The terrible, horrible, no-good . . . well, you know what kind of day it was

So I’ve put on shorts and a t-shirt after a hard day of work to go outside for a few minutes and water recently planted seeds while waiting for an Idiot Client ™ to get back to me. I water the seeds, trek back up by the deck and put the hose down, and Rob, leaving the house with the dog to run some errands, walks past me and up the stairs. He looks right at me as he passes.

I go back to watering and, since it’s Tuesday and I’m pooped, put the hose away and head inside when I’m finished–I’ve been outside maybe 10 minutes all told, which is enough even for as hot-cored a person as I on a 45-degree day with a breeze somewhere between “zephyr” and “stiff.”

I brush dirt off me. I turn the door handle to go inside.

It does not turn. I try it again. It still does not turn. I realize that Rob has locked me out of my own house and driven off with a) the keys and b) no way to contact him. He is, even as I turn to scream at him, driving down the road where I can in no way catch him, and couldn’t even if I were 30 again.

Stalking around the house to the back, I think I can maybe break in if one of the windows is unlatched. At least, young Friend Paul did it a few years ago, but he was 11 and pretty small. Of course, the window is latched securely. They all are. And the back door is locked tight, too. The place is secure as the proverbial Fort Knox, and my keys are inside on the kitchen floor where I can see them. No doubt a B&E artist could get in easily, but my skill set involves commas and prepositions, not lock tumblers.

I don’t get mad. I figure oh, well, he’ll be back in a little while… then I remember that he wasn’t going just to the Post Office, but had another errand to run, and he has never yet accomplished a dual errand in fewer than three hours. By then, it will be, if not dark, about 40 degrees.

What do I have to do to keep warm but haul dirt? There’s plenty of it around–about 20 cubic feet (cf), if memory serves, and I was planning to handle a few more cf tomorrow. So I’ll do it today, I think. And I’ll pace myself, so while it may take longer, I’ll stay warm longer, and maybe cause less joint damage.

So I do. As much as I’m capable, since once I get started on something I tend to just keep going ’til I’m finished. However, painful experience has taught me to be sensible when hauling and throwing large amounts of dirt. I’m too decrepit to do much of that without paying in, no pun intended, spades. Oh, hell, pun intended. What the heck, I may as well take credit for it.

I haul and dump five bags in one raised bed and spread them out. I dig up and move half a dozen or so strawberry plants that have sunk way down in the raised beds as the soil has compacted over winter. Then I toss another bag into the bed next to the house, since that will finish that one off. I sit down repeatedly during this process, both to rest my aching joints and to cool off a little, since it doesn’t do any good to be wet as well as cold, and we all know that my Internal Radiator produces a great deal of, shall we say, condensation, at the slightest provocation. Like breathing.

It’s only about 5 p.m. by this time. I’ve been working about an hour. By my count, it’ll be two more hours before Rob is likely to return. What do I do in the meantime? I’ve already done more than I should have in one day. But the only option, really, is to haul more dirt.

So I start hauling. Slowly, but hauling. I dump another six or eight cf in the back bed, mix it and rake it out. It needs a few more. I head back to the pile of dirt, where I had carefully placed the rake so the tines faced the ground, not upward. I’m not stupid.

Bending over to put the most recent empty plastic bag under the brick holding them all down (there’s a stack about 24″ high now), I fail to notice that the breeze has blown the rake over so that its tines now point up. My foot has found their edge, without any guidance from me. I step back, and the rake rises up and smites me on the side of the head. Hard.

I swear. Loudly, and for a long time. I throw the bloody (metaphorically) rake across the yard and curse its ancestors and decendants. I figure well, at least it’s cold enough that I don’t need to put ice on the owie. The combination of condensate, coolth and gentle spring zephyr will take care of that quite nicely, I feel sure. Although it’s already swelling.

Finally, I’ve moved and dumped all 20-something bags of dirt, mushroom compost, and steer poop. There’s a nice, long longitudinal back muscle that’s been pulled and it keeps poking me in the ribs to let me know it’s unhappy. My hips ache. My head aches. My feet, in sandals as they are as opposed to the sturdy, supportive hiking boots I normally wear when doing this kind of thing, are unspeakable, and unspeakably angry. They are, however, cold enough that the parts that ought to hurt worst are blessedly numb.

I stagger around the house and sit on the swing. I realize suddenly that it must have rained last night, because the fabric-y surface is wet. As is, now, my butt. I stomp back to the front and find a few cast-off bits of plastic lumber that went into last year’s building of the raised beds. I place them on the swing and sit down on them. They have sharp edges.

Taking stock, I realize that while the rest of me has that bone-deep chill that I used to get when shoveling snow without my Carharrts in 30-below weather in North Dakota, my hands are still warm. This is a good sign, since they seem to be the primary heat-conservation/-conduction source in my body. This makes no sense to me, but it seems to be true; my hands are always hot, and as long as they are, my core temp will be OK, even if I’m wet with condensation, exhausted, and very, very hungry. Which, come to think of it, I am.

I swing back and forth. I think about the big cedars and the mama hawk that lives back there somewhere. I’ve not heard her this year. The frogs croaking in the little pond down the coulee entertain me for a while, but then Mama Douglas Squirrel notices I’m there and sets up the neighborhood warning system–never mind that last summer, she ignored me completely and ate whatever was around while I was outside on the deck.

I sigh. I look at my watch. It’s 5:03 p.m. I’ve been sitting here for four and a half minutes. Rob isn’t likely to be back for another 90 minutes. What AM I going to do during that time, both for warmth and to occupy my not-happy-when-it’s-idle mind? Especially considering that there are things inside that I’d actually like to be doing?

Eventually, my hands start to feel a bit cool. This is not a good thing, given the temperature of the other surfaces on me. I reflect on the fact that, when a person spends 20 minutes in temperatures under about 60 degrees, something called “brown fat” is supposed to become seriously active, burning fuel at an awesome rate. I figure that mine, whatever and wherever it is, is having a fireworks party. If so, it is not noticeable.

So, despite the aching miseries that turn out, on closer examination, to be my joints, I trudge back around the house, dig out a shovel, and start shoveling dirt. Sore is better than hypothermic, I figure, and after a while I’m starting to feel warmish again, and of course condensate is making its standard appearance, adding to the potential for chill, so I stop.

About 6:30, Rob rolls in. He’s half an hour early, but a dead man even so. I stomp around the corner of the house to the front door, ready to commit murder if not hara-kiri. He turns to me and says, “Oh, are you locked out, too?”

“What do you mean, TOO?!?” I snarl, and explain the situation in my most dulcet tones. Fortunately, he does have keys in his pocket, and opens the door. I am exercising astonishing control by a) not killing him, either immediately or in a slow, painful way and b) not even yelling at him very much.

Once inside, I get in a hot shower and wrap up in nice warm flannels and big fluffy socks. The cold has worked its way to the bones and my hands are now chilled and stiff. Better now than outside, though.

Wanting something hot and fast, I cook a big bowl of the healthful, robust rolled whole-grain mix I put together from oats, barley, wheat, and several other grains that come from the food coop, along with dried blackberries and some almonds. I open the mail while it cooks, and note that the yarn for Kristen’s sweater has arrived, but it does not appear to be the size it ought to be, and may not be suitable for her sweater after all, but now I have it so somehow I’m going to have to make it work because I can’t return it.

The timer dings and I go get my oatmeal. I put some nice fresh milk and brown sugar on it, and sit down to eat. I’m really cold now, and my fingers won’t work. I notice little brown things in the oatmeal, and sigh. I choose to believe that they are flax seeds rather than small creatures backstroking through my dinner.

Rob slinks out of his room and offers to go get gas, since it’s Cheap Gas Tuesday, when several stations sell gas at 10 or so cents off a gallon. With gas approaching $3 again, this is always a good thing. Hesitantly, he says, “Um… I guess you didn’t remember that there’s a spare key to the house up in the garage?”

“There is not.”

“Yes, there is. I remember when you put it in there and told me it was there.”

I have absolutely no recollection of this; obviously, or I’d’ve gone up and looked for it.

Hara-kiri’s not looking so bad.

Posted by wordsmith in Family, Gardening, 0 comments

B.C. bud, Bud!

Didn’t remember this one until someone at lunch mentioned that things were growing on her porch. She meant baby vegetables and things, but the word “grow” must’ve tweaked the right neuron, because I suddenly remembered dreaming about B.C. bud, which is said to be a very strong strain of marijuana (I think; I may have that wrong, but whether it’s strength or something else, it’s supposed to be very good stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen it).

In the dream, I was much younger and was with a bunch of friends at a party where my dad lived, though it was a house I’d never lived in. Two stories with horizontal siding, big casement windows and I think it was round or octagonal. He didn’t know we were having a party but there were a lot of us, so I don’t know how he didn’t notice. I was trying to get people to be quiet so Dad, who was a holy terror when he was mad, wouldn’t come downstairs and throw us all out. Not much avail on that one, though Dad didn’t show up.

Then, some people led me up a narrow spiral stair to a tiny little room with a pointy roof that was made all of glass. It was dark outside and the stars looked very bright. Someone nudged me with an elbow and when I turned, handed me a tiny white thing from which smoke was coming. It was about the diameter of a coffee stirrer and hollow, with a tiny white disk at the end like the guard on a sword. The smoke was coming from the other side of the disk and a teensy red glow was at the very end of a small cylinder, about the size of a little matchstick.

I looked at the person who’d handed it to me, puzzled, and he smiled beatifically and said, “B.C. bud, man!” I looked at it curiously, took a very small drag off it (it was so tiny that, had it been real, I don’t think you could have gotten one even if you were the size of a hamster) and suddenly felt very calm and floaty and serene. I thought something inane like “Wow” and passed it on to the next person, and it evidently lasted through several more. Don’t remember any more than that, except for half-waking and thinking, “That’s pretty peculiar.”

The really fascinating thing about this is how something very ordinary can trigger a memory of something so ephemeral that you didn’t even remember. Wonder how that works? The other thing is that my dreams hardly ever include a sense of feeling something; there’s a lot more observation, usually, than anything else.

Posted by wordsmith in Dreams, 0 comments

Bleedin’ mothers!

WEIRD dream, much stranger than most I have, and not at all entertaining: My mom was in the hospital (in Hazen, go figure) and docs had done surgery for kidney cancer (I have a vivid mental image of a tiny spot of white in a corner of her kidney X-ray). When I got home that night, Mom, all 67 pounds and 89 years of her, was curled up naked on a bare mattress on the floor, surrounded by blood. I asked her what the heck she was doing out of the hospital, and she said they’d sent her home.

I looked at her back and stomach, just in case, but didn’t see any incisions, or anything else that should be bleeding. So I went to find a phone to call the hospital, and found blood here and there on the walls and floor. The phone cord was broken (interestingly, instead of being cut or snapping, the inside wires had pulled out of the sheathing and the plastic thingie that goes into the wall had broken in half).

Somehow I got hold of them anyway, through some extremely cumbersome 911 system where I had to stop and chat with everyone about their families and vacations, and the horsepistol wanted to know where Mom was! They had sent her home for the day, but she was supposed to come back there at night. I asked them what the heck they were doing sending her home after major surgery at her age.

Next thing, I’m back where Mom is and asking her if they sent her home, explaining that she’s supposed to be there at night. She gets up on the mattress, starts to walk, fussing about getting there before it’s too late, and whirls around and falls over, while I’m hollering at her not to do that because she’ll fall down. Fortunately, I think, I woke up at this point. I don’t usually have gruesome dreams, but this one was distinctly unpleasant.

Posted by wordsmith in Dreams, 0 comments

Book overdose

Of course it’s impossible to have such a thing — too many books — but a recent order that arrived from Edward R. Hamilton was pretty close. I’d gotten a catalog featuring nothing but remainders, all priced at $3.95 or less. Yeah, I went ape. Novels by people I’d never heard of, a few biographies (Eleanor Roosevelt, among them), some goodies for the boys (a history of Ford and some sci fi, including “Ender’s Game”), and all kinds of stuff. I left the three piles of books sitting in my living room for two days, just enjoying the anticipation of all those words.

When I put them in the bookshelves, I discovered that all the books I’ve sold to Village Books over the last couple of years, each one like selling a child and losing a piece of myself, almost made room for all the new ones.

Not too long ago, I bought a few Jonathan Kellermans to catch up on. I started reading him before he was Somebody, and he really is a fine writer. However, I stopped reading his stuff a few years ago because it was as if he’d decided the only way to keep people’s attention was to come up with more and more bizarre and perverse murder/misery scenarios to write about. Some of them were just nauseating. A couple of these were less nauseating, which was nice. I could just enjoy the writing and the characters.

Likewise with Patricia Cornwell, whose books I enjoyed before she was Somebody, too. She started with a premise promising yuck — the protag is a forensic pathologist. However, she spent the last book (at least, the last one I’ve read, and I’m often a book or so behind), Blow Fly, writing in present tense, which I didn’t think added anything but awkwardness to the narrative. Also, she has what has to be the creepiest, most horrible Bad Guy since Hannibal Lecter — one you would *not* want to meet in a dark alley, or even a lighted one — and she spent a lot of time giving us extensive and loving detail about his ickyness. (Ickiness? I like the “y” better.) It was truly nauseating, although I do like her characters and her discipline in making them stick to their characters. And even her “happy” endings are refreshingly ambiguous.

I’ve almost finished the Howard Zinn book and I may start a campaign to have every American student read it before graduating from high school. Not that I’d get anywhere, what with the distressingly sanitized versions of history we get. I’m anxious to get started on 1491, a book that actually belongs to Ryan.

On the “silly” list was a quick shortie by Ray Vukcevic (sp?) called The Man of Maybe Half a Dozen Faces. A mystery of sorts, by a software developer who lives in Eugene, Ore., so I kinda felt obligated to read it (and it only cost $1.95; see “sale” above). Premise involves what I deduce is a private investigator with multiple personality disorder (or whatever they’re calling it these days) who uses his various internal “guests” to augment his investigations. It had some possibilities and a few moments, but overall it was kinda disappointing.

I have one night of freedom left, so I’m going to go have some ice cream. And I still need to outline the trompe l’oeil scene on the door.

Posted by wordsmith in Books, 0 comments

Night spitting

Here’s a weird one… not long ago, I woke myself up laughing at a dream, and last night, I woke myself up spitting. I do remember why: I was dreaming that I had eaten a bug, and it tasted like a cross between battery acid, gym socks and anchovies. Bizarre.

Posted by wordsmith in Dreams, 0 comments

High Geekdom

My computer geek score is greater than 80% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

Sigh. Ryan made me take this quiz, and I think it’s scary that I scored this high without even cheating very much.

Posted by wordsmith in Family, 0 comments

I get by with a little help…

Light stand by Ryan

A good way to entertain my kids (and me, and get cool stuff) when they’re here is to give them Projects to Do. Since I’m mechanically declined and have an EM field that destroys anything electrical within half a mile of me, it’s not hard at all to come up with things I need that, if I tried myself, would wind up in a) my death or b) a house fire.

Today’s was a stand for lights with which I can sprout seedlings. My initial design was about 10 times more complicated than Ryan’s (sigh), and his went together in about half an hour (as compared to the days of trial and error I would’ve required). We put it up and plugged it in today, and *poof* the GFI blew. Ryan took out a blub (sic) and said it had blown, so we drove back to the store to get a new one. (I would’ve taken the blub and the fixture, but he’s the electrical engineer in the outfit, so I deferred to his expertise.) We got the new blub, after a long wait and the confiscation of my receipt, brought it home… and it turned out to be the fixture.

So we drove back to the store again, waited a long time again, and got the fixture swapped for a new one, then waited in line a while longer to get a reprint of the receipt so when something goes wrong with this one, then came home again. This time, it went together OK and has so far not blown anything. Yet.

I think it’s very cool, because it was easy, will let me adjust height up to three feet, will break down and store in very little space, and (beaming expression) my son made it for me (/ beaming expression). Tomorrow I’ll put seeds in the little pots and get going. And I’ll probably just keep the eggplants under it all season and see if I can keep them warm enough that way that they’ll actually set fruit.

Posted by wordsmith in Family, Gardening, 0 comments

Middle-of-night dreams

Boy, this is so unfair. I was having such a great dream that I woke myself up laughing in the middle of the night. Of course, I can’t remember any of it now, and if I’d woken up enough to write it down, I’d not have been able to go back to sleep. But it was funny. I giggled for quite a bit even after waking myself up with raucous laughter.

Posted by wordsmith in Dreams, 0 comments

A war and a new house

A lot of my dreams are about houses. Some are houses I’ve actually lived in; others are ones I’ve never seen (and that probably couldn’t exist). Some of the latter (and the former, for that matter) turn up repeatedly, often with new rooms and features. They all morph in dreams, of course, which is part of the fun. A lot of dreams, I spend just exploring new parts of the houses. I love these dreams!

Last night, I was moving into an enormous old Victorian house with tons of beautiful woodwork. The bottom floor layout was rather like an old “mansion” in White Oaks, near my hometown; I never saw the upper floors of the Victorian though, during the dream, I did wonder about them. All the ceilings were extremely high, like 12-15 feet. I remember wondering if there was any indoor plumbing anywhere in the place.

In the front of the house, on the left side, two huge rooms were devoted to a (family-owned?) packing business. Big rolls of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, butcher paper, and other wraps hung on stands around the room; boxes and tape and other things were in shelves and drawers and cubbies. Right in the center was a large chaise-like thing, very scruffy and dirty and piled with bits of magazines, books, food, and other junk, on which rested an old person (gender indeterminate), and a cat or two, of varying ages, was always in residence with him/her. This person, who I think might have been female judging from the way others talked, spent a lot of time talking to and cuddling the cats, and it seemed that the cat/s spent a lot of time half-smothered under her.

A great deal of the dream I spent trying to figure out how to arrange my stuff, none of which I’ve ever actually owned, and decide whether I needed shelves, drawers, cubbies, or what to make best use of the space. I remember asking the package people whether they thought they got the best space use from drawers, shelves, cabinets, or cubbies. I got a uselessly vague answer.

Anyway, I spent days in this place, admiring the architecture and woodwork, and getting up each morning determined to get stuff arranged in the living room so I could stop tripping over things. And each night, I went to bed (also in the living room, I think) with not very much, if anything, changed.

At one point, I was talking to one of the packing women who lived there and she said that the old creature on the chaise drew life from the cats — that every time one of them died, the old one perked up and felt better. One of the kittens had died underneath her the previous night, so she was feeling spry and chipper that morning. Ick.

Outside was a towering oak tree and beyond it a carriage house (a little too old to be a garage, but big enough to hold two or three cars). I debated frequently whether I should put a bunch of my stuff out there, and whether the packing people would notice if I moved a bunch of their stuff out there, since most of what was in the house had obviously sat in the house unused and unnoticed for two or three generations.

Before that, I’d been in a war or battle that I think involved blue and gray uniforms, though it didn’t seem Civil War-ish. I’d found some papers or a book or something that Mr. Pain-in-the-opolous, who was frothing about, trying to catch me and have me arrested for having them, had written, I think, though those copies didn’t seem to belong to him. I had a part in the war, but was far more worried about avoiding Mr. PITA and protecting the stuff I had than in whatever I was supposed to be doing. I was carrying a gun, though. 🙂

Initially, everyone was milling about on the battlefield, but eventually the guys on my side pulled back behind a long wall-like assembly of shrubs and branches. We divided into two groups and went to each end of the wall-y thing, and came out on either side to catch the other guys. But all the other guys were gone, and by the time I came around the corner, all *my* guys were gone, and I discovered that my ammunition was blanks, so I wandered up into the covered bleachers, still keeping my papers safe.

There, I ran into a bunch of people — including Tony Ortiz, for goodness’ sake! It turned out that following our freshman year in college, the Powers that Be had decided we should start over as an experiment. So all of these people I’d known and gone to school with for a year were now strangers, and we had to get acquainted, and somehow we knew we weren’t getting acquainted with the same people and in the same way, so that our freshman year would be very different from the original one. Don’t remember much else about it, except that quite a few of the people weren’t from my college years and that I recognized them even though I didn’t technically know who they were.

That morphed into the house dream, which was a lot more interesting and complex. I wish I could remember more about the fixtures and objects and architecture in the Victorian house. There was a lot of really neat and amazing stuff in that house and I spent a lot of time just looking in nooks and crannies and admiring things.

Posted by wordsmith in Dreams, 0 comments

Christopher’s wedding

This was a dream from last week or so, but it was pretty entertaining. The boys and I were in a large room, waiting. Lots of people drifted in until, eventually, Christopher came in with a girl he introduced us to. It turns out to have been the rehearsal for Chris’s wedding, though none of us knew this girl existed or had any clue that he was interested in anyone. Her parents seemed nice, but of a completely different world from mine, and we sat in the back watching as the rehearsal proceeded. The whole thing had a really warm, fuzzy feel to it, despite the astonishment the other two boys and I had at the realization that Chris was getting married without any warning or notice to someone we’d never heard of. When I told Christopher about the dream, he was pretty astonished, too. 🙂

Posted by wordsmith in Dreams, 0 comments

Another new dog

Great dream of the morning: I was walking out around Golden Valley, where there were lots of hills and rocky cliffs, and up to me walks a cheerful, blue-gray, but brown-eyed, Blue Heeler puppy about four months old. She (despite the masculine evidence on her underside) insisted on following me wherever I went, and displayed an amazing talent for climbing rocky cliffs, trees, and the sides of buildings. She followed me home, which required us to trek across cliffsides and past what appeared to be a state or national park, with a long lake in the background and bark-lined paths leading off toward the lake and a few backpack-clad, sturdy types hiking down them. The dog (who quickly named herself, but I can’t remember what) frolicked up and down the cliffs, her nails extending to grip the sandstone surfaces.

When we reached home, we went up a winding gravelly path with rocks and cliffs on both sides to reach the house, which looked like a desert-rat outpost: corrugated-tin roof over a gravel-and-dirt patio kind of thing, but no recollection of the house. Along the sides of the path nearest the house were rock walls about three feet high, with little bowls and pottery holders filled with dirt, rocks, pebbles, etc.

Pretty soon New Dog shows up with a container of some kind filled with beautiful black stone spheres–not polished, or as if manufactured, but as if they occurred that way naturally. I put some of them in one of the little bowls (like one I actually have, the footed bowl that has feet to hold it up, come to think of it) and felt very pleased at their beauty.

Blue (the existing part-blue-heeler dog) came out and met New Dog, and they went streaking down the path growling and jumping and bouncing around, happy dogs playing. Then I woke up.

Posted by wordsmith in Dreams, 0 comments

Simple living — rationalization

I don’t make buckets of money, and whatever I do make seems to be snarfed up by the Disaster of the Day, which in the past has ranged from $2000 car repairs to $1200 new crowns to vet bills to medical bills to … oh, yeah, can’t forget the broken water heater and the floor / underlayment repair. So I tend to think of myself as living pretty simply–basic little car, basic little almost-house, tiny little yard, with my expendable moolah going to books, pens, and hobbies.

Was reading someone’s take on voluntary simple living yesterday, with the central tenet being that you don’t buy anything you don’t need. Well, I certainly didn’t *need* $4000 in car bills in one year, but had to pay it anyway; and I guess I don’t *need* the hobbies, books, and pens I buy. But those wind up being the small pleasures that outweigh the disasters, if I work them right (e.g., the recent Hamilton sale on remainders–EVERYTHING $3.95 and under!!!).

So I’m not having problems classifying the scrumptious yarn I saw in yesterday’s elann newsletter as “necessary.” It’s beautiful stuff, looks like it works up wonderfully, and is a very reasonable cost. Surely *someone* needs whatever I knit with it–right? Like those people for whom I knitted a bunch of hats and scarves last fall? So that makes it necessary, even if it’s not necesssary for *me.* And sanity *is* necessary.

I’ll have to figure out a special kind of math: Yarn bought to make something for someone else counts as a positive, so doesn’t subtract from the checkbook or contribute to purchases; yarn on sale counts even less, and requires you to buy more yarn to make up for it (e.g., if you buy yarn at 25% off, you’re only buying 75% of a skein, so you have to buy more to make it a whole number). Hey, it makes sense to me.

Posted by wordsmith in Knitting, 0 comments

Much more yarn than hair

After fighting with this thing for several hours, I’ve decided I once again bit off more than I can chew. I misread the instructions for the Saxon braid (to be fair, they were pretty unclear with regard to the first and last rows, which turned out not to be the first and last, but only the set-up and finish rows, which are evidently not the same thing as first and last. So somewhere or other, I got off and couldn’t find which row I got off on. I ripped out rows and tried starting over, only to discover that the crossed-over cable stitches got out of order and I couldn’t figure out how to order them again.

Finally, it seemed that most of it was OK, except for one bit on the leftmost cable, so I ripped out just the eight or 10 stitches around that, back about six rows, and re-did them. This shot is of about that time–you can see that all four needles are smunged in there together. This looked as if it worked properly, but when I got two or three rows on, it was obvious that I’d not started with the right row again, and it was all off by a row or so.

By this time, I was so aggravated that I just foofed it and kept going. It’s only going to be a knitting bag, anyway, and nobody but me is likely to see it. And I have figured out the pattern, so if I use this for KrisDi’s first sweater, I know how to work it now.

Bah! I’m too old and too competent at too many things to have this kind of failure! Bah! Bah!

Posted by wordsmith in Knitting, 0 comments

What’s this one?!


Heaven knows if these images will show up, but here’s to the ol’ try. Leaves on the left are from Odd Unidentified Plant (OUP) that likes to grow all over the place. I’ve looked all through my Plants of the Pacific Northwest and can’t find it; I’m suspicious it might be a bitter cress, or maybe some other member of the cress-y family. If you have any ideas, please pass them along. I don’t know if I’m stupid or just incompetent, but so far, my efforts to identify plants from the pictures in books have been… shall we say, less than stellar.

Posted by wordsmith in Gardening, 0 comments

Selling potholders on the streetcorner

You’d think that a nation that can send people to the moon and rockety things farther than that should be able to develop a painkiller that works for teeny-weeny, feeble old ladies. Was talking to Mom last night and she grumbled slightly that the serious narcotics she’s taking, and has been for lo, this half-decade or more, are losing their effectiveness. We can’t up her dose much more, I fear, because the risks will start to outweigh the benefits, especially if the benefits are on the side of rapidly diminishing returns.

While waiting for the elevator, she mused, “Who’d’ve thought I’d’ve become a junkie at my stage of life?”

“I can see your obit now,” I told her. “‘Mrs. Lawson, 143 (here she shrieked “NO! Don’t make me live another 50 years!”), well known in her younger teaching days for anti-drug crusading activities, died a junkie, addicted to narcotics and morphine derivatives.'”

She howled. “Yes, yes!” she said. “I like it!”

“‘And,'” I continued, “‘she leaves behind a considerable customer list, who often waited on the street corners she frequented to purchase her hand-made crocheted potholders to help finance her drug habit.'”

“Oh, you,” she laughed, gasping for breath, “you make me want to go out and do it!”

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