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Normally, I come home on Thursdays and greet the puppies, have a light snack and head out to my voice lesson before choir and then home at 9:45…but THIS Thursday I have a seminar in Boston which has a bunch of offerings I am very interested in which require me to leave the house at 7:40-ish AM, go to the office for a couple hours (did I mention my new web application works? Yeah me!), catch the train in to Boston for the seminar which gets out at 5:45, try to get the train home in time to be only a few minute late for choir (voice lesson is bagged) and finally home a mere 14.5 hours later…and clean for in-laws?

But that isn’t today’s news.

Dinner was Bulgoki, rice pilaf with raisins, and zucchini sauteed with summer squash and the evening entertainment was DGS enamored of “Ring Around a Rosy, Ashes, Ashes, we all fall DOWN!”—delightful though that all was, it also is not today’s news.

Today’s news revolves around a fruit and a color and a flavor and a disease and my dear puppy, Dixie.

Annual well-care blood tests indicated the presence of Lime, er, Lyme disease. The treatment is an aggressive course of tetracyclines. In Dixie’s case, two and a half tabs orally, daily, for a month. She has shown absolutely no symptoms of the disease, but that is not unusual. Many canines do not show any symptoms until the disease is well-progressed. On the other hand, Dixie was given a Lyme vaccine last year to prevent contracting Lyme disease. It turns outs that having the vaccine actually makes them test positive for Lyme disease afterwards, and a special C6 test must be done to verify actual Lyme presence. It was, and she did, so why did we give her the blasted shot last year?

On the positive side, most canines respond well to the aggressive treatment provided it is administered “in time.” Then they do not quantify what “in time” is.

The sheets for the guest room are in the laundry and I have decluttered some of Liam’s toys out of the guest room. Progress.

Did I mention my new web application works? 🙂

I got in from chorus just before 10 PM, greeted and played with the puppies, went over some tax expensed items with DH for our tax return this year, emptied the dishwasher, checked the calendar and weather for tomorrow, read e-mail, checked favorite blogs…and around about 5 of 11, my DH came down to say, “Oh, I forgot to tell you…”

“Yes?” I replied, looking up from my giggling reading of a post on a padded bra on a dressmaker’s dummy.

“My parents are coming up to visit this weekend, arriving Saturday and leaving on Monday.”

DH really should have ducked and ran at that point.

It is not that I don’t enjoy visiting with his parents. They are delightful people. His father is rather less social than his mother, but still, he is okay to be around…preferably at their house. Where I don’t have to clean, or worry about what is or is not in the cupboards, or rearrange my entire weekend that I had major plans already set to prepare for Easter, catch up on cleaning, food shopping, post office, SLEEP, book and movie backups, dogs…

Recap the remaining week, shall we?

Leave for work around 7:40 AM (or so), leave work between 4:30 PM (Wednesday) and 5:45 (most days); on Wednesday pack up dinner for dogs and head to NH for dinner with DD, DSIL, and DGS, getting home around 9:30; on Thursday, greet puppies, light snack before voice lesson and afterwards directly to chorus, arriving back home just after 9:30; Fridays are our regular night out at Pho ’88, the local Vietnese restaurnat and then to (restock liquor supplies and) the food store arriving home around 8:30 PM.

Do you see a lot of spare time there to house clean for in-laws?

Arghhh!

I love my husband. I love my husband, I love my…

This first.

More humbling experiences with the voice lessons. I haven’t explained to the voice teacher my real stumbling block in singing (aside from the bad breathing habits and open/drop jaw sound quality parts), is that I do not relax to sing solo when anyone outside of a toddler is within earshot. I freeze. My vocal chords lock up and my ears and head have trouble connecting the sound I am making with the sound I want to be making. A nightmarish experience in my teens kept me solidly in choral singing. Duets with my sister were safe. I trust her voice with mine totally.

But in my lessons, I am alone. Alone with someone who doesn’t understand just how hard it is for me to make any song at all come out of my mouth. I strain to measure my voice, to keep the phrasing smooth and the upper ranges clear and clean. The sounds created disappoint me. I push on through my feelings of inadequacy and embarrassment, reminding myself that in order to overcome the block, I need to work through it.

This is the part where people say nauseating things like, “Someday you will laugh about this,” or “It can’t be that bad!” (yes, it is) or even “No pain, no gain” (now those are the ones I would gladly throttle, pacifist that I am!).

How I survive it is knowing that I will never inflict the noise I am making at this point on an unsuspecting audience… unlike some others I sing with. I sing well in chorus. Alone, not so much. At this point I am not sure which is more important to conquer, the fear of singing solo and sounding dreadful, or the fear of public exposure and personal ridicule.

I just want to be comfortable enough with my voice that I can open my mouth and sing as freely in public as I do in private.

Then there’s that…

A monstrous crazy busy week at work with DH away and then the Scholarship Dinner/Music Program on Saturday, followed by the Westford Chorus “Cabaret” show, and Lay Reading in church on Sunday left me a totally exhausted, wasted wreck. Both concerts were AWE-some and you should be sorry you missed them! (Unless you didn’t, in which case I say thank you very much!)

Some other things…

Have you ever noticed how your life can go on for days, weeks, even months as a social wasteland, and then everything piles up on top of one another?

While I was buried in work and puppies and music, the Represent Event was held in NYC. Co-worker CR took time to be there and report back. It was an amazing time! I was *SO* the envious one! CR snapped this sign, knowing I would appreciate it:

It was seen while on a tour of F.I.T. led by a KNITTING PROFESSOR (sorry about the caps, no wait, I’m not sorry, I was just so amazed such a title existed!) through the knitting class (! at F.I.T.??) areas …think high-end machines that knit entire articles of clothing.

And then there’s that other thing…

While we go on living our lives, other people go on living theirs. People we care about. People near. People far away in time, space, and emotional landscape…and no matter how desperately I would like to ease their painful life journey, I cannot. The illusions that if only I were physically nearby I could somehow make a difference, taunt me with my impotence. I do not handle this well. My tongue bleeds and my heart aches. Love is. It doesn’t have to make any sense.

I have an egg yolk yellow (it says so in the owners manual) Ford Focus hatchback. I love my car. It is exactly the right size for me and maybe a front seat passenger. If someone is relegated to the backseat, they need very short legs and contortion abilities. Because it is a hatchback, and not a sedan, people have to climb in via the side doors. I just want to make it clear that I chose this model knowing that I rarely have a back seat occupant. In 3 years, maybe twice?
When my kids were little (mother hated that term…goats are kids, young humans are children. I personally get nuts about the greeting “hey!” because hay is for horses, but I digress…) I had a Honda Civic hatchback. I crawled in and out of that back seat constantly to put them in and get them out of child safety seats. Oy, my back! I went to a station wagon as soon as I could. The “kids” grew up and moved out a while ago. I am no longer carting them, their friends, and all their gear all over town, so a hatchback, once again, was perfect.

And now I am blessed with a grandson. The thought of crawling in and out of the back of my small car to retrieve precious cargo is anathema to me.

So I think I’ll borrow DH’s car, a Honda CRV, and install the car seat in that one. Problem solved, yes?

Well…except for the puppies.

This week DH is in Chicago and his CRV is in the long term parking lot at the airport. I will be driving up to be with DGS & DD (figure those out? good!) twice this week for dinner with puppies in tow. The puppies are *not* as comfortable in my car as they are in DH’s. Encouraging Dixie INTO the car is difficult enough. (Duncan has never had a problem). But when I drop the keys, and the paws land on them, setting off the alarm horns as I scrounge around under furry haunches to locate the button that turns them off…Oh my! We were all a little deaf after that experience.

When it was time to come home again, I practically had to drag Dixie over to the car. She travels just fine, but the getting in and out is not her favorite thing to do. Botheration.

BTW–Dinner last night was salmon, strawberry and baby spinach salad, and an orzo concoction whipped up by chef Jess. Yumm! Liam “read” stories to me and his mom before bed. A good day.

Sit right back and I’ll tell a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip…

Oh wait. That didn’t happen.

Last month we had the Valentines Day Nor’easter. This month it was the Saint Patrick’s Day Nor’easter. Our planned trip to New Jersey was buried under mounds of snow and icy weather conditions. Major bummer.

There are those people who do not believe me when I say my DH vacuums the snow on our property. The evidence is above. Note the even, chiseled sides of snow edging the now-bare ground. He did the brick sidewalk as an afterthought. In fairness, I admit that we generally come directly up to the house across the grass from the street.

Our puppies have been having a field day. The top layer of snowfall was very dense, so Duncan can usually walk across the top of it. Dixie takes a couple steps and floops down several inches. They run and pogo-stick bounce across the yard, digging out buried toys, bones and …other stuff.

Dixie found it first, snuffle-digging in the snow. Duncan scooped it away and pranced happily through the yard. Tossing, flipping, pouncing …nudging it in hopes it would participate more actively in the fun of keep-away.

For those curious individuals who insist on the close-up (heck-I had to get close-up to deal with it…NOT my favorite thing), here it is.

My DH stuffed a plastic bag in my pocket just in case I got brave. Bravery had nothing to do with it. He is going away on a business trip all next week. Loki loves to come play when DH is away. The servers crash, the puppies bring me presents from another food chain, toss their cookies at oh-dark-thirty at night, and general havoc follows in the wake of his absence.

There are positive sides to his trips as well. I get to sleep with all the shades up and wake up to morning light. I get to feast on my favorite box-foods or indulge my cravings for raw veggies that his allergies can’t handle. DH is a great cook, but I don’t always want (definitely don’t *need*) a full meal every night. And when he cooks, it smells too good NOT to eat it! I blast the radio, take all the hot water, and the puppies and I go for walks and miss him till he gets home again.

Baby Surprise Cardigan

I have been fascinated with this pattern concept for over a year. The mitered corners and color-blocking inherent in the design seemed too complex for my poor brain to figure out. I finally found a “beginner” pattern from the woman who probably invented it, Elizabeth Zimmerman. Her patterns are NOT for beginners, for they assume a lot of “knitteryy” understanding. I persevered. I knitted. Yes, it looked decidedly strange as I progressed through the pattern. I could NOT figure out the assembly until I was almost 2/3’s done. It works up all in one piece and at the end needs only two seams.

When I finished, it looks like this. I had fun tossing it on people’s desks at work and daring them to figure out the assembly. No one figured it out.

The finished cardigan knitted up rather quickly, all things considered. It fits a one-year-old. I plan on doing another one for a 6-9 month old by changing the weight of the yarn and needle size.

Front and Back Assembled Views

Having completed this, I suppose I had best go back to the &%!#* kitchner seam on the scarf, if only to GET IT AWAY FROM ME!

:-p

I whacked my hand on the edge of the bed this morning, so hard that I broke the skin and so I put a bandage on it. All day long people asked me what I did to it.

I said it was a necessary part of a blood ritual.

For a moment or two their eyes darted around, pondering the possible plausibility of it. With me, it could have been possible.

However, after a moments reflection on the more probable reason behind the bandage, they invariably asked, “So, what did you run into?”

After last night’s experience with the kitchner stitch, I simply could not face finishing the tinking of the 4th attempt. Instead, after work I went out into the yard and cleaned up the garden beds where promising green noses were poking out of the ground…and then surrounded them with wire fencing to defeat any attempts by our beloved puppies to romp on them!

Then it was off to chorus where, amidst keeping up with the maestro, I continued to knit the surprise baby sweater. As Zimmerman, said, it is looking decidedly weird at this point, but she urges me to press on. Ahem…

The cancer fundraiser at work now has two zippered Christmas stockings added to the auction pile. The baby surprise cardigan and the %&!* kitchner stitch scarf are also scheduled to be part of that. We’ll see…

Today’s temperatures were in the mid to upper 50’s. Only a week ago the wind chills put it at minus 8 during the day. I know the cold is coming back, but Oh! It was so delightful to get outside today with only one layer on!

Kitchner stitch is evil! Evil, I tell you! Almost two hours of starting and stopping the online video as I attempted the “invisible grafting stitch” necessary to complete the beaded scarf. Only ONE glass of wine (maybe that was the problem—I should have had more wine!) to keep me company.

I was on the 4th redo of a mere 22 stitches. The first 3 times I only got to the first or second stitch before I messed up. Then I got cocky and continued on, refusing to look at the result (la-la-la- not looking!-la-la-la) until I neared the last 6 stitches and realized there was something seriously wrong. I started out with the same number of stitches on both needles, but now I could count only 4 on one and 6 on the other.

Botheration!

Undoing a kitchner stitch is not for the faint-hearted. Undoing it three and a half times already (I gave up for the night!) is insane!

To Bed! To nightmares of snarled yarn and taunting needles!

Ugh. Maybe some wine first…

Yesterday was the annual Un-Daytona party at Nancy & Phil’s in Connecticut. A motley assortment of biker scum arrived in cages (cars) and a couple hardly fools came on their bikes. (News flash: if it is cold outside, it is seriously frickin’ cold with the wind on a bike!) All these hardy individuals are, in their other lives, Walter Mitty-ish programmers, sys admins, bankers, and lawyers. (Think the cartoon ‘Rose is Rose’ character and her alter-ego, the foxy babe in leather biker.)

When riding season arrives, they turn into serious speed demons who favor twisty back roads and bike race tracks. They are not idiots, nor do any of them have death wishes to fulfill. They wear the proper gear and practice what they preach – yes, several of them teach riding classes for the Motorcycle Association.

That said…the conversational topics covered were: bikes, upcoming rides, their current health addictions/weight loss/fitness program (none of the women mentioned those…the guys were into it, though), their newest recipe concoction in the kitchen (again, the guys), current micro-brewing practices, the history of hops in beer (originally a preservative), job changes, home repairs and remodeling, kids (equal opportunity here) and grandkids (ibid).

A delightful time was had by all, but it was not the surprise of the day.

In our absence, Dixie and Duncan had a glorious time romping in the newly-developed mud pools in the bad yard.

A not-so-much surprise, there.

A box at the door for me, now THAT was a surprise and a very nice one it was, too!

The very bestedest presents in the world to me, are the ones that come for absolutely no reason at all. My DD Susan went to a Build-A-Bear Workshop and made me a “Read Teddy” (part of the proceeds of the sale went toward literacy and reading programs). As if that wasn’t adorable enough, she dressed him up as the Scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz” with a very nice card attached – Is she not the bestedest daughter, ever?


My mother shared this with me this morning:

Tamponification

There are many organizations that help the homeless with food, clothing and shelter. The basic everyday needs like toilet paper and soap are in the budgets, but feminine hygiene products? Nope. Nada. Zilch. A virtual donation at Tamponification will donate a box of sanitary products to a women’s shelter in your chosen state—just for clicking the link. (And dragging the cute little heart inside the cute little house.)

Even Snopes validates it.

So click it. Click it GOOD.

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