A Narrow Escape

We’ve had a cold snap here these past couple of days.  Good sleeping weather.  I had been sleeping with a sheet, a spread, and this pretend fur twin blanket as the weather yo-yo-ed between too cold for just a sheet and a spread and too hot for a blanket, but yesterday, I bit the bullet and winterized my bed.   I have this undyed unbleached cotton blanket that is made out of thread that is about the same diameter as DK weight yarn woven in a herringbone pattern.  It’s wonderfully heavy and “hand woven” looking, and although I have a queen sized bed, I got it in king size because cotton will shrink somewhat in the dryer over time, and I like my covers  to reach clear to the top of the mattress.  My bedspread is heavy cotton, too, in a jacquard weave.  I also have a microfleece blanket in a leopard print that I keep “S”-folded across the bottom of the bed, so I can just reach down and pull it up when I need it.

So, yesterday, I changed my bed, and not only washed the sheets, but the bedspread, too (which took forEVER to dry!).  I washed a load of clothes, a load of sheets and towels, and a load that was the bedspread.  While I was waiting for the bedspread to dry, I took all the garbage out to the alley.

I have this foldable hanger rack in the laundry room so I can hang up stuff right out of the dryer.  When I put hang-up clothes in the dirty clothes hamper, I take the empty hanger and hang it on this rack.  I have just enough hangers for the clothes I have.  If I get something new, I have to get rid of something so there’ll be a hanger for it.

In the knitting news, the infinity wrap is coming along.  I have six skeins of this yarn, and I haven’t used up one ball yet.   The yarn is a 2-ply DK weight, 100% wool yarn from Green Mountain Spinnery  called Ragg Time in the colorway “Bessie 9461.”  One ply is dark, the other ply is various shades of blue, so the color tends to be heathery.  It’s a very grabby yarn and it doesn’t want to “flow” through my fingers.  I can only knit on it for about an hour or so before I have to stop as it “fights” me and tires out my hands.  Still, I like the color and it makes a good dense fabric on US9’s (5.5 mm) needles.   That white bit at the bottom is the provisional cast on because  I’m going to have to Kitchner the durn thing together.    At some point, I’ll take a length of yarn and wrap it around me so I can measure how long I need to make it.  I just hope 6 skeins (@ 306 yd/279 m each) is going to be enough yarn.   We’ll see.

Today after cardiac rehab, I went to get my car inspected and the oil changed.  When the guy was doing the inspection, he brought to my attention that the license plate number on my last-year’s registration sticker did not match the license plate on my car, and when he ran the license plate number on my sticker, it was for a Nissan SUV (my car is a Toyota Corolla sedan).  Now that I think back, when I got my last year’s registration sticker, there was somebody else getting theirs at the same time, and I bet the lady gave us the wrong stickers.  Here all this time, I’ve been driving around with somebody else’s car registration sticker (and somebody has been driving around with mine!).  I would have never known it if the guy at the oil change place hadn’t said something.  But if a cop had checked me, I would have gotten a ticket for driving around with false registration!!  I got my 2021 registration sticker at the same place I got my 2020 one, and told the clerk about the mix-up.  (She didn’t seem nearly as excited about it as I thought she should be. . . )  But, you better believe I checked the plate number on the new sticker she gave me!

Baking in My Dreams

So, Tuesday, mom and I had talked about what to do for Thanksgiving since it’s just the two of us, and I was going to suck it up and clean my house and cook the dinner and have mom over, and then Friday, she tells me we’ve been invited to a friend’s house. . .  But, in the meantime, at cardiac rehab on Wednesday, I only did 40 minutes on the treadmill before I caved because I knew I was going to Wal-Mart afterward and would have to hike over to the “non-grocery” side, nearly to the garden dept,  for a new shower head (see below) and pick up some teethpaste en route.

Whilst at Wal-mart, I got a frozen turkey breast (frozen so solid you could have shot it out of a cannon!) and had to ask two different stockers where the heck they’d hidden their cranberry sauce (neither of whom knew).  (Now that I mention it, I don’t think one of them was real sure which end was up . . .)  There are apparently two schools of thought on where to stock cranberry sauce.  Some stores stock it with the vegetables (???) and some stock it where it’s supposed to be — with the fruit.  (cranBERRY sauce– duh!)  After wandering all over half the store, I finally found one little box of cans of Ocean Spray jellied stuck way up on the top shelf above the canned pineapple where you couldn’t have found it with GPS and a homing beacon.  (sniffs in annoyance)

Anyway, neatly threaded into Tuesday’s conversation about what we were going to do for Thanksgiving, was one of those oh-and-by-the-way’s — her shower head was not spraying properly, would I come look at it?  (We have hard water here in the flatlands, which is not surprising as there is a sizeable chunk of limestone between us and the aquifer.)  (The combining form for “water” is “aqua-“, n’est-ce pas? So why does “aquifer” have an “i”?!?) The problem with her shower head was that since it was probably old enough to vote, it had become calcified beyond the power of CLR to revive it.  What it put out was more of a half-hearted rivulet than a spray.

So, when I went to cardiac rehab on Friday, I had an adjustable crescent wrench, Teflon tape and a new shower head in the car seat by my purse.  (Why, yes, I am a Toolbelt Diva.)  I stopped off chez mom on my way home, and it was only a matter of moments before she had a new shower head in her shower. (Don’t I wish a lot more of the world’s problems could be solved with an adjustable crescent wrench and Teflon tape. . .)

I couldn’t stand it.  I cast on for an infinity scarf like I was talking about.

Anyway, what with all the treadmill time (40-45 minutes a pop) I’ve put in during cardiac rehab sessions (not to mention 10-15 minute wind sprints on the top and bottom bicycle), and Wednesday’s  Wal-Mart Invitational 10K Grocery Shop, when my alarm rousted me out at 9 o’clock this morning, it was plain by the way I felt that I wasn’t done sleeping yet.  After a brief breakfast in bed (some of my morning meds must be taken with food), I rolled over and sounded* like a sperm whale going for squid.  I surfaced to breathe at about noon, again at about 3 pm, and again at about 6 pm, and when I surfaced at a little after 9 pm, I knew I was done sleeping.

But there was this dream I had just before I woke up.  I was in a kind of farmhouse kitchen, at this big beautiful antique farmhouse kitchen table making pastry dough.  I was wearing a bib apron made from cotton feed sacking and the long-sleeved t-shirt I had on had the sleeves pushed up past my elbows.  I took the dough out of the big crockery bowl and plopped it directly onto the table, with sprinkled flour and everything, and began to work it.  I rolled it into a “worm” with my hands and used a roller to roll the “worm” out flat into a rectangle  about a foot wide and about 2 feet long.  I thoroughly dusted the surface of the dough with a mixture of coarse-ground brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, finely chopped nuts, and minced raisins.  Then I began to roll one of the long edges in toward the center.  I went round to the other side of the table and rolled the other long edge in toward the center.  I grabbed the ends, lifted the whole shebang off the table and plopped it onto a large greased baking sheet (one of those heavy duty kind about an inch deep with a rolled rim), pinched the ends and guillotined it into two-inch sections with a pastry knife.  I covered it with a cotton tea towel and let it rise.  Once it had risen, I spooned jam made from pureed cherries down the center trough and put it in a hot oven to cook.  I have never seen nor heard of sweet rolls made this way, but they were delicious!

*sound, verbto dive down suddenly used of a fish or whale.  (This is the 7th of 7 separate dictionary definitions of the word "sound".  Any wonder why English is such a booger for a non-native to learn? )

 

The Art of Hygge

hyg·ge

(pronounced:  ˈh(y)o͞oɡə,ˈho͝oɡə/)
noun
a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).

See, this is what we should have been doing while we’ve been sheltering in place — rearranging, revamping, renovating those sheltering places to make them more hygge.   Instead of going stir crazy or spending endless hours playing with our phones, we should have been relocating and repurposing furniture and re-allocating space to make that medium-slow* make-shift, stuck-off-in-a-corner “home office” into a decent workspace, or rethinking and reconfiguring  the furniture in the den so you can watch the big-screen TV without that distracting window reflection on the screen and without having to go to the chiropractor to get your neck readjusted after you decided to binge watch all the Harry Potter movies (and hitting up Amazon for a couple of flat-pack end-tables so you have a place to put the the snackies, the drinkies,  and an organizer for the umpteen remotes that keep sliding off onto the floor and getting kicked under the couch.)   (Oh, and sofa cushions and a warm microfleece lap robe . . . )   It’s time to up our snuggle game, people!

 

*half-fast.

Replacing The Lights That Failed

I finished my little iPouch, but haven’t had a chance to use it yet.  Now that I have a photo of the finished product, I can post the pattern in Knits From The Owl Underground.

I’ve nearly finished the second ball of yarn on the Irene shawl, which is coming along slowly but surely, a couple of rows at a time.  One more ball to go.   It’s in Malabrigo sock yarn on a US6 (4.0 mm) needle, so it’s pretty slow going.  I’m pleased with how it’s turning out, though.  It will be an asymmetrical triangular shawl with the triangle being scalene — none of the sides will be of the same length.

I want to do one of these projects now.  The one on the left is a very large circular — “cowl” I suppose you’d call it.   You put it round your waist, give it a twist into a figure 8, and put the top loop of the “8” over your head.   If you knitted it as one long strip, you’d have to Kitchner it together, though.  I like how it provides warmth without dangling bits and needs no fasteners to keep it on.  I’d have to make it wider, though.   I like the  “mobius” shawl on the right for the same reason — no loose ends.  There is a mobius cast on that allows you to do it without having to Kitchner it together.   You have to cast on all the stitches along one edge of the shawl — the trick is figuring out how many stitches you need because the shawl only has one edge!  I’d have to use my 60-inch circular needle for that one.

I had to take a shower in the (relative) dark the other day because the light “bub” in the shower burned out.  The master bedroom in the duplex has this really goofy en suite with the sink, counter,cabinets and mirror just out in the open at one end of the bedroom, not closed off or anything.   The toilet and shower are located in a little room off to the side which can be closed off with a sliding door.  Fortunately, the “water closet” portion of the little side room also has a light.  Of course, in order to replace the burned-out bulb, I first had to figure out how to get to it.  Turns out the outer ring pulls down on two long strips, far enough to get to the bulb.

Then, last night, I was heading toward the kitchen in the dark when I noticed a flickering light coming through the frosted window beside the front door.   I have these two yard lights which are on sensors and turn on automatically when it gets dark.  I have LED bulbs in them which are supposed to last 10 years.  Guess what.  The bulb in this light up near the porch was flickering — malfunctioning — so I had to figure out how to replace that one as well.  Turns out, all I needed to do it was a straight screw driver.

We’re getting our fall color now.  There are a fairly high percentage of oak trees in this section of town and their leaves turn this marvelous deep red.  This one is across the street.  It hearkens to that shade of red Frank Lloyd Wright liked — which he called “Cherokee red” — and used extensively in his buildings.

There’s a local landmark — the smiley-face bush — which started out as just a round topiary bush at the corner of this house at an intersection along a major north-south street.  The then owners of the house cut eyes and a smile into with hedge cutters to make it look like a smiley face.  Apparently, it’s in the deed to the house that whoever owns it has to keep up the smiley-face bush.  The current owners go all out and have set googly eyes into it and add various seasonal accessories.  For Halloween, they had the bush dressed up as Frankenstein’s monster.  Now they’ve got it dressed up as a turkey.  I snatched this photo the other day while I was stopped at the traffic light.  You may need to click on it to enlarge it so you can see it.

Books Read in 2020

129. A Conspiracy of Kings, Turner, Megan Whalen
128. The King of Atolia, Turner, Megan Whalen
127. The Queen of Atolia, Turner, Megan Whalen
126. *House in Hiding, Schwartz, Jenny
125. *The House that Walked Between Worlds, Schwartz, Jenny
124. *Half Soul, Atwater, Olivia
123. *Rosemary and Rue, McGuire, Seanan
122. *The Vor Game, Bujold, Lois McMaster (Re-read)
121. *Divergence, Cherryh, C. J.
120. *Ethan of Athos, Bujold, Lois McMaster (Re-read)
119. *Manners and Monsters, Wallace, Tilly
118. *For He Can Creep, Carroll, Siobhan (Novelette)
117. *The Warrior’s Apprentice, Bujold, Lois McMaster (Re-read)
116. *Winterfair Gifts, Bujold, Lois McMaster (Re-read)
115. *A Civil Campaign, Bujold, Lois McMaster
114. *Barrayar, Bujold, Lois McMaster (re-read)
113. *Shards of Honor, Bujold, Lois McMaster (re-read)
112. *Komar, Bujold, Lois McMaster (re-read)
111. *A Memory of Wind, Swirsky, Rachel (Short story)
110. *Memory, Bujold, Lois McMaster
109. *A Most Dangerous Game, Derr, Megan (novelette)
108. *The Ransom of a Night Hunter, Derr, Megan (novelette)
107. *Timeless, Carriger, Gail (re-re-re-re-read)
106. *Heartless, Carriger, Gail (re-re-re-re-read)
105. *Blameless, Carriger, Gail (re-re-re-re-read)
104. *Changeless, Carriger, Gail (re-re-re-re-read)
103. *Soulless, Carriger, Gail (re-re-re-re-read)
102. *Meat Cute, Carriger, Gail (novelette)
101. *The Haunting of Tram Car 015, Clark, P. Djeli
100. *The Enforcer Enigma, Carriger, G. L. (re-re-read)
99. *The Omega Objection, Carriger, G. L. (re-re-read)
98. *The Sumage Solution, Carriger, G. L. (re-re-read)
97. *Marine Biology, Carriger, G. L. (re-re-read)(novelette)
96. *A Dead Djinn in Cairo, Clark, P. Djeli (reread)
95. *Iago Wick and the Vampire Queen, Rainey, Jennifer
94. *The Knight and the Necromancer, Lee, A. H.
93. *The Last Temptations of Iago Wick, Rain, Jennifer (Reread)
92. *Record of a Spaceborn Few, Chambers, Becky
91. *The Physicians of Vilnoc, Bujold, Lois McMaster
90. *Dealth’s Avenger, Engle Charlotte E.
89. *Blue Moon: Too Good To Be True, Via, A. E.
88. *Of Wars and Memories and Starlight, de Bodard, Aliette
87. *The Watchmaker’s Daughter, Archer, C. J.
86. *Owlflight, Lackey, Mercedes and Dixon, Larry
85. *Minor Mage, Kingfisher, T.
84. *Lifelode, Walton, Jo
83. *Slippery Creatures, Charles, K. J.
82. *Souls to Heal, Wallace, Tilly
81 *Layers to Peal, Wallace, Tilly
80. *Kisses to Steal, Wallace, Tilly
79. *Secrets to Reveal, Wallace, Tilly
78. *Sweep with Me, Andrews Ilona
77 *Sweep of the Blade, Andrews Ilona
76. *One Fell Sweep, Andrews Ilona
75. *The Secretary and the Ghost, St. Kevern, Gillian
74. Howl’s Moving Castle, Jones, Diana Wynne (re-re-read)
73. *Defy or Defend, Carriger, Gail
72 *Sweep in Peace, Andrews, Ilona
71. *Clean Sweep, Andrews, Ilona
70. *Merlin in the Library, Soto, Ada Maria
69. *His Quiet Agent, Soto, Ada Maria
68. *Unarmed, Bates, Austin
67. *Master Wolf, Chambers, Joanna
66. *Gentleman Wolf, Chambers, Joanna
65. *A Calm Before The Storm, York, Kelly, and Attwood, Rowan
64. *A Shimmer in the Night, York, Kelly, and Attwood, Rowan
63. *Along Came a Demon, Welch, Linda
62. *Death’s Detective, Engle, Charlotte E.
61. *Follow Him Home, Davies, P. W.
60. *Make Him Tremble, Davies, P. W.
59. *Wyrde and Wicked, English, Charlotte E.
58. *Wyrde and Wayward, English, Charlotte E.
57. *Who Speaks For The Damned, Harris, C. S.
56. *Tangled in Blues, Peterson, Connor
55. *Concealed in Sage, Peterson, Connor
54. *Temptation in Neon, Peterson, Connor
53. *A Light Amongst The Shadows, York, Kelly, and Attwood, Rowan
52. A Month in the Country, Carr, J. L.
51. *The Hob’s Bargain, Briggs, Patricia
50. *Wolfsbane, Briggs, Patricia (re-read)
49. *Masques, Briggs, Patricia (re-read) (novelette)
48. *Deriving Life, Bear, Elizabeth (re-read)
47. *The Flowers of Vashnoi, Bujold, Lois McMaster
46. *Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Bujold, Lois McMaster
45. *Rescued by Bears, MacKinnon, Skye
44. *Beast of All, McKenzie, J. C.
43. *Shift Work, McKenzie, J. C.
42. *Beast Coast, McKenzie, J. C.
41. *Carpe Demon, McKenzie, J. C.
40. *Shift Happens, McKenzie, J. C.
39. *Meow: Catnip Assassins #1, MacKinnon, Skye
38. *The Omega Objection, Carriger, G. L. (re-read)
37. *The Sumage Solution, Carriger, G. L. (re-read)
36. *Marine Biology, Carriger, G. L. (re-read) (novelette)
36. *A Gentleman’s Position, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
35. *A Seditious Affair, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
34. *A Fashionable Indulgence, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
33. *The Ruin of Gabriel Ashley, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)(novelette)
32. *Unnatural, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
31. *The Gate That Locked The Tree, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (short story)
30. *Meat Cute, Carriger, Gail (Novellette)
29. *Enlightened, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
28. *Beguiled, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
27. *Provoked, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
26. *Introducing Mr. Winterbourne, Chambers, Joanna (re-read) (novelette)
25. *A Closed and Common Orbit, Chambers, Becky
24. Resurgence, Cherryh, C. J.
23. Emergence, Cherryh, C. J. (re-read)
22. *Rogue Protocol, Wells, Martha
21. *Artificial Conditions, Wells, Martha
20. Convergence, Cherryh, C. J. (re-read)
19. Visitor, Cherryh, C. J. (re-read)
18. Tracker, Cherryh, C. J. (re-read)
17. *The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Chambers, Becky (reread)
16. Peacemaker, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-read)
15. Protector, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-read)
14. Intruder, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-re-read)
13. Betrayer, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-re-read)
12. *The Finder, Lorin, J. E.
11. Deceiver, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-re-read)
10. Conspirator, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-re-read)
9. Deliverer, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-re-read)
8. *All Systems Red, Wells, Martha
7. Pretender, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-re-read)
6. Destroyer, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-re-read)
5. *The Stonecutter Earl’s First Christmas, Harris, Adella J.
4. Explorer, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-re-read)
3. *The Mystery of Nevermore, Poe, C. S.
2. *The Ghost of Ellwood, Osborn, Jacklyn
1. Defender, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-re-read)

*ebook

iPhones, iCords, iCicles and iGivup

It’s been interesting weather.  We got ice pellets, had thundersnow, rain, and the world was coated with ice this morning.  I could hear the pellets of ice hitting the window screen last night when I was at the computer.  It thundered several times last night, too, and once there was this terrifically loud BANG!! which was probably a utilities transformer going kablooie.   The lights have been flickering from time to time.  As much ice as there is on everything, including trees, I’m not surprised.  What is surprising is that I haven’t had a sustained power loss yet. (Touch wood!) 

We have a unique electric utility situation here.  For years and years, we had two power companies, a large, multistate private power company and a municiple utility company, competing for the same customer base, each with its own duplicate infrastructure, generator stations, etc.  People could choose which service they wanted to take from.  Then, about 15-20 years ago, the private utility company was bought out by Excel Energy and in the corporate restructuring, they sold their local infrastructure to the City. Whoever you were getting your electricity from at the time of the sellout, that’s the infrastructure your house remained connected to.  So, your neighbors’ power could go out, and yours wouldn’t, or an outage might only affect a scattering of four or five houses on the block.  It all depends on which infrastructure the outage is in relative to the infrastructure your house was connected to at the time of the sellout.  It’s really weird.

Just now, the lady in “B” called to tell me there was a branch that had broken off the stupid locust tree in my back yard.  It was hung up on the fence and the big end of it was hitting up against my cable wire.  But, it was wedged in between the fence pickets so tightly that she couldn’t maneuver it out by herself.  Actually, the  smaller branchings of it were straddling the fence, with most of them on my side.  I went into the back yard to see if we could get it loose/down so it wasn’t hitting  my cable “war.”  We managed to get the branch loose.  It was easiest to push it over into her yard, so that’s what we did.   There’s my excitement for the day.

The weather has warmed up enough that we’re melting now. Everything is dripping, and the ice that had coated the trees and wires is falling off in large chunks with every breath of wind.  it’s all over the yard.  Now and again I hear the Whump! of a wad of icicles falling off the eaves.

I’ve taken a viewer’s suggestion and scoped out some Bluetooth earbuds.  So now I’ll have to get one of those wireless charger disk doodads, too, but they’ll have to come out of next month’s budget.  Sigh.  I hate the shape of the corded iBuds that came with the iPhone.  They won’t stay in my ears worth beans.  The proposed Bluetooth earbuds are the kind that work best for me. The trick will be keeping them charged.  Now, if they could just make a wireless charger that works on people. . . .

The majority of my slacks have pockets, but most of their pockets are too shallow for an iPhone to fit into.  (Since iPhones first came out in 2007, that tells you what a clothes horse I’m not.)  When I go to cardiac rehab sessions, the car keys and the iPhone go in my pockets, and my purse gets locked in the trunk (boot) of my car.

Last night I got a wild hare to knit me an iPouch to hang around my neck so I will have a place to carry my iPhone when I wear slacks with unsuitable or no pockets.  I’m knitting it bottom-up using Turkish cast on (like you do with toe-up socks) to avoid having to Kitchener stitch the bottom closed.  Guess what the stitch is called that produces that long tail — it’s the iCord stitch.  Really.   I’ve still got about 10 inches of iCord left to knit.    It’s a really simple little pattern using not a whole lot of worsted yarn — You may recognize the color.  It’s an oddball I had left over from The Assassin’s Daughter shawl.  I like the way the colors are pooling

Everybody keeps saying that the iPhone is so intuitive.  How neurotypical of them.  My experience has been that it’s frustrating and counterintuitive  to the point that it causes me to iSwear.

The Circular Revolution

Prior to the invention of the circular knitting needle, the only types of knitting needles available were rigid lengths of wood or metal in various diameters. The length of a needle was limited to about 13 inches because anything longer quickly became too heavy and unwieldy to be easily manipulated by the hands.  These long needles typically had a point at one end and a “button” at the other to prevent stitches from sliding off, ranged in length from 8-13 inches and typically came in pairs.

The flat pieces that are sewn together t make a cardigan sweater.

For practical reasons, the width of any single piece of knitted fabric made on this type of needle was limited to the number of stitches you could fit onto the longest needle you could conveniently manipulate. Because of this, knitted garments had to be constructed “flat” — in the same way cloth garments were constructed — from pieces that were sewn together.  For example, to make a cardigan sweater one knitted two sleeves, a left front, a right front, and a back, and sewed the pieces together.   Consequently, historical knitting patterns, traditions,  and techniques reflect this constraint.

The first circular revolution was the development of knitting in the round (ITR) by using  short needles, typically from 6 to 8 inches long*, that have points on both ends ( double pointed needles or DPNs).  The ITR technique made it possible to knit tubular garments like stockings and hose without seams.  But again, for practical considerations, the circumference of the tube that can be knitted is limited by the number of double pointed needles you are willing to fiddle with — four being the practical limit.  Even so, four DPNs are sufficient to hold enough stitches to accommodate the circumference of the largest foot (which is why DPNs come in sets of five).  This technique also made it practical to knit gloves,  mittens and hats without seams.   (You could conceivably knit a seamless sweater on DPNs if (a) it was for a doll, or (b) you were willing to put up with the hassle of  working with a garment on 6-15 DPNs.  But, if you’ve ever used metal DPNs, you know how impractical it would be!)

A circular knitting needle with metal needles.

With the advent of plastics came the second circular revolution, the invention of the circular knitting needle, first patented in 1918.  This consists of two small single-pointed needles made of plastic, wood, or metal connected end-to-end by some flexible material such as nylon or  plastic coated wire to make it, in effect, one long double pointed needle.  Anyone who has used DPNs knows how frustratingly easy it is for stitches to slide off one end or the other of a DPN, or for a DPN to slide completely out and end up on the floor.  The circular needle solves that problem.  It also circumvents the width constraints of single-pointed needles as the length of the actual needle portion is only slightly wider than the palm of the hand, and the flexible cable allows the full weight of the knitted fabric to rest in the lap.

A circular needle can be anywhere from 9 inches (the shortest practical length) to 60 inches long.  This wide variation in length makes it not only possible, but practical to knit tubular fabric with a circumference large enough to fit around chest or

Two at a time socks on two circular needles.

hips and to knit very wide pieces of flat knitted fabric for making shawls, afghans and blankets without the need for piecing them together.

Two at a time socks on a single circular needle using Magic Loop Method

Necessity being the Mother of Invention**, knitters began employing the circular needle in new and inventive ways to do such things as knitting sleeves or socks two at a time using two fairly short circular needles, or using a single long circular needle in what is known as the Magic Loop technique.

For that matter, you can knit an entire sweater without seams on a single circular needle.

With the invention of the circular needle, knitting has become a three-dimensional craft, and patterns written after about 1960 begin to reflect this, moving toward more seamless construction techniques.

Now knitting has also entered the age of the internet:  If there’s anything to do with knitting that you want to learn, somebody has posted a tutorial video about it on YouTube, and a glance through the patterns currently available on Ravelry makes it plain that if you can dream it, you can knit it.

*The makers of Shetland Lace use 13-15 inch long double pointed knitting needles in conjunction with a knitting stick, which is a neat trick if you can do it. 

**FYI, the Father of Invention is "There's got to be an easier way to do this!"

It Fooled Around And Got Cold On Us

We had a high of 92 F (33.3 c)(!) on the 17th, a high of 88 F (31.1 C) on the 22nd, a high of 61 F (16.1 C) yesterday and, ya’ll, our high today was 28 Fricking degrees! (-2.2 C!) Our lowest low since summer was Saturday night, which was right at freezing — until today.  A while  ago, my arms were feeling cold and when I looked over at the clock by my computer desk (one of those fancy day, date, time and temp jobs), it read 66 F degrees! (18.8 C)  To be fair, all I was wearing was this long-sleeved, ankle-length flannel “leisure dress” and a lap robe, but I have since added a flannel vest and a pair of half-handers.

I’d put my little twin size  fleece blanket on top of my bedspread, and had been using it on and off for a couple of weeks now because nights had been getting down into the 40’s F (4+ C) occasionally, but I only actually switched the HVAC unit over from AC to heat yesterday because I knew it was going to be downright cold today.  (I surfaced briefly from sleep at about 3 a.m. last night, heard the whoomph of the gas jet that presages the heater actually coming on, which was followed shortly thereafter by first-use heater stink as the gas jet burns off all the dust that’s collected on it over the summer.)  Now I’ve got socks on and my baffies on over them.   And not to put too fine a point on it, our current humidity is a whopping 97% (yearly average here is around 44.5%), which is probably why it feels colder than the proverbial wedge.

I suppose I shouldn’t whinge about the weather.  Winter storm Billy is dumping feet of snow all over the Rockies (as bone dry as it’s been this year, they’re probably breaking out the champagne!).  Still, the weatherbeans say the flatlands could get 2-4 inches of snow out of the current meteorological shenanigans.  A hurricane named Zeta (which means we’ve officially gone through the hurricane alphabet twice! this year), and a winter storm named Billy are happening at the same time, and there are still people who say climate change is not a real thing.  Of course, there are still people who insist the Earth is flat.

Because  of COVID19 and the government mandated social distancing policy, the VA changed the format of its annual walk-in flu shot clinic to a “drive-by” clinic, which was held Thursday week ago. (Only in America. . .)  It was from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.  I got there at quarter after 3, and there was already a line of cars.  I tried to find the end of the line, only to discover that it went up the street, around the corner, up another street, around another corner and up another street for least three intersections!  That was when I said, to heck with it, gave up and went to Market Street to get one.

Market Street is not your grandma’s grocery store.  We’re talking one-stop-shop here:  They have an in-store pharmacy, an in-store bakery, an in-store cafeteria,  an in-store sushi-teria, and an in-store Starbucks.  You can cash checks, pay your utility bills, get your car registration sticker, buy gas and vote there — and they deliver!  The pharmacists give flu shots, and they accept most forms of medical insurance including Medicare.

Upon inquiring at the pharmacy, however, I was informed that they were all out of the plain-vanilla  3-valent regular-strength flu vaccine, which is the kind I usually get.  All they had was the heavy duty 4-valent industrial strength vaccine.  I decided to go for it.  (At this stage of the game, I’ll take all the immunity I can get.)  The little pharmacy clerk warbles, “There will be an approximately 25-minute wait while we process the paperwork.  If you’ll give us your cell number, we’ll call you.”  Well, I hadn’t yet done my grocery shopping for the month, and since I was already there . . . .  So yrs trly gave her my cell phone number, fished my cell phone out of my purse, dredged up the matching ear buds, connected same, put the cellphone in my pocket, the earbuds in my ears, grabbed a freshly-sanitized-for-my-protection shopping cart, and headed off into the store.  (I might add in passing, that was the last significant Samsung Galaxy event.) Five bags of groceries and an armful of flu vaccine later, I was on my way home again, home again, jiggity jig.

The new case for the iPhone came the next day and I ported my number to the new phone. I have been iphoning for over a week now, and have since discovered yet another moue-provoking feature of the iPhone.  It uses the same jack for both the charge cord and the earbuds, so I can’t listen to music with the iPhone on charger so as not to run the battery down like I did on the Galaxy.  Unless I buy a wirele$$ charger, that is.  Sigh!

 

A Place in the Drawer

It’s pretty obvious to anybody who has been paying attention to people who actually know what they’re talking about that things are about as normal as they’re going to get for the foreseeable future, and that COVID19 is here to stay.

This past spring, I ordered four washable cloth masks.  I figured no more than I go out of the house, that would be sufficient, and it was.  But, now that I’ve started going out three times a week to rehab, I’ve just ordered 3 more.  This evening when I was putting up clothes from the last load of wash, I made a place in my lingerie drawer for masks.  Welcome to the new normal.

Some of the machines at rehab have WiFi, meaning they provide access to music services, YouTube and cable TV.  But in order to get sound, you have to have earbuds.  The rehab lady said the center will loan you earbuds if you don’t have any.  My reply? Every thing in my house that has audio has earbuds except the TV (which has cordless headphones) and the iPhone*. I have earbuds till the world looks level.  It’s just a matter of hunting out a pair and a small plastic baggie to carry them in.

* iPhones have a completely different kind of connector jack that won't work with any other kind of earbuds except iPhone buds, and of course, the iPhone buds won't work in anything else except the iPhone,  so in addition to carrying my iPhone earbuds, I'll also have to carry a "works on everything else" pair in my purse . . .  I think I may have an empty Altoids box somewhere . . . Sigh.

A Garage With A View

I’ve finally started cardiac rehab because of the stents I had placed in February of 2018, the first of four hospitalizations that year.  (2018 was not a good year.)  Then, of course, I had the knee replacement in 2019, and I’m 99% over that.  However, having to deal with the nearly year-long and ongoing dog and pony show that has been this COVID19 business and the need for isolation because I’m in so many risk groups it isn’t funny,  my already sedentary lifestyle has been restricted to the point where I am now very deconditioned.

The obvious solution was to get a prescription from my cardiologist to attend cardiac rehab, which is held in the facility that acts as a fitness center for the employees of one of our major hospitals, as well as providing facilities for orthopedic and cardiac rehab. This is much better than just hairing off to traipse about in the park on my own because it is (a) across the street from a state of the art cardiac facility, (b) supervised  by trained personnel and (c) I wear a heart monitor while I’m there.

The fitness center is on the sixth floor of one of two gigunga parking garages across the street from the hospital.  Parking for it  is on the fifth floor, and there is quite a view from there.  Here’s a view of the Covenant Women’s and Children’s Hospital where I got my first job as a medical transcriptionist.  Just behind that pillar to the right of the picture is the Joe Arrington Cancer Center.

From the other side of the parking garage you can see three of the high-rise dormitories of Texas Tech University located at the western edge of the campus.  (North of the campus is another major hospital, University Medical Center, which is the teaching hospital for the Texas Tech University School of Medicine.   Those buildings in the distance are in the downtown area.  The tallest of them is the Metro Tower which, at 20 stories,  has the distinction of being the tallest building to survive a direct hit from an F5 tornado.

You will notice we have a lot of trees in town, so many that from a vantage point of five stories up, it looks like a forest.  Out here in the flatlands, trees mean people.  Every tree in this town was planted there by somebody.  Trees mean shade and shelter from the wind, because the land is flat out here.  Flat as a tabletop.  As far as the eye can see.  In every direction.