All Done

All eight blooms are open now. Ridiculous how chuffed I am about a plant blooming.

I am cautiously hopeful about the beauty saloon operator’s orchid. When I got groceries today, I got a pretty little blooming plant (kalanchoe?) in a teapot and took it over to her today because I have taken her orchid “into protective custody.”

I have repotted it properly (she thought all the roots had to be covered up!) and have gotten an orchid fertilizer spike on board. It now has a means to get all the water it wants and has a viable root (possibly three) which appears to be taking on water. It’s leaves have firmed up, which is a good indication that it is now better “hydrated” than it was.

I have recently learned about a birdsong app for smart phones.  If you hear birdsong, you can start the app, which listens to the birdsong through the phone mike and identifies the specie(s) of bird(s) doing the singing.  (It uses GPS to plot where you are and determine what birds might be found based on your location.) Back in the old days, you’d join a group of birders to go out bird watching together and a more experienced birder would take you under their wing, and it would be, “Hear that? That’s a Yellow-headed Whatchamacallit.” Then you’d scan the tree canopy with your binoculars to see if you could spot one.  You’d finally spot a bird and there would be breathlessly whispered consultations over the bird book (Roger Tory Peterson, of course) and identification by consensus.  It  was all about being out in nature, the camaraderie of being with people who enjoyed the same activity you did, the challenge of the hunt, the thrill of the chase, the joy of success.  Now they have an app for that.  Sigh.

We had a violent crashy bangy T-storm just now, and it rained hard in big splatty drops against the window for about 10 minutes.  (And this POS stupid internet that we have here is down.  Rebooted the modem to no avail.)  I like it when it rains at night.  Gives it a chance to soak in and do some good.  It evaporates too quickly when it rains in the daytime. 

I had to be up at oh, God thirty this morning to make an 8 o’clock lab appointment at the VA and walked all over the world to get there.  Then I went to the grocery store and walked all over the world.  On my way back, I drove up under the portico and stopped by the lobby to pick up some stuff I ordered from Amazon from the receptionist before I went to my appointed parking space. I remembered to put my fold-up cart into the trunk, so I unloaded the car into it and schlepped the groceries upstairs (via the freight elevator).  Then I carried a vase of roses and a teapot full of blooming plant down the elevator to first floor, up one hallway and down the other, up the elevator to third floor and gave the roses to mom for Mother’s day, and the (tea)potted plant to the beauty operator, hiked back and got the mail, (and took the package notification things for the packages I’d already gotten all the way up the hall to the lobby and back) and took my lunch back up to the apartment.  By then I was exhausted and my knee was very unhappy with me.  I put lunch in the fridge and crashed til 7 o’clock and had my lunch for supper.

Edit: The above was written on Wednesday evening. The internet went down Wednesday night and stayed down. I had to copy the blog post to a Word document and save it because not all of it autosaved before the internet went down. It’s still down. I languished all day Thursday, unable to finish my blog post, unable to listen to music on internet radio, unable to watch YouTube, unable to play games on my Kindle Fire, unable to read the next book in the series I’m reading because I hadn’t download it to my Kindle before the internet cratered. Then, early this morning, I had a huge forehead-smacker of a DUH! moment. Darling, your phone is hotspot enabled. (Yes, I call myself ‘darling’ when I’m taking myself to task. Bite me. )

I had purchased that option on my cell phone plan for when I travel, to be able to get Google maps, and internet radio access whenever and wherever I want it, as well as being able to use my Kindle in places where I don’t trust the WiFi, or where there isn’t any. My Kindle was already set up to connect to the internet through my phone’s hotspot. In a matter of minutes, I had the next book and the rest of the books in the series (Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John Grey books) downloaded to my Kindle because the internet for all three buildings is still down.

So, this morning, I fixed myself breakfast, got my phone, and proceeded to sign onto the internet on both computers via my phone’s hot spot. I’ve been eating my curds and whey (AKA cottage cheese) (with mandarin oranges) and my brioche toast and finishing this blog post. Here directly, I’ll have my shower and wash my hair and get suited up for my appointment with my PCP at the VA at 1330 hrs. I may go early to see if I can get my foot x-rayed so I can get a podiatry consult for orthotics which may help my knee by more properly aligning my foot. Or that’s the thinking anyway. Onward and upward.

Why, Yes, I Am a Toolbelt Diva

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.

The Suspense Is Killing Me . . .

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.

Now and again, my BFF sends me a smile. We all live in a yellow mugmarine . . . .

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?

In the knitting news, see above.

Our Reprieve Is Over

I’m afraid our mild, low-80’s (26+ C) summer days are over. Today’s high was 95 F (35 C) and tomorrow’s high is supposed to be 101 F (38.3 C). It has been “cool” and rainy for most of May, with thunderbangers in the evening and nights, which put the humidity up in the 70-80% range (Do I hear sniggering from points southeast?!). Today the humidity was a more reasonable 26%. The 10-day forecast is for hot, more hot and ye gods! My electricity bills are going to be higher than giraffe’s ears until fall. Again.

On a more positive note, I have finally convinced Suddenlink to cancel my cable TV service and just give me internet and phone service without charging me an arm and both legs for it. (It only took me three phone calls and the better part of an hour!) I’ve got a 55-inch flat screen smart TV that I never watch because there’s nothing on cable TV anymore but junk, brainless sitcoms and drivel unless you pay through the nose for the premium packages. The networks are not putting anything worth watching on their cable channels. (Duh!) They put all the good stuff on their streaming services. (They don’t want to deal with the cable providers either!) Now that I’ve gotten a sizable chunk taken off my bill, I can subscribe to a streaming service or three and get just what I want when I want it.

I’m taking Mom to see the orthopedist tomorrow. I hope to goodness he can do something for her. I’m afraid he’s going to tell her she needs a hip replacement and I’m afraid if he tells her that, she’s just going to give up. (The Queen Mum had her hip replaced at 95 and lived to be 101. I’m just saying.) I keep trying to convince her she needs a more substantial recliner. The one she has is such a struggle for her to get out of because (a) the seat is so low, and (b) the arms are basically two giant pillows. I’m afraid that chair is a big part of the problem. I’ve been trying for months to get her to get a new chair. What she really needs is a lift chair, but getting her to agree to that will be an uphill battle. If the orthopedist gives her a prescription for it, though, maybe she’ll agree to it then, especially since Medicare would cover it.

I committed tuna salad last night. Made it with mini-elbow pasta in. I’ve got a 1.75 quart Pyrex bowl with a plastic cover that I use for that, except when I make it, I use two cans of tuna . . . and by the time I get all the ingredients in the bowl, it’s hard to stir without sloshing. Last night, though, I must have gotten a little carried away because I had to get one of my big mixing bowls down to mix it all up in and make two sandwiches before I could get it to fit into the Pyrex bowl. The obvious solution is to get a bigger Pyrex bowl. On its way.

I went to my own orthopedist today for my two year checkup! The x-rays of my replaced knee look great. I was told to go forth and walk a lot. There was this lovely tuna salad sandwich in the refrigerator waiting for me when I got home. Noms! I make them, wrap them in plastic wrap and leave them in the fridge for 8 or 12 hours. I like them best when they’re good and cold. I have a roll of Saran wrap I’ve literally had for years. The only thing I ever use it for is tuna salad sandwiches.

In the knitting news, I’ve been hopping from project to project. The Waves on a Wine Dark Sea shawl colors are getting interesting. I’m using self-striping sock yarn, which typically has very short color repeats because socks. The shawl is wide enough now that I’m just getting streaks of color. I like it.

Also chugging right along on the Latticia shawl. it’s in a wool sock yarn. Although it’s a solid color yarn, there are streaks of lighter and darker shades in it. The color doesn’t show very well here. It’s the blue of very faded blue jeans. The shawl and its bowl are currently by my computer. Here directly, I’m going to knit on it a while and listen to internet radio or maybe watch a couple YouTube videos.

The Latticia Venezia shawl is also coming along. I made myself sit down and figure out the spacing of the 3 lace panels across the width. The panel of garter stitches between the lace panels is 66 inches wide. The increase is only one stitch every other row to a max width of 270 stitches, so it’s going to be nice and long.

I was sitting and knitting on the WWS shawl last week during one of those above-mentioned thunderstorms when there was this terrific clap of thunder, like about half a ton of TNT had gone off in my back yard. I was so startled by it I was knitting in mid-air for about 1.0525 seconds. I’m afraid I said something very unladylike on the way down, though . . .

I need to go on a tear again, sort through my stuff and get rid of a bunch of it, especially all the clothes I never wear. I’d like to do a garage sale and at least get some $ out of it, but I’m tempted to just pile the lot of it into the trunk of my car and schlep it to the Goodwill truck that’s parked in Market Street’s parking lot more often than not, and just get rid of it. I also need to sort out my yarn stash. I think it’s about to reach critical mess. Well, like the man says, if wishes were horses, we’d be knee deep in it.

After Midnight, We Gonna Get Our Shopping Done

Wednesday night (or Thursday morning, whatever), I was reminded again why I like to go shopping late at night.  I left the house shortly after 12:30, and by 3:15, I had been to Wal-mart, to the Post Office to mail a package (via credit card operated kiosk), and to Market Street, done a month’s worth of grocery shopping, got it hauled into the house and put away.  There were maybe fifteen other shoppers at Wal-mart, nobody at the Post Office, and two other shoppers at Market Street.  I didn’t have to hunt a place to park, and didn’t have to stand in line and wait to get checked out at either store.  The only downside was that the in-store bakery at Market Street was closed and there was nobody to run a loaf of artisan bread through the slicer, so I’ll have to slice it myself.  Zut alors.

I worked nights for nigh onto 30 years, loved it, and still have a hard time keeping myself on a daytime schedule.  It doesn’t take much to flip me back into third shift.  The nerves in the leg of the knee I had replaced are still healing and every time a new branch heals and reconnects, it has to yell at my brain for a while before it settles down.  Evidently, Tuesday night, a big branch reconnected and we got the electrified icepick jabs in the leg intermittently all night.  It finally settled down about 6:00 a.m., at which point I rolled over and slept uninterruptedly most of the day Wednesday, because I finally could (instead of going grocery shopping, like I had originally planned). Fortunately, this has been happening less and less often as healing progresses.

This time when I got groceries, I got some Truvia to try.  Yes, I will admit it.  Twinkle Tons could stand to lose some weight.  (Twinkle Tons could drop 50 pounds and never miss them!)  So far, so good.  The taste is not noticeably different than the genuine article, which is a big thing.  I haven’t used artificial sweeteners in the past because they have a whangy aftertaste that I find unpleasant.  Particularly saccharine.  So now the game plan is:  Less sugar.  Less bread.  More exercise.  (Dream on.)

In the knitting news, I finished the pair of baby booties that goes with the cardigan and hat.  I just have to block the cardigan and sew on the buttons and the layette is finished.  It’s done in blue yarn, and the baby is a girl, but I made a pair of pink booties for her, too, so that.

I’ve finally gotten around to proofing the pattern for the ball-jointed doll sweater (knitted on US1/2.25 mm double pointed needles), which has a cable down the front.   The stitch gage is 6 stitches/8 rows = 2 cm, which is tiny, and I had to go hunt up my tapestry needle to use as a cable needle.  For the proof piece, I’m using a cotton thread  in a light blue that doesn’t split as bad as the teal yarn I used above.   I also adjusted the pattern to do the cable crosses every other row instead of every two rows.  It makes a tighter cable and I like the look much better.  I was working on it, stopped to fix something, then spent five minutes looking for my fifth needle — which I was holding in my mouth all along.  Sigh.

My hair is finally long enough to pull back away from my face in what I call a “top pony tail”, á la “Witcher”  (which I’m looking forward to watching — mostly to oggle Henry Cavill. . . .) or Joe Cheng’s character in L.O.R.D. Critical  World.  (It’s still not long enough to all go back in a regular ponytail, though.) White hair is apparently all the rage these days, so I’m right in fashion.  (For once.)


The Branta canadensis, a migratory species of dinosaurs, have returned for the winter.  I passed this herd in the park near where my mom lives.   They’ve parked on the grass,  and obviously can’t read the signs.  T’is the season. . .

Note that the type of grass we use for lawns  here in the flatlands (Cynodon dactylon, AKA Bermuda grass) dies off in the fall (that yellow stuff on the ground), but regrows from the roots each spring.

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.


I’ve been watching snibbets of video from the EV Nautilus’ channel on YouTube.  Fascinating.  If you’re into cool live shots of undersea creatures and that sort of thing (or your kids are), you should check out this channel.  Their ship has these remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) with lights and video equipment which they send down and explore with.  There is a live feed feature so scientists (and anybody else) can watch what’s going on in real time and make contributions.  So you have these scientists sitting in a room with all these monitors showing video feed of what the ROVs are encountering, and just geeking out over the stuff they’re seeing. (Oh, over there!  Can you zoom?  It’s a Tropiometra carinata, and, yes, look!  It’s being parasitized by a Myzostoma probably fuscomaculatum.  That’s so great!) There’s this one guy, though.  I mean, how can you get a PH.D. in marine biology and not learn how to pronounce “anemone?”!  He consistently pronounces it “a-nen-o-me” and it just drives me nuts.  (Life on the spectrum, ya’ll. . . .)

It’s been hot here.  Sunday’s high was 102F/38.9C.  Today’s high is supposed to be 109F/42.7 C.  Naturally, I have to get out in it.  I have an appointment to get my teeth cleaned at 3 p.m.   47% humidity.   Tuesday’s high is supposed to be 88F/31.1C.  Ridiculous.

I’ve been going through ice cubes a tray at a time in my stainless steel drink bottle.  It holds 40 oz — I fill it a little over half full with a packet of Crystal Light, and then dump in a whole ice tray.  Lasts me all day.

Last Thursday was my last day of physical therapy.  I have 120 degrees of flexion now (a straight leg is 0 degrees), and I can ride the exercise bike and get the pedals to go all the way around.  I have a pair of ankle weights (red ones!) somewhere, left over from when I broke that kneecap many long years ago.  I’ve been trying to find them so I can do my home exercises.  No idea where I put them.  Not a clue.  However, the hand weights I got around that time are probably with them, where ever they are.   I’ve still got residual swelling and numbness, but I’m only 3 months postop.  It can take up to a year for all the stiffness and swelling to finally go away.  I reckon I’m down to about half of what I had right after surgery.  Onward and upward.



Today would have been my dad’s 97th birthday.  This is my favorite picture of him.  It once belonged to his parents, and his mother gave it to me because she knew I’d take care of it.  He joined the Marines right out of high school and fought in the Pacific in WWII.  He and my mom were married for 67 years until death did them part on 22 September, 2014.   I got my sense of humor, and my love of reading, language and music from him.   They say, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”  Yeah.  “Semper fidelis” pretty much sums him up.  Its what mom and I had put on his grave marker.  Hard to believe it’s been five years since this day changed from a happy birthday to a day of remembrance.

My poor mom.  She’ll be 95 this year.  She’s still as full of beans as ever, active, alert  and, thankfully, still in possession of a full set of marbles, but she likes things just the way they are.  For a long time, they had Dish TV, and AT&T internet and land line, each on a separate account, and she was paying through the nose for it.  My mom is what you might call dyed in the wool frugal.   For a long time, her frugality at having to pay so much warred with her dislike of change.  She was particularly unhappy with the satellite service, which lost the signal whenever it rained or the wind kicked up.  It was an epic struggle but finally last week, frugality won and she decided to switch everything over to AT&T(DirecTV) and bundle it.  The guy came out at 11 a.m. Tuesday morning and didn’t leave until 7 p.m. that night.  He was back and forth to the alley, he was up in the attic, he was was in and out to his truck. Somehow in the shuffle, AT&T tried to give her a new telephone number.  Ooooh.  Bad move.  The phrase “madder than a wet hen” comes to mind. . .  as does the expression, “fit to be tied.”  Add to that her being told that the situation could not be sorted out until Monday, and you have one very unhappy camper.

Allow me to digress:  Once upon a time, having a telephone meant you had to have an actual wire going from a telephone pole to your house, and you had to attach your phone to that wire or it wouldn’t work.  If you moved, you had to get a new phone number, because the phone number wasn’t yours, it was the wire’s.  When our family moved to a new house in 1960, we got a new phone number, which was going to be our phone number as long as we lived in that house.  Then, for some unfathomable telephone-company reason, in 1975, she and my dad (who were still living in that house) had to get a new telephone number — as I discovered when I attempted to call home.  I was living in Germany at the time, and she had written me a letter giving me the new number, but I hadn’t had a chance to get it yet.  It was quite disconcerting to be expecting to hear one of your parents’ voices answer the phone, only to hear some telephone lady tell you that your parents’ telephone number was no longer in service!

She’s still living in that same house, and that “new” phone number has been her number for 44 years now! — until AT&T tried to pull a fast one on her yesterday.

I was blissfully unaware of all this sturm und drang until about 8:30 last night when I got a phone call.  The caller ID had my mom’s first and last name on it, which was odd, and it was not my mom’s time-tested phone number either, which was odder still.  But the voice on the line was definitely hers.   She had called to alert me to the fact that AT&T had played fast and loose with her telephone number and to vent her extreme displeasure that they weren’t going to be getting around to fixing the situation until Monday.

My mom has a large circle of friends-and-relations, all of whom have that phone number, and my mom is at the age when if people call her number and it rings and rings and rings and rings, the next thing they do is call me (if they’re a relative) or call the lady across the street from her.  She had called her dear friend CK and left a phone message with the temporary number, because she thinks in terms of writing things down.  However, the minute I got off the phone, I texted CK (and my brother) to clue her knowing that having that number in a text on her phone made it easy for CK to keep up with it, and that one has simply to tap a phone number in a text message to call that number.

At least this will give me a good story to tell my friend LB, who is still in the hospital, and will probably be there for a while.  Tomorrow is my last day of physical therapy, and afterward, I’ll be going up to the hospital to see her. Anything I can do to lift her spirits will be all to the good.

*Mr. Bowie had some noteworthy words on the subject. . .

Small Victories and Major Setbacks

So very concerned about my friend LB, who had emergency abdominal surgery Sunday because they finally decided that the reason she kept throwing up (for over a month!) was that she had some kind of blockage, and did a CT on her (which they should have done a lot sooner if you ask me). She had to have part of her stomach removed (because it was dead) and they did what is called a Roux-en-Y bypass on what was left of her stomach.  The cause of the problem is this honking great tumor snuggled up around her aorta and other such essential things, and it had strangled her small bowel.  They already knew she has breast cancer cells in her liver, and now this.  They want to put her on this new chemotherapy drug that’s just been approved (that’ll be $16,000 a month, thank you very much), that her oncologist is very excited about.  This is all a major setback for her.  With my background as a medical transcriptionist, this is one of the times when I can read the bad news between the lines and just have to keep my mouth shut.  It just breaks my heart.

I get to have a surveillance CT myself Monday to make sure some of my health problems aren’t acting up again.  But that’s Monday.

I did have this one tiny victory yesterday.  Each time I go to physical therapy for the new knee, the first thing I do is go on the exercise bicycle.  I push the pedals as far around as I can, gently forcing my left knee to bend as much as I can.  Yesterday, it bent enough that I could go all the way around on the pedals.  (Slowly, slowly, slowly, climbs the snail up Mount Fuji. . . . .)

This evening, to celebrate, I’m doing two loads of laundry.  Such is life.

Old Age Ain’t for Sisyphus

Pushing the rock up the hill again,  which is what rehab is feeling like.   I rehab-ed this knee after I broke the kneecap and had it surgically reassembled with a set of K-wires and a figure-of-8 cerclage wire and had to do a month in a knee immobilizer and wait for the bone to heal.  Then I rehab-ed it again after I had to have the hardware taken out because one of the K-wires twisted out of position.  Very safe bet that this injury and the subsequent surgeries set up the cartilage loss that led to my replacement surgery.  Now I’m rehabing following total knee replacement.  Hopefully the third time is charmed.   I am making progress.  I’ve gone from 82 degrees of flexion to 114 degrees of flexion (with a straight leg representing 0 degrees).

Monday, I went back to my orthopod and he was pleased with my progress.  Then I went hiking at Wal-Mart, came home, put all my groceries away, crashed and burned.  Was in bed by 8 p.m. While I was at Wal-Mart, I got a 17-oz stainless steel (double walled so it won’t sweat all over the place) water bottle that will fit in my bag. I made sure to get one with a neck big enough to fit ice cubes in.  I tested it today and it worked great.   (iced Peach Mango Crystal Light — Nums!) A high of over 100 F/37.7 C tomorrow and Thursday, which is going to be the first time our high has not been in the 90’s in weeks.  Humidity has been around 35%.  Today I went to therapy and then got my hair trimmed.  I’m trying to get it all one length again and am letting it grow out, but I get split ends so bad I have to have it trimmed regularly.  It’s grown out even more insistently curly than it was before I lost great wads of it from chemo last year.  Apparently, I’m going to be sporting a dandelion clock do until it grows out long enough to put back.  After I got my hair cut, I went to Market Street to get the things Wal-Mart doesn’t have.   (Rosemary olive bread, for one thing. . .)

Last Tuesday, was the appointment that TriWest (VA) got me with an optometrist to have my eyes examined and I got a new prescription for glasses.  Now I’ve got to call the VA and find out the hours the VA’s “optical shop” is open so I can turn in my prescription and get new glasses made.  Manaña.

Old Boss

New Boss






Here follows the obligatory Who reference.  Depressingly, the lyrics are as relevant today as they were when the song was released in June of 1971.

In the knitting news, I have two finished objects (FO’s)




A sparkly little baby beanie and a pair of baby booties.  They’re not cute or fancy booties, but with the ribbed cuff folded down once, they stay on.

So, after I got home from my errands this afternoon and was changing out of my slacks and into the cotton sleep shirt I wear around the house, I looked down and saw this:

It’s my right leg, and I’ve got bloody scratches as well as a pair of stonking great bruises, and no idea when I done the deed, never mind what deed I dood.  You’d think if I whacked my shin hard enough to raise bruises like that, I’d remember doing it.  No clue.  About a week ago I had this spectacular bruise on my forearm and no idea how it got there, either.  I mean, I’m not in the habit of pinballing off the walls or tripping over the furniture or anything.  Sigh.  Welcome to the wonderful world of blood thinners.