Monday, July 22, 2019


So many things have been happening lately that I haven't yet written about, some small-but-notable, others much bigger. The biggest is that my grandmother had a fall last week (apparently she fell out of bed; I'm not sure how that happened), and someone at the nursing home found her on the floor. She has bumps and bruises, but somehow is otherwise fine and okay? I really can't explain it. On Friday, we were thinking we would be Getting The Call and making plane reservations ASAP, and now here we are. She is one tough woman.

Not as big, and very exciting, is that I have finally gotten myself a smart phone! Only ten or fifteen years after everyone else, right? It's a Samsung Galaxy A6, and since the navigation is similar to my tablet, I'm getting around okay as I get used to it. The texting is far better, and the camera is amazing!

It's much faster, and much better in low light, than the tablet one is.

Speaking of tech, let me update on the laptop battery issue: I decided to give it some time and see what happened, before replacing the battery. I put it back in last Monday, when I think it was running in the mid-90s, and since then it has gradually dropped, so now it says it's at 83%. I think I'll order a new one and see if that one will charge, because if it turns out that isn't the root of the problem, I want to find out before it dies altogether.

Then small stuff:
  • I renewed my passport; the new one came on Friday, and the old one, now cancelled, arrived today. That's an interesting way to do it, eh? Just glad it's here and I'm set for the next ten years. No trips currently planned, but Mom and I would like to go back to PEI one of these years, so I didn't want to let it run out.
  • I finally was able to get my first Shingrix shot! I've only been trying to find it in stock for literally months (if you aren't keeping up with such things, this vaccine is much more successful than the previous vaccine was, and the manufacturer has struggled to keep up with demand). I am reliably informed that shingles is a miserable disease that I do not want to get, so I was motivated to keep searching.
    • There was a snafu with one pharmacy not able to make my insurance cover the cost, but after I had called and was assured that it really was covered, another pharmacy (that also had it in stock at last) got it to go through. I'm really glad I didn't just pay it out of pocket; $181 will buy a lot of yarn!
    • Hopefully, the shots will be available in a few months, when I need the second one, but sufficient unto the day, etc.
  • Maggie had her vet appointment on Saturday, just routine, check-up and shots. The girl Does Not Like the car. It was not fun for either of us, but it went well, no problems detected, and I had a drink as soon as we got home.
  • I'm trying multifocal contact lenses, so I can stop with constantly needing reading glasses, and it's going both badly and well. Actually reading with them in is easier! However, they are uncomfortable, and apparently these are the only ones that come in my strength (have I mentioned I have bad eyes?). The optician suggests I try wearing them for a few days, at least part of the day, to see if I get used to them (they're made of a different material than the ones I've worn for years). Hopefully it will get better. I wish I could get them in the material as the ones I'm used to.
That's the state of things around here, and it's enough, eh? What's up with you?

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Bunch-of-Stuff Teaser

I wanted to write about a whole bunch of stuff today, but I didn't get to it, so until I get that done, have this:
She pulled my hand in and purred into it.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Two Things I would Never Have Put Together

The next time anyone tries to tell you that knitting is a "grandma" thing, please let them know about the Heavy Metal Knitting World Championships, which were just held in Finland.

A short snippet, including the winners:

And my new favorite slogan:

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Getting There: Trip Planning

I've spent some time recently poking at my transit options for my big Apple Festival/Rhinebeck trip in October. The travel-to-be-booked consists of three parts:
  1. Getting from Florida to Syracuse
  2. Getting from Syracuse to Boston
  3. Getting from Boston back to Florida
The third one is the easiest, since I can take a nice nonstop with JetBlue, very much terra cognita for me after years of traveling this route for visits. I haven't booked the flight yet, but I'm watching and hoping that the price may dip.

For the second one, I think I'm going to take the train instead of flying. As I mentioned before, the only two nonstop flights have me choosing between leaving at 5 AM (ha, no) and arriving at 10 PM (also a no), and even the easiest of non-nonstop options is neither all that cheap nor all that easy. Hello, Amtrak.

For the first leg, I finally picked the least unpalatable of the options. The only nonstops for the route from the Ft Myers area to Syracuse are seasonal, not starting until November, on the budget airlines, and if you think regular flying is bare-bones these days, you should try Frontier. It's cheap, and it gets you there, but I'm not altogether sorry they're not available for this trip. Instead, I'll be flying American, so we'll see how that stacks up compared to JetBlue.

I've been using Kayak for info-gathering, and they will email me to ask if I want to check fares on routes I had been looking at. Once I booked this flight, I didn't need to see updates for that route any more, so I clicked on the link to unsubscribe, and had to laugh at how they conveyed the got-it message:
I do love a sense of humor.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Conversation with Maggie

[from out in the hall] 'Mrr-row-row!'
[from the office] "I'm in here, sweetheart."
[she comes in] 'Mrrow!'
"Yes, I am aware that I'm not out there with you."
"I know, I'd like to be, too, but this is what pays for the cat food."
"I don't like it either, but there we are."

Silence. I encourage her to jump up on the cat tree next to me, and she does. The End.

Of course, that was Not The End. A brief rest, then another hour of dancing around and in and out, wanting food and play and who knows what. Then some scootching around the perch, trying to get me to play the delightful game of "let me capture and bite your hand" (which I always decline to play, but she keeps trying). Then some napping. Then down again, around again, eat again.

When I got home from swimming, she was napping under a blanket on the couch, and didn't come out for a few hours. She has been sent hiding from the thunder on and off since then. Summer in Florida is hard on a cat who gets scared by thunder.

Meanwhile, here's a funny pose from the morning:
I've never seen her do that with her back legs before!

Monday, July 15, 2019


As Amazon does its Prime Day thing to try to get me to buy things I don't need (damn it, I'm saving for Rhinebeck, don't tempt me! I'm not looking!), I've noticed other companies try to piggyback on it, offering some coy promotion names:
  • primo days
  • prime time
  • cyber Monday in July
  • it's a prime day to save!
But my very favorite one comes from Cows, the excellent ice cream chain in Canada.
I love Cows, both the ice cream and the sense of humor. If you haven't seen their t-shirts, they have both general cow-humor ones, and excellent pop-culture parodies, so it's worth a browse, Amoozon hay day or not.

And of course, if you head to one of the right parts of Canada, don't miss the ice cream! Caramel Moocchiato, anyone?

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Laptop Battery Question for the Crowd

Looking back, I see that I bought this laptop in October of 2015, meaning I've had it for three and three-quarter, going on four years. Does anyone know if that's a reasonable amount of time for the battery to die in? This is my first (personal) laptop, so it's sort of terra incognita for me here.

What's happened is that Friday night, when I was turning off lights in the office, I noticed the light by the power cord plug wasn't the usual bright color (even when the laptop is shut down, that little light is on). I didn't have the laptop on yesterday, but when I turned it on today, the battery icon hover-over says the laptop is plugged in, but not charging.

I tried the advice in this PC Magazine article, and took the battery out, then turned the computer on, and it did turn on while just plugged in, so it seems the charger is not at fault. I put the battery back in, and the message still says not charging.

I need a new battery, I guess; I mean, the article has a lot of talk of settings and drivers and so on, but I doubt I went over 3.5 years with a setting that is only now screwing me up, right? And replacing the entire machine feels a bit drastic.

Sigh. Technology.

Friday, July 12, 2019

"Where the Light Enters" Is a Very Satisfying Follow-Up to "The Gilded Hour"

I mentioned last month that I had won a Goodreads giveaway for Sara Donati's new book, Where the Light Enters (on sale September 10th), and it arrived a few days before I went on my recent trip. In fact, it came two weeks ago today, and I was initially dismayed to see it only because I had had a moderately bad migraine that day, and was afraid I wouldn't be able to open it right away! Happily, the headache cleared itself off, and I was able to stay up far too late (hooray for a Friday) and finish it. (Yes, I need to read it again now and settle some of the details in my head, but this is what I do: rush along eagerly to see what happens.)

The book is the sequel to The Gilded Hour, which I really like; it's a historical novel set in New York City in 1883, focusing primarily but not exclusively on two women who are cousins and doctors there. Yes, there really were women doctors at that time and place! Anna and Sophie face issues of sexism, racism, women's rights, poverty, inequality, and other things that are sadly not resolved to this day. And yet it isn't a dry tome, but a lively book with characters you want to sit down and chat with over coffee. The descriptions make it a living place, and I have the sense the author has done tons of homework to be accurate as well as lyrical.

I own TGH in paperback and ebook, as well as having the audio version, and have read and listened to it many times. There are story lines that are resolved in TGH and some that are not, including the main mystery, and so I was especially eager for WTLE, to find out if any of my thoughts on whodunit were correct. (The answer to that was, well, sort of, partially, but I did not have the whole thing figured out at all!)

The stories of the characters in TGH continue, mostly in very satisfying ways, and sometimes in sad but believable ways. If something is going to happen in a book that I wish hadn't happened, I prefer it when my reaction is, "Why did that have to happen?" and not, "That would never happen, I don't believe it!"

Also, Donati is very good at including realistic settings and background without feeling like a textbook or a history lesson from that professor who always put you to sleep: she makes the material live, serving the story, and I like her style.

As for the question of whether you need to have read the entire Wilderness series, that would be a no; not that I recommend against reading them, not at all, but you don't have to read them in order to read the recent ones. Her website describes the earlier books as "six historical novels that follow the fortunes of a group of families living in the vast forests in upstate New York from about 1792-1825, with particular attention to the War of 1812"; these two books are descended from but not directly related to the action of the previous ones. But you really do need to read TGH in order to read WTLE; I mean, there's no point otherwise.

If you like historical fiction (with some romance*), I recommend her books highly; if you liked TGH, you will like WTLE.
*I note that because years ago, I chose Into the Wilderness for a book club, and the most outspoken member of the group didn't like it (which is fine), but was scathing about that aspect. I guess she preferred a more dry tone to history. But hey, without sex, there is no history.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Where To Start

I'm getting my trip photos in a row, so none of those yet (and honestly, the vast majority are of my friend's baby, so I won't be putting those up anyway), but here's what I've been looking at since I got home:

Her belly fur doesn't really have a white heart on it, but it looks that way here!
As for work, well, it's been work. Mildly irritating, but today's had a few (unintentionally) funny moments:
  • Such as "think thank" (for think tank)
  • And the idea that speeding something up means you "fasten the process"--not.
And at least it was a short one, started and finished in under a day. I am strongly hoping that tomorrow will be a quiet, peaceful Friday, and then it's the weekend, ahh.

Meanwhile, someone wants the lap back. Good night!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Not Quite Yet

Well, I was going to try to write at more length tonight, but someone is waiting for me to get the lap ready for her again. Like this:
So, I'll try again tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Here I Am! All's Well

Whoops, I didn't mean to go a few weeks between posts! Between getting ready for my Boston trip, and having some mild headache days during that last week before going, blogging just slid down the to-do list, you know? I mean, I enjoy blogging, but I could leave for the trip without having blogged. Without finishing the packing? Not so much.

So I had a great time, and got home fairly late last night. Did the blitz-unpack thing, and catered to the kitty, who was all, "Oh, are you alive? I thought you must be dead since you abandoned me." Got to bed too late, then had to work today, if you can imagine! The indignity of it! Tonight we're going out to dinner with neighbors, and I predict I will be in bed very soon after I get home. So, so very tired... But I'll be back!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

A Change She Approves

Miss Maggie is a big fan of boxes, and there are several around the house for her. There are flattened ones that she lies on:
And put-together ones that she goes into.
But yesterday, I decided that she might enjoy a spot higher off the ground when she hangs out in my office while I'm working, so I moved the small cat tree in from the living room to try out.

It didn't take long for the inspector to notice the change.
Lots of sniffing.
Then she jumped down, but five minutes later, she was back and settling down.

This morning, she was back. And she rotated a lot.
 And thus, not all the pictures are in focus! Wiggle-worm.

Vigorous claw-sharpening, good girl.
Lots of bathing.

Neat four-paws-and-the-tail placement.

Smug little face.
She slept in the bed for a few hours, then came back to finish the workday with me. And continued to be quite ridiculously cute.

And then there was thunder and she retreated under my bed. But hopefully, she'll be back here tomorrow.

Monday, June 24, 2019

I Stand With Ravelry

As you may have heard (I've seen stories today from NPR, the Washington Post, CNN, and Buzzfeed, among others), the fiber-lovers-website Ravelry announced on Sunday a new policy "banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry."

They go on to say, "We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is unambiguously support for white supremacy."


If you think no one could argue with that statement, I will (sadly) tell you that you are wrong.

If you yourself happen to disagree with it, well, it was nice knowing you, back before I knew that about you, and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. Feel free to unfriend me everywhere.

And for those who want to argue 'free speech,' I will suggest you read this.
(See it on the web here.)

Ravelry is a private company, and they can enact any rules they want to. I happen to agree with this one, but if you don't, your options are to keep using Ravelry but not speak up about the current administration on the site, or leave Ravelry. Up to you. It is still a free country. For now.

I would also like to point out, specific to the immigration/refugee horrors going on now, that just about all of us in the US came here from someone else (apparently just 2% of the population is Native American). Imagine if these policies had been turned against the pilgrims? Oh, look, you don't have to imagine it:
I support the people that the current administration seems determined to demean, diminish, denigrate, dehumanize, torment, and kill. Women, LGBTQ, BIPOC, and especially (given recent events) immigrants, refugees, and anyone else covered by the poem on the Statue of Liberty, no matter what the current administration thinks.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Thank you, Emma Lazarus. I want my country to live up to that.

All right, you made it this far. Are we still friends? Do you agree? (Are you speaking up?)

Then here, you've earned a pretty yarn photo, appropriate for Pride Month.
And a cat photo, just because.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Um, Whoops

Well, at least they fixed it.

Friday, June 21, 2019

All I've Got Is

That Friday night feeling.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Maggie Stories

The other night, Maggie came along to where I was sitting on the couch, with an afghan on my lap. She has curled up in this blanket about a thousand times, but that night, she was having none of it. She walked from the arm of the couch onto my chest (ow), and stood there until I pushed the blanket down, so she could get directly onto my lap.
Where she proceeded to stand, kneading her claws (that need trimming, again ouch) for a few minutes.
Before she finally settled down into a good lap position.

Last night, she was on the footstool in front of me, giving me a good look at her pretty, pretty fur. She even held still long enough to let me get a non-blurry photo.
So it cut off half her head; it's in focus, damn it.

She got on my lap again later, while I was watching the NHL Awards.
And thus was available to console me when Bergeron did not win the Selke. Oh well.
As she would remind me, I have a cat.
That should be enough joy for any person.
Though she is modest, she just has to say it.
She is a beautiful girl.