Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Stroke Victim Whisperer

I am gaining quite a reputation for myself at my volunteer job at Hospice. The last three times I've worked, I've been assigned to three different survivors of massive strokes. All three times I was told that they either weren't able to talk or wouldn't talk/interact. All three times, they've spoken coherently and mindfully to me in the presence of someone else at least once each evening. It's just a fluke, but it is very strange. I laughed when I heard a nurse remark last night that they should send The Stroke Victim Whisperer in to a certain patient's room and see what she could do! I'll allow a movie of my life, but only if Robert Redford is in it!LOL !

Last night I was assigned to a sweet lady that had had a stroke and suffered from dementia. She reminded me very much of my own Poppy and Mr. Bee's grandmother who we cared for though her last years battling Alzheimer's Disease. It was an honor and very poignant for me to spend the evening with her. She was in constant motion and she needed to keep her hands busy. In this case it was folding and refolding and then smoothing a magazine cover and shredding tissues. She only ever sleeps in 20 minute doses, then wakes up agitated and then calms down for an hour or two and then repeats the cycle so the staff has her on 1:1 care 24 hours a day. She spent a lot of the evening mumbling or speaking to people I couldn't see. Then at 9:15 she looks at her watch and then looks right at me and says 'Whew! It's 9:15! Honey I'm pooped!' It was too cute! Then a little later she noticed a man on a t.v., stopped what she was doing, sighed, and said, "Oh, he's good looking! I love a man in a suit". A lady after my own heart. Her brain may not be running smoothly but she can still recognize brawn when she sees it!

I was surprised at how many of the staff correct the patients that have dementia and Alzheimer's. I know it is exasperating when you need to get a lot of things done and the patient is difficult, but I've found that correcting them only confuses them more, agitates them and makes them argumentative. I find that it's much easier if you go along. Agree that it IS remarkable that the moon is lavender and that Herbert Hoover is doing an excellent job running our country. Nine time out of ten they will just nod and move on. It's not going to matter in another 30 seconds anyway. It's amazing the conversations you can have.

It's also amazing what 'sticks' in the mind after it has been injured. I found that during the times that Maude (not her real name) was agitated or combative, if I asked her politely to do something instead of telling her what to do or telling her what I was going to do to her, she was lovely. At one point, the nurse was trying to get her to move from her wheelchair into her recliner. The nurse was telling her to and she was having NONE of it. Finally I asked her "Maude , would you please sit in this chair over here and visit with me?" She mumbled 'Sure Honey' and sat right down. I'm guessing she was a very nice, polite, well-mannered lady before all of this woe befell her and her family.

Her daughter was just leaving when I got there. The poor woman looked exhausted. She had been caring for her mother at home and I can't imagine havoc Maude's damaged sleep cycle and antics must have wreaked on her life before she finally got her into the center. As far as I can tell she isn't in eminent danger of passing away. She seemed very healthy and strong. I don't know how long she will be able to stay at the center. They may have been able to get her in under 'Failure To Thrive'. I hope she can stay. I'm looking forward to spending more time with her!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Snake Hunter

The coolest thing just happened! Mr. Bee and I went to the park in Belleville for a walk. It's a small penninsula that juts out into Belle View Lake and it has a nice walking path, a dam and a brook. One time when Mum and I were there, we saw a huge snake slither under a bridge that spans the river below the dam. I told Mr. Bee that if we saw a snake, to be forewarned....I would be screaming like a big old girl. So we walked down to the bridge and sure enough, there sunning itself was a huge snake. I pointed it out to Mr. Bee. This fell into the type of snake encounter where I saw it first so I didn't panic and run screaming. It was all coiled up in the grass. We were pointing and looking at it when a man came over and asked what it was. We told him just as it slithered into the water. The man said, "Don't worry, I'll get it!" and hopped in after it! Come to find out he is a local herpatologist from the university. He caught our snake, which was a three foot long pregnant female and when I spotted a smaller adult and a baby on the bank nearby and he caught those too He told us all about them. They were Northern Water Snakes and that Wisconsin waterways are full of them. They are non-poisonous which is a good thing since he got bitten. He said it didn't hurt. I don't believe him. He also got peed and pooped on. Despite their initial negative attitudes toward captivity they calmed down pretty quickly. They had beautiful patterns. Especially when they were wet. See the photo above.

What are the odds of that happening? What a cool experience! We finally pulled him out of the brook and he took us back to his minivan and gave us a card. He does birthday parties, "Snakes Alive", and had a van full of critters. He said that he should take me into the field with him because I had such a good eye for snake spotting. I took it as a 'come one' and was flattered, because I'm mighty desperate that way. Not desperate enough to actually go out and help him snake hunt though! Me and snakes have a healthy respect for each other. They don't bother me and I don't scream loud enough hurt their little reptile ears or stomp them to death in a panic. Just as long as I see them first, it's all good.

It's been a weekend of fun things. Knit Night on Friday was a blast!

The Sow's Ear had a a couple of ladies playing guitar and singing downstairs And a guy upstairs giving chair massages...
And best of all I got the GodAwful Green Stipe Socks done.

Eli's mum and I went to another LYS on Saturday and got some skeins of Cascade 220 to make my Mum a top-down seamless cardigan, my road trip to Maine project. We also walked down to the lake near the store and saw the wierdest water bird ever. We couldn't identify it and there wasn't a ornathologist handy. Maybe if we'd have seen it in Belleville there would have been!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Good Bye Girlie Girl!

I was not meant to be a girlie girl I guess. I have to have the artificial talons removed this afternoon. Fungus of the thumbus nailus! Gross! Who knew!!!??? Heavy sigh.

Look Ya'll! Knitting Content!
I unknit far more than I knit last night. I was almost to the toe decrease of the second dreaded Ugly Stripe sock when I realized that waaaaaay back-just after the gusset decreases- I had purled one needle! I had one row of 'bumps'. I was so disgusted. What a rookie mistake. There must have been something on t.v., or with the furbabies, or something shiny, or brightly colored. I am distracted by a whole range of things. Or maybe I dozed off and continued to stitch which has happened before and Mr. Bee thinks this is hysterical until he has to listen to my ranting the next day as I rip it all out. Which is what happened. I've been chompin' at the bit to get these ugly suckers done and just when I see the light at the end of the turns out to be a train! I ripped out the whole foot and started over. Try as I might to make peace with that ugly green, it's just not going to happen. Mum saw the last post where I threatened to bring them to Maine when I go and make her wear them. She still insists they're beautiful. It's all just lip service at 1500 miles away. Wait'll she sees 'em up close. I should have left the purl bumps in there to for emphasis.

So the socks will be finished by the weekend and I am swearing of socks for a while. I will start on the Prayer Flag Fingerless gloves but I won't be able to knit them on the twenty four hour road trip to Maine because they have cables and I have to pay too much attention. I get distracted enough in familiar surroundings and there will be lots of cows and corn and other cars and signs and toll booths between here and Aroostook County. Wouldn't want to miss anything because I was reading a pattern. it comes...the justification to go off the hobby diet once more. I am going to my LYS this weekend to get some Cascade for another top-down-seamless cardigan. Yes, I know! The button band one the last one I made has STILL not been adjusted, but I'll get to that once I get cold enough to actually want to wear the darn thing. The pattern is increase for a few rows and then endless rounds of knitknitknitknit. Just the project for 48 total hours on the road. Maybe I'll get that red and black tweed Cascade and do one for Mum. Maybe I'll add a God Awful Ugly green stripe to match her new socks!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

If You Haven't Seen It...

Go see Talladega Nights. Will Farrell has no shame. It's a silly movie but seeing Will run around the track in his underwear thinking he was on fire; screaming and praying for Little Baby Jesus, Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey to save him was so funny, diet coke came out my nose. Treat your self to a laugh!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fell Off The Hobby Diet Wagon...

But not too badly. I bought a skein of Thibetan recycled silk . I was sitting at the Sow's Ear, innocently talking to my friend, when I saw it waving to me over her shoulder. It beckoned. It teased. It taunted. I could barely concentrate on what my friend was saying. I had to buy it just to shut it up so I could visit!

It is the most amazing stuff. It's individual fibers of silk of all different colors spun together into a thickish yarn. The overall color is a dark red but it has every other color of the rainbow in it as well. It's made out of prayer flags. No, I made that part up. It could be though and so I am instituting that fact into my reality. Poof! It's so. I bought enough to make a pair of fingerless gloves. They will look smashing with my dark grey winter coat.

I will start on my 'Thibetan Prayer Flag Gloves' after I finally finish the striped 'God Awful Ugly Trek' socks. I'm to the heel flap on sock # 2. They are the ugliest thing on earth but my Mum says that they are beautiful. She has to. She's a Mum and it's in the contract bylaws somewhere near the paragraph that states that she has to wear macaroni necklaces and set out hideous sort-of-ashtray-shaped lumps of dried clay on her nice living room tables while you're in grade school. God love her. In a case of 'No-Good-Deed-Goes-Unpunished'...or in this case, 'No-Compliment-Goes-Unpunished', I will take them to her when we go to Maine in three weeks. We'll just see how beautiful they are when she sees them up close and then has to put them on. That oughta knock all the saintly Mum-ness out of the situation. I'm taking bets that the socks will be secretly tucked in my luggage to come back to Wisconsin when I'm not looking. Anyone? Lay your money down!

Monday, August 14, 2006


Check out the left side of my blog and you will see my newest furbaby-a cyber llama named Harlo. Harlo likes to have his head petted and if you click on the more button and get some hay, hold it to his mouth and click your mouse he'll eat it. He's pretty tame and will follow your mouse around. The only thing he doesn't like it to be poked with the mouse. It makes him jumpy. Say hello to Harlo!!!!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006


This is the counted cross stitch I have been working on FOREVER. It'll be nice to hang in my room at the nursing home when I finally get it finished.

I finally finished the loon wall hanging quilt top last night. I love it! See the two babies? And the dragonfly?

Going great guns on my latest sock project. Still hate the ugly green stripe!

As you can see, I've had a pretty productive time of it while Mr. Bee has been away but Wee Doggie says that it is too hot to work at the computer any more!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Quilting Fool

I headed down to my quilt studio early last night and came out wayyyyy too late! I worked all evening (actually half the night) on the McKenna Ryan Loon Quilt. I had all eighteen million little bits traced onto webbing, so I fused them all to fabrics and cut them all out. I got to the best part, fusing the whole thing together and realized that I had the background but didn't have the border fabrics and the lilly pads extend out into the border. Drat.

I ran to Belleville at lunch time to my local quilt store and got the two pieces I needed so will work more on it tonight after Stitch and *itch. I'm actually glad I had to go because my favorite park was practically deserted and I walked along the river and dam/waterfall for a bit before coming back to work. I also saw several fire-engine red dragonflies. I've never seen any like them before. Their wings, right up next to their little dragonfly shoulder blades, were bright, bright, shiny crimson. I mentioned it to the crazy lady at work. I didn't know she was crazy until I told her and she said that surely it was a 'sign of the end times'. Uhhhh...OK. They sure were pretty anyway. The water is high so the lake was cascading over the side of the spillway that's usually bone dry. There were a couple of little kids fishing but otherwise, I had the place to myself. Those kids were really scrawny and I'm sure I could have pushed them in and had the entire place solely to myself, but I was feeling charitable.

The kitty cat alarm went off at 4:30 this morning, and again at 5:00, 5:30, and 6:00. He is a Burmese and very vocal. Not to mention heavy. And persistant. I finally got up and found out why. He proudly led me out to show me he'd been sick in the hallway. GROSS! I'm cleaning it up and he's running all around meowing and begging for treats. Yeah Right. Like I'm gonna let the little hurl-o-matic refuel. He can eat again when Mr. Bee gets home!

Had to lug Wee Doggie off the deck because General BunBun, the mean bunny that lives underneath, was on the lawn at the foot of the stairs and Doggie is deathly afraid of him. Mostly because The General is bigger than him. And because he stands his ground whenever puppy comes out. Wee Doggie has obviously been sized up and deemed absolutely no threat at all. Especially when his Mommy had to run interference for him in her robe. Maybe we'd be more intimidating if I got bunny slippers. I could tie little nooses around their bunny necks as a warning.

Mr. Bee called. He and the Wadeums made it safely to Indy on L'Adventure Grande and were chompin' at the bit to get to Geek Fest as soon as the doors open today. He told me all about the road trip, the highlight of which seemed to be a biplane they saw cropdusting somewhere. That wacky Mr. Bee. He's a party animal.

He and the Wadeums will spend four days from sunrise to sunset in the convention center with thousands of their closest friends, playing games and buying stuff, with only a short break for a PB&J at lunch- because they have deemed the Geek Fest food too expensive and brought a cooler of their own. Then they will go do dinner at Denny's where he has assured me that he will eat a vegetable of some kind every day. Ketchup doesn't count. Anything deep fried doesn't either. Then they will go back to the hotel and play more games deep into the night. Some people's vacations are other people's nightmares....

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Aww Rats!

I've been down for the count for the last few days. I finally got it together enough to take a photo of my latest project and the dang camera gasped its last and ran out of batteries. I will charge 'em up and post one on Friday.

Went to the Renaissance Fair in Briston WI on Saturday. What a day! We caravaned with friends. We took their six year old daughter, Princess E, with us. Mom, Dad and Prince R. were following us. On the inside on an hour we lost them. We were sure they must have broken down. We went back to look and couldn't find them. We were trying to delicately discuss the fact that we'd lost them and what we should do about it in a way that wouldn't upset Princess E. We didn't have to worry. As soon as she figured it out, she declared that we should go have fun anyway. So we did. We arrived at the Festival and found that they had taken a wrong turn and arrived ahead of us. Whew! Disaster averted.

We spent the day wandering the fair. My highlights were the Mud Show and the Falconry show. That and all of the folks in costume. The inaccuaracy in period dress is one thing. It kind of all goes....even the woman dressed like Pan and the numerous devils and fairies. I totally didn't understand the Vulcan I saw though. Maybe she was just on vacation from the Enterprise or whatever planet Vulcan's come from. Should've worn her hair over the ears in that case...but I digress.

At about 4 PM we had to get going because Wee Doggie only has a 9 hour bladder so we had to get home to him. Hiked across the hay field parking lot, got to the car and discovered we'd locked the keys inside. Mr. Bee trudged back across the field to the ticket booth to try and find someone to help. I stayed with the car. Presently a man dressed like a Highlander happened by with a great, long, shiny sword. I batted my eyelashes and persuaded him to try and unlock the door with his weapon since the windows were down a bit. He tried for about 5 minutes but only succeeded in poking sword holes in our lock button. Oh well, he was my knight in shining armor, almost literally, for trying.
Soon Mr. Bee shows up with a wee Asian gentleman who took some sort of short metal gizmo out of his minivan and a few twists of the wrist later the door popped right open. Which just goes to show you, it isn't the length of the sword but how you wiggle it that counts. He charged us $30 bucks though whereas the Highlander was content with just having me gush over him and try to guess what was under his kilt. Bike shorts as it turns out. Sorry to shatter the illusion. All in all it was an interesting day.

Tomorrow night is Stitch Night at The Sow's Ear. This is my local group, not to be confused with the shop's Knit Night which happens to be Friday. Don't think I'll go to that if it's too hot but will plan on it otherwise. I got quite a lot done on my comfort shawl during a long car ride on Sunday and would like to finish it there if I can.

Mr. Bee is in Indy for a few days at Geek Fest so I am a lady of leisure. Except I've planned visits with friends and other outtings for just about every minute of that time. I'll need a vacation by the time he gets back!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Heat Wave-A Tropical Heat Wave

It's been too hot to go into the computer room to update my blog for a few days. Of course this hot weather also corresponds to a few of my busiest days at work, so by the time get done I running around all day in the heat, I just wilt when I go home. Mostly Mr. Bee and I have been sitting on the sofa every evening; sticky, ambitionless lumps, reduced to watching reruns of bad documentaries on the back television channels. Sneakers the bunny has totally melted. Despite the central air which does its best to keep the house around 80°, she has dissolved into a sullen puddle of mush in the bottom of her cage. She hardly has the gumption to attack the hand that feeds her although the weather hasn't affected her grunting ability which she uses often. Sebastian the cat is basically living in the basement. He's found a cool nook with a comfy chair with a woobie. He's always been one cool dude. The only one remotely happy is the Wee Doggie who hasn't shivered once in the last two weeks. The humidity must feel good on his poor old decrepit bones. The good news is that it is supposed to break today! I hope that's true since I have my volunteer shift at Hospice tonight. The running involved with that always makes running for my day job look like an afternoon poolside with margarita grande!

Despite the heat, I have been working straight ahead of my One Ugly Green Stripe socks. I finished one last night and will start the other one tonight after my hair cut. I finally abandoned the Glitter Alpaca stole for good. I basically had to knit every row at least twice if not two or three times and the fuzziness of the yarn was being compromised. It alternated between being completely bald an sweaty matted lumps. Not much fun. I think the other two skeins are destined to become scarves made out of some easy pattern.

Mr. Bee is counting down the days to his vacation next week. He and best bud, Mr. Wilcox will be heading to Indianapolis for a gaming convention. Mr. Bee's big adventure. Lots o' fun. He's so excited that if he was a puppy he'd piddle on the floor. I will be a single gal for a few days. I don't have any plans yet except to eat peas and French Toast in great quantities since Mr. Bee can't tolerate either. Uh...I can see I'm definitely going to have to come up with something a lot better for Molly Bee's Home Alone adventure!

Cooper and The Garden Guest

I discovered earlier this summer that finches aren't the only thing that like my thistle seeds. Even though there is a plethora of seeds...