Very Mixed Emotions

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It’s just after midnight now and I’m shortly bound for bed.  I will be up at 9 o’clock to clean out the trunk/boot and the glove compartment, and the back seat foot well of the Crayola.  There will be things to put in the trash and things to bring inside and a nice zip case full of cassette tapes to offer for free on craigslist.  I am keeping the steering wheel cover.  I’m keeping Po and the back window decal.  I’ve already put the title and the extra keys in my purse.  I will try not to cry, but it will be hard.  I feel sad, apprehensive, and I don’t think I’ll be able to keep from feeling like a traitor when I drive it for the last time tomorrow.

IMG_1449The Crayola
May 20, 1987 – November 21, 2014
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Books Read in 2014

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100. The King of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief, Book 3), Turner, Megan Whalen
99. Vanished, Richardson, Kat
98. The Thirteenth Child, Wrede, Patricia
97. The Queen of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief, Book 2), Turner, Megan Whalen
96. The Thief (The Queen’s Thief, Book 1), Turner, Megan Whalen
95. The Face in the Frost, Bellars, John
94. The Pedant and the Shuffly, Bellairs, John
93. The Chrestomanci Chonicles I, Wynne Jones, Diana
92. House of Many Ways, Wynne Jones, Diana
91. Poltergeist, Richardson, Kat
90. Howl’s Moving Castle, Wynne Jones, Diana
89. Greywalker, Richardson, Kat
88. Frontier Wolf, Sutcliff, Rosemary
87. Dawn Wind, Sutcliff, Rosemary
86. Slow River, Griffith, Nicola
85. Ten Ever-lovin’ Blue-eyed Years with Pogo, Kelly, Walt (re-re-…re-reread)
84. Stay, Griffith, Nicola
83. The Return of Mr. Campion, Allingham, Margery
82. Traitor’s Purse: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
81. The Mind Readers: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
80. The Case of the Late Pig: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
79. The Witches of Karres, Schmitz, James H.
78. The Blue Place, Nicola Griffith
77. Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, Black, Holly
76. Meet Me in the Moon Room, Vukcevich, Ray
75. Kushiel’s Chosen, Carey, Jacqueline
74. The Golem and the Jinni, Wecker, Helene
73. Kushiel’s Dart, Carey, Jacqueline
72. Fearsome Journeys (The New Solaris Book of Fantasy 1), Bear, Elizabeth, et. al.
71. Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman
70. The Beckoning Lady, Allingham, Margery
69. Dancers in Mourning, Allingham, Margery
68. Sweet Danger, Allingham, Margery
67. Mystery Mile, Allingham, Margery
66. The Fashion in Shrouds, Allingham, Margery
65. Look to the Lady, Allingham, Margery
64. Mr. Campion’s Lucky Day and Other Short Stories, Allingham, Margery
63. More Work for the Undertaker, Allingham, Margery
62. Tiger in the Smoke, Allingham, Margery
61. Death of a Ghost, Allingham, Margery
60. Police at the Funeral, Allingham, Margery
59. Flowers for the Judge, Allingham, Margery
58. Pearls Before Swine, Allingham, Margery
57. Miss Buncle Married, Stevenson, D. E.
56. Miss Buncle’s Book, Stevenson, D. E.
55. Vampires in the Lemon Grove, (short story anthology),Russell, Karen
54. Troubled Waters, Shinn, Sharon
53. Wakulla Springs (Novella), Duncan Andy, Klages, Ellen
52. Sethra Lavode, Book 3 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
51. The Lord of Castle Black, Book 2 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
50. Peacemaker, Foreigner #15, Cherryh, C. J.
49. The Paths of the Dead, Book 1 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
48. The Manual of Detection, Berry, Jedediah
47. Summer at Fairacre. Book 2 of Fairacre Affairs, Read, Miss
46. Village Centenary, Book 1 of Fairacre Affairs, Read, Miss
45. Assassin’s Assistant, Hobb, Robin
44. No Holly For Miss Quinn, Book 3 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
43. The Christmas Mouse, Book 2 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
42. Village Christmas, Book 1 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
41. Life After Life, Atkinson, Kate
40. Storm in the Village, Book 3 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
39. Village Diary, Book 2 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
38. Village School, Book 1 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
37. *Shadow Magic, Wrede, Patricia
36. Harfang Book #1, Demilly, Aurore (graphic novel)
35. Iorich, Brust, Steven
34. Book of Enchantments, Wrede, Patricia
33. Cowboy Feng’s Space Bar and Grille, Brust, Steven
32. Jhegaala, Book 2 of The Book of Dzur, Brust, Steven
31. Dzur, Book 1 of The Book of Dzur, Brust, Steven
30. Tiassa, Brust, Steven
29. Issola, Book 2 of The Book of Dragon, Steven Brust
28. Dragon, Book 1 of The Book of Dragon, Brust, Steven
27. Orca, Book 2 of The Book of Athyra, Brust, Steven
26. Athyra, Book 1 of The Book of Athyra, Brust, Steven
25. Phoenix, Book 2 of The Book of Taltos, Brust, Steven
24. Taltos, Book 1 of The Book of Taltos, Brust, Steven
23. Sector General, White, James
22. Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, Watson, Winifred
21. Tekla, Book 3 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
20. Yendi, Book 2 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
19. Jhereg, Book 1 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
18. Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, Cliff, Tony (graphic novel)
17. By Blood We Live, Adams, John Joseph, editor
16. The Tenth Gift, Johnson, Jane
15. *The Birthday of the World, LeGuin, Ursula
14. The Lantern Bearers, Sutclif, Rosemary
13. The Silver Branch, Sutcliff, Rosemary
12. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Gaiman, Neil
11. The Eagle of the Ninth, Sutcliff, Rosemary
10. A Phantom Lover, Lee, Vernon
9. Talking to Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles IV, Wrede, Patricia
8. Searching for Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles III, Wrede, Patricia
7. Dealing with Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles II, Wrede, Patricia
6. Calling on Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles I, Wrede, Patricia
5. Sharaz-de: Tales from the Arabian Nights, Toppi, Sergio (graphic novel)
4. *Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, Allen, Mike, editor
3. *The Day They Brought the Bears to Belfast, Lee, Sharon (short story)
2. *Surfside, Lee, Sharon (short story)
1. *Life in a Tudor Palace, Gidlow, Christopher

*ebook

I’m Just an Owl in a Lark World

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Burrowing-Owl-ChloeToday is a “hang day” — which means I’ll be staying up way past my bedtime in order to jicky my sleep cycle around so I can get up at 8 a.m. tomorrow to make a 9 a.m. VA appointment and then get up at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday to pick up my mom at 5:30 a.m. and get her to Covenant Hospital by 6 a.m. so we can wait around half the day for her to have an upper endoscopy.  (Been there, done that, four or five times already, and have been clued that I should bring a book and a bottle of liquid refreshment. . .)

Nobody thinks it’s weird for people to go to bed at 10 or 11 o’clock at night and get up at 7 or 8 o’clock in the morning to go to a 9 to 5 day job.  It’s perfectly reasonable to want to go to work fresh and well-rested.  But somehow people think it’s weird for you to want to go to sleep at 6 a.m. and sleep until 2:30 p.m. so you can go to work fresh and well rested at 3 p.m. and work until midnight.  I’ve learned over the years that I’m fighting an uphill battle.  If somebody was expected to show up for a doctor’s appointment (at the VA) at 3 o’clock in the morning, they’d get pretty indignant about it, but it’s somehow all right to expect me to do the equivalent . . . .  I’m pretty much a natural night owl.  If left to my own devices, I would get up in the afternoon and stay up most of the night.   The different drum I march to is perforce muffled, because I’m marching when most people are sleeping . . .

2014-11-17-04Weatherwise, it’s 19F/-7.22C, at just after 9 a.m., according to my weather widget.  If it’s going to make it to a high of 40F/4.44C, it had better get a move on . . .  In the meantime, it’s a mostly sunny day.

Earlier, I poked my head out to take a look around and see what could be seen.  You will notice at left that somebody has already left for work.  2014-11-17-03
2014-11-17-02Some of the local wildlife is already out and about.  See if you can spot one of our habitues in the above photo.  No?  Here’s a clue in “black and white” at right.

Somebody left a box of something, probably pizza or a similarly containerized  comestible, in the parking lot and our resident grackle contingent are making out like bandits. I did a video of them, but after previewing it, I’ve realized I’m never going to make it as a steadycam photographer.  You’ll be glad I realized the video is too vertiginous to post here.  However, here’s a still.  The male is the large and splendidly black one.  2014-11-17-05

2014-11-17-01While I’m up, I think I’m going to try starting on the vest I’m knitting for my mom and maybe watch some TV later.  I recorded the Rosetta – Philae comet landing thing, but haven’t watched it yet.  I’m sure there’s other stuff that’s been recorded but not yet watched.

While usually, when I settle down to knit, the kitties find a place near by and settle down to nap, there have been several “incidents” when I have gotten unsolicited “help” from the more hirsute members of the  escadrille . . . whether I wanted it or not.e9c92-9chickweedlanesoulangeandthestring
© Brooke McEldowney, “9 Chickweed Lane
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© Darby Conley, “Get Fuzzy”

The above comic reminded me of the other day when the waste management truck “dropped*” the dumpster which is less than 50 feet from my bedroom.   We had kitties bailing out of the bed right and left. The cat in “Get Fuzzy” is named Bucky, and Conley has perfectly captured that vocal mixture of egotism and obnoxiousness that is the hallmark of the Siamese.   (I speak from 16 years of experience. The white cat is half Siamese — the wrong half.Get Fuzzy Food oclock)

 

*The truck can’t actually drop the dumpster, but the operator can set it down a lot harder than it needs to be set down at seven cotton-picking o’clock in the morning, already.

The Prediction Was Correct

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IMG_1883This was my weather widget at 2:30 this afternoon.  It was entirely accurate.  The north wind had blowed and we have got snowed.  Our predicted low tonight was 19F/-7.22C at right now it’s 18F/-7.77.  It stopped snowing a while ago, but with the undercoating of sleet and the fact that there has been no melting at all, we’ve got enough on the streets now that it’s going to be demolition derby day tomorrow for the driving to work crowd.  On days like today, I am very thankful I work from home.

2014_11_16-01Mom called from church at noon and said her windshield was iced and it was sprinkling sleet.  We decided to go out to eat anyway.   I had coupons for The Cotton Patch and we decided to go there.  Poor decision, as it happens, because we had about a 10-minute wait to be seated.  (The crowd that doesn’t go to church was there early to beat the after-church crowd. . .).  By then it was sprinkling snow flakes rather than sleet, and it was cold enough to start sticking.  While we were snarfing up a delicious salad, steak and baked potatoes, it began to snow in earnest.  We had already decided it was just too darn cold to go to the cemetery, 2014_11_16-04but up until that point, my mom was going to come in and scope out my apartment.  (She has only been here once for a cursory glance round shortly after I moved here this past May.  That was back when dad was still alive and she didn’t dare stay more than a minute or two.)  That plan was scotched as well.

This afternoon while I was working, I heard the kids playing in the snow.  Maybe they’ll luck out and get a snow day tomorrow . . . and raise a ruckus while I’m trying to sleep in tomorrow. . .

The drivers here are terrible, even under ideal road conditions.  They skid all over the place when it rains, so you can bet there will be traffic accidents galore because of this little dusting of snow (we got a lot less than an inch).  It’ll probably all melt off tomorrow, but for now, I wouldn’t be on the city streets during tomorrow morning’s rush hour for anything less than four figure$.

I am reminded again that we do not have covered parking here.   The Crayola has ice on all its windows.  (Those dark boxy things in the lower right corner are the air conditioning units for my apartment and the one upstairs.)

2014_11_16-05Mother has said several times that she was worried about me driving such an old car (it’s a 1987 — you do the math. . .).  She has made noises to that effect for a while now, such as thinking about getting herself a new car and giving me her little red Mazda that’s only 8 or 9 years old (see above with my footprints leading up from where it was parked while I got out).  I’ve had such obvious good luck with Toyotas, I really would like another Toyota Corolla, but I wouldn’t look a gift car in the mouth, so to speak.  She told me today at lunch that she had finally accomplished the stock transfer from their name to hers (nothing is ever simple) and that hopefully, she will get the money from the life insurance policy Dad had through his work by the end of this month, as she is really hoping to get what money is coming to her, and everything they held jointly put in her name during this tax year while Dad’s three tax exemptions still apply.  Then, a sentence or two later, she casually asked me what new Toyotas cost . . . watch this space!

 

 

The Year of Firsts Without

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When one loses a loved one is when it begins, the Year of Firsts Without — a year’s worth of important dates that are each in turn the first time the anniversary of something important is commemorated without that loved one being present to help celebrate it.  They are, as the late John Lennon called them in one of his books, “Red Lettuce Days” (Red Letter Days).  Our Year of Firsts Without started with my mother’s 90th birthday, which was the day after my dad died.  November 16th, is another one.  Tomorrow would have been my parents’ 68th wedding anniversary.  Looming ahead are Thanksgiving and Christmas, two holidays when families traditionally gather to celebrate together.  These special days had already become problematic because my parents had outlived so many of those long-time friends who would have helped them celebrate, and of those few remaining, most had moved away to live closer to their married children.  (I am reminded of the Bette Davis quotation, “Old age is no place for sissies.”)

My mom and I have planned to visit the cemetery together tomorrow, our first visit since the funeral.  The VA is supposed to provide his grave marker.  There is a lady at the funeral home whose job it is to coordinate that service.  She warned us it would take “two or three months” for it to arrive and be put on my dad’s grave.  One would assume she would contact us when it has arrived.  We have not heard from her, so we don’t know whether there will be a grave marker or not.

It may seem callous that neither mother nor I have been to the grave site in the nearly two months since my dad died.  Personally, I perfectly understand why what is put in the grave is referred to as “the remains,” — they are what remains after the person you knew and love has gone off and left them — departed, as it were.  I’m supposed to believe in the resurrection of the body.  It’s not something I particularly need to believe.  It wasn’t the body I loved, anyway, it was the man that inhabited it.  As far as I’m concerned, what was put into the ground on September 25th was a box of metaphorical 92-year-old clothes.  He is not there.*

When he left this world, he had people he loved and people who loved him who where there to say, “Goodbye.”  That, to me, is the hallmark of a successful life:  Leaving behind people who are sad to see you go.  People who will miss you.  If you have that, you’ve done all right.

The day we buried him, it was raining intermittently up until it was time for the grave side service, at which point the clouds parted and the sun came out.  Does anybody not see the irony in the fact that we are predicted to have snow tomorrow? Our high today was 71F/21.6C.  The predicted high for tomorrow is 30F/-1.1C.  We don’t have snow all that often here.  Wouldn’t you know.

Just to make things totally weird, I woke up this morning from a dream about the late Diana, Princess of Wales.  People had started giving her elephant figurines, and I was a police woman tasked with organizing them.  I was supposed to tell her that the reason people were giving her the figurines was because elephants never forget, and they were to remind her that even though her husband didn’t love her anymore, the people still did and would never forget her.

And while we’re having a non sequitur, here’s another one.  I always have trouble remembering how to spell the word “weird” — because “I” before “E” except after “C,” or unless it sounds “AY” as in “neighbor” and “weight,” — or unless it’s “weird.**”

 

*Matthew 28:1-6.
**English is an exceptional language.  In English, the exceptions to the exceptions to the exceptions have exceptions (except when they don’t ). . . .

Books Read in 2014

Tags

98. The Thirteenth Child, Wrede, Patricia
97. The Queen of Attolia (The Queen’s Thief, Book 2), Turner, Megan Whalen
96. The Thief (The Queen’s Thief, Book 1), Turner, Megan Whalen
95. The Face in the Frost, Bellars, John
94. The Pedant and the Shuffly, Bellairs, John
93. The Chrestomanci Chonicles I, Wynne Jones, Diana
92. House of Many Ways, Wynne Jones, Diana
91. Poltergeist, Richardson, Kat
90. Howl’s Moving Castle, Wynne Jones, Diana
89. Greywalker, Richardson, Kat
88. Frontier Wolf, Sutcliff, Rosemary
87. Dawn Wind, Sutcliff, Rosemary
86. Slow River, Griffith, Nicola
85. Ten Ever-lovin’ Blue-eyed Years with Pogo, Kelly, Walt (re-re-…re-reread)
84. Stay, Griffith, Nicola
83. The Return of Mr. Campion, Allingham, Margery
82. Traitor’s Purse: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
81. The Mind Readers: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
80. The Case of the Late Pig: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
79. The Witches of Karres, Schmitz, James H.
78. The Blue Place, Griffith, Nicola
77. Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, Black, Holly
76. Meet Me in the Moon Room, Vukcevich, Ray
75. Kushiel’s Chosen, Carey, Jacqueline
74. The Golem and the Jinni, Wecker, Helene
73. Kushiel’s Dart, Carey, Jacqueline
72. Fearsome Journeys (The New Solaris Book of Fantasy 1), Bear, Elizabeth, et. al.
71. Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman
70. The Beckoning Lady: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
69. Dancers in Mourning: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
68. Sweet Danger: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
67. Mystery Mile: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
66. The Fashion in Shrouds: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
65. Look to the Lady: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
64. Mr. Campion’s Lucky Day and Other Short Stories, Allingham, Margery
63. More Work for the Undertaker: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
62. Tiger in the Smoke: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
61. Death of a Ghost: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
60. Police at the Funeral: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
59. Flowers for the Judge: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
58. Pearls Before Swine: Albert Campion Mystery, Allingham, Margery
57. Miss Buncle Married, Stevenson, D. E.
56. Miss Buncle’s Book, Stevenson, D. E.
55. Vampires in the Lemon Grove, (short story anthology),Russell, Karen
54. Troubled Waters, Shinn, Sharon
53. Wakulla Springs (Novella), Duncan Andy, Klages, Ellen
52. Sethra Lavode, Book 3 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
51. The Lord of Castle Black, Book 2 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
50. Peacemaker, (Foreigner #15), Cherryh, C. J.
49. The Paths of the Dead, Book 1 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
48. The Manual of Detection, Berry, Jedediah
47. Summer at Fairacre. Book 2 of Fairacre Affairs, Read, Miss
46. Village Centenary, Book 1 of Fairacre Affairs, Read, Miss
45. Assassin’s Assistant, Hobb, Robin
44. No Holly For Miss Quinn, Book 3 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
43. The Christmas Mouse, Book 2 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
42. Village Christmas, Book 1 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
41. Life After Life, Atkinson, Kate
40. Storm in the Village, Book 3 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
39. Village Diary, Book 2 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
38. Village School, Book 1 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
37. *Shadow Magic, Wrede, Patricia
36. Harfang Book #1, Demilly, Aurore (graphic novel)
35. Iorich, Brust, Steven
34. Book of Enchantments, Wrede, Patricia
33. Cowboy Feng’s Space Bar and Grille, Brust, Steven
32. Jhegaala, Book 2 of The Book of Dzur, Brust, Steven
31. Dzur, Book 1 of The Book of Dzur, Brust, Steven
30. Tiassa, Brust, Steven
29. Issola, Book 2 of The Book of Dragon, Steven Brust
28. Dragon, Book 1 of The Book of Dragon, Brust, Steven
27. Orca, Book 2 of The Book of Athyra, Brust, Steven
26. Athyra, Book 1 of The Book of Athyra, Brust, Steven
25. Phoenix, Book 2 of The Book of Taltos, Brust, Steven
24. Taltos, Book 1 of The Book of Taltos, Brust, Steven
23. Sector General, White, James
22. Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, Watson, Winifred
21. Tekla, Book 3 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
20. Yendi, Book 2 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
19. Jhereg, Book 1 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
18. Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, Cliff, Tony (graphic novel)
17. By Blood We Live, Adams, John Joseph, editor
16. The Tenth Gift, Johnson, Jane
15. *The Birthday of the World, LeGuin, Ursula
14. The Lantern Bearers, Sutclif, Rosemary
13. The Silver Branch, Sutcliff, Rosemary
12. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Gaiman, Neil
11. The Eagle of the Ninth, Sutcliff, Rosemary
10. A Phantom Lover, Lee, Vernon
9. Talking to Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles IV, Wrede, Patricia
8. Searching for Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles III, Wrede, Patricia
7. Dealing with Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles II, Wrede, Patricia
6. Calling on Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles I, Wrede, Patricia
5. Sharaz-de: Tales from the Arabian Nights, Toppi, Sergio (graphic novel)
4. *Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, Allen, Mike, editor
3. *The Day They Brought the Bears to Belfast, Lee, Sharon (short story)
2. *Surfside, Lee, Sharon (short story)
1. *Life in a Tudor Palace, Gidlow, Christopher

*ebook

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

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According to my weather widget, it’s 18F/-7.7C.  Our predicted high for today is 31F/-0.5C.  We’re having a polar vortex — or it’s having us — I do wish the polar would keep its vortices to itself, but there it is.  I just made another carafe of Tazo Chai to which I am going to add some Creme Brulée flavored coffee creamer as soon as it has steeped sufficiently.

2014_11_12-02Monday, I did not get my draft dodgers made.  They are still not made.  I did do two loads of wash Tuesday and got them folded up or hung up as the case may be.  Beyond that, I was not motivated to do anything except lie in the bed and read.  One of the loads of clothes I did was the summer sheets and spread.  I folded those and put them away, and put the winter comforter on my bed (which matches my curtains), with the sheets that match.  I’m going to have to add a blanket as this comforter is not as heavy as the old red one, and consequently is not as warm.  I think I know where the waffle blanket is and I think I can get to it without an Act of Congress. In the meantime, the faux leopard print blanket has been kept in service.

I went to bed way early yesterday as I hadn’t slept well Tuesday night, woke up, lay in the bed and gulped down almost two thirds of Vanished by Kat Richardson, which is the fourth book in her “Greywalker” series.  Alas, I haven’t read book 3 yet.  Supposedly, you can read them out of order, but, oh, it disturbs my compulsive soul to do so . . . .

I did go to my knitting group Tuesday night.  One of the ladies wanted to know how to knit backwards, so I showed her.  Very useful if you’re doing a pattern in stockinette stitch and you hate purling.   LK, another of the ladies in the group, had called me earlier and asked me if I didn’t think the pattern for my Arrow Scarf could just be repeated multiple times to make an afghan, which it could, and would make a pretty one.  I wrote her up a pattern that just repeated the scarf pattern multiple times, but didn’t like the way it knitted up when I tested it, so I’ve rewritten it so it has the same number of stitches between the “arrows” all the way across.   Here’s the pattern.

Arrow Afghan

The pattern is in multiples of 24 stitches.
Works for any size needles and yarn. Do a test swatch at least 40 stitches wide and measure 24 stitches. Multiply that measurement x6. If that’s not as wide as you need the afghan to be, add width in multiples of 24 stitches. You will need an additional marker for ever 24 stitches you add, and you will need to do an addition repeat of the bit in parenthesis in Row 2 of the pattern for every 24 stitches you add.
With the pattern as written, you will need 5 markers.

Cast on 148
Row 1: K26, place marker, K24, place marker, K24, place marker, K24, place marker, K24, place marker, K26
Row 2. K2,*(K2, yo, K9, K2tog, K11) repeat from * 6 times, K2.
Repeat row 2, until the afghan is as long as you want it.
Bind off.

Abbreviations:
K = knit.
yo = yarn over.

Pattern is worked in multiples of 24 stitches with an extra 2 stitches on the left and right edges to make bars of 4 stitches between each “arrow”.

Clumps, Thumps and Shrugs

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Got a sack of the nonclumping cat litter for my draft dogers yesterday afternoon as well as some clumping kind for the kitties.   I should have more than enough to make the dodgers I need to make:  One about 40 inches long for the window in the office, a “double wide” one about 84 inches long for the window in the living room, and a fat one about 45 inches long for the front door.   Fairly simple construction — a long tube with a circle sewed into each end, with an opening  left so it can be filled with the cat litter, and then hand-sewn shut.  It only took three of us — me and two Petsmart employees — to finally locate the nonclumping clay litter.  Most all the litters are clumping nowadays, and those that aren’t are pellets made from things like newsprint, sawdust, corn husks, or the like, which are not suitable materials.   That’s the project for Monday.

BlueHomespunShrug1_small2After an exhaustive search of the interwebs and Ravelry, I couldn’t find a shrug pattern I liked, so I’m making one up.  It’s knitted from the center of the back to each wrist, and I’m doing it in both directions at the same time.  It will look something like the one pictured, except the whole body — back and sleeves –  will all be done in a 1 x 1 ribbing.  I doubled my 48-inch size 5 bamboo circular needle into a “U” shape and did a figure eight cast on.  I knitted two rows on one “prong” of the “U”  (out and back), turned the assemblage over, attached a second ball of yarn and knitted two rows on the other “prong.”  I’ll knit 2 rows at a time, alternating “prongs” until the back is 30 inches wide.  Then comes the tricky bit (!).  I’ll take the stitches off one side, skooch the stitches of the other side around so I can join them into a tube to make one sleeve, add the other stitches back on in such a way that I can join them into a tube to make the other sleeve, then knit the sleeves two at a time using the “magic loop” technique — which is the whole point of doing the garment on the 48-inch needles.  Once I get the body finished, I’ll go back around the opening and pick up stiches to form the “collar.” IMG_1863

I’m using a light silver blue yarn, which is the same kind of yarn I used for my teal round shawl, which I haven’t worked on in a while, because I always used to take it over to work on while I daddy sat with my dad.  I can’t face working on it just yet.  I’ve got some creams and browns in the same kind of yarn.  Its a very soft yarn, and it will be just the perfect weight to make a “reader’s shrug.” IMG_1862 A shrug will be perfect for reading in bed, since it has sleeves, which shawls don’t.  That’s been the fly in the ointment about using a shawl.  It keeps my shoulders and upper arms warm, but leaves my forearms hanging out in the cold.  It also tends to bunch up when I pull the covers up under my arms.  I think a shrug will solve both those problems.

This is another of those “two balls at a time” projects.  Fortunately, I had one project basket left.  I don’t think this will be a watching TV or reading kind of knitting project, because it’s in 1 x 1 ribbing (K1, P1), and when there’s a stitch pattern, I have to keep my eye on it all the time, or I’ll mess it up.   I’m writing up the pattern and I’ll post it on Ravelry, too, along with my circular shawl pattern, my triangular shawl pattern, and my arrow scarf pattern.  Busy, busy, busy . . .

I’m also teaching myself to knit backwards in preparation for knitting the vest for my mom.  About 70% of it is in stockinette, and I hate to purl.  Once I master this skill, instead of turning my work and purling for a whole row, I  just start knitting in the opposite direction. It’s like you’re knitting, and you just shift into reverse and go back the other way.  It is entirely too cool.  It was a bit tricky working out the technique because I holdi my yarn in my left hand (continental style).  It’s still awkward right now because I’m just building the habit patterns, but I’ll get better at it.

The other night, I dreamed about John Barrowman‘s character in Torchwood, Captain Jack Harkness.  Interesting dream.  Swashing about in that greatcoat of his.   I can just see him in my mind’s eye, and hear him asking, with that characteristic grin, “How was I?” — which in his case is a rhetorical question. . .

 

Wending into the Weekend

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bpl020Got all my errands run Thursday, but my mom still hasn’t been able to sign in to her bank’s site — 24-48 hours they said for her application for on-line banking to be approved, and it had only been about 36 hours by that point.  I haven’t heard from her yet as to whether or not she was able to sign in.  I’ve been banking on line for years now and I think I got set up one afternoon while I happened to be at the bank doing something else.   But you know how it is.  Nothing is ever simple.

IMG_1860I finally got the ends woven in on my pink and purple triangular shawl, but it’s not cold enough for it yet.  Will be next week, though. We’re supposed to be having a brief warming trend through Monday, with temperatures up into the high 70sF/20sC but a front is supposed to be coming through Monday night, with a predicted low of 31F/0.5C.  Tuesday’s high is predicted to be 47F/8.3C with a hard freeze Tuesday night with a low of 25F/-3.8C, and lows well below freezing until at least next Sunday.  Looks like the Fall weather is about to take the gloves off.

Thursday night, I also got  a piece of nice dark brown upholstery fabric, a remnant which was half off, but more than enough to make draft dodgers.  I just need to get the nonclumping cat litter.  I got an email that I’ve sold another book, so I’ll need to take it to the post office.  Petsmart is right on the way, so I’ll get the litter tomorrow.  The way the weather forecast is looking, I’ll need to get cracking and get my dodgers made Monday.  While I was in the fabric store, I also bought some fabric, two pillow forms and a pair of zippers so I can make pillows for my sofa, which I may also do while I’ve got the sewing machine out.  It’s beautiful fabric — a greenish silver grey the same shade as my thermal drapes, with a blue that is a little greener than the blue of my drapes but which matches the rug nicely. It’s a reversible fabric with an intricate design that mirrors the “oriental” design of the rug.  I think I’ll use the side that has the silver as the background.  Watch this space for pictures.

There’s a knitting/crochet show on the HD2 channel of our PBS station which I’ve started recording and watching.  On the last program, a lady gave a tip about when you’re worried whether you’ll have enough yarn to finish a project.  As she pointed out, it says on the label how much the skein weighs.  When you’re about halfway through, weigh the yarn you have left.  If it weighs less than half of what you started out with, get more yarn.  One of those brilliant ideas that make you smack your forehead and think DUH! (Like this one.) It’s an OK show, a tad on the twee side, but I gotta get on their website because they have free patterns!

Now, how to get my foot back under the lap robe without unsettling the cat? . . .  life is full of challenges.   Succeed and then realize I’m going to have to get up in a minute to take my dishes to the sink, make a pot of tea, get a container of (fruit on the bottom!) yogurt  for dessert . . . . and because reasons . . . which will mean totally displacing her.

I’ve been jonesing for some “chai latte**,” and last night at Walmart, I picked up a box of Tazo bags so I can make some (“chai” in America is the tea + spice mixture used to make masala chai)  While I was getting more almond milk, I saw they had Coffee Mate in cream brulée flavor.  I usually use almond milk for chai latte, but there’s 20 tea bags in a box and it’s a free country, so if I want to put Coffee Mate in my chai, I am perfectly within my rights.  I just had a big swig of some, so I can attest that it is Major NOMS. I looked for the pumpkin spice flavor Coffee Mate, but they didn’t have any.  (I’m beginning to think that all the good stuff goes to the WalMarts in Bucksville*, and the store I go to gets whatever’s left. )  Speaking of pumpkins, I also got a pumpkin pie (they were on sale), and I’ve been steadfastly trying to ignoring its siren song  . . .

IMG_1857The yarn I used to make my pink and purple triangular shawl is very soft.  I got some more in charcoal grey to make a vest for my mom using the shalom pattern.  At some point I plan to make another triangular shaw using that same pattern, but with “odd ball***” yarn for my BFF — a shawl of many colors, if you will.  I really need  to turn some sock heels, too, especially on the pair for me.  The socks I have a drawer full of are all right on carpet, but on bare floors, they are too thin to put much of a barrier between me and the vinyl “hardwood” floors over a concrete slab which are cold.  As I wear them out, they’ll have to be replaced with something significantly thicker.  I also really need to find or ghost a good shrug pattern for reading in bed.  Soon.  And make it up.  I was reading some this morning and I got cold arm syndrome.  Put my shawl on, which helped, but still had cold forearm syndrome. . . .  something in a really soft but not so heavy yarn . . .

*the part of town you have to have big bucks to buy a house in.

** What Starbucks calls the tea + spices used to make masala chai, brewed in hot water rather than hot milk, with milk added after it’s brewed.  You don’t get a lot of genuine masala chai in America because (a) our buffalos are really bison, (b) even if you could find some yayhoo foolhardy/dumb enough to try to milk one . . .

*** Yarn left over from another project.

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