The easiest way is to let the inimitable Anna Russel tell you all about it.
Just a general wrapping up of loose ends. Saturday week ago, we drove down to Round Top, Texas, for the 150 anniversary of the church my great great grandfather founded. Numerous other rellies met us there. We visited, stayed at a really nice place, ate too much (it’s a family tradition), had a good time and motored back. More on that in subsequent posts.
The rest of this week, I had some loose ends to tie up knitting wise, patterns to proof, finish and post, I’m hip deep in a Foreigner reread, and I’ve started a new shawl to replace the one I gave away. I’ve renamed it Malguri Morning. It will have some color work that’s not included in the basic pattern as posted, which will make mine unique. The Loops ‘n’ Threads Charisma bulky yarn (in the colorway “Mulberry Bush”) makes it soft and thick, and the simple pattern makes it good TV knitting (yes, that’s a thing). The one I gave away was also made from Charisma yarn, so I know I’ll like the feel of the new one.
The yard lights that I ordered came in Friday week ago, but I couldn’t go get them until Tuesday of last week on account of getting ready to, and then going out of town over the weekend. While I was picking them up, I bought a new porch light. The electrician came by and installed them all Thursday, and with 100 watt LED bulbs, they light up my front yard very nicely, thank you. Very pleased with the lights and the electrician, who is quite professional and knowledgeable.
I’ve got one WOL’s Owl Hat to finish and then I’ve got to write a fingerless glove pattern with an owl on the back of the hand, and make two pair of those to match the WOL’s Hats and Cowls that I’m making for my first cousins -1x and -2x, the daughter and granddaughter of the first cousin who went with us to Round Top this past weekend. The granddaughter turned 13 this month. Where does the time go? I’m working each set in a different colorway of yarn, one in Mulberry and one in Bouquet. Then I’ll let them sort out who gets which.
Tomorrow being Sunday, my BFF will probably come over in the afternoon. It being Sunday, we’ll probably have a good lie-in first.
A couple of posts back, I shared a clip of Mr. Justin Johnson playing a 3-string guitar made from a shovel. Here he is again on a lap steel guitar made from a wooden ironing board. Best use I’ve seen for an ironing board since I was a child and turned my toy one upside down and made a sailboat out of it. . . A note in passing, this was recorded at Sun Records, in Memphis, TN, famous for being Elvis Presley‘s first record label (that’s him in the picture).
I do like a man with nice hands . . .
I called my landlady Wednesday night and she was very receptive to having the yard lights fixed. She said the reason she hadn’t fixed them was that previous tenants hadn’t wanted them fixed owing to not wanting to have to pay the electricity bill on them. Of course, with these newfangled modern LED light bubs* that use a fraction of the electricity that the old incandescent ones did, they don’t cost that much to run anymore. When you consider the safety factor and the crime deterrent factor, operating those yard lights is cheap at the price. And LEDs not only last so much longer, they have come down so much in price that they are very affordable and extremely cost effective.
My landlady gave me some names. One guy she had both names and both a land line and cell phone number for. The other she just had a first name and a cell phone number for. Guess which one I called. I asked him to come by and look at the lights and see if they were fixable. About 10 minutes after I called him, it started sprinkling rain, and very shortly thereafter, it was bucketing down and thundering. All day long, the rain would slack off, stop, hitch up its drawers, and then start coming down hard and fast again. Needless to say, the electrician didn’t come by.
That afternoon, I had an appointment at the VA for my annual health check, and the street gutters over in that part of town were almost knee deep from the rain. (I’m going to have to bring my binoculars next time I go to the VA and do a little free-hand bird-watching. I have sighted at least one Athene cunicularia hypugaea hanging out in the prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colony that has taken over the vacant lots behind and beside the VA clinic building.)(!)
Today dawned mostly sunny, with scattered clouds. I called the electrician again, and he stopped by to take a look. I knew the fixtures were broken, but he was able to determine that there was power to the fixtures. The electric eye was also out. He could rewire the old fixtures and make them work (at $69 an hour plus parts, thank you very much), but he said it would be more cost effective to get new fixtures. We could buy the new fixtures and he’d put them in and replace the electric eye that turns them on at dusk and off at dawn, and the total cost to get them back on, including new fixtures and new electric eye, would be less than $200.
I did some fixture pricing and emailed the particulars to my landlady this afternoon. I even offered to help her out by going to buy the lights myself if she’d let me take the cost of them off my rent. (She is one of these women who finally retire from their busy, busy careers only to find that the peace and quiet of retirement drives them crazy. Then they become “club” women and get involved in bridge clubs and luncheon clubs and music clubs and “seekrit” service clubs and such and are busy, busy, . . . . ) Haven’t heard back from her yet. Busy, busy . . .
In the meantime, I need to back my car out of the garage and check out the garage door opener because no lights come on when the door opens or closes. It may just be that the light bubs are burnt out and need to be replaced — if I can figure out how . . .
Oh, and mom got wind of a meeting being held by the lady who planned the trip to Savannah and Charleston that mom and I went on earlier this year. She’s planning another “Spring Fling” for next year, and she’s talking New York City! . . .
This from Arlo and Janis made me laugh out loud.
And now for your delectation and amusement, a guy named Justin Johnson who can play a shovel if it has strings on it . . .
*Texan** for “bulb”
**It’s a whole ‘nother language.
My mom has been about to come unglued because I still don’t have my dishes put up. She’s been going on and on about it. She assures me she would have done it within the first week, but then she hasn’t had a closeup look at the state this kitchen was in, nor does she appreciate how much cleaning had to be done to get the cabinets in a fit state to store things I’m going to be eating food off of. I’m talking about layers and layers of grime, drips and splashes. Even though I’ve been wearing a face mask, eventually, the smell of the cleaning products gets to me — that and my arms give out on me and I have to stop for a day or two.
Part of it is that my mom has a very low “critical mess” threshold (unlike me!). She not only wants her things neat; she wants everybody else’s things neat. If somebody on her block doesn’t keep up their house or yard the way she things they ought, it just drives her up a wall. She likes everything picked up, cleaned up and put away all the time. My dad used to say that if you didn’t catch the newspaper on the first bounce, it would be in the garbage before you got a chance to read it.
I have been making slow but steady progress on the kitchen. I still have some lower corner cabinets to clean, but I’ve put the shelf liner in the ones where dishes and glasses will go and I started unpacking boxes yesterday. Got 20 unpacked, and have 8 left, plus two bigger boxes that I know are pots and pans. I would have done it in stages — dishes, china cabinet, whatnot cabinet, etc., but the packer did not label the boxes and everything is all jumbled together. However, no dishes are going into the cabinets until they’ve been through the dishwasher, and that’s a rather lengthy process, which is proving to be a bottleneck.
I now have ten bags of packing paper and a stack of boxes in my back bedroom ready to go out to the alley. (The back door is in the bedroom, and it’s a sliding glass door. . .) They would have gone out yesterday but I was determined to get four more boxes unpacked, and it was good and dark by the time I got it done. I’m probably not going to start taking the stuff out to the dumpster until I get all the boxes unpacked. (There’s two teapots I haven’t found lids for yet.)
I started another load in the dish washer a while ago (third load), but all this stuff on the table has yet to be washed. I was going to put the glass shelves in my china cabinet through the dish washer and get them nice and clean, but the dishwasher takes so long and I’m tired of hearing about it, so I just cleaned them with glass cleaner so I can put stuff away and to heck with it.
I have a lot of vases and knickknacks, and I’m just putting them in places until I get everything unpacked so I can sort through them and decide what I want to go where.
The two main tasks I still have left to do are to clean the kitchen floor (on my hands and knees with a scrub brush and rag — it’s just ghastly!) and I have yet to tackle the “company” bathroom (that’s probably a two-day job in itself). I’ve got some mats that will go down on the kitchen floor — the pattern on the vinyl flooring in the kitchen is so ’70’s and so busy! I’ve still got caulking to do in the en suite shower, but otherwise, all I have left is hanging pictures, hanging some drapes in the “office” (my books and CDs are all shelved) and deciding which “objets d’art” I want to put where.
Friday morning, I got the 20,000 mile (or two years) service on my car. I noted as I pulled into the garage later, that I’m about 21 miles away from 6000. Friday evening, I had dinner at my mom’s, but our good friend CK brought the food. Her husband is staying on their “ranch” near Llano, where they have a house, but she has some health problems that require close monitoring, so she’s been staying at their house here. She had been hungry for this particular casserole she makes, so she volunteered to bring the food if my mom would provide the accoutrements and beverage. It was very tasty, and involved noodles, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese.
I’ve been listening to the Illinois Street Lounge channel of SomaFM on my internet radio while I’ve been cleaning and unpacking. They play “lounge music” from the ’50’s and early ’60’s, back when the cha-cha-cha was all the rage. This song is on their playlist. I’ve always been partial to both Cole Porter and Peggy Lee. it’s from the musical “Kiss Me Kate.” I’ll leave you with it . . .
It is generally acknowledged that the wellspring of “mountain” music — that peculiar braid of music that trickled out of the “hollers” of Appalachia — lies in the Celtic lands of Ireland and Scotland, brought to our shores by refugees from poverty, religious strife, famine and the clearances. With the Celtic music revival that began in the closing years of the last century (1980’s), these disparate streams have been remingling with their source in fascinating ways. I ran across these two: The Rachel Newton Trio performing Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and Rachel Newton with a lovely cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry.”
While we’re mixing and matching, the inimitable Julie Fowlis sings a song you’ve heard before.
In the interest of equal time, three of the iconic voices of Ireland, Máiréad Ní Domhnaill, Máire Brennan (erstwhile lead singer of Clannad) & Máiréad Ní Mhaonaigh (lead singer of Altan)
And three iconic American voices, Dolly Partin , Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt.
And just for grins, one of my favorites, Kilbogie by Old Blind Dogs.
This post is going to take forever to load, so while you’re waiting, pour yourself a beverage of choice, then kick back and Happy Valentine’s Day.
Moi? I’ve been keeping my head down, rereading the Foreigner books by C. J. Cherryh at a rapid clip. (I’ve just started Deceiver, which is #10 of 16, with #17 to be published in April — which is the purpose of the exercise.) But mostly, this week, I’ve been working (as in “earning money”), and popping Aleve like candy so I can sleep. It’s going to take at least two weeks of hardly typing at all for my hands to settle down again, but needs must when the devil drives. Baby needs to pay her car insurance. . .
I’ve been doing “general” transcription for that jive outfit in San Francisco. The last job I did was an hour and 47 minutes of interview, which topped out at 54 pages. Took me two days to do it, and I made a whopping $1.035 per page. Because I couldn’t get it finished before 6 o’clock Saturday (the end of the pay period), I won’t get paid for it until Monday week (22nd) which means my car insurance payment will be a bit tardy.
My total output for the week is 92 typed pages since Monday (on top of 27 years of typing at a dead run for 5 days a week or more, on top of scarlet-fever-provoked autoimmune osteoarthritis of all my finger joints . . .) And my mom can’t understand why my hands hurt. It doesn’t seem to bother me to type blog posts … (It’s the difference between typing maybe 1000-1500 words in a day at a leisurely pace versus 15-20 pages pedal-to-the-metal in a day. Duh!)
(And not just mindless copy typing, either. I have to listen to it first, and somewhere between my ears and my hands, spoken language has to be transmogrified into written language, then get capitalized, spelled and punctuated correctly before my fingers can do their little happy dance . . . After a day of transcribing, the first page of reading is like shifting a rolling car into reverse without benefit of clutch. . .)
Never mind that I’m typing now, I’m just waiting for the Aleve to kick in, betimes listening to Rhapsody (and marveling at how seamlessly Alison Krauss’ and James Taylor’s voices blend). Two of my favorite singers, singing that great old, crying in my beers song:
Didn’t go to knitting group this week because after 12 pages Monday and 15 on Tuesday, I wasn’t in the mood to use my hands for anything but holding a book and turning pages, and that rather gingerly.
Monday, I finally finished the fifth of Harveys Bristol Cream I bought last July. Just belting it on back. I’m going to work a little more next week so I can get myself another bottle, a little treat. In the meantime that’s one empty bottle to start my bottle stash.
When I get six empty bottles, I’ll be able to make a batch of home-baked amaretto — once I can come up with the moolah to buy the ingredients, that is: It takes a fifth of apricot brandy, a fifth of peach brandy, a quart of vodka, a big bottle of vanilla extract, a big bottle of almond extract, not to mention whole cloves, stick cinnamon, nutmeg, and six cups of brown sugar. It also takes a really big pot and the better part of a day, but it’s a great way to stink up a house, and the recipe makes six fifths. It ages wonderfully if you leave the spices in when you bottle it.
The musical selections included free of charge in this post for your delectation and amusement are all from a 240-song Rhapsody playlist entitled “Cache” wherein I have collected all my “greatest hits.” It ranges from Queen (Does your lead guitarist have a Ph.D. in astrophysics, hmmm?) to Richard Wagner (not that far a stretch actually, when measured in their respective distances over the top), from the Beachboys to Bette Midler, and from Herbie Hancock to Eleftheria Arvanitaki. Tunes that are all over the map genre-wise like a load of buckshot.
While we’re on the subject of music, this little gem from Brooke McEldowney. Here’s one for the “I bet you didn’t know who actually wrote that,” for the hard core Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy crowd:
And other assorted goodies and what have you. If you’re up to it (it makes me cry every damn time), you might check out this little beauty, as well. Give yourself a Valentine’s treat that is nonalcoholic, nonfattening, and non-comedogenic, but which is not guaranteed to be non-habit-forming . . . just kick back and listen.
*опять – opyat, Russian, meaning “once again.”
There is a finity to my days
And ignorance is bliss.
And all around does but distract
Where most I want to look,
At the farthest off horizon
And what lies there beyond.
Live as I might
As though I knew
The tally left was small
Do what I will,
Though strive or not
The final day will find me.
Despite the cosmic echos
And the depths unplumbed beyond
After much consideration
But one path left to go.
Put foot before the other
And lean into the wind
Enjoy the journey while it lasts
Nor pass that way again.
No explanation for this one. The first line just popped into my head this evening and I acted on the impulse to scribble down the odd parade of the rest of it, before one or another of the myriad incarnations of the person from Porlock could derail it. The language is a bit arcane but there it is. Make of it what you will.
The fact that I’ve been listening to the music of Lucette Bourdin might have something to do with it, or my neurochemical state (which is improving, BTW with the resumption of an evening dose), or with things I know are going to happen in my life, sooner or later, will I, nil I. I have a theory about how music can entrain your brain, and I wonder about the wisdom of listening to music made by a woman who knew she was dying of cancer, but it’s cosmic stuff and I like it.
For a long time Bourdin was primarily a painter and only started making music in earnest when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which fight she lost in 2011. I’ve only just now discovered her works through Earth Mantra netlabel, that has a bunch of her stuff and collaborations with other artists up on the Internet Archive site as free downloads. If you’re into ambient or space music genres, you might check out Earth Mantra. I found them through internet radio and hearing Palancar and liking his stuff and wanting more. The interwebs is a strange and marvelous thing.