Lace, Flowers and Fruit

Well, work is still a bit on the stressful side.  I went in yesterday to find that the server had gone down.  It took me about on a hour on the phone with tech support to fix the problem.  Then I come to find out that every computer in the office can connect to the server except mine.  How fair is that?  Another half hour on the phone and it was finally solved.

However, I must be taking it a bit in stride because my brain wasn't sufficiently fried that I couldn't face tackling a new lace project (and inserting some double negatives to keep you guessing).  I started the Heart to Heart scarf by Sivia Harding from my Embrace the Lace club:


I don't know if you can see clearly, but it is beaded.  This is turning out to be a great project.  The yarn, a cashmere blend by Mama Llama is just delicious and once I got used to it, the beading is just motoring along.  I have, however, decided not to take this on my trip to Orlando.  It's definitely not plane knitting – I just see my little tin of beads scattering all over the floor of the plane.  And it's not one to entertain with a toddler around. 

My sister came up this weekend and today we went to a Garden Tour in town.  We saw some beautiful gardens and it gave me a chance to practice with my new camera:


I especially like the last one – the flowers just seem to glow!  When we came home we found that our sweet neighbor had brought over a flat of strawberries for us:


These are local strawberries from a farm just down the road and they are some of the best strawberries I have ever tasted.  Just look at this beauty:


We all had strawberry shortcake for dessert.

I also managed to get a few model shots of Hidcote:


I think I always look a little dorky in the model shorts – I'm just too self conscious!


Next post should be brought to you from sunny downtown Orlando!  We fly out on Saturday morning.  Abby's been tempting us since yesterday with all kind of cute video and audio messages from her new 3G iPhone.  Can't wait to get my hands on those babies!

Lace Blocking and Retail Therapy

Those who know me well know that I hate shopping.  And I especially hate clothes shopping.  As a result, my wardrobe is sadly outdated.  Thankfully the standards in a pediatric office are a little less casual than say, an upscale cosmetic practice.  So it surprised me a little that clothes shopping served as a little retail therapy this week.  I was hoping this week might be a little less stressful, but while less frantic, stress was in good supply.  I'm having trouble with my DSL.  For unknown reasons, it just quits on me.  It doesn't seem to matter what I try to do to resolve it, but after a while, it spontaneously comes back.  Not a big deal unless you're trying to close out the day (which requires a connection with the bank) and you really, really want to go home!  Then yesterday, I got a call at home at 6:00 a.m. (never good news!).  The anesthesiologist called to say that his equipment wasn't working and he had to cancel.  We had a full day of general anesthesia scheduled and I had to call a bunch of disappointed parents to tell them we had to reschedule.  It escapes me why the anesthesiologist can't call them – he has all their numbers.  Must be why I make the big bucks (Haha!!).  So anyway, I decided to take my new found day off and go shopping on the mainland.  My original plan was just to buy a few summer tops.  However, I came away with 7 tops, two pairs of slacks, two dresses, some undies and two (count 'em) two! pairs of shoes.  Just about everything was on half price, so I really didn't spend a ton of money.  So I may still be stressed, but at least I'll look good!

Today is a blessedly free day off with nothing pressing, so I decided to block Hidcote.  I had help:


Maggie was in a bit of a funk because Kirby got to go ride in the car this morning.  Kirby would just as soon have forgone the trip to the groomers, but Maggie was disconsolate!  It's long been a standard in the family that Kirby is the lap dog and Maggie is the car dog.  She was very unhappy and parked herself in the middle of the living room, put her head up in the air and howled!  I've never heard her do that before.  Then she pouted:


About halfway through the blocking process she decided that "zoomies" were in order and started tearing, at breakneck speed, around the bedroom.  Unfortunately, her route took her right over the shawl I was trying to block.  Thankfully I remembered a suggestion of bones with cream cheese stuffed in them and frozen as a dog treat.  I had put one in the freezer and Maggie was more than happy to be diverted with that.  So Hidcote was finished blocking with no further incidents:


Stats:  Hidcote by Miriam Felton, unnamed lace yarn from my stash, size 4 Knitpicks Options needles.  Started in January, finished about a month ago, but not blocked until today.  While this was an interesting knit, I did find several errors in the pattern.  They were not enough to throw an experienced lace knitter off, but might trip up a novice.  They may have been corrected in later versions of the pattern.  By the way, I would have never been able to capture that picture with my little point-and-shoot.  The new camera with wide angle lens is wonderful!!

Now what to do with the rest of my day?  I may work on some digital scrapbooking stuff.  I have a class that I bought months ago that I have not had time to play with.  How nice to have a day stretching ahead with no firm plans!

How Do You Spell S-T-R-E-S-S?

I can't believe I haven't blogged about this subject yet, considering it's been such a huge part of my life for the last 6 months!  I have alluded to stress in my life to explain why my knitting projects have been fairly simple.  Six months ago the dentist I work for told me that he was selling the practice.  He had an opportunity to go back to school to become an orthodontist and decided to take it.  However, I was sworn to secrecy until it was made public, only about a month ago.  That in itself has been stressful, but nothing compared to the whirlwind of activities that was required of me, both in preparation for the sale and the transition.

The new doc started last week and I have to say I am favorably impressed.  Although he is different in temperament, he seems to be kind and gentle and has a nice way with the kids.  But nothing (and I mean nothing!) in a transition is simple.  Even in the best of transitions there are a lot of ruffled feathers both with staff and patients and I feel torn in a million different directions.  Then there are the logistics, making new arrangements with insurance companies and DSHS to make sure we get paid, talking to telephone companies, computer software people, you name it!  We were told by DSHS that it would take 90 days to get all of the new doc's paperwork through due to a changeover in their computer system.  I just hit the wall on that one – 90 days of no service for our Medicaid clients??  So I spent a lot of time on the phone and found a friendly woman who actually walked our paperwork through and got us qualified in just a few days.

I worked last Sunday and I have to go in today (Saturday) to deal with some computer issues.  The new doc wants to upgrade our internet to DSL (yes, we were in the dark ages and still on dial-up).  But after an hour on the phone with Verizon I was having no luck at all.  I think it may be that our computer equipment is too old!  So I have to go in today and meet with the IT guy to see what the problem is.

So, you can see why I'm under just a little bit of stress.  I'll feel better when we start receiving payments from insurance companies and I know our cash flow is, well, flowing.  Oh, and to top it all off, the new doc is still commuting to his old job as Head of Pediatrics at Loma Linda University (yeah, he is well qualified)!   During this time, the old doc is working some days, the new doc is working some days and our part-time doc is working some days.  I told them I was going to name them Who, What and I Don't Know.  Who is working Mondays and Tuesdays, What is working Wednesdays and I Don't Know who's working on Thursdays!!

However, stress relief is on its way!  Yesterday I booked our flight to Orlando for later in the month.  We have about a week when none of the docs are available for a few days.  I got a sub for the other two days and told the new doc I was taking off!  I think a little granddaughterly therapy is in order.

Hubby was quite instrumental in stress relief this week as well.  He called on Wednesday and said he was at the Navy Exchange and they had D-SLR's on sale.  We had been doing a lot of research and had it narrowed down to a Canon or Nikon, but I was thinking we would need to wait until the end of the year.  I told him to use his judgement and the sweetie came home with this:


It's a Nikon D60.  I haven't even gotten beyond automatic and I can't believe the quality of photos that it takes.  I tried getting action shots of Maggie chasing bubbles, but she's too quick:


However, when she sits still the results are amazing:


Hubby and Kirby are kinda cute when they sit still too:



I was especially impressed by its yarn photo capabilities.  My prize yarn arrived from Sonny and Shear and this photo was taken in the kitchen under artificial light with a flash:


The color is just about spot on!  The darker blue is Cascade Heritage and the teal is Araucania Ranco.  They will both be destined to become Cookie A. socks if I can ever again in my lifetime wrap my mind around a complicated knitting project. 

In the meantime, I've taken break from baby sweaters and have been working on Ivy's Christmas sweater:


I think it's just too cute.  I had decided not to worry about the color runs, but to just go with what the yarn gave me.  Imagine my delight when I attached a new ball to do the second sleeve that it matched the first sleeve exactly!  I couldn't have planned that.

I will leave you with this observation from Ivy (handing a toy to her mother), "Oh no!  It's broken.  Jie-Jie (big sister) broke it."  Ah – the blame game starts early!