Dreaming of the Lone Ranger

Fridays are when my mom goes to what my dad used to refer to as the “Beauty Saloon” to get her hair done. Apart from one (of three) beauty operator who was in her 30’s, I was the youngest person in the place. Seriously. My mom has been going to this beauty salon since the 1960’s. It’s changed owners a couple of times, and they’re are down to only three operators out of places for 7-8. The helmet hair generation is aging out of the demographic. Her usual operator had been out for six weeks to have her second knee replacement and today was her first day back. My mom was so glad because she could get her hair cut. It was nearly 4 inches long!

Her standing appointment is 9 o’clock; I have to get up an hour early to get her there on time. I’m having to fight my body’s natural tendency to be on night shift, especially in the summer when it makes so much more sense to me to be up and batting around at night when it’s cool, and sleep during the heat of the day, but mad dogs and Englishmen. . .

When my alarm went off this morning, I had been dreaming that Clayton Moore, who was the actor who played the Lone Ranger in the old TV series was being interviewed, and he was telling an anecdote about making the series. He said that Jay Silverheels, the actor who played “the faithful Indian companion, Tonto,” liked to eat those cheese crackers with peanut butter between that come in packets, but that he wasn’t allowed to have them on set, because Silver (the horse) just loved them.

If somebody was eating them on set and did’t give Silver any, he would sulk and wouldn’t do what he was supposed to do.

But they couldn’t let the horse eat them because he was white, and that orange cheddar cheese powder on the crackers would stain his lips orange, and the camera would “read” the orange and make it look like the horse had lipstick on. (Did I mention I have weird dreams?)

In the knitting news, I do a little here and a little there. My “good girl” treat for this month was some Malabrigo Worsted in the colorway”Indigo.” I caked one up the other night, and now I’m thinking semicircular shawls, and I have an idea for one, but I mustn’t. I’ve already got three shawls on the needles and I’m trying to discipline myself not to start another one til I finish one. Sigh.

Mom goes to the “Spine Institute” next Tuesday. Hopefully they can do something for her pain. It occurred to me the CT scans I had in 2018 and 2019 were from jaw to ‘never mind’ and if I was starting to get some scoliosis, it would show up there. There was no mention of anything in the radiologist’s report, but he wasn’t looking for that. I thought about asking my orthopedist (who did my knee replacement) to review the scans with that in mind. Then again, I take after my dad quite a bit.

Books Read in 2021

49.	Who Slays the Wicked:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read) 
48.	Why Kill the Innocent:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
47.	Where the Dead Lie:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
46.	When Falcons Fall: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read) 
45.	Who Buries the Dead: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
44.	Why Kings Confess: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
43.	What Darkness Brings:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
42.	When Maidens Mourn: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
41.	*Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy
40.	*In Other Lands, Brennan, Sarah Rees 
39.	Where Shadows Dance: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
38.	What Remains of Heaven: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
37.	Where Serpents Sleep: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
36.	Unicorn Vet, Chant, Zoe
35.	Why Mermaids Sing:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
34.	When Gods Die: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
33.	What Angels Fear: Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery 1, Harris, C. S. (xre-read)
32.	A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 4, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
31.	A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 3, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
30.	A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 2, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
29.	A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 1, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
28.	Fortune’s Favors, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (novella) (re-read)
27.	Shout of Honor, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (novella) (re-read)
26.	Trader’s Leap, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
25	*Vixen Ecology, Carriger, G. L. (Novelette)
24.	*In Other Lands, Brennan, Sara Rees
23.	Accepting the Lance, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
22.	*Neogenesis, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
21.	The Gathering Edge, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
20.	Alliance of Equals, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
19.	Dragon in Exile, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
18.	Necessity’s Child, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
17.	Dragon Ship, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
16.	Ghost Ship, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
15.	Saltation, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-read)
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)


Father’s Day

On September 23rd of this year it will have been seven years since my father slipped quietly away. It was nothing sudden and not unanticipated; rather like watching someone take a fatal fall in excruciatingly slow motion over about ten years, as it happened, so I had a lot of time to come to terms with the inevitable, both mentally and emotionally. Still, nothing can prepare you for that final irrevocable moment when one of the ropes that guy you into the web of life is cut. It was, in a way, like losing a tooth. The socket heals, the pain subsides, but the gap is always there.

This is my favorite picture of my dad. It was made for his parents, and I have it in the frame my grandmother put it in to put it by my grandfather’s bedside as he lay dying from cancer.

I cannot escape the feeling, based on recent events, that far reaching changes are again going to be coming into my life. But, I’m not one to borrow trouble or cross bridges before I come to them. I make my plans as best I can, and then just let it go.

I know I come across as a bit blithe (especially to my mom) because I don’t seem to worry about things. She is a worrier and what-if-er. (I suspect that she suffers from some degree of chronic anxiety.) But, like I say, I make my plans and then I let it go and move on to something else. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

In the knitting news, I’ve been working out the kinks in the little skull cap. I finished this one. It’s a bit too large and too long, but it does what it says on the tin — it keeps all those little short hairs around my forehead from tickling me when the fan’s on, as it is all the time now.

I’ve started another one, again on US1 (2.25 mm) needles. You’ll recognize the yarn — I had it left over from the Sweet Irene shawl. Not a full ball, and it’s knitting up at a different gauge than the unfortunately company went out of business GiGi silk above.

Because the Infinity Shawl is a fairly detailed pattern with cables and is worked in dark yarn, I have to really pay attention to what I’m doing. The same with the blue Latticia Venezia.

The light blue Latticia doesn’t require as much concentration. I’m much farther along than this on it, but I wanted to share the hint about those two bits of garter stitch on either side of the lattice lace — They are where the increases happen and they must each have the same number of stitches.

Rather than having to constantly be counting that ever increasing number of stitches on each side to make sure they’re the same, I counted the same number out from the center and put a different color of stitch marker (yellow) at that point. Then I only have to count the stitches between that (yellow) marker and the (white) marker at the end of that section. Every time I get twelve stitches in the gap, I move the (yellow) marker over 10 stitches. I’m only embarrassed that it took me 70 stitches (140 rows ) into the project to come up with the idea. I’m going to make a note about it in the pattern before I put it up on my knitting patterns blog. You can also use that tip for when you have a large number of stitches to cast on for a project — cast on 25 and put a marker, cast on another 25 and put a marker, etc. Makes keeping up with the numbers a lot easier.

I’m not a monogamous knitter — I know you’ll be shocked to hear it. (Not!) I like to have several WIPs of varying degrees of complexity depending on how engaged I want to be with the knitting. Also, I can only knit for so long on little needles before my hands become unhappy. Nice to have a project on bigger needles to switch over to.

I’m well into the second panel of stockinette and lattice lace on Latticia Venezia. After this second panel, there will be another panel of garter stitch, and then the same again, so it will be three times the current width by the end, quite a deep and long shawl. Of course, if you didn’t want it quite that wide, you could take as many stitches as you liked out of the garter panels. That Berroco Modern Cotton DK has a fabulous drape. I love the feel and the color. I’ll be using this yarn again.

Reminding those who may have just tuned in, I live in a portion of Texas that was classed as “semi-arid” even before climate change started playing for keeps, which is why I don’t knit sweaters. It doesn’t get all that cold here at the same latitude as Casablanca, Morocco. Shawls work better for my warmth needs. It’s also why I don’t work with a lot of heavy wool. But I’m trying some light wools, some sock yarns, and whatnot. You don’t know what works until you try it.

Words Worth Sharing

To Love Someone Long-Term Is to Attend a Thousand Funerals of the People They Used to Be

– Heidi Priebe

The people they’re too exhausted to be any longer.
The people they don’t recognize inside themselves anymore.
The people they grew out of, the people they never ended up growing into.
We so badly want the people we love to get their spark back when it burns out;
to become speedily found when they are lost.
But it is not our job to hold anyone accountable to the people they used to be.
It is our job to travel with them between each version and to honor what emerges along the way.
Sometimes it will be an even more luminescent flame.
Sometimes it will be a flicker that disappears and temporarily floods the room with a perfect and necessary darkness.

From the excellent blog In The Margins

Details! Details! Details!

I’ve been making a big push on the Latticia Venezia shawl because I was getting close to the 66 stitches I needed in the garter stitch panel so I could start the next lace panel. Latticia Venezia is an asymmetrical triangular shawl that has three lace panels separated by garter stitch panels. The lace panel interleaves four columns of stockinette with three columns of lattice lace. There will be three such lace panels evenly spaced across the width of the shawl: Lace panel, garter panel, lace panel, garter panel, lace panel, garter panel.

The edge that swoops away to the left is the increase edge, with an increase of 1 stitch every other row using yarn overs (yo), and that nice little slip 1 with yarn in front, k1 edging (which may or may not be some variant of I-cord edging). The stockinette panels are 3 stitches wide, with the first one on the right hand side formed by the little s1wyif, k1 edging. I thought I’d show you some details. I’m rather chuffed with how it’s turning out. The flash on the iPhone tends to wash out the color sometimes.

The shawl will need to be blocked and probably judiciously steam pressed to get the lattice lace to open up properly and the stockinette to lie flat. The yarn is mercerized Pima cotton, so it can stand a little pressing. The bottom row of photographs give you a better idea of the yarn color — this lovely bachelor button blue they’re calling “Waterman Pond.” I’m loving the drape and the hand of this Berroco Modern Cotton DK yarn. I’m using a US3 (3.25 mm) needle which is a bit small for DK weight yarn, but I like the dense fabric it gives. It’s a single ply yarn, which can get a little tricky as the single plies have a tendency to split..

Mom has finally gotten an appointment with the spine doctor. Unfortunately, it’s not til the 27th. Don’t know if mom would be a candidate for a TENS unit, but that would be a great option if it would work for her, and if they could/would implant one in a woman her age. We’ll see. In the meantime, I take her to the beauty saloon on Friday to get her hair done.

Minor Adjustments

You get something new and you have to skoojle it and zhuzh it a little sometimes until it’s right like you want it. So when mom got the back of her new lift chair reclined to the comfortable angle, she couldn’t see the TV. A small throw pillow was required to bring her head up to the optimal TV-viewing angle. Only when she got up from the chair, the pillow fell down, and she had to pick it up before she could sit back down again. So in my midnight musings, I had a thought, and this afternoon I hit up Walmart for a couple 3 hand towels (they had some chocolate brown ones that matched the chair), and a little box of safety pins. Two of the towels were “S” folded and enclosed in the third one, which was pinned together around them with safety pins. Then that third towel was pinned to the top of the chair so that it would flop down over the edge right where her head went. Eight layers of towel was just thick enough. Now the “pillow” stays put. Since it’s only safety pinned, it can be removed, unpinned, and washed if necessary.

The lift chair has a battery back up for the electric motor. Really. If the power goes out, the battery provides enough oomph to lift you out of the chair. I’ve got to remember to get some 9v batteries next time I go for groceries as the La-Z-Boy guys that brought the chair didn’t have any. I need some anyway, because that’s what my smoke/CO2 alarms use.

My mom wears knee-high hose every day. (She is of the generation that never wears shoes on bare feet, and wore cotton “footlets” with high heels when they couldn’t get hose during WWII.) She had mentioned that she needed to get some new ones, and during my midnight musings it also occurred to me that I might have some stashed in my drawer. I rummaged and found a box of 8 pairs that still had 7 pairs in it. I never wear hose anymore, panty or otherwise. I gave up wrestling octopuses years ago, and that box of knee-highs has moved house with me at least once, if not twice. I was happy to split it with her. They were even her color.

I’ve gotten her groceries a couple of times now (while I was at Wal-Mart, I got the soup I forgot to get at Market Street Friday) and have started doing little tasks for her like emptying the dishwasher. It’s been so long since I’ve lived there (don’t ask!) that I don’t know where things go anymore. I’m having to relearn the house.

In the knitting news, I’m moving right along on the Latticia shawl.

The center lattice lace panel has a garter stitch panel on each side of it, followed by the ladder lace edging. The increases are worked on the wrong side rows as a kfb (knit front and back) in the last garter stitch before the ladder lace edging on each side.The number of stitches in each garter stitch panel should increase by 1 every other row and there should always be the same number of stitches in each garter panel. As of the current row I’m on, there are supposed to be 75 stitches in each garter panel, and it’s just now occurred to me that I can count 70 stitches out from the center on each side and put a yellow marker at that point, so I don’t have to count every durned stitch in each panel every couple of rows to make sure they’ve still got the same number of stitches . . . and keep moving that marker over 10 stitches when appropriate. Pardon me while I have a DUH! moment . . .

I’ve got 24 more rows to go on the Latticia Venezia shawl before I begin the second “stripe” of alternating ribbons of stockinette and lattice lace panels.

When You Hot, You Hot!

We’re under a heat advisory (like any idiot couldn’t stick their head out the door and tell it’s entirely too hot to be outside!) I came back from mom’s house about 15 minutes ago and when I checked the weather app, it was 105 F (40.5 C) heading for a high of 107 F (41.6 C) — that’s with a humidity of 10%. What you call raisin weather. As in, turn into one within about ten minutes of stepping outside. They tell you that if you have to be outside, to stay hydrated, but you’re sweating it out about as fast as you can pour it in. (What was that old beer drinking joke about being tired of being the middle man?) Ye, gods! We are getting a reprieve. The 10-day forecast shows highs in the 90’s F (32+ C). As my dad used to say, “Hotter than a $2 pistol firing uphill.”

Of course, we had to get out in it. Mom had to be at one doctor’s office at 9 A.M. to pick up a shot of steroids to schlep to the imaging center because apparently, if you want the imaging center to do an intra-articular steroid injection into the hip joint, you have to BYO. The injection was mostly to see how much of her pain is from her hip, which I think is very little if any. The lion’s share of her pain is coming from her back. She has an “S” curve from side to side. I don’t wonder that it hurts.

We will see what the MRI shows, and await the next step in the process. Hopefully we will be able to get in to see a doctor soon who can do something for her pain. Such pain as she is having is very debilitating and not a little depressing. In the meantime, the new lift chair is making life easier for her. Every little bit helps.

We Were Thrown Quite a Curve*!

Took my mom to the orthopedist this morning. We were instructed to come 30 minutes early so we could do the new patient dance and so they could get some x-rays. Now that things are digital and computerized, the doctor could show us the x-rays on a little flat-screen monitor he had set up in the exam room.

He showed us the x-ray of her hip, and she did have some osteoarthritis, but nothing massive and he doesn’t think that’s the problem. So that was a big sigh of relief! She doesn’t need a hip replacement.

But then he showed us the x-ray of her back. She has had a noticeable kyphosis of her upper (thoracic) spine for years, but talk about hit-you-over-the-head obvious! Her lower backbone has this huge “S” curve in it. She has severe degenerative scoliosis in her lumbar spine. This is not the kind that shows up in adolescence and the kid wears a back brace for humpteen years or has rods put in. This kind doesn’t start showing up until a person is in their 50’s. The disks and facet joints of the spine deteriorate over time and the vertebral column just kind of slumps. No wonder the woman hurts! I hurt just looking at the x-ray! Unfortunately, the treatment they’d offer a 50-year-old — putting rods in to straighten the spine — is not an option for 96-year-old. She has lost bone density as well, and screws can’t get a good “bite” in such brittle bone.

The orthopedist is going to do an injection into her hip joint to see how much that helps, but he has referred her to a spine specialist and/or pain management specialist for nerve root injections. (I don’t know if some kind of brace would help her, but I intend to ask.)

He very much approved of the rolling walker I got for her, too, as her fall risk has gotten very much higher because of all this. He wants her to use it all the time. (She can use it to pull herself up from sitting on the bed if she’d just remember to lock the wheels first — this is all so overwhelming to her and she’s having difficulty processing it all. Hopefully, she’ll adapt as time goes on.)

He also said to quit taking the pain pills (codeine and hydrocodone)(!) since the only thing they are doing for her is increasing her fall risk. He prescribed some muscle relaxants as he thinks the majority of her pain is due to muscle spasms from pinched spinal nerves as a result of her scoliosis.

He also prescribed her a lift chair (Hallelujah!) As it happens, she foresightfully added my signature to her checking account several years ago, so I was able to go rannygazooting way across town into deepest darkest yuppyville to the La-Z-Boy store and get a lift chair for her in a color that matched her couch — which is what she wanted. It will be delivered late tomorrow morning. I also picked up some prescriptions for her and got her the two items she forgot when I took her grocery shopping after she’d gotten her hair done at the beauty saloon last Friday, and then made a third trip to the pharmacy to get the prescriptions the orthopedist gave her– all of this in 95 F (35 C) heat, no less.

I pulled into the pharmacy parking lot and saw a parking spot right in front of the front door. That’s the Greyolla (mine) on the right. What are the odds?!

Needless to say, I didn’t get any knitting done today, but here directly, I’ll have me a bowl of tuna salad and put my feet up and relax.

*To be thrown a curve

Our Reprieve Is Over

I’m afraid our mild, low-80’s (26+ C) summer days are over. Today’s high was 95 F (35 C) and tomorrow’s high is supposed to be 101 F (38.3 C). It has been “cool” and rainy for most of May, with thunderbangers in the evening and nights, which put the humidity up in the 70-80% range (Do I hear sniggering from points southeast?!). Today the humidity was a more reasonable 26%. The 10-day forecast is for hot, more hot and ye gods! My electricity bills are going to be higher than giraffe’s ears until fall. Again.

On a more positive note, I have finally convinced Suddenlink to cancel my cable TV service and just give me internet and phone service without charging me an arm and both legs for it. (It only took me three phone calls and the better part of an hour!) I’ve got a 55-inch flat screen smart TV that I never watch because there’s nothing on cable TV anymore but junk, brainless sitcoms and drivel unless you pay through the nose for the premium packages. The networks are not putting anything worth watching on their cable channels. (Duh!) They put all the good stuff on their streaming services. (They don’t want to deal with the cable providers either!) Now that I’ve gotten a sizable chunk taken off my bill, I can subscribe to a streaming service or three and get just what I want when I want it.

I’m taking Mom to see the orthopedist tomorrow. I hope to goodness he can do something for her. I’m afraid he’s going to tell her she needs a hip replacement and I’m afraid if he tells her that, she’s just going to give up. (The Queen Mum had her hip replaced at 95 and lived to be 101. I’m just saying.) I keep trying to convince her she needs a more substantial recliner. The one she has is such a struggle for her to get out of because (a) the seat is so low, and (b) the arms are basically two giant pillows. I’m afraid that chair is a big part of the problem. I’ve been trying for months to get her to get a new chair. What she really needs is a lift chair, but getting her to agree to that will be an uphill battle. If the orthopedist gives her a prescription for it, though, maybe she’ll agree to it then, especially since Medicare would cover it.

I committed tuna salad last night. Made it with mini-elbow pasta in. I’ve got a 1.75 quart Pyrex bowl with a plastic cover that I use for that, except when I make it, I use two cans of tuna . . . and by the time I get all the ingredients in the bowl, it’s hard to stir without sloshing. Last night, though, I must have gotten a little carried away because I had to get one of my big mixing bowls down to mix it all up in and make two sandwiches before I could get it to fit into the Pyrex bowl. The obvious solution is to get a bigger Pyrex bowl. On its way.

I went to my own orthopedist today for my two year checkup! The x-rays of my replaced knee look great. I was told to go forth and walk a lot. There was this lovely tuna salad sandwich in the refrigerator waiting for me when I got home. Noms! I make them, wrap them in plastic wrap and leave them in the fridge for 8 or 12 hours. I like them best when they’re good and cold. I have a roll of Saran wrap I’ve literally had for years. The only thing I ever use it for is tuna salad sandwiches.

In the knitting news, I’ve been hopping from project to project. The Waves on a Wine Dark Sea shawl colors are getting interesting. I’m using self-striping sock yarn, which typically has very short color repeats because socks. The shawl is wide enough now that I’m just getting streaks of color. I like it.

Also chugging right along on the Latticia shawl. it’s in a wool sock yarn. Although it’s a solid color yarn, there are streaks of lighter and darker shades in it. The color doesn’t show very well here. It’s the blue of very faded blue jeans. The shawl and its bowl are currently by my computer. Here directly, I’m going to knit on it a while and listen to internet radio or maybe watch a couple YouTube videos.

The Latticia Venezia shawl is also coming along. I made myself sit down and figure out the spacing of the 3 lace panels across the width. The panel of garter stitches between the lace panels is 66 inches wide. The increase is only one stitch every other row to a max width of 270 stitches, so it’s going to be nice and long.

I was sitting and knitting on the WWS shawl last week during one of those above-mentioned thunderstorms when there was this terrific clap of thunder, like about half a ton of TNT had gone off in my back yard. I was so startled by it I was knitting in mid-air for about 1.0525 seconds. I’m afraid I said something very unladylike on the way down, though . . .

I need to go on a tear again, sort through my stuff and get rid of a bunch of it, especially all the clothes I never wear. I’d like to do a garage sale and at least get some $ out of it, but I’m tempted to just pile the lot of it into the trunk of my car and schlep it to the Goodwill truck that’s parked in Market Street’s parking lot more often than not, and just get rid of it. I also need to sort out my yarn stash. I think it’s about to reach critical mess. Well, like the man says, if wishes were horses, we’d be knee deep in it.

Getting On The Stick

It has been brought to my attention that I have not blogged in a while and that I had better get on the stick. Ç’est la.

Part of the reason for the radio silence has been my mom. She’s got a major hitch in her “get-along.” She already has pronounced age-related kyphosis, which indicates some collapse of the vertebral arch, and now she seems to have developed some leftward scoliosis in her lower back just above her hip — or at least, that’s what I get from what the PA at her doctor’s office was saying. I haven’t seen the x-ray. She also has some arthritis of the left hip, which is not surprising in a 96-year-old woman who has been active until about two weeks ago when all this hit.

It’s similar to an episode she had in 2016, with the same symptoms, but at that time, a methylprednisolone dosepack sorted it out and relieved her pain. This time, her pain was so severe, I took her to one of these emergency care places where they did the (AP and lateral) x-rays of her lower back and said she had the scoliosis, and that was what was causing her pain. They gave her acetaminophen/codeine (Tylenol No. 3) and a steroid shot, neither of which fazed her pain. She went back to her doc, who sent her for hip x-rays, and gave her hydrocodone, which helps with the pain, but which sends her to LaLa land. She also had another methylprednisolone dosepack over the weekend, but this time to no avail. She’s been using the walker I used after my knee surgery that I got a folding tray for, which she likes, but it’s not suitable for use outside the house because it’s only got wheels on the front. I’ve ordered her one with four wheels and a seat that has a bag underneath it where she can put her purse. It folds up so it will fit in the back seat of the car. It’s supposed to arrive tomorrow. Her doctor is also referring her to an orthopedist who specializes in backs and hips. I think her pain is either from from osteoarthritis of her hip, or she’s having sciatica, or a combination of both.

Needless to say, this is a very concerning turn of events. The longer Mom can stay up and active, the better off she is. Nothing wears you down like chronic pain and the depression it brings with it. We have been so lucky that her health has been good and that she has been able to be active as long as she has been. Unfortunately, the prolonged COVID quarantine cut her activity level way down and has not done her any good. I suspect that this prolonged period of inactivity (sitting in a chair that is basically one giant pillow) is a significant contributing factor. Although she did get outside and walk up and down the block (weather permitting) and/or walked about in the house, she was unable to attend any of the social functions that are such a large and very important part of her life, and the social isolation has also been a significant contributing factor. (She’s such a social butterfly!) Bless her heart — she outlived all the friends she’s had for years and years, made a new, younger set of friends, and now has already started outliving them, too!

To change topics sans segue, in July of 2018, my hair (what there was left of it after chemotherapy) was about 2 inches long all over my head.

My BFF (who now lives NW of Houston) wanted to know what my hair looks like now, almost three years later, which is why I took this. There’s still some blonde left but I’m afraid that over the years, I’ve become Hiyo, Sliver, away! I’ve still got a good little bit of natural curl, but my hair is so fine that the weight of it is enough to pull most of the curl out.

This being fan season (although it’s 80 F/26.6 C in the hall by the thermostat, it’s 82 F/27.7 C according to the thermometer on the wall by my desk), the fan I have blowing on my computer desk tends to pick out the new “replacement” hairs up around my face that haven’t grown long enough to be caught by my barrette and blow-tickles them against my forehead in a very irritating way. This provoked a dive into stash which produced some Paton Grace (1.75 oz/50 g, 3:Light) mercerized cotton yarn. I modified the 9-bladed pinwheel shawl pattern to make a top-down beanie on US 3 (3.25 mm) needles.

I’ll write the hat pattern up and put it in my knitting patterns blog. I’m about half an inch from starting the hatband. The nine “blades” are formed with a yarn over at the edge which increases the diameter by 9 stitches every other row. Once the blade gets to 16 stitches wide, I “froze” the increases by adding a knit-two-together (k2tog) after the yarn over. That gives a diameter of 24 inches which the 1 x 1 rib cinches in nicely. (I have a 22-inch head.)

I dived deeper into stash and found some odd balls of Classic Elite Yarns “Gigi” (85% cotton, 10% silk, 5% stretch polyester, 142 yds/50 g) which I’m using the same pattern, but on US1 (2.25 mm) needles. I’ve got three balls in three different colors: A lavender purple, a medium grey and a silver/white which I’ve started it with.

Since it’s a top-down beanie, you have to start it on double pointed needles (DPNs), but once it gets to where it’s nearly too big for the DPNs, you can switch it over to 16-inch circulars. In other knitting news,

Progress on the “Waves on a Wine Dark Sea” shawl — the inside curve edge and the outside edge.

I’m liking how the “stripes” are turning out — sorry the picture is so dark.

Because I am of the female ilk, I’m allowed to change my mind without notice. About a week and a half ago, I decided the Huyri shawl (at left), while interesting, was not sparking joy so I frogged that sucker and wrote another triangular shawl pattern that had a bit more pizazz to it.

The new shawl pattern, while keeping the garter stitch “wings” and open-work edging of the Huyri shawl, has a lattice lace insert down the middle which sparks much joy.

This is the new shawl pattern I’m calling “Latticia” because of the lattice lace panel in the center. It’s a bit more complicated and consequently more interesting. The increases are knit front and back stitches (kfb) just at the edge of the garter stitch “wings.” I was watching a video of a lady blocking a shawl with a lace edging on it and instead of pinning out the edges of the shawl with humpty gazillion T-pins, she had these metal rods which she looped through the edge of the lace. Yep. Got some. They’ll come in handy for this shawl — which requires more attention than I’d realized.

Forgot I was doing garter stitch and purled part of a row on one “wing”and didn’t catch it until about 8 rows later! — Oops! But I only frogged the stitches I messed up back to where I messed them up, got a DPN and reworked them. All fixed!

I also tried one of these little gizmos. They have a spindle on a little turn-table affair which spins on ball bearings and is supposed to allow your cake to unwind smoothly, but the yarn kept slipping up off the side of the cake and hanging up around the spindle, and I kept having to lean over and give the spindle a turn to “un-hang” it. I found it happened too frequently and it became too annoying, so I sent it back.

I’ve tried center-pulling from cakes, but ran into the same problem as I have with those tools-of-the-devil pull skeins — skein implosion resulting in yarn barf. I’ve decided putting a cake in a bowl and pulling from outside-in is as good as it gets with cakes, and that has become the preferred method. The bowl allows the cake to spin if it needs to and keeps it from rolling away.

I got a bigger bowl just to see if bigger is better. It is for the bigger cakes. Let’s face it. I like my pretty bowls, and I have enough variety of sizes that I have something for every project.

I’ve been listening to Soma FM’s “Illinois Street Lounge” channel while I blog. They just played “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan, as sung by Mel Tormé which has given me a cramp in my frontal lobe, and I’m just about cha-cha-cha‘d (and blogged) out. A judicious application of Venice Classical Radio ought to do the trick. So, as the Liadens say, until soon!