Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I thought today would never end.  This was an odd week for me.  On Monday, my computer at work wouldn't come on when I pressed the control, alt,del like normal (one of the IT guys told me to shut it off and let it restart at the end of each day so it would already be booted up in the morning).  I got a BSOD (blue screen of death).  Usually, a blue screen means bad things are happening.  It also said something about dumping my files.  I thought that couldn't possibly be good.

I turned it off and called the marvelous folks at our Help Desk.  And I do not use the word marvelous lightly.  They are always polite and helpful and they are all so smart.

The nice man I got to talk to on Monday told me in essence, I should have probably allowed the dump to continue and then I might have been fine.  But now, my hard drive had crashed and was probably not salvageable.  He gave me a ticket number and I answered some questions during which I admitted this was not an EMERGENCY.  No direct patient care would be involved, just all of my work. (they thanked me for being honest as it seems everyone else in the health system seems to believe their computer is the most important one in all the world).

Sean, the IT guy came over and ran a few quick tests only to confirm what I already knew.  The hard drive was dead.  He told me I would get my computer back on Tuesday.  I used a coworker's for the day and got a surprising amount of work done.

Pk and I left work early to go back to the mechanic and get the computer (again with the computer!) checked.  He also repaired the a/c.  He told us we could go through inspection and would pass but he couldn't give us a sticker so we still weren't legal. 

Tuesday morning, as promised, Sean gave me my machine back but it was naked.  No favorites, no saved email addresses.  I fortunately had most of my favorites saved as a Word document so I could find them again.  This is not just Girl Genius comics but also Prior Authorization forms that I use on a fairly regular basis and also links to discount drug places.  I had most of them saved.  It took me a little while to reload them into their proper spots. 

My wonderful supervisor let me leave early again on Tuesday and we got to the inspection center and finally got the inspection sticker that allows us to legally drive the car.  Whew. Now we don't have to worry about getting a ticket.  We can drive our very clean and shiny car anywhere we want. 

Today was the longest day of the week.  I actually stayed till the end of the day (although leaving early Mon and Tues did not mean that I won't have my required number of hours-I put in extra most pay periods, this one will have 3/4 of an hour over.  Not too bad)  I had Vacation Brain all day and didn't get much accomplished.  I made sure the person covering me had anything he might need and changed the message on my machine but the rest of the day was pretty much a blur.

But now we're free!  For 6 days.  Tomorrow we have some errands to run (one of which is to go and get the vegetables) and then dinner in the park.  Friday will be a lake day.  Saturday will be for laundry and puttering around.  Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will be for the movie marathon and lounging around (it's supposed to rain and be unpleasant).  I am hoping to get some spinning and knitting done.  Pk is hoping to putter in his shop.  It's been too miserable all summer to spend much time outside so this will be nice.

Is it odd to celebrate Labor Day by having a day off?  Seems so but I'll never turn down a long weekend. 

I know it's only Wednesday but since I'm officially on vacation, it feels like Friday.  So, Happy Almost Friday! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

This is a back view of our car, newly repaired and being driven home from the mechanic's on Friday afternoon.  I am following Pk in Em's car and  no, I am not taking a photo while moving.  If you look closely you can see that the brake lights are on.

Here on the left, is our car after it's beauty treatment.  It got the works on Saturday morning.  Washed, vacuumed, rugs and upholstery shampooed and all the cobwebs and dirt removed.  I was going to do it myself but it would have taken me hours and hours and I don't have the equipment to do the rug cleaning and upholstery shampooing without making things very wet.

The place we went to did an excellent job.  I could do without the Armorall shine on the tires but it'll wear off.  It took about an hour and a half.

We took Emily back her car this morning after adding new lift gate parts and a spare tire.  Our car needs to be inspected but we had to drive it for 75 miles or so since the battery was disconnected and "the sensors need to record new data for the computer to read" or something like that.  We'll stop by the mechanic's after work on Monday and he said it'll take 5 minutes so no worries. 

All in all, we're pleased and grateful that it works.  It's in good shape and has 58K miles on it so we should get a few years before we have to start looking to buy a new one.  If you look closely at the photo on the left you can see Bud the Banana hanging from the dashboard.  Bud came out of my old car and has been waiting to resume his rightful spot. 

We were blessed with decent weather all weekend.  It's humid but the temps are not too high and it's been partly cloudy so as long as you weren't moving around too much, you were fairly comfortable and we've been able to do without the a/c. 

Pk and I have two short weeks coming up.  We have no plans, just puttering around.  It might be time to do a LOTR marathon.  Lots of popcorn and sword fighting and elves.  Sounds like a good weekend to me.

Monday, August 20, 2012

tide out
tide in!
So, how was your weekend?  We finally did the grocery shopping Saturday morning.  Come Thursday, it was finally a glorious day (way too nice to go to the grocery store) so we headed out to the park for dinner.

The Delaware River is a tidal river and I know this.  I have seen the mud flats on the sides when the tide is out from the bridge in the morning. 

I've never seen it up close.  The tide has never been out while we've been there for a picnic.  I have no idea what was different this time.  You can see how far out the water was.  Unfortunately, I only had my cell phone so the quality isn't as good but if you click on it, it gets clearer.  You can see the flock of geese that lives there all over the mud.

It has a rich, earthy smell and a green cast to it.  We haven't quite hit drought conditions here this summer but the first part of it was very dry.  The park was crispy the last time we were here.  Thursday it was green and soft again.  It was so delightful to sit and feel the breeze and knit and watch the planes come into the airport.

I have another baby sweater otn and then another one after that.  We have three more babies due at work!  (It's in the water I tellya.  I drink the bottled stuff for a reason).  I sat in my chair and worked on a sweater while Kate worked on some D&D campaign strategies and Pk listened to Motown classics.  He was so cute miming Stop In The Name of Love.  Diana Ross would have been proud. 

We did a small shopping trip on Saturday to get back into our pattern and then Pk finished putting all the various parts back on the car.  I called the garage today and they took it away to give it a check up, change all the fluids, put on new brakes and tires and do the inspection.  Hopefully, the nice mechanic will call me and tell me that I will not have to sell a kidney to pay for it and it will be ready for us tomorrow or Wednesday.  Then we can take Em back her car.  She has been so patient and good about it but I know she misses her baby.

kate with a friend
Kate and I are planning to go to the NJ Sheep Show in September.  It's such a small show, much smaller than MDSW and that's why we like it.  It's not overwhelming and the booths are usually smaller, local people.  You won't see Socks That Rock in a booth with a winding line.  You can talk to folks and get up close.

 Last year we got some gorgeously soft handspun alpaca and we're planning to look for some more this year.  I made a scarf with mine, Kate made a shawl with hers.  And all the while, we kept saying, "next year, we have to get more of this".  We'll also look for some local spinning fiber.  I b ought the alpaca for Pk's big grey sweater at the NJ show.  It's time to think about what kind of sweater he'd like next. (well, after I finish mine of course)

I just have to keep Kate away from the bunnies.  She made fast friends last year and wanted to bring one home.

Otherwise, things are quiet here.  End of summer quiet.  We have a full week this week and then two short weeks as we take a few days off surrounding Labor Day (Sept 3 this year in the US).  We have no plans, just relaxing.

You know how I like my early morning Buddhist inspirations?  Today's was delightful and made me think about how I walk around.

"Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet."
 ~Thich Nhat Hanh
 Isn't that an interesting image?  I walked more gently today, more aware of how I was moving.  I know it won't last and I'll go back to my rushing down the hall again but just for today, I walked as if I were kissing the Earth with my feet.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Know what one of the really cool things about my husband is?   He's cooking dinner.  And all I had to do is say, "when are you cooking dinner?".

Today, well, this whole week so far really, was not smooth.  With all the upheaval going on at work (doctors leaving and coming and having surgery), things are not smooth.  And it's prime vacation time so there's always someone covering for someone else. 

All this means is that I'm tired today.  We were supposed to go grocery shopping this weekend but my inability to leave the vacinity of the bathroom squashed that.  Monday, Pk was late getting out of work.  Tuesday he wanted to work on the car.  Today?  We figured we'd wait till tomorrow and we see what we get in the CSA share.  Thankfully we have food in the freezer and on the shelves so we can eat.  We really do have to go shopping tomorrow.  I'll be out of cream for my coffee you see.

We sat down upstairs after work and I said those words, "when are you cooking dinner?" and Pk looked at me in his way and I knew the words that would come out of his mouth, but he surprised me by standing up and saying, "now".  "REALLY?"  "You want me to cook dinner, I'll cook dinner."

This is so cool.  It smells delicious (london broil, noodles and fresh tomatoes) and I'm hungry.  I love to cook but sometimes it's just nice to have someone else cook for you.

And look.  I finished a sock.  Half of June's socks for Elanor.  It's Embossed Leaves (which I adore) with the star toe.  I really like star toes.  I don't know why I don't use them more often.  I think I forget.

 Yes, it's one of Roxanne's yarns.  One of Andy Warhol's shoe paintings.  I wasn't sure about the colors but went boldly on and used it and I really love how it's coming out.  I'm trying to catch up so it's been all socks all the time.  I can keep that up for a while before I stray.

I completely frogged a half done shawl in a pattern I bought at a trunk show.  It's supposed to use up ends of sock yarn but I had some yarn I bought for it. It just wasn't working for me.  It sat and sat until I faced the realization that I wasn't going to finish it.  It was far easier than I thought it would be.

Not much else is going on.  We have a quiet weekend coming up.  If the weather cooperates, we might get to the lake.  We haven't gone all summer.  And the summer has been so hot.  It hasn't been nice enough to have our usual picnics at the river.  I hadn't realized that we haven't had a picnic since Memorial Day and that's not normal for us.  Just one of those odd summers.

Oh, and my dinner?  It was delicious.  I love tomatoes (and they do not return the sentiment) so I eat them sparingly.  These were excellent, with really good flavor.  The meat was done just right and the noodles were noodles (I just don't like them much but Pk does). 

And I didn't have to cook it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I visit my doctor every 12 weeks to monitor my blood pressure (among other things) and yesterday was my regular visit.  On Tuesday, I left work early because I was just feeling out of it and really tired.  I totally blamed it on Peter Kevn's cpap mask not working well and him keeping me up but I think it was probably more me than him.

(His mask needed a new gel pillow and we ordered some online before I thought to look locally and found a supplier within 5 miles.  Yay for never paying more in postage that the cost of the object!)

I went to work on Wednesday and since we slept better on Tuesday night, I felt a bit more normal.   Thursday morning I just felt blah.  I was pretty sure I had a sinus infection from the headaches and general yucky feeling and was glad I had a dr appt.  By the time I got to the doctor's office, I was a rather fetching reddish color.  Turns out, I had a fever (the dr told me the inside of my ears was "hot", not red but "hot like little ovens") and it probably stemed from the sinus infection.  She gave me a nuclear strength antibiotic (10 days of medicine in only 3 pills) and told me to drink liquids and take it easy.  I had such a killer headache and got permission to take decongestant and pain killers.

The fever seems to have broken and the antibiotic is running through my body like a hot knife through butter.  I am very good friends with my toilet today.  My head is a bit achy but not nearly as bad as last night.  I'm mostly sitting around and not doing anything.  I know my body doesn't feel well because I'm just not hungry (and I'm a bit afraid to eat since nothing seems to linger long in my body at the moment). 

And now for something completely different........

I got some beautiful fibery bits in the mail lately.  First is the box of cupcakes I won as part of Team Cupcake in the Tour de Fleece.

These are merino, cashmere and silk and the color is called Water and Sky.  Joan lives in NY near the river that runs into Niagara Falls.  She says this color was inspired by the river in front of the Peace Bridge. 

It's so pretty and so soft.  I wish you could touch it.  I am looking forward to spinning it. 

And these are the last three months of the artwalk yarn club.  The lighting for the photo is a bit iffy since it was raining at the time.  The top is Jackson Pollock, the middle is Salvador Dali and the bottom is a Marc Chagall.  I lovelovelove them.  I am not even winding them up now since I have 5 pairs of socks in progress plus three shawls and one baby sweater (and of course, my sweater.)  I cleaned out the mess that was piled in my bedroom and organized things a bit.  I need to finish some socks first (and I mean NEED, this having so many pairs otn at the same time makes me a bit crazy.  I'm not sure how this happened).  I am 2/3 done El's first June sock and it's moving surprisingly quickly.  I think that's what happens when you actually put the time into knitting something.

Knittech said in the comments that she had thought of the Master Knitter course but didn't see the need.  I have been thinking about that a lot since that was my feeling as well for the longest time.  I think I am looking forward to the challenge.  Pk is excited about this.  He thinks it's cool that I would want to challenge myself to try to meet their standards (which I understand are exacting).  Will I enjoy knitting more?  Maybe/maybe not.  But what I think it might help me do is understand what I'm doing more.  It's my hobby and I truly enjoy it but I can't say that I understand how much of it actually works.  Some people seem to grasp concepts of design and construction that I don't even see.  I think I'd like to see. 

This will be a quiet weekend.  We'll be celebrating Kate's birthday on Saturday so I have to bake a cake.  But that's not difficult.  Mostly, I think there will be sitting around.  If my brain clears up, maybe some knitting. And listening to something light and frivolous. Today, it's Nora Roberts.  Lots of pretty people, dangerous situations and steamy sex scenes.  Not a profound thought in evidence.  Just what my brain needs.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Michael Phelps

I haven't watched any of the Olympics (am I allowed to use the word in conversation?) but I was aware of the phenomenon known as Michael Phelps.  This made me laugh today.  It's XKCD, one of my favorite online comics.

Life at work goes on.  Since the Exec Director was the unseen presence on the third floor most days, it's not immediately noticeable that she's gone.  I'll notice today when we have a meeting and she's not there.  She was more involved in client affairs than any other director before her and knew more folks by name, which was a rare and good thing.  I think the committee meeting today will miss her.

And another really good thing?  The car started right up.  After Pk put the essential parts into place and stepped away, he gave me the honor of starting it for the first time in over 3 years.  It turned over and went vrooom just like it's supposed to.

Now, it needs to go and spend some quality time with a mechanic to get all the fluids changed and the new tires/brakes done and then it's off to the inspection station.  I like this car.  It's small but not tiny and will haul all of our stuff.  I say that like we have lots of stuff but with life consisting mostly of just the two of us, the reality is that we don't need a big car anymore. 

The heat of summer continues almost unabated here.  I don't remember a summer where we didn't get a few days of gorgeousness thrown into the mix but this year, we may get one day where the temps are not 90 or above and the humidity has been killer but then it's right back to being ugly.  Needless to say, there have been less outdoor activities and more hibernating.  I'm not thrilled with this but we're old enough to know better than to stay out in this weather.

I am steadily working on the body of my sweater.  I do a few rows at a time.  It's a tight fabric and is not easy on the hands.  I don't usually knit this tight but since I wanted the fabric to be warm, I'm using smaller needles than I might normally use.  I like the way it looks. 

I'm thinking of doing the Master Knitter course.  I know Roxie has done it and wondered if anyone else has.  I've read up on it and it looks challenging but doable.  Anyone have any experience with this?  I know it really doesn't mean anything to anyone but me but for some reason I find the idea of it appealing.  I think it goes back to the idea that I'm entirely self taught here and it will give me validation of sorts.  (psychologist hat on here!  I know I can knit and have knit may beautiful and useful things but still there is a part of myself that is doubtful of my skills.  And yes, I know it doesn't make sense but there it is)  I haven't decided definitely to do it but I'm thinking about it.  Anyone else game?

That's about all the news for now.  My baby turned 23 this past weekend.  I'm not sure how that happened but I'm so proud of the lovely young woman she's grown into.  She's kind and thoughful and loving, an entirely sucessful human being.  When she was born, the midwife told me that third children most often favor their mothers.  Now, she probably told me this because my brunette self gave birth to two blondes previously and she wanted to make me happy but Kate is the child who most reminds me of me.  Yes, she has brown hair and eyes (we are the minority in our family) and my odd sense of humor.  She's definitely my kid. 

Emily is just as kind and loving but is more driven to succeed and has way more energy than any two other people.  She's a wonder.  Elanor is more laid back and introverted.  She's perfectly happy with her own company and will tell folks to bugger off and leave her alone.

Kate kind of takes things as they come and deals with them. It took me a lifetime of struggling with things to get to that point so maybe she's way ahead of me already. 

It's Hump Day and time to go to work.  Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Um, sorry for the stress filled post from yesterday.  It is not all doom and gloom.  My attitude is to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward with my eyes firmly down the road. 

I am avoiding getting involved in the gossip and speculation at work regarding the stuff going on.  I have firm trust that things will work out.  They usually do. 

Some positive things have been happening as well.  There is a team of experts on adult autism coming to work with us (ME!) in setting up a new program for the eastern half of PA.  I was interested in this before they came yesterday to explain what it actually is but I am excited now.  I will get to work with them in helping adults with autism and their families identify the diagnosis and also get to help implement behavioral interventions that may help them have more fulfilling lives without unnecessary medications.

This is so cool.  It's a new facet to my job (which makes me a bit more valuable as an employee) that will add some interest.  I will also get to learn a new skill set which is never a bad thing.  The folks coming in are laid back and treated me with respect even though I don't have the level of formal education they have (which had me a bit intimidated.  experience is good but education is king in this field).  They listened to me and accepted my thoughts and ideas as valuable.  That was important because it is demoralizing to work with people who think that because you don't have a string of letters after your name that your thoughts can't possibly have merit or value.  Ask me how I know this.  You learn quickly to keep your mouth shut. 

These folks listened eagerly and seemed to be really interested in what I had to say.  And since I will be the constant here, (the doctor that was supposed to be working with us is the one leaving so I'll be breaking in a new doctor at the same time), it'll help a lot.  Like I said, it's exciting.  Adults with autism (or any intellectual disability) are an underserved population here.  Children are given services of all kind but as soon as the person hits 22, the services go away.  It leaves families and individuals with no where to go. 

I have two weeks to brush up my (admittedly scarce) knowledge of autism in adults.  I know people but now I have to learn symptomology.

And voila!  Elanor's socks.  The pattern is Monkey socks and the yarn is one of the artwalk club yarns (I think a Dali but I'm not sure).  These took a while since I got distracted and played with other projects.  I had some project ADD for a while and flitted about from one to another.  I am focusing on catching up with El's socks and finishing a baby sweater and then I'll work on some other wips to wrangle them into some sort of order.  I don't know if I'll have time for socks for everyone this christmas but I'll have to start working on it soon if it's going to happen.

This eggplant was part of this week's farm share.  Kate and I laughed and laughed at it's nose.  It has a nose!  I've seen photos of vegetables with protruberances but never had one of my own.  This made me inordinately happy for some reason.

The farm share has been fun, although that sounds odd to say.  I take my bags and walk across the street on Thursday afternoons and they give me a box of things and a dozen eggs and some kind of local cheese.  It's like opening a present each week since I never have any idea what's going to be inside. There have been vegetables we already know we don't like (like the turnips last week.  I just can't make myself like turnips) but they have been few and far between.  We got some gorgeous tomatoes this week and some fresh ricotta cheese.  I've never seen fresh ricotta and this is so much drier than what we usually buy in the store.  I'm going to make something with pasta for dinner and use this to see how it works.  It's milder in flavor and is curd-like instead of creamy.

The share we signed up for ends in November and we are thinking of extending it into the winter share.  I know it will be a lot of squash and gourds but I think it will still be fun.  I like the idea of helping to support local farms which are becoming fewer and fewer. 

I'm off to apply noxious chemicals to my roots and put clean sheets on my bed and dust and sweep my bedroom and do the laundry.  It's 96% humidity and the temps are already climbing so the earlier I get these things done, the better for me.  I can then sit and knit or maybe spin (but with all that humidity, I'd probably end up wearing more roving than spinning it because it will stick to my skin!) while Pk finishes the last bit of work on the car.  We're going to try to start it today.  After many minor and very irritating hurdles, it's mostly back together and if it starts, we'll turn it over to a professional mechanic to give it a once over and new brakes and put the new tires on and then we'll be good to go. 

Cross your fingers!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Here at work we are in a state of un-settled-ness.  I don't know how else to put it.  Everyone is unsettled.  It started with the announced and predicted budget cuts (which we are still waiting to hear the fallout from).  Everyone still has a job so it was all good.

Last Friday, we got an email saying our Executive Director was resigning and that day was her last.  This came out of "a clear blue sky" (as my mother used to say).  We were stunned, shell shocked, surprised, pick your word for having your feet completely knocked out from under you.  I mean no warning at all.

I went up to see  her before she left because we had worked together on several projects for the last 8 years and I wanted to say goodbye if nothing else.  She wanted it this way.  No notice, no fanfare, just walk out the door at the end of the week and not come back (sounds a lot like my fantasy Friday).  She has plans to work with international relief agencies and travel and said she was ready for this.  I wish her well but would probably have handled it a bit differently.

That was No 1.  We had a doctor retire in May and we're still waiting for the credentialling to be finished on her replacement and our Fellow is done so she's gone (we have doctors come on Fellowship.  They're called Fellows).  One other doctor is leaving in 2 weeks for a 12 week medical leave for surgery.  This left us with 2, count 'em 2, doctors to service 1,000 or so people.  Not a pretty picture.  We have been scrambling.

Wednesday morning, I learn that the doctor who works the Intellectual Disabilities clinic (individuals with ID and mental health problems) is leaving in mid September to take a job somewhere else.  Sucker punched again.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm happy for him.  He's young and has a pregnant wife and they have to do what's best for their young family.  But DAMN. 

Our acting Medical Director says she's "on it" and has some good candidates to fill all positions but it seems to take so long to bring anyone on board here.  I am covered for the doctor having surgery.  I have prescriptions for all her folks and I can triage them and get them to a doctor if they need one or just give them a script if they're stable.  But the Intellectual Disabilities clinic is a bit more complicated.  And finding another doctor who is interested in working with this population is not easy.  They usually have no formal training and I have "trained" the last 3. I have worked with this population of adults for almost 30 years so I know somewhat of what I'm talking about.  Now, I get to break in another one. 

So, yea, unsettled.  And working hard to keep up.  Hamsters on wheels is the imagery in my head right now.

On a positive note, I finished Elanor's May socks.  I have a photo on my phone but can't retrieve it since I'm at work.  I'll show you later.  She loves them.  I'm only 2 (and soon to be 3) months behind so it's not too bad.  June and July and August are going to be footie socks so I have a chance to catch up if I only knit on socks for the next month. 

We have a quiet-no-plans kind of weekend coming up.  Probably a good thing since it's going to be a million degrees and very humid.  Not moving is the only way to handle it, otherwise you are a walking puddle.  I think we've run the a/c in our bedroom more this year than we have in years past.  The temps haven't been dropping as much at night so we never cool down.  The a/c is what allows us to sleep.  And sleep is all important if we have to get up and to to work.  Which, of course, we do.

I'd like to spin some this weekend.  I haven't touched the wheel since the Tour de Fleece ended.  I won a prize from my Team! In a random drawing I won a custom color Cupcake box of spinning fluff.  I love Joan's batts so this is a great prize.  I'm not entered in the Ravellenic Games (the games formerly known as the Ravelympics) this time around.  I didn't want any pressure to knit in the heat.  I'm glad I didn't.  There have been days when I've been just too pooped to pop.  My bp meds make me more sensitive to the sun/heat so I'm taking care to sit still and sleep whenever possible.  (sounds good, huh?)

Well, I have a pile of charts on my desk that is (no lie) 2 feet high waiting for my attention so I should probably go to work.  Have a safe and happy Friday.  We're heading off to the bookstore to sit in the a/c and enjoy a tasty beverage and read all the magazines after work and then home to just BE.

Have a good one!

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...