Isn’t That Always The Way

First off, I’m really bummed about the Queen passing away. Tears in my eyes bummed. Watching the Queen’s coronation (in B&W) on our floor model Motorola TV is one of my earliest memories. I had just turned 4. My brother was at the “cruising” stage of learning to walk and kept getting his head in front of the TV screen. The Queen was two years younger than my mother, who will be 98 in about two weeks. Stay tuned for that.

One of the things that has been holding up my transfer to the new computer was finding a feed reader that worked as well as the old NewsFox reader that FireFox had. I follow a bunch of blogs and webcomics, and NewsFox organized them all in one place and made it so simple to keep up with them. I think I’ve finally found one: QuiteRSS. Which is good, because this evening I was trying to clean up my NewsFox feeds so I could export only the feeds I actually wanted and accidentally deleted a bunch of feeds I didn’t mean to. Fortunately, I had already exported the “dirty” version of the feeds, but when I tried to reload the feeds in NewsFox (which runs in the FireFox browser I stopped updating about three years ago just before it was going to stop supporting NewsFox), it discombobulated.

So I set up QuiteRSS on my Windows 7 machine and imported the great mishmash of past and present blog and webcomic feeds I had on NewsFox. Then I spent about two hours going through and deleting the defunct and abandoned feeds and completed webcomics and then I had to go into properties on each and every cotton-picking feed and untick a box so QuiteRSS would display the whole webpage instead of just a “headline.” Then I could export a clean copy of the .opml file to the other machine.

QuiteRSS does almost everything NewsFox did, except it’s not set into a browser so I can’t use the browser “Find” feature to find words in the text, and when I want to look something up, I have to go to another program (web browser) instead of to another tab. It only took me about an hour to set up QuiteRS on my Windows 11 machine. Unfortunately, I still had to go into the properties on every stupid feed and untick the box so it would display the way I want it to. I also figured out how to resize the type and change the font. The font that comes off the rack with the program is some off the wall typeface I’ve never heard of and the size was miniscule. I changed it to good old Arial 11 so I can read it without binoculars. The date was given in European format (2-digit day.2-digit month.2-digit year) and I figured out how to fix that, too. So. That’s one more thing I’ve moved over to the new computer.

The hard drive on the new machine is only 250 GB, which isn’t big enough for all my music and graphics and photos. I’ve got two hard drives in the old computer, one of which is a Seagate 1 TB. I’ve decided to get an external hard drive. It would be easier than schlepping my computer tower to someplace so they can look at it to see if I can transfer the Seagate drive from my old machine to the new one. I can get a 6 TB Western Digital external hard drive for about what it would cost me to pay somebody to switch out the drive from one computer to the other — assuming the new computer even has a slot for a second drive — which it probably doesn’t. My final chemo session is the 26th. An external hard drive would be a perfect “good girl” treat for FINALLY finishing chemo.

I’ll be glad to stop straddling computers. Gmail doesn’t work on my old one anymore, and I have to boot the new computer up so I can check my email. I’ve got this jicky little Bluetooth keyboard and mouse hooked up to the new computer, and I’ve been operating for months with two mice and two keyboards and only one monitor per computer. I’m so used to having two monitors that it’s like doing everything with one eye closed.

Maybe once I get done with all the chemo stuff I can settle down and finally sort this computer mess out. Trying to write on one monitor is the pits. I’m juggling between the time line document and a dictionary app, the reference document and the actual story manuscript. So much easier when I don’t have to play peek-a-boo between what I’m writing and some other document I’m referring to. I can have references and the dictionary app, and a browser and some kind of music app open on one screen and the manuscript open on the other and I can revise and change the reference document and the time line as needed. Or I can listen to a YouTube video like a TED talk or scholarly lecture, or some music playlist on one screen while I’m working a puzzle on Jigsaw Planet on the other. My amigo Shoreacres found a version of my old werewolf monitor widget (it has a little graphic of the moon that displays the phases) that I could get to run on Windows 11, and now I’ve found a replacement for NewsFox.

Except for my writing, which is going to be a booger to transition from Word 2010 to the newest version of Word*, and transferring some programs, the rest of the computer change over is mostly just moving files – lots and lots of files – and setting up the external hard drive and the little (4 TB) external backup drive. And then when I grab a mouse, I won’t have to stop and remember which mouse goes to which computer, and I won’t have to use that jicky little keyboard anymore. (I have this lovely Logitech gamer keyboard that has a wrist ramp, a 10-key pad and a feather-light touch.)(This is my third. I’ve already worn two out — good thing I’m a touch typist. I had worn the letters off most of the keys before some of the most-used keys just quit working. Logitech has been making them for a while. I got the first one while I was still working as a medical transcriptionist. )

In the knitting news, there isn’t any. Now that the most urgent baby knitting is off the needles and gone to Garland, I’ve been taking a breather.

*I’m going to take the opportunity to work out a “universal” manuscript template so all my manuscripts will have the same margins, line spacing, font, etc., which means I will be reformatting everything. Sigh.

Nose In A Book

Pretty normal posture for yrs trly. Except mostly it’s been my Kindle Fire. Pretty hard to have your nose in a book when your “book” has a touch screen . . . But text size is adjustable on a Kindle, so no need to get my nose that close to the book, even if I needed to. The Books Read List was last posted on 11 June, at 35 books so far this year. List just posted was at 52 books. That’s 17 books in 34 days. Not too shabby.

I’ve been pretty much doing nothing but reading these past couple of days. Finished 3 books that I was about halfway through and had kind of lost interest in. Finished another one I’d started and set down for a couple of days. Read 7 more, each pretty much at a single sitting, but spread out over the past three days.

Every time I take that whopping dose of steroids at the start of the chemo cycle it royally screws up my internal clock and in order to get it back on a “normal” (sic) schedule, I end up staying awake for extended periods of time (aka “hanging”) to try to get my days and nights sorted back out again. Just about the time I’m almost back on schedule, I have to do it all again. This will be the sixth time since February. Added to that is that I’m fighting my body’s natural biorhythm. The upshot of the whole deal is that I stay “jet lagged” all the time. It’s starting to get a little old. (ya think?)

Part of the problem is that I am basically a night owl forced to live on day twink schedules. I’d be perfectly delighted to be just left to a schedule I was happy with for 20 years, that fit my natural body biorhythms. But, one thing I learned about day twinks while I was in the Air Force: They seem congenitally unable to understand that not everybody’s body clock is set to “chicken time” (Get up at sunrise, go to bed at sunset). Another thing I learned in the Air Force is that day twinks think their way is the “normal” way and can’t understand why anybody would want to be any other way. They simply don’t get it.

Like tonight, I put my first load of clothes in to wash at almost midnight and my second load in to wash at about 3 a.m. It’s almost 5:30 a.m. right now and the second load is in the dryer. My first load was clothes, and they’re hanging on the clothes rack where they’ll stay for about 24 hours, until they’re fully evaporated and completely dry. (I’ve never had trouble with musty-smelling closets, oddly enough.) My second load was sheets and towels. They’re in the dryer now. There are only two washers and two dryers for the three wings on this floor. When I do my wash during the night, I don’t have to wait on anybody to finish doing theirs and nobody has to wait on me to finish doing mine. I’m not worrying about how safe it might be to be batting around at that hour of the night. I’m in the equivalent of a gated community. Nobody is entering the building after 8 o’clock unless they have a key or security lets them in.

I did finally get my bamboo plant transplanted to a bigger “pot” (Amazon). I had to get some of those hydrophilic balls (Amazon) to anchor it. It was in this rinky little pot with a stupid decoration. This pot is much nicer, I think. It has a dragon on, and the design is much more appropriate for feng shui “lucky bamboo” (three stems). The bamboo plant seems to like it. I really needed to get something bigger for it as it was getting dangerously top-heavy. The sickeningly cutesy vase it came in will go to Goodwill. It’s kitschy enough that somebody will want it, I’m sure.

I moved the new Windows 11 computer over to the desk. That’s it on the left. The left hand monitor is hooked to the new computer and the right one to the old Windows 7 computer. My three working brain cells don’t have enough band width to deal with anything else right this now, but at least I check my email more often.

I need to scan the bank statement and the ML statements and email them to mom, but the email on the old (Windows 7) computer, which is the one the printer talks to, doesn’t work any more because Google, so I will have to scan them to one computer and put them on a memory stick to get them over to the new computer which has working email. I ought to see if I can find a feed reader I like that works on Windows 11, but the thought of it just makes me tired.

So, I get back on the chemo merry-go-round Monday. I have to get there at 8 o’clock so I can wait in the waiting room for at least an hour before they call me back for labs. Then I see the oncologist. If my lab work is OK, then it’s off to chemoland I go. Chug 100 mg of prednisone and be awake for 48 hours because I’m too wired on steroids to sleep, Then crash and burn, etc., etc., rinse and repeat.

I’ve washed and dried two loads of clothes, schlepped the laundry basket back and forth 2x, changed my bed, and had a bowl of cereal. It’s now 6:30 in the morning. The sun isn’t even up yet. I’m going to try to stay up until 1:00 or 2:00 o’clock as they’re having something good for lunch . . .which will be my supper. Sigh.

Two people in the building have tested positive for COVID. When the housekeeping lady came by, she was obliged to announce that she had tested positive and had quarantined for 5 days. (They’re saying you need to quarantine for 8 days for the new variant de jour, which is the most contagious variant yet.) Yet another argument for being a night owl is that it keeps you away from all the contagious people . . .

Two Cycles Left, and About That Many Brain Cells . . .

As if my life wasn’t complicated enough, Google has decided that after May 30, 2022, it will not play with Windows 7 or anything older than Outlook 2016 any more. Since I use Gmail, that means I wouldn’t be able to get email on my Windows 7 machine after that. So, I got another computer with Windows 11 installed on it, and I’m having to figure out how it works.

I hate the “comes with” Windows 11 email program. I have five different emails (one associated with this blog, one I give to friends and family, one I use to sign onto things like bill paying websites and banking websites, one I use to sign onto websites I buy stuff off of, and one for games and streaming services)*, and I liked the way Windows Live Mail displayed things. Windows 11 is more like having a smart phone with a computer monitor, keyboard and mouse attached to it. It has a jickiness about it I don’t like., but I do have my email switched over to the new computer, so I can now get all my email, and not just email from 4 of my 5 email addresses like I do now.

I’ve got to find a feed reader that will display all the blogs and webcomics I read the way they are displayed on their own website, and one that is as user friendly, intuitive and logical as NewsFox was. So far, no luck. Once I do, I’ll have to set that all up (20+ blogs and about that many webcomics).

I’ve got to figure out how the newest version of Word works now and set it up to work the way I like it to (the fonts I like, the formatting I use, etc.) and then transfer all my files over and transition each one of them to the new version of Word, which will screw up the formatting and the fonts, which I will then have to sort out on a document by document basis. *&^%$#@!

I’ve got to get the display working the way I like it. It’s got stuff pinned to the task bar that I don’t want there, won’t ever use, and can’t unpin. I don’t want anything pinned to the task bar. I want icons!

I’ve got to re-sign into my banking apps on the new computer during the daytime so I can call customer service when they lock up on me because I’m using a different computer.

I’ve got to download a version of my backup software that works with Windows 11 and re-set that up. I have to move an F-ton of files. I have to redo all the shortcuts I had on my desktop. I’ve got games I want to try to bring over that I probably can’t because they probably won’t work on Windows 11. I hate the “comes-with” solitaire game on Windows 11.

Right now, I’ve got one monitor hooked to one computer and the other hooked to the other computer. I’ve been using the old computer with just one monitor and it’s been driving me crazy. It’s like trying to work with one eye closed. I don’t have enough room to do anything. I can’t have more than one or two programs open at the same time, and can only look at one at a time.

And not to put too fine a point on things, because I have chemo brain, I only have about three working brain cells, so everything is harder to do and takes about three times as long.

It’s going to be a long, drawn-out process.

We have gotten a new internet service/TV provider here, and I’m not very impressed with them. My internet was poor before, stuttering and slow. It’s even worse now. I called about it three times before someone came out and tinkered with it. I have a wire running from my bedroom under my bedroom door to my TV because the only other connection in the room is behind my china cabinet, and I’m not going to rearrange all my furniture to put my TV facing all the windows in that room. The guy said he would escalate my ticket. That was three weeks ago. I called and complained again Monday, and they fixed my internet by turning it off. I called the resident director about it, and he came up and hooked up my old WiFi modem (which I could have done myself if I’d known I could). They hadn’t discontinued the old service because they were having such problems switching over to the new one. Now I have the same pisspoor internet I had before. To be fair, part of the problem is the wiring in this building that was built in the 1970’s. But still, did they have to turn it off when I was right in the middle of reassuring Google that, yes, it was me signing in to my five GMail accounts on a different computer . . . Sigh!

Mom has been complaining about her neck hurting. Her back is so kyphotic (“buffalo hump”) and she is so stooped over that when she tries to lie flat on her back, the back of her head is about 6 inches off the bed (not an exaggeration!). I thought perhaps she needs another/or thicker pillow and tried to tell her that, but she proceeded to explain that she has one of those beds that the head and foot raise up — which is neither here nor there. The problem is that her back is so bowed that if her pillows are not thick enough to adequately support her head, that’s going to put a strain on her neck.

I had a birthday last Saturday, such as it was. My knitting friend KC and I went to Outback Steakhouse for lunch. She got me this darling arrangement and a card.

I’ve had this thing where I just hit the figurative wall and I have to go lie down. It happened while we were at lunch, and I ended up bringing 90% of my lunch home to eat later after I’d slept about five hours. (KC has been through chemo for breast cancer, so she was very understanding.)

It happened again the other day, and I’m beginning to think it’s one of my meds because it seems to happen within about 30 minutes of my taking my meds. I think I know which one it is, the PreserVision. I’m supposed to take two of their big peanut M&M sized pills, but I can’t tolerate that dose so I just take one. I’m not going to take today’s dose and see if that makes a difference. It could also be side-effects of the Rituxan, which include bloating, stomach pain and loss of appetite, as well as weakness and tiredness. Part of it could also be the cumulative effects of the 3 sessions of COP chemotherapy.

I start chemo cycle 5 of 6 on 1 June. Once that’s over I’ll only have one more to go. During this cycle, I also get to see my orthopedist for the yearly checkup on my knee replacement. I’ve had it for three years now. Still very glad I did it. And I also get to see my PCP at the VA. Why do I always seem to get other appointments right when I’m in the middle of chemo sessions?

In the knitting news, ongoing projects are ongoing, sort of. I just haven’t had the energy or the brain bandwidth to do much.

Mostly what’s showing on CatTV around here are doves (ring-necked and Inca, but mostly mourning) and grackles, with the occasional guest appearance by a blue jay, mocking bird or robin. This guy has been serenading me for a while now. WooHoooHooo.

*If one of my emails gets hacked, I know immediately what things have been compromised and what I need to do about it, and I only have to change that email address on the websites I use it on, instead of using one email address for everything and having everything compromised, and then having to change the email on everything.

A Slight Miscalculation . . .

Because I was asleep at the needles, I had to rip out three rows of the hexed afghan, and when I took it off the needles to do so, it quickly became obvious that an increase of 12 stitches every other row was WAY too many. No choice but to frog the whole thing and start over. (*&^%$#@!) Am now increasing 6 stitches every other row. That was this evening.

This morning I was out and about by 11 a.m. I buzzed by mom’s bank to hit up the ATM for cash to pay mom’s monthly beauty saloon bill which I will have to do Friday after I get the stuff that keeps my white blood cell count from cratering. Then I went to Best Buy. They had a HP Pavilion desktop on sale for $449.99 with Windows 11 preinstalled that looked to be just what I needed. I got the last one they had on the last day of the sale, so extra points there. My estimate was not far off. I got out of there with a computer and Microsoft Office for $654.48. Still sitting in the box, because . . .

Tomorrow I’m going to get a piece of glass cut to go in the hutch of my china cabinet. Two or three moves ago, the movers broke a side panel in the hutch portion and I never got around to replacing it. As a result, things get dustier quicker. This afternoon I unpacked the last two boxes and put them out for Housekeeping to recycle. No more boxes! Now things feel more open and more homey.

This is what goes in that top part of the china cabinet that’s missing glass. Now I have to get the glass tomorrow so I can put all this away after I’ve installed the glass. Last big push to get everything squared away before Thursday when I get the COP infusion.

My reward for getting the china cabinet fixed and the stuff put away in it will be to set my new computer up and start the transfer of stuff over to it. Once I get this last bit of stuff put up, the only thing I have left now is to get the maintenance guy to put a plastic storage bin on the top shelf of my closet so I can put that last yarn stash bin in the floor of my closet. Oh, and get him to fix that one blind that won’t raise.

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Got an email today from Google advising me that as of May of this year, Gmail will quit working with both Mailwasher and Windows 7. Chrome will quit working with Windows 7 in 2023. I’ve had the automatic updates on Firefox turned off for years now so it will continue to work with NewsFox, which is the feed reader that displays blogs and webcomics in the format I prefer. Of course, Firefox doesn’t work with WordPress anymore either, and I’ve been having to blog and pay bills on Chrome for over a year now because I can’t access the websites on my un-updated Firefox anymore. (Gmail will also quit working with Mom’s Kindle Fire tablet in May, too, but that’s easier to fix — I just download the Google Play app and get it to play nice with the Kindle tablet, and then download a Gmail app from Google Play.) (And then teach Mom how to use it.)

What you’d think is that I could just get Windows 11 and load it on the computer I have (and then spend months cleaning up the mess and trying to get everything to work) and that would fix everything, except my computer won’t run Windows 10 or 11. I don’t have the right graphics card and I don’t have the right processor. Yeah, I could take it in and pay about $300 to get those things switched out and then pay around $110 to buy Windows 11 and fork out another $149 to get Word and Excel, and then have to deal with the mess Windows 11 would make because so many of the programs I know and love won’t run on Windows 11. The easier (on me) option would be to just get a new computer with Windows 11 already loaded on it and pay $149 for Office Suite, and take it from there. We’re talking probably $600 all told.

Like I needed one more thing to bum me out. I have a legacy version of Winamp with playlists set up of music I’ve downloaded, and presets to play all my internet radio stations through Winamp instead of through my browser. I will have to re-set up all my banking apps and bill paying apps. All my writing is on Word 2010 (32-bit version) and I would have to convert all my files. And not to put too fine a point on things, by May I will have a big case of chemo brain. I’m not a gamer. All I use my computer for is reading/writing blogs and my creative writing, watching YouTube and paying bills. I don’t need a big fancy computer, and I don’t want a laptop. Thank goodness I got two new monitors not too long ago which also have HDMI connections as well as VGA connections as the new computers don’t have VGA monitor connectors on them.

Our friend CK just texted me that mom has somehow gotten her cell phone set on vibrate only and can’t figure out how to turn the ringer back on. This is something you can’t talk her through over the phone. I have the manual, but that would be no help to her. The easiest thing is to just fix it for her, but I can’t go over there. Fortunately, one of the aids fixed it for her. My mom and technology are not a good mix. I don’t know what’s going to happen when we have to change her email program. Again. She’s just learned how to use the one on the tablet, kinda sorta. And I won’t be able to show her so long as my immune system is a wreck.

I guess what I get to do tomorrow is go buy a new desktop computer. I’ve got til Thursday to get it up and running. Better to do it now than to do it in May and try to figure everything out when I’ve got a whopping case of chemo brain. At least the new one will have built-in WiFi and will probably be Bluetooth compatible, too, so I won’t have dongles dangling every which way off it. Having a computer that will do what I want it to do is going to be a big part of keeping me sane and grounded through the coming months.

Settling in, Zhuzhing, and Hats

Sunday, I washed my hair, and while it was drying (all morning) I stripped my bed and did a load of sheets, towels, and whatever was in the dirty clothes hamper. And I started a hat.

I had these two little miniskeins (91 yds/83 m, 50 grams) of this “Glisten Kollage” yarn, 70% alpaca, 25% silk and 5% Estelline (whatever that is. . .) in a dark kind of teal which I dug out of stash. They’re from Peru. They were gifts I got for Christmas exchange back during the knitting group days that I thought I’d see if I could get a hat out of. It’s been sitting in a bowl on my desk to work on off and on while I’m proofing or thinking or catching up on my YouTube channels.

I’d revised a free Ravelry hat pattern called the Coriolis Hat, which had a leftward spiral, into one that had a rightward spiral. I vaguely remembered how the pattern worked, swatched for gage and got a pair of US7 ( 4.5 mm) 16-inch circular needles and cast on 90 stitches. I did 6 rows of k1 tbl, p1, ribbing (sort of a semi-fisherman’s rib stitch), then did one row of *k4, kfb, repeat from * to end of row. Then I started a 9 stitch leftward spiral pattern: *ssk, k8, yo, repeat from * to end of row. When it’s tall enough, then *sssk, k8, yo, until you have 9 stitches left, and pursestring it closed.

I started the hat because I just wanted something small that I could finish in a reasonable amount of time, because all the current WIPs are these big shawls. I need to be able to finish something now and again. (I’ve got some other hats I’ve gotten about halfway through and need to finish, too.

But, I have been visiting with old friends as well. Old friends in new places. I’ve finally had time to put some music on and sit and knit. This is Short, Sweet and Nubby, a rectangular shawl that I still have about 4 feet to go on. It’s starting to get cool enough to have all that knitting on my legs while I’m working on it. I’m just going to knit on it until I only have enough yarn left to do the fringe. Then I’ll stop, add the fringe and knot it. But I’ve got a big skein of yarn left.

I thought I’d better go check on Mom’s house, which has been sitting vacant about half a month now. When the surveyers from the title company came to survey the lot, they couldn’t get in the gate because it was lock, so they took the fence down on the other side. Then they just propped it up in the opening and went off and left it that way. Of course it blew down. I went all round the house and all through it on the inside, and aside from looking so empty, everything was intact and there was no sign of a break in or anything untoward like a water leak.

Today I went to the title company and signed about fifty things. They kept the original of my power of attorney, and I won’t get it back until the title company has registered the sale with the county, probably Monday. Now it’s up to UPS to get the buyer’s paperwork here from Puerto Rico with the moneda for the house. We could get it as soon as Thursday, or it could be Monday. They’ll call me, I’ll go pick up a very large check, and take it to the bank. They don’t get the keys until we get the money. But once we get the money, we can close the utilities account. It was over $200 for September, mostly electricity. Thank goodness we won’t have to deal with that any more. Mom’s bills will be limited to insurance premiums and her cellphone bill, and mine will be limited to streaming services, cellphone bill, and car insurance — and, of course, grocery store stuff — toiletries, paper goods, whatever food mom wants, etc.

Tomorrow, I need to call AT&T and give them the boot because yesterday evening I got a WiFi router and hooked it to the internet that comes with the apartment. I got it up and running, signed on an iPhone, two Kindle Fire tablets, an internet radio, a printer, and my computer without a problem. However, my TV refused to get on the internet despite a five-bar signal strength and being rebooted multiple times. The Carillon computer guy will be by at some point to see if he can reason with it.

I hope the computer guy can convince the TV to get on the internet. If I can’t get on the internet, I can’t stream Netflix. The Witcher is going to be dropping new episodes, and there’s some other series I want to take a look at on Netflix to see if they’re worth bingeing. I can watch Netflix on my computer, but I’d rather watch it on my 55-inch TV, thank you very much. So far, the in-house internet is better speed and quality (no dropping the signal for 45 seconds – to a minute at a time) than what AT&T and that jury-rigged hunk of junk they installed was giving me. It’s certainly a lot cheaper. TV and internet for under $50. He tells me, though, come the first of the year, they’re going to boxes of some kind, and I’ll be able to get in-house TV on my TV like mom gets on hers. Right now, you can only get in-house TV through a co-axial cable connection, and my TV is too new to have one. That’s OK . My TV is hooked up to a DVD player that is not region locked.

There seems to be a tradition of people starting picture puzzles in the common area to be worked on while you’re waiting for laundry to wash or dry in the common laundry area. This one is suitably themed. I’ll leave you with the Smiley Face Bush in it’s seasonal finery.

Turkey and Other Cold Cuts

(Did I mention I hate the new WordPress block(head) editor? If it’s supposed to make using WordPress easier, it’s a spectacular failure. It’s harder to do everything than it used to be.)

It has been a rough week. Tuesday morning I was watching YouTube and knitting, and about 11 o’clock, my internet went down. The thing is, when my internet goes down, so does my VOIP land line, and my cable TV. After multiple calls to Suddenlink on my cellphone, I was told there was an outage in my area, and that it should be back up by morning. Come morning, no internet. We tried this and we rebooted that and we poked things with paperclips, and no joy. A technician was scheduled. He would be out Thursday morning. In the meantime, my only connection with the outside world was my cell phone, I had been without internet for going on 24 hours. I could not stream music, watch TV or connect to any of the usual suspects on the internet. If I had not already dowloaded a book to my Kindle, I couldn’t get to it to read it.

The Suddenlink technician was scheduled to come between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., which meant I had to get up at 7:30 to give me time to shower and otherwise accoutre myself like a respectable human bean. He called at 10:45 to say he was on his way. (From Midland, as it happens, which is 120 miles south of us.)(He’s trying to find an apartment in town. I don’t blame him. Heck of a commute.) We went through the spiel. He connected his little gizmo, and the line was deader than the proverbial door nail. There had, in truth, been an outage in my area, but it was fixed now so something else was going on. He went out to the alley to check the “war” and, lo, and behold, the “war” had been pulled completely loose from the pole. Some tall truck had evidently driven down the alley and snagged it. He not only reconnected it but replaced the “tap” which had been gnawed by squirrels, and was probably to blame for the intermittent loss of connection that has been driving me crazy for months. He also moved the tap higher up the pole which took up some of the slack in the line to the house.

Just like you don’t realize how much you depend on electricity, you don’t realize how much you depend on internet until you don’t have it. I’d think, well, I could do this — but no I couldn’t. No internet access. I’m telling you. I was about to the point of hunting out that CD player I’ve stuck up in the closet somewhere and playing one of the CD’s I have stockpiled. Unfortunately, I cannot afford a cell phone plan with unlimited data, or I could have streamed music over my phone. (I wonder if I ought to look into getting one of those solar phone charger gizmos?)

Unsweetened Dreams

I suppose I may have had nightmares, but I was never aware of them. I don’t ever remember having a frightening dream. My dreams are typically neither happy, nor sad, nor scary. In terms of emotional overlay they’re all kind of ‘meh’ bland. The worst they would ever get is when I’m looking for something I can’t find (like where I parked my car or or a destination I’m trying to reach) and feel either low-grade frustration or low-grade anxiety from time pressure.

There was a time when I had a lot of dreams about walking in a straight line and when I came to a house, I would walk into it through the front door, through it, out the back door, through the back yard, the back gate and into the back yard of the next house, etc., in a long line of houses, one after the other. There was never any sense of destination, only walking in a straight line through a succession of different houses at night.

Sometimes my dreams will have characters and a coherent (and actually a rather good) plot, but most of the time they’re rather random and amorphous. Sometimes I’m “first person” — the point-of-view character to which the dream is happening — and sometimes I’m “third person” watching myself within the dream. But I only very, very rarely had a dream I was glad to wake up from.

However, in the last couple of years, my dreams have taken a “nonpleasant” turn. The subject matter has become darker. Thank goodness the emotional intensity – or lack of same – has remained the same. But the dream content tends to leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Night before last, I was having a dream about being in a big box store like Home Depot and people outside started shooting. I knew they had automatic weapons and that we had better get on the floor because they were going to rake the building with weapons fire. I wasn’t frightened, but was in that hypercalm, focused frame of mind that is fortunately my reaction to a crisis situation. I managed to get out of the building, but it was night and foggy, and I was trying to find police officers to tell them what the situation was, that there were active shooters in the area and people in danger in the store. Couldn’t find any police, although I felt certain somebody must have called them. Then the real-life phone rang and woke me up.

It was my mom. She’s always so chipper on the phone, like Stevenson’s birdie with the yellow bill, wanting to know if I was eating lunch. (I wasn’t. I’d been sound asleep.) The reason she called was she was still feeling aftershocks from the email crisis that erupted when AT&T gave Mozilla Thunderbird the cut direct and she’d had to revert to the Yahoo website to deal with her email. With emotions still running high over that, she had gone a whole half a day without having gotten any emails (it was just after noon). She was convinced something was wonky with the Yahoo website and she wanted me to go send her an email to test if Yahoo was working. I told her I would have to go boot up my computer.

Now, you have to understand that my mom and I have a major philosophical difference. We march to two very different drummers. She gets up at the crack of dawn, boots up her computer on her way to the front door to get the morning paper and have breakfast, and checks her email about 10 times during the day. The idea that anybody would want to sleep in the daytime is inconceivable to her. Why, something might happen, and they would miss it! I, on the other hand, am allergic to mornings, spent nearly 30 years working nights, loved the peace and quiet of it, and would continue to be a night owl if I had my druthers.

I had gone to bed after midnight, couldn’t get warm (the low was 38 F 3.3 C and the place I live in has no insulation to speak of). I finally got up at 3:30 in the morning and took a hot shower, and finally warmed up enough to go to sleep. Come noon and I wasn’t done sleeping yet. What I was done with was that dream.

But here’s the take-away from all this. There are prescription drugs which have the side-effect of causing nightmares, and I’m on two of them: Cetirizine (antihistamine) and metoprolol (blood pressure and heart rhythm disturbances). I’m pretty sure because of the chronicity that it’s the metoprolol, either by itself or in addition to the cetirizine, that is the culprit. So far, these nonpleasant dreams I’ve been having are not unsettling enough to ask my cardiologist if I might be able to switch from metoprolol to atenolol, which does essentially the same thing but with a lower incidence of that particular side-effect. I guess if I can put up with the constant ringing in my ears from the aspirin, I can put up with these dreams . . .

To end this post on a more pleasant note, I thought I’d leave you with my current earworm:

The lyrics to this one are haunting. . .

Hissy Fitty and Equinoxious

This past week, my version of Windows Live Mail kind of spontaneously and unfixably busted, mostly because Microsoft. ( I could receive emails but not send any.)

On top of this, in January, my internet, phone and TV provider (Suddenlink) upped my bill another $20, and a guy came by pitching a bundle from AT&T which was a good $90 cheaper for the same service, which price is supposed to be good for two years.  So I hunted up my Act of Congress and switched over.  Which means I have to change all my email addresses.  Again.  So if I have to switch them anyway, I FINALLY wised up and switched them to a free independent email carrier that’s not linked to an ISP so I won’t have to change them whenever I switch ISPs again, because it is such a royal PITA to change email addresses on every cotton-picking thing in my life that requires an email addy and a password to get it to work.  Oh, and did I mention I have four email addresses, only two of which are actually used to send and receive email?

It took me a whole day and a half of utter hair-pulling, screaming, head-banging frustration to set up the new emails and get them to play nice with Mail Washer and Mozilla Thunderbird, (which is the new email program I’m using, primarily because the free version allows multiple email addresses).  The one bright spot in that vast churning maelstrom of industrial strength suckiness was that I was able to successfully migrate my list of contacts from WLM to T’bird.  I don’t like T’bird’s interface; it’s clunky and unwieldy and does a lot of stuff I don’t need done, and doesn’t do anything very logically or efficiently. . .  grumble. . . mumble . . . grumble.  Whoever decided it should take a computer AND a cellphone to create new email accounts needs some serious b*tch-slapping.  I don’t want to mention any names, but there are “G’s” involved. . .  So now I’m in the process of changing over the 9 gazillion things I need an email and a password for.

Our quote for the day:
“Sometimes I wonder what more I might have accomplished with my life, had I not spent the majority of it untangling cords.” – Gail Carriger.

OMG! Gail Carriger is a cord neatener!!!  (cue fangirl squeeing).

Because of the totally frustrating email thing, I retreated to my Kindle and reread Gail’s “San Andreas Shifter” books (kitsune drag queens, gay werewolves, and a merman named Marvin, y’all!) which are witty, funny, happily-ever-afters for the sideways set.

I ate up the Sherry ThomasLady Sherlock booksA Study in Scarlet Women, A Conspiracy in Belgravia, and The Hollow of Fear .  I enjoyed them a bunch.  Interesting premise: “Sherlock Holmes” as a young Victorian woman on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum (Asperger’s).   Well written, especially considering the lady is not a native English speaker.

I’ve also gotten three books into the Michelle SagaraChronicles of Elantra” series, which says how good it is, if a bit predictable.

Right now, I’ve just started Charlaine HarrisMidnight Crossroad, which is the first book in a trilogy.  You might know of her from her Sookie Stackhouse series that was televised as “True Blood.”  I read the first of the Sookie Stackhouse books and it was sorta meh!.

I’m currently at 52 for books read in 2019, but to be fair some of them were novellas and short stories.

Because last week was such a b*tch, I treated myself to a new teacup.  It’s currently my favorite.  It’s a Chinese/Japanese style teacup which means it doesn’t have a handle.  It’s heavy, ceramic and also dishwasher safe.  Stash Tea’s “Breakfast in Paris” with vanilla flavored Natural Bliss is my current beverage of choice, which I’ve been belting back pretty steadily.   Dairy for calcium, y’all.

I’ve been working intermittently on my “Fuzzy Keyhole” wrap.  I had to take it off the 32-inch needle and put it on the 60-inch needle, which allowed me to get a laid flat picture to show you what it’s all about.

I’m going to go ahead and post this pattern on my pattern website even though I haven’t completed it since I’ve gotten far enough to show what it’s supposed to look like.

So much fuzzy snuggly goodness!

Alas, tis the season to be sneezin’, that equinoxious time of year when the durn Bradford pears bloom and my sinuses strenuously object to practically everything.  To heck with all of it.  I’m going to knock back some sinus meds, lie in the bed and read.