Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thank heavens for careful moms!

Because without my mom's careful over-packing of Jeff's Christmas present, there might have been a catastrophe!

I had my mom order Jeff's present, since there was really no way I could do it and still keep it a secret (which it still is, so....) and she mailed it to me the other day. It arrived today, and thanks to our mail carrier being... not so careful, shall we say... the package ended up sticking mostly out of our mailbox, where it got thoroughly rained on all day. (I had some yarn suffer the same fate recently. I was NOT happy.) Luckily, Mom put the present into a padded envelope, which she them stuffed into another, larger padded envelope, and so only the outer envelope was drenched. Contents all nice and dry! Yay!

And now, since I'm fighting off some sort of bug, I am off to cuddle a cat. 'Night!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Post-Thanksgiving, and lovely surprises!

I hope your Thanksgiving was lovely, if you celebrate it -- if not, I hope you had a very nice Thursday! We drove up to my mom's house in Vermont on Thursday morning, bringing the turkey with us -- uncooked, in a cooler, of course. Mom's got some back problems and can't really lift the turkey, plus there's no Trader Joe's near her, and their brined turkeys are really good. So, we packed up the turkey and a couple of pies, and hit the road. The weekend was too short, as always. But there was a ton of food, and lots of relaxing, and this cute face:

mom's cockapoo Shania is SO sweet. She loves to cuddle, and is passionately fond of string cheese. She kind of looks like a little sheep. (Especially her butt, with its little stumpy tail. I wish I'd gotten a picture of it.)

There was also yarn shopping, and an early birthday present for me from Mom:

It's not the best picture, since I hadn't taken it out of the bag yet, but it's a set of five little skeins of Wonderland Yarns' Cheshire Cat fingering weight yarn, in a lovely gradient set of purples. It's 640 yards total, and I need to find just the right pattern for it.

There was also knitting! The mini-things-marathon continued. I made this crowd:

There are two cupcakes there, a dragon, a unicorn, a baked potato (alas, you can't really see the little embroidered pat of butter and chives!!), an ear of corn, and a chicken. Then, I made this guy:

A wee lobster! (With Hershey Kisses for scale.) It turned out cute, but man, was it a pain in the butt to make. The tail alone took me a few hours -- the pattern directions weren't all that clear, and were incredibly fiddly. They called for knitting the tail in five tiny, separate pieces, then somehow overlapping them and sewing them together, then sewing that onto the end of the body. Along with not-very-clear directions, the photos with the pattern were blurry, so they didn't help. After a couple of awful-looking attempts, I finally threw the little pieces away, and improvised -- I picked up and knit eight stitches at the end of the body, knitted a triangle-ish fin, then bound off. Then I picked up stitches on either side, cast on a few additional stitches so that the little tail fins would overlap, and knitted two more little triangles. Then when I stuffed and sewed the body, I made sure to tack down the overlapping bits, and voila! I couldn't get it to not curl upward, but eh, it's fine. (And I know live lobsters aren't red. I didn't have dark green/ black yarn.)

Then, there were a few more Tiny Things, like another cupcake:

A pear (which turned out so stinking cute it gave me the giggles for a good twenty minutes):

And lastly, a tiny, somewhat goofy-looking pink elephant:

Those were all for Metafilter's own version of Secret Santa, the Secret Quonsar exchange. The person I drew loves miniature things, especially miniature food, thus the many tiny things! She also loves tea, so, she got some handmade strawberry shortcake tea (hand-blended by Jeff! Look, we have an online shop! All fair trade and organic!! Plus, we make awesome cold-brew coffee bags! Plug, plug, pluggity plug...)

My Secret Quonsee got her package today, and loved it, which was nice. And then I got home to find my Quonsar present awaiting me! And it was a lovely package, full of gorgeous yarn from an indie dyer (Dyeabolical Yarns) and fancy chocolates!! 

I can't get a photo that does the yarn justice -- it is BEAUTIFUL. It's fingering weight, 60% merino, 20% yak, and 20% silk. The colors go really well together, too, so I'm thinking a shawl. (The guy who drew my name in the exchange said he went to Knitorious in St. Louis and got help from the staff picking the yarn. They did a great job, and I wish I could go to the shop!!)

And now, there is a small calico cat loudly demanding my attention, so I must stop typing and start petting. Good night!

"Stop computering and pet me!"

Monday, November 24, 2014

Not surprised, but heartbroken.

I was hoping for justice for Michael Brown, even though I didn't really expect it. And unfortunately, I wasn't surprised that no charges will be brought against the white officer who gunned this unarmed black kid down in the street. This is beyond tragic. I have no words.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

A lack of planning on YOUR part...

... does not constitute an emergency on mine!

Helicopter Mom just came to the Reference desk, with her tween daughter in tow, and said she needed books on orphanages in the 19th century. Hmmm, okay... so, I search, and am unsurprised to find out that we really don't have anything in this library aside from a couple of little-kid story books. However, we're part of a nice big network of libraries, so I expand the search, and find that there are some good books available elsewhere, which I can request for her. Helicopter Mom needs them before Monday morning, though, so that won't work -- our delivery services only operate during the week, so even if I request them today, they won't be here by Monday. (And with Thanksgiving coming up, they might not get here until the following week!)

So, I change search tactics, and start looking to see what's available at the libraries nearest to us. I tell Helicopter Mom that it looks like there are several good books available at one of the college libraries in our network, about 30-40 minutes away, and check the library's hours to confirm that they are open today, until 7 p.m. Mom huffs, rolls her eyes, and says that she can't go there today, are they open tomorrow? Nope, alas, no Sunday hours there. But they open at 7:45 a.m. on Monday!

More eye-rolling, more huffing about how it's just unbelievable that we don't have the books she wants HERE, and that she has to go driving everywhere to get them herSELF, this is awful, etc. So, I start hunting for anything even remotely related to the topic at libraries closer to us -- the next town over has ONE book that appears to have a chapter that talks about the history of orphanages. So I write down the title and call number, check the library's hours, give her the info... and she's still pissed. She wants a copy of a recent novel, Orphan Train, she says, and she cannot believe she's having so much trouble getting one. Um, okay, I thought you wanted non-fiction? But let me see about this novel... nope, every single copy in our network is checked out, and there's a waiting list. Not surprising for a new-ish, critically-acclaimed book! And I try to clarify: does she want this particular novel, or does she want non-fiction books about the history of orphanages? THEN she turns to her daughter and says "I don't know, what do you need??" Because the books are, of course, for the daughter's research paper, and she needs to have a specific number of print sources to show her teacher on Monday morning. Argh. And after another rant from Mom about how ridiculous it is that I can't just produce the books her kid needs right then and there, I firmly (but politely!) explained that, while we do try to have books on lots of topics, we have limited space and resources, and that the benefit of being part of a larger network is that each library has different strengths... but there are also limits on what we can do on short notice. I'd love to be able to produce whatever a patron needs instantly -- I love being able to send a patron away happy! But sometimes the most I can do is tell you "okay, these other libraries have what you need, here are their phone numbers and hours," and the rest is up to you.

And also, for crying out loud, make your kid do her own homework, Mom.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's a quiet night in Library Land...

...which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Does make the evening crawl by at a snail's pace, though.

Last night I witnessed my first Obnoxious Knitting Comment in the wild! I met up with C. at Starbucks for the sort-of-regular Wednesday-night knitting group. We were there early, so we snagged the comfy couch, got beverages (and I, of course, got a cup of tea that dribbled on my every time I took a sip, so I tried to fix it, and ended up popping the lid off the cup and dousing myself. Oh well, at least the tea had cooled from molten to slightly-painfully-warm by then), and settled in to knit -- both of us with socks-in-progress, although mine are just plain, and hers are fancy two-at-a-time, one-inside-the-other socks.

So. We're settled in knitting and chatting, and one of the local Creepy Dudes who spends most of his time either using the library computers (which is where I recognized him from) or hanging out at the Starbucks came over and asked C. "Are you knitting a hat for me?" C., who is nicer than I am, chatted a little with him about how no, the sock she was knitting was not a hat for him (seriously, wtf?!) while he ignored the clear "please go away" vibes we were both giving off and kept going on and on about how he needed a hat because it's cold out.

I guess my Resting Bitchface must still be strong from my days of taking the T back and forth to Cambridge, because I have never been asked by a total stranger if I was knitting something for them. I've heard of it happening, and have been gobsmacked by the WTF-ery of such a question, but had never witnessed it in the wild! I only ever had people ask what I was making, or tell me how they would never have the patience/time/skill to knit. (To which I always wanted to say "You're sitting here on the T just like I am! So you have time! Also, if I can knit, anybody can.") But mostly, people just left me alone, which was fine with me.

Aside from the socks, I'm still in the midst of knitting Tiny Things, so here's the latest: a Tiny Cupcake!

Also, a Tiny Ear of Corn!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Life at the library...

It's School Midterm Project Time!!! Aaaaaiiieeeeee!!! That means the library is a madhouse of tweens asking for help finding books on the most vague topics possible. And freaking out when the books on their chosen topic are all checked out, because it's Tuesday and the project is due on Thursday, and was assigned a month ago.

It also means the Helicopter Parents are hovering -- I don't mean the ones who bring their kids to the library and sit and read while their kids do their work, or even the ones who walk the kids up to my desk and either prod the kids to ask me for help, or do the asking themselves. No, I mean the ones who come in on their own, no kids anywhere in sight, and pick out the books themselves. Or the ones who call and ask me to put a bunch of books on their kid's topic on hold... usually while I can hear the kid in the background. I always have to bite my tongue to keep from telling the harried moms and dads who are frantically trying to get that one book that will be just PERFECT for the kid's term paper that maybe, just maybe, the kid will learn more if they do the research themselves. And they'll learn an extra-valuable lesson if they don't get the work done on time and have to deal with the consequences.

(I wanted to applaud the mom who, when her 12-ish-year-old son threw a whiny fit because all the books on the Muckrakers were checked out or at other libraries, and thus not available for him immediately, told him "Hey, that's too bad. You waited until the last minute, so tomorrow you can explain to your teacher why your paper isn't done." This, at about 8:30 on a Thursday night. Good for you, Mom! And thank you for not telling me how rotten the library is because we couldn't produce the books your kid wanted out of thin air!)

And now one of our regulars is walking around belching. Loudly. ::sigh::

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Well, today was a washout. Woke up with a migraine, and couldn't get back to sleep, so once I could get my eyes to focus, I decided to check my email on my phone. Which was mysteriously not connected to the wireless network. "Huh," I thought. "Must need to restart the router." And then I noticed that the bedroom fan was off... and that my phone wasn't charging... so, no power. Lovely! I got up and trundled downstairs to see if our first-floor neighbor had power, which is when I found out that someone from the power company had been there asking for me or Jeff. Uh-oh. Sure enough, I used my phone to email Jeff, and it turned out that his plan of paying just part of the power bill each month wasn't such a good plan after all. (Yeah, no shit, right? I didn't know.) We weren't even that far behind, and I don't recall getting any notices from them, but yeah. No power. Jeff did some scrambling and got it turned back on after a couple of hours, but by that time the migraine had re-asserted itself in a big way (funny how a sudden burst of stress will do that!) and I was a wreck.

Now I'm watching the Bruins forget how to hockey versus Montreal, and I would like a do-over on today, please.

But in lieu of that, here's a picture of Jasper the guinea pig, in his favorite snuggling spot:

(Yes, I know the bills need to be managed better. Yes, I know I ought to pay more attention. Yes, we are having a conversation about this tonight.)