Carpe Weekend

Everything is just pesky lately. Not overtly bad, just pesky.
But like itching, it isn’t pain, but it can grow to be overwhelming.
I really needed that 3 day weekend. I got some things done (closet floor-FOUND!, kitchen counter-FOUND! kitchen sink-FOUND! (then lost again after I roasted another chicken)) and then also did a LOT of sleeping and knitting and generally being a big lazy slob. It was nice.

A lot of folks in the neighborhood still have their xmoose trees up and I kinda like it, they look pretty in the windows. I took all my decorations down a few weeks ago, not out of grinchiness or even organization, just due to the fact I was rearranging the house (again) and I needed the working space. In the course of things, I found a tree type device for next year at half price and bought it. I also got a 6 foot tree duffel for storage. (The one i got is not 6 ft, but it is about 4 with a decorative urn thingy on the bottom.) I think this tree was actually meant to be bought in pairs and set out on your porch to flank your steps or door-I really don’t need (or want) that much tree. Just enough for some ornaments and a lot of lights. It had lights on it already, but I wanted to replace them with LEDs of various kinds.
Last weekend I managed to get  “prep tree for storage” checked off my to do list. I removed the non-LED lights, put the tree together and put on 2 strands of LEDs to leave in place. I have a fondness for the old fashioned shaped bulbs (C9?) so I put a strand of multicolor on there as well. It looked nice, so we set it on the side table and plugged it in. We’ll probably leave it up for a bit.

I might need to get a ficus tree (killed my previous one) and put it here with some lights on it for the bulk of the year or I might be tempted to just leave this up all year… and then it won’t be a novelty during December…

I also got a couple of these little things for managing stuff that I don’t necessarily need on all the time or even need on a regular basis.

DAILY USE ITEMS: I have lamps, speakers and other pain in the arse to reach items on a timer so that the only power draw when they aren’t needed is what it needs to run the mechanism for the timer itself (and i need to double check some of my older timers that they aren’t drawing more than a teeny bit).
FREQUENT BUT NOT DAILY USAGE: I have somethings on a plug strip so that I can just turn them off completely (judiciously arranged so that I can flip it all on/off without turning on more than necessary.)
LESS THAN ONCE A WEEK USAGE: Occasionally there are items that just need to be on for a little while, so I can click the little button on top of the Belkin socket and it will stay on for either 1/2 hour, 3 hours or 6 hours. I only ordered 2 of them to begin with, so I put 1 on the iPod speaker/charger in the kitchen and one on the tree for now. Really though, I’m not certain that I need these all over the house, so I probably won’t get any more. Timers may be a better option for most of my stuff that only needs to be on only when I am at home.

I still have some things running all the time-like the fan in the kitchen window and my computer- but I’m working on getting myself to pay attention to what is going on electricity-wise in my house. Water usage is next; I grew up in NorCal so water conservation was beaten into my head during the drought years. But I can do more than I do now.
My power bill has gone down $5/month since I organized things a little better. I have never had huge costs for this particular apartment though. At most it was $45 per month, this last month was $35. But I live in a relatively reasonable climate, I have a gas stove, the building has radiators and so I lack actual heating costs. The hot water heater is also part of the building, so I don’t pay for that or the water it heats. That is all part of the rent. I know that if I lived elsewhere the numbers would be vastly different.
The other difference is that we don’t have Bunny’s heating pad running 24/7 anymore.
(Frankly, I’d be happy to pay $200/month heating costs to have her back.)

On the needles:
-Tex’s scarf
Tex 's scarf is about 2.5 ft long now. He calls it his Dr. Who scarf but it isn't going to be THAT long.
-various hats in widely ranging states of done-ness
-a giant grey wool cowl for me

The cowl thing is just going to be an enormous tube (no pattern) of grey wool to drape over my head and neck or pull down over my shoulders then put a jacket on to add a bit of insulation. It’s going to take forever so there will be pics of it for quite a while on my Ravelry pages. I swatched it this weekend to see what kind of numbers I needed and  I’ll cast on this week. Since its is so big and on a monster-long set of circular needles, once I get it started (and joined without twisting the bastard), then it should knit up reasonably well albeit slowly.

I’m also still having fun with my broke-ass iPhone and several camera apps (Hipstamatic and Retro Camera). The other day I was reading about some guy who went back to film because he was taking too many pictures-I think his reasoning was that he wasn’t really paying attention to what he was taking pictures of and was taking hundreds of off-hand shots that he never looked at again. He said  wanted for his pictures to be thoughtfully composed and chosen. I can understand that, but I like this particular combo on the iPhone of the luxury of digital and the reduced ability to take thousands of photos so that I have to choose my shots more carefully.  Also I can play with lots of tools to build a composition I like.
The Autostich app (i used it for the tree photo up top) is fun to play with in combination with the Hipstamatic/Retro Camera framed shots. Just take multiple shots and it builds a big one:
Bedside view
Fun stuff.

We’ll be going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium again soon (we renewed our membership again – donate too, please) so I’ll take some shots there. Fishies move pretty quickly and it is fairly dark, so I’m not certain that the shots I get will be too fabulous, but I’ll probably just change my subject matter and see what happens.  I also have an iPhone holder for a tripod so we’ll see if I can come up with something interesting to do with that.
Here’s some pics from the last time I went using my SLR:
At the Monterey Bay Aquarium

I’ll leave you with this fun fact:
I’m listening to Cleopatra on the drive to and from work (by Stacy Schiff on and boy howdy, Cicero was a total weenie.

Happy non-Monday all!


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