Sunday, March 11, 2012

Best of times and the worst of times

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." 

Back in the day, I was never crazy about having to read unending Dickens novels, but this one phrase redeemed countless hours of abject boredom spent in high school English classes. The beginning of  "A Tale of Two Cities" also precisely defines my life these days.

As some of you know, my cat, Monica died last week after a short, very sad illness. Monica and I spent 19 long years together and it was terribly difficult to let her go. I did the best I could to send her out in the best way possible. My ex-husband came to provide support and say goodbye to our cat (he is the best ex-husband EVER). We hired a local vet to come to my apartment and put Monica to sleep on our sofa. It was sweet. Monica laid between Mike and I purring quietly and then went off to sleep. It was beautiful and incredibly poignant. Here are our last family portraits. I know it's weird to take pictures right before the pet dies, but we always do.

I have been a total mess if you want to know the truth. I'm  hiding out, reeling in sadness, just trying to get my act together. The day after Monica died was incredibly difficult because it was my birthday. I whiplashed between grief and trying to be happy. I so appreciated all that everyone did for me that day even though I still felt very low.

Let me tell you about a couple of truly lovely surprises cooked up my Knitting at Large member Linda (qwikstitcher on Rav). First, I received a surprise package from Linda with an adorable little pug bag that looks just like Moose as a baby. I'll be using it for small knitting projects. I love it!

Then Linda held a virtual birthday party for me on Rav. What a lovely, fun surprise! Lots of folks dropped in to say happy birthday, share recipes, raise a virtual glass, and generally have fun. Thank you to Linda and everyone else who made me feel a little better on a really sad day.

Of course, despite everything, I'm knitting. I finished two cowls for my bff, Theresa and her sister, Anita. Here's a pic of Theresa modeling hers. She thinks I'm incredibly talented for knitting this but you and I know the truth that this is the easiest of projects. I'm glad Theresa and Anita love their bulky cowls.

I also made myself my own bulky scarf using five skeins of Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Super Chunky in the Magic Flute colorway. Not a cheap project! But it makes up as a really cute scarf made solely of garter stitch and fringe. I'm logically calling this project the Easiest Peasiest Really Long Scarf. Too bad I finished it just as the weather reached 70 degrees! If you'd like to make this, I'm making the pattern available for free on my website.

I'm also working on my Red cardigan, a test knit for Deb Gemmell's upcoming plus-size knitting book. I'm almost ready to divide for the sleeves. It's just a plain stockinette raglan cardigan but uses special techniques for a better fit. I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

I've gotten lots of questions about the Carnation pattern. It's ready to go but I was going to get professional photos taken and do complicated, attractive formatting, but I've decided to just throw it over the fence as is. I can always redo the pattern later. So stay tuned.

I'll try and get back in the saddle here and on Rav and every where else. I'm just worn out. But I'll be back soon.


  1. Aww hugs to you, Julie. So sorry about your loss. That red sweater is going to be fabulous.

  2. Losing a pet is a very difficult process. I've been there many times with mine and it never seems to get easier. Take care and think of Monica and the wonderful times you had with her!
    Can't wait to see the red cardigan finished. I am so interested in that pattern book! I love top down cardigans but they are always way too big in the arms so I hope that is one issue that can be corrected. Right now I'm doing Sophisticate and love it. Hope the arms fit better!
    You are an inspiration to those of us who need plus sizes and I for one don't know what i'd do without your input!
    Take good care! Will be thinking about you!
    Sandee in PA

  3. I'm so sorry to about your loss. It's okay to be a mess; you've lost a loyal companion and friend. Take the time you need to grieve and don't feel like you need to apologize to anyone about it. It is so clear that Monica had a wonderful life with you and that she left this world feeling safe and so loved. What a wonderful gift you gave her. Hugs, Julie.


  4. I'm so sorry for your loss. Monica was a beautiful and loving kitty companion.

    It's such a lovely gift that she was a part of your family for such a long time.

  5. i'm so sorry for your loss of monica. having her 'go to sleep' at home was a very loving thing to do. 19yrs should have given you lots of memories to reflect on now...

  6. Take your time. If disappearing is what you need to do, go for it. We all know you'll be back and we want you to feel better.

  7. Sending up prayers for everyone affected by Monica's passing.

  8. Happy belated Birthday! I was sick as a dog & missed it all. Darnit! But hang in there baby, it gets better. I sure love the way you made Monica feel so safe & comfy before you eased her on her way, wish we could do that with sick people . . . 19 is a very long life for a cat! I, too, am very interested in that red sweater & the new pattern book. I'd knit em all from the top if I could.

  9. When it rains it pours! I understand that Moose had surgery today. Thoughts & prayers.

  10. Happy belated Birthday lovely lady. My family's condolences and hearts go out to you and yours on the loss of your beautiful Monica. My family recently (in the last 4 months) lost 2 of our 3 dogs to congestive heart failure and kidney failure. I feel your pain. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for Moose (also the name of my long-haired mini dachshund that recently passed.

  11. you are the bestest, Julie, and my heart aches for you, I can only imagine as i have a 20-yr cat myself and dreading that day... glad Moose is feeling better after his trauma as well and I love the new car
    keep knitting, it really is therapeutic