Fiber Monday, 1/16/23.

Thanks to Chris for this link.
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It’s what’s been happening.

It has been a long, l-o-n-g time since I blogged about what’s happening in my life. Let’s fix that.

  • I got a new car which arrived a couple weeks ago. It is a Hyundai Tucson hybrid (not the plug-in kind, those are not sold in the Midwest), and I am still deciding if I like it.
  • Good points: it has AWD, necessary in our climate; it is a hybrid, so gas mileage is significantly better; the dashboard graphic that shows how much power is going to each wheel is fun to watch; it has a cordless charging spot for my phone and probably my iWatch; two USB ports in front, 2 more in back.
  • But all the other features boggle my mind! I am fairly tech-savvy and Mensa-qualified, but this car intimidates me.
  • My strategy, which will probably work, is every day or three to pick one feature and figure it out with help from the owner’s manual. First was the cruise control; I had sort of figured it out when I first drove it home from Eau Claire, where we bought it. Later I studied the owner’s manual and tried a few things, and now I think I have conquered it.
  • Next is the supposedly automatic door locks and keyless entry. My Nissan Rogue simply required that I have the key fob in my pocket to unlock the doors and start the car. That doesn’t seem to be the case with the Tucson. The Hyundai owner’s manual is strangely obtuse on this subject.
  • Today, while waiting for someone to finish his doctor’s appointment (not Smokey), I set about trying to figure out the key thing. I managed to set up remote start, which will be nice — it can also turn on the heater or a/c and set it to a particular temperature. But in the process I also managed to disable the fob from allowing me to start the car at all. Yikes.
  • Eventually I used the fob to lock and unlock all the doors, kinda like rebooting. That worked, whew.
  • The week before Christmas Smokey also got a new car, but his is not brand new, just new to him. His 1992 Isuzu Trooper needed a fair bit of work, and he decided that (since we are now rich, after having sold the Minneapolis house) rather than spend several $thousand$ to have it fixed, he would simply junk it and find a replacement. Said replacement is a 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser.
  • He had a Land Cruiser back in the 1980s, it was an older model that the previous owner had used as a tractor on his farm.
  • Smokey loved it.
  • But it had way too many problems that eventually forced him to junk it.
  • Now he has a newer, better one, and he loves it, too.
  • This one has air conditioning so he can drive it comfortably year-round.
  • I managed to get my car stuck in the driveway a couple days ago, so he got to test out the FJ’s pulling power. It took several hard tugs, but it got my car out of the rock-hard snowbank at the edge of the driveway. Score!
  • Smokey has RSV (or perhaps just a really horrible cold) and has been miserably confined to his bed for four six days. I do not seem to have caught it ::fingers crossed:: A friend told me that another friend has had it for 16(!) weeks. I’m not sure I can survive 16 weeks of being the main householder. It would significantly cut into my knitting and reading time.
  • I seem to have evaded his germs somehow, yay. He is on the mend, just needing more rest than usual.
  • I don’t think I ever disclosed our Christmas plans on the blog.,
  • We had a sort-of-family reunion-we’re-getting-the-band-back-together kind of thing.
  • It happened at the Sturgeon Bay lighthouse keeper’s house where we stayed back in later September.
  • Elder Son and Amanda (DIL) flew in from New Mexico, Younger Son joined us from Minneapolis, and Smokey’s brother Bob drove up from Illinois.
  • Christmas weekend and the few days before were subzero with blizzard conditions. ES&Amanda’s flight from Phoenix was only an hour late; I picked them up at the airport and drove to Eau Claire, where we spent the night and continued the trip the next day.
  • Smokey and Younger Son had gone a day earlier (in his new FJ Cruiser!) to take all our bedding, clothes, and food, plus the three dogs.
  • It was completely marvelous to have everyone together. It was also extremely lucky to be able to do it at that time of year — no illnesses, no cancelled flights, no roads closed due to weather conditions.
  • ES&Amanda had flown Southwest from Phoenix. When that airline had its meltdown they were already safely at the lighthouse but worried about their return flight the next weekend.
  • Just for the piece of mind, he bought them one-way tickets on Delta to get back.
  • As it turned out, their return flight was not cancelled, so they were not entitled to a refund, but at least they had no worries about it.

And now the big news (talk about burying the lede!) My Christmas present from Amanda:

She said, “Turn it around.”

She said, “Flip up the paper.”

Yes, that is an ultrasound of their baby in utero. (Smokey got the same present, but his chocolates were dark chocolate, which he prefers.) All the fertility treatments and hormone shots and egg implantations finally worked! Baby is due in July, Amanda has morning sickness, but all is well. When I saw that ultrasound I exploded out of my chair to give her a big hug. I have never yearned for grandchildren and was more-or-less neutral on the whole subject, but suddenly it is a joy to be anticipated.

Posted in Amanda, Andrew, Christmas, Family, Motorcars, Smokey, Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Furry Friday, 1/6/23.

Remember, click to embiggen if the caption is too small to read.

Snoop Dogg narrates a lizard’s escape from what seems like infinite snakes.

US Army Corps of Engineers calendar… with cats!

Happily, snow fleas do not bite. No, I had never heard of them either.

He came to stay for the winter.

Posted in Furry Friday | 6 Comments

Good news Tuesday, 1/10/23.

Luck in Luck! Luck is the next village north of us. No, it wasn’t me who won the $15.1 million. Nor Smokey.

In other good news, I got a second opinion on the optometrist’s August diagnosis of Fuch’s dystrophy on the inner surface of my corneas, which condition would probably require a corneal transplant. Second doc saw no such signs, only tiny dots on the outer surface. I am using cortisone eye drops for two weeks to see if that helps. If not, he will refer me to a corneal specialist at the U of MN. No worries; I can knit stockinette blind while listening to audiobooks.

Good news/progress made in 2022.

Miss America is a nuclear engineer and violinist from Wisconsin.

You can’t shear a goose.” A delightful podcast.

Posted in Good news Tuesdays. | 6 Comments

Fiber Monday, 1/9/23.

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Furry, feathered, scaly Friday, 1/6/23.

Remember, click on an image to embiggen if the caption is too small to read.

Penguins — or “ing-wings”, as we call them at our house — bring joy.

Posted in Furry Friday | 4 Comments

Good news Tuesday, 1/3/23.

Rate of teen pregnancies continue to drop. What a difference “sexuality education programs, youth development programs, abstinence education programs, clinic-based programs, and programs specifically designed for diverse populations and settings” can make. NYT subscribers can read the story on same subject here.

Posted in Good news Tuesdays. | 1 Comment

Fiber Monday, 1/2/23.

Labels for your handmade items. They come from Australia, so shipping is pricy.

More labels for sewing and knitting. I put a label in DIL’s Sockhead hat that said “This took forever” and explained to her that, even though I have made 5 or 6 hats from this pattern, it always surprises me how long it takes.

Posted in Fiber Monday | 3 Comments

Reading: 2022 and Greatest Hits

Kat and others have posted about their reading in 2022. What fun it is to see what they read and what they found best!

I am a total spreadsheet person (“There is no problem that cannot be solved by a spreadsheet.” -from an acquaintance even nerdier than I am), so I keep an Excel spreadsheet of all books I have read, the ones I did not finish, and the audiobooks I have listened to since 2002 — a high of 119 in 2021 and a low of 50 in 2014 (before I kept track of ones I didn’t finish). The totals for 2022 are 16 did not finish, 12 currently reading, 6 audiobooks, 20 Kindle (nearly all freebies), and 51 in analog form, for a total of 77 books *read*.

Here are my faves from 2022. I have linked to my reviews. The first three were outstanding; the rest were *merely* very good.

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen. Nonfiction about zoonotic diseases, those that jump from an animal host to a human. Think dengue fever, malaria, rabies, Ebola, HIV, SARS… and covid. This book was published in 2012 in a remarkable feat of prescience, although most epidemiologists have predicted since ~2000 that the next pandemic could/would be a zoonotic respiratory disease. And the worse scenario would be that it is spread through the air and victims would be pre-symptomatically infectious. (Sound like any illness you know of?) Author’s next book is a summary/history of the covid pandemic.

A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Named Trixie by Dean Koontz. This book is a must-read for every dog lover out there. Trixie is a former service dog who invalided out due to an injury. She is incredibly smart and sensitive and playful, an absolute joy of a dog. Spoiler: she dies at the end, but only after 14 years with the author, wife, and assistants.

Daughter of Auschwitz: A Memoir by Tova Friedman & Malcolm Braban. Author is a survivor of Auschwitz, somehow at age ~4 missing the gassing of all children useless for labor. She was compelled to write this when she learned how few of today’s youth are aware of the Holocaust or the concentration camps.


Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I am so glad I did not come of age in the 1950s. What a frustrating time to be an intelligent, educated woman.

Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley. A sweet story of anonymous London commuters becoming friends.

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton. YA, but an inspiring story. It is worth reading just for all the inventive ways teenage boys mock-insult each other — such creativity!

Posted in Books, Reading | 3 Comments

Happy new year!

Posted in Holidays | 5 Comments