I just spent two hours dealing with a hacked Visa card. I have nine monthly payments of one kind or another that are automatically charged to that card. That was nine phone trees to navigate to change to a different card.
Plus, the card I wanted to change to was a Target Visa card. But if one doesn't use her Target Visa card on a regular basis, which I do not, The Powers That Be automatically drop the credit limit to $500. This is not enough -- I use my credit card for everything. (I found out about this $500 limit when we were on vacation last summer and I thought I had lost my wallet; I switched to the Target card and had it declined after about 3 purchases. Grrr.)
So I called Target customer service to have the credit line upped. Apparently their customer service reps are in some other country (not India, judging by the accents) and do not have the authority nor any way to adjust credit limits. That can only be done by Real Americans Who Work For Target In The USofA. And it is not done by customer request, only when the card reaches a certain level of activity. Then the RAWWFTITUSofA look at the account, decide what an appropriate line of credit it, change it, and send me a letter. By snail mail.
I told the rep very politely that that was not nearly fast enough to be acceptable. I know by last summer's experience that I would be resorting to still another card, possibly within days. She apologized but was adamant.
So I told her politely that Target cardservices had just lost a lot of business.
And switched everything to a delightful new Discover card I got a few weeks ago.
* I used to have a little Windoze widget called The Cleaner that would clean the << and extra carriage returns from emails I wanted to quote.
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I have four project OTN right now. Guess what I did yesterday?
Cast on a baby hat for here. Hats are the comfort knitting of comfort knitting.
Case in point:
I am currently listening to book 3, Blameless, in the Parasol Protectorate series. Light, frothy, amusing paranormal suspense/romance set in Victoria England. Perfect fare when life is a little... heavy.
There is a character in these books called Lord Akildama. (Since I am listening to the audiobook, that spelling is my guess and may bear no resemblance to its actual spelling in the book.) In books 1 and 2, Soulless and Changeless, this is pronounced Lord Ah-kill-DAH-mah. But in book 3 -- same narrator, mind you -- it becomes Lord Ah-KEEL-dah-mah. Annoying, but oh, well.
Imagine my astonishment when suddenly in the middle of book 3 the name become Lord Ah-kill-DAH-mah once more. WTF? How will it be pronounced in book 4, Lord Ab-ber-CROHM-bee?
And that is what has set my teeth on edge today. I knew y'all wanted to know.
Last week I remembered that, while I knit for charity and I knit for loved ones and I knit to create garments for myself, I knit primarily because I like knitting. Knitting is, or should be, fun. The things currently OTN were not fun. What I really felt like knitting was... socks.
So I cast on a pair of socks.
According to the photo metadata, I bought this sock yarn in June 2010 and, going by the other photos surrounding it on my hard drive, I bought it in Kalispell MT.
Yep, time to knit those puppies.
A couple weeks ago a package arrived in the mail. This was when Smokey was sick with the wound infection that we didn't know about. The package and all the rest of the mail sat in the mailbox at the end of the driveway for several days before Elder Son and I picked it up. I was very surprised to find a package for myself; hadn't done any online shopping in weeks. What could it be?
(Camnesia struck. I have no photos of the package nor of its contents.)
It was a sock kit from Kym, who had surmised from my bulleted blog posts that I was under a bit of stress and needed some love. What a sweetheart! Yarn Hollow merino/bamboo/silk sock yarn and a pattern that I had admired on her blog.
I pondered that yarn for the better part of a week until I figured out a plan. The pattern was written top down using a US#2 needle; I prefer to knit socks toe up, foot on a US#0 and leg on a US#1 or 1-1/2. While we were on the North Shore I figured it out (mostly) and cast on.
Something I have never had before: two different socks OTN.
Both have progressed past turning the heel since I started the post. And both socks are, in a word, delightful.
I needed to wind the hank of Yarn Hollow yarn into two equal cakes before I started the socks, but I had no ball winder, swift, nor scale with me in the mini-mini-motorhome.
LYS to the rescue!
This yarn store was just a few miles up the Shore in Tofte. I had been there before and liked it (photo is from 2010). So I popped in, picked out some souvenir yarn to salve my conscience and earn some brownie points from the clerk, and asked if I could wind some other yarn. The store owner stopped in while I was busy and admired my yarn. Both she and the clerk are very nice people.
At left, some Lambs Pride superwash wool worsted to replace the mortar and pestle holders I made last year and which subsequently disappeared. At right, two skeins of Frog Tree Pediboo to make a pair of fancy stranded socks (photo below kinneared with my iPod). I also got a pattern for a baby set because the sample on display were so cute.
As I was driving home from the North Shore I started counting in my head how much sock yarn I had at home. Not all my fingering weight yarn, mind you, just the yarn specifically destined for socks. I quit when I had counted eighteen (18!) pairs of potential socks at home in the stash. In other words, I really, really, really needed those two skeins of Pediboo ;-)
Step 1. Find two sturdy trees at least ten feet apart but no farther than twenty.
Step 2. Suspend the rain fly between the selected trees. Put it as high as you can reach.
Step 3. Retrieve the hammock from your stuff sacks.
Step 4. Notice that a fellow camper is recording this for posterity. Untether the front side of the rain fly and flip it out of the way in order to reveal to the blogging world the awesomeness that is your bedsite.
Step 5. Attach the hammock support straps to the trees. (Please notice that the rain fly, which has little tension on it, is tied up with thin rope. The hammock, which will have considerable tension, is suspended from much wider straps so as not to damage the support trees.)
Step 6 - 12. Adjust the straps.
Step 13. When the hammock is suspended just right, unfurl it from its nylon sheath.
Step 14. Announce to the audience that the bedsite is now ready.
Step 15. Unzip the access opening in the hammock and demonstrate how to get into it.
Step 15a. Remember to remove your shoes.
Step 16. Carefully insert body into hammock.
Step 17. Admire your completed bedsite.
What you may not have been able to tell from the previous series of photographs is that the young woman was doing her handstand right where that gull is perched in the last photo. I suspected she was a bit of a gymnist when she was standing on the railing, feet tight together, not wavering nor adjusting, just perfectly in balance as she stood there chatting with her friends.
One night during Smokey's second stint in the hospital, two volunteers came 'round the unit. Both women were on the shady side of sixty-five, and one proudly announced that she was eighty-six. Their energy and enthusiasm and dedication to brightening the days (nights?) of the patients was remarkable, as was the fact that they were both wearing clown costumes. No red noses, though; I asked about that.
Their mission was to offer a pen and small notebook to each patient. Smokey had been wishing for some paper and a pencil earlier that day, so he was mighty pleased with their gift. Their kindness was inspiring to him.
"Compliments Military Order of the Cootie Grand of MN"
If all goes well, we are enjoying the sound of Lake Superior right now. More likely, we are still running around the house and garage(s) frantically trying to pull together everything to make our vacation enjoyable. But in either case, here are a few links for you to peruse.
Why is [insert state] so...? Google autocomplete shows our stereotypes about states.
Which profession drinks the most coffee?
Beware the Argentine ant.
An episode of Radiolab I will never forget: the open pit copper mine in Butte, Montana and the surprising findings about snow geese.
A few words from one of those people Paul Ryan thinks don't suffer enough.
Smokey the Bear update: He is on the mend. Yesterday he decided we should go out for dinner at a nearby ribs joint. He soldiered through getting dressed, going down the stairs, into the van, into the restaurant, back to the van, up the stairs, and back into bed. Guess what? He slept really really well last night :-) And today feels even better. Still spends a good part of the day in bed, though, partially because Oxycodone every four hours and Valium every six tends to make him extremely sleepy.
The next challenge is whether we will be able to get organized enough to go on vacation in two days. Stay tuned...
Photo is Ser Percival The Energetic, Younger Son's and BFE's dog, *making friends* with the cat in the window.
Best of the internet responds to Curiosity's landing on Mars: http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/the-internet-responds-to-the-mars-rover-landing
Update on YS's condition: he was sore all weekend but went to work on Monday, planning to take it easy that day -- no running up and down stairs or moving electronic equipment from one studio to another. But by the end of the day, walking was becoming increasingly painful. He went to emergency room at Hennepin County Medical Center where, after the normal wait of six-plus hours (he was not having a heart attack or in danger of bleeding out, after all), he was seen, x-rayed, assured that he had not fractured anything, and sent home with Percoset. Elder Son and I had been visiting Smokey at the VA hospital that afternoon, so we brought YS some dinner and hung out with him for a couple hours in the ER waiting room before driving back to Wisconsin.
YS called this morning to update me on the ER visit. He went to work this morning but soon found that the Percocet-induced nausea (he is his father's son, after all) was not gonna go away so he went back home.
Update on Smokey: he called this morning to say he thought he would be released today. I am still waiting for his confirmation and the order to Please come get me please as soon as possible get me out of here I want to come home.
Update on the update: Smokey just called again. The Powers That Be have said, Maybe tomorrow.
Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts and sharing your knowledge. I am so, so grateful to still have a husband and both sons.
Not that they are that interesting to anyone else but they are fun to do.
Oh, happy day! A cool front moved in last night and the temp is in the low 70s with a delightful breeze. I might even knit on the deck for a bit today. In between washing bedding and attempting to clear clutter from the bedroom/recovery room.
That photo up there? No relation to the rest of the post -- Lucy and Misha in a rare bonding moment. Mostly Lucy is annoyed at this bouncy young dog that wants to play. But every post deserves an image, and I have resolved not to steal others's images via Google, so this is what you get.
I need to clear up any possible misconceptions about Smokey's infection and the VA hospital. The VA docs and nurses and other staff and the care they gave him were in no way responsible for the infection. Smokey has for several years taken an immunosuppressant drug for his rheumatoid arthritis. He had to stop taking it for four weeks before the surgery and was not supposed to restart until at least two weeks afterward. One week post op he was having so much joint pain from the RA that he decided to take the drug. A few days later... infection. And so it goes.