Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Not Exactly To Plan, But Good

One of the errands I did last night was to run into Bed & Bath and look at their clearance section for a new bedspread. The blankets on my bed are rather ratty looking, and I thought that if I could find a basic, neutral bedspread for not too much money, I wanted to do so, before condo-selling time.

At first, I didn't think I was going to find anything. There were plenty of "That's the clearance price?" ones, some of which had far more included than I need (I didn't look at what was in the nine-piece set, but I know I didn't need it all), some of them were really not neutral, some were only there in twin and king ... but finally I did see one that I looked at twice. A medium gray, only three pieces (the bedspread and two shams), in full (or at least, full/queen), but, more than I wanted to pay, even at the clearance price, and with a coupon.

Then I touched it.
The packaging calls it velvet, and they are not kidding.
It's so soft! And warm!
And it was kind of a ridiculous amount to spend, and I don't regret it one bit.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I'm Here, I'm Here!

I know, I wasn't gone from posting that long, but my brain is so full I couldn't even handle offloading anything yesterday. Let's see if I'm any closer to coherence today.

As I mentioned briefly Friday night, I met with the realtor to discuss readiness, mine, condo-selling. I haven't had any panic attacks about it yet--well, other than yesterday morning, when I started work to learn that I had to tackle a whole different kind of report, which had my brain crying, "No! Nothing new! Out of processing space!" but it worked out okay in the end--and I am facing things slowly. Slow but steady wins the race.

The realtor and I walked around and she told me what would need to be done before getting ready to list. Almost all of it was small, surface stuff, things that I've been working on and didn't think I was done with, so nothing upsetting there. And some of it was just realty quirks, like moving items from the bathroom to the linen closet, because although I think of the linen closet as a nice selling feature, apparently it just has to look reasonably tidy, not gorgeous, while you don't want the bathroom to feel cluttered. Works for me, even if I'm not sure why we have to pretend that I don't keep a trash can in the bathroom.

I also have a few things that I need to get people to take care of for me, and I'm on the road to getting those done. This includes:

  • The plumber, since I had some small but annoying issues with the bathroom sink and toilet. I called him yesterday, he came by today, and it's all done.
  • An electrician, to replace the smoke alarms so that I am up to code and will pass the fire marshal's test. The realtor had a guy to recommend, a firefighter in town who's also a licensed electrician (I was telling this to a friend and she said, "They all are," which I didn't know, but it does make sense). I called him yesterday; he came by today to look things over, and he is coming tomorrow to take care of it. Almost done!
  • A contractor/handyman that the realtor recommended to fix up a little water damage to the walls by the shower. I called him yesterday, and he came by tonight to take a look at it. I need to look in the basement to see if there's any of the paint left over from the original job, but in all events, it doesn't sound like he'll have trouble getting the job done. Progress!
  • I need someone who knows old windows to come and replace the sash ropes/cords in the two old windows I have. One of the ropes broke last year, so I just want to replace all the cords at once. I stopped in my local hardware store and they told me their guy could do that, and took my name and number for him to call me, but that was over two weeks ago and he hasn't. I checked back with them; see the full story below (it's too long for the bullet). 
  • A cleaner or cleaning service. I absolutely want to pay to have the whole place rigorously cleaned, as close to when the photography happens as possible. I asked the realtor and she did have someone to recommend, so I will call them soon. But not today.

If you look at that list, that's three phone calls I made yesterday. I'm so proud of myself, because I hate making phone calls. And, all three of them called me back! It's like a little homeowner's miracle.

So: the hardware store: I went in after work tonight, and asked about the handyman. The kid young man checked the list, and said that there were only two jobs ahead of me, so it should be soon. He appealed to an older man who was working, who agreed that it wouldn't be long, then asked what the job was. The kid young man told him, and he sort of sucked in a breath and shook his head, saying that he didn't think their guy "does that anymore." He explained that it's a hard job, it takes time, then he looked thoughtfully at the floor and said, "Do you know anyone else who might be able to do it?" I thought he was asking the kid young man, and that seemed odd to me, but he was asking ME! Uh, hi, I came in here in the first place to see if you knew anyone who could do it. If I knew anyone, I wouldn't be here! So very odd.

Anyway, I was telling this to the bathroom-paint-repair guy, and he said that if I can't find anyone else to do it, he can. So I'll let him get the bathroom done first, then unless I've heard from the hardware store guy, I will have him do it. Sheesh.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Fascinating Look Back

I really enjoyed this video showing a collection of old movies, taken in 1929, of "elderly people"--born in the 1800s! Some of the audio is slightly out of sync, but the video is remarkably clear, considering its age. Well worth the 15 minutes when you have them.

Of course, I loved the row of ladies knitting as they chatted, near the beginning.

"The first hundred years are the hardest."
"What are your politics?" "Republican now; used to be, before there was a Republican party, I was a Whig, voted the Whig ticket."

Friday, February 23, 2018

Briefly, Friday Night

I took this down today, but had to share it before it went.
The talk with the realtor was good. I'm going to try to be ready to list the condo by late March, so about a month (ack), which means I'll kick it in gear for a few weeks and check back with her on my readiness before we commit. It's scary and exhausting, but I'm ready to be done with it, which is helping me not procrastinate.

But for tonight, I've done about all I can. Zzzzzz.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tweet, tweet

I mentioned last summer that I had started using Twitter, though I wasn't very active on it, and though I use it more now, I'm still not terribly active. Two funny recent things beg to be shared, though.

First is (to my continuing surprise) the fact that at least some companies monitor when you mention them, so it can be a good way to get a question answered (as Instagram can also be). Well, last night I was doing a few things on the computer, and one of those was getting the 2017 annual summary for one of my credit cards. I had received an email that it was ready, but when I clicked on the link in the email, it took me to sign in, and once I was in, there was nothing I could see about where the annual summary was to be found.

I looked all over the place, and finally I took to Twitter to vent my frustration. I linked to at-barclaycard, which is the issuer (it's a JetBlue card, but through Barclay), but this morning I had a polite response letting me know that they were actually Barclay in the UK, but giving me the US one, and the times they would be online today. And shortly after the US business day started, they in turn replied with the trail of breadcrumbs to follow for the summary (it's under statements, which only seems obvious in hindsight). A nice resolution to something small but aggravating.

The other one is actually just something that struck me as funny, given all the problems I've had with my ankle since last spring. The other day, someone else I follow had "liked" this:
Painfully funny, but funny all the same!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sleepy Blinks

I'm tired, but happily it has nothing to do with sleep problems, like I had yesterday. In fact, yesterday was so bad that I was in bed by 7:30 last night, and while I didn't fall asleep instantly, and was awake for a little while in the middle there, all that time was mostly asleep, and a good thing too.

What I'm tired from is doing packing things, which does come with an unfortunate amount of lifting and carrying. The realtor is coming over Friday afternoon, though, and I want it to look as good as it can by then, without crippling myself. It's a balancing act. I've given away some more things, including another big bag of yarn--and the yarn is all packed away (except for the next sock yarn), which is a bit scary, but I really shouldn't be spending a lot of time on knitting right now anyway.

Lots to do.

I really hope that after meeting with the realtor, I will have a better idea of the timing of all the what's-next, but if she agrees that I'm ready enough (not ready, but ready enough) to list in a month, I have rather a lot to do before then.

I imagine.

Even though I don't know what all of it is. Which is really bugging me.

::deep breath::

Today the weather was again un-February-like, lovely and warm, but tomorrow we drop back to normal, unfortunately. To go from around 70 today, to a forecast high of 39 tomorrow, with a chance of snow showers? Well, let's keep an eye on the "82 in Florida this evening" part of the weather page. Not the only reason I'm moving there, but one of the reasons.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Yes, I KNOW. Yarn.

The irony does not escape me. Truly, it doesn't. I am packing and preparing and winnowing my belongings, very much including the yarn, and yet I went yarn shopping yesterday. It's nonsensical!

And yet. I am moving where Webs will not be a 2-hour drive away. And I had a gift certificate. I wanted to take it there and have one more plunge into Webs before I move. (And I do mean plunge; my post about first visiting there, ten years ago, is a bit overwhelmed, though that was also when the Yarn Harlot was there, so it was quite a day.)

So even though I got rid of another large bag of yarn today*, it was not out of guilt over yesterday.
*I can't find if I wrote about it, but I purged two such bags in November.

But I brought home this soft-rainbow-like skein of sock yarn:

And this, also sock yarn, and more blue-green-purple than it came out here:

And this lovely, silly little skein of laceweight silk/alpaca, which kind of glows.

Finally (other than the mug, and knitting needles I mentioned), I got the Gleener, which I have read good things about. It's supposed to do less damage than other methods of pill removal. We shall see.

Not even into triple digits, and then the gift card. Not to mention a fun day with a friend, before I move. Win-win.

There are reasons why I will be sorry to move, this sort of thing among them, but the decision is made and I am not second-guessing it, really. I am just so ready for it to be over. I woke up at 3:30 this morning, went to the bathroom, got back into bed ... tossed and turned and thought about packing until 5, when I gave up and got up for the day. Trust me, I needed those three more hours of sleep.

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Quickie

I had a great day today, celebrating the holiday by going out to Webs, and I have a few small yarn purchases to show another time (as well as some knitting needles that I probably won't show, because how exciting are those? Not very). But I did have to buy this mug. Not because I needed a mug, but because I needed this mug.
(I see on the website that there is another one that I almost want more--except I would want it to say "three sheep to the wind" and not "three sheeps to the wind"--so good thing I got this one.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Kitty Visiting

I'm visiting a friend's cats this weekend, and have a few photos to share.

This one is the one I saw a year ago New Year's Eve, if you remember the post full of floof.
Not quite as overly floofy as in the kitten stage, but still very fluffy! And friendly. I do enjoy a lap cat.

And then they got another cat last summer, to be company.
Stunning, right? In July, they were this size.
Amazing how little ones grow, isn't it?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Some Updates: Blanket, Chocolate, Yarn, Condo-Selling

1. One thing I didn't mention in yesterday's what-I-did report, because it happened after I posted last night, is that I finished knitting the baby blanket. Yay! Although it's a great pattern and I enjoyed the process more often than not, it's still a relief to finish it. I will have to get some pictures of it, before and after washing, but today is grey and dim and not cooperative. Still, done! Ends worked in, even! Whew.

2. I spent the day watching twitchily for the UPS truck to bring me my chocolates from Lake Champlain. Finally, finally, it came. And yes, the latte caramels were very delicious. I don't know that I would replace the regular milk-chocolate caramels with them, but I would never turn them down, either. Mmm.

3. I don't know if I mentioned it here, but a while ago I was poking around in my yarn stash and found a skein of yarn that I didn't recall buying, and that wasn't entered in my Ravelry account. I'm usually really good about entering the yarn I buy in Ravelry, so I was very puzzled by this, though the yarn itself was a beautiful blue that was not at all hard to imagine me buying.

Well, I was looking for something else here in the blog archives, and came across what I wrote about going to the Fiber Revival last August, when I noticed the blue yarn sitting on my lap in one of the photos. Back to Ravelry, and no, I didn't enter anything bought then, so that's it
Mystery solved.

4. As I did mention yesterday, I reached back out to the realtor, and I heard back today. Good news: she says I won't need to move all my stuff out to list the condo! I think this is good news. She's going to come over next week to reassess, and we'll start talking specifics. Scary stuff. I so want this to be over.

Happy thoughts, happy thoughts: Weekend! Long weekend!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

How I Spent Half-Off-Good-Chocolate Day

  • Obviously, I ordered from Lake Champlain Chocolates as soon as they marked their Valentine's chocolate down 50%. (I'm on their email list, but they also put it on Facebook, if you prefer to follow them there.) As always, I got some of their milk chocolate caramel hearts, which are so delicious, but I also ordered a bag of "NEW Salted Caramel Latte Organic Hearts" to try, and I will report back on how I like those. Chocolate and caramel plus coffee? I have a feeling I will be a fan.
  • Even better, the shipping cost is the same whether I got it delivered tomorrow, or any weekday the rest of the month (I didn't look beyond February), so of course I went for tomorrow.
  • I "attended" a conference call on the annual performance appraisal process for work. Literally the only thing I needed to know was when the self-assessments are due to be turned in, and when the initial meetings will be held. But I guess the company hires a lot of analysts who have just finished school, as the boss repeatedly explained that this is not a report card, and getting ranked "good" (which is the middle of the five available ratings) does not mean you got a C. I felt very old.
  • Since the audio quality was not great, it was literally a slightly painful thing to listen to, but:
    • I was at home,
    • wearing sweatpants,
    • knitting,
    • and snarking with the other editors on Skype, so it could have been worse.
  • There was someone in the London office who had several questions, and it's pretty clear that she's a manager for the first time. I don't know if she's new to the company as well as being new to management, but I hope she gets some advice from her boss, or someone, on what she's supposed to be doing.
  • I cracked up when listening to the latest 31 Thoughts podcast, when Jeff said that he and Elliotte were going to "have to put on our thinking toques" to get ready for next week's episode. It doesn't get much more Canadian than that, eh?
  • I also read things about the school shooting that happened in Florida yesterday, which are so heartbreaking I can hardly bear it.
  • Then, I had to answer my phone every time it rang, since I am waiting for a couple of return calls. So many stupid robo-voices and call centers, no real people I was hoping would call.
  • I emailed the realtor back to talk about getting her opinion on how close I am to being ready to sell the condo. I waver between feeling like I have accomplished So Much, and feeling like there is still So Much left to do; I need an expert opinion. All I want to do is close my eyes and pretend none of this is happening ... but I am trying to persevere through the discomfort. I want to get the move done and over with.
  • Meanwhile, I am very much looking forward to the long weekend. Just one more work day to get through!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

On Ancestry, Blanket, Weather, Taxes

At a glance, I can't find that I wrote about it, but last year, I gave my mother one of those DNA testing kits (I went with 23andme, choosing kind of at random), and she did that and got her report, then turned around and gave the kits to me and my brother for Christmas. So we did the spit-in-a-tube part and mailed them in, and the results have just come in. It's pretty interesting!

While I was waiting for the report, I thought about how I wished I could have my father's results, too, which is obviously impossible now (and I don't think these tests were available, or at least common, before he died). Interestingly, though, I came up as almost exactly 50% Ashkenazi Jewish (from an ancestor born between 1910 and 1940), so there he is!

I mean, I still would have liked to see his, to see if he got more of a breakdown, but mine is a clean split, almost exactly half Ashkenazi and half northwestern European, which is very much my mother's side (she got 98.4% on her report). It's interesting to poke around in the reports and (if you opt in to it) look at potentials DNA relatives--I have 1100+, none of them particularly close, but who knows, I may dig into it more and see how it plays out. I don't really know much about what I can do with it yet.

Thanks mostly to Olympic-watching, I have made great strides on the baby blanket, and should be done soon, or at least in plenty of time to hand it over at my next haircut a week from Thursday. I like how it's come out, but will also be glad to be done with it. Especially the navy yarn, which is a bear to fix mistakes in. I have found the double decreases that are central to this pattern to be easy to do, but an absolute killer to undo when I have messed something up.

Of course, I will have enough yarn left to whip out a few hats, so there will be a little more blue in my future. But only in simple baby hats.

And maybe I can do the decreases in the red or cream parts.

I haven't mentioned the weather much lately, which is your clue that it hasn't been too terrible. It's still been winter, hat-gloves-shawl-cowl-layers, sweating and freezing at the same time, but not as bad as a month or so ago. And not too much snow, which I am very much appreciating. I dislike the cold enough. No need for snow to remind me why I'm glad to be moving to warmer climes.

I just finished doing my taxes. Now I need a drink and to calm down from the spike to my blood pressure.

Next year? I'm paying someone to do it. It's already such a hateful, stressful process, and that's when it mostly goes well. Add selling the condo and moving to another state, and there is No Way I'm doing it for myself. Kind of a relief to know that now.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sleepy, Sporty Sunday

I've been watching sports most of the day; I woke up with a slight headache, and though it eventually went away, it left me feeling very low energy. Kind of a mini headache hangover. Happily, there was a non-Bruins hockey game on at noon, Olympics all afternoon, and there's a Bruins game tonight--which they had better win, damn it, they lost to Buffalo last night. Buffalo! How embarrassing for the number three team in the league standings to be beaten by the 30th. I expect more tonight.

Anyway, I've been watching, and I've been knitting, and a friend shared this story about that overlap, with the wonderful headline, "Finnish snowboarding coach was casually knitting during competition"--I love it.

Do you watch the Olympics? I do (I mean, clearly). I watch things I would never otherwise have an interest in. I don't watch everything, and a week from now, I will no doubt be flipping channels and grumbling about the options, but somehow it draws me in. I will of course watch hockey games when I can see them, and I love the figure skating, but I also end up watching more skiing and ski jumping, speed skating, luge, and snowboarding than I do in the four years between the winter games put together.

If you don't care about the Olympics, what about my last post: Have you weighed in on what you're nerdy about? I love the answers so far. Give me more!

Friday, February 09, 2018

Ah, Nerds

Someone came by today to pick up a computer monitor I was giving away, and when I handed it to him, he exclaimed, "Perfect for my basement computer!" Which got me thinking how I love the enthusiasm of nerds.

And by nerds, I don't mean anything technology-specific. I'm really just using it to describe people who are very enthusiastic about something that is not universally enthused over. (So, for instance, around here there are no Patriots nerds. There are tons of Patriots fans, but that's different.) I'm a knitting nerd, my friend is a yoga nerd ... there are many flavors.

What are you a nerd about?

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Watch This

No, this isn't a "watch while I do this" topic, it's a recommendation to watch this video, of a TED talk I ran across recently. It greatly helped me picture more accurately what everyday life is like in other places around the world, and that's something I think most of us could use help with.

And if you'd like to learn more about Dollar Street, you can find that here; Dollar Street itself is here, and it's fascinating to explore.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Briefly, on Those Bags

I mentioned, when I got some books recently, that I also bought some of a new-to-me type of reusable bag, and I just wanted to make a note of what I think of them.

I got these because I was looking for bags that actually stand up when you're loading them, in stead of sagging down and being annoying; I bought three of them, and this is a photo showing two of them, still flat, in the third bag, as it is opened.

  • The bags really do stand up when opened.
  • They hold a pretty good amount, as much as I would want them to (or they would be too heavy to carry comfortably), and seem sturdy. Time will tell how well they last, of course.
  • The fold-down bottom flap makes them a little heavier than I was expecting, but I think it's a worthwhile trade-off.
  • I find the handles a little annoying to wrangle, but it's probably just because they're different, and I'm not used to them yet.
  • They flatten down pretty nicely to store.
  • When you first buy them, do as I say and not as I did, and notice those little plastic clips holding them closed. I didn't see them, and pulled the bag open. They both broke and pieces flew everywhere, and one piece went bouncing off my forehead. I feel lucky that it didn't get me in the eye.
  • I bought the ones from Planet E because those had been recommended to me, but there are others on Amazon (and doubtless elsewhere) that appear identical, and are cheaper, FYI.
  • They make insulated ones, too, so when my current insulated bags (which are fairly new) start to go, I will plan to get some of these, and enjoy the stand-and-be-loaded use.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Sunday, February 04, 2018

A Few Updates: Swatch Washing, Hyacinth

I mentioned on a recent post, about washing the swatch for the baby blanket I'm knitting, that I wanted to try machine-washing but air-drying it, and in fact when I did that, it came out less crumpled. I didn't pin it out, just laid it on the arm of the sofa, and it dried nicely.
So I can be comfortable passing it along with washing instructions that go both ways. Good.

Then there's the hydroponic hyacinth I told you about, here. Well, after that, I noticed a little surprise:
A second blossom!
It came up pretty quickly.

And before long, there were two in good bloom.

At one point, i was struck by the roots.
As do all flowers, it started to fade.
 But still beautiful.
It's just about dead now. But it has been much welcomed, these last few weeks.

Well, it's just about kickoff time, which means ... I need to switch my sweatpants for jeans, and go grocery shopping.

Friday, February 02, 2018

A Small, Long-Delayed Accomplishment

I recently got something done, by which I mean I found someone who would do something I wanted done, and paid them to do it, but it came out so well that it makes me disproportionately pleased.

I searched my archives to see if I'd written anything about this topic before, and in fact I did: I mentioned when I bought this book, in 2012, and then again when I discovered that it was mis-bound, with pages out of order. In 2013, I mused that I wished I could come up with another use for the book, but couldn't work it out. I know that at least once in recent years, I searched etsy for a person who would make a book safe out of one's own book, but only seemed to find ones that used books that they found (which is perfectly valid, of course, just not what I was looking for).

This time, though, while I was looking at one such person, and reading the reviews by happy customers, it occurred to me to send a message asking about custom work, and lo and behold, the answer was yes! I mailed the book off, and in a pretty short amount of time, it came back to me.

Still looks like a book!
Even from above, except for a slight shiny look to the pages.
It's pretty light, though. And although the first few pages are there:
Underneath, there's a lack of content:
Otherwise known as a hidey-hole.

If you're ever in the market for something similar, I recommend her work:

She also makes clocks, lamps, and other shapes of book safes, like a heart, or customized for your favorite chocolate bar. Really. Check out her etsy shop. Two thumbs up.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Whuf, That Was a Nasty One

If I had mentioned that I had a headache when I wrote on Tuesday, that could have been what we call ominous foreshadowing, but I didn't mention it. It had been mild, I was functional, it wasn't bad.


In the evening, it started getting worse, into what I class as moderate (on the scale of Mild - Moderate - Severe), and after a while, I decided that going to bed early, with the hope of sleeping it away, was what I would do. The Bruins were playing badly, I felt rotten, why not. I was in bed around 8.

It didn't work.

I woke up about an hour later, fell back asleep, woke up again around 10, and by that time, was into severe, with the head pain and awful upset stomach that entails. It was terrible for roughly an hour, then faded back into moderate, and I was able to get back to sleep.

Unfortunately, when I woke up Wednesday morning, I was still in moderate. I tried eating some rice, hoping it would settle my stomach. Then I opened the Globe and started skimming along through the paper. When I got to the sports section, I tried to read about what had gone wrong (they lost in regulation for the first time in months), and realized I couldn't concentrate. That right there is the key to what I mean by mild and moderate: With a mild headache all day Tuesday, I was able to work, communicate, do laundry, all that good stuff. In moderate, forming sentences was more of a challenge. I knew I couldn't work, so I logged in just long enough to let them know I was taking a sick day, and went back to bed.

And that's what I did all day Wednesday: sleep for about an hour, get up in pain and misery for a while, go back to bed, repeat. I did finally throw up at 3, which I hoped would help, but frustratingly, it did not. Onward and onward.

I woke up at around 2 AM and thought I might perhaps be hungry (I never had dinner Tuesday, and only the rice [and plenty of water] all day Wednesday), so I got up and had a few crackers, considered things, and went back to bed. I woke at 4 and wasn't sure anything had improved, but I woke again after 6 and felt, startlingly, somewhat better and actually hungry. I got up and had a bowl of cereal, and decided that yes, I was actually feeling somewhat normal in both head and stomach. Hooray!

I get these terrible migraines so infrequently, compared to how I used to, but this one was a long one by any stretch, and came with all the usual frustrations when nothing worked to make it better. But eventually it's gone.

So today has been the standard "headache hangover" day, when I feel weak and wobbly, have to rest a lot, and am grateful all the same for the improvement. So, I'm wiped out by nothing, so what: my head doesn't hurt! It's amazing.

It's also nice to be hungry again. Feels closer to normal.