Friday week ago, the trusty Greyolla had to be jump started. I managed to start it Monday to go to an appointment with my orthopod (pausing on the way home to catch and subdue an Arby’s Gyro and drag it back to my lair). I barely got it started Wednesday, took a tootle around town, and had a (Big) Mac attack on the way back. I’m allergic to potatoes, but I eat them with impunity (and a touch of salt). Between Monday’s curly fries, Wednesday’s French fries and the twice baked potato I had Thursday, I’ve sneezed more than once. I’m allergic to corn, too. Amazing how much I’m not sneezing since I changed from margarine to actual butter.

Monday, I saw my orthopod and we discussed my knee. The bone scan shows a suspicious area in the same place as the CT did — the medial (inside) aspect of the joint. There may be some loosening of the cement that anchors the knee prosthesis to the bone. However, before I’d had that knee replaced, I’d had pain in that same place. A podiatric consultation happened and orthotics were made for my feet. That helped some. I’d like to try that again, and see if a pair of orthotics (custom made arch supports) helps any. If not, the alternative is revision surgery to replace this prosthesis with another one, which is major surgery. I want to try conservative measures first and delay another surgery at least until taking care of mom is no longer an issue.

Because I need a car I can depend on, I called Gene Messer Toyota Wednesday for an appointment in the Service Department. I managed to get the old (she’ll be 9 in November!) girl started yet one more time this morning and headed off to the dealership. Based on her symptoms, the differential diagnoses were: The battery, the alternator or the starter motor. I lucked out (I think). It was the battery. I got a new battery and two Uber rides out of the deal. I wouldn’t say the repair bill was astronomical, but it was higher than giraffes’ ears . . . anyway, Mme Greyola marche encore, which is the important take-away here. Laissez la voiture rouler.

I rehomed the elephant ear Wednesday as well. There’s a lot more room for everybody now. I just need to repot the Christmas cactus. I’ve had the pot for months. I also have the potting soil. However, I seem to have misplaced my roundtuit. . . .

I’m on the last Foreigner book until the new one comes out in September. I have the new Sebastian St. Cyr book in my little hot hands. I ought to start a reread of the 18 books in that series. Might not though. We’ll see. Might read C. J. Cherryh‘s Chanur books (5) instead. (I have a soft spot for the Knnn.)

Still no knitting news. I haven’t figured out how to read and knit at the same time, and after 27 years of things going in one ear and staying in my brain only long enough to hang a left and go out my fingers, audiobooks are not the solution to that dilemma. I’ve got a new shawl pattern “in the oven” but it’s not done cooking yet.

I’ve decided that I’m going to call in a pizza strike this afternoon if it harelips the governor. I’ve gone a year and a half with nary a slice, which is cruel and unusual punishment in my book. I already have an account on the Domino’s website . . .

Well, Pshaw!

After this round of chemotherapy on Wednesday and the nonstarting of my car, the shot on Thursday, and ricocheting off the walls from Wednesday afternoon til half past Friday, when I finally crashed and burned Friday afternoon, I went from being too strung out on steroids to do anything to too asleep to move. Finally, today I had found most of it and managed to get enough of it back together to try to do something about my car. Battery Joe’s could put a new battery in if I could get the car to their place, but not today. The guys I talked to at Battery Joe’s and Gene Messer Toyota both cautioned that it might not be the battery that was bad, but the alternator or the starter, in which case a new battery would do me little good — and it was a valid point. I also called Messer’s “recommended” towing service to find out that if jumping the battery proved bootless, it would cost me $80 to have them tow the car to the dealership to get it fixed.

So, noonish, I girdled my loins in my big girl panties and called Security to get them to bring their car booster thingie and meet me at the car. While I was waiting for them to come, just for s**ts and giggles, I put the key in the ignition and turned it. The car kind of cleared its throat and started! Several times, in fact. Well, hmmmm! I decided I’d better take it to the dealership where they could check it over, in case something was loose or a belt was thrown, or my “wars” were crossed. I wended my way clear down 19th Street, under the Loop, and out to Gene Messer Toyota, drove it into the service place and sat there in the car for at least five minutes waiting for one of the people sitting around noodling on their computers or talking on their phones to realize they had a customer and come see what I wanted. Finally, I got out of the car and picked one at random and told him I wanted my car looked at and why. (You’d think they’d at least be glad to get my business . . .) We figured out who I was (I bought the car from them, after all), and I told my tale of woe.

After about an hour and a half, the guy comes into the waiting room and says my battery flunked the test, and my cabin filter was dirty (gasp!). It took them another hour and a half to install a new battery and change the cabin filter. That’ll be $188, thank you very much. (I shudder to think what they would have charged if there had actually been something wrong with the car, like the starter was broken or the alternator was shot, or the gazinta had come out or something.) Anyway, the Greyola is fixed now.

Messer Toyota is even farther down the same street than the library branch is where the knitting group meets. Seeing as how I am very familiar with the local landmarks in the vicinity, I stopped at the Arby’s for a Gyro and curly fries, as any normal person would under the circumstances. I was even on the right side of the street to just swoop right into the drive-through lane.

Just as a cultural side note, Arby’s (We have the meat!) sandwiches come with a choice of sauces: Arby’s sauce, or a sauce which contains (among other things) horseradish, which is called, oddly enough, Horsey Sauce. When you get your food order, they ask you, “Do you want Arby or Horsey with that?” — and then put packets of your choice in the sack with your order. I always go for the Horsey.

At the end of March, the maintenance guy reset one of the grab bars in the bathroom because it was coming loose from the wall. A couple of weeks ago, a different guy came to plaster the holes in the wall from where the grab bar used to be. He was supposed to come back and paint the wall after the plaster dried, but never showed. Today, as I was coming up the hall, my Arby’s goodies clutched in my little hot hand, there was a painter at the end of the wal. He was touching up the paint on my door frame and on my door. It was the same guy who was supposed to paint the bathroom. He said he hadn’t come back to paint the bathroom wall because he’d been in the hospital. He’s coming back to paint the bathroom wall tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Homonyms are two words pronounced the same, but which are spelled differently and have different meanings, like “meet” and “meat.” I have long noticed that, even though I know which is which, as I’m typing along, now and again, I would type the wrong one. I’d meat friends who would introduce me to there friends, etc. In rereading the previous paragraph I noted that the guy had come to plaster the wholes in the wall . . . I’ve noticed this has been happening more and more frequently of late. Chemo brain strikes again.

Well, I’ve eaten my Gyro (brought to us by Greek immigrants, and pronounced “Hero”) and my curly fries. Now I’m going to kick back and watch some Philomena Cunk videos from the BBC. Her malapropisms and ‘splanations are just brilliant. Some of her topical humor sails right by me because I don’t have the cultural context to “get” it, but the rest of it is hilarious.

A Narrow Escape

We’ve had a cold snap here these past couple of days.  Good sleeping weather.  I had been sleeping with a sheet, a spread, and this pretend fur twin blanket as the weather yo-yo-ed between too cold for just a sheet and a spread and too hot for a blanket, but yesterday, I bit the bullet and winterized my bed.   I have this undyed unbleached cotton blanket that is made out of thread that is about the same diameter as DK weight yarn woven in a herringbone pattern.  It’s wonderfully heavy and “hand woven” looking, and although I have a queen sized bed, I got it in king size because cotton will shrink somewhat in the dryer over time, and I like my covers  to reach clear to the top of the mattress.  My bedspread is heavy cotton, too, in a jacquard weave.  I also have a microfleece blanket in a leopard print that I keep “S”-folded across the bottom of the bed, so I can just reach down and pull it up when I need it.

So, yesterday, I changed my bed, and not only washed the sheets, but the bedspread, too (which took forEVER to dry!).  I washed a load of clothes, a load of sheets and towels, and a load that was the bedspread.  While I was waiting for the bedspread to dry, I took all the garbage out to the alley.

I have this foldable hanger rack in the laundry room so I can hang up stuff right out of the dryer.  When I put hang-up clothes in the dirty clothes hamper, I take the empty hanger and hang it on this rack.  I have just enough hangers for the clothes I have.  If I get something new, I have to get rid of something so there’ll be a hanger for it.

In the knitting news, the infinity wrap is coming along.  I have six skeins of this yarn, and I haven’t used up one ball yet.   The yarn is a 2-ply DK weight, 100% wool yarn from Green Mountain Spinnery  called Ragg Time in the colorway “Bessie 9461.”  One ply is dark, the other ply is various shades of blue, so the color tends to be heathery.  It’s a very grabby yarn and it doesn’t want to “flow” through my fingers.  I can only knit on it for about an hour or so before I have to stop as it “fights” me and tires out my hands.  Still, I like the color and it makes a good dense fabric on US9’s (5.5 mm) needles.   That white bit at the bottom is the provisional cast on because  I’m going to have to Kitchner the durn thing together.    At some point, I’ll take a length of yarn and wrap it around me so I can measure how long I need to make it.  I just hope 6 skeins (@ 306 yd/279 m each) is going to be enough yarn.   We’ll see.

Today after cardiac rehab, I went to get my car inspected and the oil changed.  When the guy was doing the inspection, he brought to my attention that the license plate number on my last-year’s registration sticker did not match the license plate on my car, and when he ran the license plate number on my sticker, it was for a Nissan SUV (my car is a Toyota Corolla sedan).  Now that I think back, when I got my last year’s registration sticker, there was somebody else getting theirs at the same time, and I bet the lady gave us the wrong stickers.  Here all this time, I’ve been driving around with somebody else’s car registration sticker (and somebody has been driving around with mine!).  I would have never known it if the guy at the oil change place hadn’t said something.  But if a cop had checked me, I would have gotten a ticket for driving around with false registration!!  I got my 2021 registration sticker at the same place I got my 2020 one, and told the clerk about the mix-up.  (She didn’t seem nearly as excited about it as I thought she should be. . . )  But, you better believe I checked the plate number on the new sticker she gave me!

Playing Catch-up

Got my ‘puter fixed.  It was the power supply. Took him ten minutes.  $37.89,  including shipping!  But it’s fixed.  It’s been fixed for almost a month now, but I’ve not been doing much of anything else blogworthy except doctor’s appointments.

I had an EGD (upper end) and colonoscopy (other end) last Monday which had had to be rescheduled because my cardiologist wouldn’t let me stop the clopidogrel (Plavix) (in case they had to do a biopsy or remove a polyp) until he saw me, and I couldn’t get in to see him before the day after my procedure was scheduled. The prep included drinking, like, 64 oz of what is essentially salt water, which is just plain nasty, followed by FOUR Dulcolax, and, not one, but TWO Fleets enemas the morning of the procedure.  June 14 was Slosh Sunday, spent prepping for the procedure the next day.  My mom could take me to where they did the procedure, but she couldn’t come in.  Between the prep and the procedure, I felt like somebody owed me damages, or at least pizza.  Once I got home, I had some lunch (Pedro’s tamales, refried beans, etc.), then I crashed and burned, because I had gotten no sleep at all the night before.  Let me tell you, making somebody drink all that salt water and then take four Dulcolax is cruel and unusual punishment in my book, y’all, never mind the enemas.

Today was kinda exciting.  My mom put out the call for the trained chimpanzee (me) to come help her change out the SIM card in her cell (flip) phone.  Her carrier, Consumer Cellular, is upgrading their cellphone network from 3G to 4G with the intention of phasing out all 3G phones by the end of the year.  So yrs trly bebopped over and did it for her.  Once you change out the SIM card, you have to call them to “activate” it, which I also had to do, twice, because my mom’s age-related hearing deficit (she turns 96 this year) is so profound in the higher frequencies that she has terrible trouble understanding girls/women over the phone, even with her hearing aids set on stun.  She has always had trouble understanding anyone with an accent (read: anybody who is not from our particular neck of the flatlands) even before she started losing her hearing.

Turns out she’s had her phone for so long that once they’ve updated their network, it won’t work any more. Fortunately, I went on their website and was able to get her another little flip phone just like the one she has now, except it will work on a 4G network. Her phone has voice mail, but she doesn’t know how to use it, so I had them just deactivate it. When she gets the new phone, I will have to see if I can download her phone book to the SIM card without having to do it entry by entry so I can just change out the SIM card, and won’t have to retype all her phonebook entries into the new phone. (Again.)  People keep telling her she needs a smart phone, but no.  Just no.  She’d probably stroke out from sheer frustration just trying to learn how to work a touch screen.

In the knitting news, I declared the The Assassin’s Daughter shawl finished at 6 skeins.  Here are some close ups for detail.  It was done in worsted weight yarn, but you can do it in any weight yarn you want.  I still have the ends to weave in, which I will as soon as I can remember what I did with the durn roundtoit.  Sigh.







Naturally, I’ve started another shawl.  I’m calling it “Trio Sonata.”  It’s in Malabrigo sock yarn (Ooooo! snob yarn!) in the colorway “Teal Feather” on a US 6 (4.0 mm) 32-inch circular needle.

Another one of those short, sweet patterns. It has a repeat of three kfb’s (knit front and back) with an ssk as a border on one side and  yo, k2tog, p1, ssk as a border on the other side, with a garter stitch center.   It’s got a nice, shallow, crescent curve to it.

What am I reading?  If you want something short, light and hilarious, check out Minor Mage by T. Kingfisher.  An inept mage whose familiar is a snarky armadillo. Not T. Kingfisher’s usual fare, which can be a tad dark.  This is a delightful little gem at a delightful little price.

The Greyola* (my 2015 Toyota Corolla) (far left) was recalled for a doodad glitch on the passenger side air bag mechanism that might cause the air bag to fail to deploy in a crash.  The Toyota dealership here was forced by COVID quarantine policy to furlough their courtesy driver, and in order to avoid having a wad of customers of unknown COVID status socially distanced all over their waiting room while their cars were getting fixed and potentially exposing their employees and each other to COVID, they cut a deal with Uber.  So now, instead of their one driver of unknown COVID status driving  customers of unknown COVID status to and from their homes, they have multiple Uber drivers of unknown COVID status driving customers of unknown COVID status to and from their homes.  So, when I took the Greyola in for the recall repair, not only did I get my first Uber ride, I got my second Uber ride.  Yee-haw.

What  other exciting things have been happening in my life . . . Oh, yeah.  I did a purse dump yesterday.  For the benefit of the non-purse-wearing crowd, that’s when you take your purse over to the kitchen (or dining room) table, turn it upside down and dump everything out of it.  Then you pick through the pile of stuff and put back in what needs to go back in, in a neat and organized fashion, and you sort through what’s left and deal with it appropriately — throw out the dead tissues, cash register receipts, other pieces of paper, candy wrappers, etc.  The two most important inventions in the history of the human race (and the wheel isn’t either of them) are shoes and pockets.  Both of them were invented by women.  Men are hunters.  All they have to carry home from hunting is a couple of pointed sticks and a dead animal or three.  Women are gatherers, and there’s no way you can do any serious gathering without some way to schlep all the produce back to the cave.  And what is a purse — our symbol — but a big pocket with a strap on it.  I rest my case.


*The 1987 Toyota Corolla I had until I traded it in for the 2015 Corolla was known affectionately as the Crayola.  The 2015 one is silver, hence the Greyola.  See?  Makes perfect sense.




Life Has Been Keeping Me Too Busy To Blog

Sorry for the unintended hiatus.  As I noted, I have been having some health problems, which have not been helped by having had some adverse reactions to some new drugs my docs seem to think I need to take — not very nice side effects which necessitated changing things around.  That took about two weeks to get sorted out, and things were smoothing out and settling down.  Then out of the blue, I had a violently allergic reaction to something.  I ended up in the ER with hives and ITCHING from one end of me to the other.  Not fun.  I was taking several new meds and we didn’t know which might be the culprit that caused the reaction. I had to stop taking everything except two meds I’ve been taking for years that I was in the middle of bottles of, so I knew they were unchanged, and one I couldn’t stop taking.  I had to wait about a week to make sure that one new one was OK, which it was.  Then, one at a time, I added each new one back in until I identified the culprit.  Turned out it wasn’t one of the new meds after all.  The manufacturer of a supplement I’ve been taking for years decided to change the type of capsule they put it in to some kind of “vegetable capsule” to which I was wildly allergic.  Thankfully, I was able to find another manufacturer that put theirs in gelatin capsules, as it’s a supplement that makes my life a lot easier when I take it.

And then there was the matter of getting my car fixed. It did take right at two weeks and the guy’s insurance had to pony up over $4000, but Big Daddy got’er done.  I got a rental “loaner” to drive while it was being fixed, a little 2018 Chevy miniSUV, but it was one of those “keyless” ones.  So long as you have the little remote thingie in your purse or pocket, you can unlock the car by just opening the door and start the car by just pushing a button.  But I’ve got the Greyola back now, all fixed up, and my ride is back to normal again.   I missed it.

Not much to report in the knitting news, I’m afraid.  I’ve been batting around so much dealing with one issue and another that I haven’t had much peace and quiet to sit down and enjoy a good knit except when I’ve been at the computer.  I’ve got probably another 15-20 rows on the body of my (slightly modified) cable edged shawl (above) before I get it to the point where I’m ready to start the cable edging. As for the other one, I simply haven’t had the concentration it takes to work on it.  Thank goodness I’ve had the discipline to put in my lifelines after every pattern repeat, as I had to frog out a repeat and a half the last time I tried to work on it.

There’s a new Sebastian St. Cyr Regency murder mystery out by C. S. Harris (#13 in the series), and I’m reading up onto it from #7 to refresh my memory.  (Each of the books is stand alone, so you can start with any book in the series, but the reading experience is greatly enhanced by reading them in the (chronological) order in which they were written.)  The books  are well written and meticulously researched, and the characters are very three-dimensional and engaging.  One of the things I like about the books is that Harris sets her works, not in the romanticized glittering Regency of the romance novel, or the sequestered, self-contained world of Jane Austen, but in the gritty historical reality that was the Regency period in England (1811–1820) — warts and all —  the crime, the poverty, the inequities of the class system and the legal system, and the aristocratic attitudes and privileges that reinforce the status quo.

Another of the things I like about her books is that she sets them within their historical context, both in Europe and America.  Leading up to the period in which the novels are set was the American Revolution (1775-1783) and the loss of the American colonies, as well as the social upheavals of the French Revolution, which began in 1789, and the subsequent influx of French refuges into Britain fleeing the Reign of Terror.  During the time the books take place, Britain is fighting Napoleon on the continent (1803-1815).  In the first book, the hero, Sebastian St. Cyr, formerly a captain in the Duke of Wellington‘s army fighting against Napoleon in Spain and Portugal, has sold his commission and returned to England.  In one of the books, a plot point involves the British practice of stopping American merchant ships at sea and impressing American sailors off them into the British navy, one of the causes of the War of 1812, and we briefly meet Franklin, fils.   Another mentions a popular new novel called Pride and Prejudice, by the (at that time unknown) author of Sense and Sensibility,  and a certain black cat finally acquires a name.  Another involves a 3-year-old boy who will grow up to write a poem called “The Lady of Shalott.”   At the end of each book is an Author’s Note, in which Harris, who has a Ph.D. in 18th and 19th century European history, tells you what is actual history and what she changed, added, or manipulated to serve her plot — which is usually very little.  She also provides sources where you can read more about the particular issues or events featured in the plot.  Though the man character is a man, one of the historical themes that weaves through all her books is the issue of women’s status and women’s rights in Regency England and the roles society demanded that women play.  These themes are highlighted not only in plot points and the characters they involve, but are “made flesh” in one of my favorite characters in the books, a certain grey-eyed young lady named Hero.

You can read the Sebastian St. Cyr books on several levels.   They are entertaining and well-plotted, with engaging, well-rounded characters, a “good read.” But there’s plenty of meat on the bone — historical, sociological, psychological — to give you something of substance to chew on afterward, and maybe explore further.  Enough meat that they hold up to rereading very well.  And, yes, what Sebastian has (Bithil syndrome) is a for-real (though quite rare) genetic mutation.


Out and About

Spent the middle of the day out running around.  Doc visit, shopping for some needed household items and groceries. Got it all shopped, schlepped in, and put away.   Whew!

Then, I heard one of those potatoes I baked yesterday calling my name.   Of course, what it wanted was to be glooked all up nice with some margarine, chopped ham, broccoli, cauliflower, a drizzle of Ranch dressing and a sprinkle of Mexican four cheeses, and for me to eat it.  Oh, the nums!

Of course, now that I’ve eaten it all,  I remembered I have two little jars of mushrooms still sitting in the pantry . . . . drat!  Well, I still have two potatoes left, and one of those jars is about right for two potatoes.  I also got some deli chicken, so I can have the next one with chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, and maybe some chopped black olives . . . and a bigger drizzle of Ranch dressing . . .  Now, there’s a nice thought.

You’ll notice I make my baked potatoes in a soup bowl.  (There is a method to my madness!)   Oh, and if you’re going to put a bowl on a plate, put a paper napkin/serviette, or a folded paper towel in between them, and the bowl won’t be so slide-y on the plate when you’re carrying it and eating from it.

This afternoon, I phoned the guy’s insurance company to see who they work with here in town for body work.  There were about five.   I picked out two that are relatively close to my house (one was way downtown, another was way to the SW outside the Loop, another was way out NW of the Loop). Tomorrow,  I’ve got to go to those two auto repair places and see who gets to fix my car.  Depending on how I feel later in the afternoon, I may just go to knitting group tomorrow night, for the first time in months!

But, I have videos to watch and knitting to do, and I’m going to take my dishes to the kitchen and see what I can rustle up for a judicious application of dessert.  Then , I can kick back and watch videos and knit a little.