Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Goodbye to a New Friend, Hello Again to an Old One

Reading a book is a little like knitting a project ... sometimes the anticipation is even more pleasaurable than the actual event.

You know ... you see a project somewhere ... a sweater or a scarf or a shawl ... and you can't rest until you've bought the pattern, read it 'til it's ragged, bought the yarn, wound it into balls, found the needles or ripped them out of another project, and cast on. Then you knit 'til your hands bleed and then ... it's done. Now what?

I've been waiting and waiting to get my hands on the audiobook version of An Echo in the Bone, #7 in the Outlander series. My library ... no, forget it, I can't even call what my county has a library ... the library to which I have a paid membership doesn't have it. It's not on Audible. Yes, I have the book but it weighs a ton and no, I don't have it for the Kindle. (And I understand the Georgia state troopers frown on finding drivers hurtling down I-75 with a hardcover book open on the steering wheel.)

So when my wonderful friend Debra offered to let me listen to her library's copy, all 40 discs of it, I jumped at the chance.

For the past two weeks, I've been hanging out in my car, hanging on every Scottish burred word. These books make me remember I'm part Scot and when I listen to Davinia Porter read them I'm all, 100%, Scot. Nothing else. My blood runs plaid for the time the book is playing.  And this last one ... no, not the last one, the latest one ... well, most of it takes place during the Revolutionary War in the area where my own ancestors were fighting it (on both sides!)--Ticonderoga, Saratoga, Long Island. For the past two weeks, I've felt like I was truly home, and surrounded by family.

And now I'm done. It's finished. Kaput!

Luckily, Jamie and Claire are apparently NOT done. There will be another book ... there has to be.

What will I do 'til then? Well, this morning I put Outlander in the CD player. It's the only one that I own except in MP3 form, and I guess I'll start over.

But ... sigh.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Am Alive!

That probably sounds a little dramatic to you. Well, not if you're a Diana Gabaldon Outlander fan, of course. Then you know it qualifies as a literary reference, if somewhat paraphrased.

But darn it, it feels like I'm barely alive, but slowly coming back from the dead. So bear with me.

It's been an ... unusual ... couple of months. Actually the whole year, all 2.5 months of it so far. And I'm trying not to obsess on the fact that the Ides of March is tomorrow ... just have to live through the Ides, man! (And try not to think I've made a hideous grammatical error ... Ides is singular in this case.)

So, first there was the whole Mr. Pug health thing, which I think is an ugly blot on our memory at this point, but otherwise no prob for the moment. Well, except for the fact that he's become more focused on his health, to the point that we actually drank decaf coffee for a couple of weeks before we both agreed we'd rather be dead than drink that stuff on a regular basis. In reality, we each drink only one cup of coffee in the morning, maybe two on a lazy weekend, but not enough to make ourselves totally miserable over. He's still drinking no-caf Diet Coke and more power to him but I'm not traveling that route with him. It's Full Power Diet Pepsi for me.

Then there's work. I wear four or five hats at work and one of them is Information Manager, so there's always a lot of work at the beginning of the new year to pull together all the EOY reports. And March marks the first month in which our licensing authority (Georgia Department of Human Resources) may show up on any Monday to do an unannounced weeklong inspection of the whole facility, including buildings, records, kids, etc. Just in case we needed some more stress, this March was the date set for our every-three-year survey visit from our accrediting organization, CARF. And we're a pretty well run organization but it's an opportunity to show everyone that we're really special. So you can imagine that we've all been running around like chickens with our heads off putting together documentation binders, dotting i's and crossing t's, and spit polishing the units. It was my first CARF inspection so I put in several 7-day workweeks making sure my area sparkled since at least 60% of the standards relate to my areas of responsibility (safety, consumer advocate, corporate compliance, data management, data from persons served, etc.).

Whew! CARF has come and gone. We're still waiting for DHR but that already seems modest in comparison.

But, a lot of work. Then there's family. Grandson Cole turned 17 in February and next grandson Brandon turned 15 a week later. That meant a road trip to Virginia, with a car full of people who couldn't wait to see Cole. (Well, I wanted to get my hands on him because it's been awhile, but since he's so grown up I tried to be a little restrained ... probably not as restrained as a 17 year old would like but I did my best.)

That's Cole in the middle with grandson Brandon to the left and grandson KC to the right. (youngest grandson Cooper stayed home ... not quite old enough for me to do 12-hour trips in the car with yet ... I do have some limits.)

While we were there, we went into DC for a day which was a very nostalgic trip for me. After all, I spent the first half century of my life there and it was fun and a little weepy to see all the old sights. One thing I DO NOT MISS is the traffic. Hellacious, and definitely a good competitor for Atlanta's traffic.) That's the White House in the background though it's not too visible. Granddaughter Kerrigan is peeking around Daughter Jen. Anyway, after walking around the monuments and eating one of those fabulous vendor hot dogs that's been boiled in God-Only-Knows-What but is not to be missed, we felt our day had been well spent.

But my final souvenir from that trip? KC's cold.  Thanks, big guy! I guess that's what you get when you have a 10-year-old who still wants to snuggle.

But I've been sick all week. And, going back to the fact that we now know that Mr. Pug dodged a bullet and a bypass, it feels a bit whiny to complain about anything so prosaic as The Common Cold. So, I've been going to work, holding my hand over my face, not shaking anyone's hand, eschewing my knitting groups, and not complaining.Much.  But I suspect that all my whoofing and hacking and groaning have given away my secret ... I've been Totally Miserable. In fact, yesterday I slept all day. Yes, about 22 hours off and on. 

And today, still whoofling a little but basically, I Am Alive!

Now to get back to knitting. It's about time!