Showing posts from April, 2009
National Poetry Month. Today is the end. So, here's one of my favorites

I'm Nobody! Who are you?

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you -- Nobody -- Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise -- you know!

How dreary -- to be -- Somebody!
How public -- like a Frog --
To tell one's name -- the livelong June --
To an admiring Bog

-Emily Dickinson

And because Tolkien holds such a big place in my heart,

Still round the corner
there may wait
A new road
or some secret gate.
And though I oft
have passed them by
The day will come
at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the moon,
East of the sun.

Not really a hidden path there but a beckoning one anyway.

I enjoyed reading all the poems on people's blogs this month. Some were deep and profound and some were light and airy. I probably read more poetry this month than in all of the previous year. And that's sad. I'll have to rectify that.
One of the things I've learned over the years working in Social Rehabilitation is to never assume that everyone that signs up for a trip will show up that day. After days of warm sunshine, today we are having a damp, chilly, showery day. And today we were walking 8 blocks to the Constitution Center. I only had 9 people sign up (out of 18) because it meant walking. We had 5 people actually show up to go.

We left the building and walked down Locust Street. You can see the brick sidewalks that are ubiquitous in this part of the city. Ahead is Washington Square Park. I forgot to take a photo of the statue of George Washington. It stands on the grave of the unknown soldier from the Revolutionary War with a quote, "Freedom is a light for which so many have died in darkness". This whole park was once a revolutionary era grave yard. Now, it's an urban pocket of loveliness with benches that will be filled when the weather gets nice.
We walked through Independence Park. This is…
A nice thing happened today. I got a phone message from the woman who makes the appointments in my dentist's office. She wanted to know how Em is doing. I like my dentist and I like her receptionist. We talk about knitting while I wait for my appointment. We talk about our families and how they are doing. She told me that her mother in law is praying for Em and lighting candles. This lovely woman who doesn't know my daughter is saying prayers and lighting candles.

At first this felt a little strange. And then I decided that I'd take all the good wishes I can get, all the positive energy I can muster. There is no such thing as too many good wishes. My office mate gets a little peeved when someone says "have a blessed day". I figure, I'll take the good wishes in the spirit in which they were intended. Someone is wishing blessings on me. Who am I to turn down blessings? Even if I don't believe in their deity. I appreciate the thought.

And I app…
Today was the first full day back to work since last Monday. The temps here are still hovering around 90 degrees (32.2 C). This is about 30 degrees warmer than April is supposed to be. The building had no a/c on so it was stuffy and hard to breathe all day. I could open the office window but by the time afternoon rolled around, that wasn't much of a help. Another day of summer-like weather and then the rains will come and wash it all away. Good thing, too. My car is covered with pollen from the trees and I can feel it in my nose.

A while ago, I bought this pattern at my lys. It's called Queen Anne's lace. I bought some laceweight yarn to use for it but the yarn I bought is brown. I'm thinking I don't want to knit this in brown so I think I am going to be ambitious and spin enough yarn to knit it. I have 2 pounds of white/ecru merino roving that would look lovely. I've started spinning the yarn and I think it'll take a long time to finish enough to make this …
Yesterday didn't come out quite as I expected it. I had such good intentions.(and we all know what the road to hell is paved with, don't we? Good thing I don't believe in hell.) We called around to get a part for our oven. We are familiar with this part. We have replaced it before. It's a computer-like component that controls all of the electric functions. Like the burner ignition, the oven and broiler. It's important. We got lucky and found one at a dealer only about 45 minutes away. Or so we thought. Forgetting that it was one of the warmest, nicest Saturdays we've had this year, we set out on the expressway. Only to run smack dab into the traffic headed for the zoo. And the construction traffic that regularly clogs the road. It took us over an hour and a half to get there. And two hundred dollars later (none of these parts is cheap) we set off for home. We took an alternate route that went out of our way but it took less than an hour. Pk put t…
One of Pk's favorite ways to describe himself is as "god's cat toy. He forgets about me and I'm under the couch for a while but then he finds me and bats me around for a bit."
Last week was a doozy with his car dying, Em's surgery and then the power going out and needing an extensive upgrade. But, this is the end of that week and next week we start out fresh.

The week was not devoid of knitting or spinning for comfort. I finished one of the Tofutsie Tidal Wave socks. Here is a portrait I like to call Sock With Computer on Unmade Bed. The pattern is easy to learn and I like it.

It is a subtle, lacey pattern that reminds me of waves heading toward shore. I've turned the heel on Pk's brown striped sock. And I finished spinning the blue roving. It's a small skein, less than 500 yards so for now, I'll just leave it in the spinning basket and admire it. Today is the day I feel like washing windows and curtains and vaccuming behind the furniture. We…
Sorry, I missed yesterday, we had no power for almost 2 days. Boy, when it rains, it pours.

We got home on Wed after seeing Em and delivering the fat and sugar. (and lying and telling the doctor that the grease stained box contained fruit and low fat dip). Pk was chillin' in the garage and noticed a buzzing noise. He noticed a wire was arcing and moved it. All the power in the house went out.

Houses are really silent when the power goes out. REALLY silent. After much investigation and some conversation with a nice electrician who didn't charge us for coming out to the house and looking things over, it was determined that the power company had to be called. They came out within an hour and after 2 days of no power, we have our power restored. It was odd. We had hot water because the hot water heater is gas powered and we could cook on the gas stove. No lights, no way to recharge cell phones and NO INTERNETS!

Now, I have to go and clean out the fridge. Fortunately, th…
We're getting ready to go to the bakery to get some creme donuts for Em (ok, and for me,too). She started texting me at 7 this morning. I guess she figured if she was awake, eveyone else would be too. I have to remind her of her "double digit" motto of waking up. (she figures that no one should be awake before the double digit time of 10).

She seems to be feeling better today. I know I am a little calmer after some fitful sleep. Pk and I are thankful for all of the virtual hugs. I could feel the warmth and concern wrapping around us last night. I spent some time at the spinning wheel, letting the monotonous motions soothe and calm my fretful mind.

I know that Em will come out of this fine in the end but I swear if one more doctor says "we just don't know what this is" I may out and out lose it. Where is all the medical science we hear about?

And so, I'll leave you with another cummings favorite


if up's the word; and a world grows greener
minute by seco…
Small cut. Need I say more?

We got there this morning to learn that there had been an emergency and Em's surgery was pushed back. So, we sat and talked with her and Jim for four hours until they came and took her away.

At this point, we were taken to the cafeteria/waiting area. We were told there would be updates as soon as they could tell us anything. Jim and Pk stalked out an outlet so Jim was playing computer games while I knitted and Pk read. All too soon, the assistant came out to say Em was done. We expected 6 and 1/2 hours but it was only 2.

I cried. The stress came pouring out of my eyes and down my face. I know Em is ok but I couldn't help the tears. The alien baby is attached to Em's spine and they biopsied all around it so they can make sure that there is no chance of cancer. The surgeon said, "we have to be careful that there are no cells left that might grow or spread". I get it. I really do but now we wait for another week for results and…
Just a quickie, drive by post. Em got her blood tests done today and everything seems to be full speed ahead for the surgery tomorrow. It was all I thought about today but I made it through the work day.

Now, it's time to fix some dinner, keep an eye on the crawlspace (which tends to fill up with water when it rains and it has been pouring all day), and watch A Midsummer Night's Dream to keep my mind busy.

When the surgery is over tomorrow, I'll post as soon as I get home so you'll know quickly. Cross your fingers for a big cut! Since the oncologist seems to think that's the way it will go, I'm holding onto that with both hands.

Em is in good spirits. She texted me "Mom, this is nothing. I'm not worried". I told her that I would carry the worry for her so she can go into this thing positive minded and worry free. That's my job. I'm the mom.
And here we have an unblocked Wildflower. It is soft and drapey and looks lovely. This is the edging that gave me such a fit. It seems so easy once I got the hang of it. I can't wait to wear it to work. I have never worn shawls to work before but I think I'll make an exception for this one. It has a very different feel to it than wool. It's more purpley than the photo shows but with bits of light blue and red throughout. I don't think it will be very warm. I'll wear it with a white summer skirt when the weather warms up.

Now I can go back to the North Sea shawl that I started quite a while ago. It's been so long, I've forgotten where I left off. I'm hoping I left a note in the book..... I also have some other pretty lace weight that I would like to play with but having so many unfinished things makes me twitchy so I'll finish the shawl and one of the three pairs of socks I have going and Em's sweater. Musn't forget that.

Yesterday was such a n…
I finished the Wildflowers Shawl. (scroll down for the pattern). Finally, after about a year. It was a long time ago that Roxie sent the skein of bamboo dyed by her friend. I loved it immediately and one day when I just needed something different to work with, I pulled it out and remembered the pattern I liked so much. I cast it on and soon realized I would need more yarn (yardage? what's that?) and sent a sample to Theresa who matched it and sent me another skein. The pattern was easy and enjoyable to work. Then came the edging which absolutely confuzzled me. I had to wait for Kate to work on hers and figure it out. She explained it and after some trial and error (lots of error), I got it and with a concerted effort, I finished the edging. I grafted the edges together like the directions called for and it worked. I soaked it in cold water. Very shortly the water was purple. I think if I need to wash it again, I'll add some vinegar. I was afraid that a lot of the color washed …
Thanks for all the support and good wishes. (and that offer of an alibi, Julie). I wish I could say that knowing when the surgery will be has made it easier. Pk and I are trying not to dwell on it and just get through the next 4 days. What makes me angriest is that if the doctors who make the decisions were paying attention, this would have been taken care of 6 weeks ago and by now, Em would be healing up and picking her life back up.

Early Tuesday morning, they will go in with a camera and take a look around. More samples will be taken and analyzed and then the surgeon will decide how to take it out. Em says the oncologist told her it does not look like sarcoma. The odds are all in her favor that it's a fibrous tumor and can be taken out. That's what we're hoping for. Depending on what they see with the camera, they'll decide whether to go in through the front or the back. Em is hoping for the back because she figures she can get a "kick-ass tattoo" back ther…
Here's a little frustrating news for a Thursday morning. Yesterday, Em and Jim spent the night at our house. Why? Because she has an appointment with the surgeon this morning at 8 (in ten minutes). The frustrating thing is that we don't know any more than we did yesterday. Or six weeks ago. Six weeks. That's how long we have been waiting for test results for a test that, evidently, doesn't exist.

How does this happen? The Interventional Radiologist (the guy who did the needle biopsy) told Em that they would sent the tissue out for the genetic test. She told the surgeon that she was waiting for the test results so everything went on hold. Em called the surgeon's office every few days and was told repeatedly, "no results, yet". After a few weeks, she started calling the pulmonologist (who supposedly ordered the test) and they took several days to return her calls. Only to tell her that there was no such test. Needless to say, Em was incredulous. She called t…
Here is my Wildflowers shawl getting near to the finished point. Now that I have learned to put the edging on, it has moved along at a good clip. I've got about 1/3 of the edging on one side left and then I have to graft the bottom edges together. I've got the grafting thing down but look at this. See how there is all that space? I followed the directions and put the stitches on one side

on the waste yarn and re-cast on for the edging on the other side. I've played around with a diamond shape to graft into place there. I started with three stitches and will just increase with strategically placed yarn overs until I have the size and shape I need. Then I'll graft it into place. That's my plan at this point. If anyone else has a better idea, I'm game. I spent the day at a training on how to write a WRAP (wellness recovery action plan). This was day two of the training. I had homework to do (some of which I did at McDonalds while eating pancakes and sausage after I…
Today is the 14th, A Day in Your Life time. Today is a busy 14th. I got up at my usual time (6 am) and stumbled toward the shower. I got a haircut last night and wasn't sure how I felt about it so I was a bit apprehensive to look at it this morning. I'm not sure what I thought it was going to be but it's better than before it got cut. I don't remember too many times walking away from the salon feeling thrilled with my haircut. Usually, I'm just glad it's not horror movie worthy.
Today it's not too bad. I had to slap some hair color on it last night because the hair cut revealed way too much grey for me to live with. It's short and easy to deal with.

Today I'll be spending much of my day right here at my desk. You can see the toys under the monitor. I'll start the day looking at the schedule and looking up phone numbers and calling people to remind them they have appointments. We are scheduled through till 4:30. It's raining and that always af…
You know, I realize in my head that as it is becoming spring here in the north, that it is becoming fall in the south. I just never think of it in terms of holidays like Easter. It must be strange to celebrate a holiday that is all about rebirth and new life in the fall. Here, it seems to be a natural thing, chicks and lambs and bunnies and flowers blooming. After all those years of going back to school, I sometimes associate fall with new beginnings, just different ones.

And in my mind the words January and February scream Winter!Cold!Ice!. And July and August are definitely connected to Hot!Sweaty!Humid!. It's just an odd thought for a Monday morning where the temp is 38 degrees F (3 degrees C) and is expected to rise to 58 F (14C) by the end of the day. It's hard to know how to dress. I really could have used some gloves this morning but it felt silly since it's April.

I had an Australian co-worker for a few years. He was always amused that we didn't have Easter Mon…
Happy Easter. I've always enjoyed Easter, not necessarily as a religious holiday but as the harbinger of Spring. I know in all reality that there were rainy Easters in my life but in my memory, they're all tender, spring days.
When the girls were little, we hid eggs, sometimes in the house and some years in the yard. Plastic eggs filled with coins or candy. It was great fun and I remember hearing the cats batting the eggs across the floor during the night. There were baskets with chocolate bunnies and toys and other goodies. I spent considerable time finding the perfect basket fixin's. This year, I waited until the last minute because I wasn't sure I was feeling the whole "basket thing". When I headed out to the grocery store, I decided I was going to do baskets but not big ones. I went to Kmart and found some smaller baskets that are cute. I got some good chocolate on sale and some jelly beans. One has to have jelly beans on Easter. As always, we …
It's a rainy Saturday morning. The windows are open because when we went to bed last night, it was still fairly warm and I like sleeping with the windows open. This morning is grey, and chilly and is raining steadily. Pk won't be able to work on the car but he's surprisingly ok with that. His back is a little sore from all the bending over yesterday. He finally got most of the parts unassembled (this is why it would have been an expensive repair, the labor) and today was going to finish the unassembling and start the reassembling. But not today. Today he's going to rebuild his computer and sit on the shiatsu massage cushion I gave him for Christmas.

I thought I'd share what's on my needles today. This is my April Brown Bag sock. It's Tofutsie and the pattern is Tidal Wave, designed for this very thin, splitty yarn. It's perfect for summer socks but often a pain to work with. You can really feel the cotton. You can see my wip tube in the photo. I ordered …
Isn't this a lovely photo? NOT! I tried to take a photo of my lovely girls while we were at Em's house last week for her birthday and she would not cooperate. So, once again, there is a shot in which people are restraining Emily in order to get her into the picture. I even tried the 'mom guilt' thing (I must be slipping because it didn't work) by telling her (truthfully) that I didn't have any photos of her because they were lost in the Great Computer ReBuild of 09. And my heart was broken by this. No dice. The best I could do was have everyone try to hold her down. You can see part of Pk's head and El is in the back and that's Kate in the front. It's blurry and really an awful photo but I thought I'd share it anyway. We had a lovely time at Em's. She got some nice presents and made a delicious dinner. And there were no photos of the birthday girl.The RoadThe road goes ever ever onDown from the door where it beganNow far away the…
I went to bed at 9:30 last night but you wouldn't know it by my energy level today. I'm dragging, really dragging. It's a short week and today is my last day and all I have to do is get through it. I was too late to eat at home so I'm eating a cereal bar and some milk here at my desk. Not quite the same.... The HR representative didn't like the way the doctor filled out the FMLA forms and I have to call and make another appointment to do them again. The doctor didn't put down a "course of treatment". I think that means she didn't write down that she wrote me a prescription and said to drink plenty of fluids and rest. It boggles the mind that I have to waste the time of a medical professional to write that. And just when I was thinking it was safe to stick my head up out of the trench.....
And because Kate was at the zoo on Tuesday and we were talking about animals, I remembered I have this book of poems by Ogden Nash. So, I'll leave you with a …
In honor of National Poetry Month, I want to share one of my favorites.

Halfway Down

Halfway down the stairs is a stair'where I sit. There isn't any other stair quite like it. I'm not at the bottom, I'm not at the top; So this is the stair where I always stop.

Halfway up the stairs isn't up and isn't down. It isn't in the nursery, it isn't in the town. And all sorts of funny thoughts run round my head: "It isn't really anywhere! It's somewhere else instead!"

--A. A. Milne (from When We Were Very Young)

In the realm of great poetry, it probably doesn't deserve a mention. But all poetry doesn't have to have deep meaning and provoke profound thought. Sometimes it's ok for it to just make us smile. And this makes me smile.

And because it's Wednesday and therefore no real reason at all, here is another favorite from Mr. Milne

When I was One I was just begun.
When I was Two I was nearly new.
When I was Three I was hardly me.
When I was Four I was not muc…
Some random Tuesday morning thoughts.

*I really hate it when someone on the train has one of those phones that work like a walkie-talkie and they hold loud conversations early in the morning.

*Most people don't look good in animal prints (like head to toe leopard)

*The guy in front of me on the train was a slow reader. I was way ready for him to change the page of the newspaper he was reading (and I was reading over his shoulder) before he was.

*There is a wasp nest the size of a socer ball high up in a tree that is on my way to work. I am allergic to stings so I am fascinated by the size of this thing. I thought at first that it was a bag or something that got caught. But I stopped the car and looked and sure enough, it's a nest. I spent much of the train ride trying to estimate how many wasps are asleep in there (when I wasn't reading the paper).

*I am not ready for Easter and have to keep reminding myself that it's Sunday. I guess since the kids aren't small anymore …
This morning's commute was interesting. As we got out of the car at the train station (we ride PATCO, an electric train that runs over the Ben Franklin bridge into Philadelphia) there were big fat drops falling out of a dark sky. It was very still, the kind of stillness that precedes a storm. We got onto the train and I swore I heard thunder but Peter Kevin said he thought it was a train. Riding toward Phila, there was no doubt about the thunder as the sky got even darker and lightning flashed repeatedly and the rain poured down.

Now, imagine riding through an electrical storm, on an electrical train. Scary? You bet. Pk kept reassuring me that the train was well grounded and there was nothing to worry about. Fortunately, we rode right through the storm and came out the other side so when I got off the train, it was not pouring. It was wet and there were puddles everywhere but I made it into work dry. Something to be thankful for!

And now by popular demand,

Chocolate Almond Torte

Good Sunday morning. It's early. Way too early for any sensible person to be out of bed. I'm actually still in bed, or rather, on the bed, using my laptop. I was so tired when we got home from Em's last night that I didn't post. Four days into the month and I dropped the ball. I'll try to do better.

As promised, photos of the chocolate torte. I found the recipe in a magazine advertisement for almonds. I made it to take to a holiday party the first year we were married. Pk loved it so much, it became part of our holiday baking. Being a torte, it uses almost no flour, only 2 tablespoons. The rest of the dry ingredients are made up by finely ground almonds. I used super dark chocolate, butter and vanilla (we were out of rum, the usual flavoring) and mixed it together with a little sugar(and no leavening ingredients) to get this very rich batter. Which goes into the pan that is covered with butter and ground almonds, not flour. I used parchment paper cut into a circle t…