Friday, July 31, 2009

Pigs are Flying

This has been the longest, hardest summer in a long time. I've not had a vacation since November when I took two days off and flew down to see my sister. Compared to all of my trips last year, I'm feeling, well, cranky.

My counterpart on the night shift has been on medical leave since May for knee arthroscopy and was due to come back to work the first week in July. She got a 4 week extension with a revisit to the doctor and won't be back until some time in August (if she doesn't find a way to squeak in more time). All of our contingent staff is covering her days off and there is nobody left to cover any time off for me. It probably wouldn't bother me so much if my colleague hadn't told me how much her shoulders hurt from painting her bedroom. I kind of figure if she can paint, she can work.

Yep. Cranky is the right word.

Today though, I managed to secure a 4 day weekend. I only nagged begged for a month to do this. We'll get up in the morning, pack a bag or two and then we're out of here. I'm not certain where we'll go. Kentucky sounds nice. So does northern Michigan. Toronto is too stinky with their garbage strike, but Chicago is a possibility. Maybe Cleveland and the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Anywhere but here.

Have a great weekend. See ya Tuesday.

Photo: Google Images

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Was He Out of His Mind?

For the record, I know of 3 uses for Mother's Milk.  None of them include use of propofol (Diprivan) as a sleeping agent.  This drug is used solely for well monitored conscious sedation in an ER,  a longer term (but still limited) use in an ICU for sedation WHILE ON LIFE SUPPORT, and in an OR as part of sedation during surgery.

The drug's effects are short lived which makes it an ideal medication for each of those scenarios and would make it a poor choice for getting a good night's sleep.

Was the lure of $150,000 a month working for MJ enough to make someone throw away his career or even life?  What doctor in his right mind would administer a drug under such risky circumstances?  It may have been what his client wanted, but a jury of this doctor's peers are not going to think he acted reasonably.  He's done.

Greed.  It'll bite you in the arse every time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

That's So Yesterday

The beginning of July found me worried about my schedule. Would there be enough time to do all of the knitting I had to complete by the deadlines? I sit here tonight, mostly exhausted, but I can now say it's done. First the shawl, and now the squares.

I whipped through this twisted piece in no time. I gained confidence along the way. Most certainly, this was doable.

I started to get a little too full of myself by the time I started the church. There were several false starts all due to gauge. I started with US size 7 needles and had to immediately go down to a 6, then a 5, and finally, a US size 4. It's a smidge bigger than 12 X 12 but any smaller of a needle, and there would have been complete mutiny on my part and no stitch definition. Without that, what's the point?

I finished the church on Thursday and stared at the pattern for the bugs and leaves for 3 days. I couldn't understand the pattern as written. Maybe I was a bit burned out, but this was not written for the idiot novice, and when it comes to Aran knitting, that's what I am. I wouldn't call myself proficient yet, but I did conquer this square (that the book calls one of the most challenging) in a meager 14 hours. I only stopped to use the little girl's room, throw on another pot of coffee and scrounge for food. I am done.

And Mareseatoats? I changed my mind about the fourth square. I fear I'll need therapy if I take on another.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Poem. Sort of.

Rudee Bo Peep had lost her sheep
and didn't know where to find them.
Into the car they hopped,
drove to where they shopped,
so she could do some rectifying.

Bo Peep bought wool for spinning
at $26 dollars a pound.
She swore to her mate this was a steal
and ultimately, she made a good deal
and her bargaining powers were sound.

She went down the street to Rapunzel's,
lured by the sign that shouted YARN on the door.
She and her mate had a schism
when she picked up the Prism
and dropped more money in that store.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

As Usual Politics

G. Gordon Liddy is calling Obama a liar by saying he was really born in Kenya, not Hawaii and Obama is lying about his heritage. Really? Liddy? Now there's a man with stellar credentials. Bet he hangs with his far right wing Vicodin popping counterpart.

Besides my brother, who believes this crap? And don't we have more important work to do?

Only in this country, can one commit crimes, serve time in prison and then host a right wing radio show. Same deal with Mr. Bigmouth and his oxycontin and vicodin addictions. They behave as if they have cajones made of steel but their followers? They believe these guys as though nothing but the truth ever escapes their lips.

Like lambs to slaughter...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Twenty one years ago, I checked myself into the local hospital to have labor induced.  My son needed a kick start to get out into the world.  In complete opposition to this summer's weather, the summer of 1988 was sweltering and I couldn't wait to birth that child and be done with things.  He had other ideas and decided to be late.  Maybe he was late because we couldn't decide on a name.  On our drive to the hospital, we were still discussing the merits of our last two choices of either Matthew or Andrew as lifetime labels.  In the delivery room, we named him Brian. 

The hot temperatures began in April that year and didn't let up all summer.  Everything about me was huge: my belly, my face, my grotesquely swollen hands and feet, and my big mouth.  I don't think I ever complained so much in my life as I did during the summer of '88.  The last trimester was pure misery because of the heat.

As much trouble as this tardy boy was from the beginning, he has been a joy to have in my life ever since.  When he was 16 and his grandmother was ill, his grades slipped quite a bit as the importance of school began to pale in comparison to the importance of life and love.  Mimi was his best friend and he was losing her.  I wasn't concerned about his grades though as I caught a glimpse of the caring man he would become.  He took care of her everyday needs.  Every day.  No task of caregiving was too distasteful, hard or embarrassing for him to do for her.  It was his way of giving back to a woman who'd given him everything, but most importantly, unconditional love.  In the aftermath of this, he sees to his grandfather's needs which is no easy task.  He does this every day, too.

I'm proud of this young man and his accomplishments.  I forgive him for being late the first time I met him, but I have to admit it's taken me 21 years to say so out loud.

Happy Birthday, Bri.  

Monday, July 20, 2009


Dear RudeeK Smartypants,

We saw that you whipped right through the Barbara McIntire square of the Great American Aran Afghan. We were particularly impressed that you got both row and stitch gauge and that your square measures an exact 12 inches. Good for you. You were even able to fix the stitches you accidentally purled instead of knit. We're proud of this because in the past, you'd have let the mistake stand and in our eyes, this would never do.

That said, we are gravely concerned with your work on the Suzanne Atkinson square of the afghan. Again, the directions state clearly that each square measures 12 x 12 inches. What you have so far is 14 inches wide. This piece doesn't have a lot of cabling that you can count upon to shrink the work. In fact, it has only a 2/2 LC and 2/2 RC that don't occur on every row. Do you think that's enough to shrink the width of your square by 2 inches?

At what point will you admit that tonight, you have no knitting mojo and throw in the towel?

Step away from the needles and yarn. Now.


The Guild

P. S. We are concerned about recent events in your home. We suggest you offer up more to appease the spirits than scraps of merino yarn and a heel of Parmesan cheese. Clever though that was, we suggest you find some cashmere to leave out. And maybe explore the chicken bone, garlic and spitting ceremony.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears

Saturday, I awoke in time to make it to spinning circle and I took the shawl to show off. We put it on one of the mannequins to display for a few hours where it generated a lot of interest. It is stunning when it's doubled upon itself.

When I got home, I settled in to watch Le Tour and work on the square. I fell asleep listening to Phil and Paul droning on and on in the background. I awoke to the sound of very loud banging on my front door. There was a young man there trying to peddle something and he was holding the storm door open as if he were about to let himself into the house. I locked my front door, told him I wasn't interested in what he was selling and asked him to leave. He just stood there holding my storm door open. I told him his behavior was intimidating and he needed to leave. He started to get snotty. I was a little scared, but apparently not enough because I stood there arguing with him. What is with people? I never open anyone's storm door as though I'm going to walk right in. He finally left and continued down the block but not before he set the tone for the rest of my day and night. I think he put a curse on me.

With this event shadowing the rest of the evening, I managed to scare the hell out of myself several times. I yelped when I saw my own shadow on the stairwell going into the dungeon on two separate occasions within 30 minutes. The first time I saw my shadow, I shut the door to the basement and 30 minutes later, somehow the door was opened and I swear I didn't do that! No laundry got done as a result-you couldn't have paid me any amount of money to go into the basement. Convincing myself the house was haunted or at least full of burglars, I turned on every light in the place to chase away shadows and fear.

This morning as I sat down to knit, I swear I saw motion out of the corner of my eye. I don't know what it was and frankly, I don't think I want to know. Turning up the volume on the TV, I kept going on my sock until I came to a tangled mess of yarn. This NEVER happens to me. Never. I wind all of my own yarn into neat little cakes and use a center pull which helps to keep the yarn neat and tidy. At one point, the yarn was in a horrific mess of tangles and knots and I had to break the working yarn to finish the first sock. It took me nearly two hours to untangle the mess.

Don't tell me I haven't been visited by spirits. Mean ones. I'm no dummy. I've left an offering. I hope it's the scrap of this yarn they wanted and not the Parmesan Reggiano.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

UFO Bites the Dust

Like all knitters, I have a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) laying around the joint. This isn't one of them.

I have two more items to complete before projects with a due date are off my needles. At that point, it'll be knitting for my pleasure. With the shawl finished, I whipped through the remainder of the first square for Mareseatoat's afghan. I have a month to finish the other two, but if they go as fast as the first, I'll be all done in no time.

By the time I got 3/4 of the way through this pattern, I finally got the hang of cabling on every stinking single row. Don't tell me I'm not a bit twisted myself. I have knots in my neck that feel the way this looks. I'm not prone to repeating a pattern. I get bored with them, but this one is an exception. Sometime soon, I'm going to knit this afghan for myself out of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.

I'd be remiss if I didn't thank you for your kind comments about my shawl. I'm inordinately proud of this particular piece of work. It turned out better than I could imagine, in part because I had all of you to cheer me on. So, thank you for your support.

Oh. I forgot. I'm filling out the state fair application tomorrow. I have until the 6th to submit the app and the $10 fee. The shawl isn't due until I drop it off on the 15th. I've been assured that it's beyond good enough. Rumor has it that this will be Michigan's last state fair. That really saddens me, but that's a post for another day.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I can't recall the last thing I cooked in my stock pot. Probably pasta.

Today, that which can finally be mentioned has finally moved up a notch in my eyes. Right now it's bathing in a cap full of Soak and some cool water. The sheets have been stripped from the bed to make way for the pinning of this stunning work of art.

Pinch me!!! It's all done now except the blocking. It should look amazing! Right now I'm off to buy a bajillion stainless steel pins.

ETA the Metamorphosis:

The blob after a bath

It felt good to walk all over this. Just my attempt to squeeze out all of the water.

All pinned to the bed to dry. I hope it's done by the end of my shift. To be certain, the A/C is on and a fan is blowing on the shawl.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thinking Out Loud

I don't know what rock I've been living under, but while driving last night, I heard an interview on the radio about food insecurity.  According to the CDC expert who was speaking with authority, 11 percent of United States households suffered from this affliction in the last year.  I'm not surprised, especially with areas like mine that are struggling with 15% unemployment.  This was bound to happen, but what does it mean?

I understand the terminology for having a secure source of food and thus food security in order to live a healthy life, but when food is taken away, I don't understand the use of insecurity to explain what will happen to me.

Who put lipstick on the word starvation?  Does it look or sound better when we dress it up?  Are at risk human beings less hungry when we tell them they aren't starving, they're just  suffering from a little insecurity?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

God of Thunder

Even though he relinquished his green jersey today, this man, Thor Hushovd, God of Thunder, has it all going on. Look how nicely he fills out his spandex. Wouldn't you agree that he looks good in green? They seem to grow wholesome young men in Norway. I'm hoping he beats out the UK favorite (no offense to my British friends-my opinion is offered up strictly scoring on other, ahem, criteria besides cycling talent and speed). Based on my unbiased opinion, Thor deserves to get the green jersey back. Maybe in the mountains.

Last week took us through the Pyrenees Mountains in France and Spain. This week the cyclists are in central France with flat stages that belong to the sprinters. Although the scenery through these pastoral areas and near chateaus is interesting, the real story begins when they enter the Alps and the men get separated from the boys.

The elephant in the room that may or may not be a shawl is nearly complete. I started at 50 repeats and now have only 16 to go. Be still my little heart. To be sure I have enough wool to finish this, I've been taking it to the yarn store to weigh the remainder of the yarn. I started with 200 grams and I've whittled that down to 34 grams. According to the scale, I will need another 16 grams to finish. Talk about cutting it close.

You may think the teaser shot of the elephant is unfair, but it's really a photo of my coffee mug I sent to Debra today. You see, if you send her a picture of yourself with your mug, she'll enter you in a drawing to win one of hers. I didn't cheat. I sent two photos and one has a very unflattering early morning picture of me sipping my favorite pick me up. But really, please, don't enter this because then that improves my odds at winning one for myself. I think she should just give it to me for bravery for appearing in her inbox with bed head, bags under my eyes and no makeup. I wonder if she can make one in green...

Monday, July 13, 2009


I'm working on the border of the piece that shall not be mentioned, but may or may not be a shawl.  I have thanked the heavens for lifelines several times this weekend and have ripped out a few wonky looking sections more than once.  Now every time I complete a 30 row repeat of the border, I sink a new lifeline.  It takes a few seconds but saves countless hours of misery.

Today was particularly boring, mainly because it's a rest day for Le Tour and I have nothing to keep me company while I knit.  Just before I contemplated poking myself in the eyes with my size 6 Addi Turbo lace needles, I found a James Bond marathon on USA network.  I love James Bond and have my favorites, including Sean Connery and Roger Moore.  After Roger, I thought I could never love another-especially when they offered up Timothy Dalton, but then they found Pierce and I gained a new found appreciation for 007.  I didn't think I'd like Daniel Craig, but he has some particularly interesting assets.

If I ever finish that which shall not be mentioned, I'll owe a debt of gratitude to USA network for the nonstop action that kept me company along the way.

Who was your favorite 007 actor?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Join Me as I Bid Adieux

It's never good to be a nurse and find yourself working the days before, the day of and the days after a full moon. The moon was pretty, but the work was difficult. Anything that could happen out of the ordinary, did. But today is Friday and my work here is finished. The paperwork is done, the house is clean and I'm on my second Blue Moon. I'm thanking the Heavens for ripe South African oranges tonight and the genius of Belgian brewers-even if they are from Colorado.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Night Crawlers

For a woman who has seen the most disgusting things that life has to offer, I can't stand the sight of bugs. Let me be more specific. I hate bugs I can see with the naked eye. Over the past week, I've killed at least 10 of the bugs pictured above INSIDE my house. I've slaughtered them in the kitchen, the bathroom, the hallway and in my bedroom. Each killing has been preceded by a god awful screeching noise that escapes from me, and is usually followed by swearing. If another adult is in the house, I will make him kill the beast. Dammit.

At first I thought they were roaches (which really freaked me out), and everything, though already clean, got scrubbed and bleached. I love bleach, but this is not a post where I'll sell you on the benefits of Clorox as a mercenary agent against bugs. After further investigation and because I wouldn't rest again until I knew what I was dealing with, I have had the creatures identified as earwigs and now I'm really worried.

Years ago, I watched an episode of Night Gallery, The Caterpillar, that has stuck with me for decades. You probably saw the same episode. God forbid one of these creatures should do this to me, because we all know that The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery were retold stories of the truth.

Do you think this is why I still have a nagging little headache? Has one of these creatures found comfort in my gray matter? OK. Now I'm nauseous.

Sheesh. Those pincers look fearsome, don't they?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Last Sneak Peek

As of today, we will no longer speak of The Shawl until it's off the needles with every stitch secured. Capice? Now that I'm finally tackling the border, I'm worried that continued bragging discussion will invite disaster.

Truth be told, I'm so worried that after ignoring fate for 171 rows, I finally placed a lifeline and I'm considering border lifelines too. In fact, now that I mentioned it, I'm definitely going to do just that. I can't imagine mucking it up now and having to rip all of this hard work out.

From point to point on this border, there are 30 row repeats. The pattern calls for 50 of these repeats before I reach the end. Granted, it starts with only 11 stitches and at its widest is only 17 stitches, still, that's a lot of work should I have to rip back.

I began the border this morning after losing the past two days to the migraine from hell. I haven't had a headache like that in years. Monday morning I went to the yarn store bright and early to pick the brains of better knitters than I. They decided the author couldn't possibly be correct in the miniscule instructions offered in the book and that the border should be done in a different stitch. I went home and pondered the expert advice and spent the next two days considering my options. Even though the shawl is knit in stockinette, the published chart is written in garter stitch. The directions truly are minimal and I thought this may be a mistake. I checked for errata, I trolled Ravelry and websites for other experiences on knitting this border. I even thought maybe the author had a migraine when she wrote the pattern which could explain why it made no sense to me. When the pain lifted in my own head this morning, I had a premonition that I should do what the author said. I read Martha Waterman's thoughts on a knitted on border for more clarity, and with a quick prayer for guidance, I cast on and this is what I got. I'd say I hit pay dirt.

So for now, this is the last you'll see of this beauty until it's truly done. There are four repeats down and only 46 to go.

I wish I had a fainting sofa.

(When you look at the photos, please keep in mind that the stitches appear wonky because the piece is not yet blocked. I promise, it'll be beautiful when it has finally had a bath.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Talk is Cheap

Here is the latest correspondence from my buddy, the painter:

Rudee's comment:

One of your crew may have a hearing problem and
doesn't realize he shouts when he speaks. Please
ask your crew to take into consideration there may
be people who work the night shift who HAVE to
get a little sleep, but CAN'T.

Dear rudeek,

I'm so sorry. I know how aggravating this can be when you need to sleep.

We just finished a lengthy job on ******* in *******; that may be where you
are. Typically we are only on a location for a few days.

I will remind my crew members to keep it down in the morning.

Once again, so sorry.

Best Regards,

The filthy liar who promises to fix the problem AFTER the job is done.   

 I'd like to give this person my best regards in person.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Night Owl

When my son was born 21 years ago, it soon became clear that this little baby had his days and nights mixed up.  He was a night owl.  I tried to no avail to change his schedule.  I read books to teach myself how to train him to sleep at night so that we could have some kiddy free time and, possibly, a life during the day.  No matter what tactics I used, it was an impossible parenting task.

His bedtime used to be torture for the entire family.  We'd start preparing him around 8 PM and by 9, we'd put him in his room and shut the door.  He would cry and cry until I finally got him up to do whatever it was he felt he couldn't miss.  In desperation, I bought a book titled, "Help Your Child to Sleep at Night."  I took the author's recommendations seriously:
  1. Start dropping hints that bedtime was approaching.
  2. Develop a bedtime routine like a warm bath followed by a calming book to read.
  3. If the little brat sweet little thing cries when you lay him in bed, pull up a chair and sit next to him until he falls asleep, but don't interact with him-just be there.  Each night, move your chair further and further away from the bed until finally, it's outside the door, and so are you.
  4. Once asleep, ignore your inner voice to let the sleeping dog lie, and awaken the crabby little babe earlier and earlier each day.  This will give you a tired little thing by bedtime.
  5. Have a little faith that with practice, your sweet little bundle of joy will learn to sleep at night so that you can get a little shuteye yourself.
  6. Under no circumstances should you sprinkle melatonin on his ice cream at night.  He'll learn to go to sleep on his own in a drug free manner.  Eventually.
Needless to say, none of the above helped, but I did find if I sprinkled the melatonin in my own dish of ice cream, I slept well.  

To this day, my son doesn't begin to function until noon, and stays up way into the wee hours on a nightly basis.  He isn't alone though-I'm right there with him.  He is hardwired to be this way, and he got it from me.  I got it from my dad and it's the main reason I feel my best when I'm working a night shift.  I stay up late and sleep in a little later than most.  It's nearly impossible to fight nature, isn't it?

I'm reminiscing about sleep disturbances today because the painters woke me up.  Again.  It was at the butt-crack of dawn which would not have been bad if I hadn't stayed up watching movies until 3 AM with my son.  They're so meticulous and slow that one would think they're painting the Sistene Chapel and not a 1,400 square foot bungalo.  Every single weekday evening, I think to myself that they must be close to done only to be awakened at 8 AM by the loud mouth from hell.  

I officially hate Ronnie and find myself wishing for him to be struck by vocal cord paralysis that will last the length of his job across the street.  Once again, I've emailed the dolts and today, I left them a voicemail that perhaps they could experiment using their indoor voices that early in the morning.  Maybe I could take them a snack sprinkled with melatonin...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ahh, Summer is Finally Here

Every year, I spend July 4th doing something decidedly French. I watch the kick off of Le Tour de France. In fact, I'll spend the next three weeks watching Le Tour. Having never been a cyclist, I don't know where I got this love of cycling.

In part, the appeal could be inherited from my grandfather, himself a Belgian cyclist. That's not the entire story though. This sport has everything: breathtaking scenery, drama, spills, thrills, gossip, dirty doings, doping scandals, comedy and a carnival atmosphere. What more could a girl ask for? Amazing displays of physical prowess and endurance? Sculpted men in spandex? Yep, this has that, too.

This year, Lance Armstrong is riding again and trying for his 8th win. I don't care about that. It's amazing, and I hope he does well, but really? I watch Le Tour for my daily doses of Bob Roll (Bobke), Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett. I love those men and I'm thrilled that Versus hasn't changed their lineup of commentators. Bobke, with his gap toothed grin, is boyishly charming. Paul is sophisticated and Phil has the best one liners in the business. I'm looking forward to the next 3 weeks.

Viva le Tour!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009


Have a great holiday!

I know it's long, but it is worthwhile. In the event it won't load, here is the link for YouTube.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Coming Up for Air

I've taken the recommendations of all of my enablers advisors here and I've thrown myself into my knitting-dust bunnies be damned.  As a result, my hands are cramping and I've developed a furrow between my eyes that rivals the Grand Canyon I've completed the main portion of the shawl and have only a few rows of reverse stockinette remaining.  5,166 stitches to be precise.  When I got to the end of the lace portion, I could feel my heart start to beat fast.  I can't believe it.  I still have the border to cast on for and complete, but I'm beginning to see light at the end of this tunnel.  What seemed insurmountable on Monday is now looking like a definite maybe.  I'll show some pictures once I start the border.  Right now it looks like a huge blob of knitting with holes and this is the nature of lace.  

I'd like to be able to finish it in time for the fair, but I'm still not certain that's feasible.  I have 3 squares that are due around the same time for Mareseatoat's afghan so we'll see.  The fair's rules state an item of lace needs to be completed within the 3 years prior to submission.  If not this year, then next.  For only $10, I'll still apply and if it's done by August 15th, well then I'll submit this life sucking project beautiful work of art.

If I can just figure out when I can squeeze a good night's sleep into this insane knitting schedule, I'll be all set.

Photo: Merrilla, the Queen of the Sea, Fox Films, 1918.