Friday, January 13, 2017

Bitty Bits of Blather (Volume 17)

In case you are wondering, I decided to number these little strolls through my mind. That way I know how many of them there actually are. 

1. 
Thank goodness, the Christmas decorations are all put away. Actually they were all put away a week ago. We had company for dinner on Sunday and I didn't want them coming in and seeing that we were still Ho Ho Hoeing at our house. Doesn't it always seem like it takes twice as long to take those things down as it does to put up? And ALWAYS, after you have put everything away and the boxes are all stashed back on their shelves in the basement, you look up and see something that you missed. Last year that was the string of "peppermint candy" lights that I had over the sliding door in the back. It wasn't so much that I missed them when taking everything down (they are hard to miss as they go across the whole top of the door), it was just that I left them there...for 12 months. Sort of my ode to West Virginia. And you want to know something.......

Not a single person who came into the house for that entire 12 months said a thing about the fact that we had greenery and Christmas peppermint candy lights still up in the kitchen.

This year it is a nativity scene that I put up on top of a piece of furniture and missed when taking everything down. I may just leave it. We will see.

2.
Oh my gosh the RAIN! It rained for two days this week and I had to drive through standing water in places where I have never seen standing water before.

But I am not going to actually complain about the rain because it could have been snow. And that would have been A LOT of snow. I will take the rain any day.

3.
Saturday is the first wedding on 2017. It is January and I already have 6 weddings to coordinate between now and August. This one is good sized, if you count 8 bridesmaids, a maid of honor and two flower girls. Yowza. AND the groom will be in uniform. They are the cutest thing. But of course I actually say that about all of my couples, even the ones who don't speak English and wear a sparkly pink dress. I say it because it is true. I don't think I have ever seen a less than radiant bride, even the one that got stung by the bee 30 minutes before the ceremony.

Always make sure that if the bride is allergic to bees that the photographer doesn't take her out into the field on a warm August afternoon. And if they do, just make sure that you have Benadryl handy.

I'm just sayin'

It is all in a days work.

4.
I am cleaning out my iTunes library. There is music in there that I have never listened to and frankly have no idea where it came from.


Has someone been downloading random songs into my iTunes library whilst I have been asleep.

I just wanted to use the word whilst.

I mean, there are random songs from artists that I have never heard of and after listening to the songs....I am not going to listen to them again. If I didn't buy the music, and believe me I am sure that I didn't, then I don't feel any obligation to keep it in iTunes, clogging up my very carefully archived music. And I do mean carefully. HHBL just shakes his head. He is evidently not as anal obsessive careful with how his library is organized. I mean, doesn't everyone make sure that artists are correctly reflected - Last Name, First Name. 

Unless of course it is a band. I mean you wouldn't list ELP as Palmer, Emerson Lake would you? 

5.
My cousin sent me the best thing (well really her mom, Carol, sent it to me.) Linnea and I had lunch a while back and she mentioned that she had been listening to oral histories recorded by her grandparents. Her grandmother and grandfather, my Aunt Margaret and Uncle Kenneth, many years ago sat down in front of a tape recorder and recorded 94 "episodes" of their life. That is a bit over 94 HOURS of history. Margaret and Kenneth were as cool as cool could be. Margaret was my Grandmother Amsler's oldest sister. They graduated from Wheaton College. They were missionaries for 10 years in Siam (before it was Thailand), she was an author, he was at one time the US State department's go to man on Thailand (he had traveled the length and breadth of the country). The stories that they would tell. And their house in DC. Oh, it had the one thing that I have never had in any house that I have lived in and something that I have always wanted.


A second back staircase.

But I digress. Linnea mentioned to her mom Carol that I was interested in the recordings. Carol graciously sent me a jump drive with 12g of recordings on it. I have the "Landon Chronicles" all loaded into iTunes. Now to find 94 hours to listen to all of them.  

6.
So, I am experimenting with Bullet Journaling. Don't know what that is? I have been intrigued for quite some time with this and it actually fits well with how I like to do things as far as lists are concerned.


If you go onto YouTube or Pinterest you will be overwhelmed with all the artistic and fancy bullet journals. I have looked at just about all of those YouTube videos, believe me. I sat down and spent an entire day just immersing my self in the world of the bullet journal before I made the decision.

So far.....I am completely obsessed. I have given myself a year with this, it fits perfectly with my swing back to "analog" on my to do lists. A bullet journal really is just one giant to do list and brain dump all rolled into one.

I will give you a run down at the end of the year to let you know if I am going to be continuing with it.  

7.
I can tell you that my Bullet Journal is in no way an artistic thing of beauty. That is the thing that would be very discouraging about watching those YouTube videos and looking at all the different, and frankly outrageously gorgeous "spreads" that you will find on Pinterest. 


I am not that person and I had to tell myself, when I embarked on this journey, that it was OK not to have stylized hand writing and all the "stuff" and there is a lot of it.

Mine is simple and functional and I like it that way. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It Wasn't Just The River That Was Flowing

Before I actually get into what I wanted to tell you let me say that the pneumonia has been conquered for the most part. The cough is still there but not nearly as often. The energy level is about 80% and my appetite is back, more's the pity.

Now on to the memories.

One of my big goals for 2017 is to get all of the things scanned. I may not make it as there are a lot of things. But I am making a dent and today I scanned some letters. I like to read the letters before I scan them and it was when I was reading this particular letter that I was flooded (pun intended as you will see) with memories.

I want you to take a look at the picture below. It is two snippets from a letter that Mimi wrote to her parents, Grandma and Grandpa Pringle, in May of 1974. I had to do some date figuring because the letter didn't have a year on it but since I know it was written in May of my 8th grade year, 1974 is what I came up with. 

Take a good look at the picture and read the second part of the letter closely.
She wrote that there was "much woe" from having to come back three days early from our week long "outdoor education" 8th grade trip. Ummmmmmm, I am not sure who she talked to that she got the impression of woe at being back......

But it wasn't me.

I still VIVIDLY remember that trip. Every single aspect of that horrible, horrible trip.

Did I tell you that the 1.5 days that we were at that awful camp were horrible beyond measure? I wanted to make sure that you knew that because.....it was horrible.

And I am going to tell you why it was horrible in all it's horrible detail. But just to warn you, I will be talking about like teenage girly angsty things....and periods.

Yes, I said PERIODS. Aunt Flo. Mother Nature's revenge. 

THE RED TIDE. 

I was not what you would call an adventurous teenager. I didn't like things out of my comfort zone, and my comfort zone consisted of a book, a comfy chair and headphones on my head so no one bothered me. If you threw is a big bowl of black olives you might not even see me for days. I was shy. I was so very, very insecure. I had body issues out the wazoo. I was a mess. My best friend was sunny and vivacious and had straight blonde hair. She could TALK TO BOYS without stuttering. Oh I wanted to be Nancy in the worst possible way. But I was not. The thought of going on a week long trip with the rest of my 8th grade class, most of whom I would be too shy to talk to, was agony. But there was no way to get out of it. We all had to go. So we went.

I remember arriving at the camp...and it was raining. The anticipation of outdoor activities in monsoon like weather does not a happy teenage girl make. The boys went to their side of the camp, which was over the bridge that spanned the gently flowing stream (more on that later.) We girls went to our cabins, which happened to be on the same side of the camp as the dining hall, which I remember thinking was at least one good thing. I did like my food. I don't remember who I was "rooming" with but I don't think it was Nancy or Julie or Jodi. Any of those girls would have calmed my anxiety a bit as they were my "peeps" before the word meant anything other that the noise that a chick makes. I just remember sitting on my bunk, all squishy from having to run through the rain and wishing to be home. But I pushed on cuz I don't think they would have let me drive the bus home on my own, even if I had known how to get home.

Tuesday morning dawned...and it was raining, and I don't mean just a gentle sprinkle. I mean rain like you should see Noah going by any second. Torrential rain. Which we had to run through to do things like, go to the bathroom and take a shower. Not that ANY of us were going to take a shower with any of our 8th grade friends. Are you NUTS! That would mean that we would actually have to disrobe. Not happening. I didn't even bring any soap. Hygiene is overrated.

And it was about the time right after breakfast, when we were all soaked and squishy and muddy and wondering what the heck we were going to do, that I realized......

Other parts of me were squishy that should have been squishy. I had started my period. And I hadn't brought any "supplies" with me.

You might be asking yourself why I hadn't prepared for this thing that happens with great regularity. If you are asking this then you have never been a teenage girl. I had a hard time remembering to take a shower on a daily basis let alone count out my cycle, mark it on a calendar and then make a notation as to when it was likely to come around again and assault me. You might also be saying to yourself, "Well, you could have just asked your friends or the teachers if they had any supplies." And again I say that you have never been a teenage girl, especially a shy one. I wouldn't have been able to even get the word "tampon" or "pad" out of my mouth when standing in front of someone in authority. Gads!

But, the one thing I could do was improvise. 

1. I would change my underwear.

2. A fairly decent "pad" can be made from toilet paper. The only problem with that is that it doesn't want to stay in place as you walk. You have to walk with little mincey steps and grip that sucker with your lady parts or it slides out of place. Also, you have to change it fairly frequently.

3. I would wear my very dark blue overalls for the entire 5 days. "Accidents" would be less noticeable I was hoping.

4. I would feign death before getting up on a horse. Enough said.

And the rains continued to fall. And fall. And fall. And as the rains continued to fall, that gentle little creek between our side of the camp and the boys side of the camp was not so little any longer. 

Tuesday night came and went, damp in many places, and Wednesday morning arrived....and it was still raining. Can I say that the one good thing about all of the torrential rain is that we had to do inside things. No horseback riding ensued. No hiking in the woods. A small glimmer of goodness.

But it soon became apparent that things were not going to be even moderately good for long. Aunt Flo was in high gear. And the river kept rising. I remember standing on the girls side of the camp along with all the others of the female persuasion, gripping my improvised pad with my lady parts, and watching as the now raging river slowly demolished the bridge between the two sides of the camp. Hmmmm, that isn't good.

And that put paid to the "Outdoor Education" week. If I remember correctly, the boys had to actually pack up their stuff and hike out of the woods to a road where they were picked up.

I packed up my stuff, made a new lady pad to celebrate going home early, and got on the bus. If it wouldn't have caused too much talk, I would have kissed the ground in the Edison Jr. High School parking lot when we got back.

And you can bet that after that little fun time I ALWAYS had supplies with me.

ALWAYS.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Pneumonia Diaries: Day Three

Otherwise known as: Maybe I shouldn't have gone to the office today.

Really, there wasn't much of a choice on that one. I can work from home a great deal of the time. Have computer, will work. But there are some duties that can only be done while in the office. Bills like to get paid. Checks cannot be cut at home is all that I am saying. So, HHBL and I went to the office this morning.

And now I am home and back on the couch. Baby steps to health Deb, baby steps.

Pneumonia, you are a beeyotch! And Sir Super Wicked Cough, I hate you.

I did have a bit better night's sleep last night. And by that I mean that I didn't have to get up and sleep in the chair, although I thought about it a time or two. Sustained slumber was not achieved. I was propped up on pillows like a Victorian heroine just to see if that would help a bit. I did not like it. I am very particular about how my pillows are positioned and fluffed when I am sleeping. Ask HHBL and he will tell you. This sleeping on multiple pillows is not great for optimal sleep for me, and I am not entirely sure that it helped the cough all that much.

Am I whining? I don't care.

So I will most likely spend most of the day tomorrow on the couch as all of the Christmas decorations laugh at me. I wonder if I just covered everything with sheets and left them til next year would anyone notice?

So, in the immortal words of Bob Wiley from What About Bob?, perhaps one of the funniest movies that I have ever seen, "I'm baby stepping! I'm doing the work!"


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pneumonia Diaries: Day Two

Otherwise known as the night I slept in the recliner.

First off, I have to say that I think that I am making progress on the getting better front. Thank goodness for good drugs. But I can only say that in the last couple of hours. I am still running a low grade fever, day 7 in the feverliciousness of my life, but it is in the low 99's so there is some progress.

The cough may actually be a bit better. Or it may just be that I am not trying to sleep. Who knows. I choose to think that it is getting better thankyouverymuch. And right after I wrote those fateful words I got up and moved around a bit, slowly walking down to get the mail, and that triggered a monumental coughing fit where I ignominiously peed my pants a bit.

Just keeping it real.

Now if I could just get a good night's sleep then we might actually see some good progress. I haven't had a solid night's sleep in 7 days, cooresponding exactly to the arrival of Mr. High Fever and his cousin Sir Super Wicked Cough. Somehow coughing during the day is an inconvenience but not life altering. But when you have a coughing jag at night it takes on an entirely different meaning in life. Supine is not the best bodily position for the coughing up of a lung. And my brain is so tired at the moment that I actually had to look up the word "supine" just to make sure that I had used it correctly.

Last night was a very bad night. I will start off by saying that I slept as one who is dead from 9p-12a. Don't remember a thing. Don't remember HHBL coming to bed. Nada. But sometime after midnight I got up to answer nature's call and all heck broke lose.

I got back into bed and hacked a bit and then hacked a bit more and about that time it occurred to me that maybe I should just get up and try to sleep in one of the recliners, upright rather than thrashing around in bed trying not to wake HHBL.

And then the mother of all coughing fits came to visit. Holy mother and all the saints in heaven! I actually got a bit scared because after it was all done and I couldn't catch my breath. Fun times. So I ended up in the recliner, covered by various blankets that could be removed or added as my temperature went up and down, trying to sleep. It was not a pleasant night. 

So I am hoping that the antibiotics have kicked in enough today that I don't have to sleep doze in the recliner tonight.

But I am not holding my breath.

Literally, I am not holding my breath. I am short of breath already and need all of it that I can keep.

Monday, January 2, 2017

And the Diagnosis Is.....

So, do you remember me telling you that I hadn't been feeling all that well. And that I had run a temperature on Wednesday of 103F, which for an adult is more than a bit high.

Well, High Fever didn't go away. He didn't go away and actually he asked his brother, Super Wicked Cough, to come and hang out along with their cousins, No Energy and No Appetite. It has been a fun few days. I went to bed on New Year's Eve at....9:30p, that is how bad I felt and how badly Ohio State was losing. HHBL watched the rest of the game, a movie and the ball drop all by himself.

The cough has really been the worst part. It is relentless, especially at night after I get up to use the bathroom. I am 56 after all and it is a rare occurrence to sleep through the night. But 30 minutes of coughing after getting up does not a good night's sleep make.

And then there is High Fever's sister, Miss Shortness of Breath--or as I like to call her, the SOB--that showed up yesterday. Fun times. I took a 1/2 mile walk in the afternoon and thought I might have actually killed myself in the process. So finally I knew it was time to see someone. Which meant that rather than bother my doctor, I went to the CVS Minute Clinic this morning to see the nurse practitioner. She took my history, listened to my lungs, took my temperature, looked me in the eye and said......

Pneumonia. Upper lobe, right lung.

Oh goody goody gumdrops.

Actually, it wasn't as much of a surprise as you might think. I suspected as much so it was sort of comforting to know that I was right, even as I was trying to cough up a lung and had to put my head down because I was dizzy. 

So, two prescriptions and several over the counter medications later I am home, putting my feet up and still trying not to cough up a lung.

2017 this is NOT the way to start out our relationship.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bitty Bits of Blather - The 2016 in Review Edition

I felt this overwhelming urge to do some bitty bits of blather. I have missed our time together going over the minutiae of my life in tiny bite sized pieces.

Let's do this more often shall we?

1.
I think I posted around 500+ times on Instagram this year. Not bad. 

Or really bad depending on how you look at it. Unlike the Kardashians, none of my photos came with pouty trout mouth and I was fully clothed the entire time. You can thank me later.

Here are some of my favorites














2.
I watched approximately 125+ movies/documentaries. It is an approximate number because, even though I am anally retentively obsessed fairly careful about keeping a list of the movies I have watched, I do occasionally forget. That list also includes several TV shows that I might have binge watched, including The Great British Baking show.

Can I just digress for a minute to say that without Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, the show is now dead to me. I will just have to live on re-watching the first 7 seasons. 

3.
I managed to read 71 books this year. That is a grand total of 22,635 pages. And I can tell you that because of the fabulous "AutoSum" feature in Excel.

Thank you Microsoft.

My favorite books of the year were:
On Living by Kerry Egan
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi
The Crime of the Century by Dennis Breo
Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny
Junk by Alison Stewart
The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein
Valiant Ambition by Nathaniel Philbrick    

4.
2016 was again The Year of the Wedding. I coordinated/attended/attended & coordinated 11 weddings. There was everything from the bride who wore a sparkly pink dress, had no attendants and could not speak English to the wedding with 10 bridesmaids. Yowza. Here are my favorite pictures from those days.


















5.
There was some knitting that happened. That cannot be a surprise to you. I knit a total of 15 pairs of socks. The evidence is below, although this is not all 15 pairs.
This picture is short at least two pair of socks because those went to Mimi. She always appreciates them and knows how to take care of them. 

As in years past I have already taken out 12 skeins of yarn from THE STASH, put them through the ball winder, put them in brown paper lunch bags, stapled the tops shut and labeled them with the months of the year. The January 2017 Mystery sock is sitting with my sock knitting bag just waiting to be cast on tomorrow! Below are the yarns that will become socks in 2017. That is not to say that these are the ONLY skeins that will become socks. It is just that these are the planned skeins.
There was other knitting going on as well. Three baby blankets, several cowls, a number of hats, at least one lace project as well as ongoing work on the Never Ending Sock Yarn Blanket and a couple of other things.

Speaking of knitting, as we are, today I will also evaluate the current "WIPS" (works in progress for the non-knitters) sitting in my UFO (unfinished objects) pile and make the decision as to what projects will actually continue into the new year. I always swore that I would be a momonogamous knitter, only working on one project at a time.

I am obviously a big fat liar.

There are projects that you start with great intentions and enthusiasm and then you just lose interest.  It is better to just frog and put the yarn back in the stash for another day. I know that there is at least one knitted vest in there that is half finished and will never be finished because I don't like the yarn with the project.

Life is too short to knit something that doesn't bring you joy.
 
6. 
The rest of today will be used with cleaning out and cleaning up in preparation for 2017. I am cleaning out all of the articles I had stashed in Pocket because I don't use that any longer and I am trying very hard to just delete things that I don't use on a regular basis. I have found that the digital age just makes it easier for some of us with hoarding tendencies to hoard but not take up any space that anyone else can see.

Yarn stash is never to be counted as a hoard. No need to look over there.

I will be looking through ALL of the iPhone photos that I have taken over the course of 2016 an eliminating all that don't really need to be kept. That would currently be 1149 photos that I have to go through.

There is a bunch of stuff to scan. There is planning to be done.

So many things to do before the Ohio State - Clemson game comes on tonight and I start stuffing my face with shrimp and beer.  

7. 
OK all, lets go out there and have a happy and safe New Years Eve.

Personally, I will be sitting around, sans bra (but with pants on) watching football and eating junk food cuz, you know, I was SO smart to schedule my annual physical for a week after the new year.

See you in 2017.  

Friday, December 30, 2016

Gauge Lies

I have been knitting for a while now. I am no stranger to the ways of the knitting Force. It is strong in me. Therefore you would think that I would know better than to cast on a sweater on a day when I was under the weather.

Did I tell you that I have been under the weather for the past few days? And by under the weather I mean that I produced a 103F temperature on Wednesday with a resulting cough that makes Chez Knit sound like a TB ward (HHBL is coughing too.) We went out to dinner with LaurenLeep and The Tech Guy on Wednesday and I remarked to myself as we were getting out of the car that I wasn't feeling quite "the thing" at that moment. You know those vague feelings of something not being quite right with your world but not sure what is wrong. Sort of like the lookouts on the Titanic right before the iceberg emerged.

Or not.

At any rate, dinner was fun as it always is. There was Italian food. There was wine. We laughed a lot. But every time that I got up to go to the bathroom, which was located in a rather chilly hallway, I was suddenly shivery. I sucked it up and persevered but the minute that we stepped out into the chilly night....I knew something was definitely wrong. Go home, dig out the digital ear thermometer, stick it in my ear and wait. You know you aren't going to like what it says when it takes an age to beep. 103F. How nice. 

So yesterday I wasn't feeling so up with things. In fact I spent the day in flannel pajama pants, a thing which I NEVER do. No really, I always get dressed in the morning. But yesterday I put on my flannel pj pants and my big old Star Wars sweatshirt and I spent the day on the couch, reading and watching the TV and knitting. You know you are really feeling bad when the thought of going to the basement to measure the swatch for the sweater you want to cast on is just too much effort.

But late in the afternoon I oozed my way down to the KnitCave and measured the swatch and Bang! spot on gauge. If the term "swatch" and "gauge" mean nothing to you, just know that a gauge swatch is a small or big (depending on how much patience you have) piece of knitted fabric using the needles and the yarn for your particular project. If the gauge is "off" that will mean that your knitted garment will not turn out to be the size that you were expecting. Think of all of the hilarious pictures you have seen of "boyfriend" sweaters that some hapless knitter produced without checking her gauge.

When knitting a sweater "gauge" is the mantra that we live by. It is the word that can mean smiles or tears depending on if you did your swatch and if you actually listened to what it was telling you. I did two swatches. The first one said to me in big bold letters, "YOU NEED TO GO UP A NEEDLE SIZE!" I listened intently, went up a needle size and the angels sang. So, in the midst of my fuzzy fever ridden day I decided that it was a good idea to cast on the sweater, which is using yarn that my MiL purchased for me in Lima. I can't get any more of this stuff and so I need to be sure that the sweater fits me, especially considering the fact that I am going to steek it. 

What is steeking you are asking yourself if you are not a knitter. Steeking means that I am going to DELIBERATELY cut my knitting right up the center. So counter intuitive to everything that we teach ourselves as knitters. But that is what the pattern calls for so I had better make sure that the size is spot on. Once the scissors do their job there will be no going back to reknit.

This is how far I got by the end of the evening. Oh how I love stranded colorwork. Knitting with two hands at the same time makes me feel like I can take on the entire world's issues and still have time for coffee and knitting. 

I am a knitter. Hear me roar!

The knitting was perfect. I felt like I had adulted a bit in an otherwise lying on the couch kind of day. But, there was that nagging, maybe there is a iceberg dead ahead feeling in the back of my brain. Looking at those perfectly done colorwork stitches, I just knew that the gauge was off.

But gauge swatches never lie, you are saying to yourself.

Oh yes, they do.

I know what some of you are thinking. You are thinking, "I bet she knit that gauge swatch flat, not in the round. That will mess with the gauge." You would be wrong. I did swatch in the round (an entirely fiddly process that makes my brain crazy.) The only thing that I can conclude is that perhaps the gauge was a bit off because I am knitting with both my left hand (my dominant knitting hand because I knit Continental) and my right hand (which always knits a bit tighter.) That is my story and I am sticking to it.

I woke up this morning and knew that I had to check the gauge on that sweater and sure enough, it was off. And then I had to make the painful decision to.......frog it. To be fair, I did not frog it completely because that would mean having to re-knit that blasted K1P1 ribbing at the bottom. I despise K1P1 ribbing and I wasn't going to knit that again. But I did pull out everything up to the first round of colorwork, a lesson in carefuly measured movements so that you don't pull out stitches that you didn't mean to pull out, which I did despite being careful. I put larger needles on the cables and then had to go through the tedious task of getting all of the stitches back on the needles and fixing any mistakes I made when picking up stitches. I am not going to explain that last statement to those who are not knitters because I can already see your eyes glazing over. It was tedious and there might have been some language involved that I am not going to share with you.

Just know that in about an hour I am going to back to where I was when I so happily went to bed last night.

Just remember boys and girls. 

Gauge lies.