Monday, December 31, 2012

When negatives make a positive

I'm making one self indulgent and empowering resolution this year.  I'm not talking about my expanding waist size, or other physical problems I may have.   Last year, my attempts to let go and be a forgiving human being were fairly successful.  Of course I endeavored to forgive just one person, so maybe that's why it worked out so well.  I didn't take on the Universe.  Just one annoying occupant and for the most part, the moment I let her go in my mind, I've barely given her a thought.

This year, my sole resolution is to embrace the word, no.


Usually thought of as something negative, the word, no,  can be a positive if you learn how to use it to your benefit and as a complete sentence.  Can you work today?  No.  How about the next 4 days in a row because I was incredibly shortsighted and didn't plan for a dearth of nurses even though I'm the one who gave them all that time off?  No.  All by itself, it's an answer that requires no further adjectives, verbs or nouns.  Not, no, I'm busy. Or tired. Or sick. Or overwhelmed.  Just, No. I will grant you that the only way it's positive is if I count it as thus.  For instance, months ago, I set my schedule and worked full time ahead of the holiday so I could afford to take the entire week off between Christmas and New Year's Day.  When my boss begged me to work extra this week, I capitulated, allowed myself to be cajoled, and worked an additional 20 hours I'd not planned to work while she went on vacation.  Who's the fool?  Me.  Today I'm exhausted and feel completely empty after a marathon stretch of days triaging the problems of the sick.  Changing from full time to contingent this past year was to benefit me, not others, but I'm allowing myself to feel pressured to say yes all of the  time.  Well, not anymore.  As of this moment forward, if it doesn't fit into my schedule, I will allow myself to say NO to my heart's content.  If this decision is thought to be selfish, well, so be it.  If I don't see to my own well being and sanity, who will?

While I fully realize that this can be perceived as a negative at a time I'm supposed to be positive and looking forward, I kind of think that making time for myself is positive, and learning to use the word, NO,  liberally,  is a good way to start my year.

Happy New Year, my friends.  And if you have any advice on how to say no whilst making it sound like a positive thing, I'm all ears!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wolf in sheep's clothing

Oh, OK, it's really just Leo wrapped in a fake sherpa blanket he got for Christmas.  I thought you'd like to see what goes on around here while I'm hard at work.


Note to self:  Take lessons from the dog.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday Recap

Let me sum up...

The food, which nearly cooked itself, was good and the brand new meat thermometer worked very well.  There is a story there, but the overly proud cook who resides in my psyche is still smarting too much from the Thanksgiving turkey fiasco to even discuss that much.  Suffice it to say, I think the new thermometer will preclude the need for therapy.  There was time enough yesterday to lolly-gag and play with Christmas presents throughout the day ( I really appreciated my new dry shampoo and the fact I didn't have to wash my hair before company came).  Wine, good wine, was consumed, but not by anyone in excess (maybe this alone kept people from noticing I had not washed my hair).  No feelings were hurt and no tears were shed, unless you count Leo, who cried because  he was jailed for playing too roughly with a two year old.  It all started over a ball.  Laughter made the rounds of the rooms and I think we all had a really great time.  Even the weather cooperated by depositing enough snow to make it a white Christmas, but not enough to throw a monkey wrench into holiday travels.

Was this my family holiday?  Someone better pinch me to be sure I didn't sleep through Christmas!

I haven't had a great tale of woe on a holiday since Mr. Larger Than Life passed on.  I don't miss the drama, but I've been trying to put my finger on what's different, and I think this is it.  We had ham yesterday, which would have thrilled him up until the moment he discovered it wasn't full of nitrites, processed, smoked, covered in sugary goo or overly salty.  What we did have was fresh, covered in rosemary, garlic and olive oil and went rather well with the sweet and sour cabbage, mashed potatoes and homemade applesauce.  He would have hated that meal.  We consumed it with gusto!

Tonight I'm finally starting that Squares on a Roll workshop at my local yarn store.  I'm beyond excited, but rather realistic, too.  I'm betting the weather will not play nicely and the northern end of that storm will deposit too much snow for even knitters to deal with.  I live within walking distance of the shop, but I know others don't, so we'll have to see what happens.  Just in case, I'm going to spend some time looking for the yarn I put away "in a safe place" for this class.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Click here for more graphics and gifs!

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And Wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"


Thank you for visiting this past year. I treasure the friendships I've made here. Have a wonderful holiday.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Time! I need time!

That's what Bilbo said to Gollum, and that's what I find myself saying now.  Instead of using three precious hours to even start wrapping holiday gifts, I used it instead to go to the movies with Brian.  I spent three hours forgetting my work and the news I've watched for the past 8 days.  There isn't enough brain bleach in the world to make the things I've dealt with, seen, read and heard go completely away, but three hours was good.  So was the movie.

If you're a purist and find yourself disappointed when the script doesn't match the book, you may be a bit let down, but I wasn't.  I've read these books many times over the years, including The Silmarillion and the index in the back of The Return of the King.  I think parts of both of these were pulled into this tale and it built another story onto the back of The Hobbit.  For those who've never read Tolkien's work, the Lord of the Rings movies will likely make more sense once you've seen all of this series.

That's enough dawdling.  I really must get my butt in gear.  I haven't wrapped, I haven't cleaned and as of this moment, no flour has flown through the kitchen.  What kind of Christmas would it be without homemade cookies?

I hope you're all doing better with time than me.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dear Gov

I beg you, don't sign that concealed weapons law passed by our outgoing lame duck legislators that would allow concealed weapons in churches, bars and for God's sake, schools.  Surely you don't have to look too far back to see a good enough reason why you should stay your pen. Please, please show a little common sense and a bit of humanity here.


Concerned Michigander

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A new kind of crime

I think there has been a socknapping at my house!

My feet were cold last night so I went to bed wearing wool socks.  Sometime during the night, my feet likely overheated, but only one must have been unbearably hot.  I awakened this morning with one sock on and one sock off and I cannot for the life of me find the sock that was removed.  Where could it be?  The sock had to have help getting off my foot!  It's not on the floor, in the dirty laundry pile or under the covers.  It's gone.  If I weren't a rational woman, I'd consider the sock just walked off on its own or was taken.  While this particular sock isn't a precious hand knit one, it is a nice superwool sock; warm, washable and purple.  One of my favorites.  I won't be able to rest until it's reunited with its mate and back doing its job of keeping my feet warm.

Speaking of socks, Sara, who is becoming quite an accomplished knitter, is helping me knit a Christmas stocking for a certain little someone who doesn't have one yet.  It's her first Christmas, so it has to be special.  The cuff is trimmed in a bulky Mountain Colors boucle yarn in the Crazy Woman colorway. Having just cast on a couple of days ago, it's going fairly quickly for us and as I knit around and around and around, I find myself thankful it's designed to be a singleton.  I won't have to knit a pair for the project to be complete.  Second Sock Syndrome is a real disease around my house.  

This is my first weekend off in a month and I have a plan to chill the hell out.  For the last 4 weekends, I've set my alarm for 4:30 AM so I could be at work and raring to go by 6.  Today there was no alarm, well, except for Leo when he heard Isaac barking around 8 this morning, and I got close to an extra 4 hours of precious sleep!  I'm planning on a relatively lazy day where I will run the vacuum,  watch some schmaltzy romantic holiday movies, knit and look for a purple sock.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

On being a winner

Brenda at Days of My Life has honored me with a Readers Appreciation Award.  Now I haven't participated in awards in awhile--I think since Flydragon passed away--but I feel compelled to do so today.

I hope you'll play along, too, by collecting your reward, answering a few questions and passing on the love.

::Where do you do most of your writing/blogging?
     From my lap, of course!  I was musing on this topic just the other day.  I recall the days I was tethered to the electrical outlet and incoming cable.  Wifi has liberated me!  I can write and read from anywhere in and around my home and my iPad and phone let me do it anywhere.  The only problem seems to be putting the laptop down in order to do other important things like work, clean dust bunnies and knit.

My edition of Charlotte's Web, rescued from the jaws of Stinkerbelle McBookeater.  Loved me some Wilbur!
::What books were your childhood favorites?
     Hands down, Charlotte's Web was my favorite book, but so was my first cookbook, a Betty Crocker book for boys and girls.  Rachel, who loves all books, has tried to do serious damage to both.  I don't have the heart to tuck them away for posterity, because having them on display still brings me joy.  I think the cookbook is nearly 50 years old.  I also loved reading A Wrinkle in Time, by, Madeleine L'Engle, but have lost my copy in my travels.

:: Who is your favorite fictional character? 
     I don't really count J.R.R. Tolkien as a childhood favorite as I was already 18 years old when I discovered this magical author.  I can say with authority, that many of his characters touched me deeply.  I even named a cat Tom Bombadil!  I am now presently re-reading The Hobbit for the umpteenth time in preparation for the movie release next week.  I'm up to the part where Gandalf makes the trolls argue for so long that they turn to stone when the sun comes up.  I've read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings so many times that I've lost count.  I even read The Simarillion.  I count Gandalf to be one of my very favorite of characters.  Just don't tell me he is fictional!

::Have you ever Googled yourself and been surprised at what you’ve found? 
     I've only been surprised by finding my photo and name identifying me as an employee of a medical practice I left in January 2001.  I mean, really, don't they ever clean their digital house?

::Who would play you in a movie of your life?  
      Maybe Cameron Diaz, because if they ever made a movie of my life, I'd want it played by someone with good comedic timing.  Many times in my 55 years, I've felt my life to be one big cosmic joke gone bad.  Humor has been my only saving grace.  I think she'd play that well.  If Ms. Diaz is not available, perhaps they could get Ellen.

Now if I can do this, so can you!  I'm to pass this on to 5 others so they can share a little about themselves. I'm tagging the following readers to see if they can shed light on what gets them fired up behind the covers of a good read.

Sapphire Blue @ workknitstudy does manage to squeeze a little pleasurable reading into her life!

Pam @ Finding Pam leads a very interesting life.  She needs a female comic to play herself, too.

Winifred @ Stopprocrastinating.  Hmm...a woman after my own heart with that title!

Stephanie @ Rowanberrystudio Stephanie is a wonderful knitter, gardener and must have been born with a gene for organizing things.  I love reading her Friday and Saturday blog posts best of all.  The rest aren't too shabby, either.

Rose @ Sand in My Yarn (what a great name for a knitter's blog!)  Rose is an incredibly well read woman.

So, that's it.  I had more to say on this subject than I thought possible.  I hope everyone will give it a shot.  And thanks, Brenda, for asking me to play along.  It was fun.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Getting my priorities straight

Triage is a French word that is used in my profession to determine how care is delivered when resources limit the ability to give that care.  Once monthly on weekends, I'm a triage nurse and I'm really new to this position.  I trained a mere 16 hours over the past 2 weekends to get here.  I get to the office around 6 in the morning, make out assignments for our limited weekend staff, sift through reports that trickle in after 7AM and modify the assignments accordingly.  By the time 8AM rolls around, all the work is doled out, all of the nurses and ancillary staff are busy bees and then the phones go live.  Really, it's like they take on a life of their own.  This weekend I went live and had a partner with me Saturday, but flew solo Sunday.  I. Am. Whipped.

In two days time, my email inbox multiplied from 70 emails to 332.  You do the math; I'm too tired.  The difference represents how many emails I received. I sent about an additional 150 pleas, responses and answers.  There was some begging involved.  I talked to patients, families, doctors, nurses, supervisors, colleagues, social workers and took one call from my husband.  During the few fifteen to thirty minute blocks of time when things weren't ringing, dinging and buzzing, I caught up on charting in two separate programs and updating report.  I worked 22 hours out of 48 and am absolutely beat, but I liked it.  I like to be busy; I just wish I'd had more time to at least pee, eat, brew coffee, walk around the building once or twice to get my blood flowing and I swear I would have sawed off my left hand for 5 minutes of nobody talking.  Silence is undervalued by some.

Today I'm attempting to triage my life and getting nowhere fast.  I did take a shower, which I considered a major accomplishment.  After work on Saturday night, I put up the Christmas tree, and while at work yesterday, Sara decorated.  It's beautiful and I was so grateful to come home to one thing on the to-do list that was done.  There was some tree/mouse turd drama...long story...but that's been remedied.  I may die of Hanta Virus by the first of the year, but I'm going to take my chances!  I love that little Grinch like Christmas tree.  What's a little mouse excrement matter anyhow?

It's foggy and humid here in Detroit.  It's a perfect day to set triaging aside, put my feet up, sip tea and knit.  I can always start the to-do list tomorrow.