Words

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and listening to podcasts as I keep an eye on Myles. By the way he appreciates your get well wishes, though not enough to stop trying to remove those itchy stitches. As I sit on the couch I find myself enjoying phrases. I said to The Husband a bit ago that I love the phrase “a part of a piece”. He of course thought I was crazy. He prefers just the word part but I like the longer phrase because it points out that there is more than the part and more than the piece. A piece is normally part of a whole thing. Kind of like a piece of chocolate cake is a part of a whole cake and a part of the piece could be the decadent fudge frosting. Anyway, I thought maybe we could talk about some new words/phrases I’ve learned. Maybe you’ve learned some you’d like to share in the comments.

I was listening to a podcast where they were explaining a news story. They were trying to explain the why of a response and they used the phrase “illusory truth effect”. I had to write that one down. The Husband wasn’t home and I wanted to tell him about it. It seems to contradict itself but it really captures what it intends. It’s what happens when the illusion of truth is believed. Not actual truth but when you believe the lie and then you act on it. Think of the ramifications of acting on a lie. Think of the kind of person who would weaponize others by feeding them lies.

This next one is a word that isn’t a real word but should be. I read it in a substack. “Philanthropath”: a wealthy person who uses their donations to get what they want to the detriment of others. I always think when I donate to a cause or organization who’s work I care about that I am supporting what they do. A philanthropath donates money to get them to do what they want them to do. They want to shift the focus or work of the organization they are supporting. They can do it by the size of their donation. I know I can name a few who fall under this moniker and I’ll bet you can too.

The next word goes really well with the previous. “Mendacious”: it means given to deception or falsehood or divergent from truth. I’d heard the word before but it had been used in a flowery description of a criminal in a novel so it seemed less negative than it actually is. It’s like a Liar with a capital L as opposed to someone who told a simple fib.

Have you discovered any new words or phrases that captured your attention? Do share in the comments.

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Myles Update

Last week Myles had his teeth cleaned. Since he was going to be under anesthesia we (the vet mainly) thought it would be a good time to remove a fatty lump that was near his back leg. He’d become a little too interested in it and it was looking a little picked at. I’d like to say it was as easy as we were told it would be. But of course it wasn’t.

On drop off day the car died in the parking lot of the clinic. That sure didn’t bode well. Myles came through surgery just fine and the credit card only took an extra few hundred dollar hit when they discovered a few teeth had to be removed. We brought him home at dinner time and he wasn’t himself. He slept ok that night and the next morning he had little interest in breakfast but did eat a slice of cheese (the food he’d walk through fire for) with his pain medication. An hour later he was sleeping soundly on the living room floor. Once he woke up he was like a drunk swaying and bumping into things. The pain meds were obviously more than he could handle. He mostly slept until bedtime when we gave him half the prescribed dose of pain medication.

At about 2AM he awoke with an urgent need to go outside, NOW! I’ll spare you the details and just say it was obvious that the medication had inflamed his insides. He seemed happy enough to go back to sleep.

In the morning I called the vet. Talking through the technician we were told to come pick up some bland food and antibiotics. They wanted to prescribe a different pain medication but we decided to pass. He seemed better when not drugged.

After a couple of doses of antibiotics and a couple meals of bland food he’s back to the normal Myles. Unfortunately that means he’s interested a little too much in his stitches. The standard plastic cone of shame turned him into a Tasmanian Devil so we upgraded to the fancy airline neck pillow style which doesn’t entirely prevent him from reaching the stitches but does remind him that he has to think twice. He’s got someone watching him most of the time so all but one stitch is still intact. A second of in attention was all it took for him to remove that one. The vet will remove whatever remain on Monday. Monday can’t come soon enough.

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WIP Wednesday: On Wednesday A Real WIP

So it’s taken a bit to get a WIP to this point. It’s a saga really. This isn’t the original yarn or pattern I’d intended to cast on. The original yarn didn’t want to be the original pattern so I grabbed this yarn. It didn’t want to be the original pattern (I have the fussiest most difficult stash) so I tried a second pattern. That too was a no go. So here we are 80 something rows in on Reyna by Noora Backlund. The pattern is available for free on Ravelry. The yarn is something I’d wound for another pattern. I know the label is around here somewhere. When it turns up I’ll fill you in.

This is the second time I’ve knit Reyna. It’s a great pattern that works well for variegated yarn. It’s also friendly for knitting while watching TV for listening to a podcast. That doesn’t mean I have had an easy go of it. I just starting working forward again after about a 10 row reverse. I don’t know exactly what I did wrong but I ended up with the incorrect number of stitches. I thought tinking back a couple of rows would solve the problem but along the way I got lost and messed up where the center stitch was. It was late. I was tired. I should have known better. The next day I got back on track and things are going along well now.

I’ve set myself a little goal to have this done by the second week of August. Casapinka (actually Sharon from Security) has a new mystery KAL starting August12. Her KALs are always fun and I normally enjoy the patterns so that is my carrot. The pattern is called Sharon Air and it’s a shawl. I’ll be using stash yarn but haven’t yet decided which skeins. It calls for about 1600 yards in 4 colors with no rules. This will be fun!

How’s your crafting going? Have you got plans to start something new that has you excited?

Posted in Knits, Knitting, MKAL, Ravelry, WIP, WIPW, yarn! | 9 Comments

Stream Of Consciousness Blogging: The Knitting Edition

The Yarn Near My Chair

I’m tired and a little whiny. Think kid who needs a nap. We had a thunderstorm last night shortly after I fell asleep so I was woken up and didn’t really get much quality sleep after that. Then The Husband got up at 5:30. I didn’t get back to sleep after that either. I should take a nap but that would ruin my sleep tonight. It’s a whole thing: whine, whine, whine.

Now I’ll whine about something else. I really want to knit. I’m itching to knit. But nothing is hitting me with the Knit Me Now feeling. Every day, sometimes multiple times per day I scroll through Ravelry looking at patterns and projects. I see many things I like but nothing I have to knit NOW! My current WIPs (really UFOs) aren’t doing it for me either. I’ve toyed with the idea of buying yarn. I did that not too long ago and haven’t touched it. Spending more on yarn seems unwise. I pulled out the above yarn that lives near my chair. Surely there would be inspiration. Um, not really. Don’t get me wrong, the yarn is gorgeous but it isn’t speaking to me. I headed to the basement to dig around in the stash and I can’t find the tile snip things I use to reach the unreasonably short cord on the overhead light. I dragged a tote of stash to the bottom of the stairs and dug through. Nothing jumped out. As an aside I did find a couple of skeins of collection yarn aka yarn I won’t knit because it can’t be replaced and I love it as yarn. Do you have those kind of skeins in your stash? I happily gave those a few moments of attention before moving on to two more totes. Still nothing screamed Knit Me!

So I’ve devised a plan. It won’t be perfect and it may not even work. I’m going to wind up a skein from the bunch by my chair and pick out a shawl to cast on. I’ve got a bunch in my library on Ravelry and there must be one that will be easy enough for my tired brain but satisfying enough to keep me knitting. Once I get going hopefully I’ll stick with it. If not there is plenty of room in the UFO bin for another project or two.

How’s your crafting going?

Posted in cranky knitter, Knits, Knitting, yarn! | 10 Comments

Conditioning

How about a chat in the comments today? I’ve got a busy day but will pop back in later. It’s The Husband’s birthday and Pokemon Go Community Day. It will be fun, dammit.

I’ve been thinking about conditioning lately. Conditioning as I mean is defined as the process of training or accustoming a person or animal to behave in a certain way or to accept certain circumstances. I have two examples, one human and one animal, to share.

We keep Myles treats, yummy peanut butter flavored tiny bones, in a vintage glass mason jar with glass lid and metal latch thing. It makes a unique sound in our house. When the latch is moved Myles comes running. It doesn’t matter where he is or what he’s doing he knows that noise means cookies. He runs to the kitchen and plants his butt on the floor in a very attentive sit position. It ask if if he’d like a cookie and he starts drooling. It’s gross but always happens. Not really dignified poodle behavior. We intentionally conditioned him to the word cookie. He runs from wherever he is at the sound of the word. It is our emergency word should he get loose or be otherwise out of our control. Cookie has meaning and he wants one now! He learned indirectly that the sound of the jar means cookie. It was unintended but he is conditioned for it.

Back when The Husband was active duty his schedule was erratic. Most of the time he’d work 8-5. On occasion he’d have to get up at 3AM to fly. Once or twice he turned off the alarm and went back to sleep necessitating a phone call from someone on his crew. It took twice before I started waking at 2:55AM to insure he got up when the clock went off. The alarm was one thing but the phone ringing at 4:00AM woke H and she wasn’t going back to sleep. Boy did I learn that fast!

My examples are innocuous. They don’t hurt anyone. They aren’t used in a negative controlling way. As I look around I see where this method could be used in very bad ways. Anyone who has trained dogs knows that conditioning can be used to teach dogs to attack. It seems to me the same could be done with humans too.

What are your experiences with conditioning? Are you conditioned to awake before the alarm? Do your pets expect treats because of things they’ve been conditioned with? It’s an interesting subject with oh so many applications.

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I’m Going To Tell You A Story

H and I were texting about a week ago. Something I mentioned caused her to ask an I don’t know that story, tell me comment. Telling her that story led to connections to others. While the story I’m about to tell you isn’t the one I told her it still shows how things are connected. I recommend you settle in with a cup of coffee or tea or better yet a big glass of wine. You’re going to need it.

A couple rules before we begin. I will not be using anyone’s names. If you know what state I live in and search the clues you’ll easily find the two most important names and those will lead you to the rest. I make no judgements on guilt, innocence or victim of circumstance. The story is my view from my prospective. I lived my parts.

Our story must start with a couple of facts about me. I am a horrible patient. I inherited this from my parents. I am very difficult to get blood from. My father was poked 13 times to get the blood needed for his marriage license blood test, a requirement in my state. Commonly I’m sporting bandages on my hands after I have blood drawn. It’s the only place they can find a vein. I also have a pretty serious case of white-coat-itis as my doctor calls it. She always throws away the blood pressure readings taken by the nurse before my visit because the ones she takes at the end of the visit are 10-20 points lower. My mother was the same and we both saw the same doctor. I still do. H does too.

Now the story. When I was pregnant with H I saw a no nonsense OBGYN. She followed the book on all things late 1980’s pregnancy. I was a challenging patient. First I had late day morning sickness that lasted 9 months. It sucked. Second my veins seemed to sink deeper into my body so getting the blood required at every visit was a difficult task for whoever was unlucky enough to pick the short straw. I’ll never forget the day the doctor yelled from her desk down the hall that if you (meaning the nurse and by extension me) can’t get blood out of the arm I’ll come and get it out of the feet. Yikes! I’m glad to report the threat was enough. Finally nearly two weeks late H was born via c- section after 20+ hours of induced labor. I saw the doctor one more time after that for my follow up. A couple years later my SIL had her when she was pregnant with my niece.

A few years later when I happened to be visiting my parents a story came on the news about the body of a doctor being found in her car at the local hospital. Goodness, it was my doctor. There were stories on the news about her relationship with another doctor. How they were supposed to go away but she canceled. He went anyway. Time passed with no real answers but lots of innuendo.

A few years after that I had something going on with my thyroid so my primary care doctor at the time hooked me up with an endocrinologist to look into what was going on. It was surreal walking into the appointment with my late OBGYN’s ex (who was rumored to be her strangler). He examined my neck (what a creepy feeling) and sat at his desk to order tests. I mentioned a photo of a cute little girl asking if it was his daughter. He reached into a drawer and pulled out a stack of photos for me to see. She was about 18 months old. The photos were typical of what a proud Dad would show. She was riding a little bike, swinging at a park or toddling in the living room.

I saw him again at the hospital. My tests had returned wonky and there was something on my thyroid. He wanted to do a biopsy. If The Husband hadn’t been by my side the entire time I might have wondered if I imagined what happened. There were 5 of us in the room: the doctor, a nurse, a lab technician who handled the slides, The Husband and I. I was instructed to lay on the table, fully dressed. The Husband at my side and the nurse at my head. The lab technician worked at a table along the wall and the doctor moved back and forth between me and the lab technician. I was repeated stabbed in the neck with needles while he attempted to collect samples. Then he took a large bore needle and jabbed it into my neck after cutting a hole in my skin. All this was done with nothing for the pain and it hurt like hell. Once he was done the nurse, looking nervous and obviously rushing put a gauze pad and a bandage on my neck and showed me out of the room. The entire event felt off but I didn’t realize how off until later.

I got a call a week or so later that I should come into the office. At that time he said it could be cancer but the biopsy was inconclusive. He recommended I contact a surgeon on the list he handed me.

A few weeks later I had surgery and half my thyroid was removed but still the biopsy was inconclusive. I ended up at a big hospital with a thyroid specialist who was like “yup, cancer.” He decided that the other half of my thyroid should be biopsied and boy did I not want to do that again. But of course I had no choice. This time the room at the big hospital was two doctors (neither my thyroid specialist), me and an ultrasound machine. They were using ultrasound to be sure they got the areas they were most interested in. They spent half an hour just using the ultrasound on my neck.

Of course I was a nervous wreck and when I’m nervous I tend to talk, a lot. I told the story of my OBGYN, the first endocrinologist and that hellish biopsy. Both doctors were wide eyed and shocked. They immediately said that that isn’t how the biopsy should be done. They had shots to numb my neck so I would feel nothing (not quite true but mostly true). I did have a second surgery to remove the other half of my thyroid and a large dose of radioactive iodine to kill anything that remained. I’ve been followed since then.

At some point the two men who gave an alibi to the endocrinologist recanted. They had lied in exchange for prescriptions. The endocrinologist went to prison. I didn’t follow this super closely. I was just glad to see him behind bars. A few years later he died of pancreatic cancer while still in prison.

I really didn’t think too much about him again. Well that is until I saw a news report that a college student had been stabbed to death at the library a town over from us. It was just a crazy story that would never make it as a movie. It’s too unbelievable. It seems this guy who wasn’t quite right stabbed this girl while she was at the library studying. The girl looked a lot different than when I’d seen her photo at 18 months.

This entire story seems unbelievable. Had it been a movie I’d have called it contrived and overthought. But I lived it and it happened. I still can’t wrap my brain around it all. Truth is stranger than fiction. I still wonder, is karma a thing? Is evil an entity? How could this be real? And yet it actually happened.

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Get Ready For A Trip

They say that as you get older you think more about your past than your future. I think the whole Covid lockdown thing sort of accelerated this more me. I find that things I’m reading or seeing today trigger memories from my past. Today started with a fantastic ride.

When I was a kid a childless couple lived across the street in a very (for here) old house. They were a few years older than my parents and treated the kids in the houses at our end of the street as honorary nieces and nephews of which I was the oldest. The wife, a lover of antiques, old dolls (I shutter to think of her display) and flowers: president of the garden club even, had a dry sense of humor. The husband, a quadriplegic who loved Abraham Lincoln almost as much as his wife, had a traditional guy sense of humor. Our phone would regularly ring if Barbara was out and Kenny needed help. He had limited use of his hands so many times a call would come if he’d dropped something, like his straw that let him drink water which was necessary to keep him hydrated, or if Krista their collie was bouncing the toilet lid because her water bowl was empty. If the lid was left up she’d drink out of the toilet and that’s just gross. I got used to running across the street to quickly do whatever needed to be done. It was just something I did for a neighbor and friend.

One summer night right before 7th grade my friend Paula and I had a new album we wanted to listen to and the record player at my house needed a new needle. Kenny was sitting out on his deck so I asked if we could use his record player, a small portable model that he said I could bring out onto the deck. I put on the new album, George Carlin’s Class Clown and we listened to both sides. I had never laughed so hard in my life. I think Kenny was a bit embarrassed to be listening to what most adults at the time would consider a raunchy comedian but he laughed along with us.

Warning: If graphic language or cursing bother you do not press play.

This video appeared in my email today from a friend who also has great memories of George Carlin from when she was young. What a genius he was. He had a way of getting to the truth. Thanks for taking me for a trip down memory lane.

A few years after our summer evening with George Carlin on the deck Barbara and Kenny moved to Florida. The winters had gotten too hard for Kenny. He’d spend weeks unable to get out of the house because of the snow. He got pneumonia a few times which required weeks in the hospital. They kept in touch with boxes of oranges at Christmas and regular letters the rest of the year. A few years later Kenny passed away. Then a few years before my parents passed away Barbara passed. I still think of them fondly but hadn’t thought about that night on the deck in years.

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A Tale From The Grocery Store

I’m not a huge fan of grocery shopping. Once upon a time I was. Back in the late 90’s early 00’s I could be found hovering over a stack of coupons and a handful of weekly store ads. I’d match my coupons to the sales in each store and spend a couple of mornings that week hitting the stores. It took more time but I’d get more for my dollar. Things were leaner back then for us. By the time the 10’s rolled around my time was more valuable than saving $.50. I got in the habit of visiting the generally less expensive grocery store once a week or every ten days and just buying whatever we needed. I still used the ad to plan meals but I stopped chasing sales at other stores. In the 20’s it’s been more about getting it done than planning and enjoying it. The grocery store is like a field overrun by locusts. Often the things I plan to buy are gone or those that are there are in horrible condition. I’m looking at you bananas. There is meal planning on the move (which invariably costs more than planned) and I tend to come home missing a key ingredient or two.

I don’t know if you see it where you shop but I’ve noticed a ratcheting down of manners at my grocery store. My chosen store has always tended to have more cranky folks. They don’t say excuse me or even notice when they’ve pushed their cart directly in front of me as I’m reaching to pick something off the shelf. They abandon their cart in the middle of one half of the aisle while they stand in the other half reading labels. I’m used to that level of rude but it’s worse now with prices higher at each visit.

This week I found myself standing in front of the boneless chicken breasts. They’re a regular purchase because everyone eats them and they’re versatile. As I perused the packages I couldn’t help but notice how huge they were. I don’t need 5 or 6 in a package. I’m happy with 2 or, with N home, 3. As I’m standing there trying to decide if I should just skip the chicken or repackage it when I get home a woman spoke to me. Yes, I was stunned. I’m not usually spoken to by strangers at this particular store. She commented “isn’t this awful.” It had no context. I wasn’t quite sure which awful she was talking about but I agreed. After saying that she’d shopped with her daughter last week and it was $500 for a weeks groceries for her daughter’s family I understood which awful she meant. I said that I’d really like a package of chicken that was smaller and didn’t look like it had been assaulted before it was murdered. She chuckled and agreed. At that point I spotted a single package with two chicken breasts and I pointed them out to her. I said I was going to get something else, told her to have a nice day and headed over to the chicken thighs. I didn’t think about the conversation as I finished my shopping. I made my way to the checkout and joined the line. I cringed a little when the cashier read the total and I swiped my credit card.

As I reflect back on that brief interaction I wonder if she spoke with anyone else. Was she doing a little personal survey? Did I look like I could use a friend? Maybe she needed someone to reassure her that what she was seeing was correct. I was really caught off guard, not in a bad way. I just wasn’t sure what I should say. The last person to speak to me at that store asked me about corned beef in March 2020.

So how’s things with you? Are you doing okay? Are you getting along okay?

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Knitting Talk

I’ve been holding out on you just a bit. When I finished the last socks I showed you but didn’t kitchener the toe (still haven’t) I cast on some Monkey socks thinking I’d whip right through them and walk away with a happy win and warm feet. Well that didn’t happen. I did make it through turning the heel and then the tiny ember of mojo disappeared. The sock has been waiting as have I for the return of the mojo. All the chitchat about monkey pox reminded me about these socks. Maybe now that it’s in the 80’s with the promise of 90’s for tomorrow I’ll find the mojo. I don’t know what it is about the heat that makes me think about knitting.

The yarn is It’s Artistic by Abi in self-striping socks in the Dunkin Donuts colorway. The colors make me think of childhood Sundays when my father would on rare occasions pick up a dozen donuts for us for breakfast. That was back when my town had one Dunkin where they made all the donuts. Now we have 6 and the donuts have that stale from the factory taste. Childhood tasted so much better.

FYI: I’m experimenting with the photo thingie on the blog. I use the app to publish. Is there a way to center the photo without using my desktop to fix it? Technology is not my friend.

Posted in Socks | 12 Comments

It’s Been A Minute

Good grief! I’ve been busy not knitting. Yup, still not knitting. They’re doing a Loopy Day Camp this summer on Ravelry in the Loopy Groupies group. Meh. I know I need a mojo specialist or maybe a yarn infusion.

Other things are sucking up my time. My day job, which really takes up little of my time ordinarily, is ramped up a bit. It involves dealing with stuff and people and I am not a happy dealer, much like I shall not be a happy camper. Lots of scheduling and meeting but mostly waiting and waiting and waiting. Did I mention I’m not a happy waiter? Wouldn’t mind if I felt like knitting.

There are a few fun things taking up some of that wait time. I’m killing it on Candy Crush Soda. Yes I know the game is passé since it’s been out for ages but it’s on my phone and is good for killing time and ignoring shit. I made level 4477 this morning. See killing it.

Somehow The Husband discovered eating challenges on YouTube. Yes, people post videos of themselves doing those massive restaurant eating challenges. I am equally amazed and disgusted. Some videos are super fun but others just make me want to puke. This opened the door to people who post videos touring/reviewing buffets. Goodness these are fun and making my travel bucket list longer. The Husband also discovered The Hoof GP, a guy who is basically an animal podiatrist. I don’t recommend mixing this with the food videos. Queasiness will follow.

I’ve been listening to a couple new podcasts. I recently started listening to The Presidents Daily Brief. It’s a quick (15-20 minute) daily podcast on current events. The host, Bryan Dean Wright is a former CIA operations officer. It’s good and hits things you might not learn about in other places. I also listen to The Monica Crowley Podcast. It’s fast paced and has an upbeat tone as it covers current topics.

Before bed I have been putting in a good 30-45 minutes reading. I’ve got an endless list of books I’d like to read and dedicating this time has helped to make it happen. Right now I’m reading Covid-19 and The Global Predators by Peter R Breggin MD. I’m reading it on Hoopla on my phone which is a challenge right before bed because my eyes and brain are tired but the book is good and worth the effort.

I made a fresh strawberry pie yesterday. Damn it’s too tasty. I plan to make another once I get my hands on some fresh local strawberries in June.

Myles update: He’s good but way too smart. Every evening after we’ve settle down for a little TV I’ll ask The Husband if he’d like a cup of tea. Myles perks right up because that means dessert. When I’d cut the pie and returned it to the refrigerator I pulled out the can of whipped cream and Myles couldn’t get his butt on the floor fast enough in front of his water bowl. He remembered having a squirt of whipped cream at Christmas and wanted another now. Of course he had his while we had ours. He then spent 15 minutes licking his mustache making sure he got every bit. Good thing or he’d have been trying to get mine.

What have you been up to?

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