31 December 2009

Annual Stash Review

This isn't too much yarn. Honest.

But maybe it is time to reorganise it ... the Annual Stash Review. It's taken several days.

I've updated my stash on Ravelry, but thought it would be kind of nice to have a written record as well, hence the notebook and pen. Scales were employed, remaining yardages (metreages, whatever) were calculated, maths was used.

Look at the lovely organised basket of yarn ... yummy ...

Miss Petal checked out that the wicker hamper was safe for special yarn ... it gets the All Points Puppy Clearance Woof of Approval and repacked :

Miss Petal even helped to wind unruly balls of yarn into tidy balls (not that she ever contributes to the existence of unruly balls, no, never. Would this puppy lie to you?).

The Wooden Chest :

The Basket :

The Hamper :

Nice to start 2010 with a tidy stash, and a good idea of what's in there! Plenty of knitting from the stash ahead this year :D

Note to self : I have enough sock yarn to last at least 5 years. Just saying ...

Hip News :

This is what my leg looks like now. Staples are out, dressing is off for good, it's all healing well. The vertical thick scars are from my multiple CDH childhood surgeries. The redder angled scar is from the top hip replacement (posterior approach), 6 weeks ago. A nice narrow scar, much neater than what they did to me in the 1960s and 70s!

I'm allowed back on the road now, had my first little drive in nearly 2 months yesterday - it's great to feel some independence returning!

My physio exercises are progressing to standing exercises, rather than lying down. And I can walk around without crutches or a walking stick. I take short steps, and go slowly, but no walking aids, yay! When I'm out shopping I still use a stick, just in case, but I'm enjoying not needing assistance at home.

There are still challenges - my obturator nerve is still stuffed, although it is making slow progress, and I'm still on pain meds. I still get tired pretty quickly, am sometimes getting cramps in my thigh and knee, and keeping to the 90º rule is difficult at times. I'm still on Warfarin and have to wear the DVT stockings in this summer heat. But on the whole, things are definitely looking up!

Wishing you and yours a very happy New Year - here's to a great year ahead in 2010!!

24 December 2009

Yippy Chrissie

Best wishes to you for a restful, relaxing festive season, filled with yummy treats (mmm, dried liver bits), gifts (ooooh, bones!), loved ones (lick lick bite lick), and fun activities (yay, paper shredding!).

With love from Miss Petal and Jejune :)

21 December 2009


You know me, I'm always on the lookout for cool 'green living' ideas and products. These just arrived in the mail :

Greensacks are Australian-designed, and not expensive. These 5 bags cost me $15. They are to use in the supermarket, to bag fresh fruit and veggies, instead of using those thin plastic bags. The fruit and veg can be stored in the bags too, in the fridge or wherever. They were even a finalist in the 2009 Green Invention awards! They're made of a fine mesh, and are machine washable.

ETA : I didn't use the thin plastic bags for quite some time, and just bought stuff loose, especially if there were only 3 or 4 of the fruit or veg. That is, until Dotter did a microbiology class at school, and came back totally horrified at how many nasty nasty bugs there are on supermarket conveyor belts, which she'd grown cultures of ... the really really bad bacteria. She's insisted that I use some sort of protection over the fresh produce since then. Hence my trying to find an alternative to the plastic bags :)

I'm getting some of my knitting mojo back (not so doped out on pain meds now!) ...

It's amazing how often I don't knit things from the gorgeous knitting books I have - time to remedy this! These are the Kai-Mei socks from the book Sock Innovation by Cookie A. Yarn is Merino Cashmere sock yarn by The Knittery (now sadly closed down). I got this much done last night :

And a quick Christmas pressie for my niece, who loves dressing up - the Make Believe Crown pattern is from Interweave Knits' web site. I made it with thick cotton (from LittleNeedles!) as she's allergic to wool.

Latest hip news - I'm slowly improving, but last week I got a slightly infected toe which sent my surgeon and GP into a bit of a tizz - very real risk of the infection spreading into my hip, which is a Very Very Bad Thing (if it gets in, you have to have the prosthesis removed and a new one put in - NOT nice surgery). So I'm on antibiotics for a couple of weeks.

I can walk more easily now, and sometimes don't even use a walking stick around home, but in general I'm still using crutches, or a walking stick. I sometimes get slight clunking and shifting / grinding sensations in my hip, which my physio thinks is the femur head and acetabulum (socket) shifting slightly. Eeergh. So when that happens I need to go back to 75% weight-bearing on crutches, to relieve stress on the joint.

My surgeon had to put in a short 'spike' into my femur - my bones are quite deformed and too small for a regular long spike. So this means the whole prosthesis isn't frightfully stable, and probably accounts for the permanent hip restrictions I have from now on. No low seats or squatting down ever again, and probably other things as well - I'll know more when I see my surgeon in about a month. This is taking a bit of getting used to ... normally hip restrictions last for 3 months, not the rest of your life.

The obturator nerve damage is gradually repairing, but it's very slow. If I try with all my might, my inner thigh muscle can contract a tiny tiny amount for a few seconds. My knee pain is gradually lessening too, and I'm needing less of the serious pain meds. Still going to a lot of physio, with plenty of daily exercises.

I've removed the dressing from the wound - it's healed up really well, much narrower and neater than my childhood scars. I need to massage it every day with skin cream (Sorbolene, Vitamin E, BioOil, or something similar). I might venture into the pool next week some time.

I'm allowed to lie on my right side for a little while, if I have 2 pillows between my legs (so the operated leg doesn't fall past the midline of the body). It's so nice to have a change from lying on my back in bed all the time!

Christmas is a bit of a washout this year - cooking is still pretty hard for me, and I haven't done cards, or decorations, or put up the tree, or anything much. We're going to join in the big family luncheon at my sister's (small) house - around 16 adults and 3 or 4 young kids - and just bring the drinks, no cooking required! Will be lovely to see my family, and we can even 'dilute' my tiresome FIL with plenty of other people. Normally we spend the day just with him, and have a fairly horrible time of it. So while he'll probably find it overwhelming and confusing, meh, too bad. He ain't got no choice in the matter, and he'll get a nice meal.

I hope you have a really lovely Christmas holiday, with not too much stress, and thoughtful gifts, and delicious food, and lots of love and hugs!

14 December 2009

Get well treasure trove

LittleNeedles (Rav link) is one of my Ravelry friends. We met on the Chihuahua forum, and from the start it was clear she was a hilarious, generous, and thoughtful person, with quite an obsession with puppies :)

The week I went into hospital a box arrived. A BIG box. As in 60 x 35 x 35 cm. My family opened it, and were astonished by the gift-wrapped bounty inside ... there was too much to bring into hospital to me, but they brought in a new package each day. And I've been opening one or two gifts every couple of days, especially when things were feeling too hard and painful ... for a month. A whole month!

There have been many many books - including Costuming from the Hip (a self-published classic book about making Middle Eastern dance costumes), Victorian Lace Today (bliss!), Amigurumi Knits, and Reconstructing Clothes for Dummies - all from my Amazon wish list.

Everything was in this great bag, which LittleNeedles made herself - and includes a matching magazine holder and project bag. (She has an Etsy store, WeeCouture, check out her stuff!). Petal thinks the bag is great, too! The shredded tissue paper is from Petal helping open the last few pressies last night. She "helped" a lot. Hmmm.

There is a small alpine range of yarn - especially worsted weight cottons (which are very hard to get in Australia), some linen, and much much more!

A special treat is this Buffalo Gold - yes, it's buffalo yarn! Incredibly soft!!

There is a sweet little flapper teddy bear, a cute Clover case, with stitch markers, special scissors, and other treats ...

Did you notice that black case? Yes, it's a set of AddiClicks. This gift literally made me speechless. These are just amazingly wonderful knitting needles ...

There were other treats as well - chocolate, a cute keyring with a 'wraps per inch' sheep gauge, and a mini sock blocker keyring, and even treats for Petal.

LittleNeedle's generosity is just astounding, so I wanted to say a very public THANK YOU to her, and I wish I could give her a hug (but she lives in America). Thank you hardly seems adequate. More like OMG, wow, far out!!

Other friends have sent 'get well' gifts as well, and I'm truly thankful to everyone - Susan and Wendell for the pink fluff and silver plastic princess tiara which I wore in hospital, crosswords, edible treats, and Peaches 'n' Cream cotton; Jenny and Mark for the Vogue magazine and roses; Kate and Traevis for the Paperblanks "Good Dog" notebook and pens; Stuart (Dotter's new boyfriend) for the first bouquet of flowers that I saw when I got back from surgery; Nick and Penny for the hilarious black humour book 11,002 Things to be Miserable About; and cards, phone calls, emails and SMSs from a great many friends and family across the globe. Thank you, everyone, I've appreciated each and every one.

09 December 2009

Fuzzy Observations

Some general observations is about all I can piece together at the moment.

• The pain killer Oxycontin completely destroys one's ability and desire to do pretty much anything, including reading, writing, thinking clearly, following anything on TV, doing puzzles, and knitting. So no, I'm not getting lots of knitting time in. In fact, over 9 days in hospital, all I managed was this solitary baby beanie (knit round and round and round and round).

• Having your femoral nerve 'irritated' during THR surgery causes a great amount of pain and weakness in one's thigh and knee, and it can take months to recover. It's a higher risk injury for THR patients with dysplasia, because of our abnormal anatomy. Damn, bugger, and blast.

Warfarin is rat poison. Carefully balanced rat poison. Squeek squeek.

• DVT stockings are really hot. Not in the sexy way, either.

• It's no bloody use having a long-handled grabber when it's impossible to carry it around with you when you are on crutches. Why aren't there grabbers that can click on to crutches? And if they exist, why don't I have one?!

• What do you do when your grabber falls onto the floor?

• Crutches don't work well as huge "chop sticks".

• A nurse on the orthopedic ward told me that walking with crutches uses about four times the energy of walking. I believe her.

• How did Dr Petal (Acu-Puppy-Pressure Specialist and Lick Therapist) get to be so cute? And when can I stop sleeping with a pillow between my legs?!

• My surgeon is awesome, he just called to answer some of my questions in person. How cool is that?

• My physiotherapist is awesome too. He diagnosed the femoral nerve palsy, which everyone else missed.

• My left leg is a bit longer now (it was short before) and this means when I sit down my left knee sticks out further than my right.

• I can't work for the life of me, but hopefully there's nothing urgent coming up, cos I'll make a dog's breakfast of it! I think I'll have to keep the business closed for another few weeks.

• I don't understand why people would think taking Oxycontin for fun was - well - fun. Apparently my tablets have a huge street value :/ All it does it make you doped out, sleepy, unmotivated and constipated.

• I can get back to the swimming pool for hydrotherapy in a couple of weeks, yay!

• Cooking dinner while on crutches is almost impossible, everything takes three times as long when you can only carry one small thing at a time, can't bend down, and can't use both hands at the same time.

• It's great being able to get out of bed at night, go to the loo, and get back into bed, without having to wake my husband to help anywhere along the process.

• I'm the youngest patient at the Joint Replacement Exercise Class at hospital. By about 2 decades.

• This whole Recovery Process thing is taking much longer and being much harder and more painful than I was expecting, and I'm pretty fed up with the whole thing.

• Dotter is awesome, I'm so proud of her. She's enrolled in the Advance Diploma of Games Programming at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, probably the only woman in the course. Starts Feb 2010.

• Both all my own work - the girl (9 months in utero, 18 years of parenting) and the outfit (weeks to sew). Seen here with a friend from school :

• She was photographed by The Canberra Times at her Year 12 Formal, and was interviewed by the reporter last week, as a Year 12 student who stood out from the crowd (funny that!) - will be in this Sunday's Canberra Times, I gather.

• I stumbled upon this rather cool page of free knitting pattern links ... has some good ones I hadn't found before. Not that I have the brains to knit anything at the moment ... but I can dream!

That's all I can think of for the moment ... over and out.