Monday, April 30, 2007

What April Showers really bring

Forget about May Flowers: with enough April Showers, you actually get Mass Depression. It doesn't sounds quite as nice, does it? Nothing for the poets to sharpen their quills about. But honestly, the weather lately has been what tips my day from good to bad, or vice versa. No matter what else happens, whether it's an overall good or bad day seems, in the end, to depend on how involved sun and rain are.


One day last week, I was driving home after work, usual route, usual traffic, usual Massachusetts drivers with their usual feelings of lordliness over all they survey. Where I transfer from one highway to another, there's a point where my lane merges with another, before we merge onto the highway, and let me tell you, merging is not what Boston drivers do best. In this case, neither lane has the right of way: we are supposed to take turns, which means in reality that whoever has more nerve or less fear goes first.

On this day, I was coming along with no one in front of me, and up ahead, four cars were in that other lane. Three of them were actually ahead of me, and I went in front of the fourth one.

He honked at me.

On an ordinary day, I would have stopped singing along with the radio long enough to say some version of 'whatever' or 'yeah, right' or 'get over yourself' and started singing again. I learned to drive around here, I'm used to these people. Once in a while, I drive like them myself, though not often. But because it was (of course) raining, I was suddenly on the verge of tears. Why did he honk at me? I wasn't wrong! I didn't do anything bad! And it's raining! And why is it always raining?

See? Not a rational response on my part, I know that, and just because of the rain. Now let's look at Saturday.

I went out to get my car inspected, and go grocery shopping. Hardly exciting, but! Sun shining! Sun! Shining! Good mood alert!

I set out the same way I go to work every day. The first intersection is one where I have a stop sign and the cross traffic does not, so I was waiting for a car to go by. He was meandering, but it's Saturday and I'm not in a rush so that's okay. He slows down, which is weird, then waves a thank-you to me as he goes by. He's thanking me for waiting at my stop sign for him to go by with his having-the-right-of-way? Oookay.

Moving on, I stop suddenly when a small truck looks like jumping out of a side street directly in front of me, but he decided to stop before doing this after all. I like his decision.

Coming up to a larger street, I have to stop a bit before the stop sign when someone turning into my side street cuts the corner into my lane: careful, there! I'm on this road too, you know.

A couple of blocks up, the street I'm driving on ends at another street, where I'm turning right. I'm behind a car that is waiting, waiting, waiting to also turn right. There's only one car coming along, and since it's a two-lane-each-way street, the guy in front of me could turn, but whatever. Weekends are so much quieter here than weekdays: the only other car in sight is one waiting to turn onto the street we're coming from.

Or so I thought! As I start to turn right, behind slowpoke, there's a honk, as it turns out she was making a u-turn on the street I was turning onto. Surprise! I go this way all the time and can't remember ever seeing anyone do this before.

And my reaction was: "Wow, that's a learning experience. Maybe because it's nice out, she's going to the playground down the street*. Even after living here for five months, I'm still learning the traffic patterns, I need to learn that weekends are different from weekdays here." Rather than, "Holy shit! Where are all these looney tunes coming from? Has everyone lost their minds? Am I the only one who can drive? How was I supposed to know she was going to u-turn there? She just scared me to death!"

Because the sun was shining! I was happy! If it had been raining and all that had happened, one little weird thing after another, I would have had to pull over and have a breakdown.

*She wasn't going to the playground, by the way. Either she was lost, or she was just sent to mess with me, but it was okay, I was fine. Sun. Shining.

In any case, I'll be glad to see the end of April, is my point.

Childhood and memory

I wasn't exactly raised in the "children should be seen and not heard" school, though my parents had rules and they were enforced, which I happen to think kids appreciate: you know what will happen if you do something wrong. But anyway, that's not what I wanted to talk about, it's this: my memory isn't always reliable when it comes to childhood, but I don't recall being the total center of attention at all times. (Was I, Mom?) It seems to me that the adults often talked to each other (to be honest, I vaguely recall being bored at least part of the time, whenever I wasn't allowed to read or otherwise escape).

Just for example, when three adults and one child are eating dinner in a restaurant, will the highest level of conversation that the diner at the next table (who is not trying to eavesdrop) hears be, "Did you know that french fries are made from potatoes?"


Friday, April 27, 2007

La pluie (sound like phooey)

The irony is this: now that everything is blooming and blossoming and allergening* out all over, the lovely 70-to-90-degree oh-fabulous-thank-god weather we had for about 4 or 5 whole days in a row is gone. Done. Over. Monday was perfect, Tuesday still very, very nice. Wednesday was in the 50s and in the afternoon it started raining, as if some people still don't have lakes in their front yards (not me, actually, I'm feeling other people's pain for a moment, unusually enough) from the deluges of earlier in the month. We've had enough rain! Enough below-seasonal temperatures! It should be salad and lovely strolling weather and here I am still mainlining Oreos and having ice cream for dinner! I'll never fit into my shorts this summer if this keeps up.

*This is the real irony. You know how much, how desperately I've been waiting for, longing for Spring to arrive, and for Winter to leave already, just Go Away, just GO.

Did you know I have allergies?

I think this is why my tail has been dragging so badly this week. There's no real reason for me to be unearthly tired otherwise, and things are certainly blooming and blossoming everywhere right now, which fills me with delight (when the sun is out) and the air with allergens all at the same time. I do know that Life Isn't Fair, but what a whammy, eh? The event that makes me so happy knocks me for a loop at the same time. Let's just add "find an allergist" to the To-Do list that is already so long it has me grinding my teeth in my sleep, shall we?

I studied French in school (hold on, this will make sense in a minute). I could remember that "it rains" is "il pleut", but I couldn't remember the word for rain, so I looked it up this morning. "La pluie". Makes sense, actually, as the French word for umbrella is "parapluie". Literally, "for rain". Makes a lot more sense than "umbrella", eh? What does that mean, anyway? (No, I'm not going to look it up. I'm depressed, remember?)

All of which is to say, it's raining again. Not still: it didn't actually rain yesterday. But it rains today. Il pleut aujordhui. Comme toujours, is how it feels. As I said to someone at work today, it's raining for the 800th day this year.

Of course, if this keeps up, summer may never get here, do you think? Forget global warming, I'm starting to think global seasonal screw-up is what it should have been called.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The weather is my tipping point

It's cold and raining again.

I can't believe it. More to the point, I can't take it. If this is what the ancient Greeks went through, no wonder they believed in gods who messed with every minute aspect of their lives. I'm getting there myself. It takes a day that would be tolerable and edges it right into despair. I think I'll have some dinner and go to bed. That's about all I can handle: take two cats and call me in the morning.

And yes, I know it is 7 PM. Your point?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Not bad, if I do say so myself

For a first sweater, I'm quite pleased. And it only took nine days!

I understood most of the pattern easily enough, and some bits of it with concentration or help. I had to remind myself one of my firmly held beliefs of knitting: if what you do works, it's right (or, at least, not wrong). In the case of following a pattern, I would amend that to add, as long as it doesn't mess you up further along! But clearly I didn't mess myself up too badly anywhere. And while I have yet to try the thing on an actual baby, I'm fairly confident it will fit one. Plus, like most baby-sized items, it's cute by nature!

Now I just have to make the second one, and I have until the end of June, so knock wood, I'm doing okay for the schedule. I finished it Saturday at Grandma's; I haven't cast on the next one yet. I was busy! It was a nice trip. The traveling was good, the weather was great, the visitin' was swell, we played cards and ate cake and watched the daffodils bloom. Good times.

And although they are trying very hard to convince me that they are abused, neglected, maltreated, etcetera, the cats survived just fine (they haven't caught on that the petsitter has skills, and these include writing, so I do hear about little things like how it went Chez Cat Hair in my absence). And with open windows today, they have fresh-air fur tonight, which is one of my favorite things in four-legged pesty critters who make my eyes itch and try to lie on the keyboard.

And get this! I read Crazy Aunt Purl's blog every single day. (She doesn't usually post on weekends, though I often check just in case.) I miss one Monday, and what happens? She announces that she's finally written a book and it's going to be published. Wow! So very amazingly cool. Finally, her many stalkers/readers can stop telling her to write a book: done! It comes out in October, just in time for my birthday, how nice (of course, it's all about me). And I have a new favorite quote from the story: "We are all about thirty pages too much crazy." How true...

Are my eyes closing, or is it just me?

Friday, April 20, 2007

What ... pack? What, now?

Okay, I'm leaving in the morning, I should be packed, right?

How do you type a hollow laugh?

I'm not completely non-packed. But ... well, clothing would be good. And, the bathroom stuff? Also helpful for getting through the weekend.

I keep getting sidetracked by the kitty. Pan has made the connection that I'm saying no to him less frequently lately, I swear he has, and he wants to be on my lap, and he's cute and pathetic and all, and the packing isn't done. And I want to be on the road 12 hours from now, ideally having slept between then and now so that I'm able to wish my grandmother happy birthday in a pleasant manner.

She's turning 93, by the way, not 94; how did I get that idea in my head? Numbers are just not my thing, and I should really stick to words. It isn't like I was trying to do the math, I just somehow thought it was 94. My mother tried to put a nice spin on it, that's she's entering her 94th year, but let's face it, I was just wrong. Not that 93 isn't still an impressive number of years. And if I'm going to get there on her actual birthday, and compos mentis, I better get packing!

The weather was lovely today, by the way. And I am so amazingly grateful....

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Glowing Orb

When I woke up this morning, it was gray, and raining, and what else is new. Windshield wipers, puddles, and driving to work with surprisingly little traffic*, and what's that, was the sky ... brightening? Maybe? Certainly the wipers were only needed intermittently. Hmm.

*I'd take that commute every day very happily, though I paid the price coming home, karmically speaking.

By 10 am, we had some blue sky, some ... what's the word ... sunshine. As my brother would say, for example when coming out of an afternoon movie, while throwing an arm over his face, "The glowing thing in the sky!" It had an amazing, uplifting effect on my mood. I was all but doing a happy dance. It was a bit chilly in the breeze department, but I was not complaining, no sir! It's sunny! The sky is blue! Trees are budding, the grass looks somewhat green, the snow mounds are almost all melted, and there was hope in the air.

Perhaps that was just the fresh mulch that the landscapers put down, but close enough. It will do. We walked outside at morning break, rejoicing in the blueness of the sky, the warmth of the sun. After lunch, we went outside and walked around the building to get back to our department, a practice I had honestly all but forgotten from Before the Winter. I was simply happy.

Sometime between 2 and 3, I stood up from my desk and saw a distinct lack of sun. A grayness. I don't know where it went, but it was gone, my sunshine, and returned no more today. At least it didn't rain, apart from a brief sprinkle, but I can't say I was pleased. More bewildered. What happened? Where did the sun go? I was so happy... for such a short period of time. They say it's coming again tomorrow, but dare I believe them? Can I trust again?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lost the Funny

Nothing was blogworthy yesterday. All the chocolate I mainlined didn't change my attitude much. Everything was failing the test of "supposed to be":

  • It's supposed to be warmer at this time of year, more than 35 degrees, please.
  • It's supposed to stop raining, sometimes.
  • The sun is supposed to come out, once in a while.
  • The snow is supposed to stop by mid-April (I'd like to think so, anyway).
  • Even, traffic is supposed to be lighter during school vacation week in Massachusetts, yet it wasn't.
Today was marginally better, even if I did have to reach for tissues reading the newspaper this morning (one of the teachers who died in the school shooting survived the Holocaust, only to die protecting his students from this ... this ... words fail me). It's still gray, still cold and raw, but at least not snowing today. Grateful for small favors, indeed.

On the plus side, the sweater is coming nicely:

Next step, sleeves! I finished the first one tonight waiting for the car's oil change. And there's also the neckband, which will be the blue, too. Exciting stuff in knitland, if nowhere else.

And this weekend, I travel to upstate New York to celebrate my grandmother's 94th birthday. That's no small blessing!

I had ice cream for dinner, which is a small thing but it makes me happy. It's one of those things for me, those "if I have to be a grown-up" things. If I have to be a grown-up, and it's going to be cold and raw and rotten and gray and rainy for 87 days in a row ... I'm having ice cream for dinner.

It was good.

I have to go now. Kitty informs me he is not done shedding on me. I was late getting home (the oil change, the grocery store), and he's behind schedule. I'm a bit like Peter Falk at the beginning of The Princess Bride, bursting into his sick grandson's room and asking, "How's the sickie?" Lately what Pan wants, short of biting my fingers (one must draw the line somewhere), he's getting.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Weekend update

First things first. Here it is, baby sweater number one (or sweater for baby number one, if you prefer):

Looks like a sweater, right? Or the start of one? I know! Cool, huh? I had an appointment Saturday, and the doctor was running late, resulting in enough knitting time that I got to the it-looks-like-a-sweater stage. How exciting!

This is my first sweater knitting, and I think that doing a baby sweater for the first sweater is probably wise, because it does go quickly, which is encouraging. Not quite instant feedback, but practically. Now I'm at the plain knitting for the body part, then I go back and do the sleeves, but one step at a time. Not bad for starting Thursday night, and this doesn't include today's knitting, either (I'm almost to the bottom of the body, thanks to break, lunch, and SnB time).

My weekend was a pretty good mix of social and stuff around the house. I tackled the mountain of laundry and had dinner with friends, did dishes and had dinner with (other) friends (not in that order, nor all on the same day, for that matter). And I spent a lot of time sitting down making a lap for Pan, who by the way is feeling perfectly fine, but doesn't mind at all if I want to spoil him more than usual, which I do.

We have an appointment in a couple of weeks for him to have blood drawn, which they will test to see why he has lost the weight. I'm not even worrying about the why yet. I'm still worrying about getting him to, and through, the vet visit and sedation and recovery from same. Once we're over all that, I'll worry about the rest. One step at a time. Keep breathing.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Strange Story

I'm thinking that I'll do Weekend Update tomorrow, including a very exciting first look at the baby sweater, which is taking shape so quickly! But for tonight, what I've got is A Very Strange Story, courtesy of Publishers Weekly (all the book nerds are reading it). Enjoy!

How 'The Pesthouse' Became 'Useless America'

by Dick Donahue, PW Daily -- Publishers Weekly, 4/13/2007

Did you hear the one about how one book turned into another book—and that the second book didn't really exist? It all started last fall when Useless America, a new book by award-winning novelist Jim Crace, showed up on, which named Viking Penguin as publisher. Amazon offered a persuasive "Our Price" discount and trumpeted the novel via e-mails to customers who had purchased any of Crace's earlier books. The slight hitch was, there was no such book. As Crace puts it, "As the named author of Useless America, I'm looking forward to my first sight of it." Here is what happened.

When Doubleday/Nan Talese was preparing to publish Crace's The Pesthouse, a postapocalyptic novel along the lines of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, the first line of the book was going to be "This used to be America." Through an error in transposition (Crace guesses "someone at Penguin couldn't type, possibly, or someone at Amazon was hard of hearing") "used to" became "Useless" and voilĂ : Useless America entered the world of books. Crace explains that Viking Penguin in the U.K. "published" a hardcover edition (keep in mind: no such book) last fall, and he adds that "the truly impecunious" can wait until this September when the paperback comes out at £7.99. Still don't believe us? Check out the listing at (complete with ISBNs) or heed Crace's advice: "Order your copy, while stocks last." (The Pesthouse was published in the U.K. last month, and will come out in the U.S. May 1).

Doubleday, in the interest of preserving its reputation—"and because we thought it was hilarious," said publicity director Nicole Dewey—"published" the nonbook, Useless America. At first glance, the trade paperback seems real enough—it comes complete with dedication: "The author does not wish to thank his editor, his publisher, or his agent. He is not grateful to any of his wives for their support. He is indebted to computers." But other than a three-page explication of the work and the obligatory "Note About the Editor" and "Note About the Type," this 258-page tome is blank. But there's more. Powell's Books is holding an epigraph-writing contest (to fill up the space we presume), 75 winners of which will receive signed copies of Useless America. We say, Useless is as Useless does.

Friday, April 13, 2007

What now?

I got in trouble around about junior high (no, not that kind of trouble!) for putting off schoolwork that I didn't want to do, so I pretended that it didn't exist. La la la, current events, report, what's that? Boom. That strategy did not work so well for me, and it's a lesson I learned pretty well, but from time to time I can still be an ostrich when I feel something bad blowing in the wind.

My baby, Pan:

has a heart condition. He is symptom-free, except for a heart murmur that the vet claims to be able to hear but I couldn't tell was anything other than a sound like a seashell held up to my ear. He takes medication that I can call treats because he loves Pill Pockets, thank god. And boy, does he know what the word "treat" means! And that's about it.

Except that he's losing weight. In the last year, he's lost about 10% of his body weight. Now, he was overweight to begin with ... but still. And it may be caused by the heart condition, or it may be caused by something else (oh, jeez).

And, the way to find out is a blood test, which involves taking him to the vet, which stresses him, and guess what a kitty with a heart condition is supposed to avoid the most?

The vet is talking about giving him a sedative. I think I'll need one too.

So much for yesterday's storm, by the way. The weather wasn't nice: now it's snowing, now it's sleeting, now it's raining. But the big snow never came. As close as they come to predicting the actual weather most of the time, the forecasters might as well be throwing chicken bones on an altar. (Of course, maybe they are. It would explain a lot.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Not so pointy

My car passed a mileage milestone recently. I talk about liking words (well, I do, I love them), and not numbers, but it's really math I don't enjoy. Numbers can be neat, and I was fascinated by this one:

Then there's The Sock. Ta-da! It's done!

The actual color is somewhere between the flash and no flash photos.

When the sock is turned inside out, the ribbing is much more apparent:

And just look at the inside-out foot:

Can you believe how many pictures I put up? It's a sock, not the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Still, I impressed myself with this.

That will be all about the sock for now, really. It is fated to remain a single sock until a pair of baby sweaters have sprung from the needles. I'm checking gauge for that now, not so photogenic, but hopefully the first sweater, once started, will be blogworthy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sock, redefined

Can I just say, damn, this sock fits like it was made for me! How did that happen? I'm so happy about this!

I just need to kitchner the toe and it's done (not in the photo, of course, but I worked on it at lunch today). Next, sweaters! Look out, babies!

I was happy to see these on Sunday, too, even if it has been chilly and windy and altogether unlike what I want in my Spring weather.

And even more so since tomorrow, we're supposed to get more of this:

Other random items in my brain lately...

I was reminded why I like Calleigh Duquesne's character on CSI: Miami while watching a rerun the other night. She and Horatio were on a rooftop looking for evidence of a sniper. Horatio asked rhetorically, "What do you get when a 6-foot-tall man lies down with a three-foot rifle?" Calleigh murmured, "Hot flashes, but that's just me." She does like firearms. I like her attitude.

I try to scoff at astrology. Sure, right, Libra: me and 1/12 of the world's population happen to be very similar, riiiight. I was born something like 5 weeks early! Shouldn't I be more like the next sign, whatever that is?

Okay, so I tend to see both sides of the argument...

I like balance and harmony...

Hey, so what.

Anyway, I ran across one of these silly online quizzes, what color is your brain, five questions and here I am. Um. OK.

Your Brain is Green

Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance.
You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver.
You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

Hmmm. That's ... interesting. I'm not sure I can explain that. Moving on. Here's a link to a really fun website with no explanation, but you have to see the photos anyway. Holy sheep! Thanks, Go Knit In Your Hat! (Where did you run across that site? You never said.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Good and not so good

The good news is that the endodontist feels the problem I've had lately isn't in my teeth, which means no need for a root canal. No getting around it, this is good news.

The reason I'm not more joyful, more full of exclamation points at this news, the not-so-goodness of this news is that this leaves me without an explanation for the achy discomfort I've been feeling when I wake up after sleeping on my left side*. Although the endodontist's job ends with declaring that I either do or do not need a root canal (and of course, I do like the choice he made), he offered the theory that I might be grinding my teeth due to stress (who, me?), and that if it continues, I could talk to my dentist about a night guard. Lovely. It just never ends, does it? While I was waiting to go in, I was wondering which circle of Hell is like a waiting room, where you have to listen to dental drills and Sounds of the 70s, on top of a headache that is starting Day Three.

*I know, I know, stop sleeping on my left side! It isn't that easy, I'm a toss-and-turner, all night long. Ask the cats, I disturb them something grievous.

So I could make this a very gripe-filled, self-pitying post, but instead I'll tell a sappy kitty story. Last night Pan walked by and I picked him up sideways, held him in the way he doesn't like, and told him how much he means to me, and how dear he is, and that I can't tell him often enough (which you can't anyway, but with a pet with a heart condition, you really can't), that he is in my heart, and "I. Love. You." and only after all that did he struggle a little and I let him down out of the pose of no dignity, and he found a bit of something on the floor to chase, to assert his will to do as he pleases, but he knows he is loved. And tonight, Pan and Harold are locked in a feline staredown, about to whap the snot out of each other. Sublime and Ridiculous. I'm off to the laundry. Sock photo tomorrow!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday, monday

This morning was such a Monday, wasn't it?

Not just literally; I mean, I know it really was Monday. Every Monday has a Monday morning, but some of them are what gave Monday morning their reputation, and I had one of those. Too tired to get up, headache, not enough cereal for a full bowl, then I spilled something nasty on the floor ... on my beautiful hardwood floor ... what a Monday (I didn't handle it too well, but in my defense, PMS is also a factor). I had to stop at CVS and buy some Easter candy at 50% off for consolation. For the sake of fitting into my summer clothes, it's a good thing we're waving good-bye to the last of the major candy holidays for a while. Still, Russell Stover* improved my mood considerably, and between that and the medication, the headache went down to barely there for most of the day. Not a great day, but still. I did hear that the charity auction at work raised something like $900, which is great news, and I'm glad to have had some small part in that (and it was small, but hey, every dollar counts).

*a couple of caramel eggs, a "carton" of marshmallow eggs, and yes, I shared

Now, the time has come to wrap up Saturday's Bruins Experience. Not that I won't write about hockey again, but the Bruins' 06-07 season is done, the players were cleaning out their lockers today, and other than the draft the team won't have much news until fall (possibly awards, Kessel's up for the Masterton, at least, but I'll be lucky indeed if that's televised here in the godless south [i.e., south of Canada], and perhaps contract signings, but overall not too much going on). I may watch other playoff games: I'm primarily a Bruins fan, but when the Bruins are either doing well, or are out of the picture altogether, I'm a hockey fan more generally. It's actually more relaxing when I'm not as emotionally involved. Other than when Ray Bourque and Colorado won the Cup, if Boston wasn't involved I've never really cared who won*, so I can just enjoy the games. It's nice.

*Sometimes I cared who lost, if it was a team that eliminated the Bruins. It's like the baseball t-shirt says: I root for two teams, the Red Sox and whoever beats the Yankees. They need to do one of those for hockey; I'd buy one that said, I root for two teams, the Bruins and whoever beats the Canadiens.

Unlike Saturday. I mean, I did have a good time, just not a bouncing, excited, isn't this great time. They lost 6-3, in case you didn't know. And deservedly so. Bergeron had 2 assists, and also won the John P. Bucyk Award before the game; we got to see the local awards handed out, so that was a nice thing. And, a surprise guest, Ray Bourque was there:

introducing his niece, who sang the Canadian National Anthem (and very well, too). So that was nice! We were also in great seats (this is with no zoom, by the way):

which was very nice (via friends of my parents, thanks again!). Pro sports are so expensive these days, I'm used to the nosebleed seats, and boy, if I win the lottery (note to self, buy a ticket), season tickets are on the shopping list. Good seats, like these. Although if I could not be sitting next to ... ummm ... how to put it ... a person of size, who had been drinking quite a bit, whose ideas of personal space differed considerably from mine ... that would be more comfortable. Although he wasn't screaming constant abuse at the players or officials, or spilling his beer on me, or doing any one of a number of things that I'm sure could have been even worse than what he was. No picture of him, certainly!

Actually, most of the pictures I took were during warm-ups, and aren't exactly photos of mass appeal: a lot of similarity to them. It was a fun evening, but in the end a little depressing. The team changed the GM, coaching staff, and about three-quarters of the players, and finished a whopping 2 points ahead of last year. Didn't qualify for the playoffs. Lost 10 of their last 12 games. What a lot of energy I poured into rooting for them this year. (More than the team showed on the ice Saturday night, may I say.) All for this, exactly the same nothing as last year, as so many recent years.

Before the game Saturday, they played a video montage of Bruins history, which was great, then of this season, and they must have pulled just about every goal, every save, every hit of the season to fill the time. It wasn't that long.

Anyway, before I depress myself completely, I'll focus on something small instead (t-shirt of the day: They say I have ADD, but they just don't understand ... oh look, a chicken!). Going to the arena today is different in some ways from when I was a kid, and the same in others. The scoreboard looks different (am I at the movies?):

But they still don't have the game clock and the penalty clock synchronized, so you can watch them count down out of sync, which always seemed stupid to me then. Today? Ridiculous.

On the other hand, the Garden does not blow one of those hideous air horns or flash strobe lights when the home team scores, and I approve of that. I hate those things with the passion of a burning sun, even if it's for my team. Too loud! Too bright! Stop!

Of course, the announcer does wind up the announcement of a goal scored with a loud "Woo!" But no one's perfect.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Some assembly required

If you use your imagination, you may be able to picture two baby sweaters from this:

Do you see? Let me help. One is red, with a little blue at the neck, cuffs, and waist, and the other is green, with blue at the neck, cuffs, and waist.

The pattern looks like this (a picture of a picture, this should be crystal-clear):

(Isn't he darling? The photo came with the pattern.)

It's knit from the top down, in the round, and Jackie says if I can do a sock (which, after all, I can! well, more or less, if not easily), I can do this pattern. So we'll see!

I have to try if I get gauge, or close to it, with the recommended needles, since the yarn is a little lighter than what's called for. Hopefully it will be close enough, since I actually already own these needle sizes and it would be nice to not have to buy more but we'll see. I'm excited to see how it goes, anyway, and I think baby sizes are going to be an excellent way to try sweaters and see if I like making them. After all, if I don't, no one says I have to again.

P.S. About the Bruins game last night: the season ended as the season has been going, i.e., Not Well. It was still fun to go, though, and the seats were great, and I'll say more and post some pictures probably tomorrow. Now, though, I have to get ready to go to Easter dinner with friends. Happy Sunday to you, from me and my bunnies.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Just researching my novel

This will be a short one, appropriate for a Friday night when the cats and the couches are calling. (I've noticed that I often don't 'get around to' posting on Friday nights.) And would you want to keep these guys waiting?

The question on the table is this:

Are you (or is someone you know):
  • male
  • involved in team sports
  • a knitter or other hand-crafter
  • willing to answer a few questions?
As you may surmise, I'm working on a character for my novel who is all of the above (well, he may or may not be willing to answer a few questions). Specifically, he's going to be a pro hockey player who is also a knitter. I'd love to hear about the experiences men who do traditionally female crafts have had in the sports world.

I mean, it's fiction: I can, and will, make it up. But I got to thinking (danger, Will Robinson!), and wondering, how the testosterone of the hockey world and the something-or-other of yarn-and-sticks would mix.

I'm going to try not to prop up stereotypes, by the way, either of hockey players or of knitters. I think this could make him an interesting character, don't you? Potentially? If you have any knowledge or opinions, please do comment, or contact me at ccrinma(AT)hotmail(DOT)com

Thanks, y'all! Happy Friday to you, and watch that holiday weekend traffic, it's bad on the highways!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Seasonally inappropriate

If the right candy for the time of year was candy canes instead of jelly beans ...

Or if I didn't have to leave the house ...

Or at least if someone else (elves?) cleared my car off ... might be considered pretty. As it is, though, I'm not enamoured.

This was driving home last night (I mean, I was stopped when I took the photo, though):

And these were this morning:

Speaking of clearing the snow off the car, it always amazes me how many people don't bother. And then they're driving down the highway and {wham} flying snowballs trail behind them, which is potentially quite dangerous. Who do they think they are?

The sun did spend some time out today, some melting happened, but there's still white stuff out there, and I don't want to think about it! (My star sign is Ostrich.) Let's talk about something else. Candy!

Specifically, Peeps. I saw something very troubling at Target this week. Have you seen the red Peeps? They are so very wrong. I say this as someone who likes Peeps, by the way, within certain constraints that have nothing to do with the taste (I like the taste, once a year, and I like them
best of all about two days after the package is opened).

In general, let me begin by saying, the Red Peep issue goes far beyond my own personal belief that Peeps are Supposed to be either pink, or yellow: not blue, not purple, not green, etcetera. Pink, or yellow. They are Supposed to be shaped like bunnies, or chicks. I am a bit of a traditionalist in some things (stop laughing, mother), and I feel strongly about this. I can in fact riff for minutes at a time about why this should be (or shouldn't be, depending on which way the question is posed).

But the red ones are a whole separate fruit altogether. Apparently they're exclusive to Target, by the way, and I must say I think Tar-jay let the whole "red is our color" idea go to their heads in this case. These are Peeps only vampires could find attractive (yes, I know vampires don't eat food*, let alone marshmallows; work with me here). Red Peeps are severely Wrong in ways not previously imagined (although I did find myself imagining Edward holding a Peep to his mouth, inserting fangs, and lowering a handful of red sugar-dust. Disturbing).

*If you read books from different authors that feature vampires or other other-worldly creatures, have you noticed that they all put their own spin on the folklore? Which means that I'll be reading one and trying to remember, in this world, can vampires see themselves in mirrors? Can were-creatures change shape more than once in a night? Is this a world where there's synthetic blood or not? It does get confusing. And then there's Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake series, which is great but so very character-rich that it can get confusing: who's this guy again? Do we like him, do we trust him? I actually found myself contemplating making a spreadsheet: "John Doe. Were-rat. First appears in Blue Moon. Friendly." "Jane Smith. Human. First appears in Narcissus in Chains. Neutral, then betrays Anita." Something like that. I haven't made it (yet), but I may, someday, in that mythical land when I have time on my hands. Certainly not before I have a new computer, though. Okay, back to the big type.

The other news in Peep world wasn't quite as disturbing, but it did cause a double-take. Bunny-shaped, kind of beige-colored or light brown, but then I saw the word "Cocoa" on the package. Chocolate Peeps? Very interesting. I didn't buy any, but I think I'll see if I can find any in clearance after Easter. Got to try them, right? Chocolate + marshmallow = how bad could it be?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Worth ten thousand words

The photography process may have helped me diagnose the root of the problem with the pinwheel. Before I reveal my conclusion, though, let's go to the photos, shall we? Here is my hat oeuvre.

An early hat, the basic roll-brim pattern (well, they're more like guidelines) from Laurie:

Similar, done with two colors of a thinner yarn held together (I wanted to try it, and it worked, I was so proud, and really like the effect):

The ribbed brim version, nice to try but I like making the roll-brim better (love this yarn though):

The roll-brim in a heavier yarn, resulting in a thicker, warmer hat (this one stands on its own!):

Same idea, this is the one I made for the Represent event:

Which I liked enough that I'm making another for myself, even now (and actually finished tonight, while waiting for The Evil Machine to work through its issues, I need to replace this computer like yesterday, and with the amount of time it's taking to do everything I could practically make another one from scratch although my hands are a little tired now but anyway I'm not taking another picture since it looks exactly like the photo above, which is the point after all):

So, those are the previous experiences I've had with hats, once I figured them out (by which I mean that Laurie knits much more tightly than I do, so I had to adjust her numbers as given in the guidelines to account for that, because at first I was making monster-huge hats, but now, I've got it down cold).

Then, there's the pinwheel:

Do you see the difference? It's supposed to sort of resemble the shape of the bottom of an acorn (upside down). Instead, it looks like the top of the acorn, unless it's forcibly unrolled and held down:

I suspect I increased it too much, gave it too many stitches, got carried away. The yarn may also not be structurally best suited to the hat shape, that may be a contributing factor, I don't know. Right now, it's getting put aside, it isn't a sock or a baby sweater so it is low on the priority list, friends. At some point, I know, I will have to decide What To Do. But there are times when procrastination is allowed, and this is one.

In a final, unrelated picture series, what does this say to you?

The white stuff on the cars: does that say Spring to you? Not so much to me, either. Winter is hanging on to the door frame, kicking and spitting and refusing to leave. Ugh, I say. If ever a flower said, "What the...?":

Daffodils in the snow may sound poetic, but I find I don't care for them in reality.

This guy didn't seem to mind it:

See how much was on the road coming home? (I was stopped, it was a red light!)

I can't get the last picture to upload, I give up, maybe tomorrow it will feel like it. I'm tired. Snow in April, it's exhausting!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Three games, not much hope left

The Bruins play tonight (they're losing to Montreal), and again Thursday, and finally Saturday (the game I'm going to). Then training camp starts in September.

One small bright spot in the drear that has been the lot of a Bruins fan this season has been the quality of coverage in the Boston Globe. Kevin Paul Dupont has always been great (I often get to a particularly well-crafted part of an article, check the byline, and nod: it's Dupont), I liked Nancy Marrapese-Burrell (who isn't covering the Bruins this season, I don't know why), and I've been pleased with Fluto Shinzawa's work. Even their fillers-in to the world of hockey do well; recently, I enjoyed this analogy (and only hope it's true):
This rebuilding process, like a kitchen remodel, is taking longer than planned, and while it's going on the Bruins have to live with the mess.
The only change I would make would be "...the Bruins and their fans have to live with the mess." Too true. At the risk of sounding like the classic Red Sox fan, wait til next year, eh?

As to the so-called hat, thank you all for the comments (block it? really? on a plate? what a sheltered little knitter I am). My frustration is with how it turned out so unlike I imagined it would be. It's not an unattractive knit object: it's just ... not a hat. I think what I'll do is provide more photos, both of the pinwheel and of other hats I've made, so you can see where it falls short of my expectations.

So: a hat photo essay to come, but not tonight!

Monday, April 02, 2007

What a picture is worth

This just isn't a hat. I don't know what it is, but the best word to describe it is limp. What do you call a small, limp, yarn Frisbee? I don't know either, but this is what it looks like:

The photo is taken from above because it has no depth. The whole thing is about an inch high at most: At Most! In process, the needles gave it a structure that the actual project itself lacked:

I can see now (ahh, hindsight, so helpful), that although I consider myself good with hats, changing too many factors at once is not a good idea, because when it goes wrong, I don't know where to tinker first. Was it the yarn? The starting from the top? The idea that it would be baby-sized?

To add to my frustration, I finished it (all but the very end) in the company of non-knitters who tolerate but Do Not Get my knitting, and would not have understood my angst in the slightest, so all I could do was quietly put it aside. And I had no other knitting with me. It wasn't my best moment.

Fortunately for the blow to my knit-esteem, I did have success with the other project I undertook this weekend. In doing some very necessary sorting through the utter chaos of my stash and knitting tools, I ran across an all-but-forgotten bit of knitting that I repurposed into a small birthday gift.

Last year, I started a project (still ongoing, in fact) of letters-of-the-alphabet squares for an afghan (I've done A-P, but it gets put aside a lot, like for months at a time). When I did the letter C, I didn't like the yarn I'd chosen, so I redid it in another yarn, but never frogged the first one. One of my coworkers (whose name happens to start with C) admired the first C, and it's her birthday, so I knit a quick plain (well, stockinette) square for backing, sewed them together, and stuffed it as a little pillow. Simple and cute, if I do say so.

More to the point, it turned out exactly as envisioned, which helped during the ensuing "hat" fiasco. Whatever gets you through the day.

In other knit news, today was the start of the charity auction at work. I was surprised to find that they put my two items into one lot: the ccr collection? Well, if anyone has been coveting my work and wants anything, just anything, made by me, they're in luck, they can have two for the price of one. But if anyone happens to want just one of these items, too bad, they have to take both, unless they bid in tandem with someone who wants the other.

This assumes a whole lot of interest, of course! We'll see how long I go before I check to see if anyone bids at all. After I finished the "C" pillow above, I thought perhaps I should have done the same with the logo square. There's that silly hindsight again. In the meantime, I'm back to knitting my nice, reliable, "I know it works" hat. Tomorrow, perhaps, the sock.

As for the pinwheel? Well, I don't know. It will have to be frogged, trust me. It's silly to blame the yarn, perhaps, but right now I don't feel like trying again with it. I'm thinking of just using it to make another square and sending it to Warm Up America in the Harlot's name, just to be done with it and get it away from me. It's so pretty, but I start to feel like we aren't meant to be together. I think we can manage a square together, since we did already, unless it was Harlot magic that made that work? If I can't even knit a simple square with it, we may find out how soy burns. Because that really would be the last straw.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Of cats and me

Pan still thinks he wants to get under the covers, and continues to drive me crazy trying to get there (since he isn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier, he can't figure it out on his own). He dabs a paw repeatedly at the covers and, when that doesn't work, at my face, trying to raise the drawbridge. Something like this may be the solution: a pet bed that has a nylon ring to hold the end open, for the entry-impaired.

He can get into it all by his onesies, and snuggle to his heart's content. I may have to get him a birthday present.* It's from a site I ran across called Chilly Dog.

*Today is the day the Humane Society estimated for the babies' birthdays, though Happy Estimated Birthday has an odd sound, doesn't it? And wouldn't you think on his birthday he'd get everything his own way, instead of being thwarted in his desire for More Food on the sophistic grounds that he has food in the bowl already? After all, what does that have to do with anything?

I think a pattern one would be sensible, for the fur-showing issue, though I'm not really the leopard-print type myself. The things we do for our pets! Perhaps in jaguar... god save me from the zebra. And the prints are even more expensive ... they're not cheap to begin with. Perhaps plain will do just fine. Or perhaps the baby is spoiled enough (that would be hard to argue with).

Then there's the size question. Small should do fine for one kitty, but what if they both want to get in at the same time? Then we'd probably want a medium.

You know what will happen. If I get a small, they'll fight over it, and if I get a medium, they'll only ever get in it one at a time, if they don't ignore it altogether. Rule of cat. Perhaps the baby is spoiled enough.

Knitting content tomorrow, all else being equal. I tried two small projects over the weekend, with a split success rate. The unplanned project was just what I wanted it to be, but that hat from the top down, with the soy yarn? Wait until you see what that turned out to look like (hint: nothing like a hat). I don't know if it was the yarn, the number of stitches, the from-the-top-down, or what, but, well, not a hat. I'm not sure what my next step there will be, other than a trip to the frog pond. For now, I will be knitting something else. I still haven't finished the other hat I'm knitting (you know, the one that's doing just fine, thank you), or the sock, so I have options even without the rampant startitis that I'm suffering from lately. What a condition that is!