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.

Some Common Sense About COVID-19

Here are three relevant quotes from an article in the Atlantic monthy entitled: “This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic”  The red highlights are mine.

“In study after study, we see that super-spreading clusters of COVID-19 almost overwhelmingly occur in poorly ventilated, indoor environments where many people congregate over time—weddings, churches, choirs, gyms, funerals, restaurants, and such—especially when there is loud talking or singing without masks.  . . .

Super-spreading can also occur indoors beyond the six-feet guideline, because SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing COVID-19, can travel through the air and accumulate, especially if ventilation is poor. . . .

But we don’t need to know all the sufficient factors that go into a super-spreading event to avoid what seems to be a necessary condition most of the time: many people, especially in a poorly ventilated indoor setting, and especially not wearing masks.”

Wear your durn masks, people!

Hotober

Here it is October and it was 90 F (932.2 C) yesterday.  I just wish it would get cool already.  Yet another 90+ day is predicted for the 7th, and the 10 day forecast contains only a couple of days with predicted highs below 80 F (26.6C), with lows in the 50’s F (10+ C).

If the weather will just get cool, I can pull the folding banquet table out from under my bed and block some shawls, which will involve using a steam iron since the shawls are made from acrylic yarn.  There’s no point in using a steam iron unless it’s going to help heat the house.

I’ve had a box of Barilla Rotini and the big covered pyrex bowl sittting out on my counter for about 10 days now nagging me to make pasta salad, which I finally did early yesterday morning before it got hot.  I cooked the whole box, but I only put about 1/3 of it in the pasta salad.  (I’ll eat the rest of it straight tossed with olive oil and zapped in the microwave.)  I chopped half a white onion, about five green onions, put in half a little can of chopped olives, a small can of Delmonte mixed vegetables (peas, corn, green beans, lima beans, diced carrots) and diced Carving Board turkey, with mayo to moisten.   Very tasty.  Some quartered cherry tomatoes or chopped celery would have been nice, if I had had any. . . .

After that, I’ll be having chili cheese dogs.   (Why do hot dogs STILL come in packages of 8 and buns come in packages of 6!?)  I’ve got half a pack of hot dogs (4) and a package of buns (6) in the on-deck circle of my fridge and a can of Wolf Brand chili in the pantry.  I’ll chop up the other half of the onion I used in the pasta salad, and I’ve got a package of sprinkle cheese.   They’re “artisanal” buns, so I guess I could have two hoagies with the extras.

There’s a series on YouTube called Cocktails with a Curator, where one of the curators of the Frick Art Collection discusses a painting or an objet d’art, while having an appropriate cocktail — recipes are given in the program notes on the website — evidently you’re supposed to mix yourself one of whatever they’re having so you can sip along with them.  The videos are pretty interesting, but I’m telling you, some of the cocktails they come up with, I don’t think I could even finish half of one before I’d be hooter than a drunk owl.  When you’ve already combined absinthe and vodka and the mixer is champagne, that’s a little hard core, guys!

I keep having these stupid dreams where I can’t find my car, or I can’t find my luggage or my purse, or I can’t find a place I’m supposed to go to.  Like, every night.   Then I wake up mildly anxious and unsettled.   Of course, some of the medication I’m on (metoprolol and cetirizine (Zyrtec) list “nightmares” as a potential side effect.  I wouldn’t class these dreams as “nightmares” per se.  Nightmares are frightening.  These dreams are just disquieting and annoying.

I did have one the other day where I attacked this woman — I’m talking hitting and punching and strangling.  She was not somebody I knew.  I only knew she needed to be stopped.  I was shocked by the violence of my actions in that dream.  Very out of charracter.  I don’t remember ever having such a violent dream.  If I have any more like that, I may have to change to another allergy medication or cut back on my metoprolol a bit.   When I take a whole tablet, all I want to do is sit and stare at the wall.  I cut back to half a tablet, which was an improvement, but my cardiologist kept wanting me to take the full dosage, so I’ve been taking half in the morning and half in the evening, and that was OK.  I may have to see about cutting back again.

I got my mom a sound bar for her TV for her birthday and I got it installed the other day.  I thought at one point I was going to have to go get my Act of Congress to get the thing to work.  The sound bar comes with both a m/f plug in cable and a fiber optic cable.  There was only one place for the plug in cable to go, and it wouldn’t work.  Of course, my mom’s TV is 11 years old, so forget there being a product manual that might have told me where the fiber optic cable jack was located.  I finally found it, and got the thing connected, and voilá.  Worked like a champ.  I hope it helps her.  Age related hearing loss runs in her family and her hearing loss is pretty bad in the speech frequencies so about all she watches are game shows and sports — things you don’t have to understand dialog to follow.   Of course, if you have a sufficient drop-out in a particular frequency or frequency range, no amount of volume will help.

Unfortunately, she’s not interested in reading books.   All she wants to do is sit in the chair and watch TV.   I suspect she has a significant amount of situational depression.  She is a very social person and her inability to socialize due to COVID has hit her hard — that on top of the fact that she keeps outliving all her friends.