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.

Noooooo. . . . !

The day did not get off to a good start. I’d got my arm band and was waiting to be called back for labs and to have my port accessed, and their secret special computer program crashed. Since it’s a system-wide program, it was down everywhere in the building, and possibly in all the Covenant facilities. After about 45 minutes, they announced that the system was down and they estimated it would be back up in an hour. I got there at 8:00 a.m. and it was sneaking up on a quarter after 9:00 by then. In the meantime, the waiting room was filling up like an airport when they’ve cancelled flights at the last minute. Somebody got the bright idea to go old, OLD school and fill out paper forms for each patient based on what data they could access locally.

My labs were supposed to be drawn at 8:00 and my appointment with the oncologist was supposed to be at 9 o’clock. It was 9:30 before I got my labs and access. (The computers were down in the labs, too. Fortunately they could make printouts from each piece of lab testing equipment and hand carry them upstairs, so he had my lab results.) It was 10:30 before I hit the oncologist’s waiting room and almost 11:00 before I got to see him. He is neither reticent nor stoic, and I expected him to be sizzling and spitting like a drop of water on a hot griddle considering the computer problems, but he was remarkably calm.

I have begun to experience some peripheral neuropathy on the very tips of my fingers in the form of numbness, worse on the thumb, index and middle fingers of my right hand, which I reported. I have just started noticing this in the last week or two. He said the culprit is the vincristine (Oncovin) and we can stop that. I made the remark that I was glad this was my last session, and he seemed surprised and asked me if I wanted to stop treatment, which he didn’t advise. That was when we discovered there had been a miscommunication. He had told me I would have 6 sessions, and I was under the impression that we were counting from my first session in February. Nope. Guess again. What he meant was that I was to get 6 doses of Rituxan, of which I’ve only had 3 counting the one I got today. This was very depressing news as this whole business has been going on since February and it has been just slowly but surely grinding me down. (Of course, it’s not nearly so bad as it was in 2018 when I had four hospitalizations, a heart attack and pneumonia and was on bottled oxygen for a month . . . ) He is going to give me an extra week of recovery time before I go in for #4, on July 18. (yay.) This means I might be done with this mess by September. Sigh.

Needless to say, I was kind of bummed. He did stop the vincristine, so all I got today was cyclophosphamide, prednisone, and Rituxan. Even so, it was a quarter til 6:00 before I hit the pavement.

On my way home, when I got to the intersection of 19th Street and Quaker Avenue, instead of going straight, I made a left turn onto 19th and went ALL the way out to the closest of the four Arby’s in town. (They have the meats!). North-south Quaker crosses east-west 19th Street between its 4400 block and its 4300 block. The Arby’s I go to is in the 5700 block, way the heck out past LCU and the city library branch where I go to knitting group. The other three locations are on 82nd Street. But I had my heart set on a beef gyro and a mess of curly fries. Guess what. They were out of their special gyro sauce. I said to give me one anyway and give me a couple packets of Horsey Sauce. She discounted the price a dollar because of no gyro sauce, which was the best thing that had happened to me all day (until I ate my gyro and curly fries, that is!).

In the knitting news, I’ve started in on baby booties again, which I haven’t made in years. I’m writing a new pattern for them which will appear on Knits From The Owl Underground as soon as I finish bouncing off the walls from the prednisone. It’s the No-Tears Toe-Up Baby Booties with Fleegle Heel and Crocheted Cuff Edging. I’m test knitting the new pattern using left over yarn from the 9-Bladed Circular Baby Blanket based on this circular shawl pattern. The toe starts with a Turkish cast on of 14 stitches and increases to 28 stitches total, so they go fast. I’ve got plenty of the Botticelli Red Malabrigo Sock yarn. My thought was to make a pair to match the dress.

The Fleegle Heel is a gusseted heel (versus the humpty-eleven other types of heel construction). Some heel constructions (e. g., short row heel) tend to leave a noticeable gap/hole at the end of the decreases, but this method doesn’t. It has a long Bobby Socks style, fold over cuff worked in 1 x 1 ribbing. The feedback I’ve gotten on this cuff style is that they really stay on well.

When I came back from my Walmart run yesterday, I noticed they’ve done some of what my step grandfather (AKA “Grandma-paw”) used to call “landscraping” on the pergola by where I park my car. They’ve given the wisteria on the pergola a haircut, done some planting, and put in a walkway.

Some day when the weather isn’t going to be hotter than a $2 pistol firing uphill, I’ll have to go sit and knit for a bit.

I’m trying to stay positive. Just a matter of hitching up my big girl panties and getting on with it. An Arby’s gyro and curly fries and some Cherry vanilla HäagenDazs® ought to perk me up. Think I’ll sit down and eat it.

Comfort Food

There’s a chili casserole I make with Wolf Brand Chili with Beans (2 cans), pasta (typically either elbow macaroni or spaghetti), half a white onion chopped, a small can of sliced black olives and a small can of Del Monte mixed vegetables.  When I eat a bowl of it, I sprinkle Sargento Mexican 4 Cheeses on top and zot it in the microwave.

I mention it because, as you may have guessed, I just made one. The hardest part of making it is boiling the pasta.  The rest is mostly just opening cans — and chopping up half a white onion.  It’s kinda like Frito Pie only with pasta.  I mention it also because its a tasty, hearty, fast (and cheap) one-dish meal.  You can put this casserole together in about 20 minutes and feed six off it if some of them are children and/or you practice portion control.  You don’t have to bake it; everything in it is already as cooked as it needs to be.  Just sprinkle cheese on it and heat it up in the microwave.

I cooked a whole package of elbow macaroni but only used about half of it in the casserole.  (I’ll eat the remaining pasta with some undiluted Progresso Beef Pot Roast  soup on top — I can get two meals out of one can of soup that way.)  If you use spaghetti, you need to break the sticks of spaghetti into thirds before you boil it.

This is what I call a “template dish” — you don’t have to use the exact ingredients I use.  Just whatever brand of canned chili is available (with or without beans), and cheese of choice.  You can make it with or without the vegetables.  You could use lasagna noodles and layer it like lasagna with mozzarelli, or make it with bow tie pasta or rotini.  You could throw in chopped bell peppers or jalapeños, use green onions as well as or instead of white onions, or use pearl onions.  You could top it with Asiago cheese, or sharp cheddar.  Instead of putting the cheese on top, you could dice some Velveta cheese and mix it in.

If you’re a single person or there’s just the two of you, that’s why some lunch meat comes in plastic containers that are too good to throw away.  It’s also why God gave us freezers.  Moi?  I am my father’s daughter.  I’ll eat it for lunch and supper until it’s gone, and relish every bowl of it.




Blueteeth and Rue, or Cheeta* Saves The Day

Went to the dentist Monday, as previously noted, when it was officially hotter than a $2 pistol firing uphill (109F/42.7C).  I have downloaded playlists to my cell phone, and listen to them through ear buds when I must endure the scraping of teeth with metal objects that is inevitable when getting one’s teeth cleaned.  I find the sound/sensation quite nerve-curdling.  The music blocks out some of the noise.  It was a Club des Belugas playlist and quite diverting.

Way back last year when the Greyola took pickup damage to his starboard doors and I had to have him repaired, I had made the remark to one of the mechanics that one of these days I needed to get the manual down and figure out how to connect my cell phone to the car via bluetooth.  With the maddening alacrity of the young, he proceeded to take my phone and connect the two in a matter of minutes, et voilá.  My phone now automatically bluetooths itself to the sound system in my car when I turn the key and I can answer it from the steering wheel.   I knew there must also be a way to play playlists through the car’s sound system and had idly toyed with the idea of figuring that out at some point.  Well, I was still listening to my Club des Belugas tunes as I got into the car, but when I turned on the key to start it, my sound cut out, and the car radio/CD player/etc. read “Press Media.”  I pressed the media button and, mirabile dictu, I had Club des Belugas on the sound system in my car.  Apparently, wonders have not yet ceased.  The Belugas and I clubbed home by way of our friendly neighborhood Taco Villa where I picked up a set of crunchy tacos and a bean burrito.

Now, I have to say that as the family’s designated trained chimpanzee*, I am possessed of a modicum of tech smarts and am demonstrably capable of reading and following directions.  I feel confident that I could have figured out how to connect my cell to my car via Bluetooth, etc., by myself, but doing so was very low on my list of  priorities.  (Of course, the easiest way to get something done is to get somebody else to do it for you!)

Tuesday was much cooler than Monday.  I had hoped to stay in out of it. However, about 2:30, I got a call from my mom.  Her telephone number of ancient memory had been restored to its ancestral wire, and she and her friends had resumed phoning each other.  But, just when normalcy seemed to have beeen established once more, she got a voice mail.  She got quite exercised about it.  She was adamant she did not want voice mail, but wanted her answering machine back (which she already knew how to operate).  A goodly bit of gnashing of teeth and ruing of the day was also involved.  Her cordless phone has voicemail settings but you were advised to call the phone company (you have to program in the voicemail access number for your particular carrier).   I drove over and called the phone company for her to see what needed to be done to drag her kicking and screaming into the 21st century.  (AT&T takes their tech support from the Phillipines.  Even when my mom was not hearing impaired, she had trouble with foreign accents, like Boston, Canada and the San Fernando Valley.  Brits and anyone speaking English as a second language might as well be speaking Swahili.) We learned, to her immense relief, that voicemail could be deactivated, thus allowing her messages to continue to go to her answering machine. I got the tech support lady to do that, and there was great joy in Mudville.  I later was able to play her voice mails for her.  She had three.  One from an actual caller, and two from herself calling her land line from her cell phone to try to circumvent voicemail and get her answering machine.

Wednesday, I thought I might go out, but early in the day, the toilet in the en suite off the master bedroom malfunctioned — the lever attached to the handle that pulls the chain that lifts the flap and starts the flush cycle when you press the handle down broke off the handle.  One could flush the toilet if one removed the top off the tank and fished around in the water for the chain to lift the flap with, but this is highly unsatisfactory as a long-term solution.  The plumber was summoned, eventually got there and easily replaced the assembly, and that crisis is also resolved.

The missing ankle weights and hand weights are still at large.  I’m durned if I know where they are.  I will spring for another pair of ankle weights because I need them as part of my rehab process, but mark my words, three days after the new ones arrive, I’ll find the old ones.  In a place I’ve looked six times already.  (They’ll be in Plainview.**)

*If something is so simple a trained chimpanzee could do it, I am the one who gets to explain it to my mom.  

**Whenever you lose something, you inevitably wind up finding it in Plainview.

Sorry For The Radio Silence

I’ve been down with that awful crud that’s been going around, what my dad would have called “the galloping epizöotic*.”  Nasty business.  Head cold plus bronchitis.  (I’ve been watching my temperature closely as there’s a nasty strain of flu that has been going round as well.)  I’ve been holed up at home and haven’t been going out at all.  Staying in out of the cold temps.  We did get some cold weather, but the Polar Vortex missed us this time.  Those poor people up north. (What we now call “Polar Vortex” is what we used to call a “blue” norther, for the same reason Babe is blue.)

I haven’t been doing much knitting in the last couple of weeks, as I’ve been spending most of my time either sleeping, blowing my nose or trying to cough up my toenails.  I did get in some reading though.  I’ve had one of those bedside tables on rollers for a couple of years.  (I deliberately set up my bedroom furniture so I have room to roll the table out of the way when not needed.)  I mounted a plug strip with a 12-foot cord on the underside of the table top (just takes two screws) where I can plug in my Kindle tablet and a little desk lamp, as well as my phone, to keep them charged, and when I’m not using the table, it doubles as a charging station for my electronics. (I have some binder clips clamped onto the edge of the table to hold the charging cords when not in use.) I have a little stand for my tablet.  It’s a nice sized little table, and there’s also room for a pot of tea and a plate of munchies.  Last year, I got a bed wedge to complete the ensemble, and I was so glad to have all of it these past two weeks.  Now if I can just get my reader’s shrug finished . . . Hygge, y’all. Tells you something, doesn’t it, when other cultures have a word for something so basic and fundamental, and yours doesn’t.  I mean, what’s the point of having a place to live if it ain’t comfy, snuggly and exactly suited to your needs?  What the world needs now is Gemütlichkeit, sweet Gemütlichkeit. . . .

One of the ladies in this Sekret Klub my mom belongs to wanted some more washcloths, and of course I got roped into making them.  The lady said she’d pay me, what do I charge?  Well, obviously, there’s the cost of the materials, but what about my time?  People have no idea how much time is involved in doing things like this, and isn’t my time worth something?  Takes me about 3 hours to knit a wash cloth.  So for one washcloth, figure $4 for the yarn, and minimum wage in Tx is $7.25/hour, so $25.75 per washcloth . . . .?   See the problem?  I’m going to charge her $15 for two, which is dead cheap when you get right down to it.  The cotton yarn I make them out of is stiff and hard to knit with, and I can’t knit on something made with it for too long before my hands start getting unhappy with me, and I was done with knitting washcloths two months ago . . .   grumble . . . grumble . . .

Which brings me to:  One of the washcloths is based on a simple seed stitch pattern. Here’s the pattern for free.

Cast on an even number of stitches +1. (41 stitches for a washcloth)
Knit 12 rows. Measure length of work so far = X.
Row 1: K2, *p1, k1, repeat from * until 1 stitch remains, k1.
Repeat row 1 until piece lacks X measurement to be long enough.
Knit 12 rows.
Bind off.

It makes a nice nubby washcloth, but you can easily adapt this pattern to make anything from a washcloth to a coaster, to a place mat, to a table runner, to a throw rug, to an afghan to a blanket/bedspread. A set of coasters would be a great stashbuster project for those odds and ends of cotton yarn.

Folks have commented about the time I spend reading.  I mentioned I got a 10-inch Kindle Fire tablet because of the bigger screen, which is able to display more text — almost a whole page — at a time.  This is because I read pretty fast.  I also tend to binge read.  That means I have to allocate my time accordingly.  I try hard not to read at bedtime (unless its a book of short stories), otherwise I’ll get caught up in the story, keep turning pages until suddenly there’s no more pages, look up at the clock and it’s 5 a.m.!  (If a book can’t hold my attention like that, I’ll bob to the surface pretty quickly and typically won’t finish the book.)

I’m retired now, and my time is my own, so I can spend all day (or all night) reading a book at one sitting if I want to.  I try not to stay up all night reading, though, because my mom gets upset with me when I don’t keep “normal” hours and sleep at the right time, etc.  (She’s the only one it bothers . . . )  But really, it’s all about time management.  If you want to read more, allocate a block of time for reading.  Schedule it into your other activities in the evenings or on the weekends.  A dedicated block of time to  find a comfy seat somewhere quiet, shift into neutral, kick back, take it easy and read.   Instead of sitting like a zombie in front of the TV at night, turn the TV off and read.  Now there’s a radical concept . . .

Now that I’m starting to feel less like I’ve been rode hard and put away wet, as we say here in the Flatlands, I’m beginning to think about knitting again and the projects I have going and want to get back into — once I finish this last durn washcloth. . . .

*I have a cheat sheet of ASCII codes for all the diacritical markings like ö.  You hold down the "ALT" key, use the number pad to type the code number, then release the ALT key to get them. A word's not spelled correctly unless it has all the right little marks, like façade, fiancé, Münster . . .  Life on the spectrum, y'all.

Sneaking Up On Christmas

I finished my hat last week, and have been enjoying wearing it.  So snowflakey! — But not, actually.  That design is a variant of a traditional Norwegian design called the 8-petaled rose, but it looks snowflakey, so who cares?  I tried to keep my floats overly loose to allow the hat to stretch when worn, but I still got them just a hair too tight.  Sigh. 

Those little strings of white yarn on the inside of the hat (at right) are the “floats” — that’s where you have to carrying the white yarn along the row behind the work until you need to knit with it again.  My floats are messy, and I didn’t secure the long ones because I knew I’d be covering them up when I “turned the hem” on the hat.

I made a couple of xmas balls and sent them to my cousin EJ, and told her that the angel one was for her little granddaughter (my first cousin twice removed), RR, who has her own xmas tree, I’m told.  Does my cousin bring just the angel ball with her when she visits?  Nope.  She brought both.  Guess who decided she needed both for her tree.  Do I want to knit two more balls and send them to EJ in time for New Years?  Maybe.

The Ball Bandit Strikes Again

I was working on that new blue shawl, and remembered I had about 6 skeins of this other really nice yarn and, yep, I frogged out the blue, and now I’m doing it in a dark green because I love the color, and this is a softer yarn than the blue.  So there.

I call your attention to the fact that it takes two circular needles and a pair of DPN to start this shawl.  Working on it is like wrestling a quadropus with the ends of the circular needles flopping about until you get enough ease in the work to transfer it all to one needle.

It’s a good thing I restarted it, though, because I caught a mistake in the pattern.  I hadn’t considered that cables are directional, and the usual cable pattern only works on cables that are going in one direction.  I kept getting this obvious glitch in one side of the horizontal cable. Took me a minute to figure out why.

When you’re working a braided cable, you are literally braiding the knitting.  Say, for example, that your cable is 9 stitches wide, then each “strand” of your cable is 3 stitches wide and your crosses are done over 6 stitches, crossing (C) one “strand” in front of (F) or behind (B) the other by taking a “strand” of  stitches off onto a cable needle, knitting the next “strand” and putting the first “strand” back and knitting them.  In the pattern, those crosses would be [C6F, k3], [k3, C6B], (Because knitting is basically linear, in order to cross the left-hand strand over the center, you have to use the Columbus method* — take the center strand off and cross it behind the left-hand one.  Yeah, I know.)

But, as I discovered, cables are directional.  I’m knitting the horizontal cable in both directions at the same time (which is the cool thing about this pattern).  In order to get the other end of the horizontal cable to be right, I had to change the pattern for that one cable end to [C6B, k3], [k3, C6F].  Because of that one little idiosyncrasy, this pattern is going to have a built-in booby trap, because two cables will be one way, and that third one will be subtly different.

Like daddy always told me, “Watch out for those traps, booby.”


*Going east by sailing west.

An Epic Sunday

I went all day yesterday without wearing that stupid oxygen nose hose. (!) I washed two loads of wash, hung up the clothes that needed to be hung, baked three potatoes, and puttered up and down the house all day, and my O2sats stayed above 90%.  That, in itself, is pretty durn epic.  It was also a tall, cool drink of freedom.  I slept with oxygen on, but took it off when I got up this morning and turned off the oxygen concentrator machine.  That was pretty epic as well.  First time since 30 May that it’s been off.  It’s already 2°F cooler in my office without the heat that durn concentrator puts out.   I will turn it back on tonight when I go to bed and will sleep with the oxygen on tonight and for the next couple of nights, I think.

The second epic thing that happened today is that I got the bare bones plonger* that came with my Vizio flat screen TV and played around with it, downloaded the Vizio SmartController app to my smart phone, and was able to control the TV from my smart phone, which gives me the ability to watch YouTube videos on my TV from the channels I subscribe to on YouTube.  I got to watch Jesse and Alyssa put SIP panels up on the north gable of their house, and Nick, Esther, kids and friends set up the steel posts for Nick’s workshop on a 57″ flat screen TV!  This was indeed epic.   I also ordered a more complicated Vizio plonger (that’ll be $10.59, thank you very much) (sale price!) that hopefully has a right arrow key on it.  I’ve had the TV since 2016, but just never got around to playing with it to see what else I could do with it, mostly due to roundtoit availability and allocation issues . . . .

This morning, I finished folding up and putting away all the unmentionables from the load of clothes I did yesterday, so that’s all done.  I’ve been sipping on white chai all day, I had half a baked potato loaded with cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, green onions and sprinkle cheese for supper, and had some cottage cheese topped with crushed pineapple for afters.   It’s 8:30 p.m. now.   Once it’s after 10 p..m., I’ll cook a pot of elbow macaroni and make a Wolf Brand Chili casserole.  I haven’t checked the crisper in the refrigerator, but hopefully, I still have at least one white onion that hasn’t decided to sprout.  Otherwise, I’ll have to sacrifice the rest of my green onions to the casserole.

I just checked my YouTube channel, and one of my subscription channels has a new video up. I think I’ll get my phone and go watch it on my TV . . .

*plonger – what people in my family call TV remote controls.  Long story.

I Can Have Tuna For Breakfast If I Want To

I have never understood this “you can’t eat certain foods at certain times” thing.  Yeah, I can see structuring your food intake for what you’ve got to do during the day, so that you eat certain types of foods (proteins, complex carbs, fats, etc.) in certain combinations designed to keep you going all day long.  But specific foods being forbidden at specific time?  Nope.  ‘You can’t have that for breakfast!’  Pshaw!  Tuna salad makes a good breakfast.  It’s got protein, complex carbs (or it does the way I make it), and it’s tasty.   (And come to that, how is a piece of  fruit pie (dessert) different than a toaster pastry?)

I had tuna salad for breakfast instead of what I had originally wanted to eat because of a Mystery.  I know for a fact that I bought several cartons of almond milk when I shopped groceries at some point recently — the kind of cartons that don’t have to be refrigerated.  I know I did.  And I know where I thought I put them.  But, I’m durned if I know where they actually are.  There aren’t that many places where they could be and they aren’t in any of them.  I’ve looked.  Twice.  How can I have cereal without almond milk?  I’ve got some lovely Cheerios and some Kashi shreaded wheat, and no almond milk.   So now, here directly, I have to suit up and schlep off to Walmart and get some.   In the rental car.

Yep.  Tues, I took my poor Greyola off to Big Daddy’s Collision Center to get the collision damage repaired.  It’s going to take about two weeks, they said.  They’re going to have to replace both door panels, and the front fender panel, and work on the rear fender panel, and they have to take bumpers off and lights out to paint.  The rental car is a 2017 silver Chevy miniSUV.  I’m going to have to put a static decal in the back window so I can locate the durn thing in parking lots.   It has one of those keyless systems — not just keyless entry, but keyless ignition, too.  So long as you are carrying this fob thingie around on your person, you can lock and unlock the doors and start the car without a key just by pressing buttons!  Oh, the plonger* envy!

So, I’m going to go brush my teeth, put on shoes, beetle off to Walmart to get some almond milk, chopped olives, and TP.  Then I’ll get my adulting done for the day (pay bills), and decide what I want to do next, which will very likely involve yarn and sharp pointy metal things.  And maybe computers.  Busy, busy, busy. . .

It occurs to me that I’ve got a shawl going in every room of the house but the kitchen at the moment, all of them for me.  I’ve got a Malguri Morning shawl in Charisma yarn “Northern Light” colorway going in the living room (TV knitting at its finest), my modified version of the cable edged shawl in Lion Brand Heartland yarn color “Glacer Bay” going by the computer, and the cobblestone lace shawl in “bluejean” going in the bedroom.   I’ve got some YouTube subscriptions that have uploaded new videos, and some blogs to read, and The Ocean At The End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman to finish rereading, and a lot of TV binge watching lined up to get stuff off the DVR, so shawl knitting is really high on the list of things that will happen in the near future.  Be nice if I can get all three shawls done in time for cold weather this fall.  Goalz.  I haz ’em.


*plonger - in the family parlance, a "plonger" is a small electronic device that has buttons you push to accomplish tasks -- a doorbell, a TV remote, a garage door opener remote, the little remotes that lock and unlock your car all fall under this generic term.  In order to accomplish the task, you "plong" the appropriate button.  This came from "plonging" on the door bell, which is also a common expression in the family parlance, which is what you do to produce the "classic" doorbell "pling-plong" sound.  "Plonging" would qualify as an onomatopoeic noun (for the sound) used as a verb (what you do to produce the sound).  This term has the sound and feel of one of my dad's (many) linguistic influences on the household.

Watch Out For Those Traps, Booby

My dad used to say that when my brother or I blundered into one of life’s little booby traps.  — like this one.

Where I have this hung, the minute I walk in the door, I see it.  I got it because it’s a good motto, but also it reminded me of a certain four footed housemate. Only, a week ago, where it was hung didn’t matter.  Now it hits a raw place every time I walk in the door and see it.   In case you can’t read the writing, it says “Happy is the house that shelters a friend.”

Then there’s the clock . I painted the tip of the pendulum tail white because it was totally appropriate.

Then, I was FINALLY getting around to putting the lawn chair that has been leaning against the wall in my bedroom for months, into the garage (the back door is conveniently located in my bedroom — !) and when I picked it up, I found this behind it. It’s the second kitty toy I have chanced upon this week, but this one is in much better shape than the other one, which I threw away.  This one I’m keeping.

Monday and yesterday I gathered up the just opened bag of cat food, the two unopened packets of treats, and the one just opened, dishes, brushes, a cat bed, a cat mat, and his Littermaid and schlepped it all out to the car and donated it to a kitty shelter on the way to the pet cemetery and crematorium, which is way the heck out in the country halfway to Slide, to pick up his little cremains, which are slightly too fat for the little container I got for them, but I taped the lid down. . . .

It’s the black one with the gold leopard spots.  If you are familiar with the Peanuts newspaper comic strip, then you know about the rich fantasy life the dog Snoopy had.  I always thought the fat(cat)boy fantasized about being a “jagular” or a leopard.

They’re all there, all five of them.  Yeah, it’s kind of shrine-like, but they were my dear companions for all of 21 years — Shadow for 7 years, Jett for 12 years, Gobi for nearly 16 years, Stormie for 11 years, and Jaks for 10.  There will not be any more for a while.

My mom will be 94 this year, and while she is in full possession of significantly more of her marbles than a lot of people half her age, and is active, with no health problems except that she’s almost 94, that could change in an instant.   Once her situation is inevitably resolved, I hope there will be two more kitties.  That’s what I want to happen anyway.  Heaven knows, there unfortunately is not likely to be any shortage of kitties in need of good homes any time soon.

So I’ve been coping with my loss the way women have traditionally coped since time immemorial. I’ve been cleaning house. I washed bathmats and “guest” towels, and the leopard print beach towels that are covering where my leather furniture is worn on the chair seat edges or scratched on the sofa back.  I neatened my charity men’s hats yarn stash.  (there’s a whole plastic storage tub full of yarn in the closet, too, but that is for ladies’ hats.  That yarn is way too “gay-ly” colored for the men in this part of the country. )

About 9:30 this morning, my other side neighbor plonged on the doorbell and told me there was a leak in the alley by our water meter.  I went to look and it’s like a small spring is flowing forth from one “track” of the tire tracks down the alley and is making a small river.  I called the utility company and they knew about it — It had been going since yesterday, they’d marked it with little flags, and since water is only flowing, not gushing, they will deal with it when they get a “roundtoit.” If not tomorrow or the next day, then some time next week.  In the meantime, we have this river we have to jump to get to the dumpsters.  The important thing is, though, that the leak is before the water meter, not after, so it’s their nickle, not my landlady’s that is flowing down the alley.

I found this and it was too great not to share.  You may not be familiar with the kinetic sculptures of Theo Jensen.  If not follow the link. They are fascinating to watch.    This one is powered not by wind, but by hamster.  The look on the cat’s face is priceless.  The sphere is perforated so the hamster won’t suffocate.  Must be a real trip for the hamster, in both senses of the word. . . .

I started a “sectioned hat” and put a ribbed hem on it.  I want to do another version with a simple ribbed brim, and a smaller purl stripe, but — new rule — I can’t start anything new until I finish all the hats I’ve got started (about 5!). I also need to finish my cousin’s man cowl.

Tomorrow, I need to pay bills, go through my files and shred a bunch of stuff, ford the stream and take the shreddings out to the dumpster, and hang some pictures.  It’s late and I should go to bed so I can get up tomorrow and do that. so I will.  позже*.

*позже = later.

The Best Laid Plans

One nice thing about being retired is that “morning” starts whenever the heck I want it to.  With my strong nocturnal inclinations, today it’s starting at 10:00 pm because I slept all day.  (Another thing about being retired is that I can sleep until I get tired of it.)  Working nights and working from home, as I did for nearly 25 years, has a tendency to isolate you from the day-to-day hustle and bustle and for those of us (like me) who prefer peace and quiet, and a relatively uncluttered life, that’s just as fine as frog hairs. I already had a tendency to live off in my own little world, emerging into the mainstream from time to time as life demanded, even before this dumpster fire of a Presidency. . . .

Since knitting group is on Tuesday night, what generally happens on Tuesdays is I shower and wash my hair.  I know there will be those who are simply shocked by the idea that I don’t wash my hair more than once a week, but I have very fine, fly-away hair, and if I wash it more than twice a week, it stands up and roars, and then it splits and breaks to pieces.  (I have childhood memories of a green Studebaker with woven plastic seat covers, and in the process of sliding across the front seat to get out on the driver’s side — I was too small to work the car door handle by myself — I would pick up enough of a static charge to turn my head into a dandelion clock.*)  I don’t cut my hair either, except to trim the ends now and again;  I never blow dry it, or use a curling iron on it.  I wash it, let it dry in the air, put it in a pony tail, and we get along just fine.

So,  on Tuesday, I shower, wash my hair and get dressed.  Then I strip my bed, and wash the sheets and towels.  When that load has come out of the dryer, I wash a load of clothes — if I have enough for a load, if not, I’ll throw the clothes in with the sheets and towels and do a “full capacity” load.  (It wasn’t until after my father passed that my mother understood why I never did more than two loads of wash in a week.  One person simply doesn’t generate that many dirty clothes.)  I have this nifty little wooden clothes hamper with a cloth insert — it holds just exactly a “regular” washer load.   When it’s full, I pull out the cloth insert, schlep it to the laundry room and dump it out into the washer.   While the clothes are washing, I put the sheets back on the bed.  This time, in addition to the bedspread, I will put a blanket on.  It’s been getting quite nippy lately.

By the time I’ve got the bed made,  it’s just about time to put the clothes into the dryer.  While the clothes are drying, I’ll have a meal.  Then once the clothes are dry, I’ll hang/fold them all up and put the folded clothes away.  (I pull the hang up clothes out of the dryer while they’re still slightly damp and let them hang overnight in the laundry room.  The wrinkles hang right out! )

Once I’ve got the wash done, I’m done adulting for the day (actually, for most of the week) and I can do whatever I like until it’s time for knitting group.

In the course of moving house three times in the past 10 years, I’ve downsized quite a bit.  I’m down to two sets of sheets — the set that’s on the bed and a spare.   I’ve only got two  sets of towels (wash cloth, hand towel, bath towel), one clean and one in use.  On wash day, I throw the used ones in the wash, and move the clean set over ready to be used.  Once the other set is washed, it goes into the “clean” rack.   I have a winter and a summer bedspread (I’m rethinking the winter bedspread and have about decided to give it back to the world in favor of using my all cotton summer bedspread year round and putting a waffle blanket on in winter with the option of adding a second fleece blanket between the spread and waffle blanket if I need it.)

I downsized quite a bit during the move before last — things, stuff and furniture.  This last move, not so much.  I got rid of a set of dishes and glasses this time. I still have way too many dishes and glasses, but the extras look nice in my china cabinet.  I could downsize way more, but at the moment, I’ve got room for what I have.  One thing I learned way too late in life is to periodically go through my things and purge, keeping only those things I actually use and/or really love.

Another thing I’ve learned is not to buy anything that has to be dry cleaned.  If I can’t toss it in the washer, I don’t buy it.  That’s partly because working nights and sleeping days was incompatible with the hours of operation of almost all dry cleaners, and working from home eliminated the need for “work” clothes.  (My washer and dryer work whenever I turn them on, day or night, and I don’t have to leave the house to use them.) It’s also because dry cleaning costs extra, over and above what it costs to buy laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and pay for the power it takes to run the equipment — as well as the gas and wear and tear on the car to convey the clothes to and from the dry cleaner.  And there’s the time factor besides.  Life is just too short, and there are other things I’d rather be doing with my time than keeping up with stuff that’s got to be dry cleaned.

So, now that I’ve had my “breakfast” (two toasted English muffins, one with turkey and Muenster cheese on, one with ham and cheddar cheese on, washed down with Earl Grey hot — nums!), I expect I’ll go and take my bath so my hair will have plenty of time to get good and dry before I go outside.  (Our predicted high today is only 44 F/6.6 C).  I expect I’ll want a jacket when I head off to knitting group.







*The average humidity where I live up here in the flatlands is 44%.  Today it’s 21%.   I have a mister bottle of distilled water by my sink.  I give my hair a light spritz before I comb it each morning.  Otherwise, I will have Rice Krispies hair — Snap! Crackle! Pop!