Tonight I turned this:

into this:

Like I said, alchemy.

I have like 8 million things to do this week, so I don't have much time to post about the Shabbaton I went on, or the knitting I've been doing, or my beading, or the shower, or anything else. Hopefully I'll come back to that list later in the week and fill it out some more.

'Til then, have a good one!


shiva and sky's phobia

I was looking for a good website that would explain "sitting Shivah". I always link to wikipedia, and wanted to change it up a little, you know?

This article is pretty in-depth, and if you just read the first part you'll get the idea. But continue reading, trust me. This is an excerpt from the section on "how to pay a shiva call"...

Here are examples of things not to say:

"How are you?" (They're not so good.)

"I know how you feel." (No you don't. Each person feels a unique loss.)

"At least she lived a long life." (Longer would have been better.)

"It's good that you have other children," or, "Don't worry, you'll have more." (The loss of a child, no matter what age, is completely devastating.)

"Cheer up -- in a few months you'll meet someone new." (He/she has just lost the other half of their soul!)

"Let's talk about happy things." (Maybe later.)

Sorry, it cracked me up. Especially because every single person I've seen in the last 2 days has asked me "how are you" and I've said "okay" every time. Hello, what else do you say?!?

My dad and my uncle are sitting shivah at my grandma's apartment. Sunday I took Sky to the dog park, then spent most of the day there. Mom manned the phone to buzz people up, kept an eye on my dad, and made sure that everything ran smoothly. In my family it's the women who get things done ;-) I was the kiddie/cousin/relative wrangler. And went back to our house to visit Sky, usually while wrangling kids, cousins and/or relatives. Multitasking ;-) Hey, it kept my 3 very, um, active little cousins occupied and away from the adults and out of grandma's fairly small apartment. It was an exhausting day.

In between wrangling though I finished crocheting another knitting needle holder, for myself this time. Grandma taught me to crochet in their apartment and she always liked to see what I was making when I pulled out a project at family gatherings, so I think she'd approve.

Monday I went to the apartment right after work because Joan was there. She took care of grandma basically for the last year, a very special lady. My mom had been at the apartment all day. I told her I'd handle things and kicked her out, so she went home and took a nap. I started knitting a little drawstring purse on size 5 dpns... it's weird, but it was something to do you know?

Tuesday was pretty boring - went to work, went to the apartment, went home and went to sleep.

Today I worked from home to keep Sky company. She was pushy! I went over to the apartment for lunch to visit with everybody, there area always few people before 1 or 2 pm. At 5 o'clock Sky and I went to the park. Sky goes off-leash at the park. She doesn't mess with the random people we meet on the hiking trail, and she plays really well with the other dogs. She is FAST and plenty large enough to either take care of herself or run away, but we've always only seen friendly dogs there.

Something most people don't know about Sky is that she's a big scaredy cat. She's not afraid of a lot of things, but the things she is afraid of... aren't scary. Like tall people. It's kinda ridiculous because a) she's as tall as a tall person herself when she stands on her back legs and b) for as long as we've had her (since 8 weeks old) she's never had a negative encounter with tall people. But it's a known phenomenon in our family, that Sky is scared of tall people. Whatever.

Right when we started our walk, a posse of 12-15 tall, fit guys jogged past us. It looked like they were on some sort of team, you know, like crew or basketball or whatever. In training. I wasn't scared that Sky would molest them, more like go home with them, but she stuck really close to me. It was weird... and then she stayed close even after they left and didn't frolick like she usually does (yes, frolick, my dog prances. J's trying to toughen her up). She only left my side to go running back along the trail and look at me like, "hey let's go this way! I wanna go home." Poor Sky! Luckily a few minutes later a couple of normal-sized woman came jogging by. Sky realized that not all joggers are giants and she stopped being so paranoid. It was funny.

I'm probably forgetting a ton of things but I'm really tired... and going to sleep. G'night! Oh shoot, remind me to tell you guys the latest on the shower. Oy.


Happy (belated) Purim!

Purim is one of my favorite holidays, hands down. This year's was ridiculously crazy, but it's still a love-love relationship.

Purim was Thursday night/Friday this year, but for once I was on the ball and started my preparations a few weeks in advance. One of the 4 special activities on Purim is Mishlo'ach Manot (Mah-note), food baskets that you deliver to friends and relatives. As I like to think of it, reverse Trick-or-Treating :-) I like to have a "concept" - like last year, when I painted flower pots and bought seed packets of special carrots that are short so they can grow in containers in NYC apartments. This year I wasn't that clever, I just found cute black pleather-y baskets at Joann's that will be perfect pen holders for people's desks. Wednesday night I ran out to Costco and found some chocolate and wafer bars, plus my mom picked up some grape juice and hamantashen (=a special triangular Purim cookie).

Side note on Hamantashen: the "traditional" fillings for hamantashen are apricot, raspberry, prune and mon, which is a poppy seed filling. Nobody likes prune. Almost everybody dislikes mon, except that it's my dad's and my favorite flavor (in case you're sending me mishlo'ach manot). So if you're out buying hamantashen: steer clear of black or dark brown filling, look for Red or Orange. Other acceptable fillings include chocolate and chocolate. That's it. Apple, pear, cherry, and blueberry are just wrong, and you shouldn't encourage them.

Where were we? Oh right, so Thursday I packed my 8 or so Mishloach Manot. Then it was time for the second special Purim activity, hearing Megillat Ester (I think goyim call it "The Book of Esther"??). We went to our shul's 7:50 Ma'ariv (=evening prayer service), and got great seats in the balcony to hear them read the Megillah. I wasn't sure about wearing my pirate costume to shul, but a lot of the women's section was in costume, ranging from a crazy wig to a full-out bee costume or hippie costume. The men were much tamer, they just wore hats.

Megillah reading takes about an hour. You're supposed to follow along in your own copy, in case you miss hearing a word. I like to read the same story once a year, because every year I notice new details and stuff. Or maybe it's the same ones year to year and I just forget?

I arranged to take Friday off work, so that I could deliver Mishlo'ach Manot and stop at my cousin E's house for the 3rd Purim activity, the Seudah (=special holiday meal). Purim is supposed to be a very happy holiday, that's why you bring people gifts of food, and eat a festive meal, and you're even supposed to drink alcohol. Hmm, work or enjoy one of my favorite holidays? It's a no-brainer.

I thought it was weird when I heard my brother still in the house around 8:30, since he usually catches an earlier train to work. At 8:45 he knocked on my door and told me that Grandma passed away very early Friday morning. No major episode, she just faded away like they thought she was going to 2 weeks earlier. We all just know that she stuck around to see D married off.

Mom had volunteered to deliver packages for a local charity fundraiser, so J and I went out to deliver those for her. We also delivered some Mishlo'ach Manot to family and friends in our neighborhood. Then I did a run to our relatives in Queens. Omg, I hadn't realized quite how many Jews lived in my grandparents' neighborhood! Every single house had people wearing costumes (of all ages, not just kids) either coming or going with packages. I wish I could've taken pictures. It made driving a nightmare though with so many cars either pulling in or out of spots, but I made it back home just fine.

We left for the cemetary in Jersey at 12, for a 1:30 funeral. Jewish funerals are supposed to happen within 24 hours of death, and it's always closed casket or whatever. Fridays are tricky because of Shabbat, so I think we could have waited until Sunday, but we went with Friday. Considering that my mom started calling people at 8:30 or so, there was a very surprising turnout. It was only grandma's immediate family because the cousins live 9+ hours driving away, but a lot of friends came and my mom's whole family, because our whole family is close.

My cousin Mia was the cutest thing. She's 11, and the oldest in her family, and whenever we see them I always give her and her siblings a big hello and a hug. Friday she came over and gave me a hug, and said everything would be okay. She lost her grandfather a few months ago, and it was really sweet that she wanted to pass on her vast experience to me.

It was a graveside funeral, the first time I'd ever been to one like that, and it was a really nice funeral. One word: Sunglasses.

Because of Purim eulogies were kept to a minimum, just grandma's 2 sons spoke. My uncle's was short and sweet. My dad gave very nice (and brief) talk about my grandma; he hates public speaking but he did really well. Our rabbi said some nice things about Grandma too, then a little d'var torah (=you might call it a sermon) and explained how things would be different because of the holiday. Then we did the shoveling thing. My uncle and cousins on my mom's side really pitched in to help. No surprise, they're very helpful people. Each of the grandkids, in age order, read a perek (=chapter) of Tehillim. Then we did the line-up-and-the-mourners-walk-through-the-path-of-friends thing, and it was over.

My Dad and Uncle are sitting shivah at my grandma's apartment since we all live in the same town and it's close to everyone. Our 2 families headed back there after the funeral. The shul has a committee to send bagels over for the first day, since the family is always busy with other things. Nobody had really eaten Friday so it was perfect. The first day of Shivah is usually just family, but some close friends stopped by. Then everybody went home, because you don't sit Shivah on Shabbat.

It's going to be very weird having Grandma's Yahrtzeit (=deathiversary) on Purim. It's one of the 2 holidays when you are supposed to rejoice and be happy, because the Jews were saved from certain destruction. More info here.

I'd made plans to go to my cousins in Queens for Shabbat and my dad insisted I keep them, so I went. I slept at my aunt & uncle's but Friday night dinner was at E's apartment, about a half mile away. E's wife (aka E3) is allergic to wheat so it was unusual food but yummy. Then E and E3 had all of us (his mom and siblings and me) over for lunch today. This afternoon E3 and Rif taught me how to play Set, my new favorite game. I started Dragon by Clive Cussler, but I think I might've read it already. It's hard to tell because a bunch of the stories are very similar.

Next episode: my Hooked on Exchanging biscornu exchange package.
PS Future exchangers, please include your email addresss so I can thank you properly!


The wedding recap

Omg, this weekend and D's wedding were amazing!

The weekend started off Friday night with the Aufruf. I was supposed to work from home Friday so I could get ready. Then I was supposed to leave at noon to work from home. Then I ended up leaving at 2:30, stopping for hoisery and even more shoes at Macy*s, and arriving home around 3. But that's typical Friday nutiness, so it was cool.

An Aufruf (for those of you with little google-fu) is like a mini Bar Mitzvah weekend. The groom is called up to the Torah on the Shabbat before his wedding, so all the relatives and the closest friends spend shabbat together. Like a mini Bar Mitzvah, right? Oh, and some of the bride's male relatives are usually invited. D's future FIL, future BIL, and a couple of cousins also came. They stayed at the hotel in town.

Friday night davening (=prayer services) and dinner were in a local Jewish-Iranian-American restaurant (enough hyphens for you? ;). It's one of my favorite restaurants, probably b/c they make the BEST rice. Ever.

There were probably 50 people at dinner, many friends of my aunt, uncle and cousin that I haven't seen in ages... We all live in the same town, and D and I to all of the same schools so I know all his friends. It was really nice to see them again and hear how they're doing.

I've never seen this at another aufruf, but at some point over the weekend each of the nine (nine!) groomsmen gave a speech about my cousin, about their friendship and past escapades. Hilarious speeches. D's got some great friends, and they all had really nice thigs to say and stories to share. They were mostly PG-13 speeches, although the guys who spoke Friday night had some, um, hilarious visual aids.

Dinner went pretty late - til 11? I was exhausted from lack of sleep during the week. Lucky the walk home was quick, it was raining.

Saturday morning davening is not my favorite thing. I like to sleep! But I made it to shul at around 10:30, 5 minutes before Dan's aliyah (=n. calling up to the Torah). I was this || close to beaning my uncle with the candy bag but I missed and hit some random guy who was dancing with them around the bimah (=n. place you read the Torah from). That's what you get for entering the danger zone. (At our shul, most of the women's section is a balcony overlooking the men's section; I've seen helmets)

Lunch was cool, a couple more speeches but the parents were invited (methinks on purpose) so they were a bit tamer. I left right after lunch ended to prepare for Seudat Shlishit, which we hosted. It turned surprisingly warm so Mom decided it was time to open the storm windows - the true sign that Spring has arrived :-) I did the windows which she made the salads, and good thing because my cousins, their extended family, and a family-friend-family that also has a long walk home from shul came right over to our house - so no shabbos nap :-(

It was nice to have a smaller group and really be able to visit with my family before the crazy wedding the next day. That's the beauty of the aufruf, quiet moments together before the madness of Sunday.

Mom put together a great spread, including some yummy, if store-bought, cupcakes. And we had yummy leftovers all week :-)


The wedding was gorgeous, very well done, and enormous. I'll spare you the crazy blow-by-blow, but here's some photos.

My dress:

My shoes (finally!):

Sorry, it's not a great photo.

The chupah:

We took 1.5 gigabytes of photos between me and my dad. Lol, what can I say? I wasn't allowed to bring my knitting.


Fair & Square round 5

An enormous wedding-recap post is on the way, but these deserve a special post of their own. Here is my Fair & Square exchange from Michele!

I'd never *met* Michele (in the blogosphere) before partnering with her for this exchange, but I was immediately struck by how similar our stitching tastes are. As I was looking through her albums of finishes the thought in my head was either "Oh, I've stitched that too!", "I love that design", "That's in my queue", or "I'd totally stitch that if not for the [insert holiday that I don't celebrate here]-y theme".

So it's no surprise to me that Michele picked such a perfect-for-me design. This wasn't even on my radar to stitch, and now I can't believe that I missed it. I love the dark fabric that she chose to stitch on too, much more "me" than the "recommended" color from the website.

Michele sent along some eerily perfect goodies with her exchange packet:
  • a Little Notebook - how did she know that I LOVE little notebooks and writing lists and reminders to myself
  • a small photo frame - I took nearly a gigabyte of photos on Sunday at the wedding (and I'll share some later :-D
  • a packet of really cute tissues - I caught a cold yesterday. (however I'm using plain white tissues because the others are too pretty to use, of course!)
Michele, your exchange was spot on. Thank you so much for being my partner this round!

I'm going to borrow Michele's photo of what I sent her, because hers came out much better than the one I took (Hope you don't mind! :)


Don't laugh...

Since you asked Michele... the shoe count for this wedding is now up to 7 pairs.

So to recap, Monday I ran to DSW in a "I have no shoes for this wedding!" panic). I bought 4 pairs, tried them on for my mom & brother, and realized I had two left feet. Three pairs went back, 1 pair was swapped for 1 right and 1 left shoe, and then we decided that they were no good for the wedding but I'm keeping them for work.

[deep breath]

Tuesday night I was in the city, so I went to Macy*s on the way to Penn Station. The saleswoman was the SLOWEST woman ever and helped everyone else before merely waving her scanner past the 5 pairs of shoes I was carrying (argh!). They had little in my size and in the end I got 1 pair of shoes that everyone liked.
Total shoe count: 5 pairs.

Today on my way home from work I stopped at the Macy*s on Long Island - I needed hoisery for the weekend. I hate tights. Anyway, I found 2 pairs of shoes, both pairs better than the other Macy*s pair. So far I have 1 opinion from mom & Patricia, and another from my brother. C is stopping by Saturday night to give the final opinion.

Can you tell I'm mad frantic and busy for this wedding? This weekend is the Aufruf (sorry no time to find you a link but try google ;-). We're having Seudat Shlishit (ditto on google) here tomorrow - a huge production, basicall buffet for 80, no cooking allowed on Shabbat itself so a lot of prepwork this week.

Anyways, gotta go get ready for the dinner tonight. At least it's at my favorite kosher Persian restaurant :-) Ttys!


very Manhattan

Tuesday I worked out of the NYC office. I worked on my HoE biscornu on the train and got thiiiiis close to finishing the leaves. Work was productive. Lunch was better. I found out a new-to-me yarn store called School Products. It just so happens to be on my route to work, across from my favorite bead store. How did I miss this place, you ask? It's in an office-type setup on the 3rd floor of a building. Go figure.

I walk up Broadway to catch my train home. Now, you non-New Yorkers out there hear "Broadway" and immediately think of Times Square and Theatre district, but let me tell you, that's only the 34th street to 50-something stretch of B'way. From Houston (aka 0th street) to Union Square (18th street) B'way is in the Village and practically part of the NYU non-campus. From Union Square park to Madison Square Park (27th street?) B'way is low-key but kinda trendy shopping, some interesting stores like my pal Fishes Eddy. The stretch I take to work and from every day is approximately 27th street to 34th street, and that's pretty sketchy. Lots of "4 for $10" perfume stores and "electronics" stores, if you know what I mean.

Last October I was walking up B'way as usual, but at around 3 o'clock because I was leaving work early. At one point, I just happened to look up and across the street at this sort of alleyway to a parking garage, and I saw the strangest thing I've ever seen in Manhattan. One man was holding another with his arms behind his back and applying handcuffs, and a third man was pulling ziplock baggies containing a white substance out of the the guy's jacket pockets. I was too far to hear what was said, but it must have been a drug thing. Right? And people were just walking along, right in front of the alley. I guess they didn't notice what was going on?

Ok, so the point to this story is that School Products is in the building just next to this alley. But don't worry or anything, it's a doorman building.

Speaking of my walk to work, I took some photos last Thursday to show you guys, but then I got a little sidetracked. I'm always very impressed by the architecture of the buildings on my route home from work. Lately though I've noticed that there are a lot of very prettily lit buildings on my route home, so I thought I'd share some photos with you guys.

Click the photos to see larger versions.

Imo, the Chrysler building is the prettiest building in NYC at night. It's not on my regular route home, but I went to the P.O. last week to mail my F&S exchange. Which still hasn't arrived. Argh.

This is the clocktower on Madison Square Park. It's a gorgeous building.

This building is on Madison Square Park as well, but its just a poser. The architecture at the top of this building is nothing special, I've seen it in daylight and it's just like a ton of other buildings in NYC. This is not the only poser building I've seen but it's the only one on my way home from work. If you live here or know why they have lighting at the top of the building, please let me know what's up.

This is across an Avenue from Madison Square Park. It's really pretty, this photograph doesn't really convey all the awesomeness. I tried taking 10 different pictures, but the shiny golden roof is hard to photograph. Maybe I'll give you a daylight photo later so you can see how awesome it is.

Another shot of the clocktower. With all that lighting, there's still a red flashing anti-aircraft light at the top. I understand that the ESB has a spire so it needs a red flashy light, and the crane to the left of the clocktower (which you can barely see in this photo) has a light that flashes REALLY quickly. But this building is neon, practically radioactive, and then at the tippy-top they added a flashing red light. Go figure.

They're doing construction on 30th street. Something Underground.

Since it's nighttime when I walk past, there's no bustle to obscure the view and no-one to chase off gawkers.

The hole is very deep. They have a whole bunch of machines down there. It's pretty cool to gawk at.

I assumed that there's a ton of photos of Penn Station on the internet somewhere. If you're having trouble finding, I can take some.

This concludes the walking tour of New York City. Thank you and come again!


The Grandma update:
The doctors totally didn't expect Grandma to do so well after they took her off the meds Friday - the opposite in fact. Saturday night they said that if we put her back on the meds and stuff, she'll probably make it through the wedding. So we did.

Grandma is stable. They really don't think she's coming home though. Not to go into too much detail, but since the beginning of December she's had a rapid decline physically and there's no reversing that. Even if they could get her to be exactly as healthy as she was last week at this time... that wasn't all that much better. And as healthy as last week isn't even an option.

My cousin, her 6th & final grandchild, flew back from Israel yesterday (a few days earlier than planned for the wedding). So now everyone has seen Grandma and said our goodbyes... and we're just hoping she sticks around long enough to tell her that her first grandchild got married.

Btw, my cousin doesn't live in Israel. He's there for a gap year (between high school and college). I saw him very briefly last night and he's doing GREAT. It's amazing what 7 months away from your parents does to mature a person.

Over the weekend at the hospital, naturally the conversation often turned to wedding preparations. The guys are of course waiting for the absolute last second to decide on shirts, ties, shoes, etc. Then I realized that I don't have shoes either! So last night I ran out to DSW after work to pick some up. I got 4 pair... one that I thought my mom would approve of, 2 of the same style but different materials, and a pair of funky shoes that I bought for everyday. We ended up going with one of the pairs that have the same style... and then I realized that I must've tried the other style on for sizing, because the pair I liked consisted of 2 left shoes! It was a mad dash back to DSW but they were pretty nice about the returns and the, um, exchange. Lol.

Last night I started my biscornu for the HoE exchange. I'm ridiculously busy this weekend with wedding stuff so I made this a travel project. In the end I went with the Violets pattern (sorry guys) because I dont' have black fabric, and I liked how the blues and greens looked on white better. It's a fairly quick stitch - so far I'm almost done with the leaves.

On a completely different note... I feel like I should add my 2 cents about the latest news from NY. In case you live in a hole (or Australia), here's an article from the WSJ (because the NYTimes is kinda evil).

The whole Governor Spitzer scandal sucks. I liked the guy because
a) he's a democrat
b) he's not ancient like most politicians
c) he seemed to be shaking things up, which is always good

But DUDE. If you're going on a crusade and saying that you're cleaning house, and that politicians need to be more honest, etc. ... well clearly you also need to be more honest! As in, regular honest but especially: more honest than the people you're criticizing. Like it or not, prostitution is illegal and that makes you dishonest and a hypocrite.

Does Spitzer need to step down? Imo, not yet. NY does not need a governor that's in jail, so if he's convicted, then for sure. But nobody is perfect, so stepping down for 1 transgression... seems harsh to me. On the news this morning they were talking about him committing a felony, in which case this is no longer just 1 transgression... so we'll see what happens. I'm sure we'll all be getting a crash course in the laws concerning prostitution very soon.

However, if this whole debacle has destroyed his credibility and clout with his fellow politicians, he will no longer be effective or capable of fulfilling the role of governor and should, imo, step down immediately. I hope that Ego and Face doesn't cause Spitzer to stick around past his ability to do his job.

That's my 2 cents. Rant over.


Ice cream cake, sushi and stitching

Grandma was always really stubborn and tough. When she made up her mind to do something, she did it and she did it her way. Well it seems like Grandma decided that she didn't want to miss my cousin's wedding or something, because once they stopped giving her antibiotics and blood pressure-regulating meds, her BP and heartrate are doing just as good and even improving slightly. We're still not doing any invasive procedures and she's still sedated and on a respirator, but for now it looks like she'll be around through the wedding, which is good because then my dad can go and my uncle can dance and everything (has to do with sitting Shiva).

We went over to my uncle's tonight b/c tomorrow is his MIL's 80th birthday. She's Hungarian by birth but lives in Sweden. English is her 3rd or 4th language and she was never fluent, but now that she's getting older it's that much harder. We had a cake from Cold Stone and champagne - that's the same in any language :-)

Afterwards the cousins all went out for sushi, plus my cousin's fiancee who is spending the night at my uncles prior to a meeting with our Rabbi tomorrow. It's hard to find a sushi restaurant that's open past 10:3o in this town, so we ended up in Queens. I made sure to sit across from the fiancee so we could talk a little, because I really don't know her so well. In the end, she doesn't crochet but she skis, so I guess she's okay ;-)

I'm very behind posting stitching photos, so here goes.

I started CCN's Summer Garden a while ago and it feels like I've been stitching 5-10 stitches a night, because after 2 weeks this is all I've got:

I really like this design, so I'm just going to go slow and steady with it. However, I've been majorly sidetracked by this guy:

CCN's Sweet Treats threadpack

I started stitching the border from the bottom-left-corner and followed the chart exactly. Then I realized that the border chart was not symmetrical, and as a result the pink flower-things on the bottom and top left don't align with the white border of the inner squares, whereas the middle and right boxes line up. (I can take more pictures if that was unclear.)

I'm eventually going to frog the bottom left part of the border so I can align it properly, but for now I'm concentrating on stitching the white squares that make up the border for the 6 individual blocks. I'm stitching off the model photo for those because only 1 square has been released yet, but they all look the same. Since the white boxes have a regular, repeating pattern, I'm going to do all of them first so that when I do the border I'll be much less likely to miscount. Plus, as each part of the design is released it'll be a very quick stitch to fill them in.

I don't love the phrase "Sweet Treats", so I might change it to "Kim's Kitchen". It's HARD to alliterate a K people, you have no idea. Or, I might change it to "Erica's Kitchen" for my grandma, because she was always a gourmet cook and always made the best desserts.


Quick Update

D and I are back from the hospital now, although we'll be going back later.

Thank you guys for all your warm wishes for a speedy recovery, but it's just not going down like that. Predating last night, Grandma Erica has severe dementia (hate that word) and is deteriorating physically, rapidly. I won't go into it because when she was more with it, she was always very meticulous about her appearance and image. But basically if the doctors could return her to her condition as of Thursday morning, she would still not be with us mentally and she would still be very frail and deteriorating.

They had the results of more tests this morning. Grandma has an infection and they've identified two possible causes - fluid in the lungs and kidney blockage. Plus there's an intestinal blockage or something which is both a problem and a third possible cause. They can do an invasive procedure to fix the kidney thing and give antibiotics for the lung infection, but that's not 100% the causes of the infection. With all the stresses on her system she won't be back to Thursday morning even, and at that point it was still a waiting game.

My dad & uncle are her only children. Now that my dad got home this morning, and the doctors have run the tests to give them all the options and scenarios, my dad & uncle decided not to do the kidney procedure. If the procedure works and solves all the problems, it's still a matter of a week or two given the prior situation. On the other hand it's a really invasive procedure, not 100% sure to fix the problem, and might cause other problems.

As for the rest of the family... we're not hysterical types. Its been a gradual enough decline that it's not shocking, but everyone's really sad, especially my dad and my uncle. There's also a lot of regret that she won't be able to live to see her 1st grandchild get married a week from Sunday. We're all being really sensitive about that with my uncle and cousin, but there's not even a question that the wedding is going on and for once everyone agrees 100% that that's what to do.

I *can't* sit still and wait doing nothing, forget "it drives me crazy": I just can't do it. So I brought some 8" needles and cotton yarn to the hospital with me last night. 3 hours later I had finished this:

We had a little contest to see if anyone in the family could figure out what the motif is. So far nobody's guessed it right but they're all trying hard.

D and I came home to cook for Shabbos. We'll go back over there later. In the meantime I wanted to thank you all for your kind words and post an update.

Thank goodness for House

So in the end, Sky's not coming to work tomorrow.

Grandma E has been in the hospital this week, and this evening took a major turn for the worse. She has an infection or bug & that causes trouble breathing. So they need to give the infection/bug a beat down and put her on a ventilator (which apparently has some risks).

Now, my sibling and cousin who don't watch much TV couldn't grasp why an infection was so bad. Any regular viewer of House can tell you:
Infection => Septic Shock => Organ Failures => Dead
The trick is to apply anti-biotics or the appropriate meds during steps 1, 2, or 3 to avoid reaching step 4.

The prognosis isn't great. Everyone's really hoping that she lasts through my cousin's (her grandson) wedding a week from Sunday, but that's a very big maybe. Dad, Mom, and my youngest-brother D are flying home tomorrow on the first flights they can. I'm taking the day off.

Sky will be visiting work another day.


a Sky post

Thanks to everybody who shared their take on the wedding situation! It was very cool to hear about all your perspectives and experiences. Thanks!

Btw, I'm not saying boo to anyone in the family: that's just asking for trouble.

Sort of fun news. Sky was adopted as a 11lb puppy from the animal shelter as a "Lab Mix". All the black dogs were "Lab Mix", and all the yellow dogs were "Golden Retriever Mix". Obviously a marketing shtick. Since then, almost everyone who meets Sky speculates as to what kind of dog she *really* is. The most popular suggestions are Great Dane, Greyhound, and Lab, but no one ever says 100% anything. She's clearly unique ;)

My mom heard about this DNA test for dogs to find out what breeds your dog descends from. Do you want to guess what Sky is, or should I tell you?

I'll wait. Think. Look back to this photo for a refresher.

Okay, ready?

Sky is 100% Great Dane. She weighs about 60 lbs, or 1/2 of what's listed on wikipedia for bitches (lady dogs), but the face shape and the stuff about the personality is 100% accurate with Sky.
The Great Dane's large and imposing appearance belies its friendly nature; the breed is often referred to as a gentle giant. Great Danes are generally well-disposed toward other dogs, other non-canine pets, wild animals, and humans (including strangers and children). Some Great Danes have dominance issues, are aggressive with other dogs of the same sex, or chase small animals; however, this is quite rare.
I always thought it was strange that Sky didn't chase squirrels! Looks like it's a Great Dane thing. She chases birds instead (no joke). Maybe because she is so tall?

Even more fun news:
Mom is going out of town this weekend, and she has given J and me our marching orders. One of her big things is not leaving Sky alone for too long, so even though I only work 6 hours on Fridays, I was told I have to work from home, to quote "be available to Sky". My boss is very, very cool and said it would be fine to work from home for the day, but somehow one thing led to another and he said I can bring Sky to work with me Friday.


Sky has visited the office twice already, but only brief visits. A longer visit should be fine. Sky is very well socialized and she's such a people dog! She rarely barks so she shouldn't be too disruptive. I figure (and have cleared it with my boss) that if it's not working out, my desk is about 20 feet from the back entrance so we'll just leave early and I'll work from home the rest of the day.

This should be fun :-D

PS. Other people have brought dogs to work so allergies is a non-issue. Anyway there's so much mold under all the carpeting from leaking foundations, that stuff will get them first!


Non photos and a wedding question or 3

No exciting weekend stories for you guys. Sorry! I did some stitching, but I don't even have some exciting stitching photos for you. I know, I suck. What I do have for you is some non-exciting, old stitching photos. And maybe if you're lucky a pre-wedding rant; we'll see if blogging is cathartic today or I still feel like dishing.

I've been inspired by some of the blogs I read to revamp the sidebar of my own blog. There's now a "Finishes" section (which might become a finishes/WIP status photo section, it's a wip itself ;)

About a week ago I mailed out 4 packages - 2 to neighboring states and 2 to Canada. With the latest update from Dani, it seems they've all arrived to their new homes safely, and got great reactions :D They arrived in a week or less. The package I mailed to Belgium for the HoE fob exchange? 4 weeks and 6 days and not a word. I hope my partner has just been too busy to blog that it arrived, and that it hasn't gotten lost in the mail....

I've signed up for the HoE biscornu exchange but my LNS doesn't have many biscornu friendly charts available. After some internet surfing I found some gorgeous charts on the Chatelaine website, and I think I'm going to try one of those. But I can't decide which, so I've created my first...


Can you tell I'm excited about this? Lol. You can click here to see the different options. If you pick any of the last 3 options please leave a comment and explain. Thanks guys! (PS this is a good opportunity to delurk if you've never left a comment yet ;)

[ETA: The poll will close at noon EST on Friday so I can get started stitching it.]

I was driving to work today and listening to the radio. The talk show hosts were talking about the Crocodile guy's widow and for some reason or another they mentioned Brisbane! They even pronounced it the *right* way, Briz-bin. Janet recently told me about Brisbane, proving once again that she's a trendsetter. Well you are like 12+ hours ahead of us, right? Anyway thanks for telling me about Brisbane, because otherwise I'd have had no clue what they were talking about. Lol.

Janet, since you came through for me I'll return the favor. You seemed to want more juicy stories after my last post... well this is all I've got at the moment ;-)

As you might know, my cousin's getting married in about 2 weeks. This is a cousin on my dad's side of the family, my dad's brother's kid. My dad and uncle only have 4 first cousins (they're all siblings). All of them were invited to the wedding. But there seems to be a disconnect between our wedding customs and theirs... so I'll leave it to you guys to let me know (via comments) who's more off the mark this time around.

First some background...
We all live in NY. They're all in Virginia (and not DC-suburb-VA, but REALY VA)
We're all Orthodox-Jewish and they're another flavor (I think very liberal/secular Conservative)

Ok, on to the story.
As of 3 weeks before the wedding none of them had RSVPed. As of Sunday (2 weeks before), 1 had given a no, 1 a non-answer, 1 is MIA and 1 is trying to arrange her schedule, which I can understand. But the 2 non-replies? Dudes it's a yes or no question, my uncle has better things to do then hound you for answers.
The non-answerer hasn't answered because he's pissed that he wasn't invited as So-and-so with guest. He's single. Not sure if it's an Orthodox thing, an NY thing, or a combo, but the norm here is no ring => no invite for the S.O. At the moment he doesn't even have a GF. Is that such an unusual rule?
Speaking of no ring => no invite, 1 cousin's daughter mentioned to me that if her mom can come but not her dad, she'll go with her mom to the wedding instead. She wasn't invited herself. I'm sorry, did I miss the announcement that wedding invitations were now transferable? Because I thought, and my mom agrees, that they put the names of the people that they want to show up on the envelope, and there's no substitutions allowed. Or are we crazy?

I actually really like all these cousins and hope they all show up for the wedding, but it just seems kinda weird to me. Waiting to hear what you guys have to say....