Slow But Steady Progress

2016_08_13-07I’ve made some progress on the kitchen, but I still have a long way to go.  This is what I’m up against.  Click on the picture to see it in all its messy glory.  It looks like they had a food(s) fight in the 2016_08_13-08kitchen. All that has to be cleaned up off the front of the kitchen cabinets, and then the spills and spots on the shelves have to be cleaned up and shelf paper put down.   Not all of the cabinets are this bad, but none of them had been cleaned in a while.

Saturday, I got all of one bank of drawers, and the cabinet doors under the sink done, and silverware, miscellaneous kitchen utensils, kitchen towels and hot pads put away.

I got a plug strip mounted up underneath the cabinet for my small appliances, and I got the stove top and backsplash (emphasis on the “splash”) behind the stove cleaned, and the new burner pans put in and all the counter tops on that side wiped down good.  That leaves all the top cabinets and the corner cabinets between the stove and dishwasher to go.  Once I get the cabinets cleaned and the shelves lined, and once I get the glass shelves in my china cabinet and bow front cabinet all cleaned, I can start in on the large stack of boxes in the garage.  I’ve been eating off plastic plates with plastic silverware for two weeks now, and I’m ready to get my dishes back.

2016_08_13-02Friday, I got all but one box of books shelved in the office, and all but one bookcase sorted.  The yarn bins are in the closet where they are going.  I still have to vacuum off the ceiling fan blades and figure out how to organize all my knitting accoutrements (needles, notions, gadgets, etc.), since the dresser where I was keeping them is now in the living room, but I think I know what I’m going to do with them.   I still have two boxes 2016_08_13-03to put in the closet, and a small piece of “surplus to requirement” furniture to move to the storeroom, but I think another half a day will see the office sorted.  I’ve gotten all the boxes but that last box from the office broken down and taken out to the dumpster.

I have the vanity in the master en suite cleaned and sorted.  There is still some “decorating” to do, but I can’t do that until I can unpack the stack of boxes still in the garage.  Apart from hanging pictures, the bedroom is done.  I still have cleaning to do in the en suite “water closet” and grouting/calking to do in the shower and along the baseboards of the floor.

2016_08_13-06 2016_08_13-05I still have not touched the “company” bathroom yet. That’ job is going to take at least a day if not a day and a half.   I think I’m leaving that room til last.  Sufficient unto the day . . .

The living room has had a little bit of decorating done.  As you can see, the big entertainment armoire dominates the space.  I want to get rid of it and replace the big hulking CRT TV it contains with a flat screen which will go on the sideboard to the right of it.  I can’t move that right-hand chair into a more realistic position relative to the fireplace until the armoire is gone because if I do, I can’t get the door of the armoire open.  Ideally, the two club chairs would flank the fireplace, with the ottoman between them.  I have a large wooden tray I can put on the ottoman so it can double as a coffee table in social situations.  The dresser under the window in the top of the two pictures is where I currently have my knitting accoutrements stored.

I think tomorrow I’ll back my car out of the garage and take pictures of the “surplus to requirements” furniture, drapes and rugs to list on Craigslist.  Then I can get the store room organized and move the bins of pictures into the house.  Our universities are about to start the Fall semester.  It’s a good time of year to try to sell furnishings.

This past Sunday, mom and I and our friend CK went to see “Florence Foster Jenkins” with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.  It was a completely enjoyable movie.  We decided we also want to see the film “Sully” with Tom Hanks when it comes out

When I got into the car yesterday to go to the bank to change the address on my accounts and to get walked through their new on-line banking procedures, the Silver Beetil’s odometer read 5900.

I’m finally beginning to get better sleep — partly because I’m getting used to sleeping here now, partly because I’ve managed to darken the bedroom to a significant degree, and partly because the pain in my hands, particularly, and feet has eased up.  Longer periods of sleep have meant longer, more coherent dreams.  Friday night, I had a long, rambling dream about meeting Neil Gaiman and traveling with him for a while, and having a rather involved discussion with him about life, the universe and everything . . . . Saturday, I dreamed I was Sam Elliott’s daughter, and was back home again after having had a rather harrowing escape from some unknown danger.  Last night, I dreamed I was babysitting Amanda Soule’s children, and sewed a raincoat for her youngest daughter Annabell that involved clear vinyl material that was lined with sprigged muslin with little pink flowers on a white background.

Speaking of dreaming, I think I hear my beddy-boo calling my name.  I’d better go see what it wants . . .

Off Center



2016_08_10-04As I noted to the ladies of my knitting group, I’m moved, but I’m not moved in.  I’m making slow but steady progress, however.  I have cleaned and put shelf paper in all the vanity drawers in the master suite. I have all the drapes hung in the living room and my bow front cabinet moved into its final position. I have the UV/tinted film up on the sliding glass door (above).  (I can already tell it won’t make the room dark enough.  I will be putting aluminum foil over them to completely shut out the light.)

2016_08_02-10According to my landlady, this duplex was built to deluxe specifications by the builder who (presumably with his wife) lived in my side and rented out the other side.   She noted several times that the fact that the kitchen and bathroom cupboard doors are ash is evidence of this luxury. Many of the cabinet doors could use painting, but the paint/stain treatment would make them difficult to repaint without completely stripping them and reapplying the same finish.

"Master" unit

“Master” unit

"Slave" unit

“Slave” unit






Further evidence of the  level of luxury is an intercom system (with the main unit in the kitchen) that also allows one to “pipe” the AM or FM radio station selected on the master unit (above) into “slave” units in every other room of the house.  (Assuming the units still work — I haven’t bothered to test them.  I detest AM and FM radio.  Too much yacking.)

2016_08_10-05Whoever hung the towel rack in the kitchen (left) was (a) tall, and (b) wasn’t thinking about how much longer it would take a damp towel to dry out when the air couldn’t get at the side that was right up against the wood.  I’ll remove the higher one — just haven’t gotten to it yet.

2016_08_10-06This duplex was built in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, judging from the fact that it has a telephone nook in the kitchen, hearkening back to the days when there would have only been one, centrally-located telephone in the house.  (Extension jacks have since been put in all the rooms.) The placement of the wall outlet/power point and the little desk (with a drawer for the phone book) made this the perfect place for the fat(cat)boy’s pet fountain and feeding dish.

The whole duplex (semidetatched) building, with its two parallel units, occupies roughly the same lot space as a detached single family house, so it’s no surprise that the floor plan is long and narrow.  The master suite is large, and is the whole width of the unit, with its curiously laid out en suite.  As you face that end of the room, the very large closet is on your left, the vanity is straight ahead, and the “water closet” is on your right.

2016_08_10-03I have noticed several design peculiarities about the en suite.  One would think that when one built a shower cubicle, one would put the shower head in the middle of the wall.  However, the shower head in the master shower is situated about 6 inches to the right of center, putting it uncomfortably close to the wall.  2016_08_10-02One would also think that if one built a “water closet,” one would center the toilet between the two walls.  However, the toilet is noticeably off center by about 6 inches.  Indeed it is so close to the right-hand wall that one is practically “up against the wall” on that side.  And with nearly four feet of width on the vanity counter, one would have thought the sink could have been set further to the left from the right-hand wall than the 3 inches of leeway it has, or at least be centered over the cabinets below.2016_08_10-082016_08_10-01






It makes me suspect that the builder (and/or his wife) was a southpaw.

Monday night, we had a right little thunderboomer and got a fair amount of rain out of it.  The “patio” outside the sliding glass doors was still wet when I woke up Tuesday morning.  After knitting group this evening, I stopped by Walmart to get a new alarm clock and some padlocks for the fence gates.

2016_08_02-11Tomorrow, I’m going to be hanging more drapes and probably make some inroads on the kitchen.  My dining room table is too big for the space, and my mom has finally convinced me to sell it, but in order to do so, I would need photographs of it, and right now, it’s pretty covered up with stuff that goes in drawers.  I also want to sell my TV and the armoire it goes in, and replace it with a larger flat screen TV that will go on the sideboard to the right of it.  At some point I need to finish transferring my “phone book” from my old cordless phone to the new one, and bag up the old phone for the upcoming garage sale I’ll be having for superfluous items and furniture.  August is a good time to try to sell furniture as the University fall session begins at the end of August and students will be returning to town to set up housekeeping.  I’ll list the dining table and chairs, and the TV and armoire on Craigslist as soon as I have some good pictures, as I want to sell them as soon as possible.




At about 8 p.m. Sunday night I shut the car door on the last load, put a check for the last water bill and the keys in an envelope, sealed it and dropped it through the mail slot into the apartment manager’s office.   I was so tired, I didn’t even bother to unload the car, but just came in, took a shower and washed my hair, called in a pizza strike, and sat in front of the TV and chilled.   I’d been on my feet bustling around from 7 am to nearly midnight pretty much since last Tuesday, my feet were killing me, my ankles were swollen, I’d been doing hard work in punishing heat (90+F/32+C) for days and I was just exhausted.  But all my stuff is at the new place now, and I can sort everything out at my leisure now that I’m no longer under a deadline.

2016_08_02-09Everything is piled everywhere and can’t be put away until drawers and cabinets are cleaned out and shelf paper put down.  It’s a good thing my “critical mess” threshold is rather high.  The people who lived here before me had to move to assisted living because they could no longer care for themselves, so you know how much housekeeping they did. Tuesday afternoon I was going to lay down shelf paper and hang some drapes, and ended up spending the whole time vacuuming quite an impressive amount of dust from baseboards and window sills and hung curtains in exactly two windows.

2016_08_02-08I wasn’t going to take the fat(cat)boy to the pet hotel until Thursday when the movers came, but Tuesday morning having him shut away in the bedrooms crying to be let out while the packers came, and while I came and went loading up the car convinced me he needed to go early Wednesday morning.  There are two “kitty cottages” at the pet hotel that have a large window where they can watch what goes on in the store, and they put him in one this time.  Poor little guy.  He was already clingy before I took him because of all the disruption and everything being changed and shifted around.

2016_08_02-03Not having to gate-keep the cat, made it easier to come and go loading up the car.  I was able to make three runs Wednesday, unloading bins at the new place and loading them up again in the old place. The movers didn’t come until nearly noon on Thursday, which gave me time to load up the car again.  My furniture has another layer of nicks and dents and scratches, but it all got here and with one exception ended up where I thought it would work best.  For some reason, my “good” alarm clock (corded, not battery operated) died after having been in my hot car for four or five hours, which reminds me I need to get another one.  Thursday night I spent my first night in the new place. Fortunately, the sunlight woke me up before the anemic alarm clock I was having to use.

2016_08_02-04Bright and early Friday morning, I went to get the fat(cat)boy to bring him to our new home.  He was only a little furtive coming out of his crate, but then he was exploring.  The cable guy came and got my TV, phone and internet hooked up.  Then I went back to the old place and put another load in the car and waited for the water guy to come uninstall the reverse osmosis gear from the old place and install it to the new place.  I made one more run after he left.

Saturday and Sunday it was a big push to get out by Sunday night.  The heat and unaccustomed exertion was taking its toll and by the time I turned the keys in I was pretty much worn out.

2016_08_02-05Yesterday, I pottered.  I moved one towel bar from the bathroom to the “water closet”* where it was handy to the shower door, and hung one that matched the toilet paper holder in its place.  Then I hung a toilet paper holder in the WC.  I took down the slatted blinds above the sliding glass door (!) in the bedroom (!) and hung blackout curtains.  I had to use the double rod for that, as one set of blackout curtains wasn’t sufficiently opaque.  I had to wash the old ice blue curtains from the apartment living room and hang them behind the new curtains to get better opacity.

At the old place, there was a wall to the right of my computer desk.  Here there is a wall to the left.  At the old place the side of the double sink with the disposal on was on the left.  Here, it’s on the right.  The shower pipe is about a foot from the back wall of the shower, which makes an already small shower (about 3 feet x 3 feet) feel even more crowded. The fridge door squalls each time it’s opened. (I’ve invested in a can of WD-40.)

2016_08_02-07I forgot to set my alarm last night and it was almost 8:45 before the light through the gaps between the drape panels woke me up (the panels have since been pinned together).  I may clean out the vanity drawers in the en suite and line the drawers and put some stuff away later, but then again, I may not.  I’m still trying to get the swelling down in my ankles.  I may lie in the bed and read for a while.  Or not.

When I went into the kitchen in search of breakfast this morning, the fat(cat)boy was haring around playing with a cat toy.  I’ve caught him several times playing with the toys that were discovered when furniture was removed.  They are slowly but surely disappearing . . . again . . .

2016_08_02-01But we’re here, all the stuff is out of the car.  Things are beginning to get sorted.

*The way the en suit is configured is unusual in that the sink, vanity, and mirror is actually at one end of the bedroom proper, while the shower and toilet are behind a sliding door off to the side, rather like the “water closets” of old.

Things Are Happening

Just to give you and me a chance to calm and center, here’s this, which is magical.

Shark biologist and freediver Ocean Ramsey swims with whale sharks in the Philippines, wearing not much of a bathing suit, and some serious flippers.

OK. Monday, I lined up some duplexes to go see, and told my mom about them.  Then, Mom called me because she’d found a duplex she want me to go see. She and our friend CK met me there and mom really liked it. It’s about a block off Indiana Avenue.  The landlady didn’t mind me having a cat. My mom knew of her from the Women’s Club and PEO, and she was in our friend CK’s PEO* chapter. The duplex was nice but it had a couple of serious feng shui issues, and was very 1970’s !GREEN! but otherwise I was OK with it. We went from there to look at another one and it was a real dump. Tuesday I had one scheduled to view at 2 p.m.  Mom met me at that one and it was OK, but it was already at the high end of my price range and the added expenses for yard care put it out of my price range, and it was too far away from my mom for her comfort.  Tuesday evening I called the landlady of the one my mom liked and told her I wanted it.  Wednesday I signed a 2-year lease on it. (!) So that’s it.  I’m moving.

I had already gotten some estimates from moving companies, but my new landlady suggested a company I hadn’t called.  Wednesday afternoon, I called them to see what kind of schedule mesh we could work out.  The upshot of that conversation is that the packers are coming the 26th.  I get the keys (and the garage! door! remote!) on the morning of  the 27th, and the movers are coming the 28th.  I’ll probably be spending all day on the 27th at the new place putting down shelf paper, hanging drapes, measuring for furniture placement, etc. I have to be there anyway between noon and 4 p.m. as the gas man cometh to turn on the gas and light the pilot lights for the water heater and heating, and that is his time window for doing so.  I’m going to try to make two trips before noon, bringing drapes, lamps, appliances, etc., and a couple of trips after the gas man goeth.

Bright and early on the 28th, the fat(cat)boy goes to the pet hotel (his reservation is already made), and his stuff (poop box, food, litter, etc.,) gets loaded in my car along with whatever else I can cram in there.  The movers come late that morning.  Then the cable guy and the “Oz” water guy (reverse osmosis) come on the 29th.  I plan to be handing the keys to the apartment to the apartment manager on the morning of the 1st.

I decided it was worth the money to have the professional packers over to pack all my dishes, the stuff in my china cabinet and curio cabinet, and other breakable objets d’art and whatnots.  Sunday I have to load up my car with all the boxes I’ve got stored in my mom’s attic to pack up my books.  The movers will move all these boxes.

So. It’s a brick duplex.  It’s very 1970’s.  The living room has dark wood paneling and a brick fireplace with mantel.  The refrigerator is Harvest Gold, and practically the twin of the one in the other duplex, except it doesn’t have a shelf in the freezer.  I’ve got one I’m going to use.  The kitchen and dining area has striped wallpaper.  The counters are 1970’s “Fresh Green.”  The kitchen cabinets are ash with a yellowish golden stain treatment on the doors.  The kitchen has this incredibly busy orange and avocado green floor covering that is just totally obnoxious.  It’s gouged and old and I would like nothing better than to cover it with adhesive backed tiles.  That will definitely be a future project.  It has a separate laundry room off the dining area with washer and dryer hookups and a door.  The rest of the duplex with the exception of the bathrooms has brown wall-to-wall carpet,

The second bedroom is kind of small and pokey, but has a nice big closet with a wide opening covered by two pairs of bifold doors.  It has a linen closet in the hallway.  The main bathroom has one of those molded all in one piece counter + sink thing with green(!) swirls in it and has a bathtub with no shower.   There’s a big cabinet in the bathroom too.

The master bedroom is nice and big, but has an odd en suite setup.  The sink, counter and mirror are at one end of the bedroom just out in the open, with nothing in between it and the rest of the bedroom.  It has a separate “water closet” that has a toilet and shower behind a pocket door off to the side.  The shower is rather small and a titch claustrophobic.   There is a large, walk-in closet with a tall rod on one side for dresses and long coats and two rods on the other side for hanging separates (blouses, slacks, skirts, etc.).   The back door, which is a sliding glass door, is in the master bedroom also, so in order to take out the garbage, I’ll have to schlep it through the bedroom. It’s going to be problematic to get the bedroom dark enough to sleep in during daylight hours.  I’ve gotten a set of blackout curtains for the sliding door.

I can already envision the fat(cat)boy pushing the drapes open to watch CatTV out the sliding door while I’m trying to sleep in. Maybe he’ll just crawl behind them.  I’ll see how it goes.   I’m not going to move the catflap I’ve got.  He needs a bigger one.  I really need to get a video of him going out the cat flap here.  It’s pretty funny watching him oozing his enbonpoint through it. The only other window where he could watch his favorite CatTV programming is in the living room and he would have to climb for it.  I’m going to set it up for him, and then teach him how to get up to it. The exercise will do him good. The house does have a storm door on the front door, which means I can open the front door without worrying about the cat getting out and will have time to shoo him back before I let people in or out.

Feng shui wise, the new place has many good points going for it.  According to its siting, this is a Li house in the East group, which means it sits south and faces north, the best possible orientation for a person whose Kua number is 9, and who was born in the year of the Ox.  It’s a brick house, which makes it an “earth” house, which again is good for an Earth Ox.  The actual front door is in the north sector, which is my Nien Yen (relationships) sector, but the door actually faces east, which is even better as it is my Sheng Chi (success) direction.  The master bedroom is in the southeast, and this is my Tien Yi (health) sector.  There are closets and toilets in the southwest sector of both the house and the master bedroom, which is my Wu Kwei (five ghosts) sector, and the best sector for storerooms and toilets. The kitchen is on the west side, my Lui Shar (six killings) direction, and again my best direction for a kitchen.  The stove plug is on a south wall, again good.  The garage is in my Chueh Ming (total loss) sector which is, again, a good place for it.

But as I mentioned, the place has some serious feng shui issues.  The actual front door is in the north sector and faces east, but the door I’ll be using most is the one that comes in from the garage, which faces north (not bad) but it’s in the northwest sector of the house which is the very worst sector for me to be coming and going through.  There is a cure for this problem, and I’ve already taken steps.  I have a terracotta sun face plaque (fire destroys the metal influence of this NW sector) to hang in the garage by that door, as well as a unicorn sun-catcher to hang in the window of the door in from the garage to “guard” the entrance.  The sun face plaque will do double duty as my “spotter” to help me line the car up to get it into the single car garage without hitting anything (!). This is the aspect of the house that is the most concerning from the feng shui standpoint.

The house is also missing the northeast sector, as the front door is actually by the wall that ends up being the back wall of the garage.  But that’s not all that bad as the northeast is my Ho Hai (mishaps) sector.  Oddly enough, the house has a “sunken” living room, the floor of which is a step lower than the rest of the house, so it has a built in “mishap” right at the edge of that missing sector.  Such “sunken” or split level designs are bad feng shui. (The movers are not going to be real happy about it either.) However, the dining room is a step up from the living room, which is better than its being a step down.  I’m going to interpret the step down into the living room as “grounding the house in the earth,” and make that a good thing.  I’ll hang my gold drapes on the window on the north wall to mitigate the missing sector.  The brick fireplace helps “earth” the wood paneling (fire destroys wood and produces earth), and I’m going to use red (fire) accents in that room to help mitigate all that wood paneling (wood exhausts earth).

One other thing, the duplex has a nice big flower bed beside the front walkway with nothing in it but two rose bushes, so I can have irises again(!), which I’ve missed.   I’ve already talked with the landlady about it, and she’s up with me planting things in it that bloom.  It also has a back yard and a little square pad of a patio just beyond the sliding glass doors and a large tree that shades most of the yard.  The landlady pays water, but I have to keep the lawn watered, which reminds me, I need to buy hoses and sprinklers.


*PEO is a Sekret, No Boyz Allowed Club my mom belongs to. They do Sekret Stuff at their meetings which they are not allowed to talk about to nonmembers.  they network with each other professionally and do Good Stuff for the community.

Enough Is Too Much


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So yesterday at about 11 a.m., after being up all night, I’m cranky, tired, and yawning for bed.  I go into the half bath to brush my teeth and wash my face.  I had turned off the fan and put the extension cord away days ago because the place where the leaky bit was is as dry as it’s going to get … oh, guess again.  As I stand at the sink reaching for my toothbrush, I hear a squirting noise. The maintenance guys promptly appear.  The water gets turned off, and plumbing things start to happen.

While I’ve got the head maintenance guy and short rotund Hispanic helper on the premises, I mention that as long as the water is turned off, now would be a good time to fix the drip in the cold water tap in my bathtub.  (Now both tap knobs have an “H” on them, and the right one is shiny new.  The other one isn’t.)

I also discover that an access panel was, in fact, ordered, but they sent him a mesh panel, which is not what he ordered, so he had to return it and get them to send him what he bought.

The apartment manager came over with them and she said that the lady in the downstairs apartment across the breezeway is moving out in August, she did not have any plumbing problems, and they would let me move in to that apartment when it becomes vacant, because they’re not going to be able to fix the plumbing in this apartment short of jack-hammering out the foundation and replacing the pipes in both my apartment and the apartment above, which can’t be done while someone’s living in it.  But, here’s the thing:  If I’m going to be moving to a new place to get away from plumbing problems, it should be a place that also doesn’t have a Thundering Herd of 4-year-old (or anybody else) living upstairs.  My rent is going to be going up $50 when they put the new windows in this September and I have to move all the furniture and everything within three feet of the window out of the way, as well as take down my drapes, so the window replacement guys can get to the windows — that is, if I’m still living here, because I also asked her what it would cost me to break my lease, and she said my lease is almost up . . . . Hmmmm . . .

They finally got the plumbing sorted at 4 p.m., I was dead on my feet — since by that time, I’d been up since 5 p.m. Tuesday . . .  crashed and burned . . . .

So, today when I went to my mom’s —  and after we played a brief round of *musical chairs — we had a little chat while we were waiting for my cousin from Capitan, NM to arrive and take us to lunch.  The upshot of our discussion is that I am now officially looking for new digs.  Preferably a duplex, if I can find one I can afford and that will take pets, and preferably some place with either a garage or covered parking, but an apartment would be OK, too, if there’s nothing above me but a roof.

Then my cousin came and we went to Red Lobster and pigged out, and had a nice visit with my cousin in the process, and about 3 o’clock, he headed back out to Capitan.  It’s only about a 4-1/2 hour drive.

He liked the concept of the cowl I made for his wife so much that he wants me to make him a man cowl — he never liked to wear a scarf because a horse could grab it and jerk it, or it could get tangled or caught in something, but a cowl is just like a turtle neck sweater but without the sweater.  No danglie bits, and you can pull it up over your nose.  So, when I got home this afternoon, I rummaged about in my yarn stash and found a nice soft yarn in black (to match his cowboy hat) and I’ll make him a cowl.  I think I have just enough.  Now if I can just hunt down my metal size 8 circular needles. . .

When I got ready to go back home, we had a line of thunderstorms moving into the area and I got rained on going home.  I got a “small stone” out of it, though, first one I’ve written in almost a year.  I need to get back in the habit.  Here ’tis:

“July had been doing a slow burn for weeks, when late this afternoon, the sulky, sun-bleached sky prestidigitated clouds from thin air, heaped them up into a line of portly, big-bosomed fin de siecle matrons in long grey skirts and wide-brimmed hats and sent them flouncing across the sky pitching hissy fits of steam-scented rain.  It  came hurtling down in huge drops that splatted when they hit, slapping against the skin hard enough to sting and drumming on the car roof like tennis shoes in a clothes dryer.”

That strange play of light that Edna St. Vincent Millay called “a yellow darkness, sinister of rain” always catches my eye during thunderstorm weather and recalls  sonnet XL to mind (from “The Harp Weaver and Other Poems”).  I’d say it was my favorite of hers, but picking a favorite from her poems is like trying to pick your favorite pearl from a large bowl full.

  • Since time immoral, or at least since the family moved into the house in 1962, my dad’s recliner was on the south side of the den and my mom’s was on the north side.  They had a pair of matching recliners and a pair of matching chairside tables.  (My mom is big on sets of things and things that match.) But  when my dad started having mobility issues, she sold his recliner and replaced it with a lift chair.   After he passed away, she sold the lift chair, mostly because she couldn’t bear to look at the empty chair, and put one of her other little rockers there. (She has a matching pair of them, too.)   About two weeks ago, she decided she wanted to switch her recliner over to my dad’s side so she could watch the birds in the back yard through the sliding glass door, so I came over and we switched her stuff to the other table — the phone, “her” lamp, the doorbell ringer, all her crossword stuff, the TV schedules and the “plongers”(remote controls) that control the TV and the cable box. Today, she decided that the glare through the sliding glass door was too annoying and we switched everything back. c’est tout.

Wednesday, Wednesday . . .


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2016_07_13-02Should have been working, couldn’t get motivated.  I made a pompom and put it on the hat at knitting group yesterday evening.  After I came home from knitting group and was eating my Arby’s Gyro and Curly Fries, I got to thinking that after I had made the owl hat, I had a whole nother ball of that Deborah Norville yarn left, and  I’m thinking,  ‘I have a hat and a scarf in the owl pattern, what I need now is an Owl Cowl.’  So instead of working, I modified the hat pattern and made a pattern for a cowl and knitted one up.  It turned out 2016_07_13-01rather nicely, if I say so myself. The pattern is based on motifs, so it can be very easily modified to make a cowl with as large a diameter as you want.  Some people like them long enough to loop around a couple of times.

It’s still unmercifully hot here.  Today’s predicted high is 105 F (40.5 C).  Only supposed to get up to 103 F (39.4 C) tomorrow, though.  Humidity is now 36%, so if you go outside, you’ll dry up like a raisin in the sun.  And that’s my literary allusion for today.  I’ve been sleeping during the day and staying up all night enjoying the relative coolth and quiet. Like I said, I should have been working but I blew it off and knitted instead.  Tonight, though, and for the rest of the week up until 6 pm Saturday (the end of the pay period) I must type my little fingies to the bone and get in as much work as I can.  My electric bill is going to be higher than the proverbial giraffe’s ears this next time.

Oh, and guess what?  The cold water tap on my bathtub drips now.

Monday, Monday


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2016_07_13-022016_07_11-02 So much for me not starting any more knitting projects until I finished some of the ones I’ve already got going.  Saturday, I got to rooting around in my yarn stash and saw that I had enough left over from making my cousin-in-law a scarf that I decided to make her a hat out of it, too.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  It’s a cute little cloche hat, if I say so myself.  My cousin-in-law likes owls, and my cousin graduated from Rice University in Houston, Tx, whose ball teams are the Rice Owls so she should get a kick out of it.  Naturally, I had to modify the pattern and work it into a matching scarf — tricky, but I think it came out OK.  The owls would look more like owls if they had buttons sewed on for eyes, but I don’t have enough buttons of a suitable color to do that.  The hat will have a pom-pom on the top.  I’ve got it made, but haven’t attached it yet.

2016_07_11-03My cousin is driving over Thursday to take us out to eat.  I’ll give him the hat for his wife to take back with him.

The hole in the bathroom wall is still not fixed.  This last plumbing episode happened June 20th.  I called again about it this morning, and was informed that they’re “waiting on a part.” Sigh.

Fugitive Dreams


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“…and fugitive dreams
such as the one I had last night,

which, like a fantastic city in pencil,
erased itself
in the bright morning air
just as I was waking up.”

from Lines Lost Among the Trees
by Billy Collins

I have Terri Windling to thank for turning me on to this beautiful little image.  You may follow the link to her blog and read the whole poem there, and feast your eyes on her lovely photographs while you’re about it.

I’ve not been posting much lately. Not much has been happening.

One of the things that hasn’t been happening is my bathroom is still not fixed. The little night stand I had in my bathroom because the poor excuse for a bathroom vanity has no drawers has been in my bedroom since June 20th.  There is still a hole in the wall and a fan sitting right in front of it to keep the cat out of it, and an extension cord going out of the bathroom to a plug in my bedroom because when you turn the bathroom light off, it turns off the only plug in the bathroom as well.  The bath mats are still hanging over the drying rack in the living room from when I washed them.  I suppose I could fold them and put them on top of the washer and get the drying rack out of the middle of the living room, but I’ve just left them there.  The head maintenance guy was going to order an access panel to patch the hole, but that’s the last I’ve heard about it.

Of course, to be fair, part of the problem is that there are 17 buildings in this complex each with at least 8 apartments, and there are only 3 maintenance guys, and it has been hotter than a $2 pistol firing uphill lately and they have been busy fixing people’s air conditioners.  When I say hot, I mean hot like today’s high was 105 F (40.5 C).  It’s been as hot as 107 F (41.6 C).  Couple that with 40% humidity, and the heat just sucks the water out of you.  Tonight’s low is predicted to be 78 F (25.5 C).  I’ve been staying indoors out of the heat.  All both of my ceiling fans (one in each bedroom) are on, plus I have a fan going in every room.  I’ve got so many fans on that if I turn on one more, I will have to contact the tower and get takeoff clearance.  I got another pedestal fan like the one I have in the living room that I like so much, and I have it blowing on me now as I type.  I’ve been sleeping days, and being awake at night when it’s cooler.

I’ve been working on a short story from the same universe as here, here, here and here and that’s been taking up a nice chunk of my time.  If I can get it licked into shape, I may try submitting it to various places and see if I can get it published.  I have to qualify that last statement in that I write for my own satisfaction and enjoyment.  Publishing my writing has never been a goal, but I rather like this story, and I may submit it to several places and see what happens.

I’ve been knitting, making some headscarves.  I have a moratorium on new projects until I finish most of the 10-12 projects I’ve got going.  I do want to make a scarf/hat/fingerless glove ensemble for SEL, my little first cousin twice removed who lives in Washington State (not to be confused with RRD, my first cousin twice removed who lives in Galveston who will be a year old in August) — I’ve already gotten the scarf started.  SL is 12 going on 13.  I think it’s something she’d like and use. I’m also going to sincerely try to go “cold sheep”  for a while due to space problems.  I quite literally have no more room in my storage bins for any more yarn.

I’ve also been reading.  As I mentioned, I got 5 ebooks out of my settlement from the Apple anti-trust suit.  I’m about to start an October Daye reread to pick up the two new books in the series that I just got, plus the novelette. I have them all in ebook format so I’ll be Kindling them.

Mostly, I’ve just been laying low, trying to stay out of the sun, and inside from the heat.

Also, found this which is cool as it’s local.


Books Read in 2016


62. Sabriel, Nix, Garth
61. *The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, Clarke, Susanna
60. *Against a Brightening Sky, Moyer, Jaime Lee
59. *A Barricade in Hell, Moyer, Jaime Lee
58. *Delia’s Shadow, Moyer, Jaime Lee
57. *The Lady Astronaut of Mars, Kowal, Mary Robinette (novelette)
56. Engine Summer, Crowley, John
55. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Clarke, Susanna
54. Flying in Place, Palwick, Susan
53. *Alliance of Equals, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve
52. The Book of Life, Harkness, Deborah
51. Shadows of Night, Harkness, Deborah
50. A Discovery of Witches, Harkness, Deborah
49. Visitor, Cherryh, C. J.
48. *Dragon Bones, Briggs, Patricia
47. Chanur’s Legacy, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
46. Chanur’s Homecoming, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
45. The Kif Strike Back, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
44. Chanur’s Venture, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
43. Pride of Chanur, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
42. When Falcons Fall, Harris, C. S.
41. A Liaden Univrse Constellation, Vol 3, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
40. A Liaden Univrse Constellation, Vol 2, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
39. A Liaden Univrse Constellation, Vol 1, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
38. Only Forward, Smith, Michael Marshall
37. Tracker, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
36. Peacemaker, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
35. Protector, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
34. Intruder, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
33. Betrayer, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
32. Deceiver, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
31. Conspirator, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
30. Deliverer, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
29. Pretender, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
28. Destroyer, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
27. Explorer, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
26. Defender, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
25. Precursor, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
24. Inheritor, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
23. Invader, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
22. Foreigner, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
21. *Bone Shop, T. A. Pratt (reread)
20. *Midsummer Night, Warrington, Frieda
19. *Crawling Between Heaven and Earth, Hoyt, Sarah D.
18. The Last Palladin, Bryan, Kathleen
17. The Dark Side of the Earth, Bester, Alfred
16. The Man in the Picture, Hill, Susan
15. Hexwood, Jones, Diana Wynn
14. *Imago, Butler, Octavia E.
13. *Adulthood Rites, Butler, Octavia E.
12. *Dawn, Butler, Octavia E.
11. The Sandman: Overture, Gaiman, Neil (graphic novel)
10. The Golden Rose, Bryan, Kathleen
9. *Tower of Thorns, Marillier, Juliet
8. *Three Men in a Boat, Jerome, Jerome K.
7. The Serpent and the Rose, Bryan, Kathleen
6. Who Buries the Dead, Harris, C.S. (reread)
5. Why Kings Confess, Harris, C.S. (reread)
4. What Darkness Brings, Harris, C.S. (reread)
3. When Maidens Mourn, Harris, C.S. (reread)
2. Where Shadows Dance, Harris, C.S. (reread)
1. What Remains of Heaven, Harris, C.S. (reread)

* Ebook

A Bummer Unbummered, and Rebummered Again


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Went into the full bath Monday night, stepped on the mat in front of the toilet and SQUISHED! — yeah. You’re thinking the same thing I was thinking:  Oh, Ghod, not again. I immediately shifted into triage mode.  No water on the floor and I couldn’t see it seeping from anywhere, but the bathmat was thoroughly soaked and squishy wet.  Grabbed the mop bucket and put the bathmat into it, moved the mat from in front of the sink to in front of the toilet, and headed for the other bathroom.  No wet mats.  Left a phone message on the maintenance “non-emergency” number.

Bright and early Tuesday morning — even before I was up! — here come the short, round, older Hispanic and taller skinny young Anglo maintenance guys.  They search and poke and prod — and tighten down the toilet, which rocked — but could find no source.  They did discover that when you pressed down on the floor in a certain place, water squirted up from between the slats of laminate.  Then Larry the head maintenance guy shows up.  Nobody can find a leak except that when you push in that one spot, water squishes up.  They think maybe it’s left over water from the time the pipe broke at the end of April that has pooled beneath the floor and found a place to come up into the bathmat.  They set a fan on it.  So now I have soggy bathmats, because overnight water soaked half the mat I put down the night before, a bare floor and a fan in my full bath.  Ever try to take a shower with a fan blowing straight on the shower curtain?  Grumble, grumble.  Bummer.

Now that I’m awake, I go boot up the computer and see that I’ve got an email from Amazon with a gift card.  Turns out they’ve settled the antitrust suit with Apple and because I bought ebooks from Amazon, they sent me a gift card to the tune of $48.67 (£32.67, €42.80) as my share of the settlement!  So I bought the last two October Daye  books and the novelette by Seanan McGuire (the last one and the novelette are preorders); the newest book in D. B. Jackson’s Thieftaker Chronicles; a SciFi classic, City by Clifford Simak; and book #2 of Jaime Lee Moyer’s Delia Ryan trilogy. —  I essentially got five books and a novelette for free, which unbummered the day very nicely, thank you.  I had $8 and some change left, but there wasn’t anything I wanted that was less than $13.

2016_06_23-01So Tuesday night after knitting group, I go in to the full bath and press on the spot to see if water still oozes out, and yep, it still does.  Then I notice a slightly darker place on the little “litter catcher” mat in front of the cat box which is in the hall closet.  I flip the mat over and there’s a wet spot on the underside.  I mutter a few words of Anglo-Saxon origin, go pelting into the half bath, flip back the toilet mat, and there’s another damp spot.  These are the same three areas where water leaked before when the pipe in the wall behind the toilet got a hole in it.

2016_06_23-03I leave a message for the maintenance people on the non-emergency line, and start pulling up the bathmats in the other bathroom, moving out the little night stand, and taking the picture* off the wall that covers up the access panel (see above).  Then I go move the poop box and the fat(cat)boy’s food into the office, take out the box it sits on and the vacuum cleaner, and everything else in that closet (at right) and haul that into the living room.

Wednesday morning, I get up and wait for the maintenance guys to come.  About 10 o’clock, I decide to call the office and ask if they got my message.  No, they didn’t.  I told the manager what the message was, and within about 10 minutes, here they come.  I have left the little mat that goes in front of the toilet in the half bath in place so they can see where the wet place is, and I show them the mat from in front of the poop box, and remind them that these were the same three areas that had water when the pipe in the wall got a hole in it.  Off goes skinny Anglo to get the rotary saw.  So, now I’ve got two men in my half bath watching a third one sawing through the patch in the dry wall where the pipe broke last time, and Larry the head maintenance guy discovers the clamp is loose.  He tightens the clamp and they move the fan from the full bath to the half bath. I suggested that they get an access panel and put it where the hole in the wall is, which they think is a great idea.  They’re going to see if they can order one that small.  Even if they can’t, I think they should still put one in, even if they have to make a pretty large hole to do it.

Just as a side note, these apartments were built in 1970, when they were using metal pipes instead of CPVC like they do now, and our water here is hard as a rock, and tends to corrode the metal pipes, which is what caused the pipe to leak in the first place.  In order to truly fix the pipes, they would have to replace them.  In order to do that, they would have to jackhammer a hole down through the concrete foundation and run new pipes not just from my apartment to the water main but from the apartment upstairs, too — not something you want to have to do while there are people living in the apartments, especially the downstairs one, especially since neither of the bathrooms in either apartment would be usable for the duration.

Now, the plug in the half bath (there’s only one) is controlled by the light switch, which means when you turn the light off, it turns the plug off, too.  This gives me the choice of  turning the light (and the fan) off when it’s time to go to bed, or leave the light (and the fan) on and trying to sleep with light bleeding around the bathroom door, or option #3, running an extension cord from a plug in my bedroom under the bathroom door so the fan can continue to run even with the bathroom light off.  I go with option #3

2016_06_23-02So, this morning, after I put all my bath mats back in the washer (I must have the cleanest bath mats in the complex), I got out some of my Lily’s Sugar and Cream cotton yarn, like I was using to make baby bibs, and decided to make a Cobblestone Pie headscarf out of some of it.  I’ve got three balls of hot pink and three balls of purple and white variegated, which ought to be enough to make a headscarf out of each color.

I have some long straight size US10 (6.0 mm) metal knitting needles, but the ends of the needles tend to hit against the arms of the chair when I knit with them, which is annoying.  I’ve got some size US10 metal circular knitting needles but only in the 16-inch and 36-inch lengths.  Alas, the scarf ends up being 21 inches wide, which makes the 16-inch length too short.  I went with the 36-inch circular needles, but they’re at least 20 years old (I had had them for at least 10 years and probably longer when I moved 2016_06_23-04to the duplex in 2001).  The plastic connecting bit is stiff and sproingy from being curled up inside the package, it’s way too much needle for the project, and the sproingy bit keeps getting in the way, which is annoying.

Circular knitting needles aren’t that expensive, and yesterday was payday, so I went on Amazon to order a 24-inch long set of US10’s, which I don’t have.  I found a pair for $10 (£6.71, €8.79) and I could get Amazon Prime shipping on them. When I went to check out, they ended up costing me $1.83 — I thought I could only use the gift card for ebooks.  Apparently, I could have used it on anything, but what I most likely would have bought with it was books.  Ah, well.

About the middle of July, I’ll have to start rereading the October Daye books, as the latest one comes out in September, and the novella comes out August 2.


*This is a poster I got while I was stationed in (West) Berlin in the 1970’s.  It’s the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti, which is in the museum there.

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