Monday, September 30, 2013


As I expected, the weekend was both very good and very tiring, and I need a weekend to recover from it. Still, I had good cake twice, and I have a pot of applesauce in the fridge, and got to hang out with friends, and it was worth the aftereffects.

However, I cut stitch and bitch short tonight, and now I need to go crash on the couch with Carlos, and do some nothing for a while. Please excuse me.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Of, Let's See, Oversleeping and Hockey and Knitting. And the Weekend. And Planning.

I overslept this morning: despite being a lifelong, well-habituated snooze button user, I somehow managed to turn the alarm off entirely. When I woke later and thought, "Guess I have to get up," I looked at the clock and realized why I felt suspiciously rested for a weekday: it was two hours later. Ah. Fortunately, my job (for all its faults) is neither a time-clock-puncher nor all that uptight, especially on a Friday, so I didn't have to go into panic mode, but still, no time to sit down with the paper and coffee this morning.

Which is too bad, because the coffee (which I still made, but drank on the go) was particularly good. I was at the grocery store last night picking up a few things, including coffee creamer, and found that salted caramel mocha "season" is back. Mmmmm! (I put it in quotes because believe me, if such a season existed, I would know it.)
I'll be happily buying that as long as the "season" lasts.

The Bruins won their game last night, which is meaningless but nice. After I posted that I was going to listen to it, I turned the radio on to find, instead of the Bruins game that one of the blogs told me would be on, a talk-radio discussion of the Red Sox instead. Humph! I turned it off, but shortly thereafter it occurred to me that:
  1. It takes two teams to play a hockey game.
  2. Their opponent last night was Winnipeg.
  3. As a Canadian team, I bet their radio station was carrying it!
So I listened to the rest on the game on the home of your Winnipeg Jets, thank you, and will be doing the same tonight. Pretty funny. The wonders of the internet age! Sitting on the couch with the iPad, listening to a radio station hundreds of miles away, in another country.

My weekend plans are many and social, which is unusual for me. I have a family-style dinner Saturday night, in honor of my friend's daughter turning 9 (she's the one getting the present I didn't knit, remember?). On Sunday I'm going out to my friend's in central MA and we're making applesauce, then I drive back to have a pot luck dinner with a group of friends. Whew! Lots of good stuff there, but I have to fit all the usual weekend stuff like laundry in too. Which is why I just started that now, despite enjoying the sloth of a Friday evening. I did hang out on the couch for an hour after I got home, so I'm pacing myself. I had to try these, picked up at Trader Joe's tonight:

Peas! I would scorn their non-fresh-picked-ness in June, but at the end of September, delightful. Though there is a typo on the label.
It says "ready to use" but I'm sure they meant "ready to eat"--and I did!

Now, not that you asked, but the biking has been something I've done almost every day lately. I mean, look, the sock went from here on August 31st:
To here today (well, after yesterday, I haven't ridden yet tonight):
Not bad in a month, eh? That's a lot of puffing and straining. Just keep knitting, just keep knitting: I started the heel flap last night.

It's funny to me to notice how my stamina varies so much day to day. I mean, I never feel energetic, that's just not my nature, so I wouldn't say I notice a difference in how tired I am from one night to the next. But some nights it's all I can do to bike for five minutes before I have to rest, while other nights I can do twice that--not happily, but it's not impossible. Weird.

Also, not only haven't I noticed any change in how my clothes fit (yet, I hope), in the last week or two I have again been noticing that unpleasant sensation that my stomach is sitting on my lap. Which: what the hell is up with that? I weigh myself every week or so, and while it goes up a pound, down a pound, I've not gained anything to speak of. Ugh.

Let's not end on that note. I've seen some fun stickers on cars lately. Here are a few:
Also, the closest parking job I've ever seen.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Little Bits, This and That

Last night, I was cutting something up, and my hands were having a tough time of it. They're still useful, don't get me wrong, but their strength has degraded significantly in the ten years since my arthritis first manifested, and the last week or so, they've been in one of their periodic grumpy states. They hurt so much last night that it felt not just painful but really sad, because it's only going to get worse.

Stories that are not over yet
So, I got to drive the loaner again--yes, the car started to make that noise again, so back to the shop it went. They decided that the left strut part must have been defective, and put in a new one--and the noise went away, they reported, as though it didn't do that last week, too. We'll see if the noise stays away this time. I'm getting right sick of going there, not to mention the trips I have coming up in a few weeks. Reliable wheels would be nice.

Also, I got a bill from the lab work, saying that I owe them 50-some dollars that the insurance didn't cover. So I have to call the insurance, again, about that. Sigh.

I went to get a voice-mail off my cell phone recently and, not for the first time, forgot my password. Not that I drew a blank--rather, the number I was certain of was rejected. Hmm? I think I used my ATM code, since I had been at the bank that morning. I guess I need to make them the same. Too many passwords, not enough brain cells, apparently.

I did remember it again, but it took a while. Oy.

My lunch today did not agreee with me, and my stomach is still rumbling over seven hours later. Two things about that:
  1. It was leftovers from dinner last night, which caused no internal distress at all. Perhaps because I had a Coke with it last night? Would that make a difference?
  2. Did you know there's a word for stomach rumbles? Borborygmus. There is your thing for the day.

An example of how I'm not useless at work even with a moderate migraine (not today, mind you): doing a final read-through on a report, I look at "anti-diabetic" and think, "Didn't I see 'antidiabetic' elsewhere?" And I did. So.

Setting up job search alerts reminds me of how challenging my field is to job-search in. It isn't that there are no jobs, but finding them in the weeds of the terminology is "fun". Different people mean different things by "edit" and "proofread"; also, you have to watch for titles like "editorial manager" which typically do not involve editing, but managing the editors. Ugh!

Have I already mentioned that my mother is coming for Thanksgiving? With appropriate levels of pleasure and enthusiasm? Well, double that, since now my brother is coming too! We will be a little snug here at Casa di Cat Hair, but it will be fun! Particularly since my brother, having just started a new (permanent!) job, won't be coming east for Christmas.

Sometimes when I'm googling things at work, I wish I could set the search to not bring up images. Why is it that you can do an image search, but not a text-only search? Is that possible? I mean, why are they so sure I want to see images of lichen planus overlap? I didn't!

Time for couch, Carlos, and Bruins game on the radio! What's on YOUR mind?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Quickly, a Picture and a Question

I went to knitting tonight (alt group) and got nicely along on the shawl, but then I got home and the evening panic is setting in: no time! Put dinner away! Pet the cat! Ride the bike! Get to bed!

So let me just say this, that this card illustrates the exact reason why I changed the "see updates" thing on one of my Facebook friends (to not see his updates, I mean):
If you're on Facebook, what annoys you when people do it?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Well, It Amuses ME!

This may not strike others as being quite as funny as it does me, but that's the way it goes sometimes.
Not that I'm quitting before I have another job, but ... still.

Another thing that may not be for everyone, since not everyone is:
a) a hockey fan
b) enough of a hockey fan to follow the pre-season
c) enough of a Toronto or Buffalo or Boston fan to get all these jokes
But if you fit in that cross-section enough to know that Phil Kessel had a disciplinary hearing with the league this week, and why, you might just chortle as I did at hockey humorist Down Goes Brown's secret transcript of the hearing. Me, I'll just be over here giggling at it.
Tyler Seguin: Hey guys.
Shanahan: You have nothing to do with this case.
Seguin: Sorry. I'm legally mandated to show up at least once in every Phil Kessel story. It's a Toronto bylaw.
So! What's amusing you lately?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mystery pain

A couple of times tonight, I've felt a sudden, stabbing pin-prick in my left elbow. There is absolutely nothing to be seen, but it feels like someone gave the voodoo doll a vicious jab. The hell?

I've a bit of a headache, and the Bruins game is on NESN, so, good and bad. As life does.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Of This and Also That

This has nothing to do with anything, but I was just on Amazon looking at cat toothpaste*, and I can't believe that they have either "vanilla mint" or "maple" flavor options. He's a cat! Beef, chicken, fish, sure, but maple? What gives?
*I know, the excitement never ends. I'm supposed to be brushing Carlos's teeth, but he didn't like the sample the vet sent me home with, so I have to try something else. Not maple, though, surely.

Oh! And a funny story that also has nothing to do with anything: yesterday I got a phone call from a woman trying to sell me a deal on carpet cleaning, who explained that the company doesn't do advertising, but relies on "mouth to mouth". I managed to say, "I'm not interested thank you" and hang up before I burst out laughing, though perhaps if I had laughed in her ear, she would have realized what she said. In case she runs across this, ma'am? I believe you meant "word of mouth" there.

I have a few knit things to show off that are none of my making, which always feels funny, as a knitter. In fact, one of them is something I bought, for a friend's daughter's ninth birthday, and I even wrote on the card that it isn't something I made, because I felt I had to explain. However, I saw this really cute scarf in the store, and thought she would enjoy it. It's something I could make, theoretically, yes, but not in time, and anyway. Super sale.
Fun, right? It reminds me of the loops of ribbon on the Christmas tree.
The brand I had vaguely heard of, Little Miss Matched, and do you see the suggested retail price?

$49.00? Not what I paid, thanks.
The yarn to make it would cost far more. I also got this fun little tote to "wrap" it in.
So there's that. The other item is a hand knit, by one of my knitting friends. Is this the cutest baby hat ever? Possibly.
But wait, don't miss the back.
Love it!

In news of my own knitting, I don't have a new picture of it, but the shawl for my aunt is coming nicely. I finished the third repeat of chart A, and decided to do one more. I think this will be enough, but I'll decide when I get to that point. And get pictures, too! I went out to run errands today and squandered some perfectly good daylight. On the other hand, I paid less than $16 for a contour pillow* that had a list price of $75, and I filled the car with (cheap) gas and bought cat food and litter and groceries, so it was still a win for the day.
*Which will hopefully support my chiropractically adjusted neck better than my old foam one was doing; I keep waking up with an achy head, and I suspect the pillow is the culprit.

I think that's all for now. I want to try and get a few more things done around here before bed time, and you know how that sneaks up on me, on a Sunday night especially. Perhaps I will start with dinner.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fortunately, Today IS Friday

Good thing it is Friday: with arthritis in my hands, I shouldn't be punching anybody.

This morning Miri jumped up on the bed, but landed on my midsection and freaked out, leaping off again in a fairly painful way. She didn't leave bloody skid marks, so I got lucky there, but still, that's no way to wake up. Fortunately, the fact that the day was Friday redeemed it from being *that* day, if you know what I mean. It wasn't a great day, but it was all right, and then it was done and it's the weekend.

As far as the mystery car noises, we seem to be okay. I took the car back to the shop after work, and since they were busy, took a loaner with the expectation that they would look at it tomorrow. However, I got a call about an hour later (I was almost home, having run an errand on the way) that it was in fact related to last week's repair*; they adjusted the something in the something (bolts?) and it's supposedly all better now.
*I suspect that the possibility it was is what had them looking at it tonight.

I guess I could be irritated that they needed to follow up, but honestly I'm too relieved that it wasn't some new, unrelated, and potentially expensive thing going wrong, as can happen with a car of a certain age.

My third-string worry, by the way, was that they were going to find something totally ridiculous, the equivalent of a can of cat food rolling around making noise. How embarrassing would that be? Though perhaps it should have been my second concern, as embarrassment is cheaper than most repairs. Whatever. I'll take the loaner back tomorrow and get my hopefully back-to-normal car again.

The loaner, by the way, is a Toyota Corolla, 2012 according to the tag on the key, and still smells a little new. Even if I only drive it for 20 miles, it's been fun.

Another fun thing this week, of which there are a few even if I have to look hard for them, is that yesterday I took part in my first yarn-bombing! Which really is an actual thing, if you didn't know: there's a whole Wikipedia page, or you can Google it and have hours of fun. My stitch and bitch decided to yarn-bomb a little tree outside our regular meeting place, as a kind of art project, and when I say little tree, I mean little tree.
Here's the whole tree, Before.
As I mentioned, I made a piece of no-pattern knitting, and here it goes, being attached.
Here you can see my bit, and part of the next one down.
There's another down below that I didn't get a good shot of. As you can see from these next shots, we were losing light. But one of my friends made these long skinny bits to wind around the branches, which came out super-cool.
She wants to do a few more, so I'll try to get more/better pictures. There's one other bit too, which went onto a nearby lamp-post.
It was all a lot of fun to put up, even in the grumpy mood I brought with me yesterday, and possibly the best part was the expressions of people walking by. Only a few actually asked*, but you could tell that a lot more were wondering, What the hell...?
*Based on the reaction of one of the people who did ask, I don't think the concept translated well into Chinese. She looked more confused after the answer than before.

I then went home and listened to the Bruins lose spectacularly, which is far less upsetting in a meaningless preseason game than it would be later in the year, but still wasn't all that fun. As the Stanley Cup of Chowder blog cleverly headlined it:
I h8-2 See That
Yup. It was bad. Rematch tomorrow, and Bergeron's finally playing, so I hope for better things.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bleargh. Zzzz. Sigh.

By the time I could have blogged last night, I just didn't feel like it. (I'm also sad tonight because today was my friend's last day at work. Curses.) I haven't come straight home from work one night this week, and I've been getting to bed late as I try to get things done, and I'm feeling a little stretched.

Tomorrow night I wanted to come straight home, but of course the car, not content with the money I put into it last week, started to make a funny creaking noise that I can't pin down, so I'll probably end up going to the shop after work instead. Honestly.

Hopefully I'll sleep late on Saturday and Sunday, and that should help a great deal. For tonight, meanwhile, I'm choosing bed over bike. And over blogging longer, for that matter.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Not All, But More From Sunday

So, when I mentioned on Sunday night that I'd been out all day, and put up one picture of a flower, I bet no one thought, "Wow, she took a picture," right? More like, "Wow, how many more pictures did she take? And will we see them all?" And the answer is, a lot, and most! Many of them are of flowers, since we were in Shelburne Falls and walked over the Bridge of Flowers, but there were a few others that I'll lead with.

Such as, a possible winner for the category of Theoretically Dubious Tourist Attraction: Glacial Potholes. No, really.
Yup. You can read more about them on the sign at the corner.
Or the sign overlooking.
They're actually quite pretty, in a peaceful, rocks sort of way. It's right off the main drag; I'm not sure I would have chosen to go way out of my way to see it, but I wasn't sorry to spend a few minutes there on a beautiful day.
Best of all, don't miss this sign:
Happily for my peace of mind, there was no "sudden release of water" while we were there.

On the way down that street, a woman came along with the tiniest little dog, which was so happy to have its picture taken, it couldn't stay still..
But I got a slightly better shot for giving you an idea of size.
I asked the woman how much the dog weighed, and she said three pounds. Apparently they were told it would get up to ten, but the vet said no, that's it.

I bought a book off the dollar rack outside the bookstore.
It was published in 1891. Check out the end papers!
A dollar. What a world. Fun reading ahead!

Now, what with the bike to be ridden and the cat requesting attention again, I'd best stop here. More on this later!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hockey Time!

Can you believe it's hockey time again? The Bruins are playing their first preseason game tonight, up in Montreal. It isn't on TV (well, except on the NHL Network, which I don't get), but it's on the radio, and I've been enjoying it. Jarome Iginla with the first of the season, the first of two power-play goals for the Bruins in the first! Pretty wild.

Meanwhile, my favorite Bruin, Patrice Bergeron, is going to be keeping a diary for this season, yay! He's so amazing. It's even fitting that his first entry is titled "Nobody's Perfect" because he's modest on top of everything else. Take a gander at this, about the end of last season:
I don’t think I would have played had there been a Game 7. I don’t think the doctors would have let me. Because my lung was collapsed 30 percent, I don’t think I would have been able to play.
Yeah, not "I wouldn't have been able to play," but "I don't think they would have let me." With a collapsed lung. And "a separated shoulder, broken rib, torn rib cartilage". Yikes, man.

He ends the piece with this gem:
Hopefully there are many more years ahead of me.
I hope so, too! He's been a Bruins for 10 years, but he's only 28, so he could keep going for some time, thank heavens.

In non-Bruins hockey news, there was a story earlier this month that caught my attention. It's a fact of life that people make mistakes; I hate making them myself, and try hard not to, but they happen, and I do think that how you handle them is almost more important than not making them (a laudable goal, but not one easy to attain). So a good example of this came up in the hockey world, when the Nashville Predators, who are often referred to as the Preds, sent out a letter to season ticket holders that concluded, "Go, Perds!"

Embarrassing? Sure. But they handled it with humor and, in my opinion, turned the story into a positive. Well done, Nashville.

Now, Iginla just scored again, and I'm off to concentrate on the rest of the game. I truly believe the score in a preseason game is meaningless ... but I'm still really enjoying listening. Go Bruins!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quick, Tired, Happy

I was out all day, in western Mass with friends, and I'm tired and there's dinner to clean up from and the bike to ride, and I haven't even looked at the newspaper today. But I just wanted to say, it was a very good day, and I hope yours was too.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Knitting Updates Galore, and a non-knit video at the end

Time to update the state of the knitting around here! Don't you think? Yes, me too. Away we go.

The purse sock is not much farther along, but I will show it to you anyway. Because I can.
The bike sock is making more noticeable progress, and yes, I am proud of that. Stupid hateful bike riding is producing this pretty:
Not exactly much to look at, perhaps, but it feels soft and lovely, and will be a good option to have in the drawer for the days which require a less flashy foot.

So there's that. I've finished one thing, a piece of random knitting for a little yarn-bombing project my knitting friends and I are doing. I can't wait to get pictures of it in place, but here it is Before. For now, you'll have to imagine it wrapped around a tree trunk.
This is Bernat Scandia yarn that my mother got for me last year at the charity place she volunteers. A whole bag of skeins and balls, and I discovered as I was knitting that at least in that ball, it was not all one piece. Whoops! Totally not a problem in this project (I didn't even work the ends of the knots in, because the wrong side will be against a tree trunk), but it wouldn't have been a welcome surprise if I had been knitting something else. Now I know. The yarn is thick-and-thin, cream colored with blue and green and teal parts. Turned out nice, eh?

And I made a quick catnip mouse, so though you've seen them before, here's another.
Did I ever show you the finished wedding present blanket? I know I showed it almost done, but here it is done and drying, last weekend.
Looking at the picture, I see it looks as though there are holes at the bottoms of the X parts. They're shadows, for the record.

Finally, the shawl I'm making for my aunt is moving along nicely. The way the pattern works, you do the set-up bit, then repeat chart A twice (or more, if you want), then do chart B. Here it is after one go at chart A.
I'm quite pleased with how it's going. Once I got over my early self-inflicted problems, the pattern has moved well, and I like how it's looking.
The yarn also feels nice, which is pleasant to work with.

And that is your knitting update, all the news that's fit to print.

In closing, let me say that this video (via a friend on Facebook, from here) broke through a bad mood and made me smile very much today. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Various Tidbits

As the season turns, summer edging away and fall creeping nearer, we've been getting cooler nights and days when it feels warm in the sun but decidedly chilly in the shade. The first leaves are turning, some apples are ready for picking, and I recently had cider for the first time this year. That said, what is up with the weather this week? It had been getting quite chilly (the breeze coming in the window Sunday night was really cold), but the forecast highs for the week, when I checked Monday morning, were basically 70, 80, 90, 80, 70. Weird, right?

I don't know that it actually hit 80 Tuesday; I didn't go out at lunch because it was pouring, but at 4:30 it was no more than 75. Wednesday was definitely warmer, and humid! Lord, so humid. I ate lunch outside and the warmth was so nice, but the humid was hard to breathe through. (In discussing North Carolina's summer weather with a friend recently, I was asked if one could bicycle in it, and I said sure, if you like to bike with a wet wool blanket over your face.) Today wasn't quite that warm, but still, maybe 85, warm and humid. Yet tomorrow it's supposed to hit 70 and rain. Ugh.

I was at least half-planning to go up to Wilmington on Saturday and watch some of the Bruins training camp, but I found out that they're having it in Boston instead*, and now I'm not sure. By simple mileage, Boston is closer, but for ease of getting there, I find Wilmington easier. Of course, Ristuccia is always freezing, and there's the fun of seeing them in the real arena, but... I don't know. Probably not. (Particularly since my fellow Bruins maniac can't go.)
*Oh, they're in Wilmington, all right. On Monday. Thanks.

My mother reports that the weather guy on grandma's local-cable-news station breathlessly announced the possibility of penny-sized hail, maybe even dime-sized.

For the sake of any non-US readers, I will point out that our dimes are slightly smaller than pennies. Bigger in value, sure, but as a unit of relative size? Not so much.

I was in the ladies room today when two women walked in talking. One had apparently just told the other that she had no shame, for the other said quite cheerfully, "I have absolutely no shame." And then she added, "It makes the day more interesting."

Which left me wondering whether it was having no shame that makes the day more interesting, or something else that they were talking about. I'll never know, of course, but what do you think?

Fuck, now someone ELSE I like at work is leaving. That makes my three favorite people there, leaving over the course of three months. I have to find another job!

Am I over-generalizing about the younger generation, or do you think it's true that when they get a job, instead of thinking (as I would), "Oh good, now I'm set," they instead think, "Well, let's try this, and if it's not right, move on in six months or a year"?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Gray Day, Literally and Figuratively

You know, I was just looking forward to paying off the last of that big vet bill, and then I foolishly took my car into the shop for a tire two tires two tires and rear brakes two tires, rear brakes, and wipers, and it turns out that the struts are leaking, too, and the shocks are rusty, and even if I put off that last one, we're still looking at almost $2000. Ow, damn it! This is not what I want to be spending my money on. This is not fun. Being a grown-up sucks, so much more frequently than I ever thought it would.

I had to run a couple of errands after picking the car up, and at Target I got some therapeutic ice cream, because, damn, man. Damn.
That makes me smile a little. Even more, this snow leopard cub.

How does he look so serious and so adorable at the same time?