Monday, February 27, 2017

A Tale of a (Third) Octopus

Ah, the octopus. Technically, the brilliant Cephalohedron pattern.

First, I made one for my brother a few years ago, for his birthday.
Then, I made one for Mary Ellen for her birthday.
And since I made that one at my mother's, and she loved it, we agreed that she needed one, too. So before my trip, I chose the yarn and started the pouch, finished it on the plane, then knit the octopus all week, finishing on Friday.

And now for the photos! Which have an interesting range of apparent colors, since some were taken at night and some in daylight.

The pouch, ready for next steps, gets put aside for now.
Leg time!
Well, more than one.
And then you join them.
And it's time to put the pieces together. Which is fiddly, but at least this time I didn't drop a stitch (ahem).
Once they're joined, the pouch hangs down, and it looks weird.
Or you can pull it up through, which also looks weird.
At this stage, I noticed that if I tucked the legs under, it looks oddly like a flower.
Finally, done! Outside out:
And in side out:
Wrong way! Or, at least, in between.
The pictures are looking kind of pink on my monitor, but it's really more a cherry red.
And Mum thinks he's cute, which is all that matters.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Post-Trip Inspiration

One thing that my recent trip did, by contrasting weather I loved in Florida with the return to weather I loathe*, is reinvigorate my intentions to clear out and purge things here, before it's time to actually move. (I'm not a hoarder, but I am a keeper-of-things, shall we say.) I know full well that this needs to be done, but the last few months I have gotten out of the habit of working on it much, and it's time to get going again!
*Mind you, yesterday was record-breakingly nice, today was glorious, and I had the windows open and it smells wonderful and I had to stop myself from singing "I love global warming!" on Facebook because that would just start arguments. But it was freezing last week and will be again next week, so the argument stands.

The Concept of "Is It Worth Moving"
I wish there was an easy way to know what is worth moving and what isn't, though. I don't mean the stuff I love and would keep more or less regardless of the cost of moving it. Like, most of the yarn (though I will go through it before I move), and a whole lot of the books; I've been working on the ones that aren't absolute-keep status, looking at, reading part or all of, and deciding what can go.

And some decisions are going to be easy: the two old love seats in the living room, the kitchen table and chairs I got for free with my last apartment (the previous tenant had left them behind), the table I got at the Salvation Army (in 1994) that I use as a desk, the bed going on 14 years old (and when did that happen?), none of these are worth moving, to me.

On the other hand, the big, solid Barnes and Noble bookcases are absolutely coming with me, as well as the Ikea bookcases that hold much of my yarn (at least, I believe the latter is useful enough, and would not cost more to move than it would to replace...I hope, anyway). But things that are useful, but easily replaceable, how do I decide on those? Kitchen equipment, for instance, and linens, and awkward-to-move things? Where does that line get drawn? Like, I have a couple of strainers, nothing fancy, those probably aren't worth the space to pack. What about the slow cooker? I don't use it a lot--but I like to have it sometimes--but it's pretty old--so maybe that's a no? So many things!

I've started a list for the furniture (start with the big stuff, you know?), putting things in columns of Move, Don't Move, and ?; this in turn will help me assess now as well as later. Like, if the only lamp worth moving is the Ott light (replacement cost runs $100-200+, so move it, right?), and I have lamps I'm not using, might as well get rid of a few now.

When I feel a little overwhelmed by the breadth of it all, I remind myself that I don't have to decide everything today, and it's okay to start with the low-hanging fruit. I even took "before" pictures of the bedroom, so that I can amaze myself with how awesome it looks "after" I tackle some sloth-and-laziness spots of extremely long duration. It will get better!

Cleared Out
Not to pat myself on the back Oh, who am I kidding, totally to pat myself on the back, here are some things I have accomplished recently along these lines.
*One kitchen-trash-size bag of old sheets/towels, to animal shelter, 2/16
*Two small bags of books, to the used bookstore, 2/25
*A bag of shoes, and a large bag of clothing, to Savers, 2/19
Not to mention plenty of garbage, amounts unspecified.

Small steps, but those get you there eventually.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


I had a mostly relaxed day of work, but it ended jangly and I feel jangled. But since I blew off exercise (and the grocery store) on Tuesday night (I just Didn't Wanna), I have to go tonight, so, no length for me here tonight. Except to say that His Lordship's repeated nag for newer food came at a most inopportune moment. Poor dude.
At least he had his open window today. He is a big fan of global warming.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Office Jaunt, with Chocolate

When I went into the office last week, it was ostensibly to see the new head of the division, and I did get to talk to her, very briefly (she was in meetings 99% of the day). But the bonus reason was that the IT guy was there from New York, since it turned out that the reason I hate-hate-hated the new font that the company chose when they rebranded is that it wasn't showing up right on my machine.

Interestingly, it wasn't showing up right on my manager's machine either, but for him, it was showing up looking just like our previous chosen font, Arial. For me, it looked like the jagged/bold/black version of the new font.

We ended up sending each other screen shots earlier in the week, so the other editors could understand why I was whining so much about how awful it was to look at. Here's what I was seeing at first:

And compare that to how it was, evidently, supposed to look all along.

Kind of different, right? The correct version is so, so much easier on the eyes, which is just crucial when you're looking at it all day long. I had a little bit of a headache on that Monday (before going into the office), and when I first opened the document, it was honestly painful to look at. It was totally worth going into the city to get this fixed, even if that wasn't the stated primary objective.

There were other benefits, too. First of all, the IT guy had some problems dealing with my machine, so it took some time. And since that was February 15th, I got my usual day-after-Valentine's email from Lake Champlain Chocolates about their sale, and was able to order my delicious chocolates, from my tablet, while he was on my machine. Win!

Next, an odd benefit, perhaps, but for the amusement factor: possibly the funniest error message I have ever seen:
Can you read that? (I know it's an awful photo.) The trust relationship has failed! How tragic! And on the day after Valentine's, too, such a shame.

Finally, on my way home, I found Girl Scouts in the T station, selling cookies. Yay for Thin Mints!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Merry Christmas From Grandma: A Belated Report

My grandmother, who you may recall is the one who taught me to knit, gave me some fun money for Christmas, and I put a little time into thinking about what to use it for. I mean, knit-related, obviously, but perhaps not yarn this time? Tools, or something else? In the end, I settled on two things.

First, a book that came out recently, a collection of photos of people knitting. Aptly called People Knitting:
I had to wait for them to reprint; perhaps the publisher underestimated the number of knitters who would be interested?

The photos are both of the famous and not, and I was happy to find that at the end, there are notes as to what is known of each picture. So, she looks familiar:
Ah, Joan Crawford, yes!
A very neat book.

The other item is one I saw online some time ago, a tool for blocking knits into straight lines. It's a cloth you can spread out to make things line up right. It comes like this, in a nice case:
And then unfolds when you need it. The little tag was stuck on, I think, but it caught on the case when I was putting it back in and popped right off. No harm done.
I think it will be very handy; hopefully you will see it soon.

Meanwhile, not with Grandma's money, I did a little yarn shopping on Saturday. The friend I made a pussy hat for (did I not blog that? well, no time right now to look further) asked if I could make one for a friend of hers who loved it, so I needed more pink yarn,
And as long as I was at Coveted, it's not like that was going to be all I got...

These two colors were next to each other, and I couldn't help admiring the contrast.
I'm thinking perhaps Farfalla, but we'll see. Now that the hat is done, it's back to the cowl first! It's growing nicely.
The actual color is even better than that. And so soft...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Now Two and a Half Years

I realized recently, when someone locally on Facebook was looking for a recommendation for a chiropractor for their migraines, that it's been two and a half years since I had a terrible migraine. Is that not awesome? It is! Even better than two years!

In fact, although I have not reached a stage where I expect never to have an awful migraine again, I have gotten to the level where even the mildest headache pang no longer makes me worry, Is it going to get awful? I still think I may get one again, but I've stopped expecting to get one, each time, if that makes sense. And it is an awesome thing.

ETA: Good point! I credit the chiropractor, who I started seeing in 2013. Went from 31 days with terrible headaches in 2012, to 18 days in 2013, to 6 days in 2014, and none since. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

What Doesn't Feel Like Sunday Night

It's amazing what not working on Monday does to that Sunday night feeling.

Kind of like Carlos, earlier today.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Last Saturday

This Saturday
Today's weather was quite decent for winter, in the 40s, sunny, not a lot of wind. Not a bad day ... but look at...

Last Saturday
After breakfast, I was sitting on the lanai, putting off getting my jeans and sneakers on, when I got a message from the airline that the flight was a little delayed, just an hour. Tragic.
Eventually, of course, I did layer up, and we headed for the airport. On the way, we saw this on a car. A long drive, eh?
But what really caught our attention was the glow around the bear. Like a Madonna in an old painting, isn't it?

We had a nice lunch at the airport, and finally separated. Homeward bound. Sigh.

Back to the cold. But it was a wonderful trip.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Last Friday

This Friday
Here's what I put on Facebook this morning:

In bed this morning, sore and achy from exercise last night, I pondered why I pay money for the privilege of spending my time and energy on something that leaves me feeling this way. I know, "It's good for me," but I see no evidence of that.
It's a mystery!

So. There we are. The good news, though, is that I don't appear to have a flat tire from the monster pothole I hit on the way home last night. I'll check again tomorrow before I go anywhere very far, but I really thought it would be flat today, and it's not. (The less good news from last night is that, since the shower wouldn't get hot at the gym, and I was hungry, and also tired, with the pothole on top of all that, I about had a nervous breakdown once I got home. Good times.)

Also good news, though, for real? Long weekend! Ahh, how I love looking forward to a Monday off.

Last Friday
Still, last Friday was better.

Originally, I was flying home late Friday (only because the cost to return on Saturday was much higher). But due to the storm in Boston, JetBlue waived fees to change flights into or out of certain cities not just on Thursday, so I was able to reschedule to fly out Saturday, giving me a bit more time there, and giving Boston a bit more time to shovel out.

Spent the morning mostly lazing around, including photographing the finished octopus in daylight.
I also tried on some clothing that my mother had picked up for me: fit/no fit, like/no like, leave there/bring home, it's all very complicated. :)

We had lunch in; went out for coffee and a chat with a friend of Mum's; then went to dinner at the restaurant where we had lunch on Thursday. We eat there a lot, but only lunch, and having noticed my favorite steak (filet mignon) on the after-4 dinner menu, we decided to give it a try.

Even arriving at 5, we had to wait half an hour for a table; it was hopping! I had time to photograph this glorious flower.
Amazing that it starts like this, isn't it?
Also had to get a photo of this guy's shirt, and then have a conversation with the table next to us about how no, I wasn't taking their picture!
Quite a pretty view for dinner.
As the sun set, the pelicans dove for one last fish dinner before bed.
One more!
Just one!
Last one, I swear.
And the filet, by the way, was perfect.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Last Thursday

This Thursday
I am definitely feeling general soreness from yesterday, but nothing too awful.

Ask me again after swimming tonight. Actually, don't. Ow. Ask me tomorrow.

Last Thursday
Thursday was more cloudy than not, but nice enough to eat lunch outside, so who's complaining. We decided to take the little boat ride, and did drive through a rain shower on the way, but it cleared before we got there, and the rides were still running.

There is a tank there that I have never noticed, which says it has turtles, but there was only one. He was perversely hanging out in the corner and getting caught on the pipe as he moved around.
I almost got this shirt--love the sentiment--but the fit didn't work that well on me. The tank top might have been better, but since it was neon orange, I didn't even try it on.
Maybe they'll offer in it other colors another time.

We saw this osprey playing king-of-the-hill near some construction.
And a variety of birds, birding around.

And the osprey again on the way back.
Showing his good side.
We stopped afterward for an ice cream cone, then drove home. On the way, we saw an interesting old car.
An Avanti? Apparently.
From the side, it resembled a Pacer a bit more than I had expected, based on the rear view. An unusual sight.
I made good octopus progress on Thursday.
It certainly makes for some odd in-progress photos!
It will need its own post, I think, so I will leave it at that for now. I did finish him* on Thursday.
*Mum decided he's a he, and his name is Jerry.

We went out for dinner (delicious), and when we got back, I checked to see how the Bruins were doing. Not only were they ahead, about halfway through the game, but it was the free game of the night from the NHL app, so I could actually watch it on my tablet. Pretty cool! And they won, which made it even better.