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August 2007
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October 2007

Going cubist

    I had a landmark moment this week in my life: I got my first mammogram.  Yes, that's right, my very first.  At 42 I'm a couple years behind the recommended age for a baseline, but being my stubborn self, I put it off until not only my doctor but my mom and sister recommended it.  (Well, actually, Mom threw a hissy fit and made me promise to go get one NOW, but that's beside the point.) 
    Having heard my fair share of horror stories about what happens during one of these events, I was a tad nervous, but Melinda reassured me that it was not that bad.  In her words - "You know I'm a wimp, and it didn't bother me, so suck it up!"   Always nice to have sisterly support.  Anyway, I was fairly calm when walking in, mentally reminding myself that I'd be in and out in 10 or 15 minutes.  You can put up with anything for that long, right?  Right!  No problem!   
    That positive mindset lasted through the first set of pictures quite handily, but then the problems began.  "Just sit there for a minute while I make sure these came out clearly," the technician chirped, and so I sat, expecting to walk out momentarily.  Back she came with orders for more pictures, but this time a little different.  My poor mammaries weren't just squashed, oh nooo, this time they were lifted and TWISTED and squashed.  Yeah.  Fun.  Once those were done we repeated the "sit for a minute" process, but this time I was a little less sanguine about the outcome.  And rightly so!  I went through a third round of "stand this way...oops, let's lift it a little more....that's right, just relax"!!  When the technician left the room this time I didn't even bother to pick up a magazine, but mentally braced myself for what might come next whilst hugging my poor, maltreated boobies.  Sure enough, the door opened yet again, but this time on a different technician.  Now what?
    "Follow me this way, we're going to do an ultrasound on you!" she said cheerily, as I rolled up what was left of my breasts and tucked them into the waistband of my capris.  "You have really dense tissue, we need to get a better picture and since I'm here we decided to just do it now rather than call you back, isn't that better?"   I nodded obediently and lay down on the table.  Blessing of blessings, ultrasounds aren't the least bit painful, but by this time I was pretty skittish, so when she said we were done I high-tailed it out of there.  Once I was safely away from the Mighty Mashing Machines, I looked at my watch.  My 10 or 15 minute appointment had taken - wait for it - one hour and fifteen minutes. Yep. And what did I get out of it?  Cubist boobs.  I could've worn a bra made of Legos at that point and finally experienced perfect fit. 
    When I got home I called Melinda and filled her in on the whole mind bending, breast mangling experience.  She was appropriately shocked on my behalf (which is good, 'cause I'd hate to take my own sister off my Christmas list) and suggested that I call the doctor the next morning and ask for a "wet read" result.  Which I did, to no avail.  Sometimes  you just can't win.  I've decided to just be patient and wait for the results.  In the meantime, I've duct-taped two Tupperware bowls over my chest, in a desperate attempt to restore the girls to their previous gently-rounded state rather than the pyramid - like  shape they're currently flaunting.  If that fails, well....the kids have lots of Legos!   

It lives

    Mr. Repair-guy came out just after lunch today, and within half an hour had my refrigerator chillin' again.  Yay!  Plus, with the home warranty that we got when we bought the house, I only had to pay $50 instead of $250!!  Double yay!  I am still a leetle disappointed that I won't get to replace the monster with one of my beloved bottom-mount-freezer types, but hey, this works.  At least tomorrow I'll have cream for my coffee.  Let it be noted that black coffee, no matter how sweet, is NOT my favorite.  Soooo, the next thing on the list is replacing all the stuff I had to throw out this morning.  Look out grocery store! 

Puppies and kitties and freezers, oh my!

    Ooooof!  It's been a while!  Our weekend was meant to be very relaxed and lazy, and instead turned into a marathon garage-sale tour.  We got some killer deals (yay!) but it wasn't exactly relaxing (ugh).  At any rate, we made it through, and this week has gone about like usual. Well, with one or two exceptions.
    Last night was Clover's first puppy obedience class, and it was a hoot!  There are seven puppies total, and she is by far the largest.  She is also a bit of a wimp.  By the time class was over she'd quit hiding behind my legs, though.  It should be an interesting eight weeks!
    While Clover was socializing, Lily the kitten was apparently off exploring the world, because we couldn't find her anywhere last night.  She spends the days sleeping on the deck, hunting frogs, etc. but she's always inside at night.  Well, last night she was nowhere to be found.  The kids searched and called until it started pouring rain and they had to come inside.  This morning they went out looking - still no Lily.  We were really afraid that a stray dog or maybe even a coyote had made off with her.  But lo and behold, this afternoon the neighbor stopped by to say hello and who was trailing along behind him but Lily!  I don't know if she had been at their house last night or what, but she's back now and perfectly fine.  Silly cat.
    I was definitely glad to have Lily back, but I was not so glad to come home from running a couple errands this afternoon and find that the freezer had quit working.  At first I thought someone had left some icecubes in the dispenser tray and they'd melted, since there was water all down the front of the freezer from the ice dispenser.  But when I opened the freezer door and discovered that everything was completely thawed - !!  At this point I'm not sure if the refrigerator is actually working or if it just holds its temperature better than the freezer.  We have a side-by-side, which I have never liked, so I won't be at all sad if the repair person says we need a new long as the home warranty we have helps cover the cost!  (It's supposed to, but you never know...with my luck it only covers harvest-gold fridges and avocado ranges...)  Anyway, the repair person is coming tomorrow - they "don't do same-day calls", thank you!  So we'll see what happens.  In the meantime, I have to figure out what to do for supper - and where to put all the now-useless food from my freezer. 

Still here

    Okay, just checking in to let y'all know that I have not, in fact, hopped a plane for Bora-Bora or some other far-flung corner of the globe.  (How does a globe have corners, anyway?)  Still a wee bit cranky, but God is good and I think we're gonna make it.  Church this morning was very good, too, which definitely helped.  At any rate, I'm still around, still plugging, and if all goes well I may have something very special to show you all in a few days.  Not knitting, not beading, not puppy-related.  Aren't I a tease?   

Leavin' on a jet plane....

    ...or a boat, or a car, or a train, or a rocket to the moon - you name it, if it's going anywhere but here, I'm in line for the next ticket.  Can't say that there is any particular reason, other than being grouchier than the devil on the last day of a Billy Graham crusade.  I just want to go away.  Far, far away.  Alone.
    This seems rather harsh towards my husband and children, I know.  It's not their fault.  I love my husband - he's a peach - none better - and the kids are really above average. Love them too.  I just have an almost overwhelming urge to go somewhere all alone.   I want to choose the place and time and manner of my going, and I want to choose what I do once I'm gone.  And then - if I feel like it - I want to decide when to come back.   No guilt, no pressure, no watching the clock so I'm not gone "too long", none of that. 
    What is behind this?  I have a darned good life.  My marriage is (almost embarrassingly) good, we're all healthy, no major problems on the family horizon - heck, the kids are even doing their schoolwork with a minimum of fuss and, better yet, learning things!!  So why am I so desperate to get away from all the wonderful?  I wish I knew.  I guess it's just one of those days.  Maybe the happy pills haven't kicked in yet.  Maybe the moon is in the wrong house.  Maybe I need more chromium in my diet.  Or maybe - just maybe - I'm normal.  Could be this is just average for a person living a normal life these days.  Every now and then you just need to stop juggling all those oh-so-important balls and walk away for a little bit, in order to give yourself the inner resources you need to come back and start juggling again. Could be. 
    Or it could be that I'm barking mad, too.  Guess we'll just have to wait and see.


    I can't believe I missed "Talk Like A Pirate Day"!!  It was yesterday, and I was busy talking like - well - like a Grouchy Mom, instead.  So in (belated) honor of the day - AAAAAaaaaarrrrgh!  Avast, me hearties!  Me and the crew of the Grouchy Mom wish ye a fine day of pillaging, plundering and other piratey activities. 

    Now that that's out of the way - !!  It's been a pretty busy week, although looking back, I can't really tell you why.  Don't you hate that?  Anyhoo, the rat race continues!  I signed Clover up for a puppy obedience class that starts next week, so that should be interesting.  Maybe they can tell me how to persuade her that Lily the kitten is not, in fact, a chew toy.  She's not malicious about it, just persistent.  The funny thing is that Lily doesn't seem to mind.  She could get away from Clover if she wanted, but she pretty much just takes it and winds up covered in puppy drool at least once a day.  Silly cat.
    I found out this morning that the friend who was supposed to be visiting this weekend can't come.  She is having some fairly scary health issues and decided not to make the trip.  I'm bummed, but I understand, and I'd much rather she take care of herself than drive up here.  Guess that just means more time to work on things around the house, eh?  Yeah.  Yay. 
    Having completely stalled out on the socks for my niece, I'm working away on another pair for myself (heehee) and trying to decide what else to start.  Mind you, I discovered an appalling number of UFO's when I unpacked our stuff from Germany, and we won't even talk about the fact that my torch is still languishing in a box in the workshop.  Irrelevant!  I'm in knitting mode, folks!  What to do next?  It's a toss-up between a lace scarf and a sweater.   I have some yummy laceweight in a gorgeous sunset colorway, and some equally yummy merino in a luscious plum color.  Which goes first?
Weigh in here, folks! 
    Now I'm off to take darling daughter for a haircut.  I got my ears lowered yesterday (thank God!) so today is her turn.  We were both starting to look like fuzzy mushrooms - not our best look, as you can imagine.  Enjoy the beautiful fall weather, folks!

I am a wimp

    I've been knitting on my niece's socks, as time and circumstances permit, and I have made a discovery:  the  prospect of two whole socks' worth of kelly green makes me want to hurl.  I can't do it.  All those tiny stitches, on tiny needles, in unrelenting green - it's too much.  And I love green!  It's my favorite color, although I usually lean towards either the lime or forest greens rather than kelly.  What am I to do?  I've clearly been spoiled (brainwashed?) by the beauty and unending variety of multicolored and self-patterning sock yarns.  Maybe I'm a bit too easy to amuse, but I admit to being completely enthralled by the unfolding colorways and surprising patterns.  All that monotonous kelly is just - well - boring.  And I don't do well with boring.  It's a character flaw, I know, but I need some variety in my projects, or they wind up as UFO's, floating through the various storage spaces of my home, unwanted and neglected.  Sad, no? 
    Thus I must make a decision: to knit kelly green, or not.  I think you can tell which way I'm leaning.  If I make her a really funky pair of multicolored or striped socks, do you think she'll forgive me for not producing cheerleader socks?  I mean, really, which will she use more often?  And besides, I know she doesn't want to see her Aunt Steph rocking in a corner and mumbling to herself  (more than usual, anyway) because a pair of solid-color socks drove her over the edge.  Sigh.  Who knew green socks would be so traumatic?

A slight dilemma

    I have a small problem - nothing major, no life-or-death issues here, just a question in my mind.  When we bought our house, part of the deal was the previous owner's garden tractor, complete with mowing deck, snow and grading blades, etc.  It's a Craftsman, good quality tractor, cuts nicely, blah blah blah.  My problem is this: for a (fairly) small tractor, I have never seen one where the seat is so high.  When I'm sitting on it, the top of my leg is level with the top of the hood.  Because of this, I have to push the seat as far forward as possible to use the brake properly, which means that my knees are knocking on the sides of the thing all the time.  Plus, the seat is unusually narrow (I know my arse is bigger than it should be, but trust me, it's a skinny seat) and shallow - as in, with my back pressed hard against the back of the seat, I still feel like I'm falling off.  None of this would really be a big deal if the area to be mowed was flat, but it's not.  It's actually pretty hilly and bumpy and some of the slants are fairly steep, which leaves me with the constant fear of flying off the mower and winding up as lawn-burger.   (gross, but true)  Plus by the time I've mowed half the yard, my knees are killing me from being banged against the hood all the time.
    So, with this information, and knowing that most of the mowing is or will be done by myself and the kids, my question is this: when is it reasonable to take a piece of equipment that functions perfectly and get rid of it?  It does exactly what it's supposed to do, but I swear to you, I am scared to death to mow more than half of the property because I honestly fear falling or being thrown off the thing.  Do we sell it and put the money toward something that is a better "fit" for me?  Do we keep it for snowplowing, etc. and get a smaller mower just for the yard?  Or do I just suck it up, stifle my shrieks of terror, and make sure my life insurance is paid up?   It sounds so silly but it just flat freaks me out to mow with the thing.  What do you think? 

Hear me roar

    Oh yeah, got all my stuff yesterday.  Yep, all of it. About - oh, let me see - 60-some boxes, plus several pieces of furniture.  And you know what?  I went through every single box yesterday.  Every single stinking box.  I ripped tape and cut cardboard and sorted and placed and lifted and toted and about 8:30 last night I fell over and prayed for unconsciousness.  My husband very sweetly said "Honey, you don't have to do it all in one day!" - after I'd already done it all in one day.  Yeah.  Thanks, sweetie.
    Even though I feel kinda like that truck parked on me yesterday, I have to say that I'm mighty pleased with myself.  All my kitchen stuff is put away, all the furniture is placed (at least temporarily), the kids have their stuff in their rooms, tools and bikes are in the workshop, and just about everything else is at least in the proper room, if not the proper place.  Luke was wandering through the living room yesterday and commented, "Now it really feels like home."  Nice, eh? 
    Of course, after working my arse off yesterday, guess what I did today?  Took the kids to a homeschool group outing that involved - wait for it - hiking.   All over one family's wooded back lot, complete with streams, thorns, and burrs.  Call me a wimp, but honestly, I am so tired today that when she started telling us about the course I almost cried.  Thankfully it really wasn't too rough, and I had a nice time getting to know some of the other moms, but it feels SOOOOOOO good to be sitting down right now! 
Really, I think the rest of the sorting and placing can wait till tomorrow.  Tonight I'm putting my feet up and knitting. 

Oh YES!!

    Do you know what happened today?  Do you?  Huh, huh, do ya?  MY STUFF CAME!!!  Okay, sorry I'm shouting, but it feels like we've been waiting forever for this shipment to arrive, and I am happier than a dog with two tails right now.  (And that's pretty darn happy!)  There has been a long string of events that did not go the way they were supposed to, so I am tickled beyond belief to have everything here.  And (so far) nothing's even broken! 
    Actually, I'm surprised by how much stuff there is!  I'd forgotten a lot of things, so today is kind of like Christmas.  Open a box and "Hey, looky there!  Wow, I forgot I had that!"  And so on and so forth.  Of course it will be the 4th of never before I get everything sorted out and where it's actually supposed to be, but that's okay.  Besides, that gives me to time to decide where it's supposed to be, right? 
    Sweet husband is completely amused by my (admittedly somewhat excessive) joy over receiving this shipment.  I think part of his amusement is the fact that I'm so geeked to have my kitchen stuff - me, the Woman Who Hates to Cook, excited about whisks and measuring cups!  Personally I think it makes perfect sense.  After all, if you must do something you hate, shouldn't you have everything you can find to make the job as easy as possible?  Of course you should!  See?  Perfect sense.
    Mind you, I'm pretty happy about some other stuff too.  My purple sectional couch and matching chair (hey, it's very European!), the kids' dressers, some more of my yarn and beads, books - oh, and FINALLY, a kitchen table and chairs!  Yes!  We've been eating off a 4-foot folding table, with a mixture of camp chairs and those cheap plastic lawn chairs for seating - not very comfortable, and it definitely puts a crimp in your entertainment plans.  Now we can eat a meal together, without bumping each other off the chairs or having the table top be at mouth level (camp chairs are a little low, you know?)  It is a very good day.
    Well, I guess I've taken enough of a break - back to the boxes!  Merry Christmas!  :-)