Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Hallowe'en!

Today was a good day here and I hope it was wherever you are.  Pk and I got up and had breakfast.  I made him his favorite eggs, sausage and fried potato meal and I had a bowl of oatmeal.  I love oatmeal and don't always have time during the week for it (I don't like instant oatmeal)

Then I made these.  Well, "made" isn't really the right word since all I did is take them out of the package and put them onto cookie sheets and put them in the oven. 

I also made a large pan of macaroni and cheese to take to  my brother's house for dinner.  I put our candy into a bowl for when the trick or treaters came and then I grabbed a sock and headed outside to sit in the sunshine.

Pk was working on making some parts for his work bench and we were both enjoying being outside.

We had some trick or treaters but not too many.  We only expected children from the hours of 3-7 since that was the time the town had set aside for Hallowe'en.  The curfew is 8:00 for anyone under 18. 

Candy swapping

Em and Jim

We headed over to my brother's house at 6 and had dinner around 7.  Lasagna and baked mac and cheese.  Yum.  This is our traditional Hallowe'en dinner.  We remembered Aunt Joan and laughed at her love of Hershey bars.  The candy swap was fun as always.  There's Patrick, Kate, Elanor and Walter (my cousin Cheryl's SO) all contemplating what they can trade and how to get the most for their candy.  It's all good natured fun and everyone tries to help the kids not get cheated.  Although Maggie is 10 now and is a heck of a good trader! 

We stayed until 9:30 and then headed home with just time to post this and get ready for bed.  I'm tired but in a good way, the kind of tired you get when you've spend a good day and laughed with family and friends.

And I forgot to show you the pumpkin Kate carved for us on Thursday night.  She and Patrick came over and she spent almost 3 hours with Pk working on this design.  The pumpkin was probably about 2 inches thick and took forever to carve but she gamely kept at it until she was happy with the design.  It looks really cool with all the lights out and just a candle burning inside.  (and I kind of like the smell of the burned pumpkin as the candle flame cooks it from the inside out!) 

It's sitting outside tonight (without a candle, I'm not taking any chances with fire).  We're supposed to get "freezing temperatures" tonight so we'll see what kind of shape it's in tomorrow.  

Happy Hallowe'en! 

Hard to believe that it's November already tomorrow! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

 I run groups in our Social Rehabilitation program on Wednesday and Thursday.  I do Medication, Symptom Management and Health (not nearly as boring as it sounds) and Interpersonal Relations on Wed and Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) on Thursday.  Mondays and Tuesdays I run a total of 3 medication clinics and deal with all manner of problems and issues that my clients have and need help with.

'Nother zombie!
 I tell you this because I want to share something from today's group.  I chose to do the group on Happiness.  Last week we talked about Suicide and Suicide Survivors and I thought we (I) needed a more positive, upbeat topic this week.  I chose Happiness and when I googled it for some information, this quote came up:

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” ~ Frederick Koenig

This was what I wanted to get across to my clients in a nutshell!  We discussed what Happiness is and how it differs from person to person and day to day.  We talked about how to increase your personal happiness and then we talked about this quote.  It was a good discussion.  The group on the whole was feeling pretty happy today (despite the warm, humid weather and heavy rain).  It surprised me somewhat.  I always expect them to talk about their depression and what makes them unhappy.  I was happy to be surprised (there's that word again). 

I think in general, I am a happy person.  I do try to find good things around me and be glad of them and I try to share this with the people around me.  I have a lot of good things in my life that bring a smile to my face and joy to my soul.

Like these cookies which we found in the store today (actually we had to go to three stores to find them).  I don't ordinarily buy instant foods or 'ready to bake' anything.  I prefer to bake my own treats.  However, I have an unnatural love for these cookies and my Aunt Joan knew this.  She made them for me at Hallowe'en.  I realized a few days ago when I was talking to my brother about dinner on the 31st that there would be no cookies.  This made me very sad.  I found some ready to bake cookies at my regular store but they were exhorbitantly priced and weren't exactly right.  Two stores later, we found them on sale half off and with coupons attached for an additional dollar off. 

I bought cats, pumpkins and ghosts and when I bake them on Sunday afternoon, I'll think of Aunt Joan and smile.  I'll think that wherever she is, she's smiling too.

 It seems like overnight the trees are changing.  As we were driving home tonight, there was color everywhere.  I was slogging through fallen leaves on my walk to work.  I love the sound of crunchy leaves shusssing along as I drag my feet.

My office mate (Paul,with whom I have been sharing an office for 6 years) was telling me that his wife said "I'm not doing Hallowe'en this year.  I've done it for 20 years and I'm not doing it anymore".  I started telling him about how much fun Hallowe'en can be and how it's become a family holiday for my family.  I think he thinks I'm crazy.  I LIKE coming up with odd costumes for the kids.  I enjoy seeing my neighborhood children all dressed up and smiling and running around.  One day maybe I'll grow up and this won't be fun but I'm not thinking it'll be anytime soon.  Hallowe'en appeals to the child in my heart.  I may pull out my 4 foot tall fairy wings and find some glittery makeup and be a fairy for the day. 

Pk is sharpening our knives.  Tomorrow night we'll carve our Jack o' Lantern and put him out front.  I have a ton of votive candles so he'll have plenty of light for a few days.  Our local squirrels will nibble at him bit by bit and that's ok with me.  They have to eat, too.

Otherwise, things are calm here.  I'm working on small knits for holiday gifts and starting to plan Thanksgiving.  One cannot spend too much time contemplating pumpkin pie after all.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

When I start complaining about the rain and cold later this week, I need someone to remind me how gorgeous the weekends have been.  Today is another clear blue sky day with a nip in the air.  The leaves are just starting to change and their orange/red color tints the air around them.  In short, it's glorious.

You know my spinning wheel is an old one.  I don't know how old, but probably older than me.  She was well used and is now well used and well loved.  I love to take her places and show her off.  The hard part is that while she seems game for all this travel, she is not as young and spry as she once was. (who among us is?)  Her voyage from New Zealand was made while she was in pieces and we put her together.  Pk glued her legs into place to make her sturdier but that means they don't come off.  All the other parts come off but then when I put them back together, there's a little bit of banging (with a rubber mallet) and twisting to get them back into proper order. 

Our last trip into Philadelphia, which was a rip roaring success, resulted in an injury to Saraspunda.  This is one of the arms that hold the wheel in place.  You can see that a piece wood has been put in there that doesn't belong.  The little stick that usually resides there broke.  Being a resourceful woman, I took a sized 6mm dpn and broke it in half and used that for the day.  It was functional but not beautiful.

Pk decided to make me a better fix and he came up with this yesterday.  He's not thrilled with it but it works.  He took a dowel and put a little cap on one end and a cotter pin on the other and voila!, a better fix.

He is drawing up plans for the first of two wheels for me (yes, I am a greedhead).  The first one will be a travel styled wheel so I can take it more easily and can spare Saraspunda unnecessary trauma.  The second will be a traditionally styled wheel, similar to the Ashford Traditional.  He likes their clean, graceful lines. 

Her disability didn't prevent us from spinning yesterday.  I took the two hunks of roving I bought last weekend and made small balls out of them.   Both hunks had some colors in common but also had some colors that were unique.  I wanted to use them together and didn't want abrupt color changes.  This way, I'll just use random little bits and have a colorful but coordinated yarn. The singles are spinning into a pretty progression of fuzzy color.  I only just started plying it and so far, I like the colors.

Kate just called and asked which road to turn down to get to the bakery.  She wants donuts.  GREAT.  Now I want donuts.  I asked her if she could get some for us and she agreed.  I gave her directions and money and soon, very  soon, we will have donuts.   No willpower in this household. 

Pk and I are still feeling vaguely unsettled.  While I will be the first person to say that antibiotics are wonderous, miraculous things, they are not kind to my body.  We are having intestinal distress on and off and while antibiotics make the bacteria/infection go away, they don't make the symptoms (congestion, coughing, sore throat) go away.  There are over the counter meds for that but I am tired of taking medicine.  This bug has lingered for more than a week and only now seems to be loosening its grip.  I finished my antibiotics last night so in a few days, I figure I'll be back to normal (or what passes for normal for me). 

We'll be having Hallowe'en dinner next weekend with my brother.  It's our first one without my Aunt Joan and I've been missing her quite a bit lately.  She loved Hallowe'en and all its trappings.  My brother and his wife will trick or treat with the kids and then we'll meet at their house for dinner.  Then we have the candy swap.  Pk and I are on the prowl for 'good' candy to swap.  He swaps for both of us and really enjoys the dickering back and forth.  We're even toying with the idea of costumes.  It's been a while but I am the proud owner of two pairs of wings that we could use.  I'm not sure Pk would want to be a fairy.  Just a hunch on my part. (Kate wore his navy uniform a few years ago with a pair of wings and a sign  that said "don't ask, don't tell".  She was very popular). 

Do you celebrate Hallowe'en?  Do adults dress up where you are?  Do kids trick or treat?  They don't come around at night anymore, just in the daylight and there is always a parent waiting at the bottom of the driveway.  I remember fondly being out in the dark and scaring ourselves when I was a kid.  Now, parents would be horrified.  I'm not sure it's really that much less safe or if our perceptions are that it's not safe.  My kids went out after dark with supervision (from my Aunt Joan and Aunt Elsie).  They had a blast.  And that brings me back to Aunt Joan.  She loved seeing the kids and giving out candy.  Mostly she loved kids and celebrating.  So, we'll celebrate in her honor and in her memory.

I miss you Aunt Joan.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Well, 40 Year Old Virgin was, um, interesting (if nothing else).   I am not usually a movie watcher when I am sick.  I will sometimes watch The Women and marvel at the dialogue and how quickly they all spoke but usually I lie around and listen to a favorite book.  The current favorite audio books are The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (M. Schaeffer) and Good Omens (Gaiman and Pratchett).  The first is an epistolary novel and I love that they used different people to read the different letters.  And the second is laugh-out-loud funny (especially the bit about the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse).

I discovered I can watch the new episodes of Bones on and won't have to wait a year for the dvd.  I have to wait and watch the episodes after they've aired but I'm ok with that.  I just wait and once a month or so, check to see which episodes are available and then have myself an orgy of television watching.  It works for me.

Pk and I went back to work on Tuesday and that was a hard day.  We were both so tired that we really fought to make it through the day.  Today, we are feeling better but have lingering congestion and coughing.  Nothing terrible.  We are thinking of a drive up to the Delaware River Water Gap (northern NJ/PA) on Saturday but that'll depend on how we're feeling.  We'd like to see the foliage (or foilage, depending on where you are). 

Today was the Health and Wellness Fair at work.  It was cloudy and chilly so we had it indoors.  I took my wheel and Kate came with me and we set up a table to teach people to knit. I figured the wheel would attract attention and boy, was I right!

This is Kate setting up.  I know it's not a good photo but for some reason, every one I tried to take came out blurry.  I don't know if it's because the camera batteries were (both) low or if I just had no photo mojo today.  We were in the corner of the room and had a colorful display of yarns and needles.  Our Medical Director's mother used to own a yarn store and she gave me a huge tote full of needles and small balls of yarn (Rowan cotton rope) in bright colors.  They were perfect.  I printed out some instructions so people could take them if they didn't want to sit and learn.

There were a lot of people. Kate was knitting and working on a sweater.  She offered to teach anyone who was interested how to knit.  One of our child psychologists took her up on her offer and I think Kate made a friend.   I sat and spun and people would gravitate toward the wheel and ask all sorts of questions.  There were people interested in trying the wheel and I helped them give it a whirl.  Funny how you forget how difficult it is to treadle evenly when you first try.  We had small children and grown adults and overall, I'd say the day was a success.  I got a lot of positive comments from coworkers about Kate and about the spinning wheel.  And as a bonus, a few people asked if we could have a group.  I tried this once before and it wasn't successful but I'm willing to try again.

It's dinner time and we'll probably just go to the diner.  I really like diner food.  It's homecookingcomfortfood (without the home cooking).  It's only just after 5 and the light is almost gone.  The days get shorter so fast and it isn't even the end of Daylight Savings Time yet.  That's not until Nov. 7th this year in the US.  

Have a good Friday and an even better weekend you all.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The family that coughs together (and sneezes and blows their noses) are yucky together.  It seems Elanor is also feeling poorly and Kate informs me she is making a doctor's appointment for herself this week. 

Pk and I are both home again today.  Fighting off this illness has made us tired and we are getting kind of bored because no one feels like doing much and I can only watch so many videos.  He's playing Left 4 Dead (zombies, zombies, zombies and killing) and I have been knitting on and off.  I started a bobbin of the romney I bought for the wellness fair on Thursday and packed up what I think I'll need to take to work that day.  Kate will be coming with me (unless she's sick).  I need to find out what kind of knitting things I need to take.  I may have to run out to the craft store and get some yarn and needles and find some generic "how to" instructions. 

Em and Jim came by last night for dinner after her 60 mile walk.  (She actually walked 55 miles which impresses me to no end).  I made Chicken of the Good Woman so they could have a hot meal and a quick rest before heading home.  She was so tired but exhilarated at having completed the weekend.  Em has two small blisters but otherwise seemed to be in good shape.  She's already talking about next year. 

Otherwise, things here are quiet.  We're drinking lots of liquids (I'm getting tired of hot tea but it feels good going down), taking our medicine and resting.  The mailman brought us 40 Year Old Virgin from Netflix so maybe we'll watch that while we eat dinner.  (no one will admit to putting that one on the list)

Yep, we're that bored.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Welcome to our house o'plague.  Pk was feeling sick so he went to the doctor's this morning for his own throat swab and antibiotics for strep.   It's not surprising, really, but he so rarely gets sick, let alone sick enough to involve a medical professional.  I was surprised when he told me he had made himself an appointment.  Usually there is some forcing involved.

After two days on antibiotics, I am reminded why I put off going to the doctor for so long.  Even though he gave me the ones that are easier on my stomach, they are still hell on the intestinal tract for the first few days. 

I spent my day working on the roving I bought last week.  I want to try a 3 ply yarn that I was hoping would make some colorful sock yarn.  It's 11 wpi so it's really closer to a dk weight than a fingering. 

I started with this roving.  I have 8 ounces of handpainted merino.  These colors are fairly accurate although there is a bit of deeper blue in there as well.  I spun these three bobbins and then realized that I didn't have room on the bobbin holder that is attached to my wheel.  It holds two bobbins but not three. 

What do you do in that situation?  You can use a shoe box with parts of clothes hangers to hold the bobbins but I live with a wood worker.  (just cause he happens to be sick is no excuse not to ask for help).  Pk went out to the garage and took a hunk of wood and attached some wire hanger to it to hold my bobbins and eureka!  I have a three bobbin holder.  It's not very sturdy but I'm not putting much stress on it and it worked like a charm.  He promises a "better" one when he feels better but I'm content with this one.  As long as it works,  it's all good.

This is part of what I ended up with.  It's a flash photo because that seemed to give me the best color representation.  You can see all the various colors in the yarn.  Some of it seems to be mostly red and some is tourquoise and some is beige.  Its fascinating watching how the three bobbins combine into a yarn of many colors.  It'll make some interesting knitting.  I'm thinking it'll make some interesting fingerless mitts for my niece (or one of my girls.  They all like colorful pieces).
I've been working on some more plain socks (easier when I'm watching Bones) and the socks Pk chose.  His are made out of superwash merino/nylon combo but it feels different.  It's really drapey and a little splitty.  The pattern he chose is a bit lacey but he likes it so far.  It was hard to capture the true color.  This is charcoal and brown and beige.  I'll only work in the pattern down the cuff.  He prefers his socks to have plain feet. 

And I should correct myself from my last post.  The Ghostwalker series is written by Christine Feehan (who also writes the Drake sisters novels and a whole bunch of other series).  And the Phillies were not playing Thursday night.  They don't play until later this coming week.  I don't know where my brother and his wife were going and it's really not my business so I didn't ask.  I just know Elanor was babysitting (I just always assume it's a sporting event.  They go to football, baseball and hockey games).  This will teach me to write a blog post when I'm sick and really, really out of it.

Texts from Emily prove she has survived Day 2 of her three day walk.  Around about 3:15 this afternoon, I got this message. "Feet hurt.  A lot".  I don't know how far she walked today (she did 20 miles yesterday) but she said she wanted to make sure she was able to walk some tomorrow.   She did say the Thorlo socks made a big difference.  They are made of wicking material which kept her feet from sweating and then getting cold.  The weather today is breezy and mostly sunny.  It's good walking weather if you're not spending your whole day walking into the wind.  Another night in a tent (inside the Convention Center) and then tomorrow she finishes up.  She sounds cheerful and in good spirits.  We were planning to go to the closing ceremonies but that's not going to happen since we are both sick. 

Tomorrow will be spent just like today.  Some knitting,some spinning, lots of sitting and napping.  (and coughing.  Let's not forget the coughing.  Thank all the powers that be for cough syrup with codeine).

Have a terrific and healthy Sunday.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You know how I said I've been feeling tired?  (I will date myself here, but remember Geritol?  I need some!).  At first I blamed it on the flu shot.  But it's a week later and despite nights of what should be sufficient sleep, I am still tired.  I also have a near constant headache.  And today my throat is sore....

I finally decided to make a doctor's appointment when my ear started to hurt, too.  No fever, but when he felt my neck, he stepped back and said "whoa" so I guess my glands are swollen.  I have a strep throat.  And in an hour when I go back to the pharmacy, I'll have an antibiotic. 

And tomorrow, I have a day off.  I'm supposed to be teaching Crisis Management but I'm contagious and don't suppose all 28 people in the class would like to catch strep.  I called my supervisor, my office mate and then one of my teaching partners.  I feel bad letting them down but can't help it.

I'll spend tomorrow sleeping and possibly spinning.  I also got two discs of Bones episodes (and one more is coming tomorrow) so I have entertainment to watch (and a new Charlaine Harris Ghostwalkers book on the mp3 player so I have listening matter as well).  I think I'm set.  The weather here is cold and rainy.  The temp is probably not that low but the rain makes it feel like winter.

Elanor is babysitting for my brother who is going to a baseball game despite the nasty weather. He and his wife are Phillies fans and they are in the playoffs for the championship.    Pk and I are going to go and get some sandwiches for dinner.  We had been planning on going to the gym and then getting dinner but I just don't have the energy. 

Em starts her walk tomorrow.  I hope the rain stops early in the day.  They walk rain or shine.  She was packing last night and hopefully has everything she needs.  If the rain continues, they'll pitch their tents in the Convention Center instead of outside.  I almost hope they do that.  At least that way, Em gets indoor plumbing and not port-a-pots.  She is excited and "terrified".  I am terribly proud. 

What's on your agenda this weekend? 

Monday, October 11, 2010

We had a lovely day yesterday.  I woke up and was amazed to find Pk still in the bed.  He is normally awake and up before the sun but for some reason this day he slept in.  The clock said 8:48.  We got showered and dressed and went onto brunch.

We ate a delicious breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, waffles, strawberries, blintzes, homemade donuts, pastries, coffee, orange juice........and there were many foods we didn't even get to.  The service was professional and personal and everytime we left the table, they gave us fresh silverware and refolded our napkins.  It was perfect. 

We wandered around the shops for a bit.  I bought some scented soaps.  Pk likes to use a shaving  brush and soap to shave with and I love it when he uses Bay Rum scented soap.  The place makes the soaps by hand and they are pretty.  I got apricot scrub for El, lilac for Em and lavender for Kate.

Then we hit the wine store for some local champage, (well, sparkling wine.)  We've bought it before and it's good.  We also got some mulled apple wine which will be terrific at Thanksgiving.  (Hard to believe I'm thinking of Thanksgiving already).

We stopped at a flea market on the way home and I bought an enormous splatterware enameled roasting pan.  I have one that I use for the holidays for turkeys or goose but it was getting old and losing its enamel inside.  I couldn't find a large enough one in the stores so we were making do.  The new one is huge, larger than the one we have and it's in almost perfect shape.  It should give me years of roasting pleasure.  Pk bought an old saw which is worth way more than what he paid for it so he was happy.

This gorgeous hunk of woolen pulchritude fell into my hands at the yarn store on Saturday.  Isn't it beautiful?  It's fingering weight superwash wool destined to be a pair of socks for me.  After I finish the holiday gifts I have in mind, it will become something gorgeous for my tootsies. 

In the meantime, I'm using the October color from Roxanne to make socks for Pk.  I was warned that this month's color was manly and it is.  Handsomely so.  Pk saw it and said, "that will make great socks for me".  Like I haven't heard that before!  I gave him some books and patterns and he chose his own pattern this time.  He chose Sandalwood Socks from IK Winter 2008.  He said they're "snazzy".  I just hope he doesn't think they're too girly.  It's an 8 row lace pattern which does not repeat around the width of the sock.  I had the pattern in a binder so I must have been planning on knitting it at some time.  Might as well be now.

future socks!
 I got some roving for the wellness fair next week and some merino which will be my first try at a 3 ply yarn.  I haven't done much spinning this summer,it was way too hot.  I have been spinning a little each day to get my ankle used to the motion again.  I have a single treadle wheel and the ankle that moves the treadle is the one I dislocated a few years back and it gets a might tetchy.  I have to ease it back into being used.

Pk and I are easing back into the gym.  We have been the laziest people this summer and I don't regret a single moment.  I only did 15 minutes on the elliptical machine and lessened my weights on the circuit weight machines and did fewer reps.  The last time we went to the gym (2 weeks ago), I over did it and was sore as all get out for days.  I'm trying not to do that again.  It sure doesn't take the body much time to lose all the hard won ground.

I am going to find something funny to watch and knit some nice plain socks for a while.  My brain is Monday-tired.  I just need some diversion before bed.

And I wanted to say thanks for all the anniversary wishes.  When people ask "how did you stay married for so long?", I'm not sure how to answer.  Mostly it's just day to day.  I don't stop to count the years, I just pay attention to the days and maybe that's the secret after all.  Pay attention to the days and let the years take care of themselves.  I only know that I like being married.  I like my husband (as well as love him) and feel really lucky.

 I know that it would be impossible to replace him.  No one else even comes close so I guess I'll just have to take care of him and make him last.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

For better or worse
For richer or for poorer
In sickness and in health
'Till death do you part.

I have tried to write a post about our anniversary several times and each time I ended up deleting it.  I don't know how to describe what we have except to say it makes us happy.

We're on our way to a lovely brunch and a day spent in the October sunshine.  I'm not taking the camera.  I want to focus on enjoying my husband and not framing shots.

So, you'll just have to imagine us walking hand in hand through trees that are just starting to turn colors.  And I'll leave you with two of our favorite wedding photos.  They're photos of photos so not terribly good but I think they tell our tale.

This is Pk's favorite photo.  It's a candid shot and he looks like someone just gave him his heart's desire.

And this is the one we had a wall portrait made out of.  Eskimo kisses.  (and yes I know "eskimo" is no longer a valid term for those individuals who are indigenous to Alaska and those parts but when I was growing up, we called touching noses, Eskimo kisses.  No slur intended)

I hope you are all having a fine day. 

We are.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I am not a chart person.  I like my knitting directions written out.  Usually. I understand that lots of people find charts easier to use.  They say they can 'visualize' the knitting.  I've never been able to do that.  Well, one my coworkers gave me this metal board with the magnetic ruler.  She's also a knitter and thought I might find it useful.

 I decided to try using the charts for this infernal pattern.  (ok, that's not fair.  It's not the pattern's fault I can't read).  I cut the chart out and it fits the small board quite well and I can use the magnetic ruler to mark the row I'm currently working on.

You can see from the chart that every row is a charted row.  It's not really hard to follow ONCE YOU READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.

This stole is constructed differently from anything I have ever made before.  It's made in 6 pieces. There are two center back pieces which are grafted together.  Then stitches are picked up along the sides of the center back and knitted to form the length of the stole.  Then a decorative edging is knit onto the edges.

If I'd read the directions, I'd have known that at the beginning.  I'm sorry to say, I didn't.  I couldn't figure out why the photos of other people's finished and partially finished stoles looked so different from mine.  Then I had a light bulb moment and I got it.  I could actually feel it click into place and I understood. 

Unfortunately, this understanding came with much ripping out and gnashing of teeth.  I cast on the correct number of stitches for the first center back panel and got this far tonight.  It's beautiful and fairly simple now that I know what I'm doing.

Pk warned me that today was probably not the best day to try this again.  I was feeling ornery and irritable all day today.  I even defended disco to my office mate when he stated that 'all disco music was crap'.  I'm not a disco fan but I was feeling contrary so I argued that some disco was enjoyable.

I told Pk I was feeling out of sorts, really tired and like I could just bite someone's head off for no reason.  His solution to this was to walk to the really good candy store and buy me some milk and dark chocolate non pariells.  He brought them to me at lunch time and I was able to make it through the rest of the day and everyone around me got to keep their heads. (and one of the young girls I work with wanted to know where she could find a man who would bring her chocolate when she was having a less than stellar day.  I told her to look elsewhere, this one was taken)

I'm not usually like this.  I was so tired all day.  Last night I fell asleep before 9 and slept soundly until the alarm went off this morning.  8 full hours and yet I still felt exhausted.  Several coworkers said they were feeling the same way so we think it's the flu shots.  They tend to make you feel icky for a bit.  This year was a combined H1N1 and regular flu shot, a double dose of serum.   I just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to feel icky on Sunday.

We're having a health and wellness fair at work on October 21.  I asked if anyone had set up a table for leisure skills.  That is a large part of mental wellness, right?  He asked what I had in mind and I volunteered to bring in the spinning wheel and set up a fiber activity table.  It turns out the Medical Director's mother used to own a yarn store and she wants to be involved, too.  I think this will be cool.  Kate is going to come over for the fair as well.  She's going to sit and knit and offer to teach other people.  We can also bring some spindles so people can try spindling as well.  Fiber ambassadors!

That's all the news from our neck of the woods for now.  It's almost time to go to bed.  I'm still tired and want to make sure I get enough sleep to make it through the day tomorrow. 

Have a good Friday.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Even the muddiest of pools will become clear when left still and undisturbed.

This is today's inspirational quote.  For me, it's absolutely true.  There are times when my mind is so crowded with things and people that thoughts get swirled around and around and nothing is clear.  If I can take a few minutes to just close my eyes and breathe, things become less confused.  If I can wait till the next morning, things often become clear as my brain works the problems out while the rest of me sleeps.  Like the muddy pool, the things settle to the bottom as I rest.  And then the answers are so easy to see.  I'm always amazed at how efficiently my brain works things out when I'm not paying attention.

We're in a rainy period this last few days.  This morning it's not so much raining as misting.  It's like someone spraying you with a mister bottle.  Not enough moisture to require an umbrella but a hood is handy to keep your hair dry.

It's 8 o'clock in the morning and I'm sipping Pepsi.  No,this is not a usual thing for me but the train ride was a bit rough this morning and my stomach is unsettled.  Coke/Pepsi seems to settle it down.  When I was small, my grandmother used to give us Coke syrup over crushed ice for upset stomachs.  You could buy a bottle of Coke syrup in the pharmacy.  It worked every time and I used it for my girls as well.  I don't have access to the syrup all the time but I keep a can of coke in my mini fridge in the office for emergencies and we have a coke machine in our kitchen here.  I won't need much but a little will make a big difference.

I'll be getting my mandatory flu shot tomorrow morning.  I don't like being forced into this but my employer has decreed that all employees without a valid medical/religious reason must get a flu shot.  I'm sure there's some human rights violation here (since it requires foreign substances to be put into your body) but I'm not going to fight it.  I figure that if I get it tomorrow, I'll have time to feel the side effects (mild, flu-like symptoms) and get over them before Sunday.

On Sunday, Pk and I are celebrating our 29th anniversary.  (Yes, I was a child bride.)   We are going to Smithville for brunch.  (this is the only photo I could find this morning.  I took it off a tourist website).  I want to make sure I'm feeling myself.  This place has a wonderful linen tablecloth and china and silver type of Sunday brunch (and the food is really good).  There's also a touristy blend of shops from all over the world. It's a good way to walk off all the breakfast foods.  We really like it here and are looking forward to it.  The weather is supposed to be pure October, cool and sunny. 

What I can't for the life of me, figure out is how we could be married for 29 years.  I don't feel nearly old enough for that but evidently I am.  Being married to your best friend seems to make the years fly by. 

But, that's getting ahead of myself.  For today, I have a full clinic and some paperwork (ok, a lot of paperwork) to finish from yesterday afternoon.  And then there's the inevitable phone messages......
sigh.  Off to work now.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's early Sunday morning and I am sitting in my favorite chair, drinking coffee and enjoying the morning sunlight.  Pk is in the kitchen making breakfast (well, he's "looking at the breakfast situation".  I want french toast and the bread is still frozen.  That's why God invented microwaves. duh).  Yesterday I slept until 8:30 but today I was up early.  I like early Sunday mornings.  The  neighborhood is quiet.  I was laying in bed listening to the birds have their morning conversations.  We have lots of sparrows and robins and other small birds that I don't know the names of.  (and some large raptor type birds which are so cool to watch)  I imagine them asking "did you sleep well?  any plans for the day?"  I must have watched too many cartoons with talking animals as a kid.

 I brought the computer downstairs (what good is a laptop if you never travel to other rooms with it?) and took some photos of my latest attempts to make yarn.  This is a hank of mohair waiting to be spun.  See how the fibers are all tangled?  It's more hair-like than wool-like.  The individual fibers are very silky (like hair) and it has to be prepped to be spun. 

I tease the fibers out and they really look like silky hair but are more easily spun. 
Eventually, they end up on the bobbin looking something like this.  I haven't finished spinning the singles yet, so I have no photos of finished yarn.  The colors are jewel like.  I know I won't have much of this when I'm done with it but I'm hoping I will have enough to use in addition to some other handspun and make something.

I spent a good deal of yesterday trying to work out the charts for Dwarrowdelf.  (I'm not at all sure this link will work.  I'm having the hardest time this morning getting blogger to work).  The chart is not hard once you figure out what the symbols mean.  My trouble is that I have to remember that a knit stitch is a purl stitch on the wrong side.  The chart shows the stitch as a knit or a purl depending on what it looks like on the front.  Since it's a flat piece, there are right to left and left to right rows.  I have trouble remembering that when I'm going left to right, that the purl symbols should be knit.  After having to rip out many rows (and the yarn has a mohair content so you can imagine how well that's going), I finally decided to mark up the pattern and put "p" on the purl stitches and "k" on the knit stitches.  It's helped tremendously and after a few hours I have this to show for it. 

The stole is for Elanor who fell in love with it immediately.  The yarn is a mohair/acrylic blend with sparkles in it.  The pattern is supposed to represent the halls of the dwarves in the Lord of the Rings.  The walls sparkle with mithril (a silver like substance).  I wanted to use yarn with some sparkle.  This one is sumptuously soft and has a nice halo from the mohair.  The "sparkle" is a strand of mylar like stuff plied with the yarn.  It's a pain to rip out because it comes unravelled easily.  Now that I have modified my pattern, I'm making some progress and I rather like it. 

Pk got the car finished yesterday and now we have a new alternator.  Very important, that.  He was going to clean out the garage and devise a new wood storage system (he is having stash problems!) but I have a feeling it's going to be a lazy day around here.  Probably not an underwear day since it's rather chilly.  My feet are cold!  I have a chicken defrosting for dinner.  I love a roast chicken and it's been too warm for it until today. 

I should probably stop here while I'm ahead.  I am a patient person but technology that is not working well makes me crazy.  People don't bother me and I can be endlessly patient with their foibles.  Computers and programs?  Not so much.  I turn them off and walk away.  Sounds like a good idea.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm just back from my evaluation and I'd like you to know that I am a "valued employee".  Actually, this is the first time any supervisor sat with me and went over the whole thing and explained why he evaluated my performance the way he did.  It was nice to hear that someone appreciates my work and acknowledged it in writing.  For the first time I got credit for the Aggressive Patient Management course I teach each year (and have for the last 6 years).  I also got credit for setting up and maintaining the clinic for people with Developmental Disabilities. (it requires more paperwork and knowledge of the mental retardation system, which the regular clinics don't).   

This supervisor takes the time to tell you when you've done something well and when you need to improve at the time he notices it.  He doesn't wait until the year is up.   I know I work hard and I think I do a good job but it's nice to hear it.  He also told me one of my strengths (apart from the way I get along with people) is that I'm not afraid to stick my neck out and help.  Funny thing is, I've been afraid to do that much since I got in trouble last year.  I've been really careful.  Phew.  I feel like I can relax a little. 

We got 2-3 inches of rain last night.  It was way more than the soil could absorb so there's water in the rec room this morning.  Pk set up the pump before we left for work so it'll be dry when we get home.  It's supposed to dry up this afternoon and be fairly nice this weekend.  I hope so.  Pk is planning to replace the alternator in the car.  It would help if it wasn't raining.

I ordered some walking socks for Emily from  They make Pk's favorite socks.  The website said "tell us why you like our socks" so I did.  I told them how Pk only wears thorlo socks or the ones I handknit for him.  I told them why I ordered three pairs for Emily.

And you know what?  They responded.  Their customer rep emailed me back and said they wanted to give me a pair of socks to thank me for being a loyal customer.  How cool is that?  It pays to compliment companies as well as complain to them.  I wasn't looking for a reward, I just wanted to let them know how much my family likes their product.

There's not much on tap for the weekend.  The alternator, of course, but no shopping or other urgent matters.  I'm hoping for some spinning time and I want to work on some of the holiday knits I'm planning.  I started one last night and so far, I'm enjoying it.

And speaking of Emily, she is almost at her goal!  She has not used my shawl as a fund raiser because she didn't want it "to go to someone who wouldn't take care of it or love it" the way it should be.  I was afraid she wasn't going to auction it because she didn't think anyone would want it.  (I told you I have little self confidence about my knitting.  It's the whole self taught thing. I'm always wondering if I'm doing it right or if it's good enough).  No, she doesn't want me to have to give up what she called a "work of art".  She's a sweetie.  There's another fund raiser this weekend and hopefully that will put her over the top.  If not, Pk and I will fund whatever she needs to reach the goal.  She's done an amazing job.

I'm sitting here looking out my window and watching the trees blow in the wind.  I hope wherever you are, the sun is shining and you have some time to do something that brings you peace and contentment.

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...