Friday, July 29, 2011

With Just a Little Imagination

If you want to get into my head tonight (though I don't recommend it), watch this video and substitute the word "packing" every time he says "chicken".

That is all.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Universe Thinks It Is Sooooo Funny

Last month, when I was paying my bills online on a headache day, I didn't notice that I had put one payment in the wrong line. I only realized it the following week, when it was processing and too late to cancel.

The money that was supposed to go to my credit card went to Macy's instead, which was particularly annoying given that I haven't used the Macy's card in over five years. I was uneasy at the thought of how much work it would be to get my money back. (Cue ominous music.) I dug out an old bill (2005!), and procrastinate.

My first actual progress was to go into a Macy's store and ask. No dice, the in-store people can't do anything.

Step two, call Macy's. Navigate through the auto-system, which wants my account number and then claims it's no good. What's worse, it's a "press or say" system, meaning I can't curse out loud without getting the bland "I'm sorry, I didn't understand that."

Eventually get through to a human, but she is no help. She doesn't understand my explanation, I have trouble with her accent, she can't find my account (even by SSN), and eventually she says she will have to transfer me to billing adjustments. Click click, and dead air. She didn't cut me off, but the call goes nowhere.

I hang up and call back, fight the autobot again, and get another person. Very pleasant, but no more able to find the account than the first one. She tells me that I will have to get my bank to fax them a "transmittal" so they can research it. She gives me the fax number, and tells me that the bank will know what a transmittal is.

I looked at the transaction online, and notice that there is a link to send a payment inquiry about it. What the heck, I put the request in and send it. This was July 16th. A few days later, there was a message acknowledging the request, but then nothing further.

I decide to go into an actual bank, and today at lunch walked to the branch in town and asked. The woman was very pleasant, but did not know what a transmittal was (nor did her manager), and she had to call the online banking people to ask. Who knew that the building and online were such different banks? Eventually the man on the phone had enough information to say that he should be able to take care of it. Whew.

When I got home, I found a letter from the bank telling me that they faxed the information to Macy's as I requested, on Tuesday.


So, will Macy's send me a refund without my having to follow up? Will they send it twice, if the bank faxes twice? What will happen next in this crazy story? I'm afraid to find out.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Little Boy Blue

Worked late again tonight! Ridiculous. I would be more peeved over it (especially since I was backup tonight, not main coverage), except:
  • I am NOT working late tomorrow, or Friday. Period.
  • In fact, tomorrow I'm comping an hour of the extra time I've worked, and going in late, so there.
  • Plus, I went shopping after work.
So. Wanna know what I got?

Well, this is what the box said when I cracked it open:

To me, though, this is more of a netbook size:

Tomayto, tomahto. Or whatever the blue equivalent might be. Remember when I said this was my blue period? I swear I did not plan to buy a blue one (though I've said something similar before). But when they had one, well...

And yes, the photos were taken in the car, in the store parking lot. I figured if I turned it on and it did anything funky (or nothing at all), I could go right back in. Therefore, of course, it worked fine. And when I got it home I went online, and sent an e-mail, just to see how it felt (answer: fine).

Doubtless I'll have more to say about it. But lord, it's late! If I want that hour's extra sleep in the morning to do me good, I need to get ready for bed now.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pfft, Work: Let's Talk Yarn

Well, only half an hour overtime tonight! (And by overtime, I mean the time, no money is involved. The downside of being salaried.) I won't usually have to cover two nights in a row, but we're shorthanded this week.

I haven't really gone into the issue of late nights at work yet, have I? Because of all the daily deadlines we have, there is the possibility every day that someone will need to stay late in order to get things done. Therefore, there is a schedule of who will be the ones to stay if it comes to that (one primary and one backup from each of the department's sub-groups), a schedule that was put in place because apparently the same people were always staying when it was necessary.

So. That's that. Meanwhile, in a happier, yarnier world, here's what I mentioned in passing last night, that came in the mail yesterday to redeem my evening.

I've been wanting to get this kit for the fiddlehead mittens for a while, and when the purveyor announced on her blog that it was going to be discontinued shortly, I snapped one up. No regrets!

The colors came out of the bag and were immediately brighter:

Too bright, even, as the lighter color washed out:

This one is more true:

Now I just have to decide when to start them.

And the ribbed shrug I want to make (for that extra little layer at work).

Hmmm. I do have vacations coming up: how much knitting is reasonable to bring for a week? Keeping in mind that a, it isn't a week solely devoted to knitting, and b, reasonable may not be the word I'm looking for.

Meanwhile, I have made progress on the scarf I mentioned recently. After a good stripey start, the two colors got a little too close, but I kept on to see what would happen, and they diverged again. I am finding the changes very entertaining.

I am ready for something other than green or brown to come out, though!

And just to show that we are everywhere (we meaning knitters, in this case), today's mail brought the new PW with these guys on the cover:

Pay no attention to the Tanis card; it was the closest thing I had to hand to preserve my secret identity.

Seriously, how cute are they? It's the craft issue, and this is a new book coming out.

Now I want to see inside!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Take a Deep Breath and Try to Follow Along

So I had to work late and I hoped the silver lining to leaving at 6:30 would be less rush hour traffic but instead it was awful so I figured I'd better grab dinner on the way home because I didn't have much that could be ready quickly and I was already hungry. [breathe] I got Chinese and decided I'd drive home the shorter way even though I usually go home the other way, and I had to pull to the side for an ambulance and then I had to pull aside for another ambulance and a mile or so later I got diverted from the home-in-five-minutes road to the home-in-fifteen road by an enormous mass of police cars and wreckers and flashing lights, and I had only just enough sanity left to be grateful not to have been in that accident. [breathe] Then a car pulled out in front of me like I wasn't there and then I was behind a car that appeared not to know which way to go and felt that driving at 22 mph and then stopping in the road was the solution to that, not pulling over but stopping in the middle of the road to think it over, and then shortly after he went a different way another car pulled out in front of me to do 29 mph and I finally pulled over to park and eat a few bites of dinner so I wouldn't pass out before I got home, since I was starting to wonder if I would in fact ever get home (it started to seem as though I would drive around being diverted until it was time to leave for work Tuesday morning), particularly when the car pulling out of the road I was turning in to did not feel that my blinker and slowing down were strong enough signs that I was turning to make him want to pull out and get out of my way, and then there was a section of road with parked cars on my side so I had to wait for an oncoming car to go by first, and it seemed as though he was going to come forward far enough to prevent me moving and then possibly stop.


I believe it was quarter to 8 before I got home, and by 8 I had more dinner in my stomach and felt less like death, and even went to get the mail and found something happy, which I'll tell you about tomorrow, but for a while there? That was one lousy story I was living.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Good Weekend

It's been a good weekend, which any weekend without migraines would be anyway, but I also got quite a bit done, which is nice. I am exhausted, though!

I think it has something to do with these:

Small children gain energy by sucking it out of nearby adults, but cats spread lethargy through a powerful contagion. Hard to stand up to!

And you're still awake why exactly?

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Friday Night Mix

It's hardly news, in the US at least, that the country is almost universally going through a massive heat wave. Has this news, and our endless whining about it, gone around the world? Well, trust me, it's hot, it's humid, and it's almost bad enough for me to start complaining about being hot. (Not quite, though.)(I'm grateful for air-conditioning, even if I don't always use it: I'm using it quite a bit.)

How hot is it, you ask? Well, at 8 this morning, on my way to work, it was already above 80, and highly humid.

After work, I started the car and the thermometer registered 108. Now, it always starts out higher than the actual temp and drops, so I laughed a little and said well, it's not quite that hot! And wondered what it would drop to.


By the time I got home, it was all the way down to 100.

So, yes. It's hot. What's really been killing me, though, is trying to dress for it while simultaneously dressing for work in a too-cold-for-me office.

My ideal outfit for the super-hot weather: a sleeveless shirt or tank top, shorts or a skirt or at most (lightweight) capris, and bare feet (with flip-flops or sandals for going out of the house).

My ideal outfit for the office's climate: a short-sleeved shirt under a long-sleeved shirt (with a sweater handy), non-lightweight slacks, wool socks, closed shoes.

I can, of course, wear a sleeveless shirt as my first layer, and then take the other layer(s) off outside--in fact, that's what I have been doing. It's the lower half of the body that causes problems, and make me think about bringing a blanket to work.

If I wear capris or a skirt to work, my legs get really cold, and if I wear sandals, my feet freeze. But in long pants and closed shoes, as soon as I step outside, I'm melting! The last two days, when I reached the car after work, I removed my socks and shoes and rolled up my pant legs, to alleviate the worst of it, but I may just bring shorts to work and change at the end of the day instead. It's crazy.

Now, here are some sights seen on the road.

What would surprise you more: seeing a Lotus?

Or seeing it turn into the parking lot of a White Hen Pantry? Lotus drivers go to convenience stores?

Visualize world peace --> visualize whirled peas --> visualize grilled cheese?

Someday, the world will have clickable spots around things, so you can learn what the story is for those oddball custom license plates.

Perhaps this person really, really likes Ray Bourque ... and sleep?

I don't know what Disney charges for a Mickey Mouse outline to put on your car, but apparently someone wasn't willing to pay.

Despite the enormous amount of advertising all over this car, my eye went to the plate first, and I thought, "Playboy?"

I don't say it's logical ... but that's what I thought.

Now, this is completely random, but I was looking back through the pictures, and found a couple of short videos I took when I was trying out the camera's video capabilities. I probably put these up at the time, but who doesn't want to see them again? I thought so.

Miri, looking deceptively friendly, even purring:

And my Harold:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sending You Elsewhere

Already it gets late, how does that happen every night? And tomorrow is another work day, so I mustn't stay up too late. Please forgive me, then, if I send you elsewhere for your daily dose of reading.

I read on Adrienne Martini's blog that Slate magazine had written about Ravelry, when she linked to it thusly:
"The muggles finally acknowledge the existence of Ravelry."
Perfect description! If you're not a knitter, and you've ever wondered, when I mention Ravelry, just what the deal is, then you really should read this. I think it explains rather well.

And I will try for actual content tomorrow night.

Or, you know, lots of pictures. Of shiny things.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Looking on the Furry Side

There's never a bad time for a cheesy song, right?

This one belongs to Carlos. You remember that I had a song I'd sing to Pan? (Just say yes.) Well, Carlos has one now, too. He doesn't even mind that, a, it's a cheesy song, and b, I can't sing for shit. He's very good that way.

Today wasn't a bad day. It wasn't wonderful, but sometimes "not actively bad" is good enough. And just for fun, I pulled out pictures of my buddy. Just a few. To remind myself that not everything from the last three months has been that bad. I've got this guy, after all.

And he's got me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday Report

(Thank you for the support yesterday; I appreciate you guys.)

So, today was not better.

funny pictures - <span class=

Was it worse? This morning I would have said so, but overall, probably not. (It helped that I felt somewhat better than I did yesterday.) I did have an awful moment in my head when I found out after lunch that my boss had called me in for a "quick meeting" and I was, briefly, convinced that I was going to be fired. Obviously, that didn't happen, and it actually went fine--showing both that anticipation is worse than actuality, and that theory can be much better than practice. Yes, that makes sense in my head.

Still and all, I can't say I don't understand why I've been indulging more than I should, lately. A Coca-Cola here, Ben & Jerry's there, and yes, I have put a few pounds back on. I don't want to talk about that today, though. I actually do want to talk about it, but not today. It needs to be a day when I'm not already standing in a hole.

For tonight, well, I'm going to curl up with the new Laurell Hamilton, fresh from the library, and some of that Ben & Jerry's. As for you, let me ask you something: what's your favorite funny thing on the web? Video, cartoon, lolcat, whatever. Want to share? Anything that makes you smile. (Bet you didn't expect to get homework!)

Mine is the laughing quadruplet babies:

Always makes me smile. What's yours?

Monday, July 18, 2011

If You Aren't in the Mood for Whining, Stop Here

Disclaimer: Today was not a good day. I didn't feel well, partly due to fighting off the migraine and partly due to not sleeping well last night (which may also have been part of fighting off the migraine), so I felt off-kilter. Not Well.
Disclaimer to the disclaimer: On the other hand, I wrote some of this last week. So it's not all dismissible as "having a bad day".

I am not someone who expects every minute of the day at work to be joyful and fulfilling, but there have been more than a few moments lately where I feel serious concern that I am never going to not hate this.

There are projects due every day. Maybe five, maybe twenty. The pressure is different from everywhere else I've ever worked: stronger, more constant. There have been a few quiet days, but more often it's busy-busy-busy, enough that I hate to interrupt people except I always have questions. I've been there two months, and I'm used to picking things up pretty quickly, but there's still almost nothing I can get through without asking questions.
It depends ... it varies ... if it's that project type ... if it's this client ... if, if, if
I don't have terribly high expectations, I don't think; I don't expect to drive off eagerly in the morning, to anticipate Monday morning happily. But I would like to get through the day without wishing at any point that I could go home and curl up in a ball, sucking my thumb.

Just about every day at work, I'm hearing Gary Larson's angels (remember that? it was a long time ago). I know it will get better, I tell myself it will get better, but the knowing and the telling just doesn't make the waiting any much easier. After all, if we figure I should be more comfortable once I've been there for 6 months, we're talking about Thanksgiving, and given the (wonderful, much enjoyed) 90 degrees outside, Thanksgiving feels very far away.

Sometimes things just suck. All you can do is hold on and try to remain standing against the force of the storm. Tomorrow, it will be better. One of these days, that will be true.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another Lost Day

Today was one of those days, those headache\post-headache, no energy, nothing got done days. A day when reading the paper was an achievement, when heating up food was a chore, when I went back to bed more than once, when I spent time on the couch without even considering picking up the knitting.

So. Hopefully tomorrow is better. Tonight is better than this morning was, so it's possible. Sometimes hope is all you have.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I'm going to bed early tonight! But here's what I have to say briefly:

Saw the last Harry Potter movie today, and really liked it.

I really want the party across the street to shut up.

Though hopefully it won't be as loud from my bedroom as it is from the office.

All the soft places to sleep in this house, and this is what he does?

The hat I finished knitting:

The scarf I started knitting:

Here is where I should have a picture of my bed, for that is where I'm headed now!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happiness is Yarn

There's nothing for uplifting the spirits like coming home to find a gift of yarn in the mail!

Recently I won a blog contest, and if there was no other reason to read knitter's blogs (and there are many reasons), that would be enough! Thank you, Clumsy Knitter!

The lighting wasn't the best, but I went ahead anyway. Thus the photos above are too light, while the one below is too dark. I mean, it doesn't look like the same yarn, does it?

The outside of the skein is on the darker side, but still, that's ridiculous. Perhaps this weekend I will take advantage of better lighting. After all, I finished something else last night, and it needs its 15 minutes of fame!

Meanwhile, there is this yarn. Good colors, and soft! You know I'm a sucker for soft. I think I have to go play with it now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who did you say has a sense of humor?

Again I was out late tonight, voluntarily, but I'm tired. I decided to visit the stitch and bitch group near where I used to work, and not only was it a fun and lively group, one member brought her almost-three-month-old son, so I got a little more baby cuddling. Quite a week for this baby-lover!

But I need to get ready for bed now, so I'll leave you with this fun non-hockey story via Stanley Cup of Chowder today: the Boston Police Department has a sense of humor, who knew?

Now, the kitty is meowing for me, and my bed calls me, too. When did it get so late? Night!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Following Up, Four Years Later

When I got my new clock radio a few years ago, one of the features I really liked was that it resets the time after a power outage (or even if you just move it--plug it in and it knows the time). That's come in handy recently; two mornings within the last week, I've woken to find other clocks flashing wrong time, but my alarm went off when it was supposed to.

This morning, I learned it's even better than that. Instead of going off this morning to the radio ("It's six o'clock and here are the stories we're covering..."), it went off with a be-be-beep, be-be-beep instead. I squinted at it in confusion, then realized that we'd lost power again and it was still out, but the backup system was working to get the job done. Hooray for Sony! Three cheers for El sistema de No Power No ProblemTM!

I was actually planning to write some more, but suddenly the computer is acting up and I'm getting tired, so I'm going to call it a night. Sorry for the blog-post-us interruptus!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Guess What I Did Tonight?

I went to stitch and bitch tonight, and got remarkably little stitching done. No, not much bitching, either! And yet I am in a remarkably good humor about it.

Want to know why, do we? Hmmm?

I gots me a baby fix!

And this time, I took out my camera!

For all of two pictures, one of which was blurry, but in a fairly dark room and with a moving baby I'm glad even one came out. And then I spent most of the time holding the actual baby, something for which I will put my beloved camera down any day.

(He'll be a month old on Wednesday. This isn't even my baby, and I can't believe how quickly he's growing up.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weekend Report: Beach, Bruins, and Book

I spent the day with friends yesterday, down by the MA/RI border, and it was one of those perfect days where the weather and the company and all the world seemed to be united in their desire to have nothing go wrong. I did manage to get a bit too much sun on my left upper arm (the result of a driver's tan, mostly), but a tender spot is a small price to pay for that kind of day.

We ate lunch outside, at a place with great food, friendly staff, no rush, and this view:

We went to walk on a nearby beach, or on what was left of it at high tide. This isn't usually a surfer's beach, but I guess it was a special day for surfers, too.

The waves were very aggressive, but being wet to the knees was a small price to pay for the beauty.

There were signs of creativity from man,

as well as from nature.

It was simply beautiful. Overall, the day was the sort that had us all giving little happy sighs.

The place where we went next for ice cream has some young cows for you to look at while you try to eat fast enough to avoid wearing a thin layer of melted ice cream.

Close up of tongue action

And some birds hanging out in hopes of crumbs.

A great day.

Today I ran a bunch of errands, after a pleasant morning of lazing around. One stop was to pick up some prescription refills, since I haven't yet transferred to the mail-order option. Mail order will be even cheaper and easier, but already the new health insurance is a big improvement over the old one I had. What I paid $15.99 for today cost me $47.98 a few months ago. Yikes!

Another stop was at Barnes & Noble, since I've been wanting to pick up what was available on my beloved Bruins, or as I believe we are now required to call them, The 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. Thanks to a few dollars left on a gift card from Christmas, and a rebate card from my contact lenses, I paid all of $1.04 for this pile of fun and commemoration:

Along with my receipt, I was handed a slip of B&N advice for what else I might want to buy. At least the first two are hockey titles; the third is football, and the last, well.

Not exactly going on my list. Isn't Orange County in California? Roughly 3000 miles away?

Seen around town

These poor children: they're so slow, they didn't even get the "w" onto the sign!

Nice car! Want!

I'm not knocking the train to Maine, but I don't think that advertising should be covering warning signs and the how's-my-driving number.

On the other hand, the T, the transit authority, has been know to suggest that walking might be faster, so consider the source.

This was at a book sale; I think the sign would have been better if it had made it clear that the children's books were inside.

Though if they had actual children inside, it is considerate of them to have rooms for people to rest. Soundproofed, presumably.

Finally, here is an absolutely awesome commercial with knitting--so creative!

Love it!