Noooooo. . . . !

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Did It Again

You saw it coming, didn’t you.  Showed you a little “proof of concept” piece for a rectangular shawl I’m calling “Short, Sweet and Nubby.”  And isn’t the yarn I tested the pattern on a nice color of purple?  Well, guess what?  That yarn isn’t just purple.

It’s Sike-a-Delic!

So, I just couldn’t stand it.  Casted it on (99 stitches), and I’ve been working on it for a couple of days now.  It’s worsted yarn on US9(5.5 mm) needles, so it goes pretty fast.  Nearly at the end of the first ball.  I have six regular size skeins and a gigunga skein of this yarn, so I’ll have plenty.

I really wanted a rectangular shawl today.  I was chilly about my upper body and shoulders and, so I put on The Assassin’s Daughter shawl, but it was too “all encompassing” and consequently too warm.  A rectangular shawl would have been just right.  I have two triangular shawls in my wardrobe — Malguri Morning, and The Assassin’s daughter. I have no rectangular shawls in my wardrobe.  See?  I need to do this one right now.  Never mind that I have humpty zillion other UFOs, some of which are rectangular shawls.  No.  I have a large gap in my shawl wardrobe which I must fill right now! Sigh.

Stuff I need to do:

  • Rake my back yard and put the rakings in the dumpster. (Monday and Tuesday are predicted to be in the low 80’s F/26+ C, so that’s when I need to do that thing.)
  • Do a major sort out on my yarn stash, with a rearrange of storage units, a sort through and weed out of yarn, do a realistic frog-it-or-finish-it sort, and frog the stuff I know I won’t finish.
  • Block a bunch of knitted shawls and send them to their new homes, which entails getting out the folding banquet table, the steam iron, and blocking mat. (Do ASAP before hot weather sets in.)
  • Make two lap robes. I have the blankets.  I just need to haul out the sewing machine, the banquet table, and sew the lap robes.

Replacing The Lights That Failed

I finished my little iPouch, but haven’t had a chance to use it yet.  Now that I have a photo of the finished product, I can post the pattern in Knits From The Owl Underground.

I’ve nearly finished the second ball of yarn on the Irene shawl, which is coming along slowly but surely, a couple of rows at a time.  One more ball to go.   It’s in Malabrigo sock yarn on a US6 (4.0 mm) needle, so it’s pretty slow going.  I’m pleased with how it’s turning out, though.  It will be an asymmetrical triangular shawl with the triangle being scalene — none of the sides will be of the same length.

I want to do one of these projects now.  The one on the left is a very large circular — “cowl” I suppose you’d call it.   You put it round your waist, give it a twist into a figure 8, and put the top loop of the “8” over your head.   If you knitted it as one long strip, you’d have to Kitchner it together, though.  I like how it provides warmth without dangling bits and needs no fasteners to keep it on.  I’d have to make it wider, though.   I like the  “mobius” shawl on the right for the same reason — no loose ends.  There is a mobius cast on that allows you to do it without having to Kitchner it together.   You have to cast on all the stitches along one edge of the shawl — the trick is figuring out how many stitches you need because the shawl only has one edge!  I’d have to use my 60-inch circular needle for that one.

I had to take a shower in the (relative) dark the other day because the light “bub” in the shower burned out.  The master bedroom in the duplex has this really goofy en suite with the sink, counter,cabinets and mirror just out in the open at one end of the bedroom, not closed off or anything.   The toilet and shower are located in a little room off to the side which can be closed off with a sliding door.  Fortunately, the “water closet” portion of the little side room also has a light.  Of course, in order to replace the burned-out bulb, I first had to figure out how to get to it.  Turns out the outer ring pulls down on two long strips, far enough to get to the bulb.

Then, last night, I was heading toward the kitchen in the dark when I noticed a flickering light coming through the frosted window beside the front door.   I have these two yard lights which are on sensors and turn on automatically when it gets dark.  I have LED bulbs in them which are supposed to last 10 years.  Guess what.  The bulb in this light up near the porch was flickering — malfunctioning — so I had to figure out how to replace that one as well.  Turns out, all I needed to do it was a straight screw driver.

We’re getting our fall color now.  There are a fairly high percentage of oak trees in this section of town and their leaves turn this marvelous deep red.  This one is across the street.  It hearkens to that shade of red Frank Lloyd Wright liked — which he called “Cherokee red” — and used extensively in his buildings.

There’s a local landmark — the smiley-face bush — which started out as just a round topiary bush at the corner of this house at an intersection along a major north-south street.  The then owners of the house cut eyes and a smile into with hedge cutters to make it look like a smiley face.  Apparently, it’s in the deed to the house that whoever owns it has to keep up the smiley-face bush.  The current owners go all out and have set googly eyes into it and add various seasonal accessories.  For Halloween, they had the bush dressed up as Frankenstein’s monster.  Now they’ve got it dressed up as a turkey.  I snatched this photo the other day while I was stopped at the traffic light.  You may need to click on it to enlarge it so you can see it.

iPhones, iCords, iCicles and iGivup

It’s been interesting weather.  We got ice pellets, had thundersnow, rain, and the world was coated with ice this morning.  I could hear the pellets of ice hitting the window screen last night when I was at the computer.  It thundered several times last night, too, and once there was this terrifically loud BANG!! which was probably a utilities transformer going kablooie.   The lights have been flickering from time to time.  As much ice as there is on everything, including trees, I’m not surprised.  What is surprising is that I haven’t had a sustained power loss yet. (Touch wood!) 

We have a unique electric utility situation here.  For years and years, we had two power companies, a large, multistate private power company and a municiple utility company, competing for the same customer base, each with its own duplicate infrastructure, generator stations, etc.  People could choose which service they wanted to take from.  Then, about 15-20 years ago, the private utility company was bought out by Excel Energy and in the corporate restructuring, they sold their local infrastructure to the City. Whoever you were getting your electricity from at the time of the sellout, that’s the infrastructure your house remained connected to.  So, your neighbors’ power could go out, and yours wouldn’t, or an outage might only affect a scattering of four or five houses on the block.  It all depends on which infrastructure the outage is in relative to the infrastructure your house was connected to at the time of the sellout.  It’s really weird.

Just now, the lady in “B” called to tell me there was a branch that had broken off the stupid locust tree in my back yard.  It was hung up on the fence and the big end of it was hitting up against my cable wire.  But, it was wedged in between the fence pickets so tightly that she couldn’t maneuver it out by herself.  Actually, the  smaller branchings of it were straddling the fence, with most of them on my side.  I went into the back yard to see if we could get it loose/down so it wasn’t hitting  my cable “war.”  We managed to get the branch loose.  It was easiest to push it over into her yard, so that’s what we did.   There’s my excitement for the day.

The weather has warmed up enough that we’re melting now. Everything is dripping, and the ice that had coated the trees and wires is falling off in large chunks with every breath of wind.  it’s all over the yard.  Now and again I hear the Whump! of a wad of icicles falling off the eaves.

I’ve taken a viewer’s suggestion and scoped out some Bluetooth earbuds.  So now I’ll have to get one of those wireless charger disk doodads, too, but they’ll have to come out of next month’s budget.  Sigh.  I hate the shape of the corded iBuds that came with the iPhone.  They won’t stay in my ears worth beans.  The proposed Bluetooth earbuds are the kind that work best for me. The trick will be keeping them charged.  Now, if they could just make a wireless charger that works on people. . . .

The majority of my slacks have pockets, but most of their pockets are too shallow for an iPhone to fit into.  (Since iPhones first came out in 2007, that tells you what a clothes horse I’m not.)  When I go to cardiac rehab sessions, the car keys and the iPhone go in my pockets, and my purse gets locked in the trunk (boot) of my car.

Last night I got a wild hare to knit me an iPouch to hang around my neck so I will have a place to carry my iPhone when I wear slacks with unsuitable or no pockets.  I’m knitting it bottom-up using Turkish cast on (like you do with toe-up socks) to avoid having to Kitchener stitch the bottom closed.  Guess what the stitch is called that produces that long tail — it’s the iCord stitch.  Really.   I’ve still got about 10 inches of iCord left to knit.    It’s a really simple little pattern using not a whole lot of worsted yarn — You may recognize the color.  It’s an oddball I had left over from The Assassin’s Daughter shawl.  I like the way the colors are pooling

Everybody keeps saying that the iPhone is so intuitive.  How neurotypical of them.  My experience has been that it’s frustrating and counterintuitive  to the point that it causes me to iSwear.

Wounded But Game, The Dead Hero Carries On

The title is a quote from the classic comic strip Pogo, by the inimitable  Walt Kelly.  The strip was published during the 1950’s and 1960’s and is noted for its scathing political satire (Lyndon B. Johnson appeared in the strip as a longhorn steer called “The Loan Arranger,” Spiro Agnew was depicted as a hyena, and Khruschev was depicted as a pig who hijacked Santa Claus and started his own service) and  soaring flights of whimsy (such as a discussion on grammar involving among other things, the past aloofable tense and an octopus, a couple of pages of tomfoolery with a fake door that has to be one of the funniest bits of slapstick I’ve ever encountered.)  Kelly was an animator for Walt Disney before he became a newspaper cartoonist, and his drawing skills, especially the facial expressions, are superb, but for its wit and word-play, his dialogue is sheer brilliance.  Pogo was a newspaper cartoon, but Kelly pioneered the practice of publishing a year’s worth of strips in a paperback volume, as well as a 10-year retrospective of “the greatest of” sequences.  (These drawings are Kelly’s and are all © to his estate.)

Yesterday turned out to be a busy day.  I decided that since the trained chimpanzee (me) had to go show my mom how to use her new flip phone,

which was not exactly like her old one, I decided I would do some other outing and abouting before-hand.  So, I showered, washed my hair, got dressed, and suited up in mask and gloves.  As I was stepping off the front porch, I saw there was a pair of secateurs (one-handed pruning shears) lying out in the grass just off the walkway.  I figured they belonged to my neighbor, who takes care of the yard for the duplex, and went round to put them on the little brick wall on her side where she could find them again.

One of the places I intended to go was the hair salon to get split ends trimmed, so my hair was wet, down and blowing around my face when I walked back around to the garage to get the car.  I couldn’t really see where I was going and I forgot about the parking bumper in between the two garages (which really ought to be painted for visibility), caught it with my foot and fell flat.

Because I was already turning toward the garage when I fell, I landed on the flat of my left forearm with my body slightly turned to the left. I can’t believe how lucky I was.  I didn’t land on my hip, or my (replaced) knee, or my elbow.  My flat forearm and my hand holding the flashlight on my key ring are what took the impact.  Because I was wearing those disposable vinyl gloves, what little skin I lost was from impact avulsion rather than concrete abrasion, but the owie on the index finger drew blood and I got a jolly little blood blister on the top joint of my ring finger.  This is the total extent of my injuries!  I don’t have any bruising anywhere else, not even on my forearm.  The muscles along my left upper ribcage are a little sore from my shoulder muscles absorbing the shock of my landing, but other than that, I got off dead lucky!

I held my face mask on with my hand to get my hair cut, and got a manicure (I get hangnails so badly anymore it’s worth it to get a professional manicure once a month).  Then I went to my Mom’s to transfer the SIM card to her new 4G flip phone (the old one was 3G and was obsolescing soon). I did end up having to re-enter my mom’s phone book into her new phone, and we had to set the ring tone on stun so she could hear it.  Then we had to call each other to make sure it worked.  Then she had to call herself to make sure she knew how to work it.   Considering my cultural context, every time I see that phone, you know what I think of.

And, of course, Mom and I had to sit and have a schmooze so it was upwards of 4:30 by the time I was ready to wend my way homeward.  I took the scenic route by the Dairy Queen that’s about a block away from my mom’s house.  Seems there was a chicken strips basket that needed a good home . . .

I took a couple of acetaminophen before I went to bed, and I’m hardly sore at all today.  My ring finger is not too thrilled about typing (w, s, x, ALT), but thankfully, the touch on my Logitech gamer keyboard is very light.  Unfortunately, I knit continental style, and my wounded index finger is the finger I tension my yarn around. (I’m seriously thinking about checking to see if I have a Band-Aid “dot” that will fit, or else making a DIY Band-Aid with some paper tape with a little piece of tissue over the scab to keep it from sticking to the tape, just so I can knit. )

Speaking of knitting, look at this.  Is this not entirely too cool?  It’s a shawl with a sleeve at each end.  You put on one sleeve, wrap the shawl bit around your shoulders, then put on the other sleeve.  There’s pattern$ for them, and they $ell them ready made, but how hard would it be to just take a tape measure and a swatch for gauge and make one?  It’d take a lot of yarn, though.  Probably  a bit more than a sweater’s quantity.  It’d also take quite a while to knit.  I see where Joanne’s has Lion Brand “Pound of Love” yarn on sale — that’s 1020 yard skeins for less than $8 a pop (they’re usually more like $12).  Hmmmm. . . .

Oh, nuts.  A gnat.  The durn little gnusiance has been buzzing me since I sat down to type.  Some people call them ‘no-see-ums.’  Since this is a family blog, I’m not going to tell you what I call them!

This being Sunday, and in view of my Saturday, I think this is apropos:

Another shameless plug for my creative writing blog, A Box of Special Things.  Not going to promise how often I’ll post to it.  If you subscribe to it (or any of my blogs), you’ll get an email notification of new posts.

An Early Birthday Present

About a week early, actually, but very much appreciated!  Thank you from my bottom and my heart, Mom!

It’s one of these.  It’s a gamer chair with a foot rest.  I ordered it through Home Depot.  I got free shipping because it was ship-to-store with curb side pickup.   The box actually fit in my car’s back seat, but it’s rather wide.  Fortunately, the Home Depot guy put it in the car for me, and I was able to push it out from the other side and get a hand truck on it to get it into the house.   It wasn’t all that heavy, just bulky.

Getting it into the office was like one of those sliding number puzzle things.  I was able to wheel it in through the garage on the hand truck easily enough, but in order to get it into the office, I had to move my kitchen trash can, move the floor lamp and the pedestal fan in the office, and it was still a bit of a squeaker making the turns from the kitchen to the hallway, from the hallway through the office doorway, and around the bookcase.

Then I had to take the pieces out of the box and put the durn thing together.  It wasn’t hard, though.  You needed two different sized Allen wrenches and a regular crescent wrench to put it together, but those were included.  The instructions were very straightforward. The only tricky bit was getting the back attached to the seat, but with a little finagling and a judiciously applied cuss word or two, I managed it.

I’m sitting in it as I type.  The seat is higher than the old recliner, even with casters on it.  It has excellent lower back support and feels just like a bucket seat in a really nice car.   There’s a cup holder in the left arm rest, and a  pouch that attaches to the underside of that arm rest to hold your various and assorted remotes. (I have a piece of 3/4-inch plywood painted white with a chair mat screwed to it underneath my computer desk to make it easier to roll the chair and desk, and keep the castors on that old recliner from tearing up the carpet.  You can see where the castors have left marks on it.)  These chairs would be great for a home theater, a man cave or a gamer’s setup, and the price point is very nice, too.

The old recliner I was using is so tatty and rump-sprung that I don’t think anyone would want it even for free, so I’ll have to get my neighbor to help me drag it out to the alley and put it in the dumpster because the city won’t pick it up otherwise.  Mañana.

In the knitting news, I’ve been working on this little Kinzie baby top.  I still have about five rows to add to finish the sleeves, and I want to do some matching booties. I think I have enough of those cute little daisy buttons left to finish it (takes 3 buttons).  Haven’t checked. If not, I have others that would work.

Yesterday was a running around day.  I had a doctor’s appointment on one side of town, I went hooting out to the other side of town to my dentist’s to drop something off, bought a bunch of groceries which I schlepped into the house and put away, then drove over to Home Depot to get the chair, shoved it out of the back seat and hand-trucked it into the house.  I got it as far as the dining area, where it sat until this afternoon.

After all that rannygazooting* around, I was pooped.  I stimulated the local economy by ordering from one of our local eateries (Orlando’s) and got their Cheeseburger in Paradise with tortilla chips and some fried mushrooms.  Their Cheeseburger in Paradise  is served on a hoagie roll rather than a hamburger bun, and it takes me two meals to eat one.  (I think I hear the other half calling my name.  Once I post this, I may have to go see what it wants . . .)  The  Orlando’s delivery person used what you might call a reverse porch pirate technique:  They put the boxes on the porch, rang my doorbell and skedaddled.  Doin’ the so-cial  dis-tance dance!

One of the previous tenants in the other side of the duplex planted some bearded irises up by the side of the house next to the fence that separates the two yards.  I noticed when I moved in (Aug of 2016) that one of them had snuck under the fence.   I have been benignly neglecting to do anything about it and now they seem to have a little expatriate enclave going.   I love irises.  I notice somebody needs to do a little weed pulling.  I wonder if they will. . .



"*Rannygazoo" without the "t" is defined as nonsense, deception; foolishness, fuss, exaggeration, as in "rannygazoo and carry-on."  With the "t" it means having a 'to do' list of things to do at places that are spread out all over town, and which therefore take a whole lot more time to do than they should.

A Belated Birthday Present

You know what they say about the best laid plans.  I was out of pocket most of Tuesday getting lab work done, running errands, and the like, getting ready for the surgery that was supposed to take place today, and so was unaware that the orthopedist’s office had been trying to reach me.  They left me a message to call, but it was Wednesday morning before I could return the call.   They were calling me to tell me that the surgery I was supposed to have today had to be rescheduled as the orthopedist was called out of town unexpectedly.   The surgery has been rescheduled for 5/24.  I’ll still be getting a new knee for my birthday, but it’ll be a belated birthday present.

In a way, I’m glad.  That gives me a lot more time to get ready. It gives everybody more time to get the bureaucratic ducks in a row, and me more time to fine tune my furniture and domestic arrangements, and get better organized.

It also gives me time to do some much-needed yard work.  The roses are going nuts, blooming like crazy.  The flower bed, however, is a mess.  The roses need pruning, the bed needs weeding, and the back yard needs raking because of that stupid locust tree and the beans (and consequent seedlings) everywhere.  How much of that yard work will actually get done remains to be seen.

Dumped On By Diego

Woke up to this.  We were supposed to get 1-3 inches (3-8 cm)  They were saying we got more like 8-9 inches (20-23 cm) and it’s still coming down like crazy.   Worried about Ninja.Chickens who lives just outside of Ashville, NC.  Worried about all the folks in Diego’s path.

Got rellies in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.  I’ve heard from them and they’re OK.  Got rellies south of Houston.  Heard from them and they’re OK.  When I texted my friend in Key West a pix of snow he texted me back and said it was 80 F(26.6 C) there at 11 a.m.  Ain’t that here!  Current temp here is 30 F (-1.11 C) and still snowing. Believe I’ll stay in out of it.  Life in the Flatlands.

Never mind.  I got Pedro’s Tamales, hot tea, lap robes, a sizeable to-be-read pile on my Kindle, and a knitting challenge.   Say tuned . . . .Oh, and I’m done knitting washcloths.  (!!) Finished the basket for my duplex neighbor who has been so good to me this year.

My friend LB’s corneal transplant surgery went OK yesterday.  She had a doctor’s appointment today.  They’re from Minnesota, so they’re like, ‘really?’

My mom just emailed me that she’s lost her TV signal.  She has Dish TV. I keep telling her she needs to get cable, but no.  She’s memorized the channel numbers of the channels she likes and she’s finally learned how to work their DVD. I’m trying to teach her how to channel surf.  This is a woman who’s 12 years older than broadcast television, and 4 years older than sliced bread.

Out From Under The Gun

All the gift baskets are finished except the one that goes next door, and I’ve just got half a washcloth to go to finish it.  I’ll finish that tomorrow, and maybe make one or two more Xmas balls.  Haven’t decided on that yet.  I was able to do a little reading — finally!   Want to do more.   There’s just not enough hours in the day, seemingly.

I‘ve got all this red and white yarn left from the Xmas balls, I’ve started a toboggan that will have Norwegian 8-leafed roses on the hem.  The nice thing about the toboggan is that whatever color work I do, if I restrict it to the hem area, when I turn the hem, that will cover up the floats!  As you can see, I’ve already gotten it started — on a US2.5 (3 mm) needle.  It’s going to take quite a while.  I’ve got about half the ribbed bit done.

I’ve got to go out tomorrow and get a magenta cartridge for my printer (printing out all those Xmas ball charts!) so I can print out the motif chart for the colorwork on my hat.  I’m using Caron Simply Soft yarn.  It’s acrylic (Don’t judge.  Some of us are allergic to wool.) and it has a lovely hand, but it splits like crazy.

At some point, I need to suck it up and rake the back yard.  Besides being all over leaves, that durn black locust has podded all over everywhere.  Even the thought of having to do it makes me tired.   Still, It’s not that big a yard, thankfully. I also need to do something with that front bed.  Whatever I do to it will have to be done by May, assuming I’ll be having knee replacement surgery then.  I’d like to transplant those roses to the back yard where their feet won’t be wet all the time.  They’ve got black spot badly and it’s because very time it rains, they sit in the runoff from the roof.  I’d like to get some turks’ cap bushes, some lavender and maybe some sage, and interleave them with assorted wildflowers. Something low maintenance.   I really don’t want to fool with a yard, but the exercise would be good for me, as long as I don’t overdo.

Snowing Outside as Well as Inside

I’ve finally finished crocheting all the snowflakes I plan to crochet this year.  There is glitter EVERYwhere, especially in the living room carpet by where I have the ironing board set up. Whoopee!(I have it set up in the living room right next to the dining area so I can use the dining table to put the bottle of stiff stuff, and the containers of glitter and straight pins, and what not on.  I still have two snowflakes that need the second side stiffened and glittered, and then glue the ribbon loops on, and then packing one bunch to mail.  I was going to try to get them there before Christmas, but obviously, that isn’t happening.

Then I have to clean up the mess.  Ugh. I out-and-about-ed all day yesterday — I went to the dentist and the verdict is that the post is looking great.  I’m supposed to come back Wednesday-week to get the impressions made for my new molar.  I had the tooth pulled in May.  I’ll finally get the implant/replacement in January.  I will be so glad to finally be able to chew on that side again. (Oh, I can chew on that side, but it’s a bootless undertaking . . .)

After that, I went to visit my friend LB and took her a snowflake.  She had knitted a bunch of snowmen and gave me one.  She is currently dealing with her third recurrence of breast cancer which has now metastasized to her bones.  ( She’s being treated at the same cancer center where I donate the hats.)  She’s had a third round of chemo and radiation treatments to her ribs where it first showed up in the bone.  Her latest MRI showed she had lesions in all but two of her thoracic vertebrae.  She’s trying to stay upbeat.  They’ve started her on this new pill type chemo that is supposed to be really great.  I hope it works.

Last week, the battery on my computer UPS device died — I have two UPS devices, and the battery on the other one died first, and I changed them out.  Now this one died as well — and I had to go get a new battery.  I took one of the dead ones in to be sure I got one that would work, and since both devices use the same battery, I got two.  I left the dead battery with them to recycle (it contained lithium), and one of the errands I had to run yesterday was to take the other dead battery in to get it recycled as well.  And I had to go to this store to get this thing and that store to get that thing, and then shop groceries. By the time I got home, and got everything sorted out and put away, I was pooped.  As a result, I went to bed too soon after I ate supper and had a bad reflux episode, woke up coughing and gagging, with my nose streaming.  I had a hard time getting back to sleep again, and I have a sore throat, and I’ve been wheezing all day.

I had an optometry appointment at the VA today, and they dilated my eyes.  I looked a little weird wearing dark glasses on such a grey, overcast day, but I was able to drive home.  In addition to being grey and overcast, it was also colder than the proverbial wedge (our overnight low is supposed to be 24F/-4.44C tonight).  I stopped by my moms later this afternoon, after my eyes had settled down, and  her halls are quite thoroughly decked.  Our family moved to that house in the 1960’s.  The house had a fireplace but no mantelpiece, which my mom found odd and disappointing.   At the time, my mom was doing ceramics as a hobby — one of her friends had a shop for hobbyists with molds and kilns, etc., — and she was working on this deluxe nativity set which would have been perfect to display on a fireplace mantel — alas!  My dad decided to make her one, and did woodcarving on it.  It took him forever (his projects usually did), but finally he got it done. (The reason it took forever was that he was so painstaking.  The results speak for themselves).   The white pieces pf the nativity set stood out better before mom had the brickwork (and the wood paneling) in the den painted.

The picture above the mantel is a photograph my dad took of my late aunt’s former house in El Paso all decorated with luminarias.  He had it enlarged and framed and they gave it to her one year for a gift.  When she passed, her son wanted mom to have it as a memento.  My dad’s niece made my parents promise that if they ever sold the house, she could have the mantel.   When my brother and I were little (1953), this lady in their church made stockings for us and my mom hangs them up every year.  I cropped them out of the picture, because this is not Facebook.

As mom and I were sitting in the den visiting this afternoon, I looked up through the sliding glass door into their back yard, and it was snowing — just not sticking.  When I got back home,   Lo, how a rose e’er blooming in my flower bed was sprinkled with snow.   Three days before Christmas, it’s still blooming.

After having to listen to this rock diva and that country music star warble and butcher all the popular* Christmas carols in practically every business I went into yesterday, I hunted up some little off-piste delights — trained singers singing a carol that hasn’t been sung into the ground because it’s one everybody knows.