Thursday, July 31, 2008

Once upon a time,

there was a lady I know who used to dress to the nines no matter what she was doing. If she was running out to the grocery store, it wasn't unheard of for her to be dressed in designer clothes. Her favorite designer was Dana Buchman. And friends, Dana isn't cheap. This lady, still has some Dana pieces hanging in her closet. Unfortunately, they're about 2 sizes too small.

To go with an outfit like the one above, the lady could often be seen sporting something flashy like this pair of Betsey Johnson shoes. Look how they glitter just so. Stunning. It's too bad only her daughter can wear shoes like these now.

The golden rule the lady abided by was to never leave the house without her face "done." She'd never dare to be seen without everything on her face "just so." Just so perfect. To go out without lipstick was akin to being naked in her mind. Back in the day, it wasn't the smokey eye so much as gaudy blue eyeshadow that was in style. If the lady still got gussied up like she used to, it's the smokey look she'd shoot for.

I don't know quite what happened to this lady. She has enough money to still play the game. I think she just lost heart. It could be, that shopping bags from yarn stores seem to come unabated to her door and the cost of yarn competes with her wardrobe budget. It's only yarn that catches the lady's eye now. Beautiful, soft yarn. Wooly goodness from all around the world. She can't quite put her finger on why she feels the way she does, but she is quite certain, she who has the most yarn wins. She isn't certain what she wins, but she sure likes playing this game.

The lady thinks that there may be a problem with not so subliminal advertising. In fact, she's dead certain that yarn manufacturers are using temptation to lure her and she has the proof. See. Now, that is some fancy marketing. It doesn't even have to be special (though it is), just name it Seduce and yarn hoarders will buy it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

59 Days

What have I gotten myself into? As usual, I leap with my heart before my brain has had an opportunity to even know what has hit it. When my friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the things she told me was that she was certain it was all the ruckus Komen Foundation supporters and fundraisers make, that has swung the pendulum in her favor for survival. That was really all she had to say and my mouse was clicking its way to the 3 Day and I was volunteering in her honor. A couple of more clicks of the mouse and just like that, I raised $1,100 (thank you again, everyone.) Crew doesn't have to raise money-but it's always welcome if we do.

It isn't useless noise we 3 Dayers make. The millions we raise have made a difference in outcomes and the awareness we raise, saves lives. I am two months short of having to show up and crew a Breast Cancer 3 Day event. It'll be my first turn crewing and although I have an inkling of what I need to do, I don't really know the ropes. I've only been a walker in the past. I was unable to make the Ready, Set, Crew meeting last Saturday so I'm a bit behind. It's all good though, I'll catch up. They don't need to tell me how to be a nurse-I think I have that base covered.

I still need to download my manual and study (yes, there is a post-test.) One fantastic benefit of crewing as a nurse is the 21 continuing education credits I'll earn in endurance event nursing. Woo-hoo. Score! I still need to get my professional credentials to the team leaders. I still have to buy some adequate endurance event clothing and be prepared for the elements. I still have to return my team leader's telephone call. But I don't need a tentmate. Out of the blue, I got an email from another crew member who is also going stag to the event and wanted the tentmate issue settled. Sheesh, I hadn't even thought of that! I'm glad the intros are out of the way. I hope she doesn't mind if I knit.

If you plan on walking the Michigan 3 Day (or if you're crewing), look me up in the medical tent. I'll be the one lancing blisters, starting IVs and listening to your stories of 3 Day glory.

I wonder, where in the hell have I put my sleeping bag?

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Men in My Life Are Odd

This picture was sent to me from my brother. Ordinarily, most of what he sends, I find offensive; it's usually of the political variety. He leans way too far to the right. Sort of like this fella:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Spreading My Wings

This is the week I should get out there on my own in my new role as a hospice nurse. I made quite a few visits on my own last week and some joint visits with a nurse educator. I also made several visits with nurses and social workers who acted as preceptors for me. I just need to perform a couple of tasks to demonstrate my competency and I'll be on my new shift. Surprisingly, I'm nervous. I don't want to make mistakes. It's so disconcerting to go from the top of my game to novice again.

After so many years, I'm a newbie all over again and I'm suffering a bit of anxiety. Last week, I dropped my keys in the car between the seat and the console and set off my car alarm looking for them. In front of a patient's home. It took me forever to get at those stupid keys. When I got things settled I drove off to my next appointment and had a panic attack thinking I'd set the paperwork on top of the car while looking for my keys. I didn't. The papers were in my visor. Jeeze Louise, I'm out of sorts.

The paperwork is extraordinarily involved. Most of the nurses are working with computers but not me. Not yet. I won't get my training until next month. I'm told, life will be easier once I do get my laptop. In the meantime, I'll deal with 32 page admission assessments. And, I won't be doing what another nurse in the area did-lose a laptop with patient data tucked safely inside and password protected. Not trusting memory, she taped her password and ID on the laptop. Uh-oh. Not so good for business. I am capable of learning from another person's mistake.

I think the hardest part of being in this role is giving up the ghost of the critical care nurse in me. Not the critical thinking part, but the rescue part. I want to rescue everyone. It's been pounded into me over the last 25 years that I need to think ahead and see what is coming. If you are part seer, then you too can be a critical care nurse. I know that I can't completely let go of those skills, I just need to use them differently. It seems odd to be telling people "don't call 911 in an emergency, call us first."

Most patients in hospice care, are doing this in their own homes. This is sometimes very difficult and I feel tremendously for their caregivers. All of a sudden, they've gone from relative or friend to the role of full time caregiver and often, with no preparation. I try to make extra time for just talking to caregivers and allowing them the opportunity to express their concerns and fears. This was always one of my better skills in a critical care situation and I'm hoping my new role allows me the time to continue with this kind of care. I think it will.

In the meantime, I'm burning some of my favorites for those long drives all over this city. I'm taking suggestions for good street and driving music. How about this one for a theme song?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Good Yarn

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Niki who knit the shawl I found in a Charlottesville resale shop. Her friend Barbara joined us. This shawl has a history and story to go with it now and Niki is pleased to have it back in her family.

She knit the shawl in the early 1970s and gave it to her mother.  When her mom passed away in 1997, her sisters cleaned out the house and gave the shawl away.  Nobody knows where it's been since, but I found it in April.  Finally, Niki has it back in her possession and this is where a piece like this belongs.  

Knitting lace can be a difficult process in my mind.  It's hard to make stitches uniform and pretty with all those yarn overs.  For every stitch a knitter creates knitting lace, one has to be taken away.  Often, what a appears to be a messy blob of yarn when finished, comes to life when it's blocked and takes its final shape.  This particular piece is very pretty and Niki said this shawl was her first big project.  She said it took forever to create because she was working as a teacher and didn't have a lot of time to devote to it.  Her creation is wonderful and at nearly 40 years old, has weathered time rather well.  

I'm a little disappointed that I was unable to spend more time with Barbara, who is also a knitter and Niki.  I was working though and had to rush off after only an hour with these lovely women.  We talked about knitting, yarn stores, yarn and families.  We discussed the possibility of meeting up next spring for a trip to the east to attend the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  I hope we can do this.  It sounds like such a fun event to attend.

I didn't have time to even have dessert with Niki, but she was prepared.  She brought me a little something from the chocolate capital of the country, her home, Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Thank you for lunch and for the chocolate Niki.  I hope to see you soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I mean better. I know just how to make myself feel better. Now I'm on the hunt for just the right yarn in the color of butter. I also need to figure how to make this in just my size. A 34 inch bust will not do and the pattern is published in only that size. I've got a few books on how to do this, I just need to get busy looking it up. I love this sweater. Somehow, it reminds me of a Stephanie Japel pattern. I've got that book, Fitted Knits. I'll look there first before I decide on a pattern. The reason I wanted that book in the first place was for the sweater on the cover.

Last night, I frogged a sock I'd been knitting. It was a beautiful lace pattern that I'd elected to start with Bearfoot. It just wasn't working out and the act of knitting lace wasn't providing comfort to me at all. I cast on again and began to knit a Plain Jane sock. Nothing special. Maybe it was the act of destruction and starting all over that helped soothe my mind. Keeping it simple.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

There, but for the grace of God

I seldom wish bad things upon people. You really have to offend me to my very core to make me hate you. Michael Savage has done this. To my core.

Apparently, I am an inattentive parent and have subsequently spawned a brat. According to Savage (the irony of his name isn't wasted on me), this is the reason for my daughter's Autism. This brainiac says, all I have to do is tell my daughter to "don't act like a moron" and all will be well. Thank you Dr. Savage. I think the clinicians we see at the University of Michigan Developmental Disorders Clinic may beg to differ with you.

edited for meeeeeee.  Although I've not yet forgiven, I will.  Michael Savage can **** himself.  I'm a good girl, I won't stoop that low.

I'm not doing so well these days in the coping department, at least when it comes to my daughter. This 24/7/365 job of being a mother to someone with an IQ of 25 (at best) has got me down. For pity's sake, the damn dog has a higher IQ. I can't begin to explain what my life is like to someone who doesn't parent a child like this. I try my best to just ignore my feelings and fatigue and then out of the blue, I'm in tears. People like this, with their insensitive statements, just infuriate me and push me over the edge. If he were in front of me, I'd smack his filthy little mouth. Perhaps this asshole would like to spend 24 hours in my shoes. Perhaps, with some good luck, he'll infarct his tongue. I hope it rots right out of his mouth.

So listen up asshole! In the words of my Granny, "if ya ain't got anything nice to say, don't say nothin' at all." It is a good lesson to learn.

For everyone else, please pardon my french.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Holy Smokes, He Sullied His Lycra!

Just playing catch up with Le Tour. Every morning I record the day's event and every evening, I watch the live version I recorded in the morning. I'm a bit commercial fatigued and wouldn't consider buying a Saab-even if I could right now. I'm sick to death of those ads and Mike's Hard Lemonade ads too.

Today is an amazing route for my Boys in Lycra. I wouldn't drive a car through that circuit, let alone a bike. I'm dizzy just watching it on television. The views are breathtaking and the drop offs, incredible. They're in the Alps if you aren't watching or couldn't possibly care any less.

And yes, while I know I could fast forward through the ads, it's a little hard doing so while I'm busy knitting. Check out this spill. I wonder if he wet himself.

eta: when i watch this, i wonder, could this be an episode of Jackass?  It looks like he just raced straight off the side of the mountain.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What is up with people?

Twice this past week, I've driven to downtown Detroit to go out for dinner. I'm two for two with road closure of a major artery into the city. There isn't any warning. It's four lanes and then no lanes and one is forced into exiting the freeway-with thousands of others and all at the same time. The first time, roads were closed for placing barrels which are used to decorate the landscape (I never see road crews out.) Tonight's closure appeared to be for a very serious accident.

The problem with this type of traffic jam is that people seem to lose their manners, if they even had them to begin with, turning this mess into a free for all. There were people jumping lines, racing up the shoulders and forcing their cars ahead of other, more patient drivers. I swear, it was like a demolition derby. I was also in close confines with a person who abhors traffic jams and takes them all as personal affronts. I heard more swear words tonight than I think I've heard this entire year. After what seemed like forever, we finally got creative and got off the freeway by driving up the on ramp. We'd still be in traffic if we hadn't gotten creative and done our share of partaking in the melee. By this time, it had taken us 1 hour to negotiate a quarter of a mile.

When we left the restaurant, the southbound portion of that road was still closed and backed up for miles. Now, more than 4 hours after this accident, shouldn't they have closed the whole damn road down? Maybe it's a Detroit thang.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Adventures in Felting

I'm not at all certain how I've managed to avoid purposefully felting a knitted item. I've felted plenty of stuff unintentionally. I once took a beautiful, overpriced Pendleton sweater, much like this one and washed it in the machine. Sometimes, I'm not too bright. It felted to the point it could have fit Paddington bear. I have a few pair of felted socks that really shouldn't have felted, but did. Never, never believe those washing instructions for superwash wool. Hand wash those socks. I pass my felted socks along to people in this house that are blessed with smaller feet than me. Sometimes, it's a sad thing when it happens to a favorite pair of socks, but it does. I've felted without intent too many times. Subsequently, I thought I'd earned an honorary degree in felting. Enough anyways to have at it.

Step No. 1: Knit the blob.

Over the weekend, I went diving into the stash and came up with four skeins of Wisdom Yarns' Poems in many shades of brown. It's color 572. I knit Black Sheep Bag's Booga Bag Pattern (free) in no time. I used US size 10 needles and really only used 2 1/2 skeins of the 4. There is an icord strap included in the total of yarn used. I think the strap took me more time than the bag. This yarn is self striping and wonderful to work with. I knew it'd be a disaster in the making should I have used it for anything other than a felted project. One way, or another, this yarn was going to be felt.

Step 2 (you can start with step 3 if you'd prefer but you will have to do this): Introducing your woolen item to hot water, agitation and soap.

Today, I enclosed the bag and strap in a pillow case (I wasn't this careful when unintentionally felting items) and threw it in the machine with a pair of jeans that are pretty much just sitting in the closet awaiting a 10 pound weight loss. In other words, waiting for donation to Goodwill or for hell to freeze over. Whichever comes first. I put a cap of Woolite in to the scorching hot water.

Step 3: The art of unwinding at the end of a long week.

I popped the top of a bottle of red and made sure the wash was set to small load. The beer was to celebrate the end of the week. Thanks, Sam.

Step 4: Do not overdo step 3 during the agitation process or you'll be sorry.

Once agitation began, I kept an eye on the time. Five minutes. I stopped at four and I'm so glad I did.

Step 5: Admire the art and science of felting. Vow here and now to protect your wool from the elements.

Once out of the wash with my shrunken blob, I rinsed in cold water and rolled it in a towel to squeeze out excess. I stepped on the rolled towel to finesse the last bits of water out. I utilized my extra 10 pounds I'm lugging around to help in this step.

Step 6: Shaping.  Make sure you hide the evidence that you stole everyone's breakfast by covering it in plastic.

I took a box of Raisin Bran Crunch and covered it with a trash bag. I gently placed the blob on the box and am now waiting a day or two for it to dry. Ta-da.

Step 7: Repeat step 3. Just the bottle of red part. It's all done now. Perhaps, watch Paddington Bear eat a Marmite sammy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Another Dimension

I'm curious if anyone out there thinks they may be psychic.  Or if not psychic, at least sensitive.  I'm talking about the times you think of someone you haven't thought of in a long time and the next thing you know, they're knocking on your door, calling you or writing you.  This happens to me a lot and quite frankly, spooks me when it does.

Six years ago, my dad died.  He'd not been feeling well for a week or so then finally got so bad that they went to the hospital.  Living in a small town, there wasn't a choice of hospitals.  It's also a very small hospital with around 100 beds.  I'd left work when I got the call and he was still in the ER.  I ran out to get a bite to eat and went back to make sure he was in a room and he had what he needed.  The staff had put my dad in a room with another patient who was in 4 point leather restraints and had a 1:1 sitter.  The nursing alarms were ringing in my head; this would never do.  I made a little noise and they moved my dad to Room 130 Bed B.  He died that night.  I remember calling to check on him later too (when I had a premonition) and being scolded with "did you really want me to wake him?  Can't you wait until morning?"  I wish now that I'd insisted, but that is an entirely different story. 

Almost exactly 4 years later, my mom was admitted to the same small hospital.  When I got to the hospital, my mom was actively dying and she was in the same exact room and bed number as my dad had been: 130B.  She had told me some weeks earlier that she didn't want anything heroic done.  Just comfort care.  We requested hospice for her and began a bedside vigil.  Hospice staff had told us they'd move her to a hospice room as soon as it became available.  I knew they wouldn't be able to do that.  She was meant to die right there, in the same space my father had.  She passed around 7 hours after we signed her onto hospice.  I know it sounds weird.  I know the hospital is small, but what are the odds that this is the spot she'd die? 

These memories came up yesterday because I did a hospice visit at that hospital yesterday.  Thankfully, the patient was in a different bed.  I felt uncomfortable there and found it hard to be in the moment with my new patient's family when all I could think of was my own.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oy vey

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Monday, July 14, 2008

What do you get the man who has everthing?

Soap on a rope, of course!

Every year, I ponder what I should get my father in law for his birthday. He has everything he could ever want or need. He is a bitter, 81 year old man who seems to think the rest of us never get it right in the gift department. He may be right as I think we've all just stopped trying; he is impossible to please.   I think soap on a rope is perfect because if it isn't enough that he isn't ever grateful, he hasn't had a shower in years. He refuses. We know he hasn't showered because we set traps on the shower heads. If they aren't moved or aren't wet, they aren't used. Simple as that.

Every day, he takes a nice little necessity bath as though he lives in the bush. He misses spots. The house smells elderly, sweaty and sort of like a boy's gym bag. It also smells like powder, athlete's foot powder.

To say we have our hands full, is an understatement. You can't tell him he stinks because he can't hear us. He steadfastly refuses to buy hearing aids that work-too much money. It wouldn't matter because they'd just sit there anyways. Unused.  We are his hearing aids.

I know that resorting to soap on a rope is subtlety he may miss. For anyone else, it'd probably be a WTF moment. Not him. In addition to being a cranky old man, he is head injured. Two years ago, he cracked his skull on the marble counter at a casino and wound up incredibly traumatized. He survived, but with more quirks than prior to the injury. Showering is one of them. He is afraid to get his ears wet. The same ears he won't put hearing aids in. Talk about stubborn. So, after two years, it can get aromatic. I'm tempted to just turn the hose on him and have at it-like they'd do in the military if you stunk. I can't though. Deep down, I'm a chicken shit and nobody can scream like he does.

After his head injury, it fell to me to take him to the first neurologist visit. He wanted the go ahead to drive. Me, I was praying the doctor would say no. My prayers were answered. No. No and no. He couldn't drive. The doctor left the room and my FIL asked me what the doctor said about driving (of course he didn't have his hearing aids in.) I told him what he'd said. I've never seen such a transformation in the man. The next thing you know, he sprouted horns from his head, grew a tail, turned the deepest shade of red I've seen and screamed BULLSHIT at the top of his lungs. I think I suffered hearing loss that day and almost had an accident in my pants. He scared me. When we were out in the parking lot, he asked if he could take me to dinner. Just like that-I'm supposed to break bread with the man while my ears are still ringing. A little later, the neurologist called me at home, concerned for me. He increased my FIL's "mood stabilizer." Yeah right, like that'll work in a possessed human. I think I should have slipped him some holy water for all the good the Depakote did.

I think I've struck on the perfect gift for the man who has everything. Just in case he goes ballistic, I'm planning to be absent from the celebration. I'll have the rest of the family wear ear plugs-just in case.

One word of advice, if you're driving in the metropolitan Detroit area and see a crazy man with horns in his head, driving a silver Lincoln, get the hell away out of the way.  You didn't think a man like this would take no for an answer, did you? 

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Three years ago, I was deeply engrossed in training for the Breast Cancer 3 Day walk.  It was to be my second 3 Day event in 9 months and I was ready.  I'd raised my money and helped others raise theirs.  It's so much easier to walk 60 miles in three days versus raising $2,200 for the entry commitment.  That is much tougher.  

The first walk I did in San Francisco in October 2004 was so hard to raise money for.  I had no balls when it came to asking people for money to donate to this cause.  I'd gotten creative though and came through with enough extra that I was able to donate my excess funds to other walkers who hadn't yet reached their goals.  The second walk was a little harder to ask people to donate for, but I'd grown bold in the asking.

Two weeks after my return from  the SF 3 Day, my mother in law, Pat, was diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma.  We think it may have been from the breast or possibly the lung.  She was not a smoker.  There were hormonal characteristics of primary breast cancer and primary lung cancer.  The tumor in her lung had cells so poorly differentiated that the doctors here and pathologists at the Mayo Clinic couldn't tell where it had originated.  It didn't matter-it was in stage IV with metastasis to the brain, bone and liver by the time it was found.  You could have knocked this whole family over with a feather the day she was diagnosed; we were devastated.  This woman was the soul of our family and she was leaving us, sooner than later.

This was perhaps, the hardest eight months of our lives.  That's how long we had until cancer took her from us.  Truth be told, it took her much sooner.  Christmas that year was bittersweet.  We knew it would be our last with her.  By that time, she'd completed her whole head radiation treatments and fatigue from radiation had laid her low.  By the New Year, she'd begun chemo treatments and didn't tolerate them well.  The cancer cells were sensitive to chemotherapy all right, the problem was her tumor burden was huge.  I don't think she had more than three chemo treatments before she was completely bed bound because of them.  She developed tumor lysis syndrome from this massive shedding of cells.  There were clots in both legs from ankle to groin that resulted in a huge pulmonary embolism.  It was all over but the waiting.

July is the month we lost her.  In May 2005, she knew she was close.  She asked me to make lunch for her neighbors.  She wanted to get dressed in anything but pajamas for this big event but had lost so much weight that nothing fit her.  Pehaps, she'd lost as much as 60 pounds in just 6 months.  I dressed her in my own jeans.  She used her walker and made her way to the dining room table on her own.  She was saying goodbye to her friends of many decades.  By June of 2005, we tried our last ditch effort to improve her strength by getting her into a rehab program.  When she got to the inpatient rehab unit at the hospital, she'd completely exhausted herself and had no more to give.  We went from rehab to hospice-just like that.

The hospice nurses were my colleagues and they were wonderful.  They were so compassionate in their care for our entire family.  Especially, my sister in law, Lori. Lori still talks about these nurses to this day.  She is still thankful for them and so am I.  At my first breast cancer fundraiser in a local bar, Pat had told a friend of mine that she wanted to die in her sleep at home in her bed.  And so she did.  Peacefully.  Hospice made that happen.

I feel sad and melancholy during the summer months.  Sometimes, I think it's just July that makes me feel this way.  She was more a mother to me than my own and I miss her.  Intensely.  She helped me raise my children and with my youngest child's disability, I couldn't have done it without her.  I'm grateful that I had the time to tell her how I felt before she left us-not that she would let us directly say goodbye.  She'd have none of that talk.  

So, Patty, this post is for you. Lori and I put away a bottle of red for you tonight.  You are thought of, remembered and desperately missed.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

In Pursuit of the Maillot Jaune

AKA, Men in Lycra

"Ready, for an arduous ride into treacherous territory."

By now, everyone should know I'm a leg girl. 
 I also have a thing for the color blue.  Light blue.

Green isn't so bad either.

I think my eyes have been assaulted.  Definitely TMI.  
I prefer a little more lycra than this-a little something for the imagination.

Question of the day:  what is a domestique in the cycling world? 
Here is a picture of some.  I wish I had domestic help that looked like this. 
Yellow is such a happy color. In this competition, it is also the color the winner wears.  Hence, the title of this post.

The domestiques of team Garmin-Chipotle.  Do you think they have a built in Garmin-Nuvi mounted on their cycles?  Do they keep food from Chipotles' under their helmets?  Since Garmin comes first in their team name, did Garmin pay more for the honors?  They look pretty good in lycra.  I like their white and light blue outfits the best.  I'm not so crazy about the one with too much argyle; a little argyle goes a long way.  Click on the link above and tell me what you think.  Does he have legs, or what?  I'll tell you one thing, I am not erasing the Stage IV time trials from my DVR for quite awhile.  Whew.  Is it warm in here, or is it just me?

Viva le tour!

Friday, July 11, 2008

What Do I Pack?

A better question is what don't I pack?

One day, maybe Saturday if I win the lottery Friday, I will pack reasonably for a trip.  I tend to take everything because I can't make up my mind what I think I'll want to wear in one day or two.  I just know in my heart that I'll get to my destination and want for something I forgot.  For this trip, I packed way too much for a country vacation.  The only thing one really needs are shorts, tees, flip flops and maybe, one nice outfit.  A jacket or sweater always comes in handy for the air conditioning.

The reality?  I packed a dress, a skirt, jeans, 3 pair of capris, 2 pair of shorts and enough underwear to last a month of Sundays (you never know if you'll need them all.)  I wasn't done with the list. Four bras (color choices are important), 2 pair of pajamas, a pair of cargo pants, 2 jackets, one sweater, 8 tee shirts, 4 tank tops, one raincoat, 2 pair of flip flops, 2 pair privo shoes, 1 pair of keens, one pair of brown shoes and a partridge in a pear tree.  What the hell?  Am I nuts?  Of course, I didn't even use 20 percent of what I brought.  

I packed speakers for my Ipod and left my Ipod at home.  The camera did get remembered.  I packed 4 books (5 if you include the sweater pattern book) and read none of them.  I took a pair of socks I'm knitting and didn't work on them.  I took an extra skein of yarn in case I got productive.  I took all my interchangeable knitting needles and forgot I'd brought them.  I borrowed a pair from my sister to make a purse from yarn I bought while I was there.  The stash I took remains untouched.  I was led astray at the yarn store, yet again.

I wasn't done with the packing inventory as we've not yet discussed "products."  That would be the shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, 3 kinds of moisturizing creams, makeup, more makeup, hair gel, hair wax, no hair brush (it is short, short, short), more makeup, perfume, a razor, advil, benadryl (I can't sleep in a hotel), thyroid medication and a thermal coffee cup.  I remembered my laptop but so did everyone else.  It was sort of redundant and I can only say, thank the heavens for wifi. 

Let me see, I left Saturday and came home Wednesday and  was traveling alone.  There was enough packed for a month long stay.  In case of a clean panty emergency, this was a home complete with washer and dryer.

After I win the lotto Friday, I'm leaving town with nothing.  I'll get what I need once I get to my destination.  The buying spree will begin at a car dealership  with the purchase of a  Ford F350 for packing materials.  Certainly, that truck could be filled like the Clampett's truck in no time at all.

Are other people as crazy as me?  I hope so.  I'd hate to think I'm the only one who packs this way.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

For AK

A garter stitch purse in Noro Daria Color 23, 2 skeins (hint: if you buy 3 skeins, there will be enough for two bags.) There is a picot cast off and a double crochet strap. Click on the picture to see the sheen of this yarn. Of course, I bought a lot. It looks like jewelry. Given that, can knitting with metal be far behind? I think not.

I finished this little purse for my niece while in Virginia. I had to bring it home to do the seams and the strap. I even taught myself double crochet to finish it up. The crochet wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The difficulty for me is that only one needle is involved and somehow, that's confusing. I'll have to practice so I can do a broomstick lace project my sister has suggested. At least that involves one giant knitting needle in addition to the crochet hook.

The song below was played frequently by my niece while I was there. Apparently, she likes it. Lucky for me, so do I.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Home again

I'm back from my stealth trip to Virginia.  As usual, it was beautiful.  I don't know what it is about this state that calls me.  Or why I feel so at home the minute I hit the state line.  It isn't really all of Virginia though, to be fair, I haven't been to all of Virginia.  Yet.  I love the mountainous regions and the coastal areas of this state the most.  My paternal grandmother was from Pedlar Mills, Virginia, in the Shenandoah valley.  Perhaps what I feel when I'm here is a genetic recognition of home.  

My grandmother met my immigrant grandfather, who was a very ethnic looking Arab, in a boarding house in Richmond where she worked.  I can't help but think that in some way, this was very scandalous behavior for the times.  I'll never really know though as that history is gone from us.  She married him and moved north.  I wish they'd stayed.

As usual, it rained.  For once, I'd like a three day stretch there with no precipitation.  This photo was of a storm that blew over the mountains in an instant.  One moment, it was overcast and misty looking over the mountains, the next it looked like this on the road to my sister and brother in law's house.  We pulled over so my sister could take this picture.  Even the storms are pretty and so very impressive when the lightning starts.

My sister Mareseatoats and her husband of 25 years at their surprise party.  Both are geologists who live in other parts of the world but call Virginia home.

This is the stealth blanket finally finished and delivered.  I can't believe I didn't take a picture of it at the delivery point.  Perhaps Mares will send me one.  It is so soft and if I weren't so project fatigued, I'd knit one for me.  The trim yarn is a camel silk blend to represent the last few years spent in the Middle East.

Although I love going to Virginia, I'm getting tired of the drive, especially when I go solo.  I've done it four times in the past year now and I don't think I'll do again for quite awhile.  Those turnpikes in Pennsylvania and Ohio are almost unbearable.  To go other routes takes forever, so I don't go those ways.  There aren't any efficient ways to get there as the crow flies, the damned lakes and mountains are in the way.  I think the entire state of Ohio, at least along the turnpike has just fertilized the land with manure. The entire route was aromatic and not in a good way.  Not that Detroit smells any better, but at least it's good old fashioned pollution and not cow dung that I smell.

I'm road weary and have to catch up on all the Tour de France news.  I love DVR.  Tomorrow, I'd like to discuss my inability to pack light.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

No Family is Complete Without a Texan

My nephew and Godson Luke is a musician. Today's video selection, suggested by Luke, is presented here for your enjoyment.  

I'm still on vacation and curiously find myself at a continued loss for words.  Thanks to Luke, I have a post for you to read.  Y'all enjoy yourselves now.  I'll be back at the end of the week.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Road Music

I'm outta here.....

Friday, July 4, 2008

Competitive Spirit

I love pictures of people's families and friends.  They often tell beautiful stories.  Some homes I go into barely have any pictures to look at or maybe they are there but tucked away.  Most homes have pictures everywhere you look.  Some have walls full of history and others have tables holding a few frames.

A few days ago, I saw a photograph of a graduating class from more than 70 years ago.  This picture was beautifully framed behind glass to protect the images within.  What was confusing was the presence of X marks, done in heavy black marker on the glass over most of the photos.

I asked the meaning of these particular marks.  Did they signify a dislike for those classmates-something akin to drawing a mustache on a picture?  I know I had a few classmates who had annoyed me, perhaps this person did too.  What I heard has made me laugh since I did, the X marks were there to cross off those who'd died before the owner of the picture.  One by one, he had meticulously kept track of colleagues he had outlived; he's survived most of them and perhaps all.  Some time ago, he stopped keeping track, but given the age of this near centenarian, I think  it's a sure bet he has won this race.  

I love this job.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


"Serendipity is the art of making an unsought finding"

Pek van Andel

I'm getting ready to pack my bags and drive to my sister's home in Virginia. Again. This place is a wonderful spot to relax and recharge my batteries. I can sit on one of the porches for hours listening to the pond, watching the fish, deer and other wildlife. At least it's great until the sun goes down. That would be about the time the insects come out of hiding and chase us all indoors. The moths are the size of terradactyls at this hideaway in the mountains.

It'll be wonderful to see my sister and her husband whom I haven't seen since May 2007. I'll also be returning to the spot I found a beautiful shawl in a second hand store while treasure hunting. The shawl now has a story to go with my initial post. A few days ago, the woman who made this item contacted me to let me know she was the knitter who had created this piece. Here is what she has to say about her family treasure (I've edited only to protect her privacy):

When my husband and I moved to Pennsylvania, I met a lady who owned a yarn shop and she taught me how to knit. I knitted the shawl for my mother in the early 1970's. She lived in Charlottesville, where I was born and grew up. She passed away in 1997 and my sisters and I cleaned out her home. Apparently, lots of things went to Goodwill or Salvation Army and the shawl must have been among those things. Now that you have found it --- I would love to have it returned to give to my daughter who lived in Cincinnati with her husband and two daughters. The shawl now has a beautiful story attached to it and it is a story my family can tell over and over again.

For some reason, my son in North Carolina, "googled" my name and found your blog and he called me and told me about the photos. Bless you for "rescuing" my mother's shawl. Thank you for enjoying my work as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Well Niki, the only thing I appreciate better than hand knits are beautiful words. I am quite certain that love for your mother was knit into each stitch. It would be my honor to return it to you and your family.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

An Open Mind, Not!

I'm really trying to keep an open mind about the presidential candidates.  If you believe that statement, I have some highly valuable suburban Detroit property I'd like to sell you. Here is a short clip for my brothers' choice for the fall election:

I think the Senator is so dull, he puts himself to sleep.  Forget your need for anxiety medications, he'll sedate us all.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Faux pas

Monday, I started the third phase of my orientation. I spent the day and will finish up my week following a nurse who initiates hospice within the hospital. Patients are evaluated by her and equipment is then ordered to be in the home by the time the patient gets there. It'll be up to the dayshift nurse or myself to do the start of care in the home.

This particular hospital is the only one within our fairly large system that I had not been to see in the past. It's huge. If I'd worn a pedometer, I think it would confirm that I'd walked at least 10 miles going from one unit to the next and back again. Tomorrow, I'll have to find my way to a classroom at 8 AM for a team meeting. I'm doubting my ability to get there on my own without a guide.

I saw quite a few people I know from within the system. Several were from the roving gang of dialysis nurses that hospital hop and a couple were former colleagues. It's a very small world, you never really know when you'll bump into to someone from a past job. Sometimes, I could kick myself in the ass for being bad at recall of names and faces and I find this flaw to be embarrassing. I'm really bad at it. So bad, that it was noon by the time I realized I'd been orienting for four hours with a woman I knew from my days in the urology practice. I really felt sort of foolish when she said she was wondering if I'd recognized her since she knew me. Well damn, if she remembered me, why didn't she say so? I'm completely perplexed.

So now, here I am wondering if in some way, I'd hurt her feelings in the past. Or maybe she was hurt I hadn't recognized her immediately. People, especially women, can be so sensitive about such things. Why are we so emotional about things like this? I didn't work with her daily and really only knew her by telephone conversations and brief visits. It's not like we worked in the same office day in and day out. In consultation with MBF, who has a better memory and also worked with this woman, I've been assured that I never would have had the sort of interaction with her that could have caused any sort of hard feelings. I'm left with the only possible explanation that she was offended by my lack of total recall. Oh well, if that's the case, she needs to take a number because there are probably a boatload of people miffed at me for this slight.