Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Not the headless horseman, no

But guess what I wore to work today?

Isn't it pretty? I feel like a princess in this ... although I do trip frequently over my skirts in a rather unprincesslike manner. Which can lead to unprincesslike language, I'm afraid. (Head cropped to protect my identity, such as it is, and as though anyone who doesn't already know me cares ... but still.)

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ackee 1-2-3

So here I was, packing to my own drummer (get rid of crayons yes, rubber stamps no, try not to trip on cat), and I realized that I was singing English Beat, which no I haven't heard on the radio lately. [I could have done: my favorite station around here is 93.7 Mike FM, and they live by their motto "we play everything"; however, I've been very into an audio book recently, and haven't been listening to the radio.] I dug out the cassette -- yes, tape! I am dating myself here (insert your choice of bad joke). Though it's sounding a little wobbly; maybe time to CD it. From 1982, after all, thank you very much. Special Beat Service: a good album. I'm packing and singing and in the groove, but here are some things I'll tell you about another day:

* a feline delusion
* graphic blandishment
* a day of hearing Gary Larson's angels
* that audio book
* my Halloween costume

For now, though, "nothing rings as true as silence"!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hey, they won!

The Bruins won last night: how about that? Isn't that nice? If unexpected. I watched them warming up before the game and could almost see the doom clouds following them around the ice, but they came from behind and held on to the lead. How unlike them. But such a pleasant surprise.

Yesterday turned out to be a good day not to be moving. It was my original move date, before the fire delayed the closing, and it was rainy and blustery and not much fun for moving, so that's turning out okay so far. Have to wait and see what weather I actually do get for moving before I crow too loudly.

I had a thought about part of the moving process, but I'm not sure if I'll end up doing it or not. Right now, the plan is to close the day before Thanksgiving and move the day after, which gives me the weekend for settling and unpacking (and the day of the holiday to finish packing). It occurred to me that I could road-trip with the cats on Thanksgiving and show them the new place, so it won't be as much of a shock on moving day (I'm not moving that far). The downside is that they don't like the car, at all, so even a short trip is upsetting to them. They did survive the trip from Charlotte to Pennsylvania, then PA to MA 6 months later, but that was before Pan's heart condition was diagnosed, so I'm more conscious about stressing him. [According to what I've read, his condition often goes undiagnosed until the cat suddenly drops dead, which is the worst way to find out something was wrong.] I have to try to balance the stress of each plan. I probably won't decide ahead of time, but will just play it by ear.

In addition to laundry, packing, and all the other oddments of things that I have to do today, Harold is trying to bend me with the force of his mind. He wants attention, and stares at me like I'm a spoon he's going to bend with only the power of his thoughts. It's both cute and creepy. Gotta go.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Who am I, and what am I knitting?

I can't make sense of my knitter self lately (even aside from the issue of stop-knitting-start-packing!). The sock I cast on last Saturday with such intensity? I started to work on it a little last night*, then put it aside, disinterested. I think I'm worried about its fit: this pressure of making fitted objects! I may have to step back to blankets and scarves for a little while. I'm still interested in socks, but all the variables of yarn, needles, patterns, and feet are overwhelming sometimes.

*Last night. The Bruins. Need I say more? Managing to keep Montreal to a 2-2 tie until 1.2 seconds left in the game? And then boom? For the love of hockey fans. I do feel sorry for Matt Lashoff. That's a hard way to learn that just because the other guy got away with holding does not mean the referee will let you get away with it. His first NHL game, and he's got to feel like the goat, taking that penalty.

At least, he'd
better feel like the goat. It isn't all his fault, of course, but by all the gods, everyone involved should feel rotten about how they're doing. Why should I be the only unhappy one? New GM, new coaching staff, about three-quarters of the players changed from a year ago, and same old stinky team. Come on, fellas. Please.

Anyway. The other knitting I tried recently was that Ruffles scarf, in two colors. The original pattern mentioned briefly and unspecifically that using two colors could be a fun alternative. I need more details! I tried just knitting and switching colors at the mid-way point of the crossover row, but it soon became clear that I was going to end up with 2 half scarves next to each other on the needles, totally unconnected. I googled around trying to find someone blogging about doing it, and how, and I did find one blogger who said she had also been trying to figure it out herself, and had ended up switching colors and then wrapping the first color around the first stitch of the second color. I tried that, and it worked, but of course the wrapped stitches brought a hole-y look to the center of the scarf. At first, I thought that it would work (it's not an error, it's a design feature!), but a little further along, I decided that it really didn't work with the yarn and the rest of the pattern, which isn't at all lacey otherwise. Back to the frog pond. That was the point at which I used the new alpaca to start Ruffles, later frogged as well. I'll have to try to get help from someone who's done it in two colors, because I do still like the idea of the alternating ruffle colors. I can't find a blog that explains the part I'm not getting.

So I'm stepping away for now. I have picked up a crochet hook and some vanilla yarn (natural heather is the actual color), and I'm going to be mindless for a while. It's Friday night, I don't feel great (I never did get really sick last week, I hope I'm not now), and the Great Pumpkin is on tv tonight. Sounds like down time to me. Then, assuming I'm not sick (oh, please), I can Get Things Done this weekend with verve and stamina. Right?

I wish I'd stopped for ice cream on the way home, though.

a magnetic poem


summer vanishes
fall is here
another winter comes
with quiet eyes I dream of spring

I love fall, though not so much the winter it portends. I got the new camera a little late to catch the splendor of fall in New England this year, but I'll see if I can capture something pretty today, when at least the sun is shining (unlike yesterday, just for example).

Today was supposed to be condo closing day. Sigh. I hate waiting.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


As soon as I got in the car, I started to play with the new toy...

Harold with ghoulie eyes: one green, one yellow!

Pan takes a nap despite all the commotion.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Seriously mixed feelings

I heard this afternoon that the tenant in the fire died.

So, I feel bad for him, and his friends and family, and both sorry and almost angry that anyone dies such a preventable death. I'd like to time-travel back and stop Walter Raleigh from finding out about tobacco. Would that work? It wouldn't make the present unrecognizable, would it? (Just kidding.)

And yet, my move is back on. Houston, we are go for launch. Seriously, I think is an almost classic example of mixed feelings.

One thing I have unmixed feelings about is my head, which has been pain-free the whole damn day. How about that? It's so fabulous, words can not express.

Finally, for something completely different:

I know this doesn't narrow things down much, but if you are a woman in today's society, or if you know one, you must read this.

Oh, you want to know why? Isn't the pleasure of discovering a fun new blog enough? Well, it's inspiring and well-written and fun. Will that do it?

No? You're not hooked yet? Try this:
Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female".

So go on, read it, and let me know what you think.

(This is my first post that passed the spell-checker first try. Huh.)

and about the condo

I finally got in to see my prospective condo last week, a couple of weeks after the fire in the building. To my relief, the unit itself was not much damaged (which is what they had told me, but you know how it is, you want to see for yourself); one window boarded, a damaged door that will need to be replaced. Since I am perhaps a tad oversensitive to smells, I was doubly relieved not to smell the slightest bit of smoke in the unit, which I had been worried about. They are clearly still working on the common areas, as one hall needs painting and they've taken up the carpet on the stairs, but the other hall is clean, and even the basement looked good, and not as if water had been standing in it for any length of time. The boarded-up windows are not a good look, and the construction dumpster in the parking area doesn't fill me with delight, but it could have been a lot worse.

Of course, my biggest question is about Firestarter himself, and if the owner is planning to let him back in. (One of the weird things about this whole process is the "he said-she said" way information is passed along, via lawyers and especially realtors. I guess I read too many mysteries, and have watched too much Law & Order, but it feels like hearsay, you know? I don't talk to the owner: her people talk to my people. I have people...weird.) (Not to knock my realtor at all, by the way: he's a good friend as well as a good realtor, and has been very easy to work with.) Anyway, I am told that Firestarter is still in the hospital, so who knows when he'll be out again (or if, apparently; I didn't realize he was so seriously injured). He is a tenant, not an owner (the owner is converting to condos gradually, and his unit hadn't been done yet), so I'd prefer to hear that he will not be returning. I do know that things, bad things, can happen anytime to anyone, but still. Knowing that he's done it once, how could I rest easy? How could I leave my fur-babies next door to him? Not to mention everything I own. No, I'd be much happier having construction next door. I'm feeling pretty strongly about that. I wonder what the other people in the building think?

No wonder I've been having headaches more than usual lately. Let's see, do I risk moving in next to a pyromaniac, or do I give up on this condo, with all the work that's been done to get here, and start at the beginning again? Time to buy stock in Excedrin. (Oh, wait, I usually buy the store brand. Never mind.) Anyway, I'm going to ask my doctor to refer me to a headache specialist: this is getting ridiculous. I want one of those preventive medicines that you just take every day, and get fewer headaches. Does it really work? Could it really be that simple? Or am I dreaming? If I am, don't wake me!

Monday, October 23, 2006

A blog by any other name...

I've noticed that notwithstanding the name I gave this blog*, I don't write about what I'm reading very often. And I do read, a lot. Not quite as much lately as usual, with all the condo stress, but still. I think the reason is that for a couple of years, I wrote book reviews semi-professionally (professionally because they were printed in an actual newspaper [woo-hoo, Rock Hill Herald], semi because I didn't actually get paid, except with the non-tangible thrill of seeing my name in print). I think, in my mind, that has made writing about books "real writing" in a way that I'm trying to make this blog not be. Part of my idea for writing this, as you may recall, was to take the pressure of perfectionism off and just write, and I seem to have trouble doing that with books. Something for me to think about in the future.

Plus, I'm a re-reader, which means I could be reading something I've read so often before, it doesn't occur to me that it might be noteworthy (or blogworthy). I understand that some people read a book once and are done with it, but I don't really understand why. I mean, yes, I know "what's going to happen", but with a good book, I read it for so much more than that. I certainly don't re-read every book I read. Sometimes, rarely, I don't finish a book I've started, which was hard for me at first. I was reading a book once where the main character made a decision that I could just tell was a mistake, and I thought, "Oh, no, I don't even want to see this," and then it occurred to me that I could just walk away, and I did. Surprisingly liberating! More recently, I was halfway through a book by an author I liked, a book I had been looking forward to, and I realized that I wasn't enjoying it and didn't particularly care what was going to happen, who did what, or why, so I stopped. (Interestingly, my mother also got halfway through the same book and stopped. Not the author's best work, I'd say, since we both liked her previous work.) I'm always happy to talk about books, and recommend books (though it helps to narrow the request: asking me for "a good book" has a paralyzing effect on my brain), but I don't seem to write about them, for now anyway.

Cats, of course, make a regular appearance here, and will do so more photographically when I replace my digital camera (it's on my to-do list, really). Hockey, well, when the Bruins do a little better, I will be able to write more positively about them. Not that I want to be a fair-weather hockey fan, and trust me, I'm not, but who wants to read my hockey whining? (Why aren't they playing better, though? Really? It's looking so like last year in the worst way...) They won Thursday, the home opener, it was fun, and then came Saturday. The Buffalo Sabres came to town the only undefeated team left in the NHL, and left the same way. As usual, the Bruins aren't doing well, know it, and don't know why. How heartening. In October, it's supposed to be Red Sox fans who are thinking about next season, not hockey fans. Sigh.

Which leaves knitting! Saturday night, I started to feel like knitting, and had nothing to hand (triangle shawl was left at work, and after starting a Ruffles scarf with the alpaca I bought at Apple Festival, I decided that I didn't want 2 Ruffles enough to use up this yarn on one, so it took a trip to the frog pond. I'm thinking maybe wrist warmers, but since I don't have a pattern for them, that was out for Saturday.) I tried to tell myself that I should crochet another dish scrubby, so that when my current one wears down, I'll have a new one ready, and then of course I cast on a sock instead.

Not even the mythical third sock in the yarn of the first two, I just grabbed the first yarn I saw, the blue alpaca I used on the legwarmers and sleeves, without even seeing how much of it I have (enough for one sock? two?), and recklessly cast on. I don't know what got into me.

*I named the blog kind of at random, anyway. The pressure to come up with "a good name" was too much for me. In a world full of yarn harlots and crazy aunts and stitchy mcyarnpants (I am not making this up), it will take me a good long time to come up with a moniker that competes.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Could it be ... stress?

You know that feeling you get, when you're not quite sick, but you're not well either? So you know you're about to get sick, and you feel like there's nothing you can do about it?

I hate that feeling. My health is currently facing the future with a deer-in-the-headlights look on its face.

Gee, that almost makes sense.

Like something I said to myself yesterday morning. I talk to myself all the time, so that isn't the surprising part. It was when I heard myself say,
"There was a human baby as well as the tiger cub. My, that was a strange dream."

That's when I did a small double-take on myself. If you think that's easy at 5 a.m., think again.

Friday, October 13, 2006

In which I rant for a reason

I don't like smoking.

Anyone who knows me, knows that. Cigarette smoke bothers me, and though I try not to be militant, I probably am. The smell bothers me, and if I'm around it for long, it gives me a headache.

I'm not as bothered by cigars and pipes, by the way, partly because they remind me of my grandfathers, and partly because there just aren't as many of them around (at least, where I am).

But cigarettes? Yuck. Big yuck. I cuss at cars in front of me with plumes of smoke blown out their windows (I'm trying to breathe back here!), and really get peeved at the smokers, driving or not, who throw their butts away like the nasty things vanish on the ground.

So why rant now? Well, I'll tell you. After spending the last month basing virtually my every move upon my planned close day for the condo, it has to be pushed into November. Why? Because there was a fire in the building. Why was there a fire? Because another tenant was smoking in bed.

It is rare for me to be beyond words in any situation, but this is almost beyond me. I can't find words strong enough to express my displeasure with Mr. Idiot and his actions. I have to change my closing date, and rearrange Everything I have arranged for the last month, because of him and his criminally stupid actions.

The fact that I, a normally compassionate and empathetic person, was not sorry to hear he had to be hospitalized, says a lot. I'm not glad he was hurt, but I'm not sorry. Is it only because I'm so upset that I think he kind of deserves it? Maybe I don't really mean that. But kind of ...

Plus, now that I can watch them, the Bruins have lost two games in a row. So that doesn't help. Actually, last night they did pretty well, for the first 55 minutes. Unfortunately, the game goes 60 minutes, and they lost in a shoot-out. Or so the Globe says. I got into bed to listen to the third period on the radio, and fell asleep when it was 2-0 Bruins. To learn this morning that they lost 3-2? Not Happy.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Here I am

So, I've been away from the blogosphere for a few days, and you feel neglected, do you? Poor thing. Well, I've been a little busy, one way and another:

Friday evening, drive 300 miles
Weekend, with family, Apple Festival, excellent (And I bought some lovely yarn from an alpaca farmer, and I really, really, Really want to do something with it, now, but I have, ahem, one or two other things to do. I'd better put it away so it stops sending me wistful looks.)
Sunday afternoon, drive back
Monday, work again (they're so demanding, with their expectations that I show up over and over... to quote Douglas Adams again, "Always expecting this and expecting that. May I recommend serenity to you?")
also Monday, headache, and much of Tuesday, headache

There should be a law that you can't have a headache on your birthday, shouldn't there? (Oh, you don't get headaches? Think two aspirin are serious measures, do you? Get down on your knees right now and thank your deity of choice. Fervently. You simply have No Idea what it's like for the rest of us.) It was pretty bad by the time I got home tonight, to the point where I was wondering how much I really need the left side of my brain -- I mean, it's not like it was working or anything. But I took some pills and lay down with a heat thing on my head, and two cats for moral support (they're very good at moral support, particularly when it involves being in bed), and after a while I felt better. Enough to get up and order pizza, which with the upset stomach that oft accompanies my headaches, is another minor miracle.

By the way, to support my continuing theory that Life likes to Mess With Me, here's what happened when I ordered the pizza. There's a place around the corner from me that's pretty good, so I called them. In the past, they have corrected me when I ordered a small pizza ("We don't do smalls") (even though there are 2 sizes on their menu, not labeled as to what they call the size), so I was careful to order a medium pizza. It turns out that since I last ordered, they have gone to one size fits all. Ohh-kay. Whatever size it is, I want one. It looked much like the size I remember the 'medium' looking, and it was really good, and my head still doesn't hurt. And if you don't get headaches, you have no idea what a profound statement that is. I am metaphorically on my knees, singing alleluias. (Physically, of course, I'm sitting on my butt at the computer, but you get my point.)

I will leave you with a knit-blog quote. Only a knitter could say this with a straight face:
Personally I think that arms are a really serious design problem.
The comment is from the Yarn Harlot's guest blogger, That Laurie (I don't know why she's called That Laurie, and it's confusing since she isn't the Laurie I generally refer to, but that's what she is called), who was filling in as Stephanie worked to the deadline for Book4. (And, as it turns out, got married: she was busy!)

And, a final finally for Mum: did the title of this post remind you of "Where are you?", "I'm hiding"? That's what I just thought of! Quite the week for family storytelling.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Cat Story, and a Bad Day

Have you ever had one of those morning when you know you want something, but you don't know what? Pan had one of those mornings Sunday. I was trying to read the Globe, and he was wandering from one thing to another, meowing.

What do I want? Is it food? Maybe I want food. "Meow!"
"You have food."
"You do, too." I show him the food, shake the bowl, he eats a little, stops.
"Meow!" He has some water.
Leaves the room, and I hear the jingle ball ringing madly.
"Meow!" He's back, sitting by the door.
"You don't go out."
"You're an indoor cat."
"That door is not always open. That door is never open. I have not just closed that door, it's always closed."
He jumps into an empty cardboard box, and the next thing I know, he's thumping around in it, chasing his tail. After a moment of that, he gets out, walks to the other side of my chair, and looks up.

At this point, I give in. I have an idea of what he wants, really.
"Come on, Pan-pan. Mama lap."

He follows me into the living room, waits for me to get the blanket settled, jumps onto my lap, and after a moment of petting and purring, falls into blissful sleep.

That was what he wanted!

He was a limpet all day. Every time I sat down, I had a cat on my lap. It was funny, in an odd way, because I had a headache in the afternoon and evening, so I was kind of out of it, and somehow didn't notice him right away. I would just look down a few minutes after sitting down, see him, and say, "Oh, hi."

So that was Sunday. Yesterday was a Truly Awful Day. Any day when going to the dentist is only the third worst thing to happen is not a good day. But I had ice cream for dinner, so there, and today Will Be Better. Or else!