Getting There

Improving but slowly. It’ll be eleven weeks tomorrow since the op. Swelling in my hand is less, pain is less, but still very stiff. Things I can now do include showering, hair washing, dressing myself, eating mostly right-handed, even started a bit of crochet (a few minutes at a time, with an ergonomic hook).

(This is an older photo)

But. I lost all the weight I’d regained. I now weight 8st 7/119 lbs/53.9kg. I was 9st 7lbs. So even my skin is too big. Am weighing myself every week (too depressing to do it more often than that) and the doctor is aware. I am to arrange a phone consultation if I lose any more, or don’t put any on, within 3 weeks of when I last spoke to her. That means another week.

I do feel ok though, perkier generally, but more tired than usual.

Yesterday went to the osteopath. Today took the cat for her annual flu jab. She hates the car and howls the whole journey, but is quite happy at the vet, even purring while she’s being examined. And she takes absolutely no notice at all of the injection!

Tomorrow we’re going to the tip (recycling centre). We have to book now because of Covid but that’s ok. No queues! and once we’ve booked it means we have a quick sort out to make sure we are taking everything.

Almost done with the Christmas shopping. A couple of gifts to get, but mostly done otherwise. Parcels arriving almost every day. Thank goodness for internet shopping!

The state of the UK is dire though. And the government will simply not admit it’s because of Brexit. And why is anybody surprised that hardly any HGV drivers have applied to work here? why would they? Brexit made it clear that the right-wingers don’t want “foreigners” here. It’s our own stupid fault. So we have queues at petrol stations, shortages of workers, and we insult the NHS staff by offering them a paltry 3% pay rise. After all that clapping to make sure they know that they’re valued. Harrumph. Just Harrumph. I try to avoid the news because it’s so damn depressing.

However, our garden looks lovely. Despite everything.

Recovering

So. The fridge is working fine, and the fan oven mysteriously just started to work again all by itself. Strange.

However, hubby’s hi-fi is definitely dead. So we’re getting new kit. No small matter, and he’s very excited about it.

Visited a new cattery this morning. The one we used and loved for many years was Compulsorily Purchased (it’s a thing) because of the HS2 railway. Very sad. So she went to a different one which the cat liked – I can tell because she came back happy and not clingy. That one is now closed because, well, Covid. The owners were a bit anti-social, but the staff looking after the animals were just lovely.

So we had to find a new one. It’s excellent, although the satnav let me down badly. It took 35 minutes to travel 9 miles there, and 12 minutes to get home. But now I know. They have a wooden log in each cat-room, standing on end, leaning into the corner. For a scratching post. Genius! I’ve asked where they get them. Our cat has ruined our carpet. But only in certain places.

I slept for most of yesterday, and half of Sunday, but am feeling a little less shaky and knackered today. Found a nice easy crochet pattern for a shawl which will be good to do when I’m fixed. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/one-row-fishnet-shawl

The weather here in the English Midlands is changeable, to say the least! today we’ve had the complete gamut. Rain, wind, sunshine, cold, warm. British weather, I guess. Sigh.

The planning for the decorating of the lounge has moved up a notch. Waiting for a decorator to come along and quote us. Exciting.

And May The 4th (fourth, if your first language is not English!) be with you all 😉

Progress

I am so relieved, and so is everybody I know, about the verdict in the George Floyd case. The thing is, though, it should have been an open and shut case, but because this was a white cop killing a Black man, there was still just the chance it might go the other way. True justice will be when there is no doubt about such things. I guess that for George Floyd’s family there is a kind of closure, but I can’t imagine how I’d feel in their place. Mixed emotions I guess. And cops do not have a good time in prison. I know nobody’s supposed to have a good time in there, but cops – well. Particularly when it’s absolutely crystal clear that a cop is a racist. Hmm. Karma.

I can’t remember who asked, but somebody did, for progress reports on the crochet blanket-to-be. Well, today the osteopath did some gentle work on my poor hand and I was actually able to crochet a (purple) square with hardly any pain. I’m so pleased with myself. So here’s a picture! And there’s enough left on the 50gm ball for one more. Each 50gm ball does two squares. The ones which look pale grey are actually pale lilac.

My friend’s little boy chose a plant for my birthday a few years ago. It’s flowered regularly at this time of year ever since. I have been known to drown these (Christmas Cactus? Shrimp Plant? Schlumbergera?) but this one has survived my ministrations. I sent them a photo so they could coo over it. Oh blimey. You can see all the dust and cat hairs on the mat. Oh well. It’s real anyway.

Windows decided to install, without my express permission, (!) the update it’s been threatening me with for weeks now. I’ve been ignoring the dire warnings, because last time I installed this particular update, I couldn’t print anything until I’d uninstalled it. So I was quite concerned. There was no opportunity to say no, or stop it, so I let it carry on and it took a couple of hours. During which time I crocheted said square.

Then, before I tried printing, I did a full backup, including email and mobile phone contacts, and bookmarks, to two different places, and then a backup to a USB stick of the passwords I’d need should I have to access the network.

I tentatively tried to print, and IT WORKED. Thank goodness for that.

Still downloaded Ubuntu 20 LTS though, and have burned the installation files to yet another USB stick, just in case. You never know.

Modest Goal Achieved

Yes. I actually got up, showered, washed my hair And Got Dressed today. First time since Sunday. Hubby and I both seem to have some sort of virus. Not Covid, but we’re both tired and very floppy. We had been to the recycling centre on Friday. You have to book a slot, and we were both masked and gloved, but it’s the only place I can imagine we caught anything.

Dairy: I have a “Milk Ladder” pictogram, but am seriously thinking of not doing it. For one thing, I feel loads less bloated and have no tummy ache now I’m off all dairy, and have lost 6lbs in weight.

Handicrafts: tried, and failed spectacularly, to convert some skinny jeans to straight jeans. I’d got the inserts ready and everything, but after spending hours and hours and hours struggling, getting fraught, sweaty, and my hands protesting loudly, I gave up. The net result was one pair of jeans with the leg seams undone. Bought a new pair instead. Yeah. Just tried them on and they are FAB so I have ordered two more pairs. My current jeans are old and starting to fall apart, even though (or maybe because) I love them, so need new ones. The pair which has arrived is going in the wash tomorrow.

Not been able to knit or crochet for weeks now. I have a telephone appointment with the doctor tomorrow, so hopefully will end up being referred to the specialist. I also have pins and needles in the fourth and pinky fingers of my right hand, as well as the arthritis, and pain from the bottom knuckle of my thumb down to my wrist. At least three different things going on there. Hmm. Left hand is starting to hurt too. Oh joy.

The weather is cold and it is snowing intermittently, in a desultory way. It’s not sticking, though.

We have seen some seriously good films. The Irishman – an Irish guy who gets involved with The Mafia. Long (three and a half hours) but very involving. The Two Popes – Benedict XVI and Francis – loved it. Particularly loved all the different languages you get to hear (French, Italian, Spanish, Latin) – although my Latin is rusty to say the least! The Popes are played by two British actors (Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce) so it was a joy to hear them say how exhausting it is to speak English – so many rules and so many exceptions! Also Mary Queen of Scots. Very good. Very well done. Not exactly historically accurate, but hey, it’s a film. It’s not meant to be.

Had to go back to bed this morning for another little sleep. Got up, dressed etc, and had some lunch. Now I’m sitting doing this with a cup of tea. May need yet another sleep this pm but decided I would just do what my body suggests and not beat myself up about it.

Time to go and read a bit. I have a magazine which appeared this morning and two different books, one a library book (Henning Mankell – not a Wallander story) and one a book I’ve bought (Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Frasier). Also just finished Disloyal by Michael Cohen. Blimey. That was hard to read. It’s a mea culpa but also brutally honest. He’s a hard man to like but I do appreciate his bravery in writing it. Could only manage to read one chapter at a time, though, because it’s so intense. I’ve also read Rage by Bob Woodward, and two books on Trump by Michael Wolff. Fire and Fury and Siege, I think. Again, intense and difficult.

Technology! pah!

Spent yesterday afternoon after my siesta and most of today failing to erase an old Dell Dimension and install Linux on it. In the end I just erased it. Formatting doesn’t do it properly, it just hides the data, and that’s not what you want when you’re Freecycling an old computer. I did have another go at installing Linux after I’d nuked the hard drive, but no luck.

Still, the people on Freecycle who come and collect old computers are very likely to have a stash of old computer parts including old hard drives, so it’ll all be fine. I certainly have boxes of bits. We have a desktop computer each, a tablet each, one Apple, one Android, two laptops (one running Windows 7 and the other Windows XP), and a variety of wires, plugs, mice (mouses?) and so on.

We’ve booked an appointment to go to the tip (recycling centre is the posh name for it) in a couple of weeks. You are allowed 15 minutes once a week, and must be a resident of the Borough. So if nobody wants this old Dell it’ll end up there.

The desperate houseplant I potted on is much happier now. Managed to get some potting compost delivered, and have bought a storage box thingamajig to store it in. It can live in the shed, but then needs schlepping up and down the garden each time it’s needed. The storage box sits just behind the house and is much more convenient. Hubby had to assemble it though. When I finally manage to get some horticultural grit (of which there seems to be a national dearth) that can live in there too.

The seeds I planted a week ago (M&S “little garden”, kindly given to me), have actually started to grow! Three radishes! They are the reason I needed the potting compost, because the time will come when they need to be potted on. It’s all very clever. The seeds are in a sort of tiny little “mat” thing – about six per mat. Then there’s a pellet of dried compost which expands magically upon addition of 50ml water, and the little pots seem to be made of coir, which I think means the roots will grow through them. So that should mean I don’t need to handle the seedlings at all. I’m not usually very good with seeds/seedlings. They usually just die on me. So I am going to be extra vigilant and see what happens.

I have added better labels – these are cardboard and a bit soggy. When a few more seeds start to show their little heads I’ll post better photos.

Mother’s Day here in the UK was Sunday 14th March. One daughter sent me beautiful flowers, the other fabulous chocolates. I’m so lucky! both are excellent. Flowers still in bloom, some chocolates still to be eaten.

Knitting and crochet are occasional things now, what with the pain in my hands. I need to think about talking to the doctor and getting a referral to a consultant. Hubby has requested a special teacosy to fit his special tea infuser. Just need to discuss with him the detailed requirements. Shouldn’t take too long. It’ll need to be knitted, rather than crocheted, and that takes longer, but it’s only a small item. Just had the discussion. He wants a tube with a closed top, no hole for the handle. Excellent. Probably do it in the round, so no seams. Found some Aran West Yorkshire Spinners yarn which should do the job. Yeah.

I think that’s about it for today. Cheers for stopping by!

Better.

Well, we watched The Interview, of course. Dynamite. Oprah was so good. I was surprised that Meghan didn’t do any research, despite what happened with Harry’s mother. I do get that our “Royals” are not such a big deal abroad, but the sad story of Lady Di I would have though was of global interest. Also surprised that Harry didn’t mention she’d need to curtsey 🙄 to his gran until approximately 2 minutes before she had to! For goodness’ sake. But oh, what a toxic “institution”. The press here are just so racist and spiteful. To wit, the wildly different ways in which Kate and Meghan were portrayed eating avocado toast (Kate praised to the skies for being healthy, Meghan destroyed for causing climate change). To be honest I wasn’t much surprised by most of it, except the press “parties”. Held at the palace! how blatant is that! Poor Meghan and poor Harry (though why he is miffed they stopped paying him is a mystery to me. If you leave a job, they don’t pay you any more!). But the suffering they both went through, without any support, is absolutely appalling. And don’t get me started on Piers Morgan. And I am no royalist. I would much rather we had a republic. Not that I’m a Republican in terms of the USA. Not at all.

I’m feeling better. Since, I’d say, last Sunday really. More energy – though I’ve had to sleep all morning, having tried to stay awake after breakfast and failed. The garden is lovely. The sun is not out today, but was for the last two days, so I went for a ten minute walk on Monday and Tuesday. That might account for the fatigue this morning. Yesterday I defrosted the small freezer, made a delicious chocolate cake (dairy free of course) and repotted a desperate house plant. Oh. Also might account for the fatigue this morning.

The yoghurt maker is going. It’s possible that my niece may have it, she’s pondering at the moment. If she doesn’t, I will Freecycle it.

Have started a crochet blanket in basic granny squares. I have a selection of double knitting cotton yarn in various colours (from Hobbii.de – love their stuff, even though the postage is expensive), so am doing squares, rather than all in one big square, to make it easier and more fun to sort out the colour scheme when it’s done. No rush. A square or two a day is fine. Even though it’s the most basic of crochet techniques, I still can’t watch TV and do it, like I can with some of my knitting. The finished squares (well, not blocked yet) are actually a lovely lilac, but you can’t tell from the photo. I’ve ordered some more yarn, enough to do two more squares and a border, in dark navy. It’ll make a blanket 4 x 5 squares of 6 3/4″ each, so small but useful in the winter evenings. Or even the summer ones, here in the UK.

Loving the Freecycle system. It’s called Freegle where I live. It shut down during lockdown, but started up again yesterday. I had four boxes of books and dvds to give away, which I advertised just before lockdown. The person who wanted them agreed to wait till now, and came last night to take them away! our study looks So Much Tidier. And she brought me several little tiny pots with a sort of dried pellet of compost and some seeds in. Parsley, carrots and peppers. Am going to investigate. Exciting.

Trying

Yes, it has been. I had another go at making yogurt, with oat milk (barista style) and it was a total failure. Down the loo it went.

However, I have done some research. Back in the day I used to make yogurt with evaporated milk. So I checked it out and you can still get it, and it’s much easier to use (no boiling required), and so I’m going to have a go. I won’t be able to have any of course because it’s dairy, but hubby will. We shall see.

The knitting and crochet are going ok as long as I don’t beat myself up for doing it slowly and for a short time. I’m pleased with how it looks (no pics because the crochet is for a present).

The garden is looking absolutely lovely. Daffodils have suddenly appeared without my noticing, snowdrops all over the place, and a few crocus too.

My younger daughter is 37 today. She’s going to tell everybody she’s 36! so not quite sure what will happen when she gets to 40 . . Spoke last night via WhatsApp as she lives in New Zealand. Glowing with health and having a lovely time.

A Bit Worrying

I have been getting unsolicited text messages from Microsoft with a security code. I checked my Microsoft account (all fine), ignored them for a while (maybe a week) and then decided to do something constructive.

Which was changing my password. Oh. My. Days. What a major faff. It should be difficult, I know, otherwise any old body could just hack in, but it has taken me about an hour and a half yesterday evening and another hour this morning to sort it all out. I have two Microsoft email addresses, which complicates things somewhat, an Android tablet and mobile phone. So three devices including my computer.

Jeez. I think it’s all ok now. I think. Fingers crossed.

On the knitting front, I have been struggling with the current project which is a jumper for hubby. Fortunately hubby is a kind and patient soul and isn’t bothered that it is no longer a work in progress. It is still on the needles, but it might end up being frogged (undone) and a different pattern knitted. It is in the Bag of Shame in the craft room.

I am now in the position of not knitting anything, half heartedly crocheting a dishcloth, and wondering what I should knit next. It’s quite relaxing and knitterly to be deciding what to do. There are a couple of possibilities for which I have the yarn, one is a fancy schmancy scarf, and the other is a striped T-shirt. No rush. Or should I think again, browse Ravelry, and (ssh!) buy more yarn? Mm.

what a morning

Well. The printer, once again, decided it hates me. I bought the postage for a birthday card to New Zealand online, and it wouldn’t print it. But before that, I went to weigh the card and the battery in the scales had run out of juice. Changing the battery requires a very particular screwdriver and a very particular sort of battery. Luckily I did have both of those, so changing the battery wasn’t too bad.

However I have spent almost all morning trying to get the blasted printer to work. Apart from removing the printer from the computer, reinstalling, switching everything off and back on again countless times, I’ve rolled back the last Windows update, growled and harrumphed a lot (because that always helps with recalcitrant hardware and software), and eventually the printer spat out eight copies of something else, and one copy of the postage labels. I think that last thing was by accident. But anyway, it means the birthday card can actually be posted.

Success of a sort I guess, but it’s only a truce. I have no idea what caused, or solved, the problem. It could be any or all of the things I tried. We hardly use the wretched thing now but when we need it to work it’s such a damn nuisance when it doesn’t.

Ever since I started working with IT, which is well over 30 years ago now, printers have been the bane of my life. Their peculiar ways have always been a mystery to me. How can the computer say “can’t find printer” when it’s THERE?!

Other than that, a new POTUS has been sworn in, and calm seems to have been restored, along with sensible health and financial measures to help deal with Covid . The lying, bullying, rude, spoilt loser is off to Florida but is threatening to be back somehow or other. Ok. I thought Florida was where people his age go to retire. One can but hope. I would just love to know what his letter to the new POTUS said!

The birds in our garden are going bonkers today. It’s sunny and beautiful, but very cold, so I’m guessing they need their peanuts and seeds. One particular blue-tit is repeatedly picking up a dry leaf, flying across the garden with it, then dropping it. On to the ground. I’m thinking that Mrs Blue-tit is saying “Not dry leaves, you idiot, I said not dry leaves!” We also get flocks of long-tailed tits. They are just so pretty!

The jumper I finished for LCS is on its way back to me for mending. He loves it, and wears it a lot, and apparently he has been seen picking at it. Hey ho. Luckily I kept the bits of yarn left over for just such an eventuality.

Knitting is going slowly, but ok. Received some lovely 4ply cotton craft yarn – might crochet a dishcloth or two. Another day though. Today has been too fraught.

Hubby decided that we don’t need almost 1,000 cds in the lounge, we need the room for books. Which is true, as he prefers his books printed. I prefer mine on Kindle as books are difficult to manage with my stupid hands. However, we don’t actually play the cds, they’re all copied on to the music streamer. We have to keep them, though, it’s illegal to have the music without the original media.

So. After some discussion, I managed to persuade him that shelves on the ends of our desks would look awful, and that they would look much better next to the matching shelves in one of the spare bedrooms. It’s taken a good week or so, partly because getting the shelves and brackets etc isn’t that easy in lock-down, and partly because it’s quite a big job. Anyway, despite the fact that we both prefer to get a job done, we did it between us gradually, and now we have more space for books yet to be bought (sigh), the cds are in the house but not too obtrusive, and the re-organisation is done. Pictures would be a bit boring I think.

Busy, busy.

For me, anyway. Busy for me does not equal busy for other people.

However, I have crocheted three small items (gifts so no details), continued knitting for one of the grandsons, and actually managed to wrap most of the Christmas presents. Normally most of them go into gift bags and are handed to the recipients, but of course this year they all need to be wrapped and posted. We have family and friends in Dublin, Malvern, Brighton, Southampton, France, and New Zealand. The last of these I already posted and has actually arrived.

The crochet was a bit fraught, though. I started on a thing I’ve done before, three times, without any problems. This time I just could not get it right. The edges were all over the place and the stitch count was always wrong. Eventually, after six re-starts and a new pattern, and watching very useful YouTube video tutorials on how to turn and where to poke the hook for the first stitch, I finally got my head round it. Phew. Now I have ordered some more appropriate yarn and will do some more when it arrives.

Also took the plunge and ordered new bras (see what I did there?!) We shall see what transpires.

Have spent a lot of time sleeping lately. Today I did get up but had to go back to bed at 10, and slept till 1 pm. Got up, showered and dressed (always an achievement).

We’ve been watching a three-part series on Berlin in 1945. Old diaries and old films have been skilfully put together. It was difficult to watch, particularly for me, as I have Jewish heritage, but worth it. I felt quite sorry for the people, except for one young woman who worked in an office, when she wrote how dreadful it was for “we Germans” to demean themselves. She was talking about the manual work, collecting and sorting bricks. When I’ve seen the photos of women doing that I’ve always assumed they self-organised. Nope. No. They were organised by Russians, or British, or Americans, and clearly resented that, and doing the manual work. Hmph.

Have also just finished reading “The Good Germans” which was very interesting and surprising. I read “The Good German of Nanking” years ago and was profoundly touched. I also have “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, which tells a very different story about how normalised and widespread anti-Semitism had been for many years before WWII. So it was heartening, and good for me, to read about high-ranking Nazis who were what was referred to as “Beefsteaks” – brown on the outside and “red” on the inside, which means that they were secretly anti-Hitler and did all they could to subvert his policies. For example, one particular senior Nazi was also a Quaker, and managed to arrange for various Jewish people to be sent to Quaker houses in America.

Sometimes I think some of us (certainly I do) live in an echo chamber, so that our own views are reflected back to us and hardly ever challenged. So I do try to understand other points of view when I can.

I even feel a little bit (only a very little bit) sorry for Trump. He is acting, in my view, like a spoiled 74 year old child, refusing to accept he lost. Thank goodness the judges and the courts are upholding the law and ignoring the tantrums.

It feels a bit calmer now and I have hope that a smooth transfer of power can actually take place. Mm.