A Slightly Wider Escape


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I did not get picked for the jury.  It took all day, but I somehow managed it.  There were 75 in the jury pool, which is a huge amount.  We sat in the jury pool room until nearly 11 o’clock and then trooped en mass to the courthouse and sat on wooden church-pew style benches for the rest of the day while the prosecutor read the indictment, explained the law and such terms as “reasonable doubt” and then questioned various prospective jurors.  After lunch, the defense attorney did the same. The jury was chosen, and it was almost right at 5 o’clock when the rest of us were dismissed.

The book I took to read, Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn was the first in a series.  I will not be reading the rest of them. It was a Twilight Saga type — vampires and werewolves, which can be good if the book is well written.  This one wasn’t.  Not only that, strong alarm bells were going off in my head after I was scarcely four pages into the book.  The heroine, who was a “closeted” werewolf, was pretty clueless, had little if any agency (she was repeatedly — and allowed herself to be! — sexually victimized in one situation after another), was whiny and immature, and was in a clearly abusive relationship which the author justified (and even enabled) by saying it was a “a werewolf pack thing.”  (She was constantly having to be submissive to and appease the alpha male in the pack whom she was pathetically eager to please — sound familiar?) Not anywhere close to my idea of an enjoyable read, nor the sort of book I would want a teen girl of my acquaintance to read.

However, I am also rereading A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny, which is altogether a much more satisfying read.  It is a homage to Lovecraft, the horror genre in general, B horror movies, and so much more.  Each year, Steve Miller and Sharon Lee trade off reading aloud a chapter a night beginning with October 1st (the book has 31 chapters), as a lead up to Halloween.  I’m a little late with my reread, this being December, but I don’t care. A good book is a good book no matter what time of year it is.

Tonight is knitting group night.  I had hoped to have finished the hat today that goes with The Mail Lady’s Twisted Cable Cowl, and would have been finished with it, except I had jury duty all day yesterday.  I’ve only just begun it.  I’m going to make a concentrated effort to finish it tonight and have both the hat and the cowl waiting in the mailbox for her tomorrow, as Thursday’s predicted high is only going to be 33F (0.5C) and Friday’s is 44F (66C), which is to say, colder than the proverbial wedge.

Time to go get ready to go to knitting group.



Gearing Up For Tomorrow


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My landlady came by today and brought the other garage opener.  It only works intermittently, too. Maybe between the two of them, I can get the door to open consistently when I need it to.  Like tomorrow morning at absurd o’clock when I’ll be heading downtown.  I plan to leave at a quarter of 8:00 so as to have plenty of time to fight the downtown going to work traffic, find where I’m supposed to park, and hike over to where I’m supposed to report for jury duty.  Not looking forward to it at all.  I have to take my meds an hour early and that messes things up.

Later on in the week, I might call the local business my landlady uses and tell them what’s happening, and see if they have any suggestions — other than forking over about $350 to get a new garage door opener.  I might also ask about getting a replacement remote.  The remote she had, had a brand name and model number on it.  Of course, they probably don’t make them any more.

I’ve decided I’m going to take this book tomorrow. It has a wonderfully lurid book cover.

This morning, I had another one of those “story” dreams I have from time to time.  This was a “Romeo and Juliet” plot line set in the 1960’s South, where Romeo was Black and Juliet was white.  They had known each other since they were children.  He used to climb a tree in the woods near her house and hide up in the branches out of sight, and she would sit or stand under it so they could talk without being seen to be together.  Gradually over the years, they fell in love but also came to know their love was doomed, that their town would never accept them getting together and they could not afford to leave town and go north where they might have a chance at happiness.  Her parents “arranged” a marriage for her with a local bigwig’s son who was a conceited, obnoxious jerk. The Juliet character could not face the idea of marrying anybody but her Romeo, and especially not this jerk.  The night before the wedding, she got her wedding dress and sneaked out of the house.  She left a note in her room saying she wasn’t going to marry the jerk, that she was eloping with the only man she had ever loved, and that they were going someplace where they could be together forever, where nobody could ever find them or separate them.  She and her Romeo met in the woods at their tree.  He dressed up in his best suit, and she put on her wedding gown.  They tied two hangman’s nooses to the tree branch, put them around their necks and jumped off the branch together, committing suicide.

I don’t know what’s weirder, when I have weird dreams that don’t make sense, or when I have dreams like this one which not only have a plot, but one that is actually good enough for a book or film — if someone else would like to write it.  I don’t think I could put my head in the place it would have to be in to write something like that — even if I wanted to.



Raining On Our House


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A slow, drippy, cold, wintry rain, occasionally being spurted across the window by the wind, which is being occasionally blustery.   An excellent day to stay indoors.  The fat(cat)boy and I are sensibly involved with comfortable chairs and a lap robe — me under it, him snuggled in on top of it between my knees.

I am knitting and plotting knitted things, and having an idea how I can modify a cowl pattern I’ve already written from being circular to being a flat straight piece with buttons.  Since they’re based on cowl patterns that have matching hats, the hats would match them, too.  However, because they are flat pieces, they will have wrong side rows, which I will have to figure out, and there will need to be button holes. . .  Hmmm.

2016_12_03-01I finished the Mail Lady’s Twisted Cable Cowl and posted the pattern on my knitting site.  The picture doesn’t tell you much.  The color of the yarn is too dark to show much detail, but it turned out right nicely, if I say so myself.  The hat pattern is written but hasn’t been tested yet.  I won’t post it until I’ve tested the pattern by actually making one, which I could be doing Monday, if I didn’t have to schlep all the way to the other side of town at ridiculous o’clock in the morning for jury duty, grumble, grumble . . .

I’ve been having trouble with the garage door opener remote.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  I thought maybe it was the battery, but I replaced the battery and it’s still acting up.  If I’m coming back from somewhere and it won’t plong, that means I’ve got to park in the driveway, unlock the front door and go in through the house, open the garage door from the inside, and then drive the car into the garage, and close the door from the inside, which is a pain, or if I’m leaving, I’ve got to park the car in the driveway, go into the garage and shut the garage door from the inside, go out through the house, come out the front door and lock it, and then get in my car and drive off, all of which defeats the purpose of having a garage door opener in the first place.  I suspect the remote is wearing out.  The garage door opener probably dates at least to the 1990’s if not to the 1970’s when the house was built. The lights in it that are supposed to turn on when the garage door opens or closes, don’t.  They don’t turn on at all, even “manually” using the switch by the door.  It’s a safe bet you can’t get a replacement remote for that model of door opener because they don’t make that brand/model anymore.  I’ve emailed my landlady.  There were two remotes, and she has the other one.  Don’t know if she’ll trade me for mine since it is undependable. I swear.  If it’s not one thing, it’s something else.   Mercury must be in retrograde. . .

I got my car tags yesterday, and I’m legal again.  You have to get your car inspected before you can get your tags, so I had to go to one place and pay to have it inspected, and then go halfway across town to stand in line for 45 minutes and pay a whole lot more to get the tags.

I’m dreading Monday.  I’ll have to take a book to read since they don’t allow “weapons or anything that could be used as a weapon” into the court room.  Knitting needles are specifically included in that ban.  I can’t decide whether to take a Diana Wynn Jones book or maybe one of the Terry Pratchett Discworld books.

Right now, I’m reading “The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon,” which is the translation of a book written in the 10th century in Japan by a lady-in-waiting to the Empress.  It’s a two bookmark book — it’s annotated, so you have to have one bookmark for where you are in the text itself, and a second bookmark for where you are in the annotations.  As I’m reading I keep thinking I need to rewatch the miniseries Shogun, which is a beautifully done dramatization of James Clavell’s book by the same name.  It’s worth the time to watch it even if all you do is drool over the gorgeous kimonos the Japanese characters wear.  There was a bit of a scandal in Japan where the miniseries was being shot on location as the Japanese actress, Yoko Shimada, who played the female lead had some “intimate” love scenes with Richard Chamberlain — scandalous not because he’s gay (which was a big secret at the time) but because he’s American.  When the miniseries was first broadcast, I was working at Texas Instruments, Inc., and there was a Japanese lady programmer in our department.  This was before they put the English translation subtitles in, and we would ask her to explain what the heck was going on. It was interesting to get her perspective on it.  I’ve got the whole miniseries, but it’s on VHS video tape.  I see where I can get it as a 5-DVD set, which I may do at some point since I don’t have my VHS tape player hooked up any more.  Maybe next year.

I’m going to knit now.  Stay tuned for more results.

Fun and Games on a Friday



I lack about four rows to have the Mail Lady’s Twisted Cable Cowl finished.  I will photograph it and post it on my Knits From The Owl Underground site after that.  I want to do a hat to match as the hat and cowl make a cute little set.  The hat pattern will actually be easy:  I’ll just recapitulate the cowl pattern, all but the last 7 rows, and all I’ll have to do then is work out the decrease. These little hats and cowls are quick and easy, and you can do one in an evening.  I ended up only using three balls of yarn, two navy’s and the Wedgewood blue, as four was just too thick.  Even so, I’ve had to periodically stop and rest my hands as manipulating that thick of a yarn on such (relatively) small needles requires not a little strength. It knits up very dense which will make it warmer.

Well, I made the first cut on the jury selection.  They were supposed to call between 3 pm and 5 pm Thursday to let me know yea or nay, and I fended off several callers so as not to tie up the phone during that period of time.  Naturally, they emailed me.  I have to report to the Central stupid Jury room, which is way the heck across town, bright and entirely too early (8:30 a.m.) Monday (groan!) morning, which means I’ll have to leave the house before 8 o’clock and fight the downtown going-to-work traffic and find a place to park, and schlep large distances on foot.  Nuts.*  I can’t decide whether it will be just my luck that I’ll go all the way down there and sit around for an hour so they can tell us that the case was settled out of court today and they don’t need us, or whether I’ll have to sit there for hours while the lawyers question us one by one to see if they want us on their jury (According to the law, the lawyers for each side get a certain number of refusals) and then they’ll decide they don’t want me on their jury and send me home.  Or I’ll sit there half the day and get empaneled and have to go back and be a juror.  Nuts.  I wish I had one of those t-shirts that says, “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with catsup.” as that would be the perfect thing to wear over a long-sleeve shirt to sit in the jury pool.  Nuts.   Now I get to go all the way over to the other side of town and sit in a big drafty stupid room and trade germs with stupid people who have kids in school. (If you want to spend several weeks being sick as a dog with the nastiest, most icky germs imaginable, go spend the day in a public elementary school.) Nuts.

I’m getting new glasses.  I think I mentioned the VA has started providing all vets with one pair of plain vanilla glasses a year.  Used to be you could only get them if you had service-connected eye problems.   I got the prescription the other day, and I called the “dispenser” yesterday.  I’m getting the multifocal (no lines) and I’m getting Transitions lenses so I won’t need those dorky clip on sunglasses any more that I never have when I actually need them.   The basic, plain vanilla glasses are free; you have to pay to get those two options but $169 beats the heck out of $300+ bucks that you’d have to pay fora pair of glasses with those options in a retail situation.  My last pair of glasses was over $200, and that was only because the frames were on sale and all I got was no-lines.  I’ve had them for over five years and have had the left lens replaced twice because the prescription changed, and the right lens has 5 years worth of scratches. I have to get plastic lenses. My right lens is so thick that if it was glass, it would be so much heavier than the left lens that my glasses would sit crooked on my head and hurt my nose and ears. With any luck, I’ll get them sometime in January.

It’s almost 1 a.m. of a Friday morning, I’m falling asleep at the keyboard, so I’m going night-nights.  Later, gator.

*Not what I actually said.  What I actually said, repeatedly, was also a word of one syllable but one that is inappropriate for a family blog.

The Autumn Leaves


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2016_11_29-01The prevailing winds and the aerodynamics of my porch conspire to ensure that there is always this neat little pile of leaves on my door mat in front of my east-facing door when I look for the mail of a morning.

The oak trees with which the city is salted provide most of our fall color. Most of them are a dull bronze gold that is really kind of ho-hum.  But the two across the street and the one next door are more colorful.

This morning 2016_11_29-04the rising sun played light and shadow across the one next door.  It was windy, and I stood watching through the storm door glass as the colors shifted in the wind and sunlight.

2016_11_29-06In among the piles of brown, russet, and yellow leaves in my flower bed and on the porch are these lovely oxblood red ones.

I am a cusp child, born when Taurus is becoming Gemini, with Mars and Venus in Taurus, and Mercury in Gemini.  In my salad days, I was all Gemini blues, that being my favorite color still.  Now in the early autumn of my life, I find I am shifting toward the Taurean earth tones, the russets, the oxblood reds and old golds, but also the deep forest greens.  Back when I was young and blond, the deep shades overpowered me and I stuck to the midrange tones toward the lighter side of the palette.  Now that my hair is almost completely white, I can wear the deep, dark hues with impunity, the royal purples, plums, turquoises, sapphires, deep reds, rich forest greens, deep rose pink,  but cool shades.  Nothing with “orange” orange or lemon yellow overtones, however.  My palette definitely leans toward the cool blues and greens.

2016_11_29-03I am contemplating a random act of kindness and senseless beauty.  It will involve twisted cables. I hit up my yarn stash and found navy blue yarn and a ball of Wedgewood blue.  They were all fine weight yarn, so I combined four strands together, three navy blues and the Wedgewood blue into one strand.  They were already in balls, so I went to get this big bowl that normally sits on my dining room table.  It’s imported from Tunisia and I’ve had it quite a while.   I put the four balls of yarn into it to wind into a single ball.  Worked quite nicely.   The bowl usually has a cylindrical vase of Chinese blue and white sitting in it, holding three red silk peonies and three golden yellow silk dahlias, 6 being the number of the Northwest.

We’re having a cold snap with night-time lows in the high 20’s F (-2 to -3’s C) and highs in the 50’s F (13-14 C).  It’s supposed to be rainy over the weekend.  With the humidity around 40%, there’s a lot of static electricity.  Rice Krispies weater. Every time I walk across a room, it’s snap! crackle! pop!  The fat(cat)boy has been having periodic fits of sneezing where he’ll sneeze three or four times in a row.  Me, too.  A low pressure front has just gone through. I don’t have to look at a barometer to know the barometric pressure is rising.  I’ve got one built into my face.  If I build up a charge of static electricity while I’m wearing my earbuds, I get this little dolphin squeal noise in the earbuds when it discharges.  If my hair was shorter, I’d look like a dandelion clock when I brush my hair.  It’s funny the first couple of times to see it standing out all over, but it gets old quickly when little hairs cling to your face and tickle.

I need to finish that owl hat so as to free up that US10(6.0 mm) 16-inch circular needle for that thing I’m plotting.  I’m going to try to do that this afternoon. Tonight is knitting group, and on the way there, I’ve got to stop by the health food store for more NAC, and I’ve got to stop by Michael’s for another skein of that Lion Brand Yarn to finish that hat.  Busy. . . Busy. . . .


Almost December



2016_11_28-02I’ve been sitting at my computer most of the day doing one thing and another — almost finishing a hat (thought I could get both a cowl and a hat out of one skein.  Couldn’t.*).  Thinking about a cowl with twisted cables, which will, of course, need a hat to match.  I was working on the hat and came to a place where I needed to do a cable cross and couldn’t find my little wooden cable needle that I love.  Panic.  Dumped the fat(cat)boy onto the floor (he’d been sleeping between my knees), shook out my lap robe, felt around the edges of the chair cushion, moved the chair and looked on the floor. Tore the world up looking for it.  Knew it had to be somewhere around my computer desk.  Then realized I’d stuck it over my ear like a pencil.  Sigh.

2016_11_28-01Then I had to rip out about five rows from the owl hat I should have finished weeks ago because the pattern says you’re supposed to repeat the same line of the pattern for “Rows 16-22” and I subtracted 16 from 22 and got 4 instead of 6. (If God wanted me to do math in my head, She wouldn’t have given us calculators.) (Which is even more embarrassing since I’m the one who wrote the durn pattern in the first place!)  That short little brown stick looking thing on the hat in the picture to the right is the cable needle in question.

In the picture above, you’ll notice that on the left-hand computer monitor is a long thin blue rectangle with a white border around it — that’s Winamp, which I’m using to listen to the Drone Zone channel on Soma FM.  Snuggly warm with a snuggly warm kitty between my knees, listening to music and knitting at the computer.  Pretty much covers all the bases.

Week before last, I got a jury summons.  Now they’ve got it set up so you can report in and fill out the little form on line, which I did, which means I don’t have to get up at ye gods! o’clock tomorrow morning, schlep all the way across town to give them my form and sit there half the day in the central jury pool — where they won’t let you knit** — with about a hundred other people who don’t want to be there either,  hoping I don’t make the first cut. They’re supposed to let me know by phone on 1 December if I’ve been selected as a potential juror for a particular trial.  If I have, then I have to get up at ridiculous o’clock and schlep all the way even farther across town to the court house so the lawyers can decide whether they want me on their jury or not.



*No More Twist!

**No weapons or anything that could conceivably be used as a weapon is allowed in the court.



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2016_11_25-02Wednesday I swept the locust beans and leaves off the patio, got my little red wagon and hauled three loads of boxes and trash bags and a waste basket full of used cat litter* off to the dumpster.  I took out that stupid aluminum bar from the sliding door, and cut and fitted the PVC pipe door stopper.  The drawer pulls worked a treat, but the fastening screws are too long — made to accommodate a thick drawer front rather than an thin piece of PVC pipe. 2016_11_25-01I need to see if I can get the same sized screws but with a shorter shank  I hung the hose hanger in the back. I hung the clothes rack, the ironing board hanger, and the broom hanger.  I got one lap robe made, the leopard print one for the livingroom.  I got my table relocated, put the new table cloth on and put the two unneeded dining table chairs in the garage.  I put on the new table cloth and laid some place mats down.

My mom and my BFF came over for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. Prater’s did most of the cooking. It took me about 2 hours of actual food prep, including cooking things in the oven and getting things out of cans.

I had to go get my hammer from my toolbox to open the jellied cranberry sauce. Everything used to come in double ended cans — you could open either end with a can opener. But now they’ve started putting some stuff in “bucket” cans that only have one openable end.  Do they put things like soup and vegetables in those kinds of cans?

They use them for the very things that you need to be able to open both ends on the cans to get the contents out in one piece — things like jellied cranberry sauce.

When they came in double ended cans, I’d open one end completely, and then break the seal on the other end, and the release of suction would let the entire contents just slide out in one whole piece.  Now I’m supposed to open the only openable end, slide a knife around the edges between the stuff and the can, and it’s supposed to just slide right out. Guess again.  I have to go get a hammer, turn the can upside down, put the pointed end of a church key over the bottom of the can and whack the church key with a hammer to pierce the metal can and open the other end of the can with the can opener. Then the contents slide right out all in one piece.  Like the man says, “Nothing is ever simple.”

2016_11_24-03Anyway, the dinner was a success.  My BFF brought an excellent chardonnay and my mom brought green bean casserole.  There was a lot of food, and we polished off a good bit of it between the three of us.  We also remembered to pass round the mashed potatoes before we passed round the gravy. . .  Praters makes excellent corn bread dressing — for my money, the only dressing better than theirs is my mom’s, but she doesn’t cook much any more.  Oddly, nobody took pictures of the event.  I took this picture of the table beforehand, but that was it.

2016_11_25-03The fat(cat)boy called it a night early.  While I was putting the furniture back where it goes, and washing the last little bit of dishes that would not fit in the dishwasher, he disappeared mysteriously.  When I went into the bedroom to get ready for bed, I discovered a mysterious lump to the right of my body pillow.  I decided to be a copy cat.

Thought for the day:

“Hearts are really the only thing where one size truly fits all — all shapes, all sizes, all numbers, all will fit.” —  WOL

*I have a waste basket with a lid, lined with a plastic bag into which I dump the contents of the LitterMaid receptacles. When the waste basket gets full, I tie the trash bag shut, haul the waste basket out to the alley and dump the bagged contents into the dumpster.  The odor-“eliminating” cat litter and the lid on the trash can control the odor very effectively.  My mom has a nose like a beagle.  If she can’t smell it, nobody can.

Books Read in 2016

114. Monstress Volume 1: The Awakening, Lieu, Marjorie and Takeda, Sana.
113. The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow, Morris, Jackie
112. Rimrunners, Cherryh, C. J. (re-reread)
111. Finity’s End, Cherryh, C. J. (re-reread)
110. Downbelow Station, Cherryh, C. J. (re-reread)
109. 40,000 In Gehenna, Cherryh, C. J. (re-reread)
108. Visitor, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
107. Tracker, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
106. Peacemaker, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
105. Protector, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
104. Intruder, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
103. Betrayer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
102. Deceiver, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
101. Conspirator, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
100. Deliverer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
99. Pretender, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
98. Destroyer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
97. Explorer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
96. Defender, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
95. Precursor, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
94. Inheritor, C. J. Cherryh (re-…reread)
93. Invader, C. J. Cherryh (re-…reread)
92. Foreigner, C. J. Cherryh (re-…reread)
91. *Once Broken Faith, McGuire, Seanan
90. Old Man’s War, Scalzi, John
89. Book of Enchantments, Wrede, Patricia (re-read)
88. Talking to Dragons, Wrede, Patricia (re-read)
87. Calling on Dragons, Wrede, Patricia (re-read)
86. Searching for Dragons, Wrede, Patricia (re-read)
85. Dealing with Dragons, Wrede, Patricia (re-read)
84. *The Escapement of Blackledge, Kowal, Mary Robinette (Novella)
83. *A Red-Rose Chain, McGuire, Seanan
82. *The Winter Long, McGuire, Seanan (re-read)
81. *Chimes at Midnight, McGuire, Seanan (re-re-read)
80. *Ashes of Honor, McGuire, Seanan (re-re-read)
79. *One Salt Sea, McGuire, Seanan (re-re-read)
78. *Late Eclipses, McGuire, Seanan (re-re-read)
77. *An Artificial Night, McGuire, Seanan (re-re-read)
76. *Forbid The Sea, McGuire, Seanan (novelette)
75. *No Sooner Met, McGuire, Seanan (novellette)
74. *In Sea-Salt Tears, McGuire, Seanan (novellette)
73. *A Local Habitation, McGuire, Seanan (re-re-read)
72. *Rosemary and Rue, McGuire, Seanan (re-re-read)
71. *Sleeping with the Enemy, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve
70. *Heaps of Pearls, Seanan McGuire (novellette)
69. *Full of Briars, McGuire, Seanan (novelette)
68. *Book of Iron, Bear, Elizabeth
67. *Werehunter, Lackey, Mercedes
66. *Dreams of Distant Shores, McKillip, Patricia
65. *The ‘Geisters, Nickle, David
64. *Across the Wall, Nix, Garth
63. *Lirael, Nix, Garth
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

The Tawny Time of Year


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We have entered the tawny time of year. The hard freeze we had the other night turned some of the oak trees this gorgeous, intense, oxblood red, and others an equally intense brown ocher. It is the time of year of two of my favorite colors, oxblood red, and russet. A blog friend in Devon publishes pictures of the bracken-covered hills which in summer are a lush green but at this time of year are this wonderful rich russet. It is the time of year when hereabouts, the pastures and lawns are tow-headed with dead grass.   2016_11_22-03Ran across this in my gleanings.  God, I love this woman’s mind — and heart!  Words of wisdom.

They are rerunning the old TV series “Kung Fu” on one of those TV channels that reruns all those old 20th century TV shows from the 1960’s and 1970’s.  I have recorded thirty something episodes of it. I feel a binge watch coming on.

2016_11_23-01I just finished this, using JT’s Cabled Man Cowl pattern and a color of Lion Brand Homespun Yarn called “Wild Fire.”  I’m about to see if you can get both a cowl and a cap out of one skein of yarn.  I like the colors very much, but I am not an orange person.  The ocher yellows, the “old” golds and the more earthtone reds like oxblood, yes, I can wear very well, but not orange.

Yesterday morning at 9 a.m., I had my eye exam.  It seems the VA is now providing all veterans with glasses — one pair a year — not just those with service-connected vision problems.  I can get bifocals free through them, but they’re the kind with lines, which are insufferable.   They will do the no-lines, but you have to pay an  “upgrade” fee to get them. Somebody is supposed to call me today to talk to me about how much I would have to pay to get the no-lines.   Considering what a new pair of glasses costs these days, it would be more cost efficient to just pay for the upgrade.  All of this was done by a pair of optometrists  Of course, they dilated my eyes.  My eyes are apparently very sensitive to whatever it is they use to dilate eyes, and my pupils always get so huge that it’s difficult to tell what color my eyes are.  Just as swell, actually, because they can really get a good look at the inside of my eyes.  I’m told my eyes are very healthy for a person my age.  My cataracts have not noticeably worsened.  I show no signs of diabetes, or other nasty things like macular degeneration. That’s very heartening.

I do have some trouble driving at night when there’s a lot of traffic, but that’s due to the glare of the oncoming headlights, and to the fact that car headlights and tail lights have gotten bigger and brighter over the years, and not due to loss of night vision.  My night vision is still very good.  I never have used much in the way of lighting and I don’t use my ceiling lights all that much, just those in the kitchen.  I just use a single lamp in my bedroom, and a pole lamp in the living room for task lighting.  And I use a floor lamp and my desk lamp in the office.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I have many things to do before tomorrow, not the least of which is schlepping a lot of stuff out to the dumpster.  I’ve got broom holders and ironing board holders to hang, and I’m hatching an idea for a kind of hanging hook thing to hold the three layers of curtains out of the way for when I need to take bags of garbage out the sliding glass door.  I figure I’ve got about three trips worth, even using my little red wagon.  Two of those trips would be nothing but boxes.

I need to finish sewing the lap robes and get the sewing table put up, but that won’t happen before tomorrow.  I’m sure I’ll get told off about leaving the stuff set up for weeks and weeks, but I don’t care.  It’s my house.  I may get one lap robe sewn.  I have a lot of weaving in of ends to do on several pieces of knitting, a hat to knit, a shawl to finish and another to knit, and a hat to finish that I think I’m going to have to rip out about four rows of because I messed up and left out a repeat.  Machts nichtsWinter is icumen in, and, as previously noted, I feel a binge-watch coming on, and the shawls are TV knitting* at its finest.  I’ve still got to write that fingerless glove pattern.  Maybe Friday.  Busy, busy, busy. . .


*TV knitting is knitting that requires very little of your attention because the pattern is so simple.  The pattern referenced only requires you to thing about the first two or three stitches at the beginning and ending of a row; all else is garter stitch.

Flying The House


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2016_11_18-01For a number of years now, my BFF has referred to my computer setup as “The Cockpit” and it’s a pretty accurate description.  Back when my sole source of income was medical transcription, I spent long periods of time at my computer with my headphones/earbuds on earning a living. Now that I’m more or less retired, I still spend a fair amount of time at the computer doing creative writing, reading blogs, listening to music, writing knitting patterns, playing games, watching videos. I have Winamp and Rhapsody/Napster and 1.5 TB of disk space when all I want is Music! Music! Music!.  I have an extension cord for my headphone jack taped to the underside of my desk with the plugin at the left edge of the desk, which enables the earbud cord to reach my ears without setting up an equipment disaster should I forget to take my earbuds out before I get up from my desk.   I’ve figured out a way to stream my favorite internet radio stations through Winamp.  I can settle in with a lap robe, a pot of tea, recline in my recliner and listen to music while I do whatever else I’m doing at the computer, like blogging.

My BFF refers to these computer sessions as “flying the house” — as though the house were a ship in interstellar space, and I’m in my pilot’s console at my controls off on a flight of fancy . . .

I’ve got a little timer on my desktop I’ve set to go off every 45 minutes, at which time I stop and use my facial steamer.  I’ve been doing modified Ujjayi breathing during the treatments, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.  It seems to be helping.

I set the HVAC on heat a while ago, and tonight we’re having our first hard frost.  At just on 4 a.m. it’s 27 F (-2.77 C).  I have the thermostat set at 68 F (20 C), and when the heat comes on, first the natural gas burner lights with a FWOOMP! and a soft roar.  Then the blower comes on, adding a rumble to the roar, and my rocket engines do a timed burn, pushing me a little faster, a little farther, heading toward warp . . .