Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Sunday Summary

I've had a lot of fun since the last time I blogged. I kept putting off blogging because I wanted to do a "proper" post for so many different adventures I've had. Clearly that has not worked out well for me, so I thought that maybe the best way to go about this was to just have a post full of the all of the things I wanted to share. So here we go....

In September I attended the Make Wear Love Retreat in Maine.  I had a fantastic time, and learned so many new techniques and tips to be a better sweater knitter.  I came home from the retreat with inspiration to spare and a desire to swatch every yarn I could get my hands on!

This was the view from my bedroom in the cottage that I shared with seven other fabulous women, including Laura who I met at the last year's retreat.  It was great fun to reconnect with her and spend a weekend together!
I went to a Patriot's Game with my sisters and step-mother.  It was a great Girls Day!
Tom and I went to Parent's Weekend at Clemson University.  It was so good to spend some time with Chandler and to see how happy and comfortable he is at school.  We brought his friend Cait with us too because she is also interested in Clemson.
Tom had a business trip to California and I was able to join him!  We were able to extend the trip and enjoy a little vacation too.

We visited the Armstrong Redwoods which was amazing.
We spent a couple afternoons cruising the Pacific Coast Highway although we only saw a fraction of it.
We spent a couple days in Sonoma and Napa visiting some wineries.
We spent a few hours in San Francisco and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge.  We definitely need to go back sometime and spend a few days!
We spent 3 days in San Diego for Tom's work thing.  It was lovely!  Strangely we didn't really take any pictures while in San Diego, but we do have this picture of us the night we had dinner at Georges in La Jolla.  It was a great meal with wonderful company and a beautiful view.
I've been doing some knitting too!  I've swatched for a couple sweaters.  This is my favorite swatch for Cushing Isle which will be next on the needles.
Acorn Trail is the first sweater I cast on after the retreat.  I have the back, a sleeve, and half of the right front done so far.
I took a Pick-Your-Project class at my LYS to help me with my color work skills.  I started the Bird in Hand mittens in class.  The pictures do NOT do this pattern justice!  These mittens just may be the most beautiful thing I've ever knit!

I've also finished a sweater and a shawl since I last blogged, and those do deserve a proper blog post.  I plan to share those 2 projects soon, so be sure to check back!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

I'm a car girl. I know that makes me weird, but I truly do love cars! I love the sleek ones, the classic ones, the new ones and the old ones. I actually enjoy car shopping, looking at different features and comparing them, and I don't even mind the haggling with car dealers. For those reasons I think this week's Ten on Tuesday topic is a fun one.

 10 Cars I Have Owned

1. Honda Civic Hatchback - This was my very first car and I bought it from my college RA when she graduated.  It was poop brown and I loved it.
2. Dodge Colt - Most boring car I've ever owned, but it was reliable and economical, and exactly what a commuting college student needs.
3. VW Scirocco - It was white and it was quirky.  But it was fun.  Really fun, so I traded it in for a.. new VW Scirocco - This one was not nearly as quirky.  I drove it until I was 8 months pregnant with my 1st son and finally admitted that it was not practical for family life :-(
4. BMW 325i - This may be my favorite car EVER.  I leased it and when my lease ended I actually cried when I turned it in. LOL
5. Volvo 740 wagon - My first "mom-mobile".  Very safe and practical.  I could fill the back end of it with all the stuff that goes with boys and dogs.
6. Jeep Grand Cherokee - Sadly, it was a lemon and I eventually was able to return it under the Lemon Law.
7. Land Rover Discovery - Hands down, the WORST car I've ever owned.  I still shudder when I think about it...
8. Dodge Durango - The beginning of the parade of white SUV's
9. Chevy Tahoe - I loved this for the 3rd row seat and it's huge cargo area.  It could hold a lot of hockey bags!  And yup, it was white.
10. Volvo XC90 - I drove this for almost 6 years and well past 100,000 miles.  It was also white :-)
11. Lexus RX350 - My current car and surprisingly, not white!  It's very zippy and agile for it's size.
12. BMW Z4 - My Happy Car :-)  I used to say that "someday" I'm going to have a "roof optional fun car".  The first time I had breast cancer in 2006, Tom decided that it was "someday" and we bought this.  It is Mom's Little Car and NOBODY but me drives it without express special permission, including Tom :-)  Note the tux my son is wearing in the above picture.  I let the boys use it for Prom and that's about it.  I'm hoping that when they reminisce about Prom that using my car is part of their fond memories!

So there you have it.  I couldn't quite keep my list to 10 but I did include all the cars I have owned!  Stop by Carole's Blog to see who else is participating.  There are some fun memories being shared!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Guess What Day It Is!

As I was having lunch with some of my family today, I asked them if they knew what day it was today. I got all the usual smart-alec comments. "It's Monday", "It's Labor Day", "It's 2 days before Grammy's Birthday", "It's a day I'm not working". All true, but not what I am celebrating :-)

Today is the first day of week 27 of my 52 week treatment plan. It's official! It's....

Woohoo!!!! I have officially crossed the half way mark!  The hard stuff is all done and now I'm just cruising along getting my inhibitor infusions every 3 weeks.  Life is good!

I had a little early celebrating last week.  I enjoyed a Girls Day with my friend Kris on Thursday which included lunch, pedicures, and ice cream on the way home.  Friday night my friend Michele stopped by with a bottle of Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot for me, which is one of my favorite wines.

I've reminisced over the things that made me laugh along the way.  Such as when one of my friends told me "Damn Girl, you need some eyebrows!  Can you go put some on before we go out?"  and my 2 year old niece asking me "Auntie Dianne, Why you get a haircut?"  Mind you this was AFTER my hair starting growing back in, not while I was bald! LOL  And my favorite.... "Hey!  You've got a bit of bed head going on.  Congratulations!"

Laughter, it's the best medicine, and I'm pretty full of it right now :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2014


It's summer so it must be time to knit socks! I look forward to this every year, which is quite strange, because I knit socks all year long.  I can't wait though for the Summer of Socks group to get active. The Sock Knitters Anonymous group starts talking about all the socks they have started over the year(s) that they are going to finish in August, and the 26 Pair Plunge (or 52 pairs if you're that ambitious) starts fresh on July 1st.  I participate in all of them!  This year I was excited.  I had a plan, and with this plan I was going to finish 10 pairs of socks by the end of August.  That's right, 10!

These are all my socks-in-progress, aka SiP's, on August 2,
plus this one which was hiding in plain view on the table beside my knitting chair when I gathered up all my SiP's for their glamour shot for the SKA Clear Your Needles Challenge....
The biggest rule for that challenge is that whatever you finish in August had to be started June 30th or earlier if you want it to count.  This challenge is truly to finish up those lingering projects so that you have lots of available needles for September 1st which is the beginning of the SKA challenge schedule.  As you can see, I had 4 single socks and 7 first socks in progress.  I was going to knit like the wind, every day, and knit more socks than my friend Christine, and who knows how many other people.

That was my plan.  I forgot to factor in one very important factor though...... radiation fatigue.  I'm not complaining though because I have nothing to complain about.  Sure I was "done" by 3pm just about every day, but it was no where near the deep-in-your-bones, mind-numbing, soul-sucking fatigue of chemo.  I just was "done" and couldn't always focus on following a pattern, and wouldn't you know it but almost all of my SiP's were projects that had charts that needed to be followed every row.  Perhaps that's why they got set aside in the first place?  Hmmm...  I'll have to think about that for next August.

I do have 3 pairs of socks finished though since July 1st.
These are Sail Away by Cookie A, knit in Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock in the color Out at Sea.  This was the yarn and one of the patterns from the June Sock Club Kit.  I started them June 13th and finished them July 17th.  I would like to make these again using yo's instead of m1's.  Some people in the club did that and the socks have a nice open look to them.  Same but different if you know what I mean.

This next pair is Zigzagular by Susie White, knit in Socks That Rock light weight in the color Walking on the Wild Tide.  I would love to make these again.  It was an easy to memorize pattern and looks great with variegated yarn. I started them July 13 and finished them August 5th.

This pair is Tree People by Heidi Nick, knit in Hazel Knits Artisan sock in the color By the Seashore.  This was a mystery knit along and I learned a new heel technique, the fledge heel.  I'm curious to see how I like wearing this heel and how it holds up!  I started these May 20 and finished them August 20.  Lots of charts for these socks!  The designer used color as well as symbols for her charts though and I liked that!  She is hosting another MKAL in September and I think I will join in as I liked these socks so much.

I'm still chugging along on my SiP's and hope to finish another pair or two by the end of the month.  I've also been distracted by a Miss Winkle Shawlette and a new sweater for fall.  I'll show them to you soon!

Thursday, August 14, 2014


It's a big day of Milestones and Celebrations at my house today!

The first celebration is that I completed my last Radiation Treatment today!  And I have the Diploma to prove it!
I am so happy to have that done and behind me now :-)  My skin is pretty uncomfortable from it.  The doctor assures me that although my skin does not look "normal" it looks exactly as it should at this point in my treatment.  He made a change for my care of it at home yesterday and already I can feel a dramatic improvement.  Hopefully in a few more days I'll be back to sleeping well again too.

All that's left now for my treatment is the Herceptin, which I get by infusion every 3 weeks.  It's the easy part of my treatment.  I feel like I'm in the home stretch now!

The second Milestone for my family today is that Chandler has officially left for college.  I'm not sure whether to end that sentence with !!!!! or ......  Honestly it's a bit of both.  I'm so happy and excited for him.  He's chosen a GREAT school that I truly believe is a great fit for him.  I really think he's going to love it and the entire experience.  He's matured so much over the last couple of years and I know being away from home is only going to give him the chance grow more.  I could not be more proud of him!

But I feel a bit like Neal.....
and Emma.....
I'm going to miss my boy.  Very much.
His Jetta is packed to the ceiling, his tank is full of gas, and his dad sitting beside him as his co-pilot. They're going to have a great trip.
He had a wonderful send off this morning from his girlfriend and his best buddies from the neighborhood. He's the first one of his friends to leave for school.  He's a lucky kid to have made friends like these :-)
Clemson University,get ready, because here he comes. Go Tigers!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

Are you a creature of habit?  Do you have favorite dishes that you like to serve or take to a party?  Do you tend to buy the same plants year after year for your planters?  I know I do!  And this is why I love this week's Ten on Tuesday Topic, and even more so because it is knitting related!

10 Patterns I Could Knit Again........ and again, and again

1. Hockey Hats, as modeled below by my dog Neal.  I have lost count of how many of these of have made, but I would guess it's at least 40.  Probably more.  My son's team mates have warm heads though in their team colors :-)

2. Monkey Socks.  I love these and they look great in variegated or solid colored yarn.
3. Cedar Creek Socks.  Another great pattern for variegated yarns and they fit great.
4. BFF Socks. Simple and classic.
5. Turn a Square.  I find these addictive. I can never knit just one!
6. Alpine Topper.  There are so many fun color combinations.
7. Tulips.  I think this is such a sweet sweater for little ones and I find it fun to knit.
8. Cotty. This is another fun, easy knit that looks great with pretty much any yarn.
9. Koolhaas.  There's something about this hat that I just love!
10. Clepsydra Mittens.  I love how they're a basic mitten with a little cabling on the top.

These are some of my favorite Go-to patterns.  I'm looking forward to reading everyone's lists today over at Carole's blog and I'm sure my Ravelry queue will grow today!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mystery Solved!

It's Mystery Monday again! This week though I have finished my Mystery Shawl and can reveal it to you.

Last week, I had finished clue #3.  This week I finished clue #4....
and clue #5, which was the bind off.  The bind off is a crocheted bind off which I hadn't done before, so I learned something new.  I love when that happens!  My crochet skills are very very basic, so I was pretty thrilled that I was able to do this AND have it look nice.
Here it is, off the needle and ready for blocking.
Blocking turned out to be a bit interesting.  I decided to do it on the deck because it was a beautiful day.  It was nice and warm, not a cloud in the sky, and a strong breeze with very low humidity.  By the time I got the straight edge set, it was at least half way to dried!  Luckily Matt's girlfriend was here and was willing to jump in to give me a hand.
Now it's all blocked and dry! I thought this picture was better than it is, but you can click on it to enlarge it for better viewing.
Here's a better view of clues 4 & 5 after blocking.  I think clue 4 was my favorite, even though it took me the longest to knit.
If I have to wash this again sometime, I think I will block it indoors and take the time to pin out each crocheted loop to give them more definition.  Other than that small detail, I'm quite tickled with how this turned out!

Quick recap of the details:
Pattern: Through the Loops Mystery Shawl KAL
Yarn: Black Trillium Pebble sock, gradient kit in the color Amethyst
Needle: US 6 (4.0mm)
Mods: None

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mystery Monday

Mystery Monday! That sounds so exciting! I have to say that it sort of is, but it really s more fun.

I've been participating in a Mystery Knit-a-long with my knitting group, knitting a shawl. Sadly, I am behind, but I have a shawl that is growing that I really like! The pattern has been released in 5 clues with the final clue released this past weekend.

This is clue 1 (click to enlarge the picture).  Cute little diamonds with some wrapped stitches in the center.
Clue #2.... It's a little hard to tell in this picture, but the second clue looks like hearts.
Clue #3 looks like some kind of flower to me.  The flower clusters are very lacy and were very fin to knit!
I began Clue #4 today but don't have enough done to make it worth showing you.  It doesn't really look like anything yet.  I'm using a gradient kit from Black Trillium Fibers.  The yarn is nice, it's their Pebble Sock yarn in case you're wondering.  It reminds me of Claudia Handpaints or Koigu KPPPM The colors look very blockish in the pictures, but it's not as dramatic in real life.

I'm hoping to finish the shawl this week, but it's getting pretty big, and warm, in my lap. The weather is supposed to be stinking hot this week so it may get put aside for cooler days or cooler evenings.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Beam Me Up

I finished my chemotherapy four weeks ago.  The last few weeks were quite rough and I am very glad to have that part of my treatment behind me!  The very next week I began the next steps of my treatment.

First, I began the new dose of the Herceptin, which is much higher than the dosage I was getting with the chemo drugs.  The good part is that there are no side effects with this therapy!  The bad part is that it is given by infusion every three weeks, so I have to go to the Infusion Center for it.  Really, it's not a big deal, but it is time I have to carve out of my schedule to see the doctor and then get treatment.  Already I have four weeks completed with 36 to go.

Second, it's time for radiation therapy.  I met my Radiation Oncologist, got the full razzle-dazzle of what he does, and why it's important for me.  I had a "mapping" appointment where the technicians took a bunch of x-rays and measurements and placed tattoos on me so that they can be certain that I am lined up properly for treatment.  Then it was time for the Oncologist and the Physicist to put together my actual radiation treatment plan.  I had my test run yesterday.  Everything went smoothly so today it was "Beam On" as they say.

When I finished my chemo I was very anxious to begin the next step.  Every step forward is one step closer to the finish line.  One step closer to cured.  One step closer to normal.  I thought I was prepared.  I had done the hard part, this next step was going to be easy.  I knew the routine and I was comfortable with it.  And then I had to change facilities and I'm just going to admit it, but I don't really care for the new place.

The infusion center is very personable.  It's relatively small and there is a lot of personal interaction with the staff, including the nurses who are taking care of other people.  Pretty quickly I knew everyone's name, and they knew mine.  Sure it may have been only enough to smile and say "Hi, how are you today", but that familiarity was comforting.

The new treatment center is much more formal.  I'm pretty sure the sheer size of it makes that necessary, but that doesn't change the feeling of being nothing but a number.  There seems to be a large staff and there are new faces, where they should be familiar, every time I go.  Now that I'm going every weekday, I'm sure that I'll begin to see some familiar faces and this routine will become familiar too.  Right now though, I'm not loving it and I'm looking forward to it being over.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Graduates

Two of my boys graduated this year. I already shared some pictures from Justin's graduation. Chandler graduated from Bishop Brady High School two weeks ago and we celebrated both of their graduations this past weekend.  Here are some pictures of our celebrations!

Grammy Pete made this pennant for Chandler.

The boys with their cakes.....
...and then a frosting fight...

More fun from Grammy
because the pillow she made him is so bright :-)
Grammy made Chandler a quilt for school too, but because it's not in his school colors, she added tiger paws to it.
Grammy had some fun with Justin too.
For some reason Blogger is not letting me rearrange my photos today, so these are out of order.

I was happy to be able to get some pictures of my boys together in their cap and gowns.  I think they're pretty handsome!
And here are some pictures form Chandler's graduation, processing in..
with Caitlin and Sophie who are two of the girls from our neighborhood that he has grown up with.  It was so sweet of them to come to his graduation!
Chandler with his girlfriend, Stephanie.  They are so cute together!
And finally, a family picture with the graduate!
Tom and I are pretty proud and happy parents!  Chandler has decided on Clemson University and will be moving to South Carolina in August.  He is excited for all the opportunities awaiting him there and can't wait to go.  We're very excited for him!

Justin accepted a position with Schlumberger and begins their training program in October.  He is home for the summer and enjoying his last hurrah before he truly joins the adult working world.  But we are so happy and relieved that he has a job, even if it doesn't start until fall, and is in Oklahoma!