Saturday, May 28, 2016

Puncia Progress

I am very happy to report on the progress I am making on the Puncia shawl. Don't worry, there's no other shoe to drop today: It's going well, is all. This morning I pinned it roughly out, to get an idea of what it looks like.
Here is how the edging section came out:
And then the berry chart part.
And now it is officially social knitting, almost mindless knitting, yay! By the weight of the yarn, I'm about a quarter done, so this piece will be about twice as long as it is now and then get put aside to do the other end. I started it about a month ago, but this next bit should go faster, since I can take it to stitch and bitch to work on. We'll see.

I also took pictures of the last pair of socks I finished:
And of Carlos. First, the other day, fast asleep, but somehow holding his tail up, like he fell asleep mid-thwap.
And then later, in one of his common position, which I call "pole sleeping"; he likes to rest his paws on the lamp pole.
Pretty darn cute, I must say.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dwindling Hockey

I watched such a lot of hockey over the weekend; like a squirrel, hoarding nuts for the winter, I wanted to see all I could before it goes away for the summer. I was aided in this by the World Championships, which finished this weekend, and which were available to watch on the NBC Sports app. Two games Saturday, and two more Sunday, watching and knitting and petting Carlos. It was quite peaceful, actually, both in knitting and hockey terms.

I enjoyed the WCs for a few reasons, including:

  • It was a chance to see players recently drafted that I haven't seen play much, as well as a few who are expected to be at the top of the NHL draft this summer, and see what they could do (answer: some amazing moves). 
  • There were a couple of Bruins involved, Frank Vatrano had two goals in the last game for the US, and Marchand got a medal. 
  • The games were in Russia, with a lot of flashy entertainment features, like cheerleaders in the stands when play was stopped--and they also stood on the ice before the start of each game, when the players were first coming out, which made me wonder what the players thought of these beautiful women in their gold knee-high boots, waving pom-poms for them.
  • It was a nice break from the announcers who have been covering the Stanley Cup; more on that later.

There were also a lot of presentations: players of the game, players of the tournament, and of course all the medals, which by the way were presented by Russian hockey legend Vladislav Tretiak, very impressive. And then, at the very end, as the Canadians were jigging happily around, and the Finns were slumping sadly in place*, who came out to speak but Vladimir Putin. My goodness. I had heard he was big into hockey, but still. Not expecting that. He spoke pretty briefly, in Russian, and according to the translator it was all the expected stuff, congratulating the teams and thanking the IIHF for choosing Russia to host, etc.
*During the bronze medal game, one of the announcers noted that in this case, the winners of silver would feel worse than the bronze winners, which is probably true; they just lost gold, after all.

Lots of good fun, basically, probably more so than the NHL games. I watched Saturday night's game all the way through, something I haven't done much of this playoff season because I don't care enough about any of the teams to lose sleep over them, and I watched about half of Sunday's game. I've been watching parts of the games every night: there's one tonight, and one tomorrow, and then depending who wins tonight, there might be one Friday. Then the finals will start next week, and in seven games or fewer, it will be done, and I will be left to watch the draft, and free agency day, and look for scraps of news until camp starts.

One thing I won't miss is the announcers; I am so sick of them. If the Bruins had made the playoffs, I would have had my local guys for a round or two, but failing that, I have been listening to the NBC announcers for what seems like months, and man, I didn't like most of them that much to begin with. Now? Ugh. Maybe the ones who were at the Worlds will get a game or two before it's over? Probably not, but I can wish.

Meanwhile, I made quite a lot of Puncia progress this weekend (what a surprise, with 5.5 hockey games), and I will show you that soon. Several nights recently, I have had to make myself put it down and go to bed: it's hard to be the grown-up sometimes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Does Anyone Know?


Part of the reason I don't generally blog after exercising is that the main thought on my mind is ow, ow, ow. But here, someone put this on Facebook:
And I want something like this, only for water aerobics and ice cream. One hour of water aerobics = what?

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Philosophical Question, and More Ratings

I didn't notice that I got soap or shampoo in my eye in the shower this morning, but the eye was red when I got out, and bothered me all day. How do you get soap in your eye without noticing it?

Time for more movie ratings!

Some specific nudity; and, would serious use of the f-word be better or worse?
I feel so bad for the crumpets.
I'm going to see this one, so I'll let you know how badly the crumpets fared.

Both nudity and naked greed! Now we're really into Robert Graves territory.
Finally, and I expect I've said this before, this may be my very favorite ever.
Really, how could you turn that into a mere rating?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Weighing Numbers

As I have shown here in analysis of my headaches, and other things, I can get deeply into playing with numbers, something I myself find odd in my word-nerd, English-major-ness. I guess it isn't numbers I dislike, it's math, so maybe it isn't weird that I'm enjoying looking at numbers. Right?

What I'm looking at now is my weight. I have weighed myself erratically over the last few years, sometimes every week, other times months apart, but it gives at least something of an idea of trends. Which are upward.

Specifically, here is the chart from November 2012 through last October, which was the last time I weighed myself before I started swimming regularly for exercise.
A little bit down, and then slowly, inexorably, up. It wasn't just from getting laid off last June, either, I was gaining before that. Here's just the 2015 part:
Since then, though, while I haven't particularly lost weight, I have stayed pretty steady, within about a four-pound range. Here's the 2016 data added to the data from 2012.
I like the end of that one better. Of course I would like to lose some weight, so that for instance I could carry groceries in without needing to rest afterward, but before I can do that, I have to stop gaining, and for now I have. Baby steps.

Friday, May 20, 2016

When the Format Matters

I know some people are very strongly in one camp or another when it comes to physical books versus electronic books, but I have a foot in both camps. I certainly own far more physical books; just ask the friend who looked at my living room and commented that it looked like a library (why, thank you). It's also nice to be able to lend them to people, which e-books don't exactly support. But I have accumulated a few e-books, generally either free or cheap, and find it very handy to have them for traveling or just when I'm out and unexpectedly want something to read (if, for instance, I decide to stop and eat, I always have something to read with me.).

A while back, I read a recommendation for a fantasy novel called The Raven Ring, by the excellent Patricia Wrede; I've read some of her books, but not all of them, and this was part of the 'not' group. I checked my library, and they had it in an electronic version, so I borrowed that, and I loved it. Funny thing: it's part of a group of five books set in the same world, Lyra*, but it's not a series, and you don't have to read them in any order. When I finished it, I eagerly read the others, and didn't like a one of them nearly as much as TRR. How about that? If I'd read any of the other four first, I doubt I would have read any more.
*Which just always makes me think of The Golden Compass--cross-fantasy confusion at its best.

Anyway, I enjoyed TRR enough that I got it out of the library multiple times, and finally decided I should go ahead and buy it. I looked on eBay, and found a copy of the old paperback for all of $3.97, so I ordered it.

However. Through no fault of the seller, I didn't actually like the physical copy. First of all, it's the cover image I dislike, since Eleret is a strong, practical, independent woman, and the image on the cover looks to me like a pouty dreamer.
Right? It's very misleading. And also, this copy is kind of tightly bound, so I almost have to force it open, to the point I worry about breaking the binding. Not comfortable reading.

Even more, though, it's the font inside that bothers me, believe it or not. Here's the reason why there are two copies above: I got a copy of the hardcover out of the library to see if it was better, since no point in buying it if it's the same. I hate to think that at age 47, my vision is deteriorating that much, so tell me, do you find the one on the right easier to read than the one on the left?
In the paperback, I feel like the font is a little light (which could be this specific copy, not the pb generally), and also a little cutesy; I don't always notice when there's a semicolon instead of a comma, for instance. I was reading it again recently, and thought, Enough; get a copy you like. Hence the getting the copy from the library.

However (again). I opened this morning's email from BookBub--have you heard of that? you sign up, and they send you an email with the day's deals for free or cheap e-books--and there was, not TRR, but the series of all five books, for $3.99. I can order just the e-book of TRR for $7.99, or get it together with four other books (that I will probably never read) for half the cost. What a waste of electrons, eh?

But of course I ordered it. Well, them, but really, it. Happy Friday!

If you need more than my super-exciting tale, then here, have you seen the video of this woman and her amazing laugh? I want to be her friend!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

While Working, I and II

Today at work, I was at the stage with this report that meant reading through it, but not a lot of typing or 100%+ concentration required; in other words, I could have hockey on as a kind of background music. Not that the NHL games are during the day, but the IIHF world championships, currently going on, are in Russia this year, meaning that the quarterfinal games were today at 9:15 and 1:15 Eastern time. Perfect!

Especially as three Bruins made their country teams. This morning I saw (or mostly listened to) Frank Vatrano* and Team USA eliminate David Pastrnak and the Czechs (bye, Pasta), and this afternoon Brad Marchand and Team Canada eliminated Sweden.
*To the rest of the audience, I'm sure it was Auston Matthews, presumptive top NHL draft pick this summer, and Team USA, and I grant you, he is very impressive

It was during that game that something struck me for the first time. The announcers were talking about how Sweden has two players named Erik Gustafsson--and they're both on defense, even, if I was the coach I would not be able to resist playing them together. But it's certainly unusual, though back when I was a kid, I remember that the Bruins and Montreal had players with the same first and last name at one point. More often, a team will have two players with the same last name (see: the Bruins years with Bob Sweeney and Don Sweeney) or opposing teams will have players with the same last name (see: play-by-play announcers having to specify, "Carolina's Rask takes a shot, easy save for Boston's Rask").

Anyway, that thought apparently bounced around my subconscious and later led to this thought: that must be why, at the NHL draft, they don't give the player's name first. They always say they are picking, from the BC Eagles or whatever the team is, John Smith, and that must be so that if there's more than one John Smith, the wrong one doesn't get excited. Interesting. I never thought about why they do it that way, though I've always vaguely felt it was awkward. Nice to think there's a good reason for it.

Since I was at the not typing much stage, and my hands always get itchy doing nothing, I decided to kill two birds with one stone: it's been bothering me that my desktop is chilly, and I decided to knit a kind of place mat to keep on it, so my arms and wrists don't get cold. And yes, I look forward to the weather improving to the point where I don't need this! In the meantime, I pulled out a skein of yarn and cast on.

I started with 52 stitches, but soon decided that was a little wider than I wanted.
So I ripped it out and cast on 42. By the end of the day, I had used the same amount of yarn, but it fits the space better.
Simple solution, knitter style.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Oh Hai

I don't seem to have quite mastered the art of blogging after exercise, have I? I mean, sometimes I do, but more often than not I have found myself sprawled on the couch, petting the cat to make up for having abandoned him, while groaning every time I move, and not producing even minimal content. And since I already had a spotty record of posting Monday nights after stitch and bitch, well. Hi, here I am!

I had some good news this morning when the plumber came--not something you can say every time you have a plumber story, right? I called him because I found a leak under my kitchen sink, which was coming when I ran the faucet (as opposed to if I just poured liquid down the drain). It turns out that there was a loose thing on the sprayer mechanism; he tightened it, and ran the water for a long time while checking it, but no more drips. He said to watch it for a few days to be sure and call him if I see anything, but it looks fine so far. And he didn't even charge me! What a nice guy.

I had to go into the office on Monday for computer work, meaning that I spent several hours sitting there, knitting or reading, and got paid for it, how about that? The computer even still works, though it didn't want to let me log in yesterday morning, and I had to use my own computer to get someone in the office to tell me what to do (try a different password). They are supposedly making the Big Sweeping Change (to the email and server) this weekend, so it will be fun to see what Monday brings.

Less fun was hearing the news that the head of the office is leaving the company; I didn't get to see him much, but he's a really nice guy, I've always liked him, and I will be sorry not to cross paths with him even as rarely as we did. I hope his new opportunity is a good one. And that the office doesn't rock too much without him! Who knows what They will do. I will try to be prepared, but not worried. Though that's a balancing act, isn't it?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday Night, Fighting the Blahs

I'm fighting off a heavy case of the Monday-night-don't wannas, compounded by the realization that I need to call the plumber for the leak under the kitchen sink. Sigh. Where is the grown-up who is supposed to be in charge of such things?

Anyway, one thing is going well, knock wood. Yesterday I finished the edging section of the Puncia shawl, and pinned it out to see how it will look. That's the thing with lace knitting, you have to take it on faith because it looks like this when you work on it.
Not awful, but a bit lumpy and weird. But then a few pins, and viola.
Much better! Close up:
So far, so good. I went on a bit more after that, and so far (knock wood) it is going well. I'm a little nervous for this part, since I can't use stitch markers, which are my security blanket (the pattern travels a little on one row). However, this repeat is so narrow that I'm only doing one little thing over and over, and the return rows are purl, so it isn't too complicated. We'll see.

In other news, I finally made myself throw out the tulips, which have been dead for a while now. Even at the last, they were still pretty and interesting to look at.

Nature's art. Yeah, I know, I'm weird. Oh well.

Someone would like my attention now.
(I put the pepper there to see if he would be interested, and he put his paw on it when he stretched, but he wasn't so much into it. Still, I often see him sitting next to it, wherever it is, and it moves sometimes, so he's still at least a little into it.)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Ahh, Friday Night, Randomly

Some more photos of last night's adventure with the new catnip toy, with interpretive commentary.
What's dis?
 Why won't it stay still?
 If you notice the lighter color at the far end, that's the part he didn't lick yet.
 What toy?
 I don't know what you mean. Look somewhere else. Nothing here.
Today, by the way, it is old news. Hopefully he will play with it again, but even if he doesn't, I think I got my $3.05 worth of amusement out of it last night. He was unusually active over it, and it was pretty funny to watch. At one point I thought he was done with it, and went to pick him up, at which point he twisted wildly out of my hands to get back to it--I thought he might bite me if I didn't release him! Which, maybe he wouldn't have, but it was still out of character for Mr. Laid Back. And funny.

In other news, I thought I picked my next sock yarn at random, but after I wound it:
And started working with it:
I had a thought about what might have influenced my choice.
So from now on, they're the tulip socks.

My cousin shared a photo of gelato on Facebook recently, and said it was fantastic, which given that she's been to Italy is quite a statement. It's a company from Maine, Gelato Fiasco, and I had to try it myself.
Even better, when I went to Stop and Shop, it was on sale, so I got two. Which is an odd thing to do, arguably, on the way home from the gym, but on the other hand, while I was in the pool I was watching a man pacing outside smoking, which is also an odd thing to do at a gym. We're all human. And she was right, it is amazing.

Speaking of the gym, while I was in the class last night, I was musing on how odd it feels to exercise and not hate it. I still don't like it, but I don't hate it, don't dread going, don't try to come up with reasons not to go. I just ... go. And do the class. And creak home again. And take some ibuprofen. You know. As one does.

Maybe someday I'll even get over the feeling that two hours of exercise a week is "so much more than none," and do a little more. But let's not rush into anything.

Finally, for the Harry Potter fans out there, here are some intrepid skydivers playing quidditch. Crazy.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

He So Happy

Someone got a new catnip toy tonight.

He likes it.

Slurp, slurp, slurp.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Yes, Really

I can't tell you how validating I found this story, in this morning's Globe:
Let me draw your attention to this, specifically:
Yes! It was not my imagination that last week's weather sucked so very much. Whew. I have lost so much perspective on this that I was starting to wonder.

Today was partly sunny, which is a big step up from Never Sunny, I grant you. Perhaps if I hadn't been so tired, I would have been more excited by the glowing, but I slept badly last night, with many worrying dreams about something that I swear I am not worried about. Ugh. Also, there's a strong breeze, which made opening the windows for fresh air a chilly experience. Better, yes: not great, though.

This morning's Globe, by the way, I had to read on my little tablet, though I prefer to use the iPad for its larger screen. The Globe app sucks so badly, it's hard to explain how difficult it can make reading the paper--and both the Apple and Android versions have problems regularly. The iPad app sometimes won't open; sometimes opens part of the way, enough to show me the paper, but won't let me actually read it; and this morning, in what I believe was a new problem, it opened up just fine, but was showing yesterday's paper, and not today's.

Every once in a while, neither of them will work on a given day, and I have to read the paper on the computer (like I don't spend enough time at my desk every day), but this morning the Android app opened, after thinking about it long enough to worry me, so I was able to read it there. Sarcastic yay.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Fading Tulips

Today is just one of those days when I find life exhausting. It's fine, nothing bad happened, but I'm sighing a lot. I just finished paying the bills and balancing things, which always leaves me wondering how on earth I got put in charge of this task (I am the last person who should be). There's some sunshine outside, but it hasn't been a nice day. I'm just ... tired.

The tulips are on their last legs, too, but they do it beautifully. I noticed yesterday that they have different colors on the inside, at the base. Almost blue on this one!

So beautiful, so different. I've really enjoyed having them here, this past week, with the grey and the rain.

I finished the latest purse socks today, and as I cast on the next pair, I realized that the colors in it remind me of some from the tulips. It's this skein:
If you see what I mean.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Knitting Pretty

The shawl is coming nicely, now that I am giving it more of my attention. This should look even better after blocking, of course, but I like it now.

Friday, May 06, 2016

This Week, I Learned

I learned a few things this week.

First, some weeks feel three times longer than others, for no obvious reason, but Friday eventually comes.

Second, I can do two water aerobics classes in a week. And it IS much easier than just swimming on my own.

Also, tulips are very cheering during grey, chilly weather.

However, the grey weather leads me to buy and eat ice cream. Which is delicious, but probably negates the exercise points just a little.

Next, the shawl I am knitting is not appropriate for social knitting. No one to blame for this but myself and my wishful thinking: I wanted to work on it, I took it to stitch and bitch on Monday, and I spent the rest of the week undoing my mistakes. Unless I am going to hang out with a friend in total silence, it isn't social knitting. Not. Remember that. Not.

Finally, I learned that I may never stop enjoying these movie ratings. Though, possibly, not as much as the person writing them does.
Serial-killer whales?
Offensively overpriced couture, check.
Frank Francophone frolicking? Really?
Suggestions and intimations.
Not just any old foul language...
Since when does animal husbandry become a warning?
I almost want to see this one to find out what they mean by fancy formalism. And gratuitous nudity reminds me of that wonderful Robert Graves poem, The Naked and the Nude, which I love for its wordplay. I can still rattle off the first stanza, and happily will upon request.

(A couple of these are from today, and some are older (still all this year, I believe). I finally got around to going through all the photos on my tablet and deleting the ones I've put up, and I'd missed a couple.)