Tuesday, December 29, 2009


An unexpected snowstorm just dropped 2" on us. Woohoo! (I didn't have to drive in it, although it did take me an hour and half to get home on the train. I didn't really mind all that much, better than being stuck on the roads). It's all supposed to melt tonight, but for now, it's beautiful. Here's the Christmas tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square

I walked around the neighborhood once I got home and there were a couple sleds, one cross-country skier, a snowball fight, and a variety of snowmen. It's wet, soft, squishy snow that makes perfect snowballs.

Right now I am extremely annoyed at the love monkey who did one of those OMG-I've-been-on-vacation-so-much-to-do tricks today and decided to stay until 9:45 (almost 12 hours) despite the weather being pretty explicit on how the snow is turning first to ice then freezing rain and rain, which makes the roads extra fun. Work is really that important, huh? If he'd left 2 hours ago he wouldn't be out on jammed-up ice-slick freeways. That jerk better make it home in one piece.

ETA: he made it, although it took an hour (usually 15 minutes)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

I'm very grateful to be warm, safe, and with people I love. Hope your holidays are fun and relaxing.

This is probably in bad taste, but it makes me laugh every time I see it. Yep, actual store window, although I took the picture last December. Click for big.
(hint: Christmas tree is to the right of the tv. Nice to see that even the pawn shops are festive.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not Dead Yet

oh ho ho no, still breathing. The bronchitis took about a week to cough itself out and then I thought I was picking up another cold from the Love Monkey but so far so good. I am very much looking forward to Christmas dinner where I will be cooking duck this year. DUCK, I say! Wish me luck.

I'm still about 3 weeks behind, kind of a perpetual thing at this point. So, as of late November:

Big Fluffy the enormo-cat has put on his winter coat:

Last of the Japanese maples are displaying outside of the downtown library:

and in recent news it has stopped being sunny and very cold and started in on the rain, much to Frances the cat's dismay

(she's the one with the green eye staring from the darkness)

Happy Solstice!

And this video about Octopi & coconuts was the coolest thing I saw all last week.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hack hack cough cough (a whiny story)

I had a proto-cold last weekend. I say proto- because as soon as I started getting symptoms Friday night I started in on the zinc Cold-Eez and I never really had anything worse than a bit of sore throat. No head fuzz, no drippy nose (ok, a little sinus. But just a little). And then Monday, the deep hacking started. The kind of hacking where little ugly yellow viscous lumps come up and I wonder just how I was able to breathe with those trapped in my tubes.

Dammit, I went through this same progression 3 months ago. Common Cold -> Bronchitis. But I was denial. I've had a cough for years because my lungs seem to think that the mold here is some deathly virus and produce a huge amount of mucus on a regular basis.

Anyway. I gave up on Thursday and schlepped to the doctor (STILL no symptoms besides a little bit stuffed up, yellow snot, and The Cough) and got a prescription cough suppressant, because The Cough morphs to the little-c death-cough which will not go away. (and what really pisses me off? None of those OTC cough suppressant drugs actually work at all. There's been scientific studies and everything. So why are they still selling them?)

She gave me benzonatate which I've never had before and unfortunately doesn't seem to work very well for me. I stayed up late, coughing. Woke up 4:30 am, coughing. Spent most of the day asleep from exhaustion, waking up for the occasional coughing bout. I freaked out K the Love Monkey a little bit; after several hours of coughing last I started weeping. He said I was just stressed out and I just needed to calm down and take some deep breaths. I told him I WAS NOT STRESSED OUT THAT DIDN'T HELP (not true about the stressing, but truly, taking deep breaths does not. help. at. all. At this point my throat is so shredded that I'm just coughing to itch the irritated bits which get more irritated and itchy and round and round and round.)

In the morning I called back the doc and asked for the codeine prescription instead (she'd actually said, "call me back if you prefer the codeine"). They called back about 2, said they'd phoned it in to the pharmacy (which I EXPLICITLY TOLD THEM WHICH ONE). I go to the pharmacy tonight, and they say there's some problem, it looks like it's been filled somewhere else. I don't know where else it would be and say so, and they try calling up the insurance and doing some kind of special override or something but it doesn't work because it's codeine and OMG ADDICTIVE DRUGGGZ. Yeah, nowhere does anyone seem to be writing down whether I have actually PICKED UP THE DAMN PRESCRIPTION. WHICH I HAVEN'T, because I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE IT'S BEING FILLED. (To be fair, the girl there was really very nice about it but she was powerless.)

And now it's Friday night and there's no hope of getting it before Monday unless I can find it myself. Possibly they called it to a place I fill downtown (different grocery store), but then why would this pharmacy even know what the prescription was for? It exists somewhere in their system, they must know about it. My suspicion is that I'll have to call up every damn pharmacy in this chain in the city looking for the one place that filled it. Fortunately the evil-death-cough seems to be giving me a break for this afternoon and evening. I am really looking forward to being able to sleep tonight.

Meanwhile they are predicting nasty weather for tomorrow so it looks like we'll probably not be going anywhere (4 inches of snow, not a problem, but the possible 1/2 inch of ice? Big problem). Hopefully I can still make it to Crafty Wonderlands Super Colossal Holiday Sale on Sunday (can take the train).

I bought 2 poinsettias tonight, at the dumb grocery store while I was "waiting" for my prescription. Was I just trying to make myself feel better? Well, sure, probably. But they're pretty and I don't care.

Winter sky at sunset, as I wait for the bus home from the doctor. It hasn't broken freezing all week long. Cold, clear, and very dry. The stars have been unbelievable.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Rainbow Brite

Dyeing randomly is fun but sometimes I want a bit more idea of what I'm going to get on the other side.
Not quite the color wheel.

So I've been dyeing up mini-skeins of primaries, secondaries, shades, blah blah blah. Each skein is 2 g and about 10 yards. I use primaries + brown and black to mix up all the colors. I could buy the individual colors but it's a lot less expensive (and more fun for me) to just mix up my own. I finally got that periwinkle I've been trying for for months. Duh. I make exceptions for colors that are annoyingly hard to mix.

Here's a blue->red progression with at various strengths (not including the primaries). The red is stronger than the blue so they all tend more towards the reddish.

And some reds with black shading. Black is pretty much the definition of a-little-goes-a-long-way.
Also all these little bitty skeins appeal greatly to my tendencies to organization and completion. Must. Orthogonalize.

The mini-skeins are much cheaper to dye than dyeing bigger skeins, although I have to extrapolate upwards by weight. (And now I really would like a 0.5-ml graduated syringe, because 1/8 tsp is as small as I can reasonably go). I'm not being full-on accurate about it all, I just want an idea of the colors, otherwise I'd be measuring stuff out to the milligram. All the different colors are so much fun to mess with, and it's a bit of a surprise seeing how certain combinations turn out.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Well, December

Gah, where'd the Fall go? I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I did a whole lot of nothing and enjoyed it immensely.

As a little pre-Christmas miracle, it is SUNNY this week. And cold. Well, not so cold, as cold goes (if I can wear jeans and not freeze, it's not cold. Also, the rosemary is blooming, and the camellias buds are getting really big). Every bit of sunshine in the winter here is like a little Vitamin D/mental health gift.

Today on the train I brought the gloves I'm working on and had stalled out on finishing because I need some gloves, toute de suite.

K the love monkey is getting grass envy. My little secret is I really don't care for grass in my yard. It's a huge pain to take care of, and it always looks like crap here, and it sucks down water and fertilizer and doesn't give anything back but something squishy to walk on and there are MUCH less demanding plants that will provide that for a lot less work. It looks pretty crappy now, with the moss taking a firm hold and K wants a new one and I am balking (more "not getting around to it" than outright refusal). Not least because for this entire year I have mowed the lawn EVERY SINGLE TIME IT NEEDS MOWING. Yes, I kept score. I'm petty like that. I resent taking care of plants I dislike.

What I really want to do is rip it all out and put in drought-tolerant perennials. But when my back punishes me for days after just raking up the damn leaves? Well. Our soil is for crap, clay-o-riffic, it really needs a bunch of amending for plants to do well. Also we have a big old dogwood that I like very much and I'm sure the roots go through the whole lawn and I don't want to kill it. Same with the back, but in that case it's a gorgeous huge blue spruce (a bit rare around here, it doesn't really get cold enough for them to do well) which sadly is slowly shading out the whole of the backyard.

That's the problem with winter, I start dreaming of plants. Gee, the next Hardy Plant Society of Oregon sale is only 4 months away.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Feeling Ranty

New York Times article via Martinimade:

Health Care Savings Could Start in the Cafeteria

I'm very happy to see the final quotation of this article:

“I think weight loss is more than likely to be an outcome, but this isn’t really about that,” she says. “It’s about adding things to your life and feeling better psychologically and physically. It’s a hugely important message.”

Because, um, being healthy is the point? Not necessarily being thinner?

As someone who doesn't lose weight via dieting except with extreme measures (you do know that it's against the Geneva Convention to feed someone less than 1200 calories a day because they've classified it as torture, right?), I'm really awfully tired of people telling me how unhealthy I am. Let's please get this straight: I do not eat a dozen donuts for breakfast (actually, I don't even eat one, but that's because I don't care for sweet at breakfast). I'm not snarfing 6 big macs at lunch. I do not follow dinner with a whole chocolate cake.

How can I make this abundantly clear? I am not fat because I overeat. I am not fat because I don't exercise. I am fat because I am fat. That's how my body rolls (ha ha, she said rolls). Just because you are thin DOESN'T AUTOMATICALLY MAKE YOU HEALTHY.

And darlin', let me tell you about my uncle, who despite his trim waistline and healthy meals and all that exercise... got diabetes anyway. Genetics is a drag, isn't it.