Thursday, March 31, 2011


With this dog's proclivity for mooching, one might think he is never fed.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Man Kitchen

I grew up with a man in the kitchen--my brother--who could, and still does, cook like an angel. Last night though, I met a man who told me about the man kitchen. I thought I knew what a man kitchen was, but apparently, I'd been misinformed.

He was likely a giant of a man at one time with impressive height and enormous hands the size of baseball mitts. These days, his hands are mangled from arthritis, and a multitude of illnesses have robbed him of energy, weight, and, yes, height. He walks well enough, but it takes him several minutes to move from sitting to standing in order to get anywhere. Standing upright is impossible and instead, he motors with stooped posture.

When I asked what he'd done for a living, he told me he worked in a man kitchen where he made steel for a paycheck. He said he adored that job and likened making steel to baking a cake. The recipe must be precise and the ingredients added one at a time until the mixture and great heat produced the perfect cake. Though hot, and grueling, he'd loved his life's work. Loved.

When I questioned this patient about pain, he refused to admit he had any, though to my trained eye, it was obvious he was suffering from some. It was not in his nature to complain. After much gentle prodding, he did admit there was pain that troubled him, but only in the mornings and only for a little while.

It's not often I meet someone so stoic, but I'm sure after serving in General Patton's army in WWII, and then a lifetime in a steel mill, one would learn to live with the obvious and pain becomes an every day fact of life that people like him just accept as normal. This is his price of admission to continued life, if you will.

My hope for this man is the plan I put into motion brings him the relief he deserves without clouding his senses. He has wonderful stories still to tell and I wouldn't want anything that I did bring those history lessons to a close.

While he may not know it, this beautiful human being brought me great joy last night, though I'm quite certain, I may have been the last person he wanted to meet. He was kind, gracious--a gentle giant--and meeting him reminds me why I love what I do for a living, too.

I will never again bake a cake without imagining the man kitchen and thinking of him.

Monday, March 28, 2011

More muddy bits

Finally! The vest is finished as of this morning and is currently in the process of drying. I could have rushed it in order to wear it to an event yesterday, but after all these weeks of work, I didn't want to risk using steam to block the piece. It's got a high silk content and I thought that since I'd followed the instructions of this piece so precisely, it might behoove me to follow the designer's operating manual on blocking, too. So I gave it a bath. A long one that I hoped would wash out the coffee stain. It did. I didn't spill the coffee, but in preparation for bathing, I set the finished vest on dark coffee grounds on a dark counter top. Don't worry though--the coffee stains are gone.

The sweater is gorgeous, soft and warm. All the qualities I like in my hand knits. Pictures on the live model will have to wait for the drying process.

There was a bit of worry for a time when I realized that somehow, I'd lost my focus and made some rookie mistakes on the collar. In one area, I forgot a cable. In another, I dropped a stitch and didn't notice for 2 rows. In my defense, that stitch was hiding in a ribbed section. The last was finding a yarnover when clearly, there's not a yarnover to be had in the entire pattern.

There was a lot of puttering, tinking and cursing to make it all right and for now I'm blaming the mistakes solely on Donkey Kong.

On Saturday, I bought a used Wii system and had my son rent Donkey Kong Returns for me. Instantly, I was transported back to the days when my kids were young and played video games. When they went to bed, I hogged the nintendo system all to myself and I played DK and Mario Brothers for hours on end. It's taken 2 days and an entire team, but we've cleared two worlds so far and are dying too often on the third world to make a dent. I ignored the manufacturer's warning on this operating manual and I did sustain some minor injuries. I have developed a bruise on the tip of my left thumb from manhandling the controller. We were supposed to go out for dinner last night to celebrate my birthday, but instead, we ordered pizza to be delivered while my daughter, my son and I played and laughed for hours.

Now that's my kind of celebrating.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Eye Candy Friday

I instituted a weekly fiber show and tell and within one week, I've already forgotten all about it and failed to post for All Things Sheepy Thursday. You'll have to settle for Got Fiber? Friday this week. I do have fiber and I do have progress on Cloud Chaser, though I'm not chasing clouds, I'm chasing time. I really wanted to wear this on Sunday, and right now, it's not looking so good, but not for lack of trying.

As I suspected, the collar, while simple, is just a little tedious at this point and my mind and hands are prone to wander off if not entertained or supervised. For sure, the Kindle has gotten in the way of knitting progress, and so has work. For cryin' out loud, I only have 3 pattern repeats, the ribbed border and the finishing of the arm holes. I should be able to complete that in my sleep.

I've included a recent photo of Leo, snapped just this morning, to distract from the fact that I'm forgetful. And lazy. He wanted a belly rub and a photo shoot. You know, I think Leo just might be a part of the distraction issue for me. Don't blame me if he distracts you from finishing things, too.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Living History

One year ago today was moving day for us. It's probably safe to say I don't know how to plan a birthday celebration, don't you agree? Today is much different, though I forgot to request the day off and I do have to work tonight. I worked last night, too, but had no assignment and only one call. I can only hope tonight is a repeat, but since I want to live to see 55, I won't hold my breath. I'll do well to consider last night's shift an early gift.

I awakened today to find I'm the new owner of a Kindle and the holder of tickets to see Neil Young. I couldn't have gotten better gifts if I'd bought them myself. They're just perfect.

Note to my 54 year old self: if you want to use those tickets, you need to take May 4th off.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

That's a whole lot of yarn

I'm very torn about parting with cash these days. I'd rather hold onto it than buy yarn, clothes, or anything I don't really need.

I'll let you recover from that yarn statement for a moment...

That said, I have an overwhelming desire to see Neil Young when he comes to town next month. I love his music and his very unique voice. I even like his more obscure and undervalued work, like the CD, Are You Passionate.

The problem is the price for tickets. Holy Cow! The cheapest seat for his May 4th concert is around $100. Add a buddy...add parking...add a cocktail...add dinner. Factor in really good seats for a last in my lifetime chance to see this guy live and by the end of the night, I'd have to work 3 days just to afford the tickets.

I'm trying hard not to let it bring me down.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday is for Twits

We are done with the estate sales extortionist. He has failed to produce his buyer and their fictitious money and now he's out of our lives. Of course, he's still threatening to sue us because in his mind, we are in breach of contract. We've rearranged our lives for him for 3 weeks in a row and each week, he, the buyers and the money, have failed to materialize. I never agreed to open my life at all hours to be a furniture showroom.

He went down with a barrage of insulting emails that he mistakenly addressed to our resident hothead. Whilst you may be willing to believe you know who that is, let me assure you that it's not me. I relinquished the duties of dealing with this ass the moment he said I must be having a bad day. What a jerk.

Well now, that's the end of that bit of nasty business and I feel much better. It's time to get ready for winter's next appearance.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Traditions worth keeping

Today was full moon movie weekend and not wanting to break with tradition, the plans were squeezed in at the last minute for tonight. An Italian dinner at the little bistro down the street from the theatre, and then the movie. What to see? That was the question, for it seemed like nothing good was playing. After some deliberation, we decided on "The Lincoln Lawyer".

Fully prepared to see a completely sappy Matthew McConaughey movie, we were more than satisfied with our choice. It wasn't mawkish at all. It was a sophisticated story full twists and surprises like The Sting.

When we came out of the theatre, it was storming and raining cats and dogs. I'm not going to spoil my night by going downstairs to see how the basement fared. I'll look in the morning.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday at last

With the full moon approaching perigree, work has been hellish this week. I'm glad to put this one behind me. Though studies show we healthcare providers imagine the link between madness and the full moon, I'm here to tell you there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to refute those naysayers. Well that's behind me now and I don't work tonight, so I can relax and enjoy the show mother nature intends for us tonight. The full moon will appear both bigger and brighter.

In other news, our little family has grown. In a race to see who would become a grandparent first, my brother, (FTM in the comments) was gifted with a shiny, brand spanking new grandson last night. Congratulations, Fudge.

Finally. A tiny knitwear recipient!

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the show. I'm off to find my copy of Moonstruck.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

All Things Sheepy Thursday

It seems to me that a lot of bloggers have themes on certain days. I appreciate reading what people write on those days, but I never really jumped on those opportunities. While I can't promise that I'll stick to a sheepy theme, I'm going to give it a try.

I have three separate projects ongoing, not including the WIPs that are languishing up in the yarn room. Two of those projects are sort of top secret, so I can't show them here. That leaves the vest.

When last I talked about Cloud Chaser, I was saying a little prayer that what the designer wrote-- and, more importantly, how I was interpreting her words--would work out. I found myself thinking how annoying it was to be told to buy four skeins of Honor, when clearly, 3 would get the job done. I take that back because as I near the center point of the collar, I am also nearing the end of the third skein of yarn. It will take all four.

The pattern is multi-directional knitting at its finest. I've found my rhythm, and the collar, while time consuming, should be done, soon. After that, all that needs to be knitted is the border around the armholes, which is said to further connect the pieces, and it'll be completely done.

Seamlessly. Literally. I'm hoping to be wearing it by the end of the month.

The photo at the top is a close up of my new umbrella. I have a hard time hanging onto things like umbrellas, but this one stands a real chance of survival. In the first place, it's unlikely to be borrowed by the men in the house, and in the second...who would chance losing something as precious as this? I love the shamrock brand on the black sheep's behind. There will be no risk of losing it today as it's sunny with no chance of rain. Again.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, friends. Let the Guinness flow!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Barking for joy

Since I've done my share of whining about the winter weather, I thought I'd share a picture of what today looked like. According to my car, we reached a high of sixty. It was so glorious, I threw open the windows to let fresh air into the house.

Do you Mid-westerners need more proof that spring is upon us? Well then, the dog has lost his ever loving mind. He runs from each open window barking his fool head off. Though it's annoying to me, apparently he and his neighbors are loving the break, too.

At present time, I hear about 5 different dogs out there barking. Mine is the loudest.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When does a blog come in handy?

When you happen to make note of the inconsequential doings in your life, only to have them be of consequence somewhere down the road. I did indeed make note of that pain conference here, and it's within 2 years of my last license renewal. Praise be! I was getting tired of accumulating CEUs one at a time on that unlimited plan.

I'm there though, and so sometime later, I'll be sending in my renewal form, secure in the knowledge that I've achieved the minimum requirement.

Now back to what's really important: our regularly scheduled knitting, and oh, yes, spinning. I've been spending a bit of time at my wheel--and I went to circle on Saturday--lead there by an event the night before.

On Friday night, I presided at a patient's home death. The house was full of women who were seated in a semicircle around the room and speaking quietly amongst themselves. Though their grief was palpable, so was their inner strength. As I drove home late that night, I realized that I missed the routine of spinning on Saturday mornings, but more importantly, the company of strong and lovely women.

I bought this wool at the Ann Arbor fiber festival and can't recall the fiber content. Perhaps it's a generic type wool mixed with alpaca, for it certainly has a halo. No matter the fiber content, the yarn wants to be mittens. With pink cuffs. I love that my wool speaks to me!

It was like I'd never missed a single Saturday. I'm going to try hard not to miss any more. The issue has been my back, and my inability to carry all of my supplies. If I have to buy a wagon to make life easier, I'm going to do just that. I'd forgotten how meaningful that group is to me.

Australian merino in the Fable colorway from my friend, Sarah. I think it wants to be a shawl when it's done. I'm thinking it'll need a pattern that will show off the beauty of this yarn with a the contrast which is the same color, but silk. Maybe a simple triangle with a lace border.

And the spinning which I've ignored, too? Just like riding a bike...

For those wishing an update on my furniture, well, let's just say the buyers didn't come on Saturday. Since The Misogynist cares so little about this situation, or the value of my time, this is the only missive I received last Friday (the grammar and crimes against the dictionary (not to mention spell check) are all his and included the DINNING room set in the subject):

Dear Nurse Rudee:

Giving you advance notice so you don't wait around.

I talked with purchases from Ohio. They promised me check mailing on Sunday. The check arrived this morning and I deposited it accordingly.

As you may know out of state checks take a good number of days to clear. This one was from Metropolitian Insurance Company which I am not familar. This check should clear by next Wednesday and I will bring cash for next week.

Sorry but I cannot give cash advance until the check clears accordingly.

Thanks for your understanding in this matter.


IMA Realjerk

Since he has not contacted me since Friday to set up a time to pick up this set, I've no clue when he plans on coming. It better not be Saturday morning, because I've got other plans.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Playing catch up...

...or who's sorry now?

My nursing license is up for renewal the end of this month and guess who's, oh, 14 or so hours short and can't find the proof of continuing education units (CEUs) for another 8 of those hours?

If you guessed it was me, you win.

You don't win anything special, except the ability to feel smug about being right, or, if you're a nurse and you're up to date on your continuing education, the knowledge that Nurse Knowitall obviously doesn't know it all (and I'm lazy). I hate my predisposition toward procrastination. When will I ever learn that my tendency to be this way always bites me in the behind? My license needs to be renewed by March 31st and I must be able to state the continuing education credits were acquired before I applied for renewal.

So this week, I'll be catching up. Today, I've already completed 9 hours of my education, and I have to say, instead of taking the easy way out, I'm selecting courses that I'm not familiar with, or ones in which I think I should be better educated. I chose an online service that for $39.99, provides unlimited CEUs for one year. This week, I'll squeak out every ounce of value that I can and then I'll get a jump on the next licensing period.

During one of my breaks, I'll be searching through some moving boxes for proof of my missing CEUs. I think they're worth a few moments of my time.

Here and there, I've turned on the news for updates in Japan. My heart goes out to the victims, their families, and the first responders. Though I can clearly see the pictures, I simply can't imagine what it must be like to be in the midst of such chaos and continuing danger. I hope the threat of nuclear disaster abates for them so that they can begin the healing process.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Apparently, I have some gaps...

I've taken my share of dream trips in the States. The best was the summer we spent in Colorado. I've got some wonderful memories from that vacation, including the very first time I donned waders and went fly fishing. I spent the whole time in the water trying halfheartedly to cast my line. Still, it was a gorgeous summer day in Aspen and what I remember most was how freezing cold that water was. In August! What I remember best was how charmed my young son was working with his guide and trying hard to learn to fly fish.

One of the trips I've always dreamed of taking is to follow Interstate 94 as it winds its way from its origin in Michigan to where it terminates in Billings, Montana. That trip alone would not only allow me to see some amazing sites, but also knock another 4 states off my list. Believe me, if I ever make that trek, I'm stopping at the place they make Mountain Colors yarn. Big surprise there.

Some of the places I've marked, I've spent only a short amount of time. For instance, I've been to Des Moines, Iowa, but only by plane. That trip is indelibly imprinted in my mind. Traveling with a 3 year old, we were diverted to Iowa and held prisoner on the tarmac for several hours because Chicago was socked in with snow. We had no food, no drink and a very cranky child to deal with. United Airlines would not allow us to disembark. By the time we reached Chicago in the middle of the night, no flights were leaving and we spent several more hours at Ohare airport with hundreds of other stranded travelers. What a wretched travel memory. So yeah, while I don't hold it against Iowa, I am going to count it in here. Been there, done that.

visited 32 states (64%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Though my husband has been to Alaska, I have not. He has powerful memories of a trip to Fairbanks to visit family when he was just seven years old. What stood out the most was being awakened in his hotel room by the National Guard and being evacuated because of a devastating flood--he recalls the water being nearly level with his bed. The second the thing that stood out is that he loved the MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat military rations). Leave it to a little boy to be charmed by heroes in what was a terrible situation. He regrets he has no pictures of that time, but I think the ones in his mind serve him well enough and will likely be there forever.

I bring that up because over dinner last weekend, we decided we are going to take an Alaskan cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary next year. We have a year and a half to book (and figure out how to pay for it), but the planning is half the fun.

Can you guess what I'll shop for when I get there?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When right is wrong

Multi-directional knitting lends its own beauty and interest to the piece. It's accomplished by knitting the back first and then knitting out from each side. The wide collar, the star of this show, brings the sides and back together.

For the first time in weeks and weeks and weeks, I began my shift yesterday without an assignment. For the first three hours, I had nothing to do and so I began the part of Cloud Chaser that I thought would give me fits.

I wasn't disappointed in my astute observation. It did indeed deliver fits, but perhaps only because my mind was wandering.

As instructed exactly, I picked up the stitches for the collar and convinced I was doing things correctly, began to knit. Despite the designer's many warnings that the right side of the collar is connected to the wrong side of the fabric, my brain clearly couldn't translate her written words. I had to learn for my self that something just wasn't right--it was wrong--and not in a right way.

Instead of picking up the stitches and casting on 63 stitches at the end of the left side of the vest, I cast them on to the right side of the vest. Despite knowing that--deep in my hamster sized brain--I was now backasswards with the instructions, I proceeded to knit some 190 stitches, at which point, I had a revelation.

Something isn't right's wrong, wrong, wrong.

I knew exactly what I'd done but righting of the wrong had to wait while I went out and saw patients.

My vest and I are now on the right footing where the right side of the vest is properly connected to the wrong side of the collar. Finally, we're going in the right direction!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fightin' Words

The saga of the dining room furniture continues. I thought I'd share with you some of Sunday's missives that began with a voicemail from the antiques dealer, here to forth referred to as The Misogynist:

"The buyer couldn't make it yesterday or today, so if you still want to do this, we're on for next Saturday."

Me to husband. Hmm. I don't even want to speak to this discourteous man. I think I'll email him. So I do:

Dear Mr. Antiques Dealer,

I gave up many hours of my week to prepare the dining room set for the sale you were listing. After waiting all morning yesterday for both you to arrive at 11:15 AM as scheduled, and the seller, who was to arrive at noon, I had to call you after noon to find out that the sellers were not in contact with you. My time off work is valuable to me and I hate to waste it.

Subsequently, I choose now to remove my dining room suite from your listing. Please notify the buyer, who you have told me has asked to buy this, but has not actually submitted the funds, that it is no longer available for sale.


Nurse Rudee

And I go about my afternoon

Later that day:

Dear Nurse Rudee:

I am sorry for your being upset at me but this is not within my control as the buyer is. I called late Saturday night and at 9:00AM to the buyer. I did my duty to pin the eBay auction buyer down to find out when she would arrive. Believe it or not my schedule is busier than yours with the preparation of 7 major estate sales and working within a home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. I currently am working about 70 hours a week and was willing to drop everything I was working on to drive to Berkley.

The eBay buyer says she will obtain a truck to pick up dinning room suite this coming Saturday.

In all fairness I would not think that anyone would feel the eBay Buyer should have picked the furniture up on Saturday as it did not stop raining until
3:30PM and heavy snowfall Saturday evening and black ice all over the metro area up until 12:00Noon.

You did sign a consignment agreement form for me to market it on eBay and legally the eBay buyer purchased the set accordingly. If you refuse to sell from an eBay buyer than she can give me a negative rating which can impact my business opportunity to continue selling on eBay.

I could require for them to pay for it now on eBay either through paypal or on charge card at the gallery. Believe it or not I am only earning a 15% commission once eBay, Paypal and or charged on credit card. My time it is not worth all this aggravation also.

Like yourself this dinning suite sale is not worth my time also but I have this strong work ethics to serve people and make this world a better place in which we live.

I would recommend to you I would demand that she pay for it now or before the end of the week by Wednesday and or the burden is on her to pick it up according to your schedule.

The Misogynist

I have highlighted the points that I took offense to. So now we have being stood up without a call, my furniture being called unworthy, and a big fat name dropping moron to top it all off. He had no problem taking my money for the appraisal, but now the $600 he stands to earn is apparently not worth his time. Obviously. He was so busy he couldn't even stop to use spell check and now I have a dinning room suite to sell. Is that a room with loud noise? Ugh.

So I knit. Tightly. And I stewed for a bit and then shot off my reply:

Dear Mr. Misgogynist,

Please, I don't wish for an argument here. I've decided not to sell my items after all.

Frankly, I am offended that you would think my time is not valuable and would leave me hanging without notification as though it's not worth another thought. How unprofessional! Yes, you have many estate sales pending, but we both work full time, too, and our off time is precious. I missed one morning commitment to accommodate you already, and now you would like me to do the same for next week. I spent many hours this week preparing my furniture for pick up on Saturday, and you did not have the courtesy to let me know that nothing would happen.

Please submit to me the proof that this buyer has purchased these items that you deem worthless and not worthy of your time to sell immediately and I will reconsider. If you can prove to me that money has exchanged hands, then I will of course sell the items. At the time of pick up, I will insist on being paid in cash.


Overly Patient Nurse Rudee

To which he inelegantly replied...

Dear Nurse Rudee:

I did not say your time was valuable you stated that. I would recommend re-reading the first email that I sent you that should clarify your statements that are not factual and without merit.

You stated that your items are worthless and not myself.

Here's my proof!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here he includes a picture of his ebay page that states the item has sold, but really? He's not in receipt of any funds, so it's incomplete.

Still, I'm not unreasonable. I just want an apology from him for wasting my time. I will sell it if I must now, but I want to hear him say, I'm sorry, so I point out one of his insults:

Dear Mr. Obstinent Misogynist,

So in your opinion, I should disregard your wording when you plainly state this?

"Like yourself this dinning suite sale is not worth my time also but I have this strong work ethics to serve people and make this world a better place in which we live."

This is a completely frustrating situation and instead of acknowledging that you are wrong to treat any costumer so poorly, you continue to insult. Please, this matter is over. Your voice mail of this morning indicated that the decision is mine whether to continue or not. I've chosen not to do so. I thank you for your time and effort in this matter.



To which he responds, now clearly threatening and nasty:

Dear Nurse Rudee:

Unfortunately this matter is not over. Whether you decide to sell your dinning suite or not you violated a contract agreement. I sold this item at your request on eBay which is a legal and a binding auction purchase agreement.

If you do not sell it you still owe me a 30% commission on a sale of $ 1950.00 which equals approximately $ 585.00 plus court costs and damages for negative ratings for future sales which could amount into thousands of dollars of lost sales. This does not preclude a counter suite by the purchaser.

If you do not honor this agreement my legal counsel advises me that the District Court, Honorable Judge XXXxxxc will render his opinion based for you based on the strong legal merits of this case.

I will allow you an opportunity to re-think through your final decision until Wednesday evening at approximately 7:00PM. If I have not heard from you by then I will file legal action against you.

I trust you will have a more pleasant evening.


I.M.A. Asshole Misogynist
Antiques Auctioneer, Fine Arts Appraisals

So my husband called him, because by this time, I was apoplectic with indignant rage and screaming at my laptop. My husband simply couldn't take it any more.

This was when the moron on the other end of the phone told my husband I must have been having a bad day. My hero did not let my hormones or implied madness take the blame though. He said to the dolt, "my wife is not having a bad day and frankly, I'm offended you'd say anything like that."

So the buyer gets one more chance to take my dinnnnnnnning room set. If they aren't here at 10AM sharp next Saturday, we're done. By then, my 180 day contract with that unfortunate proprietor with the big fat mouth will be over.

That's the end of my saga for the day. I'm off to go put this creepy guy in the freezer.

As my world turns

One pedestal is good--two is even better.

Last Monday I eased back into work rather uneventfully. Though busy through the front halves of my shifts each evening, the back halves were pleasantly silent. Friday made up for the easy week, beginning with an altercation with a nursing home administrator who was clearly insane and kicked me out of the establishment because I was not a part of the agenda. The administrator wanted to use their own hospice agency, even though the family wanted the organization I work for.

This is a blatant violation of law which does allow a patient or their advocate to choose the provider of hospice services that they want. Imagine that! A patient has rights.

Immediately upon leaving that place, I got a call from another client's relative who wanted to give me a piece of what's left of his mind. Though angry with the physician of record, it was me this man felt compelled to unload his venom upon (that's because he got nowhere with the doctor). While I can manage someone's grief and anger well enough, I draw the line at name calling. After listening to his angry diatribe for 2.5 minutes, I was allowed to speak. That's what he said..."OK, now you can speak." I said one word, which was, "I" and he hung up before I could finish my sentence. I had to listen to an old man call me a "piece of crap" without the satisfaction of telling him, 'I need to tell you that we have a zero tolerance policy for abuse of any kind, including name calling.' So not satisfying. When I met that man last week, I had a fleeting thought that he was from the same mold that gifted the world with Mr. Larger Than Life. Now I've no doubt.

One week back and I've already had my share of the disturbed in this world. Don't think for one moment that I'm not planning my next vacation already.

The world just doesn't make furniture like they used to 70 or so years ago. I love the inviting and romantic looking back of this chair. Although there are no markings on my furniture, it's a set that's made in the Duncan Phyfe style. This is clearly not the type of chair you'll find at Ikea.

The biggest news this week is that we were stood up by the buyers of the dining room suite. After hours of toil to prepare for the sale--no exaggeration--they didn't show Saturday and apparently, though they agreed to buy the set, no money exchanged hands. The man handling the sale didn't even have the courtesy to call and tell me the sale was going nowhere and that he didn't plan to keep his noon appointment, either. Therefore, it's not sold, and now it's off the market. After writing the post the other day, I realized how much I truly love my furniture.

To make room in the small space, we're splitting up the set. The buffet is already upstairs where it will now house spinning fiber and knitting accessories.

You win some, you lose some.

Just as I began to post this, the antiques dealer called to let me know that the buyer who was a no call/no show yesterday would like to tie up my next Saturday off.

After the week I've had, I needed a good laugh.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sold...a little piece of my heart

About 20 years ago now, I was driving through Grosse Pointe Farms and saw a sign for an estate sale. With a little time on my hands, I parked my car to see what I could discover. Being the last day of the sale, most things were picked through already and the seller was desperate to unload what was left.

With no dining room furniture to speak of in my new home, I was interested in the dining room suite. There was a table that without leaves would seat six, but with all three leaves that came with it, could comfortably fit twelve. Included was a buffet, china cabinet, six chairs and if I'd consider buying it, the seller would throw in a pedestal drum table with a leather top. All of it was in the worst possible condition imaginable, but, imagine I did. I saw it restored to glory in my mind's eye, plopped down $500 for the lot of it and considered myself blessed. Most of my friends and family thought I'd lost my mind and couldn't possibly see what this mess of wood could become in the hands of the right artisan.

Several years later, we finally had enough money to have it all professionally restored. The process seemed to take forever, during which time I visited the project to see these pieces many times. I saw them all looking raggedy and wretched--little better than potential kindling. I saw them stripped to expose their glorious original woods which included poplar, mahogany and some walnut. I visited again to choose stains which tormented me, but finally, though my house had a lot of natural oak, I threw caution to the wind and chose a rich cherry red stain. My last visit to the shop was to select the fabric used to recover the chairs.

After many months, the pieces were returned to me and were absolutely stunning. What others plainly couldn't see during the early days of the sale, became my gain.

And now, it's my loss.

Our new home is way too small to house a dining room suite the size of this one. It's all too much for the confines of a 1,200 square foot home. Sometime late last summer, we had an estate specialist and antique dealer come to our home to appraise and then list the set on his website and two nights ago, someone must have seen what I saw and clicked the purchase button.

Sold. Just like that, I lost all of my dining room furniture and a little piece of my heart.

I have so many memories of the family meals we've shared around that table, like the year we bought my husband a set of utensils that extended three feet. That Christmas night, with all the leaves in spanning the distance between my husband and my father, my husband extended his fork and stole a piece of food off my dad's plate. The picture in my mind of my husband's boyish glee and my father laughing because he never expected food theft will forever be in my heart. It wouldn't have been the same without all that space between them.

I can recall the last meals, too. Christmas dinner of 2001 was the last one we shared with my dad. For Thanksgiving 2004, my mom, still so sad at the holidays, sat with my best friend and mourned. It was my friend's first holiday without her daughter. The two of them told stories, laughed, cried and polished off more than one bottle of wine. My mother, sitting next to Fannette, had a magical never empty wine glass and the rest of us spent the night mopping up tears. Though sad, it's a precious memory.

As I polish the pieces and prepare them for someone new to love, I find myself feeling a little bereft. It's not really the lustrous wood, or the grand pedestal legs of the table, or heart backed chairs I'll miss's the opportunity to make more memories like these because most of the people who helped to make them so special are now gone from us.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Gawker

That's me. I confess, I can't look away when I see something out of the ordinary. I stare at car wrecks and usually thank my lucky stars it wasn't me, but first I stare and not from a caregiver's perspective. When I walk down the halls of a hospital, I can't help looking in the rooms. Maybe we can give that one to training as we're all taught to watch all patients, but still, I could be more discreet.

Tonight I watched a marathon of Hoarders, and while I personally find these kinds of shows distasteful, I don't stop watching. Can't. I'm amazed by how much crap one or two people can jam into their lives and wonder how they come to this--and then go on national tv and show the world. I think a part of me, while personally appalled, is secretly relieved that my dust bunnies hardly compare to the nightmare these hoarders live with. I felt compelled to get up and start going through my stuff to whittle things down. Don't worry, the feeling passed as soon as I changed the channel.

The other train wreck I can't seem to get enough of avoid is the Charlie Sheen debacle. Nope. Can't get enough.

I marvel at his madness and simply have to stop and gawk.


March came in like a lamb in Detroit. OK I'm really worried. I'd have been much happier with a blustery day so that I could look forward to the end of winter with the idea that March would go out like a lamb rather than a lion.

Still, it was a gloriously sunny day with a high near 40 degrees and at 6 PM, I was still wearing my very new and incredibly fashionable sunglasses. They're my first pair of progressive sunglasses. I tired of my old ones--always having to lift them up to read anything, so I guess it was time. I even busted out my scrubs and left my winter clothes behind. Well, to be honest, they were all in the dirty pile, but still, scrubs are good. Scrubs mean it was warm enough in the sun to wear paper thin clothes.

I've got my fingers crossed we've seen the backside of old man winter, but I won't hold my breath. I have a feeling that ground hog is nothing but a filthy liar and spring won't come any earlier than it usually does.

By the way, only one call from the cardiologist today to reschedule MLTL's next blood draw. Since he was at their office for 4 hours today for tests, I've no clue why they didn't write the appointment down and hand it to him the old fashioned way. Sometimes I think the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing in that office.

I hope your day was sunny, too.