I mostly knit, sometimes crochet or cross-stitch.
I read, a lot.
I love cats.
I love hockey, especially my local team, the Boston Bruins.
Want more? Read on.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
I've slept most of today, and I started a more ambitious post that I don't have the energy to finish, but I wanted you to know that I'm going to pick up my knitting and watch the Bruins game, and wanting to do both, those are good signs.
While I wanted to get a tree this year, same as I always want one, in the end it was too late, too much, and not going to happen. Even up to yesterday, I was thinking of it; in fact, I thought I would get one of those little potted ones, maybe three feet tall, and put it on the coffee table, thus solving the "no good place to put a tree" issue I have every year. But when I went to look at them, they had very small ones that were not balsam/Frazier firs, which didn't look like Christmas trees to me, and slightly taller ones that did, but were $60. Which, excuse me, a cut tree twice the height costs half as much. I know, you can plant it after, or at least I could find someone with a yard who wants to plant it, but man, sixty bucks. I just couldn't do it.
But I looked at the cut ones, and thought about dealing with the stand and the watering and the lights and the decorating, Christmas only a week away and I won't even be here ... and I bought a wreath for the scent and called it a day. I think it was the right decision for me this year; that migraine a few weeks ago threw off my getting things done mojo (what little I have), I've been scrambling ever since (more than usual, I mean), and I have to acknowledge my limits. But that doesn't stop me from being sad about it.
The three-party weekend was moderately successful, but not something I want to do again. I enjoyed all three parties, but being the way I am, I needed to psych myself up before and wind down after, and it turned out that these pre- and post-party 'activities' were not ones that combined well with Getting Things Done. On the already-crazy last weekend before Christmas, this was challenging. Even if I was only at each party for an hour or so, the total time spent was half my weekend.
If all three parties are on the same weekend next year, I may have to decline one. I kind of don't want to ... but I think I'll need to. Not that I'm going to worry much about it for the next eleven months, right? Sufficient unto the season is the Christmas-party-angst thereof.
Christmas is Sunday, but Mum arrives tomorrow, so it's time for the usual "don't know how often I'll be posting after this" announcement. I may be here often, or it may be a few days of radio silence. Happy holidays to you! And you!
***** Bonus! You're a goalie, waiting while the crew repairs a piece of broken glass. How do you have a little fun while staying loose and keeping warmed up?
And as someone near the camera pointed out, he can dance on skates! What fun.
Wiped out, basically, aka the last weekend before Christmas
It's been a good weekend, on balance, but it's rather worn me out. (The cold didn't help: I'd say it was freezing, but that's giving the temperature credit for more than it achieved. Brrr.) So here's a little Christmas music to cheer me up--and you, too, I hope.
Some Christmas cheer from Bruce:
Some Christmas Wrapping:
12 Pains of Christmas:
One of these strike your funny bone? Others you'd suggest?
After my rather crazy yesterday, it was extra nice to sleep in and laze a little this morning. I got a few things done around the house, and also gave Carlos a lap for a while (where 'a while' is defined as a period of time somewhere between what I "ought" to have to spare, ie not much, and the three hours or so he would have liked). Finally I got going and got ready for a two-party day. (And watched the first period of the Bruins matinee while I got ready: Bruins 4 Philly 0 after one!)
That's not like the two-party system of government, that's the rare day for me with two parties to go to. I spent an hour or more at a Christmas Caroling Party, came home to regroup (and caught the last few minutes of the Bruins' 6-0 win, yay), and went on to the Latke Party for another hour plus. Fun! Both of them. Different groups of friends, good food, cute kids whizzing around, catching up a little though you never get to talk to everyone. Parties.
But I'm exhausted tonight, and really ready for the quiet. I'm not even talking to the cats as much as usual. I have to agree with the definition of an introvert as someone who is depleted by social interactions (while extroverts are recharged by them). Anyway. A nice peaceful evening, some laundry, tide the house, and face tomorrow (and its Holiday Tea) after a good night's sleep.
I have the larger version of this:
But it still does the job remarkably well.
What else is in my head? Well, random and assorted. For instance, these messages were in my spam filter recently. (Click on the image to make it bigger.)
This has been my time to shine? And I missed it? Why didn't they tell me earlier?
And I'm so sure that in order to credit an account I don't have with the bank, they would email me. For 5.8 million dollars. Right...
Funky fruit at Whole Foods the other day. Eat it or give it its own TV show?
New favorite brand of yogurt: Liberté Méditerraneé. It's thick, creamy, and with a good amount of fruit. I like other flavors too, but the plum and fig is my favorite. Mmmm.
What on earth is this truck trying to say? (I got a Christmas card from a family who signed it "The Smith's"--not their real name, but a real misuse of an apostrophe. I'm trying to be forgiving, in the spirit of the season.)
I'm too lazy to check, but I think I mentioned a few weeks back that in the process of moving the couch and futon, I moved a bookcase into my bedroom for knitting stuff. I also organized my knitting needles, having had several frustrating "where is this size" moments. I'm really happy with the result.
That my swift on the right, standing up in a tin my mother found for me. It fits perfectly! And I like it so much better that way than the lying randomly method of "storage".
Here are the needles, all* standing up, sorted by size:
*All except the circulars, I should say. This is a straight and dpn solution.
I put stickers on to help me keep track of it. I think the needles look pretty this way, and I also think it's going to work pretty well for utility. Only time will tell for sure.
And that's all for tonight! We'll see how tomorrow goes in due time, eh? One week to Christmas: commence freakout!
What a way to start the day, or, how I ended up with a large bandage on my foot The alarm went off at 6 as usual, and as usual I hit the snooze and drifted back into a light sleep. The cats jumped down; some days one or both stay in bed until I get up, but not today. I was vaguely aware of the noises of the morning, mostly traffic, with increased cat volume. Then there was a thunder of hooves (when I was younger we used to say our cats sounded like a herd of elephants on the stairs), one of them chased the other up onto the bed, and the cat in the lead landed, full throttle, on my bare foot.
I shot upright, yelling, and cats fled. Even after the initial shock wore off, there was pain, and when I got my glasses on, I could see why: a two-inch long bloody scratch on my instep, with a smaller, also bloody scratch on the ankle bone. (Yes, opposite sides of the foot; not sure how they managed that.) I had to bandage them just so I could walk around without leaving a blood trail.
How I hoped that would be the low point of the day. But remember how Wednesday was crazy-busy at work? Thursday was much the same, and today? Oh hi, I working late. (As did other people the last two days; I don't want to sound like this pity-party is just for one.)
There is some good news, though, a silver lining to the dreck. A few of us had a small cookie exchange at work today, so I had some yummies to snack on as time ticked by. So that's something.
As is the pizza I picked after I left (at 8, for pete's sake).
And then I came home and stepped in cat vomit. So I'm going to bed now. I am done with this day, d-u-n done.
But first, I have a favor to ask, and there's a reward for thinking about it. We're having a pot luck lunch at work on Tuesday, and I have to bring in a main dish or a side. There's no oven at work (except the toaster oven, and microwaves), so I'm trying to think of something that doesn't need to be served hot. The perfect solution is the bell-pepper salsa I love, but I don't have time to make it. I don't mind buying something, but what? Simple to make or easy to buy, cool or room temp? Oh, and one person is no-dairy, so that would be ideal. Anyone?
Oh, and your reward? Well, it's a video, nothing new about that here, right? Even flash mob videos have been posted here, and even yet Christmas flash mob videos. However, this is still a first, for it is a Christmas flash mob directed by Darth Vader video. Yes, really. In a Santa hat, even. Enjoy.
I've been slightly headachy yesterday and today--nothing bad, I hasten to add, knocking on wood loudly enough to freak out the cats. But I wonder if it's a weather system or something? (It IS supposed to rain tomorrow; does that automatically mean a pressure change is coming?) Because I'm not at a trouble point for hormones, and my stress level has been fairly consistent (if on the high side) recently. I mean, I have a lot to do, but I feel good about what I am getting done, you know? My weird dreams are about finding a coffee flavor I like*, not forgetting to get someone a present.
*When they got a new coffee system at work, they seem to have decided that no one wanted that light stuff any more, and stock only medium and dark roast options. As a self-declared coffee wuss, I find even the medium stuff to be too much. I honestly dreamed the other night that I found a light hazelnut "pod" and I was so happy! Pathetic.
I don't like work days to be too slow and I don't like them to be too busy. Monday there wasn't much going on, and though I checked the workflow area regularly, I spent more than half the day rereading old notes as a refresher. Today on the other hand was 18 million projects hurry this goes out today hurry this goes out at noon hurry this was supposed to go yesterday, hurry hurry hurry. When I came back from lunch there were nine projects to choose from. It was like that all day long, and honestly, where is the balance?
I don't expect my job to be a source of great daily joy, but I would like it not to sap my energy and will to go on.
Speaking of which, I know that jealousy is not an attractive thing, but today at work when two of my coworkers were discussing how much time they still had to take off before the end of the year, even after they counted that one of them is taking next week off and the other is taking the following week off, well. I was green.
Also? They don't get migraines, do they? No, I think not.
(Seriously, though, stop talking about how you're going to HAVE TO take two weeks off, like it's some kind of actual problem. That's just mean.)
I was confused at work recently to read about DPN, since to me that doesn't mean diabetic peripheral neuropathy, it means double-pointed needles. Knitters, right? Well, I had another you-must-be-a-knitter moment today in a meeting, when I was studying the sweater on the woman next to me, and thinking of making a scarf inspired by the pattern.
That is, when yarn purchasing is in the budget again. I have plenty to knit with now. Just, you know, notes for the future.
Now, I have things to do (ha! understatement!) and a Bruins game to watch, so I'll leave you with hockey in the great outdoors.
An NHL rink would feel like a phone booth to these guys. Isn't that gorgeous?
Happy Miri = warm + soft + near Carlos. A present I can actually show you! It's for the Yankee swap at work. I think it's cute, a cocoa set with a hot water bottle, but after I read the back, I had to get it.
I hope one of the other editors gets it. Isn't that awful? Here's what happens when you don't think you need a proofreader.
Here's something I didn't get, but isn't it fun just the same? It took me a minute.
Say it out loud ... there! You got it!
Leslie is right, I haven't been updating the chocolate of the days much. I have been enjoying it, and sharing it! I took some to RI on Saturday for my friends, and took some to work, too.
Today was periwinkles. "Just" plain milk chocolate, but quality makes such a difference, doesn't it?
I ate my lunch in my car today; it's been cold out, but the car is warm in the sun, and it's peaceful* there. (The area where I usually eat has light traffic passing through, and sometimes meetings going on, so it's less peaceful than I sometimes need.) Of course, I didn't want to go inside when it was time (though of course I did). This afternoon I started to think about what I would like to do instead. Not grand if-I-win-the-lottery planning, but just a bonus gift of time one afternoon. I wouldn't want to go home, because tonight was stitch and bitch and I wanted to go (particularly after having missed last week's with that migraine) but I find it very difficult to go out again once I'm home. What came to mind was going to Starbucks, getting a drink**, and knitting. Sounds nice and peaceful, in a final-countdown-to-Christmas season such as this.
*Particularly in retrospect, like this afternoon, when I could hear a woman three desks away eating something very, very crunchy***. Chomp, chomp, chomp. **Mum? We're going to a Starbucks while you're here. Caramel bruléefrapucchino. Woo. ***Shared workplace tip: try to avoid foods that might make your coworkers want to ask, "What in HELL are you eating? Rocks?"
The thought crossed my mind this morning that the list of things I'd like to get done this week would be much more manageable if I didn't have to work. But it's hard enough to pay the bills with a paycheck coming in, eh? And I am trying to differentiate between things that I really have to do, or at least that it would make my life easier later if I do now, versus things I'd like to get done, but world won't end if they're delayed.
Saturday I went down to Rhode Island to go with friends to an artists' holiday show and a Christmas concert. It was a fun day, but a late night (home after midnight, bed after 1), and I was tired yesterday and am again today*. Still, lots of fun, and worth it! (Yawn.) I got a few things at the art show (2 gifts, and one thing for me, probably my usual ratio), and enjoyed looking at all the wonderful pottery and jewelry and wood and paintings and ornaments and and and. We had an excellent late lunch at a place called Red Stripe (get the fries! or frites, as they call them), and then back to J's house and we hung out, another friend helping her with a task on the computer, mostly just sitting around talking and (in my case) knitting.
*Also, mysteriously, my left arm was very, very sore yesterday, and is still very sore today. Like I carried something big and heavy for a long time. I was carrying my purse and coat at the fair, and the shopping basket, but nothing I bought was heavy, and I can't figure it out.
In the evening, we were off to our regular get-in-the-holiday-mood event, the concert at Salve Regina University. (We stopped at Whole Foods on our way and picked up desserts. Eclair. Yum.) It's a fun thing to do, though I felt many of the selections this year had a somewhat downbeat feel. I may not be religious, but I've been exposed to it plenty over the years, and Christmas isn't the "He died for your sins" season, it's "Unto us a child is given" or as my friend said, "joy to the world". Let's have some cheer!
And each year they do this, so each year I will complain about it: just because your group can sing a song, and even sing it well, does not mean it belongs in the Christmas concert. Example A this year? "Single Ladies." Because nothing says Christmas like Beyoncé. Or a group of woman at a Catholic university singing about the man on their hip, or whatever it is.
But anyway. They did a really nice job overall, including a particularly upbeat non-Catholic song (props for that, Salve), and the setting is beautiful and the weather could have been much worse, so overall thumbs up.
Here's the program, if you want to see (click for bigger). Right now I'm cracking up to Straight No Chaser's 12 Days mashup again (as I mentioned last year).
Unrelated: Today at work, someone put out a candy item from a totally unexpected holiday. Any guesses what it was?
I'm so tired tonight that I thought about not posting, but I don't want anyone to think that I'm migraine-ridden again. Thankfully, that is not so! I had a good, long, late day/night yesterday with friends in Rhode Island, and today I did laundry and dishes and a few errands and I'm pooped!
So here, have a Bruin in a commercial. Apparently Brad Marchand, nicknamed the Little Ball of Hate for his edgy ways (he's one of those players you love ... on YOUR team), is starting to pull in endorsements. Start small...
I'm leaning with weariness, so we'll make this short tonight. First, if you're stumped for what to buy the knitter in your life, you could do worse than reading the Yarn Harlot's advice this month*. She started on December first, and is throwing out more ideas just about every day, so start here and keep going. She has all sorts of suggestions, and since she knows knitters and those who love them but don't understand them, she serves as a good translator. Also, I've been enjoying seeing what lovely things she knows about that I didn't.
*If you don't need ideas for Christmas, well, keep it in mind for future reference. I'll also say that if your knitter doesn't have Stephanie's books, they are excellent. I have them all, and wish she'd do audios of the ones that aren't there yet.
Keep an eye on the family computer. There is a website called "Ravelry." If you walk by any computer in the house, you might see this website. There is a page your knitter has been keeping, called "Queue." It's a list of stuff they'd like to make, and what they would like to make it out of. If you saw this page open, you could feel very confident that if you wrote down what yarn your knitter had already chosen for that project, that you could then get online or on the phone and order that amount of that yarn in that colour and know that your knitter would be thrilled. They'd also think you were a bit of a sneak, and most knitters would like that.
PS. Pro tip: Other knitters can see your knitter's Ravelry queue. If your knitter hasn't left it open, but you know other knitters, they can go look for you. This would get extra sneakiness points.
I mailed my first Christmas cards today, which got me wondering where I fall on the general Holiday Card Scale. (Not to be confused with the Christmas Card Scoring System, though that amuses me mightily.)
In the middle, is where I figure. I received my first card on November 30th, from a lovely and overachieving friend who does not need as much sleep as I do. I make an effort (not a heavy-duty effort, to be honest) to get the cards out to the people I'll be spending the holiday with before I see them, then get the rest done as I can. My feeling is, I don't mind getting cards after the 25th, and I doubt anyone else does (though Swistle's Scoring marks off for it), so I'm not going to worry about that. But I don't think that my mother, for example, should get home from spending the holiday with me, and find my card waiting for her. It seems silly somehow. So those go first.
What about you? Do you send cards? Paper or electronic? Photo or not? Do you keep a list? Track what comes in, or have some other system? Hang them on the wall? Have any other thoughts you'd like to share with the class?
If you don't want to talk about cards, how about this? I get daily quotation e-mails from The Happiness Project, just for the fun of it, and usually either I like them or I'm neutral. Today's I disliked, though.
"Indolence is a delightful but distressing state: we must be doing something to be happy." — William Hazlitt
What do you think? Maybe I'd like it better if we agree that it depends on how you define "doing something." Or perhaps on how you define "Indolence." What's your take?
Waking up this morning and feeling better was wonderful, enough that the difference between how I felt and "feeling well" was easy to overlook. No question I could go to work, and how much better work looks when compared to a migraine! Perspective is everything.
Mid-afternoon I started to falter a bit, though; if I'd been home, that's when I would have gone to "lie down for a minute". Strangely, not an option at work. I got through the rest of the afternoon, but I will say that the odds of my catching the whole Bruins game, particularly on an out-of-time-zone game, are slim to none. (It starts at 8:30; they're in Winnipeg.) I imagine I'll watch the first period, then turn the radio on and fall asleep listening.
Now, look at this: Medieval torture device or miracle migraine cure? According to a woman I respect, it's the latter, and much to my own surprise (being as I'm a total baby about pain), I think I may have to get one. She wrote:
I thought, Who would be that crazypants? Those look sharp! Then I noticed all the 5-star reviews. I read, with amazement, as people said this actually helped their pain.
I've given it almost two weeks now.
This helps my pain.
Rachel wrote about it yesterday, just after I was writing about the sore neck I had from the latest migraine. Fate? Well, who can say. But for twenty bucks and a few ouches, I'd say it's worth a try.
I didn't go to work today. I'm feeling better than yesterday, but still not good. I have a firm rule that if standing up long enough to shower sounds like an unreachable goal, I should not be driving a car, let alone working. And since after letting my boss know, I went back to sleep this morning and slept for a few more hours, got up only to lie on the couch watching TV for a few hours, then went back to bed and slept for two more hours, I think we can say that I made the right decision. My head is uncomfortable, my stomach is unsettled, and it feels like someone has been sneaking in while I sleep to cudgel my shoulders and upper back. Ow.
It hasn't been the most fun day (or couple of days), kitty-cuddling to the contrary notwithstanding, and I hope to feel better soon. I hate missing stitch and bitch, but I'm not going out. Maybe I'll summon the energy to knit a bit while watching the Bruins play. Since I have yet to summon the energy to go downstairs for the mail or the newspaper (on opposite sides of the building, so that's two trips), well, may not happen. We'll see.
My weekend really got derailed from this bout; the kitchen is a mess and the laundry isn't done. Plus, there's a distinct lack of Christmas tree, something I was thinking of taking care of on Sunday. Mayhap next Sunday (I have plans on Saturday). I don't want to do it after work, since I think daylight is a better idea for tree shopping if at all possible. Again, we'll see.
Happily, I did get something semi-big and Christmassy done on Saturday before succumbing. I can't say too much without giving it away, but I was trying to do something on a website I hadn't used before, and while it seemed good and full of cool tools, I just wasn't making progress, though I couldn't see a reason why. Last week I decided to try the same thing on a similar website that I have used before, and it moved so much more smoothly! The weird thing is that I still can't point to exactly why the first one was bad and the second was better. You can't argue with results, though: several weeks of not getting there, versus two evenings and part of Saturday, and boom, done. Phew.
Now, I've missed a few days of Harbor Sweets chocolates updates from the advent calendar! We can't have that. I told you that Thursday was Sand Dollars, yum. Friday was Sweet Sloops, only my favorite, and part of making my evening better than the day. Saturday was Sweet Shells, and are you starting to feel as though they like the letter S best of all? Me, too. Sunday was Harbor Lights, and though my stomach wasn't up to them, I had one today and mmm. And today was a Barque Sarah day. There! All caught up on chocolatey goodness.
And I think that's all the excitement I can handle for now.
How am I feeling? Not as bad as last night, when I threw up so violently that for an instant, I felt my ears pulling into my head as my body tried to turn inside out, stomach first. But my head is still hurting somewhat today, and my stomach had settled through this morning, but this afternoon got riled by eating some rice, which I'm sorry for the language but what the fuck? What could be less upsetting than rice? Also, I don't think it should be allowed that a person can feel hungry and nauseated at the same time, there ought to be a law.
On the plus side, Carlos has kept me company today as I moved from bed to couch and back, forgiving me as I moved again and again. Also, the Bruins won last night without my constant supervision, which is nice of them. I turned the TV off after the first period, when it was 0-0, but I was awake around 1:30 this morning and got to watch most of the third period on the midnight re-run, then they showed it again this afternoon and I caught most of the second period, so that kind of worked.
Still, my weekend has been derailed and I want to feel better. Now, please. Having no energy for getting things done (shower? do you know how much standing that requires?), and no head for much reading/TV/computer has made for an odd day.
Let me start off by saying I'm home, didn't have to work late, and it's Friday, thus weekend. Ahhhh.
Now: what a terrible, awful, no-good, very bad day.
Ironically, I woke up in a pretty good mood this morning. I don't mean that I sprang out of bed singing, but I was pretty happy. Yesterday was pretty good, my evening went well, I slept well, and just Friday between me and the weekend. Even though it was cold, it was sunny, and I was pretty cheerful for a work day.
Then I got to work and found an e-mail from my boss (working at home today), detailing what I missed and/or did wrong on a piece yesterday, and all the air went out of my balloon.
It was a long e-mail.
I felt like an idiot. It kicked the legs out of any confidence I had built in the job I was doing, and well, basically it sucked and ruined my morning. Lunch time, away from the desk with reading and knitting, helped a bit, but then I had one of those are-you-serious projects for hours this afternoon, and only started to feel better once it was wrapped up. Not having to work late was a very pleasant surprise, and now I feel a bit better, and I have the weekend to not think about Monday. I will overcome!
For a brief period last night, I thought the evening was going to go bad. I was working on fixing an error in a secret knitting project and it wasn't going smoothly, I had tried to use the baby laptop for something while watching TV and that didn't work well, and the Bruins were losing.
However! With patience, I got the knitting straightened out. I reworked my plan for the computer task and pushed it to tonight, when I can be in the office on the real computer. And the Bruins won! Not the best game they ever played, but they wrapped up November nicely. The last month they played without a regulation loss was in my lifetime, but January of 1969 is a long time ago.
***** Leslie picked up yesterday's hint correctly: If it's December, it's time once again for the Harbor Sweets advent calendar. Mmmm! Today was a Sand Dollar (or two, actually, since Mum believes in giving enough to share, bless her). Mmm, caramel...
No one spoke up on the other tease I had in yesterday's post: "The alphabet? All of it?" Doonesbury, anyone? My brother and I read the books growing up, and memorized some parts, such as:
I'm a reasonable man, MacArthur, so I know this can't be snow. (Pay it no mind, Excellency, it never sticks.)
Okay, in Mellowspeak, that would be, "Oh, wow, look at the moon."
Dear Russkies, Back off or else. Love, Zonker. (Mixed messages, Zonk. That's why we're in trouble in the first place.)
Ah, memories. Those are typed straight from memory, and I bet they're close to 100% accurate, too.