Twisted Sifter had this little gem to share. I thought it would be OK to share it with you good folks.
Tag: Things ‘n’ Stuff
Plus ça Change . . .
My knee was doing really well on the diclofenac there for a while, and then I hauled a waste basket full of about 30 lbs worth of used kitty litter out to the dumpster and now it’s howling again. (Instead of spending $19 a box for 10 Littermaid containers, and throw them away when they got full, I put a trash bag in this waste basket that had a lid and dumped the contents into it, and reused each Littermaid container until it wore out. When the waste basket was full, I tied off the trash bag and dumped it into the dumpster. Since the waste basket was only half full, I didn’t think it would be so heavy that I would need to use my little red wagon to haul it to the dumpster. Famous last words . . .) There for a while, I was walking normally with no pain. Now I’m cripping around again. Sigh. Used kitty litter is one problem I won’t be having to deal with now –a very tiny upside to a very big downside. . .
I’ve started reading the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. It’s like a mashup of Horatio Hornblower and Jane Austen but with dragons(!). I’m just about halfway into the first of the nine (soon to be 10) books in the series, and so far, I like it. I thought I’d give it a try since I liked her novel Uprooted enough to keep my copy of it to reread.
For literally, like, 20 years I have had this clunky old desk lamp with a weighted base with the light part on an extension arm that I am continually having to futz with because, while the extension arm has knobs that can be tightened to hold it in position, the light part does not. It will only hold the light part horizontal when the extension arm part is in certain positions. In any other position, the light part will either slowly but surely lose its position, or suddenly decide it doesn’t want to do this any more and just give out, whack! I finally got tired of fooling with it, saw another desk lamp I liked the look of and thought I’d order it –without checking the dimensions. . . Yup. Too short to fit over my computer screen, but it works on my reading table just fine, though. It’s an LED lamp and the second of its three brightness level lights up my tablet without putting a lot of glare on the screen like my bedside light does. It has a goose-neck bendy part so it’s easy to position and stays put. The lamp cord ends in a USB plug so you can run it off your PC or laptop — being LED, it doesn’t draw much juice at all — but it also comes with a USB to AC adapter that lets you plug it into a wall outlet. Reminds me of the ray thing on the Martian saucers from the 1953 version of the movie “War of the Worlds”, though. (I look up at it, think, “I am under attack by Martians,” and giggle. . . ) I did some rearranging and finally found a way to get my old lamp base and extension arm positioned so that the lamp part is parallel to the line of my screens and so far (touch wood!), I have not had the lamp part suddenly flop down and bang into the top of the screen and startle the bejezus out of me. . .
Yes, I am self indulgent and like to read in bed (pourquoi pas?), so toward that end, I acquired one of these, and one of these to go with my this. As you might know, plug strips have holes in their undersides that allow them to be screw mounted to things. I have a plug strip with a 12-foot cord mounted to the underside of the table to plug my tablet into so it doesn’t run out of juice right in the middle of the exciting part and make me stop and recharge it. Yes, I have a Kindle Fire (have had for about 5 years, in fact), but the Kingpad has a bigger screen and I can see a whole page at a time instead of a third of a page, which is all the Kindle Fire will show me, unless I make the type so small it defeats the purpose. I have an internet radio app on the Kingpad on which I can tune into SomaFM’s Drone Zone, or listen to my Napster app and have music while I read, and I am happy as the proverbial clam.
I am currently in love with Prokofiev’s Cinderella Waltz. It is the perfect fairy tale waltz, with an arcane and quirky melody with dark, minor-key magical undercurrents, occasionally bursting into major key exuberance, only to fall back into the minor key to keep reminding us that while Cinderella has made it to the ball and is dancing with the prince, this is not yet, and nowhere near, the triumphant, happily ever after bit. I think I also love it because it is so very not-Disney. (Right after the oddly abrupt end is when the clock begins to strike midnight.)
In the knitting news, I was going great guns on this toboggan with ribbed hem when I noticed I was not going to have enough yarn to finish it. I couldn’t match the yarn, so it got completely frogged*. I’ve started over using one of those Caron Cakes, (I don’t like the cakes any better than I like the pull skeins, which is not at all and, no, I’m not going to get a spike just so I can use them.) Judging from the size of the ball (I had to get my big-ball bowl out), there should be plenty of yarn to finish a ribbed hem toboggan. I’ll use the other yarn to make a hat that just has a simple ribbed brim. That dark turquoise string dangling about is the length of cotton yarn I used for the provisional cast-on. I use the cotton yarn for my “scrap yarn” because it’s a sturdy yarn that I can reuse over and over, and it doesn’t leave behind any yarn fuzz when you pull it out.
Just a note: Whenever I’m doing something circular like a hat, I never count my slip knot from the cast-on as a stitch. I start counting with the first cast on stitch. To join and begin knitting in the round, I move the slip knot over to my left-hand needle and do a k2tog with it and the first cast-on stitch. I especially like this method for hats as you don’t get that little “jog” between the cast on row and the first row of knitting. This is also why I use a slip knot on my working yarn with the provisional cast-on instead of knotting it to the scrap yarn. — I use the scrap yarn method of provisional cast-on because I find it easier to work with when turning the hems on these toboggans than the crocheted method.
I’ll leave you with a couple of pieces of nerd candy I chanced across the other day. For the trivia nerds, the woman in this video is the mother of a very famous princess. Can you guess which one?. . . The one below is for the science/math nerds. I’m sure Neil DeGrasse Tyson, my personal astrophysicist, has been tweeted this one so many times he’s sick of it . . . .
The Best Laid Plans
One nice thing about being retired is that “morning” starts whenever the heck I want it to. With my strong nocturnal inclinations, today it’s starting at 10:00 pm because I slept all day. (Another thing about being retired is that I can sleep until I get tired of it.) Working nights and working from home, as I did for nearly 25 years, has a tendency to isolate you from the day-to-day hustle and bustle and for those of us (like me) who prefer peace and quiet, and a relatively uncluttered life, that’s just as fine as frog hairs. I already had a tendency to live off in my own little world, emerging into the mainstream from time to time as life demanded, even before this dumpster fire of a Presidency. . . .
Since knitting group is on Tuesday night, what generally happens on Tuesdays is I shower and wash my hair. I know there will be those who are simply shocked by the idea that I don’t wash my hair more than once a week, but I have very fine, fly-away hair, and if I wash it more than twice a week, it stands up and roars, and then it splits and breaks to pieces. (I have childhood memories of a green Studebaker with woven plastic seat covers, and in the process of sliding across the front seat to get out on the driver’s side — I was too small to work the car door handle by myself — I would pick up enough of a static charge to turn my head into a dandelion clock.*) I don’t cut my hair either, except to trim the ends now and again; I never blow dry it, or use a curling iron on it. I wash it, let it dry in the air, put it in a pony tail, and we get along just fine.
So, on Tuesday, I shower, wash my hair and get dressed. Then I strip my bed, and wash the sheets and towels. When that load has come out of the dryer, I wash a load of clothes — if I have enough for a load, if not, I’ll throw the clothes in with the sheets and towels and do a “full capacity” load. (It wasn’t until after my father passed that my mother understood why I never did more than two loads of wash in a week. One person simply doesn’t generate that many dirty clothes.) I have this nifty little wooden clothes hamper with a cloth insert — it holds just exactly a “regular” washer load. When it’s full, I pull out the cloth insert, schlep it to the laundry room and dump it out into the washer. While the clothes are washing, I put the sheets back on the bed. This time, in addition to the bedspread, I will put a blanket on. It’s been getting quite nippy lately.
By the time I’ve got the bed made, it’s just about time to put the clothes into the dryer. While the clothes are drying, I’ll have a meal. Then once the clothes are dry, I’ll hang/fold them all up and put the folded clothes away. (I pull the hang up clothes out of the dryer while they’re still slightly damp and let them hang overnight in the laundry room. The wrinkles hang right out! )
Once I’ve got the wash done, I’m done adulting for the day (actually, for most of the week) and I can do whatever I like until it’s time for knitting group.
In the course of moving house three times in the past 10 years, I’ve downsized quite a bit. I’m down to two sets of sheets — the set that’s on the bed and a spare. I’ve only got two sets of towels (wash cloth, hand towel, bath towel), one clean and one in use. On wash day, I throw the used ones in the wash, and move the clean set over ready to be used. Once the other set is washed, it goes into the “clean” rack. I have a winter and a summer bedspread (I’m rethinking the winter bedspread and have about decided to give it back to the world in favor of using my all cotton summer bedspread year round and putting a waffle blanket on in winter with the option of adding a second fleece blanket between the spread and waffle blanket if I need it.)
I downsized quite a bit during the move before last — things, stuff and furniture. This last move, not so much. I got rid of a set of dishes and glasses this time. I still have way too many dishes and glasses, but the extras look nice in my china cabinet. I could downsize way more, but at the moment, I’ve got room for what I have. One thing I learned way too late in life is to periodically go through my things and purge, keeping only those things I actually use and/or really love.
Another thing I’ve learned is not to buy anything that has to be dry cleaned. If I can’t toss it in the washer, I don’t buy it. That’s partly because working nights and sleeping days was incompatible with the hours of operation of almost all dry cleaners, and working from home eliminated the need for “work” clothes. (My washer and dryer work whenever I turn them on, day or night, and I don’t have to leave the house to use them.) It’s also because dry cleaning costs extra, over and above what it costs to buy laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and pay for the power it takes to run the equipment — as well as the gas and wear and tear on the car to convey the clothes to and from the dry cleaner. And there’s the time factor besides. Life is just too short, and there are other things I’d rather be doing with my time than keeping up with stuff that’s got to be dry cleaned.
So, now that I’ve had my “breakfast” (two toasted English muffins, one with turkey and Muenster cheese on, one with ham and cheddar cheese on, washed down with Earl Grey hot — nums!), I expect I’ll go and take my bath so my hair will have plenty of time to get good and dry before I go outside. (Our predicted high today is only 44 F/6.6 C). I expect I’ll want a jacket when I head off to knitting group.
*The average humidity where I live up here in the flatlands is 44%. Today it’s 21%. I have a mister bottle of distilled water by my sink. I give my hair a light spritz before I comb it each morning. Otherwise, I will have Rice Krispies hair — Snap! Crackle! Pop!