Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It's Raining

I think I reach this point at the end of April every year, when it's grey and chilly and rainy and I just can't believe it will ever get better. In this case, it's supposed to be improve in only a few days, if not permanently, but I was cheered much more today by making plans to go tulip-picking again. Now that will bring some color into my days! (And hey, thinking about that cheesecake is pretty cheering, too.)

They're sold out this weekend, but I'm going on May 7, and just about counting the days.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Moving On (hockey edition)

I'm more or less at peace with the Bruins' ouster; as I said before, I'd rather they didn't make the playoffs than make it in and be embarrassed in the first round, but they weren't embarrassed. It was a very close series, and they had a lot of key injuries; really, they acquitted themselves pretty well, for a team that for much of the year was questionable to make the playoffs. And young players like Charlie McAvoy give me hope for the next season.

Before we get there, though, there is (gasp) other hockey stuff to watch and follow. First is the playoffs. I've considered the remaining series (games start Wednesday), and am declaring my allegiances:

  • Ottawa versus the Rangers. Obviously I must root against Ottawa, as they knocked the Bruins out, so I am pro-NYR. I may turn these games off early, though, as I am So Over hearing about how fabulous Erik Karlsson is (I mean, he is, but enough already).
  • Washington versus Pittsburgh. I really don't like Pittsburgh, and I am hoping that this is the year that Washington finally sheds their recent reputation as a team that rocks the regular season but can't make it in the playoffs, so go Capitals, go Ovi. Get the monkey off your back.
  • Nashville versus St. Louis. Normally I'm not big for or against either, but I like how Nashville swept Chicago out in the first round (I don't like Chicago), and I'm also a fan of PK Subban, so go Nashville.
  • Anaheim versus Edmonton. I know very little about Anaheim, so I will root for Edmonton and their cadre of young stars, bought with many top drafts picks at the cost of many years of being truly rotten. This may not be their year, but they're on the upturn.

This is pretty relaxing hockey for me to watch. I'll turn it on if I'm home, but don't plan around it. I turn games off and go to bed when I'm tired. I certainly don't stay up for overtime, unless and until it could be the Cup-clincher. Last night I had a game on, but the noise level was a little jarring after a while, so I muted it. Peaceful. I have these preferences, but I don't truly care about any of them, not enough to get tense. It's kind of nice.

And after the Cup is raised, there will be a few things to look forward to:

  • The NHL Awards show, which this year will also feature the expansion draft for the new team in Vegas. I am very curious about who they will draft, obviously from the Bruins but also generally; it's been a long time since the league expanded.
  • Then there will be the regular draft, and free agency. I can't see the Bruins doing anything too big at either, but you never know.
  • After that, it will be time for the Bruins to have their development camp for the future players.
  • And then, it's the long desert until rookie camp, and regular camp, in September. At least it will be summer, and I will have nice weather to comfort me.
It's also possible, even likely, that there will be further repercussions to the NHL's decision not to shut down for the 2018 Olympics. Who will go anyway? Which teams will punish players for going, and which won't, and will the NHL put a rule in about that? Will some teams end up calling up half their farm teams for three weeks in February? How many college players will decide not to sign this year, but play another year in college in hopes of making the Olympic team? I just read about a player going to play in the KHL, with the implication that he's doing it so he can go to the Olympics ... depths and possibilities.

It could get interesting. And with about five months to training camp, I'll take what I can get.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Down, and Up

The Bruins were eliminated from the playoffs today, losing (again) in overtime (again). It's a bummer. I'll have to figure out who to root for in the second round; Montreal was also eliminated, last night*, meaning I won't have them to automatically root against, so we'll have to see.
*Not that I'm complaining about that, of course.

Meanwhile, it was time for a kitty visit this afternoon before the game, so at least the day has had that going for it. Remember my friends who have the two ragdolls? (Visiting one cat, the first; visiting one cat, the second; visiting two cats, the first; visiting two cats, the second.) Well, the puffballs are still adorable.

And now I need to leave the paean to the adorableness of cats and go kill Carlos, who is dissatisfied with the freshness of the food in his bowl and Will Not Shut Up About It. There's reality for you.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Long Report for a Short March

I am exhausted. Sore all over. Ouching with every move.

How did I get here?

Well, let's see. Thursday night I had water aerobics, so afterward, and Friday, I was generally sore, as I usually am. My hands were also having a bad day, which could have been due to the swimming in whole, in part, or not at all, who knows. The joys of arthritis.

Friday night I went to a friend's house to hang with her cats for a bit, as the family is away and she's worried they were lonely. I watched the Bruins' must-win game there, or I guess I should say I watched the part that happened in regulation; when it was going to overtime, I decided that since I was getting pretty tired and would only get more so, I should drive home while I was at least that alert. I caught the start of OT in the car, and then went inside for the rest of the first overtime period and into the second. There was a lot of drama, and I was highly stressed.

But finally, just before midnight, the Bruins scored! (Rational game recap here; emotional one here.) I was so happy for rookie Sean Kuraly, who tied the game with his first NHL goal, then got the game-winner in 2OT. He was leaping into the air, it was very cute. The whole thing was very exciting, but so exhausting to watch. I tumbled into bed just after midnight, feeling like I'd been beaten with a stick.

I slept pretty solidly, but got up (at 10!) still feeling surprisingly sore, and generally achy and tired. In hindsight, I should have thought twice about going in to the Science March, but I really wanted to go, and it wasn't until 2, plus it was actually a rally and not a march, so I thought I would give it a try, and gave myself permission to leave when I needed to.

Which didn't take long. I got there just about 2, when the crowds were already large but the speakers were just getting started.

You can see that the ground is wet; yesterday, the forecast for today just said it would be "overcast," but that turned out to mean drizzling and chilly and truly unpleasant. Stupid April in New England.

Anyway. I listened to some speaking, but my back and legs were getting painful with the standing, so I tried walking around, and that wasn't any better, and in short order I was in enough pain that I was walking back to the T. Disappointing, but when I was trying not to groan out loud at the pain of sitting down once the train came, I knew it was the right thing to do. It was a good, if painful, lesson in Listen To Your Body, and maybe next time I will get the message before I overspend my spoons.

There were lots of great signs there, and I got pictures of a few of them.

This one on the left I tried a few times to get. Cut off the top.
And cut off different parts. A for effort?

And a clever way to carry a sign.
My arms were too tired to hold my sign up much, but I made a small, two-sided one.

And the shirt I wore (which no one could see under my coat, but anyway):
I remember giving blood in college, back when the Red Cross would take my blood (yes, I am still bitter that they won't now), and they would offer us little stickers that said, "Be nice to me, I gave blood today." There were also stickers that said, "Be nice to me, I tried," which I always thought were rather sad. But today, I think I earned that much. I tried. I'm okay with that.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Even I Can See That Doesn't Add Up

I know that the Weather Channel is about weather, and not math, but I think they're flunking the basics anyway. Compare what I circled in red with the red numbers staggering* down the left side.
*MS Paint is not the best editing tool, but it gets the point across.
Also, that is not a lot of sunshine in the tenfifteen-day forecast, is it? Sigh. If I can't have real warmth, I would at least like the sun to be out.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Few Flowers, the Cat; It's a Start

My mother left for home today, so I can start getting back to my routine; it was a good visit, but I'm such a creature of habit that I appreciate the return to usual, even as I'm sorry to see her go. I'm off to water aerobics, and while a certain furball won't be glad to see me go out, he'll be happy when I get back.

So, a few shots of the flowers I brought for Grandma, including the unusual-to-me white tulips, which looked so fake.
But they hadn't come all the way up when I bought them, so I know they're real.
And this orange one, I don't remember what it was called, but it's pretty.
And then from the garden wall at my aunt's, spring beginning to spring up.
The hyacinths were just opening that day.
And not all of them were up.
Daffs, of course.
And more.
And more.
We had really nice weather, warm for the time of year, over the weekend.
Now it has cooled down again, which is unfortunate, but at least it didn't snow. So there's that.

Meanwhile, Carlos spent some pensive time this afternoon next to the catnip toy.
Not playing with it, mind you. Just keeping it company.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I'm Home

And do I have stories from the weekend! But for tonight, I just give you Herman, the knit tarantula, in his bunny slippers.
Grandma seemed to find it amusing, so that's good.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

So Where Are We?

We are here:

  • Work is done for the day, and for Monday as well. Yay for a short break!
  • Mum's plane is in the air; it even left about on time. (And she's not flying United, phew.)
  • In a little while, I'll be leaving to meet her.
  • Things here are pretty clean, tidy, and overall ready for the visit.
  • But I expect I'll be jittering around poking at/dusting things until it's time to leave.
  • Well, that and getting things together for my packing.
  • It's nice, the clean and tidy, but it's a lot of work. I guess if I did it more often, it wouldn't be, up to a point, but still. Why don't I have staff to take care of these things for me?
  • When you have a cat, cleaning up the cat hair feels pointless sometimes. Love you, buddy, but the fur is everywhere.
  • We're leaving for NY tomorrow. Returning Monday; Mum flies out next Thursday.
  • I may or may not be back here over the next week, basically.
  • Y'all be good!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Knitting Lately

I feel like I haven't talked about my knitting much recently, other than that I had to fix the divot in the Farfalla, and accept that it isn't stitch and bitch knitting for me right now. Of course, I haven't been doing a ton of other knitting lately, but due to not taking Fafalla out, I did finish the latest socks this week. My usual pattern, and the yarn is Linda's Car Socks from Pinestar Studio (though I just found that I had put in Ravelry that it was Ellen's Half Pint Farm, and that's not right, whoops! Glad I caught that). This yarn, the yarn I actually used, is Blue Faced Leicester, and feels very nice. I would call the color Mildly Colorful.

Formal feet:
Relaxed feet:
And, of course, next socks cast on at once.
Same pattern. Early days.
This yarn is Maple Creek Farm Alexandria, which I got at Rhinebeck in 2014. When I went stash-diving for which sock yarn to use next, it leaned out and asked if winter was far enough gone by that I could appreciate one of the less-bright skeins, and I decided that I could. It has a nice squish to it, and a slight, pleasant, wood-and-cedar-chip scent.

Stash is a funny thing. Every once in a while I will see, or think of, a particular skein, and feel that its turn must surely be here, but I don't know what to make with it. Recently, the skein of Briar Rose Fibers Wistful that I got at Rhinebeck in 2013 came up this way, not for the first time, and I spent a little while pondering it.

Having been so into making shawls recently, I am starting to feel that urge wane, since at this point, I have quite a few (and one on the needles, I know, but bear with me). I tried to think what else I could use it for, and got an idea when I saw this set of scarf, hat, and mitts that seemed a good concept. That is to say, I didn't fall in love with these particular pieces, but I like the idea of making such a set with this yarn. I haven't gotten any farther than that, and it may not happen, or at least not soon, but this post is about knitting, and these are knitting thoughts I've been having.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Better Today

I got a fair bit done over the weekend, both regular cleaning and spring cleaning and a little day-to-day stuff, but by last night, I was tired and sore and grumpy about all the things that didn't get done. My hands hurt, and I was In A Mood, despite the nice weather that I had, truly, enjoyed on Sunday. The good news was that my hands were improved today, and the weather was open-window lovely, and I had a very well-timed slow work day, so I had time to do some more around the house (working from home perk #87).

Meanwhile, my mother arrives Thursday night, so my Monday morning look-at-the-week-ahead kind of goes through then, instead of Friday. Tonight, chiropractor and stitch and bitch; tomorrow, swimming; Wednesday was going to be the other knitting group, but since it's the first game of the playoffs, I believe I will stay home, watch that, and potter about doing last-minute tidying (which, as I've said many times, my mother couldn't care less about, but which I do for the sake of the 11 months of the year when I don't).

Speaking of that last parenthetical bit, actually, I'm starting to realize that, as I get older, and as my arthritis gets worse, I'm going to have to put more effort into planning ahead and spacing this sort of stuff out. I simply can't go-go-go all day and Finish All The Things, or even Most of The Things, and being upset about that isn't going to change it. I, and especially my hands, need a slower, more measured pace. Which, at age 48, is unsurprising, I guess, and anyway being in denial isn't going to change it. Just food for thought.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

A Few Things

The Bruins played their last game of the regular season today, and while it wasn't as bad as the final games the last two years were, it was disturbing in another way: unless the Bruins beat Washington, they would face Washington in the first round. And if you can't beat them today, how is that first round going to go? One of the Bruins blogs put on Facebook, "If this is a preview of the playoffs we are screwed" and I can't argue. Oh, well, that's next week's problem.

Recently, someone local put on Facebook that they were ordering yard signs if anyone wanted one, and I did; it came today, and I put it in my window (not having a yard, per se).
There is a general Facebook page (and a whole lot of local ones), which points back to their website, and you can read the story and download the images if you want to use your own, or look for someone local to you to get one. I think it's pretty nice.

I thought the other day that Carlos seemed to be hesitating to make the jump up on the bed, and I'm aware that he might have trouble with that as he gets older, so today I moved something next to the bed that he can use as a step. He wasn't using it (and was able to get onto the bed, it isn't that he can't do it at all), so I picked him up and tried to place him on it, so he could see what it was for ... and you'd have thought I was trying to dunk him in a pot of water, as he frantically reached his paws toward the bed. Doofus.

It's supposed to be sunny tomorrow. Not here and there, not now and then, but just sunny. I really hope they're right. Sunny and 60 would be miles better than we've had this week, and I'm ready to do some spring basking.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Mostly Bruins, A Little Muppet

A little more about last night's Bruins achievement.

I've often said that the key to happiness is low expectations, and that it sounds pessimistic but it really isn't. If you aren't expecting too much, then you're pleased by everything positive that happens. (Note that I am not successful in applying this to some aspects of my life, but I do try.) While I stand by my previously expressed feeling that I don't want them to make the playoffs only to be routed in the first round, I will say that it is pleasing not to go down to the wire on clinching a spot this year. Both of the last two years, they went all the way to the last game only to not make it in, and if you think that didn't make the Shirts Off Their Backs event awkward, well.

On the minus side, Brad Marchand, who has been having his best year ever and seemed to be really on track to transition from pest to skill player, made a damned stupid move (spearing), got thrown out of the game (deservedly), and may get suspended*. The moron! The only funny part about it, and even that wouldn't have been funny if the Bruins had lost the game, was it being described variously as a hit to the midsection, to the privates, or my favorite, "He hit him ... well, you know where he hit him." (Or, per blog coverage today, "in an area where you do not want to get speared" and "the vicious cup-check".)
*He has a meeting with the Department of Player Safety tomorrow, so the real question is, how long?

On the plus side, though! Unless you are very new to this blog, you have probably caught on that I just love Patrice Bergeron, and have from the start of his career. (Also, I would like to point out that this is strictly admiration for him as a player, unlike Steve Kasper, who I loved as a teenager because he was just so cute.) The jokes about Patrice being practically perfect aren't really jokes, he's just so good at everything he does.

One of his skills is winning face-offs; as of this morning (looking at ESPN's stats), he has taken the highest number of face-offs in the NHL this season, 1785, and won the highest number, 1068, giving him a save percentage of 59.8. You have to go down to number 40 on the list of most face-offs taken to find anyone with a higher percentage; there are only two players who have taken more than 1000 draws this season and are higher than he is. The general wisdom is that winning more than half is pretty good.

And last night, Mr. Practically Perfect went 17 for 17. He won them all. This is practically a unicorn. Happy sigh...

Now, this is a very tenuous transition, but does anyone remember the Muppet Mahna Mahna version with Dion Phaneuf? I blogged it years ago; I still think of it whenever I hear his name. Well, that links hockey, which I was just talking about, with the Muppets, and I give you this Mahna Mahna version that I saw today, which brought tears of laughter to my eyes.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

They're In!

The Bruins are in the playoffs! 

After two DNQ seasons, just getting in is nice (though I hope they acquit themselves well), and qualifying before the very last minute (which is Saturday) is good too. Chara is hugging every player as they go off the ice.

And now, bed!

Monday, April 03, 2017

Fixed, and Now Fixed

I mentioned recently that I cast on the Farfalla shawl, and last week at stitch and bitch, I learned that despite how simple this part is, for me it is not social knitting. To quote myself, this section "has to increase evenly on one side, and unevenly on the other," and look at this:
See that little hitch? That is Wrong. This is supposed to be the side that increases evenly. Whoops.

Not only that, but when I fixed it over the weekend, I found that I had messed up not once, but twice (here is where we bless patterns that give us stitch counts at regular intervals, so we can check if we have gone astray).

So even though this isn't difficult, it isn't going to stitch and bitch with me tonight. Apparently, it isn't social knitting. Which is kind of a bummer, but one of the basic rules* is, Knitter, Know Thyself.
*More like guidelines, really...

Sunday, April 02, 2017

First Before and After

I can now show that I have made progress in one corner of my bedroom! Here are the "before" photos of that area.
Piles and stacks.
The laundry baskets really did just have dirty clothes in them, but there were plenty of holding piles all over.
Just, ugh.
I can say, in the spirit of full disclosure, that I have not yet taken care of everything seen here; I have a pile of clothing on the couch that I am sorting through, trying on, and have yet to decide on, as well as having removed some things that didn't belong there but have to be found places for. But no more chaos is going into this corner! And two more bags of clothing have been donated, too.

Now, after. Lots of clutter removed! The tiny drawer thing on top has stockings, clutch purses, slips. The cardboard box has shawls in it, a test of giving them a place of their own (they were previously here, there, and everywhere).
Don't miss the little guy to the right.
Pecky, from my childhood trip to Sea World. He was buried up there, along with childhood's Winnie the Pooh, and Clive the purple dinosaur (from college, actually). I'm ready to let those two go, but not this guy.

There is one shoe atop that shoe-holder stack because it was in one of the boxes on its own. I have yet to do the search for its mate. The blue Rubbermaid tote holds sweaters that I'm not sure about; they may go, but today was not their day. Again, actual laundry in the baskets.
The tote bag in the foreground to the right holds clothing that really does belong in that area. I have another small set of drawers that will be cleaned out and go into that area, I think.
Look, floor!
And the lower drawers, which were stuffed with sweaters, now have room for more tops. Just because I work from home now doesn't mean I'm getting rid of all my dressier clothing. Some of the hanging clothes in the closet will be moved here, too.
Finally, I didn't really get a good "before" picture that showed the rocking chair, but believe me, it was stacked with Stuff. So much better now!
I'll say it again: baby steps get you there eventually.