Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hockey and more

Correction and amplification from my last post to start. The Bruins' last game never did get as close as 5-2. The scoring toward the end went like this:


Just to be strictly accurate! Also, I forgot to pass along something one of the announcers said after the Bruins scored one of their later goals. It struck me so, I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget:
"You never take your foot off the snake."
I think I speak for more than myself, when I say, "Huh?" Honestly, WTF?

Anyway, the Bruins are in the second period as I type, up 2-0, and while I know they have plenty of time to screw it up, they're actually playing quite well. Even if they don't win tonight, I feel like their improved play is the nicest sort of Christmas gift they could give me. Watching them complete passes and make plays and not give up gladdens my hockey-fan heart.

Something interesting did happen in the first period that had me scratching my head a bit. Vancouver was called for a penalty, and Trevor Linden complained so much, from the bench (it wasn't against him personally), that he got an extra penalty. That isn't unheard of, but he actually got a 2-and-10, two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and another 10 minutes for, I guess, being super-unsportsmanlike.

What do you suppose he said? The mind boggles. That's a lot of time to get for bitching.

I doubt I'll post tomorrow or Saturday before I leave, though never say never, so it may be a little while before I'm back in this space. Happy whatever makes you happy!

The final word comes from one of Laurie's commenters today, who said something that I find, while not elegantly expressed perhaps, to be still most profound. Meditate on this if you like:
Fear of sucking is an invisible shackle.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

First blowout of the season?

I think it was. The Bruins won last night, 7-2, and they never trailed, and it was never closer than 5-2. I don't think they've won so handily all year. What is it with the Bruins and Ottawa in recent years, anyway? Even last season, when the Sens were good and the Bruins generally awful, we still beat them most of the time. This year, they haven't been quite as good and we haven't been quite as bad (consistently, anyway), and here we still are, beating them. It's funny, isn't it?

And Patrice Bergeron had five assists. Five! Wow. Marco Sturm had a hat trick; he looked so happy. I think it was his second in the NHL; first as a Bruin, anyway. Zdeno Chara was booed all night for the crime of being a former Senator who had the nerve to sign with another team, which is understandable from an Ottawa fan's perspective. It gets me thinking about Z, though.

He's a good player. I'm not saying he's not. But I haven't seen him as the Great Player I was expecting when the Bruins signed him. Other than his sacrificial, team-inspiring, 'block the shot with his body in a meaningless preseason game' thing, I can't think of any big, game-turning performances he's given. I kind of expected him to be more of a catalyst than I'm seeing. Playing against him, he certainly had a knack for getting between my team and where they were trying to go. Am I just not seeing it as clearly in reverse?

Don't get me wrong. He is a good player. And at six-foot-nine, he's certainly a presence on the ice. I'm sure he inspires his teammates in many ways. I think, in retrospect, I was picturing Ray Bourque Plus, and that's what I haven't seen. Anyone want to weigh in on this? Is it me, or is it him?

Monday, December 18, 2006

of blogs and bloggers

Isn't it great when you discover a great new blog? (And no, I'm not fishing; I know most of my legions of readers are friends or family, and godluvya for coming, but that's a whole different thing from today's topic, so I'll get back to it.) By luck or happenstance, you find a blog that makes you smile, or nod, or laugh out loud, or tear up, or whatever floats your emotional boat. I thought I'd share some favorites.

My first read when I'm blog-surfing is Laurie, aka Crazy Aunt Purl. I found her blog when I was looking for a hat pattern to knit, and stayed for everything else: knitting, cats, horrorscopes, pictures, videos, links, and a great take on life. Love ya, Laurie! Check your mailbox, though I swear I'm not stalking you! (The hat pattern is great, by the way, and so simple, but there's much more to it than that.)

Second, I generally read Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot. Although there is a lot more regular knitting content here, she also writes about family, neighbors, travel, and so on, and is amusing and inspiring and well, next time she comes to Greater Boston, I'm there (I was a little late to the Harlot bandwagon, so I didn't go when she was in Cambridge recently [this summer? last summer?]).

Then, Franklin at The Panopticon (which his website does explain, so I won't). In recent weeks, two different people have sent me links to him, which shows they do know me, and yes, I enjoy reading his blogging. He knits, too (I found his site from Stephanie's), but again there's more there than that. And if you go to his blog, you should know that Dolores is a sheep, okay? And don't call her imaginary unless you're ready to face the consequences.

Those are generally the first ones; then if I have time, I check out others:

Jennifer Saylor, with whom I used to work in North Carolina, back in the day. I enjoy her writing even when she writes about mathy stuff, and if you know me (which as previously discussed, you probably do), you know that's saying something (hello, English major!).

MonicaPDX, whose blog I found mostly because she also reads Stephanie and Laurie, and comments well. I enjoy her perspective on life as well as her helpful also-learning-to-knit-socks position.

And a new one (to me), Tammy at Polka Dot Mittens, also found through a pithy comment on Laurie's blog. I went back and read through her archives, and had a fine giggle. There were a couple of months when the postings were, well, a little slim, but after all anyone who is renovating the basement and preparing for a wedding is excused.

I just hope she's prolific going forward, because damn it, the bad thing about blogs is that you find someone whose writing you want to read, and then they don't write, and that's no fun! If I click into a blog for the first time, and see the most recent posting is from 2 months ago, and starts out talking about how long it's been since they last posted, they've lost me. They could be a great blogger, but it only leads to frustration. And who wants to volunteer for that?

If anyone wants to suggest others, please do so! For now, since I have boxes yet to unpack and a trip to plan for, I'm off to make cookies. Of course! And I'll post photos (sometime) of the wristwarmer: such a quick knit, I started it Thursday night and finished Saturday, and started number two! Fun...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

My inner child reads a lot

More than my outer adult, apparently!

I was reading this week's Publisher's Weekly (a trade magazine that I got hooked on during the B&N years), and noticed something about the bestseller lists. They break it down by hardcover fiction and nonfiction, paperback fiction and nonfiction, then rotate with audio, religion, kids, and other topics. Sometimes I study the lists, and usually find that I have read one, or maybe two, books of the top 15.

This week they listed kids, and I realized that of the top 15 kids fiction books, I had read 6, and planned to read 2 more. I looked back to the other lists, and hadn't read a one. That makes 0 for 60 on the so-called adult books, and 6 (or 8) for 15 of kids. Well! I found that quite interesting. I do read adult books, of course, but I'm not really ruled by the bestseller lists (obviously). With the kids books, I think there's more of a tendency for high-quality books to be on the lists, if you permit the generalization. Or perhaps I am talking nonsense. In any event, here are the ones I've read:

1. Eragon, by Christopher Paolini. Good book! The fantasy may not be ground-breaking, but the kid does it well (he was 15 when he started the first one, homeschooled, and his family self-published it at first; by 19, he was on the NYT bestseller list, whew). I've been meaning to blog about this, and the sequel, since my teaser a while back about the good audiobook I was listening to. The audios were very well done, and since some of the names of places and characters are, well, non-intuitive to pronounce, it was nice to hear them before I read them. Although that did mean I could say them but not write them, which was a little odd. I enjoyed both this and Eldest, and am looking forward to publication of the third one, which I think may be next year sometime.

2. Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer. Enjoyable vampire novel. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, just out, New Moon, which is at number 5 on the PW list.

3. Eldest, the sequel to Eragon.

6. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo. I read this cover to cover in a bookstore some time back. Charming story of a conceited stuffed rabbit who learns his lesson through a series of adventures. The illustrations are perfect, too, as I recall.

8. Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Funny and enjoyable prequel to Peter Pan. The audio is well read by Jim Dale, who brings the Harry Potter books to such marvelous life. The sequel, Peter and the Shadow Thieves, is the other one on my to-read list.

9. Terrier, by Tamora Pierce. This is a new fantasy series by a great writer of young female characters. Not that she doesn't write men well, too, but the girls are strong and interesting and smart, and if I had daughters, I'd hope they'd enjoy Pierce's books as much as I have. She actually has created two worlds, and one of them I can take or leave, but the Tortall books (the Alanna quartet, the Dane/Immortals quartet, the Kel quartet, and the Ali duo (? three is a trilogy, four a quartet, what's two?) are all really good. I enjoyed Terrier, too, though it isn't my absolute favorite. Still, not sorry I bought it.

And always glad to talk books, so if anyone has any questions about these or other books, bring'em on!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday and all

Look! I'm knitting! I even still remember how. You know, "knit read cats hockey"? I managed three-at-once last night, as I was knitting, with the cats, while watching hockey. The cats were in the On Lap and Next To Lap positions (in our house, Next To is also called 'better than no lap at all'), and although Pan made it clear that sleeping on my elbow would have been more pleasant if the muscles in my arm would stop moving, he persevered. And the Bruins even won. It was a good night, and off to a good start on the wristwarmer with the yarn I bought at Apple Festival.

I give you two images, since I think both the flash and no-flash versions show the yarn and pattern differently but validly:

I really like this yarn, both the colors and the soft of it. Jackie at the Knitting Room in Arlington gave me guidance for the "pattern" (repeating two rows, what could be easier), and she's going to help me with the thumbhole, too. After all, without that hole, they would be less useful!

I did have an "isn't today over yet" day today. Not a bad day, but I was just, you know, ready for the weekend before I left the house this morning. I leave on my trip a week from tomorrow, on Christmas Adam*, and then I will be 'ccr in FL' for a week. I have no idea if I will blog from there. I could, of course; but I may just be too busy walking on the beach, drinking fresh-squoze orange juice, and eating. Actually, it's even better than that sounds. I'll be spending time with my parents and my brother, and since we all live ridiculously far from each other, that doesn't happen every year (okay, it happened last year, but still, it's nice). I love that we're all excited about that.

* You know, the day before Christmas Eve

I had one of those world-upside-down moments today. I talked to my doctor earlier this week about my headaches, and he decided to refer me to a neurologist, so I called his office today to make an appointment. My PCP's office had told me that this guy was easy to make an appointment with, so I figured January, you know: that it wouldn't be months and months, the way it can be with doctors sometimes. I gave all my info to the woman who answered, and here's what she offered me: next Thursday.

Less than a week? Whew. What is the world coming to? Sure, I'll take it!

And, in further good news, it's less than a week to that magical day when I stop getting more darkness (because I really have enough, honestly), and start getting a little more light every day. Loving the solstice!

And finally, a word from our orange. Isn't it pretty? There's a sort of star in the middle. A Christmas orange, perhaps...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Looking back, and forward

I saw this on another blog (which, of course, I can't find again), and liked the idea. It's perhaps a little self-indulgent, but after all, so is this blog.

10 years ago: 1996. I was living in Charlotte, NC. I had just moved in to share a house with a friend, where I was very happy. She and I were very compatible housemates, without being joined at the hip. We had similar ideas about when windows should be open or closed, and how frequently cleaning needed to happen, and we both cleaned out the lint trap on the dryer every time. Don't discount little stuff like that, it's far more important in a housemate than agreeing on religion or politics. (I wonder, if she hadn't died in 1999, would I have moved back north?) My cat-from-childhood, Honey, was alive and purring. I was working at Barnes & Noble, doing receiving (hiding in the back being the only way I survived retail as long as I did). Overall, it was a good time in my life.

5 years ago:
2001. Just after the terrorist attacks, I was still very jumpy. Still in Charlotte, but starting to think about moving north again. Out of retail, I had one of those get-me-a-job-that-isn't-retail jobs, where I liked the people around me and my immediate bosses, but above that, not the greatest company to work for. It was a time of transition for me.

1 year ago:
2005. I was in a new job that I had a very good feeling about (and rightly so, as it's turned out). Back in Massachusetts for a couple of years, resettling into winter weather (ugh, that's why I moved in the first place). Thinking about restarting the condo search, which was suspended before it got started when my last job announced the site was closing and you're all going to be unemployed.

1 month ago:
Mid-November. Driving myself crazy with packing at home, working on catalog at work. Crazy time.

Sort of normal life. Worked, went to Walmart after work to buy shoes (actually, they're ankle boots; I bought a pair last week in black, and they're so comfy, I went back for the brown), got Chinese take-out, did laundry. Nice and normal, with plenty of kitty-cuddles.

Literally, more of yesterday. Metaphorically, who knows? I'm in a very happy place right now, and hope very much to be as happy in the future. If I make my list and find the real Mr. Right, that would be great, but if not, you know what? That's okay. I'm good.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Talk of chocolate things

I enjoyed writing about ice cream last month, and what could be better? Why, chocolate, of course. Can we say it again? Chocolate... mmm.

So, one of the fabulous things about chocolate is the variety. Most chocoholics aren't too judgmental if someone likes a different type or variety or brand of chocolate than they do (deep down, they're probably glad the person won't be sneaking off with something that is rightfully theirs). Much like a knitter might not argue if you don't love the kind of yarn they do: they'll think you're wrong-headed and deluded, but at least you won't be in their way when that yarn is on sale! As long as you like chocolate, or yarn; otherwise there isn't much to talk about. (A rare exception to this is my brother, who doesn't like chocolate himself--it's one of his very few flaws--but who is the most obliging non-chocoholic imaginable. Who else would suggest going to see "Chocolate: The Exhibition", or would eat at a mostly-chocolate restaurant?) So here are some of my favorites types and brands and so on. Chocolate talk. (Let's see if I can control myself at all.)

Generally, I like caramel (with milk chocolate, by preference, and without nuts), and also mint (with dark chocolate), and buttercrunch (preferably without any nuts adhering to the chocolate), and either milk or dark by itself (though truffles don't generally ring my bell). I'm not generally a big fan of nuts in chocolate, or fruit, though there are exceptions. I don't scorn the occasional Snickers bar, or Twix, or Mounds (because sometimes you may feel like a nut, but I almost never do). For the good stuff, though, I have a few favorites.

Harbor Sweets is a big favorite, and has been for years. They're semi-local to me, in Salem, MA, and when I was a kid I remember going to the factory store, or was it a tour? Anyway, they're sold in various boutiques around the country, as well as on the website, of course. Every year, my mother sends me their chocolate-a-day Advent calendar (thanks again!), and let me tell you, that will spoil you for the little cheap drugstore ones for all time. I mean, what's the good of a chocolate a day if it isn't good chocolate?

My all-time favorite from Harbor Sweets has to be the Marblehead Mint, which is dark chocolate with little crunchy bits of peppermint. Delicious! I just ate one, so the delicious is fresh in my memory.

I am also very fond of the Sweet Sloops, which come in individual pieces or in bars (even better! the "pecan spindrift" on the individuals looks cute, but doesn't do much for my personal taste buds). They are buttercrunch at heart, with mostly white chocolate covering. They have a little touch of dark chocolate, too; in the bars, equal amounts of each. (While we speak of buttercrunch, by the way, I got some on sale after Christmas last year from Lands' End, of all places, that was delicious. Who would have thought?)

Harbor Sweets does plenty of other varieties, some I like more than others (Harbor Lights, with raspberry/cranberry in dark chocolate, yum), but these are the major favorites.

A newer company to me is also New England-y, Lake Champlain Chocolates from Vermont. They have an assortment they call Chocolates of Vermont, which contains four charming varieties: Honey Caramel (love it), Maple Crunch (like it), Evergreen Mint (love it; it's much the same as the Marblehead Mints), and Green Mountain (like it). It is nice to expand one's borders, don't you think?

What kind do you like? Why?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Feline delusion, and almost a feline incursion

To start with the second first, we almost had a neightbor's cat break in to the apartment over the weekend. Well, not break down the door, certainly, but when I opened the door to go downstairs, this little furball tried to fly past me into my condo, which of course is the home of the Two Cats Who Still Aren't Sure Why We Had To Move Anyway. While I am quite sure they would have defended their turf, the repurrcussions (sorry) make me wince. I dropped the laundry and managed to pin the intruder to the floor, then scooped him up and got us both into the hall with my door safely closed before I put him down. I knocked on my neighbor's door, and when she opened it a moment later, the cat streaked in there. I said, "I hope that was your cat," and fortunately, it was (can you imagine if it hadn't been? Because she does have a cat, so if this one had been someone else's ... ugh.) She had been doing laundry herself earlier, and had no idea her cat had managed to escape into the hall. A happy ending and a cautionary tale all in one.

The feline delusion is Pan's, all Pan's. He has become convinced, in the last year or so, that he wants to be under the covers. He has never wanted to before, and if a blanket ended up on top of him, he would come out at once, shaking his head violently: the ears, mom, don't mess with the ears! Harold loves to be under blankets, always has, and will sleep happily for hours Underneath, unless Pan comes along and steps on him, in his total unawareness that there could be someone invisible on the bed or couch. Leading to situations like this:

How many cats do you see? One, or two?

But as I say, Pan has decided this is for him. Really. Let me in, let me under. But there are problems with the execution of said plan.

1. He can't generally get in by himself. Lacking Harold's years of practice, he will paw at the edge of the blanket, over and over and over, trying to find the switch that will open sesame for him. This is less than charming behavior when I'm trying to sleep, as you may imagine.

2. His dream of comfort under blankets rarely matches reality (he really doesn't like things on his ears), so he moves around and around, trying to find the position that is comfy. This is also not so restful.

As a result, I find myself, in bed, yelling, "No in! No under!" at him. What would the neighbors think?

Finally, in unrelated news, this is a little scary. I mean, some of it doesn't make sense to me, and some of it doesn't fit me, but some of it, well. Interesting.

You are The Hermit

Prudence, Caution, Deliberation.

The Hermit points to all things hidden, such as knowledge and inspiration, hidden enemies. The illumination is from within, and retirement from participation in current events.

The Hermit is a card of introspection, analysis and, well, virginity. You do not desire to socialize; the card indicates, instead, a desire for peace and solitude. You prefer to take the time to think, organize, ruminate, take stock. There may be feelings of frustration and discontent but these feelings eventually lead to enlightenment, illumination, clarity.

The Hermit represents a wise, inspirational person, friend, teacher, therapist. This a person who can shine a light on things that were previously mysterious and confusing.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I love these socks

It really is the little things in life, isn't it? This weekend I got a library card for my new town, and the library is so cute! I shopped around downtown, which has some charming shops that I will so be visiting for shopping next Christmas, as well as other occasions before then. And I have found warm socks to wear to work.

I ran across them in Marshall's, and tried one pair, since $10 a pair is a lot if you end up hating them. But, really, $10 a pair isn't too bad if you love them, especially if they usually retail for around $15-20+ (these are last season's socks, my dear, if you can imagine). The ones I bought are actually ski socks, but who cares? It just means they have a little extra padding at the heel and along the front of the calf, but it's not that obvious.

The brand is Smartwool, and they're warm without being itchy, knee-high without cutting off my circulation, and they keep my feet and lower legs warm, without getting clammy (I tried a pair of fleece socks, too, and the latter is their problem). They even come in discrete colors for unobtrusiveness. I mean, I don't mind wearing ski socks to work, but I don't want to look like I'm wearing ski socks to work, if you see the fine distinction. I went to another Marshall's and bought a bunch more, to help me get through the shiver season.

I've been fighting a bit of a headache today; it ranged from 1-4 on the scale. What I wouldn't give to never have one of these again. Still, at this moment in time it's gone, and Christmas music is playing, and dinner is in the oven. Not too tough to take, is life at the moment. And what more can I ask? I will emulate my cats, and live in the moment.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Head Scale, hockey, and just a little moving

So here it is, the how-bad-is-the-headache scale. It's an individual thing, of course, highly subjective, so if your descriptions would be different, that's not at all surprising. Feel free to suggest your own descriptors!

0 no pain; not even thinking about head (unless it is just after a headache)
1 slightly, intermittently aware of head, but don't usually get around to medication
2 medicate; starting to rub head
3 more aware of pain, less able to concentrate
4 pain starts to interfere with life, thinking, etc
5 medicine doesn't seem to be helping--—until it wears off
6 start of unconscious groaning
7 begin randomly walking around, trying to find something to do that doesn't hurt
8 can't do anything (read, tv, computer) because it all hurts
9 can't think of anything but head; railing against fate
10 want to die

This is a cheery topic, isn't it? Of course, I don't have a headache today, so I can be as cheery as I want. On a clear day, it doesn't seem quite real, the memory of headaches like this. Today, the PMS is fading; the acne seems to be diminishing; things are pretty good.

And the Bruins won. They are 10-3 in their last 13 games. Weird. Good, of course, but weird. I'm kind of afraid to pay too much attention, in case I jinx it. Superstitious, much? Uh, yeah. Knock on wood when you say that, won't you?

And just a little on The Move, since I have trouble ignoring the topic. Still loving the new place, but you know what? I'm ready to be settled. Unpacked. Places found for things, routines settled into. Staples and stores bought, extra errands done. But I'm not complaining, much. It continues to improve. I'm just a little tired tonight, I guess. I did 5 errands on the way home (although, I only did 3 yesterday and was home much later, so the number isn't the main thing), and filled and ran the dishwasher, and put things away, and paid bills, and wrote a thank-you note, and snuck glances at the Bruins game when they weren't looking, and I'm ready for bed. Which works out well, since it's time to get ready for bed.

Probably the period is why I'm extra-tired this week, actually. The joys of hormones. I know, I know, thanks for sharing, right?

Monday, December 04, 2006

hockey whiplash

It was 1-0 Montreal...

then 2-1 Boston...

then 4-1 Boston...

then 4-4...

now 5-4 Boston, and I'm listening to make sure that's still accurate.

(Add Montreal to the list of arenas with the obnoxious godawful horns, by the way.)

The unpacking is getting there, and the boys are managing to relax despite all the Changes.

Oh, crap. 5-5. I knew I should have hit "publish post" quickly. Gotta go, bye.

Friday, December 01, 2006

We have normality; repeat, we have normality

What a blessed relief to return to normal, or something approaching it (what's that saying? Normal around here is just a setting on the dryer?). I have Plenty of unpacking yet to do, but the worst of the weird is finally behind me.

Groceries? Check.

Laundry? Check.

Run dishwasher and disposal? Cooked, real meals? Check-check-check.

And, books unpacked? Check. Oh, not all of them, not by a long shot, but the fiction-etceteras fill the two big bookcases in the living room and gladden my heart, and the OED fills one of the small folding bookcases and makes me smile. I can't believe how comfortable I am here, after only a week. Oh, I still have tons to do, but it's not overwhelming, and I'm establishing places for things, and routines, and smiling.

Though I haven't felt all that well yesterday and today, which is tiresome. The Head, With Stomach. Not critical, not level 10, but annoying. (I've started to play with definitions of each level on my personal headache pain scale, which I'll share when they're done. Saying my head is at level 6 on a scale of 0-10 isn't as clear, as evocative, as saying I've reached the point of unconscious groaning, don't you think?) I called in to work yesterday morning, went in for a few hours in the afternoon when it waned, then was wiped out last night, and awoke today at 3:42 (a.m.!) with it back again. Which wouldn't be so bad, except I Could Not fall asleep again. Though I tried, and tried. Eventually I gave up, and got up, and though I'm past the teenage years of sleeping until noon, I don't choose to get up that early unless I have a plane to catch. Sheesh. By 10 a.m., I felt like it should be mid-afternoon. So it's been an odd few days, and the feeling of relief I had at one point this afternoon when I realized it is the weekend is hard to describe. Two days to get things done, or get nothing done ... glorious.

At some point, probably not this weekend, I need--no, I want to go clothes shopping. I want some warm slacks/pants/trousers that I can wear to work, since the Marketing Department of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation is usually a wee bit chilly (read long unders and three shirts, with occasional shawl and gloves). Doesn't have to be very corporate, since chinos are fine (jeans on Fridays). Would prefer machine-wash, but can be dry clean if that's all there is. Warm. My brief foray last month was not successful, but now that I can devote some time to it, we'll see.

And I need jeans. At least, I'll be trying on all I have to confirm that none of them please me, but I have my suspicions. During the Move Event, I grabbed a pair that turned out to be give-to-Goodwill baggy, and when I put on another pair, a good friend informed that they really were pretty baggy, too. I certainly haven't lost weight in the last few months (probably gained back a pound or three), but I do believe her (she was coming up the stairs behind me). Not that I want skintight either ... it's so difficult to find them Just Right, isn't it?

The boys seem to be settling in, by the way:

I love the way their paws are all intertwined. Sweet kitty love.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I am so ready for the fun part

I am in the condo. I am out of the apartment. Moved. Done.

Exhausted, in case that doesn't go without saying.

Unpacked? Ha. That will take time. But even in the functional but still boxy way it is now, I like this new place. I feel like I've been there for a while. It's comfortable. Exhaustion to the contrary notwithstanding, I think this was a good move.

The nice thing about the unpacking part of moving is that there are no external deadlines. My mother said it would be nice if I was done by my birthday (next October), but I think it will be done before then!


Anyway, the idea that I can sit down and read a book again if I want to is a charming one. Even normal chores like laundry will have, briefly, an unusual charm to them. And once my back gets over this shock, and I'm off the ibuprofin diet, I'll have more stamina for unpacking.

Because deciding where to put things is kind of fun! Or it can be, anyway. Or am I a dork? Well, you say tomato. I had the movers place the big items where I'm pretty sure they'll work well, but the small stuff, it's all me.

And that first word in my blog title? Knit? I actually did a little of that this week, at lunch-time at work. [There was no rational reason I couldn't have been doing so throughout the entire move, but I stopped when I reached that crucial too-stressed-to-destress point. You don't want to ruin what you're knitting (especially if it might be a Christmas present) by being so stressed your gauge goes kerblooey.] It felt good, in a cautious way. I even want to pick up that plain-vanilla crocheting I started in a fit of oh-my-sockiness. Of course, it's still packed. But I know roughly where it is.

And how are the cats taking it, you ask? Overall, pretty well, though I wouldn't say they're enjoying the experience. Here's Pan before the move:

He is in the Closet Where the Fishing Pole Toy Used to Live, aha open door at last, and is giving me the evil eye because where is it?

And after the move, the boys take comfort from each other in a sea of boxes:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It's really mine

Or so they say. My over-tired brain is struggling with the idea of ownership. But everything's signed, including several forms stating that I'll sign new forms if need be, and it's "recorded", and I plugged in the fridge and hung curtains. And all things being equal, in 48 hours from now I will be fast asleep in my new condo. But I can't think that far ahead without stressing. I'm taking it bird by bird.

Happy Thanksgiving! What do you have to be thankful for?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ice cream

Must take a break from packing. Want to think about something other than packing. For something totally random, how about ice cream?

I was thinking about it last night. No, I don't know why. My brain is pretty much doing its own thing lately. Anyway, here are some thoughts about ice cream.

Most recent purchase: Turkey Hill Choco Mint Chip.
TH is good ice cream, and I like the 'lots of little flecks' of chocolate, instead of big honking chunks. Plus, it's green; mint chocolate chip is supposed to be green. Get that white away from me!

Overall favorite:
Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch.
I've always liked coffee ice cream, and with Heath Bars, well. Yum. Plus, I love the story of how B&J used to break the bars into the right size pieces (before the company got too big for such attention to detail). They froze the whole box, carried it up a six-foot ladder, and dropped it on the floor. Voila!

Local favorite: Ginger snap molasses from Rancatore's* (Lexington and Belmont, if you're around here).
Oh, so good! If you like ginger snaps or molasses cookies, it's for you. They don't always have it in stock, and I've been known to call ahead and check on it. Last time I was in, I tasted another flavor, I think it was Cinnamon Eggnog, and that might grow on me, too.
I tried "ginger" ice cream somewhere else, by the way, and was appalled: it was completely flavorless! Forget subtle, it was neuter. I didn't half finish it; waste of calories.
*Mum, that's the place we went last time, where you had to wait while they whipped fresh cream for you. Mmmmm.

I remember as a kid when the family trekked to Steve's, and there was always a long line, and you could watch the machine in the window churning out the latest batch. That was when mix-ins were a revolutionary idea.

They say that New Englanders eat more ice cream per capita than any other region of the country. I believe it.

All right, back to work!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

How about that?

They won.

Four in a row. Huh. I'm pleased, in a surprised way.

Because of course, they did blow a lead (twice), and had to do it in OT (again), but still. They did it.

Well, go Bruins.

And, it was not Patrice Bergeron who had the game-winner, either. Which is a good thing, really; spread it around.

Less than a week now

I could talk about packing, but really today just boils down to "I did get stuff done, my head wasn't too bad, and I feel good about it", and I don't feel the need to go into it more than that (sorry to disappoint!).

Now, Harold had a traumatic experience that is much more blog-worthy. My landlord has put the house on the market (again: it didn't sell the last time he listed it, in 2005), and there was a showing today. The realtor came in with a nice older couple (older than me, is all I mean), and Pan was dancing around the kitchen trying to decide if he dared get close enough to sniff them (he has a very curious nose). One of them commented on how he wasn't running away, and I pointed out Harold, the lump under the blanket on the bed, and said that he would be thinking about whether he should run now. And the woman walked right up to the bed and lifted the blanket to pet him: she loves animals!

Well. Harold about had a heart attack. He is very skittish and very shy. We live on a dead-end street, so once a week the garbage truck backs down the street, beeping, to pick up, and though we have lived here for three and a half years, Harold still runs and hides from that noise. If he wants to come talk to you he might, but it's on his terms. Poor thing was so upset. He's actually very loving with me, and every pet-sitter I've ever had has raved about him: one called him "The Love Hog" for the way he threw himself down in front of her, begging for attention. But he decides, you know?

Finally, I ran across something that explains why I live in New England, despite not liking cold, and snow, and despite moving to NC (ohmigod, 12 years ago) to get warmer. Franklin posted about maybe moving away from Chicago, and got a ton of comments about where, and one of his commenters said:

"There is no place that is home unless you want it to be."

Friday, November 17, 2006

Countdown: 4 days to close, 7 to move

So the Bruins won again last night, making it three in a row for the first time since January. (They haven't won four in a row since 2004, so the odds of them winning tomorrow night are small, though as they say the game is played on the ice, not on paper, so we'll see, but I digress). They played pretty well, and didn't give up even when they were getting lots of chances and still not scoring, so that was heartening. And who scored the game-winning goal in OT? Well, who was the only one who scored in the shootout Wednesday? And who had the game-winning goal last Saturday? Why, Patrice Bergeron, of course. That's my boy.

Of course, they could be sucking me back into hope, only to dash me on the rocks of these-are-the-Bruins-after-all, but I can't really help myself.

I was so tired last night, I couldn't make myself stay up late packing. I told myself to relax a bit (though not too much), that the movers weren't coming for seven days, and I only work three of those days, so I have time, I have time. It's so overwhelming, moving a packrat. How do I own So Much Stuff? (Notice I don't ask why, just how.) But I am getting there, slowly. All the books in the living room (though not in the office) are packed, which is no small accomplishment. The living room is just about done, actually. But trust me, I'm not complacent.

I did just have to get a headache today, though, didn't I. This may be why I have felt so tired and low-energy, and it's certainly why I've had an upset stomach. It's a chicken-and-egg thing, the headaches and the way the rest of my body feels. I don't think my eyes have been fully open all day.

I hope I don't look the way I feel. I may resemble death inadequately re-heated, but maybe I just feel that way.

In any case, not much got done tonight, either. It isn't really a choice, when my head is like this: I can't do much. I'm hopeful that it's passing now, so with a good night's sleep, I'll be primed for a productive weekend.

It was warm-for-November today, low 60s, so I left a couple of windows open this morning. Tonight the cats had fresh-air fur. Mmmmm.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It's full.

My brain, that is.

There was a Far Side cartoon where the kid in the classroom raises his hand and asks to be excused because his "brain is full", and that's where I am now. My brain is just not remembering things the way I want it to. I mean, I usually have to write things down if I want to remember them, but this is a new level. I'm getting tired of feeling stupid, as I forget words and names and what I was just about to do before I did this instead. I'm also tired of being this tired, and of being nervous about the closing, and of blowing off regular housework for packing, instead of blowing it off for reading (ahh, the good old days). I'm tired. But the end is in sight, I keep telling myself.

The Bruins won last night, if by won you mean managed to not fully blow it. They failed to completely screw up, is another way to put it. I am glad they won, I just get a little bitter when a team that was leading 2-0 ends up winning 3-2, in a shoot-out. At least they did win, but although I hate to sound greedy, could I request a game when they don't blow a lead? When they get ahead, stay ahead, and win in regulation? Is that asking so much?

Perhaps it is. I bring you this interesting little list from John Buccigross (ESPN):

Hockey Fact: Top Nine Active Stanley Cup Droughts:

1961 (44 seasons) -- Chicago Blackhawks
1967 (38 seasons) -- Toronto Maple Leafs
*1967 (38 seasons) -- Los Angeles Kings
*1967 (38 seasons) -- St. Louis Blues
*1970 (35 seasons) -- Buffalo Sabres
*1970 (35 seasons) -- Vancouver Canucks
1972 (33 seasons) -- Boston Bruins
*1974 (31 seasons) -- Washington Capitals
1975 (30 seasons) -- Philadelphia Flyers
(* -- have never won the Stanley Cup)

Since I just turned 38 last month, you can deduce that I only know of the Bruins' Stanley Cup days through the tales of others. I want to see it happen again, please! Although, hey, there are quite a few teams that have been around for a long time without ever having won it, aren't there? This surprised me. I also find a top nine list an interesting concept. I suppose the tenth team is less drastically pathetic, but one does wonder.

Finally, it is time to say good-bye to the Halloween M&Ms. I knew them well, too well. They were cute while they lasted.

See why you need a digital camera? How else would I capture important moments such as these?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

When you want a really soft pillow...

... find your brother.

The glint in Pan's eye says that if it wasn't so much trouble, he would make me regret disturbing him with my pesky camera. Happily for me, meting out such punishment is almost always more trouble than he cares to go to. It just chases all the sleepy out of a cat, you know?

(And how cool are my Sandra Boynton sheets, by the way? Yes, skiing bears, of course, doesn't everyone?)

I saw the condo today, for the penultimate before-closing visit, and it's looking good: new window, new door, they've painted the hall ... good stuff. Now I must go pack to the Bruins game. Maybe they'll play well, maybe.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A gift for you, and my new best friend

Want a song stuck in your head?

It's the final countdown! (bah-dah-dah dah, bah-dah-dah dah dah)

Okay, so I never said I can sing. In fact, I've said I can't. Never mind. If you didn't catch it, be grateful, and move on.

Songs that have been stuck in my head today: Pixies, Jimmy Buffett, and the Heat Miser's song from The Year Without A Santa Claus. Eclectic, anyone?

Days to closing: 7

Days to moving: 10

Estimated remaining days of sanity: 2 (This may be optimistic.)

Now, math was never my best subject, but I have a hazy impression that there may be trouble ahead...

My new best friend is Ryan at Comcast, with whom I spent a far-more-pleasant-than-it-might-have-been half hour on the phone last night. Pending the arrival of their Person after I move, I should be set up for phone, cable, and internet in the new place. After all my waffling and poor attempts at decision-making on these issues (far too boring to detail), this feels like huge progress, and to have laughed through most of the conversation was an unexpected bonus. Thank you, Ryan, you made my night.

Today, however, was the longest day. Before lunch, I was ready for the end of the day. We do a catalog twice a year, and while I generally enjoy getting everything as good as it can be, at some point in each catalog prep process, I get sick of the whole thing (then I get my second wind). Today was that day--the sick of it day, not the second wind. (There is a valid reason why I didn't want to close in November, aside from my general preference for having things my way. This is one of two times a year when I'd like to not have big distractions.)

I had moderate success in mood management with the popular Comfort Eating strategy. In normal circumstances, I try to be aware of whether I am actually hungry before I eat, not just bored or upset or faced with something edible that I like. Desperate times, however, call for desperate eating.

If you like butterscotch-flavor things, by the way, let me recommend Mrs. Hanes' Moravian cookies. (You can order them online! Can you say impulse buy?) The other varieties that I've tried are good, but the butterscotch, ooh. Such a worthwhile expense.

Now, in addition to the million things I have to do, blogging one-handed is getting old (the other hand is playing tug-of-war with the I'm-so-neglected feline). Time to disappoint you and him, and go wash the dishes and, I don't know, pack something.

Monday, November 13, 2006

packing and more packing and is there anything but packing?

I actually, objectively, did get a lot of packing done over the weekend, but I'm in the stage where all I am aware of is how much I have yet to do. Every thought that crosses my mind starts with one of these:

"I have to..."
"I should..."
"I need to..."
"Don't forget about..."

It's amazing I'm still sleeping at night.

I packed the OED up, which is always perversely fun. I have to dip into most volumes to remind myself what the first or last word covered therein means, and "Volume I, A to Bouzouki" always makes me think of the Cheese Shop sketch from Monty Python, and John Cleese shouting, "Shut that bloody bouzouki off!"

Plus, I kept the boxes it originally came in, for just this purpose, and it all fits so neatly, each volume in its own box, 4 of the volume-boxes into a larger box, all labeled. (Who, me obsessive? Nah.) I lost one box to mildew in the basement, but fortunately the inner volume-boxes were fine, and I found a box in my collection that fits 4 volumes quite well. We adapt.

Last night, as I started to get frustrated, I gave in and packed some books. They're so good for packing, aren't they? Nice squares (okay, most of them are rectangles), same shapes and sizes. So much easier than other things. It made me feel like I got something accomplished, which is a feeling devoutly to be wished. And the cats were very good about encouraging me to take regular breaks, which is also important. I turned around at one point and Pan was sitting on the coffee table where I had been putting the boxes to fill. Who needs to speak English? I could tell he was suggesting that I take a break with a cat on my lap.

Speaking of cats, Laurie has a great cat photo in today's post, and in looking at it, a co-worker and I started talking about what would be on a cat's to-do list. Fun idea for another time... so far, I have this:

1. Do nothing.
2. Rest.
3. Run from one room to another at top speed, then stop and casually lick paw (or, for maximum effectiveness, butt).
4. Contemplate paw.
5. Rest.
6. Jump on That Other Cat as he walks by.
7. Rest.

Not so original, but fun!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In which the universe continues to mess with me

I mean really. What is up with this?

First, it's the book temptation. I've been pretty good about not reading much lately, in this Time of Packing, not reading nearly as much as I usually do (since that is a lot). I still read for a few minutes here and there, but I haven't picked up anything new, anything that I would be unable to put down because I have no willpower that way and thus would lose several hours of packing time, in a few weeks.

But then I got an e-mail from the library saying that the new Irene Kelly mystery I requested donkey's years ago (or at least several months ago) came in, come and get it! And I was tempted. And I checked it out. And, since I only get it for two weeks and The Big Move will not be over by then, I decided that I could read it at work, at lunch, being slightly anti-social but they'll forgive me, and I wouldn't even take it home with me at night. I started it at lunch Wednesday, and since I was going to grab dinner out that night between errands, I took it and read some more (what, like I'm the only person at Chili's reading with dinner? oh, yeah, I sure am). But I left it in the car that night, didn't bring it in to tempt me further. I was strong.

And I read it at lunch Thursday. And I was by then really into it, and I wanted to keep reading. Owie. The book addiction is a strong one. I took it with me after work Thursday, in case I had to wait before my haircut (but I didn't), and then I weakened and brought it inside and finished it over dinner and the start of the Bruins* game. So I was a little weak, but not a lot. I didn't lose hours of packing time to it. Now, though, it's Grey's Anatomy.

The backstory: in the spring, I was talking with another West Wing fan about what we were going to do without it, televisionally speaking, and how House is good but only one night, etc, and she asked if I watched Grey's Anatomy. I said I hadn't, and she suggested I try it. I got Season One from the library, and enjoyed it a great deal in a medical-soap opera way, but didn't want to start watching at the end of season two, since it's the sort of show you should watch in order if you want to know who's sleeping with who (whom) and that kind of thing. Season Two wasn't coming out on DVD until September, and while I was hoping to catch up on it in reruns over the summer, They decided in Their infinite wisdom not to run the reruns in any sort of order, which is just the sort of thing They do, isn't it? So I didn't watch. By the time the DVDs were out, I was into the whole moving thing, saving time for packing and money for moving, but I did request them from the library so I can catch up sometime, and I've been recording the third season episodes to watch someday.

The library e-mailed me: season 2 is on hold for me. Now? Two weeks to moving? I don't have time now! Even if I put it on while packing in the living room, that part of the packing won't take a whole season's worth of time. But if I re-request them, it will likely take months to get them again. Will I break down and buy them? Maybe, probably, sometime. Maybe an after-Christmas sale.

Still, the moral is that the universe has a sick sense of humor.

* The Bruins. Well. Let's just say, it's only now I notice that part of 'Bruin' is 'ruin'. Coincidence?

My bee-stung hand? It's 99% better, thanks for asking. It took a solid week for the swelling to go down, and the itching to stop being a total nuisance. Amazing. One odd thing is that the knuckle at the base of that finger is still red, but it barely hurts, so I don't mind much. I can still see the spot, and it itches once in a while, but finally I can think of other things (like my headache yesterday and this morning, but I won't go into that, except to say that I'm ready to sell my soul to never have another one, if you know anyone who could arrange that for me).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hey, that's what I said!

In writing about the Bruins on SI, Allen Muir said:
It's not just that they lose, it's that they trick the fans into thinking all is well right before they slip spectacularly on the banana peel.
Which is just what I said the other day.

The acne of moving

I don't suppose many people brag about how well they handle stress, but it surely isn't one of my best skills. (I try, Lord knows I try...) I spent most of yesterday morning feeling like I was forgetting something. (If I was, it eludes me still.) With all my notes and lists and calendars, it's getting harder just to keep track of all my memory-aids. I'm grateful not to have had more headaches recently, since stress is a trigger for those, but one thing I am seeing a lot of is acne.

Can we talk? Everyone who thought as a teenager that at least when you grew up, your skin would clear, raise your hand.

I thought so. Why did we all think this? Did we not notice adults with breakouts?

Okay, so we weren't really looking that closely at anyone but ourselves. Still, I am continually surprised by this. I'm 38! I keep my skin clean! I eat fairly well! (Anyway, isn't it a myth that chocolate causes breakouts?) Why do I look like the early stages of chicken pox? Not to be too graphic, but I have a zit right now that I could feel against my pillow when I turned my head this morning. I mean, ewww. Sorry, that's probably TMI (too much information). I'll stop there.

I ran a bunch of errands after work, one of them being the bookstore, and had to make myself leave. Some days I can go in and not find one thing I want to buy, but tonight I think I could have spent $500 without trying. Although, to give myself a little credit, not all of what I did buy tonight was for me (for once). Merry Xmas! Although it doesn't feel it. We may not have been having LA weather, but it was near 60 today ... and raining. And I foolishly or out of habit wore my winter coat today, which I didn't really need outside, and really didn't need in stores. The last few stores I just didn't bother with it, so I'm damp.

Is that TMI?

Anyway, time for some advanced kitty maintenance. Gotta go, bye!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting and blood and stuff

Oh, don't be morbid!

Used to be, you got a little sticker with a flag on it after you voted, didn't you? I didn't notice flag stickers this morning at my voting place. I'm not a morning person (stop laughing, Mum), so I could have missed them, but does anyone know if they still give those out? They always reminded me of the stickers the Red Cross used to give out when you donated blood, that said "be nice to me, I gave blood today", or more pathetically, "be nice to me, I tried".

I say used to, though they may still, because I got blacklisted by the Red Cross years ago, for having spent a year in England: mad cow! Stay back, we don't want your blood anymore! My feelings are still hurt by that, actually. I sneer a bit when I hear about blood shortages. I understand they have to have standards, but it's a little random, if you ask me. No, I never said I was a particularly nice person.

I guess this makes it official: the Bruins are doing so badly (of course they lost last night, what did you expect?) that has written an article about it. Quotes to note:
"the NHL's poster team for disarray"
"Imagine Groundhog Day meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre"
Whew, tell it!

Our new GM says that he'd already decided to give the team a quarter of the season to assess the situation and progress. If he means that, then they have a few more games before heads start rolling. They changed so much in the off-season, practically everything is new except for a few players and Rene Rancourt* (unfortunately). I wonder where they'd start? I mean, for all the changes that were made, the team looks amazingly like it has the past 10-15 years. That is not a compliment.

*He 'performs' the anthems at the Garden. He's an odd duck. I just found an interview with him during the lockout, when he said of singing the anthem, "I very rarely get it right, and that's why I like it. The challenge is very stimulating. There have been maybe 10 times in my career when I think I sang it really well." Isn't that interesting? I can't argue with his number, either.

They did send Hannu Toivonen down to Providence today (poor P-Bruins, hope it's his luck that changes and not theirs). We'll see how Brian Finley fills the net in Boston, assuming he plays (and since Tim Thomas has only been better than Hannu, not all that good, he probably will). From his stats, he's been fairly successful at the AHL level. A whole two games in the NHL doesn't mean much, so we won't hold those numbers against him.

They get younger every year, don't they? He was born in 1981. I remember 1981.

One more hockey-related peeve, that is honestly not really sour grapes, or at least not completely. I noticed this in Atlanta last night, but it's happening at more and more arenas around the NHL. The home team scores, and one of those godawful loud horns blares and blares. Really, it isn't just because it means my team gave up a goal that I hate them. It's obnoxious! It's rude and sneering and obnoxious. Atlanta also flashes a strobe light over the goal (and the goalie, just in case he didn't notice that he gave up a goal). Horrible.

At least we don't do that in Boston. What I dislike there is that, after the announcer has, in a relatively serious or at least controlled fashion, announced the stats about the goal, he concludes with a sudden and really weird cry of "Wooo!" Which the crowd (or most of it) then echoes. Why? Can anyone explain that to me? Why did the golden-voiced Joel Perlmutter have to leave? He never did strange stuff like that.

I just googled him and found that he died a few years ago, which is sad to learn. He had a beautiful rich voice.

Now, I have better things to do tonight than stay here blathering about the can't-win kids. I'm moving in two weeks. Must dash!

I voted today ...

... did you?

Monday, November 06, 2006

countdown, etc

First, I know you've all been wondering, so I'll come out with it: my hand is getting better. The swelling is going down, and though the itching resurfaces regularly, it's an improvement. What an ordeal! I'm not sure how much I'll panic the next time a bee comes near me, but it's safe to say I won't handle it well. Perhaps I can find a little locket with space to carry a Benadryl always with me ... or is that overreacting? :)

So, two weeks from tomorrow is the condo closing (I hope). What happened to this fall? I blinked, and here we are, two weeks to Thanksgiving. I may have to read back to see what I've been doing: blog as memory-jogger. I'm trying to walk the line between being prepared too far in advance, and not being ready for the movers when they come (my usual course of inaction). We'll see how I'm doing as the time ticks down.

Now, in unrelated news, I read something recently that appalls me. Listen to this:
"Studies have shown that over 60% of low-income children don't have a single book at home; in a typical low-income neighborhood, there is only one book per 300 children."
Isn't that awful? I've been more worried about giving a book to a child who already has it; what a sheltered life I lead. Go here to learn more, and consider doing something, if you are so inclined. Thus endeth the lesson for today.

One of my after-work errands tonight was to Building 19, which if you are unfamiliar is a great place to find bargains (they buy irregulars, damaged goods, mixed lots, basically odds and ends). It isn't a good idea to go with anything particular in mind, at least if you would be disappointed not to find what you want, but you can find amazing deals on things if you're willing to wander. After looking at the items I went for, that I saw in the circular, I did some browsing, didn't find a couple of things on my general need-to-buy list, and then scored!

They had some kids books in a messy pile, and I picked up what seemed to be the only copy of the unabridged Chronicles of Narnia on CD, actually on 31 CDs, read by fabulous people like Kenneth Branagh and Michael York. Original publisher's price, $75 ($192 value, says the box). Interim markdown somewhere, $45.48. I paid $9.98, yes ten bucks for this fabulous set. Whew! I'm giddy.

In closing, I give you Pan-in-a-box (so far, he likes moving!):

and Harold-on-the-bed:

Off to root for the Bruins. Could they win two in a row? Wouldn't that be crazy?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Make yourself comfortable, maybe get a drink, this will be a long one

It isn't that they lost, it's how they lost.

I expected the Bruins to lose Thursday night. Sorry for the pessimism, but the way they've been playing, and the opponent being Buffalo (again), it's a reasonable expectation. When the top of the league plays the bottom of the league, guess who usually wins? I told more than one person that I was sure they'd lose, and they did.

But the Bruins still suckered me, because they outplayed Buffalo, right from the beginning, until with less than 10 minutes left, they imploded. They were ahead 4-1, and lost in the shootout (stupid shootout; a team sport shouldn't be decided that way). They got me. Again. I am one sad hockey fan. Even if I didn't have other plans tonight, I think it would have been a night to watch something else and just check the score every once in a while. Yeesh. I'm not asking for them to win the Stanley Cup, but could they suck a little less thoroughly, please?

Actually, the relative merits of the two teams were only part of why I predicted the loss. I was having such a bad day, I didn't see how any other outcome was possible. But I would have loved to be proven wrong.

Because actually, it wasn't a great week. Remember the reference I made Monday about hearing Gary Larson's angels? That was my Monday.

Gary Larson, of course, is the guy who did the Far Side cartoons. In The Prehistory of the Far Side, he told a story about how he was working in a record store when angels came down from on high and in glorious lilting voices they sang, "You hate your job, you hate your job", and he knew that it was true 'because angels don't lie'. Ever since I read that, I've referred to a really bad day at work as hearing Gary Larson's angels. Monday was the closest to that kind of day that I've had at the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, and it wasn't that it was a bad day so much as an annoying one. We lost power, there were printer problems, it was just one niggling little thing after another.

I didn't realize that the week was just getting going.

On Wednesday, the weather was so nice, we ate lunch outside. There were a number of bees around, and conversation was repeatedly interrupted by shrieks and waving hands. After I finished eating, I moved to another table, in the sun, and was talking to someone else when one of my coworkers alerted me to the fact that there was a bee on my hand. I moved my hands, and it stung me.

Well. How long has it been since I was stung by a bee? Thirty years, maybe? I was shocked at how much it hurt! It was painful right away, and then for the rest of the day, I got repeated stabs of red-hot agony in my finger. It was so bad that I was crying from the pain by bedtime. Thursday it was more aching, and swollen, and Friday yet more swollen, and my hand so itchy, it used up all my willpower to not scratch the top layer of skin off. Fortunately, I already had a doctor's appointment Friday afternoon, so I could take him this problem, too. (He said either an infection or an allergic reaction would cause this, and he didn't think it was an infection because it wasn't that red. He gave me a prescription that 'might help', and when I asked about a topical product, said that Benadryl cream works for some people. One or the other seems to be helping the itch, though the swelling hasn't gone down a bit, and I still can't bend my finger all the way. Lordy.)

Also on Wednesday, I had some car trouble, which wouldn't be such a big deal except this car was new in April, and I have higher hopes for its longevity. Plus, I hate the service department at the dealership. Hate them, hate them, hate them! They talk the talk about how important my satisfaction is to them, but I don't believe it. I haven't had one good experience there yet, and why should I keep trying? This is 128 Mazda/Ford in Wakefield, by the way: avoid them! I don't have any reason to doubt the quality of the work they do, but their service is awful. It took them two hours Thursday morning, not to fix the problem, not even to diagnose the problem, just to get me into a loaner to get to work. Two Hours! I'll put "find a garage/mechanic" on my to-do after I move list. Anyone around here have a recommendation?

So what with all this, and having to change my close date again (just by a day this time, but still), I thought that perhaps yesterday would be a good time to start drinking. I've seen commercials for a new Bailey's with caramel, and I am fond of caramel in most all forms, so I stopped in a liquor store to see. Fortunately, they had it in the tiny bottles, because I tried it and don't like it. The boozy bite! I'm just not a drinker. The flavor wasn't bad, but I don't like the kick. I'm so glad I didn't buy a full-size bottle, since it would have been a waste of money. And not a small amount of money! I've saved a ton over the years, not drinking.

Now, I must get going, since I have a lot to do today, and with less than two hands (though more than one, really; one-and-a-half, maybe). At least the sun's out. And just to be Pollyanna for a minute, there is a way this week could easily have been much worse. I didn't have a headache. That really would have been the last straw.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Not the headless horseman, no

But guess what I wore to work today?

Isn't it pretty? I feel like a princess in this ... although I do trip frequently over my skirts in a rather unprincesslike manner. Which can lead to unprincesslike language, I'm afraid. (Head cropped to protect my identity, such as it is, and as though anyone who doesn't already know me cares ... but still.)

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ackee 1-2-3

So here I was, packing to my own drummer (get rid of crayons yes, rubber stamps no, try not to trip on cat), and I realized that I was singing English Beat, which no I haven't heard on the radio lately. [I could have done: my favorite station around here is 93.7 Mike FM, and they live by their motto "we play everything"; however, I've been very into an audio book recently, and haven't been listening to the radio.] I dug out the cassette -- yes, tape! I am dating myself here (insert your choice of bad joke). Though it's sounding a little wobbly; maybe time to CD it. From 1982, after all, thank you very much. Special Beat Service: a good album. I'm packing and singing and in the groove, but here are some things I'll tell you about another day:

* a feline delusion
* graphic blandishment
* a day of hearing Gary Larson's angels
* that audio book
* my Halloween costume

For now, though, "nothing rings as true as silence"!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hey, they won!

The Bruins won last night: how about that? Isn't that nice? If unexpected. I watched them warming up before the game and could almost see the doom clouds following them around the ice, but they came from behind and held on to the lead. How unlike them. But such a pleasant surprise.

Yesterday turned out to be a good day not to be moving. It was my original move date, before the fire delayed the closing, and it was rainy and blustery and not much fun for moving, so that's turning out okay so far. Have to wait and see what weather I actually do get for moving before I crow too loudly.

I had a thought about part of the moving process, but I'm not sure if I'll end up doing it or not. Right now, the plan is to close the day before Thanksgiving and move the day after, which gives me the weekend for settling and unpacking (and the day of the holiday to finish packing). It occurred to me that I could road-trip with the cats on Thanksgiving and show them the new place, so it won't be as much of a shock on moving day (I'm not moving that far). The downside is that they don't like the car, at all, so even a short trip is upsetting to them. They did survive the trip from Charlotte to Pennsylvania, then PA to MA 6 months later, but that was before Pan's heart condition was diagnosed, so I'm more conscious about stressing him. [According to what I've read, his condition often goes undiagnosed until the cat suddenly drops dead, which is the worst way to find out something was wrong.] I have to try to balance the stress of each plan. I probably won't decide ahead of time, but will just play it by ear.

In addition to laundry, packing, and all the other oddments of things that I have to do today, Harold is trying to bend me with the force of his mind. He wants attention, and stares at me like I'm a spoon he's going to bend with only the power of his thoughts. It's both cute and creepy. Gotta go.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Who am I, and what am I knitting?

I can't make sense of my knitter self lately (even aside from the issue of stop-knitting-start-packing!). The sock I cast on last Saturday with such intensity? I started to work on it a little last night*, then put it aside, disinterested. I think I'm worried about its fit: this pressure of making fitted objects! I may have to step back to blankets and scarves for a little while. I'm still interested in socks, but all the variables of yarn, needles, patterns, and feet are overwhelming sometimes.

*Last night. The Bruins. Need I say more? Managing to keep Montreal to a 2-2 tie until 1.2 seconds left in the game? And then boom? For the love of hockey fans. I do feel sorry for Matt Lashoff. That's a hard way to learn that just because the other guy got away with holding does not mean the referee will let you get away with it. His first NHL game, and he's got to feel like the goat, taking that penalty.

At least, he'd
better feel like the goat. It isn't all his fault, of course, but by all the gods, everyone involved should feel rotten about how they're doing. Why should I be the only unhappy one? New GM, new coaching staff, about three-quarters of the players changed from a year ago, and same old stinky team. Come on, fellas. Please.

Anyway. The other knitting I tried recently was that Ruffles scarf, in two colors. The original pattern mentioned briefly and unspecifically that using two colors could be a fun alternative. I need more details! I tried just knitting and switching colors at the mid-way point of the crossover row, but it soon became clear that I was going to end up with 2 half scarves next to each other on the needles, totally unconnected. I googled around trying to find someone blogging about doing it, and how, and I did find one blogger who said she had also been trying to figure it out herself, and had ended up switching colors and then wrapping the first color around the first stitch of the second color. I tried that, and it worked, but of course the wrapped stitches brought a hole-y look to the center of the scarf. At first, I thought that it would work (it's not an error, it's a design feature!), but a little further along, I decided that it really didn't work with the yarn and the rest of the pattern, which isn't at all lacey otherwise. Back to the frog pond. That was the point at which I used the new alpaca to start Ruffles, later frogged as well. I'll have to try to get help from someone who's done it in two colors, because I do still like the idea of the alternating ruffle colors. I can't find a blog that explains the part I'm not getting.

So I'm stepping away for now. I have picked up a crochet hook and some vanilla yarn (natural heather is the actual color), and I'm going to be mindless for a while. It's Friday night, I don't feel great (I never did get really sick last week, I hope I'm not now), and the Great Pumpkin is on tv tonight. Sounds like down time to me. Then, assuming I'm not sick (oh, please), I can Get Things Done this weekend with verve and stamina. Right?

I wish I'd stopped for ice cream on the way home, though.

a magnetic poem


summer vanishes
fall is here
another winter comes
with quiet eyes I dream of spring

I love fall, though not so much the winter it portends. I got the new camera a little late to catch the splendor of fall in New England this year, but I'll see if I can capture something pretty today, when at least the sun is shining (unlike yesterday, just for example).

Today was supposed to be condo closing day. Sigh. I hate waiting.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


As soon as I got in the car, I started to play with the new toy...

Harold with ghoulie eyes: one green, one yellow!

Pan takes a nap despite all the commotion.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Seriously mixed feelings

I heard this afternoon that the tenant in the fire died.

So, I feel bad for him, and his friends and family, and both sorry and almost angry that anyone dies such a preventable death. I'd like to time-travel back and stop Walter Raleigh from finding out about tobacco. Would that work? It wouldn't make the present unrecognizable, would it? (Just kidding.)

And yet, my move is back on. Houston, we are go for launch. Seriously, I think is an almost classic example of mixed feelings.

One thing I have unmixed feelings about is my head, which has been pain-free the whole damn day. How about that? It's so fabulous, words can not express.

Finally, for something completely different:

I know this doesn't narrow things down much, but if you are a woman in today's society, or if you know one, you must read this.

Oh, you want to know why? Isn't the pleasure of discovering a fun new blog enough? Well, it's inspiring and well-written and fun. Will that do it?

No? You're not hooked yet? Try this:
Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female".

So go on, read it, and let me know what you think.

(This is my first post that passed the spell-checker first try. Huh.)

and about the condo

I finally got in to see my prospective condo last week, a couple of weeks after the fire in the building. To my relief, the unit itself was not much damaged (which is what they had told me, but you know how it is, you want to see for yourself); one window boarded, a damaged door that will need to be replaced. Since I am perhaps a tad oversensitive to smells, I was doubly relieved not to smell the slightest bit of smoke in the unit, which I had been worried about. They are clearly still working on the common areas, as one hall needs painting and they've taken up the carpet on the stairs, but the other hall is clean, and even the basement looked good, and not as if water had been standing in it for any length of time. The boarded-up windows are not a good look, and the construction dumpster in the parking area doesn't fill me with delight, but it could have been a lot worse.

Of course, my biggest question is about Firestarter himself, and if the owner is planning to let him back in. (One of the weird things about this whole process is the "he said-she said" way information is passed along, via lawyers and especially realtors. I guess I read too many mysteries, and have watched too much Law & Order, but it feels like hearsay, you know? I don't talk to the owner: her people talk to my people. I have people...weird.) (Not to knock my realtor at all, by the way: he's a good friend as well as a good realtor, and has been very easy to work with.) Anyway, I am told that Firestarter is still in the hospital, so who knows when he'll be out again (or if, apparently; I didn't realize he was so seriously injured). He is a tenant, not an owner (the owner is converting to condos gradually, and his unit hadn't been done yet), so I'd prefer to hear that he will not be returning. I do know that things, bad things, can happen anytime to anyone, but still. Knowing that he's done it once, how could I rest easy? How could I leave my fur-babies next door to him? Not to mention everything I own. No, I'd be much happier having construction next door. I'm feeling pretty strongly about that. I wonder what the other people in the building think?

No wonder I've been having headaches more than usual lately. Let's see, do I risk moving in next to a pyromaniac, or do I give up on this condo, with all the work that's been done to get here, and start at the beginning again? Time to buy stock in Excedrin. (Oh, wait, I usually buy the store brand. Never mind.) Anyway, I'm going to ask my doctor to refer me to a headache specialist: this is getting ridiculous. I want one of those preventive medicines that you just take every day, and get fewer headaches. Does it really work? Could it really be that simple? Or am I dreaming? If I am, don't wake me!

Monday, October 23, 2006

A blog by any other name...

I've noticed that notwithstanding the name I gave this blog*, I don't write about what I'm reading very often. And I do read, a lot. Not quite as much lately as usual, with all the condo stress, but still. I think the reason is that for a couple of years, I wrote book reviews semi-professionally (professionally because they were printed in an actual newspaper [woo-hoo, Rock Hill Herald], semi because I didn't actually get paid, except with the non-tangible thrill of seeing my name in print). I think, in my mind, that has made writing about books "real writing" in a way that I'm trying to make this blog not be. Part of my idea for writing this, as you may recall, was to take the pressure of perfectionism off and just write, and I seem to have trouble doing that with books. Something for me to think about in the future.

Plus, I'm a re-reader, which means I could be reading something I've read so often before, it doesn't occur to me that it might be noteworthy (or blogworthy). I understand that some people read a book once and are done with it, but I don't really understand why. I mean, yes, I know "what's going to happen", but with a good book, I read it for so much more than that. I certainly don't re-read every book I read. Sometimes, rarely, I don't finish a book I've started, which was hard for me at first. I was reading a book once where the main character made a decision that I could just tell was a mistake, and I thought, "Oh, no, I don't even want to see this," and then it occurred to me that I could just walk away, and I did. Surprisingly liberating! More recently, I was halfway through a book by an author I liked, a book I had been looking forward to, and I realized that I wasn't enjoying it and didn't particularly care what was going to happen, who did what, or why, so I stopped. (Interestingly, my mother also got halfway through the same book and stopped. Not the author's best work, I'd say, since we both liked her previous work.) I'm always happy to talk about books, and recommend books (though it helps to narrow the request: asking me for "a good book" has a paralyzing effect on my brain), but I don't seem to write about them, for now anyway.

Cats, of course, make a regular appearance here, and will do so more photographically when I replace my digital camera (it's on my to-do list, really). Hockey, well, when the Bruins do a little better, I will be able to write more positively about them. Not that I want to be a fair-weather hockey fan, and trust me, I'm not, but who wants to read my hockey whining? (Why aren't they playing better, though? Really? It's looking so like last year in the worst way...) They won Thursday, the home opener, it was fun, and then came Saturday. The Buffalo Sabres came to town the only undefeated team left in the NHL, and left the same way. As usual, the Bruins aren't doing well, know it, and don't know why. How heartening. In October, it's supposed to be Red Sox fans who are thinking about next season, not hockey fans. Sigh.

Which leaves knitting! Saturday night, I started to feel like knitting, and had nothing to hand (triangle shawl was left at work, and after starting a Ruffles scarf with the alpaca I bought at Apple Festival, I decided that I didn't want 2 Ruffles enough to use up this yarn on one, so it took a trip to the frog pond. I'm thinking maybe wrist warmers, but since I don't have a pattern for them, that was out for Saturday.) I tried to tell myself that I should crochet another dish scrubby, so that when my current one wears down, I'll have a new one ready, and then of course I cast on a sock instead.

Not even the mythical third sock in the yarn of the first two, I just grabbed the first yarn I saw, the blue alpaca I used on the legwarmers and sleeves, without even seeing how much of it I have (enough for one sock? two?), and recklessly cast on. I don't know what got into me.

*I named the blog kind of at random, anyway. The pressure to come up with "a good name" was too much for me. In a world full of yarn harlots and crazy aunts and stitchy mcyarnpants (I am not making this up), it will take me a good long time to come up with a moniker that competes.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Could it be ... stress?

You know that feeling you get, when you're not quite sick, but you're not well either? So you know you're about to get sick, and you feel like there's nothing you can do about it?

I hate that feeling. My health is currently facing the future with a deer-in-the-headlights look on its face.

Gee, that almost makes sense.

Like something I said to myself yesterday morning. I talk to myself all the time, so that isn't the surprising part. It was when I heard myself say,
"There was a human baby as well as the tiger cub. My, that was a strange dream."

That's when I did a small double-take on myself. If you think that's easy at 5 a.m., think again.

Friday, October 13, 2006

In which I rant for a reason

I don't like smoking.

Anyone who knows me, knows that. Cigarette smoke bothers me, and though I try not to be militant, I probably am. The smell bothers me, and if I'm around it for long, it gives me a headache.

I'm not as bothered by cigars and pipes, by the way, partly because they remind me of my grandfathers, and partly because there just aren't as many of them around (at least, where I am).

But cigarettes? Yuck. Big yuck. I cuss at cars in front of me with plumes of smoke blown out their windows (I'm trying to breathe back here!), and really get peeved at the smokers, driving or not, who throw their butts away like the nasty things vanish on the ground.

So why rant now? Well, I'll tell you. After spending the last month basing virtually my every move upon my planned close day for the condo, it has to be pushed into November. Why? Because there was a fire in the building. Why was there a fire? Because another tenant was smoking in bed.

It is rare for me to be beyond words in any situation, but this is almost beyond me. I can't find words strong enough to express my displeasure with Mr. Idiot and his actions. I have to change my closing date, and rearrange Everything I have arranged for the last month, because of him and his criminally stupid actions.

The fact that I, a normally compassionate and empathetic person, was not sorry to hear he had to be hospitalized, says a lot. I'm not glad he was hurt, but I'm not sorry. Is it only because I'm so upset that I think he kind of deserves it? Maybe I don't really mean that. But kind of ...

Plus, now that I can watch them, the Bruins have lost two games in a row. So that doesn't help. Actually, last night they did pretty well, for the first 55 minutes. Unfortunately, the game goes 60 minutes, and they lost in a shoot-out. Or so the Globe says. I got into bed to listen to the third period on the radio, and fell asleep when it was 2-0 Bruins. To learn this morning that they lost 3-2? Not Happy.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Here I am

So, I've been away from the blogosphere for a few days, and you feel neglected, do you? Poor thing. Well, I've been a little busy, one way and another:

Friday evening, drive 300 miles
Weekend, with family, Apple Festival, excellent (And I bought some lovely yarn from an alpaca farmer, and I really, really, Really want to do something with it, now, but I have, ahem, one or two other things to do. I'd better put it away so it stops sending me wistful looks.)
Sunday afternoon, drive back
Monday, work again (they're so demanding, with their expectations that I show up over and over... to quote Douglas Adams again, "Always expecting this and expecting that. May I recommend serenity to you?")
also Monday, headache, and much of Tuesday, headache

There should be a law that you can't have a headache on your birthday, shouldn't there? (Oh, you don't get headaches? Think two aspirin are serious measures, do you? Get down on your knees right now and thank your deity of choice. Fervently. You simply have No Idea what it's like for the rest of us.) It was pretty bad by the time I got home tonight, to the point where I was wondering how much I really need the left side of my brain -- I mean, it's not like it was working or anything. But I took some pills and lay down with a heat thing on my head, and two cats for moral support (they're very good at moral support, particularly when it involves being in bed), and after a while I felt better. Enough to get up and order pizza, which with the upset stomach that oft accompanies my headaches, is another minor miracle.

By the way, to support my continuing theory that Life likes to Mess With Me, here's what happened when I ordered the pizza. There's a place around the corner from me that's pretty good, so I called them. In the past, they have corrected me when I ordered a small pizza ("We don't do smalls") (even though there are 2 sizes on their menu, not labeled as to what they call the size), so I was careful to order a medium pizza. It turns out that since I last ordered, they have gone to one size fits all. Ohh-kay. Whatever size it is, I want one. It looked much like the size I remember the 'medium' looking, and it was really good, and my head still doesn't hurt. And if you don't get headaches, you have no idea what a profound statement that is. I am metaphorically on my knees, singing alleluias. (Physically, of course, I'm sitting on my butt at the computer, but you get my point.)

I will leave you with a knit-blog quote. Only a knitter could say this with a straight face:
Personally I think that arms are a really serious design problem.
The comment is from the Yarn Harlot's guest blogger, That Laurie (I don't know why she's called That Laurie, and it's confusing since she isn't the Laurie I generally refer to, but that's what she is called), who was filling in as Stephanie worked to the deadline for Book4. (And, as it turns out, got married: she was busy!)

And, a final finally for Mum: did the title of this post remind you of "Where are you?", "I'm hiding"? That's what I just thought of! Quite the week for family storytelling.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Cat Story, and a Bad Day

Have you ever had one of those morning when you know you want something, but you don't know what? Pan had one of those mornings Sunday. I was trying to read the Globe, and he was wandering from one thing to another, meowing.

What do I want? Is it food? Maybe I want food. "Meow!"
"You have food."
"You do, too." I show him the food, shake the bowl, he eats a little, stops.
"Meow!" He has some water.
Leaves the room, and I hear the jingle ball ringing madly.
"Meow!" He's back, sitting by the door.
"You don't go out."
"You're an indoor cat."
"That door is not always open. That door is never open. I have not just closed that door, it's always closed."
He jumps into an empty cardboard box, and the next thing I know, he's thumping around in it, chasing his tail. After a moment of that, he gets out, walks to the other side of my chair, and looks up.

At this point, I give in. I have an idea of what he wants, really.
"Come on, Pan-pan. Mama lap."

He follows me into the living room, waits for me to get the blanket settled, jumps onto my lap, and after a moment of petting and purring, falls into blissful sleep.

That was what he wanted!

He was a limpet all day. Every time I sat down, I had a cat on my lap. It was funny, in an odd way, because I had a headache in the afternoon and evening, so I was kind of out of it, and somehow didn't notice him right away. I would just look down a few minutes after sitting down, see him, and say, "Oh, hi."

So that was Sunday. Yesterday was a Truly Awful Day. Any day when going to the dentist is only the third worst thing to happen is not a good day. But I had ice cream for dinner, so there, and today Will Be Better. Or else!