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Despite reminders to myself when I went to bed, and again when I woke up in the wee small hours of the morning, I nearly forgot it was Rabbits day. DH said it when he woke up, and then I joined in. I do like the little ritual, even if I cannot fathom what bunnies have to do with good luck. I am pleased that we have a few in the front yard, though less pleased they've started to appear in the back yard. There's no lettuce or carrots left for them now, but fall plantings will go in soon.
Brittle. Shards. That's how I feel today, like I'm a collage of small, pointy bits. Somewhat like being on the edge of a migraine. I hurt all over, and at several points today my ankle felt like a knife was slicing through it - once even before I got out of bed. It seems the healing process is two steps forward and and one step back. I can't make it through the day, even my eyes feel terrible - I took out one contact while driving home early, it was completely not right. I feel broken all over, and need to heal.
My fingers are itching. The purple cable pullover is close enough to make me think I can actually knit a sweater that truly fits. I am actually contemplating frogging Big Pink so that I can reknit it in the "right" size. Hmmm. I'm also feeling slightly tempted to pick apart G's sweater, re-skein the yarn and have a big do-over, but not with the "must complete by Christmas" rush. I've been virtually tossing my stash on Ravelry, trying to figure out what I have to knit that won't change gauge and isn't fingering weight or a grail yarn.
After months of "being on the sheep" I've fallen off. When you have disposable income.. you dispose of it! It was a foregone conclusion that I would buy some of Clara's new yarn, from a rare and highly prized sheep breed. Then there's the dilemma of needing (wanting) heavier weight yarn to knit quickly into a simple sweater to test the new measurements; some new Briar Rose yarn jumped into my stash while waiting at the radiologist. Today I realized that now is the time to buy my "grail" yarns that are discontinued. Looks like my sweater mojo is back.
After last night's knitnite discussion about pie vs cake, and Briermere (I shudder!) I knew I had to bake today. Focaccia was not what I'd planned, but it worked with dinner, and myschedule. I was shocked when DH said he preferred that I bake bread. Every time I try to bake bread, he's bought multiple loaves of stuff at the store. Baking each weekend is part of my long-range plan to reclaim my life, to put work back in a 9-5 box. Besides, I'm such a snob about baked goods I don't have much choice but to bake.
The plan was that today would be a lazy day - we did errands yesterday and I got laundry done. But somehow there wasn't a lot of lazing around and there definitely was no sipping of cocktails. Every summer I think I'm going to get my act together and be a bit lazy - hang poolside with a cocktail, a book, maybe some light knitting, and just chill. Last year, the lack of shade kept me inside a lot - and it has been much the same this year. So far. The pergola goes up this week - I hope it will change things.
Yarn arrived today. So. Much. Yarny. Goodness. I finally gave in for my desire to re-create the soft mossy green sweater I 'inherited' from Aunt Vonnie 40 years ago, with grosgrain ribbon on the buttonband. The perfect wool for this has been discontinued for years, but someone was destashing the perfect amount & color. The really woolly stuff - California Variegated Mutant (I just love the name!) - may prove too woolly for me to wear, even with a layer underneath. But the real score was the Glory Days colorway, I adore it - it reminds me of labrador violets or Monet's waterlilies.
Early in the morning, or late afternoon, we see him. Or her, I don't know, but it is our own Little Bunny Foo-Foo. Well, I don't know about bopping the mice, but the bunny is small, Miss Leo sized, with a white tail and ears that are shorter than I expected, and not at all floppy. We've seen Bunny in the front yard at the edges of the flower beds, hiding underneath the tree wisteria, even hiding under the cars. I don't mind bunnies in the front yard, but Bunny had better leave the backyard and its veggies alone.
Waited an hour past my appointment time before the doctor came in to the room. She didn't even acknowledge that she was late. I don't know which bothers me more: that she might not actually have realized she was an hour late to the appointment or that she didn't believe it was necessary to acknowledge being late. Gah! By the time I get out of there, the practice's support staff had left. Ten minutes later, I learned pre-auth is needed for the diagnostic testing. I can't do anything but fume quietly to myself and call back in the morning.
Let me ramble about food for a minute: Summer is burger time. Not for a holiday weekend dinner, but for a regular weeknight dinner: easy, quick, and essentially no clean up. We seem to have found the perfect burger materials, with a perfect balance of beefy bit and bun. The hawaiian buns are smaller than regular burger buns. And they go perfectly with the kobe brisket burgers that were on sale for a ridiculously low price at the store. Burgers that are only 5.5 ounces to start with. The small scale is perfect - not too much, not too little.
Trying to sort out the plan for my parents visit has become quite complicated. My parents and my mother-in-law rather enjoy each other's company (gasp!). Or at least they did five years ago, the only time they met. Actually, I do think they have a lot in common - the values and outlook on life - that is more significant than the difference between Michigan and Manhattan. I am very fortunate in that regard: to like my mother-in-law, and that the parental generation gets along. But coordinating another get-together, with my parents not doing NYC... challenges abound.
Knitting as therapy continues on this quiet Saturday. Still absolutely loving the Briar Rose BFL yarn I'm knitting. I think I'm somewhat obsessed with it: realizing with two other colorways in my stash, so I already have enough to knit another full sweater and a tee / vest, I still can't stop myself from trolling Chris' website for other colors, and checking stash on Ravelry, looking for a sweater quantity of a single colorway that makes me happy. But I really need to finish this sweater first and wear it for a while before I buy even more of this yarn.
Sitting at the top of the hill over the harbor inlet, it is very much a perfect summer day. It is warm, just a touch humid, but neither to an uncomfortable degree. The sun is shining, there are gentle wisps of clouds somewhere in the sky, and we are eating ice cream as we watch the world go by. It is exactly the kind of day I want in my summer, but more than once a season. I have probably written something similar every summer for the last few years. I'm still working on a real solution to that deficit.
There will be failures, some of them spectacular. Bread is simple, but not always easy, to make. The loaf with whole grains that rose so beautifully before going into the oven, came out of the oven deflated and sunken. There was apparently no oven spring in the recipe version I followed, the original, and it wasn't just me. Next time I'll use revised directions and put the bread into a hot oven and hope for oven spring. I want to bake all the things right now, but probably one recipe of bread a week is all we can go through.
Medical advances have really improved some of the diagnostics in the last fifteen years. Mammograms are much easier since the automatic release, particularly since the technician no longer needs to completely leave the room. X-ray machines can now tilt, swivel and move around you, a vast improvement over the days when you had to lay on the table and squirm and scrunch to get the right angle. I'm still disappointed by MRI machines though, you can't even hear the music from the earphones, so its an ineffective distraction for both the machine's pounding noise and the feelings of claustrophobia.
The pain in my leg starts at the back of my thigh, travels behind my knee, down the calf and into the ankle - the path of the sciatic nerve. My calf is cold, it feels to me cold all the time now. The ankle has a completely different kind of pain, which has been consumed by the nerve pain, which culminates in the mass of needles that is centered between the ball of my foot and the arch. I tried to work today, from home, sitting in my magic chair. I even succeeded, at times. But the battle is lost.
I am giving up on working from home today. I can barely think and track conversations with G, never mind being coherent about the research projects at work. I've finally gotten through to someone at SBU about the last test the doctor ordered last week. The doctor's office should have the other results, but I got a call today and it seems they don't have results. It seems impossible if not at least improbable that with all these electronic records and digital imagery of modern medicine that it still takes so long to get diagnostic information into the right hands.
The fancy, shmancy automated elevators at the hospital announce what floor you're at, and that doors are opening or closing, like a subway train. The very first time I experienced the announcements, with a woman's voice and stylized delivery, I had a moment of future deja vu, a feeling of temporal displacement. It was the voice of the computer on Babylon 5, "commencing search" for Garibaldi or announcing the stop on the space station shuttle for Sheridan. I have a visceral dislike for hospital's the automated elevator, until I step inside and Babylon 5 tells me the doors are closing. . .
What news, and what a sense of deja vu: significant diagnosis based on test results that no one contacted me about. I am on the razor's edge: relief that there is some actual cause for the pain, and a certain terror at the actual reason: more herniated and bulging disks. But this time around, I have the knowledge of what happens: what the progression of this can be, the problems that come with surgery as the solution. I have to find an alternative to survery but in the meantime I am beyond thankful that the muscle relaxant brings immediate relief.
This will be a long haul recovery effort. The vascular test showed blood is moving well to both my feet, hurray! I don't want to do surgery again, I plan to exhaust every option before considering that again. Still, it will likely take at least 30 days to get an appointment with a surgeon, based on past experience. Given the problems I had with doctors and the medical profession this last week, it feels sometimes like we are in a third world country. But I am not convinced that socialized medicine or a single payer system would be any better.
It was slow to start, but Eclipse-mania did finally set in everywhere. I was able to see it from our back yard, which did get a bit cooler and less sunny at the height of the afternoon, but I'm not sure you would have known there was an eclipse although we were supposedly around 70% of totality. Our bunny did show up in the back yard, nibbling at the grass at 2:40 in the afternoon, and the cidadas and crickets started their evening songs. I can't quite imagine what it would have been like to be in totality.
Thirty five years ago I was in Vienna, playing with the Junior Symphony in an international competition. I remember the Golden Hall. Listening to the concert recording, transferred from tape to CD,t here are moments when we sounded like a professional orchestra. After all these years, I remember the piccolo parts of the music we spent a year preparing. I remember the heat of the concert hall - there wasn't air conditioning anywhere in 1982 Vienna. And at the end of the tape, my memory was confirmed: the audience clapping coalesced into unison, pounding rhythmically, demanding one more piece. Amazing.
After a year and half, Aunt Evie finally quit her battle with ALS. I won't say she lost it, because it was pretty clear that she was fighting this last week to end the battle. It has been hard on mom, even if their relationship was never that great. I am so glad I bought Evelyn the iPad last year, it made it possible for mom to stay in touch, to talk with her sister even after the ALS took most speech away. I am glad for Evie's sake that the battle is over before things became entirely too difficult.
The pergola is done. It looks amazing, although it seems very large, almost oversize when viewed from the pool, but when you're on the patio, underneath the roof, it just feels airy. It does need shades. It needs green plants growing up the posts - perhaps zephirine drouhin rose, dusty pink and fragrant. Or a Sweet Summer Love clematis or clematis paniculata. Or more wisteria. Or, all of the above! There is a lot of room, but really only two posts for climbing plants - the gates are mounted on the other two posts. I will have to decide on just two.
Research has shown that even Alzheimer's patients respond to the music from their youth. Today I listened to the recording of the Jazz Lab band from June 1983...and found myself playing along, remembering my part on sax or flute. Listening to our fearless leader Jon narrate between numbers and name soloists, memories of sitting in practice suddenly flooded back. Long-forgotten names were matched with faces, quirks and interactions outside of band practice. It all seems so long ago and so far away, but yet. . . not. In that odd way of memories. And I still don't like Becky's voice.
A relaxing Saturday, that still managed to be productive. Breakfast at the diner - it still seems like a real indulgence, breakfast out on the weekend. Yet I know it is a tradition for many, I knew that growing up. Doing errands with hoosband, getting our eye exams done for drivers license renewal at the local AAA (with the bonus of purple spinner luggage for $1!!). I took photos of the raspberry patch netting for Dad, cleaned the kitchen & dining room tables and changed both linens, knit and had pool time. I was tired and a bit sore by the end.
The basement has been a bug-a-boo for me for a couple of years now. When we moved in, we just shoved all the boxes from my house and his house into the basement. That was bad enough, but someone loves to stockpile: jam, honey, bourbon, paper towels and toilet paper. It freaks me out to see our basement so filled there is just a walkway through the finished room - it literally makes me want to vomit. Today I took inventory of jam and tomatoes, and snuck in time to remove styrofoam, empty boxes and create a wider pathway.
I was surprised that the campground by the lake that my maternal grandparents used to live near was still in existence. So much has been developed in the last 20 years, Iím glad to see it's still there, and people are still going back year after year for summer vacation, weekends, whenever they can. I remember being fascinated by the community of people, they all knew each other, spent summers together. I was also fascinated by friends in town who lived so close to each other they were always running back and forth from one house to the other.
Honestly, I donít have any memories of Aunt E worth sharing. I remember avoiding her, her husband and daughter to every extent possible when I was growing up.†I can only imagine what tantrums her daughter's coming up with now. I have been trying to dig up memories, from the Christmas Eve parties, or the house downtown when I was a kid, or even the Sunday afternoon pizza dinners at the grandparents when I was at college. Fact is, I had better conversations and exchanges with Aunt E in her final months than any I remember while growing up.
There's only one person left to write cards for on a weekly basis. And I've managed to leave getting her birthday present to the last minute, because it is on Monday, which is a holiday this year. And everything I find for her on Amazon won't be there until Tuesday at the earliest even with Prime shipping. If it even has the option of Prime shipping. How is it that this is so difficult? I have another upcoming birthday present that I'm sweating over, someone who has everything, wants nothing, and has specific tastes. God help those shopping for Virgos.
There's been a lot of looking backwards the last few weeks, Childhood and family photos, including the inevitable polaroids from the early 1970's, provide evidence of things I've completely forgotten. I've listened to some of the music I made in high school and college. It has been good to shake the cobwebs free and let some of the more hidden memories see daylight for a while. Looking up semi-forgotten names to see what has become of people three decades later. The smarmy saxophonist who became a lawyer. The singer that now works with law enforcement. Who'da thunk it possible?
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