Little Wisdoms

Thought I’d share:

Changing sheets: Don’t bother trying to figure out which is the short or long edge of a fitted sheet before you put it on. Just grab a corner, check to see the sheet is right side out, and put it on. You have a 50% chance of it being the right corner. If you don’t get it right on the first try, you have a 100% chance of getting it right on the second try.

Do the bed by halves longways. Get the fitted sheet all the way on, then put half the top sheet on, and half the blanket/quilt on while you’re standing on one side of the bed. (This means you have to notice and remember how much the top sheet and blanket need to hang off the side of the mattress when they are centered on the bed!) Then go round to the other side and fix the top sheet and blanket/quilt on that side. The fewer times you have to walk around the bed, the better. Wait to tuck your top sheet in until you have your blanket/quilt on. Then you can tuck both in at the same time and you only have to lift each corner of the mattress once.

Emptying the trash: I used to keep all the boxes of different size trash bags together in a drawer. Then, when I’d go to empty the trash, I’d have to mentally go through the house and pull out a fresh bag for each of the various trash cans and waste baskets and carry them all around in my hand as I worked my way around, juggling the full bags and the fresh bags as I went. (I’d invariably forget to get the right number or size bags and have to go get them!) Nope! Discard the boxes and put the roll of bags in the bottom of the empty can they fit. If you have several waste baskets/trash cans the same size, get a roll of bags for each one. That way, you pull out the full bag, and there’s the roll of fresh bags right there. Pull off a fresh one, put it on, and you’re done. Also, put as many bags of trash inside other bags of trash as you can. Fewer bags to schlep around.

Dish washing: If you wash your dishes by hand, get one of those decorative soap/lotion pump bottles and put your dish washing liquid in it. That way, you don’t have to be bending down and getting your dish soap in and out from under the sink each time you wash dishes. You can leave it sitting out by the sink in your nice decorative pump bottle. One good “pump” of dish washing liquid is usually plenty to do a sink full of dishes. You’ll find you don’t use as much dish soap, which saves you money. Then, instead of buying a whole new bottle of dish soap each time you run out, you can buy the large economy “refiller” size of dish soap and refill your little pump bottle when you need to (which also saves you money and puts less plastic in the landfill!).

Clothes washing: When you’re starting a load of laundry in the washer and are getting out your laundry washing products, etc., get a dryer sheet out at the same time and toss it in the empty dryer. This saves you a step when you take the clothes out of the washer to put them in the dryer. (Better yet, get one of those “dryer balls” and just leave it in the dryer all the time. Then you won’t have to buy — and throw away — dryer sheets!)

Floors: There’s a reason those floor cleaning mops with pads and the special squirty stuff attached and those dusting wand gizmos are so cheap. The company makes their money on the bottles of special squirty stuff and single-use pad thingies you are constantly buying and throwing out. You can buy floor sweeper/moppers with cloth pads and microfiber dusting mitts, both of which you can wash in the washing machine and reuse. The mops and pads are a bit pricey, I’ll grant you, but then you can use the handle part for years and years, and those pads work great wet or dry on the LVF plank flooring that’s all the rage these days. Any cleaning accessory — cloth, mitt, pad — that you can wash and reuse will pay for itself in the money you save not having to constantly be buying single use/throw away supplies. And a trigger spray bottle of Pine-Sol or Windex works just as well as their special squirty stuff.

Bath Linens: When you buy a new set of towels, buy extra washcloths and hand towels — If you buy two bath towels, buy three wash cloths and hand towels. (The wash cloths and hand towels are what wear out first.) Leave the extra washcloth folded on the counter beside the bathroom sink to wipe down any water splashes on the counter, especially if you have hard water where you live.

Don’t use fabric softener when you wash your toweling. Fabric softener has silicon oil in it as an antistatic agent that gunks up the fabric and lessens the toweling’s absorbency. To keep your towels, hand towels, kitchen towels and washcloths soft and fluffy, add a half cup of distilled vinegar to the wash instead of fabric softener. Don’t use dryer sheets with your toweling for the same reason. Your towels will dry you (and themselves) much faster.

When you wash your bath mats, don’t dry them in the drier. Over time, the dryer heat will ruin the non-skid backing. After you wash them, throw them right-side-up over the top of the shower stall or over the shower curtain rod and let them dry in the air. Then, your bath mats will last as long as the towels you matched them to so carefully!

Remember: Styrofoam is forever. It and most other plastics takes centuries to biodegrade, if at all. The world of plastic waste and trash you are creating now is the world your children and grandchildren will have to live in.

Reuse, repurpose, recycle.

Broken Concentration

Again, if you are here looking for news about mom, email her at her NEW EMAIL ADDRESS or call her cell phone to get the officially approved version of how she is. If you don’t have her new email address or her cell number, let me know in the comments and tell me how to get in touch with you and I’ll get them to you.

There are only one or two of my knitting projects I can work on during the day because reasons. I can’t work on anything that requires the slightest bit of concentration (the ones I really want to work on, of course) because the odds are very high I will get interrupted and/or distracted, and make a mistake I won’t catch because I’ve been interrupted and/or distracted. Evidently, the Latticia shawl (above) is yet another project that is too complicated to be worked on during the day. It was a rather glaring mistake in the edging, and I had to wait until after bedtime to fix it, when I knew I would have no interruptions to break my concentration. That I didn’t catch the mistake until after 12 rows was partly my own fault, though.

I should always pause and check over my work every five or six rows so as to catch any mistakes early, especially when I’m trying to knit during the day. Fortunately, with this shawl, the edging is only six stitches wide and those were the only stitches I had to rip out 12 rows of. Here’s six rows fixed, six more to go.

You know you’ve reached a certain level of competency as a knitter when you don’t have to frog 12 entire rows to fix a mistake that only involves 6 stitches.

Unfortunately, these are two projects (Latticia Venezia at left, and Smuggler’s Moon at right) that are on hold for the foreseeable future. They require more concentration than I can give them. I might be able to work on Smuggler’s Moon after bedtime when I have an hour or two of uninterrupted quiet — assuming I don’t fall asleep at the needles . . . But seeing as how I’m still working out/writing the Latticia Venezia pattern, that one’s on indefinite hold.

I’ve been dying to work out the pattern for the iPocket — a strap on pocket for my iPhone for when I wear leggings that have no pockets, but it starts with a Turkish cast on of 39 wraps, which is fiddly and requires at least an hour of unbroken concentration to get it to a point where I can set it down — especially since I’ll be writing the pattern for it as I go. Now I get to choose: I can either continue to be driven crazy all the time by the desire to start it, or start it and just work on it for an hour or two at night after bedtime and be driven crazy all day with the desire to work on it . . .

The Demise of the Clock

(Note: The new party line is that if you want to know how mom is, call her on her cell, or email her at her new email address for the official version. If you don’t have her contact information, leave a comment with a way I can get in touch with you and I’ll get the info to you. )

The clock in question is an old friend, this carriage clock, which expired at 4:20 in the afternoon on Monday. I got it when I was “B” in the first duplex I lived in. It was donated by the lady in “A” to my mom’s garage sale because it had a “freewheeling” hour hand that dangled and would only show 6 o’clock. It never made it to the garage sale. Instead, I fixed it and kept it because it played the (Westminster) chimes, and it was a nice looking clock.

I don’t know how long the lady in “A” had had it before the hour hand malfunctioned, but I had it for eleven years and three moves. It used a D battery and it had little hammers that struck little metal rods to play the chimes. But, for the past year or so, I had noticed the chiming mechanism was becoming a bit arthritic and was beginning to falter. Then, Monday, it just stopped and could not be revived. Not bad innings for a clock I got for the time and effort it took to fix it. Anyway, we looked at it for a while. (It’s a nice looking clock). Then Mom said she missed the chimes. (Me, too.) So I got on Amazon and got us another, considerably more expensive one.

It’s a Seiko, about half again as big as the old one, and it’s completely electronic. Runs off a C battery, which is supposed to last it a year. It also chimes at the quarter hour. It’s a good thing mom and I are musical, because the apartment doorbell also plays the Westminster chimes only at a higher pitch (and at a teeth-rattling volume!). However, the clock has two chiming tune options, the other one being the Whittington chimes. If all the Westminster chiming and bonging starts to drive us crazy, we can change the clock to the other chime tune.

In the knitting news, there is knitting news! I have snatched some time to knit on the infinity scarf. I reckon I’ve gotten about 1/4 of it done.

I have gotten yarn (100% pima cotton in black) as the first step to designing an iPocket for my iPhone that will fit around my waist to carry my phone and key card in when I wear leggings (which don’t have pockets). If I can get enough time to have two coherent thoughts in a row, I’ll try to sit down and work out how I want it and write a pattern for it. It’ll be like a strap-on pants pocket, a rectangular bag with a slit opening along the back edge. Stay tuned.

Books Read in 2021

74.    *Corruption, Fielding Kim

73.    *The Labours of Lord Perry Cavendish, Chambers, Joanna

72.    *A Discovery of Witches, Harkness, Deborah

71.    *The Other Side of Here, Lindsey, E. M.

70.    *Silver in the Wood, Tesh, Emily

69.    Night in the Lonesome October, Zelazny, Roger (xre-read)

68.    *Bad Actors, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve

67.    *Ambush or Adore, Carriger, Gail

66.    *The First Snow of Winter, Chambers, Joanna

65.    *Seven of Infinities, de Bodard, Aliette (novella)

64.    *To Be Taught, If Fortunate, Chambers, Becky

63.    *The House that Fought, Schwartz, Jenny

62.    The Galaxy and the Ground Within, Chambers, Becky

61.    What the Devil Knows: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S.

60.    Who Speaks for the Damned:  A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Harris, C. S. (re-read)

59.    *Natural Beauty, Lyhne, Meraki P.

58.    *Fountain of Beauty, Lyhne, Meraki P.

57.    *Rising Beauty, Lyhne, Meraki P.

56.    *Untouchable Beauty, Lyhne, Meraki P.

55.    *Claimed Beauty, Lyhne, Meraki P.

54.    *Natural Beauty, Lyhne, Meraki P.

53.    *The Wizard’s Butler, Lowell, Nathan

52.    *Bob’s Saucer Repair, Boyd Jerry

51.    *The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Vo, Nghi

50.    *Exhalation, Chiang, Ted

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)


All the News That’s Fit to Print

Sorry for the dearth of updates. Here is a progress report.

I have been instructed by the physical therapist, the occupational therapist, and the social worker that the very worst thing I can do for her is to do everything for her. I’m to make her do as much as she can for herself. I am not to fetch and carry for her, but make her get up and get things for herself. Lying in bed/recliner all day and being waited on hand and foot is how she went from living totally independently by herself and walking without any assistance (and driving!) in May to being wheelchair-bound and being “maximum assistance” in all her activities of daily living by July, having a sore bottom by August and a bedsore on the back of her heel by September.

Earlier this week, the home health person that changes the dressing on her heel requested that she be taken to a wound care doctor (which I was going to ask about anyway — she’s had that open wound for over a month now). She got us an appointment and we went yesterday. It was a big production. Carillon has wheelchair vans and will take you to doctors’ appointments. It was “freezing” yesterday (46 F/ 7.7 C) so we had a fleece jacket over our sweatshirt, and a lap robe over our legs. We go down to the lobby where they pick us up, put her in the van and lock down the wheelchair with straps and lock her in it with a seat belt. Off we went to the doctor. (Oddly enough, the driver, who has worked for Carillon for 6 years, already knew the address of the doctor we were going to.) Since we were new patients, we had the usual ton of paperwork to fill out. (I made her fill out most of it.)

The purpose of the visit was for the doctor to assess the wound and cut away all the dead tissue to minimize the risk of infection. The wound bled freely after he did this, which is great. That means she has a good blood supply to her foot and the chances of the wound healing completely are good. He ordered an x-ray of her foot (to make sure there is no infection in the bone underneath the wound), and an ultrasound of her leg (to make sure she has no clots or blocked blood vessels in her lower leg). But, he commented that the fact that her wound bled freely suggests there are no clots or blocked blood vessels in her leg, which she is at risk for because she spends so much time in her recliner. He also wants her to get what is called a “Multipodus boot” to offload the heel as much as possible when she walks.

At some point, the home health folks are supposed to come out with a portable x-ray machine and a portable ultrasound machine and do both these tests in the apartment, so that will be exciting. (You can bet this service won’t come cheap!) They will also get the boot for us. Once she has this boot, she can start wearing a shoe on her right foot, which means she can graduate to the Rollator. Once she’s built up enough stamina, she can start using the Rollator to walk downstairs to lunch. (I’m sure she’s noticed she’s the only one in the dining room in a wheelchair, but about 20% of the people there use 4-wheel walkers of some kind. I’m hoping her desire to “fit in” will help us make the transition.)

It’s such a big production for her to use my computer (She had to get up and go get in the wheelchair so she could sit at the desk, my chair had to be moved out of the way, I had to change to another mouse because she can’t work the one I use, etc.) that I’ve gotten her a (reconditioned) Kindle Fire 10-inch tablet. I’ve gotten it all set up with her email, Facebook, and a web browser. I’ve uncluttered the “desktop” as much as I can, putting all the zillion icons she doesn’t need or want into a folder called “Stuff.” (Amazon, like Apple, considers you a captive audience and constantly bombards you with “buy me!’s.” Of course, the programs that do this can neither be deleted or disabled.) I also put her some solitaire games on it, too. The new skills she gets to master is to learn how to use a touch screen, and how to get into and out of programs. I had gotten a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to connect to my TV for when I set the TV up with a Bluetooth dongle, which I haven’t had time to do. I was able to get the keyboard to talk to her tablet (when all else fails, read the instructions!) so she can type on a regular keyboard instead of poking at letters on the touch screen (which, for a touch typist, is incredibly frustrating!). I’ve ordered her a lap desk, which comes tomorrow.

She still spends 60-70% of her waking hours vegetating in her lift chair, and consistently resists my attempts to get her to do anything for herself, like carry her glass/cup back to the sink, get her own water, etc. It’s an uphill battle. I’m the one who catches flak for trying to get her to follow her therapists’ treatment regimens. I have succeeded in getting her to dress herself and hanging up her gown in the morning, although I do have to put her socks on and help her with her slacks. She is so kyphotic and has lost so much flexibility and muscle tone due to age and inactivity that she can’t get her foot up high enough to put her socks on, and I’m afraid she would pitch over onto the floor if she tried to lean over to get her feet into the legs of her slacks.

So. That’s where we are at nearly three weeks out. There is no knitting news because I haven’t had time to say boo! never mind sit down long enough to try to knit. Sorry. I doubt there will be any knitting news for the foreseeable future. It took me three days to put this post together.