Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pre Christmas Surgery

Before we talk about the surgery I have to say that the day after I came home from the hospital Gary brought Noah home from Skidmore and the Alex and Noah went out looking for a tree. When they couldn't find any for sale they went into our woods and cut one. I think it is beautiful and can't wait for them to decorate it today! Such a delicate tree! I loved that they did this together. I love that they are not squabbling as much as they used to. I love that they are home for Christmas!!

Well, I did it...I actually volunteered for this surgery. I know, hard to believe. But the alternative was to never lift anything over 10 pounds forever. The last two surgeries had left a bit of a mess and a very wide scar and 4 separate hernias so not knowing really what I was getting into I went to the hospital and they accessed my port (soooo easy) and said that surgery would probably be about 45 min and that I could probably go home after. Yeah... The surgery became a bit complicated with adhesions, took over 2 hours and I stayed in the hospital for 5 days. So much for Christmas! Here I am after the surgeon took out half the staples, battered, bruised and swollen but recovering. I can now get in and out of bed by myself!! Oh, did I mention that I do not have a belly button?? Weird. And the gauze is over where they had a drain which is still a little messy. So in two weeks he will recheck and if the swelling isn't down we will do a CT scan and aspirate. Doesn't sound like fun so I'm hoping my body knows what to do. Meanwhile I'm not to do much except order everyone around! hahahaha... I actually pretty much finished my shopping early and I'm making Gary wrap. And I'll go with him to get some stocking stuffs and that's it! I'm done!
So hoping everyone has a wonderful Christmas with loved ones!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Unexpected Friendships!

I got a gift in the mail this morning. Should have gotten it yesterday but I never got the mail out of the box because I had to go to Gary's Christmas party for work. The story is that I sold a neck cuff and a scarf on Etsy and mailed out the wrong neck cuff. I sent an apology along with a return envelope and when my gracious customer sent it back to me she included these lovely earrings by . Just wanted everyone to know that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Etsyland and Shea is the best customer! I was moved to tears by her unexpected generosity...

Nice too because tomorrow is the anniversary for my diagnosis and I'm a little freaked out by this. Trying not to dwell on it too much but to have a year already gone is, well, scary. But all I can do is keep on going. And my sister, Faith, said yes to our driving across country adventure next I have long-term plans and lots of weaving ideas for this winter! Now off to vacuum and put up some Christmas decorations and get that package for Adam and Alicia ready for the mail and package up cookies for gifts! Oh yeah, and wrap the presents I've already bought for the guys...I really do love Christmas...but can I just have a cleaning service??? Would that be TOO MUCH to ask???

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday Morning Routine

Duke eating Dommie's hay...

Dommie after chasing Duke away from Duke's hay...
Milk house door...

Well, no new life insights this morning...just doing Gary's chores on Tuesday because he always leaves before 7 am on I'm in charge of fires, feeding horses, barn kitty and birds. Nice that they are all grateful for this! So I hugged everyone except the birds and now I'm thinking about baking to stay near the woodburning stove in the kitchen! The snow is gorgeous and fluffy--like being in a snow globe. I'm feeling quite content!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Button Day with Mary Harding!!!!

I had a fabulous day yesterday over at Mary Harding's studio! She is a clay artist as well as a beader (see her shop on Etsy! She makes gorgeous pendants and toggles imprinted with wildflowers and weeds. So beautiful! She showed me how to make a mold out of this plastic stuff and when it was still soft I pushed a button into it. When I took the button out I had a mold for clay! My buttons are not ready yet because I have to sand them and then glaze them and somewhere along the line they have to be fired...maybe even twice...I'm unclear about that part and I have to go back to find out. I had a blast working with Mary!

Halfway through the day we were talking about metal and she started me stamping on copper and hammering copper. YES! Something to get my aggression out! I happily hammered all the rest of the day, flattening out copper washers and putting my kid's names on them! HA! You probably didn't know I was aggressive! Or had anger issues! Just ask Gary! Mean, too, sometimes! So here is a skill I can use to get all that stuff out! We made a list of tools I would need to do this at home and I'm giving it to my Santa.

Mary, what can I say? It was a wonderful day! Oh, did I mention that she fed us egg rolls? Yummmm....

(Mary on the left--me on the right!)

The view outside her studio barn

The purple stuff is the plastic mold

The clay buttons when they were drying

My favorite button!

The detail was really amazing!

And finally the copper! I can't wait to get tools!!!!!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things I'm Thankful for...

I am thankful for my Life

Family--my Mom still calls me and mostly makes sense at almost 90, my husband supports my weaving career even when it isn't making any money, 3 amazing sons and one wonderful daughter-in-law (YAY)--even from Hawaii, Adam calls usually once a week just to chat, Alex lives at home and always manages to make me laugh, Noah is home for Thanksgiving from his first year at college and I love his energy, his willingness to tackle anything--like pies today! My 4 Sisters--Maureen who always checks in with me by phone, Faith who might drive cross country with me on an adventure--more later! Eileen my nurse who also checks in and Meg the youngest female and my facebook buddy. And my three brothers, Paul--guitar playing, singing, older brother, Kevin just a little bit younger than me and handicapped from a birthing accident, and Stephen, youngest and wonderful.

Music--when I need to be transported--when I even need to cry. And harmonizing with Faith, Meg, Paul and Gary during our joint vacation is simply and always a moving experience.

Friends--I've seen friends from my childhood during this year--now women and somehow still the same girls I knew. I have been touched by friends and acquaintances during my illness who have called, sent cards, made dinners, and just came and sat with me. I even have a friend who helps me weave when I get too far behind!

Dommie--my 19 yo healing horse...This week at my trainers (Nancey) he has worked harder than I thought he could--oh and I have also! And for the past several months just softly riding in the fields and woods has done more for me than medicine and doctors. He has plenty of energy but a sweet disposition, lovely manners, nuzzles your hand, your hair, nickers when you come in the barn. sigh.

My weaving--my weaving brings me sanity and a chance to create and a sense of accomplishment, which I need to be whole. Picture is what passes for my living room--hahahaha

A Clear CAT Scan--what can I say about this! The best gift of all...

Last December after my diagnosis of pancreatic cancer I met with my surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering and he was measuring my life in months...After the surgery he gave a prognosis of 2 years. I am happy to wake up every morning and determined to live more fully. Determined to be more open, determined to let courage trump my fears (though not quite ready to fly yet).

I am making long-term plans. One plan is to drive cross-country to visit my friend Linda on Whitby Island, WA. I have asked my sister, Faith, to go with me and she is considering it! We will be going on the cheap--staying in State parks when possible, buying food in grocery stores. Sooooo something BIG to look forward to!
Happy Thanksgiving All!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Towels

Designing my towels on the warping mill.

Winding my warp

The first striped towel

And a plaid towel

Now only 14 more to go...I need to hire someone to weave because I have so many ideas in my head and not enough time in my day.

Enjoy the weekend!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Fabulous Weekend!!

The weather has been amazing here--in the high 50s during the day and I have been riding, riding, riding! Dommie is full of beans since I've been working him and a little feisty out in the field because he wants to RUN! I keep reminding him that I'm an old lady...Next Friday we are off to my trainer's barn with the two horses for a week of lessons! I have a friend who will ride Duke. I can't wait. I'm so excited. We did this last November but I was ill and didn't realize how sick I really was! But this November I have some energy so it should be wonderful to really work! And in her indoor arena Dommie settles down...I was riding the other day with another friend and she looked at me and asked me why I carried a crop...ha ha ha...She told me she didn't think I needed it for speed! Actually I just need it to move his butt over occasionally...Now if only I could get him skinny enough for my dressage saddle...I can see from the pictures that my legs are too far forward...hmmm, lots of things to work on next week!

I've got my student coming this morning so I'm off to put on another towel warp and thread the warp I've got on for scarves!

Our 22nd wedding anniversary! Out to dinner, bottle of wine, home to a movie...ahhhh...

Here's to a great week!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Towels are Done!!

The towels are still attached to the loom and my house is not long enough to stretch out the material without doubling it back!

Hemmed, pressed and folded towels

Yay! Finished my towels--turns out there was enough warp for 16 of them so it's a good thing I like 'em! Happy crayon colors! Even though I really copied the colors from napkins in the Yarn Barn catalog I am pleased with them. I don't usually do that but the colors just called to me. I needed something bright and cheerful to work on. And today is our wedding anniversary--22 years! YAY! Gary woke up this morning and said "Well, 22 years of wedded bliss!" I said, "Wedded BLISS???" He said, "Well, hmmm, we made it 22 years and alot of it was good!?" Oh yeah, gotta love him! AND he is really my rock--I think he is the nicest guy in the world...I, however, am not always so nice. Oh well, I'm working on it!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Towels and Counting Problems!

I recently received a new catalog in the mail from the Yarn Barn in Kansas and saw a wonderful towel kit advertised. I loved the color mix and since I have tons of cones of cotton I knew I could make this one without the kit using a broken twill threading...
Somewhere along the line my brain stopped counting threads. What was supposed to be 4 equal colored 4" stripes with smaller inch stripes between them turned out to be 3 equal stripes and one not so equal...hmmm...chemo brain still with me?? or is it just that I haven't woven towels in a while preferring to design scarves?? Well, I have 12 towels to weave off and can't really fix that red/pink stripe. I know, that orange stripe looks skinny too but is 4" really! Sooooo I guess I will be using these towels for gifts and hope that the recipients like them anyway! I still like the colors and the texture is fabulous even though I haven't taken any off the loom and washed them yet. And, hey, we all make mistakes, right??
xo Cait

Monday, September 27, 2010

Old Friends and New Friends

This summer I had a visit from a high school friend who I hadn't seen since we graduated in 1967. Here's Maggi looking exactly as she did then! We have been friends since we were in 5th grade and I have tons of great memories of our high school days together. She and her husband came on their boat from Michigan and stopped in Ogdensburg on the St. Lawrence and I drove up and snagged her for a whole day! Sometimes having had a terrible disease can give you a gift you wouldn't have had otherwise...

Ahhhh, Linda! We were juniors in Greenwich HS together and inseparable! Then she moved to Danbury and we continued to see each other into our late 20s. But now she lives on Whidbey Island off the coast of Washington state...and we only have our Christmas letters once a year. However, this year she was attending a family reunion on the Cape so she flew out to Syracuse, rented a car and drove three hours up to see me. Amazing. AND Linda is a weaver (see the tunic I'm wearing???? a gift from her!). We spent two days weaving triangles and shopping for yarn and talking and talking--some wine and tears! It was so hard to let her go. But such a gift of reconnecting!

Then I taught a triangle class in my kitchen. And met these wonderful ladies from Fishers Landing (1 1/2 hrs away!) They spent the day weaving and listening to music and I loved every minute of it! What a treat! From left to right, Pam, Anna, Joan, and Ronnie! So new friends and old friends and a life so worth living!

xo Cait

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Another Good-bye...

Saying good-bye to Noah...sigh...he has been with me all year but I know I can't keep him. Here we are at Skidmore College dropping him off after the wedding. So I said goodbye to my oldest and youngest all in one day.'s a good thing Alex moved back home for the year so he could afford to go to Clarkson Univ. which is right in town. Alex has never been the only one home because he is the middle child so it's going to be interesting. I guess I'm not ready for empty nest yet...

On another note I have a triangle weaving class shaping up for Sept 20 which will be fun and a friend from high school is flying into Syracuse on the 15th for a couple of days to visit and I haven't seen her in at least 30 years! So new things to look forward to!
xo Cait

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Wedding!!!!

My Adam and Alicia got married on Sunday, September 5, 2010. I am so grateful to have made it this far! Of course this was the most beautiful wedding ever! The bride was radiant and the groom cried (and his mother, and her mother, and his stepfather, and his dad!). phew...very emotional. The dress had crystals all over the top and was amazingly simple and gorgeous! The tropical colors were wonderful! You can see a shawl I made over Alicia's chair during the reception. I used her colors though I didn't really see them until the wedding--just descriptions. But it worked...even had a tiny bit of lime in it!

Noah played the violin for them and we all cried again. sigh...lovely! I don't know where the time has gone...We said goodbye to all on Monday morning and took Noah to Skidmore for his first year of college. So hard to say goodbye to both Adam and Noah. And I hadn't seen Alicia since they moved to Hawaii more than 2 years ago. But now I have a daughter! YAY! And Alex has moved back home to save money while attending Clarkson U. I don't know if I am ready for empty nest!
I just finished my last chemo this morning...I think I feel good about that...sort of mixed...I'm glad to be done but feel a little scared to be on my own. I'm trying to change the host (me) with changing my diet, exercising (ok, I haven't actually started that yet), thinking different thoughts and letting go of resentment and anger, etc. (not too successful at that yet, either) so we will see and meanwhile I will cherish my life and my loved ones.
xo Cait

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sister's Day!

Drove to Burlington, VT on Thursday to meet up with my sisters. They drove up from points south (Ct, MA, NH) and met me at our motel. I haven't seen 3 of them since I was very sick in January and staying at my Mom's. What a difference a couple of months make!!!! From left to right: Eileen, Meg, me, Faith, Maureen. We walked downtown and shopped, bought gifts, tried on clothes. I was going to buy a dress for Adam's wedding but Faith brought up a couple of dresses for me to try on and I fell in love with one so I'm borrowing it! We also exchange gifts at Sister's Day and that was fun! After lunch and shopping we went back to the motel and had some wine, lots of talk, ordered a pizza and talked until I fell asleep. The next morning we had breakfast at the motel, packed up, and went to lunch. I know it seems like all we do is eat but hours passed while we talked, honest! After lunch we sat in Meg's car and talked some more. Finally I said goodbye and drove off leaving all of them to drive together. I know they solved all my problems on their way home! :) I should have snagged a sister to drive with.

A snapshot when I boarded the ferry crossing Lake Champlain into NY.
A windmill farm though I was taking the picture out my window driving and you can't really get the huge scope of these from my pics!

I'm off to chemo this morning starting my 5th round! YAY! I'm bringing my knitting!
xo Cait

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Flirt" a dress scarf!

Picking out threads and gathering colors for the new very pink dress scarf. Many are hand dyed by me and some are commercial knitting yarns. Yummy, yummy, yummy! I love the start of a new scarf!

Measuring the yarns and arranging order on my warping mill and a picture of the actual weaving.

YAY, finished scarf and ready to load onto Etsy for sale! Hopefully today but if not I will do it Saturday.

A closeup of the scarf.

I'm off tomorrow driving to Burlington, VT to meet my four sisters for what we call a "Sister's Day!" We try to get together at least once a year for this though it usually is not an overnight--sometimes just a brunch when I can travel to see them. Burlington is one of my favorite places and I need to shop for a dress for Adam and Alicia's (oldest son and his wonderful woman!) wedding. And sisters are wonderful for shopping! So we will meet, shop, eat, (swim?) stay overnight, shop some more and I will hug them goodbye and drive back on Friday. I haven't seen 3 of them since I was recovering at my Mom's house in January. phew...glad that is done! So I'm looking forward to being able to enjoy life with them once more!!!!!!! Sisters are the BEST!
xo Cait