a wee bit of knitting

This past weekend, for whatever reason, I was on a sock-knitting roll.  I picked up the second sock of my Free Tibet yarn (According to my Ravelry page, I purchased the yarn from Pippi Knee Socks long, long ago.  She was an independent dyer I found on the web, but can find no mention of her now.) and raced through the heel flap and heel turn and am now decreasing gusset stitches.


I must needs redo the toe of the first sock as I was on the road without the instructions and basically made something up.  It is far too pointy.  Now that I have access to More Sensational Knitted SocksI would like to to do a proper job and have both sock toes match since I finished the first one months ago and didn’t take any notes.  The pattern is Crosshatch Lace and is found in the “Six-Stitch Pattern with Even Instep and Heel Flap” section of the book.  As an aside on using both this book and her original Sensational Knitted SocksI stole an amazing idea from Kelley Petkun and took both books to Kinko’s and had them spiral bound.

Since I do most of my sock knitting in the car and in waiting rooms, and because I had to frog back rows of tiny stitches because of a mistake, and/or because I dropped tiny stitches off the ends of size 1 dpns in the car (which may have resulted in an unladylike response), I have decided to return to using two circs on my next pair of socks.  It may not be traditional knitting, but it saves me a lot of grief.  There is also less stabbing with the ten tiny, unpleasantly sharp, pointy ends as the ends are reduced to four, and circs are not rigid and are less likely to attack.

I went on a ridiculous sock yarn buying spree when I retired (damn you, Knit Picks), so I need to pick up the sock-knitting pace or find lacy goodness to knit from an overabundance of skinny yarn.  I purchased kits and got some rather odd color combinations.


(This is one  of the kits, and I bought more than one.)  People have different tastes, but I do believe some of these are going to result in, shall we say, interesting socks.  Four of the six colorways above will definitely be socks because they will live largely under pants and in shoes with only the ankle visible.

I also finished the baby sweater.  I made the three-month size of Bug Warmer  with the long sleeves, and it looks HUGE to my eye — although I admit I have not spent much time in the company of babies in an age.


Still, even with the whining, it IS knitting!

working on downstairs

Until the tearing out of the upstairs bathroom occurs, downstairs is far more involved as it holds the kitchen, a bathroom, and the utility (laundry) room.  I don’t know why, exactly, I grew up calling it a utility room, but I did and still do.  I correct myself immediately when I get puzzled looks, and I have honestly tried to switch, but utility room it remains.

First, we stripped it down to bare walls — except the hot water heater closet, of course.  It got two coats of paint, beginning with Kilz.


Then we added cabinets — only Mr. B miscalculated, Home Depot flubbed the reorder, and thus we still await the lower cabinets.  Because the room is rather narrow, the lower cabinets will be upper cabinets with some sort of counter because Mr. B is clever like that.


There was a kitchen, but it was horrible and, when we removed the ancient stove, we discovered the wiring had begun to melt.  We have found some rather interesting electrical issues.  There was a ceiling fan in the living room which they had installed without an electrical box, simply splicing it directly into existing wires.  When we were replacing outlets upstairs, we discovered it was wired into one of the master bedroom floor outlets because, yeah, it makes sense to play fast and loose with electricity.


One of the units caught fire late last year, and I immediately thought, “Check the wiring for the source.”  The complex is 40 years old, and over the years people have done, well, stupid things.  We found equally sketchy electrical issues when we renovated the offsprings’ unit — among other things, a bathroom fan which vented into the attic as opposed to, say, outside.

We filled in the doorway from the front hall to gain more space and Mr. B built a half wall between the kitchen and dining area.


The dining room is a work area.


And the living room is a holding area for kitchen appliances.


I am crawling over and around things to paint walls and, while I am eternally grateful for the rain, the overcast skies and absence of lighting in the living room ensure a bad job.

At this point, the cabinets are in the kitchen.  Mr. B still has to “mud” the new wall and then we need to tile the kitchen floor.  The backsplash cannot be added until the granite is in, but once that is done, we can move the appliances into place, and the kitchen will be finished!


We have gotten most of the hardware for the closet doors upstairs and, once the baseboards are installed, I can hang curtains, so those two bedrooms will be finished.

The bathrooms are the next big project.



My little boy kitty is coming out of his shell.

I “trapped” him on December 5 and stashed him in Mr. T’s old empty room as instructed by advice garnered from the ‘Net.


He spent a LOT of time in the window looking at his former stomping ground, and I wondered if I had done him wrong.  I would sit with  him for at least an hour a day and he kept his distance, but was curious.


On the 30th he went to the vet to be spayed and was neutered instead.  How was I to know?  It’s not like I got close to those parts!  He would have been deeply offended, and I would probably have needed stitches.  (He has claws like a little Bobcat.)

I kept him in “his” room for another week so he could heal, and on Epiphany I opened the door so that he could explore the rest of the house.  He settled for under our bed.  Widget was not a good hostess — stalking him and pouncing him when possible.  Actual fur flew which was a new experience for me.

He began coming out in the evenings and sitting on our bed — just out of reach.  (Apparently, he can only be petted in the window of “his” room where he was first introduced to the concept and we discovered he has a WONDERFUL purr.)


He has learned to play and his favorite game after Chase Me, Pet Me is Bite Bite Kick Kick and everything is up for grabs.


This past week, he has forsaken under the bed and considers the house his.  Widget also considers the house hers.  They seem to be taking it in turns to be the aggressor.  She makes him miserable when the mood strikes.  Yesterday, he was actively pouncing her, which left her a nervous wreck.  Today, I put his food out in the kitchen with hers.  They need to work this out.

Last night he was snugged up next to me on the bed.  I am still not allowed to touch him outside The Petting Place while he can lie on me, walk across me, stand on me, sleep next to me, and launch himself off me during Kitty Crazies.  (I have touched him outside The Petting Place, and I have the scratches to prove it!)


This morning I opened the back door because the birds were so loud I just had to check, and Widget dashed outside.  Fortunately, it is still wet outside from the last rain — and she doesn’t like cold — so she did not go far, and I was able to nab her.  I had left the door open, and when I turned around, Aengys was standing well back sniffing the air.

He showed absolutely no inclination to go outside, so maybe I didn’t do him wrong after all.


There are two bedrooms and a bath upstairs at the condo.  The closets are floor-to-ceiling with doors to match.


Mr. B and I agree that this is not the proper way of closets.  (The spare door is for the bathroom.)

First order of business was to create some walls where none were before in both bedrooms.  We also decided to eliminate the door from the main bedroom into the bathroom as the room was configured as one blank wall, one wall with a window, one wall with two doorways (the hall and the bathroom), and one wall that is all closet.  If you walk out the door to the hall and turn right, you are in the bathroom.  It is just us and we thought we could manage that lengthy walk for the sake of someplace to put our dresser.


This is the beginning of the new closet space in the spare room.


And finished.


There will be a barn door eventually.

The wall that was the bathroom door.


And finished.


You can see the new closet off to the right.  It will also have barn doors.  The item of furniture is the new vanity for the bathroom on the other side of the wall.

The old vanity has been torn out, but there is still a toilet and shower that need to leave.  However, Mr. B is currently awash in kitchen cabinets, so the bathrooms will wait until February.  Once we add baseboards and closet doors, the upstairs bedrooms are finished.

Now I need to figure out how to get to the tops of the walls in the stairwell.  How to manage a space with multiple levels is going to be a challenge, and bungee cords are out.


The stairwell is a shade darker than the bedrooms and the hallway.  The color ABOVE the lamp is correct.  (We bought an “Edison” lightbulb, which is fun but it casts an odd light.)

Mr. T’s cat adores their Edison light.



40+ years

I moved to Fresno in 1973 to attend California State University, Fresno.  I lived near the college and rode my bike to class.  In between that move and my graduation from University of San Francisco in 1985, I got married, buried my mother and my brother, worked a variety of jobs, lived in different locations around the city, and had my first child.

I also looked across the vast emptiness north of the Fresno State campus to where St. Agnes Medical Center was rising on Herndon Avenue and wondered why they were building the thing at the edge of the earth.  Today, virtually all of my business in Fresno takes place NORTH of St. Agnes in a densely populated area of the city and you can’t see the hospital from the campus because of the trees and buildings.

I got my teaching credential, had a second child, built a 2400 square foot home (with my own hands) on 3.3 acres, added a Master’s of Library and Information Science, and retired.  I also accumulated a lot of STUFF.

Now we are preparing to move back to Fresno — ironically, within a mile of my first college apartment.  We are renovating a 1500 square foot condo, which is slogging hard work at our ages (and when I am recovering from a bout of pneumonia), but the BIG deal will be going through 40+ years of STUFF.

There is STUFF in the garage, STUFF in the attic, STUFF in the storage building, and STUFF in the house.  I am ready to be rid of STUFF.  However, just looking at the STUFF leaves me exhausted and depressed.  The kids have (mainly) cleaned out their old rooms, and I have started hauling things off to charity, putting them out for reycycling, or just thrown them away.  I have not even made a dent.  I opened the garage door the other day, thought, “Yep.  It’s all still here,” and closed the door.

I can probably tackle much of the attic on my own, but the garage requires Mr. B, and he is still working weekdays and doing the heavy lifting on the condo on weekends.  We also have to hit the garage at the “right” time, which is BEFORE the 100+ temperatures, but after the winter chill; so we are basically aiming for the 2.5 weeks of Spring allotted to Central California.

I think I will start on the kitchen tomorrow which will include a deep clean as several years of Depression/Anxiety/Drug-Induced Stupor have left things in rather bad shape.

I will have to get used to the noise and lights of Fresno again.  It is not actually quiet out here — there are always dogs barking or mysterious human noises, but it IS dark, and I certainly don’t have anyone right next to me, much less share walls with them.  I will not miss the minimum 20-minute drive to even see the buildings of Fresno, much less reach my destination.  I will, oddly, miss the frogs.

When it rains, which has not happened a lot until recently, the pond fills up and the frogs magically appear.  HUNDREDS of frogs — or so I assume from the volume of sound.  I only occasionally SEE a frog.


I have a recording of the sheer din that is many frogs hoping to get lucky, but I’m damned if I can get it to upload!  It actually makes me laugh.

Aengys has discovered that beds are soft (although after scruffing him, tossing him in the carrier, and taking him to get shots on Friday, I am in SO much trouble).


really wish Widget would get over herself and cut him some slack.  He is learning to play!  He was diligently attacking his evil nemesis the vacuum cord last night.

Knitting!  I am working on a wee sweater for a former student’s soon-to-be offspring.


The number of times I had to frog this to make sure I remembered to keep the band in garter stitch and the increases for the sleeves even is truly embarrassing.



Although I feel as if nothing has been accomplished (which I blame on the Resident Depression/Anxiety), there has been a lot going on.

Miss B and I went away to San Jose for an absolutely delightful evening of Messrs. Cleese and Idle.


The woman sitting immediately to my left never laughed once — did not even crack a smile — for the entirety of the evening.  It is none of my business, of course, but I found it perplexing in the extreme (and even a bit distracting).

They spent the evening reminiscing on their (mainly) professional lives, which have been, shall we say, notable, and I, unlike the aforementioned woman, laughed and laughed and laughed.

We generally stop at Casa de Fruta when we cross Pacheco Pass as they have bathrooms.  I was more than a bit surprised when pulling into the parking lot was made difficult by — not the enormous amount of traffic, which is the norm for the place — this:


I am the first to admit that I can be extraordinarily pedantic about, well, everything; but, what the hell???  Do people honestly think every single Native American lived like this???   Apparently, the Native Americans of the Great Plains traveled all the way to Casa de Fruta (which says it is in Hollister which it is not) to sell pumpkins just in time for Halloween.

For some reason, this offends the hell out of me.

In November, Miss B and I were off again to San Francisco to see Dylan Moran.  Miss B introduced me to the hysteria that is Mr. Moran’s humor and, since she had taken me to see Cleese and Idle, I returned the favor by taking her to see Moran.  Miss B found friends at the Regency Ballroom to talk to during Intermission whilst I looked about at the — I’m sorry to say — hygienically challenged trendy young people.  I have had no sense of smell since chemotheraphy.  I am frequently grateful for this fact.

Last June I spotted a cat outside looking rather the worse for the wear so I put some food out.  On 4th July we discovered to our surprise that she had moved her kittens to be close to the steady food supply.  Time passed and gradually everyone moved on, save one very sweet, very timid kitty.  I continued to put food out and Outside Kitty would play with The Widget through the sliding glass door and patiently await my arrival with food each morning.

Finally, in December, I decided to trap Outside Kitty before she could go into heat.  I also decided that, since I had made Outside Kitty dependent on me for food and, once we move into Fresno, said food supply would cease, she was going to stay inside.  The actual trapping traumatized all three of us, Outside Kitty, Widget, and me, but into the house she came.

Three weeks later, when I took Outside Kitty ( whom I had named Catniss) to be spayed, I learned that HE would be neutered instead.  He is still very sweet, very timid, and quite skittish — probably because The Widget has been less than welcoming, but he is now Aengys (Mr. B  calls him His Catness, Aengys Earl Grey and they ADORE each other) and he is here to stay.


Things between the two of them have been better the last couple of days.  Last night he even jumped up on the bed to sit with me.

I was seriously tickled.