I Felt The Earth Move Under My Bed

I’ve been in three earthquakes, two here and one in Monterey, CA. Interestingly, I happened to be in bed at the time in all three instances. Not surprising, though since the first one (in CA) happened in the middle of the night. The second one (here) was at 6 o’clock in the morning. This last one hit at 3:32 p.m. yesterday, 16 November while I just happened to be lying in the bed reading*. My bed is oriented almost due SW/NE, and it was like something big and heavy had silently given the side of the building a solid thump that jiggled my bed from side to side. I’m on the third floor of a 4-storey, steel and concrete building, which probably amplified the effect slightly. It was a Richter 5.2 with the epicenter located about 27 miles/45km west of Pecos (which is about 3 hours/214 miles/344 km to the southwest of us) at a depth of 3.1 miles/5km underground, according to Earthquaketrack.com. Durn frackers.

Monday was a blustery day, and on the chilly side. The poor mourning doves toughed it out for about an hour before they sought a more sheltered roost.

We have an activities director here at Carillon who organizes “expotitions” to things like restaurants, concerts, museum exhibits, theater events, sports games, etc. They have this big bus with the nice seats like you go on organized bus tours in. They herd us up and load us onto the bus and off we go. Tuesday, they had an expotition to the Plaza Restaurant and now that I’m street-legal again, I signed up to go eat what my dad called “Meskin food” (TexMex). Naturally, they had bowls of salsa and baskets of chips out on the table for appetizers. (They had various sopapilla dishes on the menu, both sweet and savory — my dad always called them “sofa pillows.”) I had a soft beef taco, a beef tamale and a heaping scoop of refried beans. I had it twice, in fact. The food was so good and the portions were so generous that I got a “doggie bag” and had the rest of my lunch for supper. The prices were very reasonable. All that and two glasses of sweet tea came to $13 and change. The Plaza is located out on Milwaukee Avenue just south of 50th street, out in the part of town I refer to as “Southwest Yuppyville.”

It was a bittersweet outing. After I got back from the restaurant, I went out to Market Street to get a flower arrangement of some roses for mom because Wednesday the 16 (the day of the earthquake) would have been my parent’s 76th wedding anniversary (except my dad passed away in September of 2015). I also got a grocery or two and a birthday card for my BFF (23 November).

I decided to get gussied up to go out to the restaurant, so I wore the above necklace, which I got on Portobello Road in London in 1974. I also wore these new earrings I had just gotten off Etsy from a vendor in Poland. As I was carrying the groceries into the apartment, I happened to notice I had lost one of the earrings. I wear a pair of small gold hoops which I only take out for CT scans and x-rays (to keep my holes open), but the holes are big enough that I can slip a second ear wire through them. I try to get lever-back ear wires or studs whenever I can, but if it’s a “fish hook” ear wire, I usually put those little rubber “stoppers” over the wires, only I didn’t think I would need them. I did back track as far as I could, but didn’t find it. They were such pretty earrings and I’m just heart-broken that I lost one — the first time I wore them! That’ll teach me.

My BFF finally got her Halloween card. I mailed it on 21 October. She got it on 11 November, after the midterm election, oddly enough. (Can you say “voter suppression,” boys and girls?) She also got her car back (we’ve finished rebuilding your transmission, ma’m. That’ll be $4.5K, thank you very much), after having been without it for over a month. The great ladies from her church really went to bat for her, organizing car pools to get her to and from work, else she’d have lost her job and been out on the street. I was frustrated that I couldn’t do more to help her besides send her a Halloween card with five cute little pictures of Andrew Jackson tucked inside it. Which apparently took the scenic route to get from hither to yon. Musta had to change planes in Dallas . . . (Texas is such a large state, it’s hard to get a direct flight from one end of the state to the other, e.g., from Lubbock to Houston. They’re usually routed through one or the other of the two Dallas airports — DFW or Love Field.) (In Texas, you can’t even go to Hell without going through Dallas.) (Then again, the argument can be made that DFW is Hell.)

The other day, I ran across a teaser/trailer for the 2011 version of “Jane Eyre” with Michael Fassbender as Rochester, which I haven’t seen but will order the DVD for because Michael Fassbender(!). That next morning, I woke up from a dream about this young woman who was hired to keep house for this man who lived in a big stone house out in the Yorkshire Dales. He had a secret, too. His was that he was a time traveler who had escaped from BREXIT England to live in 1840’s England. (Feel free to steal the premise, you writers out there . . .) They had these two 8-week old kittens , a black one and a white one, who got tangled up with half a dozen of these pale green beetles that were bigger than they were and had to be rescued for their own good. I woke up wishing that the kittens were real and mine.

*BTW, in my defense, I walked all over the world Tuesday, walking all the way to and from the front desk to get the bus to the restaurant, then going out to shop groceries, taking them up to the apt, then taking the flowers over to mom at Carillon House and getting mail on my way back. The weather was cold, my motile appendages were unhappy with me, I still haven’t gotten my stamina back, so Wednesday, I took it easy. What’s the point of having an adjustable bed if you can’t adjust it until it’s comfortable and snuggly warm on a chilly day and then having a good read in it? (And ride out the occasional earthquake . . . ) I gulped down a good three-fourths of Cuckoo’s Egg by C. J. Cherryh and quaffed hot tea for most of the afternoon. The only thing that would have made it better was curb service. Oh, and BTW again, did you know they make almond milk eggnog? I gotta get me a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream. T’is the season.

Think Fast!

Now that they’re on this new system, cancer center i go to (JACC) doesn’t mail out appointment notifications, so I only found out I was supposed to have two appointments this morning when they texted me about it Saturday. I had a blood draw and talked to my oncologist. He says all my blood work looks good and that I can get my COVID booster now (and will as soon as I can arrange it).

They had these cute little pop-up Halloween cards at Market Street and I got mom one of a skeleton playing a theater organ which urged her to Stay Spooky! I took it by to her Friday. After giving her multiple bags of IV fluids, they’ve managed to get her hydrated and flushed out again, and she was alert, with-it, and in good spirits.

The VA, TriWest, and Covenant are still going round and round about this one bill for a chemo treatment from March 10th. They’ve already billed Medicare and Medicare has paid their portion. The bill is for what Medicare didn’t pay, which TriWest (the VA’s insurance) was supposed to cover and didn’t. The opening salvo of this, the third go-round, was an email from Covenant warning me that if I didn’t cough up their $745.03, they were going to send the bill to collections. The VA gave Covenant a community care authorization number to send the bill to TriWest; TriWest didn’t like their number and kicked the bill back (twice now). This has been going on since August. This whole business is beginning to get a little “Kafkaesque“. . . .

My poor BFF is still trying to get her car’s transmission fixed. She can’t live on what she gets from Social Security and has to have a part time job. The transmission on her car went out on 25 September and she’s been going round and round with the dealership about getting it fixed and supply chain issues, and blah-blah-blah. . . for nearly a month now. She can’t afford to take Ubers to work or rent a car. Thank goodness the people in her church are stepping up to bat and giving her rides to and from work or she’d have lost her job weeks ago. I sent her one of those pop-up Halloween cards with a little surprise tucked inside. She should get it tomorrow or the next day.

We had a good little rain early this morning that persisted until about 8:00 o’clock. Our high today was 67 F/19.4 C with a low of 40 F/4.4 C. Tomorrow night it’s supposed to get down to 38 F/3.3 C! It’s windy and blustery right now, and is supposed to rain a little more. We got 0.15 inches/3.81 mm of rain this morning. We can use every drop. We’re in that Spring/Autumn transitional period, what I call the “not enoughs.” — not hot enough to kick on the AC, not cold enough to kick on the heat. I may have to put a “pull-up” blanket across the foot of my bed. Supposedly we sleep best when we sleep warm in a cold room.

Apparently, I feel it is necessary to make a libation to the refrigerator gods whenever I put ice cubes in my drink bottle. I invariably drop at least one ice cube on the floor and have to chase it down and toss it into the sink. (To be pedantic, they’re not actually cubes. They’re flat on three sides, and curved on the fourth –). When the icemaker periodically Jengas, the “cubes” fall into this square tub underneath it, and I sometimes have to break them loose before I can get a handful.

I’m not sure what kind of tree this is outside my window, but it’s fixing to be a bald one. The leaves are turning yellow and beginning to fall.

In the knitting news, I’ve finally gotten the pattern for the “No-Tears Toe-up Baby Booties” using fingering weight yarn whipped into shape. I’m still working on the skirt of the little dress this goes with. The dress is in sock yarn on a US 3 (3.25 mm) needle so it takes about 10 rows to equal an inch, and the skirt is 9 inches long. This bootie is what is in the bowl on my desk (the first of two). The dress is in the bowl by my TV watching chair.

The bootie uses the Turkish cast-on, which is a neat trick if you can do it. I prefer the toe-up to the top-down construction. I hate Kitchner stitching (grafting) the toe closed. I’ll put the pattern in my knitting blog when I can find my roundtuit.

Because Prednisone

I periodically like to point out odd quirks in the evolution of our native tongue, Ameriglish. Back when people studied English grammar instead of “Language Arts” in school, they were taught that there is this grammar thing called “a state of being.” It is an either/or concept. You are either in that state of being or not; when a thing changes from being to not being (or vice versa), you “become.” “Extinction” is a case in point. A new example of this I have run across is “pregnancy.”

Gratuitous picture of a faun on a unicorn from The Day of the Unicorn ©2022 by Manuel Arenas

I mention this because sometime between when I attended school during the previous century (The 1960’s. Yeah. That was last century.) and the current time, “extinction” mysteriously transmogrified from a state of being to a destination. Nowadays things go extinct. T. rex has left the building. And lately, I’ve noticed that pregnancy has undergone a similar and mystifying change to I’m not sure what. Nowadays women don’t become pregnant, they fall pregnant — Is that like if a woman doesn’t fall off the bed while having sex, she won’t become pregnant!? (Or, what is much worse, is pregnancy now like falling from a higher state to a lower state, like a fall from grace?!?!)

And prepositions. Prepositions are being quietly murdered and replaced by imposters! Things used to happen “by” accident. But “by” was disappeared and quietly replaced by “on” and now we are supposed to just accept that now things happen “on” accident. No. Just, no.

These few examples are just the tip of the iceberg, folks (another of those pesky non-gendered collective nouns!) A great iceberg of a conspiracy between the American public education system and those Millennials to corrupt our mother tongue.

I mean, Millennials are always being problematic. They even chose a problematic name. First off, it’s a booger to spell. (Aren’t two “L’s” and two “N’s” a bit too, Snowflake?) (And even when you spell it right, it looks wrong.)

Gratuitous picture of a faun on a unicorn from The Day of the Unicorn ©2022 by Manuel Arenas

To be fair, though, one notable contribution to the language the Twitter-pated have made is the “because (noun)” construction. It’s a kind of linguistic shorthand for condensing a long convoluted explanation or long list of reasons or justifications into a very brief synopsis (a Tweet is limited to 140 characters), to save space, time, and/or character count, and not occasionally to level up the irony or sarcasm. Whence the title of this post. This is my brain on a whacking great dose (100 mg) of prednisone. Going 90 mph(145 kph) in second gear. For, literally, days.

(Left turn into a brick wall at race-track speeds segue) So today my 5 tabs of prednisone was the chaser to a bag of rrrrRuffles Cheese and Sour Cream potato chips (rrrrRuffles have rrrrridges!). Cushioning my tum with food first seemed like a good idea at the time — right up until it got to the part about available food choices. (Knocking back a handful of prednisone on an empty stomach is like that first part of the roller coaster ride where the chain is ratcheting you up that really high, really steep hill, and you know you’re not getting off until the ride’s over.)

(No segue at all) In previous posts, I have mentioned the eclectic assortment of gratuitous sound effects my apartment is subjected to at inopportune moments, like the morning jog of the garbage cans to the dumpsters and back. Since I live near the Marsha Sharp raceway, on weekends, we typically have scattered motorcycle attempts at land speed records, particularly in the early morning hours, with a chance of low-flying helicopters. (I live within four miles of three tertiary care hospitals and a level I trauma center, three of which have helipads.) But this Saturday, at about 7:00 a.m., we had a rude awakening. The cover spontaneously fell off the (not so) mini-split in the front room beside my desk.

It made a noise like a giant hubcap being tossed like a Frisbee onto concrete. I was sound asleep at the time, but I am proud to say I calmly peeled myself off the ceiling, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Unflappableness. I haz it.

Somewhat later, at a more seemly hour (11:00 o’clock), I got on the phone to the front desk and called in a maintenance strike, and today while I was having fun with needles and plastic tubing at JACC, Care Bud the Maintenance Man put humpty-bumpty back together again. I am curious to know what the lady in the apartment below thought had caused that noise. It was so loud that I’m a little surprised that Security didn’t shortly thereafter come knocking on my door to politely inquire if my mobility issues were experiencing technical difficulties. (Or if I’d lost the stone out of my diamond ring or something . . .)

Was texting with my BFF Sunday, and humorously remarked about my problems with knitting with a long circular needle while watching YouTube videos on my tablet while in bed, and having video interrupted because the needle cable hit the tablet and started some random video playing. She texted back that the transmission on her car had self-destructed in the middle of the drive home from work, she had to have it towed, and now she is damned if she does have to spend big buck$ to get the tran$mi$$ion replaced and damned if she doesn’t have a ride to work. She only just recently found out (a) she’d had a heart attack at some point, probably last January when she blacked out and did a standing face plant in a parking lot, and (b) that she has foot drop because of nerve damage from the ankle she broke years ago, and has tripped and fallen badly several times since then because of it (She is a self-deprecator because issues, so she just assumed she was clumsy and was tripping over her own feet.) (Speaking of heroes preemptively beating the crap out of themselves . . .) Giving emotional support over the phone is about as easy as giving technical support over the phone and, unfortunately, just about as effective. Remote hugs are rubbish. She lives northwest of Houston, and there’s like 600 miles of TX between us. My arms aren’t that long. Sigh.

Oh. And because I am bouncing off the walls at the moment, this non sequitur is for the orthographically challenged: If the spell check/auto-correct function highlights as misspelled a word that is a simple plural or has a suffix or prefix, the root word may not actually be misspelled. Insert a space between the word and the simple plural (simple plurals add -s or -es to form the plural) or between the suffix (-ly, -ment, -ness, -able, etc.) or prefix (un-, dis-, re-, in-, non-, etc.) and the root word. If the word is still highlighted as misspelled, then it probably is. Spell checker/auto-correct glossaries take up RAM. Therefore many such glossaries only include the most commonly used prefixed and/or suffixed forms of the most commonly used words, and the variant prefix/suffix/plural forms (the exceptions to the basic spelling rules), and do not include the simple plurals. (duh!) E.g., In the paragraphs above, spell check recognized “millennial” as spelled correctly, but not “millennials” and recognized “flappable” and “unflappable” as spelled correctly, but not “unflappableness.”

Stopping now. Must correct misspelled name in the previous post.

Feetnotes: 
* Taking a "bolus dose" of medication is like chugging multiple shots of alcohol all at once.  Only with alcohol, the articulated lorry hits you head-on at 90 mph(145 kph); with prednisone, the eighteen-wheeler only grazes you close enough to snag your suspenders(braces**) on the wing mirror.  At 90 mph(145 kph). 
**this is a British English inclusive and metric-inclusive blog. Bite me. 

On the Downward Slope

Tomorrow is the last fluid infusion of this session. I have to be there at 8:00. So after Monday’s infusion I got home just before noon, in more than enough time for the housekeeping lady. While she was there, the maintenance guy came to say he needed to turn my shower on because there was a leak downstairs. Turns out my shower was leaking somehow (why suddenly is it leaking now and not earlier?) He had to calk it and the calk had to set, so I couldn’t use it until he came by today to put everything back together.

He said he’d be by this morning. He didn’t show up until after noon. Of course, by the time he came, I’d washed my dishes and started a pot of chai tea with vanilla almond milk. I’ve got as far as making the chai tea, which is cooling at the moment. It has to cool to room temp before I can add the vanilla almond milk. Then it’s into the fridge.

Anyway, I can use my shower now, which is good because I have to go get my last infusion for this session tomorrow, and I’ll want to shower before I go. Never mind that you don’t work up much of a sweat sitting around in an air conditioned room, I just think it’s manners if you’re going to be in a situation where somebody has to do something as up close and personal as inserting an IV rig into the chemo port on your chest, that you should have showered pretty recently. Kinda common courtesy, which doesn’t seem to be all that common any more. . . .

Saturday, my cousin’s daughter had her baby (she was due Friday), and I need to really get my rear in gear and finish stuff and get it blocked and mailed. Don’t know anything about her except her name and that she’s a healthy little newborn girl. She’s my dad’s youngest brother’s great grandchild. My dad would have been delighted. My mom got to meet her older sister. Hard to believe it’s been almost a year since they came to visit.

Mom had been transferred from the hospital to that nursing home by then and I was in the middle of getting mom moved to Carillon House to finish her rehab, and getting us both into Life Care at Carillon, but hadn’t yet started in on the estate sales and selling mom’s house and getting me moved in and settled. September 1 will be a year since I moved into Carillon. Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess.

My bank sponsoring an ice cream social this afternoon, but I didn’t go. We’ve had people test positive for COVID here in the building, and eating requires taking down my mask. Not worth the risk.

My BFF who lives outside of Houston finally got COVID. She ended her period of quarantine last Thursday and was back to work. But while she had it, she was as sick as the proverbial dog.

I gulped down Aliette de Bodard’s Dominion of the Fallen series and the adjacent Dragons and Blades duette from the same universe, which was a great if slightly grim read, and I’ve started in on a reread of the four-book Finishing School series by Gail Carriger. Carriger’s books are set during the reign of Queen Victoria in a Britain where werewolves are obliged to serve in Her Majesty’s army and vampires are arbiters of style. It’s fun and steampunk and ever so slightly silly. The finishing school for young ladies of quality is located aboard a dirigible and, in addition to the usual finishing school curriculum, includes coursework in intelligence gathering and assassination. It is the prequel, if you will, to her Parasol Protectorate series, and there are three books which deal with the subsequent careers of three of the friends the main character makes at school.

In the knitting news, I did get that little baby top started, and I’m losing a game of Yarn Chicken as I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it with one skein of yarn. But I have two more skeins of that yarn. I might do some booties to match. We’ll see. I need to get the top finished first, and fish out some appropriate buttons from my stash.

I’ve got to finish that one sun hat, though, before I start on matching booties, or a sun hat for the top. I’ve got about 15 more rows to go on the top but, except for the last five rows, it’s all stockinette, which means purling 117 stitches every other row. That much purling is a pain. It’s less of a pain if you’re a continental style knitter, but it’s still a pain. The pattern is only a page and a half long. You could make one in an afternoon if you put your mind to it.

New and Improved

My oncologist’s nurse called me back this morning about the Rituxan, and I’m going for it. We had to rearrange the schedule and I have to go in for lab tests this afternoon. I get the COP tomorrow and the Rituxan and Udenyca Wednesday. Then Friday, Monday and Wednesday, I get my fluid boluses. I am braced for side effects — itching, rash, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and armed with medications for same. I’ll get the prednisone this afternoon while I’m out, and do the little grocery shopping I’ll need to do. I’m going to try to go to bed early tonight because I’ll be bouncing off the walls and likely won’t sleep for the 48 hours after I take the prednisone.

Because of the way the Rituxan affects my already-compromised immune system, I’ll have to be extra careful. I’ll also have to start wearing that stupid Carillon “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” button, as dizzyness is also a potential side effect of Rituxan.

Laundry is all done and put away. If fairy tales were set in the modern world and the heroine was given three impossible tasks to perform (like spinning straw into gold), one of those tasks would surely be to neatly fold a contour sheet. The way I see it, if I can get the durn thing into a fairly compact, rectangular-shaped wad, I’m ahead of the game.

My BFF gets her second cataract surgery tomorrow. She had an excellent result from the first one. Hopefully, this one will go equally well. She had not realized how much her cataracts had compromised her vision until she got the first one done. It was, to coin a phrase, an eye-opener. Cataracts had compromised her color sense more than a little, and reading was difficult. Ditto anything else requiring sharpness of vision. She had already started getting back into drawing after many years, and the first surgery gave that a big boost. Once she’s over the second surgery and gets her “good” glasses, she wants to start painting again, which is great news.

Week before last, when I was going in to JACC to get my second fluid infusion from #3 of chemo, I happened to notice this guy in one of the flower beds. Judging from her/his size, (s)he’s been around long enough to know about gang mowers and other such dangers. Good luck, little guy.

So, Anyway . . . .

Woke up this morning dabbling in this thought puddle: So women already have to play the men’s game because it’s the only game in town, and they have to use the men’s rules and the men’s cards, and the men change the rules halfway through the game at random and then they insist on all these elaborate arcane handicaps, and then change what you have to do to win three fourths of the way through the game and we still win, and men immediately launch into this big rant about how we take unfair advantage and how ruthless we are and how unfeminine that is, and going on and on about it, and we’re having to stand around listening to it while we’re doing the teenage eyeroll thing and thinking, “Oh, grow TF up already. . . ” So I’ll just park that here like a piece of chewing gum. Strange morning.

My BFF called last night from Outer Houston and we talked for four and a half hours (!). I mean, sit the phone down and gab while we’re making and eating dinner and cleaning up after and talking about books and music and fashion and where our heads are at right now and our respective creative processes and where each of us is going with our respective version of it. (She’s very eye/visually oriented, has a fine arts degree, paints, draws, was a scientific illustrator for the Carnagie Museum in Pittsburg for a zillion years, and I’m very verbal/ear oriented, have a degree in English (Rhetoric), etc.) (In a parallel universe, we might have done graphic novels; I the story and script, she all the drawing.) We both love music but we use different types of it and in different ways and want different things from it — another interesting conversation thread from last night. That transmogrified into an exploration of our respective creative processes in and of itself, and how it involves different circuits in her brain than it does in mine (never mind that I’m on the spectrum and wired differently anyway).

We’ve both become devotees of the Boomer Goth fashion look, it seems. (She bought some black pretend leather slacks and black ankle boots with tire tread soles. She has the height to pull it off.) (You have no idea how funny the whole concept of “Boomer Goth” is; we laughed uproariously about it all evening.) We both have that slightly off-kilter world view, only tilted at different angles (but that’s OK) and the same offbeat sense of humor. We’ve been friends since age 14 and we have that whole private language that only comes from long acquaintance and little shorthand referents that nobody else can get because it’s one of those you had to have been there. . . .

She was put on clonazepam (Klonopin is the brand name) for like 20 years for chronic anxiety and is finally off it now. Her brain is coming out of the drug haze, and she is astonished at how many of the symptoms she attributed to “old age” and nerve damage from hazardous chemicals she was exposed to at her museum job were actually side effects of the clonazepam and are now dramatically improving now that she’s not taking it any more (not to mention all the foods she stopped eating because she thought she’d developed a food allergy to them, but that were actually clonazepam side effects affecting her digestive system.) (Stevie Nicks has gone on record as saying if she were to ever meet the person who initially prescribed clonazepam to her, she would want to murder them because of what the drug did to her brain for eight years.) After over 20 years, my BFF is finally reconnecting with her art — drawing and painting, and rediscovering what she thought she’d lost forever. It’s like she’s having her own personal private Renaissance.

We talked about books and she wants to start reading (and rereading) again, which is problematic at the moment because of her cataracts, but her first surgery will be in March. But once she gets past that, she’ll be able to get back into it. And all of this is happening to her as I’m about to start dealing with chemo brain. Again.

We had a front blow through last night. It blustered and blew all night. I’ve transferred my yarn stash but it hasn’t made it under the bed yet. Sufficient unto the day . . . I’m probably going grocery shopping tomorrow morning, but I may blow it off until Monday so I can check to see if the Market Street at Indiana and 50th has a Goodwill Donation truck in their parking lot. I need to offload my car so I can load it up with those drawer bins.

I love my little kitchen. The peninsula could have barstool seating on this side of it, but I have my metal filing cabinet (with bowls of knitting on) and the printer end of my computer desk pushed up under it. Anyway, I eat at my computer desk most of the time anyway. I have ample cabinet storage (although I’d rather have more drawers than shelves). Still, I have a place for everything and the “above” cabinets (above the refrigerator, microwave and sink) are all empty because I have more room than things to put in it.

Here’s my little pet Italian Stone Pine and the orchid I inherited from mom. I need to repot both of them. I have the stuff to do it. My windows face northwest, and there are deciduous trees in front of them, so currently I have a lot of bright indirect light. (The Stone Pine can take full sun and would do well if planted outside.) I’d like some more plants, but I’m undecided/picky about which ones. I’ll have to wait until the trees leaf out to see what the spring/summer light level is like and let that be my guide. I’m thinking a shallow, pretty bowl with succulents in wouldn’t go amiss. . . .

Sneaking Up On March

A day and a bit left on February, such as it is.  For such a short month, it has packed a whallop this year.  Brought Texas to its knees.   The one part of the grid that that held firm and that did not go down was the part up in my neck of the flatlands.  Oddly enough, it was the part that was not under ERCOT.  It was the part that was required to meet federal standards because the company that built it supplied power to other states besides Texas.  We’ll see if the powers that be got the message this time.  Not holding my breath, though.  My bet is that those ^&*%$#s in office will continue to listen to the money, rather than the people.

I confess to feeling guilty.  The storm hit on the 14th, a Sunday.  My power was off for about 15 minutes on Tuesday the 16th. My pipes never froze. (All the pipes are in the middle of the duplex between the two “plexes.”)   My BFF, who lives in a little town northwest of Houston, was without power for over a week, was without water for over a week and will likely be without hot water for quite a while.   My state is supposed to be a Red state.  But I have a feeling that the longer this debacle goes on, the bluer it’s getting.  I figure we’re starting to turn a bit maroon by now.

In the Knitting news, I’m moving right along on my infinity scarf.  At the top is 18 inches, and still on the first skein (the ball in the bowl).  In the middle is that little bit in the bowl left of the first skein and over 20 inches.  At the bottom, today, is 27 inches and into the second skein.  I have six skeins of the yarn.  I think I’ll have enough.

I started it back in November of 2020, and I work on it a couple of rows at a time.  I have it sitting on my computer desk for working on while I’m catching up on my YouTube channels or when I’m reading back over what I just wrote or cogitating what comes next on a story.  One of these days, I need to get some scrap yarn and wrap it around me in the way the Infinity Wrap is supposed to wrap (see at right) , and then measure it, so I’ll know when to stop (My tape measure only goes to 60 inches; I’m thinking I’ll need about 100 inches).  Then I’m going to have to haul off and (re)learn how to Kitchener.

Monday is my last day of cardiac rehab.  Depending on the weather, I may be tackling the back yard next week.  It needs raking and the rakings bagged and put in the dumpster.  The last time I did it, I got fourteen big trash bags worth.  Don’t think I’ll get that many this time, though   I don’t know if I want to tackle the front garden bed or not.  It needs forking and weeding, and something extremely low maintenance planted in it.  Don’t know if I’m that energetic. I might investigate getting a piece of cattle panel or something to use as a trellis for those durn climbing roses.  They’re the kind that bloom all summer.  Don’t know if I want to fool with it, though.  It would set a precedent I’m not sure I want to set.

Maybe when the weather gets springier, I’ll start walking.  I have cordless headphones and my iPhone, and music I’ve downloaded off Napster.  Could be nice.   We’ll see.

My BFF thought her cataracts were so bad that she went to a doc to investigate surgery.  Turns out her cataracts weren’t bad at all.  She just needed new glasses.  Now that she has new glasses and can see to read again, I’m putting together a care package of paperbacks I’ve replaced with hardbacks and culls to send to her.  A little care package.

I’m Fixin’ a Crick . . .

Not a hole, (apologies to Macca), but a certain ickyness in the left trapezius that is probably the result of too much time sitting at the computer with my neck at an odd angle.  Of course, the obvious fix is to spend less time at the computer, but we know how likely that is to happen. Not.

What did happen was this.  Now my monitors are up at a height where my neck doesn’t have to be at that odd angle.  Additionally, I’m gaining some desktop real estate by being able to put things under the shelves, like all the cords you need for two monitors (4), a cordless phone charger cradle (1), the desk lamp (1), a dohicky for adding four additional USB ports to my computer (2),  as well as room for the large weighted base of the desk lamp and a digital camera.  By elevating the large round bases of the two monitors up onto the little tables, this leaves more room on my desk top for the UPS, which is the size of a shoe box (for a pair of men’s size 14EEEE wingtips);  two bowls of knitting; the hand-blown drinking glass that I keep my pens, pencils, big scissors and letter opener in (which was sitting out of reach on the filing cabinet because I didn’t have room for it on my desk); a small bowl of knitting notions; a digital camera; a coaster for a glass/cup; a coaster for a carafe/stainless steel bottle; a keyboard; a mouse pad; and a mouse.*

My BFF refers to my computer setup as “the cockpit” and the time I spend at the computer as “flying the house,” the conceit being that my house is a space ship . This hearkens back to my salad days when I was a medical transcriptionist and worked from home, so I spent at least 8 hours a day at the computer, flying the house to make a living.   These days, I’m a free-lance pilot and can go where ever I want.

In the knitting news, I try to knit a row or two on the project by each chair though I am in the process of a big Liaden Universe Reread.  I might mention at this point that the Kindle versions of Agent of Change which was the first book published, and Fledgling, which picks up at an interesting place a bit further on in the saga of Clan Korvil, are both free through Amazon.  Two large helpings of space opera at no cost to you. Fair warning, though.  They’re like potato chips.  Betcha can’t read just one. . . .

 

 

*Astute readers will have noted the strategic deployment of semicolons by the English major when one or more of the items listed in a series has internal commas.

 

 

Counting Down to Christmas

I’ve finished knitting and stuffing the Julekuler and have gotten them all packed up to be auctioned off for the scholarship fund of the Sekret Klub my mom goes to.  At left you can see some of my collection of knitting bowls — a bowl for each color, and a bowl full of booties in progress, which I can finish now that the Julekuler are off the deck. I got some stiff gold paper, poked a hole in the center of it and put the hanging loops through the hole and taped them down.  Then I put them in clear plastic bags and tied them off with a snazzy Christmas ribbon. Because of the bag dimensions, they had to angle to fit into the bags, which is just as well.  I made three of each kind:  green on red, red on green and red on white, and put one of each in each package.  They all needed to be the same assortment, since only one will be held up for bidding.   Mom has them now and will be taking them to be auctioned tomorrow

This evening, I consigned the AT&T gear to FedX, so that’s out of my hair, and good riddance, and mailed a care package to my BFF.  I got the long phone cord put on the base unit for my cordless phone.  I get to coast until Christmas, which will be nice.  I’m on the brink of starting “Outlander”  I believe I’ll start with the book.   Now it’s time this buckaroo was in her beddie-boo.

No apologies for this:

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!