Saturday, January 31, 2009

1 Year Thyroidectomyversary!

******FYI - This post contains graphic photos******

January 31, 2008 - January 31, 2009
That's right today is my 1 year anniversary since my thryoidectomy!

I still can't believe it was a year ago today. I really don't remember much (obviously). I just remember being very loopy and wanting to come home in time for the Super Bowl. However, once starting to watch the Super Bowl, I wanted to down a couple extra percocet (yes, I'm a wicked huge Patriots fan). But that's okay, Super Bowl 42 never existed.
Wow tangent there....

So yes here are a few pics (the reason for the disclaimer; I know not everyone is gross like me and there are many who get queezy by the sight blood). Also I have to give props: the SO was great. Not only for taking care of me during all of the recoupin' but also with helping me by documenting everything. I told him to take pics because I wanted to document the whole process of going through my cancer. I told him to take pics right after surgery so I could see what it looked like, no matter what I told him while on the morphine drip. And he's so good! He actually took pics for me! For a timeline of pictures (we have been photographing the healing process and documenting through facebook) please visit my facebook album titled "Thyroidectomy and Recovery." You may need to friend me first due to my privacy settings.

This was pre-surgery with the cancer lump

This was post-surgery still in the hospital.

I still wish I could have obtained my thyroid in a jar (I love physiology and anatomy -- hence why I'm a researcher).

Post-surgery at home and knitting!

6 Months post surgery.

And here we are 1 year later. I still have the scar. And I'm now getting checked because of a potential recurrence. Cancer sucks. But I'm strong and we'll get through it! I'll keep you all posted!

Now, I'm off to my LYS (River Knits) to get some yarn for the next project!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Un-named so let em' be Valentine Socks

Valentines day came a little early this year. No the SO and I did not go out and do something (as you will find out later, I can't stand the day so I go out with my girls and not the SO).

I'm talking about the socks I knit. The socks where Saint Valentine (the Roman dude now known as the saint of lovers), Juno (the Goddess of women and marriage), or the high-pitch-wicked-excited teenager on a puppy love high, vomited on my feet.

Yarn: Knit Picks Felici in Mixed Berries
Started: January 25, 2009
Finished: January 30, 2009
Pattern: Kinda my own. Kinda.

I say it's my own pattern because I didn't actually follow a pattern. But I say kinda, because really these are just basic toe-up socks with ribbing. Basic notes on the construction to follow:

Basic provisional cast-on and knit the toe. I use additional reinforcement elastic thread when working the toe (and the heel). Oh, and I have now decided that my toe-up socks will need to change. I have made a couple of socks now and I have decided I make the toe too narrow. I mean these would go great in a nice pair of pointy shoes. But lets face it, pointy stiletto heels, my hand knit socks, and a molecular biology lab don't mix. So I'm going to have to revamp my toe. I'll do some reading up on toe variations. If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear about it (as usual via comments or slroy10 at gmail dot com).

For this part I did ribbing on the top part of the foot and plain knit on the bottom. To replicate my ribbing:

R1: *K2, p1 (repeat over the top of the foot and switch to knit stitch for the sole)
R2: repeat R1
R3: repeat R1
R4: purl across (again switch to knit stitch for the bottom of the foot)

Repeat the 4 rows for as long as necessary. I actually made these socks a little too big. These might fit a size 8 instead of my size 7 foot. But it's okay, I've been wearing double socks lately so I can just layer these over another pair!

I think what I did is called an afterthought heel. But I'm not exactly sure. I'm going to pick up a sock book and learn a little more about different types of sock construction. Again, I held the elastic reinforcement thread for the heel.

Rejoin and do the 4row repeats all the way around. End with a picot bind-off.

Yes, these wicked girly socks had to have a wicked girly looking bind-off. I found this very informative video from YouTube on how to do a picot bind off. Very stretchy, maybe too much. I'm afraid these might slide down. But I think these might fold down to make a cute little bobbi sock.

So yes, even though I am not a big fan of Valentine's Day, I now have a pair of Valentines Day socks. Unintentionally made so. I'm still thinking of a name. I was going to call them something along the lines of Valentine's UpChucked Socks. But really, the yarn is pretty. Just wicked girly. And the ruffled edges just scream "Like OMG!". So as soon as I come up with a name I will edit this post with the name.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Verena Rocks!

I'm wicked excited!

The other day I received a message on Ravelry asking for my permission to feature a photo of my Heavenly Warm Leg Warmers, on the Ravelry pattern page for the Verena Leg Warmers (#09 Leg Warmers by Verena Design Team)!

So it's probably because only one other person has actually knit the item....

Still! I was both surprised and super excited and just wanted to share that with you!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Holy Shat!

Guess what drama happened today? Our bathrooms (yes both of them) flooded -- with shat! Yep the sewage system for our apartment building decided to throw up in our apartment this morning. Out the toilets and the tub drains and onto our floor.

It was gross.

I'll spare you of all images (actually I was going to take pictures for the blog and the SO and I agreed, you'd probably not want to see it). I'll let you use your creative minds to visualize the shat that spit out of the drains. Luckily the apartment management thought this was an emergency and came over right away to take care of things. And after cleaning (okay, I have some OCD-like qualities - we disinfected like whoa) the apartment is once again clean. And after burning some Body Shop oils, it now smells like fresh Satsuma.

Speaking of throwing up. I'll show you my current knitting project.

It's actually not that bad and if you like girly things you will like it.

I have been all about the quick knits lately. Maybe I'm still avoiding my Dollar & 1/2 cardigan. Maybe I'm still peeved about that cursed scarf. Maybe - just maybe - I'm so tired and pissy/moodly lately I want quick little functional knits. That's probably it. Otherwise, out of all the yarns I have, I don't know why I would have picked this yarn out of the stash.

The yarn is Knit Picks Felici (color: Mixed Berries). It is cute. If you like St. Valentine himself throwing up on your feet. It's just a little too girly for me.

I'm knitting it toe up. Basic ribbing but I've added a purl every 4th row. I'll have more details in a few days, after I finish it. I just wanted to show you all the types of gross that I am surrounding myself with today.

I hope this post does not find you while eating. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Fitness Coach whoops my behind

I have decided to do a little review on my latest addiction (other than knitting...). I am absolutely ADDICTED to My Fitness Coach for the Wii. This is a unique video game in that it's an interactive workout game, with a virtual personal trainer (Maya), that can seriously whoop your behind into shape.

I received My Fitness Coach for Christmas from my Bro and BroSO. I started it as soon as I returned to Indiana (btw -- I also have WiiFit and I am not too enthused by that one). Thus far, I have been working with Maya for about 2.5 weeks and I have already lost about 5 pounds. And that's with the off-the-medication induced hypothyroidism, which usually causes you to gain weight! Another bonus is since I started this workout program, I have found my hypothyroidism isn't kickin' my butt too bad. I mean, I'm still tired and moody (as SO can verify!), but this video game is really helping me bust through the month long off-meds-cancer check thing. So overall in terms of my personal health, this video game is really helping me!

So for the review:

You start the game with setting up your personal profile and completing an initial fitness test. This is so Maya can show you what you need to work on for long-term goals. This fitness test has you enter in your weight, measurements (bust, waist, hips, biceps, thighs - scary but no one is watching, it's okay!) and then you complete a few assessment tests. She has you take your resting heart rate, then your elevated heart rate after 2 minutes of jumping jacks -- man I haven't done those in forever! You also do some squats, pushups (eh), crunches and tests you flexibility. After all of these are complete, Maya will then complete the fitness evaluation and set up a suggested program, however you can change it to focus on what you want for goals. Your long-term goals can focus on weight loss, cardio, upper body, lower body, core strength or flexibility. From here you can set up weekly goals (Commitment) as to how frequently and how long you want to exercise. Good thing is that you can always modify your fitness goals at any time. The initial personal fitness assessment is a one time only -- although she does test you again (mine was about a week later), just to make sure you are improving and on your way to fitness.

Once you have your personal goals you can start your workout! First you choose your daily focus (your workout for the day). You can choose from a variety of workouts such as yoga, cardio, upper or lower body, core or flexibility. Maya will basically take your long-term goals into consideration, your workout for today and make a fitness routine for you. From here, you can choose from a variety of workout environments (spas, resorts, meditation gardens, urban studio -- you unlock more places as you advance in the game). You can also choose your type of music. To me, most of the types sound the same with the same with that excer-mer-size type tempo/beat. Oh! You can also enter if you have personal workout gear such as stability balls, step risers, hand weights etc and those can be incorporated into the routines. Once you have chosen all of this you can then choose how long you want to exercises for the day from 15-60 mins. Really this sounds involved but it is a total of 2-3 menu screens and once you know what you are doing and what you want, it takes less than 3 mins to choose this stuff.

I really like this because it is similar to an exercise DVD but it is more interactive. For example, during your workout Maya will ask you how you are doing and if you say it is too hard she will ease back next time, or if you need more she will kick your butt next time around! Maya gives you lots of encouragement during the workout. She also "scolds" you when you turn on the game and if you've missed a session or so. But she also praises you when you stick to your committed program. Some of it is a little cheesy, but who am I to talk? I heart cheese....

One thing I have noticed is that it could be hard on those who are not familiar with exercises such as step, cardio or yoga classes. Although Maya does explain the moves and you can watch her (cgi like and all), she cannot correct you if you are doing something incorrectly. Also you cannot modify the game for someone who is hard of being able. As a former fitness and ballet dance instructor I worry about people who may injure themselves by doing the moves wrong or straining a muscle trying to hold a pose incorrectly or trying to do something that they should not do due to a disability or injury. My advice for those unfamiliar with these types of workouts would be to either have a friend there who knows the correct way of doing the moves or doing the buddy system so both can help each other and look up how to do these things correctly. Also to use own good judgement and push yourself but to know your own limits -- just so no one gets hurt.

Overall, I love it. My Fitness Coach is a video game, but it brings gaming to a whole new level. I cannot wait for more interactive games like this. Imagine the possibilities! Yoga, ballet, pilates, kick boxing -- ohohOH! But in all seriousness, I received the game at a perfect time. Right when I was going to have to start going hypothyroid and not looking forward to the weight gain, loosing hair, moodiness and fatigue, this game is actually really helping me. Just like all exercising, it does take personal motivation to actually turn it on and workout. But thus far, I have been intrinsically motivated to keep it up! Amazing right there!

Here are a couple of pics the SO took of me while I was working out. Please no laughing - my fat ass was struggling - and please excuse the messy living room! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Heavenly and Uber Warm Leg Warmers!

So no, I didn't finish these in 2 or 3 days as I had originally expected. But I finished in 4ish days. I think I'll give myself a break. And without further ado, I give you my current FO:

#09 Leg Warmers by the Verena Design Team, from Verena - Winter 2008/2009
Yarn: Novita 7 Veljestä (Purchased at The Ding-a-ling in Lafayette, IN - please remind me to review this cute art shop sometime!)
Needles: 4.5 and 5.5 mm
Started: Friday, January 16th
Finished: Tuesday, January 20th

Almost no modifications because it was a wicked easy and very cute pattern. I actually bought the yarn before going home for the holiday and I planned on making cabled legwarmers with my own design. Those got put on the back burner for Mum's Cursed Scarf and I didn't think twice about it until I saw the pattern in the magazine (you know that $500-Hit-and-Run-no-"No-Fault-Policy" magazine I bought last week). With how cold it has been and really just wanting a quick pattern that I wouldn't have to think about, I just cast on and went at it!

Speaking of the yarn. Novita 7 Veljestä, is a 75% wool and 25% polyamide (nylon) plied yarn and dudes, it is stretchy! In this case, stretchy is a good thing because lately I have been wearing 3 layers of clothes and the leg warmers will stretch over my tall socks, long johns and pants. I made them longer so I can pull them up to my thighs and keep uber warm (hence the name). Oh! And I finally got smart (S-M-R-T) and I carried the yarn up the side so I had minimal weaving in!

Late yesterday I was catching up on blogs and I had a laugh seeing the Yarn Harlot's post for Friday, January 15th. Yes, I actually did it. I was delusional enough to sit there and make woolen legwarmers - uber long leg warmers to keep me warm and toasty. :)

Actually, to be honest, I have been cold. Freezing even. Yes, I know -- I am ALWAYS cold. But for once I have an actual excuse and you can't blame the low iron or protein. Right now I am off the thyroid medication for a month. Basically the endo wants me to go for a month without thyroid meds and in theory, since there is no organ that is shaped like a butterfly in my neck region to produce T3-T4 or thyroglobulin, we shouldn't see any thyroid hormones when tested. However, if after a month we test and see some/any of these hormones we know that I either have trace tissue left (highly unlikely) or have miraculous grown another thyroid somewhere (a whole thyroid, unlikely, but tissue mass somewhere, probably more likely and not so good). So yes, kinda shitty. And yes, even more shitty because I'm off thyroid meds during the coldest time of the year! Okay so cancer back is shitty, but dudes(!) I'm cold! And for Indiana to go down to -20's last week -- geez! Well all things positive right now, and at least now I can wear my Heavenly and Uber Warm Leg Warmers to keep me a little warmer!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I can't stop knitting!

After that huge headache that was Mum's Cursed Scarf, I now can't stop knitting! If you couldn't tell, I was in a bit of a knitting slump since the return from NH. I totally blame the Cursed Scarf. But now... I can't stop!
Maybe it's the pattern.
Maybe it's the yarn.
Maybe it's the fact that the item will be functional and worn a lot!

I'll give more details about the pattern and yarn soon. I just cant' stop knitting it! I wanted to give you a sneak peak now so I can go back to knitting!

My goal is to finish it this weekend. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A looong week - catch up time

Okay, where do I even start? It has been quite the week! Lets see, let's start with last weekend.

Last Saturday we had an ice storm. Yes, even here in Indiana, we get ice storms. Who'd-a-thunk? That morning we (the SO and I) got up and I finished my work. BTW - that was another stressor for that past week. We had a couple supplements due for our submitted RO1 and RO3 grants. Basically that means lots of data collecting, crunching and writing. Eh.... So yes, I got up early, finished the data, figures and writing, submitted it to my boss and then decided to go out to the store.

Did I mention we had an ice storm? It was icy. And yet, we still went out.

First we went to the local pet store to get more hay for the diva that allows us to call him our bunny. Then the SO did something so sweet. He offered to buy me some bread and scones! You see, I'm not a girl afraid of carbs. In fact, I heart carbs. When the SO offers to buy me scones for breakfast from the local bakery, I gush - most girls want flowers and jewelry, me I heart food. I'm a simple girl like that. After going to the bread store and ice skating our way through the parking lot I find out the SO's state of sweetness was just in lieu of diverting my anger. He wanted to buy more dvd's. I should direct you to the blog of my SO (found here). I should have known scones and bread really means the SO has become his alter ego "DVD Whore." However, I thought I'd be nice and instead of getting wicked angry, I allow him to go (plus Barn's & Nobel is next door and I needed to purchase the current issue of Verena). Plus, it was icy and the last thing we needed was an air of anger in the car while we drove the treacherous streets.
After all of this loddy-doddy we decided it was finally time to go to the grocery store. Have I mentioned it was icy? The whole time were were driving from place to place we, and other drivers, were sliding all over the place. In fact, at the grocery store parking lot we almost hit a parked car. This in itself was going to be a blog post because it was freakin' scary. However when we came out of the grocery store (which, btw, we were in there for only 10-15mins) we came out to see this:

Yes that is my princess. My little car. Just to let you know.... it did NOT have that huge dent in it before the 10minute bacon, onion and assorted fruit trip. Best part of all: No one was around and no one left a note. Yep, hit and run.
And to top it off? Indiana does not have a "No Fault Policy". So even though I am licenced and registered in NH (car is registered there too). Even though I have full coverage. I still have to pay the damn $500 deductible because some mofo decided to HIT-AND-RUN my car. Luckily there was an officer in the next parking lot who was able to file my report asap. And I really like Geico, they were able to take care of everything. But still. Someone hits my car and I have to pay and deal with everything?!?! Basically Indiana has a high rate of hit and runs (people driving without insurance and/or a licence), and they have a high rate of fraudulent claims. Thus no "No Fault Policy." I just wish karma back onto the person who did this to my car. Good thing no one was in the car, we could have been seriously hurt!
Okay, I think I vented. I am still fuming (even after a week). But I need to let go.

So let's talk about knitting!

I have been dying to tell you about my mom's cursed scarf. While home mum informed me she wanted a new scarf. I took her to the yarn shop in Concord, NH (The Elegant Ewe) and had her pick out a yarn. BTW - that was my second time going to that shop and I love it! It is very nicely stocked in an assorted variety of yarns. And the sales associates are wicked friendly! I highly recommend it for any in the Concord, NH area!
Do you want to know what yarn she picked out?

Elizabeth Austen Andes. Ever heard of it? Nope. I hadn't either. But I figured it'd be no problem to knit with. Mum wanted just a generic scarf and this was a generic 100% wool yarn. No biggie.


Initially I couldn't find anything about this yarn! Then I stumbled onto Ruthless Knitting's blog and found this blog post. Yep that's it! But good thing was that once I found that blog post I could look it up on Ravelry. The only identifier on the ball band is ANDES. So with Ruthless Knitting's blogpost I was able to look it up and find others who have used this yarn. Thing is, it didn't really excite me.

And to save you long hours of frustration (because that is what happened to me while working with this yarn) -- 7 patterns later and probably about 3 whole knitted scarves later I present Mum's Cursed Scarf:

Pattern: #5 Lacy Stole by Rosemary Drysdale, from Vogue Knitting Holiday, 2008
Yarn: Cursed Elizabeth Austen Andes (Actually I shouldn't say that, the yarn is nice, just not my cuppa tea).
Needles: 4.0mm

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And the snow came down down down - HftH part 4

My best friend (BF) in the whole world came to see me while I was home. Actually we've done New Years together since undergrad, until last year. And it was the worst! Well, I spent last year with my SO, but it wasn't my BF. So this year, while I was home, she came to see me! She lives in CT, so it's only 4hours away. We made plans to meet up with the other girls (whom all live in NH) and have dinner and hang out for the big ball drop.

Then on New Years Eve day. It snowed.

And snowed.

And snowed.

I must be used to living in the Midwest. Because I was AMAZED at the amount of snow that fell. We had over 8 inches in that one day! Starting mid morning and all through the evening, it snowed. It actually snowed my girls in! They couldn't get out of their houses. So we made a vow to all get together this summer when I come home.

We didn't let getting snowed in damper our New Years fun! BF and I exchanged gifts. The SO and BF exchanged their traditional corn gift (She calls him CornHusker or CornBread because he's from IN, thus they exchange corn gifts, duh!). The SO got her a bottle of Corn Huskers Lotion. She got him Corny, the corn scrubber. Yeah, no clue. But they love it. It's cute, at least they finally get along! :)

Everyone had fun:
Floppy and Liz in their annual boink.

BF and her boy (I like to call him WonderBread) had fun. My first time meeting him. I approve, 'nuff said.

SO and I had fun.

BF and I had fun.

Heck, even my Daddy had fun. He went to town plowing the yard and driveways.

Bro and BroSO came over for a bit. As did Aunt Cathy and Uncle Bobby. Here we are all piled into the kitchen. Poor WonderBread, I think he's still scared of my family. We are kind of loud....

The SO and BroSO bonded. Isn't she soo freakin' cute! Look how little! You can just pick her up and squeeze her!

And after consuming boat loads of food we all had a mellow but fun New Years Eve.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Home for the Holidays (HftH) - Recap 3

Good times. Crazy times.

Holiday/gift exchange time with my family is always crazy and loud. Initially, I was worried how the SO was going to handle it. But I have to tell ya, I am proud of him because he was able to go with the flow. I really need to not worry so much! Best thing of all, my bro and his SO (now named BroSO) came over for Holiday dinner.

There is a whole ritual that goes with gift opening at my house. Basically when it is time for gift opening, you have to be ready. Someone stands near the tree, yells out the name and hands out the gifts. That's when the gifts start flying out from under the tree. As the "caller" is yelling out names, you either have to duck if it's not your name, or if you hear your name you have to get ready to catch it. And you're not done there. There is a schizo-like scramble to quickly open your gift and show everyone or you'll get your spotlight moment taken from you because then next gift has to be given out. This whole process would take the normal family 1-2 hours. For our very abnormal (but loving) family, it takes about 15 minutes. After the gifts are handed out, THEN you are allowed to look at stuff and pass things around to oohh and ahhh and play.

I am happy to report that Mum loved her socks. And she was very surprised because they actually fit her. BroSO was also happy with her socks. When I hear from them, I'll report what they think after the first wearing!

The SO and I were the lucky recipients of the gag gift this year. Actually I didn't realize we had this tradition. I think my bro and BroSO just started this. All I can say: Game On! The SO and I received these odd blow up, squeaking penguins. They are actually kinda cute. Fun thing: we can bop each other over the heads with the blow up penguins. And FYI: Kyle is afraid of them, don't ask how we found out.
After an amazing dinner (both of the rents are AWESOME at cooking), we went outside and made a bonfire.

Okay. So Daddy made and tended to the fire. We toasted marshmallows and made smores. Mum made the strawberry daiquiri.

When the fire was big and warm we edged our chairs farther away.

As it started to die down we inched closer and closer to the fire.

We threw snowballs at the trees. Distant trees that were hit were given more props. The SO and Bro had a blast trying to hit the farther ones. BroSO and I had a blast toasting the marshmallows. I had a Super Flip-the-Bitch method of toasting. I turned the toasting of marshmallows into a scientific endeavour with a protocol for the ultimate toasted marshmallow. Go figure...

The Bro also took time to build a cute little snowman.

Until he stomped on it.
I took the absolute scariest picture ever. I was trying to take a close up of the flames and ended up taking this picture. It seriously looks like a face in the flames. I didn't' realize it until I uploaded all of my pictures from my camera. The SO says it's because I'm the devil's child (sorry Mum, not you). Initially it wicked freaked me out. Now I think it's kinda cool. But I'm odd like that. I'll keep the picture of my dark angel. Now I just need that picture of a UFO (not my knitting UFO... I have plenty of those) and my conspiracy theory dreams will be full filled. (I do hope all of you can see my sarcasm there...). :)

Overall, we had a blast that evening. Most of all, Mum and Dad were happy because the whole family was home and were having fun. It was an awesome day.