There’s a name for when you mishear a song lyric. It’s called a mondegreen. Just chilling and listening to Steely Dan tonight, the song “Glamour Profession” from one of my favorite albums of theirs, “Gaucho.” The actual line is “Brut and charisma poured from the shadow where he stood.” What I insist on hearing? “Rudy Charisma poured from the shadow where he stood.”
It’s gotten to the point where every morning, first thing, I paddle-foot in and check the bud. Any day now. I am excessively chuffed that the orchid is even budding, never mind actually teetering on the brink of blooming. One of the reasons for my chuffedness (chuffitude?) is that orchids are tropical plants, epiphytes, as it were, and the flatlands of Tx by no means have a tropical climate. The huge bugbear in the situation is humidity. Orchids like lots of it and we don’t haz it. We’re in between “it rained a little bit about two months ago,” and “it rained some last Fall.” Yesterday, we had 50% humidity, and I was delighted — a vast improvement over the 10% we had last week. It’s back down to 30% today. This is not polyester country — not unless you enjoy getting the bejezuz shocked out of you every time you touch something metal. (Talk about a renewable energy source!)
Last week, the caregivers over at Carillon House called me to tell me mom had taken a little spill. They said she’d just bathed, was going to get her hearing aids and must have lost her balance. Then Thursday at the care plan meeting, the nursing rep said she’d slid off the edge of the bed mattress when she sat down on it to put in her hearing aids. (easy enough to do with those thick memory foam mattresses. I’ve encountered the physics of that situation myself!) Anyway, the important thing is she wasn’t hurt. She landed on a fundamentally well-padded region with only a negligible injury to her composure. She doesn’t seem to be having any balance issues, which is a great relief. Nor vision issues either, thank goodness. She can follow her sports teams’ games on TV just fine, even if she can’t hear the announcer’s voices well enough to understand what they’re saying. (She’s not missing much, frankly!)
I’ve been having trouble with my knee again, the one that was replaced. The VA, of course, won’t take my word for it. I lucked out and was able to get a same-day appointment (on a Friday, no less) for a plain film x-ray and a CT of said knee instead of having to wait two weeks for one. But then we had to wait for the spirit to move somebody to read the durn things. Finally, after three weeks of pushing that rope at the VA, I’ve finally gotten a consult to go see the guy who replaced the knee. Got it late Friday, of course. I’ve got to call to get an appointment first thing Monday. In the interim between replacing my knee and now, the orthopod has moved, not way the heck to the other side of town like my dentist and mom’s CPA, but actually closer to where I live. He used to be in a building right beside Covenant hospital. Now he’s in cahoots with that sports medicine group that’s right across the street from JACC, the cancer center I go to. They’re the same bunch that diagnosed mom’s scoliosis and resultant sciatica. Right handy.
I got the results of the x-ray and CT scans today, and they were detecting faint anomalies in the same place where I have pain, the inside (right side) of my left knee. I only have pain when I put weight on the knee, for which mixed blessing I am thankful. There’s a constellation of factors, not the least of them being chemotherapy both in the body processes it disrupts and the inaction caused by the (lasting) fatigue it induces. There’s my risk factors for osteoporosis (age, sex, race), and my dietary intake of calcium. I should eat more dairy products. Lots of calcium in dairy products. Ice cream is a dairy product. I should eat more ice cream. Yep.
I’ve got to go Monday to sign the permission so mom’s tax forms can be e-filed. (She got a refund. It was four figures.) I live in the 4100 block of 17th Street. Mom’s CPA is 1n the 5000 block of 122nd street. I should probably pack a lunch.
Part of what makes this so funny is how true it is.
I’m six books into the 21+ book Foreigner series by C. J. Cherryh, now, with number 22 due out in October (22 being an extremely infelicitous number , there has to be at least one more . . .). I’ve read through the series at least 4 times. I know what happens and I still resent having to stop reading and go do something else. Yes, they’re that good. Cherryh is a master at world building. Her alien societies are thoroughly thought-through, and she puts you right in the middle of them. She casts interesting lights on human society by putting them in sharp contrast to her alien society. Some of the books are thumbscrews — the tension builds turn by turn; some books are edge of seat with nonstop action. There’s always room for contrast and comparison between the alien society and the human one. And with two different alien races, a society where assassination is legal, and lace and knee boots are de rigueur, how can you lose?
. . . and you too have come into the world to do this,
to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.”
“When I Am Among the Trees” ~ Mary Oliver
I have a thing for Mary Oliver. You will notice two quotes by her in the sidebar to this blog — if your device displays sidebars. They do not strew Pulitzer Prizes about like chicken feed. She won one for poetry, but her work is not effusive, precious, over wrought or “highfalutin.” It does not come out of a circus of academia with trained language that performs tricks and jumps through hoops of “meters” and “poem forms.” Her work is quiet, thoughtful, rooted in nature. It has a Frostian quality, a New Englander plain-spoken-ness that’s bald on the face of it and, at the same time, pithy with meaning. You can take a verse or phrase and chew on it all day. She did with words what Andrew Wyeth did with paint; her work has that same egg-tempera quality of clear, cold north light. (I’ve never been to New England, but I know that light. We have it here in the flatlands. By it you can see things clearly and in fine detail.) She writes poetry for people who don’t like poetry. Reading her work is like a long walk with an old friend. I recommend it.
I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday. My poor skin has been through two rounds of adverse reactions and side-effects of chemotherapy, it’s winter, the humidity has been under 50% for days and days of central heating, and Sunday night was so cold I ran the heating pad for about half an hour at the bottom of my bed to warm up my poor, frigid little tootsies. When I threw back the covers Monday morning, I noticed that the skin around the inside of my ankles and up my shins was having a fit of hysterics. I thought I knew what was going on and smeared some Sween on it, which didn’t help much. Just to be on the safe side, I called the office of that dermatologist my oncologist sent me to last year when we stopped the bendamustine because I nearly got Stevens-Johnson syndrome from it. I lucked out and instead of going to knitting group yesterday afternoon, I got in to see him. Eczema (AKA atopic dermatitis) was the verdict. I was already planning a Walmart run, and I had them send the Rx for triamcinolone cream there. Also he approved of my notion to get some cotton “athletic” high top socks to put on after I’ve slathered on the cream to act as a kind of dressing. I’ve had two applications of the cream, and I’m already seeing improvement.
Mom’s phone came yesterday afternoon, and I was going to fix it all up yesterday evening and take it to her today. Guess again. It has to charge for 24 hours before you can do stuff with it. It’s slightly heavier than mine. I lied. It’s not a Nokia. It’s an “Avid 589.” I’ve ordered an impact case and a screen protector. After while, I’ll get into it. Mostly, it needs to be activated, and her phone numbers put in, and as much of the extraneous stuff taken off as possible — stuff she doesn’t need or would not be interested in. I’ll need to get into the settings and make sure it’s all set up right.
In the knitting news, I’ve started a “kitten hat” for a child — Imagine a manila envelope shape, but instead of the opening flap, it has ribbing all round the edge of the opening. When you put it on, the corners on the bottom of the envelope stick out like kitten ears, because geometry. They’re not as complex as they look. I chose to use two 16-inch needles because I had them to hand.
I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On to cast on 40 pairs of stitches (80 stitches total) onto two 16-inch circular needles. You knit the one side on that needle, and the other side on the other needle, but the yarn goes in a spiral from side to side. (The traditional method is to knit it flat, fold it in half and sew up the sides, but I go seamless whenever possible.)
I could have Magic Looped it with a single 32-inch or 40-inch circular needle, but my magic tuchus didn’t want to get up and go into the other room and get one . . .
One of the more nimble brained among us pointed out that on a swirly hat that swirled to the left, one would want to use a left-leaning decrease (ssk), rather than a right leaning decrease (k2tog). Apologies for the cognitive cropper. Now and again, my thought-into-word converter drops the ball.
I’m using one of the skeins of Caron Simply Soft yarn I got on sale to make another swirl hat, this time using kfb’s instead of yo’s to add the stitches. I’ve got three hats in progress at the moment, and switch from one to the other as I get tired of cables or bored with swirls. One of the things I had to get on my Walmart run was trash bags for various wastebaskets, and I got a box of baggies for the hats.
I make them for Joe Arrington Cancer Center, and they like to have them in baggies with a paper label that tells fiber content and washing instructions. Makes it easy for the Auxillary people to take them round on the snacks cart they use to dispense goodies and drinks in the treatment area if they’re neatly and safely in baggies. I have an appointment with my oncologist in March, and I’ll drop off whatever hats I’ve finished by then.
So, it’s about 3:30, I’ve just finished a leisurely lunch (roast beef with onions and celery, skins-and-all mashed potatoes, and mixed veg of string beans and carrots)(num!). I’m sitting at the computer(s). I have one of the puzzles I made on Jigsaw Planet up on the left screen (photograph of a frilled jelly (Chiarella centripetalis) against a navy blue background)(!). On the right screen, I have YouTube on the Firefox browser and WordPress on the Google browser.
I have a bowl of knitting — a swirly hat. Dead simple knitting. (Evenly divide the total number of stitches into sections and make them swirl one direction or the other by putting a k2tog on one edge of the section and a yarn over at the other. The panel “swirls” toward whichever side the yarn over is on. Crown decreases with a k3tog instead of a k2tog.
If you want a tight swirl, you do the k2tog, yo thing every row. If you want a looser swirl, you alternate the k2tog, yo thing with a row of knit stitches.) (I am loosely swirling.)
I’m pleasantly full of a good lunch, sitting and knitting, and listening to Mozart piano sonatas, as you do, and that little rocking octaves in the baseline thing Wulfi does catches my attention, and it occurs to me that Mozart (and Beethoven) does that little trick a lot. And then it occurs to me that both composers were writing at that time at the end of the 18th century when the pianoforte is gradually taking over from the harpsichord (because brass instruments, but that’s another tangent). The instrument had not yet evolved into its final form and composers hadn’t had enough time yet to fully explore the instrument’s capabilities and modify their performance techniques to exploit them. And I realize that this little rocking octaves thing (the thumb on one note and the little finger on the same note but an octave lower, alternating quickly between the two notes eight or ten times by quickly rocking the hand from side to side) is a harpsichord technique (ditto the rapid repeated striking of the same bass chord or notes) that’s been carried over to the pianoforte.
The name of that game is sostenuto. String instruments (violin, viola, cello, etc.) played with a bow can sustain (hold) a note from one end of the bow to the other. A wind instrument (clarinet, flute, oboe, bassoon, etc.) can hold a note until the player runs out of breath. But the harpsichord is a plucked string instrument. You press a key, you get a note, and that’s it. The sound isn’t all that loud to begin with and it dies out rapidly. And that rocking octave thing, and the repeated striking of the same note/chord are workarounds to get a sustained note/chord you can set the tweedly-tweedly bits against.
But here’s the thing. It’s called a “pianoforte”because in the language of music, which is Italian BTW, piano means “quiet”and forte means “loud” — which gives you an important clue about the main difference between the pianoforte and the harpsichord. You can’t get any volume to speak of out of a harpsichord. It’s mechanics. No matter how hard you hit the keys, pling is all you get. (Most harpsichords have two separate keyboards and two separate sets of strings, and a way to “slave” one keyboard to the other to double the volume.) You put a harpsichord together with more than a dozen string and wind instrument (even using both keyboards) and the other instruments will flat drown it out.
The pianoforte, however, plays notes by having a hammer hit a string, and there is a direct correlation between how hard you press the key and how hard the hammer hits the string. This is the first time there’s been a (portable) keyboard instrument with dynamics — the ability to vary the volume of the notes played for dynamic effect. Strings have that ability. So do wind instruments. But not until the pianoforte do you have a keyboard instrument that can hold its own against an orchestra. (I’m not counting the pipe organ, because it’s not something Herr Gottbucks is going to get for the 18th century version of the family rec room so they can have the neighbors over for a fun evening of sight reading trio sonatas.)(Yes, they actually did that.)
So, Mozart and Beethoven are transitional composers, and a lot of their music for the pianoforte has holdover techniques from the harpsichord. As you progress through the sonatas chronologically, you can hear how Mozart is coming to terms with this new instrument and beginning to exploit its dynamics. Beethoven comes along somewhat later (he idolized Mozart and wanted to become his student, but somehow that didn’t happen), still using those rocking octaves and repeated notes, but using them to add an emotional undercurrent to his music.
But in the closing chapters of this Thursday afternoon, Mozart and I are sitting quietly, knitting a hat, (working my jigsaw to give my hands a break). And seriously considering getting up and making a pot of tea. And maybe some toast.
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.
Tomorrow is the last fluid infusion of this session. I have to be there at 8:00. So after Monday’s infusion I got home just before noon, in more than enough time for the housekeeping lady. While she was there, the maintenance guy came to say he needed to turn my shower on because there was a leak downstairs. Turns out my shower was leaking somehow (why suddenly is it leaking now and not earlier?) He had to calk it and the calk had to set, so I couldn’t use it until he came by today to put everything back together.
He said he’d be by this morning. He didn’t show up until after noon. Of course, by the time he came, I’d washed my dishes and started a pot of chai tea with vanilla almond milk. I’ve got as far as making the chai tea, which is cooling at the moment. It has to cool to room temp before I can add the vanilla almond milk. Then it’s into the fridge.
Anyway, I can use my shower now, which is good because I have to go get my last infusion for this session tomorrow, and I’ll want to shower before I go. Never mind that you don’t work up much of a sweat sitting around in an air conditioned room, I just think it’s manners if you’re going to be in a situation where somebody has to do something as up close and personal as inserting an IV rig into the chemo port on your chest, that you should have showered pretty recently. Kinda common courtesy, which doesn’t seem to be all that common any more. . . .
Saturday, my cousin’s daughter had her baby (she was due Friday), and I need to really get my rear in gear and finish stuff and get it blocked and mailed. Don’t know anything about her except her name and that she’s a healthy little newborn girl. She’s my dad’s youngest brother’s great grandchild. My dad would have been delighted. My mom got to meet her older sister. Hard to believe it’s been almost a year since they came to visit.
Mom had been transferred from the hospital to that nursing home by then and I was in the middle of getting mom moved to Carillon House to finish her rehab, and getting us both into Life Care at Carillon, but hadn’t yet started in on the estate sales and selling mom’s house and getting me moved in and settled. September 1 will be a year since I moved into Carillon. Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess.
My bank sponsoring an ice cream social this afternoon, but I didn’t go. We’ve had people test positive for COVID here in the building, and eating requires taking down my mask. Not worth the risk.
My BFF who lives outside of Houston finally got COVID. She ended her period of quarantine last Thursday and was back to work. But while she had it, she was as sick as the proverbial dog.
I gulped down Aliette de Bodard’s Dominion of the Fallen series and the adjacent Dragons and Blades duette from the same universe, which was a great if slightly grim read, and I’ve started in on a reread of the four-book Finishing School series by Gail Carriger. Carriger’s books are set during the reign of Queen Victoria in a Britain where werewolves are obliged to serve in Her Majesty’s army and vampires are arbiters of style. It’s fun and steampunk and ever so slightly silly. The finishing school for young ladies of quality is located aboard a dirigible and, in addition to the usual finishing school curriculum, includes coursework in intelligence gathering and assassination. It is the prequel, if you will, to her Parasol Protectorate series, and there are three books which deal with the subsequent careers of three of the friends the main character makes at school.
In the knitting news, I did get that little baby top started, and I’m losing a game of Yarn Chicken as I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it with one skein of yarn. But I have two more skeins of that yarn. I might do some booties to match. We’ll see. I need to get the top finished first, and fish out some appropriate buttons from my stash.
I’ve got to finish that one sun hat, though, before I start on matching booties, or a sun hat for the top. I’ve got about 15 more rows to go on the top but, except for the last five rows, it’s all stockinette, which means purling 117 stitches every other row. That much purling is a pain. It’s less of a pain if you’re a continental style knitter, but it’s still a pain. The pattern is only a page and a half long. You could make one in an afternoon if you put your mind to it.
Doing my laundry is kinda like going to the laundromat. I mean, it’s just down the hall, probably 50 feet from my door, so I don’t actually have to go outside and use a car to get there, but I still have to schlep everything there — laundry basket full of dirty clothes, soap, dryer sheets, like you do when you go to the washateria.
There’s a really nice seating area for gatherings and parties just across from the laundry room, and there’s usually a jigsaw puzzle in progress on one of the tables. (it’s a me trap. Traps me every time. I love jigsaw puzzles.) It takes about 30-45 minutes for a load of wash to wash (One day I’ll think about it at the right time and time it with the clock app on my phone so I’ll know. God gave us kitchen timers for a reason . . . ).
There was a jigsaw puzzle just begun on the table. It trapped me until the washer finished.
I threw the clothes in the dryer and went back to my apartment because I’d broken the fingernail on my thumb getting the dryer door open and it was super raggedy and snaggy. My fingernails are very brittle anymore. Partly due to age, but I’m sure chemo also has something to do with it, too. They break off in layers like mica. Anyway, I set the kitchen timer for 60 minutes and sat down to do this post because . . . .
Yesterday, I ran across a video by this guy (his name is Martijn – which makes me think he’s Dutch) who bought some acreage up in the alps in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. It has two stone buildings on it, and he’s renovating them with a view to eventually living there. He’s spent the last ten years doing very long bicycle camping trips and he’s very used to minimalist living.
So I’m watching one of his videos (the scenery is breath-taking!) and as he’s building a stone walkway and sweeping out the cabins and setting up solar panels and otherwise puttering about, on the voice over narration, he happens to mention that his nearest neighbor is a priest. Then he films a segment about visiting the priest, and I’m thinking, Kirsten Dirksen did a segment on a priest living in the mountains of Italy, and it’s this same guy! Then come to find out she did a segment on Martijn, too. I watch a lot of Kirsten Dirksen’s videos for the same reason I watch HGTV. I like home reno and home decor kind of content.
Kirsten Dirksen describes her channel as: Videos about simple living, self-sufficiency, small (and tiny) homes, backyard gardens (and livestock), alternative transport, DIY, craftsmanship, and philosophies of life. She and her husband and her children travel all over the world making videos about people who have renovated, innovated, and retrofitted various types of housing in mostly urban but also rural settings (what a great childhood her kids are having!). They interview the person and find out the story behind the house, the whys and hows. If you’re into that kind of thing, you should check their channel out. The ingenuity, inventiveness and creativity of people is just amazing.
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.
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.
Woke up this morning dabbling in this thought puddle: So women already have to play the men’s game because it’s the only game in town, and they have to use the men’s rules and the men’s cards, and the men change the rules halfway through the game at random and then they insist on all these elaborate arcane handicaps, and then change what you have to do to win three fourths of the way through the game and we still win, and men immediately launch into this big rant about how we take unfair advantage and how ruthless we are and how unfeminine that is, and going on and on about it, and we’re having to stand around listening to it while we’re doing the teenage eyeroll thing and thinking, “Oh, grow TF up already. . . ” So I’ll just park that here like a piece of chewing gum. Strange morning.
My BFF called last night from Outer Houston and we talked for four and a half hours (!). I mean, sit the phone down and gab while we’re making and eating dinner and cleaning up after and talking about books and music and fashion and where our heads are at right now and our respective creative processes and where each of us is going with our respective version of it. (She’s very eye/visually oriented, has a fine arts degree, paints, draws, was a scientific illustrator for the Carnagie Museum in Pittsburg for a zillion years, and I’m very verbal/ear oriented, have a degree in English (Rhetoric), etc.) (In a parallel universe, we might have done graphic novels; I the story and script, she all the drawing.) We both love music but we use different types of it and in different ways and want different things from it — another interesting conversation thread from last night. That transmogrified into an exploration of our respective creative processes in and of itself, and how it involves different circuits in her brain than it does in mine (never mind that I’m on the spectrum and wired differently anyway).
We’ve both become devotees of the Boomer Goth fashion look, it seems. (She bought some black pretend leather slacks and black ankle boots with tire tread soles. She has the height to pull it off.) (You have no idea how funny the whole concept of “Boomer Goth” is; we laughed uproariously about it all evening.) We both have that slightly off-kilter world view, only tilted at different angles (but that’s OK) and the same offbeat sense of humor. We’ve been friends since age 14 and we have that whole private language that only comes from long acquaintance and little shorthand referents that nobody else can get because it’s one of those you had to have been there. . . .
She was put on clonazepam (Klonopin is the brand name) for like 20 years for chronic anxiety and is finally off it now. Her brain is coming out of the drug haze, and she is astonished at how many of the symptoms she attributed to “old age” and nerve damage from hazardous chemicals she was exposed to at her museum job were actually side effects of the clonazepam and are now dramatically improving now that she’s not taking it any more (not to mention all the foods she stopped eating because she thought she’d developed a food allergy to them, but that were actually clonazepam side effects affecting her digestive system.) (Stevie Nicks has gone on record as saying if she were to ever meet the person who initially prescribed clonazepam to her, she would want to murder them because of what the drug did to her brain for eight years.) After over 20 years, my BFF is finally reconnecting with her art — drawing and painting, and rediscovering what she thought she’d lost forever. It’s like she’s having her own personal private Renaissance.
We talked about books and she wants to start reading (and rereading) again, which is problematic at the moment because of her cataracts, but her first surgery will be in March. But once she gets past that, she’ll be able to get back into it. And all of this is happening to her as I’m about to start dealing with chemo brain. Again.
We had a front blow through last night. It blustered and blew all night. I’ve transferred my yarn stash but it hasn’t made it under the bed yet. Sufficient unto the day . . . I’m probably going grocery shopping tomorrow morning, but I may blow it off until Monday so I can check to see if the Market Street at Indiana and 50th has a Goodwill Donation truck in their parking lot. I need to offload my car so I can load it up with those drawer bins.
I love my little kitchen. The peninsula could have barstool seating on this side of it, but I have my metal filing cabinet (with bowls of knitting on) and the printer end of my computer desk pushed up under it. Anyway, I eat at my computer desk most of the time anyway. I have ample cabinet storage (although I’d rather have more drawers than shelves). Still, I have a place for everything and the “above” cabinets (above the refrigerator, microwave and sink) are all empty because I have more room than things to put in it.
Here’s my little pet Italian Stone Pine and the orchid I inherited from mom. I need to repot both of them. I have the stuff to do it. My windows face northwest, and there are deciduous trees in front of them, so currently I have a lot of bright indirect light. (The Stone Pine can take full sun and would do well if planted outside.) I’d like some more plants, but I’m undecided/picky about which ones. I’ll have to wait until the trees leaf out to see what the spring/summer light level is like and let that be my guide. I’m thinking a shallow, pretty bowl with succulents in wouldn’t go amiss. . . .
I’ve been making a big push on the Latticia Venezia shawl because I was getting close to the 66 stitches I needed in the garter stitch panel so I could start the next lace panel. Latticia Venezia is an asymmetrical triangular shawl that has three lace panels separated by garter stitch panels. The lace panel interleaves four columns of stockinette with three columns of lattice lace. There will be three such lace panels evenly spaced across the width of the shawl: Lace panel, garter panel, lace panel, garter panel, lace panel, garter panel.
The edge that swoops away to the left is the increase edge, with an increase of 1 stitch every other row using yarn overs (yo), and that nice little slip 1 with yarn in front, k1 edging (which may or may not be some variant of I-cord edging). The stockinette panels are 3 stitches wide, with the first one on the right hand side formed by the little s1wyif, k1 edging. I thought I’d show you some details. I’m rather chuffed with how it’s turning out. The flash on the iPhone tends to wash out the color sometimes.
The shawl will need to be blocked and probably judiciously steam pressed to get the lattice lace to open up properly and the stockinette to lie flat. The yarn is mercerized Pima cotton, so it can stand a little pressing. The bottom row of photographs give you a better idea of the yarn color — this lovely bachelor button blue they’re calling “Waterman Pond.” I’m loving the drape and the hand of this Berroco Modern Cotton DK yarn. I’m using a US3 (3.25 mm) needle which is a bit small for DK weight yarn, but I like the dense fabric it gives. It’s a single ply yarn, which can get a little tricky as the single plies have a tendency to split..
Mom has finally gotten an appointment with the spine doctor. Unfortunately, it’s not til the 27th. Don’t know if mom would be a candidate for a TENS unit, but that would be a great option if it would work for her, and if they could/would implant one in a woman her age. We’ll see. In the meantime, I take her to the beauty saloon on Friday to get her hair done.