Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Half a Year's Reading

Last year, as the pandemic lock-down went on, I was kind of surprised that I wasn't reading more. I always read a lot, though some years more and some less*, and here I was with more free time than usual, so the assumption seemed reasonable, and yet. Wasn't happening. I felt as though I had a harder time finding books I wanted to read, or enjoying the ones I tried.

*And the list I keep is by book, not page counts, especially because with e-books what even is a page count, so, you know. Not all books are created equal, and my record-keeping is not an exact science.

This year, as we hit the halfway point, things seem to have turned around. I'm reading a lot! 

Delving more deeply:

  • About a quarter of the books I read (or, more accurately, finished) came from the library. I love the library!
  • About three-fifths were re-reads, and thus two-fifths new to me.
  • About two-fifths were books I read on the tablet or my phone. Some of them were only available that way, or were easier to get from the farther-away library that way, or sometimes I was pinned down by the lap cat and wanted to read something that wasn't otherwise within reach.
  • One book I actually read via three different methods: The Witness for the Dead. The publisher had given out an excerpt that was an e-book (which I read again and again while waiting impatiently for the whole thing to come out); then my print copy wasn't here last Tuesday, on release day, but I had the audio, so I listened to the middle, and then when my print copy arrived I finished it that way. Not my choice for a regular reading method, but in this case, it worked!
  • Non-fiction? All of one. I just don't get into NF that much. Though I just borrowed Knitting Comfortably: The Ergonomics of Handknitting by Carson Demers, via the magic of interlibrary loan (all the way from New Mexico, wow! it came 2,000 miles for me), so that will go on the list soon.
  • Women authors? Plenty: over 90%, which is kind of cool. I didn't plan this, and I have nothing against reading men's work, but I do like for my list to not be all that way.
  • I still start a lot of books that I don't finish; those are not on the list.
  • Sci-fi/fantasy: lots! interestingly enough (to me, at least), fully three-quarters of the books I have read so far in 2021 count as thus.

So who/what have I been reading? A lot of Martha Wells, both Murderbot and the Raksura series. I did a big old Patricia Briggs re-read. And Lois McMaster Bujold, who has a variety of books I enjoy, but I discovered the Penric and Desdemona novellas and tore through them (all 10! I now own! some print and some e-book).

And just to end on a random note, here are some favorite first-time reads:

I'm glad to go on about any of them at more length, if anyone wants, so if you do, just say so. And hey, read any good books lately?

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Yes: Another Shawl

I have now bought several bunches of yarn with plans in mind to knit tops, and yet I keep finishing and starting shawls. There's something about making a project where fit really matters that isn't suiting my mood these days. 

So I started a new shawl yesterday.

Early days, but it looks promising!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Pardon Me

I have PLANS tonight! New book from Katherine Addison! 

This is her third book, and she is firmly on my list: what she writes, I’ll read, period.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Not Near Me

If you saw the terrible news this morning of the condo building that partially collapsed near Miami last night, and thought of me, we're nowhere near it--well, more than 100 miles, anyway--but I certainly share your horror. What an absolutely awful and frightening thing. Those poor people, I can't even imagine.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Before Blocking: Valente

I haven't blocked it yet, but even so, I am very pleased with my completed Valente shawl (Ravelry link), which I made using the Infinity Fade gradient set from Fiber Optic. Lovely, lovely yarn, and works so well with this pattern:

Isn't it pretty? 

The magic of short rows. It fits nicely around my shoulders, down to the elbows or close to, and stays in place well, too. We'll see when I get around to blocking it, but it's very wearable as is!

Friday, June 18, 2021

What I haven't Been Complaining About Here

I haven't been in my usual "fairly regularly blogging" pattern lately, so I thought I would pop in and list all the things that have been bugging me this week, which could have the dual purpose of making me feel a little better (hopefully!), and making you a bit relieved that I haven't been here much (hopefully only a little bit).

  •  The weather this week has been awful, tons of rain and thunderstorms that send the cat into hiding all day or half the night. We do need the rain, but getting this much all at once isn't actually that helpful (the lake in the front lawn isn't helping the water table), and this is more like August/September weather. In mid-June, no thank you. It has also been overcast almost every minute of every day all week. I want to see the sun.
  • Maggie has thrown up a few times this week, which is not super-unusual for her, but is worrisome nonetheless, plus unpleasant to clean up after (especially at, say 3:45 AM in my bedroom, just saying).
  • Work has been... especially work-y. One of the other editors was off for a few days this week, which let me say I fully support, but it's always a bit much when there are two of us instead of three of us handling what comes in. And my boss has had a few of his, hmm, less organized moments this week, like when he said on Monday morning that I should pick up a report that had come in that morning if I hadn't already, though I was in fact working on a report from last week that I wasn't even halfway through. And then yesterday, when I started something short, he said that maybe something else wouldn't have come in by the time I finished that today and I would get a breather, but you know who forgot to have any of us take a report that came in last Friday? Yeah. I wonder when he would have noticed that if I hadn't asked about it? Probably when the sender followed up on it (again).
  • I don't have a complaint about knitting, except that I have to hold back from knitting as much as I want to: I overdid it on Memorial Day and had very sore thumbs the next day, and have been resting more and knitting less ever since. Aging sucks in some ways.
  • And I actually don't have any complaints about reading, I've been reading a lot lately (especially since the Bruins' season ended, sigh), and it's been good.

So that ends on a slightly more positive note! Feel free to vent here if you need to. No problem too small to whine about.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Please and Thank You

Maggie says if it could please stop thunder-storming she would appreciate it.

Please. Let the August weather come in August, not June.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Road Trip! Yarn Shopping!


Last weekend, I saw a must-have yarn online from A Good Yarn in Sarasota; this is the yarn store that a group of us went to last March, just before the pandemic shut everything down. I decided that, although I could order the yarn online, it would be more fun to make a little road trip out of it. Most of my local knitting group people are snowbirds, but I met up with one who isn't (well, she goes back and forth between the east and west coast down here, but that still counts as year-round local to me), and we had a marvelous two hours wandering around the store and oohing and ahhing over yarns and colors and did-you-see-this and oh-look-at-that!

It is a great store, so many wonderful yarns, friendly helpful staff, and, oh, a coral reef display.

I mean, come on.

Not to mention a sense of humor.

Lots of color everywhere.
And swatches and samples galore. I like this shawl, which is called Ultiflex.
And this one, the Wilson Top, which I bought the yarn for: one cake! The colors just change like that.
I also liked this one, which was called the Reid Cardigan.
This yarn fascinated me. Cashmere and brushtail possum down?
There were several yarns that I loved but did not buy; either I didn't fall for any of the colors, or it was just a bit too much for one day.

This one, well, I did buy a couple of skeins of the black-and-rainbow.
And a few other things. I'll get proper photos at some point, but here's a quick view:
It's too much driving in a day for me to do often, but I will happily shop at this store again! And again...

Friday, June 11, 2021

A Prize for Maggie

It's been a surprisingly full week for me, which is mostly good* but also very tiring, and thinking about detailing all the whys thereof makes me more tired, so let me focus in on one thing, instead of going for the bigger picture tonight.

*Excluding the Bruins, but oh well

At the monthly Newcomers Club luncheons, they draw names to win prizes donate by sponsors, and I won one this month! Though really, it's Maggie who is the winner, as the prize was a basket of cat-specific items from a local pet supply store. Perfect item for our household!

It specifies cat on the side because they also donated a dog one.

It's a really nice selection!

Food, treats...
"This isn't all the toys. I know you missed one. Gimme."
"I'm waiting."
"Thank you!"
She had to wait for me to cut it off the backing, and then she was clearly torn between jumping right on it, or maintaining proper feline aloofness.
But she couldn't resist for long. Sniff...
Whap! Mighty paw of doom engaged.
I actually don't know where it ended up, but we'll have to find it so she can have more fun with it.

And I should go visit that store to thank them, and get some more of those.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

New Laptop for Work: Yes! No? Yes! Do You Have It Yet? No, Not Getting a New One

Work has been back-and-forthing over the last few months about whether they are giving me a new laptop. It went like this (I may be forgetting a few steps):

  • They announced that they would be updating older machines (I didn't ask for it--they started it! But my machine is old and slow, and the fan comes on a lot, so I was very pleased that they might actually be proactive about it)
  • IT guy #1 asked in early April if I had received it (no)
  • IT #1 said the shipments were held up at FedEx for a billing situation
  • weeks of silence
  • IT #1 asks did you get it, it was mailed last week by IT #2 (no) (by now it's May)
  • more silence
  • my boss asked if it was lost in the mail
  • IT #1 asks IT #2 for an update
  • IT #2 does not answer
  • IT #1 asks if I am happy with my machine (um, no?)
  • IT #2 asks if I have received it (still no)
  • IT #1 asks IT #2 for an update
  • IT #2 says he's waiting on a shipment and will let me know

So mid-afternoon yesterday, #1 asks if I have time for him to remote into my machine to 'reset it'--sounds ominous, but it's not like I have a choice, so okay. 

We spend 2 or 3 hours with resetting and it's not working and logins and zooming so he can see what wasn't working*, and just So Much Annoyance. By the end of the day, it seemed to have reset. This morning, I got to get everything working right again, with every single display and setting effed up, just one annoyance after another.

*And while we were on the phone, I asked if this was in place of getting a new machine and he confirmed that I am not getting a new machine, to which I said, "Well, I guess I can keep using this one until it dies," which it will do, given its age--it's over 9 years old, by the serial number--and he said he thought it wasn't that old. Um, okay. I didn't make that up, but I'm not arguing with him.

But really kind of the icing on the cake is after all that, IT Guy asked how many company machines I have (or, actually, he asked "how many company machine you have with you," so I guess I would have been off the hook for any company machines that I had, but not with me at the time), and I said just this one laptop, and he asked when I got it ("May I know when did you received [sic, god knows] that laptop"). And the answer to that is August of 2015*. As I have told them before. But apparently that is hard to keep track of. 

*And it wasn't new then.

So who knows if this is the end of the story.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Made It

The week after a vacation and a holiday was always going to be a tough slog, plus the Bruins game went into overtime last night (they won!), and I am coasting on fumes today. but I made it to the weekend at last.

How are you? The inspector would like to know.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021


Getting back to regular life is a bit of a thing after visits and vacations, isn't it? Here, let's look at Miss Maggie enjoying a good bath and roll-around on her box.