Sunday, December 30, 2018

Perhaps I should sleep less

When I was in rehab for various broken bones, I had the aids find extra pillows to prop up my legs, keep my heels off the bed.  After eight hours on my back, because I couldn’t sleep on my side because of broken bones, or the other side because of “terminal osteoarthritis”, geeze, did my heels hurt! Probably I could have sourced a pair of those foam heel protectors, but they are damn hot. So I hit on a pillow under my legs, and slept until I woke up.

I’ve been home from rehab since mid November; six weeks, and waking up miserable most nights from aching heels. At Ann’s I remembered the pillow trick, and scored another pillow. Actually, I intended to write a post about the pillows, and her kitchen towels. Ann and Pat were married twenty five years ago, and we gave them handwoven stuff.

Mom was still alive back then, and would not tolerate a sewing machine if she could hand hem something. We occasionally made pillow cases then. Mom made herself happy by hemstitch hemming them. I doubt any customer realized what they were getting.

My sister wove a lot of dishtowels, too, mainly to experiment for the future use of overshot patterns. This is a twenty five year old dishtowel. The woven pattern is called “dogwood”.  Ann uses a dishtowel one day, and consigns it to the laundry. This towel probably has been through the washer and dryer a thousand times in the last twenty five years. The dogwood flower pattern is woven with carpet warp, and pretty faded, but the towel still does its towel job.

That was a sidebar. I decided I needed a new pillow, to use the old pillow to keep my heels off the sheets. Amazon delivered it today, together with a new set of pillowcases. The pillow was rolled, bedroll style, in the plastic cylinder, flatter than a pancake. We got it out, and in the pillowcase. Eventually I turned around and looked, and assumed it had taken on its load of air. That was three hours ago. It’s even bigger now.

I wonder if it will toss me out of bed tonight.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Heavy weather

We flew to Wisconsin for Christmas, to spend time with Ann and Pat. I went to a month before Christmas to book tickets. I toyed that long with the possibility of driving, after realizing there no longer is a direct flight from Akron or Cleveland to Milwaukee. 

As I sat diddling with the screens, weighing a layover in Charlotte, Detroit, or Chicago, the price went up a hundred dollars. Flash, just like that. A hundred bucks. My finger twitched, and we were on American, laying over in Charlotte.

I made a mistake booking an 11 a.m. flight, not an 8:30 a.m. flight. There was little freeway traffic, no airport congestion. The flight was seven hours, including layover. Driving would have been exactly the same, including the distance from the airport to Ann’s house. A direct flight would have been two to three hours.

Speed at the airport would have been significantly diminished without the wheelchair. Wheelchair service seems to have become a standard airport business, since I had that stroke eight or nine years ago, and waited twenty minutes for the pre-ordered chair to arrive at the gate.  Now the one I order is there, or hustling on up. The best thing about chairs is, they go to the head of the line, or better yet, to the TSA gate, where there is no line.

When we left Milwaukee for home, Wednesday night, Laura’s boarding pass announced TSA Precheck. The counter agent looked at it several times, then said Laura had been randomly selected.  

Our baggage was scanned, and Laura was summoned back from the seating area. The agent asked her to open her suitcase and show the bag of round objects. Hamilton’s bag of jelly beans was examined front and back, and she and our luggage were excused.

The chair only takes me to the head of the line. I used to set off two alarms, my titanium hip and my titanium neck. Now my new shoulder rings another bell, and eight or ten inches of new leg metal rings a lot of bells. Miss Prechecked sat and waited.

At the gate, a new gate was announced. At the new gate, a new time was announced. Heavy weather on the coast was delaying incoming flights, and one of those, from Charlotte, was our connecting flight back to Charlotte, then to Akron.  I explained the problem of missing the flight out of Charlotte, and was told it was raining so hard there, we would do more than miss the flight. The ticket agent offered us a bus ride to Chicago O’Hare to connect to Akron.

The agent assured me there was more than enough time for a bus trip from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois, to catch the last plane to Akron, including four detours off the interstate to pick up passengers. She was correct; we reached the counter with ten minutes to spare. 

There was no plane at the gate; it was late from Charlotte. But, it did arrive, and we were home and in bed by midnight, only an hour late, and, according to Ann, just a mundane adventure later.

The newly waning moon, through the airplane window, above the rain from the coast. I still need to call American and see if there is a refund for the difference between bus fare and air fare.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Brexit and Brump

Current events have me re-reading World War II memoirs, notes, analysis, I think for the purpose of strengthening in my mind the relationship and bond between America and Britain. I wonder who knows where our ships of state will drift.

As you know, I think Britain’s exit from the European Union is a mistake. I think the election of our current president, Trump, is a mistake. Both were attempts to return a sense of nationhood to the majority who voted.

Isolation is no longer a solution. It wasn’t in World War I, either, but it took ships a lot longer to cross an ocean then, and planes barely could. As for our current situations, the cat’s among the pigeons, as the saying goes.

If Britain attempts to force a new referendum on Brexit, the rule of law, their constitution is undermined. Then they might as well try for two out of three. I think get on with it. Exit on March 31st and see what the members of Parliament can do to make it more palatable. But do it.

This country has got on with it with Brump. It’s not fun; it’s good for very few. A solution is coming: 109 weeks down, 98 weeks to the presidential election. Our opportunity to redirect the ship of state.

The outcome of Brexit can only be known in giving it a try; make the effort. If it’s as ill-fitting as Brump has been over here, re-join the EU.

Don’t say it’s harder than that. Of course it is. Life is hard. Solutions are hard.

People are dying from Brump. Jobs gone, lives changed, countries changed. But make changes through agreed upon rules of engagement. There are too many problems to re-solve. Starting at GO with revolution is no solution. Laying a course from here forward can be.

I don’t know why I shoved these words and paragraphs together. Perhaps to draw the straight path up to the madness. Neither country is ready for the chaos that will ensue. Like us, I think, Britain is not prepared. Time’s up. Who will clear the next border export? Can that ship come into port? Whoops, the mail’s piling up.

Who will pay to Secret Service to guard the president? Hell’s bells, how will we last the 109 weeks? That damn Paul Ryan, announcing there will be a shutdown if there is no wall, and how many of those lame ducks will come back to vote, one way or another.

And in the meantime, we get up in the morning, go to bed at night, feed the dog and cat, make supper. Come on, you government guys. Load the dishwasher. Put the laundry in the dryer!

Let’s all have a happy Christmas, and see you when it’s over. Perhaps there will be a glimmer then.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Desultory day

I could have packed today, but still having tomorrow, little point. I'm certainly not the person I used to be.

Laundry was on my list, for a couple of days. Transporting even my little basket through two rooms, one handed, isn't fun. For a while I used the rollator, and that was convenient, save my great dislike of the thing. So easy to roll anything about the house. It's what I took to DC, so I could sit while the girls went off visiting Lincoln, Washington, and so forth and so on. That ended badly.

Actually, the rollator would be so convenient to use, except  it's so heavy and awkward. I cannot lift it into my car by myself, for instance, and once I  grew accustomed to two trips to transport my breakfast one handed I just was tired of seeing it hanging around the living room. I had Laura put it back in the shed, and I hone my one handed skills.

On one trip to the laundry room I noticed a package at my neighbor's door, across the way. On another trip, the package remained, so I called Cathy. "You have a package!" and we kept on chatting while she retrieved and opened it. Then a cry of dismay. Nothing she had ordered. The big reveal; it belonged one street over. Christmas will be over soon, and we hope Amazon delivery will improve after that.

I spent some of the day weaving. All my current stock is gone except one person I have not heard from, and one pair of pea green towels. I just realized the color is similar to this piece of packing tissue I ironed and hung on the wall. 

While exploring the whimsy, this little vase on the sewing table qualifies. While in Wisconsin last summer, we spent some time at a town with art shops down one side of the hill and back up the other. One studio made things from things. Laura came away with a picture frame from construction materials, and bolts and nails and all manner of one man's trash.

There was a box in the back of the room that said FREE, and full of things deemed useless detritus. This pretty little vase was both unbroken, and cheerful. The price was right, and I had a use for it. The shopkeeper even wrapped it in newspaper to protect it from all the metal parts of the picture frame in our bag. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A beautiful day today

Total sunshine today. I took a new header picture of the corkscrew willow, without broody grey background weather.

Another hard day of pinochle. Nancy returned from Texas “at a reasonable hour!” (11 pm last night; “I booked it that way!”), but yawned a good deal, which didn’t affect the score. We lost by about fifteen points. Each side took a set back, but it was a day of decent cards and great play.

Next week is a toss up for playing.  Tuesday, of course, is Christmas Day, and Laura and I get back from Wisconsin about 8 at night on Wednesday. A reasonable hour to be rested for playing Thursday or Friday.

I was laughing with Yam yesterday; there is a drain in my brain, for the exclusive use of nouns knocked loose by those two brain injuries. Nouns I want to use can go over the edge faster than lemmings over a cliff. Yam posted a series of pictures that included a dried hydrangea, posed near a reindeer (tis the season). I could not put my finger on hydrangea, hard as I tried, so I did my usual google trick, and asked. It said its best guess for the picture was reindeer. So much for AI.

This is all to say I hope I have accomplished all I must do to leave. The techiest part is delivering the cat to the boarder on time, in the morning or evening time slot.

I also must stop questioning myself on a 7:30 a.m. pick-up by my sister for the drive to the airport. AKC is normally a half hour drive, but she points out it’s rush hour. Our departure is 11 a.m., and even though it’s our little regional airport, it probably is a good idea to give us a three hour window.

I have a book to read, a Robin Williams biography. If I don’t like it, I’m also taking Michelle Obama’s book, for another read before I leave it at Ann’s, for her library.

Three houses in a row in town have a continuous display. This is one only, and not up the other side of the house. Ho Ho Ho.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Eighty at D

Laura is taking finals this week, Friday we go by plane to Wisconsin for Christmas, and this morning I put a number of towels into the mail. I began at the top of my reading list, “An English…”, and now I’m into the D’s. My spreadsheet filled in eighty at “Dartmoore Ramblings”. I need more export declarations and neglected to get them. I’ll stop tomorrow, after cards.

There are six towels left of the current weaving; two are spoken for and the other four have a high probability of clearing the shelf this week as well. The entire run of lavender is done, six towels on the beam; “peacock” (I didn’t name it) is on the bobbins and ready to go. There are 54 towels so far from the last warp I wound on and about fifty to finish it.

Laura and I are seriously on the outs this week. Well, she is. I don’t walk in her shoes; they’re her issues to resolve. Her responsibility to resolve. Of her siblings, only one was a self starter. Sigh. I’ve reinstated my brilliant phone policy; from six to six it lives in my room. There was no plug available for her charger, and rather than asking me which of my devices might be changed, she thumped her phone on the shelf and left. I grinned.

Our weather is winter grey, and there’s an edge to the breeze. But, it has been unseasonably (?) warm, bar that snow and ice storm a couple of weeks ago. It looks to be warm past the end of the year. I’ll take it all. It makes getting around easier. My last several trips to the post office, with my shopping bag of envelopes of towels, patrons have been handily close to the door and happy to help. This week I was completely alone. In fact, Lynn and I chuckled that on their anticipated busiest counter day of the year, I walked into an empty post office.

Not to worry, in short order they streamed in behind me. And, their arms were so full I stopped a couple of folks from attempting to dangerously re-juggle their loads to get the door open for me. In fact, I held each door open in turn for more coming in.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Steps and so forth

Steps—There are twenty odd steps between my bedroom door and the coffee pot in the kitchen.  Even if I make a trip into the big world, I don’t get around much in a day. But I decided not to be so hard on myself.  If I want to bring back a sandwich and a cup of coffee, it’s two round trips, once for the sandwich and another for the coffee. I tried balancing the sandwich plate on top of the cup of coffee, and it can be done, but is just over difficult.

Throat plates—A throat plate is part of a sewing machine. If it must be removed, generally two screws are removed and the plate lifts out. Way last summer, before I broke a bunch of bones, Jan and Tom came by and Tom tended to some repairs needed on the new loom. Toward the end Tom needed a trip to the hardware store, and Jan, of shear boredom, tore down my sewing machine for a good cleaning.

My sister can dis and reassemble a sewing machine blindfolded, in the dark. But at the end she made an error. My brother did this; Laura does it; most adults do it. Jan did it. She snugged down the throat plate screws. My machine is a nice old Brother, and its only fault is a good ability to get a screwdriver to the throat plate screws.

I called my sister, and found her down in Amish country, in a quilt fabric shop, weighing augmenting her stash. I bet the shop keeper tipped the scale. I went back to weaving until Laura came in from school, and removed the screws. I screwed them back in.

Handicap placards—The placard that hangs from my rear view mirror, and entitles me to park in designated places up by the door of a shop, expires after the last day of this month. I’ve had a placard so long that mine has slipped over to five year expiration. I called the office; the receptionist will get the paperwork together for me to pick up.

Tomato—Ruth and I try to get out to lunch, though this summer has been difficult. We have been several times to a restaurant in Cleveland called Tomato\Tomado. A casual little place; order at the counter for delivery to your table.  It’s a lunch crowd place, heavy on fruits and vegetables.

Last spring Ruth said she’s been told of another ”tomato restaurant” in the Hudson area, and I should keep an eye out. One day, by the library, I saw a tomato go by. I went around the block to be sure, and found The Tomato Grill.  Then I broke my leg and butt, and had my arm fixed. We didn’t make it to The Tomato Grill until yesterday.

Ruth was perfect, of course, but I was underdressed in jeans. She had crab cakes and I had squash soup and grilled tomato salad. The food was first rate, and so was the service. We probably won’t go back.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Breaded pork chops

I smelled the most wonder supper being prepared last night. I didn’t even go to the kitchen for fear of interrupting its goodness.

Laura called supper was ready, and I got up and going. As I mentioned a couple times today, I’m walking better every day. Personally, I have a problem being seventy-five and becoming a walker, again.

But, heading toward the table, oh, the aroma! I wondered if it could be fish, which she has done in the past.

And no, she had made breaded pork chops, with mushroom gravy. And green beans. And wow, was it good. A chop apiece. I was awhile getting through mine, but it was too good to put any aside for a better day.

I paid the price in the evening. Supper generally is a much lighter meal. Anything that good in future should to be half as much. Watching was a treat. She cut into her chop and examined it long, with a deep frown. It oozed juice and displayed the tiniest blush of rose. Perfect, I told her, and her shoulders relaxed. Then my cut got the same scrutiny. The terror of the first time you serve up.

I’m not familiar with the contents of most cupboards, but the one I supposed would have held bread crumbs is right above MY coffee shelf, and there isn’t a jar of crumbs there. “You buy bread crumbs today?”, I inquired.

“No. I just emptied your toaster crumb tray.”

Sunday, December 9, 2018

This past week

I was typing away last week and suddenly my computer screen was swarmed by color, noise, a plethora of boxes with announcements I was hijacked, together with phone numbers to call to be liberated. This has occurred in the past and my solution has been Cntrl-Alt-Del, and systematic deletion of programs that are running.

It didn’t work this time.

The only other option I knew was call Microsoft, but not the number on the screen. I used my phone to find a tech support number I trusted. So, for $54 and change, plus $15 per month ($15.95?), cancellable at any time, plus an hour or so off line, my computer is mine again.

Except it’s not, yet.

My internet always opened on my blogger tab, with my e-mail tab also available. I had to read a whole lot of help pages in order to pin and freeze tabs. And thank the heavens I once learned how to open help in a separate tab and refer to it, line by line by word by word. I’m not a teenage geek I admit, and, I don’t have it totally resolved.

I made an appointment to board Toby while we are in Wisconsin for Christmas, and have him groomed again. The “chill” cat who was not sedated to have half his hair shaved off. He’s back to his behavior of a year ago; incessant grooming, then garfing, that was cured by professional grooming. I learned this only by the desperation groom last year, and I do hope it continues to work, especially since I specified number 6 clipper guards, down from number 8 last year. Lets’ see if I can save the carpet the last two weeks before Wisconsin next year.

When we closed up the old house and I gave every last paper and pin of my weaving stuff to Praxis, it included my Marguerite Davidson, guide to handweaving. Sometimes I wish I had it, and apparently Google reads my mind. Pinterest puts email after email of weaving pins in my mailbox, and last week there was a strip of bird’s eye diaper weaving straight from Marguerite.

I do not know the etymology of the word, but when you throw all the pieces on the table, they pretty well fit.

“Diaper” was the name for household fabric, from curtains and tablecloths to napkins and nappies. I’ve said I like my twill and plain weave Shaker towel because it exposes so many threads to absorb moisture, but keeps them secure for washing.

Diaper does much the same. I’ve never woven it because it requires a jack loom, and my loom of preference always has been counter balance. Now I have a jack and can weave diaper and a classic diaper pattern just fell into my inbox. I’m maybe fifty towels from emptying my loom, and now I know I’ll thread up some diaper for the next round of towels.

I also think the pattern looks like the feather ring around birds’ eyes. Dries dishes nicely. Wicks moisture away from guest's lips and babies' fannies.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Laura’s birthday

Laura has not been the subject of many posts this last year or more. She’s still here, of course, and an interesting young person to know. A year from now she is a citizen and a year and a half from now, out of school and launchable to the world.

It has not been an easy year, this third year of high school. Perhaps you recall the year began with Laura applying to spend this year abroad, being accepted, and her abrupt change of mind. She withheld the reasons for some six months, and when revealed, were not good. Suffice it to say they basically involved a swirl of dishonesty that I probably have not untangled to its end yet. I probably do not want to.

I was absent a lot of this summer, breaking bones, but Laura camped out with family and friends. School began again. The tight circle of girlfriends that began in ninth grade was breaking apart, and that concerned me. Laura was still was stabilizing from ending eighth grade in a bad mental state. However, I thought it something we could get through. Actually, we have.

Laura became more withdrawn and uncommunicative this year. We had the pot smoking incident, and I am not naïve enough to think it her first. However, with the unannounced blood test still hanging fire, and it will be there until sometime next February, I hope it is the last. There was another major incident of dishonesty that I won’t get into. I was becoming quite tired of being the parent in loco.

Spread this out over the background noise of Laura’s mother, my daughter, berating me about stealing her children, saying how everyone hated me because I was so mean, so on and so forth.  I did not recognize sides had been drawn, and Laura had chosen. Against me. And so I realize, the joke is on me.

Over these several years, I have never “ratted Jan out”, as my sister would say. It actually was Janice who told my daughter to quit berating me for “taking the children”, as it had been hers and Tom’s idea. 

Furthermore, I told Shelly, since the subject was back on the table, I never wanted to take the children. Both times they lived with us, I lost the vote, 2 to 1. I would have preferred seeing them among Shelly's ex-husband’s family. There were about eight siblings there to select among.

I told Laura I had taken on a responsibility I intended to see to the end. The responsibility had been to deliver the three of them to a safe place when high school ended. 

I delivered Hamilton to his father. Ham now has a responsible managerial position with Chipotle, and goes to Cleveland State.

I delivered Blake to Hiram. I cannot speak to status; I do know he has the support of all the family. 

But Laura is frustrating beyond words. Now is the time to be applying to colleges, and little Miss Physics, Trig, Calculus, Logic certainly is college material. And she will not answer me.

The other night I caught her completely off guard with my question, and she began answering in a lie that got worse and worse and worse. Eventually I grounded her, probably for the rest of her life, and in a day or so she volunteered the truth.

She wants to be a Hollywood makeup artist. OK.

She must be trained in California. Snort, snort. There are schools all over the country, including Ohio.

Google is in California. Go directly to the next paragraph.

She will move to Cleveland and live with Blake. I told her she should give serious thought to rooming with the sister who harassed her into a nervous breakdown only three years ago. That statement really set her back! However, my daughters, one of whom is her mother, became thick as thieves for a time, as adults.

On the other hand, Blake’s intention is to get to Google.

So, that is pretty much the state of affairs on Laura’s seventeenth birthday. I am pleased she’s giving thought to her future. Her mother’s was no less shallow at seventeen. However, this week her mother is taking another final exam against her Master’s in Nursing.

Another year and my job here is done.

And of the girlfriend circle, the first one remains. I suppose I could think of it as Laura and Lexi sorting out the rest.

I guess I lost the picture of Laura standing here with her birthday cake. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Waiting for improvement

I had lunch yesterday with two good friends, the sort who make me realize if it weren’t for friends, how little family I would have. That may be true for more people than I realize. Children grow and scatter. Family members move away, and pass away.

I wonder if my feeling of glumness is just in the national attitude? The stock market actually worries me. I’ve lived with it for all these years, and frankly did not give a damn. Now that I am unemployed and reliant on my wits for keeping up with interest as income, I realize that weaving for a living has not prepared me for this.

Anyway, winter has not begun, and I am so over it. This year worries me, and it’s not the stock market.  I was terrified to look out the door the first snow we had. So we had a talk, myself and I. “Self,” I said, etc. It is completely OK to be cautious, but first see what there is to be cautious of.

Cathy, my neighbor, and I took my car yesterday to have the remote starter installed. Cathy dropped me back home and set out on some errands. She was caught in the secondary snow belt, west of Cleveland. She trouped on through in perfect time to take me to pick up my car. I covered my bare driveway just fine, but stopped at the last two feet that had snow. I was afraid to step on it. I need to formulate a way to test this stuff.

The YakTrax came today, and I put on the  pair. We’ll see. They slid madly on the plastic chair mat, and sunk firmly into the carpet. My probably too active brain is inventing how I will enter a building and find a place to sit and take the YakTrax off before I walk on the big clay tiles. This isn’t last year, Joanne. I’ll figure it out, I’m sure.

Back to the remote starter—I can almost remember the sequence. For the actual starter, press and hold until the car starts. Later on, get in, put key in ignition and turn two clicks to start position. Using the key is a trick and I already don’t use the key to lock my car, so the business about press lock, press unlock, press lock again barely makes sense. But once I get it, I’ll have it.

Tomorrow is Laura’s birthday. Seventeen! I’ll have to write a post soon on how she intends to spend her future.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Prince Charles’ face lift

This may be a delicate, tricky subject. Or not. As Hazel, my English sister-in-law says, “I am not a royalist.” Should that be capitalized? Neither am I, I suppose. But how about those grandchildren!

This may be totally a generational thing, but just as I can tell exactly the moment I learned President Kennedy was shot, I can tell the moment I learned Princess Diana’s car was in an accident. I was at an art show in Upstate, and my neighbor was a lovely woman with two sons. She and her husband loved the show, where they camped on the grounds and enjoyed their long weekend with the children.

The next morning she greeted me with a happy story about the boys’ adventures, and I could tell she did not know of Diana’s death. I resolved not to be the one who told her. The following day she asked if I knew, and I confessed, and said perhaps I’d ruined her day one way or the other, but I didn’t want to change her happiness. And she said how grateful she was I had been silent.

How closely we followed the funeral ceremonies. How tall William was. How small and crushed down in an oversized suit, Harry. The Queen lowered her head in acknowledgement as Diana passed, and redeemed herself to the world.  Wills grew older and taller, followed all the rules and married Kate.

Harry grew older and taller, stupidly broke a lot of common sense rules for which I’m sure his grandmother roundly and soundly busted him. He married a pretty American woman I’m sure he will be hard pressed to fit into the company mold.

These royals show up regularly on my news feeds, no doubt because Google searches them out to present because I am sure to click. However, I’m happy to take a look at Kate’s beautiful dresses and the jewels in the tiaras. Thanks to Charlotte, I know how to wave like a royal (it’s just like washing windows). And little George, bare knees like a proper little English boy, and surely a personality as mischievous as his grin.

And what about Charles? Who  ever forgave him for crushing his beautiful young bride with his definition of love? Who didn’t snort when reading all the photographic machinations to keep Diana shorter in pictures? She always was vivacious, smiling, lively in pictures with her boys. Charles often was on the periphery, glum.

I was impressed with Charles understanding of the ecology of the world, as we grew older. He was telling the truth. I believe the Prez told his staffers to keep Charles away; he didn’t need an earful of conservation, or some such. As time passed, it was OK for Charles to marry Camilla, though it will never be OK, for me, for her to be called Queen Camilla.

So, what’s with the face lift! Vain old man, not as old as I am! On the other hand, perhaps I could use one of those face lifts! It’s not a real face lift! Smoke and mirrors and chemicals, I think. And he does look so happy.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Getting through it

It’s sixty one today. Thank you global warming. Enough sunshine to lift my heart. Monday will dump a frozen mix, in forty degree temps. I have nowhere to go, but a therapist is coming here. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I have places to go and bad weather to do it in. As if a leaf turned, I am feeling none of the trepidation that incapacitated me earlier.

I’ve given myself a deal to get through this year. Back in July, not so bad. Then I fractured my butt, adding insult. In between I had my shoulder repaired. I would have done the shoulder repair irrespective, and it’s not subtracting from recovery.

Recovering from a shattered fibula hampered by a fractured butt sucks, however. I’ve not fallen again, and that, truthfully,  really was a mighty fine somersault over my walker. It has hampered my walking gait, though, and like any kind of advance, motion is required. It’s like needing to keep the car at thirty or above in slush in order to keep traction. You must keep moving through it on foot, too. Anything less invites being frozen in fear, or falling.

I bought “prongs” for my other cane, and tried them out. They are great in theory, but too heavy to be practical. Then one day I eyed the expanse of not well salted ice between me and the car, and came back for the modified cane, too. One in each hand, like Nordic walking, but with canes, I advanced on the car and achieved it!

Shoulder recovery does require unanticipated pain to get through. The prognosis was no less mobility than I had on going into surgery and more, if I would work for it.  Using muscles that have been idle for two years is painful, initially. I grumbled about that, last Friday. “But you are so far ahead of anything I expected!” from young Dr. Whippersnapper. I can reach behind my neck. I am another twenty degrees above lifting my arm to ninety degrees. I can reach behind my back.

Bend both arms, finger tips straight up, palms out, elbows pointing down. Now, extend each hand straight up, Hermione Granger correct answer style. At this point I can get my left fingertips to the top of my head, no further. I cannot recall the last time I raised my left arm, or for what reason. But that I cannot annoys me!

And in other news, advertising has captured me: Pleasure-Way Industries, Class B Motorhomes. I had one in the eighties, but not by this manufacturer. Mine was a Dodge Ram chassis. These folks build their camper on a Dodge Ram and on a Mercedes Benz. My family camped over much of the USA in mine. Mom used it last in her sixties.

I was thinking, what if I found one in my drive, one morning. I could drive it, of course. I could fill it with propane (if it needs propane). I don’t know about using a dump station; mine didn’t have that amenity. Could I afford it? Of course not. How did “they” know I’d click on that ad in a heartbeat?

Thursday, November 29, 2018

I hate cold air

I’ve whined about this before.  My house is heated and cooled by a heat pump.  The last time I complained, last winter, all the wonderful engineering sorts who listen to me whine, were nice and explained how heat pumps work, and more. All very kind, but does not negate the fact the damn things generate cold air.

Not the noticeable wafts of warm, natural gas heated air. “Oh, the furnace just came on!” Or the slightly less warm wafts of propane gas heated air. Or the embracing, engulfing warmth of a wood stove. But, cold air is what I have. My next house will be heated by natural gas. I will not live here forever. I will downsize again, and top of my list: a natural gas furnace!

I am so happy to be back from my self-inflicted time out from my self-imposed therapy of weaving towels to toss to the wind, and to my friends. Last night my friend and neighbor, Cathy, picked two towels from the stack, and then picked chicken soup from the menu that Laura offered. Cathy has a cold verging on the flu. When she left she said she didn’t know which would make her “more better”, the soup or the towels.

When I broke my foot, my femur and my shoulder and was in rehab last July, I was mentally spacy, too.  Or not. Perhaps I was super lucid. I was taken by a picture my friend Deb posted, with Tibetan prayer flags in her back yard. Old flags and new. How like my towels, I thought. I’ve done this before; weave a great stack of towels because I like to, and then sent them near and far, simply because I like the people they are going to.

But, a small problem arises. People want to reciprocate, and send a gift in return. Lovely, but then I must find a place to put it. You’ve seen much of my house. It won’t even hold another cat. I think you are lovely to want to send me something. Send me the prayer from the towel. Here are two that I will pass on.

One blogger friend who already has towels said when there is a large family gathering and so many dishes to wash, there is “scrummage in the towel drawer” among children and friends to have “those” tea towels. That is wonderful. It fills my heart.

Another blogger friend had a small gift selected, but took to heart my plea to send nothing in return. She tucked it in a gift parcel to another country, and now some youngster will spend his childhood with a wallet with a Canadian moose. Laura carried around such a special wallet, until only recently.

These are Deb’s prayer flags that inspired me. See how the very distant ones have grown thin and seer. The prayer may even be transparent now. Send any gift on. Pay it forward. Put extra mittens on your giving tree. Because we still can.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Stubbed my toe on my cane today

I wrote that title yesterday; it was true and it hurt.  It snowed overnight; one of those descending temp affairs that melted the first layer into ice. I was out on Monday, and shame on me, I did not lift my wipers. They were frozen down. My porch and steps were well salted by Laura, but shame on her, she did not refill the shaker can of ice melter. And I had to play cards at one in the afternoon.

I called Donny. It sounded like I got him out of bed (at 9 am?). I told him I did not need the car until noon, and ring the bell when he was done. 

I also had an arm therapy appointment at 4:30, but unless abducted by an alien aircraft, that was fine. Michelle, the therapist, wanted to make it at two or three, and I said that was impossible; I would be playing cards. “You could change that,” she said. “When Pigs Fly,” said I.

She has annoyed me from the outset, calling on a Monday to make the week’s appointments, with the caveat this week of being off two days. We made the Thursday appointment, but I declined the Tuesday appointment during cards. With a tremendous sigh, she offered me 4:30, and I accepted.  

Michelle arrived at 4:50. I told her that would not work. “Well, if you would have cancelled your card game,” said she, and I had an invisible mental explosion. “Put down that one of us missed the appointment,” I said. “See you Thursday.”

Donny got his job done, and I was off to cards in good time. Michelle arrived twenty minutes late for a thirty minute appointment, and expected it to be acceptable, or excusable because I kept my “appointment” to play cards.

All of the above notwithstanding, I have been weaving. (On my time!) I’ve worked my way through maybe two thirds of the color offerings of Mssr. Brassard, Quebec, Canada. When I am done I probably will be to the end of my current warp. I think I’ll search out a new pattern. It has to be towel friendly; it has to get dishes dry! That means it needs about half its threads exposed and half well secured.

Back in my towel snobbery days, I recognized that phenomena in this Shaker towel pattern I simply “found”. I didn’t ‘invent’ it, but I recognized its value, so to speak. 

I am happy to return to the utilitarian value of dish towels. I thumb through patterns stuck up on the internet, and have found a pattern called Rose Garden. It’s overshot. I have not woven overshot since my weaving days, and I retired that in 2003.

Overshot is the process of building a pattern by stacking threads in the same shedd. That, however, is not “weaving”, but how to make a mess. Unless….every row of the same is secured by a row of plain weave between. Genius.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Unconventional choices

The talking orange head’s current tweets intend obfuscating the coming century of deadly climate change. I’m not on a rant about his flaming ideas. I believe we may save ourselves, and it’s up to the grands to remake the world. Interestingly, personal wealth then will count for little, in my opinion.

I was raised by depression era parents who used it up, made it do, wore it out, in order to survive. Caution and conservation were not in the national conscience in the thirties, the forties, even the fifties, when the country’s consumers were being overwhelmed by convenience.

Except for my parents. And my mixed neighborhood of mostly Italian, some Irish, some Black, oh, and Scandinavian, Slovak—you know, hard working factory and lower level management types. It never occurred to me we could move, but I guess it did to my dad. He told me he preferred to be the big fish in a small pond to a small fish in the big pond.

My parents were the center of the neighborhood; the source of advice and help. Dad taught my brothers how to use tools and build. Mom taught us to budget, to manage. In the sixties, when the back to earth, one acre, Mother Earth movement swept the country, my friends were astounded and delighted to find I already knew how to garden and can my produce.

My siblings and I didn’t come into the world full blown environmentalists. It was drilled into us, one aluminum can, one paper plate, one gram of sugar at a time. I could say our mom over did it, but in the great scheme of recycling, she underdid it, no fault of her own. Her fellows-in-arms simply weren’t out there with her, recycling, conserving.

We do have a mom story. She was such a dedicated recycler back in the seventies, when there was a bounty on aluminum cans, she enlisted all six grandchildren. Any trip any where, most any time, involved any grandchild in the car being put out to collect cans, and meeting grandma at the top or the hill or the cross road, dragging a sack of booty. Freeways were not out of bounds.

In the late eighties, when we were moving here, mom still had can collecting in her blood. She convinced my sister to make one last run.  When mom didn’t crest the hill eventually, Jan turned around and went back down. Mom was sitting in a ditch, with a broken ankle, tended by some very judgmental passersby. Mom closed down that career, whether of her own volition or on direct orders from her youngest child I really don’t know.

Dad, and five of six. Recycling cans is still a couple years off.

So, where does this put me, at seventy five and carrying on. When my girls were growing, we were total conservationists. I even drove straight pins into the wall, to mark the upper and lower limits of winter heat. I could not afford more than fifty dollars a month; put on a sweater. Put two on. I still have upper limits on heat and cool, though you cannot drive straight pins into electronic thermostats.

I know the lessons “took” for Beth. I’ve frozen at her house in the winter. She has a stock pot on the back burner. And so forth and so on. Shelly, the younger made her children’s clothing and knit their sweaters, and her work out ranked mine any day of the week.

For my current household, conservation simply is business as usual. In many ways, being already so cheap, finding new conservations is not easy. I’m always open. Here is one I looked into and adopted. The other was pitched to me by a therapist I so admire. It is a WTF are you talking about.

Number one, panty liners. I’m an old lady. Sometimes I laugh or sneeze or cough, or am just caught unaware, and thankful for a panty liner. One night I idly wondered how many I’d put in the land fill, and blushed for shame. A small amount of googling turned up several brands of built in panty liner panties that go in the wash. I bought a couple weeks’ worth. Small victory, but a win, nevertheless.

Number two, the bathroom in the middle of the night. You may recall, it was the reason I fractured my trochanter and spent the final month in rehab. I finally came to grips with the need of a bedside commode, until I exit the after effect of anesthesia.

Motria, one of my favorite therapists, takes great delight in my “water closet.” I can’t bring myself to tell her a water closet actually is the water container on the wall, with a chain. Anyway, Motria said just put a plastic bag in the container, add clumping kitty litter, and voila, a package for the landfill. I declined. “But you put your cat litter in the landfill!”

My cat is a commitment I made and will fulfill. If anyone tells me how to keep his litter out of the landfill, I will do it. But I’m not about to add to the landfill what goes down the toilet.

I’ve doubled my general output with this treatise on conservation. I could go on and on to list what we do. Like Prince Harry, turn off the lights. My grandchildren were addicted to paper towels. They flew daily, like snowflakes. I tried to end it. They were addicted. I decreed, one towel per day. Then open the towel drawer and use the towels that can be reused. Now I see the same paper towel on the counter for a week.

At this point all I put in the trash is paper from the mail and tissues. That last will end as soon as I lay in a new supply of handkerchiefs. And, the damn kitty litter, and food packaging. I confess I have not located bulk fig newtons, and I simply have no idea how to dispose of my cat’s litter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Raining therapy, trees and sparrows

I’ve swept them all under the title of therapists, but in the aftermarket of home health, I am dealing with a program supervisor, a nurse supervisor, a nurse, an occupational therapist and a physical therapist. The people who used to show up in the gym, make assessments and leave now make appointments, ring doorbells (right and wrong doorbells), spend time assessing, make a new appointment and leave. Complex!

The head nurse will sign me off today. She called to say she would be here at nine. As in nine in the morning. I laughed. Generally I am up to cleaning the cat box at nine in the A M. Before breakfast. I don’t function until after breakfast. She picked ten, with authority. But ten is Linda and physical therapy. The nurse settled on noon.

In addition to putting me through the routine, these therapists are tasked with charting, which interests me. How much faster I can walk one hundred feet, for example. The therapy on my left shoulder is most fascinating. More muscles than I realized were repositioned.

My shoulder still does not move to the left, and the therapist will not address that until I see the surgeon next week. She says “too soon”, and that’s it, until the doctor gives his OK. Given all the months I spent with my upper arm firmly against my side, I count myself lucky to throw my shuttle with my forearm.

Laura has a three day holiday. Tomorrow she’s going to her mother’s table via a lift from Bekka. Hamilton is expected.

Between therapists, Laura trimmed her tree. It has an ornament free, cat proof barrier at the bottom. It’s an annual contest between the cat and the tree trimmer. Currently Toby is asleep on my weaving bench, so this year’s stand-off has not commenced.

And, we left the sparrow feeders intact.

Saturday, November 17, 2018


Last night Laura went home with a friend and the two of them went to the school’s production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. Even at 9:30 PM, when she came home, her animated recap of the show meant she found it excellent.

My assignment was to meet her after the show and bring her home. I thought about the trip several times over the day. I had been out the day before, for a month overdue haircut.  By chance my neighbor and I realized we had planned destinations to the same real estate area for the same time, and she said she would take me. “Why didn’t you ask me?!  You’ve only been home a couple of days!!” And so forth and so on, and the company was nice and we stopped for lunch on the way home.

But the weather changed to freezing rain yesterday afternoon. I fretted a lot, and by afternoon called my sister, and she retrieved Laura. I also arranged with the neighbor who mows all summer and shovels all winter to add me to his itinerary. For fifteen dollars he will shovel and salt porch, steps, drive; and clear the car.

My neighbor is satisfied, so this winter I’ll give it a go. I think I also will add a remote starter to my car. I scraped a lot of ice last year. But this winter my nerve has deserted me, and I’ll see if windshield wipers can deal with slushy ice.

Remember that great new warp on my loom last July? In the two or three weeks between the first rehab session and shoulder surgery, I wove up a tube of pumpkin thread and most of a tube of turquoise thread. Then I had my shoulder repaired. The doctor was keen on weaving as therapy, but I effectively brought that to a halt by vaulting over the walker and back into rehab.

I came home from this rehab to three bobbins of turquoise left to weave. At half an hour a bobbin, I can honestly say, I devoted an hour and a half to weaving this week. I wound off a tube named Kiwi to my empty bobbins. It looks like a can of canned peas to me. I like that color.

Gone, too, are days of endless weaving. I am far slower than I ever remember. I'm still good, nice selvages, even beat. Then my arms stop, my hand does not release the shuttle. Done for the day. I compared it to losing nerve, but only for a second. Muscle is more like it. I'd guess those front muscles. Deltoid? I don't know. A lot were shifted.