Recently, a friend’s blog had a post with a poem by Mary Oliver which ostensibly was about trees. The last lines of it read,
. . . and you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.” “When I Am Among the Trees” ~ Mary Oliver
I have a thing for Mary Oliver. You will notice two quotes by her in the sidebar to this blog — if your device displays sidebars. They do not strew Pulitzer Prizes about like chicken feed. She won one for poetry, but her work is not effusive, precious, over wrought or “highfalutin.” It does not come out of a circus of academia with trained language that performs tricks and jumps through hoops of “meters” and “poem forms.” Her work is quiet, thoughtful, rooted in nature. It has a Frostian quality, a New Englander plain-spoken-ness that’s bald on the face of it and, at the same time, pithy with meaning. You can take a verse or phrase and chew on it all day. She did with words what Andrew Wyeth did with paint; her work has that same egg-tempera quality of clear, cold north light. (I’ve never been to New England, but I know that light. We have it here in the flatlands. By it you can see things clearly and in fine detail.) She writes poetry for people who don’t like poetry. Reading her work is like a long walk with an old friend. I recommend it.
I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday. My poor skin has been through two rounds of adverse reactions and side-effects of chemotherapy, it’s winter, the humidity has been under 50% for days and days of central heating, and Sunday night was so cold I ran the heating pad for about half an hour at the bottom of my bed to warm up my poor, frigid little tootsies. When I threw back the covers Monday morning, I noticed that the skin around the inside of my ankles and up my shins was having a fit of hysterics. I thought I knew what was going on and smeared some Sween on it, which didn’t help much. Just to be on the safe side, I called the office of that dermatologist my oncologist sent me to last year when we stopped the bendamustine because I nearly got Stevens-Johnson syndrome from it. I lucked out and instead of going to knitting group yesterday afternoon, I got in to see him. Eczema (AKA atopic dermatitis) was the verdict. I was already planning a Walmart run, and I had them send the Rx for triamcinolone cream there. Also he approved of my notion to get some cotton “athletic” high top socks to put on after I’ve slathered on the cream to act as a kind of dressing. I’ve had two applications of the cream, and I’m already seeing improvement.
Mom’s phone came yesterday afternoon, and I was going to fix it all up yesterday evening and take it to her today. Guess again. It has to charge for 24 hours before you can do stuff with it. It’s slightly heavier than mine. I lied. It’s not a Nokia. It’s an “Avid 589.” I’ve ordered an impact case and a screen protector. After while, I’ll get into it. Mostly, it needs to be activated, and her phone numbers put in, and as much of the extraneous stuff taken off as possible — stuff she doesn’t need or would not be interested in. I’ll need to get into the settings and make sure it’s all set up right.
In the knitting news, I’ve started a “kitten hat” for a child — Imagine a manila envelope shape, but instead of the opening flap, it has ribbing all round the edge of the opening. When you put it on, the corners on the bottom of the envelope stick out like kitten ears, because geometry. They’re not as complex as they look. I chose to use two 16-inch needles because I had them to hand.
I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On to cast on 40 pairs of stitches (80 stitches total) onto two 16-inch circular needles. You knit the one side on that needle, and the other side on the other needle, but the yarn goes in a spiral from side to side. (The traditional method is to knit it flat, fold it in half and sew up the sides, but I go seamless whenever possible.)
I could have Magic Looped it with a single 32-inch or 40-inch circular needle, but my magic tuchus didn’t want to get up and go into the other room and get one . . .
One of the more nimble brained among us pointed out that on a swirly hat that swirled to the left, one would want to use a left-leaning decrease (ssk), rather than a right leaning decrease (k2tog). Apologies for the cognitive cropper. Now and again, my thought-into-word converter drops the ball.
I’m using one of the skeins of Caron Simply Soft yarn I got on sale to make another swirl hat, this time using kfb’s instead of yo’s to add the stitches. I’ve got three hats in progress at the moment, and switch from one to the other as I get tired of cables or bored with swirls. One of the things I had to get on my Walmart run was trash bags for various wastebaskets, and I got a box of baggies for the hats.
I make them for Joe Arrington Cancer Center, and they like to have them in baggies with a paper label that tells fiber content and washing instructions. Makes it easy for the Auxillary people to take them round on the snacks cart they use to dispense goodies and drinks in the treatment area if they’re neatly and safely in baggies. I have an appointment with my oncologist in March, and I’ll drop off whatever hats I’ve finished by then.