I Did It Again

You saw it coming, didn’t you.  Showed you a little “proof of concept” piece for a rectangular shawl I’m calling “Short, Sweet and Nubby.”  And isn’t the yarn I tested the pattern on a nice color of purple?  Well, guess what?  That yarn isn’t just purple.

It’s Sike-a-Delic!

So, I just couldn’t stand it.  Casted it on (99 stitches), and I’ve been working on it for a couple of days now.  It’s worsted yarn on US9(5.5 mm) needles, so it goes pretty fast.  Nearly at the end of the first ball.  I have six regular size skeins and a gigunga skein of this yarn, so I’ll have plenty.

I really wanted a rectangular shawl today.  I was chilly about my upper body and shoulders and, so I put on The Assassin’s Daughter shawl, but it was too “all encompassing” and consequently too warm.  A rectangular shawl would have been just right.  I have two triangular shawls in my wardrobe — Malguri Morning, and The Assassin’s daughter. I have no rectangular shawls in my wardrobe.  See?  I need to do this one right now.  Never mind that I have humpty zillion other UFOs, some of which are rectangular shawls.  No.  I have a large gap in my shawl wardrobe which I must fill right now! Sigh.

Stuff I need to do:

  • Rake my back yard and put the rakings in the dumpster. (Monday and Tuesday are predicted to be in the low 80’s F/26+ C, so that’s when I need to do that thing.)
  • Do a major sort out on my yarn stash, with a rearrange of storage units, a sort through and weed out of yarn, do a realistic frog-it-or-finish-it sort, and frog the stuff I know I won’t finish.
  • Block a bunch of knitted shawls and send them to their new homes, which entails getting out the folding banquet table, the steam iron, and blocking mat. (Do ASAP before hot weather sets in.)
  • Make two lap robes. I have the blankets.  I just need to haul out the sewing machine, the banquet table, and sew the lap robes.

Replacing The Lights That Failed

I finished my little iPouch, but haven’t had a chance to use it yet.  Now that I have a photo of the finished product, I can post the pattern in Knits From The Owl Underground.

I’ve nearly finished the second ball of yarn on the Irene shawl, which is coming along slowly but surely, a couple of rows at a time.  One more ball to go.   It’s in Malabrigo sock yarn on a US6 (4.0 mm) needle, so it’s pretty slow going.  I’m pleased with how it’s turning out, though.  It will be an asymmetrical triangular shawl with the triangle being scalene — none of the sides will be of the same length.

I want to do one of these projects now.  The one on the left is a very large circular — “cowl” I suppose you’d call it.   You put it round your waist, give it a twist into a figure 8, and put the top loop of the “8” over your head.   If you knitted it as one long strip, you’d have to Kitchner it together, though.  I like how it provides warmth without dangling bits and needs no fasteners to keep it on.  I’d have to make it wider, though.   I like the  “mobius” shawl on the right for the same reason — no loose ends.  There is a mobius cast on that allows you to do it without having to Kitchner it together.   You have to cast on all the stitches along one edge of the shawl — the trick is figuring out how many stitches you need because the shawl only has one edge!  I’d have to use my 60-inch circular needle for that one.

I had to take a shower in the (relative) dark the other day because the light “bub” in the shower burned out.  The master bedroom in the duplex has this really goofy en suite with the sink, counter,cabinets and mirror just out in the open at one end of the bedroom, not closed off or anything.   The toilet and shower are located in a little room off to the side which can be closed off with a sliding door.  Fortunately, the “water closet” portion of the little side room also has a light.  Of course, in order to replace the burned-out bulb, I first had to figure out how to get to it.  Turns out the outer ring pulls down on two long strips, far enough to get to the bulb.

Then, last night, I was heading toward the kitchen in the dark when I noticed a flickering light coming through the frosted window beside the front door.   I have these two yard lights which are on sensors and turn on automatically when it gets dark.  I have LED bulbs in them which are supposed to last 10 years.  Guess what.  The bulb in this light up near the porch was flickering — malfunctioning — so I had to figure out how to replace that one as well.  Turns out, all I needed to do it was a straight screw driver.

We’re getting our fall color now.  There are a fairly high percentage of oak trees in this section of town and their leaves turn this marvelous deep red.  This one is across the street.  It hearkens to that shade of red Frank Lloyd Wright liked — which he called “Cherokee red” — and used extensively in his buildings.

There’s a local landmark — the smiley-face bush — which started out as just a round topiary bush at the corner of this house at an intersection along a major north-south street.  The then owners of the house cut eyes and a smile into with hedge cutters to make it look like a smiley face.  Apparently, it’s in the deed to the house that whoever owns it has to keep up the smiley-face bush.  The current owners go all out and have set googly eyes into it and add various seasonal accessories.  For Halloween, they had the bush dressed up as Frankenstein’s monster.  Now they’ve got it dressed up as a turkey.  I snatched this photo the other day while I was stopped at the traffic light.  You may need to click on it to enlarge it so you can see it.

iPhones, iCords, iCicles and iGivup

It’s been interesting weather.  We got ice pellets, had thundersnow, rain, and the world was coated with ice this morning.  I could hear the pellets of ice hitting the window screen last night when I was at the computer.  It thundered several times last night, too, and once there was this terrifically loud BANG!! which was probably a utilities transformer going kablooie.   The lights have been flickering from time to time.  As much ice as there is on everything, including trees, I’m not surprised.  What is surprising is that I haven’t had a sustained power loss yet. (Touch wood!) 

We have a unique electric utility situation here.  For years and years, we had two power companies, a large, multistate private power company and a municiple utility company, competing for the same customer base, each with its own duplicate infrastructure, generator stations, etc.  People could choose which service they wanted to take from.  Then, about 15-20 years ago, the private utility company was bought out by Excel Energy and in the corporate restructuring, they sold their local infrastructure to the City. Whoever you were getting your electricity from at the time of the sellout, that’s the infrastructure your house remained connected to.  So, your neighbors’ power could go out, and yours wouldn’t, or an outage might only affect a scattering of four or five houses on the block.  It all depends on which infrastructure the outage is in relative to the infrastructure your house was connected to at the time of the sellout.  It’s really weird.

Just now, the lady in “B” called to tell me there was a branch that had broken off the stupid locust tree in my back yard.  It was hung up on the fence and the big end of it was hitting up against my cable wire.  But, it was wedged in between the fence pickets so tightly that she couldn’t maneuver it out by herself.  Actually, the  smaller branchings of it were straddling the fence, with most of them on my side.  I went into the back yard to see if we could get it loose/down so it wasn’t hitting  my cable “war.”  We managed to get the branch loose.  It was easiest to push it over into her yard, so that’s what we did.   There’s my excitement for the day.

The weather has warmed up enough that we’re melting now. Everything is dripping, and the ice that had coated the trees and wires is falling off in large chunks with every breath of wind.  it’s all over the yard.  Now and again I hear the Whump! of a wad of icicles falling off the eaves.

I’ve taken a viewer’s suggestion and scoped out some Bluetooth earbuds.  So now I’ll have to get one of those wireless charger disk doodads, too, but they’ll have to come out of next month’s budget.  Sigh.  I hate the shape of the corded iBuds that came with the iPhone.  They won’t stay in my ears worth beans.  The proposed Bluetooth earbuds are the kind that work best for me. The trick will be keeping them charged.  Now, if they could just make a wireless charger that works on people. . . .

The majority of my slacks have pockets, but most of their pockets are too shallow for an iPhone to fit into.  (Since iPhones first came out in 2007, that tells you what a clothes horse I’m not.)  When I go to cardiac rehab sessions, the car keys and the iPhone go in my pockets, and my purse gets locked in the trunk (boot) of my car.

Last night I got a wild hare to knit me an iPouch to hang around my neck so I will have a place to carry my iPhone when I wear slacks with unsuitable or no pockets.  I’m knitting it bottom-up using Turkish cast on (like you do with toe-up socks) to avoid having to Kitchener stitch the bottom closed.  Guess what the stitch is called that produces that long tail — it’s the iCord stitch.  Really.   I’ve still got about 10 inches of iCord left to knit.    It’s a really simple little pattern using not a whole lot of worsted yarn — You may recognize the color.  It’s an oddball I had left over from The Assassin’s Daughter shawl.  I like the way the colors are pooling

Everybody keeps saying that the iPhone is so intuitive.  How neurotypical of them.  My experience has been that it’s frustrating and counterintuitive  to the point that it causes me to iSwear.

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.

A Belated Birthday Present

You know what they say about the best laid plans.  I was out of pocket most of Tuesday getting lab work done, running errands, and the like, getting ready for the surgery that was supposed to take place today, and so was unaware that the orthopedist’s office had been trying to reach me.  They left me a message to call, but it was Wednesday morning before I could return the call.   They were calling me to tell me that the surgery I was supposed to have today had to be rescheduled as the orthopedist was called out of town unexpectedly.   The surgery has been rescheduled for 5/24.  I’ll still be getting a new knee for my birthday, but it’ll be a belated birthday present.

In a way, I’m glad.  That gives me a lot more time to get ready. It gives everybody more time to get the bureaucratic ducks in a row, and me more time to fine tune my furniture and domestic arrangements, and get better organized.

It also gives me time to do some much-needed yard work.  The roses are going nuts, blooming like crazy.  The flower bed, however, is a mess.  The roses need pruning, the bed needs weeding, and the back yard needs raking because of that stupid locust tree and the beans (and consequent seedlings) everywhere.  How much of that yard work will actually get done remains to be seen.

Dumped On By Diego

Woke up to this.  We were supposed to get 1-3 inches (3-8 cm)  They were saying we got more like 8-9 inches (20-23 cm) and it’s still coming down like crazy.   Worried about Ninja.Chickens who lives just outside of Ashville, NC.  Worried about all the folks in Diego’s path.

Got rellies in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.  I’ve heard from them and they’re OK.  Got rellies south of Houston.  Heard from them and they’re OK.  When I texted my friend in Key West a pix of snow he texted me back and said it was 80 F(26.6 C) there at 11 a.m.  Ain’t that here!  Current temp here is 30 F (-1.11 C) and still snowing. Believe I’ll stay in out of it.  Life in the Flatlands.

Never mind.  I got Pedro’s Tamales, hot tea, lap robes, a sizeable to-be-read pile on my Kindle, and a knitting challenge.   Say tuned . . . .Oh, and I’m done knitting washcloths.  (!!) Finished the basket for my duplex neighbor who has been so good to me this year.

My friend LB’s corneal transplant surgery went OK yesterday.  She had a doctor’s appointment today.  They’re from Minnesota, so they’re like, ‘really?’

My mom just emailed me that she’s lost her TV signal.  She has Dish TV. I keep telling her she needs to get cable, but no.  She’s memorized the channel numbers of the channels she likes and she’s finally learned how to work their DVD. I’m trying to teach her how to channel surf.  This is a woman who’s 12 years older than broadcast television, and 4 years older than sliced bread.

Out From Under The Gun

All the gift baskets are finished except the one that goes next door, and I’ve just got half a washcloth to go to finish it.  I’ll finish that tomorrow, and maybe make one or two more Xmas balls.  Haven’t decided on that yet.  I was able to do a little reading — finally!   Want to do more.   There’s just not enough hours in the day, seemingly.

I‘ve got all this red and white yarn left from the Xmas balls, I’ve started a toboggan that will have Norwegian 8-leafed roses on the hem.  The nice thing about the toboggan is that whatever color work I do, if I restrict it to the hem area, when I turn the hem, that will cover up the floats!  As you can see, I’ve already gotten it started — on a US2.5 (3 mm) needle.  It’s going to take quite a while.  I’ve got about half the ribbed bit done.

I’ve got to go out tomorrow and get a magenta cartridge for my printer (printing out all those Xmas ball charts!) so I can print out the motif chart for the colorwork on my hat.  I’m using Caron Simply Soft yarn.  It’s acrylic (Don’t judge.  Some of us are allergic to wool.) and it has a lovely hand, but it splits like crazy.

At some point, I need to suck it up and rake the back yard.  Besides being all over leaves, that durn black locust has podded all over everywhere.  Even the thought of having to do it makes me tired.   Still, It’s not that big a yard, thankfully. I also need to do something with that front bed.  Whatever I do to it will have to be done by May, assuming I’ll be having knee replacement surgery then.  I’d like to transplant those roses to the back yard where their feet won’t be wet all the time.  They’ve got black spot badly and it’s because very time it rains, they sit in the runoff from the roof.  I’d like to get some turks’ cap bushes, some lavender and maybe some sage, and interleave them with assorted wildflowers. Something low maintenance.   I really don’t want to fool with a yard, but the exercise would be good for me, as long as I don’t overdo.

Snowing Outside as Well as Inside

I’ve finally finished crocheting all the snowflakes I plan to crochet this year.  There is glitter EVERYwhere, especially in the living room carpet by where I have the ironing board set up. Whoopee!(I have it set up in the living room right next to the dining area so I can use the dining table to put the bottle of stiff stuff, and the containers of glitter and straight pins, and what not on.  I still have two snowflakes that need the second side stiffened and glittered, and then glue the ribbon loops on, and then packing one bunch to mail.  I was going to try to get them there before Christmas, but obviously, that isn’t happening.

Then I have to clean up the mess.  Ugh. I out-and-about-ed all day yesterday — I went to the dentist and the verdict is that the post is looking great.  I’m supposed to come back Wednesday-week to get the impressions made for my new molar.  I had the tooth pulled in May.  I’ll finally get the implant/replacement in January.  I will be so glad to finally be able to chew on that side again. (Oh, I can chew on that side, but it’s a bootless undertaking . . .)

After that, I went to visit my friend LB and took her a snowflake.  She had knitted a bunch of snowmen and gave me one.  She is currently dealing with her third recurrence of breast cancer which has now metastasized to her bones.  ( She’s being treated at the same cancer center where I donate the hats.)  She’s had a third round of chemo and radiation treatments to her ribs where it first showed up in the bone.  Her latest MRI showed she had lesions in all but two of her thoracic vertebrae.  She’s trying to stay upbeat.  They’ve started her on this new pill type chemo that is supposed to be really great.  I hope it works.

Last week, the battery on my computer UPS device died — I have two UPS devices, and the battery on the other one died first, and I changed them out.  Now this one died as well — and I had to go get a new battery.  I took one of the dead ones in to be sure I got one that would work, and since both devices use the same battery, I got two.  I left the dead battery with them to recycle (it contained lithium), and one of the errands I had to run yesterday was to take the other dead battery in to get it recycled as well.  And I had to go to this store to get this thing and that store to get that thing, and then shop groceries. By the time I got home, and got everything sorted out and put away, I was pooped.  As a result, I went to bed too soon after I ate supper and had a bad reflux episode, woke up coughing and gagging, with my nose streaming.  I had a hard time getting back to sleep again, and I have a sore throat, and I’ve been wheezing all day.

I had an optometry appointment at the VA today, and they dilated my eyes.  I looked a little weird wearing dark glasses on such a grey, overcast day, but I was able to drive home.  In addition to being grey and overcast, it was also colder than the proverbial wedge (our overnight low is supposed to be 24F/-4.44C tonight).  I stopped by my moms later this afternoon, after my eyes had settled down, and  her halls are quite thoroughly decked.  Our family moved to that house in the 1960’s.  The house had a fireplace but no mantelpiece, which my mom found odd and disappointing.   At the time, my mom was doing ceramics as a hobby — one of her friends had a shop for hobbyists with molds and kilns, etc., — and she was working on this deluxe nativity set which would have been perfect to display on a fireplace mantel — alas!  My dad decided to make her one, and did woodcarving on it.  It took him forever (his projects usually did), but finally he got it done. (The reason it took forever was that he was so painstaking.  The results speak for themselves).   The white pieces pf the nativity set stood out better before mom had the brickwork (and the wood paneling) in the den painted.

The picture above the mantel is a photograph my dad took of my late aunt’s former house in El Paso all decorated with luminarias.  He had it enlarged and framed and they gave it to her one year for a gift.  When she passed, her son wanted mom to have it as a memento.  My dad’s niece made my parents promise that if they ever sold the house, she could have the mantel.   When my brother and I were little (1953), this lady in their church made stockings for us and my mom hangs them up every year.  I cropped them out of the picture, because this is not Facebook.

As mom and I were sitting in the den visiting this afternoon, I looked up through the sliding glass door into their back yard, and it was snowing — just not sticking.  When I got back home,   Lo, how a rose e’er blooming in my flower bed was sprinkled with snow.   Three days before Christmas, it’s still blooming.

After having to listen to this rock diva and that country music star warble and butcher all the popular* Christmas carols in practically every business I went into yesterday, I hunted up some little off-piste delights — trained singers singing a carol that hasn’t been sung into the ground because it’s one everybody knows.

A Rough Night and An Early Morning

To begin with, I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, and then about 4 a.m. I was rudely awakened by my tum having a ferocious argument with my supper, which supper shortly thereafter got the bum’s rush (Get out!).  I mean, I barely had time to get to the appropriate location before I was calling Huey!  I was just drifting off to sleep again at about 6 a.m when I had to get up precipitously again. (And stay out!).  I finally got to sleep again, only to be awakened at a quarter past 8 by the loud growl of a chain saw beside the house.

I had arranged for a tree trimming guy to come out at around 9:30 this morning to cut a half broken limb from B’s pecan tree that was dangling astride my cable wire.  I had noticed it the day before when I had a cable guy come out to try to find out why every 15-20 minutes, my TV picture would freeze and “pixelate” for a second or two, and why when I was streaming music, it would stop abruptly for a second or two. It was a sizeable branch, and if it had finished breaking it would have fallen on the cable wire from the pole to the house and knocked the wire down.  If that had happened, I would have had to pay for having it restrung — and you can bet it wouldn’t be cheap!

Yesterday afternoon, after the cable guy had left, I was able to sweet talk my landlady, who is really a very nice lady anyway, into springing for the cost ($350) of having the tree trimming guy come out to not just trim the dangling pecan branch, but remove the 6-foot stub of locust trunk at the side of the house that had riotously resprouted, remove the Siberian elm saplings from and trim what the landlady says is a yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) growing between my garage and B’s, but which I think is a Japanese holly (ilex crenata).  (Yaupons have red berries and this thing doesn’t.)

The tree trimming guy was supposed to come out at about 9:30 or 10 this morning, but he was out at 8:20 (!) sawing away on the other side of my bedroom wall, taking down the locust trunk.  He had this little chainsaw on a pole contraption that made short work, not only of removing the Branch of Damocles,  but of trimming all the branches on both B’s pecan (her yard is “squirrel heaven”) and my (#$*&%! beans which nothing eats!) locust tree that could hit against the cable wire in a wind and cause problems. (In the flatlands, “wind” is air moving in excess of 20 mph.  Air that’s moving slower than that is classified as “light breeze.”)

He located and stumpified the Siberian elm saplings in the mystery bush between the garages and winkled them out, then trimmed the thing back into submission so it looks very nice now.  Not as boxy as it should, but a lot better than it did.  And that decapitated trunk by the side of the house that had resprouted these wild wavy branches all over the place was cut down, cut up, and removed.  He made short work of it, and also “neatened” up the adjacent tree beside the fence.

The tree trimming guy was a very nice, and quite large, Black man who sounded like he might have come from Jamaica.  Now, my mom, even on such brief acquaintance, would have found out his wife’s name, what she did, the names and ages of all his children and grandchildren (he was in his late 50’s), and would have gotten the skinny on how a Jamaican had ended up on the flatlands of Texas, inside of about 10 minutes.  (I often think my mom missed her calling.  She would have made a crackerjack investigative reporter, or private investigator.)

Oh, and yesterday afternoon, after I had advised B that she might discover a large Black man with a little chainsaw on a pole in her back yard tomorrow (I didn’t know where he’d have to go to reach that pesky branch), we were standing on her porch talking about things and stuff, when a hummingbird came up and started in on her Turk’s Cap shrubs (Malvaviscus arboreus ) which is a species of hybiscus. I think it was a female/juvenile rufous hummer (Selasphorus rufus) but I wouldn’t swear to it.  Could have been a female or juvenile ruby-throated (Archilochus colubris).  Seeing a hummingbird never ceases to thrill and delight yrs trly.

So, the tumult and the shouting having died, the tree guy and the trimmings having departed, and the experience having been duly blogged about, I think I’m going to take my quarrelsome tum back to bed and see if both of us can catch up on some sleep.