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.


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


    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.)

One good party

Lizzie’s party was tonight and it was a really great party. Five of her little friends from school, three neighbor kids, and two kids of our friends showed up. Plus various friends of ours and Matt’s parents. We ate pork tacos, chips and salsa, and chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. She opened her presents with the help of Mom-Mom and my friend’s 5 year-old. They played with her train set and drew pictures and made Christmas ornaments.


About two hours ago, the last of Lizzie’s party guests left. I spent twenty minutes picking up plates and cups and gathering wrapping paper. Then, well, then I climbed into bed just after 8 o’clock, where I now sit, writing this. I am BEAT. My feet are killing me, having stood most of the night in my bare feet on our hard kitchen tile floor. And, you know what, I really don’t care. I’ll crash a bit after 9 and sleep off the exhaustion. Eventually, I’ll get everything else cleaned up.

Right now, though, I’m going to remember how happy my little girl was and ignore the fact not a single photo really turned out.

Weekend Coffee Share (19-20 Nov)

Welcome to Weekend Coffee Share, courtesy of Part Time Monster. It’s called Weekend Coffee Share. You write what you’d say to a friend if you were having coffee on a weekend afternoon; what’s going on in your life and/or what’s on your mind.

Let’s get started.

If we were having coffee right now…I’d start by talking about how I’m happy we’ve met up to drink coffee because, yet again, I have failed at making coffee at home. I have a basic pour-over system and, despite measuring the coffee exactly, it turned out rather blah. I would blame the coffee itself because it’s a new-to-me kind, but I know it’s really me. Maybe pouring the hot water directly from our electric kettle isn’t the best idea? Makes me long for my old French press. I have coffee a few times a week at work but use the Keurig and the neat refillable K-cups my brother got me for my birthday (he got me these ones).

I’d tell you about how we had a really busy day this morning. Lizzie started asking for us around 6:30 and we finally gave in and got her up about 45 minutes later. We all got ready for the day, had cereal for breakfast, and went to the market. Matt picked up his pre-ordered turkey from Bev (of Eco Friendly Foods) plus got lots of other things for Thanksgiving dinner. I also got coffee there from Qualia, as per my usual routine. The fridge, much to my surprise, wasn’t super full after we put everything in it.

Then we went to a really cool place to take photos. I would show you photos of the place, partly because I wanted to show them to you and partly because I couldn’t remember the name of the place without looking at the photo I took of the sign. (As an aside, I’m going to share the photos I took there and some more info about it tomorrow.)

At that point, we were all cranky-hungry so we went just a little down US 1 to La Mexicana. We really need to go there more often. The food is really good. I spend the whole time waiting for our order drooling at their baked goods. I got my usual chicken quesadilla, Matt tried their carnitas burrito, and Lizzie demolished her plate of rice and beans.

We had thought Home Goods was south of there, but it had moved north. I got some Christmas gifts for folks then took Lizzie next door so Matt could check out in peace and we could start walking through the party store to pick out Lizzie’s party theme. First, she wanted Thomas but a Mickey Mouse door banner that was out of place caught her eye. So – Mickey Mouse it is. Of course, the store’s credit card machine was busted so we left without getting anything. Thankfully, Amazon saved the day and everything should get here next week.

Nap time wasn’t really nap time – she didn’t sleep but didn’t make tons of noise, either. I did some laundry, bought the party supplies, went through my photos from the park, and did the dishes I’d ignored last night.

If you asked about work, I’d tell you how it was an odd week because I had training one morning, was at an all-day program review one day, and had both a company meeting and a big discussion to facilitate yesterday. I’m glad it’s the weekend so I can chill and knit, even if Lizzie often doesn’t want to let me do either. I’m also hoping to get a few creative projects fully finished.

What’s on your mind this weekend? Tell me in the comments or post your own Weekend Coffee Share Post with the hashtag #weekendcoffeeshare.

Three Things Thursday (11/17/16)

Time for this week’s edition of Three Things Thursday, inspired by  Ms. Emily’s Home for Full Grown Nerd. Triple-T, as I like to call it in my head, is where I tell you about three things which are rocking my world on a given Thursday.


Thing 1: Monkey Socks

Like I said yesterday, I’m really enjoying knitting on these. I’m already done with the increases for the gusset – these are toe up, not sure if I mentioned that before. The first sock will probably get finished this weekend and I’m going to force myself to cast on the new one right away. They have not at all gotten to be tedious and I’m not exciting about my other WIP or itching to cast something else on, so that shouldn’t really be a problem.

Thing 2: Knitting Podcasts

When I first learned to knit, I happened to discover podcasts. I don’t think they were all that new in mid-2007, but I’m often slow to hear about things. I chose a bunch of random kntiting podcasts to listen to, either walking to class (helped me to ignore the crazy of a college campus) or on the bus or train to/from work (helped me to pass the time without sleeping and possibly missing my stop). At that time, I was listening to Lime and Violet, the Knit Picks Podcast, Stash and Burn, and the podcast with Brenda Daynes whose name I can’t remember. Then I basically stopped listening to them when I was no longer in school and no longer had a bus/train commute. My old car wasn’t nearly fancy enough to allow me to use my phone to listen to anything via my car speakers.

I started back with podcasts in general when we were getting ready to go to Germany. Unsure of what radio stations would be available in our rental and not wanting to have to decide between our music collections (which have very little overlap), Matt suggested I download some podcasts. (We chose lots of public radio shows plus ones about food or history. Myths and Legends was a particularly awesome find.) Then, last week, I decided to get smart and use my commute (average of 30 minutes each way) to listen to knitting podcasts. I was still a subscriber of Stash and Burn but the others aren’t really around anymore. Well, Knit Picks is but the audio quality is so, so poor anymore. After some searching, I’ve got a few new ones on my list: Knitmore Girls (hosts are mother and daughter), Yarniacs (hilarious pair, one of whom works at a yarn store), and Never Not Knitting (hosted by Alana Dakos).

Thing 3: Planning Lizzie’s birthday

Lizzie’s birthday is only a few weeks away and we’ve already gotten out plans settled. We’ve sent out an evite her party, I just wrote up paper invites for her little classmates, figured out party food, and have settled on what we’re getting for her. I won’t go all into that now, don’t worry, but I’m pretty proud of us for getting it figured out so fast.

Weekend Coffee Share

In an attempt to find something to write about today, I’m turning to another idea from a fellow blogger, this time from Part Time Monster. It’s called Weekend Coffee Share. You write what you’d say to a friend if you were having coffee on a weekend afternoon; what’s going on in your life and/or what’s on your mind.

If we were having coffee right now…I would tell you that I’m happy that Lizzie is asleep. It’s been a hard day, dealing with her. She chose me as her favorite parent for the day so barely left my side from when I got up to when Matt her to sleep. She sat on me on the couch or snuggled right next to me until she needed to get ready. She insisted that I sit on her little stool right next to the tub while she bathed. I had to sneak awake to get dressed in another room – perfectly timed with her dad coming down stairs to ensure her distraction. She didn’t nap at all, constantly making noise until I gave up and let her out of bed. (Yeah, she still won’t get out of bed on her own, despite being in a Big Girl Bed.) She followed me around as I framed and hung new photos and re-arranged old ones. Then she did lots more sitting on me on the couch while Matt made dinner – dinner that wound up taking longer than he expected and she didn’t eat any of.

But, again, she’s asleep now and I’m happy to be able to do my own thing. No one on top of me or at my heels or talking all the time or demanding to watch Hibe (The Hive) or Maya Bee (Maya the Bee). I can just be. Or, crazy thought, go to the bathroom alone!

If you have kids that are older, you’d tell me that this phase ends, that she’ll choose Matt as the favorite parent or she’ll get too big to want to be held. And that I’ll miss her come Monday when I’m at work, alone behind my desk. Right now, though, it’s really nice.

If we kept talking, we’d probably talk about the election. If we have different political leanings, you’d mention it with something non-confrontation like “I can’t believe he won.” If we have the same political leanings, it’s probably be a comment a bit something more like “I can’t believe he won. What do we do now?” You’d seem either afraid or empowered to do something in response. Unless you’re my high school friend LL, you’d talk about donating to a charity that supports women, minorities, etc; if you are LL, you’d talk of participating in the Million Women March.

I’d laugh awkwardly, either way. It’s not something I want to discuss, with anyone, really. Not anymore. I’m no longer angry. Or in disbelief. Just sort of numb. Not yet to the point where I feel like I’m going to do much of anything but trust that things won’t be as bad as we all think they’ll be. But that I should, that I feel guilty.

I may point out that I can’t get a single line out of my head: Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. That the line is to the tune from a song we sang in church choir when I was in middle school. We sang that song after serving in a homeless shelter in the middle of our annual tour, where we sang in other churches in our denomination. How I still remember how magical that day seemed. Like maybe we were doing something that mattered.

But you’re having coffee with me, I’d not want to linger on the topic for long. I’d make some joking sort of comment about how the election results weren’t all bad, that it’s meant I’ve had lots of energy to focus on knitting. That I finished the first sleeve on my sweater…and tried it on to find out that it makes my arms itch like crazy. I posted this on Facebook and a former coworker has already claimed it, though she’s much taller and thinner so it may be too big yet too short. The sweater is up on my desk in my office, in timeout.

Instead, I’m working on a hat for some coworker, using a pattern a friend designed (the friend happens to be Olga Buraya-Kefelian, the pattern Roku). It’s a sort of mustard but not yellow and going slowly with all of the ribbing but the 16″ needle I got this morning is making me a bit faster than the 24″ one I had on hand when I started. I want to make a whole box of hats, bring them into work, and let the guys I work with choose which one they’d want. Guys are always hard to knit for, all they want is boring hats. That’s why I’m starting with the yellow one.

What would you talk about with a friend, over coffee, this weekend?

Lizzie, Lizzie, Lizzie Lou

I’ll fully admit that I came up with what to write about purely by going through all of the photos I had on my phone.

We’ll start with pictures from yesterday.

A few months ago, we asked Lizzie what she wanted to be for Halloween. Much to our surprise, she not only remembered the holiday (maybe from them talking about it at school?) but also knew exactly what she wanted to be: a bumble bee. One Pinterest tutorial, three craft store trips, and lots of sewing later, her costume was done.

Her grandparents – my parents – were up from Florida this last weekend and brought back with them her Paw Patrol shades. She then proceeded to ham it up when we were going somewhere in the car.

She still really loves books.

And we loved that a restaurant we stopped at on the way back from our Indiana trip had a whole bookshelf of them for her to look at while we waited for our food.

Speaking of Indiana, we were there the weekend before last for a family wedding. She loved hanging out and playing with her second cousins.

It was in the 60s. I have no idea what they were thinking with playing eskimos, as cousin E put it.

That same weekend, we spent a night at a friend’s. She had a blast hanging with their dog, Rufus.

She enjoys Chick-fil-a or, as we call it, The Place with the Cows.

She hangs out with Matt wherever he’s cooking, even outside on the grill.

And, last by not least, she’s been having lots of fun going to birthday parties for her classmates.