Sunday, August 5, 2018

What?!? I have something else to say

I mentioned the benefits of acrylic gel polish for flimsy nails, and that I'd looked at some local nail spas close to home.  Thursday, Disco & I went to RT Nail Spa on Nolensville Rd.  Wowsers, is this place pretty!  Gorgeous, actually.  We were walk-ins, but only had to wait about 20 minutes before we could sit at adjoining stations.  I think because we were walk-ins, we did not get terrifically fast service: our techs kept getting up to attend to clients that came in after us, so I can only assume those clients had appointments.  Good thing we didn't have somewhere else we had to be, because we got seated at 4:30 and did not get finished until 7:30.  So, at 7:30 p.m. we were ready for supper.  Our beautiful French nails were super shiny!  But somehow, both my thumbnails got smudged!  All I could figure was that the tech had me pull my hands out of the UV light too soon, and the top coat wasn't cured.  I went back, and got another top coat on both, and I'm pleased.  I will definitely be making an appointment for the next time.
I started another teeny tiny hedgehog while in TX, but only got half the body knit.  I kinda lost the urge to knit after that.  I had bought several balls of Lion Brand Mandala yarn, which is really interesting stuff and which has a large Facebook following.  But most of the patterns associated with this yarn are crochet; they look lovely but I don't do that much crochet.  I found a lacy poncho on the Drops Design site, called Angelique, which looks like a good candidate for "Mandalization".  I did start on that, but have lost my place.  And the pattern has a slew of charts, and the beginning is knitted flat, then changed to was seriously throwing me.  So....I think I'll go back to picking a pattern!!  I've seen some wild kimono type sweater worked side to side, so there are vertical stripes, but I'm not sure that's a knitted pattern.  Well, sounds like a dive into the patterns search on Ravelry.  If I don't surface in two weeks, send sandwiches.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Three months less 4 days

If you are keeping track, the title is how long it's been since I posted.  We've had our ups and downs these three months.  The Plaidman no longer requires all communication be in "Canadian sign language" (repeat at increasing volume until understood), which is very nice for the nerves & blood pressure.  Disco is still dithering about becoming employed, you know, for like actual money.
I can't really give you a moment by moment for most of these 3 months, but I can tell you about the most "up" parts.  Y'all, we went to Texas in July which is total crazypants as it's Hell's lobby that time of year.  Yes we stayed with my wonderful Sis and her sweet hubby Steve, and got to spend time with the nieces two.  They have a rescue puppy!  She's seven months old, part border collie & part whippet, lovely smooth coat in black & white.  And loves everybody, of course.  And smart!  She's learned to stay back from the front door, while using the back door freely--she knows the difference.  We were bunked in the master suite, which was nice except the doggo knows how to open the door.  She liked to come wake me most mornings, of course I was quite tickled to have the alarm waking me with kisses.  We were there about 4 days, when the Plaidman tripped on the concrete steps on the deck.  He didn't feel that he'd hurt himself, until about an hour after.  We took him to the local ER, and after Xrays and ultrasound it was determined that he'd pulled a hamstring.  We were due to fly home in a few days, but Sis & Steve insisted we stay another week so he could recover some.  I had much calling to do to see if we could keep the cat sitter another week, change our flights (oh yeah, that's just more $$$$), and then the real hassle of getting emergency vacation supplies of my prescriptions.  I only needed 5 pills each of 3 prescriptions, but over the next few days I think I called the pharmacy 15 times.  Also had to have my specialty pharmacy reroute my anti-hormonal (cancer) drug from delivery at my house (absolutely useless, since I was in Texas) to delivery to my sister's house.  That actually went pretty well, they were only a day late in delivery.  I hope we can get back to normal delivery when I call them again.  So...we had to do laundry 3 times while we were there, as we only packed for a week with one laundry day.  Disco had no trouble putting together more outfits, because her cousins went thru their closets and gave her about 40 nice tops (some still had the tags on), which we somehow managed to pack into our 3 suitcases and 3 rolling carry-on cases (we checked all six pieces at the airport).  We each had a tote, and another carry-on: Disco & I had purses, and the Plaidman had a cane.  I was surprised that the cane didn't wind up in an overhead bin, since whenever I've had one that didn't fold up on a flight, the attendant has taken it from me.  Maybe I just look like someone that would smack somebody with my cane, I don't know.  We had a ladies day with Sis, went to the Burkes outlet and spent some dough.  Sis had to run home but Miss A had her friend C, Disco, and me load up to her dad's car and carried us to the nail spa.  Now, I have never cared to wear polish; it just seems to chip off within days and looks ratty if it's not redone.  I've maintained my nails, but with the treatments I'm taking they have just about up & died.  They are extremely fragile, splitting and peeling (peeling! like cheap leatherette!) and always snagging on my clothes.  Well, Sis says I should try the gel polish, as it would protect my nails and look nice too.  Why social media for sick folks doesn't mention this I do not know.  So now I have beautiful French nails, and have not had to file them in weeks.  I am quite pleased, especially since my darling daughter, the DiscoDame herself, paid for my manicure.  AND I was just checking Yelp for nail spas in the area:  we have four different ones with 5-star ratings very close to the house.  I will check them out.  Disco needs hers redone; I'm going to see if she'll try the French style since the nail tips are reinforced.
So, we finally made it back to home.  TomTom Tiger was just about out of his little mind, meowing up a storm -- but not howling or panting or showing any other signs of excess stress.  He couldn't decide which of us to follow around, and just kept zipping between us.  While Disco & her Dad were unloading the car, TomTom came into the bedroom with me.  I got to petting him, and he just rumbled his big purr.  He's a mellow little guy, as long as he can stay home.  We got some cute pictures from the cat sitter; I'll have to put them in the computer to get one in particular on here.

Ok kids, what did we learn on this trip?
A) Pack entire prescriptions, not just enough for the planned visit.  It's ok to save space by limiting the supplements, but you never know if you'll leave as scheduled.
B) Gel manicure is the bomb.
C) Nieces grow up too fast.  The Peerless One is taller than her sister, who's 7 years older.
D) Dudes older than 68 need to supervised on concrete.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

News of various sorts

I had to see my PCP early this month, some respiratory issue which turned out to be pneumonia.  I've been feeling better just lately, still on meds but not so much coughing.  I lost my voice, which hasn't come back yet.  Thankfully, the Plaidman picked up his hearing aids about 10 days ago, so he does hear my pitiful croak.  And we can turn down the volume on the TV!!

When I was in high school here in Nashville, my sister had a baby and gave him up for adoption.  I've just recently been contacted by his family.  I will likely set up a meeting, someplace public and well away from home.  I guess you can tell I'm of two minds about seeing this person.

I finished the two "chemo"caps I was making in Knit Picks cotton/Modal blend (the name of it escapes me just now).  It is nice stuff, very smooth and soft, not at all stiff like 100% cotton can be.  Sadly, no pics before I carried them to the oncologists' office for their collection crate.  After those were done, I started on Hermione 💘s Ron, a beanie in wool, with cables & lace.  I think my gauge is a bit tighter than the designer's, this beanie just barely fits on my head.  Erm, spoiler alert: I've finished the cap.  Anyway, I immediately started another, upsizing the needles and deciding that the two set-up rows don't count as the first two rows of the lace pattern.  So we shall see if my tight knitting can be offset by the larger needles.  I am using some of my nicer fingering weight yarns for these wool caps, as I intend to wear them.  I don't have a problem with wearing wool.

Starting this past Thursday (it's now 11 p.m. Sunday) I have been asking the Plaid Patrol for 2 chores that needed doing.  Our junior member has been thinking that we'd get out to the movie theater sometime this weekend, but only one of the chores got done.  So no movie yet!  We may go during the day tomorrow, but as wool is my witness we will get the other chore done too!  We have a magnet on the fridge that says, Don't fool yourself: Mom is watching.  
Right now, Mom is actually nodding....time to hit the sack!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Excessive delay ensued

Heavens, ducks!  I haven't posted since New Year's Eve.  You'll all be pleased to know I still "walk" the Earth (but only if I have to!), and I'm still knitting.  Gotta knit for sanity now; my country 'tis of thee continues on its shambling course to the gates of Hell.  More on that in a bit, let me fill you in on activities at Chez Plaid.  After the New Year (I think it was on the 6th, so still within the 12 days of Christmas), Plaidman & I went to All Star Medical and bought a power chair.  We decided to go with the chair rather than the scooter, so I can use it in the house.  We had it almost a month, used it to go to the zoo and go shopping, when the right motor stopped working.  So, back to the dealer we go.  They took it in the shop in back, and tried to find the problem without success.  The decision was made to send the entire motor back to the manufacturer.  In the meantime, we have a loaner chair of the same model.  Earlier this week we went back to the zoo, having seen only half of it at our last visit.  It was a gloriously sunny and mild day.  Have you ever seen rhinos romp like dogs at play?  We did!  I believe they were as thrilled by the sunny day as we were.  Who knew rhinos could be cute?

What I wanted for Valentine's Day included the obligatory heart-shaped box of chocolates, but mainly was some relief in communicating with the Plaidman.  He's my sweetie, and I have to yell at him to be understood because he's so deaf.  I don't like yelling at him, anymore than he likes being yelled at; DiscoDame doesn't help when she starts yelling at him too.  So, he actually called a hearing center & got an appointment for next week!  I'm looking forward to having conversation with him in conversational tones, without our "Canadian" sign language.  I wish I could explain that to you, but I think you'd have had to be there when Disco invented it.

What I got, besides a lovely card & chocolates, was further proof of the future of this great nation being carried away in Satan's handbasket.  Part of the reason I haven't posted lately was that the event at the Portland, FL, school just about tore out my heart.  I know I can't show you how badly this hurt me; I haven't the words for that.  I can tell you that a long time ago Plaidman and I buried our own firstborn child, and that pain will be part of me until I die.  To see so many other Moms & Dads having to go through that has moved me from grief to anger.  To see the survivors speaking about their terror and pain of loss, as children, just drives me to the angriest tears.  How can anyone troll these children, calling them "actors" with prepared speeches--these are young humans with actual brains and passions moving them to decry our government's lack of decency.  Someone else pointed out that thoughts & prayers from someone who neither thinks nor prays, are less than useless.  So many of our representatives owe their allegiance not to their constituents, but to the gun lobby's deep pockets.  Plaidman remembers protesting the bombings in SE Asia, folks chanting,
"Hey Hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today"
and he suggested we use it now, only change "LBJ" to "NRA".  I think we must protest and resist the NRA's control of our Congressional representatives.  So, I need to find a way for this wheelchair bound old hippie to get out there and support our kids' efforts to make the changes we need to see.  Oh boy--here's where my head is at: When I think of protests, I hear Joan Baez singing "Joe Hill" in my mind.  That may not be the most useful thing I've got in my brain, but if it gets me going I'll take it.  One hopeful note in the news today:  Texas had an extremely high early voting turnout, partly because of Democratic efforts to get out the vote.  That's probably something I could do, working on getting folks to GO VOTE or GET REGISTERED.

Gosh, I haven't even talked about my knitting.  I found some patterns for Swiffer or Clorox mop covers, that can be washed/dried & reused.  Well, I happen to have a crapton of kitchen cotton laying around, and thought Sis might like to have some of these.  One pattern was really simple, just a seed stitch rectangle with stockinette borders that tuck into the slots on the back of the mop head.  It works, but was really not that interesting or fun to knit.  Then I tried one based on the Ball Band Dishcloth pattern, and that is so much fun to knit (even in cotton!) that I went a bit crazy and made four of them very quickly.  Two will go to Sis, but I'm keeping (& using) the other two.

  I've finally worked in the ends on the pink headband (Blue Leaf Lace Headband on Ravelry), and put a button on that one too.  I'll send both headbands down south, along with hedgehog toys for the girls.  I feel that the pink headband needs a steam blocking first.  I guess I could do that pretty quickly.

I did start a cap, Exeter on Ravelry, but as the yarn description in the pattern was misleading as to weight, I had to rip it and redo the math for it.  I'm working on the crown decreases.  Here it sits in my yarn bowl, which was a present from me to me.
And if you look carefully you'll see Sis' birthday present to me: a gorgeous shopper tote from Dooney & Bourke (gasp!).  Here's a pic of it alone, carried by Disco.
Disco also modelled my finally finished capelet, a Drops design I knit in Cascade Roslyn tweed.

Missing the "old country"...

Much better, but I really thought it would be a lot longer.  It is nicely warm as a layering piece, and a gorgeous color.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Too cold

It's 3:30 pm and about 15F -- too cold to go outside for pictures.  But I finished my Kara cowl, and have worn it a few times.  It's an excellent layering piece, adding a deep red splash and a warm neckline to any outfit.  I have also been knitting for Sis and Miss A:  Swiffer mop head covers for Sis in two patterns, and the Hans My Hedgehog patterns for Miss A.  There are two of the hedgehog patterns, one making a tiny pocket "hog" about 2.5" in fingering yarn, and the other in worsted which made up to about 7" long.  The larger one used some of the yarn Sis gave to me over Thanksgiving, and looks a lot like Miss A's actual live hedgehog!  So maybe the pet hedgie can have a buddy....

Sis keeps hermit crabs in a sandy habitat next to the fireplace, with a heat lamp for continuous warmth.  They are some pretty weird little critters.  I watched an episode of Blue Planet the other day, that had me cracking up -- a conch had caught a smaller snail, and was emptying that snail's shell with a rowdy audience of hermit crabs all vying to get into the emptied shell!  At one point there were four hermits fighting each other to get that shell, then one actually climbed up the conch and into the shell before the conch turned it loose!  A risky move, as the conch could have eaten the hermit crab too, but it paid off since that little guy hustled away with the shell.

Well, I had to fill out another set of forms for the disability, so much fun.  It's a good thing I scanned and saved the earlier documents, as I had to attach some of them to this new form.  I suppose this will be a nearly endless process, so I'm scanning just about everything.

One of my Christmas presents was a two-week rental of a power chair, pretty nifty.  This one breaks down into four bits, with the heaviest bit just 36 lbs. and well within Disco's lifting capability.  I should get her to take it apart & put it back together several times; she's been letting Plaidman take charge of that but she says she wants "us girls" to be able to go places without him.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Back from the boonies

The entire Plaid Patrol rode to south Texas for the week of Thanksgiving.  It's a long darn drive, but then we spent the whole week with family.  We were only able to do that because we'd hired a pet sitter to come in twice a day, to keep the elderly cat at home & happy.  And he seems to have warmed up to the sitter, even playing with her and letting her pet him, and he was quite happy to see us back.  I would have posted from Texas, but never got near enough to an unused (& functional) computer.
I delivered the Diamond Halter top to niece A, did not get to see her in it but made her promise to send me a picture.  I'm still working on the red tweed capelet, just have about 6" of ribbed turtleneck to go on that one.  I got about an inch of ribbing done while there, but most days we had other fun stuff to do and the knitting just stayed in the bag.  Speaking of bags, Sis did not disappoint in the "birthday present" bag: It's a Dooney & Burke tote with Pittsburgh Pirates themed print on white leather, just gorgeous and a great bag for the knitting.  I will have to send her something wonderful and knitted asap.  Sis brought Pup over from his assisted living facility Tuesday, then Disco, Plaidman, the nieces & I went to the facility the next day and had lunch with him.  Later that afternoon Plaidman went back to Sis', while us ladies went to Savers.  Guess who we found there -- the Shopping Queen herself, aka Sis!  We all spent some time together there, then the nieces departed for home.  I spent way too much money there, even with the 30% discount card Sis gave me.  Most of it was for stuff Disco wanted, I wish I could find the receipt to show her!  We finally got all our purchases out to Sis' Giganto Craft (an ancient Escalade), then it took all three of us (Disco, Sis & me) to get me into the front seat.  I am not anything like nimble anymore.  In fact, since I stayed in the upstairs guest room, I had to climb 16 stairs every evening to get to bed, and come down those stairs (dressed & ready for the day) every morning.  I thought my knees would give out.  Then there was the guest bed, wonderful to sleep in but so tall that I needed both a stepstool and my walker to get into it.  Slept like a stone, until it was time to visit the loo.  And that was for six nights.  I've been home a few days, and I've recovered some.  Thursday we had Pup back over to the house for our noon Thanksgiving supper.  Afterwards, the annual T-Day lawn tournament was held out on the front lawn, with 3 father & daughter teams and one niece + boyfriend team.  Pup teamed with Sis, Steverino teamed with the Peerless niece, Plaidman teamed with Disco, and Miss A teamed with Seth.  Pup has macular degeneration, so his shots were guided by other players standing near the "hole" and waving.  It was agreed that Peerless & her Dad won the tourney.  I wasn't the only spectator, we had some neighbors come by to check out the game.  Then we all went back inside and played LCR; Peerless took a $27.00 pot!  Just her day.  Pup got delivered back to his home, and we all pretty much called it a night.  Friday Peerless treated a bunch of us to a movie, Justice League,
which we all found marvelous.   Saturday we began the long drive back home, and got here about 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Weekend continues...

When one is no longer employed, it can be difficult to determine when the weekend commences or stops.  Appointments can be a "heads up", since most of them occur during the week.  I did get some good news by phone last Thursday: my long term disability has been approved!!  Plaidman went to the mailbox on Friday, and I think he must have missed a day or two because it was stuffed.  He brought in a ton of stuff, most of which went directly to the recycle bin.  But he wasn't sure he'd gotten it all, because a) it was dark when he was there, and b) he didn't use the stepstool we keep in the car for the purpose (the mailbox is up over his head).  So he went back mid-morning on Saturday, and found my first disability check.  And of course that was the only thing in there, since Saturday was Veterans' Day and there was no mail delivery.  I'll take a moment here:
     Thank you for your service, Thomas Paul Devine & may you rest in peace, most excellent father-in-law and infantryman.
You are missed more than I can say.

     Thank you for your service, Cameron Eiseman Cherry; may you continue to be our family's guide & light for many years, Cadet of the Army Air Corps.

Plaidman's younger brother served in Viet Nam, repairing tanks.  His son has seen service as well.  Last I heard, the two of them are not on speaking terms.  I salute them both, and pray they'll reconcile their differences soon -- Viet Nam vets aren't getting any younger.
Okay, that moment stops now before I get weepy.

I have started on the final segment of the Mi Kara "capelet", which is very pretty in it's cabled red tweediness.  However, I really thought the thing would be longer, more of a short poncho than an elongated & elaborately cabled cowl.  So ... the length is disappointing.  I'll finish the ribbed turtleneck, try it on, and see if it's something I might actually use.  I do have a lot of tops with rather open necklines; I guess I could extend the "season" for those tops with the red capelet.
We've hired a sitter for our aged kitty, so when we go out of town we can just contact her & she'll come in to feed him, change the litter box, and give him some loves and attentions while we're out.  I hope this works out well.  Surely it will be better than putting our little old man in a cage at the vet's!  I still can't get over how stressed out the poor little beastie was after being boarded for a week.

We had EJ and her recently acquired hubby come stay with us for a few days.  We'd gone over to American Freight and bought a queen sized mattress set, which fits Disco's bedframe.  Disco had the mini-Keurig set up, with a selection of K-cups and some disposable coffee cups.  So the newlyweds had their own little apartment downstairs.  We took them out to Bicentennial Mall, which they found pretty interesting for the wall of history all around it.  We also cruised through the Farmers Market, where I got a large head of purple cauliflower.  One night we treated them to our favorite local Chinese buffet, they loved it.  The next night we ate at home, with homemade black bean dip, roasted cauliflower & Yukon gold taters, and smoked pork chops.  EJ liked the dip so much she was trying it on everything.  Danny is a little less adventurous with food, he'd never eaten roasted cauliflower before but discovered he liked it a lot.  One of the perks of having only a few folks to feed is trying new things without having to make enough to feed an army.  I was kind of surprised when all the roasted veggies disappeared -- that had been one huge head of cauliflower.  And roasting hard veggies like taters & cauliflower is so easy: Pre-heat the oven to 350°F, prep by washing & remove any "poorly" bits, chop the rest into slightly larger than bite size pieces,  smash a few cloves of garlic & dice, dump all in a large mixing bowl, add some seasoning (I used a garden herb mix, little salt & pepper), drizzle lightly with EVOO, stir to cover all with seasoning & oil.  Spread in one layer on a large rimmed baking sheet, pop into the oven.  It will take about 40 minutes for your veggies to become fork-tender, but pull them out at 20 minutes to stir & turn, then back to the oven for another 20 minutes.  Couldn't be simpler, and they come out fragrant & tasty.  The purple cauliflower did turn quite dark, but retained a lot of the purple and looked nice with the golden taters.  As to the bean dip, it was delicious but somewhat thinner than I liked; this was the first time I'd made it so I will try to remember to drain more of the liquid off the beans before mixing.  Again, a simple recipe, just cooked black beans, cumin, cilantro...and something I can't recall right now.  No cooking required, just use either the blender or (we are so cool this way) a small handheld blender stick in a plastic bowl.  Disco was in charge of the blending, having learned her lesson about not using the stick blender in glass or ceramic (she cracked the ceramic pot on the last crock pot, while it had hot food in it!!).  She also cooked the smoked pork chops, although not quite as "crispy" as usual because guests.
And can you believe neither EJ nor Danny had ever eaten smoked chops before.  Well, folks, you just have to look at other offerings in the meat dept of the grocery store.  Explore a little.  Heck, I've even eaten calamari, something I swore I'd never touch, but it was beautifully cooked: paper-thin and seasoned, like a seafood chip!  We don't want to think too much about what it is, and one may have to already have one's mouth "set" for this dish, rather like with frog's legs.  Tasty, if one doesn't think too much of where they come from.