Friday, July 30, 2010

Catch-Up, Hold the Fries


Does my Blogger dashboard deceive me, or has it really been nearly a week since my last updates? Not only did I admittedly fall a little short of my goal of getting three photo posts in Sunday morning, but I’ve clearly been too busy even to follow through later in the week! Bad bunny blogger. Facebook hasn’t exactly been helping matters either, with my close friends Will, Plot, and Califia keeping me on my toes with all their exciting updates and encouraging me to do likewise. But all aside, I’m now fully refreshed and ready to jump back into blogging!

Our little Saturday luncheon with Mira and Patricia at Ruby Tuesday went so well! This was the first time in a while that Kath and Mira had had the chance to discuss everything and nothing, and so they did. They exchanged book and music recommendations, discussed things that had made them laugh recently, and planned to do it all again soon – all over Ruby’s pasta parmesan, chicken quesadillas, and a savory New York cheesecake finish to share. In other words, they really had a great time!


I was SO glad to meet with Patricia, and I learned a lot more about her background and personal tastes. It turns out she’s named for Mira’s kind older friend who gave her as a gift, and on hearing from Patricia “the gift” what an artistically inclined, animal-loving person Patricia “the giver” was, I became just as interested in meeting her. Another thing I found out that I probably should’ve known earlier: Patricia is one of those Glo-E bears that were popular a few years back! Mira was kind enough to help demonstrate her special skill while we waited for our table. When she pressed Patricia’s paw, her body glowed from white to a beautiful fluorescent red, green, and blue! I asked her if she thought her skill had ever helped her in dark situations, but she assured me that she knew where she was going most of the time.


Like Mira, Patricia is an avid proponent of all the arts, and she and some of Mira’s other stuffies (or “fiber-based friends”) have formed their own symphony orchestra and love to put on shows! I hear they pulled off a lavishly spectacular performance last Christmas for the family, and word is beginning to form that they’re planning another for the fall! While I’ll always be a “rocker” at heart, I can’t help but be entranced by a classical performance. I asked her to keep me posted so that perhaps some of us at Parsnip might enjoy an evening of musical enrichment in the near future!

Our luncheon concluded on a very happy note when we all exchanged gifts – little did we know the girls would have something for us, too! They both adored their bracelets and charms. In sympathy for all Kath and I had been through concerning her health and as encouragement for us both to press on, they completely surprised us with a Build-A-Bear bag with a new robe and bedding inside! I couldn’t believe it!


When we arrived home, Prudence was eager as ever to know how everything went, and when I showed her the robe and bedding, she couldn’t believe her eyes – we’d finally been able to procure something she could use for her trundle! She loves the pink and striped accents, and she says the back bedroom already feels so much “homier” with their addition! Thank you so much, Mira and Patricia!

In other news, and much to our dismay, the bowling trip fell through for the second time in a row! We’re hoping the third week will bring the charm, though!

Okay, so now I’m back to trying for a post every other day! I can do this! (Why wouldn’t I? Blogging is the best!)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday, Crafty-Side-Up


Today’s second post is brought to you by the letters “P” and “B” – for Perler beads and polar bears! (What do you know?! I’m becoming more kid-friendly all the time!)

I would be going with Kath into Madison (just between Athens and Huntsville) at noon, to dine sumptuously at the local Ruby Tuesday with our good friends Miranda (or Mira, as we’ll call her here) and Patricia, the polar bear. Though Mira is five years younger than Kath, they’ve really discovered they have quite a bit in common – a thriving appreciation for all animals (stuffie and otherwise), the arts, classic literature, and more. I was really glad we’d all be getting together on such a pleasant summer day, and Kath and I couldn’t help but want to enhance the mood by presenting them with a small token of our friendship.


We had decided earlier that friendship bracelets and beaded charms would be just the thing! Kath got Prudence (our resident crafty, “paws-on” girl) and me up just after sunrise, delved into the family’s overstuffed craft box for our supplies, cleared a space for us on the bed, and passionately declared that we’d have to work up our appetite, as breakfast could wait an hour or two. We didn’t mind that much, because we couldn’t wait for our creations to start coming together!


For those unfamiliar with the wonderful crafting experience that is Perler beading, I highly suggest you give it a try sometime. The beads, tiny and cylindrical, come in every color imaginable and are designed to fit onto any of several different shapes and sizes of pegboards. When you’ve made your design, you then need to place a thin ironing sheet (packaged with the pegboards) over the beads and briefly iron them to fuse them together. Craft stores usually stock the necessary supplies together in the kids’ aisle, but I’ve seen some diehard beaders come up with beautiful (and fragile!) pieces that would be fun for any age group.

We needed a little inspiration from Perler’s website before we started, so imagine our surprise when we found an adorable polar bear family template listed under their projects! It was intended for use with a larger square pegboard (which we lacked) and required hot-gluing several layers together to form the bears’ bodies, but we were certain Patricia would be perfectly content with only one bear’s face, perhaps with a hat and scarf added.


We started out following the pattern but soon realized our board wasn’t capacious enough for the complete face, so we improvised a bit and added our own touches, like the extra tufts of fur on the cheeks. We were so pleased that we didn’t end up bumping the beads in placing them, saving us lots of time and energy!


Here’s the finished polar bear. For the accents, we had intended to use Mira’s and Patricia’s favorite colors had we known them right off. We did know that they both loved peacocks, so we went with lime and turquoise for the hat and scarf.


Music notes, as we soon found, are easy and fun to make – though the ones in Perler’s idea booklet call for a square board, we improvised with the hexagonal one and weren’t disappointed at all! It took a little while to make sure both the note-heads were proportional, but in the end we were quite pleased.


That Prudence – always thinking! She suggested that the music note might be slightly less stable than the bear when ironed, and that it might need a bit of support, and with what better shape than a peacock-green heart! We knew Mira would quite literally love it.

As Kath went to iron our designs, we broke for a bagel, then started in on the bracelets. Continuing with the lime and turquoise, we interspersed the Perler beads with some faux pearls and strung a small red coil across the middle. We measured our own wrists to determine how tight Patricia’s should be, and Kath followed suit for Mira’s, though since the cord we used was elastic, the difference wasn’t that much.


The wearied but content beaders and their finished products! We drew and wrote a kind note in silver Sharpie on each of the bags for an extra touch.


For any and all curious, I briefly took out Patricia’s bracelet to model it. We really hoped she was close to our size, as our measurements were spot-on!

You Should Be Triply Gratified


Depending largely on what you think of my frequent blogging propensity as of late, you guys are in for a treat:  I’ve decided to try my best to tackle three worthy, photo-filled updates in a morning! It’s admittedly a bit of an undertaking given the amount of time I’ve spent before on just one, but since Kath and I have returned victoriously from the hospital on Wednesday, we’ve both been filled with such positive vibes that we really want to share.

On Friday, I was headed back to Nashville with the family for Kath’s second treatment of some really potent stuff to which we’ve been attributing so much of her recent positivity. This wasn’t at the main Vanderbilt clinic, but at their offshoot in the old 100 Oaks mall building (built in 1967, it was the first in the state!), so our immediate surroundings consisted of a TJ Maxx, a Michaels (I’ve been wanting to peek in at their new autumn stuff for some time), and a few other such places.

One of the advantages of locating a hospital in a mall building? Easy access to edibles, of course! I had always wanted to try a bagel from the small chain Einstein Bros, so imagine my delight when we reached the top of the escalator and found a kiosk! Mine was cinnamon-raisin with just the right amount of cream cheese, along with some milk from Nashville’s area dairy. I thankfully finished just in time for Kath’s appointment, but Kath and her mom were forced to finish their mouthfuls and surrender the rest of the doughy goodness to her dad while he waited outside.



The nurses on call for Kath’s treatment were as cordial as ever and made us all feel somewhat at home with blankets, snacks, and TV. She, her mom, and I were able to wind down while we flipped through the channels and munched some mini Lorna Doone shortbread cookies. The treatment itself (about two hours) left Kath feeling quite pleasantly energized, and we finished just in time to have the slightest edge over the lunch crowd at the local Rafferty’s – another chain I’d been meaning to try.


Kath couldn’t believe it when she saw our waiter reaching for a kids’ menu and crayons for her as he prepared to seat us! In her dad’s sage words, “the rabbit” (I have a name, you know!) probably didn’t help matters any concerning his evaluation of her maturity. Ah, well. I was able to find a slightly more comfortable seat against the wall this time, and by the time our food came, I was thankfully enough out of the way to remain on the table and join in the conversation.


In the meantime, though, I thought I’d take advantage of the waiter’s youthful gesture and try my paw at a placemat signature. I must admit, I’m beginning to develop a way of making myself known when out and about.



“Emmi the Great [no relation to the indie-pop chanteuse who spells hers with a “Y”] was here!” Not exactly a John Hancock, but I think it gets the point across. I’m getting better with my bunny caricatures, too! Prudence is always fussing that I’m by far the better artist, but hers aren’t bad either.

For the rest of the day, I generally relaxed and read. Tomorrow would mark our lunch date with Kath’s kindred spirit Mira and her ursine companion, Patricia Bear. Little would they know that Kath and I had a surprise in store for them – handmade beaded bracelets and Perler-bead coaster charms! We decided we’d get up early the next morning to start on the gifts.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tube-free Is the Way to Be!


Nearly all day yesterday found Kath, her parents, and me back at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville to (among other things) determine once and for all whether Kath’s bulky surgical apparatus was still necessary or in need of replacement. Of course, we were all desperately hoping against it, because she’s been so much enjoying her (and my) freedom to be out and about without having to worry about the tube being in the way. Since I knew we’d be sequestered about the hospital for the majority of the day, I thought I’d take the opportunity to get in some shots of the surroundings that were feeling more like “home” all the time. I loved this view from the waiting-room window of the little pavilion and fountain below.


None of us had the slightest idea of how long we would have to wait yesterday! Fortunately, Kath came prepared with my tote and a few things to keep us occupied, like a notebook of suggestions for regular features on the blog that I might consider trying. She’s suggested that when funds are a bit more in order, the gang and I should become frequent buyers and reviewers of things like bunny-sized clothing and furniture, posting our evaluations. Though I’m still a bit iffy on whether I’d ever like to have guest posts, her idea seemed one to take into consideration. I could always do some more shopping, and it might even be helpful to others in the Build-A-Bear size range.


When we were finally taken back for the consultation, little did any of us know the doctor would keep us waiting an hour and a half! There were fortunately several different things to keep me occupied in his office, like this monitor displaying examples of what medical terminology should and shouldn’t generally be used. I was able to take in quite a bit, should I ever be faced with the chance to flaunt my knowledge of radiology lingo. For those who can’t see, the white print reads, “Do not use ‘Q.D.’; instead use ‘every day’ or ‘daily.’” Must have had something to do with how often people were to take their prescriptions.


We all laughingly agreed that the next drawer must have been for the dirty ones.


The first shot of my new transport pod, just for posterity. It really is quite roomy, and sitting against the smaller side allows me a great view of everything we pass when Kath is carrying me. It’s a great way to people-watch.


As a special treat (though a bit unfortunate, because she wasn’t the most comfortable in the world when it was taken), I finally have a picture of Kath and me together to show you guys! She was a bit out-of-sorts about my posting this, because she says her hair could’ve looked better, but she finally consented. Here we are with the two nurses who helped us most notably, Collin and Barbara. Barbara and another nurse, Michelle, remembered me from the previous two times and agreed that since they had started the “tradition” of equipping me for the surgery, they had to once again follow through. Kath helped me adjust the hat and mask, and soon we were both set (albeit after having waited another three hours) to head into the operating room.


When Collin and another nurse wheeled us to the operating room, the ride was admittedly a little bumpy, and a couple of times he commented that the bed was harder than usual to maneuver. I guess there’s some comfort in knowing that the people caring for you share in your uneasiness and care enough to be concerned. I held really tightly to the rail all throughout and was quite relieved (at least momentarily) when we had reached the room.

In the operating room, we were greeted by three more nurses named Christie, Chrissie (who commented that if Kath called for either her or the former, both would most likely come running), and Valerie. Their job for the next hour was to assist the doctor in attempting to thread a wire into Kath’s problem area (again, not meaning to gross anyone out) to determine whether she still needed the tube. I kept constant vigil from the seat they had provided me, and while I can’t say I was particularly moved by anything I saw, I realized what finesse their job requires and appreciated their attention to each detail.

As the examination was winding down, I was the first to overhear the doctors discussing that Kath no longer needed the tube! I could feel my little satin heart racing and wished I could run right over to Kath right then, kindly slap her into consciousness, and tell her the news.


Here we are almost immediately after the procedure – still a little groggy, but all smiles and ready to slip back into the world! Since Kath’s dad was with us and his birthday had been a few days earlier, we were able to celebrate on multiple levels with a stop at Middle Tennessee’s finest counter-service Mexican eatery – Blue Coast Burrito – for some takeout. We hadn’t eaten since breakfast, so a ten-inch tortilla with grilled chicken, rice, and the works was just what the doctor (though I doubt from Vanderbilt) had ordered.


Everyone dug in when we reached Kath’s dad’s house! I must say that while I was thrilled to join the family for dinner, my seating arrangement could’ve done with a bit more planning. I’ve heard about the doll-and-medium-plush-sized “Treat Seats” that American Girl has offered in the past, and I’m beginning to think a secondhand one might be a worthwhile investment, though there’s still the issue of having to tote it around. Maybe they’re collapsible. If not, I now know of a great project to start should Kath and I take up woodworking!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quick Morning Check-In


After a moderately full day yesterday, I’m feeling refreshed from a good night’s sleep and ready to accompany Kath back to the hospital bright and early! Since I’ll most likely be about that business all day, I thought I’d take this morning to check in and report on yesterday’s escapades. I apologize to anyone if I seem to be overdoing it a bit lately with posts, comments, and Facebook activity, but I’m just so thrilled to be able to have correspondence with you guys and share in your fun times while describing mine as best I can. You guys are the best!

Yesterday for me began on an inspiring note when I read Will’s suggestion that after my experience at the restaurant, I should invest in some blogging business cards to hand out to the people we meet. For his own (and Gage the bunny’s before him), he and Wendy seemed to sing the praises of a service called Vistaprint. I poked around their site a bit, as well as that of another popular service called Moo, and am now highly considering having some cards made with my picture and a bit about the blog. I love the compact design of Moo’s mini-cards, and since the price is quite reasonable for a pack of 100, they might seem a good fit.


Though I didn’t make it out of the car again (but Kath remembered my tote this time, so that’s something!), I went with the family back into town to Target (my preference over Walmart any day) to exchange their defective toaster oven and buy Kath’s dad a new wallet for his birthday. Little did I know that my wardrobe would be in for a surprise, because in one of the dollar bins Kath found a baby’s T-shirt that could pass as a fun nightgown for me! I don’t think it’s babyish at all, though I will admit that it might be more fitting were I some kind of feline.

The evening concluded on a tasty note with a fresh bowl of instant cheesecake pudding! It was admittedly a little rich for me, but at least I can say I’ve tried it now.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Original “Steakbunny” (and Her Awkwardness with Hats)


Lame entry title? Presumably. Lame evening out with the family? Most definitely not.

This pleasantly summery late Monday afternoon found the four of us – Kath, her mom and grandma, and myself – headed out a tinge further than our typical Athens whereabouts, because the family had to tend to a few articles of business in the nearby semi-metropolis of Huntsville. It’s home to a Space and Rocket Center, several interesting museums, and of course, the beloved Parkway Place Mall housing the local Build-A-Bear Workshop (and much of my clothes fund).

The first order of business was to the quaint strip known as Providence, to arrange a discussion between Kath and a certain professional she’d been meaning to meet for a while. On the drive over, Kath seemed particularly excited and was glad I could be along, but couldn’t help but think she had forgotten something of significance to the trip. After a while, she realized she’d left the Barnes & Noble canvas tote (acquired on a recent trip) that she had ruled a sufficient carrier for me when we went out. With only slight regret for not having double-checked before leaving the house, the matter was soon dismissed, but her mom ultimately convinced her that I’d be all right staying in the car for an hour.

Sit it out I did, but fortunately in the company of my notebook and the novel I’m working on finishing. Within what seemed like minutes, my biped was bounding out to the car, spouting all manner of positivity and half-urging me to keep up the good work blogging, because the lady seemed extremely interested in me when mentioned. She had apparently even ruled that it wouldn’t be a proper second meeting unless I came with! I couldn’t believe it – another prospective supporter!


When the question of a celebratory dinner arose, we unanimously chimed from the backseat, “Steak ‘n Shake!” Despite that we were right by a regional pizza joint Kath had been wanting to try, nothing at the time seemed to say “here’s to us” like a mouthwatering grilled chicken melt washed down with a thick peach milkshake and a bite of all-American apple pie. Now over her regret of having left my tote at home, Kath took a bit of a stand and insisted that I join everyone inside the restaurant – and bunny forbid, I am nothing short of glad she did!

Marvelous food! As evidenced by our battle-scarred napkins after the main course, none of us had the slightest complaint or felt at all picky. Marvelous company! I had forgotten how much fun Kath’s mom and grandma were to be around, and they kept cracking us all up over the most seemingly trifling things.

About when we decided we definitely couldn’t go without dessert (the place has “Shake” in its name; who couldn’t?!), Kath started picking up on how some of the kids in the restaurant were wearing their trademark paper S-‘n-S hats – and realized that she’d help me put mine on completely sideways! We both only assumed the slogan was intended to be in front until Kath lifted the hat and saw where the front and back were labeled. It was pretty embarrassing, considering that the correct positioning was apparently so commonly known, but I can see how it might be easy to overlook.


Much better! It was about this time that I was in for the biggest surprise of the evening: the restaurant manager walked all the way across from where he was to talk to the family about me! He asked my name, complimented me on sitting up and wearing the hat so proudly (thank goodness we noticed when we did!), then explained that his five-year-old daughter’s most beloved stuffie just happened to be another BABW Tan Swirl Bunny by the name of Fluffy! What a small world, I thought! He was extremely cordial all throughout, no denying, and I felt so accomplished that I had been able to impress two complete strangers in an evening!

When he was on his way back, I told Kath that perhaps his daughter (or even Fluffy) would be interested in reading up on the whereabouts of a certain little tan hare in the area, and jotting the blog’s name and web address on her one remaining clean napkin, she was able to be my messenger once again. The gentleman told us the little girl would be home from her grandparents’ in the morning and would most likely visit as soon as possible! If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I just might be getting better with kids after all!


So if any of you stuffies are within reasonable proximity of a Steak ‘n Shake, I’ve become highly convinced that you should at least stop by and see who you might meet. It’s definitely worth a shot, and the menu doesn’t hurt matters either. And I’ll close on the rule-of-thumb that if the paper hat fits, by all means, wear it!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Not-Entirely-Downer Sunday

I have a bizarre feeling this post may turn out to be my first in the “filler” category for its complete lack of photos, but since I primarily used today to rest, I’m feeling refreshed and already set to blog again. I considered compiling a “to-do” list this morning for things I wanted to accomplish (a new habit I’m trying to pick up on), but really couldn’t foresee much activity in the day and thus few things to feel accomplished about. I ultimately decided to spend the day reading ahead in Sense and Sensibility, breaking as necessary to leave comments on friends’ blogs (had today not seemed lazy for my blog-feed as well).

Not to flaunt, but as at least a shocking fourteen of you have noticed, I’m now the proud owner of a Facebook page that links here and vice-versa. Will the Wombat, his human Wendy, and a few of their acquaintances have so kindly stopped by to welcome me and encourage me to keep up what I’m doing. From one of my new friends, Carrie, I learned that my blog has now been made available to some presumably stuffie-loving kids. I had been telling her that while I’m not exactly the best with the younger crowd (as my good friend and neighbor, Chalcie the leopard, is), I’m working toward becoming more personable with folks of all ages. I’m hoping that through both the Internet and any recent travels I may take, my people-skills will begin to shine a bit more.

Today Kath came to me with some news that put a considerable damper on my morning: she was planning to surprise me by taking me with her and some friends to the little bowling alley we have in Athens, but the plan fell through because one of the trip organizers suddenly fell ill to something strange. The group has decided, however, to postpone the trip exactly a week, assuming the one lady will have recovered somewhat. First Kath’s own complications, and now this, I thought! A traveling bunny can’t live at the mercy of sick people forever!

Still, I tried to maintain a glimmer of hope by picturing myself scattering some pins with Kath a week from now. I hear the bowling alley offers the typical fare of hot dogs (I can never find myself saying “frankfurters”) and nachos, and should Kath’s complications keep her on the sidelines, there’s a small selection of arcade games. It really seems like sort of a neat place to hang out and relieve any possible frustration. Have any of you stuffies bowled, perchance? I might get into the mood a little more easily knowing your own experiences.

All disappointment aside, the evening concluded on a positive note: Kath’s mom returned from the grocery store with all the necessities and then some (my favorite cranberry cocktail, animal crackers, and Twizzlers, to name a few), then the family all collapsed in the den to watch the new ABC Family made-for-TV movie Revenge of the Bridesmaids. Neither Kath nor I would exactly call ourselves chick-flick-goers, but it was honestly pretty alleviating to laugh at something with a simple plot and high predictability. I invited Prudence and Bean in about fifteen minutes into, and we all got to cut up watching the three main characters trash their childhood friend’s wedding. Sometimes it’s just plain good to laugh at things like that, I suppose.

I have absolutely no idea what’s in line for tomorrow, but I’d love to continue being able to post as often as I’ve been recently. Maybe as things pick up, I’ll work up to getting in more exciting posts. Right now, I’m just thankful to already have so many friends and supporters online and off, and I look forward to getting to know some of you better.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Taking It Easy


Sorry to say, it seems I’m adding once again to a series of photo posts from the confines of the bedroom floor. For whatever reason, there just haven’t been opportunities (outside of Kath’s commute to and from the hospital in Tennessee) to get out and explore the world as of late. Tell me, are not things such as friendly get-togethers, long drives to nowhere in particular, and evening strolls up and down the square; the stuff of which summer is made? I’ve always assumed so, but under the circumstances I’ve been inclined to think differently.

We’ve at least had some excitement at home earlier today, when Kath’s surgical apparatus suddenly dislodged itself into her hand while she was tending to it. She’s called the doctors and has been assured not to worry until her appointment on Wednesday, but her mom advised her to take things relatively easy for a while. I’ve been enjoying her company in the living room, listening to her read Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility aloud (despite that one of the main characters is named Elinor, and that I couldn’t help but be reminded of yesterday each time Kath mentioned her).


I also finally found time today to kick back on the bed and listen to Kath’s MP3 player that she so generously let me borrow. Our combined musical tastes are all over the map, but they fortunately overlap enough that we can listen to the same artists with minimal fuss. Her current selection covers quite a variety of eras, artists, and styles, from old-school female vocalists like Kate Bush and Marianne Faithfull, to indie experimentalists like Woods and Mumford & Sons.


While I do enjoy the “shuffle” feature as much as the next person, I’ve found myself gravitating more and more toward one particular album: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros’ Up from Below. They may have only released it a little less than a year ago, but it seems their songs – you might be familiar with “Home” – have been spreading like wildfire across radio and TV. I love their “hippie-hipster” vibe and Gypsy overtones, and if Kath and I are lucky, we might be able to catch them live the next time they come to Nashville!


I know I’ve mentioned my brother Rhett Jasper on the blog earlier and alluded that he ran his own business, so imagine my surprise when I caught him meandering by Parsnip during his off-hours; I figured it would be as good a time as ever to introduce him. Rhett has always been the “golden child” of the family. He’s considerate and compassionate beyond words, and he has a knack for determining what others really need and seeing to it that those needs are met. But he’s also really fun-loving and wouldn’t pass up a chance to have a good time with friends, which is what makes his event planning business a perfect fit. To be specific, he’s the chairman of Hop, Skip and Jump Party Planners, Inc., a small enterprise with its branch currently located just outside our window. He and Elinor are already becoming quite popular among their selective clients, and I’m always happy to do my part by helping spread the word.


The pastime Rhett has always wanted to pursue in his spare time is recreational sailing, and though he hasn’t investigated any local opportunities as of late, he’s already dressing the part. He’ll sometimes even refer to the cardinal directions as “port”, “starboard”, and so on out of habit, which can quickly leave any non-boater in the dust. But generally speaking, we get along quite well for siblings two years apart, and I’m all for anything that would make him happy.


I made small talk with Rhett for several minutes over my music (fortunately, he speaks with such clarity that I don’t need to turn the volume down) before he went back to the grind for the evening. He always seems so cheerful, and it kind of makes me wonder exactly what about being stuffed in a cubicle outside the house all day brings him such joy. Then again, I’ve never been one to “whistle while I worked”, but I know that in the end satisfaction will come when a person applies himself – especially if the job is one you’re passionate about. I guess it’s okay to say that when Rhett’s happy, so am I.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lessons from Miss Manners


Pick a card – any card!

Since she’s practically become a full-time patient, Kath’s mailbag has been filling up with all manner of concerning messages and tokens of sympathy from family and friends. She had quickly become lost in everyone’s kindness, so she enlisted me as personal card manager and reminded me to stay on her about returning the favor. She said that some of the greetings were actually from folks she wasn’t overly familiar with, such as her mom’s students and coworkers, and that she may need some help finding the right words to address them back. I wanted to be of assistance, so this afternoon I took matters into my own paws and pored over her stash to get ideas.


As I was becoming situated in the floor with my materials, who should wander by but Elinor, business secretary and close mate to my brother Rhett. She lives at Parsnip as well, but her work usually keeps her relatively tied over, sometimes to the point that we only see her for lunch. She had finished sorting through her papers ahead of time today and was running a quick errand to fetch Rhett some office supplies (something we never seem to have a shortage of in the back bedroom). When she saw me surrounded by Kath’s cards, she began to think they were mine and wondered how she wasn’t aware I was ill. I assured her that I was fine, then coaxed her out from under her proverbial rock to help me think of some thoughtful replies.


Elinor seemed a bit shocked at first that with my sensibility, I couldn’t come up with any wording on my own, but sat down momentarily and began offering advice. In between her suggestions (some of which I imagined would be a bit too pithy for Kath’s taste), I noticed that she was eyeing me somewhat bizarrely. Thinking something about my appearance might have seemed out of place, I asked her what was wrong. She replied that nothing was, but that she had been meaning to ask me a personal question and was hoping I wouldn’t mind.

I told her to go ahead and shoot, and what followed was something that’ll probably have my head spinning for days: “Miss Emmi, how would you evaluate your manners lately?” I didn’t know quite how to respond, particularly because my head was still swimming with images of Kath using Elinor’s words in her thank-you notes, but at the time I thought the question a little impersonal in itself – even for someone as proper as Elinor.


Toying with an iTunes card one of Kath’s aunts had sent, I asked her to elaborate on what she meant, and did she ever:  how I greeted people on my travels; how I greeted people (read: Rhett) at home; even things like how I positioned my feet under the table when I ate. I resolutely told her that without boasting, I considered myself friendly, courteous, and ladylike (yeah, right) most of the time, and that I felt especially so since starting my blog and leaving comments as often as I could. She sighed and shook her head a little, then motioned to the card in my lap.


She said something to the effect of, “You’re Kath’s muse; are you not? Part of the privilege of being a muse is getting to set examples. That aunt went out of her way to send that card, and if Kath hasn’t acknowledged her kindness yet, you be the one to step in and tell her to make that thank-you call.” Well, pardon me. My biped has usually been busy either tending to her medical apparatus or reading her summer books for school, and she only brought the whole card thing to my attention today anyway. And becoming a bit more assertive, I politely told her to gather the supplies Rhett needed and be on her way.


Strange, strange bird. She was a little miffed that I was so blatantly dismissing her help, but she found what she needed and was out the door within five minutes. Before she left, I had one last criterion I wanted to bring to her attention. I normally wouldn’t do anything of the sort, but this time I couldn’t resist.


“Oh, Miss Elinor, how is my curtsy this afternoon?”


She wasn’t amused, and if I wasn’t mistaken, she looked as if she had been sharpening her talons. Maybe then would have been a good time to compliment her on how sleek they looked…

Oh, and in advance, a big thank-you goes out to Aunt Deborah and family for Kath’s fifteen new tunes! She will thoroughly enjoy them, I’m sure.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rumors and Radiology


From the feel of things this morning, it was starting to seem unlikely that we’d ever have air conditioning again. I was still thrilled to have gotten an earlier start, so I used the extra time to straighten things up once more, pausing to take in my handiwork. Not bad, if I do say so myself.


As promised in her note, Prudence was ready at the door with plenty of morning to spare. I knew I would have noticed if she had dropped by in the wee hours and gotten into bed, which she obviously didn’t, so I was innately curious as to how and where she spent the night. At first she seemed a bit hesitant to tell me and began to ramble on about the weather and such (in true Prudence fashion), and I had to stay on her for a considerable while before she finally let me know. She explained that while she was out, she came across a few well-meaning neighborhood stuffies promoting their recently opened bed-and-breakfast and soup kitchen a few blocks down from Parsnip. She signed up to volunteer, and the owners happened to be so gracious as to let her stay and test out the facilities for herself.

From that point, she couldn’t stop raving about the orderliness of the place, the kindness of the staff and customers, and the variety of the food. Nonetheless, I was a bit skeptical; I didn’t think stuffies that hospitable would consider setting up shop in this part of town. I wanted to be sure she wasn’t over-exaggerating (another Prudence-ism, as luck would have it) to make me feel less concerned about her leaving, so I made a point to her to show me the place the next time we went out, and she agreed.


I may not know quite what goes through Prudence’s head all the time, as she’s only been my roommate since April, but she’s begun to impress me as the kind who might fall for rumors – perhaps that some things aren’t exactly what they are made out to be. Still, I feel that I can trust her with things that matter, and I’m hoping I can believe everything she’s told me about this supposedly new place in town.

But I didn’t have long to ponder it, because there was a hospital date to make!

Some time ago, my biped companion Katherine was diagnosed as having intestinal irregularities - I don’t mean to gross anyone out, but it’s just the fact – and I’ve been accompanying her to the hospital in Nashville for a few trips, offering what guidance I can. Things have been relatively hard for Kath recently, as some of the doctors have had to affix a thick, clunky tube to the problem area on her lower right side, supposedly draining out the bad stuff. I can easily see how she’s so uncomfortable. Fortunately, we’ve made a pretty good team in the past when she’s had to have operation, and I was once again willing to help out.

We didn’t have the chance to make any pictures inside the hospital, but it was probably for the better; the doctors really seemed on top of things and I wouldn’t have wanted to hamper their smooth progress. The nurses in the radiology department (where we were) were extremely personable today, and most of them remembered me from previous times. One nurse made a special note of my name, another was impressed that I had a blog, and a few even complimented my outfit! It was a good sign.

I wasn’t able to constantly stay beside Kath during the procedure, but the doctors on call still respected my presence and allowed me a seat nearby. After watching the entire procedure and trying to brace myself during the “scary” parts, I couldn’t decide which of us had emerged the braver.



As the doctors were finishing up, one of the nurses decided to humor me (or maybe Kath) by equipping me with a medical cap and oxygen mask just like Kath’s! She mentioned something about my being able to say that we both went through the surgery. I’m not entirely sure whether that was a gesture of sympathy, but at least I received a new partial costume out of the deal. After all, you never know when you’ll need to masquerade as a radiology patient.

A safe journey home was had by all, and what a relief it was to find the thermostat sitting at a comfortable 75 degrees! Maybe now I can actually sleep under my new comforter. I’m off to find out!