fiber diva

This is the chronicle of one woman's forays into knitting, crocheting, spinning, embroidery, papercrafts, and whatever else catches my fancy at any given time. Oh, and I talk about my cats a lot, too.

Monday, November 08, 2010

asking for help getting the word out about a free cancer-information website

I'm sending out a request for everyone to visit my non-profit organization' s (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) website at Please also pass the link along to anyone who might be interested. NCCN's mission is improving care for patients with cancer, mostly by working with doctors, but now we also have a website devoted to patients, caregivers, and their families. The website includes articles on preventing cancer, getting screened, living with cancer, and helping a loved one who has cancer. We have also translated the same professional guidelines most oncologists use into patient-friendly versions (http://www.nccn. com/patient- guidelines. html). (More about NCCN: http://www.nccn. com/about- nccn.html.) We need to increase our visitor numbers by the end of November to ensure that we keep getting support for the site. All the info on is free, and no registration is required. So if you are interested in cancer---preventing , screening, because you know someone with cancer, etc---you can find a lot of good information there. I'm also happy to get comments or suggestions. You can email me (kaceditorial@ or use the "contact us" page http://www.nccn. com/contact- us.html. (I get the comments marked General or Editorial; others go to other departments here.)

Monday, March 01, 2010


Astonishingly, after almost 9 months, I find I have nothing to say right now. Perhaps I'll post some pictures from one of our snowstorms this winter instead.

These are pictures from around my development, taken with my old digital camera, rather than the snazzy new one I received for Christmas. But it was still snowing when I took these and the new camera is still too new and precious to risk in the temperature changes and damp. In fact, in the view of the pond in the first picture, the blurring on the right side is actually the edge of the plastic bag I had partially wrapped around the camera to protect it.

Sure, it's pretty, but I have to tell you---I'm about ready for spring!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My first almost plane crash (I think)

A couple of weeks ago, just days after two fatal plane crashes took some 16 lives, I had what I think might have been my first (hopefully only?) almost plane crash.

The funny thing is that although I'm not a courageous person---I know what phobias feel like and I have an intimate relationship with anxiety---I'm usually an ok flier. I don't know why, really. I don't like heights, and I have an active bridge phobia (heights over water, shudder). My usual response to anyone asking if I'm tempted to skydive is to wonder why anyone would jump out of a perfectly good plane. ("So, wait, the plane was up in the air, and it *wasn't* on fire? Was there smoke? A poisonous snake? No? You just decided to jump out of it. Into an empty field? Was there at least free cake in the field? No? Just wanted to jump out of the plane? . . . well, ok then.")

Don't get me wrong---I like being a coward. I figure it's safer this way. But I'm also glad that my tendency to overthink and over-worry has never managed to shake my blind faith that flying is still the safest way to travel. Other than a little concern during take-off, I just assume that the turbulence that always seems to hit just as I'm using the lavoratory isn't serious. It's just God's little way of reminding me that no matter how dignified I think I'm becoming as I age, it's always possible to die on a toilet.

But on my last trip, I had what I really think was a near-miss. Coworkers and I were flying into Providence, RI, for a business meeting/dinner. It was a blustery day and the pilot had warned us that the seatbelt sign would stay on. I appreciate those warnings, because then I am pretty much unconcerned when it is, in fact, pretty darn bumpy.

We were close to landing, about 500 feet off the ground. The turbulence was getting worse, but I was continuing to be unconcerned (the pilot said it was going to be bumpy; clearly, he knew what he was talking about). Further I (oddly enough) tend not to worry about landings. Yeah, it's silly, but I always figure that the closer I am to the ground is that much less far to fall should an engine or two fall off the plane. ("Denial"---it's not just for excusing bad dates.) I was contentedly working on the Sudoku in the airline magazine, when suddenly I visited my next-seat neighbor's lap a bit more vigorously than was, strictly speaking, polite. I would have apologized, but before I knew what was happening, we'd swung the other way and he was practically sitting in my lap.

The plane immediately started to ascend again, which was my first indication that what just happened wasn't a simple bump! According to my co-worker who'd been looking out the window, the left wing dipped down and then flipped up almost immediately and he thought we were going to flip over. "Well, we almost bought the farm just there," was his response. (And so intent was my denial that I spend a second trying to figure out why he'd be shopping for farms out an airplane window before I realized what he was telling me.) The pilot came on shortly and noted that we'd had "a bit of an unsafe situation there" as it had gotten "a little gusty" and so we were going to circle around and try it again.

Happily, the second landing, and the trip home, went without incident. I still think flying is the safest way to travel. I'm just hoping my next plane trip agrees!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

digging out and coming around

Ok, so what does one talk about on a blog after being incommunicado for almost 9 months? No, I didn't have a baby.

I did have a pretty interesting holiday season, though, with something of a "perfect storm" of stressful tasks, as work, family, and health issues all seemed to come around at the same time! But I shouldn't complain; I'd rather have too many tasks than not enough, and I know how many people are dealing with the challenges of too much time on their hands these days!

Now that I'm getting through the worst of the frantic-ness, though, I'm finally managing to both think ahead and look back to catch up on what I have not been doing these past months. And that paradox of looking ahead and behind at the same time (or would you call that schizophrenia ;-) explains my day, part of which I spent on a teleconference looking at ways to bring the journal I work on into the cutting-edge future of digital and online publishing.

And now I'm trying to catch up with this blog, and with some e-mails I've been owing people. But my greatest catch-up effort of the day was this morning---I took my cats to the vet. All of them. All three cats. All three cats, who weigh 11, 13.5, and 19.5 lbs, respectively (not counting the cat carriers. . . that they each need their own separate one of), to the vet.

Happily, I had help in the form of my niece, who's great with animals. Though don't ask for a recommendation from my kittys for her. They're a little angry with her at the moment. Also happily, they are all pretty healthy girls. Unhappily, though, I'm apparently not the only one in the household who could stand to lose a few pounds.

Course, I could just try to get them into the cat carriers every day. Chasing each other around the house ought to be enough exercise for all of us!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

To Frog or Not to Frog

To frog, or not to frog, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the doubts and questions over whether a project is going to disappoint, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and uncertaintly and by thus opposing (or at least, by yanking the needle out of the live stitches) end them.
That is the question.
At least, that is the question I'm currently facing about my scarf. This is listed as the "Noro striped scarf" on ravelry, but I've been calling the the Brooklyn Tweed scarf. Except I've been making mine with Jojoland Melody that I bought at Maryland Sheep & Wool festival (I've totally forgotten at which booth).

Although the yarn is a fingering weight rather than the usual Silk Garden light worsted, the problem isn't the yarn. (Isn't SG a light worsted? I know it's a bit finer than Kureyon, but I don't think it's sport, exactly.) In fact, I'm loving the yarn, which as you can see from the picture is a beautiful variegated, and, which you probably can't tell from the picture, a lovely soft merino wool.
I'm just not loving how it's coming out. The stiches look uneven to me; the sides are definitely wobbly, and although I love each yarn color individually, I find myself underwhelmed by the total effect.
And since I do love how the last Jojoland project turned out, the Autumn shawl made with Rythym (pattern and yarn bought at the Pottstown Knit out in January), let's just say that my disappointment is accentuated.
Here, because I'm proud of it and want to show it off, is the shawl in progress.
And here it is finished:
and detail of the entrelac
Course the other great thing about this shawl is that it might be the first thing I've ever made that I didn't rip out and re-do at least twice.
Which brings me back to the essential question---to frog or not to frog. Maybe I just need different colors, with more contrast. Maybe I need smaller needles. Maybe I'm just tired of scarves.
And if I do frog, what am I going to do with 4 oddballs of fingering weight yarn? (fair isle socks?....hmmm) So I'm torn.
On the positive side, I'm choosing to see this not as my knitting playing up my indecisiveness and self-doubt, but as my knitting giving me another wonderful opportunity to practice making decisions on something that I'll probably enjoy either way!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Having a "delicate" week

A friend of mine at work recently introduced me to the term "delicate week," which she explained as one of those weeks in which nothing seems to be going well, so that by about mid-week, even when things go ok, your paranoid little brain twists it around so that you feel like it didn't go well anyway. And so, despite surviving a difficult meeting that I'd been dreading for at least a month and that in the words of my boss's boss, "couldn't have gone better" I find myself unable to really relax.

Not helped by the fact that I gave blood this morning and had a really unpleasant experience. I give blood pretty much every 2 months, when I'm eligible again. Although I have, on the odd occasion, had to have my hemocrit checked a second time (I was deferred once---but that was when I was on the "modified Trappist monk" [0 fat] diet in prep for my gall bladder surgery, and I wasn't paying enough attention to getting iron), I'm not usually freaked out by the experience, and I don't usually have any trouble.

Today I was freaked out, though. First there was some kind of problem with my hemoglobin the first time they checked in (requiring a second finger stick), then the worker there accidentally "deferred" me because of my asthma (not usually a problem as long as I'm breathing ok that day, which I was). So by the time I was laying on the cot and I started hearing that the woman next to me had them miss her vein and have to get someone else over to try again, I was starting to freak a little. Unfortunately, I didn't take my own usual advice and let them know that I was having a rough time.

The situation was not helped by the attitude of the worker taking my blood, which started out bored and uncaring, merged into sullen silence, took a little detour to outright unfriendly, and finally circled back to muttering instructions at a point just past my left shoulder because making eye contact was apparently more than she had energy for. She never stopped back to check if I was doing ok---and maybe that's as well, because there were a couple of points where I was debating asking them to take the needle out and let me leave. of course I didn't stay in the canteen very long and then noticed, as I was driving off to run my weekend errands, that the little square of bandage over the site had a patch of red...that was expanding. Now I'm not a nurse, but I kinda take the spreading red patch as a bad thing. I'm also not usually upset by the sight of blood, but, perhaps because of the "delicate week" thing, I was again quietly freaking out as I figured out where to turn around while steering with my bleeding left arm so that I could use my right arm to apply a napkin and pressure.

By the time I got back there, the bleeding had stopped again, but I did want them
give me a new bandage, since I didn't want to freak out the other shoppers or, well, frankly, myself again.

And the good news---I'm using my "delicate week" and that experience to justify going to Micheal's and using a 25% off coupon sent me by a friend (thanks, Pat!) to buy makings for more stitch markers. Because nothing says "it's ok; you're ok; next week will be better" better than shiny, sparkly jewelry for my knitting! (Ok, sure, yes there are things that would cheer me up faster and more, but I really shouldn't have a huge ice cream sundae, Gerard Butler continues *not* to call, and I can actually afford sparkly jewelry for my knitting ;-).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The luck of the Irish, and what's luck, if you can't push it?

So, a friend and I are taking a little stroll around a local mall one Saturday at the end of February. Neither of us had anything in particular we were looking to purchase. In fact, we were only in the mall because we wanted to get out of our respective houses, have a little chat, and stretch our legs, and the weather was lousy. It was the kind of cold, rainy day one might expect to experience in February in New Jersey, and it probably wouldn't even be memorable but for the counterpoint it provided to the Saturday before, which had freakish, Twilight-Zone--like almost-70-degree warmth.

But, normal for February or not, it was the kind of day we did not want to spend strolling outside around the little lake-side park we usually circle, no matter how charmingly the surrounding houses were still decorated for Valentine's day.

There's probably a good reason that no poet to date has written, "the mall was lovely, dark and deep..." but we were still enjoying ourselves when we happened upon a card store. That's right, a greeting card store. A beautiful, well-stocked, nicely lit greeting card store. Very much, in fact, like the beautiful, well-stocked, nicely lit greeting card store in which I bought my ill-fated Valentine's day cards.

Now, anyone who knows me knows how much I love a card store (card/stationary stores, book stores, yarn/craft stores, and any place I may find an obscure DVD starring Hugh Jackman...or Gerard Butler). They're like Alice's rabbit hole for me. Seriously---once I'm in, I forget there is an outside world, and heaven knows when/if I'm ever coming out.

But I've just lived through the debacle of the found-too-late, unsent, now-put-away-till-next-year-so-who-knows-if-I'll-ever-find-them-again Valentine's cards, so I'm sure I'm not going to make that mistake again. I have, in fact, pretty much vowed (and not for the first time) that I'm not going to buy cards a month in advance anymore, cause I always put them somewhere "safe" and then forget that I bought them, let alone where I put them. So I'm sure I'm not going to make that mistake again. So I'm safe. Even if I go into the beautiful, well-stocked, nicely lit greeting card store, I'm really pretty sure I'm not going to make that mistake again.

I know what you're thinking. You're laughing at me. You're thinking, "No, no, don't do it! Don't go in! It's the end of February, for heaven's sake. The next holidays are St. Patrick's day and Easter! And they're both *weeks* away! You won't remember where the cards are---you never remember where the cards are!"

I hear you. In fact, the little voice inside my head was saying much the same thing. (Someday I'll write about my love-rebellious relationship with the little voice, but....not today!) Unfortunately, though, my friend did not hear you, or the the little voice. And of course, I'm useless when it comes to resisting temptation. So when my friend said, all innocence, "ooh, a card store; I need to get a birthday card, mind if we go in?" my only response was, "not at all; I love card stores."

You can probably guess the next part of the story. Yes, I did buy St. Patrick's Day cards. I even bought Easter cards! Because, as the title of the story goes, what's luck, if you can't push it?

But this story has a surprise ending---I did remember that I bought cards. I even remembered to send the St. Patrick's Day cards (with stickers...I mentioned my, uh, child-like love for stickers, haven't I?). And I haven't forgotten the Easter let's see if I actually get any written and sent out!

And for anyone reading that I didn't get to, Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!