Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An attack of fabulous good luck.

I woke up this morning at 4:30am from a sound, deep sleep. I shot bolt upright, terrifyingly alert, because I smelled burning wiring. And it was strong, very, very strong. So I jump out of bed, bolt into the hallway and encounter my brother, also awake and alert because of the smell. No fire alarms were going off (and yes, we've got them on each floor, in the stairwells, because that's how smoke travels -- according to fireman brother) so we just trotted all around the house, trying to frantically sniff out the source before the alarms did go off.

We deduced it was the furnace. We shut it off as fast as fast could be, and then went back upstairs. Since I had to be up at 5:45 anyway, and adrenaline is bad for restful sleep, I just sat there petting Yoda and watching the news until I got dressed and went to work an hour early. Suck. But then I got to leave an hour early. Booyah!

Still. Data entry on four hours of sleep followed by an intense adrenaline surge (which doesn't tend to carry a body through the day as well as a high-fiber cereal) is...difficult. An today was a long day (9 hours; not the longest shift I do in the average week but bad enough), so as I started to crash around 2pm I gave in and had a cup of tea with the caffeine in. That plus the intense shock of this morning has started up the palpitations again, slightly. I'm starting to think it's more likely that the acid reflux I've developed from sitting on my butt all day is causing my esophagus to spasm or something. I have way more acid reflux than fast heart rate anymore. And my intake of Tums seems to be tied to the lack of flumpfhs behind my breastbone.

Sigh. As soon as I start to relax, some other crap goes on. I need to build up my tolerance to stress, you know?

So why do I call it an attack of fabulous good luck? Because the house didn't burn down -- wasn't in any danger of it, actually, the motor burned out, so what we smelled was something that happened inside a metal box and couldn't get to any combustibles -- and by leaving home early this morning, I got to a certain gas station that hadn't had the chance to raise its prices to over $4 a gallon and topped off my tank at $3.85 per (which is still rather usurious, but hey, whatcha gonna do?). So of course I bought a lottery ticket. We'll see how well that pans out. I also stepped on a blob of some gross person's, erm, expectorate. Which, my friend of Italian origins tells me, is very lucky, provided you don't catch their tuberculosis. Well, getting spit on is lucky (proving my father's contention that Italians are sorta weird) -- protects against the Evil Eye. Not that I'm worried about evil eyes right now. Actually, as a Polish-Irish person, I'm not even sure we have evil eye traditions. I think that's a Mediterranean thing, goes with olive skin and a tendency to tan. We didn't get that, either. Alas.

Well, I did, but most of my family burns like Thanksgiving turkey after the fights start. Heh heh heh.

Ahem. So, anyway, that's what I've been up to. More hysteria, finding good gas prices (which sort of makes up for it, really) and playing bad odds.

I can't wait for my dryer to ding so I can go to bed. I'm assured the smoking vents thing won't happen again tonight, and it damn well better not. I'm tired.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Why bother with the box?

I made a nice, gooey, cheesy dinner for myself tonight:

That's a cheeseburger macaroni dish. I did not use a box mix. And now that I'm eating it like food is going out of style, I wonder why I ever bothered with box mixes. I have box mixes in the pantry, but I'm finding this version far superior.

It's just a quarter box of rotini, cooked up, mixed with 6 ounces of Velveeta and a handful of cheddar cheese shreds, a little more than one pound of ground beef cooked with some onions (mmmm, maybe half a small white one), some salt, pepper and garlic powder. Chuck in some milk, mush it around until the cheese goes all gooey-awesome sauce, then use mustard and bread and butter pickles chopped up for garnish. Mmm-mmm, good. And it took less time, overall, than the box stuff does. And it's better. In my opinion, which will, alongside $1.25 hard US currency, buy you a cup of coffee at McDonalds.

Perfect for one of those days.

Not that I've had one. Actually, this afternoon was pretty good. I took a nap and had a dream. A dream that both amused and empowered me, and now I'm thinking about how I can turn it into a book. Or possibly performance art. Yes, that statement makes sense, but I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise.

I think I'll write it out, first, and then decide what to do with it. Oddly enough, I don't think it will take long -- the nature of the project is simple. Beautifully simple.

And it won't interfere with shawl knitting. I have no interest any longer in any project on my plate aside from that shawl. Don't ask me why; I tend to get in knitting moods like this.Oh, well. Maybe that means I'll actually have a finished shawl of my own one of these days.

Now I'm going back to my dinner and wine and then I'll dish up some chocolate something or other for dessert. I feel like celebrating. Good ideas don't just fall out of the sky like that every day!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Queen of the Nerds! And the War of the Coolest Words Ever.

I am soooo excited! My palpitations are starting up again, only this time from joy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I'm positively flailing around because I haven't been able to sit to write for the past week. Why is it when I have the time, I don't feel like writing, but when I don't have the time, I'm absolutely desperate for it?

I'm so perverse.

In other news, I've managed to knit a bit on this:

This is not a current shot. I've got a bit more stockinette below the lace set there. I'm about halfway to the next lacy bit. The purl rows are taking for. ev. er. I purl awkwardly at the best of times, but for some reason purling on this shawl is particularly difficult for me. I think it's because of the way the fabric is folding up and hanging on the cable. It's doing something horrible to my stitch tension. Or something.

Perhaps I'm just losing it. At this stage, that's always a real possibility!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thinking about what to blog...

and I've got very little. I mean, other than a post about some stuff I wrote in my morning pages last week that's got me thinking really hard about how I live my life, but who wants to hear that?

Anyway, this week I've managed to make some progress on my shawl in dog colors, I beaded the yarn for the first half of the Nieceling's scarf and I've worked a bit farther on my Crowley scarf. Other than that, I've done as little as physically possible in order to preserve some of my precious energy for not panicking.

I'm doing better in that regard, for what it's worth. I'll probably...go for my evening walk now, make and eat my dinner and then sit and knit on my shawl for a bit tonight. Maybe tomorrow I'll do something more worthwhile.

Oh, I say maybe, but I've sort of promised someone I would. For my mental health and hygiene. And I have to keep blogging, so if you're following this blog, I apologize. This week might be a bit thin in terms of knit content and highly fat in terms of wangsting when my life is so good I really shouldn't be wangsting at all. I do know how lucky I am, really I do, it's just sometimes...wangsting feels good.

Is that so wrong?

Saturday, March 17, 2012


This morning, after a light breakfast with healthful orange juice in lieu of my typical iced tea, I went for a walk. A fairly short one, two miles or so. But along the way, I saw some lovely things:

No idea what this tree is called, but the blooms are beautiful against a hot spring sky.

The tree I'm told is a tulip tree is in bloom! It's one of my favorites, just look at that rosy blush.

Herds of sunny yellow daffydowndillies are popping up everywhere! I think they are some of my favorite flowers -- both for the silly name (yes, yes, I know they're called daffodils, but I vastly prefer daffydowndillies; sounds more cheerful) and for the translucent buttery beauties they are. Just look at the light through the petals!

I'm not sure what this tree is, but I hear a rumor it's a dogwood. If so, it's a pretty weak and spindly dogwood. I know they aren't robust trees, but seriously. It's like a collection of sticks popping out of the ground. I'm surprised it can work up the energy to put out blossoms.

The air was sweet, the walking was fine and I'm tired out from all my wrangling today. Granted, I also got a two and a half hour nap in this morning, but perhaps the extreme sleep deprivation I've been working myself into has contributed to my chronic enervation.

I really should be more careful about that, you know!

Friday, March 16, 2012

At last, the weekend!

I am enervated. Wiped out, tapped out, done up. Thank Providence that it is Friday and this is the weekend. I was supposed to go out to the movies tonight, but those plans got changed when it was realized there was nothing worth seeing playing at present. Fine, I needed the quiet time because frankly, I had a strange realization this morning.

For the past week and a half, since Fred had his little troubles on the highway, I have been having problems. I'll be sitting in my chair after dinner and my heart will suddenly start racing, pounding and then I have that feeling of the heart skipping a beat -- that weird "kerplop" behind your breastbone. I know my heart isn't skipping beats -- I've had a finger on my pulse when it happens, the rhythm keeps steady.

I've been wondering if it was too much salt, too much caffeine, too much food giving me a very strange type of indigestion. I didn't realize until today, this morning, when it started again at the office...I'm having panic attacks.

I didn't recognize them because they're just small ones, more...mild than the ones I've had in past. Once I realized what it was, it stopped. I'm hoping I don't have another tonight and I'm really glad I have the time to pull myself back together this weekend.

My only plan is to 1. Sleep a lot. 2. Knit a bit. 3. Read some. 4. Eat some chocolate ice cream.

Hopefully, this will speed the cure up a bit. I just need to get calm first so that I can forget what the constant anxious feels like. Maybe then I'll be able to stay calm.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What was it I said about impulse control and toddlers?

Can you read that? Wait, wait...

It wasn't entirely a selfish purchase. Mom wanted a DVD player for the family room tv, so she can watch her Jessica Fletcher DVDs during the day, downstairs. We have three DVD players in this house already, all of them attached to various tvs. I figured, if we bother to get another one for that room, why not just get myself a blu-ray and hook it up to mine, then give Mom the newest DVD player in the house?

So that's what I did. Might as well upgrade, seeing as how I already have a blu-ray disc (and was getting tired of taking it to my brother's house to watch it).

Two birds, one very light-weight plastic stone.

Still and all, the impulse control of a toddler

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wooohoooo! Take that, angry Dream Nieceling!

I did some actual work today!

Granted, I wasn't writing the story itself, per se, but I was filling in some chunks in the plotting part. I'm at a point plot-wise, that's about...mmm, three quarters of the way through? Give or take a smidge? Hey, it's moving the story forward, and that's got to be worth something.

I am so pleased I could spit. Which would be rude, so I will refrain. I'm just going to hop off this computer, take up my for-fun reading and have an hour of peace and quiet to myself.

Ah, lovely.

And today's gratuitous picture of peace and harmony:

This is a picture of the inner courtyard
at The Cloisters, NYC.
Beautiful museum, worth the trip.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I have the impulse control of a toddler.

I went from this:

to this:

in record time. That's actually the second attempt at those three repeats of the pattern. But I don't care. The yarn is soft, pretty and makes me happy. I could be perfectly content to knit and knit and knit with it -- although I would like to eventually finish the scarf so I can wear my sweet little cuddly Crowley around my neck. Keeping me warm.

I think I will have this pseudo-professionally blocked when I'm done -- that means I give it to the member of my knit coven who enjoys blocking -- because I want it to be blocked out as blocked out as it can get.

Maybe I should invest in blocking wires, instead.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday, I'm in Love!

Look what was waiting when I got home!

That's the interior wrapping. Isn't it snazzy? It's like Christmas or my birthday, only it's not!

Let's open it up, see what's inside:

Ahhh, precious cargo! My new toy from Damselfly Yarns on Etsy. She's also a Raveler, which is how I found her. The yarn is from her line of Supernatural themed colors, called Crowley after the eponymous character. For those who are not fans of SPN, Crowley is currently king of Hell, having promoted himself from VP of the Crossroads (he called it "King of the Crossroads", but in business speak, he was a very senior VP of Sales) last season.

Well, if there's a power vacuum, someone's got to get sucked in, yes? Might as well wedge yourself into the vacuum hose in hopes you're there first. Crowley apparently was the first M & M sucked out of the diabolical couch cushions. Smart lad.

Crowley, by the way, is one of my favorite characters. Intriguingly enough, for a demon, he's one of the least dishonest characters on the show -- well, no, let me clarify. He lies, yes, he's a demon and a salesman, so he lies as easily as breathing. But never to himself. So when he lies to you in order to get your eternal soul, you at least know he's not deluding himself as to why he's doing it and -- more importantly -- if you know Crowley, you know what he's doing and why. He wants power, souls equal power, ergo he's going to try to get you backwards over a barrel if he can, in any way he can, because it serves his ultimate purpose: The aggrandizement of Crowley. He's vain, ego-maniacal and a complete and total git. But he knows it and owns it. And he's never tried to pretend he's any different, except as a sly tactic to get one over on some ignorant stool pigeon.

Me likey. Rowr.


Sterling Sheep yarn contains superwash wool (as if I'm going to put this in a washing machine ever!), silk, a little nylon for thems as what likes sock-knitting and silver thread. Heh. Sparkly Crowley.

It really suits in some way.

Here's a slightly better view of the colors:

It's a very Crowley color-scheme. He's all pin-stripe bespoke suits with pocket squares and well-polished shoes*, and this yarn manages to convey that. I admit, I had a non-sparkly yarn base option, but seriously -- the sparkles make this yarn, don't they?

I can't wait to knit it up!

*Ok, ok, maybe this is part of why I love Crowley so -- he's a peacock. Not an overdone peacock, but very, very, very sharp dressed. Women everywhere will understand the strange urge I have to admire the suit then peel it off in a frenzy, even if men will be confused. 

Suits are magical. Catnip for chicks.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Medicinal chocolate.

Upon a day, people thought -- among other things* -- that chocolate was medicinal. Modern science bears this out in part; there are indeed flavanoids and anti-oxidants and whatnot in chocolate that are excellent for your health in the long term. But chocolate was once considered a nerve tonic.

Medical men have poo-poo'ed this notion (mostly because, I think, for a long time they were exclusively medical men) and even medical women nowadays would rather not be associated with such antiquated ideas.


I can testify that quality, well-made chocolates (particularly those in which dark chocolate, partially sprinkled with sea salt, enrobes a chewy, gooey hand-made caramel) are quite beneficial to the nerves.

I am overwrought. Fred goes tomorrow to hospital and will be worked on by his diligent surgical team of one over the course of the weekend. My mother's cat, the one that went anorexic from her own fit of nerves and nearly starved herself into liver failure, went to the vet again today, this time for grooming to rid herself of the knots that formed when she stopped grooming (even for that short of time -- less than a week -- and suddenly we've got a rasta cat).

In the absence of a proper Victorian sea-side holiday, and since I'm feeling about as strong as a two day old kitten myself right now, I took the afternoon off my volunteer obligations and am cuddling up with some chocolate and a glass of milk and a good book. Then maybe I'll watch one of my favorite movies (a little Thor, anyone? Nothing like Tom Hiddleston to pull you out of a funk) and have the excellent spaghetti and meatballs my mother has been making all afternoon.

Yes, if you want to do them right, it takes all afternoon. She's been known to resist making them if she can't get a good start on them by three in the afternoon -- dinner wouldn't be ready until after 9, she says, and she doesn't eat that late.

And maybe some knitting, too. I have a new yarn in the mails, winging its way to me (and can't wait to show it to you!) but I also have my KAL squares to be working on and a shawl and the scarf for Nieceling that I'm procrastinating on (and have to stop procrastinating on, as she leaves in less than three months).

But I will not think of that right now. I will merely finish downloading the new trance cds I borrowed from the library (I like to listen to trance while I work: it's got a steady, slightly faster-than-resting-heart-rate beat which keeps me awake and alert, the music is repetitive and the lyrics simple so it doesn't distract intellectually from the data I am entering) and put them on my iPod. Then I will get about my afternoon of rest in a serious way.

*Mainly, that chocolate was the poop of the gods. Sort of like those plastic reindeer toys you get in your stocking at Christmas that are supposed to be hilarious.

Were I the said gods, I might be offended at the comparison.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012



Apparently, they are the hemorrhoids on the backside of my car's transmission. Once Fred's nurse* replaces one or the other (whichever one is malfunctioning), he's going to be back up and on all four wheels again.

I hope and pray they are right! Even if the expensive solenoid ($250) is the one that's malfunctioning instead of the cheaper one ($70), that's way, way, way the heck better than a new transmission ($4000). Way. I can actually pay to have that replaced. Unlike the whole transmission.

My brother wanted to know why I'm so paranoid about my transmission going out. I replied, Because I haven't got the money to repair it. And he conceded that that is when they do, indeed, go out.

Because, seriously, have you ever heard anyone say, Oh, it's just the transmission, a minor fix and I'll be back on the road! or Good thing I had that spare five large lying around; getting my transmission repaired was a pain, but I could deal in cash! ?

No, I haven't, either.

*Our tame auto mechanic, Fred's nurse practitioner, is actually a nurse. He used to do auto repair on his days off, but found it far more profitable than nursing -- and his patients less a pain in the patuckus. Can't say as I blame him, I know Fred is very stoic when he gets injured, can't say the same for myself.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Horrific dreams, and I think I broke my car.

A calming picture, because one is oh, so needed right now!

This whole day has just been off and terrible, and it started with a particularly horrific nightmare I had last night. I dreamed my niece was missing -- I'd started walking her to school through the big, scary woods behind her house (which isn't really her house, and a forest which did have, in my defense, well-lit paths and other people on them at the time) and let her go the rest of the way on her own. She never got to school.

There was great consternation all around, and we were all afraid she was dead. I was sure, though, that she was alive and in the forest, so I girded my loins and went in (by the way, my brother had a much nicer home in my dream -- the main room was huge, with massive picture windows looking out over the wooded hills behind the house; if I hadn't been so verklempt, I'd have set a spell and just watched the wind in the trees). I found a massive fortress or castle, all in ruins, and I saw her walking across the battlements, looking down at me. At the time, I was merely concerned with getting up there to her, helping her escape whatever had captured and put her there, but now...I have an impression that she was annoyed with me.

Of course, at that point I awoke. In my dreams, my niece has always symbolized my writing. I get the feeling that my writing self is resentful of the time I'm spending working in Desklandia, because for the past two weeks (as I've adjusted to a full schedule again) I've not done anything. I've barely even blogged, and that does count toward my daily writing totals (hey, every little bit counts when you're trying to maintain a writing habit.)

And there was a little part of me worrying that the fact that the niece went missing meant my writerliness has gone missing, too. I'm always afraid that one day I'll find out I'm not really a writer after all, I'm just a poser, avoiding the real thing I am, which is most likely demented cat lady (or dog lady, really) or perhaps a postal worker -- and we all know the job prospects for postal workers right now.

So I'm blogging. Toes in first, then we'll ease the rest of the leg over the side, yes?

In other news, I think I've broken my car. Seriously broken it, this time. I was on the highway and it suddenly slipped into second. I made it to a non-highway road and it just as suddenly went back into regular drive gear. Criminy. It was shifting hard into and out of second as I accelerated all the way home, too.

I still think, no matter what the brother says, that my transmission is going. Shot to hell from that badly done transmission fluid change (don't ever, ever, ever get your transmission fluid changed at the places that specialize in oil changes -- they don't put the right stuff in). But brother thought my fluid might just have been low, so I added some in. Now I think I might have added too much.


At least I have some nice, new sparkly yarn in the mail (as of tomorrow). I bought it as a special treat, for having got the temp work, and I couldn't, in all good conscience, tell the dyer who specially hand-dyed it for me, to keep it because I'm having car trouble. It's not her fault, and she started working on it before I sent the payment because I was so certain I'd be ok for a while.

In any case, $29 is a drop in the bucket compared to what new transmissions cost. So I might as well fiddle as this Rome burns, at least when it comes to my yarn.

Perhaps I'll feel better tomorrow, if I don't have another creepy dream where Nieceling runs away to castles in dark forests to spite me.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I've really learned my lesson this time.

For sure. I mean, how silly could I get to forget this one?

There's the square I'm hosting for the blanket KAL. Finished, if not done and dusted (look at those yarn ends!) The actual knitting took, two or three hours? The finishing took nearly an entire 24 hour day. I had to keep stopping and starting and weaving the damn thing over again.

Sorta sucked the joy out of it for me, you know?

Here's a shot in progress, so you can get an understanding of what went into the making of the square:

Those pins? There to keep the square at the proper dimensions while I worked.

I saw this "stitch" pattern in a tea cozy pattern once and was instantly enamored. I had to try it out, and you can see that I have now, indeed tried it out.

I believe it will be the last time I ever use it. Don't get me wrong, it's lovely, and it might work better if I used the bulky yarn the original pattern used, but sheesh. So complicated!

And, just so you can see how secretly lazy and lame it is, here's a close-up:

I still kinda like it, though.