Books Read in 2018

31. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Gaiman, Neil (reread)
30. Cold Comfort Farm, Gibbons, Stella
29. Crystal Dragon, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re . . read)
28. Crystal Soldier, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re . . read)
27. Emergence, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
26. Convergence, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
25. Visitor, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
24. Tracker, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
23. Peacemaker, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
22. Protector, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
21. Intruder, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
20. Betrayer, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
19. Deceiver, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
18. Conspirator, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
17. Deliverer, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
16. Pretender, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
15. Destroyer, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
14. Explorer, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
13. Defender, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
12. Precursor, Cherryh, C. J. (re . . read)
11. Inheritor, Cherryh, C. J. (re. . read)
10. Invader, Cherryh, C. J. (re. . reread)
9. Foreigner, Cherryh, C. J. (re . .reread)
8. *Guilty Pleasures, Hamilton, Laurell K.
7. *Romancing the Werewolf, Carriger, Gail
6. *Imprudence, Carriger, Gail
5. *Prudence, Carriger, Gail
4. To Say Nothing of the Dog, Willis, Connie (reread)
3. The Perilous Gard, Pope, Elizabeth Marie
2. Emergence, Cherryh, C. J.
1. Convergence, Cherryh, C. J. (re. . read)

* Ebook

I Can Have Tuna For Breakfast If I Want To

I have never understood this “you can’t eat certain foods at certain times” thing.  Yeah, I can see structuring your food intake for what you’ve got to do during the day, so that you eat certain types of foods (proteins, complex carbs, fats, etc.) in certain combinations designed to keep you going all day long.  But specific foods being forbidden at specific time?  Nope.  ‘You can’t have that for breakfast!’  Pshaw!  Tuna salad makes a good breakfast.  It’s got protein, complex carbs (or it does the way I make it), and it’s tasty.   (And come to that, how is a piece of  fruit pie (dessert) different than a toaster pastry?)

I had tuna salad for breakfast instead of what I had originally wanted to eat because of a Mystery.  I know for a fact that I bought several cartons of almond milk when I shopped groceries at some point recently — the kind of cartons that don’t have to be refrigerated.  I know I did.  And I know where I thought I put them.  But, I’m durned if I know where they actually are.  There aren’t that many places where they could be and they aren’t in any of them.  I’ve looked.  Twice.  How can I have cereal without almond milk?  I’ve got some lovely Cheerios and some Kashi shreaded wheat, and no almond milk.   So now, here directly, I have to suit up and schlep off to Walmart and get some.   In the rental car.

Yep.  Tues, I took my poor Greyola off to Big Daddy’s Collision Center to get the collision damage repaired.  It’s going to take about two weeks, they said.  They’re going to have to replace both door panels, and the front fender panel, and work on the rear fender panel, and they have to take bumpers off and lights out to paint.  The rental car is a 2017 silver Chevy miniSUV.  I’m going to have to put a static decal in the back window so I can locate the durn thing in parking lots.   It has one of those keyless systems — not just keyless entry, but keyless ignition, too.  So long as you are carrying this fob thingie around on your person, you can lock and unlock the doors and start the car without a key just by pressing buttons!  Oh, the plonger* envy!

So, I’m going to go brush my teeth, put on shoes, beetle off to Walmart to get some almond milk, chopped olives, and TP.  Then I’ll get my adulting done for the day (pay bills), and decide what I want to do next, which will very likely involve yarn and sharp pointy metal things.  And maybe computers.  Busy, busy, busy. . .

It occurs to me that I’ve got a shawl going in every room of the house but the kitchen at the moment, all of them for me.  I’ve got a Malguri Morning shawl in Charisma yarn “Northern Light” colorway going in the living room (TV knitting at its finest), my modified version of the cable edged shawl in Lion Brand Heartland yarn color “Glacer Bay” going by the computer, and the cobblestone lace shawl in “bluejean” going in the bedroom.   I’ve got some YouTube subscriptions that have uploaded new videos, and some blogs to read, and The Ocean At The End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman to finish rereading, and a lot of TV binge watching lined up to get stuff off the DVR, so shawl knitting is really high on the list of things that will happen in the near future.  Be nice if I can get all three shawls done in time for cold weather this fall.  Goalz.  I haz ’em.


*plonger - in the family parlance, a "plonger" is a small electronic device that has buttons you push to accomplish tasks -- a doorbell, a TV remote, a garage door opener remote, the little remotes that lock and unlock your car all fall under this generic term.  In order to accomplish the task, you "plong" the appropriate button.  This came from "plonging" on the door bell, which is also a common expression in the family parlance, which is what you do to produce the "classic" doorbell "pling-plong" sound.  "Plonging" would qualify as an onomatopoeic noun (for the sound) used as a verb (what you do to produce the sound).  This term has the sound and feel of one of my dad's (many) linguistic influences on the household.

Out and About

Spent the middle of the day out running around.  Doc visit, shopping for some needed household items and groceries. Got it all shopped, schlepped in, and put away.   Whew!

Then, I heard one of those potatoes I baked yesterday calling my name.   Of course, what it wanted was to be glooked all up nice with some margarine, chopped ham, broccoli, cauliflower, a drizzle of Ranch dressing and a sprinkle of Mexican four cheeses, and for me to eat it.  Oh, the nums!

Of course, now that I’ve eaten it all,  I remembered I have two little jars of mushrooms still sitting in the pantry . . . . drat!  Well, I still have two potatoes left, and one of those jars is about right for two potatoes.  I also got some deli chicken, so I can have the next one with chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, and maybe some chopped black olives . . . and a bigger drizzle of Ranch dressing . . .  Now, there’s a nice thought.

You’ll notice I make my baked potatoes in a soup bowl.  (There is a method to my madness!)   Oh, and if you’re going to put a bowl on a plate, put a paper napkin/serviette, or a folded paper towel in between them, and the bowl won’t be so slide-y on the plate when you’re carrying it and eating from it.

This afternoon, I phoned the guy’s insurance company to see who they work with here in town for body work.  There were about five.   I picked out two that are relatively close to my house (one was way downtown, another was way to the SW outside the Loop, another was way out NW of the Loop). Tomorrow,  I’ve got to go to those two auto repair places and see who gets to fix my car.  Depending on how I feel later in the afternoon, I may just go to knitting group tomorrow night, for the first time in months!

But, I have videos to watch and knitting to do, and I’m going to take my dishes to the kitchen and see what I can rustle up for a judicious application of dessert.  Then , I can kick back and watch videos and knit a little.

It’s Getting Better, Slowly But Noticeably

This past week and a half has been like getting a giant charley horse in my life, and slowly, over the past couple of days, I’ve been just kind of stretching through the cramp and loosening it up, and aaaaaaaahhhhhh!

Yesterday and today, I sat at the computer catching up on my blog reading and video watching, and knitted on the modified body of my cable edged shawl.  I’m really liking the increase in density of going to the smaller needle for the shawl body, and I did really need to go to 3 stitches for the garter stitch border on the leading edge of the shawl to balance the denser stitching in the body.

Some interesting things going on in the construction of the shawl body:  The garter tab is what sets up that 3-stitch leading edge border, which is knitted across the top edge of the shawl in both directions from the center point established by the garter tab.  However, in between that border and the body of the shawl is a yarn over (yo) on each end on every row, which increases your stitch count by two stitches every row (from the 9 of the tab, to 260).  That yarn over is what gives that little openwork line that makes it look like the border and the body are going in two different directions, when actually they’re not.  What you end up with is a semicircular piece of knitting with the 3-stitch garter stitch border across the diameter (top), and live stitches all around the circumference.  Then you start the garter stitch lace edging on another needle and each time you knit a row of the edging, you incorporate live stitches off the shawl body and join the edging on.

The garter tab is a nifty little bit of knitting in and of itself.  In this case, you cast on 3 stitches, knit 3 rows, then you turn your work 90 degrees to the right, pick up 3 stitches down the side of the tab, turn it another 90 degrees to the right, and pick up 3 more stitches across the bottom for a total of 9 stitches.  Your original 3 stitches become one side of the border, the stitches you picked up down the side become the body of the shawl, and the stitches you picked up across the bottom become the other side of the border.  It’s that little “turn the corner” around the tab that lets the border stitches go in both directions at once.  This type of construction is best for top-down shawls, both semicircular and triangular.  How you work your increases can give you some interesting patterns and textures.

I think I’m going to be exploring this type of shawl construction a little more.  I’ve found some garter stitch lace patterns for edging, and I found one that includes a mitered corner, which would work with a triangular shawl.

I’ve just sat down again from getting up doing things — I’m on a kick where I’m hungry for those baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and pieces of cantaloupe dipped in this particular brand of Ranch dressing, so I had to get up and get a plate of that.  Noshed on that while I read blogs, knitted, and played Spider solitaire.  Then I decided I wanted to bake some potatoes (I had three stashed in the fridge), so I got up and did that (washed, dried, rubbed with olive oil, baked in the oven at 360° for an hour).  (They’re baked and cooling now.)  While those were in the oven I made a bowl of tuna salad with tuna, chopped raw white onions, chopped kosher dill pickles, chopped black olives, and a (drained) can of those mixed peas and chopped carrots, with mayo and two large spoons of that Ranch dressing.  It’s chilling in the fridge as I type.  I must be getting better.  That’s the most cooking I’ve done in months.  I’ve got some Carr’s Table Water Crackers I’ll spoon the tuna salad on for noshing here directly.


What’s Going on Here?

I’ve lost about 9 days in a furious little, highly frustrating, energy draining, distracting, AAARRRHHH!!! health/life tangle that’s left me with a lot of aggravation, complications, and pointless scrambling about.  I could go into all the gory details but that’s not what this blog is about.  It was all just stupid on so many levels and all up in my face and in my way, and keeping me from doing what I want to be doing, which right now (and not surprisingly) is being quiet, calm, cocooned and knitting something.   Today is the first day I’ve been able to be where I want to be and just chill for a while.

So I was playing around with the cable edged shawl pattern and thought I saw something there I wanted to go after.  I was working it according to pattern, and thought it was going in a way I wanted to go, but, no.   I picked it up again today and, no.  Just, no.  Frogged it all out.  &*%$*#!  But I think I see what’s going on and why I don’t like the bits I don’t like, and how I can push the pattern closer to what I want.

The yarn weight works, but I’m going with a US9 (5.5 mm) needle instead of the US10 (6.0 mm) because I don’t want so lacy.   And the two stitch garter border for the top edge of the body of the shawl is too thin to my eye, and a 4-row garter tab to get 6 stitches is too deep and I didn’t like how that bit lay.  A 3-stitch border looks better to me, with a 3-stitch cast on and a 3-row garter tab to get 9 stitches.

The increase row for the shawl body adds 2 stitches a row using yarn overs.  I get that, and I see how it works.   However,  in the original pattern, you start the shawl body from a tab base of 6 stitches, which is an even number, and 9 isn’t, so if I start from a tab base of 9 stitches, I’ve got to sneakily either get rid of one stitch somewhere, somehow, or else add a stitch in somewhere, somehow to even things out so I’ll come out with the right number of working stitches (260) along the bottom edge of the shawl body so the edging pattern repeats will come out even.  So, in the pattern I’m writing to keep track of what I’m doing, I’ve got a step:  “Repeat row 2 until 260 stitches total.  In order to achieve this stitch count, at some random point in the shawl body work a single k2tog and mark it with a stitch marker so you’ll know you’ve done it.”  So there’s that.

My garter stitch lace shawl is coming along.  I’m liking the proportions of the increase.  I’m on my third pattern repeat for the edging.  Sticky notes work OK, but the stickum wears off the note when you have a pattern with a lot of repeats, like this one has.   I just surrendered to reality and got a typist stand for the pattern.  It is going to make doing this shawl so much easier, but it will also make knitting from any printed pattern easier, especially one with edging repeats, like the cable edged shawl will have.  I’m disciplining myself to do a whole pattern repeat at a sitting and to put my lifelines in at the end of each pattern repeat.   Dental floss.  Who knew?

Spooky. . .

I have a wall hanger in the laundry room where the empty clothes hangers go when the garment that were hung on them go in the laundry hamper.  When the clothes are done drying, the hangers go on top of the clothes dryer, right to hand as I pull items out of the dryer and hang them up. (The laundry room is one of those odd areas of my universe where my OCD spectrum disorders and autism spectrum disorders intersect and create this weird sort of plaid effect. . . .)

The load I did tonight was a mixed bag:  Tops and slacks, with a couple singlets and a small herd of unmentionables and socks.  (Anything that doesn’t get hung up goes in the laundry basket to be folded when I get a roundtoit.)  There were about 15 hangers that got piled on top of the dryer tonight, and I swear to you, each time I pulled out a pair of slacks, the next hanger on the pile was a pants hanger — every dang time!  Freaked me out.


Tis the season to be sneezing.  The Bradford Ornamental Pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) are blooming all over town and my sinuses are in a howling uproar.  Of course, if you followed the link and read the article, you’ll know I’ll have my revenge on the owners of the dang things sooner or later. . . .

And not to put too fine a point on my day, . . . .Coming out of the parking lot at the doctor’s office this morning, a pickup (what else?) backed into me.  His bumper got all four side panels a good lick and did a number on my front passenger door handle.  It’s the pickup’s fault; I’ve got his info, but it’s all a big hassle I’ve got to deal with.   They’ll probably have to replace both the front and rear fender panels and both door panels and the door handle.   His insurance is supposed to furnish me a loaner while they’re fixing it, but that’s a hassle, and taking it in and however long it’s going to take to fix it is a hassle.  I’ve got too many things going on in my life right now and the last thing I need is one more hassle to have to deal with. AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!

And not to put too fine a point on this absolute bummer of a Pi Day, Stephen Hawking passed away.  On Albert Einstein’s birthday.

In Memoriam

Sad news from Shoreacres

In Memoriam

On silent feet, the furry folk arrive,
Leave paw prints all across my days,
Scatter catnaps in my sunshine places.
Oh, how their presence graces me.
Quicker than a winking eye, as agile as a smile,
they stalk the pathways of my heart
And what great emptiness they leave behind
When it is time for them to go.

Poem "In Memoriam" ©2010 The Owl Underground

Life Is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

Some life happened, folks.  I’ve been having some health problems, which I won’t go into here.  One of them I knew about and I’ve been coping with it.  The other one came flying in out of left field and caught me flat footed. Add in a couple of adverse drug reactions (HIVES!) and these past two weeks have not been fun.  The scariest thing about it, though, is how the VA came through for me on some drugs that would have otherwise cost me $94 for 20 pills, as well as the other meds I needed.  Anyway.  Hopefully, things will settle back down again and I’ll have more frequent updates.

I’ve started working on this Cable Edged Shawl pattern which I’m doing in a Lion Brand Heartlands yarn called “Glacier Bay.” It’s worked as a garter tab from the leading edge downward, and you put the edging on last, working at right angles to the shawl body.  You work the whole body first, and I’ve got a way to go on that.  Simple garter stitch, but with a nice edging.

I’ve also gotten a little farther along on my modification of this pattern.  I took the hint of using dental floss as lifelines, putting in a lifeline after every pattern repeat.  I like the way it’s coming along so far, especially the texture of the shawl body.

I’m on my third pattern repeat.  You can see how the garter stitch lace edging is shaping up.  The only hard part about it, actually, is the garter stitch lace bit.  The rest of it is pretty straightforward.  So far, so good.  I will post the pattern on my knitting blog when I get it worked through.

I’ve been doing a re-re-re. . . read of C. J. Cherryh’s Foreigner books, which has been instrumental in helping me keep my sanity through the fun and games I’ve been having.  I’m about halfway through.   There’s a new Sebastian St. Cyr book due out, which I’m looking forward to.  Regency murder mystery . . .!

That’s all the news that’s fit to print for now.