Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Right, a quick couple of things


*Since I dressed for the office today (two long-sleeve shirts, cords, wool socks--and at work I was wearing a scarf!), I was woefully overdressed for the real world today. Especially as the chiropractor's a/c was broken! I was very glad to get home and into a t-shirt and shorts, and bare feet. Why do cats get extra-cuddly when it's so hot? And, kudos to me, I ate my melting popsicle without dripping on my shirt.

*It occurred to me to ask you smart people if any of you know why a weird tech thing happened, since I can't remember if I mentioned it when it did. Last summer, in response to something I read about making one's wi-fi network more secure, I changed my network name and password (to something I could actually recognize/remember). A while later, maybe a couple of weeks, I started having some problems (like not being able to print) that turned out to be because the network had reverted back to the old name and password. Is that a thing that happens? Is it a Verizon thing? Did I do something wrong? If I try again, will it revert back again? Anyone know?

*Does anyone want to try the Blue Apron offer, before I cancel my service? Speak now (well, by the weekend) or forever hold your peace.

*Any other Real Genius fans out there, you'll enjoy this. It was enough to get me to put the DVD in my Amazon basket.

*Finally, did I mention what my grandmother said, when I asked her what I could knit her for her birthday? "Something to scare them," them being the people who work at the home. Nice, right? Well, I thought about it, and decided, she's 101, if that what she wants ... so, if you're squeamish about spiders, don't scroll down, close the blog and come back tomorrow!







Still there?









Are we clear?









OK, I found a pattern for a tarantula. I will be knitting one of these:
Yuck! If that isn't love, I don't know what is.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Briefly, Of Chocolate

Three-day weekends are longer than the usual, obviously, but end just as abruptly. It's over? Really? I can't sleep 11 hours tonight?

Ah well. It's been a good weekend overall, even if I didn't get All The Things accomplished (I have such grandiose plans for long weekends).

Saturday's tour of the Taza chocolate factory in Somerville was a high point, well worth the city driving (I am SO not a city mouse; the GPS makes it possible, but not easy [Boston is a challenge to such technology]). I highly recommend the tour, if you have the chance.
The tour itself was informative about the general stone-ground chocolate-making process, and about the history of Taza specifically. What goes on in here, for instance?
The sampling, particularly in the gift shop, was a wonderful way to find favorites. Two thumbs up.

And now, well, I have to prepare myself for the week ahead. Sad sigh. Carlos is going to be so disappointed in me; he thought we had reached a new understanding, which does not involve me leaving him very often. If at all.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chipping Away at the List

What have I accomplished?

I picked up library books tonight (and returned others).

I emptied the dishwasher.

I moved the yarn (other than the fingering) into what I think will be its order. Thicker up top, except that in the bin peeking out of the bottom left, that's the bulky in with the lace-weight.
I'm planning to work on the office/craft space more this weekend. The majority of the yarn is in here and sorted, perhaps 75%, but I want to get, if not all of it, say 95%, done. It's looking good so far. My Saturday is very booked, but Sunday and Monday I should, head permitting, be able to get some solid time in.

Now, I have some laundry to put away, so I will leave you with a pop quiz. I was behind this car the other day, and perplexed by the cut-out spot on the bumper.
Lower right. What is that? Serious or silly thoughts welcomed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Some Success

Not only is dinner cooking, and smelling quite decent in fact, but the DVD player is ... working! It turned out that its problem wasn't the update, it was that the DVD remote wasn't the one talking to it. Up to that point in the process, the TV remote had been navigating fine, but for whatever reason, at that point I needed to be using the DVD remote. And once I performed the time-honored move of taking the batteries out and putting them back in, it worked! And updated! And plays a disc!

I'm off to eat dinner and bask in this small, but sweet success. Any recent successes you would like congratulating for? Lay them on me! I will give you a round of applause for getting out of bed in the morning, if you like.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

That Weight

I had a slight headache when I woke up this morning*, and by afternoon, although the pain wasn't that bad, I realized I was wearing the "yoke of headache," which feels like a weight on my shoulders and a tension in my neck, leaving me slightly hunched and moving more slowly than usual. Is there an app to track walking speed? I think mine would correlate pretty strongly to my head condition.
*And I was in bed by 9 last night...there is no justice.

I guess instead of being too bitter about this, I should be grateful to the chiropractor for making this happen so much less often. Still, never would be nice, too.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tonight Is a Bare Minimum Night

I didn't sleep well last night, so I'm even more tired than usual.

It's Monday.

It got all the way up to 60 today (brrr), and tomorrow it's supposed to rain.

My hands, hips, and knees are being varyingly achy.

When I got home after stitch and bitch, and was feeding the cats, Belmont took a swipe at Carlos, who was just standing there, waiting for dinner.

Then, after she ate, she jumped up on to the couch and promptly threw up, on the couch.

I just need to do the bare minimum and get into bed. And hope that tomorrow is better.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Socks. Let's Talk About Socks. And Yarn

No, I still don't have the DVD player working. Let's talk about something else. Like Belmont, pre-electronic angst.
As I mentioned, I finished the purse socks and started new ones.

New, in springy greens:
Done:
 
And what are they hanging off, you ask? Well, we ended up using one of the dark bookcases for the new TV, not the while one, so I moved the white one into the office, and put it atop the old TV table, which is semi-camouflaging the litter box (making it less obvious, anyway).
Then I decided that, since I "consult" the fingering-weight yarn the most, for socks, it should go there, where the light is better. So:

I like it! And after all, I have only myself to please. The rest of the space is still settling-in, but it's getting there.

Finally, two photos taken when I was out, last week.

First, someone who is strongly asserting his masculinity, don't you think? The plate, and the sticker above it...
Second, this tree managed to smell just as good as it looked. The nice part of spring!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Some Progress, But Much Frustration

The new-TV setup process is a series of "yes, but no" events and right now it's riding on my nerves. (The TL:DR is that the TV and cable are working, the DVD player isn't, and I don't know why it's stuck.)

My friend came over last night, bless her, and got the TV itself set up. But, the cable box did not work with it, just kept giving error messages.

So I called Verizon, and after a bout with the robo-voice* I got to talk to an actual person, who said I could get a new one, and there's a store in a town nearby, that was open on Saturdays, so we set that up. I went there today, and the woman told me that while I could get a replacement for my old, standard box, what I really wanted with a new TV was the HD box. I was going to get the standard box anyway, but it turns out that you have to get the HD box to get the kind of cable connection I hadn't heard of before last night (HDMI, or something), which apparently I really want, and oh, fuck it, what's $4 a month, give me that one.
*I HATE voice-activated calls like that, because I can't curse the way I inevitably want to when I have to call them.

I also stopped at Best Buy and got the cable for the DVD player, because of course that doesn't come with the DVD player, because of course not. Why would they give you what you need to use the product?

I came home and hooked up the cable box. It didn't want to work, so I called and talked to the robo-bitch again, and she "detected" that I had a new set-top box to activate, and said she would start that process and it would take up to an hour, good-bye. What really frustrated me is that she said I would be able to tell it was done when the clock appeared on the front of the display, and the HD box doesn't have a front display, with a clock or otherwise. (That was when I threw the phone across the room. It landed soft. It's fine.)

So, less than an hour later, I poked at the power button of the cable box, and it actually came on! And the TV came on! And I was able to switch to the Rangers-Tampa game! And it was good! I didn't even try the DVD player then; I needed to pause in the something-worked mindset for a while. I watched the rest of the game, which was close but restful to me, since I don't care who wins, and my, hockey does look nice on this big screen. Then I went out, knitting with friends (finished purse socks, started new, photos to come), and picked up a few groceries.

After dinner, I tried to hook the DVD player up. It's supposed to be "just plug the cord into the TV and into the DVD player" but of course there's more to it than that. I did manage to get it speaking to the TV, and it has its own setup process because of course it does. Blah blah blah, enter the wifi password again, and then it got to a point where it said it had a software update it needed to do ... and it wouldn't let me push the OK button. Or the cancel button. Or anything.

To that point, I had been using the TV remote, successfully, and that remote would let me do other things, go into the TV setup menu and stuff, but it would not influence that screen. I tried the DVD remote, thinking maybe it was that, but no. The only way I could even get it off was to unplug the DVD player, and even then the TV was all "I'm looking for it and I can't find it" when I just wanted it to turn on the TV again, jeez, it worked before, would you just give me the damned TV and let me calm down? Please?

So. There I am. And I just want someone to take care of this for me. My hands hurt and I'm tired and aggravated.

Alternate title for this post: This Is Why It Took Me 25 Years to Replace My TV

Thursday, May 14, 2015

No Hockey Tonight

I didn't watch all of last night's game, as I didn't care enough about who won the series to lose sleep over it. I'm mildly pleased (about 55-45) that the Rangers won, since the Capitals knocked the Bruins out of the playoffs in recent memory (painfully, in overtime), and since my uncle is a Rangers fan. So that's good.

The night before, I did stay up to watch Tampa, most satisfyingly, knock the Canadiens out. Buh-bye, bleu-blanc-rouge! I barely felt a pang as the camera showed the hanging heads on Montreal's bench. They are out. Good. It was the one thing I most wanted from the playoffs.

With these games, the second round is over, and we're down to two matches: Tampa-NYR, and Anaheim-Chicago. Two original six teams, two not. All have won the Cup before, so no chance of a first-timer. The next series starts Saturday, which gives me a few hockey-less nights, to get used to the concept of filling my time without a game in the background; the playoffs are a gradual weaning process for me. There should be a lot of news from the Bruins this summer, with the whole issue of having fired the GM, and ch-ch-ch-changes, and the usual development camp (I assume), but I must get used to hockeylessness.

In the meantime, though, this weekend is the National Women's Hockey League training camp for the Boston team, and it's being held at the Bruins practice facility in Wilmington, so I thought I might go up there and see what's what. I have something else to do Saturday morning, that's kinda-sorta out that way, so perhaps I can get organized and there before 11. If not, maybe Sunday morning. We shall see.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

No Regrets

Sometimes one orders something online and is (slightly or considerably) disappointed by the item when it arrives.

This is not one of those times.

A while back, in November, the Yarn Harlot blogged about this yarn that was dyed to stripe perfectly in a shawl, which is something knitters will find very appealing (look at her finished project, so pretty). You don't have to use different balls of yarn and weave in ends, but you don't have to deal with the stripes being all different widths... it's very cool.

As is often the case when Steph writes about something like that, the dyer in question was somewhat overwhelmed by the sudden interest, but I kept an eye on them, and back in March, they had the yarn up for pre-sale, so they could dye as much as sold, and I bought.

It came today. I'll get good pictures, maybe this weekend, but just see a glimpse.
It feels just wonderful.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Super-Strange, Anyway

I think I am, in the grocery store sense of the word, a typical American: I'm used to supermarkets, and the array they provide me with, and while most markets these days have quite an extensive international section, it is nothing like going to, say, an Asian grocery store. Having visited on Saturday, not for the first time but for the first time in a long time, one of the latter, specifically the Super 88 in Malden, I have to say wow, it was kind of like being on a foreign planet, realizing just how many cultural assumptions I didn't think about that I have.

I didn't take my camera out while I was there, though I was tempted many times, as it felt like it would be a very rude thing to do, all gawping at the basil seed soda (although, really? what does that taste like?). But I did photograph a few things I brought home. For instance, although I love the message on this package of cookies, I only knew what flavor it was because of a sign on the shelf.
Potato. Potato flavor cookies. Hmm, interesting. I took them into work, and no one else was a fan, either. Someone also pointed out the lack of actual potato in the ingredients. I imagine that was supplied by the "edible essence", don't you?
Still, I'm glad I tried them! And although the package said this:
I will not be taking them up on that.

Then there was this:
A non-refrigerated egg and milk flavored (or "flauored" anyway) pudding? I had to. After all, read that bottom line.
I looked at the back for more information, but this wasn't what I had in mind.
That's a lot of warning, don't you think? I was also surprised when I opened the package, to find the individual pods labeled thus:
"...that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Verdict? Rather plastic feeling, not a bad taste, but ... I haven't had another yet.

The only other thing I bought (well, besides apples and cucumbers) was a sauce to use in stir-fries.
Cooking caramel? Well, okay then. You have my attention.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Of Blue Apron; Audible; and a Pop Quiz

As I thought when I saw the latest week's Blue Apron recipes (the latest week I got, that is), they were pretty much a win with me--I made two of three, I didn't love everything about them, but ate them all, and aspects of each I really liked, and they even got me thinking about things I could do for myself along the same lines.

However, this week also cemented for me that cooking 3 big meals a week is more than I want, and I think I will be stopping the experiment soon. Before I do, though, does anyone want to try it for themselves? Because Blue Apron sent me an email that I can send free meals to a few people, and just because it doesn't work for my situation isn't to say it's a bad service! Are you interested? Intrigued? Want to try? First two (or three, if Mary Ellen decides to pass) can try it. You have to give me your email address, and I can send you the link.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For Christmas, one gift I got was a 3-month subscription to Audible, which let me buy one audio book per month. Quite a fun gift to get, by the way!

The first one, I got Captains Courageous, which if you're unfamiliar with is a classic, it's by Rudyard Kipling, and I loved it from the time I read it in high school.

The second month, I chose a sci-fi book that I kept borrowing (the audio of) from the library, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, which I loved both the book and the audio, so it was a perfect choice.

And the third I have yet to choose, but what's cracking me up is poor Audible trying to come up with suggestions that are "Based on Your Audible Purchases". Perhaps another classic! Or another by Lois McMaster Bujold! Or ... a classic? I can almost hear their wheels spinning... "These two books have nothing in common! What the hell are we supposed to say? 'Here's a book that is also written in English!'"

They do a little better when they pull in my Amazon and Kindle purchases (pop quiz: what do Patricia Briggs, Georgette Heyer, and Gail Carriger have in common?), although some of those are clearly based on books I bought for my friend's daughter when she turned 10. Mind you, I loved My Side of the Mountain too, but... you know. It may not be my first choice for the audio. Though I suppose I'll listen to the sample before I rule it out.

And if I did pick it, what do you suppose they would suggest based on those three?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Time for a meaningless quiz! I need your help, folks.

The Globe's Big Picture feature today was of the tornadoes that swept through part of the country last week. Photo number 11 is captioned thusly:
A man walks atop his recreational vehicle, turned on it's side during the storms of May 6th, with a boy he salvaged, in Oklahoma City, on May 7.
Now, obviously the it's should be its, but my question is, what is "with a boy he salvaged" supposed to mean? Not only can one not, technically, "salvage" a boy, there is no boy visible in the picture, that I can see anyway. It must be a mistake, but I can't figure out for what. He has something in his hand, but I can't make it out. Could it be a buoy? Help!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Weekendus Evaporatus

Today was not just spring, it was summer. I was hot. I am not complaining, you know. I believe we will be getting back to spring, and then probably bouncing back and forth, but I enjoyed today. I also enjoyed the brunch I went to, and time spent eating good food and catching up with friends. And then the quiet time with cats. And getting things done, here and there. I did a decent job on the list this weekend.

The other night, I took the new TV out of the box, and it looks undamaged from its uncushioned-box-within-a-box ride. Can't be sure until it's set up, I guess, but in any case it is a wee bit bigger than the old one; here it is, on the floor in front, with Belmont for scale.

It's "only" 40 inches, but I feel that's enough of a jump for me. I need to pace myself. Plus, any bigger and it would take over the room. If this room doesn't give off a proper "living room" vibe, I want it to say library, not theater.

In further good news, the stand fits nicely on top of the bookcase I intended to be the new TV table.
And, Belmont wants you to know, that's not the only thing that fits.
The woman who sold me the bookcase threw in the four white inserts, which are flimsy paperboard but hey, I'll take them. I put two into the office, figuring the cats would want to investigate the lower part of the bookcase, but apparently Belmont feels called to that particular square. Twice, the insert was pushed back, so I took it out, and the next thing I know...

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Mother's Day--Check!

My mother isn't big into celebrating Mother's Day*, but naturally one does want to do a little something. I called her tonight to explain how this year, I was managing to celebrate both early and late, which is quite a feat, I think you'd agree. Here's how:
  • I have a little box to mail ... that I haven't mailed yet, so that part will be late. (Content revealed after delivery.)
  • But tonight, I booked a trip to see her for a week this summer ... so that's early! And makes us both very happy.
*For the record, I'm not knocking a big Mother's Day celebration. Ideally, both the mothers and the children are happy with whatever celebration happens, and in my family, we've managed that. I wish you all the same. Or the equivalent: if you don't have your mother, hang in there; I'll be with you on Father's Day. Or, if you don't have a good relationship with her, this time of year must suck for you, too, and I'm sorry about that. Life, you know?

Now that I have tied myself in knots trying to cover everything ... I'm off to eat something and watch hockey.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Where There's Smoke, There's Coughing

According to nearby Facebook friends, brush fires are the reason why the whole area smells like an enormous wood stove. It's normally a smell I like, but it's strong enough, and has been going on long enough, that it's making my head hurt, and catching at the back of my throat. Ugh.

In other news, today's weather was an improvement on yesterday, though as I still didn't eat outside, I didn't get to enjoy it until after work. And since I was working on something difficult this afternoon, and longing to be outside*, well, the combination wasn't good for my mood. (When you find yourself wishing three times over the course of the afternoon that you could tell people to just shut up, you have to realize that the problem may not be them.)
*It isn't entirely rational to want people to stop telling me it's nice out, but when I'm at work and can't go outside, or rather, since I could go outside for five minutes, but I can't BE outside, I wish they wouldn't. 

ANYway. Tomorrow and Friday are supposed to be nice weather too (and the weekend, but I have to get there first), and I will bring lunch to eat outside, and that will help.

Randomly, I enjoyed this from the weekend, via Stanley Cup of Chowder:

I love a sense of humor. Or perspective. Or whatever that is.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Less Weather, More TV

Today's weather was quite a letdown after the majesty that was yesterday.

I had the same lunch today as yesterday (nothing special, ham sandwich and sour cream and onion potato chips), but eating it inside wasn't the same. Somehow, when subtracting 10 degrees and sunshine, eating outside wasn't desirable, though. Wah. It wasn't cold, even at 5 o'clock, and the sun was trying, but, eh. It's supposed to warm up again in the coming days, I hope it does. (I just checked the 10-day forecast, and MAN, I hope they are wrong about the end of that period. Let's not talk about it.)

Meanwhile, the new TV arrived today! Super-fast shipping, faster than I expected actually. I was going to work from home the day it was delivered, both in case it needed a signature and so it wouldn't sit outside the door, but oops, here it is. It turns out that to avoid the "hey, look, who wants a new TV" image, they put the box inside a plain box.

Which was not quite as big as my fridge.
I hope the inner box is cushioning the actual TV, since it rattled a bit when I brought it in. See inside?
They put some packing peanuts in ... oh, can't you see them? Let me turn the flash on.
Down there. So, as I say, hopefully the TV itself is cushioned. I'm not opening it tonight to find out, that's for sure. The new DVD player is on the way, too, but not expected for another week, so ... let it sit for now. I have enough other things to do!

Monday, May 04, 2015

Outside, and In

Work was very Mondayish in its Mondayness today, but other than that? Fantastic day.

I ate lunch outside for the first time in many months, and the weather was simply beautiful.

After work, with a little time before stitch and bitch, I sat outside and just gloried in being comfortably outside in a sleeveless shirt. The sunlight through the new leaves just unfurling was tremendously satisfying.

Then, when I got to SnB, our regular spot had put out their patio furniture, and I sat outside, so, so happily, in the sun; it was kind of windy this evening, but so nice. Blissful, really.

Look what the car said at 5:15:
84 degrees! And when I got home, at 7:30, the sun was down but it was still light.
And 78 degrees! Wowza.
In inside news, on Saturday I went and got one more bookcase from someone on Craig's list. I don't have to make room in the office for this one, since the plan is to have it in the living room.

See the kind-of-big table that the TV is on?
Well, this weekend I finally ordered a new TV to replace this one (hey, it's only 25 years old, I kept waiting for it to die...), and I understand that TVs these days aren't as deep? So they tell me. Therefore, my plan is to put the new one on the bookcase instead, and move the table elsewhere. We'll see if that works out as I envision.

In other inside news, I got progress pictures of the latest socks. The purse pair is halfway through the second:
And the bike socks pair, in the Bruins-tastic yarn I got at Rhinebeck, is nicely into the first sock. Most of it is doing an almost check pattern:
But since it's actually, not black and gold, but black and gold and grey, it's got a funny pooled grey stripe running around.
Yarn is funny. I don't mind.
And the last note, when I changed the sheets this weekend, I neglected to consult Carlos's schedule first.
And he wasn't planning to leave his corner just then, thank you.

Of course I waited. You know how I am. And what was the hurry?

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Quickly, at the end (sniff) of the weekend

And somehow, it's Sunday night and time to get ready for bed. How does this happen, the weekend flying by so fast?
I never did get to my laundry ... I haven't ridden the bike yet today ... but I did get some errands done, and did the dishes from cooking last night, and cooked tonight, and did those dishes ... so it isn't entirely a lost cause. (And I read three books this weekend, which contributed to some of the "I didn't"s as well, of course.... I regret nothing.)

Well. Let me share a few odds and ends, then go my way.

I was much taken with this recent Sheldon cartoon, as this has been my experience in my 40s:
Hockey players can be goofy. Very goofy.



Right?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Color Is Coming. It Is!

Today was the second day of a sales meeting at the office, which, first, was not nearly as annoying as at my last job, where we were all in the same room all the time, and second, meant that at least along with the disruption, there was leftover food. (That I didn't have to organize; I'm still glad about that.) Plus, I wasn't super-busy, so the distraction of the noise wasn't interrupting concentration all the time. Though I did have headphones in sometimes; Mozart kicks background noise away quite well.

This week, more and more trees are (finally, finally) starting to bud and bloom, greens and pinks and whites and everything. In some places, most trees are showing color, in others hardly any, so it's hard to know how many really, but whatever, it's wonderful to see any color at all. Tomorrow's May--doesn't this seem late? I don't know if it really is, or if I'm just feeling extra color starved after this winter, but whatever. Bring it.

I want to get out and take some pictures of it to share, but until I do, here's one from last year.
Pretty! I also miss the blue sky, we haven't been having much of that lately. Hopefully soon! Cross your fingers, will you?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Please excuse me

I did manage to pick up a few groceries tonight, so I can have my smoothie in the morning. And I put them away, and ate some dinner. And now I'm going to watch a hockey game (Tampa/Detroit, game 7; I would mildly prefer Tampa to win, but eh, whatever). And maybe knit.

Here. Have a random, vintage cat photo (via Cute Overload):
The world stops for cat. As it should be.