Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's the best thing about spring...

At last, playoff hockey for the Detroit Red Wings resumes this week. This year, having had a bit of healing rest time for injured players, we're ready for the Sharks. As is my tradition at this time of the year, here's a little Led for your head. And Tampa? You're my heroes!

Go Wings!

"Immigrant Song"
Led Zeppelin

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore,
Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

So now you'd better stop and rebuild all your ruins,
For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Random thought

I like a little baked potato with my sour cream and butter.

Just thought I'd share that with you. The lowly potato is the perfect vehicle for fat delivery and can be quite delicious when you don't get an opportunity to have dinner. On the menu? One baked potato and an ice cold beer.

I'd show you a picture, but I already snarfed it down.


The Starving Hospice Slave

Monday, April 25, 2011

Close Encounters

The best thing to come out of 6 months of therapy last year, was my firm and unapologetic stance on the need for an expert security escort when I travel into Detroit for work. More than once I've felt silly for having one of those guys accompany me, but if I don't take them, and something bad happens, I can't take it back. In my mind, I'm better off safe, than sorry. I've long since stopped feeling guilt about the added expense to my employer. This is the cost of providing service to the poor and unfortunately goes with the territory.

Tonight I had just such an encounter that made me thankful my driver was with me. We pulled up to the house that's in a high crime area of town and shares an alley with an apartment building with multiple residences. As I was about to enter the dwelling, my driver pushed the door shut and said, "look down." There was a large, and recently mauled Pitbull in the house. The dog hadn't barked when we knocked. She just was. There. We had the family lock her up and then went indoors.

About half way through my visit, the family let the dog back indoors. While her presence made me nervous, she pretty much ignored us, and I felt sorry for her. Her teats were hanging low and her back was swayed as though she'd had to endure one too many litters at way too young an age. She had suspicious lacerations all over her body and I think I know why. I've no doubt in my mind that not only is this dog expected to breed, she's expected to fight. Annoyed, I couldn't wait to leave this house of canine torture.

As we made our way out the door, down the stairs and were about half way to the car, four men standing across the street in the alley yelled at us, "watch the dog, watch the dog!" From the corner of my eye, I caught movement and stopped dead in my tracks. My driver, needing to free his hands, shoved my briefcase back into mine, and pushed me gently toward the car, one hand on his hip while the dog followed. He was going to shoot that dog if need be. At that moment, with us moving slowly toward the car, the group of men across the street decided to make a run for it, and the dog, sensing greater sport from them, gave chase. I've never seen grown men scale fences so fast and efficiently.

The dog, a massive Pitbull with no collar, was the largest dog of that breed that I've ever seen. Slightly shorter than my Leo, this dog had to weigh twice as much, a good 140 pounds, and he was incredibly aggressive. I was so thankful to have someone who had my back and grateful he didn't have to shoot that dog, though I wouldn't have faulted him if he had.

Now that I'm home, and my hands have stopped shaking, I'm even more resolved to take an escort with me at all times. This is the second such wild dog related incident this week for our little hospice agency and in pretty much the same area of town.

I have a feeling it's going to be a long week.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What is that?

Is it the latest thing in home furnishings?

Is it a holiday card holder? Double click that picture--I'll wait. The sentiment on the inside says, "I wouldn't wait up for the Easter Bunny this year." Bwahahahaha.

Back to our guessing it a candle centerpiece?

Is it the latest in hat fashion? Ooh. Could be, and just in time for the royal wedding this week.

Look how nicely it nestles the sock monkey. Really though, that sock monkey only disguises a bottle of wine.

Speaking of monkeys, is this a hidey-hole for the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil trio?

Or how about a center stage for my cheesy flamingo salt and pepper shakers?

Here it is naked, looking nothing like the cherry pie that was requested for dessert. Now if you ask what you can bring, and the hostess tells you cherry pie, why in the world would you choose this as a substitute?

Three guesses--and the first two don't count--on who brought this for dessert.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mr. Evil Dr. Pork Chop

I have the shopping for tomorrow's dinner done and once again, I've capitulated to the insane and purchased the ham, because according to Mr. Larger Than Life, no holiday meal is complete without one. I've received no fewer than 6 six calls from my son about the ham this week. MLTL was becoming very worried and now he's mad because I bought the ham and not him. There's just no pleasing this man. If I have to force feed him, that old goat better eat nothing but ham. The rest of us, just like last year, will indulge in the grape leaves.

Dinner should be done cooking today as I have, with the exception of the carrots and asparagus, designed a completely make ahead menu. This clears the decks for another Donkey Kong tournament on Sunday. Of course that means I'd better get busy in the kitchen right this minute. I have a lot of grape leaves to roll.

Right after that second cup of coffee.

Hope your holiday weekend is shaping up to be special, too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What were they thinking?

In my day, I've seen many bizarre things in the hospital workplace. Several years ago, there was the 75 year old female visitor of a patient who was clad in a short miniskirt that left nothing to the imagination. Nothing. We often found her in the bed of her critically ill partner. When we rounded on the room, which is something done as a group, she hopped out of the bed and began to flirt madly with the physician who looked like a frightened deer in the headlights. She was a one woman show--I'm thinking The Vagina Monologues--and monumentally overwhelming.

Of course, I've seen my share of body art done in places one would not expect. There was the man who had xoxoxoxoxo tattooed all the way around his personal appendage. Perhaps in his heyday it was the talk of the pub, but at his end, it was the talk of the stepdown unit. Hanging there limp, the poor thing was rather unimpressive necessitating the use of bright lights and magnifying lenses to make out the writing. I can't help but think that was one heck of a spot to elect to stick needles and ink and I wondered how wasted he was to even consider it in the first place. Since that time, I've occasionally reflected on how I want people to think of me when they look at my decrepit body laying in a hospital bed. Though I've a couple of tattoos myself, I've placed them in spots that aren't likely to draw too much attention.

Not long ago, I saw a patient ambulating the halls of the cardiac unit with a woman I presumed to be his wife, and his ten year old son. The boy was towing the patient's oxygen tank, helping his dad to walk. At first glance the sight warmed my heart and then the man turned the corner. On his tee shirt, in rather large print, was the proclamation: Experience Menage et Trois. In the first place, this man could barely put one foot in front of the other and in the second, it didn't appear he'd ever experienced a threesome. What was he thinking?

Try as I may to be nonjudgmental, occasionally, patients make me scratch my head in wonder. If it's ever me ambulating those halls as a patient, I'll not wear a tee shirt that proclaims I play with needles. Wouldn't want the staff to get the wrong idea now, would I?

It's all about the timing

My shift ended not a moment too soon tonight--right before the storms swooped in. Right now, Leo is snoring gently beside me, my feet are up as I catch up with Dancing With the Stars and listen to rain pelt the windows. There is a beautiful light (and sound) show in the skies tonight, even if it is a miserable 39 degrees out there.

Well at least this precipitation requires no shoveling.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Monday Muster

Here is one guy who doesn't understand why his human won't budge off the sofa. Sick? The only thing he's sick of is the lack of play.

Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees. This is one of two blue bins in the yarn room. I have no clue why the location of the Panda Cotton yarn wasn't more apparent the first time I searched the yarn room, but I'm pretty certain viral pollution had much to do with that problem.

Once again, all is well in my little knitting universe and the Pimpelleise shawl is back in play.

I had meant to take a couple of photos of the flowers blossoming in my garden for you. After all, permanent signs of spring are always welcome after such a hard winter. I just never got around to getting dressed to go outdoors and now, because this is springtime in Michigan (and nothing about that is permanent), it's too late. This photo, snapped from the shelter of my porch this morning will have to suffice.

Will somebody please tell Mother Nature that she's got her hemispheres mixed up? For cryin' out loud, it's the third week of April already!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Just today I'm starting to feel a wee bit better. What a rotten virus this has been and though I swore off Sudafed around last Wednesday, I gave in and took some this morning. So far, so good. To help myself feel better, I've been napping, knitting, reading and watching one funny movie after another. The Toy Story marathon on Starz has come in handy this weekend. It helps to laugh.

However, having wrapped myself in a bit of a cocoon here, I had no clue the weather in much of the country has been no laughing matter. I've been bundled up because it's cold, windy and occasionally rainy, but truly, I had no idea there was such a terrible outbreak of tornados.

I hope you're all doing well out there and that everyone is safe, dry and has a roof over their heads tonight.

Here's hoping Mother Nature lightens up a bit.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Three steps back

Despite feeling like death warmed over, I was going great guns on my second Pimpelleise shawl. With the lace edged pattern memorized, the knitting was fast and I had no doubt I'd finish it this week. None at all.

Until I lost half the yarn.

Now usually with sock yarn, one has one hank of yarn to deal with. It's all in one place and you don't have to worry about where it's disappeared to because it's connected to the needles and the project. For this particular project, I had two balls of Panda Cotton, a bamboo and cotton blend, perfect for summer. I was actually kind of pleased to be doing this project with two balls of yarn because I wouldn't have to think about when to start the decreases--it would be when the first ball ran out.

Since this is the house where yarn lives, finding one tiny 50 gram ball of fingering weight yarn is proving to be more than my Sudafed poisoned brain can accomplish. I've looked everywhere including the obvious like the yarn room, sofa cushions and project bags, and the not so obvious like the freezer, refrigerator, microwave, medicine cabinet, briefcase and my purse.

I'm throwing in the towel, but I'm not frogging yet. I know the minute I do, that stupid ball of yarn will show up and the project will be back on.

Oh well, at least I have my kindle to keep me occupied tonight.

Can you think of anywhere to look that you think I haven't?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Twit...I mean, tweet

If I had a twitter account, I could have regaled you all with little inane snippets from my day. It would have gone something like this:
  • Gad...I still feel like crap. Honey, pass me your handgun so I can alleviate some of this pressure in my head.
  • Leo! SHUT! UP!
  • Leo! SHUT! UP! Your incessant barking is killing my head! (If I'd tweeted this every time I said it today, I'd have posted something about that bark 879,000 times.)
  • It's so warm outside. Why do I feel cold sitting in the 80 degree sunshine? Damn virus.
  • Sunshine and warmth are overrated.
  • I don't think Tiger's gonna win this one dear, but he sure is on fire.
  • What do you mean you don't feel sorry for that Irish boy? My heart is breaking for him.
  • Is it starve a fever & feed a cold, or the opposite? Either way, it's useless. I have no appetite.
  • MLTL threatened to throw out the lamb chops if my son didn't come home to eat them.
  • MLTL is a mean old man. I'd like to show him where to shove those chops.
  • Just cast on another Pimpelleise shawl. In blue.
  • Why am I stuck on blue this month?
  • It's really windy tonight. I better go find my broom.
  • My village called to report their idiot is missing...just sprayed saline nasal spray into my left eye instead of my nostril. It stings.
This is why I don't twitter. I have nothing useful to say in a hundred and forty characters or less. Consider this my public service to you.

You're welcome.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Perfectible? I think not.

Ask any knitter how difficult it is to take yarn that looks like this:

and produce a pair of anything, much less socks, that are so closely related, you'd think at first glance that they're clones. Knitters would agree, it often seems down right impossible to make things line up so well.

While they aren't completely perfect, I'm sure they'd have been identical had I knit them side by side, or at least one right after the other. At the least, they're much closer than the kissing cousins I usually produce when working with painted yarn.

Maybe you remember when I started these Fake Isle socks back in September. Around Christmas, I set the first sock down to finish up holiday knitting and there it lingered until I came upon it forgotten and nearly complete last Sunday. Inspired, and so close to a pair, I finally finished the second sock yesterday. Even with jumpiness, courtesy of Sudafed, I think I did a pretty good job of matching things up.

Fingers crossed, toes, too, the potential roommate for Rachel's Place seems ideal. She'll be spending some parent free time at the house to gauge whether she likes the home and all involved get along.

I'm as geeked about that being a perfect fit as I am with the perfection of these socks.

The yarn I used is Opal Zirkus, Color #2002.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


It would appear that I have been felled by our little friend, Mr. Rhinovirus. If I didn't know better, I'd say this particular cold was a sneaky devil since it just crept up on me, hung out a little while, and set up shop before I knew he was in the neighborhood. What happened to that harbinger of all bad viruses--the sore throat--that lets you know to stock up on things like water, juice, saline spray, vicks chest goo, honey, whiskey and chicken soup? No sore throat, but plenty of stuffiness, coughing and a generalized feeling of, well, ickiness.

Today is a bad day for being sick. In the first place, I'm off work, dammit, and I don't want to spend it feeling like crap. In the second place, Rachel has been short one roommate for about 5 months now and my husband and I have absorbed the cost of three women living in that home instead of four. Today we're to interview a family for that spot and this one looks promising. We've interviewed others for this vacancy, but because the last roommate was an abysmal failure due to many factors, not least of which was her crazy guardian/sister, we're being picky, picky, picky.

The last roomie had developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and more than her share of OCD and mental illness. She. Never.Stopped.Talking.Ever. As though she were worried she'd be told to shut up, she talked really loud and fast. When we met her, she was on Lithium with decent symptom management, but soon after, developed kidney failure and was no longer able to take this drug. Doctors never found a suitable alternative and her mental illness escalated and stayed there. Rachel, who can't speak, never could verbalize her discomfort with the tension in the home, but her relief was almost palpable when that client moved out. It was as though the residents and the staff could finally exhale. All are much happier and Rachel's Place seems almost peaceful now, but the burden of supporting half that home is beginning to wear and it's time to do something about alleviating our financial burden.

I'm off to go buy a few cold masking agents to get me through the afternoon. I can always allow myself to succumb to this bugger later. Right now, I have other plans that are too important to allow interference from a lousy cold.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cheese, Stat!

I need it to go with my whine.

I'm just now clocking out from work, and if I didn't know better, I'd say the full moon was upon us, but it's not. It's still more than a week away.

To give you an idea of how bad things were tonight, I drove 36 miles round trip to see a patient. As soon as I returned home, I had to turn around and drive 74 miles round trip to see the second. While at that visit, I closed my car door which, for some reason, wouldn't shut. Frustrated, I slammed it again...right on my Blackberry...which now has a broken LCD screen. Did I mention it's my work smart phone? Smart, as in has a bazillion essential numbers, emails, contacts, addresses and notes stored upon it? Yes, that one.

Disappointed, famished, but happy to finally be home after such a night, I sat down to eat the hummus and salad my husband bought me on his way home from work when the answering service paged on my personal cell phone. I promptly headed out for a two hour visit and another 40 mile round trip.

With y'all as witnesses, I'm formally crying UNCLE to the hospice cosmos.

Enough already!

Oh...and while the hummus was excellent, the salad was too wilted to eat. 8>(

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chasing Clouds

Cloud Chaser is the perfect name for a sweater to wear today. Though I'm trying mighty hard by modeling and wearing this garment, it's not helping to chase away our thick cloud cover. I've no doubt it'll rain tonight, but in my vest, and with the help of my sheepy umbrella, I'm ready for this fickle spring weather.

When I make this sweater again, and I know I will, I think I'll try to find a way to lengthen the back. Other than it being a tad short in length for my torso, it's otherwise perfect, really cozy and not too hot.

Four hanks of Lorna's Lace's, Honor, was more than enough yarn. In fact, there's enough left over for a pair of fingerless mitts, or booties and a hat for a wee babe. If you can't find LL Honor (see link for a good option to buy), I think Road to China Light would be a perfectly good alternative yarn. Whatever you choose, make sure it has a fiber content that allows for drape. Alpaca, bamboo and silk are a few that come to mind. Honor is a 70/30 alpaca and silk blend.

It's really sad, but I did run out of this one of a kind yarn that I used to make a sweater for a friend's baby. I still have to sew the seams in the sleeves and crochet a front border. I bought the yarn 5 years ago and there is no possible way to get more to finish the job. Still...all is not lost. I can use a different yarn to sew the sleeves and save what's left for the border. I'm grateful it's a baby sweater and not something big, or there would be a whole lotta griping going on around here. Ironically (or not), the name of that pattern is Little Clouds Baby Sweater.

Hmm. If I want the weather to change, maybe I should knit something that doesn't have clouds mentioned in the name.