Saturday, December 27, 2008

What she does on her days off

I'm a woman possessed.

In preparation for the new year, I'm organizing...not my closets...not my stash...not my home.  I'm organizing my Neopet's stuff.  I'm busy clearing out, selling, auctioning, and demolishing my house so I can re-build now that I have mega amounts of neopoints.  They have new neohomes in beta form, but I don't actually like those as much as the classic, so I'm re-modeling and getting rid of crappy furniture that I don't really like but bought because it was cheap and available.

Similar to how I've furnished my own home:  early garage sale.

I did a lot of knitting last night.  I'm using the Plush in red to knit a prayer shawl.  Actually they're more comfort shawls since I mainly watch movies or tv while knitting.  This one is in the baby fern stitch, which looks pretty good in Plush.  Not as sculptered as in Vanna's Choice, but nice, nonetheless.

Tom is off at his family's Christmas party.  I didn't go, of course.  He asked me several times but the closer we got to the date, the less interested he was in going himself.  Yesterday as I was bringing the groceries in the house after shopping, he informed me he was suppposed to bring something.  I fixed up a pizza casserole for him to take although it was a bit light on the mozzarella since I hadn't gotten anymore.  He was appreciative.

They didn't draw names this year because no one could agree on whether they wanted to or not. One sil wanted to donate money toward Tom's nephew who is being treated for cancer.  Other sils didn't want to do that so sil 1 was a bit miffed (deservedly so, in my opinion) and another sil wanted everyone to just exchange ornaments.  But that idea kind of fell through, too, so they're just getting together to nosh and get caught up.  Since they always talk about things that matter only to them and about people I've never met or heard of, they're better off if I just stay home.

Which is where I am.

Fortunately Zach is working tonight until closing so I had a ready excuse not to attend.  

It seems odd to be home alone.  It's not something that happens often so here I am clearing out my Neopet's home. 

I should be knitting.

It's nasty weather out.  Very foggy with people driving without their lights on.  It never ceases to amaze me that people don't know that when it's foggy, you turn your lights on.  It doesn't matter that YOU can see.  WE can't see YOU.  Why is that so difficult?

I've heard that three more inches of snow is coming but that can only help because the snow out there now is black and brown and yugly.  A light frosting to freshen things up would be nice.

But it was nice that the furnace didn't kick on all night.  I did like that.  In fact, I was stripping off layers of clothing all night and throwing back layers of covers as the night wore on.

I don't feel like spending my time alone cleaning the kitchen but I suppose it has to be done. That's the thing about cooking I don't like:  cleaning up.  But if I don't do it, it won't get done.

Off to watch Midsomer Murders and knit on my shawl for a while.  I seem to be knitting more and more monogamously of late.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa was pretty good to us this year

We did okay in spite of it all.

We got Tom a butchering kit that he's still raving about and Zach got him a Winchester knife set that he keeps fondling.  Must be love.  

Zach got a Zelda t-shirt.  I think the picture is from Twilight Princess, but I'm  not sure.  He also got an insulated hooded sweatshirt, Wall-E, and Prince Caspian.  Plus, I finished his sweater last night.  I was seaming at 1 a.m., but it was under the tree when he woke up.  Or when we woke him up.  I swear that kid has only gotten up on his own one Christmas, and that was the one with Tom out to sea and I was up until 3 a.m. wrapping presents because Zach didn't go to bed until 2 a.m. And at 6 a.m. he was ready to open the gifts.  Otherwise, we've always had to wake him up.

I got Buffy, season 6 and Love, Actually.  Truthfully I bought Love, Actually and gave it to Zach to wrap for me.  He's been putting his money in savings and I didn't want him to spend any of it on me.  I told him to take some money after Christmas and spend on himself.  Not a large amount, but he hasn't bought himself a video game in nearly 2 years so I think he's entitled.

Stephen called first thing.  That was such a wonderful gift, to hear from him.  He's doing well and is establishing himself as a father to his kids again.  Plus, he's doing well professionally.  Heaven knows he's paid his dues.

I'll call my parents later on.  I don't call when the party is going strong because I always have to compete with everyone else for anyone's attention.  I'll be talking to someone and they'll suddenly answer someone else.  Makes me think they weren't really listening to me at all.  So I'll just wait until it quiets down.  I'll mail Mom and Dad's stuff after the first of the year.  I'm just going to get a care package for them instead of making it Christmas gifts.  

I've got a chicken roasting in the oven and some baked potatoes for Tom.  I want mashed so I need to get in there and start peeling.  Stuffing for Zach and me.  Tom won't eat it.  And then corn for everyone.  No dessert.  We've got some fresh fruit left over and if we get peckish later on, I'll make a cobbler or something.  I have some frozen fruit that I use with a muffin recipe to top it and use splenda instead of sugar.  It's pretty good.

And crackers to pull before we sit down to feast.  I started that a few years ago and we still have 6 left so we'll make it through next Christmas and then decide if we're going to continue since I doubt if Zach will still be around.

Off to do the cooking and then we have to get outside and shovel the sidewalk.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

To those of you who celebrate it.

I'm trying hard to be positive today but Tom didn't get his bonus this year and I was counting on it to help pay the property taxes.  This is going to be a very lean year for us, even leaner than the last one.

Still, in spite of all the snow on the ground and not being able to make the Christmas Eve service at church, I'm going to try to put on a happy face for everyone.

I'm even going to attempt to keep the negative out of my blog from now on as well.

I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas has a great one and I'll see you on the other side of the holiday.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm not dreaming of a white Christmas anymore

Zach and I just came in from shoveling 4 inches of snow (and drifts) from the sidewalks and driveway. Apparently there is much more coming, depending upon which station you listen to, of course. I think I can safely say we're going to have a white Christmas. Pretty darn sure, anyway.

I vented a lot while shoveling, particularly about how we make sure Tom can get to work, yet he won't lift a finger to help us get to church. Perhaps it's not the same though.

I bought us all some warm hats and gloves yesterday. Zach was really happy. We're the ones who are outdoors the most, shoveling snow 2-3 times a week, so we needed them. I hate feeling guilty for spending money to keep warm.

It is a bit warmer outside though: in the 20's, I believe.

The hats are the fleece, earflap kind we used to see lumberjacks wear. I can't tell you how warm I felt out there.

When we came indoors, it was snowing again. And it was picking up momentum so I'm figuring we're going to be out there again tonight so we can clear the driveway again.

It doesn't look like we'll make it to Christmas Eve service either. It's supposed to be putting down about 4-6 more inches of snow tonight with another 3-5 inches tomorrow so I don't think I'm up for driving at night on roads that are a bit slick. I'm a pretty good snow driver. Heaven knows I got a lot of practice last winter driving back and forth to Fond du Lac, but I'm not going out unless it's necessary.

I do have to walk to Kwik Trip to get some stamps though. I have a bill due in a couple of days and while I know it won't get there on time, it will at least get there sooner than if I leave it sitting on the dining room table.

I'm almost done with my Secret Sister's scarf, although there seems to be no rush now that I won't get there before Sunday, although I can sneak it in the church Friday when I go to the library. I never shop on the day after Christmas. Never. But the library is a pretty safe place to go.

I need to wrap presents tonight and vacuum the living and dining room. Today I'm doing laundry and scrubbing the bathroom down. I worked on the kitchen last night but it wasn't a huge undertaking. I do manage to keep up with it. The bathroom isn't dirty so much as it's cluttered.

I'm thinking I need to get a job after the first of the year. I don't know how we're going to cope otherwise. Plus, I'm tired of being cold. I try to put up a good front but 58 degrees is just too darned cold for the house during the day. And 48 last night was miserable so I kicked it up to 50. Still, I'm not sure how I'm going to manage the bills without me getting a job. I'm afraid gas prices will rise after the first of the year and we're barely making it with all the trips to Hartford and Fond du Lac as it is.

It doesn't look like Zach will graduate until the spring of 2010. He's only managed to get 16 credits this coming semester and there will be no way he can fill up the fall semester with about 28 credits. And he has nearly all his core classes and that's all that is usually available in the summer term. Still, it's better he takes both degrees now instead of trying to do it later. But I've told him he'll need to work on getting his license because I can't put my life on hold for another year. He's okay with that. If he takes 151 up from Beaver Dam it won't be much of a problem because it's almost a straight shot, but if he tries to take the country highway route, he'll have difficulties, especially in inclement weather.

I'm off to knit on the scarf for a bit then finish Zach's sweater. I think a shawl out of the Plush will be next. Then who knows. If I manage to get a job, I doubt I will have a lot of time to knit anymore unless I do it while waiting for Zach.

Why can't I get in the Christmas mood?


Monday, December 22, 2008

Enough of winter!

I've been frantically knitting a scarf that wasn't happy with the pattern I was using so I frogged it when I discovered we weren't going to make it to church Sunday. Now I'm working on my Creeping Fern Pattern and the yarn is pretty darned content. Nothing worse than yarn that doesn't like the pattern it's becoming.

Now, the reason we didn't make it to church was because we got about 4 inches of snow. Make that four more inches of snow. The snow plow comes through out street in the wee hours of the morning so I was going to have to get up about 5:30 a.m. to clear the driveway because they always block it and with a car that sits low to the ground, ain't no way it's going to make it over a 3 foot wide, 2 foot tall snow barrier.

The predicted temp for Sunday a.m. was a minus 8 or so with wind chills of -33 degrees Farenheit.

No way was I getting up out of my warm bed into a freezing cold house (set at 48 degrees for your nighttime sleeping) and hop into several layers of clothing to go out and clear the driveway in 5 minute intervals (which is as long as we managed to stay out when the temp was a minus 5 and wind chills at -22.)

So once again I missed church. I feel like we're under a curse or something. First...yeah...we played hookey from church. Doesn't happen but once or twice a year, but we did it. The next Sunday, I had a flat tire. The Sunday after that, I was up all night with acid reflux having been aspirated into my lungs. And then a snow barrier.

I swear they must think we quit coming to church. But I have altar guild for Christmas Eve services so I'm waiting to hear from Betsy to find out just when we'll be doing that. And I do plan on coming to the Christmas Eve service.

But anyway...We're expecting more snow in the next couple of days. About 4 more inches. But it will warm up to a whopping 20+ degrees so we'll hardly need coats for that. Okay, yeah we will need coats but I won't have to wear four layers of clothing.

I'm off to the library because Torchwood is due back and I can't renew it because there is a waiting list. Besides I need to stock up on videos for the coming week since I won't be going back to the library until Friday at least. I finished Hamish Macbeth season 3 last night. I think I'm needing some Midsomer Murders 'cause I'm suffering withdrawal in spite of re-reading the books.

Hope everyone has a great week leading up to Christmas. I don't know if I'll post before then because I've got knitting, present wrapping, cleaning and baking (yeah...I don't do that much) to do this week.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, Happy Holidays to everyone!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Settling in cozy

Depending on which channel you listen to, the snow will start at 6 or 10 p.m. and we'll get 4-12" of the lovely white stuff. Fortunately, Zach's class was canceled so I won't be getting stranded in Fond du Lac, but Tom runs the risk of getting stranded in Hartford tomorrow morning after work. So I got him some cash and have a blanket and tea candles in case he decides to nap in the car for a bit. He can go to George Webb for breakfast but if he tries to stay awake for a few hours and drive later, he'll be a wreck. With three blankets, a pillow and access to a bathroom at work, he should stay warm. And those little candles do help heat up the car.

But I figure by the time his breakfast is done, the roads will be passable if he sticks to the major highways.

I got the weekly grocery shopping done today because I'm not going out tomorrow except to get Zach to work and that's just a few miles down the road from us. Unless they call and tell him not to come in. I don't expect a lot of people will be out tomorrow if we get a foot of snow. We've got snow predicted for the whole weekend and some of next week as well.

Great. Just great. It's like a rerun of last winter.

On the positive side, we've got brand spanking new tires on the car and it drives like a dream. Apparently it was the truck that got new tires last summer. We put new tires on the car two years ago. Still, they should last longer than that.

And I'm not being monogamous with my knitting anymore. I've been trying to find a $5 gift for my secret sister at church but everything that costs $5 and is Christmasy looks so cheesy so I got a $5 skein of yarn and am knitting a scarf for her. I'm using Vanna's Choice in a variegated denim color and using a dishcloth pattern because I think that's the best place to find scarf patterns. This one is the Lacy Mock Cable Cloth by Vaunda Rae Giberson. It looks really good with the yarn. There is no striping to compete with the pattern yet enough variation in color to make it look really interesting. When I get farther along, I'll take a picture of it.

So I was wondering if I'm a yarn first/pattern second type of person. I do tend to fall in love with yarn more than I fall in love with patterns. I get the yarn and then find a pattern to go with it. Not all the time, though, but often enough that I think it's more representative of who I am as a knitter.

I have some red Plush in the armoir waiting for a pattern as well. I had intended to knit a sweater with it but I think it wants to be a shawl.

And I'm having some serious sock withdrawal, but that will have to wait until way after Christmas. I've got some potent bill paying to take care of the next couple of months. But there is light at the end of that wicked tunnel. Our property taxes didn't go up this year. That's the first time in 13 years of living here that they haven't. Not that they are reasonable by any means, but at least they didn't go up.

I got some lovely sleep last night. I left a note for Tom telling him I was sleeping in because I didn't want to drive back from Fond du Lac in bad weather and be sleepy as well and he was very nice about being quiet. And the new curtains kept my bedroom very dark so I got to sleep in a couple of hours extra. I guess that was my reward for sitting in the automotive equivalent of a waiting room for nearly an hour and a half last night and getting out in the bitter sub zero (with wind chill) temps and getting gas so he could get to work.

I was watching Mission: Impossible (the series) last night and fell asleep in the last five minutes of the show and it was an episode I didn't remember. And of course, once I woke up I was awake for a while, so I watched Hot Fuzz from OnDemand and fell asleep in the last five minutes of it. But this time I had the timer on the tv so it shut itself off and I didn't wake up again until 10 a.m. So I got about 8 hours of sleep. And I'm not used to more than 6. It was lovely.

Well, I am off to do some marathon knitting so the scarf is done before Sunday. I've got the rest of Torchwood, Top Chef and Leverage on tape, and the third season of Hamish Macbeth to watch in addition to HBO/Cinemax On Demand. Now I remember why I love winter. Sitting cozy in the house while it snows like the dickens outside.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Did I really say I liked winter best?

I was so pleased with myself yesterday for buying some lined curtains to help with the heating bills but Tom's reaction was that we can't afford it since we have to buy all new tires for the car. I pointed out the savings involved and he seemed to be okay with it after that.

He had to make the appointment at a time during which he will be asleep so I'll be taking the car in. Zach and I just dug the car out of the snow (at least 5 inches, if not more) and lo! and behold! the right front tire was really low. Enough so that I took it and put more air in it now instead of waiting for this evening when I'll take the car in. I'll be holding my breath until I get it to Fleet Farm.

After which I will go and buy the remaining panel for the living room and a set of lined curtains for Zach's room as well. His room has no curtains either and is one of the coldest rooms in the house. And this is a wise investment since I don't know if I can get those curtains again in the future or even get them at the price they are now.

I'm so close to finishing Zach's sleeve that I should be done with it tonight. Then seaming and hiding ends. I love the seaming but hiding ends...not so much. Then I intend to start on some of the UFOs I have lying around the house. Like the neckwarmer and the mittens. I blew out the fingers on my store-bought gloves from last year so I'm wearing the wool gloves I knitted last winter. They are warm unless it's bitterly cold and then nothing seems to help. Stranded mittens might be warmer since my individual fingers can warm each other up.

More than halfway done with Torchwood season one. I've reached an episode I haven't seen yet since we had to give up BBCA midseason. Now everything is new to me.

Zach has one more class on Thursday unless it gets canceled. We're expecting 9 inches of snow then and I'm not sure I want to get stranded up in FDL so I'm hoping they decide it's not a good idea to have people on the road. Oh, heck. I know I don't want to get stranded up in FDL.

Off to play some more Animal Crossing with Zach. We take turns on it and it's my turn now. I just paid off my mortgage and had some construction work done on my home so now I've got another loan to pay off. Why on earth is this fun? is.

Oh, and a by the way...yesterday the hits on my blog really went up so I checked and I've gotten a lot of hits from people googling ravelry rubberneckers. No idea what's going on someplace that they're talking about it but someone somewhere is. And people seem to be curious about it.

Don't you hate it when you can't find out the why?


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The shelf life of snow

Lately, anytime I'm at the computer I have a puppy in my arms and since I can't type with one hand (not to be confused with the sound of one hand clapping) I don't blog as much or comment on others' blogs.

As you can tell, I'm puppy-free for now. But my fingers are also pretty darn cold in spite of the mitts I have on.

And's snowing again. We're supposed to get 5 inches tonight. Yeah...that's what I wanted for Christmas.

So I was wondering the other day, before I knew we were getting more snow, about the shelf life of snow because it looked absolutely cruddy out there. It had rained, the snow had melted and of course, the icky black stuff and leaves and other crap that left the snow looking less than picturesque made me think that the shelf life on this particular crop of snow had expired.

So now we're getting a fresh batch. It's not exactly what I meant, God. I was just musing, not asking for a better view.

And speaking of views, I got some room-darkening curtains today for the living room. Of course a dark room wasn't the major thing on my brain. But thermal and lined were. I had to throw the curtains away over the summer because they were falling apart. I'm sure they had been there since the sixties, at least. And they were rotten. So are the ones in the dining room, but I'll get to them later.

Anyway, I found these at StuffMart for $20 a panel and since each panel covers one window perfectly, I only need three. Of course, I only bought two because I wanted to make sure first. Tomorrow I'll go back and get another one so I can take the blanket down from the other window. I can't really afford all this, but it's an investment. We have pretty new windows but the frame still has some air seepage and that does get frosty. Anything I can do to keep the heat in, I will do. Within reason.

I haven't been knitting much at all. I worked a bit on Zach's sweater and am halfway done with the last sleeve. I should finish up by the weekend and he can wear it to church, which we haven't been to for three weeks for one reason or another.

And just to let you know that we still are having more than our share of bad juju, I looked at the tire on the car yesterday before leaving the college and the right front tire (remember the left front tire blew out the sidewall a week or so ago) has a chunk out of the sidewall and a bulge and split as well. So I'm not driving the car until Tom takes the car in to the place where we bought the tires less than six months ago and has it fixed.

I'm off to play Animal Crossing (Zach and I are playing it together) and then to the basement to haul a load of trash out since tomorrow is trash day and the bin isn't anywhere close to being half full. And then a few loads of laundry to help heat up the basement while I'm working down there.

And tonight, I'm wrapping presents, including the ones I bought for myself. *cough* to watch Torchwood and hopefully finish it before Friday when it's due back.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lazy Saturday

I put my bed back up last night and I am so sore and tired. Fortunately, Tom woke up while I was in the midst of it and helped me with it. I was a bit surprised but he said he "gets it" now as to why I need to rearrange things. If he keeps this up, I might stick around.

He did some of the heavy lifting but Zach and I moved the armoir into the dining room by ourselves and I think I blew out a knee. It doesn't hurt today like it did last night, but it feels a bit "loose" and I think I need to baby it for a while.

It warmed up today and some of the snow melted a bit. Good thing I got the bed out of the basement. Plus, it was nice to just pull the covers down and go to bed. Although it was a tight fit with all the critters in bed with me so I couldn't move at all. I woke up pretty much in the same position I was in when I fell asleep. But it was soft and it was warm and it was my bed.

I fixed a huge supper tonight because I'm sick of casseroles and sick of eating out. Now I'm sick because I ate too much. I feel like an addict with food. I need to sort that all out.

I'm feeling better emotionally. The depression doesn't feel as bad today. Life isn't as bleak as it's seemed in the past. Zach has decided not to go to that party in FDL on Wednesday. Mostly because of the atmosphere. He doesn't like being around people who drink. He's only been around a few people like that but it makes him incredibly uncomfortable. Another reason is the smoking. It makes him ill to smell cigarette smoke. He keeps incense in his room because it wafts downstairs from Tom's room whenever he opens the door and Zach just can't abide it.

But also, he is worried about me sitting somewhere in the car for two hours and the traffic in the downtown area.

But he invited me to his New Year's party for work. I told him he didn't have to do that because it's just in Mayville and I can drop him off and go home until he needs to be picked up again, but he wants me to go with him. He's a good kid.

I know I'm jumping around all over the place but I'm just going where my mind is leading me. I happened to think of another advantage to having my bed back in the living room. More seating. We only have the couch in there and whenever Tom gets there first, he tends to sit in the middle and spread out so no one else can sit there. So if he's in there, I'm in the dining room or at the computer. Not always comfortable.

And on weekends, he has occasionally fallen asleep on the couch and slept there until midnight or later and I've had to wake him up or just tough it out until he finally wakes up on his own. Now it doesn't matter. I've got my own bed.

One day I will have my own room.

I'm off to bed. It's way early but I want to work on Zach's sweater and watch Torchwood and maybe some of the stuff I've taped. I still haven't watched Leverage so I don't know it it's any good or not. PBS is having yet another pledge drive so all my shows won't be on until they're done.

One of these days I'll have something interesting to report here. But for now...boring, lazy me is all you get.

And sore and stiff and whiney me.


Friday, December 12, 2008

I must be invisible

I must be.  In the past three days, I've had three drivers pull out immediately in front of me, one while I was driving 55 mph on the freeway and I had to stomp on the brakes and swerve into the next lane to avoid a collision.  I'm grateful there was no one in the next lane because I didn't have time to look.

And today I was following a huge city truck out of town and when he slowed down to turn left, I was going to go around him to the right but a semi flew past me and I had to slam on the brakes because I couldn't even go forward because he was moving back into my lane.  And he had five cars behind him passing me on the right as well.  

I said a bad word.

A really bad word.

I was stuck in that lane until I could get in front of the line of traffic that was illegally passing me on the right.

I always drive with my lights on but I know these people could see me.

But I did manage to almost finish my Christmas shopping today.  Of course, I only started shopping today.  I'm giving Zach a bigger Christmas than he usually gets.  The past few years we've spent a lot on Tom and Zach has gotten very little.  To the degree that he's not particularly interested in Christmas anymore.  So this year I'm spending more on him and less on Tom.  I rarely get anything for Christmas so I already bought myself the vcr/dvd combo, which cost more than I've gotten for the last three years for Mother's Day, birthdays and Christmas combined.  And it cost a whopping $60.

Yeah...I get a lot of appreciation here.

I still got no knitting mojo.  I think the problem is I'm not in love.  I don't have a pattern I'm in love with.  I don't have yarn I'm in love with.  And I don't have any sock yarn.  That must be it. No sock yarn.  Maybe after the first of the year, I'll mosey over to Loose Ends and get me some of that sock yarn.  I haven't actually been there since they moved down the street.  I'm way overdue.

I'm thinking of moving my bed back into the living room.  It's supposed to warm up this weekend and with a foot of snow on the ground, that means water in the basement.  And that's where the bed is and I really don't want that bed ruined.  Of course, that means a lot of heavy lifting and I'm still so very tired from shoveling.  Or just having fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

But I miss my bed.  I miss being able to sleep sitting up (acid reflux) and I miss being able to just pull the covers down when I want to go to bed instead of pulling all the bedding out from under the couch, pullling the couch out, fixing the broken post in the center that holds the bed up, making the bed.  Then the reverse the next morning.  And the futon is a pain to fold back up again.  You have to attack it from the sides and pull both sides up together and then heave at the last minute to get it to catch so it will be a couch again.

Still...I think it looks like crap to have a bed in the living room, but it's not like I have company aside from the cable guys anymore.  And which is more important:  comfort or impressing the cable guys.

Give me a minute on this one.

Well, if I'm going to do it, I need to start now while Tom is still asleep.  He gets peeved whenever I move furniture.

Not looking forward to all the rain and sleet this weekend and I'll most likely have to go out and shovel the snow away from the house or it will get deep in the basement.

I love being the family dray mule.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Do I really look like a homeless person?

I cut my hair.

I told myself after being bald for several months due to chemo that I would keep it long forever, but enough was enough.  Post chemo hair has been very thin.  So thin that I have to dye my hair blonde to keep my scalp from showing through too much.  So thin that I could wear one of those baby sized rubber bands to put my hair up in a ponytail.  And wrap it twice.

And with all the hat wearing this winter, it's been tangling badly, which is absolutely no fun and I was sleeping on my hair which would wake me up if I tried to move.  Feeling your hair being pulled out of your head in the middle of the night isn't pleasant either.

And it just plain looked bad.  It had no curl to it at all...even after putting in a perm.  Board straight.

I cut it about chin length and surprise! surprise!  I like it this length.  I think I look younger although it does make my face look fatter.  And it's such a breeze to take care of.  Plus, because it is less heavy, it kind of poofs out on the sides, making me look like I've got thicker hair.  Ish. Thicker-ish hair.  I think I'll keep it this length.

Another reason I cut it was because yesterday I mentioned to Tom that sitting inside the college waiting for Zach has made me more visible, of course, and people seem to stare at me.  He made the suggestion that maybe they thought I was a homeless person.

Can't begin to tell you what that did for my self-esteem.

So I dressed for indoors instead of sitting in the car clothing, put make-up on (which I rarely wear...only to church or special occasions) played DS part of the time and read a book the rest of the time.

They still stared.

But at least they won't think I'm homeless this time.


I have a dog shivering on my shoulder but he doesn't like to wear his sweater.  He wants to wear my sweater.  He tries to crawl under it if I'm sitting on the couch even though he has two blankets:  one on the couch and the other in front of the heat vent.  Not to mention his pet bed in front of the other vent.  But he likes the body heat and my sweater has the body heat.  But only when I'm wearing it.

I woke up this morning with a puppy curled up next to my side and cat on my neck.  I must be the hottest thing in this house.

Zach is almost done with school this semester.  He has one class in Beaver Dam and might possibly be done with all the FDL classes.  One instructor is having a party at a Joe's Fox Hut in Fond du Lac.  I have no idea where I'm going to park for the time they're having the party.  I guess I could drive all the way to the campus but that's a ways away.  And I don't know where I'm going to pick him up either.  Where do people in FDL park?  I've only been downtown twice and that was a drive through and traffic was so heavy it was all I could do to watch my lane, let alone what was going on around me.

Still, I don't want him to miss out on college fun.  I'll figure something out.

Well, I'm off to make up the bed and curl up with the remote and watch Rick Steve's travelogue around Great Britain.  I live vicariously.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The sound of me laughing hysterically

Ten inches of snow.  Rather...ten more inches of snow.  Or at least ten more inches of snow.  I'll have to wait for the total tomorrow since it's still snowing.  This is the fourth snow in two weeks time and I'm hereby calling a halt to it.  No more.  No more snow.  I quit!!  Please tell me we won't be having as much snow as we did last winter.  Any more of this and I will be ready for the lovely white coat that ties in the back.  While laughing hysterically.

At least Zach doesn't have school tonight so that's a relief.

But I must say that it was breathtakingly beautiful last night and I wish I had taken a picture of it before we went out there and shoveled it.  Now it looks rather shabby with 5 foot tall mountains of snow where we shoveled the driveway.  And a 3 foot wall of snow where we shoveled the sidewalk.

We were out in it yesterday all day but we had only gotten about 4 inches by the time we got home. I loved the feeling of coziness when we got out of our coats and I shut the curtains and curled up on the couch to read with a puppy on my lap under a throw,  knowing I didn't have anyplace to go until Wednesday evening.  I think that might be one of the best feelings in the world.  

I got season one of Torchwood at the library and am looking forward to watching it after I finish the stuff I taped this week.  Mission Impossible is on ALN so I tape it every night.  The old MI, not the one with Tom Cruise...yuk.  And I taped Leverage Sunday night and will tape it tonight as well.  It looked really good.  I hope it measures up to the previews.

I am making slow progress on Zach's sweater but I can't seem to stay awake once I make up the bed.  I don't think tonight will be any different but it's not like I'm under any kind of time constraints to get it done.  Really I have nothing that needs to be done any time soon.

Sigh.  Still no knitting mojo.  Maybe I need deadlines in order to perform at peak efficiency.

Sorry...laughing hysterically again.   

I finished the Hamish Macbeth series again.  Always a letdown when I do because I do enjoy them.  There is a new one coming out in January.  Maybe I should put my name on the waiting list now.

I've got the first book in the Midsomer Murder series, The Killings at Badger's Drift.  I love the cozy mysteries best.  And doubly best when they're set in Great Britain.  My mind must be coming back because I'm reading a lot more and loving it almost as much as I used to.  I do seem to be reading familiar books but I'm also reading a lot of non-fiction as well.  Something I never used to do.

I'm off to fix supper.  I'm a bit amazed that, while my back was really hurting while I was hurling snow over 5 foot banks, it's not bothering me at all now.  Maybe those muscles are getting toned up a bit.  Heaven knows they've had enough practice of late.


Monday, December 8, 2008's Monday

You get one thing working better and a dozen other things fall apart.

But...just when we have a chance to catch our breath financially, something happens that threatens to drain us again. This time it's the car. Again.

I went to pick Zach up Saturday evening and the left front tire was flat. Flat. We had been having trouble with the tires losing a bit of air and had to check the tires every time I got gas, but it's never been too bad. And the air loss has always seemed so random. Rarely the same tire each time and never consistently the same tire. I got gas Friday and checked all the tires and that one was fine. It was the right front tire that was low. So I was totally shocked to see the tire completely flat.

We had a can of stop-leak stuff, so I used that and drove very slowly to the gas station three blocks away, holding my breath that I would make it without any damage to the sidewalls. It took several cycles of the air thingy to fill it up but I finally made it. I checked for any leaks and didn't see any so I drove off to Mayville to pick up Zach...about 5 miles away.

I checked the tire when I got there and it was was down 1 pound of air pressure. By the time I got home, it was down 5 pounds. I should have switched vehicles so I had the truck last in the driveway but I wasn't thinking so Sunday morning had to skip church because the tire was flat again. Tom took it to the gas station this time but the sidewall on the tire had a gaping hole this time.

And this is where my frustration level goes through the roof. He can't get the tire off to put the spare on. I don't know why everything in our life has to be such a struggle, but nothing on this car is ever easy to fix. When he had to replace the starter, which is one of the easiest things in a car to replace, he had to lift the engine out to get to it. Now the wheel seems welded on. Or was welded on. Tom just came in and...success! The wheel is off. But he worked on it all day yesterday until he had to quit and get some sleep and this morning for a couple of hours instead of sleeping.

So now we can get the car to the shop where we bought the tires less than a year ago and get something done about the remaining tires. For a while we were beginning to think someone was letting the air out because it was so random. I hope our warranty will cover this because otherwise new tires is what we're all getting for Christmas.


I had a chance to put some money in savings this month.

I almost feel like we're being cursed or something.

Anyway...on the knitting front. Still no knitting mojo but I've been working on the hooded scarf and Zach's sweater. My problem is I don't have time to knit until evening and I'm having a hard time staying awake to do it. I fell asleep twice while watching Pirates of the Caribbean I before I had the bed made up. After I made it up, I completely fell asleep during POTC II so I just gave up and went to bed.

It's good that I'm sleeping though. I won't complain about that.

I convinced Tom to start using the space heater in his room. There is no heating vent in that room and he's been toughing it out but the cold has gotten to him this winter like it hasn't before. He said he slept so much better with the heater on...very low...but on. It will add a bit to the utilities but not all that much. But I went to put the plastic on his window and can't get the tape to stick to the window frame. I don't know if it's because it's glossy paint but it just won't stick so we need to do something or all that heat is just going to go outdoors.

Well, I need to get Zach to school much earlier today so I'm off. Since I've got the truck, I don't plan on sitting out in the parking lot but lately I've been going indoors anyway because the cold is getting to me, too. I have errands to run first but I'm just taking the DS and a book to read because I don't want to drag my knitting around in this weather.

Oh, and we're in a winter storm warning now with freezing rain today and 4 inches of snow tomorrow. I'm not as fond of winter as I used to be.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Time flies whether you're having fun or not

I can't believe so much time has passed since I last blogged. And pretty much nothing has been going on in the meantime. I've been flirting with several projects but remain largely uncommitted. I decided I needed a hooded scarf and started one but then I needed to get back to work on Zach's sweater, and then there are the mittens I started and a hat I found in the drawer that is less than halfway done.

And I really want to start on that beaded scarf kit I won from Joan, but with zero concentration at this time, now wouldn't be the best opportunity for starting that one.

And I'm trying hard not to whine about my circumstances on this blog so sometimes saying nothing is better than incessant toddlerhood.

We've had snow here. And I don't mean a light dusting although the weather guys seem to keep underestimating what we're actually getting. Lying liars. Zach had to work today and when I woke up and saw the snowplow had blocked off the driveway and he had to leave in an hour, I got up, put the couch back together, dressed warmly and headed out. Fortunately I didn't have to do the neighbor's access (we have shared access) because Mrs F stuck her head out the window and told me not to worry about it, that they would take care of it. Good neighbors to have, honestly.

Still, it took me the whole hour to get our side done, the driveway and unbury the car. I got Zach to work and then did the sidewalks before I came inside. I didn't want to get warm and then start all over with the cold and the bitter winds again. Still...I didn't do the other neighbor's sidewalk this time. Last year we did hers every single time except one when her son did it. And considering we had already done over 100 inches of snow so far, it really rankled me that he stopped at the property line. And he had a snow blower. We did it with shovels.

So this year, I did hers the first snow but because of Zach's schedule during the second snow (and yes we've already had three snows) didn't get our sidewalk done until the next day but her son came over and stopped at the property line yet again. The guy lives across town, which in this town of less than 3,000 people, isn't very far away. So from now on he can haul his butt over here and do hers every single time it snows this year. I'm totally burned out. Not loving the snow this year at all.

Professor wouldn't go out earlier for Tom but once I shoveled a path for him he went out and wee'd for a long time. The snow was taller than his belly and I'm sure he couldn't find a spot to hike his leg when it was all under snow.

I'm still struggling mightily with the depression. I do tend to withdraw a lot when I'm in the midst of it so I've not been in touch with my family at all. I plan to rectify that this weekend though.

Some things are becoming clearer and clearer for me and others have become so muddied that I don't know that I will ever see the bottom of them again. You would think that at my age I would have gained some wisdom by now instead of being more and more unsure of what is or isn't truth. Maybe if I let my real hair color grow out instead of this blonde thing, it would help with the old/wisdom thing. I'm sure there is enough gray there to at least assume the appearance of a wise old woman.

After all that shoveling this morning I have tons of laundry to do and some vacuuming and the kitchen floor and bathroom to scrub. I love having days off.

And then later on, some Black Books season 2 and the last sleeve of Zach's sweater.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

All good things..

...must come to an end and so must my staycation.  I have to say, though, that I am much rested and feel stronger emotionally, if not physically.  Whether that emotional strength will last past Monday remains to be seen.

I did a lot of thinking.  Too much, in fact.  I have determined not to make too many plans for my future and instead try to fix my present circumstances.  At least to the degree where I am no longer waiting until my situation is ideal to actually start enjoying life.  Because ideal just isn't going to happen.

I'm not going to church tomorrow.  I've been coughing all day today and my chest is so sore.  Plus, I know I'm going to have difficulty sleeping in part because of all the coughing so it's just as well not to add the stress of trying to get sleep so I can get up early for church.  It's not a cold; I had an attack of acid reflux last night and as happens occasionally, I aspirated some of the fluids and have been spent the day coughing it all up.  It happens rarely but I know the outcome well enough to know what to do will mean sleeping sitting up tonight and probably tomorrow night as well.  I used to think it was because I ate too close to bedtime but like last night, I hadn't eaten for several hours and didn't gorge myself when I did eat.  If I had some foreknowledge of what the ph of my stomach was when I went to bed, I would know to take acid reducer, but it always comes out of the blue.

But rarely, like I said.

Zach and I went out tonight for a sandwich as a last hurrah before Tom comes home.  We had a good talk.  We don't connect as much these days since he's working and going to school and spends his time in his room on the internet with his friends, and his beloved.  In spite of what some people think, I love that we're growing apart.  I know that he will always love me, but it's important that he grow away from me and become his own man, which he has managed to do very nicely.  We do talk on the way to school sometimes, but often he's playing a DS game or we're listening to audio books or he sleeps.  

Oh, and he's ready to get his driver's permit renewed and start driving in Beaver Dam and to work in Mayville.  Not to Fond du Lac though.  I think the reassurance that if he gets his license, he won't have to drive there until he's ready helped with the decision.  Patience is the key. 

I started a cowl for Zach out of my dorset handspun but I think it's going to be too small.  It has turned out more like sport yarn rather than worsted so I'm rethinking what to do with it.  And I must finish his sweater if it's going to be a Christmas present.

Oh, and my family decided to draw names after all.  But I'm not sure they included us in the exchange since I've heard nothing about it.  I'll call my sister tomorrow and see if she knows anything.  

I'm off to finish Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (this has been a Johnny Depp weekend) and find something else in my stash of dvds to watch.  And knit to my heart's content.

And I must have been spaced when I wrote the last entry because I forgot to mention my Canadian and Australian/New Zealand  readers.  Thank you guys for being here as well.  


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

The turkey roast is in the oven.  I used to get turkey breast but since it's just Zach and me, this is cheaper and easier.  It has its own gravy.  Yay!  I'll fix a bit of stuffing and some corn and we're set. I bought some small pies...mine is not a lot of cooking here.

I am doing laundry though because Zach needs clean uniforms for work tomorrow, but otherwise lots of knitting, reading and watching of the television.

I wish every holiday was this stress-free.

Just wanted to pop in here and wish all my American readers a Happy Thanksgiving and to my British and European readers, have a happy Thursday.  You all mean a lot to me, even if you don't post comments, I know you're there and that means something.

I'm off to knit some more.  I'll link the pattern later but it's pretty great aside from having to pay attention to the pattern and the movie at the same time.

I think I'll watch Sweeney Todd and Hot Fuzz again before they slide off the OnDemand schedule.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Midway through hunting season

I've really been enjoying this week but once I reach the halfway point, I start to get a bit of a letdown...knowing that it will be another year before I can feel this free and as unstressed as is possible in my present situation.  Still...I plan on enjoying the next four days with as much relaxation as I can.

I am nearly done with Charlotte's hat.  Just some finishing touches.  Some braids and a tassle and a single crochet trim.  I ended up making up my own pattern after all because I couldn't find exactly what she wanted in a free pattern and didn't have time to look everywhere.  Now I'm looking at Fair Isle or some Andean mittens.  I'm not practiced at stranded knitting and would like to stretch myself a bit.  I seem to keep doing the same things over and over again.  Time to grow a bit.

I'm loving the gas prices.  It was $1.75 a gallon today.  It would be nice if it would drop even further but better if it stays down for the winter.  I feel like I'm just holding my breath waiting for it to climb again...even higher than it was before.  I sure hope not though.

Professor was so funny thing morning.  After he come in from his morning wee, he headed straight for the heating vents and stood there with his hind end almost touching it.  He'd never done that before and I just couldn't stop laughing.  Then, next time he came in, he did it again.  I guess when your butt is cold, the rest of you just can't warm up.  I'll be curious to see if he does it again tomorrow.

I haven't bought any gifts yet.  I knitted some for my family then found out we weren't exchanging names this year so I don't know what I'm going to do with them now.  I still haven't finished Zach's sweater and I don't have anything for Stephen yet and won't have time to make anything so he'll get his later than Christmas.  Maybe some Fair Isle mittens.  It will be yet another lean Christmas.  But I don't suppose there is a lot we really need anyway.

I got the groceries for next week today because there is no way I'm doing my shopping on Friday.  Nope.  No way will I try to deal with crowds like that.  I've done pretty good the past couple of weeks on groceries.  I'm spending about half what I used to spend, even considering I had to get a lot of meat.  But I have to buy my most expensive prescriptions next week so there goes the food budget.  

I've spent the past two nights up late watching movies.  It's not that I can't sleep; it's that I don't seem to want to.  I watched Girl, Interrupted last night.  I'd never been interested in it before, not being a Winona Rider fan, but I couldn't stop watching it.  So today I went and got the book.  It was a quick read...finished it in about 3 hours.  Which meant I wasn't knitting during that time.  Or online.

Lately I've just not spent as much time online.  I think that's a good thing, actually.  I spend too many hours just drifting all over the internet.  I don't meant the time I spend reading blogs, but time I spend just googling nonsense stuff.

I do need to get more done around here.  Still battling the fatigue though.  I'm not sure how to get rid of that.  The house is straightened up but not really clean.  I need to mop some floors and clean the fridge out.  And the basement needs to be shoveled out.  Plus I need to tidy up the yard a bit.  We have too much clutter around the garage and back door.  I hate that.  And I need to prune the roses and fruit trees.

I can't stop yawning so I'm off to make up the futon and go to sleep.  No need to stay up tonight.

Monday, November 24, 2008

One of the best Mondays

What I'm enjoying about Deer Widowhood:

1. I don't have someone waking me up at 8 a.m. because he's awake and I'm not.

2. No one to clean up after. Surprisingly, the 20 year old picks up after himself so I don't have to.

3. I can watch whatever I want on television without someone making fun of it or ridiculing it.

4. I can cook what I want and when I want.

5. I don't answer to anyone.

I finally watched Sweeney Todd. Very bizarre. I told myself I didn't want to watch it again, but I keep catching it on HBO and watching it again...and again...and again. Like watching a train wreck, I guess.

I also saw Hot Fuzz and loved it. One of the things I love about British productions is they use everyone they can get. I love seeing the same people over and over again.

I got a lot done in the past couple of days but I had to start out with shoveling snow this morning. I was a bit frantic, trying to get it done before we left for Zach's class. It was wet and heavy so my back was really hurting but we finished in time to leave but surprise! Zach checked his email from school before we left and the teacher was sick. In spite of back pain, I was doing the happy dance.

So I've been knitting and cleaning all day. I'm nearly finished with the hat for Charlotte but I do think I want to line it. I bought some more yarn in a different color because I thought it was more what she wanted. The other yarn won't go to waste though. I think it will make good mittens. Especially some from the Folk Mitten book. All I need is some black yarn to go with it.

I didn't do a lot of rearranging like I normally do but I did move a nightstand downstairs. I was using some plastic drawers and a tv tray for a table and it wasn't too sturdy and the nightstand wasn't being used so it's in the living room. It goes with the armoir that I moved into what used to be my bedroom so there is some continuity there at least. And I have more storage now.

The snow was gorgeous when I woke up but there were leaves under it on the sidewalk so it's not so pretty now. And I didn 't shovel the neighbor's sidewalk leading up to her door because of time constraints. I could have gone back out after I found out we weren't going to class but it was supposed to melt today anyway and I just let it go. I looked out before it got dark and it was mostly gone so by tomorrow she'll be set. I don't mind doing it for her except she has a son who is capable and when he does make it over to do her sidewalk, he never returns the favor. And he has a snowblower. Still, I don't want to take it out on her because of her son's behavior. She's so sweet and has done nothing to deserve me being a snotty ditch. Or words that rhyme with that.

I got Blue Murder, season 2 from the library this week and the second season is as good as the first. Another thing I like about British productions.

Tonight I intend to finish up the kitchen and work on the bathroom tomorrow. Then I'll just enjoy the rest of the break. Zach doesn't have school on Wednesday or Thursday and won't work again until Friday so for two days, I'll be like a layabout. Aside from cooking and dishes.

I'm off to finish up supper, knit my brains out and watch television and wind up some balls of yarn for Zach's project for tomorrow.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Baby it's cold inside, too.

I don't think I can keep this up.  I'm freezing.  Okay, maybe not freezing, but I'm bundled up and still cold so I think I'm going to crank the thermostat up to a raging 60 degrees.  Then I can at least take the gloves off.

Zach worked today and I had altar guild but he got off before I got done and had to wait an hour or so for me to pick him up.  Even if he was able to drive he wouldn't have been any better off since we only have the one vehicle right now with Tom up north deer hunting.

I usually spend the first couple of days cleaning so I can enjoy a clean house that no one messes up while I'm gone or sleeping but I'm battling such fatigue.  It's so hard to move around.  Maybe heating up the house will help a bit but I need to do something.

Battling depression that I can't treat doesn't help.

I'm still working on the hat for Charlotte and still debating whether to line it or not.  But I caught my eye on some mittens that I simply must knit.  I've found several pairs in Folk Mittens that I won't let myself get from the library until I'm done with the hat.  But my eye keeps traveling there when I'm on Ravelry and I would do better to just get offline and stay there until I'm done.

So this won't be a long post mostly because nothing is going on, but also because me doing this is me not knitting and getting my housework done.  And since I'm kind of chirked up from doing my duties at altar guild, I think I'll do my duties here as well.

I'll try to post more tomorrow.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baby it's cold outside.


I spent the afternoon in the car because the sun was out and the car was pretty warm.  In fact, I took my hat and gloves off and wore my mitts.  But I was under my wool throw.  Pretty comfortable.

But the sun goes down about 4:30 these days and it got bitterly cold after that.  The wind picked up and was rocking the car so I moved shop into the college.  Zach and I had soup and sandwiches (brought from home) in the commons and kicked back and killed an hour or so.  He left to go to class and I stayed put for a while, then took the cooler and stuff back out to the car and brought back the ds and some sodas but just as I got all sprawled out in the booth, a woman came in and started laying tests out on the tables so I left because she said they were going to be testing the rest of the evening.

There are a couple of comfortable chairs in the foyer area so I camped out there and played games for 4 hours while waiting for Zach.  And talked to one of the maintenance staff.  She always is so friendly to me but I'm sure she's been curious that for 3 semesters she's been seeing me enter the building to visit the bathroom and head back out to the parking lot several times a day, a few days a week.  Now she knows why.  I don't think I'll sit out in the car anymore.  It's just too cold.

I can't speak highly enough about Moraine Park Technical College.  I've only had experiences on two of the campuses, but if I had had a college like this when I got out of the Navy the first time, I never would have gone back in.  The one I tried to go to wasn't really a quality education.  But maybe tech schools weren't back then.  I know now, though, that Zach is getting a great education.  Sure, some of his teachers aren't his favorites, but that's life.

I am looking forward to an easy schedule next week.  I do plan on getting some clearing out done while Tom is gone.  It's the only time I can get by with it.  He's been known to go through the trash if he suspects there is something in there he doesn't want thrown out.  I've seen him pull stuff out and take it upstairs.  After a safe amount of time, the stuff goes back to the trash but he has forgotten it by then.

He was supposed to leave tomorrow morning from work but his niece can't leave until evening so he's going to try to sleep.  I think he expects me to wake him up but I won't be here so he's on his own.

I just found out last night that HBO and Cinemax are part of our package.  I checked to see of we were paying extra but we don't seem to be so I guess I'll watch it from time to time.  I found out by accident when I punched the wrong numbers in the remote.  I thought it was a fluke until I checked the bill.  And of course there was nothing on I wanted to watch.

I finished Buffy the sixth season.  I so want to own that.  Once More with Feeling is one of my favorite episodes.  But Wall-E is out and I want to get that for Zach for Christmas.  Prince Caspian is coming out very soon but I think only one dvd for Christmas.  It will still be around and maybe I can get it in January.  I prefer the wide screen editions and those go fast so I might have to settle for full screen.  But maybe the price will go down as well.

Or we can wait for a long time until it really goes down in price.

But I'm still getting Wall-E for Christmas for Zach.  He's lamenting his childhood.  Now that he's a man, he doesn't get toys anymore.  And his paycheck goes into the bank for his college so he's not spending any money on himself.  So maybe just one thing that's not practical.

I'm tired and haven't gotten any knitting done today so I'm off to watch stuff I've taped this week and knit until I fall asleep.  I'm going to try to sleep in tomorrow but it's so hard when Tom comes in and plays catch on the bed with Professor or plays tug-of-war and gets him growling or bangs doors and dishes and turns the tv on loud.  I never treated him that way whenever he would sleep downstairs in the living room instead of going up to his room and life had to come to a halt because we didn't want to wake him up.

I think that speaks a lot of what exactly he feels for me.

Not a lot.

Well, off to make up the bed and enjoy what's left of tonight.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

She actually talks about knitting

I got a few emails answered but my inbox is so cluttered that I need to clear it out before I can find just who I need to respond to.  Much like my mind.

Now that I'm into the Vanna's Choice skein more, I'm liking it more.  No more knots and I love the way it feels.  Barbara mentioned that she used a smaller size needle with great results and she was right.  I got gauge by going down one needle size but I don't think Charlotte will be as warm as she was wanting to be.  My plan is to make two and stitch them together for double thickness.  And reversible.  I just hope I have enough yarn since she's going to be paying for that as well.

I need to make myself a cowl now because the weather is definitely cold and I need more layers. I'm even considering leg warmers because when my jeans ride up my legs the car seat is mighty cold.  It being leather (used car) and all.  And I have to finish Zach's sweater before Christmas. So why am I not getting anything done?

One reason is the parking lot is too dark for knitting.  Another is Zach wants to listen to Half-Blood Prince with me so I can't listen while he's not there.  I might have to get Artemis Fowl to listen to when he's in class and work on things that don't require a lot of attention.  Or light.

Zach got out of class way early tonight so I've got a chance to watch that documentary about the Bible and finish up Buffy, season 6, and work on the chulo.  I'm also working on snakes for my windows.  It's mindless knitting on dpns and doesn't require a great job on it but I do need to start stuffing it before long.  If I can find my bag of batting.  I'm not sure where it is.

I'm off to make up the futon and curl up under the blankets and knit.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mostly Tuesday

I started the C'hulo last night for Charlotte but my gauge was off so I had to frog it.  I think if I drop down one needle size it will be enough.  The circumference was almost right but just a tad too big. One needle size smaller will also make it denser and that means warmer.

I'm using Lion Brand Vanna's Choice and it's the first time I've used it.  She specified acrylic because wool makes her itch and I do like the feel of Vanna's Choice.  Not much color selection at Stuff Mart though.  But I'm highly disappointed in it.  I haven't even gotten into the skein yet and already I've had to cut out two knots.  I've always liked Lion Brand yarn and never had this problem before so I'm going to assume this is just a fluke.  But still, I've already paid for the yarn and need to get it done by Sunday so I've no time to email them and complain and get any satisfaction.  I haven't heard anything really negative about VC before...aside from the fact that it's acrylic, so I'm going to go on faith, I guess.

I didn't sleep as well last night.  Isn't that the way it always goes?  Once you brag about something it will fall apart as soon as possible.  Still, I did get more sleep than I usually do and I intend to sleep late tomorrow because of a late night at Fond du Lac.  I might get a nap in tonight while waiting for Zach.  It's pretty dark in the parking lot and unless I get right next to a security light I can't do anything beside play Zach's DS.  Which is also okay.

Not much brewing here.  I haven't gotten dressed yet and am feeling still just as fatigued as I always do but not much pain today.  Yesterday I ended up taking a pain pill during the day though.  I don't normally do that but I was so achy.  I don't know if the snow had anything to do with it.  Or the cold.  

Well, off to get dressed and get started on the C'hulo again.  I taped Mission Impossible (the old series) last night so I want to watch it.  And I also taped Monarch of the Glen.  I'm diappointed that BBCA doesn't have anything on worth watching since we got it back on our channel line up. But at least we have PBS.  I think when our two years is up on this cable package, I might just cancel the phone and the cable again.  I'll be working by then and won't have a lot of time to watch anyway.  But I need to get a couple of coupons for the digital receiver before February though.  At least we can pick up PBS and I can watch some shows online.  Others I get from the library.

The more money I can save, the sooner I get rid of all this debt and then I'll have options I don't have now.


Monday, November 17, 2008

There are things that make me happy after all

I'm in a better mood today.  I've been getting a lot of sleep and gas is under $2 a gallon right now. It really doesn't take much to make me happy after all.

I got a commission to knit a hat for a woman at church.  She'll pay me for both the yarn and my time.  I can't charge her because it's not an original pattern but if she wants to give me a buck or two for my time, I ain't complainin'.

It snowed today and snow makes me happy, too.  Shoveling...not so much...but I love the way snow looks when it's coming down.  Fortunately it didn't stick so there is no shoveling today.

Zach registered for his classes for next semester and is going to go for a dual degree (if I didn't already mention it) and fortunately will have the money for tuition, fees and books by the time he needs them.  And if he can continue to work the hours he's been getting (not much...about 10 a week) he'll still have the money for the fall semester and will only owe us for the first year. And it's not like we're going to charge him interest.

Again...makes me happy.

On the sleep front, since I switched to the futon (which is a PITA to make up and put back together) I've been sleeping so much better.  And when night comes, I'm sleepy again.  Not like it has been with lots of waking up, waking up stiff and sore from being in the same position and napping during the day so not getting sleepy at night.  Now I can barely stay awake until 11 p.m.
Before it would be 1 or 2 a.m before I even began to get sleepy.

And my weight is stable.  Not a great weight but I'm not gaining.  In fact, I think I've lost 2 pounds.  Two solid pounds.  So I don't need to do anything except add some activity.  And when I can get through this fatigue cycle (and they do come and go) then I can get some serious work done on the house.  I plan on doing some closet emptying while Tom is gone hunting.  Between Freecycle, the thrift store and the trash can, I might make some progress.  And even find my slippers.  I hope.

I so appreciate the comments.  They give me a such a lift.  I try not to whine too much because I've got people in my life who are supposed to love me but can only criticize me when I need a shoulder to cry on.  Except for Zach but I try not to go to him with marital problems.  Or financial problems.  Although he's not deaf and can hear it when I get my daily dose of whatever the crime of the day is.

I will try in the future not to complain too much though.

I washed a load of clothes today intending to hang them out because it was briskly windy out there and I thought in spite of the cold temps they would still dry but they didn't get done before we had to leave for Zach's class and since it's been snowing off and on, I don't think it will work to hang them out.  Tomorrow looks good but I think I will just hang them on the racks and hangars instead.  It takes a couple of days for them to dry but there's nothing there I need tomorrow so it's okay.

Saving money makes me happy, too.

I bought a London broil roast a couple of weeks ago at the store.  It wasn't on sale but the price was lower than most of the other meats and I'm getting tired of just hamburger and chicken.  I got a small one, about $7, and cut it into three pieces.  So far I've made beef and noodles and beef and rice.  Today we're having pot roast with potatoes and carrots.  I'll make some chicken broth rice for Zach since he can't stomach potatoes, except french fries.  So three meals for a bit over $7.  And that's one of my more expensive meals.

I can get three meals out of a chicken and I buy the family packs of ground meat and divide them up to half pound packages.  I can do this.  I need to stop panicking so much.

And I might start on the beaded scarf kit I won from Joan a while back.  I'm so nervous about starting lace, especially beaded lace.  And if anyone has some spare hugs or prayers or energy could you send them her way?  It doesn't sound like chemo is being very effective.  And that makes me sad, of course.

I really shouldn't let these pity parties happen too often, although I think it's okay for people to have them once in a while.  I really don't have things as bad as some others do.  And I need to remember that.  

So thanks for all the love you've sent my way.  I'm going to try to fight through this depression and let my outlook be brighter.  And maybe even get busy and answer my email.

Love you guys.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fibromyalgia sucks

Darned fibromyalgia.

I had one good day and decided to rearrange the living room and my bedroom (which is supposed to be the living room.)  We've had the cable guys over twice in the past month and each time they had to move the bed out of the way to get to the cable outlet.  It has been embarrassing to see the looks on their faces.

A bedroom in the living room?

Mortifying is more the word.  I was fighting back tears the last time the cable guy was here.

So while I had a good day, I moved furniture.  And disassembled furniture.  And cleaned.

The house looks like a house again.  The living room is a living room again and the dining room is pretty close to being one again.  I didn't bring the dining table up from the basement yet.  I just have a card table up for now.

It looks really good and Tom liked it, which kind of surprised me since he hates change.

I'm sleeping on the futon which is a PITA to make up but oh, so comfortable.  I actually can stretch out my legs now.  I couldn't in the twin bed because of pets sleeping at the foot of the bed and curled up under the covers next to me.  I slept like a rock.

Unfortunately, now I'm in such pain.  I'm saving my tramadol for tonight but I've taken tylenol and some ibuprofen for the arthritis that has flared up.  I might have to call the rheumatologist to get my medication refilled if it keeps up.

So I'm moving very, very slowly. 

Zach's class is later tonight and only a consultation so we won't be there long but tomorrow is all day.  And we have to stop eating out because now I'm paying for heating I just can't afford it.

Although I did buy a vcr/dvd combo today.  The vcr I got on Freecycle didn't work.  It kept eating the tapes and since the shift of furniture put the vcr and tv in the dining room for taping purposes I don't have one to watch in the living room/bedroom anymore.  It wasn't expensive but a mess to set up.  They don't make them to run off of cable anymore.  This one had to be set up from the cable box and doesn't change channels.  You can't watch one channel and tape another anymore.  So putting it on the cable box made the most sense since you can't tape on channel and watch another there either.

But now that it's set up it's great.

I know...not so frugal.  But I've been doing without a vcr for that tv (the one with the digital/expanded package) for a long time.  And since I don't get vacations or days off or even birthday or Christmas presents, I felt like it was a good investment for me.

Plus, the old vcr is now a tuner for my little tv that only got a few channels before.  I try not to throw anything away here.

But it is really time now to get down to tightwadding for sure.  And no eating out is a start.  Plus, cooking more from scratch.  I did have to crank the heat up a bit today.  I've been keeping it at 55 because we've been either gone a lot or busy but it's rainy today and that kind of cold seeps into your bones.  So it's up to 60.  I'll put it down to 48 when I go to bed since I use so many covers and have pets to keep me warm.

I started knitting a cowl for me.  I've got some Lion Brand wool left over and it will match my hat and gloves.  I was going to use my handspun dorset but I need to figure out the gauge.  I think it's spun out to a dk weight so it will require smaller needles to get a tighter knit.  It's a bit scratchy, too, but would be okay for a cowl, I think.  Zach will need one, too, so he gets the dorset.

Time to go eat supper and maybe some more tylenol.  It hurts just sitting, too.  I'm going to take a hot water bottle tonight and curl up under a blanket in the back seat while I wait.  I'm so tired of this pain.

And depression?  It's part and parcel of the fibromyalgia and believe me, it's like wearing weighted clothes.  I drag myself through life wondering if this is all there is.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

She gets a bit ranty today

Yes, the furnace is on. It was 55 degrees F this morning and with an overcast sky (and a few snow flakes coming down) I knew it wasn't going to warm up at all today so I bit the bullet and cranked the thermostat up to a roaring 60 degrees. I'm pretty comfortable, to tell you the truth. No cold hands, but the dog is under two blankets.

I finished a scarf and started a hat yesterday. It's my own pattern but I don't have it written down as yet. When I do I'll post it here, but I want to finish the hat first. I'm ready to start the sleeves on Zach's sweater and maybe get a bit done on the red sweater I'm knitting for me. I have a pair of slippers to make for my great-niece. My mom has requested them. She and Daddy babysit Rylee most days and Mom is concerned about her catching cold because she doesn't wear shoes at their house. I expressed my concern about the slippers being slick on the bottom. Rylee isn't 3 yet, but Mom & Dad have carpet throughout the house aside from the kitchen so it should be okay. She's requested pink and I do have pink in abundance.

I managed to spin a bit Wednesday. It's like riding a bicycle. But I do need to do it every day or I'll never be able to move on to a different type of roving. Or learn to dye. Or get to knit this up.

Zach has a class presentation in a couple of weeks where he has to teach a task in a 15 minute time slot. I suggested knitting so I had to go buy about 10 more sets of straight knitting needles. I have 11 sets but I mostly knit with circulars because they're easier on my shoulders. I found a value package at Stuff Mart that didn't break the bank and I have tons of yarn in my stash that he can use. He's going to teach the cast on, knit stitch and bind off. He figures just a couple of rows is all they'll have time for. A couple of people are really interested in learning, including some of his male classmates.

They don't have to actually succeed in learning. This is about presentation more than it is about being able to teach something in fifteen minutes. But I think there is enough time to learn the knit stich and a simple long tail cast on. I think the bind off might be a bit trickier but if these kids can learn to tear a computer apart, they can learn to slip one stitch over another.

I don't like to get into politics on this blog because that's one of the areas of my life that is very private. But I do want to talk about the hysteria that is rampant among some of the more fundamentalist Christian groups out there. One blog in particular, which I will not point to here because I don't want to give her any more attention than is necessary, believes that witchcraft in Kenya is responsible for Obama's win. Others claim that Obama is really Muslim and will soon begin turning our nation into another Iraq. That he's not really a citizen of this country, that he is the last president we will ever have because he'll single-handedly destroy our democracy.

This is one of the reasons I left fundamentalism behind. The fear-mongering, the false-witness-bearing, and the vile hatred for things that don't fit into their little cubicle of I-and-I-alone-ness. Should you point out to them that they are breaking one of the commandments about bearing false witness, they would smugly deny it since they really do believe it's all true.

Hysteria, however, is a two-way street and I saw as many Democrats terrified of McCain, or more accurately, Sarah Palin.

Doesn't anyone try to understand the other side anymore? People can come to different conclusions and not be the enemy.

I can't begin to express my outrage, though, over the states that are going to try to deny gays the right to enjoy the same rights as straight people do. Especially California, who actually removed rights that were already in place. I'm pretty sure this is going to bite them in the backside though because this has now become a civil rights issue, whereas before it was a states' rights issue. This whole thing will end up before the U.S. Supreme Court before it's all over.

Enough said.

I'm off to knit a while before I go pick Zach up from work. I do have a ton of things I could be doing but Tom is asleep upstairs and Zach is gone so I'm going to just kick back.

Although I will have to dig through the closet to look for my hat and gloves. I got caught at Stuff Mart yesterday in just a sweater and it was snowing furiously when I came out. I was pretty darned cold, let me tell you.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

That darn computer...

was out again. For two days. Apparently a splitter that was put in over a year ago was put in backwards. I can't figure out why it's been working for a year but they replaced some old cables anyway so we should be good to go for a while anyway.

I hate it when anyone comes into my home though because it's so shabby. I've got my bedroom in the living room (and had to move my bed out of the way for the cable guy and there was really no room to move it.), the carpet is gone and the wood floors are in bad shape. The rugs I've got are really shabby. The curtains are falling apart. Sigh. One of these days...

Surprisingly nothing new is going on in the meantime. I'm working on a scarf, a prayer shawl, and plan to get back to work on my sweater and Zach's.

It's been unseasonally warm the past few days which is great except I've got flannel sheets on my bed so I've had to use the fan at night. And I've slept so well because I don't hear Tom's noises. But I can't justify using the fan all winter just so I can sleep.

Zach had Tuesday and Wednesday off from school so I've been taking it easy. Not quite like having a day off because I've got all this to do later and then some, but it's been great not to have a hectic schedule.

And the problem with the car was lack of power steering fluid. Fortunately the auto shop didn't charge us anything. But we know for sure now that the problem isn't in the power steering pump but in the rack and pinion steering and it's nothing to worry about.

I'm off to work on my bedroom and get some of the furniture out of it so I can move my bed if I need to.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's a good thing I'm not a homicidal maniac

I finished the cowl last night. I didn't go as many repeats as the pattern called for because I thought 5 pattern repeats was long enough. Any more and it bunched up too much under the chin. It still fits up over the head enough to wear as a hood. Besides, I wanted to use the rest of the Cascade to make the Dashing mitts from Knitty. I know they are men's but I like the pattern so I made them in the small size using a size 6 needle instead of a 7. They fit me fine so I'm sure they will fit whoever gets them. When I finish them, I'll get a picture.

Nobody in my family reads this blog anyway so it's not like I'm giving anything away.

Aside from Zach and Stephen, that is.

While I was doing 3 loads of laundry, rearranging Zach's bedroom while he was at work because his bed was blocking the heating vent (an arrangement that works well in summer though.) And cleaning the kitchen.

Today I've got more laundry to do and finish winterizing the windows. I had to redo one window because I had left a little slide thing open so it was pointless to have plastic on the windows when they were partially open. I've got to caulk the windows outside because I can't find the outdoor plastic and they don't seem to have it at StuffMart and anyway I'm broke this payday because I had three huge bills due tomorrow.

The back hallway has a split where the addition is (the former owner did a lot of bad modifications on this house and the addition doesn't quite meet and has no foundation but is built on top of the patio so no insulation.) and I have to figure out a way to stuff that shut. Then I found a separation on the heating vent in Zach's room and cold air is just pouring in from it.

Yeah...these are my days off. I really know how to party, don't I?

And Wisconsin decided to replace our license plates this year so we didn't get tags. And we also didn't get the plates yet. So I'm sure to get stopped sometime soon. I sure hope the registration which says I can just use these plates until they come in works when that happens. I can't afford a fine on top of everything else that is falling down all around me.

In the meantime, I noticed that it is already November 2, which means Christmas packages need to be mailed off in a couple of weeks and I'm not really ready for that yet. So while I'm not panicking just yet, it's not too far around the corner. I think I'll just save everything up and while Zach is on Christmas break, I'll have one myself. Maybe it will be a nervous breakdown or just a complete break with reality. Either way it will be the only way I get a vacation.

I'm off to get the windows done and put the clothes in the dryer. Yes, I'm wussing out and not drying them on the line. I just can't fit it into my timeline today. Then, when the sun goes down, I'm going to crawl into bed and knit until I collapse. One bright shining moment in my life though: I got a vcr through Freecycle so I can tape things on BBCA and Flix now. I rarely leave my room anymore at night and can't stay up long enough to watch anything on those channels anyway.

Oh, and I am working on changing my attitude. It's not easy though.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Has someone speeded up time?

I can't believe the week is gone already. I don't know what's going on while I'm trying to just hang on but it seems to be going on without me.

I will stop the rollercoaster long enough to vote though.

I've been working on a cowl for a gift using the Cascade 220 that Zach was knitting with last year. Not sure who for, but then Tom's family still hasn't drawn names yet. I'm kind of hoping they don't.

I ended up giving away a shell and wave shawl that I knitted for my daughter's miscarriage to the sister-in-law from hell who emailed me to say she didn't need the "scarf" but it was a nice thought anyway.

I'm breathing. I'm breathing. I'm calming down and breathing.

We're not exchanging gifts on my side of the family but I'm giving some socks and small knitted items to my sisters and my parents. My older sister is single and while she gets gifts from her two kids and her grandkids, she doesn't get much each year. It was hard for me to keep my mouth shut when she was lamenting to me last year considering all I got the entire year was a Pirates of the Caribbean calendar. But I understand where she's coming from. Exchanging names means she gets a gift card from someone who doesn't know what to buy her when she just wants someone to care enough to know what to get her. I totally get that.

I'm saving the last Heroes dvd for the weekend. Tonight is Ghost Hunters live (which I will tape instead of Ghost Whisperers which I can watch online unless I can talk Zach into taping on his vcr.)

Tom will be leaving pretty soon to go up north to his brother's cabin. So my weekend is going to be spent doing all the things I didn't have time to do all week.

Plus, I've got to finish winterizing the house, start emptying out closets and work on finding the basement floor.

And figuring out how we can be more frugal. I spent a bit more on meat this time because I've been monitoring my blood sugar and protein at every meal is pretty much mandatory for me. Plant protein just doesn't seem to keep it level the way animal protein does. Believe me, I wish it did. But I'm through with hamburger casseroles. I've been cooking those nearly every night for years and there is only so many ways you can do those. If I have to eat another one, I think I'll choke.

So I'm trying to figure out other ways to have meat as a part of the meal but not the main event. It should be a challenge.

I was surprised, though, at the grocery bill. In spite of including my $30 prescription for Aromasin, it was under what the normal bill was. And I bought a lot of meat. Enough for two weeks. And I got everything on the list as well.

Zach and I have decided to stop eating out though. You can only eat so much on the value menus and even with his discount at McSnacky's it still adds up. Plus we're sick of the food as well. So I guess for Thursdays, I'll have to cook extra on Wednesdays. I'm thinking a pot of soup in the crock pot would work.

I need to get back to spinning again. One of the reasons I haven't is the mess it makes. It sheds worse than both pets put together. But I still love it.

Well, the work isn't doing itself so I must away and get it done so I can enjoy Ghost Hunters and my mini-bonfire tonight.

Have a happy Samhain, Halloween or whatever.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Weekend blur

The weekend went by in a blur with me wondering why nothing seemed to get done in spite of feeling busy the whole time. Saturday night, as usual, was mostly sleepless. I had to go to church because I had altar guild and didn't want to claim lack of sleep once again. Besides, I really need church.

I tried to take a nap while Zach was at work but Professor was going nuts because the man across the street was out in his driveway with his little girl. Doing absolutely nothing. How he could hear them over the high winds stirring up the leaves the city leaf-guy didn't pick up when he picked up everyone else's leaves, I can't imagine, but he did.

So I gave up and decided to just try to catch up on email instead. Apparently I lost track of time because Zach had to call me to pick him up.

Is there anything I can do right anymore?

No, he wasn't upset with me but I was upset with myself.

I ended up struggling to stay awake to fix supper for Tom and when I put it in the oven told him to take it out when it was done and went to bed at 6:30 p.m. I really thought I would get an hour or so of sleep and then be up until 1 or 2 a.m. but I managed to sleep straight through to 6:38 a.m.

I got my cholesterol medicine yesterday and the co-pay is $50. So all that money I "saved" by switching my prescriptions to StuffMart is gone because of this. I'm going to call the doctor before my next prescription is due and ask her to prescribe something less expensive. My old cholesterol med was proven ineffective so there is no point in going back on that one.

I feel so skeptical about the pharmaceutical industry these days.

And insurance companies.

I need to schedule my mammogram pretty soon. It was due this month so I'm not really late on it. I have to make sure I've got a year and a day in between them but it's not like they really pay for them anyway. They take it out of my deductible, which means I pay for it. And it's not like hospitals really take payments anymore.

I had to buy a new glucometer yesterday as well. While the insurance still won't pay for the test strips, these are half the cost of the other ones but the initial outlay was a bite out of this paycheck.

I just can't catch a break.

On a positive note, I am loving Heroes. One of the benefits of not catching this stuff in real time is I don't have to wait a week in between episodes. This is really great and will definitely go on my favorites list.

I know I've been doing a lot of knitting but I've also been doing a lot of frogging as well. I didn't like the way the Irish Hiking Scarf was looking. It was too stiff in spite of using larger needles so I think I want to go with a lace pattern. When I get the time I'll look through my bin of magazines and patterns and see what I've got. Then there is always the internet world of free patterns.

Zach has a Halloween party at school today in Beaver Dam and then school tonight at Fond du Lac so I won't have a lot of time to get things done here. I got two windows winterized but have two more to go down here and three upstairs. Tom will be out of town this weekend so I can get up there to get some things done in addition to finding more winter clothes in the attic. I need to invade the foyer closet and find all the hats and gloves. I have my fingerless mitts but I haven't dug a hat out yet and it's been a bit nippy the past two days. It will warm up later in the week but for now I need a bit of warmth.

And still no furnace on. I might make it to November 1st. I know I won't make it to Thanksgiving though. A day or two of cold weather is tolerable. Weeks of it, not so much. Plus we do need to stay healthy.

We went to a birthday party yesterday with a family we used to be close to. Zach is like a big brother to the boys so the birthday boy was really wanting him to be there. It was good to see them again. The daughter just got engaged to a Norwegian boy. Well, he's 22, but to me that's still boy. They'll be getting married in Norway and for a wedding present I want to knit her a sweater. I gave her knitted socks for her birthday and she loved them so I want to get her something pretty and feminine but warm. I have until July so I have the time. Unless I procrastinate or something.

Not that I would ever do that.

Well, I need to get ready to go. Haven't had breakfast yet although my blood sugar was under 100 today. Yes!!

I still need to work on losing weight but eating more protein has helped my blood sugar come down. I really tried vegetarian but I just can't get as much protein in and the carbs were raising my levels way too much.

Maybe something like the South Beach diet. Which I'm not prepared for right now but I can do a modified version of it that's not quite so expensive.

Off to get ready for Zach's party.