Sunday, November 30, 2008


We used to go to Las Vegas once in awhile-more when my in laws had a winter home there. This is my husband's favorite place to visit. Oddly, it's not the gambling he likes best, it's just the desert, overall action and people watching. At least I think that's what he likes. People in this environment are fairly amazing creatures and make for great study material.

We were at the Mirage one night, getting ready to go out for dinner, when a man at the craps table keeled over. I didn't see him collapse but did see EMS doing CPR. The man was purple from the chest up. Suffice it to say, things did not look so good for this guy. The most amazing thing was that the play around him slowed but never really stopped. Fellow players at the craps table looked antsy waiting for play to resume. Tables around this dramatic human spectacle didn't stop their games. People at slot machines kept feeding their one armed bandits looking for an ultimate payoff and occasionally glancing at the drama unfolding on the casino floor. Maybe they were hoping for a different payoff than the craps player got. Pit bosses looked annoyed and not in the least compassionate-as though this event was cutting into profit. They should have considered taking odds on his survival. Craps man's face was still purple when EMS loaded him onto a gurney and whisked him away. Dead. I'll always remember the dead guy at the craps table, more importantly, I'll never forget the human behavior surrounding him.

What triggered this memory is the event that happened at a Wal-Mart store in Long Island Friday. An employee was trampled to death when a crazed crowd broke down the door to get in to begin their holiday shopping spree. What a horrible way for this young man to die. The worst of the story is that after the tragedy, shoppers were angry they had to leave when police closed the store down. After all, hadn't they waited on line for hours for this place to open? This is why I stay home on Black Friday. Bad tempered and ill mannered people are not something I look forward to during the holidays. Were the freebies and discounts worth the life of a 34 year old man? I think not.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Like Clockwork

Every year, I have to watch White Christmas. I know it's goofy and sentimental, but I like it. I like the beginning, the middle and the end and all the parts in between. I love the snow song on the train and Danny and Vera dancing to The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing. Irving Berlin was a genius. This year, my sweetie bought me tickets to the live performance. He must love me because he's not too crazy about musicals. Tonight, we're going. Rosemary, Bing, Danny and Vera won't be there, but I won't let that keep me from enjoying the performance.

As previously confessed, I like all of the music from this movie. This song though, I like most of all:

What's your favorite holiday movie tradition?

Friday, November 28, 2008


I'm completely stuffed and so tired. I'd intended to get my behind out of bed early to cook on Thursday, but when I awoke, it was 11:10 AM. Blame it on the Tempur-Pedic. I know I do.   Deciding to go with the flow and knowing that now we'd be eating late, I had a cup of joe and outlined my game plan. Dinner was on the table by 6:15 PM and I consider that a small miracle. I even baked a pumpkin pie and made rolls from scratch. It was all delicious.

I splurged on a newspaper to see if anything in the ads would catch my fancy. After dinner, I perused them all and saw not a damn thing I found worth fighting crowds at 5 AM.  I will never understand those people who trample one another to go buy junk they don't need. I was watching the evening news on Thanksgiving night and they interviewed people who have been camped outside a local Best Buy since 2 in the morning. They will have spent 27 hours waiting for a store to open. Hello!? The temperatures will be below freezing tonight-just like they were last night! These people have lost their minds. Unless of course they like this and they in turn consider me crazy. Who are these people? I don't know a soul who does this although my brother and his wife do go out shopping on Black Friday. They do not camp for a day and a half waiting for the joint to open.

This brings me to another point, is it really necessary to open a store at 3 or 4 in the morning.  Our local Michael's store was open Thanksgiving between 6 PM and 9 PM.  For what?  Sheesh, I was still scraping pots and pans at that time.  I have news for all of these retailers, I think this year, making a profit is going to be like squeezing blood out of a turnip. Does opening the doors at an unholy hour make that much difference? Here is how I plan on shopping this year-same as last:

Amazon, here I come. While checking out my favorite online stores, I'll be eating leftovers and inhaling no stranger's germs.  My kind of shopping.  Can't wait to see the news at 11 with video of shoppers trampling one another.  I'm nothing if not easily entertained.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I needed this day off. We've been crazy busy as always near a holiday. I'm so thankful for my no weekends and no holidays position. It's been a very long time since I've been in a position like this and I'm enjoying it immensely. Last Christmas, my kids were home alone while my husband and I both worked. That was sort of sad. Not anymore though so maybe soon, they'll stop asking me if I'm working Christmas this year. My menu is planned and all the fixings are in the house. Not a thing is prepped-unless you count the fact that the turkey is at least thawed out (it was fresh, not frozen or this year would have been a complete disaster).

I don't say thanks for visiting nearly often enough, but today I will. Thanks for coming by and reading what I have to say and leaving your interesting and always varied comments. Have a great day.

For your listening enjoyment today, here is George Winston playing Thanksgiving. It's certainly one of my favorites from one of the best CDs I own.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Casting Stones

The days preceding a holiday are incredibly busy for hospice.  I think doctors put the full court press on patients they can't help and don't want to fuss with too much over these long weekends.  I mean that seriously.  Does the thought of hospice just pop into their brains on Fridays and holidays?  I've had an admission a day and last night, two.  Add to that, an array of unusual problems enrolled patients were having and I was hopping busy.  I'd had high hopes for sneaking into the market on my dinner break because the stores looked like madhouses during normal hours during the day.  Best laid plans.

I don't know what got into me when I got home.  I finished my work at exactly 12:30 AM, called the time clock to sign out and went grocery shopping.  I wasn't tired enough to go to sleep and my shopping list was weighing heavy on my mind.  The 24 hour Meijer's store looked like a bomb had hit it.  The potatoes were gone for God's sake.  Store shelves were empty and stock help looked overwhelmed.  I got everything on my list including the wine things I can't live without on Thursday.  Mr. Larger Than Life is coming and my husband is exercising his excuse of working that day so I can have some alone time with his father.  

I spent an enormous amount of money on food that should feed us for a week-or at least through Sunday.  It took me forever to scan all the food I bought.  The next lane over, someone else had brought her son too. (You didn't think I went alone, did you?) It was 1:40 in the morning and there she was shopping with her 6 year old.  Poor guy was wrapped pretty tight and looked tired. 

My own son, a criminal justice major in college muttered something about abuse.  He's had a pretty sheltered life and no real exposure to this kind of thing and now, he is taking a class in child abuse.  Is this abuse?  Maybe she was as desperate as me to get the chore done and did what she had to do.  Last month, while shopping at Barnes and Noble in Virginia, there was a woman in the coffee shop who'd bought her kid a piece of cake.  Her son was eating that cake with joy and abandon.  A man behind me said to another that he thought they should call the police on that woman for feeding her son a cake with a days worth of useless calories in it.  If her boy had been overweight in the unsafe zone, maybe I would have agreed, but he wasn't.  He was just a kid out on the town and eating cake.  Maybe it was his birthday.  I try hard not to be judgmental and I was annoyed with the man who'd said that.  Where I saw a kid in his glory, this man saw abuse.  I loathe the judgment police.  Here I was tonight though being just that.  Judgment Police.  I'd agreed with my son and felt the youngster should have been home in bed.  It wasn't until I got home and thought about it, I realized I never even gave her the benefit of the doubt.  If I ever bump into her again like this, I won't.

Do you think shopping mom should have the benefit of the doubt?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Job Almost Well Done

There is nothing like weaving in the ends of a finished project that makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over. I'm closing in on doing just that with my pink sweater. I'm 2/3 of the way through with those pesky sleeves. I'd have been done by now if this yarn were anything except boucle. What a major pain in the arse. I find myself having to watch every single stitch because to drop one stitch would be a tragedy of monumental proportions. This yarn is so highly textured that I think it would be nearly impossible to pick up and weave a dropped stitch correctly. Looking at that picture below, would you recognize that as stockinette stitch? I need to shut up now or I'm sure to drop one just for having the cheek to discuss it while there are still live stitches on the needles. Murphy's Law and all that.

To make matters worse (and put the kabosh on my knitting), I have a rather long burn on my left index finger. You know, the one that tensions the yarn. Ouch. That'll teach me to try to make my curly hair straight using a flat iron. There I was, whipping through my curly locks with abandon and half-heartedly paying attention. I saw my finger going in the iron just a split nanosecond before the iron closed on it. I think I said ouch before it started to hurt. I also burned myself searing the pot roast on Sunday. The pot was smoking hot when I laid the roast inside and hot oil splattered. The roast was good, the burn not so much. Sadly, the hot oil splattered on the tender side of my forearm. Hopefully, with burns out of the way for the week, it should be safe to cook on Thursday. It just wouldn't be a holiday meal if I didn't burn myself in some manner. Maybe I should use pot holders that come up to my elbows-just in case. Or, I could use a grease screen. Duh.

In the meantime, I've just completed these socks that I started before I left for Virginia. The Newark layover knocked a big chunk out of these socks. These are done in my new favorite sock yarn, Mountain Colors Bearfoot (sorry Lorna's Laces). I can't tell you the name of the color until the recipient has opened her package. That should be sometime later this week. I hope she likes them. How could she not? I knit these socks in various places and have knit peaceful thoughts into each stitch-being in the mountains helps with that. I used 1 skein of Bearfoot, US Size 2 dpns, 60 stitch cast on and my Plain Jane sock pattern. There is nothing fancy except this fabulous wool. Next up will be a pair for my own feet out of this same color. My daughter picked out wool for socks for her own feet and I was secretly thrilled when she picked the Lorna's Laces and Jitterbug. That leaves all the Bearfoot for me. I may make hers as a stocking stuffer (fitting). I can't believe I've never knit a pair of socks for her. Don't go feeling badly of me or too sorry for her-remember she is the owner of the beaded cashmere hat and plenty of other hand knit items, but never socks. She's modeled plenty for me because her foot is a more appropriately sized ladies foot. I've just never made a pair just for her. Soon habibi, I promise.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Longest Day of My Life

I hate being teased-or made fun of. In that manner, I'm rather thin skinned. And don't mock me or intentionally set out to set me up for disappointment. I will respond in an unflattering manner, completely unbecoming a lady. In return, I won't tease, mock, make fun of you or burst your bubble.

That said, I had an incredibly long day with Miss Rachel and no caregiver. Sundays are like this all the time these days and I swear, every hour can feel like a day. Did I tell you it was long? I cooked, baked cookies and did the dishes 3 times. All day long, I kept telling myself 24 was on tonight and I'd be able to sit down and watch something I've not seen for a year and a half. That's what helped me keep my sanity because I swear, if I told Rachel to sit down once, I told her a hundred times. There were other repetitive directions too. Protecting the soldier's cookies became an art form today. It doesn't help that the regular caregiver VCR died the other day and most of her videos are a VHS format (she bites the DVDs, much like she disrespects books). Pickings for entertainment were slim. Just let it be said that some days, there just isn't enough Calgon on the planet to take the stress away. With tunnel vision, I kept my eye on the clock and my mind on my evening plans.

At 8 PM, I got my cup of tea ready and sat down to ogle Jack Bauer watch 24. I knit like crazy during the full two hours, feeling the stress melt away with each chime of the 24 clock and gentle click of my needles. At the end of this long awaited beginning, the announcer came on and said Season 7 would begin January 11th. What? I've got to wait seven more weeks? That's just great with the threat of an actor's strike looming on the horizon.

Pop. I think that was my bubble bursting.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


We all have an agenda.  Today, I'm not going to think too much about mine; I'm just going to do it.  My daughter will be coming over and we'll start to let the flour fly.  This early baking spree will be for a platoon of soldiers newly stationed in Iraq.  There are 50 or so men and women who will be the recipients of chocolate chip and Heath Candy crunch cookies.  For most of them, this will be their first holiday season away from home.  If we're ambitious enough, there will be Christmas cut out cookies too.  We'll throw a can or two of frosting in so the soldiers can frost their own.

I wanted to make pizzelles too but when my mom passed away, the chef someone took her good pizzelle iron.  Here I have the recipe, but no iron.  Well, I have an iron but it's the stovetop variety which would come in handy if I didn't have electricity and a time machine to take me back about 100 years.  I want an electric iron.  I found one or two on Amazon that look decent and now I just have to decide which one.  My mom had quite a knack for making these and until I baked them with her one year, I never really appreciated how much work went into these tasty morsels.  Incredibly, she used to make the dough by hand.  It's some thick dough.  She was so happy when I got my Kitchen Aid.  On Thanksgiving, she'd come to dinner with her ingredients for pizzelles.  After we ate, we'd make her dough in the mixer which she'd take home and bake into cookies.  She used to make them for days, spacing the task out.  Maybe she didn't want to wear herself out.  Maybe she wanted to savor this annual tradition.  Maybe, it was a little of both.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I live in the heart of one area so hard hit by this economic slide into depression. Detroit has seen one manufacturer after another close up shop either forever or just as likely, to move overseas. The first in my family to lose a job was my husband. The next was my brother AND his wife. To get a different perspective on trickle down economics, come to Detroit. Nobody is making money so there isn't any to spend. Restaurants and stores are closing. Gas stations too. Last April, my company laid off 400 employees in one of the most brutal "layoffs" I've ever seen. People who'd worked in my hospital, some with 30 years experience were just pink slipped and sent packing. Don't stop to say goodbye. Just go. Your services are no longer needed here. Another area hospital just announced layoffs matching my organization. Do you think the unemployed and newly uninsured have conveniently stopped getting sick? You'll pardon me if I don't get on the beat up on Detroit bandwagon. It just makes me sick.

For Everyman

Everybody I talk to is ready to leave
With the light of the morning
They've seen the end coming down long enough to believe
That they've heard their last warning
Standing alone
Each has his own ticket in his hand
And as the evening descends
I sit thinking 'bout Everyman

Seems like I've always been looking for some other place
To get it together
Where with a few of my friends I could give up the race
And maybe find something better
But all my fine dreams
Well though out schemes to gain the motherland
Have all eventually come down to waiting for Everyman

Waiting here for Everyman--
Make it on your own if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand
Waiting here for Everyman--
Don't ask me if he'll show -- baby I don't know

Make it on your own if you think you can
Somewhere later on you'll have to take a stand
Then you're going to need a hand

Everybody's just waiting to hear from the one
Who can give them the answers
And lead them back to that place in the warmth of the sun
Where sweet childhood still dances
Who'll come along
And hold out that strong but gentle father's hand?
Long ago I heard someone say something 'bout Everyman

Waiting here for Everyman--
Make it on your own if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand

I'm not trying to tell you that I've seen the plan
Turn and walk away if you think I am--
But don't think too badly of one who's left holding sand
He's just another dreamer, dreaming 'bout Everyman

Jackson Browne

Friday, November 21, 2008

At the Root of Things

While I was in Virginia, I picked up one of those free regional magazines. This one is in support of local farmers and their produce. I thumbed through the magazine while eating lunch and after reading about Patrick O'Connell and The Inn at Little Washington, I decided to take what I was reading home. Wednesday, work was slow so I ran up to the market to buy the ingredients for O'Connell's Apple Rutabaga Soup. I wasn't out of the market when my phone rang and I had to go see patients.

Thursday, I got out of bed with only that soup on my mind. Come hell or high water, I was going to make this dish. I gathered all of my root veggies together with the secret ingredient. Maple syrup (and not Mrs. Butterworth), is the key to melding this whole thing together. It also has chicken broth, heavy cream, an entire stick of butter, salt and cayenne pepper. The article says vegetable stock can be substituted for those who don't eat meat. For vegans, I guess it's tough luck because I don't know how to substitute the dairy.

As I write this, I have already consumed next week's daily requirements for fat along with plenty of vitamins c and a. I swear I can see better now but maybe that's because it's still light out. I wholeheartedly recommend this recipe. You need a blender or food processor per the recipe, but I used my immersion blender instead and that was fine. Now I find myself wondering if I should mess with a sure thing by roasting the vegetables first. I love the flavor of roasted root vegetables. I think I may try it just for the heck of it. One of these days, I'm going to have one of those amazing looking meals at The Inn. I just need to find a second job first.

Bon appétit.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Rhythm Method

This is a meme so sweetly hoisted upon me by Betty.  I was supposed to go to my pictures and pick the sixth picture out of the sixth folder.  Since my pictures aren't filed that way on my computer, I decided to pick the 6th picture from the sixth month.  When I'm all done telling you the story of this photo, I'm supposed to pick 5 people to tag.  I hope I know 5 people.

In the early 90s, I worked on a complex nursing unit that was so heavy that instead of calling it by its designated name, 3 East, we called it 3 Beast.  I was an ACM-assistant clinical manager, otherwise known as a fool because I took that position for the measly extra dollar an hour.  In addition to being in charge 5 days a week, I took a full patient load.  We had vasculopaths, renal failure, telemetry, respiratory failure and fresh transplant patients.  Talk about your nightmare of a unit, this was it.  

We had one physician, Dr. Anal Retentive, who hated the emergency room so he routinely had the sickest of his patients directly admitted to our unit. In this manner, we could hone and utilize emergency room skills without the benefit of emergency room staff and equipment.  He was a kidney specialist and it wasn't unusual for those patients to arrive with potassium levels so high, they were nearly incompatible with life.  To complete the picture, because of Dr. Anal's silly phobias, it wasn't unusual to have more than one crash cart opened at a time-in different rooms.  Somethings gotta give when a patient's potassium level is greater than 7.  If that's the case, it'll be the heart that cries uncle.  Simultaneous codes are always welcome on units such as this.  This too helps hone those ER skills.

One evening, I needed to start a nitroglycerine drip on a patient in  hypertensive crisis.  He had no IV and no prospects for starting one.  In short, he had no veins.  This should have been the first warning bell to go off.  I called the resident to put in a central venous catheter.  He came with his senior resident in order to show this resident his do one.  That's how they learn you know: see one, do one, teach one.   Between the two of them, they were going to insert a central line in this patient who had no veins.  They tried once and bent the guide wire.  They tried again.  When they asked me to do an arterial blood gas on the blood that was squirting from his neck like a geyser, I knew something was amiss.  Remember, he was hypertensive.  Of course it would squirt like Old Faithful, but these two docs needed a blood gas to be sure.  Sure enough, this was not venous blood, it was arterial and no good for an IV.  They tried a third time using the groin.  This time, they'd hit the vein but because the patient  was a vasculopath, they couldn't advance the catheter.  His blood vessels were a twisted nightmare that refused to stay close to anatomical landmarks.  They had me call the senior's senior.  Now there were 3 residents in there and with a Hail Mary, it was one more time for good luck.  Like in the previous attempts, they used the neck and eureka!  They hit an artery.  Again.  This was turning into a nightmare for my patient, for me and for those doctors.  I felt bad for the patient, but a lifetime of IV drug abuse can lead to bad outcomes-LIKE NO VEINS.  The docs were fatigued and left the last one (in the artery) in so they could take a break.  Two hours later, they came back refreshed, pulled the arterial central line and on their fifth try, finally nailed it (I bet they went and read a textbook).  I'd  spent a total of 5 hours of my 8 hour shift secluded in that patient's room while the rest of my patients took care of themselves.

A week later, I found this Far Side cartoon on T-shirts at the mall.  I bought one for each of those docs and never let them live down that night from hell.  I still see one of those docs on occasion and he tells me he still has his shirt.  Ahhh, I have such fond memories of that unit.  Not.

I  liked the idea behind this meme.  I can't pick just five, so if you're reading this, I pick all of you. I'll know if you read this so consider yourself tagged.  You're excused if you've already done this meme or object to memes on religious grounds.  In that case, I'll need a note from your spiritual care provider excusing you. I'll  be expecting a good story to go with your sixth of six.

In the event you're counting, I'm 20 down with 10 to go for my daily blog post insanity.  On the first day of December, I shall rest.  I'm almost out of ideas but with Mr. Larger Than Life coming for dinner on Thanksgiving, I should be able to stock up on stories. Thanks Betty for helping me come up with today's post.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


In this day and age, how does this happen? I can't believe they are this hard to stop. Send Johnny Depp and the Black Pearl. Maybe he can clean up this part of the world.

Although I abhor violence and will be the first to tell you I am a bleeding heart, I can't help but see a wee spot of poetic justice in respect to the dog bites hand that feeds it sort of thing. They highjacked a Saudi ship? Really? Who taught these guys all they know? Al-Qaeda? Who feeds Al-Qaeda money? Rich Saudis? Karma.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Especially In Michigan

A cow named Michigan.  Read this moo cow's story here.

Lake effect snows dump amazing amounts of the white stuff.  I for one am grateful that I dealt with only snow flurries and a few squalls last night.  Parts of the state, the parts near the lakes, got up to 2 feet of snow.  Although happy I'm not shoveling out, part of me is missing what could obviously be a great snow day.

What seems like a hundred years ago now (it was 1985), on a cold February night, it began to snow.  By five o'clock in the morning, I got up with the alarm and got ready for work.  I was watching the morning news while preparing and had no clue what I was in for as far as a commute.  According to the news, things weren't so bad.  When I tried to leave the house though, I couldn't get out the door.  Such is the nature of these lake effect snows.  A front will sit on the lake and use the moisture there to feed the storm (a cold air mass meets warmer water).  The news which was coming out of Detroit, was not reporting our storm 50 miles up the coastal thumb of the mitten.  When I called in to work which was 30 miles west of me and told them I couldn't make it in, I was not believed.  I had to take pictures of the stuff as proof.  You can't exactly drive in two or three feet of snow.  It really is an amazing sight to behold.  Incredibly, when you get just a few miles away from the storm, there is nothing.  It's almost as if someone threw up a dome and only the areas outside the dome get snow.

At that time, I lived across the street from the St. Clair Inn  that is on the shores of the St. Clair River-one of the bodies of water that connects our Great Lakes.  This river connects to Lake Huron.  You don't get much closer to the source of fuel for a lake effect storm than that.  This type of snow is very wet and heavy and piles up so fast and then poof!  The storm gets its fill and leaves.  We spent that day alternating the shoveling chores with sliding running across the street to the Inn to have a hot toddy and thaw out in front of a roaring fire before trying to shovel more.  It's not always the wisest way to shovel but it is the most fun.  Nothing like a little antifreeze to help take the sting out of chores.  I'll admit we spent more time sipping than shoveling.

In case you've never had the pleasure of being snowed in like this, I'm posting a video of what it's like.  Ala George Bush, bring it on Old Man Winter.  I'm ready.

Curiously, I can't get this song out of my head:  Especially In Michigan

Monday, November 17, 2008

In a Nut Shell

Although you can't see me right now, I'm recovering from a momentary panic state. In my not so high tech recipe box, I couldn't find my recipe for walnut bread. Due to a lack of holiday ambition, I haven't baked this in awhile. I thought it was gone forever. Wouldn't that be a shame to lose such a family treasure? My brother (the chef) has tried to recreate this on his own and never gets really close. This year, I'm going to start baking these sooner than later.

Tina, my father's sister, was a self made woman. Her husband suffered from significant heart disease most of his adult life and wasn't able to completely support his family on his own. That meant that his wife had to pitch in and help. Back in the day, my aunt started her own temporary employment office, way before Kelly Girls and temp agencies like that were around. She was an original in her field and made a boatload of money doing so. Her husband helped manage investments and between them, they were incredibly successful. She was also a very glamorous lady. She wore the latest fashions and had a beautiful home in an exclusive area of town. I'll tell you though, the one thing that sticks in my mind above all else is not all the glamor, but that this woman was a Knitter with a capital K. She would always sit down with her knitting at family events she wasn't hosting. Her fingers flew and I can recall being enchanted. Perhaps it's her I channel when I knit. She and her husband always hosted a Christmas Eve event that was the highlight of our holidays. I really did not appreciate how much work this was until I was an adult. It was so much fun as a child. The one thing we all looked forward to was the loaf of walnut bread each family got to take home for breakfast on Christmas morning. I didn't look hard for pictures, but the one above is from my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. Aunt Tina was already in her 80s here.

I don't think Aunt Tina would mind her treasure of a recipe being shared here today. In this way, she'll live on.

Walnut Bread
(Makes 12 loaves)
Preheat oven to 350 F
15 (fifteen) cups all purpose flour
2 handfuls of salt (humph- most bread recipes use a teaspoon of salt per 5 cups of flour-give or take)
2 eggs
3 cups of scalded milk
1 cup shortening
2 cakes of yeast
3 teaspoons of sugar
1 cup warm water
Proof the yeast in warm water with sugar. Add shortening to scalded milk. Mix all ingredients together and knead adding the last cup of flour a little at a time. Your dough will be smooth and won't stick to your fingers. Now, I usually cut this recipe in half and let my Kitchen Aid do the mixing and kneading but if you don't have one, well, neither did Aunt Tina. Knead away. Set it in a greased bowl and allow to rise until doubled. I've considered trying this using frozen bread dough and although it's an idea, I've never tried and can't completely recommend this.

Walnut Filling:

Two pounds of finely ground walnuts and add to:
4 Tablespoons shortening or margarine dissolved in 4 cups of scalded milk. Add 4 cups of sugar and here is the secret: 2 10 ounce cans of PLAIN breadcrumbs adding the last until mixture is of spreading consistency. It's fairly thick. Filling thickens more as it sets and you may need to add milk to thin it out.

Divide dough for loaves then roll out those pieces of dough until thin to about a 12 by 8 inch or so rectangle. The dough will be elastic so you shouldn't need to flour your board much. Leaving 1/4 inch border, spread walnut filling. Roll up jelly roll style. Pinch and tuck ends and pinch area where dough overlaps to prevent oozing. Bake 30 to 45 minutes until golden brown.
You can wrap these loaves in freezer wrap or plastic wrap and then foil and freeze. You can make this way ahead of time. They make perfect gifts too.

Bon appétit!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Can't Explain

After about a week of feeling like death warmed over, I finally did a bit of work around the house.  I always listen to music when I clean.  I plugged in the ipod and selected a Christmas cd (Stockings by the Fire) my niece had gave me last weekend.  Out of the blue, while mopping the floor in the kitchen, I was overcome with a feeling of holiday spirit.  I'm sure in part, it was the music, but it's a feeling I haven't felt in what seems like forever.  For many reasons, it seems I'd lost what used to bring me joy at this time of year.  In fact, I'm usually just beginning descent into a mild to moderate depression funk I attribute to diminished sunlight and so much loss.

For five years, I've not felt like celebrating this holiday.  It's probably been a little longer, perhaps since the death of my dad in 2002.  Two years later, my best friends daughter was hit by a car and did not survive.  In 2005, my mother in law died after an  8 month battle with cancer.  In 2006, it was my mom who passed.  So much loss just sapped my joy.  It seems it's been one catastrophic event after another and truly, I've had a hard time feeling anything but grief through the holidays. Half of these years, I've been downright Scrooge like.  I'd go through the motions with my sights set on January and a reprieve from the holiday farce I had to endure.  This is huge for me, this reawakening of spirit.  I don't know what's done it.  No ghosts of past, present or future have come to visit me in my sleep, but I feel the spirit deeply.  I had to quell the desire to start putting up Christmas decorations.  Seeing as I haven't even planned Thanksgiving, that seems like a wise thing to do.

Nevertheless, I'm getting excited and thumbing through recipes.  I called to invite my brothers for Christmas dinner.  I feel an urge to bake Christmas cookies.  Beware, for soon the flour shall fly!  I want it to snow.  Big, fat flakes of snow to cover the landscape.  I want to pop It's a Wonderful Life into the dvd player.  What has gotten into me?


5, 6 Pick Up Sticks

Cast on with U.S. size twos for my mindless plain old sock. Nothing fancy but the yarn.

I have tried mighty hard to stop buying yarn. I've said many times that I have enough, but do I? Can there ever really be enough? I'm always enticed by new yarns or the same old yarns in new colors. In a way, I'm a bit envious of those with project fidelity. These are the knitters who buy only what they need and only when they need it. You know, I think that's not normal. While I'm venturing into this dangerous territory, does sock yarn count? One buys one and sometimes two skeins to knit a pair. It's not like the many skeins a knitter has to purchase to make a sweater. Or an afghan. I admit though, I have enough yarn to knit a boatload of socks. I don't think I could run out within the next year. I see a yarn and have to have it because I know when I go back to get it, it'll be gone.

Joined in a circle-well sort of. Looks more like a diamond to me, but it does knit a tube.

While in Virginia, I finished one sock that I was knitting and have cast on the second. These are for someone I know who just has to have these. My idea, not hers. I believe you haven't lived through winter comfortably until you put on a pair of hand knit wool socks. That's what I tell myself anyways.

Finished with sock one. I loves me some Bearfoot. This is close in color to what's in my hands.

The other thing I did while away last weekend was drop into the Needle Lady's shop. I always seem to get there right before closing. This time they were closing early and said if we didn't hurry, they'd have to lock us in for the night. One of these days, I hope that happens. Gee, what a horrible punishment for dawdling while perusing the yarn. Not. I scored 3 skeins of yarn. Sock yarn. My new favorite sock yarn is Mountain Colors Bearfoot. Love. It. It knits like a dream, holds shape and is sooooo soft. When I bought this, I found myself wondering if I already own it. Since I haven't yet organized all of my hoard yarn yet, I still don't know. Oh well, if that's the case, there will be two pair of those. While looking through the bins and trying to hurry, I fell hard for a new color of Jitterbug. It's fun and reminds me of autumn. The last skein I bought was from a local artisan, Blue Ridge Yarns. I've not tried it before but the colors spoke to me. That's all. Just 3. We won't talk about the two skeins I bought online last week. OK? That will be our secret.

From the top: Jitterbug, Blue Ridge and Bearfoot and all are true true to color. Can you blame me?

Despite being ill this week, I've made progress on a pair of socks and I cast on the sleeves for my pink sweater. I was beginning to think I never would. To make them even, I cast them on one long cable and I'm knitting them side by side. I have to thank Pink Lemon Twist for that idea. I would not have thought of this trick on my own. Doing it this way, they will have the same number of rows with increases that correspond. It's impossible to count the rows in the alpaca boucle I chose, it's way too nubby so I think this way will make for identical sleeves.

To keep it organized, each sleeve is knit with it's own skein of yarn that I keep in zip lock bags for sanity's sake. If I didn't, it would be a tangled mess and the sleeves would never be knit then. That's it on the knitting front. I haven't worked on my daughter's sweater in a bit but feel compelled to finish these two projects first. I hope I don't end up helplessly casting on for something else while organizing my stash this weekend.

What's on your sticks?

Friday, November 14, 2008

In My Next Life

I think I have a talent for raising money for good deeds. I know I do. Over the years, I've raised a tidy sum for Susan G Komen For the Cure. I also raised quite a bit of money for Huricane Katrina relief. Now, consider that just last Friday, I plied my sister with really good wine and then sold her a cow. A pregnant cow. I bet she didn't see that one coming! By now, she's had time to sober up and reconsider. She has reconsidered and still wants to buy that cow!

Of course, I did it all with the purpose of supporting my friend, Sister Jeanne and her mission, Cantera Nicaragua. Mareseatoats doesn't know it yet, but for her generosity, she's about to be added to a mighty prayer list that will probably bring her many blessings. I know when I'm on my friend Jeanne's mind because I instantly feel peace through the miles. I believe my friend has a direct line to the big guy upstairs. Lord knows I've been blessed since the very day I met her!

So Mares, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I'm quite certain that your deed is about to brighten the lives of an impoverished Nicaraguan family and with hope and hard work, they'll be able to make a living with your gift. Talk about your community supported agriculture, this is the cat's meow!  It's also a beautiful way to give as it's a gift that keeps on giving.

I'm buying the chickens (5 chickens and a rooster) this year with the hope that next year at this time, I'll have saved enough for a heifer. And in my next life? I want to be a professional charitable fundraiser.

Photo Holstein Cow Looks Down on Camera courtesy of Animal Photos

Thursday, November 13, 2008

You've Got Mail

It's been amazing to make contact with such diverse people through blogging. Everybody is different and most people are kind. And so clever. Who knew these folks were out there waiting to be heard? Some people write, some are rediscovering themselves, some knit and nurse. There are just so many sites I love to visit and catch up on. I travel all over the world through my blog and make the rounds of my favorite spots daily. Or at least as often as you all post. Laurie's is one of those places and when she wrote about how her mind thrummed, the word clicked in my head. I recalled a pattern for thrummed mittens and set out to make some. So far, hers are the only pair I've made. There will be more. I think they're perfect for our cold winters. Rachel always loses mittens so, I'll make hers with an attached i-cord and loop through the sleeves of her coat.

Last week, the mailman came and delivered a familiar looking package. It was from Laurie over at 3 Dog Blog and contained one of her calenders that she sells on Cafe Press. It was in thanks for the thrummed mittens I knit for her. I was so happy to open this. Duke? Meh. He looks a bit indifferent, but I think it's that he is camera shy. He doesn't like the flash much. Still, I think he is smiling just a bit. Too bad Dukealicious doesn't like the camera as much as Laurie's dogs seem to do. They're incredibly photogenic. I needed a calender for 2009 so this one comes in the nick of time. I think it's perfect.

Thank you Laurie, I love it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Strange Brews

Be careful out there, I think this bug is going around and is highly infectious.  I believe I caught this cold virus from Miss 376.  In fact, I know I did.  There I was, minding my own business, when I caught her blogpost about being down for the count with a mean old bug.  I gave sympathy of course and went about my day.  Over the weekend, I'm sure this thing was cooking.  It gave no inkling though and allowed me to hike a mountain Sunday.  When I awoke Monday, it was all over except the whining.  I am willing to cling to the belief that this clever little devil jumped through my computer and traveled from England to Detroit to put me down.  

Everyone has advice about "cure" so that got me to planning mine.  I am going to send my honey to buy me some lemons.  I think I have whiskey left from the last time I fought it out with a cold.  I make a concoction of honey, whiskey and fresh lemon juice.  This afternoon, my honey told me he made up that bs story of the tea with honey and cinnamon.  Oy.  I knew it, but like I said, I was desperate.

My brother recommended vodka and OJ.  Or B&B (brandy and benedictine). What kind of concoctions do you swear by?  I can't go another day like this!


Desperately Seeking Cure

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Closing In

I'm nearing the half way point of posting a blog post a day.  I've not a single interesting thing to say today except I'm feeling pretty miserable.  And we all know what they say about misery.  I have consumed so many fluids in the past 24 hours in an attempt to drown the beast that's taken over my sinuses.  As a result, as soon as I lie down, I have to get back up to pee-and let's not talk of the delicate art of coughing without having a literal watershed moment.    My husband told me his colleague swore by a tea, honey and cinnamon concoction that would cure me by morning.  It hasn't-which only goes to prove how desperate I was to feel better.  I think I'll go back to the Vernors gingerale.

I sent my son to the store to buy me some tissues.  My nose feels like I've taken sandpaper to it and I'm running low on paper products to wipe this prodigiously running nose.   He came home with "antiviral" kleenex.  Give me a break. Are those Kleenex people kidding me?  Is it to kill what's inside of me, or prevent me from spreading the wealth?  How many ways can these people reinvent the wheel, or in their case, tissue?  It has ascorbic ACID in it.  Acid burns when rubbed on raw skin.  Duh.

I'd also like to spend a moment discussing pseudoephedrine.  Love.  Hate.  It does help dry me up, but it also pushes me over that edge I tend to stand too close to.  But what really burns my arse is the pseudo-pseudoephedrine they try to sell me.  Sheesh.  Alright already!  There is nothing in the pseudo-pseudo product that works.  To get the good stuff, I have to present my driver's license to the pharmacist.  Otherwise, who knows?  They may think I'm trying to brew some strange concoction in my bathtub.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Pond at Cricket Crossing

It's cold in Detroit. I could see the snow in higher elevations when we approached Detroit last night by air. At street levels, it was rain. This morning, there were fat flakes falling and a little was sticking. I'm not ready for the snow and I'm freezing cold this morning. It seems I also caught a virus on the plane. I hate head colds. I'm working hard to drown it now but that tactic isn't working. Instead, I think I'll just look at more pictures from my weekend. Maybe that will make me feel better.

Can't see the forest for the trees.

There are so many interesting trees to see. Brenda pointed out in the comments that she likes the one I put in my header. So do I. There were also trees we saw that were of different species growing together in one spot. They were either nestled like spoons in a drawer or entwined around each other like lovers.

Cayda Bella is a bit over a year old. We first met her while having brunch at a local bistro. She is a charming boxer who slobbers, snores and has the cutest little underbite. She owns the forest on Taylor's Mountain. Just don't tell those Australian Shepherds or the deer. They didn't get that memo.

A Fungus Amongus

This was a mushroom growing on a downed tree. It was quite a climb to reach this spot so I was winded and shaking a bit when I stopped to take this photo. It's the best focused of 3 pictures. This particular fungus is as pretty as a flower. Hey, I think I've seen some patients over the years who had growths on their feet that could compete in this photo essay. At the times I saw those though, I was too grossed out to appreciate that there are all kinds of living creatures that will take advantage of a situation in which to burst forth in glory. Orchids do. So do mushrooms. So do other critters both macro and microscopic.

Though I've yet to see Cricket Crossing in the winter, I think Autumn is my favorite time to be here. The insects are daunting in midsummer. Spring was beautiful but so far, fall is my favorite. It's still warm enough that you don't have to be burdened down with outerwear and the colors are spectacular. I think if we'd been there a week earlier, the colors would have been even more amazing. Still, it was gorgeous. I need one more season to judge before the final vote and I'm thinking this could be better than the beach in February.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Every time I go to my sister's home in Virginia, I'm amazed by the views. In every season, this place looks so different. In spring and summer, you can't see the mountain range in the distance but come fall, once the leaves have fallen to the ground, this place takes on a different feel. In the top picture, the view was amazing. Too bad my camera couldn't capture what my eyes could clearly see. There in the distance is the Blue Ridge Mountains. When I hiked high enough up the mountain, I could see down into the Shenandoah Valley.

Saturday night, Mareseatoats and I showed our age and decided not to go out. We'd been out shopping (yarn) during the day and had stopped for a bite of lunch. On our way back home, we made the executive decision to be lazy and stopped at a market to stock up on local cheese, wine, crackers, bread and fruit. That would be our dinner. We turned in early after we watched the movie Juno.

Well rested, we got up early Sunday for a hike up Taylor's Mountain before we had to leave for the airport. The views were stunning. We got slightly led astray when we lost the forest path (should have followed the dog) and had a bit of a time finding her house. We got chased by two persistent and very pissed off Australian Shepherds before they hit their electronic fence and we found the road. We couldn't find the path because of all of the leaves. Still, Cayda Bella knew the way since she spends all her days terrorizing chasing the deer here and really, don't you think we'd have been smart enough to follow? Nah. I will say though when she knew those shepherds were after us, she raced to our rescue in an effort to save us from ourselves.

Tonight, my back, behind, thighs and calves are barking at me and me feet are tired. That mountain was pretty steep and I stopped just short of making it to the top. My back wasn't cooperating. Still the views from where we did make it, were stunning. My trip was short but oddly rejuvenating.

Sadly, my feet, shown here in hand knit socks and my Keens, are safely on the ground in Detroit. I miss Virginia already.

All photos by Rudee K, the one with the cows, courtesy of Mareseatoats.

Rain, of sorts

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost

Yesterday, I awoke to what I thought was rain.  It rains every single time I come to Virginia.  This time though, I wasn't going to let it stop me.  I got up.  Looked out the window.  It was sunny with leaves falling.  There were so many leaves falling that it sounded like rain.  I let the sounds of the forest lull me back to sleep. 

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Honey Don't

Wednesday afternoon, I threw a load of scrubs into the dryer and ran upstairs to finish charting. When I did this, I realized the load prior was still wet. I didn't really give that a thought, thinking someone had just forgotten to turn the dryer on. Well, since clean scrubs were a priority, I pulled the damp stuff out, put the scrubs in and went up to finish pre-work phone calls and charting. At 3, I went to grab my scrubs. Wet. See, you already knew where I was going with this.

In the evening, my husband sent slave-boy to Mr. Larger Than Life's house to dry the 2 loads of wet clothes. When I got home, my husband and I discussed the virtues of repair -vs- dumping much more money than repair costs into the economy. Then, my honey disappeared. I could hear some clanging noises coming from the basement and thought, uh-oh, here we go again. My beloved fancies himself a handyman. After 21 years of me reinforcing this well entrenched thought is just a figment of his imagination, I think he'd get it. He just isn't inclined to be Mr. Fix It. He has other talents but home improvement, no matter how many episodes of This Old House he watches, isn't one of them.

When we first bought this house, it needed so much updating and repair. One night, I called him from work and could hear heavy breathing and hammering. Without discussion, he'd dismantled the brick from an entire wall in the family room. He had no clue what he'd do after that, but in the long run, it cost 1 arm and 2 legs and took several handy men to fix. Another time, he tried to repair the washer. When I saw what he'd done, the front was off the washing machine and the thing was toast. Since it had already expired, this was no major loss. Having watched so many HGTV and do it yourself home improvement shows, he got it in his head once that he could remodel the basement. He bought a video and watched it. Then he went to Home Depot and loaded up on 2 X 4s, nails and hammers. After an endless night of pounding, I had to do an intervention. The basement ultimately required a professional. This morning, up early, I called the appliance doctor and scheduled a repair.

When I went down to see the results of my honey's tinkering last night, I had to laugh. He'd pulled the front of the dryer apart and had just left it like that. I know he didn't know where to go from there, but again, at least he made an effort. I can't fault him for trying, but he just is not Mr. Tinker. However, he is my handy man in so many other ways. He has unwavering loyalty and the best sense of humor of any man I know. This song is for him:

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm Outta Here

I'm off to the mountains of Virginny for some R & R and an attempt, once again, to hunt down Dave Matthews. In store for me, two days with my sis and meals out every day. At least one order of the Vietnamese Noodle Bowl at my favorite haunt where incidentally, there have been Dave sitings. We'll maybe take a hike in the mountains and definitely do some yarn hunting. Perhaps a bit of knitting. No computer. No hospice pager. Unfortunately a phone-but I could shut that off. Lots of the grape and no whine. Can't wait to get there and I hope it doesn't rain. See ya soon. In the spirit of NaBloPoMo, I've blogged in advance of my departure.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bahhhhhhh. Bahhhhhhh.

So here I was Tuesday night, sort of finished early and ran home to watch the election results pour in. I called my east side colleague to be sure she was done too so we could both enjoy the evening. My phone didn't ring once after that. I hurried and finished my paperwork then listened to the news people spin their nonsense and push buttons on maps. Periodically, we peeked in on Fox News to watch the crybabies and see if we could catch a little drama. I didn't get a single call at night. Not one. Not even my alarm rang on my phone to remind me to call the time clock. Uh-oh.

Oh Jesus. Oh no. My cell phone was off. All night! Of course I didn't get any calls. Duh.My heart was in my throat thinking that I'd missed calls all night long. I called the answering service and sure enough, I missed 2 of them from the same person. It hadn't been a really big deal, more of a medication question so I was relieved. After I called the caregiver and apologized 90 times, I emailed my boss and explained, rather sheepishly, what I'd done. I was embarrassed. Also, if I hadn't disclosed this, the answering service would have reported it and then, I'd have been called on the carpet to splain myself. Here I am making money to sit on my arse and watch election results when I should be answering calls from dying patients and their caregivers. Oh, I'm such a schmuck!

Wednesday night, you can imagine how paranoid I was that I'd subconsciously do this again. I won't be sheepish or a schmuck if that happens again, I'll be an ass____! I got home from my rounds around 10:15 without incident. I checked my phone for 100th time before I sat down to chart. The phone rang, I answered and hung up. It shut off. The damn phone shut itself off when I closed the cover on it. I can't tell you how relieved I am to know I didn't do it to myself. I feel ever so slightly vindicated. I'm also annoyed because if I need a new phone, that means I'll have to program all those phone numbers into it one at a time. Again.

Since I'm in such a good mood having discovered this error wasn't really my fault, I'm going to share another family secret recipe. Have at it. It's my brothers' favorite cake which gets baked for their birthdays. I like it for breakfast even more. I need to bake this for my missionary friend Sister Jeanne when she comes to town next month. I don't know what she'll like more, money to buy chickens for that work she does in Nicaragua or this cake. Probably both.

Henri's Chocolate Chip Cake

1 cup chopped (pitted) dates
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 cup hot water
1 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 cup soft butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (you can use cake flour)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Topping: 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons cold butter. Blend with fork or pastry blender until mixture is pea like.

Add soda to dates and pour hot water over this and set aside. Cream butter, shortening and sugar and cocoa. Add vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Alternate blending in water and date mixture with flour. Stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Place in a 9 inch by 13 inch greased and floured cake pan. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips and walnuts on top. Make the topping and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 degrees for around 40 minutes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It Takes a Village

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America." Barack Obama

I'll embrace those words with all my heart.  It did take a village and a mix of all Americans to bring about this change.  I believe a change has been in the wind for a while now.  For those who fear, not all change is bad.  Be hopeful.

I will end this by saying I plan to ixnay the oatinglay shortly.  I can't begin to tell you the grief my big brother has given me for about 2 years straight now.  I'm entitled to a little basking as I find myself on the side of a winner.  Finally!  Delete has been my favorite key to push when most of the political junk he sent found its way to my mailbox.  Me thinks he takes his politics as seriously as he takes his U of M football.  It's not my brother's year as his beloved wolverines have played more like skunks.  They stink.  So, this song is for him.  Misery just loves company and in the absence of that, a good country song just may do:

(just sos ya know, i still love, love, love leon russell-even when he's singing sad country songs)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pins and Needles

What do you do while waiting? Eat, of course! Grilled cheddar cheese on Italian bread and tomato soup straight from the good ol' American Campbell's soup can. Next up, a cup of Earl Grey and maybe the whole box of Walker Shortbread Cookies. I can hardly stand this!

This was me earlier when I went to the polling site:

Notice, I was only accosted by a father and daughter team trying to get me to vote no on stem cell research. She doesn't look too threatening here now, does she? I remained strong though and while not quite plowing over this young lady, neither did I take her red rope of bribery. I didn't have the heart to tell her my vote didn't go her way. C'est la vie! In a few more years, she can mosey on up to the polling booth and cancel my vote out. Until then, I'm voting as fast as I can. When I was done, I took that travel mug up to Starbucks for my free cup of joe.

The hat? Not my style. The new owner? The Divine Ms. S. She looks fabulous in this beanie style hat. I'll stick to berets. She needs to send us a picture so we can compare and contrast. Well, here's hoping my pager stays silent tonight. With luck, everyone's too interested in outcomes tonight to bother with the hospice nurse. Just in case, I'm going to TIVO Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I could use a good laugh right about now.

Pixies and Pixels

Today is the day where we will find out who will be gloating and who amongst us will be crying in our oatmeal as we watch the morning news tomorrow. To take your mind off your candidate of choice, I'd like to take you for a stroll through the insane asylum. I do this as a public service so you know that no matter how bad things are, they can always be worse.


Stinkerbell McBookeater 
for the crime of almost starting WWIII

Years and years ago, there was a beautiful book out that had large pictures of Disney characters. Within each picture, were hundreds of smaller photographs or pictures (pixels) of the movie the character starred in. For instance, you could look at a large picture of Tinkerbell and see within the picture, scenes from the movie Peter Pan. Hundreds of them. This was one of Rachel's favorite books. She would stare at each photo for hours, devouring the hidden scenes within them. When I found this book at an area Borders Express, I bought every single copy. A half dozen of them. Then I scoured the area's Borders stores for more. Her caregivers did the same thing.  All told, I think we found about ten copies which we hid and then brought out on special occasions.

Don't be mislead by that innocent photo at the top, the truth is, our little pixie Rachel isn't very nice to books. When I say she would devour the books, I mean that figuratively and literally. She will chew on a book and its binding until there is no evidence it ever existed. Medically, this eating disorder is called pica. She has it. When she was just a wee thing, she'd put anything inedible in her mouth and this isn't uncommon with youngsters. It's why we childproof a house. I have fond memories of calling her name one afternoon when she was out in our garden. When she turned around to look at me, her mouth was stuffed with marigolds. I'd give my kingdom for a photograph of that memory.

The evidence that perhaps, Stinkerbell hates Peter Pan

She will eat the last scrap of evidence that food ever existed too. The inedible portions, like a corn cob, the pit of a peach or the peel of a banana. I can't tell you how many times I had to call poison control in respect to consumption of bizarre things like ashes in the fireplace.  Once, she ate a poisonous plant on school grounds (don't ask) and had to go by ambulance to an ER where she stubbornly refused to drink the activated charcoal.  For 4 hours, she was kept on a heart monitor to be sure she hadn't suffered cardiac toxicity from her brush with the plant.  Now if she would eat ashes, don't you think she'd drink the charcoal?  Nope.  She'd have nothing to do with it!  This girl has kept me hopping for a solid 18 years. Our home was childproofed in the most bizarre ways.   We went through duct tape like nobody's business.  We had a rope to tie the fireplace doors together and locks on every room in the house. We'd never entertain the idea of a fire unless she was already sound asleep and we had no plans to turn our backs on the fire.

Rachel also likes the glittery things in life. In that, she's no different than most girls. However, one can only take the gold bracelet back to the jeweler so many times before the jeweler becomes suspicious about how the links to the bracelet just fell apart. I think the tooth impressions set in the gold tipped him off. I know that my husband's original wedding ring ultimately got flushed. There is no other explanation for why it went missing. I draw the line at sifting through poop when it comes to finding missing items.

Sadly, that Disney pixel book is no longer in print. It was her favorite-even more than all the Dr. Seuss books. Those Seuss books almost started World War III. We were at my mother in law's house when disaster struck and Rachel had herself a Seuss feast. Those books didn't belong to her though; they were my sister in laws and she about died when she saw what her niece had done to her childhood memories. I got an earful the day this tragedy came to light. I was so used to our daughter's disorder that I sort of took the whole episode in stride and tried to find humor in it.  Like, maybe she was hungry and those green eggs and ham were irresistible.  I had no idea how this event would upset someone not used to the daily consumption of books and I was taken aback by how stricken my sister in law was.  Years later, having lost two beautiful gold bracelets to this disorder, I sort of get why she was so upset.  To say the least, it can be stressful living with a child like Stinkerbell but luckily, Dr. Seuss books can be replaced. So can wedding rings and bracelets. I miss that out of print Disney pixel book though and wish I could find some to replace those that have given their all to bring a girl pleasure.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Word of the Day


Middle English, from Middle French gantelet, diminutive of gant glove, from Old French, of Germanic origin; akin to Middle Dutch want glove
15th century

1 : a glove worn with medieval armor to protect the hand
2 : any of various protective gloves used especially in industry
3 : an open challenge (as to combat) —used in phrases like throw down the gauntlet
4 : a dress glove extending above the wrist

Definition is from Merriam-Webster On Line

Now, you may have been slightly led to believe this is a post about knitting. Nope. It's a post about definition number 3 as I prepare myself to do my civic duty this week. There is one thing I totally despise and that's the running of the gauntlet of last second politicians hoping to secure my vote as I walk into the polling booth. If it's anything like in the past, there will be people standing outside the elementary school handing out emery boards, fliers, brochures, candies, pretzels and lip service. This will all be in an attempt to be sure their names are the last I recall as I enter to place my ballot. It's as though they believe I'll forget the name of the candidates I'd like to see win and only recall those who've tried to entice me at the last minute. I always keep my head down and plow right through these campaigners-unless they're handing out red licorice. I can't resist the red licorice.  Oh the shame of it!  Selling my vote for a rope of red candy.