The World’s Shortest Blog Post

Well, okay, maybe not the shortest, but I’m just going to get this off my chest fast and go to bed.

I realized part of why I procrastinate on posting here. I keep having great ideas for posts and then backing off, because if I use that great idea now, what will I write about later?

Then I forget that great idea before the next time I have time to sit down and write.

So, this is a message to my future self, for Friday after work: Write about that epiphany you had during that sleepless night on Wednesday/Thursday. You won’t regret it.

Weighted Blanket, Take 2!

I know. I just started the first attempt last night. I had today off, and so I got a few rows finished and, “Ow!”

That’s the sound of my hands cramping up from trying to work three strands of yarn on that loom.

So, for my second attempt, I’m going to try using one strand of yarn but adding weight with glass beads. I bought a pound of assorted glass beads at a craft store. Since the beads are assorted, I decided to try pure cotton yarn in beige. I thought that the beige yarn may be unattractive, but at least it won’t clash with the beads.

I haven’t started knitting yet. My plan is to figure out how many beads I need by using about half of them on the first skein. Then we’ll cast onto my largest circular needles and work a few rows that way. Then if it works, I’ll keep going. If it doesn’t work, I’ll drop back five and we’ll try something else.

I’m hoping to work a kind of long day tomorrow, so I may not get much knitting done. I may not even finish up putting the beads on the yarn tomorrow.

I should have some kind of update ready by the weekend, though.

Gratuitous Amazon Link? I’m glad you asked. I’m still back in 2017, hip-deep in the Discworld. We’re going to skip a book because of body-shaming, and go on to Feet of Clay, the summary of which kind of sounds familiar, but doesn’t give me the creeps like the summary of the previous book did.

Health? Crafting? Social Media? IDEK

This is probably about all of the above and I’m going to try to make it quick because it’s 11:00 and I have tomorrow off, but I’m going to see about going in to catch up on filing tomorrow.

I keep getting

That’s the middle of the story. Let’s try starting here: For my entire life, I’ve had trouble sleeping. I’ve been screened for apnea several times and I had an EEG when I was a kid (my mom thought that my behavior from bullying was the result of some kind of neurological disorder) and my brain waves were odd (they apparently indicated that I was awake despite being both sleep-deprived and also having been given some kind of sleeping pill) and I’m sure that if I had sleep apnea, something would have shown up that day.

Years ago, one of my doctors suggested that I may have trouble regulating my body temperature at night and he suggested that I turn the temperature in my house down at night to see if that helps, and it really pretty much does.

Now there’s the fashion for those weighted blankets that are supposed to help with difficulty sleeping and I’ve been tempted by them, but (a) body temperature regulation problems and (b) those things are actually too heavy for me. The blanket is supposed to be 10% of your body weight and they apparently assume that their user is 150 pounds (68 kg). I’m 120 (54.4 kg). I’d be crushed by a 15-pound (6.8 kg) blanket.

I recently saw an ad on Facebook for a cotton knit weighted blanket that promises that you won’t overheat under it because cotton and knit. It’s $200 and is still too heavy for me, so I’m trying to figure out how to make one myself.

So, to that end, I bought one of those knitting looms and am making a prototype out of cotton blend yarn. If this ends up being workable, I’ll get 12 pounds of pure cotton yarn and we’ll see what we can do.

I just finished casting this on and my hands were cramping up a bit, so I decided to take a break and post about the project. Once I’ve got enough on my prototype to see if it’ll work, I’ll cast it off and take a picture then post it here.

Oh, and now that Evelyn and I are both vaccinated for COVID, I may be having her over for dinner and a movie and I might get some more work done on the sweaters I’m making for Mila and Evelyn’s other dogs. More on that later, as well.

And, since I’m posting this on my desktop computer, time for another Gratuitous Amazon Link. We’re back into the woods on the Discworld books again. Today, we have Interesting Times, another Rincewind book. I read this, like, almost four years ago now, so I’d have to refresh my memory on this one. I read the summary and it kind of sounds familiar. I probably need to read all of those books again. Someday. I’m still pretty burned out on them right now, though. Additionally, this link may or may not be to the novel. The paperback copy clearly says that it’s a stage play based on the novel, but the Kindle version doesn’t, and the “look inside” feature on the Kindle version is clearly the novel. I don’t feel like investing $5 right now to see which it is.

Writing while walking in my neighborhood

I decided to try to write daily and as soon as I published my intention, my job went POW! and now I’m pooped almost every evening.

Tonight I actually have the energy to go for a walk and so I’m going to try to write at the same time.

Fortunately, my neighborhood is pretty quiet and so I can hear cars coming up behind me.

I’m starting the weirdest language learning project that I think I’ve ever done. I checked Pimsleur Mandarin IA out of the library. I know that you’re supposed to only do one lesson per day, but this part is review and pronunciation practice, so I’m pretty much just mainlining it. I think I’m doing maybe 1.25 lessons per day. Once I finish the review, I’ll start doing it the way it’s supposed to be done.

I’m focusing on Spanish this month. Duolingo, Amazon Prime television series, books, etc. My phone is set on Spanish, too. That’s why I’m doing Mandarin in my car. I need to keep up some kind of momentum on my Mandarin all year. Next month will be German and then in June, I’ll switch to Italian. In August, I’ll move on to Chinese. I don’t know what I’m going to do in October, though. Maybe back to Spanish, maybe start something new.

I’m going to publish this now. No pictures, no tags, no Gratuitous Amazon Link. Maybe I’ll add those later, but maybe not. We’ll see.

2021 and 2022 Travel

I’m going to try to keep this short, because it’s 10 at night and I’m about to turn into a pumpkin.

I’ve been thinking about my next few trips. I have a tentative plan to visit a friend in Toronto in the summer or fall, provided I can legally go into Canada at that point. That remains to be seen.

I also am thinking about finally taking my trip to Carlsbad Caverns or maybe Hot Springs National Park. That will depend on Alex’s ability to travel this year because National Parks have been sort of “our” thing over the last nine years (minus 2020 because 2020).

Then, in 2022, I’m planning to go to Seattle to visit family and to get some pictures, since our Seattle pictures are something that Thomas has. I was chatting with my cousin and he suggested I do some camping. Well, that would probably require Alex, as when I travel alone, I intend to have licensed innkeepers and deadbolts. I’m adventurous, not foolhardy.

The thing is that the idea of camping my way up the pacific coast does have some appeal. As I make whatever plans I end up making, I’ll certainly post about them here.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time! I’m sure I’ve posted this before, but it’s next in my list, so here goes. Today’s book is So You Want to Be a Wizard, by Diane Duane. So You Want to Be a Wizard is the first book in Duane’s Young Wizards series, which is currently ten books long. By the time I finish those books, it may well be eleven books long. We’ll see once we get there.

So. 2021.

As anyone who has been reading here knows (Hi!), I’m in San Antonio, Texas. You know, the San Antonio that just had a snowstorm and then the electricity was down for much of the city for most of last week? That San Antonio?


And, as these things happen, I went into a fairly mild depressive spiral around then. I think it was just how haphazard everything was. I didn’t know what I would be doing, job-wise, from one day to the next. Our store was only open for four hours on Monday, and I was paralyzed by fear. I mean, I grew up driving in snow, but I haven’t done it in probably 15 to 20 years. That and there are basically three routes from here to work — a major highway, which was closed, a major street that’s hilly, or a less-major street which isn’t well-traveled at the best of times and where I was afraid I’d have trouble finding the street under the snow.

I was, like, “I wonder how long it’d take me to walk to work from here, because I sure don’t feel comfortable driving today.”

By the time the store opened, my shift was nearly done, so they told me just not to come in. I made it in on Tuesday, taking the less-traveled road, which had been driven on enough that I could find the road, and we lost electricity after about five hours and so we went home about an hour after that.

Wednesday, the store still didn’t have electricity, so we opened late, and then Thursday, the store didn’t have electricity at all.

So, guess what work was like on Friday.

Gratuitous photo time. This is Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, one of my personal light house goals. We’ll probably see this photo again when I do a retrospective of Alex and my trip to North Carolina in 2013.

On top of this, the electricity was off and on at my house. Sunday night we were one of the houses that got the rotating blackouts, 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off.

Then Monday morning, the electricity changed to five minutes on, 55 minutes off while the sun was out. Once the sun set, it was just off. When I washed myself before work on Tuesday, I could see steam rising from the sink in the light of my cell phone. Wednesday night, the electricity came back on and has been on since.

The freezing weather seems to be over. It’s 50 degrees outside right now and should peak at 66 tomorrow.

I’m actually upset that there were so many stressors this week, because normally I love the snow. When it snowed a few years ago, I was over the moon because aside from being a little white-knuckled on the way home, there were no stressors. I knew that my job would be there in the morning, and, while we had to run the faucets to keep the pipes from freezing, the electricity stayed on, so I knew that if I went out and got my feet all wet from the snow, I could dry them off in the warmth afterwards.

I wonder if I could plan a snow vacation this fall. Maybe the mountains in New Mexico?

Another thing I’ve learned from this is that I need some semblance of a routine for my mental health. A while ago, I tried to start heading to bed at 10:30. I don’t have to go to sleep then, but I at least have to be in bed and reading or whatever. I think I’ve even watched a YouTube video or two at this point. It’s 11 now, so I missed that goal for today. Better luck tomorrow.

I’m going to try to get back to blogging on a daily basis for now. I’m going to try to schedule them ahead of time, every other day, so that anyone who reads here won’t be hit with a firehose of blog posts. This will post immediately, though.

Now for our Gratuitous Amazon Link. I went digging to see where I left off on GAL’ing my Goodreads list. Today we have Soul Music, by Terry Pratchett, the 16th book in the Discworld series and the third featuring Death and his family. At first, I thought that this was where I burned out, but, guess what? I still have six more Discworld books to go.

Monster High

Just a bit of book blogging here.

When I first started in retail, before I became a pharmacy technician, I worked in the toys department. Mattel had a new line of (unrealistically skinny) fashion dolls that are supposed to be the daughters of the classic movie monsters. Frankie Stein is Frankenstein’s Monster’s daughter, Draculaura is, of course, Dracula’s daughter, Cleo deNile is the daughter of the Mummy, and Clawdeen Wolf is the daughter of the Wolfman.

There were other dolls, too, including my personal favorite, Ghoulia Yelps, who is a zombie. One of the boy dolls was Deuce Gorgon, Cleo’s boyfriend and the son of Medusa.

Mattel created two tie-in book series. One, Monster High, by Lisi Harrison, is a young adult series that includes the same characters in a different universe from the one that the dolls and tie-in web series occupy. Our POV character in this series, which begins with a book called, erm, Monster High, is a new character named Melody Carver*, whose family has moved to Salem, Oregon because the pollution in Los Angeles was bad for Melody’s asthma. Each of the four books in the series focuses on a different one of the central “ghouls” (the Monster High word for “girls”). In order, they are Frankie, Cleo, Clawdeen, and Draculaura.

The other, Ghoulfriends, is a middle-grade series by Gitty Daneshvari and that is in the same universe (or one that’s close enough to kiss) to the webisode universe. The middle-grade series is way cuter, or I guess I should say “cutesier” than the young adult series.

While going through my Goodreads account, I noticed that I had never put read dates down for either of these series. So I knocked out the first three of the young adult books pretty quickly. Going on to the first of the middle grade series too soon gave me whiplash, though, so I put it aside for a couple of weeks.

I’m going to tackle the cutesy middle grade series soon, though. I seem to recall from my first readthrough that I adapted to the cutesiness pretty quickly. I’m posting here because I’m going to start reading them tonight, December 17, 2020, and will finish this post once my brain adjusts, just so that I can memorialize the adaptation.

I’m finishing up this post now, at 2:42 am on December 20. I actually cracked the first Ghoulfriends book on December 17, then put it right back down and read another couple of books. I started it again on December 19 and just finished the first Ghoulfriends book, and I adapted to the cutesiness by Chapter 4

*Who was, unfortunately, never turned into a doll.

24 Hours of Happy 9:00 pm to

I found the document! I still can reach it through the OpenOffice app that I used to write it.

Now to give Mr. Williams some money. He’s apparently gotten big in the shoe design business lately. So I’m probably going to just pretty much do all Pharrell Williams branded athletic shoes from here on out. The highest rated of these on Amazon is these, described as adidas Pw Tennis Hu Mens Trainers (sic). I have no idea what the “Hu” means, but the “Pw” is pretty clearly Pharrell Williams.

Now, on to the post:

9:00 Have we moved? We suddenly are in a strip mall with an ACE Cash Express and a Subway. There’s some kind of a cell phone store. I can see the word “Galaxy” through the window. Does Samsung have stores like Apple does?

It looks like it’s downtown. There’s a CVS back there.

Wait. There’s an H&R Block. I think we’re in the same strip mall that we were in at 8:00. We just passed a Time Warner office. Yeah, we’ve got to be in the same strip mall. Other strip malls might have the same stores, but in the same order? That’s stretching credulity, I think.

9:04 We’ve moved again, I’m pretty sure. We’re in a parking lot. Beyond that, I’ve got nothing.

9:08 We’re outside that parking lot and this area looks familiar. The dancer passes a sign that says, in part, “Labor Commission Court House.” One of the labels says “Angel’s Flight,” as well. So let’s see if we can work with that.

We’re in luck. It looks like the parking lot is at Hill and 3rd. We follow Hill to 7th, then cross Hill and keep going northwest on 7th. I really wish the streets downtown were oriented to the cardinal directions.

The 9:28 dancers look to be someone (well, two someones) who work behind the scenes of this project. They’re carrying some kind of glowy monitor screen things and at 9:28:48-ish they turn the screens towards the camera and if I’m correct, the monitors show them showing the monitors to the camera. Actually you can see one of the guys in one of the photos on Jon Beattie’s website. And evidently they filmed this part the same day that they did 5:32 because he’s wearing the same shirt. Is the guy standing next to him in that photo the other 9:28 dancer? He might be. We pick up another guy from behind the scenes at 9:29:55 or so and another at 9:31. Meanwhile, we make a left onto Hope.

Our 9:32 dancer passes the same place where our 12:56 am dancer was. We cross Hope and then make a left so that we’re going southeast on 8th Street. They then pass a mirrored building and Beattie turns the camera so that we see the reflection of everyone in the entourage and someone guides Beattie towards the glass so that we can see the man behind the camera.

We make a right onto Grand and at the door of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising is a sculpture of an angel wearing a cat mask standing on a blue rectangle. The angel a sculpture called “Transforming Yourself into Fashion” and is by Gwynn Murrill and the blue rectangle leads into the lobby where there is a rotunda with “flying figures” on the ceiling. I haven’t had much luck finding pictures of the rotunda and from what I can find, Google Maps’s indoor photos of the building are limited to pictures of the museum in the building. The images of the main reception area are not the same place, from what I can tell.

We make a right onto Olympic Boulevard and another right onto Hope.

9:56 Now we must be at the high school that we see in the official video. I wonder what high school it is? I wonder if it’s Hollywood High for the, like, fifth time in this video. The image is flipped again, judging by the lettering on the signs. Also, it’s a different day than when they filmed 5:32 and 9:28 because we see someone who sure looks like one of our 9:28 dancers and he’s wearing a different shirt. Beattie goes backwards up a flight of stairs this time. Even knowing how large the crew on this is, I’m still impressed.

What Did I Have for Dinner Tonight?

December 5, 2020

I made another dish from Diane Seed’s The Top 100 Pasta Sauces (repeat Germane Amazon Link) book. This was the Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (literally, “Whore’s Spaghetti”). The story is that after a long evening of work, the sex workers in Italy would just throw whatever was in their larder together to make dinner, or they wanted an easy sauce to make between clients, or that they begged nearby restaurants for whatever cast off ingredients they had, etc., and that’s how the sauce got its name. There aren’t really any sources to back this up, however.

It is a pretty good sauce, though. The recipe is basically just tomatoes, olives, and capers. Some, such as the one in Seed’s book, include garlic, others include red pepper flakes, and some include both garlic and red pepper flakes.

I know that the image isn’t centered in the ellipse. I decided at the last minute that I needed a photo of the dish and didn’t have the time or energy to clean off my counter. So I cropped as much clutter as I could in Paint.Net and then used the ellipse display to cut out the rest of it. Hopefully when I tackle cheap knockoff Chicken Lo Mein later this week I’ll think ahead more.

Now, I’m not really a foodie or anything. I don’t even know how much really hard core cooking I’ll do in the future. So I didn’t want to buy a jar of anchovies or a whole head of garlic or anything that might go bad.

As a result, I ended up using garlic powder and anchovy paste. I did buy the capers, though, and Seed’s recipe called for more than half the jar. I ended up putting just about half the jar in, so that I would have half a jar for a second batch if I liked it. I already had the olives from when I made pasta salad earlier in the week. I’m not really sure what the capers added to the pasta, but the olives were tasty.