Giving Thanks

Friends brought us food for Thanksgiving. It was a loving gesture, and we embrace them for it. They’re dear friends and have been for a long, long time. And he is an excellent cook.

They wanted to have us over to their house for Thanksgiving, but that plan was defeated by the logistics of getting my mom there and back again. We could get her into my car, but it would take a chain hoist to get her out of it. (I have trouble getting up out of it). Not to mention that her wheelchair won’t fit in my trunk. These friends have a place down near the Gulf Coast (where it’s warmer), they took both cars, and the vehicle they came back up here in is his gigunga diesel four-door pickup. The cabs on those things are so high up off the ground that it would take a fork lift to get me into and out of one, never mind a 98-year-old woman with a bum back who needs a walker and/or a wheelchair to get around. So they brought the food to us. Right about the time it started sleeting. But it was good (as I say, he’s a great cook) and we loved it and them.

Mom and I have so much to be thankful for, and this Thanksgiving is a case in point. When you find friends like these dear people, you hold onto them and cherish them. Sorry, no pictures. We were too busy being in the moment.

Is That Me Buzzing?

I brush my pearlies with one of those battery powered spin brushes, which buzzes as it spins. But then I noticed that when I was brushing my lower left back molars, they were buzzing, too. Curioser and curioser. That back molar and the one in front of it are both implants. Turns out the crown on that back one has a tiny bit of play in it. The dentist I went to for years and years had already done one implant back in 2017, and had gotten this implant all the way to the point that all that was left to do was put the crown on. Then he died of COVID in December of 2020. He had one of those setups where two dentist went together and bought the building, but then each practiced out of one side of it. The doctor who practiced out of the other side was the one who ended up finishing the implant. So, I left a message with his receptionist yesterday, she called me this morning, and they worked me in at 1 pm this afternoon. I was in and out in 10 minutes, no charge. He said there was only a little play in the crown and that it wasn’t in danger of falling off, but to come back if it got worse. Everybody had a good laugh at my buzzing tooth.

On my way back from the dentist, I drive right by what used to be my friendly neighborhood package store, so I stopped and picked up some Harvey’s Bristol Cream (sherry) so I could have my nog with appropriate holiday spirit.

Mom has to take a distribution from their IRAs before the first of the year or get penalized. It’s a nice little chunk of change and I’m not all that wild about having to schlep a check that size from her broker over to the bank. Her broker mailed a direct deposit form which came today, and I’ve got to fill it out and take it over for her to sign, and then mail it back with a voided bank check and all. Then they can just direct deposit the dough. I’m sure the bank won’t mind.

While I was at the dentist’s, the front desk called me and asked me if I was aware I had four packages down there waiting for me to pick up. Yep. Mom wanted a little Christmas tree with lights that she could plug and unplug. Most of the “ready made” ones were two feet tall (and battery powered), which is too big for what she needs, so I ordered the parts off Amazon and DIY’ed one. I’m still waiting on the star for the top. Should be here by the end of the week. “Assembly required” was actually a cheaper route to go than the “everything included” for a tree that was too big. She’s not getting it until after Thanksgiving, though. This business of starting to put up Christmas decorations before Halloween is for the birds.

I didn’t get to sleep until nearly 6:00 o’clock this morning. I was reading Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh, one of my all-time favorite authors. She got the Hugo for this one. I started it at 8:00 o’clock Sunday morning, but that sucker is 850+ pages.

Yesterday being Sunday, I shifted the bed into “recline,” got some nice music going on my Kindle Fire and dived right in. It’s a real page turner, though. My Alarm went off at 9:00 a.m. for my first set of meds. I’d taken my second set and had gotten back in bed to sleep some more when the dentist called. I set the “movable” alarm for 11:30 and went back to bed. When that alarm went off, I was dreaming about trying to get to my dental appointment, but the mechanics messed up my van. While I was trying to find their “loaner” vehicle so I could get to my appointment, I got tangled up in a party Emma Thompson was throwing in this house the loaner was parked behind. Sam Elliott was there and handed me a half eaten gallon tub of cherry vanilla ice cream, but I wouldn’t take it. “I can’t eat ice cream and drive a car at the same time!” was what I was protesting when I woke up. I’ll be going to bed early tonight.

My carafe came. I need to wash it and do a load of hot chai tea in it. With a dollop of vanilla almond milk creamer . . .

I’ve got a cardiologist appointment at 2 pm tomorrow, and I need to make a post office run and a Walmart run. I’m out of tandoori naan (which goes great with soup, BTW), for one thing, and I want another carton of almond milk egg nog. I also want to see if they have any ugly Christmas sweaters . . .

I Felt The Earth Move Under My Bed

I’ve been in three earthquakes, two here and one in Monterey, CA. Interestingly, I happened to be in bed at the time in all three instances. Not surprising, though since the first one (in CA) happened in the middle of the night. The second one (here) was at 6 o’clock in the morning. This last one hit at 3:32 p.m. yesterday, 16 November while I just happened to be lying in the bed reading*. My bed is oriented almost due SW/NE, and it was like something big and heavy had silently given the side of the building a solid thump that jiggled my bed from side to side. I’m on the third floor of a 4-storey, steel and concrete building, which probably amplified the effect slightly. It was a Richter 5.2 with the epicenter located about 27 miles/45km west of Pecos (which is about 3 hours/214 miles/344 km to the southwest of us) at a depth of 3.1 miles/5km underground, according to Earthquaketrack.com. Durn frackers.

Monday was a blustery day, and on the chilly side. The poor mourning doves toughed it out for about an hour before they sought a more sheltered roost.

We have an activities director here at Carillon who organizes “expotitions” to things like restaurants, concerts, museum exhibits, theater events, sports games, etc. They have this big bus with the nice seats like you go on organized bus tours in. They herd us up and load us onto the bus and off we go. Tuesday, they had an expotition to the Plaza Restaurant and now that I’m street-legal again, I signed up to go eat what my dad called “Meskin food” (TexMex). Naturally, they had bowls of salsa and baskets of chips out on the table for appetizers. (They had various sopapilla dishes on the menu, both sweet and savory — my dad always called them “sofa pillows.”) I had a soft beef taco, a beef tamale and a heaping scoop of refried beans. I had it twice, in fact. The food was so good and the portions were so generous that I got a “doggie bag” and had the rest of my lunch for supper. The prices were very reasonable. All that and two glasses of sweet tea came to $13 and change. The Plaza is located out on Milwaukee Avenue just south of 50th street, out in the part of town I refer to as “Southwest Yuppyville.”

It was a bittersweet outing. After I got back from the restaurant, I went out to Market Street to get a flower arrangement of some roses for mom because Wednesday the 16 (the day of the earthquake) would have been my parent’s 76th wedding anniversary (except my dad passed away in September of 2015). I also got a grocery or two and a birthday card for my BFF (23 November).

I decided to get gussied up to go out to the restaurant, so I wore the above necklace, which I got on Portobello Road in London in 1974. I also wore these new earrings I had just gotten off Etsy from a vendor in Poland. As I was carrying the groceries into the apartment, I happened to notice I had lost one of the earrings. I wear a pair of small gold hoops which I only take out for CT scans and x-rays (to keep my holes open), but the holes are big enough that I can slip a second ear wire through them. I try to get lever-back ear wires or studs whenever I can, but if it’s a “fish hook” ear wire, I usually put those little rubber “stoppers” over the wires, only I didn’t think I would need them. I did back track as far as I could, but didn’t find it. They were such pretty earrings and I’m just heart-broken that I lost one — the first time I wore them! That’ll teach me.

My BFF finally got her Halloween card. I mailed it on 21 October. She got it on 11 November, after the midterm election, oddly enough. (Can you say “voter suppression,” boys and girls?) She also got her car back (we’ve finished rebuilding your transmission, ma’m. That’ll be $4.5K, thank you very much), after having been without it for over a month. The great ladies from her church really went to bat for her, organizing car pools to get her to and from work, else she’d have lost her job and been out on the street. I was frustrated that I couldn’t do more to help her besides send her a Halloween card with five cute little pictures of Andrew Jackson tucked inside it. Which apparently took the scenic route to get from hither to yon. Musta had to change planes in Dallas . . . (Texas is such a large state, it’s hard to get a direct flight from one end of the state to the other, e.g., from Lubbock to Houston. They’re usually routed through one or the other of the two Dallas airports — DFW or Love Field.) (In Texas, you can’t even go to Hell without going through Dallas.) (Then again, the argument can be made that DFW is Hell.)

The other day, I ran across a teaser/trailer for the 2011 version of “Jane Eyre” with Michael Fassbender as Rochester, which I haven’t seen but will order the DVD for because Michael Fassbender(!). That next morning, I woke up from a dream about this young woman who was hired to keep house for this man who lived in a big stone house out in the Yorkshire Dales. He had a secret, too. His was that he was a time traveler who had escaped from BREXIT England to live in 1840’s England. (Feel free to steal the premise, you writers out there . . .) They had these two 8-week old kittens , a black one and a white one, who got tangled up with half a dozen of these pale green beetles that were bigger than they were and had to be rescued for their own good. I woke up wishing that the kittens were real and mine.

*BTW, in my defense, I walked all over the world Tuesday, walking all the way to and from the front desk to get the bus to the restaurant, then going out to shop groceries, taking them up to the apt, then taking the flowers over to mom at Carillon House and getting mail on my way back. The weather was cold, my motile appendages were unhappy with me, I still haven’t gotten my stamina back, so Wednesday, I took it easy. What’s the point of having an adjustable bed if you can’t adjust it until it’s comfortable and snuggly warm on a chilly day and then having a good read in it? (And ride out the occasional earthquake . . . ) I gulped down a good three-fourths of Cuckoo’s Egg by C. J. Cherryh and quaffed hot tea for most of the afternoon. The only thing that would have made it better was curb service. Oh, and BTW again, did you know they make almond milk eggnog? I gotta get me a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream. T’is the season.

Books Read in 2022

106.	Cuckoo’s Egg, Cherryh, C. J. 
105.	*Tower of Thorns, Marillier, Juliet (re-read)
104.	*Dreamer’s Pool, Marillier, Juliet (re-read)
103.	*Howl’s Moving Castle, Jones, Diana Wynne (xreread)
102.    *Changeless, Carriger, Gail (re-re-read)
101.    *Soulless, Carriger, Gail (re-re-read)
100.	*The Shape-Changer’s Wife, Shinn, Sharon
99.	*The Goblin Emperor, Addison, Katherine
98.	*Angels of Darkness, Singh, Nalini, ed. (novella collection)
97.	*Knot of Shadows, Bujold, Lois McMaster
96.	*The Assassins of Thasalon, Bujold, Lois McMaster
95.	*Be The Serpent, McGuire, Seanan
94.	*Crystal Dragon, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-re-re-read)
93.	*Crystal Soldier, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-re-re-read)
	(93 & 94 are 1st and 2nd  of the 3 novels published together as “Crystal Variation”)
92.	*Scattered Among Strange Worlds, de Bodard, Aliette (short story collection)
91.	*Rarely Pure and Never Simple, Martinez, Angel
90.	*Fireheart Tiger, de Bodard, Aliette (novella)
89.	*Derelict, edited by Coe, David B and Palm, Joshua (short story collection)
88.	*Deven and the Dragon, Grayson, Eliot
87.	*A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 5, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (short story collection) (reread)
86.	*The Firebird and Other Stories, Cooper, R.
85.	*Like a Gentleman, Grayson, Eliot
84.	*Forest of Memory, Kowall, Mary Robinette (novella) (reread)
83.	*Talking to Dragons, Wrede, Patricia (re-re-reread)
82.	*Calling on Dragons, Wrede, Patricia (re-re-reread)
81.	*Searching For Dragons, Wrede, Patricia (re-re-reread)
80.	*Dealing With Dragons, Wrede, Patricia (re-re-reread)
79.	*Drowned Country, Tesh, Emily
78.	*Deliberation, Cherry, C. J. (short story) (xreread)
77.	*Invitation, Cherryh, C. J. (short story) (xreread)
76.	*A Case of Possession, Charles, K. J. (re-re-reread)
75.	*The Magpie Lord, Charles, K. J. (re-re-reread)
74.	*Touch Not The Cat, Stewart, Mary
73.	*Realm of Ash, Suri Tasha
72.	*Empire of Sand, Suri Tasha
71.	*Dreams of Distant Shores, McKillip, Patricia
70.	*Heart Stone, White, Elle Katharine
69.	*Meat Cute, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread) (novella)
68.	*Ambush or Adore, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
67.	*The Missing Page, Sebastian, Cat
66.	*Hither, Page, Sebastian, Cat (reread)
65.	*How to Marry a Werewolf, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
64.	*Defy or Defend, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
63.	*Poison or Protect, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
62.	*Manners and Mutiny, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
61.	*Waistcoats and Weaponry, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
60.	*Curtsies and Conspiracies, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
59.	*Etiquette and Espionage, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
58.	*The Botanist’s Apprentice, Powell, Arden
57.	*Of Books, Earth, and Courtship, de Bodard, Aliette
56.	*The Tea Master and the Detective, de Bodard, Aliette (re-read)
55.	*Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances, de Bodard, Aliette
54.	*The House of Binding Thorns, de Bodard, Aliette
53.	*The House of Sundering Flames, de Bodard, Aliette 
52.	*The House of Shattered Wings, de Bodard, Aliette
51.	*Of Dragons, Feasts and Murder, de Bodard, Aliette
50.	*The Citadel of Weeping Pearls, de Bodard, Aliette
49.	*The Memory Theater, Tidbeck, Karin
48.	*Little Wolf, Cooper, R.
47.	*Lore and Lust, Nikoll, Karla
46.	*Snowspelled, Burgis, Stephanie
45.	*A Psalm for the Wild Built, Chambers, Becky
44.	*Song For The Basilisk, McKillip, Patricia
43.	*First Blood, Grayson, Eliot
42.	*Quiet House, Morton, Lily
41.	Cloud’s Rider, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-read)
40.	Rider at the Gate, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-read)
39.	*Lost and Found, Grayson, Eliot
38.	*The Witch’s Familiar, Nichol, T. J. 
37.	*The Alpha Contract, Grayson, Eliot
36	Whiskey and Water, Bear, Elizabeth (re-read)
35.	Blood and Iron, Bear, Elizabeth (re-read)
34.	When Blood Lies, Harris, C. S. 
33.	The Book of Atrix Wolfe, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
32.	*Captive Mate, Greyson, Eliot
31.	*A Very Armitage Christmas, Greyson, Eliot
30.	*Alpha’s Warlock, Greyson, Eliot
29.	*Lost Touch, Greyson, Eliot
28.	The Faded Sun:  Kutath, Cherryh, C. J.
27.	The Faded Sun:  Shon’Jir, Cherryh, C. J.
26.	The Faded Sun:  Kesrith, Cherryh, C. J. 
25.	*The Long and Winding Road, Klune, T. J.
24.	*The Art of Breathing, Klune, T. J.
23.	*Who We Are, Klune, T. J. 
22.	*Bear, Otter, and the Kid, Klune, T. J. 
21	*Under the Whispering Door, Klune, T. J.
20.	*The House in the Cerulean Sea, Klune, T. J. 
19.	*A Shadow in Summer, Abraham, Daniel
18.	*Fluke and the Faithless Father, Burns, Sam
17.	*The Fantastic Fluke, Burns, Sam
16.	*The Tale of Two Seers, Cooper, R. 
15.	*A Boy and His Dragon, Cooper, R. 
14.	*Time’s Convert, Harkness, Deborah
13.	*Killashadra, McCaffrey, Anne
12.	*Crystal Singer, McCaffrey, Anne
11.	*Clay White, Cooper, R. 
10.	*Ravenous, Cooper, R. 
9.	*Change State, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve
8.	*Bread Alone, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve
7.	*Od Magic, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
6.	*Spells and Sensibility, Noone, K. L. and Murphy, K. S. 
5.	*Revelry, Noone, K. L.
4.	*Fire and Ink, Noone, K. L.
3.	*Some Kind of Magic, Cooper, R. 
2.	*Wyrd and Wild , English, Charlotte E. 
1.	*The Book of Life, Harkness, Deborah (reread)
 
* Ebook
(xreread) – reread more than four times. 

As The Seasons Turn

We’ve finally had a freeze, although not much of one. Just a few degrees below freezing. Today’s high was 57 F/13.3 C, and our low is going to be 31 F/-0.5 C, but those will be the highest temps for the next nine days. We’ll have lows as low as 22 F/-5.5 C, and our highs will be around 50 F/10 C. It’ll be blustery tomorrow, but partly cloudy to sunny for the rest of the week. Finally beginning to feel like the seasons are turning.

We had to play the clock game last weekend. I wish they’d leave the durn clocks alone. I have to get a stepladder to reach my chiming clock (on top of the hutch), and that sucker is heavy. I still have one wall clock that isn’t atomic (self resetting– I will replace it this year with one that is), and I still have to reset my alarm clocks. (Yes, I have two. One goes off at 9 PM when it’s time for my evening meds, and the other one goes off at 9 AM when its time for my morning meds. The other alarm is for use when I have to get up some other time besides 9 AM.)

I have seasonal allergies. All four seasons. I have a different set of allergies for each season. Right now, I’m suffering from the fall set as they are stripping and ginning cotton again, which kicks off at about half past September and goes until they finish ginning this year’s crop, usually after December. Usually what I get for Christmas is a month or two of relief from the fall allergies before the spring ones kick in.

I had an attack of housework today. Took out the trash, stripped and changed my bed linens, washed dishes, picked up a little. The first load of wash (sheets and towels) is in the dryer at the moment and the second load of wash (clothes) is in the washer. Timing is key. The washer takes an hour. The dryer takes two. I can’t start the second load of wash until the dryer is halfway done drying the first load. There are two washers and two dryers in the communal laundry room for this floor, but one of the dryers doesn’t very well, so we get the kitchen timer out.

I banged the inside of my leg against a table the other day (why, yes, I am a droit). That left leg has a tendency to swell anyway as it’s the one I’ve had three surgeries on, the last one being to replace that knee. Couple that with the blood thinner I’m taking and I got a nasty bruise that wants to swell. I’ve been keeping it elevated as much as I can. We’ve gone from black and blue to Technicolor now, but I’ve still got quite a knot there. (I do have a full set of toes on that foot, but they’re covered up by the sheet.)

In the knitting news, I’ve picked up a really old WIP. When I first started knitting again, it was discount store worsted weight acrylic yarn on US 7 and 8 (4.5 mm and 5.0 mm) plastic needles. Then, when I taught myself continental style knitting, it was Takumi bamboo needles and acrylic yarn. Then I graduated to natural fibers and “snob yarn” — cottons and merino wools and leveled up to ChiaoGoo stainless steel needles — fingering and DK yarn on smaller needles. This WIP is from when I was still using worsted weight acrylic yarn (mostly because that was all I could afford). I’ve gotten used to natural fibers and smaller weight yarn, and this worsted acrylic yarn feels odd. I may rework this pattern in natural fibers and smaller weight yarn now that I’ve got the pattern worked out, but I want to finish this version because I like the color.

This pattern uses a Turkish cast on and starts with that top cable band. But, instead of working both sides of the cast on, you only work one side of it until your work is long enough that you can pick up stitches along one edge of it to start the center cable band. Then you start working the top band from both ends and fill in the garter stitch middle bits. It’s really quite a simple pattern once you have it started. Anyway, I’ve pulled it out and put it in the rotation.

Otto and Victoria © Brian Kesinger

Oct-over and Hallo-went

One more day left in October. I’ve got running around to do tomorrow. Gotta do a Walmart run (TP, paper towels) and vote early.

My poor old Logitech M600 Touch Mouse has become decidedly arthritic and unwilling to scroll. I’ve had it for like six years and the poor thing’s just plain wore out. I love it because it doesn’t have a scroll wheel (that’s the part that invariably wears out first on my mice). You just stroked with your finger in whichever direction you wanted to scroll and I really liked it. But I can’t get them any more (because I love them, naturally they quit making them. . . are you listening, Logitech!). So I decided to live dangerously and get a vertical mouse. I’ve only had it a day and I’m still getting the hang of it, but I think I like it.

The typical mouse has the hand lie flat on it, which twists the bones in the forearm, with the added potential of resting the flat of the wrist on the edge of a desk — not good!. The vertical orientation of the hand with this mouse is kinder on the carpal tunnel by having the hand in a vertical orientation, with the weight of the hand on the outside edge.

The one thing I don’t like about it is that you can’t pick the mouse up easily. I’ve got this huge monitor (22-inch diagonal) and if I have to get the mouse pointer from one portion of the screen way over to another, I can’t hop the mouse as easily — move it over a couple of inches, pick it up, move it back, put it down and keep moving it in the same direction. This “hopping” maneuver minimizes how much you have to move your whole arm to get the mouse pointer from hither to yon, especially useful if your mouse pad isn’t very big. With the vertical mouse, I have to take my fingers off the control surfaces to pick up the mouse. Oh, well. I’ll cope.

I follow this YouTube channel called “The Last Homely House” run by a lady named Kate who lives in the north of England. She got the name of her channel from J. R. R. Tolkien’s books. She’s an older woman whose parents are both gone, her children are grown and married, and she has a grandchild. She likes quilting (English paper piecing in particular), sewing, knitting, cooking, gardening, and cats. She promotes local crafts, and craftspeople in what she offers on her channel and in her shop. Watching her videos is like visiting a friend for a cuppa and a natter — over 78 thousand other people feel the same way I do and have subscribed to her channel. Quite a long lime green sofa.

She has roped her daughter-in-law Anna into helping her with the photography, and with her shop and the various activities. (Anna’s husband John is a woodworker who has made several items for her shop.)

It’s getting to be “need a new calendar time,” and she put one together (Anna’s photos) so I ordered one. She’s also into jigsaws and had put out a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. They sold out before I could get one but I caught it on the second go-round. They came Saturday. There are a lot of jigsaw enthusiasts here, and I thought I’d contribute this one to the cause (after I worked it myself!).

This is a good place to plug the website “Jigsaw Planet” which is a free website that allows you to set up a free account, upload whatever photographs or graphics (.pdf, .jpg) you want and make them into jigsaw puzzles. You can also work other people’s puzzles. I’ve made a ton of puzzles — I like artwork (Anne Bachelier‘s paintings, for example) and photographs. I make 200 piece puzzles because I have a nice big monitor to work them on. I love working jigsaws, especially while listening to some nice music. The nice thing about working puzzles on Jigsaw Planet is you get puzzles for free and you can’t lose any of the pieces!

In the knitting news, I’m going to try knitting something that has to be felted — a Scots Bonnet! (or tam or beret, or whatever . . . ) I’ve already got the yarn — 100% wool. Enough for two bonnets.

I’ll have to swatch so I’ll know how much this yarn shrinks and take that into account. (Ah, yes. Adventures in math . . .) You knit the thing too big, “felt” it by washing it in hot soapy water, and it shrinks down until it fits. Or that’s the plan at any rate. You’re supposed to block it by putting a plate in it. Stay tuned.

Here is the natural habitat of the indigenous knitter. I got that little hexagonal table when they had the estate sale of the lady up the hall who I regret not being able to have gotten to know better. Notice the bowls. I have one of those LED pole lamps that remind me of the saucer ray guns from the 1953 version of the film “War of the Worlds” with Gene Barry, but it puts out great adjustable-level light for knitting. Out of frame at left is a reader’s table with a bowl of knitting notions and a Kindle Fire with internet radio apps for music purposes.

Venice Classical Radio is a big favorite, as is Soma FM.

Here’s a little trick. When you’re knitting a scarf or some other long flat piece that’s getting long enough to be a pain, roll it up and “pin” it with a large stitch holder. Makes it much easier to turn your work without that great flapping length hanging off your needle getting all twisted up in your lap.

It’s gotten cold enough in my bedroom that the heater has come on. (Thermostat is set at low of 68 F/20 C) Hot tea drinking weather has returned. I’m having a “two-bagger” in my stainless steel commute mug — a bag of Twining’s Irish Breakfast and a bag of Stash Tea’s Moroccan Mint. Scrummie.

Books Read in 2022

100.	*The Shape-Changer’s Wife, Shinn, Sharon
99.	*The Goblin Emperor, Addison, Katherine
98.	*Angels of Darkness, Singh, Nalini, ed. (novella collection)
97.	*Knot of Shadows, Bujold, Lois McMaster
96.	*The Assassins of Thasalon, Bujold, Lois McMaster
95.	*Be The Serpent, McGuire, Seanan
94.	*Crystal Dragon, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-re-re-read)
93.	*Crystal Soldier, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve (re-re-re-read)
	(93 & 94 are 1st and 2nd  of the 3 novels published together as “Crystal Variation”)
92.	*Scattered Among Strange Worlds, de Bodard, Aliette (short story collection)
91.	*Rarely Pure and Never Simple, Martinez, Angel
90.	*Fireheart Tiger, de Bodard, Aliette (novella)
89.	*Derelict, edited by Coe, David B and Palm, Joshua (short story collection)
88.	*Deven and the Dragon, Grayson, Eliot
87.	*A Liaden Universe Constellation, Volume 5, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (short story collection) (reread)
86.	*The Firebird and Other Stories, Cooper, R.
85.	*Like a Gentleman, Grayson, Eliot
84.	*Forest of Memory, Kowall, Mary Robinette (novella) (reread)
83.	*Talking to Dragons, Wrede, Patricia (re-re-reread)
82.	*Calling on Dragons, Wrede, Patricia (re-re-reread)
81.	*Searching For Dragons, Wrede, Patricia (re-re-reread)
80.	*Dealing With Dragons, Wrede, Patricia (re-re-reread)
79.	*Drowned Country, Tesh, Emily
78.	*Deliberation, Cherry, C. J. (short story) (xreread)
77.	*Invitation, Cherryh, C. J. (short story) (xreread)
76.	*A Case of Possession, Charles, K. J. (re-re-reread)
75.	*The Magpie Lord, Charles, K. J. (re-re-reread)
74.	*Touch Not The Cat, Stewart, Mary
73.	*Realm of Ash, Suri Tasha
72.	*Empire of Sand, Suri Tasha
71.	*Dreams of Distant Shores, McKillip, Patricia
70.	*Heart Stone, White, Elle Katharine
69.	*Meat Cute, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread) (novella)
68.	*Ambush or Adore, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
67.	*The Missing Page, Sebastian, Cat
66.	*Hither, Page, Sebastian, Cat (reread)
65.	*How to Marry a Werewolf, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
64.	*Defy or Defend, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
63.	*Poison or Protect, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
62.	*Manners and Mutiny, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
61.	*Waistcoats and Weaponry, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
60.	*Curtsies and Conspiracies, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
59.	*Ettiquette and Espionage, Carriger, Gail (re-re-reread)
58.	*The Botanist’s Apprentice, Powell, Arden
57.	*Of Books, Earth, and Courtship, de Bodard, Aliette
56.	*The Tea Master and the Detective, de Bodard, Aliette (re-read)
55.	*Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances, de Bodard, Aliette
54.	*The House of Binding Thorns, de Bodard, Aliette
53.	*The House of Sundering Flames, de Bodard, Aliette 
52.	*The House of Shattered Wings, de Bodard, Aliette
51.	*Of Dragons, Feasts and Murder, de Bodard, Aliette
50.	*The Citadel of Weeping Pearls, de Bodard, Aliette
49.	*The Memory Theater, Tidbeck, Karin
48.	*Little Wolf, Cooper, R.
47.	*Lore and Lust, Nikoll, Karla
46.	*Snowspelled, Burgis, Stephanie
45.	*A Psalm for the Wild Built, Chambers, Becky
44.	*Song For The Basilisk, McKillip, Patricia
43.	*First Blood, Grayson, Eliot
42.	*Quiet House, Morton, Lily
41.	Cloud’s Rider, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-read)
40.	Rider at the Gate, Cherryh, C. J. (re-re-read)
39.	*Lost and Found, Grayson, Eliot
38.	*The Witch’s Familiar, Nichol, T. J. 
37.	*The Alpha Contract, Grayson, Eliot
36	Whiskey and Water, Bear, Elizabeth (re-read)
35.	Blood and Iron, Bear, Elizabeth (re-read)
34.	When Blood Lies, Harris, C. S. 
33.	The Book of Atrix Wolfe, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
32.	*Captive Mate, Greyson, Eliot
31.	*A Very Armitage Christmas, Greyson, Eliot
30.	*Alpha’s Warlock, Greyson, Eliot
29.	*Lost Touch, Greyson, Eliot
28.	The Faded Sun:  Kutath, Cherryh, C. J.
27.	The Faded Sun:  Shon’Jir, Cherryh, C. J.
26.	The Faded Sun:  Kesrith, Cherryh, C. J. 
25.	*The Long and Winding Road, Klune, T. J.
24.	*The Art of Breathing, Klune, T. J.
23.	*Who We Are, Klune, T. J. 
22.	*Bear, Otter, and the Kid, Klune, T. J. 
21	*Under the Whispering Door, Klune, T. J.
20.	*The House in the Cerulean Sea, Klune, T. J. 
19.	*A Shadow in Summer, Abraham, Daniel
18.	*Fluke and the Faithless Father, Burns, Sam
17.	*The Fantastic Fluke, Burns, Sam
16.	*The Tale of Two Seers, Cooper, R. 
15.	*A Boy and His Dragon, Cooper, R. 
14.	*Time’s Convert, Harkness, Deborah
13.	*Killashadra, McCaffrey, Anne
12.	*Crystal Singer, McCaffrey, Anne
11.	*Clay White, Cooper, R. 
10.	*Ravenous, Cooper, R. 
9.	*Change State, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve
8.	*Bread Alone, Lee, Sharon and Miller, Steve
7.	*Od Magic, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
6.	*Spells and Sensibility, Noone, K. L. and Murphy, K. S. 
5.	*Revelry, Noone, K. L.
4.	*Fire and Ink, Noone, K. L.
3.	*Some Kind of Magic, Cooper, R. 
2.	*Wyrd and Wild , English, Charlotte E. 
1.	*The Book of Life, Harkness, Deborah (reread)
 
* Ebook
(xreread) – reread more than four times. 

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

This is what comes of trying to do cables while watching TV. (For the nonknitters, the center cable is messed up from about the middle of the picture to the top. ) We’re talking about almost 5 inches’ worth of knitting here. What do you do? (–besides pull your hair and euphemize loudly and emphatically, that is . . .)

Well, you could yank out the needle and frog the whole thing back to before where you messed up, and then very carefully put all the stitches back on the needle, being extra careful not to drop any, but that’s a bit drastic. (And depressing.)

This is where double pointed needles (DPNs) are your friends. First, you isolate the “bad” section and just frog that part back down to just before you messed up. Then you pick up those stitches onto a DPN that is the same needle size as the pattern calls for.

Because they are DPNs, you can reknit all the messed up bit from the right side (knit side) of the knitting (no need to turn your work and purling is kept to a minimum!). Then, use a tapestry needle or a DPN to adjust the stitch tension and redistribute any slack evenly back across the the stitches of the row.

The below pix is from a different project, but I forgot to take a picture of this step in the above process.

If you carefully comb out the frogged portion of yarn out to the side, you easily determine which is the next strand to knit. Because this pattern has cable crosses every 4th row, working up from the bottom, I isolated four consecutive strands inside a stitch marker. That made it much easier to keep track of where I was.

See? All fixed now. Took me about an hour, which is a fourth of the time it would have taken me to reknit that whole length if I’d just frogged the whole thing back to just before the Oops!

Of course, if you hate DPNs and wouldn’t have them in your house, or just don’t happen to have any, you could use a circular needle of the same size but a shorter length, or a straight needle (the long straights will work but are annoyingly unwieldy, FYI), but it might be worth it to invest in some el cheapo wooden or plastic DPNs in the needle sizes you use the most.

You may have to fiddle with the fabric of your knitting to erase all traces of where you fixed the boo-boo, like doing “x” stretches where you stretch the fabric in alternating diagonals, and “+” stretches where you alternately stretch the fabric from top to bottom and from side to side. You will have to use a tapestry needle or the “empty” needle to retension your stitches across each reknitted row either to make enough slack to finish the row or to redistribute slack at the end of the row, which is a little fiddly, but the time and headache you save is worth it. I mean, it’s either that, or completely frog back the whole shebang, which is ghastly and depressing.

Think Fast!

Now that they’re on this new system, cancer center i go to (JACC) doesn’t mail out appointment notifications, so I only found out I was supposed to have two appointments this morning when they texted me about it Saturday. I had a blood draw and talked to my oncologist. He says all my blood work looks good and that I can get my COVID booster now (and will as soon as I can arrange it).

They had these cute little pop-up Halloween cards at Market Street and I got mom one of a skeleton playing a theater organ which urged her to Stay Spooky! I took it by to her Friday. After giving her multiple bags of IV fluids, they’ve managed to get her hydrated and flushed out again, and she was alert, with-it, and in good spirits.

The VA, TriWest, and Covenant are still going round and round about this one bill for a chemo treatment from March 10th. They’ve already billed Medicare and Medicare has paid their portion. The bill is for what Medicare didn’t pay, which TriWest (the VA’s insurance) was supposed to cover and didn’t. The opening salvo of this, the third go-round, was an email from Covenant warning me that if I didn’t cough up their $745.03, they were going to send the bill to collections. The VA gave Covenant a community care authorization number to send the bill to TriWest; TriWest didn’t like their number and kicked the bill back (twice now). This has been going on since August. This whole business is beginning to get a little “Kafkaesque“. . . .

My poor BFF is still trying to get her car’s transmission fixed. She can’t live on what she gets from Social Security and has to have a part time job. The transmission on her car went out on 25 September and she’s been going round and round with the dealership about getting it fixed and supply chain issues, and blah-blah-blah. . . for nearly a month now. She can’t afford to take Ubers to work or rent a car. Thank goodness the people in her church are stepping up to bat and giving her rides to and from work or she’d have lost her job weeks ago. I sent her one of those pop-up Halloween cards with a little surprise tucked inside. She should get it tomorrow or the next day.

We had a good little rain early this morning that persisted until about 8:00 o’clock. Our high today was 67 F/19.4 C with a low of 40 F/4.4 C. Tomorrow night it’s supposed to get down to 38 F/3.3 C! It’s windy and blustery right now, and is supposed to rain a little more. We got 0.15 inches/3.81 mm of rain this morning. We can use every drop. We’re in that Spring/Autumn transitional period, what I call the “not enoughs.” — not hot enough to kick on the AC, not cold enough to kick on the heat. I may have to put a “pull-up” blanket across the foot of my bed. Supposedly we sleep best when we sleep warm in a cold room.

Apparently, I feel it is necessary to make a libation to the refrigerator gods whenever I put ice cubes in my drink bottle. I invariably drop at least one ice cube on the floor and have to chase it down and toss it into the sink. (To be pedantic, they’re not actually cubes. They’re flat on three sides, and curved on the fourth –). When the icemaker periodically Jengas, the “cubes” fall into this square tub underneath it, and I sometimes have to break them loose before I can get a handful.

I’m not sure what kind of tree this is outside my window, but it’s fixing to be a bald one. The leaves are turning yellow and beginning to fall.

In the knitting news, I’ve finally gotten the pattern for the “No-Tears Toe-up Baby Booties” using fingering weight yarn whipped into shape. I’m still working on the skirt of the little dress this goes with. The dress is in sock yarn on a US 3 (3.25 mm) needle so it takes about 10 rows to equal an inch, and the skirt is 9 inches long. This bootie is what is in the bowl on my desk (the first of two). The dress is in the bowl by my TV watching chair.

The bootie uses the Turkish cast-on, which is a neat trick if you can do it. I prefer the toe-up to the top-down construction. I hate Kitchner stitching (grafting) the toe closed. I’ll put the pattern in my knitting blog when I can find my roundtuit.

Shakespearean Sleep

You know. The “Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care.” That one. I’ve been doing a lot of it lately. Healing. Trying to get my body back onto an even keel from this roller coaster chemo ride I’ve been on since February.

I woke up today from a dream about a house. Such a beautiful house. I don’t know what the outside looked like, but the inside had sort of a Frank Lloyd Wright low/wide vibe going with those high, oblong clerestory windows with shelf-deep sills of his prairie style. The interior was all white, white-glazed terra cotta tile floors, white walls, white ceilings. I had this fabulous collection of hand thrown pottery bowls and vases and teapots and whatnot out on the shelves, a built in computer area with three big monitors, a 3-D printer and a large format color printer that could print the map sized full-color artwork I drew. It had mid-century modern style furniture. There were two complete bathrooms, one in front of the other. The back one could only be reached through the front one(?!). The back one had 1940’s style plumbing and a bathtub. The front one had modern fixtures and a fully-tiled walk-in shower. Both bathrooms were all in white. (There was this older black woman who rented the back bathroom and slept in the tub(?!).) The really wonderful, amazing thing thing about the house, though, was that there was this special fiber-optic coating on all the walls that you could download pictures or videos into — like moon jellyfish swimming in a cerulean ocean, or a coral reef with swimming fish, or a birch grove in a forest. It covered the walls like wallpaper and you could change the display on any wall whenever you wanted to whatever you wanted. That was a really nice dream, and I wanted to roll over and go back into it. Sigh.

And here it is half past October. Mom and I have been at Carillon for just over a year now, and I’ll have been in this apartment a year in January. (When mom went to Carillon House, I moved to a 1-bedroom apartment.)

The orchid that her niece brought mom is taking over the world. I watched a YouTube video that said you could water it this way. Looks kinda mutant evil with its roots doing that, but this species of orchid usually lives in a really humid climate (which this isn’t) and its roots absorb water from the air. This way, though, it can water itself at will and I don’t worry about over-or under-watering it. The peace lily is blooming two blooms, which means I must be doing something right. The Italian stone pine looks kinda stoned. I try to keep turning it so the branches will grow straight, but it gets ahead of me.

In the knitting news, WIPs are ongoing. I may have to amend the pattern for this cowl to add in even more than 12 stitches — like maybe 15? I have a bowl of knitting on the computer desk, a bowl of TV knitting by the TV chair, and a bowl on my bedside rolling table. Nothing like being spoiled for variety . . .

We haven’t had a freeze yet. We haven’t even been down into the 30’s yet. We’ve barely just dipped a toe down into the 40’s. (The way the weather’s acting, kids will be trick-or-treating in short sleeves. . . .) The leaves are kinda ho-hum turning just because the days are getting shorter. There’s a lot of houses that landscape with these (native) post oak (Quercus stellata) trees (that acorn all over the driveway and sidewalk), and in the older neighborhoods some of them are quite big now. They turn this lovely oxblood red.