Here We Go Again

We’ve been there and now we’re back, and it was not as good a trip as it could have been if the weather had cooperated Sunday, but not as bad as it could have been, either, if hurricane Patricia, which plowed into the west coast of Mexico Friday night, had not dissipated as quickly as it did.  I drove a total of 1139.5 miles from the time I backed out of my parking space in the parking lot at 6:50 a.m. 21 October, 2015, to the time I pulled back into my parking space at 6:45 p.m. on 26 October, 2015.

We left for Pearland, Texas, on Wednesday, 21 October, and the weather was cool and overcast for the drive down.  I got the fat boy (Jaks, my cat) to the pet hotel right at 7 a.m., got mom loaded up and we were on the road by 7:30. We were going to stay with my cousin EJ (mom’s sister VJY’s oldest girl) and she had promised us Cornish hens stuffed with wild rice, so rather than stop somewhere for lunch, we just snacked on protein bars and peanut butter crackers.  In fact, we only stopped the once to fill the car’s tank (and empty ours!).  The traffic was fairly light considering that most of the drive is on S(tate) H(ighway) 36, which is only a two lane road, albeit with wide shoulders and strategically placed passing lanes; but when we got to US 290, which is three to four lanes each way, the traffic picked way up, and by US 610, it was bumper to bumper and snarled.  Even Co(unty) R(oa)d 518 was crowded, even though it was only sneaking up on 4 p.m. when we hit Pearland. We arrived in my cousin’s driveway at shortly after 4 p.m.

2015_10_21-01My cousin had invited my dad’s youngest brother’s youngest girl EGG and her husband P, to join us for dinner, which was abundant and scrumptious.  She is into genealogy, too, and her husband has done the DNA test that I want to do, as soon as I can allocate the funds . . .

We were glad of the chance to visit with them, as we hadn’t seen them since my dad’s funeral in September of 2014.  Her dad KG was my dad’s youngest brother, and our two families were closer than those of his other siblings.  When KG passed, my dad kind of adopted them, and when EGG married, she asked my dad to walk her down the aisle.

2015_10_22-01Thursday morning, we got to visit with Miss Raelyn Rose, my cousin’s grand daughter, mom’s great grand niece, and my first cousin twice removed (– yeah, I know.  You need a score card to keep track.) She’s the one I’ve been doing all the knitting for, and I had finally finished her other baby afghan and had brought it with.  At 9 weeks, she’s not all that active yet, but she soon will be, and this afghan was designed to be spread out on the floor to put the baby on.  Miss RR is as cute as a bug, and very good.  She fell asleep in my mom’s arms, and slept there a good half hour.   My cousin EJ has one of the pair of rocking chairs that were her mother’s (her sister has the other one), and Miss RR got rocked in it. (see below)

Pearland - Round Top - 2015 005 Pearland - Round Top - 2015 017Later, my cousin’s daughter RDC came over and took mom and me, EJ and her husband to lunch at the Monument Inn, which is located right next to the Houston Ship Channel, and we noshed on seafood and watched the barges come and go. I had fried shrimp and scallops, and they were wonderful.  My cousin EJ had them bring my mom a celebratory slice of cheesecake with cherries to celebrate her 91st birthday last month.

The “Monument” the restaurant’s name refers to is the San Jacinto Monument (at left), which marks the site of the Battle of San Jacinto, which was the decisive battle in which Texas gained its independence from Mexico and became 2015_10_22-05a Republic.  Sam Houston and his army of “Texians” defeated the Mexican army and captured General Lopez de Santa Anna.  The restaurant is located near the battlefield monument.

Battleship TexasAlso near the monument is the battleship USS Texas (BB-35), (below) which was decomissioned from the US Navy and turned over to the State of Texas on 21 April, 1948, the 112 anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, and now sits in permanent dock.  A marine color guard was present at the ceremony in 1948 (and got their picture in the Houston Chronicle!), and one of the marines in the color guard was my dad!  The Texas is now the flagship of the Texas Navy.

Insignia of USS Texas(As a side note, on 31 July, 2004, the USS Texas (SSN-775), a Virginia-class submarine, was christened by then First Lady Laura Bush, and was commissioned on 9 September 2006.  At left is their insignia:  The star and circle is the badge of the officers of the Texas Department of Public Safety Texas Rangers division.  The “Don’t Mess With Texas” motto originally started out as an anti-littering slogan, but it works on so many levels. . . )

Friday, the weather was a little iffy, with scattered showers, but my cousin and her husband drove us to visit my mother’s brother AJ and his daughter and son-in-law, who live in Clute, Texas .  My mom is the 12th of 12 children, and all but her brother AJ (below left) have passed.  He is her only remaining sibling.  He’s 97.  Although still physically active, he is suffering noticeably from dementia and requires a live-in care giver. Pearland - Round Top - 2015 034

His daughter GM and her husband live across the street. That’s my mom, her brother and her niece GM at left.

On the way back, we drove through Pearland down Yost Boulevard.  The Boulevard was named for EJ’s paternal grandparents, who owned a large parcel of land in that particular area. When I was a child, this area was all out in the country, and Yost Road, as it was then, was just an unpaved road covered with crushed oyster shells that jutted off the Friendswood highway.  EJ’s parents lived on the corner, and down the road lived various aunts and uncles, some cousins, my grandma and step-grandfather, and my uncle HJ lived at the very end of it. 2015_10_23-04 Of all those little wood frame houses set up on concrete blocks, only one house remains, that of my aunt EJW, the youngest of my mom’s three sisters (there were 4 boys, 3 girls, 4 more boys and my mom).  The only reason it is still there is because the people who live in the $2.5 million house next door bought it for their teenaged son.  2015_10_23-05He got to know my aunt, who was still living there at the time.  He became quite attached to my aunt and to the house, and after she had to go to the nursing home, his parents bought my aunt’s house for him.  He has autism spectrum disorder and he now uses it as his “retreat.”

2015_10_23-10Further down is the property that used to belong to my grandmother, and where her house was.  It has since been torn down, although the property remains vacant2015_10_23-07 (at right).  However, it was on this property where my mother was born, on the banks of Clear Creek, which runs behind the property.  Further down, is the house my uncle HJ built in the early 1990’s.  His grandson R is living there now.

I can remember going to family reunions at my uncle HJ’s old house, which sat back from the road — a little three-bedroom shotgun house up on cinder blocks.  In front of his property, along the road, was his satsuma orange grove.    He always had a large vegetable garden, and ran a few head of cattle on his partially wooded acreage. 2015_10_23-08Whenever he hosted the reunions, he would always have several “oil drum” barbecues going with steaks, chicken and deer sausage, and all the relatives would bring covered dishes.  My cousin EJ’s mother, VYJ, was famous (especially with my mom) for her chocolate meringue pies.  Eventually, my uncle HJ sold off most of his acreage, and now what used to be his orange grove is this exclusive, gated community filled with $2-3 million dollar homes.

Friday evening, mom, EJ and her husband B, EJ’s daughter R and her husband C went to a Pearland High School football game.  Pearland won, of course!  (Recently, the Pearland Little League All Stars went to the semi-finals in the Little League World Series.)  I am not much of a sports fan and chose not to go.  I watched TV, particularly the Weather Channel, as Hurricane Patricia was barreling into the west coast of Mexico, and we were concerned about the weather Sunday when we planned to go to Round Top, Texas.

Pearland - Round Top - 2015 050 Saturday, we attended the luncheon meeting of the Pearland Historical Society. As part of the program, they held a candle-lighting memorial and various people lit candles for their member relatives who had passed during the year.

Pearland - Round Top - 2015 053As my uncle HJ was a member of the PHS, my mom lit the candle for him.  (see below) During the opening speeches, however, we had a tremendous thunderstorm, and the electricity went off.

Unfortunately, the outage blew the fuse for the lights in the meeting room where we were.  A repairman was called, but in the meantime, we had to eat our luncheon of barbecued beef and chicken, baked beans and potato salad by the light of safety lamps.  In addition to several other cousins, my aunt EJW’s daughters, M and  W, were at the meeting.  They grew up in the little house on Yost Road (see above). W, who lives in Rosharon, was concerned about whether she was going to be able to get home as we were under a flash flood warning.  However, the flooding was not very bad and she had no problems getting through.

My maternal grandmother’s grave

On the way home, we stopped by the Pearland Cemetery to see graves of various family members buried there, including mom’s mother, and her father’s brother.

my paternal grandfather’s brother’s grave

We went to bed early Saturday night as we planned to set out to Round Top, Texas, at 6:30 Sunday morning, so that we could attend church services at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church there, which was founded by mom’s great grandfather, J. Adam Neuthard.

Done, To Do, and Rain in the Forecast

2015_10_18-02Finally finished the big baby afghan, and not a minute too soon.  We’re planning a trip south at the end of the month, and I will hand-deliver it, personally.  As the child in question, Miss Raelyn Rose, lives in Galveston, Tx, which is not notable for it’s cold climate, this is an “under” afghan, rather than an “over” one. It’s the “throw it down on the floor/ground and put the baby on top of it” kind.  It’s large and thick.   Plenty of room for a baby to roll and crawl about on it.  It’s such a simple pattern.  Good TV knitting.

Manaña, I’ve got to clean the inside of the glass in my car.  It’s getting tricky to drive at night because the inside of the windshield/windscreen needs cleaning and the lights looks bleary.  I’ll have to run my big extension cord out to the parking lot so I can vacuum the floorboard while I’m at it, which means I’ll have to shut the black kitty into the back part of the house because I won’t be able to shut the front door with a cord going out through it.

When I’m done cleaning up the car, I need to get my hair cut again.  Whenever I cut all my hair off, I invariably have to get it cut a second time about a month later.   After the first cut, when so much (14 inches this past time) gets cut off, it kind of goes “SPROING!” and the natural curl goes nuts.  I have to get it cut a second time once it settles down, to get the curl to behave.  Then I don’t cut it again for years and years.  It’ll be nice and short like mom likes it for our upcoming trip.  I’ve got some light shopping still to do as well.

2015_10_18-01Made my first pot of hot tea of the season Saturday.  Going to be time to get rid of the folded paper towels in my coaster areas — the tile coaster on my dresser, the plastic tray coaster by my TV watching chair, the coaster on my desk — which absorb the condensation and keep it from dripping on me when I pick up a glass to drink.  Working on my second pot of hot tea as I type.

Mom has expressed a desire to go to Savannah, Georgia, — and I’d like to go, too, come to that.  We’ve talked about it, but it’s a mammoth drive across four states (Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia) as well as the lion’s share of Texas,  to get there.  On the other hand, air fares are exorbitant any more.  I suggested that if my mom ever gets her inheritance from her late brother, that we fly to Savanah to celebrate.  Then Saturday, mom attended some luncheon or another and found a card by the plate telling of a 7-day tour somebody is organizing for next April.  Fly to Savanah, where there will be a bus and tours, then bus to Charleston, South Carolina and tour some more, then fly home.  For the two of us, it would be about $5600.  As she pointed out, she’s 91, and if she’s going to travel, she needs to do it while she is still able to — I should point out that she’s in better shape than almost all of her friends, even the ones 20 and 30 years younger than she is.  If she wants to go, I’ll be happy to go with.  She enjoys traveling so much, and I think it would be so much fun for the two of us to go together.

I’ve got knitting to finish tomorrow that I should be working on now.  Guess I should get a move on and do it.  One of the projects is very fiddly.  I can’t be doing anything else (like watching TV) when I’m working on it.  You’ve got to count every row.  But it will be lovely when it’s done.

During the last couple of days, Jaks (the black cat) has taken to lying under my desk when I’m at the computer.  That used to be the white one’s place, but since he is on the far side of the Rainbow Bridge now, it occurred to the black one to try it out. I think he is still missing the other two.  Now and again, he will go over by the washer and dryer (there toward the last, I fed the grey one on top of the dryer) and meow and meow.  He’s become a lot more vocal just since I lost the other two.

When I’m in the living room watching TV or knitting, he lies on the ottoman between my legs.  When I’m reading in bed, he insists on lying beside me with his head on my shoulder.  He’s still really clingy.

It’s forecast to be rainy all next week and it’s been getting cooler, too.  I’m afraid it’s going to fool around and get cold on us.


Hello, Goodbye and The Blind Men And The Elephant

I just finished rereading Fool’s Run by Patricia McKillip, and it went back on the bookshelf again because it will be reread again. Yes, it is that good.  McKillip is best known for writing “fantasy;” she must be good at it, not because she has won awards, but because her books still sell, but she’s also written some SciFi.  And here’s the thing that never ceases to exasperate me.  People say, “Oh, I don’t read SciFi” or “I don’t read Fantasy” like those genres are different somehow from mystery or romance, or what that good ol’ boys’ club of white middle-aged heterosexual men have decided is “Literature”  No matter what you dress it in, a good story is a good story.  A good story has multidimensional characters you can relate to and care about.  It has a plot that holds your interest and shows you things, not only about the characters, but about yourself. I guess some people must just have really heavy disbelief, or they don’t know how to rig it right to suspend it for as long as it takes for them to read a book.  And it’s ironic, in a way, because Fool’s Run is about communication and the different ways humans communicate, and how easily those communications can be ignored, misconstrued, or go completely unrecognized.

Humans are communicators.  It’s what we do.  We do it because we can’t not.  Some people are wired to communicate through the medium of shape, color and texture.  Someone else might be wired to communicate through the pitches, tones and durations of sounds.  Another might be wired to communicate through the words and meanings of language.  But, nobody has nothing to say.  Even not communicating communicates. A late, much lamented friend, when he telephoned, would invariably begin the conversation with “I’m here; are you there?”  The wonder of it is that everybody’s “here” is so completely and totally different; and the miracle of it is that sometimes, the answer to that question is not “Eh?”, or “What?”, or silence, but “Yes.”

Two threads of plot run through Fool’s Run.  On the one hand, it is spangly, sparkly SciFi upholstered onto the timeless framework of the Orpheus myth, and on the other hand, it is a very interesting take on the crux of communication as explored in the John Saxe poem, “The Blind Men and the Elephant.”  Both these threads are acknowledged, both overtly and subtly, down through the layers of the story.  Characters make reference to both the myth and to the poem.  And like the Orpheus myth, the plot hinges on a leap of faith all the characters are being asked to make.

What twines those two threads together in Fool’s Run is the gaps communication attempts to bridge and cannot. A musician who bares his soul through his music, and is known only by a stage name. Twins who were once as close as thought, and then suddenly and horrifically aren’t.  An administrator who has a job he doesn’t want anymore and is banging his head in frustration against a bureaucracy that is resolutely not hearing his requests to be transferred to another one. A psychiatrist who is attempting to find a method of communicating with minds mired in madness and is testing it on someone he believes is wildly psychotic.  An inarticulate policeman who is so locked down in his own grief and loss that he cannot get past it, who is trying desperately to make sense where there is none.  A woman caught in the grip of what everyone assumes is psychosis.  They are all people trying to understand a senseless, horrific act of violence whose first and most tragic victim was its perpetrator.

Fool’s Run could have been fantasy, or normal-ordinary-present-day mystery or police procedural, except for this one little elegant twist on the idea that slowly begins to emerge, which can only be addressed within the context of SciFi, but it’s a valid idea and, like the blind men and the elephant, and like every character in the book, it is vitally concerned with how important those things called “frames of reference”and “context” are to the act of communication.  “I’m here. Are you there?”  But then, sometimes, the thing most necessary to communication is a leap of faith.


Cowboys, Patriots and a Fox

!cid_CA0C1EF01B1B4A01898C614D83CB044A@FlorencePCBack in the summer of 2013, my mom got this pix of a fox in her yard drinking from the birdbath.  That was back when she still had the 6-foot fence (stained red) that came with the house.  We have foxes out here — as well as possums — in fact, one made national news coverage at one of my alma mater’s football games.  This summer, she got a new fence, one of those 8-foot jobs with the fence posts made from metal pipe set in concrete.  Foxes can and do climb fences (and trees), but I thought for sure one would not be able to scale mom’s new fence.

Well, mom got her new computer Friday, and it’s all set up and running now.  She got her email addresses all loaded and updated and everything, but doesn’t know how to make mail groups, nor did CK put on all the games she likes, or important bookmarks (like my blog). IHOP* is in the habit of sending her a coupon for a free meal for her birthday (which was last month), but she got another one this month for some reason, so after church, she met me at IHOP and we had “the usual.” (It’s a good thing I got there early and got on the waiting list.  There was a 20-minute wait for a table.  Yeah, I know.  At IHOP!  Of course, at noon on Sunday, right after church lets out, every restaurant in town immediately becomes packed. Even IHOP.  You couldn’t stir them with a stick.)  Then I followed her home to perform mail groups for her, convince programs not to open windows full screen, and made her some bookmarks, and put icons for her favorite games on the desktop, and otherwise got this computer to operate the same way she was used to operating the other one before it bit the dust.

After we got the computer sorted, mom turned on TV to get American football.  We caught the tail end of the Packers versus St Louis game, which went into sudden death overtime, and steamrollered right into Cowboys versus Patriots,  which was the game she was anticipating watching. (Somehow, my mom has turned into quite the sports fan.  She prefers baseball (Rangers), basketball (Raiders), and tennis, but it’s gotten to the point where she’ll even watch golf.)  We were watching the New England quarterback getting sacked good and proper by Dallas linebackers the size of buses, when a splash of a particular shape and color caught the tail end of my eye and I turned my head just in time to see a sho’nuff fox trot across the back yard.   Alas, I only managed to get an eye on him for a matter of seconds, and was unable to determine whether he got into and out of the yard over or under my mom’s new 8-foot fence, but by the time we’d scrambled the fighters and made it into the back yard, he was sho’nuff gone.

Oh, and BTW, since this is breast cancer awareness month, to show their solidarity, all the players and coaching staff, and even the referees had hot pink wrist bands,  rags (the quarterbacks, receivers and centers have one hanging out their back waistband to dry their hands on between plays to give them a better grip on the ball), and other sports gear.  Nothing raises awareness quite like a 6-foot 4-inch, 300 pound offensive tackle wearing a hot pink anything.

* pronounced “eye-hop” by the cognoscenti. . .

Me and Thee

2015_10_01-01Me and the fat boy hanging out while it rained on our house yesterday, and thundered some.  Don’t know how much we got, rainwise.  That’s my new printer table, which is just the right height, and has shelves and castors.  I’m not using it as a printer table, but as extra desk space.  I was using a wooden TV tray, and the constantly having to slide it back to get into the file drawers was making it wobbly, hence the new table, which folds flat for easy shipping/storage.  Cat not included.

You can just see the lower portion of the famous orange ashtray, which is a wonderful yarn holder.  I’ve had it since about 1970.  It’s heavy glass.  Weighs about a ton.  It was actually used as an ashtray for some of that time, but hasn’t been for a long time now.  Works much better as a yarn ball holder.

The seasons are turning.  We are now in that season where the world is sighing out of relief that the heat of the summer is past.  It’s the early evening of the year now, and the nightfall of winter is coming.

It’ll be me and the fat boy all on our own this winter.  There will be snuggling.  And knitting.





Crashing and Thumping Along

Mom called Sunday evening to tell me her computer died.  The hard drive crashed.  Our friend CK is ordering her a new one.  He hates Windows 8 and Windows 10, (me, too) and he will be putting Windows 7 on it, which is good, because that’s what she had on it.

The thing that finally struck her earlier this evening was that all her data on the old one was unrecoverable, and she lost her email address book and all her pictures.  While cleaning up her desk to make ready for the new computer (yes, I know), which will come next Thursday or Friday, she found what she said was a diskette (it’s a CD) from 2011 back when we got the computer that just croaked, where I copied things like her email address book with 9 gazillion email addresses to transfer to it from the computer it replaced, and she thinks it will be a simple matter to just bung it in and reload all that data on the new computer.  CK, who goes at things like a bull at a gate, will be the one doing it.  Hopefully, he will be able to recover most of her data base.  Of course, people have changed email addresses since 2011, and getting her address book sorted out and back up to date is going to be like a Keystone Kops car chase.

While looking up the phone number of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church for her so she can call and see what time church service is — she wants us to leave Pearland Sunday morning and drive 120 miles to Round Top in time to go to church —  I found this:

This is Joseph Ripka playing the church’s pipe organ which was built in 1865 by Johann Traugott Wandke, and contains all hand-carved wooden pipes made from local knotless cedar.  It’s one of the oldest organs in Texas.  You also get some shots of the church, which was founded by my great great grandfather J. Adam Neuthard in 1866, making it the oldest church still in continuous use in Texas.  You will notice the organ only has one manual, and has doors to close it off when not in use.  It does now have an electronic bellows; when it was first build, somebody had to pump it.

It seems that asymmetrical scarfs are all the rage so I wrote a pattern for one.  I’m calling it “Threepers Creepers” because it has three “K1, yo” at the front of the pattern row, and three “k2tog”  at the end we’re sneaking up on Halloween.  Because the body of the scarf is stockinette, it’s going to need blocking.  I got three skeins of this yarn, called “Gumdrop” in the color “Grape.”  I may try it again using garter stitch in the body instead of stockinette and see what that does.

Riverine Dreams

Mag Challenge 288
dream-2011 Jacek YerkaRiverine Dreams

I floated last night
Through a riverine dream
On a wide, amazonian
Somnambulent stream
In my barge of a bed
Like an African Queen
Carried down by the current
That slid slowly between
Faraway riverbanks
Of rustling green.
‘Neath a Cheshire cat smile of a moon

Deep in the delta
Between midnight and morning
I slid
Eddying elegantly
Through a
Shadowy, flickering
Floating World
Art exhibition of
Watercolor sculptures
Recumbent and strange
Of opaline oranges
Coleoptera greens
Butterfly reds
And aquamarines
Bowed along silently
By kimonoed curators
Through shadowy halls
With rice paper walls

The cat, of course,
Slept through it all.

Relating to Po

A carryover from the Crayola, the old 1987 Toyota Corolla that got traded in for the Silver Beetil, the new 2015 Toyota Corolla — a year old next month, actually — is the little Teletubby plushie keychain fob I’ve had, seemingly forever, dangling from the rear-view mirror of the Crayola, and now from the Silver Beetil, that helps me spot the Beetil in a parking lot (you’d be astonished at how many late-model silver sedans there are in this town).

If you know anything about the Teletubbies, there are four of them, each a different color:  Green, purple, yellow and red.  They each have a name, Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Lala, and Po, respectively.  I have the red one, Po.  (Mine has now faded to pink.  The Texas sun is brutal that way.) There’s an explanation that I do when somebody asks about it, or when I want to point it out:  “It’s a Teletubby, it’s Po. I relate to Po. I’m po’, too.”  It’s a pun/carom off the Southern/Afro-American pronunciation of “poor”  as “poh” (the origin of the “po'” in “po’boy sandwich“). (Black American Vernacular pronunciation typically elides final consonants.)  I did the schtick for the East Indian-American salesman at Gene Messer, where we got the new Toyota, and it sailed right by him, but the Black man who happened to be walking by at the time and who overheard it, cracked up, because he totally got it.

Anyway, Po changed cars when I did, because I’m still po’.  Even more so, now that my car insurance premium has tripled.  And, let’s face it.  Nobody likes to be poor. I certainly don’t.  And I am poor.  My monthly/annual income from Social Security falls between 100% and 120% on the Federal poverty guidelines, (i.e., between “at poverty level” and “just really poor,” according to the Federal Gummint)

Anyway, what started me off on this whole tack was looking at how many books I’ve reread this year owing to not having anything new to read.  There for a while, I could budget $20 a month for books.  If you buy used books through Amazon that could be as many as 5 books a month (I’m averaging 13 at the moment), which  is about right.  I got a Kindle because of my space problem — I only have room for five bookcases now(!), so I can only keep the books I know I will want to reread multiple times — but ebooks/Kindle books are almost as expensive as the dead tree editions —  anywhere from $11-$25 a book depending on how old the book is, and the genre.  Yep.  The proverbial rock on the one hand and the proverbial hard place on the other.  Sigh.  And the libraries here have nothing I consider interesting/fit to read.

I know.  I should count my blessings.  I have a roof over my head that (mostly) doesn’t leak, a nice sized apartment (600+ square feet) that is weather tight and in good repair, that I can afford to heat and cool. I can afford to eat regularly. I have shoes to wear and decent, climate-appropriate clothes.   I have a nice car (bought with my dad’s life insurance money) and I can afford a tank of gas a month.  I have TV and internet, and a rinky little cellphone. I’m able to scrape by without having to work, thanks to my mom, so I can be available to travel whenever she wants to.  I have my health.  Life could be a whole lot worse.  Still, I feel entitled to see the glass as half empty if I want to, and I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t wish that what the glass was half-full of was good German beer and not water . . . grumble . . . grumble . . .

RedditlogoI also have a left arm full of flu shot, which I got Thursday at the VA.  My arm was somewhat sore yesterday, and today apparently, my shoulder and upper arm have the flu and that particular region is not happy with me at all.  As I was driving home from the VA, I also noticed that in the big vacant lot behind the VA clinic, there is a prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) burrow.  I did a double take, and sure enough.  Three of them at the entrance to a burrow.    Really odd to see any inside the city limits — or to see one at all, as almost all the land use around the city is for farming and farmers (and ranchers) consider them pests.

While I was out, I got my car tags renewed as they were due for renewal this month — They’ve changed the procedure.  It used to be that once a year, you had to get your car inspected for road-worthiness at a State Inspection Station, and they gave you a sticker; and once a year, you had to get your vehicle registration, for which they also gave you a sticker.  You had to have both stickers and they both had to be valid, or any law enforcement officer who notices they aren’t will give you a traffic citation; however, having one was not a prerequisite for getting the other.  Now, you have to have a valid state inspection first, which they give you a receipt for and the inspector registers it in the Department of Motor Vehicles computer.  Then you go to a county clerk’s office, they look you up in the DMV computer database, and see that you have a valid state inspection and give you your new license plate and/or registration sticker (that’ll be $66, thank you very much). So now, you just have the registration sticker on your windshield /windscreen instead of a registration sticker and an inspection sticker.  Apart from having one less sticker to fool with, it also assures that nobody gets a registration sticker unless the car has passed inspection within the past year.  Anyway, that’s done and paid for, for another year.

Recently I’ve noticed that we’re sliding around to that part of the year where I’m going to have to start wearing more clothes inside.  It became apparent to me just now that my usual summer attire of a cotton tee-shirt dress and bare foots isn’t enough clothes.  I need to get busy and finish my new pair of sock feet because having bare feet on cold floors is now becoming undesireable.  The high for Monday is supposed to be 68 F/20 C, and the highest high in the five-day forecast is 80 F/26.6 C. It’s going to fool around and get winter on us, if we’re not careful . . .

I have the extension cord, but I need to move my dining room table so I can move my china cabinet and plug it into the wall outlet behind the china cabinet, so I can use my sewing machine.  I really need to get those lap robes done.  I’ve had the microfleece blankets to make them from for over a year.  However, there has been a tendency for roundtuits to be thin on the ground . . .


Books Read in 2015

120. Harrowing the Dragon, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
119. Alphabet of Thorn, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
118. Ross Poldark, Winston Graham
117. The Bards of Bone Plain, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
116. Flora Segunda, Wilce, Ysabeau S.
115. The Cygnet and the Firebird, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
114. The Sorceress and the Cygnet, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
113. Ombria in Shadow, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
112. The Tower in Stony Wood, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
111. Revenant, Richardson, Kat
110. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
109. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
108. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
107. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
106. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
105. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
104. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Rowling, J. K. (reread)
103. Liaden Universe Constellation, #3, Lee Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
102. Liaden Universe Constellation #2, Lee Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
101. Od Magic, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
100. A Liaden Constellation #1, Lee Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
99. The Tomorrow Log, Lee Sharon and Miller, Steve (reread)
98. Hunter of Worlds, Cherryh, C. J. (reread)
97. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
96. The Book of Atrix Wolfe, McKillip, Patricia (reread)
95. *The Winter Long, McGuire, Seanan
94. *The Winds of Marble Arch, Willis, Connie
93. *Firewatch, Willis, Connie
92. *The Best of Connie Willis: Award Winning Stories, Willis, Connie
91. Impossible Things, Willis, Connie
90. Dragon in Exile, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
89. Dragon Ship, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
88. Necessity’s Child, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve
87. Ghost Ship, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
86. Saltation, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
85. Fledgling, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
84. I Dare, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
83. Plan B, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
82. Carpe Diem, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
81. Agent of Change, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
80. Conflict of Honors, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
79. Mouse and Dragon, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
78. Scout’s Progress, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
77. Local Custom, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (re-reread)
76. Trade Secret, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
75. Balance of Trade, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
74. Crystal Dragon, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
73. Crystal Soldier, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve (reread)
72. Dragon in Exile, Lee, Sharon, and Miller, Steve
71. Uprooted, Novik, Naomi
70. Elfland, Warrington, Freda
69. Tracker, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
68. Peacemaker, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
67. Protector, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
66. Intruder, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
65. Betrayer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
64. Deceiver, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
63. Conspirator, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
62. Deliverer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
61. Pretender, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
60. Destroyer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
59. Explorer, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
58. Defender, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
57. Precursor, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
56. Inheritor, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
55. Invader, Cherryh, C. J. (Foreigner series, re-reread)
54. Foreigner, Cherryh, C. J. (re-reread)
53. Doomsday Book, Willis, Connie
52. Not To Mention The Dog, Willis, Connie
51. Saga, Vol 3, Vaughn, Brian K. (graphic novel)
50. The Adventuress, Niffenegger, Audrey (graphic novel)
49. Saga, Vol 2, Vaughn, Brian K. (graphic novel)
48. Saga, Vol 1, Vaughn, Brian K. (graphic novel)
47. Tracker, Cherryh, C. J.
46. The Masterharper of Pern, McCaffrey, Anne (reread)
45. Ender’s Game, Card, Orson Scott
44. The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall, McCaffrey, Anne
43. Nerilka’s Story, McCaffrey, Anne (reread)
42. Dragondrums, McCaffrey, Anne (reread)
41. Dragonsinger, McCaffrey, Anne (reread)
40. Dragonsong, McCaffrey, Anne (reread)
39. *Who Buries the Dead, Harris, C. S.
38. The White Dragon, McCaffrey, Anne (re-reread)
37. Dragonquest, McCaffrey, Anne (re-reread)
36. Dragonflight, McCaffrey, Anne (re-reread)
35. Archer’s Goon, Jones, Diana Wynne
34. Enchanted Glass, Jones, Diana Wynne
33. Why Kings Confess, Harris, C. S.
32. The One-Eyed Man, Modesitt, Jr, L. E.
31 Tehanu, LeGuin, Ursula
30. Castle in the Air, Jones, Diana Wynne
29. *Thieve’s Quarry, Jackson, D. B.
28. *A Plunder of Souls, Jackson, D. B.
27. *The Price of Doing Business (short story), Jackson, D. B.
26. *A Spell of Vengance (short story), Jackson, D. B.
25. What Darkness Brings, Harris, C. S.
24. When Maidens Mourn, Harris, C. S.
23. Where Shadows Dance, Harris, C. S.
22. What Remains of Heaven, Harris, C. S.
21. Where Serpents Sleep, Harris, C. S.
20. Why Mermaids Sing, Harris, C. S.
19. Fire and Hemlock, Jones, Diana Wynne
18. What Angels Fear, Harris, C. S.
17. When Gods Die, Harris, C. S.
16. Possession, Richardson, Kat
15. The Year of the Griffin, Jones, Diana Wynne
14. Dark Lord of Derkholm, Jones, Diana Wynne
13. Till We Have Faces, Lewis, C. S.
12. Catch the Lightening, Asaro, Catherine
11. Seawitch, Richardson, Kat
10. Unexpected Magic, Jones, Diana Wynne
9. Fortunately, The Milk, Gaiman, Neil
8. Downpour, Richardson, Kat
7. Labyrinth, Richardson, Kat
6. Pogo’s Double Sundae, Kelly, Walt
5. Pogo’s Bats and the Belles Free, Kelly, Walt
4. Primary Inversion, Asaro, Catherine
3. Johannes Cabal, The Necromancer, Howard, Jonathan L.
2. Beau Pogo, Kelly, Walt
1. Emerald House Rising, Kerr, Peg

* Ebook