Running to stay in place

April 21, 2015

Time is again moving much too quickly.  Events, experiences, the days just crash and blur and pile up upon each other in an untidy mess.

The vertigo is back.  Not as bad as the episode that put me in the hospital for four days last summer, but enough to disrupt plans and activity.  Because all of the tests that were done in the hospital and since – like CT scans, MRI, Doppler, etc – have been just fine, my doctor sent me to an otoneurologist, a specialist in all kinds of vestibular disorders.  I was lucky enough to get an appointment with the top guy in this field in the country, a professor who has spearheaded the study and treatment of vertigo and other balance dysfunction and dizziness.  So…he was very nice, very serious, asked good (and thorough) questions, and actually listened to my answers.  A rare breed of fellow.

From all the data available, he is pretty sure that we’re talking about MAV – migraine associated vertigo, or vestibular migraines.  The migraine headaches are hitting more often than usual as well.  Still, he has scheduled me for an additional series of tests – VNG, or Videonystagmography.  (Don’t ask me to pronounce that…) That’s in another couple of weeks.  So we’ll see what comes of it.

I had a really nasty bout of cold/flu in the midst of all of it, too.  I was in bed for the whole week preceding Pesach.  It was, I think, only the second time in my life I didn’t make it to Seder, which made me feel very sorry for myself.  I’m not a very… um, pleasant person when I’m sick, and this was enough for me to consider putting up a storm warning sign on the front door.  Niece was worried, sent Partner home from the Seder with a big food package for me, which was really a life-saver.  And I think it was the first time since I’ve had my own place – which is (ahem) quite a while now – that my house and kitchen were not ready for Pesach.  All the Pesach dishes and stuff stayed in the cupboard – I cleared one table for Pesach foods, we used plastic plates and utensils, and got through the week.

The worst part of all?  I wasn’t even up for knitting or reading.   So you can imagine what sort of a grump I was.

So I’m glad that’s behind us, and I’ll tell you soon what I’m up to these days!  If they’ll just slow down, sheesh.


A Year of Sheep

February 19, 2015

As I come up for air and look around…

It’s the beginning of the Chinese New Year today, and in 2015 the Year of the Sheep commences!


May it herald a year  overflowing with yarn goodness, many projects coming off the needles, and joy!

happy new year of sheep


Still looking around.  Hm.  Lotta dust around here.  Must do something about that…

Inebriated Shoppers

December 4, 2014

Tipsy patrons.  Buzzed clientele.

Kid and I went for our weekly shopping at the supermarket.  And surprise!  Somehow we missed the memo that today the market was hosting a wine festival.  And what a festival!

We walked in to find a live band playing some lovely classical and jazz tunes.

supermarket orchestra

We looked at each other and thought oooh kay…

Just inside the entrance we were greeted by a hostess who offered us wine glasses for a token fee.  I grabbed one, they were nice glasses.  (And we got to keep them.)

Then we discovered rows and rows of wine stalls scattered throughout the store, representing lots of little local wineries and some of the big ones.  At the end of every aisle, and several in the aisles.  I stopped counting them after 30.

Just holding up your wine glass was enough for someone to pour a slosh into it. With a pitch about the wine and the winery thrown in.  All the stalls had plates of munchies too, of course.  And it was quite professional, there were spit buckets at most.

tasting 4


There were crowds around many of the stalls, much laughter and standing around.  Folks listening to the music and applauding.  A couple of photographers wandering around snapping shots of people tasting the wines and toasting each other.

Which made actual shopping kind of…difficult.  Kidlet started to get a wee testy.

Navigating the cart around people sniffing and swirling their wine glasses.  Animated discussions about wine and vineyards and types of grapes in the middle of aisles.  Even those doing their shopping were holding half-full glasses as they shopped.  Which was a rather bizarre sight.

There were all kinds of deals, naturally.  I sampled but was good, and left without spending half my budget on wine.

wine tasting 1

As the hour got later the music got a little more rowdy, a little more dramatic.  More applause.

orchestra 2

You have to admit it’s an interesting venue for a wine tasting fest.  I wonder if it brought in a lot of business or revenue for the market.

On the plus side, lots of crowds, drinks and munchies, everyone relaxed and somewhat jolly.  It would be fascinating to know how that affects our buying habits…

On the minus side, it was crowded, and somewhat inconvenient for any serious food shopping.  And I really do hope that most people were using those spit buckets, because the market is one that is out of the way and only accessible to folks with cars.

I was half wondering if I would see police holding breath analyzers at the exit.  Nope.

All in all, though, it was an enjoyable, albeit long, evening.  All that and we got our shopping done, too.

tasting 3


The (arbitrary) finish line!

November 30, 2014

And….NaBloPoMo is a wrap!

I did it.  I’ve done it before,  but given the break I took in blogging this was a giant leap.  Huzzah!

NaBloPoMo – blogging every day for a month.  This November the theme was “Type Your Heart Out”.  1427 bloggers took part (or at least signed up on the November blogroll).

Image of female hands on the keys typing documents

There were lots of perks to joining.

  • BlogHer PRO School – lessons on how to improve your writing. (I confess I only read a few of these – but I have them saved…)
  • Twitter Chats
  • Daily Newsletter
  • Daily prompts and help
  • Survival Guide
  • Badges!

blog Halfway through, JoAnne Apple posted a great blog entry on how NaBloPoMo feels in pictures.  She nailed it.

NaBloPoMo occurs every month on BlogHer, but November is special, it was the original month for it all to happen.  So I wanted to join in this month.

There were days the words just flew onto the screen.  There were days I wrote several posts and saved them for later.  There were days I just didn’t want to bother.  Sat staring at the computer screen and wondered what on earth would possibly be interesting to anyone (including me).  Days I was out and got home just in time to quickly type some pithy phrases of profundity in order to hit “publish” just before midnight.  But I did it.

I’ll keep on blogging!  I don’t know if I’ll continue to write every day, while the discipline is excellent it gets forced and who wants to write or read that?

In the meantime, today I’ll just kick back and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.


finish line


Gift knitting

November 29, 2014

Started an infinity scarf for kidlet.  She is very knitworthy, loving and appreciating what I knit for her.  She has been known to accost strangers who come to the flat with a display of all the wonderful things her mom has knit.  Very good for the ego, if a wee bit embarrassing at times.

She chose the yarn (Malabrigo lace – kid’s got good taste), and the pattern – Lace Ribbon Scarf, by Veronik Avery.  I used a provisional cast on onto a spare circular so I can kitchener the ends to make it an infinity scarf.  It will be interesting to figure out how to kitchener yarnovers, which are in every row.  I’ll let you know how that works out…

Pal Roberta helped me wind the yarn using her swift (it’s called the “Almighty Swift”, which amused us).


And I’ve started the pattern – almost through the chart the first time.


It should be a very light and airy scarf, and the malabrigo will be as luscious to wear as it is to work with.

Now if I can just pry my drop-by (castanho) cowl away from her I will be happy…  I would like to wear it occasionally myself.



Knit a Circuit?

November 28, 2014


Electronic art professor Jesse Seay has developed a tutorial to knit your own circuitry.

circuit board

He says in the instructions  he assumes you already know how to knit, solder, and wire up LEDs. (If you need to brush up on those skills, there are great tutorials all over the web.)

circuit wrist


He has done all of his projects on a knitting machine, but says it would be easy to hand knit a circuit board as well.

Now, there are several disclaimers about wearing knitting circuitry.

Disclaimer #1: Wearables made with this method are not intended for rough handling. Prom, yes. Soccer, no.

Disclaimer #2: Solder is toxic. Don’t wear the circuit against bare skin. Wash your hands after handling. Wear goggles when working.

Disclaimer #3: Some readers have expressed concern about lead from the solder leaching through fabric. I’m not an expert, but I suspect this would be an issue with wet fabric, not dry fabric. So keep your circuits dry — avoid rain, spills, and contact with sweat.

I’m baffled.

Other than displaying truly admirable geek status, I’m not really sure what this is for.

Can anyone please enlighten me?



The secret not spoken of

November 27, 2014

Am I the only one who notices this?  Or who is bothered by it?  I have never heard anyone discuss this, or complain.  Not in conversation, and not in print.

Often clothing that has appliques on it comes with the paper backing on the inside of the fabric.  I guess it’s used to anchor the applique stitching when it’s sewn on?  And it’s usually, in my experience, left there.

Well, it’s uncomfortable.  It makes the fabric stiff.  And if it’s in a sensitive spot on the inside of clothing, it’s very irritating and/or scratchy.  Left alone, by the first or second wash it’s even worse.  Maybe it’s supposed to dissolve or something in the wash?  It doesn’t.  It gets soggy then clumps up, making the fabric even more irritating to the touch.

Whenever I purchase something with an applique, even if it’s just letters or something small, I take the time to remove that paper backing.  It’s painstaking work, because I don’t want to disturb the stitches that hold the applique in place, obviously.  So I tear and peel the paper pieces along and around all the stitches carefully.


It’s surprisingly absorbing and calming, this business.  Even more satisfying than bubble wrap, I believe.  Pulling and stretching the fabric to loosen the paper along the edges.  Peeling off longer strips and shapes, then getting all those last little bits of paper that cling to the stitched threads.  Some are very stubborn, and take gentle coaxing.

Once finished, the garment is so much nicer to wear.  Softer.  Not stiff.  Not scratchy.


I have no idea if this paper is meant to be removed or not.  No mention of it in the care instructions.  No one ever talks about it.  Which seems a little weird to me, because people talk about everything.

So I’m breaking the silence.

Speak up.  It’s time.  What do you do with the paper backing left in your clothing?

Jonathan the Goat is Live!

November 26, 2014

The goat pattern Jonathan has now been released!

I can now show you the (not yet blocked) goats in the scarf so far:

First goat (actually goat three in the pattern):



Second goat:


(This was taken before I tinked back and fixed that missed slipped stitch between the horns.)

I’m now working on a non-goat section before I begin the third goat.

Lots of knitting time due to the rain and hail all around the country (and there’s snow up on our northern mountain, Mt. Hermon).  While driving to appointments I actually managed to catch a minute-long break in the storm to take a picture.  Then ran back to the car as the rain once again started pelting me.


Have a good one!

We didn’t go

November 25, 2014

Ever plan for something, work everything else around the plans, then not do it?

We planned to go to see a film today.  Partner saw it with friends, really liked it, wants me to see it, and although it’s almost unheard of she is willing to see it again.

So we settled on today.  Why?  Because on Tuesdays she gets a discount.  The film is at the end of its run, so it’s only showing once a day.  We’ve waited a pretty long time already, because there were other things happening on Tuesdays.  And the rest of the day was set up around the movie plans.

I was at the cinema on Sunday, came out of a meeting nearby and had some time to kill while kid had a meeting of her own, so I went and saw a different film.  Not the one we planned to see together, that wouldn’t be fair.  In hindsight, it may have been a wiser choice.

And then today it started to storm.  And the dog freaked out with the thunder, cowering and shivering and hiding.  Refusing to do her business outside, pulling away and running back upstairs instead.  We thought that we could still go, if kid would stay and soothe the pup while we’re gone.  But the dog was suffering so.  We don’t remember her reacting this way last winter.  She mostly hides in the bathroom, no idea why, and only comes out with a lot of encouragement (and a treat).

scared Kessem

And then kid started not feeling well.  We started waffling – go or not go?

We didn’t go.

Stayed home, all snuggled up in blankets, with the wind and the rain battering the windows.   Soothing both dog and kid.

Maybe the film will still be shown a little longer.  Maybe we’ll work out a different time to go.

Oh well.

Vista of Peace

November 24, 2014

A few doors down the road from me is a lovely little haven of a park.  A sculpture garden, with paths and benches and many little half-hidden places to take in the view.  (It’s also the park that kidlet got locked up in a year ago…we don’t go there late any more.)  Called Mitzpor Shalom – Vista of Peace.

All 29 of the bronze life-size sculptures are the work of one artist, Ursula Malbin.  I believe that in 1978 Mitzpor Shalom was the first open-air sculpture garden in the world devoted entirely to the works of an individual woman artist.

Earlier in the day, I had tea and cake with a friend, we braved the cold and sat outside at the cafe where we met up.  Basically because the inside tables were all full.  We – along with everyone else sitting outside – chased the sun for an hour or so.  We shivered in the cold shade of clouds but whenever a table in the direct sunlight opened up one of the groups of shiverers grabbed their things and dishes and moved over.  We were all laughing at our giant game of musical tables without the music, applauding those who successfully moved into a warmer spot each time.  The poor waitress had to keep tabs on who was where.

When I got home, I parked the car and decided to pop over to the sculpture garden.  It hadn’t really started to rain yet, just a few random drops.  Still, all the paths and benches were empty due to the incoming stormclouds.

From the entrance you can see the bay and the port.


The sculptures are meant to reflect and blend in with the greenery.


Some surprise you as you go around a bend in the path.


Some are serious, some are humorous, some are whimsical.


Not all of the sculptures are of humans…


I was about halfway through the gardens when the rain started to fall more in earnest, so I cut short my stroll and hurried home.

It’s a wonderful place to escape for a while.  Where do you escape to?