Monday, February 22, 2010


I've done it. I've decided to retire and move to Florida. Sooner, rather than later.

End of the school year in June.

I could stay here for another 3 years to get full retirement. I could also be laid off since Virginia's budget is in such horrendous shape and cuts are coming in the next couple of months. It's not going to get any better for at least two years. No step or cost of living increases were given to us this year, and we sure won't get them for the next two years, at least.

I think it's time to cut and run.

I'll still have to work. My retirement check is much less than half of what I make now (which isn't all THAT much to start with). I'll lose about $230 a month by leaving three years early, but some of that may be made up by an early retirement option with a lump-sum payment in June, if it's passed. Funny, I decided last week that I need to get to Florida with Tom, and today it was announced, just after I'd emailed the HR guy about retiring, that they were considering an early retirement incentive.

Sort of seems meant to be.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sisters' Weekend

I don't want Pocket Edward to see the blasphemous things written about him on FaceBook.

Socks that I've knit for Joan, me, and Betty.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So this is what we get when we finally buy a brand new car

(Click on title)

Even with all the snow we've had, I haven't noticed any problems with the anti-lock break system. Especially since this is where it's been most of the last three weeks:

Has all of Toyota's negative publicity caused me to shun them? No. Dad bought his first new Toyota in 1971 and put well over 200,000 miles on it then sold it for almost what he paid for it. I've had Toyotas since 1988 and wouldn't think of buying anything else. They've all been good cars that went for 225,000 miles or more with little major work. I fully expect this Prius to do as well.

But don't say that out loud. Every time I say something good about my car, something goes wrong, so I'm not going to risk it!

I'll be mourning Zippy for a long time. He was the perfect little companion.

This is the last photo I took of him, Saturday, February 6. I went outside to take photos of the snow, and he perked up when he saw me go to the door with my coat on. He was a terribly sick little boy, but he was still interested in going outside. Late that night, when we took him to the emergency vet, he could barely stand up, but when we said "go bye-bye in the car?" he did one last, slow zip (he'd prance in circles when he was excited) and trotted out the door and around the car, all by himself. Zippy The Wonder Dog.

I haven't mentioned knitting in a long time. I did very little after the middle of December; I drove to Florida by myself (with Zip in the passenger seat) so I didn't have that time to knit. I've been pretty scattered; I keep starting projects, getting bored, and going on to something else. I've gotten about half of Upstairs Shawl (ravelry link) done, but not in a lace yarn. I found some cool cotton/synthetic yarn, worsted weight, on sale at the fabric shop in town; had been about $7 a ball, reduced to $1 each. It called to me. I don't know it I'll keep it for myself or give it away. I just needed to knit it. The lady who owns the Key West knit shop, Knit Wits of Key West, was wearing it the day I went in before Christmas to buy a last-minute hank of yarn, and I was smitten. Some day I might photograph it.

Then I had to start a pair of socks for Betty. We're kinda particular about our socks. For years Betty gave each of us several pairs of Birkenstock socks for Christmas; they wear forever. They're making fewer these days. Betty couldn't find any that she liked, and it was COLD, so I cast on a pair for her. The yarn is superwash wool that I bought at the local yarn sh0p, from a local dyer, Dyepot. The colors didn't photograph true to the yarn, but you can get an idea. The yarn is almost luminous, a deeper red than what shows in the photo.

I also knit a beautiful skinny scarf from Tilli Thomas' Rock Star American Beauty. This yarn is incredible; it's pure silk with a thread of tiny beads added. One hank is $40; Joan gave it to me for my birthday. Bought in Key West, too, which makes it even better. I used the kpixie Valentine Sequin Scarf pattern and love it. It's a nice long skinny scarf, and the yarn is just so luscious.

I might add more later; right now, homemade soup is calling my name.

Friday, February 12, 2010


With a little (okay, a lot of) help from bare minerals makeup, Pocket Edward™ now sparkles in the sun. Isn't he impressive?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow, rinse, repeat


I should have known that, by planning to move to the Keys for good this summer (if all works out), I'd be dooming this area to The Winter from Hell.

The last few winters have had really cold spells but very little snow. Tom and I have been married for over four years; not once during that time have I not been able to get in and out of the driveway at the old homestead. It helped that Tom's truck is four-wheel drive. But now the truck is with Tom at our place in the Keys and it seems that a Prius (whose brakes seem to be working very well, thank you, although I've driven it very little this year) just isn't up to the task of plowing through more than an inch or two of snow.

In 1995-96 we had a blizzard that closed city schools for over a week and county schools for two weeks. That's when I made the transition from the county school system to the city's; I gave my two-weeks' notice and didn't work again until the city schools opened more than two weeks later.

I think that we had something like 53" of snow that winter. We've already passed that and it's only Feb. 10. I last worked on the 4th, and school has been closed since then. It's still up in the air if we'll go tomorrow. Watch out, Spring Break, we may lose you.

So, yeah. The Winter from Hell. Weeks of single-digit temperatures. Snow after snow after snow. Today we have a high-wind advisory. Does it get any better than this.

ETA: No school tomorrow. Five days in a row, seven since the end of January. *sigh*

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Pocket Edward is on the job

Pocket Edward™ debates using the doggy door to scope out the back yard.

He tries to scale the Matterhorn.

Icicles! The perfect weapon.

Must. Reach. Bella.

Baby the Quaker Parrot says, "Vegetarian vampire my ass."

R.I.P., Zip

Poor little Zippy. Thursday morning he was lethargic and vomiting, so I took him to our vet. Bob gave him subcutaneous fluids, shots for nausea and an anti-inflammatory, and liquid amoxicillin. Zip had a moderately high fever.

Thursday evening, Zip was almost himself, begging for food, perky, happy. He ate a little chicken and rice. Friday he was lethargic again, just drinking water. Of course, it had snowed all day and no local vets were open, much less Bob, whose office is 40 miles away over a mountain. The emergency vet's office didn't open till 6 p.m., and the snow was too bad to attempt the drive (20 miles away).

It snowed all day Saturday. Zip vomited in the afternoon, bringing up food that he'd eaten on Wednesday. Totally undigested. We started giving him a few tablespoons of water every half hour; he kept it down for a couple of hours, but started vomiting again.

We decided he needed to see the vet that night, so after digging Betty's car out of the driveway we took Zippy outside. He was so happy; he even performed one last zip on the way out. He loved to ride in the car.

We managed to get out of the driveway but got stuck in the road right in front of the house. Greg dug us out, and after a little pushing, we were on our way.

It was such a surreal trip. We stayed off the interstate; there have been some nasty accidents on there during snow. The main road was covered with snow, but it had been plowed and we were able to drive along at 30 mph. Fortunately there was very little other traffic; we drove down the center of the four-lane road without any trouble.

We got to the vet's office after 11 p.m. We were taken into the examining room right away and Zippy was examined. His temperature was normal but he was still vomiting.

After blood work, the verdict was in; Zippy was a seriously sick little boy. He was severely diabetic; the highest the machine would register was >700, and that's where his blood sugar was. He also had kidney disease and pancreatitis. He would have never been able to have any table food or treats ever again. Zippy loved his treats. The very last thing that he ate and kept down was two tiny bites of a muffin.

After debating the options, and a lot of crying, I decided it was better to let Zippy go peacefully rather than hospitalize him for up to a week to stabilize his diabetes and treat the pancreatitis. He would have had to have shots twice daily.

He died very quickly and peacefully after Betty and I took turns holding him and telling him how much we love him.

We miss him terribly.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Now what?

I've almost finished reading Eclipse for the third time. I won't go home again till Tom comes up in about 10 days, and Breaking Dawn is at home. I may have to go to the library.





Pocket Edward ™ ETA: Wednesday.

And I cancelled the New Moon movie order with Amazon because I found out that, for only $5 more, one can buy it from Target with a 3rd disk of special features and a cell from the movie.

I've never watched the 3rd disk of Twilight, but if one is available, then one must have it.

Shut up. I'm not as bad off as the people who buy one, then see it offered with a little something more at another site, and buy that one, then the next time they see something different, get that too.