Hanger Hang-Ups and The Done Deed

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I do not like the kind of clothes hangers that are all tubular plastic.  I like the kind with the plastic cross piece and a metal hook that swivels.  Because of recent purchases of “tops,” I’m down to using hangers meant for “matching top and bottom” combinations – the hangar has a bar across the bottom with metal clothes pins to hold a skirt or slacks, and a cross piece for the coat or top.  If you do not have anything clipped to the bottom of the hangar, the tops of the metal clothes pins stick out past the cross piece and make pooches and worn spots in the fabric on the front and back of what you’ve hung on it.

Walmart had a really good deal on a “24-pack” of the kind of hangers I liked.   I also ordered 4 more tops, also at really good prices — I have lots of tees but few long sleeved tops.  I got two “fleece crew” sweatshirts and two long-sleeve tees.  The tops were to be shipped directly to my home, but the hangers were “ship to store” which is free shipping.  When your order arrives at the store, they send you an email, you print out the email, take it to the store and pick up your order.   Tuesday, I got the email saying the hangers had arrived, so after knitting group, I went by my local Walmart to pick them up.  Guess what?  They weren’t delivered to the South Loop store.  They were delivered to the store way the heck out on Milwaukee Avenue and 82nd!

Thursday afternoon, I went to the Gene Messer Toyota dealership to see what they had, how much I could get in trade-in for the Crayola, and what kind of deal I could get on a new(er) Toyota Corolla.  The dealership is on 19th Street about a mile past where I go to knitting group, which itself is 33 streets north of where I live.  So I go traipsing out to the dealership and the salesman and the trade-in guy and the sales manager all have a good laugh over the mileage on the Crayola — 44,489 actual miles on a 27 year old car, which also includes a trip to Carefree, Arizona by way of Santa Fe, New Mexico. (I worked about a mile from my house for the first four years I had it, then I worked from home for the next 22 years).  I got a quote on a used 2013 that had 32,000+ miles on it — which was almost as much as the Crayola had! — a quote on a new 2014 (the only one they had left), and quotes on two new 2015’s, one of which was cheaper than the 2014.

Once I’d done what I came to do, I went zippity-doo-dahing down Milwaukee Avenue from where it intersected with 19th Street all the way to where it crossed 82nd Street, wandered around trying to find the stupid Walmart store out there, and finally found it.  So I hike all the way to the back of the store where the pick up area is located, and they can’t find my order.  Then they hunt around some more and discover that it is, in fact, at the store, but it’s still in the semi trailer that’s parked out behind the store, one of two waiting to be unloaded!!  Remember, this is about 6 p.m. on Thursday, and the email saying it was ready to be picked up was sent on Tuesday!  I was told it would take maybe an hour, maybe more to find it.  I gave them my cell number then called mom to see if she was home.  Not only was she at home, she offered to feed me navy beans and cornbread!

As we ate, we talked.  I showed her the fruits of my quote finding and we picked out a nice new silver 2015 Corolla. (Hi ho, Silver, away?)  Still waiting for Walmart to call me, I went home, wrote the previous blog post, had a good cry, and hit the hay.  Got up bright and early Friday morning and de-stuffed the Crayola — emptied the trunk/boot, and the glove box, and got my umbrella from under the seat, and the cassette tapes in their carrier from the back seat foot well, (they’re going on craigslist — I have nothing to play them on any more), peeled off the decals, took Po down from the mirror, etc.  I had time to clean out the kitties and get them ready to be left for the day before mom got done at the beauty saloon and got her grocery shopping done.  She called about 10 o’clock and we decided she would drive over and leave her car at my house.  The two of us took our last ride in the Crayola.

The new Corolla does not have a keyless entry remote, so I still have remote envy.  It has an automatic transmission, the first time I’ve driven one since 1980 when the Datsun I got from my brother died at the intersection of Avenue Q and 34th Street (probably 100 yards from where my dad died, actually.)  That’s when my dad took me to see Calvin Brunken, his buddy from the Lion’s Club, who had the Toyota dealership, and I got my first Toyota Corolla — another silver one, as it happens.  It did not have air conditioning, but I was young then and didn’t care.  That was the car I traded in on the Crayola the year after I started working as a medical transcriptionist.  Brunken sold the dealership to Messer in 1993.

We talked turkey for a while with the salesman, and he took us all over the dealership.  We met his boss, we met the service manager, we met the guy in the secure document area who takes your money and makes you sign humpty gazillion forms.  (They’ll let me know they have the car license plates and I’ll go get them.  The title will be mailed to me.)  I still have the paperwork from when I bought the Crayola — the bill of sale, etc. and I brought it with me just for grins.  They could tell from the VIN number that the Crayola was made in Japan, and  I had the bill of lading, which is in Japanese, to prove it!  The new Corolla was made in the US.

I drove it around the lot, with the salesman in the front seat, and my mom in the back seat.  Then I drove it out on the street.  It was a strange feeling.  The salesman made the remark that he couldn’t wait to drive the Crayola.  After we dropped him off, mom got in the front seat, and we drove around the lot some more.  After he had driven the Crayola, the salesman told me he thought the clutch was about to go out, so I may have dodged a bullet there.  As we were driving around the lot, my mom remarked about how comfortable the car was, how it was bigger on the inside than hers, and how I was going to drive her to Houston in it to see her brother HJ, who is not in good health.  She’s talking the third week in December.  Leaving on a Monday and coming back on a Thursday.  That trip willl put more miles on the odometer in four days than I put on the Crayola in a year.  I drove mom back to my place by way of Walmart (I finally got my hangers!).

So now I have a new car.  The first new car I’ve had in 27 years. I should be chuffed.  Bouncing around excited.  I kind of am, but I’m feeling such a jumble of other emotions.   I think part of it is that I had the Crayola for so long.  I’ve moved twice since I got it.  It was a part of all those things that happened to me during a period of time that is five years shy of half my life, and now I don’t have it any more.  It’s come hard on the heels of losing my dad.  Goodbyes are hard.  But Po is hanging from the mirror,  the Celtic decal is on the back window, my umbrella is under the passenger seat, and it looks like I’m going to get a lot of practice driving an automatic here pretty quick.

Oh, did I mention, it has a killer sound system? . . .

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

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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. . .

 

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