Saturday, January 30, 2016

Knitting in the Round

I have finished spinning my Rincewind/Melange fibre and thought that I had found the perfect pattern to knit it up.  It is a loose kimono-style sweater which looks both comfortable and warm and according to the picture it is well suited to handspun yarn.

But  . . . the body of the sweater is knitted in the round and I have not done that since  the Ds were babies and I knitted bootees and singlets for them  -  on four needles.  This pattern calls for 160 stitches on a 30" circular double ended needle.  I was aware that it was necessary to ensure that the knitting was not twisted but that was easier said than done as both the casting on and the cable itself earnestly desired to twist.

My first effort was a disaster because I knitted the first row back instead of round.  My second effort seemed to go well until, in the third row I realised that there was a twist.  I was about to give up but decided to sleep on it and give it one more try.  What I did was to cast on my 160  stitches, put stitch markers at intervals along the casting on and thread another cable through the stitch markers with stoppers at both ends since the cable wanted to slide out of its stitch markers.  But  IT  WORKED and I have now knitted about ten rows with not a twist in sight. 

Now I am sweating on the possibility that I will not have enough yarn to finish the sweater and may have to purchase more of the Melange (since Rincewind was a one-off for the Megasal) and put some stripes in the sleeves.  But it is going to be very pretty and I am excited about it. 

I am back to doing regular yoga after a pause while I recovered from the vertigo I developed over the New Year and, as directed by my doctor, I am drinking my morning coffee in the sun on the balcony and developing a suntan on my legs.  Recently I have been joined by Parsifal who has suddenly become a very cuddly lap cat.  Perhaps, in his very limited world, it is a new activity to entertain him since the pictures are all out of his reach.  He attacks my hat and browses on the cat grass and catnip with an occasional chew at the ponytail palm which invariably makes him throw up.

Poppy's domain is the Master Bedroom Suite which is her 'safe place' and where she sleeps during the day.  She is still a chronometer kitten and orders me off to bed about an hour before I am ready and then joins me on the bed when I finally make it there.

 We are starting back at COTA in the week of February 8th.  The two computers which we use are being rebuilt and will have Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 loaded onto them which is ideal.  I will be taking my little hotspot with me just in case clients with Windows 10 laptops need to connect their own computers to the internet; Windows 10 does not accept guest connections.  I believe that there is a way of doing it but from all accounts it is a very uneasy connection and flickers badly.  I do not want to go down that path and since the hotspot can support about 30 computers it means that Himself can also tune in to it.  I am not sure how I will go switching between the three operating systems  -  I had to think hard about how to get to 'tools' in Windows 7, having spent the last few weeks using only windows 10.  We will see ...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Sad Saga of the SAD lamp

My SAD lamp arrived yesterday via courier.  The courier rang up to my apartment but by the time I arrived downstairs he had managed to persuade someone to open the door for him and had left it in the foyer.   There was an ominous tinkling as I picked it up and when I opened up the box there were small shards of glass, a USA power plug (not an overwhelming problem as I could easily buy an adaptor from over the road but nothing to tell me what the voltage was and because I had ordered it from Amazon I assumed that as an international supplier it would match the goods to the country of destination.  OK  -  so I had only ever bought books from them before ...  silly me!

However, the lamp was broken and rather than throw good money after bad by ordering another light tube I decided to return it so I packed it carefully back into its box, downloaded the return label after going to the site to explain why I was returning the lamp and took it to the Post Office to post it back.   The helpful lady behind the counter pointed out that Australian postage is very expensive but I figured that anything less than what I had paid for the lamp would put me,  if not ahead, at least not totally out of pocket.

Amazon has promised to refund the cost of the lamp plus $15 towards the cost of postage.  The postage back to America came to over $100 Australian  -  ouch!  But I will still be about $100 ahead of where I would have been if I had just dumped it out with the rubbish.  So I will have about $200 USD returned to my bank account when the lamp returns to sender.

I took my little 'hotspot' which I bought to use at COTA back to Telstra, since Windows 10 will not accept guest connections to the internet, because it was not working and was told that if I had not used it within six days of buying it the connection would not work as it was deemed to be 'uncharged'.  So I had it charged up again and was promised that I now had a connection for 365 days and that I would need to pay out more money annually to keep the contract going  -  same as with my mobile phone which I pay $20 for every November.

I am happy to say that the hotspot now works perfectly and my Surface Pro 3 with Windows 10 reverted seamlessly back to my modem afterwards so I have no fear that my clients will have difficulties when they get home after a lesson.  To ensure that I didn't have any problems I inserted a Recovery Point before I tested the hotspot but didn't need it after all.  We are supposed to be starting back at COTA in the second week of February but goodness knows what sort of configuration the computers which we use will have.  Watch this space ...

Friday, January 15, 2016

COTA versus Windows 10

Three days ago the computer teachers at COTA had a meeting about the parlous state of the computers which we are expected to teach on.  We have two new teachers which was a surprise and one of them, John2, is very computer savvy, having worked in the industry and his feelings on the subject reflected mine on pretty well everything.  The computers which we use are obsolete, slow, have never been upgraded, do not have workable email and as well as a non-upgraded version of Windows 7 there are two non-working versions of Windows XP and Windows 8 which no-one uses and which I believe to have been withdrawn by Microsoft about five  days ago.

John2 used to work for the IT company which has the contract to keep COTA's computers up and running and he told us that COTA is entitled to five re-builds per year but it seems that those computers belonging to the admin staff are getting all the goodies.  

He also said that the reason that the guest login username and password doesn't work is that the Thursday girls neglect to 'save' on the Visibility system.   At this stage COTA is planning on starting classes again on February 5th but it will depend on the health of the computers which we use and what systems can be installed for us.  We have specified Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.  If they can all go onto one computer that would be good but otherwise there will be one computer specifically for Windows 10.  It should be interesting if/when we have to work in tandem and both clients want Windows 10 ... or Windows 8.1 or Windows 7.  I don't think that it will work.

More on the thwarted break in at D2's apartment.  In D2's own words:

"the owner has issued a breach notice which specifies that the brother is not allowed to be in the apartment. They have offered to break the lease at no cost to the tenant and bearing the cost themselves of a loss of rental while they find another tenant. That’s very decent of them. A single breach is not enough to terminate the tenancy - it has to be three!!!"

Anyway she is coming to reclaim her breakfast cereal and yoghurt and return my 'get out of jail free' sensor  -  probably sometime this weekend.

This afternoon Himself is coming over to take a look at Windows 10 and get some idea of what we are up against.  I am now OK with the basics but when Himself phoned me this morning with a problem with his Windows 7 computer I had to think hard and resort to looking it up in the book before it all came back to me.  How easy it is to forget when I have not used W7 for six weeks or so.  It is scary ...

Friday, January 8, 2016

SAD Lamps

Last year my doctor told me that in order for my body to manufacture Vitamin D I should get out in the sun for at least 30 minutes per day before 10.00am and expose my thighs and lower chest.  I only get sun on my balcony for a very few months in the year and having inspected the pool area I discovered that I would need to lie in the water to get any sun  -  the rest of the area is shaded.  So I have been getting up at about 7.00am and having my coffee on the balcony; the sun has gone by 8.00am and since glass cuts out Infrared rays there is only a narrow band of true sunlight.  And  -  I am developing a suntan.

For me, though, the main benefit is that after a lifetime of chronic insomnia, this regimen seems to have reset my body clock and I am sleeping much better than I have for years.  So I have ordered a SAD lamp to get me through the darker winter months.  It needs to be 10,000 lux and I was not able to get my first choice but the one I have ordered is probably better as it shines downwards a bit so it will be easier not to look directly at it.  It is coming from America.  Who in Australia really needs more light, after all.  SAD lamps are mainly used in countries where there is a long dark over winter and this causes Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression.  So, as well as sleeping better I should be a very happy little vegemite.

I am over my vertigo and have started to get my apartment back in order.  The most outstanding problem is the build-up of black fur on all the carpets which, being a yucky fawn colour, really show the black furry deposits.  And next week I will try to get back to regular yoga but am not holding my breath that this will be possible yet.

The night before last D2 spent the night here after someone crazed with drugs climbed over to her balcony from the next apartment and attempted to break in.  When the police arrived he was on the balcony brandishing a chair to try to break the glass.  Luckily it was a very hot night and she had the air conditioning turned on so the doors to her balcony were all closed.  She was able to lock them before calling the police and has now got a Violence Restraining Order out against the man.  The trouble is that he lives in the next-door apartment and they share a lobby with the lift doors about one metre from her front door; the restraining order does not allow him within 5 metres of her apartment.

Anyway, she has blocked the part of the balcony where he climbed over with galvanised sheeting draped with barbed wire as a discouragement to try again.  Hopefully the body corporate can evict him and his brother as they are only tenants, not owners.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Ominous ...

I recently received a book called "Windows 10 Tips and Tricks".  It is very helpful and was well worth buying.

I have been browsing through it and marking parts which I will go back to and study in more depth but yesterday I stumbled on the information that, as  Microsoft was constantly tweaking Windows 10, (I always suspected that the free download of Windows 10 is a Beta Version) the publishers of Tips and Tricks would send out updates as they happen if I register with them  -  so I have done so and hope to be able, that way, to keep up with the latest.  *sigh*  Never a dull moment.

Yesterday I fired up my Windows 7 computer to check something out and found that it is actually morphing itself into Windows 10 by stealth.  Every time I go to Windows 7 it is more like Windows 10 and by 2019 when MS ceases to support it, it will be Windows 10 anyway.

Parsifal has suddenly realised that he has a VOICE!  For the last week or so he has been stalking around the apartment SHOUTING and he has a very comprehensive vocabulary which I have yet to learn but I think it consists of things like "Where is that sister of mine", "I want to swing the pictures", 'Why can't I swing the pictures?" and "I want some little treats."  I would love to send him outside to catch himself a rat but regretfully that is not possible so I have decided to ignore him when I am trying to read or watch TV and reply to him at other times.  He has also discovered that he likes to sit on laps, help me with the housework (he has always enjoyed sweeping the floors) and be cuddled.  He is a gorgeous cat and I love him to bits but Poppy is definitely easier to live with.

I have almost recovered from my vertigo and went to my Knitting Club today.  There were only two of us there and I had been concerned that knitting might trigger the nausea again but it was fine so I can probably start spinning too although I am not so sure about vacuuming the floors  -  that always used to set things going again.

Himself will be back from 'over east' sometime tomorrow.  He has been staying with his brother over Christmas and it was just the sort of break which he needed and hopefully he has had the time and support to come to terms with all which happened last year after Herself's stroke.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Not such a Happy New Year after all

I woke up on the morning of New Year's Eve with a sinking feeling which I have not experienced for almost twenty years  -  nausea, dizziness and loss of balance  -  in other words  -  severe Vertigo. 

There was a time when I kept medication to treat it on hand all time but with the long gap between attacks I had let it all lapse.  The only thing going for me was that, with my old, outdated medication was a piece of paper with D3's telephone number so I phoned her and she was around like a shot.  She spent a fruitless time trying to either get a doctor to visit or to persuade my medical centre to write out a prescription for me.  "No," they said, "bring her in."  No chance of that as I was unable to walk.  The 24 hour home medical service doesn't start until 4.00pm  -  24 hour?

Anyway, at that point D2 (who is a doctor) turned up with all the requisite stuff and gave me all the requisite treatment but it has taken my up until now  -  almost three days later, to be able to focus my eyes sufficiently to type this and I can walk without feeling nauseous and have had something to eat so I am on the mend.  But I missed all the fireworks, parties, celebrations etc  -  not that I had planned on doing anything except going to bed early  -  but the thought was there.

So I am hoping that tomorrow I will be right back into the swing of things since I have not yet had a chance to generally clean up after Christmas.  We had it hot while I was asleep and one of my aspidistras has definitely died and the second of the three Rosemary cuttings is looking sick  -  I might have to visit the garden centre and get one which is already rooted if I want to own a Rosemary bush.  The Ponytail Palm, on the other hand is flourishing.

And the cats were very supportive and told me that if I was not able to clean their litter trays twice per day that once per day would be ok and joined me on the bed for a vigil for two days, bless their little black hearts.  They are back  in their own beds again now and ...

... I have just remembered that I collected them from their breeder exactly four years ago today.  There are some photos of them as kittens somewhere in this blog along with a description of their first few days chez pinkozcat.  I must go back and have a look at them.