Monday, November 20, 2006


The holiday season has officially begun, even if the thermometer yesterday read 92 degrees. For me, it doesn't begin with when department stores break out the Christmas trees (sometime around Oct. 21), nor even on the day that KOST-FM starts its all-holiday music format (a few days before Thanksgiving). No, for me, it begins with the all-food, all-wine, all yummy day called Friends Thanksgiving. Oh goodness, this weekend was carb-heavy heaven. We started eating at about 3:00 p.m., and we finally finished dessert around 9:00 p.m. Now, to be sure, there was a long break from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. when we all laid about semi-conscious, only expending energy when USC scored a touchdown.

Good times.

Pictures of the feast to come. For now, here are my first two hats for Stitches from the Heart. On the left is a hat, sized for a newborn, crocheted in TLC Amore. On the right is a preemie-sized hat crocheted in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted. Finishing these two feels good, like I'm providing added meaning for Eliza's life. Definitely more to come.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet

Right now, I am on a quest to see just how long a person can go without sleep before they become certifiably insane. I know that the military has found that someone can stay awake for weeks without developing serious medical problems, but you can develop "dementia or develop permanent personality changes within the first few weeks." I'm really only on about 30 hours or so, but I'm working on it. Woo!

This Saturday is our annual Friends Thanksgiving, a tradition that our group of college friends has had for the last 7-8 years. We get together at someone's house/apartment the weekend before Thanksgiving and go nuts with the food, with just about everyone contributing a dish or two. Here's the menu for this year:

Bacon & Carmelized Onion Tart
Kalamata Olive & Goat Cheese Tapenade
Goat Cheese Stuffed Cherry Tomoatoes

Fennel & Haricot Verts Salad w/Mustard Vinagrette
Brown Butter & Shallot Mashed Potatoes
Molasses Horseradish Sweet Potato Spears
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Ryan & Sara's Famous Cranberry Sauce

Main Course
Cider Brined and Glazed Turkey with Andoullie Cornbread Stuffing and Sage Gravy

Pumpkin Roll
Vanilla Spice Gelato
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Fudgy Chocolate Layer Cake

This all for a total of 8 people. There is going to be so much food, I'll think I've gone to heaven. Aside from the food, I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone. As I've written here before, this year has shown me just how important the love and support of good friends are to me. So, bring on the tryptophan! Maybe I'll finally be able to sleep.

And just because this post is a bit lacking in pictures, here is my handmade item of the day:
Corset Belt from Stitch n Bitch: Happy Hooker
Crocheted in Fiesta Yarns Watermark in Coyote and felted

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

it's a sunshine day!

For the most part, anyway. Of course now, the Dems actually have some power, and have to come up with some real policy, instead of just saying that what the Republicans are doing is wrong. But it would be awfully hard for them to screw up worse than this administration already has. So, in some measure, it can only get better.

Here's an actual knitting update. Last night I finished Eliza's Christmas stocking. It's the cabled stocking from "Handknit Holidays." It turned out exactly as I wanted, and I'm so happy that I made it, but there was something bittersweet about finishing it. Knitting this stocking was something concrete that I felt like I was doing for her, and now it's finished. When I showed it to Richard last night, he just held my hand and said that he knew it was made with a lot of love. And it was.

I guess now, I just have to translate my desire to make things for my daughter into making things for charity, like Stitches from the Heart. When the nurse brought Eliza into me in the hospital, she had a handknit hat on and a handmade blanket wrapped around her. It meant so much to me, and it still does. And I want to provide the same kind of comfort to another mother. So that's what I'm going to do. Anyone want to join me?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dear Abby

Happy November. Not necessarily a phrase that comes naturally, but it means a lot this year. I survived October, which I knew would be a tough month. I just kept telling myslef, "I've just got to bear down and get through October." And I did.

The Preeclampsia Foundation gala was great -- emotional, but reaffirming at the same time. Before dinner was served, they showed a tribute slide show that honored the families that had been affected by this horrible disease. When our photos came up (a photo of Rich & me a month before Eliza died and then a photo of her tiny foot prints), I almost broke down, but I held it together, mostly because of the support I had at the dinner from Richard, and our wonderful friends, Grant & Mel. Seeing the photos and reading the stories of the mothers who passed away was a reality check for me. I've had a hard time accepting that I could have died because of what happened, but seeing those women's photos made it real.

We got to hear from high-level pharaceutical execs who are funding a lot of research -- research that is really very close to finding new diagnostic tests and treatments. It gives me a lot of hope that, while Eliza died from this disease, my future daughters won't have to fear it.

I have more to write about this last weekend, but I should probably try to get some work done today, so I'll leave you with this column from Dear Abby. It articulates just why everyone (in California) needs to vote NO on Prop. 85. Forcing communication within abusive families is NOT pro-life.

DEAR ABBY: I am extremely shaken by a recent experience, and I want to share this with other parents who may one day find themselves in a similar situation. My daughter, "Mary," is almost 18 and in the 12th grade. We have always had a close relationship. She has always come to me to talk about what's going on in her life -- friends, crushes, school, just about everything.

A few months ago, Mary told me about a terrible situation concerning one of her classmates. "Jill" had just learned that she was pregnant and was frantic. She told Mary that she couldn't tell her parents because she was afraid of a violent reaction.

Mary was so worried about Jill that she came to me for help. After hearing the story, I encouraged my daughter to tell Jill to talk to her parents. I never imagined what would happen next.

I knew from things Mary had said that Jill's parents were hard on her, but I didn't know the extent of her problems at home. When Jill took my advice and told her parents she was pregnant, her father beat her so badly she ended up in the hospital and lost the baby.

Abby, you can't imagine how terrible I feel about this. Jill will never be the same, and I feel I am to blame. I wish I had known how to protect her from a dangerous and violent situation at home.

I hope you will share this letter with other concerned parents and give your thoughts on this heart-wrenching problem. -- SHOCKED AND SADDENED IN SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF.

DEAR SHOCKED: Please stop being so hard on yourself. You advised your daughter's friend to do what most other parents would have. What you failed to take into consideration was the fact that many teens live in homes where there is violence, abuse, drug problems and incest.

A year ago here in California, there was an attempt to legislate "parental notification" into law. Fortunately, it was voted down. It's teens like your daughter's friend who would have been harmed by this kind of law. They certainly cannot go to their parents -- and I have never believed that the law can successfully force this kind of communication with the home.

Of course parents want their children -- regardless of age -- to come to them if there is a crisis. And I am told that seven out of 10 teens who find themselves pregnant do exactly that. However, those who don't usually have a good reason for not doing so. Teens like the girl in your letter need counseling and care, not laws forcing them to face abusive parents. I'm glad you wrote to me. Your sad story is a lesson for other well-meaning adults.