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.

Advertisements

A Rough Night and An Early Morning

To begin with, I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, and then about 4 a.m. I was rudely awakened by my tum having a ferocious argument with my supper, which supper shortly thereafter got the bum’s rush (Get out!).  I mean, I barely had time to get to the appropriate location before I was calling Huey!  I was just drifting off to sleep again at about 6 a.m when I had to get up precipitously again. (And stay out!).  I finally got to sleep again, only to be awakened at a quarter past 8 by the loud growl of a chain saw beside the house.

I had arranged for a tree trimming guy to come out at around 9:30 this morning to cut a half broken limb from B’s pecan tree that was dangling astride my cable wire.  I had noticed it the day before when I had a cable guy come out to try to find out why every 15-20 minutes, my TV picture would freeze and “pixelate” for a second or two, and why when I was streaming music, it would stop abruptly for a second or two. It was a sizeable branch, and if it had finished breaking it would have fallen on the cable wire from the pole to the house and knocked the wire down.  If that had happened, I would have had to pay for having it restrung — and you can bet it wouldn’t be cheap!

Yesterday afternoon, after the cable guy had left, I was able to sweet talk my landlady, who is really a very nice lady anyway, into springing for the cost ($350) of having the tree trimming guy come out to not just trim the dangling pecan branch, but remove the 6-foot stub of locust trunk at the side of the house that had riotously resprouted, remove the Siberian elm saplings from and trim what the landlady says is a yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) growing between my garage and B’s, but which I think is a Japanese holly (ilex crenata).  (Yaupons have red berries and this thing doesn’t.)

The tree trimming guy was supposed to come out at about 9:30 or 10 this morning, but he was out at 8:20 (!) sawing away on the other side of my bedroom wall, taking down the locust trunk.  He had this little chainsaw on a pole contraption that made short work, not only of removing the Branch of Damocles,  but of trimming all the branches on both B’s pecan (her yard is “squirrel heaven”) and my (#$*&%! beans which nothing eats!) locust tree that could hit against the cable wire in a wind and cause problems. (In the flatlands, “wind” is air moving in excess of 20 mph.  Air that’s moving slower than that is classified as “light breeze.”)

He located and stumpified the Siberian elm saplings in the mystery bush between the garages and winkled them out, then trimmed the thing back into submission so it looks very nice now.  Not as boxy as it should, but a lot better than it did.  And that decapitated trunk by the side of the house that had resprouted these wild wavy branches all over the place was cut down, cut up, and removed.  He made short work of it, and also “neatened” up the adjacent tree beside the fence.

The tree trimming guy was a very nice, and quite large, Black man who sounded like he might have come from Jamaica.  Now, my mom, even on such brief acquaintance, would have found out his wife’s name, what she did, the names and ages of all his children and grandchildren (he was in his late 50’s), and would have gotten the skinny on how a Jamaican had ended up on the flatlands of Texas, inside of about 10 minutes.  (I often think my mom missed her calling.  She would have made a crackerjack investigative reporter, or private investigator.)

Oh, and yesterday afternoon, after I had advised B that she might discover a large Black man with a little chainsaw on a pole in her back yard tomorrow (I didn’t know where he’d have to go to reach that pesky branch), we were standing on her porch talking about things and stuff, when a hummingbird came up and started in on her Turk’s Cap shrubs (Malvaviscus arboreus ) which is a species of hybiscus. I think it was a female/juvenile rufous hummer (Selasphorus rufus) but I wouldn’t swear to it.  Could have been a female or juvenile ruby-throated (Archilochus colubris).  Seeing a hummingbird never ceases to thrill and delight yrs trly.

So, the tumult and the shouting having died, the tree guy and the trimmings having departed, and the experience having been duly blogged about, I think I’m going to take my quarrelsome tum back to bed and see if both of us can catch up on some sleep.

 

The Grass Is Always Greener In The Flower Beds

I really need to call the little Hispanic man and his wife to come fork and weed the flower bed, and ask him if he has a chainsaw. I’d rather pay him to do it and trickle down a little cash into the economy than try to tackle it myself. In the first place, I’d have to buy a garden fork because I don’t have one any more. (I sold all my yard tools when I moved into the apartment.)  In the second place, it’s too durn hot. (I can’t take the heat anymore like I used to could.)

Now, something like resetting the edging bricks, or laying down some pavers by the faucet, yes, that’s not out of reason, or planting some bedding plants, or even laying a bunch of mulch in the bed, which I may do if budgetary constraints allow — it would take about five or six bags to mulch that bed properly. Yeah, I could spread a thin layer over the surface and the weeds would be popping right back up to give me the raspberry. If you’re going to mulch properly for weed control, you need at least an inch.

I do have a volunteer rose bush. (How did the world know I like 3 of things better than I like 2 of things?)  Tea roses are very often grafted onto a root stock that is one of several varieties of very hardy climbing rose.  Typically what happens is the graft dies and it grows back out from the root stock.  That’s what’s happened to the red rose.  The “volunteer” rose bush is either the root stock off a bush whose graft died back to the ground, or else it’s a runner from the one next to it, but hey, roses is roses.

We did get a trickle or two of rain overnight.  I have a feeling we’re going to be getting more if some of those swirly storms get to horsing around in the Gulf (of Mexico).

It was sunny, and sparkly with dew/rain this morning when I went out to take the above pix.  The fat(cat)boy, who has been clingy since I took him to the vet for his shots was nervous because I wouldn’t let him out on the porch with me.  (He is strictly an indoor cat.  He never goes out of doors unless he’s in a carrier.) He is not taking to his diet well.  He whinges and whines when his bowl gets empty long about 3 o’clock, but he doesn’t get fed again until 6 pm.  I have been tossing him a pair of treats (Greenies, 1 cal. apiece) but I make him chase the first one all the way down the hallway into my bedroom, and just when he’s eaten that one, I get his attention and lay a second one at my feet so he has to run all the way back.

In the knitting news, I have four hats on the needles at the moment:  This one is a Fabled Cable hat — still working on the proportions of the ribbed bit, the cable bit and the top bit, so I haven’t posted the pattern yet. This one is using the Lion Brand Landscape yarn, in the color “Apple Orchard.”  I will say this for the Landscape self striping yarn:  The colors are very bright and have a high contrast value.   A bit garish for my tastes, but then, that’s what makes horse races.  Then I’ve got a Simple Pleasures hat going in the Red Heart Unforgettable in the color “Pearly” — which I’m not sure I have enough of to finish the hat.  I need to root around in my yarn box to see if I have any more of that color.  If not, I will use some of the delicious green shown, which is called “Meadow.”  The color palette of the Unforgettable yarn is much richer and more subtle than that of the Landscape.  Chacun, as they say . . .

Another Coriolis hat, with a leftward twist, because I like doing ssk’s better than I like doing k2tog’s.  Again, this is the Red Heart Unforgettable yarn, in the color “Dragonfly” which I like a lot.  The color choices in this blend remind me of the James Taylor song, “Sweet Baby James.”  Won’t you let me go down in my dreams . . .

Still working on this version of the Simple Pleasures hat in the Moda Dea Dream yarn.  I’ve got about another 1-1/2 inch to go before I start the decreases.

This is typical of me.  I work on one a while and get bored with it, and set it aside and work on another one.  The Simple Pleasures hats are stockinette once you’ve gotten the brim (either ribbed or hemmed) done, so they require no thought.  You have to pay attention to the other two, particularly the Fabled Cable to get your cable crosses right.

I’ve been listening to Kit Watkins all morning.  Very restful “floaty” music that is tranquil, melodic and somewhat minimalist.  Just right.  If you like his music, there’s a bunch that’s free for the downloading on the Internet Archive, which is where I got it.  You can find all kinds of stuff on the Internet Archive.  Give it a browse sometime when you’ve got an afternoon to kill.