Wednesday, February 27, 2013

 This is the messenger bag that I bought from Namaste in November.  I love it.  It's a perfect size and I like the magnetic closure.  When the strap holder broke, I wrote to them and they replaced it within 2 weeks.  Good service.

Namaste Urban Messenger Bag - BlackToday on the train, I noticed that the same piece of strap is tearing.  Again.  It looks like the piece of whatever the material is that they use to attach the strap to the bag is not strong enough for the stitching.  I weighed my bag and I carry about 10 pounds.  This includes my umbrella, a water bottle, a magazine, my ipad, walkman, my coffee and my lunch and of course a small knitting project.

Does this seem like an unreasonable amount?  The bag is no longer available for purchase on the website so maybe I am not the only one who has had problems with it.  I checked out Kate's and hers is tearing as well so I'm pretty sure it's not me.

I wrote to the company this morning to express my disappointment.  It hasn't been a month since I started using the new bag (more like 2 weeks) and to have it falling apart already is unacceptable.  Thing is, I can fix it.  Pk has some scrap leather and I can remove their strap holders and put on new ones that will hold.

I think I am willing to do this since I really like the rest of the bag but Pk thinks I should return it and get a refund (although I think their policy is no refunds, just credit).  I'm a bit conflicted since I agree with him that the product is defectively designed.

Maybe I'll wait and see how they respond before I take any actions.  There's a shoe repair place in the Farmer's Market that could probably put some leather pieces on it for me if I choose.

I am feeling a bit nervous as the Friday deadline for sequestration looms.  The automatic cuts in spending will impact everyone in some way and some folks in a major way.  No one has said anything about our budget here.  Yet.  My supervisor says we're not affected "this go around" since healthcare payments are not affected.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the legislators get their collective asses in gear and figure it all out.  That's what we're paying them for.

Otherwise things are good.  It's raining again and I think the squirrels have gnawed a way into our attic.  The pesky buggers.  Even with all of the birds of prey we have seen in our neighborhood, the darn squirrel population is growing.  And they're not very smart but are very persistent.  Pk has to climb up onto the roof and patch the hole and throw some moth balls up there (squirrels hate moth balls) to deter them.  There's one particularly fat squirrel that is the most brazen of the bunch.  He sits outside my kitchen window and watches me.  They are fat from eating our garbage after gnawing a hole in the lid(s).  We'd get metal cans but the trashmen tend to throw the cans when they're done and the metal ones get dented out of shape quickly.

Ah, life in the suburbs. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm working on 10 days since my last post and I'm sorry about that.  Life really hasn't been that exciting that I couldn't find the time.  I'm not quite sure where the days went.

We have been trying to clean up the yard after the reno work but it has rained or snowed every weekend here since Christmas.  We still have a dumpster in the driveway.  I can't wait to call the company and have them come pick it up.  One of the reasons we chose them is that they don't charge by the day.  We can keep it as long as we want and then call them to pick it up.  We pay by the ton for anything over 3 tons (6,000 pounds.   that's a lot of debris)

We did learn that our back porch area has some asbestos shingles and we're not sure how we're supposed to dispose of them just yet but I know it will be expensive.

Pk turned 55 this past weekend.  He asked for a dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting.  I found a recipe and got some good cocoa powder and then made some chocolate/raspberry frosting.  It was yummy.

We had already planned to take the Friday and Monday surrounding his birthday off to give ourselves a long holiday-like weekend.  There are no days off until Memorial Day (May) and we thought it might be nice.

Well, on Wednesday I had a sore throat.  It felt like swallowing razor blades so I left work early.  I called the dr because the pain came with some fever and swollen glands.  I got an appt on Thursday and it was indeed the dreaded strep throat.

I have a history of serious infections, two of which led to hospitalizations for IV antibiotics for a week at a time.  I am a MRSA carrier so I don't play around when I think I may have an infection of any kind.  The dr reinforced this and told me that I should never hesitate to call if I think strep is involved (untreated strep in adults can lead to heart valve damage and/or kidney damage).  I had scarlet fever as a teenager and the evidence of it shows up in my kidney tests to this day.

He said "you didn't need me to tell you this is strep".  I said "no, but I need you to write the prescription for the pills to make it go away".  So he did.  The antibiotic wouldn't do anything for the cold I was brewing on top of the strep but it would make the strep go away.

I slept most of Thursday and then made a grocery store run with Pk on Friday.  It was all I could do to choose items and come home.  I slept on and off most of Friday. (when I wasn't sneezing and blowing my nose.  thank all the dieties for Puffs)

Sat was Pk's birthday and he planned to go to a Woodworking show with two of his brothers-in-law.  He left and I made the cake and with the help of Kate and Patrick, decorated the living room.

Pk wanted to buy something called "illooms", illuminated balloons.  Each one has a small LED inside and "glows".  Well, they glow but only when it's really dark.  He will get more enjoyment out of them after we take them down and he gets to pull the LEDs out and play with them. 

I made tacos and red beans and rice for dinner and the girls and their SOs came over to spend the evening with Pk.  We had a really good time but I was so tired by the time they left.  It was all I could do to clear up and drag my sorry self upstairs.

Oh, and that's the Giant Birthday Peep.  We've tried to decorate him for holidays but his head is too amorphous to wear a hat.  He's just kind of cute.

Arucania sock.  Great stitch definition.
I declared that Sunday was a pajama day and I caught up on my hulu queue and worked on a birthday sock for the next birthday (which thankfully isn't until April).  I finished Pk's socks on Friday and he wore them on Saturday.  I wanted to take a photo but he was dressed and out the door before I was fully functioning.  He loves them.  They're Noro Silk Garden Sock.  Coarse but colorful. 

Today I haven't done too much.  I've sat and read since my mind feels fairly lucid for the first time in days.  I am thinking about spinning some but haven't made it past the thinking-about-it stage.  We were also considering a trip to the movies this afternoon but maybe not.  I'm kind of content to just sit here and watch the world out my front window and listen to a book and probably fall asleep.  I have to go to work tomorrow so I need to nap while I can.

Pk is working/playing outside in the "shop".  My birthday gift to him was cash to spend at the woodworkers' show.  He wants to try his hand at making pens/pencils so he bought some tools for that.  He originally wanted something called a "chuck" for the lathe.  I suggested he go to the show and see if there was anything he really wanted and if not, we'd order the chuck (which is a part that allows you to turn bowls on your lathe).  He was so glad he did this because the chuck (which was expensive) turned out to be a very small (3 inches or so) part that would not have allowed him to do what he really wanted.  Instead, he got a variety of useful, interesting things AND got to hang around with grey haired men wearing plaid flannel shirts at the same time.  win/win.

I think I might also play with the app I bought for my ipad.  KnitCompanion is supposed to be "wonderful", "so useful" and other good things.  I think (so far) that it sucks harder than any sucking thing has ever sucked in the entire history of sucking things.  It is the most user unfriendly piece of software I have ever purchased.  There are hours of tutorials I am going to have to watch just to figure out how it works.  THAT to me is not what I want to be doing with my time.  I guess Microsoft has made me lazy.  (except for Windows 8), their products are fairly easy to figure out.  KnitCompanion (which is supposed to allow me to import my patterns and "mark"them up and make them easier to use) could use a lesson in that. 

Are you ready for Spring? (or Fall if you're below the equator?).  Our bulbs have a healthy bit of growth and we've got another month of winter.  This up and down weather has been crazy.  I'd still like a good snowfall but my chances of it happening are getting slimmer and slimmer.  Soon, I'll have to just give up hoping and start thinking about the garden. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day has always been a favorite of mine.  I mean, how hard is it to love a holiday that features chocolate? 

From reading blogs and other bits and pieces of the interwebz, I learned that how we look at Valentine's Day here in the US is different than the way that the rest of the world does.

For instance, I gave my coworkers Valentines.  I bought a box of Looney Toones with all my favorite characters on them and put one in everyone's mailbox first thing in the morning.  I got such positive responses from people.  One person said "thank you for my valentine.  It's the only one I've gotten today". 

Now to be honest, I have feelings for most of the folks I work with (I think they're all really good folks-you can't work in the social work field for long and be a crappy person) but I don't LOVE them.  I just wanted them to know that I thought about them with affection and that they were appreciated.

I sent a card to my children and their SOs to let them know that I was thinking of them.  And my true love?  He got a box of his very favorite chocolates. 

There isn't so much joy and love in the world that a little more will hurt.  I got way more back yesterday as I saw the looks/smiles on people's faces as they got their cards.  All this joy cost me about 2 dollars.  Totally worth it.

Oh and for our Valentine's Day date?  Pk and I took Elanor and went out for pizza and wings.  It was delicious. We had planned to take a trip to the beach (yes in February!) just to see the ocean and walk on one of the boardwalks absorbing some fresh salt air tomorrow. 

Snow Likely Chance for Measurable Precipitation 60%Unfortunately, this showed up in the forecast for overnight and into tomorrow.  It may snow, it may rain or more likely do a mixture of both with some sleet thrown in (the infamous Wintry Mix) so we've decided to postpone the trip. 

Instead, we'll go to the bookstore for some beverages and people watching after work and then to Best Buy to find a new computer game and then home for dinner and a relaxing weekend of not being out in the wintry weather.

So now I've got a ton of paperwork to finish here at my desk and if I'm lucky, I'll get to go downstairs and watch some of our talent show.  It's always so much fun to see people get up on the stage and perform. 

And while it might not be Valentine's Day any longer, I still hope you all have a day filled with chocolate (or whatever your favorite treat) and the people you love.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

In case you were wondering how we fared during Winter Storm Nemo (yes, we are naming our winter storms now, too-some folks just have too much time on their hands!), I took this photo yesterday morning with my ipad.   I'm not usually thrilled with the photos it takes but this one is not bad.

After much back and forth as to how much snow we were likely to see on Fri night/Sat morning, we ended up with about an inch.  Just enough to barely cover the grass and to melt off the sidewalks without any shoveling.

I had Handle with Care Trainer training on Friday.  It's an 8 hour restraint training class for folks who then go on to train other folks.  It's mostly security guards from the hospital.  I was partnered with a guy I see frequently for most of the morning but then I got a new guy who wrenched my shoulders back in a most painful manner.  They are still protesting.  Otherwise, the training is not onerous.  It helps me remember small bits that I tend to forget.  Now we will set up our training schedule for the next year.

Pk and I hit the grocery store on Friday after work.  It was fairly crowded but not impossible.  We got our bimonthly shopping done within a normal amount of time.  When we saw how messy it was getting by the end of the night weather-wise, we were glad we went.

Saturday, I did the laundry and blocked out my Fall Forest Canopy Shawl.  This is the bfl/nylon I spun into a 2 ply laceweight yarn for the Tour de Fleece.  The shawl came out just as I imagined with all the colors of Fall leaves.  It's light and airy and I enjoyed knitting it.  There's something extra enjoyable about knitting with yarn you've made yourself. 

I finished one of the Noro socks for Pk's birthday and had him try it on.  He loves the fit (I made the heel pocket a bit deeper than normal) and really likes the colors.  I have some colorful socks otn for me and also the Madli shawl which I cannot seem to make myself work on.  It is a lovely knit but rather boring.  I wanted to make the Ancient Woodland by Miriam Felton) and have a forest green alpaca/silk to use so maybe I'll pick that one up.  I've been admiring it for a long time. 

There is also a new LOTR pattern coming out this week that I've been waiting for.  So many choices. 

One of my goals today was to give myself a manicure and paint my nails red.  I never had red nails until about a month ago when I sat and played with some red polish.  I loved the look.  I have very pale skin and the red highlights that.  But (and this is a big BUT), it's a pita to apply.  I end up with fingers that are red all over because I am not an accomplished nail polisher.

I opted to spend the 12 dollars and get a manicure.  Scarlet O'Hara red.  She did such a gorgeous job.  I went into the drug store and found a color very close so I can touch it up.  One of the problems of a darker color for me is that I am a bit obsessive about it.  I can't stand it when my polish gets chipped.  It's one of the reasons I usually get a light pink polish.  I am living dangerously here but I really like it and Pk remarked on how much he liked it.

I treated myself to a pedicure about 2 weeks ago when our temps were so balmy. I bared my winter weary feet to the fresh air and let the manicurist work her magic.  My feet feel so nice and my toes are a lovely shade of red.  I don't usually get my feet done in the winter.  I let them alone and just keep the nails cut.  It amazes me how nice it feels to look down and see my pretty toes looking back at me. 

We watched some episodes of Elementary.  It's the new Sherlock Holmes with Lucy Lu as Dr Joan Watson.  I like it.  I like this version more than most of the others I've seen.  I'm not a Holmes devotee so I'm not picky as to details of character.  I like the flawed nature of this version and the fact that he is not very arrogant.  I'm going to add it to my hulu queue.

It's a lazy Sunday afternoon here.  I'm going to put a chicken in the oven to roast in a bit.  I'm going to stuff it with clementines and some rosemary.  Originally we were going to have bread stuffing but we've had our carb limit for the day so maybe some bulgur wheat or some brown rice and vegetables.  We both had dr visits this week and while my pressure is within normal limits, she wants us both to pay more attention to what we eat.  I wish carbs weren't so delicious. 

Namaste sent me a replacement bag.  They are not selling this particular bag any longer so if I have a problem with this one, I think I'll try to fix it myself.  I think I can, as long as I keep Pk from taking it apart for the magnets!  I weighed it and fully loaded with my everyday stuff, it's 11 pounds.  Not too terribly heavy to my mind. 

Well, whatever you're doing this afternoon, I hope it brings you joy.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Peter Kevin and I still like to have what we call Date Nite on Friday nights after work.  Very often this consists of going to Barnes & Noble and having a beverage and light snack and reading magazines and knitting. (it's a cheap date night but with all the reno work we have to pay for, it works for us).

Last night was one such date nite. I took a sock project with me.  It's another pair of the SKYP (slip,knit,yo,psso) socks.  I really like the design in the middle of the rib.  Kate gave me this skein of Noro Silk Garden Sock (and another matching one) for Christmas. The yellow is not that bright, it's more muted, like gold.  You can see that this sock will have a very colorful foot. 

The Silk Garden Sock (worked on 2.5mm needles) is making a nice thick fabric.  It's a bit thick/thin in places but knits up in an interesting way.  It is not soft at all but I didn't expect it to be.  I have another pair of Noro socks which is a lacy pattern and they have never softened up but have lasted a long time despite many wearings.  Not too bad for a single.

These are gift socks so I am tailoring the pattern to the recipient's preference for plain footed socks.  I'm making me a pair as well and mine will be patterned all down the foot.  My only concern is that there are only 388 yds in the skein which might have been a problem (but I do have the second skein which was going to be for me but I'll sacrifice it if need be).

While we were there, at a table close to ours sat an older woman and a young couple.  I overheard the young woman say "statistically, mumble% of high school sweethearts stay together".  I was curious so I got up and went over and apologized for evesdropping but asked what percentage she was quoting.  She said 78% (which I think is probably high but what do I know?).  I then turned and pointed to Peter Kevin and said, "that's my high school sweetheart.  Over 32 years now".  She laughed and we chatted for a moment.  As Pk and I were getting up to leave, the older woman came over.  She is the grandmother who also is still with her high school sweetheart.  She is 75 and her husband is 78 and they have great-grandchildren.  It was a sweet moment.

Pk teases me all the time that people talk to me (and by people I mean strangers).  I think I talk to strangers almost as often.  I can't help it.

He is on is way to Bridgeton with Jim's father (Big Jim-yes, we're original) to pick up some wood to enhance his stash.  A man on craigslist had elm logs (40" across and 4' long-huge things) for free to a good home.  Elm is rare due to the outbreak of Dutch Elm disease years ago.  I don't think I've ever seen an elm tree before.  When he saw the ad, he got very excited.  He  broke his own self-imposed stash diet ("I won't acquire any new wood until I use up the pieces sitting outside of the workshop first"  Sound familiar?).

It doesn't bother me at all as long as the wood is in a neat pile, who really cares?  It makes him happy and who doesn't love free stash enhancement?  The logs are too large for our car so he called Jim and asked to borrow his truck and his strength.  Elm is dense so these will be heavy logs.  And it's a beautiful blue sky cold winter day.  A great day for an adventure.  I would have gone with him but I'd be useless at picking up something that big. 

There's snow in our forecast for tonight and tomorrow.  Only an inch or so but when I hear SNOW I always hope that they're wrong and a strong system comes out of nowhere and dumps a foot of the white stuff on us.  It never happens that way but I hope for it every time.  When it comes to snow, Pk and I are like little kids.  We love it.  And we live in an area where traditionally it does not snow heavily.  I know if we lived in the Frozen North, we'd be blase and probably hate it but down here in Southern NJ?  It's a rare treat to get a substantial snowfall.

I have no real plans for the day.  I'm going to have some breakfast, do the laundry and then clean out the drawers to our side board.  As we remodel and move things around, I am trying to clear out years of junk.  Last weekend was the spare bedroom (to be fair, Pk did most of the work).  This week was supposed to be the rec room but the elm got in the way.  I can't really clean out that room alone, stuff is too heavy, so I'll clean out some drawers.  I want to be able to put all the tablecloths and napkins and things in the side board so I'm cleaning it out with that in mind.

Work is a bit tense.  We have an inspection this upcoming week and the requrements for our charts changed again.  The new requirement made it very hard to come up with "perfect" charts.  It has to do with signatures on treatment plans and dates of treatment plans.  The only charts I have that will work are brand new ones.  To my mind, they don't tell much of a story of the good work we do.  I'd rather use an older chart that shows that a person keeps coming back because they think our services are worthwhile and helpful.  But older charts have more of a chance to have mistakes.  I think it's the state coming in and they tend to be "date counters".  They don't look at content as much as When something was done.  Waste of time.

I finished one skein of yarn for my sweater and hopefully will finish plying the second skein.  After I do a bit of housework, I'm going to spend some quality time with the spinning wheel. My body is crampy (my second period in less than a month-this perimenopause thing is like being 12 all over again.  You never know when or if it's coming.  Whoopee!) so I have no plans for strenuous exercise. 

My stomach is reminding me we haven't had breakfast yet so I'm off to make some oatmeal. 

Happy Groundhog's Day!  That's Punxatawney Phil at the 127th annual Groundhog's Day celebration this morning.  Sigh, 6 more weeks of winter.  Look at the claws!  I'm not sure I'd let that creature climb on my shoulder.  He is not terribly happy looking, is he?

Well, 6 more weeks of winter means 6 more weeks of chances for SNOW!!  One can only hope.

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...