Thursday, January 29, 2009

Send Tissues

Everything went really well with the first stage of the tooth implant. I now have a plastic-covered titanium rod sticking up in the place where eventually (4 - 9 months from now) a crown will be placed. My dentist's words of advice to me are not to play with the plastic-covered titanium rod as even micro-movements of said rod will impede the progress of the bone adhering to the rod. Sure.

However, a new problem has settled in. A very unpleasant, nasty cold has settled in and doesn't appear to plan on leaving anytime soon. My very concerned dentist, fearing infection around the "rod", has prescribed a prophylactic 10-day course of penicillin, which is taking its toll on my digestive system. Today's fever is only 100.8. Yippee.
I wish Jon were home. I'm almost out of tissues. And he's pretty good at that kind of stuff.

Monday, January 26, 2009


** Fair warning: if you don't want to see the inside of my mouth - move along!! **
About four years ago, after two failed root canals and a somewhat traumatic extraction, I lost a tooth. There was no tooth fairy, no money under the pillow (at least not my pillow but I can name two dentists and an endodontist who may have felt a bit of a lump under theirs.) Just a big, gaping hole on the right side of my mouth, my chewing side, in the back, where the heavy "crunching" happens. This, as you might imagine, has been quite problematic for your Cap'n Crunch, potato chip, cracker lovin' friend here. It seems that I cannot easily crunch on the left side without tearing my cheek to shreds. It's been a long four years.

Which all leads me to the announcement that I may be off the blogs and interwebs for the next few days. Tomorrow, Dr. Andy will drive a titanium rod into my jaw bone and this will begin the process of getting my tooth back. Since the procedure will require sedation, I will be out tomorrow (could someone please check on Kathryn for me!) and Wednesday could be just a yucky, jaw-hurty day. But I'm thinking positive thoughts. Because in 6 - 9 short months, "cruncher tooth" will be back.

Oh - Jon is in Australia. I just told him I was having implant surgery while he was gone but not what kind. He told me to have both done.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yesterday, Chris announced that reading is on the rise for the first time in 25 years. As for me, I've always been a reader. I almost always have one or two books going at any one time. I don't fit neatly into any particular category of book type - but rather a wide range of books. I prefer to own my books but don't care whether they are hard cover, soft cover or paper backs.

I am also an avid audiobook listener. I love listening to books while walking, spinning, knitting, and sometimes - although it's a royal pain in the butt - while trying to fall asleep. The downfall with books on iPod is that you can't rewind in anything but BIG chunks.

And now, thanks to Jon and his most excellent giving of presents-I-didn't-know-I-needed-and-now-don't-want-live-without skills, I am reading via a whole new medium.

Behold - up to 300 books. In one little leather folio.

One little leather folio which contains my new SONY digital reader (except I don't have the cool Ian Flemming engraved one). I can't tell you how much I love this little thing. I've read 6 books since Christmas on it and I'm convinced it's because I read faster. The most likely reason is that I don't have to go through all the tiny little adjustments with my eyes and glasses (or contacts) that I normally would after turning a page. I simply get comfortable and then, I don't move - at all - while reading. Except maybe to get another glass of wine. So yeah - reading is up here to.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hard Not

Even this hardened, cynical heart knows it. It's hard not to feel that a change is coming.

And soon it will be spring in places other than my kitchen corner.
But if winter lasts too long, I will have these to look at and sniff until spring.

Monday, January 19, 2009

School Days

I always wanted to be a teacher. But back when I was in college teachers were flooding the market so I chose the safe route, a non-teaching degree in psychology. Many years later, after working in the technology and telecommunications fields, I'm finally getting a chance to teach - sort of. I spend Fridays at Kathryn's school under the direction of the first year English teacher Miss K. working with the 6th and 7th grade students. First hour is 6th grade writhing lab where the students spend the hour working on directed writing projects. I get to help!

Second hour is 6th/7th grade English. We're finishing up our section on Jack London's Call of the Wild. Friday the students presented their final projects and on any one of a number of thematic elements from the book. There were MANY wolf presentations ... many!

Finally, a break with the weather.

Recognize a long blond ponytail in this picture??

I'll admit that gym was not my best class in high school, but with a class of 40 - 6th and 7th grade students, the gym teacher needs assistance just keeping order in this class. So in third hour I am an extra set of eyes and ears in the gym. Last Friday was fitness testing and then some free time. Oops - look, my kid again.

After gym I help in the lunch room with the little guys. You know - making sure they eat enough, don't eat too much, eat their own food and not their neighbors etc. I marvel at how much food mom sends them with vs. how much they can actually eat! Sometimes I eat lunch with Kathryn when the Middle School comes in - depends on her mood. Other times - I eat in the teacher's lounge!! Like a real teacher!

After lunch is 7th grade writing lab, much the same as 6th grade, just different projects. Last period of the day is 7th/6th grade English.

They are also finishing their Call of the Wild projects. Not as many wolf presentations in this class, but lots of dogs!
I love this shot showing the extreme physical difference between 7th grade and 6th grade boys. By the time I get home from school at 2:30 on Fridays, I am exhausted. I love my day at school and being a part of these kids' lives. They probably don't realize that they are teaching me so much more than I could ever teach them.
Guess what Ian's presentation was about?

Friday, January 16, 2009

It Never Gets Cold Old

We here in the Upper Midwest find that if we just.keep.talking about it, we feel so much better about the . . . weather.

7:10 AM, according to the thermostat.

7:15 AM, according to the car

This outside thermometer doesn't even believe it could get colder than -10 degrees. Silly outside thermometer.

It is now 8 hours later. I have not left the house all day. Hmmmm, wonder why?
According to WeatherBug. Note the wind chill at -23 degrees. Please believe people who tell you wind chill is real.
A 16 degree warm up. In the summer, this would be HUGE. From 80 - 96 degrees in 8 hours - would be unheard of. Today, you wouldn't notice a difference. Einstein was right - again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just Not Too Fast

Kathryn has decided that she wants to grow up, move out, get an apartment in the city, live on her own, fend for herself learn to cook a few simple things. I begrudgingly cheerfully obliged. We started with something that she likes and that is really easy to make. My goal was to give her a basic knowledge of something that she could then easily adapt.

So, Crunchy Parmesan chicken breasts it was. I figure if you learn to bake a chicken breast, you can customize it any way you want. Feel like Mexican, roll it in crushed tortilla chips and serve it with salsa. Feel like Italian, spread pasta sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese etc.
These are simply soaked in milk and butter for a few minutes, then shaken in equal parts bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese seasoned with oregano, salt and pepper. I simply provided the instructions and Kathryn did all the work. Ready for the oven.
While the chicken was in the oven, she followed the directions on the Rice-a-Roni package (OK - I confess, a childhood favorite of mine and I still love it!) Other than the hot splatter when cold water met the hot, HOT, HOT pan and scared the crap out of her, this was prepared flawlessly. The key here was to get her to read the package instructions COMPLETELY before starting. Don't just look at the "What You Will Need" section and start.
There were peas (heated in the microwave) and brownies for dessert.
Dad was pleased - but then again, he's not the hardest member of the family to please.

Ahhh - the "Clean Plate Club" approves. Since this meal, she has prepared simple spaghetti on my birthday and would now like to move on to lasagna. I guess I'm all in favor of this but I kind of thought I had a few more years and that we'd start with the easy stuff - like Ramen noodles.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mug Shots

Last night was our annual "Chris and Jeanne celebrate Deb's birthday and Deb and Chris celebrate Jeanne's Birthday" celebration. As always the party includes cats and cake.
Mayhem was in the bag early on.
But escaped in time for presents for there was tissue paper involved. From Chris I received a beautiful sheepy mug, some softy-soft Baby Silk Catalina yarn, two skeins of Vinca sock yarn and a spoiled kitty magnet! See the kitty in a bag in the background? Not Mayhem - just the card but considering May's evening activities - very apropos!

CAUTION: Cutest kitten card EVAH alert!

From Jeanne - who had to go into a place where things sold to spinners where sold at great personal sacrifice - a beautiful braid of merino silk roving. And I mean beautiful. I teared up a bit just thinking of her going in, talking to a spinning person and actually having to sort-of cross over to the dark side to purchase this thing of beauty for me. Also included were magnetic page holders and a needle gauge charm. I'm still waiting for the grey kitten.
They claim not to have color coordinated their gifts but I think they've been secretly meeting without me and put this whole thing together with the pink / maroon / autumn thing in mind. It's SO like them.
Because see - they are so matchy-matchy now. The last two knitters to have the Starbucks mugs! Thanks Louise!!
" Mom - I need to text you. She is SO not working on the yellow sweater!!" - Mayhem
Thank you so much Jeanne and Chris! You really know how to spoil a girl. I LOVE everything. And the grey kitten will fit in just fine here. Whenever he or she gets here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

One Down

Blue cardigan (which looks surprisingly gray while drying down in the studio) is finished! See, it's not that I don't think I'm worthy - you all have helped me through that little hurdle - it's more like I think the new needles deserve something new. A brand new sweater with brand new yarn. A whole new project.
The thought of firing up something new - on the new needles - in front of Jon, with three unfinished sweaters sitting around was just too humiliating.
Yes Holli, the yellow sweater is next. I had thought that seaming and hemming a sweater during "24" would be difficult at best. But thankfully, the kinder, gentler, Jack Bauer we've seen during the first four hours is making this a lot easier. I'm even allowing myself to think about the new project for the new needles. There are so many possibilities . . . . and yarn stashed away for just such a day!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Jon, the most excellent of present givers ever, sometimes out does even himself. For instance, last year's Christmas gift, the "out-of-nowhere-unasked-for" spinning wheel and this year's matching stool and beautiful roving. It's as if he's saying: "I support you in this endeavor honey!"

This year's birthday gift though - I think the message was something different. It was subtle and in fact, I'm not sure it was intended to send the message I received. Regardless, it's motivating me. Yesterday I was up at 6:00 AM digging through the basket of shame and began to finish.

Sunrise Circle Jacket. It's been completed for almost three years. It's just been crumbled up in a bag. It's had a nice bath and is now ready to be seamed and displayed.
Neckdown V-Neck Shaped Cardigan. This has languished in the same BoS for ... 4 years. I liked the yarn. As of yesterday morning this needed an entire right sleeve. Today, it needs the edging around the neck and the ties. It should WILL be finished and ready for a bath later today.

This is a bit more recent. It was started and abandoned in August. The Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties just needs 3/4 of 1/2 length sleeves. I think that's about the same as one full sleeve. This weekend.

So what could he have given me to make me want to finish up these long neglected projects. That would make me feel, sort of, not worthy of starting something new until these things are finished and off my guilty mind?
Then again - I needed a circular size six for the blue sleeve!
I'm SO worthy!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The New 36

Celebrate with me??

I'm told there are big doings later on - Kathryn is making spaghetti for dinner. This morning it was breakfast in bed and a break from the morning drive to school. In a few minutes my grrlfriend and knitting pal Brenda will arrive with coffee and treats. We'll share the morning knitting and laughing and catching up. Later - probably a nap (because I'm really not 36 ya know!). And then, let the fun begin.

50 has been the best year of my life. I've put myself out more, had more fun, lived more, laughed more, and loved more than ever before. You've all been a part of that and I'm so very thankful for your friendships. I wouldn't change a thing. Here's to 51.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Thing 2

I can't really rank Christmas gifts by favorites because each one means something different to me. This one means that I should be able to spend more time at my spinning wheel. Before receiving this from Jon, I used an old desk chair when spinning and it didn't take too long before my back would start to scream: "HEY: YOU'RE OVER 50 NOW!! YOU CAN'T SIT LIKE THIS ANYMORE!!"
So now with the new matching stool and this . . .

. . . 5 ounces of Lorna's Laces Shepard Wool Top in "Tuscany" . . . another gift from Kathryn (where DOES she get her ideas?), I should have no excuses for not at least searching for my spinning mojo.

Well, there is the little problem of the stealth kitty.

Monday, January 05, 2009

My Favorite Things

By far, my favorite Christmas gift this year was two weeks off from the usual routine and running around. But since that can't be wrapped and tied with a pretty bow and placed under the tree, Jon, Kathryn and a few others felt a need to get some of those things for me. I'm planning to show you a few of my Favorite Things in the next couple of days. (Note - I said "planning" since it's now back to the usual routine and running around!)
Thing One
A well placed hint to Dad along with a very detailed description, GPS coordinates, and a thorough sketch of the shelving of the Starbucks closest to our house and . . . "Oh, honey!! How did you know? I LOVE this cup! All my blog friends have one and I really, REALLY wanted one and now I have one of my very own! Thank you Kathryn!!! I'll use it every day!"

And since I've now declared it "my cup and and only my cup and no one else can ever use it", I've hired a stealth kitty to guard it. I'm so happy to be in the cup club - finally.