Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,And wild and sweet,
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
Till ringing, singing, on it's way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth good will to men.
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the south
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth good will to men.
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearthstones of a continent and made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head"There is no peace on earth," I said,"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;The wrong shall fail,the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men

Friday, November 21, 2008

Osteopenia

I went for a my first bone density scan and got a big surprise - I have osteopenia.

It is simply the indication that bone loss has occurred and therefore preventative measures need to be taken. Maximum bone mineral density is achieved at 30 and after that it's all down hill. Diet, exercise, illness and certain medications can accelerate bone loss.

My doctor called me with the news. I was told to take calcium supplements and get lots of weight bearing exercise. I work-out, I lift weights, I regularly walk with ankle weights, I take Pilate's and when I'm not deliberately exercising I have three kids who push my body to its limits everyday. How much more can I do? I started to wonder if this advise is totally worthless. I suppose if I wasn't as active perhaps I would have more bone loss, maybe that's the benefit. Either way I think its a weak prescription.

Caffeine, sodas and steroid medication also zap bone loss. I drink very few sodas and I hardly think the one cup of coffee - that I rarely finish is the culprit. What then? How do I solve this mystery? I wonder if nursing 4 kids for a year each contributed? I was a huge fan of nursing. I even went to La Leche meetings. Everyone sat around and nursed and told stories of how wonderful nursing was. No one ever talked about possible side effects like bone loss or sagging body parts.

I've heard that drinking 2% milk doesn't give you the necessary calcium from a regular glass a milk. I can't remember the last time I drank regular milk. Fat is such a giant threat in our society that I think my mother stopped serving whole milk when I was a teen. I remember recently seeing someone drink whole milk and I nearly gagged with disgust.

Family history and being slim are other indicators. Don't know much about family history - my mom hasn't even had a bone scan and she is 71. I am slim - for a couple years when I had braces maybe too slim. Now that they are off and I can chew, I'm eating and I've gained weight but I'm still slim. Is that the final conclusion - being slim caused my osteopenia.

FYI - men can get osteoporosis too. My husband hates milk and rarely takes calcium pills. Yesterday I saw a man with a spine so curved he could barely lift his head upright. I watched him walk to the elevator and thought how painful life must be for him. I was deeply impressed. I don't think that doctors or the medical professionals have adequately addressed this issue and I think that there is a whole lot that is not being shared. I don't want to grow old and not be able to move. I don't want a cane, or a walker, or a wheelchair.
If you know more please share.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What to Do?

What do I do?
Do I spend money or save?
If I spend money I get to buy new things and since I've had my stuff for over a week now it's old and therefore no good. I need new stuff. I need to go shopping. I need to hit the going out of business sales and enjoy buying everything at up to 70% off. How I can I resist the urge to shop at the greatest shopping event of the year, the Christmas buying frenzy? 'Tis the season to buy.
But...
If I go shopping I'll have to charge everything 'cause I don't have any money. My credit card debt is already pretty impressive so maybe I should save my money and pay my bills. Maybe I don't need another pair of shoes - I've already got 30. I could skip the hunt for a parking space and save shipping and handling charges and be happy with what I've got. Could I? It feels odd to repress the urge to buy. It feels dare I say un-American. Maybe it's not a good time to buy considering the stock market roller coaster ride, the bailout, stores going out of business, and foreclosers in the news.
But, it seems to me that the economy is strongest when people are buying. When people buy, manufactures make and hire and then those people go shopping. Great.
What to do?
I've wondered for a long time about the economy. I've thought about the mixed messages of buying and saving. Buying creates a healthy economy but debt erodes that foundation. I've wondered if capitalism will continue to exist in America. When do the percentages of government intervention and control change enough to create a new breed and where do I Ms. Consumer fit into the picture?
As much as I ponder the consequences of the changing economy I truly believe that it is not defined by its strongest moment but instead by what happens in its weakest event. America is the Land of Opportunity. As much as we love a bargain we love an opportunity. We seek the niche, we create the new idea and we hope to be lucky enough to spot the trend before anyone else. While companies go out of business, new ones file fictitious names. While the stock market tumbles, money is made by betting on the loss. While homes are foreclosed on, buyers welcome the bargain.
Economist worry that Americans won't spend a lot of money this Christmas. I'm worried that we will.
But, if you can resist the urge to buy more, if you can defeat the challenge to buy gifts for people because you have to, and if you can save your money than you will become one of the powerful in this weak economy. The question is what kind of power do we want, the immediate rush of a new purchase or the quiet strength of acquired wealth?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Love Your Blog Award

My friend and neighbor Yarnhog gave me this award a few days ago. I was humbly surprised especially since I hadn't written much in the past weeks. Yarnhog was my inspiration for starting my blog. I still remember the day she told me she had a blog. In a sheepish almost secretive way she smiled and said,
" I started a blog", I said " A What?". I really didn't know. After she explained I asked, "So what's your site name?" Poor lady had to tell me three maybe four times and finally resorted to writing it down. Yarnhog yarnhog what at what com???? Yarnhog, what's that all about? You're not a hog. She couldn't get just one yarnhog because that was already taken so she had to be two. Anyway, six months of reading her entries and I started to see the beauty and benefit of a blog. I remember the early days of writing and getting no comments. I struggled in the quiet wilderness wondering if anyone was reading my site. It was a big event the day I finally got a comment. I loved reading and re-reading the line. Later my friend helped me out again and gave me what I affectionately called,

A bloggers Christmas.

I kept writing and of course reading other sites. I was having fun, making some cyber space friends but relating and sharing in a way that was different from my face to face friends. In the past few weeks I've slipped into what I call a writers Bermuda Triangle. It's that place where thoughts and ideas disappear into thin air and are never found again. Then one day out of the blue I get this pretty award.


Thank you Yarnhog :)

The rules for award acceptance are as follows: 1. The winner can put the logo on their website/blog. 2. Add a link to the person who gave you this award. 3. Nominate at least 5 other websites/blogs. 4. Provide links of the nominated websites/blogs. 5. Leave a message at each website owner that you've nominated.


Here's my five Award winners -

Uberstrickenfrau - Always interesting and fun and really creative.

Deborahkslife - Deborah knits a lot and finishes her projects. It's amazing how much she gets done in a week.

Freerangechick - She knits, writes, and is always working on something interesting.

Shameka - Check out her really cool Obama earrings on ETSY

Yarndork - Thanks for giving us your all and congrats on meeting The Yarnharlot.

My personal thank you to all bloggers who give a little piece of their lives to the world. Thanks for sharing.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mail Theft

It's a normal day nothing particularly exciting happening; take the kids to school, pay some bills, wash clothes, and then something unbelievable happens. A car pulls up to your house, the passenger jumps out, opens your mailbox and grabs your mail. You can't believe what you saw, you rush downstairs and run outside but they are gone. You've been robbed in the middle of the day while you watched and the thief never had to open your front door. But he got away with much more than your T.V. or your Grandmas jewelry, he got all your personal information - he stole your identity.
Two of my neighbors had their mail stolen this week. Evidently the thieves made their first of the month rounds in my neighborhood and left everyone stunned. One neighbor didn't watch the event but after hearing the story decided to check his bank statement and learned that the check he had put in the mail had been stolen and washed and cashed - in one day.
This is a growing problem in our society and serious issue. Identity theft can affect your personal, business and financial worlds for a long time. Prevention is the best remedy.
Here are a few tips -
1. Don't put mail in your mailbox for the letter carrier to pick-up.
2. Get a locking mailbox that has a special compartment the mail drops into and can only be accessed by a key.
Most stories like this have little importance until they hit home and then they become too close to dismiss. This is the time you don't make excuses or pretend that it could never happen to you. This is the time you buy a little piece of mind. Take a close look at your mail box; is it mounted on a weak post that could easily be knocked down. I have heard stories where thieves take the entire mailbox to get the mail.
Please pass this story along because it is worth sharing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Prima Question




Being a new knitter I routinely learn things the hard way because I don't know enough to ask the right questions. Consequently, I have knitted the pattern backwards and had to rip. I have knitted the wrong size and had to rip. I have followed the directions wrong and had to rip, and I have followed the directions exactly and had to rip. I have begun to notice a theme in my knitting projects and in an effort to interrupt that pattern - and actually get an FO, I have tried to work more carefully.

What I have learned is that in the knitting world one cannot ask too many questions. In fact it is probably a very healthy attitude to question everything. I find myself constantly counting each row and reviewing the stitches for any mistakes and reading and re-reading the directions to understand what is to happen. Reading the entire pattern - even if I don't understand it , is also a good idea. I have read my "Free Pattern" from hence forth to be known as Prima - because it is Yarnhogs first hand-spun free pattern. Prima is a great pattern. A simple 4x2 rib knit pattern. I am knitting it with bamboo yarn that I absolutely love, love, love. It is so soft and silky and pretty that I can't wait to enjoy the experience of wearing it. An event that is sure to come soon since I am finished with the back and nearly done with the front. I only have one problem, a rather big problem. I don't know what to do next.

Here's where all you wonderful smarty experienced knitters rescue me.

The challenge-

The directions read -

Shape Neck-

Work across stitches to center of piece and divide for split collar. ( Did that )

Work each side separately until armholes measure 7.5', ending with WS. ( Did one side)

Next Row ; working each side separately, BO 7 sts. at each neck edge.

MY QUESTION-
Since I split the piece I am wondering do I BO in the middle - which would be at the V, or on the ends which would be on the sides. 7 stitches is a lot to BO.

Do you see where my needle is? Do I back off stitches there?

Yeah I now I may have put too much thought into this but after ripping my previous project 3 times I'm more comfortable waiting for the answer than taking the plunge.




Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How'd they do that?

I love sweater coats. They seem so yummy soft to look at and I just love the feeling of being all wrapped up in wonderful soft yarn. I have found a few for sale that I like, but I always return them because the yarn is cheap acrylic no matter what price I pay. I found this one in a catalog called, Body Central. It's like a cousin of Victoria's Secret, but less underwear. I ordered a blouse from them once and a large would have fit an 8 yr, so I only look at the pretty pictures. Anyway, I really like this coat. It's the perfect length and the design is both casual and classy at the same time. I could wear this with jeans or slacks to the office. I love it, but I don't think the yarn quality is up to my newly trained awareness. Even though I am definitely a novice knitter or as I affectionately call myself a 'baby knitter', I started looking at the coat and decided that I could figure the pattern out. Doesn't that look like a popcorn stitch? Well maybe not.
Anyway here's the challenge. Can anyone figure out how to knit this coat? I'm a small, and I need very detailed instructions. Also, I don't really want the shawl collar to be so big - actually I think the design would be greatly improved and more timeless to have it a more traditional size - maybe just to the edge of the shoulders.
Here's the link to the catalog page where you could get a close-up of the coat and a back picture.
http://www.bodyc.com/BodyCentral/womens.fashion/itemdetl.html?lvl1=NewArrivals&lvl2=NewArrivals2&item=3304
Much thanks and a Starbucks card to the knitter with the know how.
P.S. Tell a friend. I want to have fun with this idea.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Parkinson's

Yesterday my husband went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. It wasn't a big surprise. I have noticed the symptoms for a long time. At first it was just one hand shaking, then two. He has been unsteady when he walks and drags one foot. Now I am noticing his difficulty in speaking. He finally told me that he has to really concentrate when he is walking.
At first he blamed his shakiness on me. I guess denial is common.
My thoughts and emotions are really spinning. I'm resigned to the situation only because there is nothing that I can do to change it. I must accept it in order to move forward. However, I have had thoughts of, "Why him God?" Why me and my family?" I don't dwell on that idea because it is so negative and self absorbed.
Parkinson's is a neurogenerative movement disorder that progressively gets worse and is incurable. Michael J. Fox and Mohammad Ali have Parkinson's. Do you remember seeing Michael when he first announced he had PD? I do. I was stunned. Now I sit in that same dull feeling wondering if my husband will be shaking his head and body like Michael.
Last night I told the children that we need to help Dad more with things like walking the dog and doing chores around the house. They don't know what PD is but they sensed in my voice and manner that it is serious.
My husband was sitting at the kitchen table and very calmly said, "I went to the doctor today and he gave me some medicine". He was staring at the bottle of pills, reading its' complicated instructions. Literally, he takes one pill every day at 7pm for a week, the following week a pill every day at 12pm , the following week a pill at 5am, 12 pm and 7pm and then I can't remember. I am sure I will need to make a chart because he won't remember. He has always resisted taking vitamins or pills.
I didn't cry when he told me. I feel like crying today. I could cry but what good would that do? I'd only have to recover and find a way to get strong. I have cried so very much in the last few years; tears for lost friendships, tears from a brokenheart, tears from failure, tears for nothing. I have learned that tears are worthless.
I have already taped into the Internet for information about PD and am finding that it's a big story to enter into.
I honestly believe that it is not when we stand up to fight or lay down to let it be, it is the moment when we reach out that changes everything.
I am thankful that I have this blog to share my thoughts.
Peace.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hennalucent ?!?!!!!


As you can see from the picture on the box the color is Bark Brown. A shade very close to my original hair color. I thought it was a perfect match and considering the fact that it was the only color choice available in a brown shade, I was happy to shell out $3.99 for the box. Yes, that's right $3.99. After spending a week spraying tea ( rosemary and sage) to restore the hair color to the gray and coffee to give color to the rest of my hair I jumped on the henna idea. It's been a whole week beyond my usual touch-up and I am feeling antsy about the whole idea of going natural. Must be strong.
The goal of this project is to get away from using toxic harsh chemicals on my hair. I carefully read the directions and prepared my mixing bowl, brush and robe. I opened the pouch and discovered not brown but a green shade of powder that smelled. Imagine an earthy, foul, pungent baby poop like smell. Yeah that's about right.
Now I had to balk. I pause to consider the effects of putting this concoction on my head. So far I'm okay with the rosemary sage smell ( rather nice) and the coffee is fun, but this stuff stinks. I thought well I bought the last one on the shelf, maybe since it's all natural it's beyond its' shelf life. I checked the box for an expiration date and found nothing. Fearless, and way to trusting I carefully add hot water according to the directions and discover that not only does it reek but it is green! It's GREEN. Pea soup green. I am now greatly concerned with the prospect of putting GREEN stinky stuff on my head. Originally I was worried that the henna would make my hair red ( I like red hair on other people, but I think that it doesn't work well with my complexion), now I must consider the possibility of getting green highlights. For some CRAZY reason I proceed. I apply the pea soup gooey mixture on my head and stare at my reflection in the mirror. Dear God this is the prayer I need you to answer. I know I thought there were other big important issues - world peace, helping the hungry and paying my bills, but I was wrong - now were talking about my vanity.
The instructions indicate that I need to wait 40 minutes to get the color I want. Yeah right I'm waiting 40 minutes to end up looking like a Martian. I'm not getting ready for Halloween. So after 20 agonizing minutes I hop in the shower. I wash my hair with a passion reserved only for desperate souls who fear the devil or in this case the Hell life will be with Green Hair. I rinse, lather and repeat. Then I sprayed coffee on my hair, hoping that all the green is gone. Yes, I did stop to think about the color combination of green and dark brown. What is that gunk?

After towel drying I began the inspection.

NO GREEN

I start looking for gray.

No Roots

This is what it looks like -




Yeah - Not awful.

Honestly I do have some gray. I think that is more operator error than product related.

Results - Color Good, Gray almost gone. Shiny soft hair and no smell or tint of green.
Now, how long before I have to redye?
To be continued....




Friday, September 5, 2008

Experiment

What does this picture look like to you? My morning cup of coffee or tea?
Guess again.
Try my new hair color kit!!
Yeah that's right.
I discovered a way to restore the color to my gray hair and today I brewed up a potion and sprayed it on my hair.
I know how funny this idea must be - coffee and tea for your hair, but wait it actually makes sense if you agree that most medicines, creams and products are plant based.
My motivation is simple. I want to save my hair from the damages of hair dyes. They all contain really harmful chemicals that strip away the hair follicle and dry it out. After a time the hair must be cut for it to look nice. I want to grow my hair longer and nothing is ugly than long dry tangled hair soo... I did a Google search. Low and behold I find this site -
http://www.longlocks.com/hair-care-recipes-cookbook.htm#dye5
and then I find another site with basically the same information. Inspired I went to the health food store and bought herbs in bulk and then I went home and brewed my tea - rosemary and sage, which smells absolutely wonderful, and I filled a spray bottle, sprayed my hair, waited about a half hour and then I shampooed.
My hair is nice and soft and the gray is somewhat covered. According to the directions repeated applications are necessary for full coverage to be achieved. I am willing to give it a try because I love the idea of using all natural products. Think of all the chemicals that enter your body via the tiny pores in the skin. Lotions, soaps, dyes, deodorants etc.... and they all contain chemicals that we couldn't pronounce even if a gun were aimed at us. How much cellular damage
is the cumulative effect of these products having on our systems?
Secondly- one of the side effects of menopause is dry skin and hair loss. Lucky me I got a heavy dose of both and lost a lot of hair. Happily, much of it has grown back but I still have dry skin and hair. I have tried many, many products that make miraculous claims and never come close to being more than a superficial fix. If I am going to make a real change I have to stop chemically processing, blow drying, flat ironing and abusing my hair.
However, I can only be so brave because after all I'm not ready to be old or at least look it so I am giving the new treatment a few weeks and then I'm trying a Henna all natural hair dye.
In the mean time fair warning to friends and family - I may smell like a cross between Folgers and rosemary.
Now is there anybody else who would like to enter this experiment with me? It would be fun share the experience.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Knitting Wisdom

Tuesday I found out that my office is closing. I just moved to this office after my old company closed the office I was at. I had barely moved-in and now I am faced with the decision of where I want to go. I thought that I really looked into the situation carefully the last time I moved. I interviewed with a lot of company's, asked for referrals and took my time carefully thinking about what I wanted and where I should be. My current manager came very highly recommend - but through no fault of his, in fact he is credited with decreasing the debit by a whopping $250,000 , the office is closing. The office was huge - and literally vacant most of the time, because most agents are working from their homes or on the road. It doesn't make sense for a business to hold onto a building when no one is there most of the time. I only go into the office for client meetings and office meetings. During the summer when my kids are home I work from home.

Regardless of the reasoning and logic of the decision I am still left thinking, "Now what do I do?".

Wednesday I went to a class about REO's - real estate owned, aka, bank foreclosures. Most everyone has heard of the glut of properties ( we don't call them homes when they are owned by the bank), the most common myth is that these houses are the greatest deals in Real estate. They aren't. REO's are a difficult to buy and often a complex and mysterious process. Even following the banks specific instructions ( you must go to special web sites to down load extra forms), there is till no guarantee that you have a bought the house. Have you ever tried or rather been lured into bidding on EBay? The opening bid was $1 or $10 or some amount super low and the auction was open for 10 days. So every day you carefully watched your item and every day you imagined how great it would be to get "it" at such a great price. Then the last day arrived and suddenly bidders showed up. The last hours came and you were out bid over and over again, and the price kept going up until you thought, Hey, I could have just bought this thing a week ago and been done. But now your caught up in the bidding and wanting to win. You lose the bid and the final price is at least a typical sales price or more. Was that a deal? I don't think so.

REO's are a lot like EBay. They start out with a great teaser rate and the offers roll in, fast!. I saw one property the day it came on the market and by noon the next day it had 30 offers. A week later there were 50. Why did they all want the house? It was great and they were dreaming. I tracked the close and sure enough it sold $50k above list price. It sold at market price, - what houses typically go for in that neighborhood.

Well, the prediction is that this REO and short sale market will remain strong right into 2011. That's three years of this nonsense. Which makes me think - Is this what I want to do? I started out wanting to help people, believing that my honesty , integrity and determination were valuable talents and needed. Real estate agent are very optimistic people - and a lot of them are really nice. Everyone in both offices I worked at were generous with their ideas, energy and time. They were sincere and kind. I am always told to never , never give-up, and since I am not a quitter I buy into that mind set, however, there must come a time when the writing on the wall is clear enough to say - move on.

Usually when my mind is full of life's' thoughts like these I busy myself with cleaning or gardening or knitting.

And I have been happily knitting my "Free Pattern" sweater. I have a back almost finished. Knitting is slow because my hand still aches, but I take breaks and massage it and then readjust my hold on the needles, which seems to help. I found a few mistakes and I almost took the whole thing apart. But I decided that the yarn creates these small holes and that I was going to have to live with this special feature. I have carefully counted rows and stitches and I am on track with the pattern so I should be okay. Because when I look at the whole piece it is really quite nice and I love the yarn.

Well now I think I may have stumbled onto a thought.

Knitting wisdom for today - look at the whole piece not the holes!

Thanks


Thursday, August 21, 2008

No Cheese , PLEASE

It used to be that when you ordered a burger you had to request cheese. It was an extra ten cents. Now no matter what window you pull up to the voice always says, Would you like cheese with that? I know all about up- sales and how employees need to meet quotas. I understand the value of service and giving the customer what he wants but I Don't want cheese, or should I say, I don't want a piece of process food product that looks and taste more like plastic blow dried onto my burger. I specifically said - no cheese, I repeated at the end of my order, Please, no cheese, yet what do I get - Cheese. Gooey icky yellow stuff. Yuck that is not cheese, no matter how much they want to believe it is. I know what real cheese taste and looks like - it's creamy and yummy and soft and not shiny.

So, anyway there I was at the speaker box calmly declining cheese on my burger, fries or pie, but what do I get - CHEESE. I checked the burger and cried out - NOOOOOOOO. Three hunger boys, one starving woman and disgusting slimy fake cheese staring back at us like a yellow goo. No longer calm and with great angst I stepped-up to the window and said, " You got my order wrong. I said NO cheese and I got cheese on everything, look it's even stuck to the bag. You also over charged me". Please fix this and fix it fast.

Now usually I don't encourage fast food restaurants to work even faster. It just doesn't seem right to ask over stressed, underpaid, usually ESL employees to work faster. Besides I would rather wait and give them the chance to get it right. But, I was hungry so I push and anyway I got my food and left and we ate and everyone agreed that from now on we go to In-N-Out for burgers 'cause they have like a hundred people working there and they know how to get orders right and I think they use real cheese.

Thanks I needed that!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back

The good news is that I don't have carpel tunnel syndrome. My friend had surgery for this problem and she kindly explained all of the symptoms; tingling in the fingers, stiffness and throbbing. Although I have two of the three the first one is the most significant indicator.
I probably just have a case of very sore hand - No big deal. So after a few hand stretches and a little message, I started knitting again, but not before I frogged every single stitch in my completely finished sweater. Yes, I took the entire sweater apart - because it doesn't fit. The one serious flaw with knitting is the inability to correctly gauge size. As I knitted I frequently did a mock fit and everything seemed to be okay. As much as I could imagine the sweater would fit but just as I was finishing the shoulder seams on the back piece I realized that this sweater was too short and the neckline dipped too low. If I were a 14 yo it would have been fine but ...I'm not, soo I pouted over the outcome and then tore the entire sweater apart. Back to the drawing board.
Knitting often seems a metaphor for life for me. How many times have I worked tireless, inspired and motivated, only to discover that after a closer look everything wasn't the way I had imagined and I wasted my time. At that point I have a choice, give up - toss the project and move on, or try to fix it. I am a stubborn and determined person and so I analysed the situation and made a plan. I needed to add an extra row at the bottom. Simple. So I knitted away with a satisfied feeling but.... Well I don't think that is going to work either. Actually I think what I need to do is add maybe three or four rows to each segment in order to increase the sweater length properly. Either way I am too stuck , and too disgusted to think about this anymore, soo I have moved on to "Free Pattern", and it is moving along quite nicely.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mosiac Me



1. First name - Janet

2. Favorite food - chicken pot pie

3. High School - Kearny

4. Favorite color - Green

5. Celeb Crush - David Bromstad HGTV Colorsplash

6. Favorite drink - Ice tea

7. Dream Vacation - Hawaii

8. Favorite Dessert - Ice Cream Drumstick

9. What I want to be when I grow-up - Young at Heart

10. What I love most in life - Laughing

11. One word to describe me - determined

12 My Flickr name - That Girrl



This exercise was really a lot of fun for me. Take a little time for yourself and put this picture of YOU together. You'll love it, I promise.


Here's how you do it -

Copy and paste the URLs for images that answer your questions into fd’s mosaic maker. Copy pictures from the internet or flickr.



These are the questions -

1. What is your first name2. What is your favorite food?3. What high school did you go to?4. What is your favorite color?5. Who is your celebrity crush?6. Favorite drink?7. Dream vacation?8. Favorite dessert?9. What do you want to be when you grow up?10. What do you love most in life?11. One word to describe you.12. Your Flickr name.



Now go have fun!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SAD

Ever try to knit with broken taped needles and an Ace bandage? Well, it's not easy...
Fixing the needles was no simple but the hand remains a big painful problem. I'm a virtual knitter for now....
And the sweater doesn't fit I need to frog.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Moving Right Along...

With Border lace barely finished I cast on for another project. Originally this yarn was supposed to be used for 'Free Pattern' but after trying 3 times to cast on and knit with it I gave up. The yarn just didn't feel right for the project. It is Rowan All Seasons Cotton and it felt very stiff, especially after knitting with the Andean Silk (itchy but great to knit with), besides it's summer and I want a top I can wear now. I had this pattern in a folder and before I knew it I had finished the cast-on and was busy making a sweater. Funny how I let so much time go by with the other project and here in the span of a week I have this sweater almost done. It lacks side and shoulder seams. It was truely a pleasure to knit. The directions are very easy to follow and the pattern shows progress really quickly especially after the body is finished.
The one problem I have is that my hand is aching something fierce from my desperate attempt to finish the sweater by 4th of July. That morning I thought I would quickly sew the seams up but the plan went awry. I missed my deadline and decided I better let my hand rest or I might never be able to knit again.

Does anyone else suffer from knitters hand? I had a case of carpal tunnel about 20 years ago, but it went away after I stopped working for the Post Office ( so did my nightmares and chronic headaches). Are there braces that knitters can wear, maybe something like the kind that bowlers use?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Finished!!!

Do you know who this is??
That is my neighbor trying to figure out my mess of knitting for the lace border sweater that I am knitting. After finally finishing the 2nd sleeve I then placed all the pieces of the puzzle on my dining room table and knew in a instant that there was no way I could figure out the next move. Lucky for me I called a friend (the lovely lady in the picture) who actually knows how to knit. I only asked that she help me understand the directions but I was truly lucky and she knitted me out of never never land. When she asked, " How much do you want me to knit?" I said, " As much as your willing to do" and then she magically put the sweater together. Thank you very much Yarnhog. I couldn't have done it without you. Note to all of you kind hearted knitting enthusiasts who give knitting kits to friends - they may need your help!
I sewed the sleeves and sides together and then I tried it on.
See -















Isn't the border pretty?
Well you may be wondering, Why I have a Teddy Bear modeling my very first knitted sweater with sleeves.
Could it be that it is 85 degrees and too hot to wear sleeves?
Could it be that I am having a bad hair day?
Could it be that it ITCHES????
Yes, this beautiful blue yarn that I loved to knit with itches something awful. Kinda like poison ivy with a rash on top. Yeah super duper itches. Does it go away if I put it in the closet? Do I wash it in magic de-itching soap?
Do I wear something under the sweater to shield my skin?
WHAT Do I Do?

Something to think about

I'll bet you'll never guess who wrote these thought provoking words. Enjoy the read, I promise it will make a nice difference in your day.

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait.
We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. George Carlin
Did you guess right?

Monday, June 23, 2008

No Left Turns


This bit of news comes to me via Me7of11 who posted a comment on my, Smart Cars and Dumb People .


With gas soaring to $4.60/gal here in San Diego (and no end in sight) and most of us driving gas guzzler cars like, vans and SUV's , it has become increasingly important to do whatever we can to cut back consumption.

The summary report of the short article is that UPS cut its fleets' gas bill by eliminating left hand turns. The cumulative effect of hundreds of cars idling their engines for even a few seconds was significant enough to save a million gallons of gas.

Maybe, if we all cut back it will shave a couple more million gallons and maybe that will help. Google, left turns for more information and please - Share this idea!
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/magazine/09left-handturn.html

Monday, June 16, 2008

Shameka's new Etsy Site

Teal Leopard Stitch Markers and Bracelet

I have always be impressed by the tremendous talent in bloggers - the knitting,writing, photography, patterns, artwork, gardening, etc... the list goes on and on. We seem to grow best when inspired by the work of another. The constant building on a good idea results in the most fantastic things and even better the growth and empowerment of a woman.
I am so very excited to announce that - Shameka, has just opened her own Etsy shop. She specializes in stitch markers and jewelry. Really neat stuff! I want to invite everyone to stop by and visit her site and please tell a friend.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Summer Knitting Goals 2008

Love this new contest I found via Not much of a Knitter ( who of course really is). This is a contest that inspires, motivates, rewards and everyone wins. For the mere price of posting my summer knitting goals I get a chance to win a fun kit for a simple sweater complete with yarn and knitting bag.
Here goes -

1. Finish Isdora, also known as Knit lace border top
2. Finish 'Free Pattern' project.
3. Name 'Free Pattern' project
4. Cast on shawl.

That's it. Summer is only 90 days and that will be plenty for me to knit. I already have a bunch of home improvement and gardening projects on the 'to do' list plus with the kids home from school I'll be plenty busy.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Red Light Moment

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the store today. I came up to a stop light, glanced down for a moment and then for some reason I looked at the driver next to me and it was a man winking at me. It was a good looking young man flirting with me. At first I stared at him in complete disbelief. You know the moment where you turn around thinking there must be someone behind you that they are looking at. Then I looked at him with a puzzled look on my face, which I hope said, "Ah, are you joking, I'm driving a monster van here, which obviously means- Got Kids" By now he is smiling and so I laugh cause I'm feeling pretty good. I'm thinking, yeah my hair does look good! Finally, I smile at him with a look that I think said,
"Hey you made my day", 'cause he did. Just as the light turned green he gave me another wink and nodded the , Your lookin' good nod. I smiled for at least an hour after that moment and I am smiling now.
Almost as if I had taken a magic pill that erased all my doubts, fears and anxieties, I glowed and walked with a new confidence. The rest of the day unfolded with good moments; I got the best parking space at the store, they opened a cashier for me at Costco (just as I began to put my food on the conveyor a man came by and said ," We're opening another line for you"), I caught four green lights in a row - a grand slam! I got good news from a client and, and, I thought all day about how a good looking man winked at little old me.
It was cool.
I thought as I walked through the store - I should 'Pay It Forward.' I would love to give someone else that magical moment. I saw a young girl who obviously looked like she had just graduated from 8th grade, and I said, "Pretty dress, you look great!" And it was so wonderful to see her smile!!
I wish I could bottle the gift of a compliment because this feeling is great and everyone should be able to have this moment.
Thank you kind good looking man in the sports car next to me, you put a smile on my face that's been missing for a long, long time.

Thoughts

Found a new quote today -

There is an old saying: "It takes an enemy and a friend to hurt you to the core. The enemy to slander you, and the friend to get the 'news' to you."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Smart Cars & Dumb People

Once again the carpool line provides me with material to blog. Today while waiting in line I counting six cars within my sight that were running their engines while waiting in line. What's wrong with that? Well, the bell wasn't going to ring for at least ten minutes and then it takes another five before the line starts to move. These people were idling on $4.20/gal. gas! I dared myself to get out of my car and ask them why, but I chickened out. What could they say?

When do we change our habits? Last year gas was at about $3/gal , only one year later it is over a dollar more. Do you know it took decades for gas to reach $1/gal? This is a big problem and I think every little bit saved makes a difference.


Now here is a nice little email I got that might help you too.

Just enter your zip code in the site below, and it tells you which gas stations have the cheapest prices (and the highest) on gas in your zip code area. It's updated every evening. Just click on the link. You will see a map of your area and then scroll down and you will get a listing of gas prices in your area with addresses and brands starting with the cheapest and going up.

http://autos.msn.com/everyday/gasstations.aspx?zip=&src=Netx

The Smart Car - $13k & 4o mpg

I actually saw someone driving this car on the freeway. It is shockingly small. Personally, I couldn't fit my knitting bag in the car let alone my knees.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A New Beginning


I have finally learned, through trail and error, how to knit the second sleeve, and alas I have learned the first sleeve is all wrong. Which means that first sleeve will become second sleeve very soon.


The problem is that I can't follow directions, or maybe that I can't read, or maybe that the pattern was poorly written, or probably my husband's fault ( 'cuz he says he gets blamed for everything). Either way I am now happily knitting and dreaming (once again) of how wonderful it will be to wear this beautiful sweater.


The lace pattern on the bottom of the sweater and sleeves is really, really pretty and actually fun to knit. Funny or not funny that I am having all my troubles with the ST st.


I have a theory that knitting is a metaphor for your life. It goes something like this -


When all is well; husband good, children clean and fed, house clean, money $$ and hair okay, then knitting proceeds in an orderly fashion. The yarn stays on the needles when it is supposed to and slips off again when it should. Your hands and yarn and needles act in unison, like a dance and almost as if by magic an image appears that absolutely delights you.


When all is not well; husband yucky, children noisy and hungry, house messy, no money and hair wars, then knitting does not work in fact, Nothing works.


If the metaphor holds to be true then I am about to begin a very nice change.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Maya knows...

I got this from Deborah and I loved it so much I had to share it.

In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older. And, there on television, she said it was'exciting.'

Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every day...like her breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first.. The audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such a simple and honest woman, with so much wisdom in her words!
Maya Angelou also said: 'I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.'

'I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.'

'I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.'

'I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life.'

'I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.'

'I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.'

'I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.'

'I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.'

'I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.'

'I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.'

'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

And here's what I have learned at 50 years of age
I've learned that it is a big waste of time to worry about anything.
I've learned that crying makes you feel worse.
I've learned that it's good to think about other's but it's just as important to think about yourself.
I've learned that I can do anything that I really want to do.
I've learned to forget about the bad things and to focus on the good things.
I've learned that it isn't the end of the world if I am late but it sure feels good to be early.
I've learned that I can get a lot done in 15 minutes.

What have you learned?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day


In honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country
Total number of casualties from the Iraq war is at 30,329 according to

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm Tagged!!!!

Free Range Chick tagged me with this meme that has been going around blog town for a while now. I am proud and honored to participate in my FIRST TAG.

Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer."

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

At my age it's hard to remember what I had for breakfast but ... I think I was a SAHM with a 16, 5 and 3 year old. My youngest wasn't born yet and I was taking a quilting class. I was in two playgroups and I started a business making First Holy Communion veils.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

Preview some houses for my clients, take the car to the garage because the engine light is on, check email accounts, call daughter, call mother, post on blog, buy a tool kit to carry in my car, return a $60 pillow that my husband bought and go see Indiana Jones

3) Snacks I enjoy:

Green olives, crackers with cream cheese, apples, oranges and raisins, green tea ( hot or cold) and chocolate covered pretzels.

4)Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

I would go to Hawaii (where I would learn to surf), Jamaica ( where I would sunbathe au natural), New York city (where I would go to the Met), Orlando (Disney world), Paris (where I would go to the Louvre), Austria ( where I would ski), Australia ( where I would eat shrimp on the barbee). I would take many cruises and I would bring both family and friends. I would go to the Olympics and the World Series. I would see many concerts.
I would buy a new house. I would also buy a house for my daughter. I would order all those items I have highlighted in catalogs. I would shop at real clothing stores - not just Target and Walmart.
I would get a fuel efficient car for everyone I know because I want to stick-it to the Oil Co's (Elvis bought Cadillacs - I'm buying Prius's).
I would hire a cook because I don't like to cook. I would have lots of parties!! I would hire a personal trainer, a professional organizer and a full time gardener. I would also hire tutors for all my kids because I never want to help with homework again, unless they need to read a story to me. I would write full time and visit friends and family and knit the rest of the time. I already donate to many, many charities and they would get a lot more.

5) Places I have lived.

I was born in Panama. I lived in Norfolk Virginia for a few years and when I was five years old my father got military orders to move to San Diego. I never went away to school or moved out of the city.

Six people that I would like to know more about are

Deborah, Shameka, Haley, Craftivore, Olga & Not much of a knitter


I deliberately tried to pick people I think have not been tagged. I would have tagged more but making all those hyper links has worn me out. Peace to everyone I didn't name. If you want to be tagged just ask.

Trek has a contest

Trek is having a contest. I get extra entries if I post on my blog.

Here are her details -

I've got a hank of Knit Picks Shimmer to give away. And who knows what might make its way into the box before it is sealed?If you are subscribed to this blog via Bloglines, you are entered.

If you are not yet subscribed, sign up before the end of the Memorial Day weekend and you will be entered.That's easy, isn't it?Oh, one more thing. If you post on your blog, I'll give you another entry. If someone tells me you referred them, I'll give you another entry as well.

Post your Bloglines status in the comments. Let the fun begin!

Take me out to the ballgame

Had one of those evenings that you sign-up for weeks in advance because they sound like a good idea at the time. This one was Padres game with the school night. Yeah, $21 dollar tickets for only $15. I had visions of the whole family going to the ballgame and having a memorable time of laughing, smiling, cheering and having a good time together - One Big Happy family. Hug Hug Hug.



Long, long story short. He didn't buy tickets. They had 6 extra. We bought those. Not enough. Daughter didn't go. Neighbor boy did.



Day of the game it rains. In my city if it rains; also known as sprinkles, scattered showers or heavy mist, then everyone stays home, lights the fireplace, drinks cocoa and watches a movie.



Fear of cold and rain hits the family with a heavy hand and we all moan and groan. No one wants to go. The Padres always lose and we'll freeze.



I wear a turtleneck sweater, a heavy jacket, a knitted scarf and mittens. At the last minute as I am leaving I grab my knitting.



As we arrive at the gate a sudden panic strikes me when I see the inspection line. I look in at my knitting needles and immediately fear that I am not going to pass Go at the gate. They are going to take my needles which look way to sharp to not be used as an occasional weapon. I reason that if they take nail files then surely they want my number 9 wooden needle that are at least three times longer and more powerful. Fortunately there are only two people in line and no one behind me . The "inspector" glances at my shabby bag of needles and I calmly say I'm knitting my first sweater. Either a wave of compassion momentarily grabs the guy or my needles don't look like a potential threat to anyone except my yarn.



We ride three escalators up to our sky high seats. My entire family is snickering at me knowing that I have a fear of heights. I always rise to the challenge but I must turn a little pale and I know the deep breaths and long signs aren't subtle. The last part is always the worst. I slowly creep up 22 steps and grab my seat.



Okay ballgame, I'm here , the family is partly here and I am seated. Play Ball



I realize that I don't write about knitting much, to be exact it has been almost 4 months since I have written about knitting. But I do a lot of knitting - in my dreams. My Isadora project has been placed on hold for all this time but tonight I make up for lost time. I knit, and knit and knit. The Padres, hit, and hit and hit. I knit for two and half hours and I start to see my second sleeve that I have knitted three times measure all the way past my bicep. It is a wonderful night. I knit with cold hands while my little boy blows is warm breath on them. I knit while cheering a home run in the seventh inning. I only put my knitting down to eat chili cheese nachos, only a few because I AM KNITTING. I can't have messy fingers.

Final score, Padres 8, Reds 2, Isadora 34 rows closer.

Note to self- Must go to more games.



Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oh Dear

A Young Artist Impression of My day


Here is a message from my son B -
Dear, dearest, dearestful family of dear, dearest souls that have dear thoughts, that are dearest to them in the dear ways, that are dear to them, in all dear ways dear things that can be dear to the dear people of the dearest household full of the dearest people in my family, Hi B

He loves to make me laugh :)



This message came at the end of such a dear day.

It all began at 6am when I rose to prepare to take my son to his orthodontist appointment at 7:30. Everything went very well I even got food in the crock pot for my famous Italian herb chicken. Yummy . I am now filled with the power of having fixed breakfast, lunch and dinner for my family all before 7 am. I am Woman.

We arrive early to our appointment only to discover that no one is there. The doors are locked and the lights are turned off. We shall wait I say to my son. He says he is feeling sick. I carefully finish my crossword puzzle. My son nearly glows with pride when he is able to fill in one space. I am glowing with pride too.

At 7:37 I decide to call the office. Answering machine message states, " We open at 9am on Thursday". WHAT. Oh yeah. I messed up. My appointment is tomorrow on Friday. Well, NO big deal I just go home with sick son and get ready for my next appointment at 9.

Everything is going very nicely I run multiple errands with great style and success. Later that afternoon I begin my pilgrimage to retrieve all my children and a few extras from their many schools. School one is 12 miles to the west, school two is 15 miles to the east. Woman A is in the middle. I do this everyday - no problem.

I am waiting in line at school two, I turn my engine off to not waste my precious almost $4 a gallon gas and then a few seconds later when the line starts to move I turn the key and NOTHING. No noise, no sound, no purr, no humm, nothing. I turn the key again, and again and again. There is now a very long line behind me and no one in front of me. I feel the increasing angst of the waiting moms behind me. Moms who are tired and hot and tired and hungry. I almost panic. I wave the cars past me and look back with my best sweet smile only to discover the lady behind me is clueless. She is on her cell phone and chatting away. A teacher is now running at me. I am cool thanks to my decision to start taking two St. John's Wort pills every day. I feel completely calm . I put the car in neutral. The P.E. teacher he-man pushes the car to the side. I lock the doors - cause I wouldn't want anyone to steal my car that doesn't move. I call my husband.

Honey I can't start the car and I am in the carpool line. Immediately He understands the seriousness of the problem.

I'm leaving right now.

I walk down to get the kids. I return with the great expectation that all mechanical problems will have disappeared and I will be back in the drivers seat. I turn the key - Nothing. I turn the key - Nothing , I turn the key - nothing. Why isn't this working? I fix a lot of things by pretending that they're not really broken. The mind or matter thing is one of my things. OK. Call husband again. He says he will be there in 10 minutes.

I then turn the key - the car starts.

I Am Woman Hear Me Roar!!!!

Dear, Dearest, Dearestful people tomorrow is another day.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Stay-at home Mom worth $117,000


Had a very nice Mothers day ( hope you did too!). Got a call from my daughter, got a dress from my husband( it fits and I like it), gotta pen set from son A, and a salt and pepper shaker from son B, got a handmade card from son J. The handmade card always steals my heart. He wrote, "you are like sweet love and valentine love". I had to ask if he copied a message that his teacher wrote. He didn't.

I ran across this article about the worth of a stay-at-home Mom and knew I had to share it. Too bad we can't take it to the bank.
May 11, 2008

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
BOSTON -- If a stay-at-home mom could be compensated in dollars rather than personal satisfaction and unconditional love, she'd rake in a nifty sum of nearly $117,000 a year.
That's according to a study released Thursday by Salary.com, a Waltham, Mass.-based firm that studies workplace compensation.
The eighth annual survey calculated a mom's market value by studying pay levels for 10 job titles with duties that a typical mom performs, ranging from housekeeper and day care center teacher to van driver, psychologist and chief executive officer.
This year, the annual salary for a stay-at-home mom would be $116,805, while a working mom who also juggles an outside job would get $68,405 for her motherly duties.
The biggest driver of a mom's theoretical salary is the amount of overtime pay she'd receive for working more than 40 hours a week. The 18,000 moms surveyed about their typical week reported working 94.4 hours -- meaning they'd be spending more than half their working hours on overtime.
Working moms reported an average 54.6 hour ''mom work week'' besides the hours they spent at paying jobs.


P.S.

Although I look forward to celebrating Mother's Day - a day of relaxing and no cooking, I must protest the crowds and chaos that now accompany "my" day. I don't need a bouquet of roses that a week ago cost $20 but now are $60, $75 or more. I don't want to have brunch at $35 a person And fight for a parking space And elbow room in the restaurant.

I think that Mom's should stage an underground movement to rebel against the Hallmark holiday and all it's commercialized trimmings .

I hearby announce a quiet revolution where Mom's simply announce their choice of DAY to their family. Personally, I don't need another holiday in May - we have two birthdays in the first 10 days. On the appointed day you can do your family thing on your own terms at a more reasonable price and all the while have a big smile on your face knowing that in true Mom style you outwitted the rules and did it your way!!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day at the DMV - a short play in three acts

Act 1

After a normal day of errands, work and shuttling kids home from school a road weary mom, in remarkably good shape for her age, walks to the curb to get the mail. Always hopeful that today I will be getting the 1 million dollars that Ed McMahon has promised to ME for the past three decades I carefully pull the bundle from the box. Quickly rifling through the "junk mail" I discover a plain white envelope with the return address - Dept. of Motor Vehicles aka DMV. Allowing only a few seconds to elapse, I rip open the envelope and read the short letter. " You must renew your license on or before your birthday" Okay. You must bring a valid ID and $26 dollars. Okay. You must get your picture taken AHHHAAHAHAHAHA.

Act 2
Realizing the magnitude of the problem and it's long lasting effects I devise a plan.

1. Read and re-read the letter for any errors or loop holes.

2. Schedule appointment online to avoid hearing, "Hold please", which we all know is code for, "Suffer fool".

3. Post appointment to calender and carefully pin letter to bulletin board - so that you won't forget and it won't get lost.

4. 10 days prior to appointment get hair cut. 7 days before color hair. 3 days before get a facial.


Act 3

Rising early on the big day, I decide to go for a run, believing that I will accomplish two things; work off my nervousness and get the blood flowing so that my skin will glow. After a long relaxing shower I carefully apply my make-up, put hot rollers in my hair and drink a cup of green tea. Everything is going as planned. The phone rings - Yes, NO, Yes, well no, NO, No, NO gotta go. Okay Okay The wardrobe selection proceeds with no problems.

Out the door and on the road with the DMV letter and the navigation set. Everything is going as planned. Until - What happened?

Where is the DMV??. The nav. keeps saying, 'recalculating, recalculating. I'm looking at the map. They moved?? Must follow voice commands. Must do as I am told. Must not be late. Arriving at destination on left. Re-check face for signs of terror, re-apply lipstick. Good, Good.

There are 150 people here. Excuse me , Excuse me, I have an appointment. Fill out form and WAIT. NO NO NO NO! I sit down in the molded plastic chair that can't possibly be comfortable for any human and my heart sinks. I have not brought anything to pass the time. I don't have a magazine, I don't have a book, I DON'T HAVE MY KNITTING???? Why didn't I pin that to the bulletin board?

I slyly check the other peoples faces. I hear a lady arguing with the clerk. She must be crazy. They have a robot voice announcing over the loud speaker, "now serving number 273 at window c14" Where am I? Have I left the planet? Am I in tomorrow land? Must stay calm. 10 minutes, 20 minutes. I check my purse for an emery board. I clean my wallet. I sort through the receipts. 30 minutes. There are no magazines anywhere. Not even an old Car and Driver magazine. Shouldn't they have that one? I HAVE AN APPOINTMENT!! 33 MINUTES. "Now serving 315 at window c17" Hey that's me. I'm cool. I'm walking through the sad people waiting, and I am trying to find window c17, only I'm lost. It's way in the back and unlabeled. I decide not to complain.
Yes, Thank you. Okay. Yes. Wait a minute those people in the corner are taking a test. Do I have to take a test? I thought it was bad enough that I have to get my picture taken
No, next time. I consider this an act of mercy. Do you take a debit card? Yes, Good. Okay. Thank you., wait in the next line.

Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. I am watching a lady grade tests. She stamps the forms as if she were killing a large bug and then calls out names, you passed, you passed, I'm so sorry you didn't pass. I have now been standing in this line for 15 minutes. There isn't a mirror anywhere and the bathroom is on the other side of the building. I don't dare get out of line. Even my vanity loses to standing in line. Must remain calm.

The lady finally calls my number and I step-up. This is the moment I have been suffering for a month now. The five second challenge that lasts for five years. Yes I got 5 seconds to stand on the line, smile please, click. You should get your new license in the mail in about a week. Thank you - NEXT.
My only clue was that she smiled after taking the picture. She looks like a nice lady and has a sweet voice so I decide that she isn't evil and secretly laughing her head off at my goofy picture.
Today I got my license in the mail -
Although the picture is very good I couldn't get a picture of the picture that was good. :(
I have overcome the might DMV forces and I can now live in peace whenever I am asked to show my license. Bartenders, policemen, store clerks and other strangers that I never see won't be able to make jokes, snickers or sneers about my bad picture. I feel mighty!

I have a suggestion and a way for the state to make a lot of money.

Have two picture lines. One with the regular lady who gives you 5 seconds and another line with a professional photographer, lights, mirrors and a computer to show you the pictures. For a mere $20 one could have the option of guaranteeing a successful picture before they walk away. Now wouldn't that be money well spent? I am certain that added revenue would balance the budget, pave that bumpy street in front of my house and buy school lunch for a lot hungry kids. It could be called, "Vanity for humanity at the DMV"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just another Day?

Sometimes the best things in life really are the simplest. It was especially true for me today. Today is my birthday and it's the half way marker - 50. I can barely say the word and I have been dreading the day for a long, long, long time. I mean how in the world can I be old. It feels like just yesterday I turned thirty. I was having fun and life was pretty good. I thought about all the things I wanted to accomplish and then I remembered that I was a single parent and I had a six year old, so I decided that I would have to settle for being Queen of my own universe.

The next thing I'm turning forty or is it thirty-nine again, any way I 'm like, better take this one seriously. So I stocked up on anti-aging products. I thought I could trouble shoot that problem and never look a day older. Just spend lots of money, never go in the sun, drink massive amounts of water, and only laugh on rare occasions. That plan didn't last. I knew it was seriously flawed after my fifth trip to the bathroom before noon. I washed my hands looked in the mirror laughed out loud and thought, " I can't live like this".

Then I turned forty-nine and I thought, now that I know how to use the Internet I will Google - best anti-aging methods available to the common person who doesn't have a lot of money. Evidently, best equals money and common equals dumb. I decided to save lots of shipping and handling charges and so I went to Sephora instead. At my age I can handle the snippy salesperson who can spot a freebie-er (person who does not buy, just tries on everything and pretends to look as though she might buy). This was a meaningful event because, under their fluorescent lights I thought I looked pretty good in navy blue eyeshadow, burnt orange blush and brown lipstick. I even tossed my hair with some $44 dollar goo that looked a lot like Aloe Vera. I proceeded to walk around the mall thinking I looked like Jacqueline Smith (smart Charlies angle) until I got to the cheap jewelry store. There I caught a glance of myself in the mirror and thought OMG who is that strange woman with the clown face make-up? At that point the magnitude of the problem began to sink in to my stubborn brain. I wasn't going to be able to change anything with anything I could buy in a jar. I went home to re-think my plan against aging.
Aging is all in the mind. I decided I needed a good book on anti-aging. I bought the Yoga method for anti-aging, the All natural Chinese method for anti-aging and Facial exercises from the Orient. I was really excited - I was going to read my way to being young and beautiful. The books came a few days later and I unwrapped them and then some how they ended up under my bed. I tried facial exercises but I began to worry that I was making wrinkles while I was exercising my face to get rid of wrinkles. I am now dreaming that osmosis works through mattresses.
Then I decided that spot exercising doesn't work. I needed to work-out and then my whole body would be young and my face would glow from the increased blood flow, which would make my wrinkles look smaller. I carefully developed an exercise plan. I was going to run on Mon, Wed. and Sat. Palates on Tues and Fri. This plan actually worked pretty good until I caught a cold, my kids caught a cold and I lost my carpool.
Now I was stuck I had run out of plans. What to do? What to do? How was I going to stop getting old. Then it hit me - it's just a number, who cares? Why make a big deal out of it? No one in their right mind is going to Ask me how old I am. And if they do I'll just say, I am one hundred fifty years old or some facsimile thereof , next question.
Today is my birthday and some really lovely things happened that surprised me. You'll never guess what happened. I got up, I went out and did my thing and then I came home. Yeah it was just another day. Only my daughter called and wished my Happy Birthday( she also gave me that beautiful handpainted picture of the flower fields), and my son gave me a card (handmade) it says, "Dear, dearest, dearstful mother...Let nothing stop you from having a wonderful day. My friend baked me carrot cake. Yummy, Yummy, Yummy. I LOVE CAKE. We had a lovely evening of Cake, Coffee and conversation. Oh and I laughed a lot. Earlier I got a navigation system for my car - it works great I just have to learn how to obey commands and since I have never been trained properly it might be a while 'til I have that mastered. Until them I love the maps.
As my friends left I smiled and my heart grew three sizes because I learned that birthdays are not about numbers ( because I'm not 6 years old) and no matter how old I get that sometimes it's the little things that are the very, very, very best. You know the little things like having wonderful moments with family and friends that add up to a life time of memories.



P.S.


On Saturday I celebrated with my brother and his family at a very special restaurant. They gave me a digital picture frame. We then went on a boat ride across the bay. I love little sparkly lights, dancing water and moon light. I imagined that the environment was wishing me a happy birthday. I can easily say, a good time was had by all, especially me.

Friday, April 11, 2008

MMMmmm I'ts a Great Feeling

This morning at 8am I met my dentist who greeted me with pliers and for 30 minutes he cut wires and pulled brackets off my teeth. The metal ones came off in one piece but the ceramic ones shattered and pieces flew. The next hour was spent sanding off the bond. That was real torture. Many times my teeth got sensitive to the vibration and it felt like the nerve was being touched. But I survived.
I can't stop smiling and I can't stop swiping my tongue across my teeth. The feel so nice and smooth. Next week I am getting them whitened. I can't wait 'til someone says, "Hey you got your braces off.

What I learned and what I want to share.
1. NEVER have your teeth pulled. I "needed" four teeth pulled in order to correct my overbite. This is an dated technique and now usually the readjustment can be made without pulling teeth. Aside from the pain and expense of having teeth pulled there is another major problem. When you pull teeth the shape of the face is changed - well mine changed. My cheeks sank in and I don't like it. Really, really, really think long and hard if your dentist wants to pull teeth.
2. Braces are a big challenge everyday. Food gets stuck in them. It's hard to brush and clean your teeth. It is really hard to floss. I tried to floss once a week but rarely met that goal. You have to use a threader and loop the floss inside the wires. It's a big long hassle.
3. Braces are expensive and time consuming. I have spent many, many hours at the dentist and I really wonder if it made that big of a difference.
4. Braces make your teeth look yellow and ugly. This is the greatest irony and true of most projects - progress isn't pretty.
5. Today is a great day.

A guy at the office turned and congratulated me as they were taking my picture. He asked, "How long have you had them on"
"Don't ask. How long have you had yours?"
" I just got them on yesterday"
"It takes as long as it takes, and then it's over and you smile"

Now isn't that true with most things in life?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

24 hours and counting....


Less than 24 hours until I am freed from the tyranny of wire and brackets and rubber bands. In less than 24 hours I will sit myself down and open wide for a couple hours to have my mouth released from it's prison and when I get up I will be smiling - hopefully very pretty.



Tomorrow I get my braces off!!



After almost three years and only a few decades of wanting straight teeth I will have accomplished my goal. I can't totally explain the glee that has overcome me. I want to dance in joyful expectation. I want to sing. I want to hug everyone.



But first I am off to buy Rembrandt toothpaste, a whitening kit, a new toothbrush and some red lipstick.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

When you Know something is NOT right

About a week ago I finally got my mail order prescription that I was a week late reordering. I immediately popped one of those sweet babies and thought ah, that'll cure those raging hot flashes, but wait something is different. I looked at the pills and thought these aren't the same, but the bottle said,

"This is the same medication you have been getting, color, size or shape may appear differently"

Well, now okay. I continue taking the pills but with that tender voice in the back of my head saying"

This is not the same medicine.

Last night I woke 3 times completely drenched, throwing blankets off and drinking water only to suffer a wave of chills. My head hurt, my body was shaking, I was weak, I was crying and I felt like throwing up and then it really hit me -

This is not the same medicine.

This morning I called the pharmacy completely ready to be told what an idiot I was and that they were the same pills, but a miracle happened, I spoke with a real person and you know what he told me -

This is not the same medicine

Yeh - I know I feel terrible.

I knew it the minute I opened that bottle and saw those little pale purple pills. What happened to the green round ones? The ones that work like magic and make me feel alive again. I stared at the bottle only to read,

"This is the same medication you have been getting, color, size or shape may appear different"

Lies, all lies.


I felt vindicated that I have triumphed over the written word and that indeed I was right but now I felt ANGRY. Who messed up my order? Who sent me the wrong pills? I remembered a great 60 minutes show on how prescription drugs are filled by robots and that it is much safer because it's all done by computers and programmed - BY A HUMAN.
I called my doctors office, pushed 1 for English, 1 for my doctor, and 4 to speak to someone about a prescription refill, waited the mandatory 15 minutes that felt like 45 and spoke with Vicky.
Vicky has a sweet soft voice and she sounds so nice that no one would ever get mad at her. She is great at her job. She is going to pull my chart and call me right back. Oh No.
The phone rings, it's Vicky. Sure enough my prescription WAS and now ITS and somehow IT was refilled with the WAS instead of the ITS and no problem she'll fax and call right away,
--- Is there anything else I can help you with?
Ah wait a minute - I'm supposed to let you know that these mistakes can't be tolerated because I could have had a heart attack and died last night, leaving three children and a helpless husband, and the rest of the world without my services and IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!!!!
---No. Thank you very much. When can I pick-up my medicine?
---Wait about an hour and call first.

I stared at the bottle again thinking, how can I prevent this from ever happening again -
Check the bottle with the old bottle
File the prescription refill orders AND VERIFY with the new order.

Dear sweat little voice in the back of my head I need you to
SPEAK LOUDER.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

And The Winner Is...


Sorry for the late announcement. I just jetted in and ran straight to my computer to grab a random integer ( that is where there are isn't it?) so that I could end this long drawn out silliness.

But first I really must say what a wonderful group of fun gals you bloggers are. I thank, thank, thank, thank you for playing along with my contest to honor bad yarn and funny colors and of course knitting.

To recap the fun- it all started in a far off land of intrigue and mystery where one lady bedazzled us all and stunned herself by buying, man-made yarn in a wonderful shade of shocking yellow. Yellowy orangy yellow or more precisely - Kraft Mac and cheese color. With all the chatter about macaroni buttons and cheesy hues my appetite picked up and there I was grating cheese and stirring up my own M&C. In the never ending quest to find something to write about I ran with the idea and posted my recipe. Sophanne stepped it up a notch by suggesting the contest and well the rest is history.
The winner is KmKat, who is on her own winning streak because she won her election. Congratulations. And don't forget you get some lovely yarn from Sophanne's stash.
It really makes me sad that I can't make everyone a winner but wait - maybe I can. If you would like your own autographed box of Kraft macaroni and Cheese then please send me your address and I will mail it off ASAP. Dinner is on the house. Hope you got that bad joke. He he.