Wednesday, November 30, 2011

There is too much. Let me sum up.

funny pictures - From Upside Down
(This has nothing to do with anything, but maybe you needed a laugh, too?)

To Fruit CSA or Not To Fruit CSA
A friend let me know that there's a local farm organization that does CSAs* not only for veggies, but also for fruit, and my ears pricked up. There are too many veggies I don't like to make a veggie share a good choice for me, but fruit? That might work. (My mother is gagging right now. She makes smoothies, but is otherwise not a fruit fan.) I mean, listen to this:
"blueberries, raspberries, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, melons, and multiple varieties of apples"
The only thing I don't like on that list is melons. I started to think that maybe I should do this.

*Is everyone familiar with the CSA concept? Community-supported agriculture: you pay the farm ahead of time, then get your share every week. Eat local and all that.

But. The cost for the 13 weeks they estimate (13 or more is what the site says) is almost $250*, which is about $20 a week. Much more than I usually spend on fruit! Still, it's good for me ... and supporting local farming ... but yikes.

*And that's the 2011 price, if you pay by Dec 15. Who knows if it will go up, or by how much.

Think think think.

I signed up for the 401(k) at work, which is one of those depressing grown-up things that you're supposed to do, knowing that it will pay off, if at all, only many years in the future.

Congratulations, you're doing the right thing! Now here is your noticeably smaller paycheck, and watch for regular mailings of how (badly) your investments are doing! Don't worry if the numbers go down: think long term!

Somehow it just feels like a scam, you know? "Oh, you wanted that money? Well, you'll want it more in thirty years. Give it to us, watch it grow (results not guaranteed), and you'll be glad you did!"

I made onion dip and the "recipe" on the box of soup mix cracked me up:

It's the "blend all ingredients" that got me. ALL of them? All two? What if I forget one? Can't you see me stirring the sour cream and wondering why it doesn't smell right?

And that led me to remember, "The alphabet? All of it?" Can anyone (other than my brother) name the source?

By the way, I'm not the only one who liked the onion dip. I use it as a good way to get carrots into me, but Carlos was Very Interested in what I was doing. So, since his job title is The Spoiled One, I put the bowl down when I was done.

Of course, Miri was interested, too. But he wasn't giving ground.

I have voluntary Thanksgiving leftovers in the fridge. I was sent home from the actual meal with a plate, which I was delighted to eat on Friday, but that's not enough, is it? I don't want to eat turkey for every meal for a week, but more than one ... so I got a turkey breast and cooked it on Sunday (that's one other thing that went well on Sunday, forgot to mention that yesterday). Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and the last (sob) of the angel salad.

Next year, I'm making a double recipe. It was suggested at dinner. And so, the plan for world domination through angel salad (one table at a time) progresses.

The Bruins only play twice this week, and both times it's against Toronto, so that's kind of weird. Also, if they win tonight, their record for November would be 12-0-1, which after a 3-7 October is also weird, but in a really good way.

Given that last time the two teams met, the Bruins gave Toronto a 7-0 whipping in their home arena, the general feeling is that Toronto will come out hard. But it will be interesting to see. And it's time to turn the TV on. I'll leave you with a hint for tomorrow.

Any guesses?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Third Monday This Week

The older I get, the more I resent the time stolen from me by having to work for a living. I don't hate my specific job (much, or often, anyway), now that I'm more used to it, but oh, I hate having to work for a living. I lose half my waking hours to work, and I want them. Frankly, the strength of my feelings surprises me.

funny pictures - I tried being reasonable.

It hasn't been the best week. I know, it's only Tuesday. But when you have a bad day on Sunday, then a super-Monday-ish Monday, and then Tuesday starts badly, well, it feels like it's been a long week already.

Sunday just wasn't good. I slept in, which was good, but then things went downhill. Making the panic calendar didn't help, and then I just seemed to keep running into problems. Small ones, sure, but one after another drains the will to go on.

I tried to pull myself out of it. I was doing laundry, and since for the last two months there has been one problem after another with the machines, I was truly grateful that everything was working. As I put my last load in the dryer, I was actually saying aloud how nice it was when everything worked, and then I put in the quarters, my last quarters, and nothing happened. No time, no hot air, nothing but wet towels.

I had that problem last weekend, and my neighbor checked the machine and it worked fine for her, so I don't know what's up with that. For that matter, my previous two loads dried in that machine perfectly fine. But not this time, and I was so upset. Air-dried towels are nasty (how does anyone stand them?), and it was so frustrating to be thwarted just when I was improving my mood, and bah. Bad night.

Yesterday was Monday, enough said. And I stupidly stayed up too late reading, so I was very tired and reluctant to get out of bed this morning, particularly with Carlos snuggled up, draped over my arm. The commute was one stupid little delay after the other, and just ugh. I've been contrary and cantankerous all day*. Nothing to do? Sucks! Major massive project? Sucks!

*though I have tried not to share it (except here, since that's what the blog is for)(well, one of the things)

There are people who can live in fine disregard of small irritants, and people who are bothered by the least little thing. I wish I was in the first category, but I am in the second. I want to be in a better mood, but it's hard to make myself. Deciding to be cheerful sounds like a good idea, but how do you do it?

I did have one good laugh at work today, when I overheard this conversation:
Work-flow coordinator: Do you want to do this (type of project)?
DTP, cheerfully: No, I don't. I hate doing them, and I do them every time, since we still haven't trained anyone else to do them.
...(A little more back and forth)
DTP: Now, if you need me to do it, I will. But you asked if I wanted to, and I don't.
WFC: I need you to do it.
DTP, still cheerfully: All right, I will, as I do every time.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Monday Bluh Rambling.

funny pictures - My  official  Monday  face

Driving home tonight showed me that a lot of people put up their Christmas lights this weekend. Now that Thanksgiving is past, I am cautiously pleased to see Christmas lights. And if the temps stay as they are (it was about 65 today), I'm good with that.

Two new people came to stitch and bitch tonight, which was very nice. Ours is a good group but small, so the more, the merrier.

I picked up a book at the library and started reading it, and I want to keep reading, but I don't want to be up too late. Getting up this morning was hard, Monday-after-a-long-weekend hard. I need more sleep. And then I got to work and wasn't busy, and that was just so aggravating.

I have often said that I would rather be busy than bored at work, and this is particularly true when work requires me to account for my time, which makes merely "looking busy" insufficient. I don't like to be frantically busy either, not being much given to extremes, but having nothing to do is particularly difficult on the Monday after Thanksgiving, when getting out of bed and ready for work was even more difficult than usual. To reluctantly remove myself from the kitty's cuddles, drag in to work, and have no real reason to be there is painful. Work came along eventually, as it does, but still.

I need sleep, and instead I've spent I-won't-say-how-long watching videos on YouTube. Sigh. Bedtime! I leave you with this:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The To-Do List, Panic Edition

I made my panic calendar today.

You probably have something similar, though you may call it something different. Or perhaps you prefer to pretend you don't know how close Christmas is?

Yup, sorry to burst your bubble, but it's four weeks from today. Which really means three weeks for me to Get Things Done, since my mother arrives on Tuesday, and we segue from Preparing to Doing. Whee! It's going to be crazy. You can understand why I call it the panic calendar.

So, now that I realize how much I have to do, you'll also understand if I don't go on at much length here today! Today alone has a nice (ha) long list. But let me share a few things with you.

I decided to cancel my subscription to Cook's Illustrated, a magazine I quite like but decided I don't love enough to keep getting. I went online, and was rather charmed by their response. Click to see it bigger:

Aren't they polite? I see they, too, were raised to say "yes, please" and "no, thank you".

Unlike this page, which has imperfect control of apostrophes. Funny that they got Friday wrong but the rest of the days right.

Finally, I was on the Shutterfly website, at the part with my account, which they call My Shutterfly. It brought to mind O Captain My Captain.

Now, with laundry started, it's time to clean up the kitchen (again, sigh), and move on to the rest of the list. I like crossing things off, but doing them isn't so much fun!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pair Nine Skype Sock Update, with bonus cat photos

First things first: the issue I was having with trying to upload the video from Knitting Nation yesterday is apparently not restricted to me, as I discovered when searching the forums today (whither I was driven after realizing that the "I'm working on it" page had been spinning for four hours in the background today). So I went to YouTube to see if the problem was with the file, and it loaded there in less than five minutes. Hmm. Not thrilled with Google/Blogger, but at least I could work around, to show you this:

It's supposed to be on YouTube but set as private; I hope it works, but let me know if you have problems viewing it. [11/27 edited to change setting; should be there now!] Now, on with the updates!

Finishing a sock in two weeks is really fast for me, but in fact I did half of this sock in the last couple of days. Here it is as of last Sunday, 11/20:

Coming nicely, but not near finished. Before noon on Thursday, I got to the ready-for-the-heel part:

Then I turned the heel and picked up the instep stitches during the day. Plenty of knitting time in the afternoon brought me here by bedtime:

Quite a distance. And then there was knitting time at the ICA on Friday, so by the time I got home, I was here:

Toes! I didn't get anything more done last night, but this morning Carlos wanted a lap, which gave me time to finish. My tallest ones yet, I think.

(Some of these photos are in poor lighting; these last three are probably the best for the colors of the yarn.)

With just a wee bit of yarn left over. Clever yarn management, or luck? Probably both.

In fact, Carlos has had plenty of laps this long weekend. Most of my views of him seem to have been like this:

And sometimes like this (everyone needs a prop at times, right?):

Though he was in the sun on Thursday morning, leading to a sparkle-fur effect I tried to capture, with middling success.

My baby.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Knitting Nation + Hugo Cabret = Great Day

A wonderful day, in fact a wonderful two days, but the best thing of all is that now it's the weekend, and I get another two days. Fantastic!

This morning my knitting friends and I went into Boston, to see Phase 8 of Knitting Nation at the ICA. That's the Institute of Contemporary Art, for my fellow philistines (I'd never been, myself).

They moved to a new building on the waterfront, and the outside of the building is to my eyes unexceptional, while the logo reminded me of the IGA grocery store chain logo:

What do you think?

The building might not be much, but the site is right on the water, with beautiful views. In fact, I caught a glimpse of the airport across the harbor, marked by the figure that as a child I called "the giant with a golf ball on his head".

And the views are also good from inside, where the knitting performance was going on.

Eight knitting machines, cones of yarn, piles of fabric ... very rhythmic, very meditative. I'm not usually a performance art person, but knitting is a way to get me in the door. Click on the photos to see bigger.

They had t-shirts, though I decided not to get one. And fortunately, since I'm not a size small, I didn't want to spend $100 on a t-shirt with added knit sleeves, presumably added by the artist. They were very cool, though.

(I took a short video of the machines in action, about 90 seconds, but given that it's been an hour and a half and it still hasn't finished uploading, I give up. I'll try it again tomorrow.)

We sat for quite some time, watching, and of course three of us were knitting. The artist had a photographer there to capture the event, and she took some shots of us, too! Pretty funny: the line between performance and observation. It was a great way to spend some time.

Then tonight I went with other friends to see Hugo, the new movie based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and it was excellent. I even approved of the 3D, which I usually am not a fan of. Some of us had read the book and some had not, so I have no qualms in recommending it to everyone.

Two days of good fun, and it's only now Friday night! This is my idea of a weekend.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Things

Behold, the clich├ęd but sincere list of some of the things that make me thankful today. I am thankful:
  • That I could go to the grocery store and buy everything I wanted, without counting the cost.
  • That I could sleep in this morning, and for the next three mornings.
  • That when I woke up this morning, I was able to grab Miri, AND trim her way-long claws, without drama. She didn't like it at all, but there was no escaping, no blood, and no falling into trash cans.
  • That I could sit on the couch this morning, Carlos sleeping on my lap, and knit while watching the Macy's parade (the coverage is seriously flawed [more below], but the parade itself is such fun).
  • For Carlos. Period.
  • For my traditional Thanksgiving morning breakfast, including the fried egg whites and pineapple juice which mean I made angel salad last night (angel salad takes egg yolks, and you drain the juice off the pineapple, leading to my own little breakfast tradition).
  • That the Bruins won last night, their TENTH GAME IN A ROW. Sorry, I don't usually shout, but that warrants a little caps-lock. Ten In A Row. Nice.
  • For a crazy chaotic friendly delicious Thanksgiving meal with friends. Fourteen at the dinner table is a crowd, but it was all good.
  • For still being full, a few hours later.
  • For heavy plans of an evening, involving the couch and (if I plan well) Carlos on my lap again.

This doesn't belong in the thankful list, but I was flipping between the two stations covering the Macy's parade, which were equally awful. It's good to have both so that when one goes to commercial, or shows a song I don't like, I have options. I want to see the parade, while they seem to think they're being a morning show about the parade. Let's go to celebrity chef John Doe in his kitchen for ideas on using up Thanksgiving leftovers! Let's not, I say; let's watch the parade. But I must be in the minority.

And I did get to see the Discover/NHL float, and Cam Neely on it! So that was exciting. But the bonehead announcer, who I know has to talk constantly for hours and is going to make mistakes but still, said that the game tomorrow is between the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Brewers. Come on, can't you read off a monitor better than that? Some other errors:

  • Changing "Madison Avenue's" into Madisons Avenue's
  • Changing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" into "Boogie Woogie Boogie Boy"
  • Referring to the NYPD marching band as being "compromised of officers" instead of "comprised"

And that's just what I noticed and remembered. Sigh. Editors of the world, unite: you have nothing to lose but your fear that no one else cares about these things.

Do you need a palate-cleanser, too? Well, check this out. Cats, Mozart, synchronized ... something-ing. It's good.

Isn't that something?

Happy Thanksgiving. Or Thursday, anyway.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Time to Make the Angel Salad

Having enjoyed my bonus afternoon off, it's now that time.

Time to make the angel salad!

Have you ever contemplated the terducken and wished for a dessert equivalent? Wish no more. Behold the cherpumple (CHERry, PUMpkin and apPLE pie):

And ... words fail me. Except to point out that the "recipe" calls for frozen pies and cake mixes.

I feel sure that I linked to a regular version of the Muppet Show clip for Mahna Mahna at some point, but I can't find it, so whatever. To enjoy this version of it, you have to understand that Dion Phaneuf is a hockey player. That's all.

People are so weird and creative, aren't they? I love it.

Happy Thanksgiving, Americans. Happy Thursday, everyone else!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Brief and Superficial

Despite a solid night's sleep last night, I am tired, and planning to go to bed early tonight, taking advantage of an off-night for the Bruins (they won last night: nine in a row!). So I will be both brief and superficial here.

Look at this picture (via Puck Daddy):

This is Vancouver Canuck Chris Higgins. The Bruins played the Canucks for seven games in June, and his name barely registers on my NHL radar. But there are two things about this picture.

On the one hand, what is he doing with his jersey, blowing his nose? We'll hope he's just mopping up sweat, but it looks dubious.

On the other hand, look at those abs. Oh mah gah.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tired, Busy, and Work Stories

I slept badly last night. Part of it was that I didn't get home until 9*, by which time I am usually winding down and getting into my pjs. Instead, I was kind of wound up, and ended up reading for a while (what, doesn't everyone do that when they're wound up? perhaps I should define "wound up" here as "surprisingly able to stay awake"), and didn't get to bed until almost 11. I slept for a few hours, but then woke and tossed and turned most of the rest of the night.

*It was totally worth it, I had a great dinner with half a dozen good friends, but oh, zzzzz.

In fact, it was one of those exasperating times when I thought I was awake more than I really was. I know this because when my alarm went off at 6, I awoke with a vivid "memory" of deciding to change the time to 6:30, then having awful trouble working the setting on the clock, where it kept flying past the time I wanted, and I would go back and whoosh too far, over and over. Dreams should not be both vivid and irritating that way.

Tonight is a unisom night, obviously.

And even though I'm tired, I got a ton done after work. Here's the list:
  • stopped at the library to pick up a book on hold
  • stopped at Ocean State to return a defective thing and pick up a few things
  • went to stitch and bitch to hang out and knit, and make plans to see this at the ICA on Friday (knitting at a museum! knitting performance art! how cool is that?)
  • went to the grocery store, and can I say that I tried to take a more direct route from SnB to the store and I ended up totally lost but remarkably calm, until I was driving over a "road" (and I use the term loosely) that was as level as a cheese grater, and at the end of this surface from hell I went down a steep what-is-this-a-driveway and was ... exactly where I'd been trying to get. only I could not retrace that route for a million dollars. weird.
  • stopped at another library to pick up more books on hold
And finally I was home, ready to collapse and watch the Bruins game. I will say that of all times in the week before Thanksgiving to grocery shop, going when the Patriots are playing Monday! Night! Football! is an excellent choice. You know the game is a big deal if I heard about it, and the store was totally reasonable. I loved it.

Work Nuggets
Today I went to the second meeting of a team I've been added to, and one person who was not there last week was there this week. This isn't someone I've met before, and the strongest waves of hostility were coming off her ... as though she was there against her will, thought it was completely stupid, and wanted everyone to know. After the meeting one of the other people at the meeting came to my desk to quietly ask if I had noticed, so it wasn't my imagination. Hostile! Weird.

(Don't read this next part if you're eating.)
My nearest neighbor at work has been minorly sick, what you might call working sick, since sometime in October. One result is that when she blows her nose, it tends to sound ... extremely productive. (I just went back and added the pre-paragraph warning. You're welcome.) Now, first off, I sympathize with her not feeling well (she certainly didn't choose to be this way), and second off*, I blow my nose a million times a day so who am I to cast stones.

*Why does that sound so odd, when "first off" sounds perfectly normal?

Still, the sound turns my stomach. I swallow hard and think repeatedly, "It's not her fault, it's not her fault." I do hope she gets better soon. (She went to the doctor today, but all he said was rest and soup. Thanks, doc.)

If you are one of those people in an office who sighs, "Oh, I have all this vacation time I have to take before the end of the year," like it's some great chore, please shut up. Think before you speak. Chances are, someone within earshot has no more time off, and would love to have your problem.


I know, that sounds bitter. It's just that I don't really understand people who don't use up their time off, and really I think it's better for you if you do take time off. Certainly it's nothing to brag about that you haven't. And especially if your absence is going to make other people have to take up the slack, just hush. Either take it as unobtrusively as you can, or don't take the time. I know, you'll lose it if you don't take it! Don't whine. The rules have been in place all year. You knew.

One drawback to working at a company that does medical-related work is that they want you to believe that NHL stands for non-hodgkin lymphoma. Everyone knows that NHL is the National Hockey League. And CCR certainly does not stand for Clinical Cancer Research. Ahem.

There was a little excitement at work. when at 4:30 the lights went flick-poof and the whole building lost power. And, it turned out, the building to either side (well, one is a gas station, but still, no power). We sat around for a while waiting to see what would happen, but the answer was not the power returning, so we were released at ten to five. So that was nice. Especially since there were some piercing beeps coming from various computer-back-up-power things (forgive the technical term), which were really grating on my nerves.

I suppose we probably will have work tomorrow, but hope springs eternal. Especially since I just tried to log in to my web mail to see if there's a message about it, and I couldn't get in. Maybe because the building still doesn't have power? Cross your fingers for me!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Remember how my new socks turned my feet stripey? Well, want to see what happened when I washed the socks?

I think most of the excess dye is now out ... but only time will tell!

Cute kitty in the house:

The paw under the chin makes this picture for me.

Have you seen this video of the big cat playing?

Does it strike you that any day now, he'll realize how close he is to the top of the fence?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Contented Cats

It's been a pretty quiet day around here, and not just for me. I looked over a little while ago and saw that the princess was conked out:

Next to her buddy, of course.

And when she hit the volume on the purr, I had to grab the camera again. Can you hear her?

Wishing you as peaceful a day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's Late. I Don't Have Much.

Between rounds of trying to herd me to bed, Carlos is skidding around after a milk-jug ring (he's newly a fan of them; Miri has loved them forever, and is especially fond of chasing them under the closet door and then looking lost). It's late, and I'm tired, but it's Friday night, and I don't have to set the alarm. So there is good.

And that's about all I can summon. So we enter the list of items tagged to "blog about", ruffle through the options, and present this:

As it says where I read about it, "Perhaps the weirdest opening sentence in a NY Times article ever." That is indeed one hell of a sentence, no two ways about it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quickly, A Stripe Story

Keeping it brief again tonight, as I have an exciting new book fresh from the library AND a Bruins game tonight, but this is something I had to share with you all. After I shut the computer down last night, I started to get ready for bed. Putter, putter, here and there, and oh let me try on the socks I got at Kohl's (yes, I bought socks! but they're over-the-knee socks, I wanted to try them). I sat down and pulled off one of my new socks, which were on their maiden voyage yesterday. (I spent part of a meeting yesterday admiring my feet surreptitiously.) I pulled the sock off ... and burst out laughing. Why?

Well, when you didn't notice any dye transfer while knitting, you don't expect the yarn to bleed, but that doesn't mean it won't. And if the yarn in question is striped, you see this:

Striped feet! I could not stop laughing. You see where it came from.

Anything for a laugh, eh? I wonder how blue the water will turn when I wash them?

Also, just for some random, I found myself driving behind a schizophrenic yesterday. I noticed the Bruins plate first, and smiled, but then I saw what was at the top of the window.

How can you be a fan of the Bruins and the Red Wings at the same time? Unless it's two different people ... I had a friend who was a NASCAR fan, Dale Earnhardt variety, and her race-going friend was a Jeff Gordon fan. You can imagine those two stickers on the same car confusing others.

Got to go!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turned Out to be a Quickie

It's raining again tonight, and as I ran some errands on the way I home, I wondered how come I keep doing this to myself, running non-urgent errands* in the rain, which complicates them so. But when I made a list earlier in the day of the places I "need" (meaning want) to go, I came up with eight** without even working at it, and that does not include the grocery store, which I will need to visit before next Wednesday unless Walmart has heavy cream for the angel salad*** (which they probably do, but anyway).

*There's very little that won't wait another day, when it comes down to it. Being out of milk is probably my most common have-to-stop item.
**Granted, two are libraries.
***Remember angel salad? I wrote about it in 2007, and mentioned it in 2008, 2009, and 2010, if you want to time travel.

So I stopped at Kohl's and at Ocean State, and while the rain and umbrella thing was aggravating, at least it wasn't cold. It's been unseasonably warm recently, which I love, though it does feel strange to be leaving work in the dark and not be cold, two things that usually go together. I really miss the daylight after work; more light in the morning doesn't do as much for me. Well, one more month into the darkness and we start heading back to the light. And there's enough going on in the next month that it will move quickly, I know.

Like tonight went by quickly! How is it quarter of ten already? When time flies, aren't you supposed to be having fun? Not making dinner and ... well, whatever else I did tonight? Hmmm.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday. Knitting, Hockey, Cat

I started the new sock Saturday night, and here it is already.

(I've made so many of this pattern that the designer has added me to her friends on Ravelry. Now that's something!)

I love how quickly this goes for me. I've even been working on other things, and still look at it. Or look at another thing I've worked on:

Can you guess what it is? I know, it's odd. I'll give you more. With the addition of some of this:

I put it on this:
And it looks more like this:

It's a cover for a kitchen cabinet knob. Not my kitchen, but a friend's; two of the doors in her new kitchen are too near each other, and the knobs bang together. She lit the Knit-Signal*, and here I come.
*Like the Bat-Signal, only different. Maybe like this:
I do love to be called on for a knitterly solution to a problem.

I'm in my little "office" writing this rather than in the living room watching the Bruins game because it's making me seasick. New Jersey scores! Boston! Boston! NJ! Boston! NJ! I can hear the game from here, but the distance helps. Though I may have to go back in there, as his furry lordship is indicating that it's laptime. The things I do for love.

As it should be.

I'll close with the Quote of the day, via Gail Carriger's blog:
"Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it."
~ Unknown
Love it! In fact, I often feel like I live in that chasm.