Wednesday, February 22, 2006

How was my Tuesday morning?

This is how my morning was:

I was rear ended on my way to work, only two blocks from my house.
I paid off my car just a month ago, and got hit this morning.
This is the THIRD time I've been rear ended in less than 5 years, and the SECOND time at this same intersection in this same lane and in the same position in traffic - first car in the right hand turn lane, preparing to turn.
What have I done to offend the auto gods?
What can I do to get back in their good graces?
I'm okay. A little sore, and I figure that if I'm hurting already it's going to be hell tomorrow (Wednesday).
I was stopped, prepared to make a right hand turn and leaning a litte forward, turned to my left to watch for an opening in traffic when I was hit. Sitting like this caused me to whip back against my seat in a very awkward way and now theres this weird clicky like noise in my neck when I turn my head to the left.
My neck, shoulders and back started hurting within about 20 minutes, then about an hour later tingling, in the same area started shortly followed by lightheadedness, dizziness and nausea. I saw my primary care physician this afternoon who took some xrays and confirmed that my neck is out of alignment and gave me prescription for vicodin. Vicodin doesn't knock me out like normal people, it just takes the edge off the pain and makes me a little foggy. I apologize for any and all typos.
I've filed the claim with my insurance, have an appointment with my chiropractor tomorrow afternoon, and will be making arrangements to have my car repaired tomorrow as well. I don't think it will be able to be done while I'm in Oregon so I'm going to have to get a rental car as well. Its at least going to need to have the bumper replaced - overall, it did hold up pretty well. But, it should. The things a freaking TANK!
All said, I know things could have been worse.
The woman who hit me had her son in the car - safely in a car seat in the back. he seemed okay at the time, and I certainly hope that he is. The woman who hit me was very nice as well, apologetic, easy to work with, readily exchanged insurance information. The last person who rear ended me tried talking me out of exchanging ANY information at all, then said they would take care of the repairs without going through insurance and when I told them how much the appraisal for auto body repairs was they said it was too expensive and tried talking me out of getting my car fixed, then when I reported it to insurance since they were trying to screw me over they called and left nasty messages on my voicemail.
So, in the past couple of years I have become slightly familiar with dealing with insurance companies, auto claims and medical claims and am covering my butt to make sure that I don't get screwed over again becaise I want to be a nice and agreeable person. Screw being nice. I've started a file folder and am keeping ALL receipts - from the ibuprofen I bought this morning to my office visit and prescription co-pays to copies of my time sheets showing the time I'm taking off from work to deal with this (1/2 an hour late this morning, left at lunch for a Dr's appt today and will be leaving 2 hours early tomorrow for another Dr's appt).
Anything I haven't covered?
Does anyone have any suggestions on working with insurance companies & injuries?
Now, I can't sleep. After my doctors appointment earlier today I called my insurance and filed the claim, then took a nap. Not too long of a nap - only an hour.
But, now I can not get to sleep.
Am I using this time to prepare for my trip to Oregon this week? No.
Am I catching up on the pile of laundry that is taking over my bedroom? No.
Am I doing anything that is the slightest bit productive? No.
So, I'm knitting and watching the replay of the Ladies Short Program Figure Skating from the Olympics.
The 2010 Winter Olympics are set for Vancouver British Columbia. I've never visited Vancouver, and attending an Olympic Games is on my list of things to do before I die, so I'm thinking of taking a road trip in 4 years. This could be the vicodin talking, it could be my love of road trips and figure skating talking. Who knows.
I leave for Portland at the butt crack of dawn Friday morning and am really looking forward to it. I want to visit my grandparents, uncles and cousins. Play with my grandmas kitties, relax, cook some good meals for my grandparents (grandpa can't cook worth a crap and grandma doesnt have the energy to cook from all of the chemo treatments so they eat a lot of frozen meals and take out), maybe do a little yarn shopping, pay a visit to Powells Books, hang out with my cousins - theyre 15 & 18 so it will most likely be at the mall. I have to be at the airport at 6 am friday morning. It's now going on 3 am Wednesday morning and I have not done any laundry, any packing, or anything at all. I won't get it done tonight either - I have to drive down to San Francisco after work to pick up my iPod I left at my cousins last weekend and then drive back the same night. I HAVE to have my iPod for the plane ride and while waiting around at the airport.
I was wanting to be in better condition than this for my trip to Portland, not zoned out on vicodin the whole time, so hopefully I'll be feeling better by this weekend.
My grandma has a chemotherapy treatment the day I get there so I wont see her until she gets home that afternoon. My uncles going to pick me up at the airport and let me take his car and he's going to drive his old clunker of a truck so that I'll have a car while I'm there and can go out and do stuff on my own. I'm thinking I'll go to my grandparents house after my flight gets in and fix a nice dinner to be ready for them when they get home from the chemotherapy. Any meal suggestions?
I leave you with this:

I don't have any photoshop programs on my computer to blur out my license plate number so please, don't stalk me. Thank you.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sometimes, I can go a little "overboard"...

On occaision, I can get a bit carried away with things. One might call it OCD tendencies, and as I've said before, I believe it's genetic.
Whatever my current interest is, it becomes all consuming.
When I first started beading, I was going to the bead shop at least once a week and to Gemfaire whenever it was within a reasonable driving distance. By the way, to me "a reasonable driving distance" was whenever it was within approximately 100 miles. I told you I can go a little overboard. Anyways, I had to have more beads, all the different types of pliers and crimpers. I was making necklaces, bracelets, anklets, cell phone charms, etc. for EVERYONE.
When I first resumed crocheting about 10'ish years ago (after a loooooong hiatus from when my great-grandmother first taught me as a child), I had to have every size crochet hook made, almost every color of Red Heart yarn (egads - I had yet to learn the beauty of local yarn shops and natural fibers), and EVERYONE got afghans. Then when I began knitting late last year I discovered a few local yarn shops and some BEAUTIFUL yarns and bamboo needles. Considering I have more disposable income now than I did 10 years ago, I can afford nicer yarn than Red Heart and my bank account reflects this. Whenever I walk into my favorite LYS, the owners face lights up.
Also, I'm always more than happy to help any charity or worthy cause - most notable it the Sacramento area blood bank. I am TERRIFIED of needles - come near me with one and I'll start to hyperventilate, seriously. Two years ago my mom (who is a medical assistant) got to test me for allergies and thought it would be hilarious to pull out the biggest needle she could find. The office receptionist said all of the other patients in the waiting room jumped when I screamed. BUT, every 8 weeks I'm at the blood bank giving a donation. Why? Guilt. It works wonders. My senior year of high school I got talked into donating at the blood drive we had at our school, and found out that I am O-. Ever since then I get the following message on my answering machine every 8 weeks "Hello Vanessa, this is Vampiress from We Want To Suck You Dry Blood Bank and did you know that your blood type is the only type that can be transfused into infants and premies? Think of the babies, Vanessa, THIIIIIIIIIIIINK OF THE BABIEEESSS!!!!!!!!"

So, what do you think happens when you mix a touch of OCD, a bit of a stash of Red Heart, and a fondness for charitable organizations?


Last week Drew made a plea for granny squares in reponse to the current volume of request for comfortghans from the organization, Heartmade Blessings. I thought I could knock a couple out while watching TV and send them off to Drew. Well, that turned into a nightly routine of "I'll just make one more tonight & then send them tomorrow"
I'm a stinky smoker, so I've Febreezed them well, and threw a couple of fabric softener dryer sheets in the envelope for extra April-Freshness. I'll be taking them to the post office on my lunch break Friday.

Drew, I hope they're not too stinky.

I enjoyed making each and every one of them, it gave me the chance to do more crocheting than I've done in a long time and I was able to try out some new patterns.
But, I think what I enjoyed most about making these was that they reminded me why I started crocheting again 10 years ago this fall.
When I was little girl, I would spend a considerable amount of time at my great-grandparents house and would watch my great-grandma crochet items for church missionaries, including granny squares. Being the pain-in-the-ass, I mean curious, child that I was, I begged her to teach me what she was doing. I THINK I was about 7 or 8 at the time, and she gave me a hook and some scrap yarn and taught me the basic chain and single crochet. With this information I managed to crochet a scarf or two for my Barbies (they were just chains) and some "area rugs" for my doll house (it looked REAL classy). That was about as much information as I was able to absorb before my attention was diverted to something else and I completely forgot about crocheting. It was probably George Michael. I was a big WHAM! fan when I was 8.
Then, in 1996 just before I turned 20, she died. I had just moved to Boston and had started a new job only two weeks prior to her death but I was able to fly home the morning of her funeral, then had to turn around and fly back the very next morning. Being 3,000 miles away from my family, by myself in a new city, I wasn't grieving very well but decided that I needed a scarf for my first New England winter. I got some Red Heart and randomly picked out a crochet hook (mind you, I was not paying any attention to the hook size, but rather which color hook was prettiest) at the local Walmart. That first scarf was... interesting. I had to rip it out and start over SO many times. I didnt have anyone to teach me, I didnt have internet access to look up anything, and my budget couldnt afford any instructional books, and it was obvious. BUT, with every stitch and every row, I remembered my great-grandmother. I remembered her sweet tea that could induce a diabetic coma, all of the afternoons that I spent at her house, my cousin and I playing dress up in her spare bedroom and picking hydrangeas, geraniums, and azaleas from the front yard.
I remembered her teaching me how to crochet on summer afternoons over 10 years earlier.
That was the first time I was able to cry since learning that she had passed. For me, crocheting is a way to remember my great-grandma, to remember how much love she put in to every stitch, and to try to continue it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Is it a sign??

Recently Maya was asking if anyone wants to go to Paris with her.
Then today, I take this quiz and find out
You Belong in Paris

Stylish and a little sassy, you were meant for Paris.
The art, the fashion, the wine, the men!
Whether you're enjoying the cafe life or a beautiful park...
You'll love living in the most chic place on earth.

Paris is one of the cities I've always wanted to visit. Actually, theres quite a list of European locales I'd like to visit:
Ireland - all over the country
Italy - Rome, Florence - again, all over the country
thats just naming a few though.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

My to do list....

Just trying to make note of all of the knit and crochet projects on my to do list....

1. "Cute Felted Bag" for my aunt to give to the pastors wife at her church. 20% completed
Last week my youngest aunt celebrated a year and a half of being clean and sober. I am SO proud of her. During the past year and a half, as she's gone through recovery, the pastors wife at her church has been a great source of support to her and has given my aunt a lot of clothing for herself as well as for my youngest cousin. My aunt saw my felted bag and remarked that its something the pastors wife would like so I'm making one with black Cascade 220 and a pretty bronze and gold metallic lash, Aura by Trendsetters Yarn. This is about 20% done (not including the felting and attaching handles).

2. "Girly Baby Stuff" 10'ish% completed
One of my coworkers is going to be a grandma in about a month and has commissioned me to make all of the "pink girly stuff" I can between now and when the baby is born.
I do know that I will be making the ugg style booties from Candy Babies by Candi Jensen in pink and at least one baby afghan. I started this afghan this evening. Its a quick easy pattern I've used before and I had some Lion Brand Baby Soft lying around.

3. Sweater for coworker 0% completed
The same coworker has asked me to make her a sweater, she's a "little person" and has never been able to purchase a sweater that fit properly since you can't really hem the sleeves of a sweater. I've purchased the yarn but haven't been able to start it yet.

4. "Cute felted bag" for another coworker 0% completed
today another coworker commissioned me to make a cute felted bag for her as well. She knows that I have several projects lined up ahead of her so she's not expecting it too soon.

5. Granny Squares 0%
Drew, aka The Crochet Dude, has joined together with Heartmade Blessings, a wonderful organization that assembles granny square afghans, "Comfortghans", for people in need of comfort, either due to illness or due to the loss of a loved one.
At this time, they have a "back order" of requests for Comfortghans for people in need of comfort and are looking for any crocheters or knitters who would be interested in busting their yarn stash for a worthy cause.
If you'd be interested in helping out a worthy cause, the guidelines for Granny Squares can be found HERE.
Seriously, its a great organization and I personally know how much hand made items can mean to a person going through an illness or loss.

6. Comfortghan for my Granny 0%
Last time I visited my Grandmother in Portland I made her a chemo cap with matching scarf and since then she doesnt leave the house without them. She hates wearing her wig, complains that it makes her head itch, and gets too cold if she goes without anything. Seeing how much she appreciates the hat and scarf, I'm going to make her an afghan as well.
Like I said above, hand made items can mean A LOT to a person going through an illness or loss.

7. Hat and scarf for Gramps 0%
I don't want to leave Grandpa out, so when I go to Portland in 3 weeks to visit the grandparents I'd like to take Grandpa a hat and scarf as well.

This doesnt include all of the projects that I'd LIKE to make for myself. There are a few things I want to make for myself, some of them I've even bought the yarn for, but I keep bumping them down on the list.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Don't say I didn't warn you.
I told you that some tremendous fug was on its way.
I do believe this is the ugliest thing I've ever made.
A coworker saw a hat that I had crocheted a few months ago and asked me to make one for her husbands birthday.
In camoflauge.
Because he likes to go hunting.
I find it hideous, but thats just my own opinion.

Also, I've finished my knitting bag!
I like how its turned out, and it was fairly easy to make. The DPNs were a little tricky, but I muddled my way through them.
The hard part was the trim around the top of the bag, but I think it would be easier if I were to do it again. It was a 3 stitch cast on icord, picking up an extra stitch along the edge of the bag.

I've been sick the past few days, so I've been able to get quite a bit of knitting and crocheting done.
Now that I've finished my knitting bag and the hat for my coworker, I may be starting an afghan for my grandmother in Portland. I'll be going to visit her in 3 weeks so I'd like to have it done by then. She's been off of chemotherapy for a few months now. She was having some extreme weight loss and other side effects from the chemotherapy, so the doctors took her off the chemo so that she could put some weight back on and during that time the tumors didnt grow any, so the doctors have kept her off the chemo and have been monitoring the tumors so that she can get a break from all of the chemotherapy. Shes been on it since September of 2004, and being on chemo for that long has really taken its toll on her overall health and frame of mind. She'd gotten down to about 95 lbs at one point. I'm hoping that she's feeling better when I go to visit her in 3 weeks. When I was there visiting in November she had no energy and spent the majority of the day in bed, or lying on the couch. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone up in Oregon and spending time with all of them

Friday, February 03, 2006

One F'ed Up Bag.

And by "F'ed" I mean felted, of course.

D's bag is finished, and it did shrink more in the length than in the width. From here on it shall be known as "The F'ed Up Bag"
In the photo of D's purse by itself, you really can't tell how odd the shape is. Its got a curve to it, I'm assuming from the extreme felting I did.
See, being one of those who believe "if one is good, then THREE is even better!" I over felted it. After the first wash I could see that if was shrinking more in length than in width, so rather than stopping there, I ran it through the wash two more times.
Because I'm stupid.
So, it has a football-esque shape to it.

For comparison, heres the bag I finished for myself.
It has a nice shape, lies flat, I love it.
Heres the F'ed up bag in front of my own.

I took the F'ed Up Bag in to my LYS and they said that it is from over felting, and when I explained that it was already shrinking more in the length than in the width after the first wash and that I ran it through again in hopes that another wash or two would correct it, she said that most likely the first wash was too hot.
When I felted my own purse, the first wash was done in warm and the second was done in hot. The owner of my LYS said that this helped because putting it straight into a hot wash sometimes can "shock" the wool and thats what can cause the extreme shrinkage. Hehe.. shrinkage.. I loved that episode of Seinfeld, only this time its due to hot water and not cold.
To remedy this, she said that I could soak it in warm water, and then stretch it out. She said that it will be hard to stretch and may take two people. Joy. I hope stretching it works, I only have a week from tomorrow before D's birthday. I'm sure that I can get another bag knit up between now and then, but I really don't want to have to start all over again.
Also, be prepared for some crochet fug. I am in the process of crocheting the ugliest thing I have ever made. Photos soon to come.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

My name is Vanessa, and I'm a Yarnaholic

I've been working on my knitting bag this past week. I like how its turning out so far.
It's my first circular project, and I think it's going well. Of course, I haven't gotten to the DPNs yet.
I did screw up the icord handles though and as a result, I needed to get some more yarn.

This is what I needed, one skein of Crystal Palace Yarns in Circus Celery. I really like this yarn, its soft and the edging on it has a nice terrycloth texture to it.
Note, I only needed this one skein.

However, this is what I walked out with.
One skein of Trio.
One skein of Cascade 220 in black.
Three skeins of Cascade 220 in a charcoal grey.
One skein of Cascade 220 in lavendar.

On the way to the yarn shop I thought that perhaps I should get a skein of the black Cascade 220 in case the felting of D's bag has gone awry (see previous post) and I have to make another. I already have a second skein of the Crystal Palace Fizz so I knew that I wouldnt need that.
Once in the shop they had a display of a CUTE felted tote bag with an available kit. The kit contained the yarn for the project as well as the pattern. For $50. Looking at the kit I could see that it was a fairly simple pattern, the bag was most likely done in stockinette and the handles were done in icord and there was some icord edging on the seams, then it was felted. The yarn in the kit was the equivalent of what I purchased in the charcoal and lavendar Cascade 220. I think I can make this bag without the pattern and managed to save about $22 in the process.

Another example of my impulsive yarn purchasing....

Monday night I went to Michaels to get the handles for the felted bags I've made for myself and D.
All I went in for was the handles and possibly beads.
Moda Dea Ticker Tape.
Normally about $8 per skein, it was marked down to $2.67.
Who doesnt need 5 skeins of Ticker Tape in Pink Passion?
I have no clue what I'll make with it. I'm thinking something for my little cousin Janae, her 6th birthday is in April.
Any suggestions?

Note that I did not NEED any of this yarn.
I did not need any new projects, I've got enough lined up already.
As soon as I'm done with my knitting bag I'm going to make a sweater for a coworker and after that I was planning on making a slightly larger version of the cute little felted bag in some purple variegated yarn I have.
Plus I've got TONS of yarn, acquireed from inpulsive purchases such as this, that I'm sure I could find SOMETHING to make with.