That was the year that was. This is the year that is to be. (Oh man, that was brilliant!)

Happy New Year, everyone! Can it really be a year since I last blogged? Well, not exactly-more like 5 months- but it feels like it, so I'm going to summarize my high and low points for 2013:). So much has happened and there have been so many times that I've wanted to pull everything together into a new post, but life got in the way. I will say that with my forays into Facebook since 2009, I have blogged a lot less, mainly because I can stay in touch with many of you on that venue - more quickly and more up to date.  But I still enjoy reading other knitters' blogs and listening to knitting podcasts.  (Only you knitters out there will understand this strange passion we have for the subject.  The rest of you - I can hear you rolling your eyes!!)

2013 was a very eventful year.  My husband, John, started out with a recurrence of the badly deteriorated discs acting up early in the year.  The shots that had worked before no longer did the trick.  His job requires almost 8 full hours on his feet, so he was out for a full three months one month pre-surgery and two months post - and he needed every minute of that it turned out.  So, he had a very serious back surgery - spinal fusion, followed by physical therapy. But he never felt quite right afterwards.  Backing up a bit, one afternoon while I was at work, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital with severe abdominal pain.  The usual diagnostic tests showed nothing particularly interesting, and the ER doc figured it was the nerve pain from sciatica and sent him home with pain meds.  DUH.

Fast forward to six weeks post surgery.  The abdominal pain, which we figured was the result of his surgery could not be ignored. Another 14 hours in another ER, this time in the hospital where he had his back surgery. Luckily THIS ER doc, unlike the first one,  decided to do a contrast study in addition to the CAT scan on his abdomen. Turns out the poor guy had been walking around for TWO SOLID MONTHS with appendicitis - and through a major surgery, mind you.  The appendix was gangrenous and ruptured while he was on the table. Even the surgeon, who like many of his ilk was not prone to hyperbole, said numerous times, "This was bad." Had we not gone to the ER that night, he definitely wouldn't be with us today. And I think that other ER doc would have some 'splainin to do. He still does, IMHO, for failing to use the appropriate diagnostic tools and causing two months of suffering that needn't have happened. But what do I know?  My med mal lawyer brother, Rob, tells me it is highly unusual in men of John's age to get appendicitis, so perhaps it wasn't SOP to inquire further. Yeah right.

So another few weeks of recovery ensued before he could begin physical therapy. Again. He still has medical problems possibly related to all of this, possibly causing all of this and more.  We're still trying to figure out what the main issue is.  In the meantime, he's back to work and just taking a little more care.

In the midst of all this, during the Spring, one of my best friends about whom I've written many times over the years, found out she had cancer in one of her kidneys.  What was supremely unfair about  this was that though diabetic, she was one of the most compliant with her diet, exercise and testing of anyone I know.Aaarrgghh. Good news: she came through the surgery with flying colors and didn't even need chemo! YAY:) Bad news: she will need to be monitored to assure the health of her remaining kidney. Sca-rey!

Over the summer, another one of my best friends had a massive heart attack that turned out to have been a series of three heart attacks over time. Thanks be to God, he is alive and, while not kicking, is also taking care and doing what he needs to do to continue to recover. Thankfully he has not lost his sick sense of humor and ability to needle his friends at a moment's notice.

Oh and not for nothing, my firm almost simultaneously won and then was back-burnered for the state contract we had bid upon.  We're all still working though, so I shouldn't and won't complain.

2013 had its highlights, too.  Knock wood, the kids and grandkids are healthy.  The youngest in law school is doing very well as is the penultimate child in graduate school for anthropology. Our son's acting career has continued to move along.  Our eldest is seeing a light at the end of her tunnel in grad school for her masters in Psychology. She and her husband are juggling graduate school, full-time work and raising three very young children.  Our second oldest continues as a police and fire dispatcher.  She and her husband are raising two lovely daughters.  

I got to play drums at St. Timothy's Mardi Gras celebration and, good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, will do so this year, too, thanks to a good friend who just gave me his son's drums.  (I'll take good care of them!)







Oh, and did I tell you, our daughter got married:)?

Gavigans minus Dan (he had to work and joined us later) plus "LB" and our new daughter-in-law

John, Betsy and I

Ken, John, Jane, yours truly, Kristin, our first-born

Betsy and Robyn were married by two ministers from Robyn's Church at the Quiet Waters State Park in Annapolis, Maryland on Friday, August 23rd, 2013.  Members from both families who could make it came from far and wide to attend.  It was John's sister, Holli's, birthday that day and we were honored that she chose to attend with Betsy's godfather, who also happens to be Holli's husband, Brian:). It was great fun and the kind of joyous occasion to make the tougher aspects of the year fade in comparison.

I found it particularly touching that when Robyn asked one of her ministers if she would preside over the ceremony, instead of getting an instant dogmatic answer, they got a thoughful, prayerful response, saying that they believe that the Holy Spirit was perhaps moving people to think of marriage as possible between members of the same gender.  They ultimately responded with their support and love, something that we all did, whatever our personal feelings on the subject.  Those of you who have read this blog in the past know how I feel about the subject, but not all of our family necessarily agree with me.  But in the end, love won out, as it should have done:). I will always be grateful for the kindness, the love and the support that ALL of our families showed toward Robyn and Betsy, because the world around us won't always do that - and all young couples starting out need the support of their families.

In September, I got together with my former Heartly House co-workers for a fun lunch:) Much to my delight, my friend Pat also knits!!! YIPPEE:) Love when that happens!
It was great getting together with a fabulous group of ladies - we had a lot of catching up to do and boy did we have fun!




Early October John and I celebrated 37 years of marriage.  Hard to imagine those two goofballs got married, had six kids and survived the experience, isn't it? Thankfully my skirts are longer.  I hate to see a grown man cry, LOL!







Later in October, we had a wonderful time visiting Florida, first to celebrate John's sister Jane and her husband Ken's 50th wedding anniversary. Now that's something special.  Funny, I remember that happening only with old people.  Jane and Ken aren't old!:) I've known them since I was a teenager, so they can't be old!:)

Renewing their Vows

Katie, John,moi, Judy

No backing out now!


While we were in Florida, we headed east to see my Dad and Stepmom and my wonderful brother, Chris- and had a lovely time in the sun.

The last weekend in October, first in November, I attended a knitting retreat in the lovely western Merlin retreat center named after Bishop Claggett.  It was a LOT of fun and yes, there was drinking involved. Probably too much. I think as they put me to bed the Mom gene kicked in and I insisted on checking that the door was locked. But what happens at knitting retreat, stays at knitting retreat, so you won't get the rest of that story:).
And yes, Thanksgiving was fun, though we missed Danny, since he was in NYC with his GF Dana and her family.











Christmas was exhausting. A rare thing happened.  I got a form of upper respiratory flu that John and our penultimate child caught from me the weekend before. Thankfully due to his somewhat fragile medical state, John had gotten a flu shot, so he wasn't as affected by it as S and I were.  The Monday before, I went to work, did my docket, hacking and coughing and hopefully fever free.  I visited clients by talking to them through their front door and not entering their homes.  Christmas Eve was a three-service marathon staring with the children's choir and instrumental ensemble and the Nativity  presented by the children  and ending with the two evening services . I lay down between the two evening services and got home after midnight.  John and I decided it was best to wait on Christmas dinner until the following Monday so as to avoid infecting the little ones.  Out of this sprang a new tradition: the second oldest had everyone  who was not sick over to dinner at her house and we laughed and said Merry Christmas via Face Time! Ah Technology!

New Year's Eve was spent alone, quietly with my favorite pasttime at the ready:) I didn't even realize the New Year had hit until I saw a bunch of Happy New Year texts on my phone, LOL:)!

Which pretty much brings me to this weekend.
It was supposed to be a trip to NYC to go for the first time to Vogue Knitting Live.  I even had tickets to attend Amy Detjen's class Through the Looking Glass on Knitting backwards and Norah Gaughan's class on designing cable patterns.  I have taken Amy's Craftsy class on knitting a custom yoke sweater and it was thoroughly enjoyable.  Norah's work I have enjoyed and admired for close to a decade now, so I was really psyched for this trip for the classes alone. 
A series of unfortunate circumstances prevented me going, so I decided to make this a fun knitting weekend closer to home.  My only regret so far is that no one could use my tickets. Ah well, I figure if it goes to Amy and Norah's work, I've done my bit.  I am off from work tomorrow for the federal/court holiday, and I only had one client visit this weekend, so.... I started out by knitting with my local Columbia Sip n Knit at the local Mall at Panera Bread yesterday morning.  It was GREAT to see everyone, since I don't get to see them at our Wednesday night gatherings during the academic/church year.  I decided I would attend as many Saturdays as I could go. Lots of good news: people are getting jobs after layoffs, one of us learned some better crochet techniques.  We shared patterns, ideas for books and techniques in knitting and I made progress on a project or two.
After running some necessary errands, putting in a load or two of wash, and visiting that adorable client, I continued with some yarn stash organizing.  I felt like a little child playing with my toys:)! Even though I have (mumbletymumblety) -eight projects pending and some are even bagged in kits ready to be knit,I started a new project just for the fun of it - and yes, Penultimate Adult Child, I am working on your lovely Little Wave cardigan. Two sleeves are done and I've cast on for the body.
When I finish this blog post, I am going to Cloverhill Yarn Shop to knit again with friends until I have to come home and behave myself -- or not, LOL.
Tomorrow I will probably knit some more or (gasp) try my hand at warping my loom - or maybe look up some YouTube videos on knitting and purling backwards.  It won't be the same as Amy teaching, but it might help.
Knitting throughout the year has been fairly productive.  I knit a lot of things for myself and for others.  Here are pics of some of the things I finished in 2013:
















Designed by me - pattern to come out some time in 2014
Designed by me, too - pattern to come out some time in 2014
 The wonderful blogger/podcaster from Handgemacht has posed the following questions to those of us who listen to her podcast and read her blog:


Die Fragen des faserverrückten Jahresrückblicks:
  1. Dein Strick/Häkel/Web-Jahr 2013: Erzähle von einem, deinem Projekt, es muss nicht das grösste und das liebste 2013 gewesen sein, sondern das Projekt, was dir aus irgendeinem Grund einfällt. Vielleicht, weil das Stück, das herauskam, etwas ganz Besonderes ist, oder weil das Muster dir etwas neues beigebracht hat oder weil das Garn so besonders war… greif 1 Projekt heraus und erzähle uns etwas davon.
  2. Dein Stash 2013: Wie hat er sich entwickelt? Hast du tolle neue Garne erworben, hast du ihn ab- oder aufgebaut? Hat sich dein Geschmack geändert – was war dein liebstes Garn/deine Fasern in 2013?
  3. Spinnen 2013 (wenn du spinnst): Welches Garn kommt dir in den Sinn, von dem du erzählen willst? Hast du eine neue Spinntechnik gelernt und Herausforderungen gemeistert?
  4. Welche deiner Stücke, die du gemacht hast, waren 2013 deine Lieblingsteile (also, die du oft und gern getragen hast)?
  5. Die “most knitworthy person(s)” 2013 für dich?
  6. Was waren die schlimmsten Crafting-Unfälle und Reinfälle?
  7. Lieblings-Designer_in 2013?
  8. Song des Jahres?
  9. Buch des Jahres?
  10. Film/Serie des Jahres?
  11. 3 Dinge, die du nicht hättest missen wollen?
  12. 3 Dinge, auf die du gut hättest verzichten können?
  13. Was hast du 2013 neues begonnen?
  14. 14: Wovon hast du dich 2013 getrennt?
  15. 15: 2013 in einem Wort? (oder ein Motto)
Easy for me to say,huh? Let me see if I can translate...


The questions of the fiber-crazy year in review:

1.  Your knitting/crochet/Web year 2013: Tell about one of your projects, and it doesn't have to be the greatest and the dearest of 2013, but the project, for whatever of your reasons, strikes your fancy. Perhaps, because the piece that came out is something special, because the pattern has taught you something new or because the yarn was so special.  Take one  project and tell us about it.
I think for me this year was more about designing, about taking charge of how I wanted things to work out.  I credit Meg Swansen of Schoolhouse Press and Amy Detjen at Craftsy and Schoolhouse Press for a lot of this. And of course, the soul of EZ lives on!
2.  Your stash of 2013: How has it evolved? Have you purchased great new yarns, did you decrease it or build it up again? Has your taste changed - what was/were your favorite yarn /fibers in 2013? 

I have too much yarn - yarn that I will never use in my lifetime.  I have to sell or give it away and keep what really speaks to me in terms of future projects. My taste has not changed a lot. If anything, I've become more conservative. (Ew the C word!)
3.  Spin 2013 (if you spin - which in German is slang for "if you're nuts", LOL): what yarn comes to mind that you want to tell of? Have you learned a new spinning technique and mastered challenges?
I drop spindled a bit this year.  Would like to get more into using a wheel - but I have to get one first and I don't know if I have the time/money for such a venture. We shall see.
4.  Which of your pieces that you did, were your favorite items  for 2013 (i.e., that you often and gladly wore)? 
Frankensweater for me, Custom Yoke Sweater for JoAnna, the two shawls I designed for the Prayer Shawl Ministry for others - oh and that incredible Bluemchen sweater by Anne Hanson!
5.  The "most knitworthy person(s)" 2013 for you? 
My kids and friends.  But I've given things away to clients and strangers who were cold.  I believe in yarn Karma.;)
6.  What were the worst crafting accidents and disappointments?
Not accidents so much, but I really have slacked off on learning how to warp the lovely rigid heddle loom I have and I feel once I start, a lot of that excess yarn will be disappearing:)
7.  Favorite Designer_in 2013?
Anne Hanson, Jared Flood, Corinna Ferguson, Rosemary Hill, Veronik Avery, Meg Swansen, Cully Swansen - you didn't think I'd only name one, did you?
8.  Song of the year?
Not a pop song, but a hymn in 4 parts: The King of Love My Shepherd Is.  It's carried me through.
9.  Book of the year?
And God Said, "Billy!" by Frank Schaeffer
10. Film/series of the year?
Lincoln - thank you Steven Spielberg:)
11. 3 Things that you would not want to miss out?
Being there for my friends, my daughter's wedding, Jane and Ken's 50th Anniversary Celebration
12. 3 Things that you well do without?
A little too much red wine and carbs and the poundage I've added back.
13.  What did you start new in 2013?
Playing a drum set in a band - way cool!
14: What did you stop doing in  2013?
Walking - have to get back to it! (See #12 above, LOL)
15: 2013 in a Word? (or a motto)
Vocation?

Well that's all I have for today.  Blessings to all of you and a very Happy and Healthy New Year. I hope we'll "see" more of each other in the coming year!
God be with you 'til we meet again+
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