Thursday, November 29, 2007

Meet and greet

The other day I encountered the huskies out for a walk. The four of them belong to this couple, who also foster huskies for rescue, which explains why I have sometimes seen five in their yard. I left Sophie on the other side of the street, or I would have asked them more questions (like the dogs' names). They were very well-behaved, and gave me tidy little nose-to-nose bumps when I crouched down to greet them, rather than slobbery licks as some dogs are wont to do.
Yesterday we met a sweet rottweiler whom we haven't seen at this house before. Most of the rotties I have known have been real creampuffs. This one was no exception, happy to sniff noses with Sophie and get a little skritch on the top of his head.

Shouldering a burden

Today I had my first physical therapy session with Bill F., who is conveniently located about three blocks away from my home. The location is important; not dealing with traffic and parking makes it much less of a pain to get there. And PT's all about reducing pain, right?

Except. OW. Ow ow ow. This was not a pain-free experience.

Bill determined that my problem is not simply tendinitis, but the beginnings of adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder. It's a weird syndrome; click that link if you want to read more about it.

If it were just tendinitis, I'd have some exercises to do and go back every couple of weeks. But in this case, he needs to break the scar tissue (adhesions) by forcing my arm past its comfortable (but greatly reduced) range of motion. Twice a week for at least a month. Plus icing and exercises at home.

Can you guess that it hurts? Yes, it does.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Two, two, two pots in one! Also soon to be coming my way!

Something to warm my morning, eh? Especially after we got a few inches of snow overnight that I wasn't expecting. Glad I parked in the garage last night. And glad I could!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Danger, danger

I've been looking for a smaller enameled cast-iron pot to make no-knead bread in. My big Le Creuset Dutch oven lets it spread too much. So I looked on eBay, and just won this Descoware pot tonight. I've bid on another Descoware item whose auction ends tomorrow morning, just because I liked the looks of it. The brand became popular after Julia Child endorsed it, but eventually went out of business in the face of heavy competition from Le Creuset, which bought the company's patents. They originated the "flame" color that Le Creuset still markets, though in a brighter shade.

I love cooking with enameled cast-iron, and am in trouble now, knowing I can find pieces online at a fraction of Le Creuset's retail cost. It's amazing what some of the vintage (or even new) Le Creuset pots get bid up to, though! I won't get involved in those battles; I want pieces to cook with, not to simply collect for collecting's sake.

P.S. from March 2008: The link above to the Descoware history has not been working lately. Here's a link to a cached version. Don't know how long it will be available, sorry.

Sun's out

My Ikea sparkle wreath looks pretty by day, too.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Another day gone!

Well, since a picture's worth a bunch of words, here are some photos from Thanksgiving.That's Mom's hand, loading up on the vehicle for hot fudge. I had the cherry-chocolate clafoutis in the background, with caramel bourbon syrup. Damn fine stuff, and I didn't feel guilty about skipping the pumpkin pie at all.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pretty city

It's been really hard to post every day! I took time off work while Mom has been visiting, yet I have had very little free time for blogging. We've been out shopping or eating or working on the house. Which has been fun for me, but boring for you.

Good thing I'm not your only source of Internet entertainment. At least I hope not.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I have failed

As a blogger, that is.

I had a party, and I forgot to take pictures. I was too busy!

But it was fun to see everyone, and to show off my house.

And let me just say how much I love my dishwasher.

Costco, too.

Friday, November 23, 2007


The day almost got past me without a post.

Here's a quickie (and aptly so):

I'm in the checkout lane at Safeway tonight and the checker and bagger (middle-aged male, 20-something female) are giggling about something and rolling their eyes, and saying, "Really! How bizarre!"

"So what's the story?" I ask.

The checker looks me over, decides to tell. "I was working in produce last year, rolling my cart around, and suddenly it gets hung up on something. Won't move. I look down to check the wheels, and what do I find hung up on one?"

He pauses.

"A pair of women's thong underwear!"

I gasp, then burst out laughing. "So did you get any calls?"

The bagger looks at me. "Would you call?"

"Hell no!" I say, and we laugh some more.

I collect my bags to go. "Have a panty-free evening!" I say.

"She certainly did!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Early feast

Today's post coming in just under the wire.
Mom and I are having Thanksgiving elsewhere, and Mom was lamenting the fact that she wouldn't get to enjoy the smells of turkey and other goodness filling the house. So when we were at the butcher's on Saturday, we picked up a 12-pounder (smallest they had) and cooked it today, along with with mashed potatoes and parsnips, gravy, stuffing, asparagus, and cranberry salad, with pumpkin pie for dessert (thoughtfully provided by Beeb along with multiple servings of whipped cream. And champagne!).

Talk about stuffing! I might be hungry again by Thursday. But not before then.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Going flat out

I did so much today I didn't have time to document photographically (plus I kept forgetting). Mom and I braved Costco, which is usually mellow in Monday morning, but not on the Monday morning before Thanksgiving. That took a couple hours. Got back, put everything away, then took Sophie to the dogwash (treachery!) but went for a long walk after.

Then it was time to tackle the yard again. Raked out the gardens, trimmed back the irises, emptied and stacked the jumble of pots that was scattered all over. Swept the patio. Took the 8-foot ladder out to the alley and managed to remove the massive Virginia creeper that had made its way up the power pole and was creeping along the power lines. (They don't call it creeper for nothing!)

Made dinner. Cleaned up. Mom made me get the TV working, so now she's watching some dancing show upstairs. I'm contemplating going to bed.

Oh wait, I do have photos from today. An encounter with Bruce:
Bruce is my neighbor's cat. He likes dogs and people.
Sophie does not like cats much, unless she can chase them. She learned bad habits regarding cats from Doogie, and had to unlearn them the hard way. Meaning a couple episodes of me holding her down and yelling "YOU WILL DIE A CRUEL AND HORRIBLE DEATH IF YOU EVER EVER EVER TOUCH THAT CAT!!!"

Being a dog, she's hyperspecific, so each new cat has the potential to be lunged at until I sternly tell her "Leave it." She doesn't like that much, but she'll obey. She's getting a good whiff of Bruce here. I'm sure she wished it was a good taste instead.
Bruce says, "Phew, yo feets smell funny."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Berry good gardener

Remember this "before" picture? Those are the raspberry canes that ate Colorado. Or at least the corner of my back yard.
Same canes tonight, when I was finally through with them:
Don't worry, they're not gone for good. It looks like there are three or four main plants, so I ripped out all the runners and dug up the volunteers that had gotten more established, but just trimmed back the main plants. I'll put in a heavy-duty root barrier around those, so I should be able to keep harvesting berries without giving up my yard to them. I might even try a chicken-wire cage for them, to keep them in one place.

We've got one nice day (i.e. 70 and sunny) for outside work left, and then it's supposed to be in the 30s and snowing the rest of the week. Gotta love the weather here.

Rest in peace

My digging fork met its match in the raspberry canes. But it has served me well for 15 years of hard labor, and I sensed its end was near.

Home of Coors

We got yer mountain water right here.

(Edit: You just can't see it in this camera phone photo, but that is the Coors Brewery downstream, and that is the water that goes into making the beer.)

Golden Sunday morning

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I have a most excellent mother

Who brings me not only the requested ginger nibs, but also Maldon sea salt, North Pole cocoa, vulcan fire salt, paprika, cloves, spicy sesame sprinkle, dutched cocoa powder and tellicherry peppercorns.

Thanks, Mom!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Still in one piece!

My rotator cuff, that is. Hooray! However, I do have tendonitis (a.k.a. bursitis) that has resulted in impingement, which explains why I can't lift my arm. The inflamed tendons are pushing on the bursa, which is the little fluid-filled sack that allows them to slide smoothly between the top of the arm bone and the bottom of the shoulder bone. Basically, everything just locks up.

So, physical therapy is prescribed to strengthen the muscles and take the pressure off the tendon. I got a referral to a physical therapist (three blocks from home) and have an appointment for the Wednesday after Thanksgiving.

I confess, I was almost looking forward to a quick surgery to fix this, so I could take some time off work. Instead, I'll be doing some not-so-fun exercising on my own time. But them's the breaks.

In the Nick of time

What have we here? A big box o' peanuts?
Why no, it's a big box o' holiday cheer, in the form of Mom's Santa collection.
Most of it, anyway. I didn't take everything out of the boxes, because I'm not willing to push the season that much. Gotta have Thanksgiving first.

Meet Nick, Nicholas, Santa, Jolly Old Fellow, the Guy in the Red Suit, Mr. Claus and Chuckles.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gang of four

Manisha tagged me for the meme of four, having not ventured far enough back in my blog to know that Barb tagged me for it more than a year ago. Can you blame her? A lot of posts under the bridge since then! My blog was still Kitt's Knits back then. But Manisha did add one category: Jobs you wish you had.

  1. I'll go along with Manisha's "foot massage quality control" but expand it to Massage School Practice Subject. (My shoulder could use it!)
  2. Restaurant reviewer escort (all of the fun, none of the deadlines)
  3. Luxury hotel secret shopper
  4. Tour guide for a single wealthy yet easy-going individual

Too bad none of them are anything like mortgage-paying reality. Guess I'd better stick with the job I have, which I do like despite its hassles, and which includes insurance!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Well, that was pretty freaky.

You get some cotton scrubs to put on, and you stash everything else in a locker. I already knew to leave all my jewelry at home. But of course I took my camera, and they let me snap a shot before I put it away.

This warning is no joke. Check out this video of an office chair that apparently was allowed a little too close:

This also explains why the technician was very exact about where I could stand to take a photo. Can't you just see the camera flying out of my hand and getting stuck inside the machine? I guess I'd be in a little trouble then!

So anyhoo, I lay down, had a collar thingy (that's the technical term) placed around my shoulder and some extra blocks, pads and straps to keep my arm steady and comfortable. I also got earphones with a static-y rock station playing. And a blanket.

They say it sounds like a jackhammer, but it is more of a loud electronic pulse. They did six views, each lasting four to six minutes. I got an extra blanket after the first one; it's cold in there!

You can actually feel a weird pulsing in your muscles; a friend speculated that you have enough iron in your body for that to happen. I also was a little freaked out by a wave of nausea midway through, but the tech said, "It's not the machine." Well, OK then.

At last I was done! After I dressed, they handed me the films and I dropped them off at my doc's, so I should hear something tomorrow or Friday.

I'm just glad this didn't happen while I was in there:

Here I go!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Sophie is not admiring the flowers, though she should be; they've lasted nearly three weeks! Maybe the squirrel on the fence is.

Pascal is upstairs working on the shelves in the Safari room, and I'm Googling around to find out more about MRIs. One interesting factoid the nurse told me yesterday: If you are a welder or work with metal a lot, MRIs are contraindicated because you might have tiny bits of metal in your eyes. Since the MRI is basically a powerful magnet, it would cause the metal to move around, and "shred your eye," as she put it. Eek!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Motion denied

So. Remember all those books I moved? You know, the 4,200 pounds' worth? In 60-pound crates? Back in June?

Well, ever since then I've had some issues. Shoulder issues, to be exact. Started with some tightness and tingling under my right shoulder blade. Didn't hurt at all. Just felt ... funny. Then I started noticing some twinging in my arm if I reached backward (say, to retrieve my purse from the back seat). Then more pronounced shooting pains with certain motions, including the idiotic attempt on my part to throw a hose to the swamp cooler guy up on the deck that left me lying on the ground yelling some very bad words (he almost called 911).

I kept thinking (hoping) it was just a pulled muscle. Ha ha. Finally, the other night, I discovered that I am now incapable of raising my right arm more than about 95 degrees. I'm not saying it hurts to raise my arm (well, it does, too); I'm saying that I can't. The muscles simply stop working at that point. My arm has half its range of motion.

Yes, I know I should have gotten it looked at months ago (and some of you who suggested that are welcome to say, "I told you so"). But I did get it looked at today by my very nice doctor (that's her on the left), who said, "Gee, you must have a really high tolerance for pain."

Um. I guess?

Likely diagnosis: torn rotator cuff. Possible other diagnoses: pinched nerve or bad strain. Fix for former is surgery. For the latter, PT. My MRI is Wednesday, so I should know by Thursday or Friday.

I guess more waiting room magazines are in my future!
(P.S. Sorry, Mom, I was going to call you, but I had to get to work and then I was too busy. But hopefully I'll get ahold of you in the morning before you read this!)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Luck runs out

I did not win the lottery. Darn!

Guess it's back to work for me to earn Sophie's kibble. And to pay for Pascal's artistry. And the electrician.

When I was having the bookcases built in my old place, a few people said, "Why are you paying all that for something you can't take with you?" I think part of that springs from a renter's mentality (we've all been there), much as some of us find it hard to let go of a good box. (It's sturdy! It has handholds! I can use it again!) I moved five times in two years, and trust me, I stored a lot of empty cardboard.

But I've lived with my share of crummy bookcases, and figured out that quality bookcases, in the amount and sizes I needed, wouldn't cost much less than built-ins, and if I moved, wouldn't necessarily fit in the new space. That has turned out to be true. Plus, I could recoup some of the cost in added house value. Homeowner's mentality, that.

Finally, I've just always wanted to have a book-lined room (or rooms), where books are as much a part of the architecture as windows and doors.

Some people will skimp and save to go on a cruise, have a fancy stereo or buy the latest sports car. My indulgence is bookshelves.

Well, that and good restaurants and an occasional pedicure.

No, I don't think my luck has really run out. Just the little bit of it related to winning sweepstakes.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Getting current

The sun is going down, and I've accomplished a fair amount today. Walked the dog 2.6 miles, mowed the lawn, went to the hardware store, changed the bulbs in the overhead porch light. Took me a while to figure out how to get into the dang thing. Good thing I have an 8-foot ladder! The wall light – which is really a motion-detector light, I discovered – is not working, and now I'm not sure if it ever did.

I have an electrician coming next week to go over all the wiring in the house with me. In my old house, it was all fairly straightforward and easy to work on. Here, there are so many wires old and new, including some that look like they should be in conduits, and some outlets that don't work. I want someone to look at it all with a hypercritical eye, and fix whatever needs it. Peace of mind and all that.

Scary is as scary does

As I suspected, the House of Scary is not willing to relinquish the Halloween spirit, which somehow makes it that much scarier. Though at least they haven't just replaced it with Christmas stuff immediately. I'll have to swing by again and see what they do for that. And see how long it stays.

Then again, I'm not one to talk, with my now-toothless pumpkin still "gracing" the front porch. He's going in the trash today.