Monday, October 31, 2016

Cat Tales

I was over at my friend's house yesterday, and got to play with her kittens again. Well, the older one is close to a year, does that still count as a kitten? She's much less kittenish than the baby is, anyway.

They were both interested in my socks, and there was much sniffing. Bigger:
And smaller:
Bigger kitty was also interested in my purse:
While smaller kitty was very, very interested in the new alpaca shawl, and had to be gently dissuaded from chewing on it a few times.
Of course, Carlos too was interested in it. Less in a chewing way, and more in a "If I get close to this, I get your attention, and then perhaps you will notice that I Am Starving" way.
He sat, very carefully, very very close without being on it. Poor neglected kitty.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Check, check, check

It's been a pretty good day, in terms of accomplishing things, though certainly the weather did not celebrate my achievements, as it was grey and drizzled and was in the 50s. But no matter:

  • I got the car inspected, just before the end of the month. And it passed, obviously, which there's no reason it shouldn't, but is always a bit of a relief anyway.
  • I voted early, the first time Mass has offered that--it started this week, and according to the community Facebook page, about 10% of the city's registered voters have used it already! I think it's great that they're offering it, and would want to use it for that reason alone, but also because I don't want to worry on election day that the line will be so long that I'll miss my swim class. Now it's done and I don't have to think about it. Plus there's the added excuse to avoid the election coverage; in addition to the national nonsense, Mass has four ballot questions for which each side has been strident! strident, I say! in terms of how opposing their side will lead to chaos and anarchy, and boy, am I ready for all this shit to be done. This year, man. Go away, 2016, you're drunk.
  • I did a few other errands, too, including surviving the madhouse of Costco on a Saturday midday, ugh. The guy in line in front of me did a double-take when he saw me knitting, but it's the only thing that keeps me from grinding my teeth in that situation, the crowds and the pushing and shoving and all.
  • That sock, by the way, is about ready to start the toe; I'll check it tonight to make sure, but it's close. Yay.
  • I also finished knitting the alpaca shawl! I actually bound it off Wednesday, and washed it today so I could lay it out. Here it is before:

A little ruffly, eh? After its soak, I laid it out, and first, I had it a different way.
Which, to be honest, kind of messed with me, in terms of seeing how it changed. So I laid it out again the first way.
That's better! And it did in fact grow. Now I have to wait for it to dry before I can play with how to wear it. It felt so soft and cushy before the wash, and while that shouldn't change, I look forward to seeing it happen, so to speak.

Now, the Bruins play tonight. I would not say my hopes are high, but I never quite stop believing that this could be the game where they turn it around. And I'll be on the couch, knitting and hoping.

That knitting, by the way? The yellow shawl, remember that? Puncia? Yes, I'm still working on it! I have 36 grams of yarn left, and since I started with 221, we'll say I'm about 80% done, though the hard stuff is all past, so I just need to keep going...

Friday, October 28, 2016

Musing, Kittens

I always have trouble in the fall adjusting to the early dark, and working at home has only exacerbated the effect. Today was rainy and gloomy, too, which didn't help. I finished work at 4:30, decided a silly movie would cheer me up, watched one, and then had something to eat, so now it seems it should be midnight, and it's barely past 7. Perception is an odd thing.

And that's as profound as I get on a Friday night. Here, watch some kittens.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Oh, The Bruins

Following a recent conversation with a friend about my Bruins fandom, I decided to ask the question on Facebook.

Survey time! Am I, in fact, the biggest Bruins fan you know?
Please answer either "yes/absolutely/oh hell yeah," or "actually, I know someone even more crazy than you." Just curious!

Sixteen people commented, and fifteen of them (if I include the smartass response) were versions of yes. One friend said that her brother is a bigger fan than I am, "but not by much!" So I call that fairly conclusive.

And then there was last night's game, which I turned off before it was over.

This is rare for me, unless there's a time zone issue (or, actually, a network issue: tonight's game is on NBCSN and is starting at 8, not 7, so I doubt I will be up for the end even if they play superbly). But last night, man. Well, not the first period, that was okay, and ended with no score, but after that the Bruins played like a peewee team in adult bodies, making mistakes, not making good plays, leaving their poor, minor-league goalies* out to dry. They were down 4-0 after the second, and when it went to 5-0 in the third, off went the TV. I'm not missing sleep for that.
*Tuukka is still out with "general soreness" and hasn't been on the ice, even for practice, since last Thursday. Then Khudobin got hurt in practice on Monday and is out for a few weeks. So Subban and McIntyre were the victims last night. 

Stanley Cup of Chowder, looking at the four-game road trip the Bruins now face, had this to say:
"Should the Bruins not be able to pull out a W at some point, we’re looking at a 3-7-0 start heading into November, and the calls for the coach’s job and drastic changes will start.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Let’s aim small with goals for tonight: how about scoring first?"
They haven't done that yet, six games into the season. It's kind of a miracle that they're even 3-3.

Of course, in commenting on last night's game specifically, SCOC was equally pithy:
"Look, a lot of bad stuff happened in that second period.
But let’s look at the positives:
  • There were no sharks on the ice.
  • The ice didn’t light on fire.
That’s about it."
Yeah, that really is. You can look at the injury excuses all you want (the goalies aren't the only ones out), but that doesn't excuse how the remaining players are playing. I hope they're just getting settled, and soon they play like a pro team again. Win or lose, that's much more fun to watch.

Basically, the only enjoyable hockey-related thing I've seen recently is this video, of a kids team that got to be on the ice with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and were more excited than I think I have ever been for anything in my life.

If you don't want to watch all the way to the end (and I'm not judging, I know five minutes is a lot of oh-my-gods to get through), then click here to see them at the end, rejoicing over their gloves, which the pro players tapped as they went past. "That was awesome! Oh my god! I'm never washing this glove again!"

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

In Lieu of More Whining

In some ways, it has been a very good day ... but recency bias is against my saying so, as my arthritis is acting up and my hands have been aching all afternoon, plus the Bruins just turned in what Jack Edwards aptly called their worst period of the season so far. They may turn it around in the third period, but ... color me non-optimistic. So I am rather bummed, in this moment.

Here, instead of me whining more, if you have five minutes to spare, watch this amazing video. I had never heard of trophic cascades, had you? Just fascinating.

Monday, October 24, 2016

For the Mondays

My Monday hasn't been the most terribly Monday-ish ever, but it's still Monday, isn't it? So I share something I saw on Facebook, in case you, too, need a smile after today.
Of course, if you're a Patrice Bergeron fan, you can read this charming article, or watch this excellent highlight video, too.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Shawl Status: Allllllmost There

It's been a pretty quiet weekend--NOT a complaint--though I could have done without the on-and-off headache for most of it--that IS a complaint. It could be related to allergies, as I've had periodic explosive sneezes and some sinus pressure, or maybe it's the weather that's been blowing through, but in any event, ow. Still, it never got awful, and as always I hold out hope that it's going away now.

Meanwhile, I got a lot of knitting done. As the yarn dwindled today, I was smart enough to put in a lifeline at a possible end point, and when I got a few rows farther on, I had to face the fact that I didn't have enough yarn for the rest of the repeat. In this pattern, you should stop after row 8 or row 16. I put in the lifeline at row 8, and at row 13 faced reality.
And what reality said was: nope. Maybe, maybe you have enough to get through 16 (though probably not), but then you have to bind off, remember that? Which also takes yarn. So I will rip back to the lifeline, put it back on the needle, and bind off. It's still a decent size, and may well grow some when blocked. It should be good.

Just have to decide which bind-off to use...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

You Keep Using That Word

Considering that my big exertion today was getting groceries, and that I got a good, solid night's sleep last night, I don't know why I should be so tired right now, but after all, I'm just watching the Bruins game and knitting, so I guess I can handle it.

Meanwhile, I just popped in to share this charming example of why it can be very difficult to find a job as an editor, as I define an editor. There are always listings for jobs that don't mean what I mean by editing, but this one is pushing it.
Seriously? Why do they call that an editor?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Looking Into the Weekend

Last night, I was feeling pretty pleased about how it was almost Friday, and that the week really didn't drag too much, but today got even with me by being 18 years long, or so it felt. Just so ready for it to be over!

However, my Friday night and weekend are looking all low-key and laid-back, just the way I want it after the last few weeks, and yes, I was eager to get there. but just like the times when I'm working and think of all the things I could be getting done around the house, but then do very little of it when I could, I expect this weekend to dash by without my getting as much done as I would like. I will try to be sanguine about that.

Mostly I think that will work. If I don't get the car inspected, I have time before the end of the month. If Carlos' claws don't get trimmed, he won't mind waiting. I haven't seen the top of the kitchen table for this long, a little longer isn't the end of the world. Reading and knitting and watching hockey or a movie, these are all restorative things, and that's important too.

Now, for a little lightness. Such as a political ad that's actually funny. Really.

Photos of kittens with their tongues sticking out. My favorite is this one (what's yours?).


And finally, a timely reminder these days:
We'll be okay.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ready for the Home Opener

The Bruins play their first game of the season at home tonight, and Bergeron is back, and Bobby Orr is dropping the first puck! I'll miss that part due to swimming, unfortunately, but I'm sure they'll show me between periods. Go Bruins!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Apple Festival Weekend Yarn Haul

Today's weather was unseasonably warm, which is not something I complain about, but I did say wistfully on Facebook, "I just want ONE good, hard freeze to kill off whatever allergen has been tormenting me since August. Die, whatever you are!" The sinus pressure, the little nagging throat-clearing thing, the sudden catastrophic sneezes ... enough already. Still, it's awfully nice to have the windows open and smell the wonderful fall air, and not freeze from it.

(And, yeah, if I never opened the windows and let the allergens in, I might not suffer so much. Never going to happen, though; I love fresh air.)

Moving on! As I mentioned in passing during the Rhinebeck report, I didn't forget that I haven't blogged my yarn from Apple Festival yet. Have I mentioned that it's been a crazy few weeks? I can't tell you how pleased I am at the prospect of not being in the car longer than an hour or so again until, oh, April.

So here is the yarn from the weekend (not all from Apple Festival, technically.)
 This is the yarn I bought on the way up, at the yarn store I spied on my way past in September.
When I was showing it to my friends at stitch and bitch, one of them noted that "Hand wash. Do not agitate" would look great on a t-shirt, and I love the idea.
This one is from a vendor I often buy from at Apple Festival, Scandinavian Weave and Knits. They're at Rhinebeck, too.
 Surprise, it has a little cashmere in there. Soft and squishy in the best way.
As is this, more alpaca from the makers of the yarn I am currently working with.
This colorway was a one-off, so I'll have to come up with something smaller for the amount. Cowl, maybe?
 Mmm, alpaca.
I did buy a few non-yarn things, but I haven't taken good photos of those. I'll add it to the list. One of these days. I'm trying to manage my expectations about this weekend: just because it's the first one I've been home for in a month does not mean that I will accomplish All The Things. But some of them, yes, I should be able to do that.

Knock wood.

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Last Thought From Rhinebeck

One last photo to share, that I took when I saw a book that a friend of mine would need to know about, if she didn't already have it.
Only after I had put it on Facebook, and she was super-excited, did I reflect how happy it makes me to have a friend who loves the idea of crochet taxidermy. But doesn't it make life more interesting, to have interesting friends, and friends with different interests?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Rhinebeck 2016 Day-Trip Report

So, yesterday was my first time to Rhinebeck as a day trip; always something new. The verdict is that I'm glad to have gone and had a really good time, but I am super sore* and tired today, short-tempered** and not good for getting much done. If I hadn't had to leave the house for cat food, I wouldn't have gone anywhere, and the trip was fraught with bad temper, unfortunately. When I am this tired, every minor thing is so super-irritating, and even though I know the things are minor, that doesn't make my growly feelings less real. Ow.
*It does crack me up when well-meaning people ask if I have taken something for the pain. Uhh, yeah, I have, plenty.
**More than usual, I mean. I know, scary.

But on to the fun part! Rhinebeck!

As far as the trip details (related more for my own future reference than because I think anyone else cares), I was at my friend's house (about 10 minutes from mine) at 7 AM (I know, yuck). We went to a Starbucks to fuel ourselves and used the bathroom, so we left there about 7:30, and arrived at the fair at roughly 10:30; as always, I was too excited to get there to note the exact time, but more or less. A three-hour drive is about the best we can hope for, so no complaints on that.

As for the return, we started to walk to the car at 3:25, so by the time we got to the car, and waited to get out of the parking lot, it was probably around 3:45. We stopped once for a bathroom break and to switch drivers, and we were detoured off the Pike by the GPS near the end, which added a few minutes, but we were back at her place at around 8, I think. I don't know, I was pretty tired. (Still am, in fact!) Long-ass day, truly: that's about, what, eight hours in the car, and five hours mostly spent standing and walking. No wonder I hurt.

From Mason-Dixon Knitting, words to live by regarding How to Rhinebeck:
Have a blast, and remember to shop sensibly, by which we mean buy anything you really can't live without.
That's always my rule of thumb: If I can't put it down, it's meant to come with me. There are plenty of perfectly lovely yarns that I can walk away from, and if I can, I will. This year, I  had a list of a few vendors I wanted to be sure to see, ones with yarns I have particularly loved, and a general idea that I would like to find a medium-sized project bag, since I have many small ones and quite a few larger totes, but nothing that works well in between.

After stopping in the bathroom, we went into building C, the first one we came to, and halfway in I lost my friend to the Miss Babs booth, or more accurately to the line--Miss Babs is hot stuff, and in the end she was on line for about three-quarters of an hour. I went on through the building, went back to check on her progress, then shopped on, looking and enjoying, not buying much. Well, that's where I found these:
Replacement bumper sticker for the one that's peeling off the car, and new buttons. I particularly liked "Finished is way better than perfect."

Once she got through the line to pay, my friend and I went on, finishing up with A-B-C and then heading over to the numbered barns, pausing on the way so I could get a pretzel and Coke (the vendor had both the big pretzels and pretzel sticks this year, and the stick was a perfect size). I got a little something at Starbucks in the morning, and before we arrived I ate a chicken sandwich I brought with me, but to jump to the end of the storyline, that didn't hold me (as solid "food" instead of treats) all day, the way I had hoped it would. Live and (hopefully) learn. Next time, I will have to buy some "food" there, as well as treats.

I wanted to start not at the first barns we came to, but at 27A, which is actually tent-booths in an aisle between barns, as Briar Rose is over there, and so was one of the bag vendors I wanted to see. I didn't end up getting any more Briar Rose (which is fine), but at Jennie the Potter's booth, I found this skein of Indigo Dragonfly yarn that I couldn't put down.
It's so hard to get a good enough photo to show the details of the color!
It's dark, but is it grey? Green? Purple? Brown?
Kind of yes to all, with a tweedy sort of speckle. This may be one that has to be seen in person, and in daylight, to really come across.
Interesting colorway name, isn't it? At the bottom?

Further down the row, at the Knitting Garage booth, I found the bag I liked:
The dark fabric won't show dirt too much, but has specks of colors for interest. The inside is white, so I won't lose anything (unless it's white, I guess), and there are a couple of pockets.
As well as the drawstrings, there are wrist straps, and it holds quite a lot, as you can see by the full Rhinebeck and Apple Festival yarn haul (which latter I will blog separately, this thing is a Russian novel already):
I like it; I think it's going to work as I want it to. Whew!

We went on, through the barns and along the vendors, new-to-me and not. At the Maple Creek Farm booth, I couldn't resits this lovely skein, which I don't think I really captured the colors of here.
Pale green-aqua-blue-purple.
All alpaca...
And even better, the $39 is before the 40% off. I do love a deal!
The other skein I got, at the Carodan Farm booth, is a sort of lilac, or violet color. There were so many pretty ones, I had an awful time deciding which to take.
Other than my visit to the maple booth for maple cotton candy and a few other maple treats to bring home, and one tiny thing for a gift, that's all I bought. "All"! I couldn't be happier with it. I do have more photos, though.

A bunch of the ones from the competitions. Beautiful shawl.
I loved this sweater, and hoped that the tag would give the pattern, but apparently not.
All about the details of the competition, I guess. Do you suppose the knitter made the pattern up? If so, even more wow than before!
More amazing shawls.
I mean, really!
Knitters are amazing.
One of the booths was wood carvings, and it was neat to see that the sellers were also the makers.
I only took out my camera in the booths one other time, for these signs.
We were walking along at one point, and heard a bell ringing, which turned out to mark the start of a small animal parade.

I can't help wondering if the bell was to provide a noise to guide the animals (who were, after all, being individually guided), or just to get the attention of the people that they were coming through.

Now, I haven't mentioned the weather yet, have I? I wore my fleece in the morning, and gloves, it was quite chilly, maybe in the 50s. Oh, and what else did I wear? This lovely cowl that Mary Ellen made for me for my birthday!
Only the photo is crooked, I promise. I clearly wore it sideways.So soft and warm! It's more of a purple-blue than the photo shows; I didn't photo colors that well today, sigh. Some days are like that. The cowl is great, anyway.

Once we were there, and either in barns or out in the sun, it felt much nicer. I would imagine the temp got into the 60s, though the wind didn't go away. But the better to enjoy showing off your hand-knits, say the knitters.

Speaking of which, in the category of Knit-recognition for the striped shawl, four people told me they recognized the yarn, and two of them that they were knitting with it themselves. When I went to check on my friend in the Miss Babs line, the woman behind her recognized it, so we were talking about it, and when she told the women behind her that it was all one yarn, they were terribly impressed. Magic yarn!

Celebrity sightings: two. I saw the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, when my friend and I were separated, just shopping like a normal person, and then later we both saw her. I also saw Stephen West (a notable knit designer) when I was on my own, and honestly only noticed him because I heard someone say to a friend, "Look, that's Stephen West." But when we were in the car, waiting to get off the grounds, we both saw him walking by, and only then did I realize that seeing him at a slight distance, in a crowded booth, did not reveal the full ... nature of his outfit. He is such an interesting person.

A few gratuitous tree shots to wrap it up:

It really was a beautiful day, and I don't just mean the weather. It's worth feeling like this today. But I need to get to bed soon, and work on healing it off.