Week of Review: September 2-8, 2018

Labor Day week is always an odd one. You get a day off, which is great, but it means you feel a day off the entire rest of the week. Tuesday, masked as a Monday.

Life of Lizzie

What a week. We got through her growth spurt to find out this was definitely a brain development phase. She’s been talking almost non-stop, making various levels of sense. She gets distracted halfway through a sentence and restarts. Patience is also thin, with everything being very hard to handle when it doesn’t go her way.

We survived, though, and she even made to her very first movie in a theater with her BFF. Lizzie kept jumping into our laps when there was a loud or otherwise scary bit and doing her normal asking of questions through. Lessons learned: 1. Sit her between us and 2. Remove her light-up shoes before the movie starts.

On the Needles

Lots of knitting this week.

I finished two of the same pattern, Dotted Rays by Stephen West. The first was for Lizzie in Kelborne Wools Mojave, in three color-blocked colors. The second is in the Hot Mama colorway of Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors.

I also got some great FO photos of the three hats I finished recently. These were the Sockhead Slouch in Miss Babs, a simple 1×1 ribbing hat (on the right in the second photo) in Socks That Rock Lightweight in Islands in the Stream, and Wurm in the same yarn.

Adventures

Our adventure this week was down to Florida to visit my parents and to celebrate my birthday. We went to the beach and in the pool, ate seafood and key lime pie, played cards, and enjoyed relaxing. I was also able to get together for coffee with an old friend.

Discoveries

  • Household Name podcast on Stitcher
  • Simply Lemonade rediscovery)

Ugh. Sigh. Oye.

It was very hot and humid this week which meant lots of sweating going to meetings or just existing. Happy for cool bubble baths and iced drinks.

Better Me

Very good weekly this week, in terms of symptoms. Very not good week this week, in terms of healthy food choices. But next week is another chance to make good choices.

On Tap

  • Seeing Hamilton at the Kennedy Center
  • Friend from California visiting
  • Finishing up architecture products for project at work (hopefully)
Week of Review: September 2-8, 2018

Weeks in Review: August 19 – September 1, 2018

I thought about writing a weekly post last Sunday, but just wasn’t feeling it. But, I’m back and have a quick summary for ya’ll.

Life of Lizzie

The big excitement for Lizzie was starting Pre-K. She’s at the same school she’s been in since she was just a few weeks old, but she’s now one of the Big Kids. The class is much structured than her preschool class was and she’s all about structure. She wasn’t exactly cooperative with first day pictures, but this one turned out cute and very Lizzie.

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She also had her hair cut the week before last. It’d been since May that she had it cut and her hair grows so fast it meant getting 3″ off.

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She’s also had lots of fun playing outside with her buddy from next door. They’re not longer in the same class at school so we’re making sure they still get to hang out plenty after school or on the weekends.

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On the Needles

There were quite a few days in which I had no ability to knit due to humidity. I did, though, manage to complete two hats and and almostttt done with a shawl. The first hat is a simple 1×1 rib hat in Socks That Rock Lightweight in the Islands in the Stream.

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The second hat was in the same yarn but uses a modified version of the Wurm pattern. I’ll post an FO photo of it later, as I have yet to take one and the light is being weird right now.

I’m very close to finishing Lizzie’s Dotted Rays shawl from Kelborne Woolens Mojave. I decided against the stripes so pulled out the few rows of gray I’d done and re-started in a color blocked fashion. All that’s left is to cast off on this, so FO photo will come later this week.

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Fabric Stabbing

I did quite a lot of cross stitch this week, so much so that I only have a few colors left on my mandala. Of course, I didn’t start in the very center of the fabric so I’ll have to move it multiple times to finish it up. The pattern is called Spectral Mandala from thewordinstitches on Etsy. I, obviously, did not use the colors of the original but whatever I could find on hand. I think I’m going to do a much smaller piece next, though I don’t have any specific plans.

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Discoveries

  • Starbucks inside our local Target is very quiet on a Saturday morning
  • Mission BBQ is pretty decent, even eaten cold
  • The steamed crabs place near my in-law’s has some of the best crabs I’ve ever had and were quite easy to eat

Better Me

I’ve gotten my appetite back and have had to work really hard to not eat every single thing I see. I blame the Prednisone, though I’ve stepped down my dose quite a bit. I’ve felt mostly good, with a few meh days here and there. No pain, though!

On the mental health side, I’ve decided to get back into daily journaling, in sort of a bullet journaling style. I feel like I have so much I want to remember, both things I need to accomplish and things I don’t want to forget happening. I may show off some of my prettier pages in the near future.

On Tap

  • Celebrating my birthday with my family
  • Lots of work-related expectations/due dates to meet (though we’re really winning people over to our approach, which is a win to me!)
  • Finishing Lizzie’s shawl
  • New shawl project, maybe? Or socks?
  • Potentially finishing the cross stitch
Weeks in Review: August 19 – September 1, 2018

Week in Review: August 12-18, 2018

This week flew by, yet also managed to crawl along. Matt was on call (ugh) and I had a few bad days and a bunch of good days in there, too. Let’s get started.

Life of Lizzie

Poor kid didn’t get to go to the pool until Saturday, as it was too hot or I wasn’t feeling well enough to take her or Matt got paged or…something. We went last night, right after dinner and enjoyed the empty pool and lack of direct sunlight.

She went back to the eye doctor for one of her regular appointments and her eyes are really not working together, markedly so from her last visit. This means it’s back to patching her eye, an hour each weekday. Thankfully, I never tossed out the old box of patches AND she’s finally old enough to realize we’re not torturing her, by trying to help her. Patching her right after school has been the ticket.

All week, she’s brought up things she’s looking forward to, over and over. My birthday trip to Florida. Going to Italy. Halloween. Her birthday party – to which she has said she only wants girls there and it’s going to be My Little Pony themed. Asking when it’s going to snow and if she has to go to school when it snows. Guess she’s tired of summer?

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(Sporting some shades I got her from the Target dollar area…and a ton of dirt from playing outside.)

On the Needles

I started and got a little bit into another Sockhead Hat for my neighbor in Socks That Rock Lightweight in Island in the Sky. This was my at-work project all week, though you can see how busy my week was by how little I got done on it.

I pulled out the progress I had made – little as it was – on the dark purple shawl and started it again as another Riparian Entertainment, one of my favorite lacy cowls. I brought it in to show it to the recipient, a coworker, and she loved it.

Not much progress, overall, as it’s been quite humid and I haven’t felt like knitting other than here and there. And the knitting is all away at the moment, so no pretty yarny photos this week.

Fabric Stabbing

After months away from it, I started back on cross stitch project. It’s great for when it’s too humid to knit. I played around with a few things, but eventually settled on this rainbow mandala I had previously started. If I can get it done in time, this will be part of the goodbye gift to Lizzie’s preschool teacher; Lizzie’s been under her care since she was a year old, so it’s a big deal. (I also got her a pound of excellent coffee because, well, she’s had to deal my kid for 3+ years.)

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Discoveries

Brazilian steakhouses are pretty good, even if you’re like me and don’t eat a ton of meat at a time. I went with friends on Friday night and really enjoyed myself. If it wasn’t the same price for just the salad bar and the salad bar plus all-you-can-eat-meat, I would have been very happy with only the salad bar. (Yay for DC Metropolitan Area Restaurant Week!) Also, need to remember they have free valet at that particular location so there’s no need to pay $5 to park in the garage down the street.

The Cara app for tracking symptoms, sleep, food, medication, and a bunch of other things. It helps you to figure out what may be causing your issues or, at least, what may be related. I came across it on a blog about Crohn’s and it’s been very helpful. It’s free, too.

The Great Interior Design Challenge on Netflix. Competition show out of the UK that’s just what it sounds like. Everyone’s pleasant, the settings are lovely, and the designs are varied and fun.

Oye. Ugh. Sigh.

Humidity. Crazy-high humidity. How did I ever survive, growing up in South Florida?

Inability to sleep on steroids which I fully expected but is not my most favorite thing to deal with.

Finding out the medication my doctor had prescribed was extremely expensive. Lots of fretting lead to my deciding to get it, anyway. I was in so dang much pain that day, my cheapness lost out. (I was saved by his having a stock of samples of an alternative for me to try and an odd lack of traffic – at 4 pm! – to get back over there after having already left the area to get the meds from a pharmacy by my house.)

A Better Me

I had a pretty good week, health-wise. I saw my primary care doctor on Monday for a quick chat. His first words to me: “You got our call about the CT results? Kinda scary, huh? But we’ve got this.” Saw my GI doctor on Tuesday, the day I was the worst pain all week. I’ve stepped down my Prednisone dose and added an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory to the mix. I was also given pain meds, should I need them. Looking at the Cara app – I had 3 bad days, 3 good days, and 1 OK day. And that’s judging them relative to feeling totally normal, so quite a lot better than the week prior, where I went from feeling like death to feeling like maybe I was actually already dead. Or..something.

On Tap

  • Back to GI doc to see how the meds helped and figure out when I’ll start more specific testing to see the severity of what’s going on
  • Finishing that hat? Or maybe a shawl? Or the mandala?

 

Week in Review: August 12-18, 2018

Week in Review: August 5-11, 2018

Before we get into the normal topics, I want to share a few special things that happened this week.

New Blog Name, New Site Location

After lots of thought the last few months, I decided to change the name of the blog and it’s address. The WordPress link remains the same, but the domain has moved to thatangelaleese.com. I wanted to stop pretending I’m a brand. I’m just me. I’m Angela Leese. That Angela Leese. That one who sat next to you in engineering classes or who you saw spill an entire iced coffee down her top or who gets bit by spiders anytime it’s possible. I may not be the only one with my name, but I am a pretty awesome Angela Leese.

Health Update

It’s been a horrible week, I’m not going to lie. I was basically useless most of the week when I was at home and maybe got two-thirds of my hours in at work. Everyone has had to cover for me and did so before I could even ask. Matt. Bob and AJ at work. I also got some amazing support my countless medical office staff members who squeezed me in and let me move things when needed. Answered my many stupid questions. Don’t know what I would have done without all of them.

I may have mentioned last week that I hadn’t been feeling well, maybe about a weird cramp in my abdomen. It got worse, so I went and saw my primary care doctor as soon as I could get in on Monday. His thought was gallbladder issues, as I nearly punched him when we pressed where my gallbladder is. Ultrasound and blood tests came back normal. Saw a GI specialist who guessed stomach ulcers but wanted me to get the CT scan my doctor had already ordered. And, after what seemed like an eternity of intense pain, a diagnosis: Crohn’s Disease. I’m on steroids and start working on figuring out long-term treatment tomorrow.

Okay…back to our normally scheduled programming…

Life of Lizzie

Lizzie was, of course, impacted by my health issues. I was too sore for hugs or snuggles and often couldn’t help her do things. Matt also had to do work at home each evening, unfortunately about the time my pain was at its height for the day. She got ignored a lot. But, she was a trooper.

She very excitedly helped Matt make cupcakes on Thursday night. I got zero photos, but they were yellow cake with chocolate ganache covered in as many large sprinkles as she could fit on each one.

Our neighbors got a new trampoline so she had a blast jumping on it a couple evenings.

We went out to Shenandoah National Park for the weekend with some old friends. She had a blast blowing bubbles, getting her face painted, hiking, and having a dance party with one of our friends.

On the Needles

I finished the hats for Lizzie and her BFF, at least the knitting part. She insisted that they have pom poms which I need to make and attach. Hats are using the Barley Light in the child’s size, knit in a yarn I cannot recall right now. Ha!

I also started and completed a hat for her BFF’s sister. Pattern is the Sockhead Hat and yarn is Miss Babs 2-Ply Toes in a colorway I can’t remember at all. I made the adult size, despite her only being 8, per her mom’s recommendation. No FO photo, so here’s one of me with the hat 80% of the way done.

I also started, just yesterday, on a shawl in Kelborne Wollens Mojave, a lovely cotton and linen blend. I was going to make a hat with it but it’s got too much drape to it, even at a fairly tight gauge. I’ll offer the FO to the person I was going to make the hat for, with the option to decline in exchange for a hat in the same color but a different yarn. Pattern is Dotted Rays.

I made zero progress on the two shawls I started last week, as I got on this hat kick. Really should have grabbed one of those for the Shenandoah trip but it didn’t cross my mind. I’ll probably work on the purple one next, for a break from this pattern.

Adventures

Our big adventure was to Shenandoah. I’m all out of words to describe one of my favorite places on the planet.

Discoveries

    My diagnosis, obviously
    Iced slightly-sweet tea
    Cotton and linen yarn doesn’t make a good hat but is heavenly as a shawl

Oye. Ugh. Sigh.

Enough of my whining for one week.

A Better Me

Zero progress on this, as I’m just trying to get back to normal. May have lost weight, but I don’t really care. I stopped keeping away from gluten, dairy, and soy after my doctor told me forget about it. I may start it again but, again, I need to get back to normal.

On Tap

  • Treatment plan development
  • Finishing the three-color shawl and picking up the purple shawl
  • Mailing off a few things that have been sitting for weeks
  • Weekend with no plans! (I think.)
Week in Review: August 5-11, 2018

Empty Notebook Challenge

I talked for awhile at the DC Pen show with two ladies I know via an online fountain pen group. Part of our conversation was about how much we all love buying new notebooks but have yet to fill more than one or two of them. We either wait until something important/special enough comes to mind (because a notebook is too nice to waste) or fill a few pages, buy a new notebook, and give up on the old one.

As I was driving home, I realized that I should start a challenge to get us all our of our non-notebook-finishing ways. And, as usual, I turned to Natalie Goldberg. In Writing Down the Bones, she encourages readers to fill a notebook a month. Not fill it with artful prose or beautiful poetry, just fill it.

So, that’s the challenge. Thirty days, one notebook, fill it up. My friends and I started this on Sunday, so our last day is the US Labor Day, September 3. But feel free to join us and start whenever. (If you’re really into it, tag social media posts about your progress with #emptynotebookchallenge.)

Not sure what to write? I brainstormed and looked around for others’ recommendations about how to fill a notebook, start a journaling practice, and outline that novel that’s been bouncing around in your head for years.

  • See my posts referencing Ms. Goldberg, as she’s my main source. And read her books, especially Writing Down the Bones. Your local library is bound to have a copy or two.
  • Teach yourself Spencerian handwriting or brush lettering or to draw botanical drawings. You’ll use up lots of pages when you’re learning something new!
  • Every day before you go to sleep write clear your mind by writing about your worries, problems and good things that happened during the day. Not only will it make you sleep better you’ll be surprised how focused you’ll be in the morning! (From 10 Ways to Use a Blank Notebook)
  • Lots of great tips on Creating a Daily Journaling Practice
  • Start a bullet journal (Tiny Ray of Sunshine has a great summary printable and her posts are extremely inspirational)
  • Write your personal history (Text My Journal has a list of 50 questions)
  • Why you should write your novel on paper (Jenny Bravo Books)
  • Keep a commonplace book (See what someone else keeps and theirs here)

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes about writing:

“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up in your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” — Jack London

Empty Notebook Challenge

Week in Review: 29 July – 4 August, 2018

This week went very quickly, mostly because of how nuts work has been lately. It involved a late evening at work for me and one for Matt, so one dinner out and one lazy dinner. But, we survived!

Life of Lizzie

We finally got the “It’s ok to get out of bed” clock set up after she woke up a 3:30 on Wednesday morning and was downstairs, drinking her milk before we realized. Matt got the honor of putting her very angry self back. Thankfully, she doesn’t remember this at all and the clock has worked well the last few days.

Lizzie had lots of extra energy the other night and asked to be taken to a playground. Well, it had just rained so everything was all wet. She came up with the solution on her own: play area at the mall. So, I took her after dinner and she had a grand time running around and sliding down the watermelon and surfing the orange slice (thanks, Barbie: Life in the Dream House for teaching her about surfing).

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(She does have shorts on, but they’re shorter than her shirt.)

On the Needles

I already wrote about my two FOs, so I won’t blather on about that. As is typically my style, I started about a million things to celebrate, only a few of which worked out.

There’s the hat for Lizzie, being knit in very! bright! green! of her choosing. It’s using the Barley Light pattern from Tin Can Knits. I’m hoping to have enough yarn to make a matching one for her BFF next door. The yarn is Woolen Boon’s Boon Classic in the colorway Summer Vibes.

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I started a very pink shawl for a friend who did not have the best week. She lovessss pink. I’m using one of my favorite patterns ever, Dotted Rays by Stephen West. The yarn is from Periwinkle Sheep, I think. I think the color is named Hot Mama. Finding out would take, you know, effort. I plan to knit this until I use up the remainder of a ball from making another of the same exact pattern plus another half skein or so, maybe more. The recipient is quite tall and I want to make sure the FO is of an appropriate size for her body.

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Third new start is a shawl for another coworker, whose favorite color is purple and has a sort of funky style. I’m making one of the patterns from Hunter Hammerson’s Curls books, Chicanery. The yarn is Socks that Rock Lightweight in Smoke on the Water that I got for 40% off at my LYS. I’m hoping it winds up a decent size, despite the low yardage (405 yards).

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Adventures

Only one real adventure this week and it was one I went on alone. I went to the DC Pen Show yesterday. While it was lovely to see a few folks from my online pen pal group and check out the merchandise, I don’t think I’ll attend in the future. It was very crowded and, though I should have expected it, almost all of the pens for sale were out of my budget. And I’m just not *that* into fountain pens. Sure, they’re really nice to write with and all of the different colors of ink are fun but I’m not at all to the level of obsession as most of the other attendees. (I did pick up a cheap Pilot Kakuno, some burnt orange Pilot ink, and a flexible notebook with a rocket on it.)

Discoveries

  • Cookbook Grand Cucina Latina’s recipe for ropa vieja – best recipe we’ve tried for one of my favorite Cuban dishes
  • Re-discovered Chick-fil-a Diet Lemonade
  • Everyone takes their kids to the mall on a rainy Thursday night
  • Kelborne Woolens linen/cotton blend Mojave
  • Work thing: how to add data to the edges of Activities in Rhapsody

 

Oye. Ugh. Sigh.

A few very non-productive work meetings this week. You’d think I’d learn no one wants to actually provide the first version of something. It’s easier to simple criticize what others have drafted. Lesson learned for next week.

One of my wisdom teeth decided it was finally time to start growing in. Now I know why Lizzie was always so testy when she was teething. Advil makes the aggravation tolerable enough.

A Better Me

I didn’t walk nearly as much as I wanted to this week, mostly because of the busy work week. I did wander around the outlets yesterday but that wasn’t even a lot of steps. Down another 1.6 pounds for the week (9 pounds total). Figured out I’m going to start reintroducing foods on the 13th and am already dreaming of cheese.

On Tap

  • Weekend trip to Shenandoah with college friends and their adorable kid
  • Finishing Lizzie’s hat
  • Starting a writing challenge with friends (subject for a later post)

 

Have a great week!

Week in Review: 29 July – 4 August, 2018

FO Friday: Twofer

I have two finished objects to share today which is pretty remarkable, given my inability to focus on projects lately.

Campside

The first FO is a large shawl I made for a coworker who wears lots of clothing on this color palette and loves scarves.

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The pattern is a free one, Campside by Alicia Plummer. It starts with a stockinette section that’s followed by four sets of eyelet sections, each with fewer stitches between the eyelets than the previous section. It ends with ribbing which I really like the look of on a simple shawl. I blocked it gently and it still wound up huge, 56″ across and 25″ tall. My poor coworker can get eaten by the thing!

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I could not get my phone to take a picture accurately of the color, which is a heathery purple with lots of red in it. Regardless, I really love how it turned out and will certainly be making something using this pattern again.

Vestigial

The second FO is a pair of socks in a pattern I’ve not used before, Vestigial by Beata Jezek. While it’s a simple enough pattern to memorize, I did mess up a few times. I did them toe-up with a short row heel as I didn’t want to have to do any complicated counting.

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As usual, these took a month to knit because I got bored after the first sock. Maybe I should have two pairs of socks in rotation?

I’ll be back on Sunday with a review of the week which will have some other knitting content.

FO Friday: Twofer