Oct-over and Hallo-went

One more day left in October. I’ve got running around to do tomorrow. Gotta do a Walmart run (TP, paper towels) and vote early.

My poor old Logitech M600 Touch Mouse has become decidedly arthritic and unwilling to scroll. I’ve had it for like six years and the poor thing’s just plain wore out. I love it because it doesn’t have a scroll wheel (that’s the part that invariably wears out first on my mice). You just stroked with your finger in whichever direction you wanted to scroll and I really liked it. But I can’t get them any more (because I love them, naturally they quit making them. . . are you listening, Logitech!). So I decided to live dangerously and get a vertical mouse. I’ve only had it a day and I’m still getting the hang of it, but I think I like it.

The typical mouse has the hand lie flat on it, which twists the bones in the forearm, with the added potential of resting the flat of the wrist on the edge of a desk — not good!. The vertical orientation of the hand with this mouse is kinder on the carpal tunnel by having the hand in a vertical orientation, with the weight of the hand on the outside edge.

The one thing I don’t like about it is that you can’t pick the mouse up easily. I’ve got this huge monitor (22-inch diagonal) and if I have to get the mouse pointer from one portion of the screen way over to another, I can’t hop the mouse as easily — move it over a couple of inches, pick it up, move it back, put it down and keep moving it in the same direction. This “hopping” maneuver minimizes how much you have to move your whole arm to get the mouse pointer from hither to yon, especially useful if your mouse pad isn’t very big. With the vertical mouse, I have to take my fingers off the control surfaces to pick up the mouse. Oh, well. I’ll cope.

I follow this YouTube channel called “The Last Homely House” run by a lady named Kate who lives in the north of England. She got the name of her channel from J. R. R. Tolkien’s books. She’s an older woman whose parents are both gone, her children are grown and married, and she has a grandchild. She likes quilting (English paper piecing in particular), sewing, knitting, cooking, gardening, and cats. She promotes local crafts, and craftspeople in what she offers on her channel and in her shop. Watching her videos is like visiting a friend for a cuppa and a natter — over 78 thousand other people feel the same way I do and have subscribed to her channel. Quite a long lime green sofa.

She has roped her daughter-in-law Anna into helping her with the photography, and with her shop and the various activities. (Anna’s husband John is a woodworker who has made several items for her shop.)

It’s getting to be “need a new calendar time,” and she put one together (Anna’s photos) so I ordered one. She’s also into jigsaws and had put out a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. They sold out before I could get one but I caught it on the second go-round. They came Saturday. There are a lot of jigsaw enthusiasts here, and I thought I’d contribute this one to the cause (after I worked it myself!).

This is a good place to plug the website “Jigsaw Planet” which is a free website that allows you to set up a free account, upload whatever photographs or graphics (.pdf, .jpg) you want and make them into jigsaw puzzles. You can also work other people’s puzzles. I’ve made a ton of puzzles — I like artwork (Anne Bachelier‘s paintings, for example) and photographs. I make 200 piece puzzles because I have a nice big monitor to work them on. I love working jigsaws, especially while listening to some nice music. The nice thing about working puzzles on Jigsaw Planet is you get puzzles for free and you can’t lose any of the pieces!

In the knitting news, I’m going to try knitting something that has to be felted — a Scots Bonnet! (or tam or beret, or whatever . . . ) I’ve already got the yarn — 100% wool. Enough for two bonnets.

I’ll have to swatch so I’ll know how much this yarn shrinks and take that into account. (Ah, yes. Adventures in math . . .) You knit the thing too big, “felt” it by washing it in hot soapy water, and it shrinks down until it fits. Or that’s the plan at any rate. You’re supposed to block it by putting a plate in it. Stay tuned.

Here is the natural habitat of the indigenous knitter. I got that little hexagonal table when they had the estate sale of the lady up the hall who I regret not being able to have gotten to know better. Notice the bowls. I have one of those LED pole lamps that remind me of the saucer ray guns from the 1953 version of the film “War of the Worlds” with Gene Barry, but it puts out great adjustable-level light for knitting. Out of frame at left is a reader’s table with a bowl of knitting notions and a Kindle Fire with internet radio apps for music purposes.

Venice Classical Radio is a big favorite, as is Soma FM.

Here’s a little trick. When you’re knitting a scarf or some other long flat piece that’s getting long enough to be a pain, roll it up and “pin” it with a large stitch holder. Makes it much easier to turn your work without that great flapping length hanging off your needle getting all twisted up in your lap.

It’s gotten cold enough in my bedroom that the heater has come on. (Thermostat is set at low of 68 F/20 C) Hot tea drinking weather has returned. I’m having a “two-bagger” in my stainless steel commute mug — a bag of Twining’s Irish Breakfast and a bag of Stash Tea’s Moroccan Mint. Scrummie.

What We Have Here Is A Failure to Communicate . . .

This is a first: The first time I’ve posted from the little reconditioned HP laptop I got. Frustrating. I’m used to a large gamer keyboard and this jicky little keyboard is a PITA. If I situate it in my lap, where I can reach the keyboard, I can barely read the screen. I already knew from using my BFF’s laptop that I hate touch pads, so I got an “el cheapo” wireless mouse and a mousepad, but there’s hardly any room for it on the little lap desk. Yeah. I know. First world problems.

Anyway, the failure to communicate mentioned above reared its ugly head yesterday after I’d gotten my labs drawn and my port accessed and was in my oncologist’s office. Turns out this is my fourth session of Rituxan (he counted) and not my fifth (I miscounted; chemo brain strikes again), which means I still have two chemo sessions to go, which means I’ll be having my last chemo session in September right around the time of mom’s 98th birthday (the 23rd). The degree of bummer-tude of this development will depend upon how far into September that last session falls, as my white blood cell count needs at least a week to recover from the preceding chemo session before I’ll even risk removing my mask, never mind be among a group of people of unknown COVID status. My sessions are three weeks apart. My penultimate session is 29 August and three weeks from that is 19 September. I can ask my oncologist if I can have an extra week between the last two sessions so I will be four weeks out from my last chemo instead of four days. He’s done it before. I bet I can sweet talk him into doing it again.

The best development out of this very mixed bag is that I have a chin again. The lymphomas in my neck had gotten so large you could barely tell where the bottom of my jaw was. But they have all shrunk drastically and those lymph nodes are back to normal size, which means I’m showing a good response to the chemo regimen. It will take a CT scan to check the response of the rest of the lymphomas in my chest and abdomen which he will probably order when I’ve completed all six of my treatments in September.

My chemo infusion went OK and I got the Udenyca shot this afternoon to boost white blood cell production and get my white count back up to normal. I gained seven pounds between Sunday night and Monday night, all of it from the chemo regimen. I get the decadron and anti-nausea medication in 0.25 liter of IV fluid, followed by the Rituxan diluted in a full liter of IV fluid, followed by 0.25 liter of IV fluid to flush the line, followed by the cyclophosphamide diluted in a full liter of fluid, followed by 0.25 liter of line flushing, which is 2.75 liters of fluid over the course of about four hours, plus the 32-ounce stainless steel bottle full of Crystal Light I sucked down between yesterday and today. A liter bottle of soda weighs 2.2 pounds, so imagine having three of them strapped to you. I lost 2 pounds between last night and tonight, but my poor little kidneys are having a hard time keeping up. I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow so tomorrow morning, I’m going to take a Lasix (“water pill”) and see if I can’t get my legs emptied out. (I should have spent yesterday evening and the rest of this afternoon and evening in bed with my feet elevated instead of sitting at my desk puttering on the computer.

I saw my cardiologist this morning and he said my oncologist was concerned about me, so the cardiologist wants to do a stress test — not the treadmill thing, but what they call a chemical stress test. His office is used to dealing with the VA, and they will set it all up and let me know when. I’ll have to get a ride because I can’t drive myself home after it, but Carillon provides rides to and from doctor’s appointments at no charge. I just have to give them 24 hours notice.

Saturday, I spent the afternoon downloading the requisite drivers (software) for my little Epson printer from Epson’s website onto the new computer so it could talk to my printer and I could scan financial and bank statements to the computer that has working email and email them to Mom to keep her up to speed. (Gmail won’t run right on my old computer since Google stopped supporting Windows 7 — Google is the “G” in “Gmail — which is why I got the new computer in the first place. The setting up of the software was a fairly straightforward process, but getting the computer and printer to talk to each other was tricky and expletives (and more than a few pejoratives) were not deleted!.

Among the groceries I got Monday was one of Market Street’s fruit bowls — the one I got had chunks of cantaloupe and honey dew melons, chunks of pineapple, a handful of raspberries, a couple blackberries, a handful of blueberries and a couple grapes. It’s a big enough bowl that you can get two servings out of it. I supplemented that with some cherry tomatoes cut in half and some whole black olives. I had the second serving tonight likewise supplemented, and as a side to a brisket sandwich on a big ciabatta roll which I’d already inhaled half of before I could get the camera app on my iPhone limbered up. Copious nums.

I had been using a gamer chair with a foot rest, a birthday present in 2020, as my computer chair. The desk I was using at the time was on casters, so it didn’t matter that the gamer chair wasn’t. I could just sit down and pull the desk up as close as it needed to be.

After I moved to Carillon, I had to get a longer desk so I would have a place to put my printer. I was putting it on my filing cabinet, but when I moved to the smaller apartment, there was no way I could get the filing cabinet close enough to a plug to continue doing that. This new longer desk doesn’t have castors and it was very difficult to get in or out of the gamer chair if it was too close to the desk. Unfortunately, “too close” was not close enough. So I got a desk chair with casters. It is also higher than the gamer chair, which puts my shoulders and forearms at a more comfortable angle when I’m keyboarding and mousing.

I’d gotten in the habit of just swiveling the chair around to the side to get in or out of it. I’m having to learn to roll the new one back back from the desk before trying to get out of it. I’m going to list the old chair on Craig’s List and see if I can’t sell it to offset the cost of the new chair (which wasn’t all that much, really).

In the knitting news, my dive into my button stash proved bootless, so I swung by a local fabric store on the way home from JACC and picked up what I needed. I’ve finished the little baby top. I just need to weave in ends and sew on buttons and it’s done. I’m at the heel increases on the second matching bootie and the crown decreases on the little sun hat. I’d like to get this stuff in the mail by the end of the week and get it out of my hair. I’ve got until Thanksgiving to finish the little red dress(es). I’m thinking I’ll have enough yarn for a little matching red headband with two crocheted holly leaves in the green yarn, and some red shanked buttons for berries to decorate the headband. or else I could just do the holly leaves and button berries as a kind of removable corsage that could be safety pinned to the front of the dress for Christmas, and removed later.

However, in the several matters mentioned above, the plan is that bridges will be crossed when come to.

The first season of Neil Gaiman’s dramatization of his “Sandman” graphic novels dropped on 5 August on Netflix (early reviews are that it sticks very close to the novels, has a brilliant cast and is visually fabulous) and I still haven’t watched season 2 of The Witcher (Henry Cavill!). I may be crossing The Bridge over the River BingeWatch after a certain package gets posted. Not to mention the Bridge of TV Knitting . . .

All Right, Then

Thank goodness I shopped for glass by phone this morning. About half the stores I called only did auto glass. Michael’s framer guy called in sick today. Home Depot’s glass guy didn’t come to work either. Lowe’s didn’t have a piece of glass longer than 36 inches (I needed one 38-1/2 inches), but the Lowe’s guy referred me to Abercrombie Hardware, who had a piece of glass long enough, would cut it while I waited, and only charged me $12. Great, except it’s WAY the heck out on the northeast corner of town at 3rd Street and Buddy Holly Avenue. (I had to go under Marsha Sharp* AND a railroad track to get to it.) (Yeah, Holly was born here. The parents of a dear family friend used to live across the street from them, and I’ve met Peggy Sue.)

As I was girdling my loins preparatory to setting out on my pointy rounds, the accountant doing mom’s taxes called to tell me that I had gotten our social security statements mixed up and sent him mine instead of mom’s. While we talked, he cautioned me to be prepared for how much tax she owed because she had sold some stock. Capital gains tax hit her a hard wallop. (That loud howl you heard this morning was her bank account taking a direct hit . . .) So, in addition to the other errands I had planned, I had to take mom’s social security statement out to the accountant WAY out on the southwest edge of town at 122nd Street and Slide Road. (On a historical note, Slide Road is so named because it’s the road to Slide. I’ve been to Slide. To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, there’s not a lot of there, there.) And because of the figure the accountant gave me, I added going to the bank to the agenda as I needed to transfer funds from the back pocket to the front pocket so the accountant could file her taxes electronically and I could pay Uncle Sam and the accountant with a debit card once her taxes are done.

Already on the agenda was another sack of things to donate to Goodwill, (further culls from the last two boxes), and getting printer ink cartridges. I left the house at about 1:30 pm and actually got all the things done that I needed to do, including picking up a soft drink at Whataburger on my way back up Quaker going to the bank from the accountant, and picking up a chicken strip box at Whataburger on my way back up Quaker again from completing the last item on the agenda, getting a set of printer ink cartridges. After zigging and zagging all over town, I got home at a little after 4:30. Not too shabby.

The piece of glass I had cut was 38-1/2 by 9-1/2 inches and thin enough to bow slightly when I was cleaning it. It was an awkward shape and once I got it safely back home, I got my rubber gloves and a Phillips screw driver, and put it in place immediately.

(I always put on my rubber washing-dishes gloves to handle pieces of glass like that and the glass in picture frames. Not only does it protect my hands from being cut, but the rubber helps me hold onto the glass more securely.)

I’ve had my supper and gotten things all put away in the china cabinet. I’m as moved in as I can get until the maintenance guy comes to fix the blind and put that one bin up on the top shelf of the closet.

I’ve always loved blue and white together and I’ve wanted a set of “Blue Willow” dishes since a child.

This set was made by Churchill China of England. I bought these in the 1980’s when I worked for Texas Instrumets. Since I intended them to be my “forever dishes,” I got 12 of everything (except serving pieces) to allow for breakage over the years. So far, I’ve been lucky.

In the knitting news, I’m still working out the increases on the hexagon blanket and as yet have nothing to show for it. I’ve also started a 9-bladed pinwheel “beanie/skullcap” for my impending baldness using an “oddball” skein of Malabrigo Sock in the colorway “Tealfeather” that was left over from the Sweet Irene shawl. (I had four skeins; the shawl took three and a smidge.) The hat is extrapolated from the pattern for the 9-Bladed Pinwheel shawl. I’m using US 1 (2.25 mm) needles, a set of DPNs to start it and a 16-inch circular needle. I may write up the pattern, but then again . . .

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.

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. . . .

All Quiet on the Southern Front

The only thing left to do at this point is to hang mom’s pictures in her room. In order to get this done, a work order has to be submitted to the Carillon House maintenance crew, to which I have no access. The person I talked to said they would ask the nurse on the floor to put in a maintenance request to do so. We’ll see what happens. If I did it, I would have to put a step stool and tools in my little cart and haul them over, and I couldn’t hang the big one because it needs the kind of anchors which you have to drill into the wall, put in a plastic sleeve, and then put the anchor bolts in. When maintenance comes over to hang them, mom wants me to tell them where to put them. I suggested that perhaps that was something she might want to do, since it’s her room and her pictures, but apparently not. Her only opinion on the subject is that the clock that was in the room when she moved in was not centered over the TV. She picked up on that after about 30 seconds of being in the room.

She’s gone back to sitting in her chair with her eyes closed, and the door to her room closed. They have been bringing her meals in to her because apparently, she doesn’t want to get up and go to the lunch room, which is less than twenty feet away, even in a wheelchair. To be fair, she is most comfortable when she’s horizontal (i.e., reclined in her lift chair) and least comfortable when she’s vertical (i.e., sitting in the wheelchair or standing upright), and this is entirely related to her severe degenerative scoliosis. When she’s vertical, that puts downward pressure on her spine, causes the slipped disk to bulge, and that puts pressure on the nerve. Her hyperkyphosis also restricts her lungs’ ability to expand in her chest, which is worse when she’s sitting upright and the weight of her upper body further restricts lung expansion, so she can’t take very deep breaths. This contributes significantly to her poor exercise tolerance. Just sitting in a wheelchair and being pushed over from our apartment in Pointe Plaza to her room in Carillon House was exhausting, so I think it’s a fair assessment to say she cannot sustain the amount of physical activity required for her to live in assisted living, let alone “independently” with my help. We tried it. It didn’t work. Carillon House is where she needs to be. She’s 97. I’ve seen the x-rays. What’s surprising about the situation is that she made it as long as she did living on her own. Anyway, she’s where she needs to be, with skilled help available 24/7.

I’m still facing a move myself, which I’m told won’t be able to happen before the first of the year. There have been people moving in to Carillon, mostly to Windsong, all along since we came over here in September, and more are scheduled to move in. I have to wait my turn. It’s just as well, though. I’ll get a chance to slow down, take it easy and catch up on my sleep.

Yesterday evening I got out my Waves on the Wine Dark Seas shawl and knitted on it for the first time in two months, while catching up on the YouTube channels I follow. (It’s twice as big now as it was in the picture.) It was wonderful. The body of the shawl is seed stitch (*k1, p1, repeat from * to end of row), which you have to pay attention to.

It also has 7-stitch knitted on borders on each edge, each border different, and the s1 wyif, k1 edging that I flat out stole from the Paris Toujours pattern by Isabell Kaemer.It’s made from sock yarn (alas, the colorway has been discontinued) on a US6 (4.0 mm), so it’s going to take a while.

I was a bad girl and ordered some yarn (everything was on sale!). I got 3 skeins of Malabrigo sock (440 g/ 402 m, 100 g) in Tiziano red (100% Superwash Merino), and 7 skeins of Valley Yarns ‘s Southampton yarn, 75% kid mohair/28% mulberry silk, (230 yds, 25 grams) in “ruby” which will be held double– to make what, though, my little knitty brain has not yet divined. I got 5 skeins of Cloudborn Superwash Merino fingering (384 yds/351 m, 3.5 oz/100 g) in the colorway “Ocean.” I got 7 skeins of Cloudborn Merino Superwash sock twist (467 yds/427 m, 3.5 oz/100 g) in the colorway “Caribbean (which will be something epic!), and 3 sets of Cloudborn Merino Superwash sock twist minis (557 yds/530 m, 125 g, 4.35 oz per set) in the colorway “blue warbler.” Merry Christmas to me . . . !

Yes, I know the reds don’t quite match, but holding them both together will work. Trust me. The bright red will add pop to the more matte red, and the matte red will add depth to the bright red. The sock sets will make a fabulous fade . . . fade what, however, has yet to be determined. Since my neurodivergent brain works differently than neurotypical people’s do, I find it easier (and more fun) to write my own patterns rather than follow other people’s. Stay tuned.

I mentioned that the movers broke the gooseneck on my LED floor lamp when they bent the top of it over nearly double. When you position it horizontally so it shines over your book/work, the “stem” very slowly wilts and the light ends up shining on the wall behind you. Maddening. Taping it only slows the wilt. Got a new one that stays put and has a height adjustable pole.

These lamps always remind me of the “ray” thingie on the Martian “saucers” in the 1953 movie “War of the Worlds,” with Gene Barry as the “I told you so” scientist and Ann Robinson in her first leading role as the obligatory pulchritudinous female costar who screams and/or gets hysterical. The scenery was well chewed in that one.

Thinky Thoughts and Bowls

“The great secret that all old people share,” wrote Doris Lessing, “is that you really don’t change in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.”

I love that quote.  It’s spot on.

I paired the Bluetooth earbuds with my iPhone and I’ve been listening to the Suburbs of Goa channel of the SomaFM internet radio station all evening.  (SomaFM has so much music in one place! I love it so much!)  Energized by the music, I folded unmentionables and other assorted laundry, put the dressing in the oven to cook, read blogs at the computer, worked a puzzle at Jigsaw Planet, all with my iPhone on charge in the bedroom and me wandering all over the house with music in my ears.  No dangling earbud wires to catch on stuff, no need to make sure I have a pocket or pouch to carry my phone.  Joy electric.  I have a set of cordless infrared headphones for the TV, but infrared is line of sight only, and the moment you get out of sight, you get an earful of white noise.   As inexpensive as these Bluetooth earbuds are, maybe Santa will bring me a pair for the TV for Crimmers.

Sunday night’s supper was the end of the chili casserole.  Good to the last elbow.  Monday, I went to the cabinet to get a bowl for some cereal and guess what.  The cupboard was bare.  Fortunately, the dishwasher wasn’t, and had finished its cycle some hours ago.






Now I’ve started in on the cornbread dressing, chicken breast meat, and cranberry sauce that are standing in for the “leftovers” I didn’t get to have because we ate Thanksgiving dinner at friends’.  I’m having them now.   So good.

Speaking of bowls, I have bowls of knitting scattered all over the house . . . Guess that means I have my knitting mojo back.

Two bowls by the computer.

A second iPouch with earbud pocket in progress and a bowl of yarn for Christmas balls (Julekuler).

The large rectangular shawl in the big basket with the reader’s shrug stalled at the start of the lower sleeve decreases.

The Art of Hygge


(pronounced:  ˈh(y)o͞oɡə,ˈho͝oɡə/)
a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).

See, this is what we should have been doing while we’ve been sheltering in place — rearranging, revamping, renovating those sheltering places to make them more hygge.   Instead of going stir crazy or spending endless hours playing with our phones, we should have been relocating and repurposing furniture and re-allocating space to make that medium-slow* make-shift, stuck-off-in-a-corner “home office” into a decent workspace, or rethinking and reconfiguring  the furniture in the den so you can watch the big-screen TV without that distracting window reflection on the screen and without having to go to the chiropractor to get your neck readjusted after you decided to binge watch all the Harry Potter movies (and hitting up Amazon for a couple of flat-pack end-tables so you have a place to put the the snackies, the drinkies,  and an organizer for the umpteen remotes that keep sliding off onto the floor and getting kicked under the couch.)   (Oh, and sofa cushions and a warm microfleece lap robe . . . )   It’s time to up our snuggle game, people!



An Early Birthday Present

About a week early, actually, but very much appreciated!  Thank you from my bottom and my heart, Mom!

It’s one of these.  It’s a gamer chair with a foot rest.  I ordered it through Home Depot.  I got free shipping because it was ship-to-store with curb side pickup.   The box actually fit in my car’s back seat, but it’s rather wide.  Fortunately, the Home Depot guy put it in the car for me, and I was able to push it out from the other side and get a hand truck on it to get it into the house.   It wasn’t all that heavy, just bulky.

Getting it into the office was like one of those sliding number puzzle things.  I was able to wheel it in through the garage on the hand truck easily enough, but in order to get it into the office, I had to move my kitchen trash can, move the floor lamp and the pedestal fan in the office, and it was still a bit of a squeaker making the turns from the kitchen to the hallway, from the hallway through the office doorway, and around the bookcase.

Then I had to take the pieces out of the box and put the durn thing together.  It wasn’t hard, though.  You needed two different sized Allen wrenches and a regular crescent wrench to put it together, but those were included.  The instructions were very straightforward. The only tricky bit was getting the back attached to the seat, but with a little finagling and a judiciously applied cuss word or two, I managed it.

I’m sitting in it as I type.  The seat is higher than the old recliner, even with casters on it.  It has excellent lower back support and feels just like a bucket seat in a really nice car.   There’s a cup holder in the left arm rest, and a  pouch that attaches to the underside of that arm rest to hold your various and assorted remotes. (I have a piece of 3/4-inch plywood painted white with a chair mat screwed to it underneath my computer desk to make it easier to roll the chair and desk, and keep the castors on that old recliner from tearing up the carpet.  You can see where the castors have left marks on it.)  These chairs would be great for a home theater, a man cave or a gamer’s setup, and the price point is very nice, too.

The old recliner I was using is so tatty and rump-sprung that I don’t think anyone would want it even for free, so I’ll have to get my neighbor to help me drag it out to the alley and put it in the dumpster because the city won’t pick it up otherwise.  Mañana.

In the knitting news, I’ve been working on this little Kinzie baby top.  I still have about five rows to add to finish the sleeves, and I want to do some matching booties. I think I have enough of those cute little daisy buttons left to finish it (takes 3 buttons).  Haven’t checked. If not, I have others that would work.

Yesterday was a running around day.  I had a doctor’s appointment on one side of town, I went hooting out to the other side of town to my dentist’s to drop something off, bought a bunch of groceries which I schlepped into the house and put away, then drove over to Home Depot to get the chair, shoved it out of the back seat and hand-trucked it into the house.  I got it as far as the dining area, where it sat until this afternoon.

After all that rannygazooting* around, I was pooped.  I stimulated the local economy by ordering from one of our local eateries (Orlando’s) and got their Cheeseburger in Paradise with tortilla chips and some fried mushrooms.  Their Cheeseburger in Paradise  is served on a hoagie roll rather than a hamburger bun, and it takes me two meals to eat one.  (I think I hear the other half calling my name.  Once I post this, I may have to go see what it wants . . .)  The  Orlando’s delivery person used what you might call a reverse porch pirate technique:  They put the boxes on the porch, rang my doorbell and skedaddled.  Doin’ the so-cial  dis-tance dance!

One of the previous tenants in the other side of the duplex planted some bearded irises up by the side of the house next to the fence that separates the two yards.  I noticed when I moved in (Aug of 2016) that one of them had snuck under the fence.   I have been benignly neglecting to do anything about it and now they seem to have a little expatriate enclave going.   I love irises.  I notice somebody needs to do a little weed pulling.  I wonder if they will. . .



"*Rannygazoo" without the "t" is defined as nonsense, deception; foolishness, fuss, exaggeration, as in "rannygazoo and carry-on."  With the "t" it means having a 'to do' list of things to do at places that are spread out all over town, and which therefore take a whole lot more time to do than they should.

ACK! The A/C Just Came On!

This is what the forecast for the next ten days looks like:  Are you kidding me?!  101 ye-gadz degrees F on Star Wars Day!*  (That’s 38.3 C for the Celsius crowd.  Yeah.  I know!)  Sigh.  When I change my bed today, the blanket will be washed and put away until about November.  I’ve already turned the ceiling fan up to the Stiff Breeze setting. If wishes were horses*, that south-facing sliding glass door in my bedroom would be replaced with double French doors with between the glass shades.  (Frankly, if wishes were horses, we’d be knee-deep in horse poo, would we not?)

Here is this, because who doesn’t need to be thoroughly cheered up by baby pygmy Nigerian goats in pajamas?  (They’re tiny and live in Maine, where it gets durn cold!)

A bittersweet pleasure because their black cat reminds me of mine.

Today’s adulting should include changing my bed, doing laundry (possibly only one load) and taking out the trash.  How much of that will actually get done remains to be seen.  Afterward I will wash my hair and fold unmentionables while it dries.

Life in quarantine for me is not significantly different from the usual.  I’m pretty much a solitary WOL owing to my place on the spectrum.   The only major difference has been grocery shopping.  Since I only get paid once a month, I normally only grocery shop once a month.  However, I have felt a decided social pressure not to do that since I do not want to be mistaken for a hoarder.

I confess to having somewhat of a siege mentality when it comes to food and paper goods that come in a roll.  In the best possible world, I will always have at bare minimum a month’s supply of food (canned, frozen and boxed) on hand at any given time.  The more available space I see in my pantry and freezer, the less comfortable I feel.  Since I have not been able to replenish my pantry, I’m beginning to feel uncomfortable.   The irony of it is that since I cannot shop in once-a-month quantities, I must expose myself to COVD-19 more often.  What makes me feel even more uncomfortable is that we are moving into the A/C season when my electric bill will triple, and stretch my budget skin-tight.

I made a bowl of tuna salad the other day.  I like to eat it one of two ways — dolloped on crackers or in a sandwich.  I usually make 1-1/2 to 2 tuna salad sandwiches, wrap them in cling wrap and put them in the fridge to chill before eating them. It’s the only time I ever use cling wrap.  Really.  The roll of cling wrap I have has moved house with me twice now.  Seriously.

My tuna salad tends to be a little gooshy, and I do not stint when I make sandwiches with it, hence the cling wrap, which allows me to eat them without having to wash my hands (or shirt) afterward.  This time the sandwiches were made from artisanal “rustic” white bread of which I had three slices left.  Thus 1-1/2 sandwiches.  It was totally nums.  It had chopped green onions in (as well as diced Kosher dills, sliced black olives, chopped white onions and mayo.)

You will notice in the next to last photo a package of Pedros Tamales thawing in the fridge.  I am currently devouring them three at a time.  I put them in a shallow soup bowl, put a layer of refried beans on top, sprinkle with chopped green onions (in the plastic produce bag above), sliced black olives, and sprinkle cheese — Sargento’s Three Mexican Cheeses by choice — then zot them in the microwave.  A one-dish meal.

Cats and Threads did a post about working from home and about sharing what our at-home work stations look like.  When I did work from home, my work station looked pretty much like this.  The recliner is on casters.  It’s also almost 20 years old and is getting pretty shabby.   (I’m angling for a new recliner for my birthday . . .  hint! hint!) The table is also on casters.   I scoot the recliner up to the table, recline, then pull the table toward me.   The pegboards hold various cables, a box of stitch markers, a duster thingie and a clock.  I also still have a foot pedal mounted to the back pegboard, although I don’t use it anymore. The carryall at the bottom of the shot holds the shawl I have one more ball to knit onto.  I also have half of a 4′ x 8′ sheet of 3/4′ plywood on the floor underneath the setup so the desk and chair roll easily and don’t ruin my landlord’s carpet

Here’s the view from the command chair.  Note the bowl of knitting. And that’s all I’ve got for now.

*May the 4th be with you.
**FYI, the actual quote is, "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride."