Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reporting in from Florida

I started this post two days ago, and Blogger was being pissy about loading the photos, and I got about halfway through before my patience was done, and I went back out on the lanai to read instead.

Today I tried again, and Blogger was all, "What, me give error messages? Never! Here you go!" So I can tell you some of what's been happening.

We start with a knitting update, courtesy of the four-hour flight delay that Jet Blue kindly gave me. (Yeah, that was fun. Still, I do prefer not to fly on a plane with mechanical difficulties.) (And after all, hitting McDonald's drive-through at midnight has a certain charm in the right company.) I started out working on the double-knitting for a while. Blue side:

Yellow side:

The alternating stitch colors on the needle tickle my fancy.

Here it is in Florida, so you can see I haven't made too much progress.

I am pleased with it so far, though.

I've worked out my plan for how I think I will switch the colors from side to side and incorporate the sage-green yarn. However, it's rather slow going at this point, since I have to keep checking to make sure that I didn't slip a stitch with the yarn on the wrong side, and correct it when I did, so after an hour or so I went back to the sock.

This photo has the needle stuck in on the right to show about where it was when I picked it up Tuesday at the airport.

And here it is in Florida the next day. Heel done and moving down the foot.

As I mentioned, I wanted to make it slightly taller than the previous pair, so here they are for a side-by-side comparison.

Now, on to other-than-knitting. One of the side benefits to this trip is eluding the last week of electioneering at home. It's going on here, too, of course, but somehow it's more amusing:

We went shopping on Wednesday, between lunch with a friend and our evening plans. We found some good things, and I don't mean this:

And when we stopped at the library book sale, I didn't buy this, either, but it was fun to learn that Rosey Greer had a needlepoint book:

I also learned that at least one brigadier general shops at Costco.

One of the things I like about SW Florida is that if you keep your eyes open, there are birds everywhere.

Isn't he beautiful? My mother says he's a wood stork.

We came into the shopping outlets from a different side than usual, and thus I learned that they have a fountain inspired by my favorite Roman fountain:

And of course, I had to commemorate the slight error made at the local Starbucks. Fortunately for me, we just wanted drinks. If I'd wanted one of these, I wouldn't have known what to ask for:

Our evening plans were in fact to go to a hockey game! It was freezing in there (there were season-ticket-holders around us who had brought blankets), but it was a lot of fun all the same. I had a soft pretzel, and enjoyed the atmosphere. The signs:

These jerseys, which fortunately turned out to be warm-up jerseys, and were not worn in the actual game:

Honestly, I hope they get a lot of money for that.

The Everblades' mascot:

The ice girls, who were called Everbabes:

Late in the game, I realized that the motif around the bottom of the jersey is teeth.

I also liked the fan boat in the side patch.

There was a car in the lot that had two themed bumper stickers:

And I had to work to get a non-blurry shot of this guy's hat. Do you think he would have held still for me if I'd asked?

There are some really fervent fans. I wish I'd seen if these two set off the lights when the Blades scored.

As for the puck-hat, well. It speaks for itself.

The hair, now, that I can't explain.

The Blades won, which made it even more enjoyable. At first, we didn't really care much, but the enthusiasm around us was contagious. It was a good time.

And that's just the travel day and the first day! I'm having a wonderful time, apart from the rotten headache I had last night. And even for that, I had my mommy, it didn't spoil any plans, and I feel good today. Tonight we're going to symphony!

Of course, there is a distinct lack of feline here.

But I don't miss cleaning litter boxes, to be honest. And I'll appreciate him more for the break.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Clear the Decks, Pre-Holiday Post of Random

So yesterday was pretty weird. I've heard of the 24-hour flu, but who gets a ten-hour bug? Me, apparently. I've had "headache hangovers" before, but they don't generally leave me deciding that no, I don't have the energy to lie on the couch, better go back to bed. Weird.

The irony: I just saw the headache doctor last Monday, for my annual* check in appointment. I told him that I wished I was getting fewer migraines (while admitting that anything over zero is too many), but that I don't currently feel up to the experimentation required to try a new regimen (migraine treatment is very try-and-see). He said that I could try increasing the dosage of the drug I'm currently on, which might help (there are no guarantees in migraine treatment, either), so we're trying that and, well, we'll see.

*Annually was actually in July. I had just switched health insurance, and rather than call all over creation to find out the details that hadn't arrived yet, I put the appointment off. Ah, procrastination! It took the bottom of the pill bottle to remind me that, oh yeah, I have to go see him before I run out.

The answer to yesterday's question was, somewhat. The good news is that I did get a second wind last night, which enabled me to accomplish a few things instead of mourning the entire day as a waste. Given how much it bugs me to have clutter all over the kitchen table, and dirty dishes on the counter, you'd think I would make more of an effort to keep those areas under control. You'd be wrong, though, or at least they're the first things I lose control of when time gets tight. It does feel good to have them clear again. Though sadly, I did not find the item I mislaid before Rhinebeck, which I thought might have been sucked into the paper-bog on the table. Fortunately, it's easily redone, but it's going to bug me until I find it again, whenever that may be. Probably in six months, or a year. Yeesh. Ah, well. Life is imperfect.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday is that on Saturday, I started a new knitting project, and am most happy with it. I was itching to have another project on the needles; the socks are going fine, if more slowly in these blessedly-free-of-subway-commuting days, but I wanted something else (I'm not a monogamous knitter these days). What hampered me is having all this lovely new sock yarn that I am eager to play with. And don't suggest that I use some for something other than socks; it's a sensible idea, but I want socks from all of it, so no. I went around and around with my Ravelry queue and my stash and pondered and suggested and rejected and so on.

Finally, I married a double-knit hat pattern I'd marked as a way to ease my way into double knitting, and the lovely, lush alpaca-and-silk I picked up at Rhinebeck (the yellow, sage, and periwinkle), and decided that they would work together. I hope! There's always the possibility that the hat won't fit, in which case I chalk it up to good practice time, frog it, and start again, or that I'll run out, which I don't think I will but who knows. Still, it's fun to try something new in the knitting world, and when it works, it makes me feel wicked smart. Plus, when I get it done, this should be a wonderful hat, soft and warm.

The best news of all, today, is that I leave for the mom-visit tomorrow. Hooray! The prospect made a drippy, gray Monday much more bearable.

In conclusion, I want ask you something. Yes, you, you look like you have some advice for me. What kind of netbook do I want?

I'd like to get one within the next year, both for travel and for simple household use away from my desk/desktop. I want to get one that can handle my needs without straining, and doesn't have bells and whistles I don't need (like gaming). My needs are thus:
  • Internet usage, primarily e-mail and blogs, but also basic googling and whatnot. And blogging!
  • Photos, so it needs enough memory/strength/whatever for the big files. I don't have to keep every photo I take on there, but on a theoretical vacation for a week or two, I don't want to max out my storage.
  • Light word processing, maybe, unless that complicates things enough to not be worth it (I can always draft in e-mail and copy later).
I understand the benefit of going to a store and playing with the little buggers, to test the personal keyboard comfort level and so on, but still I'd love to hear input on brands that are good or bad, experiences, etc.

All right, folks, that suitcase isn't going to pack itself. Time to turn on a hockey game (not the Bruins, they're off until Thursday) and check that list. I may or may not blog from Florida; if not, I'll catch you on the flip side. Have a good week!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

An Unbalanced Weekend

Yesterday I got quite a lot done from my weekend list. The big item was laundry, since the double-weekend traveling meant even with a load here and there, I was more and more behind. Seven loads later, all the clothes were clean! Yay. I did some other things, too, and felt pretty good about the day.

Today, though, has been a washout. I had a wee headache at 6:30 this morning, which was more of one when I woke again at 8:20. A pill and back to bed, and the headache seemed mostly gone after that, but I was just wiped out, trying to summon the energy to lie on the couch, then giving up and going back to bed. Today, taking out the trash was a big accomplishment.
Tip for the day: watching Hoarding: Buried Alive when you are lacking the energy to clean up a messy house does not help your frame of mind.
So here I am, worn out from doing nothing, faced with the end of the weekend and a lot of thing not done. The question is, can I summon any energy? It's time to try. Wish me luck.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Quick and Not-So-Quick Takes

The Bruins game last night was an entertaining (for Bruins fans) 4-1 win over Washington, where the Bruins* closed down Alex Ovechkin for the second straight game, broke Washington's previously perfect-on-the-season penalty killing (and their own less-than-stellar power play) wide open with three power-play goals, and overall played a good strong game. My boy Patrice had two assists, Chara blew in a rocket, and Nathan Horton is on pace for the best goal total the Bruins have had since Phil Esposito (hint: that's a long time).

*apparently undismayed by the anthem rendition, and by the way hasn't the coverage of that been fun today: "hideous shrieking", anyone? And after listening to it again I can't help wondering, how did he hit "land of the free" and blow "home of the brave"?

Even the one goal against, which was a gilt-edged gift to the Caps from Tim Thomas* (who has been stellar in net but is still capable of making mistakes), did not change the tide as it easily might.

*I'm quite sure that Timmy knows better than to charge out of his net to play the puck and then pass it directly to the oncoming opponent, and yet...

The only thing I didn't really appreciate (well, other than the anthem) was that when they were announcing the team, someone--and I don't know if it was NESN or at the Garden--felt it necessary to play quirky music the whole time. I could still hear the player names, but not the crowd. It's a live event, let me hear them cheering, please.

The Bruins, with a record of 4-1, are off to their best start in some years, and it's fun to watch. I'm nervous of how long it will last, but goodness, the signs are certainly propitious at this stage, and one can hardly ask for more. One indicator that the team is relaxed and balanced and all that good team stuff comes from this Bruins Blog post where Tuukka Rask was asked about the starting goalie for tomorrow's game:
“It’s a secret,’’ said Rask, and giggled.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but do stressed, anxious athletes giggle to the media? I think not.

So a few weeks ago, I bought some new work slacks, as you may recall (though why would you, but whatever). I've been wearing them to work since, naturally, and they're working out just fine. I've been surprisingly pleased with the ones I picked up at Savers. They're brown, a good length and fit for me, and of a smooth fabric* that drapes well and feels fancy without being fussy. And if I sound surprised, it's because I would never have guessed that Old Navy made pants like this. You know, for grown-ups, for office work.

*The tag was cut out, so I don't actually know what the material is. It survived the washing machine and dryer just fine, though.

I don't shop at Old Navy much, but I've spent some time there, and to me their clothing is young, casual, and cheap in more than one sense of the word. And there's nothing wrong with that: sometimes a five-dollar t-shirt is just what you need, or a casual skirt that might last two summers, if you're lucky and careful. But these? I would have guessed a dozen other places were the source. What you can learn by bargain shopping.

My mother told me recently that she heard drinking Gatorade can cure headaches, and googling it shows me that this is not an isolated idea. Part of me thinks, hey, it could work, for some people at least, and I picked some up at Target. But part of me is also thinking, I bet someone who works for Gatorade started this story.

Given my own less than optimal Ravelry party experience at Rhinebeck this year, I was interested to read the Ravelry post-Rhinebeck blog, and in fact and not much to my surprise there was much positivity in it, and almost no regret. (For example, I would personally have appreciated a postscript to the we-had-great-goody-bags section that mentioned how they wished they'd had enough for everyone.) It did get me to thinking, though, about Ravelry, and how it is different things to different people.

Really, the party isn't aimed at me and users like me, who use Ravelry (and love it!) as a tool:
  • I use the site to keep track of my stash, and my needles, so I can flip through yarn and tools virtually when, for instance, I'm contemplating a pattern. It eliminates the don't I have... and the I forgot all about..., as well as enabling away-from-home checking if need be.
  • I use it to keep track of my projects: when I started, what yarn and needle size I used, any mods I made. To an extent, I use my blog for this, too, but it's handy having it in one place, no searching required. (Searching my blog for the word "sock" is going to bring up a lot to sift through.)
  • And I use the pattern search, to get ideas and tag possibles and see if others had the same problem I'm having.
It's wonderful for all these things, and I'm so happy to have it. But there is a whole Ravelry community that I'm not in touch with.

Other people use Ravelry for other things, things that I'm not as interested in, or at least not to the point of finding time for (I find it to be a potentially huge time-suck, which isn't a bad thing, but makes me cautious). I do very, very little in groups and forums. I haven't taken part in any swaps or knit-alongs. There are probably things I don't even know are there that could be someone else's favorite thing about Ravelry.

There's nothing wrong with my not using features, and other people using them, and really it's a sign of how much Ravelry can do. (Please don't take this as anti-Ravelry rhetoric, is what I want to be clear on.)

The party, and the meet-ups, and all, are really for the users who take part in the Ravelry community, and I just don't really do that. Even last year, the party was fun but not a thrill for me. I doubt I'll go next year. But I'll use Ravelry all year, most happily, in my way.

It's no surprise that different people can have vastly different readings of the same book. Still I kind of thought it was funny, when reading the list of the top challenged books this year, to see that Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper was challenged for "sexism, homosexuality, being sexually explicit, having offensive language, religious viewpoints, drugs, suicide, violence, and being unsuited to age group" when all I really remember is how cheated I felt by the ending.

And exactly what age group do they mean? It's not a children's book, nor even YA, it's adult fiction. Maybe it was shelved in YA somewhere (why, though?), and that specifically was challenged?

I was on the library website tonight looking for an upcoming anthology that got a starred review in PW. The system found it by my search, which was for the editors' last name and the key word of the title, but it wanted to be sure that when I typed "vandermeer steampunk", I didn't mean "wanderer stamp".

Because that makes so much more sense.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Almost Friday ... Almost!

funny pictures-Wake me up on Friday..

Almost there!

The Bruins are up 1-0 after the first period, yay. The national anthem was performed tonight by a Boston rock legend, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, and it was ... ah, well. See for yourself. In an I-love-technology moment, it's already up on YouTube:

I was kind of relieved to find that I wasn't the only one who thought that he didn't do the greatest job ("He sounds like that drunk guy who stands in front of the garden."). I mean, the anthem's a tough one, particularly a capella, but whoa, dude.

Pretty surreal to see him in a Bruins shirt in any case.

For some reason I'm freezing tonight. The thermometer tells me it's no colder in here than it was last night, but I am super-layered and still shivering. Weird. It's not a headache night (praise the gods), which can mess up my body temp, so what is it? Don't know, but I'm wearing a sweatshirt over the turtleneck and sweater, hat, cowl, fingerless gloves, long johns, sweatpants, wool socks, slippers ... and brr. Probably in ten minutes I'll be shedding layers again.

Off to the second period!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Want This!

Things are fine, though I feel a bit stretched in the aftermath of my two recent trips, wonderful as they were. Nothing that the upcoming peaceful weekend won't help! But as I'm this tired, I'm going to turn the computer off early tonight. I give you this:

Book nerd's ultimate bookcase. Though bookcase is not a big enough word! More about it here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The "Quick, I'm Missing Hockey" Update

Work was fine. Sort of weird, but not at all bad for a first day of a job. And I lucked into their day for flu shots, so I am now sore-armed and hopeful to not get the flu this season. I got my hair cut, the Bruins scored twice in the first period, and I had Carlos on my lap purring for parts of it. I am going to go watch the game, and try to stay awake all the way until the end. So! Tired!

It's really only Tuesday, is it? Really?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rhinebeck Report: Fun!

I hate to rush the Rhinebeck report, but then again I don't want to be days about it, so here we come! Tomorrow I start at the new/old job, tomorrow night I have a haircut, and then it's the first Bruins game that I get to watch live this season, so I doubt I'll fit blogging in there! Plus I may actually have something to say about the work change, etcetera. (I drove past the T stop tonight, and marveled that it isn't part of my commute anymore. Too good to be true!)

So: Rhinebeck. I, and we, had a great time. The worst of it was a bit of a letdown* at the Ravelry party, but even that wasn't a blight, just a disappointment. And the rest was all fun!

*In summary: they asked that everyone not get there early, so they'd have time to set up, so instead of arriving at 6:30, we pulled into the "park down the street at the school and take the shuttle up" parking lot at 7:30. We then waited in line, in the cold, for 45 minutes before the single bus had room for us to get on. (Last year they had at least two buses rotating.) They had run out of goody bags and cupcakes before we got there, and the food was mostly picked over. The tables were all full, so we ended up standing. (I spent most of the time with one of my companions out by the bonfire: that was cool. And now I can say that I've knit by bonfire light!) It wasn't awful, it was just less fun than it should have been, certainly less fun then last year. I'll think twice before going again, if they even do it next year.

I drove there Saturday morning with three friends from my stitch and bitch group, and found it very funny to be driving with everyone else in the car knitting! It was great to be able to share the driving, and not have to do it all. The weather Saturday was neither nice nor awful, but mostly cloudy, chilly, and breezy. It rained a bit on the drive, but happily was done before we arrived. The parking lot looked pretty full by noon! And we happily went in and started the experience.

I really liked the colors and the lacework in this piece:

While this puppet was simply adorable:

Life lesson on a yarn label:

"Avoid agitation." The more you think about it, the more that applies.

Pretty tree under cloudy skies.

I'm kind of afraid of this.

And then there's this hat, wow:

The guys really get into the punkin chuckin. Yup.

I enjoyed watching it, but kept being distracted by the pretty trees. And, on Sunday, blue skies!

Fun buttons!

I like the pin, too.

Carlos whumped Miri for getting too close to the woven catnip mouse I brought home for them.

But she got to it later.

And were there animals, you ask? Of course there were!

Cute, curly goats:

And who could resist this face?

Or this one:

Llama drama. I love that the relevant 4-H club in the area is the Spitters Club.

Doesn't this one look like he's having the best time?

We went to the Leapin' Llamas event, which actually featured llamas and alpacas (someday I will learn the difference, visually I mean). It was kind of fun, though the stands were tightly packed together, and to the woman sitting behind me, yes, that is my back you are resting your knee in. Did you notice?Apparently not.

Where else will you see something like this?

No, the cart did not "leap". All the others did, though, or tried to, or were encouraged to. Some beautiful animals.

Did you know sheep are eligible for the witness protection program?

Baa baa, black sheep ... I bet you hear that all the time.

Nice horns, dude!

Curled up together like cats.

Check out that horn texture.

It's a cow! No, wait...

Now, you may be asking yourself, that's all very well, ccr, but didn't you buy anything? Oh, yes, I did. I didn't spend it all, but I spent much of what I brought, and had a wonderful time. Here's the grand overview:

Bumper stickers:

I really wanted that one on a button, but they didn't have it (sold out, perhaps). I like these two, though.

Pretty, pretty earrings.

I was just reading about putting maple sugar on buttered toast recently, and look at what I found! Can't wait to try it.

Oh, did you mean yarn? I got some of that, too.

After loving the Socks That Rock mediumweight so much, I thought I should try the lightweight. The colors are more sedate, and I think I'm going to love the resulting socks!

I've heard good things about Fleece Artist yarn, but haven't played with it before.

It's so soft, as you might imagine.


I don't quite know what these little guys are going to be, but they go together beautifully, and are So Soft.

Do you see the label? Alpaca and silk. Oooh.

This one is lush also. Good squish factor! It's all wool, Blue Face Leicester (that's BFL to you), but super-squishy-soft.

And despite the photos, this one is really reds, not at all pink.

I also bought a t-shirt, so let's start hoping now that next year's Rhinebeck is t-shirt weather. I love this one not just because of the look on the animal's face...

... although, seriously, look:

But because that was the front and this is the back.

It has him coming and going. I love it!

Now good lord, I have to get ready for bed. I'm going to work in the morning! Thus endeth the Rhinebeck 2010 report.