Off to a Slow Start

I’ve spent the entire week on my office — and I’m still not finished!  However, I have to admit, I’ve not been pushing it.  After wrestling furniture on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I’ve slacked off, slept late and given my body time to recover.  I do have my computer back up (as you may have noticed) and my desk set up, and that part worked out pretty well except the wastebasket I was using is too wide to go beside my desk.  Other than that, though, I’m pleased with the new configuration.  I found another wastebasket I had been using someplace else fits there quite nicely, so I won’t have to buy a new one.  I still have pictures to rehang and stuff to sort out and relocate, but I think my next-wall neighbors will appreciate my decision to delay picture hanging until tomorrow, seeing as how it’s 9 o’clock at night right now. I won’t have enough room for the second recliner until I get rid of the roll-top desk, because it is occupying the space where I want to put something which is currently occupying the space where the recliner will go.

My friend and I accomplished great things by getting rid of the huge computer desk which is now in pieces in the dumpster except for the 2-drawer filing cabinet (I will be using it to store the yarn and thread I’ve been keeping in my roll-top desk drawers.), and the keyboard tray + hardware which are the only parts I kept. We moved a bunch of furniture around, lifted one piece off another piece, moved in a huge TV and the armoire it goes in from my bedroom.  With the two exceptions mentioned above, everything is where it’s going to go.  I’ve taken a bunch of pictures to show the stages, but I’ll get to those later.  I’m going to try to finish up the office tomorrow, so I can start on the living room on Monday, now that I’ve rested up.

I’ve had a little flare of my asthma.  I didn’t take a Mucinex-D one day, and I should have been taking them religiously what with all the dust I’ve been raising, so yesterday and today I’ve had some mild flares — mostly coughing fits.  Between cetirizine (Zyrtec) which I take daily and the Mucinex-D (which is guaifenesin, an expectorant, plus pseudoephedrine, a decongestant) which I take as needed, I’ve pretty much kept my asthma under control this year.  I’ve had a couple of shots of my inhaler yesterday and today, but I’ve not been wheezing, so I’ve dodged that bullet, at least.

I picked an ideal time to disassemble my computer and move the “gateway”(which also controls my phone and TV as well as internet access and wireless). Monday night, ATT had a major malfunction and the whole state of Texas was down -as well as 16 other states.  They got it back up Tuesday morning, but it was still up and down all day.  I finally got my phones back up Thursday.  Good thing I have a cellphone, too.

My Squeezebox internet radio has been a lifesaver.  I’ve been listening to the “Secret Agent” channel on SomaFM over it while I’ve been doing my office reorg.  It will move to the living room/lounge with me Monday as I begin the cleaning and rearranging there.  I’ve got room now to put the recliner in my bedroom until I can get rid of the rolltop desk, and I can put the little computer table in my office, but I really like the idea of having an area to watch DVDs/VHS tapes, read or knit/crochet.  I could, of course, watch the DVDs and tapes in the living room, but it’s such a complicated process to switch over from the cable box to the players, and takes two remotes.   Better this way.  I’ve only got the one cable box, so I wasn’t using this TV, since there’s nothing much on local TV that I like to watch.

One thing, with my computers set up the way they are now, I don’t need a desk lamp.  The room light is light enough.  I can use the big fluorescent adjustable arm lamp on the table beside the recliner for knitting and crocheting.  Also, I don’t have that hulking great computer desk blocking the flow from the ceiling fan, so it’ll be cooler in here this summer.

I’m currently in the process of cat proofing the office again.  They’ve been shut out of it all week while I was moving furniture and was in the middle of everything, and now it’s cleaned up enough that I can let them back in.  Just to show you what I’m up against, yesterday, before I’d gotten it relocated, the white cat, who eats paper, knocked over my shredder, and was eating the shredded paper out of it.  It’s now where it goes, and he can’t knock it over now.

I’ve also got space in my office bookshelf now for the books I’ll try to sell on Amazon.  I may end up with boxes and/or stacks of them piled around, but hopefully I’ll be able to sell some of them quickly.

So far, so good.  We’ll see if I can get this project completed by Saturday night since Monday is the Chinese New Year.

Just To Let You Know

I’m going to be incommunicado for about a week or so as I am doing a massive clean/rearrange/declutter of the whole house.  Since I’m starting on my office first, I’ll have my computer disassembled from starting in about 10 minutes probably through Wednesday when hopefully I’ll have gotten my office rearranged, furniture moved out, and everything put back together.  From there I’ll move on to my bedroom, the living room, the library and the kitchen/dining room, with the goal of having the whole house cleaned and decluttered by Feb 1.  It is considered good feng shui to start the (Chinese) new year with a clean house, and cleaning house never hurts. . . .

Just wanted to let you know why I won’t be reading or commenting on blogs for a while.  I’ll have plenty of time to catch up in February. . . .

I’ve kind of gotten off to a slow start — I slept until 1 pm because my BFF and I had an NCIS marathon yesterday.  I spent yesterday playing FHO gamesDream Chronicals, in particular, until my BFF came over at 9 p.m. Because she came over so late, we watched TV until after 1 a.m., and I didn’t get to bed until after 3 a.m.  But as soon as I post this, the computer’s coming apart, the modem’s getting relocated to a place where it can stay plugged in until everything’s ready to set the computer back up again.  I rescheduled my furniture moving helper guy for tomorrow afternoon, so I’ve got to get everything ready to go by then.  Wish me luck and hope the Aleve/Mucinex-D/acetaminophen holds out. . .

Big Cats, Little Cats and a Quibble or Two

This was too special not to share.  As I watch them, I can’t help thinking how huge they are yet how cat-like they are. But of course they are catlike.  Cats are cats, whether they have three-color stripes and weigh 500 lbs, or grey fur with white bracelets and weigh 7 lbs.  And the amazing thing is that the genus Felidae is so uniformly catlike across all its various species.  Any of the behaviors you can find in a tiger, or a puma, or a jaguar, or a serval, you can find in your average garden variety “house” cat.  Kittehs can has quite a skill set.

While we’re on the subject — Earlier, I had eaten a pair of biscuits and some chicken for brunch, and the plate I ate them from is still sitting on my monitor shelf.  The grey one was trying to sleep on my chest just now, decided I was too busy to lie on, got up, and stood on the arm of my chair for a moment.  While she was considering the drop to the floor, she very deftly swept her tail across the plate and flicked the crumbs on me.   Never a dull moment. . .


I’ve almost resigned myself to the use of “surveillance” as a verb, although it still jars my ear to hear that someone was not “under surveillance,” but was “being surveilled” —  (I am guessing at the spelling of the verb form. WordPress’ spellchecker doesn’t like it any better than I do. One assumes that if the noun has two “L’s,” the verb form would also.) –“serveill” is what is known grammatically as a back formation — making a noun into a verb by removing the “noun suffix” to get at the supposed root form —  like assuming that the verb form of the noun “adhesion” is “adhese.” (The correct verb is “adhere.”)   English is particularly prone to making nouns into verbs, so prone, in fact, that we assume we can always get away with it.  I ran across a particularly glaring example of a back formation on a TV show I was watching while I was daddy-sitting this morning — The person was speaking of the British crown jewels, with which the monarchs of Britain are “coronated” — a back formation from “coronation.”  Obviously, this person was unaware that a “coronation” is the ceremony during which a monarch is crowned — by putting a crown on the monarchical head, oddly enough.   (I suppose that if you had your heart set on “coronating” somebody, you’d have to do it with a coronet.)

English is becoming increasingly “verbalized” — extinction used to be a state of (non)being -a species became extinct.  Now it’s a destination: species go extinct — I suppose it’s a logical extension of “going the way of the dodo.” (The dodo has left the building. . .)   Now we “surveille” and “liaise” with impunity.   I suppose I shouldn’t cut up so rough about it.  After all, we house and chair, surf and ski, task and trial, and a dozen other nouns we’ve multi-tasked into verbs.  When you get right down to it, even Shakespeare did it.  Our English-speaking tendency to twist and tinkertoy (–see what I just did there?) the language to suit, and to neologize on demand is one of the reasons English is just about the most versatile language on the planet.

Also in a grammatical vein, the expression “in the meanwhile” — I was taught either “in the meantime” or “meanwhile,” but this mash-up expression “in the meanwhile” keeps turning up — even my most favorite author, who has a grasp of grammar and syntax that amounts to a half nelson, uses it unabashedly.


In other news, I’ve called my friend and lined up the “muscle” for the proposed furniture reconfiguration next week, and I’ve got my daddy-sitting dates for February that I need to transfer to my calendar.  I’m contemplating performing tuna salad — I’ve got the cans of tuna and the dish set out on the counter, just waiting for the spirit to move me.  I’ve been wanting to make some, and I need to use up an onion that was trying to sprout.  I have a refrigerator that dates from the 1970’s, the era of butter/margarine in a stick and covered oblong butter dishes.  (We have since entered the era of tub margarine.)  I keep my onions in the part of the refrigerator door engineered to keep the butter/margarine from getting rock hard — it’s up at the top of the door and has a little lid that raises up.  There’s also a “utility” area beside it, which also has a little lid, for things like cream cheese, and block cheese — i.e., room for more onions.  My onions keep there for months, long enough to start sprouting, in fact.  There is an erroneous belief floating about that onion sprouts are poisonous**.  If this were the case, I’d be long dead.  When I make tuna salad, I use raw onions, chopped kosher dill pickles, and chopped olives, with mayonnaise for the dressing.  A tuna salad sandwich on bread machine bread. . . major nummies.

**Potato sprouts are, in fact, toxic.  Potatoes and tomatoes are members of the nightshade family, and most green portions (leaves and stems) of plants in this family contain an alkaloid poison called solanine.

Ramping Up to Go On a Tear

I’m ramping up to my big office redo, after which I’ll have to do a big living room rearrange — It’s one of those ‘change one thing and you have to rearrange the whole house’ deals.  Need to get it done by Chinese New Year.  Good feng shui to start the new year with a clean house.  I need to call a friend and see if he can help me move a big CRT TV and the armoire it goes in, and maybe one other piece, and help me cut up this honking great computer desk and cart it out to the dumpster.    The TV won’t be all that hard — I have this little TV table on casters that the cats use.  We can just pull the TV out onto it, roll it into the other room, move the armoire, and then just slide the TV back into it.  The trick is to get everything measured and planned out, so you know everything will fit where you want to put it. Then you have to work out how to work your way around the room, clearing a space, then cleaning it, then moving in the furniture that will go there. Then just do it.  If I take things systematically, I might be able to get the whole house done in a week.  Gonna be a massive undertaking.  I need to be gathering things for a garage sale as I go, thinning the herd. . . Gonna need to make sure I have enough trash bags.  Gonna have to get after it next week to be done by February 2nd.

I finally got my days and nights sorted back out, getting up at 9 a.m. and going to bed at a reasonable hour, but I’m starting to slip again.  Such a bother having to make myself stay on day shift, when I’m really a night WOL.

The grey one always seems to know when I’m done reading the blogs and comics I follow, and start writing on my own blog and in she comes, hopping up on my chair.  She has this little song and dance she has to do before she settles down, which usually entails walking about on my superstructure, curling up on one shoulder, then getting up and settling on the other shoulder, then walking about some more.  Lately, this has also included a little digging.  She’s finally settled now, snoozing away with her head on my left forearm — the one that doesn’t jiggle so much when I type or reach for my mouse. . . She’s such a funny girl. . . .

It’s been a little warmer these past couple of days.  I’ve heard tell of Schnook winds further north. Maybe the weather is going to light up on us for a while.


Netflix, Sherlock, Shakespeare, and Kitties

Money being tight and all, I’ve given up my subscription to Hulu (which wasn’t really worth it).  I couldn’t find much on it I was interested in watching.  Better value for my money on Netflix, which subscription I kept.  Last night, I rewatched the first two episodes of Steven Moffatt‘s new version of Sherlock Holmes with Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Watson.  (Such a giggle that Sherlock is stalking about London with a hobbit in tow.)

Moffat’s writing is unfailingly brilliant.  He wrote some of my all time favorite episodes of the current incarnations of Dr. Who, the episode entitled “Blink,” the two parter “The Empty Child“/”The Doctor Dances” (which introduces us to Captain Jack Harkness played by the irrepressible John Barrowman) (Both it and “Blink” won Hugo awards) and the two-part episode “Silence in the Library“/”Forest of the Dead” (which introduces us to River Song played by the delightful Alex Kingston).

Cumberbatch & Freeman
Cumberbatch & Freeman

I think Moffat accurately transposed the essence of Holmes and Watson from Victoria’s reign to the second Elizabeth’s.  Both roles are perfectly cast and the chemistry between Cumberbatch and Freeman is obvious from the start. They set up this amazing feedback loop of playing off each other and egging each other on.  Moffat simultaneously pays homage without idolizing and gently sends up something that was never intended to be taken half so seriously as some people take it. In Moffat’s version Holmes is a bit of a brat, Watson is almost as much of an adrenaline junkie as Holmes is, the action is fast paced, and the dialog is intelligent and witty.   It’s one of those shows you can watch more than once, because you almost have to in order to catch everything that’s going on — so many delicious little details.

From that, I went to a 4-part series on Shakespeare, written and narrated by Michael Wood.  I like Michael Wood.  Not only does he get excited about the history events he’s telling you about, he insists on taking you to the very locations they happened, and this series was no exception.  He had some interesting insights into Shakespeare’s life that I had never encountered before.  Shakespeare was born in the 6th year of Elizabeth I’s reign at a time when England was still reeling from the see-sawing back and forth between Henry VIII’s divorce from the pope, to Edward VI’s almost puritanical Protestantism, to Mary Tudor’s rampant Catholicism, to Elizabeth’s determined Protestantism.  Everyone focuses on Shakespeare’s literary life against a vague outline of history, but Wood put him clearly into a religious context as well as historical context.  I didn’t know William’s father John Shakespeare, and his mother’s family the Ardens were both staunch Catholics, or that William was what you might call a “closet Catholic.”  Wood shows how the religious conflict played out across Shakespeare’s life and how it influenced both his personal life and his life’s work.  The show was fascinating, not only for the new light it cast on Shakespeare, but also for the historical locations.  (Not every presenter would stand at the bottom of a medieval privy to show you the actual place where Catholic priests hid to escape Walsingham’s soldiers.)  Wood also shows you the actual documents where Shakespeare is mentioned, and has members of the Royal Shakespeare company playing in locations where Shakespeare’s company had played.  I’ll be watching that one again.

MIS5_Doug_Sam_Elliott_Mission_Impossible Screenshot SE_1I tried watching some of the episodes of the old Mission Impossible TV show that Sam Elliott was in (Seasons 5 and 6), but Sam sans ‘stache borders on heresy in my book.  The man sports the world’s greatest living ‘stache — so which numbskull network executive’s bright idea was it to make him shave it off?  I’m surprised they let him keep the sidies.  I had a hard time recognizing him with a bald upper lip.

IMG_0684The weather continues cold and grey.  It’s 19F/-7C at the moment, but it’s supposed to warm up a little during the rest of the week.  Today’s predicted high is 47F/8C.  I’m sure the weather has to do with the fact that while I was sitting here watching Netflix, I was pretty much a kitty magnet.  Most of the time I had the black one snoozing between my knees and the grey one sleeping on my chest.  I like it, though.  Very companionable.  Not to mention warm. . .

Tango on a Sunday Afternoon

To warm up a cold Sunday afternoon,  Le Tango comme il faut served up hot, steamy and elegantly choreographed.

Yep.  The guy dancing with the blond (Katya Virshilas) is Antonio Banderas.  Those clips are from a film called “Take the Lead.”   Here’s the scene they’re taken from.

Here’s a remix of it that scene that lets you see the moves in slo-mo. Una musica brutal* . . .

I need to heat things up ‘cos it’s right chilly outside.  High of 33F/1C, tonight’s low 13F/-11C.

Descubrimos vos y yo
(We create, you and I)
En el triste carnival
(in a sad procession)
Una musica brutal
(cruel music)
Melodias de dolor
(melodies of sorrow)

Despertamos vos y yo
(We awaken, you and I)
y en el lento divagar
(And in a slow digression)
una musica brutal
(cruel music)
encendio nuestra pasion
(Ignites our passion)

Dame tu calor,
(Give me your fire)
bebete mi amor
(Drink my love)

Cabal 2003-2013

tumblr_m98npqTqrs1r3rsfmo1_1280You can read about him here.

Just because I’d rather have cats than dogs doesn’t mean I wouldn’t walk up to the man and give his shoulder a little squeeze and say, “Yeah.  I know.  It’s so hard when you lose them, but being able to share life with them, even if it’s just for a little while, is so, so worth it. “

Dream Song

Mag Challenge 150murtagh daniel woman door

I don’t want to storm your castle,
I don’t want to rule your days,
Don’t want to take possession
Till one of us dies.

I’m not about forever,
I’m just about right now.
Not a happily ever after,
Just a pleasant interlude.
Just a moment’s indiscretion,
Not a life of servitude.

Don’t have to take me home to mama
Or even tell your friends.
I’m no sinks of dirty dishes
Just one extra glass to wash.
Won’t forget to cap the toothpaste
Leave my clothes upon the floor.
I won’t be getting old and fat and bald
While you lose your figure and wrinkle and sag;
I’ll always be Charming, Aladdin, your Darcy,
And you’ll be this young and beautiful forever.

I won’t steal the silver.
I won’t steal your heart.
I won’t leave you holding the bag.
No ties that bind, no ball and chain,
Just a jewel of a memory,
Precious and bright.

I’ll be yours while I’m with you.
I’ll be gone when you wake.
No fixing me breakfast, no awkward goodbyes,
No empty promises, deceptions or lies.
Just a night of abandon to recall with a smile.
No matter what happens with the rest of our lives.

Did That

Got the sheets and towels washed and dried, and the bed made.  I folded the remaining clothes from the wash I did Wednesday and put them away.  I made a double batch of biscuits and I just took a loaf of white bread out of the bread machine to cool.  I’ve had my bath and washed my hair.  Now all that’s left is to dry my hair.

Since I’ve done making snowflakes for the nonce, I won’t have any crocheting to do while I’m daddy-sitting. I have a selection of UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) to choose from, however, all of them knitting projects.  I think I’ll finish my möbius “shrug.”  I’ve only got about 9 rows left to do.  And I’ll take the round baby blanket as well, in case I finish the shrug before mom comes back.

According to my weather widget, the predicted high tomorrow is only 44F/7C with a predicted low of 18F/-8C (and it’s supposed to be even colder than that Sunday, Monday and Tuesday).  I’ll have to bundle up.

To Do Lists

I’m sitting here at the computer with the black cat between my shins and the grey one curled up on my ‘décolletage.‘ I’m done reading the blogs, comics and webcomics I follow, and now I’m blogging.  The grey one is lying with her front paws lapped over my right upper arm and the tip of her tail is tapping in an annoyed fashion on the keyboard between my hands as I type, because I’m typing, and when I’m typing I jiggle her.  But what really ticks her off is when I reach for the mouse.   (Whumpity bumpity, whumpty thumpty, whump bumpity. . . . )

Today’s earworm comes courtesy of the incomparable Peggy Lee.  A catchy little number called, “The Lady Is A Tramp*.”  I have her version of it on a jazz playlist on Rhapsody, but I couldn’t find her singing it on YouTube, so you’ll have to settle for Ella Fitzgerald singing it.  Yeah.  I know.  Bummer.   But the bright side is, she sings the intro, which I hadn’t heard before.

IMG_0687(Speaking of bummers, the grey one, tired of being jiggled, has changed her tack and is now lying with her head to the left.  My left arm doesn’t move as much when I’m typing.  Only now, I tend to catch her tail in between my right thumb and the space bar.  It’s always something. . . )

So back to today’s earworm:

I managed to wash a load of clothes Wednesday, but they sat in the dryer til yesterday when I got them out and hung up the things that go on hangers.  Now I’ve got a pile of assorted underwears and socks on top of the washer, and a couple of teeshirts hanging over the side of the clothes basket, which is on top of the washer.  It’s not like they’ll run off. . . . (Whumpity bumpty thumpity, whumpty bumpty, whumpity thump. . . .)  I really need to do a load of sheets and towels.  Whether I will or not remains to be seen.  I only have one set of working sheets.   That’s so if I can get them off the bed and into the washing machine, I’ll have to dry them and put them back on the bed before bedtime.  (I do actually have another set of sheets, but they’re still in the wrapper. . . . Have you priced queen sized sheets lately?!)

I will have to wash my hair sometime today, at least three hours before I go to bed, because that’s how long it takes my hair to dry in the air.   I do not use a blow dryer on my hair unless I have absolutely no other choice, and I’ve got to wash my hair before tomorrow, as I have to daddy-sit tomorrow morning. (Brumpity whump bumbity thump. . . )

I also need to start a loaf of bread in the bread machine, and make a batch of biscuits.  The bread might actually get made, as I bought bacon this time, and I keep hearing the siren song of a bacon and tomato sandwich on rosemary bread (without the rosemary) . . . .  Actually, if I get to the biscuit making, I can set out some butter and yeast to warm to room temperature while I’m biscuiting, and make a loaf of white bread. . .

9-2008 The new office setupI’ve been plotting an office reconfigure in my mind, trying to work out where to put everything.  It entails getting rid of this honking great computer desk that I really no longer need — I’ll have to cut it into pieces with a reciprocating saw and haul it to the dumpster piecemeal because (a) it weighs a ton and (b) I can’t even get it out of the room in one piece — it won’t make the corner from the room to the hallway (Whumpity thumpity bumpty whump. . .). (I will probably salvage the two-drawer hanging file cabinet part.  I also want to see if I can’t MacGyver the keyboard tray to the underside of the table I plan to use for a desk.) I’ve decided I will sell my roll-top desk also.  I’m just using it for storage now– it’s just a matter of taking pictures of it and listing it in the local Thrifty Nickel.  I may also put it on Craig’s List, but I have mixed feelings about that, considering what else has been advertised on Craig’s List. . . .  Without the roll-top desk and this honking great computer desk, there’ll be a lot more room in my office — room to set up a sewing/craft table and to set up a reading nook with a side table and a lamp, and my little rolling laptop table.  (Bumpity whumpty bumpty thump. . . ) I have a nice side table with spool-turned legs which is currently in the “liberry” that will do nicely and a surplus lamp in the living room.

My mom called just now, and kitties bailed out in all directions, which is OK.  I need to get up anyway and get cracking. . . .


* “tramp” as in “hobo;” we don’t know quite enough about her to be able to tell if the more derrogatory meaning also applies.