Friday, November 30, 2007

The Bounty and the Booty

I won this...
It's a skein of Rabbitch's amazing hand-dyed sock yarn and I won it from the equally amazing Hot Rod Libby Loo.
and this....
It's 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces in the lovely Jeans colorway and I won it from Craft Lilly

and bought this...
It's a tissue holder and I got from JooSweetie's Etsy store.

My mom's visit went really well. I brought her home from the airport and made her look through all my knitting books to pick out some stuff she liked. Then Saturday, I took her on a yarn crawl.

First we went to String, where she bought this stuff

These two will be mixed in the edging and then the plain grey on the right for the rest of the body of a vest.

6 skeins of this Kashmir for me!

At A Knitted Peace, she got this...
Berroco Tapestry - 11 of the blue for a thing for her and one silver/grey for a scarf I'm planning for me.

And at Colorful Yarns, she got this...
2 giant skeins for the little lacy shrug in the Lace Style book.
And 2 skeins of Interlacements Tiny Toes for me.
And this from Yarn Arts...
For a project to be named later.

Then there's the swaps!

I got this lovely pumpkin Alpaca from an orange yarn swap. Not normally a fan of orange, but this stuff's beautiful!
And I got this stuff in a wish list swap...
Still drooling, Ruth!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Didja Hear Me On The Radio?

It was Tuesday morning and I was driving back from dropping my mom off at the airport. (BTW, her visit was fine - no casualties. This time... haha)

The morning radio station (100.3 in Denver) was blathering on about how crappy their show had been and it was up to the Last Caller of the Day to make it all better. They said if anyone was conversational or had a good story to call in and the best caller would win 4 tickets to Disney on Ice.

Well, if y'all've been here before, you know I gots some stories (although, how good they are is pretty subjective). So I called in. The call-screener (Jeremy) asked what I had to say. Well, first he asked my name (Ruth) and then asked if people called me Baby. I sighed and said my usual line for such lameness, "Wow! That's the first time I've ever heard that one again." We hardee-har-har'd over that and then he asked what I had to say. I told him I could tell about the time Madeline Albright's head Secret Service guy nearly snapped my arm in half because he messed up or I could tell this other story I had. He picked the other story and I was put on hold. For like 20 minutes! They let you listen in on everything that's going on and I got to hear the other callers they picked.

The first guy had bad luck and every car he'd ever owned would bust within a year. The next caller talked about how her inlaws were visiting for a week and that was too long. The third caller told how her boyfriend kept her up til past midnight last nite so he could sing her Happy Birthday because today was her birthday. Then it was my turn and I told my story and they were all bustin' on me (which they'd warned about when they told people to call in) and I was laughing and vehement in my position and it was fun! Then the last, last caller told about some bottle of wine she took to a party and everyone made a big fuss over it and she didn't know why.

Anyway, they picked me! I won 4 tickets to Disney on Ice! (Well, actually, I won 4 vouchers that I've got to go pick up, then try to get tickets on days they aren't sold out.)

So here's the story I told. Get a snack...

So There I Was...

Stationed in Germany. The second base I was sent to, in Schweinfurt. I'd had my Vespa Scooter shipped to me when I was sent to Germany originally but it took almost 8 months to get it to me and by then, I'd been sent to Schweinfurt (which translates to Pig Town, by the way). So the first day I'm on the road with my little Vespa. Tooling around town, having a nice ride. I'm wearing my usual garb - knee length denim shorts, t-shirt - plus my obnoxiously white helmet (safety first!). I'm going down some random street and this particular street has 2 lanes. The right lane has the option of going straight or curving off to the left alongside the left lane. I'd been down that street veering left, so wanted to go straight and see what was down there. There were 2 young women on bikes ahead of me. They were in the bike lane and I was passing them. I passed the one and when I was passing the girl in front, she up and tried to turn left right in front of me! I was halfway past her already and there was no stopping, so I ran her over!! To this day, I don't know how she didn't notice me going past her! That scooter had an incredibly loud engine - like a mini diesel (or a giant wasp).

She fell and I fell. When I fell, my head (thankfully helmeted) bounced on the road and I slid about 4 feet with the scooter on my left leg. (I remember, as I was sliding, thinking, this is going to hurt!) I lay there for a few seconds, dazed. The German girl jumped up and started in on me and I wasn't even up yet. She was "sprikkin' the sprech" as we said back then (speaking in German) and when I got up and said, "What? Slow down." (I spoke some German but not that fast.) She was saying sorry until I took my helmet off and she heard me speaking English and saw my ugly Army issue glasses. Then she started speaking in English, too but changed her mind about the situation, "My shirt, my shoes, my glasses, my bike - you must pay for everything." I looked at her like she was crazy, "Bitch please, this is not California! I'm not paying for a damn thing - you didn't signal!"

I'd picked up my scooter and left it in the middle of the road where it landed (there was plenty of room to maneuver a car around it). This crazy girl was still trying to get me to give her my name and rank and unit and I told her we'd just wait and see what the Polizei said. We borrowed someone's phone and called the Polizei (and I also called Howie, my MP friend who spoke better German then I did). One car sat behind my scooter honking at me and I motioned him to just go around and he kept honking. I sat on my scooter looking at him angrily and motioning that I wasn't going to move and he'd just have to go around (as I said, there was plenty of room) and finally he did when the Polizei showed up. [The radio people were baggin' on me for using the word Polizei instead of police - but truly, there's a difference between German police and American - it's worth the distinction!]

Finally the police showed up and the girl was speaking in German to him and I asked them to use English please, or at least slow down so I could tell what they were saying. [Here the radio people started talking about how I was being an Ugly American. I didn't think I was, I just didn't want her telling the police something that wasn't true and how would I know if she did, because they were speaking their native tongue too fast for me to keep up??] The girl starts going off about how she didn't have to signal as that was the main street and the going forward part was just a side street.

Somewhere around here, my friend Howie shows up. He talks with the girl and the Polizei guy and then, as I'm standing there, bleeding, Howie looks at me and I can see from his face that things aren't going my was so much. I look at the main street and - Hooray! - "LOOK," I shout, "Look at that bus. It's signaling!! If the city bus has to signal, so does she." The Polizei guy sees it (well, they all do, actually) and ponders it and says I was right. He cites the girl with a ticket and tells me to go back to base. I didn't argue - Howie throws my scooter in his MP van and we get the hell out of there! (Another thing I always wondered about was the girl's friend. She just sort of faded into the background during this whole thing. And when her friend tried to elicit her help, she just put up her hands and stepped back. Another thing that made me feel I was in the right at the time.)

The radio people were calling me Ugly American (jokingly) and I was laughing about it. They were talking smack about not being in California. I explained that the German girl was all cool and apologetic until she saw the GI glasses and heard my English, then she saw her next big paycheck and went off! The California line just came out - I grew up in CA and it's so rife with frivolous litigation that her reaction just grated me wrong and made me instantly angry and defensive. I don't think I was being an Ugly American, I was just standing up for myself and not taking any shit from this gold-digger who really should've signaled. (What do y'all think? Be honest...)

So there you have it. That's actually one of the only accidents I've ever been in! When Howie dropped me at the base (the MP's lived in the basement and the medical staff lived on the 3rd floor of the same barracks), I walked over to our little tiny ER and told them what happened and showed them my leg. It was all road rashed from knee to ankle along my shin. I remember the nurse holding out the iodine scrub thing they use on road rash and saying, "You can do it or I can do it." I took her meaning and opted to do it myself - she would've been quick and efficient but I was gonna be much more gentle, I'm sure! It healed up really nicely, considering - no scars or anything!

Still don't feel Ugly about it, Ruth!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pick-Up Game

I'm doing this Huckleberry Ascot scarf (scroll down). It says to pick up and knit 115 stitches along each edge and make bobbles and such. Normally, I don't care for bobbles (this fun scarf is the first time I ever saw them and they will forever make me think of nipples) but on this scarf they don't look so... bobbly.

Anyway, a long time ago I was told this great trick for making "pick up X number of stitches" easier. You take the edge (or neckline or whatever) and find the center point. For the purpose of this tip, we'll say it's the straight edge of a scarf. In this case, you'll take the two end points and put them together so the edge is folded in half. Place marker.

Then take the right end point and fold in half so it touches the first marker. Mark the new halfway point.

Keep folding marked spots in half to place new markers.

At some point, you'll decide you have enough half-points evenly spaced along the edge in need of new stitches.
Then you get your trusty calculator and figure this way: # of stitches needed to be picked up [divided by] number of spaces btw markers. That last distinction is very important. You want the number of spaces between the markers, not the actual number of markers. (Ask me how I know.)

In the case of the scarf I'm working on, the equation comes out to 115 sts [divided by] 8 spaces. It comes out to 14.38 stitches per space. I don't know how to pick up .38 of a stitch, so every few spaces I'd throw in one of the 3 extra stitches needed to come out to 115 sts.

I love this tip. I think it's so much easier to figure out 14 (or 15) stitches at a time then trying to eyeball 115 sts!

The other tip for picking up is this:
If the yarn I'm working with is too... well, too anything (dark, tight, slippery, whatever) and I'm having trouble picking up any stitches, I look around carefully to see that there's no Knitting Police stalking me, then I use a crochet hook! (gasp) I use the hook to bring the yarn through, put the loop on the knitting needle and repeat as needed. Sooo much easier!

I'm all about the easy, Ruth!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Celebrity Sightings

Alright, so I talked about the celebrities I’ve actually worked on. Now I’ll tell about the one’s I only saw around the hotel. I worked there for 7 years, so you might want to get a snack and take a seat….

Barry Sanders - he was working out in the exercise room and, man, is he ever huge! He was at the hotel for a charity thing.

Reba McEntire - passed her in the hallway.

KISS - I saw them getting into their tour bus when I was walking to my car to leave. I ended up behind their bus and, I don’t know if they were lost or what, but I was driving behind them almost all the way to my house! They must’ve thought I was stalking or something, but seriously, the way they went was NOT the way to the airport.

Rob Zombie - I saw him walking from the parking lot to the main hotel as I was driving in to work. He’s kinda hard to miss with those fantastic dreadlocks, full beard, and all those tattoos. When I got my schedule, I just about choked when I saw his name on my roster of clients. I was going to get to see all those tat’s close up and personal - so cool! Well, not so much. Turns out he and his wife wanted to be at Canyon Ranch and somehow ended up at Loew’s. They left before they got their services. Bummer.

Harrison Ford - OK, I didn’t actually see him but I heard him. On the phone. Ripping our desk staff a new one. He had scheduled two 8am massages and at 8:10 called the desk staff. The teenagers that worked the desk were all atwitter (he’s a flippin’ icon for pete’s sake!) and since no one was around that early except desk people (and the 2 therapists - me and Grace), they put him on speaker phone. It went a little something like this…

HF - Where are the therapists?
Desk Girl: Well, Mr. Ford, we were just going to call to see where you were. Are you running a little late this morning?

OK, I won’t go into it word for word but suffice it to say, Mr. Ford mistakenly thought he’d booked in-room treatments. Not real sure why he thought that, it’s nowhere in our brochures. We didn’t do those - we didn’t have the portable tables for that. He just assumed. He lost his mind and started yelling and calling her names I wouldn’t call a dog and saying stupid shit like, “Do you know who I am??” and ended up making this 17-year-old girl cry. What a tool.

Early in my career at the spa, we closed at 9p and did all our pay paperwork by hand. In triplicate. Good times. Anyway, Grace (who was my closest friend at work - we hung out and worked together a lot) and I were at the desk - it was late and we were doing our paperwork. There was this really tall woman hanging out at the desk, chatting with the staff. She had just worked out and was wearing a beanie cap and looking pretty rough. Well, Grace was staring at her and kept staring til finally I elbowed her and whispered, “Gra-ace!” Grace asked the woman, “I’m sorry, you look so familiar, do we know each other?” The woman said, “I don’t know, maybe we went to the same high school or something? Where did you go to school.” I leaned over to Grace and said, “Grace. She’s Geena Davis.” Grace was mortified and apologized profusely and Geena was very nice about it. (I think I mentioned last time that our employee handbook says not to make a big deal or ask for autographs or anything.) For years after that, anytime there was a celebrity at the hotel, we’d all bust on her and, within her earshot, say, “So-and-so is here. Don’t tell Grace!”

But about four years later, I had my own stupid move. Grace and I were walking up the stairs from the treatment rooms to leave for the day. There was this heavyset man at the desk and he was wearing these blue, Capri pants. I leaned over to Grace and whispered, “I have those same pants and as soon as I get home, I’m so throwing them away!” By now, our paperwork was finally computerized, so we could just leave. Well, we could leave except for checking out to make sure they didn’t book us something we didn’t know about. So as we’re waiting for the desk staff to finish helping the blue Capri man, I’m looking at him. Well, staring really. He’s watching me and seeing the gears in my head slowly turn - waiting for it…

Me: OHMIGOD! You’re that comedian! Holy crap, I think you are so funny! [I couldn’t remember his name and that was obvious but I blathered on anyway about how great I thought he was. Then it hit me what I was doing and I said…] Oh man, I’m so sorry. I could get in so much trouble for that because I’m in uniform.
Ron White: That’s OK. You’re secret’s safe with me. Thanks, though.

I think one of the most, well, I won’t say most famous, but certainly the most important person I had any contact with was Madelaine Albright. She was still Secretary of State at the time and was in Tucson to do the commencement speech at the University’s graduation. She got treatments every day she was there and she was a very kind and sweet person. I was still at the desk back then and all the desk people were marveling at the measures taken for her stay. She had EIGHT Secret Service guys with her. Four on break and four on duty. Some silly desk boy said, “Man! What a cushy job. All they do is sit around and drink cokes all day.” I looked at him like he was crazy and said, [slowly, and using small words, so he would understand] “No. Their job is to take. A bullet. Besides, they’re sitting around in wool suits in the Tucson summer heat. Yeah, that’s fun.”

Seriously, though, it was pretty wild. They had a bomb dog come and sniff all the cabinets before Ms. Albright received her services and he even sniffed the pool before she took her morning swim! It seemed like a really old dog - not decrepit or anything, just a lot of gray around the muzzle. After the dog did his job, we’d take turns slackin’ off to go play fetch with it.

On her second to last day, I was out by the pool playing with the dog (while Ms. Albright swam) and suddenly the head Secret Service guy comes over and grabs me by the upper arm…

Me: OW!
Scary Man: Who’s that guy!
[Let me explain. If you’re in the pool area and look West, all you see is scenery. If you are on the sidewalk above the pool and walk PAST the pool (going West), there’s actually a walkway there that goes to the golf cart place. So the Secret Service guys have some poor golfer slammed up against the pool’s fence and are dumping his golf bag and generally accosting this innocent bystander!]
Me: I don’t know! He’s probably just some guest!
Scary Man Who‘s Still Fiercely Gripping My Arm: What’s he doing over there??
Me: oo-oow! I’m guessing by the bag, that he’s going down to the golf carts! [Here I had the fleeting thought, ‘Let go of my arm! Don’t make me bust out my Army training!’. But my next, and clearly more sane thought was, ‘Yea. He’d snap me like a twig.’]
Scary Man [who clearly had no idea there was a path over there]: Man. We really fucked up.
Me: Well. You’re only human.
Scary Man [giving my arm an even HARDER squeeze as he nearly shouts at me]: We’re not paid to be human!
Me [finally pulling my head out and wrenching my arm away from him]: Dude, you need a massage.
I walked briskly back into the hotel only glancing behind me to see them straightening the golfer up and handing him his empty golf bag. Ms. Albright swam on, oblivious to the whole drama.

What a crazy life! Some say, “It must suck having to have that constant security and scrutiny.” I say, “Better that then the alternative!” The next day, when she was scheduled to do her speech and then fly off to other events, I was walking up the driveway to work (back when I used to actually park in employee parking). There must’ve been every single motorcycle cop in Tucson and the surrounding areas waiting in the circle leading to the front door. And every single one of them said “Hi” to me! It was very odd saying hello to about 30 motorcycle cops that early in the morning. (As if it wouldn’t be weird after lunch?)

Eyes full of stars, Ruth!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Secret Santa Fiber Swap

Wanna play?

If you do, you can sign up here. And I know it says you have to have a certain rating, blah, blah, blah - but at the end it says I will accept people on a case by case basis (I put that in so all my imaginary friends who may be new to Swap-bot can play!).

The dinner yesterday came out spectacular! I made the turkey and it came out perfect. I made the sweet potato/apple casserole (recipe here) and it came out fine. I made this squash recipe (scroll down a bit) and it came out OK - I should've sauteed the onions before adding them in but I was trying to save time. Bad move. If I'd taken that step it would've turned out better. The cranberry chutney Rachel gave me was a huge hit! (Give us the recipe, girl!) The in-laws were spreading it on the rolls like jam - delicious!

We had so much stinkin' food. The stuff I made along with the stuff Dave's mom made (a duck with stuffing, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, mashed potato and gravy, cranberry jello casserole, and something else I'm forgetting). It always makes me feel glad (and perhaps a bit guilty) that I was born in this country in this time period. Lucky, lucky, lucky - that's me!

Lucky indeed! For I won some Rabbitch yarn a few weeks back and finally received it in the mail. Not her fault, really. There were 12 packages that were in the wrong box! Again, lucky. Lucky that no one else had access to that particular box. (Some of those packages had been there for almost 2 weeks!) I also just won another sock yarn contest and will post pic's of these lucky yarns when I have a bit more time.

I'm pretty well all over the place today. Maybe it's because I'm picking up my mom from the airport at 2:30p today. I'm taking her on a yarn crawl tomorrow and making her buy me some yarn. Oh ha HA!

Wish me luck, Ruth!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sweet Potatoes and Stress

We moved to Colorado a year ago (November 10) and we love it! Last year, we had our first Thanksgiving on our own. I made my first turkey and it came out spectacular!

This year, when we were discussing Thanksgiving plans with Dave's parents (who moved into their own apartment on September 15 and y'all were all correct - we could not have lived together!) Dave said, "Ruth will make the turkey, she made it last year and it came out perfect!"

OK. That's so sweet of him to say and all but here's the thing...
Dave's mom cooks. Really well. It's kind of her thing, ya know? I could see right away, as soon as he said it, that she was all butt-hurt. So she's going to make the duck (did I ever mention that she's Two Meat Woman? She can never make a family meal unless there's at least 2 meats to be had) and the mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing. I'm making the turkey, and dessert (cooking the frozen pie that she's going to bring) and this sweet potato recipe which is a family favorite (for the 4 out of 6 of us who like sweet potatoes - Dave hates 'em and the kids go back and forth about 'em)...

Sweet Potatoes with Apples
3 to 3-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
2 tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch rings
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat;cover and cook for 30 minutes or until just tender. Drain and cool slightly. Peel and cut into 1/4-in. slices.
In a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish, alternately layer potatoes and apples. Pour orange juice over top. Combine the brown sugar, ginger and cinnamon; sprinkle over potatoes and apples. Dot with butter.
Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-45 minutes or until apples and tender and heated through. Yield: 8 servings.

So now there's this pressure that the turkey has to be all perfect. Damn! If I screw it up, I really don't care. I'll just throw it into turkey enchiladas after Thanksgiving anyway (I'll try to remember to give the recipe for that sometime).

It's just a stupid bird, Ruth!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Do You Know Everything?

My 4 year old keeps asking people this question.

"Do you know everything?"

He asks it with the innocence of someone who genuinely wants to know. It's like he's searching for someone who has the meaning of life or something.

Today, he's asked the UPS man, the house painter across the street and a cop.

He keeps asking Dave and I, also. We tell him the truth, that we don't know everything and nobody does. We tell him if anyone tells him they do know everything, they are lying. I think he believes us but only a little. Because he's still searching for that omniscient person.

Still learning, Ruth!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

One Week

Like many of us, stress makes me cast-on. I was doing really well with my WIP Wipeout (something I've decided football season is perfect for...) and then I got all bunched up about my mom last week and cast-on for four new things!

This is my favorite...

It's the Bed Jacket from Romantic Style. I swatched some other color of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece for a tank top. So I didn't re-swatch for this project. I know, probably a recipe for disaster but I'm flying by the seat of my needles these days. Especially since I'm planning on modifying the crap outta this thing. I'm adding 2" to the length and once I get to where you split for the fronts, I'm switching over to the super-long version's instruction because I like the long sleeves on that one better then the 3/4 length sleeves of the Bed Jacket. Should be interesting! I'm going to put in a lifeline, just in case.

This has been a super fast knit! I'm loving it and the yarn couldn't be better. It's about a million strings plied together so I thought it would be maddeningly splitty but it's not. It's soft and lovely and a light shade of sage green. Maybe a little too yellow for my skin but it's mostly for me to throw over a t-shirt when I'm sitting around the house.

It would be an even faster knit except for the fact that I skipped a yarnover and had to tink back 3 rows, then when I got to the big decrease row, I suddenly, inexplicably, switched from purling to knitting and didn't notice until 2 1/2 rows later! WTF??

I can't get enough of this pattern and glare at the WIP's whenever they whine for my attention. Especially the never-ending blanket. Hate that thing. It's gotten so wide that a row takes forever and it's so heavy that I can only do 2 or 3 rows before my wrists cry uncle.

For those of you who miss dear Trevor's face, we got a really sweet picture of him after his play-off flag-football game. His team came in 2nd in their division and they each got a little trophy. They had the coolest, nicest man for their coach and he gave a little speech about each kid before he handed them their trophy. Trev was named Most Improved by the coach and he was so proud of that trophy that he carried it around all day. And wanted to continue carrying it all night...

(he put his old soccer trophy next to it to keep it company)

Brown Sheep love, Ruth!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Keeping Your Place With Lace

My friend, Tracy, the knit guru, used to use this handy tool to keep her place with charted patterns...

If the pattern is, say, a 12 row repeat, she'd get a stack of plain 3 X 5 cards. She'd put one line/row of chart on each card and number the cards. She'd laminate the cards (if it was a really big piece) and hole punch in the same corner of each card. Then she'd put them on a binder ring and Viola! When she'd stop, for whatever reason, she'd put a rubber band around the whole thing to keep her place.

Simple and brilliant! Unless you're knitting a chart that has 225 different rows! Then you just go and enlarge the bejeesus out of the thing on your local copy machine and work v.e.r.y. carefully!

Loving office supplies turned knitting tools, Ruth!

Monday, November 12, 2007


I wrote this really great post last week but didn't finish it in time. I was going to just cut and paste it to today, but Blogspot doesn't let you copy/cut and paste anything!

Anyway, it's here.

Thanks for all the kind thoughts and *hugs*. You guys are the greatest!

Enjoy, Ruth!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Swallowing the Bitter Pill

You ever have that person in your life that makes you feel all warm and needed and loved and then they yank the rug out and you see that they really were just fooling you? Again. And you feel all hurt and betrayed and pissed? You’re mad at them but really you’re mad at yourself for letting them fool you again?

My mom was supposed to come for a visit. She was flying in tonight and leaving next Tuesday. She sent me an email yesterday to let me know she’d cancelled the trip. A fucking email. I called her to see why and got her machine. She sent me another email to say she had the flu and she’d call me later because she didn’t want to talk about it at work. Didn’t want to talk about the flu at work? If she has the flu, why is she at work? And she didn’t have the flu the day before when I called her.

So she calls last night and says, yes, she had a flu shot and was having some reaction to it but I could tell that wasn’t all and so asked her what was really up. She said she didn’t want to come out when there was all this drama with Dave’s truck and she didn’t want to be the “mother-in-law” in the way. (Dave’s FedEx truck broke down and cost us nearly $6000 to fix) She said she’d come out next month. I told her there’d be drama then, too because that was going to be peak season and she wouldn’t see Dave at all because he’d be so slammed with the route.

I said, “There’s always going to be drama, mom. So whatever. When you feel like you want to come for a visit and deal with the “drama” that is our family you come on out. I’ve got to go.” And I hung up.

Our drama?? Yeah, we have drama. We’ve had drama since we moved here a year ago. It’s been a financial nightmare. But that’s life. And this coming from a woman who is completely addicted to drama and chaos. If you think I've got drama it's because, baby, I learned from the best. And I’m always the one she calls and I’m the one who is there for her.

She’s been saying, “I wish I could be there for you,” when I call her upset with things going on here but when it comes down to it, she doesn’t want to deal with it. Just like always. She’s helped out financially here and there in my life but when I need her emotionally, it’s too much trouble. Anything beyond listening on the phone is too much trouble.

I cut off all contact with her for most of the 90’s because I was tired of her lies and chaos. Through the magic of therapy, I reconciled with her. And we’ve had this really great relationship as long as we never talked about the stuff we really needed to talk about. She was visiting us every year after the boys were born and when her husband got sick we came out there. That’s the last time we’ve seen her, when we visited her summer before last, because her husband was dying and we knew she couldn’t come see us.

He passed this April and I called her every day for about 4 months to make sure she was OK and always answered when she called me. Then there’s this whole drama about her inheritance that she put in the safes of her 2 adult stepsons and how half of it is missing now. I’ve been dealing with her shit for… well, forever.

I feel tricked. I feel like Charlie Brown forever running for that damn football. And, if I’m honest, I did it to myself. I keep having this fantasy that she’s going to act like a real mom someday. And I’m not talking about June Cleaver - she’s great at that. She sends cookies at Christmas and sends the boys cards and presents. I don’t need cookies.

And the boys. I’ve been pumping this visit for 2 weeks now and I had to tell them last night that she’s not coming. Davis is too little to know/care much but Trev was pretty upset (I used her flu excuse). And again, being honest, he’ll get over it. I don’t know if I will.

All this time, I’ve been telling myself that she’s like that because of the husbands she’s had. They were bad guys and controlling. I knew deep down it wasn’t true and now I know for sure - there’s no husband for me to blame anymore.

I’m so angry, I can’t see straight. I’ll get over it, but not anytime soon. So, yeah, she can visit whenever she wants and we’ll have this nice fluffy visit. And as far as her dealing with our “drama”, she won’t have to anymore. We can have a nice fluffy relationship, too. She can keep her damn football.

In yoga (or was it Tai Chi?), there’s this move called Swallowing the Bitter Pill. You put your arms at shoulder height and curved like you’re holding an enormous beach ball. You do these wavy movements with your arms, making the “ball” smaller and smaller until it’s tennis ball size then you make these movements in front of your face and down your throat to signify swallowing the bitter pill. I never understood it. Why would you want to swallow a tennis ball sized bitter pill? Why internalize that? No thank, you.

Spitting it out, Ruth

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Day In The Life Of Darth Vader

Here we see a young Vader wearing his newly designed villainous outfit for the first time. He just ordered it made and was pleased with how it came out.

Here he is contemplating why he ordered an outfit that takes 20 minutes to get on and off and is a tragedy should he ever need to use the bathroom while wearing it.

He loves to practice with his light saber...

And he's always working on his best villain face...

Not many know this, but in Darth's spare time, he's a volunteer fire-fighter...

He always buckles up for safety...

His favorite part is sliding down the fire pole when the alarm rings...

Although shooting water's fun, too....

He loves to cook for the other firefighters in the new kitchen they got last year...

Here he is, enjoying a refreshing juice box...

and hanging out with his buddy, Spiderman...

And here he is with his older brother, Scream, ready to face another night of villainy...

Raising villains is fun, Ruth!

P.S. A year ago today, I started the blanket that I'm still slogging through.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Good Scents

I received this package in the mail about a week ago.

I opened the mail box and was greeted with the most wonderful scent!

These soaps are from Chicken Knits Etsy store. Go get some. Now. I'll wait....

OK. Tippa Tuesday...

Whenever I get lovely soaps like these and there's extra, I put a bar in one of my yarn bins. It makes the yarn smell delicious! You have to be careful, though, about the soap you put in there. Chicken Knits soaps are wrapped in a way that the oils in the soap aren't going to touch the yarn at all. Glycerin soaps, for example, would be a bad choice (ask me how I know). To test the soap, wrap it in a paper towel and let it sit for an hour (or a day). If the paper towel looks different in any way, don't put the soap next to your stash.

I've been talking about it for months. I'm de-stashing. Here's the first little bit.

These yarns are from the first 3 months of Yarn Pirate's Booty Club. I already sold the first month's installation. I really like Yarn Pirate's work, it's just that none of these colors did anything for me. It was a great lesson. I learned that I don't want to do Yarn Clubs anymore. I LOVE surprises. But if I'm the one spending the money, I'd rather pick my own colors. (That being said, if you're the one spending the money and is mailing me a surprise of yarn, I'm so excited and thankful, that I love the color no matter what it is!)

Anyway, here they are. I'm selling them for what I paid for them and the price includes shipping and handling...

Yarn Pirate Calamity BFL - $26

Yarn Pirate Butternut Merino Tencel 400 yds. - $26

Also, here's some Boye crochet hooks. There's size D, E, F, G, H, another H, I, and K. The whole lot for $5.

If you're interested in these items, email me at Ruth AT 5elementknitr DOT com.
More soon, Ruth!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Name Dropping

Working on Annie Modesitt got me to thinking of my spa days and the famous people I either saw or worked on there.

I only worked on 3 or 4 famous people the entire 8 years I was at the spa but I saw lots of other well-known faces and will probably gab about them next week.

The first person I worked on was Ryan Leaf. My husband says this man's nickname was Cryin' Leaf and he was the most disappointing first round draft pick in NFL history as he spent most of his career on the disabled/injured list. I say, maybe so, or maybe he was smart and didn't over push himself into early retirement or early arthritis by respecting his body and, guess what? He still makes his millions.

Anyway, I wasn't even supposed to work on him. Another therapist named Chris was scheduled with him and Chris bailed. He said he didn't think Ryan would want a guy working on him and that he (Chris) was tired and Ryan would probably want some super-deep tissue work that he (Chris) just wasn't up to. Personally, I think Chris just wanted to go home early. They asked if I'd cover the massage and I said sure, having no idea who Ryan Leaf was.

They told me he was an NFL quarterback and I expected someone much bigger. He was tall and well built but I guess I was thinking you'd have to be even more muscular or something. Dave says quarterbacks aren't always that big.

Ryan didn't want super-deep tissue and he fell asleep almost as soon as he hit the table! He was the first client I ever had that was actually drooling on the floor through the face cradle. He certainly wasn't the last and it'd make me laugh every time. I heard this little *splick* sound as the drool hit the saltillo tile on the floor. I looked under the face cradle and saw the wet, then I just tossed a small towel down there and kept going. I didn't wake him (or anyone that ever fell asleep like that) until I needed him to turn over. I figure if they are that tired, they need the rest.

He was a nice guy and an excellent tipper. Chris was stupid for leaving! After I finished with him, I was upstairs doing my paperwork before I got to go home. Ryan came up and was wandering around the retail area of the spa picking out golf shirts (at about $80 a pop). A man came in that knew him and, was obviously associated with him somehow, because the guy picked up a couple of shirts and said, "Hey Ryan, can I have these?" Ryan said sure and told the desk girl to put those on his tab, too. He must've dropped about a grand that day in services and retail. I've always wondered who the mooch was... brother? friend? entourage? Either way, he should've bought his own damn shirts!

About a year later, I worked on Curt Schilling. He was pitching for the DiamondBacks at the time and was staying at the spa during Spring Training. He got me as his therapist and received a deep tissue massage. He requested me the next day! That was pretty cool. The second time I worked on him, he signed up for a 75 minute massage and asked me to work just on the rotator cuff and arm on his pitching side. Holy cow! That was tough. Hmmmm, here's everything I ever learned in massage school about arms, and.... let's try this! I was makin' stuff up by the end of it! Another really nice guy and another fantastic tipper.

This next celebrity won't mean much to anyone unless you're from Nebraska. My husband is a HUGE Nebraska Cornhusker fan. )Dave was born in Nebraska but they moved when he was 4!) I worked on this wonderful woman named Nancy Osborne. She was talking and asked if I was from AZ and I said I grew up in CA and where was she from? She said Nebraska. I explained that my fiance was from there. She said her husband used to coach the football team there. I didn't quite hear her correctly at first since she was face down in the face cradle so I asked her to repeat that. She did and I laughed. I said, "You probably hear this all the time but my fiance would LOVE to meet your husband!" She said normally it wouldn't be a problem but they were leaving right after her massage to fly to Phoenix for a book-signing. We talked further, with her asking about our wedding plans. I told her about them and explained that we already had all the names picked out for any future children. I told her how I agreed to let Dave name any first boy with the initials spelling Tom and the middle name being Osborne. Her husband's name. She was laughing so hard, I thought she'd fall off the table! She is one of the sweetest, kindest people I've ever worked on. And not just because of the following...

After my shift that day, I was leaving when one of the desk girls told me there was something waiting for me at the front desk. "What," I joked, "A pink slip?" She said she didn't know. I walked over to the main hotel and there was an envelope waiting for me. Nancy had her husband leave an autograph for Dave! With his name on it and everything! The registration girl was from Nebraska, too and asked if she could Xerox it. I said, "It says, 'Too Dave', but go ahead!" Those Nebraskans are nuts.

Dave had to work that Saturday and so he'd dropped me off and was picking me up. As we were driving out of the hotel driveway, I mentioned that I'd worked on a really nice woman from Nebraska, "What was her name.... oh, yeah, Nancy Osborne." He hit the brakes almost putting me into the dash (I hadn't put my seat belt on yet) and said, "The Nancy Osborne??"
Me: Who's The Nancy Osborne?
D: Only Tom Osborne's wife!!!
Me: Ohhhhh. Well maybe that's why she left you this! [pulls out autograph with a flourish]
I had it framed really nicely for his birthday that year.

The last famous person I worked on was Greg Kinnear. It was during the Clinton trial and my last client of the day was still in the workout room, working out and watching the trial. It was 5 minutes til his treatment started so I went to tell him that it was almost time. Honestly, when the girls at the desk told me who I was working on, I can't say I recognized the name right away. They were all atwitter and I remember thinking the name sounded really familiar. They explained he was the gay artist from As Good As It Gets (which has just been released on DVD) and then I remembered he was the original host of Talk Soup. Love that guy!

I went into the gym and saw him on the treadmill, walking and completely engrossed in the trial on TV. I walked up to him and said, "Mr. Kinnear, I don't mean to interrupt your workout but your treatment starts in about 5 minutes and if you wanted to take a shower beforehand or anything..."

He looked at the clock and said, "Oh Crap! Yes. Yes. Um. OK. Yes. A shower. OK. I'll be right there." He took off, literally running for the locker room! I stood in the hallway and waited. He was out in about 8 minutes but since he took a shower, he got his full time. We walked down the hall together and he was apologizing profusely for being late. I told him it was OK and don't worry about it. Then he starts dancing down the hall (I'm not making this up) and singing, "Just breathe, de-stress, de-stress." That's pretty much how the whole treatment went. He was a real talker and a hysterically funny guy; he cracked me up the whole time!

In the employee handbook we are forced to read in our orientation to become employees at the hotel, there's a very specific place that says, "Don't make a big deal and don't ask for autographs" when we see a celebrity. So I didn't. I asked Greg how he spent his day, was he in the car, at a desk or what? I ask this a lot and in context so that I can give people stretches to do throughout their day. He said, "Well, sort of both" and I could tell by the way he said it that he was a little hurt that I didn't know who he was. I said, "Just kidding, I know who you are. But we're supposed to act like we don't know." He laughed and we kept going with the treatment. And yes, I asked for, and got, an autograph afterward.

When he was leaving, I was still at the desk doing my paperwork. Another therapist named Laura was hanging out at the desk, too. She wasn't working but she came to the spa everyday to do laps in the pool. When Greg came upstairs, she accosted him and started asking him if he remembered her from last year. Apparently she'd given him his first massage ever when he was there a year ago. He clearly didn't remember her but was being polite about it. She said, "Why didn't you request me?"

Greg: Uh, I'm sorry. Um. I didn't know I could do that?
Laura: Oh well, that's OK. I guess you have to get whatever they give you.
Me: HEY! I'm standing right here!
Laura: Well. That's not what I meant.
Greg: [clearly uncomfortable and sliding towards the door] Thanks for everything, Ruth! [nearly ran away!]

(Laura called me later to apologize, which is what she's famous for. It was the 3rd such phone call I'd received from her in the year that I'd known her. I told her not to call and apologize anymore. I said, "Isn't it so much easier to call and apologize later then to actually think before you speak??")

Anyway, for a couple of years after I worked on Greg Kinnear, whenever Dave and I would see him on-screen somewhere, I'd lean over to Dave and whisper, "I touched his butt." (In a perfectly professional manner!)

Next time, I'll tell about the people I met but didn't work on!

Stars in my eyes (and occasionally under my hands!), Ruth!