My friend LB made a bunch of knitted snowmen, and she gave me this one when I went to see her Thursday. She used yarn that has a thread of iridescence in it that gives it just the perfect little sparkle like snow (like the iridescent glitter I used on my snowflakes) — which doesn’t photograph at all well . . . .
The little snowman got me to thinking again about how a simple object of little intrinsic worth becomes an object of great value because of its history and how one came to acquire it. Its worth lies in its ability to evoke memories, of the time, the place and the giver. . . . It becomes a “souvenir” in the literal sense of the word, which is French for “remember.”
Sans segue, I remembered I had this little bamboo silverware tray (it’s too narrow for the silverware drawer in this house), and I had a brainwave — I put it on the little table I have by my computer to organize my knitting needles. It works a treat. I had a hard time getting to my double pointed needles before, but not now. They all go in that front bit quite nicely, as does my needle gauge. Win.
Here I make all these hats for other people, but I hadn’t made any for myself. Last year, I had made a ribbed cowl to fit up around my neck, which I fold in half and which fits like a turtle neck sweater without the sweater. I used it when I had to go out Friday, and it is tall enough that it will cover my mouth and ears no problem. I made it so long because you can also unfold it and bring one end of it up over your head. It fits my needs very well. I thought a toboggan to go with it out of the same Caron Simply Soft yarn would be just the thing, so on this chilly (41 F/ 5C) Crimmers Eve, I’m making one.
Late in my salad days (1986), when I first started doing medical transcription, we worked at the hospital in a little room off the medical records department. The lady I worked for, and who taught me transcription, used to get tickled at me for refering to “Christmas” as “Crimmers.” I was more draw-y and cartoon-y then than I am now, and I drew her this little thing below one Crimmers. (I didn’t know until about 20 years later that she had not only kept it all these years, but had had it very nicely framed.) The sentiment still holds up well, I think, even now in these dark days. . .
I’ve finally finished crocheting all the snowflakes I plan to crochet this year. There is glitter EVERYwhere, especially in the living room carpet by where I have the ironing board set up. Whoopee!(I have it set up in the living room right next to the dining area so I can use the dining table to put the bottle of stiff stuff, and the containers of glitter and straight pins, and what not on. I still have two snowflakes that need the second side stiffened and glittered, and then glue the ribbon loops on, and then packing one bunch to mail. I was going to try to get them there before Christmas, but obviously, that isn’t happening.
Then I have to clean up the mess. Ugh. I out-and-about-ed all day yesterday — I went to the dentist and the verdict is that the post is looking great. I’m supposed to come back Wednesday-week to get the impressions made for my new molar. I had the tooth pulled in May. I’ll finally get the implant/replacement in January. I will be so glad to finally be able to chew on that side again. (Oh, I can chew on that side, but it’s a bootless undertaking . . .)
After that, I went to visit my friend LB and took her a snowflake. She had knitted a bunch of snowmen and gave me one. She is currently dealing with her third recurrence of breast cancer which has now metastasized to her bones. ( She’s being treated at the same cancer center where I donate the hats.) She’s had a third round of chemo and radiation treatments to her ribs where it first showed up in the bone. Her latest MRI showed she had lesions in all but two of her thoracic vertebrae. She’s trying to stay upbeat. They’ve started her on this new pill type chemo that is supposed to be really great. I hope it works.
Last week, the battery on my computer UPS device died — I have two UPS devices, and the battery on the other one died first, and I changed them out. Now this one died as well — and I had to go get a new battery. I took one of the dead ones in to be sure I got one that would work, and since both devices use the same battery, I got two. I left the dead battery with them to recycle (it contained lithium), and one of the errands I had to run yesterday was to take the other dead battery in to get it recycled as well. And I had to go to this store to get this thing and that store to get that thing, and then shop groceries. By the time I got home, and got everything sorted out and put away, I was pooped. As a result, I went to bed too soon after I ate supper and had a bad reflux episode, woke up coughing and gagging, with my nose streaming. I had a hard time getting back to sleep again, and I have a sore throat, and I’ve been wheezing all day.
I had an optometry appointment at the VA today, and they dilated my eyes. I looked a little weird wearing dark glasses on such a grey, overcast day, but I was able to drive home. In addition to being grey and overcast, it was also colder than the proverbial wedge (our overnight low is supposed to be 24F/-4.44C tonight). I stopped by my moms later this afternoon, after my eyes had settled down, and her halls are quite thoroughly decked. Our family moved to that house in the 1960’s. The house had a fireplace but no mantelpiece, which my mom found odd and disappointing. At the time, my mom was doing ceramics as a hobby — one of her friends had a shop for hobbyists with molds and kilns, etc., — and she was working on this deluxe nativity set which would have been perfect to display on a fireplace mantel — alas! My dad decided to make her one, and did woodcarving on it. It took him forever (his projects usually did), but finally he got it done. (The reason it took forever was that he was so painstaking. The results speak for themselves). The white pieces pf the nativity set stood out better before mom had the brickwork (and the wood paneling) in the den painted.
The picture above the mantel is a photograph my dad took of my late aunt’s former house in El Paso all decorated with luminarias. He had it enlarged and framed and they gave it to her one year for a gift. When she passed, her son wanted mom to have it as a memento. My dad’s niece made my parents promise that if they ever sold the house, she could have the mantel. When my brother and I were little (1953), this lady in their church made stockings for us and my mom hangs them up every year. I cropped them out of the picture, because this is not Facebook.
As mom and I were sitting in the den visiting this afternoon, I looked up through the sliding glass door into their back yard, and it was snowing — just not sticking. When I got back home, Lo, how a rose e’er blooming in my flower bed was sprinkled with snow. Three days before Christmas, it’s still blooming.
After having to listen to this rock diva and that country music star warble and butcher all the popular* Christmas carols in practically every business I went into yesterday, I hunted up some little off-piste delights — trained singers singing a carol that hasn’t been sung into the ground because it’s one everybody knows.
One of those super bulky yarn cakes winds into a really big ball, too big for my little yarn bowl. It tends to either scoot the bowl or hop out of it when I pull more out because the ball is too big and heavy to turn freely. The yarn ball is also too tall for my big yarn bowl that has a lid. But the lady at the cancer center where I donate the hats said they need more men’s hats, and I’ve got two more cakes of this super bulky yarn, and I’m doing a baby afghan from a really big ball as well. Super bulky is such big yarn that knots are problematic, so I’m not cutting the yarn to make smaller balls. — Being able to knit the whole article from one continuous unbroken strand of yarn is optimal. So what to do?
What I decided I needed was a big, deep, heavy bowl that would allow a ball of yarn this large to roll around freely. Turns out Wayfair. com did have just what I need. It’s big and heavy, and the yarn feeds out through one of the notches just so nicely. It’s kind of classy looking, too. And, it was on sale. What more could you want? So there’s that problem sorted.
What’s in it at the moment is another toboggan out of a really muted, light colored mix of yarn.
Early this morning, I made some pasta (nothing like a big pot of boiling water to add some humidity to the air!). I thought what I’d bought was spaghetti, but when I got the package out, it said ‘linguini.’ No biggie. I broke the sticks into thirds and chopped a small onion, and emptied two cans of Wolf Brand Chili into my casserole dish, to which I added the linguini. I’m having a bowl at the moment, covered with sprinkle cheese, melted in the microwave, with a toasted English muffin on the side. It’s just the thing for winter eating.
The Mossman Hat pattern I’m working on has a ribbed brim that folds, and three rows of stockinette where it is supposed to fold. I’ve written two versions of the pattern, one for worsted weight yarn with knit/purl two stitches together on the decreases, but that’s too bunchy for superbulky yarn, so I wrote another version with a sl1, psso decrease which I think will work just fine. You can see how big that ball of yarn still is even after I’ve knitted that much of the hat from it. When you’re just casting on, the ball is ‘yuge.*’
Anyway, as today is Tuesday, I need to go wash my hair so it will be dry by time to go to knitting group.
*I could get all bent out of shape about the durn New Yorkers who don't know there's an "h" in "huge," but then there's more than a few good ol' boys in this neck of the flatlands who don't know there's an "r" in "throw."
I really needed a size larger crochet hook than the size 6 (1.8 mm) hook I was using, and the thread was very slubby, which didn’t help. And in the years since I’d made them last, I had forgotten just how brain intensive following a crochet pattern is. Life is hard, then you get over it.
About three pins into pulling out the straight pins after the snowflakes had been liberally coated with stiff stuff, I realized why God gave us needle nosed pliers. Duh!
I didn’t have days for the stiff stuff to finally dry all the way through, so I got creative. Air circulation did the trick. I elevated it even further off the table by putting it on upended juice glasses. Use what you have in more creative ways.
The last three snowflakes! Small victories add up.
Three sheets of this paper cost me $23! — (mostly because 3 x $0.79 for paper, 2 x $1.50 for two tubes of glitter which was on sale for half off, and 2 x $9.99 for two “teacakes” of yarn. . . .yeah, I know. I was going cold sheep, but . . .) I have no willpower and I need to stay out of Michael’s.
And . . . there is knitting news. The yarn “teacake” got rolled into a big ball and a hat is in progress. It’s superbulky yarn (6) so it ought to go fast. I’m calling it the Mossman hat because it’s a man’s toboggan done in moss stitch. Pattern to be posted in my knitting blog once I’ve finished knitting it.
Our relative humidity has gone up to 38% from 9% earlier today, but curiously, even though the temperature has gone up about 5F as well, the rise in humidity makes it feel colder, not warmer. Right now, it’s 33F (0.5C), heading for a high of 70F(21.1C).
My computer guy brought my computer back last night. He said, just take the side off and blow a fan straight into the box, and I can use it. Fans, I’ve got. So I am typing this now on my big girl keyboard. I love this keyboard so much, I’ve got a new one squirreled away in the closet because this one will wear out. I love the touch on it. Very light and fast. (It’s a gamer keyboard.)
So, sitting in the office, at the ‘puter, eating pineapple chunks for dessert after a meal of Pedro’s beef tamales (their factory burned down, and we didn’t have any for SO LONG, but now it’s been rebuilt and I don’t care if I was in the middle of Walmart, when I saw them in the meat case, I did a happy dance!). I had three, with a big glop of refried beans on top, a sprinkling of chopped black olives, and some shredded “Mexican four cheeses” on top, zotted in the microwave. It was sheer nums. When I opened the can of pineapple chunks, I dumped juice and all into the bowl, and drank the juice when I’d eaten them all. (Did I mention the humidity was 9% earlier today?)
I need to put Burt’s Bees Lip Balm on my shopping list. I’ve got a tube in my purse, but I’ve been using Vaseline around the house because I’m afraid if I take the tube out of my purse, I’ll forget to put it back, and be caught out without any. Vaseline works OK, but Burt’s Bees Lip Balm has peppermint in. . . I might get a couple of tubes, one for my bedside table, one to put in the junk bowl on my computer desk, and maybe another to put on my reader’s table in the living room. . .
When our humidity dips below 20% I can put two dryer sheets in the dryer, and I still end up playing Rice Krispies clothes. I run a comb through my hair and it just stands up and roars. I’m wearing a little flannel lap robe at my desk, and when I get up, if I don’t take my ear buds out before I pull the lap robe off, the static electricity goes right up the ear bud cord straight into my ears. Gets your attention, I can tell you! Home baked ECT therapy.
Here’s the junk bowl on my computer desk. As you can see, it has cable needles, a crochet hook, and stitch markers in it, plus a little stylus that came with my phone in case I want a little glittery thing dangling off it all the time. I have a matching plate on my side table for my carafe.
I’ve had the bowl a while, and only recently ordered the plate when I saw that the carafe was leaving a ring because if there was any liquid in the spout, it tends to dribble if I tilt it when I pick it up. The first plate I ordered was evidently drop-kicked at some point during the shipping process, but they were prompt to send me a replacement.
Houston got snow. This is hilarious because the same front came through us (and was colder) before it got to them. (The fact that the humidity here was under 20% when the front came through may have had something to do with it.) I, however, have been having snow flurries in my living room for days now. I have one finished except for the ribbon, 8 with one side stiffened and glittered, 5 more to crochet, and 6 more to “process” with the fabric stiffener and glitter. Mom needs them by Wednesday. I’d best get cracking.
My desktop computer is ailing. It has a wonky fan in the power supply, and my computer guy has it. About ten minutes after his pickup (This is TX, remember) pulled out of the driveway with the tower in the back seat**, I started to go into withdrawal. But then I thought, “I have a tablet . . . with a keyboard . . .!” But, like the man says, “Nothing is ever simple.”
In the first place, it’s not much of a tablet. The only reason I even got it was that it has a bigger screen than my Kindle and, of course, it was on sale — which practically goes without saying. I can take it to knitting group, and when I access knitting patterns off Ravelry or my knitting blog, you can actually read them, and the Kindle app can display a whole page at a time. Plus, the case I found that fit it came with a little Bluetooth keyboard. (N.B., A Bluetooth keyboard versus a touchscreen keyboard is technically the lesser of the two evils, but not by much.)
So, OK, I can blog from the tablet. E’ bene. Pezzo di torta. . . . . Uh, nope. I can get to my blog on the jive brower this thing has, but all I can do once I’m there is look at it. Wait, maybe there’s a WordPress app. . . yes! I down load the app, cudgel my brains for my WordPress password, and . . . I’m in!
I’ve been wearing glasses since the age of 6, but the vision in my right eye (What chart?) is actually very sharp at reading distance, and I typically read without my glasses. I can read books on the Kindle app on this tablet easily without having to put on my glasses. I quickly discover that I can’t read text on this stupid WordPress app unaided because my nose is too long. So, I roll the reader table out of the way, move the fat(boy)cat, get out of bed, get my glasses, get settled back in bed, roll my table back into position. The fat(boy)cat gives me a dirty look, walks all over my legs lookin for that spot he’s gotten all nice and warm, finally finds it, gets it all schooched back out the way he likes it, finds his place in that nap he was enjoying before he was so rudely interrupted, and picks up where he left off. Now!
Let me just say that for someone who has been touch typing for 4/5ths of her life on a big girl keyboard, and is used to being able to type pert’ near as fast as I can think up what I want to say, using either of this tablet’s options for text entry (touch screen keyboard or Bluetooth keyboard) is like trying to run a marathon with your pants down around your ankles. It’s not quite as bad as having to revert to Morse code, but it’s as near as dammit.
So, my computer guy can’t access me another power supply until Monday, and it may take a week for him to get one in if he can’t get one locally and has to order it, which is just as swell, actually, as I am in serious snowflake mode at the moment with a Wednesday deadline bearing down on me and I was smart enough not to give away my originals when I made copies of the snowflake patterns I printed out to take to knitting group last week (some of us are ambicraftous).
And that’s why this post only took six hours to do.
*The Columbus Method (going east by sailing west) is a complicated, time-consuming, PITA method which you are forced to use to perform what should be a relatively simple, straightforward task because reasons.
**In TX, if you see a man driving a pickup with a crew cab, it usually means he’s married, and he’s having to drive hers to go get the kids. In this case, they’re both retired, she got tired of having to haul herself all the way up into and down out of her pickup and made him get her a Subaru — which he wouldn’t be caught dead driving. Since her pickup was newer and got better gas mileage, they sold his, and he’s driving hers.
It’s been right nippy. Down in the low 30’s F(0’s C) at night, and in the 40’s-50’s F (4.4-10 C) during the day. My heater’s been coming on fairly regularly, especially last night. It’s 29F (-1.6C) at just after 7 a.m. this morning, and I’ve already been thinking about taking the lap robe off the back of my chair and putting it over my legs.
These past two nights, I’ve been snuggly buggly sleeping under my waffle blanket and bedspread with a microfleece blanket Z-folded at the foot of the bed that I can pull up if I need it. That back bedroom tends to be a little colder than other parts of the house because of that stupid sliding glass door — but that’s OK. I like sleeping warm in a cold room.
I think next time I make these slippers, I’m putting a ribbed cuff on them. They tend to want to pull off unless you wear them over socks. That said, they do keep my feet warm.
My carafe, which is technically for coffee, is great for hot tea as well. Three bags is what it takes. I’m having one made with two bags of Twining Earl Grey and one bag of Stash Double Spice Chai with a small blop of apple juice in. It’s just lovely, all hot and spicy.
Snowflake crocheting continues.
That’s a size 0 (1.8 mm) hook, BTW. Those at left will look like the one below once they’ve been blocked, coated with stiff stuff and sprinkled with opalescent glitter. Alas, the glitter doesn’t photograph well at all, but it makes them glitter like real snow.
The ones I’m working on now have double trebles (dtr) and triple trebles (trtr), and if I never do another picot . . . .
It’s been a grey, cold day. We’ve finally gotten some wintry weather. Perfect for bundling up in a blanket on the couch and binge watching all those great Films Noir — “Laura,” “The Big Sleep,” “Strangers on a Train,” “Woman in the Window,” “The Big Heat,” “The Maltese Falcon,” “Casablanca.” Turner Classic Movies was not cooperating, unfortunately, and besides, I have snowflakes to crochet, and then I remembered I had this Carly Simon album. . . .
And when this palls, I’ve got playlists of instrumental smooth jazz on Napster. Now that I think of it, a Carly Simon playlist — maybe mix in some laid back JT, and Linda Ronstadt did these albums with Nelson Riddle . . . hmmmm.
Am I such an old fogey that all this thumpy-bumpy-chanty-ranty-herky-twerky modern music palls so very quickly? I run across a nice one now and then, but they seem to be few and far between (I watched Neil deGrasse Tyson‘s interview with Katy Perry on Star Talk the other day — I’m sorry. It was like the astrophysicist and the space cadet.) I like melodies and harmonies. I like the sound of orchestral strings as much as I like the sound of guitar strings. I like music that doesn’t beat you over the head or hit you with a wall of sound, with singers who can actually sing and literate lyrics .
I don’t think I’m a musical snob. I mean, if you look at my playlists on Napster, I’ve got everything: Paganini, Pink Floyd, Penguin Cafe Orchestra and the Pointer Sisters; Mozart, Moby, Mancini, and Morton; Tchaikovsky, Tingstad and Rumbel, and Tangerine Dream; Brahams, Beatles, Biosphere and boogie woogie; Liszt, Llewellyn, Lucette Bourdin and Loop Guru. I’ve got Eleftheria Arvanitaki and Lisa Gerrard, Ofra Haza, James Taylor and Michael Franks; blue grass, klezmer, and early Brubeck, Dadawa, Niyaz and Cirque du Soleil. I’ve got Ravi Shankar and both his daughters. In addition to almost every genre from the USA, there’s music on there from Turkey, Iceland, India, eastern Europe, Yemen, Mali, Ireland, Algeria, Greece, Morocco, and Norway. (Ghod, I love the interwebs so much!)
But right now, I’m in a Films Noir mood. . .