Friday, December 5, 2008

My First Holiday Gift

Ok, this is totally mind blowing amazing. This is the gift that Twilight gave me yesterday while we were out having coffee. Not just one skein of her beautiful handspun yarn, but 348 yards, an entire pound of fleece. Enough for a little something substantial. I'm working on ideas for it right now. As she knows, I've been drooling over her yarn since she began to spin. Thanks Twilly!! You are the best ever!!

This is a closer view of one precious skein. She carded this wool twice before she spun it, and it's very poofy and soft!! It could be dyed now, but I love the grey heather and I really need a little grey shrug of some sort so I'm going to leave it just as is.

This is a picture of the fleece that Twilight started with. It was bought locally, isn't this just gorgeous? She's dying to get this up as part of a great thread on Ravelry. It shows off each stage of the process, the fleece, the yarn, and the finished project. So now, she just needs me to hurry up and knit something!!!

A Month Goes By

I can't believe it's been a month! I've been feeling really good, that's my writing problem, lol.
I've had a wonderful month, and every spare minute has been dedicated to knitting like a mad woman! A shrug, a shawl, a scarf, 6 pairs of armwarmers, socks, and other miscellaneous stuff. That's actually just the first part of my holiday list!! I have so much more to do.

I had a great Thanksgiving with my neighbors and friends. Daniel cooked, and I baked up a storm. We went to Merce's house. Helen was there and other beautiful women. We spent most of the day catching up and talking about healing. Each one of us is in a healing process of one kind or another and it was nice to compare processes and progresses and love.

I spent yesterday with my bestfriend. A girls day to top all others! Shopping, gift exchanges, lunch, coffee, errands, a movie, and finally knit night with our awesome Taos group of crazy knitting addicts!! Twilight and I went to see the movie of her namesake "Twilight". I don't think I can give an accurate crititism, but I can't remember ever having so much fun at a movie!!
I laughed till most of my parts ached!! We even indulged in a little food fight with our gigantic bag of popcorn.

I think I've had such a good and productive month because I've been following all of my new rules. Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, fairly good diet, medications, naps, and sheer determination.

I'm getting ready for a trip "home" to Wisconsin to spend the holidays with my family, and despite moments of being really nervous, I'm really excited. So my plan is to keep following my rules and hope I feel good health through all the insanity I'm sure will ensue.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Brain Fog

Top of head, dull pain. Underneath the skull. Feels full, swollen, inflamed like. Tylenol doesn't even make a pause in the blood pulsating through my skull.

I stand in the isle of canned goods and have no idea what I'm looking for. I scan and scan, getting dizzy, what do I need? I check the list to see if anything on it matches something on the shelves in front of me.

Difficulty remembering. Times I forget if I was going upstairs or downstairs and what I was retrieving.

I wander around the room not knowing what I got up for. Not knowing what I'm doing or what I was in the middle of doing.

Once I got into the car and didn't remember if I was getting in or getting out.

Times while driving I forget where I am, like I am on the wrong street and never drove it before…but when I wake from that skipped in thought moment, usually it is the road on the way home.

I run into a friend whom I've known for a few years now at a store. I know their face, but their name is gone to me. You know, she's the one I used to work with.....the blonde.....the one we went to that concert know, she's the one who we threw the baby shower for.......

I know, I know but I can’t find the words in my memory to say what I, er..ah, ya know, that thing or to find things, that I swear was just there.

Does anyone remember why the Berlin Wall was built? Where did it come from?

Or in my kitchen when I put dishes away, another hiccup in my memory, gee where does this go? I go to that cabinet, and to this one…nope, nope in a minute..oh, this is where she goes.

What am I supposed to be doing right now?

Stress just smothers any thought. Extreme stress in the home. The load is too heavy for one, let alone the one with Lupus.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Few Day Overview

A little diary entry to keep track of things.
I planned a town day for last Thursday that began at 10am and ended with me getting home at 10pm. My husband thought this could possibly be a dumb ass thing to do, but I did it anyway.
I used caution. I had lunch with my daughter and her bestfriend, and continued on with the errands. I got propane tanks filled, went to Wal Mart, the UPS store, dropped off wool for Whitney at Lula's, dropped of stuff for Helen at the Pizza Outback, got the water jugs filled, and did the grocery shopping. All of this before almost collasping at the coffee shop for my Knit Night knitting group. Now, I did rest at intervals. And I was in my full sun gear. And I did remember to bring my meds along, and take them. It was a great day with only intermitten episodes of feeling exhausted and shakey.

Friday was quieter at home. I did house work, and mending. We got dressed up in costume to greet the neighbor kids for trick-or-treating. But as we were going to bed, I felt the very familiar headache start on the left side of my head. It's like a vice grips just one portion of my head tightly. So I took a mental note.

Saturday I couldn't get out of bed much. I could, but I didn't feel like I could. I couldn't bear to turn on my phone or computer. My joints ached, I was running a low grade temp., my headached, and I was completely fatigued. Now, I'm not sure if this is a flare, or if this is part of the warning signs of a flare. I'm still unsure of all the proper Lupie Lingo. But I figured either way, I'd just rest and ride it out and see what happens.

So I stayed in bed and worked on my knitted Holiday gifts. I'm proud to say that I have now started each item on my gift list. That was no small task!! But now I can say that I had everything started by Nov. 1st.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wool Fest Update

Just a quick pic of the great yarn that Twilly bought for me at the Taos Wool Festival as a get well/cheer up gift because I wasn't up to going on that Sunday. Isn't it beautiful?? I'm going to make a lacey little tie skirt pattern called "Ogee" with it. Thanks Twilight!!! You Rock!!!

Having Support

I've been talking with a friend about marital issues. She has the same marital issues come up that I sometimes do. So I suggested getting some books to read and finding an online support group. She's working on it. She doesn't know it, but she actually got me started with online support groups. She hooked me up with the best knitting support family out there, . My whole world has grown since I was introduced to it. If someone is into any kind of yarn is a must to get hooked up with!!!

I have another online support group that is awesome. It's . We Have Lupus is great on so many levels. First, the moderators of the board, who have been dealing with Lupus for years, are more knowledgeable than most doctors. They freely give out their wisdom, and don't seem to mind repeating themselves to all of the new comers that show up on the board daily.

Second, these same attentive moderators don't criticize anyone for whining. In our real lives, we are all afraid to complain too much. We are afraid that our friends and loved ones will get tired of hearing the same complaints day after day. So it's lovely to have a place to whine, bitch, cry and rant freely. Everyone can, and everyone understands the need, and everyone understands the ailments.

Third, it's great for an exchange of ideas. Since we are all working towards the same goals, we are all trying stuff out. And it's nice to get a new influx of options. I got excited because this gives me a place to try and be helpful to other people. Instead of just feeling needy. This is good, because God knows that my knowledge on this condition isn't enough to help anyone yet!!!

Fourth, they offer support to family and friends of Lupie people. Which is nice if I have friend or say a daughter who just doesn't quite get the condition......I have a place to send her to get all the answers that I either don't know, or can't remember!!!

But I have to say, no matter how cool the online communities are......they can't even compare to how great it is to be supported by the people I love. And I mean that for the Knitting as well as the Lupus!!!! I love you guys!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Feeling Good

I have been feeling pretty good these last couple of weeks, so I've just gone with it and stayed busy, busy, busy. I'm not sure what the difference is exactly, I'm guessing it's a combo of things. I've been taking the new medications, and doing my daily exercises, and staying out of the sun. I'm getting the hang of my daily aches and pains and learning to minimize them as they come up. Over all, it's a huge improvement.

I went Elk hunting last week! It was a wonderful experience despite coming home empty handed. It was the most physically strenuous activity I've done since Mother's Day. I couldn't do it every day. We went out Saturday, and Sunday, and then I had to break on Monday to recover. I felt deeply fatigued, but sleep and rest seemed to take care of it. We got back out there on Tuesday!!

Yesterday we went out to help my bestfriend put up her ceiling!! I was a little nervous about how my body would hold up, but Twilight and Thebes didn't need me to do anything too intense. And what I was able to do was exhilerating!! I loved it. Twilly and I moved big pieces of ply wood and I felt useful!!! Working side by side with her left me feeling strong and able-bodied!! Of course she did most of the heavy duty stuff.

Inbetween working we got to catch up on each other's projects. Twilight tells me that I have to get some pictures up of my current ones. She just finished a gorgeous shrug made out of our favorite Japenese yarn, Noro. I finished a layette for Robert, the new baby we have in the family. We are so excited to have a nephew!! It's been 16 years since the last baby and that one was ours!!!! And of course I'm busy with Holiday gifts that I can't talk about yet!!!

Coming up, there will be updates on the pieces we are working on for a gallery show we are going to be in!! We're both, (Twilly and I) excited about being invited to join a group of other Fine Art Fiber Artists for a show in Taos during the first week in April, 2009!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Remembering How to Knit

I had my first knitting lesson when I was 10 yrs. old. It was undoubtly one of the greatest events in my life. I haven't stopped for 24 years. Not even through joint pain. I have mastered bobbles and cables, lace patterns and sock heels, short rows and intarsia. All through the process of knitting endless blankets, hats, scarves, legwarmers, armwarmers, socks, sweaters, purses, bags, and baskets. At this very moments, I am wearing four handknit items (and at a glance across the room) I can see that my husband is wearing three of my handknit things.

Today was a beautiful October day which we spent doing fall chores and picking Pinon Nuts in our yard. I worked in my studio and did all my exercises and yoga breathing, and baked banana bread and made fresh pizza crust for homemade pizza for dinner. The evening was even lovelier. A light rain started and thunder rolled in the distance. Our Yurt is always lit by candles and oil lamps, so the light is soft and warm. Daniel started a fire in woodstove and lit some White Sage in the incense burner, while he played old groovy jazz on the radio. I couldn't ask for anything more relaxing and zen.

I curled up on the couch with my yarn and my knitting needles. I don't quite know how to explain what happened, I'm having a hard time figuring it out. I picked up my knitting needles and couldn't remember how to hold them. My fingers didn't know how to grip the needles properly. My grip felt clumbsy and wooden and I seemed to have lost my dexterity. Then I realized that I didn't know what to do with the yarn either. I stared at it long and intensely but completely blank. My mind started talking!! It said "Stay calm, don't panic."

My mother-in-law, Jan's voice was there too repeating a little inside family joke. She said "Now we could let this ruin our whole day, but we're not going to let it"

I just kept staring at it while trying to wrap the yarn correctly around the needle. I remembered teaching people how to knit. My daughters, my friends, and my friends daughters.
I started playing it out in my mind, step by step and my fingers struggled to follow. It was like completely reliving my first knitting lesson. It went slowly and clumbsily, as I struggled to do a simple ribbing. Knit one, Purl one. My mind kept soothing me in a little mantra. It kept saying "This is ok. It's OK to knit slowly. I will knit slowly until my hands remember. My hands will remember."

I made it through a 100 stitch row. 100 stitches. I think my hands are beginning to remember, but it's still going very slow. I'm not freaking out, I'm just observing myself and documenting what's happening. I'm intrigued. This is definately an interesting turn. And I can imagine that next week when I tell my friends, it will be funny and we'll laugh.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Taol Wool Festival Weekend

Today is Sunday, the last day of the Taos Wool Festival weekend. This is the biggest weekend of the year for those of us addicted to wool yarn and fleece. Twilly, (my bestfriend & sister), and I talked about it all year long and planned how much money we would blow on everything we wanted. The world's finest yarn being at the top of that list.

I knew things weren't going my way last night when I lay down in bed. As I began to decompress I felt an all too familiar throb begin in my shoulders and my right hip. I spent the night tossing and turning in a desperate attempt to alieviate the burning sensations and sharp pains that keeping shooting thru my joints. During nights like this, it's easy for me to imagine Lupus as the Wolf.

After explaining to D, (my husband, my life partner, my soulmate) how I really feel this morning, I called Twilly and told her that it had rained too much and we couldn't go because we don't have a reliable truck to get down our road. So she offered to come and get me. I told her I'd call her back. I hung up and D was shaking his head at me. He said, "that's what you get for not having the balls to tell her the truth." OMG, I hate it when he calls me on my crap!! But that's what bestfriends do, they call you on your crap and encourage you to deal with it. So I had to call Twilly back and tell her over a huge lump in my throat, just how shitty I feel and it's not the rain or the road. It's me. I cried. I couldn't bring myself to use the term "flare". But that's what I should have said, "I'm having a Lupus Flare."

God knows, my ears don't even want to hear myself rattle off a list of everything in me that feels wrong.

Why is it so flippin' hard? Somehow, it means it's my fault that our plans are ruined. We were suppose to shop and visit with our friends and have a great double date that ended up with dinner at a favorite restaurant where we'd pass the evening with D and Thebes talking guns and hunting. Twilly and I would be fondlingly each other's purchases from festival vendors while ooohing and aaaahing over what we had seen and touched and smelled.

It's my fault for not being able to woo-woo it away last night when it started. I was just too tired. It's my fault for not listening to the Doc. on Friday and resting. I was at the top of my game on Friday!!! I felt great and I was so full of energy and excitement! I cleaned the whole house, sweeping and shaking all the rugs. I put away all the laundry, did all the dishes, and cleaned and organized the studio. I even worked on my lastest wall piece inbetween and during my cigerette breaks. I baked two kinds of cookies!! I was preparing everything to be neglected while I was in town having fun all weekend! But I didn't nap like the Doc. said I needed to do everyday if I want to avoid a big crash of Fatigue. Are you kidding me? I was flying!

Saturday I got up at 5am to meet Merce, (my neighbor and kindred spirit) at the corner by 6am to leave for the Wool Fest. I was feeling great watching the sunrise over the mountains. It was a perfect, crisp fall morning. Merce and I talked about spiritual healing while driving and smoking and watching the sky change colors. Saturday stayed great all day long, we had a blast!

People began flooding into the park at 9am, and the crisp air was filled with the smells of roasting almonds and BBQ lamb. And from somewhere further away, the smell of the goats and Alpacas and sheep on damp morning grass. Twilly showed up after noon and all the women from our knitting group were there, and the founders of our second on-line home "Ralvery" were there.

Merce's booth starting selling like crazy and she won 4 blue-ribbons and 1 a big purple ribbon for Grand Champion of yarn spinning. I totally let myself be overloaded by colors and textures and beautiful people wearing beautiful things. I came home with a bag full of small chunks of every color wool roving possible. Twilly and I are planning a future day of care free and fanatical artistic expression in felt paining!

Back to today. I had to call Chezzie and tell her the truth too. Chezzie is my 16 year old daughter and another very bestfriend of mine. I hate telling her the details too. She loves me and gets bummed out on my behalf. BUT she's the one who always understands. She knows about almost all of it because of her own life. She knows anxiety, and joint pain, and the agony of the unfair universe that keeps us from joining in when all of our friends are out together doing something really fun. Only a teenager can appropiately appreciate that situation!!! I can always count on her to say "oh Mom, I'm sorry, that sucks!"

Despite feeling achey and exhausted, I'm having a beautiful Sunday anyway. I'm hanging out with D, listening to music and chatting with my daughters on Yahoo Messenger. Twilly, knowingly or not, is the perfect friend. While she was at the festival today without me, she called me to quick look up info. about a pattern for her. She helped me to feel both useful and included in the fun. And then she called me again as she was leaving to fill me in on the details of her shopping and taunt me about a "get well" gift that she picked up for me. Thanks to my support group, the people who love me, I'm having a great day despite having a flare.