Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Sports Fan or a One-Sport Fan?

Right now is an interesting time for a Bruins fan in this area.

I could say, a non-Red Sox fan, but that makes me sound actively against them, and I'm not really (except when they mess with the Bruins schedule, but the feeling passes). Understandably, we are in All Red Sox All The Time mode, and I'm just not that interested.

I'm not a baseball fan. I won't leave the room if it's on TV, but I don't turn it on, because I'm not a baseball fan. I'm not a football fan. I'm not even a basketball fan (tied with the Bruins for who-cares for a lot of years, they're now pulling ahead; I gather they picked up someone or two or three of some promise this off-season, or so I keep hearing).

I'm a hockey fan. Really, I'm a Bruins fan first, and a hockey fan second, and there is no third. Is that so unusual? Not the specific sport, but only following one? Are most people who follow sports Sports Fans? I know there are those who don't follow any, but are the dedicated fans rare, or is it simply that because I root for hockey, I'm unusual?

A number of different people have told me that I'm the only Bruins fan they know. The Bruins should be worried about this.

Of course, right now they have other worries. My poor Patrice Bergeron got hurt badly on Saturday, and to be honest after watching it I do feel he's fortunate to "only" have the most serious kind of concussion, which generally means at least a month off the ice, and a broken nose. He was hit from behind into the boards, and he didn't just fall, he dropped. It was frightening and very hard to watch. I was sitting there saying, "Come on, move your legs, move your feet!" And he was so still.

It turns out he was knocked unconscious. As a precaution that fortunately turned out not to be necessary, they took him off the ice on a stretcher. I mean, they put him on a board and taped his legs together, and his wrists, so he wouldn't move around, but he was not moving, I tell you. It took them about 15 minutes to get him off, and it felt like forever.

And the next day the Red Sox won the World Series, and there's nothing else in Boston Sports. And not that I'm not happy for their fans, but they're all Red-Sox-Red-Sox (with a whisper of Patriots and when do the Celtics start playing), and hi, fourth-class Boston sports fan here in the corner, talking to herself!

Well, almost. There has been some coverage in the Globe, of course, they do a good job by the Bruins overall, and the one person who talked to me about the Bergeron incident, who was also watching and saw it, says she heard it talked about on sports radio too, so that's good. It's just, I don't want to say "It's not fair," because I outgrew that long ago, but sometimes I do get tired of people assuming I must be following the Red Sox, but giving me the blank, "oh, right, Bruins" look if I reverse the position. It isn't that I expect everyone to watch the Bruins games, but I know about two people who do, and it would be nice to get to talk hockey on a regular basis, the way "they" get to talk baseball.

Sounds like I'm a little jealous. Can we pretend it's the headache talking? It's kind of minor at the moment, but it isn't gone.

Of course, on the bright side, I made shortbread cookies tonight. We're having a potluck at lunch tomorrow. Perhaps I'll go test one, and see if my mood improves. Have to make sure they're okay! This is my first time with this recipe. I found it online, looking for a gluten-free recipe so that one of my coworkers who has mad food allergies can eat them. This version uses rice flour, and sea salt, and she loaned me her bottle of gluten-free vanilla so I didn't have to buy a whole one.

Mmm, not bad!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Would you like some recipes?

I've been invited to a recipe exchange that's sort of like being tagged, so I thought I'd ask around and see if anyone's looking for some fresh recipes. It's sort of like a chain letter, but I don't mean that in a bad way: you send a recipe to the first person on the list, make the second person's name first and your own name second, and send it out to as many as 20 people to do the same. I've sent my recipe already, but I have to work on my list. If you'd like to be in on it, leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

I spent most of the weekend having this godawful sinus headache, which still hasn't fully gone away. Considering how used I am to migraines, it's almost funny how leveled this has left me.


Anyway, other than staggering to the eye doctor to check that it wasn't related to the conjunctivitis (which it isn't), and to a haircut, all I did this weekend is spend most of Sunday hanging with the babies before they go to London. If it was just my friends going away for a couple of months at a time, I would hardly notice, since time flies so these days, and I'd be so happy for them to have the fun of a few months in London and all, but the babies, oh them I'm going to miss. They'll change so much before I see them again!

However, time really will fly, and they'll be back before I know it (I keep telling myself).

Oh, my head hurts. I'll have to tell you about The Kite Runner another time.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Have I Ever Been So Glad for Friday Night?

This week lasted about 3 weeks. Today by itself was at least a week long. There were a few bright points this week, but between the work craziness and the conjunctivitis ... Well. Hello, weekend! So glad you're here!

The funny thing about conjunctivitis (funny! ha-ha!) is that my eyes are hardly bothering me at all, but I have sinus pressure that feels like the right side of my head is about to explode. From the top of my head to my jaw, ow. Even my teeth hurt! The slight cough, sneezing, runny nose I could more or less live with, but this, no, not really.

Also, being cold today did not, I think, help. It's not that cold out, though it's certainly cool, but here's what I wore to work today:
  • long underwear
  • jeans
  • wool knee socks
  • turtleneck
  • heavy hooded sweatshirt
To still be cold on top of that, to have a shawl draped over my knees and fingerless gloves on and still be cold, to pull the hood of the sweatshirt up because of the draft at my desk ... need I say more?

But enough, we are officially on weekend time here Chez Cat Hair. I need to give the baby his "treat" (heart medication in a Pill Pocket, and thank deity-of-choice for the PPs), and clean out the litter boxes, and wash my face and brush my teeth* and go to bed. And sleep late.

*What I don't have to do is take out my contacts. At least day two of wearing glasses is winding down. With luck, I can wear the lenses Monday, so I may be halfway there. Oh, please, let the eyes be better by then.

May all our weekends be better ones, eh? And Go Bruins, too! Tomorrow's start time was moved to 4 again, you know why, but this time I have no other plans, I can watch it, yay!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Conjunctivitis, or Why I Wore Glasses to Work Today

It's a good thing I love my friend's twins, because guess who just had conjunctivitis, and guess who has it now? Yes, they had it last week, poor little guys, and last night I started showing signs myself. Ugh! I've never had this before, and I hope I never do again.

It actually isn't particularly painful, just sort of weird, but the main problem is that I can't wear my contacts for at least a few days. I saw the eye doctor this evening, and he said if I have remarkable improvement, I can wear lenses on Monday. I never wear my glasses for much more than finding the bed at night, and finding the bathroom again in the morning; it's going to be a long couple of days.

He did say that it was a mild case, and that I did the right thing by taking my contacts out last night when I first noticed something was up, and especially by not putting them in this morning. I'm glad to know it was the right thing to do, because the muscles on the sides of my head are sore from flexing differently, and I'd hate to think it was for naught.

The timing in particular isn't great, because work has also been a little less than perfectly joyful this week. Let's just say that it turns out this was the right week for me to bring chocolate to work. Love those little Heath bars! I was going to try to spread them out, make them last, but I'm not sure my sanity is worth saving those calories. Eat up!

I was reading an article about the fires in California, when I came across something that made me read twice:
But electricity was a concern. A wildfire cut a main power link with Arizona, while another blaze near Camp Pendleton was threatening the main north-south power corridor that connects San Diego with the rest of California. Additional power was being shipped from Mexico, said Sempra Utilities Chief Operating Officer Michael Niggli.
The italics are mine, of course. Isn't that an interesting concept... I'm thinking of part of Douglas Adams' The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, when Kate muses on those trucks she sees with only "Albania" stenciled on the side, and how she once looked up Albania's exports to see what they were shipping in such quantities only to find that all they export is electricity, which hardly seems likely to be shipped in large trucks.

Perhaps I am rambling. It may be time to put clean cases on the pillows and go to bed. Perhaps it is.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What's On Your Bumper?

Well, not my bumper, but bumpers I've seen around. This one, for example, I don't even understand. What am I missing? Anyone? Bueller?

I like this one for the snarky tone:

Can you read this one? It's a skydiving company, and their phone number?

800-UGO-JUMP, of course.

This one is not a bumper sticker, of course, but a sign I saw at the John Deere tent at Apple Festival:

Pretty clever!

In conclusion, I would like to say, it's autumn:

And Harold has been practicing his waif look: how can you leave me?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Oh, Bruins! Ouch!

I was out this evening, and only turned on the Bruins game when I got in the car at 9:30. I was waiting for them to tell me the score, when the Bruins scored, yay!

"Got on the scoreboard" ... oh, they hadn't scored yet? And we're in the third period?

"Making it 4-1" ... ouch, Montreal has 4 and we just got 1?

I drove home listening, then hurried into the house to find that Montreal scored again in the short time it took me to get to the TV. So, 5-1. And a final score of 6-1, which I'm sure would have been yet more if the merciful clock had not run out and ended the pain.

So, our great new goalie, picked up in the offseason, I'm not so impressed. If Manny Fernandez really is so good and just needs to get his head on and get into game shape, could they send him down to Providence to do that? (Sorry, P-Bruins fans.) He's been so inconsistent! Lose his first game ... win the next one, but by 8-6, which isn't such a great win from the goalie's perspective ... get a shutout on Saturday, very promising ... and now this.

As the TV guys said, the Bruins will probably play Tim Thomas in the next game. I should think so! The way he's playing, he deserves the time. I know he can't play 80 games, very very few goalies these days can do it all, but creepers, he's leading the league right now, put him in net!

For that matter, I don't know why the coach didn't sub him in when it was 4-0. Get Fernandez out of there and see if the Bruins could turn it around with Thomas in goal. I'm not saying I know more about hockey than they do, but why keep him in? To see if he could pull himself together?

Let me answer that: no. Not tonight, anyway. Any goalie can have a bad night (who remembers when Patrick Roy left Montreal?), but ouch. Really, that's all I want to say. Ouch.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

weekend notes

First, in a knitting note, I counted the stitches in the cowl, and there are 105. As I was counting and got close to the end, I thought that there might actually be exactly 100 stitches, which would have cracked me up since I didn't count them as I cast on, just kept going until there were enough to join without difficulty. Still, 105 is close enough.

Following up on my hockey-game-time-switching bitterness, let me just note that the Bruins won, even if they did get rescheduled. It was 1-0 in a shootout, thank you Phil Kessel, our amazing comes-through-in-the-shootout kid. When it came to the third shooter, I knew before they said that it would be him. He had an amazing record last year, in his rookie season, no less. He wasn't even expected to make the team in camp, and he did, stayed all year, overcame treatment for cancer in December, and can really put them away in the shootout. He was the only scorer yesterday; very impressive. The Bruins have now won four straight, and are 5-2. Enjoy it while it lasts, but it sure is nice.

Friday night I went to the movies, and the theater was pretty close to where I went to high school, so the drive was a bit of memory lane. As if the radio stations knew where I was going, I heard several songs from the 80s or thereabouts:
  • David Bowie, Changes
  • Huey Lewis and the News, Heart of Rock'n'Roll
  • Supertramp, Goodbye Stranger
  • Prince, I Would Die 4 U
We saw The Jane Austen Book Club, and it was really good! I read the book, but haven't re-read it in a while, so I can't give chapter and verse on how faithful the movie was to the book, but the movie was good. In fact, I liked Grigg better in the movie! Anyway, if it's your sort of thing, do see it.

It's been unseasonably warm recently, it probably hit 80 today, but it cools down at night. I'm about to close the last window I had open, as the breeze coming in is decidedly chilly. But it smells marvelous. I do love autumn. I think it's my favorite season, because I love it for itself and not what it portends. I mean, if you think about it, Fall means summer is over and winter is coming. What's to like about that? One should prefer Spring, which means that winter is over at last, summer is finally possible. And I certainly do like Spring! But in autumn, when the leaves turn beautiful colors and smells of neighboring cook-outs are replaced by smells of fires-in-fireplaces, I drive around smiling.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I have some sacrilege here

I'm sorry to have to say this, but the Red Sox are no longer on my "I wish them the best in a non-baseball-fan sort of way" list. They aren't quite on my shit list, I don't actively wish them ill, but somewhere in between. What might that list be called? Well, anyway, thanks to them, I'll be missing the start of tomorrow's Bruins game, because they moved the start from 7pm back to 4pm and I have an appointment in Boston that's from 2-4. Thanks, Sox!

Interesting side note: the Globe asked Bruins coach Claude Julien earlier in the week if the game time might be moved thusly, and he said no. Guess it's not his decision, eh?

What irritates me is the assumption that all Bruins fans must want to watch the Red Sox game, so we mustn't conflict. I do know that there are huge numbers of Sox fans, it is called Red Sox Nation. (For my team, it's more like Bruins Subdivision. If that.) The way they phrased it just irritated me:
We recognize that Bruins fans are also supporters of other Boston sports teams, in particular the Boston Red Sox and their current playoff run.
No, I'm not. How about a qualifier? "We recognize that many Bruins fans..." What would be wrong with that?

In the happy-hockey category, the team is doing well so far. We even have the goalie with the top Goals Against in the league. Of course, it's Tim Thomas, not our big-name, big-deal Manny Fernandez, but whatever. Who cares who's doing it, as long as it's getting done? What I find most encouraging is that if they play badly or get scored on, they don't fold: they keep playing, come back. Now that is something we haven't seen much of in recent years, you know?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More knitting content

The cowl I've been knitting lately is really coming along. On Monday at stitch and bitch, I took it off the needles and put it on yarn so that I could try it on, and I really liked how it felt and looked (I went into the ladies room to use the mirror). Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera to hand, so no photos of that. However, I found a lovely stand-in tonight:

Winnie the Pooh was so obliging as to let me squeeze it over his head, squeezing being necessary because I didn't want to take it off the needles again (such a pain, isn't it?). The photo above is the around-the-neck method, while below are front and side shots of the other way I envision wearing this:

When I tried it on, I estimated that I wanted it to be twice as long as it was, in order to cover the back of my head. It measured 9 inches then, so I decided to go to 18 inches and then take it off the needles and try it on again. It will take a little while, but that's fine. I currently have nothing more pressing to knit (we'll see how long that lasts).

For goosefairy's information (and anyone else who wonders), I'm using size nine needles. I have to count the stitches, I really don't know how many there are. It feels nice and soft, and the twist gives a nice shape under my chin, rather than having it trying to uncoil and cover my face. I am optimistic! Again, we'll see how long that lasts.

In other knitting content, KnittinKitten was asking about my wristwarmers. Thanks for the kind words! I was looking for something to do with yarn I bought at Apple Festival last year, from an alpaca farmer, and Jackie at the Knitting Room gave me the guidelines. It was super-simple, since all that it involved was repeating two rows. I'm fairly sure it was K1P1 for one row, and then knit one row, but I'll look for notes and see if I wrote it down.

Same story with needle size: I believe I used size 10s, but I'm not positive. I remember that I used DPNs* to knit in the round, and yes, bound off (four stitches) for the thumb hole and then cast them on again the next row. The holes have stretched out a bit, but then the whole thing has. When completed, each one was straight, no shaping, but they've stretched out over the hand, leaving the wrist the size it was as completed. If that makes sense. It is the same number of stitches throughout, in other words.

*And, given my needle inventory, it had to be size 6, 7, 10, or 11, because those are the mid-size double-points I own in bamboo/wood.

As for the yarn type/size/weight, it's hard to say for sure, since it wasn't a conventional yarn purchase, and I don't think it had a regular ball band. It's much the same weight as what I'm using for the cowl, which is Knit Picks Andean Treasure. The farm's website shows hand painted yarn and calls it DK weight, while the Knit Picks is called sport weight, so perhaps I am confused. I know I'm tired, and getting cranky, so perhaps I shall call it a night. I'll be happy to answer further questions or provide more photos, if requested. I am overdue for a general answer-the-comments post, so that may happen this weekend. But I wouldn't want to predict!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Knitting tomorrow? Stupid-spell-check today

I love spell-check for when it catches real mistakes, and it also makes me laugh at some of its own antics, especially its suggestions.

My last job ended when our company moved headquarters to Alameda, CA, and the first time I used "Alameda" in an e-mail, spell-check asked me if I meant to type "alarmed". Perfect! Alameda is alarming, under those circumstances: how did they know?

Today, I was spell-checking catalog pages, and apparently InDesign doesn't keep up with educational terminology, because it questioned "metacognition". (Blogger doesn't know it either.) I don't really blame it, that isn't a term I knew before I started this job. What cracks me up is what it suggests I may have meant:

Who programs these things? I mean really?

Met a cognition?

(I sent the screen shot to my supervisor, and the next time she came by my desk, she stopped in and introduced herself as "cognition". Love a sense of humor!)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh, my feet, my poor, poor feet

What happened?

I wore boots yesterday, boots that I wore last winter many times, and now I have a blister the size of France on the sole of my foot. Ow!

I don't understand why. When I wore the boots before, the only problem I ever had was a slight soreness in the calves, since they have 2-inch heels and most of the footwear I wear is an inch or less. I never got so much as a small blister at the back of the heel, in the traditional blister location. Now I have a small blister (the size of a pencil eraser) on the sole of my left foot, and one about an inch by an inch and a half on the right foot. I've never seen such a big blister! When I saw it, all I could say was, "No wonder it hurts to walk!"

If this is Too Much Information, I apologize, but would like to mention that I considered posting a photo of my foot before I calmed down. Or maybe I just wore out: walking on this hasn't been easy. My left leg was tired before lunch, and complaining of pulling more than its share. My right foot, of course, is whining whenever I bump the spot, and the right leg is sort of off-balance from essentially walking on tiptoes all day. It's grand, I tell you, grand!

Other than my feet, I did have a very nice day yesterday. The twins were christened, and that reminds me, I was wondering: are christened and baptized interchangeable terms, does anyone know? The invitation said christening, but during the mass, I think the priest referred to the sacrament of baptism. I'm not Catholic myself, and those five years of Catholic school are a long time ago, not that I recall they taught me that then. I'm just curious (that'll go on my headstone when I die, probably).

It was a beautiful Fall day, a lovely church, and really a nice ceremony. Another baby was being baptized too, a girl, and when it was the twins' turn and their father held out the first one, the priest had to ask which one it was!

Then there was a brunch at a nearby restaurant, with good food and friends and at the end I got to help feed one of the babies. Then I limped home and did laundry and other assorted fun things, including dealing with the World's Most Neglected Cats, who can't believe I'm not pandering to them more after Abandoning them a mere week earlier. Feel I no guilt for that? Was I not gone for two and a half days? Sometimes they can't believe me.

They also can't believe they have to share me with each other. But Mom, I want, I need to be on your lap! I ... Will ... Make ... Room ... Somehow!

Pan was on my lap Saturday afternoon, having begged and meowed until I sat down, when Harold came along in desperation: me! Me! I wouldn't push Pan off, so Harold jumped up, stepped over Pan, and settled on my torso. Pan was so surprised! But he stayed there for a while, until Harold wiggled once too often, and Pan gave up. Chimpanzee politics.

I just got in from stitch and bitch, working on the cowl, which is coming nicely. Perhaps photos soon! Yes, let's say, knitting content tomorrow.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Google Reader, you say?

As a follow-up to yesterday's post on how readers find my blog, I wanted to discuss one of my new favorite things, Google Reader, and how easy it's made it for me to keep up with my favorite blogs.

First, though, could we take a moment to celebrate the Bruins' win last night? Due to the stupid lateness of the start, I only watched the first period, which ended 1-1, then listened to the start of the 2nd in bed. The last score I remember was 4-1 Boston, so I was happy (how nice that I fell asleep before the next two goals, which were all LA). This morning, I found out my boys managed to win, 8-6. Not bad! Need more defense, but there's some offense for you, finally! Another late game tonight*, and then next week we return to normal. A 7 PM game Thursday, how refreshing! (Of course, I have a condo meeting at 7 on Thursday, doesn't that figure? But I'll be able to watch most of the game, anyway.)

*And I don't think I'm even going to be watching the first period, since there's apparently a power outage in San Jose at the moment. It's a conspiracy, I tell you.

Now, Reader, my newsreader. If you know what these things are, skip ahead over this section. For those who don't, here's a brief explanation.

Say you read a blog or other website that is updated periodically, whether it's daily, weekly, monthly, whatever. You check back every so often to see if it's been updated. Perhaps you check every thirty seconds to see if the Yarn Harlot has written about last night's event yet (maybe now? how about now? or now?) or to see if Crazy Aunt Purl has written anything to distract you from your day.

Perhaps you stumble over a blog you really like, and think, I'll have to remember to check this one again. Then, if you forget its name or address, you get frustrated as you try to remember how exactly you found it in the first place. "Was I searching on 'llama yarn hat pattern'? Or 'alpaca hat pattern knit'? Or...?"

At last, you cry out, "There has to be a better way!"

There is. Google Reader is one of a number of similar ways to both keep track of your favorite blogs, and be notified when they update. Now, I admit, it's the only one I've tried, but it sure does do the job. I won't call it perfect (there are a few bugs in every system), but hey, it works pretty close to perfect, and it's free. Not bad. To use it, you do need a Google account, which I have. Once you're in, you "subscribe" to whatever blogs you want, and then whenever you open Reader, it tells you who has new posts. You can access it wherever you sign in to your Google account, so it's better than bookmarks for remembering addresses, plus you don't have the frustration of checking sites to find that they haven't been updated yet (or was I the only one doing that?).

Now, for reasons I know not, you can read the full entry of some blogs in Reader, while others only give you the first few lines, and you have to go to the site itself to read the full entry. This leads to one of my few frustrations with it, which isn't even its fault. The Yarn Harlot is so popular, her server has trouble keeping up with demand, and frequently I won't be able to get through when I try to go to her site. At such times, it's really frustrating to know that a new post is there, but not be able to read it!

One of my favorite features is the "starred feature". If you want to be able to find a particular post again, you can "star" it, and then if you want to find that pattern or recipe or whatever again, you don't have to go searching through the whole blog, or even try to remember which blog it was. Handy!

So, this is why I'm so fond of Google Reader. Thanks to Stacey for telling me about it!

Now if I could just get into Ravelry ...

Whoa! I went to check on my status, since I was pretty close the other day, and I'm in! Invited today, woo!

My user name is ccrinMA, of course (can you believe it wasn't taken?). If you're a Raveler and have any tips, lay them on me! Who knows how long it will take me to get all my info in there, but should be fun to play with, eh? Must not stay up all night ...

But before I go, you need a cat picture, don't you? Pan was very needy today, so at one point I decided that if he wanted to be played with, I would play with him.

He really didn't seem to mind being in a toy fort; he even stayed there while I got the camera. After a while, he did move, though. Can you see the mousie in this shot?

Hint: look for the little red nose...

Friday, October 12, 2007

How did you get here (again)?

For some reason, it fascinates me to see what searches have brought up my blog. Here are some of the latest:
  • "hockey knit pattern" -- okay, that's not surprising, though I haven't actually knit anything with a hockey pattern. I did cross-stitch the Bruins logo, for cross-crafters' information ... but no knitting, yet.
  • "liberty mazda wakefield" -- sure, my car problems, again not the biggest surprise (it gets better!)
  • "knitted squares for cats" -- I'd like to know more about that myself. For instance, are we thinking of two-dimensional or three-dimensional squares? And what do the cats do with them?
  • "bug knit althea cost" -- well, words simply fail me. In that lovely Southern phrase, "Do what?" (Actually, I had to search my own blog for more on this. Althea is the name of the artist I wrote about recently, and bugknits is her website. Okay, whatever.)
  • "how to scrubbies" -- spreading the scrubby craft...
  • "paul hockey pictures ma" -- Paul who?
  • "bitter cuke wikipedia" -- wow, what's a bitter cuke?
  • "foosball wristbands grips" -- someone in Costa Rica is leading an interesting life, wouldn't you say?
That's probably enough. A surprising number of people have Googled "knit read cats hockey". Perhaps I didn't do such a bad job of naming this thing after all!

I've been catching up on CSI tonight, and have had lots of furry help staying on the couch. The boys are so cuddly/clingy after I've been away, even for a short trip. I'm going to go watch the beginning of the Bruins game, while muttering imprecations against the circus for causing the road trip that has games starting at such an unlawful time.

I actually did watch the first period of Wednesday's game, as I was up when it started, so I got to go to bed with a happy glow of Boston 1, Anaheim 0. (The sports section in yesterday's Globe was such a downer.) Then, as a result of having been up so late Wednesday, I went to bed early last night, and I ought to do the same tonight, but I can sleep in tomorrow, and hopefully will, too. And maybe the Bruins will win one for me ... I can but hope.

Want a cat picture to close? How about this one?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Birthday, Fest trip summary, and perhaps etcetera

Happy birthday to me....

Just got in from being taken to dinner by three good friends. We changed plans on the fly today and instead of Pearl Street, we ended up at a Thai restaurant in Belmont, which was very good (and more centrally located for where everyone was coming from). Even better, they weren't very busy, so we could linger and chat without pressure to leave the table, which was a real bonus. It was a very nice evening.

Not that the cats thought so! I was much too late getting in for them, seeing as I was (oh, the nerve) away last weekend. Wait until I don't come directly home tomorrow night: I will be in the dog house, so to speak. But hey, I'm twin-sitting for a couple of hours, can't pass that up! I didn't go to Stitch and Bitch last night, and I'll be in Thursday and Friday (better be doing laundry, in fact). Little though they like it, I have a small amount of social life.

I did give them some catnip when I got in. So it's bribery, so what?

I had a nice weekend with family and Apple Festival, anyway, and much as I love the cats, seeing my aunt and (93-year-old) grandmother and going to the Fest are important to me. I took Friday off from work so I could drive up in the morning, instead of after work, and go to the Fest on Saturday, which is just what happened. The drive was uneventful, just the way I like it. I usually drive up 2-3 times a year*, so I'm into a routine with it, no need to study maps or plan routes or write notes to myself ("Fill tank last chance in MA, even if it's not empty, gas costs more in NY!").

*Apple Festival, Grandma's birthday, and sometimes Christmas

The rest of Friday was good, and low-key. Saturday was the long, busy day! My aunt and I were at the Fest before it officially opened, so that we'd have time to see all the craft tents (500 crafters takes time to see!) before our stint at the church tent. One year we cleared and wiped tables, and the last couple of years we were on the food line (they sell an awesome barbecue chicken meal), but this year, we were in the big league: selling the pies!

They actually make 1000 pies, yes, one thousand, and always sell out, too. It's their big fund-raiser of the year, this, and I felt the pie-selling had a prestige ... plus, since they're already bagged and boxed, you don't have to wear the hat and gloves that the food line requires, which was a real bonus because it was hot! So we spent two hours selling pies (how good is your nine-times table recall?), and saying that yes, we were sold out of the double-crust ones (by 11:15 on Saturday!), all we have left are the crumb-top (which almost everyone bought anyway, and some wanted in the first place), that's nine dollars each, and yes, you can pick one that isn't as dark, and no, we don't sell the apple fritters, that's in the barn over there.

We had one woman who told us that last year's were lousy ... but she bought one anyway.

Another woman was so thrilled that we had the crumb-top pies, because her mother had charged her not to come home without one ... and then she came back ten minutes later and said she'd forgotten to get one for herself!

And we had one young man who said he'd never had pie in his life. He was earnest about it, but I can still hardly believe it. I think they must have been joking around ... but why?

Anyway, it was busy, and two hours flew right by. Then we had an hour to recover, and eat and drink, before reporting to the Chamber of Commerce tent to help sell t-shirts. This was not nearly so busy, but the weather threw us some excitement anyway, in the form of a sudden storm that brought not just heavy rain but gusty winds, which not only blew papers off the table, it actually blew the t-shirts, and then tried to lift the tent, too!

And when I say tried to lift the tent, I mean it was succeeding until we grabbed it. Unlike the church tent, this was a little one, no sides but just a top, with 6 legs of which 2 dropped out when the top of the tent started to leave. It was quite dramatic! We were hanging on for dear tent, until a neighboring tent-master (from the fudge tent behind us) offered us the few stakes he had left, and fortunately the C of C had some rope, and that was enough to hold things down until the storm passed. I'm sure it was less than half an hour from sprinkles to stop, but it felt like more. Whew!

All in all, it was something of a relief to head for home, though all we did there was clean up a bit and head out to dinner. Yes, another dinner for my birthday: I've been quite spoiled this year! It was a wonderful meal, with a little surprise at the end: the waitress had heard us say birthday, so when she brought out my creme brulee, there was a candle in it, and "Happy Birthday" written in chocolate on the plate! It was lovely, and they didn't spoil it by singing or anything like that (I don't mind the singing from family and friends, though I can't say I love it, but from total strangers while a dining room full of more strangers turns to stare? No, very much no, thank you). It was lovely, but such a long day, and I was so tired!

Sunday was low-key again, sleep in and pie for breakfast and church and dinner, and we sat around talking until I had to tear myself away and hit the road. The return trip was also uneventful, happily, and I returned to the cats who were so neglected, or so they claim. And since they are now trying to beat each other up, I think they need my attention. Gotta go!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Home from the Fest

Pan has been meowing and muttering his head off tonight. He wasn't thrilled when I had the nerve to go to work this morning, was very relieved that I came home again this evening, and can't understand why I'm trying to do anything but love on the cat now that I'm finally here. Tough life he has, eh?

This was Friday morning, before I left. Take that, paparazzi! Photograph me, will you? Extreme nose close-up!

He really has taken most of my evening. I was able to give Harold some attention, but he has since retreated to the bedroom and left the floor to Pan. And Pan, of course, doesn't want me to make dinner, or eat, or do anything that doesn't involve lapping the cat. He was here helping me compute, until I dared to take exception to his leaning on the keyboard and sending Picasa into fits (open the photo! close it! open it!). Now he's sulking in the kitchen, but not for long, I imagine. I'm sure he'll be murping and interrupting again any minute.

So I shall make this not-so-detailed for now. I had a really nice weekend, a fine trip, safely home again, and ready to get ready for bed (sad, isn't it?). Have a picture to hold you:

The trees are only just starting to turn, they'll be much better in a few weeks, but still, rather pretty. I do love autumn in New England.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Not the best day, but better is ahead

Well, work's been getting busier as we start the next catalog, and then today a new project came up that had me working hard every minute, and then I got stopped for speeding on the way home. So, not the best day I've ever had.

She gave me a warning, not a ticket, thank heavens, but it still threw me off my stride somehow. I'm such a goody-two-shoes overall that the flashing lights were unsettling. I mean, I'm not perfect; I was speeding, and no extenuating circumstances* can deny that. Still, there's an element of bad luck in being pulled over, too. I could have (and often do) go the other way, except that there was an accident on 128 so I decided to take the back way home. And there wasn't another car around, so I was the only target. And...

*The road I work on is narrow and curvy and deserving of a 30 MPH speed limit, except that where it crosses over a highway, it's wide and straight and open, and you accelerate to climb the incline and then she was on the other side. Busted!

But I don't want to dwell on that. I'm going to try to talk myself into a better mood. I'm taking a day off tomorrow, because it's time once again for Apple Festival! This is a big craft fair that takes place near where my grandmother lives, over Columbus Day weekend every year. Since it started when I was little, and my birthday is always around then, it's always felt to me like a personal event, like it's for my birthday. I love looking at all the Stuff (and buying some of it), and eating the Fire Department's french fries, and I get to see my aunt and Grandma too (sorry that that sounds like an afterthought: it isn't really).

The last few years, I've joined my aunt in volunteering at her church's tent: they do a barbecue chicken lunch and sell apple pies. This year, she's also volunteering with the Chamber of Commerce selling Apple Festival t-shirts, so I'm doing that instead. Should be fun! I hope the t-shirts are nice ones.

So that's a good thing to think about. And tonight the local sports station, NESN, was playing Classic NHL, when they show an old Bruins game in an hour (obviously, they don't show every minute of the game, since it takes at least 90 to play the average game, not counting intermissions--or commercials!). It's fun to see, especially because it's always a good game: they're not going to pick one where the Bruins played badly or got creamed. So that's been fun, the sounds of hockey in the house, and some consolation for my missing the first two games of the season, because of course they have to start the season tomorrow night, when I'm in NY.

And then next week's games are late ones, starting at 10 and 10:30, because they're on the road, and the West Coast, because the stupid circus is in town, so I won't be seeing much of those, either. Sigh. It's really almost like the season doesn't start for another two weeks, in the sense of my being able to watch games!

But wait, I was trying to cheer myself up! How about Tuesday night, my actual birthday, when friends are taking me out to dinner? That's happy! (Mum, we're going to Pearl Street!) And Wednesday, I'm going to twin-sit, which will be fun, too. That's where I was Tuesday evening this week, and they're just so sweet.

And, I checked on my Ravelry invite, and I'm getting closer to being in:

Found you!
  • You signed up on August 22, 2007
  • You are #27720 on the list.
  • 4325 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 11827 people are behind you in line.
  • 58% of the list has been invited so far

These are good things to think about, and I will do so while I finish my packing. I can't imagine I'll be blogging until I get back, so y'all have nice weekends, whatever you do, okay?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

See the teeny tiny knitting!

No, not done by me, but you have to see this!

As you may recall, when I went to NYC back in March for the Yarn Harlot's Represent event, I stopped in at the Subversive Lace and Radical Knitting exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design, and was very impressed by it. I even mentioned here seeing the minuscule gloves and how amazed I was by them.

Well, guess what? The artist has a website! Her name is Althea Merback, and I can't get over what she does. Go look!

The photo for Gallery 6 on the left is of the gloves I saw in the exhibit. But everything she does is ... well, virtually unbelievable, except that I saw those gloves in person, so I'm pretty sure the rest of it is not Photoshopped either. Knitting a sweater that fits on a dime ... simply amazing. I haven't even looked at everything on her site yet. Knitting really is magic, isn't it?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Want to see the pretty flowers?

I just got home from Stitch and Bitch, and strangely enough, our trash was picked up today. The reason that's strange is that today is Monday, and my street gets trash pick-up on Tuesdays. I wonder what happened?

Anyway, being that I just got home, and the cats are looking for love, and I want to get to bed at a decent hour, I'm going to make this quick'n'photographic. When I was in Boston a couple of weeks ago, I saw some really pretty flowers that didn't make it into the blog at the time. Want to see?

As usual, I don't know what they are, other than so pretty. I have to go now, before Pan does himself an injury trying to get my attention. Night!