Those who follow this blog for the knitting content will be happy to know there is knitting content for the first time in a while. I’ve had four hats which were already in progress on the little rolly table I use for the keyboard of the new computer. They’ve been just sitting there mocking me for the better part of two months. Two of them were ready to start the crown decreases.
I grabbed this one, did the crown decreases and finished it. It’s got twisted cables, right twists alternating with left twists, and instead of finishing the others, of course, I started a new hat. 90 stitches on a US9 (5.5 mm). I use the trick of casting on 20 stitches, counting them to make sure there are 20, putting a stitch marker and casting on 20 more stitches, rinse and repeat. That way, I don’t ever have to count higher than 20. 90 stitches is 4 x 20 + 10. Since I’m doing a hat, though, I cast on 4 x 20 + 11. Then you straighten out all your stitches on the needle, slip the first stitch you cast on over to the left needle, place a marker, and knit it together with the last stitch you cast on to join for knitting in the round.
I ended the very first row row with k, k instead of k, p, and knew I messed up somewhere. I back tracked and discovered I had nodded off at the wheel and k, p, k, k, p, k, p, and of course I did it right near the beginning of the row. Zut, alors. I could rip it all out and redo the cast on, or I could fix the previous row — one stitch at a time — as I knit the second row, which is the tedious option I chose.
I am a firm believer in FWF — fixing without frogging. It’s important that a knitter learn how to fix mistakes without throwing up their hands in defeat and frogging the whole shebang back to before the mistake. Learning to fix the mistake you made rows ago will teach you more about the construction of fabric itself, how it goes together — the nuts and bolts, if you will — than you can learn any other way. You haven’t really mastered the “doing” until you’ve mastered the “undoing” and “redoing.” So, I fix the row 1 stitch — change the purl to a knit or the knit to a purl — and then I work it appropriately for row 2, one cotton-picking stitch at a time. . . but I’m back in the saddle again.
Our quote for the day: “Live your life in such a way that if it was a book, Florida would ban it.” That’s as political as I’m going to get in a G-rated blog.
I’m still dealing with the issue of the altered sensation in my finger tips, particularly the middle fingers — things like touch screens, and knitting are problematic. When I knit, I use that middle finger of my left hand as a kind of “gatekeeper.” I bunch the stitches on the left needle up against it so I don’t have to stop so often to move stitches around toward the tip where the knitting happens. I pinch the top of the stitch I’m working against the needle while I’m working it, which makes it easier to work, and letting it go pulls the next stitch forward. It’s a habit pattern — emphasis on the pattern — and if the pattern changes, it takes time and repetitions for that change to be made into muscle memory.
I’ve got something going on every day of the week this week except today. Chiropractic appointments on Tuesday and Thursday. I see my orthopedist on Wednesday, and Friday, the water guy is coming to change the filters on the undersink reverse osmosis unit.
Mom decided she wanted some new clothes, and there’s a catalog she likes to shop from. Like many businesses, they’ve stopped sending out gratuitous catalogs as a way to reduce overhead. They don’t even send one when you buy stuff from them. I bought her some stuff hoping to get a catalog with it, but no soap. I’ve asked them to send me a catalog, but I haven’t gotten it yet. Unfortunately, Mom doesn’t have a way to shop on line.
Now that she’s been able to go to the beauty saloon ever week and get her hair done, she doesn’t like to put tops on over her head because it messes up her hair. She wants blouses that button up. Unfortunately, most of the tops she has are pull on because at the time I got most of them for her, ease of putting them on and taking them off was the main criteria. I’ve bought her three blouses and a couple pair of pants, they came yesterday, and I need to take them over to her to see if they pass muster before I sew clothing labels on them.
The blooms on the orchid really last a long time. They’re still going strong.
Way back in the late Ordovician, before TV was even in color (!) there was a show on TV called “The Life of Riley” that starred William Bendix. It was a situation comedy, and just after they’d gotten into the situation, Bendix would break the fourth wall, look straight into the camera and say his catch phrase, “What a revolting development this is.”
Well, in this situation comedy that is my life at the moment, the situation is this: That slight numbness I’d gotten in the tips of a couple of fingers which I thought was from chemotherapy has continued to get worse. Now instead of just being on the tip of my middle fingers and along the left index finger, its on the tips of index, middle and ring fingers of both hands, and the pads of both thumbs. It’s not exactly numbness. It’s a little like pins and needles, and it amplifies sharp sensations way out of proportion. Stuff that should just register as slightly pointed is painfully sharp.
Here’s the deal: Mom has restless leg syndrome/peripheral neuropathy in her feet. Some of the causes of it are heritable. If I’ve inherited what she’s got, I’d rather have it in my feet than my hands (touch typing, knitting, and the zillion other things I do dexterously manually). But — oh, that “but” — there are other possible causes: Chemotherapy, carpal tunnel syndrome, and C2 radiculopathy. My second cervical vertebra (C1 has your head on top of it, C2 has C1 on top of it) is slightly cattywompus due to an old shoulder/neck injury from trying to lift a 40 lb bottle of water and upend it onto the water dispenser. I’m hoping that it’s mostly C2 radiculopathy and the chiropractor can improve it. I’m a side sleeper, too, which doesn’t help. Stay tuned.
When I went to my appointment at the VA, I did get three or four x-ray views of my tootsies. But then after I talked to my PCP, she sent me back for four or five views of my neck, including one with my mouth open, aimed straight into my mouth. (Yeah.) So bright and early this AM, the lady at the chiropractor calls me to schedule a chiropractic appointment for my neck. (My mom’s mom, a second generation Texan who spoke German better than she spoke English, called them “punch doctors”) I’ve never been to one, so I have that (and a passel of paperwork. Sigh!) to look forward to this Friday.
Today was my day for running errands hither and yon all over town. I yonned way the heck out to 122nd street and discovered I could have done what I needed to do there on line. (Well, zut, alors.) Then I hithered my way back by the bank to deposit a check, by Market Street on 50th and Indiana Avenue to make a donation to the Goodwill truck that they let park in their parking lot, by Red Lobster to treat myself to lunch and kill time until the framing studio opened at 1 pm, by the framers to get some pictures framed, and then made a Wal-Mart run.
The way out of Wal-Mart that puts this little piggy in the best field position to go north on Quaker Avenue and wee-wee-wee all the way home goes right by the Whataburger, so naturally I drove through the drive through and got a large Dr. Pepper, which I have been sucking down in large gulps ever since. Hithering and yonning is thirsty work, especially since somebody left the heat on outside today . . . .
In the parking lot at Wal-Mart, I got a shower scattered on me as I was loading up the trunk, and when I got back home and was unloading, I got another, longer shower scattered on me to the point that I waited it out under the carport where I park. (Is it technically still a CARport if it’s long enough to park eight cars under it?)
It’s sprinkling, flashing and grumbling as I type. The current humidity is 46%, so unless some serious rain happens, it’s pretty much evaporating as soon as it hits pavement.
But we had a nice little thunderstorm at about 4 o’clock this morning and got a good little rain out of it. This is how I like my thunderstorms, them outside and me inside. We’re having a jolly one now. Serious rain is happening. We’ll take the rain, but pass on the hail, please.
Yesterday was my birthday. (Let’s just say I’m old enough to know better but still young enough to seriously consider doing it again.) So today I took myself out to eat at Red Lobster and had crab legs and fried shrimp. I love me some crab legs. I brought home half my shrimp for later, and three of their rolls. I had a sneeze’s worth of French Fries. (I’m allergic to potatoes, but I eat them anyway because I love them. They’re worth a sneeze or two.)
This is what I took to the framer today. She’s “Spider Grandmother” revered by the Hopi as Kokyangwuti and by the Navajo as Na’ashjé’íí Asdzáá. The painting is by Susan Seddon Boulet. I used to get calendars featuring her work (this is one I kept for this picture). She was famous for her “Goddess” paintings, drawing from myths and legends of cultures all over the world to celebrate the feminine.
The spider is associated with weaving/fiber arts in many cultures. (See: Arachne, the Greek version, a weaver who was turned into a spider as a punishment for hubris. The Greek gods were always coming down hard on people who got too uppity, especially women.) Native Americans see Spider Grandmother as a wise and benign leader who helps and protects the people. She taught the people how to spin wool and weave blankets to help them get through the cold winters. Of course, the role of women in a society differs from culture to culture. The Greeks were a heavily patriarchal society and there’s a good deal of misogyny inherent in their mythos. The Navajo, on the other hand, are inherently matriarchal and matrilineal, but with strong respect for the elders of both sexes.
This pair of beautiful unicorns are two others of Boulet’s works that I had framed year before last by the same framer I’m having frame this one. This new picture will be my birthday gift from my mom.
I got a DVD of “Gate of Hell” which is the first Japanese film made in color (Technicolor). It’s a tale of unignited love and obsession set in 12th century Japan. The costumes are GORGEOUS. I think I’ll watch it tonight. Either that one or “3000 Years of Longing” with Tilda Swinton. Maybe both.
Four blooms now, fully open and gorgeous, and five, six and seven proceeding as planned. It’s ridiculous how chuffed I am about it. The peace lily is still going nuts, blooming front, back and center. Not as major a chuff as the orchid, though. I need to repot the Christmas cactus and I already have the pot.
Spring is well and truly sprung. The tree outside my window is greening up hand over fist. The wisteria growing over the pergola at the outdoor seating area on the other side of my wing has burst into leaf. One hopes that flowers will be forthcoming soon. You’ll note the picture on the left is of a plant (Syngonium phodophyllum) I’ve been wanting to have for ages.
I’m trying to confine the plants to one pair of windows because the other pair in the room is adjacent to the TV and I’d always be having to raise and lower the blinds in order to watch something on TV (most of which is streaming and DVDs. Cable services are crap anymore.). I’m going to have to rehome the “elephant ear” plant because it’s taking over the world. Mom has no room for it. She already has a poinsettia left over from Christmas, another orchid, a kalanchoe, an Easter lily, and a plant of unknown identity I gave her to make room for the elephant ear.
You see the problem. There’s two more plants tucked behind the others, the arrowhead plant, which is behind the orchid, and the Christmas cactus (which needs to be repotted) behind the big elephant ear which is hogging the middle. I may inherit (or buy) another orchid, and there’s simply no more room. I may see about talking to the grounds keepers about the Stone Pine. It can be planted outside if a protected place can be found for a tree that small. First world problem, though.
I had quite an exciting Friday. I had an appointment for a bone scan (with isotopes!) at the Covenant Hospital radiology department at 12:30, and I went down plenty early to leave me time to park in the parking building and hike the skybridge to where I needed to be. Got in the car. Turned the key. Nothing happened.
Fortunately, our security people have one of those little hand-carry booster battery things and got me going. I got to my appointment, got’er done, went back to my car in the parking garage, turned the car key, and nothing. There’s a Battery Joe’s right nearby so I called them, and this very nice young man came with his very nice little hand-carry booster thing and got the car started. Again. Of course, the problem was that I hadn’t driven far enough to recharge the battery after the first boost, so I took the scenic route home — a half orbit of the Loop to the other side of town, back up Indiana Avenue, and eventually to my friendly, neighborhood Market Street grocery store. Where I found the arrowhead plant. Among four bags of other things. And they had rosemary and olive oil specialty bread again! So, a happy ending to a rather fraught day. I gotta get me one of those little hand-carry battery booster dohickies. (You plug them into a wall outlet to charge them.)
I had the bone scan to see if osteoporosis is the problem with my left knee (my body’s current problem child). I’m in the (long, drawn-out) process (dealing with the VA) of setting up rehab through services here at Carillon so mom and I will both be in rehab. Again. (At left is a new part of Covenant Hospital (Hope Tower) being build in place of the old part they knocked down. )
I’m going to try to weasel in some exercises for my upper back and shoulders to head off my inherited tendency to age-related kyphoscoliosis.
I’m trying to get rehab for mom as often as Medicare will allow because she gets upper as well as lower body exercise in a safe and controlled setting, gets to interact one on one with the therapists (mom is a people person), and the trained rehab people can keep an eye on her various back issues (kyphoscoliosis, sciatica). She also gets cognitive therapy mostly for the sake of having one more person to interact with on a regular basis. A fair percentage of the people on her floor are “gaga” as she puts it (#4), and it’s hard to have meaningful interpersonal interactions with people who have misplaced a significant number of their marbles.
While I was out gazooting about Friday, I got stopped at the stoplight that enabled me to snap a quick picture of the smiley-face bush, whom I haven’t seen in quite a while, and its latest costume. Not sure what it’s supposed to represent, though. Perhaps a Frenchman for Valentine’s day? Je ne sais quoi.
Alas, there is no knitting news because I’ve mostly had my nose in a book. I’m on book #17 of the Foreigner series with four books left on the shelf and another one coming in September. There has to be another one after this, because the new one will be the 22nd book in the series and 22 is a very infelicitous number. Just saying. I probably will then embark on a reread of the 17 books in the Sebastian St. Cyr series (Regency murder mysteries!) because book #18 drops this month. (Spoiler Warning: Hero is pregnant again!)
When I moved, I sold my reciprocating saw, and the drill I had since the early 2000’s (and, like a dummy, all the bits and sockets to it), as well as everything else except a “basic” tool kit: a hammer, a pair each of regular and needle nose pliers, a Phillips and a regular screwdriver, a large adjustable
wrench and a pair of channel locks. Which pair of channel locks came in handy this afternoon, when I couldn’t get the cap off my Peach Mango sports drink.
When I moved in here, I installed my own “handheld” shower head, hung all my pictures except the one. The maintenance guy did install my curtain rods and curtains (even though they’re not supposed to –I pulled the sensory overload card on them) because I just flat couldn’t reach them on the step stool, and did hang that one picture that needed a heavy anchor (which I didn’t have) that was on the wall above my bed. But other than that, I assemble furniture (I have quite the collection of assorted Allen wrenches) and am otherwise quite handy.
I took a break from reading yesterday evening and watched a French production of Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni”. It was a rouser. There were several attempted rapes; the bass (Il Commendatore) got knifed in the first act (which is always fatal), and in the second act, one of the sopranos floozed about on state in her underwear and the tenor’s shirt, and the baritone (Don Giovanni) (who was a fox, BTW) stripped down to his tighty whities (it was, after all, a French production) and instead of getting dragged off to hell (spoilers!), Don Giovanni remained on stage in his skivvies for the remainder of the final scene. The minimal scenery that they had was well chewed, and a good time was had by the audience (including yrs trly). The only problem I had with it was that the libretto is in Italian and the closed captioning for this production was in French. This opera is notable for, among other things, a statue that comes to life and for Wolfie’s version of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.”
Right after lunch today, I set off into deepest darkest Yuppieville to go get mom’s taxes ready to be filed electronically, and on my way back I stopped off at Wal-Mart to get “a few things” (read: six bags’ worth). Mom was running low on tissues and they have the Haribo Peaches candy I can’t seem to find anywhere else. They also had the small size of the almond milk creamer which I don’t use fast enough to get the big size of, which is all Market Street had. They also carry the brand of vitamin D3 tablets and calcium chewies that I prefer to the brands Market Street has. And of course, Whataburger is right next door (chicken fingers, FF’s and gravy!).
So I walked all over Wal-Mart, drove through Whataburger, went in to the package store (Harvey’s Bristol Cream!), walked all the way back up from the parking lot to the apartment to get the cart I should have brought down and put in my trunk when I left the apartment to go run errands, unloaded the groceries into the cart, schlepped them back to the apartment, put them all up, then hiked over to mom’s to give her the tissues and back. Then I had my chicken fingers, etc. When I got up just now to go refill my water bottle, my hips and knees were so stiff I could hardly move for a minute or two and my heel hurt so bad I could hardly bear weight on it. The earliest appointment I could get with my orthopod was with his PA and is on the 30th. If I wanted to see him, the earliest appointment was 10 April. (I’ve still got to go to the VA and get a copy of the plain films and the CT the VA did to take over to him.) I ain’t going anywhere tomorrow but to the refrigerator and back. I’m going to lie in the bed with my feet up and probably finish the remaining half of the book I’m currently reading and head into the next one in the series.
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?
We have some moving scenery out here in the flatlands. Monday week ago, it was moving about 35 mph and was Oklahoma-bound. We had a real howler. The trees outside my window couldn’t make up their minds between Martha Graham and Twyla Tharp. How brown was my sky? Medium tan on the horizon fading upward through pale beige to ecru/eggshell up top from the sun glare. It blew again yesterday and today, but only about 22 mph. We usually get these blustery days in March, but we’re getting them early this year, apparently .
Days like these take me back to walking home from elementary school. That was back in the 1950’s, before the farmers learned “sand fighting” techniques. Walking home through a sand storm, when the wind gusts were strong enough to knock you off balance if they hit you broadside. The air would be gritty and smell like dusty ozone. There was a park about halfway between the school and home that was bounded on the west by Orlando Avenue and on the east by Nashville Avenue, on the north by 40th street and on the south by 42nd street, which I crossed at a long diagonal, corner to corner. (In my town, north/south streets are alphabetical from east to west and east/west streets are numerical from north to south.) That was the challenging bit, crossing the park. There were no houses or fences to break the wind. It would slap me around and lull me into leaning into it, then fake me out by dropping abruptly to catch me off guard and make me stagger. We stayed with the neighbor lady after school til mom came home from work. Although she had three girls and I had a younger brother, our ages were staggered such that I never got out of school at the same time as anybody else. I always walked home by myself. There was a playground in the park, but I never stopped to play on it, not in all of the 6 years I went to that school. I always walked straight home. After we had a blow, there would be a rime of powder-fine dust along all the window sills and top sashes, the sugar would be slightly dingy. The air would have that dry, dusty smell for days as the fine dust settled out of the air.
Mom seems to hear pretty well on her new phone, which is a relief. It has a better speaker and more volume. I’ve got some mail I need to take over as well as a couple of tubes of toothpaste as she’s about to be out of toothpaste again. Tomorrow.
Finished another hat. The turquoise one is made from the same pattern as the green one, only instead of using yo (yarn over) to do the increase, I used kfb (knit front and back). The yo produces an eyelet and gives a lacier effect. The kfb makes a tighter fabric without the eyelets.
There’s a lady in the knitting group that wanted to learn cables. I did the second hat to show the difference between twisted cables (blue) which have two strands, and braided cables (pink) which have three. When you work cables, you are literally changing the order of the stitches on the needle. You pull some off the left needle onto a cable needle, work the stitches behind them, then put the stitches on the cable needle back on the left needle and work them. Whether you held those cable stitches behind the work or in front of the work (cross in front, or cross behind) when you worked the stitches behind them determines what the fabric looks like. The instruction for a cable cross is “C(number)” followed by “F” or “B” (Front or Behind).
On the blue hat, I worked the cables over six stitches against a 4-stitch reverse stockinette “ground” (which makes the cables stand out). Since a twisted cable has two “strands,” each strand is 3 stitches. The (number) in the instruction is the number of stitches in a strand. That last letter (F or B) tells how the strand crosses — in front or behind. On the blue hat, the cables that twist to the left only use C3F crosses. The cables that twist to the right only use C3B crosses.
The difference between the twisted cable and the braided cable is the number of strands. On the pink hat, the braided cable is worked over 9 stitches, which gives three strands of 3 stitches each. Think how you braid hair. The right strand crosses over the middle one, then the left strand crosses over the middle one. To accomplish this in knitting, you alternate a front cross with a back cross, but because you’ve got three strands in play, you’ve got to offset the back cross because you’re not only alternating crosses, you’re alternating the strands that cross. So across a braided cable of 9 stitches, your first cross would be C3F, k3, — you’re crossing the first (right side) strand over the middle strand, with that “k3” being the left strand. The second cross is the cross of the left strand over the middle strand but because knitting, in order to do that, you have to cross the middle strand behind the left strand (C3B), and you’ve got to get past the first strand to do that, so the second cross is k3, C3B. You don’t need to see a picture of the finished article to know what kind of cable you’re doing. All you have to do is look at how the crosses are written in the pattern.
When you knit something where the bind-off is on the knitting — like the sleeves in a top-down sweater, or the ribbing on a top down hat like the kitten hat, I like to use a variant of that bind off where you knit two stitches together, put the resultant stitch back on the needle and knit it together with the next stitch.
This works fine on stockinette but on ribbing, it doesn’t look right. What I like to do is after I’ve knit the two together, I look at what the next stitch is. If it’s a purl, I bring the yarn forward before I put that stitch I just worked back on the left needle. Then I purl the two together. Here’s the finished kitten hat for a baby.
Periodically, I like to mortgage my mythical firstborn son so I can pick up half a pound of brisket at the deli in Market Street. This works out to four or five sandwiches’ worth. Now and again I can come across the tanduri naan made in a “sandwich round” form which, oddly enough, makes an excellent sandwich. Chop up some brisket and give it a 35-second zot in the microwave. Get one of those “beefsteak” tomatoes that one slice will cover the bun, and put mayo on one piece of bread followed by a slice of tomato. I put tartar sauce on the other slice of bread because I like the pickles+beef taste combination, and then put the chopped meat on and amalgamate the sides. Serious nums! Of course, the portions of the meals Carillon provides are quite generous and it’s not unusual that if they’re serving ham or roast beef, I’ll have meat left over that’s suitable for sandwiches. That was the case today. I had two sandwiches for my meal, one of brisket and one of leftover roast beef from a meal earlier in the week.
Not mad, just mildly disgruntled. Coming home from visiting mom, inserted my key card to open my front door and . . . . zip. Fortunately, I’ve gotten in the habit of never leaving the apartment without my phone and my keys in my pocket. Called security. His key worked just as fine as frog hairs. Mine (neither of mine!) got a brief flick of red light and accomplished nothing. Zilch. Zipola. By then it was 4:30 in the p.m. Called down to the front desk, got them to make a new set of keys. Fortunately, I know my neighbors, so when I went out Tuesday (trolley in tow) to knitting group, Michaels (guess what I bought there!) and then Market Street, I could leave my door nearly closed but not latched, so I wouldn’t have to wait out in the hall with a trolley full of groceries, etc., for security to come open my door for me. I was in Market Street when the Front Desk called to let me know my new key cards were ready.
We ordered mom a new phone, not exactly smart, but of average intelligence. It’s a little Nokia. She can text on it. (she could text on the other one, but not as easily.) She says she’s not going to be texting anybody. I’m taking bets on how long she’ll hold out. Once she sees how easy it is to do, she’ll be texting. She’ll finally be able to text Jim S. during the Cowboy games. Joy will no doubt be unconfined. Three to five business days. Not here yet. Expecting it probably Monday. Considering how much snow places have gotten this year, if it gets here by Monday, I’ll be delighted.
The next hurdle will be getting mom to use the hearing aids with Bluetooth I got her. “Oh, but an audiologist . . .!” No, mom. At this stage of the game her hearing loss is past the point of “fine tuning by an audiologist.” Well into the brute force range. The new hearing aides can connect to her phone via Bluetooth, and hopefully she’ll be able to hear on her phone again. It’ll be an interim solution at best. Unfortunately, her hearing loss is getting to the point where nothing short of hooking the phone up to a bullhorn will help her hear a phone conversation, which is sad. She’s isolated enough already. Anyway, I’ll set it up for her with the numbers I have that I know she’ll want, and program the rest in when I take it to her.
How to tell you’ve “I’ll just do one more row and then I’ll go to bed” one time too many.
Working on David’s Hat. Need to do cable crosses and go looking for my cable needle. Not in the bowl. Not on my desk. Not under my keyboard. Not on the floor. Tore the world up looking for the durn thing for ten minutes. Then I realized where it was. (Exhibit A). I’d knitted off and left it. Time to go to bed. So, the next morning I go to pick up my knitting and realized there was something wonky about the cable I was about to knit. (Exhibit B) Realized I’d done a C3F when I should have done a C3B (crossed over right when I should have crossed over left). So I had to frog that cable back past the cross and re-do it. Sigh.
This is what I got at Michael’s after I’d run them through the ball winder. Intended to get just a few skeins, but when I got there, they were having a 50% off sale on all their yarn, so I was able to get twice as much yarn for the same budgeted amount of $$. Yes, Ma’m! Not shown is a take-no-prisoners turquoise colored skein of Caron Simply Soft yarn, which is already in progress. I’ll hat this yarn up and then start in on the bulky yarn I have in stash for guy’s hats. Guys do chemo, too, but ladies first.
I finished “David’s Hat” (what I’m calling that pattern in memory of David Crosby) but was not happy with that row of purl right before the crown decreases. Next one won’t have it and neither will the pattern.
I’ve started hat bags: I’ve put a 16-inch circular, a 24-inch circular and a set of double pointed needles all in the same size in a bag. I have a US 6 (4.0 mm) bag, a US 7 (4.5 mm) bag, and a US 8 (5.0 mm) bag.
Finished a swirly hat using yarn overs to make the stitch. Now I’m working on one that uses kfb (knit front and back) to make the stitch. (I’m using that rampant turquoise yarn.) These are such simple hats you really don’t need a pattern. Just figure your gauge, work out the number to cast on from your circumference measurement making sure it is a number that is evenly divisible by a number larger than 5, and decide how you want to make the stitches. If you want it to swirl to the right, you make the stitch at the beginning of the section, and k2tog (knit two together) at the end of the section. If you want it to swirl to the left, you k2tog at the beginning of the section and add the stitch at the end of the section. When you’re ready to do your crown decreases, you replace k2tog with k3tog. They’re sweet little hats, but they’d work for guys as well as girls.
I’ve been using that little bed table I got for mom that she doesn’t need anymore as a desk extension. I discovered the other day that my ball winder will clamp onto it. The table will become a permanent fixture, I suspect.
I am inching closer and closer to getting rid of the Windows 7 machine. Last night it wouldn’t power off and I had to “help” it by holding down the power button. Today, when I booted it up, it told me that I had an unauthorized version of Windows, which I most certainly do not. Dragged kicking and screaming to Windows 11. Yep. Any day now.
I know you folks up north have had enough snow to last you til the peanut butter season, but we don’t get it that often. So I wasn’t all that upset when I got up for a drink of water about 3 AM, looked out the window and saw this:
We got about 7 inches, which was a record snowfall for this date (stop laughing, Canada!). We don’t get all that much snow here (We are at the same latitude as Damascus in Syria.). We were lucky that it wasn’t cold enough for the roadways to ice all that much. It was wet snow, clumpy and clingy. Thank goodness I didn’t have to get out in it. We needed the moisture, though. We always do. We’ll take it any way we can get it.
This is the building where mother lives. I went to see her this afternoon to take her the Starbuck’s clear plastic covered tumbler I got her to help her drink more water. It holds 24 ounces. If she could just drink one of those a day, that would help her so much. Fortunately, there’s a way to get from hither to yon without going outside.
The activities director wants to start a group here for knitters and crocheters and embroiderers and hand quilters, etc. — There’s a signup sheet for folks to sign up and indicate their preference for day and time. The idea being to find a place and time where we can gather to ply our hobby of choice and sit and socialize with like-minded folks.
I magpied out again. Two more pieces from that Ukrainian artist who is now living in Poland. I’ve gotten quite a collection of fossil ammonite jewelry. They came today. A necklace and a pin. Her pieces have elements of Art Nouveau with their rhythmic, flowing lines and organic shapes. I do like them.
In the knitting news, in a word, hats. I’m just to the point where I’m ready for the top decreases on the green one. As much as I love the Red Heart Unforgettable yarn, it ‘s splitty to begin with, but on a US 6/4.0 mm needle, and doing cables, it’s been driving me nuts. The other hat is made from Lion Brand Re-Spun yarn (colorway Blush) that is spun from recycled polyester. It’s worsted weight on a US8/5.0 mm needle. It’s going pretty fast considering it has braided cables.
In 2021, when mom was in that “rehab facility,” dad’s niece, husband, daughter and new grand baby came to visit and brought her this lovely white “grocery store” orchid. After she moved to Carillon House (skilled nursing facility), I inherited custody of it. My windows face northwest (i.e., no direct sunlight) and are next to a deciduous tree that blocks a lot of the sunlight in summer, but lets in more light during the winter after its leaves have fallen.
I was rootling around in my own private jungle the other day and noticed what looks to me like a flower spike. It’s plant body is about three times the size it was when she got it, and it’s got aerial roots shooting all over the place. In its native tropical rain forest, the orchid absorbs water through its aerial roots, either directly from rain and/or indirectly from the high humidity in the air. I put a vase of water next to this one to help with the lack of ambient humidity (which is 31% at the moment). One of the roots found it and told its friends. (According to YouTube, it’s OK to let the orchid do this.) (The name “orchid” comes from the Greek word orkhis, and was named by an ancient Greek botanist named Theophrastos, who thought the orchid’s roots resembled a part of the male anatomy.) (I should name it “Mr. Ball.” )
I use reverse osmosis water (“Oz water”) to water all my plants as our local water is hard as a rock from the Rocky Mountain erosion deposits this end of the flatlands is sitting on. We have good water, but it has lime and calcium like you wouldn’t believe. It builds up in the soil of potted plants and can kill them. Which is why I and my own private jungle drink Oz water.
The orchid lives beside the Italian Stone Pine, which I turn on a regular basis to try to get its limbs to grow straight — with interesting results. The pine was marketed as a Christmas tree you could plant after Christmas. I really don’t get enough light in this apartment for it, but we do the best we can with what we have. I put it there to catch the afternoon light. Orchids grow under a jungle canopy and can’t take direct sunlight, which is why it’s closest to the tree. I’ve added a Christmas cactus to the ensemble. I had one when I was going to tech school in California.
In the slightly less than the year that I had that one in California, it flourished. Really cheered up the place when it bloomed. I had to leave it behind because I couldn’t take it across state lines (agricultural quarantine) never mind taking it on an airplane. I’ve wanted one since, but never ran across one when I had a place to keep it and didn’t have cats who would probably try to eat it. I got it on sale just after Christmas at — you guessed it — the grocery store.
My peace lily is going nuts. It has five blooms on it. My bamboo plant is doing well also. I need to repot the Christmas cactus, the elephant ear philodendron and the Stone Pine, among the zillion other things I need to do and haven’t.
In the knitting news, I finished what I’m calling the Origami Tam with No-Sew Rolled Brim because the way I did the increases and decreases make it look like it’s folded. It’s made from Red Heart Unforgettable yarn in the colorway “Parrot.” Almost got the pattern written up. I’ve started two new hats, one is a new hexagonal design that will have braided cables and a rolled brim. The other one is this hat but in DK weight purple Patons Metallic yarn.
At left is the new hat I’m designing. It uses Judy’s Magic Cast-on which I think I like better than Turkish Cast-on to do the provisional cast on that will get rolled under and knitted together with the working stitches to roll the brim.
When I start the hat, I use two separate circular needles for Judy’s Magic Cast-on, the upper one for the working stitches, and the lower needle for the “provisional” stitches (see above). In the picture at left, the brim has been rolled under toward the inside of the hat. The lower left needle has the working stitches, and the upper left needle has the provisional stitches.
The right needle is the other end of the “working” needle. (It’s important to keep straight which end is which!) In the picture above, I have just slipped a stitch knitwise off the working needle and put it on the provisional needle in the orientation shown, being careful not to twist it. Then I knit it and the provisional stitch behind it together through the back loop. You continue doing this until you have no more stitches left on the provisional needle. Then you don’t need the provisional needle anymore.
These hats have all had a narrow brim, but you can use this technique to make a toboggan with a wide band of double thickness over the ears. You can use this technique to make a hat with color work around the bottom, and then roll the brim under to cover the floats.
This is more of that Red Heart Unforgettable yarn, which is acrylic and very splitty, but the colorways are beautiful. Forgot what colorway this one is as I can’t find the ball band. With the rolled brim actually knitted into the fabric of the hat instead of being rolled and sewn, there’s no chance of it coming unsewn.
Apart from the fact that its “splitty-ness” can make it a pain to work with, the fabric the Unforgettable yarn makes has a very soft hand, which makes it good for chemo hats. The yarn weight category of the Unforgettable yarn is 4:Medium, which includes Aran and worsted weight yarns, but this is more toward the DK side. Progress on both hats is to be reported as it is made. Stay tuned.
At about 10 o’clock Sunday morning, my phone rang. It was the nurse on mom’s unit at Carillon House. Mom was having nausea, vomiting and stomach pain and they’d called an ambulance. She was en route to University Medical Center (UMC) emergency room. So, I suited up and, since I am BTDT* status when it comes to hospital emergency rooms, I found and packed a small carry bag with a bottle of water, knitting and an extra purse pack of tissues, and scrambled the fighters.
As the grackle flies, UMC is only a hoot and a holler to the east of us. However, in order to go east, I had to first go south because streets. Evidently, they had called me right when the EMS folks got to her room because I beat her there by about 20 minutes (that’s counting the 10-minute hike from where I had to park, which was, thankfully, just east of the county line). I had about a 15 minute wait in the ER waiting room before they would let me back.
I have all the papers — the POA, the POA for health care, her insurance cards, and the sheet with her medical history and medication list. and I have no trouble hearing and understanding English Second Language speakers and women (who have higher pitched voices and “mumble”). (Her most profound hearing loss is in the higher frequencies, oddly enough.)
IMPORTANT ASIDE: I cannot stress too much how important it is to make a list of your medications and dosages, a list of all the operations you’ve had and (approximately) when you had them, and a list of all your medical conditions, keep it up to date and carry it ***PRINTED OUT ON A SHEET OF PAPER*** in your purse or wallet, ***NOT ON YOUR PHONE***!! If it’s in your phone, the doctors have no way to get it out where they can put it on your chart for all your treating medical professionals to have access to. If you have it on a sheet of paper, they can copy it and put it in your chart. Doing this could save your life. If you come to the emergency room, your treating medical people have no idea what medications you’re taking or what your medical conditions might be. They’re essentially flying blind. If you are unresponsive or badly hurt, obtaining a coherent medical history could be difficult to impossible. But if you have this sheet and your family member/spouse/friend know you carry it in your purse or wallet, they could save your life by letting this sheet speak for you when you can’t.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming, which is already in progress. It was sneaking up on 11 o’clock before I made it back to where they had her. I got out all the cards and papers, and one of the admissions people, who was really on the ball, noticed that on my POA for health care, mom is DNR/DNI – she wants no cardiopulmonary resuscitation of any kind and she does not want to be intubated. Carillon House had her status as “full code,” meaning using any and all heroic measures to keep her alive at all costs, which is not what she wants. We also discussed the fact that my durable POA for health care does not cover “out of hospital” codes. It also does not cover if she codes while the EMS personnel are in the process of transferring her from her room at Carillon to the hospital. (I’ve also got to get with the Carillon House people and get her code status sorted out with them, too.) This helpful person got us the proper form, which I now have in my purse with the other papers, which has that covered. I will also put up a copy of it up on the wall in her room so EMS people can note it and honor it. So, that was one good thing that came out of this episode.
Naturally, we waited and waited for lab results, x-ray results, doctors — It’s why they’re called “patients.” Mom is a class M patient. (Think about it; it’ll come to you.) Her kidney function tests were out of whack (what a surprise NOT!), and her bilirubin (a liver enzyme) was 4 times what it should have been. They were most unhappy with her liver enzymes (and weren’t thrilled with her kidney functions either). She was very dehydrated, so they gave her two bags of fluids. They took her for an ultrasound of the liver, pancreas and gallbladder. Her white blood cell count indicated she had some kind of mild infection, so they hit her with the good stuff — Flagyl and Rocephin.
The upshot of it all was that the ultrasound showed mom had a gallbladder full of gallstones. There was concern that one was lodged in the duct that goes from the gallbladder to the intestine, which would explain her symptoms. This could be serious in a patient of any age, but especially at her age. (My 78-year-old paternal grandmother died because she had a lodged stone they didn’t know about and her gallbladder ruptured. The 98-year-old lady who used to live up the hall from me also required emergency gallbladder surgery and didn’t survive it.) There is an endoscopic procedure where they can use an endoscope to go down the throat, through the stomach, into the intestine and grab the stone from that end, but it obviously requires sedation, which is risky in a patient her age and with her lung function.
Ultimately, about 1 p.m., they decided to admit her for observation. She didn’t get up to a room until nearly 6 o’clock. The ER is on the west end of the hospital. The room she went to was on the east end of the hospital.
One of the ER nurses pushed her bed up there because transportation was too busy. She was going at a pretty fast clip, considering she was pushing this hospital bed with my mom in it. I tried to keep up with her but she left me in the dust! Fortunately, I knew where she was going.
However, her liver enzymes gradually trended back to normal and her kidney functions normalized once they got her rehydrated. She may actually have passed a gallstone, which would explain her symptoms, especially her belly pain. It would also explain her periodic bouts of nausea and vomiting if she’s got a gallbladder full of gravel. (The liver makes digestive enzymes — bile — which is stored in the gallbladder. When you eat foods that contain fats, proteins and carbohydrates, bile is squeezed out of the gallbladder into the small intestines as part of the digestive process. If the liver can’t put bile in the gallbladder, it backs up into your blood and causes jaundice — you look “yellow.”)
The GI doctor decided that since her liver enzymes were coming back down to normal, no intervention was warranted, and she went back home to Carillon House Tuesday afternoon. The same song, third verse, is that she does not drink enough water. Period. Certainly not enough to keep her kidneys flushed out. As a result, her bowels are going to recover all the water they possibly can from her food to keep the kidneys functioning, which is why she’s frequently constipated. Drink water, folks. It’s your kidneys’ job to keep garbage flushed out of your blood. You can’t flush a toilet if there’s no water in the toilet tank.
In the knitting news, I realized that all the projects I’m working on right now are shawls, and big. Also in knitting group last week, one of the ladies mentioned knitting chemo hats. Chemo hats are small and almost as portable as socks. I’ve got a big bag of suitable (acrylic -because it’s hypoallergenic and machine washable) yarn to make chemo hats left over from my last attack.
I’m contemplating creating a Scots bonnet and there were some techniques I wanted to try out. The first one was using Judy’s Magic Cast-on instead of a provision cast on for a rolled hat brim. Worked like a charm, I’m happy to say. The secret is to use two circular needles, a 16-inch and a 24-inch, for the cast on. When you use this method, you don’t have to go back and pick up your provisional stitches. They’re already on the needle. Just make sure your 16-inch needle is the needle you start knitting with as that’s what you’ll use for the hat. Then, when you roll the brim (working stitches in back, provisional stitches in front), you can take the provisional stitch off knitwise, put it on the 16-inch needle and knit two together through the back loop (k2tog tbl) to secure the brim without having to go back and sew it. Then you just keep knitting on your hat.
If you orient the stitches right when you take them off the “keeper needle,” the join is “invisible.” I like to rib the inside part of the rolled brim to make it more elastic.
I started this hat Sunday night, and I’m on the decreases at the top now. I’ve got two more balls of yarn earmarked to try some other versions. I didn’t get a lot of sleep Sunday and Monday nights for one reason and another. I slept all Tuesday night and most of Wednesday though. I was just exhausted. I spent Wednesday evening watching YouTube with my feet up, taking it easy. I think YouTube does not consider you to be a a legitimate homesteading channel unless the guy has a beard and/or the lady has long hair . . . .