Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gone With the Maytag....


One pile waits with their god in a box,
The other pile nervously mocks heaven,

Misfits lost in the dryer, take heart.
Maybe there's a place up in sock heaven....

("Sock Heaven" by Steve Taylor)

Okay....I suppose you're wondering why I called you to this meeting on a Sunday.  But I want Blaine to have some accountability.

Remember when I knitted him a pair of Kachina Socks?  I knitted them because Blaine had complained at length about how he wanted some nice warm house socks for winter mornings and he was jealous about me being too busy knitting things for other people to knit something for him.  So I felt guilty and raided my stash--- and found that I had some very good quality worsted yarn in Kachina colors.

And I knitted him some beautiful Kachina socks.  

(Ok, if you don't think they're beautiful I'll understand--because I know my infamous "un-matching socks" aren't everybody's cup of tea.  And then let's not even go to the subject of my un-matching sleeves on sweaters.  It's a sickness.....)

Here is a pic of the Kachina socks I knitted for Blaine.  I thought were very pretty Kachina Socks:

(But see, they don't match---I just CAN'T make myself knit matching socks and sleeves...)

Anyway, Blaine loved them and wore them faithfully every morning.

Then Blaine's brother-in-law saw them and asked for some Kachina socks.  I made him some with leather soles---he loved them!  Here's a picture of them before and after the attachment of the leather soles:

(See, I couldn't knit those to match either...)

Blaine's brother-in-law loved them and wore them faithfully, too!

Anyhoo, back to Blaine.  Ok, so I knitted him those Kachina socks.  They were made with a good quality worsted yarn but it wasn't superwash yarn.  So I cautioned him at length about how he should NOT put them into the washing machine, but to instead give them to me when they were ready to be washed because I would know how to wash non-superwash yarn socks.  I didn't just caution him---I flat out threatened him, if you want to know the truth.  I had worked hard on those socks and I wanted them cared for in the proper way.  

Well, one fine day I needed some clean jeans.... and I pranced my way down to the basement....

....and then I saw it......

There, on the Maytag washing machine was a tiny, felted, Kachina sock---with a coke can stuck in it.  

Yes.... a Coke can.

And then I instantly figured out what had happened.  He had washed that particular Kachina sock in the laundry--- and had gotten back a miniature, felted Kachina sock.  Then he had stuck a Coke can in it in an attempt to stretch it back to shape....

When I confronted him (quite uglily if you want to know the truth of it) he claimed that the sock had been inadvertently been left in the leg of one of his pair of sweat pants.

(Is "uglily" a word???)

Mumsy laughed her fool head off about it.  She has been bugging me a hundred times a week about actually FRAMING the stupid socks!!!!   I ask you---WHO frames ruined pairs of socks????  I don't get it.  Especially about how expensive framing is.  Even if you use the half price coupon for Michael's or Jo-Anne's, it's STILL expensive as hell.


And believe it or not, Blaine is again bugging me for some more house socks to replace the ones he ruined.  He's jealous again because I've been knitting socks for other people.  (Even one pair for my dental surgeon's assistant---I didn't think he'd notice.)  So after lecturing him multiple times ad nauseum about avoiding a repeat of the shrinking/felting episode with the previous pair of socks, I raided my stash and found some nice, soft, chunky yarn in three colors.  That yarn is NOT superwash either.  So I repeated my warnings to Blaine.  I said that when he took them off to lay them on my side of the bed so I could find them and wash them. 

The reason for the three colors is because he also demanded that there be "designs" on them like on the Kachina socks.  I told him I didn't have Kachina friendly colors of yarn.  The yarns are   some red, white, and blue yarn.  He totally stated that he doesn't want the US flag motif or other things that are colored red, white, and blue.  Fine, I told him.  I will do different designs that will utilize all three colors in those designs.  I went through a knitting chart book and circled some designs that I can utilize on the socks.


I always make very long cuffs because they keep the sock up and don't droop down, causing wrinkles and that uncomfortable feeling of socks gathering around the ankle.  

This is an excellent Christmas gift for Blaine because we are both rather broke because of us having to save for my upcoming surgery, which will cost nearly $10,000 in cash.  It is not covered by my insurance.  So we have trimmed our budget by not going to my Mumsy's for Christmas and not going hog-wild on buying gifts only for certain important family members (like Mumsy and Brian's mother.)  Then each of us have to buy a gift for $25 or under for his family's Christmas game---where you put all the gifts in a pile and draw numbers.  Then each family member gets to choose the gift they want in the number order they have.

Oh, and speaking of my Mumsy, I called FTD to have flowers delivered to her on Christmas Eve and they said absolutely NO florists were taking any more orders for Christmas Eve delivery.  I found out he was right as I called florist after florist.  I was crushed and wanted to slap myself for not ordering flowers till it was too late.

And then it hit me---my mother lives in a small, Texan town---and people there are different.  I can't explain how "different", but they just are.  So, putting on my real voice (southern---I only talk "normal" in states where there is no southern-speak so that I don't get teased) I called one tiny little florist in her town and explained my dilemma.  I told him that the flowers were for my mother and I even started bawling while I told him everything.  He said:  "Mothers are sacred.  What flower arrangement do you want and about what money cost would you like to spend?"  So I told him  what I wanted---a Christmas bouquet---and gave him a money amount.  Know what he said?  I thanked him over and over---still bawling.  "For your mother I will fit her order in with my other orders and deliver her the bouquet on Christmas Eve."   I thanked him over and over.  Texans are very generous and kind.

So thank God, Mumsy will get flowers on Christmas Eve.

And so I am preparing for two things.  The big family dinner at Blaine's sister's house (22 people are coming the last I heard).  And as many of you know, crowds cause me lots of anxiety due to my bipolar disease and my PTSD, which is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and my agoraphobia.  I have anxiety for days before I know that I'll have to leave my home.

And my upcoming surgery is provoking an ever larger amount of anxiety because the surgery is actually two operations, one after the other.  The nurse explained to me that the plastic surgeon would first put in the implants I chose, then he would perform the next surgery of the breast lift, rwhere it is necessary to relocape the nipple to make things look normal.  He already gave me my 4 medicines that I am to start when I get home after the surgery---an antibiotic, Valium for muscle relaxation, oxycontin for pain, and Phenergen for nausea.  You're absolutely NOT suppose to engage in gagging due to nause as it could bust a blood vessel and cause a hematoma in the breasts.  (That happened to me in my first aumentation and they had to re-open that breast to fix the hematoma.)

I pre-registered for the surgery and the hospital lady said the anesthetist would visit me.  Then they'll give me medicine to calm my fears, as I've very nervous about this surgery.  God, I'm nervous.  One time I went to a Catholic hospital for an endometriosis sample and I was going to be put to sleep..  Although I'm a Baptist, I was able to request a nun to come pray with me before surgery.  The actual head nun of the hospital took time out of her busy situation in the hospital appeared and called out to the waiting room: "Bo---I am calling Bo!"  And I felt calm  because I figured a Catholic's prayer would be listened to by The Good Lord even though it was from a different religion than mine.

Anyway very I'm nervous---the big family dinner is on Christmas and the surgery is only 17 days away.  I'm doing a countdown for both.



Friday, December 21, 2012

The Blizzard

Hear the Salvation Army band,
Down by the riverside, it's bound to be a better ride,
Than what you've got planned,
Carry your cup in your hand,
And look around, leaves are brown,
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter.....

("Hazy Shade of Winter", Simon & Garfunkel)

(You can click on the pics to enlarge them)

Well, the winter weather has finally arrived.  We woke up to a full blown blizzard this morning.  And Blaine bravely went outside into the whipping winds to try and dig the truck out so that he could go do some errands.  He wanted to go to the grocery store and get the ingredients for each of our traditional "snow day meals".

My specialty on a snow day is Southern Goulash, a delicious recipe that has been handed down for generations in my mother's southern family.  (My grandmother sometimes called it "slumgulion".)  Wanna know how we do it?  Okay here it is:

Brown a pound of ground beef.  When it gets browned, do NOT dump the grease out.  Leave it in---it makes everything taste better.  Then dump in about a cup of thinly sliced celery.  Stir around awhile till the celery is fork tender.  Dump in a bottle of spaghetti sauce like Ragu, Paul Neuman's, or whichever brand you like.  Stir everything in together, cooking for awhile to get everything blended.  You want it real tomato-ey.  Set aside.  Make some spaghetti (or angel hair if you like) in water that has about 1/4 cup of olive oil in it.  I can't tell you how much spaghetti but I just guesstimate the amount on how much the meat mixture is.  When the spaghetti sticks to the wall when you throw a piece at it, it's ready.  Drain it and then dump the spaghetti into the pot with the meat and tomato mixture.  Fold in really well, distributing the celeries in a balanced fashion.

It's so good it will make you stand up and slap your grandma.  (Sorry---that's a southern expression of good food....)  

(Is "celeries" a word?)  (What about tomato-ey?)

Anyhoo, the other ingredients Blaine wanted to get is his traditional, official "Snow Day Chili".  (And he's not even Texan.)  I don't know how he makes his chili or I would tell you.  I do know he doesn't use ground beef, he uses really good quality meat cut up into square pieces.  He also dumps beer in there at some point.  And it is really GOOOD.  Here's a pic of Blaine---I don't think I've ever put a good pic of my handsome blonde man one on the blog yet:

 Anyhoo, the snow went on, and the cats did their usual----jockeying for a space to look out through the back sliding glass doors.  By the expression on Peaches' face, I can tell she is not very welcoming to giving up any room for Lu-Lu to join in....  

Let me tell you something about Peaches above.  She thinks she is the Queen Bee of the household because she is so beautiful.  She sashays around here like royalty, ignoring the word "no".  Blaine spoils her so bad that he has her thinking she runs the whole show.  She gets away with murder when he's around.  But it's a different story on weekdays.  As soon as he's out the door I look her right in the eyeballs and say:  "Look here, Missy---you do NOT run this household.  I DO.  So you better behave or it's the basement for you."

And then she behaves.

Also, she has this annoying behavior at night.  I'll be in bed sleeping peacefully and she'll get in my face and bury her head in between my neck and the covers.  WHY does she do that?  She purs while she's doing it---purring so loudly that you could probably hear it at the next door neighbors'.  I end up having to push her off me.

Then Blaine says that Lu-Lu walks all over me at night, even walking over my head and face.  But I never wake up when she does that.  Lu-Lu will usually sleep in the knee rook of my bent legs.  Or she'll sleep on the other side of the bed with stupid Leonard.  And Peaches usually sleeps at my feet.  Our bed gets crowded....

Which brings us to my lap-baby, Lu-Lu.  Once in awhile she "claims" a space but it's usually a space that none of the other cats give a damn about.

One day Blaine bought a scratching board that was saturated with catnip.  He brought it home, thinking it would just be a scratching place but the catnip nearly drove Lu-Lu nuts.  She wallowed around on it, covering herself with catnip.  It made her act drunk!  So here she is---passed out drunk on catnip.  

(Kind of reminds me of those days when I was a heavy drinker and would periodically pass out, heh!!)

Other things I did today was to start hanging Mumsy's Christmas presents to us.  (PLEASE don't tell my mom we already opened them---we were supposed to wait till Christmas Day but I just couldn't stand it--I HAD TO OPEN IT).

As most of you know, my mother is a well known artist in Texas.  And there's nothing I love better than pieces of her artwork.  She does a lot of mosaicing---she even teaches classes in it.  Anyway, one of her talents is making mosaic switchplates for light switches.  She sent us a BUNCH!  Yay!!!!  Both single switches and double switches.  I love these things, especially since I'm almost finished re-decorating the downstairs and these switchplates will give things a "final touch".  (But some of the switch plates will go upstairs, too.)  She also sent us a large white mosaiced cross out of white and mirror tiles, with a square mirror in the center.  It's absolutely lovely.  Ultimately I am going to decorate the master suite and bathroom in tan to match the walls, with a dominating green and with white accents.  So the white cross will go in there.

Here's the switch plates she sent us---I've already hung two--here's a double one.  (The sun was shining right on this one, so it's a little orangey looking.)  I love the ones that have "danglies" like this one..

I'm bad about opening Christmas presents early.  I'm already wearing my Christmas present from Blaine---a beautiful "medallion" ring with a huge white sapphire surrounded by smaller white sapphires.  And a matching bangle embedded with even more white sapphires.  And we got a trunk of gourmet foods from my sister and brother-in-law.  Instead of a basket the food is in a very gorgeous buckled trunk which I am going to use in the decor of the house.

I know, I're supposed to wait till Christmas Day to open things---oh well, I'm a bad girl.  Bad Bo.  Bad Bo.

Anyway, the snow kept coming down, and Blaine brought home the ingredients for our snow day meals.  Blaine made his chili first and it was delicious as usual.  Tomorrow is goulash day....


Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Call for Prayers

I know the Good Lord sent his angels to retrieve the souls of the poor little children who were killed in Newtown.... 

I cannot even fathom the grief and anguish the families of the victims are going through.  And I know that the town itself is grieving over this horrific tragedy.  We should pray very hard for all of them.  I have not stopped crying since the news broke the story. 

I expecially cried when I heard about the young little teacher who herded her kids into the closet and then stood outside the closet to bravely block the bullets with her body.  There were so many acts of heroism that day.

Let us pray to the Good Lord that He sends His angels to comfort the victims' families.  And also that He blesses the town itself, in order to promote healing for them after this horrendous tragedy in a place where they felt so safe.

Help them all, dear Lord....


Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful....


Saturday, December 15, 2012

No Miracles on the 95th Exit.....


Bells will rbe inging the sad, sad news,
Oh what a Christmas to have the blues...

("Please Come Home for Christmas", Gary Allan

I definitely have the blues.

We had planned to go down to Texas and see my family, as usually.  We were going to go to Dallas, where my sister and her family is, the town my mother lives in, and the swamp where my Cajun uncle lives with his niece and the brother of his late wife.  I was so excited. about the trip, like I always am.  The trip always puts me in the Christmasy mood.

But we can't go.  

My upcoming surgery is nearly $9,000 and so we're having to count our pennies.  And a trip to Texas would be expensive, like it always is.  Too expensive to go.  My mother feels sorry for me because she knows I'm such a Mama's Girl and wanted to go see her.

One thing is that my Mumsy and sister said for us to NOT send presents.  They said they understand about our money problems.  That makes me so sad.

Blaine and I are so despondent that we are literally not celebrating the holiday---we haven't put up a tree or anything.

So what I'm going to do is put a link here to another Christmas we had where we spent it with all our relatives, in Dallas, my mom's town, and my uncle's swamp abode.  I also have a picture there of the aran sweater I knitted for the brother of my uncle's late wife.  I knitted it blind, guessing at its size.  And I worried as I measured what a "medium" (his size) was.  I used measurements of medium size men's sweaters in patterns in my knitting books.  And lo and behold, it fit him perfectly---I couldn't believe it.  He wore it to work the next day---he loved it.

Anyway, here's the link to that happy Christmas.  I can only hope that next Christmas will be as nice as that one was.

Link here.

(You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.)


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Keeping Busy till January 8th


...And walk with me hand in hand, ya-ha
And talk with me you got a plan, ah-ha
And hold me, and hold me
Don't stop... in the faraway nearby
Can you here me call?

("The Faraway Nearby", Cyndi Lauper)

Well, it's all decided.  The plastic surgeon is going to do a "bilateral mastopexy (link mastopexy) with bilateral implants. I am scheduled for January 8th.  Lord, I wish I could get it done sooner so I don't have to think about it.  This all must be done to reconstruct my breast due to the gradual enlargement of the problems in my breasts.  The thought of it scares me to death.  I sure wish I didn't have to go through this major surgery but I have no choice, in light of the complications of my old breast augmentation where there is scar tissue and encapsulation contractures....

Tomorrow I go to "try on boobs".  But my question is how would you know what size you want when you're trying them on over your existing boobs?  The nurse said "You will have to 'guess' slightly bigger than what you want".  Oh great.  What if I choose the wrong one and then wake up from surgery with Dolly Parton boobies?  That would be a disaster.  Oh well, I got tomorrow and maybe that will be done so that I know what I should get....I hope.

I've been trying to keep busy.  One thing is that I'm working on the Twirly Skirt but you can't really tell how ruffled and pleated it will be because it's on a 45" circular needle.  That top edge is a casing for elastic.

Also, I've been finishing up the downstairs re-decorating.  I finally finished the pothanger rack.

And then I finished the desk nook.  It's on one wall of the dining room but that's the only place we could put it up.  But it looks alright in person.

Then I finished the "leopard nook" which Lu-Lu seems to like.

Then I finished my knitting nook---what a mess!

Then I hung the authentic African masks.  I didn't know where else to put them.

Oh well.  It's difficult to wait till January 8th because it's such a long time to comtemplate the surgery and the possible complications....but onwards I plunge....

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Long, Long, Time a Nursing School Far, Far Away....

I can see your face,
In our secret place,
You're not just a memory,
Say goodbye to yesterday,
Those are words I'll never say....
("This Used to be My Playground", Madonna)

As you all know, I am facing surgery.  I don't see the plastic surgeon till Monday and I am on pins and needles about it.  I just can't think of anything else.  I'm worried about the surgeon.  And I have an unreasonable fear that they will find cancer, even though two doctors told me the contracture and scar tissue around the old implant in my left boob isn't cancer.  I'm afraid of the surgery itself.  In other words, I'm a big baby.  In my nervousness I have been obsessively knitting frilly scarves with all sorts of colors.

At least I'm done with the mamograms and ultrasounds.  As for the mammograms, I don't know why in the world they gave me a pink gown because it was on me for exactly 4 minutes till I had to take it off so that the technician could squish my boob into that torture death vice.  I might as well have walked in there stark nekkid.

So since I have nothing to say but tired, depressing medical things, I thought I would resurrect those old memories, a series of "reruns" that tell the tragic tale of our intrepid trio who attended an old fashioned, convent-run, nursing school long ago...  

But one note I've got to tell you:  

The whole tale grew out of a blog post I had intended to write about the dumb ghost story TV shows which Blaine watches.  And then, as I bitched, somehow it triggered some reminiscing of events which I had buried deep inside me.....some emerging thoughts which unwillingly rekindled memories of things I would rather not have remembered.....ever
But then, a cloudy picture of those fateful events began to take form and invade my brain---things which happened long ago....things which formed me into who I am.... and things which I thought I had left behind about my years at Shadyside Hospital Nursing School in Pittsburg, PA. 
Shadyside was a "diploma" nursing school.  In those days, a "diploma" nursing school was located at a hospital.  So you lived, breathed, and studied there. 
And I say it was a "tragic" story because that's exactly what it was---a tragic, sometimes horrifying story.  Yes, there are funny parts, but I spared nothing when I wrote it--- the good, the bad, and the terrible.  And it's not stories about patients.  It's simply a tale of three friends and the tragedies which befell them...
...and yes...there is a ghost story in there.... and it's real....

So remember, it starts out as me complaining about Blaine----and strap on your seat belts because it's going to be a bumpy ride....and so here goes.....

Sad Angels

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

And then....I became an RN.


Friday, November 30, 2012

The Diagnosis.....

No v.d., no cancer, 
on T.V's the answer,

No father, no mother, 
she's just like the other,
And you know, and I know,
my clone sleeps alone... 

("My Clone Sleeps Alone", Pat Benatar)


Well.....I finally got the diagnosis of what's wrong with my left breast.  And I would give anything if I didn't have to tell you what's really wrong with it.  Please have mercy on me--please don't judge me.  Dammit, this just isn't my month.....

At first when I discovered the lump in my left breast, I got scared, thinking the growing lump was cancer.  I went through the gamut of seeing my OB/GYN and then a breast surgeon.  I endured painful mammograms and ultrasounds where they mercilessly squash your boob with all kinds of frightening equipment.  Lord, I thought---if you didn't have a problem with your hapless boob before those tests, you certainly would developt a problem with your hapless boob AFTER those horrible tests.

(Geez....I never thought that in my whole life I would ever label my boob as "hapless".  In the immortal words of the Wicked Witch of the West, what a world, what a world...)

Finally, I had my final appointment with my breast surgeon.  It was the appointment where all the test results would be reviewed with me.  They hadn't called me beforehand so I assumed it wasn't that big of a deal.  I figured it was just a harmless, benign mass that would have to be removed.  After all, the radiologist had said he'd looked at the films and determined that it wasn't cancer.

And as I waited for the appointment with the surgeon, I knitted nervously with Sashay yarn, making the frilly scarves everybody is talking about.

The reason I started knitting them is because I hadn't ever used Sashay and I wanted a new and different activity that would completely occupy my mind in order to drown out the worry over the breast problem.  

And finally the day arrived and I went to see the breast surgeon.  And do you know what the problem turned out to be?  Get ready---because God forbid but I'm going to reveal something which I absolutely NEVER wanted to reveal to anybody.

Okay....deep breath here...

The hard, lump-like mass in my left breast is scar tissue---scar tissue which is forming around the capsule in which my breast implant is located.  Yes, it's true.  Years ago I stupidly had a boob job like a lot of my fellow stupid friends were doing, and now the left implant has either leaked or ruptured completely, causing contractures and scar tissue formation around the implant capsule---and said scar tissue is getting bigger and bigger over time, causing my HAPLESS boob to become rock hard.  Blaine is astonished at this development.

The diagnosis?  

I was referred to a plastic surgeon for what they call a "breast revision".  Basically, the plastic surgeon will go in and scoop out the implant and the troublesome capsule.  Then he'll put a new breast implant in.  The other breast will be treated the same since it has the same implant and is at risk for developing the same problem.  In other words.....another damn boob job!!!

Sigh again....

The plastic surgeon's PA explained everything to me.  Apparently, the year I had my breast augmentation, the implants weren't as "advanced" in quality as they are now.  She explained that my implants were bad and that they would replace them with the "top of the line" new and better implants they have these days.  She even mentioned a model number and said the implants would come with a "warranty"---because since they are considered so advanced and perfect, that if any complications arise, they will fix things for free.

A model number?  A warranty?  Are my boobs going to be considered as if they're a damn vehicle??!?!?  In other words, the way she explained, my old implants are like Studebakers....

 and my new implants will be Cadillacs.....or Land Rovers.....or Rolls Royces.....or Bentleys...

Where was I?

Oh yes, I have to have surgery.  

So anyway, Monday I go for another torture session mammogram.  The following Monday I have my consultation with the plastic surgeon, and then I'll most likely have the surgery scheduled before Christmas.

The worst part?

The surgery is not covered by insurance since it's "cosmetic surgery".  Thus, we'll have to pay about $7,000 for it.

And this means we can't go down to my uncle's for Christmas because that trip costs about $1000 and we need that money for the surgery.

I have been crying for days over this whole mess.  And I keep asking myself WHY?  Why was I so stupid in my salad days, stupid enough to get a boob job?  Why?  I looked just fine without them.  And now I can't see my mother, uncle, niece, and everybody else in the swamp at Christmas because we have to save money for my surgery.  

And I love my beloved swamp.  My roots (on my mother's side) come from the deep swamp in northern Louisiana and I feel the most at home there than anywhere in the world, alligators and all.  I have tons of relatives in that area.  (My father used to joke about my mother having "water marks" on her legs.)  (And my mother would threaten to snatch him bald for saying that.)

("Snatching somebody bald" is a southern expression.  Here's one of my old blog's posts where I describe how I wanted to snatch everybody in town bald.  The post is here. )

Anyway, I will miss being at my Cajun uncle's house, way up in the sky on the 20 foot pylons that keep the house dry when the river floods.  I will miss my uncle deep frying the turkey in a fryer on his deck.  I will miss his funny Cajun friends.  I will miss his 75 roosters crowing together at any given time of the morning or night.    (He raises game cocks for people who participate in the sport of cock fighting--a sport I heartily despise.)  I will miss everything about having our Christmas holiday in the swamp with my relatives there.  Here's some links if you want to see what a wondrous Thanksgiving we had there one time when the water was up and we could only get to and from the house and town by my uncle's boat.  (These stories are also from my old blog, link above.)

A Cajun Thanksgiving, Part One:

Part Two:
So.... Blaine and I will not be going down to my family's for Christmas.  And now the big problem is....what are we going to tell his family?  They know we are supposed to go down there---and so how are we going to explain why we're suddenly NOT going???  

Sigh yet again.....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Unfortunately, I Always Have to Learn My Lessons the Hard Way....

Good Lord, I can't believe what I did.  I feel so awful.  I hope you guys don't get mad at me because I swear to you that I really and truly didn't mean anything negative by what I did.

Thanksgiving Day arrived and, as per my usual habit, I insisted on watching the beginning of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  (Here's a shot for you---it starts with an impressive number of balloons.")

And then we commenced to finish up the last of our preparations for the big family Thanksgiving Dinner.  The stupid cats kept trying to get into the box that we were filling with vacuum packed homemade French bread, the container of fried onion rings for the green bean casserole's topping, pie toppings like Cool Whip and whipped cream, and other things.

And then the whole damn trouble started with my Thanksgiving Dinner meal "assignment"...

Everybody was told to bring something and Blaine & I were supposed to bring dessert, homemade bread, and green bean casserole.  We were told that it would be a large gathering since all the now grown up nephews and nieces would be bringing their significant others--and also there would be somebody's best friend and somebody else's mother--and there could be anywhere between 17 and 20 people in all.  So I made an extra large green bean casserole and 2 pies instead of just one.  I made Christmas Eggnog Custard Pie and "Civil War Pumpkin Pie."  I also took some homemade salsa and chips.

The reason it's called "Civil War Pumpkin Pie" is because it has two layers---a "south" and a "north" layer.  It's a tasty pie because the southern layer is a cheesecake type filling and the northern layer is a yummy pumpkin pie mixture.  As you know, my family is "southern" on my mother's side and Texan on my father's.  So Civil War Pumpkin Pie was always on our Thanksgiving dinner table.

Please forgive us southerners for our proclivity for naming things to reflect as having to do with the "south" and the "north"---because southerners just do that for some reason.  I never thought twice about it.  For example, southerners call kisses "Yankee Dimes"--but it's said only in fun.   My father called Texas "God's Country"--but that's how Texan men are raised to think.

Anyway, off to Blaine's brother's home we went, where we added our food offerings to the huge number of food dishes on the buffet table.  There was a ton of people there and we all began socializing and having family fun.  The nieces and nephews began a feisty touch-football game outside and we grown-ups stood up on the deck watching and cheering (and secretly feeling very old....)

So then it was time for dinner and we had a raucous time at two large tables, passing food around, eating a gigantic amount of turkey, dressing, and green bean casserole, etc.  We laughed fit-to-kill over stories told about days gone by.  Several latecomers drifted in and were handed huge plates of food.  Finally it was time for dessert.

So we trotted out all the desserts and put them on the tables.  There were my two pies, a pecan crunch brittle from one niece, and a pumpkin cheesecake from somebody's best friend.  As the passing out of dessert plates began, somebody hollered out: "Hey Bo--why is it called 'Civil War Pumpkin Pie'?"

It was very loud due to all the chatterings so I hollered back: "It's called 'Civil War Pumpkin Pie' because there's a  'southern' layer and a 'northern' layer!" And everybody laughed their heads off at  good ole southern-raised Bo.

And then the laughter suddenly stopped and there was a deafening silence.

I was confused---I didn't know why everybody stopped laughing so suddenly.  What was wrong???

I looked around the table....and followed everyone's gaze.....and then I saw what had happened.  And I blushed a deep red because I was utterly mortified.

A young nephew had just arrived......and he was standing at the doorway to the dining room with his African American girl.

I thought I'd die.  I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me whole.  And I didn't know what to do.  And nobody else knew what to do.  So we just suddenly started talking again and the uncomfortable incident passed.

But I was still completely horrified at announcing the definition of the Civil War Pumpkin Pie in front of an African American girl.  I didn't know whether she was offended or not.  I mean, I wasn't even sure if she'd heard the remark or not.  But even if she had heard it, the pie's label isn't meant to be racist.  It's just another harmless southern joke.

Or is it?

I pulled my sister-in-law aside later and asked her what she thought I should do.  I wanted to know if she thought I should go to the girl and apologize, and then explain to her that it's a stupid southern custom to name things like that, and that I certainly meant no racism or bigotry by the name of the damnable pie.  I wasn't even the one to name the pie thusly.  It was simply a dumb name for the pie that had been handed down in my family.

My sister-in-law said no, don't say anything, because that might make it worse.  She said to let it pass.

So I spent the last hour of the dinner feeling purely sinful.  I swore to myself that I'd never call that pie "Civil War Pumpkin Pie" again.  From now on, I thought, I'm just going to make up some other name for it---a non-Civil War name--just a plain old pie name.

That nephew and his friend did not speak to me during their time there.  I lurked around with much self-shame in my thoughts, even though my sister-in-law had said she didn't think I'd done anything racist.  But I'm not so sure.

No matter what my sister-in-law said about not having done anything wrong, I have an uncomfortable feeling that there actually was an important lesson there for me to learn.  I mean, for my entire life I never thought that the crazy things southerners do are wrong.  To us, poking fun at things "north" and "south" are thought of as harmless.  And I guess since there are no African American people in my family we simply never thought of whether or not something we did or said would be offensive to that culture.

But to set the record straight, my family taught my sister and me to think of all people as being equal to each other.  We grew up respecting all cultures and were not bigots or racists.  My parents instilled in us the belief that the Lord God made all of us as His children and that the Lord never makes anything "inferior".  And since we lived in foreign countries, we encountered many, many other cultures---and so we were able to have the opportunity to learn to love even more cultures besides the African American culture.

I am mightily saddened to think that I may have offended the nephew's girlfriend.

Sigh....I have a heavy heart about this.  


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yes, Peaches, there is a Santa Claus...


(Lu-Lu doesn't believe anymore)

(Santa's messy, Zariski workshop.....)


That round thing by the phone on the shelf is a "serenity fountain"---don't know if you can see the water trickling down.  God knows I need some serenity....

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Yes, I've wanted to do this to Peaches, too....

I finally finished the pair of socks for my dentist's assistant, no thanks to stupid Peaches.  This morning I was weaving in the loose ends and I turned my eyes away for one minute and suddenly the sock I was working on went missing!

Gone, I tell you.  Gone.

I searched high and low around my knitting chair to no avail.  I did find the tapestry needle I had been using a few feet away....but no sock.

It was so damn frustrating that I thought I was going crazy.  (Even worse crazy than I already am, if you know what I mean....)

Then I remembered.....Peaches has taken up a new hobby lately.  It's called: "Hide the Socks".  She retrieves pairs of socks from Daddy's drawer and then totes them all over the house while playing with them.  So I knew I was going to have to widen my circle of searching.

After much gnashing of teeth and renting of clothing, I finally found the sock......underneath Daddy's newspapers on the floor in the living room.  I WAS SO ANGRY!  It had taken me half an hour to find that damn sock.

aarrghh..... so after trying hard to ignore my inclination to strangle Peaches, I took the sock and completed the weaving in of the ends.  Here's the pic, but the dang light I photographed them in just doesn't show how the orange of the cuffs/heels/toes totally matches the orange spots in the leg/feet portion of the socks.  You'll have to take my word for it that in real life the two colors are exactly alike and match very well.

Now that I've finished them, I can return to knitting my Zariski.  And I have vowed---no more interruptions, even dentist's assistant requests!  I return to the dentist on Tuesday so I will give them to her then.  I hope she likes my "Fall Pumpkin Socks".  (That's what Blaine named them---he's getting pretty good about taking part in my knitting affairs.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There's Hinting....And There's "Hinting".....

I play games now but it's not fun,
A cowboy's work is never done...

("A Cowboy's Work is Never Done", Sonny & Cher)
(Well I guess from the above picture you can see that Peaches' work is certainly never done, the lazy little idgit.)

(Anyhoo, on with the blog post:)


I went to the dentist the other day and, as usual, his assistant got me settled in the torture exam chair.  So I went through the undignities of getting a bib put upon me, a doggie-bone shaped pillow behind my neck, and a 10,000 watt light bulb shined upon my face.

She and I chatted for a few minutes and then she changed the my knitting.  She remembered me once wearing The Little Red Riding Hoodie (on my old blog, link here) to an appointment.  We discussed how I love to knit with blindingly colorful combinations, aka psychedelic.  I told her the reason I knit thusly is because my philosophy has always been why knit a garment which looks like something you could buy at the store?  How original is that?  But then I also admitted to her that my psychiatrist and therapist have instructed me that my disease of Bipolar is the reason for my "eclectic" taste in colors.  (To which I replied: "Good Lord, you're telling me my knitting is a 'symptom' of a disease?  Fooey on that!")

Therapists reasonings aside, she agreed with me on that point.  And then she said it..... and every knitter I know would feel the same way......

She said:  "I sure would love a pair of handknitted socks from you!"

LORD HAVE MERCY!  I wanted to scream!  AAAACK!  Was that a hint or what?!?!

When the knitting part of my brain unscrambled, I didn't commit to her request---I said tentatively: "Oh yeah, I should knit you a pair.....someday...."  But it took every ounce of self control I had not to tell her that I definitely would actually knit her a pair of socks.  I mean, I'm trying to knit Zariski right now and I want to finish it soon---so I don't want to have an actual commitment to do other knitting.

So I went home un-committed..... but it bothered me.  It bothered me for a couple of days.  And I know that you knitters will understand what I did next.

I cast on for a pair of socks for her and am knitting like crazy so they'll be finished by next Tuesday, my next dentist appointment.  The only problem is the picture below of the socks in question.  The orange of the cuff doesn't look like it in the picture but in real life it is exactly the same shade of the orange as the orange spots in the yarn of the leg.  I promise you that everything matches in real life.

I hate it when cameras don't show "true" colors!!

Anyway, that "hole" in the left sock's leg is my own made up way of making a slit for an after-thought heel.  I devised this way to do it because I absolutely abhor using waste yarn and then having to snip it later and "catch" the live stitches on needles across from each other.  I just can't stand it, I tell you.  Can't stand it.  This way I don't get an ulcer by having to do it the other way.

Anyway, I regret putting the Zariski down for a week but I simply can't refuse this request from a very nice girl.  Also, yesterday, for some stupid reason I FORGOT MY PURSE IN A SHOPPING CART at Target!  You can imagine my panic since I didn't discover the blunder till I drove all the way at home.  I tore ass at breakneck speed, back to Target, praying to the Lord all the way.  There was almost $700 in my purse as well as my cell phone.  When I got to Target I pelted inside---and found that an unknown stranger had given my purse to Lost-And-Found.  I almost cried with relief.

And I told The Lord then and there that I would pass on His blessing by doing random acts of kindness in return for His providing the kind and honest angel of a stranger who had saved my purse.

So now I'm knitting like crazy so that I finish the pair by next Tuesday.  I don't normally knit at a breakneck speed.  I knit "casually".  But this time (as on last Christmas Eve with glitter socks for my niece) I am knitting a pair as fast as I can.  Blaine commented:  "What's the big deal?  I've seen you crank out a sock in a day."  To which I replied:  "Those were HOUSE SOCKS!  Made with thick yarn and thick needles!" 

(Oh well, he's a non-knitter so he definitely doesn't understand...)

Anyhoo, wish me luck.....

(Update on my medical situation:  So far the breast surgeon's office hasn't called me about the MRI that the radiologist recommended.  I know they have to check with my insurance to see if they'll pay for it.  But I'm confident that there is no serious problem since they probably would have called me by now if it was.  Maybe it really is as the radiologist said---that no cancer was seen on the ultrasound.  Maybe they really are just benign masses.  I hope....)