22 March 2010

Out of the depths . . .

I am a blubbering mass of energy and pain, confused about which to indulge and unable to sleep. My doc says that the pain/numbness/tingling as a result of the bulging disk between vertebrae C7 and C8 is of the "recurring and remitting" variety, meaning the irritation will ebb and flow no matter how well I feel I am becoming. This explains why there was a relapse almost 2 weeks ago. This explains why I'm a irritable mess with my sleep cycles interrupted. The pain killers and muscle relaxers are to be taken at night, but I always need to sleep for longer with those than I would normally.

In the midst of all of this, I'm knitting and thinking about writing. I think I will explode soon. I wish the explosion would get rid of the pain and irritation. I can't sit still. I have too much to do, and the doing requires sitting still.

I have finished the front and back of a sweater that I'll submit to Knit Picks. I have only to knit the sleeves, but I need to measure the sleeve length on the gal who will get this because she is a petite size. Still, it's not too hard to figure -- just about 1" less in the length from wrist to underarm, then 1" less in the sleeve cap. Not too hard. And it will be the endless slog of stockinette stitch, mainly because this is still written for that adventurous "newbie" knitter. Besides, stockinette stitch is what makes sense for the design.

In other news, the hubby and I will attend our first Seder on the evening of March 30th. One of the progressive synagogues is hosting a community Seder on that evening. I've downloaded one Haggadah from the Internet just to get a feel for what we'll be experiencing. In reviewing it last week I realized that the Catholic communion wafer is very much akin to the afikoman, an "olive-sized" piece of the matzoh that is eaten toward the end of the seder. I do wish someone had addressed these things when I was a kid in Catholic school. It would have made religion class so much more interesting.

Well, it's nearing Passover and Holy Week, so the various Christian churches are advertising their "living last supper" performances. This always makes me wonder whether they are inviting a bunch of people to watch them enjoy a seder? Hah! I'll bet not. A seder takes 3 - 4 hours, and no one really knows that Jesus said (or when he said it) during this meal. Besides, in a real seder everyone would been reclining (the afikoman is eaten while reclining toward the left). I wonder whether the Christian churches will be doing a "Da Vinci" version of the last supper -- Jesus in the center and six men on either side of him, and all of them Italian. No mention of Moses, no one asking the four questions . . . It's so sad to learn how ill-informed we have been through our desire to remain "pure." Once again the desire for purity leads to an instability. There is greater strength in diversity, but "diversity" has become a word with evil connotations among the fundamentalist conservatives who command the attention of the simple-minded.

My head hurts. My shoulder hurts. My soul hurts. Time for sleep.

08 March 2010

A Dose of Perspective for the Well-Intentioned

I have psoriasis. You’d think that would be enough to have to say, but it’s not. Therefore, I will attempt to answer a whole lot of questions here:

No, it is not the same as eczema. Eczema is a histamine reaction through the skin. Psoriasis is an over-production of skin cells in a highly localized area; it is believed to be an auto-immune system disorder.

Yes, I have tried that cream / remedy / lotion / pill / method.

No, this is not merely a “dry skin” disorder.

Yes, I see a doctor about it.

No, it’s not affected by the seasons.

Yes, I realize it’s unsightly.

No, there is no cure. It’s not like people are dying from psoriasis. Therefore I feel very fortunate that this is not cancer or blindness or loss of a limb or any of myriad illnesses and/or conditions that would be truly terrible to have to cope with.

Can we all agree that this is the end of the discussion?

Thank you.

06 March 2010

Bliss and the Following Thereof

On Monday, 1 March, I went to lunch with four girlfriends: Trish, Amy, Glynnis, and Miriam. We celebrated the end of February with laughter, discussion of books, speculation about the need for ritual among societies, and a magnificent lunch amid hopes for an early thaw.

So far the weather has been cooperating: We've had temps above freezing each day since 1 March, and this weekend it was as high as 52ยบ (F) with a bit of gentle rain to speed the washing away of the snowy mess we've been trudging around in since early December 2009.

The knitting has been only variably cooperative, which is to say that some things have gotten done (the waffle socks and one scarf) and other things have failed miserably. I'd cast on a summer top with King Tut mercerized cotton and a smashingly magnificent idea. Unfortunately I had figured it on a gauge for using US 7 needles but I'd cast on with US 4 needles. I need my head examined. I was about 6" into the body before I figured it out. No wonder it was 4" too small around! (I kept thinking it would block out.) And then I'd cast on and ripped out a different top -- a variation of the King Tut one I was working on -- because the pattern stitch just wasn't working to my satisfaction. So I cast on again...and ripped out again. And then I did that one more time before I just put the yarn aside and admitted that what I really and truly wanted to work on was a woolen pullover for which I'd already worked out the design but had put aside thinking I'd work on it later so that its finish would be more in line with the time of year when people actually want to knit woolen pullovers.

No, that pullover wanted to be started now and the Knitting Fates were making sure I knew it. So, the woolen pullover has been started and is going along without a hitch. It's a kind of royal blue color. It's a simple stitch pattern that will finish with a lavish cable on the front.

Speaking of bliss, I've also found new enjoyment in the Three Pines series of detective fiction by Louise Penny. These feature as a protagonist Chief Inspector Armande Gamache of Montreal. Set in the present day, they still read like works of the Golden Age of detective fiction, yet with modern references and bits of humor. I've read the first five books in the series, and I'm awaiting the next as well as I can. She's a marvelous writer.