Saturday, June 30, 2012

Well, I've let a whole week (and then some) go by.  You'd think I'd learn and not try to post at work but those early mornings are just so perfect.  I'm alone in my office and it's quiet and conducive to contemplation.

I wrote and saved and tried to publish a post this past week but it never even made it to "saved".  I won't do it again.  I think.  Probably.  (probably I'll forget that it won't allow me to save the post and I'll write brilliant and sparkling and witty prose and lose it all into the wilds of the internet).

And here it is the last day of June and I haven't the foggiest idea what I wrote earlier so I'll just start with a photo from Father's Day since it's cute.

To be fair, it's not a particularly good photo.  It was a blazingly bright morning and the diner had all the blinds up and the sun was just beaming through all the glass.

The cute part is the little girl at the next table.  In the photo from left to right around the table is Elanor, Jim, Emily, Peter Kevin and Kate.  If you look closely, in between Em and Jim is a little girl who was having breakfast with her family at the next table.  As soon as she saw me get out the camera, she leaned over to get into the shot.  I didn't notice how clearly she got into the group until I looked later.  What a cutie.  She looks like she could be a member of our family.

The weather has been really hot for the beginning of summer.  Everyone is wilting.  I am so grateful for the a/c in the bedrooms so we can sleep at night. Peter Kevin and I got up early, showered, put a load of clothes in the washer (and clean sheets on the bed), went to the gym, hit McDonald's for smoothies (which were surprisingly good) and then went grocery shopping and put away the food.  He watched soccer and killed things (video games) and I sat in front of a fan and spun (and finished the laundry).

We had some steaks and fresh corn for dinner along with some chard and now are relaxing.  We only just started going back to the gym (for reals this time) and my muscles are a bit , shall we say stiff?  I only feel it when I get up and move.  It didn't hurt to spin (probably because you get to sit mostly still).

 The Tour de Fleece started today and I managed to spin almost 1 oz of my fiber.  This is bfl/nylon and there is no purple in it.  That color is brown.  It's really the color of fall leaves. 

This is the start.  I now have half a bobbin full.  It spins easily and is going well.  It's mesmerizing to sit and watch the bobbin fill up as the fiber moves through your fingers.  It made me sleepy today because it was so warm. 

All in all it was a productive day.

Tomorrow I'm going to have some breakfast and then get a pedicure.  They do a much better job of painting my toenails than I do and that's worth the price.  And it lasts me 3-4 weeks so it's not a huge investment in time.  I've learned that if I go first thing when they open on Sunday morning, I don't have to wait. 

I made empanadas today with Pk and he and Kate and El are going to consume them tomorrow as they watch the Euro Cup.  I'll spend the time napping or spinning.  Or maybe knitting.  I've got quite a few things going and they all need attention. 

Oh, we went and saw Brave. What a good movie.  I sobbed like a child and was reminded once again that it's tough to be the Mother in a Disney movie.  'nuff said.  We also saw a trailer for The Hobbit.  It looks like Peter Jackson has done it again. 

Does all of this sound disjointed?  It feels that way but life has felt kind of disjointed.  I attended the funeral for a coworker's mother on Friday.  Beautiful Catholic Requiem Mass.  Very solemn and full of ritual.  (and I had to wear real clothers, not breezy summer things.  It was 98 degrees and humid.)

We've been on edge at work since the governor of PA announced huge budget cuts to behavioral health services.  Huge like 30%.  I don't know how we absorb that kind of hit and keep providing services that are worthwhile.  Rumors are now flying that the legislature passed a kinder and gentler budget but no one has said anything to us yet.  The Dept of Public Welfare cut all cash payments (welfare payments) as of June.  Medical Assistance (insurance) and food stamps are still available but the measly 205 dollars a month has been cut (It's less than half of 1% of the total budget) with no warning.  I imagine there are a lot of folks that found out the hard way this weekend.  Part of me does not want to go to work on Monday.

We are coming up to a holiday week. The Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday. We opted to work Mon and Tues and take Wed (federal holiday), Thurs, and Fri off. I am looking so forward to this. We have no plans. Maybe a day at the lake. Pk will spend mornings working on the car. It's put back together and waiting for him to change out the old oil and filter and to empty the gas tank and put some fresh gas inside. We can't remember how much gas is in there. Hopefully, not much. He's feeling more optimistic about its chances. El washed the car this week and it looks good. (funny how making the car look clean makes it look like it'll work better) As soon as he gets it to turn over, we'll have it towed to the station and they can change out the rest of the fluids and put the new tires on. And then I can give Emily back her car. I know she must miss it and I'm so thankful she has generously allowed us to borrow it.  (I have good kids)

I guess that's enough stream of consciousness for any one person at a time.  I can't believe it's almost 9 o'clock.  I'm not sure where the evening went.  I hope you all are well and enjoying some part of this weekend.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Well, it's been more than a week since we've chatted (or rather since I chattered at you).  Nothing is wrong, life has just been happening.

We had plans for a pleasant Father's Day weekend for Peter Kevin.  Friday, I took him out and bought him a new desk chair for sitting at his desk at home. It's wonderfully quiet!  No squeaks and noises as he moves around.  It has lumbar support (so important as we get older) and it reclines and he has enjoyed sitting in it.

Saturday, we went to the grocery store and ran some errands and then Pk decided to go get a haircut.  About an hour after he left he called me to tell me the car had stalled and wouldn't start.  He had called a tow truck and would be home as soon as he could.

Now, this is my baby.  It's the first car I bought brand new and I had owned it for 18 years. (yes, I got my money's worth out of it!).  We have never had any trouble with it until a few months ago when there were some electrical issues but we thought they were fixed.

Turns out, they weren't.  After spending several hours on Sunday morning, the car still wouldn't start and we made plans to have it towed Monday morning to the station on the corner. 

No joy.  Mike (mechanic) called to tell me they couldn't find the specific problem (other than there is no power to half the fuse box which included the fuel pump) but that it was going to be rather expensive to fix.  We (Pk and I) discussed it and decided the car was too old for that much money so we'd cut our losses and let her go.

I signed the title over to Mike (who is going to scrap the car and sell the nearlynew tires) and we emptied her out this morning.  I am so sad.  I know this is silly.  It's a CAR not a person but she was mine and only mine.  And now she's Mike's. 

In the meantime, Emily (very generously) is allowing us to borrow her car so we can get around and finally get Pk's car (a RAV 4) road worthy again.  If that is not feasible, we'll have to get a new/used car.  They are so expensive!  I'm being optimistic that the RAV is worth saving (Emily is not so optimistic and she knows way more about cars than I do).  Mechanic Mike said it might work, it's hard to tell.  So, cross your fingers, toes and whatever else you can for me that this works.

Other than that, things have been going along.  Today is the Summer Solstice and Summer is putting in an appearance.  We are supposed to get temps close to 100F (37.7C) for the rest of the week.  I like summer.  Things slow down somehow (from the heat, maybe?) and life is slower.  There's less clothing (which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on HOW much less clothing we're talking about).

The a/c at work is high which is good when it's 100 degrees outside.  The a/c at home is ready to install in the bedrooms.  I don't mind the house being hot but we do need to be able to sleep.

So, that's our life at the moment.  Peter Kevin says he often feels like he's "God's cat toy.  Soetimes I get batted under the chair and he forgets me and then he remembers that I'm there and flicks me with his fingers".  We're hoping to end up back under the chair again soon.....

Monday, June 11, 2012

This is some of the beautiful fruit and vegetables we got in our first share of the CSA.  There was a dozen eggs (from organically raised, free range chickens), a bunch of scallions, a bunch of swiss chard, a quart of beautiful strawberries, some peas, some radishes, a bunch of carrots, a bunh of fresh thyme and a large, heavy head of cabbage. Oh, and some garlic scapes.

So far, we've had swiss chard for dinner (wilted with some olive oil and the garlic scapes), the strawberries became filling for crepes at Sunday breakfast and then frozen daquiris at dinner, the eggs were eaten at breakfast and the cabbage and carrots became cole slaw.

The only thing we'd never had before was the swiss chard.  It had a very intense, spinachy flavor but was good with the garlic scapes.  Who knew you could eat that part of the garlic?  We've grown garlic before but never harvested the scapes.  Pk decided he should have a taste while we were still in my office (he walked down to meet me to help me carry it home) and after a handful of Altoid mints, you could still smell the garlic.  Fortunately, they lost some potency after being sauteed with the swiss chard.  The eggs didn't seem all that different than what we normally buy and I wouldn't buy an entire head of cabbage since cole slaw is the only way we like it (but it was so fresh and beautifully crisp) but after week one, we like this.  It's like getting a present.

Kate got a helping of most everything in the share.  She loves fresh peas and I doubt her share even made it into a pot to be warmed up.  The cool thing?  Kate was a child who only really ate three things, spaghetti, chicken nuggets and pizza.  Now she's willing to try swiss chard, a green vegetable.  And she's already discussing what we'll get this week in our share.  The fun thing is the not knowing and the fact that it forces us to be creative.   

Friday night Pk and I saw Snow White and the Huntsman.  It was a very dark movie but an interesting retelling of the story.  Disney it is definitely not.  I liked seeing Thor (Chris Hemsworth) as a less godlike being.  It was a bit slow in parts but overall, a good movie.

Saturday, we got up to check out a yard sale in a nearby town which ended up having nothing and then to take the car through inspection.  We were in and out in record time with our brandy new inspection sticker.

Then it was off to McDonald's for breakfast (I love their pancakes.  I know.  It's a failing of mine and a guilty secret).  While we were sitting and eating, Pk mentioned he wanted to go to Holmes to check out some tools at a garage sale but wasn't sure it was worth it.  I encouraged him to go and so we were off on an adventure. 

90 minutes later, we were pulling up in a gravel driveway.  I waited in the car and he went in to check out the tools.  He did well.  We came home with a new cabinet for the workshop, a label making toy, I mean machine, and some other tools.  While he was bargaining(and talking about hobbies), the woman mentioned there was a yarn shop not too far so after he was finished loading his booty in the car, we set off in the direction of the wool.

It was a small shop (A Stitch in Time) with a small, limited selection.  It was bright and looked new.    I bought a skein of sock yarn to make another sweater (those fertile coworkers!) and a skein of sock yarn that Pk admired.

This will become socks for him.  I like the bright blue and charcoal combination.I also bought a pair of dpns in size 3.75 to see if they would be better for my sweater.  The jury is still out on that one. Pk helped the shop owner fix her umbrella swift while we were there.  The knob stopped doing its job and he gave her some suggestions on how to make it work again.

We headed home and I wanted to stop at the Scenic Overlook on the side of Rte 295.  I wanted to see what was so scenic about the Delaware River at this particular spot. 

Nothing really. Pk insisted on taking a photo of me "for the blog".  So, here I am at the Scenic Overlook.  I have very red hair in the sun!  Those are last year's glasses.  When I got new ones, I had those tinted to make sunglasses.  Only 18 dollars and now I have rx sunglasses.  And that is my Dark Side shirt that my niece gave me.  It glows in the dark.  (it says 'come to the dark side.  we have cookies')

I'm almost finished plying my "training yarn" and will be spinning this beautiful roving for my tdf challenge.  It's called Fallen and if I do a good enough job and get enough yardage, I can see it becoming a Forest Canopy shawl.  The colors are so reminiscent of falling leaves that I think it would be gorgeous.  It's more orange than the photo.  Don't you want to just touch it?  It really is as soft as it looks.  My training yarn was not quite as thin as I'd like it to be so I'll be working on that. 

I got a pedicure yesterday so my toes are ready for all this warm sandal wearing weather.  I love the way my feet look but I truly do not like people touching my feet.  They are so ticklish.  The nail technicians think it's funny and they laugh along with me.  They probably talk about me when I leave. 

It's dinner time and I'm hungry so this is goodbye.  I'm off to scramble some eggs and make some toast and maybe some homefries.  I'm feeling like breakfast for dinner.  Mmmm. Pk doesn't like this so he'll "fend" by looking for some leftovers.  He'll eat dinner for breakfast but not the other way around.  He's weird.  (but he's cute so I'll keep him).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I wrote this really good blog post this morning at work.  Ok, in my mind it was brilliant prose all about the quiet of the early morning and how I enjoy eating my bowl of Cheerios while there's no one else on the second floor of my building.  Then I added a photo from my iphone (which the computer at work will occasionally allow me to do) and hit the publish button and poof!  It was all gone.  No amount of cursing brought it back.  We use an old version of Explore at work and blogger no longer plays nice with it.  I don't have admin privileges on my work computer so I can't upgrade it.  Posting at work is a hit or miss proposition.  And today was a miss.

But it was so nice and quiet......

Instead, here I am at home at the end of the day.  It was not a bad Wednesday.  I got the things accomplished that I wanted to.  I faxed prescriptions to drugstores for folks who needed it, I answered many many phone questions, I wrote 7 treatment plans, I spoke to families and I ran a group.  I even knit 3 rows on my shawl at lunch.  (three short rows but it was the best I could accomplish at the time).  It was a satisfying day. 

It's time now to go and make some bolognese sauce for dinner.  I don't eat a lot of tomato sauces because of the acid but once in a while I crave the garlic and tomatoes.  I thought I could recreate what I wrote this morning but somehow, the muse has left the building.  Isn't that always the way?

I can share the photo of the lovely yarn I am spinning.  This is from some batts by Joan of The Cupcake Fiber Company.  This color is called Nuance.  There's turquoise and pink and red and blue in there and they all somehow work together well.  Joan makes the best prepared fiber I've ever used.  It's smooth and well blended and there are no knotty bits.  This a two ply almost-laceweight.  I used the high speed whorl to spin the singles and was able to spin them thinner than I have before.  I have enjoyed playing with the different capabilities of my wheel.  This is my practice for my TdF.  I will have to spin them even thinner than this to make it a lace weight but it's not a challenge if it's easy, now is it?

My sweater-to-be is waiting for me to figure out how to adapt the pattern to my slightly thicker than needed handspun.  I'll have to make a smaller size and figure out a better needle size.  It was so hot and humid I couldn't face touching it but this weekend is supposed to be delightful so I want to make all the decisions on how to make it work so I can get it started before the yucky weather comes back.   I like knitting with yarn I've made but it does make things a bit more challenging when size matters.

This is what it looked like at one point.  It's too big so I had to pull it out and use fewer stitches.  I love the way it looks but it wasn't working.  It's a work in progress in more way than one.  I'm learning from it and that always makes a project more interesting and satisfying.

And speaking of satisfying, I finished the audio book I struggled to get.  It was one of the rare times I finished a series of books and was satisfied with the ending.   Mira Grant managed to tie up the loose ends in a believable way (well, as believable as a zombie book can be).  These were good stories and probably more plausible than any of the other zombie apocalypse versions out there. 

My neighbor's chain saw is going again.  He's taken down so many trees.  I know the yard was overgrown but he's taken out the growth that acted as a sound barrier for the busy road that runs behind the house.  We have a fence back there and it's overgrown with vines.  It offers us privacy and muffles the traffic noises somewhat.  We like trees.  I think he's going to be sorry come July and August when there's no shade and the sun is beating down on his yard.  His reason?  He doesn't like raking leaves.  I know, there's no understanding some people.

Did I mention Pk and I joined a CSA?  (Community Supported Agriculture).  It's a share of local produce and other products that we pick up each week.   The hospital is a pick up spot so I took some bags into work because tomorrow is our first pick up.  We're in this for a number of reasons, one being we don't eat enough vegetables and this may help us eat more.  Another is that if we don't support local farms, they'll disappear.  We're hoping to try some things we haven't before and get some good fresh stuff that we already like.  I'm feeling kinda excited about it.

And now the hunger is setting in so I'm off to cook dinner since it won't cook itself.  Unfortunately  no amount of hinting has gotten either Pk or El to volunteer so if I want to eat, I have to get off my butt and make it happen.

See ya later.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I think my husband is a genius as well as a nice guy.  These last few days have been a huge pain in the ass technology wise.

It all started a year ago when I downloaded and listened to two books about a zombie apocalypse and bloggers.  Yes, bloggers.  It's called The Newsflesh Trilogy (Feed and Deadline are the first two).  I love these books.  They are fun and interesting and a great listen.

The third book came out in audio form this week.  Instead of waiting months for the library to get a copy and then have to wait until it was my turn, I decided to actually buy it.  I went to amazon and they sent me to which turned out to be a totally unsatisfactory experience.  It seems that I was only going to be able to download it to my computer and not my mp3 player which they don't support.  I thanked the nice young man and said that I didn't want the book after all.

Pk suggested itunes.  I am not a fan of apple as a whole but I really wanted the book so I bought it.  It turned out to be a mpeg4 (and  I have no real idea what that is, except that it is not compatible with an mp3 player).  After many frustrating hours, Pk remembered he had an old ipod and managed to download the book and let me borrow his device for 17 hours to listen to the book.  This is still not ideal since I'd like to download the book to my player to keep it there but that is not likely to happen anytime soon.  I tried all kinds of internet programs to "convert" the files but since it's protected material, they didn't work.  Why can't the devices all get along?

I've listened to about an hour so far and it's good.  If you are a fan of zombie apocalypse literature (and really, who isn't?), then I highly recommend this one.  I promise it won't lower your IQ more than a few points.  You can go read/listen to some Dickens or something high brow afterwards to restore your brain power if you like.  Me?  I like a good zombie book once in a while.

I finished baby sweater number two tonight.  I put plain buttons on it and washed and blocked it .  I think I could become addicted to making these.  They're small and easy and adorable when they're done.  This is a quick cell phone photo but the color is fairly true.  It's a great green/grey color dyed by Jessie of A Piece of Vermont.  She doesn't run her shop anymore which makes me sad because I liked her yarn and rovings very much.  I'm looking around for another gender neutral color to start another one. 

I have not made much progress on Bigger on the Inside since we have this woman in the knitting group who is demanding so much attention that no one else gets any of their own knitting/crocheting done.  She comes in with new plans each week but never makes anything.  It was a blanket, a scarf, a beret, and now it's a dog sweater.  We have decided that next week we're going to tell her to just pick one thing and start it.  It's great to be ambitious but not when it gets in the way of doing anything.

I have a fairly quiet weekend planned.  I've been spinning some very thin singles and hope to ply them to see if I've got the laceweight thing down so I'm ready for the tour de fleece at the end of the month.  Pk and Em are going canoeing tomorrow.  If they leave me my car, I'll go grocery shopping and take the car through inspection and run some other errands.  Other than that, the weekend is mine. 

Right now, I'm listening to the rain.  There seems to be a rather wicked band of storms coming up the coast which will hopefully bypass us to the north.  The rain would be good if it doesn't come down in buckets and the wind doesn't knock down trees.  We're having a tornado watch until 9 pm.  So far, it's been raining on and off in the way of summer storms and there was a small bit of thunder.  Not too bad but I probably shouldn't say that out loud......

Have a good weekend!

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...