til we meet again – wherever and however that may be!:)



Blogging 9-101

Well, this morning was interesting.  Had one of those “have to be two places at once” mornings. Luckily, it was two places at once in the same courthouse.

The other hearings for the balance of the day were not contested, and all went well in my little corner of Merlin.

Between the a.m. and p.m. dockets, I stopped across the street and had a sandwich, since I knew I’d be there for the afternoon docket and there wasn’t much sense in going anywhere only to have to return and find parking again.  Soon I was joined by two of the attorneys in that contested case. After a pleasant lunch, during which I shared with one of them my experience being followed back to my car by one of his clients,  it was back to court and then to the home office and a call about a client whose case has closed and an irate e-mail from the parent of a  pro-bono client. The fun just never ends!

Speaking of fun – what a wonderful weekend I had.  Saturday started out exceptionally lazy! I woke up at almost NOON! What a lazy bum! (but why do I not feel guilty??) After getting up and doing the usual ablations, I did a little work and then rolled on down to the Howard County Fairgrounds to the Annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. (Sigh..what follows my be shocking to the senses as in serious yarn porn)

I really was a good doobie – mostly because I didn’t even get there much before 4 PM, so there wouldn’t have been TIME to purchase yarn.  But I did see my knitting pals and did a bit of knitting on the Lenten Mystery Shawl. And cleaned a table or two at the very end.. and wound some yarn for a friend. Heading out into the parking lot and driving away, I was struck by how many people had these silly grins on their faces.

After going home and having some dinner, it was time to get to Storey Publishing After Party at the Sheraton, Columbia.

In the upper left portion of this collage are authors Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius presenting their book, The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook and boy is it a sourcebook.  These women sampled animal fibers from all over the English-speaking world! It’s an encyclopedia of animal fiber!

 There were drawings for prizes that had previously been donated by various sponsors.  Denise was the one from our table who won a lovely prize from XRX, Inc., publishers of Knitter’s and a variety of knitting books, and who also sponsor the various “Stitches”  conventions throughout the country, i.e. Stitches East, Stitches West, Stitches South… you get the idea. Well, two of the books were volumes Denise already had in her library.  Since I did not have them, I inherited them from her! One was a book I had been wanting to get for years, but shied away from due to the price -Jane Sowerby’s Victorian Lace Today –  and the other was full of beautiful photography – Maggie’s Ireland. In honor of the lace book, I started yet another project (groan) – Wendy Johnson’s Japanese Garden Shawl in an off-white fuzzy wool. Wendy (of Wendy Knits fame) created this pattern, portions of the sales for which will go to Japanese relief efforts.

I’ve also added a few more inches to the Lenten Mystery Shawl. I might actually finish this thing!

  Also, about another foot on the Guernsey wrap:

So I have been a little bit productive.  But that business of earning a living is a bit of a LARGE priority, LOL!

And after I was done for the day, I took advantage of the Merlin spring and had a cup of coffee and did some reading out on in the back yard. What a great way to end the day!

‘Til next time, God be with you ’til we meet again!


Blogging between the services

Well one service down and one to go:). This is a ringing and singing Sunday. And it’s Mother’s Day, so happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there!

The cool thing about today, other than the amazing blessing in having these cool, unique and interesting human beings we brought into the world, is that I don’t have to cook dinner!! Whoot!
In addition to all anticipated fun and frolic of this evening, yesterday was a great day – more to come on Maryland’s Sheep and Wool Festival.
Until then, you know the drill:

God be with you ’til we meet again+

Frustrating Friday

Well today my colleague who works every Friday covered the two hearings I have. There are a couple of bits of paperwork I need to do, like responding to motions and legal research and preparing for the four or five hearings I have Monday.  The printer attached to this computer doesn’t want to cooperate and  I cannot for the life of me figure out why not. It’s a laser printer (HP) and I’ve had it for about 10 years without so much as a squeak of a problem.  NOW is not the right time for it to crap out on me, believe me. My phone needs a new battery and it’s not one I can replace myself. Oy!

But look at what it’s doing outside:)

And you should feel the lovely breeze I just felt taking those pictures! This time of year is Merlin dressed up in its Sunday best, dancing and partying with the wine of nature:) And yes, getting just a little drunk and full of herself and why not?

So, despite getting precious little done at work, I did take a moment to appreciate the beauty that is around me.:)

And I did get a chance to add a few inches to the Guernsey wrap. I’m about to do those horizontal rows of 2P, 2K that make up the center of the thing, so it’s going fairly quickly, given the limited amount of time I’ve spent on it.

Speaking of knitting, tomorrow is Merlin’s famous Sheep and Wool Festival (now why does that always sound so disturbing to me – I think it’s the lamb cooking next to the exhibit barns with live sheep – ewwwwww). Anyway, I am going to go to meet up with my knitting peeps and see what treasures are out there. BUT I will NOT be purchasing.  And I have taken care of that by NOT bringing any cash:)! I will enjoy and get ideas and meet with like-minded knitters and ooh and aah over all the lovely things, but no buying. Why you may ask? Well, aside from the fact that I really don’t have the moolah for such foolishness, here’s another reason:

And that ain’t all of it, honeybunchesofoats! For me to buy yarn at such an event would be the depths of selfishness.  I’ve got enough yarn to last me at least another couple of years worth of projects. So I think I’ll pass.

What I WILL do is to go to the sponsored yarn crawl at the Columbia Sheraton tomorrow evening.  I bought the (cheap) ticket for that a month ago and it’s wearing out in my wallet.  That will be fun.  And did I say not so costly?:) See? You can have fun without sacrificing the grocery money!

Before I go (because let’s face it, I don’t really have much to say here), I did watch two movies in the last two days – one very late last night which is why I am a bit tard right now. And the other at the end of the work day.  The first was Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts playing the main character in Ms. Gilbert’s book.  Although still (relatively) young and beautiful, Julia Roberts plays a more mature, reflective version of her earlier reincarnations. It was a good movie, one I’d wanted to see, but I do agree with some of the criticisms I read about it a while back (criticism about the subject matter more than the acting, which was wonderful). The thought that people in Eastern countries have some corner on the spiritual market and that somehow, magically, they see things we in the West do not.  Although I believe Western thinking and religion can at times have its drawbacks too numerous to mention here, Eastern thinking can as well. The bottom line is, no other human being can really be our hotline to the Divine.  We all need to work out our salvation, as it were, with fear and trembling, to quote a famous theologian, IMHO.  The cinematography was lovely and the characters quite interesting.  Your mileage may vary.

The other movie was a documentary of a documentary.  Cinema Verite’ is about the original “reality TV show:” PBS’ true story, filmed in the 1970s of the Loud Family. This show was on television when I came of age, which means I was not watching much TV at that time – I was, after all, finishing high school and heading for college and had other things on my mind. So I missed it.  But I would see articles about the family, especially their oldest son, Lance and the breakup of the parents’ marriage at the height of the Sexual Revolution and the Women’s Liberation Movement. At the time, my own family was in its own thoes of upheaval, so I was not too interested in reading about the same thing elsewhere – I was too busy escaping.  No, not in the way you’d think – but into activism and friends and faith and trying to figure out the meaning of our sojourn on this “planet Earth, our island home.”  I had a lot of curiosity about this film when I saw the ads for it and took the opportunity to see it on HBO.  You will think me silly, but at the end, I found myself getting emotional when the family, in so many ways, and in spite of as much as because of their parents’ divorce, remained together in the real sense of the word.  When the criticism got horrible, the family did the talk show circuit, telling their side of the story.  For all their problems, they refused to be demonized.  Good for them! All of the children grew up to be interesting people, it seems.  And when the oldest, Lance, was dying of AIDS, it was one of his sisters who lived with him and stayed with him until the end.  The HBO credits say that Lance’s dying wish was that his parents would reunite.  Apparently they are living together now in L.A.

And I kept thinking, “and the greatest of these is Love.”

OK, I’m not getting all sappy here, though I did hold back some emotion as the final credits rolled on this film. What follows is my own theological reflection and if this doesn’t interest you, I get it and would simply advise that you finish reading this here. Have a great weekend and I’ll be back soon:)

A good friend of mine and a fellow “EfM’er” and I have been debating back and forth about the nature of God and what “God’s Love” means.  He is in the first year class which does a fairly intensive and thorough reading of the Old Testament.  There’s a lot o’ violence in them there OT books.  God is definitely not depicted as some sort of fairy godfather by any means.  I have often argued that everything one reads in the Bible should be done in the light of the New Testament and that oft-quoted line from 1 Cor. 13 about love – what it is and what it isn’t.

In many way the Louds had it easy.  They lived a good life in California and at a great economic time in our history.  There was the usual smoking and drinking and sexual infidelity and the kids smoked the mild weed of the 70s, but there was no serious violence, child abuse, hard drug use or (other than his often unexcused or inexcusable absences from time to time) an absentee Dad. But they also laid their souls bare to the often excoriating view of the American public. Whatever you say about them  – and I’m sure there is plenty negative one could say about anyone – their love for each other was genuine. At least I thought so.

OK, have a great weekend and God be with you ’til we meet again!:)


Just another tiring tuesday (whoa oa oa)…

Man, I’ve got to get better at titling these posts! The picture to the right is what I did NOT get to do today.  No knitting, no playing flute, no doing the crossword.  I got up, went to a dr appointment, got an ultrasound done on the gallbladder, ran to court for three shelter hearings for five new clients, feeling like someone had elbowed me in the stomach a bazillion times. As I left court, the mother of one of my clients followed me with an older child and two adult male friends, calling me names over and over again (did she think I’d cry? NOT).  I got to my car and stopped and faced them.  They walked by me (thankfully).  Then I got in my car and drove the hell outta there to the office to finish paperwork.  Then a client visit, then home and then (happy sigh) bell practice:)!

Then HOME! As I type this right now, everyone in the house is asleep.  The dishwasher is hitting something repeatedly against something else. It is late. I even told an online friend I was headed for bed, but thought I’d post something since I’ve been so darn rotten about it these past few months and don’t want to get lazy about this. I have hiccups and my right side is still sore.  But it’s nothing a few ibuprofen before bed won’t knock out.

Bed, now it’s sounding like a really really good thing.

God be with you ’til we meet again:)


Blogging between visits

Or after court! I have to catch up on a number of client visits, but figured I should check in here for no good reason, LOL:) It’s another Merlin Monday – spring is coming, but it’s coming slowly.  So I think we’re going to have about five seconds of spring and then get blasted with the kiln of summer. Bleh.

Well court went fine today.  No real snags. Had a shelter hearing and then headed back here with the idea of contacting a lot of my client’s placements and setting up visits.  Have a few voicemails in and will try back when the workday is over and they are home.

Right now the house is unusually quiet.  John is off on Monday and is usually up and about, but he is just waking up as I type this – very strange for him, but hey, given his crazy work schedule good for him!

The weekend I met with a couple of clients and did some work at home.  Sunday was a lot of fun – it was the Orchestra of St. Johns’ season finale – and in my humble opinion, one of their best concerts yet! But then, I am very partial to Bach and Vivaldi! A number of the “gang” went out to dinner at one of our sponsors, but I had dinner with my own gang at home and couldn’t make it.

The cool thing about grandchildren is you get to see the little changes after a week or so.  I cannot imagine what it must be like for grandparents whose kids live so far away. The younger the grandbaby, the more pronounced the change.  Gram is smiling now and definitely prefers his Mommy and Daddy over strangers. Johnny is really into “No!” and he’s only 19 months old! Madison is going to Middle School next year and we are all a little apprehensive about that.  Ruby is now the fashion princess of the group and none of us can figure where she got THAT from (certainly not this grandma!).

After dinner was eaten, the dishes done and a little time for play, everyone headed home to bedtimes and preparation for the week.  John and I sat down to watch Celebrity Apprentice, a show I can about stomach, but hell, I’m just knitting and it’s his first night off.  Well I still don’t know who was fired because NBC broke in with the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by US forces in Pakistan. We later learned it was in somebody’s palace not far from Islamabad.  Figures – that the icon of supreme misogyny should be hiding in wealth and opulence, using women as shields doesn’t surprise me in the least.  What DOES surprise me is that he was alive at all.  It was a fairly widespread rumor that he suffered from advanced kidney disease and required dialysis or transplant. A number of the film footages that the various news outlets kept playing repeatedly last night seemed to show a man who at times was bloated. Whatever his health status was, we will never know, because he was washed, wrapped, prayed over according to Muslim tradition, and buried at sea. Wonder why our military (I assume on orders of our government) did that?  There are probably a number of really good reasons, primarily related to the fact that the Saudis don’t want him buried there (he’s killed thousands of Saudis during his “tenure.”) I won’t even pretend to know all the ins and outs of that situation. I’m not sure what to think of his death, but I do believe that the servicemen and women who gave of their time and safety will feel gratified to know he is finally vanquished (assuming Al Qaeda is actually weakened by this).

From the awful to the mundane – yes, on the knitting front – I’ve made some progress in a few projects.

When I have to wait between or before dockets or sometimes for various meetings to begin, I often pack one of these projects to take along.  I think the reason Nancy’s Westerwick took so long was that I simply could not take it around with me AND keep my sanity!

I’ve put a few more inches on the Guernsey Wrap (Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed). I worked on that during the concert yesterday evening and while waiting for the shelter hearing this afternoon. (I NEVER knit while court is in session!).

Have also added a dozen or so repeats to the edging pattern for Mr. Flood’s other pattern (of, oh, about 80 gazillion) on which I am working. Looking at what I’ve knitted, I know I’m going to have to block the hell out of this thing!

Finally, I’m  on the last square of the Lenten Mystery Shawl.  I thought for sure it would be too warm outside to use this for months, but the weather here has been so weird, I’d better get it finished.  The recipient still wants it and seems happy to be getting it, so I shall continue.  It’s been a lot of fun to knit and it’s great knowing it will go to someone who will enjoy it.

Well, gotta make dinner.

Back soon I hope – until then, God be with you ’til we meet again!