Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011

Since I'm not good at keeping them, I'm not usually one to put forth resolutions for the coming year. This year however is different and I am trying hard to better myself by working on the act of forgiveness.

I am neither quick to request forgiveness when I've been wrong, nor am I generous when it comes to forgiving if it's requested of me. Hardest of all is forgiving someone a particularly egregious act that they (may) have no clue they've committed against me or someone I care for and that is something I've been considering for several months now. This work has been a challenge, especially since this problem is only indirectly mine--it really belongs to someone I love. I've felt anger so profound and been so outraged at the injustice of it that it's made me feel sick to my stomach and even visits me in my sleep. Truly, this type of problem eats at the soul like a cancer. With the dawning of understanding that how I feel is not particularly healthy for me, I've embarked on a journey of awareness with the goal of learning to forgive.

I am a work in progress.

During this nasty little family drama (two years in the making), it has come to pass that the person who is at the core of this and has created all of this hurt and pain is now physically suffering in the most horrific of ways. It's the ultimate cosmic comeuppance, and I'm (kind of) ashamed to say that I have actually felt true glee at her misfortune. I'm (sort of) appalled at my feelings, but with wise guidance I have started to forgive my own self for feeling that way. In the words of my friend, Jeanne, "feelings come unbidden. We don't ask to have feelings like this, they just sort of wash over us." I didn't ask to feel that way, I just did. Self awareness is a good start. Ultimately, throughout this two year ordeal, I held my tongue. I was really angry that I didn't have the nerve to say what I really felt toward this woman before misfortune befell her and now, well, I'm in a position where I never will have that opportunity and have to learn to let it go. It's so hard.

This week, Jeanne and I met for lunch to explore this topic of forgiveness a little more closely. She gave me some material about the topic that was (oddly) given to her the first day we spoke of this. It included a quote by the theologian Frederick Buechner, “Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back--in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”

Mmmm. Words to ponder.

And so my friends, for many reasons, it's finally good to say goodbye to 2011. May 2012 be better to our collective world than this year has been and may your own journeys take you to a kinder, gentler and healthier place.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boys just wanna have fun

Who knew the Doberman would like the remote control helicopter as much as the recipient?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Busy little elf

We were promised no snow for Christmas, but awakened this morning to a dusting that covered the sidewalks, streets and lawn. It wasn't enough to build a snowman, so I made my own using other ingredients.

This is the Snowman Hat from, itty-bitty hats. It was a total joy to knit. The hat took the duration of watching Mama Mia while knitting, or not long at all.

His adornments took forever! I hope it fits the recipient.

And so my friends, with a knitted gift to give, it must truly be Christmas. May you all have a wondrous and joyous holiday.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Come together

A part of Mimi will join us at the holiday table this year. I rescued this beautiful and unique vase from the estate sale. Sara took it to her florist who loved working with such a pretty piece of glass. It shows.

The list I did not make--but was nevertheless weighing heavily on my sudafed poisoned mind--is finally getting done. One by one, the little things we do that make our holiday traditions complete are coming together. I like these traditions, from the deep cleaning to the baking, shopping, decorating and cooking. Which reminds me...I still forgot to order the meat. I'd better get on that right away.

OK. Technically,it's not a Christmas cookie cutter, but handily for me, my state comes in the shape of a mitten. You can ignore the Upper Peninsula, or not. I think they look just right together!

Today I cleaned the house and baked my little heart out. It was just me and my baking partner, Leo, in the kitchen. For the record, he's a slacker. While I baked three different cookies, and three loaves of honey bread, he mostly napped. He did get up every single time the mixer was running, but only once did it pay off when powdered sugar flew out of the bowl. For the most part, he cleaned the floor for me. He watched intently and whined while I frosted 3 dozen cookies.

Would it be holiday baking if Leo didn't get a little flour or sugar on his face? I could have substituted last year's photo here.

Friday is for grocery shopping and trying to remember to get the meat. If I'm still up to it, I'll bake one more type of cookie. If I'm not, it'll be a quick knit on the menu for my day. Hey--the cleaning is done, so why not?

Are you ready?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Wintry PSA

If you're weary of cold, or snow, or wintry rain, or short days and long nights, take heart. It's only 42 days until Groundhog's Day!

So light some candles, revel in the knowledge that this can't last forever and enjoy your lovely Winter Solstice. You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cause and Effect? The all about me edition.

I've thrown in the towel this holiday season. What will be, will be. The house is more or less clean with my bedroom--gathering site of all things I don't have time to store properly--being the last room to tackle. No baking has been done, but the tree is up, the gifts wrapped and a menu has been more or less decided. I write this, I realize I've forgotten to order the meat. Duh.

This, the last day of Autumn, has arrived and I've had yet another December visit by Mr. Rhinovirus. Bastard. I wish he'd leave me alone in December. He showed up last Friday with one sneeze and a wretched sore throat as the only clues he'd moved right in. Again. I thought I was making progress on the self care front and felt pretty good last night, but today I feel worse. And whiny.

I called in sick to work on Monday, but worked last night. Of course things didn't go smoothly and my night was rather complicated. It's hard to think when your nose is plugged. Why is that? I won't call in sick today because I'm off until Tuesday after tonight. If I call in sick, I'll lose holiday pay and no amount of stuffiness is worth a day's pay.


Which of these items do you suppose gave me nightmares last night? And why was Adam Sandler in my nightmare singing the Hanukkah Song?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011


After knitting a bit this morning, and watching The Help with Sara, I got busy with the tree. Sara had an artificial tree in storage outside that, and I kid you not, went up in about 3 minutes. I felt a bit like the Grinch opening and closing trees like they're umbrellas! Still, it's pre-lit and while it's not a fresh fraser fir like I'd been thinking of getting, it was easy. Easy is good this time of year. I'm so glad the spirit came to visit.

Here's a group of men and women who had no trouble finding their spirit. According to their youtube description, this is some of what they missed while on deployment:

Births, birthdays, graduations and holidays. On hearing they'd be going home for Christmas, they made this video.

Charming. Welcome home HMS Ocean!

Friday, December 9, 2011


Yep! That's my middle name of late, at least when it comes to blogging. I took a look back at the posts from last year and compared them to this year, and frankly, I'm surprised I've had so little to say since, oh, April. The year has frankly sucked that much and I must have thought that to write or speak of the awful things we've endured as a family would only given them more prominence. I've also found I've lost a lot of my blogger fodder. With MLTL gone, and me not willing to speak ill of the dead (yet), I simply must come up with something else. I think I've lost my muchness.

Oh...OK, I will dabble. For what it's worth, THERE WILL BE NO HAM AT THE HOLIDAY TABLE. And hey! There will be no fight about it either. It's a little muchness, but we're talking baby steps here. In his honor, I will say grace and thank the Father, Son and Holy Spurs.

To bring you all up to speed, the estate sale was last weekend. I'm so grateful we hired a professional company to do this, even if we did forfeit 35% of the proceeds. The work involved would have been overwhelming to go it alone at such a busy time of year, not to mention how much it hurt having strangers traipse through the house with their hands all over my mother in law's things. Those feelings were a surprise, so it was better to be able to stay away during all of that mayhem. When all was said and done, most things sold, a few of the bigger pieces did not, and all that's left of the smaller porcelain pieces are the ones that are chipped, cracked or broken.

While doing the big after sale clean up so we could put the house on the market, I came up with the idea to turn my mother in law's broken collectibles into functional art. Over the winter, and well after the holidays, I'm going to make tile mosaic table tops to display these pieces that were dear or somehow appealed to her. I'll make one for us, and one for Sara and Brian, too. There is that much left over. Even though I've never done anything like this, I'm looking forward to this project. Hmmm...Pieces of Mimi. She was adored so this is fitting and I believe she would have loved this idea.

This morning, after working until 1 AM, I had a mandatory staff meeting at the buttcrack of dawn. Oh, OK, so it was really 8 AM, but when you work evenings, what's the difference? I came home after a pit stop at the farmers market to find one last contractor in the house. I'd forgotten all about the back door dude. He's here to give us a new energy efficient entry to the yard. The only draw back to the door dude's appearance today is that it's 1) freezing cold out there and now in here, and 2) it's snowing. Leo and I are snuggled on the sofa under 3 blankets and have the big space heater blasting. Supposedly, he'll be gone by 2 PM. I'll believe it when I see it! I want him gone so I can get in the kitchen and make some potato leek soup.

Here is a version of Rudolph much beloved by my family. A big thanks to FTM for reminding me!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

This, not that. That, not this.

In our multiple moves and general upheaval of the past few years, some things have gone missing, likely never to be seen again. Some of these items include my collection of Christmas CDs. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I uploaded a great deal of my general music collection into my itunes account and spent hours and hours doing this. However, after having perused hundreds of discs, I can't seem to find the holiday stuff.

Instead of going to Michael's, the Ford dealer, Kohl's and the pet store today as planned--Leo can wait for cookies--I spent a lot of time on itunes. I think I've pretty much downloaded all of the seasonal songs I think I missed most. To double check, I googled a list of the top 100 Christmas songs. Number one--no surprise here--was White Christmas. The Bing Crosby one, which, incidentally, is not my favorite version. Barbra Streisand sings my favorite version of White Christmas. You can listen hear. The number two artist on that list was Alvin and the Chipmunks. Really? I don't think so. I'd rather listen to Bing.

I may have broke the bank over on itunes, but I'm a happy woman with my favorite songs to listen to again. Back in my Christmas music repertoire, to name a few, is Ottmar Liebert, Luciano Pavarotti, Mitch Miller, A Very Special Christmas with various artists, Elvis, Frank (Sinatra, of course), George Winston, Transiberian Orchestra and the Bolshoi Theatre version of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. Some albums I bought outright today, like Pavarotti's, Winston's (December), The Nutcracker (the Bolshoi version has always been my favorite) and A Very Special Christmas...the first one. With others, I only bought my favorite songs instead of replacing entire works. I hope someday all those CDs will show up in an unexpected place.

Apparently, I'm finally getting in to the holiday spirit. Can a tree, other decor and Christmas cookies be far behind?

Tell me, because I really want to know if I missed anything, what is your favorite Christmas music or song that my itunes shouldn't be without?

I love Ottmar Liebert. Poets and Angels was one of my favorite holiday CDs.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I have news for you

If for some reason you're expecting something hand knit from me for Christmas, perhaps you should think again. I'm breaking it to you now so you can all get used to disappointment.

I'm way behind on knitting gifts this season. I finished the Bella's Mittens pattern for my friend, but my needles have been more or less idle since then. I don't know why, but I just don't feel like knitting. To combat this unusual turn of events, I cast on the Brioche Cabled Cowl. While this stitch boggles the mind of some, I have no problem doing brioche stitch, and I rather like the ribbed pattern it produces, but the cable with such bulky yarn makes this project insane! It took me an hour alone to do the cable row which is only 56 stitches across but required an extraordinary amount of finagling. All 56 stitches were twisted on the cable of my needles in a way that made them look like they were tied in knots. They weren't, but because of their appearance, I ripped out the cable row twice. Once I figured out that the crossed 56 cabled stitches were only making all of them look like they were twisted, I stopped trying to fix the row and knit on. The return two rows took another 45 minutes of what felt like battle. My hands were aching when I was done with those three rows so I put the knitting down, which we all know is code for, now the project is in critical care on life support.

This is not my definition of relaxing with needles and yarn and the fate of this cowl is already written: Prognosis poor. Recommend Palliative Care to have end of life discussion with this cowl's knitter. I don't know where I went wrong, but it may be that I'm using bulky wool that isn't as pliable as other bulky wools. I only know that Wrong is exactly the destination this yarn, this pattern and I have gone. It's too bad because good execution of brioche stitch is really pretty. Cabled brioche is even prettier. The cowl's life line will be removed sometime later tonight.

For your entertainment today: I know you all can't wait to get your hands on the movie, The Help. Anticipation must be something else for those of you who have yet to see this movie and have to wait until tomorrow to get the DVD. To ease the excitement, I've got a home made video for you to watch. It's not Oscar worthy, but may be worth an honorable mention. The thing is, the actor just does not take direction well.

Leo's Happy Dance. Was it the squirrel or the snow that got him so worked up? I don't know. I was unable to decipher his attempts at speaking.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What's that sound?


It's stunningly lovely to the ears! Yes my friends, after two months of racket, the contractors are finally out of here. They came by this morning at a very respectable 10:30 AM to put the finishing touches on the walls and now they're gone. We still have carpet to install down there, but the dirty and noisy work is done. last!

They did give a bid on a kitchen renovation, but we won't even consider starting a project like this until the weather breaks. It's also something we may do instead of a big 25th wedding anniversary trip. I think that's fair. Italy will have to wait. Our kitchen is so tiny and I think I'd love a bit of space, not to mention a little room to cook.

I have time to dream, so here it goes...

  • A Viking professional stove with six burners and a grill.
  • A big-ass exhaust hood that stands alone like a piece of jewelry hovering above the alter-like stove.
  • A separate convection oven.
  • An appliance garage for my Kitchen Aid Mixer. It's so heavy to lift and I think a house of its own would be nice.
  • A food pantry
  • A spice pantry
  • Radiant heat in the floor
  • That floor? Cork, I think, or maybe Brazilian cherry hardwood.
  • A lighter colored granite on the counters
  • A boat load of cabinet space
  • Task lighting under the cabinets
  • Built in recycling cabinets
  • French doors leading to the now miniature yard (can't expand without losing outdoor space) and an herb garden on the new deck. Ooh...that yard is disappearing fast in my dream!
  • A new Le Creuset cookware set
  • A state of the art espresso machine
  • A professional chef who can both work the espresso machine AND make fabulous bon-bons in the wink of an eye. Hey! What? It's my dream!
I'm only getting warmed up here, but for some reason, I think my imagination may be a bit bigger than my budget.

If I do something like this, what do I need besides winning the lottery? What am I missing?

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's all over when you care not one whit about appearance.

Just when I think I've seen the last of the contractors for a bit, a whole slew of them seem to have moved in with us. Oh, sure, they're only here from 8 am until 4 pm, but they're still here waking us up early, taking up space, playing their music, creating an awful smelling home, pounding any thoughts of restorative sleep away and creating dust storms on the day the house was just cleaned. It's like living with 10 Pigpens. Today though, I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel. This morning with all of us deep in slumber, Leo aroused the house with his horrific alert that barbarians were at the gate. Looking completely insane with hair raised and makeup smeared under my eyes like a raccoon because I was too tired to remove it before I collapsed from exhaustion went to bed, I greeted the painters.

Yes! Finish work on the basement family room has begun, but more importantly, I'm starting to believe, really believe, that it's the beginning of the end of this parade of contractors that began with a little water in the basement. We evening shift workers can all go back to sleeping in until the ungodly hour of 9 AM and generally feeling more rested. Yes! Yes and Yes!

And then, over just my first cup of coffee, my husband utters the following: "they're going to give us a bid on expanding the kitchen."

Maybe I still have mascara caked in my eyes obscuring my view, but suddenly the kitchen doesn't look so small after all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

More notes to self because apparently, I'm a slow learner

"It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent. " ~ Dave Barry

Or in my case, if you leave the sunroof ajar, rain will seek out every crevice, cup well and seat in which to accumulate in your car. Doh!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Home Alone

I'm feeling rather hungover today. Since no alcohol was consumed yesterday, I think it was the combination of cooking all day in the kitchen and then starting a 12 hour on call work schedule. Working a midnight shift does that to me, but I'm required to work one holiday a year and Thanksgiving seems to work out best. Last year I got no calls, and this year I got only one call for all 12 hours. I did have to go out, but I was back home in no time at all. I waited another couple of hours to see if my hospice phone would ring again and finally threw in the towel and went to bed. I tossed and turned all night because I think, worried I'd miss a page, I slept with one eye and one ear open.

I'd briefly considered going to either Target or Kohls at 1AM, but simply could not muster the desire to feed the Black Friday Machine. I felt even less compelled when my alarm awakened me at 7:30AM to send report. Rather, I spent the day as I imagine a sloth would. I'm so glad I did.

The reports of violence at 9 different Walmart stores is really disturbing and I can't help but think the frenzied ads leading up to BF feed this insanity. There were reports of fist fights, and fights over towels that cost $1.88. There was one armed robbery with a shooting, and no surprise here, the stereotypical trampling of another human being in the rush to feed the greed machine. Oddly, there was only one account of a woman who pepper sprayed people to get to the items she wanted first. You'd think more people would have thought of that one!

Instead of surrounding myself in lunacy, I stayed home in my jammies all day long. Oh, I mustered enough energy to watch a little college football, eat some leftovers (more than 1 trip to the fridge), read a bit of the Yarn Harlot's book, and of course, knit. I also gave Pepe le Pew Leo a bath.

It's almost time to call it a day and go back to bed. I'm betting the retail workers of America are as relieved as me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Things that keep me awake at night

Somehow when I got my new iphone, my digits were likely sold and now I get calls from all over the country. Utah, Washington, New York, Maine...You name it, the calls are coming in and I don't answer them. The callers, likely machines, don't leave a message, either. As irritating as these calls are, they can't compare to what I encountered yesterday. Last night, I sat in an ICU taking care of a patient for four very long hours. Every two minutes, the unit's phone rang and the caller on the other end was a fax machine. Talk about disruptive! It's not like a busy neuro ICU staff has anything better to do, right? Since I was the only one sitting at the desk for a bit, I took to answering the phone line and hanging up on the computerized fax machine. I have to apologize to the cat scan department though because after the 90th call from the phantom fax machine, I hung up on them once, too.

Why don't Stub Hub and Art Fire get the message that I've unsubscribed to their daily emails more than once? They're still emailing me every day. I abhor junk email. I used to have a wowway email, but got so annoyed by junk--and by junk I mean viagra ads--that I started using gmail to escape, but that's become an issue, too. Yesterday I went into that long ignored wowway account and deleted 891 junk mails. My email doesn't ever get junk, but then I don't give that email address out to anyone but family and friends. I used to have to pay for the mobile me (mac) account, but realized that they weren't billing me anymore and sometime over the last year, mobile me became a free service. Even though it's free, I still don't get junk. Thanks, Steve!

Can holiday advertising be any more frantic? Talk about annoying! The Target and Kohls commercials are beyond obnoxious. And another thing, I think it's shameful that these stores are opening at midnight, and some even 10PM on Thursday night. I feel sorry for their employees who can't even enjoy the holiday before they descend into retail hell on Friday. I recall the days when you got what you needed before a big holiday because everyone was at home celebrating and spending time with their families. If you forgot an ingredient, you were out of luck. You couldn't even get gasoline on a holiday (or even a Sunday). Now it seems every single store or big chain is open. Nothing is sacred. Even the local CVS is open 7AM to 10 PM Thursday. I think that's sad. What's even sadder is the amount of people who've been camping outside some stores since Saturday. Really? Maybe we can see a picture of them in the dictionary under the definition of insanity. I hope they enjoyed the nearly 2 inches of rain we got yesterday.

Why so bitchy, Nurse Rudee? After all, it's warm(er) today and the sun is shining in the glorious blue sky. I think I must be missing Mr. Larger Than Life and his drama this holiday and it all feels weird. It'll be our first peaceful holiday without the stick in the mud spoiling the day him. To commemorate the occasion, I bought two lovely bottles of pinot noir and even got the wine glasses out so the wine doesn't have to be served in disguise. There will be no fight over the television and Rachel can watch Winnie the Pooh to her heart's delight. What's to miss? To make me feel more myself at this holiday, my son is insisting on buying a ham. And day old vegetable trays. I hope he doesn't expect me to fawn over his offerings.

That is all. Perhaps I should open the wine early.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's all good

Or it will be. Just as soon as these contractors get out of my house.

Wurm, modeled by my friend Judi.

Wurm in closeup. It took awhile to knit (and purl), but I think mainly because my paws needed frequent breaks. I'm all healed now and it's knitting like a maniac as usual. Hey, Christmas is only a few weeks away!

Today there are electricians here to hang our new fixtures. When they opened the box for the chandelier, the special order fixture was in a dozen different pieces. Of course it was. It's Monday. The Monday before a big holiday. It would be bizarre if it all went smoothly--what was I thinking? I called the store and they gave us their fixture off the ceiling. Back at the ranch with the new fixture, and the electrician discovered a screw is missing. The screw that holds the support brackets for the heavy chandelier. Oy.

Can you believe this scarf practically crocheted itself in 20 minutes? The yarn, the star of this attraction, does all the work. It's Rowan's Kidsilk Creation, and while kind of costly, being able to create a last minute gift during the holidays is something I consider priceless.

The hideous living room fixture is gone, but the new one needed to be rigged so the fixture lined up straight. The electrician kept telling me it wouldn't work, but when I handed him the bracket for the old fixture and asked if that would work, I could see the light slowly dawning for him. Ugh.

The kitchen fixture is fine, but while trying to put the bulbs in, the electrician dropped one. There were shards of glass everywhere and when they're gone, I'll have to vacuum to be sure there aren't any bits that could snag Leo's paws.

Speaking of paws, I'm knitting Bella's Mittens for a colleague who is hooked on those Twilight books and movies. She's also a hockey mom who spends hours and hours in cold arenas. She should like these. While these don't exactly knit themselves, they are a really fast knit.

It's only 11 AM. The sparkys aren't done yet and come noon, we're expecting the carpenters to come and start repairing the parts of the basement that were destroyed when the drain tiles were placed. The electricians, two of them, are perplexed over how to put my chandelier together. It doesn't look that hard to me, and would probably be a snap if one of these two would look at the instructions that came with the fixture. Oh wait, how foolish to think of that. Real men don't need directions.

I am so tired of contractors.

Oh...and now it's after noon, I start work at 4 and of course the carpenters aren't here yet.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Post op day 1

The patient is doing quite well today, but after several calls to the house and being told by her caregivers that she's still sleeping, I had to go and see for myself. I blew into the house like a know it all nurse, dragged her out of bed, got her to eat a bowl of pasta and mashed bananas and drink a giant glass of soda. Then I washed her mouth for her and left the patient sitting up watching a little television. So much for a slow night for the staff. I think the codeine was a little more than she could manage and so all she did was sleep. Tonight she'll get the codeine before bed, but tomorrow it needs to stop. I wish all my patients were so sensitive to opiates.

Her smile is beautiful!

Mumma is relieved.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fingers crossed

Wednesday is a big day for Stinkerbell McBookeater. She is having some fairly major oral surgery to correct damage to her teeth that incurred from a fall at school a few years ago. She fractured her maxilla at that time and the fall pushed her two front teeth up into her jaw.

It was an awful, awful event, followed by a horrific oral surgery done in the hospital and attended by the worst anesthesiologist I've ever met in my life. When I told this doctor that benzodiazepenes made her nuts, he pooh-poohed me and went ahead and used Versed anyways. I know in my heart she was awake during nasal intubation and the wiring of her jaw. She came out of recovery screaming bloody murder and my heart broke for her that day. When that doctor made rounds past her bed after surgery, I accused him of being neglectful and told him he was to have nothing else to do with her care. I could see the guilt all over his face. Asshole. I told him that, too.

Six weeks later, when we went back for the removal of the wires, I told the staff that particular anesthesiologist was to have nothing to do with her care and if the staff did not promise to use propofol for sedation, I would leave and find another hospital that would. Those promises were made and kept, though the pin head anesthesiologist did try to interact once. I shamed him and shooed him away. Rachel came out of the O.R. that morning singing and happy. What an incredible difference!

So tomorrow morning, bright and early, she'll be getting some root canals, an extraction or two and a bridge. Her palate isn't right to do implants, so a bridge will have to do. By tomorrow afternoon, she should have a brand new smile.

Wish us well, but mostly her. It's bound to be a long, long day. Poor Stinkerbell.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Love. True love

Watching CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood has become a favorite way to watch snippets of news without immersing ourselves in the 24 hour news feeds that can only lead to anxiety and subsequently, depression. It's an upbeat show that often captures the better parts of our collective nature.

If you watched the show this morning, you could not have missed the story of Tarra and Bella, an unlikely tale of the love and devotion between an elephant and a dog. I recall watching the first story about these two when Bella was injured awhile ago and Tarra stood vigil.

I'm pretty certain I'm going to have this unlikely devoted duo on my mind for quite awhile. I think we could all take a lesson from their story.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nurse Crankybritches

Blame it on the full moon, or even the alignment of all of those ones in the date yesterday, but I am one ill tempered woman this week and I think I know the cause: Inability to knit. Whenever I'm annoyed or overwhelmed, I sit down for a spell and knit my troubles away. This small act helps me cope with whatever the cosmos has sent my way. I've had this addiction with this particular anti-anxiety coping mechanism for about 8 years now. Knitting is what I do to get by. With bilateral hand injuries, I've been thwarted in the coping department and minor annoyances have become thorns in my side.

Today I was abruptly awakened at the butt crack of dawn by two babies crying. They sounded like they were being beaten and there was no way I was going to let that happen. Dressed only in my pajamas (thank God I don't sleep in the buff), I ran out the front door--barefoot in freezing weather--to track down the culprits beating their helpless offspring. I was in the mood to garrote someone with a sturdy cabled circular knitting needle or more likely, throw some well aimed verbal barbs at those vicious parents. Never mind that this scenario made no sense at all to my sleep deprived brain since none of my neighbors have babies. I was convinced that this was indeed what I was hearing. Now outside and frozen solid, reality was setting in. I wasn't hearing babies, I was hearing caterwauling. neighbor's cats were under another neighbor's truck (right next to my bedroom window) and they were babies being beaten. What caring parent can ignore a baby's cries for help? Now wide awake early on a Saturday, it would have been perfect for me to grab my wheel and go to spinning circle, except I can't pick up and carry two cups of coffee in my hands, let alone a wheel and project bag. Ugh.

After the feline incident, I turned on my phone to see how little the midnight shift nurse worked. Talk about a thorn in the side--this woman never gets a call and because she works nights, she earns more than the rest of us and primarily sleeps through her shift. Around midnight last night, I sent report on my busy, busy shift, including information on an emergency hospice admission I did late last night. This morning, she reports she got a call regarding the same patient and thought he needed an emergency hospice admission. If she'd bothered to read my report, she'd have known it was already done and the facility was likely calling for some other problem. I texted her as much and she texted this back: "I'm never sure what's going on." WHAT??? Now I know for certain that not only does she rarely get patient calls, she doesn't read reports she does get about patients the rest of us handle. If I could, I'd reach through that phone and stab her in her apathetic eye with one of my idle knitting needles.

See? I can't cope. I.Must.Knit.

Even though my hands hurt, I've been searching for a way to knit without pain. I've discovered purling continental style hurts my left thumb the least and my right hand not at all, so I cast on Wurm. So far I'm still knitting the brim of the hat and though it's taken me 2 days to knit a mere 26 rows, I'm nearly done with that and soon I'll be purling several rows between the knitted rows and that, I'm hoping, should bring some solace, or at least raise my bullshit tolerance up to a more manageable level.

It's either that or I'll have to open a Paypal account so together we can start raising my bond money. Y'all would have my back, wouldn't you?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

No arrests in Saturday night attack on knitter

The LG refrigerator denies its roll in the Saturday night suburban Detroit attack on Knitting Nurse Rudee. In a sworn statement, the refrigerator stated it was minding its own business keeping its contents cold or frozen, when the dishwasher (a Maytag hack), stuck out its door and tripped the hapless nurse. The refrigerator stated, "well, she threw herself at me and there is no truth to the rumor that I kicked her back into play and bruised her rib cage."

Likewise, the stove denied its roll in the vicious attack though it was plainly guilty of causing that hematoma on the left wrist of the victim.

The dishwasher, true to its advertising, has been running silent on the issue.

The victim has been checked out by her doctor who had himself a good laugh over the retelling of the attack of the appliances. Nothing was found to be broken. The doctor advised Nurse Rudee that in the future, she should watch where she is going.

The victim's husband has been staging daily reenactments of the attack for any who wish to see and listen.

Nurse Rudee would like to extend her thanks to all who left comments, and especially commiserates with the spouse of ztoamom. OUCH!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

If it weren't for bad luck

I'd have none at all. Even though I know this, I still bought a Powerball lottery ticket this week. It should come as no surprise that I didn't win.

Today we did a little power shopping for light fixtures. I needed 2 ceiling fixtures and a chandelier for the dining room. While at the lighting store, I picked up some battery operated task lights that I thought could augment the kitchen lighting as I have nothing except the center fixture and we all know that we can pretty much kiss daylight goodbye tonight. I can't live in the dark any longer.

From there we headed off to the mall to try and get into the Apple store. It was so crowded they were taking reservations just to get in the door. No mind, we headed off the The North Face instead. If I'm going to continue this late night hospice career, I'm not going to freeze my ass off doing so. I scored a beautiful coat that can convert to handle anything winter has to dish out to me this year. It's three coats in one depending on whether you wear the quilted down lining by itself, or just the outer shell or when it's really cold, combine the two. It's perfect.

Back home, and I promise, here is where my bad luck story gets good (or bad, depending how you look at this), I started knitting my brother's Christmas present. He asked for something to keep his tea warm this winter in his home on the Lake Erie shore and I'm obliging him. I found this pattern on Ravelry, it's free and it's lovely. The yarn is free, too, since I'm knitting it in Galway that I had in the stash. That's free, right?

Anyways, the pattern is fiddly and full of errors, but I was making headway. I promised myself if I got through the first pattern repeat, I could get up and make a cup of tea. I set my knitting aside and got immediately distracted by my still packaged task lights. Off I went to the kitchen to set the first one up. Getting it out of the package was hard, so I looked for a knife to help me. All the sharp ones were in the dishwasher so I fished in there for the right one, opened the package without self injury and attached the light to the underside of the cabinet.

Ta-da! Perfection. And so easy!

I backed up to admire my handiwork and fell ass over tea kettle when I bumped into the still open door of the dishwasher. It was a surreal fall. I knew what was happening, but in the tight squeeze that doubles as my kitchen, there weren't many options on how I was going down. How I managed to hurt BOTH of my wrists, I don't know. I had a goose egg, which is now a bruise on my left radius, and this is the wound that had me howling. The right didn't hurt until my husband tried to pull me up by that hand. It's not that it wasn't immediately injured, it's because the brain can only process so many pain messages at once and it was busy with my squeaky wheel of a left wrist. It crossed my mind for a fleeting moment that if both hands were casted, I couldn't knit. I couldn't wipe my own behind, either, but that wasn't my first thought.

I have a sneaking suspicion the right wrist is fractured. It's not swollen or deformed, but I cannot flex or extend it without feeling exquisitely sharp pain that starts the wrist, moves deep into my thumb then shoots up my forearm . There are, approximately, 800,000 bones in the wrist. I just know in my heart that one of them, probably that pain in the butt and hard to heal scaphoid bone is likely cracked.

For my pragmatic friends, don't worry...the dishwasher is fine.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Out of the blue

Out with the old

Apparently, I'm still indulging the color blue. Not as an emotion, mind you, but more as my palette in life. I chose blue for my yarn room last year. Bathroom, too. Last week, I got a manicure and painted my fingernails in OPI's, Yoga Ta Ya Get This Blue. I've also been on a blue yarn binge since the first of the year and seem unusually drawn to any shade of this color. About a year ago, I saw the color my friend had painted her son's room and had to have the details. About two weeks later, she thoughtfully mailed me the color card that I promptly taped to the dining room wall and there it stayed for the better part of a year as I wondered if it was a color that spoke to me.

Last week, my husband asked for a to-do list while he was on a two week vacation and I told him he could paint the dining room. I didn't think he would get to it quite so quickly, but he did and I'm so thankful. I went out to lunch with a friend last week and came home to the freshly painted room all dolled up in Sherwin-Williams, Aqua Sphere. I loved it, but of course this led to me confiding that I thought the green in the living room was a mistake, and now a sore spot against the better color in the dining room.

In with the new

Today the living room harmonizes with the dining room and is all decked out in Breezy. Of course, we couldn't have that gilt mirror sticking out like a sore thumb against the cool blue colors, so while I was listening to Bob Seger last night (who, at 66 years old, was very awesome), the substantial mirror frame got a fresh coat of Martha Stewart's metallic decorative paint in the color, Thundercloud. In a word...awesome!

The foyer and hall got painted in, On the Rocks. While this was a lighter color shown with the cool blue families, it's really a lavender-gray and looks so pretty. When the light hits it a certain way, the lavender seems more prominent. I checked the can, and yep, there it is in the formula...maroon tint. I wasn't imagining things, and it really has some lavender there. I'm pleased with the way it looks and decided to indulge my hunch that what this living room needs now is a punch of color in a vibrant purple. I'm thinking pillows or an afghan. That should keep me away from blue yarn for awhile.

I'm not going to think too much about why these colors appeal to me or read too much into my mood. They make me happy and that should be enough of a reason to paint the whole place blue if that's what I want.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I'm still the same

Don't send the dogs out to find me. I'm not lost. I've just been lazy. It crossed my mind that maybe I just didn't have much to say anymore, but being the big mouth in my family, they all know, and you should, too, that's just not true.

Last week was so busy. I accumulated a lot of miles in my hospice-mobile starting each night on one end of town and ending on the exact opposite end way after midnight. I was a Traveling Wo Man. Weeks like that really suck the soul right out of me and on several of those days I found that in addition to fuel, I was fresh out of empathy. When that happens, it's usually time for a vacation. One day will have to do, and today is it.

I have a date tonight with my daughter and my best friend. There will be no late night calls out to ply my trade, though it may be a late night.

Any thieves who now know I won't be home tonight can rest assured I've left someone in charge of protecting our domain. He'll be armed. OK, he only has teeth to attack with, but he can be fierce. Just sayin'.

A note on that cowl: The yarn is 82 yards of hand spun by Emilee and is super bulky. The free pattern on Ravelry is Marian. It took about two hours to knit, maybe three. My model is so patient with me. Handsome, too.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The not so light fingered camel

Saturday, despite the sunshine and beautiful warm weather, I barely made it off the couch. I hurt my back again this week lifting patients too weak to help themselves. Today I was better and feeling antsy. I had to leave the house and go do something.

Nobody wanted to play today, so I packed up my things and headed off to the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo. Alone. With an empty canvas tote. Though really, is a knitter/spinner every really alone at a fiber festival? I think not as I had dozens of conversations about all sorts of things. Within 20 minutes of arrival, I had my bag full of spinning fiber and a few other treasures, but decided to continue shopping anyways.

As I meandered into building E, I saw alpacas and an amazingly huge camel named Humphrey. As I stood and talked to Humphrey's handler and fondled the camel fiber he was selling, I became aware that someone was trying to steal my bag off my shoulder and people all around were laughing at me.

It was Humphrey. The 1, 400 pound thief had a death grip on my canvas bag using only his very interesting but incredibly unattractive teeth.

We played tug of war for a minute, and though I won, it wasn't for lack of trying on Humphrey's part. He wanted what was in my bag, but I guess not as much as I did.

Hey...let him go buy his own fire engine red merino roving. This braid is all mine.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Send paddles!

Rumor has it the sun may shine again sometime on Friday. I'll believe it when I see it. In the meantime, I'm considering the need for creating a knitting pattern that fits webbed feet. I may be on to something.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Knitting interuptus

Ah, yes, I've had another one of those moments where I put something down for whatever reason, and then months later, I pick it up and expect to knit as though we never shared a lull in our relationship. This time it was with Elka, which I set aside in late spring because it became too hot to sit and knit with Lopi. After searching for hours for the book with the pattern (it was on the bookshelf in full view the entire time), and straightening yarn that had become a twisted mess while sitting alone in a bag (does the yarn party when I'm not looking?) and counting stitches (inexplicably, I didn't make notes on the size I was knitting), I was able to start knitting the chart for the second sleeve. However, in reflection today, I know I made a mistake by knitting the first stitch of the chart as the first stitch of the row. It's really the last stitch of the prior row and even though I was off by one stitch on the pattern, I never stopped to consider why. Nosirree! I just kept knitting. It was the stitch marker that threw me, but if you knit in the round and intend to leave it for a bit, you have to stop either one stitch before or one after the marker. Otherwise, you'll come back to the project and have absolutely no idea where left off because your marker would have gone missing. Sigh...another knit as I say and not as I do moment for this knitter.

Needless to say, I'll be ripping today. It's only a handful of rows, but still. It annoys me.

You can't really appreciate the center color, but it's a very deep burgundy and not black.

Just like knitting the chevron blankie drove me half nuts. I'm glad I'm finally finished with this. I was lulled into complacency by the simplicity of the pattern, but found myself making mistake after mistake. Garter stitch will do that to you. Garter stitch with shaping on both sides of the piece is a recipe for disaster for the rather bored knitter. Row one has evenly spaced decreases and row two puts them back. Meh. Easy-peasy, right? It's not hard to know what row you're on, but it's more mindful knitting than you'd think, and that was the root of my problem. I tried knitting while watching football and baseball games. What better time to knit? Needless to say, there was lots more tinking and reknitting than I'd ordinarily want to see and do. But no's done and beautiful.

No football for you! When he's standing there to block my view, there will be no knitting, either. That's his, hey, I'm King of the Universe pose. Look at me! Look! Look. At. Me! And hey missie? Got any of those liver biscotti treats left? I will do flips for liver biscotti!

That's enough lollygagging for the day. I'm off to rip a few rows of that sleeve. May you have a day filled with no dropped stitches and time for afternoon tea.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Do you believe in magic?

Last night, instead of taking in a full moon movie, we went downtown to see a very special event where the musical genius that was Michael Jackson met the spectacle that is Cirque du Soleil. The two combined to make the evening nothing short of magical.

I'm still enchanted by the two and a half hour show that Fanny and I saw. It was hard to know where to look first. At the band playing Michael's music (some of whom performed with Michael on tour)? The acrobats? The dancers? The pyrotechnic displays? The holographic images of MJ? The many and varied sets or costumes? The show was a feast for the eyes, heart, ears and soul and we had seats a mere seven rows from the stage. There aren't enough adjectives to describe the way this show made me feel. I was happy and sad all in the same moment.

This is one show I think we may need to see twice. I'm thinking Florida in late winter sounds good. Don't miss it if it's coming to an arena near you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Full Moon Hospice Smack Down

I know I haven't been around for a bit. I wish I could share what's been going on, but some things are better left unsaid. Suffice it to say, it's been a rough week, and it's not over yet. I topped off my busy shift tonight with a visit to someone who is convinced her house is haunted by a malevolent ghost. I was even shown photographic evidence. Alrighty then. It was a bizarre looking image of a man with unnatural facial features on a cell phone photograph.

Do you recall last Halloween season when I was driving down Cemetery Road, sort of lost and way out of my territory in a wicked wind and rain storm? Or the night I was sent to a campground to see a patient right after watching Zombieland that very afternoon? This one beat them both and made the hairs on my arms stand up. I was completely spooked, and so was my driver.

To center myself, I went home, shut off the phone and computer and settled in to watch Martin Scorcese's documentary on my favorite Beatle. The film is titled, George Harrison: Living in a Material World. If you have HBO, don't miss this beautiful film. It truly is a lovely tribute to a different kind of spirit.

It was just the thing I needed to counteract my experience tonight, and, hey, he was and still is my favorite Beatle. Who was your favorite?

Monday, October 3, 2011

The money pit of despair

The Brute Squad.

Well, let me just say, after a day of listening to jackhammers tear up my basement yesterday, it's no wonder my head is pounding. Keeping the dog occupied took up the better part of my day and there was one point where, following me into the kitchen, Leo busted through the not so technical blockade of dining room chairs and came face to face with one of the men tearing up my basement. They scared the hell out of each other and it was the only priceless moment of the day. Believe me, everything else had a price tag attached.

Leo finally gets to investigate the source of all of that racket.

Today is a duplicate day. While I thought the loudest part of the work was completed yesterday, I can plainly hear that I was wrong. Really wrong. It's drill work that's making me lose it today and brings to mind an insane visit to the dentist, although I'm quite certain the contractors left the jackhammer behind for a reason last night. They must not be finished. Pass the ibuprofen, please.

What the contractors discovered lurking behind a wall of built in cabinets goes a long way in explaining the array of symptoms like sniffles, scratchy throats, sinusitis, coughs and headaches the inhabitants of this dwelling suffer from. This corner of the basement was the worst part of the mold problem which has now been sprayed with bleach and will later get a boric acid treatment. The cabinets had provided fuel for the mold and were a total loss. The joys of old home ownership are endless, no? I'm trying to think positively about this new blank slate in my basement, but it's hard with all that racket down there rattling my brain.

The office floor

Dirk, Matt, John --whatever his name is--was a no show all weekend. Oh, he surfaced Monday, barely, and told us he had pneumonia. Excuses, excuses. He better show me where they administered Rocephin and azithromycin. I want proof. Just kidding. I was truly hoping to keep a contractor or two out of the house for a bit, but now he has to come back and finish the attic work (there is a hole in the attic where the fan will go, so this is necessary, and so is the insulation he still has to do). There is no escape from the noise, clutter, dust or disorder. I'd go to Mr. Larger Than Life's house to get a reprieve, but the painting contractor is there.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Dog Torturers

I've been asked a few times lately to allow for a guest post. I don't ordinarily do this, but just this once, I agreed. Enjoy.


My name is Leo and I live with two of the most controlling women you'd ever want to meet. Oh sure, they give me treats and take me to training every Thursday, but still, sometimes they can be difficult when it comes to cohabitation. The young one is OK to live with since when she bakes, she always bakes for me, too, but that old one can be a real hard head. There has been a lot of talk recently about my grooming skills and in particular, my aroma. I have no clue what they're talking about and to me, I think I smell fine. Just right.

They've been chattering all weekend about waiting for a warmer day to get me to smell like roses again, but in the end settled for just plain sunshine. Hello? It's only around 50 degrees out there--the sun is deceiving. Evil wenches. Before I knew what hit me, the old one enticed me into the bathroom and forcibly placed me in the bathtub.

What do you mean, "see how dirty you were?" I was fine with that and consider that a patina--not dirt. Surely she exaggerates because the water looks clean to me. Lavender and mint dog shampoo? Really?

Just you wait. The minute this towel is off, I'm going to shake and you're going to be covered in hair and water. Wait, wait, wait! OMG! She cleaned out my ears with cotton balls and alcohol. Dammit! It made me moan.

Oh, OK, since you were nice enough to turn on the space heater for me, I'll be smart enough to sit there until I'm warm again. However, the minute you let me out that back door, I'm going to roll in something smelly.

People, as you can see, I'm really suffering here. Please send help and if you can't do that, some of those nice bison cookies would make me feel better.



Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mish Mash Mush

I imagine if we scanned my head right now, my brain would look like a bowl of oatmeal. It was a long, long week and while I wasn't all that busy with my own assignments, my east side colleague was. This means in addition to my territory, I covered a lot of hers and really piled on the miles.

The daily view from the hospice mobile.

Every single day I worked, the weather reporter let me know it was going to rain, rain, and rain again. Every.Single.Day.

I got so sick of listening to her gloomy reports that I almost stopped. So glad I didn't. One day--can't remember which since they all looked gloomy and rainy and pretty much the same-- I took notice of what she was wearing. Did she even look in the mirror that day? She had on this ill fitting dress with swirls right on her boobs and not in a flattering way. Since I'm in the middle of watching this season's Project Runway, I could hear Michael Kors and Tim Gunn verbalizing their dismay in my head and lambasting the designer for this travesty of a dress. Is it just me, or do her breasts look like they're ready to take flight right off the sides of the dress?

Not only is it damp and rainy, it's also cold here in Detroit. It was 41 degrees when I started to write this post and while I appreciate the bonus of keeping warm that my work in progress provides, I'm perplexed by the fact it isn't finished yet. It took me three days to knit the first three stripes, and four to knit the 4th. The fifth isn't coming along all that fast, and it's all due to the various burns and cuts my fingers accumulated. Since everything has healed, I'm hoping to finish this blanket soon.

To update you on the refrigerator, well, shamefully, I finally snapped and pulled a Mr. Larger Than Life on both LG and the appliance repair people. We called on Monday to report the recurrent problem to LG and they set us up with the only appliance repair company LG uses for Wednesday. Late on Wednesday, the repairman showed up, wrote down the error code (which we'd already told them on Monday), took a check for $100 from us and said the part would be available in "a couple of days." I took that to mean two. By late yesterday afternoon, I called the appliance place and was put on hold for 10 minutes while they looked up our order which they couldn't find. Since I was now running behind for work and had been 5 long days without a reliable refrigerator, I had a meltdown worthy of MLTL. I hung up on the less than interested appliance repair scheduler after giving him a piece of my mind and called LG to give the poor service rep the remaining pieces. Periodically during my tirade, I interjected that while I knew she didn't personally make the crappy appliances, and I wasn't personally blaming her, I was disgusted with their product, but worse, their lack of service. Some swear words were involved... Oh, something along the lines of, "don't bother sending anyone. I am going to go buy a new refrigerator and put this one on the street with a giant sign saying, free piece of LG shit for the taking. Good luck getting service."

Miraculously, my refrigerator was repaired 2 hours later. LG is paying the $200 repair bill. Though I'm not proud of snapping like that, I just could not take being without a refrigerator for one more day. The squeaky wheel got the grease.

There is a lot of work on tap for the weekend. We have to clear out the basement to make room for the contractors who are coming on Monday to dig up the floor and place drain tiles. In addition to what will hopefully be a dry basement from here on out, I should be super organized once the dust settles. In the meantime, I get to look forward to another week of upheaval and men with dirty work boots.

Knit 10, K2Tog, SSK and repeat. It's good to have a soothing mantra. Here's hoping I'll be a little less ill tempered next week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Judge Nurse Rudee

Too lazy to change the channel, I watched the defense of Michael Jackson's physician, Dr. Murray, place the blame of Michael Jackson's death solidly on the deceased's shoulders.


Yes, I agree, Michael Jackson seems to have had a monster addiction and was a tortured soul, but as a medical professional myself, and one who has opened countless bottles of Mother's Milk propofol, I still don't know of any reasonable reason why propofol or versed would be used outside of an ICU, emergency room or surgical suite, and then only with the utmost scrutiny that machines, monitors and trained staff can provide. What his physician did is not what most medical professionals would reasonably do in a similar circumstance. In addition, I know many doctors often change specialties, but what in God's name made this man think he could be all things to one man: a cardiologist, psychiatrist, addiction specialist and anesthesiologist? Me thinks the color green played a big role.

Plain and simple? The doctor should be glad I'm not seated on his jury, for no matter how much blame his defense places on Michael Jackson himself, in my mind, the doctor is guilty of medical malpractice at the least, and I believe, manslaughter. There is no gray area here, as--and here's that pesky little point again--he did not behave in the manner most medical professionals (his peers) would and failed, failed, failed to meet the standard of care. That my friends is how you measure the actions of a medical professional.

If you listen to any of this trial, keep in mind that, yes, Michael Jackson was the master of his own destiny, but then so was his physician. Personally, I wish he'd just plead guilty and save us the circus his trial is sure to be.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Life's Good? It's better with blinders

This crazy dog loved wearing Sara's blinders. He walked all around the room, tail nubbin' wagging, while gamely trying to find us without sight.

I think not. Let me explain.

About a year ago, or back when we moved into this house, we went out and bought all new appliances. I wanted the Maytag fridge with french doors and the freezer on the bottom. Well, Home Depot took my order and my money, then called me right before expected delivery to tell me I couldn't have that model right then and there because Maytag was unable to complete the order. I would have to wait 3 weeks for the item I wanted. To compensate for the inconvenience, they offered me an LG model that was more expensive at less than what I was paying for the Maytag.

Fool that I was, I took the deal and for awhile all was OK. Not great, but OK. The unit made ice and kept things cool, but the doors were a little wonky. They don't shut automatically, but the unit does alarm if a door is not closed. The freezer door does not alarm.

Over Labor Day weekend with my house full of visitors, the fridge saw a lot of action and someone left the freezer door ajar overnight. I woke up the next morning and closed it--the contents were still frozen, because in addition to the ice maker, there were bags of ice in there so that acted like a 20 cubic square foot cooler. By the next morning, the unit wasn't working again because, according to the LG service rep, condensation had built up on the motor. LG's solution was to unplug the unit for several hours then just like that, plug it back in. The magic worked for a day, but there was still significant food loss despite my efforts at saving the contents. Two days later, I awakened to the same problem. Error message 67 and a fridge full of contents that were not cold anymore.

Once again, I lost food. I unplugged the fridge, vacuumed every nook and cranny, opened the freezer to let it air out and cleaned and dried every crevice there, too. I shut the ice maker off so moisture was not an issue. When I was certain enough time had elapsed and you could eat a meal off the fridge itself without fear of food poisoning, I plugged it back into the outlet. Magic again, the solution worked until two days ago when the damned thing went on the fritz again.

He's so funny, but I bet he wasn't happy I had to toss his raw treats because we lost refrigeration. What he doesn't know won't hurt him.

Rinse and repeat the above steps. Plug it back in and it works. One day later, this morning, it's not working and I want to take this just out of warranty refrigerator out back and shoot the damned thing. This month alone, I've lost about $200 worth of food products and a lot of time moving, cleaning, plugging and unplugging this appliance. I have a service person coming, but he's all booked up until tomorrow, because, of course, nobody services LG around here because they're too expensive to fix.

Life's Good? I think not. What I wouldn't give for never having to call the lonely Maytag repairman.

Phooey on you LG.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pity paws

Whenever the dogs I've had would get heartworm tests, they'd come home with a bandage wrapped around their paws. We'd always tell them they had a pity paw, because boy could they milk that bandage for all it was worth.

Lately though, it's me with pity paws. Last Monday, I sliced my index and middle fingers of my left hand during my attempts to cut through the first butternut squash my garden produced. The cut on my middle finger could have benefitted from a couple of stitches, but I was technically working and couldn't spare a trip to the urgent care center. I applied a steristrip and bandage and called it a day. Knitting all week has been tricksy.

Today...well today I pulled the beouf bourguignon from the oven to stir and add some vegetables. I replaced the foil and went to grab the pan lid, completely forgetting I had only moments before taken it out of the 325 degree oven. Of course, my fingers were slightly wet and my skin sort of sizzled on contact. I burned my right thumb, index and middle fingers.

I think I should officially change my name to Grace, or better yet, Calamity Jane. Everything I touch or do seems to be loaded with danger. I am not going to tell you how I fell off my Dansko shoe (just the left shoe) last week and nearly wrenched my shoulder while falling soundly on my ass. That would be a shameful retelling of my less than elegant comportment. With two pity paws and five injured digits, it looks like knitting will be impossible for a few days.

I may need to make an investment in industrial strength bubble wrap for a bit, or at least until the moon is aligned with Mars or some such nonsense. I hope this phase passes soon.

Friday, September 23, 2011


One cookie missing. Another missing a bite from the edge. Two guesses, and the first two don't count as to who the cookie thief may be.

For months I've been putting up with those lazy contractors next door. It's been one delay after another for them. I heard that the work there is coming to an end soon, so I've not been complaining about their late night sawing, hammering, drilling and occasional swearing. Last night, they were still at it at midnight which annoyed the hell out of Leo. There's light at the end of that tunnel, but fear not, we have our own slew of contractors getting ready to descend upon our own home.

In fact, one is here today.

He--his name is Sean, but for some reason, I keep calling him Matt--is installing a whole house fan on the upper level of our humble abode. Even when it's cool outside, it's always warm indoors. We're hoping the fan will help cool the house down and lower our energy consumption. In the process of this install, Sean is evicting the squirrels rats with bushy tails that have had the gall to set up house in our attic. Prior to this, we couldn't evict them ourselves because there was no attic access. He's also beefing up the insulation while he's up there. As I write this, there are two gigantic holes in the upstairs ceiling and dust is everywhere.

When this project is done, the basement waterproofing event will start and then the real fun will begin. We've had so much rain this month that the ground is saturated. There is nowhere for the water to go, so much like the squirrels, it makes itself at home in my basement. I'm always down there killing spiders, mopping up water and emptying the two dehumidifiers that run full time. In the process of putting in new drain tiles, this group of contractors will destroy drywall, built in cabinets, the shower in the bathroom, the tile floor in the living space, my bank account, and likely, my sanity. Matt, I mean Sean, will put it all back together.

I hope they all work faster than the guys next door.

In the meantime, I'm trying to keep busy with projects of my own. Working with yarn that has no dust on it, yet, I'm knitting a chevron baby blanket. This is Rose's fault. She posts a link and like sheep following the shepherd, I click on it. Before you know it, my needles are busy knitting wonderful things.

This project is just right for warding off the chill of autumn.

If you guessed this is the cookie monster, well then you'd be correct. However, he denies everything and only says, prove it...there were no crumbs leading up to him.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Taking time

I've been neglecting this blog for weeks, and worse, I confess I've been neglecting myself. We have our hands full over here working full time and managing five homes, and while Mr. Larger Than Life is gone, the remnants of his and his wife's time here on earth need sorting. Urgently.

Stuff. It's everywhere.

So that's what I've been doing. I go over there in the mornings before work and on my days off, too. Rachel and I were there for 5 hours today and now that it's 8 PM, I've only now put dinner on and opened a brew to try to relax. I've been doing this for weeks and weeks and weeks and feel like I've not made a dent at all. Truly, the above photo represents less than half of what I've uncovered. The remainder was already in full view.

It's feels like it's pouring on us right now, but truth be told, this was our rain storm last Sunday.

Next weekend, I'm calling in sick to my personal life and taking some well earned time off. Hell, I may even drag my spinning wheel up to the yarn store for spinning circle. I haven't done that in ages and ages.

Or, I'll take a hint from the neighborhood kids who take great joy when it rains bucket fulls on them.

If nothing else, I'm going to look for a rainbow when I feel it's raining on me. Or if I'm lucky like I was last Monday night, I'll find two.

Try as I may to keep caught up with your blogs, or write a bit on my own, I find I'm not able to remain that way for long. Please pardon me while I'm rearranging tchotchkes and dust. I'm sure sometime soon, likely after the estate sale, life will resemble something akin to normal around these parts.

Next weekend, definitely, I'm going to be outrageous and spend a little time unwinding.