Friday, March 24, 2017

Asking the Tough Question

The other day, I saw the trailer for the new series being made based on Charlaine Harris' Midnight, Texas series, and decided to watch it.

On an aside, I don't plan to watch the series when it starts. That's for two reasons:

  1. Although I read at least the first book and maybe the second, I didn't love it/them. I liked the Sookie Stackhouse series, particularly the earlier ones, and the Harper Connelly series, although not quite as much (Midnight is a spin-off from the latter).
  2. My tolerance for scary/bloody/gory/violence is much lower in visual media than in reading.

However, I watched the trailer. Here it is, if you want to see what I'm talking about.



Now, what do you think made the biggest impression on me in this?
Wait, they're kissing in the shower and he has shampoo in his hair, and it's not going in his eyes? Or in her eyes? No way!
Even being careful, I often get shampoo in my eyes in the shower, or at least water running out of my hair and into my eyes, and that's with trying really hard not to, keeping my head tilted back, etc. So, yes, here we have a psychic and a vampire and some demons or otherworldly creatures ... but my suspension of disbelief broke at the shampoo. No way could you bend your head forward like that and not have shampoo running down your face. Sorry, nope, I do not believe it.

(Yeah, a whole post about this. Sorry. Trust me, it beats a whole post whining about how my hands have hurt today. Stupid arthritis.)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

More Magazine, Late Luck

I haven't found an answer to why I mysteriously received a fashion magazine the other day, but I threw it in the magazine rack to take a look at, and when I did, came across this interesting spread.
Perhaps it just isn't a style that I like, which doesn't make anything wrong with it, but the matching of frilly with straight lines just doesn't appeal to me. That lacy top over the straight-edge shirt and slacks? No thanks. And the frilly pink top under the zippers-and-seamed dress? No. Not even if it was my goal to look like the HBIC*.
*I had to look it up, another sign I am not the target audience here. Head bitch in charge? Really?

It doesn't seem bad, in my limited exposure to fashion magazines. I like that the models are a range of body types, not all stick-thin. But really, there's a reason I don't read them.

I'm a little late for St. Paddy's Day, but I found this in an old book yesterday.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

But...

I don't want to go to swimming tonight ... but I'm going to.

I lost an hour I could have been sleeping last night watching the Bruins game, which was exciting but did not end well. I don't plan to make that mistake again tonight.

Sigh. Adulthood is overrated.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Magazine Mismatch

When I pulled this out of the mailbox today, I immediately assumed that it had been put in the wrong box, something that happens pretty often in my building.
But a glance at the label showed me that, no, it was addressed to me. Well, mostly: my first name was cut off, sort of like, if my name was Margaret and it was addressed to Margar. Still, the last name and address were right. Puzzling.

The fact that it came today is especially ironic in that today is the day that I have decided to, finally, for real, throw out my ratty Old Navy t-shirt from 1998 (which is a bit of a hint as to my personal "style"). While it was clearly five dollars very well spent, the truth is that its day has passed, it's a bit worn (ahem), and it's time to let go.

I wonder if I'll ever find out why this magazine picked me?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Little Yarn Teaser, Mostly a Photo Mystery

Yesterday was the day I went yarn crawling with a few friends, so last night I was taking pictures on my lap, as I recovered on the couch. As you do, right?

This was what I got in the afternoon.
In the evening, I went out to one more shop, which is close by, and so had another skein to take pictures of.
But I just wasn't happy with how the tablet was getting the colors.
It's darker than this!
But I looked at my jeans next to the yarn, and wondered if that was affecting the photo, so I grabbed a white bag that was nearby and tried it as a backdrop.

Would you believe this is the same skein of yarn?
The lesson is, I don't know nearly as much about photography as I think I do. Pictures in daylight to come, and then we'll really see!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

From Facebook

Time for lazy posting, i.e., some of what I've been seeing, liking, and sharing on Facebook recently.

This one actually Leslie shared with me before I saw it on FB: a victory for the Oxford comma in court. Yes! It really is that important!

The NHL will have some players wear microphones during games, so you can hear what they and others around them are saying. This leads to a lot of beeping out bad language! But possibly the funniest example ever comes near the end of the video in this, when two players are chatting amiably between the penalty boxes, after their fight, about how they need to up their cardio workouts.

Some good advice:
I don't even have a smart phone, but this made me laugh.
After the snow this week, the state police shared this photo of a driver they pulled over.
And, of course, my plaintive question to this one:
"But why not?"

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ow. But Not Major Ow

I had my dentist's appointment uneventfully this evening ("Come back in six months" is great to hear), and now I'm waiting for the discomfort to die down somewhat so I can see if I can eat some soup. At one point, when I had flinched a little, the hygienist said, "What's wrong?" and I wanted to say, "Oh, did you not realize that you're poking my gums with a sharp metal stick?" Maybe everyone isn't as bothered by it as I am. I guess my motto should be "Ridiculously Oversensitive to Everything (except caffeine)."

They were running a little late, which meant that I got to see some of the local news on the waiting room TV, and wow, that was a reminder why I don't watch the news. Breaking! News! Alert! for this, that, and the other--I think the 6 o'clock news started with five or six of those, and honestly, it wasn't anything that groundbreaking.

Meanwhile, I had time before the appointment to run a little errand. Here's what I got.
And why did I buy four pair of doll-sized bunny slippers, you ask?

Well, don't tell, but for Grandma's birthday, Herman (remember Herman?) is stepping out in style. Full credit to Mary Ellen for the idea (once I had vetoed knitting him a sweater, or socks, or leg warmers; I'm such a killjoy).

They have tails!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Weather Ugh

It's snow. It's sleet. It may be rain. It's a mess.

Shoveling it is like trying to move wet concrete. Fortunately, that does make it easy to push off the car. Digging out around the car, however, is another thing.

I was out there about 20 minutes, in two stints with a break in between, and still my back hurts. Oof. I figure, since it's mostly rain-ish right now, there was a chance a good bit of it washes away, at least off the car, but there's also a decent chance that it solidifies into place and freezes overnight, and then how do I get out of the house tomorrow?

Because I have a dentist appointment to get to.

Yeah, being an adult is grand...

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Looking At The Week

I was a little concerned when I realized that I have something to do after work every night this week, AND that this is the week of the time change. And it may still be tough, but it looks like I'll get a quote-reprieve-unquote on Tuesday's plan, since if we do get a foot or two* of snow on Tuesday, I won't be getting to the gym, I don't think.
*This morning's story was putting me in the 12-18 inches area.

Sigh. I'd rather go to the gym than shovel.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Knitting and Knitting

I'll have to get model shots of the cowl/hood, since the way it works both ways is part of its appeal, but it is washed and drying, and looking lovely, if I do say so myself.

This is before washing. It measured 17 inches long, and 14-15 wide.
Washed and pinned out, it measured 18 long, and about 17 wide.
So it grew a little. I took the pins out after a bit, as it was more important to me to be able to move it than stretch it. Right now it's still damp, and is 17-18 long and 15-17 wide (it flares a bit at the bottom, which was intentional.). Not a lot of change, and what matters is how it fits. Which was good before washing, and should be fine after.

Some close-ups:
I do like the way that looks. Though the yarn looks good even in plain.
Pattern: Ombre Cowl Hood, with mods. Simple but helpful.
Yarn: Grinning Gargoyle Mink Lace, held double. Love this yarn!

With that done, I was itching to start something new, specifically the Farfalla shawl with the yarn I bought a few weeks ago. I went to wind the skeins last night, and had trouble with the first one; I got it on the swift fine, but there were a few tangles that I couldn't figure how to undo, which needed to happen in order to use the ball winder. So I just decided to wind it by hand off the swift, and although that worked fine, holy cow does that take forever! Thanks again for the swift and ball winder, Mum, I (still) love them! (That was 2008, wow. I use them more and more as time goes on.)

It did get wound eventually, oh my aching back. Close to the end, I came across a little knot, so I cut it out and wound the remainder on the ball winder, meaning that the yarn looks like this:
When I put the other hank on the swift, I was nervous, but it had no problems, and was done woosh.
I'm glad it was the first one that was the problem, and not the other way around. It made me really appreciate the tools, this way.

Today I cast on the shawl. It's such an interesting design! You start with the center section, which is done end to end, and has to increase evenly on one side, and unevenly on the other. Which means it goes like this:
This is going to be fun.

Friday, March 10, 2017

That Friday Night Feeling


While this wasn't a terrible week in any way, I had to laugh at today's page in the Sandra Boynton calendar.
Exactly.

But it's Friday, and I have the weekend to both relax, and get some things done.

For instance, last night I finished knitting this:
Which doesn't look like much here, I admit, but I love it! I have to wash and block it, and blog about it, plus that means it's time to wind some yarn for the next thing! Busy busy knitter.

Plenty of other things to do, of course, but it's Friday night, and at my most ambitious, I'll cook something (simple) for dinner.

One update before I go, though. Last month I wrote about being re-inspired to clear out clutter before moving, and that I wanted to work on it now because I have Way Too Much, so I need lots of time. Just to show that I haven't yet lost interest in the clearing-out project, I want to add to what I listed then:
*One kitchen-trash-size bag of old sheets/towels, to animal shelter, 2/16
*Two small bags of books, to the used bookstore, 2/25
*A bag of shoes, and a large bag of clothing, to Savers, 2/19
So, since then I have filled another kitchen-trash-size bag of clothing, and started to fill another. I also have two more full and one partly full bags of books. Baby steps...

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Here I am.

I missed yesterday, since I went out after work for an early dinner with a friend, then to my alternate knitting group, then home in time to watch the second period of the Bruins game, then listened to part of the third period on the radio in bed before turning it off to sleep (they actually won!). (Thanks to stupid NBCSN and their stupid Wednesday Night Rivalry, the game didn't start until 8, instead of the usual 7.) So it was a good night, and a busy night, but not an early night. And then I woke up early, before the alarm, out of a disturbing dream where things weren't what they seemed. I've been tired and out of sorts all day.

As hoped, I did manage to go to bed early Tuesday night, and got an unusual amount of sleep for a weeknight, and happily I felt better yesterday than I had on Tuesday. Not that I wasn't tired, I'm pretty much always tired, but better otherwise. (I sometimes wonder what it must be like to not be tired all the time, but this isn't really unusual for me. I think it's just how I am.)

I know, pretty blah here tonight, right? That's how my day has been. I'm tired; I'm struggling to make myself go to swimming tonight; I'm bummed about the weather forecast, since today's weather Has Not Been Warm, and yet is the high in the 10-day forecast, which also includes snow. I'm relieved that I have no time-specific plans for this weekend, so I can get a few things done around here, and errands out, without struggling to fit them in between things.

And sleep. I will sleep. Weekends tend to be good for that. Though without the weird dreams, hopefully, or at least without remembering them. I wonder what in the world it means that I was telling my father I was baking a Tarte Janet for him? Not a recipe I ever heard of, in waking life.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Just a Little Under

I had a brief period of headache this afternoon, not awful (I always feel I have to say that), but it bothered me, and then even after the head improved the stomach remained ... unsettled. Why are they so connected? Why can't I just have a headache? Anyway, I decided that exercising on top of this feeling would be Not Good, so I gave myself permission to skip, and curled up with the new Patricia Briggs instead (it's good!). And I will go to bed early, and hopefully feel better tomorrow.

I don't feel too badly about missing a night of swimming; the original challenge was to exercise at least an hour a week, and in the weeks since I first joined the gym, I have done that 84% of the time (38% once per week, 46% twice). And the zeros are all weeks when I was either away or sick. So that's not bad.

And yes, I did the math. For someone who doesn't like math that much, I find a strange satisfaction in quantifying such things. Not in calculating them, exactly--thanks to Excel for the actual math--but in having the numbers to back up my feeling that I've been doing decently well, for someone who feels as I do about exercise.

And now, I should go have something (bland) to eat before bed. Cross fingers for tomorrow, eh?

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Exhausting, But Important

Another day, another rally ... not quite accurate, but it does feel that way sometimes. Particularly when I had two rallies to chose from this weekend that I would have felt good about supporting (but not enough energy to go to two in one weekend; barely enough for one, really). So I passed on yesterday's rally in support of Planned Parenthood, and went to today's rally in support of trans students. It was organized after the President repealed the bathroom protection thing last week. (Just one of the horrors from this administration; I have never been more ashamed of my country's government than I am this year.) Massachusetts still has its protections in place, but as one of the speakers today said, the need to go to the bathroom doesn't stop at the state line.

I'm not trying to make myself out as some kind of superior person, but I truly don't understand why some people care, and care SO much, about differences between people. The knowledge that our president believes that he is superior to anyone who isn't white, male, straight, and (probably) a billionaire is just depressing. And that so many people apparently agree with his beliefs, and are now feeling free to say and do these awful things...

Anyway. This rally was held on the Common, across from the State House. Don't let the sunshine fool you: it was COLD. Well, without the wind it was just cold, but with the wind, it was miserable. I got into town early (shocking, I know), so I found a Starbucks, got a hot drink, and sat knitting for a few minutes, to settle myself down. Having so many thing I want to oppose is actually really unsettling; reading the Globe this morning, I found myself envying the one-issue voters. At least they only care about one thing. It seems so simple that way. If I want to support women and LGBTQ and immigrants and all these other groups, when am I going to get the dishes done?

Anyway, the coffee and I walked up to the State House.
The crowds weren't like the women's march, but there were enough people that I had no doubt I was in the right place.
They held up signs with pictures of the trans black women who have already been killed this year. It's sickening to look at the photos of these people, just people, and know that they were killed for what they are.
There was a strong focus on inclusivity, on everyone standing up for everyone, which I really appreciated.
This sign says, "You are legitimate. You are loved."
From Standing Rock to Stonewall.
This guy was twirling his sign, which made it hard for me to get both sides.
So this one was taken upside down. Note that he was using a costume sword as a handle.
This man is a new state rep, and spoke of how important it was to him to be there, when he works in the building behind him.
And this girl is 16, and at least ten times as articulate as I ever have been or will be. Just amazing.
After the speakers finished, they moved the crowd to the street to march to Post Office Square.
The crowd had grown by then. (It turns out that one of my friends is in this picture--neither of us knew the other was there.)
I took a few more pictures as they moved on.
Chanting down the street.
So many people.
Signs, flags.
More and more.
And finally, a few Boston cops on bikes, to keep the peace I guess.
Even though I'd only been there an hour, I didn't have it in me to march: between the cold and the standing and the whatever, I just had to get myself home. You know you're cold when the burst of air as you go into Park Street Station feels warm! I put on lip balm and my lips were numb. Got home safely, and have been sitting like a lump. Perhaps I will get out the knitting.

Oh, one last sign, what I carried. One side:
And the other:
Right?

Friday, March 03, 2017

Getting Silly, ccr-Style

Every once in a while, when there's a little money to spare for fun, it's good to go beyond fun and into silly-land, and I did this recently. I bought something utterly foolish, and (spoiler alert) have not yet regretted the move.

How silly, you ask? Well, look at this:
Cute, if slightly silly, sweatshirt? Oh, but look closer, my friends. That zipper across the middle? That opens to a fleecy pouch for you to tuck in your cat*, for carrying and/or cuddling purposes.
*Or other small animal, of course.

Yes, really.

I saw it online a while back, and thought, yeah, it's a cute idea, but would Carlos go for it? Not very likely, he's not a 100% lap cat, and who has money to spare for the experiment? Plus, not cheap, and it's probably not well made, and, no.

Well, sometimes one needs to brighten up a dull winter day. Click!

It was delivered Thursday. The envelope wasn't quite as big as I thought it should be, which had me concerned that the reviews who mentioned the sizing ran small might have been understating it. Or that it was paper-thin! There was also a sort of ridge that I could feel through the padded envelope that seemed odd.

Turns out, it was vacuum-sealed for shipping.
So that was weird! When I cut the bag open, it did not whoosh dramatically, as I hoped, but the shirt came out only minorly wrinkled, not crushed. It's a fleece material, and while not super-thick, was very warm and soft, so no complaints there.

I draped it over the couch for crap-photo purposes. I mean, it's not screaming royal purple, but it IS purple, not brown. (This is why I put the website photo in above.)
You can't quite tell from this angle, but the hood actually has ears! Not to mention the drawstring pompoms, aka built-in cat toys. All of which I find amusing, but at the same time I don't think I will be wearing this out of the house much.

Don't miss the hands:
Cute! I didn't find them all that comfortable, but a) I'm not used to the hand-covering-sleeve thing, and b) at the computer, I found the inside of the dots a little aggravating on my hands on the desk, and ended up just folding them back. Not a problem, just a comment.

And the pouch:
The attention to detail actually surprised me; it's better made than I had expected. There's a snap in the middle of the pouch flap, to keep it from drooping open when not in use, and the drawstring thing is probably if you have a smaller animal, to keep it tucked in, I guess. The fleece is a liner that zips in, so you can launder it separately if need be*. You can also take the liner out and zip the front closed, so if Carlos doesn't go for it, I could still use the sweatshirt.
*I mean, I washed it separately from the sweatshirt anyway, but if the liner was the site of a mess that the sweatshirt was spared, you could wash just the liner. Conceivably handy.

The fleece is super soft, as is the matching lining in the hood. There's a pass-through pocket in front of the pouch, so you can warm your hands if you aren't carrying an animal, or support the animal you are carrying.

To answer the questions I can think of:
About the sizing: I mostly wear an extra-large in things like sweatshirts. Sometimes, depending on the cut (in the front area, especially), it needs to be 2XL, but 3XL will generally be too big. In this case, because of the runs-small warnings, I ordered the 3XL, and it fits just about perfectly. It's nicely long enough, and the fit is right between too snug and too baggy.

As for washing, I was doing laundry on Thursday anyway, and there was a sort of odor to it (not unpleasant, but, you know, like the store or warehouse, and not clean clothing), so I unzipped the pouch out and put it in a mesh bag, and washed it and the sweatshirt. There was no care tag, so I went with cold water in a gentle cycle, and low in the dryer, and it came out fine. I did put a color catcher sheet in the washer, and washed it in a load of dark clothing, since I was sure the purple would bleed, but it didn't, so that was a pleasant surprise. Still feels soft, and smells better.

And the $64 question: What does Carlos think? Well, I picked him up while I was wearing it (before washing), and he was sleepy, and I tucked his back end in. He clearly could tell that Something Was Different, and he moved gently to get out. But he wasn't upset, and didn't panic or flee or anything, so we'll try again and see. I certainly don't want to rush him, as that would only lead to rejection, I'm sure. I didn't zip the liner back in, but put it in bed on the corner where he often sleeps, since if it smells familiar, that may help. Updates as things happen.

Any other questions?

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Cat(s)

I went into the bedroom today and found someone snoozin'.
He woke up when I took the picture. Well, "woke up" may be overstating it.
But he let me apologize before he went back to sleep.
I got to pet my neighbor's cats last night, very cute and super friendly! She'd probably notice if I snuck one out, right?