Tuesday, September 30, 2008

wait a minute while I find my soap-box

I love dogs. My current domestic partner is a canine. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I'd like to come back as my dog. She has a soft bed, high quality kibble, lots of lovin', and all the rabbits she can chase. It's my job to take care of her. This means I feed her, make sure that her water dish is clean and full, and take her to the vet when she needs it. It also means I keep her away from the street. This is not only for her safety, but for the safety and security of other dogs and people.

Not everyone will agree with the dog:child analogy, but here goes. Children have the same sort of requirements. Food, safety, good health and love. Parents should also be obligated to ensure that their children (or pets) know how to behave in society. This also ensures their safety and success.

Let me now make a big ol' caveat. I love living in Las Vegas, NM. The people are freindly, I have amazing view of the mountains, my job is great. Basically, I'm a pig in poo. There is, however, a giant black mark on the town report card. Irresponsible dog owners. These are the folks who let their dogs run out into the road, terrorizing their neighbors, getting hurt. Generally not taking care of their obligations as dog owners.

It doesn't matter if you go for the "dog as surrogate child" approach or the "dog as owned object". Either way, the person who owns a dog (or has a doggie family member) is responsible for its actions just as they would be responsible for the actions of their human offspring. If around the clock care and responsibility is not your cup of tea, don't have kids and don't get that puppy. Neither one stays cute forever.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Most days we have "theme days" in the clinic. We'll have a whole run of chest pain or a couple of guys with erectile dysfunction, or a bunch of kids with colds or a slew of nervous moms. Its a funny phenomenon seen in almost every clinic setting. Even when I was a massage therapist there would be weeks that 10 out of 30 clients would have similar problems.

Cold's and flu's in the fall don't count as part of a theme day. Regular procedures, like PAP smears don't count either. Common maladies have to be out of season. Generally the problem needs to be a little bit of a head scratcher. And there has to be more than one, but more than two is better.

Today, so far, is not a theme day. But it is Friday and it is half over.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

mail order blues

The winemaking kit from Midwest Supplies came in on Tuesday. I did the appropriate happy dance on the porch. In my head, I've already made several batches of yummy wines, they all taste wonderful and my freinds and family are duly impressed. Then I did something very unusual. I read all of the instructions straight through. This is what's known as a buzzkill.

In the basic kit, you get a bucket and a big bottle, known as a carboy, tubing, a stopper and airlock for the carboy, and enough yeast and stuff to make 15 gallons of wine (wait, did you hear music?). However, it did not come with a little device called a hydrometer. The hydrometer is used to measure alcohol content and helps the vintner to know when fermentation is finished. This is important. I also realized that I would need more than one carboy, some corks for my finished bottles and something to put the corks into the bottles. Bottles I've got. An embarrasing number of empty wine bottles. Sigh.

Also on my online shopping spree was a rack and a set of folding baskets for the back of my bike. Since my bike is my primary week-day transportation, this is imminently practical. The amazon.com listing stated that the bicycle accessories were easily installed and were universal in fit. That should have been the first warning. The rack must be installed first and the baskets hung from the rack. The rack comes with a set of three screws and a bracket in case the universal fit isn't.

After 15 minutes of searching for a hole in which to put the screw (insert double entendre here), I managed to align the screws and the openings. Let me tell you something. Size Matters. The screws were too short to pass through the rack and the hole on my bike and grab the washer and nut on the other side. Off to the hardware store during my lunch hour.

Another Amazon order gone awry. I place an order for a couple of books and a CD a few weeks ago and recieved double copies of everything.

I think I'll stay off the surfboard for a while...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Domestic Goddess

Lately, I have been spending a good portion of my weekends cooking and preserving food. My spinning wheel has been whirring along and I've got the back of the "Snowdrift" sweater finished. If I added actual house cleaning to that list, I'd say my nesting instinct was in full bloom. But lets not get carried away.

Saturday I hit the farmers market and bought some gorgeous yellow squash, leeks, and apples. There was also a woman selling the sweetest, most beautiful peaches in the world and I bought two big baskets. Half of the peaches got canned yesterday. They have the most beautiful golden orange color and look stunning in their little pint jars. I saved a few for eating and the rest for the wine making kit that should be here in the next few days. The squash got sliced up and frozen and I haven't even touched the apples, let alone the pears from last week.

My neighbor, Lillian, brought me a quart of goats milk when she came to dinner on Saturday. Since I'm not a big milk drinker I think I'll make some goat cheese. I found the directions on the internet. You can find anything on the internet. Lillian is the soul of independance. She runs a 1200 acre ranch by herself, the house has no electricity, no running water and an outhouse. During the week she lives in town so that her 15 year old daughter can attend the high school here in town. She has a little herd of dairy goats and 3 1/2 chickens.

All this domestic activity leaves me very little time to engage in my favorite pity-party fantasy: I will end up being the crazy old lady who lives with 50 cats. I understand that this is completely irrational. I've started seeing a lovely man who makes me laugh my butt off. And I don't like cats (other people's cats are fine). My single german shepherd makes enough hair for all of those fantasy cats and I don't need more animal hair in my life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

pure as the driven slush

I've been working on the Snowdrift cardi from "Inspired to Knit". However, while the sweater in the pattern book is white, mine is being knitted in a charcoal grey handspun corriedale with little silvery bits. Its working up very fast and easy. Since my brain seems to be still somewhat addled from graduate school, fast and easy is something I appreciate.

My ambition of finishing all the unspun fibers in my stash before the Taos Sheep and Wool festival (first weekend in October) may have been a bit, well, ambitious. I still have a pound or two of the corriedale and a little over an ounce of silk to finish out Katie's gloves. In the world of fiber-stash, this is practically microscopic, but I'm trying very hard not to accumulate stuff. On the other hand TSW comes but once a year. Here are some yarn/fiber buying justif... I mean reasons:

1. I can use the TSW purchases to make and/or give away as gifts

2. Improving one's skills (in this case, spinning, knitting and weaving) are helpful for maintaining good mental health

3. I'm supporting small, local businesses

4. Supporting these small local businesses helps to keep traditional skills allive

5. It will be a lovely fall day in Taos and I will have driven all the way up there

6. Sheep and Llamas and Goats, oh my

7. I really really like string

8. soooo sooooffft

Excuse me, I think I drooled on myself...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

new knitting book!

My new knitting book came in! Yay! Its called "Inspired to Knit". Katie and I found it when we were at the Alpaca show in Estes Park, Colorado two weeks ago, but it was a bit pricey and I'd already spent a bundle on that little short trip. I think we spent less money in Mexico eating in restaurants and staying in a nice ocean front hotel than I did for tha jaunt up to Estes Park. Anyway, its one of the few pattern books that I've found that I would actually make every single item in the book. Even better: I got it on sale on Amazon. Gotta love Amazon.

There was a wonderful, soft fall rain tonight and I watched "Love in the Time of Cholera". I wept at all the appropriate times. I wasnt' sure about how the movie made me feel. Was I crushed that there was no one who loved me enough to wait around 53 years and change? Should I be heartened by the thought of love in my last days? Should I sleep around till my true love becomes available? Wait, I don't have a true love, should I sleep around anyway? Too many messages...

Anyhoo, it was a wonderful film. Marquez is a poet. Javier Bardem is spectacular. He has supplanted all others except Jon Stewart for my affections.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mondays are for...

So Mondays are the day that everyone that had a sniffle or a drinking binge or just a bad weekend comes into the clinic with all their saved up ills. Monday is also the day when we need that little bit of extra caffeine or a cocktail or something to keep us going till five o'clock. the morning seemed manageable, but the afternoon swirled around me. I spent most of the time not knowing who was where. I hate mondays.

Good news this afternoon though. A patient who was diagnosed and treated for pancreatic cancer last year came in for a blood pressure check. Pancreatic cancer is often a death sentence. She'd been sliced, diced and irradiated and is so far in the clear. A month ago, she came in for pain in her abdomen. I adjusted her blood pressure medication and sent her off to the CT scan already scheduled with her oncologist. I felt like I was arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. She brought in her results and her CT scan was as normal as we could have hoped with no sign of cancer. I exhaled.

She had told me what a difficult time her adult children had experienced with her diagnosis, how they worried and and fretted over her and grieving the possibility of losing their mother. She told them (and me) "we're born to die, I'm not afraid to die but I'm not dead yet. We have to live until we can't".

Little bits of immortality and light to be found among the ashes of the day.