The Day The Music Died

I was saddened to learn that David Crosby passed away Thursday. He, along with cohorts Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, as the band Crosby, Stills, and Nash, made some of my favoritest music ever on one of my favoritest albums ever. Their first two albums have been a major part of the sound track of my life for over half a century (!). They constructed their harmony like the Incas constructed stonework — they fitted it together so tightly you couldn’t get even a knife blade between the voices. In 1968, Crosby and Stills were working on what would become “You Don’t Have to Cry.” They were asked to play it for Graham Nash. He asked them to play it again. When they played it for him a third time, he chimed in with another harmony line, and magic happened. CSN’s second live gig was at Woodstock. (My other most favoritest CSN song is this one.)

(The ïyêdëshîäm of Lîdâ have asked me to say that they also mourn David Crosby’s passing, but will forever cherish the music he gave them for their dance.)

I’m not at all sure why humans make music or what it is about our brains that gives us the urge to do so, but it is the one thing that all human cultures have in common — vocal music. I have a strong belief, though, that if you took away that urge, that need, we wouldn’t be human anymore.

In the knitting news, I’ve taken the second option on my pattern for Braided Cable Hat with Rolled Brim, and instead of alternating the braided cables with a panel of stockinette, I ‘m alternating them with a twisted cable. This is “Meadow” — one of the more subdued colorways of the Red Heart Unforgettable yarn, which doesn’t compete all that much with the stitch work. I may call it David’s Hat, because context.

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

First World Problems

Now that I’ve got the deadline knitting out of the way, I can work on some shawl WIPs. I actually started jonesing to work on this one, which is a simple, straightforward, bottom-up triangular shawl with a center lace panel.

The yarn is three 550 yd/503 m skeins of Mohonk Light, 100% lamb’s wool, colorway “Wet Bluestone,” that I got on closeout because the colorway was discontinued. It’s hand-dyed yarn. All that in the picture above is out of the first skein, with what’s left of it in the bowl, and a whole skein beside it for comparison . . . .

It’s basically a one-page pattern, worked bottom-up, with 29 rows to set up the lace border, and establish the center lace panel. Once you’ve done that, there’s a 2-row pattern repeat. The top edging is a knitted on lace panel with a 2-row pattern repeat. The only complicated thing about it is the ssp tbl (slip slip purl through the back loop) in the center lace panel. It’s the exact reverse of a k2tog (knit two together), which you have to do to get the vertical stockinette bits in the lace panel to look right.

There is a garter stitch section on either side of the center lace panel. At the point between the garter stitch section and the lace border (where the outer white markers are), you increase 1 stitch on each side on the purl rows, so the shawl gets wider by two stitches every other row. You are supposed to have the same number of stitches in each of the garter panels.

I did want to mention this little trick. See that yellow marker? Once I got the shawl going, I counted the number of stitches in each garter panel and made sure I had the same number on each side. Then I put a yellow marker on each side at that point.

I know my stitch count is correct up to the yellow marker. As I continue to work the increases, I’m adding a stitch between the white marker and the yellow marker every other row. To check that I haven’t left out any increases, instead of having to keep counting all the stitches from the center lace border out to the end of the garter section (there’s 90 now), I count the stitches between the white and yellow markers on each side. If that number matches, I’m still cool. When there are 11 stitches between the white and yellow markers, I move the yellow markers over 10 stitches.

The problem comes when I want to knit on this shawl while I’m in bed with my feet up (like after I’ve had chemo and I’m trying to keep my feet and ankles from swelling) and I’m watching videos on YouTube on my Kindle tablet. It’s on a 60-inch circular needle, and the excess needle keeps hitting against the touch screen and starting some other random video. So annoying.

Yesterday while I was out at the nail salon, I stopped by Market Street to pick up toothpaste (among other things), and while I was checking out, somebody called my name. It was a lady who had worked as a dental assistant for my late dentist (who died of COVID). He’d been my dentist for at least 15 years and he was so great. It was such a shock when he died. It’s nice she remembered me.

One More Time . . .

Mom’s 98th Birthday was yesterday. Her dear friend CK organized the cake and goodies, and got the activities room on her floor at Carillon set up. I got her a new top and some clip on ear-rings (she’s let her holes close)(just as well). There were over 20 of her friends present, including her nephew and niece-in-law from NM. Mom has been working with her walker (and I have a sneaking suspicion that said dear friend may have put a bug in her ear), and she very proudly walked from her room up the hall and around the corner and into the room, making quite a grand entrance. (She did forget to put on her shoes, though!)

The activities director decorated the room so nicely, and there was cake and ice cream and punch. She had asked that there be no gifts, but evidently edibles are not considered “gifts” — she got candy and munchies galore. She had great fun opening all her cards and visiting with friends.

Mom has made friends with the young son of one of the activities ladies who came to work with his mom over the summer holidays, visited and made friends with mom and the others on her floor. He still often comes by after school to spend time with his new friends. He got out of school early so he could attend her party! He has made several pictures for her and they have become great friends. He had his heely shoes on, which students are allowed to wear in school!

Because my oncologist “threw in” an extra week between my treatments, the treatment that was scheduled for the 19th was moved to the 26th, and I was able to attend mom’s party (so long as I behaved myself and kept my mask on).

I went over early and got to help decorate and set things up, and serve goodies and visit with folks. It’s the first time I’ve been able to go over there since the end of January when I started treatment. It was a chance to see people I haven’t seen in a while, including my cousin and his wife.

Happy but pooped, the birthday girl took a post-party nap. (and so did I!)

I picked up mail on the way back including some Nivea skin cream I ordered for mom off Amazon (the local Walgreen’s was out and back-ordered). I had turned her on to it a while back and she loves it as much as I do.

I had supper when I got back and crashed out at 6 p.m. (!) Of course, then I woke up at 2 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep until after 4 a.m. As I start my last(!) cycle of chemo Monday, I had some errands to run today. There’s this nail salon I’ve been going to for years now. I went there today just to get my toenails cut — no spa treatment or pedicure, or anything, just a cut. I’ve pretty much given up trying to cut them myself. For one thing, there’s too much me in the way, and for another, I don’t seem to have enough pinch strength in my hands (or else my toenail clipper isn’t sharp enough) to cut my big toe nails. Anyway, as I was coming along 50th Street to where the nail salon is, I noticed that there was a Goodwill truck in the Market Street parking lot across the street (which there hasn’t been for months!). I swooped in and emptied my trunk of three trash bags full of items which have become “surplus to requirement” since I moved.

And speaking of moving, I realized the other day that 1 September marked my one-year anniversary of living here at Pointe Plaza. I did change apartments in January when mom moved over to Carillon House and I moved to a 1-bedroom. At the time I moved, only three of the six apartments in this hallway were occupied. Then my next door neighbor slid off the couch one time too many while trying to stand up and was moved to assisted living, and the lady at the end of the hall (aged 98) had to have emergency (damned if you do/damned if you don’t) gallbladder surgery and didn’t make it, and there were just two of us.

Then, three weeks ago, we were besieged by power tools for over a week while the renovators got the apartment across the hall (which I had been shown, but didn’t take) ready for occupancy. Took him three days to move in (rumble rumble bang bang). Then just as things were calming down, an army of renovators and carpet layers occupied the apartment next door and we had a brisk couple of days of heavy hammering. Now she’s finally all moved in (rumble rumble bang bang).

What makes all this activity even more fun is that stuff (like flooring, carpet, furniture and household goods) goes in and out of this floor via the freight elevator at the end of the hall one load at a time. And every time the elevator doors close, they make this CLANG! noise like whacking the side of a 500 gallon propane storage tank with a 10-pound sledge hammer — and if the elevator foyer door is open (which it invariably is), you can hear it clear to the other (my) end of the hall through closed doors (or at least I can). This might explain why the other apartment at that end of the hall has remained unoccupied for years now.

I will also report that I have finally (mostly) succeeded in teaching myself to sleep through the daily rolling of the trash cans from the kitchens to the dumpster which kicks off smartly at 8:30 every morning, passes en route through the doors right across the patio from my window and proceeds up the concrete walkway between the two buildings (and back again).

I’ve been pretty much resting up for my last go-round with chemo, which is Monday. I’ve been doing some knitting, but mostly I’ve been reading. I re-re-reread Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Crystal Soldier and Crystal Dragon. Every bit as satisfying a read as the other two times I’ve read them. I read them practically back to back. They are not the first two novels that were written in the Liaden Universe/Clan Korval series, but they are the first two in terms of internal chronology. So if you want to begin at the beginning, so to speak, read those two books in that order, as they are the stories of the four founders of Clan Korval and how it came to be founded: The genetically engineered soldier M. Jela Granthorn’s Guard, spaceship pilots Cantra yos’Phelium and Tor An yos’Galan, and the sentient tree.

I kinda want to read up onto Seanan McGuire’s new October Daye book that just came out, but it’s the 16th in the series (and reading 16 books in a row is a serious time commitment). (Goals. I haz ’em.) McGuire does write herself some serious page-turners, but she is so hard on her protagonist. Beats the crap out of the poor girl physically and emotionally every durn book. I’m not sure I’m up for sixteen straight books of that just right now. I might read up onto the latest Murderbot book by Martha Wells, which I’ve just gotten. There’s only six of them in the series. But I’ve gotten some other new books I might read.

Or I might just sit and knit and listen to music. Or not.

Gratuitous picture of a faun and a unicorn from The Day of The Unicorn ©2022 by Manuel Arenas

A Little Spontenaiety, and 4, and . . . .

On a whim, and a very small one at that, shortly after I posted yesterday’s post, I packed up and went to the Market Street on Indiana and 50th, on a Saturday, and there was a Goodwill Truck in the parking lot! So, yay! I offloaded donations, Goodwill made out like a bandit, and I was a happy camper. I was limited to three grocery bags, because that’s all I can carry free-hand, and my car trunk and back seat were so loaded down with Goodwill donations, there was no place to put my little fold-up wagon to take anything more than that back up to the apt.

I was proud of myself. Little bag of baby carrots, bag of cored apple sections, two bunches of green onions, container of cantaloupe chunks, and a small bottle of the best Ranch dressing ever, Litehouse Homestyle Ranch which is thick enough to either dip or dress. Got some mixed nuts, two big bottles of peach juice, some broiled chicken wings, fried okra, some lunch meat, couple loafs of their great specialty bread. And for “tea,” I had half the fried okra, a dinner plate with a small handful of carrots, five little green onions, a handful of apple sections, a couple of chunks of cantalope, and a little sauce dish of Ranch to dip. A DIY salad. Yum! (The green onions were peppery and good!)

Maybe later today I’ll load up the drawer bin units in my wagon and take them down to my car and try for another run on Monday because my spontaneous Saturday grocery run was listless and I forgot a few things as a result. Crystal Light for one thing. I’m getting to the middle of this cycle where I’m starting to bounce back from the chemo and get some energy back.

Once I get the empty bin drawer units out of the way, that will only leave the two boxes. It will open the place up more and leave me with one last push to get everything unpacked. In the meantime, I might tackle the tchotchke shelves, which only need sorting and arranging artfully to display the collection of Chinese cloisonne mom and I have accumulated over the years, as well as some treasured pieces of blue and white, my teacup collection and what have you.

In the meantime, I’ve been listening to a traditional jazz band called Tuba Skinny (just go to YouTube and search for “Tuba Skinny”) It has a lineup of clarinet, cornet, trombone, a singer who plays the bass drum she sits on, two acoustic guitars or guitar and banjo, percussion of washboard and cymbals, and a for-real Sousaphone style tuba. They play early jazz from the Roaring Twenties, the jazz that gave the Jazz Age it’s name. It was the heyday of F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby), Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway in Paris. What was left of the Lost Generation, the generation that had survived WWI, kicked up their heels and partied hearty for a whole decade. This is the musical setting for the Bertie Wooster and Jeeves stories of P. G. Wodehouse that have been so exquisitely portrayed by the young Hugh Laurie as Bertie and Stephen Fry as the inimitable Jeeves in the BBC dramatizations. The print stories are now in the public domain and can be acquired for free from Project Gutenberg, or from your preferred purveyor of digital content for free or really cheap. The 1920’s were the dawn of the modern era. Our modern world has its roots there.

If you haven’t figured out by now I have pretty catholic (2) tastes in music — in fact, I’ve rarely met a musical genre I haven’t liked — yep. My first exposure to this music was in my childhood and TV’s — which happened to coincide. This would have been in the mid 1950’s. One of our two local TV stations broadcast old movie cartoons from the early 1930s through the early 1950s. They were cheap, readily available and were “socially acceptable” content for that awkward part of the afternoon between the kids getting home from school and dad getting home from work, that 3:30-5:30 pm time slot when mom needed the kids out of her hair while she was cooking supper and getting it on the table by 6 pm. The assumption was that kids and cartoons were a “natural.” What nobody seemed to have realized at the time was that these cartoons were aimed at adults, the demographic that bought movie tickets and took their girls and wives out to the movies in the evening for a short, a news real, a cartoon and a feature film. They had a level of sophistication and assumed a common cultural context that gave them meat and depth, wit and sparkle. And the ones from the early thirties (the Harmon-Ising “Merrie Melodies“) frequently were themed around popular tunes of the day, and they were in this “Trad Jazz” style. This was the golden age of the animated cartoon — Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes and the later Merrie Melodies, vintage Fleischer Popeye the Sailor, Woody Woodpecker and Tom and Jerry. As an uncritical child, I took them in at face value, and as I rewatched them over the years, I would grow into them, bringing my increasing knowledge of historical context, life in general, and experience to bear, and “get” more and more of the gags that had gone over my head as a child.

Anyway, grooving to Tuba Skinny makes me smile, and I need all the smiles I can get. Feel free to get you some, too.

A Blast From the Past

Well, I’ve been working on the same four shawls for months now, and I’m kinda bored with them. So, I went rootling through my cache of UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) and fetched out a couple of things. One of them was the below left, which dated from the trip to Savannah, GA; Charleston, SC; and points in between, that mom and I took in May of 2016. It was a tour thing, and one of the ladies on the tour had this big, square, woven, linen scarf with a tassel on each end that she wore around her neck. I liked it and cogitated a knitting pattern to that effect made with acrylic yarn. I fotched that out of the UFO pile and was working on it, but the longer I worked on it and the more I looked at it, the unhappier I got with it to the point where I frogged that sucker back to the slipknot.

Originally, I had used a garter tab — cast on 4 stitches , stockinette for 4 rows to form a square, then pick up stitches all the way around the square — to start it, and that’s the part I didn’t like. I rethought it and started with eight stitches, two apiece on four Double Pointed Needles (DPNs), and joined it to knit in the round, and started right in with kfb’s (knit front and back) to get 8 stitches, then k1, p1, for the even rows, and (kfb, k to 1 stitch before marker, kfb) x 4 for the odd numbered rows. (If I could come up with 7 DPNs the same size, — they come in sets of 5 — I could do a hexagonal piece the same way . . . . Hmmmm. . .)

I was using size US 9 (5.5 mm) Takumi Clover bamboo needles at the time (it takes a set of DPNs, and several lengths of circular needles — 16-inch, 24-inch, 36-inch, etc. as the piece gets bigger and bigger). But, the Takumi bamboos aren’t pointed enough, and the wood “drags” to the point that I can’t get up any speed on them, so after I frogged it, I was going to restart it using the ChiaoGoo Red Lace stainless steel needles, which is my current needle of choice. However, I didn’t have any 16-inch needles available in a US 9 (5.5 mm) so I had to drop back to a size US 8 (5.0 mm) because all the lengths I needed were available.

When I put my knitting down to go to lunch, I looked down and saw I had a long white hair on the front of my shirt (I realized it was one of mine that had gotten attracted to the yarn at some point in the past). As I was pulling it off, it kept coming and coming and coming — I measured it, and it was 25 inches long! Sigh. Oh, well. I currently have a moratorium on haircuts for the foreseeable future — it’s probably all going to fall out during chemo anyway. However, for now, I’m just letting it grow.

For the moment, life is pretty much back to normal: A bowl of knitting on my desk, a bowl of knitting by my chair . . . .

Oh, and I wore my traditional shirt with writing on it for Xmas. Yep.

A Brown Christmas?

Hope not, but today on Xmas eve, it’s blowing like 60. Really. Wind speeds are 20-35 mph with gusts up to 60 mph, and we’re under a wind advisory and a small child alert*. As you might suspect, we have some very moving scenery today, heading NNW at a pretty good clip. I had a pretty stiff headwind coming back. I thought I was going to have to beat to windward to get back in the building.

The above were taken when I braved the elements to get another Phred at Market Street, which is the same chain of super markets that I got the original from. The original Phred was a Norfolk Island Pine. This Phred is an Italian Stone Pine, which is drought tolerant and wants 6-8 hours of full sun a day — which he isn’t going to get, alas. My new windows face the northwest. This new Phred will either adjust or he won’t. I had the last Phred for 27 years, which sets the bar pretty high.

The gnome with the white braids is wishful thinking on my part. One day my hair will be long enough to braid again and I’ll knit myself a gnome hat to celebrate. Goals. I haz ’em. Here is my contribution to the decorations in the common area. I’ve never really been big on seasonal decorating — even when I had someplace to store them.

The revised forecast for mañana is a high of 78 F/25.5 C, which is even ridiculouser than a high of 73 F/22.7 C, but then today’s high was 81 F/27.2 C. No surprise that today’s quaff is peach juice on ice. (serious nums!) I need to find my baggie of mom’s name labels and my laundry pen and get to sewing.

  • Small Child Alert — if your child weighs less than 35 lbs, belay them to something heavy like a car before you let them go outside, otherwise they’ll probably get blown halfway to Crosbyton and you’ll have to go hunt them.

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.

The North Wind Hath Blew

And we hath had snew . . .







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

The Smiley-Face Bush on Tuesday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

iPhones, iCords, iCicles and iGivup

It’s been interesting weather.  We got ice pellets, had thundersnow, rain, and the world was coated with ice this morning.  I could hear the pellets of ice hitting the window screen last night when I was at the computer.  It thundered several times last night, too, and once there was this terrifically loud BANG!! which was probably a utilities transformer going kablooie.   The lights have been flickering from time to time.  As much ice as there is on everything, including trees, I’m not surprised.  What is surprising is that I haven’t had a sustained power loss yet. (Touch wood!) 

We have a unique electric utility situation here.  For years and years, we had two power companies, a large, multistate private power company and a municiple utility company, competing for the same customer base, each with its own duplicate infrastructure, generator stations, etc.  People could choose which service they wanted to take from.  Then, about 15-20 years ago, the private utility company was bought out by Excel Energy and in the corporate restructuring, they sold their local infrastructure to the City. Whoever you were getting your electricity from at the time of the sellout, that’s the infrastructure your house remained connected to.  So, your neighbors’ power could go out, and yours wouldn’t, or an outage might only affect a scattering of four or five houses on the block.  It all depends on which infrastructure the outage is in relative to the infrastructure your house was connected to at the time of the sellout.  It’s really weird.

Just now, the lady in “B” called to tell me there was a branch that had broken off the stupid locust tree in my back yard.  It was hung up on the fence and the big end of it was hitting up against my cable wire.  But, it was wedged in between the fence pickets so tightly that she couldn’t maneuver it out by herself.  Actually, the  smaller branchings of it were straddling the fence, with most of them on my side.  I went into the back yard to see if we could get it loose/down so it wasn’t hitting  my cable “war.”  We managed to get the branch loose.  It was easiest to push it over into her yard, so that’s what we did.   There’s my excitement for the day.

The weather has warmed up enough that we’re melting now. Everything is dripping, and the ice that had coated the trees and wires is falling off in large chunks with every breath of wind.  it’s all over the yard.  Now and again I hear the Whump! of a wad of icicles falling off the eaves.

I’ve taken a viewer’s suggestion and scoped out some Bluetooth earbuds.  So now I’ll have to get one of those wireless charger disk doodads, too, but they’ll have to come out of next month’s budget.  Sigh.  I hate the shape of the corded iBuds that came with the iPhone.  They won’t stay in my ears worth beans.  The proposed Bluetooth earbuds are the kind that work best for me. The trick will be keeping them charged.  Now, if they could just make a wireless charger that works on people. . . .

The majority of my slacks have pockets, but most of their pockets are too shallow for an iPhone to fit into.  (Since iPhones first came out in 2007, that tells you what a clothes horse I’m not.)  When I go to cardiac rehab sessions, the car keys and the iPhone go in my pockets, and my purse gets locked in the trunk (boot) of my car.

Last night I got a wild hare to knit me an iPouch to hang around my neck so I will have a place to carry my iPhone when I wear slacks with unsuitable or no pockets.  I’m knitting it bottom-up using Turkish cast on (like you do with toe-up socks) to avoid having to Kitchener stitch the bottom closed.  Guess what the stitch is called that produces that long tail — it’s the iCord stitch.  Really.   I’ve still got about 10 inches of iCord left to knit.    It’s a really simple little pattern using not a whole lot of worsted yarn — You may recognize the color.  It’s an oddball I had left over from The Assassin’s Daughter shawl.  I like the way the colors are pooling

Everybody keeps saying that the iPhone is so intuitive.  How neurotypical of them.  My experience has been that it’s frustrating and counterintuitive  to the point that it causes me to iSwear.