Friday, June 29, 2012

Lesson for the Day: Don't be Afraid to Ask

aka, Sometimes You Get Lucky
 
Even if you're pretty sure the answer will be no, it doesn't hurt to ask, a lesson I've learned before, but had reinforced today.
 
When I started this job, June 4th, I was under the impression that the health insurance would kick in July 1st. That's what I wrote in my notes from the HR meeting the first day, and that's what the analyst who started the same day I did also thought was happening. But as we learned this afternoon, we were wrong. 
 
Did you ever think of the word "month" as being a nonspecific term? It does have more than one meaning. There's the calendar month, like June, and then there's a calendar month, like thirty days. Seems like a small distinction, until it changes your health insurance from July to August.
 
However, good news! I figured it would be too late to get another month of COBRA coverage from my old job, but what does it hurt to ask? I shot the woman in HR there an e-mail, saying that I figured the answer was no but thought I would check, and she said no problem. Whew!
 
Paranoid klutzes should not be without health insurance, you know? And now I don't have to be. Whew!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Little Ritz

I was in a bad mood last night, for no particular reason, and decided it was wise to keep away from the blog. My mood's okay tonight (despite learning today that one of my coworkers was born when I was in college, ow), but I'm tired.

But here's something to see! Raise your hand if you know the song Puttin' on the Ritz (and if you do, is it from Irving Berlin, Gene Wilder, or Taco?).

Ever see a flash mob in Russia perform to it?

Now you have!

My favorite part is that they're singing along but clearly don't know all the words. "Trying hard to be like Harry Cooper", anyone?

Other versions, if you're interested:

Taco. This was one of the first cassettes I owned. How many times did I listen to it?

Countless.

Young Frankenstein, always a classic:

Another coworker threw "Put the candle back" into conversation today, so it wasn't all bad news.

The always dapper Fred Astaire, the classic:

Hope you enjoyed at least one version. Have a good evening!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Bit of a Bleargh Evening

So, who needs to see something cheerful? I do! It's chilly here and was gray most of the day, and I'm tired and almost have a headache (believe me, that's a thing). Even peas were not enough to totally cheer my evening.

But here we are: another dancing goalie! Remember the other one that I posted, last year? Well, this one's a kid, getting his groove on to that arena classic, YMCA:

Now there's a reason to smile! I love when the second goalie joins him.

I can see that exploring "dancing goalie" and "goalie dance" on Youtube will have to happen. 

I was so tired last night, and had a mild but persistent headache, so I got in bed at a decent hour for once, and was turning the light out at 9:30. Apparently that was the cue the thunderstorm was waiting for, since for the next 90 minutes or so, there was lightning and thunder every few minutes, just infrequently enough for me to start drifting to sleep between bangs. Closer and closer, until the windows shook, and Carlos raised his head from snuggling to wonder if he should be worried. Not a happy camper, me. Finally, it stopped, and I was able to get to sleep, but what a waste of good sleeping time. At least my headache was mostly gone this morning.

Tonight, it's early to bed again, but with unisom this time.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

All About Work

So, time to write about the job in a bit more detail than I've managed so far! Seriously, the adjustment to working again has been huge. Getting back into the routines is not easy, and I require my routines to function. A perfectly timed quote via the Happiness Project:
“Habit simplifies our movements, makes them accurate, and diminishes fatigue.”
-William James
Some of the specifics I've been adjusting to:
  • eating on a schedule, and not just eating but cooking, and not just cooking but planning, and not just planning but shopping, and not just shopping but planning the shopping
  • work clothes: choosing them, discovering something is missing a button or doesn't fit well, and then there's laundering them; also, dressing for chilly inside and boiling hot outside
  • lunches and snacks, particularly snacks since there's nothing in the building to "just grab" so I have to plan ahead (whereas there's plenty around for me to go out for lunch if I need to); also, due to the open seating described below, quiet snacks are preferable! Not that everything has to be silent, but too much crunching makes me self-conscious when it's quiet, so I prefer food in quiet packaging that can be quietly eaten. No celery!
  • the alarm clock in general. Also, I may have to switch away from the news station; what with the Jerry Sandusky trial, there have been a few moments of "I didn't want to hear that" recently.
  • the newspaper, and the fact that the guaranteed-6-AM-delivery is not always there at 6:30. Or 6:45. I may have to start another calling campaign, like I did a few years ago. If they say it will be there by 6, that's when I expect it. And dude, if you would get it by the door, you would see some tips! (He barely slows the truck down before flinging it out, so it lands at the bottom of the steps, often among the trash cans. I can't see it from upstairs, so I have to keep going down to look for it, or give up on it for breakfast and read it at lunch. Plus, there was the day the neighbor's dog peed on it there, that was a new low.)
  • highways at rush hour (after a year of back roads and then no commute)
Commute
Off-rush hour, the drive takes 20 minutes. During rush hour, it's another story, and has varied tremendously. Twenty-five minutes, over an hour, there's no predicting. It's a challenge! A complicating factor is that close to my town, there's been a traffic shift that results in literally twice the traffic going down the street I usually go home. Of course, the night last week when there was an accident there, it was far worse: 15 minutes to go under half a mile is pretty painful. There are not a lot of options that make any kind of sense, but I'm going to have to experiment, because it's been nuts there. Adding to my personal frustration is how close to home it is: I'm almost there, but not quite. Honestly, though, I could have just about walked in the time (though not carrying the groceries).
As a side note, one of my new co-workers actually lives a few blocks from me. I'm not suggesting car-pooling, as he usually works earlier than I do, and I rarely drive home without stopping for at least one errand, but I'm thinking we could help each other out when one of us has car trouble. Could be handy!
Location
The company is not that far from the job I left 2 years ago (remember the psycho SVP and his mind games?), in an area full of stores and restaurants, and one that I am very familiar with. It's handy not to have to learn my way around, but simply to know where things are. This also helps with the commute, because if the highways are too bad to even try, I know a million ways to go. They may be just as busy, but at least you get to move, and have the illusion of progress, which is sometimes just what I want.
Office Layout
Outside: We are in an office park, but it's one with a lot of grass, flowers, and trees, which I really like. It's a good set-up for walking at lunch, when the weather is neither rainforest nor inferno. Our building is on the edge and our office faces trees, which are pleasant to look at, and provide some shade. It could be a lot worse! There's a cafeteria in a nearby building, and apparently a health club too; I have yet to check that out.
Inside: The office itself is one large room, with a few offices and conference rooms, and a small kitchen, on the periphery. I'm not a big fan of open seating, and this is very open: cubes in blocks of four, with walls low enough to see over while sitting, and they don't even go all the way to the center, so there's a lot of view-through. That probably doesn't help you understand, does it? Well, picture a plus sign (you know,+) and imagine a person sitting in each of the four corners. Then imagine that at the center of the plus, the lines don't meet. Like this:
   |
--  --
   |
So if you're sitting in the lower right, you can see diagonally through to the person in the upper left. Also, one of the side walls in each square is split, with a foot-wide opening in the middle, so you can see one of your neighbors completely. It would be great if you were collaborating on something, but since I'm not ... I just like a little privacy to blow my nose unobserved, you know? They're such odd little cubes. (I hope they were cheap, since that's the only excuse I can think of for getting them.) Another weird feature is that the walls aren't made of the usual fabric that you can use pushpins or cube-wall-hangers in; neither are they magnetic. Post-It notes stick to them, or you can tape things to them, and you can tuck things into the bottom edge and they kind of stay, but that's it.
Sometimes the open-ness is fine; there are times when the only sounds in the office are the clicks-and-whirls of computer use, and the hum of the air conditioning. Other times, there can be three serious-science conversations happening around me at once, whoa. It is odd to be the English major is a crowd of mostly scientists. There are times when their talk to each other sounds to me like the adults in the Charlie Brown cartoons: waah waah waah, waah waah waah, waah waah. Apparently the idea of a candidate having two PhDs but both in physical chemistry is sort of ridiculous? Who knew.
People
That said, the people are all nice. There are currently 11 of us in this office (and more in the division elsewhere), but it's about to be 10 because one guy got an offer too good to refuse from his old company. (Which is too bad, he's a fun guy and I liked working with him so far, but oh well. Pity his wife: they just moved from California to be here in March, and now are moving to New York. Ouch.) Back to the office: they're still hiring, so the numbers should go up, while hopefully the general niceness level will remain high; everyone seems motivated to hire the right people, so I'm not too worried. We have desk space enough for 20, and room for more; it will be interesting to see where we are in a few months. They're looking for another editor, and I really hope I like him or her. So far, though, I haven't even heard if they've found any candidates for it.
Work
Oh, right, the actual work! Yes, there is some of that. It seems to be going well. I may not love working again, but this is the right work for me to be doing (until I win the lottery). Another quote:
“The test of a vocation is the love of the drudgery it involves.”
-Logan Pearsall Smith
 And when we talk about proofing and editing, I don't consider it drudgery. It can be tiresome, correcting someone's repeated mistake, but the thrill of eliminating errors and making something better, more readable, consistent, well, this makes me give a happy sigh.
My first week, I was given the Editorial Guide that the writers are supposed to use, and that the editors use to check their work, and then a test to take--open book, so to speak. I pretty much aced it, which was comforting, and I also found an error in the guide, where it says in a certain instance, do A, then shows an example which doesn't do A. So I impressed the editorial manager, who isn't actually my manager (the editors so far are in London, and they're not just for our division), but it doesn't hurt. The guide actually needs a lot of work*, and I'm meeting with my manager on Monday to discuss how much latitude I have with it.
*Call me crazy, but since the guide explicitly states to write in American English, I think the guide itself should also be in American English. No "spelt", no "exclamation marks" or "full stops", and exactly what does "at a push" mean anyway?
In closing, I just want to say that proofing spacing in justified text sucks. Justification throws off my eye for spacing.
The Start-Up Mentality
Although this company is not brand new, the division is pretty new (less than 2 years, I believe), and the office only opened a few months ago. The boss picks up coffee when she goes to Costco. My first week, I was surprised to hear someone asking around for "the" stapler. (How many people will there have to be before we get two, I wonder?) Meanwhile, my desk didn't even have a trash can. I could have asked for one, but when I was at Target I picked up a small bucket-like thing from the dollar area, that works just fine.
The Water. Yes, the Water.
I drink a lot of water. I'm not a water snob; at home, I happily drink tap water, no extra filtration required. But the setup here has me looking for workarounds already. There is a little side faucet on the sink to dispense filtered water. I tried the tap water itself, since sometimes that's perfectly fine, but it does taste unpleasant, so okay, I decided, I'll use the little one.
Well. It is slow. And by slow, here is what I mean:
  • Put 12-ounce glass on the counter and turn the switch. (At least you don't have to stand there holding it.)
  • Step to freezer, get out a bowl of ice*.
  • Step back to the glass, add cubes.
  • Go put the bowl back in the freezer.
  • Go back to the glass.
  • Wait another 10-15 seconds for the water to fill.
*Because the water is slightly flat-tasting, and comes out just above room temperature, so it's better when iced.
Thirty seconds doesn't sound like a long time, but it feels like it, ten* times a day (plus refilling the ice cube trays). It's long enough that I zone out, then panic that wait, I was filling the glass, it will overflow! But no, it isn't full yet.
*That's an estimate, but I do drink a lot of water. And yes, that does require a lot of bathroom breaks. It's good to get up from the desk regularly.
So when I was at the grocery store Thursday night, I picked up a gallon of store-brand spring water (for 50 cents), and brought it in Friday (and almost finished it by the end of the day, I told you I drink a lot of water). The idea is that if I fill it at home* and bring it in, I will spend less time than I was before, and my drink will taste better (and my arms will even get some regular exercise, oof, have you carried a gallon of water lately?). We'll see how that goes. If it works out, I may have to get a larger tote bag, because the one I use now is big enough for lunch/snacks, purse, and book, but not for a gallon of water too.
*Where, by  the way, it takes less time to fill the gallon than it does to fill one glass at work.
 
Other Things I Appreciate
  • Flexible scheduling. I don't have to punch a time clock or even fill in a time card, and no one seems to be monitoring my movements and time spent at desk. How refreshing to be treated like a responsible adult! And since the commute varies and thus so does my arrival time, it's nice to be able to vary when I leave accordingly, without anyone being bothered. Some people come in earlier, some later, some work at home a day or two a week (and particularly Fridays, naturally; there were five of us this Friday), and it's all very relaxed.
  • Speaking of Friday, we work a 7-hour day on Fridays, which adds an extra hour to every weekend, and adds up to more than another week of vacation time spread through the year. Nice little perk!
  • Speaking of relaxed scheduling, I can eat lunch when I want. And I get an hour, so I can run an errand if I need to.
  • We can take vacation time without counting "hours accrued" first. It's so nice to be able to take a day off in July without fussing about if I've earned all of 8 hours yet. (My mother will be at grandma's for a week, so I'm going up for the weekend. Yay!)
  • This one is small and may seem weird, but I like my mouse's quiet scroll wheel. One of my neighbors has one that goes bzzz-bzzzz-bzzzz as he scrolls, which makes me realize he scrolls rather a lot (page-down, dude!). Mine, on the other hand (ha!), is a little slow, but silent. Phew. It's the kind of thing you might never notice at home, but in a quiet office, well, wow.
Things I Don't Like As Much
  • The open plan seating, obviously.
  • The temperature. It's usually chilly, but not always. I'd rather have it consistent, even if uncomfortable, so I knew how to dress for it.
  • My boss is in and out of meetings all day, and gets so much e-mail that she tends to skim, so catching her in person looks like the best way of doing it. That isn't my preference (not that I get to choose), and it takes work.
  • No business cards. I know, it's a little tiny thing, and I don't really need them, but I liked having a business card.
And that's the new job, three weeks in. Now you know!

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Saturday Night's Post, On Sunday

I had plans to write last night, but a major bout of thunderstorms blew through and in their wake the power went out. By the time it was back, three hours later, I just wanted to finish my book before bed, and I didn't even turn the computer on.

Yesterday was an odd day for weather overall. When I woke up, it was overcast and rainy, but that finished mid-morning, and the sky began to clear. Why do I seem to subconsciously expect the morning's weather to last all day? The afternoon was nice, sunny and warm, but then the storms came along and there was thunder, lightning, and hard enough rain that it shook the windows as it torrented down. Only after the worst went by did the power go poof. Thankfully, the daylight lasted most of the outage, enough to knit by at least; for the last hour or so, I was knitting and then reading by the light of a little hands-free craft light I picked up at Michael's once for a couple of bucks, which is only slightly more powerful than a single candle. (But, crucially, scent-free. I like scented candles now and again, but not for reading by.)

It wasn't a bad day otherwise. My head gave a twinge or two in the late afternoon, but never went fully into a headache, so that alone would make it a good day*. But I also got in some puttering time in the morning, so crucial on the weekend, as well as errands in the afternoon. I had a short list of things to do: library to return and pick up books, post office to mail a few things, Wilson's for more peas (this has been both a good and a long pea season, wow)(though if you get them seven times in two and a half weeks, it's possible your sense of time will warp), and drop off the bag of last week's pods for a friend's compost.
*A little sad that my standards are so low, but there you are.

When I saw the skies clearing in the morning, I felt that I should add to that list and build in a little time outdoors (other than in the car); being me, I immediately hit on knitting. Wouldn't you? I thought that going to a Panera for a frozen drink, then sitting with it outside and knitting, would be a great way to spend a little nice-weather time. I opened up Google Maps to my area, and entered Panera. Up popped all the local ones, but then I noticed there were spots in another color also showing up. I hovered the mouse over one, and they were Dunkin Donuts locations! They must have paid to link when someone searches on Panera, which made me laugh out loud. I like Dunk, but I don't think of them and Panera the same way. (I did a Starbucks search, and the same thing doesn't happen. Does this mean that DD thinks of Panera as a competitor, but not Starbucks? Interesting.)

I made my stops at the library and post office, and may I ask, have you used the automated machines at a post office? I love the convenience of them, but sometimes they're crazy-making. Here's how it goes: you tell the machine if you're sending a letter or package, then where it's going. It weighs it, sometimes asks about the size, then offers options of how to send, with speed and cost options. So I select Priority Mail, say, and the next screen offers additional options*, such as insurance, or delivery confirmation.
*The would-you-like-fries-with-that tactic

I click on the "just send it Priority Mail" button, and it pops up a window touting the wonders of insurance*, would I like insurance? No thank you.
*No fries? Are you sure?

Next screen: How about delivery confirmation*? It's so amazing! No thank you, and finally it goes on to finish the transaction.
*Waffle fries, maybe?

I walked out laughing over how absurd it was, and finally pinned down what it reminded me of: Douglas Adams.

There's a scene in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe where Zaphod is trying to take an elevator up in a building. I say trying, because the elevator doesn't want to go up.
 
Now every time I use a machine at the post office, I'm going to hear, "May I ask you if you've considered all the possibilities that down might offer you?" in the back of my head.

Amused, I swung around to a nearby Panera. I'd been thinking of getting a frozen caramel, since it's so good, but I decided to try the frozen lemonade, which sounded like it would be refreshing on a hot day. It was, but it's definitely on the tart side, and you know what a sweet tooth I have. I'm glad I tried it, but I probably wouldn't get it again. Still, it was pleasant to sit outside with, in the shade, knitting. I cast on a Wingspan; when I went to Coveted Yarn last month, one of my purchases cried out to be a Wingspan. Can you hear it?
Wingspan ... make me a Wingspan ...

The colorway is called Starry Starry Night, and it's from a new-to-me local dyer, toil & trouble, in Salem (what a great name for a yarn person in Salem!). It's soft and beautiful, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. Since I cast on 120 stitches, to make it deeper than the last Wingspan I did, I'm not very far yet, even after all the no-power knitting I did last night.
Wide, but not high. Not yet. I have the two skeins for the shawl itself, then I think I'll use a coordinating yarn for the edging:
That way, I don't have to worry about being sure to leave enough of the t&t. Perfect!

That's yesterday, then, in not-so-chronological order. Today, I have finished four loads of laundry (all I had quarters for, but honestly that was enough for one day), and balanced the checkbook (virtually speaking), and read the paper, and patted the kitty.
The paws-crossed pose just slays me.

Other things I may get to, later today, include vacuuming (oh, the excitement), and running the dishwasher (I'm out of spoons), and flattening the cardboard for this week's recycling pick-up (woo). Later, though, I'm going out to knit with a friend. Not a bad weekend, overall.

A housekeeping note: Any Keurig users who want to try a cinnamon-flavored coffee? I got a free box, and while I don't hate it, I don't love it. I'd be glad to send a few cups to anyone who's interested. If you have, or have access to, a K-cup machine, and want to try, let me know. (I specify K-cup because they have a new system now, Vue. And do you know why they do? Because the K-cups are going to lose patent protection in September. Isn't business interesting?)

Other sights from recent weeks:
 Three Bruins stickers on a car with NY plates. Interesting!
The funny thing is that I saw this when I was totally following the GPS, with no idea how "where I am" would lead to "where I'm going".
This just because I liked it.
Friday night. A little hot.
I know, weird to figure out. This is a photo in my rear view mirror, so it shows the front of the truck behind me. His grill was so shiny, I could clearly see the back of my own car, not a view I normally see. It comforted me because last week, over and over, I was behind cars with one or two brake lights out. It was nice to see from this that I wasn't being a hypocrite as I was aggravated by them.
Very true.

One of my co-workers had this on his desk.
He just moved here from Wisconsin or somewhere, so he isn't a Bruins fan, but I can pretend, right?

Did I tell you about these? Someone else told me about them: they taste like the Samoas Girl Scout cookies. No, really. Try them. This has been a public service announcement.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Weekend!


When I was unemployed, I kind of missed that Friday-night-feeling of relief, but it came back fast. Whew! Survived another week! This one has been hot, which of course I love, and humid, which I don't love but am okay with, but it came on so suddenly I wasn't really prepared. Let's just admit that the flannel sheets should have come off the bed earlier.

Honestly, it just hasn't been staying warm at night until this week. Last week I still had the heated mattress pad turned on; I didn't need it, but it felt good. Now I wake up sweating without it. Quick change.

Having changed the sheets tonight, I took the opportunity to take some pictures there. Not the best light, but at least you can see proof that I did finish two socks.
And started another.
I also wanted to show just why I have trouble deciding which sock yarn is up next.


A. That's a lot of yarn.
B. Yes, that's just the sock yarn.
C. Pulling it all out reminded me why I bought what I did. So soft! So pretty!
D. As I was taking pictures, the thought crossed my mind to hope that no one who might be thinking of getting me sock yarn (not that anyone is, as far as I know) would take these photos as evidence that they shouldn't. You can't have too much! I'm nowhere near SABLE*!
*Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy, meaning more yarn than you could knit in the rest of your life. I've made almost this many socks already, and that's in less than six years.

So yeah. Make of that what you will.

I'm working on a great long write-up All About Work. Look for that soon. And knitting Olympics ideas! And Patrice Bergeron winning a major award! And the Bruins schedule is out, though there might be another lockout! And Doctor Who! And ... and ... and ... I think I need to go chill out now. I've got peas that aren't going to shell themselves here (though wouldn't it be something if they did?). What a pea season; this is my sixth batch this year, not of California's or New Jersey's, but local. Mmmmmmm.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Time, and Not Enough of It

It continues to amaze me how much time work sucks up. You think, oh, 40 hours a week, okay, that's not so bad. But add in lunch and commutes and suddenly it's more like 55 hours, plus it's so tiring to work and to get up early (oh, oh so very early) that I feel I barely get home and it's bedtime. Last weekend I slept ten hours Friday night and close to 12 Saturday*; I'm a person who needs serious amounts of sleep, and I just can't get it and have even a tiny bit of a life, while working.
*They say you can't "make up" sleep on the weekends, but I'm pretty good at it. Maybe it doesn't entirely repair the deficit of the week, but it helps.

I remember, after I got laid off in 2008, going back a few weeks later to have lunch with those left behind (and gather from my garden; remember, that was the job where I gardened), and one of the VPs seeing me exclaimed how good I looked. I remember vividly telling her that it was because I was getting enough sleep, and I never look like that while working. It's true.

None of this is to knock my specific job. It's a pretty good fit so far, and I don't dread going or anything. But man, am I tired. I stayed up a bit too late last night, it was ten when I looked at the clock and had to admit I wasn't going to finish my book, and now it isn't even 9 and I'm winding down.

Other than some technical issues, the job continues to go well. The technical issues are a piece of work, though. Monday morning* I opened the report I spent most of last week on, started working, and made the mistake of trying to change the font size of some text in a table. The 75-page document compressed into 19 pages by overlaying text and tables and figures so densely that most of it was unreadable. The hell? Never seen anything like it.
*And it just HAD to be Monday morning, didn't it?

Less dramatic but along the same lines, I opened the report yesterday morning to find that all my tracked changes had gone from red to blue overnight. Also, the spacing between paragraphs in the first section had changed. Riiiight.

Late yesterday I closed the report, then opened it to check something and the comments were back to red. Ohhhh-kay. Technology is not always our friend.

I want to talk knitting, I want to talk books, so many things ... but my eyes are closing.

How has your week gone?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another Not-Much-To-It Night

Good news: the head is better! Commence furious knocking on wood.

Good news for me (not so good news for you, if you were hoping for a longer post tonight): I got a good book from the library, and I want to read for a bit before bedtime. Which is getting close. Good night!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Just a Brief Note

I'm not dead. Not even wounded. I had a headache yesterday and today, not terrible but annoying, and it's not too bad at the moment but Carlos needs me.

So let me just say, have a nice evening, and a nice day, and I hope to be up to more here tomorrow night.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wait, the weekend's ... over? Already?

How can that be? Wasn't it just Friday after work, just a minute ago?

I know, it's only been two weeks, it will take time to get used to the schedule again, but ow. Ten hours from now, this will be the look on my face:
funny cat pictures - Lolcats: It's morning.
Honestly. While admitting the whole thing about being grateful to find a job, let alone a job doing what I like best, blah blah blah, take it as read, let's be candid: working is a major time-suck away from fun and relaxation. I'm not trying to wallow, but it's true.

I am trying to look on the bright side, though.
funny pictures - I Has a Hotdog: I Fought teh Blahs, and teh Blahs Won
Don't want to give in to those blahs! So, in the coming week, I have stitch and bitch to look forward to, and a haircut, and the goofiness of the annual NHL awards show. Also, it's supposed to get HOT, which would not be a bright side for some but it is for me. Looky here:
Highs in the 90s and lows in the 70s? No more than a 30% chance of rain? Oh, please, let that be right. There's been a lot of rain, and a lot of cloudy days, in the last two weeks. I notice my mood swinging dramatically upward when the sun comes out. On Friday, I sat outside for half an hour in the sunshine, knitting, and it helped my attitude immensely. More, please.

Oh, and speaking of knitting, I finished the socks today! These are the ones I started May 20th, and I really powered through them, because the yarn is unfortunately terribly splitty, and was a royal pain to work with, so I wanted to get it over with. Too bad, because I love the colors. (Photos to come, though of course they will look much like the photo here, times two.) I am at peace with never using it again, though, and to get the taste out of my mouth, I have already cast on the next pair in My Favorite Sock Yarn, Period (you know, Socks That Rock lightweight). Usually I have to ponder and consider which yarn comes next, but this time I knew, I had to go with the best. I did really enjoy going back to the Skyp pattern, and I'm doing it again. Sometimes you just don't want to rock the boat.

Oy, time to wrap up the evening. Paying the bills is over-rated...

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday Night Hockey Links

Thursday night, one step closer to Friday and the weekend. Here are a couple of cool hockey links I wanted to share.

The LA Times has an incredibly cool 360-degree panorama of the Kings' Stanley Cup parade. Isn't technology cool sometimes? Go see!

Meanwhile, Kings captain Dustin Brown let his kids drink chocolate milk out of the Cup, and blow bubbles in it. How awesome is he?

Much better than champagne, or beer, if you ask me!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Busted

Carlos has my number.
funny pictures - What Do Those Other Kitties Have That I Don't Have?

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Slightly Cranky, Mostly Tired

Arthur Dent couldn't get the hang of Thursdays, but for me, based on an extremely small sample size, I am not that fond of Tuesdays. Last week, Tuesday was my second day, the CEO was around, I barely saw my boss, and I had to find work to do because she didn't get to forward me the getting-started e-mail with actual work until Wednesday*. It was just an irritating day.
*I didn't have my computer set up Monday, so it wasn't her fault that I didn't get it Monday. And it's more the CEO's fault than hers that I didn't get it Tuesday.
 
This week, there wasn't an external force like that, but just the same I felt irritated well before the day was out. Starting new jobs is hard, and I should know, I've done it way too much lately. I hate the period when I'm straining my brain to remember the thousand separate things to do on a project. I sent the first report I worked on (which was frankly a disaster when I got it*) back yesterday to have my work reviewed. I didn't expect my work to have been perfect--right and wrong is one thing, but style and company preferences are quite another--but that doesn't mean I like getting to see all that I missed. It's going to take time, I know that it will, but I don't like it.
*I am certain that there are many non-native English speakers who could write a report so well you would never know, but the author of this report is not one of them.
 
Also, I made the mistake of wearing a dress and sandals to work, and my legs and feet were freezing most of the day. I noticed temperature fluctuations in the office last week, where it was warmer in the mornings and cooled down during the day, but this week it's just been chilly, and when I got in the car I turned the heat on, despite the 75 degree weather. (Also this week, traffic has been worse, which I didn't need. It took me almost an hour to get home tonight, a ride that would take 20 minutes out of rush hour, and has been taking about 30-35 most days.)
 
It doesn't help that I'm extra tired today. I stayed up to watch the Kings hoist the Cup last night, which was fun so I kind of don't regret it, but I could have used the extra hour of sleep so I kind of do.
 
Still, they won, and it was nice to see the happy people. And now, as Puck Daddy said
Now then. Someone lock Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr in a room until they work out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Or fall in love. I don't really care, just so long as the 2012-13 season begins on time.
Right. That. Now early to bed for me. Eventually I will have more coherent thoughts on work, but, you know, not now.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Routines

When I'm working, I get into pretty regular routines in a lot of ways; over time, I've learned semi-successfully how to run things within the framework of a job to make myself as happy as possible. Like, I have to eat breakfast before work, even if I don't feel all that hungry; and if I don't have a snack mid-afternoon, I'll be ready for dinner the minute I leave work (which is not all that feasible). I check the bank balance and pay bills every weekend, that sort of thing.

What I didn't know until now is that being out of work for four months is long enough to throw all that up in the air. I wonder how long it will take to re-learn?

Also, how long will it be before his lordship adjusts to my regular absence?
Never, that's when. Never.

Which is to say, here I am and it's already late and the baby wants me. So let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes, which was in this morning's Moment of Happiness:

“Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good.”
-Voltaire

Agree? Disagree? Want to share a favorite of your own?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Back to the Days When Weekends Feel Different

Yesterday I had two social events, both invited and accepted before I knew it would be the end of my first week back at work. Oh well! I certainly wanted to do both, but it made the day a bit long. In fact, my body made it longer by not sleeping as late as I wanted to, since I don't consider 7 late for a weekend. I tried to get back to sleep, but at 7:30 conceded the point and got up. It did give me some time to potter about in a relaxed fashion before event one, a mid-day cookout in honor of a first birthday. It seems like only yesterday that I was knitting for his arrival! Kids are just one big reminder of how fast time really passes.

The party was fun and relaxed, and I got to knit in the sun, two of my favorite things, while watching various cute little kids zooming around (not the birthday boy, yet, but he was studying them intently, and it won't be long).

Later, on the way to pick up a friend for evening plans, I stopped at a local discount store where I had seen Ott lights at a (relatively) low price, and bought one. Photos to come, as it's still in the box! But they're supposed to provide very good, clear light, so I look forward to knitting (and reading, for that matter) under better light conditions. And at $50 for a light that's available online for $160, I had to try it.

Dinner was with a group of friends, in honor of two proximate birthdays, at Sol Azteca in Newton Centre, whither the GPS guided us. The group ended up being nine, a good turnout, and we had to wait a bit to sit down but got to eat outside, which pleased us all on a lovely evening but most especially one of the birthday girls, who simply adores patio eating. Like this (without actually getting drunk):
It was good food, plenty of catching up, and overall just a lot of fun, but it was almost 10:30 when I got home, and I had a mild headache that didn't help. I turned on the end of the hockey game to see the Devils prevent the Kings from getting the Cup, then went to bed.

Between activities yesterday, I finally got to bumper stickering my car. Yay! At 6 years old, it deserves some ornamentation, beyond the Bruins plates. (When I got my car inspected, the guy tightened the screws on the plate, which were loose, and asked me how many kids I had in youth hockey. Umm, none? Can't I just be a Bruins fan?)

So I took these guys:
And went from this:

To this:
I like it! And it amuses me to think that my blog name is fairly well represented by the stickers. See? Knit and read:
Then cats and hockey:
No one else has one just like it. Is your car personalized?

Friday, June 08, 2012

Back in the Land of TGIF

Substitute "alarm clock" for "sun" and this was me this morning:
funny pictures - I Hope Tomorrow Never Comes

Whoa, work mornings are so early! How easily I forgot. But I made it to and through Friday, no disasters, and I'm ready for an evening crapped out on the couch, watching Doctor Who. Hope your plans are equally pleasing!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Of Cats and Peas

So, knowing that I feel like this:
funny cat pictures - Lolcats: Following mai dreams


And that I saw this on my bed this morning:

You'll understand that I would like some congratulations for getting in the shower instead of curling up with the lovebug.

(He, by the way, generally feels like this:
funny pictures - Lolcats: hello, hooman. remember me?
And who's to say he's wrong? Not I.)

Continuing in the LOL-theme for the post, we learned today at work that the office park will have an ice cream truck visiting one day a week this summer.
funny pictures - Lolcats: An ai has a happi

So! Want to place your bets now on how many chocolate eclairs I go through?

Mind you, if only fresh peas were in season all summer, I'd go through even more of those. The local crop is out now, oh bliss, meaning I went to Wilson's after work today, I will go again tomorrow, and probably Friday as well. Nor am I the only one who feels this way; while I was filling my bag, a woman and her teenage daughter came in, and had the following exchange:
Mother: Oh look, their peas are here!
Daughter: I'm on it.
A minute later, as daughter delivers the bag to their cart:
M: Wow, you cleaned them out!
D: I made myself stop when I realized I wouldn't be able to close the bag.
Amen. If you bugged my car, in addition to being treated to the regular sound of me singing along to the radio just as if I have a singing voice, you would have heard me declaring passionately, "They're just so damn GOOD!" more than once on the way home. I also didn't mind stoplights, not one little bit.

I had the brainstorm to offer the pods to friends who compost, so they won't even go to waste. Considering that I bought three and a half pounds just today, there'll be a pile by the weekend. It may as well do some good.

In summary: still tired, but happily full of peas, and ready to go to bed soon and snuggle with the kitty. I'm kind of hoping that NJ wins tonight's game, so that I can watch the Cup hoisted. No way am I making it to the end tonight.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

So, So, SOOOOO Tired

Oh, you guys, I am so tired. SO TIRED. It's going to take me a while to get used to this working thing again. All day I'm supposed to sit there? Acting all grown-up? Wearing grown-up shoes and clothes and not reading blogs? Not snacking whenever I feel like it*, especially when it's something loud or messy? Remembering to tone it down a little until these people get to know me?
*Thinking about the last four months, I'm kind of amazed that I didn't gain weight, but I didn't. I may weigh more than I would like to, but it appears that my body is happy here, serious ice cream/gelato consumption to the contrary notwithstanding.

Not that I think it's going to be a problem, everyone's been really nice so far. Beyond just not-annoying, I mean. Welcoming, personally as well as professionally. Examples? Well.
  • The CEO was to be in the office today, and we were advised to be sure to "dress smart". At the end of Monday one of my neighbors let me know that I might want to wear a jacket, since the last time he was there she was the only one who didn't, which made her very uncomfortable. (Good thing my "dress smart" outfit was comfortable, as I saw him across the office at one point but otherwise he was in the conference room from before I arrived until after I left, so I never got to meet him or impress him with it.)
  • A couple of cube-neighbors were discussing tea today, as one gave the other a tea-bag, and I was asked if I like tea. I admitted that I do not, and she promptly said, "Leave the cubes," and smiled. I redeemed myself by declaring my love for chocolate, and bacon (though separately).
So I think they're going to be good to be around. So far there are under a dozen of us in the office, but the goal by the end of the year is 40, so change is happening swiftly.

I'm trying for coherence, and just sat here blinking at the screen for a minute, unable to form a thought. I was so tired last night that although I went to stitch and bitch, my friends were laughing at my zombie state. I turned the light out before 9, and I bet I do the same tonight. That alarm, she is a harsh mistress. And I am so tired. So here, look where I'm going now:

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Sunday, June 03, 2012

The Night Before

I've done a bit today to get ready for the new job tomorrow, but mostly I've been Not Thinking About It, because thinking about it leads to over-thinking it, which generally leads to trouble. Which reminds me, I need to put out a sleeping pill for tonight. My conscious mind may be sadly all too used to starting new jobs, but my subconscious needs to be turned off the night before such things. At least I get to ease into the whole getting up early thing, as I'm to report in at 10 tomorrow (and 8:30 thereafter). I saw this on Facebook this morning:
In pursuit of Not Thinking About It, I've been greatly aided today by Doctor Who. I'm currently brushing up on the modern era, and am nearing the end of the second series now (and I'm a lot closer than I was this morning). Requested third series from the library, check! I still like Christopher Eccleston (the 9th Doctor) a wee bit more than David Tennant (the 10th), so we'll see how I feel when I reach the Matt Smith era. Also, knitting on the Tardis shawl while watching Doctor Who feels sort of circular.

In other news, if you're not a hockey fan, you may have missed the story that Bruins goalie Tim Thomas has decided to take next year off. I always said that goalies are extra crazy, but wow. Apparently he's finding hockey a little frivolous in these crazy times. Two lines from Puck Daddy's coverage of the story struck me:
  • "the irony of forfeiting $3 million dollars in annual salary because you're afraid of an economic meltdown is hilarious"
  • "if there's any consolation for Bruins fans, it's this: if this statement truly reflects his mindset, you shouldn't want him to play next year any more than he does"
Yup. Reports that he moved his family to Colorado this season make me suspect that rather than being in Denver or Boulder, they're somewhere off the grid, with a lot of supplies. I may be doing him wrong, but ... I don't know. His was the story of perseverance, of dedication, of continuing against the odds and then making it, making the NHL, winning awards, winning the Cup, and one would have understood had he chosen to retire at that point. But to take the year off, to stick the team with his cap hit and walk away, seems very selfish, and hockey is such a team sport. Makes me wonder if he damaged that team feeling irrevocably after the shunning of the White House visit, which was after all the antithesis of team-first.

Okay, end tangent! I start the new job tomorrow, tra la. If I have the energy at all after, I'll go to my stitch and bitch, so blogging may or may not happen tomorrow night. Don't read anything into silence, should it occur. Have a good week!

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Saturday, June 02, 2012

A Little Follow-up to Yesterday

After I turned the computer off last night, I did a few more things that add to the list:
  • unloaded the dishwasher
  • found a box to mail the shawl
  • trimmed Carlos's claws (but not Miri's; catching her is more by luck than design)
You see I want full credit for the day. I didn't launder the towels (but I have plenty more), nor did I vacuum, nor prepare the cardboard for recycling. And bringing the cat litter in from the car didn't happen until this afternoon. Still yesterday was so busy that today, in the sometimes-torrential rain, has been a good one for lazing about instead.

I have a few pictures more from Thursday to show.

I love a good slogan.
 Happy dog home again.
Chicken coop!
 Chickens!

 Pretty chickens ... and possibly a rooster?
Not something I see every day. I also got to admire all the gardening they're doing, which is madly impressive to me, with my single basil plant in a pot (which I brought inside today when the rain got particularly torrential).
All in all, a beautiful day.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Today, Yesterday, and the Day Before

In a way it would have been nice to spend today, my last open weekday before returning to employment, lazing around, accomplishing nothing. But since yesterday and the day before were fun days for me (see below), I present instead Things I Have Done Today, aka Why I Will Sleep Like A Rock Tonight:
  • Slept in. It was grand.
  • Washed and pinned out the love shawl. (Had to clear everything off the kitchen table to do it, too.) Looking good!
  • Cleaned the toilet bowl. Hey, I never said this was a completely glamorous list!
  • Went to get the car inspected (about 11 hours after my sticker expired, oops).
  • Cast on the second sock, since I finished the first one yesterday. In eleven days!
  • Picked up the dvd of Doctor Who season 2 from the library. I re-watched the first season over the last week or two. Love the Doctor!
  • Talked to the HR woman from the new job, who just wanted to repeat everything about Monday that she told me by e-mail. Wait, she did give me the office hours, and let me know that another person was starting in the office Monday, as well as five in NY. Otherwise, it was repeat info sharing.
  • Laundry. Not fun or exciting, but essential. Load one was interrupted and further loads postponed by the repairman who said that the pump for the sink between the washers will need replacing. One load is better than none?
  • Washed the still-hand-washing-color-bleeding socks, which still turn the water faintly blue. From November! Can you believe it? When will it stop?
  • Potted the little basil plant I picked up, and put it out on the stoop. Cute and fragrant!
  •  Hand-washed a dainty unmentionable in need of personal attention. Not time-consuming, but took me a while to get around to it, so it makes the list. (I have a tremendous ability to walk around and past things that need doing about the house; not much of a super-power, that.)
  • Wrote a note and posted it by the mailboxes, to nudge the residents who threw boxes down by the trash area to deal with them properly or they'll never get picked up (garbage truck won't pick up cardboard, but recycling truck won't pick it up if it's not flattened, separated, etc). It's getting messy, and looks bad on the whole building. I hate having to bug people, but honestly, grow up!
  • Went out to run the errands that I had planned to do after laundry. Lunch first (a couple of slices from Pizzeria Regina, yum), and struck out on an idea at Michael's, then onward.
  • Found a pair of sneakers in my size at Famous Footwear. New Balance for $45, not bad!
 
  • Babies R Us, not one of my usual stops! But my friend, for her son's first birthday, suggested giving diapers for a local charity in lieu of gifts for him, which is such a nice thing for her to do. For my one item, the receipt-with-coupons measures 39.5 inches. Seriously ridiculous.
  • Petsmart for food and litter, aka the In and the Out of cats.
  • Now in danger of overheating (a windy but warm day, plus rushing about) and thus suffering a severe dip in good mood, I paused at Panera for a frozen caramel drink and a few minutes of knitting. Perfect! Though at one point, the three people sitting near me were all on their phones. I kind of miss the old days sometimes. (I remember the days before cell phones ... before voice mail ... before caller ID ... before cordless phones ... before answering machines. I am old.) (My mother just read that and winced.) (Her mother doesn't read blogs, but imagine what she'd say!)
  • Target, where they didn't have two of the four items I went in for. Oh, Target, are your best days behind you? You used to be better than this. On the other hand, they did have this, which a friend told me about, and which is just as wonderful as you think it would be.
 
  • Home again, and shortly after my return, the repair guy left, so my laundry resumed. Oh. Joy.
  • The mail brought me something I ordered last week, when I spent an hour of waiting-for-the-job-offer time on Etsy (a wonderful, dangerous place to spend time). (If you love this enough to check out her shop, let me know, as she sent a coupon code for 15% off next purchase, and encouraged me to share it with friends.) I'm going to bumper sticker my car!
  • Unpinned the love shawl. Nice!
  • Put things back on the kitchen table (that spent the day spread all over the kitchen), and did some much-needed tidying about the kitchen.
  • Finished loading the dishwasher and ran it. Any recommendations for types of cleaner? I'm using one of the types of little pod, but I don't love it; I notice a slight powdery residue left behind.
  • Changed the sheets on the bed.
  • Cut my nails.
  • Isn't that enough FTLOG?
There! No wonder I'm tired. Now, the last two days were busy but less accomplishy and more fun-having. On Tuesday, a friend posted on Facebook that she had a gift card to Webs burning a hole in her pocket, and who wanted to go? My reply ("When?") led to our trip on Wednesday. I met her at her house, where I saw a vivid example* of why the weather website always has pollen warnings these days.
*As if I needed more than my car, previously dark blue, these days yellow-ish-green.
Yuck. But off we went, westwards to Northampton, stopping for lunch at perennial favorite Northampton Brewery before landing at the mother ship, Webs. It was wonderful, as it always is, though I was disappointed that they only had a few colors of Socks That Rock Lightweight, and none I wanted. Still, we press on, and I fell for a nice skein of Madeline Tosh, a brand of which I have heard many good things.
Mmm. It's soft, too.

Other than that, I got a few little things from the tools section, but was remarkably restrained. My trip to Coveted Yarn just last week probably helped in that respect. I never showed you that yarn, did I?
You can see how that would take the edge off. But even with only buying a few things, I had the usual heady Webs experience. What a store.

Thursday, meanwhile, was already planned as a day trip to visit a friend in Central Mass--in fact, the same friend I've gone to Webs with, earlier this year and last year. When I realized this would be my last week of free time, I checked with her to see if it was a good time to invite myself for a visit, and it was! (You know it's a good friend when you can do that.) The visit didn't start off that well, as unfortunately her dog had gone into the woods just before I arrived (though I don't think there was a connection; I mean, it's not that she was avoiding me) for a call of nature, but decided not to come back for a couple of hours. My poor friend was very upset, of course, but eventually the dog appeared at the edge of the woods with a sheepish expression on her face, and the day got better from there (not so much for the dog, who had to get hosed down for some major mud removal, but for the humans).

It was a nice day weather-wise, and we had a pretty laid-back afternoon. Out to lunch at a cute local place, first, and time to visit an antique store after. I picked up a couple of bottles for my collection; have I mentioned that I have random bottles across the top of my kitchen cabinets? There's a lot of space there, it cried out for something, and this is what I did:
Not my best photography, but did I mention I was a little busy today? It conveys the idea.
I already had a couple of Coke bottles up there: one from Canada, one of the Mexican, and my prize, one I brought back from Israel, which has the logo in Hebrew. So at the antique store, I knew I wanted a Coke one, and then how could I resist a bottle of Cheer Up? I had to get it, really.


"For hospital, home and general use" indeed. Just what I want in a soda, don't you?

Some of the things I did not buy:
Though if I was going to buy a dust mop, I would want the radiant kind, wouldn't you?
"The kind with the strong back-bone"? And when were cloves and nutmeg equally popular as pepper?
Back at the house, we sat out in the yard, knitting (in my case) and crocheting (in hers), and chatting about shoes and ships and sealing-wax. And that's when I finished the sock, of course. All in all, a lovely afternoon.

Now, given that we can add "Wrote mammoth blog entry" to the list above, I will stop here! Happy weekend to all.

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