Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy Whatever Suits You

As predicted, I was, in fact, in bed at 7 last night. Boy, was I crazy tired! As a result, I woke up slightly before the alarm, was able to get up without abusing the snooze button, and feel closer to normal levels of tired today. Still planning to go to bed tonight as soon as the game ends, but sleeping in tomorrow should go a long way to resetting my system. I don't know, maybe I should have tried to get a Sunday flight when my Saturday afternoon one was cancelled, instead of the late flight. I really wanted that whole day at home to switch out of vacation mode and back to reality, but that doesn't seem to have worked out. Ah, well, hindsight.

I was the only person in the office today (yesterday I was one of four), so getting them to give me a laptop in the new year is top of my list (I mean, not the list that is topped by finding a new job, but the one about coping with the current job). I mean, what's the point? I can't see one. I don't have to work from home every day, but having the option starts to feel less like a luxury on days like this.

Now, I'm going to watch that Bruins game (please let them win, or at least play well) and go to bed. Hopefully, tomorrow will bring you the long-awaited recap of my Christmas trip! I know you've been waiting with bated breath. I won't promise, but I'll try. Meanwhile, happy new year! Despite this:

No? Not that funny? How about this one?

A little too true? Well, that's what I'm here for!

Monday, December 30, 2013

‚ÄčAnother Zombie Day

This morning I dragged around, reluctantly getting ready for work when I just didn't wanna, but you know, you do anyway. I went to put my shoes on ... and couldn't find them.

I was looking for a specific pair, obviously, since I do have more than one pair of shoes. I had been keeping this pair at work before Christmas, since it was snow-boot weather, but I brought them home on that Friday, and in fact wore them on the Sunday before Christmas when I went to that party; therefore, they had to be there. This morning, though? Nowhere to be found.

Which meant I had to wear a different pair (not a big problem), and spent the whole day wondering if I would get home to see them in a perfectly obvious place that I just somehow missed, or still be unable to find them, in which case, where did they go? Not to Florida, which limits the possibilities. Kind of annoying. Really put the icing on the cake of Monday morning and returning from vacation, with a side of congestion.

The answer, by the way? I forgot that I put them away, in one of the small shoe-container drawers that I don't usually use for everyday shoes. I remembered after I got home tonight.

I don't know whether it's that whole "Monday morning and returning from vacation" thing, or the congestion from the allergy/cold/whatever, but oh, so tired. So grateful to be looking forward to sleeping in on Wednesday. Happy new year! I've never been much of a one for watching the ball drop, but this year, I'll be lucky to make it to the end of the Bruins game Tuesday night before getting in bed. Woo. Even for me, this is tired. Tonight? I might be in bed at 7. I may manage to eat something first...

Here. Have a cute.
Good night.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Briefly, of Plan and Actual

Hello! I had a really great trip and Christmas. Aaaaannnndd, I'm not telling you about it now.

Why? Well, here's the plane that was supposed to take me back to Boston yesterday afternoon, coming in to the gate:
See the fire truck escort? It had "mechanical problems" with the flaps. After a check, and a wait for parts, they finally cancelled the flight, and instead of landing at 6, I was on a plane that left at 9:30 last night. Which meant that instead of watching the Bruins game and getting into bed early, I rolled through my door at 1:45 this morning (and was in bed at 2).

I also had either an allergy attack or caught a cold last week, meaning I've got congestion on top of the severe case of the uber-late-night. Basically? I'm a zombie. A zombie with a furry shadow (Carlos missed me).

So. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll be back when I can. Hope your week was good!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hit the Hay, Hit the Road

When I mentioned Saturday night on Facebook that I was knitting and not packing, I think some of my friends may have thought I was setting myself up for trouble. However, I am all packed now, and ready to get to bed early, in order to rise early. It's been a busy weekend, but overall it went well. Laundry, dishes, errands, Christmas party, packing, cat maintenance, all the usual and more.

And yes, the project I cast on Saturday night (while watching the Bruins win, thank heavens, since losing two in a row to Buffalo would have been mortifying) was in fact the shawl I showed at the end of my post Friday night. I could not resist its siren call!

I knew I had some pink laceweight in sufficient quantity already in the stash, but when I went looking for it, I found I also had some yellow, which I liked more. It's actually two different brands; you can tell, right?
Right, me neither. See? Two skeins of Misti Alpaca lace, two of Cascade Alpaca lace
I used the Disappearing Loop cast on via this tutorial, which turned out to be simple enough though it still took me a couple of tries to get set with it. Got to here and more on dpns:
Then switched to circulars, and although there were a few setbacks on the way (first time using magic loop) (and spatial relationships are not my best thing), I got it pretty well set up, and think I should be good to go on the plane.
And if not? I'll have the sock, the iPad, and a book. For a three-hour flight. Yeah. That should keep me going.

Going to mama, and Christmas, and Florida. Ahhhh. Happy merry to you!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Work Dinner, Work, No More Work: Vacation!

I didn't bother bringing sneakers to work today, and didn't feel like wearing the grown-up shoes I had there, so I just kept my boots on. It was surprisingly comfortable, clumping around in what I refer to as my "big honkin' snow boots" all day. And although I spent the day on a report written by someone who used "inherit" when she meant "inherent," well, the day ended, as they all do, eventually.

After work I went to the car dealership (much though I hate to, as you may recall, given that old blog label I had for "bad Mazda dealer"), since I managed, while cleaning snow and ice off the car on Sunday, to somehow damage the little doo-hickey on the hood where the windshield washer fluid comes out. It usually comes out at roughly a 30 degree angle, maybe? And since Sunday, it has come out at, at most, 5 degrees. Blurp. Useless. And in this week of weather and slush and spray, I really need the stuff to hit the windshield. Did I mention this was on the driver's side? So I made time to go over, and after a bit of hesitation on the part of Person One about finding someone to talk to in service, and then a little hesitation on her part about whether the guy could look at it, she took it back and returned it to me in under five minutes, done and fixed and no charge, merry Christmas. So that went surprisingly well!

Now, I know you've all been dying to hear how the work holiday party appreciation day went. The answer is: overall, not bad, certainly better than last year, but still with its moments of laughable cluelessness, like being given just about the least-chosen-for-me gift I could be given.

So, to start, we were having lunch in the office, with champagne specially authorized by the CEO. In the morning, the boss mentioned that she'd have to go out for some glasses, and I told her where there was a party store not far off; in the end I went with her to get them since apparently she has no sense of direction (she was ready to turn the wrong way out of the office park, so she really did need the navigator).

She did place the pizza order herself, which I was glad not to have to do, and she got sodas too, so I could have my preferred drink, Coke. The lunch was fine, and afterward when there were two bottles of champagne unopened, the boss presented them to my boss and me, "in appreciation of all editorial does for us." Which, okay, sounds nice, but I'm pretty sure it was because what else do you do with two bottles and a whole bunch of people, oh look, two editors, two bottles, perfect. Given that I don't really drink alcohol, however... I mean, I took it, I said thank you, but really. No warm fuzzy feeling elicited. (I'm going to a Christmas party on Sunday, so I'll take it there. Should bring a laugh if nothing else! Can anyone tell me, do you bring champagne chilled? I feel like you do, but I'm the last person to know.)

Then there was dinner. It was definitely an upgrade over last year's ordeal, but we were still there over three hours, what with waiting for everyone to trickle in, and how long it takes them to serve a dozen+ people apps and salad and dinner and dessert. The food was certainly better, so no complaints there.

This morning when she came in, by the way, my boss asked me, "how was your dinner?" As if she hadn't been there, within sight and hearing of me... She is so odd.

Two incidents this week pointed out another unpleasant thing about my boss, in fact, like I needed more.
  • First, she was talking about the analyst who wrote the report I was working on last week/early this week. This guy has a name whose ethnic background I don't know, possibly Indian, and which has a similar sound as his boss' name though I don't think that one is Indian (actually, I don't know what ethnicity it might be from), and she was mixing up the names with each other and getting them wrong, and then said something like, "Why can't everyone have names like John and Susan?" Which is, ahem, kind of Eurocentric, isn't it? Just me?
  • Then, in speaking of one of the directors, who is French, and whose group's work has been a large part of our workload recently, she commented, "I thought the French were lazy." Which, what? Is that supposed to be funny? She often says things that I don't find funny and then laughs, so it seems we have incompatible senses of humor, but she didn't laugh after this, so ... she was serious?
It's also annoying me that she frequently will tell me to work on things that weren't e-mailed to me, and I have to tell her (over and over) that I don't know what she's talking about, I wasn't on that e-mail, they didn't send that one to me. Then today, she said of an item, "I'll forward it to you, he didn't send it to you," and I had to say, "Yes, he did." Because, you know, he did. She hasn't quite mastered Outlook, is what I'm saying.

Phoo--you can tell I haven't thrown off the bonds of work, can't you? Vacation time, missy! Stop thinking about work! Disengage!

Here's what I want to think about, actually: a lace shawl pattern that I came across today, that I am dying to knit. The pattern is Queen Anne's Lace, here, but don't miss all the pictures of this one version of it, ohmigod, gawjus.
 
I'm trying to tell myself that I don't have time to get it started before Monday morning, for it to be plane knitting ... but I don't think I'm listening.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sigh, and Ow, and Soon-to-be Zzzzzz

Goodness, but getting home after 7 makes the evening sweep by more quickly, doesn't it? The lamp that's on a timer just went out, and it goes off at twenty to nine ... so it must be that late, already. Tomorrow night is the work dinner, and I have errands to run Friday, too. What a week.

And when you start the day tired and sore, before going to shovel out the car again, and go off to another stupid day at work, well, it's hard to power-of-positive-thinking that into a good day. At least, I find it hard. If shampooing my hair is painful because it involves raising my arms, well. No enthusiasm for the multiple "world will end if these don't get done today" tasks that awaited me. Today wasn't actually as bad as it seemed like it would be this morning, but then this morning it seemed extremely bad, so that is a pretty backhand compliment, or damning with faint praise, or something.

The head of the division (my boss's boss) e-mailed this morning that, as they got 5-6 inches of snow and she had had to shovel, rather than sit in traffic to get into the office, she would be working from home ... I managed not to reply, "must be nice to have that choice." I would have left work early yesterday, before the snow was bad, if I could have worked from home once I got there*. Instead, it took me twice as long as usual to get home (including a lovely moment where I had my steering wheel turned all the way to the left and was still sliding right), then got to dig out and drive in again today. Ugh, winter, enough.
*A friend suggested that, if I still worked there at review time, I ask for a laptop and to work from home. I may just.

By the way, I am over the "but it looks so pretty" argument. Yeah, sure. If I could lift my arms without pain, I'd take a picture. Pretty. Whatever. Beaches are pretty, too.

Anyway. Sorry for the extreme crank level. The errands may have kept me from getting home earlier, but they're things I wanted to get done. It's not all bad. I'm just ... so tired.

Here. Have a flash mob.

There's a story about it here. And that's all I've got. Must sleep, must sleep...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Weather and Updates and Random Bits

As I picked my way across icy snow this morning, it was some comfort to think that, a week from that time, I would be heading to Florida. We got under six inches of crap this weekend, but the icy frozen layer atop the snow is a pain, and it's not going to be warm enough to melt today before we get more tomorrow. Awesome! (Use sarcasm font here.)

Overall, it wasn't the worst weekend but it wasn't the greatest. I had a mild, on-and-off headache, probably due to hormones, that made getting things done harder even than usual (not from the pain, which wasn't awful, so much as the frustration about the pain). It was cold, and Carlos wasn't happy that the window was closed. Because of the snow, I had to put off test-driving a friend's car (she has a Kia Soul, and is one of at least three people I heard from following my do-I-need-to-replace-my-car talks who loves it). Not awful, just ... eh.

*****
At work today, my boss commented, regarding a piece the other editor sent in, that she couldn't see any changes, and she hoped that the editor had used track changes (as we always, always do). I opened the document in question, and found that it opened in Final view; as soon as I switched to Final: Show Markup, there were the changes.

I told the boss this, and she asked where I switched that, and seemed completely unfamiliar with it. Which ... how? I use Final view all the time, to check my work, and make sure that my changes "read right" ... the more changes there are, the harder it is to read the track-changes version.

If you're not an editor, and one who works online rather than on paper, this may not make much sense, but trust me. It's as if she said, "Dictionary? Where do you find that?" Baffling.

*****
Follow-up to the office "party"/appreciation day: we're still getting lunch, in addition to dinner, on Thursday, but we are no longer getting the hour-long presentation with the 2013 recap/looking ahead to 2014. Because? Apparently, because they aren't doing that in the NY and London offices, and people there would be "jealous" if we did.

...?

Really? Is this the world I live in?

I am NOT complaining about missing the presentation; it was, in my mind, only preferable to the fondue party from last year. But the idea that it would be seen as a bonus, a treat that others would be jealous of, leaves me nonplussed.

*****
It's interesting to me that non-native English speakers have such troubles with the word "the," not just leaving it out where it should be, but adding it in where it shouldn't.

Another thing that interests me: how capable humans are of holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. Something nice has happened to a friend, and I am, at the same time, sincerely happy for her (no one deserves it more) and so, so envious.

*****
Some of the job-listing e-mails I get are still showing one of the jobs I didn't get further than a phone interview for. I wish that would stop.

There's also a posting for the company that laid me off the last time: looks like they're trying to get a "consultant" instead of rehiring a permanent editor. That one could go away, too!

*****
Anyone who doesn't think cigarettes are addictive should look at the faces of smokers outside when it's 25 degrees.

Not that I'm judging that look. Make me wait outside for a chocolate buffet, and I'd look the same.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Looking Back at February

My goodness, half an hour of shoveling out the car today and I am wiped out! Pretty sad. But let's forget about that and look back to last February! (Wondering why? It's here.)

The month started on a Friday, and I was wiped out by that as I so often am, putting up a few videos in lieu of more content. The next day, more relaxed, I wrote about seeing the chiropractor for the first time! And on Sunday, I showed the result of some happy yarn shopping. Overall, not a bad weekend.

After a few days of head interference, there was more on the chiropractor, and an incoming storm: Nemo! I prepared for the storm, then showed my car disappearing under the snow. (This is getting a little depressing, coming as it does today, with the first real snow of the season.)

I wrote elliptically about a bad day at work; I think that was when I learned that my least favorite co-worker was going to be my boss. Not a great day. Later that week, I got ready to go to Grandma's, to see her and my mother. And I came home with an iPad! Little did I know how much I'd like that.

Later in February, while recounting how my little next-door neighbor had woken me early on a Sunday, I mused:
They're not owners, they're subletting, and I keep hoping they'll move to a bigger place, give the kid some space. I'm dreaming.
Well, guess what? They just moved out! I haven't heard them since sometime over Thanksgiving weekend, though I was afraid to hope, but I just got confirmation today from another neighbor. Here's hoping the next neighbors are good ones, but in any case I won't miss thumper at all. Whew!

In the same entry, I showed the blocking of the mink shawl, and other knitting progress, and reported on my review at work, and on my good friend's new job (update: she liked it).

Just as a follow-up, in case you've been wondering all this time, no, I have not learned my new Discover card account number. I actually use my American Express far more, anyway, but I don't even know that one by heart. I think my days of memorizing long random number strings are over. Too much brain space taken over by the commercial for Parker Brothers Bonkers board game, and the start of the general prologue to The Canterbury Tales, and Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. And the preamble to the Constitution, thank you Schoolhouse Rock. Anyway. Back to it.

Toward the end of February, I wrote sadly about the mysteriously "seasonal" nature of the salted caramel mocha coffee creamer, making me even happier that it has reappeared recently, and without that seasonal nonsense on the label. I hope they mean it this time.

I wrapped up the month, as I'd started it, with a short, place-holder-type of entry, featuring an extremely cute photo of the furball (as if there's any other kind).

Not the most eventful month, really, but it had its moments. Funny to think of all that has changed since then, including the disappearance of Her Highness, who made an appearance or two in passing in February's blogging. This little exercise is making me unusually pensive.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Big Two Oh Oh Oh

I was going to look back at February tonight, as I recently did for January, but, in the language of the locals, I have had wicked bad cramps today, and right now they are winning. Add to that the tender mouth from the dentist this morning (just a cleaning, but jabby) and some not-unusual-but-still-stupid work stupidity, and ooh, not the best day. No energy for delving into the past.

And let's not even talk about the cold, and the snow due tomorrow. Mother Nature wants to make sure I REALLY appreciate Christmas in Florida. I was already going to, honest!

On the other hand, the Bruins managed again last night to win even without me watching. Well done, boys! Still, I look forward to their return to time zones more aligned to my schedule, because yes, it is all about me. Or it should be.

Speaking of which, might I point out that this is my two thousandth post on the blog? My word! Or rather, many of my words. And images: let's do a little As Seen On Facebook tonight, shall we?











Finally, with a loud Amen:

Finally finally, an excellent and most convincing argument against getting expensive toys for babies.

Right?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Here I Am! Of Hockey, iPad, Christmas Mood

Sorry I missed a night: I went to my alternate knitting group last night, then sat down with Carlos as soon as I got home, leaving no time to sit at the computer. Getting that Christmas knitting done! Didn't get on the bike, though; we'll blame that on PMS. I've been a bit spotty on regular biking recently, but I'm persevering. As one of my friends said, it's like the stock market: short term doesn't matter, it's the long term that counts.

*****
I had cramps today, and I took what I always take for them. I was, therefore, surprised when an hour later, I started feeling very light-headed, out of the blue. Like, which way is up, and are you sure? It passed after a while, of course, but whew, very Mary Poppins at the tea party for a while there.

*****
If you, too, were intrigued by the metal clog-shoe-things in Sunday's post, you may have missed the comment identifying them: "They are called "estribos" and they are Spanish stirrups." Thanks to Ryan Morrissey!

*****
I can't say I'm sorry I missed watching Tuesday night's late-starting Bruins game (you should see the bags I already have under my eyes, without losing three more hours of sleep). By all reports, they didn't do much in the first two periods, before pulling together a good enough third to win. If I'd managed to stay up for a period or two before going to bed, I would have been pissed. They start late again tonight, and I'll do the same thing. I may watch Saturday night's, though, with the ridiculous 10 PM start. We'll see.

Fun story: the Bruins got to Edmonton and Tuukka couldn't practice (flu, oh great), so they recruited a local college kid to practice with them. Fortunately, he was able to postpone a final ("spatial economy"? whazzat?) so he could do it!

*****
One further thought on all the recent kerfuffle in the hockey world about fighting/violence/suspensions:
It will never happen, but what I'd love to see is a rule that any suspended player cannot have a shorter ban the next time he faces it. For example, Neal's next punishment, should he get one, would be at minimum six games, regular season or playoffs.
Isn't that a fascinating idea? I agree that it will never happen, but wow, wouldn't that have an effect!

*****
I was talking about the iPad recently with someone who asked me what I use it for, and afterward I felt that I hadn't covered half of what I use it for, which got me thinking: what would the complete list look like?
  • I check my e-mail and Facebook, via Safari, which I also use for Ravelry, and for the general run of google searches.
  • I read blogs via Feedly.
  • I read the Globe every weekday morning, and often Saturday's, too (Sunday I tend to read most if not all of the actual paper newspaper).
  • After finishing the comics in the Globe, I read a few more via GoComics.
  • I access my Google calendar via the Sunrise app. Very handy for noting how many minutes I rode the bike while I'm panting on the couch, before I forget.
  • I also use the stopwatch feature for biking, so I know how many minutes to make a note of.
  • I listen to podcasts, while on the bike, cleaning the kitchen, and that sort of thing: hands-busy-mind-free. Some knitting ones (some of which are video), some hockey, some general/NPR, all sorts.
  • Speaking of hockey, I have the free version of the NHL Gamecenter app, which doesn't include everything the full paid version gets you, but allows me access to news and stats, and to follow along with games as they take place and after. Wednesday morning, I went there to read about Tuesday night's game, and watch a five-minute video summary of it, which is very nice to have. I also have the Bruins app, which I've used to watch the last couple of episodes of Behind the B sans commercials, thank-you-very-much.
  • I read books. Not all that often, to be honest, and I haven't paid for one yet, but I have a bunch of free books that I've downloaded, so if I'm somewhere and just want to read, I can (and once it's downloaded, I don't need wi-fi to read it).
  • I listen to audio books using Overdrive (which one can also use to borrow e-books, though I haven't done that). I recently learned that I can borrow them from the library, which I love! I have to admit that the library's interface is not ideal, but in the end, I get to listen to books, which is perfect because I don't follow enough podcasts to always have something available that I want to listen to.
  • I sometimes watch movies or TV programs on it, though not regularly. With my recent trial of Amazon Prime, I get their streaming, though a disturbing number of the items that are listed there turn out to be available as purchase, not something you can just watch. It's not as much of a benefit as one might think, is my opinion (though Prime is still worth it if you order much from Amazon); Netflix does better. My cable company also has an app, so I can watch certain channels, or look at the listings to see if I want to bother turning on the TV. And there's always YouTube!
  • I check the weather. I used to use the Weather Channel app that was on the iPad when I got it, but since the tablet was a hand-me-down, certain apps want the email/password of the person who installed them, in order to update, and WC was one of those. I could get that if I needed to, but instead I found another app, Intellicast HD, which I actually like even better. Hooray for good, free apps!
  • Speaking of which: Counter Man, which is a knitting counter. Helps keep track of where you are in the pattern ... trust me, it's handy.
  • Flutter. This is a game, with butterflies, that I find strangely addictive. It's bright and colorful, peaceful and non-violent, you can learn a little ... as my mother pointed out when I showed it to her, it's a good game for detail people. It's free to download and to play; although one can spend money to buy more points, I do not. Hatching and feeding butterflies, catching bugs, sending butterflies on missions ... I just can't explain it, but I really enjoy it.
  • I also take pictures, mostly of Carlos, sometimes of knitting projects to put on Ravelry for a quick progress update. Sometimes for the blog, even!
I think that's about all. I don't carry the tablet with me every day, it's a little big/heavy for that, but I absolutely use it every day. I call it my training wheels for a smart phone; I know I'll get one of those, one of these days, and I know that once I get one, there will be no going back, but it's so expensive, I'm putting it off as long as I can. This tablet is wi-fi only, which is a slight inconvenience, but good practice in How These Things Work.

Goodness, but I'm a child of the 20th century, aren't I? Well, if you are it, own it.

*****
Now, if you're in the Christmas mood, or want to be, and have five minutes, you might enjoy this. I did!

Or, if you prefer your photos still, check out the holiday lights (not just Christmas) on The Big Picture. The effect in number 15 is amazing: ghost train!

Or, to tie heartwarming back to hockey, how about this one? Little kid waves at hockey player, hockey player waves back. Makes kid's night.
Video here. How cute is that?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Update of the Day; Hockey Thoughts

In spite of how I put it last night, yesterday wasn't ALL bad. I brought the heater that Mary Ellen loaned me (yay!) in to work, and it definitely helps (double yay!) with the super-cold there, especially on my legs (where I find it's more difficult to wear three or four layers). Also, stitch and bitch was good, and after I got home and blogged, I put Santa Claus is Comin' to Town in the DVD player and Carlos and I got into the spirit of the season (he's very good for moral support, though frankly he's way behind in Christmas knitting, the slacker).

However, today I woke up with a bit of a headache, not awful but annoying on and off all day, and it snowed again (not a lot, but you know me, any is too much), so you can't say today is great either. Oh well. Tonight instead of a Christmas special, I'm watching Despicable Me 2, fresh on DVD. Bought it at Best Buy, got a free minion lunch box with it! Or, as I call it, small project bag. Tomayto, tomahto.

*****
The human mind is an interesting thing. How can I simultaneously feel that It can't possibly be just two weeks to Christmas AND How isn't it Christmas yet?

*****
If you're a Bruins fan, I don't have to tell you that things have been super-duper-extra-ultra crazy in Bruins-world over the last week. If you're not a Bruins fan, let me sum up by telling you that the team is out west this week, meaning games that start at 9:30 and 10*; that a half-dozen players have been called up from the minor league this week to cover seven absences (from injuries and one pending suspension); that the flu is making its way through the team; and that two of the suspensions from Saturday's game have been handed down (the third should be by the end of the week).
*I guess that part's only crazy to me: it's like they aren't playing! I can't stay up that late.

So, yeah, crazy-ville. And two more players could easily have been injured by plays they were involved in, but luckily for us (and Providence, since they need to have enough players for their own games), Miller and Marchand seem to be okay after being boarded and kneed in the head, respectively. As you might imagine, the other players in those incidents are the ones who have been suspended. Dion Phaneuf got two games for the boarding incident, and James Neal got five for the kneeing in the head (Shanahan's deadpan explanation of that suspension is pretty hilarious: "...This is kneeing." Yes, it is.).

What you may not know is that when a player is suspend, his salary for those games goes to the Players Association (for the emergency fund), so these announcements commonly include how much money the player is forfeiting. I felt a little queasy on Neal's when I noticed that for his five games, he's giving up more than double what I make in a year, but I had to laugh at Phaneuf's: $66,666.66. How awesome is that? His action was so evil, his penalty is the number of the beast! (Actually, Neal's was far more intrinsically evil ... but not according to the numerology.)

*****
How about some more Christmas hockey video? Here are the Ottawa 67's.

Fun, right? I love the naughty and nice list.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Already a Long Week

Take a Monday morning, and one where I woke up in the dark, trying to decide if I should go to the bathroom before going back to sleep, only to have the alarm go off; add snow; everyone forgets how to drive when it snows; and my boss, immediately upon arriving, misunderstands a perfectly clear e-mail answer that I sent. Sigh.

Seriously, though, one of the directors sent a new report to be edited, and said essentially, "Here is report A, and may I ask how report B is going?" Since I am working on report B, I replied with an estimate of when it will be done. When she gets in, she tells me that SHE will take report A, since she is free. I had to tell her that yeah, I wasn't talking about that, I was answering his question about report B. Which I started editing last Thursday. When she told me to.

Sigh. Monday. Snow. Sigh. Weekend was too short.

Report B, by the way, is the analyst's first report, and boy does it show. The citations and bibliography are a mess, there are numerous ways he's not following the in-house style guide, there are spelling/typing mistakes, and then there are the spell-check-won't-help-you mistakes. Like talking about treats to a drug when you mean threats. Or mentioning clinical trails. Oops. This is going to be a long week.

So, hey, go read about the mitten tree. It's pretty amazing and cool.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Getting in that Christmas Mood

I had such a nice, Christmassy day today, with a group of good friends, with whom I went to Salem, MA (yeah, witch city, who knew that it existed the other eleven months of the year, right?). Christmas in Salem is a tour of multiple historic houses decorated for the holidays, and although my hips are currently informing me that it was a lot of walking and standing and walking, it was also so, so beautiful. Some of the houses we saw are museum-like, but others are actual homes of real people, as well as one that is a sort of boarding house run by the Woman's Friend Society and another that is almost a rest home, the Brookhouse Home for Women, and when we saw some of the residents sitting in a lounge area while we were leaving, I wanted to sit down with them and talk knitting. One of my friends is working at a nursing home; perhaps in the new year I will ask her if we can visit and she can point me to a knitter who might want to chat.

Anyway, you can read all about the houses and things here; the history was very interesting, though at times presented in a bit more depth than I was interested in--I want to look more than be told about--but anyway, it was a neat experience and one I recommend, if you're local and want to mark your calendar for next year.

And of course, I took pictures. You knew I did, right? The usual assortment of randomness. This first one is actually a bird that flew into the tree across the street while I was waiting to be picked up. My friend tells me it's a woodpecker. I can confirm that it was, in fact, pecking the wood.
We had a really nice lunch in the restaurant at the Peabody Essex museum, good food and not at all rushed, and I had to take my camera and go back to the ladies room after I saw this little graffito.
Another place we had thought of eating had nice signs outside:
I approve of their vocabulary choices.

All right, to the houses. Awesome circular stairs:
I didn't ask what these were (the guide in that spot was very involved in telling us about a clock), but don't they look like metal clogs (or some kind of footwear), for stepping out on ice to pick up the newspaper?
They were just inside the front door.

A decorative bit at the end of a mantel:
Lovely view down a side street:
Then the next one had a vivid reminder that Salem is on the water.
Oh, right, Masts. Ocean, and all.

Three pineapples mean we were trebly welcome, right? I also liked the lime wreath. Fun and different.
Masts again (the same masts, in fact), out the custom house window.
And a tree that laughs at your fences.
It captures a slice of the day, anyway! I didn't take any pictures at our last stop, being too busy nibbling and noshing. Fortuitously, Harbor Sweets, which is normally closed on Sundays, was having an open house, and we got there just in time. Mmmmmm!

Now, I'm going to watch the Bruins game, but before I go, I wanted to share this. Earlier, I was paying some bills online, and had to laugh when I saw my totals. If only I'd charged a penny more somewhere!
I mean, really!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Looking Back at January

Last year, a blog I enjoy reading (and I'm sorry to say I don't remember which one) had a feature in December looking back at each month of the year, and what she'd been doing, or at least blogging about. I thought that was such a nice idea that I made a note to try it myself, so here goes: my January 2013.

In January of 2013, I was still very full of the Florida trip over Christmas 2012. Pictures, words, trip! Already I've forgotten things like the home movie of our own dance party, the one that proved no one in my immediate family has rhythm. Mum, we should watch that again!

There was the mention of the annoyingness of my boss, then referred to as My Least Favorite Coworker, showing that my dislike of her is unfortunately nothing new.

Then there was the first rumor that the hockey lockout might wrap up! I'd been missing the NHL for months, and even a hint of accord was most welcome. It's good to remember to be grateful for a full season this year. I was also showing the mink shawl in progress, back in the fun days when I only dreamed of how much I'd love wearing it. And I do!

I wrote about all the reading I'd done in 2012. My numbers are going to be way down again this year, and I'm sure it's because I spend more time knitting. I'm okay with that. I enjoy both.

Some more of the presents that I got for Christmas, and a new book I was excited to read, got their own entry. I also wrote about some of the presents I gave, specifically, the ones I knit. It amuses me to see that last note at the end of that entry about an idea for a shawl, since it's the one I'm working on now. Off topic a bit from January, but hey, here's a progress picture anyway.
It's knit from end to end, so this is one end of the shawl (not the middle, or anything, I mean). After I took this picture, I put in a lifeline, in case when I add the maple leaf part in, I don't like the way it looks. Make it easy to fix, which should negate the need for it, right? In theory.

By the way, how ironic is it that I'm doing the shawl this way because I couldn't find one with a maple leaf motif, and I just now saw this maple-leaf-shaped shawl? I'm going to go on as I am, but that's irony, I say.

After that, I wrote joyfully about going to training camp, as the Bruins were finally, finally going to play again. So excited! And when I got to go to the scrimmage game, it was enough to draw me into a rare-for-me weeknight excursion, leaving me tired enough the next day that I spilled my soup ... but so, so happy. More pictures the next day!

By later in January, I was already forgetting that I'd written about Christmas knitting, and wrote about it again. Whoops! No harm done; from here, it's kind of funny. In fact, since some of it seems to be word-for-word, I think what must have happened is that I had a draft written, and when I wrote about it on the 12th, I copied instead of cut it out. So, a week or so later, I saw it and (probably saying to myself, "I thought I wrote about that already,") I put it up. And no one said a word!

I had some work stress in January, when a bunch of bigwigs and sales people invaded for meetings (and "it felt like a centipede had been dancing on my brain"? really?), but I also had friends over for lunch and a movie and it was great fun. Ah, life, ups and downs.

Then there was the office project, the "no, I still haven't tackled the office project" project. Hmmm. Will 2014 be the year? I want it to be ... but will I make it so? It's certainly true that the desk I currently have my computer on is bigger than I need for that ... I could make it a craft table, a space to keep the swift and ballwinder set up, and use the other desk as an actual desk. Motivation, perhaps? Step one is to get rid of the futon, and then I can move the loveseat out of the office and free up room. Anyone around here want a futon? Seats two, folds out, free for the picking up?

At the end of January, I went to the chiropractor for the first time. Has anyone noticed that I'm having fewer headaches lately? Because I've noticed!

I ended January on a peaceful note, with a video of a swimming manatee*. Because who doesn't find that soothing?
*I know, I know, when aren't they swimming? But you know what I mean!

And that is January 2013, as blogged by me. Kind of fun to look back! Although, I wouldn't bet a huge sum that I will finish the whole year. But watch for February!

Friday, December 06, 2013

Friday Night Respite

Well, it's been quite a week, hasn't it? I can't be the only one who appreciates something lovely and seasonal. I've put of flash mob videos before, but this one from the US Air Force band really touched me.



I know, I'm tired, but isn't that nice?

If you prefer dance, here's one from a few years ago, swing dancing in an airport, that's also good (though not seasonal ... but maybe that's what you'd rather; I'm not judging).

Thursday, December 05, 2013

This and That, Knit and Physics, Cute Cat

I'm currently working on a last few knitting projects for Christmas, but I've also started thinking about what I'll be knitting when that push is over. Such as, what will I bring for on-the-plane knitting? I'll have a sock with me, of course, but other than that? I have a shawl in progress, and I also want to start on a double-knit project, maybe a hat. There are plenty of items on my list, but it's a question of what I'll have time to start before I leave...
It comes back to that Venn diagram of knitting. Usually, I choose to knit what falls into the overlap: something I want to knit AND something I want to wear/use. (Knitty's Winter 2013 issue just went up, and as usual, I had a good time working my way through the pattern index, rejecting patterns for one reason or the other, if not both.) The TARDIS shawl was always for me. Mink shawl? Mine, and don't even try it. Once in while, though, there's something I want to knit but don't feel strongly about wearing or using. The shawl I'm making now is one I want to make, but when my mother asked me who it was for, I said I don't know.

*****
Quote of the day: "You know you're an introvert when being iced in sounds like the best weekend ever, as long as you have power." ~~Shanna Swendson

*****
Can anyone tell me why, at work this morning, I suddenly had the misfit song from Rudolph running through my head? I haven't even seen it yet this year, and I wasn't reading about misfits... I can't figure out the trigger.

*****
Do any of you know physics at all? I never studied it, and I recently found myself wondering if I was correct when I chided the driver of another car for trying to move into a space that was already occupied by a third car because "it's just physics, you can't do that." Am I right? Is it a rule of physics that two solid objects can't occupy the same space simultaneously? Or do I need to correct my ranting-to-myself-in-the-car language?

*****
It's a good sign that I'm beginning to be able to laugh at not getting that job, the one I talked to last Friday. It was with a company whose name I see in things at work, being "in the field" as it were, and when I ran across it today I felt a mild twinge. Then I laughed to myself, remembered Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, lamenting that she'll never be able to forget the rich man jilting her because "No matter where l go, there'll always be a Shell station on every corner." Moving on.

*****

...But ... but ... you have steak. You no share? With the baby?

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Grump Alert, Grump Alert, Whoop, Whoop, Whoop (followed by cute pictures)

So, yeah, last night was kind of a down period Chez Cat Hair. Though, to be clear, it was a night of sitting on the couch eating ice cream, but not sitting on the couch sobbing into the ice cream. In case anyone was worried! Definitely disappointing, but not despair. Anyway. Now that I'm officially 0-for-2 on the interviews so far this year, I just have to keep looking. It isn't a case of just finding something/anything to apply for, after all; I'm not looking for A Job, I'm looking for The Right Job. I have A Job. It pays the bills. It hasn't given me an official ulcer yet (although, the high blood pressure...?). I don't want to be indiscriminate when I don't have to. I want the right fit, a good company, all that stuff. It's hard to find, but I have to believe I will find it, eventually. (Right?)(Lie to me.)

I will say that with these recent disappointments, it's harder to deal with the annoyances of my current job this week. For instance, it's still cold in the office, and apparently no one in charge finds the fact that I have to wear five layers in order to not be too cold to work at all important. Way to value the employees, there, guys. If only my righteous indignation warmed me, but I don't find that to be the case.

We did just hear about the "holiday party" for this year. Thankfully, we are not repeating last year's mid-afternoon, three-plus-hour marathon at the fondue place. Instead, we'll be having lunch brought in to the office*, with champagne**, to go with an hour-long "year in review presentation summarizing our key achievements for 2013 and goals for 2014". Whoopie. Nothing says holiday party like PowerPoint. There may also be an after-work outing for drinks or dinner, but on the day they chose, I have a haircut scheduled after work, so I'll have to see if she can fit me in another night; if not, I'm not passing it up for the joy of socializing with my coworkers.
*And if I have to make arrangements for said lunch, I'm going to be pretty annoyed
**Which I don't drink

I know, I'm very grouchy. Just call me Eeyore. Hopefully some good sleep this weekend will help me get back to minimal, usual levels of grump. I'm going out with friends on Sunday for some Christmassy fun, and that should be a mood elevator, too. Though don't discount the importance of sleep. I suffer from a chronic condition I call NES: Never Enough Sleep. (Though the full name would be NESEWLO: Never Enough Sleep Except When Laid Off.) Anyway, to show that I haven't completely lost my sense of humor (it's dented but not destroyed), here are some things that have amused me recently, beyond enjoying (or snarking at) the Christmas lights while driving home.

Waterstones has a great response to the news about Amazon testing drones for delivery. Love a corporate sense of humor!

So like cats:

I like to think I give off this vibe on the subway, enough to not need the vest:

This looks so uncomfortable. And yet, would kitty be asleep if it was?

What a good dog:

And yes, I totally do this:

Who doesn't? Like I'm not going to answer him? Mind you, sometimes I say, "I love you too, baby," and sometimes I say, "What is your fucking problem?" But still. We talk.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Not Really Good News. Then, Thanksgiving Recap!

So, good news and bad news! And more good news, and more bad news!

The bad news is that the place where I had the phone interview on Friday, as I mentioned in passing yesterday, is going with an internal candidate, so dead end there. The good news is that I actually heard back from them, and super-quickly, which is a rare thing these days. Still. Sigh. Too bad. The job sounded like a good fit, and with a great company. Bummer.

Then, as I still hadn't heard anything from the other place where I had a phone interview a few weeks ago, despite having reached out to follow up with them, I e-mailed again today, and more good news, I heard back! Aaaaaannnnnnddd, more bad news ... they're going with another candidate. So. Good to know, yes. But still. Doubly depressing. I was already planning to go to Target tonight, being out of the usual Random Bunch of Stuff, and can you blame me for buying some therapeutic Ben & Jerry's while I was there? (Remember, when life gives you lemons, have ice cream for dinner. Words to live by.)

Anyway, on to happier things! Thanksgiving Week recap! Here we go...

I picked up Mum on Monday night, and we went to dinner at her favorite restaurant, then hit the grocery store for a few things before coming home to a rousing reception. Carlos was deeply unsure of why I brought someone else home with me, and why I seemed to think that was okay. Why doesn't anyone tell a cat that change is coming? So he can veto it? Change is bad, everyone knows that! Who was this person who acted like she knew him? He wasn't upset, he didn't run or hide, but he was hanging back, and spent even more time in the bedroom than usual all week. (He would come out to meow for food-more-food-different-food-better-food, and to sniff at things, then retreat again. He allowed himself to be approached, and suffered himself to be petted, but he wasn't as friendly as I might have hoped.)

Tuesday morning, I went to work, and Mum spent the day befriending the cat, doing laundry (it's her hobby), and making a batch of chili for my freezer, mmmmm. Tuesday night we went to dinner at Bertucci's, where our server was ... well, hopefully very new to the job; fortunately, we weren't in a hurry, but there's no excuse for bringing a pizza that's practically room temperature, you know? Particularly when it wasn't all that busy. The pizza was still good, but, umm, you need practice, ma'am. Good intentions and apologies only go so far.

Wednesday I got off work early, hooray, and was home mid-afternoon. Mum had spent the day doing more laundry and making beef stew, more mmmm. We had another lovely meal out, then in between intervals of watching the Bruins utterly flame out (seriously, 6-1 and they didn't deserve the 1), I made the angel salad for Thanksgiving dinner. Then early to bed, because...

Early Thursday morning, we picked up my brother, who'd taken the red-eye from San Francisco, god love him, without complaining, and brought him happily home to hang out and catch up, before getting cleaned up and going to the House of Friends for Thanksgiving dinner mid-afternoon. Oh, it was good! The food and the company and all. Fourteen for dinner, turkey and stuffing and potatoes and angel salad ... okay, I ate some other veggies, too, but mostly it was the standards for me. I didn't have dessert, didn't leave room for it; for me, Thanksgiving is the one day of the year when I don't focus on dessert. I'm not a big fan of the standards, pumpkin pie or pecan pie, and honestly I love the meal so much that it's hard for me to leave any room to try other options. I had a wonderful time, and ate so much I didn't eat another thing that night, and fell comatose into bed around 9. Whew!

Friday morning I had that phone interview, then we went to a local diner-style place that was low on pretensions but cheap and delicious for breakfast/lunch. The Bruins played their traditional Black Friday matinee, and thankfully put in a much better effort than the previous game, pulling out a win over the Rangers. For dinner, we went back to Mum's favorite restaurant (since my brother likes it, too), and did a little bit of errands-and-Christmas-lights afterward.

Saturday we went into town (slightly hampered by the fact that the Orange Line was busing to Sullivan Square) and to the Opera House to see the Nutcracker. It was fabulous! The music, the dancing, the spectacle, the little girls in party dresses and patent-leather shoes ... happy sigh. After the show, once I thwarted the efforts of the lady* at the coat check to give me the wrong coat (twice), we walked over (brrrr) to Legal Seafood and had a perfectly lovely early dinner (technically, they were on the lunch menu, but they were happy to make steak, which is on the dinner menu). The food was wonderful, the service perfect, and amusingly enough, the couple that had been sitting next to us at the ballet was at a table nearby. (They recommended the Boston creme pie, but Mum and I shared the bananas Foster, which was amazing.)
*Why did they have only one person working the coat check? When everyone gets out at once? She was understandably harried .. though asking for 198, 199, and 200 doesn't seem too much to ask...

Since my family loves me, they didn't object to having the Bruins game on when we got home, and I got to see them win again, almost erasing the memory of Wednesday night (almost). Sunday morning, they got their ducks in a row, packing-wise, before we went out for a last lunch, and did some driving around admiring houses in my little town and environs. Some final tidying away, and it was time to drop them off, and return to my suddenly empty home.

It was a wonderful week, but man, exhausting at the same time. Carlos and I sat on the couch Sunday night and just vegged out. And now, I think, more of the same.

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Monday, December 02, 2013

‚Äč Are we all this tired?

Oh, I am so tired, folks! I had a great time, but wow, did the last week ever knock me sideways. Does anyone else need a jump-start to shake off Thanksgiving? It amazed me this morning, as I got ready for work, to think that in three weeks, I would be going to the airport instead, heading to my mother's for Christmas. It's one thing to know that Thanksgiving falls late this year, but whoa!

Anyway, too tired tonight to get into all the crazy fun wonderful events of the past week (including another phone interview, for a different job!), but we'll see how tomorrow plays out. Hopefully I can get it all down before it's too-too old news. I'll give you some hockey-related holiday fun to watch: the Chicago Gay Hockey Association, singing All I Want for Christmas is You.

Not just dancing along while lip-synching, but singing! Conga line, or crack the whip! Some of them have better voices than others (which lends an air of verisimilitude, anyway), but overall they do a great job, and I love the kick line on skates! Thanks as always to Puck Daddy for the share.