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.