Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Trip Readiness

I suppose I should be complaining about how much work it is to get ready for a trip, but in fact I love making lists and crossing things off, which pretty much outweighs the what-will-I-forget worries, especially on a trip that is at least partly vacation, to visit one of my favorite people.

That is, I don't stress about packing as long as I have enough time, and I do; since I knew I was going to be out all day Sunday (another beach day! fun but tiring, that may do me for the year), I started making piles on Saturday, and am now mostly down to the last few things before the things I can't do until travel day. Don't want to pack my glasses the day before, after all.

But the backup sock yarn is wound (since obviously I can't risk finishing the sock and not having a sock to knit), the laundry is done, the carry-on is packed with all that can be done ahead, etc. Tonight after swimming I will run one last little errand, and tomorrow I will work half a day, then throw the computer into the bag and head out.

I just read something recently talking about social media and posting about traveling, and one of their points was that telling the world that you're away is like telling thieves your house is ready to be broken into. Which I can see could happen, but I wonder how often it actually does? (I mean, I'm not worried personally; my little condo building has so many doors that the US Mail is regularly stumped, and even trick-or-treaters can't figure it out, so I think my odds are pretty good.) Also, while social media would spread the news, is that actually more practical for thieves than casing out locally? I mean, I imagine this:
Two women bump into each other in the supermarket. The first one says, "Mary! I thought you guys already left for Disney!"
The other woman laughs. "I wish! We're leaving this afternoon, and the prep has just about killed me. But I just took the dog to the kennel, this is my last stop, and ten days in Florida will make it all better!" 
They part, and a man shopping nearby casually follows Mary around the store, then outside, and to her house, where he notes the address to come back and break in next week.
I mean, is it likely? No. But is it possible? Sure. There was a news story I read last year about an Uber driver who took a woman to the airport, then drove back to her home and broke in--surprising her roommate considerably. But if she hadn't had a roommate, he might not have been caught. The world is full of shit, is my point, and social media is not completely to blame, imperfect though it is in many ways.

Anyway! Never mind that; back to what's important, like knitting. Thanks to those who weighed in on the striped shawl, take 2; it's going with me as on-the-plane knitting, so I should have some progress to show you next week. I decided to bring the stripe shawl, not the lace one, as being on a plane, although a decent place for somewhat complicated knitting, is not always uninterrupted time, and this shawl is not currently at the "easy" stage. If I had to tink on the plane, that would spoil my mood, I'm pretty sure. I'll work on it again when I get home, and soon it will be back to social knitting again. And even if I don't finish the sock, it should be close to done, too. Lots to look forward to!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

I Think They Mean It

When they say there's a Severe Thunderstorm Warning:
So they say I should be staying away from windows. Let's see, bathroom or closet?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Two Takes on a Shawl, in progress

As I mentioned, a few weeks ago, I cast on a  simple shawl, in the lovely shawl-striping yarn from Caterpillargreen. I worked on it a while, getting this far:
And paused; I thought that, though the striping is very cool, I wasn't loving the combination of garter and stockinette stitch. I didn't hate it or anything, but... especially on the side where you can see the bits of color in some of the grey ridges, I wasn't loving it.
(This may be a knitter thing; I understand if you don't see anything wrong with it.)

I thought about it; brought it to stitch and bitch to discuss it; and finally frogged it, and cast on again to try it all in stockinette. I just caught up to where I was before I ripped it out.
I think I like it better this way. We'll see how it goes, as it goes. I'm looking forward to the next color. And the next...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Two Years Is a LONG Time

A really, really long time, when I'm talking about how long it's been since I had one of the terrible migraines.

Two! Years!

As I said last summer, "An entire year without wanting to die of the pain. How awesome is that?" And not only was it awesome, but two years is twice as awesome.

I still don't believe I'll never get one again. But I am enjoying this time, that's for sure.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Little Pet-Related PSA

Recently, I saw this (where else) on Facebook:
And I thought, putting aside the dog part, what a good idea! After all, if anything happened to me, there's no one else here to take care of his lordship. I didn't even shop around for a cat version, I just went ghetto with an index card:
And I stuck it in my wallet. If you live alone with pets, may I suggest you do something similar? And thus endeth the lesson for today.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Can't Resist This One

Normally I don't like to get into politics much, here or in real life, with the exception of The West Wing, but in this case, I just have to bring up how at the first night of the Republican National Convention last night, Mrs. Trump decided to come out in favor of recycling, by giving a speech that liberally cribbed from Mrs. Obama's speech in 2008. And when I say liberally, well, I think this side-by-side comparison shows it best.

Honestly? That is pretty damning. Who ever thought that was a good idea? I just ... whoa.

(If you want more, and haven't watched Steven Colbert introducing the word "Trumpiness," it is well worth the watch. And be sure to note not just what he says, but what comes on screen as he says it--it's not just audio, but a very visual statement.)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Beach Day, ahhhh

Today was kind of annoying. Let's talk about yesterday instead.

Because I went to the beach with friends yesterday, and all that fresh air and sunshine and surf just wore me out, and I crashed early last night, even before I could throw photos up here. It was such fun! The forecast had said it would be overcast all day*, but really it was much nicer than that, mostly sunny, and the thunderstorms that were going to happen at 2 and then at 4 hadn't happened by the time we left the north shore around 5 (after 5+ hours on the beach, then eating, then ice cream). A really good day, and another group of friends wants to do it next Sunday, which, while I'm not usually a frequent beachgoer, is hard to resist.
*Which probably helped keep numbers down on the beach--it really wasn't that crowded.

Naturally, I'm going to need plenty of water with me for a day on the beach with the temperatures in the 80s. In the name of science, I conducted a small frozen-water experiment, in two parts. On the one side, I had a regular water bottle that I filled most of the way and froze the day before, adding water in the morning before I left. On the other side, my insulated Tervis water bottle (seen at the end of this post), mostly filled with ice cubes and then topped up with chilled water. Both bottles were placed in insulated bottle totes, since I happen to own two in just the right sizes (the larger one is like this, and the smaller one is like this, though both of mine are just plain blue), and they really do help keep things cool.

And the winner? By the time we left the beach, I had run out of water, but each bottle had a very small amount of ice left, so it was a tie (and kind of a loss, to me, in that I didn't have quite enough water and had to buy a bottle anyway, but now I know).

And it was beautiful.

 They didn't build it (the builder had left), but they sure had fun with it!
What a nice day...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Tale of Two Plants

I've written about my "office" plant, Seymour, before; as a refresher, here he is when I was setting my home office up, 11 months ago.
The tendril to the right kept growing, but over time it also had leaves dying along it, leading to a straggly look that eventually had to go. I cut it off, trimmed the still-healthy end, and put it in a cup of water.

A few weeks later, this had happened.
Growth! I bought a small plant pot, a fancy one actually, and plopped Junior into dirt.
I'm still keeping an eye on it; I don't know that I fully trust the self-watering thing to work. But I chose Seymour in the first place because Golden Pothos are hardy, forgiving plants, and so he has proven over several years and all too many offices. And he's still growing, viz the new leaf starting:
So we can't be doing too badly.

Meanwhile, back at Seymour Senior, a tendril on the left that had not been growing restarted once the other side was trimmed. In fact, it went from this on the 7th (tiny nub where my finger is pointing):
To this on the 11th:
And the leaf is now separate and unfurling. Plants can be kind of cool, I find.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Showing My Drawers

Recently, I came to terms with the fact that as things currently stand, my socks had outgrown my sock drawer. There was only one thing to do.

Make a second sock drawer.

This is most, though not all, of my socks. And yes, I do still own a few pair that I didn't knit--but not many.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An Icy Blast (not literally, thank heavens)

I got a pleasant treat last night when I found that NESN was rerunning some old Bruins games (not old-old, just from last season). Hockey!

I was home from swimming in time to see the end of one game, and watched most of the next (it was almost over, but I was so tired and achy...). It was just so nice to see hockey again. Especially since, for some reason, I came out of swimming with extra-sore quads, and this was a welcome distraction from the extra level of ow.


  • In the first game, when a player scored top-shelf, Jack said that he "put that where mama keeps the gluten-free cookies!" Man, I miss Jack Edwards, with his enthusiasm and his head-scratching analogies. At least at this point, we're closer to next season than last season.
  • My favorite, Patrice Bergeron, scored 34 seconds into the second game.
  • That game was in Florida, yet there were so many Bruins fans there that at one point they managed to get up a clearly audible chant of "Let's go, Bruins!" Pretty impressive. As Jack said, some teams travel well, but the Bruins travel loud. (After that, the Florida fans upped their game, and the chants sounded more like "Let's go, [unclear mumble]" as Panthers and Bruins fans dueled.)
  • At one point, the camera found a Bruins fan standing up to cheer a play. He was wearing a Bruins jersey and a black and gold kilt. Yeah.

As for the "not literally" in the title, yes, it's hot again here. Yay! Someone asked me today if it was "getting hot out there," and I said yes, but then clarified that I'm not complaining, I like it. Winter is my complaining season. I can acknowledge that it is hot, though; in fact, mid-afternoon I had to close my windows and open the air conditioning vents, as it was too warm in here even for me. But up to then I was enjoying the sweet breeze wafting in. Long may it stay.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Warm Again

Although it doesn't solve all problems, the return of warm weather does make me happy. Instead of one window grudgingly open, today I have many open, and the fresh warm air smells wonderful. I'm back in a sleeveless shirt. It is good.

That is all. Unless you want to count that I put together the new drying rack. Woo hoo. I can't stand the excitement.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Talking Movies

In the last month, I've seen three movies, and two of them were documentaries, which is so unusual for me.

The first was Yarn: The Movie, as I wrote about at the time. My take: it was quite interesting to me, as someone who is quite interested in yarn and all the etcetera*. Probably less interesting to those who are not.
*Why, no, spell-check, I did not mean to type tetrameter, but thank you for asking.

Next, a friend and I went to see Finding Dory on the 4th of July, and enjoyed it very much. (Possible spoilers here, though if you've seen the trailer, probably not much of a surprise.) It's one of those supposedly children's movies that you would have to be careful which children you took to see it. Granted, I may have gone into it thinking about that, since I read something beforehand noting that caution should be used especially with adopted/foster kids, due to the "her parents lost Dory and they were always looking for her" and "it was her fault she got lost" possible take-aways. Since I don't have to worry about that myself, I was able to enjoy the movie; I love Finding Nemo, and it was fun to see some of the characters from that, as well as the new ones like Hank the octopus/septopus. Basically, my so-helpful note on this is that if you think you would like the movie, you probably would; if not, it probably wouldn't change your mind. How's that?

Also, the short cartoon before the movie, Piper, was wonderful! I really identify with the little sandpiper who sees no appeal to leaving the nest where his mother feeds him. Ahem. It's also amazing and beautiful animation.

Then yesterday, since it was very much not beach weather this weekend (65 and cloudy in mid-July, I ask you)(the heat is supposed to return tomorrow and especially Wednesday, and I can't wait), I went with friends to see The Music of Strangers, which is about the Silk Road Ensemble, put together by Yo-Yo Ma. It was really interesting, about music and other cultures and what it means and how it works together...I'm finding it hard to be coherent about, but it was really good (go watch the trailer). There are some hard parts; it focuses on a couple of the musicians, and while the experience of the woman from China who went through the Cultural Revolution as a child is sort of retrospectively difficult, the men who are from Iran and Syria have more immediate issues that are a little too much like the nightly world news for comfort. This doesn't mean you shouldn't see it (Mum, I think you would like it), but just so you know.

Three movies in less than a month, and I'm not sorry I saw any of them; how about that? Finding Dory was probably my favorite, unsurprisingly, but they were all good.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Just Not in the Way I Expected

So yesterday, I wrote that I would be shopping for:
...knitting needle tips in size US4, which I already have according to my own records, but which I can't find anywhere. As soon as I buy more, they will turn up, so that's my plan.
And today I went out and bought them as planned. The ones I have are the Knitters Pride Dreamz interchangeables, and they are color-coded by size (as seen here), so I noticed as I knit the striped shawl onto them that the new needles are green.

Then this evening, I picked up the lace shawl I'm knitting, and absently noticed that the needles are green. Wait...

The pattern calls for size 5 needles. I thought I was using size 5 needles; that's what I put in Ravelry (a few months ago, when I started). Apparently, though, I am not. This doesn't matter for the lace shawl, since I am happy enough with the fabric I am getting. but it does mean that the missing needles were right next to the couch the whole time I've been wondering where on earth they could be.

Problem solved, kind of. Oy.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Purposefully Trivial

It seems like the world is falling apart, isn't it? I truly can't focus too much of my time or mental energy (such as it is) on all these awful things, or I will end up shivering in bed, unable to do anything. Right now, I need to focus on the truly trivial.

Like how this morning, I was answering what turned out to be a crap call on my cell phone when the home phone rang, with what turned out to be another crap call. Oh, Do Not Call List, I had such faith in you, but no more. (As a note, if you ever call me and get distracted just as I answer, be aware that I will hang up on you after about two seconds of silence. Call back.)

Or how yesterday, reading the Globe on the tablet as I do, I came across this unusual spread.
Do you see how the left-side page has an article that clearly should be on continued over the right-side page, but isn't? If you enlarge the picture, you will see why: this is page C4 and C6, not C5. Page C5 was missing, and all the following pages were thrown off by it.

Mind you, it was in the Globe online, as seen on the computer.
I imagine it was in the printed version as well. Ah, the Globe, continuing to come up with new ways to screw up the app.

Also trivial but annoying: yesterday my drying rack decided to die in the most melodramatic way possible, by collapsing under its not-even-full load of drying socks and underwear, while I was in the room but standing about four feet away from it. It was very startling, and I about had a heart attack, to be honest. I'll be shopping this weekend.

For that, and for knitting needle tips in size US4, which I already have according to my own records, but which I can't find anywhere. As soon as I buy more, they will turn up, so that's my plan.

Now for some positive trivia, or maybe not trivia exactly. Positive things.

Yesterday morning the baby joined me at the desk, since I wouldn't stay in bed with him (to his continual disappointment), and hung out purring for about 20 minutes. It was very nice.
Today I cracked open this box of cookies, in order to eat some of my feelings about the state of the world. They are delicious.
Next, my mail today brought me something I have been waiting for (since April, in fact): Majesty magazine, which is a publication of the Miss World Organisation. I know, what? But look at the cover:
See there, on the left?
Look familiar? Except wait, I've been colorized! Now that's a first. Kind of cool, eh?

Now, I'm off for my crazy Friday night plans, which involve knitting and snacking and this little gem, fresh from the library:
In times like these, who wants to be an adult? I love Bugs Bunny, and if they won't give me an hour or two of Looney Tunes on Saturday mornings, then I will make it happen myself, so there.

Happy weekend.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Seesaw Pretty Much In the Middle

Not the worst day, but not the best day. Carlos has been needy still today, but he hasn't been quite as bad as he was last night (though the night is still young). On the other hand, it's hot enough that even I, Ms I-love-hot-weather, closed the windows this afternoon and opened the a/c vents. Plus the grocery store was out of cucumbers, which, how does that happen? It's just the little local one, emphasis on little, but still, that was disappointing. I find them very refreshing in summer.

Meanwhile, in more solidly happy news, I am about to finish the toe of the second sock in the current purse pair, and I decided that rather than cast on a new pair, I will first finish the ones in Bruins colors that have been languishing since I got rid of the exercise bike*. I started them more than a year ago! It's time for them to be done.
*Damn it, I still haven't gotten a long couch. I think I got stuck on the decision about getting one for the short term, or to move with, and that plus the money question...

So I'm off to do that, and try to lure mouthy boy into sitting on the couch with me. Wish me luck, eh?

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Oh, Dude, Shut It

Isn't it amazing how, during the course of a single day, I can look at Carlos and melt with how cute he is, and later cuss him out for being an asshole?

I mean, he IS a cat, of course he's an asshole sometimes. But his timing! Waiting until I stagger home sore and tired from exercising, being completely underfoot while I try to hang up my wet things, begging until he gets his treats, and then continuing to be obnoxious and pesty despite anything I think he might need--food to be moistened up, litter box cleaned, himself grabbed and power-cuddled--no, nothing is helping. He's just being a dick tonight.

Sigh. I am sore and tired and did not need something else to make me crabby tonight. Good thing he's cute.

Monday, July 04, 2016

On the 4th

The long weekend has been so nice. I really am suited to a life of leisure. I mean, I did stuff, too, it wasn't all lying around reading or knitting (though certainly some of it was), but not having a schedule is really very pleasant. Note to self: buy a lottery ticket.

Meanwhile, I'm off to watch the fireworks. Here, did anyone else learn the Preamble to the Constitution from Schoolhouse Rock?

Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Today, and Yarn From Portland (belatedly)

Today has been a decent mix of leisure and getting-it-done, and while I didn't come home from errands super-stressed, I was still amused to see this pop up on Facebook.
Of course, I did not go right to bed or anything--not at 3 PM--but I let myself off the hook for any more Accomplishing. Listening to my grandmother ramble for half an hour, picking up a few prescriptions, getting groceries: that's plenty. I did start the dishwasher this afternoon! But basically I've been reading and knitting and generally goofing off. It feels great.

By the way, the swimsuits, which were due to arrive next Wednesday, then Tuesday, arrived today. One might be too big, but might do, and the other feels too constricting. I got annoyed by the second one, and had to step away. Will try again when calmer.

Meanwhile, I was surprised to realize that I never blogged about the yarn I bought on my recent trip to Portland. Bad knit-blogger!

First, the skein that I got at PortFiber:
With the literal freak flag:
An alpaca yarn called "Wooly not wool" amuses me mightily. It is so soft, light, warm.
From KnitWit's sale bin:
Two skeins from Wonderland Yarns (I have some of theirs in the stash, but haven't used it yet). I seem to be more attracted to yellows lately than I used to be. Searching for sunshine, mayhap?

Also from KnitWit:
The colorway is Blue Spruce, and it is a greeny blue.
There was a faded denim colorway that I also liked, but I figured I have plenty like that in the stash already, so I went very slightly off my usual path here.
Local yarn is fun to get.

Then, from Halcyon Yarn, more from the sale area. First, this sort of off-red color.
From Juniper Moon.
And then, I know, more yellow.
This is a heavier weight, but I used some of Swans Island's yarn to make socks with, and it's very nice. And I can't resist a sale!
So there you have it. Only a few weeks late.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Weekend, Mail, and Knitting

Let me start with an update on the mail--Scratch that, let me start by saying woo, the long weekend! It's here! Woo!
Now, more on the mail. Early this afternoon, I heard a little rustling noise out my window, which overlooks my front door--this is the door that goes to a hall shared by three units in the building, and is NOT where the mail boxes are, but of course, how could you expect the US Postal Service to know that, it's not like they've been delivering the mail here for years and years--so I looked out, and when I saw a postal person acting like he was going to leave mail there, I called down to let him know that the door he wanted was the other side of the building, for which information he thanked me (and now, I'm sure, he will never be put on this route again). A while later, I went down to the boxes to see how he did.

Well, he did find the boxes. Mine had one piece of actual mail, two magazines, the weekly store ads (with one side pretty much shredded by being stuffed in), and ... no newspaper. However, one of my neighbors had a newspaper in hers, and when I pulled it out to check the label, yes, that's mine. Sigh. So close.

Meanwhile, the other item I'm tracking, which is supposedly "out for delivery" today, was not there. I didn't see it in anyone else's box, though I didn't feel like I should pull out everything and check it all. We'll see when the tracking claims it's actually delivered. Or if one of my neighbors finds it in their box and leaves it for me, I guess.

And this is why the USPS doesn't guarantee their "2-day Priority Mail" will be delivered in 2 actual days.

On to happier things: knitting! Yes, I still do that, even in summer. As I wrote a while back, the Puncia shawl made it to the social knitting phase for a while, but once I finished the first half and started the second, it went back to being high-concentration home-only knitting. Therefore, all I've been doing for social knitting lately is socks, as you can see.
While they're coming along well., I felt the need for more. And I had something in mind.

In a quick search, I can't see that I ever blogged when I got this yarn, last year:
I was inspired by a shawl the Yarn Harlot made, and got the same yarn she used here, which is the Concrete and Tulips colorway from Caterpillargreen yarns.. I mean, self-striping sock yarn is one thing, but shawl yarn? Where the shawl gets wider and the stripes stay the same? That's seriously cool. I'm off to start it and see.

Carlos is very excited for me.