Thursday, January 28, 2021

16,222 Projects; 16,191 WIPs

When I go to Ravelry, like most, it is usually to scout out some free patterns.  I don't explore outside the Pattern tab very much.  Today was an exception.  I noticed Friends on the drop down menu.  No surprise, I don't have any friends.  If I had a friend on Ravelry, that person might be tempted to report me to be kicked off Ravelry.  My world view is probably not the sort that the Ravelry admins would like.  

On the line menu at the top of the Friends page there was Neighbors.  What could that be?  Geographical neighbors?  It turns out that my Ravelry neighbors are people who have posted projects using the same patterns I used in my posted projects.  

My first 'neighbor' had four project patterns in common with me.  However, the shocking part was that this person has 16,222 projects, of which only 31 had been completed.  That leaves 16,191 Works in Progress.  Let that sink in.  

I feel guilty if I have six WIPs.  Each WIP is in a separate project bag and I've only got so many project bags.  If my 'neighbor' had 16,191 project bags, maybe someone on Etsy might be getting rich. 

I'm hoping most of the 16,191 WIPs are items that would more properly belong in the Queue menu item.  That's where all my aspirational patterns are listed.  I currently have two items in my queue.  Even having 16,191 items in a queue would seem to display a lack of sorting and prioritization.  

Maybe Discovery will come up with a show called My 16K WIPs Life.  Sounds kind of kinky when it's put that way.

 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Living on Covid Time

Last year I made a Shiri wrap and gave it to my daughter for Christmas.  I noticed my mother-in-law having an eye for it and she kept running her hands over it.  So I made another one, almost identical that I plan to give her for Mother's Day.  I got it off the needles Friday.  It took 4 Covid weeks (that means working on it about 10 hours a day because what else have I got to do) to make it.


I blocked it on the kitchen table Saturday.  We had to eat our meals at the kitchen counter for a little while.


I took these pictures this morning.


It is 70% alpaca, 20% silk and 10% cashmere.  Too bad you can't touch it because it is a wonderful experience.  


For those who want the particulars, the pattern can be found at Ravelry.com.  It is called Shiri by Ambah O'Bien.  The yarn is Winter Light Lace from LuckyVioletColorCo.com.  

The yarn was a Christmas present from my son in 2018. When he asked me what I wanted for Christmas I gave him the URL for a page on the Lucky Violet Color Co. web site. The only instruction I gave him was 'no pink.' I did not tell him what yarn base to select.

The Lucky Violet Color Co. has a lot of yarn bases and they dye the yarn to order. My son apparently studied this situation and decided that the best option was to get the most yardage per skein. I think this reasoning process may be an anecdotal example of the difference between the way a non-knitter (especially a guy non-knitter) and a knitter look at this sort of thing. So he picks the Winter Light Lace that is nearly cobweb weight (1300 yards per 100 gram skein). And gets me six skeins, two each of three different blue shades.
I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with this very light weight yarn. I was a little intimidated. What was I going to do with 4-1/2 miles of light lace weight yarn? I do a lot with fingering weight yarn but I don't venture into the lace weight very often at all. On the bright side, the fiber in this yarn is wonderfully light and soft; he made a great choice in that respect. When I found the Shiri wrap pattern I saw a way out of the predicament. I was able to use two strands together to achieve an ordinary lace weight.
The pattern is not too difficult; a little simple lace alternating with bands of garter stitch. The construction calls for making two identical large triangles.  Then the triangles are joined together with a three-needle bind-off. The only challenge is the I-cord border around the whole thing; not because the I-cord is difficult, but because it is a l-o-n-g way around the wrap, like about 1200 stitches.  The I-cord method requires working three stitches to bind off one stitch so 3600 stitches to finish the cord edging.
The only problem is that I still have enough yarn to make another one, even after the one I made earlier for my daughter. If I ever send my son to a yarn web site, I'll do a better job with the instructions. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Pandemic Memories

The Covid-19 virus (aka Wuhan virus; aka Chinese virus; aka Corona virus; aka CCP virus) pandemic is my fourth pandemic.

1.  Asian flu pandemic 1957.  Well, I was a toddler so I don't recall so much.  Apparently that year measles were a greater threat to me.  Measles hospitalized me; I was packed in ice to reduce my temperature.

2.  Hong Kong flu pandemic 1967-1968.  I remember this one well; I was a teenager.  We were on vacation at Carlsbad Caverns.  In a crowded cafeteria we shared a table with a woman from the West Coast who was sniffling and snuffling.  After we got home we all came down with the flu.  It was bad.  My Dad took it the worst.  He was a three-pack-a-day smoker and he ended up in the hospital with double pneumonia.  It damn near killed him.  No ventilators then, just an oxygen tent.   In the USA 100,000 death were attributed to the Hong Kong flu.   There were a million deaths world wide.  If they quarantined anyone I never heard of it.  Businesses did not close.  Life went on.  I don't remember any crisis mentality. 

3.  Swine flu pandemic 2009-2010.  I don't recall this Swine flu pandemic nearly as well as I remember the 1976 Swine flu outbreak.  I think the press kept the reporting low-key. 

4.  CCP virus pandemic.  Of all the many names for the current pandemic I like CCP pandemic best of all:  Chinese Communist Party pandemic.  I found that names in the Epoch Times.  Because I am retired my life in the 'lock down' is not much different than before.  Just glad I live in a rural area where I can go outside and walk around all I want.  The biggest differential I have noticed between this pandemic and the earlier pandemics is the damn, awful 24/7 news coverage.  So much jabbering from people who have a lot of opinions and not enough facts or good sense.  Unfortunately my husband insists on watching one of the business news channels all day long.  I expect people discussing business to be rational.  Instead there is way too much hair-on-fire disinformation. 

Since everyone else is jabbering, here's my bit:  I think the lock down has reached the point where the Law of Unintended Consequences is taking over.  Those Consequences will soon be more harmful than anything the lock down is intended to prevent.  The effects on mental health and the economy are becoming a greater risk to our well being than the virus.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Google User Interfaces Now In Human Trials

A little over a week ago my laptop computer experienced a disk crash.  After a prolonged scan and repair, most of my apps and data were still available.  The Start feature did not work and the Search feature in the Task Bar did not work.  A couple icons on the Task Bar did not work, returning a "Class not registered" error message.

I ordered a new laptop.  While I waited for the new one to arrive, I got along with some work-arounds.  Ctrl-Alt-Del got a workout.  To open applications I had to use Task Manager\File\Run New Task.  That works well if you can remember the application name that the System expects.  There was one application, a scanner manager, that I never did figure out, even after a long search of the registry. 

Wednesday the new laptop arrived.  I was pretty good to myself:  1Tb Solid State Drive and 1Tb conventional hard drive.  Plenty of memory.  The graphics card is not the very best, maybe in the tier just below because I don't want the kids coveting this laptop for gaming.

I made a mistake during the set up which resulted in my C:\Users account name being different than what it had been on the old machine.  Fixing that in the registry took a lot of time because that file path appears in many registry entries.  I wish I could have found an easier way to change that.  I can't be the first person to have that problem.

I have spent two days migrating into the new machine.  I used an external hard drive to move files.  I audited the files to ensure the same number of files were on both the old and new machines and in all the same places.  Setting up email was not too difficult.  I checked and double checked all my connection settings.

Most everything went well until this afternoon when I tried to get into my Google Adsense account.  The Google Login security raked me over the coals.  Being on a new machine probably raised some flags.  It doesn't help that I have two Google accounts; that part of the problem is my fault.  I ended up in a loop that started with Google Security wanting to verify my account by re-entering my password.  I submitted  the password; it gave no indication that there was a problem with the password.  It looped me back to the screen where Google Security wanted to verify my account again.  And the loop just kept repeating.  So I selected the "Forgot Password" option to try to get out of this loop.  After I changed the password, it put me through the same verification loop as before. 

I futzed around with Google Security for over an hour.  If Google Security ever steers you toward an option to use your phone with a screen lock to sign into your account, please, please please don't do it.  It just put me into a similar loop and when I found the setting to turn that feature off, Google had warning messages designed to add fear to my loathing.  I was so frustrated with all the rigmarole Google was marching me through.  Has the testing of Google's Security user interfaces reached the level of human trials?  Was I in the human trials?  Was someone at Google getting paid to torture me, take notes and laughing about it?  I was in such an internal storm that I don't even know what I did to finally get into Adsense. 

This was not my first Google goat rodeo; probably won't be my last.  I need some wine.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

We've Already Postponed Thanksgiving, Can't We Now Just Cancel It?

In preface, this is not a complaint or indictment of Thanksgiving.  The Thanksgiving holiday is a fine thing.  It's just that mine went all wrong this year.

First, we postponed our observation of Thanksgiving from the usual Thursday to the following Sunday.  This was done so we could have a little vacation in New Orleans.  It also allowed our kids to take the holiday with the in-laws and the out-laws.

On the Friday before Thanksgiving, the first day of the drive down to New Orleans, I had a bit of a scratchy throat.  By the next morning it was a full fledged chest and head cold. 

On Sunday Ron wanted to go to the WWII museum.  I wanted him to go by himself and let me stay in bed.  But he protested that we were on vacation to do things together.   Pardon me for saying this but if he actually wanted to do things together he would learn how to knit.  I got up and went to the museum.  Fortunately, they had wheel chairs available so Ron pushed me all over the place.  It's a good museum.  You need a full day at least to cover all of it.  It's not designed for little kids; I'd say it's best for a 9-10 year old and up.   I just wish I had been there on a day when I felt like being alive.

The following day we went to the Audubon Insect Museum and the Audubon Aquarium.  Both of these are designed to entertain the smaller children.  The Insect Museum has a butterfly garden where you can walk among some exotic butterflies. 

I never felt well enough to go out in the evening.  Each evening Ron went out and got some rice and beans for me.  Good thing I love rice and beans.

On the last full day in New Orleans, Ron said he was getting my cold.  We went to the riverfront and took a little cruise on the Natchez. 

We drove home on Wednesday, a 12+ hour forced march.  The next morning Ron was very ill.  He asked me where I got this Black Death of cold.  I must of got it somewhere at home or work because I had symptoms well before I got to New Orleans.  Today, Saturday, Ron is going to Prompt Care because he has a severe ear ache and is bleeding from his ear. 

Fortunately he didn't argue about calling off or further postponing Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Denial

Dad once said that he would not want to live his life over because it had been too hard.  There is one part of my life that I wish I could live over:  the last six months of my mother’s life.

My Mom started to die the day Clinton won the election in 1992.  Dad was pissed off about Clinton winning and he apparently took it out on Mom. The stress resulted in her having a gall bladder attack.  The operation for the gall bladder damn near killed her.

It should have been a routine procedure.  A doctor who had done it many times before should have performed it.  Instead, she went to the family doctor.  The family doctor had just completed a training course in using a laser scope method to remove the gall bladder.  It sounded good.  Three little incisions and Mom would be out of the hospital in two days.

It appeared to work but a week after the operation Mom was in intensive care.  The family doctor accidentally nicked the bile duct during the operation.  Bile fluid leaked into Mom’s abdominal cavity.  It literally started digesting her from the inside out.   Her liver, intestine and pancreas had all suffered damage.  There was a major operation to correct the problems from the first operation.  Mom stayed in ICU for a week.

Even when she came home, she had a drain still in place, hanging out of her side.  A home-care nurse visited her to attend to the drain.  It was a year before Mom got back to normal.  But it was never really normal.  She lost something.  There were the things she did before the operation and then there was a different set of things she did a year later.     

Before the operation Mom and Dad went on bus tours with other senior citizens.  After the operation Mom had little energy for trips.  Before the operation my mother had a slightly stooped posture.  Years of bending herself over a sewing machine accounted for her stoop.  But after the operation, the stoop was a clear dowagers hump.  Raising her hands over her head was painful and finally not possible.

Mom and Dad saw a lawyer about suing the family doctor.  Mom was not cut out for her role in a lawsuit.  She did not have the spirit of the thing.  All she wanted to sue for was the cost of the second operation.  She thought that Medicare ought to be paid back for the $30,000 cost of the second operation.  She wasn’t interested in any other damages.    The lawyer firm turned her away.  She did not seek a second opinion.  It’s just as well.  Mom would have made a lousy witness.  She would have apologized for getting sick in the first place.  After all, the doctor would have never screwed up the operation if she had not been there.  Perhaps the lawyers sensed that about her character. I bet the lawyers thought she was nuts. 

After Mom died Dad often spoke about how many things he didn’t know about her.  “I never even knew who she voted for.”  Huh?  Who cares whom she voted for?  What has that got to do with knowing her?

It makes sense now.  In 1992, the day after Clinton won, Dad probably wanted to know whom she voted for.  Perhaps he imagined that she voted for Clinton.  He gave himself permission to treat her like dirt.  Dad was not a beater; he was a verbal abuser.  I expect he said some awful things to her.
The stress had stirred up the gall bladder attack.  It was 9 more years before she died.

I never had a good talk with Mom.  She did not invite conversation.  She was about work.  There was always sewing, quilting and mending; but only if all the sweeping, scrubbing and vacuuming was done.  Her home was humble, orderly and clean.  I must have been a frightful disappointment to her.
I never learned how to sew very well; I was never orderly and I approach clean as a relative thing.  She must have wondered whom she pissed off to end up with a daughter like me.

And so we continued for 47 years conversing in only the most functional manner.  If I had been interested in quilting and sewing we might have been close.  I did like to knit but unfortunately I am a process knitter.  I only care about the mathematics of knitting.  I don’t care if I end up with something useful.  This did not make sense to Mom.  Every time she saw me ripping out something I had just knitted, she would look sort of sad and perplexed.

Before Mom’s gall bladder operation, she could work me into the ground.
When she came to visit me, we never sat down to have a conversation.
The minute she got in the door, she started looking for something to clean.
At my house you didn’t have to look hard to find something that needs cleaning and straightening.  And so Mom would attack it.  She always had a place for me in her vision of what needed to be done.  She never ordered me to participate in her projects at my house, but how could I sit while she slaved?.  She wore me out.  The moment she left, I headed straight to bed.  My husband said we should have her visit more often; he liked the results.  My kids undid her good works in a few hours.  After the operation she still tried to work, but there were many things she could not do.  She could fold laundry almost to the end.

The summer before she died Mom and Dad had  problems with their central air conditioner.  The central air system was not well engineered.  The part that broke was up in the attic crawl space.
To fix it required going into the crawl space that was over 120ยบ F.  No workman wanted any part of it.  The air conditioning still cooled the bedrooms, but the kitchen and living room were too warm to stay in for long.  Mom had been very frail for the last year.  She had a couple ‘episodes’ of fainting.
The air conditioner problem confined her to the bedroom.  Dad put up a card table in the bedroom for Mom to eat at.  Dad put a portable commode next to the bed.  Mom was marooned.  Her back was in pain much of the time.

Dad started talking about putting Mom in a nursing home.  He didn’t know how to deal with her when she had an episode.  Her condition scared him.  I didn’t understand why he wanted to put her in a home.  What I didn’t realize until later was that Mom was putting on a good show when I was there.  Dad had to deal with a truth I never saw.

In late August Mom went into the nursing home.  I still believed that the air conditioner problem had just stressed her out.  She would get some rest and be home soon.  After she had been there for a few weeks, I remember visiting her on a Saturday morning.  When I walked in the room she said, “I can’t walk anymore”

“What do you mean?”

“I can’t control my legs anymore.  They won’t go were I put them.  They want to cross over each other.”

I had trouble taking it all in.

Denial.

My mother never exposed her emotions.  I never saw my mother cry.  Now, even her subdued presentation showed how dismal she felt.  Then Dad came in the room.  He told me how Mom’s legs had collapsed from under her a few days earlier when he was helping her to walk to the bathroom.
It had taken several attendants to get her off the bathroom floor.

She would never walk again.

There were subtle things going on during those early weeks in the nursing home; things I did not grasp or understand until much later.  I missed a great and important opportunity.  In the next few months Mom lost the ability to communicate.  First she couldn’t make sentences; then she couldn’t make words.  But that day when she told me she could not walk, I missed the opportunity to talk to her.  There she was finally unable to work.  For the next month she was still able to talk.   But I wasn’t there for her.  I came on weekends only.  I didn’t stay long enough.

I failed her.