Books Read in 2017

  1. When Maidens Mourn , Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
  2. What Remains of Heaven, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
  3. Where Serpents Sleep, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
  4. Why Mermaids Sing, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
  5. When Gods Die, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
  6. What Angels Fear, Harris, C. S. (re-reread)
  7. Alliance of Equals, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
  8. Trade Secrets, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-reread)
  9. Liaden Constellation, Vol. 2, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-reread)
  10. Liaden Constellation, Vol. 3, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-reread)
  11. Liaden Constellation, Vol. 1, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-reread)
  12. Dragon in Exile, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
  13. Necessity’s Child, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
  14. Mouse and Dragon, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
  15. Scout’s Progress, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
  16. I Dare, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
  17. Plan B, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
  18. Local Custom, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
  19. Conflict of Honors, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
  20. Carpe Diem, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
  21. Agent of Change, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (re-. . . reread)
  22. The Gathering Edge, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon
  23. Dragon Ship, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
  24. Ghost Ship, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
  25. Saltation, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
  26. *Fledgling, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
  27. *Passing Strange, Klages, Ellen
  28. Balance of Trade, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
  29. Tripoint, Cherryh, C. J.
  30. *Were-, Bray, Patricia and Palmatier, Joshua, ed.
  31. *When Marnie Was Here, Robinson, Joan G.
  32. Crystal Dragon, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
  33. Crystal Soldier, Miller, Steve and Lee, Sharon (reread)
  34. A Conspiracy of Kings, Whalen Turner, Megan (reread)

* Ebook

Of Noble Regency Detectives and Dragons

The newest (#12)  Sebastian St. Cyr novel by C. S. Harris comes out on 4 April.  I have it pre-ordered and am currently in the process of rereading up to it.  If you love Jane Austen and Agatha Christie, you’ll love these books.  They can be read piecemeal (each can stand alone) but I’d read them in order, as the characters evolve, grow, and change through the series.  Rich settings, well-rounded characters, engaging, nail-biting plots.  The setting is period accurate and each book has a satisfying emotional payoff, but enough hooks that you want to read the next book in the series to see what happens next.  Harris anchors her plots seamlessly into the historical context of Regency England — the way it really was, warts and all — while providing page-turning action, adventure, a dash of history and a lovely touch of tasteful spice.

Also on 4 April, the newest book in the Foreigner series, Convergence, comes out.  Got that sucker pre-ordered, too.

In other book-related news, author-illustrator Jackie Morris, who writes and illustrates the most  beautiful books, has a new edition out of Tell Me A Dragon.  She is giving away copies, choosing from the descriptions of dragons in the comments on her blog post. So here’s mine.

“My dragon has iridescent white opal scales with gleams of turquoise, violet, and teal as the light strikes it.  Its eyes are luminous turquoise and as deep and vast as the space between the stars.  Its opalescent wing membranes taper on the trailing edges to near transparency like the skin of soap bubbles.  It can change size from small enough to sit in the shell of my ear to brontosaurus huge.  It has a slender, gracile body, a long, sinuous neck and an even longer, snake-like tail that coils expressively when it speaks. Its claws are made of ivory and it has long, raptor-like claws like an eagle for perching. It is nocturnal and loves to bask in the light from the full moon and to fly by starlight.   It has a bitonal voice that is spidersilk soft, resonant and melodious.  When it speaks, it speaks slowly, thoughtfully and in a slightly sibilant manner.  It is particularly fond of singing long, quiet, wordless songs with slowly undulating and involved melodies during which its bitonal voice harmonizes with itself.  Its snout is rather long, and it can gape its jaws very wide. It lives on sadness, grief and pain, which it sieves from the air like a whale shark as it flies through the night with its mouth agape, and exhudes calm peacefulness and comfort in its wake.   Its food supply has become rather overabundant of late, and it is, alas, becoming a bit tubby from overeating.”

Seriously, if you have children in your life, you need to get them her books — The Ice Bear is magical.  The Seal Children is lyrical.  The Snow Leopard is wonderful.  If you have a tween girl in your orbit, she needs to read East of the Sun and West of the MoonThe Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow is for anyone who enjoys a beautiful, peaceful story with elements of fantasy.  But the bestest, most magical, snuggle in and reading a story together book ever is Tell Me A Dragon.  Give this book to people with babies so they can start them early.

Well, Michael’s had another coupon and another yarn sale, and I can say, I am in no danger of running out of yarn any time in the next five years.  Also in the knitting news, the green cotton hat is done and the blue cotton hat is 2/3 done.  I’ll finish it tonight. I got more cotton yarn at Michael’s last night, some variegated colors for summer chemo hats.

Also, I got a ChiaoGoo size US 2 (2.75 mm) 60-inch circular needle and yesterday at knitting group, I knitted the teal 9-Bladed Pinwheel shawl (at right) off the bamboo needles and onto the ChiaoGoos. It’s the first time I’ve worked on that shawl since my Dad died.  That was the knitting I always took over when I went to sit with him so mom could go out.  It’s such basic TV knitting — knits and yarn overs — it’s practically brainless.  Easy to pick up and put down and requiring little to no attention.   I had gotten it out to show a couple of weeks ago.  That poor shawl has been a UFO* for about 6 years now.  I started it two houses ago when I lived in the duplex off Quaker, before I moved to the apartments I was living in when I moved here.  As you can see, it has the fat(cat)boy seal of approval.

I also got more skeins of that Paton’s metallic like I used for this hat.  I got a beautiful deep purple and a deep red, two skeins of each.  I already had some, and this will be enough that I can make two hats out of each of the colors.  They’re small skeins and there’s not enough in one skein to make a hat, but three skeins will make two hats.

I also got two more skeins of  the fuchsia Caron’s Simply Soft with the metallic thread like I made this hat from, and another larger skein of a nice teal blue color.  The metallic thread doesn’t show up well in the picture, but it gives it a nice sparkle — not enough to be glitzy, but just enough to give it a little pizzaz.  I’ll be making some more chemo hats from those, too.


*UFO — UnFinished Object.

Balanced Between Winter and Spring

Today is the Vernal Equinox (Ostara — from whence the word “Easter” comes), one of the two times of the year when night and day are of equal (equi-) length.  The Equinoxes (the Autumnal Equinox, Mabon, on 23 September is the other one) and the Solstices (Yule, the Winter Solstice, is the day with the longest night, and Litha, the Summer Solstice, is the day with the shortest night) mark the quarters of the year, and are determined by astronomical means.  In the old agricultural calendar, the “Quarters” were offset by the four “Crosses:” 2 February (Imbolc, when lambing begins) which is midway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox; 1 May (Beltane) which is midway between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice; 1 August (Lughnasadh, which is midway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumnal equinox, and is the Feast of Bread, grain being the first of the year’s crops to be harvested), and 31 October (Samhain, the Feast of Flesh, which is the third harvest, when those animals which would not be overwintered are slaughtered), which is halfway between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice.

I think we skipped spring this year.  Sunday’s high was 91F (32.7C) and today’s was 92F (33.3C).  Needless to say, yesterday, when I looked up at my little clock that rides my computer and saw the reason I was hot was because it was 80F (26.6C) in my office (second bedroom), I got up and turned on the AC.  (Current indoor temp is in the lower right-hand corner) It’s supposed to be cooler toward the later part of the week, with highs back down into the high 70’s F (25+C) but they’ve promised thunderstorms for the region.  Unfortunately, doesn’t look like we’ll be getting any, with a 10% chance on Wednesday and a 20% chance on Thursday.  I’ll be doing some yard watering, looks like.  I usually water in the late evening/early morning, depending on how dislocated my sleep-wake cycle is.

I’ll be changing the bed over tonight from winter linens and comforter to summer linens and quilt.  I’ll be doing at least two loads of wash as well.  I think next week I’ll be getting some plants for the front bed.  I want three of those constantly blooming little rose bushes.

I finished the white hat, and I don’t like how it turned out.  Too small, for one thing, and too pointed for the other.  Modified the pattern and have started again. This is the one I need to make two of.

I’ve gotten a goodly way along on a second hat (below) in green for my friend JT and tomorrow night when I shop groceries, I’m going to see if I can scare up some SPF 45 sunscreen and a gift sack.  A couple of hats in cotton yarn will round out the going away gift. I figure five hats in five days?  I’ll give it the college try anywho.  I’ll finish the green one tonight and start on another.

Friday night, mom decided to cook roast and all the fixin’s — which is to say, she cooked raw carrots and onions in with the roast. Since it’s just her now, she asked me over to help her eat it.  We had mashed potatoes and gravy, and cranberry sauce.  It was totally yummy.  Then we watched some of the Aerial America programs on the Smithsonian Channel and visited.  When I got in my car to go home and started it up, I noticed that my odometer read 8600. I’ve had it 2 years and 4 months now.  (Even though it’s a 2015, I got it in November of 2014.) I figured it just now, and I’m averaging just over 307 miles a month.

“Knitting Is In Juvenile Fiction”

Our knitting group meets in a branch of the city library.  Because our group is sponsored by the library, we get to use the meeting room for free.  If another group wants to use it, they have to pay, and in the event that a paying customer wants the room during our meeting time, we get preempted.  One time when we got preempted without advance notice, the library ladies taped a sign up on the meeting room door that said, “Knitting is in Juvenile Fiction.”  The reason we end up in Juvenile Fiction is that there are three large tables with chairs in that area of the library.

We got preempted again last night, this time by the model train club.  Again.  They use the room on a pretty regular basis, and we are resigned to it.  B is a new member who has been coming a couple of months now.  She is Asian-American and a recent convert to ChiaoGoo needles — two unrelated facts, actually, as brand of knitting needles is entirely a matter of personal preference.  This time, she brought a set of twins with her, aged about 7, Asian-American, and just about as cute as they could be.  They were not hers, but were in her care in some way I was never able to sort out, but never mind.  They wanted to learn to knit, and I ended up showing one of them the long-tail cast on, which she picked up in record time.  B’s daughter, aged 9, also showed up.  Apparently, she has caught the knitting bug from her mother, and is learning to knit as well.  B uses the Portuguese method of knitting, and our leader, M, decided she wanted to learn this method.

We also had another mother-daughter team show up.  The mother was a crocheter, and both she and her daughter wanted to learn to knit.  Because she already knew how to crochet*, it was decided that she would learn continental style, and yrs trly stepped into the breach.  A rather fun if chaotic night.

I finally got travel pay from my last trip to Amarillo, and I invested in four sets of ChiaoGoo 6-inch stainless steel double pointed needles (DPNs) in US sizes 4, 6, 7, and 8 (3.4, 4.0, 4.6 and 5 mm).  I can’t always find ChiaoGoo needles in the types and sizes I want on Amazon, but I went to the ChiaoGoo website and found one of their authorized dealers, Smartisans, and ordered from them.  Their prices are very competitive with Amazon’s.  ChiaoGoo sells “sock sets” of the small size 6-inch DPNs in a nice little zippered case, but there aren’t any such “sets” in the larger size needles that I typically use for hats and stuff.  However, on Amazon, I did find an empty ChiaoGoo needle case for DPNs and got one.  I plan to get another empty case, and maybe a sock set. as funds permit.

I got frustrated with the Cobblestone Pie hat, pulled it off the needles and unraveled it all.  I wanted those needles anyway for the yarmulke/hat I’m doing a pair of for my friend JT’s going away party — for him if he needs it, or for others if he wants to share.  The “feller” he’s moving to Key West to be with is associated with a church in some way (pastor?) and has a ministry with the LGBT community there.  (Apparently Key West is a very inclusive community.) A matching set of white wedding yarmulkes** might be a nice thing to have to hand. The sharing thing would resonate with my friend, as he’s a very sharing, caring person.  A dear, old soul.

I’m enjoying working on it, listening to music on my computer, rared back in my recliner. Once you’ve master the skill of knitting, it can be a very meditative activity.  It’s a “back-brain-centric” (cerebellum) type activity, with very little involvement of the forebrain (frontal lobes).  This allows you to be contemplative, or to think things through, or to work things out, or just let your mind drift.


*It is typically easier for crocheters to learn the continental method of knitting because they are already used to holding and tensioning the working yarn in their left hand.
**assuming the loose cannon in the oval office (or those who are using him as a stalking horse to pursue their own agendas) doesn’t decide to stack the Supreme Court in order to get it to reverse its decision on gay marriage — among other things that the religious right and ultra conservatives are unhappy with.

Mutiny in the Ranks

What I should have done Saturday evening was take an Advil before I went to bed.  Because I didn’t, when I woke up Sunday, muscles that hadn’t been used in a while were very unhappy with me.  They are still grumbling two days later.

In the knitting news, I found out my dear friend JT is moving to Key West (FL), sooner than expected, and I need to get my rear in gear and make him some cotton skullcaps.  He will still have to smear the SPF 45 on his dear little dome, but the skullcaps will help. I’ll make as many as I can before his party on the 25th.

Speaking of which, I got the Coriolis hat in navy metallic finished, and it turned out very nicely.  Simple elegance.  This version has yarn over increases. It’s made in multiples of 7.  The adding of stitches at the beginning of the pattern repeat and taking them off at the end is what does the spiraling.  How you add stitches affects the pattern.  “K1, yo” leaves little eyelets.  Kfb’s (knit front and back) don’t. Here’s the eyeletted version.

The chemo version of this hat at right uses kfb’s for the increases so there are no “holes” for nekkid scalp to show through.  The yarn is a dark fuchsia DK weight with a metalic strand in the thread which is turning out quite nice.  One version of the pattern makes a leftward spiral; the other version makes a rightward spiral, and you can make it with or without eyelets by which method you use for the increases.  A very versatile pattern indeed.

The thing is, you need double pointed needles to do the decreases to the point of these kinds of hats, and I only have a few sets of metal DPNs, the rest being bamboo. I want some ChiaoGoo stainless steel DPNs, but I am at the low ebb of my budget at the moment, so I’m having to make do with the bamboo.  I hadn’t realized how nice the ChiaoGoo needles were until I had to use my Boye US 7 (4.5 mm) 16-inch circular needles.  Ye Gadz.  Such a  noticeable difference.  The ChiaoGoos have such a nicely tapered point.  The k3togs are so much harder on the wooden needles, not only because they’re not as pointed as the ChiaoGoos and not as slippery (being wood and not stainless steel), but because the points are tapered over a shorter distance.  Ah, well.  If wishes were horses, we’d be knee-deep in it.

I found I had a skein of Caron Simply Soft in white, and an idea came to mind.  I think I have enough to get two hats out of it, with twisted cables. . . . very symbolic.  Now I want to hurry up and get that Cobblestone Pie hat finished so I can use my ChiaoGoo US 6 (4.0 mm) 16-inch needles to do the white hats.

The picture at left is for Shoreacres.  I have other, nondigitized ones elsewhere of me on a tricycle brandishing one of my shooting irons, wearing my pistol pockets and my red cowboy hat.  Period.  But those are staying right where they are.  Here, I’m wearing my straw cowboy hat, seeing as how it was summer.  Note the stylish saddle oxfords. My mom probably made that dress  The horse is the infamous Buddo, who was my first mount.  I later upgraded to the tail fin of a baby blue 1957 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Sedan, which we had for long enough that it was the first car I ever drove by myself. (That sucker had a 122-inch wheelbase, which is just over 10 feet, BTW —  fortunately it also had power steering, not to mention a 371 cubic inch (6.1 L), 277 horsepower (207 kW) Rocket V8.) engine.)

Too bad about Shoreacres crushing for Roy Rogers.  I’m pretty sure I saw him first.  In the early 1950’s they used to show the old Republic Roy Rogers movies on Saturday mornings on one of our two local TV stations. I would be up at the crack of dawn to watch them.  I loved the Sons of the PioneersTheir harmony gave me goosebumps.  I had a yellow plastic 45 of “Happy Trails” and drove my mother crazy playing it.

Our thought for the day is courtesy of Doodlemum’s meme Monday:

Words to live by.

I came. I saw. I raked.

And bagged and took bags to the dumpster.  Started at noon, got finished right at 6:00 pm.  That pile you see in the picture below is what I raked up from that whole side of the yard, plus what was in the bag. The two below are what the other side — the side with the $%#^&*#$%@! locust tree —  looked like before I started raking.

The next two are after a good little bit of raking.

I lost count at 8 bags.  Probably 12 or 14 total.  There toward the end, the wind picked up and I ended up sitting on the ground where I could control the bags easier, and stuffed leaves into sacks one cotton-picking handful at a time. In that last picture, you can see the concrete block and bricks to the right of the picture.  I’ll be taking those out when I have some 18 x 18 pavers to replace them with to go out from the concrete pad to out under the water spiggot/hosepipe connection.

All clean!  A significant portion of the green stuff is weeds, but the Bermuda grass is coming out also.  Now all that’s left is to clear out this old wood (below), but it was clouding up and the wind was getting very gusty, and it was sneaking up on 6 pm.  Sufficient unto the day. . . .


The Sound Track of This Movie Moment

“Miles Davis and his tinny horn, thinny horn.”  For some reason, this line has been wandering around in my mind.  Looking for a poem, maybe.  The rhythm of the words.  Sometimes with the “Davis” and sometimes without, like a little jazz riff . . .  tinny horn, thinny horn. . . At some point, Davis opted to play with a mute in his trumpet, whence the thinner, less brassy, treble-accentuating sound.  Chacun*, I guess . . .

Compare the sound of this horn . . .

to this.

See?  Tinny horn, thinny horn.  For those who dig this kind of sound, I recommend Soma FM’s Sonic Universe for your listening pleasure.  All that jazz.

Redtree Times derailed my busy little train of thought into Steely Dan the other day, only just not this one.  Another one.   But this one. (Turn that jungle music down.) What a great chorus.  Babylon Sisters, shake it!

And this one with the droll lyric and infectious beat.  Great for puttering about and putting things away. . .

One of those rare occasions when mañana falls on Friday.  Got to charge up the MP3 player for some yard work.  Been putting it off, trying to get my day to match up with the rest of the world’s, so I can get out in the yard.  It was hot yesterday (80’sF/26+C), today it’s supposed to be a high of 61 F (16C).  Rakes, wagon, gotta schlep everything to the back yard.  Find the roll of lawn and leaf bags.  Get my groove down.  Take trash out while I’m at it.

If people ask you where I’ve gone, tell’em I’m in Babylon.  Raking up stupid locust beans.


*chacun à son goût — French for ‘whatever. . .’

Going To Hear The Band That Didn’t Play

dscf2504A dear friend, AS, teaches university-level percussion at Texas Tech and has for many years.  On the side, he has a jazz combo for which he plays — wait for it — drums.  On the first Sunday of every month, his combo usually plays downtown at a “bistro” called La Diosa, which is in the “Depot District”  His combo was supposed to play this Sunday so my mom and our friend CK swooped by after church and picked me up and off we went downtown to hear them play and eat lunch.

dscf2505Downtown, where the courthouse and the jail and the police department, etc., are located, is kind of on the northeast edge of town.  In the organic way towns grow, ours has grown south and west.  1st Street is about 10 streets north of the courthouse, what would have been 11th street is Main Street, and what would have been 12th street is Broadway, and I think we’re up to 158th Street now.

dscf2500When my parents first moved there in 1950, we lived on 8th Street, and 34th Street was pretty much out in the sticks (numbered streets go east/west, lettered and named streets go north/south).  Then we moved to 40th Street, which is about 30 east/west streets south and about 40 north/south streets west of the courthouse, and the north/south street to the west of us wasn’t even paved.  Anyway.  The area between the downtown area and Tech was the first residential area of the town.  When I attended Tech, I enrolloed in a college and graduated from a university, and that area was known as the College Ghetto because it had become mostly rent property, rented to college kids.

dscf2503That area has now undergone sweeping redevelopment — hundreds of those old houses were razed, including the one we lived in when we first moved there, and apartment blocks and town houses, shopping areas and restaurants, etc., were built.  Streets were renamed.  Our humble little 8th Street is now Glenna Goodacre Boulevard.  6th Street has been renamed Mac Davis Lane,  Avenue G is now Crickets Avenue, and Avenue H is now Buddy Holly Avenue. (what would have been Avenue I has always been Texas Avenue).  Anyway, that end of town just south of the courthouse was formerly a business area and was where the train station was, back when we still had passenger service.  After that was discontinued, the train depot went through several incarnations including a restaurant.  It’s now the Buddy Holly Center and museum.  There’s an old cinema that’s been renovated into a playhouse, and various old business buildings have been repurposed into pubs, restaurants, antique shops and whatnot.   That little bit of town is now known as the “Depot District.”  La Diosa is in a repurposed building, part of which used to be an automotive repair shop.

dscf2506Because it’s down in that end of town, where there is a heavy “university” presence, the Depot District tends to be a touch “artsy fartsy”

Anyway, here a table with me, my 92-year-old mother, and couples from the generations in between (at left), in amongst the mimosa at brunch dscf2501crowd waiting to hear AS’s combo play.  Turns out somebody called in sick, and the combo didn’t play.   In the meantime, we had all ordered from the menu.  My mom and I had what amounted to a Burger King Croissant’wich, except the egg was fried instead of scrambled, the ham was prosciutto, and it cost about five times as much.  However, it was topped with jalapeño jelly, which a Croissant’wich isn’t.  She had a mimosa, I had white wine, as I’m allergic to oranges.

dscf2499You’ll notice among the artwork in the photographs I took that there are a pair of  nice portraits of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. I make note because I told my mom I was going to blog about our little outing, and because she’d never figure out how to spell Kahlo’s name to google her. My mom had never heard of Diego Rivera either.

I wasn’t thinking and neglected to put my camera in my bag, so these pictures were taken with my mom’s camera.

Anyway, we may try again next month.  Maybe we’ll get lucky.  If we do, I may try the crepes.

This afternoon, I made a bowl of tuna salad and a bowl of chicken salad, both with mini-elbow macaroni.  Before I put the macaroni in the tuna salad, I made a couple of tuna salad sandwiches which are chilling in the fridge.  I’ll have one for supper and the other for tomorrow.  I will be well fortified for the upcoming week.  I’m going to start raking locust beans out of the back yard.

At some point here soon, the yard guy is going to want to scalp the lawn.  The variety of Bermuda grass we have here dies off in the fall.  Typically, before it comes back out again in spring, one “scalps” one’s yard, i.e., sets one’s mower blades very low and mows all the old, dead growth off, which allows the new growth to proliferate when it emerges.  There’s so many beans in the back yard that it would be impossible for the yard guy to scalp the back yard, and my landlady doesn’t pay him to rake beans. If I want grass in the back, guess who gets to remove the locust beans . . .  That locust tree also needs seeing to.  I bought a bow saw a couple of weeks ago to do a little neatifying of the tree and removal of some low branches that impede the opening of the back gate.  I also got a garbage can on wheels.  I’ve already got rakes.  I’ll bring my Radio Flyer wagon out back and spread lawn and leaf bags out over the wagon bed to rake the beans into.  A simple matter to tie off the full bags, pull the wagon out to the dumpster and put the bag in.

Argh-uably Not Off To A Good Start

So I ordered this pinky purple, 2-piece “lounger” outfit on sale (half off!) for wear around the house and it came. Cotton jersey. Very soft and comfortable.  It was on the big side but I like “roomy” clothes.  The problem was the pants.  The elastic waistband was not tight enough — not “constantly having to pull them up” not tight enough, but “one good sneeze and they’re down around my knees” not tight enough.  Well.  That’s no problem.  A small incision into the sleeve where the elastic is, take a hitch in the elastic, sew up the incision, no biggie, right?

Wrong.  Made in China or some other far eastern locale, which means the elastic was first sewn to the edge of the fabric, then the whole shebang folded over and serged down.  I had to take a seam ripper and carefully rip loose the entire waist band, trim the old elastic off, get the ironing board out and set it up, heat up the iron, turn and press in the sleeve for the elastic and pin it, power up the sewing machine, sew the sleeve, thread a new piece of elastic through the sleeve, sew the ends of the elastic together, replace the needle on my sewing machine that I broke not being careful when I sewed the elastic together, close the pocket, knot my threads and secure the ends.  Took me over three cotton-picking hours!  At least now, the durn pants will stay up. . . . .

As long as my day was already totally derailed,  I started a load of wash, as my clothes hamper runneth over.  Now it’s time to take the wet clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer.  And, while I’m up, I’ll brew another carafe of tea.  It’ll be a combination of 2 bags of Stash Tea’s Moroccan Mint and one bag of Twining’s English Breakfast.  The Moroccan Mint is based on a green tea, which hath not sufficient caffeine for mine requirements, hence the bag of English Breakfast, which is a gunpowder (black) tea.  I’ve just about used up this box of Moroccan Mint.  The pot after this will be straight English Breakfast.  I bought a pint of almond milk “creamer” to try, which wants straight gunpowder tea.

Right now, I’m listening to Soma FM internet radio’s Drone Zone.   I was listening to Trancemission New Age, but it was getting a little too arpeggious for my taste.  (Digression:  There’s this particular “genre” of “New Age” piano music which I refer to as “arpeggious.”  The rules of this “genre” of music are:  You never play chords, only arpeggios, you never play more than two notes simultaneously, and you play molto rubato con morbidezza.  The typical “artist” in this genre is some guy who teaches himself to play piano and learns some major and diminished chords.  The next “wine snob” party he goes to, he casually wanders over, sits down at the piano and begins to “noodle.” Because the guy only knows major and diminished chords, only plays arpeggios, and plays slowly, it’s easy to string a bunch of chords together and sound like you know what you’re doing.  The longer the wine party goes on, the better he sounds to his audience who don’t know anything about music either, and are half stoned on wine.  All his wine snob friends rave over how good he is, invite him to their parties (“he plays so wonderfully. . . “) and eventually convince him to cut a CD.  Since he doesn’t know how to write music, he just wings it and edits out 4 or 5-minute bits that sound good, and gives them very pretentious, New Agey titles which either have Hindu or Buddhist allusions, or contain the words “crystal” or “angel.” Ditto for the name of the album.  A big code word for this kind of music is “heartfelt” — (read “musically untrained but he tries hard, bless him”).  Another big code word is “etherial” (as in “musically incoherent and totally without melody”). In this “genre” of music, it is essential for the performer to be extremely laid back and New Agey, and to be pretentiously and elaborately vegan*. (“I only eat bread made from organically grown Triticum spelta that I get from this one farm in Germany that grinds it into flour on authentic megalithic basalt querns.”).  He must also have some kind of schtick, like a set of crystals carried in a drawstring bag that he must arrange along the edge of the piano for “channeling” purposes before he can sit down and play, or wearing only “natural” materials like hemp or cotton, or wearing all white, etc.  Eventually this guy gets a synthesizer and discovers how to make it sound like wind chimes. Here endeth the Digression)

2017_03_03-01In the knitting news, I try to keep something small to hand that I can work on in odd moments when I’m at the computer. This is a little hat I’m working on using Paton’s metallic yarn.

Our knitting group supports several worthy causes, one of which is the “Knitted Knockers”  (I’ve got patterns but haven’t tried them.)  These are knitted prostheses for breast cancer survivors using yarn that is soft and washable.   Another worthy cause we support is hats — one lady does hats for newborn babies, especially preemies.  Tiny little hats.  Others of us, including me, do hats for cancer patients who have lost their hair as a result of chemotherapy.  One reason I’m doing the hat in this metallic yarn is to make it an “evening hat” for a special occasion or something fancy.  Cancer is pretty traumatic just by itself, but then for a woman to lose her hair makes her feel like a freak.  Having a pretty hat helps.  We scour Ravelry for pretty hat patterns to make so we’ll have something special to donate.  As I’ve said before, there’s nothing a knitter likes better than a good excuse to knit something.  This particular hat is called the Coriolis Hat. (cast on evenly divisible by 7; k1, yo, k4, ssk) I’ve got five or six balls of this metallic yarn in “jewel tone” colors.  Still working on the shawls and my shrug.

Shortly after I moved in, I had gotten this little shell LED nightlight for my office so the fat(cat)boy could see to get to his poop box (yeah, cats can see in the dark, but not in the totally dark . . . ) and it works well. Now usually a bathroom will have a door that opens toward the right as you’re going in (most doors do), and the light will be on the wall to the left, just inside the door.  Not so the “company” bathroom here.  There’s not enough room on the little snubbin of wall on the left for the four or five light/heater/fan switches required to operate this bathroom.  They’re on the wall to the right of the door.  They’re easy to find in the dark if you open the door all the way, and then grope along the wall just past the edge of the door, but only if you know where to look.  The average unsuspecting guest does not. So I got another one of those little shell night lights to plug in to the shaver/hair dryer plug by the sink, which provides enough light that you can see where the light switches are. It came the other day, and it’s worked out well.

It’s been so dry here of late.  No humidity to speak of (under 40%, way under at times), and we’ve been having wildfires.  If you hear this loud slurping noise, that’ll be me putting lotion on.  I wonder if you can get Nivea by the barrel . . .

Gotta go take the clothes out of the dryer and hang them up.  I’ll be folding up socks and unmentionables for half an hour. . . .

*I have nothing against vegans. What you eat is your own business and none of mine.   What gets up my nose are people who do things elaborately and pretentiously, especially when it includes a Manifesto