Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Well, it looks like my holiday vacation will be a little longer than I anticipated.  I was due to go back to work today but have been running a low grade fever and have had a major sinus headache for the last few days.  After a visit to the doctor, I have a diagnosis of a sinus/throat/ear infection and a prescription for an antibiotic with instructions to rest and drink lots of fluids.  I thought I read somewhere (in a medical journal article) that sinus infections go away by themselves but the doctor said that's not the case.  "the pressure may go away but the bacteria stays and flares up".  Which is what happened to me.  I've been having sinus headaches since Thanksgiving but have taken some excedrin and ignored them.  They finally got to the point where my ear was hurting and I won't tell you what the doctor said about my throat.  Let's just say, it's an image I didn't want to carry around with me.  I called into work and was reminded of the three day rule and the paperwork that will have to be done.......there's a price for everything.  (oh, and the doctor said he was sorry I was sick but he was glad to see me.  He wanted to tell me he'd seen Avatar and wanted to know what I thought about it.  I promised to see it before I see him again for my regular visit in Feb. I love this guy!)

I have almost finished Under the Dome (Stephen King) and it's good.  It's such a spot on examination of group mentality and what a few not-so-good people can do to make life hell for everyone else. 

I finished the socks for Elanor on Christmas Eve.  She loved them and put them right on her feet so there's no photographic evidence.  Pk loved his socks and said he didn't realize they were for him although he watched me knit them.  I needed a simple satisfying pattern to work on that didn't tax my hurting brain so I pulled out my favorite sock pattern, Go with the Flow (from 25 Favorite Socks).  It's my go to pattern when I need something easy.  I used the Patonyle that Ceri sent me and let me say, I'm in love.  I looked for it online and it seems to be available only in Australia.  It is sooooo nice to work with.  It just feels good and the stitches look beautiful.  When the meds start working and my head hurts a little less, I'll work on Pk's sweater but for now, these are it.

I wanted you to see the difference one day of rain and temps in the 50's (11 C) make on 2 feet of snow. 

This is my front yard and street early on 12/19.  And this is what it looked like a week later,  Sunday (12/27) morning after 24 hours of rain.  It amazed us that all that snow could disappear so quickly.  We enjoyed it for the week it hung around.    It didn't take long to clean up the water that came in and Pk has been working in guyville the past two days.  It's cold out there, only 22 degrees (-5 C) but he's getting some things ready for his package that has to be mailed off this week.  Our forcast calls for more snow/rain on Thursday.  I hope it's not too bad because I'd like to go up and see Em and Jim over the weekend.  I shouldn't be contagious at that point. 

Pk and I have no plans for New Year's Eve.  When we were younger, we hosted parties but it's not one of my favorite holidays.  We'll probably find some movies and eat some snacks and just spend the evening together.

What could be better than an evening spent with your best guy?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I was in the school chorus for many years.  One of my very favorite songs was this one:

The Twelve Days After Christmas

(Frederick Silver)

(Not sung to the same tune as the other song!)

The first day after Christmas, my true love and I had a fight.
And so I chopped the pear tree down and burned it just for spite.
Then, with a single cartridge, I shot that blasted partridge,
That my true love, my true love gave to me.

The second day after Christmas, I pulled on the old rubber gloves
And very gently wrung the necks of both the turtle doves,
My true love, my true love, my true love gave to me.

The third day after Christmas, my mother caught the croup;
I had to use the three French hens to make some chicken soup.
The four calling birds were a big mistake,
For their language was obsence .
The five gold rings were completely fake
And they turned my fingers gree.

The sixth day after Christmas, the six laying geese wouldn't lay:
I gave the whole darn gaggle to the ASPCA.

On the seventh day what a mess I found:
All seven of the swimming swans had drowned,
My true love, my true love, my true love gave to me.

The eighth day after Christmas, before they could suspect,
I bundled up the . . .
Eight maids a-milking,
Nine pipers piping,
Ten ladies dancing,
'Leven lords a-leaping,
Twelve drummers drumming

(spoken) Well, actually I kept one of the drummers(girls)

Well, actually I kept one of the maids a-milking(boys)

And sent them back collect.
I wrote my true love, "We are through, love"
And I said in so many words,
"Furthermore your Christmas gifts were for the birds!"

I loved this song and it came to mind as I was sitting to write this post.  It's the first day after Christmas (the words, not the sentiment brought the song to mind!) and the tree is softly glowing and the house is quiet.

We had a lovely day yesterday.  I left the camera upstairs and promised Em it would be a "no picture" holiday since she hates it so much.  She was suitably grateful.  Em and Jim spent the night Christmas Eve after helping us to decorate our tree.  Much punch was consumed and sandwiches and keilbasa and cheese and cookies and eggnog and beer.  In between eating, the tree got dressed and the presents were put underneath and the stockings were filled.  Pk and I were in bed and asleep (!) by 11 pm.  That's how we know we're really old.

We got up early and Kate and Patrick came in around 7:30.  We had hot chocolate and babka and opened presents and exclamations of surprise and joy filled the room.  Em was pleased with her Easy Bake oven (something she has wanted FOREVER and since she mentioned it again at Thanksgiving, I gave in and got her one.  She's only 23 after all) and El was thrilled with her new mp3 player and Kate and Patrick are already planning what to cook in their new wok.

Pk got a bench grinder which he put together and can't wait for the rain to stop so he can go outside to "guyville" (otherwise known as the garage) and play.  There's an inch of rain on the floor out there today.  I got some much needed shirts and some roving and some really great books (a new Sookie Stackhouse and the new D. Gabaldon outlander book). 

We had omelets and then Jim and Em went home to cook dinner for Jim's parents and Pk, El and I had a quiet dinner here. 

All in all, pretty near a perfect day.  And then it rained last night and most of today.  All 2 feet of the snow is gone.  It's unbelievable how fast it melted with the warm day and the rain.  We've been running the pump in the crawlspace all day and the water still got into the rec room.  This usually doesn't happen unless we get inordinate amounts of rain.  But all than snow had to go somewhere.  And it chose the path of least resistance and ran right down into our house (and probably my neighbors, too).  Ah, well, at least there's no more ice on the roads......

Tomorrow we'll clean up the mess (it's not really that bad, we've set up the rec room so that if it floods, nothing gets ruined) and then spend the day playing with our Christmas toys.  I got some mohair roving and I look forward to spinning some of it.   And hopefully, guyville will be dry enough for Pk to get out there.   I started his sweater today and am making some cozies for woodworking tools.  He wants to send them to his swap partner as part of his Galoot-a-clause package.  I chose a chunky wool and I'll just make a tube and put a drawstring in it.  I'm not good at visualizing things like this so we'll see.  I'll take a photo when it's done.

I hope you all had some peace and joy and holiday cheer.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's Christmas Eve and things are moving apace here.  I have about half a foot left on the sock (and can totally see myself finishing it).  Pk and I are running out to get our space heaters back from my  brother who borrowed them last week.  Our living room can be cold and I want to heat it tomorrow morning.

I have to make the annual torte (without which the holiday will not happen, I have this on good authority) and wait for Emily to come down.  Her housemates were not particularly enthusiastic about her holiday cookie endeavors so I invited her to make some with me.  We LOVE cookies and appreciate them muchly.

We'll make some gingerbread cookies and some spritz. 

I made the most delicious eggnog yesterday.  It's actually called 'coquino' and is a recipe from one of my bowling buddies years ago.  It has cream of coconut in it and it's sooooo good.  I also made the babkas so that's one less thing to do today. 

I plan to have a pleasant, easy going day. 

And in case I don't see you all,

Have a Happy Holiday!  May Santa bring you peace and joy.

With lots of love and affection,

Donna Lee

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Good morning and Happy Christmas Adam!

What?  You don't have Christmas Adam?  You don't know what Christmas Adam is?  Well, if Adam supposedly came before Eve and tomorrow is Christmas Eve......

So, Happy Christmas Adam.

I am off for the next week.  I know the week will fly by but I'm determined to enjoy as much of it as I can.  It's a sunny day today which means it's blinding because of the snow.  The temps have been slightly above freezing so it's slowly melting.  We're due for some rain at the end of the week and since my house is at the bottom of a hill we're going to be inundated with rain and melting snow.  Good thing we have a sturdy pump.

Pk walked down and met me after work yesterday and we went to a place that is close to Heaven on Earth (at least to me), Lore's chocolates.  It's a small store in downtown Philadelphia where the chocolates are handmade.  We bought some chocolate covered cherries and some chocolate straws.  We restrained ourselves and only bought what we went in there for.  I know lots of folks don't like chocolate covered cherries because of the sweetness factor.  But, these are dark chocolate and the coating is not too sweet so it balances out the cherry inside.  We love them (probably more than is decent).

We got home and had some dinner and pretty much vegged all evening.  Today Pk is shopping and I am baking.  I have eggnog to make and the fixings for some wine punch.  As a wedding gift we received a beautiful punch bowl.  It's cranberry colored glass and looks like someone made a sphere and cut in half.  It's plain and smooth with a design blown into the glass.  We've used it a handful of times and I wanted to use it this year.  I'll make some wine punch (now that my children are grown this is a more practical idea than when they were little and it was only Pk and I) and serve it on Christmas Eve. 

So, things here are moving inexorably toward the holiday.  I don't feel overwhelmed, just excited.  Christmas seems to bring out the child in me, not that she is ever very far from the surface anyway!  I have half a sock to finish in the next two days.  I think I can do it but I pricked my finger while putting the name on my coworker's stocking and it hurts.  It slows me down somewhat and I am not a fast knitter on the best of days.  I remain hopeful.

Monday, December 21, 2009

On the way to work this morning, the train was stopped between stations and moving along at a foot at a time.  We'd stop and sit and then move a little and then stop some more.  We were wondering what was going on (and figured it was weather related) when the conductor came on and said, "Good morning folks.  We're in for an adventure here but I promise we'll get to Westmont (one of the next stops)  Just a little problem with the third rail ". (the train is electric)  Pk and I chuckled.  It's nice to hear someone with a sense of humor. This is the road behind my house.  Pretty, isn't it?    Like powdered sugar.

I don't know if I told you about the coworker who asked me to teach him to knit  the first week in Dec.  It was asked in passing and I said "sure" and kept walking.  When I had a chance, I stopped back and asked what he wanted to knit.  "A stocking for my daughter" (his little girl is 9 months old).  He wanted to make a stocking and put a poem in it or a note describing how it feels to be her father.  I thought this was very sweet but was pretty sure he could not knit one in less than three weeks.  I offered to come up with some craft he could do in the limited time available.  That weekend, I found a needle felted stocking kit and bought it.  Since Dec. 4th he has been in my office most mornings, learning a new craft (and me, too, since I'd never needle felted anything!) and talking about how excited he was to be doing this.  I promised him that if it wasn't done by the 21st that I would take it home and finish it so he would have it by Christmas.

This morning, I added some french knots (he just couldn't get the hang of them) and sewed it together.  He loved it but asked me to put his daughter's name on it.  I did that first thing after I got home tonight so it would be sure to be done.  And here it is.  His wife is skeptical and I can't wait till she sees it.  She bought a stocking because she didn't want something tacky and "glittery".    I think this is beautiful because every bit of it is filled with a father's love for his daughter.  He is so proud and so am I.  This may be my favorite holiday gift.  I got to help someone achieve something that he didn't think he could.  And how cool is that?

Pk and Elanor are out shopping.  I spent the evening wrapping the last of the gifts (phew).  Now all I have to do is some baking and I'm off the 23rd and 24th so I have plenty of time.  I have some knitting I'd like to get done and I'll be working on that, too.

And because I know you're dying to know what the cats have doing with all this snow, I'll show you.  Hobbes is closest to the front and Calvin is curled up against the laptop sucking up the heat.  They haven't moved much in the last few days.  Hobbes, who likes to sit out front and watch the world go by, is distraught.  The sidewalk is too cold for him to sit on and there isn't too far he can go.  He'd sink over his head.  He likes to sit in front of the door and have someone hold it open for him to sniff the outdoor air. Which we do not do because as my mother said very often, "we're not paying to heat the outdoors".    So, the next best thing is.....sleeping.    I'm trudging through the snow and slush to go to work and they're sleeping on the bed in a nest of blankets. Who rules this roost?

Yep.  They definitely do.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

This is what the front of our house looked like at 9:30 am on Saturday.  We decided we'd go to the Farmer's Market early and get kielbasa for the holidays. 

Unfortunately, our car had other plans.  We had so much trouble getting any traction (I have 4 wheel drive and I think I need new tires) that we opted to pull right back into the driveway and stay there.  Better to be stuck at home than on a road somewhere!

So what did we do all day?  Besides watch the snow, I mean?  We baked cookies!   Peter Kevin wielded the pizelle iron and made a double batch of cookies.  Some he drizzled with chocolate.  They're delicious.  I have to apologize for the flash photos, it was snowing and rather gray.

I made a batch of rogaliki (butter horns) and I'm not happy with them.  They taste great but they spread way more than they should have.  This is probably because I used Plugra instead of our regular butter.  This was done with Pk's blessing (these are his favorite of all the cookies we make).  Plugra is butter with extra butter fat, the one the pastry chefs use.  We've been seeing it in the store and decided to try some.  While it made the cookies taste good, the added fat made them spread too much.

Next up were sugar cookies.  We had the usual range of mooses, cows, bells, trees, etc.  And snowflakes covered in 100's and 1000's.  Pk, El and I decorated them last night.  It's always an event when we do this. We start out all creative and artistic and then fizzle out at the end as we get tired of all the frosting.

Today, I'll make the dough for some spiral cookies El likes and she'll make spritz and if I'm feeling ambitious, I'll make a babka today and freeze it and then make another one later in the week.  One is never enough.

Pk is going to make omlettes for breakfast (he makes a mean omlette) and then start shoveling.  It'll probably take a while since we got 20 inches of snow.  It's beautiful but it'll be a pain to dig out.  And we have to go to work tomorrow.  I'm so glad it snowed over the weekend.  Tomorrow will be a mess and people will not be able to get in for their appts and I'll be hustling to reschedule them.  I only work Monday and Tuesday and then I'm off until next Tuesday so I'll have to do what I can.

Oh, here's our side gate.  This is taken out my bedroom window.  That's a 4 foot fence and gate.  The screen was frozen and when I tried to force it up to take a photo, it fell out into the snow below.  Pk says he'll get it later when he shovels.  It looks like this all over.  Because it was windy, there are large drifts  and some things have entirely disappeared.  I was enjoying thinking of Bells sitting in her shorts drinking an iced beverage!  We consumed large quantities of hot drinks yesterday and I'll probably make a pot of cocoa for breakfast.

It looks like we're housebound again today and I'm ok with that.   I like being forced to do things like bake and knit or spin.   Em and Pk were supposed to go shopping but I don't think that's going to happen.  I could be wrong.....they're intrepid.  And I see on the news that the stores are open today. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tonight: A chance of snow after 1am. Cloudy, with a low around 24. Northeast wind between 5 and 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Saturday: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 30. Blustery, with a north wind between 18 and 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.
Saturday Night: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 22. Blustery, with a north wind between 18 and 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
Sunday: A chance of snow before noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 33. Northwest wind between 13 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

This is our weather forcast for the weekend.  There's a chance for a total of 18 inches of precipitation.  It's unusual for us to get such a storm so early in the winter (it's not technically winter yet, not until Monday).  I am sooooo glad we took today off and finished the holiday shopping.  Pk and I went out this morning and got some things and then we came home and picked up El and got our tree.  It smells good.  Like amy, we always have a real tree.  The township mulches them so they don't go totally to waste.  It's a different type this year, a Fraiser fir.  We usually get a Douglas fir but for some reason this year they were all too small.  And Pk likes a big tall tree.

Peter Kevin and I went to the grocery store.  It was our regular biweekly trip but we had to compete with all the 'storm shoppers'.  You know those people.  The ones who are afraid they'll be snowed in for possibly DAYS and won't have milk or eggs or bread and will DIE!  Only once in the last 20 years have we gotten enough snow that we had to stay in the house.  We got all the groceries we need for the next two weeks and for the holiday.  We're set.  I have enough ingredients to make all kinds of cookies.  I'm looking forward to it especially since it will be snowing all weekend. (Pk and Emily are supposed to go shopping on Sunday but I guess it'll depend on the weather.)

We put the food away and El and I went out to finish our shopping.  It was crowded but not unpleasantly so.  I wasn't in a hurry so I didn't mind all the people.  The funniest part was that the boot section was a mess and there were no boots left.  I noticed the shoe store had a full lot, too.  Probably people looking for boots.  One of the hardware stores had a sign up that said, "NO, we don't have any shovels.  Don't even ask" and I overheard one of the Target workers' walky talkies going off about how they had no shovels or snow melt.  I feel positively prescient.  I bought two bottles of environmentally friendly (non salt) snow melt this morning at the drug store.  And we have at least one snow shovel.  My brother has a snow blower if it's really that bad.

Snow is a pain in the ass, I'll admit.  But because it's not a frequent visitor around here, it's gives everything a holiday feel.  We're looking forward to it.  I hope you are having a good pre-holiday weekend and the weather where you are does not impede your plans!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Because I can't help myself, here's the inspiration for today:

It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.

~The Dalai Lama

When I think of all the people in the history of the world I think I'd like to meet and talk to, the current Dalai Lama is at the top of the list.  He seems to be a strong, yet gentle man.  I don't know what he's like in private, but in public, he is calm and peaceful and seems at home wherever he goes.  I envy that.  It's a quality I try to emulate but don't achieve very often.  The world seems to be able to get under my skin too easily.  As I sit through endless meetings today, I will be trying very hard to generate a good attitude. 

Pk and I took tomorrow off.  It'll give us a day to go and finish our joint shopping and get our tree.  I have shopping to do over the weekend but not too much.  Em is coming down to shop with Pk on Sunday.  I asked him why the girls never offer to shop with me for him.  He said "they know I'm incompetent".  I wonder what they think he did before they were born........At least this year he's not shopping on the 24th which was his habit until a few years ago.

I'm feeling some holiday excitement.  The weather is cold and the air is so clear.  The only disturbing thing about this is that there are stars out when I leave for work and stars out when I get home. I watch the sun go down as I pull onto my street.  I've seen some beautiful sunrises and sunsets but not much sun lately except out my office window.

My little bit of holiday knitting is moving along.  I really like the pattern I chose.  It's the Wishbone pattern from the IK knitted accessories book.  I know.  The magazine was expensive and had a ton of repeat patterns but since I am not a long time knitter, I don't have the issues with those patterns in them.  There are a lot that I really like and I don't regret buying it.

And check out the new issue of Knitty.  I found the sweater for Pk's alpaca.  The Mr. Darcy sweater.  I think the alpaca will let it drape just the way he wants it to but I'll be sure to swatch in the pattern to make sure.  He saw it and said 'that's it' so there you have it.  In my mind, Pk is my Mr. Darcy .  Which reminds me of an exchange I was part of on Tuesday.  One person said that he was "trying" to get along with his wife.  The other said, "I think after a few years, other people start looking more interesting than your spouse".  They agreed to this and I HAD to speak up.  I said, "I don't agree.  My husband is still the most interesting person I know and the first one I think of when I hear something interesting to share".  They looked at me like I was some naive bumpkin and someday I'd learn.  I reminded them I've been married for 28 years and if I was going to lose interest, it would have happened by now.  I don't think I convinced them.

Ok.  Time to go and generate that good attitude and check some phone messages and emails and start the paperwork that makes up a good portion of my day.  Have a good one!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This is one of the coolest videos I've seen/heard in a while (almost as cool as extreme sheep herding!) 

Make sure the volume is turned up and then close your eyes and listen.

Is it rain?

Rain Sound - Funny blooper videos are here

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Because I can't show you any knitting (it's been raining so it's dark and I've just finished one small gift and am in the middle of another), I thought I'd share some of Pk's grocery sculpture.   This was the trip before Thanksgiving (thus the can of cranberry sauce in the lower left-my family likes the homemade fruit relish but I love the canned stuff). 

Grocery shopping is one of those chores that you have to do if you want to eat but sometimes it gets boring.  Pk is really good about helping me shop and then helping me unpack and put the groceries away.  But he is much more creative about it.  I just put the cold stuff on the counter to be put in the refrigerator.  He stacks it just so and makes designs with it.  Life is never dull around here.

The nice IT guy at work called me today and said my computer is fixed.  He cleaned it up and gave me some new software to keep track of 'malware' and brought it back to me this afternoon.  I was so pleased and repeatedly thanked him.  Of course now there is no reason for me not doing my note writing.  There's a price for everything.

I'm going out for lunch with our clients tomorrow.  Every year we all go to lunch around the holidays.  It's a buffet and the food is 'fair'.  I look at it as a day outside of the building and something different. 

I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies tonight.  Not for the holidays but for today.  For some reason I was craving a cookie.  They made the house smell like vanilla and butter.  It's almost too good.

There is absolutely nothing going on around here and you know what?  It's great.  It makes for boring blog posts but for a relaxed me.  Friday night Pk and I will do some shopping and then I'll finish mine alone.  Saturday we get our tree and he'll do his shopping.  Sunday we have grocery shopping (again? already? but I just went 2 weeks ago!) and then the holiday baking begins.  But it's at a pace I can deal with.  I'm not much of a holiday martyr anymore.  I actually enjoy the preparation and the gift buying.  I got the best present the other night and can't wait until I get to give it on Christmas morning.  I'll make sure to have the camera ready.......THIS is what I like best.  The secrecy and surprise (although I am not terribly good with secrets). 

Only 10 more days to go.  I hope I can hold out.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'm an English Major (Garrison Keilor says "once an English major, always an English major").  I kind of fell into the social work field because I was watching my brother play little league ball and a neighbor was starting a new progam at a child welfare association and asked if I was interested.  I was looking for work so I said Yes.  And from that start, I ended up working with psychiatrists and psychologists in a mental health center.

I kept the fascination with words.  Spelling is a "thing" for me.  I've always been able to spell and I'm positive it's something you're born with.  Pk can't spell to save his life (yet, he's one of the smartest and most well read people I know).  Lately, I've had to stop and think about spelling and I hate it.  It's part of getting older and on bad days I tell myself it's early onset alzheimer's.

I have the word of the day come in my email.  It's rare for them to find a word I've not heard of.  I can't always immediately come up with the definition but usually after some thought I can.  All of this is a long explanation for the Urban Dictionary Word of the Day.  The Urban Dictionary is great.  It's a dictionary of slang so when someone uses a phrase I've never heard of (and am sure the Mr. Webster didn't include in his book), I can look it up. And it's full of words and phrases that should be in the dictionary.  Today's phrase is:


The feeling of being overworked, underappreciated and like you don't exist to others during the holidays while in actuality the season's success depends on you.

The sense of being 3 feet small when others would view you in high stature if they realized all you do to make the holiday's happen.

I think Hermey is having some elf-esteem issues. He's pulling the stuffing out of all the teddy bears.

It made me laugh this morning.  It brings to mind all the "holiday martyrs" that seem to be about this time of year.  I used to be one.  I just knew if something happened to me, the holidays wouldn't happen.  Then I dislocated my ankle on the 17th of December with shopping and baking and everything else left to do.  I learned to delegate and Christmas came that year just like every other one.  Now, I let other people do the things they like to do.  El likes to make spritz cookies and pizelles.  She's not a cook but she can do this and do it well.   And then she gets the satisfaction of helping prepare for the holiday.

We're in for a nasty day weather-wise today.  "Wintry mix" is the phrase they use when it's just going to be cold, wet precipitation.  I think I'll stay right here on the bed and knit.  I have some movies to watch so it's all good.
Some hot cocoa might be nice.  I wonder if I can get one of those elves to make some?

Friday, December 11, 2009

My computer at work died today.  I got in and the screen was blank.  I don't turn off my machine because we have trouble with IP addresses and if I lose mine I don't get an internet connection.  But today I couldn't revive it.  I was distraught.  Not because all of my work is computer based now, but because I couldn't get online to catch up with blogs and things.  Kinda shows you where my priorities lie,huh?

I did what I could.  I made phone calls and checked charts and prepared for the clinics on Monday and that was done by 11 am.  I had 5 more hours to go.  Fortunately, my treatment plans are all done and my notes are caught up so I didn't have to go find an empty office and use someone else's machine. 

The IT guy agreed with me that it's probably the power supply and he was very sorry but he didn't have a loaner.  As long as it's only a few days, I'll be ok.  After that, I'll go bonkers.  Today I worked on a sock and listened to a book on my mp3 player.  It doesn't sound bad but it made the time go very slowly.

We have a nice weekend of doing mostly nothing ahead.  There's some shopping to be finished but that'll have to wait until we get paid on the 18th.  Some things I ordered online have to be wrapped but that won't take too long.  It feels like a gift to be given a free weekend with no expectations.

Pk and I have been watching videos of Eddie Izzard.  He's a stand up commedian and he's hilarious.  My chest hurt I was laughing so hard.  He's been performing for over 10 years and we've heard of him but never watched.  It was great fun.  Now we're going to cruise netflix to see if they have any other of his performances.

Dinner tonight is red beans and rice.  I'm not a fan of beans but I'll eat this.  It's delicious.  Kate makes 'red and rice'.  She doesn't like beans at all and leaves them out.  Have a good Friday night!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

While browsing around ravelry yesterday (what?  you don't do this at work? be honest, now!), I came across some threads about the holidays.  One was started by a woman who was trying to keep things a surprise for her family by switching names on presents and moving the tags, etc.  It sounded like a lot of work to me.  This has not been a problem for me.  I always keep the presents upstairs until Christmas Eve.  Once the tree is decorated and the mess cleaned up, then we bring the presents down.  (Then we ooooh and aaaahhhh at the sight).  I always tried to keep the presents a secret but I told the girls when they were young that I couldn't stop them from snooping but that they would be really disappointed Christmas morning when nothing was a surprise.  For some reason, this worked.  As far as I know, no one ever seriously snooped.  And if they did, I don't want to know about it(I'm looking at you Elanor, Emily and Katie!)

Bells said something yesterday and it was reiterated all across the threads I was reading.  She said:
Someone said to me recently, 'children make christmas' and that hurts. I am aware that this is probably true and I have cried knowing that once again we are facing a christmas where our little lost ones are not here. But I am spending Christmas with my nephew and a new niece and so it is not childless.
 For some reason, that made me sad.  I remembered my mother always said "christmas is for the children".  As a child, I didn't question that wisdom.  As an adult I deny it wholeheartedly.  I think children experience the holiday very differently than adults but that doesn't mean that it has no meaning if there are not children involved.

I remember the first couple of Christmases Pk and I spent together.  It was just the two of us and a few friends (bad feelings between us and my parents).  My memories of those holidays are that they were joyous and loving (and my book backs this memory up).  When the girls were born, it changed the way we celebrated but not the feelings involved.  The love was always there.  I think Christmas is for anyone who wants it.  No matter how old you are or whom you spend it with.  It's for me and you and all those we love and cherish.  I guess this sound a little naive and I have been accused many times of always looking for the bright spot. 

I will not deny that holidays bring out strong feelings both good and bad.  If you're longing for something or someone and they're not there, it hurts.  Of course it hurts.  And sometimes all you can do is get through it.  But even in the midst of the hurt, there is some little spark of tenderness that can grow into a bit of joy.  It's why we can laugh through our tears.

Anyway, that's what I think.  And so that I don't end on too philosphical a note, here's a video that Pk sent me yesterday.  He said "I thought you could post it on your blog for all your fibery friends". 


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm sitting here at my desk being terribly impressed by the fact that my feet are dry.  Why is that, you ask?  Well, because we are being inundated with torrential rains and high winds.  My pants are wet and my coat and mittens are wet but my toes remain dry.  This is thanks to the wool socks I am wearing and my danskos which have 2 inch thick soles to keep my feet out of the puddles.  In about 20 minutes I am walking down the block to eat breakfast compliments of Pennsylvania Hospital.  They give all their employees a meal at the holidays.  I usually go to breakfast since that's my favorite meal of the day.

I know that there are lots of ways to feel about the upcoming holidays.  I seem to read a lot of posts in which people are bemoaning that we have holidays. I understand this.  This has been a tough year for me.  I lost a cousin, an uncle and my mother.  My daughter had a major surgery.  It feels like there was very little quiet time for a while there.  I am looking forward to this holiday as a way to celebrate that we made it through the stress and are still in one piece. 

We have traditions (which seem to revolve around food) that are comforting.  I didn't grow up with these. Pk and I made them ourselves.  Some became traditions because the kids decided they liked them and some because they just made us happy.  Decorating the tree on Christmas Eve started out as a way to extend the surprise and the Wow factor.  It was so very cool to see the girls' faces when they first saw the tree with the presents under it.  When they went to bed, the tree was bare.  When they woke up, it was lit up and shiny.  It's a memory of late nights trying to be quiet as we wrestled with lights and ornaments as they slept on.  When they got older, they joined in the fun and now it's a family activity that no one misses.  I know that when they have children, this will change but for now, I'm enjoying it.

And our Christmas book.  1981 was our first Christmas together.  We bought a book and started recording our holidays.  It's filled with funny rememberances and special guests and presents and fun times.  There are blurbs about what was happening in the world and in our family.  The time the car died on the 24th, and the year we ALL had the flu, and the year each girl was born and the year......You get the picture.  It's the thing we all look for as the decorations come out (it gets put away with the christmas stuff).  Someone reads parts of it aloud and we laugh at ourselves.  We are a strange lot.  Pk and i bought one for Em when she moved out and now it's time to get one for Kate.  It's important to remember these things.  They can bring such joy (and in my case sentimental tears).

Is there something that you cannot do without during the holidays? 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I went to the doctor and he had a look at my hands.  There are some small bumps on the joints of my fingers.  He checked for circulation (seems to be fine) and then said I should have a set of xrays done.  This will determine whether the bumps are arthritis or something called calcification tendonitis.  In arthritis the bumps are on the bones.  If it's the tendonitis, then the bumps are on the tendons.   I'm hoping for the arthritis because there are drugs and therapy available for that.  There are things to do for the tendonitis but most of the info I could find has to do with shoulders.  He said to keep up with whatever activity does not cause increased pain and to take ibuprofen for inflamation and pain. 

I've only got two full weeks and then I'm off for a week for the holiday.  I can't wait.  Pk and I are taking a few days around Christmas and then because New Year's Day is on a Friday, we'll have another long weekend.  I'm really looking forward to it.  And just like every other year, time seems to speed up the closer the holiday gets.  I've managed to wrap gifts as I go along so I won't be faced with a load of wrapping at the end.  I'll finish my shopping next week and then the week before the holiday is baking time.  It doesn't feel pressured because I don't let it.  My blood pressure doesn't need the added stress. 

I'm making some cupcakes for the pot luck at work with my coworkers and then a big batch for our client party on the 22nd.  We've had a party for the clients every year but the drug companies used to pay for them.  Not anymore.  Since the health system ruled out all "extras" and advertising from the drug companies, we don't get things like parties for the clients.  Now, the money for food comes out of our budget.  I volunteered to make some cupcakes.  A party needs desert! 

I'm not doing any planned holiday knitting so there is no pressure there.  I am working on something I'd like to have done and probably will but if it doesn't get done, no big deal.  I keep looking at the holiday fo's on ravelry and am constantly amazed by the beauty of the projects.  I was remembering Mr. Rogers and his sweaters.  His mother made all of them.  There were 12 people in her family and she used to pass the pattern book around at Christmas and everyone would choose their sweater for next year and she'd be off!  I don't think I'm that dedicated.

Kate finished moving out and it is so strange to walk up the stairs and see an empty room.  Have I said this before?  If so, I apologize.  It's the first time in 26 yrs we've had an empty room and it's weird.  She is getting settled in her new place.  Remember how that felt?  I bought her some flour, sugar, butter and some cookie sheets so she can have some Christmas cookies of her own.   She's trying to balance work and making her own Christmas traditions. 

So, how are things going in your neck of the woods?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Good morning!  It's a sunny Sunday morning here in southern NJ.  Although yesterday was not so pleasant.  It was our first rain/snow storm of the year.  This is what it looked outside for most of the afternoon.  It was cold but not enough to really snow so we got a mixture all day.

This morning our backyard has a dusting of the white stuff.  That's the area where the pool used to stand.  It still looks funny to me to see it empty.  I spent most of yesterday sitting by the window watching the precipitation and spinning.  I'm supposed to be spinning for my group but I think I messed up my roving (I tried to mix the colors together on the carder and I made some knotty bits in it) and now it will need to be carded smooth again.  I didn't feel like doing that so I spun some corriedale in Warm Wine.  It's not as soft as the merino but it has a sheen that is lovely.

I went and got a haircut and then Pk and I watched Casablanca as we ate strombolis for dinner.  I don't think I've ever watched the whole movie but when As Time Goes By came on, I found tears rolling down my face.  Something about that song....

Then we watched Serenity.  I've never seen Firefly (but have heard others praise it highly) but we added Serenity to our Netflix list because the preview looked good.  We really enjoyed it.  The dialogue is witty enough to keep your interest but not obnoxious.  And plenty of things blew up so Pk was happy.

And as promised, here's the collage that Cathy sent me.  Isn't it great?  I love that it's 3D.  I don't know if you can tell but the woman's face is felt and her lips are embroidery and the flowers are glued on bits of lace.  It is pretty darn cool.

Here's one of my finished monkey socks.  The photo isn't very good but this is a good shot of the colors.  They are made with shaeffer's anne yarn (angora,merino and nylon) and they're very soft.  It's light fingering weight so these are light but warm.  On the skein, the colors were not impressive but knitted up?  Gorgeous.  This was the perfect pattern for this yarn.  I wore them to work on Friday and washed them yesterday.  Lots of red came out in the wash water.  I was suprised until I remembered they're handdyed.  I may have to get some vinegar out to make sure they don't fade out. 

We are off to have some breakfast and do the grocery shopping.  It was supposed to be yesterday but I hate shopping in the rain. And speaking of shopping, Pk and I went holiday shopping after work on Friday.  We were fairly successful and the things we were looking for but couldn't find, I ordered online.  On our way to the grocery store, we're going to get some wrapping paper so I can wrap these things.  Last year, I left all the wrapping until the end and was miserable.  Not this time.  I'll wrap as I buy and be done with it. 

Shopping at the mall was a madhouse.  We were looking for a few specific things (and wanted to see Santa but the line was way too long) but after a very short while, neither of us could stand the crowd or the noise of teenagers running around and shrieking.  I'm fairly sure I didn't behave like that (um, at least as best as I can remember.  There might have been some teen like flirting and running around.  I can't remember back that far). 

My stomach is telling me 'go eat!' so I'm off. Lots to do today.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Good morning!  We just had another night of intense rain (and wind!) and it was really cool this morning to watch as the storm front moved out.  You could see the clear blue sky behind it.  And a gorgeous full moon.

This is the time of year when good photos are only really possible on weekends.  I'm at work while the sun's out so all photos have to be taken with a flash and that is 'not optimal'. (although I will admit, I like coming home to the Christmas lights ). I finished a pair of monkey socks made out of the yarn amy lane sent me.  The one that was going to be a shawl but wasn't quite enough.  It made some spectacular monkeys!  And they're all for me.  Yes, in this time of giving, I made socks for myself.  I'll take some photos over the weekend.

I have also been the recipient of a bit of Australia.  Tinkingbell sent me a package of "100's and 1000's".  (I love the name and it was amazing I could google it and come up with photos)  She talked about fairy bread in one of her posts and I was curious.  We have cake decorating bits (non-pariels) that I thought might be the same but these are different.  They're similar but have little square bits too.  We're going to use them on our christmas cookies.  She also sent me a skein of red sock yarn.  It's destined to possibly be a pair of Traveller's Stockings sometime after the holiday.

Back in October, I won a contest given by Tinniegirl. She was giving away one of her collages.  If you've never seen them, you should check them out.  They are magnificent.  The one she sent me is an angel.  It's beautiful. I'll photograph it over the weekend. Unless we get the snow/rain we are predicted and there is no light.  We have no drought worries here.

I have a doctor's appt today.  Routine bp checkup.  I think it's time to mention the joints in my hands to him.  I'm pretty sure it's arthritis.  There are bumps and there is pain.  I think the knitting and spinning helps keep them limber but some days they are so sore and achy. I've been able to deal with it with some ibuprofen and maybe that's all I need for now but I think I need a professional opinion.   It'll probably mean another doctor (ugh) but I'm afraid the arthritis will accelerate and my hands will become too stiff and sore to use.

Things at work are busy.  We're trying to keep up with the regular people and there is always an influx of problems with a major holiday coming.  People seem to have less patience.  As I l isten to their problems, it puts mine in perspective. 

I'm off to find something light and fun to do with my group today.  I think we all need a smile.

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...