Friday, February 29, 2008

Paradise Revisited

I have written on another blog that I rather like this song for humming while at work or on the way to work.  I had never seen the video before today and thought I'd show you what a day in my workplace actually looks like.  It may help to take some Ativan first.  This was what our ICU looked like today but I don't know for the life of me how they snuck the camera crew in.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

C'est La Vie - Deux

Today, we had our big day in court where I was all ready to relinquish my parental rights and become the official legal guardian of my daughter Rachel. As you may have guessed, and correctly so, things did not go so well and I did not get permanent guardianship of said child. Now mind you, this is no reflection on me, but is saying volumes about the court. It would seem certain things were left out of the evaluation by her school psychologist and really, it was only one piece of data. Since they had been in possession of said documents, oh for I don't know, 2 months, you would think they would have found that there was missing data. I knew it wasn't there when I read it in December. It was a number. Her IQ. I tried explaining to the judge that her function is so low that they can't measure IQ by standardized tests. I also gently tried to point out that she could see said child's level of function with her own eyes since she was seated and squirming in the chair right next to me but she would hear none of that from me. Nope. After all, I am the one trying to "take" control of said child's life. She wanted an "expert" to testify to the level of impairment. I was miffed and feeling dismissed. There were sidebars with the attorneys and lots of whispering and talk of adjournment. On my part, I rolled my eyes A LOT and mouthed OMG ten times to her social worker. I don't know for sure when it happened, but at some point the judge look thoroughly bored with the whole thing:

Here is a picture of the judge caught napping
(I found one of a sleeping kangaroo but it looked dead)

It wasn't as though I was unprepared for these shenanigans. The warning came in the mail on January 28th. I submit into evidence the following subpoena:

Damn. After 18 years, I find that Rachel, who I thought was pretty seriously afflicted, was really only an "Alleged Person With A Disability". She and I had to attend court at the "Mental Division Courtroom". Gosh, that sounds so insensitive. I have never been one to suffer hurt feelings from labels and names; these things are really only adjectives that should hold special meaning. For example, it means nothing to me if you tell me someone is autistic. You can be anywhere on the map with autism from the lowest to the highest functioning person. It speaks volumes if you tell me someone has autism AND is subsequently profoundly retarded. It is politically incorrect to say someone is retarded; we must call them mentally impaired which again needs more descriptives to get the meaning.

 I guess it makes sense then that you would take the aforementioned alleged individual with a disability to the MENTAL Courtroom. It was only alluding to the mental impairment and not a reflection of the people that work there after all-though I still have my suspicions.

It was a wee bit exciting and simultaneously annoying: sort of like a boring episode of Boston Legal (even though I've never seen a boring one).  I was ever so slightly bent out of shape and took this out of my purse to amuse both myself and the alleged individual with a disability.

In addition to collecting yarn, I collect all kinds of hand creams and lotions. It's a nurse thing. It just struck me as ludicrous that this is what I would select from my humongous handbag to bring out in a court of law. Mental though it was. A fitting end to a fitting day. Stay tuned for part three for if you paid attention in the beginning and weren't snoring by this point, you know we were adjourned and have to go back to listen to expert testimony.  I'm smuggling a recorder in for that one.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Darling D.

I don't think I've told you lately exactly how I feel about you. I haven't touched you or paid any attention to you in a long, long time and I am sorry. When we got together this morning, I realized how much I truly care for you and I promise from now on to be a better partner.

I've been reminiscing about the time we first met. Of all places, it was at Home Depot. I've read about fluke meetings like this, but I never thought it would happen to me. When you came into my life, I thought I needed you but wasn't quite sure. I had heard many wonderful things from other people but that concerned me too. Would you be loyal? Would you respect my needs and desires? Quite frankly, I wasn't sure but decided to take a chance and give you a chance to impress me. You didn't disappoint. All of my misgivings were for naught; you've been more than I ever could have imagined. In fact, you're perfect and I'm the one who has been neglectful.

I haven't tired of you. I've just been busy . I know that it's a poor excuse but it's true, I have been. You would think with my husband out of town all this time that I would take advantage of you more often but I haven't. I only bring you around when I'm desperate like I was today. I'm ashamed. I've treated you shabbily and I am filled with regret. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for your performance today was remarkable; you were an animal! I promise from now on that I won't let you stay away so long.

I'm enclosing this picture of you that I gaze at often. When I look at that picture, I'm reminded of how powerful you are. Want to meet same time, same place tomorrow? I know I can turn you on.....

I Brake for Yarn

OK now. I am better today; it never ceases to amaze me that sleep restores one's mental health and emotional state like no cocktail could ever accomplish. This morning over a cup of coffee, I looked around the internet and came upon this question from Rotten Correspondent: If you had only one hour and $20, what would you do? You can see the entire post here because if you want to play the game, there are stipulations to her question. 

I knew what I would do: yarn store. What is it with me and yarn? Last night I came home from work to find the results of my latest fall into EBAY madness waiting for me. Twenty five skeins of Sisik, a lovely wool and mohair blend from Dale of Norway that is now discontinued (I have no clue why). All one color (lucky me, all one color lot too). What did I do? How in the hell can I use all this yarn? (Note to self: stay away from yarn vendors for a while. You can't possibly knit up what you own in the next 5 years so just STOP IT!) Wait a sec while I do the math here: that is 1,250 grams in weight or 44 ounces which sounds MUCH better, 3,700 yards (around 3400 meters) or 2.1 MILES which sounds much worse to me. Like I said, this is all in one color-black- although it does have beautiful flecks of primary colors throughout. For my size, I'd need about 1/3 of this total amount for a not too big sweater. Two skeins will make a pair of socks. That leaves 15 skeins of leftovers. I think I've officially crossed over into full blown OCD with yarn hoarding "issues".

Knowing myself quite well, I know that when these things are done, I will tire of this yarn (I will become enamored of something softer and prettier) and the remainder will be banished to one of the large plastic containers that reside under my bed. I will need to buy a new container to put it in because the others are STUFFED full. In fact, there may not be space under the bed for another box-and its a king sized bed. I should go to IKEA and buy some sort of yarn storage system.  I'm a bit afraid to do this though because I know I will feel COMPELLED to fill it up!

This mornning as I sipped my coffee and fondled my new yarn, I recalled a time in my distant past (when I was young and dumb) of a nite on the town and the game of making a pyramid out of shot glasses that my friends and I had emptied. Today I played the game with my yarn.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Two Hankie Post

Rachel is my youngest child and this journey through her life has been one of the most difficult I've taken.  Rachel is profoundly autistic impaired and requires help in ALL areas of her life.  Through the early years, I spent much money (buckets full), time and energy seeking answers and solutions.  One day, about 8 years ago or so, her psychiatrist said something to me about raising such a child that opened my heart.  He told me that I worried too much about things that shouldn't cause such worry and grief.  He told me that she is happy.  She is.  He told me she is well cared for and safe.  She is.  He told me she has no worries.  I agree with that.  He asked me why I couldn't seem to accept her as she was.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  He was right again- I hadn't realized I didn't accept HER.  I was so fiercely "fighting" everything: the schools, the therapists, the doctors with their labels and Autism itself that I couldn't see that I could not accept what I had.   It was at this point that I stopped grieving for the child I would never have and learned to embrace the one I did.  Having an abundance of patience and a good sense of humor truly helps to do this kind of thing for 18 years.

I have learned so many things in the past 18 years that I never expected I'd know.  I know ALL about Autism Spectrum Disorder.  I know ALL about special education.  I know ALL about behavioral, speech and occupational therapy.   I know how to get the services she needs from the community I live in.  I've learned I have many, many strengths within me and strengths within my family that I didn't know existed prior to Rachel.  I know my weaknesses too.  I know who I can count on to help me through a bad spot and I know who not to bother calling.  I know everything can change in a heartbeat and alter the course of your life.  And I know I love Rachel deeply and completely and no differently than my other children.

This entire past year has included a series of monthly meetings leading up to Rachel's 18th birthday and changes necessary to transition to adult community services. I was blindsided by my feelings and have cried many times as she once again is missing milestones that my other kids used to mark their passage into adulthood.  I find myself grieving for missed proms and homecomings, senior pictures, class trips and graduation party planning.  She will not be doing these things and it is me who hurts-not her.  She is happy and has no clue she is "missing out" on anything.  It's just life as usual for her: give her a long hot shower in the morning, unlimited access to food, a dolly, a disney movie and a good book and she is a happy camper.  

This week is filled with yet more plans for Rachel as I now must go to court to become her legal and medical guardian.  I am filled with bewilderment at the silliness of it all and I'm trying really hard to stop "fighting" and just go with the flow: well duh, who do you think would be her guardian?  Sometimes the bureaucrats make me nuts.  C'est la vie.

Tomorrow will be a day of celebration at school and at home.  I am pinching myself because I can't believe it has been 18 years.  It didn't seem so while I've lived it but time flew.

Happy birthday Rachel.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oh Come On Now!

I despise American news.  I dislike it so much because of the way fear is induced just by watching television news.   It truly is enough to make someone want to stay home and cower in the corner with all the doors and windows locked up tight.  Local news is ridiculous and it would seem on the surface that nothing good ever happens in Detroit.  Watching the news before bed can give you nightmares.  Feel good stories are usually buried in the back of the paper or late in the newscast and are preceded by story after story of murder, mayhem, accidents and insanity.  For a sampling of this barrage of madness, I have included the story titles from several local "news" venues for today:

"Woman Stabbed While Shoveling Snow"  ... from now on, I think I'll leave the shoveling to the men in my family..

"Son Arraigned In Slaying of Parents" ...again with the stabbing deaths.. should I lock up my knives???

"Ex-Detroit TV Anchor Died of Hanging"  ...done herself in after she was charged with embezzlement......

"Betrayal of Trust : Sex Crime Charge for Lake Orion Minister"  ...the only news here is that he wasn't a Catholic priest.....

"Sex Sting:  Ex-con Loaded with Condoms"  ...I would think internet sex predators had heard about the Wayne County Sheriffs who are adept at catching these morons.....

"INVESTIGATORS:  Hospital Patients Robbed" ....moral of the story: if you are sick, leave your valuables at home or lock them up with security at the hospital. This isn't new "news".

"Security Glitch at Metro Airport" can you not know your metal detector isn't working?  I hate flying.

"Train Hits Car While Driver's on Phone" ... she survived but should think of filing suit against her phone carrier for failure to label her phone as a dangerous to her health.....

"Dozens More Bankruptcies May be Coming" ....great, and I just shot my bonus pay on 25 skeins of yarn....

"4 to 8 Inches of Snow Expected for Region"  ....dammit--I better tell my men folk to get the shovels out.  I plan to hole up in the house with the doors and windows locked-right after I install some new deadbolts and lock up the knives in my safe.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just Another Day in Paradise

Well, it was another glorious weekend in the ICU. We had a wonderful complement of delerious folks, some very sick and unstable patients, some with ICU psychosis and some with a little alcohol withdrawal syndrome thrown in for good measure. Once or twice we ran dangerously short of Ativan and mother's milk. We also had dozens and dozens of visitors who just love to ask questions we can't answer or assume a critically ill patient should be up and receiving visitors and entertaining their "guests" who thought enough to come and visit. Add a shortage of nurses, lack of adequate break time and you have a combustible mix. If that isn't enough to make you cry, add a witching hour (the last hour before the shift ends) code blue and you will hear language from women that would make a sailor blush.

Tempers were short, sniping was abundant and feelings were hurt. Kind of inevitable. We can be a vicious bunch of bitches when stressed. For those unaware, it isn't much of a secret that some nurses can be awful toward one another. After all, we're lucky if we get anything to eat at all in a twelve hour shift--why not eat your young? What a s#!tty day. All I wanted to do was get home and finish the grafting on the socks I was making. I wanted to wash and wear them the next day. I kind of knew this was wishful thinking but that is what the knitter in me wanted.

At thirty minutes prior to shift end, the code became my patient. I could only think thirty more minutes, 30 more minutes. That was about the time the nursing house supervisor approached the yarn ho that resides within me and offered her bonus pay on top of time and a half. To my shock and utter horror, I heard myself say sure, I'll stay. Damn me. If I had stayed off ebay last Friday, I wouldn't need the money to pay for the 25 skeins of Sisik that I won. OH YES, I DID. It was a "steal" and I love a good game of last minute bidding on ebay. I don't know WTF I will DO with 25 skeins of Sisek, but I HAD TO HAVE IT. So I worked the double, sped home, slept fast and got up to do it all over again.

The night shift nurses were thankful. Myself and another foolish dayshift nurse had turned their poorly staffed shift into one more tolerable. Additional staff was found by 11pm and we left. I also left my knitting which I had no possible way to finish. When I came back in the morning, the knitting fairy had raided my bag and turned an unfinished pair of socks into magic:
Joanne, who not only does a fabulous job with kitchener stitch is also a healer of tired souls like me. She singlehandedly mended my nursing spirit for as if the gift of finishing my socks was not enough, she bestowed upon me a pair of beautiful hand painted merino wool socks fresh off her own needles. I am blessed: there is no greater gift to a knitter than another knitter making something special just for you. And wow!!! They match my scrubs!!! Thank you!

Friday, February 22, 2008

I Should Have Watched This First

Mom deed of the month.....Done.  Sweety, don't call me for my next modeling job, I'll call you!!
And next time, instead of a refreshment before we start, please offer anesthesia.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dearest Madam:

I am sorry I let you down in some mysterious way. I am sorry that you tired of me and "swapped" me out for a damn Coach. A COACH!!! I. Can't. Believe. It. It wasn't even a special coach (and yes the lower case is definitely on purpose). It is a run of the mill black coach. Nothing special; nothing like me. I am confused and I feel betrayed. I thought you and I connected on a certain level. I thought we could continue to communicate in that unspoken language of love. I mean you even named me Sheila after the glamorous Sheila E. and in honor of the color of my skin. I thought that made me special to you. I guess not because it didn't really stop you from sending me away.......

You have no idea what I've been through and what SHE is doing to me. I mean one minute, I am sitting pretty in the lap of luxury:

and the next minute I am quite literally shoved into the corner of a grungy office in a scrapyard for god's sake. Here. Don't believe me? You don't believe SHE would really do that to me? Well, I have photographic evidence:
This is where SHE "parks" me--right up against that lovely puke green wallboard. What color do you call that? Chartreuse? I call it charpuke. Sheesh, SHE should know I clash with those colors. In fact, I think I clash with the whole environment! And the weight I've put on in just a little over a week? Huge. I long for the old days when the most YOU made me carry was a wallet, a cell phone, your keys and maybe a skein of yarn. What does SHE think I am? A trash hauler? My sides are bulging for God's sake. My shoulder straps are aching and sagging.

Oh we've done a few glamorous things to be sure. I have been in a limo, and I've been out to a few bars. I've been to the spa where I have seen many facials and one too many waxings. You do understand that we are not at the salon to receive services, we are there to provide them. I even witnessed a wrestling match with the women from the WWF. NOT GLAMOROUS! Blood was involved.

I have officially become a working handbag and frankly, I don't like it. Please reconsider and take me back. I promise to be good to you. I long once more to carry a skein of cashmere within me. I'll even settle for carrying plain old merino wool if you would just take me back.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oops--He Did It Again

I work with a wonderful and very sensitive woman (Nurse Sandy) who celebrates every single anniversary she has with her husband like the day they met, their first date, their wedding, etc. Prior to their wedding, they celebrated their anniversary monthly. You get the picture. This is very sweet and as Paula Dean would say, "romantical." I have been married for 21 years and knew my husband 2 years prior to walking down the aisle. He is wonderful in every way except he can't remember important dates to save his life. He misses all the hallmark occasions and every child's birthday. He would miss Christmas Day if I didn't remind him with all the decor, gifts, cooking and knitting frenzy that descends upon our home every December.

He knows my birthday falls sometime around now. He even knows the date. The problem is year after year, he gets the month wrong.Last year, at the end of February, he called me sort of in a panic that he hadn't done his birthday shopping for me but would like to take me out for a fabulous birthday dinner. I was puzzled since my birthday wasn't for another month--and then it dawned on me that he had gotten the dates mixed up yet again. It's not like I wasn't talking a LOT about my 50th birthday coming up-was he just deaf? Being foolish, I rubbed his nose in his mistake. In hindsight, I should have kept my mouth shut and gone along with things; this way I could have enjoyed two birthday celebrations instead of one. I vowed I would never correct this sort of mistake again.

Fast forward a year to this February and I find myself alone with him being away on a work assignment. He came home for the weekend and I think he was feeling guilty about being away so long. I don't know why but that is a conversation for later. We went to eat at a new local mall and he threw down a gauntlet: "when we leave the restaurant, we can go shopping. You can only go to one store and make only one purchase though." I said he was wonderful, not bright. Duh! OK, I'll pick up your gauntlet. After dinner, I dragged him to the Apple store and with the ONE STORE, ONE PURCHASE "rule", I bought a Macbook. The sisterhood of professional shoppers should approve of me rising to such a challenge and coming out victorious. But I digress.

Last night he called from mullet land (once again, he is away for a few weeks)--all proud. This year, he did
NOT forget my birthday! The gift was being shipped. Uh, OK. Immediately I realize what he has done, yet again. I couldn't help myself though and I began to laugh. I tried not to because he did catch on pretty quick. I laughed for 10 minutes straight. He sheepishly told me he was going to cancel the flower order scheduled for delivery at my work this weekend. I chuckled all night long. Thanks sweety because more than I love you for everything else, I love the way you make me laugh.

This morning, the fed ex man showed up at my door:

I love you honey-thanks for the Blackberry!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Vacation Memories

This is about the time of year I am sick of the weather, sick of the dreary skies and bone chilling cold. It is the time of year I like to slip away to someplace balmy. I begin to envision white sandy beaches, beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the ocean's shores. Someplace like this. That my friends is Siesta Key, Florida beach. This beautiful beach is considered one of the most beautiful in the world and it is right in our own backyard (so to say). Walking on the sand is like walking on powdered sugar. When I think about this place, I think of my best friend Annette aka Annie, Fannie or Fannette. Some of these aliases are vacation names and perhaps should not be discussed in such a public venue. I'll think about that while I finish the story.

Anyways, Fannette and I decided to slip away a couple of years ago to this lovely beach. We stayed in a friend's gorgeous and well appointed condo that our hosts were gracious enough to loan to us.

We had saved enough on lodgings that we splurged on a sexy little convertible for this trip. We did girly things like manicures, pedicures, sunbathing and shopping. Every night we would go out to eat on little Siesta Key. After a few nights, we had exhausted the available restaurants on the key and ventured forth for an early dinner one afternoon to St. Armand's Circle. It was a beautiful sunny day and we had gotten to this spot with enough time to shop a bit before dinner. Even though we arrived kind of early at the restaurant that we were assured by friends that we would love, we still had to wait two hours for a table. We made our way to the bar which is where our downfall began. Sure you sit at the bar, have a cocktail or two and see what happens. We started with Mojitos. First one. Then another and yet one last one and finally our table was ready. Growing tired of the mint in our cocktails and lacking sound judgement by this point, we ordered the Sangria. By the time the pitcher was empty and dinner was done, it had turned quite dark but we ourselves were fairly lit.

After dinner, we hopped in the car (the waiter unfortunately didn't take our keys away) and with top down and the music blaring, drove the 30 minutes back to our condo. Unfortunately, neither one of us had brought our regular glasses-just our prescription sunglasses-and neither one of us can see without our prescriptions. We laughed our asses off all the way back-praying a bit that the Sarasota police were anywhere else but near us. There really isn't much of a point to this story; no evils of drinking and driving (we really do know better). Just a sweet memory of a fun night out with my best friend and a new vacation song:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Adventures of Sheila the Seductress

Sheila is a temptress. She is gorgeous and has the most chocolaty soft and supple skin. In fact, her color is rather hard to describe for in certain lights, she appears to be a very rich brown and in others, she seems the color of eggplant-perhaps the French translation “aubergine” would be a more glamorous way to describe the color of her skin.

Sheila isn’t cheap---there is not one thing sleazy about her and she is without a doubt the finest handbag in my collection. Her price tag was approximately one week’s salary for me (before her tax and after mine).

On a shopping spree with MBF (who is a wicked enabler) last September, I fell in love with Sheila. I heard her siren call from across the shoe department at Nordstrom’s. There she was in the bright spotlight across the aisle. It was as though the clouds had parted, the sun shone down and the angels were singing to beckon me to the handbag department. In the past, shoes were my downfall. Shoes don’t really speak to me so much now that I have horrific plantar fasciitis and wear only surgical scrubs and Dansko Professional shoes to work. (I sort of miss my days as a nurse in a private practice where I was able to glam it up for work. My budget likes the scrub job way more though).

Handbags are my new downfall. I own a few. I have a couple of Coach bags, a Hobo slouch, a beautiful handmade bag from a Montreal leather artisan, some Nine West bags, one Perla, one Fossil and quite a few inexpensive non-descript purses. With Coach or any other common designer bags, it isn’t uncommon to see yourself coming and going. Everyone has one these days, and if they don’t have a real one, then they have a knockoff. This was not the case with Sheila. In fact, I had never seen any bag quite like her and I was smitten.

Now, I told you she was expensive. She was so pricey, I needed convincing. I had the clerk hand her to me from the display. I touched her (really I fondled her), I smelled her and I tried her on. I unzipped every zipper to look at her insides closely. The sales girl began to look very smug at this point and I should have been leery of this. OMG! Her insides were HOT PINK!! Oh, I told MBF, I LOVE HER!!! Yes the best friend at this point jumps in to help the salesgirl out: “oh she is beautiful, you work so hard and you really deserve something special like this.” At about this point, I was feeling a bit pressured for I had seen the price tag nestled in the zippered compartment. Holy S#!T I thought. There is no way on earth I can explain this purchase to my husband but especially, myself. I played with Sheila a bit more, listened to the salesgirl's spiel about how she was crafted by a local Detroit artisan Tracy Reese and how they only had a limited supply of her work and only one exactly like this. It was at this point I did the only thing I felt I could: I placed the bag down, thanked the clerk and walked away.

Like a pouting child, I kept looking back across the aisle. It was then I noticed her: it was another woman eyeing my bag. "Damn", I told my best friend. "Look at her. LOOK. AT. HER. She is going to buy it!" She had been pacing around the counter watching me while I had been looking at the bag. At the time, I thought nothing of it. In reflection, I think she was stalking the bag. "Look. Oh. Oh. Oh good. She left. Quick, lets go." I was across that aisle in a heartbeat, my Nordies card already out (and beginning to smoke in anticipation) and just like that, I bought the bag I would later name Sheila (more on her naming in my next installment). In the end, it was the "other woman" who made me lay down my card for her. As MBF and I left the store with Sheila safe in my hands, we ran into the other woman in the parking lot. She asked if I had bought the bag afterall. When I told her I did, she looked so sad. She had just run out to her car to get her credit card (???) to go back in and buy the bag herself. (NO LIE). Sheesh, that was close.

I haven't completely tired of Sheila yet, but she was beginning to bore me. After all, it has been 5 months of carrying her everywhere. I didn't want to put her away, so I swapped her for one of the bags in my daughter's collection and thus here begins the chronicles of The Adventures of Sheila the Seductress. Stay tuned and buckle up; it is sure to be a bumpy ride.

Using Nature's Bounty

Friday, February 8, 2008

Soul Sucking Winter

This has been a weather week to be remembered. It has snowed off and on for the whole winter and frankly, I'm over it. We've had another 2 big snowfalls in 5 days. It is always pretty when it first snows but then just gets ugly quickly. It warms then melts then snows again---followed by an arctic deep freeze. I don't quite know how it happens, but it always snows a s#%tload during the night and ALWAYS when I have to get up and drive in the mess on my way to work. I only work 3 days a week so I am pondering why it always has to snow on those days.

Wednesday, I was off and we had a "surprise" snowfall that I got stuck in. I booked an appointment for highlights, lowlights and a haircut at the Douglas J Institute. I got to Royal Oak a half hour early so I could buy a skein of Mountain Colors Mohair in my favorite LYS then get to my appointment on time. Little did I know that I was in for an ass-numbing 5 hour color job with a relatively new cosmetology student. Because she was a student, I knew she would be a bit slow, but 5 hours? She was awesome and she did a very good job on my hair but it took forever. I was grateful to have brought a couple of knitting projects with me so I should have been thankful for the 5 hour knit-in. Instead, I was worried. The whole time she was doing my hair, I was watching it snow outside. It just kept coming and coming and coming. Fat flakes, wet thick rainy flakes that fell on top of sleet. We had sleet and freezing rain a whole hour before the snow came. Five straight hours it piled up. The buzz around the salon was that this had been deemed a "snow emergency" and the school would be closing. And me? I still had foils in my hair. I was a virtual prisoner of the salon. When I got out, I couldn't wait to get home, but it was rush hour. What is a girl with new hair to do?

I walked (slipped was more like it) across the train tracks and down a half a block and slid into the door of O'Tooles Pub with a half inch of snow piled on my new do. I looked like a wet dog but was met by my lovely daughter and her friends who had lucked out with a "snow day" at the Douglas J. I had decided to wait out rush hour traffic here but there was no waiting out the weather. It just kept coming. The TV weatherdummies (who were totally perplexed at having been blindsided by this surprise weather event) kept saying 1-3 inches total while I could clearly see it had fallen an inch an hour since I had arrived for my first appointment. Hmmm. I can do the math. 5 hours mind and butt-numbing hair appointment and 1 hour in the bar. 6 x 1= 6. Six stinking inches of new snow on top of the "3 to 5 " that fell last Friday.

Here is the view from my car window--driving home from O'Tooles behind the crazy driver who had his emergency blinkers going the whole way down. No s#%t sherlock. It is a snow emergency. Not only do I have fat flakes in my windshield, but I have your annoying flashers to look at too!And this morning? This is my backyard with my dobie Duke who hates the rain but loves the snow. Who is Duke yapping at you ask? Why, that would be my neighbor who obviously has nothing better to do and is snowblowing the snow out of his yard. Not his walk or drive. His yard.

**********NEWS FLASH**********


In a phone conversation with my brother Freddie, it would appear that my neighbor who snow blows his YARD is not the only one with too much time on his hands. Fred likes to snow blow his YARD too. Let me tell you, his YARD is huge. He (who is afraid to leave his own comments here) also told me to quit whining because he got a foot of snow. Awwww. Wouldn't seem so awful if you hadn't been compelled to snowblow the YARD too.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The good, the bad and the really ugly

I have not gone without shaving my legs and underarms for decades. Ever since I was 12 and old enough to pick up a razor (and hairy enough to be compelled to do so), I have shaved. I am half Lebanese for God's sake. It is a DAILY ritual in the shower. It has been a week now since my aesthetician in training daughter told me I am to be her guinea pig (she called it a model-but I know what it really is) for waxing at the END of the month. "Stop shaving now" she said sweetly. Uh, I notice and you will too, she told me-she didn't ask me to stop shaving. That she did so sweetly is a plot. This was followed promptly by a text message that she performed this task in a stellar way at her school the Douglas J Aveda Institute. And she LOVED it. I was aghast. OMG-a month without shaving. I don't think I can bear it. Was she sniggering at me in that text? Is she all atwitter with the excitement of ripping hair off my legs and (I feel a little faint) my underarms? Oh, and she'll do a full arm waxing too. Is she gonna let me have it finally? All that pent up angst from her teenage years-she'll finally get her revenge. And me planning my 2nd Annual Good Riddance To Winter Dinner.

She knows what this is. It is a must that it happen in February! It is a thing. To be sure, it has only happened once before, but it is my creation. My idea. My way of fighting the winter doldrums. Something to get me out of my winter funk. My friends and I dress in summer attire and go out to eat-preferably somewhere with tropical decor- IN THE DEAD OF WINTER. Somewhere like this while the outside the scenery looks more like this.

This is something that requires prior proper planning. It means invitations are sent, reservations are made, pounds are shed in an effort to slip into something summery (if that fails, then a trip to the tanning salon is in order because we all know that winter fat looks better with tan). It means a trip to DSW for the proper slinky shoe and a trip to the salon for a pedicure to go with it. And last but not least, it means shaving one's legs and underarms. I can't do this sleeveless and wearing trousers. I can't do it if she takes skin with the hair either....Nah. That can't happen, can it?

Being somewhat worried about all this, I cast on another Mercurial Moebius Shawl in Mountain Colors Bitterroot colorway. That is about the only good in this post. The really ugly? I snapped the cast on picture whilst it laid across my hairy leg. Yep. I need a tan.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Knitting Zen

When I learned to knit as a young woman, I never really got too skilled at the craft. I never took a class but instead was self taught out of a poorly written and illustrated book. Subsequently, I lost interest as I had no real skill and I had no drive.

My learning methods weren't too different when I picked up knitting again many decades later. I bought myself a few items at Michael's: "I Taught Myself To Knit" booklet complete with wonky needles, cheap yarn and "Knitting for Dummies" which I still reference today. What was different though was my drive. The marvel at creating something from 2 sticks and a piece of yarn. And need. Need drove me to create. I needed to make good of bad things that were happening. My husband's mother Pat whom I adored was very sick and I found myself taking her to all of her doctor visits. I spent countless hours in waiting and hospital rooms in a sort of vigil. Waiting. Waiting for the inevitable that only experience at such things can give you. It was a painful period for my family and the only good thing I could do was create.

I have learned many skills since this time several years ago. I know that with books, on-line tutorials and local yarn store classes that I can take on just about any project. I still need to create and to make good of bad. Knitting automatically puts me in a calm state of mind. I feel my mind clear and my heart rate and breathing slow as I methodically plod along placing my needles in and out of loops of yarn.

I always take something I am trying to create to work with me. I find that if I can take a break from working and thinking that the act of knitting calms me and clears my mind. It is usually a sock or something small and mindless. Miles and miles of stockinette on circs or dpns usually does the trick. After a couple of rows, I'm in that zen state. After my break, I can return to my work with clarity of thought and a relaxed frame of mind.

This didn't really work for me this week and I have found myself unable to coax myself into this peaceful state. Instead of my knitting, it was my real job that I took with me everywhere I went. The patient that I had treated for 4 days this week finally passed last night. Perhaps it was the inevitability of his passing that struck a chord deep within me; the certainty that only experience brings that no matter what I do, the outcome will be the same. He was dying. It wasn't the critical nature of his illness and the level of care required that exhausted my mind and body, it was witnessing the suffering of his relatives as they went from fighting to relinquishing all in the course of one week. It was such a private thing that few are privileged to witness: a mother's love and loss, a partner's shattering grief, a father's tearful good-bye that made it so obvious that this special young man would be deeply missed. This family touched me very deeply and in a most permanent way: they had knitted their way into my heart. As I fell asleep last night, I was thinking of them, especially this young man's mother. Her loyalty was fierce and her devotion so very palpable. Today, I cast on for her: a pair of socks to warm her feet when February rolls in for February will never be the same for this broken hearted woman.