Friday, January 29, 2016

Where I'm At

I went to bed early last night, for a couple of reasons.

First, I had been up unusually early, after a bad dream--this has been a bad week for dreaming for me, has anyone else noticed that?--it started as a work dream that seemed to be in a new place, I was learning my way around and meeting people (three of who had the name of my recent boss, hmmm); anyway, it suddenly became clear that I was actually at my last job, and the layoff was coming, and after I woke up from it I couldn't get back to sleep for thinking sad layoff thoughts, so I just got up. I could have used that sleep, though (as I always can).

Then I had a slight headache last night, not too bad but annoying. I still went swimming (pats self on back), but that made me sore and achy too, and I even managed to scrape my heel on a step, which was painful, and I just thought, fuck it, and was in bed shortly after 8. I think I would have done so even if there had been a hockey game, but we're coming up on the all-star weekend, so there was nothing to make me think twice.

My head has been okay today, which will hopefully continue through my dinner plans with a friend, not to mention various and sundry weekend plans. The good news is that there are no big storms due in over the next week. (I'm trying not to worry beyond that.) No shoveling, and more melting: even with the frequent gloom and grey, I call that a win.

In other news, I finished knitting the scarf! I all but finished it Wednesday night, but I then looked at the pattern and realized I was supposed to do the last few rows plain knit, not in pattern, so I tinked them back and redid them, then bound off. I had about a yard of yarn left, and it's so light it didn't register on the scale! Not even a gram. I'm pleased with the process, and with the product. I'm wearing it now; it just wraps around my neck twice, and I stuck a shawl pin in to hold it in place (not my best skill, but it's holding for now), and I may never take it off.

Though I do want to block it, just to even it out a bit. Perhaps I will do that this weekend.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Some Shopping

January, being the month after Christmas when the bills come in, is usually a time to be fiscally prudent, but I have bought a few, arguably necessary things this month.

For one thing, as I mentioned, my old, beloved Lands End swimsuit was definitely showing its age (at least 10 years old) since I started going in the pool twice a week, so that was something that had to be replaced. It's surprisingly difficult to find what I want, which is a one-piece with a relative high neck (so I don't have to worry about, ahem, cleavage issues during class), some support, preferably with a pattern rather than solid color, in my size, even without paying $150 or more--which, let's be honest, it would have to be The Perfect Suit before I would spend anything like that.

I did find one that I thought might do, at, of all places, for $30, which is much more my ballpark. Far from being a solid color, it's actually a little loud, if pretty; here's their picture of it:
It came last week, and fit well enough, so I wore it to class yesterday, and it seems it will do. I don't know how long it will last, so I will consider myself on keep-an-eye-out, rather than either active-search or not-even-looking status for now. (I also bought one last week at Costco, but it's going back: not nearly enough coverage/support. Nominally the same size. Whatever.)

Next up, a humidifier. I've had them in the past, but the last time I had problems with one, I didn't replace it; all the filter/cleaning/maintenance issues got annoying. Last week, though, I was thinking of how dry it gets in here during the winter, how I wake up congested and yet my nose manages to be be dry and running at the same time, how the static electricity is so bad I zap myself on everything, even Carlos the other day (he gave a puzzled little mrrp), and decided that perhaps I should get another one and see if it helps.

Then Consumer Reports came in the mail (my mother got me a subscription for Christmas), and I was delighted to see a page on humidifiers. It wasn't a full report, but it gave some information, then said the full ratings were available online, so I happily went to look at that.

Well. I have absolutely no intrinsic issue with CU's decision to have the print magazine and the online content separate, and require separate subscriptions, but my feeling is that in that case, an article in the magazine should not point to results available online if the magazine subscriber can't see them without paying for them. At most, they could have the magazine say that more information is available to online subscribers, but that's not how they did it, and it kind of pissed me off.

However! They did call out one specific make/model in the print article, so I just decided to order that one, and try to let my annoyance go (you can see that I haven't quite managed that yet). It arrived today; we'll see how it helps. (It's pretty quiet, too.) The thermometer I have in the bedroom, just a cheap one that probably isn't too accurate, has a humidity measure too, and it says the humidity was at 35% before I turned the machine on. Updates as that changes.

Consumer Reports says you should clean your humidifier every day, by the way. Does anyone do that? Well, their own "informal" poll said that 59% don't, but I bet it's more than that. Who's going to drain, rinse, and dry a humidifier every day? Not to mention clean with vinegar and disinfect with bleach weekly. It's the kind of thing that made me get rid of the last one. This one says that the tray and tank are dishwasher safe, so at least that shouldn't be too hard to do once in a while. Not saying how often I will.

Also, it kind of cracks me up that the instructions tell you not to use it outdoors. No, I will humidify the world, and you can't stop me!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Knitting Updates (and a hockey postscript)

Elizabeth asked for details about the scarf I flashed last night, which I can certainly provide. Always happy to talk knitting!

First of all, having started with one ounce of yarn, I can state with confidence that the project is now 85% complete.
Which has made it over three feet long. Proof photo number one:
And number two.
This pattern is the Diagonal Garter Lace Scarf, which I found on Ravelry once I was ready to admit that the pattern I was using at first was not working for me; I started knitting it on January 3rd.

The yarn is an ounce of pure cashmere from Springtide Farm, color cornflower, purchased at the Interweave Knit Lab market in May 2014. Being an ounce, and cashmere, the scarf is soft and warm and virtually weightless. I can't wait to see what blocking does for it, but I like how it looks now, too.

The execution is very simple; it's a 12-row repeat, and I only have to glance at the pattern* to see where I need to start and finish, since the pattern is staggered (being diagonal like that). The even rows are knit except for the YO and the following stitch (which are purled), so that's easy to see, too.
*I could avoid the need for that by really looking at the piece itself, since it isn't that hard to read, but to make it easier social knitting, I'm using a row counter and looking at the pattern.

As long as I had the camera out, I caught the finished sock from the purse pair.
Sort of a plain vanilla in looks (in my go-to pattern, as always), but the yarn, being merino with some alpaca, is nice and soft. These will be a good quiet option for my sock drawer, which can tend toward the louder and bolder, at least more so than it did before I started knitting socks--almost 10 years ago, wow!
I went with the eye of partridge heel, just because I felt like it.
These two projects are all I've been working on recently (well, the sock I have at my desk for conference calls has had an hour here and there); there are others waiting to be picked up again, but I'm so close to finishing the scarf, I want to do that before my eye gets caught by something else. At least, that's today's plan...

Unrelated, but I ran across this today, and man, did it take me back to my childhood! The music of hockey on TV38, and the great Bobby Orr.

No helmets, no names on the jerseys, no ads on the boards, small logos at center ice ... but oh, the moves...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Getting Close

Just dropping in to say: The little cashmere scarf is close to being done, which in this case will mean when the yarn runs out. And I am very happy with it.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Technology Is Not Being My Friend

Various devices and machines are being varyingly annoying tonight, and I think that enumerating the ways would just irritate me afresh, so let's not.

If, however, you have any advice on a larger tablet to replace my old iPad, I would be glad to hear it. I know that now I have the laptop, I could bring it to the couch in the morning to read the Globe on, but that's kind of awkward, and the little tablet, though wonderful in many ways, kind of drives me nuts to read the Globe on; the difference between a screen of about 6 inches by 3.5 and one that's almost 8 by almost 6 is considerable. Wifi-only would be fine, this isn't something I intend to carry around, but just to use at home. Cheap but reliable, that's what I want.

Not all news here is bad, mind you. I finished a sock (first of a pair) and watched a good movie, A Little Chaos, which I got from the library as it's one of Alan Rickman's last movies, and I don't even remember hearing about it. His role, though wonderfully done (ah, that voice), is supporting, but he also directed and was one of the writers, so he gets a lot of credit. And Kate Winslet was wonderful, and I never heard of Matthias Schoenaerts but he did a great job.

Anyway. Another weekend gone. We got maybe 4 inches of snow here, not complaining about that. How are you?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Farm Fiber Farmers Fun

On Friday, I saw a link on Facebook from one of my friends about Farm Fiber Day at the Wayland Winter Farmers' Market on Saturday, and although Wayland isn't close to me, when I looked at the description, I started to think that the distance wasn't far enough to stop me. So many good-looking food vendors, including bagels (I love a good bagel), as well as lots of lovely yarn? Color and promise and light as snow heads our way?

I dithered about it somewhat this morning, but finally decided that as it wasn't actually held outdoors (I couldn't have faced that), but in a garden center greenhouse, and since we're only supposed to get a few inches of snow (as opposed to the mid-Atlantic area, where snowfall will be measured in feet), I really ought to just go and get out of the house already.

I got there before noon after a simple drive, down 128 and out route 20, I barely needed the GPS. There's quite a lot of parking, though the parking area is a little convoluted, or at least so it seemed on a first visit. I headed toward the buildings, and as soon as I got close I regretted not bringing my camera, having never seen a food truck with a pizza oven in it. It's impressive! But I went on in, and found a succession of rooms and areas with a mix of vendors; like the parking lot, a little confusing to the newcomer, but I wandered around and in the end I don't think I missed much. It was quite crowded, and there were plenty of times when I couldn't move until someone else did, which makes me mildly claustrophobic, but nothing severe.

In terms of food selection, it was still good when I got there, but clearly some things sell out -- I got the last pumpernickel bagel, and saw plenty of menu boards with items crossed out -- so while there was still a lot going on, if there's something you really want, better to get there earlier. I bought the bagels and a loaf of cinnamon chip bread (it's a weakness), and some otebo beans to try in white bean soup, as well as a skein of squishy-soft cormo yarn -- I was tempted by many yarns, but the cormo was just too nice to pass by.

On my way out, I stopped at a food truck, the Roving* Lunch Box, and bought one of their hand pies, specifically the chicken pot pie, and ate it as soon as I got to the car (much too cold to be eating it outside, or even slowing down to eat it while walking, brrr). So delicious! Warm and filling, though not a meal of itself; I rather regretted not getting a sweet one as well.
*Now there's a double meaning for you, on Farm Fiber Day!

Overall, a good time. There's another one in March, and it's marked on my calendar.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The View From Here

As you can see, since I was out of the house for about 11 hours today, I am kind of tied up tonight.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Six Years Ago

On January 21st in 2010, I brought Carlos home with me.
And I've never regretted it (which, given the other cats since then, is saying something). He's my therapy cat.

I won't go quite as photo-crazy as I did last year, but we must have a few. In March:
In May, "helping" me change the sheets. What's the hurry?
June, the dive pose:
July, the "you have something good":
As well as the confirmation that the "orange tabby" yarn really was his color:
In August, keeping me company when I started working from home.
Just another sleepy day.
And the less common reluctant knitwear model.
Let me show you my toes.
Hold still, I'm comfortable.
Yarn inspector. This smells fascinating.
Here's to another good year, buddy.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Again with the Random

In looking through recent photos, I saw this one, from the book I mentioned a few weeks back, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter:
I enjoyed her take on such things.

If you like toffee and are looking for a nice treat, a friend introduced me to these:
Oooh, are they too good. I kind of wish Target didn't carry them. Temptation...

Another wonderful Bowie tribute.

Did I only link to the other one I liked on Facebook? The church bells?

For that matter, Alan Rickman's wonderful voice.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

This and That, Flower and Cat

I am having a very lazy day. I made dinner--scalloped potatoes and ham--but haven't done much more along productive lines. Which is okay.

There were other photos on the camera along with the ones from yesterday, including this one:
Yes, I have a lot of t-shirts (and that is most but not all of them). And when I get behind in laundry, that can be a helpful thing. And when I finally, after they are all washed, fold them to put them away, well, it can be a little startling. By the way, I see six Bruins shirts and three other hockey-related shirts there.

Not in that pile was my favorite shirt, the Keep Calm and Bergeron. Recently, when contemplating how worn it is getting, I decided that instead of waiting for it to wear out, and potentially finding out then that they didn't make it any more, I should see if they still make it now, and if so, buy one. And they still do, so I did!

Can you tell which is the old one and which the new?
It gets a lot of wear.

Incidentally, I was wearing a Bruins t-shirt with my bruins-logo button-down over it one night recently at the chiropractor, and he made some comment about I was dressed to go to a game--as I told him, from my closet, that isn't hard.

I also have more flower photos, this time of my own flowers. When I was at Wilson Farm a week or two ago, I had to get a hyacinth, and then when I was at Trader Joe's last week, I got another one. They smell so good and the colors are so pretty. We haven't had an awful winter so far (knock wood), but of course last winter started the same way, and it was so bad I kind of have post-winter stress when I think about it. Flowers help.

The first one is an almost plum purple, the color of which did not come through very well.
And while that bloom is fairly well gone by now, there was another bud just coming up, that is still very nice.
At TJ's, I chose one that hadn't opened yet, so I wasn't sure what color it would be. Turns out to be a very pale pink.
It's open more now, since this was from two days ago. Hyacinths certainly are strong-smelling; I love the scent, so that isn't a problem for me, but anyone who didn't like it couldn't bring one in the house at all, you know?

Other random photo-ness: I got the new Bruins wall calendar, as I do every year, and was glad that I don't use it as a write-on memory service, because look what they did.
You used to get half the spread for the month, but not this year.
As I said, not a problem for me, Just, interesting.

Carlos is finally sleeping peacefully on the bed. He's had a velcro day, so I'm glad he's finally settled down. I don't know what his problem was.

So many things on my many ways you are letting me down...
It's a hard life.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Bunny and Some Flowers

Two things: I did two things today, and they were both ridiculously photogenic. I haven't taken this many pictures in a long time.

Second thing first, which was meeting the kitten my friends got their kids for Christmas. This kitten is so ridiculously cute, and fluffy, it just about killed me! Check my purse when I leave that house. It took serious willpower to leave.

She was completely relaxed and friendly with us, not nervous or even cautious. Just, oh, you want to cuddle me? Fine. 
Her favorite toy is this koala, which she alternates grooming and kicking. If it survives, it will be funny to see pictures of her with it in a year, two years, etcetera. She walks around with it now and almost trips over it.
And the blue eyes slay me.
She's basically a cotton ball, with grey tips.
And this is bigger than she was! She's about three months old, but they said she's grown just in the few weeks they've had her. I don't know anything about ragdolls, but if she's a sample, I like them.

Earlier in the day, I met up with friends to check out a greenhouse, not the one at Wellesley College where I first went six years ago (and have visited often since), but another one, in Waltham, that I read about recently. It's at the Lyman Estate, and we spent an enjoyable hour looking around. Especially considering the weather, cold and rainy (even some ... ahem, more solid rain that fell), the color and growth was so welcome.

They had quite a lot of little citrus trees in one area, like this calamondin orange, as well as key limes and meyer lemons.
Fun architectural details.
And a fun structure for a climbing plant to inhabit.
This one looks like the flower is sticking its tongue out.
I love how the petals on this one curled up.
The color of this one, like the best sunset clouds.
Just, color.
This plant is a clivia, in the lily family and relative to amaryllis, and I just love how it looks like a book being opened to show a surprise at the center.
In the process of opening.
More blown, still lovely.
Some kind of giant onion? with a climbing vine coming out?
The verdict: It was very enjoyable, and a large section of the greenhouses had plants for sale, so if you're frustrated by wanting to take things home from a greenhouse visit, this would be a good one. I don't believe it's quite as large as the one at Wellesley, but more of a drawback to me is that it was not as warm inside. I never even wanted to take off my coat! And the warmth is one of the attractions for me. So, although I'm not at all sorry to have gone, I would probably pick Wellesley next time instead.

In conclusion, and unrelated to any of this, I keep forgetting, and then remembering again, that Monday is a holiday. This is a very good feeling.