Thursday, February 21, 2013

Confirm or Deny

“Trust, but verify”~ Ronald Reagan

The calendar shows the month of February coming swiftly to a close.  I know that March follows February the same as I know Spring follows Winter and I trust that this will happen this year.  However, when the daily high temperatures are in the 20’s, your hauling in another load of wood, the animals water is frozen, the driveway is ice, the wind just keeps on whipping and the cold has worn you to a nub… well you sometimes need verification.  Call it a small token to help you through until March/Spring get here ….and I got that today!

I was grabbing another armload of wood when I happened to spy this….

 snowdrops!  I had to grab the camera and take a picture.  

My spirits lifted and all of a sudden impervious to the wind and cold I went to check out the chives...

Little wisps of green chives come up through last year’s garden debris (Bad gardener!)    

But then I thought they are growing by the green house….I need further verification.  

 So I went over to the rhubarb….

 little, okay almost minuscule ,dots of red rhubarb tips blasting through the frozen tundra.  But like the other plants it gets sun all day…I need further verification.  

I walk over to the flower garden that is not in full sun or close to buildings and find….

daffodils (ignore the ground ivy...bad gardener)

So I came in side warmed by the assurance that March will follow February, Spring will follow Winter, we will all thaw out and all I need to do is be patient….or move south.

And look what else my camera caught today....

a black squirrel.  I have never seen him at the feeder before but there were 6 grey squirrels and then this guy showed up.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


"Here too it's masquerade, I find.
As everywhere, the dance of mind.
I grasped a lovely masked procession,
And caught things from a horror show...
I'd gladly settle for a false impression,
If it would last a little longer, though."
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I am just like everyone else.  I want what I want when I want it and when I am done with it, it should go away.  In the summer’s heat I long for the snow of winter and vice verse.  I am fine with the snow through February but come the middle of March it should go away and not return until October or November.

So the ground hog predicted an early Spring.  Spring starts on March 20 so according to Phil , spring should have started on February 6th…didn’t happen although the temperatures did rise above our norm for several days which allotted me the time to go trim my blackberry canes.

We continue to have annoyance snows, a dusting to a couple of inches, just enough to let our township suck up some more overtime.  Anyhow, normally I take Phil’s predictions with a grain of salt knowing that Spring will come when it damn well feels like it.  And I thought I was okay with this until the other day. 

I was walking to the barn , blue sky, sun shining and I looked up into the canopy of tree limbs.  My heart fluttered, I stumbled and had to stop and take another look.  Unexpected disappointment flooded in.  #2 daughter who was walking with me asked what was the matter.  I told her to look up and what did she see? Like me she saw the tree budding. 

But it was all an illusion, snow clinging to all the right places making it look like buds.  My hopes had been lifted only to have cold water (snow) thrown on them.

But I quickly recovered knowing that the weather is building some beautiful fleece on my sheep 

and that under that umbrella of snow lies Spring, which will get here before we know it and find us unprepared.

So we need to stop picking on Phil, he is just as accurate as the paid meteorologists.  

And I know all that lore about Phil but for real people Spring is a pipe dream until my duck starts to lay eggs again. I should have remembered that. She is my prongnosticator.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Have A Seat

Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience.  ~Pam Brown

My mother had a favorite chair, a rocker recliner.  As kids we would always try to claim we were sitting there first and that she should find another place to sit.  Busting mom’s chops didn’t work as she would just take a tug on the little hairs on the back on our neck and we quickly removed yourselves from her chair. 

Now I have my own chair.  My chair is a glider positioned in a corner of the living room.  From here I can see the whole living room, the kitchen, dining room and down most of the hall way.  When ensconced there  I  have the light coming in from windows facing the east and south.  It also is conveniently situated close to the woodstove.  So needless of the season its position is perfect.  I have the benefit of light, the heat in the winter and the cool breezes the rest of the year. The upholstered seat and back are covered in an off white wool stole I crocheted and across the back in the winter is a shawl that Cyndi made on a tri-loom  many years ago.  The wooden arms are positioned perfectly for me. 

My friend Ruthie came over and sat in the chair.  While I was making us coffee she fell right to sleep!  I kept the kids outside and let her nap as she obviously needed it.   She won’t sit in it again because it is too cozy for her. If the man sits in my chair in the evening he immediately starts to snore.  To bug him I snore real loud to wake him up!  He moves to the sofa and lets me have my chair back.

My knitting/crocheting is nearby, as is my spinning wheel.  As soon as kids (mine, brothers or neighbors) enter they go sit in my chair and start investigating the yarn, the needles, the roving etc.  They would attempt spinning and have roving size yarn on the bobbin that I later have  to take off which led to a ban on touching the wheel. When I come in to sit down in my chair, they get up and will take a ball of yarn and go knit/crochet a couple of stitches in another room before leaving.  I go to pick up my project and there are stitches slipped off the needle or pulled out or I go to use a needle/crochet hook and it is gone and I have to hunt it down.  After numerous forewarnings this led to a ban on any kids sitting in my chair.  I told them make believe there is a neon stop sign planted right in front of it.

This works for everyone except #1 daughter while she is visiting and Bandit the cat.  #1 daughter not only appreciates my chairs cozy positioning, but she has to examine works in progress and give her opinion.  Bandit on the other hand is completely indifferent to rules.  During the winter months the cat and I have a battle.  She scratches at the door to come in, I open the door and she runs straight for my chair.  I walk into the living room pick her up and put her on the sofa and while I am getting back to my chair she runs across the sofa, the end table and jumps back into my chair.  She can be sleeping on the sofa and if I get up to take care of something I will return to find her all curled up in my seat.  It is cute…until it gets annoying.  When someone is home I have them hold her while I return to my chair.

So between the battle of wills with the cat and the chairs sleep inducing properties it is any wonder I get anything done…. But I do and I finally have proof!

So first, this is Elvira.  

 I saw this hat on Pinterest.  I had some problems with the way the smocking directions were written but then a light went on and all was well.  I took #2 daughter to the doctor and left the instructions at home so the work between the smocking rows is fewer but someone will wear it…as soon as the yarn comes in to finish it!

Second is Skipping Stones circular afghan.  

 I made one before for the man’s daughter in a solid color and liked it as it is an easy pattern.  I decided to do the “ripples” in a fall colored variegated yarn this time.  I can only do a row or so at a time on this right now.  I got a great deal on potatoes (100#) so I have been canning them.  All the peeling and cutting has my arm hurting and the crochet motion only aggravates it.  The potatoes will be done tomorrow and then I will be able to work on this.

A simple feather fan (old shale) cowl from homespun. 

I bought the roving at Rhinebeck, spun/plied it into dk weight. Needs soaking and blocking.  I have some more so I might make a pair of fingerless mitts to go with it.

Next is the Holden Shawlette.   

I had this on the Ravelry queue for a while and finally got to it.  I ran out of yarn, ordered more and finished it today without the picot edge since….I ran out of yarn again!  Needs soaking and blocking

Next a counterpane from Knitty Winter 2012.  

 I don’t know what I am going to do with it but needed something mindless at the time I started it.

And the shamrocks 

for #1 daughters St. Patrick’s Day suncatcher, which will go with these beads. 

And now I am going to go remove the cat from my chair (again) and watch a little tv.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Just a Rantin'..Rantin'

All of journalism is a shrinking art. So much of it is hype. The O.J. Simpson story is a landmark in the decline of journalism.~Dick Schaap

OK so I have been off the radar for a month and I am coming back with a rant.  Shameful I know but I have got to let it out or explode.

Our local tv station is part of ABC so as soon as the local news goes off GMA comes on.  So what is my one rant about? (yeah I have more than one today!!)  HYPE!!!  defined as “Excessive publicity and the ensuing commotion” Let’s first start with the hype on “Nemo”.  No not the little Disney clown fish but the catastrophic, ferocious, epic, brutal, snowmagedan, and just why the hell dowe have to now name them, storm.  

“People are sheep. TV is the shepherd.” Jess C. Scott, Literary Heroin (Gluttony): A Twilight Parody

 The hype was so big that most school districts closed for the day regardless of the fact that they have no snow days left and will have to make the day up later in the year.  They didn’t even let them go in for half a day to get credit for it knowing that “NEMO” was not going to start till after noon.  So the kids sat home, several snow flurries fell, 3:35 came (the time they get home from school) and we did not even have a dusting.  The weather channel continued their dire warnings, projected snow totals were raised to 10-14 inches and we awoke this morning to a mere 5 inches. 

“No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.”
John F. Kennedy

GMA hypes evvvvvverrrrrrrything.  Listen to the first three minutes of the show and the drama level of whatever that day’s topic skyrockets  followed by Entertainment Tonight bullsh*t.  Instead of real news it is pop culture crap and you tube video’s.  Which kind of leads into rant two…where the hell is the news?  GMA ads say  we bring you the morning's big news and expert analysis”  or that GMAis a place to “get breaking news stories and in-depth coverage”.  When they do happen to have news it is nothing close to “hard hitting.”  When I expected to hear about Hillary testifying about Bengazi I got Beyonce lip-syncing.  When expecting to hear about fixing the economy and paying off the debt you get the housing market is doing fantastic, now is the time to buy, the stock market is hitting record highs….hello the economy sucks people. Things are not getting better around here and yet nobody is talking about it.  

It’s like “Let’s just paint this picture of perfection and soon they will all see it.” Well I don’t consider Hollywood and their antics more important than getting people back to work, cutting spending and paying off some debt instead of making my grandchildren foot our bills. I could continue but your eyes would glaze over if they haven’t already.

So rant number three…ACCOUNTABILITY  Defined as, in ethics and governance, accountability is answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and the expectation of account-giving.  Nobody takes responsibility any more. I could continue with the whole economy rant and people being accountable there but we dropped that an inch or so above.  So we will move on with a little story…

#2 daughter has a borderline thyroid problem.  Every so often they do a blood test to check things out.  In December the blood work came back with some abnormalities and her primary scheduled an appointment with a specialist.  When we go to her primary physician they take her in, do the exam and then call me back to discuss whatever needs discussing so when the specialist called her into the back I thought it would be the same.  WRONG.  She turned 18 so all of a sudden she is an adult and quite capable of handling all medical transactions.  So she comes out with a fist full of papers and tells me that she has PCOS and celiac disease.  #2 daughter said they are scheduling an appointment with the Gastroenterology department, they will call with the date and that we can leave.  I asked if I had to talk to the doctor and she said we had to read the paperwork, not change her diet until after the appointment with the gastroenterologist.  I said what did they say and she told me she didn’t understand most of it. So I read the paperwork, scheduled her an OB/Gyn appointment to see about  the PCOS and took a call for the gastroenterologist appointment to be on January 31.

While waiting to go the gastroenterologists I start to read up on celiac disease.  I start freaking out when I read site after site that I have to have a set of gluten free cookware just for her meals, separate utensils to cook her meals, separate plates and cups, separate basin/dishcloth/towel to do her pots/pans and dishes with, gluten free deodorant, soap and shampoo, making the top shelves the gluten free zone so nothing with gluten falls down on the gluten free stuff, how to eat out while being a celiac etc.  I compile lists to take shopping of foods that are gluten free, lists of foods with hidden gluten, I buy 10 pounds of rice to make rice flour, I purchase tapioca starch, potato starch, and xantham gum to mix with the rice flour so I have a flour substitute for her.  I buy boxes of gluten free bisquick to use during the transition.  I start compiling a recipe collection of gluten free foods and substitutes for her favorite meals to make the switch as easy as possible for her.  Because I cook almost everything from scratch it wouldn’t be that hard.  The hard part would be keeping everything totally and completely separate.

January 31 arrives and we go to the appointment.  I don’t even wait or ask if I can but immediately get up when they call her name since I want to know what is going on.  We sit down and when the doctor comes in he asks what symptoms she had.  We tell him none.  He asks why did they test you for celiac then.  We explain the blood work for thyroid.  He asks if we have the lab work.  I tell him the primary faxed all labs over to this center when they made the first appointment.  He says then all #2’s info should have been scanned into the computer.  He pulls out the keyboard , brings up her info and gets a puzzled look.  He said that #2 does not have celiac and that the paperwork stating she does belongs to a 14 year old girl named Rachel.  He says the primary must have faxed over Rachel’s results along with #2’s and the first specialist didn’t check the names before issuing his readings!!!!  SAY WHAT?!!! He sends her downstairs to have more blood work done to confirm that she does not have it and tells us to contact the primary physician for their paperwork screwup.

So the next day I am on the phone leaving a message for her primary to call me because I want to know why this happened  Primary’s nurse calls to tell me they never said she had celiac (which they didn’t, they just said abnormalities)  I said what about Rachel?  She said Rachel has been diagnosed and is a patient of the specialist also.  She said when all the paperwork for all referred patients was faxed to the specialists that day they must have scanned it all in wrong.

So needless to say nobody wants to take credit for this mistake.  The old blame game. Forget about Hipaa regulations, forget that my daughter was wrongly diagnosed because of the paperwork screw up which could have been fixed if the specialist would have checked the names on the top of the paperwork himself.  How many other times has this happened?  I really don’t want to know because it disgusts me the lack of accountability but also the lack of humanity.  We are all just a number on a machine and we are not seen as a living being that can be damaged by their negligence.

And finally the last rant…GOSSIP.  We live in a small town and as Kenny Chensey would say….

Where everyone knows everyone
There ain't no secrets around here
Sonny you love me
You hang me for everything I am
Either I hold your heart
Or I hold you down
I'm a small town

Right after Sandyhook our school like many others had a shooting scare and lockdown . So my son was texting with this girl, discussing the lockdown and the Sandyhook shootings and she said she would never be able to shoot someone.  My son is joining the Army and said in a you or me situation that you are going down.  So this girl’s mother gets on and says that is a terroristic threat and she is going to go to the school etc.  Son comes downstairs shaking and shows the texts to me, the man and some friends that were here.  He is scared of the police listing him and afraid he won’t be able to join the Army.  We tell him there was nothing wrong with the statement, in combat you don’t stand there and let someone shoot you but he should  go to the school office first thing in the morning and let them read the entire text.  Vice Principal says there is nothing wrong with what he texted and that he is over reacting to be worried about it.  She told him if the mother does call the school everything will be taken care of but she didn’t think the mother would call.  End of story?  Nope

A couple of weeks later my sister in law is getting her hair done and she is asked if she still lets her kids near my son.  My SIL is shocked and says “yeah why wouldn’t I?”  The mouth says “after what he did”.  So my SIL says “oh pray do tell” and mouth goes on to say that #2 son was involved in the shooting threats at the school that caused the lockdown.  My SIL says “oh really I think Judy would have told me”  The mouth tells her that I was probably too embarrassed.  SIL says no she would have told me and where did you hear this.  The mouth tells her that a teacher from our school told her all about it.

So SIL comes home and calls me up to tell me people in the salon were talking about #2 son but doesn’t tell me she knows who it is.  I tell her I am going to call the school. 

So I am furious that someone is accusing my son of being able to carry out such a disgusting act so I call the school.  I get the VP and explain the situation.  She says their teachers would never do that!!! Ha ha ha ha OK!  I ask if there is anything they questioned him on that I may not be privy too and she assured me that he is a great student, no disciplinary problems and we discussed the texting episode.  She said if I found out a definite teachers name than action would be a taken.  So still mad I call the salon and tell them if they wish to discuss my son please let me know and I would be happy to be present for the next discussion.  She tells me it was a customer that brought it up.  I didn’t ask for the name because I knew she wouldn’t give me it but told her to give my number to the customer so we could discuss how much this customer knows about my son. 

SIL calls later to hear what the school said and finally divulges who started the conversation.  Now I know this beast aka BB.  I went to school with her son.  I can’t say I like her but I didn’t dislike her either but now I do. 

So I call up BB.  She was either not home or had the good sense not to answer her phone when my number showed up on caller id, but she did have an answering machine.  So I felt duty bound to leave her a message.  The gist of which was that as his mother you would think that the school and state police would have enlightened me to his supposable behavior but since they didn’t that it must not be true.  That as his mother I would be the first one to kick him in his a$$ if he did something wrong but nobody else had that right, especially some loud mouth who did not even know what he looked like.  And that if her and the teacher would like to have any further conversations about my son, to feel free to come on over to my house instead of talking about him in a salon.  He of course will be there to defend himself against the likes of them.  I left my number if she wished to discuss anything further

Well that was the gist.  There may have been a few choice, not for virgin ears words mixed and mingled in there. Oddly enough she has not called me back. 

 A little Jason Aldean  Dirt Road Anthem everybody?

And all this small town he said, she said
Ain't it funny how rumors spread?
Like I know somethin' y'all don't know,
man that talk is gettin' old
you better mind your business man,
watch your mouth
Before I have to knock that loud mouth out

I once read that if you heard something that you should think…is it true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, kind if not don’t repeat it.  I cannot fathom a life so boring that one needs to run their jaw about things and people they don’t even know. Be part of the solution not the problem.  Living in a small town BB and I are bound to see each other soon.  After my message she may not be looking forward to it but I am!

It has just bugged me all the people not doing their jobs properly and not being accountable(politician, news reporters , doctors etc) while millions would love to have a job.  And the bubble  in which they operate that their actions have no harmful effects on others lives.  It is mind boggling.

And that about concludes our rant for the day and I will be returning to my regularly drama free life style soon which includes fiber!  I have been working on my knitting!  I have a cowl, a shawl, a hat and an afghan on the needles.  I started the afghan but found crocheting hurts my arm if done too often. So I started knitting the shawl but needed more yarn so I ordered another skein.  While waiting on the yarn I started knitting a hat but needed more yarn so I ordered another skein.  While waiting on the yarn to arrive I started knitting a cowl with some homespun .  The cowl will be off the needles tonight and the one yarn has come in so I will go back to work on the shawl.

I mindlessly started these projects without checking yardage…or was I hoping to stimulate the economy skein by skein and save the postal service at the same time.  The world may never know.