The Tuesday Evening Whataburger Incident

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It’s been such a zoo this week that, what with one thing and another, when I was writing the previous post, I forgot about the Whataburger incident Tuesday evening.  My knitting group meets at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evenings and it is my habit to stop at the Whataburger at Utica Avenue and 50th Street on the way there and buy a large Coke.  True to form, it’s 6:05 p.m.,  I pull into the Whataburger parking lot, drive around to the order board, vvvvrrrrm down my *power* window (no hand cranking the car window down any more for this baby), and chirp “Hello,” at the microphone to let the order taker know I’m ready to order.

A long moment of silence.

Then this quavering teenaged voice says, “We’re not taking orders right now, we’re having an emergency.”

OK.

So, I pull on around to go back out onto 50th Street, and hear a siren start up.  Now,  I know there’s a fire station less than 100 yards up the street and sure enough, out comes a pumper truck, which is kind of good, because I was debating with myself about calling 911 in case the  emergency at the Whataburger was that they were being held up.  So now, I’m wondering if they are on fire — a reasonable supposition, what with all the fried foods on the menu.

As the fire truck is interrupting oncoming traffic to turn off 50th Street onto Utica Avenue, and the firefighters are practically on the scene, I turn out onto 50th Street and put plan B into effect, which is to say, drive the two blocks further down 50th Street to the Taco Bell and get a large Dr. Pepper.   Before I even get there, here comes an ambulance barreling down 50th Street toward the Whataburger.

Allow me to digress.  When you call an ambulance here in my fair city, not only do they dispatch an ambulance, they also dispatch a fire truck.  There’s a method to this madness.  The ambulance services here only staff two emergency medical technicians per ambulance.  If they need to transport a person to a medical facility, the EMTs have got to be able to get them onto the gurney and strap them down for transport.  If the person requiring transport is a large and/or  heavy, and/or tall person, and there are only the two EMTs, this could be problematic.

I speak from experience.  Early last year, my dad went down in their back bedroom, and my mom and I could not get him up off the floor and onto the bed, so we called the ambulance personnel to help us, and to check my dad to see if the reason he went down in the first place was because he needed to be hospitalized.

Out comes the ambulance, — and the fire truck!  The EMTs checked my dad over, and his blood pressure was way down and his pulse was way up, and he was showing signs of delirium.  Obviously, he needed medical attention. Turns out, they could not maneuver the gurney around the turn from the den into the hallway that led to the back bedroom, and they were not allowed to attempt to carry him by themselves.  But, with the help of a blanket used as an impromptu stretcher and four burly firemen, they were able to carry my dad out to the den and put him on the gurney.  (Turned out he did need to be hospitalized.  He was dehydrated and had a bad urinary tract infection.)

In reflecting on the incident later, it occurred to me that had the Whataburger incident involved a grease fire, there would have been a lot of background noise (particularly, loud voices) in the microphone of the employee who responded to my order request.  So, evidently, it was some kind of medical emergency that prompted the fire truck.  Since I don’t watch the local TV news or take the paper, I don’t know the details.

 

Gleanings and Possibilities

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There’s the below, which is a little snatch of weather from what we out here in the flatlands like to call sky country.  This is a time lapse video, shot at one second intervals using a Canon 5dmII with wide angle lenses, of an amazing stationary supercell produced over the Black Hills of South Dakota near Rapid City on June 1, 2015. The video was shot by storm chaser , (© 2015). The music is  ‘Storm’ © by Ryan Taubert

Here are some more outstanding weather videos.

Here’s what you get when you divide 9 cats into 20 boxes:

2015_07_02-01And apparently, Las Cruces, New Mexico has a Cat Library.  As I have mentioned, my cousin JP lives near Capitan, NM, and it’s only 125 miles between Capitan and Las Cruces, and just south of Las Cruces is a town called Mesilla that has a restaurant, La Posta de Mesilla, that’s in an old adobe stagecoach inn.  Probably not this trip, but at some future visit to my cousin (now that I have a car I’m not afraid to take out on the highway), I’d like to go back to Mesilla.  The town square is historic and has been preserved, with the old adobe mission church.  I have two cups and a beaker I got there when I went in the 1980’s to visit this cousin’s mother who lived in El Paso, Texas at the time.  She was my mother’s oldest sister, and I was named for her.  I had my first Toyota Corolla then,  a silver one, which I traded in for the Crayola of cherished memory because it did not have air conditioning.

Oh, and we had another round of the stopped up sewer line game, which line upped the ante by backing up a bowl of “used toilet water,” she says euphemistically, all over the half bath’s floor.  It’s fixed now.  I’ve had to do two loads of clothes instead of just the one, with the second load being bath mats and the towels I used to sop up the mess.  I definitely need to invest in, at the very least, a mop bucket.  I also need a broom.  When I moved in, I wasn’t planning to have to sweep off the porch.

Squeakers and Caves

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I didn’t get a lot of knitting done last week because I got a lot of reading done.  Read probably 5 books quite literally back to back in great huge gulps.  Reading up onto Dragon In Exile by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, the latest book in the Liaden Universe series, by rereading the books in the order of the internal chronology of the story rather than in publication order.  This is the third reread of some of the books, and they are still as hard to put down as they were on first reading.  If you like your SciFi with less “hard science” and more complex, multidimensional characters and relationships, check these books out.  People call them “space opera” like that’s a bad thing.  These are character/relationship driven stories with a large dollop of comparative sociology on an interplanetary scale that raise a whole series of thought provoking questions about how we define ourselves and others within the context of social structures. Thing is, I’ve got right in the middle of one, and two more after that to go.  Clutch turtles and a gigantic bored tree — what’s not to like?

Then, there’s this:

For the last couple of days, I’ve been driving on less than a quarter of a tank of gas, knowing that I’m going to be filling up the tank on my mom’s nickle for our very upcoming trip to visit my cousin in New Mexico, and I had 54 miles* left on the tank when I started running errands today, and 34 miles* left when I pulled into the Walmart parking lot to get groceries, and I know that I’m going to have to drive home, then drive the black kitty to the pet hotel at Petsmart and then drive over to pick up my mom, and then drive to where ever it is I’m going to gas up before we head out on our merry way, and I’m pretty sure that if you run completely out of gas in my car, you can’t just pour some gas in and go on, but that you have to have it towed to the dealership and they have to do something to it first, and I caved and put in $5’s worth of gas (2.1 gallons as it happens) at the Walmart pumps on my way home, so now I have 92 miles* left on the tank of gas and I know for sure I’m not going to run out of gas before I fill up right before we head out on the highway.  The suspense was beginning to get to me.

At some point here directly, I’m going to have to get into the closet and fetch down my wheelie suitcase so I can pack for the trip.  Where my cousin lives is up in the mountains at an elevation of  6,530 ft/1,990 m (versus 3,256 ft/992 m here) so it’s cooler there than here, especially at night.  Also, because of the higher elevation, one is more prone to sunburn, another reason to wear long sleeves.  I also bought a tube of sun screen and am considering taking a hat.  The town where they live is in Lincoln County, New Mexico, which is Billy the Kid country, the site of the Lincoln County Wars.

We’ve been promised a parade and a rodeoYee-Haw.

*these are not actual distance miles, but “figurative miles” based on the amount of fuel remaining in the tank divided by the average miles per gallon, meaning you can use up “miles” while stopped at a traffic light.

Fallout From The Power Outage

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We had a power outage at some point early Friday morning, but it came back on.  Since I could get on the internet, I assumed things were status quo.  Alas, not.  While I was watching TV Friday night, I tried to search for an upcoming program and the TIVO informed me that it was not going to perform my search because a certain cable was not connected, and it was going to sit there and pout until I reconnected it.  So there.   I called Suddenlink technical support, worked my way through their phone decision tree and ended up, not with a techistani*, but with a very nice American lady.  We unplugged, did countdowns, and plugged back in this thing, and restarted that thing, and she did this and that line test.  None of the many things we tried succeeded in cajoling the TIVO out of its pout, and a technician was duly scheduled to come out to my house bright and early Monday morning and replace my MoCA box which was likely the source of the problem with the TIVO.  The power outage had apparently made my MoCA box unhappy and consequently, it would not light up all its lights, which made the TIVO unhappy.  This made me unhappy, as my BFF was supposed to come over Sunday and we would decide which pay per view movie we would watch using my free movie ticket.

However, my BFF is taking Cipro for a urinary tract infection, her digestive system was pitching a snit fit about it, and she cancelled, which worked out just fine actually since my TIVO was in a pout because it thought I had disconnected its cable.

I had to get up at 7:30 Monday morning (I usually get up at 9) so I could shower, dress, and be ready for the tech support guy, who arrived promptly at 8:05. Unfortunately, he could not convince the TIVO that, indeed, all of its cables were connected in the prescribed manner, nor could he get all the lights to light on the MoCA box.   He replaced the MoCA box.  Three times.  Finally, he found one that would light up all its lights, but the TIVO was still unhappy and was still insisting that one of its cables was not connected. He replaced the cable modem**.  This succeeded in making the MoCA box happy, the TIVO happy and got both of them to play nice.

Of course, because I had a new cable modem, that meant my old secret WIFI password was no good any more.  I had to whisper the new secret WIFI password to both internet radios and my Kindle so they could get back into the secret WIFI club again.  Grumble.  Shot my whole morning.  (The cable tech was not happy either because the tech support guy who usually went to Post had a dead car battery, so they wanted him to drive to Post and fix the cable at the prison, and he (a) did not want to have to drive all the way to Post and then have to drive all the way back, and (b) was not at all happy about having to go to the prison.  I didn’t blame him.)

2015_05_30-07I spent Monday afternoon working on the sleeves to the little purple baby sweater and the  booties for the meadow sweet dress.  I was in the middle of futzing with the stitch pattern for the ruffle on the baby booties when my mom called.  Her doorbell extension we ordered had arrived and she wanted me to come make it work.  I wasn’t dressed to go out, was right in the middle of trying to figure out how to reverse the stitch pattern for the skirt of the meadowsweet dress so it would turn out right when knitted from the wrong side, so I could make the ruffles for the matching baby booties, and I told her I’d come Tuesday afternoon late.

Turns out she has a Hispanic guy (one of the numerous friends and relations of her yard guy) coming out Tuesday (today) at around noon to repaint her porch, because the paint that’s on there is flaking and is unsightly(!).  In the meantime, she’s got a luncheon she’s going to at 11:30, and won’t be back from that until 2 or 3 o’clock, which is fine.  It’ll be late in the afternoon before I’ve taken my shower, washed my hair and gotten dressed.  Tonight is knitting group.  I’ll go by her house, get her doorbell sorted, and go on to knitting group from there.

*a “technical support” person who works in a tech support call center in India, the Philippines, or somewhere else where English is not the native language, and wages are cheap relative to the US.
**The internet has a box (internet modem), the phone has a box (phone modem), the TV has a box (combo cable box and DVR) and the TIVO has a box (MoCa), all of which are interconnected in devious and arcane ways with coaxial cables, phone lines, and power cords.  These boxes all contain pieces of phlebotinum making them persnickety and obstreporous to the unitiated who do no know the secret mouth position that one must assume in order to make these devices play nice with one another.
(!) My mom is a Virgo.  Everything in her world must be neat, clean, and otherwise ship shape and Bristol fashion.  anything that is not, is “unsightly” and will drive her nuts until it is made “sightly” again.  Even if its not her stuff.  Sigh.

Dead UPS’s and Pasta Salad

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I dropped off my donations at Catholic Family Services, who I prefer as, unlike the big name charities, their charitable work is done locally, and the money stays locally.  Then I took the UPS to Battery Joe.  They tested it for me and the one surge protected plugs were OK, but the UPS plugs were not live, even with a fresh battery.  Since the UPS was not fully functional, there was no point in keeping it and the Battery Joe guy was kind enough to dispose of the UPS as well as the dead battery for me.

Then I went to Walmart and bought groceries, and doubled back and went to The Fortune Cookie, which is my favorite “Chinese” restaurant.  I got my usual:  Almond chicken and Shanghai chicken with an order of cheese wontons.  They do a thing where you have a plate with rice, an egg roll, a fortune cookie, and your choice of one, two or three entrees from a list of about 10 of them.  You can mix and match, but I prefer to get one plate with two of almond chicken and a second plate with two of Shanghai chicken.  I can get three or four meals out of those two plates of food.  I’ve been going to this one restaurant since the 1980’s, and the Chinese-American lady and her husband who owned it got to be friends.  Last year, they sold the restaurant to another Chinese-American couple and retired.  I am happy to say the quality of the food has not suffered in the change of ownership.

2015_04_22-012015_06_11-02I ripped out and restarted the baby booties to the meadow sweet dress.  I had done them on size 3 needles and they were too big.  I dropped back to a size 2 and they are just right.  I’m up to the cuffs now.   I’m having to take a break from knitting at the moment.  The way I hold my knitting needles, the needle lays across the side of my left ring finger.  Because the needle is so small, it tends to cut into and pinch the skin (and the nerve to my fingertip ) against the bone.  If I knit too long, I end up with a tingly fingertip because the needle has pinched the nerve.  I think I may see if I can get a tailor’s thimble and see how that works.  They’re made to go on the middle finger, so they should be big enough to slip past the first joint of my ring finger.  I need to make about two more pairs of baby booties for the “first batch” of baby clothes.  I plan to send the smallest things first, and send the six-month size later.

I made another batch of pasta salad this afternoon and decided to write it up for my “Lunch in the Life” tags (like “A Day In The Life of” only with lunch).  So, here it is.

Pasta Salad

2015_06_20-01This is what I put in this batch of pasta salad.

Approximately a cup and a half of cooked elbow macaroni (about a third of a package).

About 8 cherry tomatoes cut into quarters.

Five green onions, sliced.

2015_06_20-02Four sticks of celery, diced.

About a cup of chopped chicken breast.

A small can of sliced olives.

A chopped dill pickle spear (just for piquance).

About a third of a cup of mayonnaise.

About a tablespoon of Ranch salad dressing.

2015_06_12-01Add the Ranch dressing and mayonnaise last and stir well, coating all the ingredients.  Chill.  Serve.  Snarf.

This is my version.  You can add or remove ingredients to suit your own taste — like carrots, or nuts, or whatever.   It’s quick, easy.  The most time consuming thing is the prep; chopping everything up.  Took me about half an hour to make.

In The Dark In My Dreams

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At some point late last night or early this morning, we had a power outage, and the lack of noise from my fan and my air purifier woke me up.  I realized the power was out, but it was still dark, so I rolled over and went back to sleep.  I dreamed we had a power outage.  I was in my mom’s house and she came home, and I said, “Guess what.  The power’s out.”  There was a part about how I was living in the upstairs of a house that had been converted to an apartment which has faded now.  Then, the grey kitty, my baby girl, who I lost over a month ago came walking into the room.  I knew she was gone and that I didn’t have her any more, but there she was, alive and well like she had been several years ago.  I called her; she came to me and I picked her up and loved her.  I knew it was really her, but I couldn’t understand how she could still be there when I knew she was gone.  Maybe it was another kitty just exactly like her, but how could that be? . . .

In the dream, the power was still out, and when  I woke up, the power was still out.  It was a little surreal.  Most of my clocks either run off a battery or have battery backups, so I knew it was 8:15 in the morning.  My computer and printer and a bunch of other stuff on my desk are all plugged into two little uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), so if I happen to be working on the computer when the power goes off, they automatically switch to the battery backup and give me 10 minutes to save any data and turn my computer off in a controlled fashion.  The UPS’s were beeping like they do when the power goes out and they’re running on battery.  I went in to the office, turned off the one that’s on my desk, then crawled under my desk to turn the one off that’s on the floor behind the filing cabinet.  There was enough daylight to read by in the front room, and I thought I’d sit and read for a while.  By then it was 9 o’clock, so I took my meds and was getting something to drink so I could sit and read for a while, when the power came back on.

IMG_0001I went back to the office to turn my UPS’s back on, and only one side of the small UPS came back on, because the clock never came on and my printer won’t turn on.   Once upon a time, I ran two computers; I had one that was only used for work and my personal one for play.  I had bought two big UPS strips, one for each computer — when I was working, I had to have one on my work computer.  When I first started working for national transcription services, they provided computer equipment which had already been set up with their software and data security protocols.  One company I worked for that provided you with a computer also provided a UPS for it.  When I quit working for them and packed the computer up to send it back, I asked them if they wanted the UPS back, and they said they didn’t, so I ended up with a third, smaller UPS.  That’s the one that’s not working.  I’ve replaced the batteries on each UPS strip at least once, and the last time I replaced a battery on one of the big units, I bought an extra battery.

I think the battery on the small one may be dead and, of course, that’s the one I don’t have an extra battery for.  Here in a minute, I’m going to take it to Battery Joe and have them test it, and if it is the battery, I can get a replacement battery from them.  If it’s the UPS itself that’s defunct, I do have that second big UPS.  I’ll just have to move the filing cabinet out about three inches to accommodate it. I’ve got some other errands I need to run, and I need to put gas in the car, so I can go by Battery Joe while I’m out doing all the other things I need to do.

Doing The Doorbell Rag

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When my mom’s at home during the day, she will open her front door, but leave the (glass) storm door locked, so she can see who is at the door.  Tuesday morning I stopped by to see about something and when I pulled up into the driveway, I saw her front door was open, so I knew she was home.  I plonged on the door bell, and waited for her to come to the door . . . and waited.  Rang the door bell again.  Stood there and waited some more.  By now I’m becoming concerned.  She has a garage door opener that requires a remote unit to open it, but it can also be opened using a key.  I have a key so that I can get into the house when the front door is locked and the storm door is latched from the inside,  so I let myself in through the garage — and there she was, pottering about the den.  Told her I had rung the doorbell several times, but she hadn’t heard it.  I went to the front door and tested the doorbell and immediately discovered why she hadn’t heard it.  When you pressed the button, nothing happened.

She has one of those wireless doorbells with the ringer unit that plugs into a wall outlet.  The button lit up when it was pressed, but it wasn’t making the chimes chime.  She assured me no batteries were involved, so it couldn’t be that.  (There had to be a battery in the button unit, since the button lit up when you pressed it, but I wasn’t going to argue.*)  This particular model had two chimes units, so she had one plugged into an electrical outlet in the den, and the second one plugged into an outlet in the back bedroom so she could hear it when she was back in the back part of the house. She had had that doorbell long enough that my dad was the one who had put it in, so figure at least 15 years and probably longer.  I figured it was probably just worn out and needed to be replaced.  I went on line to see where we could go to a store here in town and get one, and Home Depot had them.

We hopped into my car and went tootling down to Home Depot, but the only models they had on the shelf all just had the one chimes unit.  I had been wanting one myself, as in order to get the (mechanical) doorbell on my apartment door to ring, you practically have to hit it with a hammer, so we got two, paid for them, and tootled back home.

We opened hers up, plugged the chimes unit into an outlet in the kitchen, and pushed the button to test it.  Nothing happened.  I knew the button unit had a battery, and it was entirely possible that the unit had been sitting in the warehouse long enough that the battery was dead, so I took the battery out, and took the battery out of the button unit of her old one, and went up to the Battery Joe store that was just up the way and got new batteries.  Put the new battery in the button unit of the old doorbell, tried it, and nothing happened.  Put the new battery in the new button unit, tried it —  and nothing happened.

I took both new doorbells (one of which was still unopened) and the receipt back to Home Depot and told the greeter that we had purchased them not an hour ago, and we couldn’t get the one to work.  She called the “electrical guy,” I met him at the service desk, he played with it for a good 10 minutes and he couldn’t get it to work either.  He opened the other new one, and it worked fine.  He went and got another of the same kind, opened it, tried it, and it worked fine.  Evidently that one had been defective.

Back I go to mom’s house, pry off the face of the old button unit so I could take it off and found out that instead of using screws to affix the base plate to the door frame, my dad had nailed it.  However, the new button unit fit onto the old button unit’s base plate just perfectly, so that was no problem.  Now we have to test it.  We turn the volume up on the chimes unit as high as it will go and I go push the doorbell.  My mom has trouble hearing it while she’s standing in the same room with it.  When she’s in the computer room, she can’t hear it at all.  So I get on the interwebs and discover that we can buy a second “extender” chimes unit for that brand of door bell from Home Depot on line and get free shipping if it ships to the store.  If it ships to her house, she’ll have to pay $6 shipping.  She says it’s too much trouble for her to go get it at the store, so we pay the shipping charge to have it shipped to her house. It should be here late next week.

So, now that we’ve got her doorbell sorted I go home with my new door bell.  The button unit comes with a pair of screws, but it also comes with a piece of that “heavy duty” double sided sticky stuff  so you can stick it to the door.  I stick the button unit to my door, and tape a little sign under it “Please use this doorbell” with an arrow pointing to it.  Now I discover that I have a problem with the doorbell, too, but the problem I have with it is finding an empty plug to plug the chimes unit in!  My apartment was built in the 1960’s and only has, at most, one electrical outlet per wall.  Also,  the living room has no ceiling light, so the upper plug in those three outlets are wired in such a way that you can turn lamps on using the light switch. . . which means, if that light switch is off, those plugs don’t work. I went ahead and ordered an “extender” chimes unit for myself as well, as I had to plug the chimes unit into an outlet in the dining area and I’m concerned about being able to hear it when I’mback in the bedroom at my computer with my ear buds in listening to music (like right now).

2015_06_17-01In other news, I’ve not only finished the little “parfait pink” baby dress, but I’ve also finished a pair of booties to go with it.  I’m using the basic two at a time toe-up sock pattern I’ve posted on my knitting blog, with a “cuff ruffle” added based on the stitch pattern of the dress skirt.  I need to add the pattern for the cuff ruffle to the dress pattern.  I’ve got a bonnet pattern, which is where I got the stitch pattern for the dress skirt, but I’m trying to modify it to put a brim on it to make it a sun bonnet.  I’ve made a couple of attempts, but so far, no luck.  I find patterns for all kinds of baby hats — except sun bonnets.

Today, the black kitty got his rabies vaccine and the other vaccines the pet hotel requires. This is the first time he’s ridden in the new car, and he was not happy about it.  He was rather vocal all the way to the vet’s, but rather subdued on his way home.  When I took him for his shots last year, he weighed 16.6 pounds/7.53 kg.  This time, he weight 15 pounds/6.8 kg, so he’s lost a whole 1.6 pounds/0.73 kg, which is great.  He will be 8 years old this fall, and the vet said his teeth were beautiful, his ears were clean and that spot on the iris of his left eye that we are watching has not changed.  His coat is silky and he seems perfectly healthy, except he’s — shall we say — a bit of a butterball. The Petsmart PetHotel has a form that must be filled out, which I can print off their website and fill out ahead of time, and now I have the receipt the vet printed for me showing his vaccinations are up to date.  That’s all the paperwork he’ll need.  He will be the only one of my cats who has ever gone to a “hotel.” I’ve always had people come to my house to take care of them, so even when they were by themselves much of the day, they had each other for companionship.  But now that I’ve just got the one, it would be unkind to leave him here by himself.  Even though taking him to the pet hotel will mean he will be in a strange place, there will be things going on around him all day and he will not be all by himself.

*She was also sure that the button had electrical wires to it from inside the house, but I knew that wasn’t true either — They’re called “wireless” doorbells because they aren’t connected to the house’s electrical wiring. That’s their major selling point — You stick the button on or beside the front door, plug the chimes unit into a wall outlet et voilà!

Critical Mess and Aftermaths

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Wednesday, I sorted and made piles and culled and organized, and ended up with a big plastic bag full of mostly clothes but some stuff to take to Catholic Family Services.  I take my “culls” to them rather than to the “big name” charities as their efforts benefit people right here in our local community and the money stays here.  I got the office closet organized as well as the one in the hall. I still have some stuff in the office that needs to go in one of the bins in the floor of the hall closet, though.  It’s stuff I needed to find a place for, and that one bin has room for it.  Then I vacuumed the whole house and emptied the cabinet under the kitchen sink and the sink cabinet in my en suite half bath, as requested.

Bright and early Thursday morning, I wandered over to collect my mail (the mail boxes are opposite the leasing office, which opens at 8:30) and one of the maintenance guys was standing in front of the office smoking a cigarette.  I told him I was ready whenever he was.  He said he had to fill out some paperwork and would be by directly to install my new dishwasher and sink faucet.

As I was walking back to my building, I looked up and there were three barn swallow chicks ((Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) sitting up above the breezeway opening.  They had their full adult plumage, but they still had remnants of chick fuzz sticking out here and there, giving them a slightly scruffy appearance. (Naturally, I didn’t have my camera with me.) They looked a bit disgruntled sitting there in a huddle, which made me smile.  The parents were swooping about in the green space between the buildings.  Because they are such swift and agile flyers, they have little fear of humans; it was just breathtaking to watch them.   (I hope they were feeding.  They eat, among other things, mosquitoes, and anything that eats mosquitoes is my friend.)  Every time the parents flew near them, the chicks would clamor to be fed.  However, the chicks were flying, as they flew when I walked under them to go back to my apartment.  They build nests of mud so I was not surprised to see them back (There is a playa lake quite nearby as the swallow flies where they could readily find nesting material).

I asked the maintenance guy about whether they knocked down the swallow nests, and he said that the swallows are protected and they are not allowed to knock down nests that are occupied.  They have to wait until after the chicks have left and the nests are no longer in use before they can take the power washer to hose down the nests and clean the droppings off the building.  I was very glad to know this.  They are such beautiful birds, and they perform a very useful function, eating mosquitoes. Apart from the fact that mosquitoes are nasty little blood sucking bugs in their own right, they also carry some pretty noxious diseases,  Unfortunately, we have had cases of West Nile virus here in town in the past, and the mosquito is the vector.  With all the rain we’ve been having, we are just about knee deep in mosquitoes.  I was happy to wish the lovely swallows, “Bon appétit!”

2015_06_12-02Friday morning, I finished dusting the front two rooms and my bedroom.  Friday afternoon, my mom and the neighbor lady who is such a good neighbor to her came over to help me move my bed 90 degrees so that the head is on the south wall rather than the east wall of my bedroom.  According to my kua number, east is my best direction, feng shui-wise, but with the configuration of my bedroom, having my bed on the east wall was not working for me.  The next best option was to have the head of the bed on the south wall, so that’s where I wanted it. Having my bed here works better with where the door is.   However, because it is a queen size bed, in order to move the bed, you have to take the mattresses off.  Between me and J, it was a simple matter to lift the mattresses off and rotate the bed.  We had it all done inside 20 minutes.  Above is the new configuration.

Mom said my cousin JP called and wanted to know when we were coming over to NM to visit.  He mentioned that there is some kind of little rodeo associated with the 4th of July celebration there in the town near where he lives.  The 4th of July is on a Saturday this year.  I was thinking we could drive over on Friday, and drive back Monday. It’s only a little less than a 5-hour drive, with plenty of time to drop — I keep saying the black one, but I just have the one now so — the kitty off at the pet hotel Monday on the way to pick her up, and pick him up on Monday on the way home from dropping her off at her house.  It will be a new experience for both of us. I think he will do well since he pretty much never meets a stranger.

I have a lattice screen that I normally just keep folded up out of the way, but Thursday when the maintenance guy came, I set the screen up in such a way that it closed off the hallway so the black kitty could not go into the bedroom, but still had access to his box and food.  This was so that the maintenance guy could come and go as he needed to without my having to ride heard on the kitty.  This worked very well, and I used the same technique Friday to keep him out of the middle of us while we were moving my bed.

2015_06_13-01After I got everything back together in my bedroom, I washed a load of clothes, cleaned my air purifier, took a shower and washed my hair.  I did a second load of clothes, and while I was waiting for that to happen, I cooked some elbow macaroni and made a pasta salad with chopped celery, chopped green onions, 2015_06_12-01chopped white onions,  cherry tomatoes cut into quarters, sliced black olives, diced chicken breasts, and mayonnaise.  Good timing.  While it was chilling, I made my bed with fresh clean sheets, and folded clothes and put them away.  By then it was almost 10 o’clock.  Finally, I could sit down to a bowl of pasta salad.  It is colorful and crunchy, and it hit the spot.  I had another bowl for lunch today.   When my dad would get hungry for a particular dish — say, chili, ground beef and elbow macaroni, etc., —  he’d make a big pot of it and eat it for three meals a day until it was gone.  Evidently, this is a heritable trait . . . .

I still have one room to go:  my office/library.  I need to dust and to reassort my books.  I might do it tomorrow.  Then again, it might be next week before I decide to tackle it. . . .

I’m about five rows from finishing this baby dress.  I’ll have it finished by this evening.  (There will be booties and a bonnet for it, too.) I should probably try to finish the little purple cardigan too.  All that’s left to do is to knit the sleeves.  I also started booties for the meadowsweet dress at knitting group last Tuesday.  I’m doing them two-at-a-time using this pattern.   Hopefully, I’ll have them finished by next Tuesday.   I will write up the pattern for the ruffle on the cuff, which will be based on the stitch pattern of the skirt.  I need to do a bonnet for it, too, based off the pattern for the hat.  The pattern is written to start from the bottom up, ending at the crown.  I’ll probably have to do it from the crown down.  In each case, I’ll post the pattern for the bootie cuffs and the bonnet on my knitting blog, appending them to the pattern for the dress.

Yesterday, I tuned my internet radio to the Illinois Street Lounge channel of SomaFM and listened while I dusted in the living room and then later while I sat and knitted waiting for my mom to call to say they were coming to help me move my bed.  This channel always makes me smile.  It reminds me of summers when I was a child when we would have to lie down for an hour after lunch and the lady who kept us would let us listen to the radio.  Late 1950’s lounge music.   So funny.

Last evening, we had a little thundershower, and mom called to say that there was a severe weather alert.  I stood in the doorway and looked out to see what I could see and the swallows were vrooming back and forth in the little breezeway between my apartment door and the door of the apartment across the way carrying on something fierce.  I stood for a moment in the doorway and watched them until the wind kicked up, and I came back inside.  I think here in a minute, I’ll go finish that one little dress, and then maybe watch TV a while.

Home Again, and News Both Good and Sad

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2015_06_08-01Sunday, I did some cleaning, finally took down those awful bifold doors that close off the washer and dryer and hung the shower curtain that my BFF got for me.  I love it — except for the fact that it is about 18 inches too short.  I haven’t decided what to do about it.  I see that I can get an extra-long black vinyl shower curtain liner for $12 on Amazon, which is what I will probably do.  I really like the picture.  It goes nicely with the framed poster of the rebuild Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche from Berlin that’s on the wall at right angles to it. Both the black and white color scheme and the fact that it’s of a large metal tower work feng-shui-wise for a room on the north end of a home.  Both pictures bring back happy memories of time spent in both cities.   You will notice a black tail with a white tip at the bottom of the frame. He fits in well with the color scheme also.

My mom got back from her trip to Chicago on Sunday.  The plan was for her to call me as the bus was coming into town and I would meet her and MD, the friend from church she went with, and take them home.  After I got done with my house cleaning early Sunday afternoon, I took a shower and washed my hair.  When she called, I was sitting in the living room knitting, while my hair dried, clad only in my unmentionables.  I threw on some clothes and boogied off across town to where the bus was to let everybody off.  (When I got back to my house, my odometer read” 2309,” which means I’ve had the car for 199 days and have put approximately 1100 miles on it over and above the1200-mile trip to Pearland and back — not counting the 7+ miles it had on it when I bought it.)  She said they had a great time and fabulous weather during the whole trip.  She came home to hot weather.  As I drove by the bank at 50th Street and Indiana Avenue en route to pick them up, I noted that at 6:15 p.m., it was 91F/32.7C.  It had been in the high 80’sF/30+C  and occasionally into the 90’s F all this past week.  Sumer is icumen in, I fear.

They were gone 8 days, and she only took “a couple of hundred pictures,”  which for her is not many at all. She had a friend’s husband check the capacity of the memory card in her camera the week before she left and he said it would hold up to 1000 pictures, which is good.  That gave her plenty of room. Still, she only takes pictures of two kinds of things:  Things that move and things that don’t.  Even if it’s a picture of you taken on your own camera, I don’t think it’s technically a “selfie” unless you’re also the one who’s working the camera.  Otherwise, my mom would be the queen of the selfies.  She’s got pictures of herself standing in front of half the world.  I was surprised to hear that she was not the oldest person on the bus.  There was a lady who was 94, and equally as spry and active as my mom, who will be 91 this year.  MD, the lady who went with her is only in her early  80’s and she’s already had a knee and a hip replacement, and is due for replacement of the other knee next month.

2014_07_17-2When I called the apartment manager yesterday morning to see if the new management was going to raise the rent (they aren’t — whew!), I was informed that Thursday morning I would have to have the cabinet under my half bathroom’s sink emptied out so they could come fix my sink faucet.  That’s where the water shut-off valves are.  I doubt the faucet can be fixed.  It’s so rusted and corroded that it will need to be replaced.   I was also told that the cabinet under my kitchen sink would also need to be emptied out, since I am getting a new dishwasher also.  This is great news since the baskets in my current dishwasher are so rusted that pieces are broken off, and the rusted bits are leaving rust stains on my white dishes.  This means that I shall have to clean house Wednesday and get the office and hall closets sorted out (finally), and clear stuff off my dining room table and the dresser in my office, get my yarn stash sorted, dust and vacuum, do a load of clothes, and otherwise get my house presentable.

I spent Monday getting caught up on a good two weeks’ worth of blog reading and belatedly learned the unfortunate and very sad news that a blog friend, SilverTiger lost his beloved cat Freya June 2nd.  The news, coming hard on the heels of my own recent losses in April and May, was especially saddening.  My heart goes out to him and his partner Tigger.  Freya was their only companimal*.   Life will go on, as it must, and one eventually comes to terms with the loss, but one doesn’t really ever get over it.

*Companimal – companion + animal, applies to any such “pet” who shares your home with you.

Books Read in 2015

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65. Tracker, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
64. Peacemaker, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
63. Protector, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
62. Intruder, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
61. Betrayer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
60. Deceiver, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
59. Conspirator, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
58. Deliverer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
57. Pretender, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
56. Destroyer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
55. Explorer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
54. Defender, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
53. Precursor, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
52. Inheritor, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
51. Invader, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
50. Foreigner, Cherryh, C. J. (re-reread)
49. Doomsday Book, Willis, Connie
48. Not To Mention The Dog, Willis, Connie
47. Saga, Vol 3, Vaughn, Brian K. (graphic novel)
46. The Adventuress, Niffenegger, Audrey (graphic novel)
45. Saga, Vol 2, Vaughn, Brian K. (graphic novel)
44. Saga, Vol 1, Vaughn, Brian K. (graphic novel)
43. Tracker, Cherryh, C. J.
42. The Masterharper of Pern, McCaffrey, Anne
41. Ender’s Game, Card, Orson Scott
40. The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall, McCaffrey, Anne
39. Nerilka’s Story, McCaffrey, Anne
38. Dragondrums, McCaffrey, Anne
37. Dragonsinger, McCaffrey, Anne
36. Dragonsong, McCaffrey, Anne
35. *Who Buries the Dead, Harris, C. S.
34. The White Dragon, McCaffrey, Anne (re-reread)
33. Dragonquest, McCaffrey, Anne (re-reread)
32. Dragonflight, McCaffrey, Anne (re-reread)
31. Archer’s Goon, Jones, Diana Wynne
30. Enchanted Glass, Jones, Diana Wynne
29. Why Kings Confess, Harris, C. S.
28. The One-Eyed Man, Modesitt, Jr, L. E.
27 Tehanu, LeGuin, Ursula
26. Castle in the Air, Jones, Diana Wynne
25. What Darkness Brings, Harris, C. S.
24. When Maidens Mourn, Harris, C. S.
23. Where Shadows Dance, Harris, C. S.
22. What Remains of Heaven, Harris, C. S.
21. Where Serpents Sleep, Harris, C. S.
20. Why Mermaids Sing, Harris, C. S.
19. Fire and Hemlock, Jones, Diana Wynne
18. What Angels Fear, Harris, C. S.
17. When Gods Die, Harris, C. S.
16. Possession, Richardson, Kat
15. The Year of the Griffin, Jones, Diana Wynne
14. Dark Lord of Derkholm, Jones, Diana Wynne
13. Till We Have Faces, Lewis, C. S.
12. Catch the Lightening, Asaro, Catherine
11. Seawitch, Richardson, Kat
10. Unexpected Magic, Jones, Diana Wynne
9. Fortunately, The Milk, Gaiman, Neil
8. Downpour, Richardson, Kat
7. Labyrinth, Richardson, Kat
6. Pogo’s Double Sundae, Kelly, Walt
5. Pogo’s Bats and the Belles Free, Kelly, Walt
4. Primary Inversion, Asaro, Catherine
3. Johannes Cabal, The Necromancer, Howard, Jonathan L.
2. Beau Pogo, Kelly, Walt
1. Emerald House Rising, Kerr, Peg

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