Books Read in 2019

99. *Hell or High Water, Cochet, Charlie
98. *Manners and Mutiny, Carriger, Gail
97. *Waistcoats and Weaponry, Carriger, Gail
96. *Curtsies and Conspiracies, Carriger, Gail
95. *Salt Magic, Skin Magic, Welch, Lee
94. *Enemies with Benefits, Martin, Annika and Chambers, Joanna
93. *Lark and Wren, Lackey, Mercedes
92. *Tribute Act, Chambers, Joanna
91. *Brat Farrar, Tey, Josephine
90. Fortune’s Favor, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (novella)
89. *The Soldier’s Scoundrel, Sebastian, Cat
88. *The Lawrence Browne Affair, Sebastian, Cat
87. *The Ruin of a Rake, Sebastian, Cat
86. Shout of Honor, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (novella)
85. The Little Paris Bookshop, George, Nina
84. *Brilliant Devices, Adina, Shelly
83. *Magnificent Devices, Adina, Shelly
82. *Her Own Devices, Adina, Shelly
81. *Lady of Devices, Adina, Shelly
80. *Romancing the Inventor, Carriger, Gail
79. *Cast In Honor, Sagara, Michelle
78. *Cast In Flame, Sagara, Michelle
77. *Cast In Sorrow, Sagara, Michelle
76. *A Gentleman Never Keeps Score, Sebastian, Cat
75. *Cast In Peril, Sagara, Michelle
74. *Cast In Ruin, Sagara, Michelle
73. *The Damnation Affair, Saintcrow, Lillith
72. *The Ripper Affair, Saintcrow, Lillith
71 *The Red Plague Affair, Saintcrow, Lillith
70. *The Iron Wyrm Affair, Saintcrow, Lillith
69. *The Underwater Ballroom Society, Burgis, Stephanie, editor
68. *Cast in Chaos, Sagara, Michelle
67. *It Takes Two to Tumble, Sebastian, Cat
66. *Cast in Silence, Sagara, Michelle
65. *Unnatural, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
64. *Seasons Pass, Chambers, Joanna (reread)
63. *Enlightened, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
62. *Beguiled, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
61. *Provoked, Chambers, Joanna (re-read)
60. *Merry and Bright, Chambers, Joanna
59. *The Ruin of Gabriel Ashley, Chambers, Joanna
58. *Once Burned, Frost, Jeaniene
57. *Night Shift, Harris, Charlaine
56. *Day Shift, Harris, Charlaine
55. *Midnight Crossroad, Harris, Charlaine
55. *Cast in Fury, Sagara, Michelle
54. *Any Old Diamonds, Charles, K. J.
53. *Tea With the Black Dragon, MacAvoy, R. A.
52. *The Omega Objection, Carriger, G. L. (re-read)
51. *Summage Solution, Carriger, G. L. (re-read)
50. *Marine Biology, Carriger, G. L. (re-read)
49. *Threshold, Hawk, Jordan L.
48. *Widdershins, Hawk, Jordan L.
47. *Band Sinister, Charles, K. J.
46. *The Hollow of Fear, Thomas, Sherry
45. *A Conspiracy in Belgravia, Thomas, Sherry
44. *A Study in Scarlet Women, Thomas, Sherry
43. *Poison or Protect, Carriger, Gail
42. *Cast in Secret, Sagara, Michelle
41. *Cast in Moonlight, Sagara, Michelle
40. *Think of England, Charles, K. J.
39 *A Case of Possession, Charles, K. J.(reread)
38. *The Magpie Lord, Charles, K. J. (reread)
37. *A Gentleman’s Position, Charles, K. J.
36. *A Seditious Affair, Charles, K. J.
35. *Cast in Courtlight, Sagara, Michelle
34. *Cast in Shadow, Sagara, Michelle
33. *Inside Job, Willis, Connie
32. *The Tea Master and the Detective, de Bodard, Aliette
31. *Waiting on a Bright Moon, Yang, Jy.
30. *A Fashionable Indulgence, Charles, K. J.
29. *The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, Carriger, Gail (reread)
28. *The Parasol Protectorate: Timeless, Carriger, Gail (reread)
27. *The Parasol Protectorate: Heartless, Carriger, Gail (reread)
26. *The Parasol Protectorate: Changeless, Carriger, Gail (reread)
25. *The Parasol Protectorate: Blameless, Carriger, Gail (reread)
24. *The Parasol Protectorate: Soulless, Carriger, Gail (reread)
23. *How To Marry A Werewolf, Carriger, Gail (reread)
22. *Romancing the Werewolf, Carriger, Gail (reread)
21. *Competence (The Custard Protocol, Book 3), Carriger, Gail
20. *Imprudence (The Custard Protocol, Book 2), Carriger, Gail (reread)
19. *Prudence (The Custard Protocol, Book 1), Carriger, Gail (reread)
18. *An Unnatural Heir, Charles, K. J.
17. *His Consort, Calmes, Mary
16. *An Unnatural Vice, Charles, K. J.
15. *An Unseen Attraction, Charles, K. J.
14. Chanur’s Legacy, Cherry, C. J. (re-re-read)
13. *An Enlightenment Story: Unnatural, Chambers, Joanna
12: *An Enlightenment Story: Seasons Pass, Chambers, Joanna
11. *Enlightenment Series: Enlightened, Chambers, Joanna
10. *Enlightenment Series: Beguiled, Chambers, Joanna
9. *Enlightenment Series: Provoked, Chambers, Joanna
8. Chanur’s Homecoming, Cherryhh, C. J. (re-re-reread)
7. Chanur’s Venture, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-reread)
6. The Kif Strike Back, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-reread)
5. The Pride of Chanur, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-reread)
4. Alliance Rising, Cherryh, C. J.
3. *Introducing Mr. Winterbourne, Chambers, Joanna
2. *Mr. Winterbourne’s Christmas, Chambers, Joanna
1. Merchanter’s Luck, Cherryh, C. J. (re-reread)

* Ebook

If You Can’t Say Something Nice . . .

We all know how that line finishes, which is why the VA is only obliquely mentioned in this post.  Also, this is a family friendly blog and my mom doesn’t know I know that kind of language. . .

Of the Steri-Strips that were placed over the incision on my knee after the stitches were taken out on the 10th, only about four remain.  The incision looks very frankensteinish*, but it will settle down.  This is the third time that poor knee has been operated on. (Each time they do surgery, they excise the old scar.)  Perhaps, third time is charmed.

Quote of the day:   “The muse in charge of fantasy wears good, sensible shoes.” – Lloyd Alexander

I’ve got another linguistic clanger to add to the collection.  It’s a new one I’ve just noticed.   First it was “in the meanwhile” which is a mishmash that hits my linguistic ear like a speed bump at 40 mph — It’s either “in the meantime,” or “meanwhile.”  Then, all of a sudden, and for no apparent reason, extinction went from being a state of being to a destination.  Species used to become extinct.  Now they go there.  Whatever.   The new one is “step foot” as in “He was a teetotaler and had never stepped foot in a bar in his life.”  I can see the logic of feet stepping, but as anyone who has ever read anything that was written before the school system went to hell in a hand basket, it’s “set foot,”  as in “A virgin forest is where the hand of man has never set foot.” (Be alert.)   It’s so annoying to be reading along and have someone bungle the verbiage.  They use a word that doesn’t mean what they think it means.  They mangle the grammar.  It’s bad enough that the author has done it, but what makes it worse is that at least one editor whose supposed to know better has let them get away with it.

My recovery from knee surgery was going great guns until guess who dropped the ball.  I’ve been hanging fire for two weeks now for  an authorization from a certain organization  to go to physical therapy, and all the momentum I had going on my recovery has now stalled out.  All I can do is keep doing the little exercises the home health people gave me, but I’m neither gaining strength and endurance nor getting rid of the swelling like I would have been if I could have progressed to the recumbent bike and other physical therapy equipment in a timely manner.  (*expletives, scatology and pejoratives deleted.* )

I did wander around the grocery store Friday morning .  As I mentioned, I have not regained much in the way of endurance.  That little 45 minute foray wore me out.  I was so exhausted after I got home that after I put my groceries away, I didn’t even bother with lunch.  I just went into the bedroom and took a nap.  Til about 6 pm. Which means my days and nights are mixed up again.  Bother.  I should walk outside up and down the sidewalk but I hesitate to do it by myself.  I have this dread of falling and lying there hurt. It’s called “having a reasonable fear to an unreasonable degree.”  Besides, I’d have to go out early in the morning to avoid the heat (and humidity!) and the mosquitoes would eat me alive.  (Insert video here of piranhas stripping some hapless animal to bones in 2.5 seconds.)

Speaking of videos, I was watching a video on YouTube about debutantes in England in 1939, and this was the theme song.  The song dates from back in the late Oleaginous** period when people knew how to write lyrics and compose pleasant melodies.   (The 9th Duke of Wellington in his youth looked a lot like the late Robert Addie in his.)  Show them how it’s done, Bing.

* While we're on the subject of grammar,  when a proper noun is used as a noun, it's capitalized (because it's a proper noun!), but it's not capitalized when it's used as an adjective, so Frankenstein (because it's somebody's surname) and Frankenstein's monster,  but frankensteinish.  (Do kids even know what an adjective is any more?)

** The late Oleaginous -- Just after sliced bread was invented (in 1928).

Resistance Is Futile

My bank has an app for PC that had a function where I could pay my rent by electronic funds transfer directly to my landlady’s account in about 45 seconds.  It was just great.   So Friday, the 31st,  I went to the app to pay my rent and promptly discovered that I couldn’t.  They’d changed the app so you can’t do the “People Pay” bit from the PC app any more, and it was apparently too much trouble for them to bother telling anybody they were going to do it.  Now you have to use the phone app to do it.  I spent most of the morning going round and round about it with my bank. (Like I really needed one more thing to sort out. . . .)

It was presumptive and high-handed of them to make changes out of hand and without warning, and I didn’t hesitate to mention that in the three separate phone calls I made to three different people trying to find out what in the Sam Hill was going on and how I’m going to get my rent money to my landlady in a timely fashion.

“Well, now that everybody has smart phones we’ve gone to this new app.  All your landlady has to do is download it and . . .”  Excuse me, but my landlady does not have a smart phone, doesn’t want a smart phone, is not about to fork over that kind of dough to get one, and wouldn’t know what to do with it if she had one.

“Well, you can drive down to the bank and set up an automatic funds transfer in person . . .”  Darling, I just had my left knee replaced, and I’m not driving anywhere for at least 10 days, never mind negotiating my way in and out using a walker, and my landlady would like her rent money now.

“You can mail her a check.”  My landlady has an invalid husband and doesn’t have time to be driving off to the bank to deposit the dang check, and doesn’t have a smart phone to do a mobile deposit.  See above.

I swear sometimes I feel like I’m channeling  John Cleese in the Dead Parrot sketch.

Anyway, I think I have it sorted now. Either I can mail a check to my landlady, or the bank can mail her one, which she still has to deposit.  So much for progress.  It’s been over a week now since I went round and round with the bank.  Not only is resistance futile, it’s bootless.   I’ve had time to simmer down now and I’m gradually lapsing into resignation.

Technology has brought me one nice thing, though.  My grocery store now delivers — for a $10/£8/€9 fee, of course.  You shop on line, pay on line and pick the best available delivery time for you (2-hour windows).  Two nice men in bermudas brought my order by this morning and even brought it in the house and put it on my dining table.  It was worth a 10-spot not to have to traipse around in a grocery store on a leg which still hasn’t forgiven me for what I put it through on the 24th.

I am walking around the house without a walker OR cane, trying to walk as naturally as I can.  I’m working on flexion and doing the exercises the home PT people showed me.   Don’t know exactly when I’ll start outpatient physical therapy — the VA makes you jump through so many durn bureaucratic hoops to do anything — but it will be soon.

I go to the VA tomorrow for blood test and checkup — I expect I’ll be retailing the tale of the knee for the edification of my VA medical data base.

In the meantime, I’ve gotten back into knitting.  One of the couples whose YouTube channel I follow* is expecting their first child.  It’s been a while since I knitted baby booties.  I remembered that Arne and Carlos did a tutorial demonstrating a variant of short-row heel without holes  and I decided to try their method, which works beautifully.  I call them booties, but they’re really more like baby bobbie socks.  The people I’ve given this style of booties to say they really like them because the fold-down ribbed cuff makes them harder for the baby to kick off.

I’ve also started one of Marianna’s baby tops in 6-month size.    They knit up fast.  Instead of binding off the sleeves, I put them on some scrap yarn and will make a long sleeved version.  I probably could have finished it today, but I got side-tracked reading blogs and watching videos on YouTube.

One of the things I’ve been trying is “knitting backwards” to do stockinette stitch.  In this method, the purl row is done by knitting backwards. It’s kind of the Columbus method (Going east by sailing west. . .) for doing stockinette, but that little top has five inches of stockinette at the bottom, which means you’re purling 130 stitches every other row. . . .  ugh!

Two things I wanted to mention.  If you use double pointed needles (DPNs) for things like knitting socks or hats or baby things, check these out.  When you put your knitting aside, you put all five needles into the case and snap the snaps.  The little case keeps your work from sliding off the needles, as well as keeping that fifth needle corralled so it doesn’t go missing.  (Somebody had their thinking cap on!)  The other thing is The Sock Ruler.  If you knit socks, you need one of these!

I’ve been gestating an idea for a knitted messy bun hat using one of those hair elastics for ponytails (of which I have a number).   It’s on the back burner for now, but stay tuned.   That’s all I got for now.

*On the linked video starting at about 6:24, you can see a very pregnant lady driving a backhoe.  We've come a long way, baby.

I’m Back In My Burrow Again

And it’s been so great.  I came home Thursday, so this is the third day I’ve been home.  I’ve been able to get some sleep and that, more than anything, has helped ‘knit up the raveled sleeves of care’ — to go all Shakespearean and English major-y on you.   The hardest part of my day so far, wounded knee not withstanding, has been positioning the pedestal fan to blow on me while I’m at the computer.

The physical therapy guy  came on Friday.  He helped me double check the house for “booby traps.”  He did end up switching my couch and my armchair in the living room so that my TV- watching seat is now the armchair rather than the couch.  (The couch was so hard for me to get up out of.)  One big point that he made was that my new knee is mine.  I can put my full weight on it and walk around on it right now without worrying about screwing up the implant.  I’m good to go.

What pain I’m having is 80% from the incision — which is over 12 inches long and has whacking great sutures in it, so duh!  — and 20% from postoperative swelling. The reason I’m having to use the walker is because of the swelling, which limits my flexibility and that messes with my balance; once the swelling goes down, I won’t need it.  I’m not pain free by any means, but what pain I do have is controlled by a couple of Tylenol (ibuprofen).  He says it’s very likely I won’t need the walker after about 10 days, and that it is entirely possible that I will be driving myself to outpatient physical therapy, which will start after I see my orthopedist on the 10th.  The risky bit is not the driving itself — my car has an automatic transmission — but getting in and out of the car! (In the US, the driver’s side is on the left, so the left leg is the major weight-bearing leg.)

We’re having a thunderboomer at the moment.  Line of thunderstorms moving across the city.   Rumbly, bumbly, rain.

When I sat down at the computer, I noticed this — it’s a collection of note cards that feature the art of Rima Staines.  I love the art so much that I put a loop of tape on the back of them and stuck them to some black posterboard and put them in an el cheapo poster frame.  It’s hanging on the wall behind my computer table so I can look at them whenever I wanted to.  It’s going to drive me crazy until I am able to get to where I can lift the frame down and fix it.  Sigh.

Last night I had one of those dreams that leaves you thinking, “Wow! Where did that come from?”  Part of it was about the Handel aria “Lascia Ch’io Pianga,”  A lot of Handel’s music, and 17th and 18th century music in general, that is now only sung by women (sopranos and contraltos) was originally written for the male castrati, and the only men who can sing it now are countertenors.  In my dream, though, there were two women singing it together in harmony — but Handel never wrote it as a duet!    One of my favorite versions is sung by Sarah Brightman, and I love music sung in harmony, so I guess my weird brain just dreamed up a harmony part and stuck it on.  It’s a shame I couldn’t remember the harmony part when I woke up, but I couldn’t have written it down if I had as I don’t write music, only sing it.  I’ve had the original version stuck in my head all day, though.   As earworms go, I’ve had far worse.