Thor’s Day Afternoon

The French, who were up to their ears in Romans a lot longer than England was, call it “Jeudi” — the day of the Roman god Jupiter.  But because England was all over Angles, and Saxons, and Norse (oh, my!), the English name for the day hearkens back to the Germanic/Norse god Thor.  So today is Thor’s day, rather than Thursday, because Thor and Chris Hemsworth, (not to mention Tom Hiddleston, who is, very . . .), and it’s nice to have a change once in a while.

We had two noteworthy things happen in knitting group, Tuesday.  One, we were saddened to learn that A’s son had passed away unexpectedly.  He was only 53,  and although he did have COPD, it was not that bad.  He lived alone, and a relative found him dead.  A has had a lung transplant, so she has had a number of vicissitudes in her life already.  I think she only had the son and the daughter. VS told us about it.  She is A’s across-the-street neighbor and frequently brings A to knitting group.  Very, very sad.

We were processing this news when a woman walked in and asked if we would be interested in some yarn and knitting needles, which is rather like asking sheep if they would be interested in a pasture of nice thick green grass . . .  “Some” turned out to be two big boxes of yarn and a box of assorted knitting needles. It seems she had been clearing out her late mother’s house, and her mother was a knitter/crocheter (many knitters are ambicraftous and also crochet.  Me, for one.).  This was after KC had “busted” her stash and had brought me a big bag of yarn suitable for hats (which must be done in hypoallergenic acrylic or nylon yarn that has a very soft hand) in trade for five or six sets of circular bamboo needles, and here was a bunch more.  I got some double pointed needles out of the box of assorted knitting needles — several 4-and one 5- needle sets.  (Of course, the minimum needle requirement for knitting is two.)  Our group leader’s church is doing prayer shawls, so they made out like bandits with a large box of perfectly free “save me from this” yarn.

There were six 1.75 oz skeins of lavender “Natura Burlee” yarn which they probably haven’t made in 20 years.  And I rewrote the baby afghan pattern “Sweet Sherbet” for it. I may not have enough of it to complete the project and I may have to find an interposable color to finish it.  We’ll see.  I’ve got a yellow that might work.  KC’s church has a baby afghan project I might donate it to. I’m calling the new pattern “Sherbet Parfait” — seemed reasonable.  Made a nice change from hats.

In the plastic bag that had the lavender yarn was a thin plastic 7-inch ruler which says “St. Labre Indian School, Ashland, Montana.”  The lady did not say where her mother was from.  There’s no telling how the ruler got in the bag.  Or when.

The purple fuzzy hat is in the decreases now to close the top, and I’m going to finish it tonight if it harelips the governor.  No, the purple fuzzy hat is done!

 

The Grass Is Always Greener In The Flower Beds

I really need to call the little Hispanic man and his wife to come fork and weed the flower bed, and ask him if he has a chainsaw. I’d rather pay him to do it and trickle down a little cash into the economy than try to tackle it myself. In the first place, I’d have to buy a garden fork because I don’t have one any more. (I sold all my yard tools when I moved into the apartment.)  In the second place, it’s too durn hot. (I can’t take the heat anymore like I used to could.)

Now, something like resetting the edging bricks, or laying down some pavers by the faucet, yes, that’s not out of reason, or planting some bedding plants, or even laying a bunch of mulch in the bed, which I may do if budgetary constraints allow — it would take about five or six bags to mulch that bed properly. Yeah, I could spread a thin layer over the surface and the weeds would be popping right back up to give me the raspberry. If you’re going to mulch properly for weed control, you need at least an inch.

I do have a volunteer rose bush. (How did the world know I like 3 of things better than I like 2 of things?)  Tea roses are very often grafted onto a root stock that is one of several varieties of very hardy climbing rose.  Typically what happens is the graft dies and it grows back out from the root stock.  That’s what’s happened to the red rose.  The “volunteer” rose bush is either the root stock off a bush whose graft died back to the ground, or else it’s a runner from the one next to it, but hey, roses is roses.

We did get a trickle or two of rain overnight.  I have a feeling we’re going to be getting more if some of those swirly storms get to horsing around in the Gulf (of Mexico).

It was sunny, and sparkly with dew/rain this morning when I went out to take the above pix.  The fat(cat)boy, who has been clingy since I took him to the vet for his shots was nervous because I wouldn’t let him out on the porch with me.  (He is strictly an indoor cat.  He never goes out of doors unless he’s in a carrier.) He is not taking to his diet well.  He whinges and whines when his bowl gets empty long about 3 o’clock, but he doesn’t get fed again until 6 pm.  I have been tossing him a pair of treats (Greenies, 1 cal. apiece) but I make him chase the first one all the way down the hallway into my bedroom, and just when he’s eaten that one, I get his attention and lay a second one at my feet so he has to run all the way back.

In the knitting news, I have four hats on the needles at the moment:  This one is a Fabled Cable hat — still working on the proportions of the ribbed bit, the cable bit and the top bit, so I haven’t posted the pattern yet. This one is using the Lion Brand Landscape yarn, in the color “Apple Orchard.”  I will say this for the Landscape self striping yarn:  The colors are very bright and have a high contrast value.   A bit garish for my tastes, but then, that’s what makes horse races.  Then I’ve got a Simple Pleasures hat going in the Red Heart Unforgettable in the color “Pearly” — which I’m not sure I have enough of to finish the hat.  I need to root around in my yarn box to see if I have any more of that color.  If not, I will use some of the delicious green shown, which is called “Meadow.”  The color palette of the Unforgettable yarn is much richer and more subtle than that of the Landscape.  Chacun, as they say . . .

Another Coriolis hat, with a leftward twist, because I like doing ssk’s better than I like doing k2tog’s.  Again, this is the Red Heart Unforgettable yarn, in the color “Dragonfly” which I like a lot.  The color choices in this blend remind me of the James Taylor song, “Sweet Baby James.”  Won’t you let me go down in my dreams . . .

Still working on this version of the Simple Pleasures hat in the Moda Dea Dream yarn.  I’ve got about another 1-1/2 inch to go before I start the decreases.

This is typical of me.  I work on one a while and get bored with it, and set it aside and work on another one.  The Simple Pleasures hats are stockinette once you’ve gotten the brim (either ribbed or hemmed) done, so they require no thought.  You have to pay attention to the other two, particularly the Fabled Cable to get your cable crosses right.

I’ve been listening to Kit Watkins all morning.  Very restful “floaty” music that is tranquil, melodic and somewhat minimalist.  Just right.  If you like his music, there’s a bunch that’s free for the downloading on the Internet Archive, which is where I got it.  You can find all kinds of stuff on the Internet Archive.  Give it a browse sometime when you’ve got an afternoon to kill.

Not a Good Night Last Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Slightly Eccentric Hatter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Done All My Kitchening For the Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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