Monday, February 28, 2011

Pointless Work Note

I work for an educational company, so we are constantly referring to the new Common Core State Standards that 47* of the 50 states are adopting in the coming years.

*Fun trivia: do you know which three states are the rebels? I do! It's as much fun as naming the last state to get a Barnes & Noble store. Yes, I am a nerd.

Years ago, I worked in a payment processing center, where we dealt with Consumer Credit Counseling Services on a daily basis.

I have absolutely no trouble differentiating between Common Core State Standards and Consumer Credit Counseling Services.

However, CCSS and CCCS throw me for a loop, just about every time.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Socks, Sweaters, and No Regrets

Well, I regret that it snowed today. But no regrets about yesterday!

Nope, not a bit. In summary:

I spent more money than I planned to.

I bought more yarn than I thought I would. (Duh ... A plus B equals no shit, Sherlock.)

And I keep looking at it and smiling.

I bought enough yarn for three sweaters:


Yes, all blue*. Yes, I know that seems odd. No, I've never made a sweater for an adult, just a vest. I don't care. I love them all.

*I also bought one non-yarn item, highlighter tape. In blue. Years from now, we will call this my blue period.

I planned to buy a skein of sock yarn, and I bought three:


And I'm happy about it. So happy!

To step back to the beginning, yesterday morning I cleaned some snow off the car (honestly, winter, stop it already) and headed off to the shop to pick up the loaner car. I was sitting at a red light when I thought I heard music coming faintly from somewhere, and it took me a minute of "but the radio isn't on..." before I realized that this was coming from my cell phone, tucked away in my purse and with the volume on low. (Did you think I was exaggerating when I said that I don't use my cell phone much?)

I got nervous when I saw the call was from the town where the shop is, but it turned out to be a different person than I talked to Friday night, letting me know that the loaner was there for me. Whew! I told him that I was on my way over, and when I got there he had it running to warm up, and cleared the snow off and everything. Whew, whew!

The car was a Toyota Camry sedan, not at all luxurious but decidedly functional, which is what mattered. I headed out to Central MA with more confidence than I'd had in tires for a few days. The drive out was fine, and while I got slightly turned around at the end, I found my friend's house without much trouble*, and we jumped up and down a little with excitement.

*Only two wrong turns, small and easily corrected. No problem!

I said hi to her husband and kids, she showed me the house, I paid for my Girl Scout cookies and showed off my knits-in-progress and my new t-shirt:


All good, and we hadn't even left yet!

We did leave eventually, of course, and headed toward Northampton, home of Webs. Listen: did you hear the angels singing? Just me? Moving on, then.

I have been to Webs before*. It was overwhelming, and not only because it was packed for the Yarn Harlot. It is an overwhelming place. Wonderful, but overwhelming. I want that, I want that, ooh, touch this!

*Actually, I really thought I had been twice. But I only see that I blogged about it the once, and I'm absolutely positive that I would have written about it. The Yarn Harlot trip was my first, and apparently this was my second!

We had talked of stopping for lunch before going to the store, but the car took us straight there. We walked around for a while, taking it all in, getting high on yarn fumes, then left to get lunch and breath yarn-free air, come down to earth somewhat. After some lunch and a little chocolate, we headed back prepared to dive in.

Or as prepared as you can be. Have I mentioned, overwhelming? Like, not getting enough oxygen overwhelming?

My first stop was the Socks That Rock, since Webs is my only in-person purchasing option between Rhinebeck and Rhinebeck. When we went in before lunch, I found it and fell in love with two skeins at once. There was plenty, so I put it back before we left (rather than asking them to hold it for me, that is). When we returned (only an hour later), one of my choices was down from three skeins in stock to one! I grabbed it and hyperventilated a bit. That was close! Lesson learned: do not treat the STR lightly next time. You love the yarn, you want the yarn, buy the yarn.

Mango Tango:
And China Rose:

Isn't that yummy? There were so many sock yarns that I wanted. The other one I got was this, from Dream in Color (remember the socks I made from their Smooshy yarn?).


They call the colorway Morning Glory, but my friend and I decided that it should be Mermaid instead.

There were so many interesting bags and tools to look at. Rosewood needles or ebony? I like this style of bag, but that fabric. So many crazy fibers to touch; I mean, sugar cane? How often do you get to knit with that?

Sugar cane!


Pretty colors:


The softness! You can't imagine how soft this was.


And this? The ... luminosity struck me dumb.


I can't think what that feels like to work with. Or what you would make with it.

So, yeah. I got a little carried away. With the amazing prices, it felt perfectly reasonable to buy a sweater's worth of Ella Rae Amity (75% acrylic, 25% wool), when I don't know which sweater yet. (Maybe this one, which I've had my eye on for a while.)(This is the yarn I used for the sweaters for my friend's twins, incidentally.)

Kashmir Blue:

This one, on the other hand, was actually bought with a purpose in mind. Berroco Vintage Chunky, 50/40/10 acrylic/wool/nylon.

Dungaree:

I saw the Forward Pullover in the new Webs catalog and really liked it. I checked out the recommended yarn, but didn't fall in love with either the feel or the colors. Neither was bad, just ... I wasn't feeling drawn to it. So I checked for other yarns in a similar weight, and bing!


The yarn feels soft, yet hefty, solid somehow ... can't wait. I think I will wait, until I finish Frost Diamonds, but not much longer!

Then there was the Mirasol Qina (80% baby alpaca, 20% bamboo).

Midnight Blue:

It was on sale, at a really good price. It's soooooo soft. It feels wonderful. I love the color.

And I think I was a little yarn-drunk. It's the truth. That's the last thing I picked up, and I just couldn't stop myself.

And I'm glad I didn't.

Perhaps the funniest* thing was that, as both of us wandered through the store picking things up, putting some back, picking up more ... we ended up spending almost the exact same amount of money. I think we were $7 apart. We couldn't have done that if we were trying to.

*That must have been why we kept giggling, after we left, right? Because it was funny!

What a great day.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Good, Good, Yarny Day

Car was there.

Had a wonderful day.

Much yarn was purchased. MUCH.

Details, photos, etcetera to come. Squeee!

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Friday, February 25, 2011

A Friday Tale of Woe (and then whoa)

My emotions have been up and down like a roller coaster this afternoon/evening. I hate when I have my period and get all stupidly emotional about something that really isn't a big deal, but it is, it's a blight on my life! My plans! Everything is ruined!

I mean, everything isn't ruined. Wasn't. Isn't. I know that. Knew that. But.

Stupid hormones.

Here's the situation: remember I mentioned yesterday that I had to take the car back to the shop today for one more thing? That was for a new rim*, since it turned out the old one was the cause of the soft tire I had. They ordered me one yesterday, used and possibly "scratched" but essentially whole and fully functional, which is all I care about.

*Actually, a used rim; do I strike you as someone who cares what her rim looks like? Or even someone who could accurately point to the part of the wheel that is rim rather than tire? Especially cares enough to pay twice as much?

And then it didn't come in today, supposedly because the supplier sent it to the wrong place. Did the shop call me? No. Did they care that they're messing with my plans? Not so you could tell. "Yeah, sorry, not our fault, it'll be here Monday," was the tone of the conversation.

I hung up in much ire and wroth, because even in my I wanna go state, I wasn't sure driving that much on the spare tomorrow was particularly a good idea. But I really wanna go! Maybe, I thought, I could drive to my friend's house, and she could drive the other segment? I e-mailed her, and she relayed some very helpful and not at all cheerful information: that the storm which brought my part of the state rain (and a wintry mix at work this morning) had brought her area a few inches of snow, topped with rain and then freezing rain.

Not, I think we can all agree, something to drive in on a spare tire. Not if you have a choice, certainly.

Humph! I said to myself! Humph!

And then, ding! Bright idea!

I called the shop and asked if by any chance they had a loaner I could have this weekend. The girl there first informed me that no, she didn't have anything ... then said, "But I should have one coming in later tonight, if you want it." Uh, yeah!

So, I will go to the shop in the morning and pick up the loaner. She assured me that she will leave a note, and the car will not be given to anyone else. Should that not be the case, and there's no car when I get there ... well, I think you'll be able to hear me from where you are (wherever you are). But as long as it is there, and my Day Out West is saved, then all is sunshine and rainbows and flowers. (I do want to think it's meant to be. After all, today's mail brought me a $10 rebate card and the Webs catalog, which seems like a sign, don't you think?)

Nonetheless, I will be sleeping with fingers crossed.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let's See, Thursday? Well, whew

So I know, wasn't that bookcase video yesterday cool? I first saw it on Bookshelf Porn, but have since seen it at least two other places (Boing Boing, of course, and Unclutterer, funnily enough).

Now, on with today. I had a bit of a headache this morning, and might have called in to work, but I had an appointment to bring my car in to the shop, and considering that it was for several things including a visibly low-on-air tire, and also considering that I have a drive planned for the day after tomorrow, I figured I'd better just suck it up. Not really a bad headache (at the time ... cue ominous foreshadowing), just a damnit-hormones-go-away thing.

So off I went, only realizing when I was almost there that I forgot my cell phone. The one day I actually need it! I always have it with me, I virtually never need it, but there you are, I stuck it on the charger last night and this morning I was all about getting ready to leave earlier than usual and whump. Figures.

So I bring in the car, and after a brief hope of a loaner it turned out they didn't have one available, so someone can drop me at work but not pick me up later, great. I explain about the phone and arrange to call in* late morning to see how things are going.

*Because not only did I forget my cell, I have no desk phone at work. Which is normally not a problem, but would have been handy today.

I called around 10:30 and got the receptionist, who was sure my car was next in line (my translation: she had no idea) and suggested I call again around 1. Well, after she assured me that they would call me, and I explained why they wouldn't. I did call shortly after 1, and this time the owner answered. Of course he had no idea either, so I gave up on that. Given a headache that now felt like the left side of my brain wanted to secede, it hardly seemed to matter.

I had asked a coworker who lives not-too-far from the shop if she could give me a ride, which she kindly did. I got the car, though I have to go back after work tomorrow for one more thing (which is so like life, isn't it? always just one more thing). And now I am home, dealing with the head-stomach-cramps joy of Being A Woman. About which enough said, don't you think?

So! Moving on! Today's video is a little different. Give this a watch and see if you agree with me: I believe the cat is thinking, "Well, I don't know why this bed is moving so much, but eh, it's warm, so who cares."



Do you agree?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In Lieu of Content...

...which, due to a knitting regression (I got overconfident with Frost Diamonds, and much tinking resulted) is unavailable in my current state of mind, please accept this weird and cool book-related video instead. They're alive! And want to be color-coordinated! Books rule!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pondering Cats, Exercise, Work, and more

Cats are very manipulative, aren't they? Of course I love them (well, Carlos) anyway, but: I was home all day Saturday, with plenty of kitty cuddle time; most of Sunday, ditto; and again all day Monday except for a couple of hours in the evening. But according to Carlos, he was suffering severely from a lack of attention last night, and needed to sleep on my lap to make it up. Fortunately for him, I enjoy that too, so it worked out. He wasn't too thrilled to be gently removed from the lap after about an hour and a half, but since all I did was get ready for bed, he joined me there and got over it.

The feline mystery I referred to had to do with my sleeping in on the weekends, and the premise that cats can't tell time. Can they, or can't they: what do you think?

I love sleeping in, and while my bladder wakes me once or twice in an average night, I am usually able to get back to sleep again. Early on Saturday morning, I turned over in bed and one of the cats mmrped hopefully: breakfast time? I considered, decided that I had to go to the bathroom anyway, so I put my glasses on, and looked at the clock.

It was 6:10, which happens to be the exact time that my alarm goes off on work days. Interesting, I thought, and got on with it.

Sunday, and much the same sequence of events unfolds. The time? 6:09. Hmmm.

Monday morning of my lovely three-day weekend. Same sequence, and the time was 6:10.

I turn over all night long (I am not a peaceful sleeper), so it's not like I turned over just at 6:10 every morning and roused them. It seems an unlikely coincidence to me, that's all I'm saying.

**********
You may have noticed that I haven't been whining about the winter weather quite as much recently as I was, say, in January. You would be correct if you assumed that was because the weather in February has not sucked quite as much as January's.

It hasn't been lovely by any means, but it hasn't been quite so ... so ... well, it hasn't had me consulting the pro/con list for moving to Florida, which I absolutely did make in January. In fact, for a few days last week we got significantly-warm-for-February weather, which was delightful, not so much in the experiencing (I was at work, inside, during the nicest parts), but in the snow-pile-meltage. It's amazingly nice to be able to see at corners, and walk without snow boots. And while it snowed yesterday, the light, fluffy stuff mostly melted again after the storm passed. I didn't even have to clear off the car. My kind of snow storm.

Despite the relative improvement in the weather, it's still winter, and dreary, and cold (sometimes painfully so), and layers and all that tiresome stuff. So when I was at Trader Joe's last week, I picked up a pot of tulips to brighten the kitchen.


Mission accomplished. I smile every time I look at them.

**********
I've noticed this happening before. There is some action or behavior I know I should be doing (or, sometimes, not doing). I should eat better in some way, I should exercise more. You know the sort of thing: maybe you should stop smoking, or balance the checkbook. Something that you should do, you know you should do, you mean to do ... but you don't.

I have an exercise bike.

I have given it precious space in my living room.

In January, I rode it twice.

Sure, there are excuses. I was away for a week! I was getting exercise shoveling! But, you know, two times isn't much.

And just to be clear, when I say "ride the bike", I mean literally, for five minutes at a time. I can't do more at a time; five minutes leaves me breathless, staggering to the couch on jelly-legs. In the past, I have worked up to six minutes, seven, eight, but not much more. So when I talk about riding the bike, I'm not talking about a huge time commitment.

Twice in January.

In nice weather, I like to go for walks, so I get some exercise that way. In winter, other than stairs (living on the second floor, laundry in the basement; some days it adds up), the bike is my main choice. It's here, and it's free.

I knew I should ride it more, but I just didn't. For no real reason. Until last Tuesday, the 15th, when I suddenly thought, for no reason, this is silly. Just ride the thing. And I did.

Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday, and Friday. It definitely helped when I realized that I could knit while riding, since that helps me keep my eyes off the clock during the longest five minutes of the day. I didn't do it on Saturday, but that's okay. Setting a goal of riding every single day without failure is setting myself up to fail. Missing a day is okay.

On Sunday, I rode it, and later did another five minutes. Same on Monday.

It has to help, right? Even five minutes of exercise is better than none. So I'll try to keep going.

*********
I don't think I ever mentioned that they moved me to a new desk at work. My boss called me right before I came back after Christmas to let me know that they'd been moving some people around, and she'd moved my things to a different desk, around the corner, over here. I appreciated her call very much, as if I had returned from my time off to find someone else sitting at "my" desk, I would have assumed that was a giant hint.

So the good news is that I'm no longer under two vents that blow 98% of the day. Really, it's amazing how much quieter and less blow-y it is, and I enjoy that very much. The temperatures in my new area still fluctuate rather dramatically, but at least there isn't a strong wind on my head all the time. When I walk by the area where I used to sit, and feel the breeze, hear the noise, I am grateful all over again.

Of course, there's bad news, too. My least favorite thing about my new desk is that frequently (though not always) when anyone walks nearby, the desk sort of vibrates, and my monitor vibrates madly, enough to make me seasick. Not pleasant. Something wrong with a support, perhaps? (I haven't asked anyone if it could be fixed, since I keep thinking that it's a short-term problem, as I've been expecting this job to end since around Christmas, yet here I still am.)

My second least favorite thing is that there's a conference room nearby whose meeting occupants regularly leave the door open, sharing their meetings with everyone in earshot. Lovely. If I was supposed to hear your conference call, wouldn't I be invited to the meetings? It's so inconsiderate.* Not to mention** when someone steps out of a meeting to take a phone call, and stands around this area for 5 to 10 minutes, talking on the phone. Nice.

*Today, trying to be charitable, I asked my cube-neighbor if there was any actual reason why they keep the door open, and she said, "NO!" before I finished framing the question. (I was thinking maybe it gets hot in there, or ... the door interferes with the phone reception ... or something.) Anyway, it isn't just me who finds it maddening.
**I told you not to mention that.


These are, I've been telling myself, short-term problems. It's a temp job, I won't be here long, they aren't going to go to much trouble for me and frankly, any day might be my last here. But while all that is true, I am still here, and this any-day-could-be-my-last feeling is wearing on my nerves. I mean, nothing better has come along, and I'm honestly glad to be getting paid at all, but emotionally it is wearing. I want a new job, a permanent job, a job where I can work happily for years. Or at least pretend that that's possible.

*********
Happy weekend plans coming together, involving visiting a friend in western Mass and going to Webs! Fun!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Placeholder

I was going to blog tonight, honestly I was, but I just got home from stitch and bitch, and the baby informs me (with sad, sad eyes) that he needs a lap. Now.

So I will just say, remind me and I will tell you about tulips, and snow, and the feline mysteries of 6:10 AM.

Okay? Gotta go.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Of Pack-Rat Tendencies

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I am a pack rat. I tend to keep things; my default setting is not to throw away. This might be useful, that strikes a tender chord in my heart ... it stays. This can be a bad thing, as the clutter requires (but does not always get) regular hacking down and weeding out to fit in the space available. Moving becomes both an opportunity and a major chore.

But it isn't always a bad thing. In clearing out my office space recently, I've found quite a lot to get rid of. Some things have gone in the trash, much in the recycling, quite a bit in the car to be donated. And some things I am keeping.

Today I went through a box that held letters, some that I had written and some that were written to me. From my parents while they were in China, from relatives over the years, from me at summer camp, at boarding school, at college. And some treasures in particular: some cards and letters sent when I was born, celebrating my birth. Six-cent stamps (and eight cents from Trinidad) and 1968 postmarks, from friends and relatives and colleagues of my parents.
"We were so happy to hear you got your girl", said one.
Another is from my great-grandmother, who died when I was five.
My aunt sent her card from Hawaii, where she was living at the time.
A friend sent a card even though, as she wrote on it, they would "see you this weekend".
These may not have calculable worth to anyone else, but to me, they earn the space they take. No question.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Oh, Weekend, How I Love You

My goodness, but I was hungry today! Ever have a day like that? All day long, I kept wanting a little more, a little something, sure I ate lunch but that was an hour ago, it's time for more ... I wonder if the full moon could be blamed for that, like it is for busy ERs and police calls. Have you seen it, the current moon? It followed me home last night, and it was beautiful, ethereal, otherworldly.

Hungry and sleepy, actually. Since I was feeling kind of weird last night, I decided I'd better take a PM pill so I'd get a good night's sleep. After the Bruins kindly won their game (thank zeus), I got ready for bed and Boom, was out like a light. It was not easy to get up this morning, and then after breakfast, I got on the (made) bed with Carlos for a brief snuggle, something I often do, and started to drift off again. Whoops! Not the weekend yet!

Boy, was I tired, though. It's not like I'm doing physical labor or anything these days; extreme knitting doesn't burn many calories (too bad), and that whole five minutes on the bike, while a start, isn't likely to make much of a difference either. Though I have done it three times this week already, and am pleased with myself for that (that's more than I managed in all of January, so nowhere to go but up). I found I could knit while on the bike, which helped keep my eyes off the clock the whole time. Still, it isn't burning off a handful of M&Ms, let along enough to make me tired.

Hockey and News
The Internet is an amazing thing, isn't it? I used to get the majority of my Bruins news from the Globe every morning. These days, I read at least half a dozen hockey blogs, and learn about a trade ten minutes after it happens. (And the blogs are quoting Twitter. What a world.)

For a while now (days and days), the Bruins have been rumored to be wheeling and dealing with Toronto for Tomas Kaberle. Will he/won't he, no trade clause, in exchange for what, how to clear cap space*, blah blah blah. This afternoon, the Bruins traded two players (Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler) to Atlanta for two players I've never heard of (though of course I'm sure they're wonderful), thus clearing the cap space for the Kaberle trade to go through. It's a fairly big trade, name player and all, and the Atlanta trade is much smaller but a big piece of the puzzle.

*That's the salary cap, not anything to do with the size of a hat, by the way.

The trade from earlier this week* is probably somewhere in the middle; they traded a draft pick to Ottawa and picked up Chris Kelly, who I also don't think I ever heard of. The funny part of that trade is that because he's a Canadian guy playing for a Canadian team, he couldn't get his visa straightened out in time for last night's game in Long Island. He will, in fact, be playing his first game as a non-Senator against the Senators, which has to be weird--whoops, wrong dressing room! And Kaberle is supposed to be joining the team tonight too, which kind of blows my mind: already? Really?

*A pretty busy trading season for the Bruins, and the trade deadline isn't even until the 28th.

I hope the Bruins win. But considering how sleepy I am at 6 PM, I doubt I will notice if they don't.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quickly for Thursday (the lightheaded edition)

I'll keep this brief (no, really), as I'm feeling a little ... funny tonight, and not up to much exposition. There are a couple of things I wanted to share, then I'll go back to the couch and watch the rest of the Bruins game (will they keep up the good work? they're up 3-0 after one period).

First, I was looking at my blog stats the other day, and I noticed this rather interesting term in the keyword searches:


It fascinates me that my blog came up as a result for "if you can't get someone out of your head maybe they're supposed to be there". In fact, I really want to know the story behind that search. Anyone?

Second, I know that we had super-snow January and not so much February, but it's still fresh in my mind, making me laugh very much at this:


I haven't done a cross stitch in a few years, but I do enjoy Subversive Cross Stitch.

Time for the second period!

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Where I Am (Wednesday)

Well, last night I had mixed results. The Bruins disappointed me by making a comeback (wait for it) and then blowing it at the end, which irritates me more than losing all the way through*. Oh well. If they lose to the lowly Islanders tomorrow, then it will be time to panic; we're not there yet, despite the three-game losing streak.

*Not that I enjoy that particularly much either. So hard to please! I know I said I was expecting them to lose, but they tricked me by going ahead first...

I did figure out my latest snag with the Frost Diamonds shawl. I made a mistake that complicated my already annoying have-to-move-the-markers row*, but once I straightened that out, I think I'm back on track (we'll see how long that lasts). I only had to put it down and walk away once. And, miraculously, I'm still happy with how it's turning out, which is partly due to the pattern and partly to the lovely, lovely yarn. Lovely, cheery, soft and squishy BFL, I heart you.

*That still irritates me, obviously. The point of markers is that they stay where they are, to tell you where you are. I can't even count to 12 reliably over and over in a changing pattern, let alone to 71, or to 293. Yuck.

It was quite cold yesterday (20s and very windy), but the only reason that's news is because it was in the 50s Monday (positively balmy), and more like 40 today. It's even supposed to be maybe in the 50s Thursday and Friday. For that reason, I tried not to complain too much yesterday. Though when I came out of the store last night and the wind hit me in the face, I found that the term "flensing" came to mind. Man, that was painful. But short term, which makes a big difference.

The Globe had an article this morning about how the "slow thaw" meant we were less likely to have major flooding problems, and said that it's good to have some melt and then a re-freeze. I am not arguing with the science of this, but the people who said that don't have to walk on my walkway and driveway these days. Sheets of ice should come with skates.

Really, February's weather has not been the frozen hell that marked January, but there is still so much snow around, and it is all filthy and grainy and full of garbage, and just generally gross. It's somewhat less obstructive than it was a few weeks ago, but only looks good by comparison. Like, the intersection near my house where I couldn't see if any cross traffic was coming? I can now almost see before I'm all the way into the intersection. Isn't that nice? Yeah.

As is often the case, last weekend felt very short, so it was with pleasure that I looked at the calendar today and saw that I have a three-day weekend coming up. The company where I am currently, tenuously employed gives Presidents Day as a holiday, and bravo to them, I say.

In fact, I have plans for the weekend, and thus am extra glad for its extra day. Ever since I moved to my current home, I have had vague ideas for my little office room, but have done nothing much toward it, so the room is a catch-all of boxes and odds and ends. I have a table with my computer, a file cabinet, my yarn stash (not so much organized as contained), all sort of jumbled in there. Basically, it's a mess. I am such a pack rat.

I have wished to have a small seating area in there, and since the room is my only true option for a separate guest room, I thought it would be good if the seating folded out in some way: sleeper sofa, futon, something. (I do own two airbeds, a single and a double, so I do have options, but, you know, something more?) But not knowing quite what I wanted, being an inveterate procrastinator, and never having spare money* to throw at the problem, nothing has been done.

*Any spare change around here tends to go to yarn, books, and other bargains...

Now, however, I have a friend whose recent couch replacement leaves her with a small futon up for grabs, which is excellent! Except! I have to make room for it! Yeah. So I can definitely use an extra day to dig out space.

Ideally, I would remove everything from the room that isn't nailed down, and sort through it before returning it to the space in an orderly, sensible fashion. Doesn't that sound ideal? However, there's enough crap in there to fill every bit of floor space in the rest of the place, which is not workable, let alone cat-wise. I shall have to try sorting on the spot.

Some of the things I find will doubtless be thrown away, deservedly. I foresee some donation runs to the Salvation Army and the library as well, for things I can stand to see go to other homes. I'm not getting rid of everything, but honestly, if it's in a box from the move over four years ago? Find it a place or let it go.

I did take some "before" photographs, but I think I'll put off posting them until I have some nice "after" shots to take the taste out of my mouth.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Warning: Crankosaurus

I am cranky.

The shawl knitting pattern is still giving me problems.

The Bruins are losing, not undeservedly.

My headache is currently in abeyance, but the crunchy feeling at the back of my neck makes me fear it will return, as it has on and off for two days now.

And, well, you know.

funny pictures - Cat Hit by Snow

So I'm off to tink, to watch the Bruins keep losing (probably), and most likely to go to bed early. What else is a girl to do? I mean, other than mainlining Ben & Jerry's, and I'm trying not to overeat.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Monday Day.

Am I supposed to write about Valentine's Day? Most people in blogland seem to be at least mentioning it. I mean, I wish you all a happy Valentine's Day, sure, but it doesn't have anything to do with how I spent my day. (Don't miss yesterday, though.)

Oh, wait, I take that back, my boss gave out little heart-decorated bags with a few pieces of chocolate in them. Which is nice. Otherwise, though, no. Here's my day.

I woke up this morning with a bit of a headache, leading to the usual quandary of whether it would go away or not if I went to work as usual. I decided it was safer to go in late, so I could take something and then get some more sleep to (hopefully) chase the headache away.

Carlos was thrilled with my decision: about three more hours of snuggling in bed! Though he then expected a second breakfast when I got up at last, leading to a woebegone kitty face as I left for work.

And it kind of worked: not much of a headache was left. However, I felt weird and "off" the rest of the day. Headache hangover. Fun.

I then left work an hour early to go to the dentist. Good news: only for a cleaning and exam, and they didn't find anything else. Not-so-good news: since I don't have dental insurance right now, that comes out of my pocket. Sigh. I know that preventive care is important, but the idea that I pay to go and be poked in the mouth with sharp implements bothers me, philosophically speaking.

Then it was stitch and bitch, which was fun, although I'm a little irritated with the pattern for the Frost Diamonds shawl. I guess I'm too literal (you: dying laughing at the massive understatement), but if part of the chart has a box around it to show that it repeats across the section, then one of the stitches in the box should not be meant to be knit together with one of the stitches outside the box. I'm using stitch markers! I can't knit two together across a marker! I don't think that marker positioning should be fluid like that. Apparently, though, I am alone in this belief. (Don't worry if this makes zero sense to you. I just wanted to let the frustration out. It's fine.)

Finally, the cats are curled up together, and when I tried to find a previous picture similar to how they are tonight, I saw this one, which is close, plus it's sort of heart-shaped. It'll do.


Happy any old Monday.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolatey Chocoholism Revealed

Yesterday, with a group of good friends and in honor of Valentine's Day, I went to Café Fleuri, which is in the Langham Hotel in Boston, for their Chocolate Bar.

Proof:

Quote: "There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate."

It's a buffet of chocolate. Many, many items. Lovely, delectable items. Crêpes. Truffles. Ice cream. Bread pudding. Many, many things, is my point.

Here is my first plate again.

I must confess that I have forgotten what many of them were already. I know that the ramekin held mocha crème brûlée (which was a little bland, but beautiful), followed clockwise by a Boston cream cake, a cannolo*, a chocolate mousse in a chocolate cup, and a profiterole.

*Did you know that was the singular of cannoli? I didn't! Learn something new every day.

This one has a lot, doesn't it?


Let's see: at the top, a few pieces of pineapple (not dipped in the chocolate fountain), a pretzel below (no chocolate involved, but a good palate cleanser), a chocolate-dipped strawberry, and the red-topped one is some sort of red currant cake. The circle to its left was a lemon meringue tart (yum!), and below that was a bit of pecan brittle. Then a banana cream tart with bacon on top (how could I not try that? it was surprisingly good), a madeleine with rosemary or something that was delicious, and a pretzel truffle (too dark for me). Then (what a lot on one plate) do you see the white rectangle to the left? That was a marshmallow, and for the life of me I can't remember what spice flavored it. Cardamom? Corriander? It was one I've heard of, but couldn't have said I'd ever eaten and it was faint and flavorful and lovely. And to the right of that, the beige square is my absolute favorite of the day, the salted caramel (it had a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom). Not much on looks, but wow, I'll take a box, please!

Such a busy plate! You may need to look at it again.


Oh, and this guy. I don't remember what it was, and the flavor was not striking, but isn't the presentation worth something?


Now, I believe I may have missed a plate, because I did try the chocolate bread pudding, but I don't have a photo of it, and whatever else was on its plate. But I know I picked up two mini-plates, and I think that was at the same time as the missing plate. It's all kind of a blur, honestly.

Anyway, apricot tart:


And a lemon tart thing that was a bit too intense for me after everything else, but was beautifully plated:


And what you can't see in that shot is the seasonally-decorated chocolate accent:


I should call this last plate "the I am full but I will not stop" plate. At the top, spicy peanut brittle (sadly, too spicy for me), a regular marshmallow that I twirled in the chocolate fountain (twirling it was more fun than eating it), another cardamom marshmallow (still delicious, but I didn't finish it), and more salted caramels (which may have come home with me for eating last night, I'm not admitting anything, except mmmmm).


I didn't try the cotton candy, either. But I watched this woman trying to eat it neatly,


before she gave up and fashioned a bit into a mustache. Wish I'd gotten a shot of that!

For drinking, I mostly had water, and less than half a cup of coffee. They did have hot chocolate, but wow, overkill. I also didn't try any of these offerings:


Though of course, before we left I had to "red"-pencil them. Honestly, how do they correctly pluralize martini, but make the mimosa possessive instead?


Still, it was a wonderful experience. The setting was lovely, and even the water glasses were really nice:



And no, I did not take one home with me. Though I wouldn't mind having one.

In conclusion: this is not an inexpensive expedition. But it is a lot of fun, if you really like chocolate. Make sure you go hungry (you may want to eat a bland breakfast), and don't expect to eat again for hours. Wow.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Here's a Teaser

So, about three hours later, I'm still full. From what, you ask? Well, here's a hint:


That was plate number one.

I have to go lie down now. More tomorrow!

Friday, February 11, 2011

More Than One Thought, This Time

I didn't actually go to bed at 8 last night, but I did turn the light off just before nine. Whew, was I tired! And this morning, the bed was a soft, warm, cat-snuggly trap that I didn't want to escape. I hit the snooze button twice as much as usual. Hooray for the weekend, and no alarm tomorrow morning. Plus, fun plans tomorrow; can't wait to tell you how it goes.

I saw a job listing for a proofreader this week that candidly admitted the pay was $12 an hour. Does that seem incredibly low to anyone else, for a professional position, or just to me? (It's also a temp position, and the location is nowhere near me, so I wouldn't be applying anyway, but ... really?)

Pretty funny hockey stat before Wednesday night's crazy game, via Stanley Cup of Chowder: "The Canadiens only have 15 fighting majors this season. The Bruins have had 16 since New Year's Day." Well, with the 12 fighting majors assessed to the two teams in Wednesday night's game, those numbers have gone up...not to mention the other 82 minutes of penalties, and four game misconducts (the most heavily penalized game in the league so far this season).

By the way, even allowing a season-high six goals Wednesday night, look who's atop all the NHL goalie stats (as of Thursday)?

Nice!

The Bruins play Detroit tonight and again Sunday. According to NHL.com, Detroit has 8 major penalties this season (lowest in the league), while the Bruins have 56 (highest in the league). It seems safe to say that tonight's game will not much resemble Wednesday night's. (Thought the teams are much closer in terms of minor penalties, and are seventh-lowest and ninth-lowest in the league. Interesting.)(To me.)

Anyway! Friday night is good. Hockey is good (hopefully). A cat on my lap is good. And a good night's sleep is, well. You know. Have a good night yourself!

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Great Thoughts. Or Did I Mean Random Thoughts?

Is eight o'clock too early to go to bed?

Umm ... there was another one. I swear.

Hmmm.

Well, I guess that answers my question. Nighty-night.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Very briefly, of crazy hockey and crazier yarn

This will be totally brief, because it's just about bedtime. I was out earlier this evening, then came home to watch the end of the Bruins game, which was, as they say, a barnburner*. Seriously, it was 2-0 Boston after one period, 6-4 after two, and they won 8-6. And there were so many fights, it was ridiculous, like six-Bruins-in-the-box-simultaneously ridiculous (in the second period), and only-five-spare-skaters-on-the-bench** ridiculous (near the end of the game).

*I don't know why they call it a barnburner, but they do.
**Usually there are about 14.

But I would like to say that tonight, in decent lighting, I got confirmation from multiple other knitters that yes, it is really weird how dark this sock is coming out, compared to the ball of yarn.


Totally weird. Doesn't look possible, yet it happens. Knitting goes by its own rules.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Knit Pondering

One of my friends is pregnant. One of my knitting friends.

I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.

You got it: Baby knitting!

As she reads this blog (hi!), I have to decide whether I'll blog about what I make as I'm making it, or keep it a surprise and only show it here* after gifting, but in the meantime, I have decisions to make. Like: what type of item? Blanket? Sweater? Other? Or what about pattern? Or yarn type, or color?

*And on Ravelry, for that matter, since we're friends there too. I may have to track my work on paper! How retro.

Some initial thoughts:
  • He is a boy, but his parents are not set on blue-is-for-boys*, so anything goes color-wise.
  • He's due in May, meaning sweaters won't be quite as necessary as if he was going to be, say, a January baby. Though of course, a sweater in a 6-12 size (or larger) would still be good, if not as immediately usable.
  • For the sake of the new parents, I think machine-wash is only kind. Even though a knitting mom would be aware of the pitfalls, I feel that asking the sleep-deprived to remember which item needs special care is a little mean, when there are plenty of lovely machine-wash yarns out there. Plus, the baby doesn't have a knitting dad. (Maybe not mean. Rude, maybe.)
*Neither am I, for that matter, since I think blue is a lovely color on any baby, and it's probably my favorite color personally. But I do try to respect strong feelings on the part of the recipient, even when I don't agree with them.

Think, think, think. Ponder, ponder. Search, search. So many choices!

Any thoughts?

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Another Reason Why Word Choice is So Important

And here's why: when people are living with colder-than-usual temperatures, and heavier-than-usual snowfalls...



...it's hard to convince them of the scientific backing for a concept called "Global Warming."

Thank you, Slate Magazine.

And now they're saying, "Well, we meant to call it Climate Change!" But I say, too little, too late.

You could have chosen a scare-tactic name, you could have chosen a neutral-toned name, but no. You chose something that sounds good to me. That's where you went wrong.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Another Sunday Night? Was that really necessary?

funny pictures-Monday's coming!

Yup. I'm feeling it.

Today was fine. The storm yesterday brought us only rain in my little town, meaning we had plenty o' ice on surfaces this morning, and had the plow guy come and sand the driveway, but nothing to shovel and it was even above freezing, meaning there was some melt.

In chore news, I did my laundry, grocery shopped (shopping during the super bowl makes for a pretty empty store), and did some other little things around the house. But now, I am in a major Sunday-evening, weekend's-over, bummer state of mind.

In the morning, I foresee this:

funny pictures-I will rise

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Must Stop Talking Snow

Current report: So far, the weather today has not been as bad as predicted, but it's still raining, and should all that freeze, walking will be even more treacherous than it already is.

I took a picture the other morning of the rising sun glinting on icicles:


Were that my view, I would be sorely tempted to open the window and bat at them. Perhaps I am part cat.

As for this, can you guess what it is?


Go on, guess. Look again.


That lump in the middle? Underneath the snow is a picnic table.

Lord, even I'm getting tired of my talking about the weather. It's just such a large part of life right now. And after all, discussing how I have to empty the dishwasher, or clear off the kitchen table, is hardly more enthralling. Tomorrow is hardly better, with laundry, and perhaps grocery shopping! Today's high may have been doing my taxes and learning that I'm getting more back than I did last year, which is satisfying, but hardly exciting--and, I'm disappointed to report, my first thought was not, "How much yarn/chocolate/books will I buy?" but instead, the extraordinarily prosaic, "Well, there's the mortgage for March."

All right, I can do better than that. How about talking books? I've certainly been reading a lot, trying to escape from everyday life. Have you heard the buzz around Among Others, by Jo Walton? I read a bunch of raves about it, and finally read it myself this week. I found myself flagging a bunch of quotes that really grabbed me.
I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.

Interlibrary loans are a wonder of the world and a glory of civilization.

Class is entirely intangible, and the way it affects things isn't subject to scientific analysis, and it's not supposed to be real but it's pervasive and powerful. See; just like magic.

I don't know if she does this because it's magical or if she does it because she's mad. It's very hard to tell the difference.

...and anyway she's fictional. I can tell the difference, really I can.

Bibliotropic ... Like sunflowers are heliotropic, they naturally turn towards the sun. We naturally turn towards the bookshop.

If you love books enough, books will love you back.
Beyond that, I don't want to say too much, but it was wonderful. If the tone of the quotes speaks to you, then hurry and read it!

What else? Well, I quite liked a new YA/middle readers book called The Candymakers, by Wendy Mass. It's reminiscent of The Mysterious Benedict Society, as well as of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, except that it's entirely its own book. Four twelve-year-olds and a candy-making contest, new friends and hidden pasts, secrets and lies...

If you're a Dorothy Sayers fan, by chance, I highly recommend the new Wimsey, written by Jill Paton Walsh, The Attenbury Emeralds. The story was good, and I enjoyed seeing how Peter and Harriet were doing post-WW II.

What have you read lately? Anything worth talking about?

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