Monthly Archives: April 2014


A couple of years ago, my friend Elina sent me a skein of sock yarn along with a pattern for socks, and said that she knew I could do it. I had to use it for socks, too, she said; no cheating and using it to weave something or knit a scarf.

I did a couple of trial runs. I knitted a pair of bulky socks that I felted down to make slippers (which, despite having leather soles sewn onto the ball and heel, have worn through anyway), and I knit Sparky a pair of Gryffindor socks. I cast on this yarn for a pair of socks for myself last September, and finished the first one around Thanksgiving. I started the one right away — I have heard a lot about Second Sock Syndrome — and got a few rows done here and there. I turned the heel early this year, and then it sat in a project bag while I did a bunch for other stuff. I brought it with me and worked on it in the car on the way home for visiting my parents this Easter, and grafted the toe this morning.

I have Made Socks!

First pair of socks for me, April 2014

I am very proud of myself. They’re not hard, really; you just need to pay closer attention in a couple of places. Otherwise, it’s just plain knitting. Obviously I haven’t done anything complicated pattern-wise; I may eventually, but for now it’s nice to have something that’s a go-to project for knitting in waiting rooms or in the car.

The pooling is different on each sock. The ways patterns and dye repeats pool differently is something that I find interesting.

First pair of handknit socks for me, April 2014

The grafted toe feels a bit odd on the inside. I expect that will vanish (or at least be reduced) with a wash.

I used a lot less than the full skein, too. I’ll have to weigh what’s left, but I think I may have used about 2/3 of the yardage. Maybe I’ll knit Owlet a matching pair of socks with what’s left over! But the good news about the yardage is that now I can look at my handspun in a different way. I always thought socks would use up about 400 yards, but if I can knit a basic pair with about 300 yards, then lots of my handspun is now potential sock yarn!


Dizzy spells yesterday. Charming. This medication can settle down any time.

I recently spun some raw alpaca I bought from my friend Jenn, who runs an alpaca farm and sells alpaca fibre at Frayed Knot FIbres. I got an ounce of cream, caramel, and chocolate alpaca, washed them, blended them together on my hackle:

And dizzed the roving off:

And then spun it into a lovely, fuzzy, deliciously soft single:

Mmm. I could cuddle it for ages.


Yesterday I got a surprise book in the mail with no clue as to the sender, and this morning I got some Peaches & Cream tea from DavidsTea! The book is from our friend Helen in Australia (actually, I have two friends named Helen in Australia, thanks to the magic of the Internet), and the tea may be as well. Random acts of kindness are so special, and it came at a good time and cheered me up.

In mostly unrelated news (because being happy is what being treated for depression is all about, right?) I met with my doctor this morning. He says the numb/tingling tongue issue is odd, because I’d been taking the medication for a while at a lower dose for fibro with no side effects, but to be sure he wants me to take it at the half dose again for a few days. If there’s no reaction, I’m to up it to the full dose again and watch for the same tongue thing. By that point we’ll be at our next appointment in a week’s time, and we’ll go from there. If it turns out I’ve developed a sensitivity to it, we can switch to the medication I was on twelve years ago, but he wants to make sure I have a sensitivity to this one first, to resolve the open issue, so to speak. He doesn’t want to leave a question mark in my file; if I have a reaction to it, he wants to be able to confirm it and enter it in my permanent file. I can understand that. And he doesn’t think it’s dangerous, or he wouldn’t ask me to do it. Although I did the right thing by coming in, he assured me.

So we’ll reboot the medication, and see where it goes. La.


Owlet and I are both sick with colds. She seems to be chugging along with the usual bounces and energy regardless and is back at daycare today with just a bit of lingering chest congestion, but I feel like I have cement in my head. Beyond this, something odd and worrisome happened over the weekend. On Saturday, I finally got irritated with the odd tingling in my tongue. It had been happening for a few days, and I had ascribed it to spring finally deciding to drag itself out of bed. Sometimes the roof of my mouth tingles when I’m having trouble with my allergies, so it wasn’t that much of a leap to put the tongue tingling down to the same thing, especially when I noticed it more when I ate chocolate or peanut butter, two things that sometimes make my mouth feel a bit odd in the spring when my system is already handling allergy overload. Except it wasn’t going away, or getting any better when I took antihistamines. In fact, it was kind of getting worse. So maybe it was something else? What else could it be?

The only thing I could think of was the medication my new doctor put me on. But I’d been taking it in a lower dose already for fibro; surely the higher dose couldn’t be triggering it, could it? I looked up side effects to be sure, and, um, there it was, in big “seek emergency medical help if you feel any of these following symptoms” letters.

So I stopped taking it. I wasn’t going to go to the emergency room of the hospital saying that my tongue felt a bit odd, not when I’d been taking the higher dose for three weeks already. But it was worrisome enough that I wanted my doctor to know, and to discuss alternate medications with him. I left a message this morning and the receptionist got back to me at lunch (on her lunch hour, I think) and gave me an appointment tomorrow morning. (Bless her; it really does pay to always be super understanding about cancellations and rescheduling on their end.)

Stopping my medication isn’t a huge thing. I mean, it is, and it isn’t. I haven’t been taking it for long enough for a full stop to have significant negative effect. On the other hand, the blessed sleep it was ensuring has taken a hit, and that’s ungood for the physical rest I need for the fibro (proper muscle relaxation and all that) as well as the mental and emotional wellbeing (bad sleep makes me short-tempered and significantly reduces my available spoons with which to cope with basic day-to-day stuff). And I still can’t think of why I started having the reaction three weeks into the treatment. Did it hit a particular saturation in my body or something? Or were my allergies stacking, as they sometimes do, and I started having a reaction to it now because there are so many other things taxing my system? I have no idea. Perhaps the doctor will. But stopping it and the reaction vanishing within twenty-four hours was pretty significant, I think. Even if it’s a stacking issue, it needs to be dealt with.

Owlet: Thirty-Two Months Old!

We’re on track for reading! Owlet loves books, and lately she has started touching words or making us run our fingers under the sentences when we read aloud to her. Then she tries to do the same thing. This means she knows that what you say changes as you move from word to word, which is so exciting. It’s also exciting that if you ask her to find two of the same word on a page, she can do it, which means she’s recognizing patterns and word shapes.

The child gates are now all gone (yaaaay! our shins are so grateful!) except the one to the stairs leading to the office. Even that one we leave closed but unlatched a lot of the time, so it’s mostly a visual reminder that she’s not supposed to go up there. Occasionally if she’s alone for whatever reason, she takes it into her head to pull it open, climb the stairs, and play the piano, which is always amusing. (And yes, it is still a “pinnannose.”)

She loves playing with her new build-a-bug app on the iPad, and she’s getting better at the matching games, too. She was very into The Princess and the Frog for a while, including the music, even though she kept saying she was scared of the shadows in it. We think she was working through fear/discomfort by desensitizing herself to it and play-acting through all the stages of “I scared!” and “shadows can’t hurt me.” Now, of course, everything is all Frozen, all the time. Nana bought a copy for them and brought it with her when she visited a couple of weeks ago, and the children were over the moon.

Her favourite books are a little less clear; she cycles through her bookshelf pretty regularly these days. We read Are You My Mother? frequently, she’s been enjoying Chester and the Scaredy Squirrel series by Melanie Watt an awful lot. She likes magazines because they have lots of different pictures in them, preferably her brother’s copies of Chickadee. She loves choosing a book to bring in the car in the mornings. And one day she insisted on bringing her chosen book into the daycare, even though I told her she’d have to share it with the other children. She actually got excited about that, and was pleased to pass it around and talk about the baby animal pictures in it.

She’s suddenly into puzzles. She’s past the wooden ones with the lift-out basic shapes, so we cleared most of them out and sent them to the daycare along with some other toys she’d grown out of, which pleased everyone; they had fun with their new puzzles and she was happy that she’d shared them. She’s now into the 24-piece cardboard ones, and is pretty good at them, so long as one of us turns the pieces the right way up and makes sure they’re sort of in the right general order. She’s learning to look for pieces that have the colours of a certain character on it and put them together first. She really doesn’t understand the concept of lining up the straight edges of the border yet, though.

The best new game of pretend is “ocean.” She spreads the blue afghan out on her floor, pulls the old baby bath out from under her bed (where it holds random stuffed animals and toys), climbs in, and pretends she’s in a boat. It is best played with Sparky, who can rock it, and they “dive” into the “water” and swim around, or catch fish, or pile any water-related toys they have into the boat with them (like stuffed turtles, fish, puffins, and so forth). It’s a great game. The two of them are working out their relationship; he thinks and imagines so much more quickly than she does, and in general she’s willing to enthusiastically follow him. But she’s starting to suggest her own variations of what they’re doing, and Sparky is having trouble being flexible; if what she imagines doesn’t fit in with his vision, or alters something he’s already proposed, then he gets cross with her. We’ve been doing a lot of refereeing, reminding them to share the imagining and take turns suggesting the next development.

She is so ready for winter to be done with. She has been pulling her rainboots out of the cupboard and tromping around the house in them. It’s warm enough that she can wear a spring jacket to daycare in the mornings for the quick jump between the car and the building, but not warm enough to wear only that (plus splash pants) to play in. So we’ve been toting two complete outfits to school each day, her spring one and her winter one.

She loves, loves, loves painting and coloring. She enjoys tracing things like cups and hands (including Hop-Hop’s paw). She still directs people to draw things for her instead of scribbling herself, though. Stickers are still the best things ever, but she gets whiny about which ones she has to be using. We are forever peeling stickers off the floor, chairs, windowsills, doors, and our arms (we even find them in the dryer exhaust screen). Fortunately they’re easily removed, and don’t leave adhesive behind.

Among her current favourite foods are ‘rolly cheese’ (her term for a slice of processed American cheese, the kind we use for special grilled cheese sandwiches, because it’s flat and she likes to have it rolled up), carrots (because she can share them with Solstice), peanut butter toast, ‘graby’ (her term for gravy, which is also what she calls maple syrup), peas (preferably frozen, and preferably while she is pouring them into the dish before microwaving them). She is totally off potatoes, for some reason. All meat is awesome if it comes with ‘graby’ to dip it in.

She’s mostly in size 4; we’ve given up on size 2 and 3, because they’re generally too small. I have no idea what size her feet are; her rainboots are size 7, but her snowboots are size 9, and it’s been forever since she wore a shoe. She has recently asked for an umbrella, and as they’re going to be doing umbrella-related activities later this month at daycare, then I’ll have to pick one up for her. She has decided she would like fairies or Hello Kitty on it.

She loves helping with the dishes. Her job is drying them, although she needs to be reminded each time to put them on the counter instead of dropping them back into the dirty water. She’s gotten much better at sitting still while we put her hair in ponytails, although leaving them in is still not guaranteed. She’s always moving, always imagining, and always loving. She’s fun to have around.

In Which She Takes A Deep Breath

Yesterday morning my blog started displaying php errors at the top of the screen. The last time this happened was in 2008, when my host upgraded their end and my blog software didn’t play nicely with it. I tried to upgrade, we lost the RSS feeds for a while, and the blog was broken in a way I couldn’t fix. It mysteriously fixed itself a year or so later, but having been scarred by previous upgrade attempts (the great mySQL disaster to 2006, anyone?) I resisted upgrading until I absolutely had to. Which was yesterday.

So I did. I backed everything up a billion different ways, and I struggled with an anxiety attack all day. And then after the upgrade… the blog wouldn’t display. Nada. White page. This is so common, I later discovered, that it even has a colloquial term on the boards, “the White Screen of Death.”

Anywhats. I let it go, knowing that the upgrade had worked (mostly) since my dashboard and back end were all functional. I left a note on the support boards asking for help, and Meallanmouse sent me a message with a link to more common fixes and saying she’d try to help if I needed it, which was terribly nice of her. I couldn’t do anything overnight, so I let it go.

That’s huge for me, you know, not obsessing over something I can’t fix right away. I’ve been having a lot of trouble with anxiety lately, which was one of the reasons I’m back on medication. (Which, conveniently enough, addresses my fibro issues, too, so more bang for my buck. Yay for doctors who actually trust that I know what I’m talking about, and yay for being able to admit I need help!)

Anywhats, I delivered children and ran errands this morning (I am now well stocked with tea again, yay), and when I got home, I checked my messages. Someone had answered my board post with specific suggestions, so I ran a couple of those checks and found the error in a misbehaving theme. So voila, now the blog is upgraded, behaving, and displaying, in tidy new clothes. I’m leaving well enough alone for the moment; I’ll play dress-up with it sometime later. (I miss having a photo banner across the top, for example; I’ve missed it for years and years.)

So that’s where the wee blog owlies are at. If you couldn’t see them yesterday, that’s why. But now they’re back in line and hooting softly to themselves about their new digs. We’ll spruce the place up once we’re comfortable painting the walls.