Thursday, January 29, 2015

What a Weird and Snowy Week

My little city officially got 23 inches of snow in the blizzard. What's funny to me is that there was less snow on top of my car yesterday than there was last Saturday, because that snow came down and stayed, whereas the blizzard blew everything around so much, I only had an inch to maybe three inches on top of the car. Of course, the snow then sloped down over the windshield and across the hood, and practically straight across to the fence, so I had to dig out the whole front of the car. But not much on the roof!

It seems as though our not-so-snowy winter is over now, as we go from snow last Saturday, to Tuesday and the blizzard, to more snow tomorrow and another storm coming on Sunday. Oof. It's supposed to be 4-8 inches tomorrow, so I already was doubting I would be getting in to work, again, when I got the call tonight: office closed tomorrow. I'm grateful that all this is happening when work is very slow, so I don't feel too much pressure to get in at all costs. And perhaps they will give us laptops before much longer, so that I can work from home in future, when there is work to do and snow in the forecast. (Corporate policy apparently does not give editors laptops, but that policy was set in southern California, where they don't have many snow days, so we're hoping to get a workaround somehow.)

Meanwhile, although my hands thankfully aren't as painful today, my hips are still very sore. I think my shoulders would complain vigorously if I tried the throw-snow move right now, but for regular use they're doing okay. I try to keep stretching them out.

Ow. You want this snow? You can have mine.

Meanwhile, the Bruins are finally playing again tonight, after the all-star break. Go Bruins! Off to knit and watch.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Snow Day Two Summary: Ow, ow, ow

Happily, my back doesn't hurt from all the shoveling. However, my shoulders, hands, and even hips are sore to the point of painful. You know you're feeling the fatigue when you go to put on your coat and it seems very heavy.

Then there are these guys. 
I claim to be the one running this asylum, but I look at them and wonder.
In happier cat thoughts, although Carlos doesn't usually choose to join me on the couch due to Belmont proximity, if I bring him up onto my lap, he will often stay, and she seems less and less bothered by his presence. Leading to this moment today.
Two in one photo! Peacefully! No hissing! It made me very happy.

Though still sore. Ow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Still Here! Doing Fine!

I am so happy to report that I still have power, and have had it all day even (she said, knocking wood in a vigorous and superstitious way). It's hard to say exactly how much snow we've gotten here, since it's very light, powdery stuff, and the wind is quite strong, but a foot or more, anyway. Thus there are drifts and bare spots, and even the usual car status photos have failed to convey the full effect.

Last night at 8, when there were only flurries, and remnants of Saturday's snow.
This morning at 9, not at first glance looking all that different, right? Not much on the car, anyway.
But look how deep it is on the neighbor snow-blowing. Knee-high, maybe? Oh.
I went out twice today and dug out parts of the around-the-car area, but given both the blowing conditions, and the fact that our plow guy hasn't been back in a while, decided that was enough until tomorrow. Sufficient unto the day is the snow thereof. I got a call confirming that the office is closed tomorrow, as I guessed it would be, so there's time.

For knitting, and audiobooks, and reading ... speaking of which, I got Randall Munroe's book What If? out of the library, and in addition to being entertaining and (in its own oddball way) informative, it gave me this lovely word: apricity, meaning the warmth of sunlight in winter. I love this word. He says it's his favorite word; it might be mine, too.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Home and Waiting to Hunker Down

The office closed early today, and will be closed tomorrow at least, and possibly/probably a day or two beyond (the boss said she sent a message to corporate headquarters, which is in sunny southern California, with a link to a forecast, and said, "That."). I had a chiropractor appointment at 5, but they let me come in early instead of going out again later, so I am now home, adjusted, and ready (or as ready as I can be) for the feet (feet!) of snow that are coming.
  • Jugs of water? Check.
  • Food, for me and the cats? Check.
  • Candles and matches? Check. (Also a little flashlight and batteries, and a larger charger-type flashlight, whose charge would hold for a while, anyway.)
  • Radio and extra batteries? Check.
  • Cell phone fully charged? Check.
  • Prayers that the power doesn't go out, or that if it does, it comes back on quickly? Check.
One of my coworkers this morning was saying that she "didn't know what [she] would do tomorrow", which had me kind of at a loss. What will I do? Sleep in, play with the cats, poke around the internet, knit, read ... I don't think I'll get sick of any of that before this is over (and all of it except the interneting can be done without power, too). It's like a bonus weekend during the week, and I am all on board for that. Without "I'm not working" guilt, even , since we're so slow at work that we're doing training and studying and things. Perfect.

Of course, I'll also be shoveling around the car periodically, but I'm sick of that before it starts, so it doesn't count toward the good list. Pass the ibuprofen, and stay safe.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Yesterday's storm wasn't that bad, though it was at glad-I-don't-have-to-go-anywhere levels. The snow switched to rain for a while in the afternoon, and I went out and cleared about four inches off the car before it got any wetter and heavier. There was some more snow later, but not enough to be more than annoying to get off the car today. The roads were slushy in spots, and icy and slushy on sidewalks, but nothing too bad, really.

Then there's the next storm.

No one wants to read a BLIZZARD WATCH notice from the national weather service in the first place, right? But here are some gems that I really, really didn't want to read (I will spare you the all caps and weird spacing ... the thing reads like a telegram from 100 years ago).
  • Snow accumulation of 18 to 24 inches
  • Travel may become impossible and life threatening across the entire region.
  • This has the potential to be a historic storm.
Lovely. So. Looks like no work Tuesday OR Wednesday, I'm thinking. I'm fine on food, for me and the furries, and I went out today to rectify the low-on-cat-litter situation, since that's one thing you don't want to worry about running out of, should you get snowbound, right? And as long as I was out, I got quarters to do laundry, and picked up my holds at the library. I should be all set. We have so little work to do right now, it shouldn't even be a big deal to miss a few days. Just, ow, my back hurts already at the thought of shoveling the car out. Again and again.
UPDATE: The blizzard watch is now a blizzard warning, and the amounts are 20 to 30 inches. And if you are a Weather Channel watcher in the US, you'll know why Mary Ellen said, "Shit just got real, people," when she posted on Facebook that Jim Cantore is on his way.

I am a little scared, now.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Heading into that Weekend

Today has been a pretty good day, really.
  • It's Friday.
  • We got a free lunch at work (along with a 2015 kick-off meeting, but it was fairly painless, and hey, lunch! and lots of leftovers, so I got another couple of meals out of it).
  • I learned when I got to work that we got performance bonuses for 2014. Pro-rated, since most of us weren't there a full year, but still, unexpected money is always good.
  • This afternoon, we played a round of medical-word-origin Jeopardy, which caused much laughter and a little learning.
  • I took myself to Outback for dinner, with a bonus gift card* and a coupon from the paper. Little money, good meal, more delicious leftovers!
  •  I stopped in at the mall and, although I was unsuccessful at finding a purse**, I got my free chocolate at Godiva, and ran into a friend of a friend I haven't seen in a while and did a little catching up (I can't believe her son is 7), so not a wasted stop.
  •  Although it's supposed to snow tomorrow (boo), that does highlight the fact that I have not spent January constantly shoveling, like, say, last year.
  • And I got a few groceries after the mall, and the store was not a mob scene, nor were they out of bread and milk, so that's another win.
*They generally have a gc sale at the end of the year: buy $100 in cards and you get a $20 bonus card to be used in the first 6 weeks of the next year. Free money! Or free steak, anyway.
 **It seems I am the most picky person ever; it's frustrating to know just what you want and don't want, but not be able to find it. Also, I remember Le Sportsac bags from when I was a kid--when did they become high-end? I almost choked when I saw one for about $100.

And now I'm going back to that double-knit hat experiment I alluded to last night, and watch the NHL All-Star draft hoopla on TV. Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Gone Knittin'

Please excuse me tonight; I'm working on something. 
It may come to nothing, but I feel the urge to try. Good night!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Of Health and Hockey

I go back to the doctor in May to follow up on the latest blood pressure med, to make sure it's still working and not having unpleasant consequences for my liver or whatever*. With that in mind, and given how gung-ho my doctor is about me exercising, I decided that it would be good to have some numbers to show him (you know how I like the metrics).
*I think it was the liver he was most concerned for, but whatever: keeping track of that is his job. I'll just do the blood test and go to the appointment, then listen to what he has to say and take it from there.

For starters, I'm looking at the numbers of minutes I've been biking, since that's something I keep track of for motivational purposes, and (unfortunately) I can't look at recent weight loss numbers (sad trombone). Maybe by May, I'll see some of that! But in the meantime, I put the number of hours per week that I've exercised, going back to last May so I'll have a year's worth to show him, into a spreadsheet. This time period especially makes sense since it was at an appointment with him in November that we spoke of my trying to ride longer at lower resistance, so I'll have six months before that and six months after.

In looking it over, it seems clear that I upped my numbers just before the appointment, which was during week 27 (and that's no surprise, right?), but prior to that little push, I was doing less than an hour per week, sometimes less than half an hour. Lately? An hour, hour and a half, two hours or more. As the sock progress has shown!

May 2014 through last week:
(The low note at week 16 was the end of the SF trip [tons of walking] and jet lag; then the dip at week 32 was when I was away Christmas week, during which time I also walked nine miles on the beach over 4 days. So this chart, although showing most of my exercise, is not 100% comprehensive.)

Right now, it looks pretty good, in terms of improvement, and I'll make it my goal to continue and improve that over the next few months.

And keep trying to eat better. Last night I finally made a recipe I saw recently on Facebook, that seemed both somewhat healthy and too cute to pass up. I love rainbows (and loved a recent mood board from Tanis, as proof of that), and a rainbow pizza? Had to try it. Lookit how cute! Even in my kitchen's awful lighting (which seems fine in the moment, but is awful for photography).
From the left, that's purple potato, red onion, red pepper, orange pepper, yellow pepper, green pepper. See?

Mine didn't come out too badly, I think, not like some recipes or projects where yours looks totally unlike the original. The before shot in oven light was a bit better, actually.
And it tasted pretty good, though to be honest, from a taste perspective, I don't actually see the need for all the varieties of peppers, as cute as the rainbow is, and I would prefer the onions mixed through, and I couldn't taste the potatoes at all. But if one could cut down on the chopping, it's a pretty easy, fairly healthy meal to make, and I will keep it in mind to do again.Tonight, in fact, to use the other flatbread that came in a two-pack. I'll report back on my mods.

The Bruins managed a win last night, despite all the OMG-Tyler-Seguin-trade-we-can-talk-of-nothing-else-when-the-Bruins-play-Dallas* nonsense; given the 8:30 start, I listened to the third period on the radio, in bed, even that keeping me awake too late. Tonight's 10 PM start will happen without me, and I'll learn what happened tomorrow morning.
*Yes, Seguin scores a lot of goals. No, he would not be playing the same way had he not been traded. First, it was a much-needed kick in the ego, and second, Dallas put him back at center, which the Bruins couldn't do without bumping Krejci or Bergeron down, which, you know, was not going to happen. Let's get over it and move on (I wish).

The long-time Bruins fan in me is saddened to note the death last week of Bob Wilson, who was the radio voice of the Bruins for my childhood. He was an amazing announcer; my family routinely turned the volume off the TV coverage and listened to the game on the radio. I can still hear him, in my head, after a tying goal had been scored: "It's all brand new and shiny..." In addition to the obituary, there was a nice piece about him in the Globe on Tuesday. And this blog post has some clips of interviews with him, as well as of his work, so that was a walk down memory lane.

Also, have I mentioned how much I love a sense of humor? Because I love a sense of humor. From the NHL, of all places!

And then this, which is AHL but also awesome. 
I don't understand this, and how it doesn't slide, but it's damned cool, I think.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Five Years Is Wood? Not Wood, Please!

The traditional fifth anniversary gift is apparently wood, but Carlos would prefer treats, thank you.

On January 19th, 2010, I met my big-pawed boy for the first time. Miri the people-fearing cat was desperately lonely, and I was reeling from the loss of Harold, only seven months after my dad died, and a year after losing Pan. We needed help; we got much more. On the 21st, I brought him home. He clearly was fearful and stressed on day one.
"Is the flashy thing going to happen a lot?" Yes, dear, I'm afraid it is.
He met Miri...
And was indifferent to her (while for her, it was pretty much love at first sight).

He had catnip and went blurry with joy.
While I admired his paws, and general beauty. (He was a bit rounder, then, wasn't he?)
Every day, I took more photos of him. Clearly, I was in love.
And after all, who wouldn't be?
Just too cute.
Don't even bother arguing. This is some serious belly.
At this rate, the post will be ten miles long. We're only up to two months! Let me try to pick only the best.

April 2010, the classic "dive" sleep pose.
And the "cats are so graceful, thlurp" pose.
By May, Miri was consistently getting close to him.
And one of my favorites, the "hey, how YOU doing?" look.
In July, what appears to be two halves of different cats, glued together.
Doesn't everyone sleep this way?
Perfectly comfortable, right?

By September, Carlos had come to realize that, no, I have no limits for when I will take cat photos.
On of many "sunshine on my kitty makes me happy" photos.
And by December, Miri's wishes had come true: a cat of her very own to snuggle with. Or at.
 Carlos plays peekaboo with 2011. One year here!
Almost yin-yang.
This one is from April 2011; I passed over dozens of adorable shots but I had to put up this one.
May. I just ... I ... too many cute pictures!
June, propping up the bedside table.
November: "I don't know why you put a sweater on the cat hammock, woman. 'Drying rack,' what's that?"
Fast asleep, and looking like he's about to drip off the edge.
January 2012, two years in, looking long-legged:
February: Noble Cat Looks Noble.
March: "What are we blocking today?"
April: "¿Que?"
May 2012. Such a stress-ball.
June. "May I have a word with you?"
"The clicky thing. It is too loud. You woke me."
July, keeping me company on the computer.
In December, demonstrating that some of my knitting could have been meant for him.
January 2013, looking disapproving at three years in.
An open window in March is a thing of joy.
As are his paws, of which I have many, many pictures.
"Don't let the bear see that!"
In July, he wanted to be sure I knew he was ignoring me.
And, another night, just sleeping cute.
And in September, apparently singing. "Oh, sole meow!"
October, perplexed by pumpkins.
And snuggling with his mama.
 In January 2014, it was four years, and he continued to be knitting/blocking supervisor.
In February, we began the short-lived Tonto/George Experiment. This moment of calm was the exception.
And by mid-March, his lordship was a solo cat again. Clearly stressed about it, too.
Free to ponder such weighty questions as, "Are there enough soft things here to suit me?"
"Also, put that down and give me treats!"
In May, we muse on perspective. The literal kind.
In June, I brought Miss Belmont home, and even before the face-to-face, he could smell something was going on. "Who is this?"
I believe his main thought here is, "Oh. Great. Another cat."
By July, he was expressing cautious curiosity, when he could avoid her hissing.
And, in August, he was still smugly certain of who was mama's favorite (he's right, too).
He was not a fan of the Halloween wig on his ears. In my defense, it only stayed on long enough for a few pictures.
And that brings us to the present, five years in and here's to many, many more. Right, buddy?
 "Yes, I am all that. I know it."
Happy anniversary, baby.