Thursday, January 30, 2014

More Tonto, Plus Bike, Laptop, Hockey, Head (Yeah, it's a long one)

 Here is the picture they had of him on their website ... until I get daylight to take my own!

I probably don't have to tell you that I wasn't planning to bring a new cat home last night. Right? Here's how that happened.

Over the past ten days or so, I've sent out inquiries on a few cats. The first one, they said, wasn't fully socialized yet. The second, it turned out after a few days of no answer, had already found a home. The third I still haven't heard back about. The fourth was not Tonto, but was at the same shelter/organization. I inquired about her, and they suggested I come to their event last night to meet her.

I went innocently off after work, and found myself in the basement of a house in a nearby town, small and full of cats (and the associated smells, not blaming them, but slightly warm and pungent down there), some in cages, some wandering around. They actually foster the cats in volunteers' homes, but bring them to the shelter and to pet stores for frequent events. (Which, clearly, is a winning strategy. After all, if I'd been able to go meet the one, and didn't like her, I wouldn't have a second cat yet. But there he was!) I met the cat, a young female tabby, and didn't feel any particular draw to her. She didn't seem that interested in me, and while not unfriendly wasn't friendly either. She also hadn't been introduced to the general population yet, having only been fixed the day before, so no saying for sure how she'd be with other cats. I talked to the people about how I was looking for a cat who would be friendly to me and to Carlos, and they pointed out a few: there's this cat, he was in a home with other cats (he gave me the hairy eyeball from a distance), and then there's Tonto, he's never met a cat he didn't like. Tonto was walking around, so I put out a hand to him, and he rubbed against me enthusiastically. He seemed friendly, so I carefully picked him up, at which point he curled up, settled down, and started purring. Well, then. I patted him and rubbed his head, he purred up a storm, and I started to think, well, I could...

I had to run back home for the carrier and my checkbook, and proof of owning the condo*, so I told Carlos briefly about what was happening (not that he understood me, I know, but anyway). In the car, I had a few qualms, but hearing the song All Mixed Up, and the lyrics to "trust your instincts" gave me a good reminder. It just felt right.
*I imagine that after I left, they were asking each other who comes to a cat adoption event unprepared to adopt a cat...

The paperwork didn't take long, once it was my turn; I'm glad to say they were busy adopting out animals. (In case you felt bad for the cat I went to look at and didn't take, I should mention that a family came in shortly after I did, and they were looking at her when I moved on to Tonto. By the time I got back with my carrier, she was gone. She got her happy ending, too!) Tonto went into the carrier without much fuss, and strangely to me, did not meow all the way in the car! We were home in short order, and I brought him into the office and closed the door, then let him out of the carrier. I had moved a litter box in, and brought in a bowl of water, and he moved around, sniffing at everything, and rubbing against me frequently. I called my mother to tell her the news, and we talked while I watched him explore. After I was off the phone, Carlos started meowing outside the door, and I went to see him. Tonto was all ready to join me: OK, where are we going now? I was laughing as I told him he had to stay in solitary for a while; in the end, to get out the door, I had to pick him up, open the door, step out, then turn back and pop him in before quickly closing the door. So curious!

Carlos didn't appreciate the whiff of change in the air, metaphorically speaking, and snubbed me a little before later settling on my lap again. I went in and out a few times, giving them both time, and letting Carlos smell Tonto on me (he didn't seem too interested, but he didn't get upset anyway, which is good). Tonto was very relaxed, which was a wonderful thing to see. I brought him in some toys, which he found interesting. He has some major hooks for claws, and it's clear he's not used to having them trimmed, but he doesn't mind his paws being touched, which will be a big step, and I got a few of them done, here and there (he's a big kneader, so they need to be done, ow). I don't think it will be long before he accepts the process without a problem. Finally, I had some cold pizza and got ready for bed.

This morning when I went in to see him, he was on the perch by the window, but was VERY happy to see me, purring up a storm, rubbing and butting into me. I tried brushing him, and he seemed to like it. I went in a couple of times, but eventually had to get ready and leave for work.
 
He is almost 100% black, just a couple of white hairs, down to nose and paws (his paw pads are dark grey). I think even his whiskers are all black. He has plushy soft fur, and is just slightly bigger than Carlos is. Friendly? Check. Affectionate? Check. He gave me more love last night than Miri did in almost five years put together. He's a head-butter and a happy drooler.

I called the vet this morning, and they'd actually had a cancellation for 6 tonight, so I was able to get him in and checked promptly. Probably wouldn't hurt to introduce them before he's checked, but hey, I'll take a quick convenient appointment, thank you. And the vet loved him; she said she's worked there ten years, and could count on one hand the number of cats who accept attention from her like he did. While she listened to his heart, she commented, "So that's what a normal heart rate sounds like," and added that she had to try to hear it around his purring. Yes, he purred up a storm at the vet.

The shelter estimated him at 2 to 3 years old, though their vet-check said 4. He was part of a trap-neuter-release program a year ago (which is why his ear is clipped), and was found to be so friendly that they adopted him out. The person who adopted him recently couldn't keep him, so he gave him to a friend, and she's the one who gave him back to the shelter (they're a no-kill shelter, so they're pretty adamant that you give the pet back to them if you can no longer keep it). Thus freeing him up for me! And Carlos.

*****
I got back on the exercise bike a week ago, and in that time have ridden it five days out of eight, for 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12 minutes. Better than nothing, and getting better! Plus, that's that much more sock done. Just keep knitting, just keep knitting...

*****
Three weeks ago, my boss spoke to her boss, who agreed that I should get a laptop.

Last week, her boss asked me in passing if the IT guy (in NY) had talked to me yet about it, and when I said no, she said she would have to remind him.

Monday, one of my coworkers spilled a cup of tea on her laptop (I looked up to see her holding it upside down, liquid dripping off it). Five minutes later, the boss is unlocking the IT room to get her another laptop to work on while hers dries out.

Uh-huh.

I wasn't quick enough on the draw at the time (being preoccupied with thoughts of that phone interview) to comment on it*, but today, when the boss was going back into that closet to get a laptop for someone else (whose Word kept crashing), I asked whether she had heard from the IT guy yet, and she said that since there were, in fact, spare machines, I should e-mail him (copying her) about what he needs to get it set up.
*One of my friends at stitch and bitch that night suggested I should have asked her to grab one for me while she was there.

And in the end, it's on my desk. For now, until it gets fully functional*, I'll keep the desktop. Progress, at any rate.
*Which supposedly will happen after it finishes the 138 updates it needed, which was hardly half done when I left, and is rebooted a few times ... but I'm not holding my breath.

*****
As I mentioned the other day, the Bruins won their game on Saturday 6-1. Monday night, they beat the Islanders 6-3. Tuesday night, they beat the Panthers 6-2. This has been a fun stretch of Bruins fandom, and tonight, it's Montreal! Unfortunately, it isn't starting well. Plenty of time for a dramatic comeback, though!

*****
I mentioned PMS the other day, and along those lines, I had a mild headache Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. It really wasn't bad, but it reminds me of how much better my head has been* recently, and how amazingly grateful I am for that.
*And the associated upset stomach. My consumption of Tums has dropped dramatically.

If 2014 is The Year the Migraines Weren't a Big Thing for Me Anymore, that would be so amazingly awesome, words fail me. And you know that doesn't happen often!

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Trusting my Instincts

Meet Tonto.
I won't be getting a good picture of him until the weekend, probably, but you can see he's all black. And when I met him, I picked him up and he curled into my arms and started purring.

So. Two cats again.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Up and Down, Up and Down

I had a very up and down day, emotionally. I'm so excited about the job prospect, but there are other things going on in life, as there so often are.

A friend's mother died recently. As I understood it, theirs was a difficult relationship, but your mother is your mother, and I hurt for her.

Phone interview! Went well! Hopes! Nerves!

My grandmother is in the hospital. It's not a critical situation, though at almost 100 that could certain change quickly, but it will lead to her going into a nursing home, which is both a sad thing and a thing it's time for. Mixed emotions right there.

Job? Prospect? Please?

The second cat I asked about turned out to have been adopted already, which is good for that cat, but not so much for Carlos. I sent out a couple of queries on other cats, in hopes that I will find a good one quickly*. Buddy needs a buddy! (Also, reading listings on Petfinder can be depressing. All these cats being dumped! Who does this?)
*One of which was already shot down: "super affectionate but I don't think he would do well with other cats." Nope.

Job? Interview? Will I make the cut? Next step? Please?

Up and down. Also, I've had so many cough drops that I'm starting to crave soft, smooth food to give my mouth and throat a break. Not that that stopped me from getting a pizza tonight, because I had a sudden craving mid-afternoon, and because $5 pizza, you know?

I didn't bike last night, as I went from post-interview-hyper to crashed on couch with cat, ready and more than ready for bed, in the blink of an eye. Tonight I will ride. Though I may also have ice cream, because PMS. Which, now that I think of it, also probably contributed to my up and down day. Hmmm.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hard to be Sure, But I Think it went well

And while who knows if that's true, it beats feeling sure it was awful, right? Feels better.

If we go by what I wrote when I applied for this job about steps in the process, i.e.,
Step one, of course, is the challenging one of finding a job that is a good enough fit to be worth applying for it.

Step two is (duh) actually applying for it.

With that done, I now enter step hoping-for-step-three, aka, waiting.
Then the progression would be, I suppose:

Step three: hearing about a phone interview. Check!

Step waiting-for-four, and then step four, the phone interview, check!

Meaning I am now at step hoping for five. Right? Check my math?

The recruiter said that he'll be talking with a few other people this week, and to the hiring manager about whether they want to do the evaluation when people come in, or before. So hopefully, this won't be an interminable wait. I mean, it will feel like it, but it would anyway.

He was nice. It sounds great. Oh please, oh please, oh please.

Oh, also, I heard tonight that the latest cat I asked about has found a new home already. Sent a message about the next possibility. My furry friend needs a friend, stat. And doesn't "SUPER friendly to both humans and other cats" sound promising?

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Yeah, Nervous. But Excited!

Goodness, it's Sunday night already? I mean, the weekend was fine, it didn't feel rushed, but somehow I'm surprised all the same.

I'm trying hard not to be too nervous about tomorrow's phone interview. I mean, if the opportunity goes no further than that, I'll live. I'll be sorry, and just briefly crushed, and then I'll shake it off and keep looking. It's just such a good opportunity, it's hard not to wish. But anyway. Thank you all for the crossed fingers; obviously, I will let you know.

Since it isn't supposed to be quite as cold tomorrow as it was at the end of last week, I'm hoping that the environment at my desk won't be too bad tomorrow. On Friday, I found that when the outside temperatures are in the single digits, the inside temperature at work is such that, with the heater blowing on me (bless it), and while wearing long johns under my jeans, a short-sleeved shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, a sweater, a fleece jacket, and a shawl, I still had to put a hat on at midday because my head was cold. Good lord.

I'm also hoping that I won't cough too much while I'm on the phone, since I'm not sure about talking with a cough drop in my mouth without sounding strange. I'm feeling much better than I was a few weeks ago, but goodness, this last bit of lingering cough is annoying. My mouth is tired of all the cough drops, and after buying more cough syrup on Monday, I stopped again on Thursday in order to get the kind that lasts 12 hours*, as the coughing was waking me in the night when the 4-hour dose wore off. Good grief! I've considered going back to the doctor, but I'm fairly sure there's nothing he can do, and why pay a copay to hear that? May as well spend that money on cough syrup. One of my coworkers told me that last winter, his wife had a cold with a cough that lingered for a few months. How cheerful: thanks for sharing!
*And I'll need more soon if it keeps on.

So! In happier news, the Bruins played yesterday after four days off, and romped to a 6-1 win that was a lot of fun to watch, for a Bruins fan (sorry, Kate; I have been on that side of it). There are two weeks of games before the Olympic break, when five Bruins (Czech, Slovak, Canadian, Finn, and Swede) will be off to Sochi and the rest will be, well, resting.

Q: Why will the Slovakian flag be the highest during the Olympic opening ceremonies?
A: Because Zdeno Chara is the flag bearer. What are the odds that any other flag bearers are six foot nine or taller?

All right. I need to go get on the bike now; I missed last night, having done so much laundry that I felt the stairs counted for something, but I don't want to break the fragile, newly re-established habit.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Keep 'Em Crossed!

For the last week, I've been hoping so fervently to hear about the job application, oh-please-oh-please-oh-please, waiting is so hard, especially not knowing how long the waiting might be. But? Today I heard. What a heady mix of joy and fear! Thank-you-thank-you-thank-you.

They want to start with a phone interview, which seems to be the norm these days. I have to overcome my nerves from having those two phone interviews in November that led nowhere, and focus on this job, this company, this fit.

Keep those fingers crossed, please! Specifically, on Monday at 4:30 (Eastern time), but generally, too. Thank you.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

More on the Knitting Class, the Weather, an iPad Question, and Cats

First of all: yes, I biked last night! Not for long, but getting back on was the major accomplishment. Now I can focus on making it more regular, and for longer periods of time. Else I'll never get that second sock done, and I want it!

I would have liked to go into more detail about the knitting class when I wrote last night, but it was getting so late: I worked later than usual and then picked up some groceries, so my evening time was limited (and some of it belonged to Carlos, too). Since the first time I read of the technique, a few years ago, I've been fascinated by the idea of knitting two socks simultaneously, one inside the other. I had to agree with the Yarn Harlot, though, who wrote that she was sure if she tried it that she would finish the pair only to discover that they were fused together by "one stinking stitch". I was sure I would never have the nerve to try the technique, but still, how cool is it? I dreamed of the day I would feel that confident.

Then yesterday, I read on Annie Modesitt's blog that she was going to be teaching at the Interweave Knitting Lab in New Hampshire in May, and I clicked the link over to look into the details of the classes. I haven't been to a knitting lab or the like, unless you count Rhinebeck, and while there are classes there, they aren't what I think of as the primary purpose of the event. In fact, I think the only knitting class I've ever taken was the sock one I took back in 2006, unless I'm forgetting something. Anyway, lots of the classes looked interesting to me, in a general way, but nothing grabbed me by the throat until I saw this one class. How could I resist the chance to try it?

The class is on a Friday afternoon, so it will require a vacation day. Manchester is about an hour from me, so I can drive up in the morning, visit the marketplace, have lunch, then go to the class. A fun day!

*****
The weather remains hella cold, though not just here: when I checked it this morning before going out, I noticed that at my mother's in Florida, it was 39 degrees, which is very unusual. (My mother, however, is currently at her mother's, in NY, so she's as cold as I am, or more--but that's to be expected in January in NY, much more so than in FL.)

When my mother's away, and not checking her e-mail as regularly as she does at home*, it's always a startling reminder to me that normally, I e-mail her pretty often, when I think of things to ask her or tell her. Nothing urgent, certainly, and I can tell her when we talk, but for instance, I would have sent her a message last night about the knitting class, or the other night after I talked to the man at the humane society about the potential cat, about how he threw me a trick question--which I answered correctly, but not because I suspected a trick. He asked whether I intended to have the cat be outdoor-only or just partially, and I replied in confusion that I was planning on indoor-only, which is when he told me he was just checking.
*I don't actually know how often she checks it at home, but it's a safe bet it's more often than when she's away.

Or I would have e-mailed her today to tell her I was starting to edit an epidemiology report on migraine, and maybe I'd learn something interesting... And then I would have sent her another one, a few hours later, to gripe about how my boss came out of a meeting with her boss to tell me that whoops, she forgot* about another report that's a higher priority, so she'd have to pull me off migraine to do the other one, sorry. (She apologized several times, and I said, "That's all right" without adding what I wanted to say, which was that I'm sure she can't help it, she was born an idiot.)
*I honestly don't understand why she still has a job. She does this kind of thing all the time.

Now, let's talk of something else, to distract me from this job, and from the fact that I haven't heard anything about the job I applied for--yet, I hope.

First, I'm looking for iPad help, specifically with podcasts. At some point in the recent past, the podcasts thing on my iPad seems to have gotten stuck. When I open it, it opens to the last podcast I was listening to, but none of the controls work, so I can't get back to the other podcasts or anything. It doesn't even play that one, let alone allow me to do anything else. I went into Settings, but the podcasts area there is not helpful either, being more about how often it checks for new episodes than about what you've signed up for. I tried googling for a solution, but the closest I came was to unsubscribe to the podcast, to clear the problem, then resubscribe. I can't get into the thing at all, in order to do that. Any ideas?
Edited to add: Fixed it! It turned out that the updates in the app store were stuck; I had to reboot the iPad, and once I did, the updates went through and it works again. Yay!

Then, there's a cute cat picture. Just because.
And another. Seriously, this is one zen cat. Look at that final photo!
Pan liked water, but only to lick. Have you ever known a cat to enjoy submersion?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Of Brrrrrrrrrrr and Future Knitting and Get on the Bike Already

It wasn't snowmageddon or snowpocalypse where I live, but is it cold! Here's a first-world problem for you: my remote car starter can be fussy about starting, and the colder it is, the more so. Kind of the opposite of how it should be! And I tell you, the difference between getting into a frozen solid car, and even one that has only been running long enough for me to get my coat and boots on and walk outside, is epic.

Typically, snow amounts in this area are higher the more north and inland you go, but every once in a while a storm comes along that belts the south shore and the Cape more than Boston and north. This was one of those: I'd say I got about three inches where I am (hard to be precise because powder + wind = blowing everywhere), while the editor who works from home and lives south of Boston got over a foot.

Mind you, I did stay home this morning. I wanted to wait until the snow stopped, and the roads had been plowed, before I tried to go in. But it was no problem getting in, other than being horribly cold. Urgh. And being the only one in the office meant that I could talk to myself, or cough, or whatever, without bothering anyone. It's strange, but peaceful. I managed to put in a three-quarters day, not bad for the weather.

Now, having just registered* for a knitting class in May (Two Socks in One: The War and Peace Method taught by Kate Atherley, fun!), I am going to go get on the damned bike, because I have to get back on the bike! Please ask me about it! Hold me accountable! Even if it's for five minutes, I ride tonight! I will!
*I had to make myself ignore the typos, but honestly: Raverly? War and Peach? Proofread, people!

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Update, Update, Update, No Update, Update

One update:
So, do you remember how two weeks ago, after I had to miss work due to the big snowstorm, my boss talked to her boss about getting me a laptop, so I can work from home during such things? And the answer was yes?

And have you noticed that I haven't written about getting that laptop?

And do you know what the weather forecast for today/tomorrow was?

Yup. Here I am, home a bit early because of snow, not expecting to be able to get in until tomorrow afternoon if then, missing more work because of snow. How silly are they? And yes, another message from the division head saying to be sure to bring your laptops home because of the storm! I again heroically resisted the urge to reply, "Would if I could!"

Two update:
There's good news and bad news about the cat search: the good news is I heard back about the cat I asked about, and that they were honest; the bad news is that she's not the cat for me. If "the part about trusting people is still a work in progress," then no, I wish them well, but I can't sign up for that again. It seems as if she's in better shape than Miri was that way, but not good enough.

Anyway, I looked through Petfinder again last night, while Carlos had me pinned to the couch (thank you, iPad), and found another possible to inquire about. The description sounds promising, and I'm waiting for someone to call back; we'll see.

Three update:
About the heater at work: in order to check the theory that it was the heater itself that was causing the problems, before buying a replacement, I brought in a small heater I have at home (for heating up the bathroom when I'm feeling more than usually chilly). I unplugged Mary Ellen's, plugged in mine, and turned it on. It ran, without popping the surge protector. It stayed on. Ah-ha, I thought, and prepared to throw out the other one. Not being chilled was a very pleasant feeling.

Some time later, however, maybe half an hour or an hour later, off it went. What? I turned it on, but it was sure. Poof. So I began experimenting.

First, I plugged the surge protector in to another plug, in case it was the plug that was the problem. Poof. Nope.

Next, I plugged my heater into a different surge protector. And ... it stayed on. And on. Okay, then.

As a cross-check, I plugged the old one into the new surge protector. It went on and stayed on, but smelled like something was burning (enough that someone else commented on it). That's it for experiments in the office, I decided. Out with the old, in with the new. And there was warmth in the land, and it was good.

Four (no) update:
Is, of course, on the job application. No, I didn't expect to hear anything yet. Still. One hopes

Five update:
The shawl blocked quite nicely, and I mailed it off this morning.

Here it is before blocking. See how the bottom edge ruffles, and the top edge curls in?
And here it is, pinned out:
And with the inspector in the background:
The top edge didn't even need to be pinned to flatten out.
I like how the whole thing looks. Especially with lace, blocking is magic.
And hopefully Grandma will like it, too. Eight days of knitting, not bad.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Best-Laid, etcetera

I had planned to blog tonight, but, well.
Someone has other plans, and they involve my lap. Catch you tomorrow!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Night, Feels Like Saturday

Isn't it funny how a Sunday night feels totally different when you know you're off the next day?

Today was a pretty good day. About the only blot was that the Bruins lost, and even then they lost in the shootout, which means they get the pity point, which is better than nothing. My friend came over to hang out during the game, and it was the kind of laid-back, talk and silence kind of visit that only happens with good friends. We ate some of the chili I made last night, which went so well with the cornbread she brought, and I kept knitting on Grandma's shawl. I finished it a while after she left; tomorrow I'll take pictures of the pre-blocking and blocking process, which should effect a pretty big change.

After finishing reading a book (The Language of Flowers, which I liked, but I liked Someone Else's Love Story, which I read recently, better), I balanced my checkbook and started my taxes; the latter can't be finished yet, as all the forms aren't ready until the end of the month, but unless anything drastic changes, I'll be getting a nice chunk back. Last year, I was still dealing with the hit of unemployment, and this is better. It's also nice to only deal with one W2*, to be honest, though I certainly hope that next year I have two, the one from this job and one from the new better job I will get this year!
*I've had as many as three in a year, which is not a good sign.

So, I'm waiting and hoping to hear back about the job I applied for the other day; now I'm also waiting to hear back about a maybe-possibly cat to adopt, about which I sent an inquiring message yesterday. We shall see! Multitudes of fingers crossed.

Random ending: the other day when I went outside, the cold weather showed itself in unusual patterns on the car. Even in the cold, it was enough to have me pulling out the camera.


If it has to be so cold, the least it can do is be pretty.

Off for more cough syrup. Overall I'm feeling much better, but the cough, it will not leave. Erg.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Shawl Progress

I started this shawl for my grandmother last Sunday, and I was a little discouraged through the week at how long it seemed to be taking, given how much time it was getting. The cast-on is long, each row is long, and it seemed to be taking a long time. Today, though, I finally finished the first part, which is charted and 18 rows--of which the last few rows, with less patterning, moved a bit faster than the earlier ones had.

Here it is, all scrunched up:
It doesn't look like much, does it? Here's a bit of the edge:
Hmmm, you may be thinking. Not so impressive. Well, here's the thing about lace patterns: they can look like uncooked ramen noodles when you're making them. Lace comes to life in the blocking. Here's a rough approximation of what the shawl edge will actually look like:
Now, that's more like it, campers! Right?

What's more, once I started the next part, I could see that it would move much faster than the first did. This is almost completely stockinette, just knits and purls, and I'm making good progress. I'll get pictures tomorrow or Monday, when it's light outside, but I feel good about it being done in the not-too-distant future.

And that's a good thing.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Pre-Weekend, Cat and Hockey

In what I hope presages a good weekend of accomplishments, I did laundry after work tonight, and half a dozen loads later, all my clothing is clean (I got behind while I was sick). Still need to do sheets and towels, but a good start.

Speaking of being sick. While I am feeling somewhat better, I really am, I just can't seem to shake the last of this congestion, and the related coughing is slaying me. I get a few minutes here and there between cough drops, but all too soon, I feel that tickle and then I'm coughing and people are asking if I'm all right or offering me cough drops when I have a cough drop in my mouth already, give it a minute, I'm sorry, hack, hack, hack. Make it stop, please. I've finished the prescription cough syrup, and am back to OTC. Anything to buy me a little time without a cough drop. The syrup is kind of nasty, but then so is the coughing. I'm glad to be back of normal levels of tired, but you know me, always complaining, I want more! Or rather, less, less congestion thank you. Okay?

Tomorrow I take the baby to the vet, for some shots and a laundry list of minor questions. Hopefully all will be well, right? I don't think I can take it if anything isn't okay. It will be okay. It will.


In conclusion, here's a story for the hockey fans and the cat lovers. To quote the Puck Daddy headline: "Canadian zookeepers play hockey with lions, because of course they do".

Who would have thought a lion would enjoy playing hockey? A Canadian, that's who. I love it. Time for a rerun.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Please To Be Crossing Fingers Now

Every time I see a potential job listing, I have to stop myself from dwelling on how satisfying it would be to get the job, and to give notice where I am, and make myself focus on actually getting the job first. Those pesky details...

Step one, of course, is the challenging one of finding a job that is a good enough fit to be worth applying for it.

Step two is (duh) actually applying for it.

With that done, I now enter step hoping-for-step-three, aka, waiting. And you know what they say about that.

It was hard to pick out parts of the listing to highlight in my application, because it all sounds good.
Please, please, please...

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Things I Don't Understand

  • Why the little heater I brought in to work has stopped working. It's more than a month since I brought it in, and it's been working fine. The first day, it popped the surge protector once, but I plugged it into its own surge protector (so nothing else would be affected) and dealt with that: once in a while, maybe once a week, it would pop off, I'd turn it back on, we were fine, it worked great. Last Friday, however, it started popping very, very often. By which I mean, it will go for one or two minutes and pop off again. Why? Have I killed it? How?
  • What I did to my right thumb. There is a sore spot at the base, I noticed this morning. At first I thought it was a bruise, then maybe a scrape or even a bite. A little red, tender, achy. The soreness I would write off as too much knitting (not a concept I believe in, theoretically, but my hands sometimes disagree). However, the red spot makes it seem like something more. Probably nothing big. But still: weird.
And what have I been knitting so much this week? The shawl for my grandmother that I started on Sunday. I've worked at least a couple of rows (long, looooong rows) every night  Photos to come, maybe this weekend.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Perhaps Some Light (that is not a train)

I finally had that moment this morning, when I thought, "Wait, am I only normal-tired, not crazy-sick-flat-out-exhausted? Hmmm. I think so. How about that." Still not 100%, but I may be finally improving, you know, three weeks later. Wouldn't that be something? Mind you, last night when I was falling asleep and kept waking myself coughing, until I had to get up for more cough syrup, I wouldn't have said so, and this afternoon I did feel droopingly tired, but ... baby steps. I got groceries after work (in the rain, too: where is my award?) and am not completely flattened.

Not that it means much here tonight, though. I went to the grocery store, and now? Well, to quote Stanley Cup of Chowder: "Nothing like a week of West Coast games to make you appreciate a few on home ice. Or even in the home time zone." I have a Bruins game to watch, with a cat next to me, and knitting in my hands; there's also a job listing I saw that I want to ponder more deeply, perhaps between periods. And I'm hoping to make it to the end of the game, something that seems much more possible when the game doesn't start at 10 or 10:30.

So as not to leave you with nothing, though, here: watch a cat hugging his dad. Because it's his dad.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Doe, a Mouse, a ...well, I didn't actually get that close

Tell me, what do you think about this pitch I recently received for the blog?
I know your site is not exactly about bowling but you seem like you enjoy staying active and participating in group events.
Yeah, I love that: not "exactly" about bowling. Could it be any clearer that they didn't read one entry? Until knitting or reading or petting the cat count as "staying active," that is one claim I can't make. Ah, well. Moving on.

Today, the work day started with some wholly unnecessary excitement. I was puzzled upon arrival to see that my plant, Seymour, had dirt scattered all around the pot. I got further confused that my nearest neighbor didn't seem to understand what I was talking about, but it turned out that he was talking to the guy on his other side, who is rather soft-spoken, and who had said it must have been caused by the mouse.

Mouse? What mouse? Over where?

There were a few minutes when Second Guy was the only one who could see the mouse (I may have said he was hallucinating), but suddenly [gasp!] there it was. Mouse on the windowsill! I retreated strategically, while five guys played an enthusiastic game of How many PhDs* does it take to catch a mouse?
*They may not all have PhDs, but at least some do. They tackled the task with the enthusiasm of the boys in seventh grade going after the bees that floated through the classroom windows (until Eddie broke a window pane and the activity was banned).

Finally, there was a senior analyst holding up a mouse by the tail (over a waste basket, just in case), and it was removed from the premises. I cleaned off my desk and scrubbed my hands, but remained thoroughly squicked out for some time.

The same analyst e-mailed me a picture of a mouse later in the morning, but honestly, in pictures they're cute! They just don't belong in certain places, like on my desk. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Later on, something nice happened, as if the universe wanted to throw in some counterbalance, and my boss received a box which turned out to be a small treat basket from one of the groups we do work for, thanking us for helping them achieve their 2013 goal. So that was nice! Don't let it be said that all I do on this blog is complain! Most, maybe, but not ALL.

Actually, I have something else to not-complain about, but you have to picture me knocking wood and crossing fingers and all, to not jinx myself as I say it:
I haven't had an awful headache since October. 
I know! That's a long time! I mean, the longest I've had in the last few years, anyway. Wow, man. That chiropractor is never going to see the end of me...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Night Already? Of Cat and Knit

I'm more and more convinced that I need to get another cat to be company for Carlos; I guess I'm to the point where I'll say, I'm going to get another cat. Carlos isn't desperate the way Harold was after Pan died, but I was out of the house today for two and a half hours, and he met me at the door, meowing, and wanted to sit down with me immediately and get attention. Since I can't be with him 24/7, it's time to get someone who can. Preferably a laid-back lap cat, definitely not another Miri [shudder], so careful selection is called for, but soon, soon. We have a vet appointment next Saturday anyway, for shots and the like, and I'll ask if they have any advice.

I was out knitting with friends, and cast on a new project, despite the many I have going and the many on my to-do-soon list. My grandmother isn't doing so well, and I wanted to send her a little knit hug (and as my aunt pointed out, might not want to wait until her birthday to do it). I chose the Annis shawl, a Knitty pattern, and as you start at the long edge, all I did in two hours of knitting was the cast on and the first row. But given that it's 363 stitches, that isn't bad! The cast-on edge did a cool swirl thing as it went on the needle:
So far, so good. The yarn, by the way, is Ella Rae Lace Merino, which I got at Webs last May.

While I'm feeling somewhat better, I still don't feel great; I amused a friend by saying that I look forward to getting back to my usual level of lethargy. I mean, it isn't the end of the world if I get behind on laundry, or don't clean up the kitchen today, but someday, these things will have to get done. Until the brownies come and do it for me, and how many years have I been waiting for that to happen? Perhaps I haven't been offering them the right food; I never do have porridge.

And, yeah, that's all I have right now. I hate the end of the weekend. Next weekend is a long one: yay!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

And Then He Ruined It

I was all set to write glowingly of how comparatively nice the temperature was today, meaning that we got rain and not snow, but also that I could open the window and thus today was graced with that wonder of cats, fresh-air fur. 

However, when His Lordship called for my companionship just now, it turned out that he was coming right from the litter box, and he does not smell so pleasant. In plain fact, he reeks.

Be grateful that you can't get that over the internet.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Too Tired to Come Up with a Good Title

I am not normally a very high-energy person, to put it mildly. You could say lazy, though I'd prefer to call it energy-conserving. It's like I'm on the ground floor of the building, and most other people seem to be on the second or third floors, buzzing about getting things done, while I sit and plot how to do the minimal amount. I don't have a chronic illness, but it's telling that I really identify with the spoon theory: you only have so much, and when it's gone, it's gone, so use it wisely.
Anyway, that's the normal. For the last two-plus weeks, instead of being on the ground floor, I'm in the sub-basement. I'm just So Tired, all the time, even more than usual. On Wednesday afternoon after I blogged, I sat on the couch for an hour or two, watching TV and knitting, and it wore me out so much I had to go take a nap. I'm so sick of this! The other, more conventional symptoms, the congestion, coughing, and runny nose, those are all annoying, too, and today my stomach was pretty rocky (something the doctor said the antibiotics might do, though I bet all the cough drops are making it worse, am I ever sick of cough drops), but the constant, extreme state of tired is madly wearing. I just want some energy! I haven't been on the exercise bike since I got home from Florida--who has the energy for that? When sitting on the couch wears me out? Enough already. I'm sick of being sick and tired of being tired. Or sick of being tired and tired of being sick?
Sitting at work today, trying to concentrate on diagnostic ultrasound was hard when the predominant thought in my head was, "Oh, my god, I'm so tired." I turned to music to try to distract myself, listening to the MP3 player, to overwrite that boring recurrent thought with things like, "We don't care, we're driving Cadillacs in our dreams." And "look into my eyes, it's where my demons hide."

Speaking of work, it turns out that it's "upward feedback" time again. Your responses are completely confidential! Your manager only receives a summary of all responses! The fact that your manager only manages two people is meaningless! Confidential! Be honest!

So, in addition to listing her "strengths" and "improvement opportunities" I get to rate her on a dozen points, as Strongly Agree, Mostly Agree, Mostly Disagree, and Strongly Disagree. I got started today, and so far, she has one Strongly Agree ("My manager gives me the right amount of freedom to do the job myself"). Yeah, this is going to go well. I said something general about the feedback thing to someone who sits nearby, and she said that it's basically impossible to be completely honest on those. And her manager is one who has had no turnover in his group, so he must be doing something right! It's kind of consoling that she thought so, all the same. Do you have to do upward feedback where you work? How does that go for you?

In conclusion, thank all the deities for the weekend.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

A Little Coherence, A Little Hockey, A Little Cat

I did manage to go in to work today, where I was told by more than one person that I "looked much better" than I had on Monday. I worked close to a full day, too. The good news is that I will be getting a laptop (anyone want to lay a guess as to how long it will take them, though?). The bad news is that I didn't have it today, when I really wanted to lie down for an hour midday before resuming work. Oh well.

I'm taking it easy tonight, and wishing that the Bruins game was in this time zone (it starts at 10:30, hahahaha). The Bruins have five players going to the Olympics (some teams have ten!), which should make for interesting times both during and after the Games. No Bruins are on the US team, so I guess I'll root for my country, but feel some consolation if Team Canada, Finland, Czech, Slovak, or Sweden medal.

Speaking of hockey, by the way, how about this guy in the stands at a hockey game catching a puck with one hand, while holding a sleeping baby with the other?


In random and unrelated news, I spent a little time on Petfinder recently, since I'm only getting more convinced that Carlos will need company, and guess who? Miri is listed there! Apparently she now loves getting brushed! Yeah, right, suuuuure she does. And if you believe that, have I got a bridge for you. It serves as a timely reminder to take the listings with a grain of salt, and try not to fall in love with anyone before I meet him or her. I'd love to adopt one of Robyn's fosters, but given the many miles to Alabama, that isn't really practical. Time to start casually looking, though.

And, to tie in the cats and Christmas threads, here is a lion who really likes his tree.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Yarn-and-Muppet Cure

While I am by no means "all better" today, I am certainly feeling better than I did yesterday (not that that's saying much, I spent most of yesterday in bed). I didn't go in to work again today, though, feeling that pushing it too soon would be asking for a setback. I'm reasonably sure that I'll be able to go in tomorrow. Heck, I've been sitting at the computer for several minutes now and I'm sitting up, not leaning forward with all my weight on my arms, and yes, folks, that's progress. Sadly. Anyway, I spent part of last night and more of today knitting on the couch while watching dvds of The Muppet Show, and the laughing hasn't even sent me off into major coughing fits. It's a miracle!

I decided that if I could sit up long enough, I could write about the Christmas presents that I knit this year, since I know you've been on pins and needles to see. I should apologize for the photos, which are not all great; the stress of the season, when I figured getting any picture was better than no picture. How my standards slip in December.

The type of item I mostly made was the cotton washcloth, given with various bars of soaps, from Apple Festival and the like. I made some that were patterns like pictures, and others that were textured. For instance, in texture, I made a couple like this (one for my mother and one for my grandmother):
Also one in black, for my brother.
He got another one, with a picture of a skull, obviously.
My Hawaii-loving aunt got a picture of a palm tree:
And she also got a different "textured" one, knit diagonally for a little variety. Like this:
It ends up square, of course. Or, you know, square-ish.
For my friend, a shaped flower one that would make a nice doily:
Or make two and sew together for a pillow cover, perhaps.

Then there was a different flower, another for grandma.
One more for my mother, and this one is an "oh, is that what that is" item that requires explanation, I'm afraid. Take a look:
Okay? Flip-flops. I know, you have to use your imagination. Or look at some of the projects in Ravelry, some of which seem more obvious than mine. No matter, she liked it.

I was getting pretty tired of knitting with cotton by the end there, and didn't make more even though there were a couple of other people I could have made one for (so if you want one, you can ask!). I did make one more last week, however; not a Christmas present, but a birthday present for MaryEllen. Cupcake with candle!
Beyond the washcloths, I knit up a couple of little things more for Mum. A snitch for my fellow Harry Potter fan:
A crab, not because she is crabby but in tribute to a crab we saw on vacation years ago, an enormous inflatable one over the roof of a restaurant:
And finally, another one that needs a little explaining. It's a heart, that much is clear. But if you look at the pattern photos, it's much clearer there that it says Mum.


 

In my case, I wanted to use the yarn left from the shawl I made her last Christmas, and it turns out there isn't enough distinction between the two for it to be clear. But she doesn't mind. Mothers are good that way.

I'm starting to wobble again, so I'm off to rest more. Another time, I'll get into other gifts given, and happy gifts received. It was indeed a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Vastly Unfair

I know that life is not fair. But two weeks of congestion/coughing/extreme tired, followed by going to the doctor, should not be followed by feeling worse. It isn't supposed to work that way.

Going to lie back down now.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

A Pretty Pointless Question

I went out today and ran some errands; though I was only gone about four hours, I'm totally wiped out, plus Carlos is feeling all abandoned and wants attention (I'm getting more and more sure he could use some cat company, not desperately, the way Harold did after Pan died or Miri did after Harold died, but still, needing company). So, let me ask you a question, not an important one but just because I'm curious.

When I was visiting my mother, I watched her getting ready to go out and noticed that she put on one sock and shoe, then the other sock and shoe. I always put on both socks, then both shoes. Which way do you swing?
A) By foot, aka my mother's method: sock-shoe, sock-shoe
B) By item, aka my method: sock-sock, shoe-shoe
C) Other (please explain)
Bonus question: If you bought an item that said on the packaging,
"Should last a lifetime."
What would you think about that?

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Yes, Sargent!

I thought about blogging, and found myself thinking, "No, I just don't have anything in me right now," and then had to laugh at myself because I sure do have something in me right now: snot! Sorry, but the congestion rages on, and I am dragging. I was able to go to a museum with friends today because someone else drove and all I had to do was let myself be toted along, and I enjoyed it a great deal but I am wiped out. Boy, I thought I normally didn't have a lot of energy, but this is low.

Still, if you have a chance to get to the MFA and see the Sargent exhibition, I do recommend it, and it's there for two more weeks. It was super-crowded today, but such amazing paintings. So here you are, some crappy* photos of amazing paintings.
*I couldn't even get straight on to some of them. Crowded.













They also had a few Brits in there for some reason, and I quite liked this Ruskin.
And not forgetting the Chihuly in the courtyard.
And that truly is all I have. Good night!