Thursday, October 31, 2013

"Was That Thunder?" Well, No...

First of all, Happy Halloween (or Samhain, if you prefer) to everyone!

We did NOT get a "treat" last night. What we got were pretty steady rains. And they're continuing through today, which ought to make trick-or-treating interesting.

Last night, about 11:30, I heard what I thought was thunder, but didn't recall seeing the flash...I didn't think much of it; it was, after all, pouring rain. Quinn high-tailed it out of our room and went to hide under my desk, as she likes to do during thunderstorms.

But I didn't hear anything else the rest of the night. 

Here's why: 
Dead Tree In Shed

That would be the middle of my neighbor's three trees. Two of them are dead. We knew that. We just didn't know WHEN they would keel over. 

The damage doesn't look bad, till you get really close up. The roof of our ratty shed is crumpled, and the back wall is split. Luckily, it only dinged the kennel fence there, and didn't fall either (a) toward the house; or (b) onto my truck...

Our neighbor is not going to be happy, but he's not going to give us any trouble. We've been good friends since we've lived there, and we had talked to him about the trees 3 years ago.

The problem is, during that time, he had lost his wife, had been sick himself, and just a week ago, his daughter told Hubby that she was "really concerned" about her dad... He's apparently quite depressed and we mentioned to her that we hadn't seen him outside like we usually do. She said that's because he's refusing to go anywhere. Lately, too, he's not driving, which I know can be devastating to an elder. 

I'm very sad about that; he's a genial fellow and a model neighbor. Hubby will call him later to tell him about the tree. Hubby also called two tree-removal companies. One said they weren't doing any work today because the weather is going to continue to be dangerous for that kind of work (heavy rains), but the other said they'd come out. He wants them to take down that tree to the right, too -- it's next, and it'll whack into Kid #2's car or my truck with no problem.

Oh well. I wanted to replace the shed anyway. I guess this is as good a time as any. Unfortunately, it's likely too late in the year to put in a garage. We had kept the shed around because we were "at some point" going to put in a garage. We have alley access, and so placing the garage would be tricky. 

Not sure what we'll do, but Hubby concurs that the damage is worse than he thought it was at 5 a.m. 


Pencils for everyone!
Tonight we have Evensong service at church, and I'm looking forward to it. I'm working today so Hubby is in charge of treats. And this is what we're giving out. And no, our house has never been egged or TP'd.  The kids like the pencils. And so do the parents! 

Of course, Hubby also has chocolate... But we don't buy as much as we used to. I can get these pencils for a couple of bucks per dozen, and that's just easier and different. We also have given out stickers and erasers. 

I like being different. I'm also wearing my troll earrings. Seriously, I am... I got them at a conference, along with a full-sized troll dressed as Dracula. I can't find Dracula, but I have worn the earrings every year. 

I'm not sure how many of our students are going to come dressed up; but I know my assistant said something about coming as the guy from Breaking Bad. Luckily, we have adult students! 

We didn't get a real pumpkin this year; I haven't gotten one for a while, but I probably should pick up a small one, a pie pumpkin. Those are good for soups. 

There's nothing more comforting than pumpkin or squash soup; it's just nice and warm, tasty and not heavy. 


So now there's this.  Seems that every time someone goes ballistic about how the ACA is "screwing" them, the story falls apart. Every time. 

Yes, there are likely to be people who don't benefit as much as some others. Remember, again -- this is not SOCIALIZED medicine. Heck, it's not even HEALTH CARE.

It's INSURANCE REFORM. And amazingly, insurance reform WRITTEN BY insurance companies. So why are we so surprised that they will continue to maximize their own profits at our expense? 

Let's not be naive. Let's use the brains we were given and do our research. 


I should probably figure out how to load Sirius XM on my phone. Or add some music. Or just ignore it all and use it as a phone...

In several of our yoga classes, the teachers are using the regular i-devices, but a few of them have been using their iPads to play music. I'm a Luddite and still use CDs. 

Of course, there's the whole question of even whether to use music during a yoga class... However, getting back to my topic, I was thinking about how to load some music on it particularly for the class, but then I realized that the CD player has the i-stuff hook-ups, so I'd have to buy my own speakers.

I think I'll stick with CDs. In the spring, we can update our phones, so maybe I'll just continue to use it as (surprise) a phone. 

Random Picture...

This can't be comfortable...
This is Tippi, all 53 lbs. of her playing "lap dog" in the truest sense of the word. Who knew elkhounds were flexy-bendy dogs? 

Interesting enough, when they stand on their hind legs, those legs hinge so that they're standing straight up. My huskies had a tilt to them. But these critters can stand right up like a human. 

And apparently, they can also pretzel themselves into a ball of grey fuzz.

She'll do anything for a belly rub. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's Not Me -- It's the Dog...

"I can't wait to see you!"

"You make my day!"

"I just love it when you visit."

"Thanks so much for being here; I needed to talk to you."

"The best part of my day is when I can sit here with you."

Yes, I heard all of those comments. And I appreciated them. 

But they weren't for me. They were for Tippi - more exactly, Tippi Un Sigrid, CGC, TDI... you know - the Elkhound who occasionally takes over this blog, though she's been so overwhelmed with her celebrity that lately, she just wants to nap. 

We were at our usual "Tuesdays With Tippi" gig at Lewis University, and I heard those comments and more. Tippi is what I like to call the University's "Furry Flyer" (the school mascot is an aviator). Below is a picture of her in this year's Halloween costume - as a witch. Yes, she really wore the hat most of the visit. Check out her pictures on Facebook... here. You should be able to view her pictures. 

We had lots of visitors yesterday, and she was invited to at least 3 departmental meetings and was asked to "just run around the first floor of the LRC to calm everyone down." Ha - it's a great gig if you can get it. I took lots of pictures, and she really had a good time. Several people (including myself) indicated that when they grew up, they wanted to be Tippi. 

Tippi the Good Witch
Not bad for a rescue dog who had 4 homes prior to her 3rd birthday...And who has become one of my very special "heart dogs." You know the dog. You may have had dogs growing up, and you had dogs in your adult years. And all dogs are lovable. But sometimes, there's this one special dog. The dog IS you. She (in my case, mostly females) sees into your heart, and in spite of the crap you have inside, the way your day has gone, the madness in the world around you -- in spite of all of that, she crawls her furry little self into your heart. You feel like the Grinch after his transformation. You can feel your heart grow and grow and grow.

I am lucky enough to say that in my life, I have had THREE of those dogs. I can't believe how outstandingly fortunate I have been. Tippi didn't replace Topaz or River. She came alongside them. She showed me her soul and asked me for not one thing. Not. One. Thing. She simply is, and somehow, no matter how much garbage she came through, and no matter how horrible I may be feeling, she just is, and because of her, I'm a better person. 

Though I really, REALLY wish she wouldn't bash her butt up against my knitting chair when I'm working on very sharp double-pointed needles! Ouch! She's actually moved my chair an inch or two, depending on how much she wanted my attention.


I decided to change my purse. Good idea, bad execution. I went from a messenger-sized bag to the style known as a "doctor's bag" purse. And of course, there's too much stuff in it. But I managed to cram everything but my phone and keys in there. I'll switch to another one when I get home. Problem is, it needs to be a purse that closes, since we're in a more crummy time of the year. I have a couple very nice purses that only have a flap to close them or they're just a cinch bag. I need something that'll zip closed firmly to keep the wet out. 

It's supposed to bucket rain today, and from the sky out there, it's pretty close. I'll be a drowned rat on my way to the truck.

I should pull out my wool Booga Bag... it's nice and wool is fairly waterproof. Please be nice and follow the request: pattern is for PERSONAL use only... please don't go making these up and selling them. It's not nice and knitting karma will come back and bite you in the circulars...

Yarn & Knitting...

Speaking of Booga Bags, I am so happy to find the pattern!! I have stash yarn somewhere in the closet for this. It's so much fun to knit then felt. Amazing how it turns out. And honestly? Making 5 FEET of I-cord is quite meditative.

I really should be working on the Fluffy Scarf today. I'll get to it. Last night I finally picked up #2 Teal Sock, finished the cuff, and started on the leg. Elizabeth Zimmerman was right: "knit your ribbing till you're sick of it, and that's enough." I was just about over it at the 12th row, which was convenient, since that's what the pattern called for. 

I know; I don't have to follow the pattern. Except this is #2 of a pair. They should be somewhat similar...

I'm wearing the Robin's Egg socks today. Nice and toasty feet. I'm hoping the MadTosh wears well; I heard from my knitting friend D that they don't usually wear as well as a sock yarn like Opal, or something with at least 10% nylon in it. Oh well. Socks wear out. One needs to get over it. 


So now everyone's miffed because "Obama lied" (yawn...) - apparently his comment, which he probably should've confirmed first, about being able to keep your own insurance was premature. 

Let's face one big fat fact: that legislation (a) is NOT health-care reform; (b) IS a very basic run at HEALTH INSURANCE reform; and (c) was probably written in collusion with insurance companies and lobbyists. 

Therefore, you know the insurance companies (who are NOT non-profits, just look at their CEO pay...) will wring every last dollar out of each of us. For example, the CEO of United HealthCare, my provider, made $13.9 MILLION in 2012. 

Let me repeat that. THIRTEEN POINT NINE MILLION dollars. Ok, mind you, only something like $1.3 million of that was ACTUAL money. The rest is stock options.

So, dust off your econ books, and let's look at this. The guy gets paid a certain amount of actual "salary" on the books. But the rest is tied to performance-based bonuses. This means "How well do we treat our STOCKHOLDERS?" This does NOT mean "how well do we treat our INSURED CUSTOMERS?" basically because we cost them money. He gets paid a bigger bonus if WE get less services. 

So. I take a medication for seizures. There is a generic. The insurance company (NOT my doctor!!) changed to a generic for me, because "generic is equivalent." Well. It wasn't. I need the "real" drug. Honestly, do you really want to mess with seizure medicine?? It didn't work. And there's science to back up both issues. Yes, sometimes (most of the time) generics are just fine. But in a certain percentage of people, the generic Does. Not. Work. It's part of my permanent record. 

Well, I have to have my doctor write, each and every year, an appeal. Because the generic is something like $270 per month (so $810 for a 3 month Rx), and the brand name is $1,600 for a 3-month supply. This is certainly sticker shock, but it does get somewhat better.

As you can imagine, it's a whack at our $2,500 in January, I usually pay the whole $1,600 for the refill. After that, for the next several refills, I pay only about $400 per 3-month supply. 

Obviously, let's look at the math. United HealthCare would much rather pay $810 for 3 months of meds. They'd much rather have that money go to their shareholders...they're a BUSINESS. Fact of life, folks. Rule #1 is "Your Insurance Company Does Not Care About Your Health." Keep repeating that. Oh, and they usually get nice fat tax breaks that we civilians won't ever, ever, EVER see. Corporations are people, too, my friend. 

I'm very lucky. My health care is not being cancelled. Some insurance providers ARE cancelling policies and honestly, that stinks. But it's about the money, people. It's not about the ACA - well, not all about the ACA. Look at your premiums and pay attention. I don't know about you, but MY premiums have risen every year. Every. Year. My premiums rose in double-digits. My paycheck only rose in single-digits. 

This article in the Washington Post kind of explains why it seems like it's a no-win argument. It's confusing between the fact that you may be covered, or eligible for Medicare...or you may be covered under your employer's policy. Or you may have to go out into the marketplace.

In my own very humble opinion, employers who kick their employees off their policies are not playing fair with their employees. The company AND the employees should work together to find a good solution. Screwing your employees is just a bad business decision. 

Again, luckily, Hubby's company covers us, and they put out an excellent graphic detailing the options we had and where we needed to go. And Kid #1 figured out that he will spend nearly $200 LESS for insurance on the marketplace instead of taking his company's plan. And Kid #2 has great insurance and doesn't need to change. 

Estate Stuff...

Friday is the closing on the house. I also return my brother's work stuff to his last place of employment. We already gave the car to the one kid (against all advice to the contrary...but it's not my problem any longer). So now, we just wait out the remainder of the claim period, file the Final Accounting, and then we can move to close the Estate. 

It's fast. But the attorney we're using said up-front that he "didn't like them hanging around" and neither do I. I want this done and over with. I've done the bulk of the work, so I've saved some $$$ on attorney fees, I think. 

My mother has made the difficult yet necessary decision to un-invite the 2 kids. Let me explain...

The two kids, half-brother/sister to each other, are not speaking. The girl is living with her grandmother, since her mother had also died a number of years ago. The boy, removed from our family by my brother's X (who said WE were nuts and bad influences) only recently came back after age 18 to "look us up." He has caused nothing but trouble, and while we usually want to take the high road, we are at our wit's end right now. 

The boy is bipolar and schizophrenic. The girl is just a moody 17-year-old. The boy likes to stir things up when he's ON his meds. But we also know that at least twice since my brother's death, he has gone OFF those meds. And his mother, in a fantastical burst of "magical thinking" has told him that "at age 25, your metabolism changes, so you'll no longer need those meds." She heard it on TV.

Anyone with an Internet connection and two brain cells will be able to find out that, particularly in young me, bipolar and schizophrenic behavior tends to blossom at age 25 for whatever reason. BLOSSOM - as in "gets incrementally WORSE." But this kid thinks that on the morning of his 25th birthday, he'll awaken all "normal" and he can go get a gun; he can apply to the police academy; he can get off his meds....

My mother is scared of him. And so, with a heavy heart, she decided that she really didn't want either of them there. She doesn't want or need the drama, and frankly - she knows the rest of us would (a) escort the brats out the door; and (b) then leave. We don't want the drama either. 

Random Picture...

Avon 2-Day Pedometer
This an "oldie but a goodie." From my Bucket List, a desire to walk in the Avon 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. I like it better than Komen because the vast majority of the funds stay in the community in which the walk is held. As far as I was able to find out, Komen funds don't necessarily go where I'd like to see them go (treatment of poor patients, under-served areas, etc.) and I like the "local" aspect. I was able, thanks to many kind donations, to meet the fundraising goals, and I walked. 

Mind you, I did not complete it. Right before the walk, I was diagnosed with A-fib. After trying several different meds, 3 emergency stays in the hospital and finally finding a Rx we thought worked, my cardiologist said, "Go ahead, but don't be stupid." I also had a heart monitor on. 

This was only Day One. It was a Saturday. That Sunday, my walking partner S woke up with a screaming migraine, so we went home. And that Monday, I was back in the hospital. 

No, I wasn't stupid. The new Rx wasn't the right one. (sigh) 

Anyway, I do count this as a bucket-list item because I did the walk. I would like to have finished it, but I did what I could. And in life, as long as you've tried and your intention was good, you've succeeded.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Things That go "Snort" in the Night...

My dog snores. Snorts. Sometimes so loudly that she wakes herself up. It's amusing in a way, but when her own DAUGHTER leaves the room in a huff, you gotta wonder...

It was really funny last night. I couldn't figure out if she was having a dream OR snoring, or perhaps having a dream AND snorting. 

Either way, she eventually woke herself up and toddled out to the living room. 

If reincarnation really does exist, as many people believe... I want to come back as my dogs.

Therapy Gig...

Today is another Tuesdays with Tippi day, and for this festive season, she's dressing as a witch. This is an "extra" since October has 5 Tuesdays. Normally, we go the first and third Tuesdays, but I figured this special one was worth it. 

Lucky for us, the rain is holding off. Tomorrow is supposed to be a "buckety" kind of day, and Madame does not get wet. She's very grumpy when wet. Not to mention sorta smelly...

She's still enjoying it, so we keep doing it. She's not exactly jazzed at the costumes, but she gets salmon treats. It's all in how you look at it, right?


So, yarn pics as promised. And the lovely bag from LMR Knittery. Love the quote on it, "Get they to a knittery." Shakespeare made a bunch of references to knitting anyway, so this is just catchy.

Top to bottom: Madelaine Tosh sock weight, specially dyed for Le Mouton Rouge Knittery; Opal sock; Cascade Paints. The MadTosh specialty dye even impressed Hubby. I know this one and the Cascade Paints look similar, but they're destined for two different things. MadTosh is going for a lovely cowl. I haven't figured out where the Paints is going, but I will. 

Knittery Bag
And of course, the Opal will be socks. Pretty basic ones, though, because the yarn speaks for itself, and often, knitting can get in the way of what you're doing. I mean, yes, I could do a lacy leaf-ish pattern. I actually have that pattern. But then, I could also do a Simple Sock and the yarn would shine. All in what you're aiming for, and I think that sometimes "brainless" is better. For both the knitter AND the yarn.

The Fluffy Scarf project is temporarily stalled while I work on the assembly of the Charity Afghan. That's rolling along nicely. I have 15 squares done, 9 more to go. That includes on-the-fly filler of single crochet, and then a border. 

Good thing my family stopped procreating. I can knit on other stuff. But I'm still holding onto the idea of starting a sweater for myself really, REALLY soon. Maybe in that lovely merino + silk in that pretty lilac color. 


So now Mr. Graham is having his own hissy fit. Lordy, Lordy - what's up with these Bible Belt Conservatives? Is "Benghazi" the new "Nazi" word?? Love Rocky Mountain Mike's take on it here. Of course, anyone who can parody so quickly is a total genius. 

Clinton nails it. Do y'all remember Medicare Part D? Yes. Do you remember the pillorying that the Democrats gave the Republicans when the computers crashed during Part D's implementation?

Of course not. Because there wasn't any. Look, Democrats are hardly squeaky-clean. But in the case of Medicare Part D, they just rolled up their sleeves and got the thing rolling, without so much drama as we see today. 

I mean, my God. You'd think that the ACA was the ONLY social program to have ever had a computer problem. Darrell (Witch-Hunt) Issa is now calling for Secretary Sebelius' head. 

Grant you, I'm thinking they should've done more testing prior. And used an American developer. Right-on there. But obviously, nobody in the Republican party will ever admit to having been through a roll-out of a software program that has galumphed right into massive potholes. I don't like it, but it's fixable. Without throwing anyone under the bus. 


Back yard tree, late afternoon
So the cold snap everyone was complaining about here? Lookee... This is what happens. Our back yard tree is coming into its color finally, and the front yard one is also moving right along. The back yard tree is a Norwegian Maple. And the front yard is what's called a "Lipstick Red" color when it's all decked out. It's a Flame Maple, I think. All I know is that, when they're in full color, our house in the middle of the block is actually visible at either END of the block because of the brightness of the trees. 


So I got hurt in Therapeutic Yoga training! Well, not hurt badly. Just yanked around a bit. I was having an adjustment in Ardha Candrasana II involving a strap at my standing leg's hip crease and ending on my raised leg's foot. As I opened up, the instructor increased the traction, which felt really good. 

Till I got in the car to drive home. By the time I reached my driveway, in a relatively swift drive of about 45 minutes, I was not happy. It's eased up now. 

I have the 3-day Sanskrit training this coming weekend, so by that time, I ought to be pain-free. It was a little interesting teaching my Monday night beginners, but I told them I got hurt, and used it as a teaching moment to underscore the fact that yoga is a great thing, but as with anything involving the physical body, you have to be aware of your own self. 
Fall Sky

Random Picture...

The other day, the sky looked so lovely outside my office. I took a picture of it. I love the "painting" of the clouds on the blue sky. I often bemoan the fact that there aren't a lot of trees in the area of my building, so the parking lot can get really hot. But on the other hand, I have such a lovely view of the sky. 

Trade-offs. I'll take the sky. I love the way I can see incoming storms, the "Michigan Mountains" (storm clouds building over Lake Michigan), all the air activity because we're so close to the airport without it being obnoxious, and all the birds. We have owls, hawks, geese, crows...Just a great area to remember that along with the humans and "civilization" we also have a good chunk of Mother Nature here. I couldn't work or function in a concrete jungle.


This is my new favorite salad blend. It's just a treat in a salad raw, and then you can also saute it or use it in smoothies. 

Great salad mix!
And as you are all aware, of course, you still have to wash it, even though it says "triple washed." Don't believe them. Wash it anyway.

And if you're eating it cold, use a basic vinaigrette dressing. It'll help to soften up the chard and kale. While baby kale won't knock you across the room, it's still best with O & V and not a creamy dressing. 

I would also use this in addition to a regular lettuce blend, just to share with people who "don't eat greens." Because the flavors are that subtle and enjoyable. 

I'm glad I decided to try this. I've never eaten chard and I always wondered. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Nights...

It's Friday night. I'm at work. It's a 2-day seminar on Pain Management for some of our advanced nursing students.

Twisted mess of Fluffy Scarf Yarn
Tomorrow, I start a 2-day training on the art of teaching yoga therapeutics. That will be interesting. In the meantime, I'm sitting here, knitting on the Fluffy Scarf and muttering under my breath because it looks like this. It's knotting up and about every 4 rows, I have to twist and turn to get it straightened out and pulled apart a little bit.

Yeesh. I hope the next couple of balls are better than this.


Went to Le Mouton Rouge Knittery again. And yes, I bought more yarn. Sock yarn, to be specific, though one hank will be set aside for a shawlette. It's Madelaine Tosh, and it was specially dyed for LMR in her colorway. She said she was extremely happy she got it, because when she described it, she wasn't certain they'd give her the tones she wanted. It looks fantastic and I can't wait to knit it up.

It's a fantastic shop and I always, ALWAYS find something I want there. Unfortunately, right??

This weekend, after the yoga training, I continue on with the assembly of the Charity Afghan. I've got about 1/4 of it done. It's coming along ok. I just hope it looks ok when I get it done. It's certainly giving me lots of practice in weaving (not sewing) different pieces of needlework together. Some are knitted; some crocheted; some Tunisian crochet. All of them are different, and there are the crocheted inserts. I'll take a picture of what I've got done; plus, of course, the yarn I've purchased; and I'll get them in this blog somewhere. 

I consider that I achieved a victory today. When we were at LMR, my friend J saw me grab the MadTosh special-dyed and she just drooled. And she bought the worsted weight. She has no idea what she'll knit with it. She NEVER buys "stash" yarn. Except for sock yarn, but everyone knows that's not strictly stash because if you know how to knit socks, you've usually got at least one pair on the needles.

Then she bought several hanks of Cascade Superwash for baby jackets. She has my pattern for those simple ones I did for the twins, and she wants to do some to set aside. Her grandkids are growing up and she said she'd like to have something "stashed" for them in the event they marry and have kids of their own. She's my mom's age, and she said she wonders if she'll be knitting in 20 years, and wants her kids to have something of hers. Good plan. 

...Speaking of "having something" in an heirloom, though I loved Baby Prince George's christening gown, didn't they even receive a hand-knitted shawl for this baby??? Just sayin'...

Random Irony...

White Powerade - what's wrong with that?
On our kitchen table, it's a mess. Just a mess. Like it's a major dumping ground. So Kid #2 has a couple of bottles of power-drink stuff. He uses it when it's summertime because there's no A/C and he doesn't want to keel over when it's nearly 100* outside. Imagine. Well, I asked him if he'd put the stuff in the pantry, and then we got to talking about something else. I noticed that this bottle was sitting on the table still and I made a comment about it. He said, "Oh, I'm not drinking that. I bought it because of the irony."

What irony?

He said, "Who markets a drink called "white power ade"???"  I don't know - my sense of the absurd was tickled. I think perhaps their focus group might have thought about that one - or at least someone in marketing should have been paying attention. Or maybe they should hire unemployed English majors so that these things can be caught before they hit the stores...

Politics...Or "MORE" Random Irony...

So now, Ted (Canadian/Cuban) Cruz is speaking out against the 1%. Yes, please pick up your jaw. Read it here. Yup. Of course he's in Iowa "just because it's there." Right? 

So Mr. "I get MY health insurance through Goldman Sachs" Cruz is now saying that there's a divide in the haves and have-nots. Hang on - I have to see if there's a SECOND full moon this month. 


Hubby made a lovely chicken and rice soup the other night. Yes, I did heat up my pre-frozen potato soup. And no, it wasn't prepackaged...I had made it last year and we put several of the containers in the freezer. It was very good. Nice and comforting. 

I slept like a rock. 

Tomorrow, what with the yoga training, it'll either be an apple and a cheese stick or a smoothie. I just can't eat when I practice yoga - it's very uncomfortable to me. 

Note to self: Get back on the cleaner diet, and stop drinking pumpkin spiced chai latte!!!

Random Picture...

I know. They're snowmen. I have all 12 months. This is a selection of the first 3 - well, December, January and February. I have March ready to stitch, but it's a matter of when. Maybe during my Christmas holiday? You never know. I have to dig out the floss, though. I've taken to quilting them instead of framing them. They're cute. And the patterns are all out of print now, so I'm kind of on a mission to do those. They're done by Curtis Boehringer, and done in Flower Thread, which is not DMC 6-strand floss. You can do them in the floss, but the flower thread is more delicate. I've usually added beads or buttons or something just to make them my own creation. The December one has metallic floss in his hat. January has buttons on the quilting and regular buttons down her front, and February has beaded hearts. 

And my mother's angel. That's a whole post in itself, and I should probably take a picture of THAT and get myself going.

Hubby, being his ever-helpful self, pointed out to me, in front of my mother, of course, that if I did 60 stitches a night on it for a solid 365 days, I could have it done. Nice. He's right, which makes it more infuriating. 

But it's a Lavender and Lace angel, and there's about 200 colors in it. And I'd have to put it in the frame and LEAVE it up. So I need to put it in one spot. Not sure how that'll happen in the current configuration of my living room, but I really have to do it. 

I take comfort from the fact that if I ever retired early or lost my job, I have plenty of stash yarn and stash projects to complete...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Oy. I'm Tired...

So today I had to be up at "before-the-chickens" o'clock and at work before dawn. Yawwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnn. I'm tired. I had a group here at work for an early a.m. session and then the HVAC guy came because our heating system is really acting weird.

Turns out that of the 3 units on the roof, Unit #1 has been "locked out" because the heat exchanger has a crack in it. Ok. We knew that, so what happened to the paperwork? It got lost in a Pit of Despair somewhere up at the main campus. The HVAC company will re-quote the job and they'll get it fixed.

I mean, hey. We're only in ILLINOIS. And on the verge of NOVEMBER. Global warming or not, it's cold today and it was snowing again for about 5 minutes. I just talked to one of the Facilities guys and he tells me, "Oh yeah, when we switch over to heat, you're supposed to flip the switch. 

Which switch? Where? I haven't done that in the entire time I've been here, and it's been nearly 10 years... To quote: "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

Gotta love it.


Tomorrow, I go with my knitting gals, and I give up the ghost on the Chandelier Lace scarf. I need help picking it back to a purl row. And then I've gotta give in and use a lifeline. Needless to say, it won't be done for Christmas. At least not Christmas 2013.

I'll happily take a before-and-after set of shots. I'll own up to the hash I made of it...

Working on the next Fluffy Scarf. It's going along ok. Starbella, even though I dislike it, is easier to spread out than Sashay. But my problem with this particular ball is that there are some quality issues. I may end up keeping this scarf for myself if it gets worse. 

When I get home this afternoon, I'll sit for a spell, and if I feel like I can actually think straight, I may get the cuff of Sock #2 done and start on the leg. 

So the picture (a) is NOT knitting; and (b) is old... This is an old pic of my great-nephew (gah!!!) and he's wearing a sweater my friend Sue crocheted for him. He is now an adorable preschooler. I'm not violating any rules; his mom has his pictures all over Facebook, and I didn't even include his name. 

I do have pics of the twins in their sweaters, but I have to retrieve them. For another post...


Let's just say this is going to be a bad week. I have good intentions. It's just that the busy-ness of the week and the lack of sleep have combined to make me into a tired, cranky, hungry grump. I know it happens every time. And today, at least - I'm too tired to battle it out. 

I have some home-made potato soup that I'll eat tonight for dinner; no, it's not specifically on my eating plan, but I'm in need of comfort food, and I'll be having an early night, if I'm lucky. 


Well, it's not technically politics, but it's just a bombshell news story. OK, yes, it IS politics. Lookee here, boys and girls. Ted (Canadian/Cuban)Cruz gets HIS health insurance from his WIFE'S policy at Goldman Sachs... Yep. Imagine that. Click here to get the story. So of course he doesn't give a rat's rear end if anyone ELSE gets health insurance. In his book, "I got mine." And that's all that counts. 

If you don't realize that the Republicans WANT the site to fail, and that they WANT voter suppression and that they WANT us to be a "Christian Nation" (which is entirely what the Founders did NOT WANT)... Well, then you're sleeping under the stumps in a forest or something. They market themselves as "for the people." 

For the people to work at subsistence wages so the Corporate Overlords can make big bucks.

For the people to get screwed out of pension benefits so that the Shareholder Overlords can get their dividends.

For the people to vote for them so that they can continue to manipulate the weak-willed and under-informed voter. 

Is that you? Are you a sheep? I didn't think so.

And the Job Creators? Pfffffffthhhhhh. Pardon my raspberry. They "create jobs" alright. Overseas, because it's cheaper. Which is why Detroit and other urban centers are virtual ghost towns. People will spend money when they're making it. We used to be a society that built stuff. 

Now? We outsource it. Crikey, we're even talking about outsourcing our food to China. Really? 

Random Picture...

The Duchess
This is a picture of the grand chandelier in our local theatre. This theatre was within inches of being razed for a parking lot when one of our grand dames in down actually started not only a petition, but a collection - to the point of going around with a coffee can for donations - to revive this theatre. Now, it's the jewel of the town, and acts from all over come out to play and entertain us. 

The theatre was the location of our women's group's anniversary bash: "Spirits With the Spirits" and we had a blast. I love the place. 

I remember my paternal grandma, who didn't drive, and we'd get on the bus for a dime and go see 101 Dalmations at this theatre. It used to be a movie house. 

I'm grateful to preservationists for their work. Some things probably need to be torn down, but on the other hand, rational minds need to come together to retain significant aspects of a town's history. 

This is a significant aspect. This picture, even taken with the "good camera" -- well, it doesn't do The Duchess true justice. She's beautiful. 

 Estate Stuff...

Well, we have a closing in the works. Yay. I'm so done. This has not been the best situation. There's been over-much drama. And we're not normally a high-drama family. 

I want Thanksgiving to be stress-free. I want us to all sit down and eat our lovely organic turkey in peace, without waiting for someone to have a melt-down. To this end, my mother has (wisely) chosen to un-invite both of my deceased brother's kids. They're not speaking to each other, and at this point, it's not worth the stress. I don't care what excuse she gives, but it's just not worth it. My remaining brother and one nephew have expressed to my mother that they don't want to be there if those kids are there. My own kids are "upset" (read: we need to make sure that the one kid doesn't flip out on mom or granny) and are not looking forward to what Kid #2 has christened "FAKES-giving." And I just don't want to have to wait to see if drama will happen or not. It's not why I'm going to all the trouble to cook the blasted dinner...


As I said, the baking list is done. Baking has not commenced yet. Hubby hasn't decided if he's going to spend Christmas with his mom. I will have from mid-December through New Year's Day off, and the kids and I will be making pierogies. 

I've already started the Christmas ordering. I think I'm giving #1 Girlfriend (Kid #1's gal) a lovely set of amber: a pendant and earrings. Amber is a traditional Polish gift to a bride and there are rumors... (yay!)

My mom's getting the Senior Series Yoga class taught by MY teacher. I'm already told what my gift is - Hubby and I are sharing a tablet computer. I'm not sure how that's gonna work, but whatever. I certainly don't need anything. 

Except slippers. I'd like a nice pair of sheepskin slippers... 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wednesday Wanderings...

I'm sitting here at work taking a bit of a break. I'm in a brown tweed-ish suit and heels. 

Yes, please pick yourself up off the floor. Heels. Our school president is coming, and it's not only "all hands on deck" but "best bib and tucker" too... Though I did tell my assistant that he didn't have to wear a tie. 

I happen to think turtlenecks and jackets are cool. And anyway, it's usually freezing in here - he should dress for the climate. 

The caterer is coming about 3:30 -- which usually means closer to FOUR thirty! I have my welcome sign, have my campus all lit up (will be making a point about the light fixtures that are not working, since our electrician's excuse is "he's busy") and have new potpourri in the big red serving bowl in my conference room. I just have to put away my lunch dishes; they're on the drying rack.

And tomorrow, I have to be here at 6 a.m. Urgh.


Working away at Sock #2. I have about 4 more rows for the cuff, then I switch to the leg and the k3, p1 ribbing. 

Call me crazy, but turning the heel still jazzes me. It's just like magic, and I don't have to do anything but what the instructions tell me! 


OK, so the website doesn't work well for the ACA. But in some states it does. But in some places, like IL, it takes forever and it bumps you off. And yeah, we paid a gazillion dollars for this website. 

But it's not the LEGISLATION that's bad. It's the WEBSITE. We need to make it work, but we don't need to re-write everything from scratch. It is what it is and we have to live with it till something new evolves.

Quiz time: What legislation ever worked the first time out of the gate? 

Answer: None. Every bit of legislation has had its growing pains. Social Security did. Medicare did. All of it. The Americans with Disabilities Act did. 

Legislation is written by humans (if you want to call ALEC "human") and humans are not infallible, Pope notwithstanding. 

We've become a society with not only a nanosecond's worth of attention span, but ZERO patience. We want what we want. When we want it. And preferably BEFORE we even KNOW we want it. And we throw a tantrum when we don't get it. 

Over-aged toddlers.


I want to know how J.K. Rowling did it. How did she hold herself back while writing the Potter books? Because both Casual Vacancy and Cuckoo's Calling are rife with the "F" bombs. 

Casual Vacancy was a slog. It wasn't truly engaging. It wasn't anything I'd read again - which is saying something. It seemed like a struggle to get myself into the story. And there wasn't really enough story to keep my attention. It was almost like something I'd write and I really stink at fiction.

Cuckoo -- I'm still working on that, and it seems slightly better. 

But still. I'm not sure that I'd wholeheartedly recommend either of them. I still think that everyone ought to re-read the books they read in high school. It's amazing what maturity does for your viewpoint about literature. 

Other stuff...

Wow - what happened to the afternoon? It clouded up like crazy, though there's nothing on the radar. 

I'm really enjoying the hand cream I have at work: Forest House Herbals has something they call Lavender Rosemary Shea Butter Cream. It's available at the Isabella catalog site. Click here to see the goodies they have. This is the catalog that I love to order from. 

This stuff is fantastic, even on my perpetually dry hands. And it smells yummy without being overpowering. 

I have a 2-day Yoga Therapeutics class this weekend. I have to ask about a student I've got; I don't know what to suggest for her, and I think this will help me answer her questions. I'm enjoying teaching and I have a nice sized class. I don't think I'd want more than the students I have - but we'll see how the class evolves.

Time to go pull out some tables and make a catering area. 

Random Picture...
Flirty Bug

It's a rather dreary day. How about some slug-bug cuteness? This was a car parked where I was having a meeting. I couldn't resist the eyelashes, and I believe she has the crystal eyeliner. 

If only I had that kind of panache for a 7 a.m. meeting! 

I told Hubby that I wanted to do that to my car and, let's just say...he didn't think it was a cool idea. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mostly Knitting Today...

Just a few things to note today, mostly having to do with sticks and string, but some other stuff will inevitably crop up. It always does.
Working toward toe shaping


The Teal Socks are ONE-HALF done!! I finished the first one yesterday. It looks a bit long, but it's a rib - k3, p1 and the pattern called for the foot to be a bit longer than I'm used to. I haven't tried it on yet, but I will be casting on the second one in a day or so. 

I'm still having problems with my Kitchener Stitch - I get points at either end. I have to find an alternative toe - maybe a round toe? Or a star?? Something else. But that'll be for the next pair of socks.

Detail of cuff and ribbing on leg
Here are some shots of the yarn I purchased. Maybe I'll do another Franken-sock with the red, and utilize the star toe. That would be good seeing as I'm thinking of Christmas.

I will continue to work on the charity afghan tomorrow. It's going to be a particularly interesting day weather-wise, so it'll probably be in my best interests to just plug away at that. I do have to attend a board meeting tomorrow night, though.

Sock #1 done!
More about the yarn... As you can see on the sock picks, it's a very bright teal. I seem to be on a "bright" binge after lots of purples and darks. 

That's cool. Diversity in yarn is good. Wool and Company have so many lovely sock yarns, it's difficult to choose. But I made some choices that I think will be good in the long run; mostly in a weight that I'm used to working with. 

The Trekker that I'm working with on the Teal Socks is quite a bit thinner than normal - more like the Opal that I haven't started yet. 

Though I could use some of that Opal for a nifty tea cozy! 

Dream yarn
This blue is shot with silver; it'll make a nice pair of socks in perhaps a rib pattern on the leg. Most of the yarn I have for socks has at least 80% merino wool in it. The silver is not only for the sparkle, but silver is supposed to have anti-odor properties. So perhaps no stinkie tootsies?? If that's so, I may have to make silver socks for both kids!! 

I have a good pattern in mind for this blue. I love the play of colors in it and I think that if I work it right, doing a sort of simple rib will allow for the beauty of the gradient to play out. 

The Liberty Wool is a special impulse buy. Our church choir just got new robes, in what I call Cubbie Blue - and I figure that the Chicago Cubs need divine intervention. 

I did make mitts for myself. It's an old church - well over 100 years, and so old that there's not even a bathroom in the sacristy! And it's limestone. It gets chilly in the choir area. First, because we're by the door. Second, because we're by the stained glass window; and finally, because there's apparently a breeze coming in from near the organ pipes! 

Liberty Wool Light
Our old (and I mean OLD) robes were burgundy. The mitts I made matched them; so I bought this Liberty and will make some that match our new blue robes!

I guess I'll stagger the remaining pictures below so we're not "naked" at the bottom of the post!

The red Kraemer yarn is also shot through with silver. Since it's a solid red, though, it'll most likely be lace on the leg. I might do a "Strong Heel" on that. I figure it this way:

All this sock yarn just enables me to try different things. So I can Frankensock my way through a variety of techniques, see what works and what I don't like, and voila!! I get socks in the bargain! 

The denim blue below is a lovely merino + bamboo. It's so soft - I know the merino will help with the wear and tear a sock gets; the bamboo alone would be too fragile for feet. 


So Ted (Cuban/Canadian) Cruz is STILL blathering on about how "the American people have spoken" and he thinks they're saying that he must continue tilting at windmills and CONTINUE to waste taxpayer money trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 
For Christmas socks...

Yes, Ted. The American people have spoken. Can't you read polls? Or do you read nothing but Talking Points Memo or Fox News(?) reports???

The American people want Congress to DO SOMETHING SUBSTANTIAL and stop screwing around. That's pretty clear. Republicans are now rated as lower than lawyers (sorry - Shakespeare reference) and whale crap. And that's saying something for both lawyers and whale crap. I apologize in advance for annoying lawyers and being disrespectful of whales and whale crap.

My assistant says he'd love to get a "Ted Cruz for President" campaign working - just to get him on the ticket so that the Dems can be ASSURED of a victory! 

As for the ACA website and the "debacle" about its inefficiencies, I do have a couple of questions: Why are we using a CANADIAN company? I have no beef with our friends to the north, but what? There wasn't an AMERICAN company that could've done this? 

And why is the CANADIAN company a hold-over from GWB??? Who said something to whom about using them? Since they were most likely used to do with something regarding defense, I would think that perhaps this website might be a little outside their scope?

Merino + bamboo mixture
I talked about the cost with Hubby, who works with these things. He's not surprised at the cost - it can take that much, apparently. What he's shocked at is that there was no "load balancing" -- or testing to see if it actually WOULD stand up to the amount of traffic. But hey - he only works for an AMERICAN tech company...


This year, we're doing All Hallows at our church; it's a prelude to All Saint's Day and we're doing an evensong service. That will be interesting. It'll be my first one, and I'm excited. 

We were told what the songs were, but I can't remember now. I guess we'll see them when we get there. I'd better sharpen my sight-reading skills. 


So the weather situation I mentioned? Apparently, there's a "strong possibility" that there will be a snow/rain mixture tomorrow. That means my friends will get a load of green tomatoes, and maybe we should do something about the remaining carrots in the garden beds.

Yesterday, we took down the hanging pots and emptied the herb pots - all but a really good batch of tarragon that's still going strong. I don't believe the hummingbirds are going to be back, but we'll leave those feeders up for a few more weeks - we may get some stray birds flying past on their way south. 

African Violet
I can most likely cover the tomatoes, if we think we're in for a "false frost" that won't kill them off. 

Random Picture...

This African Violet normally resides on a table in my campus. It was taken when it was in bloom. 

I love them. They remind me of my grandma. 


I'm procrastinating about finishing my yoga homework. I can't imagine why. I just want it done. This coming weekend, it's a 2-day Yoga Therapeutics workshop, which I've been looking forward to. But I still have a bunch of stuff to do to finish the certification. And the homework has a definite deadline! And it's not all that much. It's all sitting here under my desk. 

I just need to get it done. I don't know why I'm procrastinating. Usually I don't. I'm ahead of myself. But this time, I'm just in a rut, I think. 

Anyway, time to clear out and get home. Speaking of yoga, I'm teaching tonight, and I haven't even decided on my sequence yet! Pushing my luck, I think.