Monday, October 29, 2012

Pet kitty

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed my wee kitty was developing a rather amazing thirst... You've probably got there as quick as me ... this is diabetes, or kidneys. I phoned my vet. My eleven year old kitten has developed diabetes. This was quite a shock to me, not least because I'm terrified of needles. Lots of positive vibes from friends and family about it being a manageable condition, and at least I still have him are only now, a week later, giving me the comfort I need.

For the last week I've been going through an emotional time trying to come to terms with the simple fact that my cat is getting old. I've had him for 11 years. I've been through a lot in those 11 years. He has licked the tears off my face when I was so lonely I simply couldn't bear it. He has caused me to literally weep with laughter when he got caught out sticking his head through a carrier bag handle trying to eat forbidden rubbish. He heard the rustle of the bag and ran, giving himself a near heart-attack as the noisy bag that he was running from wouldn't stop chasing him ... not surprising given that it was attached to him! I found him by following the trail of rubbish to behind the sofa where he was panting, with the carrier bag still on his head. Still scared of bags, but fortunately we now have a door on the kitchen!

Indoor cats become very much part of the family. They are always there when you get home, and always around. The boy and I have no children; he is our baby. The ordeal has been made tougher by the news that our dear friends have recently had to say goodbye to their wee kitty - too suddenly and unexpectedly.

As pet owners, we all know the time will come, but we all don't really believe that will either. We understand each other's pain as only those with pets can, when it can sometimes feel that that pain is down-played by some. The "it's only a cat" look that can sometimes be received. Nothing said, just a look that says, "seriously, you're going to pay how much for a pet with diabetes?!" The vet asked me how I felt about having a cat with diabetes; the implication was clear; "are we treating this, or putting him down?" It never occurred to me to do anything other than pay the bill and get on with it. He's family after all. I can't imagine how awful it must be to not have the money to pay for treatment.

We're still waiting the result of a final test, and then a day in the vets getting his blood measured every hour throughout the day, and we can begin (£200 of vet bills later) with getting insulin prescribed. I'm practically a world expert in insulin overdose signs, types of food (high protein, low carb) and so on and so forth.

I will say this; pet people - get proper life cover insurance and check your policy does not only cover the first year. I've always had for life cover, for exactly this type of expensive chronic condition. Fortunately he should be covered by Pet Plan, according to the pleasant chap I spoke to on the phone.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A frustrating morning coding, a nice shiny new haircut and a whole afternoon at Glasgow School of Yarn in good company knitting my sparkly purple cable scarf and buying new yarn - a perfect Saturday!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reinventing Scotland's Woollen Traditions at the Lighthouse

I had a fantastic afternoon yesterday at the Lighthouse at a knitting event held by the School of Humanities and the University of Glasgow. The public study day Reinventing Scotland's Woollen Traditions involved ...

The hordes descend on the yarn at Ripplecraft's stall
... much yarn and fleece shopping ...

Trevor Pitt's "The Salon Bench Project"

... exhibits to look at, like these benches covered in knitting ...

Roxane Permar, Shetland: the Mirrie Dancers Project

talks about all sorts of interesting topics, like knitting lace with wool and other materials and projecting light through it ...

Karina Westermann getting interviewed

... friends getting interviewed for STV News ...

Karina doing her thing!

... and doing crochet and continental knitting demonstrations ...

... my beautiful wedding shawl by Old Maiden Aunt went down a storm, and I was even asked to show it off for the cameras! ... (The full article is available here for UK viewers)

A view of the room from Karina's stall
... I took a few photos, including this one above of the whole room from behind Karina's stall ...

Carol Christiansen, Knitted Textiles from Shetland Museum
... a talk on fair-isle and Shetland knitting, with links for further research, including the Shetland Museum photo library and the University of Southampton's Knitting Reference Library

Featured all over the media, from the BBC News website, STV News, and BBC Radio Scotland (23 mins in I think)

Amazingly, I didn't buy any yarn! Although, tomorrow I am off to the Glasgow School of Yarn, where that may change...

Friday, October 12, 2012

3 sentences, 3 exclamation points

Current progress on reversible cable kit shawl - loving knitting this!

In other news, I am planning on going to this and can't wait!

And I also got 100% in my first assignment!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

lots and lots of things

No pictures in this blog post I'm afraid...

This past week has been the juggling of many, many things, while trying to contend with a near continuous migraine that I know is caused by all the things but can't seem to shake it, or just RELAX.

At the moment studying is going well, I just need to be spending more time on it. I'm enjoying it, however as I work in a University, it is a busy time of year so by the time I get home I'm shattered. I managed to get in my first assignment a week early, and am now working on the second one.

The boy and I are also having to contend with plummeting house prices at a time when we got all geared up to do the house up and sell it. Due to the house prices in our street falling so very much we're having to accept that we should wait until April and re-evaluate whether we can afford it then. In the meantime we have to get the house finished. It needs a lot of work - the big jobs (bathroom and kitchen) are done, we just have to find the time somewhere to do the rest. The house situation has taken a bit of a sledgehammer to our motivation unfortunately.

And add to that we thought we'd watch that series 'Double your house for half the money' for ideas. We didn't realise that instead of the quirky helpful hints for making your house better storage-wise etc. we were going to be watching people with budgets bigger than we are planning to spend on an entire house extending their massive detached mansions. Excuse me, but OF COURSE it's ****ing easy to double your house for half the money when you have a tonne of money and land to do it on!! Try doing it in a two-up, two-down flat with no budget, nor option for external extension and then I'm interested in watching that challenge! The boy and I have deleted the remaining episodes we had after going to bed in simultaneous bad moods.

Driving is going quite well. We recently traded in the car for one less expensive to run (this economy is So. Much. Fun.) so I'm having to get to grips with new biting points and pedal controls. Quite an impressive amount of stalls yesterday - two in a row at one roundabout, and quite a lot of over-revving smelly car while I try to find my feet. At the moment it flutuates between good journeys, and journeys peppered with stalls and over-rev'ing, but I'll get there. No rush really. But to get the home we want we're going to have to move out of Glasgow and I need to be able to drive for us to do that.

So my plan last week for easy-peasy sparkly rib scarf was a good one. 2 knit, 2 purl is literally all my brain can take of an evening - when I don't fall asleep on the couch at 9 pm that is ...

Edited to add a photo of some pancakes from our honeymoon in San Francisco because I hate a blog with no images, and it's just the right autumnal weather for some yummy stodge like this!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sparkly reversible cable shawl

Last night I decided that my study-fried brain (which also had a migraine to deal with) was struggling too much with the fair-isle gloves I'm making at the moment, and the rush of finish-itis has left me little else that I'm interested in.

So I decided to cast on something that has been in my queue forever - Lily Chin's Reversible Rib Shawl. You can see a finished one below here on MiniLaura's blog.

(c) Mini Laura

And I have just the yarn for it too! A lovely sparkly Bramble colourway from Old Maiden Aunt that I plan to make a giant snuggly scarf/shawl with. I only have 800 yards so I can either join both ends and make it into a cowl if it is too short, or ask my good friend, the old maiden aunt to dye me another skein (if she still has some of the sparkle left that is!) 

In other news, it is a gorgeous, crisp autumnal day today. We had to scrape the car - the perfect day to bring  Pumpkin back out to play!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Studying begins once more

After a lovely long year off to get married and all the preparation that comes with going down the offbeat bride route for a wedding, it is now back to studying.

This year I'm taking M263 Building Blocks of Software at the Open University. This is part of a BSc (Hons) Computing and IT that I began in 2009. I've been doing 2 modules a year, and it is getting progressively harder. This year I will have two exams as I'm starting M257 Putting Java to Work in Feb 2013.

This means the knitting has slowed considerably. I tried to finish as much as possible to the point where I'm only really working on a pair of gloves at the moment, in readiness for winter.

I've also taken to the roads again of late. Thoughts of moving out of Glasgow to a more village'y place with more garden and less people has been appealing to the boy and I of late. If this is to happen (crap housing market aside!) I really need to be able to drive.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Dress and The Big Day

Finally, a few photos taken on the big day by friends and our photographer. For all the photos see our fabulous photographer Andy Allan's page. You can see the front of the dress, the length of the train and some detail of the back. No close ups, and we didn't get one of the train all spread out ... yet. My mum has plans for me putting the dress on again so we can take the train detail better. Then we'll get some more close ups.

Final thoughts - would we do it again? Without my mum, no. I simply wouldn't have managed it at all on my own. Her experience, knowledge, and most importantly, calm-ness in the face of the many stressful situations we encountered was what made this dress. She put in so much time and work. And not only that she made the wedding cake too! 

When we started this project, the pattern was said to be relatively easy. I think it probably is - we complicated it by adding a full lace overlay, although this also was useful in hiding any mistakes. My body shape also complicated things, as I am so narrow on top, and so wide at the hips that this, combined with the weight of the dress, meant it just kept slipping down. If I had something up top to keep the dress up, we wouldn't have had half the struggle we did. 

The dress was amazing. I felt so special. I have never been a centre of attention, 'girly-girl'. I spend the majority of my time in jeans. But this dress made me feel beautiful. And that me and my mum made it was one of the most special aspects of the day.

Photo (c) Karina Westermann 

Photo (c) Andy Allan 

Photo (c) Andy Allan 

Finally some images of the amazing Brora Black Shawl that one of my very closest friends knitted for the day. This was a massive (massive!) task, and made me cry all over the place when I saw it. A pattern designed for yarn spun in a woollen mill my granny worked at, with a tree motif that reminds me of the trees around Dunrobin Castle, and a pattern both my grannies recognised - this was truly a special gift and heirloom.

Photo (c) Karina Westermann 

Photo (c) Karina Westermann 

Photo (c) Karina Westermann

And a final note; do not iron your handmade veil with a hot iron 2 days before your wedding and burn a bloody great hole in it in about a nano-second!! fortunately it was only the bottom 3 inches of one of the layers, so I took the scissors to it and shortened it quickly, glad in myself that I was too lazy to finish the edges of the veil and just left them free-cut.