Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sleep Study Win

Last night was my second sleep study, and it went much better than the first one. I took the Ambien, and I slept a lot more.

I killed about an hour after I got to the lab working on the Tapestry Cowl. When ever I get more than a round or two done on it while I'm waiting, I know that it's taking a long time.

This time I think all the beds were full. They had two sleep techs, and the same tech who was there before worked with me again this time.

I forgot to take pictures, but I looked the same as I did last time. I was even in the same room.

Here's a picture from the first study.

All Hooked Up for the Sleep Study

I can't remember if they woke me up or if I was already awake, but at least once the tech came in because the thing in my nostrils wasn't working. I hate that thing. It's the least comfortable of all the stuff they put on you.

I also woke up once when I was pretty sure all the wires were wrapped around my neck. I had to get the tech to help untangle me.

I was already awake when they ended the study. But when I looked at my cell phone, it was 6:45. They had let me "sleep in."

I've gotten a lot better at getting the goop out of my hair. I found all the gooey spots in the shower and scrubbed them really hard. Then I shampooed my hair a second time.

As I was checking out, the other sleep tech asked me if I'd seen Nadya Suleman, the mother of the octuplets, on television. He said he thought I looked like her. Apparently this had been a point of conversation between the techs during the night. I took it as compliment. I think she looks pretty good, and I could see a resemblance. (Maybe more so if she were 100 pounds heavier.)

I pretty sure I had some REM sleep this time. I think I dreamed. I can't really remember it, but I have a feeling I did. I also woke up warm and a little sweaty, like I often do when I've been dreaming.

I suspect I looked like this while I was asleep:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sheer Madness

Interweave Knits

I got the latest issue of Interweave Knits a couple of weeks ago, and the "Sheer Bliss" section caught my attention. Mostly because most of the patterns didn't look that sheer to me.

The Sculptured Lace Scarf is nice, but I don't think peppering in a few eyelets is enough to call it sheer. Or even lace. (This is probably good thing if you want a guy to wear it like the picture in the magazine.) Same for the Parker Cardigan. And Bettie's Lace Stockings look like lace, not "the new lace." (That's what they call it on the cover.) I realize sheer doesn't have be literal, but many of the patterns, while nice, just didn't "feel" sheer.

I felt the same way about the Whisper Cardigan (pictured above.) Until I took a closer look at it in the bathtub. It really is sheer. And I like it.

The pattern calls for lace weight yarn and US Size 7 knitting needles. The gauge is 6 stitches per inch. That makes for a pretty loose fabric. I like it.

So my wheels are turning again. (Although I haven't forgotten about Montera.) I like this pattern, but I don't think it's right for me. Since it doesn't button up the front, the only measurement listed for size is the measurement across the back. Although it seems to look like one size would fit most, I have my doubts it would fit me. Even if it did, the open front probably wouldn't flatter my chest.

So I'll keep thinking about a design.

Cascade Alpaca Lace

I'm thinking about the Cascade Alpaca Lace that I saw at The Knitting Nest as well.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

WIP: Tapestry Cowl (and some more loose ends)

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I'm making steady progress on the Tapestry Cowl. I'm enjoying it, but I need to "activate" another project that requires less concentration. It's not a very good knit for waiting rooms. (Unless you're going to be waiting for hours, which hasn't happened. Yet.) It also isn't very good for talking with other people or watching TV.

Medical Crap

Pills

I think I've been spending too much time in my head with my medical crap. My family doctor said the sedimentation rate I talked about on Friday was something they'd watch, but probably doesn't mean anything. He also had me add iron supplements to my regimen, but that should be temporary. Now I'm just going to focus on my sleep study this Friday and getting on with my life. I'm making myself depressed.

I got this nifty little pill minder today to keep track of all my medications and supplements. The individual containers slide apart so you can carry one day of pills at a time. Sweet!

Crockpot

Brown Sugar Chicken

I have managed to stay on track with my crockpot. It's saved me a lot of money which I need, because I keep spending money on supplements.

This is the Brown Sugar Chicken I made earlier this week. Stephanie said her kids called it "Candy Chicken." It tasted more like a vinegary teriyaki when I made it. Most of the brown sugar slid off the chicken in the pot. Still, it was a pretty decent meal.

I don't blog about all my crockpot meals, but I take pictures of most of them. I created a Flickr Set that I plan to keep updating if you really want to follow what I'm making.

Parting Shot

Bunny Foo-Foo

Bunny Foo-Foo decided to try to get into the new bag of hay, rather than eat what she already has. Rather than stop her, I decided it would make a good picture.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Knitwitz



A documentary about knitting addiction. These guys aren't very experienced. Obviously, that angora has been cut with something, probably acrylic.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Do You Want a Danish?



These guys have good taste. (In reading, and in cookies.)

I think at some point I had the pattern book to crochet these guys.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Much Belated Valentine's Day Post

Valentine's Day was more than a week ago, but I haven't shared my Valentine's Day stuff yet. Neither Jules nor I got our Valentine's Day gifts in the mail until after February 14, so we had to be patient. (Though I did get a very sweet phone call from Jules.)

My Valentine's Gift from Jules

Jules sent Snoopy and the chocolate apple packed in pink packing peanuts with a very sweet card.

Charlie Brown Valentine

There's something very sweet and a little sad about Charlie Brown on this box of chocolates. It's like he's searching for love, but doesn't realize it's right in front of him. (Well, technically it's behind him, but you know what I mean.)

Jules' Photo Album: Cover

This was my gift for Jules. I was really into scrapbooking a few years ago, and I still have a bunch of supplies. I went and dug out some of my old stuff in storage and made Jules a little scrapbook.

Jules' Photo Album: Page 13

Some pages were more creative than others. And I could have done better if I had more time. I'm not that good with straight lines, even with a paper cutter.

Jules' Photo Album: Page 10

This is one of my more creative pages.

Jules' Photo Album: Page 9

I had to include this photo of me eating at Taco Xpress because it is one of his favorites.

Jules' Valentine's Day Gift

I sent the scrapbook along with a bar of Hershey's Extra Dark Chocolate. When he got it, he didn't say anything about the scrapbook. I asked if the pictures got there ok.

He said "What pictures?"

I was lucky he didn't throw out the envelope. I didn't have a smaller envelope, so I had folded a large envelope to get things to fit, and I guess it was easy to miss. Once he found it, he loved it.

You can see all the pictures of my album, along with other Valentine Stuff, here.

Parting Shot

Valentine's Box of Chocolates from Mom

Mom's been getting us the exact some box of Russell's Stover candy for years. But this year, they got hit by the grocery shrink ray. I don't know what they were last year, but they're 7 ounces this year. And the chocolates are awfully far apart.

(To be fair, it didn't come with two missing chocolates. I ate those before I thought to take a picture.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

More Medical Crap

I'm questioning if I'm boring my readers (both of them) with my medical crap, but it seems like the most interesting thing going on in my life these days. I haven't found the time to make adjustments to my wheel. I was going to tonight, but I think I'll turn in early instead.

Yesterday I spoke with my sleep doctor, and convinced him to redo the diagnostic sleep study, rather than going straight to the CPAP. That's a big load off my mind. I hope I actually sleep this time.

Today I got a call got back from the endocrinologist's office. They had my blood test results, but they wouldn't give them to me over the phone. Instead I had to come in and see a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

The office staff told me that they make everyone come in for test results, even when they are good. That made me think one of two things.

1) The office's policies are really that stupid, and they're going to make me go in for test results even when they are negative.
2) There's bad news, but they're lying to me because they can't tell me it's bad news.

I could have waited until Monday, but they had an appointment today. I was sick of waiting, so I took a long lunch and went in today.

It turns out the results won't so much bad, but complicated. I'm vitamin D deficient, and on the verge of being vitamin B12 deficient. This may be the cause of my fatigue, but I doubt it makes that much of a difference. I'm not anemic yet, but my iron stores are low, which means I'm on my way to being anemic. And my "sedimentation" rate is a little high. I have no idea what that means, but I have to go back to my family doctor to double check. *sigh*

So I now have prescription strength Vitamin D. The CNS suggested Vitamin B12 drops, but I just bought a supplement in pill form. I started taking fish oil recently in hopes of improving my mood. That plus getting back to a multivitamin means I have an entire course of supplements to take with dinner now. (Although I only have to take the vitamin D once a week.)

*sigh again*

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ravelry Weekend Awesomeness

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Valentine's Day is tough when your significant other is in another state. So I was lucky that I had something to distract me. On Saturday, The Knitting Nest hosted the Ravelry crew, and people came in from all over to celebrate.

Jess, me (Sally) and Casey

Here I am with Jess (left) and Casey (right). They were pretty cool. You can read the story about how they started Ravelry here.

Mary-Heather, me and Jess

And here I am with Mary-Heather, who is the third member of the Ravelry team, and Jess.

Caro

Former Austinite Caro of splityarn came back into town for the event.

Valentine's Day Stockings

The guests of honor (and Jess and Casey's dog, Bob) had Valentine's Day Stockings filled with goodies...

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...a banner that everyone signed...

Honorary Texans

...and official status as Honorary Texans. (Sorry for the blurry picture.)

Scarf and Pasties

One group (from out of town, I think) brought special gifts for the guests of honor. A scarf for Casey and pasties for the ladies. This was the best shot I got of all four of them. They were surrounded by people taking pictures. (There's a better picture of Casey's scarf here.)

Door Prize

Of course, there was plenty of stuff for the customers. They gave out door prizes every 15 minutes, and I won the very first one! I got a Cascade beanie bear, a set of US size 8 needles in a very nice wood, and a skein of Cascade Lana D' Oro.

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This was my first trip to The Knitting Nest since right before I went to the hospital, so I saw all sorts of new yarn that I hadn't seen there before. The Malabrigo Sock Yarn was the most popular by far. They had it right at the entrance, so everyone saw it when they came in. Some of the other highlights included Cascade Alpaca Lace, Queensland Collection Haze and Cascade Soft Spun.

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They also had lots of Malabrigo Worsted in "Ravelry Red."

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I finally got my mojo back with Double Knitting. I got going on my Tapestry Cowl again while I was hanging out.

My purchases from The Knitting Nest

Here's the yarn I bought. Jess helped me pick out the Cascade 128 on top. I'm considering it for the Montera coat. I had a hard time deciding which color. I had it down to the purple and an apple green. I asked several people, and Jess said she thought the purple was better.

I also got some Malabrigo Sock in "Impressionist Sky" and a skein of yarn to finish Jules' Gloves.

It was an awesome day.

You can see all of my pictures from the day here. Also, everybody's pictures from the event are on Flickr with the tag "ravelryweekend."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Doctors and Taxes

I'm still trying to sort through tons of pictures from last weekend's Ravelry party, as well as my Valentine's gift for Jules and his gift for me. Rather than get overwhelmed and not post anything, I had a couple of quick updates.

About a month ago I talked about the nodule on my thyroid. This morning I finally saw an endocrinologist.

I was dreading the appointment. I had managed to convince myself that the doctor was going to fight with me over my weight and family history of diabetes. But it didn't come up. Instead the doctor was very helpful and answered all my questions. He said he could tell that I had researched the nodule, because patients who haven't are usually all freaked out.

He listened to all my concerns about being so tired and feeling that something is not quite right. He took me seriously, and ordered a bunch of blood tests unrelated to the nodule. I swear they took half a cup of blood out of my arm, but it will be worth it to get some answers.

The bad news is that my ultrasound from the hospital didn't make it to the doctor's office. Again. The doctor said they would only need to do a needle biopsy if it was 1 to 1.5 centimeters in diameter or more, but he didn't know how big the nodule was at the time. Later on I checked my last blog entry about it, and saw that my family doctor had told me it was about 1.4 centimeters in diameter. My blog isn't exactly an official medical record, but it's probably a good indication that I'm going to have a needle jammed in my neck.

I was also less than impressed with the practice as a whole. Last night I was filling out paperwork, and saw a laundry list of charges. $25 to write a letter? $10 to replace any missing documents? $25 to rewrite a prescription? I've never encountered charges like this with any other doctor's office.

Then when I got there this morning, I barely managed to snag the last parking spot. All the doctors have reserved spaces in the "customer" parking garage that patients can't park in. (How does that work?) Then after being completely ignored at the window, I was chided for not being half an hour early to my appointment. When it was time to check out, they ignored me again while they were on the phone. (Not even a wave to acknowledge that they'd be right with me.) And they forgot to give me the release form I needed. (Fortunately, I remembered and went back before I left.)

In other news, I did my taxes tonight at Mom and Dad's house. (And I forgot to take an updated picture of Mom's quilt while I was there.) For the second year in the row, I gave up on e-filing. I couldn't figure out some details in the codes in my W2. I decided it would be easier just to mail it in, rather than figure out how to enter in all my W2 information correctly.

I'm getting more than $300, enough to pay off my credit card bills. (The hospital can wait in line for their money. Maybe I'll pay them back when they release my thyroid ultrasound.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ravelry Wrap Up


Casey works the room
Originally uploaded by frecklegirl
Thanks to Flickr's "blog this" feature, I'm doing a short entry before bed.

I spent all evening uploading tons of photos from the Ravelry Party at The Knitting Nest on Saturday. We met Ravelry founders Casey and Jess. I'll have full details later, but tonight I'm posting a photo by Jess herself. I'm wearing my Entrelac Scarf in this one, and Casey is talking with me and some of the other knitters. Casey is the one in the red shirt talking to all of us.

The Knitting Nest is asking everyone to upload their pictures of the even to Flickr with the tag "ravelryweekend." So you can see my pics and everyone else's here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy V-Day



Happy V-Day everyone!

(There are adult themes in this video - consider yourself warned.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

OPP: Sewing Edition

I seem to be "nesting."

I'm at Mom and Dad's tonight. The big Ravelry party at The Knitting Nest is tomorrow, and I want to get there early. Mom and Dad's house is much closer to the shop than mine, so I'm spending the night.

Earlier this evening I tagged along while my parents went to Home Depot to look at water heaters. I found myself drooling over detachable shower heads, plants and decorating ideas. These are the type of things I never think about. Add in all the Crockpotting, and it seems really weird.

I've also been thinking more about sewing. It seems like a good time for some sewing OPP (Other People's Projects.)

Mom's Basket

Mom made this in one evening. Apparently the fabric basket tutorial from the Pink Penguin has been making the rounds among sewing bloggers. Now I want to make one too.

I think I'm going to put the Pink Penguin on my Google Reader. And find that sewing machine I picked up on Freecycle ages ago.

Coin Quilt

I have a better yarn stash, but Mom has a better fabric stash. (Which makes sense, since she actually sews stuff and I just talk about it.) She has started a coin quilt similar to this one using stash fabric. I really like the fabric choices, because they go together without being too "matchy-matchy." It's very authentic.

Aaron sews on his patch

Last Saturday, while I was assembling my spinning wheel, my sister's boyfriend was learning how to sew.

Aaron goes to Texas State, the same school I graduated from. (Except it was still Southwest Texas State when I went there.) He found this Bobcat patch, and decided that he wanted to put it on his Texas State sweatshirt. And he wanted to do it himself.

Aaron's practice sewing

Mom showed Aaron how. Here is his practice sewing.

Aaron is partially done sewing on his patch

When it was time to actually sew on the patch, Mom found some glittery gold thread on hand that matched the patch.

Aaron's Patch

Here's the finished product.

I did a little bit of sewing as a kid, but I have some trouble with little things like straight lines, even stitches and cutting along dotted lines. I don't consider myself proficient in sewing, but I know a little bit. Maybe I'll pull out that sewing machine.

Someday.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Back in the kitchen...

I came home from work today and saw that my boxes had been moved around. At first as was I annoyed. Then I remembered...

...could it be...

My new dishwasher

The Dishwasher Fairy came!

A note from the Dishwasher Fairy


And she left a work order note along with dish soap and rinse agent. Yay!

Of course, with the dishwasher fixed, I decided to save the frozen pizza I was going to make, and use up the eggs and bacon I had in the fridge instead.

Why can't I get bacon right?

I cooked almost an entire package of bacon. Why is bacon so hard to cook? It took a long time to cook. Long enough that I managed to load the dishwasher and get it started before it was done. Some how it was both raw and burnt at the same. Yet it was still delicious.

There's got to be a better way to cook bacon.

Eggs

After I finally cooked the bacon, I scrambled the 11 eggs I had in the leftover bacon grease. Mmmmmmm......bacon grease.

Breakfast for Dinner

Here's my dinner. Notice the real plate. I have a dishwasher again!

Cooking is still enough of an event for me that I bother blogging about. I think it took me two hours to make this meal, from the time I went into the kitchen until the time I sat down with my breakfast tacos and watched a DVR episode of Important things with Demetri Martin. Granted, I had two "shifts" of bacon to cook, and I had to thaw out the tortillas. This is why I stuck with tv dinners and fast food so long.

But I've saved a lot of money by actually cooking.

Leftovers

Of course, I didn't cook 11 eggs and almost an entire package of bacon for nothing. I froze six leftover tacos for later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sleep Study Follow-Up Fail

I wish I could get this sleep stuff right. I felt like I failed my my sleep study, and now I feel like I failed the follow up appointment today.

I had to wait a while before going in this time. I had lots of time to get anxious about the results.

It turns out my calculations were pretty close. I slept for 218 minutes, less than four hours. I slept in two "shifts", one not long after I went to bed, and another early morning.

During the study, I had absolutely no REM sleep, which makes sense, because I didn't remember dreaming, and I usually remember my dreams. (Or at least I have a vague sense that I had dreams.)

The doctor also said that I didn't move much while I was actually asleep, although I moved a lot while I was awake. This is very unusual.

I had a few instances of hyponea, where I didn't breath very deeply, and twice I actually stopped breathing.

This is the part where I "failed" the follow up appointment.

The doctor said technically I had sleep apnea, but it was very mild. But sleeping with a CPAP machine might help, and they could do a titration study to get me started.

How did we get on to sleep apnea and CPAPs so quickly? Before I ever took the study, I looked up sleep apnea, and it just didn't seem to fit. No morning headaches, no waking up gasping for air and I really don't snore that much.

They measured my oxygen levels all night, and I never went below 90%, which is considered normal.

I'm convinced that sleep apnea isn't the answer, or at least not the whole answer. I felt like they didn't get to capture any of the really weird stuff. Like when I wake up sweaty and feel like I've been exercising. Or when I thrash my head around and kick off the covers. Or when I make weird moaning noises. Or all the intense dreaming. (I've had more and more people tell me how weird it is that I dream so much.)

He said "based on my history" that sleep apnea seemed to make sense. I'm worried that's code for "you're fat, so it must be sleep apnea."

(Interesting side note - Here's a good piece on the link (or lack of) between weight and sleep apnea. It focuses mostly on the effects of gastric bypass.)

I feel like I didn't say enough. I mean, I did mention most of this stuff, but I don't think I did a good job of getting my points across. The doctor asked if I had more questions, but my mind was blank, and I said no.

The doctor did say they would monitor my sleep without the CPAP for a couple of hours to try to find out more about my REM sleep. But I feel like they haven't really found the real problem.

So I'm going to call back and see if I can ask a few more questions.

CPAP or not, I have another study scheduled for Friday, February 27. This time, I won't have work the next day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

How to Assemble an Ashford Spinning Wheel

Yesterday was long, but satisfying. I assembled my spinning wheel. I thought finishing it would be the hard part, but assembly was a lot harder than I expected.

I started by applying the third coat of tung oil early in the afternoon and letting it dry. After lunch and running errands, I started the assembly around 5 or 5:30.

Spinning Wheel Instructions

Here's an example of what the instructions look like. There's almost no text, and a bunch of pictures. I had trouble with it. Mom said it was easy for her. Half the time I couldn't understand what they were trying to get across.

Take a look at step five at the bottom of the page. I thought the stars meant "ouch" like they normally do in cartoons. So I assumed they were warning me that if you have the flyer at the wrong angle, it will bang against the other parts. But after conferring with Mom, I realized it meant that the flyer should snap in place.

Step 1 - Assembling the Lazy Kate

Step One was to assemble the Lazy Kate. That was easy enough. The instructions had a picture of pliers, but I have no idea why. I didn't need them.

Step 2 - Putting hooks in the <span class=

Step Two was to put the hooks in the flier. That was pretty easy. I rubbed them with candle wax as recommended by one of the little drawings on front.

I was lucky my wheel is a lot like Mom's, except her's has a double drive band and mine has a single drive band. My flyer is bigger than hers, and my hooks face the other way. (I had Mom check the instructions. I got the hooks right.)

The Mother of All

Here is the "Mother of All," completely put together. If you want to see what all the parts are called, visit the Flickr page and mouse over the picture.

I had trouble screwing in the maidens. It turned out I was using the wrong size screw. I didn't realize all the drawings of pieces were to scale. There was a drawing on the first page explaining this, but I didn't get what they were saying.

Dinner Break

I took this picture when I stopped to eat dinner. I realized after dinner that I had forgotten to put the treadle on the wheel support before I screwed everything together. I had to unscrew most of it to put in the treadle.

Step 18 - I'd like to put it in, but it's too big

Step 18 was putting the wheel in the wheel support. This was by far the hardest part. The wheel did not want to go in. (When I took this picure, this was as far in as the wheel would go.)

I had trouble getting the whole thing together, so I tried loosening everything. Then Dad took out some of the screws and put them back in, and we were able to barely get the wheel in.

Of course, then we had to get the axle through the wheel and the wheel support. This was very difficult. There wasn't enough space between the wheel and the wheel support to see. We finally got it on, but it wasn't centered.

Step 18 - Dad helps out

Dad finally got it centered. He realized the rubber pieces that hold the axle weren't in all the way. (They were flush with the wood on Mom's wheel.) Things got easier after he pushed them in.

Step 26 - Screwing (huh, huh)

Here's me working on Step 26, attaching the mother of all to the rest of the wheel. I'm almost done here. And that was about the time I discovered this...

D'oh!

...full written instructions to go with the pictures.

*sigh*

I tied on the drive band, and adjusted the position of the mother of all. I think I solved most of the problems before I got it home, but I still need to make adjustments.

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This is my wheel. His name is Douglas. And he is in my bedroom right now!

You can see all the pictures I took while assembling the spinning wheel on Flickr.