Thursday, June 22, 2017

Moving right along

Last week I bought (on Amazon, of course) a "smart switch" with the goal of being able to turn a lamp in  my bedroom on and off through a command to Alexa.  Foolishly I thought the switch plugs into the receptacle , you plug the lamp into the switch, and there you go.  Foolish, I know.  The actual set-up is far more complicated, downloading an app to my smartphone, login, click "skills", etc. etc. Twelve entire steps, none of them intuitive.  So back it goes until they make a plug-and-play version.  Since it came through Amazon the return is simple, thankfully.  From the reviews, about 75% of the reviewers sent it back.  Even allowing that bad reviews predominate in any roster of comments, that's still a lot of irritated customers.  Including me.

I'm all prepared for my hospital surgery on Monday, just need a few last minute things to carry in my tote bag.  The heaviest item isn't the clothes, etc., but the slippers.  Why they are so heavy I haven't a clue; maybe it's because they are "designer" slippers, and the extra hype for the name makes them weightier? It is C who will have to shelp the bag around when the time comes that I will go to my room.  I'm surprised I will have 3 - 5 days in the hospital, followed by 2 weeks of therapy in my home, 2 - 3 times a week, then a follow-up visit with the surgeon at 2 weeks, it sounds positively generous on the part of Medicare.  Best to get this done before the Republicans get around to chopping benefits.  I wonder, do legislators also get Medicare at 65?  I have the same BC/BS coverage that they have (federal annuitant coverage, after 35 years in the federal service) which is my secondary coverage now that I am past 65.  And I wonder if their coverage includes treatment for blithering idiots?  I guess so.  Treatment for hearing, that precludes being told what they don't want to know.


Saturday, June 17, 2017


Isn't this a pretty tote bag?  It is crocheted, and it was on SALE!  I admit I am a bit of a hoarder of purses, but I have only 2 or 3 tote bags, some very large and some quite small, so this one is Goldilocks, just right.  I looked at straw/rafia bags, but they feel so stiff in the hand (unlike this one), and have a limited life span as the straw gets brittle and cracks.  The totes I have have been with me for many years, and I anticipate that this one will last as long too.

Anyway, my big news today is that I got an email just for me; not a sale's pitch, not a campaign plea, not a notice that my bill is due.  This was an honest to goodness message from an old friend.  I don't hear from her very often.  My BFF died of cancer about 3 years ago, and we sent mail back and forth weekly or so, and I miss her very much, both the absence of her friendship and of her letters.  Everyone is so busy, I know they aren't retired like me with scads of free time, but I wish I would get a note, and short is OK.  I remember getting letters from  my grandmother when I was away at college (decades ago), and scarcely sent back a reply, I was so busy.  She died suddenly at finals time for me, and I didn't even get to the funeral to see her old neighbors and friends.  I still feel remorse at how cavalier I was in those days.

I cleared off the bed in the spare bedroom today, being a flat surface it accumulates everything on it from mail to laundry.  I have my Zappos shoes all packaged up and ready to go on Monday, once we found the package tape.  And I found the notebook that holds my retirement information, I knew it wasn't lost, I just couldn't put my hand on it right then.  And I gathered up all my cross stitch stuff and took it downstairs where I can sit in my new chair, prop my feet up, turn on my Ott light and stitch away.  Alexa plays music for me, although we have a failure to communicate once in a while.  For instance, I wanted to hear cuts from Bob Seger's album, and there were presumably only 2 songs available, so Alexa kept switching from one to the other.  I finally got us on a Tom Petty groove, and then Don Henley, and Phil Collins, and by then I was tired of stitching.  But it sure beats having to find the right CD and physically switch them as they finished.  So, what do I do with 400 CDs now?


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Spam calls

I got one of those mean-spirited scam calls, perhaps from overseas based on the accent.  He started telling me that he was from Microsoft and that there was a problem with my computer.  When he paused for a breath, I asked him if he felt any kind of remorse for trying to scam money out of old people who were too gullible.  He shouted, 'you cannot lecture me!  You are not my mother!' and hung up.  Wow, there is still some vestige of honor sparking in con artists, I guess.  That, and the power of moms the world over.

Tomorrow I see my family doctor to get clearance for my surgery on the 26th.  I saw her about a month ago for a check up and so I don't foresee any glitch from this.  I went last week for the usual lab work, urinalysis, EKG, chest X-ray and I assume if there were any problems I would have heard by now.  I would hope.  As an aside, many many years ago my father was scheduled to have back surgery, and he had the workup similar to mine.  The weekend just after I was working in the lab, and I looked at his lab results, which was strictly forbidden, a firing offense, if discovered.  When I looked, it was a shock to see the lab work indicated an infection.  I called my mom that night and told her what I knew, and my only worry is that no one would catch the results and overlook a potentially critical problem.  So we decided she should call the clinic and say that he is showing signs of a bladder infection, and since they were there a couple of days ago, maybe someone could check the results?  Oh wow, they told Mom that she was a wizard for catching that, and I'm sure some 3rd year med student got reamed for not checking the labs.  They postponed his surgery until he was clear.  It still would have gotten me fired if we told the truth.  And none of it matters now, but still I have written here vaguely enough.  Mom and Dad are long gone (Mom would have been 99 in July), and I am long retired; no records could still be around as proof.  One of the few times I broke an important rule; but I may have saved my dad's life.

So I will inquire about my labs when I see Dr. J tomorrow, just in case.



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Kitty Trio Progress

Here is a photo of how much I have accomplished on my cross stitch.  I am working on the white of his chest, and I long to get to the colored part of the central cat.  Just thought I would like a record of my progress from time to time.

The blue fabric around the outside of the hoop is a grime guard, it keeps the fabric clean from hand oil, etc. and tucks the excess fabric out of the way so it isn't accidentally stitched in on the back.  Ask me how I know.  I am using my favorite needle, it was originally a needlepoint needle, until I filed off the sharp point, so now I have a cross stitch needle that is 2 inches long, instead of the purchased ones that are 1 1/2 inches long.  No good for big fingers.  When I was working for Dr. A as a research assistant, he had minimal supplies, and I had always worked in an established lab that was equipped with everything to start with.  Anyway, I wrote up an order for XL disposable gloves, since all he had was Medium.  When he saw the order, he said, "I don't think your hands are bigger than mine" so I held out my hand and he held out his, and I plainly had the larger hands.  He let me order them, huzah.  He was a jerk, anyway, and when I got my lab safety compliance job, I danced out of the lab, I was so thrilled.  And when I did lab inspections for that department, I was extremely picky about everything in his lab, so there.  Karma.

Anyway, cross stitching.  I find it quite soothing, as long as I am not making a mistake that has to be ripped out.  Minor mistakes I chalk up to unique features I included.   For instance, there are places on the cat's tummy where I have used light gray instead of very light gray, and who is to know?  I can't find them, even knowing where they are.  One of a kind.

Oh, and the red grid, stitched with red monofilament line, is an enormous help in counting, and when I am done, I will just pull the strands out and they disappear.  I wish I had known about gridding years ago. 

The neighbors are having a party in honor of the oldest graduating high school, and we are invited.  My son made excuses for me (I would have to walk over lumpy bits of yard) but the father came over and invited us specifically, so C has to go, at least for a while.  For sure they will have yummy food.  At least so far there is no loud music.  When the original family lived there, they would have loud drunken parties, and although I liked the family, the parties were too much.  N would go, but I know they thought he was hen-pecked, that I would make him come home in a short while.  Nothing could be farther from the truth, he hated drunks, but if I was his excuse it was OK with me.

I'm hoping C brings me a plate when he comes back.


Tuesday, June 06, 2017


Today is my 47th anniversary, if I just continue to celebrate it when N is gone.  We were married in Miami, in the church of my grandmother, by a wonderful pastor.  When we met with him several days before the  ceremony, after the usual discussion, he said, So you will be living in Memphis?  And how far from your parents is that?  And when we replied, hundreds of miles, he said, Good.  The inevitable spats can turn into open warfare once the parents get their oars in, even after the two of us have made up.  Wise man.

There is a bottle of bubbly in the fridge, but my tummy has been revolting all day, so I think I will save it for another time.  Martini and Rossi Asti Spumoni.  Probably not spelled right, but my favorite. 

I didn't get much accomplished in the cross stitch department, the tummy thing.  I did set up project two, and put a few (very few) stitches in it.  I still need to finish the organization of the floss.  I got a package of floss from Herrschner's yesterday, that completed all the colors of DMC floss in my stash, all 474 colors.  And more than one skein of quite a few colors.  So I am set, once I get it all straightened up.  Herrschner's still had floss at $0.44 per skein, not having yet raised it to $0.52 that is the price now from the manufacturer.  Still it is way less than found in Aus. where it costs $1.25 per skein.  DMC floss is made in France, so it's cheaper here because of the volume sold, and not because we are closer to France than Oz.  The colors I got yesterday were a lot of jewel tones, so pretty they seem to glow.  And although they are cotton, they have a subtle shine to them, I just love holding them as I get a kit together.  I am still doing machine knitting, and the yarn I love the best are the jewel colors, and not the pastel ones so much.  My favorite is Bernat Satin yarn, polyester but with a sheen to it also.  My problem is, what do I do with all the things I knit, I have a dresser filled almost completely with scarves, hats, mittens, etc. etc.  That is even after donating lots of items. 

I have pre-surgical exercises to do twice a day prior to the knee replacement surgery, and my arms are like noodles with all the leg/arm motions that I am not used to.  My back isn't feeling too great either.  I guess I will do what I can and try to do the others to some extent.  My knee has limited me doing even simple things, like walking!,   so I am going to have a lot of catching up to do once the knee is healed.  The doctor told me, the worst part of the process is pain, and that I will have lots of pain meds in the hospital and after I go home.  I will try to reflect on the amount of pain I had when I was thrown from my horse (SOLD) and fractured L2 and L3 vertebrae that had me in a body cast, braces, etc., for months afterwards.  That is what I consider a 10 on the pain scale, and I hope the knee is not going to approach that. 


Saturday, June 03, 2017

Knee Surgery

I am scheduled to have knee surgery on June 26.  My main concern is the aftermath; how much and how long will I be laid up, how much therapy I will need,  can I do stairs?  I want to get all the major mending to be finished before bad weather sets in, when the driveway and roads will be slippery.  Last night I couldn't stop my brain from buzzing and whirling, what would I need to take, and so on.  I ordered some new shoes, loafers, to wear while I am doing therapy walking at the hospital.  At home I wear slippers all the time, but they don't have much in the anti-slide department.  Most all my shoes are clogs, and I can't get my foot into them now, my feet are so swollen, despite taking Laysix twice a day.  Plus, they have a wedge heel, so I am afraid I will stumble and/or fall.  Anyway, I ordered them from Zappos, so if they don't fit they will go back.

In addition, I ordered an armchair and ottoman to go in my bedroom so I can sit up in there.  My bed has a bookcase headboard, and leaning on it to sit up is uncomfortable.  The chair is from Wayfair, I hope it goes without a glitch.  I know there is some assembly needed, I think it is just to attach the legs.  It is mission style, and the reviews all agreed it was very comfortable.  One other one I was considering had reviews that said the cushions were very stiff, so that one was a no-go.  I really appreciate the trend of including reviews for purchases, when you are looking at an item online and can't kick the tires, so to speak.  It should be here soon.

My library card catalog drawer cabinet arrived today, and the cross-stitch floss with fit in it nicely.  It even has the drawer slide-y bracket that snugs up the drawer contents, like a file cabinet has.  I will need to continue to put 3 x 5 cards in each floss bag, which wouldn't be nearly as difficult if the inside of the bag was 3 x 5 like the outside.  As it is, I have to trim the cards and then force them into the bag, to make them less slither-y.  Still, I will only have to do it once, so it will be OK, as I have a paper cutter to help with the trimming.  And I will do it a little at a time.  I am sorting out the floss bobbins that I have gotten from 3 different vendors, to make them all in numerical order in their little clear boxes.  I should have stuck to just using the bags, or put all the floss on the bobbins, instead of having both.  Hindsight...

And speaking of sight, my new glasses are top-notch.  Plus they are very light, saving my nose, and the lenses are bigger, giving me more room to see things.  No, you will have to take my word on this, I'm not posting photos!