Sunday, November 30, 2008

After Pan

The comments on yesterday's post were really a comfort to me. It makes me feel like I must have, over the last few years, made it clear how special Pan was to me, and that feels good. He was my baby. I knew this was going to be horrible, and it is.

It's nothing against Harold. I love Harold, too, and he loves me. But Harold is a hail-fellow-well-met sort of guy. As long as you don't make a loud noise and startle him, he's your friend and would love you to rub his belly. Every pet sitter we've ever had has loved him, and talked of how friendly he is; one nicknamed him the Love Hog for the way he pushed past Pan to get all the attention.

Pan was a one-person cat, and I was the person. He would, reluctantly, accept attention from pet sitters, but always in a way that made it clear, You're not my mother. He was interested in other people, but only up to a point.

When I got upset, Pan would get upset. If I started crying, he would come to where I was, and meow. I swear he looked worried. Harold's reaction, on the other hand, is to jump down off my lap, because hey, when she does that she stops patting the kitty, so why bother?

So far, Harold doesn't seem to notice anything has changed. To be fair, I think Pan had retreated so much over the last few months, Harold was used to a daily life that didn't include interacting with another cat. Intellectually, I'm glad that Harold doesn't seem to be suffering the loss.

Emotionally, though, it hurts my feelings, for Pan's sake. Emotions don't make sense, do they? I don't want Harold to be upset, but at the same time I want to shake him, and say, "Ten and a half years! How can you not miss him?"

What? Did something change?

The real comfort to me, though, is that when the time came, I knew it. People said I would, and I wanted to believe it, but I wasn't sure and wasn't sure, and felt defensive when I explained that he was sick but not suffering, and still got joy out of sitting on my lap or playing in the shower, and I really don't think it's time, I don't think.

And then yesterday, I knew. He'd been getting weaker, and finally he could get down from his perch but not back up, and when I put him by the water bowl to see if he wanted any, he drank for a second and then lay down, like he couldn't even stand up for any longer.

It's time.

And I just have no doubt that it was. It's a slight comfort. I want him back, desperately, but the way he used to be, the way he was for ten years. Not sick, and unhappy, and tired.

He lived a lot longer without eating than I would have thought possible. (Though he was drinking water, right up to the end.) Two years ago, he weighed about 15 pounds. This summer, he was down to around 13. Yesterday, he weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces. It was time, and it went as well as such a thing can, and it was still awful and I'm miserable.

Yesterday I dumped out the little basket of toys on the living room rug, and cleared out the milk tabs that only Pan ever played with. It didn't even make me cry. I thought they looked kind of pretty, all together.

He sure did love playing with them. He would lay on his back, and throw one up in the air, and catch it. Harold never got the appeal. Once or twice, he would walk over to where Pan was playing with one, take it away from him, bat it back and forth, and then wait for it to do something. When it didn't, he would kind of shrug and walk away, and Pan would grab it back and go to town.

I left the other toys spread around the living room rug, and Harold has been pouncing on them. Some things are as they should be.
"It's the only bad thing about animals ... Most don't live as long as we do."
"I know ... But think how bleak life would be without them."
from Squire, by Tamora Pierce

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm Back! (Did you notice I was gone?)

No, really, I was gone! Not away, but computer-less for over 24 hours!

It felt like an eternity. Which goes to show how your life can change when you're not paying attention.

And no, nothing's wrong with the computer. But the mouse broke, and there isn't much I can do on the machine without mousie.

Do you like how I say "the mouse broke" as if it happened when I wasn't even in the room? That isn't quite how it went down. But I was thinking about the incident, and my own culpability, and I came to the following conclusion. Have you heard the expression, "suicide by cop"? Where someone who wants to die puts himself in a position where the police will shoot him? I think my mouse was going for "suicide by extremely short-tempered stressed woman whose cat is on death's door". It's practically the same thing.

Soooo, after sleeping in this morning, and watching the Bruins win their matinee 7-2 (which was very entertaining, and my word, has Phil Kessel got jets in his skates or what, he can fly), I went out, braving the shopping world on Black Friday.

I worked Black Friday for years, when I was working in bookstores (91-00), and although it wasn't as crazy a destination as Target or Walmart or the mall (none of which I went anywhere near today), it was a busy day. Never the busiest of the season, though. That was generally the last Saturday before Christmas, depending on when the holiday fell.

I've never been big into shopping on the day, though I can certainly see it if you have an item to buy that will be wicked marked down. I don't thrive on the crowds, though, which is why I was careful in choosing my destinations today. I went to Staples, which was busy but not mad, and then to the grocery store, ditto. (The grocery store also has my bank branch in it, so I could deposit my first paycheck. I like to combine things like that.) I actually have a small list of things for which I need Target or the like, but nothing that can't wait until next week.

The mouse I got was the cheapest one, but it seems quite spiffy to me. (And by the way, is there a simple answer for why the prices ranged from $12.99 to over $50? Do the best ones balance your checkbook or something?) It's going to take some getting used to, as it moves far, far more smoothly than the old one did, so I touch it and the pointer is all the way to the right! And then to the left! And then whew, where is it?

I think having the laser pointer will be good, as the roller ball on the old one seemed to get choked by a single cat hair, and that got old fast Chez Cat Hair. And the wireless part will be good for not getting the cord hung up on things. Plus, the old one squeaked from day one, and I will not miss that. (Honestly, it's sounding like the old one was a piece of junk, right? Don't you agree, it wanted to die?)

Oh, I have an Irony Story from going out today. I thought I would stop in to Starbucks, since I have a couple of vouchers for free drinks, and what's better than free?

The reason I have vouchers is that a few weeks back, I went to the website to comment that I was having trouble finding stores with the salted caramel hot chocolate in stock, and maybe they should realize that it's popular, and send more out already. They sent me the vouchers as a thanks for bitching, which is a lesson in something, but anyway.

About a week ago I stopped in a store on my way into work, and they were, yes, out of the specially special ingredients, so I couldn't get it. They'll have more on Monday! they assured me. Which, on Friday, was not so helpful, but it's not really their fault, so I didn't yell or anything (working in retail, among the many things it taught me, showed me how very little gets accomplished if you piss off the people who could help you).

Today (getting back to today, which is where I was if you're trying to follow along), I thought it would be nice to start the shopping with said drink, so I stopped in at a (different) Starbucks, and yes, you guessed it, no can do. The guy was apologetic, but still. The irony that I have these vouchers because I was complaining about stores being out of this drink, and now twice I have tried to use a voucher only to have the store be out of that drink .... and yes, I could get something else, but I didn't want something else. I want that.

What worries me is that it could be a seasonal drink that they don't plan to keep serving (though they're barely serving it now), and it will vanish from my life before I have had enough. If there is such a thing as enough, but that way madness lies.

I think perhaps I have gone on long enough. This is what happens when I miss a day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Final Word on Wednesday

For Thanksgiving, the Bruins can be thankful that they've been playing better recently than they did tonight. Humph.

And on Friday, I expect an improvement, too.

Ready for Thanksgiving

It must be Thanksgiving if the angel salad is made and chilling! As I said last year and will probably say every year, it isn't Thanksgiving without angel salad.

And as I also say every year, it really isn't hard to make, particularly if your memory of making it involves your mother making a quadruple recipe for the whole extended family. The single version is enough for a group of people who thinks it's nice, or interesting, but not essential, and it's a lot easier to make. (When you multiply the 4 egg yolks of the single recipe times four, you start to see that it gets ... challenging to quadruple. Possible, certainly, but not easy.)

Today was a pretty good day at work, only minor frustrations, I got paid for the first time, and my boss let us go early. I'm thankful just to have a job, but every bit easier it gets also elicits my gratitude.

After talking to the vet about Pan, who has had goopy eyes and nose recently, I went and picked up an antibiotic to give him, in hopes of knocking out the apparent infection and clearing his nose. Perhaps then he will smell food and discover that it appeals! How revolutionary.

Of course, first I have to give him this new med, which is, yes, liquid. All his others are pills, so this is new ground. Hopefully it will not be ground spattered with pink spots. I gave him the first dose this evening, and was he surprised! Putting the dropper in his mouth wasn't the problem, as it's enough like the pill shooter, but when the liquid hit his throat, he pulled his head back with a "what just happened?" look on his face. He didn't spit it out, or throw up, but we'll see what happens tomorrow, when he knows what's coming.

Ironic moment when I picked it up at the vet. The woman was explaining to me how much to give him, measuring it, etcetera, and then said that since it can upset the stomach, try to make sure he eats something first! I had to laugh (somewhat sadly) as I said I would if I could. I explained that he's barely eaten all this Fall, so I really can't do anything about that. I'll watch him for signs of stomach troubles, anyway.

Well, this has been a post full of random, hasn't it? Let me finish with a pointer: the Hyper Homemaker has a great post (here) about manners and etiquette. My favorite part?
Don't confuse etiquette and manners. It's bad etiquette to use your dinner fork on your salad. It's bad manners to comment that someone used their dinner fork on their salad. Manners always trumps etiquette.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Maybe you had to be there. In my dream.

Do you ever have a dream so weird that you wake up wondering about it, then forget all about it until the end of the day, and marvel all over again?

No? Me neither.

Just kidding, obviously. Last night, I dreamed that I was in a school auditorium, watching a concert with Depeche Mode and Martin Sheen. And while at first DM was singing, by the end Martin Sheen was singing (and I'm not at all sure he sings in real life, but in the dream, he was belting it out). The nice part is that they were equally respectful of each other: he seemed to enjoy them, and they were listening to him, too.

So, yeah. Thought I'd share that with you. So you can picture:


Together at last.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cure for Cranky: Cat Photos

Yes, today wasn't great. Busy, busy, pressure, some frustration. Stitch and Bitch (heavy on bitch) helped, but I'm still kind of cross. Going back to work is hard, you know?

So, I look at pictures of my babies, and smile.

Hard at sleep:

Whose warm spot is this?

Why, I believe it's time for my patented Harold-ectomy. Because someone is getting the unheated end of the pad, and Harold, your warm spot is by the other window.


If I had my way, I think I would sleep through every sunrise for the rest of my life. It's just too early, you know? But there is something to be said for sun coming up.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekend, Ahh

Today brings me another reason to like GenericCompanyName, Inc.

Can you tell what this is?

No? Let me zoom out.

How about now?

See the enormous gift basket? Full of goodies? According to the gift message from HR, "We are excited to have you on board." I'll say! Look at all this.

The first picture above is a detail of the basket/tray, which is no throw-away item, but suede with leather edges and handles.

Plus? Right on top was this little card:

Yes, unlike most manufacturers today, who seem to relish making their packaging impregnable to consumers (electronics and cold medicine, I'm looking at you in particular), they included scissors to help me get in. Just in case.

It wasn't really that hard to get in, and I have scissors on the kitchen table anyway. But I used theirs. It seemed right.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

And this is Thursday

So, the mammogram wasn't that bad. I mean, it's not fun, but compared to the gyn exam, it's nothing. Positioning, pressure, ow-and-hold-your-breath, done. It actually hurt more when I got back into the dressing room and could see the red marks on my skin, but it was really only a faint ache. And thus endeth the PSA.

The cats are still adjusting to my being out all day. And by adjusting, I mean not adjusting. I get home and Harold needs me! Needs me! OMG, love me!

Then Pan wanders along and says Mow. And he sits on my lap, and I scritch under his chin, and he purrs and purrs and purrs.

Then he's done, but Harold is dying! Dying! Give me love!

I do love them, obviously, but it's a little wearing. Can I have 5 minutes? Is that selfish? It's like when I spend half the night snuggled with Harold, and then when I get up and am trying to eat breakfast, he announces that he needs a lap. Excuse me? Weren't you the one lying across my arm five minutes ago, purring? And for the 2 hours before that? Wasn't that you?

Not that cats think about Then. They are all about Now.

I'm yawning so hard that my head hurts, so I think I will postpone further deep thoughts (uh-huh) and start the bed process.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Some of the things I am tonight

I'm exhausted. It hardly seems possible that it's only Wednesday.

I'm overwhelmed. There's so much I don't understand about my job. I really want to know what I'm supposed to do. I think I'll like it ... if I live that long.

I'm sad. Pan continues to decline. It grips me, keeps me in that depression. My baby.

I'm bothered. Harold is so not on board with my being out all day. He is desperate for love and attention. Now! Now! Love me now! More! Again!

I'm wincing. Mammogram tomorrow.

I'm hopeful. I'm having dinner with friends on Friday. Maybe things will be better by then, work-wise.

I'm laughing. Roombas are very random, aren't they?

Mainly, though, I'm tired.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

But Which Kitchen Aid mixer?

The last time I used my old mixer, I vowed that once I found a job and got back on the financial track, my first splurge would be on a KitchenAid. I want the real thing! I want a mixer that can reach all parts of the bowl! Less scraping!

Right? They're great, right?

But! Which one?

Which kind? There are 7 Tilt-Head Stand Mixers and 15 Bowl Lift Stand Mixers on the company's website. Which is better? Why? I don't need a huge, professional thing, but I don't want to skimp on some feature that's worth extra.
In a test of under-$500 stand mixers, Cook's/America's Test Kitchen chooses the Kitchenaid Classic Plus Stand Mixer, saying,

This mixer aced every test. Testers praised the "intuitive" controls and "solid" feel. While not as powerful as more expensive KitchenAid models, this mixer is a great value.

It's not like these thoughts are keeping me up at night. But still, this sucker should last a long time. I'm hoping a little research will prevent long-term regrets.

Of course, how I'll choose a color....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sock Pictures! Sock Pictures!

Try to contain your excitement.

I tried my sock on tonight*, to make sure it was still fitting the old foot. It's snug, but it fits!

*So yeah, sorry, flash. I don't want to wait until the weekend!

The heel has turned out fairly well, too, and I love how the colors are going.

It's amazing how hard it is to take a decent picture of your own foot. Before I started knitting socks, it isn't an issue that ever crossed my mind, but now I take these photos, look at them, and wonder what in the world I was doing with my toes just then.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend Tale

A sign of how I've changed over the last few years: yesterday, I left the house to go into Boston. I parked a short walk from the T (well, 15 minutes, but free on-street parking instead of $5.50 to park in the lot, which was a trade-off I was willing to make). I started to get my stuff together, and cussed at the sudden realization: I forgot my knitting!

I mean, what is a person to do on the T, just sit there? When she could be knitting? Who could do that? (Answer: virtually everybody.)

I considered going back home to get it, and decided that would be cutting it a little close. Still, I felt the loss. Just sitting there, watching the dreary day outside, with empty hands ... weird. It was better once we were underground, and I could think about the movie Superman, and how Ned Beatty's character wandered along to Lex Luthor's lair under the subway system, oblivious to the man following him, and we all know how that turned out, right? (I could not remember the name of his character yesterday, so I just looked it up: Otis. For some reason, I could find Miss Teschmacher without pause. Isn't the mind a mysterious thing?) (And yes, this really is what I was thinking about as we went through the tunnels.)

Anyway, even without knitting, I enjoyed the antiquarian book fair (courtesy of my alma mater, UMass Amherst), and the experience of wandering around, in the company of like-minded people, ogling amazing books. I had no plans to buy, and did not, but it was a feast for the senses, and one I highly recommend.

I was only out for a few hours, but Harold welcomed me home with vehement cries of "You left me!" I'm not sure he expected me to wake him before I went, but he didn't seem pleased to have been taken by surprise that way. He leads such a hard life.

I am very sad, no?

Moving on. The Bruins played well for most of last night's game, but sadly, the game is 60 minutes long, not 50. If the latter were true, they would have won 2-0, instead of losing 3-2 in a shootout. Not that I particularly noticed, having a terrible headache through most of the second half of the game. Once the game was over, I kind of mumbled something and shut the TV off, rather than grumping and growling about their performance, as I normally would. My headaches don't usually get so bad, or involve my stomach so thoroughly, but once in a while we achieve the perfect storm of migraines. Unfortunately.

Today has been better, and the sun even came out part of the day, which was nice to see in a where-have-you-been sort of way, and almost made up for the gale-force winds. I had a nice lunch with a friend, and now am heading into my first Sunday-night, get-ready-for-work since August. Should I do laundry? I ought to run the dishwasher! What am I bringing for lunch tomorrow? Actually, looking at the clock was a relief; since it's so dark out, I thought it was later than it is. I still have some time.

But I think I will go start the dishwasher...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sharing the webcomic love

I love it when I find something fun to read that I didn't know was out there. If you're a comic fan, do you read Questionable Content?

You should! This guy is funny. And I have a few specifics. Go to the archives, and:
  • knitters, read numbers 1267 and 1269
  • English majors or anyone who has ever worked in a library or bookstore, check out 691
  • if you've ever been part of a big layoff, read 624 and 626
If you have the time, reading from the beginning is fun. I know, who has that kind of time? (Ahem. Hey, I was laid off!) Just sayin'.

Thanks to Katydid for showing me the light on this one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

And Day Three

...was one step forward and two steps back.

Not an awful day, but not a great day. I did accomplish one or two things at work, but more was undone pending hookups to this and troubleshooting of that. The back of my neck feels very tense.

But! The Bruins won last night! It was a great game, and since it started at a decent hour (unlike Wednesday*), I got to watch it all.

*And by the way, Chicago was retiring a number before the game, so the 8:30 game didn't actually start until 9. I made it through the first period, then went to bed.

They beat Montreal in decisive fashion, and are 8 for their last 9, and fourth in the league standings. Ahhh. It's a good time to be a Bruins fan. Helps make up for the lean years. True story: I was wearing a Bruins shirt at a Charlotte Checkers game, in the late 90s, and someone walking past me snorted and said, "Yeah, they're doing well!" And while they weren't, of course, it made me want to ask the guy, do you only support teams that are winning?

Yawn! Working is just so tiring, isn't it? Bed now, and books tomorrow!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two-Day Report on Life at GenericCompanyName, Inc.

I'm in slightly better shape than last night, but I'm still pretty zonked. Working full days is so tiring! How did I ever do it? I don't think coherence is in the cards for tonight, so how about some random-order bullets?
  • I did not miss rush hour.
  • Getting up early really bites.
  • Everyone so far has been really nice. Very busy, hoping I'll get up to speed fast, but nice. A lot of people have told me what a good place it is to work.
  • I got my maybe-permanent desk today. Due to recent expansion, things are pretty crowded, so change is possible.
  • I'm in the manufacturing area, which is good and bad.
  • Bad because it's cold; it's next to the cleanroom, and there is a distinct breeze. Brrr. Dig out shawl and wrist warmers.
  • Good because it's peaceful. A few people in the general area, but no one right near me (which means I can cuss at my computer when necessary without feeling self-conscious, and I don't have to listen to others' phone conversations, work discussions, or anything else). Plus, the sound of the vents and things humming makes a nice white noise.
  • Bad because no food and drink allowed. I can (sniff!) give up snacking at my desk, but no water? I drink water all day long! I'm really hoping this rule will have some flex. (If I promise not to spill or spit on the labels, can I have a closed water bottle? Pleeeeeze?)
  • Speaking of snacks, here's what's in the break room: coffee, tea, cocoa, juice, soda, chips, cookies, candy bars ... take what you want.
  • Plus they give us lunch on Fridays. Tomorrow is an early Thanksgiving meal: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, etc.
  • I got a loaner laptop until mine gets in. And I'm getting a desktop machine for the labeling software.
  • I don't know what I'm doing yet. This is probably my least favorite part of a new job. That and trying to remember names.
  • Harold seriously hates me being gone all day. He pesters me for the first hour or two, love me love me love me, then falls asleep because it's exhausting, having to demand attention like that. Poor kitty. Pan isn't as bothered, since he's in his own world lately. He's not indifferent, exactly, just low-key.
  • Starting on a Wednesday is good. Tomorrow is Friday already! Whew.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I always regret it when I don't have my camera

Since the Bruins game isn't until 8:30 (stupid road trip), I'm back to tell you about the truck I saw on the way home. The truck that appeared to serve only as an ad for the Bruins. Seriously, it had pictures of players (Savard and Kessel were on the back), and the website and phone number and encouragement to buy tickets, and also? A radioactive sign, like this one (thanks, Google images):

Now, I imagine it's some sort of joint, paid advertising venture, involving some company that has a truck, and in fact there was something on the side about "courtesy of" that I couldn't read (in the dark, while exiting the highway). But seriously, I find the whole concept of a Bruins truck rather odd (imagining a rack of players inside it, waiting to be delivered somewhere), and then the radioactive sign was just icing on the crazy-cake.

And of course, I didn't have my camera.

Last time I didn't have my camera, it was a car with this juxtaposition of bumper stickers:

I've got to start carrying my camera more often.

Day One

I survived the first day, but I'm fried.

Harold is distraught at my prolonged absence. He was mewing before I had the door all the way open. He's bouncing off the walls.

I'm going to watch the Bruins game, or at least zonk out on the couch with the Bruins game on.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Too Much and Not Enough

Yesterday I weighed the cats, and it was sad and depressing.

I've been weighing Pan semi-regularly for about 18 months, keeping an eye on his weight for the vet. These last few months, it's been more like, how much trouble are we in?

I don't weigh Harold regularly, but he was there, and since I had just put him down to pick Pan up, I was curious to know exactly what the difference was, other than "a lot".

Pan weighed 8.8 pounds, or Not Enough. Not Nearly Enough.

Harold weighed 17.6, or Too Much.

They always weighed the same. Always, usually to the ounce. Once, a tech told me she'd double-checked, to make sure the machine didn't get stuck after the first one, but no, they just weighed the same.

A couple of years ago, Pan lost some weight and Harold didn't. Harold kept gaining, while Pan lost and stopped, lost and stopped. He dipped under ten pounds when he wasn't eating for most of September, but during the three weeks he was eating again, he hit 10 again. Then he stopped eating again (other than a few bites last Saturday), and now... now I'm depressed.

What is it like, shrinking so much? Is he self-aware? Does he look at Harold and wonder what happened?

A few times in recent months, Harold has tried to jump on Pan, playfully, to start to tussle the way they used to, and Pan makes this awful sound, meow and groan and emphatic No. Poor oblivious Harold can't understand why I'm yelling at him for doing something normal.

It's not normal any more. Normal has changed. I pick him up and murmur, "Come here, sweetie. We can't do that any more. Pan isn't strong enough."

I start my new job tomorrow. That's good. But it doesn't fix some things.

Pan and Harold, July 2007

Monday, November 10, 2008

An a capella tribute to John Williams

No, really. This is unbelievable. I mean, do you know how rarely words fail me?

Watch it. Four minutes. If you've seen most of these movies (and I'm guessing even if you haven't), what this guy does with the music is amazing.

(Thanks for the link, Boing Boing!)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Perhaps my fastest finished object ever

Last weekend, I got to see friends from out of town, and meet their five-month-old baby for the first time. (He's adorable, of course.) I learned that he likes to suck his thumb, which warmed my heart since I did the same as a little kid. He also likes to grab onto something while thumb is in mouth, meaning that if there isn't a blanket or something close by, he'll grab his mother's hair or his sleeve.

Poor baby, if only he knew a knitter who could help with this problem!

Oh. Ahem.

Making a plain-vanilla, beyond basic baby blanket
Untangle some yarn (left over from previous baby blanket). Thank you, ball winder!

Start the blanket (66 stitches, size 9 needles), in plain knit stitch.

Curse Blogger for randomly rotating photos.

Four days later, finish square (when the untangled yarn is finished, the blanket is finished). Photograph it:

Then realize we could use something in there for scale. No cats being close to hand for once, grab the nearest book.

The color is closer to the first shot, but whatever.

Using size 10 needles and leftover yarn, make 3-stitch I-cord on each corner, to give the baby hand holds.

Bask in pleasure at super-quick finish.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Harold's turn comes around again

So ... I have a job, the Bruins have been playing pretty well and are leading after 2 tonight, and Pan ate a few bites of food this morning. Not bad!

And not to ignore all that, but in the interest of fair and balanced blogging, it's Harold time. Behold!

Are you joking? The first photo has ... him? I shoot evil death-ray looks at you.

That's better. Do you see that dog? Where has Animal Planet been all my life?


Warmmmm, I say.

I wash my paw, and floor kitty washes his.

Have you ever seen such paws?

Friday, November 07, 2008

There is a slight change

No, no, I still have a job. I'm just starting Wednesday, instead of Monday, which suits me fine. Now that I know I have a job, time off is like vacation. Minus the worry, it's rather pleasant. (You know, aside from watching Pan fade away, worrying about my Dad's health, and so on.) Relaxing.

Oh, and speaking of vacation?

I got the offer in writing today. Title, salary, reporting to, all that I knew. Seeing the salary in print was nice; did I mention I'm making more than I was? And that my commute is shorter? Those I also knew.

I did not know that I'll be getting four weeks of vacation per year. I may have squealed.

Four weeks! The most I've ever had is 3, and that was after 5 years at B&N. Wow. I'm seriously excited by that.

And also, by having a job. That's really nice.

Off to bask. Happy Friday, all. Have a pretty picture or three:

Thursday, November 06, 2008

November is looking up

So, there is finally some good news from the land of depression, aka Chez Cat Hair.

I had an interview yesterday.

It went quite well, I felt.

And a job offer followed. (So apparently my judgment was correct.) Verbal to make sure I was still interested, written to follow hopefully tomorrow.

Yay! While this doesn't turn my entire life around, it removes a sizable chunk of uck.

Drinkers may celebrate with champagne. As I don't drink, I tend to celebrate with chocolate. Thanks to my friend Trader Joe, I celebrated with this:

Can you see the label? Here.

Mmm. It's pretty yummy. Particularly for $1.99. For more than a pound! Who wants to come over and help me eat it? Because it looks like I'll need to fit into my work clothes again.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My Cat Condo

Let me show you it.

Seriously, auntiemichal asked about the "furniture" that the boys are seen lounging on in a recent post. The answer is twofold.

The heated pads that I bought recently are on my poor-man's version of cat furniture. In front of a couple of windows, I have a few of the giant Rubbermaid Totes stacked, with blankets on top. I get storage, the cats can curl up on something soft (and now warm) and look out the window, win-win.

The pictures of Pan in that entry, curled up on something pink with paw prints on it, is a kitty condo that we got (thanks, Mom!) about ten years ago. It's something like the photo above, only not nearly that big of course. Mine is more like this size (this may not be the same brand I got; I don't remember. It looks very similar). You put together the squares and there are little "hammocks" that hang in some of them.

Although in one sense it's well-made (since it has lasted this long), there are aspects of it that were disappointing. The hammocks were not sturdy enough for my cats, and had to be replaced in no time; fortunately, I was sharing a house with a friend with more sewing skills than I have. Then, on some of the pieces, the "carpet" covering started to shred at one end or the other practically right away, which I was not happy to see. On the other hand, with that white-trash tool, duct tape, it has lasted this long and the cats do love it. I appreciate that it can be set up different ways for different room configurations. Overall, thumbs up, just with reservations.

And there we are: more than you ever wanted to know!

Okay, I had to go looking for pictures. (And, of course, started bawling. My baby, he's so sweet, and he's sick, and does anyone have a tissue? Snork.)

It was August 1998, and Pan helped me put it together. See how he helped?

Forgive the poorly scanned photos. Someday I will master the scanner. Apparently, not today. If you click on them, you should see them bigger.

The boys playing, and cuddling, in the completed condo.

It must be love.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Night Humor

Go here.

Listen to "Don't Speak for Me, Sarah Palin" (to the tune of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina", of course).

I mean, only if you want to. But you want to, right?

It had me laughing out loud. And who doesn't need that tonight?

P.S. If you're looking for me at 10 (EST) tonight, I'll be watching this. Should be good!

Voting (Prep)

To some of you, this will make perfect sense: anticipating the possibility of waiting in line to vote, last night I made sure my sock was at a good place for knitting standing up. I was getting close to where I would have to turn the heel, and though that doesn't freak me out any more, I still need to check the pattern versus my memory; plus, I'd rather not be juggling stitch markers if I don't have to. So, last night after stitch and bitch*, I measured, decided it was heel time, and proceeded to turn it.

*It might seem like working on knitting at my knitting group would have been the way to go. But although I am perfectly comfortable knitting in public, trying on a sock in a restaurant is slightly outside my comfort zone. So I worked on something else there, and flashed my foot at home. And now over the internet. But that's different!

Turning the heel is my favorite part of sock knitting. To take a tube, three dimensional only to the very literal, and make it turn a corner, well, it still gives me a thrill. I can remember in the sock knitting class I took a few years ago, getting through the first heel and being flabbergasted. Look what it did! I didn't understand the directions at all, so I was blindly following them, and OMG my knitting turned a corner! Just like that!

It's pretty cool even now.

To everything, turn, turn, turn...

And I think the fit will be just about right. Since my most recent socks, which I'm wearing now as a matter of fact, are too big, I'm trying to get closer without overcompensating on this pair.

Anyway, as we all could predict, being ready to wait meant I didn't have to. I just walked the three blocks over there*, and although there's a steady stream of people moving through, no line. I never took the knitting out of my bag, and I was home again in 20 minutes.

*Another small benefit to being out of work: mid-morning voting!

My ballot was number 410 in that machine (of the two machines at that polling place) at 10:15 AM. I hope that's a good sign! The weather today is beautiful, sunny and 50s, so that should help, or at least not hinder, the turnout.

In conclusion, I would like to say this:

Thanks, Robyn! This fits the bill perfectly today.

Edited to add: I turned on Comedy Central, which is running reruns of The Daily Show and the Colbert Report today, and there's a ticker running along the bottom of the screen. I squinted at my non-huge TV screen, and read, "Our ticker can beat up CNN's ticker."

I love Comedy Central.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Just a few notes

Yesterday, Pan discovered the second warm spot.

He doesn't come into the office that often, but I looked over to find him with his paws on the edge of the "window seat", sniffing at it. Since he's not as strong as he used to be, I picked him up and put him on it, and he settled right down.

A little while later, when I was leaving the computer, I put my chair next to him, in case he wanted to get down and needed a little help.

I don't think he understood what I meant.

He sat on the chair for a while, then went back to the pad. Warm...

I lit a candle tonight, and noticed the light pattern from the votive holder. Isn't that pretty?