Monday, March 30, 2009


Needs to be blocked ("severely", according to the pattern), but it's done, done, done! Even all the ends are woven in. Just block and it's finished and done!

With a book for scale.

If you've been working on a difficult or long-term project, I highly recommend finishing it at your stitch and bitch. Everyone, even our waitress, was excited for me, which made the completion even better. Yay! It was so exciting to remove the needles at last, and see it all stretched out.

The blanket and the socks done within a week, I can hardly believe it. I scarcely worked on anything else for the last six months. I didn't really show you the socks, did I? I can't get over how well they fit. Here:

Now whatever will I knit next?

I'm waiting for Wendy to release the pattern for her Sunflower Socks ... I bookmarked Abrazo from Knitty last Fall, but I don't have the yarn for that, so it will have to wait a bit. Not that I have the yarn for the socks, either ... perhaps I should look at the yarn I do have, eh? I'm twin-sitting this Saturday, so I have to have something to knit (after they're in bed, of course, not much knitting with two toddlers running around). If need be, I can always cast on a hat...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This weekend

Among other things, I:
  • went to BJs, Target, and PetSmart
  • did 8 loads of laundry
  • vacuumed the rug (oh, that long-haired cat)
  • watched the Bruins win two games
  • went to a facial party
  • had Sunday dinner with family friends
  • paid bills and balanced the checkbook
  • wore my finally-finished socks
  • and worked on the blanket; it's almost done
Why you not call it Harold blanket?

There are still a bunch of things on the to-do list, but not bad, eh?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cats and Socks and Hockey

I said it many times with Pan, and I'll say it now with Harold: thank heavens for Pill Pockets.

Instead of essentially mugging Harold, wrapping him in a towel, restraining him forcibly, and shoving a pill down his throat, I'm asking him if he wants a treat, and watching him gobble it down and ask for more. He doesn't seem to realize that after years of getting the creamy peanut butter, he's getting the crunchy now. I always suspected that if his treat had a pill in it, he would do what my brother's cat did, eating the treat and spitting out the pill, but not so far, anyway.

And, in a plus ├ža change moment, while I used to give Pan meds and Harold treats, now I'm giving Harold meds and Miri treats. She likes Pill Pockets, too! They're softer than her usual treats, so she has a little trouble keeping hold of them, but she manages, and looks for more.

Now, a few things that I forgot to mention on Tuesday. First, I am a confirmed knitter now: when the dentist told me how much the crown would cost (and insurance covers only half), I found myself thinking about how much yarn that would buy, or rather would have bought.

In further knitting news, thanks mostly to all the appointments on Tuesday, I almost finished the sock, and today at lunch I did! It's very exciting, considering that I started the pair in October! (And the Yarn Harlot whacks out a pair in a weekend. Humbling.) I will weave in the end and photo and post more in future, but I wanted to mention the feat, at least.

In hockey thoughts, the Bruins haven't played in forever ... well, since Sunday, but five days, that's the longest break they've had all season (tied with the All-Star break). Plus, they play most Thursdays, so it feels weird for Thursday night to not have a hockey game. The regular season doesn't last much longer, and though they are, for once, in the playoffs no question, I don't rule out that they could tank in the first round. I hope they won't, and I don't actually believe that they will ... but they could, and that's the thing about the playoffs, isn't it? You can only lose so much before you're picking up the golf clubs. So I worry.

I don't know if any of you (darling, cherished) readers are hockey fans, but if you are, holy crow here is a great laugh. They've done a top ten video of goalies going crazy, and I laughed so hard I'm almost crying.

It's hysterical! And the announcers generally sound like they're on the verge of wetting their pants with the excitement, too. Goalies rarely fight, but they are known for their special brand of crazy, plus if one goalie gets involved in a fight, the other one is usually not far behind (to even the numbers). I wouldn't recommend watching if you don't believe fighting belongs in hockey, but otherwise, well, two thumbs up.

I believe that's all for now. Later!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quick update, and pictures

The verdict on Harold, according to Mr. "I am a vet even though I only look and sound twelve years old," is that it's most likely either asthma or bronchitis. After he mentioned the very, very slight chance that it could be heart disease, my heart skipped a beat, but he assured me that it's very unlikely, given the frequency and severity of the symptoms (since the wheezing isn't an overall breathing change, and is fairly mild). We try medication, and I hope very much that we can avoid the inhaler, because Harold would Not Be Happy. Pan more or less took what I gave him, but Harold is a fighter, or at least a wild wiggler.

In lieu of further content, I thought I would show you some pictures I've been using for my computer desktop recently.

From the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee, a basket full of kittens:

Don't miss the kittens in the sun shot half way down, either. Too cute!

The current shot is from the Globe's Big Picture, not for the person, but for the crocuses!

This pile of color is via splityarn, and came along on a gray day when the color just spoke to me:

This one, from Love and Hisses, is going to be next:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday: much like Monday, but with Novocaine

Well, this hasn't been the best day, and it's not looking like the best week, but at least I'm not writing another layoff story today, like some people are. (New Strategic Direction? That's horrible; bite me!)

On the other hand (or perhaps back on the first hand), my face hurts all the way around to the nape of my neck, and until the pain pills kick in, the world is looking a little gray. The dental experience of getting the temporary crown done was not really that bad, and thankfully I did not have a headache to get jarred by the drill (geesh, those things are awful). But now the novocaine wears off, and I whine and whimper.

Plus? I'm taking Harold to the vet tomorrow. For about an hour after I gave him the pill last night, he was quiet, laying on my bed, and I thought that at least he wasn't having the "manic" reaction to Benadryl. But then he threw up, and this is not a cat who throws up. I can literally think of two times in over ten years when he has. So I knew he would get no more Benadryl even before he threw up again less than an hour later. And that means that, since he's still doing the periodic wheezing, we go to the vet to see if we can find out why, or at least what we can do about it (without Benadryl).

Poor baby. He kept moving his mouth and tongue like he couldn't get the taste out of his mouth. He was fine this morning, but I still felt for him.

The dentist gave me an info sheet on "cracked tooth syndrome" (yes, it really says that, it's a syndrome), and it is cracking me up (on the inside; I can't laugh right now, or at least I don't feel it would be a good idea). Here are some of the gems:
  • Eating and drinking while trying to avoid the tooth causing you discomfort is very difficult. (As we said in high school, No shit, Sherlock)
  • It would be ideal if all dental and medical procedures were always successful. (Understatement alert! Understatement alert!)
It reminds me of the sheet I got after having my wisdom teeth out, which told me to keep the areas clean. Darn, no dirt for dinner!

The paper is actually a consent form, though I didn't have to sign it. My favorite part is where I would have signed if I had to, which looks like this:
I acknowledge that I have read and understood all this information and have been given the opportunity to ask questions. All questions are answered to my satisfaction and I consent to the proposed treatment plan for the cracked tooth, _______________.
What is the blank line for? Honestly, it made me think I would have had to fill it out, "...for the cracked tooth, number 14." But that can't be it, can it? What else, " help me God"?

Also, you know I would have* written in, above "read and understood all this information," something like, "including where you wrote 'Occasional' where you should have written 'Occasionally', and all the misplaced and missing commas."

*probably I wouldn't have. But I would have been thinking it.

Now, looking on the bright side, I didn't have to have my eyes dilated at the eye doctor tonight, making that experience markedly better. My eyes are fine, given the condition of my vision. (I still find it funny that I've known my "contact lens guy" for 33 of my 40 years, but in truth I trust him completely with my precious vision, and highly recommend him; if you're north of Boston and in the market, let me know.) And although the weather wasn't completely Spring today (too much chill wind for that), it's getting better. Plus, it was still light out when I drove home after 7. Woo-hoo!

I was thinking it would be soup for dinner, but perhaps I can manage scrambled eggs. The codeine must be kicking in.

P.S. to knitters: go see this cartoon!

Monday, March 23, 2009

So this is Monday

Well, I have a cracked tooth. Which means I have to hope that the temporary crown takes care of the problem (and thus leads to a permanent crown and happily ever after), and not to a root canal which may or may not work, and if not, well extracting the tooth sounds like such fun, doesn't it?


Then, I bought Benadryl to give Harold for his wheezing. Interestingly, it turns out that cats, like humans, might have wildly opposed reactions to Benadryl. He may sleep a lot, the woman at the vet told me (I laughed, because hello, he's a cat!). Or, he might get manic. Fabulous! Sounds like oh so much fun.

As soon as I got home, I cut a pill in half, crushed one half, and mixed it with some wet cat food. I put it down in front of him, and he took One Bite. Then he backed away, licking his lips and giving me horrified looks, and went under the bed for a few minutes, until he felt that I wasn't going to rush him and forcibly drug him.

This cat is way too smart for my own good.

I managed to get it into him, at least temporarily, using a mixture of stealth and force, but he retreated back under the bed, and may very well have left a damp pink pill along his path.


I would like to think tomorrow will be better, but since I'm going back to the dentist to get the temporary crown, followed by a previously scheduled appointment with the eye doctor (at which we will doubtless discuss how my eyesight is declining in my old age), and also since I am supposed to keep dosing Harold to see if the Benadryl helps his wheezing ... I kind of doubt it will be better.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What on earth, indeed

Yes, the What on Earth catalog is aptly named. I've looked at it before, I've even ordered things from it, and I've often marveled at what a very mixed bag it is. Something for everyone, perhaps? There really isn't another explanation.

I was looking through the recent catalog, and playing the game of comparing the items on any individual page: which would I buy, which would I take as a gift, which would I not want even if free, etc. And then I saw this: the remote control yodeling lederhosen.
This powerful knockwurst remote control sends your Lederhosen bouncing around the Alps of your coffee table with a cheery "Yodel-ay-ee-hoo!"
I won't put that picture on my blog, but seriously, go look at it. It amazes me that I live in a society where one person conceived of this idea, another okayed it for production, and people spent money on it. Granted, as it's on clearance, perhaps not that many people, but still! That anyone ever spent $24.95 on it, let alone $10.98. And now it's sold out! The plot thickens. How many were made, I wonder? Do I even want to know?

As a disclaimer, there are things in this catalog that I quite like. A few years back, I even bought a dress from it, nice enough to wear to a wedding! And the t-shirts and signs can be quite funny. Goose a dragon & you're toast made me laugh. I also like the idea of posting this sign at work, though perhaps not while I'm still relatively new to the job. Dark matter made me do it is great! And don't miss Silence is Golden, Duct Tape is Silver.

Some of the items are amusing or attractive without tempting me to buy. I understand there are things that appeal to a market segment that doesn't include me (dachshunds, NASCAR, beer; car antlers?), or come close but miss (baseball, football, and basketball "spoken here" signs, but not hockey?) (actually, hockey wasn't in the catalog, but it's on the website, sold out; bummer).

And others are simply WTF.

The BBQ sword is kind of funny, in an I-wouldn't-pay-for it way, but what raises my eyebrows is the line, "Includes a cut-out musketeer mask." Really?

I had to look twice to see that these bowls are supposed to be flamingos. The shape said to me, why does anyone want a set of bowls shaped like stomachs? (Flamingos are oddly popular here.)

The cat toilet seat set is simply disturbing, and that's without seeing it with the toilet seat up, which I can only imagine is worse. And is the butler version better, or worse?

The rest stop photo frame? Again, who came up with this idea, and who decided to make it, and who bought it?

Dressing up a little kid in a Peeps costume? Cute, in a silly way, but that's what kids are for. However, I would keep away from the adult who would wear the matching one. That's troubling. (Not to mention, originally eighty dollars! And hand wash!)

I don't even know how to describe the mini floor fan and vacuum for your computer.
Juice up this desktop fan and handy vacuum using a spare USB port, keeping cable clutter to a minimum. The fun floor-fan retro-style fan has a simple push-button on/off switch; vacuum is convenient for sweeping up after lunch at your desk.

Monkey lamp with banana accent? Really?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday round-up: cats, teeth, and media

Harold was wheezy enough this week that I called the vet's office this morning to ask what I can do. As I mentioned here previously, I thought that Miri's fur might be a bit much for him, and the tech agreed that it was possible, or as she put it, he could be allergic to her. (Great; in a purely altruistic move, I get him a cat, and he's allergic to her.) The tech said that I should keep track of how often he gets that way this weekend, and call them on Monday to discuss how much Benadryl I can give him.

Sheesh! I love cats, but they sure can be emotionally exhausting.

Not that it makes me crazy enough to need this bumper sticker:

Though I do get some road rage, and I am a princess... And when did the ribbon-loop-magnet people decide that individuality merited an entry? I missed that announcement.

I also called my dentist's office this morning, hoping they might have Saturday hours, but no such luck. This week, I started having a mild-discomfort area that had me looking to see when in April my check-up is, and wondering if I needed to go in earlier. Then late yesterday, it suddenly escalated from "hmm" to "OW!" Not, fortunately, all the time, but I am chewing on the right side only, and trying to drink that way, too, as even room temperature water is very very painful on the left. (I need straws! That would help. Perhaps I will go out later after all.) I don't know what caused the problem in the first place, and I don't know what made it worse, but owie owie ow.

Yesterday at work, I was listening to the radio (via headphones) and my cube neighbor stopped in mild surprise to regard the radio itself.

Welcome to the 20th century, right?

It's not exactly an MP3 player, I know, but it works, and I think it cost about $5 at Wally World, maybe 5 years ago. Someday I'll get an Ipod or the like, and doubtless will wonder how I ever lived without it, but for now, you can't beat the price of this one.

I was wandering through a silly catalog the other day (it makes good bathroom reading), and came across something so startling, I realized I was going to have to post about it. With that in mind, I went back through the catalog and flagged things to comment on. The result?

Coming soon. Get ready.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The neverending knitting vortex.

At my stitch and bitch Monday night, I was working on the baby blanket for my cousin, and taking the opportunity to bitch about it a little. I still think it's going to be a fun blanket, and I believe she'll like it, but the knitting of it has been a bit of a slog for me. I'm not good at juggling the two circulars, and the stripes mean color changes mean ends to weave in, and the purling has been far more effortful than the knitting.

Also, I don't seem to be temperamentally suited to working on items where the rows/rounds get bigger, rather than smaller (or staying the same). I find it wearing. At this point, nearing the end*, knit rounds take about 20 minutes, and purl rounds about 22, and they just keep getting bigger. I don't find that as enchanting as I did at first.

*The end, in this case, being determined by when the yarn runs out. I believe I am on my last stripe, and though there's still plenty to do on it, that's kind of exciting.

So I set myself a challenge. In three weeks, I go to my grandmother's for Easter. I would like to have the blanket done by then, so that I can show it to her before sending it to the baby. There are at least a dozen rounds to do before I can call it done, which is something like four hours of knitting (though if I tried to do it all in a row, I think my wrists would fall off; it's a little cumbersome). That's do-able.

Sorry for the no pictures, by the way. Now that it's bigger than the circumference of the needles, it's hard to get an accurate picture. As is, it looks kind of like a hammock, or sling, rather than a blanket. I can't wait to see it done and off the needles myself! Though how I'm going to block it ... I've never blocked anything this big. Well, I have some time to think about the logistics.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

That cat

Not five minutes after I posted last night, Harold wheezed some more. He was fine again after a few minutes, but honestly, my heart can't take too much of this. I'm wondering if it's caused by Miri's fur, since after all his own fur has never given him hairballs. Honestly!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Some nights call for early bedtime

Harold is fine, of course, but I was so wound up Sunday that I couldn't go to sleep, and stayed up far too late reading (books are my narcotic). I didn't get to bed early enough last night, either, and as a result, I need some of this for myself.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Harold Hits a Nerve

He's fine. He's fine. But Harold, who never gets sick, who has literally been sick about twice in ten-plus years, was a little urpy and wheezy this morning, and it really hit a nerve.

Every once in a great while, he gets a little wheezy, not actually throwing up but sounding a little scary. I give him some Petromalt*, and it smooths things out.

*I originally bought it for Pan, who did not want any, thank you. Harold loves it, and will lick it off my finger, so I give some every once in a while, to keep things running smoothly.

Friday morning, this happened, and he was fine. I worried a bit more, because his eyes were also a little extra-goopy, but he was fine and all's well.

It happened this morning, I gave him the stuff, and a few hours later, it happened again. I watched him, and worried, and found I was really upset.

Like, he can't be sick. I can't have it. I can't handle it. All that I went through with Pan, it's still too recent. I can't take more worrying and fretting and trips to the vet and watching and waiting and treatments and god knows what. I can't. He has to be fine.

The thing is, he is fine. I know this. He's fine, but I can't think about it too much.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Girl in the Sun

Miri's been here for two months now (can you believe it?), and although she is still watchful of me, I believe that her concern that I might kill her one day is starting to fade. She's not convinced I won't, but she's not positive I will.

Thus, I finally got to photograph her in the sunlight; you know how I am about cats, sunshine, and close-ups. That said, though, here's a different photo (no sun), just because she's so regal in it.

Yes, you may worship me.

What am I, chopped liver?

Now, sunlight. It's chilly out today, but sun-sun-sun! And a beautiful cat therein.

Can I trust you?

Harold is here if I need protecting.

Protecting from what? She makes loud noises sometimes, but otherwise she's safe.


If I ignore her, does she go away?

No, she doesn't take a hint, does she?

Friday, March 13, 2009

So this is Friday, at last

At last, the weekend, ahh. That first week after the time changes is that much harder and more annoying, isn't it? (Just nod.) I'm tired by the end of a regular week, and this is just that little bit More So.

Today was a day of minor annoyances, but I got a lot done at work and that's always a good feeling. I just realized that I've been at the "new" job for four months! When did that happen? Recent shuffling in the higher-ups notwithstanding, I feel like I'm settling down into my position so much more, and am at the point I longed for in November, when I was so ready to be more settled in this strange new job. They know I'm good, and trustworthy, and we can all relax a little.

Funny story: I'll be getting my first work review soon! Some companies do reviews on your hire anniversary, but GenericCompanyName, Inc., is of the "get it all done once a year" persuasion, and apparently, February is the month for it, even if you started in November. (And yes, I'm aware that it's March. Talk to my boss. She's been busy.) I look forward to reading about how wonderful I am.

In totally unrelated news, I heard last month that Depeche Mode will be touring this year for their new album, due out in April. I'm quite excited, and trying to remember when I last went to a concert. (Probably, the last time Depeche toured, except did I? The last album was out in 2005, and I don't remember going so recently. Must research this.)

Tickets go on sale next week, and I was looking online tonight for info, but here's the funny thing: I can't find the prices, except on a couple of ticket reseller sites. I'm really hoping those are marked up, because if they're not joking about $71 for lawn tickets, they're probably not joking about $795 for front and center, either. Not that I was planning to buy in the first tier, but still! Have they not heard there's a recession?

I'll go anyway, and I have a DM friend who wants to go too, yay. But I feel a little old and creaky to sit on the lawn. Even if I stand the whole time, I want the "real estate" of an actual seat. Besides, what if I don't like the opener? (Hello, Nitzer Ebb.) I won't want to stand during that.

I'm just so glad it's the weekend. I'm glad I can go to bed soon, and sleep as late as I can, and do laundry in as lazy a fashion as possible, and the weather's supposed to be decent, and that will do, my friends. That will do.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

And now for something completely different

After a serious (and semi-depressing) topic, what better to follow with than this? I lurves it!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In this economy

I had a haircut last night, and my hairdresser was saying that, in terms of her clients' emotional state, things haven't been worse in the the 30+ years she's been in business. Everyone is worried, at the least, and she admitted she finds it wearing by the end of the day. I can understand that, I said: everyone knows at least one person who's been laid off, and just about everyone is worried it will happen to them (if it hasn't already).

I was thinking about it, and it seems to me that there are four groups here:

a) You have been laid off.
b) You have survived a layoff but worry about another (and about those who you used to work with).
c) You know someone who has been laid off.
d) You know someone who's been through a layoff but is worried about the next one.

Did I miss anything, or do you think that covers it?

For me, it's a, c, and d. (I know at least 4 people who've been laid off recently, and that's just off the top of my head.) What about you?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Yes, this is why I'm not on Twitter

I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong (assuming you use Twitter, which I don't), just that this quote from Keith Olberman summed up my feelings about it, which is basically, I don't get it.

(I don't fully "get" Facebook, either. I like playing Wordscraper! But otherwise, well, how much time do some people have?)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A sunny Sunday summary

Yes, today is sunny: alert the media! It's also windier than yesterday, so I haven't had the window open as much, but it has been open, and it smells like heaven. I guess one benefit to winter is that it really, really makes me appreciate fresh air. Which does not make winter worth while, but it's something.

I tried a new recipe last night, and I have to tell you about it, not just because it was good (which it was), but because this website,, has a very neat feature: you can search for recipes by ingredients. Either things to include or exclude, too, which is handy. I had spaghetti and sauce and mozzarella, and though I could have just cooked the spaghetti and used it that way, I wanted to step it up just a wee bit.

So I searched on those three ingredients, and after looking at a few recipes, I added an exclusion on ground beef, since I didn't have any, and several recipes thought I might. I ended up making this Three-Cheese Spaghetti Bake, that was quite delicious.

Not bad-looking, right? I modified the recipe slightly: I had only an almost-full box of spaghetti, my sauce jar was 24 ounces instead of the 28 called for, and I had no Romano, so I added more Parm instead (meaning that, technically, mine was a Two-Cheese Bake). It turned out really good, and it makes a lot: I ate plenty, and had 6 generous portions left over. It reheats fine, and if it freezes and reheats well, it will be in the regular rotation from now on.

I was playing with shells today, to avoid making eye contact with the Bruins giving away a game (the Rangers should send Manny Fernandez a thank-you note)(he was quoted in the Bruins blog as saying, "I can't catch a break," which led to my yelling, "You can't catch a puck!"), and was much struck by these augers.

I'm very fond of them, but also, see how tiny the ones in front are?

Nature amazes me.

The Bruins, by the way, are in the midst of a busy stretch of 6 games in 9 days. This will be followed by a stretch of 2 games in 12 days. Which leads one to the question, Who made this schedule, and what were they on?

The cats are doing well. They celebrate the day, as so often, by napping.

I tried not to disturb them, but apparently was not successful.

What? Did you hear something?

I haven't written much about knitting recently, but I continue to do so. The socks are moving along, getting closer:

I was thinking while knitting the other day, how I find the inside of my hand-knit socks, the reverse side of the stockinette sole, to be just slightly noticeably bumpy, but how changing the knit to purl is not going to happen, as I'm not that fond of purling. I mean, I'll do it, of course, but I've found on the baby blanket that the knit rounds race by, while the purl rounds slog.

Then I had a Thought. Instead of reversing the knitting, how about turning the sock inside out? Then I'm walking on the smoother side. As long as I liked the look of the rest of the pattern ... I wonder how these socks would look inside out?

Not bad, I think. And I hardly care about having this side show:

I think I'm onto something here.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

This story includes a light-up giraffe yard ornament

In one sense, today was not a lovely day, as there was a sad lack of sunshine, and the little there was this morning is all we got. However, the temperature got close to 60, which was simply charming. I opened a window, for more than a moment, and let me tell you the temptation to put that sentence in bold, or large type, or all caps, is hard to resist. The smell of fresh air, after this endless (and not over yet) winter, was indescribable. Quite fantastic, and to have it only five days after we got close to a foot of snow, snow that is now virtually all melted by the way, is to say Hello, March, you are better than January. Not that that's hard.

I went on a walk this afternoon, to celebrate the weather and the Bruins' matinee win, and as soon as I saw this object, I was glad I had my camera with me.

It's sort of hard to tell, but the light-up giraffe is wearing a Santa hat. Is this a Christmas story I missed? Can anyone enlighten me? (Feel free to make something up, if you can sound plausible; I'm stumped.)

Of course, this may not be my week, because when I saw the sticker on the back of this car, I felt I was missing its point, too.

Not the Red Sox sticker, this one:

Perhaps it's a Jeep thing, and I just wouldn't understand?

Harold was ready for his closeup the other day.

He and Miri are definitely playing these days. And does she love to play with toys as well! I cleared out under the couch today, and had to get the yardstick to reach everything under there. So that's where everything went! I thought the living room was looking less messy underfoot than usual.

In (ahem) completely unrelated news, I am now calling "dust bunnies" "fur bunnies", since the ones I see lately are much more fur than dust. Have I said already that I had no idea what a difference a long-haired cat would make? Wow. The fur, it goes by in tumbleweeds. Simply stunning.

This was not my most successful photography, but the ice on the window the other morning was really lovely.

You know, for a miserable harbinger of cold weather and all.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Life: the You Can't Make This Stuff Up Dept.

Driving home tonight, I changed the radio from NPR to a music station in order to avoid a sure-to-be depressing story about the latest jobless stats in Mass. I came in on the middle of an Offspring* song I quite like, specifically on the refrain: "Na, na, why don't you get a job". You can't make this stuff up. If I put that in a book, who'd believe it?

*I don't actually know much about The Offspring; for me, they're one of those bands that I only realize how much I like when I count up all the songs they sing that I recognize. "Wait, they sing Self Esteem? And Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)? You're Gonna Go Far, Kid? Okay, I like The Offspring.

Speaking of books, I picked up three holds at the local library tonight, and two of them were non-fiction: how unlike me.

And further speaking of books, here is:

What I Read in February

Overall, February wasn't as trying a month as January, but I'm not sorry it's over. That much closer to the end of winter, right? Exit winter, stage left, please!

And as the month ends, the reading summary comes. In February, I read twelve books, which coincidentally is the same number as January. This time, seven of them were new (or new to me, at any rate), and five were re-reads. Some details:

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

I wasn't expecting this YA vampire novel to be litracha, and it wasn't. I did enjoy it, though, until near the end. Then, I found myself wondering, "When did this book start to suck?" My best guess: the author was told, you have 50 pages left, wrap it up. She wasn't willing to give up her plot plans, so she shoehorned it all in. I went from willing suspension of disbelief to the hell?

The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square

I loved this book! I didn't even realize at first that the author is the same (under a nom de plume) who wrote several historical novels I loved, and the styles are quite different, but I really, really enjoyed this book.

Before Green Gables

If you are an Anne of Green Gables fan, you really ought to read this one. The author took the wisps of information about Anne's early life, and made a wonderful, thorough, rich story of them. Very impressive.

Between, Georgia

Another Joshilyn Jackson, and I liked it quite a bit, even more than Gods in Alabama. Her characters are amazingly real, and even the unsympathetic ones are true. And funny.

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

Young readers, my eye. I read an interesting column about selling certain YA books to adults by not telling them they're YA. They just happen to feature younger characters! I enjoyed the first in this series, and this one as well. And I look forward to the third one!

So that's February done with. Tune in next month to see what March hath wrought. Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Would you say something?

Have you ever been talking to someone who uses a word that clearly isn't the word they mean? Do you correct them, or let it go?

I called Comcast, provider of my cable TV, Internet, and land-line phone service, to see if I could cut anything I can stand to do without in order to lower my bill. (You can have my high-speed Internet when you tear it out of my cold dead hands, but do I really need a land line?) It turns out, of course, that because I have the three services in "bundled" pricing, it is actually $10 cheaper to have all three than it would be to cut the phone and pay a la carte for Internet and cable. Weird world, eh?

But when the oh-so-sympathetic while-not-giving-an-inch woman was regaling me with stories about how she gave up her land line once and then went back and here's why, she said that she got her "cell" phone again, when clearly in context it was home phone, or land line. And when I brought up all the Verizon ads I've seen and how much cheaper their deal is, she told me that Comcast and Verizon are actually quite compatible, when I'm pretty sure she meant comparable. From the ads, it doesn't sound like they get along at all.

For the record, by the way, I didn't correct her in either case. I got her drift, so I let it go. In a conversation with a friend, or if I wasn't sure of the gist, I would have asked.

The NHL trading deadline* has come and gone, and the Bruins made a couple of smaller moves but nothing earth-shattering. I'm pleased that they didn't crack the core of the team, as that sort of thing can wreak havoc on team chemistry, and the current team has enough of an issue without asking for trouble. What is with this slide lately, anyway? I thought they were past the worst once they had those 6-1 and 6-0 victories last week, but last night's game was pathetic. Snap out of it already, guys! The best part of watching for most of this season has been the refreshing feeling that even if you fall behind, you'll find a way to come back and make it happen. Don't take that away from me!

*Some of my favorite reading on the subject has been on Puck Daddy, which calls this time of year Hockey Rumors Christmas, and which live blogged for many hours today. It's nice to see something done so thoroughly.

Since I started blogging, I've drawn a line about what I will share about work. I don't feel that, for me, being too specific is a good thing, so I lean to the vague. It's not usually a problem, but now there are Things Happening at work, not necessarily bad at least for now, but Unsettling, and I'd kind of like to talk about it, but I think I'd best not. If you have some good vibes to send my way, that things Settle Down Again, I would appreciate it. And I guess I'll leave that there.

Oh, look, the first photo I ever posted! Of the cats, of course. Begin as you mean to go on. I always liked that picture. And the second photo: cat with knitting. You know, the name of my blog may not be the best out there, but you can't say it isn't descriptive. Speaking of which, I do still want to write about the books I read in February: there were some good ones! I'll try to get to that tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Monday, March 02, 2009

This White Stuff Needs to STOP

My memory tells me that February is usually worse than January, that something about its shorter duration makes it paradoxically harder to get through. This year, though, January was a bear, and February less so. A lot of the accumulation from January melted, leaving roadsides less thoroughly obscured, and only those nasty gray hillsides along every parking lot as a reminder of the near-constant snow we endured for some time.

Then comes March.

Yesterday morning, this roof top was clear.

It snowed lightly yesterday, not building up too much, merely teasing for what was to come overnight. This morning, I looked out the window, deduced that if I went to work, it would not be at the usual time, and went back to bed for an hour or so. I got up again, had some breakfast, and looked again: still snowing (horizontally due to the wind), streets only lightly plowed, steps and path need shoveling, drive not plowed at all yet, and substantial amount on car. Yes, call to boss, leave message on voice mail, and back to bed.

The sleep was highly beneficial. Last night I had a miserable headache, worse than I've had in some time. Though it was gone this morning, it left me feeling rather frail. Extra bed-time, with cat, helped a great deal. And clearly I needed it, since the next time I woke up, it was almost eleven! The picture outside was improved: the snow had stopped, the drive had been plowed, someone (else) had shoveled the steps and path. Even the streets were more discernible. I decided that I could handle it, and got myself ready.

Shoveling the car out was rather tiresome, of course. In fact, I cheated: I shoveled the car off, but didn't do the around that I should have. I was rather out of gas, metaphorically speaking, and since I could get the car out, I did.

The drive to work wasn't too bad, but I arrived to a virtually empty parking lot, and a locked door. Hmmm. I shall have to enquire if there is a number to call and check on such things, next time. I wasn't thrilled at the wasted trip of course, but I would have had to clear the car off anyway*, and I was rather pleased to have the rest of the day off! So I turned around and came back home. Before pulling into my spot, I did shovel out around it, thus removing that undone-work guilt.

*I would guess there were about 8 inches of snow on it, even with the wind blowing some off.

Since then, I've had lunch, and made the pot of chili that I was going to make yesterday before my head exploded. Tonight, since I don't really feel like going out again*, I think I will pass on Stitch and Bitch, and perhaps I'll even do my laundry! The excitement around here, I don't know how I handle it.

*The snow is only flurries at this point, but it is still coming, and the roads are not ideal, and parking will be messy, and ... I'm in, okay? In for the night.

Some more excitement (I use the term sarcastically) from yesterday: I discovered that I bought bilingual celery. All those years of French lessons, and I never knew that celery was counted by the foot!

Not that stalk makes any more sense ... but it's what I'm used to, is all.

And what's this from Saturday? Could it be? Cats choosing to be near each other?

If you tell anyone, I shall use my laser eyes to punish you.

Yes, that means the blog too! Are you listening?

Harold's not the only one relaxing. Miri is starting to think that maybe, just perhaps, every move I make is not intended to kill her.

Either that, or she trusts the camera now.

If not its operator.