Happy Hanukkah to Me

I’ve been working hard to catch up on cleaning since finishing up the semester, so knitting has gone a bit by the wayside. Onesie number one still needs buttons and blocking and I’m only about halfway through onesie number two. 

Since I have a few balls leftover from making our wedding shawl, the second onesie is being knit in the same rainbow yarn. Kara wants a belt so we can all have something rainbow as a family. I want her to find a cool buckle, then I’ll knit something in either seed or linen stitch. 

The top half of a sleeveless, rainbow baby onesie, still on the needles
We went down to Maryland to see my family for Hanukkah. Since the group of people who know about future baby is small, I didn’t bring my knitting. I did, however, get a fancy new yarn bowl — it has a black sheep on the back! — and some handspun, hand dyed yarn from a farm local to my hometown. What can I say? My mom is basically the best. 

Since she’s Christian and dresses up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus with my stepdad every September, I made her an apron out of a $2 dish towel and $1 buttondown that I found at the local thrift store. My stitches are sloppy, but that’s to be expected from a procrastinator like me. 

A handmade apron with an image of Santa and a sugar cookie recipe, trimmed with a red and white plaid fabricA wound ball of two ply wool yarn, in an autumnal colorway featuring reds, rust oranges, olive, slate, and navy. Rainbow yarn in a blue and brown glazed yarn bowl. There are tiny sheep across the center band of the bowl.
I think I’m going to make a chulo with my new yarn. It just seems right for the handspun feel, the colors, and the more rugged texture of the yarn. Besides, I’ve been needing a way to keep my ears warm since Kara took my old earflap hat. While traditionally chulos are made with color work to create a thicker, denser fabric that stands up to the cold weather in the Andes, I may opt for a cabled version. Yarn this beautiful deserves to be shown off without other colors to distract from it. 

A Year in Review

I was going to delete this account to save money because, well, I’ve obviously been pretty inactive. But, the auto renew date came and went, and I couldn’t do it. So, here we are. A lot has happened in the past year, though. Care to catch up?

Shortly after my last post, I found Kush a home. He’s living in a kinky, queer, and poly household of people who dote on him, which is better than I could have ever dreamed. I see his new mom every once in a while at events, but I honestly haven’t had the time or energy to stay active in the scene. She keeps me updated, though. Kush has gotten huge!

Kush in the car before his neuter appointment last yearKush laying on the bed now
Our own little one, Coralee, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in June. She had been coughing a lot, which we chalked up to allergies until it was disrupting her ability to sleep. The emergency vet gave us the bad news. Since she’s older– between 15 and 16 now– and the heart failure is coupled with a valve disorder, they guesstimated another 8-10 months on medication. Five months in, while a lot sleepier than before, Coralee is still going strong. 

In a weird coincidence, I had scheduled an appointment with my tattoo artist a couple weeks earlier to get a rib tattoo of her face. The first appointment was only three days after Coralee’s diagnosis and I sat for eight hours over two sessions. The experience of memorializing a family member that has been so important to my life while I was struggling to find ways to mourn her diagnosis was incredibly cathartic.

Now, I find comfort in giving Coralee the best end of life that I can and in knowing that I’ll have her likeness at my side forever. 

A semi realistic tattoo of Coralee's face on my left sideCoralee lying on a small, white mat by the bed, looking up at the camera
Before that, I got three other tattoos: one is a bicep tattoo of the Star Trek comm badge, cross stitched, with the text, “Make it sew,” underneath. I eventually want to have a full crafting, science fiction, and pun sleeve, so this is a good start. 

I decided to get the other two when I started considering using a cane. My disability, Charcot Marie Tooth syndrome, is a progressive neuromuscular disorder that affects the way my brain communicates with the rest of my body. Since the axons for the nerves going to my feet are longer than, say, the nerves going to my face, my ability to walk is severely compromised and will continue to get worse as time goes on. While some tests are being run on mice to halt progression of similar disorders, there is currently no real treatment beyond, “Maybe exercise a lot?” So, I’m using a cane now and considering talking to a doctor about getting a wheelchair prescription as soon as I get back on insurance. 

To simultaneously poke fun at my disability and cement my crip identity, I got a wing on each ankle. An allusion to Mercury’s winged sandals, symbols of speed and flight, my wings have attained the perfect level of irony. As an added bonus, they make able bodied folks who ask why I have them super uncomfortable. 

Side note: my ankle tattoos have been the most painful by far. People talk smack on rib tattoos, but they don’t compare to ankles in the slightest. I can’t even imagine what they’re like for people with full feeling in their extremities. 

A cross stitched Star Trek bicep tattoo with the words,
A blue wing ankle tattoo, still inflamed from the needles
What else…? I went back to school! I already have my BA in Spanish Literature, but I decided to go back to school to study engineering. While I’m great at math and science, though, being in school full time at the same time as the wife is really hard on both of us. I found myself starting strong, then losing motivation as soon as big life events happened. As a crippled Jewish dyke, the Pulse shooting and election of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named have hit hard. I managed to slug through my summer classes just fine, but it was near impossible to keep up with my fall courseload and retain my sanity when I accidentally found out my only professor was a republican who doesn’t believe in oppression. 

I’ll be taking the spring semester off because of an amalgam of reasons and maybe I’ll go back. I really, really do love engineering as a discipline. But… the wife made an interesting proposition:

She noticed that a) I’m way happier and less stressed when I’m working part time and staying home and, b) I’m super good with kids. When she graduates from her dual masters’ program in May next year and gets a benefitted, salaried job, we’ve decided to start trying for a baby. She’ll (temporarily) go off of her hormones and I’ll have my IUD removed. It will take a while for her to be fertile again, but this is a huge, exciting chapter of our life. Even though I want to make it a surprise for others when we confirm a pregnancy, it’s hard not to tell everyone I talk to. 

In order to burn away some of the baby fever, I’m knitting baby clothes for another lesbian couple that we know who are trying to conceive (like us, one of the wives is going off hormones while they try). The fever seems inescapable, however. I keep sending the wife breastfeeding, labor, and other logistics information and she keeps telling me about all of the queer mommy blogs she’s following. If it weren’t for our need of a medical professional to remove my IUD, I’m sure we would already be trying for a baby. Still, it’s pretty nice to practice until then. 

Since this post doesn’t have nearly enough knitting in it, here’s a picture of the baby clothes I’m knitting for our friends. I’ll post pattern and yarn details after I sew on buttons, weave in ends, and block the set.