Monday, June 30, 2008

In 5 days it will be time for the Grand Depart of the Tour de France. I've had my project picked out for a while and even had the yarn but discovered I had to go and buy an addi lace circular needle because it just hurt my hands too much to try to knit this ridiculously thin yarn with regular circs.

I am doing the Adamas shawl in Knitpicks Shadow in Oregon Coast Heather. It's a neutral color yarn that has subtle shading in it when it is knitted up.

Since I am in the Polka Dot Jersey section of the kal, my project could be a wip as long as it is a challenge for me. And boy has this been a challenge! I learned a new cast on technique (cabled cast on) which was cool and I like it and may use it in the future. I have also learned that lace knitting is hard. No, that's not right. It's not hard, it's challenging. That's why this is for a polka dot jersey. I have cast on 8 times and have finally finished chart one. Lifeline time. I have never felt the need for a lifeline but have now come to see the wisdom of one.

I don't have to finish this before the Tour is over on the 27th of July but I'd like to. We are going to a wedding on Aug 2nd and I'd like to wear it as my wrap. There are 14 repeats of the second chart and then a third chart. I'm going to wait until the 5th to pick it back up. I hope I'm not being too optimistic....

Tonight I helped PK bottle his latest batch of beer. Messy business. I wish I liked beer. It would make the whole process more fun. He is counting down the days until the 9th of August when he takes his plane ride. He has also pointed out to me that there have been 3 small plane crashes in the last week. I told him the insurance is not really that much. I am going to get a disposable video camera so I can record this for posterity. If I can figure out how to put it on the blog, I'll share.

I spent some time at the hospital while my aunt was having a 'procedure' today. She was supposed to have a cardiac ablation (they kill off rogue heart muscle cells that don't play well with others and march to their own drummer) but decided not to do it because there is a clot in her heart and they don't want to disturb it. They'll give her some medicine to regulate her heartbeat and some other stuff to hopefully disolve the clot. Better living through chemicals. This is PK, my aunt Elsie and my aunt Joan (the one in the hospital), three of my favorite people in the world last November. I know they're getting old. Today when I picked up Elsie to go see Joan, I noticed the bounce is gone from her steps and I had to duck my head so she didn't see my face. I love these women. It hurts my heart to see them age. I am working on socks for aunt Joan's perpetually cold feet. She loves showing then off and made me show the nurse today what I was knitting. Every stitch has a small prayer and positive thought knit into it.
Oh, and my supervisor loved the socks. She showed them off to everyone on the third floor (where the admin folks hang out). I heard about them all day. It was great.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

June 28th, 2008
Early Morning Buddhist Inspiration

"Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."~A.A. Milne

What You Think Upon Grows...


Every day in my email comes a little bit of wisdom that I try to capture and store in my brain. I like to think that some of it sticks. This one is absolutely perfect for a summer weekend when the temps and humidity are both high. Winnie the Pooh is one of my all time favorite characters and I love the poetry of AA Milne. So simple.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante's" Inferno Test

Monday, June 23, 2008

The last week has been stressful and I have not been in a sharing mood, so no posting. I have been helping my cousin deal with her mother's procedures and her sisters griping and complaining. On Saturday morning, I went and sat with my aunt and enjoyed some time alone with her. She is stable and seems in good spirits. She is in her early 70's and this recent episode drove home the fact that she is fragile, very fragile. My cousin knows this on one level but does not want to face it. It's been tough. I am the oldest and everyone looks to me for answers and I have none. All I can do is to offer support, comfort and be a sounding board when venting is in order.

I thought I would take you on a little journey with me today. I often make allusions to my job. I am a social worker/case manager at a community mental health center. My job entails lots of things but mostly it's helping people with serious mental illness get the medications and other help they need to live their lives. I also run groups in our social rehabilitation program (I do interpersonal relations, medical issues and medications, and arts and crafts).

So, here we are on the jughandle turning off of Rte 30, the White Horse Pike, onto the access road to the Lindenwold High Speed Line station. Don't know what a jughandle is? It's a traffic device used to help people make left turns on a busy road without holding up lines of traffic behind them. Usually, they are on the right side of the road and you exit off the road and follow a little turn so that you are perpendicular to the road you were just on. Understand? Good, cause now we are on our way to the train station. Straight ahead lies the Patco line. Patco stands for Port Authority Transit Company and they run the Speed Line which is an electric train across the Ben Franklin Bridge into Philadelphia. It's a little over 30 years old and one of the best bargains around. 4.90 round trip with a dollar a day for parking. Parking in the city alone would cost more than that. And here is our train. I don't have many photos of the train because after the Sept. 11 bombings, officials get real nervous of folks taking photos of trains and bridges and stuff. The train ride takes about 25 minutes so let's take out our knitting and sit. Usually, I am on the train at 7 and at work around 7:30. The train stations in NJ are above ground and all have lots of parking. The stations in Philadelphia are all underground and parking? No way, no where, no how.

After a trip over the bridge, we get off at the second Philadelphia stop. 9th and Locust. When we come above ground, we see this lovely leafy lane.

That is an assisted living facility for elderly folks and often I see them sitting outside on my way home.

And this is my building. It is Hall Mercer Community Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center. It is part of Pennsylvania Hospital (the nation's first!) and part of the mighty University of Pennsylvania Health System.

We'll take the elevator to the second floor. I usually take the steps but I twisted my ankle over the weekend and it's still a little sore. We get of on the second floor, walk down the hall and at the end, in the corner is my office. I share it with
a man named Paul. Here is my desk. It looks cluttered but I know where everything is and it's set up conveniently for me . That's my ugly sweater on the back of my chair. The a/c is icy cold here in the summer. Here are the socks I made for my supervisor waiting for a band which I printed out and put around them. It took me a week to knit them. Fastest pair of socks ever. It doesn't hurt that she has small feet.
Once I get in, I check the emails and voice mails and put out any fires that have arisen in the overnight. Then I get ready to do medication appointments on Mon and Tues with the psychiatrists. Wed and Thurs, I run my groups. It all keeps me pretty busy and often at the end of the day, I am beat.
So, there's a small glimpse into my morning. I showed you mine, you show me yours.
So, here it is Monday and it's been a week since my last post. No time at the moment (off to clinic). Photos of my work day are coming. I thought I'd bring you all to work with me. Unfortunately they have to wait until I get home to upload the photos. So for now, I leave you with another one of those silly blogthings.

What Donna Lee Means
You are balanced, orderly, and organized. You like your ducks in a row.
You are powerful and competent, especially in the workplace.
People can see you as stubborn and headstrong. You definitely have a dominant personality.

You are well rounded, with a complete perspective on life.
You are solid and dependable. You are loyal, and people can count on you.
At times, you can be a bit too serious. You tend to put too much pressure on yourself.

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.
You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.
You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.
You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.
Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.
You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.
At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

And I always thought Donna Lee meant 'lady of the meadow' !

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day was a quiet one around here. Em and Kate had to work so it was up to Elanor and I to make PK feel special. We planned to take him on a picnic but the weather was so iffy all day that we decided we'd stay home. In preparation for the picnic, I took some of these and added some onions, bacon, parsley and mayo and made potato salad. There was also some of this - fried chicken. I only fry chicken maybe twice a year since it's so bad for us but PK asked for picnic food and this is quintesenntial picnic food. I went to the local bakery and got some cupcakes and we were all set. Staying home was ok because PK got to play in his workshop. He is scheduled for his Historic Flight on August 9th at 9 am. When he's done, we're heading to the beach for a day of sun and fun in Cape May. Emily and Jim are coming with us. Elanor and Kate will be in Baltimore at an anime convention called Otakon. They wear costumes that they work on all year and generally have a ball.

I got some new fiber for the wheel and this week should be cool enough to play with it. Emily and Jim went to an alpaca farm and brought Kate and I home two bags of alpaca wool. One bag is a buff color and one is black. They are very soft and will need some prep before we can spin them. I also bought some roving on Etsy. It's called twilight and it's beautiful merino .

I've also finished one of the socks for my supervisor . I love the colors. I am almost to the heel of sock number two. In only a week. This pattern knits up so fast and it's only a series of knit and purls.

I took today off from work to go with Emily to the gyn. She had to have one of those 'procedures' where they say things like "just a little pinch here" when what they ought to say is "watch out, we're getting ready for gut busting pain here!". She and Jim spent the day and we made some lemon meringue pie. I haven't made one for years and I'd forgotten how good it is when you make it yourself.

Amy lane tagged me with a meme:

Pick up the book next to you and to to page 123 and read the 5th line. Write down the next three lines. Then tag 5 other people.
Here's my three lines:
O my lover
there's just room for me in You
Sounds like I read porn before I go to bed! The book I happen to have next to me is a collection of poems by e e cummings, one of my favorites. This is what I found on page 123.
I tag Emily, ,Bells ,Rosered, Sheepish Annie, and Amy. I can't wait to see what you all have next to you!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I am an official ravelry member. My dark side alter ego is donnalee57. Rosered already found me. I'm trying to stay off so I can accomplish something today. I have a feeling it could be a HUGE time suck if I let it. Like the internet isn't already.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Today is the 14th and for once I remembered that I wanted to document my day. Since I didn't remember until I saw Bells' post, I have no photos to prove that any of these events happened. I guess I could tell you that I jetted off to Paris for lunch but that would be a lie. I try not to lie.

So, here is a typical Saturday.

PK woke very early today (around 4 am!) and couldn't go back to sleep so he got up and turned on the computer. That, of course, woke me up and I stifled the urge to bang him on the head with the pillow and went back to sleep until a more decent hour of 7.

At 7 I got up and plugged in the laptop and checked out the email and favorite blogs while it was still cool enough to enjoy having the laptop be on my lap. I also gave in and signed up for ravelry (I was not going to because I didn't see the need until folks keep linking to things on the site and I can't get in to view them which frustrates me). I found out that there are only 203 people in front of me and any minute now I can be a member. I played around for about an hour and then took a shower, knowing full well that I will be all sweaty in a short time but one does like to be clean.

Breakfast was poptarts and a large glass of milk. I love them but don't eat them often. I had brown sugar/cinnamon-my favorite while I read today's paper.

After consuming both poptarts, I started the laundry and cleaned the kitchen. I then dusted the bedroom, changed the sheets and mopped the floor. On to the bathroom, where the tub, sink and toilet were cleaned and I momentarily thought about taking down the curtains and washing them and the windows but decided no. Too humid today. After washing the bathroom floor, I started more laundry and dusted and vacuumed the livingroom/diningroom floors and mopped the kitchen floor.

At that point,I was dripping. It was only 11 am and I was halfway through the laundry and the house was tolerably clean. I am not usually this efficient but I was waiting for a phone call from my cousin. My aunt is in the hospital and having tests to determine whether she had a heart attack and if so, how much muscle damage was done to the muscle. Her pulse was 198 beats /minute. It's a wonder she's still alive. They gave her too much blood thinner and now she's bleeding and they're trying to stop it. I am trying to stay out of the way while the tests are run but still offer support.

The phone call comes at noon. Things are pretty much the same. She is stable for now. My cousin is ready to strangle her sister and I am the sounding board. Good thing I am used to having people spout off at me! There's a lot of anger there.
I worked on the socks for my supervisor and am onto the foot of the first one. They are working up really fast and look great.

More laundry. 6 loads altogether including sheets and towels.

The laundry is folded and put away. The things that need to be ironed are hanging up to go to the dry cleaners to be pressed. I gave myself permission not to iron anymore. I hate it. No, really hate it. It costs a few dollars to have PK's work shirts and my summer cottons ironed but it is so worth it. It's like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders.

It's dinner time and we are alone for dinner. Tonight is burgers on the grill and a tossed salad. PK will grill the meat and I will make the salad. After that we may watch a movie or just sit and try to stay cool. I got some roving in the mail today and I'd like to spin some but it's too humid and sticky. And I have some alpaca fluff that Em got for me so I have plenty to spin when the weather cools off a bit.

Tomorrow is Father's Day and if the weather holds we are going to the park for dinner. Fried chicken and pasta salad and cupcakes. We gave Pk a flight in a WWII fighter plane for Father's Day. He gets to fly the plane and they'll do acrobatics and everything. He's so excited but has to wait until early August when they'll be in Cape May. That I will be sure to take photos of.

I hope you are all having a happy, healthy weekend and staying warm/cool, depending on which hemisphere you happen to be in!
Here are two photos of PK with Kate and Em (top) and Elanor (side). He is loved.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Today started out as one of "those" days. If I picked it up, I dropped it. If I walked by it, I knocked it over. I was tired and felt like someone had beaten me up in my sleep. (I had a zombie dream so maybe that was partly true). It was a true low energy type of day. And it was looooonnnnnnggggggg.

I started making the courtesy calls for my clinics next week. You know the kind "Hi John, this is Donna Lee. I'm just reminding you that you have an appointment with Dr. S on Monday at 1." I called a woman who I enjoy seeing when she comes in and she started telling me what a lovely day it was outside. Now, I am still in the closet on the third floor as they finish the rennovations on our second floor offices and I cannot see the outside and have no idea what kind of day it is. I decided then and there that we were going to have a picnic for dinner.

I called Kate and asked her to bake some chicken for chicken salad and to bake some brownies. I finished up my work and headed home. Kate not only cooked the chicken, she made the chicken salad. Yay Kate! We made sandwiches, packed up drinks and napkins and of course the brownies, stopped at WaWa for some ice and chips and were off to Red Bank Battlefield National Park. It's on the Delaware River and one of the most peaceful parks I know. It's across from the Phila airport and you can watch the planes come in and the barges on the river. That's Philadelphia there in the distance. The river is a major port/harbor and you can see the crane for loading/unloading container ships. There is also the James and Anne Whitall house. You can see their initials and the date on the side of the house. J W A and what looks like 1748.(or maybe 1798?) It's really in good shape for being over 200 years old. We ate our sandwiches and talked and just enjoyed the smell of the river and the peace. The park was almost empty which was surprising but in a nice way. I started a pair of socks for my supervisor, the River Ripple socks from my pattern-a-day calendar. I'm using the bamboo/wool yarn that was May's Artwalk sock yarn. It's soft with a subtle sheen and the colors (an orange color and purples) mix together much better knitted than I thought they would. I've only finished one repeat of the pattern so far and it looks pretty good. I think she'll like them. I've also finished the Lily of the Valley socks. I wore them today and took off my shoes at every opportunity to show them off. They are the socks I was working on when I was spotted knitting at work. I wish I could take better photos of my feet! I have very round toes and the toes on these fit just right. I like the lacy look of them. I am doing the toe decreases for the Online socks and they'll be done. Just in time to get ready for the Tour de France kal. My yarn came in the mail and I have my pattern and needles and stitch markers all together and ready to go on July 5. There's still time to join. Check it out.
One of the best (probably the only good) parts of my job is the connections I make with people. Some of my clients are so overwhelmed by their mental illness that they are not able to make relationships and they come in and get what they need and go home. But some are able and willing and Tuesday I had one such person in the clinic. She is an art student and the doctor was telling her about my knitting. The young woman asked me if I could knit something for her. She's always wanted a felted bag and offered to trade me a painting for a felted bag. I am intrigued by this and although it's probably against all the rules, I agreed. So, I am going to knit her a large red bag and felt it and she will trade me one of her canvases. I'll let you know how this works out as I have never felted anything on purpose before.
Tomorrow is Friday (YAY) and I am ready for a weekend. We are going to a barbecue with some friends and cleaning out the pool. (The dead squirrels are all gone). It will probably go all too fast. And this weekend is Father's Day. The girls and I have come up with a terrific gift for PK but it has to remain a secret because I know he reads this when he's bored at work. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I stole this from Teabird. What a lot of strange traits to rate yourself (or your spouse)! I'm glad I'm not a 30's housewife. I never want to get up and get dressed to fix breakfast. Mrs. Cleaver I am not!


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take'>">Take the test!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

It's hot here. Very hot. REALLY hot. It feels like August and it's only early June. We are trying valiantly not to put the air conditioners in the windows because we are trying to keep the electric bills down but it is really hard. There are fans all over the house (they draw so much less current than air conditioners) and it you sit very still, it's almost bearable. Thank goodness we got a new grill. We had fruit salad, croissants and smoothies for breakfast. Nothing that required heat. Em and Jim are coming for dinner. Steaks on the grill, potatoes on the grill, salad and a berry shortcake for dessert. The recipe calls for homemade shortcake bisquits but I am not up to it today. I cheated and bought some poundcake which will slice up nicely and do just as well. There is heavy cream with melted white chocolate in the fridge getting cold so I can whip it up. It sounds yummy.

I decided to take Julie's advice and try knitting with my handspun. It's an experience. It's generally bulkier than I realized but it looks good. I only have 100 g of rather bulky yarn so I added some bits and bobs I had hanging around and am turning it into a scarf. This is what I have so far. I like it and it'll match PK's winter jacket so I might just put it into the box for a christmas gift. It's the harlot's one row scarf, easy and quick. (the green bit is mine)

And my sock yarn club yarn came but before I could get a proper photo, Calvin has claimed it for his own. I think he and I are going to have a talk about who's in charge here. ( I'm afraid I'll lose.) I feel sorry for them in their furry coats. Hobbes is asleep under the desk on the cool floor and Calvin is in the middle of the kitchen floor (not in the way or anything).

Don't forget to mosey on over to the TdFkal website and sign up. Slots are limited!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Stay cool.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Well, we are gearing up once again for the Tour de France KAL. It starts July 5 and if you want more info, go here and read all about it. There are some terrific badges this year designed by Meg's coworker. I am planning to knit the Adamas shawl that the yarn harlot just finished. I wanted to try a lace shawl and when I saw her finished project, it spoke to me. I've ordered my yarn and will attempt to earn a polka dot jersey (for those tackling a tough project which doesn't have to be finished before the end of the race, although I'd like to finish). Kate and I are team leaders and are getting excited. Check it out and if you're interested, sign up soon. There are a limited number of spaces!
PK, who is a bad influence on me, suggested we take a "mental health day" on Tuesday. That's what we call it when the alarm goes off and we just can't make ourselves go to work. So, we stayed home and played with our toys all day. I pulled out the spinning wheel (he played with some power tools. I'm going to need my blocking frame when I finish that shawl!)and decided to be brave and spin up the beautiful roving that Georgie sent me after I had my surgery. It was so lovely and soft to work with after the scratchy romney. Here's what it looked like. It's still a little uneven in spots but overall, it's gorgeous. It was hard to get a photo that showed the color. And yes, that is my pasty white leg behind the beautiful yarn. I was so pleased with it. I'm trying to spin a little each day so I can get better. Unfortunately, the foot I need to use for the treadle is the one I dislocated 3 years ago and the constant motion makes it achy. No spinning for me today. And no, I can't use my left foot. It's not coordinated enough.
I did have some help with the spinning.

As soon as I pulled out the basket that holds the roving, Calvin came over. He knocked over the bag and started rolling in the wool. It was like catnip. He was so weird. I gave him his own piece (the only way I could keep the cat spit off the rest!) and he rolled around with it.

And Hobbes? He did what cats do best.

Have a peaceful weekend, all. We are predicted to have temps in the high 90's (37C) ! Last week we were in the 60's and wondering if it would ever get warm. Well, I guess the answer to that is YES.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Your Power Element is Earth
Your power color: yellow

Your energy: balancing

Your season: changing of seasons

Dedicated and responsible, you are a rock to your friends.
You are skilled at working out even the most difficult problems.
Low key and calm, you are happiest when you are around loved ones.
Ambitious and goal oriented, you have long term plans to be successful.

So, I have a power element and it's dirt? Somehow I was hoping for something more glamorous like uranium. Well, I keep telling the folks at work that I am not just the "grassroots" of the organization but the "dirt under the grass". I guess I was right all along!

Our weekend went way too fast. We got our income tax refund and spent it on clothes and a new grill. PK and I never just go clothes shopping and our wardrobes needed a boost. He got white shirts and khaki pants (again!) and I got summer skirts and some bright colored shirts. I am determined to break out of the blue/neutral colors rut I am in. Saturday I cleaned and did the laundry and cooked and Sunday I sat around and slept and knitted (it was just too humid to spin) and PK mowed the back 40. Next week we are cleaning out the pool and getting it ready to swim. Elanor informs me that there are dead squirrels in there. EWWWWW. I am so grateful that PK said he would clean them out because I think I can't handle that. We'll empty it Friday, scrub it Saturday and start filling it up right away. And then we will have cool weather for weeks! I love having the pool but it is work to keep it clean and clear.

I went to a training today on Diversity in Recovery Planning (recovery from mental illness). The speaker was good and easy to listen to. (I did several inches on my striped socks. ) She said something that I found interesting and have been thinking about. She said "We are all in recovery from something". Hmm. I had an uncle who abused me as a child and I have put it behind me and don't consider myself "in recovery from sexual abuse". It's something that happened and I survived and got over it. Should I think about it all the time and use it as an excuse to not do/accomplish things I want to? I have a great deal of compassion for those who are truly in pain from life experiences and respect what they have gone through. I see and hear things every day that make me despair for the human race (and things that give me a great deal of hope as well). But are we leaning on things that happened to us as crutches so we don't have to succeed or live up to our or others' expectations? What is the definition of success? I am not a wealthy woman, nor will I ever be (unless I win the lottery!) but I consider myself successful. I am happy, have a good family that I adore and a job that is fulfilling and I feel loved every day. What more could I ask for? Really? New cars and second homes and fabulous jewelry are not my cup of tea. If I had money, I'd probably give it to people who needed it. Don't get me wrong, I like spending money as much as the next person but I just don't feel like there are a lot of things that I need. I was raised to believe that money makes you successful and therefore in my parents' eyes, I am not a success. I can live with that because my definition is different. What's your definition of success?

Wow, isn't that profound for a Monday? I hope you are all well and your week is starting out on a good note.

Happy Sunday!  I am sitting here working on my sweater made with the cashmere yarn my husband gave me for my birthday last year. I’m further...