Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Mushroom Club

Years (and years) ago, a Bruins player was quoted as saying he and some of his teammates were in the Mushroom Club: kept in the dark, fed bullshit, and expected to grow. Yup. That's all I'm saying.

Why yes, today DID suck; how did you know?

I did figure out the invisible component to my upset levels over yesterday's annoyance*: PMS. Three little letters that explain a lot. This morning before work, when I was checking my e-mail and tried to strangle the mouse that wasn't working right, and I mean literally strangle it**, I realized what was behind it. It seems that in some months, the time is just an annoyance, while in others it turns me into a raging torrent of hormones ready to sob over the loss of a ballpoint pen. Ahem. Just for example.

*As well as today's annoyances.
**No, computer mice don't really have good necks for strangling. But they are small enough to get your hands around anyway. Theoretically.

The damn mouse is driving me crazy, though. I had a similar problem ages ago, where the pointer moves in fits and starts instead of smoothly, and I have to click things half a dozen times before it works. That time, the wireless mouse was getting interference from the screen saver. This time, I don't know what's interfering, but it's got me ready to pitch the stupid mouse out the window--even if the window is closed. Only the knowledge that I would have to get the window replaced is stopping me, as the momentary satisfaction would be greatly diminished by the subsequent aggravation. (It's the same reason I don't drive into really annoying cars on the road.) But this interference is freaking stupid, and driving me nuts. Tonight, I am trying it with the receiver-bit plugged into the USB on the side nearer where I use the mouse. This shouldn't matter, but for the moment at least, it seems to be helping. Computers!

On to other things! Such as, have you seen the rings the Penguins got for winning the Cup last season? Holy... wow.

165 diamonds. Unreal.

Looking at the slide show with the story makes me wonder if they measured Sidney Crosby's hand before designing the ring. It looks like he can just barely bend his finger past the ring.

And in even more random hockey news, check out this kid's jersey:

It looks like something that would be on Jersey Fouls, a regular feature on the hockey blog Puck Daddy, but no*, it's actually an abbreviation, which is hardly less weird. Turns out the kid's last name is Louis-Seize, which means Louis the 16th, so they ... hyphenated and Roman-numeral-ed it? Ohhh-kay.

*though Puck Daddy is where I read about it

The Bruins open their season tomorrow. Unlike most years, when they have perhaps one home game before hitting the road on the circus road trip, this year they're home for the first five games. The coach sounds like he prefers it the other way, but I like having the first few games at 7 or 7:30 instead of 9 or 10. Call me selfish, but after that long, hockey-deprived off-season, I want to watch it!

Of course, if they don't do well, I won't be quite as happy, will I?

Since learning that I get the NHL channel after all, I have been watching some hockey in the last few weeks. Some of it was pre-season, and some was what they call Classic NHL. They seem to have a broad definition of Classic, to my mind. When I first watched, it was a 1965 bout between Chicago and Detroit. Gordie Howe! Bobby Hull! No ads on the boards or in the ice, no helmets, no names on the jerseys! It was great fun. Another night, it was a 1971 Bruins-Rangers match-up, equally entertaining. Some nights, though, I have turned it on to see a 2008 or 2009 playoff game, and though that can be worth watching, I just don't put it in the same category as the old stuff. At least call it Modern Classics!

Ah, well, if I ruled the world, right? Today was a bad day, but I feel better tonight than I did last night.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


funny pictures of cats with captions

Days like today make me realize that my grip on functionality and serenity isn't as firm as I would like. Something annoying happened, not the end of the world but irritating and involving a fair amount of work, and it really knocked the pins out from under me. I tell myself it's not a big deal, but I got more upset than I would like by this. Perhaps my allergies are a contributing factor: I've had a sore throat since yesterday morning, making swallowing painful, and the runny nose is getting on my last nerve. Or maybe my next-to-last nerve, since the last nerve is currently dealing with the task of rewriting a document I don't understand, about a procedure which has nothing to do with my job, in an area where I have no experience.

Last Friday was a really good day, for work. Today I turned into Cranky McCrabbyPants.

Ice cream helped. Fuzz therapy helped.

And now, I'm going to put in a movie, something brainless I've seen a million times, and knit. And pray that tomorrow is better.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Recent Past, and Looking Ahead

When we were kids, my brother and I weren't allowed to have sweet cereals, defined as any that had sugar in the first three ingredients. The only exception* was our birthdays, when we were allowed a box of whatever we wanted.

*One other exception, actually, was the time when, at age 6, I fell down the stairwell from the third floor and hit my head on the radiator**. When I got out of the hospital, there was a whole row of sugary cereals waiting for me. Bliss!

** Broke the radiator. With my head. Yes I did. Explains a lot, doesn't it?

My brother's birthday is September 9th. Mine is October 9th.

My brother would agree to share his box with me, so long as I shared mine with him, meaning that I couldn't get something he didn't like.

My brother does not like chocolate.

Now that was a dilemma. Watch him eat sugary cereal and not have any for another whole month? Or share his, knowing that I couldn't get Count Chocula on my birthday?

In Target today, they had a Monsters cereal display by the registers. To toast my brother, I picked up a box of ... BooBerry.


While I was doing laundry this morning (and into the afternoon: six loads takes time even with 2 machines), it was gray and blah outside, but it didn't actually start raining until early afternoon. Even then, it was more of a light mist. I had wanted to get the laundry done before going to Target and the post office. But it was a heavier mist when I went out, and solidly rain when I got out of Target. Yuch. I feel damp still, an hour and more after getting home. Still, I got a bunch of stuff I needed. There are still a few things on the perpetual list, but the immediate needs are taken care of.

And it's still raining.


I had dinner out last night with a couple of friends. There are four of us who were going to get together, and mid-week one had to bail on our plan, as another of her friends was going to be in town for a birthday dinner after all. So I sent the remaining two others a review I read Friday of a restaurant, not all that far from me, that sounded drool-worthy, and they agreed to go (one had been there, one had not).

Can you guess where our other friend ended up going for that birthday dinner? Yes, out of how many restaurants in the greater Boston area, we were at the same one. Unbelievable.

And the food was fantastic. Angela's is a keeper.


So, posting was light here last week. Work's been busy, and after work, by the time I get the bare minimum of Things done, I'm often too tired to write at the length I'd like to. Friday was a good day at work, though (I love it when I can cross off everything on the list), including one of the bigwigs coming back from a few days in Italy with a bag of tiny Toblerone (milk, dark, and white chocolate) for the candy dish. Yum! Thank you, VP, travel any time with my blessing. It was a day to make up for the rottenness of the preceding Friday.

This weekend has been a good mix of productive and restful, and I don't feel the Sunday-evening grumpies as strongly as some weeks. (Though I am tired, but what else is new?)

Harold is doing better, still favoring his leg but clearly not bothered by it, just as cuddlesome and purry as ever, only more hesitant to jump up than usual. I'll keep an eye on his continuing recovery, but hopefully further vet visits will not be required.

Hockey is coming. The regular season starts Thursday night. (Go, Bruins!) Training camp has been encouraging, and I'm hoping for another good year from the Bruins. It's just so much more fun to watch when they're playing well, you know? I am cautiously optimistic for this year. (Go, Bruins!)

Two weeks to Apple Festival. Three weeks to Rhinebeck. Ahh.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Throwing you a LOL

It's late, and I is tired. Take two LOLcats and call me in the morning ... or at least, sometime on Sunday. Have a nice night!

lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures

That one took some work!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Talk to you tomorrow?

The Bruins' preseason game is on NHL Network, which I only recently learned that I get. Go Bruins!

P.S. Come on, TSN announcers, our captain's name is pronounced "Cha-ra", not "Chair-a".

Thursday, September 24, 2009

So tired

I finished the book last night (and have requested the sequel from the library already), but that made two nights in a row up too late, so I'm going to write briefly and go to bed early. Work has been busy this week, and I wanted to put my head down on the desk and go to sleep today. One more day to get through!

And Leslie, you wondered if the cats let me sleep the other night? They pretty much did, though Harold came and purred loudly at me, looking for lurve, after the incident when someone across the street woke me repeatedly by talking and laughing outside, loudly, at 3:30. Three thirty AM. In the morning!

Just for the record, new windows are lovely and all, but they do not slam convincingly when you would like to make a point to inconsiderate assholes who think that sitting outside having loud conversations is at all appropriate at, did I mention, Three Thirty In The Morning. In case you wondered. If it happens again I will have to revisit my seesaw quandary of do I say something, or seethe through it?

Oh, and last night? When I did finally get in bed? I could hear a beep! Yes, every thirty seconds, beep. Not, thank heavens, in my home this time. It was just far enough away that I could sleep through it, praise the lord. Because what if it's someone who's not home? It could go on for days! If mine had started when I was in Florida, it could have bugged my neighbors (I assume at least one would be able to hear it) for a week! Damn technology is more trouble than it's worth sometimes.

Which makes me think of the e-mail we got late this afternoon at work from IT, something about the e-mail server and blah blah blah blah we're working on it. I commented to my cube-neighbor that I understood every word in the message separately, but put together in that way, I have no idea what the problem was. Any time IT speaks, it sounds like this to me:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kidnapped by a Good Book

Don't worry, I don't need you to send help; I haven't fallen, and I'm not sick.

I'm just caught up in a good book, and between loads of laundry and dishes, instead of sitting at the computer, I'm on the couch with The Adventures of the Barefoot Sisters, Book 1: Southbounders. They're hiking the Appalachian Trail, barefoot. I could never do it, but I'm really enjoying reading it.

So I'll be spending more time back here after I finish it. Hope you're all well!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Message for You From the Cats

You there, who are you?
Mom's sleepy. She needs to rest. In her bed. With two cats.
Stop tempting her to spend more time at the machine!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Night

So, yesterday I was a little gloomy, eh? No time for that tonight, dinner's cooking and I need to do some dishes.

I could also use a larger pot for chili, you know? I have to stir pretty carefully. It's so good, though!

A few other photos of recent interest, such as this one:

I got a couple of pears, and the first one wasn't bad. But making a pear apple of the week is a pretty daring call.

What am I missing with this skull-and-crossbones sticker? Why is one eye socket bigger than the other?

Cat, implied:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Here I Am Again

I try to post most days, not for anyone's sake particularly, just because it works for me. For the same reason, I almost always post in the evenings. And for the last two days, I didn't even turn the computer on in the evening. So hi, I'm back!

I had a bad day at work yesterday. It was a combination of three things:
  1. Something that someone else needed from me, where his "when can I have it by" turned into his boss's "get it done by the end of today" (where his boss is my boss's boss's boss).
  2. My boss having kittens over my getting trained to cover for someone else when she goes on vacation in October.
  3. Headache. Which started Thursday, resulting in me going to bed when I got home, around 7. The head wasn't unbearable on Friday, but it made work harder and work made it worse.
So Friday was bad, and Friday evening with the headache wasn't great either, though having a cat on my lap was very pleasant. Today has been better, with virtually no headache, and a decent mix of getting things done and relaxing. But I started to think about item #2 again just now, and it's really got me rattled. I usually try to avoid writing about work, but perhaps I can manage it in an oblique fashion.

Basically, either this process is a lot harder than I think it is (it's not simple, but not the equivalent of, say, learning written and spoken Japanese in two weeks in order to fluently negotiate world peace), or she thinks I'm an idiot.

I've done the sit and practice with the person who's going on vacation; I've done the meeting with the guru who knows the system inside and out to learn from her. (They both think I'll be fine, by the way, and the guru will be here for any questions during that vacation.)

And now, apparently, I am to spend three mornings next week, and every other week thereafter into infinity, practicing. Because, you know, it's that hard. Or I'm that stupid.

I really don't think she thinks I'm an idiot, actually, so why is she micromanaging this? It has me questioning myself: is this really so much harder than it seems? Am I misjudging it? Have I done something, or left something undone, that has her questioning my capability to do this?

It's very frustrating.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thoughts of autumn and hockey and cats, or something

When I got home tonight, there was a smell of wood smoke in the air, which smells so autumnal, and in the chilly air, I bid summer a reluctant farewell. Time to give up on that. Yes, it was warmer early this week, but we're done. It's Autumn.

I was babysitting my friend's twins again tonight, and after getting them in bed, I discovered a pleasant surprise: the third period of the Bruins' pre-season game in Toronto (I don't get the NHL channel, but it seems my friends do). Hockey, hockey, hockey! They won, 3-2, but just seeing it was the best part. Bergeron set up a nice goal, too. Hockey, hockey, hockey!

I came home for a quick dinner and to check on Harold before going over. He's definitely doing better. His limp seems to be getting better, probably from practice, ba-dum-bum. No, seriously, he's limping less, which is good news. He's resting a lot--yes, even more than usual! Who would have thought that was possible! And his spirits seem to be good. He's happy to see me, to curl up on my lap or just next to me, he purrs. I have moments of thinking I'm a bad mother for not giving him the pain-killers from the vet, but really, he seems fine, and he was so wrong on Sunday afternoon. Off-kilter and aware of it. I'm pretty sure I'm doing the right thing. I do still have the drugs, if he seems to need anything. For now, no.

I was thinking about the bills from this whole experience, and though I'm not excited to pay them, or to pinch pennies as needed to do so, I'm grateful for a couple of things.

I'm grateful that I have credit cards.

And that I never had to ask what things like x-rays would cost, in order to determine if I could afford care for my pet. (My baby.)

I'm grateful that I got the old computer dealt with, and replaced my broken camera, before this came up. Those were both important things for me, and I was spared any agonizing about whether I should hold off until this belt-tightening passes. Done deal, move on.

Startlingly Useless Traffic Report
The 8:03 report this morning started out thusly: "North of town, 128, 93, 3, 1, 495, all are heavy. Downtown..."

Wait, what? They're usually pretty specific: 128 south is slow from route 28 to Washington Street, 93 south is backed up to Roosevelt Circle, there's a breakdown on 3 south before Treble Cove Road... What's up with that little shorthand, WBZ radio?

I also was thinking, as I drove home, that in traffic as in so many areas of life, expectations make such a difference. If the traffic report tells me that 128 is backed up to the exit just before 93, that's not a big deal. If it's three exits before, bigger deal.

If they say it's one exit, but really it's three, I'm annoyed. If they say it's three and I breeze along until two exits before, I'm rather pleased. Like I beat the odds or something. All about expectations.

And now, it's all about sleep. This week, my reaction to the extra stress has me extra-tired. I've gone to bed early the last three night, and still been tired. We'll see what the later night does.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Remember what Tuesday means?

New camera! See?

I know, you can see I'm a dork. I don't care, I am excited to have a camera again. This one is, as expected, very very similar to my old one, though there are some small functional differences, and superficially it's a lot darker. The important thing is, it takes pictures! In fact, I took one as soon as it was out of the box.

When's the last time you saw "pilfer" used in a sentence?

I also noticed a typo in the office supply catalog, as I'm pretty sure that type of coffee is actually a "dark" roast. That's one spell-check wouldn't catch.

Unlike this one. When I saw this on the newspaper bag Sunday, I saved the bag until I could take a picture.

Because, puh-leeze. What's with that "makea"? I hope they're not trying to tell the schools anything about how to teach!

On to more important issues. Harold seems to be getting around pretty well. His bloodwork was not scary, so I count my blessings. He came out to greet me again tonight, but after eating a bit, he retreated to the cozy blanket in the closet. Wherever he's comfy, right?

And finally, a few photos that were on the camera card from pre-breakdown. I was following a car whose driver is, apparently, a big fan of Eeyore. Well, who isn't, right?

And this one is way fuzzy, but the best I could do on the highway. I don't usually take pictures while driving, but traffic was pretty light that day, and look at the car!

Not the usual sight on 93. Very cool, though.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday with a Stress Hangover

So, did you think yesterday's post was the end of the story? Ha, ha.

Pardon me. I don't mean to laugh at you, dear reader. Just, whoever I have annoyed in the complicated pantheon of beings with the power to screw up my life, they are not yet appeased. To pick up where I left off.

After all the stresses of yesterday, I was exhausted by 9PM. I got ready for bed, got into bed, and read for about 2.6 minutes before turning out the light. I missed Harold, who was resting on a blanket on the living room rug, but I was too tired to dwell on it.

Shortly before midnight, I woke up with the beginnings of a headache, what a surprise. Took a pill and went back to sleep.

Shortly after midnight, I woke up again. What woke me?


What? What's beeping?


Where is that? Is that a stupid smoke detector? Why do the batteries always die in the middle of the night?


All right, which one is it? I have to get someone in, an electrician maybe? This system is Not Right.


Except can I afford an electrician? Remember, $1100 in vet bills? Maybe it can wait.


Or maybe not. Okay, it's in the office. Close the door? Nope, still can hear it in bed.


Okay, both smoke detectors in the office are down. Remove batteries.


No, that's not possible. If you remove it from the power, and remove the battery, it can't beep!


How is this possible? Try a new battery, see if that makes it happy. Change one...


Okay, change the other. Alarm starts to go off for real. (As I said, this system is Not Right.) Try to remove battery, it won't come, have a partial meltdown before achieving battery removal. Silence.


I am going back to bed. This is clearly impossible, and I am too tired to deal with impossible things.


As I go back to the bedroom, the carbon monoxide detector outside the bedroom winks its green light at me. Bastard. Shut up.


Get in bed. Pile blankets over head.


Wait a minute... carbon monoxide detector...


There's another one ... in the office.


Go back into office. Look behind door. Beep. Gotcha! Remove batteries. Achieve peace at last. I am an idiot, but at least I am an idiot who can go back to sleep.

5AM. Piteous meow from Harold, the kind that has me out of bed and standing up before I'm fully awake. He's still on his blanket in the living room. Seems fine. Miri is nearby, but not apparently bothering him. Pet him for a bit, then go back to bed. Feeling like shit, I bump the alarm time out by half an hour.

Alarm goes off. I am so tired that I am debating if I have the energy to stand long enough to shower. Decide that if I have to ask that question, I should not be driving a car. Go back to bed.

Wake up at 7:30, not feeling much better. Call work and leave a message for my boss, expressing a hope that I will be able to come in later, but certainly will not be in on time. Go back to bed.

Wake up at 10. Not feeling great, but much better. Get out of bed, and there, in the living room, is the blanket that Harold has been on more or less the whole time since getting back from the vet. He was there for the getting the headache pill, the whole beeping incident, of course for the piteous meow incident, and for the calling in to work incident. Now Harold is not on the blanket.

Consider the blanket. Call to Harold. Look around. The condo is not that big, there are not that many places a cat could be, particularly one who is unlikely to be jumping. Go through the whole place, calling him, and not finding him. Sit down and try to remain calm.

(Years ago, I woke up one weekend and my cat Honey wasn't there as usual, nagging for food. I lived in a small apartment, and could not find her anywhere. Eventually, after calling and searching, I found her very casually stretched out in the bathtub. She looked up at me like, What? Totally unconcerned.)

Harold is not in the bathtub. I start looking in every nook and cranny.

He is curled up in the back corner of the closet. He looks calm, and comfortable. I try to relax. Pulling him out to examine him seems like a bad idea, though it's what I want to do. I don't, though. I talk to him, and leave him in peace, while I get ready for work. Happily, when I got home, he came to meet me. Limping, of course, but in good spirits. He sat on my lap for a good bit while I was on the phone, and he purred.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Some weekend (cha-ching)

Yeah, here it is again, Sunday night, back to work tomorrow, didn't get so many things done this weekend. In my defense, though, today has been a Cat-Filled Day of Adventure, and in that sense "today" started at 5AM.

Or roughly five, you understand, I wasn't awake, I don't know the exact time. But something woke me, I opened my eyes*, and for one split second, I knew there was a person bending over my bed.

*my super-nearsighted, can't focus more than a few inches eyes, again in my own defense

And as the only human living here, that caused me to draw in my breath in one loud, panicked gasp, which caused the, yes, cat to spring off the bed because ohmigod what is it?

Leap, scramble, ricochet, CRASH. There's a small table next to the couch, and it has a glass vase-thing on top. Apparently the panicked feline (whom I believe was Miri because she does panic so easily) bounced off it hard enough that, well, you can guess. I got up, put on my glasses, and turned on the light, because clean up the glass, right?

Well, except that it didn't break. It was lying there, along with a few other odds and ends that fell. Next to a dent in the floor, which I would show you now except that my camera is currently in Indianapolis, according to the tracking.

So, happily, no broken glass to clean up. While I was picking things up, however, I noticed that Harold was limping. It's possible that he was the primary cat in the incident, or perhaps he was scared when Miri was, jumped down too, and landed badly. In any case, he was favoring one leg, poor guy. Since the vet was coming for their check-ups this morning, I waited to see what she thought.

As soon as she saw his limp, she advised that I get him x-rayed, and told me of an animal hospital not too far away that's open Sundays. (In fact, they never close, so it's good to know they're there in case of any future need [knock wood].) She also thought his lungs sounded slightly asthmatic, and wanted a chest x-ray, and then bloodwork due to his age.

The astute pet owners are hearing the cha-ching already, right?

The vet visit. The vaccines. The x-rays, bloodwork, and painkillers, at emergency rates. Yeah. Ouch. Over $1100 of ouch. It's always something, isn't it?

But he's my baby. What was I going to do?

The leg is not broken. Hopefully, if he takes it easy for a few days, the soft tissue damage will right itself. Bloodwork results tomorrow. Oh, and the chest x-ray happened to show that one of his kidneys is very small, so depending on his test results, he may need something for that. Never ends, does it.

But he's my baby.

He's feeling much better now that the painkiller has worn off. Well, of course I'm reading into his behavior. The drugs made him loopy, his eyes were all wrong, he couldn't walk straight (not just the limp), he was looking around like he couldn't process what he saw. Now, he's much more like himself. They sent me home with more painkillers, but unless he seems bad, I think they're worse than the disease for him.

And he's my baby.

P.S. The cookies did get made, tonight. If they cool enough, I can still mail them tomorrow. Might have to wait a day, cuz!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy, more than not

Happy birthday to my cousin!

Happy that tomorrow I will make cookies for my cousin's birthday. Molasses cookies, yum!

Happy that it's Friday, finally. For a short week, this one lasted forever.

Not happy that a nice person at work had his last day there today. The cake was extremely good, though!

Happy that the doctor's appointment is over for another year (not the wrist-pain appointment, that's next week; this was the GYN, ugh). Not happy that they use those awful disposable "gowns" that fall apart before the exam is over.

Happy that the doctor acknowledged my weight gain over the last year without lecturing me about it.

Not so happy that it's raining, but that does make me realize how little it has rained recently. It's been a nice break.

Not happy that it's chilly. No silver lining there.

Happy to think of snuggling under the blankets tonight, and not setting the alarm for tomorrow.

Happily anticipating getting the new camera next week. In the interim, here are some more old photos:

Hawaii, unretouched (honest)

Knitting my first sock!

Pie for the 4th of July

The babies.

When I look at photos like that last one, I think how amazing it is that Harold is doing so well. You're that close to someone for your entire life, 10+ years, and then one day he's just gone... Harold is doing so well.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I missed 9/9/09!

Well, of course I didn't miss the actual day, but I missed blogging on it, which seems like a shame. But I was babysitting my friend's twins last night (so cute), and by the time I got home, I was just too tired.

By the way, I also missed wishing an on-the-day happy birthday to my brother, who is so very cool. Hope you had a good day! The box should have arrived today! Only a leetle late.

I've been draggy all day. I even bypassed the light, flavored coffee I usually use to make my hot chocolate in the morning at work, and went for the deep, dark one. I had to put in three little creamers and a sugar to bring it to my level ... but it woke me up! Short term. I had another in the afternoon. And here I am, eyes drooping again. Blog, dinner, bed.

Cat Story
Yesterday morning when the alarm went off, I found Harold sleeping down by my feet, so I reached down to pet him. Miri jumped on the bed to see what was up, and I petted her for a minute before dozing off again (the snooze button and I are likethis). When the alarm went off again, I leaned over and kissed Miri's fur, which earned me a puzzled look from her, but no fleeing. Harold, however, wasn't having any of that, and he came and stood between her and me. The message was clear: no, not her, all your affection is for me. Silly boy.

Scary Story
The close call I had on the way to work yesterday really upset me. I was pissed when the car cut me off--no, just because I'm letting one car merge in does not mean I was letting two go--but that moving-and-then-dead-stop right in front of me was, well, questionable. Because when I STOOD on the brake, I stopped, at most, one inch from his/her bumper. Pure luck that there was no collision. I wasn't sure whether I wanted to cry or throw up. Lovely Boston drivers!

Despite the sleepy, today was better than that. I called Canon and ordered my new-to-me camera, which will arrive Tuesday (I could have had it Monday for another $10, but hey, what's one more day). I made a doctor's appointment, for the soreness in my right thumb and wrist, and made appointments to meet a couple of new petsitters, since mine is taking this fall off (she had a baby). And, I got a two-and-a-half-year-old monkey off my back.

In May of 2007, I got a new computer. Remember? And while I didn't exactly want to keep the old one hanging around*, I hadn't backed up my files**, particularly the photos, and I couldn't find a way to move them that worked between Windows 95 and Vista. I tried a couple of things, periodically, and mostly just was irritated at it (which, stunningly, failed to accomplish anything).

*No one who knows me is surprised that it's been sitting that long, though.
**Bad girl! Be smarter than that!

Recently, though, I learned that one of the IT guys at work will handle such things for a reasonable fee. Today I handed him the tower, what I like to call the computer part of the computer (you know, not the monitor, keyboard, speakers, printer ... the computer), and shortly thereafter he handed me a thumb drive. Like this:

Yeah, 2GB. And it wasn't full. But all my pictures! And documents, too, but it's the pictures I'm most excited about. Pictures of my dad, of Pan, of the condo before I moved in and after, of the trip to Hawaii in 2006 (I have all those on CD, too ... somewhere ... ahem). Pictures!

Mahalo, IT dude!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Radio, and work thoughts

Listening to the radio on the way to work this morning. One station's host was talking about some video snippet that he put up online over the weekend, then took down, but others had already copied it, so it's still out there even though he took it down, etcetera ad infinitum (I changed stations away and came back to find the story still going on). And the co-host vouched for him, rather earnestly, that she had searched for the story and found--this is an exact quote--"tens and tens and tens" of instances of it out there in the ether.

Tens and tens and tens?


Jess wrote this morning on the subject of work and leisure. I answered briefly there, but in more depth: Would I work if I didn't need the money? No way, Jose!

I've been laid off twice since I moved back to MA, and it certainly sucks. Having time and no money is nasty! Perhaps even worse than having money but no time.

But if I could have removed the money worries and the need to find another job, it would have been quite pleasant. Sleep in; no rushing to get somewhere on time; read, watch TV, play around on the computer, knit, pet the cats, cook and bake; shop when the stores are less full; stay up late without paying the price in the morning ... oh, look, I went full circle!

Truly, I might want to find part-time volunteer work after a while, to give my days some structure. But really, I think I'd feel about a life of leisure the way a friend of my mother's felt about eating out. She'd moved to a new city for a demanding job, and with no time to settle in, she ate out constantly. My father asked her later if she got sick of it, eating out all the time, and she said sure: after about a year, she was ready for a meal at home. Yup.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Of camera and cameras

In search of aid for my camera woes, I went to Canon's website to see if there's a facility nearby where I could go in person to learn more about repair options. The service finder on the website is clearly set up to do that, the same way I can search most chain stores' sites to find the nearest Petsmart or Hannaford store, but in this case, the only location listed was 900 miles away, in Illinois. That's a bit far to go on an errand, though of course I appreciate the link to click for directions in case I decided to do that.

Instead, I sent them an e-mail, explaining the problem. Since I learned that these cameras have, in the past, had problems with the battery-level sensors or whatever they're called, I mentioned that I was only opening the battery door to work around this issue, in case that helped. (No idea if it did.)

I was pleased with how quickly I got a response: only about two hours later, and this on a holiday weekend! Go, Canon. They say I have two options, since the camera is well out of warranty (which I knew): I can purchase a new, or rather a refurbished camera at a reduced rate, or send mine in for repairs.

The first option, in fact, has three sub-options, since I can get one of three different models: the one I have, the Powershot A530, for $79; a smaller one, the SD1100 IS, for $99; or a bigger one, the SX110 IS, for $129. (They would each come with a 90-day warranty.)

The other choice, sending it in for repairs, means being camera-less until they receive it, send me an estimate, and then make the repairs if I authorize them. Considering that:
"The standard labor cost to make the repair is $79. Parts may be an additional cost."
I think I may choose door number one. And I'm pretty sure I'll get the same kind, the A530.

The bigger one, though doubtless a good camera (it's a Consumer Reports Best Buy, even), is more than I need, weighs more, and so on. There are already settings on mine I've never used! I hardly need a "superzoom". And the little one, though very portable and pocket-friendly, gives me nothing to hang on to. My hands are, ah, challenged, and I remember from camera shopping last time that I felt like I was going to drop the smaller ones. I like the "handle" that the A530 gives me:

CNET's review calls it clunky-looking, but points out that it "... provides a steady grip." Yes, and I appreciate that. In fact, I've proven that I use it. I don't mind a camera that "won't elicit any impressed gasps from your friends"*, as long as it feels right and takes good pictures.

*Really, is that criterion on anyone's list? Perhaps I run with the wrong crowd.

Note-taking fail

Sometimes I'll make myself a note for something to remember to blog about later. The problem arises when too much time elapses between incident and seeing the note again. Or maybe I overrated my memory for details?

I went to take a note card out of my bag. On one side, I had made a list of the magazines in the waiting room at the neurologist's office, when I was in for my migraine appointment:
  • Neurology Now
  • Hope: Stroke Recovery
  • Field and Stream
  • Cottage Living
  • People
Isn't that an interesting mix?

Unfortunately, one of the other notes simply lists these items:
  • crocs
  • beach ball
  • baby
What in the world was that? Memory fails me. It's too bad; it sounds like it could have been worth sharing.

It reminds me of when I had a little writing club with a couple of friends, and we set ourselves the task of writing short stories that featured certain items: a hockey stick, or an autumn leaf, or the like. That was kind of fun. What story would you tell with that list of items?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Introverts Unite! But not in person

I read a clip of an interview with the author of Introvert Power, and was much struck by this:

SD: What do you most want extroverts to know about introverts?
LH: --When an introvert is quiet, don't assume he is depressed, snobbish or socially deficient.

--If you ask an introvert a question, WAIT until she thinks about it. Introverts think before speaking, not through speaking. If you want to get to the good stuff, you need to slow down.

--Don't assume that your fun is an introvert's fun. Parties are often BOR-ing to an introvert.

--Introverts need to withdraw to refuel. Don't take it personally.

Amen! Now I have to read this book.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Having a Cranky Moment

I shouldn't be cranky right now, heading into a lovely three-day weekend, but I am. I hope it will pass if I let it out. Here are a few reasons for the cranky.
  • Until a moment ago, the computer was making that gritchy-gritchy little "I'm working hard" noise while I wasn't doing a single thing. This noise irritates me a bit when I AM doing something, but when I have nothing running and am not even touching the mouse, it drives me batshit nuts. Demanding of it what it is DOING, and why doesn't it stop, nuts. Threatening to throw it out the window nuts. Have to leave the room nuts.
  • Little miss social princess across the street is out chattering on her porch like everyone within earshot wants to hear ever detail of her teenage life. No Thank You! Hush!
  • One of my neighbors is cooking something that smells delicious. I'm about ready to start knocking on doors. What is that, and can I have some? I think the smell of something yummy that I can't have is even worse than when someone cooks something I don't like the smell of.
  • And, the biggest happiness-deflater, the door to the battery compartment on my camera won't close. Camera broky! Fix camera!
This is serious, folks. I don't know if I can live without a working camera. I may have to go shopping tomorrow, because much as I love my Canon, it's not exactly covered under warranty, almost 3 years later.

(As an aside, my, I have been blogging a long time, haven't I?)

I imagine it could be fixed, but what would it cost just to have that done? $50 to walk in the door of a camera shop, I imagine. Plus the part. Cameras aren't that expensive, and it would be nice to get a new one ... one that doesn't think the batteries are out when they're not, one that doesn't delay as long between shots, or when I switch to flash mode. This has been a good camera, but is it time?

If you have any suggestions, weigh in. Fix or replace? If replace, where to buy? What kind? I know you have opinions: let me have'em!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Send Ice Cream

Despite an unsettling day at work (for which I self-medicated with pizza and ice cream), I want to tell you a funny cat story from last night.

Harold was on and off my lap while I was reading last night, and I was kind of surprised that he wasn't more "on", since I was away a whole week and he's been very clingy since I got back. Around 9, I went in to the bedroom and found him curled up on the bed. I talked to him, and petted him, but he didn't seem too interested, so after a couple of minutes I backed off.

Miri had come along to see what we were doing, and curled up on the other side of the bed, so I petted her for a minute. She has really soft fur, really soft, and seems to let me pet her against her better judgment: I know you'll probably kill me any minute, but that feels nice. She does not relax, is what I'm saying, but she enjoys the attention. I'm trying to get her used to my touching her paws, so that some day I can trim her claws without her going all Tasmanian Devil, so I was petting down to her paws, and they're even softer than the rest of her fur, and I was telling her this when there was a Mmrrr! from my left, and Harold boinged between us, and sat staring at me, his nose visibly out of joint. Are you sweet-talking HER?! When you are MY mother?

I had to laugh, but I also picked him up, and told him I love him, and took him into the living room to sit down and pour love on him until he relaxed and started purring. Silly cat.

And I have another animal story, this one involving geese. We have geese hanging around outside work, a not uncommon sight in this part of the country. At my office, I think they're attracted by a small dip in the lawn, which has been filled with rainwater recently: they're often crowded around it, either decorously drinking or pushing and shoving like toddlers at a wading pool.

I went in to my boss's office today, and outside her window was one single goose, facing the building. As I watched, he pulled one leg up, sticking his wing out a bit to compensate for the imbalance. I commented that it looked like he was practicing martial arts, and without looking around she said, "He's always staring right at me." And he was! It was really weird.

Now, is anyone still here?


Well, since this is a pet-heavy post already, let's just go full monty. First, I have a book recommendation for the cat lovers out there, for Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, Or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat. The author is Gwen Cooper (which confused me mightily until I realized that the reason it sounded so familiar was that that's the name of a character on Torchwood. Nevermind.). I really, really enjoyed this book, not only for the story but the writing. You have to be a certain kind of good writer to make pet "voices" not only believable but enjoyable, and Cooper nailed it. There are a couple of sniffly bits, the overall message is very positive, and I give it two paws up.

And finally, some kitty close-ups.

The handsome devil:

Tongue shot.


The little girl.

Keeping an eye out.

Because you never know which way the trouble will come.

She relaxes more when I'm not in the room. Thank you, zoom camera.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Some random for Tuesday

What was up with the highways of Massachusetts today?

This morning's commute was horribly snarled with the aftermath, both clean-up and reconstruction, of a fatal accident* on 128.

*And possibly, it was not technically an accident, if he intentionally stepped into the path of a tractor-trailer. Which makes me feel awful for the truck driver.

This afternoon, a small plane landed on 495. My favorite line is from the story:
"When rescue crews arrived moments later, the pilot and his passenger were walking on I-495, dazed but uninjured..."
Dazed? You think? After surviving a plane crash onto a highway? Dazed would be the least of it!

The hell, people?

In less dramatic vehicular news, I noticed today that I was stopped at a light behind a Chevy Equinox. Never heard of it, have you? I looked really carefully, since a while back I thought I was behind a Coven, but a second startled glance revealed it to be a trick of the light. I often think I see something at a first quick glance that a real look proves was nothing like.


I was looking on the library website recently for a book that sounded interesting from the page-a-day calendar, and was fascinated to see that there were two different editions with quite different covers.

click to embiggen

One the traditional Regency-type cover, the other along more modern lines ... and both with yellow. Fascinating. (I found the second more appealing, apparently, since I clicked it first, but number one was available, so I went with no-wait.)


Heard in the store recently:
Attention Target guests:
This is a routine test of our alarm system.
Please do not be alarmed.
If I'm not supposed to be "alarmed", shouldn't they call it something else?