Saturday, June 30, 2012

Oh, no! What have I done?

The next time I schedule myself the way that I have, I authorize any and all of you to give me a swift kick in the arse.  It started innocently enough a month ago when one of my hospice mentors asked me to pick up a weekend for her so she could go away with her husband and grandchild.  "It's the weekend of June 30th", she said so innocently.  "Sure, why not?  I'll work it for you," I replied, not fully realizing that by saying so, I committed myself to a 32 hour weekend schedule right before the holiday.  From 4PM to 8AM Saturday and Sunday.  That's 2 back-to-back 16 hour workdays for those of you who, like me, can't do the math.  I've already worked thirty hours this week and will work another 20 after the weekend.  That's 82 hours for the pay period.

I AM an idiot.  Apparently, I'm also still a full time nurse who has NOT been saying NO effectively and has allowed the begging of supervisors and schedulers to sway me.  I pitied them. 

On the bright side, because I know I won't sleep this weekend, Le Tour de France starts today and the reruns can keep me company when I'm not busy during the wee hours.  I really hope NBC sports hasn't ruined the programming, but for about an hour now, I've been watching the pre-show, and I can tell you it's pretty boring.  Maybe I won't delete the pre-show and can use that program to lull me to sleep between calls and visits.  I am also eyeballing my spinning wheel that's sitting neglected in the corner.  Perhaps I'll do a little unofficial Le Tour de Fleece spinning, too.

Please, if you read this, do not wish me a Q weekend.  That would undoubtedly be the kiss of death.  All will be well.  Also, do not mention the approaching full moon.  

What?  What was I thinking?

Friday, June 29, 2012


Excuse my absence, but I've been without my beloved MacBook Pro for a few days and could barely use it at all in the past two weeks.  I don't know why I didn't take it in for repair when it first became apparent something was terribly wrong, but like most humans, I was worried the geniuses would find something unfixable and I just kept hoping it would get better on its own.  I mean, who wouldn't want a new MacBook with the fancy-ass retinal display?  I know I covet the new device, but don't have an extra $2,200 just laying around right now and so deep down, I was concerned I'd be forced to make a decision about my two year old computer's issues.  It turns out, there was something wrong with the mouse--the built in trackpad--that may or may not have had something to do with a blob of ice cream that fell on it last month.  Only $90 later and it's all fixed.  Though that's a lot of money, I look at it this's way less than the new model.

It's also much less than I had to pay to fix that damned LG fridge again this week.  Can you believe it?  That's the third time this 2 year old fridge has died.  The damage this go around was $190 to pay for a new fan and control panel.  Never, never, never will I buy another LG appliance.

On the human front, my husband is healing and did not need his jaw wired.  Miraculous if you ask me, but if he'd gone down to the U of D Dental Clinic, I have a feeling I'd be telling you something different right now.  He's graduated from pureed foods to a soft diet.  I think he misses his popcorn and crunchy foods, but at the rate he's healing, I'm sure those will be on the menu again, soon.

I'm still refusing more or less to be political in this spot, but as the parent of a 24 year old underemployed and otherwise (if not for the current law) uninsured son and a 22 year old disabled daughter who--without commercial insurance--would be limited with medical care choices, let me just say I'm so relieved with the Supreme Court's decision this week.

Gas prices are finally dropping, but that's not why I took that picture.  No, indeed.  If you double click on that picture, you can see Ron and Paul, the loud mouthed painters from hell who tortured me and kept me awake three years ago are advertising on that sign.  It amused me, so I snapped the picture.  Though they do good work, Ronnie talks so damned loud you can hear him blocks away.

Lastly, Sapphire Blue, please check in on your blog.  I look daily for an update from you and I'm worried you're in harm's way in that monstrous Colorado fire.  Wishing your family well if you read this.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New word!



  A soft place upon which a big nosed dog can rest his snoot.  Preferably, a snootrest is made of really soft and very expensive yarn.  In this particular example of a snootrest in the wild, the specimen is made of Koigu.  It is also now full of slobber because this dog drools when he sleeps.

Friday, June 22, 2012


When hurrying to get out of your work clothes to change into something a little more tolerable to wear when the temperatures are in the mid 90s, it helps to look in the mirror when you're done redressing.  And if something doesn't feel quite right with your shorts, don't ignore the inkling that something is wrong.  For all you know, there could be a pair of bright turquoise panties dangling below the hem  for all the world to see.

You're welcome.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rethinking my projects

I am without anything to work on knitting-wise.  And I am reconsidering the summer shawl projects.  Personally, I think they may be cursed.  Every single time I knit a summer shawl, it turns out I do so while one of us is in the hospital or emergency room.

Case in point, while I was knitting the Cap Shawl, Mr. Larger Than Life had an emergency embolectomy of the right arm.  Last year, I was finishing up my Pretty as a Peacock Shawl while he had emergency surgery for colon cancer and we all know how that turned out.

This year, I finished binding off my Cameo shawl while my husband lay on a gurney in the hallway of a busy and freezing cold emergency room.  Really?  The middle of the damned hallway where everyone who passed by could look at his swollen face and bleeding chin?  Talk about HIPPA violations galore!  As soon as I pulled the end through the last stitch of my knitting,  I promptly put the shawl on my shoulders--with about 20 dangling unwoven ends and all.  At that point, who cares? It was so cold in there that I didn't think it mattered how it looked.  It came in handy.

While the shawl is beautiful, since Friday, I've grown to resent it for being a part of this whole traumatic event.  It took everything I had in me yesterday to weave in those ends and get it blocked.

Today we see the oral surgeon in his office to discuss which procedure is best to fix the fractured mandible.  Open reduction or closed?  I have been polishing my blending/smoothie skills and considering which juicer would be best to buy to get us through the next 6 weeks of a liquid diet without losing nutrition along the way.  My husband must have been starving last night to eat the pureed penne pasta I cooked, but eat it he did.  He's much more stoic and resilient than me.

The surgical resident we saw in the ER finally called yesterday with a plan to fix the fracture.  He told us to come down to the dental clinic in downtown Detroit where they would fix this problem.  This is the U of D dental clinic where they do a lot of work for the indigent population and do their own anesthesia.  With trepidation, I agreed and immediately began having second, third and fourth thoughts.  Uh-uh.  I called our dentist who said, "uh-uh," too. We'll be seeing Rachel's oral surgeon later this morning.  We know him.  He was good.  He has hospital privileges for surgery and he is not a resident.  If he needs conscious sedation, or even general anesthesia, he will be tended to by an anesthesiologist who has had more than 5 months of training in his/her specialty and has more than pulse oximetry to analyze how my husband is doing while anesthetized.

Stoney modeling the now complete Cameo Shawl.
At least it's a plan.  As for the knitting?  Maybe socks would be a good carry along project. Lismore Cable Socks.  It's Stephanie's pattern.

Wish us luck, and if you have a juicer you can recommend, I'd like to hear about your preferences.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


This is the pity paw of Leo which he injured on a walk.  He tore a callous on his heel that doesn't want to stop oozing blood.  I made him a pressure bandage.  It'll suffice and we'll see what we have come morning.

His walker,  who tonight has a broken jaw, his own pity paw (fractured) and countless sutures in his chin, feels much, much worse.  This ridiculous accident happened when Leo chased after the neighbor's cat and now, well, now things are just a mess.

We spent the better part of the night in the emergency room and are now at home waiting for  the maxillary facial surgeon to call with an O.R. time tomorrow so he can have his mandible wired.  He'll be on a liquid diet for the next 4 to 6 weeks or so.  I feel so bad for him.

Accidents suck.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Head? Meet wall.

So excited to be coming to the end of the Cameo shawl, I made a few rookie mistakes as I headed down the final stretch.  Finally!  I was out of the straight garter stitch and into the lace.  Though I read and reread the above instructions, I failed to do the part (now) highlighted in green: knit 4 more rows.  Instead I jumped right into the lace.  I'd counted stitches at the end of the striped section and had the correct 217 stitches on the needles, but row 1 didn't end right and instead of pondering why such a beautifully written pattern would have a messed up border, I just kept knitting.

No worries I thought...I'll fudge it.  And fudge it I did for 7 more rows.  SEVEN!  That's about 1,700 lace stitches, give or take.  By this time, my mistake had compounded and the lace was looking horrible and not at all like it did in the pattern pictures.  Frustrated and without a lifeline, I frogged back to the end of the striped section, picked up all 217 stitches and DID IT AGAIN!   Convinced something must be wrong with the pattern I went in search of notes and lifesavers on the Ravelry projects page.  Not a thing was mentioned in any of the project notes for this shawl.  At that point, I decided to reread the pattern again and though that part about knitting another 4 rows is in bold (and now highlighted for the apparently dim), I had missed that part.

So I frogged again, reknit those 4 rows in white and started the lace for real.  So into being on the right track, I got about 11 rows in and began to notice holes where there shouldn't be any holes.  I'd created a completely different lace pattern and had to rip back 3 rows to the mistake.  I must have been in a trance.  Instead of knitting (yo, K2Tog, K2)  I was forgetting the K2 in some places.  

All is well now though and barring anymore acts of knitting idiocy, sometime in the next year or so this shawl will be ready for Stoney to model.

I swear.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The things that keep me busy

I don't have much to show for my knitting lately.  I think I have tendinitis in my elbow so I'm doing what I'm supposed to do: rest the joint, take anti-inflammatories and stop doing what makes it hurt.   Um...that would be knitting.  I tried ignoring the pain in an effort to finish my shawl, but that's not really working out for me, so I'll do the common sense thing and give it a rest.  Sort of.  Once a day I sit where I have no pressure on my elbow and knit a pattern repeat which is about 800 stitches long.  There are only 7 repeats left to do before I begin the lace.

Our dough stretched out until it's so thin, you could read a newspaper through the dough.
 On Friday, I cashed in my Mother's Day gift from my son and took yet another baking class at the Zingerman's Bake! classroom in Ann Arbor. The strudel class.  My friend Judi went with me, but I only got one photo.  This was one fast moving class.  We made a traditional apple strudel and a savory asparagus strudel that was delicious.

Cabbage strudel made with sliced cabbage, salt, pepper, Jewish rye bread crumbs and duck fat.
I came home with two strudels and two doughs again, and the knowledge of how to reproduce what I'd made in class.  Sort of.  To use up the two doughs before they spoiled, today I made another asparagus strudel since the first one was a big hit and forgot to put the bread crumbs down on the buttered dough.  It's good, but would have been better had I bothered to follow the instructions.  It's funny because Zingerman's teaches you to read, re-read and then read a recipe again.  They recommend 3 times.  Duh.  Then I made the cabbage strudel--remembering the bread crumbs this time--and it was outstanding.  Though the recipe calls for rendered goose fat, I had to settle for duck fat. I'm sure if I lived in England, goose fat would be readily available, but not here, and I wasn't willing to cook a goose to produce my own.  The recipe calls for three tablespoons of fat, but I had to buy a giant tub to get that.  I see something fried in duck fat in my near future.  Or more strudel!

Asparagus strudel made with asparagus, salt, pepper, butter and a generous amount of Parmesan Reggiano cheese.  Remembering the breadcrumbs would have given that fat on the tray somewhere to go.  Still, it's rather tasty.
This is one completely messy baking process.  Since it was nice outside today, I took a folding table out to the back yard to stretch the dough and sacrificed an old Christmas tablecloth.  They say to never wash this strudel cloth as it gets better with age and use.  We'll see.  There is flour and butter everywhere out there now, but friends, it's totally worth it to do outdoors if you can work fast, shoo the flies and never do it when the seeds and blossoms are falling off trees.  It was an adventure. I shared a good part of both with my neighbors.  I can totally see this new interest of mine becoming a bad proposition for the waistline.