Friday, October 31, 2008

A tale of two walks

Another night when I don't feel like talking. Let me show you the walk I took today, in contrast to the one I tried to take on Wednesday.

I wanted to go for a walk on Wednesday. The weather wasn't cooperative, being mid-40s and mostly cloudy and really, really windy. I decided to try anyway.

It was beautiful.

In a chilly way.

There was beauty to be found.

The sun even peeked out.

But I gave up after 15 minutes. I didn't have a hat with me, and I couldn't feel my ears.

This morning, the view out my window was more like this:

So I tried again. Temps around 60 helped: the moving air was more a strong breeze, less a howling wind.

And doesn't sun make such a difference?

I like this guy even more in sunshine.

I didn't need my hat, or mittens, or even the scarf.

It was the pretty part of fall, where Wednesday was the nasty, look-what's-coming part.

I liked today better.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Update on cats and warm

Harold has made me laugh twice today.

Earlier, he was on the bed, and I was rubbing his belly vigorously, and I looked down to see his fat belly was rippling under my hand. It was about the funniest thing I've ever seen.

And now, he's snoring, really snoring, though only on and off, and I'm trying not to giggle loudly enough to wake him up.

Oh, he's awake. I don't think it was my fault, though.

He's not getting up, anyway. Not when his beloved grandmama has recognized the need for a kitty to have his own warm spot, so he doesn't have to muscle Pan off his. He hasn't jumped down since I let him know it was there.

Pan will be so relieved.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yes, I've been knitting

Before I start: has anyone else had a problem with Blogger recently uploading photos in reverse order? Not that it's the end of the world, but I choose the photos in the order I'm going to write about them, it's an ingrained habit by now, and suddenly they're all reversed and I have to move them. Humph.

Oh well. It's certainly the smallest gripe on my current list!

In knitting news, I started the Happy Feet socks last Tuesday, and sock one is moving right along:

I'm using Charlene Schurch's book, Sensational Knitted Socks, and this is the Little Shell Rib pattern. I like how it's turning out, and I've got the 4-row repeat in my head by now.

I also love the colors and the squishy-ness of this yarn. I think it will, indeed, make my feet happy. (More so than the last pair, which are, really, too big. Warm, soft, and loose. Trying to do better this time.)

My other current project is the OpArt baby blanket from Knitty. I started it Saturday night, and found the beginning mind-bogglingly confusing. How do you cast on just 4 stitches and start knitting in the round?? That boing you heard was my brain snapping.

I kinda sorta got it going, but got confused really easily, messed up here and there, didn't "get it". I tried ripping back part way and going on again, but no, worse. Rip out and consult Ravelry. I'm not the only one who had trouble! In one of the forums, someone pointed to a Cat Bordhi video about knitting on two circs, and that helped immensely. It got me into the rhythm, and by the end of the evening, I had this:

It's not perfect, but I'm not aiming for perfect. How boring would that be?

I've worked on it since, and here it is now:

Growing, growing... Once you get going, the pattern is actually easy as pie. I find the juggling of the circs to be a little cumbersome, but that grows easier as there are more stitches to occupy the needles.

Of course, my needles being new means the cords are all coiled and don't want to straighten and have their own ideas about which way to turn when. Knitting tools, sheesh!

In other knitting news, I of course brought knitting to the hairdresser yesterday. The woman in the chair before me was having her hair colored, so she moved to the side while it was my turn, her hair full of goop, knitting a sweater for her grandson. Knitters everywhere!

I don't want to sound unobservant, but I've been going to the same salon forever, and I noticed something yesterday for the first time. Over the waiting area, there's a clock. Notice anything funny about it?

Yes, it's opposite the mirrored work area. In the mirror, it's a perfectly normal clock face. How funny is that? I can't believe I never noticed it before.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Quick Starbucks Commercial

The Bruins are out west; they played in Edmonton at 9 PM EST last night (and won in OT!), and tonight it's Vancouver at 10PM EST. Good thing I'm unemployed, right? I can sleep late. (Look, it's a small bright side, but I need all I can get. Things are a little depressed around here lately.)

So in the interests of not missing the game (currently Bruins are up 1-0, yay and knock wood), I just want to tell you, if you like caramel and chocolate (well, who doesn't like chocolate?), you need to get to Starbucks and try the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Like, now.

I'm usually a caramel frap' girl:

(As a friend once said to me, "That's not coffee, that's dessert," and I'm not arguing), but that hot chocolate? Seriously good. Really. Try it. You can thank me later.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Looking at an Autumn Tree

I'm not feeling wordy tonight. Look at the pretty tree...

This has been a beautiful year for foliage.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I'm feeling pretty down tonight. Pan had a quiet, almost listless day, and it's scared me. Even though he'll probably be back on the road to recovery tomorrow, today he threw up and slept and did anyone else see him eating today? Because I didn't.

And when he came out to the kitchen and I thought I'd tempt his appetite and I opened some wet food for him, before he even got close enough to sniff it there was a {thud} as Harold jumped down from the couch to investigate the treatage, and although I picked him up and sat down with him and tried to verbally encourage Pan to sniff, sniff, he decided he wasn't interested and wandered away. And I was so mad at Harold, and it's not his fault, he doesn't know any better, but still. Still. It just sucks, is all.

Time for bed. Take two kitties and feel better in the morning. Here's hoping.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

More Feline Inequality

While I bought the hot pad for Pan to use, I don't mind Harold being on it when it's free. This sight, however, made me intervene (after photographing it).

The beige part is what gets warm, so Pan is getting maybe 10% of the heat here. Harold, darling, come sit with Mama and get some lovin'.

Twenty minutes later, here is the scene:

That's better. I love his paws tucked up!

Although ... is it just me, or do you see him giving Harold the finger?

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Tale of Two Kitties

As I mentioned the other day, the cats have been displaying extreme couch possessiveness lately, and there has been a lot of warm-spot bogarting as well. In the interest of fair reporting, I wanted to show you this:

And especially this.

Dis my brudder. Gets yer own.

Now, had Harold troubled himself to learn to speak* English, he would have something scathing to say about my use of the word "fair" above. This is because he has had much to complain of recently in the fairness department. Pan has been getting the extra treats lately, and not for Harold, and why, why, how could that possibly be fair?

*For he certainly understands it.

And the answer of course is that it isn't fair, but it is what it is.

Pan lost a lot of weight when he wasn't eating for, oh, most of September, and he needs to put it back on. Right now, he's like a furry skeleton, with the fur sticking out oddly here and there. (Which does make sense, actually; if I lost 50 pounds in a month, my skin would be hanging differently too, and in his case the fur just accentuates the change.)

Because of this, even though Pan is eating his crunchies again, I'm trying to tempt him with extra goodies, to build his strength. I tried baby food at my petsitter's recommendation, and he ate some but left more. So I'm trying canned cat food, too, and he seems to like the kind that comes in sauce that he can lick off. (I figure, whatever gets something in him, right?)

Harold's grievance is that he doesn't get the yummy too, and who can blame him? The thing is, while Pan wasn't eating, Harold emphatically was, and more than he needed, and he put on more weight when he was big to begin with. He's now a hefty armload to lift, and I really can't be giving him a lot of extra treats. I feel badly about it, and I try to give him extra love sessions, and play with him, but you know cats, they live in the now, and the cuddles of an hour ago are forgotten in the face of brother gets a treat and I don't.

It's hard, being a pet parent sometimes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Some Things Do Not Mix; or, Get Off My Ice

So, I'm a hockey fan, yes? Yes. Specifically a Bruins fan, but I'd choose to watch hockey over any other sport.

I'm not a fan of politics, West Wing excepted, particularly since the presidential politicking goes on for roughly two years before the election. I could probably focus on about six weeks of the stuff, but unfortunately I lose interest waaaay before they get serious. By now, political talk makes me want to vomit. (Interesting side note: my aunt used to say that just the sound of George W. Bush's voice made her feel the same way!)

It therefore makes sense to me, given these two facts, that I don't particularly want to see the two mix, and this year, well, here we are. (If I was a hockey mom, I would be sporting one of the Hockey Mom for Obama bumper stickers.) Sarah Palin is going to drop the puck at her second NHL game, and I'm with these guys, leave us alone already. We just want to watch the game.

But this story? I'm starting to think the woman is insane. I know that naming one's children is a topic on which there are many opinions, and I guess I do believe that parents have the right to name their kids what they want (though I reserve the counter-right to mock them in my head). Because, is she serious?

Palin said if she and husband Todd had had a sixth child, they had already picked a name for a boy joining siblings Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig.

"I always wanted a son named Zamboni," she said.

I just... I'm just shaking my head. The Zamboni is quite an invention, but ... Zamboni Palin? Seriously?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Whose couch is it?

I have two love seats, rather than a full-sized couch, simply because these are the hand-me-downs life has given me. They're both pretty comfortable, so mostly I don't regret it (except when I'm trying to lie down with a cat on my lap and my knees are bending the wrong way). The love seats are fine.

I usually choose one of them over the other because you have to keep the remotes and the tissue box in one place, so pick one, right?

And one of the cats, of course, will often play a game of "took your warm spot" when I get up, so I return to find my seat has been taken.

Tonight I was sitting on the side my feet are usually on, because Harold was there first. I got up, and when I came back?

Sorry, mom, this couch is taken. You like the other one maybe?

Sigh. Maybe it's time for another nap. Or, I suppose, I could sit on the other love seat. After I move the remotes, the tissue box, and my knitting.

And find another blanket, since all the living room ones are under the cats.

Maybe I'll have dinner instead.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

(Ah-choo!) Go Bruins (Ah-choo!)

My cold is slowly going away, but the last couple of days, in addition to the congestion that won't quit, I've been sneezing (by which I mean, Sneezing! Sneezing!) more often. It's pretty funny, too: I take the cold medicine which doesn't seem to do much for me, generally, and almost exactly four hours later, Ah-choo! Ah-choo! I guess it is doing something, after all.

The Bruins played well last night, but lost in the shootout. They then traveled to Buffalo, where they play tonight. If they can keep playing that well, they'll win more than they lose. Plus, Bergeron is getting some good chances, and I see a streak coming his way.

I cast on for the Happy Feet socks today. Happy Feet!

Game's starting! Gotta go, bye! Go Bruins

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Fibertarian Candidate Visits

If you are a reader of Franklin Habit's blog, you already know what I'm talking about. Skip the next paragraph. If not, here's the brief explanation:

Franklin is a gifted blogger, knitter, photographer, and artist. His first book, just out, is a collection of knitting cartoons, called It Itches. One of the recurring characters on his blog is Dolores, a foul-mouthed sheep who is, as it happens, running for president under the Fibertarian Party's flag. Of course, as with any serious presidential candidate, she is touring the country (details here, examples here), having her photo taken in places of varying significance.

I thought about where Dolores might enjoy going in this area, and decided that the cradle of liberty, Lexington, MA, would fit the bill nicely. We waited for photogenic weather (and my cold to diminish), and here's what we have:

Lexington is an attractive town, especially in the Fall.

But I digress.

While we looked around for the Minuteman, we noticed this odd monument nearby, and Dolores insisted on having her photo taken with it. (Something about the shape ... of course, I think it looks like a crayon, but somehow I doubt that's what she had in mind.)

I was a little concerned that she might jump the fence, but she didn't even try. (Perhaps a wee bit hung over?)

Then, the actual Minuteman:

Passing more autumnal vistas...

...we got another shot at a yarn store that Dolores claims was named for her.

It is rather descriptive.

Harold and Pan were pretty calm about having a sheep in the house.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fest, Finished Object, and Why I Keep Buying Ben & Jerry's

It's pretty sad when you need a week to gather enough energy to photograph a few items from the Festival. What can I say? This cold has kicked my butt. Today, however, while not quite up to my normal (hardly hard-driven) pace, and with a lot of nose-blowing, I finally got my camera going.

To start with what sounds unexciting, I bought a soap dispenser. Yawn, right? Well, just about every year for the last couple, I either buy or am given a piece of "my pattern" from the same vendor. Here's what I have so far:

The big guy in the back is my fruit bowl. Then clockwise we have the soap dispenser, a spoon rest, a sponge holder (or in my case, scrubby holder), and a mug. I love this pattern! Sunny Day Pottery in Laurens, NY, please keep coming to the Apple Festival. Forever, okay? Thanks.

Next, as promised: yarn. Specifically, alpaca, from Golden Oak Alpacas:

I just love these colors:

Plus, it's soft. What else matters? (That's a rhetorical question.)

They also sell votive candles that are lovely. Try Storm Watch, or Jasmine, if you're me. (End of plug. NAYY)

What else was there? Oh, yes: I finished my socks.

Oh, yes, I did. Stick a fork in them. They're done.

And if you're seeing a certain similarity of colors, well, you're not alone.

Not that they're twins, but clearly, they're from the same family. My colors.


When I came out of the store yesterday with more Ben & Jerry's in my bag, I started to say to myself that I needed to stop doing this. But I caught myself.

Yes, I've been eating more crap in the last two months. But what else has been going on?
  • I was laid off. And I certainly expected to have a new job by now, but I don't. (Thank god for Unemployment, and that's not something I ever thought I'd say.)
  • One of my beloved cats almost died. The fact that he didn't is great, but I thought he was going to, and the stress has been huge. (He's eating again, which is fantastic, but he lost about a quarter of his weight, so we have a ways to go before I can even semi-relax about it.)
  • My father's health is not great. (And my mother is caring for him...)
  • My brother is also getting laid off.
  • My 94-year-old grandmother fell and broke her knee. (And my aunt is caring for her...)
  • My best friend is worried about layoffs at her job.
  • Even my other friend's father dying last week, while not a personal loss for me except in sympathy for her, is a Scary Reminder.
So I'm eating more ice cream. And I'm not giving myself a hard time for it.


And in closing, may I share with you this Muppet moment, pointed out by Urban Fantasy Land:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sunny Saturday in Congestionland

I got out of the house today, which felt like a major accomplishment after yesterday. Yesterday, I hit the trifecta:
  • I have a cold, with major congestion and lethargy;
  • I have my period, complete with cramps;
  • I got a headache, probably from watching too much TV (since I didn't do much of anything else).
Woo-hoo! I win! Wait...

I don't have much of a headache today, but otherwise, not much has changed since yesterday. Still, I went out! I didn't do much, and I'm even more tired now, but I saw this:

And this:

And maybe tomorrow will be better. I have to tell you, I'm sick of being sick, and tired of being tired. I had to get out of the house, because I'm surrounded by things I need to do, or want to do, and I don't have the energy to do any of them. My big accomplishment recently was running the dishwasher, and then emptying it (the next day). I'm sick of this. Thinking healthy thoughts, thinking healthy thoughts! (Also: Go Bruins, go Bruins!)