Saturday, January 31, 2009

Car 1, Tom 0

He gave it his best effort but the car defeated him.  You just can't change the headlights out without removing the whole front end of the car.  And you just can't do that in a driveway.  So it will go off to the mechanic on Monday.  Our contingency plan is that I will take Tom to work, come home, run Zach up to Fond du Lac and when we're done there, come home.  I'll get an hour or so to rest, then off to pick Tom up again.  His work is as far in the other direction as Fond du Lac so the truck will get a beating on Monday.  And the oil companies will make a lot of money off of us.

Tom wants to stalk the engineer that designed the car so he can use harsh language at him.  Okay... that's not exactly what he said but I don't want him arrested for making threats so I'll just leave it at that.

I finished the sleeping cap and wore it to bed but the ties under the chin just drove me nuts so I need to figure out something else.  I can't keep a hat on at night.  It always ends up under the covers or on the floor.  So I was trying to do something that would keep the hat on.  Maybe a strap with a button instead.  Or maybe I'll just forget the whole thing and work on mittens instead.  I got them out again last night and while it's not mindless work, it's pretty relaxing.  It certainly challenges me and I really need that in my knitting.  I've never stranded much before because I never did it very well.  In spite of doing what the tutorials say to do, mine always looked puckered.  I find that two-handed knitting works well for me but carrying still is a problem.  Except with this pattern.  I'll have to look up the name of the pattern but for now it's in the living room and Tom is watching another documentary so I don't want to disturb him.

We both watched Survivorman earlier.  I like shows like that.  Not as big a fan of Man vs. Wild although I think Bear looks a lot like Stephen Tomkinson from Ballykissangel.  I'm not a fan of documentaries that have to do with war, planes, espionage, etc.  And those are the ones Tom loves.  

Oh, and he's asleep on the couch with the remote in his hands.  Back before remote controls existed (we kids were the remotes in those days) my dad used to do the same thing except if we changed channels he would wake up and make us change it back.  I've always hated weekends because it's a time when I have no control over my life and when I can't do the things I would like to do.

But it's suppertime now so I'm off to eat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and corn.  I'll get a lot of mileage out of the turkey this week although Monday there is no way I'm going to fix supper when I'm spending all those hours on the road.  He can cook his own supper when he gets home.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

The shoe finally drops

We've been holding our breaths, collectively, because Tom's company has been decimating his shift. Last week he was down to 3 people.  Not really enough to run a shift.  So we've been waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop.  

It dropped last night.

They shut down 3rd shift.  One guy will be laid off for a minimum of 6 months to a year.  The other two guys will be moving to other shifts.

And Tom?

Tom will move to second shift as shift foreman.  Which means the 2nd shift foreman will now be his lead man and will be hourly instead of salary.

That will not go down well as he is senior to Tom.  But I can't feel too badly for him because he has other income and we don't.  He has a farm, which I realize doesn't pay all the bills but it's a lot more than we've got right now.

Tom starts his new shift on Monday.  It will be a relief of sorts but will take some adjusting.  I'm not used to having him around during the day but having evenings free will be nice except Monday through Wednesday we're away from home in the evenings.  Shuffling cars will be more critical.  We won't be able to put the car in the shop because Tom will have to leave by 2 p.m. and we'll have to leave by about 4.  The shop isn't known for getting our car back to us until late evening, no matter when we get it in.

He's going to try to fix it himself this weekend.  It definitely will save us more money.

I know this may not be the last shoe to drop.  There is another layoff coming soon.  And I don't know how the other foreman will take it.  He might raise a stink that could affect Tom's position so I'm not feeling terribly secure yet.  But it's good to know they want to keep Tom and that they chose him over the other guy.

I do have to say that while he gives little at home, at work he gives 175 %.

On to other things.

Have you ever paid any attention to other drivers?  Have you seen that lone driver singing at the top of her lungs, drumming on the steering wheel or maybe even hand dancing?  That would be me.  It occurred to me the other day that when there are at least two people singing or being silly, it's considered good fun, but if it's just one person, people tend to look at them as if they were needing medication.  


I don't need medication.  I need someone to be silly with.

I'm working on the sleep hat and so far I like the way it's coming out, but I think I want to work with the pattern more and make it fancier.  I'm not a designer.  I don't have that vision but I do want to work on this design and have it come out just right.

Not that I think sleep hats will be the new fashion but with everyone lowering their thermostats, maybe it will catch on a bit.

They had American Idol on the big screen in the commons last night and one of the second-generation Osmonds got a shot.  I wonder if he'll have it harder than the others.  I suspect they'll hold him to a higher standard.

But I still don't plan to watch.  I'll just read about it on others' blogs.

I was thinking the other day about all these reality shows, and while I enjoy some of them (Project Runway and Top Chef...although I haven't watched TC for a couple of weeks due to my midseason frustration that I always go through...) I would be more interested if they had actual professional competing instead of practically beginners.  Then it would truly be the Top or Idol or whatever.

Plus, I'd love to see a competition with Ann Wilson and Steve Perry.  That would be so cool.

I just don't have the patience with these so-called tops of their fields.  They obviously aren't. And they obviously are there for the ratings and not much else.

Okay...rant over.

Once again, I am cold but today I don't have to set foot outside the house.  I'm playing Animal Crossing on the Game Cube, some heavy cleaning and putting up the curtains I bought at StuffMart the other day.  

Aside from my meltdown the other day, Tom and I have been doing better.  He let me sleep this morning.  In fact, I don't remember him coming in at all.  And sleep makes me a better person.

I'm off to finish up laundry, clean the kitchen, mop floors, scrub the bathroom, vacuum, and take down the old curtain fixtures and replace them with some iron ones and the new, room-darkening, insulated curtains.

Oh, and find the dining table.  It's covered again.  Another of my pet peeves, even if I'm the one who did it this time.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Post-meltdown Wednesday

Whoa!  Sorry about that.  Lack of sleep combined with untreated (and untreatable) depression really pushed me near the limit.  I got some sleep Monday night...about 7 hours, which for me is lots.  But unfortunately, not enough.  I was groggy all day Tuesday and because I was sitting in the commons area of the college, couldn't just curl up and go to sleep.  Much too cold to go sleep in the car as well.

So last night this morning it was about 5 a.m. before I finally got to sleep.  And I woke up before 10 a.m. so I'm going to try to get some sleep before I head off to school tonight. But I'm not fixing supper before I go for a couple of reasons.  One is I'm just too darned tired. Another reason:  I'll be taking the truck because the low beams (headlight) on the driver's side went out last night on my way home from Fond du Lac.  Zach was nearly freaking because he was sure I was going to get a ticket and lose my license (see what I mean about the OCD affecting his driving ability?  Do you really want to be out there on the road with someone behind the wheel who can't remain calm?)  It took a lot to assure him all I would get was a warning and that I would just have to provide proof that I got it fixed.  As it turned out, we didn't see a single police car, which is pretty remarkable.  I always see at least two on my way home.

Now the wonderful thing about Chrysler Concordes is that they can't be fixed at home.  In order to change out the headlights, you have to take the entire front end off.  We found this out two years ago in sub-zero temperature when both lights went out.  And at the time we only had the one vehicle.  So we had to put it in the shop and pay a fortune for what should have been the cost of a headlamp.  Compare this to Tom having to raise the entire engine out of the car in order to replace the starter.  And the battery being in the wheel well so you have to take the wheel off to change out the battery.  I'm thinking there is a special hell for the designers of this car.

So...where was I?  Oh, I'm not taking supper tonight because there is little room in the truck and I don't want to take a lot of stuff with me. cotton grocery bag of food and stuff just won't fit in the car.  I'm only taking a book to read and the DS bag because I will only be there a few hours anyway.

I have a scratch on my upper lip that makes me look like I've been in a fight but it's from Hannibal, who got away too quickly for me to kill.  For some reason, he likes to attack my nose and lip in the depths of night.  Most nights it's a claw to my nostril, but the Sunday night it was the lip.  He just grabs my lip with his claw and pulls.  I woke up quite abruptly and started swatting out at anything I could find before I realized what it had happened.  By that time he was out of the room and poor Professor came out from under the blankets with his eyes wide.  

I so wish I had a door to my room.

I started knitting a sleeping cap for my secret sister.  She mentioned Sunday that she gets cold at night and has to sleep with a cap on so I thought one that matched her scarf (which she wasn't wearing Sunday) and fingerless mitts might work out.  I'm just making a rectangle with garter stitch edging but I'm going to try something for the join.  I don't know if it will work, but I'll play around with it and see.  If it does, I'll give you the pattern.  If it doesn't, I'll still give you the pattern but with a kitchener join instead.

I'm so close to finishing the shawl that I have to stop and measure every few rows.  That makes it inconvenient for television watching so it sits in the bag for now.  I've got to finish Torchwood before Friday when it's due back a the library.  I'm really loving that show.  I got the first season of Doctor Who today but I've heard from some people that they prefer Torchwood to the Doctor. I suspect I will, too.

I'm still reading a lot but not finishing as quickly.  The books are longer and more complicated than the Agatha Raisin series, but I'm really liking Deborah Crombie's series as well.  I also got Anam Cara from the library again and will read it more slowly this time, taking notes.  My spiritual life is in such flux these days.  I'm finding my center again but it's taken it's toll on me.  I had really missed church and in spite of all my doubts, the Eucharist still calls to me when nothing else does.

I know there is a lot more I can say but I'm sleepy and need to get a nap in.  Monday night I was worried on the way home about falling asleep at the wheel and made Zach talk to me and keep me in conversation.  We're listening to Artemis Fowl (me for the second time...Zach for the first time) and really enjoying it.  There is a new book out and like with Harry Potter, I need to read the whole series to pick up where we left off.  Zach is really having a good time with them.  The humor in the books is wonderful but Nathaniel Parker's reading is superb.  He's probably my all-time favorite narrator.  Even better than Jim Dale.  And that's saying a lot.

Well, off to snooze for a bit.


Monday, January 26, 2009

To whom it may concern

I'm in an insomnia phase once again.  It would help if I could sleep late but my situation seems to prevent that from happening.  I can't help it if I wake up in the night and can't get back to sleep.Or if sleep just won't come.  It's not something I plan and it's certainly not something I enjoy.  So please quit slamming the door shut when you get in from work in the morning, quit talking loudly to the pets and quit hollering from the kitchen for the dog who is under the covers with me, just so you can give him a treat he doesn't want.

Oh, and quit playing with the dog on top of me while I'm trying to sleep as well.

And while I'm on a roll, quit falling asleep on the couch on the weekends for the whole day and evening with the remote in your hands so I'm limited to boring documentaries.  You have a bedroom to sleep in. You have a room to watch television in.  I only have the living room.  You can't imagine how boring my weekends are and why I really hate them.

Please don't stand there with the door wide open when you are putting the leash on Professor to let him out.  Bring the leash in, shut the door, hook him up and then let him out.  And while you're watching him, you can shut the inside door.  You don't need to stand there with that door open while you're waiting for him to get done with his business.  Also, don't bitch about the house being too cold if you're not going to help keep the heat in.

And if you're not going to fill the car up when it's low, at least tell me so I can leave early enough to take care of it myself.  Don't you remember the one time I forgot to tell you the gas was low until you were on your way out the door and you blew your stack?  I can't tell you the number of times I've left to take Zach to school and found out I didn't have enough gas to get there.

The reason I don't have these conversations with you?  Because you get bent out of shape and bring up every thing I've ever done in the past and even things you've only imagined I've done and throw them in my face.  I'm tired of your temper and your two-year-old tantrums, but as I'm kind of stuck here, I've learned to walk on eggshells and not criticize you.  The only reason I can say it here is because I don't matter enough for you to read my blog.

Sorry to everyone else who has read my diatribe.  Lack of sleep combined with untreated depression plus Mr. Moody's mood swings has put me in Crankyville.  I've got to get up early to take Zach to school tomorrow so I doubt I'll be getting rested up until at least Thursday.

Hopefully the mood of this blog will improve when I finally get some sleep.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Is it only Wednesday?

Another short post because it's late and I'm tired.  I'm getting used to Zach's new schedule and it will take a week or two but I will adjust.  I don't sit in the car anymore.  Too cold for one thing.  Uncomfortable for another.  And just plain dark.  I sit in the commons area and read or play DS or knit while watching MSNBC which is all they show on the screen.

Yesterday, though, it was fine because it was the Inauguration.  Today, however, it was Caylee  Anthony all the time.  There is only so much you can say about it but that doesn't seem to stop Nancy Grace. They get one piece of "breaking news" and they have to talk about it, argue about the significance of it, dissect it and then listen to the callers speak their minds about it.

I tuned it out and played Castlevania or read my book.  I didn't take knitting today because it was just a 3 hour class and I do get tired of lugging everything around.  

When I walked in the door, Professor was walking around on his hind legs trying to get me to pick him up.  He doesn't want to wait for me to take my coat off.  Finally I picked him up and he started shivering.  Great.  Separation anxiety still.  I bribed him with some leftover chicken so I could write this but as soon as he's done he'll want to be held again.

Tom went back to work today.  I don't know why he needed a vacation so soon after the huge Christmas break he got and he didn't get anything done here, as usual.  Aside from making tons of noise at 7 a.m.  The man just doesn't like for me to get any sleep.  He stayed up watching tv in the living room/my bedroom the other night and then woke me up at 7:30 by cranking up the tv in the dining room, playing with Professor in my bedroom/the living room, and slamming the front door a few times in case I didn't hear him let the dog out.

But I "was sleeping so good" that he decided to go upstairs and let me sleep.

What will I do when he retires?

I'm sure Zach will be out on his own by then and I can have his room.  I'm putting a deadbolt on that door and maybe sound proofing the room.

My ex husband never would let me sleep in either.  Maybe it's the Y chromosome or something.

I would have to get up with the kids every single day, sometimes earlier than he got up.  And weekends he would sleep in and make me get up with the kids.  He asked me once what I wanted for Mother's Day and I told him I wanted to just sleep in....just once.  Unfortunately we were at his parents' house that weekend and his dad sent him in to wake me up because only sluts slept in.

It was years before I got 8 hours of sleep.

Now, I'm still not getting that much.

Well, I'm off to watch some Rosemary & Thyme and get some knitting done.

And I now have a puppy in my arms and typing is really hard to do so I'll just say...


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Short but boring

Zach's school starts tomorrow and I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out what meals to take with us.  I'll probably get sick of hamburgers but not nearly as sick as I am of casseroles.  They don't re-heat well in the microwave there for some reason.  Not to mention it's what I've fixed for nearly every meal for years and I'm just burned out on them.

I'm even thinking lunch meat sandwiches over casseroles and I really don't like them that much either.  It's a sign of how desperate I am.

Tom's been sleeping on the couch all afternoon with documentaries droning on the television but if I change channels he wakes up and tells me he was listening to them.  I honestly don't know how he could hear them over the snores. As a result, I haven't watched tv at all today.  I did get some reading done.  I finished the Agatha Raisin series and started on another one.  Gemma Jones series by Deborah Crombie.  I know I don't have the first one, but I did check the copyright dates and got the one that had the oldest date.  They don't seem chronologically bound so I think I can read them out of order.  I did that with the Agatha Raisin series and they were pretty chronologically bound.

I prefer her Hamish Macbeth series, but I got pretty attached to the community in the AR series.  Can't say I liked Agatha that much though.

I bought a new pair of athletic shoes today.  Mine were about 3 years old and slick on the bottom.  I was sliding everywhere I walked so I thought it was time.  Now maybe I can stay on my feet.  I got them on sale fortunately, but they are purple...ish.  In dark light they look dark blue though.  Shoes on sale seem to be odd colors and the wide width section is like the Big Woman's section of clothing.  They think we have no sense of style or color so they give us tens made out of garish colors to wear or blouses with low necklines and short sleeves.  Like that makes up for our large bottoms and stomachs or something.  Not everyone has a Lane Bryant budget.

This is short because nothing has happened today beyond me playing Animal Crossing and reading a bit.  I'm off to watch what I want (if I can hear it over the snoring) and knit some more.  I'm almost done with the second mitt and I want to knit on the shawl a bit.  Then maybe tomorrow I can find my crochet hooks and start on the other shawl whose name I can't remember now.  Blue something.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why does 17 degrees F feel like spring?

What a boring day!  But I have managed to read two books today while curled up under an afghan I crocheted probably 15 years ago.  It's amazing how Red Heart manages to last forever.  Much like styrofoam, I think.

I'm almost finished with the second fingerless mitt for my Secret Sister but as I haven't even found the hat pattern I want to use yet, I'm not racing to finish it before church tomorrow.  I changed patterns to a simple 2X1 rib that works beautifully with the variations in the yarn.  Not to mention, it makes a snug fit without being tight.  My own personal mitts seem to have enlarged over time and are pretty loose on me.  I think I'll be making myself some new ones when I'm done with my Secret Sister's gift.

The cold spell seems to have departed the area.  It was -17 yesterday when I dropped Zach off at work and set off to take care of the regular Friday errands.  I couldn't get over the number of mothers out there with their toddlers not wearing hats or gloves though.  I mean it was bitterly cold.  It may only be a few hundred feet from the door to the car but that's enough for a child to suffer damage from the cold in sub zero temps.  And with the wind chill, we were looking at -25+ temps.  Farenheit, that is.

But I didn't glare.  Or even cast a negative eye on them.  The children certainly looked miserable though and I felt for them, but what good does it do to bring it to the moms' attentions?

But then, I've been accused by nearly everyone in my family and my husband's family of being overprotective.

Tom  has a long weekend since he's not going ice fishing so he's been puttering around the house cleaning.  Heaven knows I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.  Plus, I was a bit puny last night.  I came home from StuffMart with a nagging tickle in my throat, which Tom pointed out to me happened to people in a Germantown Walmart the day before.  Apparently someone set off some noxious gas or something and closed the place down.  I hadn't thought about it but by about midnight, the cough was gone and hasn't reappeared.  Probably just a coincidence since I saw nothing on the news about it.  Or maybe I just heal quickly.  I'm not usually prone to the flu but I do get a cold or two once a year.  

While taking chemo I had bronchitis pretty bad that I wondered might be the death of me since two rounds of antibiotics weren't doing much for the 103 degree fevers until I accidentally took an extra dose of antibiotic while in a fevered state, thinking I was taking a tramadol.  I remembered thinking that the pill seemed pretty large for a tramadol but shrugged it off since I couldn't even see the bottles clearly.  Next morning my fever broke.  The doctor didn't laugh it off at all, saying that's most likely what broke the fever.

Anyway...I digress.  It was warmer today.  Professor finally went outside to wee after two days of having to use his puppy pads in the back hallway.  He tried to go out during the bitterly cold days but it hurt his paws so much he limped back in within seconds and crawled under the covers licking his paws frantically.  Little dogs don't do well in cold temps.  It was so bad he even willingly let me put his sweater on him.

I kicked the heat up in the house a bit.  I had dropped it a bit during the sub-zero days because I knew the furnace would be kicking on non-stop if I didn't.  We survived it and as a reward, I brought it back up to 60.  I'm able to go without my mitts and don't have to zip up my flannel jacket, but my widdle head does get cold.  Ever since chemo, my hair has been so thin and my head gets cold easily.

It's been snowing off and on today but we only have an inch or so.  Fine, powdery stuff at that.  I do like the snowfall.  Just not the snow removal.

I think I'm ready to start taking care of my physical situation.  I'm going to count calories again since that's the only thing that has ever achieved any kind of success, although it has been a mixed result.  I need to work a lot on emotional eating and forgiving myself for falling off the wagon.  I hate being an all-or-nothing-person.

I'm also going to work on making my marriage work.  Not to the degree that I give my heart up again, but to the degree that somewhere I need to find some mutual respect.  And to demand it from him.  I did manage to convey to him that his negative remarks about how I manage the finances is, indeed, criticism, whether he means it to be or not.

I can smell the meatloaf cooking in the oven.  One last hurrah and meatloaf...the kind my mother used to one of my favorite meals.  

I watched Be Kind, Rewind last night on Charter OnDemand.  I was surprised to find that I loved it.  It's going on my list of favorites.  I'm almost done with the first season of Midsomer Murders yet again.  I can't wait until they set nine at the library. I've got the second season of Torchwood and third season of Rosemary & Thyme to watch also.  Haven't seen either set before so it's all new stuff for me.

Zach's school starts Monday.  He got all A's again last semester.  So far he's only gotten one B so his gpa is excellent.  I hope it gets him a decent scholarship or grant for the final year.  That would be nice although he's stockpiling money from his job to pay for it.  I loved that he turned down his student loan to pay for the rest himself.  I know he would have loved to have bought a laptop with his savings but his desire not to have any debt after school was stronger than his desire for a laptop.

What a kid.

What a man.  I keep forgetting he's 20 years old.

I'm going to schedule my mammogram next week for February.  By the time I get the bill, it will be warmer and we won't have the heating bills we have now.  I also need to get the pets in for their shots.  They're a few months overdue, but I'm not sweating it since they don't roam the neighborhood.  Hannibal doesn't go outside at all during the winter.  But since our city requires a pet license and since they know we have them we have to have them by March, when their tags are due to be renewed.

And they know we have them because the assessor illegally counted pets when he was assessing the houses a few years ago in spite of the city being told by a federal judge that that violated the illegal search provision in the constitution.

Well, I'm off to make the mashed potatoes that are a basic necessity for meatloaf.  It would be a sacrilege to have any other kind of potato or starch to go along with it.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pardon my language

In spite of the cold, I'm steaming right now.  Eleven years ago I had to have emergency gall bladder surgery in the interim period where we had no insurance.  Due to the surgeon botching the operation, I ended up with two surgeries, five days in the hospital and and ambulance bill (not to mention they scheduled the surgery after hours so it was considered overtime.  They also put me in a private room that they stated was for people without insurance.  My total bill (and mind this was 11 years ago) was over $22,000.  We only owe less than $700 right now and the stupid hospital has turned us over to a collection agency.  In 11 years I haven't missed a single payment.  And they say they've asked us and asked us to pay them and we've refused. They want the full amount RIGHT NOW. 

Too bad.  They'll get payments until it's done.  I can't do any better than that.  As it is, I've had to postpone my mammogram because I can't afford it.

Oh, and the stupid bitch at the hospital called me five years after the surgery asking for the amount in full just minutes after I got my diagnosis with breast cancer.  When I told her that she basically said, "too bad," and proceeded to try to coerce me to take out a second mortgage on the house in order to pay off this exorbitant bill.

I know they're trained not to listen to sob stories, but this is beyond the pale.

So...yeah...I'm a bit cheesed right now.

But...Tom has finally come to see the financial situation for what it really is and has finally come to the conclusion that I'm not out there frittering money away and that I really am doing a pretty darned good job manipulating our income to match our outgoing expenditures.  He has also, for the first time since we've been married, given up something he really wants:  an ice fishing trip with his brother and friends.  I couldn't believe it but he called and canceled (without explaining, of course...pride being what it is and all.)  He wouldn't even do that after my chemo and radiation when we had absolutely no money.  He had this feeling of entitlement.

But now he seems to get it.  Finally.

I had to turn the thermostat down another notch or two.  We got the bill and it was around $200 for gas and electric, which seems good but it's still $15 over our highest bill last winter and we had the thermostat at 60 during the day and 50 at night.  I've been leaving it at 58 daytime and 48 nighttime.  Still not low enough.  And we're having a monstrous cold front right now.  Wind chills in the minus 20's tonight.  I've got it at 55 and while it's a bit chilly, it's doable for a while. I'm dressed pretty warmly and I have spent a good amount of time on the bed under a throw while reading so it's not like I'm freezing to death or anything.  Still, I bet that old bitch at the hospital has her thermostat sitting pretty.

Enough griping though.

I found a pattern on Ravelry for an earwarmer to wear with a ball cap so I knitted one up for Zach.  He wears his McSnacky hat in to work instead of his warm cap because he doesn't have anyplace to store his cap while there.  This fits into his pocket nicely and because I made it out of Cascade 220, it's pretty warm.  In fact, he's wearing it without the cap in his room right now. It's a quick knit so I made two of them in case he loses one.

I'm also working on fingerless mitts for my Secret Sister at church.  I knitted her a scarf for December so I'm making mitts and a hat to match for this month.  I'm using the Fetching pattern on and it's also a quick knit.  Not sure what hat pattern yet.  I've got a couple set aside and need to choose between them.

Still haven't found my crochet hooks, but I haven't put tons of effort into it yet either.  I did find a few hooks in my storage bins so maybe I have the right size.  Jan says that she used a brushed acrylic yarn and it worked out okay so I'm going with the Plush.  As soon as I find the right crochet hook.

We had a few inches of snow the past few days.  I didn't send Zach out today because it's so darned cold but there  is only an inch or so on the sidewalks.  Not even enough to drag the snowplows out for.  But we did get about 4-5 inches the night before and Zach and I were out shoveling that.  The snow at the bottom of the driveway was packed and heavy but the sidewalk snow was feather light.  It still took us over an hour to shovel it all though.  

School starts on Monday so I'm trying to figure out an eating schedule for us.  Can't afford to eat out as much as last semester but figuring out meals is tricky since we can't always use the commons area which has the microwaves.  I'm not a big fan of cold meals though, especially in the winter so it will be a challenge.  I guess we'll have to eat out on the dollar menu if, and only if, the microwaves aren't available.  Otherwise, we pack a supper.

I'm fixing turkey soup tonight.  I bought two turkeys last week at 50 cents a pound and baked one right off the bat.  I had a huge amount left over so I froze most of it.  I'm throwing vegetables and rice in after simmering it in some spices and such.  It smells good.  And I have homemade bread to go with it.  Just the right meal for a bitterly cold night like tonight.

I have email to answer so please be patient with me.  I'm not online as much anymore because I'm trying to get some stuff done before I go back to driving every day.  And I've been on a reading binge which I can do a lot of while waiting for Zach but why wait?

Off to finish the soup.  Nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread so I'm drooling a bit right now.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

The beads are back in town

I have commitment issues; I really do.  I frogged the scarf yet again because it was just a meh scarf without the beads.  But I think I'll put it in the armoir for a while and catch up on the ufos I found under my bed last night, including the mitten I started heaven knows when.  It was pretty easy to pick it back up.  I can't remember why I stuffed it under the bed.  But the cowl I was making out of my dorset homespun is frogged because it wasn't soft at all.  Very scratchy.  And to be honest, it smells like sheep still.  I need to do something with it that uses a bigger needle so it retains something of its softness.  At least I hope it will.  

I'm wondering if I'm just not a spinner.  My welsh top is pretty sturdy, more like string than yarn, but it's a sturdier yarn and it's still single, not plied yet.  I haven't done any spinning for a while.  I should get that out, too.

And I have to finish up the baby fern shawl.  I got a Doris Chan book from the library yesterday. Jan crocheted a fantastic shawl from the book and I got the crocheting urge to do one, too.  Now if I could just find my hooks.  I know I put them where I would be sure to find them. Yeah...right. Unfortunately, this means buying wool or something that could be blocked because I'm pretty sure those pineapples won't look like anything in acrylic.  Although the yarn called for is a wool/acrylic/polyester blend.  Maybe I'll try it in Woolease. Or the Plush seems heavy enough to open up the pineapples by weight alone.

We didn't get the snowfall that was predicted.  Only a couple of inches, but the accumulation at the bottom of the driveway was enough that I had to shovel a bit.  Tom thought I could just punch through but I didn't want to risk getting stuck while taking Zach to work.  And it looks like we'll make it to church finally.  I can't believe we've had so much bad luck getting there.  I really miss going to church.

I need motivation to get back to a schedule.  I've been taking it easy since Christmas, mostly because I have no energy.  But I need to focus on getting things done, finding a job (I have to talk to some people at church in order to get some references...I haven't worked in 20 years so I have no work references and I don't know anyone outside of church so I have no character references either.) Then I'll apply and see about working 10-15 hours a week.  I think that's all I can do for now.  It will help pay for the gas to school, at any rate.

I also need to focus on eating better.  I'm so far from being healthy and I can feel it with every trip up and down the basement steps and every shovelful of snow.  I don't know why I don't take better care of myself.  I talk about doing it but I never seem to have any follow-through.  I don't know what it will take to start caring about myself.

I had a lot of pain this past week although not so much last night.  Only had to take one tramadol and no tylenol, which is great for me.  I'm on my last prescription but since I rarely take all I'm allowed to take, it usually lasts two months instead of one.  Still, it takes a while to get in to see my rheumatologist so I'd better make the appointment now.  I also need to reschedule my mammogram.  I figure by the time I get the bill for it, it will be spring and I won't have the heating bills to contend with so I'll be able to afford the payments.  Plus, I should be working by then.

I have made miniscule progress on the basement.  Since I moved the dining table back upstairs I have some space to rearrange stuff so I've been stuffing garbage bags full and sorting things for the thrift store.  It will take a long time, but I'm sure as I see progress my initiative will raise its lovely head.

I wonder sometimes how some people seem to be so ambitious and then there are people like me who struggle to get out of bed each day.  Patrick Swayze was talking about his schedule while taking chemo and not being able to take pain pills because they affect his acting abilities.  What is it that makes some people work past their obstacles and others unable to?  I wish I were more ambitious.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Definitely Thursday

I was sure yesterday was Tuesday.  I even woke up today thinking it was Wednesday.  I guess this is what happens when you don't need to be anyplace.  Although Top Chef should have tipped me off last night.

I frogged the scarf and got rid of the beads.  Bottom line:  I don't get any enjoyment out of knitting with beads so I'm not going to do it just for the sake of saying I knitted with beads.  My biggest problem was the constant interruptions of pushing a bead up into place to knit (or purl) and pushing the row of beads down so I had more yarn to knit with.  I won the kit; otherwise I never would have bought something like it.  I kept wondering while I was struggling to knit, just how long it would take to catch one of those beads on something and completely destroy the scarf.  For me? Not long.

But I do like the pattern so I'm going to knit it sans beads.  I swatched it a bit to see how it would look and I did like it better.

So no pictures today.  I could have taken a picture of the shawl but it wouldn't have showed up very well.  I think direct sunlight is optimum for that color and texture.

I watched a movie last night that I had taped and ended up staying up way late.  It was Equilibrium, with Christian Bale.  I've been a fan of his since Empire of the Sun.  And no, not that kind of fan.  I'm not a cradle-robber.  But Sean Bean was in the movie as well and yes, I've been known to have a dream or two about him.  And maybe a poster or two of Boromir up on my bedroom wall, back when I had a bedroom.

Anyway, back to Equilibrium.  It was so reminiscint of Farenheit 451 with overtones of 1984 and Brave New World.  I found out it wasn't marketed here in the U.S. because it did so well in the overseas market they didn't want to risk losing money here.  I love finding these treasures.  It's like walking off the beaten path.

I've got some leftover sock yarn from all my projects and I miss knitting socks so much that I'm tempted to try to create some kind of design with all my leftovers.  Except the colors don't really do well together.  Maybe I'll just break down and go to Loose Ends and buy some.  But not this month.  I bought Buffy: first season this month.

Oh, and I watched Jersey Girl tonight just for the scene from Sweeney Todd.  I thought it was hilarious.

We're due some more snow tomorrow.  I was tempted to go shopping tonight except I didn't feel like it.  I'm still a bit sore and not doing tons of things.  In fact I feel guilty over the lack of anything I seem to be doing this week.  Mostly just lying about watching tv or playing video games.  Not a lot of knitting or cleaning going on here.

But maybe I need it.

It's late and I need to get up early to get Zach to work and me to shopping.  I hope it doesn't snow as much as some of the stations are saying.  Others are saying, not so much snow.

Off to watch Buffy: season one and start the scarf sans beads.  I guess this is one wagon I'm definitely not going to jump on this time.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Random Tuesday

I didn't get much knitting done today but I did have a burst of energy and in spite of sore back and neck, I moved the dining table up from the basement (with help from Zach.)  I was tired of using the card table and although the table has been Tom's work bench for the past several years, I just put a tablecloth over it and some placemats and it's good to go.

And I stopped myself from tearing into the house like I usually do when I get that burst of energy. So I figure I might have some left over for the rest of the week.  It's a good thing I seem to heal quickly.  Although I'm sore, I didn't need any tylenol today and only took one tramadol last night.  And I slept good, too.  Maybe that's why I had that burst of energy.

What I have been doing today is a bit of reading.  I went through a period of time while taking chemo when I couldn't read at all.  I just couldn't concentrate and didn't retain anything.  When I would read my Bible at night, I would spend an hour reading one line and not having a clue what that one line actually said.  And any leftover comprehension went into Zach's schooling so I had nothing left for me.  Although I did go through a lot of movies from the library because chemo weeks I slept very little.  Thank God for the library.

Now that I can read again, I'm playing a bit of catch up.  Although I still can't read anything that requires a lot of concentration but that's okay because I love British mysteries and I read a lot in the youth section.  But I don't really consider that dumbing down because there are so many great classics in that section that aren't really childish by any stretch of the imagination.

But my heart is still with the British mysteries until my fickle heart decides to fall in love with something else.  I seem to remember a time long ago when all I would read was science fiction.  

I didn't go outside at all today aside from sticking my hand out to get the mail.  But it did look cold and windy out there and I kept the curtains closed so it was too dark for pictures.  Maybe tomorrow.

Oh, and it snowed a bit.  About an inch or so, I think.

Off to watch the rest of Top Chef and knit on the scarf.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'm going to get me some golfer's shoes with spikes on the soles

Groan!  My headache subsided in the very wee hours of the morning.  About 3 a.m. or so.  About 4 my back woke up and complained about the lack of attention to it.  Apparently I landed on the left side of my back because by last night, I had a wide knot on the left part of the crown on my head. The natural crown, people, not a tiara or anything. (FYI I happen to have a double crown, where the hair forms two vortices instead of the normal one.  Parting my hair has always been a PITA.)

Where was I?  Oh, yeah.  So I finally dozed off about 3 or so but I made the mistake of turning over in my sleep at some point and found out that my back is super sore.  The left shoulder blade is so sore that I'm sure it's what I landed on first.  I remember my head hitting after I landed on my back but it was in rapid succession and pretty darned hard.  No time to brace myself or anything which is probably good because I would have likely broken an arm or something if I had tried.  

So I've been moving very slowly all day.  At least until I walked out to the car and my feet slid out from under me on the driveway again.  I'm telling you, it's a solid sheet of ice and no salt to be found anywhere.  The stores are out.  This time, I slid a bit more slowly and landed on my left side, banging my right leg on the fender of the car.  No bruises yet and my shoulder and back (and sometimes my head) are clamoring for all the attention so the leg can't really compete.  I've managed to survive on tylenol instead of tramadol for the whole day but I'll be dipping into that lovely bottle tonight before I try to sleep.

Did I mention that I seem to have two falls every January?  In 2010 I plan on heading south or staying at home the whole month.

I got a bit done on the shawl last night while watching Mission: Impossible (the old series) and then switched to stringing beads for the Undulating Waves scarf that I won from Joan a couple of months ago.  I started the pattern tonight and while it took me a few tries to remember exactly where the beads needed to be when I knitted or purled the yarn-overs, I've gotten into the pattern pretty nicely and love how it looks.  Not to mention how lovely it is to knit with.  I don't have the ball band handy but there is a percentage of silk in it that makes it feel so soft.  I may have to become independently wealthy so I can knit a sweater in this stuff.  Or a whole wardrobe.  I'll see if I can find the information about it tomorrow.

And hopefully I'll take some picture tomorrow as well.  It's been ages since I've even seen the camera.

Well, I'm off to watch some more Rosemary & Thyme and knit on the shawl and then hopefully sleep through the night without waking up to groan and moan.  

Monday, January 5, 2009


That was the sound of the back of my head hitting the driveway this morning when I went out to salt the sidewalk.

Or was it whump?

It would have been crack but I was wearing my toasty warm, fake-fleece-lined, hat which cushioned my fall.

But I have a heck of a headache right now.  I did have Zach come in and babysit me for a couple of hours because I was frightfully dizzy afterwards and didn't want to be stupid about the whole thing. Neither did I want to spend a lot of money at the emergency room that I didn't need to spend.  So we watched and waited.  I didn't get nauseous and although I was so incredibly sleepy afterward I managed to stay awake for an hour and a half, then took a ten minute nap because we had to get to Beaver Dam to pay Zach's tuition and get some other errands taken care of.

On the plus side, my flu symptoms from yesterday seemed to be gone by the time I went to bed last night.  I rarely get the flu which is why I never get the flu shots my doctor insists I get every year because of my history with cancer.

The vegetarian thing only lasted until last night when I made pork chops for everyone and then had a meat heavy brunch this morning.  Oddly, the eating frenzy has stopped so I'm guessing I'm one of those people who need meat.  Plus, my sugar was high on the veg diet  eating plan.  It was fine when I checked it this afternoon.  Great even.  Although not great enough to risk a frosty from Wendy's.  Drat.

We found out why we hadn't received a bill for Zach's tuition.  He didn't owe anything because of his grant money and his student loan.  But he didn't want to use the loan so he paid the difference and signed a paper that canceled his loan.  I'm so proud of him.  He has just enough left for his books but he has until the fall of next year to save up enough and can work more hours in the summer since he's not going to take any classes then.

I decided to finish the shawl since I was at the halfway point.  I slipped it onto some waste yarn and started the second half seperately since I want to keep the scalloped edges and because I wanted the design to mirror the other half.  I'll kitchener the two pieces together.  Actually it has come out pretty nice.  Soft and the design is somewhat muted because of the chenille effect of the yarn.  And it's red.  Who wouldn't want a red shawl?

Well, Zach needs to use my computer for something and I need to go lie down.  I'm letting them fend for themselves tonight 'cause I'm not cooking.  I'm going to recover so I can attack the house tomorrow and get some cleaning done because it's trash day.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Icy Sunday

I'm famous.  Jodi (Cablefreak) of Ravelry fame created a colourway inspired by moi.  She was there for me when I was getting emotionally beaten up by some people who thought roolz were for other people so I'm a bit fond of her.  She also is the one who introduced me to the Rubberneckers.  The colourway is called Kawakathy.  It's gorgeous and really is suitable to my coloring even though she's never even seen a picture of me.  I would love to buy some but it's a bit steep for my budget. Still, knowing someone out there is knitting socks or a shawl or something out of it makes me feel proud.

I don't believe it, but we missed church again today.  I woke up this morning and let Professor out only to watch him slip and slide all over the sidewalk because it was a solid sheet of ice.  I looked at the truck and it, too, was solid ice.  So was the street.  I had to go out in my jammies and hand-knit slippers to get the boy because he couldn't get back up the steps because of slipping all over the place.  As a result he won't go outside anymore.  Good thing he's paper trained as well.

So I told Zach to go back to bed.  No way was I going to drive to Beaver Dam with ice on the road.  I knew I wouldn't even make it to the highway because it's a gradual uphill slope all the way there, even if it is only a block.  McSnacky's called this afternoon and told Zach not to come in because of the roads.  They had employees having accidents and besides, the police were telling people not to be on the roads.  But Tom has to go to work tonight so I hope something has been done on the roads in the meantime.  I have my issues with him but I don't want any harm to come to him.  I suppose I do care after all.  He's a pretty good driver, albeit an agressive one, but who knows what other drivers are out there doing.

The county hasn't salted the roads much this winter because last winter's incredible crop of snow inflated the cost of salt and the budget won't allow it.  So far the roads haven't been terrible but I sure hope they've put some salt or at least a salt/sand mixture on the roads.  They haven't on ours but we're a side street and get taken care of after the main city roads.

I can't believe, though, the things that keep coming up to keep us from church.  Seriously.  And these weather situations happen only on Saturday night/Sunday morning.  Unbelievable.

I got the chills and serious achiness this afternoon.  I ended up pulling down the covers on my bed, slipping back into my pajamas and went to bed and just shivered for a few hours.  Everyone else was warm enough so I knew it was just me and didn't raise the temp on the thermostat.  I did end up taking two tylenol, two tramadol and an aspirin to take care of the headache and pain in my joints.  When I get the flu, my achiness is compounded by the fibromylagia and can be incredibly painful.  Now, however, I'm pretty much pain-free and should be for several hours. Besides, the aspirin was mostly for blood thinning purposes (my age and all.)

I read most of the day when I wasn't sleeping.  I just wasn't interested in knitting today, I guess. I still don't have a pattern or project that is filling me with warm fuzzies.  Post Christmas depression, maybe?  Who knows?  I do feel a bit empty not knitting though.  I might dig out all my books and mags, like I said I was going to do and see what trips my trigger.  I'm so not in love with the shawl that I'm thinking of frogging it and finding a sweater to knit.  I have enough to make a sweater coat of it but it's Plush and that's not a sturdy yarn and I don't think it would wear well as a coat. 

I hate not being in love.

I need to update my favorite blogs.  Some I don't read anymore and there are many not on there that have become real favorites so I need to share that with you.  I don't know if I've raved about Leverage yet, but it's fast becoming one of my favorite all time shows.  There is not a character or actor on the show I'm not thrilled with and the plots are fantastic.  Lots of eye candy as well.

I watched the fourth season of Wire in the Blood this weekend, too.  I hadn't seen it after season 3 because we got rid of the digital channels due to cost but now that we've got them back, there is nothing but crap on BBCA so I'm still back to getting stuff from the library.  Well, not total crap.  My Family, Monty Python, Little Britain, and Catherine Tate are on, but that's only one night.  If I was up to date on Doctor Who, I could watch it but I'm not and I hate to start anything in the middle.

I've been on the waiting list for the first season of Doctor Who forever.  I ended up losing my place in line when my hold expired and I didn't notice it so I'm on the forever hold list now.  I'm also watching Rosemary & Thyme again.  I'm not sure I've seen the third season because there was one on PBS the other night I hadn't seen before so I thought I'd start over again.  Besides, I love the first one when they meet and get together.

Tomorrow we go to pay Zach's tuition.  He's earned the money himself, with help from the grant money.  I'm so proud of him.  And he has enough to pay for his books as well.  I don't charge him for the gas money because he really can't afford that and the books and tuition but if the gas prices stay down, we just might make ends meet this year.  I've managed to put some money in savings this month and last and that's something I haven't managed to do since the summer.  My burden feels a lot lighter.

Tomorrow I'll start putting applications in for weekend work.  We'll see how that goes.  Once I can get my foot in a door someplace, I'll have a work history and can look for better jobs by the time Zach graduates.  His goal is to drive himself to school the last semester, unless the weather is really bad.

This does look to be a better year.  It will be even better if I can manage to get to church sometime soon.  I really miss it.  It fills a huge void in my life.

I'm off to dig out my books and mags and find something to knit.  Oh, and I've read three books this weekend.  Granted, they're not massive tomes or anything but they do entertain me and satisfy my British mystery urges.


Saturday, January 3, 2009


I'm a person who needs a lot of external motivation.  At least until I can make something a part of my routine.  I decided over the Christmas holidays that I need to focus on me for a while, including my health.  Since my cholesterol is so high and my medicine is so pricey, I thought working on that would be my first goal.

I'm eating a vegetarian diet right now, working toward vegan although not totally for ethical reasons.  I can't escape certain items altogether for various reasons:  lack of access to vegan choices and price of said vegan items.  But I have the choice to do what I can to get as close as I can.  This is such a departure for me because I am an all or nothing type of person.  Which is why diets don't seem to work for me.  If I fail on one tiny aspect, I throw in the towel and it can be years before I have the wherewithall to try again.

This last time, when I lost 60 pounds and gained most of it back from stress eating, left me in failure mode.  Never again, I said, will I set myself up like that again.  Which makes me not inclined to view this as a diet, but as a choice.  Yeah, I used to tell myself before that I wasn't "dieting," that I was choosing a lifestyle instead.  I never believed that either.

But this time, I'm not being dogmatic about the whole thing.  I know there will be times I won't have options about food and I'm going to choose the best choice I can under those circumstances. But in the meantime, I'm going to try to choose the healthiest things I can.

Zach is modifying his eating as well, but he will be eating meat a few times a week.  At work he can't really bring in a meal so he's going to choose healthier choices from McSnacky's menu.  At home he will eat lacto-ovo vegetarian.  He's already feeling better, more energetic.  I haven't noticed much of a difference for me yet, but I'm older and my metabolism is wackier than his.

So what is motivating me?  This time it's me.  I don't know what my future holds but I know that I am tired of being dependent on someone else.  I want to have choices and as long as I am in this current state of health, I won't have them.  Our insurance provides less and less each year and I need to wean myself from my dependency on medications as well.  Not the ones I need, but the ones I'm taking because I'm obese and out of shape.  They've become an enabler for me, keeping me from facing up to the things I need to do to get healthy.  They don't make me healthy; they keep me from being more unhealthy.  Big difference.

Another motivator for me is watching the Green channel.  I'm not so much on being green as I am on being responsible.  Money is always going to be tight for us and that motivates me a lot to do things that don't cost a lot but provide us with what we need.  There was a Living with Ed marathon on the Green channel over New Year's and Tom actually watched it with me for a bit. Initially he was a bit defensive since he views environmentalists as a bit over-the-top, but this show changed his mind somewhat.  Not to mention, it's funny.  He gets ideas about how to improve our home but there isn't a lot of actual productivity that goes on there.

So another motivation for me is to get physically fit so I can do the things that need to be done here.  I used to do that kind of thing all the time since I was a single parent and there was no one to do them for me.  Not to mention I was an aviation mechanic in the Navy.  I do know my way around tools.  Or I used to.

So while I don't have "resolutions," per se, I do have goals.  And another goal I have is to start working on this house.  I've seen shows on HGTV where people fix their homes up to sell them and I can't help but wonder why they didn't have it like that so they could actually live in a nice home.  That's what I want:  to live in a nice home.

I'll be putting in applications soon for a part-time job and all that money will go toward fixing up the house.  Well, that and the credit cards.   I'm also going to de-clutter the house even if that means getting rid of stuff that has previously been sacrosanct but hasn't actually been out of a box for 13 years.  Tom won't get rid of anything his family gives him because he's so afraid they'll be hurt, yet no one has even asked about this stuff in years and I'm pretty darn sure they've thrown out stuff we've given them when they no longer needed it.


I noticed a lot of people in blogland are going to be reading 52 books this year.  My librarian laughed yesterday when I told her that.  She said if I did that challenge I'd be done by March. Yeah, maybe.  But I am going to keep track of what I'm reading this year.  I don't go much for esoteric literature but I do go where my interests take me so we'll see what the year brings on that.

I've been wanting to learn Gaelic, too, but the only program the library has is on cassette tape and that's not really convenient.  On the other hand, I have access to a lot of Spanish language stuff and that might be the better choice anyway.  More useful and darned cheap.

I'm not jumping into things like I used to.  All on fire and passionate and then burned out in weeks.  I'm just making some changes that will be incremental and not over-burdening.

As far as knitting goes, I'm bored to tears with the shawl I'm knitting.  It's a simple fern stitch pattern but I've been monogamous and as we all know, monogamy isn't my thing in knitting.  I'm going to start on the beaded scarf kit I won from Joan a few months back.  I won't be able to watch any dvds that require a lot of attention but I've got tons of stuff that I've pretty much memorized and can just listen to.  And when that's done, I'll have to figure out something else.  

I got rid of some of my stash last fall, mostly Red Heart stuff, but I still have lots of stuff that I'm not sure what to do with.  I need to dig my books and mags out and maybe make a list.  Not that I would stick to it, but at least it would give me some ideas.

I'm off to get things done today.  Tom is going to his sister's house for sheepshead and I'm going to start cleaning.  If I measure it out over the year it won't be so overwhelming.  Plus, if he's home he'll be pulling stuff back out of the trash to keep.