The Brenda Midnight mystery series, through which I am reading my way, combines workmanlike plots, snappy repartee, and textiles. A pleasure to read.

And Saturday was a perfect summer day. It was hot, but at a level which — assuming the presence of a powerful fan and plenty of iced tea, combined with very little movement — could also be a pleasure. My husband and I took #1 son to get a cell phone. He has been a working man for about a month, and had saved up the spondulicks for the purpose. He drove us  to the local Center for Purchase of Electronic Goods, and picked out a deep blue and silver model with a camera and polyphonic ring tones.

Following this, and the usual grocery and so forth, we came home so that #1 son could activate his new fashion accessory and I could do some cooking and baking and cleaning and laundry and so forth. Following that, I armed myself with iced tea and stationed myself where both the breeze and the fan could reach me, and read and knitted.

Here is Brooklyn’s sleeve, with the increases completed. It is attaining gorilla length, but I am blindly following the pattern. Denim, they say, shrinks in length though not in width, so all the pieces have to made rather long. And of course it is the style to have really long sleeves right now anyway. So I’m heading for 57.5 centimeters before doing the raglan shaping, excessive though that seems.

I am glad to be through with the increases, though, because the color changes every row and cabling every fourth row (must find the cabling needle…) and the increases every eighth and then tenth row — well, it was slightly too much counting for a summer afternoon. At least for a summer afternoon with a novel propped upon under the knitting. The sleeve looks nice and relaxed out on the porch, though, doesn’t it?

Even back in the days when jewel thieves were apprehended in my apartment, I always enjoyed a quiet afternoon reading and knitting. By the pool, under the plum trees, any pleasant spot will do. It is a meditative space in the rush of daily life.

Ah, yes. The jewel thief. There was actually only one. I had a roommate at the time, the kind you find on a board at the student Housing Office, so I knew nothing about him. And one day a man came to visit him. He appeared to be called “John,” and he dyed his hair shortly after his arrival. Not a common thing at the time, a man dying his hair. My girlfriends and I saw the box of Miss Clairol in the wastebasket and wondered a little about this guy. He seemed so tense.

So that evening, we were all hanging around playing music when a hammering came at the door. My roomie got up and opened the door and two enormous men burst in, shouting “POLICE!” They might even have started the shouting at the same time as the hammering. The details were hard to sort out in the uproar.

“John” ran, the men caught him easily, a lot of shouting and threatening took place, and the roomie eventually admitted the real name of his friend, who was taken away in handcuffs.

Now don’t be thinking that I was in those days the same calm and competent person I am now. I had long Pre-Raphaelite curls and scanty clothing in those days, and it seems to me that my lines throughout the scene were, “They can’t do that, can they? Can they just come in here and do this?”  Repeated foolishly over and over. I mean, I knew that “John” seemed a little odd, but so did my roommate, after all, and the police officers (I guess they really were police officers, though they did not have uniforms) were very big and threatening.

And that was it. I never found out anything more about “John”s crimes or his fate. The main thing I learned — apart from the fact that police officers do not apparently have to introduce themselves politely and show their badges — was that they actually use expressions like “that little caper.”

Well, that was a bit of an adventure, but not really very pleasurable at the time, or interesting after the fact, or useful in the long run. Between the two, I would probably prefer an evening with my knitting and a good book.

For those of us who are doing the HGP, this is the week for thoroughly cleaning our foyers. My foyer is about three feet square, so this will not take me very long. However, it is also the week for buying and organizing the materials for our holiday gift making. We will also put another meal in the freezer, and the first batch of “holiday goodies.” The principle here is that by the time you get busy with recitals and parties, there will be a freezer full of stuff. You will not be the one bringing to KFC to the potluck which begins 15 minutes after you get off work. You will be able to put together that cookie box for the UPS lady with ease as she drives up. You will be able to take a casserole to your friend who is going mad because she did not do anything ahead of time.

I realize that some of you (like Pokey, for example) have no need to prepare for the holidays, and will not be cleaning your foyer or putting a nice container of beef stew into the freezer. Should you have to do without a holiday countdown? Heaven forfend!

X-entertainment’s Hallowe’en countdown begins on Monday. This is not at all like the HGP. X-E is not going to give you pumpkin-carving patterns or costume safety tips. He is not going to tell you which day is the one for writing out your guest list and when to polish your silver. Instead, he will tell you about the available horror movies, the history of Kool-Aid, and the most disgusting prepared foods. But I found the countdown quite fascinating last year. Horrid fascination, perhaps, but still… X-E’s description of making Hallowe’en cookies is even now crystal clear in my memory. And there are product reviews, of things you and I would never consider buying. I don’t even go into the kinds of stores where you can buy those things.

So pick your countdown. And watch out for jewel thieves.