We returned to the hospital to visit Bonanza Jellybean. We really enjoyed meeting her and talking with her. She told us about the community choir she had sung with, and a family trip to Ireland, and the difficulty of getting healthy food when one is a truck driver.

If you have to be in a hospital, this is a nice one to be in. The picture here is of the courtyard. March is clearly not its best season, but it was still nice. If you are coping with terrible news, or having to spend a lot of time at the hospital, it would be good to have a calm place with water fountains to rest in for a bit.

Bonanza thought she might be able to go home today. She is sort of a stoical person, and had ignored stomach pain for three days as her appendix burst. She had had an emergency appendectomy on Saturday, and then sat up a bit on Sunday to meet her roommate’s relatives (that’s me and #2 daughter) for the first time in her hospital gown. And she was lively and cheerful. This says something about her character, it seems to me.

#2 daughter and I had joined the Methodist church. Since we have been there, singing in the choir, for a year, we had one person after another come up and say that they hadn’t realized we weren’t members. #2 daughter had sung a solo, so she also got to hear that she had made people cry, always a good thing. We will now have to become Methodists, I suppose.

Anyway, we were dressed nicely, so we went directly from church to the hospital. We picked up #2 son from a sleepover and did our grocery shopping and went to a bookstore for a bit, and then got back to our program of intensive lolling.

I finished reading The Ancestor’s Tale, 600+ pages of really interesting stuff. I think I will miss it. It was like having someone very interesting ride in in the elevator with you every day. “You know,” he would say, “it is very possible that the bacteria now living deep underground in such hot temperature that we cannot go find them, are very like the earliest form of life.” “Really?” I’d say. Then he’d quote some Belloc and arrive at his floor.

We don’t ever have conversations like that in elevators in real life, do we? And if we did, we might be afraid of the guy.

Dawkins finished up his book by speculating about what might happen if the entire process of evolution began again. He was arguing against the notion that we humans are in some way the pinnacle of creation, or that evolution is sort of aiming at something. But I have much this discussion when I do presentations about prehistoric people. Some things, I say, are such good ideas that they come up everywhere eventually. Just about everyone gets around to agriculture at some point. Weaving, too. North American prehistoric people didn’t get around to fabric till European contact, but they all did some weaving. It’s just such a good idea that some clever person in every civilization has to think of it sometime. Just so, Dawkins says, with the eye. It is such a good idea that it has come up repeatedly on various evolutionary pathways, and it probably always would.

He points out that Australia sort of has its own separate evolutionary strand, and that it came up with kangaroos where Africa had gone with gazelles. Kangaroos and gazelles don’t look much alike, but they fill the same niche. Just so, perhaps humans would not arise a second time, but something might well come up to fill that “smart things that may not be all that impressive physically but can live almost anywhere once they get their thumbs going” niche. On the other hand, he points out that New Zealand never got around to mammals, and ended up importing them, so the creature in that niche could be quite different from us.

And by an interesting coincidence, Eddie Izzard pointed out in the DVD we watched yesterday that humans have thumbs and communication and that makes us think we are so great.

It isn’t really an interesting coincidence. Chaos, Coincidence, and All That Jazz reminds us that coincidences lose all their interest as soon as we do some calculations on them. Some people feel a sense of loss at this, we are told, but then we are supposed to be comforted by the Dragon Curve fractals. If you want really clear, simple explanations of all those mathematical things like fractals and chaos theory and so forth, then this is the book for you. The authors seem to think that people who need really simple explanations of these very common ideas will also be interested in long columns of figures, and I think they are wrong about that, but you can always skip all those numbers.

So, yes, that is what we did yesterday for the second half of the day: read, watched DVDs, played video games (not me), knitted (not the kids).

My sister once told me that she was slightly alarmed by how much sheer lying around she could do. I see her point on that.

With Erin’s knitting emergency completely cured by Kali Mama’s quick thinking, I have been able to continue on it. I have also done quite a few inches of the Silken Damask Luna on #1 needles. That is the curly shrimplike thing nestling with Erin in the picture. It has no ribbing, since there is this unaccountable shortage of #0 needles in my town, and so it is just curling up. I will do the ribbing after the 0s arrive. That is also when I will begin the Regal Orchid version of this sweater (Lavold’s Jasmine) for M. So far, I find this yarn very pleasant to work with. It has a slight inclination toward stranding, and I find that my stitches are a bit less even in this than in wool, but it feels very nice and has a good drape to it. I am looking forward to using it for the lace sections.

But vacations are supposed to include a lot of lying around. Unfortunately, hours of solid lying around lead to scenes like this one —

Okay. If you are a person of delicate sensibilities, perhaps you should just stop reading right now. I am about to show you a scene of raw horror.

Still with me? Well then, here it is:

It is dark and murky, and there are no severed limbs in it, but it is clear that my house no longer contains any surfaces not covered by stuff. #2 daughter’s still-packed suitcase, all the things she has taken out of her suitcase, the junk food packages #2 son conned me into buying, books and DVD cases, art supplies, and dumbbells litter all flat places in the house. Clearly, I will have to do something about that before I can continue with the lolling-around phase of my vacation.

The only positive thing about having to do a bunch of cooking and cleaning while on vacation is that it is even worse to come home from working all day during the kids’ spring break and deal with this kind of thing.