Mad-Eye Mama

January 7th, 2011

Thanks for all of the kindness that has been flowing our way.

Mad-Eye Mama had a bit of luck today… We got a cancellation slot with Dr Abdallah on Monday.  I am so happy.  Chloe is filled with bad-visions (as Lil would say) at the thought of the trip– but what else is there to do??  We’ll be lucky if VA is as far as we have to go in this grand misadventure.

So, Monday looks like the mecca to VA and then down to Kennedy Krieger to start physical therapy.  A lot of action for one day, but I am hopeful.

Her spirits are pretty good today.  I attribute that mostly to all of the laughing she did at  Scott Pilgrim vs. The World last night. :)

We are all completely smitten with Ramona Flowers


-yes, that would be Ramona Flowers.”

The flu symptoms seem to be leaving us more everyday.  What a bad one!!  Today we meet with the Home and Hospital representative also.  We get Chlo’s books and the protocols for continuing her education from home.

Also on this cruise director’s plan are a sock-monkey sweatshop and helping her get started on some amigurumi projects she’s planned.  Pics of her awesome works will follow.

Have a great weekend!!


Ol’ Mad-Eye


January 6th, 2011

Hello from the bed.

Dear Chloe has been spending most of her time here lately.

If you haven’t been really sick for a while, I am here to remind you from my spot in the crow’s nest that it gets really old after a while.

“What does she DO?”  is a popular question ….

She is still an almost-teenager.

She watches movies.  Reads and reads and reads.

Plays games and apps on her ipod.  Texts with friends when they get home from school.  Watches stuff on her laptop.    Sleeps.  Eats a bit.  Drinks A LOT of water.  Knits.  Does crafts.   Always while feeling so super sick and dizzy.  It’s all very un-glamorous.  Please collect any ideas and send them along!!  Projects, book recommendations,  how to bake in bed.  She’s all ears!

Getting up to do anything is a very unpopular option, even though it is really what she has to try to do as much as she can.  The physical therapist, whom we will be seeing Monday, seems very good and familiar with POTS –she is already having her (at home) strive to do even just a minute of activity for every hour spent lying or sitting around.  Anything that gets her blood moving.  Who has to think that about their kid??!!  I am sure many people do.  I just can’t believe it is now US thinking it about OUR kid.

We got some resistance bands and she has a workout that she’s trying from Youtube just to try and maintain some conditioning.  As you can imagine, it is like a snake eating it’s tail… You REALLY don’t feel like doing anything, but not doing anything makes it all worse.  What is hard to weigh as a parent is how to know when to push her and when to not.  We are still just trying our best to figure out what is happening to our daughter.  It is all so surreal, and just pervasive.  I am not ready to accept this as a chronic disease.  I want to know the WHY and HOW and WHEN’s of it all.  So far the only answer is this broad spectrum that I am not sure you ever really know your place on.  It’s all seemingly un-definable.

I am hoping that Dr. Abdallah will help with some of this.  At least if we can get her symptoms minimized, maybe we can start to figure out what the illness is going to be like for Chloe.  For right now.  It is still my greatest hope that this will creep away as quietly and it came.  I have been calling each day about cancellations.  The big enlightenment today was that he is only there on Mondays and Fridays, so I can cut back the calls a bit :)   I’ll be calling on Friday and hoping that someone feels so GOOD that they chose to cancel .  Or Monday.  We’ll just keep this up until the 24th.

Other news is that Home and Hospital will be starting next week.  This is a new sort of “alternative education” for a family who believes very highly in the genre.  Basically, it sounds as if Chloe will have a conference call into a “teleclass” every week day between the hours of 8 am and 12 pm.  4 GT classes.  Wow.  Again from the crow’s nest– seems a pretty daunting proposal.  Keeping a heading towards the positive though.  We will be finding out more and getting her textbooks probably Friday.

I spend quite a bit of time on the interwebs trying to find out information during the day (and night).  It’s my logical and immediate reaction to most confounding things, I guess.  I’ll be sharing things to help in the understanding of this enigma and also just bits of interest.  Here is a 2 part very sweet and informative video made by a POTSY teen.  My sister Sharney had mentioned it to me, and I stumbled onto it today and was touched.  This age is so challenging in so many ways… it is just cosmically unfair.  (I want to stress that I am aware that there are much worse things in the world.  This is my blog and I am reflecting on our situation.  Please leave your soap box at the door.)

Small Immediate Goals:

Get a daily routine working for us.

Increase exercise. For US.

Figure out what “I don’t KNOW what I want to eat– something GOOD” means.  Everyday.

Call Dr. Abdallah.  Again.

Until next Post– enjoy this chronically hopeful teen.

Oh Happy New Year! and POTS is the pits.

January 4th, 2011

Hello you poor neglected blog-world.  The good news is that I’d been away from you because life was so full and crazy-bus busy and happily so…. I remember feeling blog-guilt pangs and then reading a quote somewhere that said something to the effect that “a life dutifully recorded was a poor substitute for one well-lived.” and I thought “yeah…I’ll just try to remember that when I feel bad about it…  I’m just working and living too big and full to find time for blogging right now.” :)   Everyone can relate to that.

The bad news is that our family  finds ourselves dumped into the New Year with a New  Chaos Normal to deal with, and I with a bit more time on my hands for blogging.  I am also hoping that its revival can be a tool for my family and friends to catch up on what’s happening around here without having to slog through the details over and over each day.  Also, that sharing our experience might help us find other families to talk with going through similar issues.  I apologize if you are one of those friends and family members that has not heard from us in a while, and you are just finding this all out here.  While we are super psyched that this is not something far worse– we have be extremely overwhelmed with it all.

So, it’s all about POTS.  Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.  I know, Say what?  Never heard of it before our unfortunate introduction about a month ago. Wish I’d  never heard it’s sorry name.

Chloe  used to be known as Marigold here in blog world, since she has her own web-space now, I don’t think the confusion is necessary…  She has POTS and I am here to tell you that it is a big fat bummer.

The quick recap–
Over Thanksgiving break while we were traveling, she started having dizzy spells. Between then and now, we have quickly jumped into something called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome- POTS for short.  This is a form of something called Dysautonomia and very basically involves the abnormal functioning of the autonomic nervous system for Chloe as a result of standing or even sitting up.  And Chloe, being a gifted overachiever :) , has managed a pretty awful and severe presentation.   At first it was random and then became more regular and disturbing.  It is something that can just insidiously occur for an adolescent– accompanying a big growth spurt or virus.    She has seen a slew of docs already and had an er visit  and a 5 day Hopkins Hospital vacay.  The awesome news is that it’s not life threatening and that adolescents usually recover from it.  The not-so-awesome news is that there is no “cure”,  the recovery can take years, and there are not many docs who familiar with especially the severe manifestation of it.  Specialists are few and far between, and the meds address and try to minimize the symptoms.

Anyone wishing to learn more about it can check out or
I have taken a family leave from Montessori for a bit as Chloe  is extremely disabled by this mess.  She is going to require home schooling for a bit and more than a few trips  for various therapies.

The current state of things:

Cocoa is on fludricortisone to help her retain salt and fluids.  She is taking Ritalin as a vaso-constrictor.  Neither of these seem to be doing much noticeably good yet.  we are hoping for more changes soon.

We got a formal rejection today from Dr. Rowe, the closest Dysautonomia Doc to us– at Hopkins.  He is unfortunately much too busy to see her,  We were sort of hoping that since we are part of the “Hopkins Family” with having employment ties to them, he might have mercy on us and see her.  Alas and alack… We’ll be driving to Reston, VA at some point later in the month to see Dr. Abdallah.  This seems daunting at best given that Chloe often can’t even get up to go to the restroom without holding onto things to stay upright and then suffering even worse dizziness for a while until it settles back into a dull and constant roar.  She has a couple of various therapy apts scheduled this week, and we are optimistic about making them and getting help.  There are moments in the day that are better than others.  For that we are so thankful.

Thanks to all who have been supportive thus far– you are so appreciated,

Love, The Doran Family

The soundtrack to my madness

September 28th, 2010

Did you ever have a day like this??  I just did.

Metaphorical muffins, making me insane.

Thanks, Chlo.

I have been making some lovely yarns, Hoping to post some pics in the next couple of days.

Rock out, muffins.

Good morning!

September 24th, 2010

It’s a fog-soup morning here in my crumb of Maryland. I’ve been so busy dyeing and dyeing these past 2 weeks.

I am getting ready for a fiber festival on the Easter Shore of Maryland.

I’ll be teaching a class on Sunday at the Upper Room Studio– More on that next post.

Have a great day!

Here is the scoop from the museum site:

Annual Fall Textile Arts Festival!

Second Saturday

in October 2009!

Don’t Miss It!

The Julia A. Purnell Museum’s annual textile arts festival takes place the second Saturday in October each year .

Festival admission is free, and so is admission to the museum on this day.


Misty Meadow Alpacas
Handpainted yarn, roving, Dorr Mill wool, alpaca fiber rugs, and rag rugs

Seaside Siren
Felted wool bags and jewelry

Embroidered jewelry, buttons, and ornaments

LuckyGirlz Alpacas
Live alpacas! Alpaca products and nature materials jewelry by Green Dog

Daye Dreams and Postage Stamp
Soaps, lotions, and giftbaskets

Home Sweet
Textile company specializing in block printed, environmentally friendly fabrics and home goods in original designs

Pizza Shoppe Inc.
Pizza and other food

ALA Church
Hamburgers, hot dogs, drinks, etc.

Coastal Cottage Soaps/ Liberto’s Art
Handcrafted natural bath soaps, laundry soaps, dog soap, crocheted spa cloths, dishcloths, and hand-painted canvas floorcloths

The Fine Needle
Snow Hill’s local yarn store

Return to Splendor
Tatted items, knitting accessories, hand-dyed cotton threads for tatting, drop spindles
Upper Room Studio
Handmade fiber creations, spinning and knitting equipment, fibers, etc.

Sage & Thistle
Native American and Southwest style jewelry, including dreamcatcher earrings, beadwork, stone necklaces, dreamcarchers, and sterling silverwork

Gregory Road Handspun
Lovely handspun yarns in a variety of fibers–alpaca, superwash, a variety of wools, and more.

Heidi Wetzel
Traditional and contemporary baskets that are utilitarian and decorative, and woven wall hangings.

Bead Obsessions
Knitting with beads demonstration from 10am – 2pm

Shelby B’s Designs
Stitchmarkers, handpainted yarn, and roving, some inspired by Harry Potter

Bizzie Lizzie Creations
Handcrafted bags, purses, totes, and accessories

Generations Tie-Dye
Hand dyed tie-dyed garments and accessories, including baby/layette, children, adult, scarves, scrubs, playskills, and more

Sand In My Stitches
Hand-painted yarn and stitch markers

Wooly Bear Beads
Hand-made felted bead jewelry

Teresa Levite Studio
Hand-dyed fiber (wool, silk, bamboo, etc) and yarn, commercially dyed spinning fibers, drop spindles and spinning wheels

Society for Creative Anachronism
Demo of Middle Ages fiber arts and clothing


Julia A. Purnell Museum

Forecast: A lovely yarnish day ahead

September 7th, 2010

Hello!  Anybody in here???

I just can’t seem to post with any frequency– but I will catch up eventually.

You can be sure that life is stomping ahead full speed, whether or not I am taking pictures and writing about it!

The past 2 weeks have been ruled by my return to Montessori School of Pouring and Polishing.  It is nice to be back amongst my ever inspiring co-workers there.  These weeks also marked the return of my very own poppets to school.  That is exhausting enough!  We’re all doing fine; adjusting our internal and external alarm clocks.  :)

I wanted to let you know that along with all of the life stuff to catch up about, there are also some fibery happenings.  I’ll be at Hampden’s Lovelyarns 4th annual Trunk Show this coming Saturday.  I am so excited to be a vendor and also to see the lovely fibers sure to be there!   I’ll have a bouquet of handspun yarns, a caboodle of hand blended hand dyed batts, and oodles of rovings and other fuzzy oddments.  Here is the announcement straight from the Lovely Source.  Please come out and play!

Also ahead in October–  A fiber festival in Ocean City, MD and a spinning class in said hamlet of fiber!  Stay tuned!

Lovelyarns Trunk Show


Lovelyarns’ back porch and parking pad
846 w. 36th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211

Driving Directions


September 12, 2010

1:00  to 6:00 PM

Add to my calendar


Please come to the 4th Annual Lovely Trunk Show, for the biggest selection and most fun yet!

There will be food and wine, and Lovely cupcakes from  Halliecakes!

Each year we throw this party to celebrate our anniversary in September, and it is hard to believe we are starting our fifth year in business.

This year we have even more vendors, and will be taking over the parking lot!

Here’s this year’s lineup:
  • Abstract Fibers **
  • Angel’s Kiss Alpacas
  • Blue Heron Yarns
  • The Alpaca Yarn Company
  • Dyed Bright Here **
  • Gnomegarden (handspun & ROVING) **
  • Shalimar Yarns
  • Snallygaster Fibers **
  • Woolarina

And Designs from the Edge** retro-inspired hip, original clothing and accessories!
** New this year!

We’ve e-x-p-a-n-d-e-d

the hours this year !

Come any time between 1:00 and 6:00 for the most amazing selection of yarn & accessories ever.

(Yes, we will still be giving out tickets just so there is enough room for everyone. but you can drink and eat cake while you’re waiting!)
And since the hours are expanded, there is no need to come early. The selection will still be outstanding at 5:00, and the crowd should be smaller.

As always, there is no charge  to attend, and parking is free on Sundays in Hampden!
The food and drink is on us as a “thank you” for being such wonderful  loyal customers for the past 4 years.

Hope to see you there!

Sue Caldwell

(410) 662 – 9276

(NOTE to yarnaholics: If you are worried about compulsive yarn buying, please come prepared . Bring a pattern you’ve been wanting to knit or crochet so we know exactly how many yards you need. Then you can limit yourself and buy guilt-free. Results not typical. Side effects may occur.)

Friends in need…

July 30th, 2010

I just wanted to pass this along because these are some very lovely folks who were our neighbors at last years Md Fairy Festival. PLUS, the things they make are simply awesome!
Please visit and if you need a kids gift or an amazing goblin doll ( these are Doran and Ferguson Favorites!) please help them out! They just had their sweet new baby a couple of months early and need a bit of help.
xoxo Dawn

Goblin Road Assistance page click me!!

Mind your own happiness, thanks.

July 23rd, 2010

( Orpha’s birthday cupcake-love)

We should try never to let our happy frame of mind be disturbed. Whether we are suffering at present of have suffered in the past,there is no reason to be unhappy.  If we can remedy it, why be unhappy? And if we cannot, what is the use of being depressed about it?  That just adds more unhappiness and does no good at all.  — His holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

The good news and the bad news:

Much ado about HAPPINESS this sunny season.  First, it’s summer… and that’s supposed to make instant Happy, right?  No school.  No alarm clocks.   I am home with the kids for the summer, and that’s a really happy thing.  For me.  Mostly.   The kids however are having a harder time keeping their happy on.  I mean, it’s HOT, right?  And everything EASY FUN to do equals money, it seems.  It’s a challenge.  Things that seems perfectly fun to me are met with “groan, not today….”  So, I am trying to just let it be.  I am also attempting to pursue some ideas even when met with the gripes, in hope that it’ll catch on.

Me?  I am totally into the “life’s too short” thing right now.  It is hard to balance the things that bring happy with the things that ought to be done category though.  I had a huge fit of battle with this incongruence after we got home form the beach.  On vacation, even with kids along :) , there is a great deal of “scheduled enjoyment.”  You plan meal times, walks, beach time, sightseeing… all (hopefully)without the crap of life.  You come home and POW!  the normal crap du jour is waiting plus whatever you avoided while away.  I tend to get way bogged down in that.  I am trying to get better at NOT.

Here’s my plan for penniless joy.  I am trying to give this a place in my ocd list of the day.  ( You make those too, right?)  To list the billions of things that I want to get done, and to include some joy.  I never do that.  It’s usually what is allowed after the list is exhausted for the day.

This is all very shorthand– You can fill it out and make it meaningful for you.


~BE in beauty

~Notice what’s  right in front of you.  All of it.

~Do something NEW.  Learn a new something.  See a new something.


~BE with a friend, or someone you love.

~Count yer blessings.  Really.

~MAKE. Create. Art. Something useful.  Something awesome.  Something good to eat.

~ Be inspired.

~ Change something.  Make it better.  Or just different.

This is a work in progress.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Please– let me know if you have any summer home-runs… I’d be glad of it!

I’ll leave it with this…

“Sounding the same call for joy whenever possible, the Hebrew sages say that when you are first welcomed into Heaven, a record is revealed to you of all the many times in your past when you could really have been happy and really enjoyed some moment but failed to do so, and then you are called to repent of each and every one of those moments.”


Oh my STARS!  It has taken me a week to write this one damn post!  In the meantime I have had a stomach/gi virus that is just killing me!  So I am getting caught up on lying around, and doing some baby knitting, and I just started a book last night called The Geography of Bliss– One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Place in the World.  I’d picked it up at the library last visit along with some travel books to research all of the travel that isn’t happening this summer.  The book is pretty great thus far…

Eric Weiner, a veteran foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, has covered a multitude of catastrophes and maladies from more than 30 countries over the past two decades. For The Geography of Bliss, however, he decided to tell the other side of the story by visiting some of the world’s most contented places. his site

It’s funny and thoughtful and often wise.  I was drawn to it immediately because  I ( and many of my dearest) have had so many years of  “happiness resides in _____, and we just need to find a way to move there.” :)   Fill in your choice–  you probably know what I mean. So if you have fits of that sort of thinking, or are having a little wanderlust epizootie, like myself, you may want to check it out.

I think Jimmy said it best–


July 23rd, 2010

So, wow, it is zipping along, this summer.  Four and a bit of weeks left until I return to the Montessori Kid Factory.

I’ve been so crappy about taking pictures and  blogging.
Here are a few shots from the road thus traveled.  Be on the lookout for more soon.  And flying pigs, probably.

I will do my best!

Shangriladidah on 94th st.

Lily’s learns to KNIT!

The new family member– Bob the budgie– bequeathed to us by the neighbor Bob, who is not a budgie.  Here is the Bantam pecker who roams his yard, is NOT our pet, and drives all of Reisterstown crazy.

The Mid Atlantic Hedgehog Show

Both girls got awesome ribbons for being awesome Jr. handlers.  It was a fun day.  Sort of like a hedgehog pageant and olympics rolled into one!

The Artscape and peanut adventures ( see Jim for more)

Lastly, here’s Punkin all doozied-up.

Summer Sale!!

June 22nd, 2010

Yep, I’m back!

Loads of yarn and fibers in the Summer Sale happening now at Gnomegarden!

I have so many stories…