Monday, June 30, 2008

Some Trouble in Paradise

Trouble the first, or, the first rock in the garden path

I went out this morning to check my garden and see how it spent the weekend. The good news is that everything is growing, there are flowers where there should be (on the tomatoes, cukes, green beans, and peas), and I picked some more basil. There's mint growing where none was planted, the catnip is looking less like a plant and more like a bush, and overall it's happy days.

Except that a couple of the cuke plants are missing leaves. Whole leaves, indicating critter rather than bug. All of the leaves, from one of the plants. (Poor thing has a big, healthy flower, too. Wonder how long that will last. Can the plant continue without leaves?)

The plants are still there, they're not dead yet, but it's not a good thing. It bodes ill, may I say. If it turns out that the peas* are next, I will be even more sorry that I forgot my camera today. It might have been my last sight of them!

*Not the peas! They're growing, and flowering, and tendrilling, and when I bent over them to pull out some weeds, I found that they even smell like peas! Please, don't eat the peas!

You know how I was all philosophical, and said that I would try to garden again this year and see what happened, and hope for the best, and not expect too much, and all that?

Yeah. Not really. That was before everything started growing and flowering and encouraging me to bond with it. I am now (you knew it would happen, didn't you?) emotionally invested in my garden.

Stupid critter. I'm trying not to get upset before anything more happens, but still, grrr.

Trouble the second, or, are those socks done yet?

Almost?

Kind of?

Except for the problem?

Yeah. The Banish February socks, whose bright colors helped me survive both February and March.

When I finished the first sock, I found that the bind-off edge was a little tight around my (dainty, doll-sized) leg. I had followed the advice that I read somewhere, and bound off over two needles instead of one (which was very fiddly, by the way), but it was still not perfect. Rather than re-do it right away, I decided that I would make the second sock and try binding off over a bigger needle, and see how that worked.

This weekend, I picked up the socks, which have been ready for me for a while, and did just that with the second sock. Instead of binding off over two size two needles, I bound off over one size 11. And I was happy with it! It was much more comfy than the first one. I wore the sock for a while Saturday night, and was moderately pleased.

So, I undid the bind-off on the first sock, which was a total and complete PITA, and last night I got to the point of re-doing the bind-off on the 11. I did just what I did on the second sock, and when I went to pull it on, the edge is so tight I can't get it all the way up my leg.

Not just snug. Not uncomfortable. Can't get it up. Instead of making it better, I made it worse. And I don't even know how.

I kind of lost it. I believe that the words "I never want to see you again!" were directed, loudly, at the socks, as they were shoved into a bag and put out of sight. And then I sat there, seething, trying to calm down but not getting very far, until Pan got down off the back of the couch and came and sat on my lap, purring (he hates to see me upset).

It was just so frustrating. I figured out what was wrong, I overcame obstacles, and it's now worse than when I started "fixing" it. Argh.

Mind you, when it happened I thought I wasn't even going to tell anyone, just pretend that they never happened, be all "What socks?" So I have made emotional progress.

Just not a lot.

Commuter notes
  • Do you think that a BWM with a custom plate that says BUFFETT is a fan of Jimmy or Warren?
  • To the guy in the black pick-up who drove right up behind me on Route 3, rode my bumper for 30 seconds waiting for me to move out of your way, then gave up and swept past me: it's hard to look like a bad-ass when your bumper sports one of these:
I'm just saying.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday is for Cute

How can I not share such things? Well, I can't, I won't make myself not share them. (Follow that?) Have fun!

cat
more cat pictures


And possibly the world's cutest owls, courtesy of Cute Overload:


Yes, I said Cute Overload. I am not ashamed.

In my Google Reader, I have this category:


Yes, I do.

Cute Overload doesn't have a feed, though, so I get the daily e-mail. And it makes me smile.

Like this. Well, actually, this made me laugh out loud.


cat

Have a nice weekend!

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Going to my Happy Place

(Hint: it's warm, has sand and shells, and it makes me wish they'd get that teleporter on the market already...)

I didn't post last night because I spent my computer time finding and booking a flight to ... ta-da! Florida to spend a long weekend with my parents next month. Yay! Three days* in the sun with the 'rents pleases me greatly.

*Not counting travel time: that's three days there, airline willing.

I also didn't post last night because I was later getting home than usual, following a stint in the garden and a stop at the store. One more strip of weed-blocker remains to be done, but I'm encouraged by the progress. My little plants are growing! Sniff, they grow up so fast, don't they? And I had to buy, among other things, more weed-blocker and stakes, as I was incorrect in my previous calculations. Me and the mathiness, you know, we don't understand each other.

I was going to put in that last stint of weed-blocker-ing tonight, but of course it was raining again. While it's good for the plants, it isn't so good for me, all this rain. Fortunately, it wasn't the kind that comes with lots of boomers, the way it was on Monday and Tuesday. I really didn't enjoy those drives home. By contrast, tonight was joyful, just damp.

I picked up Doctor Who, Second Season, Disc 2 at the library. (Queen Victoria founded Torchwood? Do tell!)

I stopped at Wilson's for fresh fruit and veggies, hoping they'd have peas. See?


Not just peas: "our own peas"! See also? Two and a half pounds. Some might call that a bit much, but I called it dinner. It was fine.

Here's a gratuitous cat photo, which has nothing to do with any vague pretense at a narrative that I might be managing here.


And here is something from the grounds at work: the raspberries are reddening.


It took all I had not to pick them now, before time, because just look! Raspberries!

Finally, there are a bunch of these flowers just starting to open. I like them, and so do the bumblebees.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What I've been up to

There are a couple of reasons why I didn't go to my Stitch and Bitch group last night.
  1. After a stormy day, my drive home was about half again as long as usual due to the downpours and street flooding. The SnB isn't that far from home, but I just didn't want to be on the road any more, or get soaked getting from the car inside.
  2. I knew that the cats would be clinging to the ceiling after such a stormy day, and I wanted to check on them. (Well, they wouldn't literally be on the ceiling; they'd be under the bed.) They were very jumpy and glad to see me.
  3. I foolishly left a few windows open (it wasn't even drizzling when I left for work), and I wanted to find out how bad a mistake that was.
So I didn't drive farther, comforted the cats, and was very lucky with the windows. But I didn't knit, which is bad, since I'm never going to get that baby blanket done if I don't pick it up! (At least, I'm pretty sure that's how it works.)

Then there's the blogging I tried to do last night. I was rather tired by the time I got to the computer, but I thought I could at least put up some photos. Blogger had other ideas, and after three strikes (otherwise known as error messages), it was out. I tried!

I was going to show you Pan:


Power napper.


Who puts up with me in his face, but only just.


And Harold in his snuggle condo:


Not the most profound blogging, but better than nothing, right?

Silly Blogger.

Silly camera, too, since today I tried to take a picture of the flowers on one of my tomato plants, and look what the camera chose to focus on?


The weeds. Oh, well. It's artistic. Or something.

There was a teeny-tiny frog in the garden today.


We had more thunder and lightning this afternoon, so no working in the garden, and I had another bad drive home, and found a traumatized cat again. Later, though, once the boomers stopped, he ventured out from under the bed.


Finally, the earrings I wore today.


Just because.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Long day (it started Wednesday)

Early to bed tonight!

The printer's proofs of our Fall catalog came in on Wednesday, and I spent the next two and a half days checking them and doing little else. I missed my desk! When I finished with that after lunch today, there was another printer's proof I had to go over, so I couldn't do a job more suited to the brain-dead state the catalog proofs left me in. I was so tired this afternoon, I wanted to cry.

(I didn't.)

After work, I went into the garden and put in another strip of the weed-blocker. There's more to do, but I'm almost out of the spike things that hold it down, so I need to get more before I go on. Even if I wasn't low on them, though, I would have stopped when I did. I'd like to regain the (painless) use of my legs in less than a week this time. They're a bit sore tonight, but only time will tell how much damage I did.

After a trip to the grocery store, I'm home and watching the first round of the NHL draft. (The first round takes forever. The other rounds are tomorrow.) And I have to say, Commissioner Gary Bettman is not my favorite hockey person.

Which may be because he's not really a hockey person. Back when they were hiring, couldn't the NHL have found someone who both knew and loved the game, and wanted it to be the best it could be, and had ideas how to do it? And, you know, was familiar with it? (Not hiring someone right out of the NBA might have been a start.)

In announcing a trade earlier tonight, Bettman pronounced Alex Tanguay's name "tanGAY". Unless every announcer I've ever heard is wrong, it's pronounced "TANGay". He's been in the league for 8 seasons (scoring close to a point a game), that's plenty of time for people to have heard of him. Heck, I've heard of him, and he's played for Colorado and Calgary, neither team a frequent visitor to Boston.

Anyway, moving on. The Bruins have picked their kid (they all look about 12 years old), so I can get ready for bed. The amount of tired that one middle-aged body can hold is, well, staggering, and by a wild coincidence, that's just what I'm going to be doing if I don't get to bed soon. So I'm going to!

Harold thinks that's a good idea. As long as we do treats first.


Why does Pan get more treats than I do?

(Answer: because the treats conceal Pan's medication. Harold is given just enough to keep him from elbowing Pan out of the way and stealing his pills. But both of them are oblivious to this facet of the treats.)

(True story: last Monday night, both cats were under the bed hiding from thunder and lightning, which Harold fears so strongly that he freaks Pan out along with him. I got the stuff, sat on the floor by the bed, and said, "Treat, Pan?" And he came right out, like he was waiting for me to call him, and gobbled them down.)


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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Today in Pictures

Pan will not stop meowing, so I'll make this quick. Here's some of today.

The best chocolate ever, ever, Evah do you hear me? Seriously, wow.


And you know what else? Today I was proofing a page that shows how to make s'mores (seriously), and it occurred to me that this might make the best s'more in the history of the world. I'm drooling just thinking of it again.

I brushed Harold this morning. Evidently he needed it. He looked just the same when I was done (but the purr was louder).


One day, this will be a tomato. Or so they tell me.


Damn, that's a lot of weeds in the background. I've been enjoying the return of my legs, but I'll do some more weed-blocking after work tomorrow, weather permitting.

I noticed that there are air bubbles in my little vase of little flowers. Strangely beautiful.


I liked the taller thing in the sea of ground cover, and the neat old building in the background.


Speaking of which, anyone know what the flower is? I'm just curious (yes, that will be on my gravestone).


Pan says, Yes, I am just that cute.


Talk to the paw!

Good night!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Doctor ... Who?

I'm having a really good time watching all the (modern-era*) episodes of Doctor Who in order, and I'm definitely catching things that didn't make sense in certain episodes when I saw them before ("New New York" ... "New new Doctor!" I get it now!). And since I'm borrowing them from the library, I'm not paying $300** for the privilege (although I would quite like to own them, so I could watch them over again, and whenever I want to ... but not enough to spend $300 on it).

*I have to confess, I've never seen the older ones. I believe this may be sacrilegious in England, but can I help it that I didn't grow up there? This means, once I've caught up on the modern ones, I'll have something to do next!

**According to Amazon, each of the "first" three series are list-priced at $100 (oh, sorry, $99.98, like that's better), though they do discount them, and of course one could try eBay or the like. But still.

I would like to say that the whole Time Lord transformation idea is an absolutely brilliant way to deal with the issue of the main actor wanting to leave a series. Instead of the "old Darrin/new Darrin" foolishness, just have the character able to (in times of extreme danger only) transform from one actor to the next. Out with Eccleston, in with Tennant!

Shall I also reveal just how much of a nerd I am? Why not! When I was first starting this, and trying to figure out the chronology and the actors and all, I realized that the ninth Doctor is Christopher Eccleston (Eccleston has nine letters), and the tenth Doctor is David Tennant (Tennant, right?). Bingo, I can now remember which is who. I'm sure this is very old news to the faithful, but I came up with it on my own, and was as proud as can be. I'm all about the mnemonics, me.

Of course, using the library does have its issues. The biggest pro is, it's free, and that is big. The biggest con, I think, is that they sometimes will let other people take out things I want, so that they are not immediately available for me. Can you believe the nerve? And the next con is that you can borrow each one for seven days, which seems like a very short time when it means you can't borrow ahead very far, but a very long time when you're waiting for others to return things.

For example, I went to the library one day to pick up series two, and found discs 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Two is out. That was a week and a half ago, and it's still not mine. Humph. And you know that when 2 comes in, 3 will be out. But there's no point in borrowing 3 while waiting for 2. (Actually, I took 3 out when I got 1, in case 2 came in that week, but it didn't.) I hate waiting.

I initially found it ... ah, interesting that the library broke up the set to loan out the discs individually. I'm of two minds about the practice. On the one hand, no pressure to watch all the episodes in the space of a week. On the other, you may end up requesting and waiting for discs and be frustrated like the above example.

Actually, different libraries have different policies, meaning I can sometimes get the complete season in another place (but there are, presumably, six times as many people requesting it, so the wait tends to be longer). This is one of those times when having cards to three different library systems* works in my favor.

*I realized the other day that I have two of those (14-digit) card numbers memorized, while I can never remember my (9-digit) driver's license number. It may have been (okay, was) less secure when your Social Security Number** was your license number, but at least I could remember it.

**I understand that babies are issued SSNs now, is that right? At birth, I mean, or possibly in utero. Gather 'round Grandma, kiddies, while I tell you what it was like Back in the Day. I believe I was 13 when I got mine. (Of course, that's 26 years ago, giving me plenty of time to memorize nine whole digits.) Excuse me while I totter off to rest now.

Confused yet? Me, too.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The state of the garden, and the gardener

The garden looks quite like it did last week, after I finished the first half of the weed-blocking.


This is good, in that it means no critter has entered and feasted on my plants (despite a woodchuck/groundhog/critter sighting near the driveway last night as I left work), but not so good in that no progress has been made on the other half of the weed-blocking. And that is because my legs still hurt a bit, and I've been reluctant to work them more.

I worked in the garden Thursday night, and all down the backs of both legs hurt tremendously Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and well into Monday before the pain at last started to diminish. I bought a cream to put on them last night, which I think is also helping; though there is still discomfort, it is at last lessening. Still, can you blame me for not wanting to regress? It's a bumper crop of weeds I have going, but that's easier to live with than the pain.

The plants themselves are fairly healthy-looking, but not yet productive. Which is not unexpected. Soon, soon. Meanwhile, I promised photos of the pea tendrils, which are vining around madly. I feel that if I stood still by the plants for an hour, I would have something hooking into my sock. See?


When there's nothing else near enough, they grab each other. It's really quite cute.


There are also all sorts of wild things growing along the driveway, and today I picked myself a little handful to have on my desk. So pretty, and no gardening involved!


You can tell my legs are improving: yesterday, I wouldn't have wanted to bend over enough to pick them. Progress is something.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Is there a scale scale?

Do you have any advice on buying a trustworthy scale? How can I get one that's reliable? It doesn't even have to be perfectly accurate, if it would only be consistent!

I don't care so much for myself, to be honest. I've never been a person who weighs herself regularly, as I can generally tell by the fit of my clothes how the wind blows. For more than a year now, though, I've been weighing myself every 2 weeks or so, first by myself and then holding Pan, so that I can keep an eye on his weight and make sure he doesn't lose too much (which is Bad News for a kitty with a heart condition).

After I'd been doing this for a little while, I came to the conclusion that I didn't trust the scale, because the thing would give me a couple of different numbers if I tried a couple of times. My charming parents bought me a new one when they were in town this time last year, and I've been using it ever since. Lately, I've been disturbed that I can (again?) get a couple of different numbers by stepping on and off, but I wasn't sure how to be sure, if you know what I mean.

This week, though, it's saying he's gained 3 pounds in two weeks, and I Do Not Believe That. There's no way. So I'm going to get a new scale, but how do I know what's a good one and what's another bad one? Or have I worn it out in a year, and it's just dying?

I don't really believe that. Do you? Any scale advice?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Crafty baby gifts done

As I mentioned before, I made a little pillow for a friend's new baby, and wanted to make a little something to send along for the baby's big sister. I first crocheted a heart, and tried to overstitch "big sister" on it a couple of different ways, but couldn't get it to look the way I was imagining (or at all decent or even readable).

Giving up on that, I knitted another, smaller heart and sewed them together. The family can either look at it as her heart taking care of the baby's, or as her heart getting bigger with someone new to love; both are sappy, but kind of cute, in my mind.

Want to see?


I'm moderately pleased with it. Here are the gifts together:


In garden news, I did not continue work on laying down the weed-blocker last night. My legs hurt too much for the prospect to be even remotely pleasing, so it will have to wait. Yow. It's amazing that an hour of bending and straightening and these leg muscles hurt madly, with every move I make, but it seems contradictory to me: either I use them all the time and they should have some strength, or I never use them except for things like gardening, in which case they should only hurt when I'm gardening.

Anyway, ow. I've been spending a quiet day so far, cleaning the kitchen, painting my toenails (hello, Summer!), and brushing the cats:


Not that much, either, for the result. I could really start work on that emergency back-up cat with this, and yet the cats look just the same when I'm done. Perplexing.

It's a nice day, and I have lots of windows open. Fresh air! I missed it so much during our 4-day heat wave of 95-100. It's too soon in the season to be all a/c. I love having windows open.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tired, but the garden is half weed-blocked

I just got out of the shower. I'm generally (always) a morning-shower person*, but I had to get the dirt, sweat, and bug spray off me before bed. Yes, I worked in the garden after work today. Whew! My plot was mostly shaded, there was a lovely cool breeze, it was about 80, which is 20 degrees cooler than Monday and Tuesday, but still. An hour and a quarter wore me out.

*My hair can do Terribly Interesting things when slept upon. Sometime I'll take a picture so you can see. There are mornings when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and laugh out loud.

And it's about half done. If I can move my legs tomorrow, I'll try to finish it after work, but only if.

Before I started, a quick glance would be hard-pressed to find the plants I planted among the burgeoning crop of weeds.


After, there is a little order to it:


Doesn't it look happier? More able to breathe?


Or at least not get choked to death by weeds?

I certainly did the garden-prep backwards this year. Next year, I will buy the weed-blocking supplies before I buy the plants. If I could time-travel back a few weeks, I would let myself know that, and also that I shouldn't let my excitement over the tilling and plot-marking of the garden send me off to buy plants before finding out if the water is turned on yet. Just for example. Live and learn, eh?

My legs are aching. After I planted, the legs hurt, really hurt, for about three days. Fun stuff. I was really quite grateful when I checked the plot the following Monday and the plants were still there. I'd felt trepidation over the weekend, wondering if all the aching was in vain.

I still get nervous when I go out to look at it, but so far, so good. One of the cuke plants has died, but of natural causes (and I don't call a critter natural). It wasn't the healthiest thing to begin with. At this stage, other than the catnip and basil, we're pretty much at the water, watch, and wait stage. Patience is not my best thing.

I'll have to get pictures of the pea plants. They're sending out lots of tendril scouts. Too cute.

The other night, some areas got rain and lots of it, with some getting thunder and lightning and heavy wind too. Me? No thunder and so on, which pleases me, but I was hoping to get enough rain to clear the pollen off my car. Instead, it's worse:


I can't decide if it's worth going through the car wash, when it will likely build right up again. It's such a mess.

And finally, how about the size of this leaf? It's huge!



I'm so tired. I'm going to try to stand up long enough to make chicken salad for tomorrow. I think I can, I think I can.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Things I want

I want a bunch of things. Lately, it seems like "I want ..." (something I'm not going to get/do/have, at least right now) has crossed my mind a lot. Perhaps if I get them out, it will clear my head a bit.

I want cookies. And a donut. And ice cream. But, I want to lose a couple of pounds in order to fit my clothing better. (I can appreciate Health at Every Size, I try to live it, but the truth is, I can't afford a new wardrobe right now. I'd rather pay the mortgage. And my clothing fit better before a few pounds found me again. When my clothing fits well, I feel better about myself. On the other hand, when I eat cookies, I feel pretty darned happy, too. Conflict, anyone?)

I want pizza, or Chick Fil A, or Chinese food. Or I want someone else to provide delicious food to me. Anyone want to make some chicken salad for me? Tuna salad? Pasta salad? And why do all my hot-weather cold-food options fall into the "is there enough mayo in this?" category? Other than sandwiches, what do you eat in summer?

I want raspberries, cherries, fresh peas, corn on the cob. Why do they have to be, generally, more expensive than Ding Dongs?

I want to get fewer migraines. Lately, I've had more than since I settled on medication last year. Not horrible ones, for the most part, but enough to make me really appreciate the improvement I had been experiencing.

Out of Balance
When I was feeling this unsettled-ness after returning from my trip last month, I put it down to just that: returning from the trip. It was a big trip, it was a lot in a short amount of time, there was jet lag, of course I would have to wriggle back into everyday life.

But I still feel somewhat that way. My last job in North Carolina involved math (what was I thinking?), and although we weren't handling cash, we had to "balance" our drawers at the end of the day. This involved adding machines and checks and computers (shudder). If any of us was out of balance, and couldn't find the problem, we would call on our supervisor, the lovely Ann, to help. "Who's oh-oh-bee?" she would ask. To this day, I think of that when balancing my checkbook, or when like now my life is feeling a little unsettled. Am I in balance, or oh-oh-bee?

There is one behavior modification that I'm going to try, to see if it's part of the equation. Before my trip, I was in a groove about exercising in my little way, riding the bike once or twice just about every day, plus walking twice daily on work breaks. I totally have fallen off the bike, metaphorically speaking, and I wonder if, even though I don't like doing it, it was helping? In the month since I got home, I've been on the thing all of once, so back I go.

I'm letting you know so that I can stop making excuses to myself. "The blog knows I plan to bike," I will have to tell myself. "I'd better do it before someone asks how it's going."

The walking at work is weather permitting, though I can walk inside if it's too hot. So, I will.

If it helps, I will be ... what's the right word? Surprised? Impressed? Startled, perhaps. It would be the first good and direct connection between exercising and how I feel that I've ever noticed. I know that exercising is good for me, but it's always been in a "not that I'd notice" way. Has that changed? We shall see.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summertime, and the knitting's ... woolly?

Yesterday and today have been hot, and by hot, I mean this is what my car said when I left work yesterday:


Actually, it said 103 before I got the camera out. I grant you, it always gets higher when the car sits in the sun all day, and it went down about 10 degrees as I drove. But still. It's hot. At work, being inside was like being in a refrigerator (why do they keep it so cold?), and going outside was like stepping into an oven.

Neither is ideal. Neither is even all that comfortable, either to be in or to dress for. The special challenges of summer, you know? Being sweaty and shivering at the same time.

The thing is, on Friday it was about 55 and raining, and Saturday was in the 90s. It's a little drastic, the change.

And not just the heat. Well, yes, humid too, but that's not all. It's time for ... Invasion of the Pollen! All the puddles* have yellow-green edges, there are clouds of uck drifting through the air (see how quickly I can put the car windows back up). Eewww!

*The puddles are mostly evaporated, actually, and now there are yellow-green lines where they used to be. Charming.

And my car? I'm relatively sure it was once dark blue. Now?


Hmm. "Was" being the operative word.

So, I'm knitting.

No, not outside! For the love of god, I haven't even been walking at breaks, other than down to the garden to water it (10 days after planting, the plants are ... um, still there, which feels like an achievement). But thanks to the miracle of air conditioning, inside.

It's nice to work with yarn again, after all the netting for the scrubbies. I'm happy to make them for my mother's birthday, and in fact made one for myself and a couple for a friend during the same time period, but you know? Yarn is softer. Sounds simple, but it's a bit of a revelation.

I am, really, going to get back to the half-finished baby blanket project, but I'm whipping out a quickie first. Another friend just had a baby, so I wanted to send A Little Something. I have all these squares from the ill-fated alphabet afghan project that's been in Time Out forever, so I pulled out the P-for-Peter square, made a back (like I did here), and voila, little pillow:


Not the best picture, but I'll try to get a better one when I've finished the little something I'm making for his big sister. Once that's done, it's back to the blanket!

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Cats then and now

When I did that meme recently that asked what I was doing 10 years ago, I wanted to include a picture of the cats as they were then. No problem, I said to myself, I have a scanner!

I scanned a picture in. The machine appeared to be "doing things", but nothing happened on-screen afterward, as I was expecting. I tried a few times, got annoyed, and decided it was too late at night to figure it out. I mentally added "learn how to use scanner" to my to-do list, and moved on.

Today I'm having another go at my kitchen table (I would blush to tell you how long that pile of who-knows-what has been on the right back corner, but no more, I tell you, no more), and ran across a couple of photos I borrowed from my aunt when I was visiting (ahem, in April). When I was there, she was showing me some old family photos and there were a couple that I wanted to make copies of. So back to the scanner to make it go this time!

Well, I did, and in the process I discovered four copies of the kitten photo that I thought hadn't scanned. It did! Just that the way I was doing it (because of course there are two ways), it wasn't going to show me, I had to go look. (Machines.) So, here are the kittens the day I brought them home, June 27, 1998.


And here they are today, 9 years eleven months and 2 weeks (or so) later:


Now, I'm getting back to that table (and the laundry). In closing, though, Pan would like you to send good thoughts his way. He doesn't feel well today.


And not just because his ears are receiving two different stations.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

How did the evening turn out? Pretty good

First of all, I must thank Leslie for two excellent points in her comment on yesterday's post:
One could argue that blogging about it all uses more of the precious commodity (time, not coconut) ... And the mosquitoes would have been out in the mist and (although you probably don't taste like coconut) you would have been eaten if any gardening had happened.
I never even thought of mosquitoes! Now I'm certain I made the right choice; the same choice, incidentally, that I made tonight, as the weather and my mood are much the same as yesterday.

As for the time issue, I was actually thinking about that while I was writing! Yesterday's post was one of those times when writing helped me organize all the randomness that was bouncing around in my head, so I think it was time well spent. But I can't deny, it took a little while to do. An investment, perhaps, in the smoothness of my evening.

And was it smooth, you ask? Well, pretty much so. I did have one slight meltdown when I had an issue with the cookies (mainly because I was so tired), but I pulled myself together and headed it off.

To start at the beginning, I watched a little Doctor Who while performing kitty maintenance with a revolving cast of felines (they trade off the lap, sometimes). Between episodes, I made dinner, and even managed to do some of the dishes once the pasta was in the oven (usually I don't accomplish that, and regret it later). Another episode while eating dinner, and then I started the cookies. They did go pretty well, it's just that the dough was somewhat ... resistant to stirring by the time I was mixing in the oats, Rice Krispies, and coconut. In fact, it didn't want to stick together, and that started to seriously annoy me after a while. They were coming out tasting good, but crumbly around the edges, and it was hard to get it to stay together as I was getting it onto the cookie sheets, and I was on the brink ... but I took a step back, put the rest of the dough in the fridge for another time, and just stopped.

And they do taste good! I stuck raisins in a couple of them, and that was just as good as I thought it would be, so when I work with the rest of the dough, I'll try to get them in, too. They're called Ranger Cookies, and the recipe was in A Taste of Home magazine, which one of my co-workers gets and really likes. I love the meatloaf recipe she gave me, and these cookies are keepers, too.

If only the dough would stick together.

Maybe it will work better cold? Probably not, but I can dream.

Anyway! After I chilled out a bit, I turned to the hockey game just in time for the end, by which I mean I saw about the last three seconds of the game, and then all the whooping and hollering by Detroit, followed by all the Cup-hoisting a girl could ask for. (Unless said girl was a Penguins fan, but of course I'm not.) It was fun to watch. Now, except for the NHL awards next week, and the draft after that, I'll be in hockey-withdrawal until training camp. It's my least favorite part of summer, the hockey-less-ness of it.

Finally, about Amy's cookie-related question:
I am allergic to coconut, so health benefits or not, none of that in THIS house. But I always wonder, because so many yummy-looking recipes contain coconut, can I just omit it without causing something dire to happen within the cookie?
I think with this recipe, you could easily leave out the coconut without changing it much. I'm sure that it's hard to be certain with recipes in general, but there's so much packed into these (shortening, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats, Rice Krispies, aaaand coconut*), although I like the coconut, it's not really super-noticeable.

*All of which are still sitting on my kitchen counter, waiting to be put away. The urge to clean up had passed long before I got to the end of the cookie process, or more accurately, before I declared an end to the cookie process.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tonight's dilemma, in excruciating detail

I have a dilemma, related to the space-time continuum, and how there's only so much time in an evening without resorting to lack-of-sleep. Really, doesn't working take up a great deal of time?

Here are the things I either wanted to do or thought I ought to do after work tonight:
  1. putting the weed-blocking stuff down on the garden
  2. making cookies
  3. making dinner
  4. watching what may be the last hockey game of the season (hoist that Cup!)
  5. watching Doctor Who, since the lovely library e-mailed me that more DVDs are in
In more detail (just what you wanted):

1. I bought the stuff last night, and it's ready in the car. The weather, though, hmm. From the garden's perspective, it's a good time to do it, since it was raining all morning and misting this afternoon, so the ground will be wet and, I don't know, pliable? But, my feeling was that personally, I'd rather not lay the stuff out when it's raining/misting/precipitating on me (because it's all about me, you know?). And since I don't want to, I'm not going to. Maybe tomorrow.

2. I've been wanting to make these since the weekend, but didn't have the ingredients. Picked them up last night, raring to go. These are semi-healthy cookies, so you can feel less guilty for eating them. They have Oats! And ... coconut? I've lost track, is coconut kinda sorta good for you? What is coconut, anyway? In the animal-vegetable-mineral grouping, it would have to be vegetable, but that doesn't seem right. Am I going to regret getting into this, like when "they" claim that a tomato is a fruit, even though it's clearly a vegetable? (I mean, to me, if it goes in a garden salad, it's a veggie; if it goes in a fruit salad, it's a fruit.) (Don't be wise, I'm not talking about croutons.) Well, back to the coconut. Hang on.

I'm back! According to Wikipedia, it's a nut. Although that information is in a paragraph with the heading, "The fruit". (I guess something can be the fruit of its particular plant without really being a fruit?) Plus in the "Culinary" section, it says that the "seed" is edible. What is the world coming to if I can't count on Wikipedia to give me a straight story?

On the other hand, or to get back to the first question (which, in case I've really lost you, was whether coconut is at all good for you), the Coconut Research Center (really) says that:
Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits.
This is followed by a loooong list of benefits from coconut (not that the Coconut Research Center would be at all biased, right?).

By the way, wouldn't you expect the Coconut Research Center to be based in Hawaii, or California, and not Colorado?

I'm really straying from the subject, aren't I? (And I'm very parenthetical, too.)

3. Some would put dinner before cookies, but not me. However, I either have to make something, or figure out what else to eat for dinner and bring soup for lunch tomorrow. It may be easier to make this pasta dish, which I have the ingredients for already, is delicious, and makes tons of delicious leftovers. (That's the pro side. Con: lots of dirty dishes, not so good on top of the cookie plan.)

4. I don't have to watch the whole game, although the notion that it could be the last one of the season makes it more tempting. On Monday I had the game on while I was reading Blood Noir, so I wasn't really "watching" it all (though of course I finished the book before the game was over, which is not usually the way it works). Tonight, I will be torn between hockey and...

5. More Doctor Who than I can, or at any rate will, watch in one night! Some libraries lend out the whole season in one go (Here! Have 10 hours of stuff to watch, bring it back in 7 days, hope you didn't have other plans), while others break them up and do them individually (bite-size pieces are easier, or less pressure anyway, but you have to request each one separately, and try not to get #5 before you get #2). Thus far I've had the first and second DVDs of the 9th Doctor series, but now 3 and 4 came in. Woo! That's 7 episodes, plus bonus features, which will take me a couple of evenings to get through.

n.b., four and five are mutually exclusive, though both have the benefit of compatibility with cat-lapping.

The thing is, I can't do all of those things (without shorting myself on sleep or sanity), so I have to be selective, and patient, which does not come naturally.

Now that I think about it, does patience come naturally to anyone, do you think?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Reasons Why, and Something to Watch

There are good reasons why I didn't post last night, though I meant to. The two main reasons are that I came home with Laurell Hamilton's latest, Blood Noir, fresh from the library*, and that if the Red Wings won last night's game, they'd win the Cup, and I do like to watch the winners hoist the Cup (except Edmonton in 1988 and 1990; those, I didn't really enjoy). The one bright side to the Bruins not making it farther is that I don't particularly care who wins, I just enjoy watching it.

*It was good; I finished it around 11 last night.

As some of you may know, the game finished halfway through the third overtime period, which would have been about quarter to one this morning. I made it through two OTs, which was 12:15, before giving in. As it happens, Pittsburgh scored to force a Game 6 tomorrow, so I didn't even miss the Cup-hoisting. I'm not sorry I stayed up, nor that I didn't give it any more time before going to bed, but boy am I tired; I have to go to bed now.

So I give you this, which if I did it right is a short video of Pan in the shower one recent morning.

video

If I crossed my wires somehow, and you don't see it, would you let me know? I'll try again (tomorrow).

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Me-me-me-me-me

I've seen this meme all over, and thought it would be fun to play along.

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?
June of 1998, eh? I was living in Charlotte, NC, sharing a house with a friend, working at Barnes & Noble. And later in June, I brought home two wee kittens from the Humane Society.

2. 5 things on my to-do list today.
Laundry (not getting done). Dishes, check. Clear off the random piles of whatever on the kitchen table, in progress. Make scalloped potatoes and ham, check. Quality time with cats, check.

3. Snacks I enjoy.
Pretzels. Chocolate. Ice cream. So many things...

4. If I were a billionaire instantly, I would
Not have to worry about money (sounds obvious, but still).
Not have to work on a regular schedule.
Buy any and every book that I wanted.

5. Places I have lived:
Montclair, NJ
São Paulo, Brazil
Guyana
Boston, MA
suburbs of Boston
Charlotte, NC
small-town Pennsylvania
suburbs of Boston

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