Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why Dan Deserves All The Socks

He wears them to work!

Dan at Work
Socks

Monday, September 29, 2014

It's Dead, Jim

Sunday I started felting a pair of slippers I made for Dan. They were going a little slower than I wanted, so I figured I'd drain the old water and add in some new hotter water. I put the washer on the spin cycle to get rid of the old water and it started to do it's thing. Then a weird chunking sound started and, long story short, now my washer does nothing but hum.

Sunday went from a nice, lazy day to "Let's go shopping!" and now I am getting a new washer dryer set delivered on Saturday. Yay!

I've never owned a new washer (or dryer) before, much less a matching washer dryer set. The washer that just died on us was a hand-me-down we got before we even got married - and we've been married 12 years!

With that being the standard I was used to, pretty much anything would have been an upgrade. But you know us. We like nice things. So the washer I'm getting is kind of stupidly advanced. It can even download washing programs from an NFC-enabled phone. Ridiculous, right? Yes. It is. Of course, my phone doesn't have NFC, so that capability isn't something I will really worry about (once I borrow Dan's phone to download the hand wash wool cycle to it). But if this washer lasts near as long as our last one did, I'm sure I'll eventually learn to use all its bells and whistles.

First step: learning how to felt in a front loading machine so I can finish Dan's slippers!

More Dan Socks

Dan has made out like a proverbial bandit this month in terms of socks. He's gotten two pair!

I started to knit up a pair of socks not intended for him, but the colors were just so Dan-appropriate, I decided he would get them.

Dan Socks (Again)

They photograph a little more red than they actually are - there's a very fall feeling about the color of these socks. Lots of pumpkin orange and muted fall foliage colors.

Of course, with these socks going to Dan, plus a some slippers (more on that later), the last three projects I've done have been for someone else. Can't have that! So yeah, I've cast on for some socks for me. The yarn I'm using makes me think that a pink confetti cake has exploded.

Confetti Cake Explosion Yarn

Isn't it delightful? I just have one toe worked up and it's knitting up obnoxiously colorful, all on a base of pink. No way are these going to Dan!

Anyway, this second pair of Dan-socks makes 19 feet-things for the year (17 specifically sock). Go me!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Shame

I should have mentioned in my earlier post...

45.4 miles.

I realize the absurdity. I might have a problem.

(A wondrous, wondrous problem.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bad Picture, Not Bad News

Yesterday, two of the herd went to the vet. We were worried that Emmett had a urinary tract infection and Cocoa needed to have some blood work done to check the status of her (previously iffy) kidney levels.

Neither kitty was happy with this trip.

Not Happy

Yes, it's a horrible picture but it just defined the trip too much not to share. Cocoa yowled approximately every second and a half (not an exaggeration) for the whole 40 minute trip and Emmett did his best to become invisible underneath the towel in the kennel.

The end result of the vet visit (aside from a bit of a yowl-induced headache) wasn't too horrible. Emmett did have a urinary tract infection but he's been dosed with an antibiotic so that should take care if it. I'd prefer he not be sick at all, but at least a UTI is better than the bladder stones Chloe once had (and had to get surgically removed). And in better news, Cocoa's was given a very positive thumbs up on all of her tests.

Emmett will have to go in for a recheck in a couple of weeks but at least his hiding isn't like icepicks in my ears.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Snackies

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Studying Works!

I had my six month check up yesterday. I can hardly believe it has been six months since I was diagnosed with celiac. Sometimes it feels like just a month or two and sometimes it feels like a decade. But yes, six month check up! The main purpose of which was to re-run my blood work and see how things are going. The short answer: very good.

The slightly longer answer has three parts to it. Part one: I am no longer anemic! I'm hitting "normal" by the barest of margins but the fact that my RBC increased at all means that I'm starting to absorb better which means my intestines are healing. And what makes it even more awesome is that I'm not even taking iron supplements. (There was no real use in taking any supplements if I was too damaged to actually absorb them and now that I can absorb them, it looks like I won't be needing them. Yay!)

Part two and part three of the blood test news are my tt IgA and tt IgG numbers. Both are used to diagnose celiac disease so these are pretty important numbers to watch. As the doctor explained it to me, IgA is a more acute measurement that basically tells us how I am doing on my gluten-free-ness. Anything under a four is a negative and, in my initial blood tests, I was at >100. I'm now at three. Yay!

IgG is more of a chronic measurement of celiac disease. Anything greater than ten is a positive and my initial blood test had me at 320. Current I'm at 12. And, okay, it's still positive, which you would think would be bad, but it's not. Because not only have I had a huge drop (showing things are improving), it means that celiac is the most likely cause of the problems I'm still experiencing. Basically, if my IgG was negative but I was still dealing with all this pain and swelling, etc, we'd have to start looking for other problems. But since it is positive, chances are good it is all still celiac-related. And if I had a 300+ point drop in six months (with at least one accidental glutening in that time), dropping another few points and getting rid of my remaining issues seems just around the corner!

And yeah, I am still having problems. Joint pain in my hands and feet (though it has shifted to more swelling and feeling sprained/sore and less arthritis gritty and stabby, so yay?) and some issues with some (non-gluten-containing) foods (apparently I can eat potatoes find but potato chips try to kill me - what's up with that?) and having that going on can totally sap my energy (and mood!) sometimes. But even with all the ups and downs, the general trajectory is up. Hopefully by the time I hit my one year check up, all this will be a distant memory. The doctor did make a point that I would never be normal again but I should be able to get to feeling normal. And really? That's all I want.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

10!

Bitty is ten years old today!

Bitty in a Basket

Happy birthday, Bitty!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Maybe I Should Stop Buying Yarn...

Yarns

On second thought, no. I just need to knit faster.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

18!

Yes, I've knit more socks! This time, Dan is the (hopefully) happy recipient.

Dan Socks!

That makes a total of 18 pairs of feet-things that I've knit this year! (Sixteen pairs specifically of socks. Two pairs of slippers.) I honestly can't believe I've managed to make so many! When I signed up for my 12 socks in 2014 Ravelry group, I had hoped I'd finish the challenge with a month or two left of leeway. Now I'm wondering: can I double it to make 24? I'm thinking yes!

And, while the picture doesn't show it, these socks are yet another pair with anatomical toes. Yes, anatomical Dan toe socks! Made to exactly match his darling little piggies. Honestly, his toes were easier to shape than mine were so if he decides he likes them, I won't have a problem doing others like this for him.

Next up, I really need to work on my qiviut cowl for a bit. And yeah, then I'll probably make some more socks. Gotta make it to 24!

Monday, September 8, 2014

For Reference

English Muffin #3

English muffin #3 was good but Dan and I both agreed that it was a bit egg-y and that English muffin #2 was the best. I'm a bit curious as to if I can improve #2 - give it a little less dry/crumbly texture - so I might play with that recipe some.

Just in case anyone ever wants to make a grain-free, single-serve English muffin.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Made Bread!

After a bit of a hiccup, I am back on the upswing health-wise. I'm still not dietarily adventurous by any stretch of the imagination, but it works for me and I'm happy so it's all good.

The past few days, though I have been missing bready things. The last bread-ish thing I had was... in July? Since then, nada. So I decided to change that.

English Muffin

I made an English muffin! Ironically, in my gluten-days, I was not overly fond of English muffins. However I've found several recipes for completely grain-free, single serving English muffins, so I thought I'd give it a go. (I'm gathering my nerve to make a loaf of grain-free bread, in case you are wondering).

Today was actually English muffin experiment number two, using the second of three recipes I've found that look interesting and are different enough to give different results. (Yesterday's was this one made of coconut flour. It was good but had the distinct tangy aftertaste of something predominately coconut flour. Today's recipe was this one, which was mostly almond flour and tasted very good, not only for something paleo, but for something gluten-free and maybe even compared to "normal" bread! Next up, I want to try this one which has psyllium husks, an ingredient that (in my limited gluten-free baking experience) really helps give a springy texture to gluten-free bread.) If the third recipe doesn't turn out, I think I'd be quite happy with today's formulation. Dan had a sample and said it tasted like a sweet multi-grain English muffin. I find that totally acceptable!

Once I get brave(r), I plan on busting out the bread machine again and see what I can come up with that is edible. The past two days have given me some level of confidence that this is an attainable goal!

(And yes, I know, my egg is ugly. I had the pan too hot when I put the egg in so it ended up a bit unhappy on the edges. Tasted good though.)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

It's No Gidgie Moth, But...

More weird nature at our house today! This time it was a Pandora Sphinx Moth.

Pandora Sphinx Moth

We figure this is a female as they are supposed to be the larger of the two sexes for this moth and this one is quite large. All spread out it would probably have a 4-5" wingspan. Yeah. BIG.

It apparently decided that the back wall of our porch was a good place to sleep today away. Once dusk comes, I doubt it will hang around any longer, but I'm quite glad that it decided to stop by. It strikes me as the type of wild looking moth we'd only come across in a zoo (though apparently these moths are quite common, just not so much in this area.) And if it had been in actual nature, Dan questions if we ever would have seen it. If it had been sleeping in a tree, I think it would have been very hard to spot.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book 11: Really Weird

Apparently I like weird books. Books that are random and creative and maybe a touch satirical. Slaughterhouse-Five, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, anything by Jasper Fforde. And now Popular Hits of the Showa Era by Ryu Murakami. I may not always understand what the heck is going on in the book (Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I'm looking at you) but I can get pretty into them.
“The thing is,” said Ishihara, “we’re in a battle to the death with a group of aunties.”
I don't really like them too ridiculous (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was too ridiculous; Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters meandered a bit on the line) - just off enough to be interesting. And Popular Hits of the Showa Era totally qualifies. Basically, a group of mostly-20-something loser guys and a group of 30-something unattractive divorcees end up in a gang war with each other. It starts with a random murder and escalates into the destruction of a Tokyo suburb.
Nobue furrowed his brow again. This time he looked like a hippopotamus who’d accidentally sat in a puddle of hot mustard.
Yeah, it's fantastically random and yet, within the book, it makes total sense. Crazy. I really enjoyed the pacing of this, the randomness, the overall tone. It makes me want to read more by Ryu Murakami. And since I'm still not feeling the need to read more celiac- or diet-related books, I just might do that!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chloe Hides Well

Hiding Chloe