Not a Good Night Last Night

I’m not usually one for bad dreams — weird, interminable, sometimes surprisingly well-plotted dreams, yes, but only very, very rarely are they frightening or unpleasant ones.  Typically, my dreams have surprisingly little emotional content.  But last night I had a couple of whoppers.  First off, at about 2 a.m., I dreamed that my mother dragged herself into my real-life bedroom, over to my real-life bedside, threw her arm across my thighs and croaked, “Call an ambulance.” I came bolt awake out of that one, my heart pounding.  (I might point out, my mother does not live with me.  She lives in her house, I live in my little duplex, and that is a mutually satisfactory arrangement.)  I was royally spooked by that brief broadside of a dream for a good little bit.  I had to get up and move about, which is always good for shredding the whisps of most dreams that persist into waking.   I had a potty break, then went into the kitchen and had a couple of pieces of Twizzlers Bites to give me the energy to get back to sleep, which usually works.

I finally did get back to sleep, then I dreamed about my dad (who passed in September of 2014).  He was still of an age when he was active and independent and could see and hear well, but he was having an episode of delirium and I was having to deal with him myself.  I was at their house (although it didn’t look anything like their house actually does).  He somehow got outside and I located my mom and we were trying to decide whether to go look for him ourselves or call the police, or what — my dad was over six feet tall, and if he decided to struggle, even my mom and I together could not have handled him.  As we were talking, someone knocked at the door and it was my dad.  He had gotten a lift home in a UPS truck.  I remember thinking in the dream that my dad had been delivered by UPS and how ironically funny it was.  Tied loosely about him was one of those heavy cloth strips like moving companies use to secure furniture by strapping it to the side of the vans.  Then a “friend” came over.  You know how you know things in dreams; I knew he was an old family friend although he didn’t look like anybody I knew that we knew.  He and my dad were conversing, and then my dad started playing the bagpipe for him (yeah, I know).  I was sad because although his playing was good, it was not as good as it once had been.  Then I woke up.

After that, even though it was only about 5:20 a.m., I didn’t even bother to try to go back to sleep.  I read for a while, then I decided I might just as well get up. Thankfully, the passage of time is dulling the memory of those dreams, especially the first one, which was a real shovel-smack upside the head.

Now I’ve got to get ready to go out.  My cousin JP is driving over from New Mexico to take my mother and me out to lunch.  Then he will drive back to New Mexico. He does this from time to time, as he only lives about a 4-1/2 hour drive away — which is really quite near in this part of the world — to touch base with his Aunt Fluffy (my mom).  My mom was his mom’s baby sister, and his parents gave my mom a real leg up in her rise from her rural roots to venture out into the wide world and begin her career. She is my namesake aunt, the only one of her children to be named for anyone on either side of the family.  (That right there tells you how large my aunt loomed in her legend.)

Plus, we’ve got three important anniversaries coming up, what would have been my dad’s 95th birthday on 21st August (the same day as the solar eclipse, no less), the third anniversary of his passing on 22nd September, and my mom’s 93rd birthday on 23rd September. (Yes, my mom spent her 90th birthday making funeral arrangements for the love of her life.)  And I’m sure part of my cousin’s visit is to lend moral support to my mom going into this gauntlet of significant dates.

In the knitting news, I finished two more hats.  This one at right, which I’m calling “Simple Pleasures Hat” and the one below, which I’m calling “Fabled Cable Hat.” I’m not completely satisfied with either pattern so I haven’t posted them to my knitting pattern website.

The Fabled Cable Hat has braided cables, which don’t show up on the picture very well.  This one was done in Lion Brand Landscapes yarn, colorway “Desert Spring.” The “Landscapes” yarn is Lion Brand’s answer to Red Heart’s Unforgettable yarns.  Although they both say they are a medium:4 weight yarn, the Landscapes yarn is noticeably thicker.  I think the colors are a little more garish, or some of them are.  The Simple Pleasures Hat was done in the Unforgettable yarn, colorway “Parrot.”  It is pretty bright, but I like the color mix.  I think they’re cheerful.  I’m not really wild about the Lion Brand colors, although they do have a solid fuchsia pink, which I’ve gotten two skeins of.

When starting a hat, I typically either use the provisional cast on, or the long-tail cast on, depending on whether the edge of the hat will be “hemmed” or not.  Both methods start with a slip knot in the working yarn.  When I join to knit in the round, I don’t drop my slip knot.  I slip it off the right hand needle and onto the left hand needle, and then do a k2tog (knit two together) with the slip knot and what would be my first stitch of the row.  I find this makes a more secure join.

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The Slightly Eccentric Hatter

No, not mad.  Not even slightly miffed.  Just a little quirky around the edges.  Or maybe just hatting like crazy.  But hats are short, quick to knit, and fun, and there’s nothing a knitter likes better than an excuse to knit something.  And how ‘total win’ is knitting hats for charity?  (what I actually typed was “chairity” — told you I spell by ear.  . . .)

I have a yarn bowl on my desk and a hat in progress to hand.  When I’m writing and pause to reread, or to work out the content or wording of what goes next, I pick up the hat and knit while I’m thinking.  If I’m reading blogs, I knit and read, if the hat in progress is not too complicated, or else I change to one that has a simple pattern.

So, there is a Fabled Cable hat in progress, but the pattern is not posted on my knitting blog yet. I’m doing it in Lion Brand Landscapes yarn.  I think this color is called “Desert Spring” or something like that.

I finished one prototype of a hat in the purple fuzzy yarn.  I’m calling “Simple Pleasures.” It looks a lot like a Monmouth hat, except the brim has ribbing, and they didn’t know from purling in the Middle Ages.  The brim is too big.  My BFF is getting it to wear for sleep.  (Involved story. Don’t ask.)  I’ve made adjustments in the pattern and I’m trying again, with a rolled brim in the Unforgettable yarn, and with just a ribbed edge in the purple fuzzy yarn to see if 80 stitches on a US size 4 (3.5 mm) will gauge out right.  So far, so good.

I’ve finished another Carrie Fisher Memorial Pussy Hat (I’m calling it a “kitten hat” on the tag), that’s small enough for a 12- or 13-year-old.

I’m going to have to keep an eye on the time.  Mom is coming by after church and we are going to meet our friend CK at Applebee’s for lunch.  About 11 a.m., I’ll be wanting to go take my shower and change clothes.

Edit:  We had a delightful lunch, and while we were eating, this came over the sound system.  We got Rick-rolled in Applebee’s!

 

 

Saturday Afternoon

I’m listening to Dark Ambient Radio through Winamp* on my computer as I sit at my desk and knit, and read, and write.  This dark piece comes on, didn’t catch the name or artist, but at the end of it, this woman’s voice starts reciting poetry.  The poem is really good stuff, sounds vaguely Elizabethan, and she recites it very well.  I quickly open Firefox and type the last line into Google. (I am the Google Queen! — I read about it in Discovery Magazine in 1999, and started using it as a reference for medical equipment brand names and drug brand names when most people didn’t know from search engines, never mind Google.) Bingo.  Sonnet XC by — you guessed it — good ol’ Bill Shaksper Shakspere  Shakspeare. (He never seems to have spelled his surname with three “e’s,” so why do we?)

Sonnet XC

THen hate me when thou wilt, if euer,now, 
 Now while the world is bent my deeds to croſſe, 
 Ioyne with the ſpight of fortune,make me bow, 
 And doe not drop in for an after loſſe: 
 Ah doe not,when my heart hath ſcapte this ſorrow, 
 Come in the rereward of a conquerd woe, 
 Giue not a windy night a rainie morrow, 
 To linger out a purpoſd ouer-throw. 
 If thou wilt leaue me, do not leaue me laſt, 
 When other pettie griefes haue done their ſpight, 
 But in the onſet come,ſo ſtall I taſte 
 At firſt the very worſt of fortunes might. 
    And other ſtraines of woe, which now ſeeme woe, 
    Compar'd with loſſe of thee,will not ſeeme ſo.

For thoſe who are conuinced that the clown who typeſet the aboue in 1609 was three folioſ to the wind, here it is ſpelled and typeſet “correctly.”

Sonnet XC

Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now;
Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,
And do not drop in for an after-loss:
Ah! do not, when my heart hath ‘scaped this sorrow,
Come in the rearward of a conquered woe;
Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
To linger out a purposed overthrow.
If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
When other petty griefs have done their spite,
But in the onset come: so shall I taste
At first the very worst of fortune’s might;
        And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
        Compared with loss of thee, will not seem so.

Never mind that it’s a little Diana Damrau of a sonnet, that all the rhymes are effortless, and that all the little iambs are hard-wired into the pentameter so that reading it aloud is like pulling a silk scarf through a gold ring (I wish I knew who the lady was who was reciting it, because she nailed it); the guy just hauls off and quills stuff like “Give not a windy night a rainy morrow” and freights this humongous metaphor into your head on just seven freaking words. . . .

People say Shakspeare is hard.  No.  Shakspeare is easy.  This sonnet.  There’s not a hard word in it.  Not a word that any reasonably literate person wouldn’t know the meaning of.  Some of the grammatical forms are a little arcane, but within reach.  Some of his syntax is a little closer to Latin and French than we’re used to, and he uses some of the words in ways we’re not accustomed to having them used, but there’s nothing so hard in the language of this sonnet that you don’t know exactly what he’s talking about by the second read through.

What makes Shakspeare hard is that in the 400 odd years between us and him, technology, and the vocabulary that goes with it, has changed so much that most of us don’t even know what half the stuff in his world is anymore, never mind what the jargon means that goes with it. True, the pelt on the critter is a little strange, but once you’ve skinned it, the bones of the language haven’t changed so much that you can’t make heads nor tails of it; and his subject matter, human beings, hasn’t changed at all.  We may not have much in the way of a hereditary aristocracy left these days, but we understand all too well the kind of people who want wealth and power and are willing to stop at nothing to get it. Politics in the halls of government?  Yep.  Still got that, too.  Manipulate people by making them doubt themselves or others?  Yep.  Only we call it gaslighting now.  Or, take this sonnet — add beer and a pickup truck and you’ve essentially got the lyrics of about half the country and western songs ever written.

  • Yes, most internet radio stations have in-browser players, but I don't always want to be having to open my browser to hear music, especially when I'm using it for something else and I have six or eight other tabs open and/or I've got four or five windows open across two monitors.

Done All My Kitchening For the Week

So, yesterday, I cooked a package of small elbow macaroni and made some pasta salad with chicken, made a pitcher of tea, emptied the dishwasher, and washed up the dishes from making the pasta salad.  The pasta salad was my standing recipe — elbow macaroni, chicken, canned peas and carrots mixture, chopped black olives, chopped kosher dills, chopped white onion and Hellman’s mayonnaise.  The pickles and onions give it a nice crunch.  I’m tucking a bowlful into my little kisser as I type.  Scrums.

My friend LB has two more chemo sessions left.  However, they are going to be pretty rough, especially the last one.  She starts the next to last one today.  We are all heartened by the information that her blood work seems to indicate she has a shot at remission.  It is fervently to be hoped for.  Her daughter A is a professor in theater arts at our big University, but she has taken a semester’s sabbatical to help get her mother through this session of chemo. This time at knitting group, LB brought this hat knitted in scarlet red yarn to show.  She does such beautiful work.

The young Hispanic man came back to the group this time.  He’s been before.  He’s trying to learn crochet.  We had, in fact, three crocheters this last time, but most of the knitters in the group also crochet (including me).  We are an inclusive bunch, and we do not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, national origin, political affiliation, or craft.

This time, KC brought a whole box full of cakes of fine weight yarn to give away.  She had them given to her, but she had no use for them. Most of the yarn had two cakes of the same color, and I got four cakes, two each of the same color.  It may be too fine for socks but maybe not.  If it is, I’ll think of something to do with it.

I started this post a good deal earlier this morning, but when I tried to upload the yarn cakes picture, I discovered I’d used up all my free picture storage space, so my solution to the problem was to rename that blog “The Owl Underground Archives II” and start this one.  I thought if I changed the URL and blog name for that one, nobody would have to make any changes to make the transition to the new one, and that it would be simpler to do it that way, but apparently not.  In retrospect, what I should have done was set up a new blog as an archive and migrated all the posts to it. Oh, well.  Sorry about that.  Since I had to start from scratch again, I’m trying out a new theme, and I think I like it.  In the course of all the rigamarole of sorting this out, I discovered I’ve been blogging since December of 2005.

My mom has “broken” her computer again, bless her, and the trained chimpanzee (yrs trly) is going over later this afternoon to find out what she was trying to do and do it for her.  It has something to do with 400 emails that won’t go away.  There’s no telling . . . . .

My BFF came over Sunday and I “fixed” her Kindle again. (She has gotten the idea lodged in her brain that her Kindle is full and won’t work any more.  It was, but I fixed it and got it working months ago.  Last week, she asked me to fix her Kindle because it was full and wouldn’t work.  It was still fixed and still working from the last time I fixed it — except in her brain, apparently, where it is still broken.) She is slightly more technologically competent than my mother (which isn’t saying a whole lot), but she also has strong Luddite tendencies and her relationship with technology tends to be adversarial.  She also has a very, very low frustration threshold, which doesn’t help.

 

Here We Go Again

It appears I used up all my free picture storage, so I shifted all the posts that were on “The Owl Underground” to “The Owl Underground Archive II.”  If you’re looking for a recent previous post, you’ll find it there.  Have a little patience while I reinvent the wheel and get everything all sorted out again.

I renamed that iteration of the blog and changed the URL so that I could keep the main “The Owl Underground” URL as the “leading edge” of the blog and nobody will have to change their links (I hope!).

Not exactly what I wanted to spend most of the morning doing, but there it is.