Friday, February 27, 2009

Of cars and knitting and shopping and cats

Tonight after work I took my car in for an oil change (and got the headlight replaced! pesquiddle* no more! does anyone remember how shamefully long it's been?), and I sat and knit (of course) while waiting. A woman and her teen daughter came in to ask about a car problem, and we talked knitting briefly. Apparently the girl knits, "but with much bigger needles" than my sock-in-progress. I told her that it's not really as hard as it might look, and she said that it was really the 4 needles that looked complicated. I explained that really, I'm only knitting with two needles, same as anything, and the other needles are just holding stitches until it's their turn. I swear I saw the light bulb go on over her head; it was neat. I hope she tries it for herself sometime.

*I know, the word is not really pesquiddle, but it might as well be for all my brain will hold onto it. Apparently I am unable to accurately remember silly words that are new to me. Or that's my story, anyway.

They had the TV on in the waiting room, set to the Game Show Network, not a channel I've ever watched. I have to admit, there was a certain bizarre fascination to Bingo America, especially since two of the questions were these:
  • Which comes at the end of a book, the prologue or the epilogue?
  • True or False: If the President resigns, the First Lady is sworn in in his place.
Seriously? Umm ... seriously? These are the questions you come up with to challenge the players? Oh-kay. (For the record, correct answers were given to both; but still.)

I went to Wally World after that, figuring that it would be less crazy on a drizzly Friday evening than at any point over the weekend. It wasn't busy at all, so that's good. A few things crossed off the list. Must stimulate the economy with $18 jeans! And calcium chews. It's the oddest thing about those Viactiv chews. Did I tell you about that?

I always used to get Target's store brand (I like the caramel flavor, as the "chocolate" flavor is a little too chocolatey, as opposed to actual chocolate, for me), and then I tried the WalMart brand and liked it even more. But the last time I went there, they were out of them, so when I went to BJs and they had actual Viactiv brand, I bought those.

When I ate the first one, it tasted delicious! I wondered what I was thinking, going with store brands. But the rest of the package, which I have been working steadily through since, has been merely "eh". It's the oddest thing. I'm quite pleased to try the Wally ones again, and see what's up there.

Wow, that's an exciting story, right? Here, look at this:

I killed a short time before the appointment at Building 19. Can you imagine these shoes? I hardly feel I can call them sneakers.

On the other hand, I'd take them before I'd take these, whether either was in my size or not.

Building 19 can get a little racy!

But there's also plenty of this:

I was thinking of my parents, in a holy-cow, have-to-look sort of way.

And having saved the best for last, this shot from this morning:

I think Harold's capitulation is about complete.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tomorrow is Friday! Let's celebrate with Random.

Here's what's in my head at the moment. Well, some of what's in my head. Does that make you feel better or worse?

For a while recently, the Bruins have been less fun to watch than they had been being most of this season, but they're back! After a disappointing road trip, they've won their last two games at home, 6-1 and 6-0, and it's fun again. Yay! In the third period tonight, the announcers mentioned that in the previous game and this one (through five goals), 19 players had a goal or an assist*. Wow! Go Bruins indeed.

*And some have both, or more than one, etcetera. But 19 players with at least a point. It's really, really good.

Tonight's win was their 42nd, one more than they had all last season. I am a happy hockey fan.

The Cat Capades continue to make progress. Today I saw actual playing from both parties, not just Miri offering and Harold declining. He's not completely committed to this New Cat idea, but his resistance is melting. What a relief.

Work continues to be busy. Although tiring, that's good. (I continue to be very, very happy to have a job.) And it's a good group of people, which makes such a difference.

I'm really tired of winter, but there are starting to be a few signs of it ending. It hasn't snowed much in the last few weeks. It hasn't been that constant bitter cold that pretty much ruled January. And, drumroll please, it isn't dark when I leave work.

That's so huge for my morale. In fact, so is sunlight in the morning before I go to work, but that one is a mixed blessing. It's hard enough for me to get moving in the morning, but when there's sunshine and a cat or two sprawled across the bed? Oh, baby. Get the heavy equipment, nothing else is moving me. So the daylight at 5:30 PM is a happier thing to see. It makes me feel like "night" hasn't started, and I have all sorts of "evening" left.

I'm still tired, extra tired, winter tired, though. Here's something that pisses me off: on Sunday night, I stayed up really late, reading. I was sooo tired Monday morning that I made sure to get to bed at a decent hour Monday night. I got about three hours more sleep than the previous night ... and was still tired. I feel like I'm always tired. One of my co-workers actually gets mildly irritated with me because she has a 1-year-old and a three-year-old, and thus gets hardly any sleep. Yet there I am looking tired at her! I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do about it, though.

Maybe go to sleep now? Well, that's not really for her. But it is what I'm going to do, all the same. Good night!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Some random bits

A few bits and pieces, as I've spent much of the evening watching the Bruins game*, not crafting words.

*Which has been more entertaining than recently, and about time too. It's currently 6-1 Boston. I like that score!


Laugh out loud on the highway at the logo on the Prickly Pear Produce truck: We Know Our Shiitake


Guilt trip via high school fundraising letter: Think Green. Save Paper. A gift sent today will help avoid future mailings.
Oh, so now it's my fault if you waste paper?


Scary news, or just weird? You decide. In the story (from last year, but somehow I never wrote about it) on the blueprints for the Freedom Tower in NYC being found in the garbage by a homeless man, here's the part that struck me:

Mr Fleming said he was concerned that the documents might fall into the wrong hands.

"I was outraged, because this is priceless," he told the New York Post.

"This could have ended up on eBay or gotten to al-Qaeda."

Is it just me, or does he not sound sure which is worse?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cat Capades continue: it's a slippery slope

First it's curled up next to, but in an "I can ignore her" pose.

Harder to maintain deniability this way, though.

Captured in the act of allowing himself to be washed!

You don't see anything, get it? Go away.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Knitting is my Bag

A few years ago, probably not long after I started knitting socks, I bought a small project bag to carry ... well, small projects around in. It wasn't a premeditated purchase; I was in Fabric Place in Woburn one day, and happened to see some small bags from Lantern Moon. They were pretty, and not expensive, and seemed like they would be a good way to carry a sock in progress around with me. The one I got was like these, in a pale beige that's almost gold.

Overall, I've been happy with it, but it hasn't been without flaws. I guess in a way it's a design element, because it's hard to be surprised when a lightweight item doesn't survive heavy use indefinitely. Before I bought the needle-protector tubes, I would often find a needle poking through a bottom seam. Since the top is open, if I didn't tuck it around carefully, things would sometimes fall out. And since the bag is lightweight, it doesn't have much in the way of infrastructure, so the addition of something like a pattern would make the whole situation more precarious. I'm not saying that it wasn't a good bag, or a nice bag, but it wasn't exactly what I needed.

So, when I noticed some rather severe signs of wear and tear recently, I did not shed a tear. Nor did I waste any time looking around for another.

Where did I find it? On Etsy, of course. I searched for a sock knitting bag, wandered briefly, and liked what I saw here. It seemed to be well-made, it was pretty (lots of fabric options, too), and not very expensive. Win! I ordered it last weekend, and it arrived on Thursday. Given that Wisconsin is close to a thousand miles from here, I call that damn good service.

The bottom is so soft! Felt, I guess, but soft and not at all stiff.

The colors suit my sock-in-progress remarkably well.

There are even pockets around the inside to keep things separated. It has some structure, but is still light enough to fold and tuck into my purse.

And a drawstring top, thank you! I can loop the drawstrings over my wrist while knitting. Also, see the two white tabs on the left, top and bottom? I could run a strap or something similar through those if I wanted to.

So far, I'm more than happy with it.

Postscript about the sweater: it seems to have some sort of magic beyond getting me to buy it. Its color is almost impossible to capture on film. (If you will excuse the word film, given my use of a digital camera.)

At least these shots are less red. But they're not quite right, either. Hmm.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Little Shopping

Now that I am employed again (which has done wonders for my finances, surprisingly enough), I can do some cautious amounts of shopping. I'm taking it easy, as I don't want to go overboard and "plastic" myself into more than I can handle, but in little baby steps, I am rejoining the shopping world. Ahh.

One thing I need (not, you know, need like I need to eat food in order to survive, but more like I need to buy spaghetti and pretzels) is at least one more pair of jeans that fits (ahem), since I can wear jeans to work (yay!) but I don't do laundry often enough to make one pair go all the time. After work tonight, I decided I had the energy to stop in TJ Maxx on the way home and see if they could help me out.

And in a way, the answer was no, for though I tried on the two pair that I thought were closest to my size and preferences, they just kind of Didn't Work.

However. Another thing I need is a new winter coat, since the one I have is, #1, getting ratty in ways like pulling away from the pocket zippers and showing lining, and #2, it apparently feels that my recent months of therapeutic ice cream eating have caused me to gain weight in the chest area. I am not disputing that I've gained some weight, but I don't think it's that specialized, and even if it is, to be honest, I don't need my coat popping open when I get in the car, get out of the car, or twist in the seat to check if the road is clear before pulling out. It's annoying, you know? I've gotten five seasons out of this coat, it was on sale to begin with (though if I recall correctly, I had trouble with the idea that $75 was a sale price), and it is time to move on.

And the universe, as if to apologize for the lack of good jeans for me tonight, sent me a nice coat, in a lovely sort of slate blue, soft, plenty big enough, zipper and snaps, detachable hood, machine washable, and it was $20. Thank you!

I tried on one other thing. I wasn't meaning to, but it snagged my hand from the clearance rack, and told me that I looked like the sort of girl who would really appreciate a raspberry-colored cashmere sweater for $36. I told it I shouldn't, but somehow it ended up in the dressing room with me. This doesn't capture the color truly, or the soft. Holy wow, the soft.

This sign was in the dressing room. Yup.

I think we all know how this story ends, right?

Postscript: it's a little known fact that cats are like magnets, and vary between attracting:

and repelling:

Also? Try not to look at that rug too closely. My word, the difference between having two short-haired cats, and having one short hair and one long hair! She doesn't seem to shed too much in the walk by and you're covered way, but there is a lot of fur around somehow or other.

Either I need to inflict feline-vacuum torture far, far more frequently, or I need to find other methods that contain the tumbleweeds. We'll try the carpet sweeper first. Phew!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Do You Hear Me?

I am not staying up late tonight. Nope. No, sir. Not like the last two nights, when I acted as though I didn't know I owned an alarm clock. (And as you long-time readers [hi, mom] may recall reading, I do.)

Good book, though. But more on that another time. For now, travel back in time to Saturday. Miri was stretched out by the window, watching me carefully whenever I came in.

Harold was sleeping on the bed, ignoring her, accepting my attention as his due.

Why not? It is his due.

But no photos of the best part, where I was holding my breath to avoid disturbing them, as Miri came over to wash Harold's head.

And Harold let her.

Alert the media. Though the Cat Capades continue, progress is perceptible.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It was a busy weekend, yes, and mostly good

What? What's that you say? Wednesday night is a little late to be summarizing my weekend? Most people would do that Sunday night? Or maybe Monday?

Yeah, whatever. Most people don't get migraines, do they? Did you know that recent research has decided that migraines are more than just headaches, they're a neurological disorder? It's true, or they couldn't print it in Scientific American, right?

Which means that when someone asked why I get so many migraines, and I answered "faulty wiring", I wasn't being facetious, I was dumbing down the science for conversation. Right?

(At least I didn't tell him, "Because God hates me." That's the kind of thing you have to know someone really well before you say.)

Anyway! I'm not writing about headaches tonight (sorry if you're disappointed by that [as if]), and I'm not writing about the fact that it's snowing tonight (boo) for the first time in a few weeks (yay) and is supposed to turn to rain later (double yay), but about my weekend. The one that ended three days ago, not the one that starts in two days, in case you're having trouble following my excess parentheticals tonight. And last weekend, in the storytelling sense, started Friday night.

After work last Friday, I went to Wilson's Farm in Lexington to pick up a few things. I wasn't really thinking about it being the day before Valentine's Day until I stepped in and saw all the flowers, roses and more, as well as a lot of lovely baked goods with red or pink decoration. Ah, right! The funniest part, though, was when I was leaving and saw a sign pointing to a "drive-through". What? Wilson's doesn't normally have a drive-through ... but that night at least, if you wanted to get your roses without getting out of the car, they were set up to oblige you. Pretty funny.

Saturday I had our regular, annual "Valentine" plans with a few single friends, a movie and then dinner and hanging out. The last few years, we've had a clear choice of movie we all wanted to see, but this year the choices were less robust. We ended up seeing "He's Just Not That Into You," and I'll admit I was not enthusiastic about seeing it. Once again, though, low expectations turned out to be key. Although there was a story line I liked less than the rest (there was a scene or two that I actually couldn't watch, literally), there was also a story line that I really, really liked, and overall it wasn't bad. Faint praise, perhaps, but better than I would have thought.

And after that, the night only improved! We had a lively dinner and got to chat about shoes and ships and sealing wax, and then there was this:

Despite Blogger's mysterious predilection for rotating photos randomly and of its own volition, you can see that the dessert maker works marvels with presentation. It tasted delicious, too.

Now, I have a serious issue to discuss from Saturday. I consider myself to have a fairly wide vocabulary, so it always comes as a surprise to me to be faced with a word I've never heard of. To be honest, it doesn't happen all that often in daily life, though sometimes in the word-a-day calendar. So I was quite startled on Saturday when this happened, and all three of my friends knew a word I had never heard.

Now, a few points first:
  • I am not trying to imply that my friends have lesser vocabularies than I do. They are all smart women, thoroughly educated and experienced and they all read a lot, which helps expand vocabulary like nothing else.
  • One of the three insists that I must have heard the word before, and just don't remember hearing it. I can't say this is impossible, but ... I don't know. Because the word?
Is padiddle.

How could I forget that? It sounds like something Snoop Dogg would say.

Be honest. Do you know it?

Is it a game you played? Because although my friends just presented it as a word*, you know, like apple or lamp, according to Wikipedia and a few other sites, it's a game, like Punch Buggy.

*"Oh, you have a headlight out, you're a padiddle", like it was the most natural thing in the world. I would have been far less surprised to be called a Cyclops.

On to Sunday. I joined friends for the Bugs Bunny Film Festival, and enjoyed every minute. My only carp was that the balance was a little too much of Yosemite Sam, and only one of Elmer Fudd*, but still, it was very neat to see the cartoons on the big screen like that. And the hot chocolate at L.A.Burdick's was as good as Stacey said it would be. Definitely something to try if you're in Harvard Square. (And like chocolate, but I'm kind of assuming.)

*He got a round of applause. I was definitely surrounded by kindred spirits.

Did you have a good weekend?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Singing Along

I'm one of those people who doesn't just sing along with the radio, I really sing it, just as if I can sing. I totally can't sing (well, that is), but brother, I can sing when the music's loud enough.

A few of the songs I enjoyed this morning. Some variety, no?

If only I could hit the high notes. Well, trying counts, right? This is one of those " it's almost embarrassing but let's tell the truth" selections.

I move around between several stations, but in this case, one station went from the Four Seasons directly into Coldplay. Very interesting!

Then Everclear on another station:

And the Bravery, of whom I have barely heard, but I like this song:

I really like the lyrics; some in particular resonated for me last Fall:
So give me something to believe
Cause I am living just to breathe
And I need something more
To keep on breathing for
So give me something to believe
And for some reason, that song makes me think of this one, which I did not hear this morning:

To be honest, I don't even recognize this band's name (Finger Eleven? Honestly?). But I like the song, and once when I was singing along at top volume while in rush hour traffic, I cracked myself up by realizing what I was singing toward the bumper of the car in front of me:
I want to make you move
because you're standing still
He was, too.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I bought a chariot!

Or rather, j'ai acheté un chariot!

Actually, I bought a cart, a "drawer cart" according to the label.

It looks like this: was on sale, and I will show you it when it is full of yarn.

I was going to write about my weekend, which was fun and full of much more social than usual, but I came home with a headache, took a nap, and am now feeling rather out of it. I think I'd better leave it for later.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Get your cat pictures here

The Bruins play so few Friday games that I forgot they were playing and missed the first period, whoops. NJ has scored in the second and I hope the Bruins will come from behind (instead of blowing a lead).

The sunlight and the cats were cooperating this morning, and I got a shot that shows just how furry/fluffy Miri actually is:

She's quite pretty, really.

I believe this photo illustrates that jealousy is not only a green-eyed monster. This was the other night; tonight Harold got down off my lap because Miri, sitting next to us, was purring so loudly.

Another of the coveted yawn shots. I love these!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


This morning I watched the sun come up.

When I opened the curtain in that bedroom window, the sun was just showing over the house across the street. The sunshine wasn't in my bedroom, it wasn't in the living room, it was all the way through the kitchen to the office door.

Soon it was in the bedroom, and I watched it moving down the door frame, slowly but perceptibly, until it was all there.

It was beautiful. I wish you could have seen it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Of cats, and cats, and me

Sometimes it's hard to find the words. When I'm upset about something, writing it out might help, or it might make it worse, and I can't always tell, beforehand, which way it will go. But when I'm not upset about the thing, I hesitate to write about it in case it reopens the wound.

Of course, when I'm irritated about the Bruins blowing yet another lead (I believe this was the third game In A Row where they blew a 2-goal lead), I somehow feel the irritation balances the potential upset. Which makes no sense at all, and I don't know why that sentence started with "of course". Moving on.

Living without Pan is still so hard. It doesn't hurt as frequently, but when it does, it's every bit as hard as it was the day he died. So many little, stupid things remind me of him. Showering. The heated pet pads. My slippers. Saying, "You're so cute" to Miri or "Who's my baby" to Harold. I keep telling myself, it will get better with time, because I have to believe it. So far, though, not really.

(It's certainly no coincidence that my migraines, which had improved in the last few years with medication, have been worse in the last few months.)

Now, I'm not having the worst week ever or anything. Not even close. I know of one person who's going to two funerals this week, and another who would be, only both are on the same day, and holy crap to both of those, right? Pretty much no matter what, my week will be fine. Hey, I got Valentine candy! (Thanks, mama.) My tax refund came! So far, work has been busy without quite crossing over into batshit crazy. I guess I'm just musing on how I'm doing, as lately I've been talking more about the Great Cat Integration Project aspect of things.

In semi-related news: my mother mentioned that she'd like to see more pictures of Miri, so I loaded (uploaded? downloaded? seriously, what's the difference?) all the photos I've taken of her, with and without Harold, in the month she's been here. Plus some photos of just Harold, as long as they were there. And how many photos were there?


Hi, my name is ccr, and I am addicted to digital photography.

And cats.

And blogging.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Any local Bugs Bunny fans?

I learned today (from the Globe) that the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square has a Bugs Bunny Film Festival going on soon (it's the 14th annual, and I've never heard of it! I'm shocked!) (maybe they could get the word out a bit more?), and I'm going to go. Anyone in the vicinity want to come? I'm thinking of going either next Sunday 2/15 at 8pm, or Tuesday or Thursday (2/17 and 2/19) at 7:30. Anyone?

I love Bugs Bunny!

An Incredible Stat for the Bruins

I don't regularly read the Boston Herald; growing up around here, either your family read the Globe or the Herald, but very rarely both. However, I saw a link to this Herald story about the Bruins last week, and it was fascinating.
The Bruins have played 51 games, and not once have they been blown out - that is, to the extent of losing by three or more goals. To fully understand the significance of this, consider the last team to make it through an entire season without losing by three goals was the 1937-38 New York Rangers.
Honestly? That amazes me. There was a game last night that had a final score of 10-2. That's not common in the NHL, but it happens. Never being on the receiving end of one? Well, clearly that's less common. Go Bruins!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Let's Call It Random Friday

How the mighty have fallen
Watching the weather forecast last night, I saw a predicted high for Saturday of 41, and said, "All right!"

And I Meant It. I was genuinely pleased that it will be that (really not very high) temperature (you know, if they're right for once) tomorrow. It's pretty sad. But honestly, when I left for work yesterday, it was 9. This morning, it was twelve.

Sunday it may hit 50. Hold me.

In other news, I am considering covering the temperature display in the car with duck tape. Really, what good is it doing me to know exactly how everloving cold it is? I mean, this kind of gives it away:

February Humor
The Globe added a comic strip a while back that I've really been enjoying: Frazz. It has a distinctive sense of humor that I appreciate.

I am so weird (I know, surprise!) that I want to share with you, not a favorite recent strip, but my favorite part of a strip.

Yeah! (I mean, of course, no to the concept of more recession, but yeah to the idea.) (You knew that, right?) (Sigh.)

Shopping Story from Last Weekend
Yes, I've been meaning to tell you about my Very Exciting shopping extravaganza last weekend. It was a trip I've been meaning to take for a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I went to Ocean State Job Lot.

What? You may ask. Well, OSJL is a chain of bargain stores mostly in Rhode Island (i.e., the Ocean State), where you can find very random things for very low prices. Or so I had heard, not having been to one myself. Although there are stores in MA, they are mostly in the southeast corner of the state, the one near RI. However, I recently learned that there was one in Danvers, of all random places, and finally went up there. I bought many random things, for not much money. See?

Six pair of socks for $3.99! They're polyester, olefin, and rubber, and decently warm.

Four skeins of yarn for a total of $6! I don't know what it will be yet, but at that price there's no rush.

I looked for a small rubber scraper at Bed and Bath recently and could not find one. All those kitchen implements, and not the one I wanted. Here you go! $1.50!

Strawberry jam with no HFCS. It's good, too.

The green shopping bag to the left was 85 cents with an internet coupon; it's usually $1.50. I debated getting it, as I have a fair number of bags already, and decided to as it's larger than most, plus it has a rectangle to go in the base and give it support. It works really well. I might have preferred the aesthetic appeal of this one:

But 3 for $10 hardly compares.

The final item in the photo has the longest back story. First, we go back a couple of years, to when a friend gave me a bar of lovely scented soap as a gift. Not only did it smell nice, but it was really good soap, felt good on the skin, etcetera. I put the box away to remember to look out for another.

Every once in a while, I would run across the box and think oh yeah, but not do anything about it. The weekend before last, when I was cleaning out some drawers, throwing away expired medications and other uckies, I ran across the box again and thought, "Oh for goodness sake, stop keeping this! Look online and then give it up." Which is exactly what I did. I looked online, didn't quickly find a place to get the soap, and threw the box away.

One week later, I found the exact soap at OSJL. $1 per bar. I bought three.


funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Her Name Seems to be Miri

It's sticking: it comes to mind and rolls trippingly off the tongue. I still call her baby and little girl, but sometimes Miri-girl, too.

Well, she keeps my feet warm...

Though he mostly chooses to sleep alone.

Feet lose their fearsomeness when I am sitting. Walking is terrifying, and she'll run, but the instant I hit the couch, she's there to say hi, and be admired.

Cats. They're so ... whatever.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Love of a good book leads me to library crime

Well, library misdemeanor, perhaps. But I take library due dates very seriously! I virtually always return books on or before the due date!

Except this time. I've been listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and I had to finish it. Had to! Even though it was due last Saturday (ulp) and someone had a request in for it (double ulp), I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

I read the book back in November, on the advice of a friend, and it was wonderful. Charming. Delightful! Then I read a review of the audio that said it was a wonderful version, so I had to try that. And it is! It's read by several people, and they do a marvelous job. It's the audio equivalent of "can't put it down".

I'm on the last disc, so it will be back to the library by this weekend. My fine is currently up to 25 cents! Terribly worth it.

Monday, February 02, 2009

I love a commercial with a sense of humor

I didn't watch the Super Bowl, but apparently this was one of the commercials. I saw it on TV tonight, and keep giggling when I think of it. Share and enjoy*!

*Name that book.

Don't miss the post below, either. Two tonight!

Reading in January

For the last couple of years, I've written a summary of the number of books I've read, but I don't often talk about the individual books. This seems odd to me, as you can see by the numbers that I read a lot. I've decided that perhaps, at the end of each month, I could write about some of what I read that month, so that anything that deserves a moment in the sun will be more likely to get it. So:

What I Read in January

The total in January was 12, of which 7 were re-reads and thus 5 were new. Some of the new ones:
  • I read a good review of The Soloist, and found it to be interesting if not exactly uplifting. If you're intrigued by the subject, though, I do recommend it. (I just learned that there's going to be a movie from the book, with Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx, in case that either increases or decreases your interest.)
  • I also read (thank you again, library) Gods in Alabama, by Joshilyn Jackson. I read her blog, and love it, so I thought that maybe perhaps sometime I ought to try her published novels for heavens sake. I enjoyed this one, although not as much as her blog! But it was very well written, and I appreciated the way the past and present stories unfolded side by side. I'm planning to try her other books as well.
  • Jumper and Reflex, by Steven Gould. (And apparently Jumper was a movie that came out last year, I don't remember it but IMDb does, but anyway it sounds like it's significantly different from the book's plot. Just saying.) Not exactly light-hearted sci-fi, but an interesting premise well-executed. Some of the second book disturbed me, though.
And then the re-reads:
  • Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. Oh, I like this book! Can't wait for the sequel/prequel/companion/whatever, next book.

  • Free-Range Knitter. I love Stephanie. She may not speak for all knitters (I wouldn't want to presume), but she speaks for many. And she's so funny.
Well, sports fans, I think that's from me about January. What about you: read any good books lately?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Two surprising things I did this weekend

Which is more surprising? I don't know for sure, but I joined Facebook and I did my taxes. And I wasn't planning to do either.

Well, of course I was going to do my taxes, but I wasn't exactly planning to do them this weekend. However, I got my last W-2 in the mail yesterday, and I looked it up to see if using TurboTax online was cheaper than buying it in the store, and it was, plus a discount through work, and, well, let's see just how bad the situation with the unemployment really is.

The situation with unemployment has to do with the fact that they don't automatically deduct taxes. As I understand it, they will if you ask them to, but hey, I was too busy frivolling my payments on the mortgage. My take on the situation last fall was, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

More recently, though, safely employed again, I couldn't help wondering just how much it was going to hurt come tax-time. The good news is, while it doubtless made a difference, it's not enough of a difference that I have to pay them (the feds, that is; I always seem to have to pay the state).

TurboTax shows the numbers at the top as you fill things in, green for refund and red for owe (so close to "ow", isn't it?). I put in the first W-2 and it was green, the second and it was even more green! When unemployment went in, it went very red. But the mortgage and related whatever (forgive the technical terms) popped me back into green, and more than the red I owe MA, so I'm content. Lowered expectations really are the key to success.

As for Facebook, well, I'm not quite sure why I signed up. A few friends have mentioned it before and I was all whatever about it, and to be honest I still don't know how much I'll use it, or if I want to chat with my high school "boyfriend", but we'll see. I must kind of want to be found, since I signed up as my real name, not ccr in MA. (Don't be hurt: we have the blogosphere!)

Now for the "shorts" portion of today's entry. First, I love this story, of an 8-year-old with cystic fibrosis whose Make-A-Wish wish was to be signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins. They signed him to a contract, gave him a press conference, brought him in to practice, gave him a stall in the locker room and a jersey ... fantastic.

When you go to read about Dave Barry in the Inaugural Parade with the Lawn Rangers (seriously), do not miss the video. I laughed out loud. I absolutely love that they were in the parade.

Plus, I feel sorry for whoever marched behind them. That is a tough act to follow.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed this short piece in Bostonist on which states are ranked the most religious, not because I'm religious and not because I'm not, but for this line regarding how low the New England states ranked:
"The results were somewhat surprising to us, but maybe they're not counting sports as a religion in this survey."
Nice! Also this, to which I say, yes.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Though it's also nice to be able to come home late without having to really explain.