Thursday, July 31, 2014

I Had Forgotten...

...How mind-numbingly, crushingly, amazingly BORING plain old knitting is. 

As I recuperate and the bruises from the IVs slowly fade (though I still have a most colorful groin area, if you want to know...), I thought I'd alternate knitting projects. 

So you know I finished the baby sweater. I had enough yarn to do "something" -- but not another baby sweater. I don't like "newborn" sizing because babies tend to run "linebacker large" in our family, and I'd hate to waste the knitting on something the kid wears for one picture and then never uses again.

I thought, "I need a go-to Super-Simple, Awesome Baby Layette to put together so that I have the items in stash, rather than knitting a sweater here, a couple of hats there, and  -- oh -- I've never done BOOTIES!" 

So that's what I've been working on, as well as knitting a few rows here and there on the Fluro sock. 

Ultimately, my Super-Simple, Awesome Baby Layette will be a combination of patterns. The sweater is a pattern I got from renewing a knitting magazine, so I'll try to find a link. The hat is my own pattern, so I'm working on it (there's the mind-numbing thing about knitting 14" or so and tossing in an every-so-often yarn-over to keep me awake) and will debut it if it works. And I haven't decided which bootie pattern to use. Once I figure all that out, it'll show up here. 

Not my creation -- I must state that. Except for the hat, I am not designing it. I'm just aggregating patterns that are go-to items for a gift. Often, I think, we resort to our old favorites, and there's totally no reason NOT to do that. 

I just want mine in a folder so I can find them the next time I have to baby-knit. 

The NFL...

Has blown the call. I mean seriously. Check out this editorial from The Schenectady Daily Gazette.  Apparently, in the grand scheme of "What an NFL player can do wrong" -- domestic violence is far, FAR down the list. 

See, here's the thing: The NFL has suspended player Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens, if you're counting) for 2 games. Seems Mr. Big Man knocked his fiancee out and there's footage of a beating. So Commissioner Goodall says, "We simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others..." blah. Blah. Blah... It's only 2 games, dude.

The NFL has suspended players for LONGER for LESSER infractions, such as suspension for EIGHT games for failing a second drug test. I'm all in favor of clean players, but let's just wake up and smell the coffee... You're effectively telling me that DOMESTIC VIOLENCE rates a lesser suspension than failing a pee test. 

Just read the editorial. And then let the NFL know how you feel. I know I will.

The Great Pickle Relish Experience...

So Hubby has been a total champ. Since the surgery and the explosion in the garden coincided, and since we'd already thought that this would be The Summer of Pickle Relish, he's been doing all the chopping.

Yes, that's a LOT of relish!
First, I wasn't able to just stand up long enough to do all the work. Then - I'm on a pretty effective blood thinner. I think he's afraid I'll chop more than pickles! So he even tried the food processor, which didn't work. I mean, luckily, he did about a quarter of a batch and we realized "pickled mush" wasn't the look we were after. So we - HE - reverted back to chopping. And chopping. And chopping. 

The end result (and we're still not done yet) is FIFTY-ONE jars of relish. Half-pint jars. Today, though, we're giving up on relish. We will finish off the cucumbers, though he's threatened to rip out the remaining plants!! 

Today, we'll be doing - or starting - sweet pickle chips. He doesn't like dill pickles, and frankly, I have a lot of those left from the last Pickle Expedition. And I also have a couple cases of Bread & Butter. So we found a recipe for "sweet spears" and I don't see any reason why we can't make them "chips" instead of spears. So when he gets done with the dog-walking, he'll get to use the food processor (seriously, he really IS the only one who uses it!) and slice them into 1/4" medallions. Then we soak them overnight. Tomorrow, we process, by making a brine, packing the pickles into the jars and pouring the boiling brine over them. A 10-minute soak in the canning pot, and we should have a bunch of pint jars of pickle chips. 

Personally, I love them on a good pulled pork or on a ham sandwich. We also adjusted the recipe for the brine; we ended up throwing a lot of it away, and so we knocked it down a bit. We still have some "light" jars, but I think we can make "refrigerator pickles" out of that brine, by chopping up cauliflower florets, artichoke hearts, etc. and just stashing them in the brine for a couple of weeks in the fridge. Pearl onions would work, if you can eat 'em. 

Back to Knitting...

RAK package
So on a FB page I am involved in, we have what are called RAKs. Random Acts of Kindness. We choose a member and we mail something to him or her - just because. It can be knitting-related; tea or coffee have shown up. So has an abundance of chocolate. This is what I got as a RAK package, just before I went into surgery. 

This is a lovely sock bag in U of I colors (it was a fellow IL resident who sent it to me), a fantastic ball of sock yarn and a knitting mag - which has several patterns I'd like to start on. 

The RAK list got so overwhelming that the FB page administrators decided to move the RAK portion to Ravelry. Which reminds me - I have to go check to see if my package arrived to its sender. 

Random Picture...

What species??
Before I go back to the mind-numbing baby hat...I want to show you what turned up on the cone flowers yesterday. And I want to tell you that this is a photo from my phone's camera. I am not sure which species this is, but I've been fiddling with the cone flowers all summer, trying to catch the huge bumblebees and the various butterflies that have come along. I did see a swallowtail, but the little stinker moved so fast that I couldn't catch him. 

If anyone knows what this is, please let me know! 

All I can say is that he waited patiently for me to take the picture. I've also seen a slight uptick in hummingbirds, though I think we need to take down all the feeders and give them a good wash. 

And the birds are loving the bubbling water under the tree. We're fiddling with the other bird bath; I think it may need to go in the shade, but we're still working on that. 

It's been a really amazing season for the garden, and it's not done yet. We've gotten about 6 tomatoes, and before you scoff, realize: we planted tomatoes for about 4 years running and got nothing. Nada. Zip. This year, the cooler weather, the rain and the general timing of the season have conspired to make even a lazy gardener look "very productive."

Monday, July 28, 2014

Not Sure Why I Think Peacocks are Beautiful...

...since, right now, various spots on my body closely resemble the blue/green/purple/yellow combo...

I am sprung from the hospital and recovering at home from the atrial ablation procedure. I'll spare you the pictures... But suffice to say that I had IVs in both arms, both hands, two arterial lines, and FOUR punctures (two in each groin). 

As I said, peacocks have such beautiful colors. You don't notice, in their sparkly glory, how much they resemble healing bruises.

Anyway, the doc is excited. Apparently, my veins separated nicely from the nerves and didn't try to reconnect. Instead of a 5-6 hour procedure, he was able to finish in about 3 - 3.5 hours. 

I had the WORST. BACK-ACHE. EVER. Worse than back labor. Worse than a wrenched back (though I can't swear to that, never having had one). Worse than someone ripping my spine out through my sacrum. 

Oh, and morphine? Good stuff, if they remember to give you the anti-nausea meds. 

So after about 5 hours flat on my back, I'm allowed to sit up. They put me upright in the bed. The room begins to spin. I have that "urp" feeling. The nurse, being a sensible soul, brings me a wash tub to yark into, not one of those puny "emesis basins" -- apparently, this woman has had experience with yarking. 

Sadly, the dietary lady had brought up dinner. Lasagne. With coffee.

Really??? I haven't eaten in about 2 days. I'm drugged up to my eyeballs with morphine, anaesthesia and the like, and you bring LASAGNE? And COFFEE? She looks at me and says, sadly, "Don't you like it??" 

Ummmmmmm. You got any pudding, perhaps?? Hubby fed me a little container of chocolate pudding, that I managed to keep down. 

I'll laugh about it. Later.

They got me out of there the day after the surgery. Not, however, before a night spent, every 2 hours, with a nurse checking my groin. I have the most-observed nether-bits in the community, I think. Though I am going to say that the hospital was lovely. 

I was at Silver Cross Hospital and I have to say that from my first experience, it was a lesson in patient care that went quite well. Overall, except for one little thing with the one procedure, I felt cared for, they listened when I freaked out, and they really did everything they could to make sure I was ok. 

Even the little Polish lady who took my final EKG... "You go home as soon as you can; we have germs here!" Well, I did manage to pick up a sniffle, but I really felt better at home. 

My friends sent flowers and cards. And my choir buddy came to visit, but honestly -- can't remember much of her visit, as it was the day of the surgery, and I was seriously loopy. 

The nurse anaesthetist told me "You won't remember a thing." Wowza. She was right. I remember the cardiac cath lab; it was a freezer! I remember nurse Ken, who was driving the cart, exchanging Cubs/Sox jokes with nurse Bob. And then...

Nothing. Seriously, not a blasted thing till I was in recovery.

The doc says that after about 2 months, once my heart calms down, I should be off all the cardiac meds. He said he could "barely" induce my heart to misbehave (it figures...) but that he was happy with how the whole thing went. 

Oh, and they tell me I'm anemic. Oh joy. 

I'm not taking iron pills, that's for sure. My tummy objects. Let's just put it that way and leave it there.

So, the whole "in sickness" thing? Major, MAJOR props to Hubby. The first night home, I'm really getting sick. Coughing, nose snotty. Fever, he thinks. About 2 a.m. I feel horrible. As in, "it's a good thing I'm on the bed because I'm gonna pass out." 

It's true love when Hubby gets up, gets me up, talks me through a crisis, and then gets me over to the toilet. And makes sure I'm ok. Truly no secrets when you gotta pee and you need help, that's for sure. 

After my veins decide to get better, I do have to have more blood work done for that anemia thing. But right now, I'm considering hiring myself out as a lawn sprinkler, since I have so many holes in me. 


I decided, since I have a week off, that I needed to finish the Blue Baby Sweater. And I did. It looks nice. I used some plain white buttons for it, and sadly, I don't have enough for TWO sweaters.

This is at a 6-month size, and I really probably could make a "newborn" size, but nobody I know ever has babies that small.

So I figured I could cast on a hat. Which I did. Simple, simple, SIMPLE. Just knitting around and I'll let the brim curl. If I get ambitious I'll cast on a pair of socks or booties. 

I have this yarn in a purple variegated, too. So maybe I make a "crazy hat" to give away. Not sure yet. 

All I know is that I actually needed a break from the socks. It's back at the socks in the next few days, though. 

I can take this one off  the list and add another one. Or just trim the list by one project. Though Heaven knows I have enough other projects to add to it. 

Not sure yet. But I do know I have to start working on Kid #2's afghan soon. Lucky for us, the weather has been cool, so it's not as bad to have an afghan on your lap.

Mooooooooo (with a Swiss accent)
Random Picture...

Since I've been in a news hole, I think we need cows.

Specifically, Swiss cows. Specifically, Swiss cows along the mountain near Reichenbach Falls from our trip. 

Suffice to say that the location was sufficiently remote that they were as bemused as we were... They weren't sure we should be there, and we were surprised THEY were there. 

Smelly little beasties, but very cute. 


We have 42 cucumbers. In 6 days. I'm not sure which are "pickles" and which are cukes. And when I searched The Google, I came up with this brilliant answer:

"Pickles are cured in brine and cucumbers are eaten in a salad."

Really?? Never would have guessed. 

Note to self: Next year, plant the pickles in the other bed...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pre-medication is...

...the best... Well, I was kind of out of it a lot in the past 48 hours, but I sailed through the CT scan without even a bruise at the "stick site." And I swear, she used a pitchfork tine!! 

The lovely tech who did the test is also a fellow yoga teacher. And there were a lot of long-held breaths! 

So now, next week is the TEE and then the PVI. I'm a little less freaked out now. I was truly worried about the allergic reaction I had to the IVP dye over 30 years ago. When they tell you, "Don't have that again" and you don't routinely subject yourself to these kinds of scans, then you don't realize how much has changed. 


Fluro #1
Fluro Sock #1 is DONE!! It's gorgeous! I've started #2, and no, it's not going to match precisely, but it'll be close. 

I think it's a waste of yarn to try to match them. It's probably the only thing I'm not worried about controlling. If you can't get the idea that it's a PAIR of socks just by looking at the colors, then you probably wouldn't appreciate hand-knitted socks in the first place. 

Doris heel
I used my "Doris Heel" pattern, and I love the effect of a "double-knit" heel. And yes, this time I took notes, so there won't be a repeat of The Teal Sock Incident... 

Star toe
I took pretty precise notes. And my friends will be surprised because this is cast on at 72 stitches. Usually, that's a man-sized sock, but for some reason, this fits me just fine. It accommodates my "biker calves" and the heel is nice and snug. And for the toe, I branched out a bit, trying a Star Toe pattern. It seems to fit the curve of my toes better than Kitchener, though I do like a well-done grafted toe. I have finally figured out how to do it without the dreaded "ears" but I wanted to learn something new. 

Top view
As you can see by the last picture here, the Star toe seems to conform better. I have wide feet, and this seems to look more tailored than usual. 

Sorry about the odd pictures, but I was my own photographer. The detail in the heel and toe doesn't really show up, but I think some of that is purely the neon colorway. 

I really think that #2 will only be slightly different. The cuff starts out as the bright pink, but I'm already on the purple/blue part, so I would say that it'll be very close. 

I mean, honestly? Tossing aside a couple yards of yarn just to match? What a waste.

Sock #2
Though if you're inclined, so be it. I'm sure there's enough here in the ball of yarn, even with the larger amount cast on. 

However, I did do a bit of Knitterly Therapy before I cast on Sock #2. I knitted on the Before and After scarf for a while.

Before and After scarf
I had taken it to the hospital for my scan, because it's totally mindless. You do all the work on the knit side: M1 at the beginning and K2tog at the end, then purl back, to make the bias. It had been a while since I did anything with it and I'm really rather close to finishing off the peacock color. I think I even know where the remaining yarn and beads are! (blue tote in the office)

Remember, this one is lace-weight alpaca on size 7 circulars. It's very hole-y and it's meant to be that way. The beads will help keep it from rolling, and truly - 

"It will look better after it's blocked."

So the pattern says.

I have the picture and it looks lovely. They did it in an autumn colorway, with two scarves as a set. I'm picking up that yellow-green for the second scarf. It will likely be that I'll wear both together. I'm not a fan of yellow-green, and I'm not sure what possessed me to do that color - probably that I didn't want more purple and the blues in stock didn't look right. 

I don't usually wear that shade of green. Unless I'm sick. 

Garden Goodness...

So here's our first batch of pickles. And 2 tomatoes. This weekend is "pickle relish weekend" since it looks like the pickles produced before the salad cukes. 
Pickle Relish!

Hubby is tearing out the lettuce that's gone to seed (we've been eating it, honestly!!) and will re-plant. We're not sure if we'll re-plant radishes. I've got some broccoli rabe, but maybe it's too late for that. 

It's been a decent season, all things considered, but we'll have to see what we have time to eat. No use planting it and then letting it go to seed. 

As for the tomatoes, there are lots of green ones, but they're coming along slowly. Maybe THIS is the year, after about 4 bad ones, that we actually get tomatoes to eat. 


So on the 19th, I go off the cardiac Rx. I'm still going to teach on the 21st, but it'll be a true "teach" and not "demo" as much, I don't think. Boss Lady has said that I can stay home from the day job, because she doesn't want me in the office by myself in case something happens. 

And yesterday, we had a really great Pranayama class by Kathy Williams. That will come in handy with all the stress I'm under. 

And it will also come in handy because my students are ready for "more." Many people come to yoga for the asana - the poses, the exercise. Often, they stay there, which is fine. 

King Pigeon Pose
But sometimes, they want more. Pranayama is a set of breathing exercises. As Kathy says, "pretty boring" because the breathing isn't as flashy as a really cool Eka Pada Rajakaoptasana (pigeon pose). No, that's not me. Obviously. 

My point is that I'm excited that they want "more." So Kathy's idea is to incorporate one or two poses with the breathwork, having the students concentrate on the inhale (for energy) or the exhale (for relaxation). 

It's something I'll be working on for the "after surgery" practice sequences. I don't want to teach it now, because I'm just thinking that a "usual" practice will be better. I'm not sure how I'll react minus the one Rx, though I'll still be on the Cardizem. 

Stuff In The News...

It's dismal. Kids fleeing Central America and the "good christian americans" (small letters deliberately) are screaming "go home!" 

What happened to "give me your tired, etc."? Well, Fox News happened. These people think they're doing the work of Jesus, but THEIR Jesus is a blond-haired, blue-eyed Swedish looking guy. 

Jesus was brown, folks. Get over it. 

The legislation reversing that abysmal SCOTUS decision was, of course, not moved forward. In a typically partisan manner, Republicans want their idea of "small government" -- sized to fit a woman's uterus. 

Surprisingly, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) voted FOR the legislation. I had to fan myself. 


"The Four Desires" by Rod Stryker. He's my teacher Tricia's teacher, and perhaps this time I'll get to the Prairie Yoga Book Club! Anyway, it's supposed to be about creating a life of purpose, so we'll see. 

I'm not normally big on self-help books. That being said, I think every book can be a learning experience, so I'll set aside my normal slant-wise view and read the book. 

I didn't finish the other one, nor did I make it to the group. This time, I'll try. I know one thing: I need better balance in my life. Right now, it does feel like things are out of my control, and I don't like that. 

Random Picture...

If I hide, they can't put the collar on me.
So Crazy Raisa got spayed finally. She's taken to hiding under the table - or more correctly the chair under the table. Anything to escape the dreaded COLLAR OF SHAME. We didn't go with a cone; that would have been a lost cause. And she slipped out of the "blow up" collar. So the "no-bite collar" works well, except she hates it. 

For now, it's only on at night. Hubby keeps a pretty good eye on her, and the stitches come out next week. 

She and Quinn got into a "sound and fury" yesterday; that certainly woke me up! Lucky for us, Kid #2 was home, because Hubby was out. We pulled them apart. No blood. Plenty of growls though, and both got tossed into their crates for a huge time-out.

Every once in a while, I wonder what the heck I was thinking... 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ohhhhhhhhhh, DEER...

Deer's Dinner...
... Yup. A week ago, these were in full glory. These were the lovely coral bells. They still ARE the lovely coral bells, but significantly trimmed by our "deer" friends at work. Taken through the window as we're having hail, fire, flood and frogs today in the weather forecast. 

At least the blossoms are still there (click and enlarge) so the butterflies and bees will be happy. 

I planted these last year, and they did "ok." This year, they took off, and came through our incredibly nasty winter just fine. And they were nice and bushed out. 

Oh well. Deer gotta live, too...


Jordana Paige bag
Talk about a random act of kindness! When I finally got to meet my knitting friends, we were ready to go to Le Mouton Rouge Knittery, because they wanted some Fluromania yarn. As we were leaving, J comes out with this Jordana Paige bag. "I don't like it. Do you want it?" I said, "Sure; what do you want for it?" She handed it to me and said, "Take it." This is about $80 - 90 worth of knitting bag. She says it's too heavy and that I could probably use it since I still travel for work. Well, not a lot, but I can certainly use it. It goes in the closet (well, I'm using it now) with the other JP and Namaste bags. I'm gradually weeding out my purses till about all I have are the combo knitting/purse bags. 

As to the Fluro sock. Well, I almost had a conniption. J said I was nuts to cast on 72 stitches and it was "huge." I thought, crap - gotta frog. But I tried it on yesterday. Now, it may EVENTUALLY be too big, since my feet and legs swell due to the heart Rx. 

But surprisingly, this one fit. Nicely. And remember, I've got "biker calves" so I wanted more room there. I can't quite figure out how to decrease down without being unable to get the sock over my ankle, if I need more room at the calf. 

Hubby, who has apparently (a) learned from his Great Sock Mistake; and (b) been married to a knitter for a while, says, "Can't you felt it??" Well, probably not, since it's 75% wool and 25% nylon, but I'm sure it'll be ok. 

I'm debating the toe. Should I try Star toe? I'm reading where the round toe may be a little flimsy. I usually do Kitchener Stitch. There appears to be no good spot to find out which toe is more durable. 

I really might try Star toe. I've wanted to, and I have some decent directions. It's only a sock. 

Next sock will probably be along the line of the FrankenSock with a spiral rib pattern on the cuff and perhaps Strong heel. I've gotta branch out as long as I'm on a sock kick.

The Kid & The House...

Well. Disappointing news. But good lesson. The house failed the home inspection. I mean FAILED the inspection. In a huge, big, very bad way. The inspector went over the house from roof to basement, and there are seven really nasty things that have caused The Kid to walk away. 

Thing one: Roof damage where we couldn't see it. Hail damage, and with the mansard roof, bad flashing and crickets (the part that makes the roof connect with the other sections of roof) - enough so that there's raccoon poop in one of the gullies, and it shouldn't have a gully there. 

Thing two: Rotted wood throughout, some on the garage roof, some on the front pillars and door frames, and on just about every window frame. Paint covers a lot. 

Thing three: Asbestos. I knew that it was there!! I pointed to it with the Realtor, and she assured me that it wasn't what I thought I was looking at. It's friable (breaking off) asbestos on many of the pipes in the basement. Many of the pipes which should have been removed when they updated the plumbing. 

Of course, there's also

Thing four: The plantings right up to the foundation, which perhaps have caused leaking of water into the basement; and

Thing five: The deck supports (under the new deck) are rotted. 

Thing six: The "updated" wiring -- isn't ALL updated. There's still some of the old porcelain connectors with corroded wires. Yes, there IS an updated fusebox. But too many of the old connectors are still live and not wired into the new box.

Thing seven: No attic ventilation (which I also noticed). 

Good thing: No mold anywhere.

All in all, if you wanted to rehab a house, this would be your house. If, on the other hand, you're a first-time home buyer, perhaps ONE of these things would be fixable (I mean, of 1, 2 and 3 -- and 5). But to have rotted wood, a bad roof, AND asbestos? Walk away.

So The Kid talked to me about "how do I do this?" and then called the Realtor. We truly believe it's not a case of deliberate "sell this pig to a dummy." I know that some of the damage had been there for a while. I believe that the homeowners put paint on it and figured, "We'll get to this." And then they had 4 kids and you know how that went. 

He's going to rent for a year or so (less, if he can get a 6-month lease) and then purchase. At least this way, too, we can take time. It was cutting close for his start date and this way he can look around. 

The Realtor mentioned that he could "ask" for the sellers to fix things, but he did say, "You know, asbestos is a deal-breaker." All in all, it cost him a couple hundred bucks, but he learned a LOT about what to look for. 

Even if Hubby and I were inclined to buy a property like this - it's a lot to tackle unless you really are a contractor yourself. 

So he'll be making appointments to see some rentals next week. I've offered to go with him on Tuesday, which will give me a break from 

The Great Freak-Out...

I am totally NOT happy with my cardiologist's nurse. Not my sister, who works in that office. She, as a matter of fact, wants to strangle the woman. 

See, I'm scheduled to have a CT scan of my heart next week. But I'm allergic to the IVP dye. Not the "I want to barf" variety of allergic. The "I can't breathe" variety. 

And yes, I know - it was almost 30+ years ago that I had the reaction. And things have changed. BUT - research (Mayo Clinic) says that you STILL have a good chance of reaction to the new stuff if you did to the old. 

She's messing me around, saying, "Oh, Doc wants you to have the test" and talking to me like a 12-year-old. Which is Annoyance the First. 

Annoyance the Second is that she's obviously not communicating to the doctor what my concerns actually are. So she says "Doc wants you to go see an allergist." We went 10 rounds with me explaining that I already have an allergist and that the test for IVP is a blood draw. She said, "I've never heard of that." I said, "It's because you don't work for an allergist."

I was losing my temper. So I'm going to call my allergist to get the exact name of the test. SHE has to ask the doc which dye he's using. And between the 2 of us, get a test scheduled before the 16th... 

WHY they waited??? I've been a patient there for over 2 years, and it's all over my medical records. I will be complaining to the office manager. I already expressed my dismay to the nurse, but you could feel the breeze blowing as it went in one ear and out the other. 

I'm not REFUSING to have the test. I'm asking for an ALTERNATIVE, so that I can survive it. 

Raisa and The Collar of Shame...

The Collar of Shame
We tried the "pillow collar" for her, after her spay. She slipped out of that quicker than spit. Well, she's got a lot of hair, and looks bigger than she actually is. 

We didn't want to use the cone, and this was recommended for her. 

She is not happy. This morning, she finally ate and drank some water. She perked up and did sing the Happy Toast Song. We're keeping her home from obedience tomorrow. She'll likely be physically able to go, but as you can see, no bandage. And it's too soon, I think. She can wait a week. Let her relax and heal a bit.

Butterflies are Free...

What kind of butterfly?
And on the cone flowers. I'm not sure which variety this is. But it's cute and prolific. The bees have been back, too. But I haven't been able to get a good shot of them. I may have to pull out the Canon. 

The verbena (hot pink) and butterfly bush are finally blooming. But we need a lot more sun. The butterfly bush would be twice its size if it was out from under the big maple. 

Many of the day lilies are blooming and we are overrun with marigolds. But it's all bright and lovely, so I can't complain too much. 

We may rip out the remaining two rosebushes, which are now all stem-and-thorn and nary a bud on them. 

Yes, I'm still on my quest to make fully half the front yard into a garden. 

The dill has collapsed somewhat. It's in pots, and probably would do better wild, but then it does take over. Anyway, it's all due to the wet. I need to harvest some of that and keep it set aside since the cucumbers are taking their time. 

The Eating Plan...

I know I shouldn't look at the scale. It's a roller coaster for a while and I'm over the "I want to eat EVERYTHING" phase. But today, I've done 2 rounds of Almased shakes. I'm really not horribly hungry, and I need a bit of a kick-start, if only for my own mental health. 

Almased tastes good, especially with non-sweetened chocolate almond milk! And I don't usually use the flax seed, though I do have it. I should probably add it. 

It's not cheap. But it's the only one I've managed to use that doesn't make me feel all bloaty and annoyed. 

I didn't lose the weight I wanted to, before the Florida trip. And I really wanted to lose the weight before the heart procedure. But at any rate, a week of this should be good. It'll give me an incentive, even if I use it twice a day and eat a salad with protein at the end of the day. 

Really, Tennessee??

So this happened... Tennessee, which state TURNED DOWN Medicaid expansion, has a governor who's a blithering idiot. Check out THIS STORY where, in his infinite wisdom, he's decided to have women arrested if they're using drugs while pregnant.

OK, I kind of get that. You're carrying another human being; you need to be careful with drugs, alcohol and tobacco. But hey - here's an idea... Since TN has a large population of under-served women in regard to basic health, women's issues and the like? How about ALLOWING the expanded Medicaid?

Then, maybe, women can learn what most of us who have "real" medical care know: that this is something pretty basic.

But nooooooooooooo - this macho man would rather jail them. No matter that these women will be jailed under his own direction. No matter that this disproportionately nails the poor in his state. 

You gotta be loyal to the party. At any expense. 

Just read the story, please. And thankfully, the ACLU is seeking plaintiffs to challenge this law. 

Again - someone without ovaries making a sweeping decision about those of us who have them. Which brings us to...

Random Picture...

Ok, Random GRAPHIC. And, appropriately, by a woman. This quote by Jane Goodall means a lot to me. 

Read it and tell me what you think. Someone said that perhaps women, being more likely the "nurturers," would have more influence. 

I'm not sure about that. But what I am sure about is that we, as a society, have to take into account our actions. 

We're no longer isolated. We're interconnected to a degree that boggles the mind. What we do has an impact on people. Whether deliberate (like our friend the governor of TN) or not, our actions mean something to someone. 

Whether a family member, a co-worker, the person who bags your groceries, or even the person who cuts you off in traffic.

I'm just as guilty of being frustrated and angry. But I'm trying to just take a breath. Realizing that maybe that person is having a crappy day. Trying to put myself in his or her shoes, so that I can maybe acknowledge what's going on. 

And many times, I fail. I shake my head. I make a judgment, and sometimes that turns into an action. Whether a deliberate action on my part that affects someone -- or an action that affects a complete other person. Because of a judgment I made about someone else. 

It's a difficult task to work on. But it's worth it in the long run. 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

72 - 64 =


Eight. The Fluro sock is cast on at 72 stitches. All my other socks are at 64. It's absolutely amazing how much difference those 8 stitches make. I mean, this sock is taking for-freakin'-EVER!!!

Here it is; I've added about 3 rows since lunch, and I'm now pretty solidly in the neon yellow part. 

I think of how quickly my Little Prince socks worked up and I just can't figure it out. 

I should enjoy the process more, right?

I'm trying. But it seems like the process is what's taking forever.

I think that (sacrilege) I may need to work on something else for a bit. Perhaps Kid #2's afghan?

The Kid...

Particularly since he will be leaving in the next few weeks. School starts mid-August, and if we're planning all this right, he'll be leaving at least in time to move into his new spot by the middle of August, the week before he has to start teaching.

He looked -- well, actually WE looked all day yesterday, and he thinks he's found a house. Today, he went up to talk to the Realtor. He's not crazy; he's been saving for this for a while, and he's pretty level-headed. 

I mean, truly, both of the kids are geniuses. But -- Kid #1 is more "leap THEN look" where Kid #2 is more "let's over-think this to the point of an ulcer..." So he's being very deliberate about the process. 

I hope he gets what he wants. He's got a list of alternatives, if what he wants doesn't work out. 

I've gone ahead and gotten him some "hope chest" stuff: kitchen linens, a clock, etc. because (a) they'll work no matter where he goes; and (b) they're small enough to transport easily. I have a car-load of house plants from the campus that he can have, too - it'll fill in the blank spaces till he can furnish wherever he lands. 

So as part of our day, we went to lunch. This is how bad it gets. His theory is, "If a restaurant has a BLT on the menu, order it." But he was so keyed up that he couldn't eat it! Normally, neither kid eats much in the summer, but this was sheer "Oh My GOD" -- I could tell. 

Anyway, this is the restaurant we went to, on a tip from my friend K at the knittery. She told us it was good, and it was really nice. 

It's a place that Kid will go to again; it's close and looks like it has lots to offer to a single guy who's on his own for the first time. 

For the record, I stuck to my eating plan and had a Dixie Salad: a green salad with grilled chicken on it. It was plentiful and delicious. The menu looked really good, and Kid says that the beer selection was good, as well. It's right in town, and the Realtor he talked to said that it was a popular spot with not only the neighboring college kids, but with the folks who live there. 

I'm happy that he's settling in a place where he can be part of the community. 

Eating Plan...

Miracle Quiche
I'm back on the Metabolism B because it worked well. It's the first 3 or 4 days that's really a kicker. The first 8 weeks are fairly restrictive, only because you are essentially doing what I've needed to do for a long time:

A sugar detox. I can't believe how far off the wagon I leaped! 

Anyway, this time, I figured I'd be smarter and look in the book for recipes. Behold the Miracle Quiche - with my own alterations, because... Well, I can't leave well-enough alone. 

It's basically egg/custard base with veggies. I didn't have broccoli, so I used frozen shredded zucchini. And mushrooms + leeks. Oh, and some goat cheese. 

I've had it for breakfast the past few days, and I'll make it again - but likely with a mix of fake and real eggs. And I'll probably add some ricotta cheese or something. Anyway, it breaks up my "breakfast boredom" and in a pinch, it can serve as a lunch or dinner, with a salad. 

I'm actually OK with a certain amount of "food boredom" because the routine helps keep me focused. But I'm also thinking it's time to expand my horizons a bit. 

I took my measurements; I'm not going to fret the weight loss/gain for this next few weeks. I'm most particularly interested in getting things back under control since next week I have the pre-op tests and then the surgery the week of the 21st. I won't lose what I gained back, at least not right away, of course. But I'd like a good foundation because I could very well get the "mopes" after the procedure and be all-too-happy to dive into the ice cream...

Exercise is mainly biking and yoga. Logging both exercise and food is helping me keep tabs on it. I've taken to setting the Heart Phone timer for every 1/2 hour or so, just so I get off my rear end, particularly at work. 

Hey, with all this, perhaps the Fluro socks will get done quicker as I substitute snacking with knitting??

"Knit, not Knibble." There's a motto for you!!

Speaking of Knitting...

I'm in a Facebook group called "Addicted to Sock Knitting." Honestly, it's a very busy group. These people knit socks like I breathe, apparently. 

With all the hustle-and bustle of the group, I kind of want to know where they're finding the time to knit socks. Socks, socks, socks... An awesome bunch of folks and while I thought I was a "yarn snob," these people have shown me yarns I didn't even know existed!!

I think, like me, some of them actually do knit stuff other than socks. But this is a great place to find inspiration if you're in a sock-knitting rut. 

I just wish my job didn't interfere with my knitting. Oh, what we do to earn Yarn Money. 

My Overall Plan for World Domination...

Continues... So, I didn't get the advisor position. That's the Universe giving me a hint. At least I hope it's a hint, and not a house dropping on my head!

This is a blessing because I really, REALLY don't want to be an advisor. I really, REALLY want to operate my facility. And so now Boss Lady and I can fully focus on getting us over to the new facility. So far, a couple of important folks have bought into the plan, and the positions already exist, which makes this one layer LESS of paperwork and politics. 

In addition, I won't have to have that awkward conversation about, "Oh, yeah - I need a week off to recuperate from a surgery that I didn't disclose during the interview." That's not illegal, per Boss Lady, who's an HR expert. It's just positioning yourself. 

However, the dean who was to hire that position is one of the Three Important Folks who can make this other plan happen. So perhaps not getting that job is a step toward getting to do what I really want to do. 

We're now lining up faculty who'll say, "Of COURSE we want them there! We want them to do their jobs for us!" Fingers, toes, eyes... everything crossed so that this works out well.

My Laptop... doing something funky. All of a sudden, it's going all kind of pale. I've fiddled with the contrast, but I can't seem to get it right. I'll have to look some more. If not, Hubby will work with it. 

It's not debilitation. Just annoying from the usually uber-reliable ThinkPad.

THE decision...

OK, still not naming The Store That Shall Not Be Named... but here's an excellent article about the decision and the way it can be reversed. 

Check it out. It's worth the read. 

Random Picture...

So I took this a while back. It was the few hours where our larger solar fountain got sun from under the big maple. Anyway, I tightened up on the bird bath and this is what I got.

Yes, again from the Nokia camera phone. Or phone with camera. Whatever you like. The trick, in spite of the whiz-bang commercials, is honestly to take the shot and then do the fancy stuff with it. 

It's a cool shot, and one of those where you look at it and say, "Wow - didn't realize I got THAT part!" 

As you might imagine, I was tickled to be able to just bring the phone on my recent trip to Florida. Even though, yes, in the actual convention center, the bigger camera would have been better for the most part. The scenery pics were really good with this phone/camera.