Wondering... and sneezing!

First, the verdict: Sinus infection, please take these antibiotics and don't wait so long next time before you come in. Lungs are clear -- just chest congestion (whew!).

Now, I'm wondering:
  • Why this PA told me I should have come in sooner, when my primary doc told me last time to wait longer? (I think I held out one more day this go-around!)
  • Why I've been sick for Christmas/New Year's WAY more times than not? Seriously -- last year, I was in the doc's office last year on Jan. 3 with a sinus infection. I spent more Christmases with ear infections and bronchitis... mom accused me tonight of being sick *every* year for Christmas, but conceded there were a (very) few healthy ones in between figuring out I was allergic to real fir trees and me deciding I could be sick anyway ;)
  • Why I even bother with the antibiotics? I can't take anything good (aka fast-acting), so I'll feel somewhat crummy for a few days yet. (I remember in college, the girl across the hall and I had the same thing, and went on antibiotics the same day. She felt way better in 24 hours, and I was still sleeping and dragging.)
  • Why pills have to be so darn big anyway? These suckers are monsters.
  • Why I always feel bad when medical professionals have to look in my nose? I remember my first or second allergist had an intern look at it, because it was going to be the best one she'd see all week... but with a sinus infection, it's sure to be nasty. (And it was -- the PA was a little surprised!) But it's her job... and it's not like I can control it being swollen and yucky. If I could, I'd fix it myself. I crossed the TMI line here, didn't I? I'm tired, and I think my internal censor went to bed early. Smart chick.
Hope *you're* healthy -- or easily fixed!


Christmas Knitting

You know I did some Christmas knitting... I was very bad and didn't do a good job of photographing the results. The only thing I have to show is the hat I made for Lisa:

It's a Button-Tab Hat from a free pattern by Marcie at I Like Lemons. It's the first hat I've ever knit, and I made it to match the scarf I knitted earlier for Lisa. The scarf is done all in mock-cable stitch, so I used that again for the button tab. I'm showing this button-front, so you can see the tab, but it's obviously not meanth to be worn that way :) I used the absolutely delicious Malabrigo merino worsted weight yarn (yummmmmmmm) that I got at KnitKnack. The color is called Wintergreen, I think -- it's a pale greenish blue. Very delicate.

What else... A Sisters Hat in Jo Sharp DK, color cyclamen, for my Aunt. The first chart I've read -- and I didn't like doing that at all. Nonetheless, the hat is cute, and she likes it.

And a pair of Toasty fingerless gloves for my mom in Debbie Bliss superwash something or other in a dark green. I shortened the wrist length by an inch, and probably should have shortened it by at least another one. The finger side was really too long (I offered to rip them back and rebind), but mom asked me to leave it. Since they're knit in stockinette in the round, that edge rolls naturally, so she'll roll them back when she needs her fingers, and unroll when she wants them to be warm! Like many others, I thought the thumb was too tight in the first one, so I picked up three more stitches for the second one. Then I decided to have mom try them on before I finished them, so I'd know which one fit (and I'd only have to rip out one!). She liked them that way -- I guess one knuckle swells more than the other, so they actually fit. Go figure ;)

Anyway: is that three posts today? That's enough nattering on from me, I think!

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Did you know that I'm a quilter?

There's been so little quilt content lately, I thought you might have forgotten! (I almost did...)

So, without further ado, here are my (very, very late) New York Beauty blocks for Miss November:

Margaret asked for 8" blocks in orange, red and purple. My sister picked out the main fabrics (the purple, the sort of spotted orangey one, and the red/orange print) when she was here in June. I added an orange commercial handdye, a red one, and the reds used in the quarter circles.

The top block is Rick Rack Beauty 2 from EQ6, and the bottom block is a modification of New York Compass, again from EQ6. Yeah, the top one has a bit of an issue. You should have seen it before I took it apart!

I doubt I'll get Miss December's block done on time, but I shouldn't be so far behind for her, I hope. Especially since Miss January will take a bit of a think! At least it's forward progress :)

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Funny things seen on TV last week

I have other, maybe more (maybe less!) interesting things to share from my holidays at home, but I have to share these before the moment is too far gone. I should note that my folks do not have cable, so these were all seen on CBS, ABC, NBC or Fox affiliates. Also, the second and third are totally tasteless. You've been warned.
  1. Tuesday night, while the seemingly endless lists of event cancellations were running on TV (it's important to remember that Tuesday was December 23): Tonight's Christmas Eve service is canceled. Tomorrow's service is still scheduled. Um, Isn't there only ONE Christmas Eve?
  2. Saturday night, while up *way* too late waiting for the courier with my suitcase: a commercial for "Love Rub." Think of those KY commercials, but with a much lower production value -- and way less taste. The tagline makes me laugh every time I think of it: "It's more than a lube, it's love in a tube." I never thought I'd compare two commercials and have that KY one come out (ahem) on top.
  3. And the final bit of pure tasteless-ness, which was seen several times over the week, was a commercial for The System (a phone-based dating service, I guess): The girl picks out three guys to meet/learn more about/whatever, and chooses one. The narrator says something like "... and you can return the rest, used or unused." EEEeeeewwww. We're talking about people here.
Yup. I lead a fascinating life, folks :)


Home Again...

What a week! Last Friday was NOT the best travel day ever. My flight to O'Hare was delayed because they were adding mail and cargo to our plane; by the time that was done, O'Hare had a ground stop. We finally get there, only to have the airport all but close. I so love sitting on the floor in the United E terminal... I did a lot of knitting, and waiting. All in all, I was in O'Hare for 5 or 6 hours -- I heard many stories much worse than mine, so I just practiced being patient. (That's not my best feature, so it did take some effort!) They had to fuel the plane for an alternate destination due to the fabulous weather, so there was another wait while they got everything to the right weight. Only about half the checked luggage made it on the plane -- of course, mine was left behind!

The automated lost baggage system said my suitcase would be delivered between 12:30 and 4p on Saturday. At 8:45p, I still had no bag. My mom loaned me everything I could need except for pants -- her longest pair didn't even come to my ankles! We made a quick run to the mall where I tried on four pair (and bought two) and a pair of shoes (not needed, but oh-so-cute!). To make a long story short (several calls back and forth with the courier and a LOT of bad overnight TV), I think the bag arrived around 4:45a. He didn't even knock on the door or anything -- just dropped the suitcase and left. Ah well -- at least I got to wear my own clothes on Sunday when we had our family Christmas ;)

Today, of course, all flights went on time or close to it, and my suitcase arrived at the airport at the same time I did. I'm not complaining, though! (Well, only about the teenage girl in my row on the Newark flight who snored like a sailor the entire 2 hours...)

More later -- I'm tired!

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

Is your cat plotting to kill you?



Or not ;) Weather permitting, I'm headed to the mitten state on Friday morning for a week-long (much-needed) change of ZIP code. I should be packing (or at least eating dinner) instead of talking to you, but why do things the right way when you can do them my way?!

To do:
  • George to kitty hotel
  • Pay bills
  • Eat supper
  • Bank
  • Taxi reservation
  • Pack
  • Change outgoing voicemail greeting at work
  • Set alarm for 4 a.m.
Yeah... it's 6:45, and that's still a pretty long list. I guess I'd better get busy... although if I move slow enough, I won't need to bother with the last one!

7:30p edit: Crossed off supper, taxi and voicemail. That helps!
10:16p edit: Everything is done, except mailing the bills. I'll have to do that tomorrow, because I couldn't find a mailbox tonight! Now I just need a weather report and I can go to bed.

Have a happy everything!


Things I've Done

Here's another good meme... this one via Pica:

Things I’ve done are in bold.

1. Started my own blog (obviously!)
2. Slept under the stars (church camp, on the beach, actually)
3. Played in a band (band, orchestra)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain (I promise this is not on any life-list of mine!)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch (I'm counting knitting -- my mom taught me as a kid, so I had a general idea when I picked it up again, but pretty much everything this time around comes from reading/watching online)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (huge fear of heights -- no thanks!)
18. Grown my own vegetables (but my mom did when I was young)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (there was one when I was in elementary school; I remember looking through a pin dot in a piece of construction paper...)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia (in June, 1990, with a small group of people from high school)
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (and my mom was the cookie chairman one year...)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp (honestly, just the Holocaust Museum was probably enough for me... I've actually been there twice, although I didn't do the full experience the second time. The first time was so hard.)
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London (but I have seen them change at Lenin's Tomb in Moscow...)
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible (almost, but I couldn't get through Psalms. I just don't get poetry. Sorry, Cindy)
86. Visited the White House (actually, I'm not 100% sure on this one... I don't *think* we did when I was in DC with Close-Up in high school, but I could be wrong. That was a crazy week.)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

Hmmm... wonder what this all means? Some of these things I don't ever want to do ;)



Today hasn't been a great day (more on that another time), but it ended with a bang. I was lucky to score a ticket for the Boston Symphony with James Levine, which was at NJPAC tonight. Beethoven's Seventh Symphony comprised the first half, and it got the best ovation of the evening from the audience. I know -- you're thinking that sounds more like the second half than the first half. But it worked -- because the second half opened with Elliot Carter's Horn Concerto. Yeah... not exactly a crowd-pleaser, despite Mr. Carter becoming a centenarian yesterday. Fortunately, it was short. Finally, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Wow wow wow.

The piece was included in Disney's original Fantasia -- it's the segment with the dinosaurs. (Otherwise known as the segment I always fast-forwarded through on video, since I didn't care for the dinos.) If you've never really listened to the piece without watching the movie, I have to recommend it highly. It's completely different -- at least to me -- than it was to those imagineers at Disney. I really heard the jazz influences (it's an early 20th century piece), much more so than I had ever noticed previously. I found it all very compelling.

See, orchestra concerts are really visual experiences to me, and there's a whole lot going on here. Eight horns, I think, two tubas, two sets of timpani, five bassoonists, and a whole slew of other folks. It was really edge-of-my-seat listening and watching at times, since I don't know the piece that well -- every new entrance came from a new sound and a new direction. (Here's the instrumentation list if you're interested.) Apparently, I either couldn't get past the Fantasia version in my head or I just didn't pay enough attention in music history class. Or something.

I can't remember ever hearing this done live before. Totally worth it, even though it made a 14 hour day. Sure am glad to be home ;)


Deck the Halls meme

Christine did this, so of course I had to, too!

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot chocolate.

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree? Santa's are unwrapped, of course.

Colored lights on tree or white? We had colored when I was a kid, but my mom prefers white now. So do I :)

When do you put your decorations up? Um, am I supposed to do that?!

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? We don't really have any major Christmas food traditions... breakfast used to always include those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls that come in a can -- yum!

Favorite Holiday memory as a child: I don't know about "favorite" -- a lot of them blend together! I do remember one year, I must have been about 8, my mom had bought me a "Ginny" doll, with clothes, and a storage wardrobe... she numbered the packages so I would be sure to open the doll before the accessories!

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? The only thing I know about Santa is that he's awesome. I have no idea what other "truth" anyone might be asking about.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nope. We celebrate with my mom's family on Christmas Eve, so there were presents from extended family when we were younger.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Well, the last time I tried, it fell down. (The integrated plastic stand was a dud.) Luckily I hadn't decorated it yet! Anyway: my mom always gives my sister and I a new ornament every year, reflecting a special event or trip, special interest, whatever. When we each moved out, our ornament boxes moved with us. I have a great -- and eclectic -- collection of things I love to see on my tree.

Snow! Love it or Dread it? The only good thing about it is that it reflects sun, so it can help brighten a dreary winter.

Can you ice skate? Sure! It's been a long time, though.

Do you remember your favorite gift? Wow... that one's tough. I remember lots of great gifts, but it's hard to pick just one.

What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Spending time with family and friends.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? I have a couple of good cookies -- a shortbread that you twist and shape into candy canes, peanut butter kisses, and buckeyes, for example... (yum!)

What is your favorite tradition? Hmm... now that I live far away from my family, I don't get to do this very much, but I used to wrap almost every single gift we gave. My mom would box up gifts for my sister and I into plain boxes, and just tell me to wrap them -- she wouldn't even tell me who they were for! (Mostly, she remembered who got what by the shape of the box... except when she forgot.) I used to love having my own little wrapping station set up, choosing the perfect paper, tying a beautiful bow... now, it's more of a chore, unfortunately!

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that it may incriminate me!

What is your favorite Christmas Song? Adeste Fidelis, sung in the original language; Un flambeau, Jeanette Isabella (that one's stuck in my head lately, although I can only remember the first line); and pretty much most of the rest of them. For Advent: O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Mostly yuk. Although Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses are a total YUM!

Ever recycled a Christmas present? I remember re-gifting something, but I can't remember if it was originally a Christmas or a birthday gift. I've also recycled gifts to Goodwill from time to time. But if you're reading this, I promise none of these were things you gave me. Honest. No, really.

Go forth and meme :)


Keep your paws to yourself!

George is ''sharing" my lap with my laptop... well, it's HIS idea of sharing, anyway. That means he randomly pats, taps and paws at the trackpad whenever he feels like it. Whoosh... there went someone's blog post. Whoosh... stop trying to load pages in the new Knitty. (Painfully slow, not sure it's worth it today.) Whoosh... oh, nevermind... I'll get down and have a snack now, mom. Thanks!


Little Drummer Boy

Bing Crosby and David Bowie... an unlikely match, but an incredible duet.
(Via mental_floss)


Taking the Train

I took the train to work today, and it was quite the adventure! I took it for a reason that won't matter to you, dear readers, so no sense going into that. Nothing to worry about, though, I promise :)

So, I live relatively close to three train stations, and using any of them will get me to my destination in a similar amount of time. That said, I do have to drive to whichever one I use, and thus have to park my car. Luckily, NJ Transit tells me what type of parking is allowed at which stations, and in which lots. That sounds more helpful than it actually was, I'm afraid.

Station 1 - no parking for non-permit holders. (Permits are $300 per year, obviously used by regular commuters!) One lot, I think, had non-permit parking, but only after 12 noon.

Station 2 - same story, second verse.

Station 3 - has all kinds of parking (permit and non), and a map showing which lots allow which types. Great, except the map is exactly 3" square on screen, with a scale of 1/4"=200ft, and there's no way to enlarge it. (That's almost 1/2 mile in 3"...) So, I look the best I can (my eyesight isn't getting better!) and leave for the station.

I finally find one place where non-permit parking is allowed, and have park at the absolute farthest end of the lot from the station. That makes it almost a 2-block walk... then buy the tickets and wait for the train, as I've missed the last "good" option while talking with the parking lot attendant.

I did get to knit a bit on the train, before arriving in Newark, where I have to either walk a zillion miles or transfer to the light rail. On the advice of a co-worker, I opt for the light rail... and so fork over another fare. Another three block walk and I'm finally at work -- almost 20 minutes late. If I had left at the same time and driven, I'd have been early.

Luckily, the return trip wasn't quite so bad. After all, I already knew where my car was! And a co-worker dropped me at the train station so I could skip the light rail ride. I was lucky to get the express train home, so technically it was a shorter trip, but I spent 15 minutes waiting for it, so it still took longer than driving.

That was interesting to me... in my head (!), the train was speedier, somehow. I'm not sure why I assumed that -- probably because I think the traffic is ridiculous and driving is slow! On the plus side, I was able to do some knitting. I could have used the time to read blogs, which would have been a little more efficient overall, but I was tired and hot, and thought reading might not be the best choice. (Although I don't easily get motion sick, I'm sure you'll agree an evening commuter train would not be the place to test myself!)

I realize that probably wasn't the most fascinating read ever, but I felt like sharing, so here I am :)