Monday, September 15, 2014

Readying For Winter

It has been a busy day for me, I am fairly exhausted, with dinner yet to cook (Chicken and Dumplings mostly prepped, the easy stuff is all that is left, and maybe Oscar can make the dumplings.)

In May, I brought home a group of plants from my dad's funeral. They have been very unhappy in their basket, all the plants crowded together. Saturday Oscar found potting soil and pots 50% off at Meijer, and brought some home for me. Last night he got the patio set up for me to do some 'gardening'.

This morning THIS:


Became THIS:


I used up every last crumb of the potting soil, all the plants have room around their roots and I have a few pots left over in case I want to buy some scented geraniums or herbs for my birthday to add to my indoor garden. 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Reconnection

Long story, culminating in this past weekend which was both lovely and poignant.
My dad went to high school with a fellow named Ralph. 
When I was little, Ralph and Dad reconnected when Ralph’s wife Faye was pregnant for their fourth child, and my mom was pregnant for her third child. 
I have three brothers and no sisters. Ralph and Faye had three girls and one boy. 
Our families spent holidays and weekends together through summer and winter all the years we grew up. Beth Anne was smart, and the coolest person I ever knew (in tiny town Ohio in the 1960’s/70’s she had a crush on Michael Jackson.) 
Robynn was close to my age, and the sweetest being I have ever met. I never heard her say a mean thing about anyone, no matter how angry she got. Julie was younger than I am, and sparkled and bubbled her way through life. She had a temper, but it passed like a summer storm. 
Kent was always up for fun, and had a combination of Beth’s coolness and Robynn’s sweetness. Anyway, Ralph and Faye were like a second set of parents, and their kids as much my siblings as my birth brothers. 
I still remember the camping trip when BethAnne announced she’d met the man she was going to marry (she was 15.) 
She was offered a scholarship to attend university when she was a junior in high school, but she knew what she wanted. She wanted Bob, and kids. And she got them.
When Beth got sick in the mid 1980s she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She lived 12 years. 
Robynn died soon afterward, it is still somewhat of a mystery but it is believed her husband set fire to the house. She and her son, Josh died. David died of skin cancer while awaiting trial. 
Soon afterward, Bob and Beth’s eldest son died while crossing a rail road track. 
Then a few years ago, we lost Faye to a very quick cancer battle. 
Ralph died in February, and we lost Dad in May.
Mom decided that it was time Ralph’s family and our family reconnected for something other than funerals, and invited everyone to her house this past weekend. It was so wonderful to see Julie again (Kent will be there next time, he was sick) 
I really got to know Julie’s three daughters and it was lovely rediscovering traits I first observed in BethAnne and Robynn. Grace, Beth’s daughter was there, too with her little girl (who is the spitting image of Beth Anne at the same age) and Bob was there too. 
Julie and I are sisters, and it was great re-weaving those bonds. We talked about the wonderful times we shared together growing up (like the time Beth tried hiding a HUGE dog in her parent’s bedroom closet, just long enough to convince Ralph the family needed a dog.. Jasper stayed with them the rest of his life LOL) 
It was fun telling the old stories to the next generation.
Thanks for listening.
(Photo is of the girls looking out over the creek in Mom's back yard)

Friday, August 01, 2014

Basque Recipes

Just a quick post, not much has changed but we are still plugging along.
I wanted to share a link I found this morning to BASQUE RECIPES. Some of them sound terrific, I look forward to trying my hand at the Olive Soup and the Basque Potatoes (among others) this autumn.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Interesting Week

Thursday I went to Urgent Care with a high fever, they sent me on to the ER at St. Joe's. Two days later I am home, better but with no answers as yet. A blood culture is still in process and will be getting a final analysis on Monday, maybe that will show something.
Also found a letter waiting from my Doc that was delayed in being sent (from June 20th) that my last blood panel showed a slightly high glucose count, looking at the hospital paperwork, it was a bit higher yet in their tests.
I have an appointment on Tuesday but since I didn't discover this until Friday night, I am not able to get the fasting glucose test they want until next Saturday when Oscar is off work again. (Hopefully not until then, there is always a chance with Oscar's current contract that missing hardware etc means they lay them off for a day unexpectedly. No work means no pay, so that is not what we want!) Probably pre-diabetic, but since I rarely eat sweets except for sugar in my morning tea it shouldn't be too hard to adapt. I even eat high protein pasta and don;t have bread or potatoes often. My dad developed adult onset diabetes so I have always been cautious and only had sweets when I also had a high protein meal.
I am feeling a bit better, as I said but still under the weather. I had two big iv bags of two different antibiotics on Thursday night, so it is possible it is a reaction from that. (Antibiotics often give me an upset stomach for a week or so afterward.)
I am just glad to be home. 

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Flux Capacity

Lots of stuff still up in the air. Oscar is working hard every single day they let him. It is a short term contract job upgrading essential medical computer stuff at hospitals in South East Michigan. Lots of toting heavy tools and hardware around, and lots of times they send them home early because his team works hard and quickly. Or they tell him to not come back for a few days, as the next job is waiting on approval etc. So. Bumpy.
On the other side, after nine months of hard study he has passed his Linux Certification which opens up a whole new swath of job opportunities for better pay doing something he loves. I am SO PROUD!!! (Yes, Oscar rocks :-} ) Still no word on the job interview from a week or so ago. We hope to learn results next week, maybe in time for his birthday.
His job at the hospital exposes him to lots of germs. Despite his best efforts he brings home the occasional bug (or I was exposed on Sunday at the grocery store). Yesterday my fever topped out at 100.4 degrees f. My normal is between 96.8-97.8 so that made me a bit nervous. I am feeling better today, with temp only up to 99. I lost my spleen when I was 14 and have a compromised immune system, so it can get hairy. We will both be glad when Os moves on to a better, safer job. In the meantime he makes sure to get as much rest as possible and to keep his OJ intake high . :-} I also slipped in the tub two days ago luckily with no more ill effect than damaging my bad ankle a bit and some strained muscles. Only a few aches left today (and a really fat ankle and swollen abdomen from too much 'stretch') so I got lucky again.
Other stuff is much the same, lots of reading and review writing, and keeping my hands busy with needles and hook.






Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Keeps on Moving, Time.

Oscar has some interim work (a five-week contract updating some hospital tech systems) and had a good interview on Monday that seems very promising. We hope to hear back about the interview in two weeks, but since it took them quite a while to go from asking if he was interested to setting up the initial interview, we aren't holding our breath. It seems solid though, even if it might take a while to actually begin. The contract will likely be extended, so we have some level of income to tide us over for a bit while Os keeps on looking for work.

I have been working on some test editing (for free, to keep my mind occupied) and have been publishing reviews (averaging about one a day). After I finish the three test patterns that aren't mine, I will work on a few promised for a friend a while ago, AND compile a list of my own patterns that are very close to finished. If I can make a final push on those, and get them test knitted/crocheted in turn (there are some free groups on Ravelry that do a great job) I may be able to publish them this autumn.

Once Oscar has a permanent job nailed down, we immediately go into apartment-hunting mode. I am eager to move. To be strictly accurate, I am eager to have the move over with, to begin the next chapter of our life.
Oscar is working his butt off. This five week contract is tough work for not much money. He is not only doing that (along with the horrible commute) but studying for his Linux certification AND for college classes. And still putting resumes out there. He is likely very eager for our next chapter to begin as well!

His birthday is coming up the first week of July. It would be marvelous timing to hear he has a new permanent position.

(photo is of me taken when I was probably about 4 years old (1966), on our pony Rastus)


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Crafting Remedies

It is interesting to me that there are different levels of crafting for different emotional states. Some days the best distraction is plunging into something with a lot of difficulty, a challenge to overcome. Days when I am feeling fragile the best cure is crocheting rather than knitting, perhaps because it is something I have done since I was about six years old, a true comfort.
One of the charities I make things for needs warm hats. Mostly, that means knitting (crocheting often leaves spaces unless done like armor), but I have been challenging myself to make an equally warm crocheted hat pattern. I tried with my Rampart (ravelry link) but it still isn't up to snuff without extra steps (in this case, brush- felting the outer surface, and crocheting an additional lining for the crown).
I think I have a winner in the one I crafted recently though. It used half double crochets (a dense stitch) and uses them in a way that creates an extra air pocket inside the hat. I also like the way the fabric looks, much more cohesive and smooth than other types of crochet stitching.
It has the added benefit of (after the initial increases) having a rather long swath of simple, comforting crochet. I have been working on the increasing bits using some Malabrigo Merino Worsted that was gifted to me (in the form of knitted squares, which did not fit together, and which I frogged) for specific charity use.
I had fun combining them together with each other, and with other yarns in the charity bin. I now have several hat starts, all set for the soothing crochet bit waiting for me in a big zip top bag near my chair. It gives me a great sense of security, knowing they are there and that I can spend time in front of the tv yet still accomplish something.
(photo above is of the first incarnation of the as-yet-nameless hat.. any ideas? Photo below is of the felted Rampart Hat)