We Are Not Amused



When I went to get my mail today, there were two keys in the mailbox with the mail.  This is not unusual.  Because of the size of the apartment’s individual mailboxes, when the USPS brings you a package that is too big for your mailbox, the mail carrier places it in one of five very large boxes and puts the key to that box in your mailbox.  When you get your mail, you take the numbered key and open the big mailbox it goes to and get your package.  Once you open the big box, you can’t take its key out of the lock again, so you just leave it. I had ordered two books (how unusual for me!) and they were in packages that wouldn’t fit in my mailbox. I didn’t pick up my mail yesterday, so evidently one package was delivered yesterday and the other delivered today (otherwise, the carrier would just have put both packages in the same big box).

I opened one box, got my book, and then opened the second box.  behind the package at the back of the box was a tin of sardines in the kind of tin that has a peel off lid with a pull tab on it.  The tab had been pulled up just far enough to break the seal on the tin.  Thankfully, the sardines were packed in water, but even so, after having sat there inside the metal mailbox  in 90+F/30+C heat for at least a couple of hours, they were a bit, shall we say, fragrant?  The only person who could have put it in there was the mail carrier because they’re the only ones who have the keys to the mail boxes.   I was understandably bewildered, disgruntled and offended by this.  Needless to say, I called the USPS and reported it.

Now that I think about it, there were two cans of sardines sitting on top of the oversize mail boxes when I went to get my mail Monday.  They were stacked atop a “Lost Cats” poster someone had taped to the top of it.  They were both unopened then, though.  I wonder if somebody else got one in the mail?

In other news, today’s earworm is brought to you by The Riders In the Sky. (They’re one of those groups you know but you don’t know you know.  They performed a song for the film “Toy Story 2“)  Whoever put this video together used vintage cuts from the old TV show “Rawhide” including some featuring a very young Clint Eastwood.

Anyway, the little incident at the mailbox kinda bummed me out.  I’m going to knit and watch BBC “History Cold Case” videos on YoutTube.



A Quarter Past Tuesday


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I mentioned in the last post about how I had become aware of a sense of the days drawing in, and was having those autumnal urges to knit.  It appears I am not alone.  Mama Soule has also been feeling the need for knitting to be in hand, and so has Tales of Simple Days.

Kind of in preparation for winter, I’ve spent the past couple of hours searching out internet radio stations that mostly play ambient and/or “meditation” music and putting them in Winamp.  I will go down the list of new ones and listen to each one for at least an hour, and at the first sign of a commercial, off they go.  A station ident is OK, if it doesn’t happen too frequently — like more than once an hour.

IMG_1694IMG_1691One of the kitties found their “spider” toy, which is really just a stuffed ball about the size of a tennis ball with string legs.  Don’t know where it’s been hiding all this time, or which one actually found it, but the white one was playing with it and parading about the house with it in his mouth singing the “Mighty Hunter” song.  He’s so funny when he does that.  I’ve got the rest of the balls of yarn (which are the kind I’m using for the triangular shawl I’m making) in a bag in a basket.  It’s sitting down in front of the end table where my printer is.  A while ago, the white one came caroling in and dropped the “spider” into the basket wanting me to throw it for him.  I threw it four or five times for him trying to get a picture of him carrying it around in his mouth, but he was too fast for me.  Now we’re playing guess what I’m whining about now.

Somebody at that jive outfit I work for has “reached out to me personally” to offer me a $10 bonus to use their jive text editor.  I’ll use it once just to get the $10 bucks, but I already know I won’t like it.  I’ve already got a bunch of text editing macros and a bunch of autocorrect short cuts set up in Word.  Probably this afternoon is when I’ll do the file and get my bonus. I’ve played around with it, but I’ve never actually done a job with their text editor, which is why I suspect they’re offering me money.  It won’t save me time because if I started using it instead of Word, it would take weeks to get all my autocorrect entries transferred over because you can’t download your autocorrect file from Microsoft Word and upload it to their jive text editor. I’d just have to stop and do them one at a time as I tried to use them and they didn’t work. And it would be a pain in the butt not to have my text editing macros (capitalize the next letter, go back and capitalize the first letter of the last word then hop back to where I was, go back one word and put a comma then hop back to where I was, go back one word, put a period, space and capitalize the next word, then hop back to where I was., etc.).   I know why they want us to use it.  Because when we use Word, we store customer files on our computers.  They want to maintain control of the material and fix it where we can’t store files on our own machines and have to store them on their servers.   Besides that, their text editor has built in software for playing back audio using a foot pedal, and I’ve already spent money on the Express Scribe program to play the audio using a foot pedal.  They;re trying the carrot first.  I suspect it’s only a matter of time before they start using a stick and require us to use their jive in-browser text editor.

Thoughts, Musings and The Turning of the Year


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Highs are predicted to be in the 90’s F/30’s C all week and yet my thoughts are turning autumnal —  I’m thinking about settling in with a knitting pattern on my reader’s table, my internet radio set on one of my favorite stations, and knitting something which, unless that something you’re knitting is small like a sock or hat or mittens, is not a summer activity here in the flatlands.   I do have three pairs of socks that need the heels turned.  I’m using a two-at-a-time, toe-up sock pattern, so “turning the heel” involves both socks.  Interestingly, I’m using the exact same pattern — same number of stitches in every case — to knit all three pairs, but one pair is fingering baby yarn on size 2 needles for a baby due in three months, one is 3-ply baby yarn on size 3 needles for a 9-month-old baby, and the other is bulky yarn on size 10 needles for me.  I need to get a move on and finish all three pairs.

We’re in the Dog Days of summer, named for Sirius, the dog star.  This is typically the hottest and driest part of the summer, good weather for cutting hay, and harvesting grain.  Cotton harvest will be starting here directly. The days are slowly but surely drawing in, and it will be sock weather before you know it. Tomorrow will be three months in the new digs, for those keeping score.

In other news, AT&T sent me a bill for the billing period 07/04-08/04 indicating an “adjustment” of $5 credit, and showing my account as zeroed out.  I think we’re done thumbing our noses and going nanner-nanner at each other now.

The black cat is rather put out at the moment because the white one has been lying atop the chest by the office window, which is “his” spot.  Swats have been exchanged and the black one is sulking down by the bookcase. Yesterday, the black one got perturbed with the grey one who was quite innocently crouched on the window sill of that window, not even touching any part of the chest, not hurting anybody.  I’ve learned not to interfere in these such situations as he minds while I’m looking, but he gets back at her later when I’m not around. He’s such a little thug.  Update: The white cat wasn’t up there ten minutes, when he got leisurely to his feet, hopped down and came strolling over to “his” spot under my desk.  Such a look he got from the black one.

2014_08_18-03Nuts.  All this thinking about cooler weather and snuggling up to knit.  I couldn’t stand it.  I’ve got a knitting pattern on my right-hand screen, WordPress tuned to this blog on the left-hand screen, and Another Planet internet radio station playing on Winamp. The famous orange glass ashtray is on the left-hand corner of my desk and I’m working on a triangular shawl using a plum-colored 2-ply acrylic sport yarn, from a pattern I just made up in honor of my learning how to do a garter tab. The pattern is below, in case you’re interested.

2014_08_18-01I’ve not finished it yet, so I don’t have a picture of what it looks like finished, but here’s what it looks like right now.  It’s one of those “whatever” patterns that you don’t have to go out and buy specific yarns for.  You can use whatever you’ve got.  Since I haven’t finished it yet, I don’t know how much yarn it takes, though, so you’re on your own there.  When I do finish the article, I’ll picture it, what yarn I used, what needles I used, and how much it took.

Garter Tab Right Triangles Shawl

Materials: A 36-inch double-pointed/circular needle, size of choice; 2 stitch markers, Yarn of choice.

If you use large needles and thin thread, such as fingering yarn, it will have a lacy look. If you use a bulky yarn on small needles, it will be nice and thick. Or you can use a needle size apropos to the size yarn. You could knit this on straight, single-pointed needles, but it’s easier to work with if you use the flexible circular double pointed needles.

Note: This is actually three patterns in one. The original pattern gives you a garter stitch border with two garter stitch right triangles with a garter stitch single-stitch line between them. The [Alternate pattern: ] gives you a garter stitch long edge with two stockinette right triangles with a stockinette stitch single-stitch line between them. The [Second alternate pattern: ] gives a garter stitch long border, stockinette right triangles with a garter stitch single-stitch line between them.

K = Knit
P = Purl
yo = yarn over.
# = put stitch marker here.

Garter Stitch Tab:
1. Cast on 3 stitches
2. Knit 6 rows
3. Turn work 90 degrees clockwise, increase 1 in each of the 3 “purl ridges” along the side of the work. (total 6 stitches).
4. Turn work 90 degrees clockwise, increase 1 in each of the 3 cast on stitches. (total 9 stitches)

The Rest Of The Shawl:
1. K3, yo, #, *K1*, yo, #, K1, #, yo, *K1,* #, yo, K3.
2. *K*. (total 13 stitches)
…[Alternate pattern: K3, *P*, K3.]
…[Second alternate pattern: K3, *P*, #, K1, #, *P*, K3.]
3. K3, yo, *K3*, yo, K1, yo, *K3,* yo, K3.
4. *K*. (total 17 stitches)
…[Alternate pattern: K3, *P*, K3.]
…[Second alternate pattern: K3, *P*, #, K1, #, *P*, K3.]
5. K3, yo, *K5*, yo, K1, yo, *K5,* yo, K3.
6. *K*. (total 21 stitches)
…[Alternate pattern: K3, *P*, K3.]
…[Second alternate pattern: K3, *P*, #, K1, #, *P*, K3.]
7. K3, yo, *K7*, yo, K1, yo, *K7,* yo, K3.
8. *K* (total 25 stitches)
…[Alternate pattern: K3, *P*, K3.]
…[Second alternate pattern: K3, *P*, #, K1, #, *P*, K3.]
9. K3, yo, *K*, yo, #, K1, #, yo, *K*, yo, K3.
10. *K*.
…[Alternate pattern: K3, *P*, K3.]
…[Second alternate pattern: K3, *P*, #, K1, #, *P*, K3.]
11. Repeat steps 9 and 10 until the shawl is as big as you want it.
12. Bind off knit-wise.

The famous orange glass ash tray.


That Time Machine Called “Memory”


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Dealing with role reversals and coming to terms with time.  My dad turns 92 next week. I spent all Friday morning with him.  Mom goes to the beauty “saloon” on Fridays, then she shops groceries and picks up prescriptions as necessary.  Today, she also had to get her yearly bone density test (She’s about to turn 90 herself) so I was there longer than usual.  After she came back, she realized she needed to get her car license sticker, and nipped off to do that while I was there.

I had some errands I needed to run myself and the last one took me into an area of town very close to the house we lived in when I started school.  Because they had torn up the block of 34th Street between where I had just been and Quaker Avenue, which is the street I needed to turn south on, I turned down Orlando Avenue instead because I knew it would take me down to the corner of the park I used to walk through going home from elementary school (1st through 6th year of primary school).  The park is a big square, a city block wide east and west, bordered on the north by 40th Street and by 42nd Street on the south.  It’s bordered by Nashville Avenue on the east and Orlando on the west.*

MaedgenThe school I attended is located at the corner of Nashville and 44th Street.  I’d go up Nashville to the park, cut diagonally across it, which would bring me to the corner of 40th Street and Orlando. At that point, it was two blocks to the house of the neighbor lady who kept us after school.

As I was driving down the street toward the park, the first thing I noticed  were the trees.  There weren’t any trees to speak of back then.  Now there’s a whole row of them and they’re huge.  Then I realized just how long it’s been since I was a child of 6 walking across that park! I remember having to cross it during sand storms. The wind always seemed to blow out of the northwest and I had to fight it across that whole long diagonal, where there were no houses to provide a windbreak.   I remember when the little playground was built.  How many times I passed by that playground, and yet I never stopped to play there.  It never occurred to me to stop and play there.

I can memorize poems and lyrics without a problem, but I had the hardest time memorizing the multiplication tables.  We almost always had arithmetic homework to do (my worst subject), and I would flip to the back of the book and chant them in time to my steps as I walked home.**

Speaking of numbers, my bank has decided to switch from using Visa for their debit cards to using MasterCard.  One would have eventually been mailed to me, but I couldn’t stand the suspense, and since I had to make a deposit anyway, I got the new one while I waited.  The bank guy shredded my old Visa card.  Now I just have to keep straight which MasterCard debit card  goes with my bank account and which one goes with my Paypal account.

I did 67 minutes of dictation this afternoon after I got home.  I had planned to work anyway, but I lucked out.  We were being given an extra 7 cents a minute incentive pay because there were so many jobs that needed doing.  The way I feel, if I’m going to have to listen to something for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes, I want it to be something interesting.  I was able to find some interesting ones, which is why I did so many minutes today.  Incentive or no, I’ll be working some tomorrow, too.  And at least two or three days next week.  Baby needs a filing cabinet.



*Our town is laid out on a grid –The east-west streets are numbered streets, with the numbers increasing the further south you go.  The north-south streets are Avenues in alphabetical order, A, B. C, and then the names of cities that have universities, again in alphabetical order.

** If God had wanted me to do math in my head, He wouldn’t have created calculators.

Another Whole Afternoon Derailed



2014_08_14-01Stayed up late reading, and didn’t get up Thursday until after 1 p.m.  Walked out to check the Littermaid, and it immediately (and ickily) became apparent that someone (I won’t mention any names, but his initials are The White Cat) had refunded a hairball and about half a bowl of water, and managed to hit all three throw rugs in the process — the red and brown rug their dishes are on, the leopard print litter trap rug, and the gold floral throw rug.  I ended up washing all three rugs, plus I had to wash the other gold one that’s in the entrance way to balance the load in the washing machine.

Now that I don’t have a clothes line anymore, I really need to get a drying rack.  It doesn’t do my dining room chairs any good to have wet rugs thrown over their backs to dry.  Between the toilet tank shenanigans Monday, and the upchuck event Thursday afternoon, that’s twice in one week they’ve had wet rugs thrown over their backs.  Of course, the bath mats and the throw rugs are all rubberized on their backs so it’s not like I’m draping wet cloth over them, but still.

So, I put the rugs in the washer and cleaned the floor underneath them, and then vacuumed the floor in the hallway and then out into the living room/entry-way area. Then I tended to the Littermaid, and emptied the trash can that I dump the Littermaid containers into, as well as the kitchen trash can.  By then I was all hot and sweaty, but the washer wasn’t done, so I fixed some cords on my desk so they hang off the side instead of down the back, and vacuumed the plywood, and vacuumed the cat hair off my recliner.  By then the washer was done and I hung out the rugs to dry, and went to take a shower and wash my hair.

I ran out of cat litter Wednesday night, and I realized that what was in there wasn’t going to last until Friday afternoon, so after my shower I went to Market Street to get another container of cat litter.  And that pretty much shot the whole afternoon, because it was after 6:00 when I got back from the store.

I’m going to work Friday night and Saturday, and try to work at least four days next week, because I want to get a filing cabinet.

And I’m out of magenta ink in my printer again.


A Damp and Drippy Monday’s Rannygazoo and Carry On


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I was up late working, so I slept in until after 2 p.m. Once I awoke, I decided I would have a leisurely lunch, do a bit of reading, and then turn on the computer.  I got up and went into the en suite half bath off my bedroom to start getting dressed.  Now, my white cat is my self-appointed shadow.  He follows me everywhere, especially into the bathroom because while I’m in there, I might wash my hands, or brush my teeth, or do some other incomprehensible thumby thing at the sink which requires running water, and he lives to drink from the sink tap.

My Dreads

My Dreads

Let me set the stage for you:  The white cat is up on the cabinet whining for me to turn the tap on, and heartless persecutrix that I am, I’m ignoring him. At this point in my toilette, I am wearing precisely nothing. I washed my hair yesterday evening but didn’t comb it out after I air dried it. When I was done admiring my dreads, such as they are, I flushed the toilet — and all of a sudden, water comes spraying out from under the toilet tank lid all over everywhere – it’s gushing onto the floor, running all down the wall, pouring into the wastebasket, spurting all over me! And guess which white cat is going to want to get right down in the middle of it and try to drink it!– I grab him and make a dash for towels to try to staunch the flow and mop up all this water.  I can’t put the white cat down because the minute I do, he’ll make a beeline for the mess on the bathroom floor, which I have no other way to keep him out of because the bathroom door won’t stay shut  (The strike plate on the door jam that the latch on the doorknob mechanism is supposed to go into to hold the door shut is about half an inch higher than the latch — and has been that way since I moved in), — and the bedroom door has a cat flap in it.

In the meantime, the other two cats are trying to find out what all the brouhaha in the bathroom is about.  With one arm, I’m struggling to hold onto a cat who doesn’t like to be picked up in the first place, never mind carted about, I’m fending the other two off in the doorway with my foot, and with the other hand, I’m throwing one towel over the top of the toilet to stop the water spraying all over the world, and dropping the other one into the big puddle of water on the floor.  I shoo the other two cats away, try to get a better grip on the white cat, make a dash for the phone and call the managers office — and it rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings while I go dashing back to the bathroom.

By now the white cat has had quite enough of this barging about and is struggling in earnest.  I get a better grip on him and hit “redial” and it rings, and rings, and rings, and the water suddenly stops!  Halleluiah!  I pitch the white cat and the phone onto the bed, barricade the bathroom door with the laundry hamper, and start sopping up all this water on the floor with my brand new bath towels.  Both the mat in front of the sink cabinet and the little mat that goes around the base of the toilet are thoroughly soaked, there’s water puddled on the floor, there’s standing water in the trash can (which fortunately I’d just emptied), water is dripping down the wall beside the toilet. . .

Of course, by then I’d realized what the problem was.  I took the top off the toilet tank and sure enough.  The little hose that refills the toilet tank had somehow jumped out of the little hole it’s supposed to go down into.  The hose is only about the diameter of a pencil, and in order to refill the tank quickly, the water comes out with considerable force.  With the hose unfettered, it was spraying water at full throttle at the underside of the tank lid which, on that toilet, only has the tiniest ridge of a lip to keep it from sliding off the edge of the toilet tank and the lid was slightly askew (again) because this 13-pound white cat keeps jumping up on it to get to the sink counter. I got the water cleaned up, put the wet towels and mats into the washer, and put some clothes on, but I was still in crisis mode when I called the manager’s office a third time.  The apartment manager finally answered. (Apparently crises were on sale today, and she’d been getting one phone call after another.) There was really nothing wrong with the toilet, and what she got from my babbling was that the bathroom door wouldn’t shut. (Bless her heart!  I wrote her an email with a less garbled explanation of what had happened, and apologized for being so excited about basically what was just a minor toilet malfunction.)

About half an hour later, here came the maintenance guy and fixed the bathroom door so it will now stay closed, which I’m delighted about, but the white cat isn’t.  I washed the bath towels and mats in hot water.  The towels are dry and folded, the bath mats are drying in the air (I never put them in the dryer.  It ruins the rubber non-skid backing.)  I’m back to a state of equanimity (and a blood pressure of 111/72) again.  But there for about half an hour this afternoon, I was having an unscheduled three-ring circus – in my birthday suit!  Not what I’d planned to do this afternoon!

To apologize to the white cat for hauling him all over the house so unceremoniously, I turned on the sink tap and went off to see about rustling up some lunch while he and the grey cat drank their fill.  Then, while I was nuking my lunch, he was creating a sizable clump in the litter box.  I hadn’t any more sat down to my long awaited and much anticipated chili cheese hot dog, than there went the Littermaid, whining and grinding and trying to roll away this big clump of cat litter.  After three attempts it gave up and, — you guessed it.  I had to get up and go attend to it.

That sorted, my hands washed (for a third time within an hour), my chili cheese dog retrieved from the microwave where I had stashed it for safe keeping, I sat down to tuck back into it, and the phone rang.  It was my BFF, all excited.

Nothing to do with this.  It's just so funny

Nothing to do with this. It’s just so funny

A bit of backstory here:  The dress shop where my BFF had worked for the past 10 years went out of business at the end of June. (There’s a lot more to it that, but it’s a long, convoluted tale, and more than slightly soap-operatic.  We’ll just say “They lost their lease” and leave it at that.)  So, she’s been frantically looking for a job for over a month now, a process which, in her case, involves wailing, gnashing of teeth, and a goodly dollop of sturm und drang. If you can imagine a short, round, drab and rather plain owl walking sedately along holding in its beak the lead of an elaborately feathered and brilliantly-colored heron-like bird that is flapping energetically and somewhat erratically along about ten feet off the ground, you have a perfect picture of our friendship.  My particular role in getting her through this very real financial crisis has been to act as a combination cheer leader and sea anchor.

Last Friday afternoon, I threatened to go get her if she didn’t come over and bring some of her laundry with her.  She has her own “apartment sized” washer and dryer, but the movers/apartment handymen have said there was some problem getting a dryer hose for her dryer, and so she hasn’t been using them, but it’s so much trouble to schlep laundry to the laundromat and back. . . and she’s got bags and bags of it by now.  She brought her computer, too, and we filled out job applications while her clothes got washed and dried.  She told me about a job interview she had gone on and was really excited about.  It was for a sales position in a clothing shop, a job at which she’s had a good deal of experience.

Now, my BFF is a real people person.  She’s like my mom.  She can talk to you for five minutes and find out all about you — your name, your spouse’s and kids’ names, where you live, what kind of pets you have and their names, what you do for a living, what you don’t like about your mother-in-law, what your favorite food is, how you broke your arm in third grade, — you get the idea.  She also has an artist’s sense of color and design, and she’s a clotheshorse herself, so selling women’s clothing is a great fit for her skills.  While she was at my house doing laundry, the people from the clothes shop left her a message to come in for a second interview.

She went on her second interview today, and the reason she called this afternoon in the middle of my chili cheese dog was to tell me she’d gotten the job and she starts next Monday.  She’ll be working 21 hours a week, which is about all she can manage at this stage in her life.  She’s going to come over either tomorrow or Thursday and we’re going to celebrate — and she’s going to bring more laundry.  (The goal is to get her laundry caught up so I can get her dryer away from the wall and look to see what size hose it needs.  Then we can get one and I’ll put it on for her.)  I’ve got more hot dogs, buns and chili, and a choice of beer, wine (white and rosé) and ginger ale, and we going to have us a little party to celebrate.

A Thought Experiment


Neil-DeGrasse-TysonMost of us now accept that Claudius Ptolemy was full of prunes, and that Copernicus had the straight dope on how the heavens roll.  I mean, Neil would have told us if all of this “solar system” business was really just somebody messing with our heads.   He’d have been all over Twitter with it in a New York minute. 

OK.  So, you know that the Sun is at the center of the solar system, and that the Earth orbits around it but here’s a little thought experiment for you next time you’re watching a sunrise or a sunset: Try to put this knowledge where your gut is.  Try to convince yourself of the fact that you are the one who is moving, not the Sun.  It’s hard, isn’t it.  Your senses tell you that the Earth beneath your feet is motionless and that it is the Sun that’s doing the moving, but no.  It’s the Earth spinning like a top around its axis that’s carrying you into and back out of the light shining on us from the relatively stationary Sun.

Now, think about this.  The Earth under your feet is hurtling around the sun at a pretty good clip. So, if you can do a head stand, then you can do 67,108 mph/108,000 kph standing on your head.


Books Read in 2014


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


No Doldrums Here



IMG_1641It’s yard day here at LuLa Land  (which is the blog alias I have given to the apartment complex where my current digs are).  The various buildings (A-Q) are arranged around large, square grassy “green spaces.” It’s a wonder they are as green as they are, considering the percentage of dogs per total number of residents (who are required to “pick up after” their dogs and almost all of them do.)  The green spaces are such that those in charge of lawn care use a riding lawn mower, and there’s a kid with a string trimmer who edges the sidewalks and trims the fringe of grass around the buildings where the riding mower can’t reach.


One of the few times somebody else is atop the chest.

The black cat finds this activity riveting.  He has laid claim to the top of the chest under the window in the office, put there for the kitties’ viewing pleasure. It’s about three inches lower than the window sill of the window that is always tuned to The Yard Channel of CAT TV.  I once had some stereo speakers I got from my folks that were designed to be sat on.  They were in finished wood, with square leatherette cushions on top.  The speakers did not make the cut in the recent move, but the cushions did.  The pair of them just happen to fit exactly on the lid of the chest.  Being leatherette, they are pretty much urp proof, and cat hair and cat litter particles vacuum right off. It is here atop the chest that the black one is to be found for a large part of the day, alternately snoozing or chattering at the grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) and the abundance of doves.  I usually flush out at least one or two of the doves every time I walk to my car, and they make this wiffling tweeting noise when they fly.  We have Eurasian collared doves (Streptopelia decaocto) here, and occasionally Inca doves (Columbina inca); this one is neither, but the call is the same, and that little noise they make when they fly is the same.

They’re more common than grackles here in Lula Land, and that’s saying something.  The grackles have pretty much taken over the world here.  Once upon a time, you’d only spot one occasionally.  Now they’re everywhere.  The parking lot at Walmart has a very active contingent and at least one male has staked out every fast food place in town. They are great opportunists and seem to be omnivorous.  It’s not surprising really.  Isn’t it always the generalists who tend to weather a changing ecology best?.  These birds are smart and adaptable, and have a tolerance for human proximity, so they are prospering in urban settings where a wide range of “alternative” food sources are available.  A jet black male and his harem of graceful bronze ladies stalking the lawns and parking lots is a frequent sight.  At the Walmart parking lot, they seem to have learned to patrol under the cars during the heat of the day, venturing out only if they’ve spotted something.  They’re rather elegant looking birds, I think, with their sleek slender bodies, IMG_1636long legs, long beaks and baleful yellow eyes, but their calls are very unmelodious and raucous.

In the window where the chest sits, I have a cast iron sleeping cat that I put on the sill.  In the living room window, I have a cast iron sitting cat at one end, and a cast iron owl at the other.  Gives the folks outside something to look at besides a window full of venetian blinds.

Oh, BTW, in yesterday’s mail, I got a check from AT&T for $5.  Yes!




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