Wounded But Game, The Dead Hero Carries On

The title is a quote from the classic comic strip Pogo, by the inimitable  Walt Kelly.  The strip was published during the 1950’s and 1960’s and is noted for its scathing political satire (Lyndon B. Johnson appeared in the strip as a longhorn steer called “The Loan Arranger,” Spiro Agnew was depicted as a hyena, and Khruschev was depicted as a pig who hijacked Santa Claus and started his own service) and  soaring flights of whimsy (such as a discussion on grammar involving among other things, the past aloofable tense and an octopus, a couple of pages of tomfoolery with a fake door that has to be one of the funniest bits of slapstick I’ve ever encountered.)  Kelly was an animator for Walt Disney before he became a newspaper cartoonist, and his drawing skills, especially the facial expressions, are superb, but for its wit and word-play, his dialogue is sheer brilliance.  Pogo was a newspaper cartoon, but Kelly pioneered the practice of publishing a year’s worth of strips in a paperback volume, as well as a 10-year retrospective of “the greatest of” sequences.  (These drawings are Kelly’s and are all © to his estate.)

Yesterday turned out to be a busy day.  I decided that since the trained chimpanzee (me) had to go show my mom how to use her new flip phone,

which was not exactly like her old one, I decided I would do some other outing and abouting before-hand.  So, I showered, washed my hair, got dressed, and suited up in mask and gloves.  As I was stepping off the front porch, I saw there was a pair of secateurs (one-handed pruning shears) lying out in the grass just off the walkway.  I figured they belonged to my neighbor, who takes care of the yard for the duplex, and went round to put them on the little brick wall on her side where she could find them again.

One of the places I intended to go was the hair salon to get split ends trimmed, so my hair was wet, down and blowing around my face when I walked back around to the garage to get the car.  I couldn’t really see where I was going and I forgot about the parking bumper in between the two garages (which really ought to be painted for visibility), caught it with my foot and fell flat.

Because I was already turning toward the garage when I fell, I landed on the flat of my left forearm with my body slightly turned to the left. I can’t believe how lucky I was.  I didn’t land on my hip, or my (replaced) knee, or my elbow.  My flat forearm and my hand holding the flashlight on my key ring are what took the impact.  Because I was wearing those disposable vinyl gloves, what little skin I lost was from impact avulsion rather than concrete abrasion, but the owie on the index finger drew blood and I got a jolly little blood blister on the top joint of my ring finger.  This is the total extent of my injuries!  I don’t have any bruising anywhere else, not even on my forearm.  The muscles along my left upper ribcage are a little sore from my shoulder muscles absorbing the shock of my landing, but other than that, I got off dead lucky!

I held my face mask on with my hand to get my hair cut, and got a manicure (I get hangnails so badly anymore it’s worth it to get a professional manicure once a month).  Then I went to my Mom’s to transfer the SIM card to her new 4G flip phone (the old one was 3G and was obsolescing soon). I did end up having to re-enter my mom’s phone book into her new phone, and we had to set the ring tone on stun so she could hear it.  Then we had to call each other to make sure it worked.  Then she had to call herself to make sure she knew how to work it.   Considering my cultural context, every time I see that phone, you know what I think of.

And, of course, Mom and I had to sit and have a schmooze so it was upwards of 4:30 by the time I was ready to wend my way homeward.  I took the scenic route by the Dairy Queen that’s about a block away from my mom’s house.  Seems there was a chicken strips basket that needed a good home . . .

I took a couple of acetaminophen before I went to bed, and I’m hardly sore at all today.  My ring finger is not too thrilled about typing (w, s, x, ALT), but thankfully, the touch on my Logitech gamer keyboard is very light.  Unfortunately, I knit continental style, and my wounded index finger is the finger I tension my yarn around. (I’m seriously thinking about checking to see if I have a Band-Aid “dot” that will fit, or else making a DIY Band-Aid with some paper tape with a little piece of tissue over the scab to keep it from sticking to the tape, just so I can knit. )

Speaking of knitting, look at this.  Is this not entirely too cool?  It’s a shawl with a sleeve at each end.  You put on one sleeve, wrap the shawl bit around your shoulders, then put on the other sleeve.  There’s pattern$ for them, and they $ell them ready made, but how hard would it be to just take a tape measure and a swatch for gauge and make one?  It’d take a lot of yarn, though.  Probably  a bit more than a sweater’s quantity.  It’d also take quite a while to knit.  I see where Joanne’s has Lion Brand “Pound of Love” yarn on sale — that’s 1020 yard skeins for less than $8 a pop (they’re usually more like $12).  Hmmmm. . . .

Oh, nuts.  A gnat.  The durn little gnusiance has been buzzing me since I sat down to type.  Some people call them ‘no-see-ums.’  Since this is a family blog, I’m not going to tell you what I call them!

This being Sunday, and in view of my Saturday, I think this is apropos:

Another shameless plug for my creative writing blog, A Box of Special Things.  Not going to promise how often I’ll post to it.  If you subscribe to it (or any of my blogs), you’ll get an email notification of new posts.

I Made Good on My Threat

I’ve been threatening for some time to gather all my prose writings into one place, and I’ve finally made good on my threat.  The new blog is called “A Box of Special Things.” Not only does it collect bits of creative writing posted in other places, but there are two new bits never before posted.  So, if fiction is your jam, hop over and take a look.

So the Darkness Shall be the Light, and the Stillness the Dancing.

The title is a quote from T.S. Eliot, East Coker, The Four Quartets.   The stillness has been my dancing lately.  I’ve stories I’m working on that have been going well.  I’ve a piece of knitting by my computer that I knit a row or two on while I’m rereading or thinking about what comes next.

I’ve accumulated a list of tasks to do when I reach critical mess*: Two loads of washing — my dirty clothes hamper is almost too full again and the bed is due for changing, plus another load or two of blankets and lap robes that need to be washed and put in storage for winter, now that summer is half over.  There is my yarn stash to be sorted through and organized, and the new additional** storage bins to be put in place and WIPs to sort into finish-its  or frog-its.

With a drawer and a basket full of WIPs, of course I’ve started a new shawl out of Malabrigo sock yarn, color “Teal Feather.”  One of those easy, mindless garter stitch shawls growing out of a two-row repeat with fiddly bits at each end, asymmetrical with a crescent curve and a nice little detail for each edge.  Something light for autumn.  It’s currently living by my computer, handy for story work.  From all my years as a transcriptionist, I tend to think with my hands. It’s such a hard-wired circuit, from brain to fingers.  Knitting when I’m not typing, to keep the fingers busy and the thoughts flowing.

This was why there was a plate beside my keyboard, a roast beef and Münster cheese sandwich on a piece of pita bread cut in half, and a package of apple slices.  I had some of those breaded shrimp the other day, the kind you buy frozen and bake in the oven.  Of course, I had Tartar sauce with, and I always save the left over Tartar sauce for roast beef sandwiches later, to spread on the side of the bread the roast beef goes on, with mayo on the cheese side.  The pickle bits in the Tartar sauce always go so well with the beef.  I have these little sauce dishes I got from Pier One, blue and white to match my dishes, although not the same pattern.  They’re made for the various dipping sauces you get with Japanese food, but they work just as well for Tartar sauce for shrimp, or ketchup, or individual dollops of margarine to set on the bread plate at each place when I have dinner parties.  Anyway, I just slip dish and all inside a baggie and put it in the refrigerator.

Next Tuesday I get to go to the dentist for the next step in the jaw-tooth implant.  This will be the  setting of the post, which will also entail bone grafting, and which is why I’ve been wearing this (tea-stained) thing on my lower teeth, at first all the time (except when actually eating), and now just at night.  Still fighting the legacy of large teeth and small jaws — I had to have 4 wisdom teeth plus 4 perfectly healthy bicuspids pulled just to make room for the teeth I had.  But because my front teeth are so long, I couldn’t open my mouth wide enough to get the guide into my mouth that is required in order to place the post for the implant to replace that way-at-the-back molar. So my dentist made this mouth guard for me to wear to lengthen (and relax) my jaw muscles enough so that hopefully I could open my mouth wide enough for him to get all the gear in that he needed to finish the implant.  Anyway, it worked and all that happens Tuesday.   Then there will be more months of waiting while the bone graft heals before we can proceed to the final step, which is placing the crown.

My mom’s new phone came in today so tomorrow I will go over and do the change out.  As I said, hopefully I can save her phone book to the new SIM card so I won’t have to re-enter all those phone numbers for her.  Again.  I’m going to go early enough in the afternoon so that I can stop by the nail place on the way home and get a manicure.  My nails are bad about getting those little slivers at the edge of the nail that peel up into the quick, and a professional manicurist can nip those in the bud.  And anyway, we’re supposed to stimulate the economy, right?

T.S.Elliot can be a bit impenetrable, but now and again, a gleam of something sparkly. It’s 9 p.m. and I want to get on to other things.  I’ll end as I began with another quote from the same poem.

“The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
Wait for the early owl.”

*"critical mess" is like "critical mass" (the minimum amount of fissile material needed to maintain a nuclear chain reaction. in atom bombs), only it's the minimum amount of clutter, disorder or dishevelment required to trigger the "I can't stand it another minute" response that provokes you to do something about it.

**skeins of yarn, like cats, accumulate.

Books Read in 2020

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)


Playing Catch-up

Got my ‘puter fixed.  It was the power supply. Took him ten minutes.  $37.89,  including shipping!  But it’s fixed.  It’s been fixed for almost a month now, but I’ve not been doing much of anything else blogworthy except doctor’s appointments.

I had an EGD (upper end) and colonoscopy (other end) last Monday which had had to be rescheduled because my cardiologist wouldn’t let me stop the clopidogrel (Plavix) (in case they had to do a biopsy or remove a polyp) until he saw me, and I couldn’t get in to see him before the day after my procedure was scheduled. The prep included drinking, like, 64 oz of what is essentially salt water, which is just plain nasty, followed by FOUR Dulcolax, and, not one, but TWO Fleets enemas the morning of the procedure.  June 14 was Slosh Sunday, spent prepping for the procedure the next day.  My mom could take me to where they did the procedure, but she couldn’t come in.  Between the prep and the procedure, I felt like somebody owed me damages, or at least pizza.  Once I got home, I had some lunch (Pedro’s tamales, refried beans, etc.), then I crashed and burned, because I had gotten no sleep at all the night before.  Let me tell you, making somebody drink all that salt water and then take four Dulcolax is cruel and unusual punishment in my book, y’all, never mind the enemas.

Today was kinda exciting.  My mom put out the call for the trained chimpanzee (me) to come help her change out the SIM card in her cell (flip) phone.  Her carrier, Consumer Cellular, is upgrading their cellphone network from 3G to 4G with the intention of phasing out all 3G phones by the end of the year.  So yrs trly bebopped over and did it for her.  Once you change out the SIM card, you have to call them to “activate” it, which I also had to do, twice, because my mom’s age-related hearing deficit (she turns 96 this year) is so profound in the higher frequencies that she has terrible trouble understanding girls/women over the phone, even with her hearing aids set on stun.  She has always had trouble understanding anyone with an accent (read: anybody who is not from our particular neck of the flatlands) even before she started losing her hearing.

Turns out she’s had her phone for so long that once they’ve updated their network, it won’t work any more. Fortunately, I went on their website and was able to get her another little flip phone just like the one she has now, except it will work on a 4G network. Her phone has voice mail, but she doesn’t know how to use it, so I had them just deactivate it. When she gets the new phone, I will have to see if I can download her phone book to the SIM card without having to do it entry by entry so I can just change out the SIM card, and won’t have to retype all her phonebook entries into the new phone. (Again.)  People keep telling her she needs a smart phone, but no.  Just no.  She’d probably stroke out from sheer frustration just trying to learn how to work a touch screen.

In the knitting news, I declared the The Assassin’s Daughter shawl finished at 6 skeins.  Here are some close ups for detail.  It was done in worsted weight yarn, but you can do it in any weight yarn you want.  I still have the ends to weave in, which I will as soon as I can remember what I did with the durn roundtoit.  Sigh.







Naturally, I’ve started another shawl.  I’m calling it “Trio Sonata.”  It’s in Malabrigo sock yarn (Ooooo! snob yarn!) in the colorway “Teal Feather” on a US 6 (4.0 mm) 32-inch circular needle.

Another one of those short, sweet patterns. It has a repeat of three kfb’s (knit front and back) with an ssk as a border on one side and  yo, k2tog, p1, ssk as a border on the other side, with a garter stitch center.   It’s got a nice, shallow, crescent curve to it.

What am I reading?  If you want something short, light and hilarious, check out Minor Mage by T. Kingfisher.  An inept mage whose familiar is a snarky armadillo. Not T. Kingfisher’s usual fare, which can be a tad dark.  This is a delightful little gem at a delightful little price.

The Greyola* (my 2015 Toyota Corolla) (far left) was recalled for a doodad glitch on the passenger side air bag mechanism that might cause the air bag to fail to deploy in a crash.  The Toyota dealership here was forced by COVID quarantine policy to furlough their courtesy driver, and in order to avoid having a wad of customers of unknown COVID status socially distanced all over their waiting room while their cars were getting fixed and potentially exposing their employees and each other to COVID, they cut a deal with Uber.  So now, instead of their one driver of unknown COVID status driving  customers of unknown COVID status to and from their homes, they have multiple Uber drivers of unknown COVID status driving customers of unknown COVID status to and from their homes.  So, when I took the Greyola in for the recall repair, not only did I get my first Uber ride, I got my second Uber ride.  Yee-haw.

What  other exciting things have been happening in my life . . . Oh, yeah.  I did a purse dump yesterday.  For the benefit of the non-purse-wearing crowd, that’s when you take your purse over to the kitchen (or dining room) table, turn it upside down and dump everything out of it.  Then you pick through the pile of stuff and put back in what needs to go back in, in a neat and organized fashion, and you sort through what’s left and deal with it appropriately — throw out the dead tissues, cash register receipts, other pieces of paper, candy wrappers, etc.  The two most important inventions in the history of the human race (and the wheel isn’t either of them) are shoes and pockets.  Both of them were invented by women.  Men are hunters.  All they have to carry home from hunting is a couple of pointed sticks and a dead animal or three.  Women are gatherers, and there’s no way you can do any serious gathering without some way to schlep all the produce back to the cave.  And what is a purse — our symbol — but a big pocket with a strap on it.  I rest my case.


*The 1987 Toyota Corolla I had until I traded it in for the 2015 Corolla was known affectionately as the Crayola.  The 2015 one is silver, hence the Greyola.  See?  Makes perfect sense.