Monday, September 30, 2019

The Salt Path

Recommending a book with nothing except "it's really good" is not much of a blog. I wish I could say more. I decided to go read some reviews to try and get a feel of how to do it. More on that in a minute.

The reviews were overwhelmingly five stars of five stars. I read two or three of those, and then indulged in a string of below five stars. A great many people could not get comfortable with the subject of the book, and I found that interesting.

I find I can no longer write in genres, of genres, about genres, since the bus accident. The TBI literally sucked maybe fifty thousand books out of my brain. Even had it only stolen the format from me, I still could imitate someone. But there's no one left for me to imitate.

So, I only will say, it's about a husband and wife, together many, many years, who are robbed of home and livelihood by an evil friend (my assessment, not theirs). In the same week as the verdict, either before or after, they finally get the medical diagnosis to explain the husband's left side weakness and pain. It's a degenerative neurological disease that will kill him, probably six or seven years from onset. It now is seven years since onset.

The bailiffs come to change the locks on the door. They set out to walk the salt path. This is set in England. Here we walk the Appalachian Trail, some to find ourselves. I had no idea what the Salt Trail is. It's one small way to find yourself in England when you've lost all and one of you is dying. 

Suspend disbelief and read it for face value.

End of book review. 

Sunday, September 29, 2019


Spending the day throwing a shuttle from hand to hand to hand could be exquisitely boring. I think back on Silas Marner and wonder what he did before Eppie came to him. Ever since I’ve been a weaver I’ve had some sort of feed to my ears, and a book playing on the current iteration of the Walkman.

I’m listening to a book so engrossing, so fascinating, I’ve listened to it straight through, twice. The book is The Salt Path, by Raynor Winn.

References to books of interest are everywhere, and I write the reference on my much abused desk note pad, and try to remember to follow through. The first time I searched my local digital library, The Salt Path was not even a twinkle in its eye, so I left my first ever, in many years of book downloading, lament for a book I’d love to listen to. Eventually it appeared.

Actually, I know nothing about the life cycle of a book. I suppose there is a longer time between the release of a book and the release of the recorded book. Finding the right reader, making the contract, getting a producer. And then the library must obtain a copy.

Another system beyond my comprehension is the lending of recorded books. They have a finite cycle, just like real books. The screen tells me how many recordings they have and how many are available. I borrow a digital book, and two weeks later the library virtually takes it back.

Once I had a hundred or more digital books, on CD’s. I donated all of them to the Peninsula Library when I moved from the big house. My reasoning was, they all were available to borrow. Here’s the mystery. Once I had the burning desire to have all my J.R.R. Tolkien collection back, just to have and to begin in the middle of the night, if I wished. I had no sense of thievery; I had donated the entire set once.

I began downloading, and my MP3 player ran out of room before I finished.  I released the recordings back to the library. So, I learned one or two obvious lessons. I also realized that once I’ve downloaded a book, I can go back and virtually return it, so someone else can borrow it. It still is mine on my PC for the lending period, and mine on my MP3 player until I run out of room.

The Salt Path engaged me from the first sentences. So many of its scenes resonated with my life and experience. Quickly I asked "Is this true”? When I asked Google, the question had been asked so often, its algorithm filled in the words.

That’s what I do when I weave. This is one book I did not set aside when I stood up to leave the loom.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Busy, busy week

In spite of everything, I've been able to give half a day each day this week to weaving. One day this week, a doctor appointment. Then a trip to the lab for a blood draw. 

This morning I took my neighbor to the airport. She has not been on a plane since the olden days. The person she's going to visit told her wheelchair transport was $25 per. She needs a wheelchair as much as I do, and of course I told her to get in the house and call her airline. She sent me a happy text later in the day.

Yesterday, when I had all day to devote to weaving, I spent half the day correcting two sleying errors. I saw them the first day, but left them to the end of the first run of towels. Anyone of you who is a weaver would see them at once. A bit right of center, see the two white "railroad tracks". The reed is threaded (sleyed) two threads per space, or dent. I inadvertently put four threads in those very white places, and spent the morning correcting the problem.

I persevered, and eventually carted a load of orange towel fabric off to the washer to be fulled. I came back and started in on the next batch, which will be blue.

The artist holding the open house wants high resolution pictures for her brochures. I've been turning that over in my mind this week. My phone doesn't make hi res. Then I remembered my camera, and decided between that and my little shooting tent, those pictures were the best she would get.

My sister called this evening with an accounting question pestering her all week, and when we resolved it, I tossed out my hi res photo problem. Would you believe, with the flick of a setting, her new iPad takes high resolution pictures! We're shooting on Sunday. I have a stack of orange ready, and certainly should have blue, and more.

So, the show will go on, and now it remains only to be seen, how many towels will there be.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Progress, nonetheless

I had an appointment with my cardiologist this morning, at 9:50. By the time alone, it is apparent this is an annual appointment and was set a year ago. 

I used to make subsequent annual appointments at nine, leaving much of the day open. Then I began making them at ten. Sometime this past year I moved to eleven. At the counter today, I hesitated, then selected one in the afternoon. How I've aged this past year!

There was an order for blood work in my hand when I left. Like many of us, I take a statin. It's not the responsibility of my cardiologist. However, my primary care physician left the end of July, and I still take the statin. The replacement PC ordered a refill without ordering overdue blood work. 

Then the replacement PC "left the practice". No idea. But my cardiologist cares about blood, so he sent me away with a fasting blood order. And yes, 9:50 was a good ninety minutes too late. I get out of bed to eat breakfast.

It was near lunch time when I got home. I looked at the loom, and went straight to the kitchen table to read some more weekend edition of my friend Lynn's New York Times. And lunch (a thick cucumber sammie), and an acetaminophen, because my back hurt so badly. If that appointment had been for one, I could have spent the morning at the loom!

I wove a total of four bobbins, about three towels, and quit at four in the afternoon. Progress, nonetheless.

My phone camera has a feature I'm supposed to appreciate, because it shows me pictures I took one, two, three, five years ago at this time. Actually, it irritates me when I notice it. And what was I weaving one year ago? Orange towels.

Isn't this pretty! Loops of threads, falling down from the back beam, as I as tying on. They resemble very long hair meeting a curling iron. Think Princess Kate.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Tomorrow is another day, as my elders used to say

It's only Thursday, thank goodness. I got up with the alarm and got to it. After cat business and my tasty breakfast, I watered the plants.

On the job! One earring is a feather, the other a turtle and a water lily, all from his grandmother's charm bracelet, according to the artist.

The mandevillas are still doing well, but this may be the last Gerbera of the season.

While I was out with the plants, the UPS fellow handed me up a package. The other day a sock went down to potential neverland.  I did find a yard stick to fish it out, but said Enough! and ordered a bridge gapper. Take that.

On to the studio. If you wonder what was the problem, the problem was all that stuff was scattered around the studio before this picture was made.

Then the winding of the bobbins. Fortunately only nineteen of forty needed wound. Still, they take time.

Then to the tension box. I'd left enough of the previous warp to tie on, and here I'm half done. It's near one in the afternoon, so I stopped for lunch, and to put supper together.

The rice is cooking for a stuffed pepper. I "parboiled" the pepper in the microwave. I also took a phone call from Ann. I realized a while ago, if I don't call her once a week, she calls me. "Just checking up" she announces, and then we exchange a week's worth of gossip.

I got back to work and ran into a problem turning the bouts onto the beam. The very first reed slot in the tension box is packing lint into the reed, and dragging on the threads. I will solve the problem; I'm pretty resourceful.

By five thirtyish I was pretty done, and retired for supper. That and taking the trash to the curb ended my day.

It's to bed in a couple of hours, and back on that tension box problem tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Another opportunity!

A picture of the dish of Eggs Florentine Benedict I was served. I ordered one egg, on top of the lovely Florentine, and the other half of the English muffin, nicely buttered, lying to the left. The right would have been acceptable; I could turn the plate around.

The plate arrived, carrying the eggs in the oval serving platter, with an enormous pile of hash browns obscuring the view. I was so startled at the disagreeable presentation, I turned on the waitress. I only ordered one egg; where is the other half muffin; what is this pile of offal?

I believe any restaurant that serves hash browns only does so because they cannot make decent home fries.

She explained I would not be charged any less for only one egg, and she would take the eggs away and scrape off the offending egg. I said her obligation was to bring a new, correct order.  She simply whipped out the plate of hash browns and left.

The eggs were delicious, and Lynn gave me half a toast to mop up the yolk and sauce. The waitress came back to find my plate cleared save the extra egg, and smugly said she knew I'd eat most of it. I take patronizing poorly; nevertheless, I did not pronounce her doom aloud. But, I did do something I have not failed to do in fifty odd years. I did not tip her.

I hope when we go back, we have the same server. I'll see if she has learned to listen.

Down in the studio, I finished clearing off the bobbins of colored thread. All are sitting empty, so I can  fill forty bobbins of natural to commence winding onto the back beam. And not a minute too soon. 

Today I received an invitation to participate in another open house, for two Thanksgiving weekends. After selling out my old stock in the summer, I have nothing to do to be ready except weave, weave, weave. I'll give you a progress report soon.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Try the new Blogger!

Does anyone else have that obnoxious orange rectangle at the bottom of the left sidebar?  Have you learned how to be rid of it? Have you looked into “the new Blogger”? As far as I can see, it is using a blog to make money. I remember this wave going round a few years ago, but a little less aggressive. I wasn’t stuck with the orange rectangle. We have too much orange as it is.

This is a grumpy blog. I’m close to done with re-threading my loom. I think back to my sister’s nimble fingers, threading a loom’s heddles so quickly, tying on the new warp at many times my rate. She doesn’t do this anymore, and bending over a loom is no easier for her than for me these days.

My complaint isn’t doing the job, but working through the jumble of a brain injury to complete this part of it. Interesting I can still push the proper treadles in the proper order, throw the shuttle and lay down neat row after neat row of work, yet have such a problem rearranging four threads in every sequence of eight across a warp of four hundred odd threads.

I don’t work well come afternoon, and I know that. I started the re-threading in an afternoon, and just quit after wasting an hour or two. I should have known better! I came back the next morning, and it was a struggle, but I got a bit done. The same the morning after, and so on, until two days ago, when I finally “saw” what I had to do, in my brain, and set up a little sequence I could deal with.

Shortly I was past half way done. Now I have worked down to the last eighty threads. I started up again after lunch, and reached those last eighty threads, only to be stopped again by my other accomplice, back pain. So, here I am in my therapeutic chair, waiting for two acetaminophens to take effect.

For, I am determined to finish before supper. Tomorrow I’m going to breakfast with friends, and then to the dentist. In short, tomorrow is shot, both time and pleasure. We’re going back to a restaurant I really enjoyed the first time, when I had an egg Benedict. There were so many Benedict variations on the menu I could not make a rational choice that morning, and settled on the first offering, a classic poached egg on English muffin, with Canadian bacon.

Yes, I hear my Canadian and British friends shuddering.  I love a Benedict egg above most breakfast offerings.  At the moment my back ache has eased enough for me to go back and probably finish my thread job. I will come back with the rest of the blog this evening.

So, it’s 6:45. I finished the threading, and even checked each bout for accuracy. Good to be done, and even better to be done and correct. It’s still a long haul, but the most painful part is over. I had supper, put the dishes in the dishwasher, and hobbled my back here to my Tempur-Pedic office chair.

For breakfast tomorrow I shall have a Florentine Egg Benedict. A poached egg on spinach and tomato, on an English muffin, topped with Hollandaise sauce. The Hollandaise has a real zing. I think I’ll have a side of bacon. Yum, yum.

I looked carefully, but there was no photographic interest in the warp in the heddles. Here instead, out the front door and over my shoulder.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

I still know the way

The doorbell rang last night. I still was sitting at the table, empty plate to my left and coffee on the right. I'm engrossed with the book I'm currently reading, Bryon Stevenson, Just Mercy, and finished the paragraph before I went to the door.

David was there, football jersey scrunched up in his hand. Could I drive him to the game, please? I agreed, and he brought my trash cans in from the street in the time it took me to get keys, cane and sunglasses together.

David has been here in the park as long as I've been here. He showed up offering lawn mowing services way back then, and I told him I'd bought a lawn mower for Laura. He reminded me we have to weed wack the perimeter of our unit and shed, too, and he was available. I bought a weed wacker. You can't know too much.

We had a pleasant chat on the way to the high school. We were still in the park when David asked me a technical question about the car: how was the refrigerator holding up? I couldn't believe anyone who did not own a Dodge Caliber knew the glove box also was a refrigerator. I only figured it out by accident and close perusal of the owner's manual.

The young man is quite the car buff, and quizzed me exhaustively on every car I admitted to owning. In short order we pulled into the mayhem of a Friday night home game. David held up his jersey and we were waved through, to the reserved tailgate party area, also the team entrance.

Tonight I was startled by the noise of a weedwacker  around my unit. I went out, and was face to face with David and his weedwacker. I thanked him for his kindness, and asked after the game.

It was rained out. There was a substantial storm last night, and I did glance at the clock and wonder if the game was over. Then I went back to the book.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Done, done, and done

Yesterday friends Deb and Pam came by to liberate a shovel full of Aunt Laura's iris from the old garden, and go to lunch.Which we did.

Before they arrived I came very near the end of my second attempt to make a shirt. I finished it in the afternoon. My thyroid and I came to a satisfactory resolution of the job.

If I ever make it again, I probably won't trick it out with buttons. Otherwise it is a decent job, for fabric of a width intended for towels. There is plenty of the fabric left; I've just set it aside for the time being.

We left the garden with the intended plunder, and more. Snuggled in among the wild overgrowth, many colchicum blossoms. One of us had a shovel and one of us had an extra bag and one of us would like some bulbs to plant.

I've decided to go ahead with planting a pot of bulbs. We are zone six, more or less, and the bulbs I want are hardy to zone 3. My pots are completely immobile. 

They are situated to hold the poles with hooks that hold my hanging baskets. The poles are secured to the deck uprights. Each pot weighs at least seventy five pounds.

Short of a tornado, nothing will move. I do subscribe to "better safe than sorry", so I shall fashion snug winter jackets of burlap. Perhaps I'll sit out in the sunshine and stuff them with straw. Or not.

At lunch that afternoon, an invitation was extended to participate in another artist open house. It's time to get back to something I'm good at. There is no line at my door for shirts, but there is a small clamor for towels.

The open house is in November, so that is my target. I must re-thread the loom, at which I am slower than ever. And rewind a lot of bobbins, and put a big towel warp on the beam and pull it through the heddles and reed. And tie it up. You know. All the tedious prep work.

But first I have an appointment to have my hair cut. Until we meet again, when I will have far less hair. And this picture was two weeks ago. My hair is irritating now. Not good.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Bulbs in a pot

What with packing, moving, unpacking, assembling the new house, plants had little planning and a very late start here. The ever present mandevilla could do no wrong, but how to spruce up the rest of the cement foundation of my deck.

Lacking any garden worthy area of land, I coveted large clay pots with shiny finishes. Four of them to arrange strategically around the deck. The cost, at two to three hundred dollars, per pot was prohibitive, and the idea was set aside, until I discovered resin pots. 

They looked very like the shiny pottery pots I wanted, though weightless.

I had so many left overs stones, so much left over soil, I had no ballast shortage. I bought the resin pots and added some clearance shelf plants that would fill up space. It was very satisfactory for this summer.

For next summer I would like flowers I really enjoy. First I would like the opinion of wiser gardeners than I. The flowers all grow from bulbs, and all the bulbs will be planted in a resin pot.

The resin planters are 16” in diameter and 14” tall. They have an 8” base, in case that’s important. The walls are half an inch thick and the planters hold eight gallons of soil.

At eight inches I would plant allium, iris and lilies. At seven inches, white narcissi’s, only. Then at five inches, snowdrops, crocus and anemone.

For what it’s worth, the frost line here is four inches. Since the pots are exposed to freezing from the walls in, I think frost line is moot. I probably must think of how I will protect the pot exterior from the cold, but I can do that.

Any advice? All advice welcome. And opinions. I seldom bite back.

In the meantime, "summer's almost gone, winter's coming on". Soon I will be taking apart the hanging baskets and clearing out my resin pots. Time to make a plan!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Back at it

I spent much of the month of August---asleep!  I wasn’t tired, I was soporific.  Sometime during the day I would stagger to my bed, or risk sinking where I was. Or, wake with a snap from reading the paper or a news report on the computer, stagger to bed and sleep two to three hours. 

Medical sleuth that I am, I deduced my thyroid was crapping out again. My next appointment with my endocrinologist was scheduled for the last day of September.  The day after Labor Day I called for the next available appointment. It was the next afternoon. I took it.

I generally go to this appointment with lab work done and new thyroid readings on record. But this was a “damn the torpedoes” situation in my estimation. I left with lab work authorization in hand, and had it done yesterday morning. The results were in my email yesterday evening, and yes, another instance of thyroid crapping out.

A new script goes to the drug store today, I’ll get it tomorrow, and start working back to normality.

What gets accomplished in a day with three hour naps? Precious little.

To remind myself I have a life, not to mention I like to eat, I kept up three meals a day. That may not have been the best plan; there were several less than palatable meals. No pictures were taken.

I loaded the dishwasher. I took out the trash. I fed the cat. God forbid I forget the cat! His room is on the opposite end of the house from mine.  The instant I turn to leave my bedroom, he’s on the move. Tail up, head glancing back to be sure I’m following, little legs moving thump, thump, thump, thump, one, two, three, four.

If the bottom of the food bowl shows, I am warned by a heart wrenching howl before we reach the room. He doesn’t care if the water is half gone, or if there is an extra poo littering his box. Just let the food dwindle, and he raises an alarm.

I watered the flowers.

I did not clean the house, although I did hire a service recommended to me. Two nice women cleaned my 860 square feet in less than thirty minutes. Sadly, the owner did not lower her minimum charge, and that in spite of ruining a day by appearing two hours late. “Oh, I forgot to call you!”  As soon as they left, I went in for the nap.