Thursday, April 30, 2015

Color Is Coming. It Is!

Today was the second day of a sales meeting at the office, which, first, was not nearly as annoying as at my last job, where we were all in the same room all the time, and second, meant that at least along with the disruption, there was leftover food. (That I didn't have to organize; I'm still glad about that.) Plus, I wasn't super-busy, so the distraction of the noise wasn't interrupting concentration all the time. Though I did have headphones in sometimes; Mozart kicks background noise away quite well.

This week, more and more trees are (finally, finally) starting to bud and bloom, greens and pinks and whites and everything. In some places, most trees are showing color, in others hardly any, so it's hard to know how many really, but whatever, it's wonderful to see any color at all. Tomorrow's May--doesn't this seem late? I don't know if it really is, or if I'm just feeling extra color starved after this winter, but whatever. Bring it.

I want to get out and take some pictures of it to share, but until I do, here's one from last year.
Pretty! I also miss the blue sky, we haven't been having much of that lately. Hopefully soon! Cross your fingers, will you?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Please excuse me

I did manage to pick up a few groceries tonight, so I can have my smoothie in the morning. And I put them away, and ate some dinner. And now I'm going to watch a hockey game (Tampa/Detroit, game 7; I would mildly prefer Tampa to win, but eh, whatever). And maybe knit.

Here. Have a random, vintage cat photo (via Cute Overload):
The world stops for cat. As it should be.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Quick Fast, Temps, Some Yarn Progress

I had to do a fasting blood test ahead of a doctor's appointment next month, and do you know how much I hate fasting? So much. In fact, I actually don't believe in it. There is no Santa Claus, there is no Easter Bunny, and there should be no fasting.

That said, I did it, of course. The doctor's office opens at 8:30, and I was there getting it over with, and stopped at Starbucks on my way to work for food, feed me, feed me. I would have brought a smoothie with me, but I was out of fruit; I need to get to the grocery store. I was thinking of going after work tonight, but I was feeling a bit off, somehow, and just wanted to come home and chill out. Probably unrelated to the brief fast, but still, I can blame it if I want to, right?

As long as I'm complaining, how about this weather, eh? Do you realize that Friday is May first? And the forecast for that day calls for a high of? 49.


It's supposed to be 75 next Monday, and all I can say is, it had better be.

Oh, before I forget, I promised pictures of the yarn move in progress. They're crappy pictures, as Sunday was not bright enough to reach into the corner of the room, but anyway.

In the pictures last time, you could see most of the fingering-weight yarn, and some other yarns, in the bookcases I already had. I sorted those out, more or less by color, into the new cubes.
Then I started--started--sorting my other yarns by weight, temporarily in the bookcase until I can see how much I have of what. DK, sport, worsted...
Arans had been on the top shelf, but they had to move over when they outgrew it. A few bulky above.
... it's a start!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Quick Hockey Shares, Flames Edition (of all things)

I'm aware that I'm often the biggest hockey fan people know, so I like an opportunity to show that, hey, there are some massively bigger hockey fans out there. And today, that would be the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

I had to make the video full-screen to see the words below the singers, which helps those of us who couldn't name a ton of Flames players...

Mind you, I think I liked this fan video better (which was listed as a positive end to some terrible ones), but that's just me.

#Neverquit Flames Anthem from Cowtown Opera on Vimeo.

Which do you prefer?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Only To Find

I turned on the computer when I got home from dinner with friends, only to find that I'm too tired and it's too late to write. So I will just say that if you're looking for a nice restaurant in Needham, Center Cafe was wonderful: really good food, and excellent service.

And now, good-night!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Not Bad, Overall

I was slightly hampered by an on-and-off, fairly mild headache today, but overall it didn't interfere with getting things done around the house (though it did keep me off the bike, but oh well). What things, you ask?

Well, adding six loads of laundry to the four I did last night means I am all caught up, at least until I get into my night-clothes. Sheets, towels, clothes, all done. Whew.

A few small things, like trimming the cats' claws, and clearing paperwork off the kitchen table. Which I needed to do so I could use it to photograph the recently completed bike socks:
And measure the sweater I'm knitting against a sweater I like the length of, to see how much longer I want it to be.
Answer: three inches, and it will be time to move to the next step. There will be sleeves!
Then, once the table was clear, I could use it for yarn staging:
That's some of it, anyway. I mentioned I was starting the yarn sort last night: I pulled out the lace-weight, of which I have very little, but I want it to be together. And now it is.
Tonight I went through much of the fingering/sock-weight, sorting it by color, and pulling out a few things that didn't really belong in that class. Tomorrow, all being equal, I'll keep on with that, and move on to heavier yarns, and will try to get some daylight pictures to show progress. Because progress is being made! And on an even slightly headachy day, that's such a good thing to be able to say.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Random and Onward

Passing Random Thought
​I knew that this month was the sixth anniversary of my dad's death, but I realized today that the actual day is tomorrow, the 25th. It's an impossible amount of time both ways, since it somehow feels like he just died, and that he's been gone forever. How are you supposed to go on when part of your foundation is removed?

That said, it isn't as constantly painful as it was in the beginning. I can see ads for Father's Day without wanting to cry, for instance. What does still get me, for some reason, is videos of fathers at their daughters' weddings (including ones where the dad in question is nothing like mine). Even though I'm not married, nor getting married, nor all that likely to get married, I can't see those without missing him. Kind of funny, isn't it? That I would get sad about him not being at a mythical event, instead of something more concrete. The mind is a strange thing.

Meanwhile, Tonight
I've started some laundry, to get a head start on my weekend, and I'm poking at the yarn storage/moving into the office project, playing around with doing a bit of that. Both cats think I should be spending all my time with them, there's a hockey game on*, and I need to eat something other than popcorn at some point.
 *Not one I care about, but I use the playoffs to wean myself off for the summer.

Not that there's anything wrong with popcorn, but I'm still hungry. Peace, out.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

​ ​Blue Apron Update: Mixed Results So Far

I haven't decided for sure that I'm cancelling my Blue Apron subscription, but I may. I still think it's an interesting service, but the fact of the matter is that I'm not really up for cooking full, elaborate (for me), dirty-multiple-pots-and-pans meals three nights a week, no matter that I would like to expand my culinary horizons. If they had a one-meal-weekly option, that would be a much better fit for me; two would be possible; but three has just led to food wastage as life, and energy levels, have gotten in the way.

Mind you, I've actually only had two deliveries thus far. The first week, I made one meal as described, and two-thirds of another, but didn't get to the third before the turkey went bad. The second week, I did even less well. I didn't like the looks of any of the recipes that much (I didn't log on in time to see the menu before the shipment was processing), and I was busy, and, well. Pretty much a fail.

I'm trying again, though. When I looked at the recipes for next week's shipment, they all sounded pretty good, which should radically increase my chances of cooking them.
  • Sirloin Tip Steaks with New Potato, Asparagus & Radish Hash
  • Laotian Larb Gai with Sticky Rice, Peanuts & Mint
  • Asparagus & Ricotta Sandwich with Arugula, Almond & Fennel Salad
So, we'll see how that goes!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

But WHY Am I _So_ Tired?

I mean, it's kind of odd how very, very tired I am, given that it wasn't a bad or strenuous weekend. A lot of driving, sure, which made it obvious why I was tired Monday night, but Tuesday night? I did that thing last night where I didn't realize how tired I was until I was practically too tired to get ready for bed, which is frustrating (I'm like a toddler when I get that tired, which I know, but I don't always see it coming in time). And tonight I'm losing my temper over absolutely stupid little things because I'm just so tired. I'm way behind on virtual things like emails, as well as non-virtual things like laundry, and lack the energy to sit down and get to it in most any way. And yeah, my hips bothered me again today, too, at least in the afternoon. Sadly, I seem to have passed the age where I shake off a long drive in a day.

Speaking of aging and the pains thereunto appertaining, my knees have been bothering me a bit lately, and I was thinking vaguely that I should be doing something exercise-like about that (I had trouble with my knees 20 years ago [after moving from a two-flights-of-stairs situation to a one-flight-or-elevator one], and I know I don't want that to happen again). And then, unfortunately, I thought of what I could be doing: climbing the stairs to the office, which is on the fourth floor. I say unfortunately because I don't wanna; starting the day loudly out of breath is not my preference. But there's no denying it's good for the quads, which hold that patellar tendon in place (or something like that; don't quote me on the anatomy), so I climbed this morning. Ugh.

I should be getting ready for bed. At least the trees and flowers are slowly, slowly beginning to welcome spring. I don't want you to think I haven't smiled at all today. For that matter, I laughed out loud watching this goalie try, for three minutes, to find where the puck went in his pads.

So it's not all gloom.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mmmm, and Ahhh

It's so good to be home, even after a good trip, but I have to tell you, my hips have not forgiven me for the 6+ hours in the car yesterday, so I won't linger. Let me show you a few things before I go.

Little pots of flowers for Grandma. Thank you, Trader Joe's!


I saw a shoebox put out of the way until I decide if I need it or it can be tossed. Belmont saw a perfectly sized bed.
I was charmed that my aunt's washing machine has a "casual" setting.
I so often feel casual about laundry!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

It's off to Grandma's 101st birthday we go. Have a nice weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Of Hockey

The NHL playoffs start today. The Bruins are not involved.

Fun fact: This is the first year since 1967 that the Celtics have made the playoffs (that's the Boston basketball team) and the Bruins have not. Isn't that odd?

Another fun fact: After last year's "only one Canadian team in the playoffs, woe is the way of the National sport!" kerfuffle up north*, there are five Canadian teams in this year (out of 7 Canadian teams total). Of course, two of the match-ups have Canadian teams playing each other, so no more than three can go on to the next round.
*Not to mention the "and a Canadian team hasn't won the Cup since 1993!" part.

I'll be watching the playoffs (after this weekend anyway) with a relaxed, don't-care-who-wins vibe (except Montreal, obviously I would prefer they didn't win anything, ever), which is kind of nice. And I'll try to monitor the Providence Bruins in their playoffs, since a couple of Boston players were sent down for that (go Pasta, Trots, Spoons).

Speaking of Montreal, actually, Stanley Cup of Chowder put out a piece today on which of the playoff teams to root for, and I noticed some of their writers feel the way I do.
  • "East Pick: Whoever's Playing Montreal: Self-explanatory."
  • "East Pick: Rangers: For the East, I like watching the Rangers. They're an entertaining team, and it'd be nice to see another Original 6 team win (not you, Montreal)."
And probably all summer, I'll be watching the Bruins to see what they do, which is kind of like waiting for a centipede's shoes to drop. GM Peter Chiarelli was fired today. So far, the coach has not been fired, but it remains possible. They told a couple of players they won't be re-signed (Cambell and Paille). Will Lucic be traded? What about back-up goaltending? Will they manage to "trade" Marc Savard (who hasn't played for a few years since that awful concussion, but remains on the payroll) to a team that needs to get to the salary cap floor? (Incidentally, the fact that the latter is a possibility highlights just how weird the bookkeeping in the NHL is, if you ask me.)

In non-NHL hockey news, the upcoming women's hockey league, the NWHL, will play for the Isobel Cup, named after the daughter of Lord Stanley. A nice touch, I think.

Meanwhile, go look at this cartoon history of the Stanley Cup. It's all kinds of awesome.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Trying _Not_ To Raise a Hot Topic

I'm busy getting things ready for my trip this weekend, but I wanted to throw something up here for discussion, if anyone is inclined. 

There's a woman at work who is a Christian Scientist, and I don't know much about that*, but according to Wikipedia (I know, it's not the most reliable source, but it does have its place), the church doesn't require members to entirely eschew medical care, but believes "prayer is most effective when not combined with medicine". So anyway, today I heard her telling someone that she likes to go to the Minute Clinic at CVS (which is for basic medical stuff and staffed by a nurse practitioner, not a doctor). She went on to explain the Christian Scientists don't like to go to doctors, and I have to admit that I don't see why going to an NP would be okay but going to an MD wouldn't. Am I missing something?
*And yes, I could ask her, and I probably will; she's very friendly and I don't think she would be offended, but just because I can hear her on the phone doesn't mean she wanted me butting into her conversation today.

I feel like maybe I'm just being insensitive to the nuances of something that I don't understand, and I don't want to offend, but can anyone help me understand? Are there, I wonder, those who believe more strongly in Christian Science and those who believe less strongly, the way there are in other religions? I'm not sure why I can easily understand that there are Catholics or Jews who practice their religion more and those who practice less, but that seems like an odd idea for Christian Science.

I will be pondering this as I get ready for my mother's arrival. Wish her, and us, happy travels!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Could Someone Pass This On For Me, Please?

Spring allergies are not allowed to start before spring starts.

That's a given, right? When it get pretty and green and flowery out, the price I pay is extra sneezing and runny nose. But that can't start preemptively! I won't allow it. Granted, today's weather was nice, but it isn't green and flowering and blooming everywhere, so WHY am I sneezing?

Do you know how hard it is to sneeze while riding the exercise bike?

How about with a cat snoozing on your lap?

Ow. This is unauthorized congestion, and I will not have it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Now It's Really "My" Car

If I got nothing else done this weekend (and believe me, that is far from true), I can at least point to this one thing.

I went from this:
To this:
Click on the picture to see them better.

The stickers I had accumulated did not allow for a symmetrical layout, so I decided to be at peace with that. There is room for more wonder when I find it.

Incidentally, I probably mentioned at some point a year or two ago that I couldn't find a couple of knitting bumper stickers that I knew I had bought, and put somewhere "safe" (ha), so I replaced them. Finally, in the work-in-progress that is cleaning out my office, I found them! So, who wants "i knit so i don't kill people" and who wants "knit happens"?

Friday, April 10, 2015

At Least It's Friday

The Bruins recently had a 90% chance of making the playoffs. Today, it's 15%, and not only would they have to win their game tomorrow, they need certain other teams to lose.

I hope they don't make it. Enough already. Let me watch the playoffs in peace, not caring who wins; I'll still hope Montreal loses, out of reflex, but otherwise, whatever. No more stress.

It's not that I expect them to win every game, but man, they could be trying to. Watching them play well and lose can be frustrating, sure, but when they play like they aren't sure what the game is or what the rules are .... it's maddening.

I was surprised recently when Massachusetts put a law in place requiring drivers to turn their headlights on if they used their windshield wipers, because I really thought that was already the law. Then, the Globe had this news snippet.
Two House Republicans want to repeal a new law that took effect this week requiring drivers to use their headlights in inclement weather when windshield wipers are also in use. Describing the mandate as “burdensome,” state Representatives James Lyons, of Andover, and Shaunna O’Connell, of Taunton, took issue with violations leading to tickets and surcharge points on a driver’s insurance. “Drivers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can be relied upon to use common sense when deciding if headlights are needed,” Lyons said in a statement. “And that’s what my bill does.” The law passed through the House and Senate late last year during lightly attended informal sessions. (State House News Service)
First of all, burdensome? Turning your headlights on? How is that a burden?

Second, common sense? Have either of these lawmakers ever driven in MA? They're called Massholes, folks, and they have no sense of any kind, except a sense of entitlement.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Of This and That, Then Off to Eat

I'm giving myself some kudos for not bitching about the weather last night, although that's partly because I was quick-blogging between getting home after 8 and watching the Bruins game, which was a disaster not worth losing sleep over, unfortunately, and what will they do tonight, god only knows. If it's like last night, I won't stay up for the third period.

But hey, snow and sleet yesterday, that was fun!


It's not like it built up, but still, super depressing. And it was cold and rainy and raw today. It's supposed to be 60 tomorrow, and over the weekend, before being in the 50s next week, which is still an improvement, but not really enough for me, I'm so demanding. Give me real spring, please, now.

I've been reading an old series of books lately, the Patty series by Carolyn Wells, spurred by finding a couple at the used bookstore, then looking online to find that some are available that way (Project Gutenberg, etc). Patty is a young girl at the start, and later in the series it seems she will be getting married (based on the next-to-last title, Patty-Bride), and she is the beloved daughter of a rich man, adored by all who meet her, yet amusing and imperfect. They're incredibly dated, of course, but somehow soothing and enjoyable. Quick, light reads. Escapism.

I hit a snag, though: of the 17 books in the series, most are available online, or I have copies, but one fell in the gap and is neither. I found a copy on eBay and ordered it, and was much amused by the section of the confirmation email with suggestions of other items "To complement your purchase," which included "Breeding Thoroughbreds." Because of course.

How did I get so hungry all of a sudden?

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

​A Little-Known Holiday

It does seem as though every day brings another "National Something Day," doesn't it? Like all of a sudden it's National Beer Day? It's kind of mystifying how these things happen. Still, I was caught off guard yesterday to learn that it was, apparently, National Cat-Sleeping-On-My-Arm Day. Or, at least, Evening. Was it in your house, too?

First Carlos:
Then Belmont:
And then, disturbed by the picture-taking, she shifted and turned around, but the celebration continued.
So cute! So potentially uncomfortable! So unable to stay in position as long as the cat wants me to!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Improved, Just Not All the Way

The head got a bit better last night, enough that I was able to work on some small projects around the house, like moving some of the yarn that's in the bedroom into the new office storage. I really need to stop and organize that space, make some decisions, before I move any more, but I wanted to clear one of the drawer things in the bedroom for something else, so I just went ahead and did it. Organizing rebel! And with a good night's sleep, I felt better this morning; a little bit of a headache hangover in the back of the neck, but better than yesterday, anyway.

Unfortunately, it was a little on the dramatic side at work today, nothing major but multiple small oh-for-god's sake, really? moments (like when one person responded to another person giving them an answer to a question with "That's interesting," which, no, it isn't really interesting, it's correct). Enough that I went out for lunch, just for the change of scene. So that was nice. There's one more drama-potential meeting tomorrow, which hopefully will clear the air instead of making anything worse (though I'll take precautionary Excedrin ahead of time, just in case), and I hope, so much, that things will settle after that (it's not that I'm the center of a maelstrom, but just being around upset people upsets me).

Anyway! I'm going off to ride the bike, and otherwise get ready to head to bed. Because this is how I live the wild life, you know?

Monday, April 06, 2015

Here I Am. Sort Of.

Oh, hey there.

Hope you had a nice weekend, whether you celebrate Easter, Passover, or neither (or, I suppose, both, theoretically). I got a lot accomplished Saturday, enough to leave me in an aching heap by Saturday night, watching incredulously as the Bruins had to go to a shoot-out to beat Toronto, of all teams. On the plus side, the Bruins did win it! Making them 4-9 for the season in shoot-outs, which is still pathetic. On the minus side, they put 50 shots on goal and only got 1 in, making the shoot-out necessary, which is also kind of pathetic. But anyway, with that win, and some nicely timed losses by teams near them in the standings yesterday, my team is now at 90% likelihood to make the playoffs. They don't play again until Wednesday, so we'll see where things stand then. Regular season ends this weekend.

Right, anyway, that was Saturday, when I could point to the bookcases all in the office, and the empty living room rug, as signs of accomplishment; Sunday, I unfortunately had a mild headache on and off, which impaired ... well, everything. I was able to go to the Easter dinner I was invited to, happily, and it was very nice, but my head started to act up again later, and the evening was a lot of laying around in a stupor (I went to lie down at one point, and felt as though a weighted blanket had been thrown over me, holding me down). I didn't feel great this morning either, but not bad enough to stay home from work. Just not working at full steam, but fortunately we're not in a high-pressure period at work, so I could just poke along as I could. And leave early.

A quiet, and early, night is called for.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Thinking Bright Thoughts

There was a period during the worst of this winter when I honestly couldn't believe that spring was ever going to come; I can't pinpoint exactly when that feeling ended, and I could believe that spring would, in fact, come this year. I certainly believe now that it will, but my goodness, is it ever dawdling. We've had some moderate weather, here and there, before it reverts to the 30s and 40s again. Today was mild, not pleasant (at least when I was outside) but not unpleasant, which honestly is something, 60s but not sunny. But this morning, the forecast for Tuesday called for morning snow showers. When is it going to get nice?

I was at Wilson's last night, and I bought myself another hyacinth. I was hoping I wouldn't need more bulbs this year, but my goodness, there's still plenty of snow around, and although friends have put crocus pictures on Facebook, there's no growth where I can see it. Well, the neighbor's little tree has started budding, but it's so very preliminary, it doesn't raise my spirits. This will.

And so did this: Helen Mirren, on helium. Watch.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Hockey Thoughts

In honor of the Bruins game tonight, which like all of their games recently means a lot regarding them making the playoffs (they currently have about a 75% chance, but in the last few weeks that number has fluctuated wildly), here are some hockey links.

Like, hockey player making dominoes of themselves.

And I admit I haven't been following the women's world championships, but how about this (via Stanley Cup of Chowder):
Unreal! I can accept the score more easily than the shots. How do you only get five shots on goal in a game? That is one serious mis-match.

Hockey pirate when the puck gets stuck (via Puck Daddy):
Incidentally, much more benign than what happened to Drew Miller, who got a skate to the face Tuesday night, had more than 50 stitches, and is playing tonight (actually, he wanted to play the third period Tuesday, but was talked out of it to let the stitches settle). I won't put pictures of THAT here, but it's online if you want to see it. A miracle that he didn't lose his eye.

And to end on a lighter note, at a game in Florida on Tuesday, they had a special guest:
Because of course they did. I love the expression of the guy next to him.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Looking Back 30 Years

In a rare work-night outing for me, I went to the movies last night, for the simple reason that I heard on Friday* that for the 30th anniversary of The Breakfast Club, they were showing it in theaters on March 26 and 31, and as it was "the" seminal high-school movie for me, I couldn't miss the opportunity to see it on the big screen. And it was great fun! I met a friend there, the theater was full, and everyone seemed to have a good time. I even managed not to say my favorite lines out loud, though I was sub-vocalizing more than once.
*Mind you, that was cutting it pretty close, and I can't believe I almost missed hearing about it, given that I am square in their target audience.

I couldn't help thinking, that morning, that my 30-years-younger self would have been horrified to know that acne would still be a problem for me.

I ran a few errands between work and the movie, and I noticed something a bit odd in a couple of receipts. I went into a grocery store to pick up cat treats, since when I got groceries last weekend Wegmans didn't carry the baby's preferred brand (Delectables). The receipt that Stop & Shop gave me, for this single item, was 13.5 inches long. Then, I went into Target in hopes that they would have my favorite coffee creamer, which I am having trouble finding anywhere else, and they did, yay, so I bought six bottles of it. Which, on the receipt, is like buying one item, but Target's receipt for this was 3.5 inches long. Quite a difference!

Anyway. It's already getting late, and since I lost sleep last night (not that I got home so late, but I was all wound up, so I didn't go to bed when I should have), I'll wrap up now. Some upcoming topics:
  • The Blue Apron update
  • Opening a box of memory clothes
  • Next up in sock yarns
Any other suggestions, questions, ideas? Ask away!