Saturday, March 31, 2007

Decrepit

Yes, decrepit. And yes, I mean me.

Considering that I still don't feel like a grown-up, it's a little rich that my body is now falling apart. In the last year, I have moved completely out of low-maintenance health and into which doctor are you now? I can't help feeling that 38 is a little young for this. And my mother, who is generally the very soul of sympathy when I want to whine, tells me to "just wait".

What? Why do I want to think about what's coming? I don't like where I am now. Are you trying to depress me? I'm not looking for pragmatism (when do I ever?). Really, everyone older than I am is singing the same song, and I don't want to hear it. Hush, people. The best conversation I've had on this topic was with someone my age, who's going through the same thing, and was there for me. Amen, sister! Let's focus on the depression of today's situation, not the misery coming tomorrow.

  • I have what I want to call a regular doctor, a GP as they used to say, PCP today, my "primary care".
  • I have a GYN.
  • I have a dentist (though I may switch to one closer to the new home, I haven't yet).
  • An eye doctor (got glasses at age 7, though I wear contacts now).
  • I'm seeing a neurologist for the migraines.
  • I'm seeing a dermatologist for treatment of plantar warts (nice, eh?).
  • I have seasonal allergies: I'm trying to avoid adding an allergist to the list for now, but it may have to happen. (I saw an allergist a few years ago, after I moved back to MA and found that I was not, sadly, only allergic to NC. That doctor was, sadly, an asshole*, and I won't go back to him, though if need be I'll find another allergist.)
  • I have arthritis, ditto. (I did see a rheumatologist a few years ago, too, but she didn't impress me very much, so I never went back. Something about the way she said, "Uh-huh, yes," to every sentence of mine, while never making eye contact, didn't convince me she was listening.)

*He was contemptuous that another doctor had prescribed something without running the full boat of tests, and would not give me a refill without doing those tests (which I actually felt was within his rights, though I could have dealt without the attitude). He failed to mention that the tests cost $3000, so even with my insurance covering 80%, I was surprised by a not inconsiderable bill. He was a charmer.

And now the latest. I had a slight toothache yesterday morning, not too bad, but increased from the day before, and given that it was Friday, I figured that I'd better get it looked at, or I'd be sorry over the weekend. I threw myself on the mercy of the dentist's office, they fit me in, and they are referring me to an endodontist for a consult. I may need a root canal.

A root canal. And I thought last year's crown was no fun.

And the endodontist makes 7, not counting the two I'm avoiding adding to the list at the moment. I'm not trying to get into a contest (Mum, I know I'd lose, but you have a head start!), just saying my goodness, when did this happen? What happened to the days when I had a doctor and a dentist and I went to the doctor once a year and the dentist twice and got check-ups and that was it? Well, and the eye doctor for new prescriptions, but still. More doctors and more serious conditions and thanks to everyone, knowing that more is to come, yuck.

I'll try to cheer up again next time. But sometimes a girl just needs to kvetch, and that's what blogs are for.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

100 books, and ice cream

It's been a while since I did some non-knitting, non-hockey content, hasn't it? Well, it's time, but before I get to it, a word of hockey: tonight's game is not a goalie war. The first period has seen five goals: us, them, them, us, them. Whew! Last one to score may win. Tim Thomas won the Seventh Player Award, for the second consecutive year. He's good, though I voted for Phil Kessel. And not to say nyah, but Kessel has figured in both goals so far. Well, actually, yes, that pretty much is to say nyah. It's just nothing against Thomas. He's been pretty good this year, just no more consistent than the rest of the team, which is to say, not so much. As he said after one of their recent stinkers, it isn't his job to score goals.

Anyway, we shall hold out hope for the rest of tonight's game. If the Bruins lose, they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, surprising no one. There are five games left in the season; I'm going to the last game, a week from Saturday, please let them win that one, or at least play well. Or let me win the jersey off Patrice Bergeron's back. Or I guess win the Hummer they're giving away, I could sell it, right?

And a word on knitting: I started the hat-from-the-top-down tonight, it was like wrestling a porcupine at first, but it's moving more smoothly now. It may work. Pictures soon. Meanwhile, on with the books! Here's a fun (and long) book meme from here (I've seen it other places, too; it's going around). Look at the list of (100) books below.

  • Bold the ones you’ve read.
  • Italicize the ones you want to read.
  • Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in. (Movies don’t count.)

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6.
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54.
Great Expectations
(Dickens)
55.
The Great Gatsby
(Fitzgerald)
56.
The Stone Angel
(Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58.
The Thorn Birds
(Colleen McCullough)
59.
The Handmaid’s Tale
(Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62.
The Fountainhead
(Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65.
Fifth Business
(Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72.
Love in the Time of Cholera
(Marquez)
73.
Shogun
(James Clavell)
74.
The English Patient
(Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79.
The Diviners
(Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81.
Not Wanted On The Voyage
(Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87.
Brave New World
(Aldous Huxley)
88.
The Stone Diaries
(Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95.
The Bourne Identity
(Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97.
White Oleander
(Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

It's an interestingly mixed list, classics and then Confessions of a Shopaholic. Probably the first one I'd recommend from the list would be The Time Traveller's Wife, which was so impressive, though if we're talking about one I can quote from the most, then hello Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

There really isn't much I haven't read that I want to on this list, is there. Interesting. Of course, there were more than a few that I hadn't heard of. In the Skin of a Lion? Not Wanted on the Voyage? Maybe I would want to read them, but I don't know about them. Right now there are too many books I know I want to read to go looking for more.

About ice cream, I simply have to plug a new Ben & Jerry's flavor, Creme Brulee (I must learn how to do the accents over letters here), which was fabulous! Whew. It's very, very rich, not one of those you could finish off the pint in one sitting on a bad day (ah, Ben & Jerry's, my three-dollar therapy), but so, so good. Three thumbs up. And if you're looking for a healthier snack, and you like the flavor of rye bread, have you tried the new Triscuit, Deli Style Rye? They're quite yummy, and give the illusion of healthiness. (Don't enlighten me, please, I need my illusions! Come on, fiber, right?)

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Evil twins

I was going to do a book post today, but the Bruins game last night got me pondering hockey instead (there's knitting after, if you're patient, or if you jump ahead). In case you're not following them (doesn't everyone, ha ha), after losing their last five games, they beat Ottawa.

Ottawa, who came into last night's game having lost only one of their previous 21 games in regulation.

(That's really good, by the way, really good.)

And the Bruins, who have been really bad (when they weren't pretty good), beat them, in regulation. It just doesn't make sense.

But this morning, I think I figured it out (in the shower, whence all deep thoughts come). Evil twins.

The whole team must have evil twins, involved in some complex plot for some nefarious purpose that requires really bad hockey.

I can't imagine why, but obviously I don't have that kind of mind. What matters is the result: you just never know which team is going to show up, the good Bruins or the evil Bruins. The team that can beat the Red Wings or Ottawa, or the team that scores 4 goals, total, in 5 games, while going 0-for-whatever on the power play.

It explains a lot.

It is also just possible that the new medication we're trying for my migraines is making me ever so slightly loopy. Do you think?

It's certainly making me tired, which is not an area of my life I need any help with. I'm a snooze-button-presser by nature, but usually no more than 5 or 10 minutes. Monday morning, it was half an hour before I got up. It was also the first morning after I started this medication. Coincidence? I think not.

At any rate, I said knitting, and knitting you shall have. I started to rip out the trial tube last night, so I can reuse the soy yarn, and when I got to the knot, I undid it, feeling no need to knit that way again. By then, I had ripped past the purled-by-mistake stitches, so you can better see what the tube looks like. Before opening:


After:


Neat, eh? Like I said, knitting is magic. I'm doing much-needed laundry tonight, and I need to do dishes (reeeaally need to, like get away from the computer NOW), having blogged and blogged on Monday, and stitch-and-bitched and talked to Mom and watched hockey (and blogged) on Tuesday, but maybe tomorrow I'll start the hat with the soy? We'll see.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Knitting is magic

In most areas of my life, I like things to make sense. I want to know the reasons behind things, I'm happier that way. At work, I can be a cog, I can do my little bit, but I like to know the big picture, I like to understand how what I do is part of what everyone else does, how it fits together, how it all works. I'm like the little kid* who won't stop asking why; I don't always ask it, but when I learn a 'why', there's that 'ahhh' moment of great satisfaction.

*That's not the only way I'm like a kid: for some reason, seeing a train go by makes me smile, and often even say "choo-choo train", and if that's not baring my soul to the web-world I don't know what is. I don't know what it is about trains...

Only in knitting is this different. In knitting, I don't seem to need to understand how something works. It's okay. The answer can be 'magic' and I'm perfectly fine with that. I don't know why that is: the meditative quality of the needles moving together? Something about it removes my 'why' gene, and I watch what happens and think 'how neat' instead of 'how is that working?'

At Represent, Melissa (sadly blogless) showed me how to knit a tube on two straight needles. The idea is that it could be the toe of a sock, knit toe-up of course, though I don't know (yet) what to do next, for the heel and so on. I'm still too entranced to care. Looky!

It looks much like plain, flat knitting:


But if you pull it off the needles and look closer:


It's got an inside! Two-sided! Is that the coolest thing ever? For some reason it's making me think of a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, where Calvin is showing Hobbes the toaster: you put bread inside, wait a minute, and look what comes out: toast! "Where does the bread go?" asks Hobbes. "Beats me. Isn't that weird?" says Calvin.

It's really simple, and I'm sure it's nothing earth-shattering; there's nothing new in knitting, it's just new to me. You knit one, then slip one as if to purl, all the way across, every row (you have to cast on in multiples of two, so that on the second row, you're knitting the slipped stitches from the previous row). That's it. I haven't the slightest idea how it works. It seems like you're using less yarn, because you're slipping half the stitches, not knitting them. But what you end up with should have used twice as much yarn, because it has two pieces. Totally illogical. It's like when I picked up a stitch on my first sock, and it left a hole. It would make more sense to me if a hole was where you dropped a stitch, not picked one up. Magic. Gnomes!

The only trouble I had was slipping as if to purl, but not purling. I did in fact purl two stitches, which is why the photo doesn't show the tube open all the way across: I messed it up a little. But that's okay, I was only trying it out. I'm not surprised, given how often I stopped myself from purling, that I did in fact purl a couple. I'm kind of surprised I only purled two out of all of them. In any case, this whatever-you-call-it is certainly something to add to the repertoire. Fun!

I finished the Ruffles scarf for the auction at work, if by finished you mean knit until the deadline and declared it to be done. It's a respectable length, anyway, and they were happy to have it, so all's well, etc.


The auction starts next week; I'll let you know how it goes with my contributions (I'm sure you're going to be on tenterhooks).

Now I can move on to other things. Still socking along:

The second, heel photo is much better for showing the true color of the yarn, as well as how cute the heel is. The first photo shows the whole sock and also demonstrates how little I understand and control my camera!

And I have some of the soy yarn left from Represent, I'm wondering if there's enough for a baby hat? Maybe if I try one from the top down, this time, so I don't run out before the top... It's what I used to make the tube, above, though of course I'll frog that. It is a little splitty to work with, though it's so soft I'm apt to be forgiving. I wasn't so happy to find a knot: that's where it went from the pink to brown a little abruptly. Still, more positive than negative.

In conclusion, some gratuitous photos. My cousins' cat, showing amazing feline powers of balance:


And a nice landscape shot this morning:


The day cleared and became beautiful ("perfick wevver"), but it was misty this morning.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Part 3: the endless tale of Representing ends

Well, that was no fun. Those Bruins! Zombies would have played better yesterday.

And I was so pleased and excited last summer when the Bruins signed Zdeno Chara, and now the more I see, the less I'm impressed. Not that I blame him for everything, I don't, but he's far from the savior we were hoping for, isn't he? Same old Bruins going down the same old path to the same old nowhere.

Sigh.

Enough depressing hockey. On with the knitting trip! Monica, to answer your question (interactive blogginess, love it!), Stephanie's t-shirt said "All your yarn are belong to us", which I gather is some sort of gaming in-joke? I mean, I find it amusing, but some seemed to find it hilarious. She was going to (and I imagine will) put a link on her blog to where you can buy it on Cafe Press, and $5 of the purchase price goes to MSF/DWB, too. And Monica, thanks for the call-out in the Harlot's comments to my account of all this; I really appreciate it! (And my stats are through the roof, all right. Funny to watch.)

Onward. What made this trip even more fun for me (can I stand it), from the planning stages, was knowing that I could stay with some fantastic cousins who live in the city, and who have for several years been inviting me to come visit. With their permission, I am using their actual names, not initials or aliases, which feels rather daring for some reason (no, I really don't get out enough).

Kate and Quentin Mare (how do you put the accent over the e?) are in The Business--their wedding was on a Monday, when the theaters are dark, so their friends could come--and what fun is it to brag about what your cool city cousins are doing on Broadway if you can't use their names? It may be a small plug, but I can give them a little plug here, anyway.

Kate's a knitter too, but she couldn't come to see the Harlot on Thursday because she was going to the opening of David Hyde Pierce's new play, Curtains, for the very good reason that she worked with him to give him a Boston accent--like a Broadway opening is some kind of excuse, right? Just kidding! It's a really good reason. Actually, I would have liked to see the play myself, except for the conflict. Another time! She teaches at Juilliard, and works with actors on voices and dialects for movies and plays and things; she also worked with Norah Vincent on portraying herself (vocally) as a man. Cool stuff, and considering who she has worked with, I don't think I'm being biased to say she must be damned good at it. The fact that she's super-fun to hang out with is merely an added bonus for me!

Q's going to be on Broadway himself (and not for the first time, thankyouverymuch), in a play called Coram Boy, which apparently did very well in London. It previews here (NY, not Boston) starting next month, and opens in May. I'm sure it will be wonderful, so if you're in NYC or going to be, do check it out, and be sure to look for Handel and/or Dr. Smith, who will be the best one there, I am quite sure (biased? I don't know what you're talking about). And before you ask, yes, I have so seen him act*, I'm not just assuming he must be good because he married my cousin and she has good taste.

*He was on an episode of Law and Order, and was so convincing that although I recognized him when I saw him, he started talking and he sounded so different, I wasn't sure after all that it was him. Wild. I admit, I haven't seen him on stage, but I'm sure he's even better there.

So, having removed myself from the arena, ripped myself away so to speak, it was time to knit northwards, because of course I was knitting on the subway: after an evening like that, how could I not? And thanks to their directions and Google Maps (love 'em!), I found their place without trouble, lending a feeling of proficiency to my lingering adrenaline rush that helped me stay up chatting with them for the next two hours. Whew! I blabbed on and on about the event and knitting, we caught up on family stuff, we just talked and talked. One of their cats was cautious of me, but the other was super-friendly, which was so nice when I was away from my own fur-posse. It was a great evening (at least from my side of the table). Eventually we all more or less fell over, and agreed it was bedtime.

In the morning, Q went off to rehearsal, and Kate and I took their charming daughter into the city. I got to play with the princess while Kate taught a class, and at first we just walked around people-watching, which was kind of fun. Then the baby wanted to go into a store, and guess which one? Any guesses? Pottery Barn, of course. We were in there for over an hour. She had the best time, and she was so good. I could hardly get over it. Far from making a mess, she was actually tidying things up. She would take one of the fabric squares out of the drawer, do something to it (in her pretend world, so I couldn't tell you what), and put it back. But she took one out and when she went to put it back, it didn't belong in that drawer, so she asked an employee where it did belong. He showed her the correct drawer, and she put the square where it should be. What an amazing child.

Eventually we tore ourselves away, and went to Barnes and Noble, where Kate met us after her class. We went to this great place for lunch, I'm sorry I don't know the name of it, but it had this salad bar thing where you tell them what you want from the list of choices, so I ended up with a salad of mixed greens, green peppers, green peas (I love fresh peas!), celery, cucumber, egg white, roasted chicken, and croutons, that was fabulous, as was the roll that came with it. And the eclair I got for dessert, whew. And the salad was so big I only finished half, and took the rest to finish on the train.

Q joined us for lunch, on his way to get his head shaved for the role. I wonder what he'll look like? He didn't have long hair before, but still, it'll be different. I bet he looks good, though. My brother keeps his hair very very short, and it looks good on him.
Based on how I look at the hairdresser with my hair slicked back after washing, I think I would look awful. Fortunately, there's no call for me to shave my head, and I don't think I will. Perhaps we have differently shaped heads?

But that's hardly relevant, is it? You want to know about where we went next: the Museum of Arts & Design, for the Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting exhibition. I can only say, wowza. There are some people out there who are so far beyond what I think of when I use the word inventive, or creative ... it's amazing. If you click on the link and look at the photo at the top of the page (photography not being allowed, I couldn't take my own pictures there, not that I blame them), those teeny-tiny gloves? I wrote down what it said about them (paraphrased):
To knit accurately at 1/12 scale, she made needles from stainless steel medical wire used for inserting IV needles.
And I'm having trouble using US size ones on my socks. Humbling. There were some amazing things, including one (I think it might have been crocheted, but maybe it was knit) that was made out of dollar bills cut into strips. And another that was a good-sized, almost conventional-looking sort of doily tablecloth, except that all around the edges were these kind of skulls. Three dimensional. Simply wild.

There was a book about the whole exhibit, which I chose not to spend $45 on, but I wish I had looked at it at least. Oh well. Final word on that: if you're in New York, and at all interested, go.

Afterward, we went across the street to browse the shop at MoMA, which was full of amazing stuff. I simply had to buy one thing. Here's the first side I saw:

And the reverse:
Could you have resisted?

After that, it was time for me to bid Kate and the now-sleeping princess a fond farewell and head back to Mundane-land. Subway to Penn, wait for train to be announced, get on train. But the magic wasn't done with me yet. "Is that seat taken?" No, it wasn't. I moved my stuff* off it, a woman sat next to me and her husband sat across the aisle: an older couple (turns out they have a daughter my age) and ... she's a knitter. We knitted and talked about knitting all the way to New Haven (that's where they were getting off). She hadn't Represented, didn't know of Stephanie, she was just a random knitter that the universe sent my way. Again I ask, What are the odds?

*Including the tote bag I carried the whole trip, which says, "I have two needles. You have two eyes. Don't mess with a woman who knits." I don't know if she saw it or not before she sat down, but she seemed surprised when I got out my knitting, so I think not.

For a final photo, here's Harold, who helped me blog this weekend. By Sunday afternoon, I was reminding them that I had been home as long as I had been away, but they were still milking the abandoned/neglected kitty thing for all it was worth. Harold napped in my sweatshirt in order to be close at hand in case I needed him:


The white is my shirt, the gold my sweatshirt, and the brown is the table, if you're trying to figure out which end is up.

And for some final thoughts: Represent was an amazing experience. I saw one blogger refer to it as a knitters' Woodstock, and another talk about following Stephanie around like Deadheads following the Grateful Dead on tour, and I wasn't laughing at either of them. I haven't been to Rhinebeck or any of the other major fiber festivals, I don't know if that's what this was like, but it's an amazing community--and I don't want to dis crocheters, either, we're all a fiber family here, anyone who wants to be in this group is, as far as I can see. For all the little squabbles about knit vs crochet, straights vs circs, wool vs acrylic, etc, we're all part of something really ... nice, you know? And isn't that great?

Pulling together all my impressions has been quite overwhelming, and I laugh to think I was going to try to do it in one post. I wonder if something like that is part of the reason for the delay in Stephanie's posting. (You notice she couldn't, or didn't, do it all in one post, either.) If I was overwhelmed, how must she be feeling? She had an idea, threw it out to the blog-iverse, and look what happened.

Someone asked her why she wanted to start blogging in the first place, and how she felt about how many readers she has. She said the answer to the second question is nauseous, and she stopped reading her site stats; and that she wanted to blog because everyone else was. Cue the record player: nobody does it better...

Even though I was there, I still look forward to reading what she will write about it. I hope she gives numbers: how many people came, how many books were sold, how many hats and squares were given. She now has some heavy-duty, backed-by-photography evidence of the power of knitters, our numbers, and maybe when she says she needs more than 10 chairs put out for an appearance, they'll believe her! Some good should come of this, other than the hats, the squares for Warm Up America, and the happy knitters all over.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Yarn Hangover: Represent, Part 2

Initially, I wasn't wild about the planning that had this event on a Thursday night, of all days of the week, but I must say that having the weekend to recover from the excitement is turning out to be very good. Whew! I live a quiet life, normally.

So, back to New York, Thursday. I didn't take notes during the speech, so I can't give you quotes or anything, and if you're going to hear her later in the tour, I wouldn't want to step on her cape anyway. It's good, and I'll leave it at that. About the size of the crowd, she had said that the hall held 750, right? It wasn't completely full, not every seat, but mostly full. I would totally guesstimate between 600-650, but don't get mad at me if you disagree, okay? I know there were empty seats, I was next to one (Kali, that was yours), but I'm not going to argue about the number if you think there were more or less. (In web-wandering this weekend, I've seen myself on not one but two other blogs at this event. Why does that give me such a thrill? But honestly, what are the odds that other bloggers who were near me and took photos and posted them would be the bloggers I found? Of course, Stephanie did ask for a show of hands as to how many of us read blogs [most], then how many of us had our own blogs, and it was a lot, so maybe I shouldn't be so surprised. But I still am!)

And some people came from so far away, it makes Boston looks like a flea's jump! Like the woman from San Antonio who said her husband surprised her with the trip, her first to NYC, he stayed home with the baby, and she was having a wonderful time.

Or the one from London, they were already planning a trip but came in a day early to be there to Represent.

I think Lucerne would be the farthest away, right (geography, anyone?), but Stephanie was also wowed by the woman who took the red-eye from San Francisco with her baby (she kept saying, "with a baby?"). I think you'll see him on the blog, he got his picture taken with the sock. He was so cute when Stephanie showed him the picture on the back of the camera: he was delighted to see himself.

That was after the talk was over, of course. I went up thinking I might say hi, without anything in particular to say, but there were a bunch of people there, and I didn't get the chance. I did manage to slip my blog-card to Jayme, so Stephanie may have seen that, but it's all right if she didn't, I was there and that was enough. I can even prove it, of course.

That's Jayme-the-wonder-publicist on the left. Can you believe they were looking the other way? :)

Some other housekeeping details, like the pin we got coming in:


and the yarn for making the blanket square. Soy yarn, a new one on me, it's really nice! It was good to work with, pretty, worked up nicely: I like it! Thank you, Yarn Council of America. This is a better-lit photo than the one of the finished square in the previous post:

Once Jayme had bustled Stephanie away, I watched the knitters drifting off in ones and twos and groups, and thought about doing something else, but I could feel two things in myself: adrenaline, and weariness. I was still feeling the high of the former, but I could tell that it was wearing off, and I knew that I'd better be well on my way to my cousins' place before the latter took over: you know, me, NYC, subway, etc.

When I went outside, I found it was lightly raining, so I didn't even do the trawling around the area for a light dinner that I'd been thinking of, but headed back to Penn to pick up the subway. This being New York, of course, I was able to buy a fabulous sandwich (fresh mozzarella, roasted pepper, basil, and tomato on good bread), around maybe 9pm on a weeknight in a train station, with a yummy juice too (with strawberries, guavas, apples, orange, peach, and mango). Just what I needed.

Maybe I'll still leave Friday for later or tomorrow. Writing with a cat across the keyboard has its challenges. We could go watch the Bruins lose (it's a matinee day) and come back later.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

I went, I Represented (the longest post ever, part one)

The Bruins lost today.

They lost Thursday night, too. Blew leads both games.

That's what you came here for, right?

Okay, just kidding. I said I'd tell you all about my trip to the big scary city to Represent with the Yarn Harlot, and so I shall. I went, I Represented, it was fabulouso, and I wore myself out completely in less than two days (thank heavens for the weekend). The Bruins have all but eliminated themselves from the playoffs, the cats are acting like I've been gone for weeks, it may snow in the morning ... life reverts to brutal normality quickly, doesn't it?

But ah, I can relive it for a little while. It was such fun! Well worth the nerves. I left home Thursday morning and stopped at a favorite deli for a sub lunch to bring on the train. You know how finding a penny is supposed to bring good luck? I parked, got out of the car, and found a quarter on the ground. Twenty-five times good luck! Such a nice omen. And a really good sub, too. With chips, a cookie, and cream soda (despite the cream soda debacle recently, I felt that as long as I watched this one for a few minutes before opening it, I should be safe, and so it proved), I was set for food.

The drive to the station, south of Boston, was uneventful, only one small accident (that I passed, not that I had, I mean), and traffic not too bad getting by it. The parking garage was nearly full, now there's something I hadn't even thought to worry about! But they didn't have the roof level open, so maybe they only open it when they need to? I had to drive around for a few minutes to find a spot that wasn't between two drivers who either didn't know or didn't care that you're supposed to park between the lines, not on or over them, but I was still there in plenty of time, so no problem.

In fact, I was even in the station in enough time to hear them announce the earlier, Acela express train (which I chose not to take, as being half again as expensive and not that much faster), with its business class and its quiet zone car: no cell phones, no laptops. I don't think of laptops as particularly loud, though no doubt I could be proved wrong, but especially looking back, the idea of the no phone car might be worth the extra price. Because there was no such zone announcement for my train. This trip made me quite nostalgic for the days when you only heard conversations of people who were actually around you.

Anyway, I had eaten half my lunch in the station (and would eat the other half shortly before arrival), so I did some knitting on the train, alternately sock (through the heel gusset and into the plain vanilla of the foot at last) and scarf, which after all does need to be turned in on Monday for the auction no matter how long it is. I read the magazine, you can't call it an in-flight magazine, can you, but whatever, it was good, it had quite an interesting article on Charlie Rose. I brought the mag with me last night to give my friend who's a journalist, as I think she might enjoy that.

I watched the landscape go by and mused on how you don't see the best of urban areas from the train, but mostly a lot of garbage and graffiti. Of course, one doesn't build the best, most expensive, most lovely stuff along railroad tracks, it's going to be warehouses more than bungalows, and if you have beautiful property, you probably fight pretty hard when the railroad comes through town not to have it abut your property. It still makes for unappealing watching, and on a gray day more depressing than most. There are parts of RI and CT that are prettier, but in a somewhat bleak way at this time of year. Winter still has a grip on even the endless marshes and trackless forests. The best hope I could see was in a faint yellow-green glow to the underbrush, a hint of pre-Spring in the midst of the detritus of autumn leaves and winter's fallen branches. There were a few swans, ducks, and geese, and the sun came out for moments at a time, so it could have been worse.

Anyway, enough of this nature nonsense. On with the show! I had been hoping for the train not to be late, so that I could get to the hall in time for the tour of the knitting lab (knitting lab!) that one of the professors (knitting professors!) was giving, and in fact, the train was a few minutes early, hooray. It was a pleasant afternoon, enough that I could take my coat off as I walked the few blocks from Penn Station to FIT (whoever put them so close together, thank you, that was very helpful for me). In front of the C building were the usual crowd of smokers that you see outside any building in this day and age, but also a dozen or so people holding needles and yarn instead. A-ha, knitters!

Emboldened by my sense of purpose, I walked up to them and said, "Are you waiting for the tour?" and received an affirmative answer (thank heavens, although I wasn't feeling tentative enough that a brush-off would have sent me scuttling away, or at least not very far). So I pulled out my own knitting and waited, amused by the sight of the growing group of knitters receiving, so far as I could tell, no particular attention. You callous New Yorkers.

Isn't that pretty yarn, there in the middle? (I wish I'd asked her what it was. Oh well. We'll pretend it's very expensive, or fussy, or hard to find, and move on.) After a little while, we were herded into the lobby, and a few minutes later, downstairs. I would estimate 50 people went on the tour, and I was the only one I saw who stopped to take a photo of this sign, but who could resist?


The lab was quite large, full of all different sizes of commercial knitting machines that have been donated to the school. I particularly liked the wall of yarn cones, since the colors laid out like that always appeal:

So pretty! The machines were interesting, and impressive (and I did take more photos of them if anyone wants to see them, but they aren't making the cut tonight), but did not stir in me a desire to learn more myself. Which is fine. I'm quite glad to have seen them, though. I mean, the things that there are in the world, that I knew not of. Two different people, to whom I mentioned the Yarn Council of America (more on that in a moment), replied with the exact same phrase: "Who knew?" Exactly!

After we saw the machines, and the class learning to program some of them (one word: wow), we were shown the way upstairs to the auditorium and, outside, the table where The Book was being sold. A line formed at once, and we stood knitting and talking as we waited. When it was my turn to pay, I picked up my copy and found that I hugged it without planning to. Even without the whole knitting element, sending me to a book release for a book I've been waiting for is no small thing*. I love that in the picture on the cover, she's knitting, and I don't mean holding knitting in her hands. I mean, her hands are blurred, like she wouldn't--couldn't-- even hold them still to have the picture taken. That's perfect. Nothing else would suit.

*Of course, most of the time I wouldn't then put the book into my bag and not take it out until I was on the train the next night! That's not normal behavior for me. What is normal is that I finished it today. It's really good. I can't wait to read a few key bits to the friend I'm teaching to knit, that I think will help inspire her through the first, difficult times (like, "You're not defusing a bomb"), and I enjoyed watching Alice's story develop (read it yourself, you'll see).

I sat down in the auditorium next to Melissa, who I had been talking to in the book line (and the ladies room, if that's not too much information). We made the woman in front of us laugh when we sat down, talking, talking, talking, and in the middle of it paused to introduce ourselves.

It was only about 5, so we had time to kill until the talk started at about 6, but somehow that wasn't a problem. Melissa told me about, and showed me, a way to knit a tube on two straight needles that I can't wait to try (finish the scarf first, finish the scarf), and I'll share when I do try it. Watching the room fill with knitters (and the occasional tolerant muggle, I'm sure) was amazing. There was a screen at the front of the room showing slides, photos from the blog, the travelling sock, etcetera, which set the mood nicely. Lookit all the knitters!

And more:
And more:
These were taken at about twenty to 6, so more people came before it started. The red spots on the seats were the little goodie bags from the Yarn Council of America (everyone repeat after me: who knew?), who provided yarn, needles, and info about knitting squares for the Warm Up America project. After she came out, Stephanie told us that if everyone made a square that night, there would be enough for 15 blankets. I finished one:


And Melissa finished one and started another (speedy!). I noticed a man a couple of rows ahead of us knitting with great determination and not a lot of flow, shall we say, and afterward when I went up to the stage, I heard him tell Stephanie that he lost his virginity that night: his wife finally got him knitting. Stephanie's whole face beamed.

When she did come out, the applause was loud enough to freak her out a bit, although she was relieved that some of it was for the Bohus, which looked amazing by the way, even from a distance. Even my camera was overpowered, overwhelmed by the occasion:

I got better shots of her after, though by then she wasn't wearing Bohus, having decided against heatstroke for some reason. It was kind of funny, actually: she apologized for taking it off, but said it was really too warm in there for it, then peeled it over her head and dropped it on the stage, which provoked much dismay in the crowd: not as much as when the Socks That Rock bank was discussed, but a lot. A woman near me called out for her to pick it up, and she protested that it's wool, it's washable. I couldn't help myself, I called out, "At least fold it!" (I mean, it was lying in a heap, the poor thing, after all that work, and the first time it was worn...) Saying something about how knitters are ... is bossy the word she used? ... she picked it up and gave it to a friend in the front to take care of.

And not Joe, although he was there! It turned out that the whole "Joe's going to Montreal for a gig" was a wee fib, not hers but his, he was plotting and came to surprise her. Sweet, eh? She sure was surprised.

So, she's a great speaker, no surprise there, right? Everyone's said so, her books are great, and funny, and although she sounded ever so slightly nervous -- well, she said outright that she was nervous -- she spoke well, and clearly, and was funny, and moving, and if you can go see her, do. Like you didn't know that, if you're here for the knitting at all, but I think it had to be said.

Now, this post is already huge long, and it's late and I want to stop, so I think I'll break, post this on its own, and continue tomorrow or Monday with the rest, which includes the Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting exhibit, so y'all come back, y'hear?

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I'm back!

It was fabulous.

I'm exhausted. (I actually dozed on the train last night--and I got in at 10 pm, not in the middle of the night.)

I took lots of pictures, and some of them may even not be blurry, but I'm not promising.

It's going to take me a while to get my ducks in a row, not to mention distance from the cats, traumatized by the entire day-and-a-half of momlessness.

I will continue, in excruciating detail, maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow. Maybe Monday? At least for photos? I'll do my best, I promise. Lots to tell!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Going, going,

... gone! I'm leaving, on a ... jet train? That can't be right. Though I hope Amtrak gets me to NYC in enough time to hustle to FIT in time for the behind-the-scenes tour. Cross fingers! If we're at all late, I won't make it. May the train gods take pity on my timetable! I'll let y'all know how the Representing went after I get back. Should be fun and yarny!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New York me, New York me not

When I was a kid, I used to go to New York City frequently to visit a friend. I remember her declaring once that she knew New York like the back of her hand, and to prove it, she closed her eyes and described the back of her hand. (We were kids, we found this extremely funny.) The point is, whenever I've gone to New York, I haven't had to do much or any of the navigating. And I think that's why I've been edgy on the preparation for this trip.

Not that I'll have to do a lot of getting around this trip. But I have to do some! And some is, to state the obvious, more than none. I've actually only been to NYC twice as an adult. Once, when my cousins got married in 2002, involved travelling with my aunt, and moving around at all times with various family members or groups. The other, three years ago, was for the headstone unveiling of my aunt on the other side of the family, and although I travelled alone that time (ooh, train and taxi solos), otherwise I was with my parents the whole time, and didn't have to figure out a thing: where anything was, how to get there, how to pay for, nothing.

Contrast that with London, as I mentioned in my last post. I first went there at 17, and although I haven't been in years, for a while in the college and post-college years, I went several times. I got comfortable with getting around, figuring out the map and the money and the Underground. The first time was hugely scary, yes, and I almost cried with relief to see the familiar face of McDonald's*, but from the beginning, I had to learn it, and I did, so I'm okay with it now. I've never had to learn NYC, and even though I share a currency and language, it almost feels more foreign to me.

* I took a picture of it, I was so happy. Then I went in and was baffled to have to pay for ketchup. Some things are different even in places that look the same.

I never said this explanation would make sense to anyone but me, did I?

I also noticed (in the shower this morning, home of the profound thoughts) some interesting parallels between this trip and the sock knitting. They're both things that I:
  • want to do, chose to do
  • am not enjoying 100% (yet, anyway)
  • will probably (hopefully) enjoy the result though
Pan thinks I should leave the computer now and make a lap. I think I should pack. We'll probably compromise: some lap, then pack, then maybe more lap. He can never get enough ... lap hog.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pre-Represent

Stephanie's post yesterday, full of nerves about Represent, included this line: "I am just waiting now to get a huge and obvious pimple on my forehead to round out my dread."

Worry no more, Steph: I've got you covered. I'm your wingman. Guess what I woke up with this morning?

Sigh. Thank god for bangs.

I don't know what I'm nervous about. I don't have to speak in front of 750 people. (Good thing, too. I can get nervous just speaking to my department, all ten perfectly nice, friendly women, on a topic I'm comfortable with. Not scared, but edgy. Tense.) I just don't handle going outside my comfort zone well, even for things I want to do, choose to do. Going places I haven't been, no matter how much I research ahead, involves an element of uncertainty that clenches my stomach. Then add subway and New York and, well, we have zits. I don't know what it is about New York City that makes me more nervous than, say, London, but there you are. One's anxieties are, by definition, rarely rational.

So it's Tuesday night, and I leave Thursday morning. Jeepers, I need to do a bunch of stuff before then! No long, musing post tonight, I'm afraid. The most I can do is let you in on the enthralling decision that after considering my propensity for messiness, I decided that although I'm only wearing/bringing the one pair of jeans, I'll bring a pair of sweatpants as part of my soi-disant nightwear, and make sure it's a pair I could wear in public if the worst happens. I don't think I can count on passing even a short period of time without either spilling or sitting in something, but I hate to bring another pair of jeans with me for just an overnight. Aren't you glad I shared that?

By the way, I did go to Stitch-n-Bitch tonight, and moved along on the sock. It's progressing nicely: I'm at the heel gusset, and not ill pleased. That said, I think the reason I'm not feeling the sock-knitting love is that I'm so much more a process knitter, and I'm not into this process, nor do I see myself relaxing into it anytime soon. Still, I don't hate it, so I'll keep with it for now. For now. We'll see!

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Even cuter in person

The hat's done! I'm pleased with it, and may make another for myself, as I have more of that yarn left (note to self: cast on 72 stitches, size 10 needles), since it actually fits me quite well. Figures, when I'm not trying to make it to fit me.... I don't think I caught its best side, but photography's like that, for me anyway. The only reason the cat photos tend to come out well, I think, is that the cats are too cute for me to totally mess it up. Here, for example, is Pan helping me select my needles when I started the hat:

Why, look, it's something largely fur-free, that has not been thoroughly sniffed! This must be rectified immediately. Then he muses on what his nose has reported:
Hmmm ... it has an interesting bouquet ...

I finished reading The Namesake, the book of the movie I saw recently. It was interesting as further insight into the characters, but I'm not sure how I would have felt about it had I not seen the movie first. One of my friends has read it, didn't love it, but plans to see the movie, so I'll be interested to hear what she thinks of the film version. It's funny how people bring such different experiences to movies, and can like or dislike them from such vastly different places, isn't it?

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

All I can say is, Oy

Can I tell you how glad I am that I went out with friends last night?

I never really considered staying in to watch the Bruins game. I considered staying home because of the storm we had Friday: would the roads be bad, would things freeze over? But I heard that things were pretty clear, and it seemed that even the side streets around me were pretty good, and I went out early in the day and, in two shifts, cleared off and around my car (they plow the driveway but not around my car, I mean really, how slack, right?), so I decided what the heck. I did in fact drive with a friend, but more for the fun of it, for companionship (and direction confirmation) than for safety. And I had a really good time (more on that in a moment).

But honestly. On the way home, I turned on the radio to check the score, and my heart sank. Seven to nothing? Have they no pride? I mean, forget making the playoffs: even the Globe coverage is now making the point that they don't deserve to. Don't they have any pride in their play, in their team, in the history of the franchise? Is it all just talk? How can this happen? Seven to nothing? Nothing? Zero? Who was in goal for New York, Jacques Plante? No, I don't think so. That is beyond sad, beyond pathetic. There is, quite simply, no excuse for that. So I think there's nothing more to say.

Meanwhile, I had a really good time with my friends last night. In addition to the usual catching up, there was good news all over: one couple is buying a house, and she's going back to school and very excited about it, and two pregnancies were announced, so you know I'm going to be doing some knitting this summer! I'm smiling just thinking about it. Sometimes life can be horrible to you or to your friends, but sometimes it just sends wonderful things, and all you can do is let gratitude fill your heart. I bitch enough about even minor woes (hey, see above), but I do really give thanks for the good stuff, I do.

In knitting, I'm still working on the sock, and although I hit a slight snag (where the pattern says at this point I should have 18 stitches on that needle and, well, I have 19), I'm not losing heart. It just takes so much concentration, I'm not sure I'm going to be a true sock convert. Which is okay. I'm going to finish this pair, and we'll see. I'm also working on the Ruffles scarf for the charity auction at work, and on the hat-for-charity that I'm bringing to the Yarn Harlot's Represent Event. I started it Friday night and it's almost done, love hats! Maybe I'm just meant to be a hat knitter, not a sock knitter.

Anyway, Represent is this week! I leave Thursday, getting to NY around 4, Amtrak willing, so I won't be there in time for the sock picture in Central Park, which is too bad but oh well, life is imperfect (to quote The Breakfast Club, "Screws fall out all the time. The world is an imperfect place."). I look forward to seeing that picture. Anyway, what I'm really going for, other than to stand up and be counted, is to hear Stephanie talk, as I understand she's a really fun speaker, and that I will be in plenty of time for. I may check out the The Subversive Lace and Radical Knitting Exhibit before, if I have time, but I'll leave that open. Then I go to spend the night with my cousins, and the next day too, which will be great, as I don't see them nearly enough, before train-ing back to MA. Whew! I think I'll pass on yarn-crawl activities, for several reasons, including that I'm not short of great yarn stores around here, plus the budget doesn't allow for too much craziness and the temptation would be great. Though my moral fiber may not hold out against the actual fiber temptation in the end; we'll see.

As for today, I've finished laundry (lotsa laundry), and now I feel the couch calling me. I got Howl's Moving Castle out of the library to watch again, and I think I will. Also got Holiday with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, but I finished that earlier this week. Great movie, how had I never seen it before?

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Fine, turn around when I give up on you, be that way

I threw my hands up in disgust at the Bruins last night. I wasn't quite reaching for the remote, but honestly. Being down 2-0 in the second period is far from insurmountable, and getting a power play is a good time to turn it around, so when they instead gave up a shorthanded goal, argh! I was doing some very loud muttering (does that still count as muttering?) about what was was wrong with them, and how they aren't going to make the playoffs, and they don't deserve to! In the symphony of inconsistency that has been their season, this was a particularly sour note.

I was nervous enough about watching this game, and perhaps jinxing them, after they beat Detroit, in Detroit, when I wasn't looking on Sunday, but I thought perhaps if I snuck glances while doing laundry (can't be out of long underwear with a snowstorm coming), that would be safe enough, and this is my reward, this utter mediocrity. (Why yes, I do take my hockey seriously, thank you for noticing. Summer is my off-season, I rest then.) How can they beat the good teams and not the bad ones? Why, oh why?

Then they scored on the power play.

And twice more,
again on the power play, before the end of the game, so it went to overtime, and then the shootout, and Bergeron scored in the shootout, and so did Ovechkin for Washington of course, but then the kid Phil Kessel, who they're starting to call "the closer" (pretty sappy, but better than "special k", which is the other thing the announcer tried out), scored his fourth shootout-clinching goal of the season, and the Bruins won. Would that the world worked this way more often.

They're just so up and down. Between the New Jersey and Detroit games, those two great games, were three stinkers in which they scored a total of two goals. Two goals in three games and then six on Sunday. Couldn't score on the power play for the longest time and then whoops! They remembered how. The coaches must be batshit trying to figure them out. Oh well, they drive me crazy too, and I do it for free.

In other news, here's the driest lead-in I ever saw to what has to be one heck of a story:
Ambassador recalled for conduct unbecoming
Mon Mar 12, 2007 1:25 PM ET

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel has recalled its ambassador in El Salvador after he was found drunk and naked with sex toys lying nearby in the yard of his official residence, Israeli media reports said on Monday.

Then there's the photo of a protester in London, outside Parliament, holding a sign saying, "Nuclear Weapons are Naughty and Horrid".

I love the British. You can't argue with that, can you? American protesters are so crass by comparison. "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" That's just not ... nice, is it?

Finally, a good movie opened today, if you're looking for a recommendation: The Namesake. I got to see a preview of it recently, and enjoyed it, and the Globe liked it too. It's based on the book, which I'm now reading and also enjoying. So, whether you're looking for something to read or something to go see, I've got you covered! Don't say I never did anything for you. Happy St. Paddy's to you, in case I don't catch you tomorrow.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The bad news

The bad news is, I don't think I'm sick.

That may not sound like bad news at first, but think about it: when you get sick, that's usually followed, eventually, by getting well. I've felt rotten all week, and if it's allergies, that's not likely to just stop.

Allergy season starting up means the beginning of misery, with the end so far away as to be meaningless. And you can't call in sick for allergies, not for long, not without losing your job. I am having one unhappy week.

Wretched. Pitiful. Vile. Dragging.

I'm going to have to be careful, actually. It's got me in such a monumentally bad mood, I'm no joy to be around--I mean, I can tell--and I can also tell how short-tempered it's making me, so I have to control myself. Quelling the urge to kvetch is hard, and stifling the urge to snap at people for doing things like rustling papers or eating celery (which, it's a well-known fact, gets louder and more annoying the worse your mood is) or asking how I am isn't easy either. Let alone those who have the nerve to give me work (um, as if I'd be happier with nothing to do? Of course not! This mood is not rational). If you're reading this, and I've gotten on your nerves recently, I'm sorry. I'm getting on my own nerves, too, if that's any consolation (I know, probably not so much).

I felt bad Monday, so I went to bed early Monday night, got nine good solid hours of sleep, and woke up feeling just as bad, if not worse. I felt bad enough Tuesday afternoon that I went out on my break to buy something (anything!) at the drugstore (plus some chocolate for the Mood). And the semi-good news is that it's helping, somewhat: Benadryl Allergy & Sinus Headache (well, CVS brand). It calms my faucet/nose down, and tames the sneezing, and relieves most of the head pressure and general bleagh (you know how it goes: you don't realize how much it's helping until it wears off, then wow, rock bottom and you have to wait for it to kick back in).

The reason that's only semi-good news is simply because it also makes me as loopy as a kite on a windy day, which is a bit of a problem. At least I think that's a problem. Isn't it? Surely? Plus I can't keep taking it indefinitely. But it is making the short term bearable at least.

In the long term? Well, they're forecasting snow this weekend. Maybe that will kill the little beasties in the air that are tormenting me so. Snow must be good for something, right? Other than annoying me? I mean, it was 70 today, how can it snow on Friday? What is with this climate?

Oh, you want something other than whining? And you've made it this far? Well, you deserve a reward! Look, such cute cats! This is the babies being Good Boys during the last storm, snuggling together and letting me get some work done at home so I could go in to work later. Considering that Harold doesn't generally let me finish my breakfast without requesting lap time, that really is a miracle.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

While not wanting to tempt fate

Am I sick or not?

Much of last week, I had a wee bit of a sore throat, the merest hint of a fever. Nothing much, just enough to set off alarm bells: am I sick? Maybe? Maybe not?

Today, my nose is both stuffy and runny--lovely, like one wouldn't be enough! I keep blowing and blowing, I'm sneezing my head off, I know I'm verging on overshare, but jeepers, my head is all stuffed up, and I have to ask: am I sick, or not? I don't want to be, but there is a limit to how long I'm going to enjoy feeling like I'm coming down with something before I stop being grateful that I'm not sick, you know?

Of course, I may not be sick at all. Is it allergies? It doesn't seem like Spring yet to me, just like the dirty tail-end of winter*, but perhaps my nose disagrees. Or it could be yet another side effect of the migraine medication. It's so hard to know. In the meantime, the only thing I see with clarity is that I should have bought stock in Kleenex years ago.

*The temperature today (55, Feels Like 55) is a vast improvement over last week's 8, Feel Like -5. However, there is nothing green or blooming anywhere, and the tired snow is still greatly in evidence, sandy and dirty and blech. It just doesn't seem like Sneeze Season should have begun quite yet.

Then, the Bruins. Ye gods. They played that great game, and apparently it was supposed to last me through the next three games of playing with their heads, well, guess where, and then yesterday, when I was otherwise engaged and not watching the game, they beat Detroit, only second best record in the league, 6-3. How am I supposed to feel about that?

Well, I don't know how I'm supposed to feel, but I am miffed. Peeved. Severely irked.

They're off until Thursday. Should I watch, or not?

Knitting is happier news. The sock fit! I tried it on, with caution around those pointy yet fragile needles, and it fit. Whew. I have about half an inch to go before the heel begins. And I'm having fun with it, too.

And I finished the little secret project I mentioned last week. For the auction at work, I made a small square with the company logo on it. It turned out pretty well! The graphing it out was the hard part: actually knitting it was easy enough, and I found a good match for the color, the company color (I took a brochure into the store).

No photos, I'm afraid, as it's a subtle effect, but when I showed it to people at work, they recognized what it was meant to be without my having to explain, which is about all I could hope for. If it doesn't get bid upon at the auction, I'll hang it on the wall and have no regrets. (The auction does rather strike me as a popularity contest, in a way, but we try to rise above, right?)

And, I showed a friend how to knit yesterday, and she likes it! I did warn her that she would, by learning from me, be learning continental style, but she declared that after all we have always been very continental (mais oui, mais oui!), and that she was fine with that. Lesson One went well, anyway. So overall, very good times in knitting.

Finally, in blog-keeping news, I've opened an e-mail account for the blog, on the off-chance that anyone might wish to contact me less publicly than the comments (anyone who doesn't already have my "real" e-mail address, that is). If you so desire, you may e-mail me at ccrinma (at) hotmail (dot) com.

For my part, I will try to remember to check it on a semi-regular basis. ;)

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

But it's so peaceful here ... what was I saying?

Say what you will about denial, keeping one's head in the sand can be very pleasant, if you can keep it there. This sock may be too small, but la la la la I can't hear you I just keep knitting on it, isn't it pretty? I like the yarn, the way it's mostly one color (a nice, rich, dark blue) but has a sort of subtle heathered change to it, and, and,

try it on?

I guess I could do that.

But then if it's too small I'll know, and then I'll be out of my soft peaceful denial, boom into harsh reality. That doesn't sound nice.

Plus, I've been knitting it at work, and working on something else at home (little secret project), and I'm not so much interested in stripping off my sock at work to try it on. Well, not that I couldn't try it on at home just because I haven't been knitting it at home, but, but, well.

Hmm. Can I distract you?

Here's a chicken-and-egg question: are our pets weird because living with us makes them weird, or because we select weird pets?

Laurie's discussion of how her four cats are four aspects of her personality fascinated me, and got me thinking about Pan and Harold, and if the same is true of them and of me. Is it? Let's see.

Facts first. Pan and Harold are both boys, fixed, and will be 9 years old around April first (estimated by the Humane Society in Charlotte, where I got them). They are both officially Domestic Short Hairs, the mutts of cats if you ask me. Pan is a gray tabby, Harold a black-and-white cow-kitty.

Pan can be very friendly and loving, on his own terms (hmmm). He likes to knead his paws into one's soft spots, and to bite affectionately, and is shocked, yes shocked, when this is not appreciated. Not that lack of appreciation changes his behavior one bit (hmmm again), though he can get very indignant, and sulks at me from across the room (I don't think I like where this is going).

He likes schedules to be followed: he's supposed to be fed when I get home from work, and so what if the food bowl isn't empty? Put more in anyway, because it's that time. He's spoiled by me, and I can't deny that I'm spoiled by my parents, still, though I'd like to think I'm not as spoiled as he is. But I may be fooling myself. (See: denial.)

Is this getting weird, or is it just me?

He likes things to be his idea, too. If he wants to be on my lap, and I sit down and lift him onto my lap, he will step off my lap, turn around, and step right back on, to make the point that he's there by his own choice, and not because I put him there.

Do I do that? Anyone?

Harold? Harold is both wildly affectionate and more self-sufficient than Pan. He can take care of himself emotionally for longer periods of time (relatively speaking), but when he wants lovin', look out. He was a runt, and I think it's because of that that he can't full-out meow, but he has a cute little mew that really grabs me. One pet sitter nicknamed him the love hog, for his habit of shoving in front of Pan to get all the attention. He's very relaxed on the lap, to the point where I have to hold him on or he'll melt right off and bonk onto the floor.

Harold doesn't like loud noises, which I don't either, but he doesn't get used to the same loud noise no matter how often he hears it. For example, where we lived before was a dead-end street, so the garbage truck (weekly) and recycling truck (every other week) would back down the street to pick up, and the trucks would make that loud, annoying BEEP-BEEP-BEEP all the way down the street. This scared Harold as much the last week we were there as the first week. Panic, running, under the bed, and it's not that I didn't feel bad for him, but come on, it never hurt him, we lived there for three and a half years, you don't have to like it but chill a little please!

He's actually really smart. Someone gave them a toy once, years ago, the kind with a string that you pull and the toy vibrates (don't ask me why; it's supposed to look like a squirrel, it scared Pan quite a bit when it moved), and it took Harold less than a minute to work out that if he held it with his paws, he could pull the string with his teeth and make it vibrate. Scary smart. Hard to remember that I chose him partly because he was so small and runty that I thought he might not get picked by anyone else.

Well, I may or may not be a split personality, but I don't see myself as Harold. Nothing personal, Harold, love you!

Pan, though? Yeah.

Interesting.

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You can't hardly get more random

I'm in total random mode here. If you can follow a superball bouncing off the walls, you should feel right at home.

I'm not sure what I was doing in my sleep Tuesday night (I'm not sure I want to know), but the way my back felt yesterday, it was active enough that I should have lost weight. (I didn't, of course.) Maybe Pan was more than usually annoying? Or maybe it has something to do with when I woke up to discover one leg was firmly wedged between two cats: who knows how long I was torquing my back, trying to turn over, before it woke me? Ow. Welcome to the ibuprofen diet.

It's a shame one can't can't call in crabby to work. I just felt cranky yesterday. (Hopefully today will be better.) Though I suppose even if I could, I'd be second-guessing myself: "Am I really crabby, or only sort of crabby? I only get so many crabby days a year, maybe I should save it for when I'm really crabby..." I do have the merest whisper of a sore throat, so maybe I'm coming down with something. Wouldn't that suck.

Name change. No, not me. I think I'm going to stop using the phrase "disposable income", though, and replace it with "evaporative income". I don't feel like I dispose of much: it's just gone.

By the way, do you think the title Delusional Blogger is taken?

Google maps. I love it, but lately it has stopped recognizing my work address. "We were not able to locate the address", it says, but I work here. I know my desk hasn't moved, in almost a year and a half. The driveway is where it has been. I always used to go to maps.google.com and type in my work address and be right there, and now it won't, nor will it say what part it has a problem with. It does offer me the option of finding businesses near the suddenly mythical address I'm trying to find, and it can find the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, but it doesn't have us in exactly the right spot on the street, which it used to. Very strange. Somehow I feel less secure than I used to about my location on the planet.

Finally, some random photos. Last post, I mentioned the turkeys showing up at work, it was last spring by the way, so here's proof (this may be two photos of the same turkey, I'm not sure, but there were two of them, promise):


And here's some of what I want to see again, soon: color, life, Spring:




Although, these were taken in Hawaii, and I won't be seeing them again anytime soon. But aren't they pretty? If you want local, here's some local. Look at that green!

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