Sunday, November 30, 2003

Miscellaneous Updates on Life
Right now I'm sitting on the loveseat with a little dog snuggled up on each side of me sleeping. DH Bob fed them some turkey and that seemed to put them in a sleepy daze. What sweet little fluffy sweethearts they are when they're sleeping.

Kimmy reported that Mr. Hershey (See November 16) was a hit at school. She wrote a report to go along with him and read it aloud to the rest of the class. Mr. Hershey is now on display in the Arbor Academy cafeteria.

My first vest for CIC is almost done. The shoulders need to be sewn together and I'm going to experiment with knitting on a pocket. Ordered enough yarn for two more vests today and I may be able to squeeze a fourth vest out of the leftovers from the first three. A child size 2 vest out of bulky weight yarn goes even quicker than I thought it would. I may get some more vest yarn for Christmas. (Hint hint.) If I do, there won't be any problem finishing one or two more vests before they need to be mailed off the end of January.

When I stepped on the scale yesterday I was down a pound for the week. I was able to eat everything I love at the Thanksgiving holiday feast, but once it was over I went right back to counting points. (Well, actually I had a couple of pieces of Pumpkin Torte in the middle of the night Thursday and then I went back to counting points.) My theory is that you need to periodically let your body know it's not starving or it won't shed pounds. The score is: 31 pounds lost, 5 more pounds to go. My goal is to finish on or before the one year anniversary of the start of my weight loss which will be January 22, 2004.

How the Greatest Trumpet Maker in the World Got His Name
Monette -The Greatest Trumpet Maker in the World is my little brother Dave. Back in the 50s when Mom was pregnant for Dave, Davy Crockett was very popular on the Sunday evening Walt Disney show. Mom, mother of three girls and sure she was going to have another, said that if she had a boy she'd name him Davy Crockett.

Dave was born a few months early and weighted in at three pounds three ounces. His eldest sister remembered what Mom had promised and knew Mom would keep her word and name him Davy Crockett. Mom fudged a little and named him David. She told all the relatives that he was named after the David in the Bible because he was so little and had so much to overcome. Made a great story. But now the truth has been published on the internet. The Greatest Trumpet Maker in the World was named after Davy Crockett. I was there. Trust me, it's true.

Sock Knitting Groups Where I Participate
Socknitters - Everything About Knitting Socks is just what it says it is. If you don't know a thing about knitting socks and want to get started, Socknitters is an excellent reference. If you're an expert sock knitter and want to enhance your skills, Socknitters is the place to look. There are patterns, cyber classes, and much more. Plus the opportunity to join other sock knitters, male and female, novice and experienced, hobby and professional, on the Socknitters Yahoo list.

I also recommend OpalChatters, a Yahoo list for knitters who use Opal sock yarn. It's a very positive, friendly, fun list and the Opal yarn is colorful, patterned, well designed, and fun to knit.

Proof That Intelligence and Christ Aren't Mutually Exclusive
Back in September I asked the question "Any good Christian blogs out there?" I had started looking through a Christian webring and was dismayed at what I saw. I hoped that I was just looking in the wrong place but I didn't know the right place to look.

Dana left a comment saying I might want to try Real Live Preacher. She wrote, "Not in-your-face evangelism or long and boring apologetics but interesting stories that have real insights on life... Well, take it or leave it, I'd start there." So I started there. It was wonderful.

RLP writes so well that I can recommend his stories to anyone of any faith or no faith. And for the frosting on the cake, RLP has links to many other interesting blogs that I am slowly but surely investigating to see which ones I want to keep reading.

It is such a blessing for me to find other Christians who don't claim to know all the rules, who aren't anal, who intelligently question what that Bible is saying, who struggle with what their faith means for their everyday living, and who want, above all else, to know and do the Lord's will.

Thank you Dana. You were an answer to prayer.

Back to Work on Monday
What a wonderful relaxing weekend this has been. Hardly seems right to rejoin the real world and go back to work tomorrow, but it needs to be done. I only have 19 more working days until I get Pfired.

Last week I wrote an email to my Pfizer HR person and asked her to verify that I'm getting Pfired on January 9, and she did. I have it in writing now.

December 12 is the day the list of people getting Pfired on January 9 becomes "frozen". If nothing changes between now and December 12 my termination is a sure thing. I have no reason to think anything is going to change. Bring on the good-by lunches!

How was your long weekend?

Friday, November 28, 2003

Good Friday Five questions again today. How appropriate. The questions are all about shopping and this is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. It's a day when I'm so glad I live in the woods and I don't need to go anywhere or buy anything. That should tell you a lot about the way my answers are going to go.

1. Do you like to shop? Why or why not?

Here are 5 reasons I hate to shop:

  • When I know exactly what I want I can never find it.
  • I get completely overwhelmed with the choices and my head starts spinning.
  • I make poor choices when hurried. And I always feel hurried when I'm shopping in person.
  • I think that if I keep looking I will find something more perfect and/or less expensive, so I end up with nothing.
  • It is physically uncomfortable for me to stand on my feet for long periods of time.

2. What was the last thing you purchased?
Some Christmas cards from National Wildlife Federation. I don't plan on sending out many cards this year but I do need some cards for the people who receive Christmas tips or Christmas checks.

3. Do you prefer shopping online or at an actual store? Why?

5 reasons I prefer to shop online:
  • I can read about the product and think about the purchase before making the decision.
  • When I know what I want, finding it is a piece of cake. Or should I say a piece of Google?
  • There is a larger selection and I don't have to hunt for the right size.
  • It is easier to comparison shop. Plenty of product reviews and sources with good prices.
  • The purchase is delivered to my door. What could be handier?

4. Did you get an allowance as a child? How much was it?
I vaguely remember getting something but don't remember how old I was or how much it was. I don't think it was consistent.

5. What was the last thing you regret purchasing?
I've been trying not to think about it. I got suckered into buying a complete piece of shit produced and marketed for the knitting dilettantes.

The Knitter's Purse was reviewed in Twists and Turns, a knitting magazine produced by a knitter that I admire. I didn't question her enthusiasm about "this elegant purse", "the perfect marriage of form and function", and "the quest for the perfect purse has ended". I should have.

There's a picture that shows purse contents standing vertically, so I assumed there were numerous pockets to put things in. How wrong I was.

There are two compartments to the purse. Neither compartment has a zipper so stuff can fall right out. There are a few little elastic ringlets inside the purse to hold knitting needles. I have never wanted to put my knitting needles in little elastic ringlets. Unused needles belong in the bottom of the bag, not along the sides of the bag where the yarn and knitting will catch on them.

There's another loop inside so the knitter can, according to the product description, "fasten the circlet around the working strand". I have never wanted to have a circlet or anything else around my working strand. Why would I?

There is one small inside picket with a zipper. It is so tight that I can barely squeeze my hand in it.

We won't even talk about how much this thing cost. I estimate it cost at least four times what it is worth assuming that someone actually wanted such a thing.

Currently the Knitter's Purse is holding my CIC vest project. I'm keeping it as a lesson in how gullible I can be when I'm not careful. Fortunately, I don't make purchasing boo boos like this very often.

What is the last thing you regret purchasing? Did you return it or keep it?

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Pumpkin Torte and Green Dream
One of my cyber friends writing to the Socknitters list today went "off topic" to explain Thanksgiving to the non-American list members. She described it as "a holiday characterized by near-universal kitchen panic".

I've never had the kitchen panic, but then our family doesn't require a multitude of different dishes. We do just the basic turkey dinner with a few additions and dessert. This year Mom is fixing the turkey, dressing, and gravy, DH Bob is making the mashed potatoes, and my part of the cooking is the traditional Green Dream and a wonderful Pumpkin Torte topped with whipped cream.

As I was making the torte this evening, I reminisced about the first time I ever tasted this recipe. Back in the 80s when the drug company I work for was The Upjohn Company, it was still a family run business. The cafeteria had a chef who made wonderful things from scratch. For the company Thanksgiving lunch, the Thursday before the actual Thanksgiving, one of the dessert selections was Pumpkin Torte. It became an employee favorite and the company printed off the recipe and let everyone take a copy.

First, a layer of graham cracker crumbs and butter. Lots of butter.

Second, a layer of cream cheese, sugar and eggs. That gets baked.

Third, a mixture of pumpkin, 3 egg yolks, milk, gelatin, and spices cooked together to make a custard.

Fourth, the egg whites are beaten with a little sugar and folded into the pumpkin mixture.

Lastly, the top layer is real whipping cream. Whipped, of course.

Now, three mergers later, the Pfizer cafeteria is managed by Aramark and I'm getting Pfired. It's fitting that I made the pumpkin torte for our family Thanksgiving dinner. The recipe is part of my Upjohn legacy.

I've been making Green Dream for over thirty years. I guess it's a family tradition. Not one I planned and not one I would have chosen, but some family members won't let me stop making it. Other family members won't eat it but they're so used to seeing it they expect it to be there.

Green Dream is 32 marshmallows melted in two cups of milk and then poured over a package of lime Jello and twelve ounces of cream cheese. After that cools, a medium size can of crushed pineapple is added along with some Miracle Whip and a big container of Cool Whip. It is just tangy and sweet enough to perfectly set off the flavor of the turkey.

If anyone wants the detailed recipe for Pumpkin Torte or Green Dream, let me know. I'll be pleased to share.

Hopefully reading this has made you hungry. If you are American, Happy Thanksgiving. And please don't panic in the kitchen.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Knitting Violet Knits for CIC
What could be more fun for a knitter than to knit something small and cute and know that it's going to be used to keep a child warm? It's not going to be found lacking and stuck away in a drawer. It's not going to be saved for special occasions until it's outgrown and hardly worn. It's going to get passed from one child to another and used and used until it eventually falls to pieces.

That's why I find it so rewarding to knit for CIC, Children in Common.

CIC is a group of parents who adopted children from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. They were so shocked at the conditions in the orphanages that they banded together to try and help the children that had to be left behind. It's estimated there are about 700,000 children living in orphanages there. For a complete picture of all that CIC does, you can go to the new CIC link on the right side of the screen. My affiliation with CIC is through knitting.

Winter indoor temperatures in the orphanages hover around 45 Fahrenheit (that's 7 Celsius). That's why CIC requests knit sweaters, vests, socks, hats, and mittens in at least 70% wool. I use 100% wool.

Each year the Socknitters group I belong to has a challenge to provide 2000 pairs of wool socks to CIC. This was my second year to participate. I completed ten pair of socks and found it to be a very rewarding experience.

Recently I joined the CIC group on Yahoo. We are having a vest knitting challenge in January to see how many small vests, size two and four, we can knit. (The older children are taught how to knit for themselves.) Many group members, myself included, have started knitting already. I'm hoping to complete three vests by the end of January. The yarn is bulky and the pattern is simple, so I think three is a goal I can meet.

The knitted items are sent to a central location (Karen Porter's garage) They are then packed into suitcases and taken directly to the orphanages by couples traveling to the area to pick up a child they are adopting. This prevents the donations from being "side tracked" and sold, never making it to their intended destination.

How well I know that there are many good causes and many children and people in need. Every year there are Socknitters who have time to knit socks but don't have the money to buy the wool yarn. If you'd like to contribute yarn or money for yarn, I'd be happy to help. Let me know.

Friday, November 21, 2003

The Friday Five questions for today were a challenge. I kept my answers as short as possible because there are so many of them.

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.

  • Finish the weight loss part of my diet. Six more pounds to go.
  • Teach both little dogs to fetch a dumbbell.
  • Finish knitting 2 pair Opal socks, 2 pair CIC socks, and 1 CIC vest.
  • Sell most of the Pfizer stock in my 401K. This requires the stock rise to a decent level. The selling part is easy. I have no control over the rising part.
  • Clean out my office and make the transition to unemployed. 21 more working days until I get Pfired.

2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.
  • Ruth Ann Erskine. She was my high school math teacher and she taught me how to think. I'd like to thank her and let her know that I was able to use my brain to support myself after she was done with me.
  • Laura Howard. She lived with me and took care of the kids the summer of 1975 while I was getting divorced.
  • Elaine Reese. A very smart woman from my high school class.
  • Bill Mack. My manager from 1980 to 1985. Back in the 60s he was my sisters driving education teacher when the training car she was riding in hit a tree and she lost a front tooth. No, she wasn't the driver. She was the victim.
  • Larry Butler. He was the little boy with big brown eyes who lived across the street from me when I was ten. We spent one whole summer playing Monopoly together. Hope he has had a good life.

3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.
  • Code CSS and HTML.
  • Edit and post pictures. I want to put little pictures in the banner area of Seasons of Violet.
  • Understand PC hardware. I get the "deer in the headlights" feeling whenever I try, but I'm not comfortable not knowing. My laptop has become very important in my life.
  • A new programming language. Maybe C++? Java?
  • Build a house. Including carpentry, plumbing, and electrical wiring. I'm not sure I have the strength required, but I'd like to try.

4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery.
  • Tithe.
  • Make sure my family members have everything they need.
  • Bulldoze my current house down and start over. I like the property but the house is too small and needy.
  • Hire a groundskeeper.
  • Make at least four trips a year to Idaho. Don't worry John and Anne - I won't stay long. I'm a homebody at heart. Oh, and I'm not likely to win the lottery, either.

5. List five things you do that help you relax.
  • Knit. Especially while DH Bob is reading out loud.
  • Read. Haven't been doing lately this because I've been spending too much time on Seasons of Violet and reading other blogs. But I've always been a reader and I'll be reading books again soon.
  • Snuggle with the two little dogs. Usually I do this while doing something else like reading or working on my laptop or playing Spider.
  • Play Microsoft Spider. DH Bob has bought two different commercial CDs with Spider on them because he thinks they must be better than the Microsoft Spider. They're not.
  • Enjoy nature.

What helps you relax?

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

What's Up, Doc? Part 2
Maybe the medical profession makes their bills incomprehensible so we don't ask questions like these.

Let's look a two of my recent medical bills.

My Dexa Bone Scan was billed out to the insurance company at $307. The insurance company paid $142, I paid $10, and $155 was "adjusted". I'm assuming this means that nobody paid the "adjusted" amount.

My colonoscopy was billed out to the insurance company at $1057. The insurance company paid $599.39, I paid $66.60, and $391.01 was "adjusted".

Do people without insurance pay the whole shot or do they also get "adjusted"? I really don't understand this. Can anyone explain to me why the bill gets cut in half if the insurance company is paying?

Even more puzzling and strange is the timing on the colonoscopy bill. The procedure was done October 21, 2002. The doctor submitted the bill to the insurance on April 21, 2003. It's too much of a coincidence that the submission was exactly six months after the procedure, so I'm guessing it was done intentionally. Didn't the doctor want her money?

The insurance company made payment on October 3, 2003. Yes, that's a year after the procedure and six months after the billing.

Can anyone explain any of this to me? Please?

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

What's Up, Doc?
Veterinarians have a joke they play on owners of female puppies. When the puppy is at its most hyper age, about six months old, the vet has the owner bring the puppy in to be spayed. When it's time for the puppy to go home, the vet tells the owner that it is very important to keep the puppy quiet for ten days. Then the vet goes in the back room and laughs and laughs.

The radiologists in Kalamazoo have a cruel joke they play on many female patients each year. In the mammogram area they have posted signs that say if you are "called back" for more detailed pictures you are not to be concerned. This joke backfires on the radiologists. The women patients talk about them and laugh and laugh about how stupid radiologists must be to put up signs ordering patients to do the impossible.

Another annoying medical joke comes to mind as I get ready to pay a bill that just arrived for a procedure I had done over a year ago. Medical bills are a joke. One has to decide if they just want to pay them without understanding them or attempt to understand them and go crazy. Oops. That's not a joke. That's a disgrace.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Making Mr. Hershey
When I picked Kimmy up after school on Friday she was carrying a large Sprite bottle with a styrofoam ball screwed onto the top of it. It looked harmless enough until she informed me that we were going to turn it into Mr. Hershey.

The third graders are assigned a biography to read. Kimmy's is Milton Hershey, the chocolate king. They are to write a report on their assigned person and make a likeness of him/her out of the pop bottle styrofoam ball creation.

Before we ever got to the car I heard "Grandma, you and I do good crafts together. Let's make Mr. Hershey tonight." How could I say no to that? So we stopped at the store and bought some Sharpies and rubberbands. We used a tan colored tee shirt for his head, a black teeshirt for his suit, and a pair of white underpants for his shirt. It was quite the craft project. It kept us busy for most of Friday evening.

Kimmy did most of it herself. I did the basic anchoring of the knit materials and she did all the cutting, gluing, and detailing. Mr. Hershey doesn't look too bad, if I do say so myself. The important thing is that Kimmy is pleased with the way Mr. Hershey turned out. She was very protective of him on the trip to take her home and I hope he makes it to the classroom in one piece. I wish I had thought to get a picture, but he's gone now and I don't have one.

No doubt inspired by Mr. Hershey, Kimmy and I - mostly Kimmy - baked a Turtle Cake: German chocolate cake mix with a middle layer of melted caramels, pecans, and chocolate chips. Ghastly rich and very good. Three eggs. That's important because Kimmy's favorite part is breaking the eggs. If you love caramel and chocolate and nuts, give it a try.

Diet Update
Yes I had a piece of cake. Don't know how many Weight Watchers points it was and I'm not going to calculate it out. Kimmy and I have fun cooking together and she is turning into a good little baker. When she goes home, the baked goods go home with her.

My weight loss is stuck. I have nine pounds left to lose and they're not coming off. I've been gaining and losing the same two pounds for the past two months, ever since Weight Watchers started their new point system. Their new Flex Points System doesn't work for me, and I'm going to have to go back to the old points system to make my goal.

Any thinking person reading this is thinking that if I eat a high calorie piece of cake every week it's obvious why I'm not losing weight. But that is exactly how the Flex Point System is advertised. The dieter gets 35 extra points every week to use for unexpected and/or special eating opportunities. 35 points is approximately 2100 calories. That's even more calories than that piece of cake could have been.

In the old WW points system, I got 22 points a day, 154 points a week. In the new WW points system I get 20 points a day plus 35 weekly flex points for a total of 175 points a week. So how does WW expect that to work?

At least now I have a good idea what I need to do to maintain my weight loss. This is not a good time of year to be losing weight and I'm wondering if I should just maintain for now and finish the weight loss off in January. If I don't do something different, that is what is going to happen by default.

Friday, November 14, 2003

The Friday Five questions for today are short and sweet.

1. Using one adjective, describe your current living space.

  • Needy

2. Using two adjectives, describe your current employer.
  • Enormous
  • Impersonal

3. Using three adjectives, describe your favorite hobby/pastime.
  • Fuzzy
  • Playful
  • Canine

4. Using four adjectives, describe your typical day.
  • Bittersweet
  • Anticipatory
  • Scheduled
  • Too short

5. Using five adjectives, describe your ideal life.
  • God-centered
  • Loving
  • Peaceful
  • Healthy
  • Fruitful

This was fun. The answers all came easy except for number 4. I'm in the middle of a huge lifestyle change anticipating unemployment and retirement at the end of the year. My current job is to decommission my job.

For Number 4 I answered as things are right now - this week. My typical day is very different from what it has been in the past and my typical day will be changing radically in the next two months.

What are four adjectives that describe your typical day?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I Am Norman Rockwell?
I took a fun little five question quiz on Quizilla to find out which famous artist most reflects my personality. Here are the results.

Norman Rockwell
Golly Gee!! You are NORMAN ROCKWELL.
You are a painter of simple, everyday happenings.
You tend to avoid the outrageous and stay well
within the guidelines of society. Your friends
count on you for your loyalty and level-

Is this accurate? Everytime I take a quiz online I end up being labeled something boring and dependable. It's almost enough to throw me into a late mid-life crisis.

To take this quiz, click on this: Which famous artist most reflects your personality?.

Let me know how it turns out for you.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Final Post on the Parade
Interesting challenge getting thirty dogs staged to do a parade.

According to the parade instructions we were supposed to be there at some early hour of the morning. Based on last year's parade experience Gail told us to be there by ten am, forty-five minutes before parade start. It was still too early. Briarwood was entry 54 out of 90. We didn't leave the staging area until an hour after the first parade entry and almost two hours after arriving. A long time for dogs to wait. A long time for people to wait on a sunny but cold day.

The staging area was all pavement with no place for the dogs to relieve themselves. And they were excited and needed to go even more often than usual. We had to walk out the gate to find a small strip of grass full of people waiting for the parade to start. Of course people wanted to pet the dogs and the dogs didn't want to be petted. They wanted to pee and poop. Once the pooping started, the people departed, so that problem took care of itself. (Yes, we had baggies and cleaned up after our pups.)

The human members of the crew wore matching gold lame capes. Denise made over thirty of them so we would all look "pulled-together" without having to dress alike. The capes also allowed for dressing for the weather whatever the weather turned out to be. Since it turned out to be very cold we were all stuffed into layers.

The dogs wore matching gold lame neck ruffles with bells. The ruffles looked festive and served a purpose. They covered the multiple collars the dogs were wearing. Being concerned about cymbals, sirens, and other parade noises that freak dogs out, we all had our dogs safely leashed and we weren't depending on just one collar to hold them.

Once we got going, the actual parade went very well. Fraulein pulled the rickshaw without a problem and the Papillons stayed in their seats. The crowd loved the two little dogs. There were "Oh looks!" and "Aren't they cutes?". DH was home watching the parade on TV and reported that the TV camera zoomed in on Sunny and Pappy for about three seconds. He said they were so cute he could have watched a whole half hour of nothing but Sunny and Pappy.

The afterglow was wonderful. The dogs slept the rest of the day and most of Sunday. Riding in a rickshaw is exhausting.

Parade pictures are in Picturetrail.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Friday Five
Today's Friday Five has some very interesting questions in it.

1. What food do you like that most people hate?

Brussel sprouts. I remember being a little girl and having my Grandma tell me that brussel sprouts are "little cabbages". At the time I didn't like cabbage so I wasn't impressed. Since I've grown up I've learned to enjoy them. They are one of my favorite vegetables.

2. What food do you hate that most people love?

Squash. There's something about the texture of it that activates my gag reflex. Every once in a rare while I'll get a piece of pumpkin pie that has a squash flavor and I can't eat that either.

3. What famous person, whom many people may find attractive, is most unappealing to you?

Martha Stewart. Just the thought of her makes me want to barf. She makes tons of money off the Stepford Wives and makes them feel inadequate in the process. I feel sorry for women who want to be perfect like Martha. They must be among some of the most insecure people in the world and they're doomed to failure because Martha isn't real.

4. What famous person, whom many people may find unappealing, do you find attractive?

Brigadier General Vincent Brooks. Remember him? He was the cool, collected, always under control, able to handle any situation General who did the morning CenCom briefings during Iraqi Freedom. Love his voice. Admire his demeanor and his intelligence. In awe of his ability to think on his feet.

5. What popular trend baffles you?

Dark colored walls. Most of them I find very unattractive and gloomy. Someday the trend will go back to whites and pastels. Then the trendy homeowners with dark walls are going to have a challenge trying to paint over those deep colors. I predict a big demand for KILZ in the future.

Final Miscellaneous Parade Thoughts
The temperature is going to drop down into the teens tonight. The high is going to be in the mid thirties tomorrow and it may snow. I had visions of walking the parade route in my newly fitting size ten jeans and looking very trim. Instead, I'm wearing a pair of sweatpants under my pre-diet jeans and I'm going to have a figure like the Mr. Snowman helium balloon in the entry behind us. Comfort before beauty. I need to be warm in order to walk over a mile smiling and waving.

There is a web site for the Kalamazoo Holiday Parade. I finally figured out that the reason Seasons of Violet has been getting so many Google search hits for Kalamazoo Christmas Parade is because there are many other people like myself who haven't made the transition to the politically correct new name for the retailers favorite season.

One of the reasons I write about this parade so often is because I can't believe I'm doing it. It's not something I would seek out to do. But Sunny and Pappy want to do the parade with all their canine friends, so we're doing it and we're going to have fun.

I was amazed at the number of people at work who thought they needed to make their excuses to me about why they aren't going to be downtown freezing their butts off watching the parade. I understand! I understand! I haven't been to a Christmas Parade since my son marched in the high school band almost twenty years ago. I dragged my mother along back then, too. She's a really good sport about things like that. Hope she is digging out her mittens tonight. It's going to be a cold one tomorrow morning.

Final Thought
I'd love to read your answer to question five from the Friday Five. What popular trend baffles you?

Thursday, November 06, 2003

And He's Gone Gone Gone, Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh
Kalamazoo made the national news today.

From the Kalamazoo Gazette:

"Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Brothers was found dead in his bed at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo on Wednesday evening less than an hour before the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame duo was to perform for an audience of nearly 2,400 at Miller Auditorium."

I learned today that "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" is the most-played song in American radio history. I never would have guessed that, but I'm not surprised. It's one of my favorites, along with just about every other thing recorded by the Righteous Brothers.

What a horrible and sad thing to happen to such a talented person - to die far away from home in a hotel in Kalamazoo Michigan. I'm so sorry.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Violet Usually Doesn't Like to go Shopping But. . .
This is going to be a short day at work. I'm leaving at 2:30 to pick up Granddaughter Kimmy and go winter coat shopping. Daughter Heather is joining us at the mall and we're going to have dinner together. Grandma buying Kimmy a new winter coat is an annual event with us. Until this year we've done it in October. Hope there are some cool coats left to choose from in November.

Violet Usually Doesn't Obsess About the Weather But. . .
Participants in the Kalamazoo Christmas Parade are getting more and more interested in the weather forecast as the week progresses. This is the fourth day in a row that it has rained. I can't remember when we saw the sun for the last time. I'm hearing rumors about snow toward the end of the week. Surely we are due to have the precipitation stop by the parade on Saturday. A minimum of fifty degrees would also be nice.

Violet Usually Doesn't Get Exited About Clothing But. . .
Today I have on my new Winter Tee from Land's End. (No affiliation.) I shouldn't be wearing it to work but it's brand new and looks great so I'm pretending it qualifies as business casual. As the ultimate in overused phases goes, "What are they going to do? Pfired me?"

This tee is one of the most comfortable things I have ever worn. It's very thick, almost like a cross between a tee and a sweatshirt, but it is also very light. And soft soft soft inside. The 6% Lycra gives it enough stretch so there is no binding. The colors are rich and heathery.

I have the amethyst heather color in a petite medium. I'm thinking I need at least three more of these tees to wear after December when I will be sitting home knitting, drinking tea, and watching the snow come down while I'm not working but the paychecks keep arriving in the mail.

Violet Has Never Before Been Happy to be Unemployed But. . .
Yes, that's right. I am getting Pfired January 9 and then they continue to pay me for two more months just like I'm working. Is that a deal or what?

What do you like to wear for comfortable leisure in the wintertime?

Monday, November 03, 2003

Tale of Two Mugs
Mug 1: I've been drinking out of the same coffee mug every morning for (I'm guessing at this) five years.

It's a blue and gray ceramic mug with dog silhouettes on the side. Possibly they are supposed to be wolves, but I think of them as dogs.

The shape tapers in toward the top which is great for not slopping that first cup of coffee in the morning when I'm barely awake. I usually carry it back to bed, throw on an extra pillow to prop up my head, and snuggle in with Bob and the little dogs to drink my coffee in the almost dark.

This mug was a gift from sister Carrie in North Carolina. I remember getting it for Christmas. When I opened the package I thought the mug was nice. I didn't realize at the time it would become a favorite possession.

Mug 2: I've been drinking out of the same coffee mug at work for twenty years.

It's a white porcelain mug with two very 80's looking professional women - one on each side - and the words "Forget the whales... Save the working woman."

This mug was a gift from my then fourteen year old daughter. I don't remember the occasion. I do remember laughing at the sentiment and thinking that maybe she did have a little inkling how difficult it is to be a full time working mother.

Daughter Heather doesn't remember giving me the mug. That's OK. There are tons of important things that I don't remember. I enjoy imagining her seeing this mug in the store and thinking "My Mom would like that." Knowing Heather, it must have happened something like that. And she was right - I like it.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

100 Things About Me is Online
The link is over on the right. It took several hours of fiddling to figure out how to get it uploaded to Blog*Spot. It turned out to be easy once I got it to work.

I'm ending the weekend feeling very satisfied about getting this online.

Miscellaneous Updates on Life
Blog. Seasons of Violet is starting its third month. So far there has been no problem in fulfilling my goal to write at least three times a week. In fact there has only been one week when I didn't post more than three times. One week in October I posted everyday. I still don't feel like I've found my voice but I believe that will happen in time. I do have a "100 Things About Me" page to add but it's not perfectly obvious how I do that. More study required. Eventually I'll just do something and probably make a technical mess.

Reading. Bob is reading the Brother Cadfael mystery series out loud while I knit. Brother Cadfael is a Benedictine monk living in medieval England. The books are rather slow paced and very pleasant to read and hear. The character portrayals and development are excellent. The murder mystery is almost secondary to the telling of English history and customs in those times. It is all woven together to make a fasinating story. There are nineteen of these books. We are on number four but we skipped number one.

Knitting. Right now I'm trying to finish up a pair of plain ribbed worsted weight shoes in dark blue to wear in the Christmas Parade. The heavy weight yarn is to keep my feet warm. I'm wondering if I might want more of the heavier, warmer socks once I'm not working. I have some Christmas knitting to complete, so I have to be careful about knitting talk for a while.

Operation Christmas Child. Friday I took two sandwiches (lunch for both of us) and four empty shoeboxes to Monette along with the Operation Christmas Child instructions on what to buy. She has the shopping completed for two girls and two boys. How do I ever thank her for that? I know! I'll let her take pictures of the Christmas Parade on Saturday!

Work. Friday's "wave" of people Pfired seemed to be very large. Several people that I know. There are strong rumors that the large office building where I work is going to be completely empty by the end of the year. The few people who aren't Pfired by then will be moved to another building. Since I expect my last work day to be December 31, I'm wondering if I can escape moving.

Home. The Violet Patch is covered with leaves. Most of our trees are oaks and hang on to their leaves way into the coldest part of the season, so there is not much point in raking yet. I just wait until spring to clean them up. Consider it nature's mulch.

Parade. We had outdoor practice for the Kalamazoo Christmas Parade on Saturday afternoon. That gave the dogs a chance to ride in the rickshaw for an hour with Fraulein pulling them. It worked well. Fraulein didn't have any trouble pulling the extra weight and Sunny and Pappy seemed to enjoy their ride. I think the whole thing is going to be a lot of fun if we only have decent weather.

Here is the Briarwood Dog Training version of the Twelve Dog Daze of Christmas:

  1. Shepherd pulling gifts for all to see
  2. Papillons (riding in the rickshaw pulled by the Shepherd)
  3. French Poodles (riding on the float)
  4. Barking dogs (will speak on command)
  5. Dogs with rings (carry golden rings in their mouth)
  6. Dogs downing (go down on their stomachs)
  7. Bowsers begging (gather around Sherry and beg for a treat)
  8. Mannerly mutts (?? I don't know what they're doing)
  9. Dogs dancing (forward, backward, circle right, circle left)
  10. Dogs leaping (jumping over a dowel)
  11. Pups pawing (like shaking hands)
  12. Canines crawling (down on their tummys and moving forward)