Monday, October 31, 2011

"This is my costume..."

"...I'm a homicidal maniac. They look just like everyone else." (I thought about putting "Happy Halloween" as the title instead, but really The Addams Family is more me.)

Since I had to deal with so little snow myself from this freakish storm, it was easy to forget that not everyone was so lucky. I found it disorienting when my radio alarm this morning turned on in the middle of a school-closings list, but of course with larger amounts of snow elsewhere, and plenty of lingering power outages, it made sense. I live and work in the low-snow area for this storm, but two people* in my group at work were happy to come in to a place with power, unlike their homes, so I was reminded again how lucky I am.

*Out of five!

And unable to complain much about how cold it was at work today, which it honestly was--but still, better than no power and heat at all. Unfortunately this morning I dressed seasonally in the sense of bright fall colors (even an orange shirt for Halloween!) but not seasonally in the sense of warm enough for the weather. And while it was literally freezing outside this morning, it was figuratively freezing inside at work (someone reported that the air-conditioned server room was warmer than our area this morning). After shivering in scarf-shawl-and-mitts all morning, I gave up and put my coat back on before lunch, and it felt wonderful. Let me emphasize that: WONDERFUL. Why-didn't-I-do-that-sooner good.Wore it all day, too. Brr.

Think happy yarn thoughts instead. I had a nice time at stitch and bitch tonight, and got a lot done on secret Christmas knitting, ooh! Very happy so far. More to come. I stayed later than I usually do, and so I'm barely home and already thinking about bed. Yawn!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The (yawn) Sunday Update

No pretty snow pictures here today. Other than a brief trip outside this afternoon to push what hadn't melted off my car before it froze there, I've been pretty successful at ignoring the whole thing. I did have a weird moment this morning when I realized that looking out one window I saw snow, and looking out the next window over was a tree in autumn colors. Look, winter here, autumn there!

My neighborhood did lose power for a few hours last night, giving me the somewhat trippy experience of taking out my contact lenses by candlelight, but it was back on sometime after midnight. I don't know when exactly, because I was actually able to remember all the lights I had on and switch them off before going to bed so they didn't wake me. Somehow I managed to suffer through sleeping without the heated mattress pad; a down comforter and two cats helped me there, no doubt.

The Bruins lost last night, oh well. I hope they get their shit together again soon, they're not so much fun to watch these days. Today's been pretty laid back. Several bouts of On the Couch With Carlos, and a good lot of knitting on a secret Christmas project, which went really well but I am about to rip out and do over. You may have to be a knitter to understand that statement, and why I'm not at all upset. I do have a bit of a headache, though, so I think I'll step away from the computer for now. Hope you're having a good one.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Satisfying Saturday, with cat

It's odd to look at the weather map and see the entire state of Massachusetts covered by precipitation. For that matter, all of Rhode Island and Connecticut are covered too, and quite a lot of the surrounding states. Here it's been heavy rain all afternoon, and though the icy-mix line on the weather map is shown as creeping this way, but not yet here, I'm starting to see solid stuff out there. And you know what that means: it's time to stop looking out the windows. Darkness is my friend in denial.

It hasn't been such a bad day, though. Slept in, which always makes me happy. A few hours on the couch with Carlos on my lap always improve my mood. I had my camera at hand, and got several paw shots. He likes to keep a paw on my hand.

 Or two.

Or four. Well, two in, two on.

Makes us both happy, works out well.

After a while he turned the other way so he could lean on the couch. So hard to decide which way to go.

I had some crochet hooks out at one point, and was struck by the variety of sizes.

I haven't used the tiny ones; virtually my entire crochet hook collection is from my grandmother, who passes these things down as she runs across them. Some of them were from her mother. I can't imagine using the ones whose hooks are barely visible to the naked eye. That would be for thread, not yarn. Even lace-weight would be a challenge with those babies.

Amusingly, some of them show their age, though only in a good way:

I mean, I doubt you can get a good quality hook for a dime these days. What's more, I'm sure they don't stamp the prices on the sides, either. So hard to raise prices when you do.

I'm working on laundry now, and while that isn't fun, getting it done on Saturday is satisfying. Leaves tomorrow a little less pressured that way.

So yeah, it hasn't been such a bad day. As long as the Bruins don't spoil my mood, I'll give the day two thumbs up. Now I think I'll go knit something.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Night? Really? I Made It?

funny pictures - Thats it..  Keep going.

Oh, Friday night. Home at last. How do I love thee, let me count the ways.

Unfortunately the Bruins did not pull off a win against Montreal last night, though they did provide an answer to the trivia question, how does Montreal put three pucks in the net and only win 2-1? We'll see what happens tomorrow night in Montreal.

While it will be snowing in Boston, by the way. I only had a dusting this morning, but I had to scrape all the car windows hard. The new scraper worked pretty well, actually, but I would have been happy not to need it for another month or two. Or never. Tomorrow we're supposed to get at least 1-3 inches around Boston, and a coworker who is supposed to go to Pennsylvania for a wedding this weekend was concerned about whether she should go, given the forecast for 6-10 inches there. Ugh. Double ugh.
Since we're getting snow tomorrow, which really makes me feel weepy in case I'm being too subtle, I am not going to go out again until, oh, probably Monday morning. Maybe Sunday afternoon if I really want to and the way looks fairly clear. So I went to Target after work, which I needed to do anyway, but in addition to stocking up on glamor items like glucosamine and multivitamins I may also have brought home some ice cream and Heath bars. They were on sale! And I'm going to be snowed in! Gosh, you're strict. Don't think I don't hear you "wondering" why I'm not losing weight. I'm well aware that lack of willpower is not helping the situation. On the other hand: snow. In October.

Late yesterday my boss sent out an e-mail to let us know that she would be Working At Home today, and therefore Out Of the Office. She abbreviated this in the subject line, so when I saw it this morning, it made me think "Wahoo!" I mean, I knew just what she meant by WAH/OOO, but it looked amusing.

Now I will leave you with this amusing picture, and go do nothing productive.

funny pictures - Compass Kitteh! Da tail alwayz points North!

I love Friday night.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Yes, Actually, I AM Going to Tell You About My Dreams

(Quickly, between periods, and yes I've heard that other people's dreams are boring to hear about, but it's my blog and I'll write about my dreams if I want to.)

I had a tremendously scary dream last night, the kind where you don't really want to go back to sleep after. I think, actually, that the whole dream was creepy, but it was the end, featuring unseen but wiggly things in a bed, that tipped it over the edge. I went into a sort of hotel room*, very small and mostly bed, and could see a mysterious package on the bed, and then realized that there were small lumps under the covers, moving. Large insect or small mammal size? I stared at them for a moment, and at the large box that I couldn't see into, then said, "I have to get out of this room," and stepped out the door. I pulled the door mostly closed behind me, but not latched**, stopped, and said, "Wait, think this through first."*** But as I stood there, I could see a wave of creeping shadows flow to the rooms on either side, and when screaming started I slammed the door shut and woke up. In, you know, a bed. Unsurprisingly.

*And for once in the long-corridor-of-rooms type of dream, I found the room number I was looking for relatively easily.
**Partly because there was a bra hanging on the handle, something I do in real life (what, I live alone, who does it bother?) but had not done in the dream.
***Which cracks me up, actually. "Wait, think this through first"? Like there was a good way to handle this if I used logic?

It was 4 AM. I got up, went to the bathroom, fed the cats*, got back in bed, and stayed awake waiting for Carlos to come back to bed, as I wasn't going to close my eyes without the furry comforter nearby. Thankfully, when he did and I fell back asleep, the dream did not return.

*I'd rather not feed the cats in the middle of the night, but it prevents my precious last hours of sleep being disturbed by Miri's power-purr. "You like me! PURR! You want to feed me! PURR!"

In another dream, which was also somewhat creepy and where I was, at one point, the Bad Guy being taunted by a former victim for my neurotic fear of anyone having their hands in their mouth, a camel was standing off to one side for no reason. I think that part came from a little stash-diving I did last night. Why yes, I do have camel yarn in my stash; doesn't everyone?

Now, if you will forgive the all-caps, I will quote from tonight's's Special Weather Statement:


That's them shouting, not me, but would you forgive me if I was shouting? Snow in October! It's disgusting. Even if I am in the coating/dusting area (inside 128, or what they're calling "the I95 corridor"), currently just a few feet from the "icy mix" line according to the map, I disapprove.

Though I do want the freeze, to kill allergens. But man, it's cold! (Sure, I'm contradictory. Who isn't?)

Finally, tonight's game so far. I was listening to the first period in the car (a few people from work went out to a local pub after work [mmm, potato skins]), and having heard this play, I had to find video online when I got home. (Of course it's already there.)

Awesome! The Canadiens win the faceoff and put it in their own net for us. Bergeron broke his stick and fell on his face, and gets credited with the goal. I love it! It's the sort of play that super-sucks if your team makes it, and is delightful when it's the opposition.

In the second period, I got to see a crazy fight between PK Subban and Brad Marchard, which had the Bruins agitator chirping and swinging while Subban spent some time shoving at him, holding him by the shoulders and trying to tip him over. Didn't work! I have to go see what the third period holds. Should be entertaining!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Four Unconnected Topics in Search of a Title

There was a really pretty sunrise this morning, and the pictures of it that I took came out as complete crap. Why is that?

I was puzzled last week to receive a catalog in the mail from Green Mountain Coffee, for two reasons.

First, I'm not exactly a dedicated coffee drinker. Somewhere around five years ago, after being a once-a-year coffee drinker, I started drinking a cup of coffee-and-cocoa most mornings at work, particularly in cold weather, but I never use the coffee maker at home (I should just get rid of that, really). I do love the caramel frappuchinos from Starbucks, but as a friend of mine pointed out, that's more like dessert than coffee.

Second reason was this note printed on the back:

Haven't heard from me in a while? I've never ordered from them before. I've never received a catalog from them before. I admit, I thought about ordering the caramel vanilla creme flavor online somewhere, to use at work, but before I got around to it*, the company switched systems and now K-cups are not the format of choice**. I understand about getting on weird mailing lists (you get this magazine, therefore you want that one!), but how do I get on a list of previous customers who haven't ordered recently?

*For once, procrastination pays off.
**Which is too bad, since they aren't getting many flavors, and no light roasts at all. Hopefully that will change? Am I the only coffee wimp at the company?


There was a story in the Globe yesterday about how Halloween spending keeps going up, and it validated my feeling that everyone didn't used to do this wild over-the-top decorating the way so many do now. (You kids get off my lawn!) If it's gone up this much just in the last few years, no wonder my childhood memories are of taping pumpkin shapes to the kitchen windows, not of creating a graveyard on the lawn with an animatronic zombie, flashing lights, and dry ice.

The best part, though, was the way they showed the increase in spending. Standard bar chart material, right?

Sure, if you consider Kit-Kats standard. Clever!

I had a moment of disgust yesterday with my perpetual and ongoing not exercising, and tried to think about a way to make it work, to overcome what obstacles I am placing in my own way. Walking outside isn't going to work, and not just because we're heading right into dark-and-cold season. I've come to realize that when I say that I like walks, I mean strolls with frequent camera stops in nice weather, preferably with company or with a destination, rather than power-walk-exercising. And I'm just not riding the bike, even though it could hardly be more convenient. I thought that perhaps I should just join a gym and use the machines, though I am fairly certain based on past experience that I would hate it. Still, if I could find a place between work and home I might be able to make myself make it part of my routine. Maybe?

The thought didn't fill me with joy, but I went to my health plan's website to look up gyms (they refund part of a health club membership, which is nice). My mood did brighten slightly when I saw the search selector for "pool" and it occurred to me that maybe I could join a place with a pool, and swim instead. I think I might like that more? Maybe? It seemed like a less repugnant thought, so it would be worth a try. But my search revealed not only a dearth of options in the exact area where I was looking, but also a surprising number of suggestions of Boys and Girls Club locations. Am I missing something? Are they not intended .. for boys and girls? I may not act like it most of the time, but technically I am an adult. Something weird there.

There is a YMCA in my town, and I've thought about joining there. I blanched to see that the yearly cost is over $600, which seems like an awful lot, but that's partly a first-time joining fee, and when you break down the rest it isn't really that much per month. I don't know. I hate to spend so much money on something I'll hate, even if it is good for me. I can afford it, but I'd rather spend the money on things I like. Books, yarn ... Bruins tickets even.

I know plenty of people who say, sincerely and earnestly, that I will feel better if I exercise regularly. Perhaps if I could bring myself to keep exercising for a long time with no other feedback, that would be true. I can't say for sure that it wouldn't. But repeated attempts to make exercise part of my routine have demonstrated that I am only going to keep it up for two to three months before finding the lack of a single positive result too much to overcome. Exercising takes time and energy, and leaves me hot and sweaty and tired. That's it. If you get the endorphin rush when you exercise, good for you. I don't.

(And anyone who says that maybe I'm not working hard enough to get it will get hit. Just a friendly warning there.)

I don't have an answer to this yet. I'm thinking on it. Meanwhile, kitty wants a lap.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mostly Yarn (a LOT of yarn), plus a bonus 6-foot-nine rabbit

I am struggling with Blogger's new interface tonight. It may actually be easier to use than the old one, once I know what works differently than the old one, but apparently the only way to find that out is trial and error. It's like they're saying, "Hey, you know that thing we did for years that was totally annoying, but that you totally got used to working around? Well, we fixed it! Oh, did you do it the old way? Yeah, that won't work the way you expect it to." Thanks, Blogger, my life isn't challenging enough these days? I just want to post pictures of yarn!

Yes, that's right, it's yarn haul photo time! One of the things I did on Sunday was take pictures of all the lovely, lovely yarn that October has brought me. And there's a lot of it!

First, my darling brother sent me some yarn from SF for my birthday. Hooray for colorful Californian yarn!

 The maker (of whom I had not previously heard) is Sincere Sheep, and the type is Castro. See? Pretty! It has a good strong-but-not-rough feel to it.

And there was the yarn that my aunt bought me at Apple Festival. It's from the same place as the yarn I'm currently knitting. Mmm, alpaca!

And wool and nylon. Soooo soft.

This one comes with a solid bit for the heel and toe. That will be a new thing to try; the logistics may take some figuring.

She also got me, if you'll forgive my stepping off the yarn boat briefly, this nice wooden bowl I was lingering over. It's been kind of hard to get a good picture of it!

This is what it's been doing since it got here: sitting on the kitchen table, holding a skein of new yarn for me to admire.

This one is totally out of place, but since I also got it at Apple Festival, in it goes.

A funnel, you ask? No, but probably inspired by one. It's for the dread upcoming season: it's an ice scraper for the windshield.

It even comes with a top that tackles the messier parts.

If you find it puzzling or intriguing, check out the video.

If you live in Florida or somewhere else that doesn't need ice scrapers, kindly keep your smirking to yourself!

Sorry. The trees are starting to look bare. I'm not excited for November and what follows.

{shake} Sorry! Back to the pictures! And, actually, on to Rhinebeck!

One non-yarny thing, which smells delicious! I know goats can provide fiber as well as milk that can become soap, but it does kind of perplex me how much more soap than goat fiber I see at Rhinebeck. It doesn't bother me, but it perplexes me.

Now, this next part is not yarn, but you'd have to call it yarn-related. Some good new buttons:


All right, here's the yarn:

Ahhhh. Doesn't that feel good?

Oh, right, you can't pick it up and hug it when you need a little lift. Sorry about that. Feel free to come over some time and dive into the stash with me.

First, and not in order of buying but I figure who cares about that, is what my grandmother got me for my birthday (she slipped me a little yarn money the previous weekend).

Perhaps you aren't bowled over by the understated colors? Well, you're really going to have to come over and touch this yarn. See?

Cashmere! So, so soft. Whoof. I picked it up and couldn't put it down. It just wanted to come home with me. How could I say no?

You may recall, if you are memorizing all my yarn habits and actions (and if not why not?), that the yellow-gold socks I recently completed were from yarn I got at Rhinebeck in 2009, from a maker called Fiber Optic. They were selling it at The Fold, the booth where I got my first Socks That Rock, and it took me this long to use it, but I really liked it, both the way it felt to work with and the finished socks (which are on my feet even now, what a coincidence). When I went back to The Fold this time, I looked for more, but although they had some of her fiber, I saw no yarn. Then in the next building, there she was! Her own booth!

So I got another skein of Foot Notes (and another yellow one, but I swear it's a really different yellow)(yes, I know how that sounds), and I also got a skein of Siren Song. Because who could resist that?

Light, lovely yellow Foot Notes:

Lovely multicolor autumn-bright Siren Song:

Which is part seacell! Interesting.

At The Fold, I did manage to limit myself to one skein of the beloved STR. Knowing that Webs sells it if I need more before next Rhinebeck helps.

A lovely green. On my monitor, this looks a little teal, but it's more between grass and Kelly green in person.

Then I felt like I had to try something different, so here's, yes, more sock yarn. Nice wooly soft Canadian yarn from Shelridge Farms. I'll report on it, someday, when it gets on the needles. More of a soft pine green.

This one is (gasp) not sock yarn! It does have an intended purpose, but since Christmas is involved, no details just yet. Super soft!

Now, the final purchase was another repeat. I got the red Blue Face Leicester from Maple Creek Farm last year, used it to make the Frost Diamonds shawl, and loved it.

 I was going to get a more, ahem, sedate color, but this is what I grabbed twice as I was going around and around the BFL display. Clearly meant to be.

Meant to be what, I don't know yet. All will be clear in time.



Now, if you've made it through all this, you deserve a further reward. So here, hot off the presses, is a picture of some of the Bruins making a Halloween-themed visit to Children's Hospital. Can you believe this?

 Thanks, Big Bad Blog, for sharing!

I imagine someone hand-made that; surely bunny costumes don't come standard in six foot nine inch heights?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Not What I Had Planned

So it turns out that I have a headache today, and that is interfering with my planned posting (because I'm not capable of ... what? Coherence? I think that's it). The weekend was largely good. Saturday I took as a mental health day, and intentionally didn't get much done. I spent a lot of time on the couch, with Carlos sleeping on my lap, either reading or watching TV. It was pretty pleasant. Yesterday, I did more: lots of laundry (though not all of it), ran the dishwasher, grocery shopped, etc. But in the evening the head started to hurt, and I've been working at less than full capacity today.

So as usual, I try to give you something in lieu of better content. Tonight, amazingly, instead of being cat-related, it's dog. I know, who am I? But this is one clever dog, indeed.

Thanks to Cute Overload for the link.

Hopefully, regular programming (such as it is) will resume tomorrow.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Cats, and Big Cats

I was at the computer yesterday when I looked left and saw this double-wide load.

Later, they moved into the next portion of the synchronized competition:

Miri was, as usual, skeptical of my intentions.

Eventually, she put her head back down. I love the paw-on-paw action. Her paw, his paw, her head.

Today when I looked over, she was relaxed against Carlos's back.

And for once, she wasn't giving me the bug-eyed-fear look.

She's lived here three years next January, and she's finally starting to be less than 100% wary 24-7.

Which makes me think that Carlos is a tranquilizer.

But whatever the reason, I'll take it. My expectations for her are pretty low. It shouldn't be hard for her to exceed them, but she doesn't do it much.

Meanwhile, in the world of the big cats, here's a fun video. What I want to know is, how did they discover that big cats like to play with pizza boxes in the first place?

Thanks for the link go to the good folks at Cheezburger, of course.

Don't miss the part around 2:30 where Jumanji gets distracted from the pizza box and starts chasing his tail instead! They really are just like house cats, only bigger.

And, you know, deadly.

But so cute!