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.

Potpourri

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.

 

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes*

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.

 

Independence Day

I was reflecting on the fact that yesterday was “Independence Day” and, in view of the current political climate, I thought this was apropos.   We’ve needed a day of reckoning for way too long on way too many scores.

I’m in pursuit of my own personal independence day in my quest to return to full mobility after my total knee replacement surgery.  The VA finally got its rear in gear and I had my “induction visit” for outpatient physical therapy Wednesday — only three weeks late.  Fortunately, it turned out that the facility I wanted was in TriWest’s network so I get to go to the one that’s literally right around the corner instead of to a facility that’s way over on one side of town, or one that’s way over on the other side of town.

I like it.  The therapist is not only professional but nice.  I was pleased to note that I did not lose all that much ground in the three weeks I twiddled my thumbs waiting for Godot. . .  I actually did gain some ground.  I went from 82 degrees of flexion at 18 days postop after a week in-home PT (which is really good, BTW) to 102 degrees of flexion at 6 weeks postop, which is past 90 degrees (a measurement of how far I can bend my knee, assuming a straight leg is zero degrees, and remembering that the furthest I can bend my good leg is 125 degrees because I’m a real woman with a real woman’s thunder thighs!, not some anorexic stick-figure of a fashion model, so there. )  Starting next Wednesday, I will have two sessions a week of PT for 7 weeks.

All since the surgery, I’ve been having intermittent nerve pain as part of the healing process — as nerves heal and reconnect, they yell at my brain, “Can you hear me now?!”  It’s like being savagely stabbed six or eight times with an electrified fork, suddenly and without warning.  Sometimes the jolt is so strong my foot even jumps.  Then it stops.  Not everybody gets this, but apparently I do, and it’s totally on the curve of a normal healing process.  Remember, I’ve done this whole thing, surgery and all, on nothing but a local nerve block for immediate post surgical pain, Tylenol and Aleve, that’s it.   Of course, I had no choice in the matter, because I’m allergic to practically everything else, but still.   I stopped taking anything for pain over two weeks ago.

The reverse osmosis water guy was out Wednesday afternoon for the 6-month filter change on my under-sink unit, and ever since, when I’ve turned the regular sink tap on, I get the spits and splutters of air in the line.  I let the water run for a good minute that first time, and that should have taken care of it, but when I ran water a couple of hours later, it spit and spluttered again.  It’s happening consistently.  I’ve got to try calling them in the morning and have the guy back out because something is out of kilter.   Bother.

For weeks now, high temps have been in the 90’s F(32-37 C) with lows in the low 70’s F (21-24 C).   Thankfully, I haven’t had to go out in it much.  We’ve been having thunderboomers intermittently.  Afternoon and late evening storm moves in, with a lot of thunder and lightening.  It rains torrentially for about half an hour with pea to marble size hail more often than not, then it quits.   Then for a couple days afterward we get 60%-70% humidity (stop laughing, you east Texans!) which is really high for us (39% to 49% is average).  (Where I live up in the flatlands is considered “semi-arid” with average rainfall of 16-17 inches/40-43 cm a year.)

Late Wednesday night, after things cooled down some, I baked three potatoes in the oven.  The way I do my baking taters (wash potatoes, rub them with olive oil while still damp, cook at 360º for 1 hour) makes the skin tender and thin.  I had some of those Birdseye steam in the microwave packages of broccoli and cauliflower mix veggies which I nuked, and some thick cut deli chicken, and a green onion, and some Sargento sprinkle cheese to load my tater with.  I got one tater left.  That’ll be lunch mañana.

I thought I’d leave you with this little vault over the language barrier from a restroom in Japan (?).  Words to live by.

 

If You Can’t Say Something Nice . . .

We all know how that line finishes, which is why the VA is only obliquely mentioned in this post.  Also, this is a family friendly blog and my mom doesn’t know I know that kind of language. . .

Of the Steri-Strips that were placed over the incision on my knee after the stitches were taken out on the 10th, only about four remain.  The incision looks very frankensteinish*, but it will settle down.  This is the third time that poor knee has been operated on. (Each time they do surgery, they excise the old scar.)  Perhaps, third time is charmed.

Quote of the day:   “The muse in charge of fantasy wears good, sensible shoes.” – Lloyd Alexander

I’ve got another linguistic clanger to add to the collection.  It’s a new one I’ve just noticed.   First it was “in the meanwhile” which is a mishmash that hits my linguistic ear like a speed bump at 40 mph — It’s either “in the meantime,” or “meanwhile.”  Then, all of a sudden, and for no apparent reason, extinction went from being a state of being to a destination.  Species used to become extinct.  Now they go there.  Whatever.   The new one is “step foot” as in “He was a teetotaler and had never stepped foot in a bar in his life.”  I can see the logic of feet stepping, but as anyone who has ever read anything that was written before the school system went to hell in a hand basket, it’s “set foot,”  as in “A virgin forest is where the hand of man has never set foot.” (Be alert.)   It’s so annoying to be reading along and have someone bungle the verbiage.  They use a word that doesn’t mean what they think it means.  They mangle the grammar.  It’s bad enough that the author has done it, but what makes it worse is that at least one editor whose supposed to know better has let them get away with it.

My recovery from knee surgery was going great guns until guess who dropped the ball.  I’ve been hanging fire for two weeks now for  an authorization from a certain organization  to go to physical therapy, and all the momentum I had going on my recovery has now stalled out.  All I can do is keep doing the little exercises the home health people gave me, but I’m neither gaining strength and endurance nor getting rid of the swelling like I would have been if I could have progressed to the recumbent bike and other physical therapy equipment in a timely manner.  (*expletives, scatology and pejoratives deleted.* )

I did wander around the grocery store Friday morning .  As I mentioned, I have not regained much in the way of endurance.  That little 45 minute foray wore me out.  I was so exhausted after I got home that after I put my groceries away, I didn’t even bother with lunch.  I just went into the bedroom and took a nap.  Til about 6 pm. Which means my days and nights are mixed up again.  Bother.  I should walk outside up and down the sidewalk but I hesitate to do it by myself.  I have this dread of falling and lying there hurt. It’s called “having a reasonable fear to an unreasonable degree.”  Besides, I’d have to go out early in the morning to avoid the heat (and humidity!) and the mosquitoes would eat me alive.  (Insert video here of piranhas stripping some hapless animal to bones in 2.5 seconds.)

Speaking of videos, I was watching a video on YouTube about debutantes in England in 1939, and this was the theme song.  The song dates from back in the late Oleaginous** period when people knew how to write lyrics and compose pleasant melodies.   (The 9th Duke of Wellington in his youth looked a lot like the late Robert Addie in his.)  Show them how it’s done, Bing.

* While we're on the subject of grammar,  when a proper noun is used as a noun, it's capitalized (because it's a proper noun!), but it's not capitalized when it's used as an adjective, so Frankenstein (because it's somebody's surname) and Frankenstein's monster,  but frankensteinish.  (Do kids even know what an adjective is any more?)

** The late Oleaginous -- Just after sliced bread was invented (in 1928).

Resistance Is Futile

My bank has an app for PC that had a function where I could pay my rent by electronic funds transfer directly to my landlady’s account in about 45 seconds.  It was just great.   So Friday, the 31st,  I went to the app to pay my rent and promptly discovered that I couldn’t.  They’d changed the app so you can’t do the “People Pay” bit from the PC app any more, and it was apparently too much trouble for them to bother telling anybody they were going to do it.  Now you have to use the phone app to do it.  I spent most of the morning going round and round about it with my bank. (Like I really needed one more thing to sort out. . . .)

It was presumptive and high-handed of them to make changes out of hand and without warning, and I didn’t hesitate to mention that in the three separate phone calls I made to three different people trying to find out what in the Sam Hill was going on and how I’m going to get my rent money to my landlady in a timely fashion.

“Well, now that everybody has smart phones we’ve gone to this new app.  All your landlady has to do is download it and . . .”  Excuse me, but my landlady does not have a smart phone, doesn’t want a smart phone, is not about to fork over that kind of dough to get one, and wouldn’t know what to do with it if she had one.

“Well, you can drive down to the bank and set up an automatic funds transfer in person . . .”  Darling, I just had my left knee replaced, and I’m not driving anywhere for at least 10 days, never mind negotiating my way in and out using a walker, and my landlady would like her rent money now.

“You can mail her a check.”  My landlady has an invalid husband and doesn’t have time to be driving off to the bank to deposit the dang check, and doesn’t have a smart phone to do a mobile deposit.  See above.

I swear sometimes I feel like I’m channeling  John Cleese in the Dead Parrot sketch.

Anyway, I think I have it sorted now. Either I can mail a check to my landlady, or the bank can mail her one, which she still has to deposit.  So much for progress.  It’s been over a week now since I went round and round with the bank.  Not only is resistance futile, it’s bootless.   I’ve had time to simmer down now and I’m gradually lapsing into resignation.

Technology has brought me one nice thing, though.  My grocery store now delivers — for a $10/£8/€9 fee, of course.  You shop on line, pay on line and pick the best available delivery time for you (2-hour windows).  Two nice men in bermudas brought my order by this morning and even brought it in the house and put it on my dining table.  It was worth a 10-spot not to have to traipse around in a grocery store on a leg which still hasn’t forgiven me for what I put it through on the 24th.

I am walking around the house without a walker OR cane, trying to walk as naturally as I can.  I’m working on flexion and doing the exercises the home PT people showed me.   Don’t know exactly when I’ll start outpatient physical therapy — the VA makes you jump through so many durn bureaucratic hoops to do anything — but it will be soon.

I go to the VA tomorrow for blood test and checkup — I expect I’ll be retailing the tale of the knee for the edification of my VA medical data base.

In the meantime, I’ve gotten back into knitting.  One of the couples whose YouTube channel I follow* is expecting their first child.  It’s been a while since I knitted baby booties.  I remembered that Arne and Carlos did a tutorial demonstrating a variant of short-row heel without holes  and I decided to try their method, which works beautifully.  I call them booties, but they’re really more like baby bobbie socks.  The people I’ve given this style of booties to say they really like them because the fold-down ribbed cuff makes them harder for the baby to kick off.

I’ve also started one of Marianna’s baby tops in 6-month size.    They knit up fast.  Instead of binding off the sleeves, I put them on some scrap yarn and will make a long sleeved version.  I probably could have finished it today, but I got side-tracked reading blogs and watching videos on YouTube.

One of the things I’ve been trying is “knitting backwards” to do stockinette stitch.  In this method, the purl row is done by knitting backwards. It’s kind of the Columbus method (Going east by sailing west. . .) for doing stockinette, but that little top has five inches of stockinette at the bottom, which means you’re purling 130 stitches every other row. . . .  ugh!

Two things I wanted to mention.  If you use double pointed needles (DPNs) for things like knitting socks or hats or baby things, check these out.  When you put your knitting aside, you put all five needles into the case and snap the snaps.  The little case keeps your work from sliding off the needles, as well as keeping that fifth needle corralled so it doesn’t go missing.  (Somebody had their thinking cap on!)  The other thing is The Sock Ruler.  If you knit socks, you need one of these!

I’ve been gestating an idea for a knitted messy bun hat using one of those hair elastics for ponytails (of which I have a number).   It’s on the back burner for now, but stay tuned.   That’s all I got for now.

*On the linked video starting at about 6:24, you can see a very pregnant lady driving a backhoe.  We've come a long way, baby.