Monday, April 30, 2018

Mostly Bleh

  • It's Monday.
  • It's chilly, grey, and raining.
  • The report I spent the day working on may have been written by a genius in terms of content knowledge, but he appears to have used a Random Punctuation Generator. Here a comma, there a colon, and a semi-colon over there, and guess what, they're all wrong!
  • So many different types of things wrong with it. Including some of the drug names.
  • It's clearly Monday
  • On the other hand, the evening should be better, with chiropractor, stitch and bitch, and the Bruins game! Go, Bruins!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

I Love This Sleep Podcast (and Patreon)

After Carlos died, getting in bed became painful to me in a new way, since he was an enthusiastic snuggle-in-bed cat, and being there without him was an awful, impossible-to-avoid reminder that he was gone. In the following few months, I would also find that my anxious thoughts about getting ready for the condo sale and move would be hard to turn off when I was trying to get to sleep. It was quite a problem, really.

Fortunately for me, in January I read a brief mention on a blog about a podcast to help you get to sleep, and I gave it a try. (Thank you, Zoot!) It isn't a magic pill, but it has helped me so much.

It is called Sleep With Me: The Podcast That Puts You To Sleep, and I would recommend it to anyone to try, though I am quite sure it won't be to everyone's tastes. Just about from the first time I listened, I found myself laughing at the guy's sense of humor, but realizing at the same time that it might drive some people kind of nuts. Still, if you like it, it's awfully good. (Which sounds like tepid praise, but I do mean it as a compliment.)

The structure of the show is a short section of credits and sponsors (as he says, he can't leave it for the end, since hopefully most listeners are asleep by then), followed by a rambling introduction, and then a story. Those vary: sometimes he recaps an episode of Doctor Who, or he might tell a story of his own, or he'll read through the Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer and discusses the different items. His voice is soothing, and the repetitive language he uses can lull me on its own. Does it put me to sleep? Not exactly. But it's there when I need something to focus on other than the circling thoughts in my head, and sometimes that's just what I need.

After a few months of using it, I decided to pay it back a little, and contribute to his Patreon, just $1 a month, but a little support to something I was finding so helpful. With the contribution, I get a personalized RSS feed, and I prefer getting the episodes that way versus the podcast thing on the iPad, so it's really win-win.

Speaking of Patreon, it doesn't seem that I've mentioned that on the blog before, so let me describe that briefly for the sake of those who don't know about it. Patreon is a website that authors and artists and "creators" can use to get regular contributions* to help support what they're doing. Much like the way I give $5 a month to the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood; I am a believer in the power of giving small amounts on a regular basis, so the person can count on it.
*As opposed to Kickstarter, which is an event-driven "donation" thing.

There are also different rewards that the creators set up, so depending on how much you give, you might get little freebies and perks for it.

If the listing on my page at Patreon is giving me the ones I follow in the order I signed up for them, which I think it is, then the first one I started giving to was Dave Kellett, who creates my much-loved Sheldon cartoon online (I've mentioned him before).

Next came Jeph Jacques, who created the (very different) online comic Questionable Content.

After that, I found out that Katherine Addison, author of a fantasy novel I love, The Goblin Emperor*, has one (under both her real name and the pseudonym, Sarah Monette and Katherine Addison), and I decided to support her, too.
*I mentioned it in the PS here.

Then, after I discovered Martha Wells and her Raksura fantasy series last summer, I added her to my list. And she writes little story snippets set in that world! So very cool! Plus, I am starting to explore other (very different) things she has written, which is fun too. The Murderbot Diaries couldn't be more different from the Raksura, but I like both.

Sleep With Me was the most recent thing I added to my Patreon, which makes $5 a month for things I really enjoy. Pretty cool, I think

Saturday, April 28, 2018

They're All My Friends

It is of course always nice to be invited by friends to come over for dinner.

It's also really nice when they have friendly cats.

Miss Molly, looking pensive.
Finn, throwing himself at my feet.
He hung around long enough to determine that no one was sharing meatballs with him.
Then after a brief visit closer, went back to bed,
Molly slept the sleep of the truly exhausted on the back of the couch.
Eyes open, no one home.
Then eyes shut.
Sooo sleepy.
It was nice to hang out with all of them.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

They Did It!

I felt so much trepidation before last night's game. I hate "lose and your season ends" games, especially when they had not one but two chances to win and blew both. The first two periods were not completely Toronto-dominated (the Bruins were only down 4-3 after two), but they were up and down enough that I had a bad feeling about things. But how could I turn it off?

I couldn't. What I did, though, was mute it, and listen to something not related to hockey, while keeping an a cautious eye on the screen. They tied it up pretty fast, and after they took a 5-4 lead, I checked back in, and watched in growing pleasure as they made it 6-4, and finally 7-4. Ahh! There's the team that played games one and two!

Stanley Cup of Chowder posted some audio of parts of the game coverage today, and I was amused to look at the volume spikes. Like this one: can you tell when Bergeron scored to give the Bruins the lead?
How about when Krug tied it up again, after they had fallen behind?
And DeBrusk with the next lead:
Pasta makes it 6-4:
It's getting louder overall, too.

Finally, Marchand into the empty net.
Ahhh. I'm tired from the late night, but between this and the sunshine, it's been a better day than yesterday was, for sure.

And I'm ready for Saturday at 3, in Tampa.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Slight Progress (not super noticeable)

I feel like I have written words to the effect of "nothing went wrong but I am tired and stressed today anyway" too many times to count recently, and the same could be said today. Well, something went wrong: after yesterday's pleasant, sunny weather, today was cooler and poured rain. But although that was unpleasant, I guess it's not all that surprising. Just because it's May next week, why should the weather be nice yet?  :/

The good news, as far as it goes, is that the lender's appraisal did happen as planned, and I am home again, strewing trash cans and tissue boxes about the place with reckless abandon. Leaving things on the counters! And the toothbrush out in plain sight! Not to mention the toilet paper, and towels. Putting the alarm clock on the bedside table? The nerve! Why, it's like I think I live here.

I haven't turned on the Bruins pregame coverage; I couldn't bear to listen to an hour of who-knows-which-team-will-show-up-tonight. I just finished listening to the latest 31 Thoughts podcast, which was taped last Friday, and featured my favorite homer play-by-play man, Jack Edwards, in what was a really interesting in-depth interview. I think it might even have been tolerable to non-Bruins fans, though of course, how could I be sure. The game is a 7:30 start, so I have a little more time to kill. Perhaps I will pull a few more things out of hiding.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Much the Same

I am hanging in there.

I am doing a lot of deep breathing (and sometimes a little crying).

I am grateful that nothing big has gone wrong with the condo sale so far (knock wood).

I am hopeful that the lender appraisal scheduled for tomorrow morning happens as planned.

I am wishing that I didn't have to clear everything away again tonight for that, but. Oh well.

I am hoping that the Bruins win game 7 tomorrow night. (I was hoping the same of Saturday's game 5, and last night's game 6, so I won't say my hopes are too high.)

I am wishing that work had not decided to Change The Way We Do Everything this year, of all years. (Now we're editing in PowerPoint, and Adobe*, and Excel. Do you know what they all lack? Track changes.)
*Actually, my boss pushed back on that, so they sent the text in Word--it's the same as what's in the pdf! Except where it isn't!

I am thinking that if things proceed according to plan, the movers might be here in five weeks.

Which is both too soon, and not soon enough.

So I am doing a lot of deep breathing.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Angst Deferred

It snowed this morning. Melted once it hit the ground, but still. Snow flakes are discouraging to see on April 19th.

It makes me feel hardhearted not to join my friends in being sad that soon I won't be living here, and it's not that there aren't people (and things) that I will absolutely, definitely miss. It's just that right now, I'm so overwhelmed already with all the everything, and I can't add anything else in. It's like my brain is protecting me, by letting me not focus on this. I know that I will feel it when I'm in Florida, but right now? The decision is made, and it's the right one. Yeah, sorry, I'll miss you too, now hand me that packing tape, would you?

Condo-sale news: The latest thing I'm waiting for is the mortgage lender to come and do the inspection/appraisal thing, in order to decide if they want to give the buyer the money that they want to borrow. I had been hoping it would have happened already, but it hasn't, and now it seems it may happen* when I'm in NY for Grandma's birthday over this weekend.
*And now that I think about it, they had damn well better do it and get it done before Monday night.

Which means my mother and I have to leave the condo in perfect shape before we go, and that's annoying, but I am hoping (very, very hard) that this will be the last of it. Now that the countdown to closing-and-moving is counted in weeks, I need to start packing and getting rid of stuff, and that means making a mess. I'm tired of tidying up everything all the time.

So tonight, I will be packing and tidying and watching the Bruins. And then, well, take it as it comes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Mom Story

My mother is here! And she told a funny story that really says a lot about her.

She was at a dinner last week, a fish fry with other people in her building, where everyone was mixing and chatting about various things, and in one conversation, the topic of assassinations came up. As it does, you may say, but probably it was because of the recent anniversary of MLK Jr.'s death. Anyway, someone said John F. Kennedy, and then someone said Marilyn Monroe, and my mother immediately said, "No, no, Marilyn wasn't assassinated. I was having dinner with Sammy Davis Jr. when his wife called to tell him that Marilyn had overdosed."

And, being my mother, she was very matter-of-fact about it, and was surprised when the person she was talking to was faintly stunned.

So, if you want to know where my mother was, or for that matter where Sammy Davis Jr was, on Sunday night, August 5, 1962, it was in the dining room at the Hilton in Port of Spain, Trinidad. He had played a show earlier that day, and my mother (who worked at the embassy) was in charge of driving him around.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cowl Details

I was asked about the details of the cowl I just made, and it's actually pretty easy to answer, which suits my attention span these days perfectly, so here we go.

After I bought the yarn, I did a search on Ravelry for patterns that might suit both the type and amount I had, and one of the ones I flagged was a pattern called the French Cowl. It's a free pattern, and it's very straightforward, being a two-row repeat. I did make a few modifications, though.

First, the pattern calls for most of the stitches to be purls, and I just wasn't in the mood, so I knit them instead. The way it comes out when knit, the "wrong" side looks very much like the right side would if purling. I like both sides equally, so it works for me.

I cast on 100 stitches on a 16-inch circular needle, size 8 US, and then did this:
1. K3, YO, slip-one-knit-one-pass slipped stitch over, repeat all the way around.
2. K3, K2tog, YO,  repeat all the way around.
The pattern calls for increasing at a certain point and knitting an at the wider width, but I liked the size/width as it was (at one point I put it on waste yarn so I could test how well it went over my head and fit), so I just did the same size all the way.

When I was almost out of yarn, I started to bind off, and at first I was doing a stretchy bind off, but I was also running out of yarn too fast, so I took a look at what I was getting, and decided that it was way stretchier than I need it to be. So I tinked back and just bound off regular, and ended up with a good match to the size/stretch of the cast-on, and just a wee bit of yarn left over.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Five Months

It's been five months since Carlos died. It feels like forever, and it feels like a minute ago. Isn't time funky that way?

I miss him terribly, and frequently. I wonder sometimes how different it would have been, if he had died when I wasn't getting ready for this move. I always called him my therapy cat, and I would have missed him awfully any time, of course, but lately, I have really needed him, and, well. There he isn't.

It's such a huge 10-pound hole where he used to be.
Once I'm settled in Florida, I'll start thinking about and looking around for another cat. Not to replace him, any more than he replaced Pan or Harold, but to succeed him. He left some big paws to follow in.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

One Out of Three

Q. Any more certainty about the condo-selling process and timeline?
A. No. I hope/expect to learn more tomorrow, but not yet.

Q. Has lovely, spring weather arrived for the middle of April*?
A. No. Today it's 34 degrees, and there have been snow flurries.
*Freudian slip: at first, I typed March. It feels like March.

Q. Are the Bruins doing well as the playoffs begin?
A. Oh, hell yeah!

At least one thing is going beautifully!

And honestly, it's not that the condo-selling is going badly; it's going quite well, compared to how it could have gone, as I am well aware. It's still a huge amount of stress, though, and still not-inconsiderable levels of uncertainty, and, well. I told a friend at lunch today, "I thought I was tired, stressed, and short-tempered before." She assured me that I'm doing well, and sometimes I believe it, but other times, well. Even your best friend doesn't always see the full picture.

But last night was game two of the Bruins series against Toronto, and the Bruins won game one so decisively that there was considerable discussion about what Toronto needed to do to be better. Whatever they tried, it didn't work, and it was a very enjoyable game for a Bruins fan to watch.

I also got a lot of knitting done. I went from this, before the game started:
To this, at the end of the game.
I need to make sure I have enough knitting with me for getting through the trip to Grandma's next weekend, but I should be okay, I think, since this is the first of the two socks. As backup, I can bring the skein I bought yesterday, when I dropped in to an LYS that was having a spring sale.

They got my attention by offering 25% off anything with cashmere, and since my favorite socks to wear are the ones that have a little cashmere in them, and thus they wear out the fastest, I couldn't resist this:
Most of the colors they had in stock were more solid, but I liked the tones in this one.
And it's so soft. Soft pretty yarn, Bruins playing well, deep breaths ... I'll get through this.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Knitting? That Sounds Vaguely Familiar

I wouldn't blame anyone reading here recently for being a little tired of the continuous moving/condo-selling angst that has been filling the space, as it has largely filled my mind. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm not going to keep blogging about the same thing for the next month or two! My blog, my rules, after all. But I think it would be good for me, as well as possibly more interesting for you, if I mix some other things in. Like about the Bruins, who by the way did not disappoint last night, or about knitting. Because yes, I do still knit! A little, anyway.

For instance, the cowl I started in March with that amazing angora...I finished it last Thursday, April 5th, and started wearing it immediately. The soft-and-fuzzy was (is) very comforting in times of stress. Well, chilly times of stress, anyway. Which these are; today was decent, it might have been 60, but that's the highest point recently or upcoming. It even snowed last Friday. But anyway.

Anyway, the cowl got washed last night. Here it is before:
Slightly wrinkled up from wearing, but look at the halo on that. (It does shed a little, but it's worth it to me.)
And the reverse side. I like the look of both.
Washed, water toweled out, laid on a towel and shaped slightly.
And no, the wash didn't diminish the halo at all. It's still the fluffiest thing ever.
Any non-knitters who want one of these, if you pay for the yarn, I'll knit it! (They have an etsy shop, with a section for Angora Handspun & Fiber that I hope will be updated often.) My cowl took almost every bit of my skein, which was 2.3 ounces/158 yards, but the skeins I saw varied tremendously in size, so that's something to be aware of. It was lovely to work with.

In other knitting news, I was working away on the sock I mentioned last month, but do you see where I mentioned that the yarn was a bit prone to splitting? Cue the ominous foreshadowing music. It was actually difficult not to split stitches, and after talking it over with a knitting friend on Monday, I decided to put it aside for now. I need my knitting to be soothing, not even slightly annoying, right now. Even though I got all the way to here:
Instead, I started this one:
Using the other yarn I got at Webs in February.
It's being much less trouble, and that will do for now. I might even pull it out tonight, as I turn on NHL Live before the non-Bruins hockey game, to hear what they have to say about the Bruins last night.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


The Bruins start their playoff series against Toronto tonight, which perhaps may help take my mind off Things. I was quite incensed this morning when I saw the game would be on NBCSN, since the first round is usually on NESN and I'm not ready to say goodbye to my team of homer announcers, but it turns out it's on both networks tonight: the TV grid in the Globe showed the Red Sox game being on NESN, but in fact that has been bumped to NESN-plus so the Bruins can have the main network.

Which is as it should be. It's the playoffs. I don't care if the Red Sox are playing the Yankees, their season just started. I don't gripe in October if the Bruins get pushed to NESN-plus, and this is the same thing in reverse.

There hasn't been any further condo news today. I asked the realtor yesterday if I can start leaving boxes about the place, or if I have to keep it pristine until the lender's assessment is done, and she said that I can have boxes, but please don't "mess up" the condo until the lender has been through*, which should be in the next week or so. When that is scheduled, I will ask her if it needs to be showing-clean, or if it can be neat and tidy, but with trash cans and tissue boxes not hidden away; obviously, I am hoping for the latter, but I'll do what needs to be done.
*She told me previously that she has to sell the place twice, first to the buyer and then to their lender, so I knew it was important.

I spoke to movers yesterday, and while I haven't gotten the estimate by email yet, she said that they charge based on actual weight, and it works out to more or less a dollar a pound. So that's good information to have; I need to start going through my kitchen things, and that will be a factor in what I keep and what I don't.

Although I packed a box of books yesterday, I am going to try to keep my focus on the kitchen next, since it's full of so many awkward things to pack. In the past, one of the ways I have gone wrong when moving is to do the easier things first (like books), and leave the kitchen until later, without giving myself enough time. This move, I absolutely have to be ready, as close to 100% as possible, when the movers come. And if you think that goes without saying, well, it hasn't worked out for me that way before. Mostly ready, yes; completely ready, no.

All right, this is turning into "thoughts that induce migraines, or panic attacks," so I will stop that for now. One little step at a time. And go Bruins!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


I have accepted an offer on the condo.

Doing so was terrifying. Not the accepting it part, really, so much as deciding which one to accept. I know, I know, it's a good problem to have, but still, eep. Where is the grownup who should be handling such big decisions?

Who, me? Nah.

That can't be right.

Man, I really need a cat to cuddle right now. Fuzz therapy.
My blood pressure must be through the roof today. I keep breathing deeply and trying to relax, but it just isn't doing much.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Breath In, Breathe Out. Repeat.

If you were to ask me how I'm doing right now, I would tell you a little story. It's from when I was a kid, maybe 6 or 7, and I went to a week-long camp, maybe a Girl Scout camp. By week-long, I mean it was Monday morning to Friday afternoon, and my best friend was there, and I had a good time.

Until Friday morning. When I started crying. And when they asked what was wrong, all I could say was that I wanted to go home. They reminded me that I was going home that afternoon, but it wasn't enough. I had had all I could, I was done, and all I wanted was to go home.

I made it to the afternoon, of course, and it isn't like I think about that experience a lot, but it came to mind on Monday, because I am really at the end of my rope, emotionally speaking. Nothing has gone wrong, nothing has been terrible, it's all proceeding as it should (and in a sellers' market, that means it's going well), but I just suddenly can't take it any more.

And I guess I can take it, technically; it's just gotten harder. The realtor called Monday afternoon and said that a potential buyer wanted to come in Tuesday morning to do a pre-offer inspection. I asked her to explain, and she said that if they made an offer, and if it's the offer we accepted, they will waive the inspection contingency as part of the process. And I guess that's a good thing?

It did show they're serious, anyway, as why else would you pay for an inspection before you even make an offer or know if it has been accepted? I honestly don't know why they wanted an inspection so much that they're willing to pay for it on spec now, but maybe it's supposed to give their offer an edge. I don't pretend to understand the nuances of these things.

I didn't actually object to the inspection at all, except that it meant I had to put everything away, again, and that was ... dispiriting. But I did it, and took the work computer to Starbucks, and got myself a brownie as some consolation. (It was decent, but not as good as the Ghirardelli double chocolate mix, honestly.)

I could have stayed with my friends longer, and avoided this, but part of good self-care is knowing what you need, right? And by Sunday night, I simply needed to be home again. It was better for me to have two nights and a day at home, and then clean up again. I'm just such a creature of habit and routine, as you may perhaps have picked up on if you've been reading here long.

Annnnnnyway. You may recall that the offers were due in today, and I am pleased to say that there were a few (and in fact, most of them waived the home inspection). Now I'm working with the realtor to go over them, since of course (of course) it's not perfectly straightforward which one is best. (The only down side: no cash offers. That would have simplified things dramatically.) Like so many things in life, I think it's going to come down to picking one, not at random, but in hopes that it will work out, more than in a clear case of this one is obviously best and will work out perfectly.

I also talked to an attorney today about handling that part for me. He said that it's his preference not to have the seller come to the closing, and I was quick to tell him that I am FINE with that. The less I have to do (and pretend to understand, etc.), the better.

It's all going so well, and yet it can't be over soon enough. I think it's time to get ready for bed. After maybe some chocolate.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Home Again

I'm back home after the four days of showings (about 10) and open houses.(2), and so far there is one offer in, and the realtor expects more by Tuesday. Apparently two people/groups came today for second viewings, which certainly sounds promising, doesn't it?

Everything went fine at my friends' house, and really it was a nice weekend, but it's a long time to be out of my routines, and stressing about everything, and I'm a zombie tonight. I'm going to zone out in front of the Bruins game. Last game of the regular season! They start in their playoffs on Thursday. Go, Bruins!

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Getting Ready to Bug Out

Well, the Bruins lost decisively last night, which is a shame, but my head was moderately bad and I didn't stay up for the whole thing anyway. This year, when they were clearly going to be in the playoffs a month or two ago, and they've already been officially in the playoffs for a while, at least I don't have to worry about whether they'll make it at all. They have three more games, and while I don't want them to lose all three, it wouldn't be the end of the season if they did.

And I believe that they did get out of that game without losing anyone else to injury, at least, which sadly is saying something versus the last month-plus.

I'm getting ready to bug out in the morning, so that condo showings may commence. There are already three scheduled, and that isn't counting the one I got notified about first thing this morning, for tonight. Ah, no no no, starting Thursday, please! Being out of the house for half an hour this evening would not have been a problem--in fact, I was out--but I was not clearing everything up for a showing, then undoing it, and then redoing it in the morning. Thursday.

After the last week or two of being pretty much ready, and with not so much I could do around the house, it's been kind of a nice change to have a list of don't-forget-to-pack things to organize. Even if I don't love leaving home, I love my lists and planning. I'm off to finish all I can tonight, leaving as little as possible for tomorrow. Which bag do I want that in, and don't forget the other thing, and what about...?

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

A Quiet Day

While things continue to move forward, today has been mostly a quiet day. I have a bit of a headache, it's kind of rainy, work was quiet, all of that.

But! I did get to see the photos of the condo, and they are freakishly impressive. They actually look to me almost like they are computer-generated, or a very realistic artist's rendering, except that that's my stuff in there.

For instance, you may remember my photos of the kitchen area from when I was talking about the table-switch stuff. Here's a screen shot of what he did with that.
Impressive, right? And you can hardly tell it's snowing outside.

Then there's the listing. The realtor sent me a draft this afternoon and asked for any edits. I tried to resist the siren call of "there should be a space after that comma" in order to focus on the factual info (such as that she had last year's tax assessment amount, but I've gotten the 2018 one), though I did point out that the description shouldn't start, "If you have searching for..." Picky, picky, picky. Anyway, the listing is now up, and offers are due in by next Tuesday, so expect me to continue to be a bit of a basket case until then (and, let's be honest, probably after that as well).

Meanwhile, the Bruins, who are in first place in the Eastern Conference, play Tampa, the second-place team, in Tampa tonight. The Bruins have won all their games against Tampa so far this season, and I would like them to continue that tonight. The regular season ends on Sunday, and the playoffs start next week. Whee!

Monday, April 02, 2018

Another Step Checked Off

The morning (really, less than an hour) with the realtor and photographer went fine, as I figured it would, even though my subconscious was not so sure, giving me partial insomnia and some truly bizarre dreams last night as well. And nerves while waiting this morning! Including about the fact that it was snowing, no, seriously, it snowed this morning, just what I needed to worry about. So much for a sunny day for the photos.

But the realtor looked around, complimenting what I'd done, and finally said, wow, I really listened to her, didn't I? And I laughed and said, "I'm a rule-follower, I wanted to get a good grade!" She said I get an A+.

One of the few things she did that I hadn't done was to hide the roll of toilet paper. (I mean, I understand hiding trash cans and laundry baskets, but ... toilet paper?) I will never understand why, but I'm not asking. She's the expert here.

The photographs should be ready tomorrow, which I can't wait to see, and the listing will go up tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday morning. The sign is already up, and the lockbox is on the door. I'll tidy up again Wednesday night and Thursday morning, and pack my bags to go stay with friends until Sunday night. That way, she can have as many showings as she wants, and the open houses, and I don't have to keep putting things away and taking them out and putting them away again.

Hopefully by this time next week, things will be at least close to settled.

Meanwhile, I'm exhausted, and can't even think about next steps. I'm getting ready for bed.