Thursday, March 31, 2016

Random Ramblings

I was planning to write last night after running a few errands, but I think maybe I am not 100% over this cold, no matter how much better I feel, as just going to two libraries, a sit-down dinner, and then a short Costco run left me exhausted and grumpy on the couch, where I reached for a book instead of the computer. I am happy to say that I went into Costco with a list of five items, and came out with those five and no more, but otherwise, it wasn't exactly to plan.

Today I am feeling an unusually strong case of the don't-wannas. Have to work? I don't wanna (though of course I did, but with more cat breaks than usual). Should do some laundry today? Don't wanna. Stop eating everything that isn't nailed down? Don't wanna. Go swimming after work? Don't wanna.

That last may be in part from having missed three weeks while I was sick, but it may also be influenced by my considering switching gyms. Before class on Tuesday, people were talking as usual and someone mentioned that the manager told her they were going to have to cut some classes, and though he didn't want it to be ours, well... Now, I joined this gym for the evening class, and I wish they had more than one a week, so if they cut it altogether, ouch! But someone else mentioned that LA Fitness has water aerobics classes two nights a week (and they have a couple of locations nearby), so I looked it up, and they do, and one Saturday morning as well. Hmmm! I may need to go and take a look at it.

The Bruins don't play tonight, though they play Thursdays more often than not. Instead, they play tomorrow, Sunday, and Tues-Thurs-Sat next week. And that's the end of the regular season! They are 1-6 in their last seven games (after going 5-2 before that), which explains why their chance of making the playoffs has gone from over 90% a few weeks ago to 73.6% this morning, and is largely reliant on what other teams do. Two weeks ago I was feeling pleased that this year, it didn't look like there would be the mad, end-of-season will-they-make-it rush, but it appears that that, too, was a fever dream. Thanks, guys.

Is all this random enough? Let me close with the TBT photo I put on Facebook this morning of me at age 2, with my doll, outside Grandma's house.
One of my friends commented on it, "I've seen that same smile whilst holding new yarn." True that!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I Forgot

Oh, that's right: exercise is tiring, and leaves me achy and with jelly-legs.

It's still better than being sick, but, you know. Not pleasant, exactly.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Better, But...

The decently good news is that I am finally seeing improvement in this cold going away. I would say that I don't feel all that much better than yesterday, but noticeably better than Saturday, while on Sunday I felt better than Friday. Hey, at least it's improvement!

Unfortunately, there is also not-as-good news, as yesterday and today I have had a slight headache on and off, which does seem a little unfair. However, at the moment it is "off" and I am going to go to bed and hope that it is done for now, and that I wake up happily headache-free. Hope is a good thing!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Knit North Yarn Crawl, 2016

So as I mentioned, my shopping trip last Saturday was the seventh year of my going on this yarn crawl (which used to be called the north shore yarn crawl, and now is the knit north yarn crawl, who knows why).

This year I was going it alone, as all my knitting friends had conflicts or reasons not to be buying yarn, but that meant I could go at my own pace, which was a good thing, what with still being sick and all. There were nine stores participating this year, but I'd been to all but one before, so I set my sights on just three: the new one, Marblehead Knits; Circle of Stitches in Salem, which has only been open a year; and of course my favorite, Coveted Yarn in Gloucester.

I flipped a coin and went to Coveted first, no hardship there. Almost the first thing I saw when I came in the door was Malabrigo at 25% off, and it's such a nice yarn, and are these colors me, or what?
I know. It was meant to be.

I kept walking and looking, and the second time I came back to a display of some yarn that felt so nice, but told myself no, if it's not on sale... and then I went around the corner of the shelf and saw that the sale sign had fallen over. Oh, 30% off? Well, then, that's a different story!
I haven't heard of the Imperial Yarn company before, but the yarn feels really, really nice.
And they want me to use the tag as a coaster. Well, then.
I'm thinking of using it for the Farfalla shawl, which I saw recently and liked; that calls for fingering and this is sport-weight, but it might could work.

On my way over to the end of the line to pay, I saw this yarn, and once I touched it, well, the fact that it was one of the few yarns not on sale in the store didn't matter. Feels so good! It's an alpaca-acrylic blend, and is super-soft, with such a nice sheen. I have no idea what it will be.
I also bought one non-yarn item, as I decided to try the row counter that you wear on your finger, and the stitch markers they threw in for free.
The perfect sign for this store, since Robert is always running around barefoot.
I've praised Coveted before, many times, and I still love the store, but one of my few critiques has to do with the payment process, because I was in line for about 45 minutes, and that's just crazy. They only have one register set-up, and even with a second person helping the first, it is a slow process; not everything scans, so then they seem to be looking items up, and good lord, Robert, it's the 21st century, there are better ways.

I still love it, though.

From there, I went to Woodmans for lunch, which was awesome as always, and I sat and read for a little while after I finished eating, as I could feel that I wasn't at my best. Once I was ready, I went on to Salem, and Circle of Stitches. I had a nice time roaming around; they have a good selection for a store that isn't that huge, as well as a seating area that I took advantage of when I started to feel a little wobbly. Sitting down and knitting for a few minutes is never a punishment! I had a nice chat with Jessica from Stitched by Jessalu, who was there selling her bags: I was wearing my Bigger on the Inside shawl, and she has several different Doctor Who-inspired fabrics, which is fun. There's one that's super-subtle, and if she'd had that in the larger size I would probably have been unable to resist, but as it is I can always commission one from her, so no worries.

Speaking of the shawl, I had a nice chat with an employee at Coveted who recognized the pattern, and then spoke with someone else there (another shopper, I mean) who asked if I designed it, which surprised me, as it seems to me that if you can tell at a glance that it's Doctor Who-related, how have you not heard of the pattern before? But then someone at Circle of Stitches asked the same thing, so who knows? Perhaps I am overly aware of it myself, as it has been recognized more often than any other knitwear I've worn.

Now, you say, get to the point: what did I buy at Circle of Stitches? Well, apparently Regia came out with this yarn last year, but I hadn't seen it: the yellow yarn on the outside is the guide to where to start so that you get two perfectly matched socks. Kind of fun! I'm not the most worried about mismatched socks (some knitters can't STAND it), but I think this will be cool.
I also love the name because I've listened recently to an audiobook that partly takes place in Scotland, and the reader does a delicious job with the accent, so I can hear a particular character saying "perfect" and it sounds just like "pairfect".

I also had to get a skein of Toil and Trouble (the dyer is the one who opened the store), since it's lovely yarn to work with, and look at these colors:
So, so beautiful.

CoS didn't have as many sales as Coveted, but they did have one brand on sale for 30% off that I could not resist. This was the last skein there, and let me tell you, Cloud is the perfect name for it. Unbelievably soft.
I also took a picture of a sample they had, since I thought it was a very pretty shawl; it's called Ceonothus, and I think it's a good pattern to show off a variegated or tonal yarn.
Simple but not boring. It takes 4 skeins of Berroco Artisan, and I didn't love any of the colors that they had that much left of, but something to keep in mind for another time.

My last stop was at Marblehead Knits, and this is probably a good time to bless my GPS, which made getting to these stores not just easy, but possible. I mean, I could get to Coveted and Woodmans without it, but I would have been literally lost for the other stops. God bless GPS.

Down the street from MK was this lovely building.
I want to have a reading nook in the cupola.
Right, back to the yarn. The store is not huge, but it is long:
With nice displays--check out the color wall on the right of that shot--and clever merchandising touches. I fell for a British yarn I hadn't heard of, Titus, by Baa Ram Ewe, in the colorway Wesley Bob (don't ask me).
Turns out they had red yarn on sale for 10% off (the two women working were both wearing red, making it either a plan or coincidence). So what I saved covered this guy, $3, whose sales were going to Heifer, I think it was.
And they also gave out some stitch markers!
I was so tired after that that when my path out of Marblehead took me past a Starbucks, I stopped for a break. Whew, this cold! After 10 days of feeling cruddy, I am now at a week of Phase II: Still Sick, and am I sick of it.

You didn't think I was going to get through this whole thing without complaining about this cold, did you?  :)  But I had a great time on the crawl, just the same.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Crashing in 3, 2, 1...

Going into the office is tiring!

Especially when one is in the "still sick" category.

Wearing non-sweats, non-jeans, shoes that aren't slippers or sneakers.

Remembering not to curse out loud.

No pet-the-cat breaks.

Plus the Bruins lost last night (I watched the first period before bed, and wished I hadn't.) Will they win tonight? Or make it five losses in a row? Maybe they're just trying to lose enough that they don't get home ice in the playoffs, given how much better they've played on the road this year--although, they just lost 4 straight on the road, so I think that kills that theory...

Carlos may know, but he isn't telling, He just wants me to sit down and snuggle, already.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cat Interlude

His Lordship would like you to admire the Jenga-like stacking of his paws.
Do you think the photo looks most like he is:

  1. yawning?
  2. singing?
  3. yelling at the paparazzi for waking him?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Still Drooping

I was really hoping I would be able to get to swim class tonight, but by lunchtime it was pretty clear that it wasn't going to happen. Oh, I could literally get there, but exercise? For an hour? When I can hardly sit without slumping? Yeah, not so much.

It's two weeks tonight since the first symptom, and I'm discouraged to still feel this bad. I hear that this bug is just one of those lingering ones, it isn't just me, but that's cold comfort.

Perhaps I will just watch this cussing-not-cussing movie compilation a few times. It's worth a laugh or two.

And ... I should run the dishwasher. Maybe cut my fingernails. Yes, a gala night here at Casa de Cat Hair. And in bed before 9, I'd lay money on that. Sigh. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Weekend, Wiped Out

I didn't mean to go silent all weekend, but it turns out that my "feeling better" actually meant that I had the energy to do my few planned activities, and not one bit more. So it was, by sick standards, a good weekend, but by well standards, slacking. Oh well. It really is better than not feeling any better, but I'm still drooping.

So what did I do, you ask? Saturday's Big Event was the north shore yarn crawl, an event I have enjoyed (according to my blog archives) since 2010. Whoa! Pretty crazy. It was a good time, and I think I'll wait until I've photographed the yarn to go into detail. Suffice it to say that it was fun, I took it easy, and I was still just exhausted by the time I got home.

Sunday morning I took it easy, slept in, read the Globe, talked to my mother, then finally got moving and went to meet my friends for lunch. There were half a dozen of us, it was pleasant, the food was good, we lingered and talked ... and then I went home and was a slug on the couch for an hour because man, I have no stamina right now!

Soon enough it was time to get up, though, for a family-style dinner that was fun (and delicious) but a little chaotic for my energy level, or lack thereof. I hated to kind of eat and run, but I had no choice, and I was in bed about half an hour after I got home. Man! So glad to be improving, but so ready to feel good again.

You'll notice I'm not even talking about the snow. Yeah. It snowed overnight. First day of spring. Great. But it was melting by this afternoon, so I will try not to hold a grudge.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Survived the Week!

A week with a cold is one kind of annoying. A week working on a badly written report is another. Having them in the same week is more than twice as annoying. (It's math.) (Although right now I feel, if not better, at least not-quite-so-bad.)

However! I survived! It is Friday! Night!

Ahem. I may be feeling a little bit of a celebratory-Friday-night-caramel-corn-sugar-rush right now. Please excuse all the exclamation points, and I will try to provide some content.

Point the first: When I initially heard that my friend's husband had written a book, and was trying to get it published, I was a little nervous, because how do you tell someone that you don't want to support them? However, once I read the first two chapters, I wanted to read the whole thing! (Phew.) He is trying to get it printed via InkShares, which works by giving the writer publishing support if they pre-sell a certain number of books. He's asking supporters to spread the word, and though I may not have many readers, and who knows how many of you would enjoy a sort of detective/horror book about vampires attacking in Boston, I just ask that you check out the first two chapters. If you don't like it, no big deal, we can still be friends; but if you do? Order one, and spread the word!

Point the second: Last week on Boing Boing, there was a story about a website that can check if you have any unclaimed money or property in the US. I had just seen the listing for Massachusetts, since they print a booklet and put it in the Globe every once in a while, and I amuse myself every time by looking even though my name is never there. When I saw this story, though, it occurred to me that I could look in other states where I have lived, and what do you know? North Carolina said that they had an insurance refund for me. I thought, eh, okay--you give the confidential information through the actual state government page, not via some possibly fraudulent other site, so I put my information in, and today I got a check in the mail for $188! Man, there have been some times in the last 20 years when I could really have used that money; but I'm very happy to have it now, anyway, as I am going yarn shopping tomorrow, coincidentally enough. How about that? So, fellow citizens, I encourage you to check it out for yourself; if you don't like the idea of Claimdog, then go to the state websites of any states where you have lived, just in case.

And now I'm wondering if other countries have similar lists. Is this an American thing, and everybody thing, or something in between? I never thought about it before.

Point the third: That caramel corn is from Werther's, and I had cut a coupon out of the paper to try it. When I found it, I was squinting at the coupon's expiration date to make sure it was still good, because I don't know if you've noticed but in the last few years they've been printing such things smaller and smaller, and I looked at it and thought, "Oh, 3/30, it's no good any more! We're in April now." Which, first of all, no we aren't, and second of all, yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, and I had been seeing green everything all over the internet yesterday, and you would think that would have sunk into my brain a little, that and the fact that St. Patrick's is in March, but you would be wrong. Between the cold and the bad report, I have definitely lost some brain cells this week.

I did realize I was wrong almost at once. And the caramel corn is good.

I'm going to go rest now.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Went Out: Wiped Out

I was out of the house for less than an hour (returning an overdue library book and blitzing through the grocery store), though the woman in front of me at the register tried her best to make it longer, but the whole thing was so exhausting, I'm going to get ready for bed now. It's good to have food again (I wasn't out altogether, just out of a lot), but man, I have no stamina right now.

And of course, spending the day reading something written by a person who used "important" when he meant "import" is not helping, I'm sure. (Not in the sense of "a matter of great import," which is just a little affected, but in the sense of "The country may important a great many drugs." Yes really.)

So I will leave you with this line, which I read and enjoyed.
Firelight is like a bathtub--everyone can sing in it.
~~Mrs. Appleyard's Year, by Louise Andrews Kent 
Like it? Have one you like better?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Relativity of Money and Spending

Despite the grandiose title, this will not likely be a grand examination of said topics, but more the rambling thoughts of someone who has been sick for a week, is still sick, and is starting to worry about how much longer she will be sick.

Me, in other words. Hi! Pardon the coughing, and excuse me if my cough becomes "productive"; I think it's gross, too, but it is out of my control. I make sure to have tissues handy at all times.

Now, about money, and how relative the spending of it is. I have thought before of how I can be unreasonable about spending money, in the guise of situational reasonableness. In the grocery store, I hesitate to pay five dollars for a bag of Terra Chips, but out running errands at lunchtime, I will stop and spend more than that on a quick meal without thinking much about it, or after a long day, with rising weariness and lowering energy, I will get takeout for dinner. Similarly, I will price-compare brands of soup or crackers to get a good deal, but drop $20-30 on a skein of yarn without blinking. What I consider "expensive" depends on a lot of factors beyond the actual dollar amount.

What got me thinking about this again was (quelle surprise) a knitting pattern. I read about this shawl pattern recently that I thought was just beautiful: Puncia, it's called, and you should look at the pictures on that page and (you may have to belong to Ravelry to get in that far) at the one made by Shekure, which is just gorgeous. "I would like to make that!" I thought, and I saw that I have yarn in my stash already that I think would work well, a skein of Geisha that I got at Rhinebeck in 2014. Perfect, right? It was all I could do not to start winding the yarn right away.

Well, here's the situational part of it: a lot of knitting patterns are available for free, including many good ones. Some are found in books or magazines that one can get out of the library to look at. Others have a cost, but usually in the neighborhood of $5. This one is in a book, but it isn't available in any library near me. The pattern is not sold individually, so I would have to buy the whole book, either in print for $26.95, or as an ebook, for $16.95. And my first thought was to balk.

It isn't that I don't think a designer's time in creating a pattern is worth nothing, far from it, but the idea of having to pay for patterns I don't want, and in some cases don't like that much, just to get the one or maybe two* I would make, set off my anti-thrift alarm. I am a bargain hunter, and this is antithetical to my instincts.
*I also quite like Saccharum, from the back, but not so much the front, so it might take more modification than I want to tackle.

Now, this part sounds off-topic, but bear with me: I'm going to brunch with friends this weekend (oh please let me feel well enough), and I was looking at the menu to get an idea of the restaurant, as I haven't been there before. I was a little surprised to see that the entrees are in the $20-40 range, since that's more than I tend to spend on a meal out; but, I reminded myself, I can afford to do it once in a while, and it will be good to see everyone.

So, put that together with the previous thought: I can afford to spend that much on a single meal, which will no doubt be very pleasant but is by its nature ephemeral, yet I hesitate to spend that much on a book of patterns to make things that I enjoy making, enjoy having or gifting, and that will last virtually forever. Disconnect much?

Anyway, I'm not capable of any more coherence than that, but I hope it makes some sort of sense. I'm going to look for the book when I yarn crawl on Saturday (let me feel well enough by then!), and if I don't see it, I'll order it. Because really.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Still Hanging In, In a Few Bullets

  • Yes, I still don't feel well. But no worse! I'm hanging on to that. 
  • I was able to work today. Which is a mixed blessing given the report I have at the moment (my boss called it "hilariously bad" and I have to agree, as I would rather laugh than otherwise), but they're in a hurry for it, so it's good if I don't have to add sick days to the timeline.
  • Though I will, if I get worse. Pray for me that it doesn't come to that. My temper, if this goes longer than a week!
  • I put off the chiropractor and passed on stitch and bitch, to take it easy tonight.
  • I've been reading on the couch with Carlos, and I'm going to have some dinner now, and get ready for bed early. At least, due to the bug, I'm not fighting the daylight-saving-must-go-to-bed-early imperative.
  • Morning still came too early today, and likely will tomorrow.
  • Hang in there. We can do it.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Still Alive

Barely. I've been doing ... nothing much, all weekend, and am exhausted. The joy of being sick. Didn't I just do this in December? Yes, I thought so.

It will be interesting, in the not-always-good sense of the word, to see what this does for my usual difficulty handing the time change. I mean, I won't have trouble going to bed early tonight! But how the week will go is another question.

Meanwhile, the dirty dishes pile up, the laundry baskets overflow, and I try to amuse myself in whatever ways I can, when my body wants to face-plant on the bed (which gets boring if you don't fall asleep). I am at least able to read, though the book gets heavy and has to be put down often.

Maybe tomorrow I will feel better.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I Can Manage a Few Pictures

I'm feeling about the same as yesterday: bit of a cough thing, and exhaustion like a two-hundred-pound elephant is sitting on my shoulders. Happily, having put off lunch plans with a friend for tomorrow (sigh... but if I have germs, don't want to give them to her and the kids), my weekend will involve a whole lot of resting, and not much else. Before I go to bed, have some images.

Someone (that I don't know) tweeted this yesterday:
And I can't believe I never noticed that these two great players have jersey numbers that equal 100. They are perfect! (Not really. But they are really, really good.)

A few more movie ratings from this morning's Globe. There were a couple of reviews that had nothing parenthetical, and I got worried, until I saw these.
Would "privileged maundering" be better or worse than the non-privileged kind? Are both subject to an R rating? Discuss.

This one, I already saw the preview for.
Because it is about sheep, it was mentioned on a knitting blog. Yes, I would go see a movie, in Icelandic, because it is about sheep. What can I say? Knitters are weird.

The other day, I saw this, and could only say, amen, brother.
It truly is.

And finally, this.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Quick Summary

So how did it go after last night's health update?

  • I was in bed, lights out, at 7.
  • I woke up at 9 and again at 1, to use the bathroom of course, but otherwise slept (pretty solidly, with weird dreams) until shortly before the alarm went off at 6:30.
  • I thought my throat was worse this morning, as it was sore and sharp when swallowing, but once I drank a lot of water, that went away.
  • The dizziness isn't as bad as it was Wednesday, though I do sometimes find that door frames aren't quite where I expect them to be,
  • I am prone to spontaneous coughing triggered by nothing apparent to me. Breathing, basically. It's great that my throat doesn't hurt, but I could do without this.
  • The extreme weariness that descended on me this afternoon, the kind that makes sitting up in a chair feel very daunting, I could also do without.
  • I realized that I do, in fact, have something snacky in the house that doesn't hurt my throat: tinned fruit. So that's something.
  • And finally, I managed to to a decent day's work, especially compared to the none I would have done if I'd had to decide if I should go into an office (because that would have been a No), and I am trying to husband my strength to go out tonight--oh, no, not swimming, aren't you funny!--to run a couple of quick errands. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Of News Good and Not So Good

The good news is that the weather was lovely today, setting a temperature record in Boston.
I opened multiple windows, and even though I usually (wind and weather permitting) keep one window open an inch or two for Carlos, and really appreciate the fresh air even when it's cold, I do forget what actual fresh air coursing through the place is like. It smells so good! You get used to it being a bit stale, I guess, and that's a good thing, but wow, I am liking this.

And no, the bad news isn't that it won't stay this warm; I wish it would, but no one expects that here in March, even irrational me.

No, the bad news is that last night, I noticed a little tickle at the back of my throat, which I actually thought might be a bit of cat hair that was stuck and wouldn't clear out. But this morning when I woke up, before I even sat up in bed, I felt kind of lightheaded, and I almost fell over once or twice doing radical things like "trying to kick off my slippers" and "drying off after my shower"--things that, even though I am a klutz, do not normally send me sideways. And by mid-morning, neither of these things had gone away, and I had to admit that I just don't feel right. Not quite sick, not quite well. Come on, immune system, kick into gear!

My throat isn't quite sore, isn't quite a cough, but is a little That Way, and I also noticed, as I think I do every time I get something like this, that the vast majority of the snacks I have in the house are not soft. Pretzels are scratchy, crackers too, granola bars, cookies make crumbs ... nothing that slides smoothly down. I'm not sure what I could keep in the house against times like these, but I am motivated to think about it.

And to go to bed early. I was up late last night, what with the Bruins game going to overtime AGAIN (and they won, again, don't get me wrong, that's good, but for two games that started at 7:30 on successive nights to both go to OT is a bit much)... wait, where was I? Oh, yeah, what with the game and a new book (ahem), I got to bed late, so I'm hoping a good solid night's sleep will help me feel better tomorrow.

Or at least not worse?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Oh. Huh.

I had the locksmith here this morning*, rekeying my door locks--and before you ask, sure, I could have done it myself, it's something I've done in the past, but as the arthritis in my hands gets worse, year by year, I choose to outsource things that are easier with hand strength--and he was a super-nice guy** (and, unfortunately, old enough to be my father, so nothing that way). At one point he called to me that he was getting something out of his truck because the door sticks and he can't just leave it like that***, and after I called a fervent thank you, I thought about it.
*Working-from-home benefit again!
**Carlos begs to differ, but I thought so.
***And if I hadn't already been confident in his work (he's through the local hardware store), that would cement it. No extra change, he just couldn't leave it like that.

That door has stuck since I moved in. It's not I-can't-open-this levels of stuck, it just requires an extra pull to open, and care in closing to get it to shut without slamming, and I kind of never thought twice about it. Not that I didn't think it could be fixed, just that it never occurred to me to wonder if it could be fixed. And he came along and did something to the hinge, I think, it took about a minute, and now it opens and closes beautifully (which will take some getting used to, trust me).

It makes me wonder what else I'm living with that is easily fixable. Well, I can think of one thing offhand that I've never bothered to have fixed: the bottom dishwasher rack won't stay pulled out, but rolls back as soon as I take my hand off it. It bugged me like mad at first, but I got used to it before I got around to calling about getting it fixed. Still, there are probably other things, right? I wonder if I could hire a handyperson to come over and spend a few hours looking for problems? Would that be weird? Just to look around and give advice, see what's easy to fix, or even not as easy but you should fix that before it gets worse?

What am I not seeing, you know? With my blinders of long occupation? And lack of general handiness?

P.S. As he worked on the hallway door, which happens to be where I have a collection of Bruins memorabilia on the wall, the locksmith called, "You aren't a Bruins fan, are you?" And I said, "What makes you think that?" And he said, "Oh, just a hunch."

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Back to the Farm: Fiber Day, that is

Today was the second Farm Fiber Day at the Wayland Winter Farmers Market, and this time I went with friends, making it even more fun. And, this time I brought my camera, so you get to see some of what I saw. (Not the crowds, though; there were times when I couldn't have gotten my camera out of my bag. I did leave my coat in the car this time, and wore layers, which helped with temperature control.)

Versus last time, it was cold but not too cold, the parking lot was even busier and harder to navigate, and though we made an effort to get there earlier, I still wasn't in time for marble bagels--oh well. I got some others and they are/were still good.

Even before we got in, we could see hints that we were in the right place. Like this plate.
On a car that also had this sticker.
And on another car, this wheel cover, wow. I wonder if they only put it on for trips like this?
There it is, the food truck with a pizza oven.
Once again, though, I went for hand pies from the Roving Lunch Box: chicken pot pie before going in, curry lentil on the way out, both delicious.

One of the vendors I bought from was A Hundred Ravens, and I noticed their little well-dressed mascot atop the display rack.
I also loved this tree display at Good Karma Farm, though the branches were a little bit of a hazard in a crowded space.
These braids of roving caught my eye, though I am not now, nor am I currently interested in becoming, a spinner. But so cool.
If you click on this picture to make it bigger, you can see that the woman in the white sweater is wearing one of the wig-hat-whatever-head-cover-things, like the heads on the table are. They make me laugh, but I can't really explain them. (I think the locks come from sheep, but why make them into wigs...?)
This woman told me that she dyes with plants that she grows herself or gathers in the woods. The colors are so cool!
What came home with me: one skein of Iachos, a fingering weight from A Hundred Ravens, colorway Graphium; and three skeins of worsted 60/40 Wool/Alpaca from Good Karma, the squishiest loveliness, I want to cast it on Right Now but don't know what yet.
But it is happy yarn. I need to get a better picture of the colors, though.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

What I'm Pondering

As I was driving home tonight (worked in the office today, woo-hoo), I was thinking about singing. And not for the first time, as it's something that I don't actually understand. I have often said that I don't sing well, and I stand by that, but I am an enthusiastic singer-along-with-the-radio, and I have noticed that I sound better on some songs and worse on others, and I don't know the reasons behind it. It doesn't affect my pleasure in singing, much, but it puzzles me.

How is it that I can roll out December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)* and be not good (especially on the high notes), and yet I picked up my old school hymnbook recently and when I sang the first verse of Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise, I sounded actually good, I think (other than breath control, which I guess I need to practice).
*That link is to the Wikipedia page, where I learned to my surprise/disbelief that Mitt Romney claims it as a favorite song. Really??

I was thinking about this, and switching radio stations trying to find a decent song, and guess what came on? Hand on my heart, it did,

Why do I love that song so? No explanation. But I do. And I don't have to ask anyone to listen to me sing it to know that I don't sing it "well" (which truly doesn't bother me). But then how come I can sing that hymn, a capella, and it sounds pretty good? Is there a musical explanation for why some songs would suit my voice more than others? I'm sure I'm exposing my total lack of musical education, but there I am.

Off to watch the rest of the Bruins game.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


I don't know quite why I'm so tired, but here I am, just after 8, yawning and contemplating bed. Carlos suggests that paying more attention to the cat is the cure for all problems, but given that I brought the laptop to the couch so that he could have my company while I compute, I don't think he has a paw to stand on there.

So here's this: I don't think I've shared weird movie ratings with you in a while, so here are some new ones.

One rude gesture is PG-13: how many would have bumped it up to R?
Nice alliteration.
I'm not clear on why sci-fi thematic elements affect the rating. Like, saving the universe? Couldn't be rated G?
I'm also not sure how to take this one.
Little consolation? Bummer.
Ah, life. How existential.
I'm not the only one who had to look up oneiric, right?
I almost want to see this just to find out what that sounds like.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Florida Report: Everything Except the Boat Ride in the Everglades

Based on the photos I took last week, I can break the trip report into two halves: the boat tour, and everything else (not literally, but close; it reminds me of one trip I took years ago to San Francisco, which by the photos was "CCR goes to the SF Zoo, oh and visits her brother"). So here is the everything else part!

Before I start, one thing that doesn't come with a photo: as I was driving in, I saw a sign on a car wash that said "Expunge Filth and Detritus"; nice!

Anyway, I took a flight down on Saturday that left around lunchtime and got in for dinner. Just like my trip at Christmas, we landed early and had to sit on the tarmac for a while waiting for the gate to be open. I hope this isn't a new trend, as it is very irritating. So close! But eventually they let me off, and we got my suitcase and went on to Outback for an early dinner, delicious as always.

Before we leave the airport, though, let me mention that we saw some animals grazing on the grounds as we drove out, which is not something either of us ever remember seeing there. Birds, yes, mammals, no. We really only caught a glimpse, and my impression was that they were fairly small, sort of like a deer or mule, but with a wide, tapering snout that seemed wrong for either. All my googling could not help us track it down, so for now it remains a mystery.

Saturday night we sat on the lanai, catching up, and following along the Bruins game on the radio via my tablet: they won 7-3, so obviously that was a lot of fun. Sunday we had a leisurely morning before deciding to lunch at a favorite spot. Well, in season the wait for an outdoor table was almost an hour, but happily they have an observation deck overlooking the waterway, so we passed the time quite pleasantly. Some of these photos were taken while waiting, and some after we were seated. As you can see, it was pretty overcast, but warm, ah.

Fun boat name number 1: Silver Lining.
This sailboat was advertising a hotel, but I actually like the blue sail.
Fun boat name number 2: Irish Wake.
A tow boat! I don't remember seeing one of those before.
I also don't remember seeing a pirate ship before! They floated about for a bit, then were challenged by a guy in a rowboat and had a water-gun fight with him (he lost) before they went on their way.
That afternoon, we walked down to the beach, which was its usual lovely self.
Heading toward sunset.
This is why I am spoiled for beaches without shells.
Someone sculpted sand at the seashore.
For dinner, we had our leftovers from the night before, and it was another peaceful evening hanging out.

Monday's breakfast was a rerun of Sunday's, and lest you think that is a complaint, let me show you perfection:
After that, I worked on the lanai, which makes for a certain squintiness of contrast that I feel was worth it, breaking for lunch, of course. For dinner, we had good Italian at a little restaurant in a strip mall nearby; they have outdoor seating, which was tolerable even before the heater got turned on, but it does strike me as funny to be having the nice-restaurant experience while overlooking a parking lot and a CVS. Good food, though! Back on the lanai, I got to listen to the Bruins lose, which wasn't quite as much fun, but that's this season for you.

Tuesday morning, amid weather that started cloudy cool and overall not that nice, but improved, I finished up the report I had, and as I was told there was nothing waiting for me, we went out to lunch.

I did not have the crabs, but liked the sign anyway.
But in this case, the outside seating had a waterway view, and that means pelicans.
"Get my good side."
Two nappers and a bather, on posts.
Fun boat name number 3: Thesis. As in, "What are you doing today?" and "Working on my thesis."
Fun sign inside.
From there, since no work had indeed come in, we headed to Everglades City for the boat tour, described here. Home in time for leftovers for dinner, yum again.

Wednesday morning, and I grabbed the camera for the orange shot. In case you thought that "orange" was a single color.
It's unreal that something tasting so good is healthy,
My mother went off for some appointments Wednesday morning, and I hung about until work came in, which it did. When she got back, we took a break for a beach walk, as there were storms coming in that would prevent it from being a good idea at my normal end-of-day time (I just worked later instead). It was a good walk, but with a really strong wind that was rawther chilly.

After I finished working, we relaxed a bit, then went through the rain to the local sports bar to have dinner and watch the first period of the Bruins game, since it was on the national network. Their sign (which I have taken photos of before) brought up an interesting point:
It was fun to be able to see the game, not just hear the radio! Of course we listened to the rest on the radio, but that's not the point. It was another good night for them (like Saturday had been, and Monday had not).

Thursday was work, with a mid-afternoon break to have coffee with my mother's card group, and dinner out yet again, oh the tragedy of visiting my mother and eating well all week.

I took pictures of the shells I picked up, Sunday:
And Wednesday:
Friday we had lunch outside-ish: the place has tables in the sun and under a cover, and we were in the chilly-in-the-breeze shade. There was a gorgeous hibiscus there.
I also cast on for the next socks, to have for travelling, though I wasn't quite done with the last pair (they're ready for the kitchener as of tonight, as it happens).
There were some fun signs around.
And the shirt, if you can't make out the legend, says the restaurant is "Locally World Famous," which makes as much sense as anything, right?
Manatee boating notice.
And a bumper sticker on the way to the car.
Sock progress. From a slip knot to an M to a square.
And that takes us to Friday evening, and the airport, and dinner, and hanging out, and going through security, away from Mum, toward Carlos.

Who, by the way, still isn't over my having gone away. And I was out for a few hours after work, which displeased Himself mightily. He suffers so.