Homegrown Texan

Born and raised in Texas, I've found the home of my heart and soul in the Pacific Northwest. I love trees, cool weather, and rain. I'm a back to basics kind of gal just trying to raise my family and find a bit of time to slow down in this hectic life.

So last night I thought I noticed blood in my urine.  I thought maybe it was a time-of-month related thing, but that didn't quite seem right.  I figured I'd just let it go and see what happened today.

This morning, same thing.  Now I'm famous for getting UTIs and having no clue that I have them.  Seriously, the only times I've ever known that I had one was when I happened to get a test at the doctor for other reasons and they told me I had one.  So I'm thinking, "great, my kidneys are now disentegrating and my body didn't even bother to clue me in that something was going wrong".

Then it hit me.  I had a big bowl of beetroot and beet green salad for lunch yesterday.  I'm not really that much of a beet fan, but they were in my veggie delivery, and I didn't want to waste them.  Beets tinge your urine red.  Problem solved. :)

So I've been doing some knitting for the kids as of late.  I'm learning that small children are great for learning projects...they don't notice your mistakes, they love new things, and since they're small, their items take less time to knit.

First off are the hat and mittens I did.  The blue hat was my very first one, and it turned out *huge*!  I was using a smaller gauge yarn that the pattern called for, so my calculations were off. On top of that, I added in some decorative yarn for the brim and earflaps.  The thing is large even on *me*.  But, my son loves it and it keeps his ears warm in the morning, so I'm happy.
Yarn: Plymouth Encore
I can't find the hat pattern at the moment; I have the printout, but can't find the link :(
mittens - Knitty's Mittens 101

You'll note that there is only one mitten in the picture.  That's because my son left one at school.  Thankfully, he found it there this morning.

Now on to my other son's hat and mittens.  Same yarn and patterns, different color.  His fancy thread ended up in his mitten cuffs.  I think it's a bit girly, but it's what he wanted, so hey, what do I care?  His hat is kind of stretched out because when he's not wearing it, he tends to use it to collect treasures, like rocks.  I need to wash it so it will draw back up again.  His mittens were the first ones I did, as you can tell by the misshapen graft stitches on the bottom one.  The color in this pic is really off; it shows up better in the "modeling" pic further down.

The next 2 are of the kids modeling the goods:

Now are the bottle covers I knitted up and felted.   The kids carry stainless steel water bottles to school and in the car, and they complained that they are cold to hold onto when they have ice water in them.  I also did this to make theirs unique from some of the other kids in the class.  This was my first felting project!  I got the pattern idea from one someone posted a while back, but I can't find the link.  At the time I read the pattern and then wrote out my own modifications.  I believe the original pattern was for a coffee carrier (i.e., it had an open bottom). 
Yarn: Cascade 220 and Cascade 220 quatro
Pattern: Basically I swatched, then felted, and figured out my *felted* gauge.  Then I figured out how big I needed the cover to be for the bottles I was making it for.  I started the handle with a provisional cast-on and worked it in stockinette stitch.  When the handle was as long as I needed, I cast on half the stitches I needed for the body, picked up the provisional cast on stitches, and then cast on the other half (I hope this makes sense).  Then I just worked in the round; I didn't do any decreases at the end, just drew it up at the bottom.  Then I felted the whole thing.  It's a pretty easy process; I could describe it in more detail if someone is interested.

The multi-colored one has made one more felting trip through the washer than the blue one, so it's closer to the size I wanted.  Next time I wash dark towels, I'll felt  the blue one once more.  It fits a bit loosely as it is, and you can see that it comes up higher on the bottle.  Oh, and both are the same size; the perspective of the picture makes them look different.

x-posted to

Ok, I get that reservations are a pain to maintain.

But what, for the love of God, is so hard about putting your name down over the phone?  If I'm not there when you call my name, too bad for me. I  could live with that.  But why the $#(@ do I want to pay so that I can go stand around like cattle in a crowded waiting room for 45 minutes (if I'm lucky), or outside in the rain and inevitable smoke?

On the positive side, those leftovers suddenly sound very tasty right now.  And cheap, too.

I'm in the boring pre-design phase at work.  Add to that the fact that I don't think I've quite recovered from being up most of the night on Monday, and I'm having a *tough* time focusing.  Thank goodness it's Friday, because I don't think I could make it through another day!

So, Monday night around 11:30 I woke up to hearing Nathan coughing this barky cough.  "Oh great" I thought to myself, thinking I was in for a long night of listening to him cough while he miraculously slept through the noise.  Then I heard him crying.  "Damn, he must have thrown up again", I thought to myself.  He woke up Sat morning throwing up (climbed in bed with me afterwards...I *thought* something smelled wrong, then ended up throwing up in the kitchen again and *cleaned it up himself*, bless his heart).  I thought he was having a recurrence of that.

So I got up to go check on him.  Jim already had him up and I immediately knew something was very wrong.  He was gasping for air, wheezing, and saying "I can't do it!  I can't do it!".  He never would say what he couldn't do, but it was clear that he couldn't breathe very well at all.  I was a little comforted that he was at least able to talk, so at least he was taking in *some* air.  But it scared the living hell out of me.  He got the croup once about a year ago and it got bad enough that I had to take him to urgent care for breathing treatments, but this was so sudden.  Obviously he needed a doctor, but I was afraid to take him to the ER myself, as I was afraid he would get worse before I could even get him there.

So I called 911.  Funny thing about me in emergencies...my mind feels very clear.  I'm pretty sure I'm handling things pretty sanely.  My voice must not convey that, though, because the 3 times I've been in emergency situations like this (the other 2 being when I started bleeding when pregnant with Nathan), I've had people tell me that I needed to calm down and tell them whatever information they needed.  Which is funny, because I've always been perfectly ready to give that information.  Oh, and my hands shake like mad.  I guess my adrenals must work well. :)  Anyway, after hearing the "calm down" speech from the emergency dispatch, I gave my info and they said a fire truck and ambulance would be on their way.

They were there in the matter of a couple of minutes, I'm sure...we live very close to the fire station.  But multiply however many attempted breaths per minute and it felt like an eternity.

Soon my small living room was filled with...5-6 paramedics?  I'm not really sure.  They started taking oxygen sat readings on Nathan and gave him albuterol with an SVN(?) machine.  It seemed to help a little bit, but he was still laboring.  What a guy, he was such a trooper.  Did everything they asked and didn't freak out.

Within a few minutes they were loading me onto the gurney with Nathan in my lap.  Paranoid person that I am, I was a little concerned that they didn't just strap him down and let me ride in the back (always gotta buckle up!), but I let it go.  They took us to Scottsdale Memorial (or whatever it's called now), which I thought was weird since we nearly passed Banner Desert on the way.  I know Desert has a good NICU; maybe not a good peds department?  I don't know, but I have 2 helicopter bills under my belt from being taken to the wrong hospital initially and having to be transferred, so I wasn't going to argue.  Those helicopter bills aren't cheap (even with good insurance) and Nathan seemed to be breathing well enough that I wasn't worried about the extra few minutes.

They started another albuterol treatment on the way.  He seemed to be responding some, but I knew it wasn't quite doing the trick.  I remembered from his other episode that he had some sort of similar breathing treatment. I knew it wasn't albuterol, but couldn't think of what it was.

They got us into a room in the ER right away.  The place was dead...I didn't see any other patients there.  The ER looked pretty extensive, so there may have been some in other areas, but there were no patients waiting...a new experience for me.  The doctor recommended a treatment of epi (*that's* what he had last time!).  Sure enough, that stuff worked wonders.  I could tell it was helping because Nathan wanted to hold the mask to his face himself.  It was like he wanted to make sure it stayed there!  Within a few minutes he was feeling much better.  Once he was doing better and the epi treatment was done, they gave him an oral steroid which they said would take longer to go into effect, but would last longer (the rest of the night).  They kept him for an hour for observation and then let us go home.

He hasn't had any problems since.  He thinks the whole thing is cool...spent the whole day Tuesday talking about how he got to ride in an ambulance, and how the ambulance "wasn't boring, it was FUN!".   He was such a good kid...did everything they asked him with hardly a whimper (he only whimpered at the *3rd try* at a rectal temp reading, as the thermometer didn't want to kick in and take a reading for whatever reason).  Jim and I were very tired as we didn't get to bed until 4 am.  I took the day off and kept the kids home from school.  They didn't sleep as late as I would think they should have after a night like that.  Nathan ended up napping yesterday afternoon, as did I.

I'm so glad he's ok...it was so scary how quickly this came on.

Michael's 6th birthday is coming up next month, and he is sooo excited about it.  He already scheduled a "meeting" with us this week to "talk about stuff like cake, presents, and what park to have it in".  This is the first year we're doing a party with his friends, so he's very excited.  Even cuter...at his school, usually the birthday kid will bring some kind of small gift for the other kids in the class.  Nothing fancy, just some pretty stones, or homemade necklaces...stuff like that.  Yesterday, all on his own, Michael sat down and drew/colored 17 different animals, flowers, etc., cut them out, and then asked for a basket to keep them in until the big day.

So, naturally, I've been thinking about him a lot, and as I guess all moms do, wondering where the time has gone.  It seems impossible that he could have grown up so fast, yet at the same time, his babyhood seems a distant memory.  Sometimes at night I will get him up to go to the bathroom (he's still just a bit shaky on keeping dry all night; this seems to help) and I'll carry him back to bed.  As he clasps his sleepy arms around my neck, I think about what it was like, all those dark nights when I would be up walking the hall with him.  He always had a tough time settling down to sleep.  Oh, how exhausted I was those sleepless nights, but I did make a point of cherishing the quiet time alone.  It's strange to think that that cuddly baby has grown into a still-very-cuddly, but big boy who I can hardly carry back to his bedroom anymore.

I remember when he was born, that I found myself not wanting to go home from the hospital.  Not because I love hospitals...who does?  I hated the whole feeling of someone else being in control of my sweet little baby.  But somehow I felt that maybe if I didn't leave, that those precious early hours would just last forever and ever.  Of course I knew that that wasn't true, but part of me wanted to believe that it could be.  I lived the whole first year of his life acutely aware that every moment was so very fleeting, that I just savored it.  I love that I can appreciate these moments as they happen this way, but it's also an incredibly painful way to live, when you're always so conscious of how time is slipping by, how those moments are gone forever.  And this one...and this one...and this one......

Michael: "I'm shutting the bathroom door because I want some privacy"
Nathan: "I want privacy, too!"
Jim: "Well, then, go in your room to get dressed, Nathan"
Nathan: "I want Michael with me when I'm getting dressed!"


A few months back, we found out about a Waldorf school in Eugene that we're particularly interested in.  It's a charter school (i.e., free, which is the only way we can afford a Waldorf education), and they have a Waldorf teacher training school nearby (something which, previously unbeknownst to me, Jim is interested in).  We are both getting tired of the heat (especially me), and my dream is to live in the forest.  How much better does it get?

So our plan is to spend a week, drive up to Eugene, and check out the school and housing.  We were waiting to find out from the school when they would be holding parent information meetings.  I just got that information today.  And now I feel strangely adverse to the idea of going.  Partly because, I'm not so sure I want to move away from all of our friends.  And we would now be twice as far away from my parents (it would be 2000 miles now), making it more difficult to go see them.  I've always had this picture of myself alone in the forest, surrounded by pine trees.  And it seemed so peaceful and serene.  Now it still does, but I'm also catching a hint of loneliness.  I find that I don't make friends that easily...I do meet people, but it's not often that I click with someone to the point of going the next level of actively spending time with them.  So I'm very reluctant to give up the good times I do have with my wonderful friends here.

And now things at work are in flux.  Our company may get sold.  I'm told that I'd still have a job, but I'm not so sure.  The job market in Eugene for software engineers, well, sucks.  And work-at-home jobs are not so easy to come by...I got really lucky with this one.  No point moving if the chances are high I'd have to move again to find work.  Moving, especially that distance, isn't cheap.

I'm questioning whether we should go on this trip at all.  If we don't have a reasonable chance of moving, then I hate to burn the vacation time and expense.  Pat and Mike have been talking about a ski trip.  Which I'd love to do, but I'm not so sure about that anyway.  Nathan isn't ready to ski at all (chronologically he is, but developmentally he's not), Michael needs 100% supervision and tires easily.  It's very expensive to get child care at a ski resort, and what fun is a ski trip if you don't, well, *ski*?  Plus, I kind of hate spending vacations putting my kids in child care.  It just doesn't feel right to say, "hey, let's stick you with a bunch of strangers and a bunch of filthy, half-broken toys while we go while away the hours on the slopes".  It's ok for an evening or even a day, but the whole time?  Bleh.  I think the reality is, the ski trips should wait until both kids are old enough to either spend at least some time on the slopes with us, or have some friends they could stay with so that they get a vacation, too.