Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Short Mix

Right, I have about a million things to do now, in order to only be unprepared for the weekend and trip (rather than woefully unprepared or startlingly unprepared). Here's what I have for you. Cute lion cuddles.
This next thing is because it's too true:
It was about 40 degrees today. Brr. Trees and all are juuuuust starting to go green or flowery, but really, it's solidly pre-spring, again.

And now I speak to myself the words of Ferris Bueller: "You're still here?"

Otherwise? Happy Easter. Happy grandma's centennial. Go Bruins. All that good stuff. Later!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cautious Optimism; at the least, relief

It's over! And I think it went well? Who knows. Interviews, right? As always, who knows how it really went, but thinking that it went well is better than being sure it didn't! And it's done, which is good enough for now. Survived, and no red flags. Beyond that? The recruiter said she expected to be in touch in a week or two. We'll see!

I drove from their office to the nearby post office, and sat in my car to dash off quick thank-you notes, because why not? I'm grateful to get an interview, even if nothing else comes of it. Job searching while you have a job is awkward at best, but at least the desperation level is far, far lower than during unemployment. On work's more irritating days, I have to remember that.

And then I came home to discover the no-reason-except-it's-perfect-for-you present sent by my brother:
Which is now in the laundry, so I can wear it on Saturday. I just vacuumed, and now there are dishes to wash. Don't be jealous of my glamorous life. Or can yours top mine?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

So, About Those Crossed Fingers

(Here's what I started to write, Monday afternoon/Tuesday morning)
I knew that I was going to be busy on Monday, what with the dentist, the phone interview, the chiropractor, stitch and bitch, and, you know, working, so on Sunday I set up a post to go up Monday night. Now, on Tuesday, I can update you on some of Monday!
  • The dentist says I need a crown on the tooth that lost a corner. Actually, what she said was, the left side wants to be like the right, it wants a crown too. Since it's not bothering me, it isn't an emergency, so I'm going in next Wednesday, after returning from Grandma's.
  • The phone interview went ... well? I think? Who the hell actually knows. She didn't say anything that turned me off, and hopefully vice versa. She said she will be in touch by the end of the week about "next steps", and wouldn't that be nice, if it were to happen? I'm not holding my breath, though of course I can't help thinking about it. But other than the immediate pre-call jitters, and post-call nerves, I'm doing fine about it.
(Insert sound of record scratching)
Aaaaannnd then, I got an e-mail from the recruiter this afternoon, asking about my availability to come in, for an interview, this week. That sound you just heard was my previous calm evaporating in a puff of eek. And then I had to be cool all afternoon, a la Willie Mays Hayes learning he didn't get cut from the Indians, until I could leave. Exhausting.

So I'm working a bit earlier than usual tomorrow, so I can be done earlier and there by 4. And I'm going off to prepare now, and try not to freak out (too much). If you could cross your fingers tomorrow, I would surely appreciate it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Random Photo Time

What has my camera seen, around and about lately?

Well, there was this gift bag that I saw when looking for one for Grandma. I so would have gotten this for my dad. Sad smile. He would have loved that.
There was this cartoon my mother sent, which so speaks to me in this era of passwords:
There was this unusual sign, seen in downtown Needham:
Is it meant to be a traffic sign? You've got me.

I went out west on Saturday to visit a friend, and you know, once you're going outside 495, you might as well combine it with a trip to Webs, right? Particularly when you have a gift card hoarded from your birthday.

I got a few tools:
More DPN protectors, and needle tips. I also got a circular needle, in rare-for-me metal, to replace this one:
Which apparently did not enjoy being in my purse. Sigh. Perhaps metal will be wiser. Anyway, I'm trying square needles for the first time.
So far, so good. And the sock does not seem to be too big so far, thankfully. It was getting ridiculous, this process. Though I should bring some other sock yarn with me next weekend, in case I change my mind on that when I get farther along.

And you know I got some yarn as well. Manos del Uruguay Fino, lovely and soft and (unsurprisingly) blue:
And some happily/unhappily-on-sale Blue Moon Marine Silk Sport, also unsurprisingly blue:
Lovely stuff, but it was only on sale because Webs isn't going to carry Blue Moon yarn any more, which is terribly sad. They were my "see it in person" source outside Rhinebeck, which after all is only once a year. I don't know why they are making the change; I know that Blue Moon is going to be sold in a few more shops than it used to be (worldwide, that is), so the change could be part of that, but I hope it will appear somewhere else near me. Maybe Coveted will get it! That would be awesome.

My camera has also caught someone with a complaint.
And on another day, when his complaint was that I was bothering him.
His is a hard life.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mostly Knitting Updates

It's been a busy weekend, so I guess I shouldn't be so surprised that it's Sunday evening already.

I made it in to work on Friday, the headache being more mild than it had been on Thursday. My boss had e-mailed that she would be working from home on Friday, so I wasn't expecting her, but somewhat to my surprise, no one else was in the office either. We don't generally get full turn-out on Fridays, but at least a few people are usually there. It was kind of funny, but nice to be able to talk to myself aloud, hum or whistle, etc.

Meanwhile, it's time for a knitting update, and specifically, knitting for my grandmother's upcoming 100th birthday. It's being productive, which is a good thing with a week left, eh? I have finished four small projects and am working on the fifth and (presumably) last.

First was the doily I made:

Second, I made her a cupcake cloth and embellished it with "100":
I tried adding her initials, too, but it didn't look good, so I decided to leave well enough alone.

Next, I made two versions of the same thing, a double-knit soap sack (and then I decided to re-do one, since it was slightly wonky). Double knitting is a cool technique where you knit both sides of an item at once, by knitting half the stitches as you go across a row, just slipping the others, then doing the opposite on the way back. It's pretty much magic, if you ask me.

It looks kind of normal.
But then, when it's big enough to hold your selected soap, you slip the stitches onto two needles, and voila, it opens!
Slide in the soap, put the stitches back as they were, and bind them off.
One cotton, one wool. I'm doing the wool one over, since it was slightly too big for the soap.
But aren't they cute? I hope she likes using them, too.

The last item took the longest, because although it's pretty simple, it's fingering yarn and thus takes more time (so, a week instead of a day). It also encountered an early setback, but it went well after that. The pattern is called Ditty Bag, as I thought she might be able to use a small bag for something or other. I'm using the yarn left from the shawl I made for her in January.
The setback happened after the row with the eyelets, which is for the drawstring. The pattern says that after that row, you just straight knit it all until it's as long as you want it to be, so that's what I started to do, but the eyelets are double yarn overs, and I was dubious about how they were looking in the following rows. They seemed to be laddering a little, and I wasn't happy with how they looked.
This was at stitch and bitch on Monday, and I put it aside. When I got home, I looked at some of the projects on Ravelry, and found a lifesaver of a note: "Figured out that although the pattern says to knit the round under the eyelet row, the second yarn over actually has to be purled." Ah-ha! I, too, think I learned that at one point, but I'd forgotten. I ripped back to that point, picked the stitches up again (ugh, fiddly little things) and did it that way. Perfect! I do know what I'm doing, some of the time! It's a nice little pattern, other than that oversight, and would make good purse knitting as, like a sock, it doesn't get big but does take time. The soap sacks I did in a total of three evenings, not many hours, but this is slower. Which is good, sometimes. I also love the way the picot hem looks, and it was surprisingly easy to do; fiddly, but not difficult. Things like this help my confidence when other projects (ahem, duck feet) have dented it.

The pattern does give instruction to make a cord, but I simply could not get that to work. The woman who came up with the pattern is a spinner, and perhaps she was transferring skills from that, skills I lack. Fortunately, I had this bit of ribbon that goes nicely; problem solved.

One thing I have to decide on, soon, is what project to bring with me to work on during the visit. Of course, I want something that's fairly "social knitting," that doesn't require close pattern-following. I also want it to be for me; I checked my projects on Ravelry to confirm, and other than socks, I haven't actually made much of anything for myself in a while, like a year, which is very un-me of me. [I do have two probably-for-me shawls that have been started and put aside for other things, so I may bring one of them, but I'll have to check how well they fit the social knitting criteria (I'm thinking not so much).] And I have so much fabulous yarn I'm dying to use! I really want to start something with the Briar Rose I got at Rhinebeck last year, but I'm having trouble deciding what to use it for. Unless inspiration strikes, I may go with the Maple Creek Farm Richmond yarn that I got with a pattern in mind; one of my friends bought some more because she had used it to make a little Kiri shawl, and she loved it; the pattern is pretty and she said the yarn was wearing like iron. So, that's a distinct possibility. I even wound the yarn and printed the pattern, in case.
Isn't it pretty? We'll see if that ends up being next. I wouldn't be surprised if I end up winding something else before we leave...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

So! Things to Say!

Well, there's been a lot happening in the last few days, some mildly bad, some potentially good. Let's see, to be chronological:

Tuesday, I got an e-mail from a recruiter who saw my resume on Indeed (which, if you are unfamiliar, is a job-search site) and wanted to point me to some openings at her company. I looked at the listings and one did sound possible. (I also looked at my information on Indeed Tuesday night, as I haven't been using it lately, and found that yes, it did not include my current job. So, that's interesting!) I replied to her e-mail to say that I was currently employed but "very open to discussing possibilities elsewhere", and sent my current resume and the link to my LinkedIn page, in case, and asked if she wanted me to go through their website's application. (I was kind of hoping she would say no, we can talk first.)

Wednesday I worked from home, intending to go to the alternate knitting group in the evening. I heard back from the recruiter that yes, I should fill in their application (drat), so at lunchtime I took a look at that. First, it gave me the option to link to my LinkedIn page, and next to upload my resume, so I was hoping their system would pull at least most of what it needed from one or the other. Nope! It was basically an electronic version of the multi-page application you would have been handed, with a pen, when you went for an interview 20 years ago; I swear, some companies don't "get" the possibilities of the internet age (and this is me saying that!). I let the recruiter know that I wouldn't be able to finish it until later, and went back to work for the afternoon.

Mid-afternoon, I decided to make some popcorn for a snack, and afterward was trying to figure out why I couldn't get a piece that was stuck in a back tooth out, but soon realized it wasn't a kernel, it was a corner of the tooth which seemed to be missing, next to a filling. Excellent. I called my dentist's office, and (of course) she's out of town. I made an appointment for Monday morning; it doesn't actually hurt, just feels weird, but it's definitely One More Thing I Don't Want to Deal With. I really don't want to deal with finding someone else, covered by the insurance, who would agree to see me ASAP when it doesn't actually hurt ... but I hope that decision doesn't bite me on the butt over the weekend.

Anyway, after work yesterday, I went back to the application, and man, it's just annoying. I mean, when all I've seen is the job description, and don't even know if I'M interested in YOU, to have to give: the date I could start, education history, employment history, three references, assurances that should I be employed by them, and then leave, I will return the company's property ... overkill much? I worked on it, trying to not be annoyed, let it go, let it go. I also e-mailed the two previous co-workers I had lined up as references in the past, to let them know I'd be giving their information out, and tried to decide who to ask to be a third ... Oy. My mood was deteriorating, so I decided I'd better leave it for the night. I wasn't feeling social by that point, so I knit on the couch with Carlos, instead of going out (Grandma's birthday knitting is progressing, updates to come).

Thursday, aka today, I had intended to go into the office, but woke with a mild-but-annoying headache, and decided better not risk it. I was able to work, so I finished up the report I was on (for the last three and a half weeks, the devil) and sent it back. I also heard back from the recruiter, even though I hadn't finished "submitting" the application, to set up a phone call in the next few days. Interesting! (Does that mean I didn't have to fight with the silly form? Or that I did enough of it? Who knows.) I will be talking to her on Monday afternoon, if anyone wants to cross their fingers then. Meanwhile, the headache and attendant upset stomach have lingered, a little better, a little worse, plus for some reason I was sneezing my head off all morning--that had to be a coincidence, it isn't a thing with my headaches, but honestly, more irritation? Not welcome. At least, working at home, I only drive myself crazy with it, and could be unhappy-headachey out loud (Carlos was very sympathetic). Also good was that, after I returned that report, I only had one short piece to do; I was essentially on call all afternoon in case more came in, but as it didn't, I was able to loll and whine, and knit, and pet the kitty. Not the greatest day, but it could have been worse.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Kind of a Random Mix

The amount of overlap on a Venn diagram of fans of the Winnie the Pooh movie (the one from my childhood, that is) and the first Star Wars movie may be small, but hey, I'm in it, maybe you are too? If so, watch this, it's awesome.

And if that's not up your alley, sorry about that. How about this charming picture of a German shepherd "hiding"?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Some Hockey Thoughts

As the end of the regular season approaches, there's a possibility of a fun new piece of hockey trivia coming up: how do you score a goal in an NHL game you don't play?

Tomorrow night, Columbus and Dallas are playing the make-up game for the one that was called off last month, when Rich Peverley's heart stopped on the bench*. The league announced that the game would play from the beginning (it was stopped early in the first period), but that the score would start 1-0, since Columbus had scored in that game.
*If you aren't familiar with it, the summary is that he was revived, and has since had surgery; he's "fine" for now, hoping to play again.

Here's the catch: Nathan Horton, who scored that goal, is out with an injury and may not be able to play in the make-up game. Cool, eh? Assuming Horton doesn't play, that becomes one of my favorite hockey trivia questions, along with the one about who scored all five types of goals in one game.

Also, if you're a hockey fan and on Ravelry, I found a thread in the Puck This group with hockey lolz, and oh, so funny! Such as:
It's an awful lot of fun, I must say.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Less Heralded Signs of Spring, and a Question

Much is made of the first robin as a harbinger of spring (overlooking the fact that they can be seen in January).

Seeing plants come up is less exciting in an office park, where the landscapers have placed them.

If you have to look closely at a tree and squint to see what may be, might be buds, it lacks thrills.

But there are early, pre-spring signs starting to show up. Beginning to start to commence to, anyway.
  • Street-sweepers clearing the winter's left-behind sand.
  • Cars parked by ponds that disgorge fishing poles instead of ice skates.
  • Geese are seen in pairs instead of groups.
Have you seen any signs where you are?

But that's not the question. The question is: If you asked someone at the grocery store if they carried pre-made pesto, and found that (perhaps related to English not being his first language), he didn't know what pesto was, how would you describe it?

Sunday, April 06, 2014

A Photo Post: Cat, Florida, Random

Carlos is starting to wear out my I-was-away-and-abandoned-him guilt feelings. I'm not going to be his beck-and-call girl 24-7, I hate to break it to him.

Good thing he's cute, eh? Here he was yesterday, getting ready for the Bruins game.
You can see how excited he was. Why, several times, he stirred!

What woke me?
 If you could keep it down...
 Must you be so loud?
 Then he turned around.
 And later, back.
 And tried to drown out my cheering.
 I swear, I tried to keep it down.
But he's a hard one to please. Though I know he's happy when I'm happy.

In other news, I am sorry to say that my arm is peeling. I didn't even get that much sun in Florida, and it's hardly hang-around-outside-showing-skin weather around here, so I won't be getting much more for a while. It was nice to visit it.

My perfect breakfast: coffeecake, raspberries, fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Your average ditch in Florida holds the neatest birds.

And some shots of the basic Florida sunset.
As for random, how about this movie review in the Globe recently?
Isn't that something? "Unremitting meditations on and images of incomprehensible human evil". Wow. That has my name all over it--in the sense of the last movie I would ever want to see.

Also random, and more entertaining, seen recently in a used bookstore:
 Doesn't he look overly serious, for the author of "The Miracle of Milk"?
In another bookstore, Barnes & Noble this time:
Would you call a model of a siege tower an activity for everyone? I'm unconvinced. Though I suppose a sign saying "Will Appeal to a Random Few" wouldn't be much of a sales piece. What sign would you put over this?

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Let Me Sum Up: Comments, Knitting (Socks and Other)

First let me say, in response to Melissa's comment on my last post, I could not agree more: it IS pathetic that I should be happy it's not snowing, like that's an achievement in April. And the fact is (she said while knocking vigorously on wood, throwing salt over her shoulder, and spinning in circles), it hasn't been snowing a lot lately. It's just that the cold has been so lingering, winter so obviously Not Done With Us, that we're all quite jumpy about it.

(And while I'm responding to old comments, I was digging through the ridiculousness that is my e-mail inbox [which, since I tend to *mean* to respond to things right away, but often don't, requires a good whack with a machete on a regular basis] and came across a comment from ZaftigWendy about an image I put up here [back in February, ulp], wanting to share it. Thing is, I didn't make it, so I don't feel I should take credit for it! I first saw it on Facebook myself, but I don't remember from where. I did a reverse-image google search, and it comes up in a few places, so I don't know who should get credit. So, if you're reading, I have no problem with you using it [and if you want to say you got it from me, that's fine, just not made by me], but that's easy for me to say. Do as you like.)

Right, what was I going to write about, before I distracted myself with parentheses? Oh, yes, socks!

Just to be clear from the start, it's not all a tale of woe. I finished the latest purse socks in Florida.
They turned out quite nicely. The usual Skyp pattern, and yarn I got at Rhinebeck in 2012 (Biltmore Wool Barn, the tag says), a merino-nylon-cashmere blend that feels nice without feeling so overly soft you worry about wear. And the pair took just over half the skein, so enough for another slightly shorter pair.

Which, in fact, I started while I was there. But first, about the other sock project I brought with me. Remember the yellow-and-green yarn from before I went away? That I ripped? For a second time? As I said, I cast it on smaller, and "Hopefully that won't be too big, because if it is, the yarn may have to hibernate until I can figure it out." So, guess what's hibernating? This yarn.
Just not working out. And I like the pattern! (I like the yarn too, but it's going to sit for now.) I'll have to try it again sometime. Meanwhile, it wasn't going to work with the thinner periwinkle yarn (at least, not without adjusting, and I didn't wanna), so I chose another of Wendy Johnson's patterns, Seaweed Socks, and cast that on instead. There was a size with 66 stitches, and since the finished ones above had 64, that seemed like it would be close enough to work. Pretty, right?
However. Look at it on the right, and the Skyp on the left.
Unbelievably, too big. Frog time!

I cast on the small size today. For my nine-and-a-half-wides! I don't claim to understand what's going on. I wonder what will happen with these? Since it's still too early to tell.
I just wanted to get this to the point of being purse knitting, since for an appointment this morning I had to fall back on my emergency back-up sock (I looked back and I don't seem to have blogged about the sock I started after Christmas, where I wasn't loving how it was coming out, so I stuck it in with the sock yarn for when I needed "something ready to go."). Once this one was this far along, I put it aside again, and went back to Grandma knitting.

For the upcoming hundredth birthday, I'm making her a bunch of little things, more decorative than useful per se. The first thing I did was a doily-ish version of one of the washcloths I made for Christmas. Here is it blocking.
Next up, a modified version of the cloth I made Mary Ellen for her birthday this year. Finished it today, though I haven't made the modifications yet (figure that one out).
So I want to get on that, and cast on the next thing. And as Carlos just came by calling for my company, I will stop here. I got some cute pictures of him earlier, perhaps they will go up tomorrow. For now, the real thing needs me. Good night!