Through the Back Loop

Adventures in knitting, fiber arts, and family.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


I'm dreaming of this:

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A friend of mine from the spinning guild owns a woolen mill, and she called me the other day to tell me that she had heard of a good deal. The wheel is an Ashford, which is what I want for purely sentimental reasons. It will take me back to my year in New Zealand every time I use it. Carol went to the estate sale and picked it up for me (turned out it was in good condition).

The price was fantastic! Now, I'm just waiting to set up a day where I'm not busy running to soccer practice and/or games in Appleton, volleyball games all over the area, or grocery shopping for my in-laws so that I can go and get it.

An update on the in-laws: Mother-in-law FINALLY stabilized this past Sunday and was discharged home. She is not doing well at home, though. She is very confused and has to be told to do everything - including being told to go to the bathroom.

Father-in-law is at home with IV antibiotic treatments. In four to six weeks we will find out if he will need to have surgery or not. He has a 50/50 chance of not having surgery, or having surgery. Doesn't really matter which way you say it in this case! With his emphysema, they are trying to avoid any anesthetic and surgery.

It's a crazy world lately, but I'm still finding time to knit - like at 11:30pm or 6:00 am. EEE GADS!

Sunday, September 25, 2005


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This has kept me sane during the past week. It's a Dale of Norway pattern for my cousin in Germany who is expecting his first child in February. Actually, his wife is expecting the baby, but you know what I mean.

This is the bonnet. The pattern has a "bonnet" for a girl and a "cap" for a boy. The bonnet was too darn cute, that I had to make it. Besides, would it really look bad on a boy? I don't think so. The pattern photo in the book shows the baby with the bonnet... you can make out some of it here with the sweater pieces layed out to show my progress.

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Well.... last Friday (the 16th of Sept.) DH came home from his job up north. His father had been readmitted to the hospital for another round of antibiotic treatments, and they found inflammation around his heart. His mother can't stay home alone, so to keep us together and make sure his mother was taken care of... all four of us packed up to spend the weekend at her place. When we got there... John's mother was showing signs of mini strokes. And at the same time John's kidney stone decided it was going to make it's final painful move. We took both of them to the ER (of the hospital where his father was), but John's pain went away. His mother was admitted and on Saturday (the 17th) she was transferred to a hospital in Milwaukee. On Sunday she had a major stroke. And his father was still in the hospital in Sheboygan. John didn't return to work, and on Monday, things got worse with both parents. It was like they told each other telepathically that they would go together. Each day brought waiting, tests, and few answers about what the future held. John stayed in a hotel in Milwaukee from Monday to Thursday, with only the clothes he had brought home for the weekend. Friday, his father was released from the hospital after the antibiotics had provided NO improvement. They started him on a different antibiotic and he is at home with the IV treatment. He goes in each day to get a new bag. John's mother FINALLY showed some improvement yesterday, and should finally be moved out of ICU in Milwaukee. It has been exhausting. Then, on the day that John and I could spend the day together (both of our girls were invited to sleep-over birthday parties), I got the flu. Throwing up flu. Haven't had it in years, and like John says, you can count on one hand the number of times I've thrown up in the past 15 years. Well yesterday was one of those days.

Today? Well, the oldest daughter has a soccer game in Appleton if the thunder storms go away, and John will head back to our "cabin up north" for the week.

I've finished the sweater, sleeves, and bonnet of the sweater, and I will block it all this afternoon. Then on to the booties....... SANITY!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Give me a Sign

We begged for one during the past year and a half as we completed more than 115 application packets. Which job would he get? Would he get any?

Before an interview, John would sit in his car and ask for a "sign" if this would be the job. Turned out that the sign he wanted was a song. "Play How Far is Heaven if I'm going to get this job," he'd say to the powers that be. Let me see a Buick Rendevous (the car that he would like to buy). Most of the time he was answered by silence. Nothing

At interview number 12, he didn't bother to even ask for a sign. It wouldn't work out, none of the first 11 had, so why should this be any different. Just as he went to turn off the van to go into the building, guess what came on the radio. Yep. Freaked him out. He hadn't heard that song in months. Very strange. Probably a sign, but quite possibly a coincidence.

After the interview (which was the only interview that all four of us went to), we went out to eat. The next day we went home and waited. We waited for over a week without a phone call, and finally John called to see what was going on. The school was letting the school board decide who would get the position in a few days. Two days after that we figured that John wouldn't get the job. We sadly moved through the weekend and Monday I headed back to school. John got ready to work as a sub again, until the phone rang later in the morning and he was offered the job.

He went up there a few days later, spent several days in the Comfort Inn, and found a nice apartment after Labor Day. The next weekend we went up to buy the furnishings for his new apartment. The signs were everywhere. They had actually started before he got the job. John bought a teacher planner to help him with working as a substitute. Turned out that the planner had exactly the right number of class periods that he would be teaching in his new job. He grabbed a book to read from the library that was interesting. The author turned out to be from northern Wisconsin, and her books are based there. Those books appeared in the tourist shops in town. But now that he was settled up in Minocqua, the "powers that be" have kinda been driving him nuts.

Turns out that there is an older German motherly type in his apartment building (John's parents moved here from Germany in 1950) who likes to check in on him from time to time. One of the teachers at his school is a huge St. Louis Ram's fan - she has decorations all over her room. John has been a fan of the Rams since he was 11. But the strangest "signs" came while the girls and I were up there for the weekend.

The first night, I wanted to do some cleaning in the apartment - or the "cabin" as we are calling it. We went to the local grocery store, and at the checkout a girl with a German accent rung everything up. We noticed her name. It was the same as our youngest daughter. Shocking, right? Well hold your hats because the bagger's name was the same as our oldest daughter. FREAKED US OUT! Our girl's names are not that common - Anna and Alicia.

We went out for dinner after working hard furnishing the cabin all day. The restaurant played John's favorite music (The Doobie Brothers) the entire time we were there. Over and over. An entire CD, not a song from the radio. We were shocked. John sat still through it all. Turns out that this has been happening to him every time he turns around. He's gotten his sign. Rendevous are parked at every corner, I heard How Far is Heaven as we talked on the phone minutes before he left for his first day of school. That song has been played almost daily.

The powers that be can take a break.

John is working, he is happy, and we miss him at home. But we know that this was the right decision. We've gotten that message LOUD and CLEAR.

Oh... and the sign that told John the cabin was truly going to be a "home" for him?

He told me, "It won't feel like home until you are sitting in the living room knitting." Well, I aim to please. Now it's a true home!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A Job

My husband.... is the new guidance counselor at Lac du Flambeau Elementary School!

He was offered the job exactly 626 days and 15 minutes after graduating with his Master's Degree. He started on Wednesday, and has loved every minute.

Finally.... the search for a job is over. For now. Turns out that Lac du Flambeau is a three hour drive from our house, so he lives up there during the week and either he comes home on the weekend, or we go up there, once he has found an apartment.

On the knitting news.... the Harry Potter scarf is done, and the first baby sweater is almost done.

I wanted to post pictures now that I'm back at school, but these first weeks back have been a little crazy. Hopefully things will settle down now.