Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Good Wednesday Morning!  It's been a while (longer than I thought) since I sat and wrote anything.  I don't have a good reason for that.  Life has been busy but not much busier than normal.  I think partly it has to do with Pk getting laid off.  He's sending out resumes every day, electrons are zooming all over the place as he attempts to get someone's interest.  But there have been no nibbles after the first two.  I know it's getting him down and I am starting to feel a bit stressed myself.  I think it makes me want to crawl into my shell and just wait for something to happen.

But that is not my natural way.  I am not used to having to wait for someone else to make something happen.  I am used to jumping in and helping to solve problems.  This problem I cannot help with and that has thrown me a bit.

There have been good things, too.  Kylie was here for a while and we spent time in Atlantic City.  It was a gorgeous day.  We checked out the casino action (not much going on and it was depressing seeing all of the old people sitting in front of machines), had dinner outside on the boardwalk and then had a limo ride back to the train station. 

We were standing at the stop for the shuttle bus (in Atlantic City they're called Jitneys) waiting for a ride back to the train station.  A limosine pulled up and the driver asked Peter Kevin where we were going.  He told him and the driver offered to take us there (about 2 miles) for 15 dollars.  Pete said "all 5 of us?"  The driver said "yes" so we climbed in and got a lovely ride back to our train.  It was a fun way to end a lovely day.

There has been dinner at the river.  Our favorite place to picnic.  We pack up some sandwiches and drinks and head down.  I have taken the spinning wheel and provided entertainment for our fellow picnicers. 

There has been yarn.  I know I am a geek but yarn that knits up and looks like slices of watermelon makes me inordinately happy. 

There has been wedding dress sewing.  Here's a sneak peek at Kate's dress.  Unfortunately, you can't see the clear sparkly bits on the lace.  She has since tried the bodice on and we've pinned it to fit.  Pattern sizes are so different from ready made clothes.  This is a McCalls pattern and according to Kate's measurements, I needed to make a size 16.  Now, Kate is a small young woman.  I was sure a 16 would be huge on her but I figured I could always take it in.  It fits quite nicely.  I am working on the skirt and adding trim.  It's been on hold for a week because I have been having hormone related migraines and they brought nausea and dizziness with them.  I am hoping to work some today and then I took off Friday and Monday so I have a nice long weekend to finish it up.

There has been pie. It's blueberry season here and the grocery store had them on sale.  I gave some to Kate and used the rest to make Pk a blueberry pie.

I have been working on my Fir Cone Shawl and I am so happy with the way it's coming out.  It will be huge if I give it a hard block so I think I will just wash it and press it into shape gently.  I am halfway through the second lace edging chart.  When this one is finished, there is a knitted lace border and then it's done.  It feels so lovely and soft.  I will appreciate it when it's snowing this coming winter.

So, as you can see, nothing exciting.  Just our normal quiet life.  There was a LOT of soccer there for a month.  Pk thoroughly enjoyed watching the World Cup and I watched many games with him.  It's interesting to see how different teams have different styles. 

My roses are being attacked by the dreaded Japanese Beetles.  We didn't know we had them because we have never had roses (which they are especially fond of).  Pk has been spraying with insecticidal soap and he got some "beneficial insects" for Father's Day (which to me was one of the oddest presents ever) and they are helping.  The new growth seems to be intact for now.  We are organic gardeners.  We have not used toxic chemicals on our property since we moved in almost 30 years ago.  I know this drives the neighbors nuts because it means our lawn is not a lovely lush green carpet.  I don't care.  I'd rather have the kids be able to play on our grass and be able to pick the vegetables and eat them right there than have perfect specimens.  I even told one lawn serviceman (who knocked on my door because he noticed that we had "some clover" in our lawn) that I LIKE clover.  The rabbits who live in my yard LIKE clover and I wanted to keep it.  He seemed to think this was not normal and left in a hurry.  Oh well.  We're THAT house on the street.  I can live with it.

Summer is flying by so quickly.  Work is going well.  I have two new doctors to break in and they are both calm, level headed individuals so there is little drama and little stress.  It's a nice change.

I hope you are enjoying whatever season you find yourself in (Olivia, I know you are enjoying the snow!) and that life is treating you well. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

So, what have you all been up to since last we spoke?  I have had a bit of dental work and am now finally recovering.
Last week, I noticed that the infection in my mouth wasn't better (wait, did I tell you I had an infection under my root canal?).  Hmm, well, I have (had) this tooth that had had two root canals (which meant two crowns) and was giving me twinges for a while.  The dentist told me the tooth underneath was cracked and that if it continued to give me pain, it would have to come out.

Fast forward to my 6 month checkup where I show the dentist the pustule that had developed on my gum right next to the tooth.  It turns out that there was a raging infection under the crown. (the smell was ugly)  We tried 10 days of antibiotic but no joy.  I had to have the tooth out.  I called the oral surgeon and they had an opening the next day. 

I took it because then I didn't have much time to brood over it.  I left work in the afternoon and Pk picked me up and off we went.  First came the panograph xray and then the doctor told me there was a good bit of infection in the gum and he would pull the tooth and then clean it out.

IV needle in my hand and before you know it, it was done.  They didn't stitch up the wound because the leftover infection needed a place to come out (the image is a pleasant one, isn't it?)  I was in a fog so Pk took me home and then went out to get my pain pills and more antibiotics.

When the novocaine wore off, I couldn't believe the pain!  I am fairly tolerant of pain but this was unlike anything I had ever felt.  The vicodin didn't touch it.  Fortunately, my dentist called to check up on me and told me I could take 2 (very low dose).  It was like the heavens opened up and sunbeams shone upon me.  When that pain went away, it felt soooo good.  I slept sitting up and woke up Friday morning with a blinding headache and nauseaus from the pain meds (really unfair that).  I stuck to acetaminophen for the rest of the time after that. 

I spent the weekend taking it easy and eating soft foods.  I have some bruising around the jaw line but not too bad and I can tell it's healing.  It will take some time before we can discuss what to do about the gaping hole in my teeth.

I was not able to do much knitting or spinning.  No concentration.  I mostly sat and dozed and held ice packs to my face.  And now I am back to work and feeling mostly back to normal.  Still eating mostly soft foods and being careful until the hole heals closed.  I don't want anything getting stuck in there and re infecting. 

Our planned trip to AC was postponed to this Friday and unless something else happens, we're heading down there Friday afternoon with Kylie in tow.  She came over Sunday and we ate bbq chicken and ribs and potato salad and coconut cake and watched the heartbreaking US/ Portugal game. 

The weather today is about as beautiful day as you could ask for.  The sun is out, there is a breeze and the humidity is low.  It's glorious.  I am getting ready to pack up my stuff and leave this overly a/c'd building and go out into the day.  Maybe we should take a picnic for dinner.......

(some nice, soft food of course)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We only thought it was humid last week.  It's like it's a competitive thing and this week has to beat out last week.  It's unbelievable and really uncomfortable.  I have not been able to sleep for the last two nights.  I might have dozed a bit but nothing really restful. (needless to say, I'm tired).  Pk is going to put the a/c in the bedroom window today so that tonight I can pull the covers on and sleep restfully.

Some random thoughts on a Wednesday.

I was standing on the train platform this morning waiting for the next train (the schedules are all a mess while they replace the track on the bridge.  One side is closed and all the trains are going over one side of the bridge.  Then it will reverse so it will be a mess for 2 years.  sigh.)  It's alway slightly breezy since it's an elevated platform.  In the morning, surrounded by all the freshly showered and scented commuters, it's hell on your sinuses.

Some people smell nice and light and clean.  Some people wear heavy, cloying wintery scents.  I will admit that I do not change my scent during the year.  I have one scent that I always wear (Jessica McClintock) and have worn for 25 years.  It's what I smell like.  But it's a fairly light fragrance so that in these warmer months, I won't bowl anyone over. 

More people are catching onto the fact that if you get up 10 minutes earlier, you can catch the earlier train and it's not as crowded as the one 25 minutes later.  Well, it wasn't as crowded.  Today it was mobbed.

 It was Father's Day last Sunday here in the US.  When I asked Peter Kevin what he wanted to do, he said "not much" so I let him have a day to do what he wanted.

I made him the breakfast he wanted, he watched some soccer and then he went outside and worked on some small wood projects.  Here he is using one of his large planes and making the top surface of a small worktable.  He loves working with his handtools.  There's a soothing rhythm to his work.

a pile of shawl

I pulled up a chair and sat in the shade and did some knitting until the ants got too bothersome.  I worked on my shawl.  It's become quite large.  There it is all in a pile.   I can stretch it out is a small section to see how the pattern is developing.  It's so unbelievable soft.  I am on the "second lace chart" and then there's an edging.  Unfortunately it's a bit too hot to sit with this on my lap until we get the a/c installed in the bedroom window.  This will be a warm winter wrap or a warm wrap for the very heavily a/c'd world we live in.

the pattern revealed

I have been forced to work on something small so I went and wound up my latest Artwalk Yarn and started a plain pair of socks.    I love these colors.  They have a depth and shine to them that is so appealing.  It's Les Petits Fleurs by Picasso, one of my all time favorite paintings.  But, the important part is that I don't have to have that large pile of yarn sitting on my lap.

We are going to Atlantic City on Friday so Kylie can see some more kitschy NJ.  I think Atlantic City is the Queen of Kitsch.  I'm looking forward to it a lot.  I love taking the train through the countryside.

Saturday Pete invited our nephew to come and watch the game.  I think he's more excited than Daniel (who is 7).  Sunday, Kylie will be over to eat some real food and watch the game.  So, it sounds like a soccer and friend filled weekend.  The weather should break and be relatively nice.

I hope wherever you are that your day is filled with peace and creativity and joy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It isn't technically summer here until this coming Saturday but you couldn't prove that by walking outside today.  The air is so thick that you have to think about breathing.  On the train in the morning you can't see the tops of the buildings in Philadelphia.  They are all hiding their heads in the clouds.

And speaking of trains, my morning commute has gotten somewhat earlier due to much needed track repair for the PATCO train.  They've closed one half of the bridge so all the train traffic moves on the same track.  It means that the trains are fewer and further between.  This means I have to get up earlier and catch an earlier train and then catch an earlier one home in the afternoon.  There are later trains but they become so crowded and full of people breathing all the air.....

On the unemployment front, Peter Kevin had two interviews last week (one of which was an adventure involving a train ride into NY City) and now is the hard part.  He felt really good about both of the interviews and now has to wait to see if they felt really good about him. 

Kylie is here and we have spent some enjoyable time together showing her life in our area.  We went for a walk around the Berlin Farmer's Market on Friday (only one store sells produce of any kind, the rest are filled with tchatchkes) and then had pizza and wings.  And on Sunday, we took advantage of the nice weather and had a picnic on the Delaware River.  The nice part is that we were able to sit and talk about what makes our countries different and how we're the same.  We have a tentative trip to Atlantic City planned for next week. 

Work has been steadily busy.  We're doing research data collecting on adults with autism for a study and our part involves paperwork (it's always paperwork).  I don't mind because we get paid as an agency to participate and since we're running in the red, money is good.  Our part is just a bit boring as I fill out autism screening tools for all my clients (we're talking over a hundred individuals for just me).  I'm trying to do one or two a day.

My fir cone shawl is coming along beautifully.  It's going to be huge and lovely and soft and warm.  I like the way it's constructed and occasionally think it would make a gorgeous baby blanket-until the first time the baby threw up on it and it had to be washed and blocked.  Softly spun merino and silk are not what I would choose for a baby.

I took a pair of socks with me to a conference last week and knit a bit during one of the talks.  Of course the woman in front of me turned around and said "I want to learn to do that.  One day I'll have a chunk of time....."  you know how that goes.  I started to try to explain that it didn't take a lot of time but I could see right away that she was not really interested or she would know how already.  But such is life.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

My rose bushes are blooming so beautifully.  They have almost doubled in size since we planted them.  I am now looking around for other places to put them.

I am running on very little sleep today.  It's all "woman getting older hormonal issues" and there's nothing I can do but cope with it as best as I can.  I know I will eventually get back to a more normal sleep schedule but for now 2 or 3 hrs a night seem to be all I get.  It goes nicely with the sudden power surges.  My whole body just feels off.  I have warned the people around me that today is not a good day to push my buttons.

There is a bit of positive news.  Peter Kevin had what sounded like a good phone interview yesterday.  The interviewer said she was suggesting he be called for a face to face so we're crossing our fingers and trying not to get too excited.

Memorial Day was such a nice day.  Valley Forge is such a beautiful park.  We sat in the shade and talked and ate and generally had a nice low key day.

On Monday I tried a recipe for Nanaimo Bars.  These are evidently quite the sensation in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.  They are delicious but oh so sweet.  More like candy than cookies. 

I also used up all the left over bread and rolls from the Memorial Day picnic and made a pan of bread pudding.  I love this stuff and could eat it by the bowlful.  Pk says it's for "poor people" and he won't eat it.  I imagine it was originally just a way for people to use up stale bread and maybe some extra eggs but nowadays, bread pudding has become a gourmet dish in some places.  This one is plain, just egg custard and bread.  I didn't even wait for it to cool off last night.  True comfort food.

I finished the middle square of my shawl and have had to rip out the edge stitches once to make sure I have the correct number.  I didn't want to do any fudging.  Last night I managed to get all 600+ stitches put back onto the needle extension and it's ready to start the edge lace. 

Pk and I also found some time to go see Godzilla on Tuesday.  It was as entertaining as all get out.  It was a pretty good remake.  Just enough of the original flavor to make it fun but enough new material to make it interesting.

And now I am off to jump into my (hopefully) interesting day--or at least interesting enough to keep me awake.  No easy feat that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May.  I haven't gotten used to writing the date with a 5 in front of it and May is almost gone already.

I wish I could make a list of many exciting things we have done in May but in all reality, we have done nothing out of the ordinary.

I did get to experience my first rose.  Isn't it pretty?  All three bushes are now almost covered with blossoms (and if I weren't running late this morning, I would have taken a photo of them on my way out the door to work).  They are so pretty.  I love the way the little bushes are sprouting out all over the place willy-nilly.  They will look all wild and natural and not manicured. 

And now that I've seen how easy they were to obtain and to take care of, I may want to go and get some more. 

Our weather has been typically springlike and odd.  One day will be 86 F and sunny and the next will be in the low 50's and windy and cold.  At one point, we had both the space heater and the window fan in the bedroom.  Usually when one comes out, the other one goes away.  This year we're just not sure which will be needed on any given day.

I have been knitting with the Deschutes  (60silk/40merino) singles I bought at MDSW and have been loving the feel of it.  The Fir Cone Shawl is huge (as you can see) and is a shetland style shawl.  The center square is knit first and then the edge stitches are picked up and the borders are knitted.  One lace pattern for the center and then three different sections on the edges.

It's a sport weight yarn and so it grows more quickly than a laceweight.  There are 12 repeats of a 16 row pattern (which is easily memorized) and I  am through 6.  Look how odd it looks.  That's the back and it looks like an egg carton or some of that sound proofing material they use in sound proof rooms.  It's mindless enough to be able to work on it while watching some television but complicated enough to require some attention so it's not boring.

It's also eating up the yarn so fast that I called the farm that sold it and ordered two more skeins, just to be on the safe side.  The woman, Sunny, who owns the farm was so pleasant.  I emailed her on a Friday night and she emailed me back early Saturday morning and when I called Saturday afternoon, I got her on the phone and she said she would try to get it into Saturday's mail.  I said there was no hurry and Monday would be fine.  Nice lady, good service, beautiful yarn.

This was my other fiber purchase that weekend.  It's Coopworth roving in the Violet colorway.  I love violets and it thrills me to see them popping up in the middle of the lawn.  This looks just like a patch of violets. 

It's Memorial Day weekend coming up and I tacked on a vacation day at the end so I could have a bit of a longer weekend.  We have no big plans.  Peter Kevin is planning to man the table for the Wood Workers' Guild on Saturday at their town's Fair.  I told him I would bring a spinning wheel and keep him company-as long as there is no rain.

Sunday we are planning a picnic at Valley Forge Park with the girls and their families.  Valley Forge is an important part of the American revolution story and seems like a fitting place to picnic.  The rest of the weekend will probably fly by in a haze of chores and relaxing. 

Happy Hump Day to everyone.  I'm off to a mandatory 2 hour "compliance" training.  Every year.  2 hours.  Boooorrrrinnnngggg. 

But Mandatory.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Saturday I wore this shirt.  Kate gave it to me last year for Mother's Day (I think).  It's one of my favorite Dr Who episodes (the one with Vincent Van Goh).

I got so many reactions to it!  It was amazing.  I used to have a sweatshirt that said "All this and Brains, too" which got a lot of responses but this one beat that.

One young man yelled "Allons-y" at me.  It sure was a conversation starter.

But, once again, it was all about the sheep (and their by products).

Kate and I went with the idea that we wanted to find 2200 yards of sport weight yarn to make shawls out of the Folk Shawls book (Cheryl Eberle).  She's making the Irish Shawl and I am making the Fir Cone Shawl.  They are large squares.  She bought the first two skeins of a lovely light grey color and I bought 2400 yards of a merino/silk single that is softly spun and has a lovelylovely halo.  You can almost see the softness.  I rolled one skein into a ball (it's way too big for the ball winder and took forever by hand) and started my project last night.

Jacob sheep

I am in the middle of a very dark shawl but because it's so dark, it's difficult to work on if it's not daylight.  This is not laceweight and it's such a lustrous cream color that it's easy to see. 

big sheep

There were sheep, of course.  These were a couple of moms and their very young babies.  There were baby Jacob sheep.


There were big sheep and small sheep and Katahdin Hair sheep.
(I borrowed the image from Wikipedia, I couldn't get the Katahdin to look at me).  They aren't sheared but just shed in the spring and the birds use the shed hair to build nests.

We bought some Kettle Korn and some honey and some cookie cutters.  I got a giraffe and a brontosaurus.  I chose a tiara cookie cutter for Em and a tyranosaurus for Kate.  It's time for the Spring Dinosaur cookies parade.

We had to park almost a mile away from the fairgrounds.  There are policemen directing the parking and every few cars they would send a group over to the other side of the road and waaaay to the back of a field.  We couldn't see the fairgrounds from where we were parked.  An older gentleman drove up in a bus and drove us to the road and then we caught a wagon ride to the fair.  I was very thankful for them at the end of the day!

Yesterday we did the laundry (and watched the soccer games) and all too soon the weekend was over.  Those 48 hours just fly by. 

And now here I am back in the real world.  Work is busy and we'll have new doctors soon so there is a period of adjustment and then hopefully things will settle down.

Happy Monday y'all!


About Me

I am a woman with a family and a job and a love of making things with my hands. I like to cook and sew and knit and laugh, always laugh.
It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
~chinese proverb