Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Long Day

I had to go to a CPR/AED/First Aid training for work today. Yeah, I know. But it ended up being a lot of fun. The instructor was great. It was, naturally, an extremely hands on training. But the instructor designed the course to also be very interactive and I work with some awesome people.

Oh, no. Don’t misunderstand. I still feel that a few hours training every other year does not qualify me to take someone’s life in my hands. Sure, I’ll call 911 and stay around until the paramedics arrive but don’t expect much more than that. Defibrillators terrify me so the odds of me ever attempting to use one are next to none. And you already know how I am with monitored breathing.

I do have a question though. Why do they call the practice dummies Anne and then neglect to give them breasts? Shouldn't they come in a variety of shapes and sizes to imitate lifesaving situations as realistically as possible?

I'll leave you with that thought in your head. Gotta go knit!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Deep Thoughts

“Life is a prison that we carry around with us. The key to happiness is to make your prison as big as the whole world.” ~ Lance Cheuvront

Read it again.

Now think about it.

Yes, very profound. And something with which I agree completely. Now the secret, or perhaps challenge would be a better word, is to go about doing so.

I’ll need to think about this some more.

Meanwhile, back to knitting.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pure Idiocy

I went out to reclaim my emptied recycling bin Saturday morning only to find my neighbor standing on the sidewalk shaking his head. When asked what was wrong, he merely pointed at the car across the street, in front of Howie.

Both passenger side windows were broken out. The car belongs to the neighbor on the other side, an 83 year old woman. There is no way that she has done anything to provoke anyone in order to be deserving of this.

He went on to point to the brand new car on our side of the street, parked in front of his truck. The whole driver’s side and hood were scratched up. It belongs to the harmless people on the other side of the woman next to me.

Then he gestured at the SUV behind his truck. It had two stabbed tires. Tires that I later learned had been put on all of a week and a half ago. That vehicle belongs to the man on the other side of him.

Howie and his truck were very fortunately spared this senseless violence. This time. I know it’s wrong to judge people without bothering to know anything about them but I must admit that I seriously dislike whoever did this.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Did You Know?

Fortune cookies are not of Chinese origin. They were invented in San Francisco in 1920.

Slugs have four noses while an octopus has three hearts.

Shakespeare was 46 when the King James Bible was penned. In Psalm 46, the 46th word from the beginning is “shake” and the 46th word from the end is “spear.”

There are live lobster vending machines in Japan.

Bats always turn left when existing a cave.

Honey is the only food consumed by humans that has been found not to spoil. This was determined when archeologists sampled honey found in ancient Egyptian tombs.

And last, but not least, just in case you still have some space on your Thanksgiving menu, beetles taste like apples, wasps taste like pine nuts and worms taste like bacon.

Happy Thanksgiving all! Whatever you do, enjoy and, if you could, be a little nicer to all you know.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Today's Rant

I am not a holiday person. I make no secret of that nor do I offer any apologies. I’ve not had good ones so, for now, I choose to pretty much avoid them, though there are those individuals I enjoy and visit on occasion. The same individuals I socialize with on days other than holidays. You see, for me, it’s not necessary for a certain day to roll around in order for me to spend time with friends and chosen family. I adore them all the time.

Today, I was given a lecture on all that I miss by not participating. All the things listed are not things that were ever included on my previous holidays. Seems to me it’s impossible for me to miss something that was never there in the first place.

Family gatherings growing up were not warm and fuzzy events. They were hours to be endured until I could make my escape. Something that should perhaps be learned about me and my past before criticizing me for not rushing to the old homestead bright and early this Thursday morn.

For all of you who do enjoy the holidays, I’m happy for you. The time when I can do the same will come. No, not this year but it is coming. But until it does, stop trying to coerce me into things that aren’t good. And stop putting me down for knowing what’s best for me and for protecting my heart from those who do their damnedest to squash it.

I may be home knitting the sweater I’m working on this Thanksgiving. Or I may venture out to see some of my adopted family. I may cook or I may order pizza. In the evening, I may watch a movie or I may read a book. Whatever I end up doing it will be of my choosing and something I enjoy. As to the rest of it? Leave me alone!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gotta Knit!

Running short on time. I’ll be back when I’m closer to finished.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I am but one in the hoards of many
Faceless and unseen
My ubiquity matters not
Nor does my devotion
I am tossed away like yesterday’s paper
My constancy discarded without a second glance

Who am I to boast such ego?
Average at best
My strength – a chameleon
Always blending in
No special shine of my own
Nothing drawing me to the center
Marking me as worthy
I am but a pawn to be sacrificed at will
A minion, manipulated on a whim

The time to withdrawal, long since passed
I must not, cannot delay
My dalliance must cease
My departure will go unchallenged
My disappearance, unnoticed
For no one relishes my presence
And no one will agonize my absence

Monday, November 14, 2011


I went to the symphony last weekend. I’d forgotten how enjoyable it can be. I used to go all the time when I was young. My string bass teacher was an orchestra member so he always had tickets for his students. Anyway, a friend who has season tickets now had an extra and invited me.

The program included a very nice selection of music. The William Tell Overture, an arrangement of Bizet’s Carmen and a lovely Beethoven. The soloist this month was saxophonist, Gary Louie. Man, is that guy talented! He performed a concerto with a bit of a Russian folk music flavor and it was excellent. He also participated in the Carmen selection.

Something that now happens on occasion is that the Reading Symphony Youth Orchestra joins in for a piece. How cool is that? I wish they’d done that back when I was playing.

The concert was most wonderful! There was however, one tiny snag tot he evening. A steam pipe in the building had broken so the temperature was 92. It was so hot on stage that the men removed theirs jackets. I know. Unheard of, right? Anyway, they opened every door in the place and I think set up fans because it was it wasn’t long before it started feeling better. I must say I was impressed when the center manager made an appearance to explain and apologize especially since the Royals were playing at the other center in Reading. He did offer to return calls personally should anyone care to leave their numbers. You’ll be so proud of the restraint I showed in not leaving mine.

All in all it was a very pleasant evening. Thank you once again, my friend, for inviting me. Going almost has me inspired to get my bass out and play again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You, Verterans

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Customer Service Lives!

We’re in our benefits open enrollment period at work now. In years past we could log on to a website and make selections ourselves. This year, they decided to change it. We have to call in and make our choices with a representative. We were told the process takes about half an hour.

Um, okay. I’m sure you can relate to my trepidation. Calling in with hundreds of other people has the potential to really suck. First there’s the possible wait time. And then there’s the person on the other end of the line who could be a truly grumpy automaton, making the same speech, hour after hour, day after day, telling people their copays and their rates are going up.

Imagine my surprise when a very pleasant voice, self-proclaimed to be Debbie, answered on the second ring. As it turned out my wariness was unfounded. Debbie was very knowledgeable and willing to share in a manner that was extremely understandable even for someone like me who is admittedly resistant to all things insurance.

Believe it or not, the entire process ended up being fun, thanks to Debbie. And, again due to her patience and ability, I now get some of the big, scary insurance falderal. Yeah, how amazing is that? She didn’t even hang up on me when I touched on the orangutan living within my skull.

The only thing she couldn’t help with was the whole 401K investment hoopla but, during our lovely chat she happened to mention that her hubby is in that field. Too bad she didn’t also give me his number. I sure could use someone like her to explain all that to me too.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


...Is like catnip to me. Sick or not, I'm going out to play!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I was almost asleep last night when my face began to hurt. Ache. Throb. Pound. Exponentially until I thought it would explode.

Still in severe pain four hours later when it was time to get up, I did. Get up that is. Yes, it was as expected. Movement made it worse.

I did my morning chores sans glasses as always, albeit in slow motion. Fighting nausea at the pain the entire time. And then I put on my glasses. Which magnified the hurt as did attempting to make both eyes focus on the same thing at the same time.

Off to work anyway. Hey, you always have to at least try. Did some stuff there. Slowly. Called the doc who could fit me in. Did some more stuff. Even slower. Walked around the corner to my appointment as I struggled to pretend my forehead wasn’t going to blow off with every step.

Confirmed. Sinus infection again. Or perhaps it’s still because I don’t really think July’s and September’s ever truly went away. So now, since I have insurance after a fashion, I’m off to the ENT specialist and then a CAT scan. I suspect they are worried that the baby orangutan who lives in my head has expanded his way into my sinus cavity.

The ultra disgusting medicated nasal spray and equally vile inhaler have him curled in a fetal position, immobile, at the moment. Let’s hope he stays that way so I can be more functional on the morrow. Things to do and all that…

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

So Tired

Over the past few weeks, my sleep cycle has become skewed. Instead of sleeping at night, as I usually do, my body now thinks I need to be asleep around 11:00 AM. Very difficult, considering I have a day job.

So I force myself to stay awake all day and to try to sleep at night. The awake part isn’t all that difficult. It just has me very tired. The sleep part, on the other hand, is horrible. When I do manage to convince myself to drift off I slip into the worst dreams.

For weeks now I’ve been awake every night. Either I am simply up because I don’t feel as if it’s time to be asleep or I’ve woken myself, screaming or crying. It’s to the point where I’m afraid to even try to sleep.

I’m back to prowling the house, in the dark. The cats have learned to stay out of my way. They can see in the dark. I can’t. The first night I was up I think I stepped on everyone’s tail at least twice. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing there’s a lot of shooting in my neighborhood now or a bad one. If it were quiet, I’d probably be roaming outside too.

I don’t know how long it’s going to take for things to shift around to where they should be but I sure hope it’s soon. This is really starting to get to me.

And even though I am that tired I still stopped to vote on my way home. At 5:00 I was 111 out of a potential 798. How pathetic is that? This election includes mayor of Reading, someone who has a direct effect on everyone here. Yeah, just pathetic.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Last week I read a recipe at lunch. Cheeseburger tater tot casserole. It sounded really good so when I was at the grocery store on Saturday I gathered up the necessary ingredients.

I made it.

It wasn’t awful but it was no where near as good as I wanted it to be. Thinking on it, I suspect I was hungry at the time I was reading the magazine because really, that is not something I’d normally make.

Some things are better left to the imagination.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Winter Forecasting

With the end of daylight savings time this weekend and earlier darkness, it’ll seem more like winter even though it’s going to be in the sixties next week and official winter doesn’t begin for another six weeks. I thought, in preparation for this, you might like to have a few winter severity tips.

To gauge the severity of an upcoming winter you must obtain a recently deceased local goose. Extract and study its breastbone. The more mottled it is, the worse the winter will be. If that’s not doable, check your local trees. The more moss there is on the south side of the trunk, the harder the winter will be.

Pay close attention to squirrels. The deeper they bury their nuts, the colder it’s going to be. And fruit trees blooming twice in one year is a sure sign that the upcoming winter will be a bad one. I wonder if that carries over to strawberries. I picked a mess of them last month so if it does, we’re in for it.

For short term weather forecasting, watch your cat. If it sits with its back to the heat source then the weather will turn cold. Um, still haven’t turned the heat on so I can’t do test this one. Also, if your cat is extra frisky, a storm is coming. Yeah, that one I can agree with. Beau and Kya were insane last Friday and Saturday before the snow. If you don’t have cats, you can use the moon instead. If there’s a ring around the moon, count the number of stars inside it and that’s how many days it’ll be until the next precipitation. If the moon has two rings there will be snow within 24 hours.

For long term forecasting January is the most important month so keep this in mind. The first twelve days are said to predict the weather for the next twelve months. For a precipitation forecast cut the tops off of twelve onions. Scoop a little spot in each center and fill it with salt. Line them up in an east-west orientation between 11:00 PM and midnight on New Year’s Eve. Check them in the morning. The more water in each onion, the wetter the assigned month will be.

Unfortunately we’ve missed out on one of the snowfall prediction methods but you can try it next year. Count the number of foggy mornings in August to determine the number of snowfalls.

The next two are really contradictory if I use our first snow. You can either count the number of days between the first snow and Christmas or the number of days it snowed after the last New Moon. It snowed on the 29th. So we’re either having 58 snows or 3, depending on which method you believe. Yeah, I’m not so sure about that choice.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Howie needed to be inspected so I scheduled him for yesterday. I arranged for Riley and hubby to collect me and didn’t give it much thought. Not until I was merrily on my way. In the dark. The very, very dark. As in at one point absolutely no lights. None at all. Total darkness in an area where it shouldn’t be.

Uh oh. I never even considered that Howie’s caregivers may not have power. I hadn’t heard from them. Yeah, that thought was followed instantly by the realization that all the information was more than likely in their computer system and, without power, irretrievable. I kept going anyway. Good thing since as soon as I crossed the major highway right before the place there were lights on everywhere.

With the inspection I also asked them to replace the wiper blades as I couldn’t see out at times and an interior bulb as I couldn’t see in at other times. They called right after lunch. Howie was all set to go.

Didn’t need anything. New wiper blades in place. And the bulb? There was a note. The light fixture was set to the wrong position to turn on when I pushed the remote button. Yep. Good thing I'm cute.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I'm Tired

So how about a pretty picture instead? This was the view outside my window at work all summer. How’s that to brighten my day?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Beware of black licorice. It can be very harmful to your health. Stop that. I’m extremely serious here.

If you’re over 40 it has been shown that eating as little as two ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks can cause your heart rhythm to become so irregular you need hospitalization.

According to the FDA, eating an excess of the sweetening compound derived from licorice root, glycyrrhizin, will cause your potassium level to fall dramatically. In addition to abnormal heart rhythms this can cause high blood pressure, swelling, lethargy and even congestive heart failure.

The FDA and various medical journals have reported that potassium levels will generally be restored when the consumption of black licorice is stopped.

There is also a notice that black licorice can interact with certain medications. If you’ve noticed physical changes and the only difference is you’ve been snacking on licorice you really should mention your fondness for the candy when visiting your doctor. Oh yeah, quit eating it!