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Friday a week ago, I called my landlady about my concerns, namely the kitchen light, the AC (and my $155 electric bill!) and the tree and bush that need trimming.

She said by all means call the electrician and call the AC guy and have them come out.  I was also able to sweet talk her into paying for a yard guy to come out to deal with the bush between the garages, which not only has two elm tree seedlings growing up through it, but which is encroaching onto the opening of “B’s” garage, and the big locust tree by the side gate (at left) which had been lopped off about six feet from the ground, and which has been growing out from the stump.

So, Monday, I had my annual checkup appointment at the VA, and had to be there at 8 a.m. for labs (so did everybody else in the world, apparently — I waited an hour for it to be my turn! Thankfully, my appointment wasn’t until 10 a.m.).  I also intended to go by Monday afternoon to have a nice long visit with my friend LB who is having her third go-round with breast cancer.  (The library was closed for 4th of July, so no knitting group on Tuesday.)  I brought her the yarn I had gotten for her daughter (which is definitely Lion Brand Homespun yarn, and I think it may be the “Painted Desert” colorway. )

I got home from my VA appointment at about 11 o’clock, but couldn’t go by LB’s until after noon because she had a late morning doctor’s appointment also, so I called the electrician and the AC guy and got voicemail, as I figured I would.  The AC guys go nuts during summer, and I figured it would be several days before he could fit me in.  But before I could leave to go visit LB, the AC guy called back. He was out on a job but if I could be home before 4 pm, he could fit me in! Oh, joy!

LB and I had a lovely visit, knitting and chatting.  LB is a reader, too, and we share many of the same tastes in reading matter.  She gets her chemo treatments on Tuesdays (except she got last week off), and Mondays are her best days in terms of how she feels and how much energy she has.  This next Tuesday will begin her last cycle of chemo, and then they will put her on a maintenance regimen (pills) with this new drug that was just approved by the FDA for her type of breast cancer — which her current oncologist thinks was misdiagnosed on her first go-round as hormone positive, when it actually wasn’t, and it was treated as hormone-positive twice.  Her current doc thinks this is the reason it has recurred twice. This go-round, she has supposedly been given the correct chemotherapy regimen, which hopefully will do the job.  A bunch of us, especially her husband and daughter, have fingers crossed that this time chemo will have gotten it all, and that we’ll all get to keep her for quite a while longer.

When I got home about 3:30-ish I had hardly gotten in the door before the AC guy called.  He showed up shortly thereafter, diagnosed my problem as a lack of cool juice, topped it off, and I was good to go.  While he was doing a “wellness check” on the rest of the AC setup,  the electrician called me back.  Shortly thereafter, the electrician came by to look at the kitchen light.  Turns out the electrician and the AC guy know each other.  So they chat while the electrician is fixing the light and the AC guy is adjusting the self-closing mechanism on my storm door (!) to where it will actually close the door instead of just nearly closing it (did I mention that the AC guy is really nice?).  The electrician gave the kitchen light a squint and decided that the prongs on that one light socket were cattywompus.  He adjusted the prongs and so far, it’s been working fine.

I haven’t called the “specialist” yard guy yet, but I will Monday.  He’s the same guy I called to weed my flower bed last year — he and his wife are these tiny Hispanic people — he’s shorter than I am (I’m 5’4″), — and noticeably thinner (!).  Whether he can see to the tree will depend on whether he has a chain saw.  If he does, it will be interesting to see him go after that tree trunk with it.  If I have my druthers, I’d like that trunk to be taken down to ground level.  That way, the “regular” yard guys can lop off any shoots that come out of it with the strimmer when they mow the lawn.  While I’ve got him, I might see if he can lop a couple branches off the honey locust in the back yard.  There is one particular branch that’s entirely too close to the power line from the pole to the house for my liking.  I could take it off with my bow saw, but I’d have to borrow a ladder to reach it.

In the knitting news, I’m writing a hat pattern, with a poofy big top part (like a Rastacap) and I’m doing the test knit out of the other “odd” skein of what is definitely Lion Brand Homespun yarn that I had gotten week before last when AM brought that huge bin of yarn to knitting group.  It’s a variegated dark pink/white yarn which could be their colorway “Cherry Blossom” or “Parfait” — hard to tell from the small swatch on their website.  Beside the knitting is one of my Bubba stainless steel tumblers.   I got more the last time I shopped, and now have four of them.  They’re top rack dishwasher safe.  I may end up getting two more since it takes me so durn long to dirty enough dishes to make up a full dishwasher load — which is another reason I’m glad I have twelve plates of both sizes in my dishes pattern.

I finished the cabled hat (right) and cowl I was working on and finished another Coriolis chemo hat (below)with the left over yarn from a toboggan cap I made for LB.  It seems there’s just enough yarn in a skein of that Red Heart Unforgettable yarn to make a toboggan hat and a Coriolis chemo hat, with about a Tootsie Roll Pop size ball of yarn left over.  I may end up knotting all those little balls of yarn together and make a toboggan cap of many colors for my BFF.  She’d be up for that.

Next payday, I need to get some 24-inch ChiaoGoo Red Lace circular needles in various sizes (US 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10). I love those needles.  The taper on the points is just perfect for the way I knit, and makes things like K3tog’s and sssk’s so much easier.  If you like to do lace knitting, you should try some out because of the long-taper points.

However, I’d buy them just for the way they do the “circular” bit on their circular needles.  It is so flexible and has no “memory” of being coiled, unlike the nylon used in almost all the other circular knitting needles I’ve seen.  The “business ends” of the circular needles (and their DPN’s are polished stainless steel (which means they are slick!) and not powder coated in different colors like some metal knitting needles.  The join between the connecting bit and the needle proper is also very smooth. They are also very competitively priced, around $9-$11 a set depending on the length and size.  If you can’t find the ones you want on Amazon, try Smartisans.

KC in knitting group loves bamboo needles.  She says metal needles hurt her hands, but I think that’s because metal needles are too slick for the way she knits.  (I’m pretty sure she’s a “thrower.”) I think she hates the Unforgettable yarn because it does not work well with the bamboo needles, which aren’t as slippery as the metal ones, and don’t let the yarn slide as freely as metal needles (especially the ChiaoGoos) do.  Consequently, because it is a single ply yarn, it has a tendency to “spread out” and split.  In the end, though, it all comes down to how you knit, and you have to knit with a particular kind of needles to see if you’re going to like them.

To change the subject without segue, I’ve always noticed some “tendencies” I have when I’m writing, either on the keyboard or “manually” with a pen.  I’m a phonetic speller, which is why I’ve been trying to spell “sword” without the “w” for literally decades.  The vagaries of English spelling are legion and fraught with pitfalls and exceptions, especially for a phonetic speller. (“I” before “E” except after “C” or unless it sounds “ay” as in “neighbor” and “weigh” — or unless it’s “weird.”)  I continually try to leave out the first “e” in “variegated” and I can never remember where the double “L” in “parallel” goes, or whether “puzzle” is spelled “EL” or “LE,” And if “knitting” has a “K,” why doesn’t “needle” have one?

My biggest stumbling block, though, is homophones — which are, as you may recall, words that are pronounced the same but are spelled differently, like there/their/they’re, to/too/two and so/sew.  English, because its vocabulary is a big packrat’s nest of borrowings from multiple languages and because of its wonky spelling (which is Gutenberg’s fault*, BTW), has hundreds of them.  When I’m in first-draft mode — typing down my thoughts as fast as they come off the top of my head, I’ll  come to a word that’s a homophone, and type the wrong one.  I used to do it about half the time, but this tendency has gotten noticeably worse over the years.  Now, I pretty much do it every time.  I will be flying along and want the word “meet” and will invariably type “meat” as sure as sure.  Lately, I’ve been finding that things are neither hear nor their.  I have grate expectations, fetes worse than death (I bet you’ve been to a couple of those, too), and sew many things are the worse for where.  I’ve been tied up in nots (haven’t we all), been caught knapping, and have fallen pray to confusion. It’s beginning to bee a bit two much.

*During the 15th century, English was in the throes of a massive pronunciation change in the form of the great vowel shift at the same time that Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Norman French, and Norse spellings and pronunciations were being homogenized into early modern English and letters we didn’t pronounce any more were getting weeded out.  We were only about halfway through sorting out this orthographical mish-mash and what does Johannes Gutenberg do but go and invent the printing press. Thomas Caxton gets wind of it, and the next thing you know, the whole half-sorted mess has been (type)set into printed concrete.  So the next time you are wrestling with English spelling and it’s beating you in straight falls, blame Gutenberg.