Monday, March 31, 2008


The final sign that spring is here is opening day of baseball.  In the big D, that would be today.

Play ball!  

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sports ATC

Lately, it is all sports, all the time in my house.  Some seasons are winding down like basketball and hockey as we begin to enter the playoffs and others, like baseball and golf are just beginning.  Myself, I don't really care.  If my husband comes home from work and busts me watching an athletic event, he gets a glint in his eye.  It's almost as if I've transformed myself into the perfect woman by virtue of the fact there is a game on the TV.  Nope.  It's just that if I'm watching something interesting to me while I'm knitting, I'm sure to make mistakes.  So, athletic events are a good background in which I can do whatever suits my fancy.  

I'm passably versed in most sports.  Hockey (no surprise in a Canadian border town) is my favorite.  These guys are real athletes.  I like going to baseball games-mostly to check out the butts of  cute guys in uniforms (I love men in uniform).  Basketball is OK which is almost blasphemy around here.  My son adores basketball and my husband played it all through highschool.  My sister in law works for the NBA.  Me, I can take or leave it (usually leave it).   I used to like it better when the players wore shorter shorts.  It gave me something to admire.  

Where does it leave me now as March Madness has descended upon us?  TV free.  Even poor Rachel is TV free which means she has taken to staring at my lap top waiting for vintage cartoons to magically pop up on the screen.  Thank God for you tube and Max Fleischer.  Without it she'd be lost and I'd lose my mind.  She can watch these 1930's cartoons for hours. 

There are basketball brackets lying all over the house these days.  There were some close calls in the past few days and a quite a bit of grunting as expressions of disbelief.  Like when Duke beat Belmont by a nose.  Oh wait, I'm screwing up my sports lingo again.  I get mixed up all the time.  I can't keep my quarters, innings, and periods straight.  Anyways, Duke almost LOST-to Belmont.   Some of the men in my house had to look Belmont up online.   I can't imagine the noise in Doha where my sister lives with her Duke alumni spouse.  I bet there was some interesting "language" going on over there.  And I'd bet there was more than grunting and shouts of OHHHH.

I like the words they use to describe the NCAA playoffs.  Words like March Madness and Sweet Sixteen.  The play doesn't do much for me though it does provide for quite a bit of knitting respite.  My pink sweater is 75% done.  Soon, I'll start on the sleeves.  So in a way, it's ok that I've lost control of the TV.

Now this video runs more to my tastes in sports videos.  He is pretty cute-and no uniform is required to make me watch.

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Believe It or Not

And this my friends is why I don't shop here.  I don't care how tempting the price cuts may be, the social conscience of this company is deplorable.  To me, this is despicable corporate behavior put in play by the worst company on the planet.  I realize to utter these words in print may have dire consequences, frankly, I don't give 2 s#!ts.  Freedom of speech and all that.  And yes, I have direct ancestors who fought for that right.  Shame on you Walmart.  I think your smiley face just sprouted the horns of the devil.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Pay It Forward

I gave my notice today at work.  It was no notice.  Told my boss, I won't be back after today and it was thrilling.  She hopes I was only joking but we'll have to see if my lottery tickets pull through.  I'm feeling lucky though and I've already spent a good chunk of the dough in my head.  Since winter won't leave and summer seems a good long way off, I've decided to buy a tropical island with my $113,000,000.

I'm feeling really lucky since I did such a good job at picking winning numbers at roulette on Monday.  I bought ten tickets in anticipation of writing off nine of them against tonight's winnings.  And to quote Dirty Harry, "you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky?"  Damn straight I do.

This morning though, I wasn't lucky.  I left the house and stopped at toomanybucks for a grande latte.  I paid toomanybucks and tipped the barista and drove to work.  Three miles later, I tasted my drink and found my grande latte had turned into a no fat, no whip, white mocha coffee with cinnamon.  Not what I ordered and not what I paid for.  I returned it 13 hours later-they were 'annoyed' with me.  They wanted to know why I waited so long to return it.  I'd have been late for work, thats why.

Fresh latte in hand, I pulled up to the ATM and waited behind some guy in a very nice car to take care of his banking.  When he left, I pulled up to the machine.  It was a brand new ATM at my bank.  Very shiny.  Lots of bells and whistles and open to MR. Very Nice Car's account.  OMG!  It was asking me if I wanted another transaction.  I can't tell you enough how hard it was for me to say NO.  There wasn't a NO DAMMIT option.  Just yes or no.  I'm a good girl though so I pushed no.  The machine spit Luigi's card out and gave it to me.  Lotta good that does me now.  Am I daft or what?  

I'm betting on being a good girl.  Perhaps my deed was caught in heaven and for payment I'll get that megamillions hit I'm looking for.  If not, I need to undo what I told my boss and haul my butt into work on Monday.  

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Q Word

Certain things in a hospital are the kiss of death for a decent shift.  Nurses and doctors are a superstitious bunch.  One must never utter the word quiet.  You shouldn't even think it.  If you do, all hell will break loose.   The next thing you know, you are begging for spiritual care to show up and do an exorcism of the evil spirits and gremlins that have descended upon your unit.  You have tempted the fates and now you will pay.

Never go into a room to start an IV, draw a blood gas or perform any other such task with only one syringe, needle, kit or whatever you need to get the job done.  If you do, your fate is again sealed and you are certain not to get what you need on your first attempt.  

On a bad day, never utter the words "God give me strength."  You are sure to be given only trials for being so cheeky.  It's OK to ask for wisdom.  Like in "please God, guide my feet and hands in getting to the drug pyxis quick enough and picking out the correct concoction of drugs that are going to sedate this maniac."  That's an OK plea.

When you have finally discharged a patient that has been on your unit for forever and a day (not an exageration), never talk about that patient.  Never say that patient's name out loud.  Never discuss the patient in even vague terms.  In fact, try not to think of that patient at all.  It's like Beetlejuice.  Say that name 3 times and that patient will be readmitted quicker than you can run to fetch the holy water.

Never ignore the patient who tells you he is going to die.  All may look well at a glance but he may know something you don't.  Ignore him at your own and especially his peril.  We call this a feeling of impending doom.  It is affirmation that someone let the Q word slip.

These warnings and superstitions should be practiced in all areas of life.  For instance, never discuss the sure signs of spring in Michigan unless it is July.  You will most certainly be shat upon from the heavens above with fluffy white flakes that are certain to ruin your Friday drive to work.  I did it.  We will get 3 to 6 inches of heavy white snow tonight.  It will end just in time for me to drive to work.   I can't believe I left the holy water at work........

A Sure Sign of Spring

Signs of spring in Michigan can be subtle.  You must keep your eyes and mind open in order not to miss them.   With the winter we've endured, I feel we are owed a decent spring.   Yesterday, I saw sure signs that it's coming.  

  • First off, the sun which is a rare thing of late, was shining.  The sky was blue.  The thermometer read 48 degrees.  

  • Secondly, I only had to wear a long sleeved tee outdoors with a thin denim jacket.  I was plenty warm.  No wool required.

  • Thirdly, I think I saw the tender green nubbins of my daffodils popping out of the ground.  Yes.  Greenery.  I'm thrilled.  This means the squirrel didn't get the bulbs!  I don't think my irises can be far behind.  

Best of all, and the surest of all signs I saw was the golfers.  They're back.  The course I drove past was filthy with them.  My son and brother discussed clubs and new courses tonight at dinner.  Trades were made.  Plans were made.  Must be spring.

This one is for you guys.  I don't get your sport but this guy does.  Tune in for the history of how golf was created.

Love ya guys.  See ya next winter.....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Life in a Fishbowl and Other Annoyances

These days, more often than not, I feel as though I'm living my life in a fishbowl.  I'm on the inside looking out while others are staring in.  I'm not talking about readers of this site because you are invited to be here.  I'm talking about the uninvited "guests" in my life.

Let's start with work.  I work in a 12 bed ICU where two rooms with glass doors and windows that separate them are joined at their center by a glass encased pod.  Each nurse is assigned a pod and by default the two patients that pod connects.  There is room enough for a desk, a computer, a phone, a trash can and a couple of drawers.  There are 6 such pods in the unit.  I am the pod goddess and the ruler of my pod.  I don't sit on a throne, I sit in a fishbowl--where family members stare, try to eavesdrop and generally just make me feel uncomfortable.  I get no peace living in my little pod.  I've even had family from one room come to get me in the next room for the most trivial of items.  I know down at the heart of things, I am nothing more than a waitress with an advanced degree.  Each and every time I sit down to work at my desk, I am beckoned through the fishbowl glass to go and fetch something.  Now the glass is present so that I can see my patient, look at their monitors and urimeters and such.  It is designed so that I can know all, see all and subsequently be all to my incapacitated patient in the bed.  The glass is not there for the entertainment of those within the room to see how many times they can get the "resting" nurse off her duff to bring the tissue box closer to the bed or change the channel on the TV.  

At home, it is my daughter's caregivers who make me feel as though I live in a fishbowl here too.  One of these young women looks through each individual piece of mail that comes in the door as though it were addressed to her.  She'll even comment on it from time to time.  Nothing is sacred here.  When married couples have a spat, it is often an unpredictable thing.  The where and the when of it.  I can't "discuss" anything with anyone in this house with the knowledge that people I am not related to will hear me and listen in on something that is often very private and isn't their business.  This has happened more than once and employees have had the nerve to weigh in on the discussion.  Excuse me?  I have no idea how or why anyone would want to share a home with someone they didn't marry or birth.  None whatsoever.  If I didn't know deep in my heart that I couldn't take care of my daughter 24/7/365 without going insane, I wouldn't have a single employee.

Years ago when we first started this employee/caregiver thing for Rachel (which is a fight I still have deep and abiding wounds from), the county would come once a month to "oversee" how things were going.  The county provided the employees,  most half of whom were insane, to work with my daughter.  They also provided speech and language, physical and occupational therapists.  What they didn't tell me upfront is that each and every month, the therapists would quit and get a new job.  This meant that each and every month, someone new would come to work with my daughter.  They would do a brand new assessment every single time.  Once a month X 3 specialists were asking me the same questions.   I can't begin to tell you how invasive I found this line of questioning.  Tedious.  I would always ask the same thing of each of them, "didn't you read the last therapist's initial assessment?"  Duh.  Answering these intrusive questions was just awful as they all seemed to judge what I had and hadn't done for my daughter and I was deemed wanting as a parent.  In retrospect, I think this may have been a ploy on the part of the county to get me to stop using the very expensive speech, OT and PT services.  It worked.  I declined those services after about a year of putting up with the revolving door of workers.  I just couldn't take answering one more question about when I first noticed my daughter's failure to meet a milestone.

Anyways, I know why these feelings of resentment have cropped up today.  It's the perfume.  My perfume.   My daughter's caregiver came in the door today and made a comment about the brand new bottle of Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue lying on the table.  It's a birthday gift from my oldest daughter.  The caregiver was glad to see it.  It seems she agrees we were running low.  Now I'm sitting here wondering what else she knows about me and like I said, nothing is sacred.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Be A Nurse

My friend N who puts the N in ANR is a nurse too. She hails from Ohio but is a Bowling Green grad and not a Buckeye grad so I have to give her a pass for that. I first met her about 10 years ago when I went to work in a rather large urology practice.

Now, as you can imagine, there aren't too many things you'd need a urologist for. We could include prostate enlargement, prostate cancer, urinary tract problems and cancer, kidney stones, vasectomies, male infertility and ED. What's that? Why that would be erectile dysfunction and unless you've been living in a cave and missing all the Viagra commercials out there, I don't need to explain what that is. We'll talk about how Pfizer has ruined one of my favorite Elvis songs on a different post.

So given this laundry list of what kind of nurse this lovely but straight-laced Ohio woman could be, what would be your guess? Ding. Ding. You'd be right only if you guessed an erectile dysfunction nurse. When I worked with her, I was a clinical research nurse. I had my fair share of ED clinical trials and therefore ED patients, but nothing like what N did.

This woman is amazing and over the years, has made that practice a boatload of money. She of course makes a nurse's wage because why pay her what she's really worth when she is JAN (just a nurse)? For the remainder of this post, we are going to refer to N as Jan.

Within this large practice, Jan has built her own clientele. Patients adore her and will wait to see her-she delivers what they want. An erection. Within her exam rooms are some of the most horrific things-if you are a male with ED. We'll start with a rigiscan. Oh hell, being a girl kind of limits what I can tell you about being a patient with ED. You can read all about that here. Suffice it to say that a rigiscan measures an erection while you sleep. At the ANR conference on Monday over at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant, we discussed the low tech methodology of the past for performing a rigiscan. It seems you need to moisten some postage stamps and place around the appendage before you go to sleep. If you wake up and the stamps have broken the seal, voila, you da man and that myriad of ED drugs will probably work for you. If not, poor you. You need Jan.

I know what goes on in those exam rooms with Jan and it isn't what you'd think. It's worse. It involves needles. And injecting things into the appendage that even hurts me, a girl, to think about. Jan, who was going on vacation, tried to teach me her job once. Suffice it to say, it made me queasy. First, you have to fill the syringe and grab a fairly long needle to attach to it. Then you have to take hold of the appendage and inject the concoction into the base of said appendage. I failed miserably. I just couldn't do it. Jan's job was safe and there had never been coverage for her vacations in the past. Why set a precedent?

I bring all this up (excuse the pun) because I think I need a change in my career. Being a nurse is a wonderful thing because there are all sorts of jobs out there for nurses. I've been a transplant nurse, an ER (not to be confused with ED) nurse, a research nurse and an ICU nurse. I've worked in hospitals, nursing homes (ick) and private practice. They all have their benefits and drawbacks. I'm thinking hard on what I'd like to do next and I'm just not sure. My current work is quite literally back-breaking and I suffer from 2 herniated discs in my lower back. My job is hurting me. So it's time for a change and I'm just not sure what I'll do. I do know, Jan's job is safe. I won't be going after something like that.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Birthday Goodness

If you think two posts in one day is a lot to talk about one subject, you should have been around last year when I talked about and celebrated my 50th birthday for a month.  Seems reasonable to me--50 was huge.  And although this is not at all what birthdays are about, I love presents.  Who doesn't?

My BFF was genuinely pleased to give me these gifts of yarn.  She doesn't knit and for someone who really doesn't know what it is all about, she went above and beyond.  This Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn is so SOFT, I think I'll keep it around and pet it for a long time before I even consider what kind of socks it'll make.  It is the name of the color I'll cherish the most.  This is Crazy Woman.  A very fitting name.  Not only did I get the Bearfoot, but I got the Moguls in Crazy Woman too.  Above and beyond Fanette.  Thank You.  I love that she prefaced the story of the gift I was getting by telling me she was feeling a bit down when she went shopping and was in need of retail therapy.  She told me it made her feel good to buy this stuff.  I think it's the yarn store (Ewe-Nique Knits) and their fabulous staff that made her feel so much better.  Just walking in that store feels like a warm embrace.  Of course, I don't discount that it was the yarn that cured what ailed her.  There may be a knitter lurking in her soul.

This fabulous Nicky Epstein book was also "in the bag."  Score!

This gift from my brother and his wife was hot on my needs list.  After all, opening day is a short 6 days and approx. 15 hours away, but who's counting?   I'll be wearing this.  I think I'll need some wool too as the weather hasn't gotten the message that winter is over.  I'm glad to see that this guy is still on the roster.  It gives me something to look forward to.  I know he isn't the youngest and shiniest player on the team, but there is something about his theatrics on the mound that make my heart go pitter patter.  I plan to see at least 2 games in person.  July 20th is an away game in BALTIMORE.  I will wear Detroit gear to that one-then I'll eat fresh crab somewhere along the Baltimore waterfront.  August 10th is at home and is a Stitch N Pitch game.  Yarn, needles and Beer will be involved.  I should plan to take a friend to look out for me because friends don't let friends knit drunk.   Looking for a Stitch N Pitch near you?  Check it out here.  Maybe I'll see ya there.  I'll be the one knitting with wool in the heat of the summer.  Oh wait.  We'll ALL probably be doing that.  

Lunch was at Wolfgang Puck's Restaurant inside the MGM Casino.  The crabcakes were delectable.  The butternut squash soup was indescribable.  The burger?  Never had a better one.  This cake?  Stunning.  It was almost too pretty to eat and was by far, the best tiramisu I've ever tasted.

Oh.  And I won.  A lot.  I obnoxiously played my birth date over and over at the roulette table.  Each time it hit, I whooped and sang "you say it's my birthday".   I'm sure the serious gamblers were happy to see the back of me.  If they'd been wise to the birthday Mojo, their chips would have been on top of mine.   I hit the number 24 four times.   Yeah baby.

Who Are These People?

What do I have in common with the lovely Annabella Sciora?  I've never acted.  I've never met Tony Soprano (though I do know people just like him).  I'm not that skinny and I have short blond hair.  

What could I have in common with Lara Flynn Boyle?  I do love Tommy Lee Jones and she starred in Men in Black II with him.  My BMI (body mass index) is somewhat more substantial than Lara's.  I don't take it personally.  I have a thing about starvation; I just don't like it and it makes me feel cranky.  Also, I think I would look silly in a tutu.

What about this guy?  That would be the enigmatic Harry Houdini.  I like the dark and sultry look.  I'm a terrible escape artist and I couldn't do a magic trick to save my life.  I did have appendicitis though--that's what done Harry in.  

No, what I have in common with these people is that I share my birthday with them.  So, Happy Birthday Lara, Annabella and Harry. 

I'm off to an ANR conference which is about the best way to spend a birthday.  This will be a day jam-packed with laughs, eating (sorry to Lara and Annabella), drinking exotic alcohol concoctions and gambling.  My kind of day.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sprinter in Detroit

Spring:  noun.  the season after winter and before summer, in which vegetation begins to appear in the northern hemisphere.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Who's Sorry Now?

Me.  I'm sorry I didn't listen to my little inner voice last December 20th.  I was sick of buying "stuff"-even yarn.  When I went to Jimmy Beans as I do on the 20th of every month to see the limited addition Lorna's Laces sock yarn, I didn't click to buy.  And I'm sorry because duh, limited means a point or level beyond which something does not extend.  Sold Out.  It does every single month.  The January colors were too cool for me and even though it wasn't technically winter at the time, I was already sick of feeling cold.  Those colors appeal to me now, especially since I can't have it and because I can see the end of winter being ushered out (after tomorrow's snow storm that we're expecting).   I'm a little sad that I don't own the very pretty Ice Storm Yarn.

I passed on February's color SWAK.  I just didn't like it-too dark, too moody and smacking of Valentine's Day.  I must be an aberrant female as I don't go in for the gushy love holiday nonsense.  So, I feel nothing having lost out on the SWAK yarn.  I bought some pretty navy Schaefer Heather yarn instead.   On Feb. 20th, I went back to Jimmy's and saw the promise of the end of winter in the Spring Forward colorway.  Of course, I bought it.  I don't like Easter egg-like pastels, but someone will.  

The yarn for April is called Lily Pad.  For some reason, it reminds me of my sister (or more appropriately, the beautiful, multilevel pond she has covered in lily pads).  So I'm clicking my option to buy and I'll knit some socks for my sister.  True, she could knit her own, but it's always nice when one knitter makes something special for another.  I'll leave them for her at her home in Virginia next month.  
OK then, since I now have my April Yarn from Jimmy Beans, you can go fetch yours.  Better be quick though; it sells out fast.  You don't want regret at having missed the boat. 


What Makes a Perfect Day?

"And what would you like to achieve with your facial today Madame?

Yesterday was wonderful.  I woke up with no alarm (although I did wonder briefly if I was late for work-hate that panicky feeling).  No points for this since the initial panic was disturbing. Hubby was up and already brewing the coffee.  Score 1 point in the great day tally card for not having to brew the joe myself.  He even got Rachel ready for school.  2 points.

Payroll matters have changed greatly with Rachel now an adult.  They are much easier.  Score 3. Chat with the BFF for about 30 minutes while doing the payroll I could've hired a chimp to do. Score 4. 

Drive to my favorite small town within a city.  Shmooze with the gals at my favorite LYS and spend way too much money on things I don't need.  Yep.  More yarn. (This time, the yarn is a gift that I'm giving in its skeined form.  I don't have to knit it).  I think that makes it 7.

Walk from the yarn store to the salon.  Get a new do: new blond highlights, shampoo and blow dry.  Slip from the salon and into the spa to get a facial from my daughter.  That makes 10 because I have to add 1 point just for the hour and a half I get to spend with one of my favorite people.  

Results of this facial? How can I total the point value of this Aveda treatment?  The  Botanical Skin Resurfacing is a fabulous service.  It's the 2nd of 4 weekly exfoliating and skin rejuvenating treatments I'll have.  I think it is amazing and is likened in results to microdermabrasion except it's painless.  It's dirt cheap since a student did the work and I'm willing to take my chances with the outcome. It's even less expensive than the list price of this service because I get a 50% discount as one of my daughter's peeps.  And damn if I don't look 10 years younger. 

 I'm giving this perfect day the near perfect score of 99.  I'd give it 100 but the maid didn't show up to clean the house.  Oh wait.  That's right.  I remember now that I gave her the day off to go to the salon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Postman Rang Twice This Week

When you last saw this project, it was just in its infant stage.  I have knit my behind off trying to make it grow.  This yarn, a lovely alpaca and silk blend is so hard to knit.  The pattern is as simple as they get being all in stockinette.  A rectangle with armholes, sleeves knitted separately and then sewn in.  The curled edge of the stockinette pattern becomes part of the detail of the sweater.  How hard can that be?  I guess hard isn't really the problem.  This baby is tedious because the yarn is boucle.  What was I thinking?  This stuff is incredibly difficult to manipulate but the texture will be lovely-if I ever finish it.

As an incentive to knit faster, I ordered this pretty little shawl pin as a closure for the sweater.  It was out of stock when I ordered.  It arrived yesterday and all I can say is  I wish the sweater was done yesterday too.  It's a sterling silver ball of yarn on a rosewood stick.  Romi, your work is stunning.  Thank you.  I love it and I'm knitting as fast as I can!

As a carrot for finishing, I have stuck the pin in the sweater to get an idea of how much I'm going to love it.  The major production sweater is about 50 percent done at this point, not including the sleeves.  I'm wishing it was a tank top right about now, but then the pin would just look silly.

Part of my problem is project loyalty.  I just keep getting stuff in the mail that distracts me.  Like the pin.  And like this stunning sock yarn that just beckons me to get my swift and yarn winder out then cast on for yet another pair of socks.  This GORGEOUS yarn was my payolla for doing the nursing survey telephone interview.  Joanne has got it going (as nurses often do) and she is oh so wise.  I think this stuff will make me the paying customer next time around.  Thanks Jo.  Anymore surveys you want done?

The colorway is stunning- Mermaid Jewels- and once again, I find myself distracted.  That's why the sweater isn't finished. Stick a sock needle in it, I'm done resisting.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Heart HBO

Thank you David McCullough, Tom Hanks, and HBO. I've been waiting awhile since the demise of The Sopranos for something to look forward to every Sunday. Now I have it. You didn't disappoint with John Adams. I can't wait to watch part III. And for my bro who sadly lacks HBO, I have a lazy boy chair, a remote and a DVR all with your name on it. Come on down.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

An Irish Prayer

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Road Trip

Would you pay $11,000 for this "coffee pot?" Me neither. But I might be tempted into jumping in the car and driving to a coffee shop that has one. I HAVE to find out what the fuss is all about. After all, I am a huge caffeine junkie and coffee is my favorite source of it.

I was wasting time this morning when I happened upon a story about this particular "coffee pot". The next thing you know, the coffee in my own cup started to taste a bit off. Sure, it was rich, dark and a bit bold for most of my friends and until now, I liked it. I used to really like my grind and brew coffee pot too. Since reading this though, it is beginning to look a bit tired to me. It's not as shiny as it used to be and I'm not feeling the love anymore.

Lucky for me, Ypsilanti, MI is not too far to drive to sample what this brewing orgasmatron of the coffee world has that my tired old pot does not. In fact, looking at the map locations on Clover's website, I have begun to hatch a plot for my road trip to Virginia this spring. Pit stops will include anyplace that has one of these things. I love a road trip that has a theme.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sneaky Dog

My dog's motto seems to be that no matter what you've done wrong, always try to make it look like the someone else did it.  When we had 2 dogs, I never knew which one to blame.  Usually, I thought Duke was the favored smart one so it must have been Augie Doggie who did "it".  Now that my other dog is no longer with us, it has become painfully apparent that Duke is not that innocent.  In his defense, although he can open doors, he can't unlock them.  Someone is NOT letting him out during the day. Nevertheless, when I come home to a mess, the dog likes to act like he didn't do it.  If he had a tail (unfortunately cropped shortly after birth), I'm sure he'd point it accusingly at one of the kids in a he/she did it effort to deflect the blame.

This is a very shrewd animal I live with.  When I am knitting and subsequently ignoring him, he will stomp his big feet on the floor and bark.  If I continue to ignore him, he'll begin kicking my knitting bag all over the family room.  This assures him the cookie he is usually demanding.  I think it was him who mysteriously pulled all of my toothpick sized needles (4 of them!) out of the socks I knit a couple of weeks ago.  I just don't have proof.  It took me an hour to fix the  mess.

In an effort to get our home ready to show (not for sale, but other purposes) we had the carpets cleaned yesterday.  When I came home from work, I found someone had had an accident on the newly cleaned carpeting.  Duke attempted to indicate to me that one of the kids had committed the crime.  It didn't work, but I'm too wise to scold a dog who thinks he is smarter than me (or not caught in the act). 

This morning was a quiet one.  Just me, Rach and Duke.  Rachel had her breakfast then I took her to the bathroom to give her a shower.  I left the dishes on the table intending to clear it once Rachel was soaking.  When I came back into the kitchen, I could see an empty bowl, a trail of milk and Duke looking the picture of innocence..  He was sitting on the sofa looking bored with a muzzle coated in white and bits of shredded wheat.  Liar, liar.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lessons from the Dog

And from Cindyloo Who:

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

§ When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
§ Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
§ Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
§ Take naps.
§ Stretch before rising.
§ Run, romp, and play daily.
§ Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
§ Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
§ On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
§ On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
§ When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
§ Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
§ Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
§ Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not.
§ If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
§ When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by

Thanks for the reminder Cindy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gone Knitting and Stash Diving

I love clever and useful knitting ideas.  While snooping around my favorite on line yarn store, I found this idea for a knitted afghan.  It's brilliant.  It appeals to me because I can just add to it when I feel like it and use it while it is growing.  I love scarves (this winter I loved my moebious best of all).  They keep me warm and looking stylish.  This winter, multiple scarves were a necessity.  Best of all, since they are my own creation, I don't see myself coming and going.

The added benefit of knitting an afghan like this is the ability to drag out my stitch dictionaries and practice a few new stitches and patterns.  I own the vogue line of stitchionaries and love them. The last scarf I made was for a friend utilizing alpaca (from Peru) and a Peruvian Lace stitch found in Vogue's volume 1.  She had spent many years in Peru.   I loved it and so did she.

So there is my plan.  A scarf a month (and darned if I don't use up my stash) until I have what I need.   Then, I'll stitch them together and voila! An afghan is born.  Very clever.  Thanks Jimmy Beans.

Monday, March 10, 2008


What does it mean to be a mentor?  To me it means to advise, coach or guide someone (usually younger and less experienced) through a journey.  In my line of work, we call that coach a preceptor.  When nurses are new to an intensive care setting, they spend many weeks with a preceptor accepting various and progressively more intricate assignments.  The goal at the end of about 6 weeks of preceptorship is having that nurse fly solo with with his or her own assignments.  This formal mentoring process doesn't end with 6 weeks of "orientation".  It can carry on for many years.  Even though I am a preceptor where I work, I still look to others for their experience in managing difficult cases.  I am always open to learning from others.

In a home setting, your mentor is probably your mom and dad.  I feel strongly that it is my duty as a mother to get my children ready to fly solo.  The best I can hope for is to instill my values in my kids at a young age and to have them demonstrate these things back to me when I let them go-for that is what we must do-let them go.  I believe it is my job at this point to be a cheerleader and to encourage individuality, freedom of thought and creativity. 

It could be that I was meant to play this role of mentor in my life.  I like it.  I like encouraging and cheering on those I love.  It's sort of surprising what will happen to people when they are encouraged to think outside the box.   

My daughter came to me a few years ago when she was feeling trapped by her job and her responsibilities.  We were sipping cocktails in a local restaurant when she rather miserably said, "I just don't know what I want to do with my life."  I told her she did know what she loved most.  Make-up.  She has loved makeup since she was old enough to climb out of her crib and get into things she shouldn't.  She has adored "making faces" since the dawn of her life.  Makeup books were the biggest hit under the Christmas tree and cosmetic products a close second.  She is creative and artistic and nervy.  I like this.  She is far braver than I and has dreams for herself that I never had.  She is a couple of months shy of completing an aesthetician program at a prestigious school.  Her schedule is grueling-but she is doing it.  As her mentor, I applaud her every effort and every accomplishment-even when I know that ultimately, this career will take her away from me.  It's my job as mom, mentor or coach.

My niece who graduated from college with a self directed degree in film marketing has sort of been distracted by something different.  Left alone in a great big kitchen, she discovered a love of baking and she is turning this into a career (or at least exploring this career rather actively).  She has not really had a formal training in culinary arts, but she took off running and hasn't looked back.  She works now in a bakery and a restaurant kitchen doing what she loves.  I am proud of her (so are her parents) and encourage her at every opportunity.  It may not be what she set out to do, but she is doing what feels right and what she loves.   I'm quite sure when the dust settles, she'll find uses for her first degree when she sets out to market her own talents.

My daughter's friend is also exploring a new sideline as a caterer.  She has started small-just providing daily lunches to friends and family who she felt were neglecting their diets.  Word got out though and now she is swamped with orders.  I think it is growing bigger in a way she didn't expect because she has hit on a niche.  Left to my own devices, my lunch may be non-existent, cafeteria provided and subsequently dull or if at home, a bowl of shredded wheat.  With her providing my meals for lunch, I am assured a nutritious meal that has the benefit of tasting delicious.  And I didn't have to make it (not that I could).  Her salads are to die for.  My job as her mentor and customer is to convince her to charge what she is worth and THINK BIG.   Are you listening Andrea?

A mentor can never think their words are falling on deaf ears.  Things we teach may take forever to sink in and sometimes never do.  All it takes is one success for a mentor and it makes it all seem worthwhile.

Have you mentored anyone today?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I've Lost It

"Lost time is never found again"
Benjamin Franklin

Ordinarily, I never work the weekends of daylight savings time.  It seems it was my turn to lose out on some shut eye and I am feeling it today. By some miracle, I managed to remember to spring forward an hour when I set my clock last night.  It was pretty hard to go to bed early to get my required sleep, in a lesser amount of alloted time, so I took a little benadryl to help me out (nothing good ever comes of me taking benadryl).  The alarm jolted me awake and I felt surprisingly halfway decent for having been cheated out of an hour of REM.  I got dressed and took off for work.  

It was when I got there that I realized my socks didn't match.  This would never happen if they were my handmade socks.  There is no mistaking it when these socks don't match.   My hand knit items are my flair and my socks, especially so.  These were store bought black socks (shudder) and although the colors matched, the patterns didn't.  One had diamonds and the other had a polka dot pattern.  It wasn't as bad as the day I sat in on a family meeting discussing the poor prognosis of somebody's loved one in my scrubs and socks with monkeys plastered all over them (so professional) but I still looked  like a total doofus and tried all day not to let anyone see my feet.  I can't believe I did that.   Note to self:  turn the light on when you get dressed and either wash those hand knit socks or make some new ones.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Conundrum

You can read this article first if you'd like to know what I'm ranting about:  

I've always wondered about vaccine safety in this country.  Each time I took my daughter for a vaccine, she would become sick as hell.  It was almost as though her little immune system just couldn't bear the insult.  I was a good mom though, always doing what the doctors told me to do.  Rachel was always slow, but worsened a bit after each well visit trip.  Now though, I wonder, was she really always slow?  Vaccination began in utero with her.  I was 7 months pregnant when they gave me Rhogam.  She was just 2 months old when her other immunizations began.

I don't know what to think about this family and this article.  Are we sacrificing a few in favor of the many?  Is there a connection?  Could we count on our leaders to tell us the truth if there was?  I don't know.  There is a part of me that recognizes that we have been lied to in the past about clinical research, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to know it is done in this case too.

Don't get me wrong here, I am not an advocate for no vaccination. I can only tell you that to parent a child like this has been the single most challenging thing I've done in my life.  It would make me ill to discover it could have been prevented.  If there was a link between  Autism and vaccines, it would be ideal if we could identify these kids BEFORE we vaccinate them and then make a decision about what to do.  An INFORMED consent to take the plunge.  After all, we do some genetic testing on babies at birth-before they leave the hospital.  We treat them for STD eye infections at birth and we test them for preventable forms of retardation.   If we could invest some REAL money into getting to the bottom of Autism, we could prevent not only the heartbreak, but the terrible burden this problem places on society.

I'd like to see an answer to this puzzle in my lifetime.  I'd like for everyone who reads this here not to have to walk my walk.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

C'est La Vie -Trois

Today, I returned to the scene of last week's crime at our local hotspot.  If you remember correctly from last time, there are some unusual inhabitants of the mental division courtroom including, but not limited to our friend the judge.  My, she looked about the same as last time.  Smug.  The outcome however was much different.  After much grilling and repeated attempts to get the school psychologist to issue a number for the IQ that the judge could live with (she could not give that number, duh), I left with plenary guardianship.  Thank God that's over.  Somehow, once I left, I just couldn't get this song out of my head.  Here ya go Kanga.  This one's for you:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Some Sweet New Stuff and Something Old Too

There is something about the pristine appearance of a brand new snowfall that appeals to me visually.  It is so pretty and makes my same old back yard look new.

Here is someone who is new and very appealing to all the senses.  This is Ethan at 1 week old.  He is perfect in every way.  Although his mom already conducted a finger and toe count, I did it too just to double check her math.   That's his grandmum looking upon him with complete adoration.  Can you tell how humongous big that hat is on his head?  Poor little fella.  He needs a knitter to fix that for him!

Lucky for him, he has one.  That is Ethan's "fits me perfect" hat complete with roll top brim (all the better to see you with) perched atop Mr. Snowman (i'm channeling my mom by failing to put away some of the Christmas decorations--hi mom).  It is made of bamboo and I think it may be just about as soft as Ethan's little bottom.  The Bernat Bamboo  (pictured here in Dill) is bulky so this was a quick knit on US size 10 DPNs.  I knit it while watching and listening to the snow

This morning, I was awakened to the sound of snow again.  Can you believe this guy?  He is once again snow-blowing the yard (at 8 am).  Do you think he knows where his snow goes once he blows it out of his yard?  I know where it goes dammit. 

This guy was at it for an hour and a half straight.  I think I've reached the end of my tether on this winter wonderland BS.  I can't tell you how I really feel since I try to only use this sort of language for crisis mode at work.  

I'll let Lewis tell you:

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful

Monday was warm. The weather was downright balmy and it rained. I welcome the rain after such a brutal winter; we need it to cleanse the soot stained snow and the salt from our roads, drives and walkways. In this part of Michigan, we don't ordinarily get much snow and major snowfalls are sort of rare in Metro-Detroit. This winter? We've had about 50 inches of snow with MORE on the way. It has been one snowfall after another. Different counties are issuing alerts that they're running very low on road salt and some counties are mixing sand with the salt (that should be pretty) to extend what they have left.

I had heard we would get a bit of snow today but I didn't know how much since I've given up on watching the news. I fear death by stabbing already should I venture out to shovel or snow-blow, so why bother watching? To avoid getting my panties in a knot over something in which I have no control, I just avoid watching the news. (The snow stabbing came to my attention when I was googling daily news headlines for a previous post). It was my friend who told me it would snow and wondered if we'd all have a snow day tomorrow.

I've whined before about how it always seems to snow during the night before I work. Maybe this snowfall is heralding a change because finally, I've got a snow day! I don't know how it happened, but it did.

This is a table in my yard. That is 6 inches of snow on my table after 5 hours of snowfall. It is expected to keep snowing for another 8 hours. These pictures were taken at 10 PM-it looked like broad daylight.

This is Duke acting like he is on watch for stabbers. He is really only waiting for me to turn my back so he can eat the snow off the table. It's his thang...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Brake for Yarn, Again

Today, I have a rare Tuesday off from work.  My schedule has been split up for weeks due to staffing issues at work and I am out of sorts (if you take note of the baby pic in upper right corner-he is at fault but he is so cute, I gotta let it slide).  I ordinarily do a work 2 off 3 split.  That gives me one day to recuperate (and clean and shop) and 2 days to do whatever (knit or shop for yarn).  I stay up late reading, knitting and watching the idiot box on nights when I don't have to get up at 5 am.  

I set my alarm for 7 am this morning and woke up at 9.  Nice.  Not!  I slept through Rachel's bus pick up and now I have to haul my behind(and her) over to her school.  I may let her sleep in too and just play hookie with me.  

Today I have a full dance card.  I HAVE to do the payroll for Rachel's employees or they may get really ticked off at me.  I must go snuggle that new baby and bring his mum the white noise machine I promised (note to self, find white noise machine).  I have to think of something to cook for dinner.  I have to cook for Duke today.   And I have to do a telephone interview nursing survey at 11 am.

What's that you ask?  This is something I signed up to do for some national survey company that wants to know all about nursing.  I made the connection to do this survey on a group I belong to in Ravelry: Nurses Who Knit and Crochet.  The going price for an hour of my time?  $25 dollars and a skein of hand-painted yarn.  I couldn't possibly care less about the money.  The yarn is a different story so I volunteered to do the interview.

The pre-interview email was sent last night and was about a 15 page long questionnaire.  What have I done? All this for 1 stinking skein of yarn?  Well, it is  hand-painted. 

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Food From the Heart

This time last year, I had two dogs.  Duke, my 7 year old Dobie and the old man Augie Doggie.  Augie was 13 years old when he died in May.  He was the sweetest little guy, an Airedale Terrier, with the kindest nature.  He was also a few kibbles shy of a full bowl so he sort of fit right in here.  He was old with chronic ear problems but other than that, frisky and healthy.  It was a shock to me when he became abruptly ill to the point we had to euthanize him.  It was devastating and my poor Dobie seemed to take it the hardest.
Little by little, Duke's health began to fail.  He developed hip/arthritis problems.  His coat was falling out and looked horrible.  He was sleeping all the time.  He wouldn't get up to greet me when I came home (so not like him).  Worst of all, this eating machine wouldn't touch his kibble.  The weight was falling off his body; he lost 30 pounds in 3 months.  I thought he was depressed and secretly worried he had cancer. 

 I couldn't bear to hear the news and made my husband and my son take him to the vet.  The vet diagnosed him with hip dysplasia and recommended hip replacements but 2 schools of vet medicine were not keen on this due to his age (he was now 8 and considered a little old for this surgery).  We put him on supplements, vitamins, pain meds and anti-inflammatory drugs pretty much to no avail.  Still he wouldn't eat. 
And then I remembered the dog food tainted with melamine from dog food products purchased from China.  This fiasco was quickly followed by toy safety issues (lead poisoning) and contaminated tooth paste, etc.   In my mind, someone (ruthless Chinese dog food manufacturer), somewhere (China) was killing my dogs.  My dog's food was never recalled and never implicated, but once a thought gets in my head, it never goes away.  I'm like a pitt bull with a fresh femur bone.  Somehow, this food was poisoning my dog and he was too smart to eat it.  So he starved.  I couldn't let this happen.

I googled home-made dog food recipes and threw a whole bunch of whole grains, vegetables and meat in a pot and cooked until tender.  The dog snarfed it up (uhm, so did my husband but that's another post).  So it wasn't the fact that he couldn't eat, it was that he wouldn't eat that tainted food I had been giving him.  This was 3 months ago.  I'm still cooking for him several times a week.  His coat is beautiful, he has put on weight, he is perky and greets me at the door daily.  I'd say it's worth it since it gave me back my loyal friend.

I've Finally Been Diagnosed!

This is Brian (aka "Sparky") and he is the new addition to my "family".  This gentleman is my BFF's sweetie.  Lucky for me and my pocketbook too, he just happens to be an electrician!   Now if I could only find a carpenter, cement contractor and plumber to join in, my family will be complete. 

I have had an issue all week with lights flickering in my house.  At first I wasn't too concerned but then I googled lights flickering and was immediately afraid of dying of smoke inhalation.  I called Fanette last week but they were in Florida freezing their asses off (it's a long, sad tale)  and couldn't come to my rescue until today.

I showed Brian to the circuit breaker and my friend and I went upstairs to pour coffee and catch up.  When I went down to hear the bad news, he said "it's nothing, you've just got a screw loose."   Damn.  Now I need a therapist to join the family too.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Gone Knitting

Present and accounted for: pattern, enough yarn to knit the sweater, WIP (work in progress currently on my knit picks options needles), knitting bag, hand lotion (no hempz today), measuring tape for the easily amused (the cute little sheep that lets you  pull the tale AND measure), and a great big comfy chair.  I am not in the picture (yet) as I am off brewing the coffee.