Books Read in 2021

14. Fledgling, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
13. Mouse and Dragon, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
12. I Dare, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
11. Local Custom, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
10. Plan B, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
9. Carpe Diem, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
8. Agent of Change, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
7. Conflict of Honors, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
6. Crystal Dragon, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
5. *Goblin Fruit, Lake, Celia
4. *Masquerade in Lodi, Bujold, Lois McMaster (Novella)
3. *Time Variance of Snow, Yu, E. Lilly
2. *When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, Vo, Nghi (Novelette)
1. Crystal Soldier, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)


I’m Fixin’ a Crick . . .

Not a hole, (apologies to Macca), but a certain ickyness in the left trapezius that is probably the result of too much time sitting at the computer with my neck at an odd angle.  Of course, the obvious fix is to spend less time at the computer, but we know how likely that is to happen. Not.

What did happen was this.  Now my monitors are up at a height where my neck doesn’t have to be at that odd angle.  Additionally, I’m gaining some desktop real estate by being able to put things under the shelves, like all the cords you need for two monitors (4), a cordless phone charger cradle (1), the desk lamp (1), a dohicky for adding four additional USB ports to my computer (2),  as well as room for the large weighted base of the desk lamp and a digital camera.  By elevating the large round bases of the two monitors up onto the little tables, this leaves more room on my desk top for the UPS, which is the size of a shoe box (for a pair of men’s size 14EEEE wingtips);  two bowls of knitting; the hand-blown drinking glass that I keep my pens, pencils, big scissors and letter opener in (which was sitting out of reach on the filing cabinet because I didn’t have room for it on my desk); a small bowl of knitting notions; a digital camera; a coaster for a glass/cup; a coaster for a carafe/stainless steel bottle; a keyboard; a mouse pad; and a mouse.*

My BFF refers to my computer setup as “the cockpit” and the time I spend at the computer as “flying the house,” the conceit being that my house is a space ship . This hearkens back to my salad days when I was a medical transcriptionist and worked from home, so I spent at least 8 hours a day at the computer, flying the house to make a living.   These days, I’m a free-lance pilot and can go where ever I want.

In the knitting news, I try to knit a row or two on the project by each chair though I am in the process of a big Liaden Universe Reread.  I might mention at this point that the Kindle versions of Agent of Change which was the first book published, and Fledgling, which picks up at an interesting place a bit further on in the saga of Clan Korvil, are both free through Amazon.  Two large helpings of space opera at no cost to you. Fair warning, though.  They’re like potato chips.  Betcha can’t read just one. . . .



*Astute readers will have noted the strategic deployment of semicolons by the English major when one or more of the items listed in a series has internal commas.



The North Wind Hath Blew

And we hath had snew . . .







The above is what I woke up to on Sunday morning.

The Smiley-Face Bush on Tuesday

It was still there on Monday.  Even though I had a cardiac rehab session scheduled, I called and told them I wouldn’t be there.  I wasn’t about to get out with the roads in that condition.  A significant percentage of the people in my town don’t know how to drive in snow.  An equally significant and overlapping percentage of them drive like maniacs. *

Fortunately, when I went to the cardiologist on Tuesday, the roads were clear, even though there was still a lot of snow everywhere else.  I got caught at that light and was able to get a shot of the Smiley Face Bush with a snowy comb-over.

After I got home, I washed my hair and was pfaffing about on the computer while it dried when the VA called.  Could I come get a COVID-19 immunization on Thurs at 1:30?  You betcha!  So, now it’s Thursday evening and I’m post first jab of the Moderna vaccine.  I’m due for the second jab on Feb 11.  My mom got the first shot of the Pfizer last week and she had no side-effects at all, not even soreness of the injection site.  I notice my arm’s getting a little sore, but then the fact that the guy shot me right on the point of my shoulder might have something to do with it.

Because my hair is fine and fly-away, and prone to split ends, after I wash it, I let it dry in the air.  It’s probably due in part to chemo hair and the shampoo I use, but lately as my hair dries, it tends to poof, and I get a case of the Roseanne Rosannadanna’s something fierce.  I have this lavender/coconut stuff I put on the ends to keep them from splitting.  Not only does it make the drying of the locks a somewhat fragrant process, but it works pretty well at keeping the ends from fraying.

I swear I have at least one bowl of knitting by every chair in the house, including on my nightstand.  I spent most of Sunday snuggled in bed drinking hot tea, playing games on my Fire tablet, reading, and knitting. That little bed table on wheels has been the best $45 I’ve spent in a while.  I have a plug strip with a 12-foot cord mounted to the underside of it, and that’s where I charge my tablet, my phone and my earbuds.  Ditto the bed wedge.  Since I have to keep my heater on 68 F/20 C, or I can’t afford the gas bills, it gets a little chilly in the house, especially in that back bedroom.  The duplex I live in was built in the 1970’s and is (not) insulated accordingly.  It was 66 F/18.8 C in my office when I went in at 3 o’clock  this afternoon to boot up the computer, and the high was in the 50’s F/10’s C today.

Still working on the infinity wrap.  It’s getting to be about 20 inches long now and I haven’t even used up one skein yet.  That ball in the bowl is what remains of the first skein.

Now that the piece is getting kind of long, rather than having it flopping about on my lap, I’ve rolled it up and have used a large stitch keeper to safety pin it into a more compact bundle.   This is a good trick for when you’re knitting a long scarf to keep it from flopping all over the place.

This yarn is a DK called “Ragg Time” by Green Mountain Spinnery, in the “Bessie” colorway. It’s a double stranded yarn, with one strand a constant black  and the other strand variegated through several shades of blue.  Makes an interesting fabric.

*That line from the Beach Boys' song "Fun, Fun, Fun" comes to mind -- "makes the Indy 500 look just like a Roman chariot race . . ."

Not Off To A Good Start

Yesterday, a small minority of delusional/irrational/irresponsible idiots acted out in my nation’s capital and embarrassed and dishonored this country that I and other members of my family have proudly served.  They also brought dishonor on the flag of my native state in the process.  I neither support nor condone their actions and consider their behavior  beneath contempt.  That’s all I’ll say on the matter.

I made Julekuler again this year, the little knitted Xmas balls.  I pulled the pattern graphs up on one monitor and used a sticky note to keep my place, so I could catch up on some of the channels I follow on YouTube on the other monitor.   By the way, if you’re into colorwork and want to take a bash at these little Xmas balls, you can download the pattern and charts for free here.   Arne & Carlos have also put out a whole book of patterns for bigger Julekuler.

Santa visited my house this year and got me a new lo-o-o-ng toaster.  I kept the short one, though, for when I want to toast square slices of bread to make sandwiches. (I never toast more than two slices, and toasting them in the long toaster is overkill and not energy efficient.)  I have mounted a small plug strip with its own fuse to the underside of my cabinet to accommodate all these electrical appliances.  The plug strip is the only thing plugged into that outlet.  The microwave is plugged into a different outlet on the adjacent wall. I guess I’m going to have to get more of that avocado green cotton yarn and knit a cover for the long toaster now.

Saw this.  It was spot on.

I had so much fun earlier in the week.  At about 6:30 Sunday evening, I ran some hot water at the sink to thaw out the sweet/sour sauce for my spring rolls and there was no hot water!  I checked the water heater and the little light that’s supposed to be on and blinking when the pilot light is lit, wasn’t.  Sunday night, woke up in the middle of the night, reached for the light switch on my bedside light.  No light.   Fortunately, I keep a little flashlight in my night table drawer just in case.  I checked the ceiling fixture and my outage was in the bulb and not in the electricity. Did what I had woken up to do, then pitter-patted barefoot to the utility room to get another light bulb. The plumber was able to work me in Monday morning and came to look over the water heater and relight the pilot light on it. There seemed to be no overt reason the pilot light went out and the water heater wasn’t that old (2016).  By then, I was running late for rehab.  Went to brush my teeth and my electric toothbrush wouldn’t work.  Changed the batteries, and it still wouldn’t work.  Had to brush my teeth manually. (!)    After I got back from rehab, I futzed with my toothbrush and finally got it to work.  Must have been a gremlin loose in the house.  It seems to have moved on, thankfully.  I think I know where it went.

This is why knitters should always keep a crochet hook handy even if they don’t crochet.  (You can click on the pix to enlarge it.) Instead of frogging the whole shebang back about three inches just to fix one stitch, I dropped that stitch off the needle, frogged it back to the mistake, and used the crochet hook to pick it back up again.

That’s the infinity wrap I’m working on. It’s also a case in point for the value of pausing every so often to check over your work so you can catch a mistake sooner than I caught that one.

I’ve knitted 18 inches’ worth and still haven’t used up the first ball of yarn yet.  Once I do, I’ll know for sure if I’m going to have to get another skein of yarn, but I don’t think I will.  I’ve already got six skeins total, which should be enough.  Yarn chicken on a grand scale.  It’s long enough now I’ve had to roll the bottom up and pin it with a large stitch holder to keep it from flopping all over my lap.

Weatherwise, we’re looking down the barrel of  a winter storm.That’s snow in the forecast for Sunday, and lows in the teens through Tuesday.  The humidity is supposed to be 91%, but not in my house it isn’t.  Not with my heater coming on every 20 minutes.  When I go to get up from my computer desk, if I don’t remember to take my ear buds out before I take the lap robe off my lap, I get some DIY electroshock treatments from the static electricity.  Gets your attention, I can tell you.

I only read 142 books last year, and only one so far this year.  I need to get on the ball.

I’ll leave you with this:

Books Read in 2020

142. *The Witches of Karres, Schmitz, James H.
141. *Take a Look at the Five and Ten, Willis, Connie (novella)
140. *Fire In The Glass, Benson, Jacquelyn
139. *Spotted Her First, Dean, Emma
138. *Ambient Conditions, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (novella)
137. *Diplomatic Immunity, Bujold, Lois McMaster
136. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Rowling, J. K.
135. *Moon Over Soho, Arronovich, Ben
134. *Death’s Executioner, English, Charlotte E.
133. *The Ten Thousasnd Doors of January, Harrow, Alix E.
132. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Rowling, J. K.
131. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Rowling, J. K.
130. The Return of the Thief, Turner, Megan Whalen
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)