One Crow is ill news Two Crows mirth Three Crows a wedding Four Crows a birth Five Crows for riches Six Crows a thief Seven Crows a journey Eight Crows for grief Nine Crows a secret Ten Crows for sorrow Eleven Crows for true love Twelve's a new day tomorrow

Saturday, December 31, 2005

The last day of the year

So what's the last day good for besides a party? Well - I have been organizing myself and the old lady. It is a good day to tell everyone you love them. SO hello world - I love you** even if you drive me crazy and sometimes make me very very angry!

Today is also a good day to look at your finances and decide who needs a bit of help before the end of the year. The old lady and i just did that. She made donations to the Iroquis Indian Museum , Farm Aid and the Vermont Land Trust. I made donations to Mercy Corps, Habitat for Humanity, Planned Parenthood of New England and Girls, Inc.

So hey - if you are sitting around wondering what to do this afternoon - check out your favorite charities online and give them a little something. No amount is too small. Rememebr you can use it on your income tax too if you get it in today.

And best of all you are helping someone and there are so many who had bad years - they really need it.

**this even includes my poopy sister.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Wrap Up (Part One)

I thought I would have had this all posted along with "twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with circles
and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was," on Christmas evening after we had all settled down from our dinner and were feeling fat and sassy ( well fat anyway). But it was not to be as you shall find out.

Friday - December 23rd, 2005

I spent the morning shopping and it was a MAD house - with the rumors of a nor'easter coming it was all I could do to get myself out of Shaw's before being run down by insane shoppers. I told some lady who rammed my cart to "calm down, lady" but she was in such a frenzy that she wouldn't even look at me! Insanity.

The afternoon was spent starting to decorate the tree and cleaning and organizing for our friends Frank and Karen and their son Frank ( aka Spanky) to come over. I managed to get everything done just in the nick of time! I don't know how I do that but I do. We had a "meal" of chips and dips and cheese and summer sausage and shrimps cocktail and Karen brought scallops in bacon . I made Poinsettias ( from TGI Friday's recipe). They were yummy! And as usual as soon as the guests arrived I was fine and calm although a mere half hour before hand they wouldn't have recognized me for the sparks flying out of the ends of my hair and the way my eyes were rolling around in my head.

A lovely evening was had by all I think.

Saturday - December 24th, 2005 Christmas Eve

Heavens - what did we do in the morning? no idea. **edit** We did do something in the morning as my sister so nicely reminds me - we went to the feed store Christmas party. Every year on Christmas Eve (as long as it isn't a Sunday) they have mountains of meatballs both Swedish and Italian, and Chili. They also had punch and coffee. In the old days (not really that long ago) they also had a hard punch for the adults, but those days are gone unfortunately. Ken and I walked up and the place was packed. All the old farmers come out of the hills for this. It is very festive and good-neighbory. I was going to take some pictures but then thought it would weird them out a bit too much.

In the afternoon I finished decorating the tree oh! and wrapping presents. Ken was off doing his own thing and getting ready for his kids to come over that night. I of course did not get everything wrapped before I headed over here for dinner and in retrospect I am thinking what the hell did I do ALL DAY LONG? Oh well - I finally made it to his place around 6:30 and we were expecting his kids at 7. They were a bit late - but not too much and it gave me time to run back home to give the old lady some chicken parmesan. Once Ben and Whitney arrived we watched a little Frosty the Snowman and Whitney amused us with stories of wrapping presents with Ben. It is nice to see a sister and brother get along so well. The we dug right into eating. As usual the chef had prepared an excellent feast and we were all a bit starved because of the hour. Ben and I amused Whitney with out mock antagonism.

Then it was present time. I think the kids were both excited and pleased with everything they got. I was happy that Ben really seemed to like the hat I knit him. I am still a bit shy ( is that what I mean?) or perhaps tentative is a better word, with him and Whitney. I want them to like me and at the same time I don't want them to feel like they have to wear anything I knit them just because. But I really feel in this case he liked it. Plus he never has to tell anyone that I made it for him - I don't know how it is today - but I know I really started to hate wearing homemade stuff when I hit high school, but that is probably because the stuff was made to save money.

So it was really a nice evening and après gifts and a bit more banter off they went into the night to see their friends.

After they left Ken and I took a Christmas light walking tour of Chester. I took pictures of every building I deemed light-worthy (and even some I didn't). It was so quiet and lovely. We laughed and talked. I took a picture of the two of us in the gazebo on the green - with a little smooching just to make my sister gag a bit. His friend/band-mate Mike stopped and chatted for a minute as we walked through the green. I took a picture of a cat looking out the third floor of the house with the leather shop in it which prompted the guy who lives up there to peer suspiciously out the window. That ruined my ability to try and take another better picture of the cat. And it also made us move along a bit more quickly as the guy looked like he wanted to ask us what we were doing. We ended up at the Jiffy mart for coffee- those poor people were still working. Then we walked leisurely back to Ken's house and then packed up and moved to my house for the night.

As I still had stuff to wrap - I got that done - piled everything under the tree and collapsed exhausted into bed to await Santa.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What the Hell is that Stuff?

When I first started this blog I conceived of it as a Knit Blog with a little of my life etc thrown in. Well as you can tell it is mostly my life and subjects that get me all riled up with a little teensy weensy bit of knitting thrown in. Mostly because I never seem to finish anything I knit.

So here you go. These are pulse warmers I started and basically finished long long ago. They are made of some unknown acrylic that I had left over from a monster of a lace throw I made when my friend Maureen had her first child lo these 16 years ago. It was a monster because my gauge was way off - but I just went on ahead and it turned out HUGE and in retrospect nothing that you would put an infant near as her little fingers would get all wound up in the laciness of the thing and she would probably lose some digits from tourniquet action before you could get her out of it.

ANYWAY, I had this stuff left over and used I think a pattern from Interweave Knits. The things were really finished and all I needed to do is a 3 needle bind off on the second one. Which I did the other night and then decided they were too plain to give as a gift. So I got out some purple mohair that I had once knit half a sweater from (and which there is no use finishing now as I am not quite the same size as I used to be) and made some felted flowers. And then I put some lovely beads in the middle of them and sewed them to safety pins – just in case my friend thought they were to froofy. She could always use them as pins. In the end she was very impressed with them (probably mostly that I had actually finished them). They were gifted on Wednesday and loved even if the flowers were still damp.

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Mattel and American Girl cuts support of Girl's Inc.

OK - I think it is time for everyone who thinks that a group with a mission "to help girls develop their self-esteem and self-reliance" is a group worthy of support to let Mattel and American Girl.

Girls Inc. formerly Girls Clubs of America has been working for 141 years to support and encourage girls.

Just because Girls Inc. also thinks girls should learn about birth control, and because they support a girl's right to control her own body AND (I think we are hitting on something here) because they think "Girls have the right to be themselves and to resist gender stereotypes" (yes, people I think they are talking about ... shhh ... lesbians) well the "conservative consumer base" has gotten their knickers in a twist. And somehow they have convinced Mattel and American Girl to drop their support of Girls Inc. according to this ABC report, Dolls Draw Conservatives' Ire. (Thanks to Norwegianity for the tip)

What's next Mattel? How about an American Girl that grows up to have 8 children and die in childbirth? How about an American Girl who is taught that her main role in life is to be a good wife and is married to a 60 year old when she is 15? How about an American Girl who keeps her mouth shut and "honors" her husband and is killed by him in a fit of jealousy after years of being beaten? There're some real American girl role models for you!

This really bites my ass - can no one stand up to these people? And why is their boycott so much more scary than say the boycott the supporters of Girls Inc. put on?

Well people let's tell them how we feel.
Here's a handy form at American Girl to tell them how you feel:

Here's some nice contact info for Mattel. I think they might like to get a call from you - or maybe a letter? Or dare I say - both?
Mattel, Inc.
333 Continental Boulevard
El Segundo, CA 90245-5012
310-252-2000 tel
310- 252-2180 fax

Update 7:16 p.m.
Here's something else I found while searching about this (I won't link as it is a bigoted site):
"Under pressure from parents, the "I can" bands were pulled from their main sales channel, the 1,700-store Bath & Body Works chain."

Maybe Bath and Body Works need a call - here's their web feedback form.

Five....O'clock.... in the MORNING

I know - some of you people are up at this time everyday, but not me. We're up and getting ready to go down to Boston again. The old lady slept like 2 hours she said - so she will be a wonder to travel with. She doesn't EVER sleep in the car - instead she gets cranky and talks and talks even though she is exhausted.

We are going for a followuip to last week's emergency appointment. We are hoping that the adjustment they made then has gotten rid of the fluid building up around her brain. She is definately better - but if the fluid isn't gone from the outside we may be lookng at another operation. I certainly hope not!

I have to jump in the shower and then we're on our way - so perhaps I will post more once I am down there.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Solstice rising

A Clip of the sun rising over Chester Depot, VT

Here Comes the Sun! 7:32 AM December 21, 2005 Solstice

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First Touch of sun on the hill 7:23 AM December 21, 2005 Solstice

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Dawn 7:18 AM Decmber 21, 2005 Solstice

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Welcome Sun!

The Solstice dawned bright and clear and beautiful in my little town. I will put some pictures up once my camera warms up. It is cooold out there. Just a little below zero. I went out at 7:18 to get a picture of the exact time of our dawn and then waited and waited and waited for the sun to actually rise over the hills. It felt like a good half hour but was more like 13 minutes. My poor face was freezing and people were looking at me askance as they drove by. I could hear them thinking "What in HELL is she doing?"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Plethora of Celebrations!

Although tomorrow at 1:35 p.m. EST is the actual Winter Solstice we have reached our shortest day of the year here in Chester today. The day is 8 Hours and 58 minutes long and won't start getting longer until December 27th. So you can see why the ancients got worried at this time of year - sometimes it takes some sacrifices to get the sun to come back again. That is why I love Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. It takes an author with his insight and humor to point out how the merry holiday things we love have their origins in the deep dark cold of the ancient world.

So pull yourselves together people - you need to get some rituals in place to make sure that the sun will head back our way and not halt in its current position. Check out Candlegrove for ideas and for the history of the Solstice celebration as well as Yule and Saturnalia. This web site has not only a really great layout - but it is chock full of interesting facts and tons of links to more information.

So Happy Solstice. Good Yule. Have a revelous Saturnalia. Make sure to wish the god Mithras "Happy Birthday" on the 25th. And above all wake up on December 32nd and shout "Happy Hogswatch Day"!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Made it home alive

Looong ride - mostly because it take an hour to get from Brigham and Women's to just past Alewife T. It's a good thing I don't live in Boston any more - I don't think I could stand it. We had no bad weather on the way home so that was nice.

I'll tell you, going over the border from MA to NH is one kind of relief but it is nothing compared to driving north from Walpole and seeing the Counecticut on your left with the moonlight streaming down on Vermont and knowing that in just a few minutes you'll be over the river and truly homeward bound.

They adjusted the old lady's shunt and we need to go back next Thursday at 10 a.m.! yikes. That's for the CT scan and then we will page the doctor when we're done - so who knows if it will be a fast or slow day. I am thinking slow.

The problem was that her shunt was still pulling too much fluid out of her venticles - which made room around her brain for fluid to pool and then begin to give pressure from the outside. So now they put the pressure way up so that it will press her brain back out toward the skull and force that fluid out. Hopefully. If that doesn't work I believe we are looking at some kind of additional surgery. Hopefully not.

While we were waiting this afternoon there was a man in the waiting room sitting alone. then his wife came out from her appointment crying - she has to have another surgery . She was probably late 50s and she came out and sat on his lap like a little girl. Poor thing - because you never know in there what people are there for - could be a tumor, could be NPH, who knows.

Oh well - we talked on the way home and the old lady is actually in pretty good spirits - I think that going and doing something has helped. AND the nuero nurse said not to worry about exercising or anything like that - so now she has permission to be a slug!

And now I have finished my beer and am gogin to go put my PJs on and wait for Ken. What a good guy! I wasn't even going to ask him to come over because I feel like the poor man doesn't get to spend enough time at his own place - but he just came right out and said he was coming over. So nice and sweet!


If there is one thing I have learned with the whole doctor-hospital thing, it is patience. I gave us plenty of time to get down here to B&W. We were slightly late to the CT scan as the traffic in town is crazy - what's going on here? - and then they didn't take the old lady in for the scan for over an hour and a half.

We are done now and just waiting for the results to come up to the Neuro nurse to read. It is nice that they have internet access here in the waiting room - gives ME something to do. On the down side they have really sucky magazines - so the old lady is bored. I did run and get her a couple of pieces of pizza as she was starving! Actually, starving is good as her appetite has been bad the past few weeks.

Nicely this is not a "clinic" day so we aren't overloaded with other people here in the waiting room. Sometimes it's insane in here - seems like everyone likes to bring more than one family member along. I guess brain stuff is scarier to people than other problems.

Well - going to check my email now and then amuse the old lady. She is being very very good today considering that she doesn't feel so hot.

4:10 pm update - Nuero nurse just came out and yes indeed the old lady's pressure is up - in fact there's fluid around her brain. Oh goody. So she has to adjust the shunt but is waiting for the nuerosurgeon to tell her how much. So see! I should have listened to my sister days ago about calling for another appointment! But seriously it is hard to tell when you should insist and when to let it ride. Oh well - we are here now and I only hope we get done and on our way before the snow/sleet starts.

Turtle weather

It is the second day of "turtle weather" whic my fellow Prius owner will understand, but for the rest of you it means that it is COOOOOOOLD outside. Negative 10 or less.

Anyway we are up and (kind of) at 'em and getting ready to run down to Boston. The old lady is going to have a CT scan and hopefully have the shunt reprogrammed and then she will get BETTER. all the goddesses and gods willing.

Yesterday was a crappy crappy day - but we made it through. Hopoefully today will be a better one. We should be home before the bad weather starts and maybe even have time to stop maybe in Keene so I can run into a store and get some stocking stuffer type stuff. If not then maybe this weekend.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Caretaker blues

Most of the time I am up beat and can roll with the punches – but sometimes events conspire to drag me down.,

I was exceptionally upbeat this morning and trotted happily into work, where unfortunately some people were grumpy and bound and determined to pass that grumpiness along. Well, mission accomplished.

However I did manage to bounce myself back in the afternoon a bit and felt pretty good coming home. But then I get home and just the reality of how far my mother has failed slapped me in the face. I am going to call the neurosurgeon’s office again tomorrow. But the reality is that I need to take over almost everything she has been doing. The bills she pays are in a mess. Her medical stuff is a mystery to me and I am really going to have to dive into it. Who knows if she has been paying balances we should have challenged – if they have double billed us for things or not. Who knows?

And the reality is that she is never going to be that much better. I had hoped that we could do a trip this spring maybe to Denmark. But that is going to take work – she needs to build up strength – she needs to get more limber. But with me at work she does nothing but watch TV. Sunday morning I yelled and yelled and managed to get her up and dressed and doing something. I set her up to write her Christmas cards, but then she needed to eat and then eat a little more and take her pills and literally that took and hour and a half. After which she told me that she had to lie down she was so tired. But I didn’t let her – I made her do her exercises in front of me – because I don’t think she does them even when she says she does. And then I made her do her breathing exercise with the incentive spirometer. And that was a joke – she doesn’t even move the marker at all.

I have talked to her and said that she has to TRY and try hard. Not just going through the paces without really making an effort. And she just looks at me kind of blankly. This is not the old lady I know.

All her blood tests etc. have come back negative. There doesn’t look like there is any reason (other than perhaps the pressure in her head) that she should be this way. She is a few days into the anti-depressant and I know it takes a while to kick in – but man I wish it would make a difference.

It is depressing and a daunting task to have to take care of her and know that it will be an uphill battle where I have less and less time to do anything but what is necessary. I mean I feel like I am just spending all my time picking up after her and checking that she has what she needs and then having to yell at her to get her to do anything. I just went in and turned off the TV and took the remote away and told her that she HAD to do those breathing exercises and then I stayed and made sure she did it – so there you are – 20 minutes gone just on that. Oh lord. It makes me want to cry and I still need to try and organize all these bills and medical statements in the file folder I bought this weekend.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas (Holiday) Party

I took my camera up to our company Christmas party this afternoon and you know what? I didn't take any pictures. I decided there were too many poopy faces and why would I want to remember that?

Anyway - I had a good time - and I won one of the $50 raffle prizes - so see my optimism payed off. And then I stayed so long I got some free drinks. Well - you can't beat that with a stick can you? Which reminds me that I have been wanting to buy the book "The Luck Factor" by Dr Richard Weisman since I heard Scott Simon interview him on NPR.

I wish it was Friday though, instead of Monday. Ah well.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Today’s Random Thoughts and Actions

First thought this morning – it is lovely to wake up next to a large warm man creature and realize that it is Saturday. Unfortunately said creature had to get up and work for a couple of hours – so that kinda spoiled it. However he came back after work and raked the roof for me and that is almost as good as snuggling.

I really love the Christmas season – I always feel that there may indeed be some magical wonderful joy-to-the-world type occurrence – what that will be I don’t know – but I feel the possibility at this time more than any other. And so I agree with Digby (thanks to Norwegianity for the heads up) that these “War on Christmas” idiots are taking the joy out of everything. First the idiots made me feel like I couldn’t love my country any more – because “our” country was really “their” country and if I had anything to say about it I was unpatriotic and now they are trying to make me feel like this is not my holiday if I show tolerance for others. Bottom line for me is let’s all be kind to one another. If you can’t be mindful of other’s feelings then you are no follower of Christ – and I don’t say Christian because these people have taken that word and made it as distasteful to me as the word “patriotic”. Next year, seriously, I am celebrating Hogswatch and be damned to bigots.

That said – I did manage to get the HOLIDAY lights up (I personally like to think of them as a reminder to the sun to come on back our way - see my favorite site Candle Grove for more information on the history and traditions of the season). Got the Tree and a couple of wreathes up at the Stone Village Farmers Market – Anna who runs the place is a very sweet woman and always asks about the old lady. Today she sent a little gift along for her. Then needed to get some extension cords at the hardware store – also got a red plastic sled – so Ken and I can go whizzing down a couple of hills!

Things I learned today:
1) Lindt now makes a Lindor Truffle that I have been wishing and wishing for. I never liked white chocolate until I had their white chocolate truffles – but I always though that they would be even better with a chocolate shell and the white chocolate crème filling. Well – guess what – they have them! Looks as if they are special for Christmas as the bag is all wintery. But that made my day.

2) I never noticed, but Lonny at Lisai’s told me that there are two different
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau wines. Those marked Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau are made with grapes from a specific approved area – while those marked Beaujolais Nouveau are from anywhere within the region. So you can suppose that the “Villages” wine will be better that the other. I am in the midst of trying to determine that. Hick!

Last item for the day – it is very difficult to be the care taker of an old person. It is worse than a child – because one could assume that the child will gradually take on more and more responsibility over time – while the old person is taking on less and less. I feel like I can never catch up on the house. I have this old woman going around and messing things up while I am away so every time I come home I need to spend most of my time cleaning up. Every once in a while I have a silent SNIT as I did today. I yell in my mind and start to freak out – because how can I get this house decorated if I always am putting away dishes and wiping spills and washing clothes and waiting on the old person and just generally scooping water out of this sinking ship I call home.!?!?!

And now you will forgive me as I have made a nice dent in the Beaujolais –Villages and need to go clean up the kitchen from the old lady’s dinner.

Oh and can I ask - why why why! does this dog need to keep clickity clickity clicking around the house? LIE DOWN TULIP!!! PLEASE! Before I go insane.


Green Mountain Railway Engines with my neighbor, Mr. Wyman snow blowing in front. This is the view up my road. The trains come through a number of times a day and the engineers stop to get lunch at the local store.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 09, 2005

First snow

We had our first real snow over night and most of today. About 10 inches or so here in Chester. There have been some light snows- but I don't consider them real until we get something that we have to shovel and we start wondering where the hell Chuck the snow plow guy is - and is he going to take care of us this year?

This is quite late for a first snow - the past few years we got a pretty good snow in October - and definitely some in November.

I have shoveled the walk and the drive nearest the kitchen door - of course now Chuck is on the way over! I think I hear him across the street right now. I have not raked the roof yet. It is a dilemma - I KNOW I need to do it - but I hate doing it and then I try and estimate if the snow that is there will melt over the next few days so if I did rake the roof it would have been a wasted effort. However if I guess wrong then I end up with a potentially murderous mass of packed snow and ice over the porch - And let me tell you - you do NOT want that falling on you.

Yup that is Chuck out there. Chuck is of the more-the-better school of plowers. He tends to plow the whole front door yard – I suppose there is sense in it as you are making room for the next snow and the next and the next and the next, but when you watch all you can think is What is he DOing?

Well – time to get the dinner going – Having a rotisserie chicken – mashed potatoes and POP OVERS! Almost feels like a holiday with the weather and all.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Vermont Democrat News

It's a scoop folks ... I was at the Chester Democrats "House Warming" party this evening. Kathy Pellett our local rep came up with the idea to hold a party and to have people donate towards helping people in our area who can't afford their heating bills - thus the "House Warming".

It looked like there was a good turn out - I counted at least 35 people. And as things were winding down Matt Dunne came in. Matt is our local state senator for Windsor County and a very very nice person. You can tell that he is sincere in helping people and he always seems to remember everyone's name.

Well, Matt told us that he will be announcing his run for Lieutenant Governor in a couple of weeks. There is not a better person for the job. I think the best thing we can do now is make sure that our local representatives are doing the best for us they can - and then work outwards from there. Matt as Lieutenant Governor will be a great addition.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Dark Side

Anyone else see the similarities here?

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Off to the Lucky Dog

Ken and I are off to Worcester MA today. We'll have to be back tomorrow by noon as his band "Little Rock" is playing at a benefit over in NH. So this is going to be a quick trip. The sock hop tonight will be fun and I shall be posting pictures!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Lucky Dog Sock Hop

With any luck this is where I'll be Saturday night. The sock hop is a blast and if you're in Worcester you should stop by.

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Click the picture for a link.