Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Life Lesson

Some days, it's the little things that make a difference in our lives. I was reading an online post from a crafter, a woman who knits to be specific, and she said something that made such good sense that I wondered why I had never thought it.

For relaxation, I either crochet afghans or I knit washcloths. After gifting perhaps half the universe with afghans and washcloths, I sometimes wish that I could break the habit, but I buy all cotton crochet yarn and make washcloths and go into my happy place when I find 4-ply knitting worsted on sale. I have yarn, lots of yarn, but that's another post.

This post is about looking at things from a different perspective; specifically, knit washcloths. I usually have a pair of needles filled with an in-progress washcloth, with several balls of yarn awaiting their turn to become a washcloth. I browse websites looking for things to do and I came across a woman who also seems to compulsively knit washcloths, and she said something amazing: she decided one day, when she cast on the 50 stitches for on washcloth and still had lots of empty needle, to cast on a second cloth with a second ball of yarn -- and knit two at the same time.

Voila! What a great idea. In almost the same time that it takes to knit one washcloth, two are finished and ready to go into the "some day" pile. It also uses up yarn from the stash at a faster rate and does lead me to browse the yarn aisles looking for more washcloth yarn, especially on sale. There are new colors and new variegated yarn and always the temptation to just buy a couple of skeins.

When I knit fingerless gloves, I knit both of them at the same time, so I'm not sure why I didn't apply that same logic to washcloths.

The moral of the story is not to stop buying washcloth yarn, or to stop knitting washcloths, but to bathe in the glory of using up the stash faster by knitting two at a time so I can now justify buying more yarn when a bright color catches my eye -- or a sale tempts me beyond resistance. I have to live in the reality that I'm never going to use up my stash and/or stop buying yarn when something catches my eye ... but I can bask in the efficiency of simply knitting two at a time!

And my next post will be about the self-delusion of thinking that doubling the amount of knitting cuts the time in half for making two washcloths.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Blah Blah Bland

With all the buzz about LaLa Land, I, of course, had to go see it. What a letdown it was for me. I expected an exciting, interesting, well-acted, show biz experience and got a so-so story with average acting instead.

Ryan Gosling is to be applauded for learning to play the piano for his character, but he’s so laidback that he’s almost asleep at the wheel. Emma Stone learned how to dance for her character, and it is obvious that she’s not really a dancer. The story is supposed to be an exciting give-and-take between the two main characters, but it just doesn’t make it to that level. There are moments that are sweet, but mostly the conflict just didn’t come across as conflict to me.

This is the second movie in a row for which I had high expectations based on the buzz (Manchester by the Bay is the other one) and was let down with a loud thump. A movie I did enjoy is Jackie, which is the story of the days from JFK’s assassination to his burial. It is well-acted, interesting, and thoughtful, so at least I know there are movies out there that I do enjoy!

UPDATING: My friend went back and saw La-La Land a second time, and she said it's so much better the second time around. She found the story more engaging and the acting better. She was also more receptive to the main actors learning the crafts (dancing, piano playing) they portrayed in the film. I'll take her word for it, but I'm not going to see the film again just to get a better feeling about it.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Spectrum

I really disliked being a Time Warner Cable customer for the past 15 years. The company charged far too much for far too few services, and customer service was not their forte. I complained annually about my always increasing service bill, which seemed to have a full column of "add-on" service charges over which I had no control. I'd see the ads for basic services at $29.99/mo, but I never was able to actually receive any services for anything close to that amount. My monthly bill, prior to Spectrum taking over, had settled in at $165.00, which is my highest utility bill -- including both water and electricity!

When I hit $165/month with only 1 working TV in the house and constant issues with poor service to the home, I decided that if TWC couldn't fix it, I was going to go cold turkey. It was nice when into this same timeframe, Spectrum arrived. The words "Time Warner is now Spectrum" gave me hope that I would be able to have some service issues dealt with and I could again enjoy watching TV.

Spectrum is great! I had a list of issues I wanted handled, including receiving TV on the small set in my bedroom, making the start/stop/freeze frame/pixilation issues go away on the livingroom set, learn how to use On Demand without having to pay even more money to the cable company -- and stop my bill from steadily climbing to higher and higher peaks.

Adam, my Spectrum service rep, showed up cleanly dressed and professional. He introduced himself and asked me why I had called for an in-home service call. I gave him my list and he said we'd start in the living room with replacing the DVR box, then move on to checking the service in general, from outside line to outlets in the house. Thus, Adam found the problem with the bedroom TV: in spite of the fact that there was cable in the bedroom, that cable wasn't activated with actual hook-up to the service for the house. Adam solved that problem and voila! I had cable on the bedroom TV. He also did all the replacement hookups for the livingroom, then checked the outside lines and determined that the cable from the pole to the house needs to be replaced too.

And all of this at no service charge and no upping my monthly payment. It's just part of the Spectrum service. Really.

He also showed me how to use the new cable box in the livingroom, including OnDemand, which is free. He also assured me that I could call Canada without paying an additional fee, so I am now able to communicate more freely with my son who lives there. I know how to delete a series I chose to record, but then didn't like once I watched it. And I feel free to contact Spectrum if I have other service questions without feeling like an idiot.

I'm rooting for Spectrum to take over and run Time Warner Cable out of business!! I'm so glad to be free from TWCable's monopoly of bad service.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Manchester by the Sea

With all the buzz Manchester by the Sea has been getting, I decided to go see for myself what this film is all about. I lasted about 20 minutes before I left and got my money back.

It's very slow to start, very slow, and has lots of use of the "f" word, lots and lots. Casey Affleck is so ... laid back? ... that he's almost catatonic. And not much of the story is revealed in the opening of the film.

My film buddy stayed for the entire film and said it got better, but she can't see what all the hype is about, so I'm saying this movie is one to skip. Despite the hype.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What If Today is THE Day?

A friend and I went to a funeral mass for a dear friend who passed away at age 85 and, as it often happens, we looked at all the snow white-haired people attending with us. I remarked to her, "What if today is my day to die? I don't know if I'm ready yet as I have lots of closet cleaning to do."

We giggled just a bit and then turned serious as the mass began. I didn't understand too many of the priests' words as English is probably his 3rd language, and most definitely not his first tongue. I also am not Catholic, so I didn't know all the rituals and the responses one should give at key moments of the service. As the priest prattled on about Sue and her equally departed husband Jim, one of the grey-haired men we had been talking about, Larry, fell off his feet and onto the pew.

Larry's wife went into immediate panic, bursting into tears and trying to get her husband to respond to her. One of the men who had been sitting across the aisle jumped up and came over to see what was amiss. Larry was unconscious, 9-1-1 was called, and the wife kept trying to get her husband to come around and respond, which he ultimately did. The paramedics arrived and got him onto a gurney and then off to the hospital.

As my friend and I were sitting there -- and the rest of the congregation was congregated around poor Larry's prostrate form, I said, "Let's depart. There is nothing we can do to help and no reason to sit here and see what comes next." She agreed and we left the church.

Over a cup of coffee and a slice of pie at the local Denny's, I recalled my somewhat prophetic words, "What if today were my last day?" Am I be ready? No, I'm not--but ready or not, each one's day comes. I'm sure it's not Larry's last day, but it is a wake-up for all of us elderly people to cherish each day and not put off what needs to be done today.