Monday, July 27, 2015

Fat Chance

I received this in my e-mail today:

FROM MY OLDER DAUGHTER, who apparently likes to taunt me.

According to Fitbit, Fitbit people who are friends with other Fitbit users exercise 27% more than those without Fitbit friends.


We'll see about that.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What Caused This Mess?

 This did:

I opened the door to the closet where I keeps current projects and lots of stuff that should go to Goodwill important things, and this dead moth was right there on the floor, in front of me, taunting me, and testifying to the fact that I needed to check the closet and its contents.


As much yarn as I can fit into the freezer is in the freezer. The rest is waiting for its turn, unless I decide to toss it all into the car and leave it for a few hot days.  

Do moths serve any purpose in the whole circle of life thing?

I think not.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Sisters' Magical Mystery Murder Tour

My LA daughter seems to have a proclivity for picking out apartments close to sites where notorious murders have taken place, although, now that I think about it, that may be unavoidable. Or maybe I've read too many Michael Connelly novels. 

Her first apartment was in a great location, in an Echo Lake unit built into the basement of a house on the side of a mountain. It was a quirky place, with walled-off steps on the back side of the apartment; she and her roommate used the steps as bookshelves. The refrigerator was in a hallway leading from the kitchen; the dishwasher didn't work; there was no AC or heat and electricity was undependable if too many things were plugged in at once. But large windows were on one side of the apartment and looked out over the street below, and then down and out to one of LA's freeways. At night the view was beautiful with all those faraway car lights sparkling in the dark.

The apartment was at the end of a dead-end street, and that was unfortunately a way to describe the hillside descending from the opposite side of the street. It was where some of the Hillside Strangler's victims found their dead end.

Now my daughter lives in Los Feliz, an interesting area of Los Angeles with a mix of housing styles, apartments, and businesses. She can walk to Gelson's, a great grocery store, Trader Joe's, restaurants, laundromats, interesting little shops, and she regularly walks around a reservoir and through the neighborhood for exercise.  

On her route is this former convent. 

This convent was in the news recently because it belongs to some nuns who no longer live there and who sold it a couple of weeks ago for 15.5 million dollars. A group of nuns had bought the place with money they raised themselves decades ago, and two of the five remaining nuns felt it was the nuns' right to sell it. The new owner, restauranteur and nightclub owner, Dana Hollister, is already living in the convent and says that she might turn it into a "hip" hotel.

However, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez had agreed to sell it to Katy Perry for 14.5 million dollars and is going to file papers to negate the sale that has already taken place. The Archbishop says that the nuns had long ago signed papers that allow the Dioceses to sell the convent. This will all end up in court next month, and the nuns vow that they will take the fight to the Vatican if necessary.

My daughter wonders if Katy Perry, or the new owner, knows that this convent is right next door to the Manson Murder House, where Leno and Rosemary Labianca were murdered by the Charles Manson "Family" in 1969.  Spoooooky....

My daughter lives where the blue dot is; the convent and the Manson Murder House are marked in red.
My daughter did not move to either of these apartments BECAUSE there had been murders nearby; that would be weird! I really like the area she lives in now, and I think she does too. But if she decides to move, I guess she could check out locations where the Freeway Killer(s) worked.

Or maybe not.

Definitely not, even though her sister does want to take The Magical Mystery Murder tour the next time she visits.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

And I Halp'd

Remember that ancient ad for Hamburger Helper? I think that's what it was for. Well, my helper is not a cute little girl. It's Baxter.

See all the hairs on my NEW (be still my heart) ironing board cover? Baxter's contribution to my ironing.

And he helps with the warm, just-out-of-the-dryer laundry.

By sitting on it.  

Thanks, but no thanks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Just Three to Go. Three to Go....Three to

This will never end!

I just finished the fifth section of Soumak and I was so pleased with myself....until I realized that there are eight sections total.

So I have three to go. 

It's 45 inches long. Or several cats in length. Baxter didn't think the tape measure was precise enough apparently, and added himself to help.

Three sections to go.....

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Daughter's Post on FB

As she wrote in today's post, she had brain surgery five weeks and six days ago to remove an Acoustic Neuroma from near her left ear.  

She had excellent surgeons, a great hospital (USC Keck Medical) and a determination to recover the balance the surgery took away; the tumor was attached to the vestibular nerve on the left side of her brain and so the surgeons cut the nerve in order to remove the entire tumor. Lots of physical therapy and a lot of balance exercises, both at PT sessions and at home, and a zillion steps later, she has 100% of her balance back, and for some unknown reason, has her hearing back. She had lost 40% of it in her left ear after the surgery, but yesterday's audiology tests showed that she now hears as well as she used to.

So Yay! for great surgeons and Yay! for Sarah!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

OH THE HUMANITY!,  not the humanity, geeze.


Has Knittergran been building tents in the backyard? you ask.

Nope. She has been hosting some members of her granddaughter's climbing team at her house. And this is all that remains of their visit. There were (one night) the following people: my daughter, the coach, the assistant coach, and five climbers.

The next night:  the coach and six climbers. My daughter and the assistant coach flew back to Austin; the extra climber came from? A different team? Yes, but it's too complicated to explain.

And now there are none.  We had all been to Chattanooga for a regional competition and then we all came back here so that the climbers could check out the new Stone Summit gym in Kennesaw, where Nationals will be held in July.

And in Chattanooga, the kids climbed the outside wall (15 meters high) in heat so bad that the automatic timers didn't work and the grips were hot, hot, hot. 

This is video of my granddaughter's climb.  She is on the right wearing the green shirt:



She made it!

Her team will be back in July.

And I need to get going on the laundry if I want it to be finished by then.

Monday, June 1, 2015

How You Know You are in California

I bet this place has been really, really busy since the release of San Andreas.

THIS "Doctor's Office" is not for flu shots.

Of course, because I AM in LA, I had to see San Andreas and as a result, I have advice for anyone living in an earthquake zone:

1.  Meet the Rock.

2.  Stay by his side forevermore. He won't mind. 

3.  Wear a helmet.  All of the time.

And since my daughter's successful (whew!) surgery to remove an acoustic neuroma, I think we should all wear helmets all of the time. I've been reading all things brain-related, and I'm not sure I trust the skull to protect the brain well enough: the brain is gel-like and the skull can break. My daughter now has a titanium plate to cover the portion of bone the surgeons took out, and the titanium is stronger than bone; maybe our skulls could be replaced by titanium. hmmm......

Bonus LA sight:

The only interesting/weird thing seen at yesterday's Melrose Place flea market:

I didn't see anyone buy it, so it's probably still up for grabs y'all.  

Sunday, May 31, 2015


I have too many stitches and I can't figure out how it happened. Maybe because I was knitting last night in low light and without my glasses. Because I'm smart like that.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

totally random

Seen yesterday on our drive through West Hollywood. There are a lot of Scientology buildings here, and while we felt a mysterious force pulling at us, we were strong and kept on driving.

And it's a good thing because plans for today included going to the BEACH!!! The BEACH!!! My favorite place on earth.  

In case you didn't see the previous post of the gorgeous beach and ocean, it's right below this one.

However, across the street from the ocean are these views:

Do you see the debris tumbling down the ravine in the first photo? It's stuff that used to be on the road above, and across the road are very expensive homes and condos. The second photo is of the support structures holding the road above up. But the soil is washing away and I'm glad I don't own any of the homes up there. What an amazing view they have until the land all falls away.  

On the way back to my daughter's apartment, we go by this ...shrine? home? art installation?

I don't know, but there is a man who lives under a tarpaulin and sits out sometimes in a battered upholstered armchair of indeterminate color.  

I've seen him sitting in his chair and I've seen him tending his installations. My daughter says that friends have stopped to offer him bottled water and sunscreen. He yelled and threw rocks at them. My daughter has asked him how he was doing and he has responded: Oh, you know. Just working on my script. Alrighty then.

I would love to interview him, but this whole thing, his home I guess, is situated on a sliver of land between two roads. There is no place to stop or park without going a block or so away and then walking over to see him. Getting rocks thrown at me is not an inducement to put in the effort, so I'll just say hi as I wait at the light.  

At the end of the area, where the turn is, and where I was today when the light turned green, is a trash can with Coin Toss hand lettered on it. It would take really good aim to get anything in it, but as my daughter said, he is very likely to go pick up what misses. Next time I'm there and have a red light, I'll give it a try.

We are having perfect weather, and I hear that Georgia is hot, rainy and humid. I think I'll have to stay a few more days.  

Where I Am

videoSanta Monica Pier is in the distance.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Michael Jackson, BBB and Parallel Parking

What do these three things have in common?  Normally, nothing, but today I PARALLEL PARKED, almost perfectly, all by myself. (Not entirely. My daughter was in the car shouting instructions, but I ignored her.)

We wanted to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond, and the one closest to her is in HOLLYWOOD, y'all! On Vine, as in Hollywood and Vine. So off we went and we found a spot right outside of BBB. When I got out of the car to admire my parking skill (who parallel parks anymore?), I noticed the star we were next to.

Good old Michael's.

I was surprised that there weren't lots of tourists/fans standing around sobbing and taking photos and that there weren't flowers on it. Daughter says that there usually are flowers.

We walked around the block looking at the stars, and I had no idea who a surprising number of the stars thereby honored were. I suppose that today's youths, like my daughter and younger, don't know either. 

Fame is fleeting. One minute you are a big deal, the next moment you are dead and forgotten, and in Michael's case, you end up memorialized next to Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Laundromat

Here I am, at an LA laundromat. I haven't done laundry in a laundromat in a million or two years but the only machine at my daughter's apartment is broken. I've always thought that the next great American novel would be written about what goes on at a place like this, but it won't happen today. The only thing happening is that an old man (that means my age) is singing along to American Pie on the radio.

That and my apparent inability to count to seven. I must have only put six quarters in the machine and when it wouldn't start, I went to the worker to get help. Needed one more quarter.

If I'm not smart enough to count to seven all by myself, I am probably not smart enough to write the next great American novel.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Acoustic Neuroma Awareness Week

May 10-May 16th is now Acoustic Neuroma Awareness Week.  You may wonder why I even know this.  

Here's how.  I am in LA helping my younger daughter recover from her surgery to remove an Acoustic Neuroma, which is a benign, slow-growing tumor of the hearing and balance nerves, from behind her left ear. It was discovered purely by chance when she had an MRI to make certain that nothing dangerous was causing her migraines. The MRI showed nothing that would cause the migraines, but it did discover the tumor. Even though she had absolutely no symptoms of the neuroma (vertigo, deafness, vision problems), she decided, after meeting with a neurologist, a neurosurgeon and an ENT, to have the tumor taken out before it grew and caused problems.

So on May 12th she had it removed and today, the 15th of May, she has returned home. Pretty damn amazing, I think! For now she needs a walker to move around, just in case she has balance problems, and she is now partially deaf in her left ear. She will have hearing tests next week and they will help to determine if the hearing loss is permanent or if there is a chance full hearing could come back. Her vision problems caused by the surgery are clearing up already and she can now read.  

The surgeons explained to us that the brain has to work hard to establish new connections to make up for any nerves that were damaged or cut during surgery, so she will be tired after reading, talking, or even sitting upright for awhile. It takes energy for the brain to work, the same sort of energy it takes to walk around, run, play games, exercise; I would never have thought of that.

She is very fortunate that she lives near the Keck Medical Center at USC where there are two surgeons, Dr. Rick Friedman and Dr. Steven Giannotta, who specialize in this surgery. One has done about 700 of them; the other has done about 1,000. They worked together on our daughter, and she is doing really well just three days after six hours of surgery. It was BRAIN SURGERY, y'all!!!

Now she is home and doing well, and her tumor, which she had named Ned, is dead and gone.  Whew.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Oh what a tangled web we weave

When first we practice to deceive.  (Sir Walter Scott (Marmion, 1808) 

This is a tangled web, but it's not deception. It's murder.

Murder of those horrible, nasty, HUNGRY moths that ruin knit projects.

The photo is of an unknown number (I don't want to know how many I have knit) of wool, alpaca and silk scarves, wraps and I don't know what-all, sitting in my car, which is sitting in the sun. This is the south. It's hot out, y'all, so this should work, so they say.

They say that if the car temperature reaches 130 degrees for a couple of hours, all of the moths and baby moths and larvae will be DEAD. DEAD. I found a hole of unknown origin in one of my beloved scarves, so this is step one (murder) before step two when I put everything in a space bag for the summer.

Who are they you ask and why do I trust them?  Because they are sources on the interwebs, and so their information must be true. Every one of these items was hand-knit by yours truly, and I would cry and sob if anything happened to them because of those sneaky moths.  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Baxter's Big Adventure

I may have mentioned in the past that Baxter wants nothing more than to go outside. He will do anything to get off of the deck, which does now seem to be escape proof. (fingers crossed)

I bought him a harness and leash a few months ago and tried to take him for a walk. It seems, though, that cats, or at least some cats, don't quite get the concept of going for a walk. On a cat-related forum online I read that I should try to just put the harness and leash on him, take him outside, and let him go. So today I did:


At first he acted as if the leash weighed hundreds of pounds, hunkered down and did not move.  But then he was distracted by everything and started wandering. I did not hold the leash; the idea is that if the cat starts to go where he shouldn't, I just step on the leash and stop him. He ended up being so intent on capturing the lizard that was evading him in a small rock wall that he didn't even wander. He had a nice half hour or so of excitement and now he is showing his appreciation by falling asleep on my foot.

As for me, I was rewarded by what will be my first peony of the season!

Peonies are my favorite flowers! Except for roses! And lacecap hydrangeas!

I might have many favorites.

And now, for something completely different: last Wednesday night I had occasion to go to the top of the Queen building in Sandy Springs.

If you live in the Atlanta area, you are familiar with the King and Queen buildings; you can see them from 400 and from I 285.

But have you seen them from the top?

The very top of the Queen
The King seen from atop the Queen
It was fun to see a 360 degree view of Atlanta, but the building tops wouldn't make great tourist attractions. I noticed a sort of unpleasant, sewer-type of odor. I was correct:  all of the exhaust pipes from the entire 31 floors of offices and, ahem, rest rooms, lead to the roof.

Go and smell the roses instead.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Swatches DO Lie!

So now I'm re-knitting the body of the Trillium sweater. My numerous swatches, washed and dried (first time ever I've done that), told me to use size 6 needles for the ribbing and size 7 needles for the body of the sweater. That is what I had intended to do, but when I frogged the body and double-checked the needle size, I discovered that I had forgotten to switch to size 7s when I started the stockinette section. I must have been working on it at knit night and gotten distracted. No wonder the density of the fabric was off.

However, I am now knitting the body with size 8s, which several other knitters are using for this yarn, and I AM GETTING GAUGE.  (Yes, I know. What does their gauge have to do with mine?)


Of course I haven't washed and dried my current knitting, and I'm not going to. I'm relying on luck and blocking to make this sweater the right size.  

Because apparently, my previous swatches, multiple swatches with this yarn, made on three different sizes of needles, washed and dried, lied. No more swatches for me, no sir.   

Luck and blocking. That's the ticket.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Except for the twisted broken rib ribbing which was a pain to knit and I don't want to do it twice.

Remember this sweater?

No?  That's OK. I barely do. I am making it from BT's Shelter yarn, which I love, but I had a horrible time swatching for it and after I saw another knitter's sweater, made from the same brand and weight yarn, I realized that my gauge, no matter what the swatch said, was too tight, and that the fabric I was creating was too dense. It almost seemed to be a felted fabric, which is not what the pattern designer and I were going for.

So it's frogged and now complete with lifelines. I'd like to report that I was being organized and had put the lifelines in as I knit, but I can't because I didn't. And it is such an easy thing to do with interchangeable needles that it's just plain crazy not to put them in.  

Next time. Remind me, OK?

Saturday, April 11, 2015


OK, so this baby hedgehog is kind of cute.

But I don't get having hedgehogs as pets, and I know whereof I speak since my daughter has a hedgehog.

I have seen it do......absolutely nothing.  For a half an hour at a time. And doing nothing probably lasted many, many hours, but I got bored and stopped watching.

However, if she wants a hedgehog, she sure doesn't need my permission.

But if she ever does this, I will have to stage an intervention.

H, you have been warned.

And people think knitters are weird old ladies.  Pffftt.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I have tasted PW's coconut/butter coffee.

And that's all I need, just a taste.

It's kind of oily (no surprise) and a bit creamy, but I guess I like the taste of coffee too much to put other things in it.  

And no one warned me that a hot liquid in a blender, set to high, EXPLODES.  

So that was fun.

Curiosity satisfied.  Just black coffee please, ma'am.

Friday, March 27, 2015

So I'm My Own Guinea Pig...

I bought coconut oil!

Not for my hair.
Not for my skin.
Not for oil-pulling. (I may have born at night, but it wasn't last night.)

I bought it for an experiment in Fine Coffee Drinking® because no one else will try out this recipe FOR me: Pioneer Woman's Crazy Coffee.  

I  will just have to try it for myself.  Rats.

Crazy Coffee contains coffee (of course), coconut oil and unsalted butter. Yes, coconut oil and butter. Everyone I asked to test this for me in order to tell me if it was awful or not declined. Some said things like "Ick, are you crazy?" Others (I'm looking at you daughters and son-in-law) didn't even respond. Rude, right?

So, it's up to me. I am now a guinea pig scientist and I'll let you know how it goes.  

So that YOU don't have to try it.

You are welcome.

Monday, March 16, 2015

OK, iThings,


I was going through my iCalendar this morning, looking for a medical appointment I was certain that I had scheduled.  Nope.  Not there.  

I looked on two of my iThings and still, no luck.

I gave up, called the doctor's office and asked to schedule an appointment. The scheduler asked if I wanted to change the appointment I already had.


I explained to her what had happened, that I couldn't find the appointment I had apparently already made, she gave me the date and time and we laughed together.  Hah Hah Hah Hah hah hah hah

I entered---again---the date and time in my iCalendar and it asked if I wanted it in iCloud or in my Mac Calendar. When I chose iCloud, the appointment was already there! I had assumed, incorrectly, that putting something in iCloud meant that iCloud sent it to all Things i. 

Apparently it does not.

So I entered the appointment in my Mac iCalendar, and now it is in all of my iThings.  

I figure that by the time I understand how all iThings work, Apple will change how all iThings work.  

And this will be me:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Only 1040 Rows to Go!

The first of eight sections of Soumak is finished. 

I am happy with it overall, but I wish I had either picked different colors or arranged them differently. Too much red and orange for my taste. And the brown looks like baby diarrhea to me. (What is WRONG with me that that is what came to mind?) But I'm hoping that when all eight sections are completed, the whole will be more than the sum of the parts. Something like that. 

Anyway, I'm knitting on. It's fun to knit because it's easy to knit, and it changes colors often enough to keep boredom at bay, so far.  

And, only 1040 rows to go, plus two ending rows, and 144 stitches per row.

I am not doing the math on that. Until it's finished and then I'll be impressed.  And relieved. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dead Easy?

I am making this:
Soumak Scarf/Wrap by Rowan

out of this:

and it currently looks like this:

It is the Soumak Scarf/Wrap from the Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 54 and it requires ten different gorgeous colors of Rowan fine tweed.  

And it is, as the Yarn Harlot sometimes says, "dead easy."  

What does that mean?  That it's so easy, a dead person could make it?  I hardly think so.

But nevertheless, consequently, nonetheless, by the way, and by your leave, it sure is EASY!

There was a bit of whining (maybe on my part although I was knitting with others, so who really knows?) when I first started working on this because it's so easy that it was way too easy to make a mistake.  Especially with the lavender color that I kept knitting in where it didn't belong.  I blame that on the yarn.  It was misbehaving.  But now I've got the yarn and the spreadsheet all organized and I am speeding along.  It is 900-some rows long, so I'll be at it for a long time, I know.  

I just hope I don't get tired of it. I won't be able to blame the yarn because I LOVE the yarn. Unless I get tired of the yarn. Which I won't. Because I ...

Never mind.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Deviled Ham!

We read Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, a young adult book in which the story is set almost entirely in a cemetery, for this month's book club meeting. Naturally, our food for the evening is funeral themed. I have the book Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hayes. It is a humorous look at death and funerals in the south, and it also includes recipes for acceptable and even obligatory fare for the proper southern after-funeral events. I am making these finger sandwiches:

Instructions for absolutely heart attack-inducing fare, as are most of the recipes in the book. 

But this Deviled Ham and Cheese Spread recipe reminded me of my fondness for deviled ham sandwiches, and my children's absolute hatred for deviled ham sandwiches. The problem was that I didn't know they hated the stuff until years after they were out of school and I was no longer packing their lunches.

The school they attended in Sarasota, Florida did not have a cafeteria and as a result, students brought their own lunches and ate outdoors on a wooden stage, or they walked to the grade school's cafeteria across the street. Most of the students chose the outdoor/bring your own lunch option, hence my daughters' deviled ham sandwiches. 

HOWEVER, I did not know that a proper deviled ham sandwich included cream cheese and pimiento cheese. No wonder they hated the sandwiches and (as I learned years later) tried unsuccessfully to trade them for something better. 

Doesn't this look yummy?

Actually, it IS!!! I've been munching on it while I make the sandwiches, and Glory Be! there is some left over. Mine, all mine.

These I'll share:

And yes, they are on a silver tray.

It's funeral food. Show some respect.


(I'm curious.  How is Deviled Ham in a can a "limited edition"? The stuff has been around forever.)