Thursday, May 31, 2012

Home Again, Tired Again

Another good day, another little road trip, and my weariness is compounded now by something like this.

funny pictures - Deal With It

Typing with one hand is slow, man. And someone's tail is twitchy when I get too near.

So for now, here's this one, for the friend I visited today:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Tired Me; A Speedy Reader

I had a good but long day today, and have plans (good ones!) for tomorrow as well, so I need to get to bed. I'll tell you more after the fact: maybe tomorrow night, more likely Friday. Yawn!

Meanwhile, I read on about this test to see how fast one reads. Not truly scientific, I suppose, but it sounded fun to me (you know me), so I took it. Apparently I read quickly, at least when based on a small timed sample and three comprehension questions.
You? Come on, try it; all the cool kids are doing it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's Official!

Remove the "provisional," I got the official you-weren't-imagining-it offer today, and I accepted it. Starting Monday, I am employed again. Thank you all for the support and good wishes; it's been a long four months, but at last I return to the land of paychecks and benefits.

That alarm is going to be such a shock, though.

Meanwhile, I saw this today, and had to laugh.
Either someone at Wilson's agrees with me that peas=summer, or at least they understand how I feel. Mmm, peas.

Hmm. There seems to be something on my tail.
 Oh well.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Knitting and More Knitting. Cat and Fur

I had a nice laid-back day today, and with a good chunk of knitting time got the shawl finished. Ta-da!
Pre-blocking, in case that wasn't clear. Blocking should spread it out and open the pattern up a bit. But for this stage, I'm quite pleased with it.
Now that the shawl knitting is done, I can go back to the Tardis that got put aside for it. Though I also want to start another Wingspan, so we'll see how long I can hold off on that. I may have wound one of the skeins for it when I was winding the second skein for the heart shawl, maybe.

In other knitting, I was at a cook-out yesterday, and got through the heel flap on the current sock. But then I noticed that I'd messed up a row or two there, near the top. It wasn't glaringly obvious to look at, though I could see it when I looked.

I might have left it that way, since my general feeling with socks is eh, it's just going on my foot, who cares as long as it fits. But I could feel the difference, and I was afraid that it would be uncomfortable to wear. And that is not acceptable to the owner of these delicate feet.

So today I frogged back a few rows, learning in the process that this yarn is pretty split-prone. Not a quality I admire in yarn! I love the colors, but picking the stitches back up was an extra PITA. I probably won't get it again. Live and learn. From the comments on Ravelry, others find it splitty too, but several mentioned that finished socks wore very well, so I have hope for my FO here. I haven't noticed any yarn color bleeding onto my hands, as some did, but perhaps that's more with really dark colors.

Once the re-do was complete, I turned the heel (twice, since I messed up the first time, good grief). This remains my favorite part of socks: turning a corner in yarn:

Tonight Carlos had a session with the serious fur brush. He purred the whole time, and I removed about .57 of his total fur.
That's an estimate. He looks exactly the same as he did before, but dude, that was a lot of fur coming out.

I need to catch the princess and work on her, too; she gets mats in the hindquarters, with all that fluff. God help me.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cat Pictures on a Muggy Day

Yesterday morning, waking to the sound of a circular saw in the neighborhood, I looked at the clock to see that it was five minutes of 8. A bit early for construction, even on a weekday, I think. Then last night, kids across the street were playing basketball in the driveway at eleven PM, which, come on, even on a weekend, thump, thump, thump ... it was quarter to 12 before they stopped, and I was ticked.

Today is warm at least, but it's mostly cloudy and I miss the sun. I've been puttering around, accomplishing a little, mostly knitting. Each row on the heart shawl takes me 10-15 minutes now, so though I'm getting close to the end, there are still a few hours to go. There are worse ways to spend the day! It's a bit muggy, though, so I've been taking regular popsicle breaks.

funny pictures - Deal With It

Carlos doesn't quite do this, but he has been known to jump up when I'm at the computer and lay down across my arm. It has a way of getting my attention.

 Who, me relax? Never.
Maybe if I hide behind my tail, she won't see me.
 Can't you leave us alone?
 Happily dreaming of Carlos.

 I heard that.
She may be part bat. Or part rabbit!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Celebrating and Sharing (or not)

Last night, to celebrate the job offer (which I haven't gotten in print yet, and which therefore makes me feel like I should be calling it The Theoretical Job Offer), I took myself to dinner at Outback, and it was marvelous. I got what I always get, and love: the bread, the garden salad, the filet, the baked potato, the sundae ... mmm. It occurred to me afterward that it's remarkably similar to my childhood favorite meal of steak, mashed potatoes, and peas.

I had the leftovers for lunch today, and Carlos could not believe that I wasn't sharing.
funny pictures - Lolcats: Can has?

I am so mean.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Provisionally, Whew!

Wasn't today the longest day? I had the attention span of a gnat, kept eating and eating, got very little done, and was busily checking and re-checking e-mail. At 4, I finally decided I'd better throw the towels in the washer, and when I came back up, there was a message on my phone. Argh! The first time all day (other than showering) that I was away from the phone, and then she calls? Figures!

Anyway, I called her and got her voice-mail, but she called right back and detailed the offer*, and It Will Do. Will I be throwing money here there and everywhere? No. But it's actually a bit more than I was making at the last job, even without considering that the last company was laying off and this one is hiring. And benefits and all! Whew.
*She's going to e-mail it, too; I want to see it in print!

Not only that, she asked if I could start June 4th. Oh, must I have some more time off, and this time without job-hunting? Well, if you insist! Whatever works for you! Whatever will I do with ten stress-free days? Off to fantasize ... and put the laundry in the dryer.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Today Update

I got some really cute pictures of the cats today, and I can't wait to ... what? What did you say? That there's bigger news than that today? Why, what do you mean?

Oh, the interview? Oh, yes, that. Well, sure. And you want to know about that before you see cat pictures? Even really cute cat pictures?

Well, okay. No accounting for tastes.

I'll cut to the chase: it went well. Very well. It started with how impressed they were with the editing test I did last week, and ended with her stating her intention to talk to the woman in HR about sending me an offer. That kind of well.

In fact, it was less like a tell-me-about-a-time-when-you interview, and more like she wanted me to understand the company, what they do, and what I'd do there, so I could decide if I want to accept their offer. I'm not sure she asked me a single direct question, other than a semi-joking, "So, have I scared you off?" toward the end. And my answer to that was no, so we'll see what the offer looks like, and go from there.

Now can I show you cats?

This last one, of course, is not a cat, it's a car I was behind driving home today. I was puzzled when I first saw it, since snoozing and driving are not usually that similar.
After being behind her for a few miles, though, I started to see the similarities. Your average Boston driver in a 35 mph zone will do about 42. She was doing 29. Zzzzz.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shopping For Fun and Therapy

I did my part, yesterday and today, to boost the local economy. You're welcome.

First, I bought a t-shirt. Yes, another t-shirt. Yes, another hockey t-shirt. Yes, another Bruins Stanley Cup t-shirt.

I don't need another t-shirt, but I needed this t-shirt:
Last year's to-do list. All checked off! I'd seen this one around, and me wants it.

By the way, if you're local and a sports fan, Newbury Comics has a surprisingly good selection of items for the local teams*, though I think of them as a place for music and offbeat collectibles and buttons, all of which they do still have.
*Some of it is kind of weird, as is their wont, but I was tempted by a lot of things.

In fact, I bought a button for a friend:
I happen to know she agrees with this because a few years ago, she knit the planets in the solar system, then hung them Pluto-centric. She was delighted with the button.

I stopped by a local independent bookstore (not so many of them around, are there?*), and bought the new Charlaine Harris. I'd read it from the library, but wanted to own it. The woman who rang me up commented on the pretty cover, I guess for the colors. Not the bats.
*It occurred to me that I have more small yarn stores close to me than I have bookstores. I love the yarn, don't get me wrong, but where are all the bookstores?
Today I went up to Coveted Yarn in Gloucester, for three reasons:
  1. I wanted longer cables for the interchangeable needles I got, so I can see the shawl better as I work on it.
  2. I had a coupon for 10% off the total purchase.
  3. It was a good distraction on the day before the interview, when I had time to fill without over-thinking interview prep.
The yarn will be revealed another day, when I can get better pictures, but I did get a fair bit of it, yup. I was in there for more than an hour, and only one other customer came in the whole time, which is a little sad for such a great store, plus a huge contrast to the way it is during the yarn crawl, when you can barely move around. I felt like I actually got to see everything today, taking it slowly and going around and around. It was very therapeutic.

And the longer cable totally does what I wanted it to: spread out.
Slow progress is being made. Not only is it not social knitting, I have to count the stitches after every right-side row so I can catch mistakes before fixing them is too hard (I miss a lot of yarnovers, or throw in extra ones, but fortunately they are easy-peasy to fix when purling back on the wrong side). It takes concentration, so I suppose it's fortunate that I like how it's coming out.

Back to shopping! Well, lunch first, since I can't pass Woodman's at meal time without stopping. Similarly, if I'm going up to the north shore, that means I'm passing right by Savers and the Used Book Superstore in Danvers, so why not stop?

I found three things in Savers: a brand new bath rug, so soft; a nice grey sweater, cardigan style, apparently new as well; and an LBD. No, not a little black dress: for me it was a little brown dress. I hesitated over it on the hanger, a simple sleeveless sheath, then fortunately decided to try it on. Take my word for it, it looks much better on me than on the hanger!
About knee length, no weird gaps around the arms, overall pretty flattering. I didn't find anything there that would be good with it, but at home I canvassed the closet, and I think I'll wear this over it:
Have to see how it looks on, but I think it will do nicely. The top is one my mother brought me, from the charity shop where she volunteers. The dress cost me ten bucks. Not bad!

The bookstore is the same one where I had the unbelievable lucky find last month. I knew that wouldn't happen again, but I was hoping, in the same yeah-right way as last time, that I might find a copy of T. Tembarom, because that copy I got off eBay? Actually has a binding problem, not with the quality of the job but with a whack of pages in the middle being out of order, duplicated, and missing. See? Page 138, meet page 199.

I can't believe this copy has been hanging around this long and no one threw the book out! I love books, but the content is the point. If you can't read the story, why keep it for the shell?

Yes. Again. On the left, the copy with the page problem; on the right, the one I found today. It's not in quite as good shape, in one way, but it does seem to have all the pages, and in order, which is an improvement. I won't toss the first one until I've read through the second to be sure. This way is better than the other.
The thought crossed my mind that perhaps another FHB fan's library had been donated, which would explain both The Shuttle and T. Tembarom being there (though not two copies of The Shuttle), but I looked closely and didn't see another book by her in the whole vintage area. So if I find another one the next time I'm there, we'll know that something crazy really is happening.

That's it for the shopping day(s), though I did notice and wonder at a car in a parking lot:
Why two, do you suppose? Theories?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Complaints About New Blogger, with bonus cat photos

Swistle touched briefly in her post today on the new Blogger interface (the behind-the-scenes part of the blog), specifically about how much she hates it, "even after giving myself time to get used to the change since I always initially resist change". That made me laugh first because I'm exactly that way myself, and second because I have been keeping a list of all the things I hate about the new Blogger interface, so I wouldn't forget any when it came time to post complainingly about it. So I think now is the time! If you don't care, just nod and go to the end for the cat picture (and a little news).

In no particular order:
  • The Preview feature shows the post filling the whole screen (no sidebar), and without the title. Or in other words, not at all like it will look when published. Helpful. The composition pane actually looks more like the final product than Preview does.
  • There is often an extra space at the beginning of paragraphs. This is one of the Twelve Approved Ways to Drive Your Proofreader Insane.
  • If you add in a bunch of pictures and then dare to move any around, it completely messes up the spacing between them, leading to vast spaces that you can't see or delete in the composition pane.
  • Speaking of photos, mine often will appear in the pop-up upload window the right way up, but appear in the post sideways. I have to go back, re-load the picture, tell it to turn clockwise, tell it to turn counterclockwise, then insert. This may be something funky from Picasa, or something between Picasa and Blogger, but it's all Google, it should work together, just fix it!
  • When I upload a bunch of photos, it assumes I want to insert them all at once, and I have to de-select all the ones I'm not ready for.
  • Then, when I go back to insert the others, the photos are often not visible on the pop-up. They're there, they can be selected and added, I just can't see them, so I can't see which ones are which. Very helpful.
  • And even when you've added the photos to the post, they stay in the pop-up window. In case you want to put them in a second time, I guess, like I do that a lot. Maybe I should start?
  • The calendar is Monday-through-Sunday. I believe I am not the only person who mentally defaults to a Sunday-to-Saturday view. That's the way we do things in my country, and seeing it another way messes with my mind something awful. (The Boston Ballet's website does the same thing. Perhaps it's supposed to be cool and European? It isn't, though, it's just annoying. For that matter, the BB's website is so incredibly unfriendly that every year I call to get Nutcracker tickets instead. And you know I will always do things online instead of calling if at all possible. [This week I had to file my Unemployment by calling, since the website was having technical difficulties, and it was just so much more annoying.] But trying to get seats in a specific spot in the theater is, I have found, not possible online. Whereas the phone people are wonderful and friendly and helpful and everything phone people should be and almost never are. To sum up this incredibly long digression on the Boston Ballet: the website is an uncategorical FAIL, but the phone center people are all WIN.)(Whew.)
  • This one is a tiny change but continues to stymie me: In the toolbar at the top of the composition pane, the button to add a link used to be a couple of little chain links, like this: . It's for links, it's a chain, get it? Well, in the new interface, they replaced it with the word Link, there in the middle of all the symbols, and my eye keeps skipping over it. It's been a month or more since they forced the new interface on us, but I still keep looking for the chain. I link a lot, and it's pretty annoying.
  • When I'm looking at the posts that exist for this blog, if I switch it to only show posts that have been published (as opposed to drafts), I can't search. I have to be on All Posts to search. (I initially thought you couldn't search posts at all, which I do a lot, and I was pissed! But it turns out you can ... just not everywhere, which is weird.)
  • Finally, I was typing away one day when Google logged me out, mid-sentence. WTF? I had to reenter my password, and it lost the last bit I'd written. It hasn't happened again, but once was enough to make the list.
There! I feel better. Feel free to unload your own rants in the comments if you like, on whatever subject is irking you.

I promised cats, so here we are:
She is hoping that the magical fluff powers of her tail will protect her from me and my evil intentions.
He is asleep.

Oh, and the news? The company where I had the two phone interviews and the editing test has called me in for an interview. You know, the traditional face-to-face kind. Wooo! Wednesday afternoon. Which means I will be taking a sleeping pill tonight and tomorrow night.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Sun, It Was Shining, And All Was Good

I'm very happy to report that today was an even better day than yesterday, both weather-wise and health-wise. I got to hang out at a friend's house, which involved sitting outside for a few hours in the glorious weather, eating and chatting, and enough knitting that I finished the sock when I got home.

And then (you know what's coming next, right?) choosing the yarn for the next pair of socks, because heaven forfend I don't have a pair going, to carry in my purse. It wasn't an easy choice, since I have an awful lot of yarn I'm excited to try, but I decided on a skein of Dream In Color Everlasting that I got at Webs in 2011. It's the colorway that my friend and I felt should be called Mermaid. I decided to go back to the Skyp pattern and see how it feels now that I've made two pair of the Claire's.

There's a 50% chance of rain tomorrow, and no real amounts of sun forecast before Thursday, which has me a little sad in anticipation, but today was a good day.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Not Perfect, But Better

Overall, today is better than yesterday was, though I do still have a headache, which has me disinclined to go out or do much. I suppose disinclined is an improvement over incapable! Oddly enough, yesterday my head hurt on the left and today it hurts on the right; whatever that means. My hope is that as the hormone surge subsides, so will the stupid headache.

Things I managed today before noon that I didn't do yesterday at all:
  • Scrambled an egg
  • Stayed out of bed for more than an hour
  • Went down to get the mail (yesterday's, that is)
  • Showered
  • Best of all, picked up my knitting
The head pain has held up against anything I could think of to throw at it, so I can only be grateful for the improvement, and hopeful for tomorrow. It's such a waste of sunshine, this head.

Since that's about all I have to say, I'll link to another video (embedding not allowed, boo). Have you seen the Lion Tries to Eat Baby video yet? This one straddles the line between cute and kind of creepy. The lion is trying really, really hard to get to the baby. I kind of love it that the parents are laughing, though a little bit of me is horrified, too. What about you?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ow. Zzz. Look, Meerkats!

Today was a total loss. Cramps and migraine have had me in bed just about all day, and my pattern of lie down, get up to go to the bathroom, lie down again seriously annoyed Miri, who considers that during the day I should not be in her bed.

So since I have nothing, it's fortunate that I saw this seriously cute video of meerkats interacting with the camera crews filming them.

My favorite line, spoken to the meerkat on his head: "Will you keep still up there, please." It must be hard to focus the camera while balancing a small animal on your head, don't you think?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Brain Cramps (and others)

This has felt like quite a busy week. Not that I've been busy every minute, but like I'm trying to fit in a lot of things, and many of their restrictions don't fit together well. It's a puzzle without a picture to solve it: if I do this here, then I don't have time for that, but if I move "A" to Wednesday, I'll have time for "C" and "F" on Thursday, and if I break "B" into two parts, I could do the first one this morning and the second one tonight ... I like puzzles, but I prefer slightly easier ones!

That said, today was a good day, other than cramps. The sun was out, for one thing, and you know how happy that makes me. I met a friend for lunch, and afterward we sat outside eating good ice cream in the sun. I ran a couple of errands, then met up with other friends for some peaceful knitting time. I re-started the heart shawl, which is good, but I also confirmed that it isn't social knitting for me. Must pay more attention to it, so from here on it will be knit at home. I can take it out to show it off, but that's all!

No news about the job today, so I'm glad I wasn't home all day, compulsively checking e-mail. I did talk to someone at the agency where I signed up last week, and there's a potential job for just a few days next week, straight proofing. But I think it would work out to around the same money as I get from unemployment, and since I wouldn't be able to file for next week if I worked it, the claim would close and I'd then have to re-open it, and ... it's not really worth it, I think. I told her I'd call back in the morning, so I'll sleep on it, and maybe call the unemployment office to confirm I wouldn't be screwing with the rest of my unemployment if I took it. So complicated!

I clicked on a link to a story in the Montreal Gazette about hockey, and the weirdest ad was at the top of the page.
What ... what is that picture?--what is that baby covered in?--and what does it have to do with social worker schools? Anyone?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Something to Tide You Over

I'm pretty tired tonight:
  •  I'm finishing up a bunch of laundry, which involves many stairs, and tonight also involved some flooding and a malfunctioning washer; lifting clothes out of water and wringing them out is surprisingly tiring, if you've never had the experience and were wondering. 
  • I have cramps, and a partial headache probably caused by them, though also possibly influenced by the weather system pushing its way through (Severe! Thunderstorm! Watch! proclaims the weather channel).
  • I spent much of the day quasi-working, on the editing test from the 2PIC. I'm out of the practice of work. Brain cramp!
  • Also, Carlos has the random meows tonight, and he is Driving Me Crazy. Apparently I am not spoiling him to his satisfaction tonight. Brat.
So! Watch this instead! Cats playing tetherball, how can you go wrong?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Progress and Regress

I guess if I had to chose, regression in knitting is preferable to the job-hunt, but I'd much rather have progress on both fronts. Such is life, though.

I had to frog the shawl, and will be re-starting it presently. I'd gotten it to 60 rows, which looked like this:

But if you look closely, you might be able to tell that one side was fine and the other had some problems. My stitch count was off by 2 on the right side, and I couldn't tell where I went wrong. What it meant, though, was that these two elements, which should have been identical:
Well, they aren't, are they? That wasn't the only spot, either. I considered my options, discarded the "tink back ten rows stitch by stitch" because believe it or not I value my sanity, and tried the "rip and pick up" method. My assessment was not favorable, though, and I decided that it would be better to start over. So here we are again.
Since I only messed up one side of it, I was really wishing there was a way to rip one side and keep the other, but there are limits even to the magic of knitting. Sigh. I'll get my money's worth out of this yarn, for sure, in terms of knitting time per dollar.

Meanwhile, I heard from the 2PIC that they want me to do an editing test. I assumed (there's that word) that they would have me come in to the office for that, but no, they're going to send me an actual document and have me edit it. So if I don't check in for a day or two, you'll know what I'm doing.

I also missed a call tonight from the agency about the temp job I interviewed for, so have to check in with her, too. Since things are progressing with the 2PIC and it would be "permanent" and with benefits, I think I'll turn down the temp job if offered ... but it's not an easy decision to make. My career path has been so rocky in recent years, I'm rather nervous of the repercussions of decisions I make now. You just can't know.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cautiously on Monday

I am currently tiptoeing around my head (metaphorically speaking, that is), stifling any impulse to report a lack of headache because knock wood, cross fingers, throw salt over the left shoulder and spit, do something to appease the spirits in charge of such things.

Which means that last night was awful (at one point I actually said, "Hello, rock bottom, we meet again," which actually was not rock bottom, since at rock bottom I am nowhere near so coherent, but I could see it coming in like a tsunami), and today it doesn't hurt barely at all* but I am deathly afraid it will come back. Which, when you have a headache that ebbs and flows over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, is not an unreasonable fear, if you ask me.
*I call this level one, aka "I am aware of my head"

Meanwhile, the cats continue to be cute while exercising their superpowers of sleep.

Don't let the relaxed appearance fool you, she would flee in a nanosecond if I got much closer.
The fluff kills me. Meanwhile, his highness raised his head when I came in, so technically, he's awake here.
 Just about 1/16th awake, I estimate.
The Tardis shawl is on hold while I knit some love for someone who needs it.
Hearts in yarn form. Best I can do for now.