Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Lapful of Kitten Helps the....something something something

Yeah, it's New Year's Eve; yeah, I haven't even shared all my Florida photos yet; yeah, yeah. I spent the afternoon with a kitten. Must show the kitten!

My friend and her husband (the ones who had the twins, if you're a long-time reader here)(oh my word, they're nine already?!) got the kids the kitten for Christmas, or rather, Santa brought her; she's a Siberian, which as a breed is hypoallergenic (her husband's allergic to cats, but is having no problem with Merry).

I took a lot of pictures, and many of them did not come out well, due to low light or kitty in motion. Here is a rare shot of her both awake and in focus.
Here with the flash, so you can see the colors in her fur.
And here, no flash, and looking almost black-and-white in comparison.
We played for a bit, she wandered around, and then she came and settled on my lap to bathe.
Bath done, the lights started to go out.
That's not just floof in her ears: those are ear-lashes, really. She could pick up ham radio with that.
Pretty soon, she was fast asleep.
This was my view for a while; I started to get leg cramps, so I tried picking her up to hold her instead.
She didn't mind.
Sleeping kitten in arms, watching the Bruins game? Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Peep of nose!
That face! And all the floof.
Her front paws are dark, but the back paws are light. The tops:
And bottoms of paws!

But still sleeps.
Finally, I had to put her down to go to the bathroom.
And that's it for the photos, as the light dwindled. Such a good cuddle-cat. The Bruins even won! She must be good luck.

Bergeron had a good game, and on the post-game show, when one of the commentators mentioned that Bergeron was looking more like his old self than he has recently, the other guy said with great enthusiasm, "Happy new year!"

Friday, December 30, 2016

Another "Finally, Friday" Feeling

This has been some week. It's always hard to wrench away from vacation and return to reality, but ugh. Parts of last night didn't go to plan, either.

I did go out, as I had said I would, telling myself that the heavy rain was at least preferable to the snow that other areas were getting. When I got to the gym, though, I found a note up about holiday hours, which said that on Thursday, classes would be held as usual until 5:45. Which, yeah, guess which class starts st 6? Or would, if someone didn't decide that New Year's celebrations should start two damned days before New Year's Eve? (I mean, really, what's up with that?)

Since I was already there, I went ahead and went in anyway; as one of the other women who showed up (there were four of us all together) said, we were doing free-form aerobics. I stayed over half an hour, which was all I could make myself do (though I'm proud I did it at all, really). Then I went to the grocery store, so I could cross that and the bank off my list (since the bank has a branch inside the grocery store), plus, you know, have food in the house. Getting everything out to the car in the pouring rain wasn't much fun, and neither was driving home in the now-wintry-mix. Still, I got it all inside before the rain turned fully to snow, and even before the thunder, which was startling, to say the least.

So I had some dinner, and watched the Bruins surpass their usual stinker of a first period and actually come back for the win, what an amazing thing. And rare, ahem. But it was more enjoyable than I was expecting, so there's that. We'll see if they can repeat that tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

So I'm off to swimming, followed if at all possible by a stop for groceries (I am out of a whole lot of stuff). And the whole time, this will be playing in my head:

I must say, as a kid, this whole thing went right over my head....

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Here But Not Here

Still tired, still sore, still fine. Running out to dinner and a movie with a friend. Tell you about it later!

Point to ponder: The joke is that when January comes, we still write the old year on checks and things. Is anyone else finding this week that they want to be writing 2017 on things already? Just want this year to be over?

Just me? All right, ponder a pelican instead.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Back, and Tired (what else is new)

When I was making my travel plans, and even when I was traveling yesterday*, I had every intention of going swimming tonight, but despite going to bed early last night, I am really tired today, and my arm muscles are so sore that it clearly would not be a good idea.
*When everything went perfectly fine, no problems at all, thankfully

So I am going to stay home, work on unpacking more, and watch at least part of the Bruins game, before going to bed early again. Today was not a bad work day, especially as the other two editors were off, but it exhausted me nonetheless. I would like to need to feel better tomorrow, not worse.

Meanwhile, ponder this:
And consider why anyone would do that to such a nice thing as caramel corn.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas Adam

My mother and I went for a walk on the beach, a nice thing to do two days before Christmas. It wasn't a perfect day, but it was beautiful.
A gull in the water.
And a snowy egret, looking pensive.
Sweeping vista.
 Two ibis...
...very busy...
...eating lunch.
Busy, busy, busy.
Whatever they eat, there was a lot there.
We had something to eat ourselves, at a restaurant overlooking the beach, They had flags up for the fire department, police, and the American flag.
They also had this sign in the ladies room.
It must play havoc with the plumbing, don't you think? Although there's also the fact that if I tried to wash my feet in the sink, I would end up losing my balance and falling over. Klutz, know thyself.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


It's nice here.
(Photo taken on Monday, it's more overcast today, but you get the idea.)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Packing, For a Jet Plane

Thanks for the travel well-wishes; it's snowing today, and I was just out digging my car out of it, which is depressing to look at, but I keep thinking of where I'm going, and that the odds are good I'll make it mostly on time, knock wood.

Speaking of such superstitions, I made a mistake recently, if you can call "letting a thought cross my mind" a mistake (I mean, how do you stop it?): I thought, "It's been quite a while since I had any spam comments on my blog." I wasn't even overly excited by the thought, just mildly pleased, but now I've had three of them on my recent post about blocking the lace shawl, and doesn't that timing seem odd? Three, from Tuesday night to Saturday? Just a coincidence, I'm sure, but still. What is it about that post that's attracting them, I wonder?

Anyway...I decided to take my computer with me, to make it easier to catch up on things like cleaning out my woeful inbox, and having it ups the possibility of my blogging before I get back (no promises, though). Happy holidays, y'all!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Kind of Done

So, how is work? Let me pause here, before going back to work after dinner, to give you an idea:


And also:
But, an hour tonight and a couple tomorrow, and that is IT. I am in vacation mode, I have a week off, I am going to spend it with my mama, in Florida, and it is ALL GOOD.

Speaking of mama, this one is for her:
Meanwhile, in honor of the frigid weather here today:

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Busy, Busy, Busy

Like everyone is at this time of year, right? Not that much of what I'm doing actually related to the holidays, but the feeling of busyness translates. So there are pluses and minuses.

Like, work is full-on batshit insane, but I got to hold a baby last night!

And the Bruins lost last night, but it was in overtime so they got a point, and they have another chance to win tonight.

And the low temp tonight is supposed to be 4 degrees, but by Sunday, when I'm flying out, it should be 50.

And ... I've got to go now. More sometime!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Knit Lace Is Weird, Blocking Is Magic

(Putting the PS at the beginning, for anyone who may not get through all the photos: the Bruins actually won last night! As I didn't dare expect them to. They had to go to overtime, and had to score twice there [the first time it was disallowed], but they did it! Color me tired, but impressed.)

If you haven't seen lace knitting before and after blocking (which is really just what we call washing and shaping a knit thing [sometimes strenuously]), you might think that the concept that it is really, really necessary for lace knitting in particular was an exaggeration. You might even think it's funny when you hear a knitter refer to unblocked lace as looking like uncooked ramen noodles.

Although, Exhibit A:
Yellow yarn makes the resemblance uncanny, doesn't it?

However, blocking is what makes this:
Turn into this:
And if that isn't both necessary and magic, I don't know what is.

In other words, I finally finished and blocked the lace shawl that I started in April (pattern: Puncia; yarn: Geisha from Blue Moon Fiber Arts).

It's been a while since my last update; what happened was that I was cruising along, wanting so much to be finished, and even when I got sick, I could still knit since it was just stockinette. But when that was done, and the two halves needed to be grafted together, I let the blurry thinking that was much of November for me decide that sure, I was up to grafting it! After all, I had an idea of wearing it on Thanksgiving, and time was ticking away.

So I did it, and I didn't do a good job of it. Too tight here, too loose there; at least I was smart enough to realize that fixing it would have to wait until I felt better. Which didn't happen until this weekend.

Tweak, tweak, tweak, repeat ad infinitum until it was good enough; then last night before stitch and bitch, I dropped into a dollar* store to get a basin, since I didn't have anything a good size for soaking it in. I pinned it out this morning (and didn't that take a while, even with blocking wires), and there it lies, drying.
*Not the kind of dollar store where everything is literally a dollar, but $1.80 won't break the bank, and I expect I'll use it again.

This was before the soak:
The squares are two feet by two feet, and that's on four of them, so you can see it's almost two feet wide (with the sides rolling in), and almost six feet long.

You may recall that I did a light block on the first half, to see how it was going to change the piece, so that's why the half on the red squares looks different from the half on the blue.

Even obvious in the middle:
Smoother and rougher. Blocking = magic.

So, it spent the night soaking in water and a little Eucalan (unscented, thank you).
And this morning I put it in a towel and pressed out most of the water, then got to work. Blocking wires are better than just pins for something this size, since they're easier to move around until it's just where you wantit, but it's still not a quick process. But so worth it!

For instance, here's what the sides did on their own:
Rollin', rollin', rollin' ... but with the wires, even before pinning them, it controlled that.
Oh, look, an edge!

So I wired-and-pinned one end:
Then one side, the other, the other end, tweak tweak tweak...It went slightly wider than the square, so I added another to the side so it wouldn't hang off the edge..
And in the overall view, you can see that it is, somehow, just slightly wider in the middle. I have no idea how that happened. It looks slightly pregnant.
But I'm not really worried about it showing once the shawl is off its pins and being worn. As knitters sometimes say, you won't be able to tell from the back of a galloping horse. And anyone who does point it out to me in person is asking for trouble, don't you think?

So while it wasn't finished in time for Thanksgiving, I can bring it to Florida to show my mother at Christmas. That will do.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Oh, Those Bruins

The Bruins play in Montreal tonight, which is about the last place they want to take a three-game losing streak*. Sigh. Perhaps they will surprise me (in a good way, I mean). It's not completely impossible, just very, very improbable.
*It has been painful to see headlines about Philly's win streak, now up to nine games...

The one truly, consistently bright spot this season has been the play of David Pastrnak, who by the way is 20 years old; I first mentioned him here on the blog in 2014, at development camp, when I said that "consensus is that he's a long shot to make the team this year, but not impossible"; he spent some that last season with the big club, as the youngest player in the NHL, and more last season, and now here he is. In January 2015, I said of him, "I like watching him. Although they're very different players, it reminds me of watching Bergeron in his first season; he, too, was 18, very young to make it in the NHL, but he was just so good."--and no higher praise can I give.

And his success is not just relative to last year.
Now, in addition to pointing out Pasta's achievement, that also says a lot of bad things about the rest of the team, but still, whoa. He has at times been at the top of league scoring. Again, 20 years old.

To quote Stanley Cup of Chowder:
95% of the Boston Bruins have been struggling to score - just another way to put the fact that relying on David Pastrnak to score all our goals is not a solid game plan.
I mean, keep it up, Pasta, but if the rest of you could step up a little, too, that would be great.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Saturday Report, then More Music

Today I had a lazy morning and a busy afternoon, got a lot done out, and more around the house when I got back, and I'm happy to say that I feel normal-tired, not flat-on-my-back exhausted. (As I told my brother, I think I'm 98% over this cold, and the last 2% requires Florida sunshine to bake out of me.) My hands, however, feel (in spite of the ibuprofen) I that I vastly overdid things, so I will leave this as is and let them rest.

I found that Straight No Chaser, who did that fun 12 Days mashup, did a lovely, straight version of Carol of the Bells.

And if you want a silly version of that one, try the Muppets!

Friday, December 09, 2016

Brief Whine, Then Music

It turns out that I'm not quite done talking about being sick--I know, it surprises me, too, over five weeks later. I'm glad to be so much better, to have moved, on tasks like laundry or exercise, from "there's no possible way" to "I don't wanna," and then do them anyway, but there's no doubt I'm not back to normal. Doing some laundry today, I noticed that not only was I way more tired than usual after the stairs, but that my breathing had a slight, intermittent wheeze to it; lovely. Also, still quite tired. (I stopped after two loads, not the planned three.)

Ten days until vacation, ten days, ten days...

Today's Christmas music selection is the charming Bruce Springsteen performing Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town. There's a nice live version from 2007, but my favorite is always the audio version from 1975.

Clarence's deep ho-ho-hos, and Bruce cracking up at them ... I just love it.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Could It Be ... Spam?

Much as it amuses me to get an email addressed to Dear Webmaster, when the message tells me that they discovered my blog's "valuable furniture-related resources" I am a little ... what's the word? ... skeptical.

Particularly when the "here" where they say they found this blog is given as, without my blog's details. I wonder if it was actually sent to every Blogger blog?

Anyway, for some reason, the recent spam I've been getting on my regular email address is all in Spanish, so at least this makes a change.

And speaking of a change, I love the Muppets version of 12 Days of Christmas, but I haven't seen this "live" version in many years, and though I missed Beaker's meeps, having Animal do 12 drummers drumming is pretty awesome!

If you want a really different version, don't forget about Straight No Chaser.

Or go for a classic version, if you prefer. I won't judge. I like those, too

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Where I Am, Where I Was.

Long*, stupid day at work. I hit a low point this morning when I knocked something off the side desk/knitting area in my office and made a big mess (fortunately not a broken-tech situation, at least). However, it forced me to assess what belongs on the desk and what in the knitting area, and why, and to see that switching around the desk organizer and the thrown-together-but-functional sock-needle-organizer would work much better. So doth the phoenix rise from the ashes.
*Not technically longer than a normal day, but so full of stupid that it felt longer.

Though there are still things on the floor to pick up and sort through. It's a process.

As is getting over this cold, by the way. I am so mostly better, but not fully there. I was able to go and swim last night, but for parts of the class I had to slow down or stop and rest. I didn't even feel totally dead after, which is good, but tonight I went out for a few simple errands, and right now I am keel-over tired.

It's a process.

Now, what have I been up to?

On Sunday, I joined friends for a holiday event, the house tour in Salem, which we did three years ago. We all agreed that the houses were closer together this time, which made for an easier tour. Some were private houses or condos, one was owned by the historical society, one was a church, another was I think assisted living; it's a mix. I liked some more than others, naturally, as they were very different styles. My favorite, hands down, was 25 Washington Square North, aka the Joseph Parsons House. Details:
I grew up in a Queen Anne Victorian and clearly I imprinted on it. This was the spot where it really killed me that the tour did not allow photographs in the houses, a policy I can reluctantly understand, but that I just hate. I'm not casing the joint to see what would be most valuable to come back and steal! I just want a picture of that window seat in the turret! Sigh.

So the photos that I took that day were limited to outside (and I should have taken some of the outside of that house, so obvious in hindsight).

A porch tree:
And, naturally, popcorn:
I just liked that they brag on the marquis about the real butter.

Which leads, indirectly, to what I was doing last night: there was a limited theatrical re-release of the movie Spirited Away, and I went with a friend. It was amazing to see on the big screen! It's a thoroughly weird but also very beautiful movie, and the detail is fabulous, so the bigger, the better. We very much enjoyed it, and also the short film, Ghiblies: Episode 2, that played after it.

The showing we went to was the Japanese-and-subtitled version (they had done the English version on Sunday, when I was busy), whereas I had previously seen the dubbed-into-English version, so that was an interesting change. Overall, a good night.

Oh, and almost forgot that in Salem, we ate an early dinner at Trattoria Orsini, and it was wonderful; I highly recommend it, should you be in the area.

Now, off to scrabble for dinner before keeling over--in front of the Bruins game. Go Bruins!