Birthdays and Settling In

Today’s headline news item is mom’s 97th birthday party today. Here’s the birthday girl in her birthday crown tucking into some ice cream and strawberry cake with good friend MD. It was MD’s daughter KP who so very kindly organized the affair, which was held in the Fireside Lounge at Pointe Plaza, where our apartment is.

We have delayed her transition from Carillon House to the apartment until October 18 because of the trip I have planned over the second weekend in October (thus saving me from having to find home health people to stay with her round the clock for the three days I will be gone). But we deliberately planned for the party to be where I live at Pointe Plaza (a separate building) to help familiarize her with the facilities and ease her transition. I got her a nice new outfit for her birthday with pretty embroidery across the front, and we got her hair done this morning just the way she likes it. Then I brought her over to lunch and we ate in the dining room over here. The party was held just next door. You will note the piano in the background.

KP, the lady in the white sweater on the right, and the lady in the blue top just to mom’s left were the organizers of the party. KP is MD’s (seated at mom’s left) daughter. Behind mom is CK, her “adopted niece” and on the far left is EL, a long time friend.

The lone man in attendance is EP, the current minister of the church mom attended since 1955. We had a nice little nosh and natter, and a good time was had by all. She has been getting birthday cards by the handfuls for over a week now and it has been gratifying to see how all the attention has lifted her mood.

After the party, EL and CK and I bought her up and showed her the apartment, and her room, and how I’d fixed everything up. We showed her how short the distances are between the dining room and the elevator that goes up to our apartment, and how close our apartment is to the elevator. She saw how close and accessible the en suite is to her bed, how the furniture is set up to leave a clear path for her wheel chair to any place she might want to go in the apartment, how her bedside lamp has a switch on the cord to make it handy for her to find, and the clock I have for her that has date and day of the week, as well as the time.

When we got back to Carillon House we found this lovely bouquet waiting for her. Her good friends G &JS sent them to her. While I was there, helping her to get ready to take a nap, I got a call from the front desk over at Pointe Plaza that somebody had left flowers.

I went over to see what was what, and it was another lovely bouquet of flowers addressed to mom. I brought it back to her and we discovered it was from JTW, the daughter of our long-time friends whom I’d grown up with. Mom was delighted.

We added the two lovely bouquets to the (literally) inches of birthday cards that she’d gotten.

Mom had partied pretty hearty and by this point in the afternoon, she was party pooped . . .

To be perfectly honest, I was ready for a nap myself. All in all, I’d say the day was a big success.

Tomorrow, some guys from the DPS (AKA the drivers license place) are coming out. Mom’s driver’s license expired today, and we were afraid that in order to get her driver’s license reissued as a photo ID, she was going to have to show up at the DPS in person, which would have meant getting the wheelchair van to take us out there, etc., etc. I went on line Monday and filled out the online form to get disability services for her. Wednesday, a guy from the DPS called me and said that since they already have the necessary documents on file for her (SSAN, birth certificate, etc.), if we could produce a notarized letter on Carillon letterhead that this was her legal and mailing address, they could send a team here to take her picture, and then mail us the photo ID. Sold! They’ll be coming out tomorrow at 11 am. Another thing off the list!

In the knitting news: Firstly, there is knitting news. I’ve been able to work on the Smuggler’s Moon shawl, the Latticia shawl and Waves on a Wine-Dark Sea shawl and have actually made some progress on them. It’s been heavenly. But secondly, in the process of adapting to this new installment of my life, I’ve run across an interesting “problem” — We use key cards for our apartments, and my iPhone is my only phone now, so I carry key card and phone in my pocket all the time — except some of my slacks are leggings and don’t have pockets! I have the iPouch but that hangs around my neck and was intended to be worn under a shirt/blouse while exercising in a gym. (And one can’t be rummaging about down the front of one’s blouse to answer the phone — Not in public, anyway!) I want to make an iHolster that fastens around my waist like a portable pocket so I can carry my phone and key when I’m wearing leggings or slacks without pockets. I’m in the design phase at the moment, trying to work out how it needs to be shaped, and how I can do that with knitting. It will be bottom up from a Turkish cast on like the iPouch, but it’s the shaping of how it will ride on the hip that I’m working on now. Stay tuned.

Hanging On Til Friday

We went to the Spine Institute Tuesday. Apparently, Mom’s MRI showed a disk protrusion between her second and third lumbar vertebrae (L2-L3) which was pinching the nerve and the pain specialist thinks that is the cause of her pain. (At age 96, she is not a surgical candidate.) So, on the 9th, which is Friday week, she will have a nerve block to that nerve under sedation. I’m hoping this is the spot and she gets good pain relief. I’m also hoping that she is a candidate for a TENS unit, because nerve blocks are only temporary. Her pain will recur and require another session of sedation and a nerve injection.

In the knitting knews, I mentioned I got some Malabrigo Worsted in the colorway “Indigo,” all of which is now caked up.

I have no self discipline apparently, because my resolve not to start a new shawl until I finish one of the four I’m working on lasted about two days. I’ve since written a pattern, put about a day’s work into it, frogged it, re-written the pattern, and restarted it.

This was the original pattern and, as you can see, I got pretty far along on it. But I didn’t like the way the increases were working. The middle and bottom “rays” were starting to curve downward, and ça ne se fait pas. So I frogged that sucker and recaked the yarn, dropped back and punted.

The new pattern keeps the Turkish cast on (as tricky and fiddly as it is, I prefer it to using a garter tab) as well as the sl1 wyif, k1 edging, but instead of the lattice lace, I used more of a “ladder” lace worked over 5 stitches (RS: p2tog, yo, k1, yo, p2tog; WS: k2, p1, k2.) The lattice lace is worked over 4 stitches and I don’t like 4’s. This “ladder” lace is worked over 5 stitches. It is the center part of a “ray” that is worked over 9 stitches.

I like 3’s and 9’s a lot better than I like 4’s. (I’m on the spectrum; I’m allowed to be quirky.)

I haven’t decided whether I’ll put the band of stockinette stitch at intervals or not. I’m calling this shawl “Smuggler’s Moon” — smugglers like the dark of the moon, preferring to carry out their clandestine activities when the lack of moonlight makes them more difficult to spot.

The Malabrigo Worsted is a single-ply yarn, and it is a dream to work with. I’ll be interested to see how it blocks up. I’m trying to shoehorn a felt pressing mat into the budget to use for blocking things knitted with acrylic yarn. The acrylic items I’ve blocked before (baby clothes) were small and I could use an ironing board with them, but for large items like shawls, I’m going to need my banquet table, which is hard plastic, and I need a felt pressing pad to put over it to protect it from the heat.

This afternoon, my friend KC and I are going over to Mom’s and spend the afternoon chatting with her and knitting. My mom is pretty much housebound as she can’t drive because there’s no way she could get her walker in and out of the car by herself, and being on her feet exacerbates her pain. She’s ok as long as she’s sitting, reclining, or lying flat, but when she gets up and walks about, her pain really kicks in. She’s not into reading. She doesn’t watch anything on TV but sports or game shows (she has trouble following dialog because of her hearing loss), and bless her, she’s bored silly. So my friend and I are going over to keep her company for the afternoon.

I usually get my bread in boules rather than the usual square loaves, and boule slices are hemicircular and much wider than slices from a square loaf. They wouldn’t fit in the toaster I had, so I got this long-slot toaster for Christmas.

The loaf these slices came from were smaller than the standard bakery loaf. A bit of toaster overkill . . . This toast and some chicken salad became a delightful sandwich for last night’s supper.

It’s a FO!

The Sweet Irene Shawl is finished! (Well, I still have to weave in the 2 ends, but technicalities.)

I could block it and get the ruffle effect out of the lower edge, but Mr. Rogers and I like it just the way it is and I’m leaving it in. This is Malabrigo sock yarn which is 100% Merino superwash, so it’s very soft and very light. I like the curl on the ends. It’s the perfect weight for the liminal weather on either side of summer. It’s mindless, relatively portable, just need something to do with your hands knitting — 98% garter stitch with only two little 6-stitch borders to memorize.

I like the asymmetry with that long tail on one end to throw over your shoulder. (Have you any idea how tricky it is to take a picture of yourself in a mirror with a stupid iPhone?) I think it’s safe to say I’ve got my knitting mojo back. I want to do another asymmetrical shawl with panels longways like this one.

But then again, I want to do a symmetrical triangular bottom-up shawl that is wide but not so deep, maybe with a knitted on edging. But then again, I need to go on a big FO-it or FROG-it tear through my UFOs. But then again, I’ve got shawl WIPs til the world looks level. I have such a bad case of ‘wanna knit all the things.’ And I’ve been such a bad girl and bought more yarn because I want to do this shawl.

My friend KC and I have gotten together twice now, once at her house, once at my mom’s house (my mom’s such a people person and this isolation business has been really hard on her). (I miss my late friend LB so much — she was so much fun to sit and knit with! ) If the weather will warm up a little bit, we could take lawn chairs to a park . . . mine is what you might call a chez lawn. . . .

My knitting mojo seems to have come back in spades. I have been jonesing to knit on this yet another Foreigner shawl pattern I had been working on before my zeal for knitting went on the fritz. I can’t decide if I really like the edging and I may yet frog it all and rewrite the pattern to do the edging differently. Or maybe just frog it and fagidaboutit. Haven’t decided. I have this wide, skinny triangular shawl idea that’s just driving me nuts to commit it to paper and yarn and I may get out the swift and ball a bunch of yarn.

My poor mom. She’s running a computer with Windows 7. Windows Live Mail quit working a while ago so she had to switch to Mozilla Thunderbird and fool with it, which she hated. Then her stupid internet provider ATT decided that it didn’t want to play with Mozilla Thunderbird anymore and it quit working. So now she has to use the AT&T Yahoo website to get her mail because she’s had the same email address for probably 20 years now and doesn’t want to change it. But then, when you hit “reply to” an email she’d sent, it couldn’t be delivered because the reply to email address was entered in the Yahoo website wrong somehow. Took me four hours and a phone call to ATT to fix that. Stupid Yahoo email site is about as user-friendly as a boatload of berzerker Vikings. Reminding you that mom’ll be 97 this year and can’t the durn millennials keep their little mitts off the technology for just fifteen minutes, for crying out loud?

It occurs to me that in addition to setting the sewing machine up on my little table, I could also use it to set up my swift and ball winder (Pop goozy weasel!) which I had been doing very gingerly on my dining room table with tea-towel padding because of furniture finishes. The sewing table has a plug strip mounted into it with the plugs on top which makes it dandy for setting up the sewing machine.

I think what’s keeping me from getting my yarn stash sorted is that I’m going to find all this yummy yarn I’d forgotten I had and want to do stuff with it, and that will make my already bad case of the “wanna knit all the things” so much worse. Sounds good, anyway. Think I’ll go with that.

Happy Happy, Sad Sad

Mom and I had a good Thanksgiving dinner with our friends J&SH.  SH cooked and his wife JH chatted with us and the other couple (she was a knitter) who were their guests.  I admit to being apprehensive about taking my mask off to eat.  As I’ve said, I’m in so many risk groups for COVID19 that it’s not funny, and these were people who were not in our immediate family group.  It’s always a risk.

The upside of eating Thanksgiving at somebody else’s house is that you don’t have to cook or clean up after.  The downside is no leftovers! — which in this case is a real bummer.  SH is a fabulous cook.  His turkey was so moist and flavorful and he makes the kind of dressing that has sausage in, which is a more northerly tradition (MN) than the down-south cornbread dressing I’m used to.  But, hey, I’m an equal opportunity eater, and it was ‘licious.  (He put real cream in the mixer and whupped it to put on our punkin’ pie!)

I spent Wednesday (TG eve) in serious hygge mode, snuggled in bed catching up on episodes of a YouTube knitting channel that I follow, and knitting some wash cloths with cotton thread to use as a bread and butter gift for our host and hostess.  (This was money well spent!) Whenever they invite us over for dinner, I always take S&JH a little handmade something because they are both such special people.

I juggled the budget this month and bought Bluetooth earbuds instead of ebooks (I’m currently rereading the Harry Potter books this month) and Wednesday was the first opportunity I had to try them out.  No More Wars!*  I got the kind with the little conical rubber things that go into your ear hole as those stay in my ear better than the durn Apple ones that came with the iPhone.  They paired to my Kindle Fire on the first try.  These have enough range that I could go into the kitchen for snacks and to make another pot of tea and still hear what I was listening to, and what’s more, they will go up to 8 hours on a single charge, which is great.  I was one happy camper.  Now that I think about it, my TV has Bluetooth.   I’d have to unpair them from my tablet to get them to pair with the TV, but I could binge a lot of watching in 8 hours . . . . Hmmmm.

I am at the stage in my tooth implant odyssey where an impression is made of both upper and lower teeth, from which the crown for the implant will be made.  (The stage after that is where they stick the crown down onto the peg that was implanted in my jaw, and I go on my merry way.) That appointment was scheduled three months ago, when I had my last appointment to check up on the status of the healing of the bone graft around the post, and was supposed to take place on November 5th.  About a week before that, the dentist’s receptionist called and rescheduled it for the 17th because he was going to be “out of town.”  Then the second week of November, it got rescheduled to the 24th.  Then it got rescheduled to December 3rd.

So, Fridays are a busy day for my mom.  She goes to the beauty saloon at like ye gods! o’clock in the morning to get her weekly wash, set and style, then goes grocery shopping for the week.  I am not an early riser, which was why I was only about half awake when she called me at 8:30 yesterday morning to tell me that she was looking through the obituaries in the daily paper and saw one for my dentist!  Apparently, he died this past Monday (23rd) of COVID19.  So now, I don’t know what’s going to happen.

About two years ago, he relocated his practice to way out in the yuppyburbs (129th Street) in the southwest portion of town and was sharing office space with another dentist.  At the time I wondered if he wasn’t gradually phasing out his practice (he was 76).  I’ll be calling his office Monday — probably along with all his other patients — w0ndering just what’s going to happen now.  I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it ever since mom told me about it.  I’ve been going to him for probably ten or twelve years now and I really liked him.  So sad.

*wars -- Texan for that electrical cord that connects the earbuds to each other and to the electronic device.

Fall Has Finally Fell

For a couple of weeks now, our temperatures have been faffing about in the 80’s F/26.6+ C, with intermittent pyrotechnics and gullywashers.  I’m still in summer bed linens — top sheet and a heavy cotton spread — but night before last, it got so cold in my bedroom that I went rummaging in the blanket chest for that little fleece twin blanket that I use as a lap robe when the weather gets below-zero, two-feet-of-snow-on-the-ground cold, and put it over my side of the bed.  I think it may be time to get out the waffle blanket.

In the early owls of the morning yesterday, the thermostat in the hallway said 72 F/22.2 C, and the one on the box of my desktop computer said 71 F/21.6 C which was a real eye opener, because that particular location is usually the hottest spot in the house, whether the computer is on or off. (Don’t know why.  The only window in that room is covered in aluminum foil, shiny side out, to keep the sun out of my eyes and out of the house. That should make it cooler, no?)  Supposed to be a high of 83 F/28.3 C tomorrow, then down into the 70’s F/21+ C again for the forecastable future.  I’m in long-sleeved, mid shin cotton now.  If this keeps up, I may have to start putting socks on.  (The city I live in is at the same latitude as Casablanca, Morocco.  Your climate challenges may vary . . . )

I have been in a kind of slow bummer for the past couple of days.  The “Rememberance” for my friend BL who passed away Sunday before last was this afternoon. It was a kind of secular wake, no body, no clergy, just people sharing food, beverage and grief.   My mom went with, as much out of solidarity as because I don’t do well in those sort of situations.  On my part of the spectrum, emotions are very close to the surface and often quite intense.   Her poor husband and daughter were practically propping each other up. He’s doing as well as can be expected for a man who has just lost the love of his life.   She and her daughter were particularly close, and it’s been a steep hill for her, too.

L.O.R.D. Critical World

I’ve run across another couple of those Chinese “historical fantasy” TV series, “The Untamed” and a spinoff of “L.O.R.D. Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” called L.O.R.D. Critical World.  The plots are what I would call “high Wagnerian” — i.e., convoluted and involved, deadly serious in tone, and with various characters and groups of characters being put through the wringer of traumatic experiences for no apparent reason.  The first one is the only one of them I can find with subtitles, which is really not all that much help, actually. Most of the time I have no clue who’s on first or what’s going on.   But they are visually stunning in terms of  hot young actors in long wigs and gorgeous costumes martial arts-ing about on fantastic sets, and who the heck cares if it makes sense or not? it’s just so “oooooh, shiny!”

I am slowly but surely being sucked into the super massive black hole that is the Outlander franchise.  I’m fighting it, but it’s a loosing battle, especially the TV show, because I keep running across clips from it on YouTube featuring Lord John Grey, a character I’m kind of hooked on at the moment.  In the books, Lord John is 5’6″ tall with blond hair and blue eyes.   The actor (David Berry) they’ve cast to play him in the TV show isn’t.  But, I know exactly why they cast him.  If you could CGI him shorter, and give him blond hair and blue eyes, his looks would be as perfect as his acting.  The fact that Lord John is so short, and that Jamie Fraser, the male main character, is well over 6 feet tall is part of the interpersonal dynamic between these two characters. . . . grumble. . . grumble. . . grumble. . . If I can just hold off until after Christmas, I will swan dive down that particular rabbit hole with abandon and probably go off on one long bender of binge-watching/reading.  Might make having to live through an election year a whole lot less maddening/infuriating/exasperating/all of the above.

As I’ve mentioned, the main Jamie+Claire story  Outlander books average out at around 300,000 words apiece.  If you’re tempted by the story, but are leery of committing to reading 8 such doorstops, you might try one of the Lord John stand-alone spinoffs,  which range in length from short stories, to novellas, to more manageable-sized novels, to see if you like her style of storytelling.

This just in:  The BJD sweater lacks about 5 rows on the remaining sleeve and weaving in the ends to be complete.  Film at 11.

And this because Steely Dan.

A Hard Goodbye

My dear friend, LB, passed away Sunday afternoon.  She had been on hospice for the past two weeks, and her death was not unexpected, but as anyone who has lost a friend or loved one can tell you, knowing something is going to happen, and actually having it happen are two very different circumstances.

The thing that stands out most in my memories of her was her upbeat nature.  This was a woman who had been looking down the barrel of breast cancer and its aftermaths for a good 10 years.  She was stage IV, and the odds of long term survival were not good, yet whenever I saw her, she was always cheerful and upbeat,  an interesting cross between Admiral Farragut (Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!) and Pollyanna Whittier (. . .finding something to be glad about in every situation, no matter how bleak it may be.)

I mostly knew her as a fellow knitter.  It was she who got me into knitting chemo hats for our local cancer center.  I met her in our local knitting group and very much enjoyed her company.  She was coming out of another round of chemotherapy, and chemo brain (which is a thing) made keeping up with a knitting pattern tricky, but hats are simple. So are knitted knockers.  She didn’t always feel up to attending and I missed her when she didn’t.  Gradually we formed a closer friendship, going to each other’s houses to spend an afternoon knitting and visiting.  (Handwork such as knitting, crochet, sewing and embroidery uses a different part of the brain, leaving the social part free to do what it does best. )

Involved as I was with my knee surgery in May, I wasn’t aware that her health had taken a turn for the worse.  She and her husband visited me in the hospital and we talked on the phone, but I didn’t realize she was in trouble until just lately.  I had that unfortunate experience of visiting a friend, hearing the medical story, and knowing in my heart of hearts that the handwriting was on the wall, but not feeling able to say anything about it.  I think she knew I knew.   Her husband and daughter made the always agonizing decision to put her in hospice and to bring her home.  She passed peacefully with her loved ones at her side.


Today would have been my dad’s 97th birthday.  This is my favorite picture of him.  It once belonged to his parents, and his mother gave it to me because she knew I’d take care of it.  He joined the Marines right out of high school and fought in the Pacific in WWII.  He and my mom were married for 67 years until death did them part on 22 September, 2014.   I got my sense of humor, and my love of reading, language and music from him.   They say, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”  Yeah.  “Semper fidelis” pretty much sums him up.  Its what mom and I had put on his grave marker.  Hard to believe it’s been five years since this day changed from a happy birthday to a day of remembrance.

My poor mom.  She’ll be 95 this year.  She’s still as full of beans as ever, active, alert  and, thankfully, still in possession of a full set of marbles, but she likes things just the way they are.  For a long time, they had Dish TV, and AT&T internet and land line, each on a separate account, and she was paying through the nose for it.  My mom is what you might call dyed in the wool frugal.   For a long time, her frugality at having to pay so much warred with her dislike of change.  She was particularly unhappy with the satellite service, which lost the signal whenever it rained or the wind kicked up.  It was an epic struggle but finally last week, frugality won and she decided to switch everything over to AT&T(DirecTV) and bundle it.  The guy came out at 11 a.m. Tuesday morning and didn’t leave until 7 p.m. that night.  He was back and forth to the alley, he was up in the attic, he was was in and out to his truck. Somehow in the shuffle, AT&T tried to give her a new telephone number.  Ooooh.  Bad move.  The phrase “madder than a wet hen” comes to mind. . .  as does the expression, “fit to be tied.”  Add to that her being told that the situation could not be sorted out until Monday, and you have one very unhappy camper.

Allow me to digress:  Once upon a time, having a telephone meant you had to have an actual wire going from a telephone pole to your house, and you had to attach your phone to that wire or it wouldn’t work.  If you moved, you had to get a new phone number, because the phone number wasn’t yours, it was the wire’s.  When our family moved to a new house in 1960, we got a new phone number, which was going to be our phone number as long as we lived in that house.  Then, for some unfathomable telephone-company reason, in 1975, she and my dad (who were still living in that house) had to get a new telephone number — as I discovered when I attempted to call home.  I was living in Germany at the time, and she had written me a letter giving me the new number, but I hadn’t had a chance to get it yet.  It was quite disconcerting to be expecting to hear one of your parents’ voices answer the phone, only to hear some telephone lady tell you that your parents’ telephone number was no longer in service!

She’s still living in that same house, and that “new” phone number has been her number for 44 years now! — until AT&T tried to pull a fast one on her yesterday.

I was blissfully unaware of all this sturm und drang until about 8:30 last night when I got a phone call.  The caller ID had my mom’s first and last name on it, which was odd, and it was not my mom’s time-tested phone number either, which was odder still.  But the voice on the line was definitely hers.   She had called to alert me to the fact that AT&T had played fast and loose with her telephone number and to vent her extreme displeasure that they weren’t going to be getting around to fixing the situation until Monday.

My mom has a large circle of friends-and-relations, all of whom have that phone number, and my mom is at the age when if people call her number and it rings and rings and rings and rings, the next thing they do is call me (if they’re a relative) or call the lady across the street from her.  She had called her dear friend CK and left a phone message with the temporary number, because she thinks in terms of writing things down.  However, the minute I got off the phone, I texted CK (and my brother) to clue her knowing that having that number in a text on her phone made it easy for CK to keep up with it, and that one has simply to tap a phone number in a text message to call that number.

At least this will give me a good story to tell my friend LB, who is still in the hospital, and will probably be there for a while.  Tomorrow is my last day of physical therapy, and afterward, I’ll be going up to the hospital to see her. Anything I can do to lift her spirits will be all to the good.

*Mr. Bowie had some noteworthy words on the subject. . .

Lows and Highs

Great Aunt Evie

Friday, my mom and I got taken to lunch by my cousin from NM (her oldest sister’s boy) and it was fun. My mom’s 95, he’s 83.  (His momma was born in 1910; mine was born in 1924) We always get heavy into genealogy when he comes to visit.  He’s got this treasure trove of both photographs and information that has been amassed over the generations about the “inlaws and outlaws” as he calls it.

Great Aunt Emma

(One of my momma’s daddy’s sisters  is reputed to be the first woman to work in a bank in Texas; the other one worked for a Brigadier General.) When my cousin and mom get into it, jaw-breaking German surnames are freely bandied about and they can get in over my head pretty durn quick.  I swear, it’s like Wagner’s Ring Cycle* — Long, involved, confusing,  and hard to tell who’s who without a program.

Then Saturday, my dear friend LB had to go to the emergency room, and Sunday, she ended up in the hospital again.  Her situation is not good.

Then, Sunday afternoon, one of my molars threw a shoe (the crown came off one of my back teeth).  Fortunately, it was not due to anything traumatic (or costly!).  The crown just came loose and fell off — while I was eating ravioli, no less.  I immediately realized what had happened and rescued the crown, cleaned the ravioli sauce off it and put it in a baggie.  As luck would have it, I was able to get in to see my dentist early this afternoon.  He squirted more cement on it and shoved it back on — and didn’t even charge me!  (I should think not — I’ve probably put at least one of his kids through college!)

Last week I had a CT scan to monitor a chronic health condition, and today I went to that doctor to get the results.  They were excellent.  The chronic health condition is firmly under control at the moment, which is great news.  I took myself to Applebee’s and had a steak and onion rings to celebrate (and because humongous portions, I brought half of it home, so tomorrow!) .  However, my celebrations are tempered by worry about my friend.  I even hesitate to tell her the good news from the doc today because none of her news has been good for weeks now.

Because I chose to dine early (4:00 p.m.), there were only about 4-5 other customers in Applebee’s.  The music they were playing on the sound system was classic hard rock –Queen (“Fat Bottomed Girls”), Van Halen (“Hot For Teacher”), Def Leppard (“Pour Some Sugar On Me”), AC/DC, early Genesis (“That’s All”), a Kinks cover, — all vintage MTV.  It’s kind of hard to head-bang and eat at the same time . . .

It’s true.  We do.

*Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.


Went to visit my friend LB again yesterday.  It seems any more that I only have enough spoons to do one major thing a day, like go to a physical therapy session, or do the hobbit journey (park in the parking garage, hike to the elevator to get to the 3rd floor sky bridge, hike across the L- shaped sky bridge that goes over the street and halfway up the block, take the elevator down to the first floor, hike around to the south tower elevator to go up to the 8th floor, hike halfway down a very long hall to my friend’s room, and then retrace the epic journey to return home) that is visiting my friend in the hospital.  She has gotten the NG tube out of her nose and is actually eating now.  There has been talk that she may be going home in a couple of days.  She talked about being able to come over and watch “Good Omens” (I have Amazon Prime, they don’t).

As arduous a journey as it is, I notice I’m walking faster and limping a little bit less.  My new knee is still stiff, and there is still significant swelling in and around the joint, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the time of day and my activity level.  They say that could take up to a year to completely go away.  But the big thing is, stiffness doesn’t hurt.  I can bear weight on that knee — stand on it, walk on it — and there is no pain.  This is such a big deal.  Yeah, it still aches and pains  when I move it in certain ways or try to bend it farther than the swelling will allow, but that’s getting less and less as time goes on.

The other day, mom and I talked about going to Pearland “one last time” (I cringe when she says it).  We’ll be driving down in late October to attend the annual big deal meeting of the Pearland Historical Society, visit rellies hand over fist and otherwise see everybody down there.  That’s where my mom grew up and where most of her relatives who are still alive still live.  None of her brothers or sisters is still living, but there are still some nieces and nephews, and “grands” by the dozens.  One of my dad’s nieces still lives in the area, and hopefully we’ll get to see them too.  Mom is the only surviving member of her high school graduating class (of 14).

You’d never guess to look at her that she’s 95.  She gets around better than I do at the moment, and not only has all her marbles, but knows what to do with them.  That’s her at left with the mayor of Pearland.  (He’s older than she is!)

Predictably, my July electricity bill was higher than giraffe’s ears.  The August one, I’m afraid, will be higher than that.  We’re already had a couple of 100+ F /37.7+ C days, and we’re heading for about four more come the end of next week.  My response to temperatures like that is to stay in out of it as much as possible.

In the knitting news, sometimes you knit things just because you want to knit that thing.  The excuse comes after the fact.