Thursday, August 30, 2007

Not the only one

I thought that I was looking forward to the miracle that is Four Days Off, but judging by the Limpets* tonight, the boys are well and truly overdue for some advanced kitty maintenance. I've been reading this evening, and the cats have been on my lap, off my lap, my turn, I was here first, but Mo-om, up, down, over, under, around, and through. I am about worn out with them! Even now, I am computing with a cat draped over one arm, which is ... challenging, but we persevere. Right? By Tuesday morning, they should be fully recharged, and ready for me to go back to work.

*I'm starting to feel like the safe place in tag; they haven't been off me for more than about a minute all evening. Thank heavens for the central air conditioning; it was over 90 today, and without it, the fur and the sticky would be bad...

Some things that I plan to do before then:
  • sleep late every day, you betcha
  • clean up around here, or what my family calls "tide the house"*
  • go to the movies tomorrow night (Becoming Jane)
  • one doctor's appointment
  • post office
  • refill Pan's pills
  • grocery store
  • upload Nantucket photos to share with my family
  • blog Nantucket garden photos (I didn't forget!)
  • cookout on Monday (I'll be spectating at bocce, though)
  • make pesto; I picked more basil today
*When my parents were in China some years ago, they ran across a display in a park somewhere that was all about Snow White, only due to a translation confusion, she was Princess Whitesnow, who "tides the house" for the seven dwarfs. The expression caught on in my family, as you might imagine.

Yawn and Meow, to quote everyone here. Good night!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If I didn't feel old before

Thanks, AARP! Leave me alone now!

Yes, AARP is trying to get me to join again. This is the third time in my life they've sent me a membership card. For the record, I turn 39 in October. Of course, the first time they tried, I was about 25, so they obviously don't take the "R" too seriously, unless I'm mistaken: isn't it the American Association of Retired Persons? Don't you have to be, if not retired, at least 50?

I believe so. I am sending back their letter and card, in their own postage-paid envelope, with the following note:
This is the third time you have tried to get me to join AARP, and I don't even turn 40 until next year. You need to get a grip, and do a better job of finding prospect lists. Leave me alone for at least ten years!
I have absolutely no confidence that this will have the slightest effect, but writing it made me feel better. Some days, it's the little battles, right?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What I really need

Aside from sleep, and someone to explain to me how if I ignore my to-do list, it grows, and if I tackle my to-do list, it grows (because I wasn't all that good at science, but I'm pretty sure that contravenes a law of physics or something), what I really need is ... minions.

It would solve so many problems.

It came to me in a catalog. Minions would be even better than sherpas, don't you think? Catalogs provide solutions to so many problems, problems you didn't even know you had.

I think I'd only want a few:
  • housekeeper
  • cook
  • shopper (for things like groceries, not for fun stuff)
  • errand-runner
  • bookkeeper
Can you think of others?

(Oh, wait, there is one more thing. Sometimes we need a drop-down court photographer, for when the cats are being particularly cute on my lap. Think I can get one of those, too?)

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Cat in Nantucket

My cousin in Nantucket has two cats. One was camera-shy, but the other ... well, she refused to let me and my camera deflect her from her chosen course, basically. Saturday morning, she slept in Her Spot:


Very comfortable, thank you.


Why, yes, I can stretch my paws out more.


I tuck the nose between the paws and ignore you.


I am not either about to fall. I scorn you.


Believe it or not. (She wasn't, either. She slept like that for a while, and I never saw her slip.)


Are all cats contortionists?


Up at last. Cat forms part of a domestic exterior.


Are you ignoring how cute I am? How can you?


I'm so cute! Lookit!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

raveled

Only last week, I was telling Stacey at my local stitch and bitch that I hadn't signed up for Ravelry* because although it sounds like quite a cool thing for knitters (and other fiber artists, keep your stitches on), I was leery of another time sink, which I need in my life like a hole in the head.

*What is Ravelry? Oh, you're not a knitter/crocheter/spinner/fiber-person? Or you don't read knit blogs (other than this one)? Go here and read about the latest craze in knit-blog-land.

However.

I was reading a blog post at Yarn-A-Go-Go, where she described a use of Ravelry I had heard about but hadn't really thought through: you can look up a specific pattern and see other people who are working on it, how they're doing, what it looks like, modifications they've made, etcetera. (She looked at a pattern she had dismissed for herself because it looked so good on a smaller friend, she thought it wouldn't suit her, until she saw that it also looked good on larger people.)

Hmm. You can do that on Ravelry.

And I thought about sitting at Stitch and Bitch and watching another woman making the Ruffles scarf that I had made before, only she used a much lighter yarn, and the effect was really different, and I liked it both ways, and I wouldn't have thought of that. And maybe on Ravelry, I could look up that pattern and see people who made it in two colors, and find out how, because I never did find a blogger that explained that, last year, and I couldn't get the color switch to go right when I tried it.

Hmmm hmmm.

Plus, I heard that there's this regional aspect to it, that there are groups forming from it: local people who blog and knit, that sounds like people I would have things in common with, eh? Three things, anyway.

Hmmmm.

I know that they're beta testing, so you sign up and wait to be called. I did think about signing up when I first heard about it, but just wasn't sure...

Now, I give in. I signed up, poked around the front of the site a little, signed up for the Ravelry News blog in my Google Reader, and saw that I could check the status of my invitation (I love that the address for that page is /antsy don't you?). This is maybe five minutes after I signed up.

Found you!
  • You signed up on Today
  • You are #27720 on the list.
  • 17774 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 3 people are behind you in line.
  • 34% of the list has been invited so far

Three other people have signed up already? In five minutes?

Wow.

Except, that's nothing. I checked again tonight, and now the numbers are:
  • 17672 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 176 people are behind you in line.
  • 35% of the list has been invited so far
These people are moving. No wonder the Yarn Harlot talks about the power of knitters, that we're a force to be reckoned with. This may turn out to be quite interesting. Further updates as events warrant.

************************

While we're talking about yarn, shall we look at what Nantucket showed me?

I didn't go much out of my way, so this is what we kind of fell across. There was one store in town (and I'm sorry, but I forgot the name) that had some needle craft supplies but mostly clothing (really expensive clothing), including a child's sweater almost exactly like the ones I just made for the twins, only with the word Nantucket in a contrasting color across the front. Not that I don't understand the appeal of that, in Nantucket, and yes it is Season, but still isn't $98 a bit much? Anyone?

On one wall, though, we had this:


Pretty! And there was also some very soft pretty yarn with this tag:



Can this be true? Mothproofed? This falls into my "learn something new every day" category. Read all about it!

Later we stopped in at the real yarn store on the Island, Sheep to Shore (I'm not saying that it's the only one, because I don't know that it is; just that the store that I saw that had yarn mostly carried other things, but this was a Yarn Store).


I wonder why so many yarn stores do the punny names. Anyone have a theory?

Oh, you want to know about the store? It's really nice. The woman there was very pleasant (even though we came in with a three-year-old, which would have been a turn-off to some), and they had a wide selection of some lovely yarns:



I managed not to buy, because they were plenty expensive, and I'm trying to knit what I have right now. I have quite a few projects in mind from my stash, after all, and just because I'm madly tempted by some perfectly lovely new yarn does not mean I should overlook three key facts:
  • it's $44 a skein ($28 for the "cheaper" stuff I liked)
  • I have nothing in mind to make with it
  • I just spent plenty of money getting to Nantucket, and since money is already tight right now, I really should let that be enough reasons
It was actually fun to look at and fondle the yarn, and only hurt a bit to leave without it. I'll go back when I win the lottery.

Right?

Just say yes.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

This Is Nantucket, For Real Now

Because 1, Nantucket is very photogenic; 2, people with addictive personalities and digital cameras with nice large-capacity cards don't mix; and 3, it's rather late and I'm just getting in and getting uploading after spending the evening playing with almost two-week-old babies*, I'm going to do the Nantucket overview (with lots of photos!), but leave the gardens, the cats, and the yarn (you knew there was yarn, right? [only photographed, I promise]) for other days. And away we go!

*If I can convince my friends that I enjoy holding the babies, and am not just doing it to do them a favor, the amount of time I spend doing other things, like blogging, may decrease. For some reason, they don't quite seem to believe me. I'll have to work on convincing them.

Isn't Nantucket ridiculously New Englandy?


Just too much for words.


Cobblestone streets and everything.


I love this car, but is the license plate meant to be a lecture?


It seems a little rude.


This is nice, though.


You've got to love the dock. Some of the boats were killer, gleaming wood and all. Staff of thousands, no doubt. Of course I could live like that, if I chose (cough, cough).


Since I took the ferry in Friday night and left late Sunday, I'm glad to have gone to the dock area Saturday to see what it looked like in the daylight. You wouldn't want to miss this, you know?


And although it wasn't so much beach weather, at least not lay-out on the beach weather (chilly breezes), we did see beaches, and they were gorgeous.


I also loved the look of this little lane, in Sconset.


Some of these settings could be a million other places, couldn't they? So lovely.




And as the sun sinks slowly, etcetera, we ponder that quintessential t-shirt wisdom ...


At least, it's on the t-shirt my cousin gave me, "now that you know the way"...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nantucket teaser

In order to spend as much of the weekend on Nantucket as possible, and as little of it in traffic, I took a late ferry back last night, and I didn't get home until 11:15. And while I'd love to be a late-night person, I am this way that I need sleep, lots of sleep, and when I don't get it, it's not a pretty thing. So while I had a really good time, I am, to put it mildly, tired, and I won't be giving you the full 411 tonight.

In fact, I have to stop myself, to make myself step away from the computer, before I get caught up in sorting through the many, many photos I took ("I'll just look through them, I'll just put up a few..."). Stop it!

Here. Pretty. Me go now.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Little of This...

Some extremely random thoughts from here and there:
  • Korinthe, you were right about that being Hingham beach in my post on August 11, good eye! I don't boat, so your statement "we've dropped boats in Hingham Harbor more than once" struck me as funny; I want to know, did you pick them up afterward? (Sorry.) As for the Rhode Island beach, I don't think that was the name of the one we went to, but a friend was directing me, and all I did was turn where she told me to go, so I couldn't get there again without her. It's pretty, though, isn't it?
  • According to an article in the Business section of this morning's Globe on minting money, it costs the government two cents to make a penny, and ten cents to make a nickel. They are, apparently, beginning to start to commence to think about looking into ways to make money that costs less than the actual face value of the money, perhaps, someday, if they can overcome the completely impartial lobbying of the manufacturer of the zinc that goes into the pennies. This is my tax money at work. Just lovely.
  • If you sort of let them and sort of encourage them, cucumber vines will grow sideways across the trellis in the most amusing way (if you find that sort of thing amusing, anyway, and clearly I do):
  • You know you've been reading a lot of books featuring vampires when someone irritates you and the first thought that crosses your mind is to go over to them and say, "If you don't stop doing XYZ, I'm going to rip your arm out of its socket." (No, I didn't say it, but I thought of it...)
  • I'll be back after the weekend (well, that's the plan). Have a great one, y'all, whatever constitutes same in your world. I'm going to go pack my camera (along with everything else), so we'll see what was blogworthy when I get back.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Study in Contrasts

My weekends in August are and will be wildly different creatures. Looking ahead and back gives me whiplash.

The 4th-5th: With my cousin visiting, it was traveling and touring, driving and walking, going-going-going.

The 11th-12th: I made a slug look active. I did get a fair bit of laundry done, so I could have clean clothing this week (I know you were worried about that; you're sweet, really). I ran the dishwasher. Hey, I blogged. Otherwise? Not much. I didn't even leave the house. It was a reaction weekend, a catching up to sloth weekend.

The 18th-19th: I'm going to Nantucket. First time, actually, so I'm rather excited about that. On the other hand, my worrywart self is nervous about Cape traffic (notorious in Summer), catching the ferry, and many other variables I can't control (me? control freak? whatever gave you that idea? the things I learn about myself on this blog).

25-26: The 25th is day two of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's annual Sales Meeting, so I'll be (gasp!) working, on a Saturday. It's actually voluntary; only Friday was mandatory for my department. I felt there was a lot I could learn from the Saturday sessions that would be useful later on (darn my parents and this work ethic) (just kidding, mother), plus there's a banquet Saturday night, so that actually should be fun to watch. Sunday, I hope to spend time with my best friend, to celebrate her birthday (hippo birdie two ewes...).

Does Labor Day weekend count as an August weekend? In spirit it sort of does. To me, anyway. I'm going to count it, since I get the 31st off in compensation for working the 25th, which gives me (ta-da!) a 4-day weekend! I hope to achieve balance that weekend, with accomplishment and sloth in fairly equal amounts. Do you think that's a pipe dream? Well, one must dream. I did move a doctor's appointment to the 31st, so that I don't have to miss work time for it, so that's good.

This is the headache doctor. Have I mentioned that the latest medicine he gave me seems to be (shhh, don't jinx it) helping? It's true: I've had fewer headaches lately. I know. I can hardly believe it myself. What is the world coming to, when you only have to see a doctor for six months or so before things improve?

I shouldn't knock him, actually; headaches are notoriously hard to treat. It's not his fault that the "it works for most people" stuff didn't help me. I'll be stopping that one, now, by the way! I can't wait for Coca-Cola to taste the way it used to (that's the weirdest little side effect I've ever encountered, from any medicine, having the taste of Coke change).

And I'll blink and there goes August. What happened to those endless summers of childhood? Going to bed when it was light out, "summer feet" from running around without shoes, popsicles, riding my bike, getting bags of books from the library on their summer-loan terms (that's the kind of kids we were, my brother and I).

Ah, well. September means hockey season starts again. The trees will turn pretty, and the air will have that lovely smell to it. Apple Festival is coming, and my birthday, and it's time to make applesauce and apple crisp with the "fresh from the tree" apples. It's not all bad.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Door Number One, or Door Number Two

I could have written a real blog post tonight, or I could have started reading the new Stephenie Meyer novel, Eclipse, which I picked up on the way home.

Can you guess which one I chose?

I haven't finished it yet, but it's good, as good as the first two. Gottogobye.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

A little gardening for your Monday

I've had about 8 cukes so far altogether from the 2 and a half plants left by the critter, and from a recent pause in the growing I kind of thought the plants might be done, but it looks like I might get more cucumber after all, since this guy is now growing:


The others are staying tiny for now anyway. I will continue to watch and hope.

Other people in our community plot are complaining of the marauding varmint now, so I don't know why it has stopped eating my cucumber plants, not that I'm complaining. I'm sorry to say that I'm not overflowing with sympathy for them either. I'm sympathizing, sure, just not overflowing. Where were their outpourings of tender sympathy when my plants were the ones being eaten? Yeah, okay, whatever.

Not that everybody's everything is being eaten. Someone has one bowling ball of an eggplant developing here:


And check out this, I think it's a sunflower plant maybe? It's tall, anyway.


And that's some melon coming along there, dude!


It's a good thing I took pictures this morning. When we walked this afternoon, the big storm was coming in, and half-way through it broke over our heads (or umbrellas), rain and wind and thunder and lightning. Not photography weather in my book. By the time I left for the day, it had blown on past. The weather around here is just weird. Is it like that everywhere, so changeable?

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Vacation: the Photo Essay

There are those who think of vacations as a time to get out and go, and those who think of them as a time to relax and recharge. My ideal vacation has a combination of both, and my cousin and I managed to do some of each during her week here, though the balance probably went toward getting out. Hey, nobody's perfect! The thing about New England is that there's so much to see and do, in a relatively and deceptively compact space, that you can find yourself saying sure, we could do that, too! And that! And why not that as well?

So, JL arrived Thursday afternoon, and I picked her up and we got settled in, and I promptly abandoned her (with her prior permission) to go Yarn Harlotting. The next day, I worked in the morning, and in the afternoon, we went into Boston despite the high 90s* temperatures. When we were kids and JL visited, we loved to go in to Boston and visit the Faneuil Hall area, wandering through all the little shops. On Friday, of course, we were most interested in the ones with the best air conditioning! How times change. Still, it was fun. Afterwards, we had a great dinner in the suburbs (yes! it can be done!) and hung out chatting before bed.

*that's mid-30s Celsius for the rest of the world

Saturday we headed north of the city (generally referred to as the North Shore), up to the Cape Ann area, and stopped in Gloucester, where they were having a sort of festival thing with booths and music and it was fun. I found this sign interesting; I've seen signs for Objets d'Art, but never seen it translated into English before:


It is a little hard to read, but it actually does say Objects of Art. Interesting. Anyone seen that elsewhere?

Then in Rockport, a lovely town itself:


I saw a sign I liked for a different reason. Here's a word for you: seafencibles. My goodness!


I hate it when all my seafencibles are taken prisoner. Plus, if you're using your stockings as slings to hurl rocks, they better have been well-knit to begin with, don't you think? Go, knitters of Rockport!

All right, on to some pretty pictures. A flowery thing (still in Rockport):


And a beach scene, which means now it's Sunday and we're in Rhode Island. Isn't it pretty?


Caution: low-flying sea-gulls:


Dunes and beaches and grasses, oh my:


On Monday, somewhat worn from the weekend, we were a little less active. In fact, we went to the movies! We saw No Reservations, which we both enjoyed (although it's not all sunshine and light, it's still overall fun), and we also saw a preview for August Rush*, which was the only one of the many previews they showed that made both of us say Absolutely Yes. (Of course, it doesn't come out until November.) So many of these things make me say no way: I have to agree with my brother, who refers to the things as Repulsions, instead of Attractions.

*It has Freddie Highmore, the child actor who was so great in Finding Neverland as well as in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; it has Keri Russell, who I just loved in Waitress; it has Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who I loved in Bend It Like Beckham; and oh-by-the-way it has Robin Williams.

On Tuesday, a beach of another style, what we called ghost beach:


This was Nantasket Beach in Hull, south of Boston, and the spray/surf/whatever was rolling in. Perhaps if it had been super-hot, the temperature change and steady breeze would have been a nice change, but as it was ... we gave it a try, but the sand was soaking wet, the water was cool, and after a while we decided that it wasn't fun. We drove around looking at the pretty town:


Then, on our way back toward home, found that only a short distance away, the sun was out, over another beach! So we stayed there for a while, soaking up sunshine, and it was nice, and check out the scenic New England-ness of the view.


Even the gulls were lined up looking out over the water:




And we were in time to see the west-bound goose crossing, too.


Finally, as the sun sank slowly in the west (I know, where else would it sink?), we packed up again and once more headed home (and to dinner at Legal Sea Foods, JL living in a landlocked locale).

When I was at work on Wednesday morning, someone asked, "Do you have any big plans for the last night?"

I said, "Yes, we're going to Vermont."

To fully get the look I got, you have to understand, I can drive to the closest edge of New Hampshire in less than an hour. Same with Maine, Rhode Island, and probably Connecticut. Vermont is probably more like two hours just to get to the border. I, of course, was planning to go to Ben and Jerry's, which is in Waterbury, which is three hours from me. Each way. After I've worked all morning. So it was a crazy plan, but we really wanted to go.

Before you ask, the reason we didn't go on the weekend is that, although they do give tours on the weekends, the production floor isn't running on the weekends, and we felt like that would make a difference. It just wouldn't be as neat when things weren't running.

Sure, we're crazy. Everyone's crazy about something. At least we were compatibly crazy on this.

So, here's something you see in Vermont that you don't see everywhere you go:


And B&J plants some pretty flowers on their grounds:



Now you know you're getting closer:




I am proud of number 8; JL claims number 5 as her personal best:


This is my idea of a factory:


And the views of the neighborhood aren't half-bad either:


It can be a little spooky, though.


We went into Burlington for dinner, and that's certainly a city I'd like to explore at more length another time. We went down to the water to look at Lake Champlain, and I loved this name on one of the boats (being as we were near Stowe, Vermont):


I also liked this window display, especially the blue rubber duckie in the middle:


And that about wraps it up for the photos, since my camera felt that the stars were too far away to capture (silly camera! they were so close, and there were a million of them!). We got home late on Wednesday, and Thursday was hanging out and packing, and airport and goodbyes, and then it was over. Next time, I suppose, I'll visit her, and hang out with her boys, and think of silly things to teach them (I wonder if they can do fish-face yet?), and it will be a different kind of fun. But this was a good vacation.

On the other hand, I haven't knit since the Yarn Harlot left. I have to finish that sock!

Did you realize, by the way, that I've been blogging for a year now? Amazing ... already, it's part of my life to the point that, for example, when I saw that boat, I took a picture because "that's blog-worthy". I've missed blogging the past week. I've really gotten used to doing this regularly. Funny, that. I wonder if there's a post there...

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